February 2013 Archives

Thursday, February 28, 2013

This is the birthday of famed Swiss investor and economic pundit Marc Faber. (Born 1946.)


Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I’m older than you are. I’m female. Wanted to get that out of the way early, so you can decide whether to keep reading or not.
I assume you’re new to being prepared. Long-time survivalists wouldn’t want to read an article titled “start.” But you do. You’re interested in the subject of preparation, but you’re also a little overwhelmed by what you’re seeing on survival sites. You don’t think you can do all that stuff.

The fact is, you probably can’t. You’re a bank teller, not a former Marine. You’re alone, not affiliated with 30 like-minded survivalists. I’ve read all the warnings that I “can’t do it alone.” Maybe I can’t, but my situation today is if I don’t do it alone I might as well go rock in that chair. I am doing it alone, but with the idea that if any of my family or elderly neighbors need a place to go, I’ll be ready for them.

Of all the people I know personally, none are preparers. Since you want to be one, you’re already prepared more than most. You didn’t realize that any experience you’ve had with “hard” living (homelessness, unemployment, any abuse situation) would one day be useful to you. You’re already a survivor. You can do this.

It’s probably a good idea up front to tell you “one day at a time.” That means starting with today and what you can do with it and letting God show you what to do tomorrow. The most productive time you will ever spend will be while investigating the fact that Jesus Christ is the only reason we’re all here. A good start would be reading John in the New Testament. The John that comes after Luke.

Two more useful slogans for beginning preparers and alcoholics are “first things first” and “keep it simple.”

First get notebook paper and a good pen then simply stare into space while you think of what you really wished you had the day the power went out, the gas station closed, and the grocery store was just an empty building. I’m laughing here. I used to smoke. I’d have wanted a cigarette.

Write down what first came into your mind. Let the thoughts continue to flow from your mind, down your arm, through the pen. Nothing you write down is stupid. Your list will tell you who you are. Keep writing. When your words trail off, you can stop. Put the list down and pet the kitty. Look out the window. If you’re at work, put the list away until you get home. Once home, put the list down, pet the kitty and look out the window.

On my list I first wrote toilet paper, coffee, water. My priorities were a little skewed, but that’s what I wrote. Gather clean paper and begin a neater list from your free-form list. Pay special attention to what interests you most. This will probably turn into your area of study and expertise. Make this list neat, but be aware that you’ll make many more and much neater lists as time goes on. I finally have my needs and desires for preparation neatly hand-lettered on 3 x 5 cards.  When I acquire something on my list, I color it with a yellow marker. That’s how I do it. You do not have to do that. Develop the list that works for you.  If you can keep track of it all in little columns in your head, wow, go for it.

After I reworked my free-form list, I put the water first, then the toilet paper, then the coffee. About that time I decided I needed separate categories. I now have cards marked Medicinal, Paper/Cloth Goods, Metal Goods, Tools, Lights/Fire, and Food/Water. I see I need one labeled Play. I’ll do that this afternoon.

Let’s take Metal Goods and work through some of what is on my list. My weapons are there. I inherited the 16 gauge, 12 gauge, .22 pump and WWII bayonet. I bought the .32 revolver because I fell in love with it. A great challenge these days is locating and affording ammunition. Not a problem with the bayonet, but I really don’t want people with evil intent that close to me. If talk of arming yourself is alarming, you are allowed to put off thinking about it. We’re prioritizing. Your priority is not self-defense. Your strength lies somewhere else.

Maybe you’re an inventive cook. If everything goes kersplat, survivors will eventually wish for inventive cooks. Your skill could be in high demand. You could trade grub-worm gumbo for personal security.

Now think about the Medicinal list. If you take a prescribed medicine, stocking some extra is a first-level priority. Maybe explain to your doctor that you’re building a “blackout” supply. Except for the ones caused by alcohol and pill consumption or medical issues, we don’t have blackouts down here in the lower south. We’d tell the doctor the extra prescription was for a hurricane “power outage.”

Time to talk about keeping one’s mouth shut. This is a required quality in serious survivalists. In a long-term worse-case situation, being an amateur, and thus a blabbermouth, can get you and yours dead. Practice keeping secrets. Don’t write that down.

Since, except for the metal roofing, I built a house once, I have carpentry experience.  For fun I build sheds and animal pens   To save myself personal aggravation and what little hearing I have left, I only work with hand tools. In what looks like a hardship, I have the advantage. When the power goes out, I won’t grieve over the loss of my tools or have to build up a different set of muscles.
My most-used tools are a Stanley 15-inch small-tooth saw, a WorkForce hammer, and a Stanley hammer. Didn’t cost much, but I’ve used them for years. If you take time to choose tools that fit you and please you, you’ll use them for years, too. If you don’t own any, I suggest you first purchase a handsaw, a hammer, pliers, and wire-cutters. Over time you’ll learn what else you need.
For you to get a handle on all the “I can’t do its” pouring into your mind right now, calmly think about yourself and your skills. What do you do now that could translate into back-to-the-land style living? Do you have a knack with indoor and patio plants? You’ll make a fine gardener. Do you visit or help care for your handicapped or elderly relatives? You’ll make a fine counselor and emergency nurse. Do you volunteer at the animal shelter? You’ll make a fine shepherd.
When you were in Scouts, did you learn to make a Dakota Hole for cooking and heating? … No? … A Dakota Hole is a hole dug in the ground with a vent dug off one end. Complete directions abound on the internet, but the gist is once you’ve dug a 2 x 2-foot-or-so hole, you lie on your stomach and dig a “cave” (I use a spoon) at and parallel to the bottom of the hole as far as you can reach. Then you get up and find where you think the cave (aka vent) ended underneath you and dig down to meet it, all the while pulling dirt out like a terrier.
Build a fire down in the pit. Use a grate over the hole for steaks, pots and pans. Or lower a covered Dutch oven onto and down into the coals, cover the oven with foil, then bury the whole shebang with dirt. You can fill the hole entirely if you’re so inclined. If you’re cold, pull your sleeping bag over the mound and take a nap. If you need a third reason to spend time digging a large hole, consider that the only enemies who might see the flames of your fire will be flying overhead.

In a worse-case scene with armed nuts shooting at everything, you do not want to give away your location. Liberal use of flashlights is for the early minutes after the crisis when you and your children are getting accustomed to the dark. And by the way, if you’ve hunkered down near the python-riddled Everglades, I suggest you use the lights to find a way out of there.

My store of matches, lighters, LED palm-size flashlights and solar flashlights is not large enough yet for my feelings, but week-by-week I work at it. One valuable find is a 7-inch solar-with-battery-backup flashlight. You can charge the solar part right there under the lamp you’re writing your list under. If you want one, see HybridLight.com or go get one for about $13 at Wal-Mart.

The Paper/Cloth category is of course where I list toilet paper. I intend to store enough for trading. Also in that soft-goods group are cheesecloth, bed coverings, tents, clothes/coats/rain gear, shoes, boots, socks, towels, tarps, and drop-cloths.  I go overboard on socks. If you do as I do and lay in more toilet paper and socks than you can use in a lifetime, after the apocalypse you will be a wealthy person.

Food/Water is a first-rate category card. I left it for last so it wouldn’t get lost in the crowd. I don’t think I have to explain why. This is the category where I spend the most time thinking, planning, and doing.  I can’t afford a case of MREs, but after dining on several after Hurricane Katrina, I surely would like to.

Dehydrating foodstuffs is easy, cheap and fun.  Carrots, onions, peppers, and yellow squash are good practice produce and put all together can make a nice soup.

My dehydrating technique is low tech. If it wasn’t so humid here, I’d use the even lower-tech sun. As it is, I turn my gas oven on as low as it will go, put the chopped carrots (I cook mine a little) on a cookie sheet and into the oven, prop the door open with a spoon, turn on the inside light and go away for several hours. When I remember, I go stir the carrots. They’re ready when they rattle when I shake the cookie sheet. Three pounds of raw carrots make about a half cup of dried ones.

By reading this far, I imagine you’ve picked up on the state of my budget. Knowing a fixed-income person is building a store for harder times should be the best kind of news for you. If I can do it, you certainly can.

If you aren’t preparing now, but are encouraged to begin, here are starter suggestions I wrote for my grown son (who will make a weird face and ignore them).

Every payday, buy a small silver coin. Save it. (Pawn shops usually have them.)

Every payday buy an extra can of food you like. Save it.

Every payday buy an extra of something you need often or wouldn’t want to do without. Save it.

If you don’t cheat, in one year (with twice-a-month paydays) you will have 72 survival items stashed in the armoire you bought for storing your survival goods.

If you live on the 16th floor of an apartment building, you might want to store most of your things in the trunk of your always-half-full-of-gas vehicle or with your beloved non-snoopy country grandmother.  If you don’t have a car or a nice grandmother, consider renting an out-in-the-boonies storage unit.

The best-case apocalyptic scene for a car-less city-dweller will be that a day before things fall apart forever, you rent a vehicle with a trailer attached, drive to your rental unit, load your supplies and head where, very, very early on, you planned to go.

One caution here:  survival preparation can become an obsession. Obsessions make you blind. Obsessions remove people from your life. Obsessions make you talk too much.

So go at preparation gently. You have time.

Mr. Rawles,
I have a question that I'm hoping you could provide some insight on.  I'm looking for a Bug Out Vehicle (BOV), but can't figure out what might be best.  My options are truck, SUV, or van.  I can think of pro's and con's for each myself but I can imagine that there are things that I'm not taking into consideration as well that could sway my decision.  The biggest thing is being able to use the vehicle for other things rather than it just sitting around waiting for the Schumer to Hit The Fan.  With that being said a truck or van would be most useful in a work capacity.  I like the idea of 4 wheel drive so that might limit a van since I hardly ever find too many of them with that option.  The van could be used for more work opportunities in my opinion but a four wheel drive truck would definitely come in handy in a bad situation.  By the way, I'm looking to keep the cost down as well. 

I'm hoping that you've might have encountered the question before and provided some excellent insight to someone like myself.  Any insight would be most appreciative.  Thank you!!

- Brian T.

JWR Replies: Yes, these issues have been discussed at length several times in the past seven years on SurvivalBlog. But, to summarize: A four wheel drive pickup is generally the most flexible, especially if you get a lightweight camper shell. (For more details use de a phrase like: "BOV and 4WD and capacity" with the blog's Search box.

But I must add a caveat for this Early 21st Century era of gas prices that start with a "3": If your BOV will be a "daily driver" then get a Toyota pickup, for better fuel economy.

Hello Mr. Rawles,

I wanted to share a great web site for calculating distances, etc. on several different mapping systems: GPSVisualizer.com. You can overlay your results on Google Maps or any of a bunch of different map types, including Google Terrain, which I like. It will compute range rings from a lat/lon or an address, great circle distance from an address / lat/lon to another address / lat/lon... etc. Great for showing folks exactly how close they really are to a large population center or other nasty place! - Rick in New York

Greetings JWR,
I just returned from my local Wal-Mart where I purchased the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System for less than $25.00. Removes 7 log (99.99999%) of all bacteria and 6 log (99.9999%) of all protozoa. Comes with a squeeze bag and attachment to fit on most common drinking water bottles. Great product. - Bill K.

JWR Replies: I should mention that the Sawyer brand filters are also sold by several SurvivalBlog advertisers. Be sure to do some comparison shopping before you buy.

I heard that Pantry Paratus is running a sale on Tattler reusable canning lids, for a limited time. The discount $1.25 per box and you get free box of gaskets when you get 10 or more boxes of a single size. The discount and bonus shows up at checkout. Stock up!

   o o o

Granny Miller recently posted a very useful piece: Treadle Sewing Machine Advice

   o o o

The folks at Ready Made Resources mentioned that they have some scarce AR parts back in stock, including some quite in-demand AR-15 stripped lower receivers for $189.95 (must ship to FFL), lower receiver parts kits, and military grade buffer tube assemblies.

   o o o

By way of Tam's blog, I heard about this: Dianne Feinstein: Semi-automatic weapons are unnecessary personal pleasures. Excuse me, ma'am? "Personal Pleasures?" No, their possession is my long-standing Constitutional right, and they are my final insurance against the depredations of armies directed by tyrants like... ...Dianne Feinstein. And somehow, I don't think that your concept of "the general welfare" matches the intent of our Founding Fathers. We won't put up with your civilian disarmament schemes, or socialized medicine, or even Directive 10-289

   o o o

Ralph G. suggested this clever post: Bug-Out Security with U.V.

"Our enemies aren't antigun, they're anti-people-with-guns. It's not the guns they hate...it's us." - Michael Bane

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Before his untimely demise, survivalist author Mel Tappan wrote his book Survival Guns some four decades ago, yet it still remains the authoritative source on the topic.  Mel also wrote columns for various magazines, expanding upon his previous writings and clarifying some concepts.  It is those columns and articles which formed the basis of not only this essay, but also leaving what is now an indelible impression upon my thought process for the same subject.  Mel Tappan had a rifle as his first acquisition and a shotgun as his third acquisition; I flip flopped it for this piece due to the fact he lived in the wilderness – where I live in the jungle; an asphalt jungle.  That being the case, here goes:

First and foremost, a decisive firearm capable of ending any fight should be your initial purchase.  It is here the shotgun excels.  The shotgun is the most versatile firearm there is.  Based upon the hundreds of loadings, it can take small, medium, and large game as well as zombies in all shapes and sizes.  There is no more devastating impact upon an evil doer in and around your home.  The 12 gauge pump action shotgun with a short, 18 inch barrel fits this bill nicely.  Get a model with “ghost ring sights” and an attached flashlight and you can identify close in targets from contact distances out to engage long range targets with slugs over 100 yards away.  At close encounters of the worst kind, “#4” buckshot serves up a multiple pellet rat wound.  In law enforcement circles, this round is referred to sarcastically as a ‘crowd pleaser’.  As the range extends, fewer yet larger pellets may be the answer, all the way up the high end of the scale at “OOO” buckshot.  “OO” buckshot is the law enforcement and military standard loading for anti-personnel use.  The exact middle of the scale size is “#1” buckshot, probably the best round to utilize when usage is not defined as to target types and distances.  I keep “#4” buckshot in warm months and “OOO” buckshot in cold months in my home protection shotgun – it is a matter of penetrating coats and jackets and vests and whatever else a bad guy may be wearing in the winter versus a likely t-shirt in the summer.  The shotgun slug is an awesome round.  You should practice head shots on a full size silhouette target at 50 yards with only a bead front sight – then you can rest assuredly hit effectively out to 150 yards and sometimes more with slugs and a “ghost ring sights” setup.  Have a spare 28” barrel for hunting birds and fowl with birdshot loads and you’ll expand the utility of the shotgun exponentially.  There are also numerous special loadings available in shotshells including: flares, flechettes, gas (riot control agents such as CS or CN or OC), incendiary, etc.  Another special loading is the door breaching round, and it is phenomenal when employed correctly to forcibly enter through a secured door.  The 12 gauge is the most common caliber for law enforcement and military applications, as well as a majority of hunting uses.  However, a 20 gauge shotgun might be better for use by smaller statured adults and younger shooters.  The pump or slide action is better because you can use the most diverse types of ammunition without a hiccup, plus there are less moving parts to break.  With the shotshell tube attached under the barrel, one has about half a dozen rounds readily available and no fear of losing any detachable magazines.  If you can’t end the fight with half a dozen well placed 12 gauge rounds, you probably need some help.  Regardless of caliber (gauge) selected, get the 3” chamber so both 3” and 2 & ¾” shotshells can be used.

Second, you need a handgun.  Many firearms aficionados state a true defensive pistol must be at least .40 caliber or larger to effectively end a gunfight.  The handgun is usually worn holstered on your belt (but can easily be adapted to ankle or shoulder holsters as well) and it is thus there, on your person, when you need it.  The handgun gives you the ability to shoot your way back to your shotgun at those most inopportune times when you put it down and don’t have it with you at the moment in need as well as being a last ditch effort to stave off that close encounter of the worst kind.  In keeping with the survival mindset, I recommend a revolver of large caliber/capability.  Prior to the autoloading pistol revolution, the .357 magnum revolver was king of the hill for everyday use and adaptability.  Sure, you could go much more powerful with a .41 magnum or even a .44 magnum – but utility is the key here.  A 4 or 6 inch barreled revolver with the 125 grain semi-jacketed hollow point round was the #1 cartridge for one shot stops against human aggressors.  Perhaps it isn’t so anymore, I’m not really sure, but probably only because law enforcement has almost entirely has transitioned to the semi-automatic pistol in the last two decades into other calibers.  Nevertheless, it is an awesome round when properly employed.  In the late 1980s and early 1990s when the Navy’s SEAL (SEa, Air, and Land commandos) Team 6 was formed for counter terrorism employment, their duty handgun of choice for hostage rescue use was a 4 inch barreled .357 magnum revolver.  One should never feel ‘out gunned’ when having a .357 magnum revolver.  There are 7 and 8 shot models available as well, but even the 6 round standard models should suffice to get you back to your primary long arm.  Remember, it is shot placement that counts for hits, not spraying and praying with a semi-automatic pistol.  An 8 inch barrel would be best for strictly hunting purposes, a 4 inch barrel for daily belt carriage, a 2 inch barrel for concealment – perhaps a 5 shot model offering even more concealment.  I would venture to state the 6 inch barrel is probably best all around performer.  It can be used for hunting and is not unnecessarily bulky for daily wear with proper holsters, and this sidearm is not being used as a backup gun so being small and concealable is not an issue here.  Get yourself half a dozen speed loaders for whatever model you choose, and the pouches to carry them and you’ll be set.  Also, the .357 magnum chambering allows for a .38 special sub loading to be fired for practice and small game.  (The .38 special cartridge is actually the same .357 diameter bullet and about a quarter inch shorter case length than the .357 magnum round).  The .38 special is a very accurate round and has had very considerable handloading variations and commercially produced variations throughout its history.  This all equals great availability as well as versatility.

Third is a rifle.  The shotgun can do the job reliably out to about 50 yards with shotshells and approximately 150 yards with slugs.  Anything more distant than that and you will need a rifle for routine or repetitive interdiction.  The rifle should be bolt action, have a capacity for follow up shots – whether a detachable box magazine or integral type is up to your personal preference.  It would be an excellent idea for a fixed power telescope or rifle scope to ride on top.  And a good sling is a must.  You should select a caliber both common and having capability to take any game in the country side.  The .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO round would be my choice (with the .30-06 Springfield round a very close second place here).  It is common to the military and law enforcement communities.  It is prevalent in hunting.  With well placed shots, it can take any game in North America.  I can hear the cries out there already.  I know, I know, there are much better calibers for hunting polar bears and elk and elephants and – probably anything conceivable to your imagination.  But, commonality and capability is what we are talking here.  The military and police don’t stock .30-06 or .270 or .243 or 7mm or 8mm or whatever other caliber tickles your fancy.  If you are that concerned about caliber rather than shot placement, why not go all the way up to the .50 caliber Browning cartridge?  But, I digress.  The 7.62x51mm NATO / .308 Winchester will and does do the job nicely regardless of other counter claims.  And, it can be had in ‘short’ action rifles which are lighter and more compact thus handier for our envisioned use.  I like a ‘full sized’ short action bolt rifle with an integral magazine and 10x scope.  But, the Jeff Cooper “Scout” rifle concept is intriguing and definitely fills the bill as well.  A forward mounted 2x scope, detachable box magazine, Chino sling, short barrel, and .308 caliber would carry very nicely, be quick to operate in the field, and capable of both close in snap shooting and longer range deliberate engagements.  Either rifle at the ends of that spectrum can fill this requirement nicely, it will come down to personal preference.  Remember that it is better to engage threats farther away from you so you don’t need the shotgun to be used at close quarters.

Fourth is a rimfire.  The .22 long rifle cartridge is very versatile, fun to shoot, accurate, and can also be had in numerous loadings (target, hunting, plinking, even in small shotshells).  The .22 rimfire rifle could be used against vermin and small game.  It can be used for training.  It is an extremely accurate round out to 100 yards with target model click adjustable “iron” or “metallic” sights (as opposed to ‘scopes’ or ‘optical’ sights) able to move the impact of the bullet 1/8” at a time at that distance!  The uses of the .22 rimfire are endless.  Alligator/crocodile hunters use the .22 rimfire for ‘fishing’ these reptiles.  One shot to the brain accurately placed behind the eyes to the rear of the head instantly kills even the largest (greater than 12 feet weighing more than 700 pounds) crocodile or alligator.  Besides .22 rimfire ammunition becoming ballistic wampum in an “The End Of The World As We Know It” or “TEOTWAWKI” situation, you can carry or store a case of 5,000 rounds in about the area approximate to the size of two .50 caliber ammo cans.  In a pinch, the .22 rimfire could be used defensively against humans – just remember it is shot placement that is critical and with such a small statured round it will be absolutely critical here.  An eye, ear, or nose shot will take a bad guy out of the game; as would a good neck shot, or under the armpits, etc.  It wouldn’t be my first choice going to a fight, but sometimes you have to use what you have.  The .22 rimfire has taken ‘game’ as large as a whale.  Some 20 plus years ago a whale was found dead in a New England harbor – the cause of death was six (6) .22 rimfire rounds to the spine which ultimately caused its death through central nervous system shutdown.  So never let anyone kid you about the ‘small’ little round not being effective against anything but small game.  Additionally, the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan was with a .22 rimfire handgun and look at all the problems it caused him with one mid torso shot (which was a glance off the door frame by the way – not even a direct hit).

I’ll summarize for you to make a quick reference list:
            1. Shotgun: Pump Action, 18” interchangeable ‘riot’ barrel, ghost ring sights if available, flashlight forend if available, 28” interchangeable hunting barrel, 4 to 6 round tubular magazine, synthetic speedfeed stock usually holds an additional four (4) shotshells in the buttstock, sidesaddle shotshell carrier typically holds 3 to 6 additional shotshells on the side of the receiver, and sling for carrying.  I would keep a minimum of 100 shotshells available (they come in 25 round boxes).  I would store 25 shotshells in “#4” buckshot, 25 shotshells in “OOO” buckshot, 25 shotshells in one ounce rifled slugs, and 25 shotshells in birdshot – probably #7½ or “BB” size (.177 diameter) being good choices.  12 gauge with 3” chambering for men or 20 gauge with 3” chambering for women and children.
            2. Handgun: 6” barrel revolver, .357 magnum caliber, 5 to 8 round rotary magazine, 3 dot sighting system, half a dozen speed loaders, duty type belt holster and at least one dual speed loader pouch.  I would keep 100 rounds minimum available.  (They come in 50 round boxes for the most part.)  50 rounds of 125 grain semi-jacketed hollow points in .357 magnum for medium game and 50 rounds in 148 grain lead semi-wadcutter for target shooting or small game.
            3. Rifle: .308 Winchester / 7.62x51mm NATO caliber, bolt action, 10x fixed rifle scope for a full sized rifle or 2½X fixed forward mounted rifle scope for a ‘Scout’ rifle, 3 to 5 round magazine (integral preferred over a detachable box type), synthetic stock for durability, and a sling.  I would have 100 rounds minimum for use.  150 grain hollow points or pointed soft points in .308 Winchester would be my selection for ammunition.  (These typically come in 20 round boxes).  Barrels for a Scout size range from 16 to 20 inches.  Barrels for a standard size range from 18 to 24 inches.
            4. Rimfire: If you want a handgun, choose a revolver.  I’d make it a 6” or 8” barrel with holster and speed loaders.  If you’d rather a rifle, make it bolt action with a 16” or 18” barrel and a fixed power scope – probably a 2 to 6 power being fine, and a sling.  A magazine of some sort would be nice (tubular, integral, detachable, etc.) but not necessary.  Regardless of handgun or rifle, I would keep a minimum of a 500 round “brick” available.  These come in 50 round boxes and ten boxes are the size of a brick – hence the name.  Chose the high or hyper velocity 40 grain hollow point ammunition and any vermin and small game can easily be bagged.

Those four firearms should form the basis for each individual’s personal battery.  Then you can expand upon it for whatever specific or unique threat or purpose you may face.

For my own immediate family’s use, I have taken the liberty to somewhat bastardize Mel Tappan’s above concepts to be more aligned to the reality in my suburban neighborhood setting today; which unfortunately is way too close to other urban jungles from my viewpoint.  Every member of my nuclear family has either a civilian legalized  version Main Battle Rifle in 7.62x51mm NATO / .308 Winchester caliber or a civilian legalized version ‘Assault’ Rifle in 5.56x45mm NATO / .223 Remington caliber.  Both types have up to 15 round detachable box magazines, but 10 round magazines are most prevalent, and slings.  Every member of my nuclear family has a Defensive auto loading pistol in .45 ACP or 9mm Parabellum calibers with between 7 and 15 round magazines and a duty type belt holster.  Every member of my nuclear family has a pump action Riot Shotgun in 12 gauge with a 3” chambering with 5 to 8 round tubular magazines.  Every member of my nuclear family has a rimfire of some sort (pistol or rifle adapter or a rifle or pistol itself) in .22 Long Rifle caliber with up to 10 round magazines.

In accordance with Mel Tappan’s original concept, I have also to add one more firearm type to each person’s battery.  Every member of my nuclear family also has what is known as a Backup or Hideout Pistol and an ankle holster.  They are of the same caliber as their Defensive Pistol, and in most cases with same magazine capability, having magazine capacities of 5 to 15 rounds.

While perhaps on first glance this may appear somewhat of an overkill in concept, when one takes into consideration that Mel Tappan was concerned with surviving in a rural farm region far from even a suburban town with good hunting and like minded indigenous personnel around him; when the manure hits the fan we will have to deal with severe security issues in a populous nanny state and probably would have to literally shoot our way out or remain buttoned up while turning our home into a small built up fighting position.

Either way it more than likely will be a target rich environment with lots of zombies!  Better to be properly prepared and not need all this hardware then to need the hardware and not have it available.

I would never want this “Get Out Of Dodge” (G.O.O.D.) scenario to ever develop, but if it there is a catastrophic event I feel confident my immediate family could (if necessary) shoot our way out to safety at our bug out location and restart our lives from there.  However it is such an extreme situation, I don’t see anything ‘GOOD’ coming out of it other than perhaps we would be able to survive the initial scrape.

Firearms are only one part of the overall survival equation.  Water harvesting is important.  Food storage is important.  Power generation is important.  Overall security is important.  Safety is important; especially firearms safety.  Health and physical fitness is important.  Tactics and outdoor living are important.  There are many, many pieces to the puzzle which are all equally important in their own ways.

I follow a very simple supposition based upon the ‘rules of three in death’.  Death is only 3 seconds away in a security situation in which someone is trying to kill you and you cannot adequately protect yourself (hence the need for firearms).  Death is only 3 minutes away in a situation where you cannot breath (drowning, fire/smoke condition, structural collapse, etc.).  Death is only 3 hours away in a situation where you are exposed to the elements of mother nature without adequate protection (need for clothing and shelter).  Death is only 3 days away without potable water (dehydration).  Death is only 3 weeks away without an adequate food supply (malnourishment).  Death is only 3 months away without a support network of family, friends, and like minded neighbors.  Death is only 3 years away without order and common defenses involving the community or a government of the people.

This is a very, very serious matter which will require thorough planning on your part, dedication to acquire the tools and equipment and skills and developing the necessary mindset you deem appropriate for your planned actions.  The will to not only follow through with you preparedness planning – but to implement and execute your plan when your set trip wire activation points occur and the thin veneer of society is rolled back in a catastrophic event or natural disaster or failure of government.  Whatever the cause, will you be ready?

The night of February 27/28 2013 is the 70th anniversary of the successful raid on the Nazi heavy water production facility near Rjukan, Norway, known in its final culminating phase as Operation Gunnerside. The precision strike on the only heavy water facility under the Third Reich's control effectively set Hitler's quest for an atomic bomb back a year, forcing Nazi scientists to ski a huge penalty loop in a race with the Allies, to borrow an appropriate biathlon analogy. A follow-on operation put the last nail in the lid of the coffin of the Germans' heavy water production capability. The story has been told in several books-- I'll list some below-- and a few documentaries you can find on YouTube. (I understand Hollywood made a film of it, but apparently ruined the story. I haven't seen it.)

Allied scientists, thanks to information from fugitive Norwegians and contacts on the inside of the plant, had long apprehended the danger of allowing the Third Reich to achieve a breakthrough in atomic research. The consequences of failing to do so were obvious and terrifying to those who understood the full issue. The long pole in the tent of atomic research at this point in history was access to large supplies of heavy water. A hydro-electric plant in occupied Norway was the only facility under German control that had the capacity to produce heavy water in the quantities needed. Gunnerside (and its sequel) was the final, successful evolution in a string of other moves by the Allies to destroy this capacity.

This story fired my imagination when I was an adolescent, having bought the Bantam paperback edition of "Assault in Norway" and reading it from cover to cover, more than once. Over the last few years I've acquired and read other books on the operation that offered more detail and background. I recommend "Blood and Water", "Skis Against the Atom", and "The Real Heroes of Telemark". See also the interview with Joachim Ronneberg, leader of the assault party .

I won't recount the entire narrative, which of course is better told in the books I listed, but I will highlight some features of the operation that I think are of interest to the SurvivalBlog community. The first of course, is survival itself; winter conditions in that part of Norway demanded extraordinary, near super-human, feats of strength and endurance. The months between the failure of the more conventional glider-borne operation, "Freshman," and the execution of the Gunnerside raid were particularly exacting for the four men of the advance party. They endured record vicious weather, near-starvation and debilitating illnesses. The other six, who did not share in all of those privations, nevertheless faced a terrible storm right after they arrived (and before they made contact with the advance party), had to tackle the difficult and dangerous approach to the target and subsequent withdrawal, and then an epic ski-borne escape to Sweden. Some of the other major points I have consistently drawn out of my Gunnerside readings are these:

- Physical and psychological fitness

- Outdoor skills and having the right gear

- OPSEC and self-discipline
- Ugly truths about an occupying power and their Quisling allies

- Unwavering patriotism, dedication to the cause, and faith in ultimate victory

I hope this letter does some small justice to an epic, stirring story, and highlights a handful of important lessons for us. I deliberately left out a more detailed discussion, hoping instead that people will go seek out the lessons for themselves. The men of the Gunnerside mission, and indeed all Norway, learned their lessons the hard way. We are being offered the same for a mere pittance. Perhaps we should read and heed.
By the way, the larger story of the occupation of Norway and the growth of the resistance movement brings up an interesting what-if, and an object lesson. What if the Norwegians, nationally and individually, had apprehended the danger of Nazi Germany as accurately as the Swiss did, and prepared accordingly? Norway's geography certainly presents strong natural defenses and lends itself to the concept of a national redoubt. An armed, prepared Norway would have presented a much more difficult target for the Germans, and any territory that fell to them would have been organized for resistance. Also, a free or partially-free Norway would have safeguarded the approaches from the US and the UK to the ice-free ports of the Soviet Union, and offered an existing, if secondary, land front with Nazi Germany. Norway was ill-prepared, and paid the price for it. - J.P.P.

The mass media is still all atwitter with talk of "closing the gun show loophole" and "universal background checks." These phrases are tossed about without concern to their true intent: a de facto system of gun registration in these United States. I am dead set against any form of registration, since the history of the 20th Century showed countless times that registration leads to eventual confiscation.

There is one other inherent problem with gun registration schemes that is often ignored: that is that it only applies to law-abiding citizens. By virtue of established case law and cemented with an 8-1 Supreme Court decision, criminals are exempt from gun registration because it would violate their Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination. Second Amendment expert Clayton Cramer explains it all in a fine essay titled: The Fifth Amendment, Self-Incrimination, and Gun Registration. Here is an excerpt:

In Haynes v. U.S. (1968), a Miles Edward Haynes appealed his conviction for unlawful possession of an unregistered short-barreled shotgun. His argument was ingenious: since he was a convicted felon at the time he was arrested on the shotgun charge, he could not legally possess a firearm. Haynes further argued that for a convicted felon to register a gun, especially a short-barreled shotgun, was effectively an announcement to the government that he was breaking the law. If he did register it, as 26 U.S.C. sec.5841 required, he was incriminating himself; but if he did not register it, the government would punish him for possessing an unregistered firearm -- a violation of 26 U.S.C. sec.5851. Consequently, his Fifth Amendment protection against self- incrimination ("No person... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself") was being violated -- he would be punished if he registered it, and punished if he did not register it. While the Court acknowledged that there were circumstances where a person might register such a weapon without having violated the prohibition on illegal possession or transfer, both the prosecution and the Court acknowledged such circumstances were "uncommon." The Court concluded:

"We hold that a proper claim of the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination provides a full defense to prosecutions either for failure to register a firearm under sec.5841 or for possession of an unregistered firearm under sec.5851."

If you ever get into an argument with a neighbor or co-worker about any gun registration stupidity, then I recommend that you either send them the link to Cramer's essay, or hand them a printout of it. End of argument! - J.W.R.

Dear Jim;
I can contribute to the water filter research.  I have been a student of the subject for about 45 years depending on where I start counting.  I could tell a lot of great tales about things I have seen out in the world of water but most the people would question my truthfulness making these tales go better around the firepit. 
Many people misunderstand Charcoal filters and their usefulness.  In practical terms, they are useful for water that is contaminated with pesticides, complex nasty chemicals, or maybe a tiny bit of Hydrocarbon (Oil, Gasoline) pollution.  If you can taste anything like that, start looking for a better water supply.  Other nonchemical bad things can be removed by some well cared for sand filters and if you have possible human or animal waste contamination you need clorox, iodine, of even permanganate to finish your filtered water.  If you can taste chlorine let it set a minute in open air and try it again.  IF you can still taste chlorine strongly, you are using too much or heaven forbid you need that carbon filter before the chlorine and maybe an hour after it sits in the open.  Better start looking for new supplies.  I have been reading all the good reference sites from Survival Blog for making charcoal just in case I ever need to use it when making a filter. 
My view is that for short events like the well pump or city water being down a few days or weeks for localized disasters most of the commercial filters will work fine.  They should be cleaned and maintained regularly and instructions that come with each filter usually give a good practice regimen.  The most important thing to remember when using a filter is not to contaminate your clean water or parts of your filter mechanism.  At home don't let the children the water filter care job.  And if you just got back from the pig pen or chicken house you don't do it either.  Water treatment should be handled cleanly and carefully. 
Ceramic filters allow faster filtration but do not replace charcoal or finishing with chlorine.  If you have a really clean surface water supply you can simply use sand filters and forget the chlorine and the charcoal.  Yes people will disagree but if you have a long term or grid down supply problem you will be learning to build the old rain barrel filter used commonly a hundred years ago and described here recently.  Then advance your learning to build a better sand filter treatment system in some plastic drums with two or three filters in a row.  
For your backpack filters in the wilderness do not use glaciated water for your supply, it will jam your filter in a few draws of water.  Watch for nasty precipitates on the rocks before you choose your supply.  White or red is not good.  Look for better and yes rainwater puddles.  If running water tastes alkali, move on.   If in doubt, flip some rocks and see if anything can live in the stream or water puddle.  If it is dead, pick another supply.  I have been forced from the main stream to the puddles before and the 2 micron filter did fine.
For long term events and a number of people to supply we need to build larger gravity filters that are simple to maintain and operate.  The water first needs pass a small sized gravel filter to screen debris and rough solids, then clean sand filters six to ten inches thick.  Build sand filters on a plate with many tiny holes to allow the water to pass and collect under the plate to be piped to the next stage.  Next is another barrel with sand and if your supply merits a third filter then build one.  These sand filters need to be cleaned if possible back washed with clean filtered water when they noticeably slow down the finished water yield.  If you use plastic barrels, it is convenient to use removable tops for easy access.  Remove the top one inch of sand from the filter and look to see if the remaining sand is clean, inspect carefully for weak spots or piping in the sand filter and if you see any remove them and replace with prepared sand that you will have on hand for maintenance.  If your filters are eight inches thick you might remove two or three inches before replacing sand.  Stagger the regimen for several filters so that some are thicker at any particular time.  Without pumping pressure to backwash the sand you may have to completely remove all the sand and re-wash it all with a store of clean water then rebuild your filters.  The process takes some planning and thinking but the payoff is worth the effort.
All sand is different and you must wash out the fine sediment to make it useable.  Building a superior water system requires a little tinkering and experimentation.  It you need or want a charcoal filter, for long term water treatment, start reading and watching youtube videos on making your own charcoal.  It is a neat skill to learn and will be in demand for trade during a long term event.  Many of the people bringing back and improving the technology of charcoal making and hyper efficient "rocket" stoves are thinking of making charcoal for water treatment.  The charcoal chunks are pulverized and layered in your last water barrel filter setup.  Layer a couple of inches in the middle of a couple of thick sand layers.  One issue I seldom see discussed is that these carbon filters have a life time constantly shortened by the amount of nasty stuff (as described above) they must filter.  Not much chemical pollution in the water, the charcoal filter layer lasts longer.  More to filter, shorter life.  Charcoal cannot be cleaned like sand.  When it is spent it is finished and you cannot tell by looking but you may taste the difference in the water and that means new charcoal, immediately.  If you have an extra barrel build a replacement finish stage with the charcoal layer that you may just change out the barrel and keep producing water.  Same for the early stage filters.  You can continue to make water while you do your maintenance.  Accumulate plenty of new sand as you improve your system.
Recently I wandered down a click bar trail from SurvivalBlog to the University Research document linked below.  They have a good example of a home built water filter system near the end of the study.  Most of the study was about making the charcoal for the filter. 

Sustainable Decentralized Water Treatment for Rural and Developing Communities Using Gasifier Biochar
Version 1.0, March 2012
Corresponding author
Josh Kearns
Director of Science, Aqueous Solutions
PhD Candidate, Environmental Engineering
Engineering for Developing Communties
University of Colorado-Boulder
There are backyard researchers and Professional Companies now designing for wood fuel shortages and learning how to make charcoal in small amounts with out wasting all that wood heat and the wood gases (major BTUs) but cooking meals or heating water while making charcoal as they go.  Many are building better low fuel consumption, low pollution stoves and water filters for Third World countries but the same usefulness applies to a grid down event right here at home. - R.W.

Over at Instructables: 10 Minute Oil Lamp

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Five aircraft carriers simultaneously in one port! Photo caption: "The first time since WWII that five aircraft carriers were docked together. The nuclear powered USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), USS Enterprise (CVN 65), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are all in port at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, the world’s largest naval station." Don't they remember Pearl Harbor?

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Camouflage Your AR-15

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Texas, Mississippi seek to lure gun and ammunition makers

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Over at the WRSA site, Matt Bracken reviews the book “A Failure Of Civility”

"For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security." - Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

The Boston Tea Party was a terrorist act—or so it is characterized in the 6th grade curriculum widely used in my beloved state of Texas.  The Pledge of Allegiance—in Arabic?   The national anthem—well, some schools have banned it for being “too offensive…”   At least the flag is still there—oh, wait, that’s the Mexican flag…Speaking of flags, let’s design a flag—for a new Socialist country.  Why is patriotism under attack in America’s public school system?   

Better yet, why are kids under attack in America’s public school system?  Hugs are banned as a form of sexual harassment, yet condoms and STD screenings are offered at middle schools and high schools.  Sex acts go unnoticed in the classroom, worse yet predators posing as teachers go unnoticed in the classroom.  School shootings, kids bullied to death, mandatory GPS trackers on school kids, children medicated at younger and younger ages on psychotropic drugs, unfit union teachers who can’t be fired, teachers who refuse to take tests because they don’t measure anything, school officials changing student standardized test answers, and the latest trend—kids being suspended, some even arrested, for brandishing Lego guns, toy guns, bubble guns, drawings of guns, screen saver guns, imaginary guns—really!?  These are just a few of the headlines making news lately, and if that’s not enough to make you want to homeschool, I don’t know what is.  So as a homeschooling mom to a 9 year old who dang sure knows a terrorist from a patriot, I thought I would share my 2 cents on the subject and dispel some myths:

It has become the norm for American children to attend public school, as their parents did, and as their grandparents did.  But it wasn’t always so.  Before there were government schools, there were homeschools and homeschool co-ops held in little one-roomed schoolhouses funded and controlled not by the government, but by the parents.  And those primitive, humble homeschools produced many of our most cherished American icons and heroes, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry, Stonewall Jackson, George Washington Carver, Eli Whitney, Clara Barton, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, Thomas Paine, Frank Lloyd Wright, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright Brothers, Robert E. Lee, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, and  Mark Twain. 

But then in the late 19th century, the idea of forced mass education was introduced, and families were told to sacrifice personal liberty for the “good” of the children—sounds like similar arguments being made in favor of gun control today.  In “Why Schools Don’t Educate,” John Taylor Gatto, award winning public school teacher and critic of compulsory education, describes the creation of government schools in America:  “Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the state of Massachusetts around 1850.  It was resisted—sometimes with guns—by an estimated eighty percent of the Massachusetts population, the last outpost in Barnstable on Cape Cod not surrendering its children until 1880’s when the area was seized by militia and children marched to school under guard.”   From that point forward, literacy rates dropped in the state, and have not since recovered. 

So began a new era in American history. And I wonder, how would our Founding Fathers and iconic American heroes have fared in today’s government school system.  How would the world have fared?  Would Abe Lincoln be told to put away those silly books—they aren’t on this year’s required reading list?  Would the Wright brothers be told to stop fiddling with that machine so they could finish their standardized testing?  Would George Patton or Robert E. Lee be told to quit playing hero, as it violates the school’s policy on imaginary fighting? 

So many of the people who shaped the world were home-educated, and I wonder to what extent their success was shaped by freedom to explore their curiosities and talents and passions.
But such freedom is no longer the norm, even here in “the land of the free.”   Now, we have been conditioned to forfeit our freedom and our individual choice, and to hand over more and more of our parental responsibility to the government school system.   We have been conditioned to believe we are not capable of educating our own kids, and that our kids are not capable of thinking for themselves.  Today, the government education authority, strangers to our children, decide when our children go to school, what they learn, when they learn it, the time allotted to learn it, how they can prove they have learned it, what school they will attend, in which classroom they will sit, which teachers and subjects they will be assigned, when to eat, sometimes what to eat and whether they can even speak during lunch, when they can use the bathroom, what they can wear, and in many cases what to think and believe.  After all, between a 7-hour school day, extra-curricular activities and homework, school kids spend more time with their teachers than their parents.  School has become the pseudo-parent—sometimes out of necessity, but many times out of convenience—a one-stop shop for raising our children—for education, transportation, day care, meals, health care, sex education, mental health services and counseling, exercise, extra-curricular activities and even socialization. 

But more and more families are pushing back, seeking alternate forms of education for their kids.  According to the US Department of Education, there are now well over 2 million homeschooled kids nationwide, an increase of over 35% in just 4 years.   But it is amazing how little the average person knows about homeschooling.  Let’s examine the myths…   

Myth:  “Isn’t it illegal to homeschool?”  No…I’m not a criminal!  Actually homeschooling is legal in all 50 states in some form—but beware that each state has its own education laws and regulations.  The good news is that almost half of our United States are very homeschool-friendly.   Those with virtually no regulation include AK, TX, CT, NJ, ID, OK, MO, IL, IN, and MI. The states that only require notification to the school district of the intent to homeschool include CA, AZ, NV, NM, UT, MT, WY, NB, KS, WS, KY, MS, AL, DE, as well as Washington, D.C.  The remaining states have some hoops to jump through with various regulations ranging from home visits to standardized testing to time tracking to curriculum approval. For a complete listing of state homeschooling laws visit www.hslda.org/laws/summary_of_laws.  Vote with your feet!

For those parents that are concerned about drawing suspicion from nosy neighbors or authorities that confuse homeschooling with truancy, some good advice can be found at www.hsc.org/how-can-homeschoolers-avoid-truancy-officers-or-cps.html.    Even here in homeschool-friendly Texas, I tend to keep a low profile during school hours.  I avoid taking my son on non-school related errands until after 3 PM just to avoid comments such as “you don’t look sick—why aren’t you in school?”  It has also been my experience that families that homeschool from the beginning don’t face as much harassment from the school district as families who withdraw their child, and thus the school’s source of funding.

For peace of mind, consider joining the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (www.hslda.org).  For $115 per year, members receive legal advice, court representation, advocacy, conflict resolution, as well as perks such as member discounts, homeschooling advice, and a magazine.

Myth:  “Homeschooled kids do not get enough socialization.”  Since when is it the government’s job to provide my kid with friends?  And since when does going to public school guarantee popularity?  We have all known kids that that are lonely, shy, or friendless despite being in a classroom full of other kids day after day, year after year. 

There is actually very little socialization occurring at today’s government schools, unless by socialization you mean “indoctrination” or “institutionalization.”  Recess is becoming a thing of the past, and even lunch period has become a no talking zone in my local school district, with “silent lunch” in effect.  The fact is that today’s schools have very little resemblance to the schooldays you may reminisce about. 

But homeschooling is whatever you make it to be.  The social opportunities are out there through co-ops, churches, extra-curricular activities, you just have to be motivated enough to get your child involved.   How do you find other homeschooled kids?  When you are out and about during the day and see other school-aged kids, chances are they are homeschooled—introduce yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Search Google or Yahoo Groups for homeschool groups in your area, and if you don’t find one, start one.  Ask your local library or teacher supply store if they know of other homeschooling families.  Book sales and churches are another good place to start.  As you become involved in extra-curricular activities like scouting or sports, ask around—there are probably other homeschooled kids there, too.  Soon enough your calendar will be full of play dates and field trips and park days.  Good thing  our school day is half the length of the public school day and we don’t have homework—now we actually have much more time to socialize with friends and family—a perfect segue into the next myth... 

Myth:  “I do not have time to homeschool.”   The public school day may last 7 hours, but since when was the government efficient?  “We’re not trying to do ‘school at home.”  We are trying to do home school.  These are two entirely different propositions.  We’re not trying to replicate the time, style or content of the classroom.  Rather we are trying to cultivate a lifestyle of learning.”—Steve and Jane Lambert
Homeschooling doesn’t have to take all day.  Here’s why:

  • My family homeschools year round.  We do not take off for 3 months during summer, or for 2 weeks in winter or a week in spring, or for Columbus Day or early release days or snow days or teacher in-service days.  Therefore we can afford to spend fewer hours per day, spread out over more days per year, and we do not have to make up for learning lost over long holidays.  When the weather is nice and most kids are busy in school, we can take off and spend more time outdoors and on field trips, without the crowds and Texas heat.
  • We have a one-to-one student to teacher ratio, with no distractions. 
  • We do not have to budget time during our school day for busy work, lunch, recess, safety drills, roll call, morning announcements, standardized testing or test prep, bathroom breaks, changing classes, lining up, wasted substitute teacher days, bus routes or special assemblies.  There is no red tape in the way of our homeschooling (at least in Texas).  As a result, we have no homework.
  • We do not impose artificial timelines or time limits.  We have a list of lessons to complete each day, and it takes as long as it takes.  Some tasks we breeze through, in which case my son isn’t punished with busy work as he might be at school.  Others tasks may take a little longer, and that’s OK--I have the freedom to flex something off the list when need be.  My son has learned that if he lollygags, that means less free time, so he has an incentive to stay focused.   The beauty of homeschooling is that we can focus on knowledge rather than grades or unnecessary work.  When he gets it, he gets it. 

With that being said, I spend about 4 hours per day homeschooling my son, as well as a few hours each weekend preparing for the coming week.  We spend about 2 hours in the morning with lessons in civics, math and geography.  After a lunch break, we spend another 2 hours or so on reading, writing, spelling, grammar and history.  Science happens all the time.   In addition to those hours, we have been active with a homeschool group which offers weekly social activities, and my son is always enrolled in at least one extra curricular activity, such as swimming lessons, day camps, zoo classes or Tae Kwon Do.  When I’m not feeling well my son is allowed to use educational software on the computer, but I prefer old-fashioned pencil and paper work.  

Myth:  “I am not a teacher, therefore I am not qualified to homeschool my kids.”    “There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Legally speaking most parents are qualified to homeschool.  According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, “forty-one states do not require homeschool parents to meet any specific teacher qualifications.  The other nine states require only a high school diploma or GED and include GA, NC, ND, NM, OH, PA, SC, TN and WV.”  For more information visit www.hslda.org/laws/summary_of_laws

For skeptics who believe that parents aren’t qualified teachers—if graduating from the government school system renders people incapable of teaching their own children, what does that say about the system?  I graduated from high school with honors, went on to earn my Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree, yet, until recently, I couldn’t name all the presidents or states, I couldn’t have told you anything about the War of 1812 other than it had something to do with the year 1812…My tests scores did not reflect my mastery of each subject or lack thereof, but rather my mastery of taking tests!  A decent short term memory was enough to get me a seat in the National Honor Society.  So the bottom line is even though I don’t have a degree in public education, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do any worse.  

As a homeschooling parent I know what my son has learned, I know his strengths and struggles--I have been there each step of the way.  In contrast, a friend of mine doesn’t know whether her child has learned the states or where he is on a map because she leaves it to the school to teach him those things.  It’s as if it is none of her business.    Educating my son is my #1 business, and through research I have learned that there is no “one size fits all” method of education.  Children have different learning styles, different strengths and weakness, and there is only so much a classroom environment can do to accommodate a room full of individuals.  But homeschooling can be adapted to the individual child, and  who knows that child better than his or her own parents?  Parents are always their children’s first teachers, and homeschooling is just an extension of that.  Homeschooling allows us as parents to provide consistency, rather than changing teachers from year to year or class to class.  And for those subjects that we struggle to teach or that our kids struggle to learn, we can always do a little homework or ask for help.   

  • Partner with other homeschoolers:  One of the best resources that we have is other parents in the homeschool community, whether locally or on-line.  There are endless opportunities for on-line discussion groups and forums.   When I find myself struggling with something, Google usually finds an answer, or at least something different I could try.  Joining a local homeschool group or co-op is invaluable for support and advice and even pooling resources and skills for joint classes or private tutoring led by parents in their areas of expertise.      
  • Partner with community resources:  There are endless learning opportunities right in your own backyard for PE (martial arts classes, gymnastics classes, tennis lessons, swim lessons, YMCA or city league sports clubs , public pools, walking trails, parks), fine arts (art competitions, art festivals, art museums, lessons at Michael's/Hobby Lobby, community theatre, acting camps, piano lessons, community band, church/community choir, orchestra performances, dance performances/lessons, photography workshops), scouting, science (zoos, wildlife refuges, nature preserves, state park presentations, 4H, museums, planetariums, farm and factory tours, TV weather station tours), history (re-enactment events, museums, renaissance fairs, heritage festivals, historical building tours, living history events), social studies (cultural celebrations, parades, museums and events), civics (voting, welcome home soldier events, public rallies, patriotic events, museums, memorials, tours of post office, fire station, etc, volunteering), language arts (book clubs, read alouds at libraries and book stores, literacy councils, spelling bees, writing competitions),  geography (geo-bees, geocaching), not to mention summer camps and workshops in every subject under the sun.  So, you see, it is quite easy to take the “home” right out of homeschooling.
  • There are countless internet and software resources available for learning everything from foreign language to flight simulators.

Myth:  “We can’t afford to live on one income.”  Or, more eloquently stated, “We didn’t have the luxury for her not to work.”–President Barrack Obama…OK, first of all, not all homeschooling families have a full-time, stay-at-home parent/teacher.  Some families have one parent that works part time or from home.  Other families have two parents that work opposite shifts so that someone is always home with the children. Second of all, being a stay-at-home mom is not a luxury—it is a sacrifice.  We chose to sacrifice my career, half of our family income, and most of our luxuries so that I could stay home with my son, so that I could provide him with a home education and avoid government schools, and so that we could move to a country “retreat” full time and raise a few homestead animals.  It’s not that we can afford to do this, it is that we can not afford not to.   There is a huge difference.

The bottom line is that while it is true that you can’t maintain a two income lifestyle on one income, there are ways you can make one income work.  What would you be willing to give up?    

We have gotten our monthly budget down to $2100 per month for our family of 3.  Notice what is not in our budget: 

  • No government assistance—although we would probably qualify, we are not on food stamps or any other government subsidy.  
  • No dream house—after years of searching, we found a 750 square foot, 3-room cabin on 9 acres of land in farm country about 15 minutes from a small town.  We got rid of at least half of our belongings and kept only our most cherished possessions.  We heat only with a wood burning stove and cool with window units—there is no central heat or air.  Our mortgage of $430 is cheaper than the monthly rent of $495 at a travel trailer campground a few miles down the road! 
  • No car payments—we own two older model 4 wheel drive vehicles.  The cost of maintaining them is much cheaper than purchasing a newer car, plus the insurance is cheaper.  Again, no bells and whistles.
  • No toys—no boats, RVs, motorcycles, 4 wheelers…
  • No jewelry.
  • No credit cards—we have learned to live within our means and pay cash for what we need.  Otherwise we do without or save up.
  • No manicures, pedicures, massages, waxes, facials.  My beauty routine involves a $13 haircut maybe 4 times a year.  My husband and son cut their hair at home. 
  • Very low clothing allowance--most of our clothing comes from Goodwill (yes—you can get good looking clothes there for $1-4 per piece!  Military gear is also a steal and much cheaper than at Army/Navy stores, ranging from $1 for hats to $5 for BDU, especially at Halloween).  Occasionally we will buy clothes on deep clearance sales, usually off season.  I don’t go window shopping.  I don’t go to the mall or department stores. 
  • No trash service--we burn our own trash in a pit in the ground.
  • No travel budget—we can’t afford to travel, which is just as well, because we can’t afford to pay for a pet sitter!  It’s one thing to ask a neighbor to feed your dogs or cats.  It’s another thing altogether to ask your neighbor to milk your goat!  Something to think about!!
  • No expensive hobbies or entertainment—we do not have internet at home—we have not found a good rural internet option that we can afford.  Instead we use the limited internet access on our cell phones, and take the laptop into a town once a week for free wi-fi at fast food restaurants (on a laptop that does not contain our personal info).  We do not have I-pads or I-pods or any of those gadgets.  We do not go to the movies—instead we rent movies for $1.30 at the red box.  My husband doesn’t golf or go to sporting events or go on hunting trips with his buddies.  I don’t do girls’ night out, or facebook, blog, twitter, scrapbook, or read trashy novels or magazines or watch soap operas.  We do watch TV (cheapest package available, no DVR, no high-definition), read books, play board games and card games, and spend time outdoors.  We eat out maybe once or twice a month, and we take advantage of Kids Eat Free nights in our area.     
  • Veterinary care—we have learned to provide most vet care for our animals, including giving injections, assisting in birth and newborn care, administering antibiotics, using a drench gun to provide fluids or liquid medications.  We do visit a mobile vet clinic which offers rabies shots for $10 each—most vets in the area charge an office visit fee of at least $30 just to get you in the door... 
  • No expensive home security system—a fence and locked gate, 3 large dogs, 2 x 4s held against the door with barn door bar holders, and guns are our home security system…
  • No expensive gifts—we have officially withdrawn from the holiday rat race.  We do buy gifts for our son, but not for extended family members.   We do offer gifts of homemade goat milk soaps and fresh farm foods, but so far those gifts haven’t been appreciated…
  • I guess extreme couponing would be an option for some, but my local grocery store has put a stop to that.  There is not a bulk warehouse in my neck of the woods either.

How’s that for luxury, folks?  I think Michelle just might have me beat.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Myth:  “Public school is free--we can’t afford to homeschool.”  According to the Census Bureau, on average it costs American taxpayers over $10,000 to send one child to public school for one year.  What a rip off!  Homeschooling families pay those public education taxes even though their children do not attend public school.  They must then purchase their own homeschool materials and supplies out of pocket, which are not tax deductible.  Luckily, unless you run your homeschool like a bloated bureaucracy, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  Here’s the nitty gritty:

  • School Discards:  It is amazing what our tax-funded government schools throw away.  Every so often schools review and update their materials and discard old inventory and even brand new sample materials and library books, either by throwing them away or donating them.  I once received a whole car load of brand new or slightly used textbook sets including workbooks and teacher guides spanning multiple grade levels and multiple subjects—all for free, including expensive brands such as Saxon math.   Contact your local district to determine a contact person and schedule for curriculum dumping—they will often be glad to give the books to a good home.     Also, when a new school is built to the take the place of an existing school, or when a school is scheduled for major remodeling, or when a school’s technology is updated, or at the end of the school year/beginning of summer break, you can bet they will be cleaning house.  This is a good time to keep an eye on dumpsters.  We have pulled art prints, textbooks, workbooks, even TVs and overhead projectors from the dumpster.  A find well worth the embarrassment of dumpster diving!  Get permission if needed in your area.
  • Garage Sale Leftovers:   Garage sales are great, homeschool/teacher garage/retirement sales are even better, and free garage sale leftovers are the best!  Local newspapers sometimes offer searchable classified listings on-line to help you narrow your search to keywords “teacher” or “school” or “homeschool.”  I have made it a habit to purchase a few things, introduce myself, and then ask for any leftovers that they might want to get rid of after the sale.  If they are planning to donate or toss, they may as well give it away to a family that will gratefully use it.  I’ve received two car loads of free books and supplies that way.  Best of all, most of the maps, posters, charts, etc. are already laminated, which can be very costly.
  • Bulk Trash—some of the towns in our area host a free bulk-item pick up once or twice a year.  This is a great time to do some treasure hunting!  We have picked up desks, bookshelves, encyclopedias and other school supplies, as well as household items such as metal bunk beds, toys, toy boxes, etc.
  • Swap Meets:  Organize a swap meet with other local homeschooling families to trade books, games or other materials that your children have outgrown or that you do not want.   This is also a good way to trade any multiples that you may have received in classroom sets obtained from schools or teachers.   Many homeschooling families do not write in textbooks or workbooks so they can be passed down to younger siblings, and then eventually resold or swapped. 
  • Free On-Line Resources:  The internet can be an invaluable resource for lesson plans, worksheets, printables, arts and crafts, videos, discussion groups, live web-cams, etc.   
    • Don’t forget on-line resources such as CraigsList and Freecycle for give-aways.  I received a huge ocean collection of coral, shells, starfish, seahorses, even a stuffed shark from a woman who just needed to make room in her house.  The collection is actually better than that offered at our local children’s science museum! 
    • Homeschool Tracker (www.homeschooltracker.com) offers a free record keeping download that allows you to schedule assignments, record grades and field trips, generate report cards and attendance records, track time spent, log books read and resources used, etc. 
    • Search for free classroom or homeschool materials, promotions and give-aways.  I have been sent free posters, DVDs, etc.  Most giveaways marketed for schools are also available for homeschoolers.  Office Max once offered free laminating to teachers, which they extended to homeschoolers.
  • The world is our classroom.  Mother Nature is a wonderful resource for free learning materials, and what better way to learn than to collect and examine specimens first hand rather than looking at illustrations in books.  Turtle shells, feathers, nests, bones, skulls, leaves, plants, insects, etc. line our shelves.  Of course, observation and appreciation of nature do not have to take up space on a shelf.   Homesteading offers many opportunities to witness science first hand, from sky and weather observation to life-cycles, birth and reproduction, to anatomy lessons at chicken cleaning time.    
  • Catalog of Ideas:  My local teacher supply store, which is very expensive, offers free catalogues.  A quick search through the over-priced products has given me ideas for things I could make rather than purchase.   
  • Free field trips--Many museums offer a free day each month during a low-traffic time (free on the first Wednesday of each month, for example).  Call around or check web sites for public free days.  Our local symphony offers free admission to the last rehearsal performance before opening day and encourages families with squirmy kids to attend then, so the paying audience won’t be disrupted.  Our local art museum offers free family days on one Saturday each month, with children’s art activities as well as free museum admission and tours.  Many places offer free open house dates from time to time—take advantage.

Low Cost Resources

  • Low cost field trips—
    • Most museums, zoos, etc offer discounted group rates, so coordinate with other homeschool families to take advantage of discounts.
    • Many museums, zoos, and even some amusement parks in larger cities now offer annual or semi-annual homeschool days with special exhibits, shows and pricing.
    • School shows—some symphonies, ballets, theatres, renaissance fairs, etc offer school performance shows which are closed to the public and deeply discounted.  Usually homeschooling families are welcomed.  We have attended the symphony and ballet for as little as $3 per person.   School shows usually occur at the same time each year, so plan ahead to get tickets before they sell out.
    • Family Memberships—many museums and zoos offer family memberships that are well worth the price if you plan to visit often.
  • Thrift stores, library sales, garage sales and fundraiser book sales, although not free, have been a great resource for very low cost books, games, supplies, and videos.   I typically pay 25 cents to 50 cents each for paperback readers or educational magazines such as national geographic magazines, and $1-2 each for hardback books, textbooks, computer software, DVDs/videos, workbooks, and other resources such as flashcards or educational games. 
  • As a last resort, shop retail sales.  Stock up on school supplies only after the back-to-school rush is over and supplies go on clearance.  The Dollar Tree chain store offers a teacher supply section that includes charts, posters, timelines, maps, reward stickers, bulletin board decorations, etc., as well as school supplies for, obviously, $1 each! 

Plan ahead.  Do not wait until the last minute.  I have been stockpiling school books and supplies since my son was an infant, and it is amazing how quickly they have come in handy. 

Myth:  “Homeschoolers are white, right-wing, religious extremists.”  Heck they’re probably a bunch of preppers, too!  The demographics of the homeschooling population is ever changing, as are the reasons for homeschooling, which do include religion and politics, but also concerns over school safety and security, overcrowding, bullying, privacy, poor school performance, and just your basic freedom of choice.  Across the country, you can find homeschool groups geared toward children with special needs, only children, secular families, teens, Native American families wishing to preserve their culture, Muslim families—and yes, even Christians and preppers!  Concern about the government school system is universal.

Myth:  Homeschooling is a cover for parents that are too lazy to take their kids to school.  There may be a few bad apples in the barrel, but homeschools must be doing something right.   Homeschooled kids continue to outperform their public school peers.  And according to a report by US News, “students coming from a homeschool graduated college at a higher rate than their peers and earned higher grade point averages along the way.”  Homeschooled children have also fared well in academic competitions.  According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, “although homeschoolers make up approximately 2% of the US school-age population, they made up 12 % of the 251 National Spelling Bee finalists, and 5% of the 55 National Geography Bee finalists.  Three of the past seven spelling bee winners have been homeschooled.  Last year’s homeschooled winner of the geography bee was 10 years old, the youngest in that event’s history.” 


So if it is cheaper, more efficient and more effective to homeschool our kids, what is the purpose of government schools?   A chilling quote from John Gatto:  “Divide children by subject, by age-grading, by constant rankings on tests, and by many other more subtle means and it was unlikely that the ignorant mass of mankind, separated in childhood, would ever reintegrate into a dangerous whole…Mandatory education serves children only incidentally; its real purpose is to turn them into servants.  If David Farragut could take command of a captured British warship as a preteen, if Thomas Edison could publish a broadsheet at the age of twelve, if Ben Franklin could apprentice himself to a printer at the same age, there’s no telling what your own kids could do.  After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt.  We suppress our genius only because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women.  The solution, I think, is simple and glorious.  Let them manage themselves.”

CURRENT BID is $3,000 (Bid by Reader D.J.G.)

Simply e-mail us your bids. I will post regular updates on the bidding. The final deadline will be Midnight EST on Monday, March 11, 2013. Thanks for your generous bids in support of C.R.O.S.S. Ministries.

We are continuing a benefit auction of a brand new AN/PVS-14 Gen 3+ Night Vision Scope. All proceeds (100% of your bid) will be donated to C.R.O.S.S. Ministries. (A very worthy Christian ministry that is sharing the Gospel of Christ in South Sudan. Their outreach method is unique: They are teaching rural villagers tactical marksmanship, water purification, and firefighting skills, free of charge.)

The monocular is one of these. (The same model that we use here at the Rawles Ranch.) These night vision scopes normally retail for around $3,600. (Although Ready Made Resources sells them at the discounted price of $2,695.) This monocular was kindly donated by Ready Made Resources, in cooperation with Night Ops Tactical.

Captain Rawles,
The inflation calculator that you linked to is way off. If you punch in five cents it returns $1.16. [JWR Adds: This is because their calculator uses "official" CPI data, which is badly skewed.]
In 1913 it cost five cents for a loaf of bread. I would love to find a store that sells a loaf of bread for $1.16 today.
Being a master of Excel, I played around with this a few months ago. It turns out that a loaf of bread costs about $4.00. An increase from five cents to four dollars is an increase of 7,900%. The 2,226.1% increase claimed on the inflation calculator is too low by nearly a factor of 4.
An ounce of gold in 1913 cost $20.68. When I did these calculations gold cost $1677 per ounce. That is an increase of 8,009%. So I think it much more accurate to say that inflation since 1913 is roughly 8,000%.
Another point that might be interesting to those who are not aware: the value of gold does not change. The number of fake reserve notes it takes to buy gold keeps going up but the value doesn’t change. The evidence: Take the cost of a loaf of bread in 1913, five cents, and divide it by the cost of one ounce of gold in 1913, $20.68, and you get 0.24%. Then take the cost of a loaf of bread today, $4.00 and divide it buy the cost of one ounce of gold today, $1677 and you get 0.24%. It costs exactly the same amount of gold today to buy a loaf of bread as it did in 1913!

So if you leave the fake money out of the equation and only calculate with bread and gold, you find that there has been no inflation at all. I think this proves that inflation is a construct of the criminals in the Federal Reserve along with their fake money. - Maddog

Captain Rawles,
I am one of those people that the liberals like to call a racist because I am outspoken about my hatred of the Muslim anti-American criminal in the Whitehouse. In 2000 I voted for Alan Keyes. In 2004 he wasn’t on the ballot so I wrote him in. If Dr. Benjamin Carson decides to run, I will very likely vote for him too. LTC Alan West is one of my heroes. I read the editorials of Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, and Ellis Washington every week without fail. I consider them to be extremely intelligent and honorable.
If this man is a Christian, reveres our Constitution, and tries to live his life with honor then I think he will find himself quite welcome in my neighborhood (somewhere in Idaho). - Maddog

I wanted to comment on this gentleman's question. (If not posted possibly cut and paste and forward to him.) I am from Southern California and have lived in Western Wyoming for about eight years now. I am half Italian with a very obvious Italian last name. I have never seen any issues where people cared about where I was from. On a more specific note, I have a very close friend that is African American and his wife is Puerto Rican. They came to visit us for a week with great hesitation due to his skin color. They had a wonderful time being taken around town and being introduced to our friends and acquaintances. As we hugged to say goodbye there were tears in his eyes because of the love that was shown to him at the local restaurants, the neighbors, people at the general store, church, etc.

I am 42 years old and have seen a lot of hatred as a law enforcement officer in California. I am proud to say that we do not judge people by the color of their skin in this area. We are more concerned about the caliber of their rifle and the goodness in their heart.
Yes in some ways America is getting better and better everyday! - Tony in Wyoming

The redoubt has a higher proportion of former military members than the nation at large and military service [serving alongside] those of other races goes a long way to eliminating ignorance.   I recommend you plan a vacation through as much of the area as you can to get a feel for things.  You may be more comfortable around college towns so check out the Helena, Montana, Cheyenne, Wyoming  and Boise, Idaho area. [JWR Adds: I'd also recommend Moscow, Idaho and Bozeman, Montana.] I live in Boise where racism is nearly a non-issue but with that choice comes all the downside of being in a populated area including the loss of the ability to become truly self-reliant.  Like everything else, you’ll need to set your priorities.    I strongly believe that, if you’re a person of character, that will be a much more important factor in your being “accepted” than your race.  Good luck. - Jan G.

While the article Nursing an Infectious/Infected Patient Post-Collapse, by P.C., RN, shares some common methods of treatment for general conceptual care of some common childhood diseases of infectious patients, it does not consider that in the treatment of diseases without available treatment of antibiotics, of diseases that are airborne and highly contagious, like Tuberculosis, SARS, Pertussis, or the Blood borne pathogens like Ebola, Active Hepatitis B, C or D, HIV PCP (Pneumocystis Pneumonia) or Ebola.

In these cases you do not want an open window to be allowing any escaping infectious droplets. Use of an airflow HEPA filtration system is optimum. It is also preferable to not provide care for the person in your home dwelling if others are residing there, if possible. Set up a non-porous washable surface tent for the patient with only a metal framed bed or cot, an overbed table and a bedside commode, 30 ft. away from your home or any animals. Anything that was in that room that is porous, like fabrics or even binds with cording that opens and closes them, must be either removed before the patient is placed in the room, or disposed of if left in it. Only Non-porous metal furniture or bed frames are recommended to be used in that room after the infectious droplets or bloodborne pathogens have come in contact with them. They will need to be heavily scoured and disinfected with bleach on all surfaces and baked in the sunshine before reuse. 

What to do with waste: Use disposables whenever possible, not re-usables. Store up ample supplies of paper towel rolls, tissue, toilet paper, plates, spoons, forks, cups, gowns, disposable nitrile gloves in at least two sizes, face masks, incontinent pads, for the patient, add those and also head covering, and shoe covering, for each of the caretakers use, and when once used, double bag them, and bury them or burn them downwind from the homestead, in a designated metal 55 gallon drum. 

Urine and stool should not be flushed untreated into a septic system if the field line runoff is connected to a gray water system or for leach watering your lawn or garden. 

For additional specific information on Infection Control Practices used in Present Third World countries, refer to the PDF available at the WHO web site or search the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières web site for useful infection control practice information. Here is an interesting and informative article dealing with care of infections with the absence of antibiotics. Are you ready for a world without antibiotics?  - K.A.F.

Here is an interesting new underground storage shelter made by a company on the Montana/Idaho state line: NotaBunker.com. They have a PDF brochure available. They are offering free shipping in a 200 mile radius of Heron, Montana.

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The Washington state legislature opting for Full Californication? A 47.5 cent per gallon fuel tax? (More reasons for Washington's eastern counties to spilt off and form their own state!)

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Oregon legislators clone Washington's bad law: Is Oregon writing the Worst. Gun. Law. Evah? (If this passes, it will be the queue for Oregon's counties east of the Cascades to split off and form their own state.) Here is a PDF of the text of the bill. Oh, but other news sources say that they are abandoning that legislation, to focus on other gun-related laws.

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Wyoming state representative Hans Hunt politely tells a newly-arrived liberal: "By All Means, Leave."

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Roadkill rule offers Idaho new opportunities for fame. And in related news: Montana Bill Would Legalize Roadkill Dining

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Dr. Krayton Kerns, a Montana legislator has authored HB302, a bill that would prohibit state personnel and funds from being used to enforce an unconstitutional federal ban on semiautomatic weapons and high capacity magazines. In his blog, Kerns reports: "The opposition [in committee] was fierce. HB302 was voted out of committee 12-8, entirely along party lines with no support from even one Democrat." Kerns has also written a lot of other great essays.

Camping Survival is running their semi-annual sale on Mountain House foods. They are offering 25% off #10 cans and kits, and 15% off all pouches. The last day of the sale is March 1st, so order soon!

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Several readers sent this: Do you live in a state that still holds high regard for the Second Amendment? (Let the Brady Anti-Gun Organization Help You Choose a Retreat State.)

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Nathan Haddad's legal defense fund has now raised more than $40,000. Please support this worthy cause.

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Chinese Hackers Have A Weapon Of Mass Destruction That No One Is Talking About. (Thansk to M.V.R. for the link.)

"We have looted the future to bribe the present, and at the bottom of the cliff the future is waiting for what we owe it." - Mark Steyn, in a lecture at Hillsdale College, January 29, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Today is the 234th anniversary of the British surrender following the Battle of Vincennes at Fort Sackville in what is now Indiana. This 1779 battle is is notable for at least four reasons: The actions of Colonel Clark and his company-strength unit of men endured considerable hardship in a surprise march across the flooded and frozen Illinois prairie and yet defeated a numerically superior and fortified enemy force with small arms, primarily rifle fire alone; the flatboat carrying artillery support from Fort Pitt/Pittsburgh down the Ohio River and up the Wabash failed to arrive in time for Clark's attack and the British surrendered before it finally arrived. The territory thus secured by Clark and his 172 men included present-day Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio and Michigan; the next nearest British fort and garrison was at Detroit. Clark's use of psychological warfare, ruse and bluff was notable, and his leadership worthy of special note: Great things may be effected by a few men when well conducted. And so they were.


February 25th is also the 86th birthday of bluegrass music legend Ralph Stanley. (He was born in 1927.) His great harmonizing and tenor solos have an almost haunting sound to them.


Micah Wood of C.R.O.S.S. Ministries has returned from his first trip to South Sudan. Don't miss reading his newsy and inspiring update, below.

I am blessed. It was very apparent during the trip that I had many people, and people fervently praying for me and that they were praying to a holy and sovereign God who answered. So thank you. And my wife thanks you too!  To elaborate, it was frankly terrifying leaving my family in Idaho and going to a country half way round the world that had so many unknowns and is reported to be overly violent… not knowing if I would come back or not. But we serve an awesome God. In Him I put my trust and got on the plane.

The trip was about three weeks long. I left Boise, Idaho, on January 29th and arrived safely home on February 19th. I went from 20 degree days to 100 degree days in a matter of hours. But I must back up and tell you that the South Sudanese Embassy in D.C. was going to deny my visa application after I bought my plane ticket. It was nearly a miracle that brought me my visa just two days before I got on the plane! This was due to God bringing a wonderful lady from South Sudan (who was in a South Sudanese state government level position – we will call her my “host” in this letter) to assist me in getting my visa and later to introduce me to key figures in South Sudan and help me learn about the country, people, and religious and political situation. Praise God for bringing her to help C.R.O.S.S.!

The trip was a mixture of crazy-busy and almost boring depending on the day. I spent a couple days in Juba, the capitol of South Sudan, walking for hours on end, exploring and experiencing the capitol, registering with the U.S. embassy, and reading. I did a lot of reading. I was blessed to meet a pilot with the Red Cross and a local businessman (from America) who helped take me around town, explain much about Juba and help pass the time.

Upon the arrival of my host in Juba, we then flew north to the town of Aweil in Northern Bahr el Gazahl State (NBG) that is relatively close to the border with Sudan. There I was whisked away by AK-47 toting bodyguards in Land Cruisers to my hotel. Well, that’s what they call it in South Sudan at least. They did have power!… but only at night, the shower was little more than a trickle when it worked (half the days I recall), and I did have a fine luxury, a flush toilet which needed the reservoir to be filled by hand. All this for a low cost of just about $100 USD per night. Of course breakfast was thrown in for free even at that “low” rate… the menu was the same meal for two weeks. LOL!

During my two weeks in Aweil I walked. A lot. That was on the days my host was too busy to introduce me around or take me with her. It was actually for the best. I met shopkeepers and visited the crowded and busy market, took many pictures (did I tell you that a National Security Agent almost confiscated my camera?) of everyday life and was even randomly accosted by a military officer with the UN. Okay, not really accosted but while I was walking through the market a UN vehicle stopped next to me and the driver in military fatigues told me to get in. Ha! Get in a UN vehicle. Right. He told me it was not safe for me in the market. Nice ruse I think, but I get in for some reason. I can only say I felt God wanted me to get in. Here is why: Three times during the trip during one of those “boring” days, I said a simple prayer to God. I asked Him to bring someone or something to me so that the time would be used to the fullest for His glory. Each time I got an answer quickly. So I took a walk in this case and God brought me “O.” He was from El Salvador and a MLO (military liaison officer) with the UN. This led to many introductions, several nights at the UN compound for dinner and good favor with all I met. I learned a tremendous deal about South Sudan and NBG state in particular. God is sovereign.

During many of the other days it was non-stop meeting political figures, “touring” the bush (always a purpose to accomplish though) in a Land Cruiser driving on footpaths and driving on a nearly empty gas tank hours from home. Handing out vitamins to children living in the bush, fixing the Land Cruiser with a Leatherman and 550 parachute cord, and getting lost (I wasn’t driving!) in the dark driving through the bush hours from Aweil seemed to be a normal day. We visited several villages and once saw a 8-10’ long Cobra snake (the driver wouldn’t run it over for some reason) in the road. Aaah, the roads. They are glorious. Not even gravel. Take an American backcountry gravel road with washboards and major potholes and quadruple it… I think we made great time when we traveled 50 miles north in about 2.5 hours.

Near the end of the trip we traveled to a small village for a funeral of a woman who’s daughter had died of cancer. This woman had no hope in Christ and had stopped eating and drinking the day before so that she could join her daughter in death. She had no hope, no reason to live, and no faith in God.  The day before I was to leave Aweil, I met with the representatives from the state’s cripple population. Many had polio (no use of their legs), were blind or had other similarly disabling challenges to face with no hope of a cure or medical help and virtually no job/income prospects. There are thousands in the community. My last day up north before returning to Juba, I was able to do a video interview of Carbino, a man who was kidnapped by the Muslim Janjaweed horsemen that Sudan sponsors (unofficially of course) to rape, burn, pillage and kill. He was kidnapped as a child and escaped three days later, only to return to his village to find it burned, his father murdered, and most of his family, friends and people from his village kidnapped or dead.

The needs in South Sudan are tremendous: physically, spiritually and socially.

The single biggest need is access to safe drinking and cooking water. The norm is to walk miles one way to get 3-5 gallons of relatively safe drinking water from one of the few “bore holes” (hand pumped wells) and walk miles back to repeat the journey the next day. Others walk miles to get firewood to cook with. Wildfires are a constant threat as the local villagers frequently burn the undergrowth away to spur new vegetation growth for the cattle and goats to eat… but leave the fires unattended!

They need teaching. They need pastors. They need materials and discipleship. While NBG is estimated to be 90% Roman Catholic most don’t know the difference between Roman Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, or otherwise. They have so little teaching of any kind, but are eager to hear. The few services are often packed with people outside the huts or buildings for a hundred yards or more! However, there are few services. I met some who have a beautiful and simple faith due to a lack of teaching, but it was still a faith in Christ crucified and resurrected!

Women are eligible to be married once they start their cycle, and men often marry around age 30+ and multiple wives are the norm if you can afford them. Bride prices are high and often the motive behind violent cattle raids on other villages due to bride prices being paid in cattle. Police are often abusive, often beating people and sometimes shooting people, almost always without consequence.

Okay, so you say what is the good news? The good news is that first, God is sovereign, loving, holy, righteous, gracious and able to accomplish His will on this earth! To my great encouragement, the people of NBG in South Sudan know that they do not know! They want help, teaching and mentoring! Sure, some want handouts but most I spoke with want the initial shot in the arm (financially or materially)… but so that they could be self-sufficient. They want education. They want vocational training and are in turn willing to train others. They do not want to be dependent on the outside world for long. The people are almost universally grateful to the U.S.’s role in their independence and respect and love America(ns).

The local government figure I met with who is responsible for the military and police in the region and safety of the border villagers was very favorable to our offer to help in that regard. He is a high ranking General with the SPLA and very much understands the value of training for soldiers and villagers alike. He had previously pushed to get the soldiers’ salaries cut to use it on a training budget but to no avail. Furthermore, he watches internet videos of Americans’ training and wants that training for his soldiers and to help defend the villages and his country. While nothing was made official, I am confident that by the time the Wood family moves to South Sudan, that this will be a significant part of our ministry.

So you say, this trip went far too smoothly and I was blessed with great success in making connections, learning and preparing for a move to the Aweil area. Ah, but there was one bit of “fun.” The day I was to leave Aweil, I was dropped off at the airport (two huts and a World Food Program tent), checked in my baggage (to the back of a Toyota Hilux pickup), and was told to wait three hours under the tree. So I waited. When my plane arrived they loaded my luggage and I proceeded to give my boarding pass to the airline person. But apparently it was not a boarding pass, it was “just” the ticket and I “did not check in,” despite checking in my baggage and being told to wait (I did triple check with others that was all I had to do, BTW). I tried to explain, but to no avail. So my plane left with my baggage (they wouldn’t give it back!) and I was alone at the airport. This led to a bit of frustration at the ridiculousness of the technicality of not getting a boarding pass, but quickly turned to me laughing, thinking, “If this is the worst I’ve had to face, God has indeed blessed this trip!” However, despite my good mood, this inconvenience was not without a ripple-effect. I had to call my new UN contacts to get access to Internet and a good phone (for international calls) so that I could change my flight home that was leaving Juba that I would now not make. Then I had to spend another night in Aweil at the hotel and the next morning ended up being driven a bone-jarring 2.5 hours north to a village where a small Cessna 208B was landing anyway that day, which later in the day flew me back to Juba, where I spent two nights waiting for the next flight out of the country… and from there of course I was able to return to the U.S. (about an additional $800 later.)

My Closing Thoughts
God is indeed great. Simple you say, but this trip went almost too well. However, possibly for the first time in my life, I knew that many people were praying for me. I also had the chance, or more correctly, the motivation and time, to read a huge portion of Scripture. I read 110 chapters of Psalms, all of Romans and all of Acts and selected Proverbs and other New Testament passages. That definitely influenced how I acted and spoke. I prayed like I’ve never prayed before and had a humble boldness that I’ve never had before. I was granted favor before men in a way I could not have pulled off on my own.

A quick lesson learned here: About a week into being in the town of Aweil it finally hit me… I am the only white guy in this whole town. Literally. Now before you say “it took you that long?,” I took that as a good sign, that race wasn’t registered on my radar due to being raised right. We are all made in the image of God regardless of how we look. People are people. That simple. But it did later make me think of something significant. It occurred to me: I am on a different continent, don’t speak the language, can’t run and hide if needed (due to my face), don’t understand much about the culture, don’t have my gun (which I’ve almost never been without for the last 15 years), can’t even tell north without a compass, don’t know where the water holes are, had my phone die on me and even my knife and tomahawk taken from me when the plane left with my luggage and not me. The point is simple. I was stripped to nothing. No familiarities. No comforts. Nothing to trust in or run to… nothing but God and His Word. Let me repeat that. Nothing but God and His Word. Praise God!

While there are many “I” statements in the above, they are all meant to demonstrate how God worked in/through me, not how I did anything of my own nature. Essentially while I’ve had some reservations or doubts along the way, I am now fully confident that God indeed does want us to go to South Sudan for His glory! God is paving the way. God is leading and we will follow.
God made it clear through this trip that C.R.O.S.S.’s plan to help with “water, fire, and security,” will be very well received by the people of South Sudan, and that additionally and more importantly they are spiritually receptive as well. It is encouraging to know that God prepared my background to be able to help with each of the three humanitarian needs C.R.O.S.S. plans on helping with and that they “happen” to be in the top few that South Sudan needs most desperately.

Now I am not ashamed to say we are starting to raise money for the move to, and establishment in, South Sudan. We need a lot of material and financial support to make this move and solidly establish C.R.O.S.S. Ministries with a firm foundation to be effective in our ministry and Lord willing, growing the ministry to other regions of South Sudan! To that end we ask for your material and financial support as God moves you to support us. You can find more info/updates (and lots of pictures, thoughts, and news added often) on our web site: www.CROSouthSudan.org or on our new Facebook page. (Please share these URLs with everyone you know!)

Again, a humble thank-you to those of you who helped make this financially possible and a sincere thank you to those of you who prayed for the outcome of this trip to the end of glorifying God!

Today we begin a benefit auction of a brand new AN/PVS-14 Gen 3+ Night Vision Scope. All proceeds (100% of your bid) will be donated to C.R.O.S.S. Ministries. (A very worthy Christian ministry that is sharing the Gospel of Christ in South Sudan. Their outreach method is unique: They are teaching rural villagers tactical marksmanship, water treatment, and firefighting skills, free of charge.)

The monocular is one of these. (The same model that we use here at the Rawles Ranch.) These night vision scopes normally retail for around $3,600. (Although Ready Made Resources sells them at the discounted price of $2,695.) This monocular was kindly donated by Ready Made Resources, in cooperation with Night Ops Tactical.

Here are the Specifications

  • Generation 3+

Here are Included Accessories:

  • Picatinny Rail Weapons Mount
  • Military Soft Case (Olive Drab Nylon)
  • Shutter Eye Cup
  • Headmount
  • Brow Pads
  • Transfer Arm
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Sacrificial Window
  • Demist Shield
  • Lens Tissue
  • Lanyard
  • Objective Lens Cover
  • Ops Manual
  • AA Battery

Simply e-mail us your bids. I will post regular updates on the bidding. The final deadline will be Midnight EST on Monday, March 11, 2013. Thanks for your generous bids in support of C.R.O.S.S. Ministries.

CURRENT HIGH BID is $3,000 (Bid by Reader D.J.G.)

The year 2013 marks one significant anniversary that will probably be soft-pedaled by the mass media: December 23, 2013 will be the 100th anniversary of the exclusive private banking cartel known as The Federal Reserve--America's central bank. I detest this organization. It isn't Federal (not any more "Federal" than Federal Express), and it has no real Reserves.

Lex Mala, Lex Nulla
The Federal Reserve Act was improperly implemented as an act of congress. Properly, it should have been promulgated as a Constitutional amendment. Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution dictates: "No state shall make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payments of debts." And Article 1, Section 8 dictates: "Congress shall have power to coin money." Neither of those clauses can be nullified without a Constitutional amendment. Rather than fitting in with the letter or intent of our Constitution, the Federal Reserve better matches the fifth plank (or "demand") of the Communist Manifesto: "Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly." (Das Kommunistische Manifest, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, published in 1848.)

Dollar Destruction
Per Title 12 U.S.C. § 225, the Federal Reserve had three chartered objectives: creating maximum employment, assuring stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates. But the Fed has pursued policies that are diametrically opposed to those chartered objectives. Rather than assuring stable prices they have consistently engaged in monetary policies that have gradually destroyed the purchasing power of the dollar, though currency inflation. The U.S. Inflation Calculator illustrates this gradual, insidious process.

Here is the long term effect of inflationist policies, in a nutshell: $1 worth of goods in 1913 terms now costs us $23.26 (based on official CPI data, rather than real world inflation.) Or, better put: A Dollar in silver coinage (four well-worn silver quarters with no collector's value) now costs around $34 at your local coin shop. The Federal Reserve Note is funny money, plain and simple. Don't expect stable prices. rather, expect the continuing destruction of the Dollar.

I've said it before: The Federal Reserve should be re-named the Feral Reserve. Their unconstitutional cartel is a wild beast that should be put down.

For further reading, I recommend the book The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve. - J.W.R.

Way back before computers completely took over our lives, life seemed a lot simpler. If it were up to me, I'd live without computers, microprocessors, cell phones, texting, e-mails and tweets (whatever that is). I long for the time when cars were more simple to work on, I used to love tinkering with my own cars, improving on them, repairing them, and just playing around with them. Heck, I even worked as a dune buggy mechanic in Hawaii for a time. Today, with all the computers running cars and trucks, I can't hardly figure out anything on new vehicles, you need a computer to hook-up to the computer on your vehicle, in order to find out what's not working right on your rig, and even then, sometimes it's still a hit or miss proposition when it comes to making a repair.
Back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, backyard and shade tree mechanics used to have a flashlight or a shop light, to use when working under the hood of the car. Many shops still use traditional shop lights these days - the incandescent bulb still hasn't died off completely. Now, I'll readily admit, a flashlight wasn't the perfect source of light when working under the hood of a car, and shop lights were difficult to get to stay in place and shed their light where you needed it. Okay, so maybe everything back in the stone age wasn't perfect....
I received the Maxxeon WorkStar 2000 Technician's Floodlight for testing for SurvivalBlog readers, and I'm impressed with the product, I'll admit that right up front. What we have is a fully rechargeable work light, with magnets placed on it, so you can firmly attach it to just the right place under the hood of a car or truck, to produce a very bright 270 Lumens of pure white light - no dark spots at all. It gives you a "flood light" where you need it most. The WorkStar 200 is basically a hands-free light, you can stick it to any metal surface or hang it with the retractable hook or mount it permanently with a camera tripod socket in the base. Heck, you can even hold it in your hand if you wanted to - retro!
The WorkStar 2000 doesn't use a reflector like so many flashlights do, instead it uses a fresnel-like lens that creates a huge floodlight beam - no shadows, no rings no hot spots, just pure light. Additionally, the neck of the light rotates 360-degrees and the head also tilts 180 degrees, so you don't have to keep moving the light around from one surface to another - just move the head. Neat! You can also use the belt clip, to clip the WorkStar 2000 to you belt or pants pocket when moving around the shop from one rig to another. You also get two power sources for recharging your light - one for the power outlet in your shop and another for the accessory outlet in your vehicle.  BTW, the rechargeable battery is the NiMH type and will last for years. You also get two power settings, on high the light will shine for over 2-hours, and on low you get 8-hours of run time. For many purposes, the low setting will suffice for many of your needs. However, if you need the super-bright high setting for those hard to see areas, you've got 2-hours of power there. Recharge time is about 3-hours.
So, where does the WorkStar 2000 fit in, for the Survivalist of Prepper? Well, first of all, don't kid yourself into thinking your bug out vehicle won't break down or need maintenance - it will! And, you can count on Mr. Murphy being on-hand when your rig does stop or need maintenance - and you will need light to work under the hood, under the the rig or under the dashboard. Believe me, it's no fun trying to find something wrong if you can't see what you're doing. Sure, an ordinary flashlight will "suffice" if that's all you have, however the WorkStar 2000 can do the job better than any flashlight can - period!
How many times have you had the bulb burn-out in a flashlight? Well, that's happened more times than I care to remember over the years. The WorkStar 2000 has LED lights that will last a lifetime. Just a few short years ago, LED lights didn't product very much light. Sure they were economical to use, but honestly, they didn't throw all that much light. Times have changed, and the WorkStar 2000 is solid proof of that.
You can also use the WorkStar 2000 for emergency lighting in your home when the power goes out - use the low setting, that's all you'll need. If you're camping and you need light in your tent, the WorkStar can take care of that, and you can hang it from the center of your tent and direct the light where you need it. If you're one of those people who insist on walking late at night, in the dark, or early morning hours before the sun comes up, you can clip this light to your pants to light the way for you and alert on-coming vehicles you are on the road. The light also produces a "white" enough light for some photography work, or for producing those YouTube videos - how many of those have you seen that were poorly lit?
One word of advice though, don't look directly into the super-bright light that the WorkStar 2000 produces - take my word for it - you'll have a black spot in the center of your vision for a while if you look directly at this light - I didn't do it on purpose, it was an accident, but you only have to do this once to know you shouldn't do it again! I'm smart - just not all the time!
The WorkStar 2000 retails for $119.75 with $9.99 FedEx or USPS shipping to the USA and $19.99 to Canada (UPS). When I first received this sample, I didn't think it had many uses, ok, I was wrong. This light is also great when it comes to working under the hood of your car in bright sunlight - yeah, there are still a lot of dark areas under the hood even in bright sunlight. And, many lesser lights simply wash out - the WorkStar 2000 didn't wash out in the bright sunlight. Maybe the good ol' days weren't as good as I remember them to be. The WorkStar 2000 sure would have come in handy back in my day when working on rigs.
Also, be sure to check out some of the other Maxxeon lights that they offer on their web site. However, if you work on vehicles a lot, this is a must have item in my humble opinion. It is well made, very durable and comes with a one year warranty as well. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio

While perusing the Costco web site, I noted that Costco is now stocking "Preparedness Storage Non-GMO Garden Seeds" -- and they're non-hybridized, which makes them good for saving seed in a true survival situation. The bucket contains 24 varieties of seeds, including the "usual suspects" like corn, peas, tomatoes, and carrots as well as some more unusual plants like eggplant, swiss chard, cabbage and kohlrabi.

Just finding it interesting that it seems like prepping has gone totally mainstream, and that Costco is leading the charge!

Best, - S.J.

JWR Replies: In my Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course, I describe in detail how Big Box stores like COSTCO and Sam's Club can be used to stock up at the 11th hour. It is good to hear that they have recently stocking heirloom seeds. Up until now, they've been a specialty item.

Regarding your recent link to the US News article: “Doctors Struggling to Fight 'Totally Drug-Resistant' Tuberculosis in South Africa”, I would like to comment.  

As an infectious diseases research scientist with a specialty in tuberculosis (TB) the term “Totally Drug Resistant” peaked my interest, considering the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recognize this term.  To express the resistance to anti-TB drugs, we use very precise terms, where multidrug resistance (MDR-) represents resistance to two specific drugs, isoniazid and rifampin, and extensively-drug resistance (XDR-) is resistance to any of the second line drugs and one of the injectable drugs in addition to meeting the MDR qualifications. These terms have very explicit meanings and nomenclature criteria. 

The US News article cites a recent report published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID).  I have few disagreements with the findings of this journal and Koebler’s report. In the original study DNA typing methods identified certain mutations in the bacteria. It assumed correlations between mutations and antibiotic resistance patterns. Although for few anti-TB drugs the relationship between a specific mutation and resistance to that particular drugs hold reasonably true, it is not necessarily always the case and there are instances where these methods do not always correlate actually clinical experiences. The best methods to predict resistance to a drug is antibiotic susceptibility testing, but again for many of anti-TB drugs there is no standard or reproducible method. Furthermore, the susceptibility testing, when available, involves each drug individually, whereas therapy is always administered as a combination of anti-TB drugs. Therefore, even if the laboratory data suggest presence of drug resistance to one drug, other drugs in the combination therapy may still be active, effectively controlling the disease and suppressing the selective pressures leading to resistance emergence.

In my opinion WHO does a great job by discouraging the use of term “totally drug resistance”, as these studied cases fit very well within the present terminology. In fact the EID paper uses this sensational term “Totally Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis” only in its title and abstract, truly only mentioning “this virtually untreatable form of TB” in reference XDR-TB. In the conclusion the authors acknowledge the lack of clinical evidence to support the gene-based assumptions. My ultimate concern as a researcher in this field is not the EID study, but rather propagating the wrong hysterical message to people who may not be able to tease out the actually scientific data.  It appears to me that telling half truths is not doing any social service. If one reads the other reports using this very specific term, evidence is present that even this form of tuberculosis is curable, although treatment approach might be different. To take quotes out of context, only skimming the title and concluding paragraph, is an injustice to the public at large who rely heavily on secondary sources for scientific information.  Although the emergence of resistance is a problem with tuberculosis, as with many other bacteria, attaching such a label sends a certain message and triggers frantic stigma to a real problem. There is effective treatment available for drug sensitive tuberculosis and individualized treatment for drug resistant tuberculosis with continuous efforts to develop better drug, doses and regimens. 

Regards, - C.S. and S.S. in Texas

Mr. Rawles,
Thank you for your site and all that you do.  I haven't seen anyone mention on Survivalblog the recent price rise in Bitcoin.  It is a good time to turn any coins into tangible items.  I would like to recommend Fastcash4bitcoins.com

I used the service for the first time about two weeks ago just to see if it was for real I selected the pay me with a check option and was paid out on 5 bitcoins.  I can happily say I received and cashed the check three days later.  Now that I had some more confidence in the service I used the pay by Silver option(they will payout in Silver Maple Leafs).  Just yesterday I received my full mint tube 25 oz of silver.  They also offer the option to be paid in gold, via ACH to your bank account, and I think a few other options.  They have overall good reviews on Bitcointalk.org and only allow you to be paid out if they already have the cash/silver/gold on hand.

Since Bitcoins are currently at a level of parity with silver I will be turning virtual to physical as much as possible. (Or virtual to lead...)

Regards, - Michael X.

Hello sir.
I am a sheepdog that is very aware and nervous about the way things are progressing. I have been a prepper for a while. It's a side effect of my upbringing and career.
I have been researching whether it is realistic and feasible for me to relocate to the American Redoubt. I am a black American, although I am really just an American like you! I see a lot that I like, however I am worried that a black man (light skinned, but still, LOL) would not be generally welcome in that region and/or have to be constantly on guard because of a heavy presence of neo-nazi groups and other racist. Is this a false worry? Please answer me candidly. I am not offended by plain straight talk. I prefer it!
I have raised my children to understand the situation in our country, as well as how to live by the Golden Rule, humility and when to shoot.
God has been shielding me a great deal in the past and lately, and I cannot ignore his voice urging me to be ready for a near crisis.
Thank you for your time. - F.M.J.

JWR Replies: I'll pray that your planned upcoming move goes well. I have seen no "...heavy presence of neo-nazi groups".  That is a myth perpetuated by the media.  The most vocal neo-nazis were run out of town in Hayden Lake, Idaho 13 years ago.

The per capita number of haters is no greater in the Redoubt than in the other western states.  In my experience, people here are judged by their politics and religious affiliations more than they are their skin color.  If you are a conservative, then you'd certainly be welcome here.  

White, Black, Yellow, and Brown people people who drive a Prius or Volvo slathered with liberal slogan bumper stickers are the ones who get razzed here.

Mandy's Dried Fruit Cookies
3/4 C mashed / pureed bananas
1/3 C vegetable oil (the higher the smoke-point the better)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 C oat bran
1.5 C oatmeal
1.5 C dried fruit in small slices or dice (may be a mix)
1/2 C raw nuts or seeds (may be a mix)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix bananas, oil & salt together first. Work in bran, then oatmeal. Finally fold in fruit & nuts/seeds. Use a TBS measure or scoop to place dollops of dough on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly. Bake 20-25 min. or until slightly browned at the edges. Store in an air-tight container in a cool place or refrigerator.

Chef's Notes:

I've used this one for years. It works with a wide variety of dried fruits, nuts and oils (coconut oil adds crunch) and is a fine way to use frozen overripe bananas. At 100 to 105 calories per cookie, three of them with a hot drink or milk make for a good breakfast on the go!

Currently Available as Free Kindle e-Books:

Frugal Kitchen Tips

The Home Baking Glossary of Terms

25 Easy Cook Recipes For Meatloaf : Quick & Simple Recipes with Ground Meat (and a veggie one too!)

How to Stretch a Chicken: 42 recipes to make the most of a whole chicken, leftover turkey, or even pesky squirrels (Cooking Adventures of a Thrifty Mama)

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

G.G. sent us a link to some clueless punditry from The Economist crowd: More Inflation Is the Cure for the Fed’s Impotence. The Fed is locked in to ZIRP and endless monetization ("Quantitative Easing") because the service cost on the Treasury debt would be unsustainable if interest rates were to rise. When inflation resumes and interest rates do jump, it will be Game Over. The Dollar will crash, interest rates will run up past 15%, and the economy will stagnate. Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Avent. At this point the Fed is irretrievably stuck until Der Tag, when the Dollar will be destroyed. Prepare for that day, folks. Get out of Dollar-denominated assets, and into tangibles like productive farm land, guns, ammunition, full capacity magazines, and precious metals. I've been advocating this hedging strategy since 2007. Those investments have all yielded quite well (and in fact amazingly well, in recent months), while also providing insurance against the inevitable Dollar collapse. Are you listening now?

American employers have doubled their number of part time employees, in response to rising healthcare costs.

Get ready for a meat shortage (Thanks to Lydia M. for the link.)

Items from The Economatrix:

The $995 Billion Sequester Cut Is Actually A $110 Billion Spending Increase

Wal-Mart Suppliers Could Be Hit With Payroll Taxes And Gas Prices

Roubini:  Don't Underestimate The Economic And Financial Impacts Of The Sequester

L.M. sent: You’re a SEAL Stranded in Hostile Territory: What’s in Your Survival Kit? JWR Adds: Not mentioned in this article were three items that have been carried by many special operators on selected mission since around 1990: An international telephone calling phone card, a credit card, and a passport. These are musts if an operator walks out of enemy territory to a neutral country where they can then buy a plane ticket home. (Yes, this has been done, but I'm not at liberty to mention the particulars.)

   o o o

An associate of mine spent hundreds of hours creating an amazing Timeline of Biblical prophecy that shows an interpretation of events in the near future. It is available in three printing formats from 8-1/2 x11 to poster size.

   o o o

I mentioned that the State of New York created the NYSsafeAct.com web site for disseminating information for their citizens subjects about their recently enacted gun laws.  What they failed to do is register the domain name NYSafeAct.net. Turn about is fair play!

   o o o

Shoveling more unconstitutional Schumer, here comes the dreaded "compromise": Senators near a deal on background checks for most private gun sales. (Thanks to George in Ohio for the link.) And in contrast: All 67 of Florida’s county sheriffs have now signed a pro-2nd Amendment pledge. (You've gotta love the Gunshine State.)

   o o o

Ralph N. sent a video from Syria that shows that concealment is not the same thing as cover! Hollow cinder blocks are not cover from rifle fire. OBTW, someone needs to tell this guy that the gas system on a FAL is adjustable. If he were to open up the gas regulator a couple of clicks, he wouldn't have those stoppages.

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Nursing today is a complicated, technological process involving multiple disciplines, technology and advanced fourth generation antibiotics, none of which will be available in a TEOTWAWKI situation.  It stands to reason that we have to prepare ourselves mentally for the fact that none of the equipment or drugs that are such an integral part of medicine and nursing today, will be available for our use.  There will be no antibiotics for chest infections, no IV fluids for dehydration, no advanced medical treatments for wound infections; It will be a return to nursing at the level of the 19th century.  Now that in itself is not necessarily a bad thing.  Nursing during Florence Nightingale's day was exciting and cutting edge.  There were advances being made in hygiene and sanitation and the general logistics of caring for multiple illnesses and infections of whole groups of people being cared for in enclosed spaces.  Florence Nightingale focused on hygiene and organization of the ward.  These were essential areas that needed close attention.  For our purposes these will also be the focus of this article; to prepare ordinary folk with the skills to nurse a sick relative or loved one in their own home without benefit of advanced medical care or treatment.  It can be done.

The Sick Room
The first thing to concentrate on is the area in which a sick person is to be nursed.  If possible, the room should be separate from the remainder of the general living quarters; a separate bedroom or a ground floor family room or recreation room with a dedicated use of separate bathroom would be ideal.  These areas would be off limits to general household use and only those directly involved in nursing care would have access.  This prevents the cross-contamination of surfaces and materials through multiple use by many people.  It is probable that there will be limited or no running water so the bathroom, per se will be of limited use.  However, it can be used as a depository of soiled linens, body wastes etc, until they can be contained in buckets and carried out doors for disposal or decontamination. (To be discussed later in this article) 

The room should be light and airy with access to a functioning window.  Cold air returns and heat vents, though not in use should be sealed off with heavy duty plastic and duct tape to prevent the spread of germs throughout the rest of the house.  The window will supply fresh air as needed.  Furniture can be functional and minimal.  There should be no surfaces that are cloth covered or not easily cleaned. Eliminate all soft furnishings, rugs and wooden tables.  If possible, use a metal table or one with a wipeable surface.  The bed mattress should be covered, if possible, in a waterproof barrier. Several sets of sheets should be dedicated for the use of the patient only and not mixed in with regular washing.  A shelf located just outside the sick room could provide linen storage for this purpose, covered with a cloth to keep clean. 

Any equipment brought into the sick room should be dedicated solely for the use of the sick room.  A bucket with a small amount of sodium hypochlorite or bleach in clean water can be kept in the bathroom to sterilize or clean utensils or other washable items used by the patient once the general soil has been cleaned off them. Mugs, spoons, plates and dishes can soak in this solution overnight and then be drained dry on a clean counter. A second 'dirty' bucket can be used for toileting articles once they have been cleaned out. Tea towels to dry dishes etc can be used but these items also need to be washed and disinfected every 24 hours at a minimum.  The door to the sick room should be kept closed if the patient is suffering from a respiratory tract infection as this will keep the spread of germs throughout the rest of the house to a minimum.  A window can be opened an inch or two, even in cold weather to provide fresh air to the room as long as the patient is not in direct line of airflow. Window coverings in the sick room should also be washable, or preferably wipeable such as blinds. Curtains can be used but would have to be washed and disinfected between patients as these can become grossly contaminated with airborne droplets through coughing or spray contaminants from wounds, human waste, blood etc. The floor surface of the room should be disinfected daily with a mild soap solution in hot water and air-dried quickly. Shoes worn outdoors or in other areas of the house should be left outside the sick room door on a dedicated mat and dedicated shoes for the nurse/attendant  can be put on a clean mat just inside the doorway for use in the room . 

Disposable coveralls or gowns that protect the caregivers clothing whilst in direct contact with the patient can be hung up in this area (back of the door) when exiting the sick room. These should be changed /washed daily and changed if moving from patient A to patient B. Again this prevents the spread of contaminants between patients and throughout the rest of the house.  If the patient is suffering from an upper respiratory infection it would be ideal to hand a thick, preferably 30mil plastic sheeting over the doorway.  This would help to contain airflow when moving in and out of the room. 

A small table outside the room should be set up which contains an anti-bacterial solution for cleansing hands upon leaving or entering the room.  If these are not available, plain soap and a bowl of fresh water for thoroughly washing the hands can be used.  Again, the towels need to be changed every 24 hours or even more frequently to prevent the spread of germs.  Hands should be washed for 20 seconds including the webbing between the fingers and  thumbs, over the back of the hand and up the forearms to the elbow.  Towels should be nurse specific and identifiable as such for each person, again to prevent cross-contamination.  No nurse or attendant should wear clothing that can touch surfaces, i.e. loose or baggy clothing, Arms should be bare to the elbows to prevent contamination with body fluids.  

Urine and stool collected from the patient could be flushed down the toilet if the sewer system is not compromised.  A bucket of clean water can provide the 'flush' mechanism to evacuate the toilet bowl. If this is not possible, the waste products should be taken outside and buried in a deep pit at least l00 feet away from any source of water, water collection system or vegetable patch.  The pit should be at least 4 feet deep and a layer of lime (if available ) sprinkled over each deposit.  The pit should be covered  and separate from regular household waste dumping. The bucket should be kept clean and covered outside the house and dedicated solely for this purpose.  Soiled linens should be washed separately from regular household laundry.  A separate bucket or washtub should be set aside for this purpose. 

Once bed linen is washed it should be hung out to dry on a clothesline so a good supply of laundry soap and clothespins may be necessary if bed linens need to be changed more than once a day. If the patient is incontinent a plastic 'draw sheet' and runner sheet can be placed directly under the patient at hip level.  It is easier to clean/disinfect a small sheet and wipe down a rubber mat than to handle full sheets. The plastic sheeting will keep the bottom sheet clean and minimize full bed changes; a lifesaver when the washing machine doesn't work! Sunlight will not only sanitize linen it will also bleach any residual staining that may occur. In warmer weather it may be easier to wash contaminated sheets outside on a porch or patio.

The Patient with a Respiratory Illness
Turning our attention now to the sick patient.  I am going to talk about care based on the assumption that there are little if any, medications available and certainly no antibiotics. The method of nursing will depend upon the illness but of course, universally, a clean room and a clean patient is to be  understood for all situations!   For upper respiratory tract infections there will be possibly fever, congested cough, shortness of breath, malaise and restlessness and insomnia (due to cough etc.) If the patient exhibits a fever, and it is to be hoped that you have prepared your emergency medical supplies with a least one thermometer!, take the patients temperature routinely in the morning, afternoon and evening.  Fevers tend to rise in the afternoon and peak in the evening/overnight.  If you do not have anti-pyretics available in your medical stores you will need to alleviate the core temperature by removing excess bed clothes, pajamas etc and using tepid sponging techniques across forehead, forearms and upper chest.  Small cloths wrung out and placed/replaced every 5-10 minutes will help.  Cotton wool, soaked in methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) and applied to the inner wrists and temples can also help.  If the patient is short of breath, nurse him/her in an upright position with the arms elevated above waist level, resting on a table or several pillows will help.  This helps to raise the diaphragm and relieve pressure encouraging better air entry into lungs. 

If the patient is congested with a dry hacking cough that is non-productive, a poultice can be made with linseed.  Boil 2 cups of water and put in a half cup to one cup of linseed, cook it until it becomes a porridge consistency and then pour into a double thick towel and wrap up. If  you have a piece of waxed paper or plastic this can help to prevent leakage through the towel by placing the 'porridge' onto the plastic/waxed paper first.  Once the poultice is wrapped securely  apply gently across the patient's uncovered chest.  You may want to check that the heat from the poultice is not too hot or it may scald the patient. Check by placing poultice across your own forearm first .  If it's too hot for you, it's too hot for the patient.  These poultices can be changed as they cool and they can help to loosen secretions and assist the patient to expectorate the phlegm.  Remember that milky foods, products can increase the tenacity and viscosity of secretions so it is best to give thin broths and clear fluids until the patient is breathing easier.  On this point, it is worth mentioning that the ubiquitous chicken broth is the number 1 oral fluid for helping to loosen secretions. 

If the infection is affecting the upper airways of the nasal/pharyngeal/laryngeal area then a soothing inhalation can be prepared using a large bowl of steaming hot water and a few drops of eucalyptus oil. The patient can then inhale the vapors from the bowl while a towel is draped over his head to concentrate the vapors towards the patient and prevents them dissipating into the air. There are other natural remedies such as turmeric which may promote healing of congestion but as I am not entirely familiar with this area of herbology I will only recommend that you acquire a book which deals with this subject as an adjunct to practical nursing. 

Another area of discussion, that, while distasteful, has to be dealt with; what to do with the secretions.  Initially, the infection will not produce much in the way of phlegm but during the recovery stage there may be copious secretions that the patient will need to expectorate.  In a post collapse situation the luxury of boxes of clean white tissues in unending supply will not be available.  What you can do is provide a cup with a lid.  It is best to stockpile a few of these plastic denture-type cups with lids now, to store away when needed.  These sputum cups will contain the secretions and can be cleaned out as often as needed.  Phlegm, by its nature is a very sticky, tenacious substance and it will be difficult to pour out of the container.  I suggest lining the container with a small amount of newspaper or other paper. It need not be sterile but it will help prevent 'cling-ons' and make a distasteful job easier.  These secretions will be highly infective and need to be disposed of as carefully as other human waste. If you  have disposable gloves or even several sets of dishwashing gloves that can be cleaned in between patient use, it would be wise to stockpile some of these for this type of care. To help the patient during this period, frequent oral care, rinsing of the mouth with bicarbonate of soda in warm water, or salt water rinses (1 tsp of salt or soda bicarb in 1 cup of warm water) will keep oral hygiene tolerable and prevent build up of materials in the mouth and keep the patient more comfortable.  Plenty of fluids offered frequently will keep them hydrated and while they may not be hungry for several days, beef broths and other light foods will help to keep their strength up. 

If electrolyte balance is an issue, and this may not be easy to detect, due to dehydration, a solution of salt/sugar in water ( 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp sugar in 1 quart water) with a little honey to taste and glycerin to sooth, will help with rehydration.    While it is not possible to always stockpile a supply of antibiotics due to prescription restrictions and/or due to the perishable nature of the drug, or it being in short supply due to high demand or lack of availability, there is one treatment that you must have in your medicine cabinet; silver solutions.  There are several good companies online that deal in the production or sale of silver ion solutions. Silver is a super antibacterial, antifungal that can be used in the topical treatment of wounds, abrasions, ulcers and can even be inhaled.  I have found that though ionic silver may not cure a chest infection, it may help reduce the bacterial load that the patient has to deal with and may shorten the infective process.  The shorter the illness, the less likely complications from bed rest will affect the patient.  On this note, it is important to remember to keep the patient moving passively whilst on bed rest.   Frequent turning, side to side and passive movement of ankles and legs will prevent the development of blood clots in the legs which can occur due to stasis of blood in the veins from inactivity.  Frequent turning can also prevent the development of pressure sores which are prevalent in undernourished or malnourished patients, those who are elderly or who have pre-existing skin conditions. In a post-collapse situation you can be sure that undernourished people will be the first to succumb to infection and disease. If the primary cause of disease can be addressed with proper nutrition then many of these conditions can be ameliorated. 

Infected Wounds
Whilst this area of nursing is complex and extensive, I will only cover the general nursing care of bed rest acquired sores and the more superficial wounds and abrasions. I leave trauma management for other more qualified persons to elaborate on. The primary principle to remember in treating any wound or sore is to keep it clean and to support wound healing.  The body can do a great job with minimal assistance if the right techniques are used.  As mentioned previously, pressure sores arising on the boney prominences from unrelieved pressure due to bed rest can become tricky to treat and chronic if left uncared for.  The primary method of preventing these is by movement, one-two hourly turning and relieve of pressure on the affected area.  Pressure sores can develop in as little as a few hours if they conditions are right; the patient is malnourished, the skin is friable, the patient is not moving (i.e. may be unconscious).  Once a pressure sore has developed the skin is broken there may be sloughing material that needs to be removed from the area.  The wound can be irrigated with a solution of boiled salt water that has cooled to tepid (in the absence of sterile saline solutions for irrigation) If the underlying skin is pink and looks healthy it is enough to cover it with a clean, wet saline dressing and then apply a dry dressing on top. These wet to dry dressings need to be changed daily after cleansing/irrigating the sore.  A wet dressing soaked in a silver solution may also be used to clean the affected area. These dressings create an environment that encourages healing as long as dirt and infection are cleaned out regularly, daily at the very least. There may occur an area of necrosis around the healing pressure sore, a blackened area that will need to be cut away using a sharp scalpel.  This necrotic material will have to be removed in order for the tissue to granulate properly from the base of the wound upwards and thus close the wound. A sharp, small pair of scissors (pre-cleaned) will do as good a job if the area is small. 

Dealing with daily dressing changes can eat up supplies very quickly and in a TEOTWAWKI situation you may want to conserve supplies.  You can use materials found around the house to make bandages and absorbent pads for wound coverings.  They should be non-dyed, white cotton, with no added lycra/nylon or foreign materials in them.  Anyone who sews or is handy with a needle can sew several thicknesses of these materials cut to size for dressing materials. The usual sizes for wound dressings are 2"x2" and 4"x4" pads and 2" and 3" bandages. Thicker absorbent pads can be made out of the same cotton materials folded over and over and sewn together. It is important that no loose threads or debris  from these dressings get lodged in wounds as they can become a focus for infection and set up an inflammatory response in the area.  If the wound is suppurating or draining a large amount of fluid a wick can be made from the same materials, just longer and narrower.  Wicks of 1" thickness can be dipped in a solutions of saline (salt water) or iodine and then carefully packed loosely into the wound bed.  The wound can then be covered as usual with a dry dressing.  The wick will literally wick away the drainage and promote healing of the wound better.  These wicks can be discarded (ideally) or thoroughly washed and soaked in a weak bleach solution over night and then rinsed again thoroughly and hung to dry on an outside clothesline.  Sunlight and air are great antiseptics.  All bandages and dressings that are clean and dry should be packed away in a sealed plastic bag to keep as clean as possible for future use.

Although I have only touched on a couple of issues that are of concern in caring for the sick I believe that they are the most prevalent and the principles of caring are generally the same for most conditions; dedicated use of space and materials, good hygiene both for the patient and the caregiver and supportive measures to help the person heal and overcome their illness with minimal complications and shortest duration.

In the interest of accuracy, I would like to clarify a couple of  statements made by Kevin K. in his response to "The Water Filter Quest" submission. Kevin states: "Another problem with only using mechanical filtration is some viruses are physically impossible to filter out of water (i.e. rotavirus)" ....  ”   I know of at least one mechanical filter on the market that does in-fact filter out all known viruses and is used extensively in Third World missionary operations .  Here is an excerpt from the filter manufacturer's web site:
"The Sawyer 4 Liter 0.02 Micron Complete Water Purification System is critical to having adequate drinkable water when a crisis occurs... The 0.02 Micron Absolute inline water filter removes 99.99999% of all bacteria such as salmonella, cholera, E.coli, typhoid, amoebic dysentery, and streptococcus, and others, and also removes 99.9999% of all protozoa and cysts such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclopora, and 99.9997% of viruses such as hepatitis A, hepatitis E, poliovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus and SARS (corona virus). These levels exceed the EPA guidelines by far, and equals or exceeds competitive options. If you are traveling internationally this filter is essential. Unlike other filtration systems, Sawyer offers a 1 Million Gallon Guarantee!! No more replacing the filter unit every few hundred gallons, just clean it and continue filtering. Whenever the flow rate slows, just back-wash the filter with clean water. Note that the filter does not remove minerals, metals, petroleum products or pesticides."
It was also stated that: "As far as I understand it, carbon filters remove viruses as well, but the problem is you never really know when the carbon is “fullmaterial."  Carbon filters cannot filter out disease causing viruses or bacteria.  Both are too small for the pores in the carbon and pass through without effect.  However, carbon filters are excellent at filtering out some organic compounds, gases, odors, and bad tastes.
I have no financial interest in the Sawyer company and I own a number of other filters, but I can say hands-down that the Sawyer is the best gravity flow filter I have ever used.  I can use it as both as a portable/ backpacking/ bugout/ unit or at a permanent location using two 5 gallon food grade buckets. Depending on the source water quality,  I sometimes attach an in-line carbon filter after the Sawyer filter so I can get that "Evian" drinking water experience while roughing it. Best Regards, - Ron H.

Gaining Momentum: Now 44 Gun Companies Have Stopped Selling to Law Enforcement In Anti-2nd Amendment States. (Thanks to B.B. for the link.)

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Wildlife Officials Warn Hunters of Deadly Rabbit Fever

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Michael Z. Williamson (SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large) recommended a classic book on planting trees with dynamite. "Kills parasites and fungus, breaks up soil, adds nitrates."

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Video: Law Student "Schools" Policeman on His Gun Rights. (Thanks to B.B. for the link.)

"Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak [this] to your shame." - 1 Corinthians 15:33-34 (KJV)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February 23rd is the birthday of Captain Isaac Davis (February 23, 1745 – April 19, 1775), a militia officer and gunsmith who commanded a Minute Company in Acton, Massachusetts, during the Battle of Concord.


Today we present another two entries for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

When compiling a list of our survival necessities, we end up with a few basic categories: food, fuel, shelter, water, and protection. Stranded in the wilds, or a deserted island, water is the most important. Shelter comes in a close second, followed by fuel for water purification, food preparation, and sanitation, and ending with food for sustenance. If you add a sharpened stick, perhaps topped with a sharp rock, bone, or metal point, you can protect yourself from wild animals, kill or spear game and fish, and most importantly, fend off adversaries intent on taking your necessities for themselves, or harming or killing you.

In the modern context, our firearms provide the ability to protect our homes and persons from those criminals, or as recent national events have revealed, a movement by government officials, to strip that right of self protection from us to further an agenda of repression and abuse disguised as the philosophy of distribution of equal necessity and eventual misery to all of us. The push to limit, or remove from us, the most efficient firearms available, has been promoted alongside the limiting of magazine capacity, and even the quantity of rounds of ammunition at time of purchase, or acquired through the mail in bulk. We may retain the right to possess a semi-automatic self-loading rifle, and even make do with limited capacity magazines, but if the ability to fill those magazines with ammunition is curtailed, or out-right denied, then we are in serious trouble. You may have a gun safe loaded up with several rifles, and a few magazines, but if you run out of ammunition, you’ll end up with an expensive, un-wieldy club.
My wife and I have enjoyed ten years of participation in the shooting sports, namely Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS). This discipline has allowed us to travel across the United States and make many friends and hone our rifle, shotgun, and pistol shooting abilities. One of the first things we became aware of, was the fact that if we competed more than once a month, we would incur a significant cost of purchasing commercially manufactured ammunition. When I started shooting CAS back in 2003, I could buy a box of 50 rounds of Winchester .45 colt “cowboy” loads for $17.99, and a box of shotgun shells for $ 2.99. That added up to about $40 per match.

Now, a box of both rifle/pistol, and a box of shotgun cowboy rounds is about double that, approaching $80. Most CAS shooters shoot more than one match a month, and the average is 3 matches or so locally. That adds up to quite a bit of money. We were fortunate to have close friends gift us a Dillon 550B and dies as a wedding gift, (we met through mutual friends while CAS shooting) and I found I could drop the $17.99 cost of  box of .45’s down to $3!. My monthly ammunition coast plummeted from 80 per match, down to $6, and then I found a used Lee Load-all 12 gauge shotgun loader, and further dropped my shotgun shell per box cost down to 1/3 of the coast of a commercially loaded box, while adjusting the shot and powder load down to a comfortable “feather-light” type shell. I helped a friend sell bullets he started casting after he bought a lead bullet casting machine, and was making and selling cowboy-type lead bullets at quite a savings. Now all I had to do was buy powder and primers, and re-use my brass, to further drop my cost down to about $2 a box for both rifle/pistol AND shotgun shells.

Back a few years ago, post-election, and fear-driven, ammo sales and availability cleaned out most shelves of stock. Not for us, we had always have components on hand, as we shoot 3-4 matches per month, and travel to larger state and regional shoots requiring double the normal amount of ammunition. Fortunately as well, we are constantly running into folks who have bulk amounts of primers and other components, which we buy at a savings over sporting goods, or box stores. The shortage never impacted us, as we always used the “off” time between competition seasons to load enough rounds to compete in the next season, mostly several thousand in each caliber. My wife shoots .38 Special cartridges in her rifle and pistol, and I shoot .45 Colts in mine. I spent any time after getting our handgun cartridges loaded, to loading as many 12 gauge shotgun shells as I could, just for that “rainy day.”

For the prepper, or even average gun owner, who see’s the hand-writing on the wall, and is concerned about the availability of rifle, pistol, or shotgun ammunition, or for those who just want to invest a small amount to save on future is ammo costs, or even to add a universally needed survival commodity to their barter stock, or home mini-store, ammunition reloading equipment is a great choice.

Getting started in reloading ammunition is very easy. You can start out with a single-stage or multiple-die turret-style press, and move up as you wish to a the next stage, which is a manually indexed press, all the way up to a fully-automatic self-indexing commercial ammunition reloading press. Most all major manufacturers of reloading presses, have a life-time warranty on the units, covering replacement of parts and even some add-on accessories damaged or broken during normal usage.

Single-stage presses, such as those from RCBS and Lee Precision are extremely well-made, and can last several generations. RCBS makes  several single-stage presses you can find used for under $100 such as the RCBS Rock Chucker from Midway which when new comes as a kit with everything you need to start loading. If you buy just the press, you simply purchases a set of 3-4 stage dies in the favorite caliber, and a 50 or 100 round loading plate, in order to process the cartridges 50-100 at a time. First you would  de-cap and size the cleaned cases, re-prime either with the priming die, or by sizing, and then hand-priming with a hand-held primer tool. Then the powder charges are measured out with either a pre-measured powder dipper, (Lee Precision makes the universal set of graduated dippers in a set) and dropped into the primed cases, then the seating and crimp die is screwed into the press and the primed and charged cases and topped with a bullet, and rammed up into the die to produce a finished cartridge.

The Dillon 550B is a very popular press, used by 80% of the cowboy action shooters, and it’s set-up with a set of separately purchased dies, which consist of the case forming/de-priming die, the case belling / powder charging die, which has a automatic pre-set powder measure atop it, actuated by the up-thrust of the sized and primed case into the die, the operator then manually indexes the entire case plate to the next die where he places a bullet atop the charged, and primed case which seats the bullet to the proper depth, and then indexes it around to the final crimp die which crimps the bullet firmly into the case, producing a finished bullet. The Dillon press has an automatic primer feed device, which one pre-loads with 100 or so primers in a tube which places, and seats, a primer automatically into the case after the de-priming action has completed its action. The Dillon is sturdy, easy to adjust, and it’s easy to remove a case midway through the loading sequence to check powder charge, etc., by removing station holding pins at any point. The operator is required to only perform two manual moves, to place an empty case in the first station, the de-prime/sizing die station, and then place a bullet atop the charged/primed case at the third station, all the while rotating, or indexing the base-plate with finger movement, which positions the cases under each appropriate progressive die in the sequence.
Dillon makes a basic single-stage-type hybrid press, the 550 both a bit less expensive, but upgrade called the Square Deal B without some of the 550B’s features, and also an XL 650 with an auto-indexing feature, an auto-case feeding feature etc.  Dillon makes a commercial grade automatic-type press as well if you want to get into mass production and cartridge sales, the SL 900.

A Lee Turret-style press is a take-off on the moving base-plate type press, and the 3-4 dies are positioned atop a rotating top plate mount, while the cases remain stationary below them. Priming and charging the cases with powder are done manually be the operator, although a auto-prime attachment can also be purchased and affixed to take care of this function. This type of press is most often used in reloading at a slower rate, in reloading rifle cartridges, especially shouldered rifle caliber cases.

Lee Precision makes an automatic pistol caliber press called the Lee Pro 1000.  Lee also makes an upgrade as well, the Lee Load Master. It functions very similarly to the Dillon 550B, with the exception of the unit costing much less, and it is auto-indexing, however the down-side is that the priming mechanism is gravity fed, and if the mechanisms are not kept stringently clean, and full of primers, the occasional un-primed case will make its way through to the end. It’s harder to remove a case mid-way through the process to double-check for powder or other component, unlike the Dillon, which is fairly easy to do so. The operator is only required to perform one hand function, aside from operating the press operating handle, which is to place a bullet onto the charged /primed case. This is because the Lee is equipped with a case-feeder, which collates, and sorts, rim-down, cases, after a handful is dropped into the top of the case feeder device funnel.

Having been a prepper for many years, harkening back to the late-1970s “survivalist” movement when the Oregon Rogue River was the destination of many like-minded individualists, I easily saw how accumulating the proper reloading equipment would come in handy. 

The first reloading press I bought, was on the internet at one of the CAS sites where shooting-related merchandise was sold. It was an RCBS single-stage press, for $50 shipping included. I picked up the loading block, and components at my local gun shop, and stared reading up on my new hobby. The first few years shooting under the rules of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) in cowboy action shooting, I reloaded black powder, and black powder substitutes for rifle/pistol, and 12 gauge. The substitute black powder was easier to clean up, and more forgiving with loading data. I sold the press for $75, after loading many thousands of rounds on it. The Dillon 550B is a great machine, and setting one up is fairly easy. I acquired a video-tape of the set-up, which answered many questions for a beginner such as me, and any time I had a broken part, I could call toll-free, and would get replacements at no cost. Many of the larger shoots we attended have prize drawings included with the shoot registration, and many time Dillon 550B, and even auto-indexing XL 650’s would be given away as prizes to a lucky few. One that note, you can buy a 550B and add on case feeding devices and other upgrades.

I found a used Lee Pro 1000 for $75 at a cowboy shoot swap table, and apparently the owner had a few “mechanical” issues with it, as he had broken a few parts, and rather than call and get free replacements, he had rigged the thing up with fishing snap-swivels and discarded the case feeder tubes when they got bent. I called Lee and bought a collator for it, and they sent me replacement plastic case feeder tubes and the proper linkage for free along with it. It is not as forgiving a the Dillon, but is quite a bit faster once you get it all dialed in. It’s a love-hate thing.

Once the last two elections solidified in my mind the almost inevitability of the political atmosphere's left-leaning swing towards firearms, magazines and gun ownership, I decided to accumulate as many common caliber die sets and components as possible, 9mm, .30-30, .380, .38, .45 ACP, 7.62x39, .308, and 30-06. That way I could re-load for anyone that happened to need ammunition post-TEOTWAWKI. I can use this set-up as barter fodder, and have stock-piled primers, brass, bullets, and shot. For this enterprise. Speaking of the later, one can find lots of re-claimed shot at most gun ranges now days, since the anti-lead environmental extremists have made enough noise to force gun ranges to either contract to have the lead removed, or they do it themselves, and re-bag it for resale.

I can buy a bag of pre-sorted and cleaned recycled shot for $24 per 25 pound bag, as opposed to paying $46 currently at a local sporting goods chain.

A company called Corbin makes bullet-bases disks to swage onto the base of lead bullets, so his one can load them into rifle cartridges without the lead bullets leading the barrels. This is essential when loading battle-rifle cartridges in 7.62, and .223/5.56 calibers. Since I have several rifles in pistol caliber, both .38 and .45 Colt, plus several sets of single-action pistols in the same calibers, I plan on using them post-TEOTWAWKI around the homestead, and saving my 7.62 ,.223, and like caliber loaded commercially for heavy engagements. As long as I have powder, lead, primers, re-usable brass cases in .38,. .45 Colt, and ..45 ACP, I’m calling it good for the long haul.

I would encourage anyone who has firearms to look into reloading as a way to provide an almost un-ending supply of ammunition if TSHTF. Ammunition to use to protect your own household, and to use to barter for goods and services.

First let me say that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading SurvivalBlog over the years. It has been a source of insight, inspiration and motivation to myself, my friends and most of my family whom I've shared it with.

A few months ago we watched as Hurricane Sandy hit the upper East Coast from afar. I'm about 200 miles from the Gulf Coast and as any other resident in this area, we keep an eye on the sky during the Hurricane Season. But knowing this was not in our back yard, I didn't worry. I generally keep everything stocked up well in advance for most things that could happen, but I do have family that live closer to the coast and aren't as much of an ant as I. That being said I have made it a point to purchase an extra generator, extra water, filters, fuel, etc... Some of this of course, can be attributed to you. 

On Monday, October 29th, as is typical for me, I spent time reading and praying and then went to the bank on the way to the office and made my personal deposit for the week. On Tuesday, I received a notice that one of my auto drafts did not go through. Thinking this odd, since I generally keep an eye on my income and expenditures I went online and found that my deposit had not made it into my account, nor had the deposit from the previous week. I called the bank to explain to them what had happened, only to be told that "due to Hurricane Sandy" my checking accounts would all be experiencing delays and problems. I couldn't believe it. I've been with this "Locally owned and operated" institution for several years. How could this happen?? I dug a little deeper and found that our bank had actually been recently bought out by another "Locally owned and operated" institution a couple months earlier and they now run all of our transactions through a servicing firm in New Jersey. Talk about amazed... I was amazed. 

But I was not dazed. I immediately thanked the Lord for the teachings of Dave Ramsey and James Rawles. I went home, opened my safe, distributed enough cash to my family for a week and we went on through for a full week before our bank was able to get our account back in proper order. I truly was and remain very wary of the ripple effect in our all of our lives. It is not new, nor will it ever stop really. We will always have to deal with the ripple effect of a shrinking and connected world. 

I see the current gun debate going on. Within 30 minutes of the Newtown tragedy, the world new and was effected by it. We were all appalled and saddened to say the least. But that is not where it stops. Now we have to tolerate a seemingly knee jerk reaction at this opportune moment by the gun grabbing liberals. This is not truly a knee jerk reaction. They were and remain waiting, anticipating a cause to rally the troops and plant fear in the hearts of law abiding and sometimes ignorant Americans. 

I could go on. Today, what is done in Washington DC does effect me. I can not keep my head in the sand and hope that it will all blow over. It won't. I must make phone calls to our Senators, I must take an active role in our government. I must use my good influence to over come the bad. That being said, I do advise your readers to follow a plan in their finances. Diversify their holdings not only in multiple dollar based stocks but into tangible products, land, a home, precious metals, etc... For the price paid today for that diversification could be nothing compared to it's worth in a few months or years. If you listen to the political pundits you will think that things will always be the way they have always been. But there is only one eternal kingdom and the US of A is not it. And just to clarify and close; the ripple doesn't have to start in Washington DC. It could be Greece, Israel or Iran. I don't know what the cause of the next big ripple will be, but I do know there will be an effect on many areas of our lives.  - K.C.

I'm sure many will point out that a list of educational sources should include those who thought the proposed US system would turn into a tyranny:

The Anti-Federalist Papers

More about the Anti-Federalist Papers, at Constitition.org.

It may be seen as a different issue, but the debate between Hamiltonians and the anti-Hamiltonians is also most worthy of study. This leads into the whole question of what was called the American (or National) System of Political Economy, which has been used at times for great development in the US, Germany, and now China. On the other hand, the way it was used in the US probably contributed to creating an environment for the Civil War.

Regards, - Paul L.


I wanted to thank you for the great article by Steven G. on important foundational documents of our country. I wanted to bring to your attention that there is a great app available for Android smartphones called "United States Constitution" written by Ken Hunt (I know that similar apps exist in the Apple App Store but I can't speak for their content or usability). In addition to the Constitution it contains the Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address, the Virginia Plan, The Great Compromise and many others. It is very well organized and written, is searchable and best of all is free. I have referenced it many times and often just sit down to read it and remind myself how grateful we should be to the individuals who created these marvelous documents and to renew my energy to keep myself focused on the important issues facing our country. It's very eerie how The Declaration of Independence currently reads like it could have been written just yesterday if you only change a few words.
Regards, - L.D.

Some clever video editing paired with some words that ring true: Bill Whittle's Virtual States of the Union.

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Camping Survival is running their semi-annual sale on Mountain House foods. They are offering 25% off #10 cans and kits, and 15% off all pouches. The last day of the sale is March 1st, so order soon!

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Pierre M. sent links to PDFs of two U.S. Army manuals that might be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. One is recent, and the other is circa 1977: TM 10-8465-236-24P -- MOLLE II Equipment and FM21-15 -- Care and Use of Individual Clothing and Equipment

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Reader Jim W. sent: The .46 Caliber Semi-Automatic Rifle That Changed the World

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Revealed: al-Qaeda's 22 tips for dodging drones

"Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, [even] thy salvation, according to thy word.
So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.
And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.
So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.
And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.
And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved." - Psalm 119:41-47 (KJV)

Friday, February 22, 2013

The next day of synchronized Day Of Resistance rallies is scheduled for February 23rd.


Today we present two more entries for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter? I’m not talking about coming home at 2am on New Years. I’m talking about staying awake and alert, for an entire evening, before sundown to after sun up. Has it been a few years, or maybe never? With all this excitement about “bugging out” and prepping, there’s a lot of talk about security and self defense, but I have yet to read an in depth article about the practical application of watches. Kind of boring maybe, but in a TEOTWAWKI, scenario keeping a watch is essential, so let’s dissect it in detail. First, the watchman.

The watchman is the first line of defense for the entire community, be it a small family or a Rawlesian 20+ acre Ranch in the Redoubt. One must be ready to respond to any threat or emergency immediately on contact. This is not a chore, it is a duty. The difference is that you can listen to your MP3s while you do the dishes, but you should not even be whistling while on watch. Consider this, while you were whistling Dixie, you didn’t notice the obvious rustling in the bushes an hour ago; that was a scouting party from a group of camp raiding, cannibals down the road. Now a full assault is minutes away and you will be completely off guard, and so will everyone else in your camp. Had your tune not obstructed your hearing you could have sounded the alarm and either moved camp, or mobilized the rest of the fighters and been ready. Most of you reading this don’t have to be convinced that this scenario sounds funny, but is not outside the realm of reality for a society who allows stampede deaths on Black Friday for sales on pairs of socks, and this is all pre-starving feral masses! This is a serious position, and must be treated as life or death because it is! You must be responsible for getting proper rest in between watches, personal hygiene, and relaxing during your down time. You are responsible for keeping your mind clear and ready; all of these elements can affect your ability to keep the camp safe, so again, take it seriously!

Every watchman needs equipment. You can have 1 designated set that every watchman uses, and they should all be accountable for it, i.e. a checklist inside a bag that everyone reviews before assuming the watch. Especially when resources are scarce. Here’s a short list to consider:

- Weapon: Lethal or non-lethal, or preferably one of each. A pistol is good, and a rifle is excellent. A large can of 18% pepper spray can dissuade animals or disperse a gathering crowd, but even a big sharp stick is better than nothing.

- Foul weather gear: A poncho, wool cap (there’s a reason it’s called a watch cap), gloves, etc. Keep it simple.

- Communications devise: To stay in contact with other watches or base camp. At random hourly intervals every watch should check in. Random is the key; you don’t want to give away your system to an enemy. This could lead to predicted watch paths and holes in security. Just remember you never know who might be listening. This devise could be a radio, but another kind of signal devise can work also, i.e. a bird call or whistle where a known code is used, 1blast all secure, 2 blasts need assistance, 3 blasts wake up the camp the hordes are descending upon us!

- A good flashlight, notebook and pen, First Aid Kit, and a multi-tool. This is just a basic kit, but a well equipped watch is a ready watch. Every watch needs to consider their own needs beyond the basics i.e. an extra jacket or sunscreen.

Now for watch rotation, the concept is simple, take a 24 hr day and divide it into parts. Assign each part to a qualified body and execute! This gets more complicated in practice. An average man cannot be an EFFECTIVE watch for longer than 6-8 hrs maximum, and less than that at night. You can’t afford to run your watches so hard that they become ineffective; and fairness is a crucial element in these acronym scenarios. So, let’s take a 3 family bugged out scenario, with 4 able watchmen between them, and create a watch bill.

We have John, Jacob, Hiemmer, and Schmidt. John is the unofficial leader of the pack, and Jacob is his son. Hiemmer and Schmidt are best friends from college, and unimportantly Hiemmer is the only female watchman. It’s Monday and John says he’ll take the first watch, so here’s what it looks like:

6am-12pm John

12pm-6pm Jacob

6pm-12am Hiemmer

12am-6am Schmidt

Easy enough right? Since John’s the leader, he should never have to pull an all-nighter, and since Jacob is the youngest he can’t be expected to stay up during the night, it’s too big a responsibility! See how this doesn’t quite even out? John gets to be with his family every night while the buddies battle to stay awake. This erodes unit cohesion over time, and a short time at that. So let’s try it again, this time with shorter evening watches to ensure watch effectiveness and every able watch considered equal or otherwise unsuitable.

6am-12pm John

12pm-6pm Jacob

6pm-10pm Hiemmer

10pm-2am Schmidt

2am-6am John

6am-12pm Jacob

12pm-6pm Hiemmer

6pm-10pm Schmidt

10pm-2am John

2am-6am Jacob

And so on. Now you see the thought process and what a real rotation looks like. This would be a sweet set up really, imagine having less or more watchmen though and you can see how tough or easy this could become! Draft one up for practice; use 2-4 hr night watches and 6- 8 hr day watches to figure out how they all mesh. Now let’s delve into the worst case scenario, 1 man and his little family, as we move onto our last discussion: the craft of the all-nighter.

An all-nighter will test you, whether you have or haven’t planned it. Yet how often do we get to prepare for a full on nuclear fallout family bug out? Probably 1 out of 100, but that’s why we prep, practice, and stay sharp. Yet this isn’t something I hear a lot practicing, and it is, just like everything else, a perishable skill. So I’m proposing we correct this, next weekend or within the month, take the opportunity to plan and practice an all-nighter. I’m not saying a full on bug out, not initially anyway (you’re doing that 2-3x a year anyway right?), but just stay up, all night into morning. Watch the sun come up and an hour or so later, get in bed. Let’s try to do it 2-3x a year, and maybe somewhere down the line we’ll combine the bug out and the all-nighter. This is a more realistic scenario anyway, I can’t imagine gathering my family and bug out pals, fighting our way out of the cities, making it to our bug out locale and then we all sleep like babies. Have a plan, have a watch bill, and practice. There are a few things you can do to help you through the night, here’s a few I’ve learned over my time in the military, law enforcement and security contracting:

- Drink water: H20 will curb your sleepiness more than you think. I’ve drunk coffee for hours and head bobbed the entire time. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t drink caffeine, because you definitely can (should?), but staying hydrated will keep you more alert than dehydration. Also, if you have to urinate often  your even more awake (note that each situation is different and frequent urination might not be your friend.  In this case ensure you are properly hydrated but not overly so). 

- Stay uncomfortable: Think of it as setting yourself up for success. If you put on a nice thick coat, hat, and prop your feet up you might as well be in bed and you WILL fall asleep. Is it fun being cold, or standing rather than leaning, or doing push-ups? Not exactly, but that’s the point. Don’t let yourself relax, remember, this is life or death for the whole camp. Stay alert by wearing a thinner jacket, or taking your hat off when you feel sleepy, doing a few push-ups or jumping jacks. Stay moving and keep the mind alert!

- Scenario role play: Use your weary thoughts in a productive way to picture a dire scenario. What was that in the shadows? It was a raider scout, and he’s collecting information about your camp. Stealthily defend your people from the evil cannibals! Seems silly, but so does dry firing and reloading your pistol, and if you aren’t dry firing your pistol bi-weekly I kind of hope you don’t carry it. It and you become a liability rather than an asset, and the same goes for the watchman. Do this and time will pass more quickly, and this is a good thing in the all-nighter.

- Make it fun but not too fun: For the practice all-nighter stand small watches and break them up with something fun you like to do. Play an instrument, or a video game. Do something to keep your mind active then go back to “watch mode”. Even watch during the acronym can be fun, kind of like how the most important game of the season is fun. Always remember to de-stress after watch, clear minds are more capable.

The watchmen have a crucial task ahead of them, but with proper planning and willingness, families in the acronym world will sleep well knowing someone’s got their eyes looking out. (This article was written entirely from midnight to 7:30 am, and later edited for excessive crazy babble.)

Often, when two modern patriots are having a discussion, they agree with the failure of the public education system to teach basic American history, or to expose students to the foundations of our modern Republican form of government. The speakers quickly move on since they are often unable to specifically identify that which has been lost. Similarly, you often hear talk radio or television personalities spend an enormous amount of time suggesting courses of study or books, only concluding that the answer to the conundrum is the latest product that they happen to have for sale on their web site or by calling an eight hundred number. What is missing is an actual guide to understanding American Constitutional history.

As I raise my son, I am often having to explain the context of various readings he is assigned in class. How can a student understand Martin Luther King during Black History Month without understanding the United States Declaration of Independence or the Holy Bible? This remedial instruction began my thinking on what primary materials do we, as American patriots, expect every well informed citizen to know. Since the “prepper” or “survivalist” is known for keeping checklists and additionally for home schooling their children, what better way to outline a course of study for every patriot to learn and share with their student.

In that vein, I am submitting for your approval the following checklist of source documents of the American Republic. I am not selling any of the recommended books, and most of the material presented here can be readily accessed online and are therefore free. I have included linkages to the original source documents when possible. I have tried to choose the most readable copies I could find, however there are usually multiple sources for the texts available online. For example, some of the best sources for historical documents are Yale University’s web site. and the National Archives. English translations of Ancient Greek works can be found for free at a Tufts University web site.  Many books can be downloaded for free or a minimal .99 at Amazon.com for the Kindle. Note that you do not need a Kindle to read these books, as you can use the Amazon “cloud reader” to read the texts on your computer. Wikipedia.org also has tremendous linking resources, usually at the bottom of the page, that should not be overlooked.

Since the framework of America is founded in the English tradition, I have attempted to identify the foundational documents for America going back to those sources. These reading suggestions follow three distinct categories: first the patriotic student should begin by gaining a broad overview of the period of study. Traditional history classes use the term “survey class.” The survey is important to provide meaning and context to the other materials presented. The recommended survey materials can be supplemented by multiple secondary sources such as encyclopedias and web research. I have also recommended certain books as survey sources. I have tried to recommend readable books, and avoid overly political books (especially seeking to avoid the left wing bias that dominates the school curriculum today).

What do we stand for and what do we believe in? If this question cannot be answered, then we are disarmed in our resistance to harmful ideas. Unfortunately, the left has accomplished its agenda driven politicization of our school system, with propaganda crowding out the great ideas of America’s foundation. This outline can also be used as a guide for a concerned parent to confront intrusions and deletions in their schools’ curriculum. A parent can experience the richness of our history with their student by simply spending time together moving methodically through these guidelines.

Note that this outline is part of a larger outline I have been working on covering essential highlights of American history and the Western tradition. While my area of study is modern American Military history as well as law, I have attempted to fill in gaps in my own knowledge by targeting books that have had an impact on Western Civilization. The parts of the larger outline are: I. Foundations of Western Civilization; II. Understanding the Foundations of the American Republic; III. Early Federal Period; IV. The American Civil War; V. The Modern Era. The larger list is derived from a “Great Books” type curriculum, with much of the fiction downplayed. Only those fictional works that have impact on the course of history are included. My recommendations also steer away from thoughts and ideas that are antithetical to the American tradition. The recommendations are divided into several parts, using survey and biographical books combined with essential source materials of American and Western Civilization. When foreign sources are recommended, they are for the purpose of understanding the competing systems that have confronted the United States. For example, “Mein Kampf” (Nazi fascism) and the “Communist Manifesto” (communism) have had a disproportionate impact on the history of the United States.

II.             Understanding the Foundations of the American Republic
A.            The Holy Bible. Most readers should be familiar with the Bible, as were the Founding Fathers.
B.            Magna Carta 1297. Though short, the original text is dense and difficult reading. However, it is an interesting exercise to read through this early document that was in fact a contract between the sovereign and the free people. Sir Edward Coke argued logically for limitations on absolute monarchical power based on the Magna Carta.
C.            Survey readings about the English Civil War. This is a very dense period of English history, but it is critical to understand this part of history since it is the well spring of experience which the Founding Fathers shared. Especially recommended:
                        1.             Catherine Drinker Bowen “The Lion and the Throne” 1958. A complex but very well written account of the life of Sir Edward Coke. Winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction. Available used at abebooks.com for a reasonable price.
                        2.             Michael Barone “Our First Revolution” 2007. The story of the Glorious Revolution (the term often applied to the ending of the English Civil War) and its relevance to the founding of the United States. Often available used at abebooks.com for a reasonable price.
D.            Sir Edward Coke “The Petition of Right” 1628.
E.            Thomas Hobbes “Leviathan” 1651. Available on Kindle for .99. Also available for free at an OSU web site. Written during the English Civil War, Hobbes considers the nature of government, developing what is known as social contract theory.
F.            John Locke “Two Treatises of Government” 1689. John Locke’s writings were probably the most influential source in the thinking of the Founding Fathers. Thus, a deep understanding of his work is essential to understanding the philosophical underpinnings of the American Republic. Available for free here.
G.            John Locke “An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding” 1690. Available for free here.
H.            The English Bill of Rights 1689. Strongly influenced the United States Bill of Rights. Available for free at a Yale web site.
I.            Survey materials on the American Revolutionary War. There are lots of resources available for the student of the American revolutionary period, but here are some references of note.
                        1.            John Fiske “The War of Independence, a book for young people” 1889 and “The American Revolution” 1891 both are available for free as a Kindle download.
                        2.            Gordon S. Wood “The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787,” “The Radicalism of the American Revolution,” and “The American Revolution: A History (Modern Library Chronicles)” More modern writings on the revolutionary period.
                        2.            The PBS video set “Liberty! The American Revolution” is very good, but retails for about $28. The set is worth owning.
                        3.            Stuart Murray “DK Eyewitness Books: American Revolution” For kids, the Eyewitness books are very good, with lots of “meat” and illustrations. Available used for a reasonable price.
J.            Biographical materials on George Washington. Washington turned down the chance to be king and steered the country into the great experiment in Republican government. He is the essential man in American history. Again, there are innumerable biographies of the George Washington, but the following are available for free online.
                        1.            William Roscoe Thayer, “George Washington” 1922. This book is available for free on the Kindle.
                        2.            John Marshall “The Life of George Washington” in five volumes. This set is written by Washington’s contemporary and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Marshall. A very readable copy is available for .99 on Kindle and free here.
K.            The Continental Association, 1774. The earliest American foundational document, wherein the American colonies bind together to form a cohesive response to increased English malfeasance.
L.            Thomas Paine “Common Sense” 1776. Available for free here. This supremely influential political pamphlet was widely read by the founding generation.
M.            Adam Smith “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” 1776. Available for free here. The Scottish economist’s penultimate work describing free markets and capitalism.
N.            George Mason “The Virginia Declaration of Rights” 1776. This document influenced the later Declaration of Independence and United States Bill of Rights. Available for free here.
O.            Thomas Jefferson The Declaration of Independence 1776.
P.            The Articles of Confederation. 1777. The organizing document for the original American colonies that established the framework for the colonies to fight the American Revolutionary War. The weaknesses apparent in the Articles were later addressed in the United States Constitution.
Q.            The Federalist Papers 1787-1788. A series of letters written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay advocating the adoption of the United States Constitution and elaborating on the ideas enshrined therein.
R.            The United States Constitution 1789. Primarily the work of James Madison, this document sets out the framework of the United States government.  Also see this searchable view with commentary by the Heritage Foundation.
S.            The United States Bill of Rights 1789. George Mason demanded the inclusion of a Bill of Rights, and refused to support the Constitution without it. The compromise was a quick adoption of the first ten amendments to the United State Constitution, in what is known as the Bill of Rights.    Also see this searchable view with commentary by the Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Rawles and Readers,
I would like to make an additional comment on the well written article “A Newbie’s Perspective on Raising Chickens”.  It is true, that most of the hatchery breeds of chickens have lost their inclination to brood, however a few breeds still maintain their skills as good brood hens.  We purchased three Silkie chickens two years ago and I have been amazed at their tenacity toward both laying and setting eggs.  One hen tried for six weeks to set eggs in the pen in the middle of a snow drift in February and March.  She was so persistent that I had to build a small shelter over her to protect her.  Another hen tried twice to set a clutch of eggs.  She even continued to set after her eggs were destroyed by another hen.  I purchased three baby chicks from the local feed store and snuck them under her one evening about dusk.  She promptly stood up with a startled “BOK” and settled down on those babies.  It was an instant bond.  She is once again setting this spring.

I would also like to extol the virtues of the Silkie breed roosters.  We have had a couple of regular breed roosters that were brutal to both our hens, and us.  I finally had to dispatch them to chicken heaven.  We now have a Silkie rooster.  Silkies are a smaller breed and the males are very mild-tempered.  Because of the smaller size, they don’t tear up the hens (or the owners) like the large breeds.  Roosters are not only necessary for breeding but they provide protection to the flock.  They will sound a loud alarm when an intruder is in the area or a predator flies over head.  The hens know to immediately get under cover.  Roosters also alert hens to especially good food when they are free ranging.

I don’t recommend getting all of your flock in the Silkie type or any other small breed.  Definitely mix up the flock for size, temperament, cold hardiness and productivity.  Some of the old breeds work well like the Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks and Orpingtons.  These have proven to be hardy and consistent layers.  Because we live in an Alpine area near a ski resort, I have found the Leghorns to be inferior in length of time they produce as well as hardiness.  I have also found that on bitter cold nights, I need to bring my little Silkie hens in at night and house them in a cage in the basement.
Regardless of the breed, chickens are guaranteed to provide enjoyment and eggs in the right setting.  Of all the “farm” animals, they are one of the easiest to raise and keep.
Thank you for all you do through Christ, - Heather S.

Shotgun ammo for home defense: birdshot will do.

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Recall! Olin Corporation Winchester Division is recalling one lot of its green tip 5.56mm M855 62 Grain PENE centerfire rifle ammunition. Apparently the wrong powder was used. Symbol Number: ZGQ3308 Lot Number: WCC10M106-004. This is marked on case lot exteriors and individual box flaps.

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Illinois state senator pushes anti-anonymity bill. [JWR's Comment: John Belushi said it best: "I hate Illinois Nazis."]

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AmEx sent: Massive Sunspot Rapidly Forming

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More gun makers and retailers are refusing to sell to the governments of gun-banning states.

"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of." - James Madison, Federalist No. 46, 1788

Thursday, February 21, 2013

This is the birthday of Group Captain Douglas Bader (born 1910, died 5 September 1982). Bader was a Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter ace during the Second World War. He lost his legs in a pre-war flying accident, but that didn't stop him from re-entering the RAF when war broke out. He was credited with 20 aerial victories, four shared victories, six probables, one shared probable and 11 enemy aircraft damaged. Bader was eventually shot down and became a POW in Germany. Since the Luftwaffe ran its own POW camps, he became a celebrity with his captors. The Germans would lock up his hollow metal legs each night to prevent him from escaping. Bader's autobiography Reach for the Sky is a great read for those with an interest in aviation during World War II.


Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

"Food and energy are the two keystones of any community economy anywhere on earth.   If we produce and distribute food and energy locally, we have the food, the energy and the money.   We establish the capacity to create and retain wealth in our community.   We put in place the two foundations of any human economy."  -David Yarrow.

More and easier food and energy production immediately raise standards of living. Less time worrying about essentials, leaves more time to do everything else.  Do not overlook this simple truth in preparedness and future planning. 

Top Lit Up Draft (TLUD) stove technology has many virtues: 

  • Less fuel required, less time spent gathering fuel
  • Works with small fuels, brush, twigs, bark, husks, hulls, cobs, cones, even stemmy grasses.
  • Little or no fire-tending necessary after lighting
  • Smoke free operation when done with skill
  • Easily controlled, reduced risk of spreading fire
  • Easy and reliable concealment of smoke and light during combustion (used in WWII resistance movement)


Stove made charcoal has many uses:

  • Medicine, anti-diarrheal, poison control, burns poultice
  • Liquids filtration 
  • Low power explosives since the 9th century
  • Long term soils improvement  
  • NOT typically suitable for gas phase filtration  

The invention of Top Lit Up Draft heating and cooking appliances goes back at least to the WWII resistance movement, possibly much farther back.  Resistance fighters "burned smoke", a two stage combustion process, to conceal position while making heat.  The gas flare could be left open for visible light, or easily concealed with a shroud. Proper design of a shroud increases water boiling performance for a pot nestled into the shroud.  The trick to "burning smoke" is counterintuitive for experienced fire builders. Combustibles are loosely piled into a can with open air holes in the bottom, then


Lighting on top creates an upward draft of warmed air, that pulls fresh air up through the pile to the flame front, technically termed a "pyrolysis" zone.   

The difference is similar to burning off a field of dry grass with the wind, or against the wind. A regular campfire burns "with the wind", a pyrolysis system burns "into the wind", a more easily controlled combustion process. 

The simplest example is an open can without a lid. 

  • Punch a few small holes in the bottom  
  • Loosely fill the can about 3/4 full of combustibles (small, dry paper wads for testing)  
  • Outdoors, on a still day, light it on top  
  • Observe how it makes smoke, and the smoke catches fire as it escapes the top rim of the can   

A lot of smoke will probably escape unburned during this test. If it eventually "goes to smoke", all smoke no flame, quickly try lighting the smoke. Note how easily the smoke ignites.  It may progress into a clean burn, or a smoky mess. 

The next advancement is concentrating the smoke and introducing the second shot of fresh air below the point of concentration.

  • Make a cap lid with a central hole about 1/4 the diameter of the can  
  • A slightly oversized lid with a deep downturned collar works best  
  • Make the hole by "pizza slicing" and folding the resulting tabs alternately upward and downward is fast with a pocket knife, and forward looking, but leaves sharp edges  
  • Just below the top rim of the can, punch an odd numbered ring of holes, evenly spaced, with a total face area about twice the total face area of the holes in the bottom  
  • be sure air can move freely through all holes  
  • Light the pile on top  
  • As the pile begins burning well, cap the can with the oversized lid   

You should see a ring of flares coming up through the concentrator hole, almost like a burner. The number of flares likely corresponds to the upper air intake holes and/or tabs.  If it goes to smoke, light the smoke.  The flare becomes more durable as the process continues, then fades near the end of the run.  When the flame disappears, the process has entered char burning mode. With enough oxygen, char burns to ash, emitting elevated levels of poisonous carbon monoxide in the process.  Stainless steel drink mugs, thermos bottles, and serving pots are a great way to experiment. 

With a little experience you will learn to tailor custom designs to balance heat output to runtime. You can also scale up or down to a size that suits the mission.    I carry a TLUD made from a small tapered thermos in my bugout bag.  While I have not tried any of the commercial units, I already know from design experience that what I have made suits me better than what I can buy. I can taper the flame from yellow to blue, use it as a light, conceal the light, and even snuff it at mid-process for long lasting catalytic style heat. 


Ancient charcoal makers, known as colliers, held guild status in their communities.  Upconverting wood was a combination of art and science, tuned by years of practical experience.  When using TLUD stoves, rather than burning charcoal which can generate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (read the warnings on a bag of charcoal), it is best to save charcoal for uses outlined above.  To save charcoal, at the end of the run, using tools or gloves to protect from hot surfaces:  

  • Remove the run time cap and replace with a solid cap, preferably one that tightly seals the upper air holes 
  • Set the can on solid ground to block the holes in the bottom   

After sealing, the volatiles continue to "cook" from wood pores, until all oxygen in the can is consumed. This final conditioning opens up pores, elevating the charcoal into a more activated state. A nice low heat is produced during the process.  After cooling, the charcoal is poured into a second metal container and tightly sealed.   

A very common mistake of charcoal making newbies is believing that charcoal has cooled enough to pour into a plastic container.  If you wish to try plastic, try it outdoors, far away from anything that can ignite. Later, you will likely come back to a small ring of plastic goo.  Charcoal is highly reactive in certain states. It is an essential component of black powder.  TLUD char generally has different characteristics than retort char.  Technically TLUD char making is an oxic rather than an anoxic process.   In practice that means retort char generally retains more weight from the original biomass by holding more volatiles inside the pores.  That makes retort char generally better for cooking and selling by the pound.  Oxic char making is more prone to releasing the volatile elements, creating a lower weight per volume product with higher adsorption capabilities.  In practice that generally makes TLUD char better for filtration and as an emergency substitute for activated carbon.   The original feedstock and process temperatures also affect the adsorption properties of the finished char.

Google the works of Dr. Hugh McLaughlin for in depth discussion of the technical aspects.  The variations in some cases are quite significant.   A report published by Professor Kaneyuki Nakane from the University of Hiroshima reported that bamboo char had seven times the water holding capacity of hardwood char made for cooking. That is a very important characteristic when adding charcoal to soils for drought resistance when growing crops on rooftop gardens.  This author can vouch for the fact that crushed bamboo also works great for fuel, in a specially adapted TLUD. 

Next steps toward micro-gasification, creating combustible vapor from biomass, include adding chimneys, insulation, dampers, fan power and alternate materials.  

  • Chimneys add draft to make air flow more reliable. An inside chimney diameter slightly greater than twice the concentrator hole diameter is magical. Chimney heights up to 20x concentrator hole diameter add draft. Taller chimneys begin to negatively impact draft.   
  • Insulation or shrouds maintain a high process temperature and ideally pre-heat the second shot of oxygen to reduce accidental "quenching" of the flare with cold air.  
  • Dampers rationing air to the top and/or bottom of the process, allow fine user adjustments during runtime. Dampers are also a huge convenience for shutdown.  
  • Fan power can further simplify control. Requires fans and power.  
  • Stoves can be made from pottery clay, bricks, 55 gallon drums, dug into a hillside, etc.   

The learning odyssey has practical forward applications. Skilled practitioners use these basic gasification concepts to create gas to power internal combustion engines.  Woodgas is simple, once you understand it.  Understanding the basics first, saves a lot of experimenting on bigger projects. 

Charcoal created from biomass, applied in the root zone, has improved crops production on many soil types.  A new term "biochar" was coined in 2007 as researchers study the effect.    Earlier crops, greater production, and enhanced drought resistance are nearly universal effects reported from TLUD char.  Improving downstream water quality, sequestering atmospheric carbon, and purifying soils prior to medicinal herb plantings are more ethereal use cases that make sense considering the physical properties of charcoal.  In my experience, and by many reports, very little TLUD charcoal is required to create a noticeable response in plant growth and crops improvement.  A handful under a fruit or nut tree planting, or a light sprinkling under mulch that the worms will work into the root zone of plants does wonders.  Feeding small quantities of char to poultry was studied at the University of Georgia with reports of better bird health and higher quality fertilizer droppings with less odor. 

ECON 101

Assured energy, food, and medicine at the most local scale possible is not only practical in short-term survival situations, it is 21st century thinking with deep historical roots that holds promise of great days ahead.  My favorite woodgas engine builder, Wayne Keith, is fond of saying "With woodgas, the buck stops here, in my pocket". Wealth creation cannot be much more local than that.  Plentiful food and energy are essential to a high standard of living. TLUD technology is more than a passing fad in stoves making, it is a key to long term better living at the smallest practical scale.  More info is available at resiliencemovement.com on the energy tab, including pictures and links.

I found the recent water filter article interesting and appreciate all the time Scott spent researching water filters.  I set up filters for missionaries in Third World countries and have found that plastic water containers can promote bacteria growth.  I believe there are two causes: 1. The plastic scratches when cleaning and provides a place for the nasties to attach and hide on the sides of the container, and 2. The container allows sunlight to enter which also encourages some types of bacteria.
Another problem with only using mechanical filtration is some viruses are physically impossible to filter out of water (i.e. rotavirus).  For this reason we add a final stage of purification, UV light (battery powered).  Once all the particles are filtered out, UV light is extremely effective in killing anything that’s left.  As far as I understand it, carbon filters remove viruses as well, but the problem is you never really know when the carbon is “full” and can’t absorb any more material.
That said, I’m pretty sure I can’t identify the missionaries who use plastic drip filters by their bad health. - Kevin K.


I wanted to comment on this article.  I thought it was a great play by play of getting chickens and keeping them for eggs.

Just a few comments about the article and some tips I've learned over the years (mistakes I made myself) that I figure could help Adventane and others reading the article.
1.  It's common for a group of hens to find a preferred nest and use it as a community nest.  I commonly find two hens in the same nest.
2.  The crumbles are great for smaller birds but unfortunately for larger laying hens and other mature birds they can be a waste of money. Chickens are notorious for scratching it all out to find the perfect grain.  Pellets are a better choice and reduce waste IMHO.  Scratch grain is more than necessary during the winter when some animals look for high sources of fiber (it apparently helps them warm).
3.  For keeping some grass growing inside runs you can always place a grazing frame inside.  This is small wooden frame with 1/2" hardware cloth covering.  The chickens can't scratch it up but they can take advantage of the grass peeking through.
4.  Unfortunately most hatchery chickens have had the broodiness bred out of them.  Adeantane should not be worried about introducing new hens.  The adaptation period is generally short and mostly painless.

Thanks, - Jason A.

The dip in spot silver is continuing. Silver was down to just $28.54 per troy ounce, the last time I checked. This is a great buying opportunity. Buy on the dips!

The handwriting is on the wall for the U.S. penny and nickel: Minting Coins Cost U.S. Taxpayers $436 Million: Chart of the Day

Reader Joe B. sent this: If the Euro Collapses, the Swiss Army Is Ready

B.B. sent this: Peter Schiff: It's Going To Hit The Fan During Obama's Second Term

Items from The Economatrix:

Will We See $5 Gasoline This Year?

Refinery Closures Send Gas To Near 4-Month High

Eric Sprott:  Price Of Gold & Silver Are Being Suppressed & No Gold In The Treasury. Financial System, At Some Point, It Blows

Build Your Own Emergency Phone Charger with Common Household Objects.

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Gun bill giving sheriff right to inspect homes pulled by Washington lawmakers. (Thanks to B.B. for the link.)

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Reader Larry R. suggested CHIRP -- a free, open-source tool for programming your amateur radio.

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Alex Jones reports: Gamechanger: Printable Gun Magazines. This technology is maturing much faster than I had anticipated. Visit Cody's Wilson's web site: DefCAD.org. "Download a magazine, today." And after you do, please make a donation, via BitCoin or PayPal. The Powers That Be surely hate this concept, but they can't stop the signal. OBTW, the only part of the magazine that can't be printed is the spring. But those are just piano wire, and DefCAD could very easily create a 3D-printable spring-winding mandrel, for hand-forming mag springs!

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Successful hacker attack could cripple U.S. infrastructure, experts say. (Thanks to P.M. for the link.)And speaking of hackers, here is another link courtesy of P.M.: Major Chinese internet hacking base exposed

"Do not suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any pretences of politeness, delicacy or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice." - John Adams, 1789

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Camping Survival has begun their semi-annual sale on Mountain House foods. They are offering 25% off #10 cans and kits, and 15% off all pouches. Order soon!


Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Living in a rural southern area of the eastern United States I am keenly aware that we are usually the first to lose power and last to regain power in any natural calamity.  A few years ago, we lost power for over a week.  With recent environmental catastrophes like Sandy et al, I have been reminded of a significant deficiency in my family survival preparations, water filtration.  I am not getting into the nitty gritty of the micron levels of filtration (most units reviewed were .2 microns or better) or the science of the systems.  This is a layman's attempt to navigate the troubled waters of filtration systems.  At the end of my research, I contemplated ditching the whole idea and simply boiling pond water, filtration systems be hanged.  I have a basic hiking pump water purifier along with gallons of Clorox and even iodine tablets but for long term water purification, I have felt naked since actively pursuing a mind set of preparation.  Simply put, without hydration, you die, and not pleasantly.  With this in mind I determined it was time to make the investment in a gravity drip system for my family.  Most of you familiar with the basic concepts of preparedness are probably aware of the options available for home use.  In my typical OCD research mode, I determined to find the "best" option for my family based on the following criteria:  economy, availability of filters, purification capabilities and durability.  I dedicated one evening of solid research to ascertain the "best" gravity drip water filtration unit.  My bias initially was towards the "Big Berkey" system of filters.  It is ubiquitous on the Internet.  But what I learned is that the Big Berkey system may be in fact one of two very different systems, first there's the "Berkey" system which appears to be the most common system.  This product's stainless steel housing is made in India, but the filters elements are made in the USA. This was my first choice based solely on reputation.  There exists much diffuse debate as to the effectiveness of the Berkey black charcoal based filters and their mysterious manufacturing components.  No one on the Internet was able to ascertain or say with any definitiveness what the black filters were made of.  On a personal note, I think it'd be nice to know what's filtering my drinking water.   The unit I was looking at was the Royal Berkey and was a two filter system encased in a lovely, shiny stainless metal container.  The price seemed steady at $270.50 from a number of different vendors on line.  The replacement black filters are in the $50 to $60 range with an expected life of up to 6,000 gallons and they are reportedly re-cleanable.  The ceramic filters 9" run from $33 to  $48 per unit and are impregnated with silver, expected life 1,200 gallons.  These filters are also re-cleanable.  The silver is present in the ceramic filters to inhibit bacterial growth in the filter.  And than there's the the British Berkefeld system, which has been utilized for years and years, and is made in England.  This system has been utilized in the remote, water dirty areas by the likes of the Red Cross and other aid agencies.  This, to add to the confusion, is also imported by New Millennium Concepts Ltd., and others as well, their listed price for the basic camping model was $337, not sure if shipping was included.   British Berkefeld also makes a fluoride and arsenic filter, the PF-2 and PF-4 which run in the neighborhood of $25 a piece.  The second major system I researched was the AquaRain filtration system, in particular the Model 400 (price around $229.) and 404 (price around $310).  The primary difference between the two is two filter elements in the Model 400 and four in the model 404, obviously the 404 has a higher rate of filtration.  I was drawn to this system because of its purportedly being made in the United States and its use of  ceramic water filters which have greater life than the charcoal based systems.  The replacement filters I found ran from $47 to $57 for the ceramics.  But, what threw me off of this product was others reporting that it was not entirely made in the United States and reports of some units breaking in the field.  Customer service was purportedly prompt, which was encouraging.  The Aquarain systems received high praise for their filters.  The ceramic filters are made utilizing a computer controlled manufacturing process for greater uniformity.  Expected life is at least one year of use with thousands of gallons of water filtered with up to 200 light scrub cleanings as necessary.  I further researched the low end of gravity drip filters the Doulton's and the Monolithic systems.  The Doulton is the poor man's Berkey.  There are mini versions along with more family oriented sizes, one model--the SS-2--can filter 10 gallons a day and lists at $179.  The filters looked pretty affordable as well, in the $30 to $40 range.  I also found mini versions of these systems which received high praise by many reviewers.  These products are made in the United Kingdom as well.  For the budget minded there is the Monolithic system.  The Monolithic system is nothing more than two five gallon buckets, covers with holes, filters and a spigot.  Their cut rate cost was less than $60 on some of the web sites that I found.   I also found a do it yourself model, estimated cost would be around $100 to a $120.  It truly is a sad day when it costs less to buy the complete system than it would to do it yourself.  The web site was called "Southern Belle Prepper."  She gave step by step instructions on how to make your own gravity drip system from easily acquired resources both local and Internet. I finally after hours of frustration and reading claims and counterclaims of superiority chose the Katadyn TRK Ceradyn system.  It is a system that does not have the nice shiny chrome look of the Berkey's, Aquarain or Doulton systems but is composed of a BPA free plastic and utilizes three upright ceramic filters, this is the primary difference between it and the Katadyn Gravidyn system which uses charcoal based filters.  The Katadyn systems are Swiss made, and the Ceradyn model has a 13 gallon per day filtration rating.  The standard price for this unit was $317 and some change, but I was able to find it on ebay for $240 with shipping.  Emergency Essentials had run a sale listing it at $249 during the month of January.  I was pleased that the Ceradyn system had the ceramic filters because of what I note as greater longevity of filters.  The ceramic filters have an expected life of up to 13,000 gallons per filter.  The price range for replacements was $58 to $65 per ceramic filter, well within the range of the comparables.   I confess that I often read the reviews found describing the pros and cons of products on line.  I was impressed with the words of one user of the Katadyn Ceradyn system who had been a missionary in the undeveloped world describing this as the best system money could buy.  I also appreciate that the Katadyn systems are used by the U.S. armed forces and International Red Cross.   The filter life was a major factor in my choice of the Katadyn TRK Ceradyn system.  More gallons for the money.  In then end I determined that your gravity filtration system choice is a highly personal one, and I almost laugh as I write this because it sounds pretty silly.  But, folks who prepare tend to be folks who research and want the most bang for their buck.  When I started my research and ultimately made a purchase, I wanted someone to tell me what to buy.  What I found was a frustrating maze of information for a lot of great items.  I ultimately chose a model that I think fits my family's needs, is portable, efficient and with great accessibility to filters.  One general rule that I would encourage others to consider is ceramic is preferred to charcoal, especially silver impregnated ceramic as it has excellent longevity and can last thousands of gallons of filtered water.  Another factor to consider is filter availability, most if not all of the major players filters can be found on line and on amazon.com.  Some of the filters are even interchangeable, e.g., an Aquarain ceramic filter in a Big Berkey unit.   I know that I may have offended some with my lack of scientific detail, but I reviewed the specs of the various models and on a basic level, they are all pretty good.  And they are all certainly an improvement on boiling and iodine treatments.  Do your own research and draw your own conclusions.  But whatever you do, don't go thirsty.

Apparently, this server is straining as news of the DHS targets is spreading virally.

A friend wrote to ask: "Don't these people have any devil's advocate types on staff who might say, "Gee Bob, I'm not sure this is the best idea..."

Description: [Note: cut and pasted, all typos and bad grammar original to these Protectors and Servers of Freedom]

Non-traditional threat dipicting [sic] a hostile young mother surrounded by childred [sic] on a playground. Background is faded further highligting [sic] and highlighting the threat.
Full Color realistic target.
Size: 23" x 35"

Site is overloaded.  Target shows an armed "hostile" mother with child.

Other targets include young boys.

So cops can practice shooting at them...

- Michael Z. Williamson (SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large)

JWR Adds: The server seems to have crashed. But InfoWars has now posted an article with target images.

In a short response to Simon S. from "Across the pond" and his letter about using heating oil for diesel vehicles, please let me add one small bit of first hand advice;  The heating oil that you buy for your home is not only dyed differently for tax reasons, it isn't filtered as well either.  I also live in Europe and I got the idea to burn heating oil in my diesel vehicle once most people started converting (wrongly I might add) to Natural Gas from Russia.  The people who converted were expected to pay a lot of money to have the remainder of their heating fuel in their heating tanks removed and destroyed as environmentally unfriendly waste.  So I started pumping it out and taking it from them for free to use at home for my own use.  Then I started putting some of it in my Volkswagen Passat Turbo Diesel car.  It worked great for about a month, then one morning the car wouldn't start, and the dealer said the fuel injector unit was destroyed, which was something he doesn't see very often.  It cost me about 2,500 Euro ($$3,000) to have a new one put in, and I thought it was just a case of a bad part.  Then, about a month later, the new diesel injector unit was also bad, and they noticed that the fuel was heating oil not diesel.  They wouldn't replace the pump the second time for free under warranty. The dealer told me that modern diesel injector units (Like those used on common rail injectors) are very sensitive to dirt and other dissolved trash in the heating oil.  The filter takes out solid particles, but not  particles fine enough to ruin the injector pump. Beware using heating oil in a modern diesel.

I use it all the time in my older Massey Ferguson MF-35 tractor with a Perkins diesel motor, as well as the MAN diesel motor that runs my emergency generator, but I never use it in my modern vehicles. - Mike in Europe

JWR Replies: Here in the States, the formulation standards for home heating oil are similar to those in Europe. Although their formulation and flash points are nearly identical, home heating oil and diesel have different standards for ash and sulfur content. With home heating oil a higher quantity of ash is allowable. Therefore, the same warning that you mentioned also applies to vehicles here in the United States. Owners of vehicles with "rail" type fuel-injected diesel engines, beware!

Reader Elaine K. sent a link to a very recent report commissioned by the Commonwealth of Virginia that provide some great state-level statistics. This could be useful in choosing a state for relocation. Note that the Per Capita Income statistics are skewed because they don't reflect the value of barter transactions ("I'll trade you hay for firewood"), and because traditionalists (Mormons, Amish, Catholics, etc.) tend to have large families.

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Good for the Gander...: Olympic Arms Joins Magpul and LaRue Tactical and Tells New York Government to Pound Sand. And in related news: York Arms Cancels All Its New York Police Orders. And most readers have already seen this: Company Threatens To Leave Colorado If Ammo Limit Law Is Passed

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It is surprising to see this in a Bloomberg publication: With Guns Banned on Big Marketplaces, a New Site Steps Up. (Thanks to G.G. for the link.)

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Leave it to Cope Reynolds to come up with a brilliant idea like this: Southwest Shooting Authority Announces Arizona’s First Ever All Private Gun Show. I hope this is a trend-setting event.

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I heard about a very high quality portable PV power system: SG1A and SG1SB Tactical Solar Power Generator. The gent who runs the company is a SurvivalBlog reader. He mentioned: "I'll give a 10% discount to any SurvivalBlog reader if they send me a private message through our eBay store."

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Ready or Not: Mutant H5N1 Research Set to Resume

"Participating in a gun buyback because you believe that the criminals have too many guns is like having yourself castrated because you believe that the neighbors have too many kids." - From an anonymous e-mail on the Grassfire Mail List. (alert@grassrootsaction.com )

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Another legislative alert: This time is is Maryland that is trying to clone the Madame Feinstein's gun and magazine ban. Citizens of Maryland are urged to contact their state legislators both vociferously and frequently.


Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

More than fifteen years ago my wife and I began collecting a year’s supply of food.  Once we’d collected almost 20 cases of food in #10 cans, we pretty much let the matter slip from our thoughts.  It wasn’t until about six years ago that we began to realize that we didn’t really know what we had, or how long it might last.  That led us to thinking about what else we needed, and eventually we stepped with full intent into the prepping mindset.  We recently moved out of the urban shadow of a major US metropolis and into a small ‘Mayberry’-type town.  We found new friends, one of whom has a flock of about half a dozen laying hens.  After hearing his occasional story and anecdote over the months, my wife got it into her head that we needed to also do something like that.

Now whatever the reader might think of me or my masculinity for bowing to my wife’s wishes in such a crazy idea, let me only say that you haven’t known her for as long as I have, and one of the most important things I’ve learned is that she can be truly inspired by God.

At first I moved slowly.  We don’t have the land for raising flocks of chickens, and I don’t know yet if it’s even permitted in our town.  However, I did some reading and some internet searches and learned a few things.  While I was doing that she was actually working on the project.  She spoke frequently with friends about our/her plans until she found a nearby family that had the land and might just be persuaded to join in her reckless scheme.

We met to discuss the matter, sharing what little we all knew, and honestly, some of it was laughable.  But not letting ignorance stand in the way of progress, the two wives decided to go ahead and order a small flock.  Then they told us husbands that we’d better get moving on putting together a coop and a protected yard.  Not much can motivate a man more than the concern of disappointing his beloved, so we men-folk got started.  So here are the details of our joint effort, and some lessons learned.  (Full disclosure; I have no financial interest in any products or businesses that I may name, and will receive no compensation for any positive reviews.)
Our Girls, The Hens

Our wives ordered a flock of a dozen Sussex hens.  They are a reliable laying breed with good cold weather resistance, and this was useful, as we can have snow on the ground for about half of the winter days each year.  They were shipped together and were a month or two short of their standard laying age when they arrived, but I understand that gives them a little time to finish maturing and to become acclimated to their new home.  They are docile birds, (ours are brown in color,) and tend to greet us when we enter their yard, sometimes following us and pecking gently at shoelaces or socks.  They are still nervous at being picked up, but rarely struggle when I do it.  I’ve been told that our friends’ children can pick them up and sometimes even cradle them on their backs without the girls getting frantic.

They lay brown eggs.  The first ones laid were small, slightly larger than golf balls, but now they are all normal in size.  A few are double yolks, but this is rare.  They do have a slightly stronger flavor than store-bought eggs, but not as strong as the wild goose eggs that I’ve sometimes found in this area.

When they arrived we saw that they had all undergone de-beaking, or beak trimming.  This has become a common practice with laying hens, as it removes about 20 or 30% off the tip of the beak.  This reduces the severity of any injury if pecking occurs within the flock.  This hopefully prevents the hens from eventually descending into cannibalism.  The job done on our girls’ beaks appeared to have been a little rough, but I’ve seen no evidence that it causes them any current discomfort.  When they’ve taken food from my hand it’s felt like tapping my palm firmly with an index finger.  A sharp beak would probably have felt more like getting poked with a pencil point.  That is only supposition, however.  I cannot offer more of an opinion either for or against the process of de-beaking in domestic fowl.

Our friends’ oldest son takes care of most of the daily feeding and watering.  My wife and I come by when our schedules permit, which averages 30 to 60 minutes twice a week.  We try to let the girls out to scratch in the field.  The daily care is done mostly by them, but we help out where we can.  Let’s be honest; a 12 year old boy probably has a lot of other things he’d rather do than farming chores, so it’s only fair that we help out without complaining.
Their Shelter

Our partner was able to collect scrap lumber from his job and used that to build the coop.  It measures about 6 feet square with a 7 foot ceiling.  A single light bulb is always on, as we understand it helps the girls in the laying process if their day isn’t too short.  I expect we’ll turn it off in the summer time.   There are enough laying boxes for each of the girls to have their own, but we’ve seen that they tend to share.  We’ll frequently find three eggs in one box and four in another, indicating that they aren’t territorial.  They like to clump them together.  There are three horizontal perching rods inside, each about 3 feet long, for them to sleep on at night.  Access is via one  door for us and two for the girls.  Two are recommended in case one of the girls tries to block one in a dominance display.  The coop itself was built on stilts.  This provides protection from rodents that would otherwise nest under the floor, and it also tends to keep smaller children from climbing up inside without  adult supervision, as the first step is about 24 inches.  This entire structure was built in one side what may have been an old horse stable; it measures about 13x20 feet and is open on two adjacent sides.  This provides some wind protection, but even better rain and snow protection, as the coop was built under the existing roof.  This gives the girls some room for scratching and exercise.  Due to the slope of the land, some rainwater tends to flow in under the walls.  I’m working to improve the drainage so the girls don’t have to walk in muddy areas.

I was in charge of the fencing, and my wife and I dug about 30 feet of a 2-foot deep trench before finding out the high cost of the fencing I’d had in mind.  (I’d read that extending the heavy fencing deep underground would deter almost all digging predators.)  After apologizing and filling in the trench, I rigged electric fencing around their little yard.  I used single-strand wiring and an 8-foot grounding rod, and ran two lines in an alternating horizontal pattern starting at about one inch above the ground level and ending about 6 feet up.  The strands are 2 inches apart lower down, and the spacing increases after every few strands, so the upper lines have an 8-inch separation.  Above the final strand is a 2-foot gap to the roof, but I figure no predators will be able to jump that.  Electrical power is available to the stable, so that is used to power the system.  I chose a Dare Products Enforcer, model DE 60.  It’s rated to cover 4 acres of fencing, and provides .15 joules of kick.  I usually test it each visit by touching one hand across two wires and getting snapped.  I once tried touching the soil and a wire with opposite hands, and the jolt across my chest was more like a fist-punch.  I’ve not tested it that way since.

The wires are strung on the outside of the 6x6 beams that support the roof.  I rigged a 24-inch width of standard chicken wire around the inside of the beams to prevent the girls from reaching through and getting shocked.  However one day I was inside scattering dry grass and they were outside when one of the girls took off like a shot, quite angry and loud.  Seems she’d gotten a little too close and learned for herself what the yellow wiring can do.

The other two walls of their enclosure are old 4x8 plywood panels, and in most places they don’t quite extend to the ground.  This would have offered an easy entrance to any predator willing to dig for a few minutes.  Rather than slap wire fencing vertically on the wall, I laid it horizontally on the ground under the wall.  The fencing is 2”x4” welded wire, 18 gauge I believe, 3 feet wide.  About 4 inches extends into the chickens’ yard and the rest is outside, staked down in several places to prevent it from being dragged or tripped over.  Any predator digging at the base of the wall would have its efforts immediately frustrated.  I expect that some ground cover will grow up through it in the spring, helping to both hide and anchor it.
We purchase 50-lb sacks of layers crumbles, and they currently cost about $16.50 each.  ‘Crumbles’ is a mixture of rough-ground grains and has the consistency of cornmeal.  The girls have no problems with the feed, meaning they’re showing no evidence food fatigue.  I’m contemplating getting an extra bag of scratch grains feed.  Crumbles feed only gets lost on the ground when I’ve scattered it for them.  ‘Scratch’ consists of whole grain kernels, which will be easier to see and will provide them some variety.  Over the new year’s holiday I was delayed several days in getting a fresh bag.  That meant our friends had to find makeshift food, and it wasn’t fair to them or the girls.  The extra bag of scratch grains will provide a backup food source, and it has a longer shelf life than the crumbles.

The food is currently stored inside a galvanized steel trash can to remove the risk of attracting rodents. We suspend their feeding and watering trays about 8 inches off the ground for the same reason.

The water supply is susceptible to freezing, and one of the mornings I visited I had to chip the ice off the surface.  Since then I rigged a 60 watt bulb inside a half-cinder block, and set the water tray on top instead of suspending it.  It’ll keep the water warm enough, but the red glow from the plastic tray is kind of spooky.  It is intended to only be used when cold weather threatens, as it did for about a week recently.

The girls like a variety of foods, and kitchen leftovers are sometimes much appreciated.  “Sometimes” refers to both the food and the delivery method.  For example, they don’t like carrots.  Same with an over-ripe zucchini.  The ignored a half-apple someone tossed in, until it was stepped on; then the girls loved the resulting mush.  They love breads, but tossing in a three-inch heel from a stale loaf of french bread was useless.  They can’t eat it until it’s broken up, and they need us to do that for them.  I heard that chickens like raisins, but so far ours don’t.  We’re still learning.

Obviously, we’re trying to make this a working partnership, so finding faults or making recommendations for changes has to be done… diplomatically.  Only the condition of the water and feed get promptly mentioned to the parents if we find them empty.

Our Sussex hens are quiet birds.  They’ll ramp up their chatter when they hear someone approaching, because they’re curious to see who it is.  They seem to get along well; I’ve seen a few brief instances of pecking between some of them, but so far there’s not a bird who stands out as either the alpha or the omega.  They sometimes scare my 5-year old grandson when they get close, but he’s getting used to them and asked to see them when he was last at our place for a sleep-over.

As mentioned, we let them out occasionally to scratch in the surrounding field.  Their enclosed yard isn’t overly large, so they’ve scratched up what little vegetation there was.  I make an effort at each visit to pull up several handfuls of long grass from the surrounding field and scatter it in their yard.  It was originally intended to help soak up the puddles that sometimes formed after the rain.  Instead I found that the girls also enjoy eating it!  It also now provides a place to hide other food/treat items that they can discover as they satisfy their instinct to scratch.

Our area has its share of predators.  Raccoons and foxes are probably the most prevalent.  Before I had the electric fencing finished and charged up a neighbor’s dog got into their yard on two separate days.  Fortunately he wasn’t large, and he seemed more interested in the birds as entertainment, rather than food.  After the fence was activated there have been no problems.  However I have seen footprints of a large canine around the fencing.  This may be why we had our greatest loss.

I previously mentioned the gap I’d left above the electric fencing.  I stopped at that height because it became unwieldy for me to stand on a chair on the damp ground, and besides, no predator would jump that high, right?  The mypetchicken.com web site says that Sussex chickens are not prone to flying when mature.  Perhaps the girls weren’t yet fully grown (although they were already laying regularly,) or perhaps some of them didn’t read the web page, but several of them showed a tendency for escapes.  They stayed close to their yard, fortunately.  At first I thought the fencing had been shut off or the wires had been loosened.  After it happened again  my daughter and I trimmed several of the primary flight feathers on one wing of each bird, so that they would be unbalanced if they tried flying again.  It wasn’t  enough; we had yet another escape.  Eventually I resolved to block the gap above the wires with a few more rows of horizontal twine, and see if that kept them in.  I didn’t act soon enough.

Just before Christmas I got a text from our partner saying that 3 of the birds had gone to heaven.  Several patches of feathers outside showed where they’d been killed and partially plucked.  It was a needless loss, due to my procrastination.  After that I promptly ran the twine above the wire, and we’ve had no more escapes.  The feathery patches are still there, and they provide a sobering reminder of my need to be a more faithful steward.
What the future holds

We’ve discussed ordering a few replacements, but from what I’ve read the addition of new birds to a flock frequently results in pecking and a period of anxiety.  Another option would be to rent a rooster and see if any of our girls want to brood.  That’s a process I’ve only read about so far, so I can’t offer anything on the subject.  I do understand that a broody hen will need to be isolated from the rest of the flock for about 2 months, until the hatched chicks are at least a month old, and that she’ll not produce again for a few months after that.  Right now that step is only in the discussion phase.

Either way, the size of the coop is sufficient that we might keep up to 20 birds.  All we would need to add would be a couple more roosting perches.

Sussex hens aren’t bred for eating, but I realize that that will be the intended finish for our girls some day.  I’m not looking forward to that because, frankly, I’ve grown rather fond of them.  Perhaps we’ll sell them to a neighbor, or maybe I’ll have to man up and do the deed.  Either way, I’ll need to prepare for it, so that I can harvest the girls as humanely as possible.

Mr. Rawles,
Regarding the letter, Food Storage in the Southern United States by Gary S.,, 
in Florida, from May until October, the heat is merciless, making food storage difficult. Some items, like powdered milk, barely last the summer without electrical cooling. Most folks turn their A/C up or off during the day when they are away from home or pay a very high electric bill. .With the droughts of the past few years, even heavily canopied forest home sites can be too hot. Power outages from wildfires, hurricanes, storms, tornadoes,  or heat waves can cause loss of air conditioning for days or weeks, greatly reducing the storage life of foods.

It seems to me that the best place to store food would be in a fallout shelter, which had better be a cool dry place or it won't be livable for very long. Nuclear warfare may come to the CONUS unexpectedly, like Pearl Harbor, the WTC and Pentagon attacks, or like a thief in the night, from a multitude of enemies. This is pretty evident in the lectures, interviews, and books of Joel Skousen and others, In his book Nuclear War Survival Skills, Cresson H. Kearny, advocated dual use buildings, with one being for a fallout shelter, and the other could certainly be for cool storage. A cool storage building is a lot better explanation to family and friends than a fallout shelter is, just as long as it meets the fallout shelter specifications. We can put some kind of a green energy spin on this, like calling it a planet saving earth cooled utility building, the bureaucrats will love that, and think of all the carbon fuel that will be saved.

With the high water tables, above ground structures seem to be the way to go for cool storage independent of electricity, using thermal mass to keep things cool. However, moving thermal mass is backbreaking work, Below is a list of structures that is by no means complete, but should provide the reader with a starting point. On all of these structures, you will want the entrance facing away from the sun. I would like to hear from other readers who have addressed this issue.

1) Steel drum bunker - I saw one of these at the Patriot's Point museum in Charleston, South Carolina, at the Vietnam Support Base. It is an ammo bunker from the Vietnam War, which has a lot of thermal mass to it, consisting of standard 55 gal drums, which are 22.5 inches in diameter and 33.5 inches high, it is eight drums wide (15 ft)  by two drums high (67 inches), the interior is probably 11ft x 11ft and the roof used either Marsden Matting, Pierced Steel Plank (PSP) or aluminum AM-2 matting, along with about three layers of sandbags, dirt and sod. For root cellar purposes, the door area would have to be expanded out with drums, four on one side, two on the other, ended with two more for a ninety degree turn. This would require about 68 drums and a heavy duty door would be needed. They obviously had a lot of 55 gal drums to spare, lining the whole perimeter with them, for added protection. But, that was how they shipped fuel back then.

2) Hesco/Gabion bunker - A wire and cloth, earth filled structure. In overseas areas these days, there are a lot of hesco or gabions being used similarly, but the kits can be expensive.
Wiki page on HESCOs
Wiki page on Gabions
HESCO corporate page
Defencell corporate page

3) Nuclear War Survival Skills - Aboveground, Crib-Walled Shelter.  I would use treated wood in the South.

4) Low-Cost Multipurpose Mini-building Made With Earthbags

5) Emergency Sandbag Shelter

6) Large culvert pipe - I've seen these in both concrete and metal. Kind of like this one, only one end has a regular door and you berm up around the rest of it, Mini Blast & Fallout Shelter, By Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM).

7) FEMA above ground Permanent Fallout Shelter - concrete block and concrete construction, back filled with earth. There is also a design that has a building within a building, filled with dirt or gravel.

8) Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) Storm Shelter - the forms are filled with concrete after assembly and can be bermed for additional protection.

9) Thin shell concrete dome - an inflatable form is used to shape the concrete structure until it dries. See:
Monolithic Dome, EcoShell, and Basalt Roving Dome. These can be reinforced with rebar or basalt roving.

10) Thin shell concrete dome panel kit - kind of like an igloo, the panels are assembled to form the dome, and then the concreted is applied.
12' Dome Utility Pod Kit - Out Building - Storage Shed - Well House - AiDomes
They sell a strengthening kit, but you might also be able to use the basalt roving technique as well

News from Western Montana: Fertile Ground for Gun Makers

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Several new property listings have been posted at SurvivalRealty.com. Nearly half of the 120+ listings are in the American Redoubt. OBTW, one of the latest listings is in Moyie Springs, Idaho--one of the two towns where I maintain mail forwarding addresses.

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Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association Position on Gun Legislation: "As our state and country continue to discuss and debate gun control legislation, the position of our association remains steadfast: the MSPOA will not waver in our defense of the Constitution and will stand to preserve our constituents' right to possess firearms and the protections insured by the other nine amendments contained in the Bill of Rights.

The MSPOA feels that any legislation that takes away constitutional protections, including gun rights, from law-abiding citizens will not alleviate or eliminate the threat from violent or mentally ill individuals. In fact, it would expose our law-abiding neighbors to violence with fewer resources to counter them with."

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Montana led the way: Push to keep feds out of state gun markets gains momentum

Over at Mac Slavo's fine blog: Guns And Ammo Production Maxed Out: “This is a Society Preparing For War”

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A Canadian journalist warns: Gun registration will lead to confiscation.

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The power of prefabrication: A 30 story Chinese hotel built in 15 days.

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Jeff H. suggested TubeBooks.org. They offer 4.22 GB of free technical books, mainly on radio technology and electrical engineering.

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Dan D. sent: Amazon Removing Gun Products From Store. Worse Than eBay.

"Last October I was a drooling, obsessive, ammo-hoarding prepper. Now I am blessed with miraculous foresight!" - Comment by "The Old Coach" to an article in The Truth About Guns.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The 25% to 35% off sale for Mountain House canned long term storage foods at Ready Made Resources with free shipping and bonuses ends at midnight tonight (Monday February 18, 2013.) Be sure to place your order before this sale ends!


Coloradoans: Contact your State Senators! I'm sure you've heard the news: Colorado lawmakers move forward on new gun-control measures. (They attempted to toss a Bill of Attainder bone to MagPul, but to their credit, MagPul's managers have said that if the bill is signed unto law that they are still moving out of State--most likely Montana or Wyoming.


Today's first post is from L.K.O., SurvivalBlog's Central Rockies Regional Editor

Note: This article is part of a series of feature articles about alternative / sustainable / renewable energy solutions for self-sufficiency. A prior related article in SurvivalBlog that complements this one is Home Inverter Comparison: Off Grid and Grid Tied. Upcoming articles in this Home Power Systems series include: Photovoltaics, Batteries, Wind generators, Solar Water Distillers, Solar Ovens, Solar Water Heating and Energy Efficiency/Conservation.)

Overview of Micro Hydro: One Component of a Home Power System One primary source of locally generated electricity - in the right location - is hydroelectric power generated by a small system of integrated components harnessing the power of falling water, generally called 'small hydro', 'micro hydro', or 'pico hydro' for the smallest of systems. The realtor mantra of "location, location, location" is particularly true for micro hydro systems, perhaps more than for any other local power source, including solar and wind energy systems. If you don't have sufficient flow (volume of water per minute) and head (vertical drop between the water source and the location of the turbine), you can stop exploring micro hydro as a possible energy source right there. However, if you do have just the right location, micro hydro can be one of the most cost effective, efficient, simple and reliable sources of off-grid (or grid-tied) power.

The beauty of a micro hydro system is the simplicity of stored potential energy (gravity) being converted into kinetic energy (moving water) further converted into electrical energy through the generator within the turbine, with basically one moving part (aside from the water. :-) Since the process of converting moving water to electricity doesn't cause any significant atmospheric emissions, greenhouse gases or pollutants (aside from the manufacture and installation of the components, which is arguably a consideration for any energy system), micro hydro, when properly sited and correctly installed and maintained, enjoys - unlike its much larger 'environmental footprint' sibling, large scale hydro - a justifiably deserved status as a relatively clean, renewable, and sustainable power solution.

Micro hydro systems usually cost relatively little to maintain and operate, if they are properly designed and installed. Since heating and electrical demand are typically higher in winter months, even a system with a power output that tapers off slightly in summer can be a good demand-correlated design, as long as summer cooling needs are minimal or provided by non-electrical means. If you have the added advantage of sufficient year-round flow, your micro hydro system can, in many cases, either reduce or even eliminate the need for battery storage and/or other more elaborate and expensive backup systems, which makes it even more attractive, economical, simple and reliable.

Often the sites that have that amount of flow don't have majestic mountain top panoramic vistas, but that might be an acceptable trade off for many, considering the energy-independence such a site can provide. The micro hydro classification generally goes up to systems making 100kW of electricity or less. Larger installations within this range can power larger homes (with less painstaking economizing of energy loads during planning phases) or even small or neighborhood communities if energy distribution (and other multi-load issues) are carefully thought through and properly designed. In multi-property and/or multi-family micro hydro installations, easements, formal legal agreements, safety, power line losses and other related issues should be taken even more fully into consideration.

Micro Hydro Go/No-Go Feasibility Probably the biggest single viability factor in any micro hydro installation is the product - not to worry, it's simple math - of the head (vertical distance between the water intake and turbine/generator) and the flow (typically measured in gallons per minute) of any proposed system. Here's a simple formula for a ballpark idea of your stream's capacity: Multiply the head (in feet) by the flow (in gallons per minute or gpm), and divide by 12. Power (Watts) = head (feet) * flow (gpm) / 12 This yields an approximation of the potential wattage of a fairly efficient micro hydro system. As an example, with 60 gpm and 80 feet of head, your system should generate something in the range of 400 watts (80*60/12). Over a 24 hour period, assuming steady flow, the generated power would be 9,600 Watt-hours or 9.6 kWh (24 hours/day x 400 Watts). Since this formula involves the product of two factors, a site can still be viable - to a certain extent - if the result of the multiplication is still adequate.

For example, if the flow is only 15 gpm, but the head is 320 feet, the site has about the same 400 Watts of potential power as the 60 gpm, 80 feet of head example. This rough formula starts to fail (the potential power decreases) in the fringe examples of very high head and very low flow, due to friction losses in typically long pipe (penstock) runs needed for sites like these, and minimum flows needed to keep turbines turning. The simple formula also becomes too optimistic at the other end of the spectrum, in massive flow but negligible head situations less than 2 or 3 feet. Read "Myth 5" in the article Micro Hydro Myths & Misconceptions if you're still convinced that you can harness the river flowing past or through your property with a negligible elevation drop.

Measuring Head and Flow Now that you know the formula, how can you obtain adequately accurate measurements for the head and flow parameters? We'll start with flow measurement. For low flow situations, a 5 gallon bucket and a stopwatch or timer can do the trick. Here's a video showing a common kitchen pot and a watch to measure flow. For higher flow situations, a weighted-float method - scroll down this page to read details - can provide an estimate of flow. Now onward to head measurement. If you have a super tall 'Yosemite Falls scale' vertical drop, you could use the altimeter app on your smart phone for a very rough estimate of the head since some of the ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) digital elevation model apps are accurate to +/- 10m or perhaps two readings from a 7.5 minute USGS topographic map (since some have contour lines as small as 10 feet. More likely, for any head measurements of around 200' or less, it's far more accurate to measure the head in other ways. Check out this detailed article: Hydropower Head Measurements that offers 3 different methods to accurately measure the vertical drop between inlet and turbine. These include: 1) Using a surveyor's transit or level and pole, 2) Using a Hose and Pressure gauge, and 3) using a Precision Zip-Level Pro 2000ª. Here's a video showing PVC pipe to measure head.

Regulatory Considerations for Micro Hydro Other 'make or break' considerations for micro hydro systems include regulatory and legal issues around the use of the water. Some jurisdictions don't allow individual or neighborhood hydroelectric systems, even if theoretically every drop is returned to the stream from which the energy-generating water would be temporarily diverted. Some of these considerations include proposed projects requiring dams (that might cause flooding), affecting threatened and endangered species, location within an area classified as a National Wild and Scenic River, Wilderness Area, or National Park, and/or other factors affecting fish or wildlife. This Federal Energy Regulatory Commission page goes into detail about these locations where micro hydro should not be considered.

This page lists additional concerns that warrant investigation before investing in any micro hydro development.

Generally, micro hydro systems are 'run of river' systems which means that the diverted water ends up back in the same stream or river that it was taken from after powering the turbine. If this takes place entirely on your property, this makes it much simpler and minimizes any legal, regulatory, insurance or other administrative issues that might need to be dealt with. When in doubt, the due diligence of a few hours of online research, talking with local micro hydro experts, neighbors (particularly adjacent property owners and/or others that might be affected by diverted water in any conceivable way), appropriate local and state authorities, and other knowledgeable parties can be time well spent, and save further wasted time, expense and effort. Here's a directory of micro hydro consultants world-wide that might be helpful.

Limitations of Micro Hydro Systems Site characteristics define the main limitations of micro hydro systems. Besides the obvious problem of not enough flow (or head), seasonal fluctuations can be a major concern. If there is adequate solar exposure, in some cases this can mitigate having enough pressure only in the rainy/high runoff months and still make a viable overall renewable energy (RE) system. In much the same way, a wind and solar combination can even out shortcomings in one technology by complementing with another that makes up for winter or summer energy deficiencies; when the sun is generating lots of photovoltaic energy, often a wind generator or micro hydro turbine is not, and vice-versa. Overall, if there's enough seasonal overlap - and battery storage - a system can still be viable. A wind and micro hydro only combination might be more difficult, again depending on the location, if, for example, there's plenty of wind and stream flow in winter months, but neither has much capacity in the summertime. If solar and wind aren't feasible complements for a seasonal system - which is often the case down in canyons where hydro power is more plentiful, a conventional fossil-fueled generator backup might still be a viable solution, as long is the generator is only needed on a very short-term or emergency backup basis.

Another frequent disadvantage (compared to wind and solar energy systems) is the typical distance from the turbine to the house (and/or location of loads such as shops and garages). The optimal locations for both extracting water and returning it to the watercourse on any given property are often much more constraining than the relative easy of siting the location of a wind generator or photovoltaic array as close to the load destinations as possible.

Micro Hydro Construction Assuming you've made it this far, and done your homework on flow, head, etc., dealt with all the regulatory, bureaucratic, legal, and other considerations above and still are interested, now you can design your micro hydro system.

Unlike some solar or wind powered installations that can be a bit more turnkey or even approaching appliance-like status, thanks to advances in technology over the past few decades, micro hydro systems tend to be more custom with unique elements and individual considerations for each site. The path that water follows when flowing through a micro hydro system is sometimes called 'civil works' and there's often a bit of civil engineering, hydrology and fluid dynamics involved; fortunately, micro hydroelectric systems have matured to where system design is fairly straightforward. It's still a good idea to hire an expert or at least get someone knowledgeable with micro hydro experience to review your detailed plans before you begin or spend any significant amount on the project.

In general, there are many common components, starting with the intake point where water is diverted, sometimes a canal leading to a forebay, a penstock (closed piping within which pressure builds for subsequent turbine use), the turbine (including the generator) wiring and other electrical components (which may include batteries and other regulation) that interface the generator with intended loads, and finally a tailrace channel that returns water that emerges from the turbine back into the stream or river. We'll look at each of these components and consider selection and design factors for each. This page has a diagram showing typical components.

Water Diversion and Intake Filtering Water used by the micro hydro turbine is diverted at the intake point. All systems should have some mechanism to exclude silt (e.g. a settlement basin and some type of filtering), both floating and submerged debris, fish and other aquatic life, ice and anything else that could impede the flow or clog the system. A progressive filtration approach with larger bars or screens that leads to finer filters may be helpful. The intake components often have some sort of mechanical valve or gate to shut off the supply for maintenance and inspection. Here's an article that describes a variety of intake systems with typical price ranges. Some systems benefit from a canal and forebay to divert an adequate portion of the flow to minimize turbulence and ensure steady pressure to the penstock, which is the next point in the water's travel. These canals and forebays can be made with concrete, asphalt, gunite/shotcrete or similar materials.

Penstock Considerations The enclosed piping that carries water to the turbine is called a penstock. If the distance between the intake or forebay and the turbine is long and/or convoluted, the cost of the penstock can become a major cost factor. For longer runs, larger diameter pipe may be needed to avoid losing much of the initial water pressure to pipe friction. Each bend in the piping also introduces additional losses due to turbulence of the water inside the pipe fitting; obviously a perfectly straight penstock run isn't usually practical, but care should be made to approach this ideal, minimize unnecessary bends and keep internal pipe surfaces smooth to optimize flow. A seasoned micro hydro installer can assist with pipe sizing and layout. Here's a formula and online calculator (using the Hazen-Williams Equation) for estimating friction head loss in water pipes. Also, since materials used in penstock piping expand and contract with temperature swings, make sure to factor this into your design.ÊTo be thorough in your penstock design, this article covers many other important details, as well as pipe sizing guidelines.

Turbine Selection The choice of turbine (and a generator carefully matched that optimizes mechanical to electrical power transfer efficiency, as well as transmission line considerations) depends greatly on the amount of head and flow. Since this usually requires site-specific design, we'll just cover some of the primary types here and where they are generally used. Most turbines also have a valve (or valves) that can slowly and safely be engaged (since there's often tremendous pressure at the bottom of the penstock) for turbine and generator maintenance.

Pelton wheel turbines have a ring of small buckets arranged around a wheel, each one catching the flow of one (or several) jets of water. In some systems with seasonal pressure variations, the number of active jets can be changed to optimize efficiency and performance. Pelton turbines work well with lower flows as long as there is sufficient head pressure. If you're familiar with electrical circuitry, this would be analogous to higher voltage, lower current systems (although we're talking about a water pressure and current here).

Francis turbines- with their spiral casing being fed by the penstock - direct water through vanes attached to a rotor, and benefit from both radial and axial flow. This type of turbine is better suited to higher flow, lower head situations.

Cross-flow turbines also known as Banki-Michell, or Ossberger turbines, use a series of fixed, curved blades mounted between the perimeters of two disks, forming a cylinder. Water flows into one side of the cylinder and out the other side, which drives the blades. Cross-flow turbines are optimal for even lower heads and larger flows. Their simpler, self-cleaning design, and hence lower manufacturing and operating cost, can be helpful.

Propeller turbines, of which the Kaplan turbine is an example, are also optimal for very low heads with big flows. Blades can be either fixed (like a boat's propeller), or adjustable, as in the Kaplan turbine, which optimizes efficiency with varying flows. There are other types of turbines and variations, and numerous vendors. Regardless of the type of turbine being considered, always consult with the vendor and/or an experienced micro hydro installer to make sure the components match both the hydraulic and electrical characteristics of your system. As an example of typical power output for a variety of head and flow values, here's a chart for one vendor's turbine (Harris Hydro Pelton Wheel).

Tailrace Before jumping from hydraulic power to electrical power, let's follow the water's return from the turbine back to the stream, usually called a tailrace. Since we don't care about maintaining pressure at this point, now that the water has done the work we wanted it to do, it can flow back to the stream or river of origin through any convenient and appropriate mechanism. Often a tailrace consists of an open, lined canal, channel or flume to minimize the cost of piping. The effects of erosion, debris and freezing temperatures should be factored in to ensure that this end-of-the-route part of the system remains as low-maintenance as the other components.

Generators Generators can be either Direct Current (DC) which generally power an inverter, or Alternating Current (AC) which typically have lower transmission losses for longer runs, and can also be part of on-grid (synchronous) as well as off-grid systems. In most cases, generators are paired with specific turbines to maximize efficiency, cost-effectiveness, safety and other considerations. Your installer or RE consultant can advise which turbine/generator pairings will optimize your particular setup.

Wiring Just as water pressure decreases due to smaller pipe diameter constriction, electrical pressure (voltage) also decreases as wire diameters go down. For similar reasons, wire gauge should be sized and optimized to match the needed run between the turbine and load(s) and/or inverter(s) and/or batteries. Low gauge (higher diameter) wire gets more expensive quickly, so longer runs benefit from higher voltages, but then safety and regulatory issues come into play (particularly with DC voltages above 48 Volts). (As an aside, cross-country utility power transmission lines use extremely high voltages to minimize power losses, since power losses are proportional to (I^2)*R [current squared times resistance], so sending power long distances at high voltages and low currents decreases the power loss that goes up exponentially as the current goes up.) Here's an American Wire Gauge (AWG) chart to help with wire sizing and another to choose appropriate wire size for any renewable energy project (not just micro hydro).

Electrical Components There are numerous variations in electrical system architecture for micro hydro sites, just as the hydraulic components vary widely. Four main classifications include the permutations of systems with and without batteries, and with and without grid connection. For this reason, it's best to work with the intended load(s) and variations on a case-by-case basis. A micro hydro professional (augmented with other online and offline resources) can be of tremendous help here. That being said, a few generalizations can be made. As suggested above, systems with steady, consistent year-round flow can often minimize or even eliminate storage (e.g. battery) and/or backup (e.g. generator or wind/solar complementary sources). The most reliable systems will have some sort of battery storage, charge controllers, and unless a home or shop or outbuilding is designed for Direct Current (DC) wiring, lighting and appliances, an inverter. Here are numerous professional Renewable Energy (RE) consultants as well as online resources.

Other Micro Hydro Advantages and Uses Along with the obvious benefits of self-reliance and energy independence that micro hydro systems provide, don't forget to explore any tax credits or incentives for local, state or federal renewable / sustainable power! These vary over time and vary with the specific technology, but when in effect, can sometimes defray a significant portion of an alternative/remote power system. While this article addresses primarily water power converted to electrical power, let's not forget the historical precedent that goes back many more centuries; water to mechanical power. Here's an example of a commercial water-powered grain mill in southern Oregon which is a fun and educational stop if you happen to be nearby.

Additional References
Wikipedia article on Micro Hydro Home Power Magazine (a wealth of useful info on all aspects of Renewable Energy) Energy Planet on Micro Hydro PesWiki: River Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Micro Hydro Neweras Develop. Limited: Micro Hydro  

Vendor Contact Info
Here are a few micro hydro manufacturers; there are many more online. Home Power Magazine: Micro Hydro Equipment and Products Energy Source Guides: US Micro Hydro Turbines MicroHydroPower.net: Manufacturers Directory  

About The Author: L.K.O. is SurvivalBlog's Central Rockies Regional Editor

Statists use cleverly constructed language for obfuscation and to further their unconstitutional Big Government agenda. Statists rarely say what they mean or mean what they say.

Ray X., a SurvivalBlog reader in Wyoming provides us the following dictionary that describes what the statists really mean:

Access: Our people put on TV or put in positions of authority, via our access to your wallet.

Activists: Rabble without jobs but with access to TV cameras.

Affirmative Action: Giving hiring preference to those with lower test scores, for countless generations.

Advocacy/Advocate: Advocating our agenda. All others are not Advocates. They are, Radicals, Haters and Tea Baggers.

Agenda, The. The word that shall never be spoken, unless in the context of The Right Wing Agenda. Instead use: Fairness, Change, Hope, New Direction, Social Progress, et cetera.

Agreement (Reaching): Forcing an agenda on unwilling Citizens, via the courts, regulation, legislation, bureaucratic decree, or character assassination through the mass media.

Allocate/Allocation: To extort by coercion, force, or threat of force, under color of law.

Alternative Lifestyle: Guys who do perverse things with other guys, little boys, or goats.

Alternative Media: Leftist guys who couldn't get a job as a newspaper reporter.

Alternative Sentencing: Forcing felons to stay at home under house arrest or give lectures or teach classes about the dangers of criminal behavior instead doing hard time.

Amnesty: Giving citizenship to someone who stole their way into the country and promises to vote Democrat.

Assault Weapon: Any firearm that Dianne Feinstein thinks looks scary, regardless of how it operates.

Assistance: See: Redistribution of Wealth.

Balance/Balanced Media: The scales tipped solidly in the direction of our agenda.

Bias: Any view held by a conservative. (A label we never apply to ourselves or to our Fellow Travelers.)

Big Oil/Big Pharma/Big Tobacco: Any company, regardless of size, with a politically conservative board of directors.

Bipartisan: Making conservatives cave in, repeatedly.

Birther: Epithet hurled at anyone who dares to challenge the place of birth of Barack Obama.

Bitter Clingers: Civilians who refuse to be disarmed.

Budget Cut: Any reduction in the rate of increase of a budget. See Also: Deep Cut.

Budget Imbalance: Spending far too much money of Free Stuff to maintain our large voting bloc.

Cap and Trade: Obsolete term. Use "clean energy" or "market-based", instead.

Carbon Credit: Paying people overseas to not produce things, so that our companies can, with permission, under close supervision, and with fines for any company that produces too much.

Censorship: Refusing to allow taxpayer funds to be used to push our agenda.

Change: Fabian Socialism or Marxism, depending on the speed of the change.

Child Development: Molding young people into compliant sheeple. Requires lots of Programs.

Choice: Choosing to murder a baby, at taxpayer expense.

Civil Union: Two sodomites who want to pretend they are normal, and want to be given health benefits to cover the cost of their expensive HIV medications.

Clean Energy: Energy created by Programs and the lavish infusion of taxpayer dollars, regardless of the cost per kilowatt hour.

Coalition: A group of groups that excludes the participation and opinions of conservative or libertarian groups.

Codeword: The term we use to demonize anyone who stands for less government, individual responsibility, and

Common Sense: Our agenda, on our terms, and on our timetable.

Common Sense Gun Laws: Civilian disarmament.

Community Leader: A leftist who has learned how to work the system.

Compassion: Wealth redistribution.

Compound: Any house outside of city limits that is owned by either a Kennedy or a Survivalist.

Concerned Citizens: People who agree with our agenda. All others are Radical Right Wingers.

Contributions: Coerced payments. See: Revenue, Taxes

Compromise: Forcing you to agree with the statist agenda.

Consensus: Using Focus Groups and other tools to drag everyone into agreement with our agenda.

Conservative: Anyone who drags their feet or who speaks out against the statist agenda. See also: Ultraconservative.

Constituency: The deluded fools that keep voting us into office, again and again.

Contribution: A tax or fee.

Create jobs: Create new agencies and programs. If any actual jobs are thence created then they must only be government jobs or union jobs.

Crisis: Any event, however small, that is an excuse for more government.

Cultural Literacy: New curriculum designed to encourage Alternative Lifestyles, Diversity, Sensitivity, Fairness, et cetera Never include any mention of the Bible or The Constitution of the United States, which were creations of Dead White Males.

Deadlock (Legislative): Failure to move quickly enough in advancing our Agenda.

Dead White Male: The originators of all human suffering who we must denigrate at every opportunity

Debt (public): Money that we spent that we didn't have, but which doesn't matter, because we can always print more.

Debt Ceiling: The convenient fiction that there is a limit to what we can spend on Programs. Revised annual or semiannually, as needed, following false protestations and then Compromise.

Deep Cut: A decrease in the rate of increase of a budget by more than 10%.

Deeply concerned: I have no intention of changing anything.

Deep Pockets: The ultimate source of Revenue.

Deficit: Money that we overspent and haven't yet taxed or created out of thin air.

Democracy: Socialist tyranny, via incrementalism.

Democrat: The political party that is pushing statism, in a hurry. (See also: Republican.)

Deserving: Daytime TV-watching and EBT card-using.

Dialog: A mono-directional lecture from the Ivory Tower to the plebeian masses. They are then told that they "have a voice."

Dictator: Any national leader who doesn't agree with our agenda. Anyone who does is a Leader.

Disadvantaged: Multigenerationally accustomed to sucking from the welfare teat.

Disparity: Some who makes less money than you, but who wants Free Stuff.

Diversity: Let's force people to stop saying "no" to sodomy, bestiality, and pedophilia.

Divisive/Divisiveness: Anyone who disagrees with our agenda.

Eco-Friendly Lighting: Chinese-made Mercury-Laden Light Bulbs

Economic Justice: Marxism.

Enhancement: Getting things to go more our way.

Election: An advance sale on stolen goods.

Empowered/Empowerment: Getting more Free Stuff at taxpayer expense, and face time on TV.

Elite: Anyone with a Wikipedia biography page but who does not agree with us.

Enable: Handing out taxpayer money.

Entitled: See: Deserving.

Equal Access to Opportunity: Jobs based on quotas rather than merit.

Equality: Inequality enforced regardless of facts or logic. Also: Paying everyone the same regardless of whether or not they choose to work. Bonus definition: Fining anyone for being above average.

Estimated Tax: Self-employed people writing huge quarterly checks for their own enslavement.

Excess Profits: The profits of any company that doesn't buy in to the statist agenda.

Extremist: Anyone who dares to speak up for their God-given rights.

Fairness: Giving Free Stuff to people who did not work for it, at the expense of people who did.

Fairness Doctrine: Always giving the statist agenda prominence, and making conservatives pay for the air time to do so.

Fair Share/Fair Shot: Taxing some people at a higher rate than others.

Fee/Fine/Assessment/Levy/License: A tax by any other name.

First Amendment: Freedom from any mention of Christianity in schools. (But not Wicca or Islam, which should be part of the new school curriculum.)

Fiscal Conservative: A socially liberal politician, regardless of their voting record. (All Democrats are automatically "Fiscal Conservatives.")

Flash Mob: "Youths" who have learned how to use their Obama Phones to get Free Stuff without even signing up for a Program.

Focus Group: Putting people in a room, reaching the lowest common denominator, and then labeling it Consensus.

Freedom: The freedom to do only what we tell you what you can do.

Free Thinker: People in our constituency who have a hostility to faith in God.

Free Stuff: Stuff we don't have to pay for. You pay for all of it, but just don't realize it.

Freedom Fighter: Anyone in a conflict overseas who agrees with our agenda. In contrast anyone who does not agree is a Colonialist, Imperialist, a Terrorist or an Evil Oppressor.

Free Press: Our lackeys who are fully or partially complicit with our agenda.

Fully-Funded: A Program that has reached multiple teats.

Funding: See: Taxes.

Global: A policy that matches the Agenda of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

Global Warming: : Obsolete term. Use "climate change" instead. (You know, just incase of a Little Ice Age.)

Good Government: More government, with incremental degradation of liberty. In the long term, total government.

Gun Buy-Back: Paying 10 cents on the dollar for something that we never owned, and then destroying it at taxpayer expense.

Gun Control: People control, dissent control, and civilian disarmament.

The Gun Lobby: Gun owning Citizens.

Gun Show Loophole: Two guys in the same state, privately transacting the sale of a used gun, like they've always done.

Harmony: The lack of resistance to our Agenda

Hater: Anyone who loves individual freedom and who stands up for God's Moral Law

Hate Speech: Saying something critical of our agenda. standing up for morality, or otherwise speaking the truth.

Helping Hand: The hand that helps dollars out of your wallet and into government coffers, and then helps a portion of those dollars into the wallets of layabouts.

High Capacity Magazine: Standard capacity magazine. (We deceptively called any magazine over 10 rounds "high capacity" when in fact the standard military issue has been 30 rounds or even 40 rounds since the early 1970s. Thus, we want to force the plebes to own only reduced capacity magazines.)

Homeless: Bums.

Homophobia: Term of derision for failure to enthusiastically subscribe to the homosexual agenda.

Human Rights: The Right to free health care, the right to a Living Wage, et cetera. To pay for providing all of these "rights" necessitates a large and intrusive government, and taxing your income, to operate it. (Note that "Human Rights" do not include the right to keep and near arms, the right to home school your children, the right to work without joking a union, the right to travel without being searched, et cetera. Those are rather privileges, which must be closely regulated. )

Inclusion/Inclusive/Inclusiveness: Including people with every wacky idea imaginable into our power base, to form a larger voting bloc

Inflation: Obsolete term. Instead use: Monetary Policy.

Injustice: Anyone who has not yet benefited from Wealth Redistribution.

Inflation: Stealing your money incrementally, so that you don't notice it.

Integrity: Willingness to buy in to our Agenda.

Invest in: Fund with tax dollars, lavishly and interminably.

Investment/Invest in the Future: A new tax.

It takes a village: Obsolete term. Use "Governance" instead.

Judgmental: Anyone with moral values and discernment.

Justice: Just Us.

Labor Organizer: A leftist who quit his job to push The Agenda, and now lives off the "dues" or other forced contributions of guys who still work for a living.

Labor Union: An organization that two or three generations ago fought for fair working conditions but now exists only to perpetuate itself and to push The Agenda.

Less fortunate: Layabouts and moochers.

LGBT: An initialism that secretly stands for Liberal Goat-Loving Blasphemous Terrorists.

Liberal: An obsolete and soiled term. Do Not Use. Instead substitute "Progressive" in all cases.

License: Permission to do what would otherwise be illegal under our make-believe laws, granted only after coerced payment of a fee.

Living Wage: Enough money, whether it is earned or not, to have air conditioning and a big screen TV.

Long Term Obligation: Money that is mathematically impossible to repay unless we inflate away the value of the currency by more than 90%.

Lower Income Workers: People who don't work but who are given a middle class income, at taxpayer expense.

Marginalized: Someone who has not yet (in their opinion) received enough Free Stuff.

Marxist: A statist who has foolishly tipped his hand.

Mean-Spirited: People who want to keep what they earn.

Mechanism: Our latest scheme. See also: Program.

Metrosexual: An ostensibly straight guy who thinks his neighbor's perversion is okay.

Militia Movement: Two or more Citizens who have similar gripes and who each own a gun.

Minority-owned business: A business that is foolishly started in an economically depressed ghetto. This term does not apply to Asians or to any successful businesses owned by minorities if they are in wealthy suburbs. Hence, Famous Amos Cookies is not a "Minority-owned business." See also: Uncle Tom.

Misunderstood: Insane, Idiotic, or Perverted.

Moderate: Left wing.

Money: The stuff that was once minted with silver and gold, but is now created out of thin air.

Move forward: Move to the left, create a Program, and subsidize with tax dollars.

Monopoly: Any company with market capitalization greater than $200 million USD, regardless of their market share.

Multicultural: High crime.

Narrative: What we call the history that we don't like and would prefer didn't really exist.

Nation Building: Sending American taxpayer dollars to prop up Third World dictatorships.

Nazi: A derisive term formerly reserved for members of the National Socialist Party in Germany, but now used as smear for anyone who opposes Socialism.

Neocon: A derisive term that we apply to anyone not in the Hard Left Camp, regardless of where they are on political spectrum, or when they got there. No longer has anything to do with George McGovern and the politics of 1972.

Nonviable Tissue Mass: An unborn baby.

Obamacare: Socialist imposition of medicine paid by a few taxpayers but provided to all, and brought to the lowest common denominator. Wait in line over there.

Obama Phone: More Free Stuff, for loafers. This device has the side benefit of alerting other loafers about where to line up or sign up for more free stuff.

Obstacles: Anything that stands between our constituents and the Free Stuff.

Occupy ___________(Location). Organize smelly layabouts to camp out, beat on drums, and demand The Agenda and more Free Stuff.

Offshoring: Sending factory jobs overseas, so that the then-unemployed will vote Democrat--because their party claims to stands for unions, job protection, and long term unemployment benefits.

Open-Minded: Those who embrace sin without any reservations.

Oppressor(s): Taxpayers who speak out against the statist agenda.

Opportunity: See Revenue and Wealth Redistribution.

Our: Your. (e.g.: Our Resources, Our Taxes, Our Cities, Our Nation, etc.)

Our Troops (Supporting): Formerly our sons, now Their Troops, used to collect revenue and assure a steady flow of overseas oil.

Outcome: Getting things our way.

Palestinian: Mostly Arab Muslims who got kicked out of North Africa or Saudi Arabia and then settled in Israel to get ahead economically when they saw Jews were prospering there. We pretend that they've lived there since Biblical Times. Does not apply to Jews with multigenerational roots in Palestine.

Patriot Movement: Anyone who dares to speak out against statism.

Patriarchy: A label used by those who make believe that it wasn't only men who founded and led Western Society and who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Payroll deduction: Stealing your money incrementally, so that you don't notice it.

People of Color: People of a dark skin tone who promise to vote Democrat. (Does not apply to any gainfully employed Asians or to anyone with dark skin who is a registered Republican. See: Uncle Tom.)

Privileged, The: Anyone who make more than $100,000 per year unless he a is liberal.

Poor, The: Anyone who doesn't want to work, but promises to vote Democrat.

Privileged: Anyone who works for a living. (See also: Oppressor and The Rich.)

Pro-Choice: Insisting on taxpayer-funded abortion.

Program: Waste of money, our latest scheme.

Progressive: Marxist, collectivist, or otherwise regressive to personal freedom.

Property tax: Paying rent to someone who doesn't own your land.

Provide: To take from one (by coercion) and to provide as "Free Stuff" to another.

Public Education: Systematic indoctrination into the statist mindset.

Public Housing: Taxpayer-paid housing for layabouts.The buildings are destroyed through neglect and abuse and then torn down and replaced at great expense roughly every 30 years.

Public-Private Partnership: Fascism.

Quantitative Easing: Creating Dollars out of thin air to prop up the Bond market and to dilute the value of all other Dollars already in circulation.

Racist: Anyone who opposes the statist agenda, regardless of their thoughts on race or ethnicity.

Radical Right/Radical Right Wingers: Anyone who dares to speak out against statism or refuses to be disarmed.

Reasonable Restriction: Degradation of a pre-existing right.

Redistribution of Wealth: Theft for the purpose of implementing Marxist Leninism. This is an obsolete and maligned term. Instead use: Empower, Give Respect, or Allocate.

Religious Freedom: The freedom to tout any religion and inject it into public school curriculum, except Christianity.

Representative: The elected officials who formerly represented the people, but who now represent an agenda.

Reproductive Health: Murdering unborn babies.

Reparations: Payment for a crime committed seven generations ago, even if your family never owned slaves and opposed slavery, or if your kin has only been in America for three generations.

Republican: The political party that is pushing statism, but in less of a hurry. (See also: Democrat.)

Respect: Paying Tribute.

Revenue: Theft, by any means possible.

The Rich: Anyone who works hard and saves part of what they earn. (See also: Hater, Privileged and Oppressor.)

Rights: Our constituents' rights to Free Stuff.

Right Wing/Right Winger: Anyone more conservative than Chairman Mao.

Safety: More government. (Such as: Airline Safety, Gun Safety, Highway Safety, etc.)

Say No To Drugs: Say Yes To Some Legalized Drugs.

Sell Out: See Uncle Tom.

Second Amendment: An obsolete part of the Constitution that protects the National Guard's right to keep weapons.

Senate: The elected body that once represented the states, but who now represent an agenda.

Separation of church and state: Exclusion of Christianity from schools. (But not Islam, because it is trendy.)

Share The Wealth: See: Redistribution of Wealth

Situational Ethics: Abandoning ethical and moral values.

Sliding Scale: Charging higher fees to the people who work hard, and less for people who don't work at all.

Sniper Rifle: Scoped deer rifle.

Social Contract: Big government, more government, higher taxes.

Socialism: Obsolete, soiled term. Do not use. Use "Fairness:, "Empowerment", ,or "Investment" instead.

Social Justice: Wealth redistribution.

Social Responsibility: Abandoning personal responsibility and signing up for the Free Stuff.

Social Security: The promise to pay people money that doesn't exist, in perpetuity.

Social Security Trust Fund: A nonexistent pool of money that has been promised in perpetuity.

Sovereign Citizens: Those whackos who dare to believe that they have rights that cannot be violated.

Special Interest Groups: Conservative companies that dare speak up, or contribute to political campaigns. (Does not apply to liberals who do the same thing.)

Special Needs: Kids that we want to give special or individualized instruction that we aren't willing to pay for.

Sporting Firearms: The humble-looking guns that we haven't tried to ban yet.

Stakeholder: Anyone who wants More Free Stuff.

Statistical Anomaly: How we dismiss any statistics that are embarrassing.

Stimulus: Handing out money that was either taxed or created out of thin air.

Streets, The: More accurately: Your house or Your bedroom closet. (As in: "Get guns off the streets.")

Survivalist: Anyone we dislike who lives outside of city limits, or who had "survival" training (such as that given to all Boy Scouts.)

Sustainable: A Government Program or industry propped up by the Government that can be sustained, ad infinitum, only with taxpayer funds.

Talking Point(s): Our agenda, cozily wrapped up in soothing terms, delivered to our friends in the media, for delivery to the sheeple.

Taxes: Money, coerced under threat of force and under color of law, that we we take from The Privileged to implement our agenda.

Tax Loophole: Any legal way to avoid being robbed too badly, as used by literate people (i.e. those who can read Tax Code.)

Tax Refund: Giving you back part of what we incrementally stole from you, and making you feel joyful for getting it.

Tea Bagger: Anyone who dares to speak out against the agenda. See also: Hater, Oppressor, The Rich.

Tenth Amendment:An obsolete part of the Constitution that was never intended to prevent the preeminence of the Federal Government and its Programs.

Tolerance: Toleration of our agenda. (Tolerating anything else is intolerable Hate Speech.) A key goal of Tolerance is silencing anyone who disagrees with out Agenda. That is not tolerated.

Too Big To Fail: Too Cozy to Prosecute.

Treasury Department Officials: Former stock brokers, who now "regulate" other stock brokers.

Ultraconservative: Any conservative who finds a media platform.

Unfair: People who work harder earning more than those who don't.

Urban: High crime area.

Uncle Tom: People of a darker skin tone who don't unquestioningly adhere to the statist agenda.

Underprivileged: Anyone who votes for a living rather than works for a living.

Undocumented Immigrant: Illegal Alien, future registered Democrat.

Union Shop: An employer that in the name "freedom of association" refuses to hire anyone who doesn't want to associate with their union.

Universal Background Checks: Universal Gun Registration. (And leading to Universal Gun Confiscation.)

Victim(s): Poor, inner-city People of Color who are seen as suffering any offense, either real or imagined. This term does not apply to rich White or Asian people, even when they are killed or when their livelihoods are wiped out.

War on Terror/Drugs/Poverty/Ex Cetera. Excuse for bigger government.

Weapons Cache: A gun collection consisting of more than three guns.

Welfare: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul a Living Wage, whether he wants to work, or not.

We Owe it to Ourselves: You owe it to us, or we'll throw you in prison for tax evasion.

White Guilt: A time travel metaphor for people in the present somehow causing the wrongs of their Great-great-great-grandfathers, or for people of the same era who were no kin to them whatsoever.

White Hispanics: People with Spanish surnames, regardless of skin tone, who make more than $100,000 per year. (See also: Oppressor.)

White Male. The Devil. Unless he is a registered Democrat, but even then, he still must have White Guilt and support Affirmative Action and Reparations, as penance.

White Male Value System: Antiquated adherence to hard work, property rights, morality, etc. See also Bitter Clingers.

Windfall profits: Any profits, if earned by the wrong company.

Win the future: Create more Programs

Workers: The children or grandchildren of people who once worked, but who now watch TV and collect Free Stuff.

Working Poor: People who haven't yet received enough Free Stuff or reached the status of Community Leader.

Voluntary: Mandatory, under threat of force and under color of law.

You didn't build that: You DID build that, but we'd like to tax most of it away from you, and give it to someone who lives in Public Housing and uses his EBT card to party at strip clubs.

Youths: Gang members.

Zero Tolerance: Not allowing anything we don't like (e.g.: Smoking, 32-ounce sodas, Hate Speech, etc.)

Note: Permission to reprint or re-post this copyrighted piece by any method (printed or electronically) is granted as a long as it is not altered in any way and attributed to SurvivalBlog.com, with a link.

On a daily basis I hear from many SurvivalBlog readers with a variety of questions. Most of these have to do with wilderness survival, or weapons for hard-core survival. Rarely do I hear from folks who think in terms on city survival. Seeing as how a large portion of the population live in urban areas, I'm always stumped, that the readers, don't have a lot of questions about urban survival. Many readers that I hear from live in big cities, and they always have questions about bugging-out to the wilderness. Hmmm!!!!
I was born and raised in Chicago, one of our biggest cities in the USA, and I happen to know a thing or two about urban survival, in many forms. To be sure, I never went looking for trouble, but it always seemed to find me - ever since I was a little tyke. I guess maybe that's why I got into the martial arts when I was only about 15 or 16 years old - I wanted a way to defend myself with just my hands and feet. To be sure, the martial arts can aid you in urban survival, or survival on the battlefield, if you are willing to be a serious student and understand that it takes years to master any style of martial art.
Unfortunately, many big cities, also have the most restrictions on what you can use to defend yourself with on the mean streets. Many places won't allow you to carry a firearm - California, is one place that comes to mind. Additionally, many large cities have some tough laws regarding the carry of knives - some have blade restrictions, as to how long of a blade your pocket knife can have. Many have outlawed automatic folders - switch blades, if you will - falsely believing they are some how deadlier than some other type of folding knife. To be sure, I can draw and open most folding knives with the flick of my wrist, much faster than someone can draw and find the button on an automatic folder to get it opened - go figure? In my home state of Oregon, automatic knives are legal to carry, so long as they aren't "concealed" and therein lies some confusion as to how you can carry an automatic folder. So long as any part of the knife is showing - as with a pocket clip, with the knife in your pants pocket the knife isn't concealed. However, you can also carry an automatic on your belt, in a belt sheath, and it isn't considered concealed - confusing to say the least. And, they are many police officers in Oregon, who mistakenly believe automatic folding knives are flat out illegal to own and use.
I heard about the Inner City Survival Pencil, that is available from US Tactical Supply.
and I have featured some of their other products on SurvivalBlog, and I've heard from many readers, how happy they are with the products and the customer service, too. I've personally been dealing with US Tactical Supply for some time now, and know they carry the best of the best in their product line-up, and their customer service is one of the best in the business in my humble opinion.
So, what do we have with the Inner City Survival Pencil? Well, first of all, it actually isn't a pencil, it only looks like one. It looks for the all the world like a drafting pencil - a high-quality one, at that. The Inner City Survival Pencil looks just like any other regular pen or pencil when it is clipped to your shirt pocket or pants pocket. However, what we have is a spring-loaded steel rod that has a very sharp point on the end - the business end! The pointed rod comes out of the pencil with the push of a button - on the end of the pencil, and it comes out of the pencil with authority, too. It locks firmly in place, with no fear of the rod failing you when you need it most. The entire pencil is top-quality inside and out, and not to be confused with cheaply made imports from overseas.
The pointed rod is slightly over 4-inches long and appears to be made out of carbon steel, but don't quote me on that. The rod locks inside of the pencil's barrel until you need it and with a push of the button, it flies out and is locked in place by four claws. To retract the point, you simply push on the button and push the point against a hard surface to get it back into the barrel - please don't try to push the rod in with your finger - it will penetrate your finger in short order.
I did some penetration tests with the Inner City Survival Pencil - no, you can't place it against an object, push the button and the rod will penetrate into the object - that is not the idea behind this pencil...the spring isn't strong enough to make the rod fly out hard enough to penetrate something, other than a piece of paper. The concept behind this device is that with the push of a button, the pointed and heat-treated rod, can open in an instant and be used as a last-ditch weapon. Now, needless to say, this wouldn't be an ideal first-line of defense, however, it is better than an untrained fist to the eye. The rod never collapsed in any of my testing, and I stuck in into cardboard and wood. Now, it wouldn't penetrate very far into wood, but I have no doubt whatsoever, that the rod would easily penetrate its complete length into clothing and flesh if you had to use it in a self-defense situation - no doubt at all!
Of course, there will be locations where the ill-informed local legislators will have outlawed something like the Inner City Survival Pencil, so check your local and state laws before purchasing this item. However, the good news is, this isn't considered a knife, dirk or automatic knife any place that I'm aware of.
I would have given anything to have had the Inner City Survival Pencil when I was a kid in high school - having to transfer buses in a very bad neighborhood - more than once I was forced to defend myself against more than one attacker, and this "pencil" would sure have helped even the odds a bit. I can see this as a great item for the elderly and the handicapped, who are often targeted by lowlifes. It would also be great for women, and law enforcement officers - again, as a last-ditch back-up weapon. No one would give it a second glance if you had this in your shirt pocket - just don't attempt to board a plane with this - you will go to jail!
So, what we have is a high-quality, very well made product, that looks like any other pen or pencil, that can be used in urban areas as a last-ditch weapon, to help even the odds in your favor, and we are talking about urban survival - something many people don't think about - those in the big cities only think about bugging out to the wilderness - never once stopping to think that they are in the big city every day, and face any number of threats, where a simple item like the Inner City Survival Pencil can save their lives. Most folks think in terms or firearms and knives, and then don't even carry them...when they can be carrying the Inner City Survival Pencil on the streets they walk every single day!
The Inner City Survival Pencil is only $34.95, and that is a great bargain, that can help insure your survival in the inner city. They would make a great gift to anyone in your family, of course, within legal age - you wouldn't want to give this to your grade school children. However, if you have someone off to college, in the military or in law enforcement, this is a great gift, as well as a gift to yourself. Pick one up today, you'll thank me! - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio

JWR Adds: Reader Michael R. wrote to remind me that carrying a "writing pen knife" is a felony in California. In many counties in California it is almost impossible to be granted a CCW permit but oddly carrying a gun without a permit is a misdemeanor on the first offense in most cases. But carrying a dirk/dagger or stabbing pen is a felony on the first offense. See California Penal Code section 12020.

I just noticed while in COSTCO today that they have 6 gallon buckets of freeze dried food on offer. For $99, you get a one-month supply of 2100 calories a day, enough for one adult. I wonder how many people caught in the megastorm that hammered the East Coast recently had any food stored in, and how difficult it was for most folks to get provisions before the stores were stripped bare?  Just another reason to keep something one hand. For more variety, though, folks should really consider storing other stuff, as taught in your Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course. - S.J.

I don‘t know how things are in your country, but in most parts of Europe we have heating oil extra light for household use. This is red in colour and virtually identical with standard diesel fuel. The only differences are the colour and the taxation, because this is always very much cheaper than the vehicle fuel. For obvious reasons it is forbidden to use this as a vehicle fuel, but it is theoretically possible.

Heating oil can be stored in large quantities without any special permits, which is not the case for vehicle fuels. Containers for it are readily available and may already be on the property. It will arouse no especial comment if you order it and store it.
It can be ordered in summer at a lower price usually.

Since it is a common consumable there is no difficulty about rotating stocks, especially if you have an oil-fired heating.
The standard central heating will not function without electricity for the pumps, but there are plenty of individual stoves that can burn heating oil extra light.

If the world goes pear-shaped, then nobody is going to be checking the fuel in diesel vehicles to see that it is the correct one.
Diesel powered vehicles are generally more robust and will last longer with little maintenance, in addition to using less fuel in most cases.

Diesel vehicles will generally operate on old and dirty fuel, although the modern electronic systems are now leading to motors that are more fussy. The old style mechanical injection pumps needed clean fuel, but otherwise would keep running.
The cooling oil used in large electrical power transformers can also be burnt in a diesel engine, especially in summer. Please only remove the coolant from a transformer if you know it will never be switched on again, you are not likely to be the flavour of the month if you drain the coolant from a transformer that is in use! - Simon F., Across The Pond

JWR Replies: Diesel fuel stores for 10+ years if an antimicobial such as PRI-D is added.

Here in the United States, red dye is also used to differentiate "Off Road Diesel." This is to ensure that this untaxed fuel is not used in vehicles operating on highways. Depending on state law, dyed diesel is generally legal for use in farm tractors, off road vehicles, stationary engines, to burn in frost protection smudge pots, or for use as a substitute for home heating oil.

Most diesel engines work fine when burning dyed diesel or even home heating oil. (But neither is legal, when driving on highways.)

Be advised that some of the latest-generation Chevy and GM diesel engine vehicles have an optical sensor built into their fuel systems that can be stained and ruined by dyed fuel. I have read that they cost about $250 to replace!

Karen D.'s Tortilla Soup

Creamy Tortilla Soup

2 cans chicken
2 cans chicken broth
1 jar garlic salsa (we love Trader Joe's)
8-16 oz. heavy cream
Shredded cheese
Tortilla chips

Put chicken in pan and smash with fork.  Add broth and salsa.  Heat until soup is hot and simmering.  Add your desired cream and heat.  Spoon soup into a bowl; add crushed chips and cheese.

Chef's Notes:

This is a soup recipe the whole family loves.  It is quick and one that I can store many of the ingredients for.  Even the heavy cream I can substitute with canned milk, if needed.

Currently Available as Free Kindle e-Books:

Quinoa Recipes For Weight Loss: Health and Weight Loss Recipes

35 Slow Cooker Pork Recipes: Pulled Tenderloin Meals to Quick and Easy Pork Chop Recipes for Your Crock Pot

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

Check out the interview with Buck Adams (a USMC vet) who is providing jobs and wholesome locally-grown food in the Denver Metro area, in a program called Veterans To Farmers.

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Mike H. sent us a caching lesson learned: Cave full of weapons discovered by California deputies.

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Coming soon to your neighborhood? This is How the DHS Seizes Your Guns. On a tangential note, Brandon Smith asks: Gun Rights: Are There Any Peaceful Solutions Left?

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Darra mentioned: DIY Cannned Good Storage

 "Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible." - George Orwell

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I was reviewing some back issues of the Journal of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, published by the Wilderness Medical Society, and came across an article that I realized may be of use to preppers.  The article deals with the effects of food deprivation vs. the effect of sleep deprivation, on cognitive ability, decision making, and risk taking behaviors.  Here I will attempt to summarize the relevant findings and examine how these realities might inform our choices in prepping and responding to emergency survival situations. 

We have all been taught the easy to remember device for setting priorities for survival, right? You can't live more than 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food.  While this list has been examined and tweaked over the years to suit the uses and particulars of various groups, it remains essentially a fair, if imprecise rubric of priorities.  Except the food.  Studies have shown what reality has long known: when things get tough, people do not starve to death; they are killed or injured as a result of poor decision making (often related to trying to obtain food).  From a strictly starvation stand point, it takes far more than 3 weeks to die, but the poor decisions you make, whether in a moment of hunger or a prolonged calorie deficit, are much deadlier much faster.

Hunger isn't the only stressor facing the would be survivor (doesn't matter what the disaster--could be TEOTWAWKI, could be a wildfire/hurricane/tornado/ice storm/train derailment/etc.).  Lack of sleep,  whether caused by a need to remain vigilant (security threats, long haul driving) or insomnia related to mental stress or environmental stimuli, is a very real and very common reality in the days and even weeks immediately following disasters.  Back when I was a wild land firefighter, the feds would not let a crew work more than 18 hours in a stretch, no matter what the fire was doing, because after so many hours of constant wakeful work, reaction time was dulled to the point of being legally drunk (so I was told).  A crew must be taken “off the clock” and given a safe place to sleep, even if that place was 3 feet back of the fire line they had just been working on.  Better to let a crew sleep and loose a few steps on the fire, than push a crew past the point of fatigue and have to deal with the inevitable costs and casualties that come with high risk work and dulled perception, reaction time, and impaired decision making.    

Even if zombie squirrels ate every last protein bar and bit of hardtack in your BOB, you will not die of starvation on your 3 day (or 3 week) journey to safe haven.  What is much more likely to get you into trouble is making bad choices.  In light of this fact, the authors of this study wanted to determine which had the greater negative impact on decision making and cognition in civilian survival situations, lack of food, or a lack of sleep.  To do this, they examined the effect of food deprivation for 18, 42, and 66 hours and of sleep deprivation for 26 and 50 hours on blood glucose levels, simple and choice reaction time, memory/recall, risk taking, and navigating a computerized maze. 

The tests found that while food deprivation had the effect of increasing symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), these symptoms where increased even more when deprived of sleep.  Reaction time was slower for both groups (food deprivation and sleep deprivation) in both simple reaction time (how quick you can perceive a change and react) and in choice reaction, which forces a choice between three actions when prompted.  Sleep deprivation of 26 and 50 hours was found to have a more deleterious effect that either 18, 42, or 66 hours of food deprivation.  Memory and recall tasks were both negatively affected to nearly the same extend for both groups, with the exception of delayed recall, which suffered a much larger (almost 50%) decrease after 50 hours of sleep deprivation.  Visual/spatial learning was also negatively affected by both treatments, again with sleep deprivation causing a more dramatic worsening of ability to navigate a computer generated maze.  Finally risk taking behavior was affected very little by food or sleep deprivation, with the exception that 50 hours of sleep deprivation decreased subjects risk tolerance, and both food and sleep deprivation cause subjects to make risk taking decisions faster. 

So what does all this mean?  Essentially given the choice between expending energy to procure food or toward procuring sleep, we should prioritize the sleep.  This of course is easier said than done.  In fact the authors even acknowledged that even small amounts of food may make sleeping easier.  “Sleep hygiene”, as it is known among those who counsel people with insomnia, includes things like avoiding caffeine after noon, not watching TV while lying in bed, keeping a consistent pre-bedtime routine, having a quiet, dark, cool place to sleep, and going to bed at the same time each night.  Good luck finding any of those things in the hectic days immediately following a major disaster.  So what to do?  For starters, be aware of what environmental factors are affecting our mood and decision making process.  By being aware that perhaps it is not only the stupid knot on your tarp shelter you can't untie in the freezing rain at night that is causing your disproportionately angry feelings, but also the lack of sleep, you can compartmentalize the things that you can control and the things that you can't, fix or improve what can be fixed, and prioritize what is important in the long run (sleep!) over the task at hand (untying that knot).  Finally, it may be worth considering some supplements to your emergency sleep hygiene plan.

Chamomile has been used for centuries as an herb that calms and promotes sleep, and is available in tea form at the supermarket right now.  Melatonin is also available over the counter, and used on an occasional basis by many night shift ER nurses, among others.  Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is the most common histamine blocker used to treat allergies, but its' number one side effect is drowsiness.  In fact, the exact same drug in the exact some dose (diphenhydramine 25mg) is sold as an over the counter sleep aid, often cheaper than the same drug in a different bottle sold as an allergy blocker!  A brief warning, there is a very small percentage of people who have an opposite reaction to Benadryl and get a stimulant effect from the drug.  My mother is one such, who refuses to take it because she'll be up all night cleaning the house and unable to sleep.  Of course there are also prescription drugs available to promote sleep, and while their action is different than those listed above, they share the warning that they are NOT for long term use, as they can cause a dependency that makes is difficult to fall asleep without them.  But as a useful addition to a disaster medical kit, I would certainly give them strong consideration.  Among these, the benzodiazepines such as Ativan, Xanax, and Valium are common, useful, and powerful, and have the added benefit from a survival medicine chest perspective of being anti-seizure and anti-anxiety drugs.  The down side is that they are also commonly abused and are controlled substances, which makes it less likely that even a sympathetic doctor will prescribe them “just in case”.  You may have better luck with the non-benzo hypnotics such as Sonata, Lunesta, and Ambien, which have less potential for abuse and are meant for short term treatment of insomnia.  In any case, never mix these drugs with alcohol (even the over the counter drugs), use the lowest effective dose possible to avoid over sedation and grogginess the next morning, and use only after consultation with a doctor (Disclaimer: nothing in this article should be construed as specific medical advice).

This is not to discount the value of food, as negative effects with food deprivation on performance were noted in the study; it is just that they were not as dramatically negative as the effect of sleep deprivation.  This study also cites other, prior published works that illustrate the negative effects of combined food and sleep deprivation, which of course is a real possibility in a survival situation, This study however was attempting to discern the relative contribution of each to the noted reduction in capability.  The study also cites prior literature dealing with the effect of hypoglycemia on cognition and decision making, and found it to have a greatly deleterious effect.  Even though in this study sleep deprivation was found to increase hypoglycemia symptoms, this study intentionally excluded those with diabetes or other confounding health problems.  For that reason, food would certainly be a bigger priority for those with diabetes, hypoglycemia, or other metabolic conditions.  Finally, the study authors also acknowledged that even small amounts of food may improve endurance and be critically important to preventing hypothermia in cold conditions.  All of these are valuable considerations for preppers.  Better to know why we do the things we do, rather than blindly following by rote the prescriptions of a variety of experts. 

Through better understanding we can be better prepared for unanticipated circumstances.  In particular it is an easy temptation for the strong (well prepared) member of a group to shoulder a bit more of the burden, to take that longer shift on watch, to hike through the night, thinking after all that it is only a little sleep you are missing out on.  But bear in mind it is not just sleep and comfort you sacrifice, but rather it is your keen edge in decision making, reaction time, and spatial reasoning that you give up.  Knowing this, you may be better prepared to appropriately weigh all priorities should you ever be faced with such a situation.

For those with an interest in reading the entire article, it is available to the public in the WEM archive here.  In addition to this article there are a variety of others on all kinds of topics related to emergency, wilderness, remote, expedition, combat, and improvised medicine.  Be aware, the details of some of these articles may be difficult for those who don't speak “medical”, but the abstracts are generally very comprehensible.   The Wilderness Medical Society also holds several conferences each year, with expert speakers in many disciplines of medicine and hands on workshops on subjects like improvised splinting, litters, and orthopedic care, avalanche awareness and rescue, snow shelters and hypothermia prevention and treatment, and many others.  While these conferences are geared for medical professionals, there is no reason interested lay-persons (preppers) can't attend and learn alongside the pros. 

Finally, a very reasonable standard of medical training for peppers would be Wilderness First Responder, an approximately 80 hour program that goes much deeper into prevention, assessment, treatment, and ongoing management of the sick and injured with an emphasis on austere environments, limited resources, and improvisation.  Numerous schools with some excellent instructors include Wilderness Medicine Institute, Aerie, SOLO, WMA, and others.  A quick search online will locate a school near you.  Given that fracture/laceration/heart attack type “disasters” are much more common than EMP/hurricane/asteroid type disasters, the wide spread dissemination of a useful level of medical training makes all of us safer. 


Hi Jim;
I accidentally stumbled into a documentary film on Netflix which I am sure your readers would enjoy. It is titled Happy People: A Year in the Taiga. I'm not sure if it is available anywhere else.

The film critic web site RottenTomatoes.com gives this description:

With Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, Werner Herzog and Russian co-director Dmitry Vasyukov takes viewers on yet another unforgettable journey into remote and extreme natural landscapes. The acclaimed filmmaker presents this visually stunning documentary about indigenous people living in the heart of the Siberian Taiga. Deep in the wilderness, far away from civilization, 300 people inhabit the small village of Bakhtia at the river Yenisei. There are only two ways to reach this outpost: by helicopter or boat. There's no telephone, running water or medical aid, The locals, whose daily routines have barely changed over the last centuries, live according to their own values and cultural traditions. With insightful commentary written and narrated by Herzog, HAPPY PEOPLE: A YEAR IN THE TAIGA follows one of the Siberian trappers through all four seasons of the year to tell the story of a culture virtually untouched by modernity.

Filled with really interesting survival and self-reliant information (that is not the focus of the movie) but some of the ingenuity is really interesting. Well worth the watch. Thanks, - Jim E.

LDS Church increases some storage food useful shelf life estimates to up to 30 years. (Thanks to J McC. for the link.)

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Andre D. sent: The UN Braces for Stormy Space Weather

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B.B. sent this: Jim Rogers and Glenn Beck comment on the boom in Midwest farmland.

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Reader Chris P. in Colorado wrote to mention: On a family camping trip our camp was hit with a microburst from a storm that trashed our camp and damaged the poles on a couple of our tents. Tentpole Technologies Inc., of Vancouver Washington was able to repair three different types of poles for about one third the cost of replacing the poles, and the turnaround was only three days. Recommended! They have a friendly and helpful staff." Their e-mail address is: support@tentpoletechnologies.com.

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Frequent content contributor K.A.F. sent: Doctors Struggling to Fight 'Totally Drug-Resistant' Tuberculosis in South Africa

"Let brotherly love continue.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; [and] them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
Marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." - Hebrews 13:1-6 (KJV)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The 25% to 35% off sale for Mountain House canned long term storage foods at Ready Made Resources will end at midnight on Monday February 18th. Be sure to place your order before this sale ends!


Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

The biggest threat to this country right now is the Socialist/Progressive movement that includes the belief that we should not be “America the great, the free”; that we must take our appropriate place among the world leaders as equals, and that we must “spread the wealth” to ensure “social justice”.  In the end, this type of thinking leads to a one-world government under the leadership of a “benevolent” governing body who controls our every move.  This belief has undermined the security of this country and exposed us to those who would have us dead - the external threats.  The internal threat is the systematic weakening of our constitutional rights and the socialization of our country.  There is no other modern society on the face of the planet that has enjoyed the prosperity that Americans have enjoyed.  Our success was built upon the Constitution, freedom to prosper, the belief in God-given unalienable rights, and Christian principles.

The conclusion that I have come to, outside of water and food storage, arms, self-sufficient lifestyle, etc., is that we must learn to live a double life.  We must give every appearance of being good little citizens (sheeple), while secretly preparing to go underground, to disappear, and to live invisibly.  Why?  Because we could become targets, be labeled “terrorists”, or deemed a threat to national security, because we disagree with the direction our country is headed, because we speak out against government overreach.

I have spent many years, reading every book/blog/opinion on privacy and security and I am a security professional by trade.  I learned the most from J.J. Luna (his blog and book “How To Be Invisible”.)  The biggest challenge with living under the radar is that we live in an interconnected society, most transactions that we make are electronic, which means there is a paper trail.  We bank electronically, we communicate electronically, we buy and sell electronically (point of sale systems at grocery store, gas station, etc.).  Smartphones and technology services like OnStar (in our cars), make our geographical location “traceable”.  Our personal records including medical, educational, employment, familial, and financial records are all in electronic form and stored in vast databases.  Everything about us is known.  There is no hiding place, unless… we create a separate identity for ourselves.  I am not talking about illegal activities, fake ID’s, or anything of that nature.  I am talking about becoming largely invisible on the one hand, and being totally visible on the other.
Your visible self has a home and an address, is known in the community, works a job (hopefully), participates in community activities, and conducts itself normally.  This is the self that you will maintain.  Your invisible self has no name, no address, is not known outside of the closest family members and trusted individuals, uses cash, not credit, barters for daily needs, and lives as self-sufficiently as possible.  If you had to walk out your front door today, never to return, while making it appear that you are still actively participating in your life, how could you do that?

The process for living a double life is fraught with difficulty because we are upright, law abiding, Christian people.  Nonetheless, we must think about, study, and learn what other peoples in other countries have done to protect their lives and their families under despots, oppressive regimes, and under threat to life and liberty.  Thinking like this is foreign to Americans because we have enjoyed liberty and luxury for generations.

If you are not following me, let me recap the necessity of creating the alternate you.  There is the possibility that our government may become hostile and oppressive, demonstrated by the slow and consistent erosion of our constitutional rights.  There is the possibility that our country could be invaded by hostile forces.  It is also true, that we may, at some point in our lives, need or want to drop out of sight to protect our privacy due to a frivolous lawsuit or due to a stalker or just plain exhaustion from the rat race.  We must acknowledge that our true selves have no place to hide, due for the most part to advanced technology and electronic communications.  Dropping our true selves out of sight is problematic and garners attention.
We must keep our visible self visible, and our invisible self invisible.
The following are steps we can take to create our alternate life, while operating within the law (each step explained further following the list):
1. Create anonymous, cash-based, home based, side businesses (may include bartering).
2. Operate outside the banking system with your new alternate source of income.
3. Pay cash for any purchases relating to prepping, purchase in small, consistent increments.
4. Locate and lease or buy with cash alternate accommodations/housing, private-party, avoiding credit checks/paper trail.
5. Keep a low profile.
6. Register vehicles (must be paid off) in a company name.
7. Prep the alternate location, plan the route out, and practice the plan.

Here they are, in detail:

1. Anonymous, cash based, home based businesses.
Keeping food on the table and a roof over your head is the highest priority, correct?  Like most people, we have to work for a living.  If you have a current job, keep it and do well at it.  In your spare time, you must start several side businesses that operate on a cash basis.  You will report your net income to the IRS because it is the law, but you are not required to divulge what your business does.  For taxation purposes, your business entity is you.  If your business is primarily services related, you do not have to deal with the local sales taxing authorities if services are not taxed in your state.  If you must sell product, it is taxable.  If you are required to register your business in your state, county, city, do so, but do so carefully.  At no point in the process will you reveal your real name, real address, or provide any information that leads back to you.

Frank A. Ahern
has written a couple of books (if you can get over the profanity), that reveal how skip tracers (and anyone in law enforcement) track people down.  The information he provides will be invaluable when it is time for you to disappear from your visible life, or how to conduct your invisible life while maintaining your visible life.  Since skip tracing became an unpopular and illegal activity, Frank decided to reengineer himself into a privacy consultant.  His focus is on disinformation and I found the idea very tantalizing.  If I could put enough wrong information about myself “out there” (on the Internet, in the various national databases), I could be quite hard to find if I decided to disappear. 

Another useful book, Hiding from the Internet: Eliminating Personal Online Information by Michael Bazzell, offers step by step instructions to eliminating your personal online information.  A very simple method is to Google yourself, and try various incarnations of your name(s).  For each web site where your personal information appears, follow the instructions for removing your personal information.  Many data aggregators provide a way to do that online and some make it very difficult.  Set up a Google alert on your name, so that each time your name(s) appear online, an email will be sent to you.  In keeping with Ahern’s strategy, rather than remove yourself, request your information be modified to “more accurately reflect your information”.  Get the idea?

It is funny (and sad), but what you will need to do is think like organized crime does, without committing any crime.  Your cash based business will not have a web site, a Facebook page, business cards, a sign on the side of your car, a listing in the phone book, or any other vestiges of marketing.  How do you market it? Word of mouth. (More options, such as Internet Businesses later on). Yes, it is the underground economy that you will be entering. However, you will report your income and pay taxes on it, like a good citizen (sheeple). You will never accept a check – only cash, cold hard cash.

Sit down and do detailed skills assessment. What are you good at? My skillset is in technology, security, and privacy. I am in process of reviving a side business that helps individuals and groups use technology privately and securely. I wish I had skills in many homesteading areas, but I am trying to teach myself. A fair trade in my mind would be to trade my skills for your farm fresh meats and produce, and handyman services. For those who can pay for private security technology services, I would arrange for my services at very reasonable barter prices. After all, I do not expect the top dollar consulting pay I make in the “real world” in exchange for complete privacy and cash. In a bartering economy, the price is determined by the demand. Right now, I see very little concern among individuals as to their online privacy and security. The demand will come when the time is right. Suffice it to say, at some point you will need to communicate using the Internet in a completely anonymous way. You will want to erase your Internet footprints and fingerprints; you will want to request deletion of your information from public and private databases, you will want your home computers safe from prying eyes, and highly sensitive electronic information safe from disclosure or confiscation, and you will want to be able to circumvent government sponsored censorship of Internet resources. Unless you plan on using carrier pigeons, smoke signals, or plan to never again communicate with your family, this is a skill you must have.
Is an Internet business the right thing for you? It is if you can manage the complexity, security, and privacy components of it.

An anonymous Internet business requires a wide variety of skills, mostly related to technology. It is possible to create one in an anonymous and secure fashion, but it is not easy. You will need to consider such things as web hosting offshore, out of U.S. jurisdiction. However, even then, transborder communications are monitored by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, so why make your web site a target of suspicion by offshoring hosting? It would be better to use a local hosting company and retain control over your web site security and data, or host your own equipment (not from your home – yes, it gets complicated). Either way, there is a lot to understand, think about, and pay attention to. If you used PayPal (recommended) for payments via your web site, PayPal will verify you are who you say you are when you open an account. PayPal also requires a verifiable bank account for you to access your cash quickly (instantly via ATM and several business days for bank transfers). In recent times, PayPal has started to insist on social security numbers and date of birth, especially if you try to use a PayPal account sans a bank account. In all cases, it would be very tricky indeed to keep your Internet business from pointing right back to you. You could go the BitCoin route, but I have not tried that yet, so I cannot advise. Unless you have the skills to set up a completely anonymous Internet business, do not do it.

Another option is to begin your new cash business behind the doors of your existing business. Isn’t that what organized crime does? The only legality concern is income and taxes. If you keep it clean, legal, and safe, it shouldn’t be anybody’s business what you do in your own space, owned, or leased.
The goal is to create alternate revenue streams “off the public books” and out of the public eye, so if you have to walk away from your real job, you won’t starve.

2. Operate outside the banking system
Operating outside the banking system is extremely difficult. If you work for a large employer, like I do, paychecks are auto-deposited. Even the Social Security Administration is requiring recipients to provide a bank account for funds deposit. It used to be that SAR (Suspicious Activity Reports) were only created by a bank when a $10,000 or more cash deposit was made, but I heard recently through the law enforcement grapevine, that even $5,000 and as little as $3,000 cash deposits are being tracked and reported by your bank. If you think your bank account is yours, it’s not. It’s the bank’s and they are being called upon to report more and more details about cash transactions (to the FBI). The only solution is to keep your cash “at home”. There is plenty written on survivalblog about how to hide cash. J.J. Luna also offers a book and advice on how to hide cash.

I have tried numerous times to operate on a cash basis and I have found it extremely difficult in our modern society. Take a simple example, like filling your gas tank. I’m used to swiping at the pump and when the weather is cold, I don’t like walking “all the way” over to the main building, going inside, waiting in line, to pay the cashier, walking back to the truck, etc. Wow. We have become so spoiled, and we are accustomed to convenience. I’ve tried to use cash for grocery store runs that include stocking up, and find that I filled my cart with more than I had the cash to pay for, so I swiped the card. Living on a cash basis requires extreme discipline. No more Internet purchasing (my favorite!), no more plastic. The only way to keep your private life private is to live on a cash basis. However, I am not advocating a total cash based life. Your public life needs to remain normal looking and your bank account transactions need to appear normal. Your private (invisible life) needs to utilize cash. Keeping the two separate is where the extreme discipline comes in.

Basically, you will have to earn cash from an alternate cash based business, and you will have to purchase items using cash. This is inconvenient. In order to avoid suspicion, don’t buy bulk all at once. Recall earlier last year when the FBI issued the “ Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities”, part of the “Communities Against Terrorism” program – someone’s really bright (read stupid) idea, that gives the federal government a basis to target ordinary citizens and classify them as terrorists. Google it. You will be aghast at the list of ordinary activities that are being classified as “potential terrorist” activities.

Here’s how I decided to attack this problem of buying bulk, I slowly increased my normal shopping routine to include bulk items, so that over time, my normal purchasing habits have remained consistent. I shop at a Super Wal-Mart (great place for bulk items at low cost). I don’t order emergency supplies over the Internet. I don’t walk in and make a several thousand dollar purchase. I know this sounds really ridiculous, but we are being watched.

Perhaps someone just needs to pay you by check and you agree to accept it (this applies only to low denominations). Don’t think you can go to that person’s bank and cash it at the teller window without some effort. I tried this once and was asked for a fingerprint, ID, and was charged a $5 fee, and the teller stared at me and was rude (the check was for $1,000). Just stick with cash.
If you need to get cash from your checking or savings account in order to have cash on hand, start by making it a habit of withdrawing small amounts of cash at the ATM, slowly, over the course of time – payday would be a good day to target – everyone takes out a little money on payday. Don’t show up at the bank and withdraw thousands of dollars at any one time. Isn’t this ridiculous?

3. Pay cash for any purchases relating to prepping, purchase in small, consistent increments.
I know it feels good to make that bulk food purchase online and have it shipped to your home or alternate address in unmarked boxes, but that purchase is traceable to you and puts you on the “potential terrorist” watch list, right? If you have already done it, don’t worry about it. Moving forward, don’t do it again. You may have to start planning mini vacations to visit suppliers and pay cash for your purchases. Try to purchase in prepper friendly states, such as Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. My tact has been to stock up incrementally during regular purchases. I established a pattern of purchasing over the past two years that allows for stocking up while appearing to be the usual shopping. While some have advised purchasing outside your area where you are known, I prefer shopping at my local Wal-Mart Superstore where the cashiers are friendly local people used to my dragging two full carts through the registers every other week. I don’t call attention to my purchases by doing “extreme couponing”. I make small talk with the cashier and ensure that I mention how relieved I am to be able to do my monthly shopping on one trip, how expensive teenagers are, along with other seemingly useless conversation. It’s a good idea to not be overly friendly, but polite and engaging. Ask the cashier how his or her day is going while your purchases are mindlessly scanned through.

4. Locate and lease or buy with cash alternate accommodations/housing, private-party, avoiding credit checks/paper trail.
This has been the most difficult objective for me personally. I do not have the financial means of buying suitable property outright (cash) in addition to my primary residence. The only option for me is to “lease vacation property” from a private party.  J.J. Luna has excellent advice on how to lease anonymously using cash. He suggests making a larger than normal cash deposit with the private party owner (you will not go through a realtor or property management company) in exchange for anonymity. Use any excuse you want to ensure the landlord understands your need for privacy (abusive ex-spouse, stalker, high pressure/high visibility sensitive position, etc.). You will always pay with a cashier’s check. If the Landlord wants to see your ID, you offer your passport as proof of citizenship, not your driver’s license or other documentation, and you never offer your social security number or consent to a credit check. References are the easy part. The best way to get this accomplished is to take vacation time to explore the various areas of interest and inquire in person at the local establishments (coffee shop, supply store, etc.). You could order the local paper, but make sure you have it sent to your P.O. Box rather than your home address. Little towns are also well known for their enjoyment of gossip. As long as you take care of the property and are seen to be vacationing there frequently, are friendly and helpful to the locals, your intermittent presence should not be a problem.

5. Keep a low profile.
This is more difficult for some than others. I have an introverted personality and I naturally keep a low profile. I’m a geek. My husband, on the other hand, is in Sales and he is extroverted, enthusiastic, popular, active, and involved in the community. Everyone in our community has his personal cell phone number. Coaching him over the last several years to “tone it down” has been difficult. My advice is: dump the expensive watch, fancy car, name brand clothes, and shoes, cool it on the aftershave, and stop making our home the hub of every get together. Hmmm. I sound very bah humbug, but we need to divert the entertaining to some neutral territory, like the local pub or restaurant.  

Get off Social Networking permanently, never to return.
Or alternatively, create the “fake you” Facebook page and post inane, funny, silly things, being careful to keep pictures of yourself and family members out of Facebook’s databases, never let anyone in your community know where your retreat property is, don’t post pictures of it on Facebook, comprende?    One of the biggest mistakes we all make in our technologically advanced society, is forget that our technology is our undoing.  Every “word we’ve spoken” (in email, on the web) is recorded somewhere and most likely resides in a database somewhere.  If the government really wanted to hunt you down, it would be easy – you gave them all the information they wanted by emailing a family member, posting on Facebook, or starting a blog.  

At a recent family gathering, we had a huge discussion about how we needed to stop discussing “prepping” on e-mail.  This is so hard to do.  We are geographically dispersed and email is soooo easy to use.  We only see one another a few times a year.  I don’t know the answer.  

We made a huge decision to close our small, local business this year. This will give us the flexibility to leave when we need to. The Pros and Cons were weighed over and over and over. The Cons won. We have cited “health” reasons for closing our business.  We agreed to make the time to take small trips throughout the year to investigate properties we could lease. We will treat our time together as mini-vacation/honeymoon time.

6. Register vehicles (must be paid off) in a company name.
If you ever had to leave Dodge, it would be a very good idea to leave in a nondescript vehicle that was registered in a private company name, not your own name. It is important that the vehicle be in good working order so as not to arouse suspicion or the attention of the highway patrol. Now that the highway patrol makes use (in many states) of hi-tech scanners, they don’t have to pull you over to “run your plates”. It’s done automatically as soon as your vehicle is in range. If, for some reason, you found yourself on an “undesirable prepper” list, it would be wise to ensure that your escape vehicle was not linked to you personally in any way. Now, of course, if you get pulled over, you have to show your driver’s license. Some people are quite stubborn about handing over a driver’s license when being pulled over, but I suggest to you that if you want to be on your way quickly, cooperate with “license and registration please”. It’s easy to explain that the car is a “company car” and you and your family are going on vacation to Whereverville. Always make sure the lights are working all the way around and for gosh sakes, don’t speed, or do anything stupid, like flip off a trucker, to garner attention. J.J. Luna offers help and advice on his blog as to how to register your vehicle in a private LLC.

7. Prep the alternate location, plan the route out, and practice the plan.
No need for any embellishment here – the expert content is on SurvivalBlog. If you really had to leave your home for an extended period of time, make sure your preparations have included securing the home you have left behind. My plan is to change the way we live slowly (but quickly, if that makes sense), to include long “vacation trips”, so that we spend time at our retreat property at least several months out of the year to begin with, and extend that duration over time, so that it seems quite natural to be gone frequently. As far as our friends in the community would know, we decided to take life a bit easier and really enjoy our retirement. Other “excuses” you could propagate are “my husband/wife took a job in Whereverville (not your retreat location please!) and the only way we can make this work for our family is to spend time in both places”. Alternatively, how about, “oh my mom and dad are not well and we committed to spending more time with them”. On the other hand, “life is short, we are out having fun and seeing the world!”.  

A note to those who are averse to telling a lie:  If the Gestapo were banging on your door, asking for the whereabouts of a family member, would you tell a lie to protect their life?  Think about it.  Get in the habit of providing lots of information without providing any information at all. Don’t mention the name of the town where your retreat is, don’t write it down, don’t put it in an email, on Facebook, don’t search the Internet for properties from your home computer, etc. Keep it in your brain and don’t ever keep a paper trail, electronic or otherwise. When you are at your retreat location, you will be using cash not your bank card. Your bank card transactions are perhaps the single most effective way of tracking you down. Don’t use it to fill your tank when you are on the road. Frank A. Ahern shares some interesting stories on this topic in his book. He suggested creating fake paper trails in locations quite far from your retreat location. His suggestions included putting in an application for a rental apartment, replete with credit check (to create a false record), purchasing small items at a local store, signing up for telephone service, and even opening a checking account at the local bank, only to abandon completion of the above tasks. These actions create the illusion that this is where you are going to move to. Meanwhile, you are on the other side of the country, anonymously, prepping your retreat.

In conclusion, my twist to surviving what is coming, is to live a double life, and slip out undetected when the time is right. The detail required to live a double life is overwhelming, but start small and try to work through each major category a little bit at a time.  Keep in mind at all times that we are being watched, Big Brother is here, and you never know when your name will show up on an “undesirable” list.  Be safe and Godspeed.


I have some advice for your readers on legal research. While it is not as robust as Lexis or Westlaw, Google Scholar is easier to use and should be more than adequate for people to find and read the cases they are looking for.  In addition to being able to directly access cases by the citations you provided, users may also search databases containing primary authority for both federal and state court opinions in the same manner they would do an internet search on Google or Bing. Another nice feature of internet research, as opposed to using a law library, is that you can access unpublished cases. While unpublished cases are not binding authority, they are often a good indicator of how that particular jurisdiction currently feels about a given issue.- Attorney D.B.

Mr Rawles,
 I have had to get off of coffee several times for health reasons and have found that a couple of B Complex vitamins or a non-caffeine energy drink like FRS really helps to ease the pain and symptoms of withdrawal ... of course I had a five cup a day habit, not a 5 pot a day habit like some of your readers indicated.

I also want to thank you for printing the article several months ago about getting off of anti-depressants. My wife was on Effexor, one of the most notorious ones, and we were able to slowly wean her off of the drug by using some of the supplements and herbs indicated in the article and others I was able to research. Withdrawal symptoms for Effexor can last more than a year, but with a lot of prayer and some good nutrition she was able to get back to normal in a few months. - Ernie M.

Mr. Rawles,
I have to make a comment about information in this article that is just wrong and I have seen others wrongly assume on the internet before.

There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to keep metal within the cage from touching the conductor that makes up the Faraday Cage. The reason is that the cage (assuming it has been constructed without gaps or holes, as it should be) forms an "INFINITE" barrier between the electric fields inside and outside of the cage. No electric field can go through the cage because they are dispersed across the surface and do not propagate through. The inside and outside are electrically isolated from each other.

As an experiment, take a radio that is receiving and you can hear the music, wrap it in aluminum foil and make sure the antenna is TOUCHING the metal. As soon as you make a completely enclosed cage, the radio will go to static because the waves CANNOT reach the antenna. The charge is only on the outside.

People falsely believe things cannot touch the side because the cage is a conductor. As I have explained, when constructed correctly, the outside and inside are in isolation.

Just to qualify my responses, I am an electrical engineer who studied electromagnetics in school and I work in the power industry. I did not list the equations to prove the material, but I can send detailed information about why electric fields do not go through conductors, only propagate on the outside. Or, you can pickup any introductory electromagnetics textbook and read about Faraday's experiments and equations and other information for yourself from people who are a lot smarter than us.
Thank you, - Cason R.

Several readers sent this: Washington state bill would make almost all gun owners criminals. Gee, this sounds like a great way to spur all of the Washington counties east of the the Cascades to break off and form a new State of East Washington. There has long been a deep cultural divide between east and west and a formal split was formally considered as recently as 1995. And of course partition of states isn't unprecedented. (e.g. Maine and West Virginia.) This is spelled out in Article IV, Section. 3, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution. The eastern counties of Oregon should do likewise, to form a new State of East Oregon. The people in the eastern halves of both states have precious little in common with the soggy, liberal counties to the west. The disparity of population has meant that the eastern counties have long been lorded over by the western counties. In both cases it would be good riddance to bad rubbish. ONTW, it is conceivable that the counties in the eastern halves of both states could unify to become, say... East Cascadia. Of course, I'm on record as being biased.

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Reader R.B. sent this: Thirty-five Water Conservation Methods for Agriculture, Farming, and Gardening. Part 1.

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Bill tweaks law on SC's 'unorganized militia'

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Emeryville, California Police Chief Ken James illogically spouts statist, quasi-fascist rhetoric.

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Meteor strike injures hundreds in central Russia

"These six [things] doth the LORD hate: yea, seven [are] an abomination unto him:
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness [that] speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren" - Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV)

Friday, February 15, 2013

The 25% to 35% off sales for Mountain House canned long term storage foods with free shipping and bonuses will end tonight (Friday, February 15, 2013) at Safecastle and on February 18th at Ready Made Resources. Be sure to place your order before these sales end!


Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Our story begins enslaved to a job in a middle-class suburb and ends mortgage-free in the Missouri Ozarks with us making ambitious strides toward off-grid living and growing all we eat. Unlike Jed Clampett’s kinfolk who urged luxurious city life, ours would have warned us to stay put, keep our jobs and fit in – if only they had known what we were up to.

If you dream of “someday” leaving your weekly paycheck for a more rewarding, self-reliant country life, but think you must wait (because of your “secure” job, societal expectations or whatever else is holding you), consider how we did it. With one $12 an hour job and no savings, we bought a sturdy old house on 30 acres in the woods, now work from home and have no mortgage. Today, begin your dream, even if you only sketch a rough draft. Truly decide and visualize what you want. By continuously meditating on them, dreams become reality. Ours did. Yours can, too.

After attending a free local preparedness class in 2009 and reading James Howard Kunstler’s “The Long Emergency,” my husband and I decided our rural subdivision was dangerously close to 200,000 potentially starving, looting inhabitants. We discussed moving further into the country, but weren’t sure how to do it. At the end of any week, we didn’t have two extra nickels to rub together. Or, as my mother would say, “What are you going to buy it with? Buttons?”  Well, that’s precisely what we did.

Reasons to leave

Despite our humble financial situation, we decided to seek more secluded property. First, in a worst-case scenario, at 25 miles from Missouri’s third-largest city, we were within realistic walking distance of thousands of people who had not prepared for disaster of any sort. Although generous, especially my husband, who is happiest helping others attain self-sufficiency, we feared our 5-gallon buckets of dried beans, rice and oatmeal would vanish overnight in a catastrophe.
Equally important, we dreamed of a meaningful life away from traffic, toxins, cell towers, TV, Wi-Fi and electronic everything. Because we enjoy planting, tending, harvesting and eating organic food, we wanted more space to do so. We wanted clean air and water, plenty of firewood to cut and chemical-free wild edibles. Nearing our 50s, we wanted simply to enjoy life, strengthening our relationship as we worked side by side to sustain ourselves.
Once content on our fenced, three-acre paradise with wind- and solar-energy systems, greenhouse, raised-bed gardens galore, fruit and nut trees, berry bushes and a disaster-resistant home, our serenity faded as the economy plummeted. Our fence did well to prohibit rabbits and deer from ravaging our gardens, but could not keep out the most lethal invaders – cold, desperate and hungry humans.
Deciding to leave was easy. Without any savings or potential income in a remote area, however, crafting a plan took ingenuity. In the face of criticism, skepticism and rejection, we proved it is possible. We hope to inspire others to find their way, too, out of Dodge – or Detroit, Dallas and Denver.

Where does the money go?

Although always living modestly, shopping in thrift stores, buying used vehicles instead of new, and making or restoring most of our needs, we were like many Americans working to work. We had no debt, just typical utility bills, insurance, gasoline, taxes and grocery costs. Since we grew much of our own food, had no mortgage and generated a portion of our electricity, our expenses were considerably less than most. Yet, we had absolutely no savings.
It seems, no matter what a family’s income is, living expenses equal that amount with nothing left over. Throughout my own lifetime, if I made $10 and hour, I spent $10 an hour. If I earned $20 an hour, I spent $20 an hour, and so on. Working away from home often demands so much energy and absence that it seems grueling to ponder an alternative. Eventually, I recognized how my desk job exhausted me, yet, I came alive clearing brush or planting potatoes. We had to find a way out of the trap.
We wanted 20-50 wooded acres with a small fixer-upper house, but how could we afford that? Online real estate searches revealed the remote property we sought required at least $100,000. Thus began a tumultuous roller coaster ride. Following the trodden path, we went to the local bank to inquire about a short-term mortgage. Our home and property surely had as much value as what we sought, right?

Unfortunately, we could not sell our property first. We still needed a place to sleep, store things and grow food. In our view, the super-efficient home my husband built seven years earlier would sell for the same as what we hoped to find. Banks, however, prefer a sure thing. There was no guarantee our property would sell as quickly as we thought. (It ended up taking two years to sell our home.) We also learned banks lend only a portion of a property’s value, not the entire amount.
Despite facing many obstacles, producing reams of evidential documents (some a decade old) and being turned down by several lenders, we persisted. Not everyone denied us, as abundant crooks agreed to finance our mortgage with inflated rates and nonsensical fees. Finally, we found a reasonable financier three counties away willing to work with us.

Searching for property

With approval for $120,000, we eagerly began hunting for our dream property. Like greenhorns, we started by viewing multi-listings on the Internet. Online searches now are easy, as buyers can sort properties according to price, size, location, acreage and more. However, as we learned later, web listings don’t include the best deals, such as foreclosures or “absolute” auctions, where sellers will accept any bid, no matter how outrageous.

Often, banks or realtors will hold huge auctions, selling possibly 100 parcels in a single day. At a recent local auction, a lakeside lot sold for a few hundred dollars and a former auto repair shop with some tools and equipment netted $5,000. Buyers may visit the properties a few days before the auction. Still, such purchases are riskier and may even sell at higher prices than traditional sales. For more information on finding foreclosures, visit http://homebuying.about.com, which has links to many sites to get you started.

Attending a county sale on the courthouse steps for a property being auctioned for unpaid taxes is another way to nab inexpensive land, but not a good choice if you immediately want to occupy it. Many times, the owner has a year or two to make good on the tax debt to regain the property, in which case the buyer is out all sweat equity invested. Check with the county clerk before bidding.

Since I worked full-time, my husband assumed the tedium of searching online and calling about properties. We visited the first four properties together on a sunny Saturday in September 2009. The sites were vastly different and spread over a 100-mile radius. We met up with one agent to tour a two-story, rundown home with moldy walls and saggy floors that was filled from basement to roof with garbage. Funny, it looked charming in the photos.

Next, we met another agent in a coffee shop who must have been late for an appointment, as he led us on a harrowing ride to see three other homes. We hit a buzzard, breaking a fog-light bracket, as we tried to keep up with the speedy agent on winding county roads. Something didn’t suit us with each of the properties – too open, dilapidated, populated, expensive, big, or whatever.

The land that I love

The next day, yet another agent showed us MY dream property. (Pay attention, ladies. This section is important.) Actually, my husband liked the property, too, and we made the 350-mile round trip to see it three times. Even though the 30-acre, $130,000 property had some issues (a water well shared with a neighboring cattle farm, freshly timbered woods, too close to the road, truckloads of junk to haul, and the house needed a new roof), we made an offer of $115,000 that was begrudgingly accepted by all parties.

The comfy two-bedroom 1960s ranch house had a full, finished basement and reminded me so much of the house I grew up in. There were several outbuildings including a large barn, mature fruit trees, vegetable gardens, a cistern and root cellar. Oh, the fun I’d have storing our produce. The picturesque property was on a dead-end gravel road, surrounded by neighboring woods, and had a creek running through one corner.

I absolutely adored the house and took pictures and measurements of every room, closet and hallway. I used graph paper to sketch our furniture placement in the house I was sure was ours. I printed photos of the house and land from every angle and taped them up everywhere so I could see them as I cooked supper, brushed my teeth and dressed for work. I even penciled us in arm-in-arm on the photos and sketches. I visualized us already there. I thought about it constantly and was positive the house was ours. More than once, I headed the wrong way down our hallway toward the bathroom at night, thinking I was in that house, the only house I would ever want, the only house I could ever love.

Gathering down-payment money

While we waited for the roof inspection, water test, termite inspection, employment verification, loan approval, land appraisal, insurance estimates and a host of other boring paperwork necessities before closing, we set out to raise our down-payment money. Since we couldn’t increase our wages, we tried selling unneeded items. I easily sold an ugly peach-colored 1986 pickup for $600 and an old car for another $500. We also cashed in our IRA for a whopping $350. It seemed galaxies from our $115,000 goal, but we opened a savings account and faithfully put every extra cent there. We rolled up our pennies and deposited them, too.

We sold my husband’s fancy Trek bike on Craig’s List for $300 and a small motorized cement mixer for$ 100. We even sold our kitchen clock on Craig’s List for $10. I actually did miss that after selling it, but only because I still needed to know the time.
Next, I suggested eBay as another selling source. My only experience there was buying a used camera five years earlier. Since I already had an eBay account, away we went. It took time to comprehend the listing rules, methods and fees, and how to calculate shipping, choose auction styles, upload photos and so on. We started with a pair of trendy walking shoes that were a gift to my husband. We acknowledged the shoes had been worn twice and didn’t expect to get much for them. Imagine our excitement as we watched the seconds tick away on the auction, netting us a dumbfounding $260 for used shoes! And, the buyer was pleased.

Cleaning out the closets

After that, our daily routine included exhuming stuff from closets, drawers and the shed to take pleasing photos of, vividly describe and then post, package and ship all over the country. We sent a few items to Canada and one to Australia, but learned international shipping is expensive. Another nuisance was writing feedback, but it’s intended to keep buyers and sellers honest. In all of our transactions, we received only one negative comment, which was for a Mexican peso made into a necklace. I had the necklace since 1974 and sold it for 99 cents, yet the buyer complained that it looked darker (or was it lighter?) in the photo.
Living simply, we had no electronics, video games or gadgets, so we weren’t sure how much we could assemble for eBay. It astounded us. After one particularly busy weekend, I counted $2,000 worth of goods piled on the couch, ready to ship. Many sales shocked us — $100 for a glass coffee percolator, $17.50 for a fishing lure, $450 for an antique jug that I’d been dusting for 20 years. Some sales made us laugh — $36 for a postcard I found tucked inside a used book, $5 for an antique no-name motel key and an average of $20 each for a dozen used industrial laser lenses. Another we still chuckle about is a broken pocketknife that looked something like a woman’s leg in a cowboy boot. We zoomed in on the cracked knife handle, described its imperfections and watched in amazement as bids reached $30.

This next admission may seem horrid, but here goes: I broke apart the coin collection I started as a child in 1970 and sold each coin (hundreds of them), while my husband cut the stones from his late mother’s jewelry and sold the gold. We sold my grandfather’s World War I army medals, wooden shorebirds my late father carved 30 years ago and family antiques. My husband removed the 1940’s studio portrait of his mother and aunts, and then sold the fancy, convex oval frame for $86 to an eBay shopper who collects frames. She even sent an extra $25 for us to have the frame professionally packaged. Grandpa’s medals sold for $200 and went to his hometown where they are now proudly displayed. Strangers reprimanded us by posting harsh comments on eBay, but we kept focused on our goal.

When our stash depleted, we stopped at an estate auction one cold, rainy day just to see if that would be profitable. We spent $8 and earned $250, but learned auctions consume too much time for our tastes, especially during gardening season. We paid $1 for a quart jar of old buttons that I sorted to sell. All over the living room, I set categorized bowls of sorted glass buttons, shell buttons, wooden buttons, military buttons, pearl buttons and colorful plastic buttons. I’d lay them out individually for the photo shoot (front, back and sideways), and then write tantalizing descriptions. “This lavender shell button would look especially lovely on a silk blouse” and “this sparkly faux silver button would be adorable on a jean jacket,” etc. Like most of the artifacts we sold, we didn’t know a thing about their value – and didn’t care. Our philosophy was: If we could not eat it, wear it or use is as a tool, we sold it.

Mistakes happen

We made blunders along the way as we learned the art of online selling. We hoped to save shipping costs on a heavy antique wall-mount telephone, so we sent it via U.S. Postal Service ground transport. It arrived broken. Insurance covered the buyer’s loss, but we were out shipping expenses. It was a shame the beautiful telephone lasted 100 years until we got hold of it.
Once, I forgot to check the correct shipping amount on a leather coat. It sold for 99 cents (minus eBay fees), but cost us $10 to mail. I also sent a carved wooden cow to the wrong customer and didn’t notice until the buyer inquired about the cow’s delayed arrival. I refunded the buyer and learned who mistakenly received the cow, but left it at that. In our experience, most buyers were courteous and honest. But, whew, was I ever happy when all our sales finally ended.

A year later, I hoped to meet like minded preparedness folks online and thought I’d start a thread (a first-time forum viewer or poster anywhere). I figured others would relate to how we parted with mawkish family trinkets to buy our homestead. Instead, I was scolded for admitting what we sold. The so-called survivalists called me “sick” and “immoral.” I made one reader “utterly sad.” I assumed I’d be among friends, but instead was called a freak living an 1800’s minimalist lifestyle of toil and discomfort. In my opinion, those “survivalists” placed too much value on sentimental possessions. Still, they made me feel awful for weeks. My advice here is to avoid those who do not agree with your dream.

I recently came across a photo file of our eBay items, and you know what? I did not wish for a single item back. We made our first eBay sale in late October 2009. By April 2010, pooled with our other gleanings, we amassed $10,000 in our savings account, a feat which later required explaining to our lender.

If I had known sooner, I’d have kept better records, but among the mountain of documents our lender required, I also had to clarify how our savings grew from $0 to $10,200 in five months. We sold more than 400 eBay items, some for merely 59 cents, so the itemization was quite lengthy. The bank needed assurance we were not depositing borrowed money (a few dollars at a time). It took days, but I finished the list in time to close on my dream property in mid-May. I withdrew $450 to appraise the property as the lender required. We also spent $600 on a homemade trailer to begin moving. I was ecstatic.

Talking it over

As the closing date neared, my husband began seriously reconsidering the purchase. While I was blind to the flaws with the house, barn, land, mortgage, water, creek, road, insurance and location, my husband was practical. I begged and whined; he pointed out the property’s drawbacks.
But, I love that basement, I said.
The well is across the road, watering a neighbor’s cattle, he said.
The area is beautiful, I said.
It’s too expensive, he said.
I’ll work two jobs to pay for it, I said.
I mailed off $450 for the appraisal. Days later, my husband called to cancel the deal.

That was it. We lost our appraisal fee and some earnest money, but I didn’t care about that. I was heartbroken. I took down the pictures I had taped everywhere. I told my husband to sell the trailer (he didn’t). I pouted and wouldn’t look at other properties or even talk about them. I accepted we would never leave the subdivision. So, listening to the neighbors argue, I planted the garden and moped. My husband resumed looking for our dream house. While I brooded at work, he searched, researched, made calls and visited properties. He placed a newspaper ad, seeking to trade our property for one in the woods. (The effort failed, but was worth a try.) Next, he called banks and realtors for foreclosures. He intended to spend half of what we were approved to borrow.
They’re all junk, I said.
He looked away.
I said: "We’re never going to find a decent place for less than $50,000."
He ignored me.

Just three weeks after canceling the contract on my dream home, my husband happened to reach a realtor getting ready to list a foreclosure for $44,000. My husband went to see the neglected little house (four years’ abandoned) and then learned another buyer also was interested. The bank asked each to submit a bid. After my husband described the property to me (I was speaking to him by then), I recommended he bid $54,000. He didn’t listen to me (again!) and bid something lower.
I still had not seen the property when my husband called me at work and said, “Well, we could have gotten that place for $54,000 … (my heart sank) … but … we … got it for $48,000!” Now, that’s just not funny.

The house is solid, custom built in 1966 with hardwood floors and a good basement, large shop, shed and woods. The first time I saw it, there were rats on the porch (which sent the realtor screaming), molted snake skins near the house and billions of ticks in the yard. I thanked them all for keeping the place safe for us.

A month later, it was ours. I still thank my stubborn husband for finding our dream house. Leaving the bank with our contract for deed, I drove through the area of my former dream property and discovered it was not the remote wilderness I envisioned, but a popular recreation area. For 40 miles, I was wedged in a river of boats and campers as I drove past canoe rental sites, campgrounds and liquor stores. Among other sad realities, the neighboring trees that I had loved were being logged.

We would need to work three jobs to pay for what I declared was the only place in the world I wanted. I believed we’d pay off that dream-home mortgage in a few months when we sold our house. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Selling the subdivision house took 18 months longer than we estimated and netted half of what we anticipated. After paying closing costs, we’d have made only a dent in the $115,000 mortgage I reasoned we could easily afford. Instead, we have a perfectly cozy house with no mortgage.
After almost three years, we fix things as we go and both love our little piece of the Ozarks. I left my arduous desk job and now help my husband at our home-based business. Our income is less, but we have more money. I don’t fret all night worried about my job, nor do I spend three hours a day in the car.

Perhaps, we were just lucky. I don’t know. But, I believe dreams do come true if one is willing to work for them. Looking back, it all seems so easy. Below is my elementary guide for finding your dream property.

So, you want to Get out of Dodge?

  1. Begin today, right this minute, by deciding what you truly want. Then, never stop thinking about it. Mull it over on the way to work; talk about it with your spouse; reflect on it in the shower. Visualize yourself already there.
  2. Do whatever it takes to pay off your debt. Begin by eliminating all unnecessary expenses no matter how trivial. Put every extra penny toward paying ahead on those loans.
  3. Look around your home and ask, “Do I need it? Do I love it? Does it make me money?” If you can’t honestly answer that an item does at least one of those three things, get rid of it. If you can, sell it. If you tried and can’t get a dime for it, then donate or recycle it. Just let it go. Clutter holds you back and is difficult to move. Clutter costs money.
  4. Once the debt is gone, start saving. Again, every penny counts. Each small sacrifice will put you closer to your goal more quickly. Believe me, you will never look back with regret and wish you’d spent more on cappuccino or cable.
  5. As your bank account grows, start looking for your dream property. Call banks and real estate offices to learn about properties in foreclosure. Check Craig’s List and other online sites for properties for sale by owner. Scour the classifieds and legal ads for auctions.
  6. Meanwhile, begin learning self-reliant skills. Visit the library for do-it-yourself books. Attend gardening and preparedness classes. Begin mastering at least one skill that would be useful as a barter item. Turn off the television and read books.
  7. As you shop for land, be realistic, not emotional. Visit the property many times, in more than one season if possible. Consider where you will work and shop. Ensure you have more than one source of water.
  8. Avoid the naysayers and form friendships with like-minded people.


Mr. Rawles
I would like to share with you an automated ("Bot") web site, that is currently in beta test, which hounds the Internet for current, in stock ammo.  It lists various calibers (5.56, 762x39, 7.62, 9mm,), brand, etc.  I discovered this when reading the Western Rifle Shooters Association blog.

Best Regards, - G.H.

Dear JWR:
After reading the post this morning on buried items, I would like to share a thought.

If you bury items in PVC pipe and use threaded fittings, you will have to use a pipe dope to seal out moisture.  If you do this, unscrewing the fitting is going to be an ordeal.  You would have to dig out an area big enough to swing a very large wrench if you have one.  Or you would have to dig out the pipe and put the pipe in a large vise if you have one.  Or cut the pipe in the ground or out.  Not the easiest thing to do.

I used a neoprene rubber cap manufactured by Fernco Inc. with a trade name of Plumbquick.  It is a plumbing item that a plumbing supply or hardware store should have or be able to order.  Mine is 8" and I think they go to 10".  I did glue a PVC cap on the bottom.  The Fernco cap fits over the pipe and is tightened with a hose clamp.  The 8" has two clamps.  All you have to do is dig out enough to get a wrench on the hose clamp nut and dig down about three inches around the cap to keep the dirt from falling into the pipe and be able  to put a shovel under the cap to pry it up.  Any small pry bar would work.

I inspected mine recently after being buried since 2008 and it appeared to be very dry except for a small Ziploc bag with a few coins that had some moisture in the bag.  We even had a small flood that had covered the pipe with water while buried.

When they start the gun confiscation, your readers are going to be looking for a way to hide their guns.  They may want to put the cap on their prep list along with the pipe, PVC cap and glue.  Obviously the metal items would have to be protected and apparently plastic bags are not a good idea. - T.M.


James -
When my beloved pet decided to pass on in the middle of winter, my secretary showed me a neat trick for winter digging fro those of us who live north of the 40th Parallel. 
1. Go home for lunch. 
2. Get a bag of charcoal from the shed, lay it on the ground where you're planning to dig.
3. Cut it open on the side and douse briquettes with lighter fluid. 
4. Light.
5. Go back to work.
6. Come home to a patch of backyard that's thawed well below the frost line.  I was digging up steaming dirt from two feet down.
My pet is resting well four feet under ground in a hole that was dug relatively easily in December. - B.F.B.

An old friend sent me a link to a series of videos of the March, 2011 earthquake (magnitude 9.0) in Japan.

   o o o

65.4 Million Gun Purchases Since Obama Took Office, 91% More Than Bush's First-Term Total. JWR's Comment: Oh, by the way, some of those background checks were for multiple gun purchases, so the real figure is probably somewhere closer to 70 million.)

   o o o

Michael Z. Williamson (SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large) mentioned a fascinating STRATFOR piece on embassy security

   o o o

Gun Owners of America (GOA) is urging folks to contact their elected representatives.

   o o o

These Maps Show Why Implementing Gun Control Legislation Will Be So Hard. (Thanks to reader Jim W. for the link.)

"Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. The inherent difficulties of the subject would be great enough in any case, but they are multiplied a  thousandfold by a factor that is insignificant in, say, physics, mathematics or medicine – the special pleading of selfish interests." - Henry Hazlitt, Economics In One Lesson

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February 14th is the birthday of Medal of Honor recipient Jack Lucas (born 1928, died June 5, 2008). During the Iwo Jima campaign this 17 year-old won the Medal of Honor "for unhesitatingly hurling himself over his comrades upon one grenade and for pulling another one under himself. One of the grenades exploded, and Lucas absorbed the entire blasting force of it with his own body." PFC Lucas was the youngest Marine ever to receive the Medal of Honor. (He was just just 13 when he forged his mother's signature, to enlist.)


Now a bit long in the tooth (and bald of pate) but still some great action movie fun, the fifth installment in the Bruce Willis Die Hard movie franchise will be released on February 14, 2013: A Good Day to Die Hard. Don't expect to learn any brilliant tactical tips. Just munch popcorn, and enjoy. Oh, and speaking of movies, I noticed that Amazon.com is already taking pre-orders for both Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike (releasing February 19th) and the Red Dawn remake (releasing March 5th.)


Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I laughed my way through the entertaining and informative (even for me – I had no theoretical knowledge of waxing skis whatsoever, just did “what the other kids did”) recent article on the “exotic Norwegian” cross country skis. So I thought that maybe a couple of other Norwegian experiences might be of interest to survivalblog-readers:

Having lived the first 30 years of my life in Norway and had ample experience with both skiing and offgrid living as a part of everyday life, I have some personal tips on not just surviving offgrid, but actually having a good time even though:
(Before I go on about offgrid living: Nowadays most cabins (“hytter”) in Norway have electricity and outdoors electrically heated bathtubs, but my tips are from a time without electricity and tap water in the cabin.)

To get to our family cabin/Bugout Location (BOL) or “hytte” in winter one has to use skis some kilometers from the car parking (there is only car access in summer). This can, like mentioned in the ski-article last month, be compared to a bug-out situation, although without the psychological stress. The cabin was, by the way, a real life BOL during the occupation of Norway in the 1940ies when my grandma lived there all summer long with two children. There were mountain farms nearby so there was fresh milk available; drinking water had to be fetched in pails from the brook - and the family walked “cross mountain” for a whole day to get hold of the famous sweet and brown goat cheese that is for Norwegians almost like chocolate, for anybody else rather, ahem, challenging to eat… Blueberries and cranberries grew uphill, cloud berries in a bog below the cabin, and fish from the nearby mountain lake made life all in all worth living there.

 Anyway, to get there in winter one still has to carry personal things like clothes, toiletries and first aid essentials in a rucksack and to load a “pulk” or cargo sled with any children or pets, and with necessities like concentrated fruit syrup for juice, mashed,dried potatoes, spaghetti, powdered spaghetti sauce mix, dried onions, rolled oats, powdered or concentrated milk, instant coffee, tea, cocoa and some strong alcohol – just in case. The point is to assume you might be weather locked by snow storms and/or fog for days, and bring enough stuff for everybody (and of course enough pet food) to stay in the “hytte” without buying anything at all for at least two weeks. Nowadays I would include rice and lentils and dried or fresh carrots (assuming you have things like salt, sugar and spice already stored in your BOL). We used to joke about bringing instant water as well, but normally Norway in winter usually has enough clean snow, so that is ok for drinking when properly boiled (remember – at high altitudes water boils at lower temperatures, so I suggest to keep it at a rolling boil for at least five minutes to be sure to kill as many bugs as possible if your BOL is located substantially above sea level.) We melted the snow first in an enormous pot on the woodstove – this was good enough for washing up and so on – but drinking water got properly boiled in a tea kettle.

A word about the weather: There has been cases of otherwise weather-experienced Norwegians dying in a blizzard ten meters from their own cabin because they went to the “outhouse” in a snow storm without a guiding rope and never found the way back. I once experienced fog so thick it literally squeezed into the cabin when doors or windows were opened – in this kind of fog one also better either stays put or uses a rope for any movement outside the cabin. Fog has the strange effect of making distances seem totally different than usual, so even if you are doubly sure of your way, please don´t take any unnecessary risks .
So, a typical arrival at the cabin would be: first of all, get the fire going, then collect snow for melting, then bring in enough wood from under the shed to dry inside, then cook while storing provisions away.

One woodstove in the kitchen running day and night and one fireplace (only burning when guarded) in the living room kept the cabin warm and dry, and since one bedroom was an open “halfloft” under the main room ceiling, just to be reached by a ladder, and the other bedroom opened to the kitchen, both rooms were cozy and warm in almost no time.

Now we come to the part on “good life”: Since this generally was a freely chosen situation, the real challenge was staying entertained if skiing was impossible because of extreme weather. The jobs of cooking, fetching snow, tending the fire, hacking wood, cleaning and shuffling snow to keep walkways free were divided, and then the job was just to keep oneself and everybody else entertained. So, here my tips for staying sane when a group of people are cooped up for some time in one or two rooms: You can never have enough board games, card games, jig saw puzzles and old magazines! Books like fairytale collections, old crime novels (like Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers where there always is some kind of happy end), the Chronicles of Narnia books, the Perelandra Trilogy and, for a good morale booster, “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis are maybe even useful as read- aloud-material for almost all ages; throw in books on the flora and fauna of the area and an old encyclopedia that take up too much space at home and you have saved everybody´s sanity. A map of the area, (preferably one of the many extra ones you already have in store) and a compass can be used to teach children “how to” in the middle of a storm since the compass works anyway.  Don´t forget knitting wool, fabric and needles  for “grown up” projects – I once read that a female south pole explorer unraveled and re-knitted her own and her team members´ sweaters to avoid going crazy when they were snowed in for weeks.

For kids: a small knife for carving stuff out of wood rests can keep the older ones entertained for hours while they learn useful things; and crayons, paper, scissors, fabric and wool rests guarantee that younger kids can stay entertained while making boats, cars, (paper-) dolls and doll clothes.( A sailboat my father made from wood rests as a child one summer, complete with hand sewn sail and tin foil keel, still decorates the cabin wall). Some Lego or other building toys or some toy farm or zoo animals, maybe made out of fabric or wood rests there and then, can keep kids happy for days. Musical instruments can be fun for kids but might drive everybody else crazy, so they are best used in a closed bedroom. Having your kids happy instead of bored makes an enormous difference in a cramped area! A hand crank charger for mobile phones and USB is a great help to keep games electronics going… Please remember to pack all essential part: After we got electricity in our cabin my husband and I ended up taking our son and his friend for a day trip to the nearest town to hunt for a missing Playstation connection. After a whole day of searching the bigger town shops we found the missing part in the end in a drawer with odds and ends in the local tourist trap shop, and the boys were happy for the rest of the holidays. This taught us to make sure that ALL parts for such things are along, and that kids, even if they feel like they can´t live without something – still can forget to pack essential parts! (And by the way, they also went outside swimming in a nearby mountain brook for hours on end!)

Building snow lamps outdoors for a party evening is by the way a delightful job for children: with some snowballs you build a mini tipi or igloo with an air hole on top, put a burning tea light inside and enjoy the sight in the evening!  Another fun winter game for “staying around the cabin” is a bottle racing track: fill a straight glass or plastic bottle (without paper) with snow and make a racing track in a snow heap for it, complete with tunnels and open parts. Try to make the track long and complicated without stopping the bottle in it´s tracks.

Back to offgrid living: A dart game on one wall can keep everybody entertained for hours, and can give the need for movement a fun outlet if the blizzard shakes your cabin. A propos of blizzard: have your tool shed connected with an inner door to your cabin/ living area – it might happen that you are so snowed in you just get out through a window with the help of a snow shovel.  For very extreme weather, it is a good idea to have a high up window big enough to crawl out through if the snow is above your ground floor windows!  And keep your pet on a leash if you have tons of snow – then you can pull it out of deep, loose snow if necessary! As far as I know there are snow shoes available for dogs as well, and anyway you should have leather snow socks along for your pet since some kinds of hard snow otherwise can scratch paws bloody in little time. Making these would be a good project for a weather locked day.

Things to store in your BOL BEFORE winter or WTSHTF : firewood enough to last all winter, batteries, flash lights, jams, heavy cans of stuff your family likes to eat; all food of course stored in your earth cellar (with access through the kitchen floor!) Assume that mice will keep your house company while you are away, so plan accordingly with packing sugar, oats, tea etc. in glass or metal containers. Forget plastic containers – mice have no problem eating plastic that smells of food – I have dolls with grisly looking mice-eaten lips to prove that. It is also a very good idea to hang all your bedding from sturdy wood cross beams under the ceiling – anything else invites mice to use the nice, soft, warm, fluffy stuff humans have provided for them.

Another important thing to store: woolly house shoes for everybody and to spare! Wet, muddy or snowy boots need their own place for slow drying by the entrance door and have no business whatsoever in the living area. And when you leave the cabin: ALLWAYS store any rubber/ rain boots you leave in your BOL upside down – a hungry but dead mouse that was unable to climb the steep rubber walls out again is NOT NICE to discover in your boots and really sad for the mouse...  The same counts for tea kettles, water buckets and other stuff a mouse cannot climb out of. Speaking of rodents: In Norway we have the original Vikings: the lemmings. These fearless mini-fighters (here are some examples – reminds me of Monty Python´s “come here and I´ll bite you to death”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNW3B-lAodQ )

They usually stay out of human habitations, but they can fall into cisterns and pollute surface water sources. What they don´t like is if you throw graywater, especially hot water where they live, (and they will let you know by cursing your carelessness in loud lemming language if you transgress), so please take care that you throw used water in the same place if possible, so you and the lemmings can stay out of each other´s way.

If you are stuck for longer in your BOL in winter weather – and vegetables are getting low – remember you can eat the shoots of pines and juniper – and these shoots are full of vitamin c – make best use of the vitamin content by eating them fresh. For medical help: Blue juniper berries are a good medicine against bladder infection : steep (maximum) three berries in a cup of hot water for ten minutes or longer for a disinfecting and healing tea, repeat three times daily until well. The blue berries are best since they are ripe – leave the green ones on the bush. For a disinfectant wash you can steep juniper needles or berries in water, for disinfecting the air in your BOL let some juniper needles smoke on the top of your wood stove.

Assuming you are staying for longer in your cold weather BOL: Take care to have a book on plants that grow around your BOL and their medical uses available: A  certain fungus that grows on birch trees is called “kreftkjuke” in Norwegian; “Chaga” in Russian and has traditionally been used as a medicine against cancer as the Norwegian name also shows. If you search for “Chaga mushroom” on the net you will see that it looks very different from a nice, healthy mushroom, but if you find it (and you are sure you have found the right mushroom) you obviously have a fantastic medicine at your disposal! Check the net for “how to” – I have no personal experience and can give no specific advice other than: don´t take all you find, and get the help of a local expert if you can, to learn to find and recognize Chaga.

Oh yes, I almost forgot: take some nylon hose along – the sock part protects against blisters if you wear them under your woolen socks.  Re. skiing: as a child I had to use skis to get to my friends´ homes, so based on that I recommend: ALWAYS put reflective “dangles” or bands on your kid´s clothes in case they ski on or near roads. Children don´t understand the concept that a car driver cannot see what they see themselves. Emergency rockets or walkie talkies for older kids (if reliable) is also definitely a good idea.  Always wear double mittens: a pair of wool mittens underneath and then a thin pair of (woven fabric) wind protection mittens over that to stave off wind chill and save fingers. A kid having fun in the snow can forget tingling fingers a little too long… The same goes for dressing for winter weather generally: silk or wool underneath, more wool and then wind protection on top.
And in the end, a short lesson in world politics and a really fun game in the snow is “King of the Hill”: A gang of children try, like in musical chairs, to be the one that manages to stay on top of a snow heap while the others try to take it´s place.  After having played this with other kids in a situation where one doesn´t get hurt falling off the “peak” a child has learnt to see through this as the childish game it is. Wouldn´t it be nice if some people in power had had the same lesson?

In my recent (and now notorious) Burn Barrel essay on civil disobedience, I made reference to a legal summary in the 2d edition of American Jurisprudence. But at the time I didn't have access to the important case citation footnotes. SurvivalBlog reader and legal scholar S.G. very kindly sent me an extract with full case cite footnotes, from American Jurisprudence 2d. This was from Volume 16 (Conflict of Laws to Constitutional Law 1-359). This came from the latest edition, so it cites cases as recent at 2009. Here it is:

§ 195 Generally

The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, whether federal or state, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law(1) but is wholly void(2) and ineffective for any purpose.(3) Since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it,(4) an unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed(5) and never existed;(6) that is, it is void ab initio.(7) Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.(8)
Since an unconstitutional law is void, it follows that generally the statute imposes no duties,(9) confers no rights,(10) creates no office(11) or liabilities,(12) bestows no power or authority on anyone,(13) affords no protection,(14) is incapable of creating any rights or obligations,(15) does not allow for the granting of any relief,(16) and justifies no acts performed under it.(17)
Once a statute is determined to be unconstitutional, no private citizen or division of the state may take any further action pursuant to its provisions.(18) A contract that rests on an unconstitutional statute creates no obligation to be impaired by subsequent legislation.(19) No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law,(20) and no courts are bound to enforce it.(21) A law contrary to the United States Constitution may not be enforced.(22) Once a statute has been declared unconstitutional, courts thereafter have no jurisdiction over alleged violations.(23) Persons convicted and fined under a statute subsequently held unconstitutional may recover the fines paid.(24)


1 Commissioners of Roads and Revenues of Fulton County v. Davis, 213 Ga. 792, 102 S.E.2d 180 (1958); State v. Village of Garden City, 74 Idaho 513, 265 P.2d 328 (1953); McGuire v. C & L Restaurant Inc., 346 N.W.2d 605 (Minn. 1984); People v. Corley, 91 Misc. 2d 255, 397 N.Y.S.2d 875 (City Crim. Ct. 1977).

2 Lewis v. Uselton, 224 Ga. App. 428, 480 S.E.2d 856 (1997); State ex rel. Stenberg v. Murphy, 247 Neb. 358, 527 N.W.2d 185 (1995); State v. Clark, 367 N.W.2d 168 (N.D. 1985); St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Getty Oil Co., 1989 OK 139, 782 P.2d 915 (Okla. 1989); Weegar v. Bakeberg, 527 N.W.2d 676 (S.D. 1995); Almond v. Day, 197 Va. 419, 89 S.E.2d 851 (1955).

3State v. One Oldsmobile Two-Door Sedan, Model 1946, 227 Minn. 280, 35 N.W.2d 525 (1948); Grieb v. Department of Liquor Control of State, 153 Ohio St. 77, 41 Ohio Op. 148, 90 N.E.2d 691 (1950); Hunter v. School Dist. of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, 97 Wis. 2d 435, 293 N.W.2d 515 (1980).

4 Shirley v. Getty Oil Co., 367 So. 2d 1388 (Ala. 1979); Oliver v. State, 619 So. 2d 384 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 1993); Lewis v. Uselton, 224 Ga. App. 428, 480 S.E.2d 856 (1997); Trout v. State, 231 S.W.3d 140 (Mo. 2007); State ex rel. Stenberg v. Murphy, 247 Neb. 358, 527 N.W.2d 185 (1995); Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services v. Dickensheets, 274 S.W.3d 150 (Tex. App. Houston 1st Dist. 2008).

5 Huffman v. Dawkins, 273 Ark. 520, 622 S.W.2d 159 (1981); Commissioners of Roads and Revenues of Fulton County v. Davis, 213 Ga. 792, 102 S.E.2d 180 (1958); Briggs v. Campbell, Wyant & Cannon Foundry Co., Division Textron Am. Inc., 2 Mich. App. 204, 139 N.W.2d 336 (1966), judgment aff'd, 379 Mich. 160, 150 N.W.2d 752 (1967); McGuire v. C & L Restaurant Inc., 346 N.W.2d 605 (Minn. 1984); State ex rel. Stenberg v. Murphy, 247 Neb. 358, 527 N.W.2d 185 (1995); State v. Clark, 367 N.W.2d 168 (N.D. 1985); St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Getty Oil Co., 1989 OK 139, 782 P.2d 915 (Okla. 1989); Glen-Gery Corp. v. Zoning Hearing Bd. of Dover Tp., 589 Pa. 135, 907 A.2d 1033 (2006); Franks v. State, 772 S.W.2d 428 (Tenn. 1989); School Districts' Alliance for Adequate Funding of Special Educ. v. State, 149 Wash. App. 241, 202 P.3d 990, 242 Ed. Law Rep. 383 (Div. 2 2009); City of Fairmont v. Pitrolo Pontiac-Cadillac Co., 172 W. Va. 505, 308 S.E.2d 527 (1983).

6 Thomas v. North Carolina Dept. of Human Resources, 124 N.C. App. 698, 478 S.E.2d 816 (1996), aff'd, 346 N.C. 268, 485 S.E.2d 295 (1997); Weegar v. Bakeberg, 527 N.W.2d 676 (S.D. 1995).

7 People v. Manuel, 94 Ill. 2d 242, 68 Ill. Dec. 506, 446 N.E.2d 240 (1983); Lovgren v. Peoples Elec. Co., Inc., 380 N.W.2d 791 (Minn. 1986); Nevada Power Co. v. Metropolitan Development Co., 104 Nev. 684, 765 P.2d 1162 (1988); Town of Islip v. Paliotti, 196 A.D.2d 648, 601 N.Y.S.2d 926 (2d Dep't 1993); American Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Ingram, 301 N.C. 138, 271 S.E.2d 46 (1980).

8 Commissioners of Roads and Revenues of Fulton County v. Davis, 213 Ga. 792, 102 S.E.2d 180 (1958).

9 Flournoy v. First Nat. Bank of Shreveport, 197 La. 1067, 3 So. 2d 244 (1941); State ex rel. Stenberg v. Murphy, 247 Neb. 358, 527 N.W.2d 185 (1995); Franks v. State, 772 S.W.2d 428 (Tenn. 1989).

10 People v. Harvey, 379 Ill. App. 3d 518, 318 Ill. Dec. 756, 884 N.E.2d 724 (1st Dist. 2008); State ex rel. Stenberg v. Murphy, 247 Neb. 358, 527 N.W.2d 185 (1995); Nevada Power Co. v. Metropolitan Development Co., 104 Nev. 684, 765 P.2d 1162 (1988); Ethics Com'n of State of Okl. v. Cullison, 1993 OK 37, 850 P.2d 1069 (Okla. 1993); General Motors Corp. v. Oklahoma County Bd. of Equalization, 1983 OK 59, 678 P.2d 233 (Okla. 1983); Franks v. State, 772 S.W.2d 428 (Tenn. 1989); Geeslin v. State Farm Lloyds, 255 S.W.3d 786 (Tex. App. Austin 2008).
As to the effect of and rights under a judgment based upon an unconstitutional law, see Am. Jur. 2d, Judgments § 17.
As to the res judicata effect of a judgment based upon an unconstitutional law, see Am. Jur. 2d, Judgments § 752.

11 Flournoy v. First Nat. Bank of Shreveport, 197 La. 1067, 3 So. 2d 244 (1941); Franks v. State, 772 S.W.2d 428 (Tenn. 1989).

12 Liddell v. Heavner, 2008 OK 6, 180 P.3d 1191 (Okla. 2008).

13 Flournoy v. First Nat. Bank of Shreveport, 197 La. 1067, 3 So. 2d 244 (1941).

14 Nevada Power Co. v. Metropolitan Development Co., 104 Nev. 684, 765 P.2d 1162 (1988); Ethics Com'n of State of Okl. v. Cullison, 1993 OK 37, 850 P.2d 1069 (Okla. 1993); Franks v. State, 772 S.W.2d 428 (Tenn. 1989).
As to the limitations to which this rule is subject, see § 196.

15 State ex rel. Stenberg v. Murphy, 247 Neb. 358, 527 N.W.2d 185 (1995).

16 Helvey v. Dawson County Bd. of Equalization, 242 Neb. 379, 495 N.W.2d 261 (1993) (a court may not grant any relief based upon a statute which is nonexistent or a statute which has become nonexistent by reason of a judicial declaration of unconstitutionality).

17 Millet v. Rizzo, 2 So. 2d 244 (La. Ct. App. 1st Cir. 1941); Board of Managers of James Walker Memorial Hospital of Wilmington v. City of Wilmington, 237 N.C. 179, 74 S.E.2d 749 (1953); State ex rel. Tharel v. Board of Com'rs of Creek County, 1940 OK 468, 188 Okla. 184, 107 P.2d 542 (1940).
As to the effect of a declaration of unconstitutionality on acts performed under it, generally, see § 196.

18 Thomas v. North Carolina Dept. of Human Resources, 124 N.C. App. 698, 478 S.E.2d 816 (1996), aff'd, 346 N.C. 268, 485 S.E.2d 295 (1997).

19 Jones v. Columbian Carbon Co., 132 W. Va. 219, 51 S.E.2d 790 (1948).

20 Flournoy v. First Nat. Bank of Shreveport, 197 La. 1067, 3 So. 2d 244 (1941); Amyot v. Caron, 88 N.H. 394, 190 A. 134 (1937).

21 Chicago, I. & L.R. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559, 33 S. Ct. 581, 57 L. Ed. 966 (1913); Payne v. Griffin, 51 F. Supp. 588 (M.D. Ga. 1943); Flournoy v. First Nat. Bank of Shreveport, 197 La. 1067, 3 So. 2d 244 (1941).

22 Painter v. Shalala, 97 F.3d 1351 (10th Cir. 1996); Bartlett v. Bowen, 816 F.2d 695 (D.C. Cir. 1987), opinion reinstated on reconsideration, 824 F.2d 1240 (D.C. Cir. 1987).

23 U.S. v. Baucum, 80 F.3d 539 (D.C. Cir. 1996).

24 Neely v. U.S., 546 F.2d 1059, 41 A.L.R. Fed. 331 (3d Cir. 1976).

In Closing: For readers with an interest in legal research, I must mention this proviso: Summary references such as American Jurisprudence (Am Jur) and Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS) are secondary sources that are overviews of the body of law and as such are merely jumping off places for further research. From these, you have to then dig into the citations to truly find authority. This takes either access to a law library (yes, there are law libraries that are open to the public), or a LEXIS/NEXIS account, which is expensive.

Read the book Legal Research (by Elias) first, or you will be just flailing around, wasting valuable time.

Good luck with your research, and I pray that all your visits to court be with you in control of the situation, sitting before a fully informed jury, and with all the requisite authoritative facts at your fingertips.

Special thanks once again to SurvivalBlog reader S.G. for sending me those cites, pro bono publico.

Mr. Rawles,
The article written by Z.T. was spot on. As I write this, I have been five days caffeine free.

For the past several months I have intentionally been cutting back on coffee. I was a chronic coffee drinker and had been for about 20 years. As many as four pots of coffee a day by myself. I loved coffee.

Many years ago I spent several months in the woods camping and was stuck with no coffee. I learned first hand how debilitating 'minor' addictions can be. For the first two weeks I was useless. Couldn't do anything but sleep and lay in my sleeping bag, sick to my stomach with my head pounding as though it were exploding. For the first ten days I was completely incapacitated. The symptoms abated after that.

The normal withdrawal time is around seven to nine days.
Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are: headaches, fatigue, weakness, drowsiness, impaired concentration and work difficulty, depression and or anxiety, irritability, increased muscle tension, which may also include, tremors, nausea, and vomiting.

In a final note I would like to tell anyone that wants to kick the habit. It can be done.
Perhaps my plan can help some one.

 I went from four pots a day to three pots for about a month, then to two for a month to a few weeks, then down to one pot for about a few weeks. After that I started counting cups a day until I was down to three cups a day for a month; Up until five days ago when I quit.

I may not have quite as much energy but I am much calmer, relaxed, with much less stress and anxiety. My thoughts seem to be clearer and more organized as well.

If anyone gives it a try I hope it works well for you.
God Bless - D.P.


After a trip to the cardiologist last November, I was advised to stop drinking caffeine. I usually drank a cup or so a day, very little by comparison, plus a Monster (Rehab is my favorite - ironically), and maybe a Mountain Dew or Coke. Not always on the same day and not every day. So I thought that it would be no problem to quit.

It took a full month for the splitting headaches to go away. The fog finally lifted from my brain a few weeks later. After about two months I felt like I was finally awake. I was shocked.

Then a couple of weeks ago I had a couple of sick kids and extra overtime, so I got about 8 total hours of sleep in my work week. I thought that I could surely handle one Monster spread over two days. I had energy galore! I could think with great clarity!

Now, three weeks later without any caffeine, I can't seem to wake up, the headaches are still there, and everything is fuzzy again.

I would surely carry No Doze in my bug out bag, but only as an emergency.


Anyone that has an addiction that inhibits them as it did Z.T. needs to rethink their priorities. I've been a pot a day coffee drinker and a pack a day smoker. Nothing is harder than keeping mental acuity when interjected in every other thought is "more coffee" or "another smoke would feel nice, no?"

My suggestion would be to take off a day or two(or a week in Z.T.'s case) and go through withdrawal. Drink plenty of water and remember that any snippiness is not you, but the drugs. I've gone through withdrawal many times, and currently have been off any drugs/stimulants for over a year. It is good experience to know how to get off drugs and how long it takes. I can say that any "boost" in performance granted by caffeine or cigarettes is an illusion created by its dependency causing lower baseline functioning. If you want to be alert, allot yourself 7-to-8 hours to sleep, turn off the electronics and dim the lights about an hour before bed, and do a peaceful activity such as reading or crocheting before heading off. - J.M.


Hi Jim, and Readers,
I realized a few years ago that coffee to me was and addiction, and when I wasn't able to get it I would develop some pretty rough head aches.
this plus having to make too many trips to the restroom were a great interference to my forward momentum while working or driving.

I made a conscious decision to reduce the intake to one, maybe two cups a day, it took a while to get used to the reduction but since we have really good water I now drink water which is much better for my kidneys anyway. And take a bit of a walk to get reoxygenated it really helps, or just go outside and take some really deliberate deep breaths.

I have stocked up on a large amount of coffee, not only for when things happen, but for trading too. Even though I have reduced the amount I drink, and could probably wean off of it after several days,  It is still very good to keep you alert when the need arises and you have to stay awake on CQ or guard duty after the SHTF. Yes I have pulled copious hours of guard duty, CQ, Staff Duty, and other all-nighters, Long radio watches as a net control operator, napping off is absolutely not an option.
I believe that having that large amount of French roast is a very wise idea  when we wind up having to watch out for intruders and can't shake off the nappiness.

The really hard part is breaking the habit, once broken though, The coffee becomes more effective when you really need it.
There is always the social aspect of a good cup of coffee too, Keep in mind that during tough times discussing situations over a good friendly cup of coffee can be a good ice breaker too.
Blessings - Dave of Oregon


Dear Mr. Rawles,
I know how Z.T. must feel, although I don't have the same level of "addiction" to coffee.  My solution is stockpiling little plastic "tubes" of instant coffee to carry in luggage, purse or pocket.  You can almost always get hot water and then the tube of crystals becomes coffee.  Also great for trade or barter. They are available on Amazon,com. The best deal I found so far is the Taster's Choice Columbian: 160 tubes/packets for $26.56 or about 16 cents a cup. Love your blog.  Take care. - Mary J. in Western Oregon

Reader Ken D. suggested this over at Instructables: Stylish Two Drawer Faraday Cage

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The 25% to 35% off sales for Mountain House canned long term storage foods with free shipping and bonuses will end soon at both Ready Made Resources and Safecastle. Be sure to place your order before these sales end!

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Rick D. sent us an article that provides a microcosm of urban high rise housing in a grid-down collapse: Carpets soaked in urine, sewage running down walls and onion sandwiches for dinner: Passengers reveal dire conditions of US cruise ship stranded in the Caribbean

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Say it ain't so, Mish! Mish Shedlock supports disarming us. Apparently he has fallen for the statist rhetoric. It is a pity that someone with such an incisive view of free market economics should be duped on this fundamental issue of personal freedom.

"The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts." - Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackston, W. Virginia Board of Education v. Burnette, 1943

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The big 25% to 35% off sales for Mountain House canned long term storage foods with free shipping and further bonuses are continuing at both Ready Made Resources and Safecastle. (Both companies are long-time SurvivalBlog advertisers and highly recommended. The overlap in their sales was a coincidence.) Be sure to place your order before these sales end!


Today is the birthday of two notable men:

Robert Charles "R.C." Sproul (born 1939), a well-respected American Calvinist theologian


General Chuck Yeager (born, 1923), the first man to break the sound barrier.


Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

In the past year, prepping has gone from an interesting concept to a way of life for us. There are countless resources for information, products and equipment available to the person who has an open calendar and a bottomless bank account. Unfortunately for the rest of us, even if we can carve out enough time to fully devote ourselves to prepping, we tend to find a large portion of supplies to be out of the realm of our current budget. And, with the economy in crisis, it doesn’t seem probable that the budget will be increasing anytime soon. In our case, money seems to be even tighter since I am not paid hourly and my husband is retired. We don’t have the option of getting overtime or holiday pay. It can be a daunting task to come up with ways to keep gathering preps when there is no extra cash on hand.

Jonathan Swift wrote: “Necessity is the mother of invention.” I believe that was never truer than for a cash poor individual/couple/family/group who is dedicated to preparing for disaster and protecting their loved ones. That being said, our household’s answer to this dilemma is Do-It-Yourself (DIY) prepping. When you commit to taking a step back and looking at what you already have with a new perspective, you will certainly be surprised at the resources you possess. The challenge is transforming those things into valuable prepping materials. This article will cover just a few of the endless possibilities for you to begin your end day preparations even during financial strain.

“Learn on how little man may live, and how small a portion nature requires.”
– Lucanus (St. Luke)

First, I would like to cover household products that almost everyone has already, and uses that you may be unaware of that could come in handy during a disaster scenario.

From the kitchen: (uses other than the obvious one of cooking)

Baking soda: absorbs radiation and heavy metals, can be used as toothpaste, deodorant and hand cleaner, relieves insect bites and bee stings, is useful for washing dishes, cleans clothes, cleans batteries, cleans fruits and veggies, treats colds, flu and heartburn, soothes sunburn.

Honey: can be used as moisturizer and antiseptic, boosts energy, enhances vitamin A, improves blood flow, treats sore throats, coughs and burns, removes parasites when mixed with vinegar, relaxes nerves, heals diabetic ulcers, eases arthritis pain (see: cinnamon). Honey contains large amounts of vitamins and iron which help strengthen the immune system. The natural properties of honey make this one of the only foods that will never spoil! If at all possible, stock up on locally grown, organic varieties. This tends to alleviate allergies and increase potency when used as a health remedy.

Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV is rich in potassium, acetic acid, ash, and malic acid. These minerals are vital to our bodies for muscle growth, nerve impulse transmission, blood sugar regulation, maintaining proper PH levels and supporting the immune system with anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. ACV also has been found to regulate blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, improve bowel function, heal yeast infections, reduce sinus infections, and protect against food poisoning.

Cinnamon: eases arthritis pain when mixed with honey and water (Mix one part honey to two parts lukewarm water and one teaspoon of cinnamon to form a paste. Massage gently into painful areas.) Helps cures bladder infections when mixed in a glass of water with a teaspoon of honey. This has also been found to relieve indigestion, gas and upset stomach. A cinnamon/honey mixture also aids in regulating blood sugar levels and can help with weight loss.

Shortening: Push a wick or even a piece of string into a tub of shortening and light the end. This will provide you with an astounding 45 days of light and warmth! When faced with having to travel long distances on foot, shortening can be used as a foot cream to prevent painful cracks and splits in overworked heels and toes.

Food Preservation:

Some of us have not yet mastered the art of canning to preserve foods. (I’m working on that one.) Thank goodness there are few simple ways to keep fresh stock on hand of foods that you may not expect can be stored for extended periods of time.

Eggs: Perhaps you are not zoned for chickens on your property. Unfortunately, it seems as though fresh eggs will not a feasible part of your available food stash after an apocalyptic event. Thankfully, that would be an incorrect assumption. There a couple of different methods for preserving eggs for a period of months to years. The quickest and simplest way is to rub each egg with a liberal coating of warmed mineral oil. They can also be rubbed with salted butter and nestled into a layer of salt, bran or dry oats. Yet another trick is to dip the eggs in paraffin. With all methods, it is crucial that you begin with fresh eggs! Purchasing from a regular grocery store is always a crap shoot since you have no idea how long the eggs have been in the delivery trucks or sitting on the shelf. It is highly recommended that you buy from a friend who has chickens, or possibly a local chicken farm or farmer’s market. It is also important to store the eggs small side down in a cool (not freezing), dry environment. Keep in a covered container. Eggs can be stacked as long as they are not touching one another. When stacking, provide a barrier between layers. Remember to flip the eggs once a month to preserve the integrity of the yolks.

Cheese: Hard cheeses can be preserved for up to twenty five years when coated with cheese wax. Dip into the wax several times, apply your label and then brush one final thin layer of wax over the cheese. (Do not use paraffin. Black or red cheese wax is recommended because it lets in the least amount of light. This can be purchased at specialty stores, health food stores or over the internet.)

Household “trash”:

Empty toilet paper rolls: Insert a wick an fill with melted wax for lightweight emergency candles. The rolls can also be used as yet another form of kindling for starting fires (see below for more fire starter info). Flatten and wrap with duct tape or string for a makeshift knife sheath, neatly organize rope or para-cord, use as “planters” for starting seedlings.

Old clothing: Everyone has a corner of the closet or dresser that holds clothing too stained or torn to be donated to charity. We tell ourselves we are saving them for rags, but the rag bag is overflowing already. What can be done with old T-shirts, socks and other cotton materials? Tear into strips and store as back up first aid! Eventually, depending on the length of time it takes to re-stock in an emergency situation, you may run out of gauze. These scraps can be used as bandages, tourniquets, washcloths, or face masks for filtering dust. In a pinch, large scraps can be sewn together to create blankets or coverings for extra warmth and shelter. Stuff a handful into the corner of your bug out bag to mark a trail or alert group members of your location if you end up traveling on foot.

Dryer lint: “Wait..what? Lint??” Absolutely. Dryer lint is the core of one of the simplest DIY fire starters to make. Begin by collecting the lint from your dryer. Loosely fill the sections of a cardboard (NOT Styrofoam!) egg carton, and pour melted wax into each well. Once set, cut the tray into bricks. To use, place under a bit of kindling and light the cardboard corners. These will burn nicely for 10-15 minutes. Store in a plastic zipper bag. (Use up old candle remnants if you don’t have canning wax on hand) Another easy method for making fire starters is to fill a mason jar half way with leftover wine bottle corks. Finish filling the jar with rubbing alcohol and allow to soak. Position a couple of these underneath your kindling, and you will soon be enjoying a warm fire.

Hair clippings: If you are supplementing your food preps with a garden, consider using hair clipping in two different ways. First, add to the compost pile. Hair is high in nitrogen and excellent for enriching the soil. Second, sprinkling hair around the perimeter of the garden will discourage critters from raiding your vegetable patch.
Soap slivers: Don’t throw away those tiny slivers of bar soap. Keep them until you have a good handful collected. Tie inside a thin washcloth, knot into a pantyhose foot, or insert into a mesh bag/bath mitt for a sudsy, exfoliating tool. Alternatively, recycle by melting down the shards with a little olive oil in a coffee cup. Dip a shaving brush in the mixture and sweep onto face for use as a low cost shaving soap.

Makeshift weapons/alternative weaponry:

Although a large majority of preppers own traditional weapons for home defense purposes, there are still people who choose not to include guns/knives/etc. in their arsenal. In such a case, what would you do to defend yourself or your family in the event of a physical attack? Look around you. No matter where you are standing at any given moment, it is most likely that there are a number of items within close proximity that could be used in self-defense. Even from my office chair, I can spot several things that would certainly put a hurtin’ on an intruder.

  • Mini souvenir baseball bat (striking/thrusting)
  • Large TV remote control (striking)
  • Scissors (stabbing/slicing)
  • Sharp edged picture frame (jabbing/slicing)
  • Old style glass soda bottle (striking while intact or cutting if broken)
  • Metal edged measuring ruler (slicing/cutting)
  • Steel toe boots (kicking vital areas/stomping/crushing)
  • Flashlight (striking)
  • Screwdriver (stabbing/using as a yawara)
  • Fishing pole (whipping/slicing) and yes, I have a fishing pole in my office.

I also know a woman who used a traditional weapon in a non-traditional way when her home was breached by an intruder. As he attempted to climb through her bedroom window, she stabbed him in the shoulder with a crossbow bolt. His injuries were serious enough that he immediately fled and was soon picked up at a local hospital.

Of course, it would benefit everyone to learn the basics of self-defense and mental focus. Wielding a weapon of any kind will only get you in trouble if you don’t have the courage or know-how to use it when the time comes. Additionally, there may come a time that you are faced with an opponent with bad intentions, and you have nothing at all to use as defense. This is when it is important to be skilled in hand to hand combat. Don’t let that intimidate you! There are many ways to take down an attacker that can make even the most petite person effective. Check your local community listings. Self-defense classes are readily available in most areas without significant monetary investment. This can also be a great bonding time for a family or couple who chooses to attend together. Remember to practice what you learn outside of the classroom. Run drills; act out scenarios. Keep your skills sharp and stay alive!

Although this article has only touched on a fraction of the information available in each category, you now have the opportunity to use these tips as a catalyst for developing your own creative preps. You do not need to be wealthy or have a genius IQ. It is not important that you possess a thousand acres of woodland or millions of rounds of ammunition. In order to adequately prepare for your family’s protection and well-being, you simply need a good plan, some creativity and a willingness to learn. I encourage you to get started today.

(Note: These methods have all been tried/tested/utilized by either me, my family or friends who follow a preparedness lifestyle.)

Dear Jim,
I wanted to provide a technical article to explain to your readers why refineries have to shut down more often than they used to. There's a good reason for this, and its not greed.
A few years ago I went to welding school. I wanted a post-oil survival skill that would make me money and have real value. During the course of my education I learned how to weld stainless steel, and one of the key components of welding stainless is something called the Heat Affected Zone. It turns out that when welding stainless steel you can crystallize out a crucial element which is key in making stainless steel resistant to corrosion. This band of rust-able steel can be reduced in size, but not removed altogether. Agricultural tanks, for things like wine, get around this by adding a coating of stainless steel powder over this Heat Affected Zone and greatly improves its acid/corrosion resistance, but you can't really do that with refinery pipes.
Light Sweet Crude has low sulfur, so produces little sulfuric acid. Heavy Sour Crude, which we get from Mexico and Saudi Arabia these days, is so loaded with Sulfur that its a resellable byproduct that goes to fertilizer plants and industrial processes, since its good for that. Unfortunately, refining it out means that sulfuric acid rushes through the refinery pipes and attacks the heat affected zone, eating them away until there's a leak. We had a big leak of exactly that about a year ago in Richmond, California at a Chevron refinery, one that sickened hundreds of residents and shut down the refinery, causing a temporary fuel shortage and 50 cent/gal increase in fuel price until repairs were completed and production started again. It will happen again if maintenance isn't done promptly. There's really no escaping this problem so long as we use high sulfur oil and mostly all we've got anymore.
Someday we'll be growing algae in reactor vessels or inclined glass tubes and harvesting the biodiesel waste, then burning that in diesel engines for fuel. It will require us to have diesel engines, but Hayes has proven that common rail diesel motors can be miniaturized and reliable in their motorcycle, and Ford is bringing their 1.0 L 3-cylinder diesel to the USA from the EU, a clean burning and reliable powerplant which would work for either a hybrid or a very light weight vehicle and run on synthetic biodiesel. This has no sulphur so gets around the whole issue of SO2 emissions that current diesels have to face.
The alternatives to diesel are the following:
1. Ethanol fuel made with stills from various source materials. Engines must be designed to burn this to get full efficiency. Current engines are a hodgepodge of compromises. They will have to be modified to run best. We can import cheap ethanol from Brazil, but what can we pay for it with that they will accept?
2. Natural gas, which UPS has their delivery vans running on. Many countries run their vehicle fleets on this. The natural gas will run out, but it can be made from various sources, like manure, and provide secondary income to sewage plants and dairies.
3. Electric cars, which are limited by both battery materials and battery capacity. If you can live with a 20 mph golf cart, you might as well get one soon. Lithium powered cars are like the ransom money in "Way of the Gun": A motive. A new battery chemistry is needed, but does not yet exist.
4. Fischer–Tropsch process: coal converted to gasoline. Works till you have no more coal. And you have to mine the coal.  
In the short term the answer to high gasoline prices is minimize consumption with fewer and shorter trips using the most efficient vehicle you have, and carpooling when possible. Here in the Sierras, I see more and more Geo Metros at commute times and fewer 4WD SUVs and Trucks. People are adjusting to the Post (Cheap) Oil reality.
Heat-Affected Zone
Fischer–Tropsch synthesis 
Synthetic Fuel definition and history
Diesel Motorcycles
OPOC Diesel Engine

Note: I am unclear why this engine was not released on schedule two years ago. There are no published reports on reliability or maintenance, and none from users in the real world.

I am a 14-year veteran of one of the "top 10 by size" police departments in the US. My whole career has been within this department so my perception of this issue is only that of a large urban city department.

I want to comment on your article "Plan B: Key Phrases to Memorize for Citizens' Reservation of Rights." In my earlier days I can unfortunately admit I probably may have been one of these officers that would try to find something to turn a civil violation traffic stop into a felony arrest. I will add though that I have never violated anyone's civil rights during my career. But I can see myself trying to find my way into someone's car that I believed was in violation of a greater crime than just the petty violation I stopped them for.

I have never attempted or detained any motorists for the length of time described in this article. I have seen officers do it and usually found ways to help the motorist out by redirecting my fellow officer, or some similar tactic.

I would like to add though that officers who conduct themselves in this manner are outside the norm. I will also add they almost  cannot be stopped once they get it set in their minds they are going to "find something".

Your comments on how to act around officers will work well with the majority of officers. But there will be a few who I can see that will not be deterred. I would say to those using this defense to also be prepared to have the officer become upset. Why some of them do I have no idea but they will.

If at all possible try to video or audio record the stop. Most smart phones have video recorders now. Using this might keep the officer on the right side of things if he sees you are recording him. This is more overt though and may be tough to do in all occasions. It is pretty easy to turn on an audio recording app though and stick your phone on the dashboard during the whole stop. Just make sure that such recording is not a crime in your state.

Another thing to think about in these situations is the officer may ask you to step out of the car. This will change the scenario up a bit. Not that I agree with it but per case law officers can order drivers and occupants out of the vehicle with nothing more than reasonable suspicion or "officer safety".

Don't feel afraid to file a complaint against them. We serve you! Many of us peace officers have forgotten this. I no longer write traffic citations to generate income. Dangerous driving and similar are the exceptions. 

I get a lot of strange looks from people when I thank them for carrying their CCW and open carried weapons and supporting the Constitution. But it is necessary!

I hope many more of my fellow peace officers will change and realize how badly they treat Citizens. I am glad I woke up and changed. - Jeff J.

Dear James:
Regarding what to do in response to being pulled over by the state or local Gestapo, err, I mean the police who then attempt a fishing expedition may I suggest a dash cam like the police have.  After watching Breakfast in Collinsville and Lodging in Collinsville in which the officer claimed the motorist violated the law by drifting over the white lane markers while the motorist stated it was the officer who had drifted over the lane markers while following the motorist I decided to take a page from Chairman Mao and get a personal dash camera.

My quest brought me to DHGate.com which is a clearinghouse of sorts for Chinese retailer/wholesalers to sell their products to the world market.  They withhold payment from the vendor until they receive the return post card showing the merchandise has been received.  I received my dash cam two weeks ago but the purchase still has not been posted to my credit card account. (Ebay is another option.)
After a little searching (use the phrase “Car DVR” in the search box) I jumped and purchased this dash cam that records not only the front view but with the remote camera records the rear view as well.  (I did jump too fast and overspent as I’ll explain.) 

After waiting two weeks the package arrived on a Saturday afternoon.  After a quick trip to the big box electronic store for a micro SD memory card I had a fully functional personal dash camera.  Now I feel the tables will be turned if I happen to be unfortunate enough to be seen as a possible milk cow by a law enforcement agency.
Consider the following exchange, after pulling over for the police:

Officer:  “The reason I pulled you over is because you crossed over the lane dividers several times while I happened to be behind you.”
Me:  “I crossed over the lane dividers???  Can I see your dash cam video officer so I can see for myself?
Officer:  “No, the dash cam only turns on when I activate my police lights.”
Me:  “Well officer, today’s your lucky day.  See that (pointing to my dash camera).  That is my dash cam.  It automatically starts recording three seconds after I start my car and has been recording since I left home this morning.  And see that wire, it leads to the rear camera that records motorists behind me.  Now if you give me a moment I’ll be happy to pull up the files and play them for you.  You will see that while I maintained my lane as you followed me it was you who crossed over the lane lines multiple times.  May I ask, are you under the influence of alcohol or some other drug, legal or illegal, that would cause you to drive so careless and reckless manner?”

That should end the conservation. 
Some notes on personal dash cams:
1.)  All units plug into you vehicle’s power outlet, powering up and down with the vehicle.  Some like mine comes with an extra power cord that can be wired directly into the vehicle's fuse box. 

2.)  Most need the user to buy a micro SD card (TF card).  The bigger the memory the more of your driving is recorded.  Be sure to buy the proper “class” of card.  Most require at least a “class 6” card or better.  If the wrong class of memory card is used expect skips and jumps on the recorded video files as the result.  I have a 16 GB class 10 card.  I figure it will record 4 plus hours of continuous driving.

3.)  With mine files are saved in either 1, 2, or 5 minutes blocks of time.  The user can select the file size.  When the memory card is full the oldest files are overwritten first.  Other units record can record up to 15 minute files. 

4.)  Depending on the unit video quality can be set by the user (1080, 720, 640 x 480, etc.).  I suggest using the lowest video quality setting since it allows for more recording time.

5.)  The video files can be replayed on the camera’s video screen or transferred to a computer and played through the computer’s video player.  

6.)  There are units that have 3-axis G-force sensors that will automatically save crash event files and protect the files from being overwritten (usually 10 seconds before and 20 seconds after the crash). And there are units that allow the user to hit a button to do the same thing (Such as when you are not involved in a crash but would like to save and protect an incident.)

7.)  There are units that have GPS receivers recording the GPS location as well as the video file (example).  These units come with their own computer program that merges all the data into one viewing program using internet available maps (Google Maps).

8.)  Most units record the vehicle’s interior sound.  So no more talking to yourself as you drive! 

9.)  Most units have an internal battery and can be powered up independent of the vehicle’s power.  I would suggest if possible after being pulled over and giving the officer your driver’s license, etc. unplug the unit and power up the dash cam using the internal battery so if the officer tells you to shut off the car the camera will continue to record. 

10.)  Units can be purchased for under twenty-five dollars to hundreds of dollars (example). But for under $60 dash cams can be purchased with front and rear view cameras and a GPS receiver.  (This will be my next purchase.)

11.)  My dash cam came with instructions written in Chinese-English and the printing was so small that I had to photo-copy the instructions several times enlarging the print-out each time so I could read it - and I have 20/20 vision.  But because of the language barriers I just tinkered with my dash cam figuring it out on my own. 

Finally, poke around first before diving into the dash cam pool as there are units that have a single camera, dual cameras, dual cameras with one being a remote camera, single units with GPS, dual cameras with GPS that are either internal or external (GPS can be unplugged but the cameras still operate), etc., all for under $100.

Thanks for the Blog, - Johnny Dash Cam

The recent letter from a reader about about the gun show had some comments about pricing so I thought it would be helpful to remind readers some basic economic principles.  Prices are a natural function of supply and demand and higher prices, especially during periods of high demand, perform the needed function of allocating scarce resources to the optimum number of customers.
For example, a dealer at a gun show receives a limited number of cases of ammo.  If he were to sell it at historical prices people would buy 2-3 cases each.  Now we have higher prices due to limited supply forcing consumers to limit themselves to what they can afford/feel comfortable buying at that price.  This allows more buyers to access these scarce resources.  Eventually, the demand curve will shift back to the left and automatically shift pricing down.  As long as we are all chasing ammo the supplies will be limited and the price will continue to climb.

Important note:  It is a red herring from the progressives to squeal "Price Gouging!!!" when prices naturally move higher do to demand.  $1,000 for a case of .45 Automatic would be gouging but ask yourself this question when the "gouging" thought comes to mind:  Do I yell for fairness when prices quickly drop and I get a good deal on a product?  How come you don't take the moral high ground and demand to pay more when prices fall due to oversupply or price deflation?

A resource I recommend is the book Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy by Dr. Thomas Sowell.  This puts economics into plain language with no math, graphs or equations.  I highly recommend it. - B.H. in North Idaho

Bob B. sent a link to a NOAA web page that calculates updated map magnetic declinations. If your topographic maps are more than two years old, then you should check! (In my region, the magnetic declination has changed about 6 degrees, since 1950.)

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One of the members of my local shooting club recently received a large order from the cleverly-named vendor United Nations Ammunition, in Arizona. He was very happy with his order, summing it up: "Great ammo and competitive prices, with fast shipping and quite friendly service." My friend bought the linked USGI .308 ammunition cataloged as: "7.62x51 (.308) Wood Crate. Contains 800 rounds, 4 / 30 cal cans, Each can has 2 boxes of 100 rds ea, in a box and a bandoleer in M13 links. It is 4&1, That means there is 4 rounds of M80 Ball 147 Grain and then 1 Round of M62 Tracer. This in Brand New 2012 production and yes Boxer Primed. The Best there is. Good 'Ol US Lake City."

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I recently heard about KnifeRating.com, a web site that provides neutral reviews of knives.

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B.B. mentioned this essay by Chuck Baldwin: If You are Going to Take a Stand, You Must Take it Now.

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Reader K.P. wrote to mention that Maine Military still has HK G3 alloy magazines available for as low as $3 each! (100 magazines for $299 with free shipping.) That is an incredible bargain, in today's market. Stock up!

"A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. " James Madison, June 29th. 1787, Debates in Federal Convention

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I'm pleased to report than more than 10,000 copies of the First Revised Edition of Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse have been sold since its release on November 26, 2012. This is the first time that the book has been printed with a cloth (hardback) binding. I updated the book slightly to remove some temporal incongruities that had built up in the course of previous editions, and added a new introduction. As with the later paperback editions, it includes a glossary and index.


Today we present another two entries for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I have tried to think about things that you may not have thought of, in regards to The End of the World as We Know It (TEOTWAWKI.) And maybe not just fresh ideas for readers, but even for those that write about these things. And, it's possible that you may even think that I am going waaaay out there to bring you fresh ideas. But I'm not. I bet you haven't thought of how silly and secret addictions can really hurt you. Have you? While the effects of hard drugs, even seemingly minor alcoholism, have their own withdrawal symptoms that are easy to point at and identify. It's the ones that you haven't thought of that may be your undoing. Let me share a story.

Last week, I traveled by commercial airliner for some on behalf of NASA. My flight left at 6:08 am. So, I didn't really have time to fix a pot of coffee. I figured I would grab a cup when I got the the airport and enjoyed a fabulous $10 re-warmed biscuit. And, verily, that's exactly what I did. I enjoyed said biscuit with a small coffee, then boarded the flight from Huntsville to Houston.

Knowing that this would be a long day, judging by post experience on United, I drifted off to sleep on the flight. When I woke up, I found out that we had been diverted to Alexandria, Louisiana due to fog. We sat on the plane an hour, then deplaned into this tiny executive airport. Alas, it has no restaurants and only one kiosk that sold bottle drinks. Since 7 other planes arrived before me, the kiosk was drained. No big deal. After all, I have sworn off soft drinks in an attempt to lose weight.

Boarded, once again, and we finally made the flight to Houston.

That's where it began.

I had a splitting headache. I was sick to my stomach. I had ZERO energy. When I called my wife, she immediately could tell something was wrong. I could barely speak, I was trying to figure out what I needed to do to make it to Salt Lake City with all the delays. But I couldn't think. At all. My brain simply wouldn't work. I told her I didn't know what it was and that I felt I was dying. Being ever so intuitive to her loving spoonful, she knew what had happened. I had 1 cup of coffee. All day.

Sounds stupid, doesn't it? Because I had only 1 cup of Java that day, I couldn't mentally function. And this isn't the product of just a long day. It's happened over. And over. And over.

In fact, I can't start my day without having a pot of coffee. Not because I am spoiled, but because I can't mentally function. See, my every morning revolves around dressing my kids, packing snacks and diaper bags, and getting them to school. There have been days that I have gotten to work and had to seriously think about if I actually took them.

Laugh now. But consider. Are you in the same boat? Do you have a long term tradition of stopping at Starbucks? Do you have to have a pot of coffee at your desk while you read the news, before you start your work day? Do you have to have that Mountain Dew at 2 pm? How about that Redbull or 5 Hour Energy Drink?

You do. Don't you? Don't lie to yourself. It's ok.

And if you don't? Do we dare go down that path? Well, I've already told you about my inability to function. As a NASA engineer, I recognize many of the stereotypes in myself, and one of those is the need to "mainline" caffeine directly into my blood stream. And if I don't....I cannot function.

Okay. So, I think we have beaten that dead horse enough.

What does this mean for our survival? Do you realize just how dangerous this is to your TEOTWAWKI plan? We have had many talks about being on top of your mental game. Having a plan and enacting it, having thought of solutions to conceivable future issues. Making. Critical. Decisions. At. Critical. Times.  This takes clarity of thought. And if you don't have this, you have a problem.

I couldn't wrap my mind around how to change a flight to make it to my destination. How would I ever be able to make a split second decision on how to save my and my families life? I wouldn't. That doesn't even get into the physical ailment I felt. I am willing to bet that I would have been throwing up had I not downed a 34 ounce Dr. Pepper.

Now, I am much better off with my coffee consumption that I have been at other times in my life. I drink about 10 fluid cups a day. That's the only caffeine in which I partake. Let's look at some facts.

According to CoffeeFAQ, a standard 8oz coffee has UP TO 200 mg, but usually around 110mg.
According to Mountain Dew, a standard 12 oz can has 55 mg
According to 5 Hour Energy Drink, a standard shot has 208 mg
According to Red Bull, a standard 8.4oz can has 50 mg

So, while many people may laugh at the amount of coffee I drink, many of those drink multiple 20 oz bottles of Mountain Dew everyday. Or multiple Redbull. According to this, I consume a gram of caffeine a day. A GRAM!

Where do you fit? Have you ever gone without? If so, what were your experiences? I honestly would like to know.

What this past weekend showed me was that I have a severe addiction to coffee which can completely inhibit my physical and mental cohesiveness. It is something that I MUST consider in my survival plan. But, I will be honest. I enjoy coffee, so weaning myself off of it is improbable. So, what's my solution? Well, it's silly and simple.

I had been thinking about this topic and just how dangerous it really is, for something as stupid as a daily habit. I mean, honestly, I don't rank my addiction up there with heroine...and yet, I can now identify what Kurt Cobain must have felt (though I identify that I didn't have Courtney Love to deal with). When I got to my hotel that evening, the first thing I saw was the prepackaged Coffee on the sink. I thought to myself....hey. That's at least a Band-Aid solution. After all, in TEOTWAWKI, our plan all along is that we will have scavenge at least some. But until it's safe, just a few packets of prepackaged brown goodness would get me by. So, I snagged it. And now it's in the pack.

While this may sound stupid and you may not even believe me, others have considered it. In the "Outlanders" series of books by James Axler, coffee is a regular staple of commodities that are held in high regard in the Post-Apocalypse. In "Pitch Black", Cole Hauser's character Johns, has an addiction that is never specified, yet it renders him physically and mentally incompetent after their space ship crashes on a hostile planet.

So you don't care about media? Consider this: Coffee is a staple in military Meals Ready to Eat (MREs). Why? Maybe not for addicted souls like me, but certainly for some of the reasons that I am addicted to it. It's a stimulant. It keeps you alert. It's comforting.

The fact is, the TEOTWAWKI is a scary and harsh place where survival is already walking a razor thin edge. Just to survive and prosper, you already will require a great amount of luck, not to mention the planning and sharper-than-razor mental capacity to make even the smallest decisions that mean life or death. You cannot have anything keep you from making the right call at the right time. Losing your mental capacity over something stupid, such as missing a days worth of coffee, is a silly way to go out.

And, again, we aren't even considering the more serious addictions that you may have. Doing a quick search, I learned that 30% of Americans have a drinking problem. That sound about right to you? It does to me. The effects of alcohol withdrawals are just as dire, and even more so. I have seen it first hand. So, 1 out of every 3 of you that read this now know that your alcohol addiction should be something to consider.

I'm not telling you that you must kill off your secret addictions. It's not my place. And, considering how unlikely an earth-shattering TEOTWAWKI would be, it's probably not worth quitting. Shoot, I know I can't quit coffee. But, it's certainly worth planning for, even if it means raiding the hotel's freebee coffee stash.

Preparing Your Mind, Body and Spirit for TEOTWAWKI, by K B.

I have met many great survivalists from all over this great country.  I have heard a lot of good advice on food preserving, silver and gold purchasing, ammo stockpiling and medication/first aid preparation.  I have further read numerous books and taken part in numerous survival training programs provided by the United States Army, that have taught me how to protect my family, my community and myself when the Fit Hits the Shan (FHTS).  I have utilized learned skills first hand during my tours with the army in Afghanistan and Iraq, survived 2-½ years of homelessness and along with 315 million other Americans, struggled to raise a family of five during these tough economic times.  What I learned so far is it doesn’t matter how prepared I have made my household, food supply, finances, security measures, family, neighbors and community; if I haven’t prepared myself, it was all for nothing. 

Before take-off at the start of every business trip, the flight attendant reminds you that if the air supply bags drop from the over-head compartment, that you are to place your mask on first before assisting others.  The reason behind this is you are useless to anyone else if you are dead from a lack of oxygen.  Any fire fighter will share a similar belief when it comes to their SCBA mask and rescuing people from a burning building.  Imagine spending half of your life reading about and preparing for the end of the world and when it all goes down, you are morally, mentally and physically un-prepared to handle the new normal. 

In this article I will cover the definition of wellness; basic skills one could implement to improve their physical, mental and spiritual well being and resources for improving ones resiliency and the resiliency of ones loved ones.  As a disabled combat veteran, I could not stress enough the importance of wellness preparation, maintenance and stability.  Please keep in mind however, that even the most prepared or resilient individuals cannot predict or survive everything, just like being a non-smoker doesn’t make you immune to cancer, it can only improves your chances of survival. 

For the purpose of this article when I discuss your overall wellness I am referring to your physical, mental and spiritual level of functioning and resiliency.  With that said, I am a mental health worker and a full-time student of Social Work.  Everything you are reading is based on first-hand experience, training/education, evidence based practices and second and third hand observations.  Furthermore there will be disclaimers and notes throughout the article, for your protection and my own.  There will also be two sets of information provided for each of the three areas of strengthening/preparing; a list of skills that can be implemented today without the limitations of TEOTWAWKI and a second list that follows the “Back to the Basics” approach for after the FHTS.  The majority of these skills are presented at a basic level and are a great way to get starting in improving your overall wellness.  For more advanced skills training I encourage you to seek the help of a professional in the area you would like to enhance (i.e. priest, doctor, dietitian, gym, therapist, etc.). 

In current day and future days, our individual overall wellness will define how we adapt to our ever changing world.  The basic wellness model identifies the three most important areas of our functioning as our physical, mental and spiritual health.  SAMSHA expands this model in their “Wellness 10 X 10” model which covers 8 dimensions of wellness.  For further information and publication on wellness, please explore the web site above, it is a great resource and provides numerous publications free of charge.  Improving your strength and resiliency in any of the three areas will have positive ramifications on the corresponding areas.  Likewise, any weaknesses or a chronic issue in any area negatively impacts the other two areas.  It is important to work on yourself while encouraging the same in others, but remember, no man (or woman) can be the Pope, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Albert Einstein all in one person.  Any improvement in any area greatly improves your overall wellness. 

Mind (Mental Health)

Self-disclosure alert.  I suffer from chronic Moderate to Severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with Depression.  I would rather try to survive TEOTWAWKI with a like minded individual, then someone free of stress, mental health issues or firsthand hardships.  Lucky for me, most Americans are like minded, with mental health issues found in the majority of individuals and no one being immune from the effects of stress.  Our chances of experiencing mental health issues are based on our level of susceptibility and vulnerability, as is most physical health concerns.  Having a mental health issue does not however make an individual any less capable of survivor, in this writer’s opinion, it makes them stronger.  Individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses (SPMI) are going to find barriers others don’t have to worry about, such as medication management, treatment follow through and symptom management. 

When the FHTS, it will only be a matter of time before most individuals will experience a heightened level of adrenaline followed by the phenomenon of “fight or flight” thinking.  When this happens your autonomic nervous system goes to work and your survival instincts and natural reactions will come out.  For more on the autonomic nervous system and the parasympathetic/sympathetic  system please review this article.  For simplicity purposes we will refer to this mindset as the zone.

In the military many drills are repeated numerous times in a multitude of scenarios in order to increase the chances of use when in the zone.  It doesn’t take much to see how training your natural reactions towards stressful situations to mirror your best chance of survival could be highly effective.  Doing this for every scenario and every possible outcome would drive even the most disciplined Special Forces Op or Navy SEAL crazy.  To compensate, we look to improve our ability to “bounce back from” the situations we couldn’t prepare enough for, this is called resiliency.  This resiliency is what helps us to adapt and overcome minor to severe changes in the world around us.

Note: As identified above, no one is immune to the effects of stress and/or mental health issues.  Increasing your resiliency will help reduce your susceptibility but will not make you immune.  In our present day society over half of the American population will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime and over two-thirds will experience at least a minor episode of depression at some point in life.  These statistics are based off of today, when the FHTS, you can only imagine the effects it will have on the average American psyche. 

Present Day Skills:

Getting Connected / Social Support System:  Building strong, positive relationships with loved ones and friends can provide you with needed support and acceptance in both good times and bad.
Make every day meaningful:  Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Set goals to help you look toward the future with meaning.
Learn from experience:  Think back on how you've coped with hardships in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through rough times. You might even write about past experiences in a journal to help you identify both positive and negative behavior patterns — and guide your behavior in the future.
Remain hopeful:  You can't change what's happened in the past, but you can always look toward the future. Accepting and even anticipating change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less anxiety.
Take care of yourself:  Tend to your own needs and feelings, both physically and emotionally. Participate in activities and hobbies you enjoy. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Get plenty of sleep. Eat a healthy diet. To restore an inner sense of peace or calm, practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing or prayer.
Be proactive:  Don't ignore your problems or try to wish them away. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan and take action. Although it can take time to recover from a major setback, traumatic event or loss, know that your situation can improve if you actively work at it.

Back to the Basics Skills: (Most of the skills identified above can further be use after TEOTWAWKI).
Share your experience and encourage others to do the same:  Sharing with others and listening to how others are adapting and moving forward with the changes brought on by TEOTWAWKI can not only help identify gaps in progress in individual and group adaptability, but it names issues, makes them real and provides you the ability to take a problem and make it an obtainable goal.
Continue to document your experience:  As identified above, learning from your experience can be a great tool to reduce future effects of stress and change, as well as increase your overall ability to cope.
Develop a Crisis Response Plan:  Identify a written plan for how you are going to deal with negative thinking, thoughts of harm or suicide, depression and other mental health symptoms.  Sign it and share it with others, make it available for reference. 
Use your supports and be a support:  Even if you find yourself in an “I am Legend” scenario and you are the last human on earth, you still have the support of your spirituality (see I told you these go hand in hand) and your own mind.  With others, be there for them, practicing active listening (actually listening and reflecting on what they say, without judging) and show care and support (if the feelings aren’t there, fake it until you make it).  Rely on others for the same.  We are a social species and rely on the interactions of others to experience comfort and relief. 

Body (Physical Health)

Note:  I have read numerous blogs and threads regarding the stockpiling and keeping of prescription and non-prescription medications.  As I have seen in those threads, I will also do here and not encourage or condone the use of non-prescribed medication or the abuse of medication.  I encourage the proper use and disposal of unused medication when no longer needed.  With that said, you are your own person and you know what you need and don’t need.  If you have the need and the means, then it is up to you to make those decisions.

There are many aspects that affect your ability to survive TEOTWAWKI in regards to our current and maintainable level of physical functioning and health.  For this article we will focus on endurance, susceptibility and positive decision making.  For information on trauma care and medical care please review the book “When There is no Doctor.”  

It doesn’t take much imagination to see how the overweight and out of shape will handle the big changes that can come with TEOTWAWKI.  Anyone can overcome change with the right skills and mind set.  With that said, why make it harder on yourself and wait until the end of the world to decide that it’s time to do something about your 35% body fat or high blood pressure.  The first thing I encourage in this area is routine.  Start slow and implement one or two things at a time, in other words pace yourself, pace yourself, pace yourself.  Trying to be the next Mr. Olympian is not your goal.  It is better to be overweight and in shape then be overly fit and unable to complete basic tasks, like running far distances.   

Getting into shape goes beyond working out, it is what we eat and how we carry ourselves throughout the day.  I could easily say don’t smoke, don’t drink, stay away from drugs, don’t eat red meat, carbs are the devil, so on and so forth, but I am not your doctor.  With everything you do for your body, moderation is key.  My biggest piece of advice, aside from pacing yourself, is don’t look at improving your physical health as a chore, turn it into something fun, you can do again and again and again. 

Present Day Skills:
Get active:  All those ads you see on television and on billboards are right.  Getting active at least 30 minutes a day can greatly improve your overall health and overall wellness.  Try doing something you enjoy such as swimming, walking, playing basketball, jogging, dancing, cleaning, etc. 
Get involved:  Join a club or start an exercise regime with others such as your family.  You don’t need a lot, if any money, to get active and to workout, just if you want the big fancy machines when doing so.  Find creative ways to keep the family active throughout the day like walks after supper, playing in the yard after work or doing pushup and sit-up contests during commercials.
Mix it up:  Mix up your routine to make things interesting.  If you planned to go for a nice walk, turn it into a run.  Go hiking or canoeing instead of just lifting weights.  If you miss a day, a week or a month, don’t dwell on it, there are 24 hours in a day and tomorrow is another day.
Moderation:  Get your body used to moderation in most things you do.  Eating, drinking, socialization and other activities are more than fine, when done in moderation.  Too much of a good thing, makes it a bad thing.  Not to mention when the FHTS, it might be pretty hard living up to your vises and abuses, such as excessive drinking, smoking or overeating.
Back to the Basics Skills: (Most of the skills identified above can further be use after TEOTWAWKI).
Stay active:  Your gym may now be closed, but the majority of exercises can be fulfilled in small spaces and without the assistance of man-made contraptions.  For a giant list of ways to work out under even the most strenuous of circumstances, check out this web site.  
Don’t skip a meal:  It is better to eat brown rice for three meals a day then it is to skip a meal or two a day.  Our bodies need calories to survive and when the FHTS, our standard 2000 daily calorie intake may not be enough.
Take care of yourself:  Don’t wait until your cut is infected or your “cold” is a nasty viral infection.  Start with your immediate care and always follow up with the preventive care to the best of your ability, for the sake of your health and the health of others around you.

Spirit (Spiritual/Moral Health)
Spirituality is based not on what religion you claim, or even whom you worship.  Spirituality is what you believe connects us together, powers the universe, keeps time moving and empowers people to do what is morally right.  For some spirituality is found in God (or some deity), nature, art or the universe itself.  For myself I find spirituality in my faith in God and in my beliefs in the Catholic faith.  My spiritual character has further been developed through trials and tribulations, the military, fatherhood and life experience.  Whether you pray to God or baste in the awe of a sunrise over the mountain, we all are at some level aware of our spirituality. 

Your moral system is derived from nature and nurture.   We learn right and wrong from stories, church, life experience, feelings/emotions, school, society, self-discovery and many other influences.  When your moral/ethical system is tested and boundaries are crossed, moral injuries can occur.  These injuries can have long lasting effects and take away the drive that keeps one going. 

If you are a God fearing man or follow some structured religion, it helps to know where you are going when you die.  No matter how much you prepare you will eventually die someday.  Accepting death is a struggle every person experiences in their own way.  By accepting death and defining your reason for life, you have provided the strongest desire for survival.  I know my eternal resting place is among the saints in heaven.  Knowing this and having already accepted death through war and tribulation, I know I survive to honor the blessing of life God has bestowed upon me.  My faith is Catholicism, but my spirituality is defined by my relationship with God and how I honor him and my fellow man.

  There has been a regular theme in this article about priorities, without that word actually being used.  Defining ones ethics and values is one thing, but prioritizing them is another.  For me it goes; God, family, myself, country, community, work.  View this PDF for a questioner if you need help identifying your values.

Present Day Skills:

Pray: Prayer/meditation is an amazing tool for improving your spirituality.  Whether you pray to God or look into yourself for strength, doing so can bring your closer to the thing that ties us all together. 
Get involved:  Get involved in your local church.  Participating in mass/service is one thing, but getting involved with the Monday thru Saturday activities can help strengthen your beliefs and improve your spiritual fitness.  Socializing with others of like mind and spirit encourages growth.  If you don’t go to church or don’t believe in a higher power, you can still get involved.  Spend more time doing what makes you feel closer to your spirit, if it’s fishing, fish; if it’s nature, hike and if it’s the stars, keep your eyes to the sky.  Learn what you can about what empowers you; it can only make you stronger.
Read:  Some religions and spiritual paths come with manuals, while others must be found in various different books.  Owning a manual (i.e. Bible, Torah, etc.) that you never read, is like trying to fly a plane full of passengers without having ever left the ground or taken flying lessons.
Put your spirit into what you do:  If you are conducting an inventory of your preparations, practice praying and thanking God for his gifts.  Utilize mindfulness to enhance the experience of whatever activity or hobby you are taking part in.  You can be mindful canning or cooking dinner, just as easy with practice as you can when in nature or experiencing a wave of spirituality. 
Back to the Basics Skills:
Keep the faith:  When the FHTS, this can be easier said than done.  Morals and values are tested in hard times.  The stronger you are in your spirituality the better you will be able to do this come TEOTWAWKI.  Continue the list of things above to the best of your ability with what is still around.  This last part may be hard, but find God in what has happened.  Remember that God had to go through hell to open the gates of heaven; sometimes being like him (being a Christian) isn’t easy.
Pray, pray, pray:  God protects us (please read Psalm 91) and wants us to live in his blessing of life.  For non-believers, meditation can help stabilize the mess of stress and moral injury brought on by TEOTWAWKI.  When the world is at its darkest and prayer seems futile, at a minimum, one can pray to thank God for another day every morning, taking heed in the continuation of life.

Final Note:
  Death is inevitable for everyone, ignoring that robes you of true appreciation for life.  With death there is a rebirth and in this rebirth eternal life can finally begin.  To all of my fellow survivalists and preppers I wish you a blessed life and encourage you to always help others by giving them bread and teaching them to fish.
Thank you and God Bless.

I recently found an old issue of American Survival Guide magazine (now defunct), with an article that described a cache that had been buried 20+ years earlier, and how well it had fared. Extremely well so the article went, but the land and landmarks had changed over that length of time and it almost wasn't recovered.

For long-term storage like that, remembering where you stashed your cache could be a concern. You might find that a fire has removed all of the trees, and erosion removed any other landmarks you may have used for a benchmark. Or the area has since been developed and you arrive to find a strip mall/parking lot right on top of your valuables.

There are many ways to cache your stash, and different ways to make “X” mark the spot. You just have to remember where that “X” is, and never, ever forget. During the Spring, Summer or Fall, you may only have to worry about heat, rain, insects, poison ivy, or other preppers looking for their stash. That is not the point of this article.

It's February up here in my part of the United States. And it's cold. Very cold.

Which brings up the reason for this article - Winter cache retrieval considerations.

The temperatures for the past couple of months in my area have averaged right around the freezing point. In late January we had to put down a beloved family pet, and we wanted to dig a nice, deep hole in the back yard and give her a proper burial. I went and got my dependable old shovel out of the shed, but it wouldn't even make a mark in the frozen ground. I went back to the shed and brought out my post hole digger. Same result. My grandfather's old pick/mattock worked some, but it seemed like it was going to take days with that old tool!

At this point I was wishing for a motorized ice auger, something that would break through the ice without it breaking in the process. I went back to the shed and brought out an ax and a hatchet. It took two of us in fair physical shape 3½ hours to dig a 3' x 2' x 3½' hole. Turns out that there was 8" of frozen topsoil that we had to painstakingly chip through.

Where have you buried your cache, and in what part of the country? If you're down South and it's a mild Winter, you might not have a problem getting your goodies out of the ground. In nearly all of the Northern states, unless you're having a very mild Winter, you are going to have a problem.

If it's a cold, hard Winter like most of us up here are having now, and you find yourself in an extreme, immediate-need situation to access your cache, will you be ready? Do you have an ax, a hatchet, or whatever tool that will work for you, in your “at the ready” supplies so you can chop out that frozen ground if need be?

Are you in good enough shape to break through and access your carefully-hidden supplies? Will you have enough time to dig that hole and retrieve your (name your life-saver) before the rotating-oscillator-contacted Schumer blows your direction? Do you have the right type of transportation, clothing, footwear, and most important, tools to go and get your stuff in a safe manner without risking health, limb or life?

Since only you know what supplies you have on hand, and what you've saved for that fast-approaching “rainy” day, I suggest you rethink what you are doing, have already accomplished, or what you're thinking of starting.

No one knows when the balloon will go up, the hammer will fall, or the Schumer starts flying your way, so make sure you have the right tools and other equipment to access your hidden treasures where, and especially what time of year the need should arise.

Hopefully this is enough information for you to re-evaluate any preparations you may have made. I hope I've left out enough information so you will start thinking about your own personal situation as it stands right now and any possible scenario you might have to overcome when Mother Nature and circumstances throw that curve ball at all your plans. Get ready while you still have time. - Steve in Iowa

Mr. Rawles,
In the past few days, I have noticed many articles and threads from preppers regarding the northeast and our recent  snowfall. The general feeling is that we (from New England/New York) did not learn anything from Hurricane Sandy, and were again caught unprepared. Multiple news clips and sound bites  seem to support this. What the rest of the country seems not to realize, is that empty grocery stores, power outages, and blocked roads are a way of life here in New England, and have been for as far back as we can recall.  The prepper community is always speculating on what they would do days or hours leading up to a SHTF situation. I can speak for the majority of us northerners who can say "been there, done that, doing it again next year".  We all gassed up our vehicles, snow blowers etc, stocked up on perishable groceries, batteries etc. stayed home and weathered the storm safely.  Because in general, we know how to handle this type of event. It is in our blood.

The take away for your readers, is that wherever they call home, there are certain hazards which they will have to deal with on a semi regular basis, be they weather related or otherwise. You cannot prevent them, nor become impervious to them. We all can only be prepared enough to weather the storm best we can. It is up to each individual to asses the dangers presented by their region, and make the necessary preparations. I for one am not prepared for flash flooding, it is just not worth prepping for in my area, if I lived along the Mississippi, I might feel differently.

I think it is a testament to the preparedness of my region, that only three days after the most recent "snowstorm of the century" things are pretty much back to normal. Businesses are open, people are back to work, and we are merely waiting for power to come back on for a few thousand customers. We had no looting, food riots or bank runs.
Thanks for all your work, - Rico

That was a very good article by Chris C. to get people up to speed on EMP threats and mitigation, there is one very simple thing to add that was shared with me by a former military contractor who was involved in EMP work.   While it's possible to protect equipment in place with shielding, grounding and specialized electronic components, the most economical solution is to store spares.  This has the advantage of protecting (remember, "two is one") with backups from ANY type of equipment failure, EMP or otherwise.  This method uses readily obtainable and very economical materials.  There's really no excuse not to do this, as you'll be protected against a number of different possible problems.

Go through your your gear and determine what you need for spares.  Many, many things now have microelectronics inside.  Low startup power water pumps, tankless hot water heaters, refrigerators, LED light bulbs and flashlights, audio equipment, inverters, charge controllers, solar panel diodes, video cameras, network routers and switches, computers, cars and trucks etc. all have electronics that could be fried.  

According to my source, the best way to store electronic equipment is in it's original box, which provides an insulator from the outside via plastic, cardboard or foam.  Many electronic components come in static protecting bags, which will provide yet another layer of protection.  Double wrap the box with heavy duty aluminum foil, being careful to seal all seams with metal ducting tape in each layer.  The outside of this is then wrapped in plastic bubble wrap and placed inside a galvanized steel 32 gallon trash can.  

The inside of the trash can needs to have the same metal tape applied over the holes in the metal from the handles on the barrel and the lid and an insulating layer of cardboard should be fitted to the inside of the metal trash can.  This is to provide an insulator between the Faraday cage of the trash can and the electronics inside.  

Place all your wrapped electronics (double foil and bubble wrap) inside this trash can and seal the lid with more metal duct tape.  This provides two layers of security from the can and each component is also separately protected inside the can.   You can test this by placing an FM radio that is turned on, wrapping it in a box, layering the foil and bubble wrap, then placing it inside the metal trash can.  If you don't hear any radio signal after it's been wrapped and placed inside the metal trash can, you are good to go. - C.K.


While I appreciate the thought that Chris C. and others put into discussions of EMP scenarios, Chris and others are all forgetting one fact that makes all of this an exercise in futility:  There are dozens of active nuclear reactors operating in the US.  Any EMP burst will travel along the high tension wires that are used to distribute their output and fry them.  It's not going to be the 1850s, it's going to be more like The Omega Man, with most of the population dead within weeks from radiation poisoning when the cores melt down and explode. Those who survive this initial die off will be left with a land that will not grow crops for millennia to come.  That's why I don't worry about EMP anymore: There's going to be nothing left. My family and I live in Butte, Montana astride the Great Divide. That puts us upwind of most of America's nuclear reactors.

If we do ever suffer an EMP, I hope that there won't be concurrent or subsequent radioactive fallout. The fallout from the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/reactor incident has really made me think hard about this.  If memory serves, there are 47 active reactors in the US, if they all overheat their cores [or spent fuel ponds] at once (or within the same week, say) I seriously fear for the population of the US and other countries. 

Wouldn't the Jet Stream eventually carry the fallout around the northern hemisphere and hit us here as well?  I read that it takes several months under controlled conditions to completely shut down a reactor [and disassemble its pile], and that if the fuel rods were exposed to air because the pumps stopped that it might take years for them to cool off and stop spewing radiation. If the grid collapsed due to an EMP, there would be no heroic efforts like we saw in January, with 47 reactors going critical and no communications or transport, Sir Isaac Newton is in the drivers seat. 

I don't want to sound defeatist, I have been following SurvivalBlog for several years, and am doing my best to prepare to keep my family alive in case of emergency.  I'm even working on a Bug-Out Bag article, which is what caused me to really start thinking about what I was prepping for.  The collapse of the grid like in your novel Patriots is obviously the biggie we all try to plan for, and if it goes down like that we all might have a chance to try the 1850s over again.  - Greg C. (A former USMC Captain.)

JWR Replies: These issues were described in detail in a SurvivalBlog article posted back in September, 2010. The only good news is that by the time that fallout clouds circle the globe, they will have already dropped most of their heavier components. In an absolute worst-case situation where all of the nuclear power plants and spent fuel ponds boil off and melt down, the worst-affected regions would be: the northeastern United States, Quebec, Iceland, and northern Europe. (Sorry about that!)

The southern hemisphere would obviously be safer, since there are relatively few nuke plants compared to the more industrialized northern hemisphere. Here in the United States, the least-affected regions would be the Pacific Northwest and the Inland Northwest (The American Redoubt.) I would not want to be living anywhere in the eastern United States!

Mr. Rawles,
We have had a couple telephone consults and I have found your knowledge to be of great use. I try to make your blog one of my first early morning reads here on the East Coast.
Chris C.'s article on EMP was extremely well thought out, comprehensive and full of accurate information. The only thing I take issue with is his statement regarding the reason we are a very likely target. Chris stated, "We now face an enemy who is difficult to put a face on, impossible to identify, and hates us for no other reason that the fact that we are a nation of free infidels."
I find this type of thinking to be all too prevalent in America today. I am in no way a Muslim apologist. I feel strongly that the Islamic community has done little to nothing to denounce terrorism, either through fear of retribution from fellow Muslims or tacit approval of the activities of their radical counterparts. Additionally, my late father was a United States Marine, I was a U.S. Navy Corpsman and my son is presently a Marine Lieutenant attending flight school in Pensacola, so I do not take what I am about to say lightly.
Chris C.'s way of thinking is short-sighted and flat out wrong. The vast majority of Muslims do not hate us for our "freedom". That is a false narrative that [the media] has been trying to create for decades. Just as any red-blooded American would be outraged at the presence of a foreign military on our soil, so do those inhabitants of Islamic countries who have had our military occupy and/or invade their lands. There is no denying that Saddam Hussein was an oppressive and evil tyrant and the world is a better place without his presence, but the same can be said about many dictators throughout the world, particularly on the African continent. The government of Afghanistan may or may not have known the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, but did its people deserve invasion and continued occupation?
Let's use a fictitious example for a moment. An American citizen or group of citizens plots and successfully blows up the Eiffel Tower. Washington D.C., for whatever reason, states they don't know where the group is, or simply will not turn them over. Would YOU accept French planes bombing U.S. cities, breaking down doors in the middle of the night looking for suspected terrorists or knocking your car out of the way with an APC because they wanted to get through......or would YOU be planting IEDs alongside the road to blow up the French troops?
The hijackers on 9/11 were almost all Saudi's, as was OBL, yet they are our "allies". OBL was found and killed in Pakistan, yet they are our allies. Does anyone believe that OBL lived in Pakistan for years without the knowledge of elements high within the Pakistani government? Let us not be naive. America is a great country, but we serve our interests, as do all nations. That said, we must not be surprised when our actions result in hatred. Most Muslims knew nothing of the United States, but when we bomb their countries, kill thousands and call it "collateral damage", should we be surprised when that hatred is turned towards us?
We have involved ourselves in the politics of oppression throughout the world to serve our own national interests and must realize that the end result is hatred directed towards us. Yes, they resent the encroachment of "Western" corruption on their generations, but don't we resent many of the very same vices that they do: promiscuity, drugs, alcoholism, abortion. Christianity preaches against the same things. They hate us not because we are free, but because we wish them to "be like us". Forcing your ways upon the people of another land is not freedom, no matter how backwards we may perceive them.
Many of us resent the way our own government is trying to force us to comply with their beliefs. Anyone with the slightest bit of intellectual honesty will admit that our country is not the beacon of freedom it once was. That oppression they feel will soon be directed upon those who disagree with our present government. You basically wrote as much in your first novel, Patriots.
America has much to be proud of, its people are kind, generous and caring. Our government is not. If we need to know why they hate us, we need to look no further than those in Washington, D.C. Hatred of freedom? Please, let's not fall into that jingoistic trap of false patriotism. True freedom is when people are left alone to live their lives, safe with their families, to live their lives. It's not having Humvees racing down the street with guns pointed at your children. Let's at least have an honest discussion.
Otherwise, it was an outstanding piece. Thanks, - Ken B. on Long Island


Chris C.'s essay on EMP has some false information and conclusions unjustified even by those falsehoods, and misleading advice. His essay rehashes some myths that have been circulating on the Internet for years in spite of the ready availability of reliable contradictory evidence. He tries to qualify his remarks by saying there is "debate" over situations where "no one is sure what will happen," but in truth we do know. It's just that the facts contradict his opinions.

He clearly wants to believe that "small transistor devices", airplanes, modern cars, laptops, and pacemakers are at high risk from EMP, but the facts show that they aren't. Of course, they shouldn't be. They simply aren't able to capture very much energy from EMP, and the features that protect these devices from electrostatic discharge (whether fingertip static on a cold day, or nearby lightning strikes during a storm) also serve to shunt EMP energy away from their critical systems. - P.N.G.

A Montana television station's regular programming was interrupted by news of a zombie apocalypse...

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FAA Releases New Drone List. (Note that there are just a few airports in the American Redoubt, compared to other parts of the country)

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Oregon-collared wolf killed by Idaho Hunter

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I heard that Armageddon Armory in Nampa, Idaho still has some firearms inventory available, and they just took delivery of a large batch of TAPCO polymer magazines. Many gun shops across the country have empty shelves. So it is nice find one that still has a decent inventory. At last report, they have available: "4 Century R1A1 .308 rifles, 6 Anderson Arms free float AR-15 rifles, 2 M1 Carbines, and just one each of the following: CETME .308, Springfield M1A SOCOM Scout, Sterling 9mm carbine, Calico 9mm, Barrett .50 BMG, Armalite bolt action .50 BMG, Bushmaster XM15 .223, Bushmaster M4, and a Stag Arms left hand AR-15." They also mentioned that they have "...more ammo en route at this time from Magtech and Sellier & Belloit."

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Where Are Guns Made? Mapping Gun And Ammunition Makers In Idaho. Oh, and next door: Firearm Manufacturers in Wyoming

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PNW Arms (in Potlatch, Idaho) is already well-known for their Cold Tracer bullets. They are now developing a line of bullets designed for extreme penetration through water. I'm sue that the U.S. Navy has taken notice.

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BVAC Ammunition (in Stevensville, Montana) is presently sold out of .223 ammunition. But they are doing their best to catch up. They still have several other types of ammunition in stock.

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WWII Battle of Midway hero Jim Muri dies at 93 in Billings, Montana.

MagPul Industries issues a Colorado legislative alert and says "we may have to move." Needless to say, they would be enthusiastically welcomed here in the American Redoubt!

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Chris G. sent this: Department of Homeland Security Raids Gun Collector Who Didn’t Violate the Law

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Nuts! Jericho creator confirms Netflix in talks to revive series

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A reader mentioned a mail order company that is worth checking out: 1st Army Supply.

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Anthony Wile of The Daily Bell recently interviewed constitutional lawyer Edwin Vieira about his new book on the right to keep and bear arms and militias.

"They’re not going to tell you [that a collapse is coming]. You’re going to have to see it for yourself. [During the Tequila crisis], the Mexican government affirmed they would not default, that they would not devalue, almost daily. The day after they said “we won't devalue,” they devalued by 60%. The government’s never going to tell you that it’s going to happen.

“Greece’s Yunker said recently, ‘When it becomes serious—you have to lie’. These guys are never going to tell you the truth, because they can’t tell you the truth. Their job is to promote confidence, not to tell you the truth." - Kyle Bass

Monday, February 11, 2013

Today is the birthday of the late Burt Blumert (born February 11, 1929 in New York City, died March 30, 2009.) He once owned Camino Coin Company. (Coincidentally, so did former congressman Dr. Ron Paul from 1984 to 1996.) I was a Camino customer before the turn of the century. I can remember Burt personally helping me dolly out my first purchase of 100-ounce Engelhard bars. That was back when they cost just $580 each. Those were the days. (The same bars now sell for more than $3,200 each.)


Today's first feature article is by our Back Country Editor, Mat Stein. The second piece is by our Medical Editor, Dr. Cynthia Koelker. The third post comes from Pat Casio, our Field Gear Editor. They are all subject matter experts. I am very grateful to all of them for their volunteer work for the benefit of the SurvivalBlog readership.

This past week I had a pharmacy call me about a multi-year prescription I had written for a fellow prepper.  The pharmacy would not fill the prescription, and didn’t even know if was legal.  At first they told the patient I would have to write a note regarding the purpose of so much medication, and that the drug might not even be good beyond a year.  On further consideration, they informed him that he would have to get a new prescription written for a smaller amount.  It seemed they did not even want to keep the written prescription in their records (which are periodically reviewed).

It so happened that the state board of pharmacy was visiting that day and the pharmacist inquired as to what the law actually states.  I’m told the pharmacist was advised that they could not fill any prescription for more than one year into the future, even if the physician writes a note saying the patient is aware the medication will be considered out of date beyond a year.
This demonstrates just one of the obstacles to obtaining long-term medication for TEOTWAWKI that I’d like to address.  There are other barriers as well – perhaps you’ve encountered a few.

To begin, here’s my short list of reasons your doctor won’t help you prep:

  • He or she believes all is well – From your doctor’s point of view, tomorrow will be much like today, and on and on, indefinitely.  All this doomsday stuff is mere malarkey. 
  • Your doctor may be an employee – Even if he’s a hard-core survivalist, your doctor is obligated to comply with his employer’s policies.
  • Your physician is afraid of getting in trouble How many people are looking over your doctor’s shoulders?  To name a few, your physician may be answerable to partners or peers, a practice manager, a hospital or other employer, pharmacies, drug boards, the DEA, insurers, Medicare, Medicaid, the state medical board, and no doubt the IRS.  Would you risk losing your license and livelihood under these conditions?
  • Your doctor thinks you’re a nut – Perhaps your questions are perceived as paranoia rather than preparedness.
  • Depending on your condition, your doctor may fear you’ll hurt yourself – Medical concerns include overdosing, under-dosing, not recognizing certain side-effects, drug interactions, necessary lab tests, and many others.
  • Your doctor does not want to be responsible for someone he or she is not seeing regularly – Current law requires a doctor to oversee a patient’s care on a regular basis, and to document this in a legal medical record.  Physicians are required to document every prescription written or dispensed, as are pharmacies.  Doctors are responsible for treatment regimens we prescribe.
  • Your physician may fear lost income – Doctors still have to make a living, which is becoming increasingly difficult, particularly for primary care physicians.
  • Society as a whole and medical providers as well believe the field of medicine should be left to professionals – The person who learns enough to care for himself may be more feared than respected, a loose cannon beyond societal norms.

The point of this list isn’t to make you give up, but rather to recognize and quantify the challenge.  There is much you can do, depending on your motivation.  You, too, can make a difference.   
So here’s a list of suggestions to overcome the above obstacles:

  • Convince your doctor that all is NOT well – When you see your doctor, take a brief moment to ask a question about the economy, or where our medications come from, or what you should have on hand if a tornado strikes, or how your community is set to handle a disaster like Hurricane Katrina.  
  • Learn whether your physician is an employee – If so, don’t expect much cooperation in the prepping department.  You may want to seek out a second, independent medical professional.  Solo practitioners are becoming a rare breed, but are much more likely to be independent thinkers.
  • Don’t put your doctor at risk – Ask only for small favors, perhaps an extra month of medication at each visit. 
  • Don’t act like a nut – Doctors appreciate patients who act responsibly, who know the names and doses of their medications, and who follow-through on agreed-upon treatment plans.  There could come a time when your doctor comes to you for advice on a preparedness issue.
  • Educated yourself thoroughly about your own medical condition, medications, and other treatments – There is nothing that prevents you from studying up on your own disease.  Your doctor likely has more clinical experience, which is an enormous advantage, but otherwise you can learn an great amount about any medical condition.  A good place to start is with the American Academy of Family Physicians journal which is online free at www.aafp.org.  You should know the common side-effects, potential for poisoning, and common drug interactions for all your medications.  Although doctors are aware of many of these, they cannot memorize them all.  A free online Interaction Checker is available at www.drugs.com.
  • If you have a chronic medical condition (such as diabetes, hypertension, etc.) see your doctor regularly – I cannot emphasize this enough.  The point is not only your current care, but your future health as well.  If you demonstrate trustworthiness in small things (such as keeping appointments), your doctor is more likely to trust you with bigger things (such as extra medication or a prescription for antibiotics for a future need). 
  • And now for the fine print – I recognize the above will only get you so far.  I strongly advise taking advantage of your current freedoms.  Currently you are allowed to seek medical care from more than one physician, perhaps one within your insurance network and one out-of-network, or even in a different city.  Currently you are free to obtain prescriptions from more than one pharmacy.  Currently you have access to a vast and amazing array of effective over-the-counter medications, about which I’ve written previously.  Currently you are permitted to acquire a wide variety of A-B rated USP generic antibiotics intended for aquarium use.  Currently you have access to as much medical information as physicians enjoy.  Currently you have the freedom to acquire medical items for potential future barter.  Currently there is no restriction regarding obtaining medical skills for personal use, such as suturing and casting, as taught in my classes and elsewhere.   Currently you can acquire insulin over-the-counter.  Currently desiccated thyroid replacement may be obtained without a prescription.  Currently herbal medications are available in abundance.  Currently you can purchase new or used books on physical therapy, massage, and chiropractic.  Currently you have the freedom to attend EMT or nursing school, even if you don’t intend to pursue a career in the field.

Fortunately there is much you can do to build your self-reliance in the medical arena, but it cannot be accomplished overnight.  An abundance of free information to get you started is available at my ArmageddonMedicine.net web site, and I suggest reading my other articles in the SurvivalBlog archives. (Put "Koelker" in the Search box.)

Note: This article is adapted from my book When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival

Tips for Surviving Outside in Extreme Weather and Subfreezing Temperatures

Every year people get lost in the backcountry near where I live in the High Sierras, and end up spending one or more unplanned nights outside in the snow and extreme cold. Some of those folks live to tell the tale, and some of them don’t. Hopefully you will never need to spend unexpectedly long hours outside in extreme weather, but in case you do, here are a few tips:

  • Stay Dry: If at all possible, keep your clothing dry, including hat, gloves, and boots. It takes a huge amount of energy to dry clothing using just body heat, and wet clothes will not insulate nearly as well as dry clothing. If you must lay down to sleep, break fresh green pine boughs off evergreen trees to make a somewhat insulated “bough bed” that will help you stay drier and warmer than lying directly on the snow.
  • Check for numb hands and feet: The extremities of your body will tend to cool and freeze first, so keep a watchful eye on your hands and feet. At the first signs of numbness, you should stop what you are doing and get the blood circulating again, or you will risk frostbite and potentially permanent damage due to freezing your flesh. For the feet, brace your arms against something, stand on one leg, and vigorously swing the other leg back and forth, like a ringing bell in a bell tower. The centrifugal force of the swinging motion will usually restore blood circulation and warm your toes, unless they are already truly frozen and not just cold. If they burn and hurt, that is okay and the painful condition should only last a few minutes, unless the feet had actually suffered frostbite. The easiest technique for restoring feeling and circulation to the hands is similar to the previous technique for the feet. Swing your arms in wide rapid circles to help drive blood into the fingertips. Alternately, take your gloves or mittens off and stick your bare hands under your jacket and into your arm pits until your hands are warm.
  • Check each other for signs of hypothermia and frostbite: A few years back a father and son skied out of bounds into the Granite Chief Wilderness and survived several nights out until they were rescued. The father kept the son moving most of each night to keep his feet and hands from freezing, and to help prevent him from succumbing to hypothermia. A couple winters back, a female snow boarder descended out of bounds into the Granite Chief Wilderness. She perished from exposure while trying to hike her way out of the wilderness, not realizing that in the direction she chose, it is about a 50 mile snow covered backcountry trek to reach the nearest all-season road. If you have no companion to help each other check for frostbite and/or hypothermia, you must be vigilant and do this for yourself. Frostbite on the skin shows up as a bright white patch of skin, usually surrounded by pinkish colored flesh. It is caused by freezing of the flesh, and actual frost crystals start forming on the skin’s surface. See below for more details on both frostbite and hypothermia.
  • When in doubt, backtrack: Surprisingly few folks who get lost in the wilderness try to backtrack. Downhill skiers and snowboarders who travel out of bounds inherently dislike the idea of hiking back up the mountain the same way they came down, but this course of action would have saved many a life. However, when snows are incredibly deep, like they can be in the high mountains, backtracking may not be a viable option.
  • Seek Shelter: Tree wells and snow caves can provide shelter from storms and extreme cold. Snow is an excellent insulator, but try to keep yourself from getting wet both while building your snow shelter and when staying inside the shelter. If you must sit or lie down in the snow, a layer of fresh green pine boughs can provide insulation and help minimize getting wet from melting snow with body heat
  • Build a Fire: Your chances of starting a fire in extreme weather, using primitive methods, like a fire drill, or flint and steel, are pretty slim, but if you happen to have matches or a cigarette lighter on hand, by all means build a fire! Look for standing dead wood, or drier branches sheltered underneath fallen logs that may be drier than the rest of the available wood. For kindling, look for branches on trees that have a bunch of dead brown pine needles. The dead pine needles on these branches will usually burn even if they are fairly wet. Make sure you knock the snow off any overhead branches before you start your fire, so they won’t dump snow on your fire as it heats up. You can build a fire directly on top of the snow. Just lay down a bunch of branches to keep your drier wood separated from direct contact with the snow.

An aside:

On a solo trans-Sierra backcountry ski trip, while I was setting up my camp for the night, I made the mistake of not bothering to stop what I was doing in order to swing my feet and regain the circulation in my toes. My route had taken me to lower elevations in the warmth of the midday, and the snow had been quite wet, soaking through my old leather ski mountaineering boots. It was a clear night as I was pitching my tent, and the temperature had dropped to well below zero. Figuring I would soon be inside my sleeping bag, boiling a hot pot of tea on my camp stove, I did not pay attention to my numb toes. Turns out I froze the last half inch of my big toe. It blistered up, became quite sore, and turned black. I eventually lost my toenail and a large hunk of blackened flesh peeled off the tip of my big toe, but I did not need any surgery or have to deal with infection problems, so I consider myself lucky, having learned a valuable lesson that could have been a lot worse.

Warning Signs of Hypothermia

Hypothermia, and its evil twin, hyperthermia, are both very dangerous life-threatening conditions. The human body is designed to function within a relatively narrow core body temperature within a few degrees of 98.6°F (37°C). When the body’s core temperature rises a few degrees above this, hyperthermia (overheating) occurs, and when it drops a few degrees lower, this condition is described as hypothermia (overcooling). When left uncorrected, either case can rapidly lead to impaired mental and physical performance followed by death. When people die in the wilderness due to either overheating (hyperthermia) or overcooling (hypothermia), their cause of death is usually referred to as “exposure”.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of hypothermia is extremely important. Most people who died of exposure probably had ample time to recognize the situation, and may have been able to do something about it had they realized what was going on. The following are warning signs of hypothermia:

  • Shivering
  • Decreased awareness and inability to think clearly
  • Numbness, especially in the extremities
  • Pale skin color and skin cold to the touch
  • Poor dexterity

As hypothermia advances, and the body core temperature approaches the “death zone”, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Apathy
  • Feelings of blissful warmth
  • Sleepiness and the desire to lie down and take a nap
  • The victim may start to feel hot and start shedding clothes
  • Difficulty or inability to walk
  • Slurred speech followed by inability to speak, or speech not making any sense whatsoever
  • Ashen cold skin, looking like a corpse that can still move a little
  • May or may not have waves of uncontrollable shivering

Treatment for hypothermia:

  • It is absolutely critical that core temperature be raised as soon as possible.
  • Monitor pulse and breathing. Give victim artificial respiration, or CPR, if necessary.
  • Get the victim out of wet or frozen clothes and immerse in a warm bath (not hot, optimum is from 102°F-105°F/39°C-40.5°C), if available. Change victim into dry warm clothes. Alternatively, wrap victim in pre-warmed blankets.
  • Drink plenty of hot liquids, such as tea, coffee, or simply just hot water.
  • If prior options are not available, have a warm person crawl into a single sleeping bag alongside the hypothermic victim for body heat transfer from the warm body to the hypothermic body. NOTE: Simply placing a hypothermic victim inside a sleeping bag by themselves is usually not good enough, since their body will at that point be pretty much shut down and not generating enough body heat on its own to rapidly restore correct body temperature.
  • Seek medical attention— hypothermia is life threatening, so time is of the essence!

I believe I first started writing about knives for Knives Illustrated magazine back around 1994. Since that time, I've probably had the opportunity to test literally thousands of knives, both fixed blade. folders, and out-the-front knives. Most knives I've tested are really pretty good blades. If something is junk, I just won't waste my time writing about it because folks don't want to read about junk! Once in a while, something new catches my eye, and I sit up and take notice, when it comes to knives.

Blackhawk Products caught my eye with their Gideon drop point fixed blade knife. I've designed several knives over the years, and they have all been fixed blade knives, of the survival or combat style, so I know a little something about designing a good knife. I have one sitting here on my desk that I co-designed with custom knife maker, Brian Wagner, at Okuden Knives - that we are attempting to do a collaboration with a big knife company, in order to get it into the hands of consumers at a reasonable price. We call it the OC-3 for lack of a better term, because it is our third collaboration together.
The Blackhawk Products Gideon is one of those smaller fixed blade knives that has perfectly flowing lines from the tip of the blade to the butt of the knife. It just seems to "sing" if you ask me - it feels great in the hand, and many people have handled my sample. I think the first thing that catches your eye on the Gideon is the handle design, it's made out of G-10 and this is some seriously tough material - almost indestructible. However, it's not just the material itself, it's the curve of the handle and the sculpted design that catches the eye, that feels "oh-so-nice" when you hold it in your hand. There is also a somewhat pointed skull-crushing pommel on the end of the knife, with a lanyard hole in it.
The blade material is AUS8A, one of my all-time favorite stainless steels for knives - it holds an edge a good long time, and its easy to re-sharpen as well, and pretty darn corrosion resistant . On top of it, this steel is one of the more affordable stainless steels on the market. Value! The 5-inch black Ti-Nitride coated blade design flows, and there are also two holes at the base of the blade for tethering the blade to a pole for use as a weapon or for spearing fish - I've done it before - not with this knife, with with others, and it's a lot of fun spearing fish instead of just using a fishing pole. Something to think about in a wilderness survival situation. There is also an additional finger groove in front of the quillion that provides an additional grip area for choking-up on the blade for close up work, like in caping big game, and for more control when cutting. the overall length of the knife is 10.250-inches - and the knife is a total brute!
When dealing with a wilderness survival situation, where you aren't able to get resupplied with gear, you want the toughest gear you can find, you can't afford to have equipment failure in the field. The Gideon won't let you down, this little knife is brutally strong and the blade is very thick - real thick! This is the proverbial sharpened crow bar, that we've all heard so much about. However, unlike some other "sharpened crow bars" the Gideon is very graceful in design and the way the knife feels and handles. If a knife doesn't feel good or "right" in my hand, I won't use it or carry it. There is also a slight upward rise on the top of the knife for placing your thumb for use in the fencing grip, too. An injection molded sheath, with Nylon and mounting plates set-up for PALS/MOLLE or in a drop leg platform helps you carry the Gideon.
My Gideon sample came hair-popping sharp right out of the box, something you don't get with some knives - I've had a good number of custom knives pass through my hands over the years, and there are some companies and custom makers that don't put a really keen edge on their knives for some reason. I don't understand this, a knife is a tool, that is supposed to be sharp in order to get the most benefit out of it. Blackhawk did a great job on the Gideon - it came super-sharp, and held an edge a good long time.
I put the Gideon through a lot of testing, more than my usual routines. I did a lot of chopping - while the Gideon worked as a chopper, the blade and overall length of the knife is a bit too short for this task, but it worked if I put some extra effort into it. I used the Gideon to split wood - using a big piece of wood, to pound the Gideon through another piece of wood - and the knife held-up just fine. There were some rub marks on the Ti-Ni coating, but that was it. I used the Gideon as a throwing knife, but the balance wasn't there for this chore, and I never did get it to stick in a target, tip first. I did however, note some serious indentations in the target from the skull crushing pommel. The pommel's design can easily crush a skull, with a downward movement - so this is something to think about - you don't have to just cut or stab an attacker, you can put them out of commission by cracking their skull open - a last resort method of self-defense.
I used the Gideon for all manner of kitchen chores, and the edge never dulled - even cutting cardboard boxes - which really dulls and edge, didn't affect the sharpness of the Gideon. I whittled on some wood, and finally the blade's edge started to dull, but it was still very useable. I also stacked cardboard and "stabbed" the Gideon into it - and it easily penetrated the full length of the blade - the knife's point and the sharpness of the blade helped in this regard, as well as the shape and contour of the handle! I'm not sure who designed the Gideon, there's no info on the Blackhawk web site, but whoever it was, did a great job on this knife.
I also pounded the point of the Gideon into a tree and snapped the knife out sideways...no damage to the tip of the knife at all. I said the knife blade was thick - it is, but it is strong, too! I've tried this same test with some other well-known fighting knives over the years, and the tipped either bent or completely snapped off - either the blades were too thin or poorly heat-treated causing the tip to fail. Not something you want in a combat or survival situation. The Gideon won't fail you.
As a bit of a Bible scholar, I know a little bit about Gideon in the Bible. And, the name means "Destroyer" or "Feller of Trees." Gideon was one of the Judges in the Old Testament. So, the name Blackhawk Products gave this new fixed blade seems to fit...now, I wouldn't want to try and fell a tree with the Blackhawk Gideon, but it might just do to fell an attacker or destroy him, or save your bacon out in the wilderness, too.
I like to save the best for last, whenever possible. The Gideon has a full-retail of $129.99 and for what you get, this is one of those best buys in my humble opinion. (They also make a Gideon tanto point variant.) You are getting a very well designed fixed blade knife, that is made from top materials, from a company that backs-up all their products. Blackhawk doesn't make any junk - they can't afford to, many of their customers are military and law enforcement and they demand and need the best of the best. The Gideon won't let you down - they are a bit hard to find right now, but you can find one, and if you do, lay claim to it.  - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio

I've posted numerous articles and links in SurvivalBlog that emphasize the importance of remaining silent whenever you are contacted by law enforcement officers. I strongly recommend that before reading the rest of this post, you take the time watch this lecture: Don't Talk To The Police, and take it to heart.

I've heard from several readers who say that that they've been pulled over by police officers on "fishing expeditions". The officers refused to let the motorists go, even though it was obvious that no crime had been committed. These readers did everything right. They presented their identification and proof of insurance, and repeated: "On the advice of my attorney, I am exercising my right to remain silent and I do not consent to any search." This has to be repeated over and over.

The officers pressed on, with all their usual tricks, to try to get the motorists to agree to an unconstitutional search. Repeated queries were made, with the words: "Officer, am I free to go?" Finally, after more than an hour, a supervising officer would arrive on the scene, and the entire litany would then be repeated, for the umpteenth time. Then they were finally allowed to continue their travel. This is real fun in southern states when the outside temperature is 100 degrees F and the temperature inside your car is even higher.

So what if an officer persists? What if it goes on for more than an hour? At that point, depending on your patience or the volume of your bladder, it might be time for Plan B. Here is what I recommend:

1.) Keep your hands in view, preferably resting at the classic "10 and 2 o'clock" position on your steering wheel. To make the officer feel more at ease, leave your hands there throughout the encounter unless specifically ordered by the officer to move them for some specific reason.

2.) When the officer approaches your window--or the passenger's side window, depending on the situation--roll the window down a crack and slowly and without and sudden movements hand him your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. If you are a CCW permit holder, then also hand him your CCW permit at the same time as the other paperwork, and tell the officer: "I am obliged to tell you that I am a concealed carry permit holder and that in accordance with the concealed carry law of ______ (state) I am carrying a ________ pistol/revolver/whatever, located ___________."

3.) If a traffic citation is issued, read it and then ask: "Am I free to go?" If you are told "Yes" then go. Don't stick around for any debates, lectures, or pleasantries.

4.) If the officer asks you any questions, say: "On the advice of my attorney, I am exercising my right to remain silent and I do not consent to any search. Am I free to go?"

5.) If the officer start playing fishing expedition games to try to trick you into consenting to a search, simply repeat: "On the advice of my attorney, I am exercising my right to remain silent and I do not consent to any search. Am I free to go?"

6.) Repeat this as many times as necessary.

7.) If this goes on for more than 20 minutes, then add the phrase: "You seem to be unreasonably delaying my freedom to travel. Please contact your supervising officer. Will you please do so?"

8.) If, after an hour you still cannot get permission to proceed, I recommend that you ask: "Officer, may I contact my attorney?" If permission is refused, of if you do not have a cell phone with you or you are not in a cell phone coverage area, then you will be in a bit of jam. Then, and only then, I recommend that you politely elevate the encounter with another series of questions:

A.) Ask: "Officer, please explain why you are arresting or detaining me?" He will probably answer: "You are not under arrest."

B.) Then ask: "So, am I free to go?"

C.) If the answer is still no, then ask: "Officer, I need to ask you: Are you familiar with the legal standards of Probable Cause, Reasonable Suspicion, and Plain View?" He will probably answer: "Yes I am" or perhaps: "What, are you some kind of an attorney?"

D.) Then ask: "Do you have Probable Cause to believe that I have committed or am about to commit a criminal offense?"

E.) If the answer is no, then ask: "Am I free to go?" If the answer is no, then ask: Then ask: "Do you have Reasonable Suspicion to believe that I have committed or am about to commit a criminal offense?"

F.) If the answer is no, then ask: "Am I free to go?"If the answer is no, then ask: "Is there anything that you see on my vehicle in your Plain View that would lead you to believe that I have committed or am about to commit a criminal offense?"

G.) If the answer is no, then ask: "Am I free to go?" If the answer is no, then ask: "Is there some new legal doctrine or standard that I am not aware of that would give you cause to detain me? Please explain."

H.) If the officer gets obstinate and orders you out of your car, and declares that he (or they) are going to conduct a search or you witness them initiating a search, or they tell you to wait while a K-9 unit is being be summoned, you should ask: "Officer: Are you familiar with the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree legal precept? I must warn you that this is an nonconsensual and unconstitutional search and that anything that you might find will not be admissible as evidence. I must insist that you cease this search. By continuing, you are opening yourself up to litigation and I will not hesitate to sue both you personally, and your Department. Because you are proceeding with a clearly unconstitutional search you will not benefit from any immunity. "

Memorize these phrases, and their sequence. Beyond them, I don't know what else I can recommend.

Note that almost everything that I have recommended that you say should be IN THE FORM OF A QUESTION. This keeps the officer on the defensive at all times.

May God Bless you, in your travels. Be safe out there! - JWR

Hello James,
Over the last number of months I have really enjoyed reading articles on your survivalblog.  I like to thank you for all the good and commonsense information.
What are your thoughts on joining the army?  I have a 16 year old son who has his mind set on joining the Canadian armed forces.

I like the fact that he is willing to serve his country, but as a Christian is it wise to expose yourself willingly to crude and foul language and other foul behavior. I spoke to a Canadian veteran and told me that you are as a Christian on an ''island'' on your own with few exceptions. (Those who claim to be Christian but their daily living shows otherwise).
With all the developments in your country (police state? financial collapse?) Canada is surely not far behind. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Regards., K.

JWR Replies: That is a tough question.  But I do have some recommendations.

First, he should be at least 19 and well-grounded as a mature Christian before he enlists.  Younger and less discerning recruits are more likely to succumb to peer pressure and fall into sinful, self-destructive patterns.

Canada announced the end of combat operations in Afghanistan in 2011, but there are still about 1,000 Canadian troops there--mainly trainers for the Afghan army.  Deployments to Afghanistan are still a possibility if you son goes active duty.

I'd recommend that your son join the Army Reserve, directly.  This way he will get the same valuable training that he would receive as an active duty soldier, but he'll be safer and probably happier. The Reserve units probably won't get called up in the event of a major economic collapse. And even if they do, they will probably stay close to home.

Do some checking and find out the branch specialty of your local Reserve unit.  If it is not Infantry or Transportation, then he'll probably be quite safe, even if his unit unexpectedly mobilizes and deploys to Afghanistan (or elsewhere.)

If he finds that he really enjoys it, then your son can always transition of active duty, later.

I have been building a library of preparedness-related documents to store on a DVD data disc. In my search for cooking recipes, I found this web site: U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps School: Food Service Publications & Links

The page contains a link to a ZIP archive of recipes use by the Army -- about 100 MB of indexed recipes of all types.

A direct link to the ZIP file is here.

Watch 'Yer Top Knot and Keep Your Powder Dry, - The Wyoming Geezer

This afternoon I went to the 3 day gun show (Friday 3-8 and all day Sat, Sun) which began on Friday at 3PM.  Being retired it was easy for me to go but clearly a very large number of people left work early to get ahead of the Saturday morning crowds.

So we all got the Friday afternoon crowd instead!

Parking in a disabled slot, a gentleman in security noted that I was a 100 percent disabled Veteran and allowed me to walk straight in rather than wait in either of the two lines which went at least 500 meters in either direction.  The line was far bigger than I've ever seen.  It was astonishing!

Once in the door the line went straight to the back where the ammo dealers were.  The dealers were advising people to not even shop for themselves but to simply line up for the cash register and tell their staff what ammo they wanted and it would be handed to them as they waited for their turn to pay.  No mention of brands, just calibers and quantities.  

It reminded e of the old Soviet Union and people lining up to buy shoes.  "I'll take a case of .223, five boxes of .45 ACP and three boxes of 9mm and a box of .38 Special if you have it.  They would move along the line and await their ration and turn to pay.

Everyone bitched about the prices and the profiteering but few left the line.  They just adjusted what they were willing to buy or what they were willing to spend to match the new reality.  

Shooter grade ammo in .223 and.308 was a buck a round!  AK ammo was only slightly less.  And that was the price by the case!  A 1,000 round case was $1,000.  No negotiation.  No discount.

I bought two ammo cans of Lake City GI issue M2 ball .30-06 in en bloc clips to feed my M1 Garand rifles for a comparative bargain price as most people were in a feeding frenzy for the modern stuff.  Luckily I had stocked up before the election so I just shook my head and figured I'd wait for the furor to die down in a year or so.

Magpul PMAGs were averaging $50 to $60 each. As low as $45 if you bought in quantity or were a regular customer of the dealer.  [JWR Adds: These magazines were selling for as little as $11 wholesale and $16 retail, just before the frenzy.]

Genuine AK mags were $60 bucks each.  Perhaps somebody had them at a better price but I never saw them except for the cheap plastic junk.  

Cruddy old metric FN FAL mags that had sold for $4 each were $20 each.

I brought along a marginal quality Vulcan flat top AR and it was quickly snatched up for $1,600 within minutes of my walking in the door.  Most people were asking $2,000 for ARs but mine was an off-brand and a plain Jane version which I didn't really like.  Besides, I have a half dozen better ones at home so I was happy to unload it for a hefty profit.

Oh, just so you understand, people were BUYING.   Why?  

Because they knew that on Saturday most dealers would be sold out and there would be nothing at any price.  It reminded me of the panic before a blizzard hits when people strip the stores.

Most buyers said they believed there would be a ban and or confiscation.  Some said they were expecting an economic and society collapse.  A few said they believed we were about to have all of the above and it would cause a civil war between the Constitutionalists and the Federalists.

Best Regards, - Gunwriter

JWR Replies: Reader K.A.F. recently sent me the link to article that dovetails with comments, nicely: SITREP.

Cynthia C.'s Carrot Cake

Here is a very good and easy from-the-pantry recipe for Carrot Cake made with canned carrots.

2 Cups flour
1 Cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground ginger
1 egg (or 1 heaping tsp soy flour with 1 tsp of water)
1 cup raisins
1 can sliced carrots- NOT drained
1 snack cup of pineapple bits -optional (drain but retain juice in case batter is dry)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts nuts- optional
1/2 Cup oil

Put the carrots in a large bowl and mash a bit with a fork or pastry cutter. (to look like shredded carrots)
Add dry ingredients and raisins (and pineapple & nuts if using) and mix well. (The carrot liquid should be enough but if batter is too dry add a bit of the pineapple juice or water)

Grease a 10 inch cast iron skillet and put the batter in it, cover and cook on low heat about 30-40 minutes. 
If desired, when cool, drizzle with confectioners sugar icing.  It is delicious!

Chef's Notes:

I have also baked this in a 350 degrees oven in two 6" cast iron skillets and made it up as a layer cake with cream cheese frosting.

I baked it for about 25 minutes and checked to see if it was done. Your mileage may vary, depending on your oven.

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Best Canned Food Recipes

Canned Chicken Recipes

Currently Available as Free Kindle e-Books:

31 Leftover Ham Recipes

The Compleat Cook: Expertly Prescribing the Most Ready Wayes, Whether Italian,Spanish or French, for Dressing of Flesh and Fish, Ordering Of Sauces or Making of Pastry (from 1658!)

I'll Have The Soup And Salad

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

Are you researching potential retreat locales, and want to know if a building code exists, or if building permits are required? (In many counties in western states, no permits are required, outside of city limits.) Here is a great resource. Oh, and speaking of retreat locales, check out the newly-expanded listings at our Survival Realty spin-off site.

   o o o

For those looking for HK91-compatible magazines, I found a company that actually has a pile of them in captivity: G3Magazines.com

   o o o

More bad civil rights news: DHS Watchdog OKs ‘Suspicionless’ Seizure of Electronic Devices Along Border

   o o o

Some more trigger-happy cops details have been revealed in Southern California.

   o o o

I'm in need of a law book, to begin some legal research. Would any SurvivalBlog readers have a spare used copy of
American Jurisprudence 2d - Volume 16 (Conflict of Laws to Constitutional Law 1-359). And perhaps also a copy of Volume 16A, as well? I'd prefer copies including the most recent update "pocket parts". I'd be happy to pay the current market price, or work out a favorable swap. Please e-mail me if you do. Thanks! - JWR

"I've traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I've been where no-one's been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books." - Janice James

Sunday, February 10, 2013

For my readers in the northeast: I hope that you were ready for the big winter storm, which is dumping record snowfall. Please help your neighbors who didn't plan ahead.


February 10th is the birthday of Zvi "Zvika" Greengold (born 1952), a Centurion tank commander who was one of Israel's most notable heroes of the Yom Kippur War. He was awarded Israel's highest decoration, the Medal of Valor.


Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Those of us who frequent this web site, the prepper community, prepare for a host of potential crises that may befall our nation.  Some are more likely than others, but most share a common background when it comes to being prepared for them.  The event of an EMP strike, however, requires some very specific knowledge and safeguards.  This is a serious enough issue that a study was commissioned by congress several years ago, which found that the threat was real and that we were woefully unprepared. This essay will provide a brief description of the event itself with some supporting history, discuss the likelihood of such an event occurring, and finally go over the potential impact of an EMP strike with recommendations for preparations.
What is an EMP?

EMP stands for Electro Magnetic Pulse, a powerful burst of electromagnetic radiation that interacts with the Earth’s atmosphere and creates a wave of electrons that travel outward at the speed of light.  This “pulse” lasts only milliseconds, but the magnetic field that it produces creates a powerful electric current in conductive material through the Faraday principle.  There are actually three components to an EMP, but only the first, called the E1 wave, is considered a threat.  (The E2 mimics disruption by lightning and is comparatively easy to shield against, and the E3 phase is similar to a solar flare but would typically not reach the ground in a high altitude burst.)

This type of energy occurs naturally in the form of solar flares, but can also be man-made in the form of a nuclear burst.  While a solar event is possible, and strong examples have occurred in the past, it is typically much weaker than a weapon-based pulse, which will be the focus of this article.  EMP energy travels in line-of-sight, so ground bursts actually have much more localized effects.  The most damaging type of strike for EMP production occurs at altitudes of 40-400km above the surface of the Earth, where line of sight extends for thousands of square miles.  At altitudes such as these there is no blast damage, fallout, or even dangerous radiation.  Certainly these are the immediate and disastrous effects of a detonation near the ground, along with the now universally known mushroom cloud.  Why, then, with this kind of damage potential, would someone choose to exploit the EMP effects of a nuclear blast rather than the direct destruction?  Read on…

EMP- The early years:

EMP was discovered by accident to be the byproduct of a nuclear explosion.  In early tests, recording instruments located miles from the blast were destroyed by energy that traveled through cables and power lines, and in some significant early tests there was a demonstrable “practical application” component for EMP production and use.  Many people are familiar with the two historical examples of nuclear tests that resulted in measurable damage from an EMP.  The first is the 1962 American hydrogen bomb known as Starfish Prime, detonated 400km above the Pacific Ocean, and estimated at 1.4 megatons in yield.  The effects of the EMP component couldn’t be accurately measured since many of the instruments maxed out their readings, but the effects were felt 900 miles away in Hawaii.  300 streetlights were knocked out along with the phone exchange and many alarm systems.  It also crippled 1/3 of the satellites then in orbit, including some early communications models.  If this doesn’t sound severe, remember several key things about this test:

  • It was intentionally detonated over the ocean far away from any landmass
  • The Earth’s magnetic field at that location actually minimized the effects because it was located far from the poles
  • The electronics of the 1960s were very simple and robust compared to the circuit boards and microprocessors used today.  Cars were not fuel injected, there were virtually no computers, satellite communication was extremely limited, most electronics were vacuum tube based, and cell towers were non-existent.

The second test of note was a Soviet air burst in a series known as test 184.  It was “only” a 300 kiloton burst, but it took place over sparsely populated Kazakhstan.  The EMP from this blast caused a massive voltage surge in an underground power line, started a fire in the power station and burned up several generators that were not even connected to the grid.  (Presumably due to the lengthy copper winding present in generators that would mimic a long power cable as far as current induction.)

Bear in mind that neither of these tests were tailored to generate EMP, and note the difference in the size of the warheads.  As further research revealed, the size of the yield is not proportional to the EMP energy released.  Smaller warheads are in some cases more lethal in this regard than the big ones, and weapons have since been engineered to maximize EMP production.

So, what’s the point?

The intent of the history above is to demonstrate that the EMP generated by a nuclear device is not just theory, and that it acts as a force multiplier.  During the cold war we had thousands of nukes designed to literally destroy an enemy’s ability to wage war.  If they had been employed, we could have leveled nations and left nothing but a smoking ruin.  Now, with the SALT treaties and efforts to limit nuclear proliferation, only a select few nations have nuclear weapons and with few exceptions, none have more than a handful.  Compared to the still-impressive might of the American nuclear arsenal, small players such as North Korea, Iran, or even well funded terrorist cells might only be able build, buy or steal a small number of weapons.  Two or three would probably be the most they could field.  (Make no mistake, there are weapons available; by most accounts there are over 100 missing Soviet weapons, many of them the small “suitcase” variety of tactical nukes.)  With ground bursts they could clearly decimate our largest cities, kill hundreds of thousands and cause trillions of dollars in damage.  But, if they were to employ even small nuclear weapons in a high altitude burst, three bombs could literally cover most of North America with an EMP burst.  With a design intent similar to the neutron bomb, there would be little to no physical damage done by the actual nuclear blast.  In fact, from a high enough altitude there wouldn’t even be a sound, just a bright flash if you happened to be looking in the right direction.  The damage they are capable of makes ground burst weapons and dirty bombs seem like an almost welcome alternative.

Okay, it sounds bad, but it’s not like this would ever happen…

The reality is that during the cold war, no one fired off a weapon because it would have been immediately apparent who was responsible (through missile launch tracking), and the retribution that America and her allies would have delivered was too awful to consider.  We knew who the bad guys were, but more importantly they knew that we knew and it kept everyone honest.  Even if they had destroyed Washington and all of our land based missiles, we would have had enough warning to alert our airborne SAC bombers and the Navy’s ballistic missile subs, which would have delivered more than enough counterstrike to make the whole thing an exercise in futility.  The old policy of mutually assured destruction really did have merit and it kept an uneasy peace, but the world today is completely different.  We now face an enemy who is difficult to put a face on, impossible to identify, and hates us for no other reason that the fact that we are a nation of free infidels.  Muslim terrorists are unlike anyone else we have fought, and our nuclear deterrent is from their point of view no deterrent at all:

  • They have demonstrated the desire and ability to kill Americans and cripple our country whenever and wherever possible.  Two attacks at the World Trade Center, embassy bombings, The USS Cole attack, and countless smaller events prove that they have the will and can execute complex and lengthy planning.
  • Muslim terrorists have no compunction about dying in the process of the attack; in fact that is their ultimate goal.
  • Those that subscribe to Sharia law believe that it is their duty to convert or kill non-believers
  • Terror groups have now linked with other countries to expand their capabilities and global reach, and we have no shortage of detractors around the world.  There is evidence of communication between Islamic terrorists and Mexican cartels, as well as between Iran and North Korea.

It goes without saying that most of the world’s Muslims have no interest in this, but those that do are sometimes well funded through oil-rich state sponsors.  As mentioned above, there are many unaccounted for weapons from the old Soviet Bloc.  Several countries were left with nuclear weapons when the Bloc broke up, including Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine.  Many of them are poorly inventoried and protected, meaning that if they were stolen there is some doubt that the theft would even be noticed or reported.  There is also a strong possibility that they could be sold by cash-poor nations or even individuals to unscrupulous customers.  State run nuclear programs are also not above suspicion;  China, Pakistan and North Korea all have weapons that could find their way into the wrong hands.  In the event of a ground burst detonation, it would take some time to analyze the residue and try to determine the origin of the bomb.  In the event of an air burst EMP strike we may never be able to determine who was responsible.  As we will shortly see, this type of attack has far-reaching consequences that would be far more disastrous than even a detonation in one of our largest cities. 

The delivery method of such an attack is not nearly as complicated as you might think.  Ballistic missiles are expensive, complex and highly technical, as is evidenced by the failures of North Korea to build and launch one in the past few years. The delivery system for an EMP strike does not need to be nearly so precise.  In fact, it might be the simplest part of the entire thing; certainly much less so that building or acquiring a nuclear weapon.  As we will see when we begin discussing the effects of the pulse, the EMP is not a surgical strike.  In fact, it could conceivably be hundreds of miles off course when detonated and still cause massive levels of damage.  If multiple weapons were used to provide overlap, accuracy becomes even less important.  Here are some of the potential methods for lofting a weapon to the appropriate altitude for a successful strike.  For maximum results a high altitude of 40-400km is ideal, but even a burst at lower altitude will cause damage for hundreds of square miles.  If an attack were to include the Eastern seaboard of the US, or the Pacific coast, tens of millions of people would be affected.

  • High altitude balloon
  • Jet aircraft; i.e. a chartered business jet
  • Medium range missile launched from a ship
  • Low satellite orbit

If the methods above seem a little odd, remember that we are dealing with a “simple” nuclear device.  It does not require a complex targeting system, a military aircraft, or any type of specialized delivery system.  Iranian Shahab-3 missiles, purchased from North Korea, and others in development might be candidates.  Also, North Korea just last month put their first satellite into space and Iran has similar ambitions.  While these two options are reserved for nations with substantial funding, balloon delivery and chartered jet are within the range of virtually any group.  This may seem farfetched, but the weapons and the delivery systems already exist, and there are plenty of groups who would be happy to employ them.  This is not science fiction, and is well within the realm of possibility.
So what happens when it goes off?
The impact of an EMP strike on modern society is open to a great deal of conjecture.  The last tests, mentioned previously, were in 1962 and the technology of today is vastly different.  Broken down simply, an EMP has the potential to affect the following:

  • Electrical power generation
  • Communication
  • Transportation
  • Microprocessors

There are many subsets of the four categories above, which will be examined below, and it is important to remember that they are all interrelated.  For example:  Your power has gone down due to an EMP strike and you need replacement parts to get it up and running.  The problem is that you need power to manufacture replacement components, a method for conveying what exactly you need, and the transportation to bring the components to your plant.  As a more local example, with no communication you can’t call and report a fire, the water pressure at the hydrant isn’t maintained because the pumping station has no power, and the fire trucks may not be functional anyway.  A blow to any of the four will adversely affect the other two. 

The E1 component of an EMP is a powerful magnetic wave, and it creates a massive voltage spike in metal components.  The energy is measured in volts per foot, so longer the metal, the more power is generated.  This means that long high-tension transmission lines could generate huge amounts of power, which would blow transformers and cause severe damage to power generation plants.  Let’s break down each of the above three broad categories and see how they would impact life in these United States.

Power generation:

Right now when the power goes out it’s annoying, and we sit and fume for the few hours it takes to replace a downed line or transformer knowing that American Idol is coming on.  An EMP has the potential to knock out virtually all of the power plants and transformers within line of sight from the blast.  (Remember, from an altitude of 40-400km, or up to 250 miles, “line of sight” only ends at the curvature of the earth.  An airliner only flied at 6-7 miles high, so imagine the vast area that line of sight covers from that vantage point).  There is evidence to suggest that the E1 pulse, which travels at or near the speed of light, would not be stopped by most surge protectors, meaning that much of the standard lighting protection equipment would offer no shielding.  Imagine the casualties in the immediate aftermath.  Hospital life support systems would shut down; even those with underground generators that might avoid destruction only have a fuel supply sufficient for a few days.  During the colder months people may freeze to death without heat in as little as a few days.  Food rapidly spoils.  Gas stations can’t pump gas even if the vehicles are operational.  All of the automatic monitoring and management of utilities, gas and oil pipelines, infrastructure down to the traffic lights.  Telephone exchanges and standard radios are useless, as is anything that you plug into a wall.  What could be worse than having all the power out in an instant… and not being able to find out what happened.  No internet, no cell service, no phones.  The water treatment plant is shut down and your toilets may back up.  Depending on where you live, you may immediately lose water pressure when the pumps go down.  As mentioned, there is no firefighting capability and fires which would have been easily contained now rage out of control.  Instead of one townhouse with a small fire, the entire row burns to the ground, or the entire apartment building, high-rise, etc. 


Many of us don’t appreciate our modern communication network, which is heavily satellite based.  While an EMP wouldn’t take out satellites beyond the curvature of the Earth, those within line of sight are at risk.  Also knocked down would be cell towers, relay stations, computers and servers, etc.  There is some debate over whether or not small transistor devices such as two way radios would survive, but even they would provide a very limited range for communication.  Some military hardware is hardened against EMP, but only a small percentage of it.  With no comm systems intact you cannot call for help, check on your family, organize relief efforts, or even find out how extensive the damage is.  The pony express may make a sudden resurgence in popularity.  Satellite damage will also preclude the use of GPS systems and national defense, and with the damage to the power grid and transportation systems it will not be easily repaired.

The effect of an EMP on our national transportation system is up for some debate; it could range from severe impact to negligible damage and there is no easy way to test the theories.  Since this is a forum for preparedness and survival, we will examine a worst case scenario.  Aircraft are one of the biggest unknowns in an EMP; they are designed to absorb lightning damage but as mentioned above, the E1 pulse is faster than lightning and may “leap over” the standard safeguards.  If this is the case, then aircraft would literally fall from the sky.  Modern jets do not glide well at all, and most require computers for operation.  The loss of life would be heavy, not just from passengers being killed but from the aircraft on approach and departure crashing in populated areas and the fires that would result.  Remember the comment above about lack of firefighting ability?  Even a single airliner going down could burn massive areas of a city.  Trains would likely cease to function as well, since most of the controls are computerized and in some cases they are powered by electricity from an external source.  Trains carrying hazardous waste that are unable to stop in time or divert to side tracks could be catastrophic. Cars and trucks are the biggest question mark in this equation.  While most cars produced since the late 1980’s are computer controlled, the electronics are fairly robust.  It is possible that they may experience a brief problem or not function as well, but many may keep driving even if in a limited capacity.  Older models and carbureted vehicles would probably fare much better.  Generally the simpler the ignition system, the less likely the vehicle would be incapacitated by an EMP.  Many motorcycles, ATVs, riding mowers, etc would likely continue to function.  The good news is that even in modern cars the computers are simple and may retain some functionality.  Vehicles parked underground in concrete parking structures may be shielded from a pulse and continue to function.  In the final section, we will mention a few steps that might keep your car running.


Virtually everything electronic today has some form of microprocessor control.  Obviously if the power is down then this is a moot point, but what about the large number of battery powered devices that rely on these controls?  The short answer is that no one is sure what will happen.  Think for a moment about the devices that you may be relying on as part of your preparations that could cease to function:

  • LED lights
  • Electronic optics (EO Tech and Aimpoint are most common)
  • Two-way radios
  • Small battery powered radios
  • Portable computers (Meaning that documents saved might not be accessible even on the hard drive.)
  • Home standby generators with automatic controls
  • Some medical devices such a pacemakers

So what are we supposed to do?
With all of the above in mind, how do you prepare for an event that creates an EMP?  There is not much that you can do to preserve the integrity of your local power grid and communications systems, but you can prepare some obvious backups.  The problem then is how do you shield your power supply, communications, transportation and microprocessors from the pulse when it happens?  What are the first steps you should take to stay ahead of the curve and secure your family?  We will break down your areas of concentration into several categories and dig a little deeper into each one.  The good news, if there is any, is that an EMP is an instant event and you don’t have to worry about overreacting or convincing your family that there is a problem.  In fact, you will have several critical hours, (maybe even days), where the rest of the neighborhood/town/city is trying to figure out what the hell just happened.  (That said, there may be a small benefit to waiting for a brief time before repairing things.  Earlier we talked about the potential for several weapons to be employed and an overlap of affected areas; if another weapon is detonated 15 minutes after the first and you have just fixed your car or taken your secured items out, it will require another fix or potentially ruin your sensitive items.)  Remember, there are no phones, no TV, no internet and most of the population in classic fashion will be sitting on the front porch cursing at the government and wondering when someone is going to come out and fix this for them.  In this case more than most, forewarned is forearmed, and reacting just a little quicker than the population at large can make the difference between life and death.  The primary focuses are going to be the same that we talked above previously; power, communication, transportation, and some concern for microprocessors, with the addition of these:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Security
  • Heat

Let’s go through the list and see what we can do to mitigate the effects of an EMP event both before and immediately afterward.


If you have a bike, you have EMP proof transportation.  Unfortunately you won’t have an advantage over everyone else with a bike.  If you have access to a motorcycle, ATV, or older carbureted truck, it will probably keep on running or at the most require a new ignition box.  If you have a new vehicle, try the following before abandoning it:  First, examine the fuse box and replace any that may have been blown.  (It is not a bad idea anyway to carry extra fuses and relays with you.  For EMP protection, wrap them in a paper towel and then in foil.)  Before you replace them, disconnect the power cable from the battery and leave it off while you work with the fuses.  Most automotive computers have a “reset” function where removing the power supply for a few minutes will cause a re-boot when you energize it again.  If the computer or key sensors have been destroyed by the pulse this will not help, but most systems are also designed with the ability to operate to a limited degree without full capability.  This is why bad sensors may cause a dash light to illuminate, gas mileage to decline or the emissions test to fail but won’t actually cause the car to stop running.  Once the fuses and relays have been replaced connect the battery and try to start the vehicle.  If it runs, great!  If not, grab your GHOB and anything useful in the vehicle and start walking home.  As a side note, security will rapidly become a problem so if it is legal for your to carry a weapon in your car, this is a compelling reason to do so.  It may be a long walk home.


This is the time to fill all of the bathtubs and every other container that you own with water.  The generators at the pumping stations and treatment plant may or may not work; you may only get whatever water is currently in the pipes and can be drained by gravity.  Don’t trust the quality of it either, treat and filter like you would water from any suspect source.  For filtration, a gravity-fed unit like a Berkey is preferable to something requiring a lot of manual labor or electricity.  Make sure you have this prior to the event, since you won’t be placing any online orders for the time being.  Take your water very seriously; simple infections can be deadly with no medical care, and many people will drink from the faucet out of habit not realizing that the treatment plant many not be functioning.


We all know that grocery stores only have a few days supply of food on the shelves, so with the power out and transportation crippled it won’t last long.  If you are prepared, you can capitalize on the slow reaction of the rest of the population to fill in any gaps in your supplies.  Take whatever transportation you have and get to the grocery store, now.  I’m talking about minutes after it happens.  Bring your credit cards and cash, and if possible go to a smaller store rather than a big chain.  Even though the power is out, smaller stores often still have manual credit card devices that create an imprint of the card.  I am not suggesting that you defraud anyone, and when the power comes back on (eventually) you will absolutely be responsible for any charges.  It certainly beats the hell out of starving to death though, so stock up on canned goods, bottled water, first aid supplies and non-perishables.  If the store doesn’t have a manual credit card machine use whatever cash you have on hand, but you probably won’t be bartering with gold and silver at this point.  No one will be all that worried at first and assume it is just a large power outage, so when you try to pay in old dimes don’t expect them to go for it.  Go to as many stores as possible and stock up; with manual machines in use you won’t hit any credit limit.  Crank up your old Jeep, find a trailer, and go shopping before the barbarian hordes arrive.  When you get home, use up all of your refrigerated items quickly.  Cook your refrigerated meat over charcoal to save your propane for heating and boiling water later.  Thaw your frozen meat and salt and dry it, and plant your garden now.  Don’t wait; your supplies won’t last forever.  If you live in an area with game and fish, start shooting deer and spend time fishing, preserving the meat by drying and salting.  Once reality sets in, there won’t be a deer to be found.


Virtually everything now is controlled by some sort of circuit board or microprocessor, which may be at some risk from EMP damage.  Protecting them is easy; it just requires some forethought on your part.  The best way is to place them in a Faraday cage, which channels the electric current around a metal enclosure and shields whatever is inside as long as it is not touching the metal.  The best example is a microwave oven.  It is designed to contain radio waves, and you can usually see the metal mesh in the door.  A gun safe also works, as long as there is no metal contacting the objects inside.  Any metal enclosure will work, even mesh as long as the holes are small.  You can build them yourself use existing metal cabinets, etc.  Store anything in it that you want to survive an EMP pulse.  Medical monitors, LED flashlights and weapon lights, holographic and laser sights, two way radios, small AM/FM radios, etc.  Remember that GPS will be useless if satellites are down and so will cell phones since the towers will be knocked out.  If you have a laptop with critical documents on it try to keep printed copies on hand since you probably won’t be able to access them later.  (You might even consider printing out articles like this from this web site and keeping them in a binder, along with your food storage details and supply lists.)  A steel storage building may also provide some protection, so if your ATV, old car, generator, etc are inside they may fare well and not require any repair.  Home standby generators are generally located inside a steel enclosure, but are connected through a transfer switch to the home; there is no clear evidence one way or the other to suggest whether or not they would survive a strike.


It is safe to assume that the days following an EMP strike will be filled with examples of society at its worst.  People on life support or even those that use pacemakers will be first wave of the dead, along with those killed in fires and accidents.  A progression of disease, injury, starvation, dehydration and predation will kill many more.  It will begin with simple looting, robbery and rape as criminals realize that no one can call for help and the police are overwhelmed and can’t respond.  As the days pass and they realize that there is no food, expect gangs to form and scour the area for resources.  Expect authorities to attempt to confiscate fuel, weapons, and food; resist if possible and with deadly force if needed.  Prescription medication will be unavailable, painkillers will be stolen almost immediately and refrigerated drugs like insulin will spoil.  Suicides will increase exponentially as will violence as hundreds of thousands on anti-depressants and anti-psychotics run out of their meds.  Prisons will likely be emptied of all but the worst offenders since the guards will leave and food will quickly run out.  Lack of basic necessities makes for desperate people, and desperate people are capable of anything.  It will start in the cities, where there are not enough resources to support even a fraction of the population once the transportation system is crippled.  High rise buildings with no power cannot pump water to the upper floors, creating an immediate crisis.  From the inner cities it will spread, as the inhabitants flee looking for resources.  They will swarm over the suburbs and into the rural areas, mistakenly believing that they can “live off of the land” or that the countries rural areas have food to spare.  Many people have no appreciation for the process by which food gets to the table, and the fact is that without modern irrigation, fertilization and harvesting only a small percentage of the grain and livestock will actually be turned into food.

A bug-out shelter in Wyoming is a great idea, but not if you can’t get there, so the odds are that you will have to secure your home.  This is not the place to discuss the ideal types of weapons to use.  What is more important is that you are armed, stocked with plenty of ammunition and spare parts, and most importantly have the training and will to use what you have.  If you have stockpiled food, have a generator running, and are driving a functional vehicle, you will certainly be a target.  Your best defense is to look innocuous; keep to yourself, don’t flaunt what you have, and if possible try to surround yourself with like-minded people so that you can support each other.  Run your generator only at limited intervals and try to muffle the exhaust as much as possible.  There are plenty of resources on fortifying your home; do your research now.  Even plywood sheets over the windows can provide a degree of protection and on most houses can be cut ahead of time and kept on hand to prevent storm damage anyway.  To survive an EMP you will need to have a one year plan as a minimum, and you really can’t have enough food, fuel and medical supplies.  Remember that you will attract friends and family in the area, and take on additional dependents at your own peril.  The food that will feed your family of four for a year will feed eight for six months and twelve for only four months. 

This is just theory, but no one can deny that the possibility exists for an EMP strike and that it is in fact more likely that many other types of disasters.  They key to surviving will be to plan ahead, rapidly identify it when it happens, and then work the plan.  Remember, there is a North Korean satellite in orbit right now and the Iranians have recently practiced launching ballistic missiles from ships.  It may not be as far-fetched as you think.

Dear James,
Those of us who live in the Southeast are constantly dealing with ticks and chiggers.  Sometimes the old-timers have the best ideas.  We were told that ticks and chiggers hate Vick's VapoRub.  It really works!  Before getting dressed, rub the Vick's VapoRub on the back of your knees, your ankles, and anywhere else you know they are going to go.  

But we found there are two more things you need to do to repel ticks and chiggers.  

1.  Wash your clothes in this recipe.  Most of the conventional laundry detergents, and fabric softeners have heavy perfumes.  Bugs are very attracted to perfumes!  

2.  Use unscented soap, preferably homemade, or soap that is scented with only real essential oils and not synthetic perfumes.

A doctor told a friend of ours if you find a tick on you that is having lunch and you can't get it to let go, smear Vick's VapoRub all over the tick.  The idea is that if the tick will let go first then you won't have to dig half of the tick out later or risk the spread of infection.  This truly works but it just might take a while for the tick to let go.

Our family spent several days hiking in the Southeast woods in the summer, looking for bug-out property.  The first day we followed all the rules above for combating ticks and chiggers.  The following day, no one in our family had any signs of ticks or chigger bites.  

This protocol worked great for days.  Later that same week, a dear family member offered to wash our clothes and, of course, it was washed in conventional detergent loaded with synthetic perfumes (it happened to be a very common, well-known brand of laundry detergent).  After hiking, the next day, we had chigger bites all over our body!  The Vick's didn't even help!  We thought we were going to be scarred and it took weeks to heal.  After this laundry incident we realized the importance of doing all three steps together.  It does make a difference!

Happy Hiking! - Suzanne from the Southeast

An interesting tidbit, useful for background checks: Decoding SSNs. OBTW, they should have done this research on "Hawaiian born" BHO, long before he ran for Senate.

   o o o

This new compact GPS tracking technology has some good and bad implications. Even scary implications.

   o o o

Bob G. recommended: Time for the Church to Act

   o o o

My dear mother suggested this harrowing video that was shot in 2011: A drive on the Norwegian coast on a stormy day.

   o o o

The Top 5 “Top 50 Lists of Prepper Web Sites”

"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast." - Ephesians 2:5-10 (KJV)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Today is the birthday of Major George Nonte (Born 1926, died June 30, 1978.) He was a prolific gun writer. I had the privilege of attending ROTC Basic Camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky in the same Company with his daughter Yvette, in 1981. Some of the stories that she told me about her late father were amazing. He was quite a guy. Yvette Nonte went on to a distinguished career in Army Intelligence, retiring as a Colonel.


Today we present another two entries for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

While I am new to the world of prepping; (having just read Discovery to Catastrophe and learned of prepping society), I have lived on a farm my whole life, and have spent the last 16 years home educating and canning my way to heaven.  It appears that my grandmother and mother taught me to be a prepper when I did not even know it and gave me life skills that are severely lacking in America today.  To pay homage to them, I respectfully submit the following essay:

Raising chickens for survival is an interesting topic these days when so many suburbanites are jumping on the bandwagon of backyard poultry simply because they want fresh eggs and a useful pet.  Considering the fact that the useful life of a laying chicken is about 3 to 5 years, with 5 years being a one- egg-a -month stretch, many of these folks are left with the question of how to humanely dispose of their now beloved pet.  If they are not big on chicken and dumplings, the compost pile may be the next best alternative.  Chicken retirement homes are a costly, disease harboring alternative.  But suppose said suburbanite would like to have a last supper with their pet- where to begin? This essay will proceed from egg to table, and the reader may decide where to enter or exit the train ride.

The safest and most efficient way to begin a survival flock of chickens is to order 15 to 25 baby chicks from a hatchery and have them delivered to your home in warm spring or summer weather.  By ordering from a commercial hatchery, the chicks will be free of disease, can be vaccinated for Mereck’s disease, and will be of a predictable lineage, meaning the breed will be expected to perform to the owners’ requirements. Research breeds before ordering, and match the chick order to the climate and the intended purpose of the chickens- meat, eggs, dual purpose free range birds or natural insect control. Hatching chicks at home is a romantic idea, but may not play out in reality unless eggs from a disease free flock are available. Hatchery chicks are available by sex also, to avoid raising too many males if eggs are desired, or too many females if fast growing meat males are needed.  Take time to explore the wonderful variety of poultry breeds available for their beauty and versatility.  For instance, many new breeds of pastured poultry like the Red Ranger combine the efficiency of commercial boilers with the free ranging adaptation of older breeds.  Breeds like the Silkie and Cochin are beautiful to look at, but need more protection from weather and predators, and tend to be more interested in hatching eggs than laying them.  Game chickens and jungle fowl require little care, will roost in trees and find their own grub, within reason.  They will hatch chicks and raise them without electric help, but don’t lay that many eggs or produce much meat. Let the chips fall where they may, a weekly chicken dumpling dinner from a bird shot out a tree is okay.  If you want eggs in the winter, consider old breeds like the Russian Orloff or Sussex that are known to be good winter layers, or put a light fixture in your chicken house to stimulate egg laying.

Many heritage breeds of chickens are not available for sexing, which means the chicks will be about half roosters and half hens.  There will be lots of roosters from certain breeds that eat feed but don’t produce much meat.  For economic reasons, it is best to allow these birds to free range in pasture and sunlight, don’t worry about toughness, and allow them to become stock chickens.  Process them for slaughter at about 2 to 3 months of age, as soon as it can be determined they are roosters.  Rooster chicks tend to fight more, have redder combs, a more pointed face, long, lanky legs and shorter tail feathers than pullets.  Of course the proof is in the crow!  In order to save on feed costs and prevent overcrowding and competition with the young pullets, slaughter these birds and turn them into canned chicken stock.  Chicken stock is a very important survival food, especially if water is in short supply.  Stock is an important source of minerals in the human diet, and using it to cook beans or rice in instead of water increases the available nutrition.  It is an important cure for colds and viruses and excellent nutrition for those recovering from injury or illness.  The cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon has an excellent recipe for soup stock.  Turn all spare poultry into stock during good times, can it in quart jars with a pressure cooker, and your emergency food supply is enriched, while you have less livestock to feed and care for.  (The same can be done with bones harvested from deer, beef or goats as well.)

As soon as the chicks arrive, they need to be placed in a small enclosure indoors (like a bathtub or large storage container) with a heat lamp bulb hung in the center to bring the area to 95 degrees F. Use old bath towels. [JWR Adds: Be sure to use a towel with a cut pile rather than a loop pile, so that the chicks don't snag their claws.] This will create a non-slip surface.  The chicks will need to be brooded at 95 degrees the first week, decreasing the temperature by 5 degrees each week until outside ambient temperature is reached. Clean water and chick starter feed need to be easily accessible.  On a daily basis remove the towels, shake the manure into the compost pile and replace with another clean towel.

At about 5- 6 weeks of age, the chicks will be independent enough that they can be moved to a protected outside enclosure with roosting space and shelter.  Expect to be a good mama hen, keep them out of drafts or damp and away from predators like dogs, cats and raccoons.  Do not leave cat, dog or chicken feed out at night as this attracts predators like raccoons, opossums and skunks.  Chilling of birds is the most likely cause of poultry diseases, many of which are airborne. Keeping birds protected from extremes of weather and good hygiene reduces chances of infection when supported by proper nutrition.

Young pullets begin laying eggs at 20 weeks of age.  Most breeds of meat birds are ready to be dressed at 6-8 weeks, depending on the desired product.  Young hens need a safe, secluded place to lay eggs, and young meat birds should be restricted to small pens to encourage tender growth.  Eggs do not need to be refrigerated unless they have been washed, extra eggs can be shared with neighbors or removed from shells, whisked, and frozen.  Dispatching meat chickens or non-laying (spent) hens is not an overwhelming project with prior preparation.  A garage or well-lit shed will suffice.  Assemble the following materials:

  1. A large pot for scalding water with a few drops dish detergent, deep enough to hold water and a whole chicken. Gas camp stove or indoor rangetop.
  2. A table covered with newspapers to catch feathers from plucking and blood .     
  3. Sharp knives and kitchen scissors.
  4. Coolers of ice to chill the birds, after washing the carcass in a large sink.
  5. Storage bags or vacuum bags and sealer to  preserve the birds for freezing, or largemouth canning jars to pressure cook canned meats.

Do not feed the chickens the day you plan to slaughter them.  Use para-cord to hang the live bird by its feet (slip knotted) from a tree limb, clothes line or etc.  Use the knife or shears to cut the jugular vein below the jawbone.  Allow the bird to hang and exsanguinate until dead.  [JWR Adds: A killing cone that retrains the chicken in a head down position minimizes the flapping and blood splatter. For smaller breed chickens, a plastic milk jug with the bottom cut off and the top spout enlarged slightly will suffice. You can attach it to a tree with a couple of drywall screws. For more sturdy designs, do a web search. There are lots of designs available on the Internet.] Be prepared for flopping and blood dripping below.  Once the bird is dead, use the legs like handles and dip the bird repeatedly in the hot water until  all the feathers are wet.  Keeping the bird too long in hot water will cook the skin, too cool a water temp will make plucking difficult. Depending upon if the work is done in cool weather or hot, water temperature must be continually monitored.

Pluck the chicken, remove the head and feet.  Remove the crop, esophagus and trachea (which makes a neat whistle!) from the neck side.  Split the skin of the abdomen under the breast bone, carefully bung the rectum and remove all the entrails and the lungs.  Reserve the liver, heart and gizzard if so desired.  Wash the bird thoroughly inside and out.  It is ready to be frozen whole or cut up in parts and canned the in the pressure canner.  If the chicken is going right to the table, soak it in a mild salt water solution while chilling it.  Then prepare older birds in the crock pot for dumplings, or fry younger birds. 

Discard the entrails [forelegs, heads] and feathers in the compost pile, or feed the entrails to your self-sufficient pig.  Pat yourself on the back for graduating from the preppers school of poultry life skills.

[JWR Adds: Chicken entrails should not go in your compost pile if you live in bear country. Bury them several hundred yards away from your house, or you will have uninvited guests!]

One of the most daunting challenges in preparing for TEOTWAWKI is the absence of our crystal balls. What will TEOTWAWKI really entail? Let’s be honest, would a catastrophic disaster be necessary to majorly upset the balance of life as we know it, or could even the simplest of events turn our cushy, pampered, disposable income lives into a tailspin?  I think the answer is obvious. Despite any financial challenges we may be facing, it’s safe to assume that we all live relatively pampered lifestyles. Because we have become so far removed from our forebearers' day to day struggle for existence, I have found that the “best case scenario” is an excellent starting point for beginning a preparedness plan. Arriving at this point is a challenge in itself, as the enormous volume of survival information available to us may also be the largest detriment. Because the authors are so versed in the world of survival preparation, many survival blogs and web sites contain subjects and language that the layman would find difficult to comprehend.  How do you sift through all that information and turn it into a real cohesive plan that you could actually use or even remember when the situation arises? Tiny steps, my friends…one bite at a time.

After a pathetically ill prepared three days of power loss a few summers ago, it became clear to my husband and me that we needed to get serious about the responsibilities of preparedness. Despite the fact that I have been an outdoorswoman all of my life, I found myself embarrassingly lacking in this domestic enterprise. It was eye opening for me to realize that I had spent countless trips, over seven days, backcountry camping in the wilderness, yet I had no real plan on how to survive in my own home. The biggest hurdle we faced in the beginning stages was which disaster to prepare for! Considering the overwhelming number of potential TEOTWAWKI scenario’s that we face , how could anyone really be 100% prepared without spending every last dime they owned, expelled every last ounce of energy they had and spend every last waking moment preparing for the perfect storm of impending disaster? Will it be nuclear attack? A weather disaster? an EMP? an epidemic? a financial meltdown? As in anything in life, we must ask ourselves……what can I control? What can I, despite all my good intentions, have absolutely no effect over? What skills or items do I already possess that will benefit my family? What real life actions can I take to make survival easier or even possible?

To begin answering these questions, apply them to a best case scenario. These types of situations require the basics. Think of it as your beginner’s kit and build it from there. What do you need to “survive” a week without power? If you answered “a credit card to book a room at the Hilton” then you will probably need some help with your list. Remember, this is a process and a prepper is not born overnight. Don’t let it overwhelm you and don’t be ashamed to admit that you are starting with a blank slate. Assess your location and what possible situations might affect you such as hurricanes, tornados, flooding, earthquakes or urban blackouts. Similarly determine what resources surround you. Could you build a fire ring for cooking in your yard? Do you have access to a water source; do you have adequate space for emergency supply storage? Walk through your house; think about your daily routines. Do you have any source of light, communication or food preparation besides electric? Do you have extra batteries, potable water supplies, enough existing non-perishable food to last more than a week? How would, or even could you heat your home if you lost power in the winter? If you have small children, consider what you may need to keep them, not only healthy and safe, but occupied in an unplugged world. It seems so elementary to most, but the reality is that many of us do not possess even the most basic of survival skills. There is no reason to feel ashamed, we are all the products of our environments, you simply must examine your environment to begin your transformation into a responsible, informed and prepared citizen. Once you begin the process, depending on the level of preparedness you wish to achieve, the overwhelming scope of the task will subside a little bit at a time.

Once you have your basics down add an additional layer to your scenario. What if there is an extended power outage and your home is damaged? What if you must evacuate your home abruptly? Plan how you will communicate with your family, how you will evacuate in different situations and where you will meet up in the case that you are separated. Include a course of action for your pets in you plan as well as extended family members that might need your help. Will your elderly parents or neighbors need your assistance? Encourage your family and community to prepare as well. Approach them with the same “best case scenario” when broaching the subject. People tend to think you’re crazy if you come at them with “end of the world” talk but they are usually receptive to some basic survival discussion. Usually, those who are interested will evolve in their desire to take their preparation to the next level as well. Those who aren’t receptive, however, might think your crazy at first but will likely thank you later in the event that you are able to share your resources with them in an emergency. There is always safety and strength in numbers. 

Allow yourself to acclimate from one scenario to the next. Once you have achieved what you feel is an adequate level of preparedness for one situation, move to the next. Familiarize yourself with current events, not just in your community, but worldwide. Ask yourself how the current political or financial climate might affect you and your family. For instance, it’s likely that inflation will skyrocket in the coming years, and the value of our dollar will decline. Are your cash reserves better used now for stock piling necessities? Consider investing in items that you know you will need over the next few years now, rather than wait until they cost double or even triple their current retail price. If you have growing children, you understand how often you must replace shoes, jeans and winter coats. Inventory what will need to be replaced or repaired in your home. Also, do some research on investing in gold or silver coins with a percentage of your disposable income. Gold and silver may be the only currency of any value in an utter financial meltdown. Be sure to do your homework and consult with a trusted financial professional before making any investments.

Examining your food sources is a very important step in your preparation. Do you have any means of sustenance other than the local Piggly Wiggly? A well thought out garden can flourish in just about any environment. Obviously, rural and suburban gardening can yield a bumper crop of vegetables every year but urban gardening can be a challenge. Check with your local extension office for help getting started if you are a novice. Many urban areas have community gardens to which you can contribute and benefit. Window and roof gardening is also an option in urban areas. Canning and preserving what your garden yields is imperative to optimize your sustainable food source. It does require a small investment in equipment and jars, but will more than pay for itself in a few short seasons. Start small with your first crop so as not to overwhelm yourself and increase your garden in pace with your developing expertise and knowledge.

As you become more comfortable with your new mindset, inventory your skills and those of your family members. In a world where know how and resources become currency, how will you obtain the things you need to survive beyond for what you have prepared? Sewing, automotive repair, plumbing, carpentry, welding, fishing, hunting, foraging, even cooking skills will be invaluable in a post TEOTWAWKI world. Barter may become the favored way to exchange goods and services. A stocked pantry full of canned vegetables from your garden, a flock of egg laying hens or even a stash of vegetable seeds could render you the “wealthiest” member of your neighborhood. Likely, a sense of community will return to our towns and neighbors will share their resources with others. However, there will always be those who want to take what you have. Despite how you may feel about weapons, they will likely be a necessity. If you have no knowledge of firearms and make the decision to purchase one for your protection, it is imperative that you seek the help of someone with extensive familiarity with guns. Contact the NRA or a local sporting club for names of certified instructors in your area. 

Assign tasks to your family members to expand your preparedness repertoire. One family member may find greater interest in certain topics than others. A passionate interest in a task or skill will yield much more information and versed knowledge than a forced, disinterested lesson. You may be surprised in which new hobbies your family members may embark or to what extent they might develop a skill or education.  Lastly, be sure to document in great detail, observations, skills and insights as you and your family members master them. The reality of the world as we know it today is that there just isn’t enough time to pass on every bit of our knowledge to all of our family members. Also, who in the world has time to practice making soaps or candles or butchering a chicken? While very important proficiencies in certain situations, they are not practical in our busy, day to day “real world” lives. My youngest stepson once asked me why I was typing out basic cooking and food preparation instructions for our survival notebook. I asked him what would happen if I were to die in an epidemic and wasn’t around to cook? I explained that he might have food on the shelves and pots and pans to cook with and could even bring plenty of venison home but if he didn’t have even basic cooking knowledge, he might be eating a lot of really bad meals before he mastered something palatable. We are currently working on documenting every survival detail we can think of. In addition to “how tos” for daily tasks, I’ve mapped all local public river access points, any private waters that we have permission to use as well as the closest wilderness areas where hunting is legal. From the farthest fetched to the most basic task, you should have written accounting or explanation of its purpose and execution. You might not think you will need to make your own rope or fertilize an egg now, but you will most certainly thank yourself should the day ever arrive that you need those instructions. If you have multiple books, manuals or videos, that you regularly reference, try to consolidate the most important information into your notebook or binder. When the time comes to use these skills, you won’t want to be sifting through dozens of books, looking for a chapter you read long ago. Sharing your knowledge as well as retaining a summarized accounting of it is imperative.

So, if you don’t bite off more than you can chew in the first stages of your journey, you will certainly find your efforts a little less monumental. Once you have some basic cognition and understanding of what you are trying to achieve, the opportunities for learning are endless. You will find hundreds of manuals, books, magazines, videos and private instruction for nearly any survival skill that you desire to learn. Fold these into your education as you go so that you can actually wrap your mind around the content. You can achieve any level of survival preparation that you wish, you just have to take one bite at a time!

Dear JWR:
I currently live in the People's Republic of Illinois and have seen the mad dash for ammo and firearms make it very difficult to acquire even the standard .22 Long Rifle rimfire ammo that until a few months ago could be purchased by the case at nearly any Wal-Mart, gun shop, or sporting goods store. Recently when browsing the aisles of both Bass Pro Shop and Wal-Mart I noticed something rather peculiar: that .22 Magnum ammunition was aplenty. This struck me as really odd that .22 Magnum was even being sold in bulk packs (CCI brand) at Bass Pro with no purchase limits. It appeared as though one could easily (even now) buy 5,000 rounds of .22 Magnum without so much as a single person to compete with for it. My thoughts are now leaning towards acquiring a Kel-Tec PMR-30 [30-round .22 Magnum pistol] as well as a decent bolt-action (also in .22 Magnum) so as to provide myself the flexibility to buy this ammo even in times when other calibers may be hard to come by.

Your thoughts and opinion would be appreciated. Thanks, - K.

JWR Replies: That might be a good mitigation plan for our current circumstances. But keep in mind that even after the current shortages end that the cost per round for .22 Magnum will always be substantially higher--which makes target shooting more expensive. Hearing protection is also crucial with this cartridge. Our friends at Chuckhawks provide some background info and here are some ballistics comparisons. Yes, the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR) has substantially more energy than .22 LR, but it is quite expensive.

You should also consider that WTSHTF, the current supply situation may be reversed to the longer term norm, for barter. (Since .22 LR is ubiquitous, while .22 Magnum will always be the much more expensive oddball.) So stock up heavily if you opt for .22 Magnum rimfires.

The Real Story Behind JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) Infamous Whale-Sized Trade In Credit Derivatives

Kevin S. suggested this "must watch"interview of Jeff Berwick: Get Far Away From USA...Its Collapse Will Be Messy. In this interview, Berwick aptly says: "We are in the last days of this financial system in the United States. This is Zimbabwe." Berwick is starting a "Galt's Gulch" ex-pat community in Cafayate, Argentina. JWR's Comment: I believe that Chile would have been a better choice than Argentina, which has a socialist government and a currency with frequent bouts of inflation.

Mac Slavo of the excellent SHTFPlan blog reports: Unprecedented Demand: Americans Purchase a Gun Every 1.5 Seconds

Items from The Economatrix:

"Brace For A Stock Market Accident" GLG CIO Warns

16 Reasons Why David Rosenberg's Not Buying Employment Report

Why Unemployment Stretches Are Getting Shorter

"The eternal God [is thy] refuge, and underneath [are] the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy [them].

Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob [shall be] upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.

Happy [art] thou, O Israel: who [is] like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who [is] the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places." Deuteronomy 33:27-29 (KJV)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I began as an apprentice in the Upholstery trade when I was 15 years old. I worked the trade all through high school and it helped to put me through college. Eventually I opened my own shop and worked the trade until 2004. In 2004 I partnered with a good friend and we began designing and manufacturing tactical gear for him and the guys he worked with overseas. This business has continued until today. All in all, I have been using industrial sewing machines of various types for over 20 years now. In that time, I have learned much about what machines to look for, and what machines to avoid. Much of this experience has come at significant financial cost, so I hope to help your readers avoid the mistakes I have made over the years.
I have read various articles posted in the past that have extolled the virtues of learning to sew and having a good sewing machine on hand in a TEOTWAWKI situation. The reasons are many, including being able to repair your clothing and gear when those services are not available. Also, the ability to make and repair gear will be a valuable and marketable skill in a post event situation. I have not, however, been able to locate an article specific to machine choice, especially regarding industrial machines. I know you’re a proponent of the old treadle-pedal style machines, but for reasons to follow, I would caution your readers about these types of sewing machines.  I would submit that everyone should have a good INDUSTRIAL grade sewing machine as part of their preparations. Like most good tools, once you’ve had one, it’s hard to see how you ever got by without it.

Over the years I’ve owned, used, sold, purchased, borrowed, repaired, and modified approximately 20 machines of various makes and models. I’ve used button-hole machines, computerized bar-tackers, double-needle machines, sergers, chain-stitchers, straight stitchers--the list is long. Of all the machines I’ve owned, one is by far the most useful. I’ve used it more than all others combined. This machine is what I suggest your readers find, purchase, and learn to use. I’m talking about a compound feed, walking foot industrial sewing machine. For those unfamiliar with sewing machines, let me clarify as best I can and give you some suggestions on where and how to purchase one.



I should probably apologize in advance to all the good women out there who have sewn for years on small home machines. My wife, mother, aunts, etc. all have them so I mean no disrespect, but here goes… Avoid the temptation to buy an off-the-shelf home sewing machine from the local craft-mart or that computerized wonder with a million preprogrammed stitches and fancy zipper-feet they’re selling on the TV shopping network. These machines are great for the hobby quilter, craft enthusiast, and for boat anchors in a grid-down situation. Also avoid the old fashioned treadle-pedal machines of the pioneer days. They’re okay if you only intend to sew VERY thin fabric, but they’re nearly useless for sewing heavier materials, and finding replacement parts can be dicey. They take a considerable amount of technique to use effectively. I own a great old (pre WWII) industrial long-arm Adler with a treadle. It’s superbly made and amazingly durable… and unfortunately, it’s nearly useless for 99% of the sewing I do.

One of the main reasons to go with an industrial machine is the clutch motor. A good industrial machine will be set in a 4 foot by 2 foot free standing table with a large electric motor mounted underneath that transfers power to the sewing machine head via a v-belt (like the fan belt in older cars). It does this through a clutch, usually made of very dense cork. Once turned on, the motor is always spinning at full speed and by depressing the sewing machine’s pedal, you bring the two cork plates together engaging the clutch. This transfers the power through the v-belt to the head and you’re in business. The clutches last for YEARS. (I have never had to replace a clutch on any of my machines and I sew on them almost daily.) If you’re worried, you can perform a quick test. Sit at the machine with it turned off and try to cycle it by hand. It should difficult. If it isn’t, the clutch may be worn. Don’t give up on the machine just because of this, however, because the motors and clutches are not terribly expensive to replace. If you’ve got a great sewing machine, but a bad motor or clutch, buy it! You can find new motors all day for around $100. (Make sure you buy a single phase motor though, there are tons of 3-phase sewing machine motors out there and few people have 3-phase power.) My point in all this is that if you are in a long-term grid down situation, it will be relatively easy to replace the constantly spinning motor with another form of spinning motion. I have found that with some simple modifications, I can rig up a stationary bicycle to spin the electric motor. It takes little effort for someone in your group to pedal the bike while you sew. It’s best to not remove the motor because once you get it spinning, its internal weight acts like a flywheel and helps maintain the torque necessary to keep sewing trough thick materials. If you have one of those old-school exercise bikes with the very heavy front wheel, this may not be necessary, but also consider the advantages of leaving the motor intact if power ever does become available again. Get the necessary parts/modifications tested and working BEFORE the balloon goes up and then squirrel them away. It will probably be very difficult to source the v-belts and associated pulleys/etc. you need after an event. This takes some genuine backwoods ingenuity, but I found all the parts I needed easily, online from McMaster Carr. If you have some junk 10-speed bicycles lying around, and some imagination, you could probably source everything you need from them. My point is, if you can spin that clutch disc, you can sew. If all else fails, you can cycle the stitches by hand with the machine’s hand wheel and it will still be much faster and stronger than sewing anything by hand. The whiz-bang computerized machines you buy at the craft store are servo operated these days and will be completely useless without electricity. Some of them can’t even be cycled by hand without electricity. They also lack the hardy construction necessary to sew heavy materials such as canvas, webbing, and thick leather without blowing the timing and breaking components. Few things will make you say bad words like repeatedly blowing the timing of your sewing machine or breaking needles, when you’re trying to finish an important project. Think of those little craft machines like those cute little painted hammers they sell in craft stores. They may be great for putting a tack in the wall to hang a picture, but can you imagine trying to frame a house with one?

A couple last things to consider…the good, older, industrial machines are completely mechanical except for the drive motor, so they are impervious to EMP attacks. They will last several lifetimes if properly lubricated and can be configured with various attachments to do a surprisingly wide range of specialized sewing tasks. If you look hard enough, you will find them for incredibly cheap. (More on this later.)


A “walking foot” sewing machine simply means that when the material you are sewing is being pulled to the rear of the machine by the feet, the needle is IN the fabric. This prevents bunching and gathering of the fabric and also greatly aids in keeping the top and bottom pieces of fabric indexed correctly. Having been forced to sew on a non-walking foot machine while employed in college, I will never own a strait stitch machine that doesn’t have a walking foot. If you’re unsure if the machine has a walking foot, simply cycle the machine slowly by hand, and you will see if the needle is down in the feed plate when it moves to the rear. If the needle is up out of the fabric and only the presser foot pulls the fabric to the rear, don’t buy the machine.


This is sometimes used interchangeably with walking foot, but it actually denotes how many feet the machine has. Look for a machine that has two presser feet, not just one. There will be a rear foot and a front foot. This greatly improves the way the machine feeds thick materials as well as how it handles difficult sewing applications. It’ll be a Godsend if you use a binding attachment or sew heavy zippers into tents, etc.


This is less critical, but a nice feature to have. It just means that you can access the bobbin (the small spool of thread that feeds the bottom stitch), from the top of the machine, rather than from the side, or underneath. It makes bobbin changes easier and it makes clearing the dreaded “bird nests” much easier when they occur.


This may sound silly, but there are a bunch of industrial machines out there that do not have reverse. This is a deal breaker for me. It’s like buying a jeep with two-wheel drive. Yes, it’s a jeep, but you’ve just lost so much utility and versatility by not holding out for four wheel drive. You need reverse to back stitch at the beginning and end of seams so they don’t unravel. You can’t effectively bar-tack without reverse either, and if you’re making any sort of tactical gear, you’ll be doing a lot of bar-tacking.


File this under really nice to have, but not a deal breaker. The timing clutch is a bearing-actuated clutch that theoretically breaks loose before you can blow the machine’s timing if you ever jam the machine while sewing. You then simply cycle the machine slowly forward until the bearings reset and you’re good to go. I’ve only seen these on the old Adler 067 models (of which I have two), but they may be on other good quality machines as well. They are WONDERFUL if you can find a machine that has them. I can’t explain how to look for this feature without photos and a long confusing explanation, so just ask about it when buying a machine.  Don’t be surprised if you get a blank stare from the person selling the machine, but ask anyway.


When looking for a machine, make sure it has a good thread stand that holds at least two 1lb. spools of thread. Most will hold three, but two is a must. One feeds the machine while the other one winds the bobbin.  Also, it should have a bobbin winder. Many are attached to the table under the hand wheel, but some are built right into the machine head. These are neat little contraptions that wind your bobbin for you while you sew. They run off the drive belt and disengage automatically when the bobbin is full. Unless you plan on storing away an endless supply of pre-wound bobbins, you’ll need the bobbin winder. I use pre-wound bobbins in production for a number of reasons, but I also have an ample supply of metal, reusable bobbins that I can wind myself when needed. Pre-wounds may not always be available so it’s better to go with a long term solution.


Once you’ve procured your machine, find out what length of v-belt it uses and write it on the machine somewhere. Now go out and get one or two extra belts. You can buy sewing machine-specific belts for a ridiculous amount of money, or do like I do. I buy automotive v-belts for a fraction of the cost at my local parts store. They last a lot longer too. In fact, I’ve had to replace two sewing machine belts in my lifetime. Once replaced with automotive belts, I’ve never had to replace them again.
If you can locate them, buy a couple extra sets of feet for the machine. Get a set of zipper feet in right and left hand configurations if you can. I also have two sets of welting feet for my machines, but that’s a throw back to my upholstery days. If you intend to use a binding tape attachment for your machine, you’ll need a set of special feet for that too. They can be sourced online on the various auction sites, or from industrial sewing machine suppliers. While you’re at it, get a bunch of extra needles for the machine in various sizes. I keep a large supply of 140, 150, and 160 sized needles on hand. These machines are very strong and will shatter a needle quite easily if you happen to tweak the fabric enough to deflect the needle into the feed dogs. They also become dull over time if you sew a lot of dirty canvas, etc.

If you can get the operations manual with the machine, grab it! Most of them are available online, but not always. Many are out of print and cost a mint to get reproductions. The internet has alleviated some of this, but not in all cases. You NEED the operational manual to make sure you can readjust the machine should you blow the timing. It is not an easy task if you’re inexperienced at it. If you can’t manage to retime the machine, it will be completely useless.

Industrial sewing machines are VERY heavy. I put all mine on casters so they can be easily moved around my shop. I highly recommend you do this if the machine you buy doesn’t have them. These machines are big and take a lot of space in a small garage. It’s very nice to be able to just push them out of the way when not being used.


I stated before that I’ve used a number of different machines over the last 20 years. Some were and are great, some were real dogs. I give the following as my personal opinion. It’s based off 20 years of work in the trade, but it is certainly not the last word on the subject so please don’t take it as gospel.

If TEOTWAWKI happened tomorrow and I could save only one machine from my factory, and that machine had to last me the rest of my life, I would grab my old Adler 067. It was the first machine I ever bought and I’ve sewn well over a million stitches on it. It was a used machine when I bought it, so who knows how many stitches it’s sewn over the years, but it will outlive my grandchildren if they keep it oiled. I wish I knew how many pounds of thread I’ve put through it over the years. In my opinion it’s the finest straight stitch machine ever made. It has all of the things I’ve listed above and the old 067’s can be found at outrageous discounts if you look around. The Adler 167s are outstanding machines as well. My second choice would be one of the older Pfaff industrials like the 145. They are equal in quality and toughness to the Adler, but lack the timing clutch. I also own a couple JUKI machines and they are great. I have a double needle and a computerized bar-tacker made by JUKI and I have no complaints. They are a great value and if you’re going to buy new, that’s the way I would go. I highly recommend you buy used, old, and German, but if you do buy new, I’d go with JUKI. I’ve used a few CONSEW machines over the years and they’ve been hit or miss. I’ve used a couple that were good, and I’ve used a couple that were just dogs. Same goes for CHANDLER (except the ones that were actually made by Adler). I’ve never used SINGER machines, but if you read the forums they were really hit or miss too. The consensus seems to be buy the older machines. The rest I’ve used were very specialized machines and really don’t apply here.


I’ve purchased machines from dealers, out of the back of a van, from internet auction sites, yard sales, estate sales, and from defunct businesses. The internet auction sites are great, but shipping is often as much or more than the machine itself. If you do go auction site, consider just buying the head unit and then sourcing a stand (table) and motor locally. Search the local classifieds for anything that says “industrial” or “commercial” sewing machine. You can find great deals that are close enough to go pick up. Also, research the sewing machine dealers in your area. Most dealers buy and sell used machines. You’ll usually pay more, but they may give you a guarantee on a “refurbished” machine. They are usually good sources for parts too. Keep a sharp eye out for yard sales and estate sales. There were a lot of us upholsterers back in the day but we’re an endangered species. The throw-away economy we live in has made upholstery a very difficult business to be in. Many of the old craftsmen have hung up their scissors and are selling off their machines. Many of the auto-restoration crowd bought a machine thinking they would do the interior on that old muscle car and then find out it’s not as easy as it looks. They get sick of it taking up space in the garage and the machines end up at swap meets and yard sales. Be patient and be creative in your search and you’ll find some real gems for a few hundred bucks. I once bought five machines from a defunct business for $25 each.

I really hope you will consider adding an industrial sewing machine to your list of tools.  I believe it will serve you so much better than relying on a small home machine to keep your clothing, tents, backpacks, and other gear in good repair for the long haul. If you will take the time to really learn how to use it, it can provide a supplemental income for you now and possibly a life-saving means of barter/income after the SHTF. May God bless all of us with wisdom and persistence as we prepare, and may we be successful in all our efforts.

I read a post from one of the administrative members of the Citadel the other day.  He posted a request for "ways ahead" from group members (individuals who have paid the $208 application).  Specifically, he asked for suggestions on how to proceed given that they told the world they were looking for 3,000 acres on which to build their community.  Now, they are leaning towards a scaled down version to start; 200 acres.  While I don't find that too cosmic a question to ask, I do think incompetence is showing.  On top of that, the forum they've created for paid applicants seems to push people in the direction only they want to go.  Example, they have a subforum named "Name Our City".  In this, the administrator asks the masses what they'd like the area the Citadel lies on to be called if it is ever incorporated.  Members throw out their suggestions.  Then the administrator posts that they're pretty much focused on calling it "the Citadel" (so why even have the subforum in the first place?).  This is just one example (and a trivial one) on how uncoordinated this project is.  They should've had all the details laid out prior to recruiting.  Right now, I get the heavy impression this is being run be a handful of dreamers that are stumbling through the process.  I don't have high hopes that this is going to work
I gave them my $208 with serious reservations.  Why?  On the off chance that this is exactly what they say it is and everything works out.  Not really a hit on my finances, I had a slush fund and I'm way ahead of schedule with my preps.  I looked at it as a low risk, high pay off investment.  I didn't have to give them any info, just the money (right now).  In the future, they will be conducting interviews--so they say.  I can back out at any time. (We'll see if I get my money back). 
So, I wrote this to you because I trust you and you have the ear of many.  Please advise the masses as you see fit.  I'd request that if you post anything that I've wrote, you keep it anonymous please!  Keep your powder dry. - Mr. E.

JWR Replies: As I've mentioned before, I share some strong reservations about the Citadel community plan and the group's leadership. (Namely, Mr. Kerodin.) Our friend Patrice Lewis, who lives in the same county, recently wrote a cogent summary, in her excellent Rural Revolution blog. Some of the comments that follow are thought provoking.

A fundamental flaw is that they plan to lease shares in a walled community, rather than sell clear title to individual lots. Without private land holdings by the individual members, this wouldn't be much more than a hippie commune--albeit a heavily-armed hippie commune.

I know the region quite well. In fact, it is not far from where my first novel (Patriots) was set. The subdivision, zoning and permit requirements in Benewah County are favorable to development. (Much better than in adjoining Latah County, where there is a 40 acre minimum parcel size, for subdivision.) There are now permits required and a building code is enforced, but agricultural buildings are exempt.

Outside of the sprawling National Forest, the only large tracts of land around there (usually no more than 640 acre sections--see the checkerboard pattern of sections in the Forest Service maps) are mostly held by the big timber companies such as Potlatch.  The largest tracts and the most affordable (per acre) are mostly in high elevation country which have serious access problems in the winter and are pitiful, agriculturally.  (Again, because of the elevation, which means a short growing season.)

Generally, the big tracts of land don't go on the market until after they've been logged.  Bit I must mention that these days, the loggers no longer do many clear cuts, and they have special cutting plans required near streams.

While I do recommend the lower-elevation portions of the region, I don't think that the current Citadel plan has much chance of success. And as long as ex-felon Mr. Kerodin is in the leadership, I cannot endorse it.

I am not an RC aircraft enthusiast, but I am a pilot and an engineer, and have a few comments regarding the article "Helicopter and Fixed Wing Drones for Retreat Security", but Long Jim.

I suggest folks consider fixed wing aircraft rather than helicopters for this mission for a number of reasons:

1. Helicopters have more moving parts, and therefore more places for a critical failure to occur that would take the aircraft out of action. This makes them less reliable (or requires higher maintenance for same level of reliability.)

2. The main advantage of a helicopter - the ability to hover - makes them an easier target.

3. Helicopters tend to be noisier than fixed wing aircraft.

4. The learning curve to fly a helicopter is steeper and more error prone. You can get around this a bit with RC helicopters by adding electronics, but this adds expense, more places for failure, and reduces the useful load of your aircraft.

In general, I would suggest the following:

1. Go with a fixed wing design, preferably something similar to "free flight" models, as these require little to no active management. This means less sophisticated electronics (less expensive, less weight) and reduces complexity.

2. Go with electric motors rather than glow plug fuel. It's quieter, and the on board power can be used for multiple purposes.

3. Put the cameras/instruments in an external pod slung under the fuselage. This way, you are not constrained by the shape of the fuselage, and can shift the mount point to keep the center of gravity just forward of the center of lift.

4. Get your ham radio license. If you use ham radio to control the aircraft and receive the live TV signal, you can legally use more power to do it, and potentially give the aircraft much greater range.

5. Look for a camera which produces MPEG-4 data, and consider using the 1.2 Ghz ham band for the down link. Check for bandwidth compliance.

6. Consider adding a microphone to the instrument package. Hearing gunshots or vehicle noises could be useful.

- B. In the High Desert

Forbes: Where Not to Die in 2013

Diana sent this from Coin World: Fake American Eagle silver coins surface. So henceforth, if you want to stack Silver Eagles, I'd recommend buying only sealed Monster Boxes, from a reputable dealer.

Dr. Gary North: The Luddites Among Us

Items from The Economatrix:

"Severe" Danger Looming In Corporate Bonds

Jim Rogers:  Don't Sell Your Gold And Silver Coins

Beware "Credit Supernova" Looming Ahead:  Pimco's Bill Gross

News from west of the Redoubt: Cascadia earthquake, tsunami could cost Oregon economy $32 billion (Thanks to Mark R. for the link.)

   o o o

A Sandy Hook dad lays it down straight.

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Idaho residents: Armageddon Armory in Nampa, Idaho has kindly donated an Anderson free floated AM-15 with RU85 coating, a red dot sight, tactical case, and 5 magazines for a raffle. All proceeds go to the Boise Rescue Mission Veterans Program. One Dollar per entry. Must be 18 years of age and an Idaho resident legal to own firearms. The drawing will be Saturday May 25th.

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News Media Scrub Cop Murderer’s Manifesto of Pro-Obama, Hillary, MSNBC, CNN, Gay, and Anti-Gun Comments. In related news: Cops Hunting for Ex-LAPD Officer Shoot the Wrong Person. Twice.

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For those considering Panama as an offshore haven, you should read about Boquete.

"A secret Justice Department memo leaked out day before yesterday. Yankee government claims right to kill (assassinate) US citizens even if no intelligence shows they are planning to attack the United States & the victim presents no threat, is not on a battlefield, & has not been convicted of a crime. The yankee government argues that the "authority to kill American citizen has no geographic limit." So, if any of y'all see a drone circling your house, do NOT walk outside. If they will do it in Pakistan, they will do it in Tennessee."  - Franklin Sanders, The Moneychanger

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

I recently stopped by our local farmers market, and while ambling along with a fresh home-made fig newton, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw what one vendor offered.

There amongst the crafts, and farm produce, was an enterprising fellow standing behind a table with a large three rotor drone helicopter. Marketed as the “Draganflyer” it has 3 dual sets of rotors stacked in pairs atop each other.

It was equipped with a gyroscope-stabilized digital video, and still camera, set-up. He was contracting with folks to fly his drone over their property and take very detailed pictures of their homes. He then sold them DVDs, or large crisp pictures suitable for framing. Which, by the way, he also offered to provide, so one could proudly display the photographs in the parlor to ones guests.

This drone was surely on par with those that the film industry uses for fly-over views in production. It was the largest one I’ve seen. The fellow was charging up to seventy-five dollars for the service, plus twenty dollars and up for big 24”x 24” or so color prints. He was so busy answering questions, and signing people up that I didn’t get a chance to ask him any technical questions, or get additional info on his setup.

The development of small drones, both fixed wing, and  rotor-craft has virtually exploded in the past few years. Companies are springing up all over offering these easy to fly platforms for film,  and surveillance, some designed for covert, as well as conventional operations. Like the many newer small arms manufacturers who, with their own input from their combat experiences, flooded the battle-rifle market niche’ with variations of M4s, and calibers such as 6.8, and  .50 caliber Beowulf, one looking for a drone to supplement their LP/OP has a lot of choices. The range of choices, thankfully, include so many options, that one on a limited budget, all the way up to a prepper who isn’t constrained by price can pick the drone that will be of best use in his particular area of operation (AO) when TSHTF.

 The U.S. military has clearly been pushing the limits, and using every new state-of-the-art technological breakthrough available in surveillance devices since we began the war on terror. Their un-manned drones have steadily gotten larger and larger, and went from being eyes-only camera platforms, to now being armed-to-the-teeth with virtually every missile that can be fixed to an aircrafts under-carriages.

Going in the opposite direction, the military now supplies ground units a variety of  hand-launched fixed wing RC aircraft on the squad level for special operators to use as they gather recon on the battlefield. Like the “Falcon UAV”. which I saw being demonstrated on a recent episode on the Military Channel. These are small, virtually indestructible, carbon composite aircraft that are easily deployed out of a pack by one or two soldiers.

Coupled with hardened military field lap-tops and satellite links, forward recon teams can collect, and pass on, an amazing amount of real-time information, inconceivable to reconnaissance units of even a few years ago.

A quick Google research trip came up with an unbelievable number of companies offering three, four, six, and even EIGHT engined rotor craft, like the  “Hexacopter”  and the “Octocopter” .

I couldn’t guess how much money and man-hours these guys used up, in trying to outdo each other by adding on engines, and other upgrades.

These companies clearly have some tech-savvy R&D guys, who have incorporated not only the gyro-stabilized mounting systems for cameras, but have utilized software that has taken the actual flight controls to another level. The copters in even the moderately priced end of the cost spectrum have auto-pilot, built-in GPS systems, and ground sensing features. The auto-pilot and ground-sensing features allow an operator to hover the craft for many minutes, with almost no effort. Some have thermal, and/or I.R. imaging systems, and even F.L.I.R. capabilities.  Most of the drones use a LiPo battery pack, and flight times, usually depend on how much extra software and systems are drawing power aside from the motors, varies, but is usually around fifteen to twenty minutes per full charge.

Some, like the Parrot Quadracopter 4 rotor RC offering, are controlled by WiFi, and a free downloadable APP allows one to use an I-pod, I-phone or other smart device to fly the copter. This device sells on the lower end of the cost spectrum, approximately $300 USD. The others mentioned in this article are upwards of $1000 USD, and more depending on features. These machines, for the most part, are way easier to control and fly than most of the run-of-the-mill hobby/toy RC mini-helicopters one sees in Wally World-type stores.

Now I know that laying out, or budgeting, an extra five hundred to a thousand dollars might be pushing it for some of us, but I firmly believe that these RC helicopters equipped with camera capabilities are well worth the investment. Imagine a scenario where you and others in your neighborhood “bug in”, and you are faced with multiple points of entry into your subdivision via roads. You’d have to have several OP/LP’s, manned by 2-3 persons, rotating on three eight hour shifts to cover each 24 hour period. Unless you had blocked off, or made impassable, most of those ingress/egress points, that’s a lot of manpower dedicated to advance warning and perimeter protection. With a single drone, or even two or more in rotation, one person could have the helicopter or fixed wing drone hover, or circle, virtually undetected, giving a 360 degree view of the entire neighborhood. That’s a big savings, in terms of manpower hours, and supplies in not having to keep the checkpoints and OP/LP’s manned every moment of every day.

For those who plan to bug out into the wilderness, or to a primary or secondary location, especially in a heavily timbered or forested area, a high-flying set of eyes seems ideal. Combined with the possibility that there is only you and your spouse and maybe children, or just another   few couples for security, I would think that the drones would be a God-send.

If you take the time to watch the flight videos, or have had the opportunity to see close-up just how quiet these things are, you will surely appreciate their quiet-running capabilities. I have seen these being operated from the distance of half a football field away, and wouldn’t have given it a minutes notice. In an “hunker-down” situation, if there’s roving bands of bad-guys, they most certainly will approach in vehicles, and then these drones are virtually silent.

The other clear benefit to employing drones to keep watch, is that even if the device is
spotted, and even engaged and disabled, it’s much better than risking losing a member of your team, or family. Machines are expendable, and replaceable, while people clearly are not.

A much better scenario would be to be sitting snuggly in a central command area equipped with CCTV monitors, powered perhaps by a genset, or re-chargeable solar/battery banks. Or even streaming into your laptop, I-phone or I-pad, regardless of your location relevant to the drones area of observation. As to the possibility of someone actually firing on, and taking out one of these drones, I would say that an adversary would have to be a pretty good shot, if not a military-grade marksman in order to hit and disable the craft. I’d also think, that with the ability to see the bad-guys from a long way off, or at least a distance, you’d have sufficient time to exfiltrate the drone if it came to maintaining OPSEC or remaining undetected. If you took the additional measure of deploying an LP/OP a distance from your main AO, then that would give those in the primary camp a good amount of fore-warning to prevent being located and overrun. 

 This brings up another point. That being  that the drones are only as good, as the users ability to keep them powered up. There are many options available to pair the drones with solar or conventional on-grid, or off-grid recharging set-ups. One can purchase extra battery packs, and along with that, extra spare replacement parts in kit form, in case of damage to the wings, rotors, frame or other hardware or software on the units.

If you follow this link from RC Helicopter Fun, the author, using a Parrot, proceeds to give a thorough tutorial for employing that specific device, while the site also answers many of the questions a beginner may have.

My plan is to pick up a couple of the less expensive multi-rotor helicopter units, along with spare batteries, and a solar charging array. I don’t know if our plan to “bug-in” in our neighborhood will suffice when TEOTWAWKI happens, or if we’ll have to go to “Plan B” and bug out in our mobile configuration, either way, having an “eye in the sky” looking out for our security regardless of the situation, is safer, easier solution for us.

Hi Jim and Readers,
My Dakota Alert works great, as long as I can keep the batteries fresh, I find that they really use the current up fast.
I did paint the outside of my "bird nest" box with paint that looks like bark and green leaf color that I purchased in the paint department at Wal-Mart. It really helps camouflage the box, and when hanging it on a tree, most people never notice it.
As for protecting the antenna, I covered it with 1/2 inch black adhesive-lined shrink tubing available from Mouser Electronics. By shrinking it on the antenna is more resistant to  moisture, and it covers the shiny antenna and gives it better concealment.

I have also adapted and camouflaged another 2 meter band yagi antenna so that when the SHTF I can place the unit much further down the road and yet still hear the signal in my receiver. - Dave in Oregon

Just as I anticipated: Platinum Climbs to a 16-Month High, Extending Premium Over Gold. (I hope that some of you took my advice last October and bought platinum when it dipped below the price of gold.)

Bob Bauman of The Sovereign Investor recently reported some "voting with their feet" news: "In 2009, when the Labor Party in the U.K. raised the top income tax rate to 50%, two-thirds of the country’s 16,000 £1 million earners disappeared from British tax rolls. In 2010, HM Revenue and Customs reported only 6,000 remained. Rather than increasing revenue, the tax actually cost the U.K. £7 billion ($11 billion) in lost tax revenue."

Chris Martenson: QE for Dummies

Items from The Economatrix:

Global Economy Living Off Fed's Gravy Train

Peter Schiff:  Economy "Stuck In Serious Recession"

CIA Advisor Warns of "Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction"

I recently reviewed a consulting client's draft "Get out of Dodge" plan for getting to his retreat in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, which only showed one evacuation route from a major midwestern city. I told him bluntly: If you don't have a Plan B, then you don't have a plan. His revised plan, he promises, will show four routes, two of which go through Canada.

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New York's 'SAFE' Act: The 'Rape' of the Second Amendment. JWR's Comment: I'm now thoroughly convinced that New York is irretrievably in the hands of the Statists via multigenerational constituencies, and beyond repair. Vote with your feet, folks.

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For those who may have missed the news: February 8th 2013: Peaceful demonstration at every state capital for our 2nd amendment rights.

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Anyone in or near New Jersey who would like to own a "Tiny House" on wheels: A 160 square foot cabin on wheels with bamboo floors, cedar siding, collapsible deck, complete rain gutter, and 40-year rated roof is available. It has AC wiring but has no plumbing. (The current owner cooked in makeshift all-electric kitchen, hauled water, and used an outhouse.) It is a really nice little house and needs to be sold ASAP. Contact Lisa at: ( 831) 227-5976 or e-mail: equityedu@aol.com for photos. This house on wheels can be towed anywhere in the U.S. but it is now located in New Jersey. The asking price is $12,000.

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Mini Drones: Army Deploys Tiny Helicopters

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More nonsensical statist meddling: Gun control: Officials set sights on ammunition background checks. (Thanks to James C. for the link.) And Jon C. sent a link to news of some newly-introduced extreme bills in Minnesota. Oh, but here is some good news, from Vermont: Green Mountain Democrats Reject Gun Ban.

"A clever rabbit's burrow has three holes." - Chinese proverb

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A special note to Wyoming Citizens: Three pending pro-gun bills are in peril: HB103, HB104, and HB105. I heard from a reader: "They have cleared the [Wyoming] house but have  been assigned to two committees on the senate side: Education and Judiciary. These are committees that are have majority members leaning to the left on this issue. We need them to hear loud and clear that these are great landmark bills for the state of Wyoming and this nation." Please contact your Wyoming House representatives! (This web page provides a way to do so.)


Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, and C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

As Seen on TV – My Humble Beginnings
I admit I've watched just about every episode out there from all of the popular survival shows – Survivorman, Beyond Survival, Man vs. Wild, Dual Survival, Man Woman Wild, and yes, even Worst Case Scenario with Bear Gryllis . I ate it all up. Those shows got me hooked on wilderness survival. My Christmas and birthday lists went from a focus on video games and computer upgrades to things like paracord, solar blankets, magnesium fire starters, etc. I also got a few great books that gave me vast amounts of knowledge. Everything I stocked up on I saw as something to use should the power go out, the car break down, etc. This is all before the term prepper went mainstream. I didn't consider myself a 'prepper' at this point – just someone who prepared for a few emergency scenarios. Then I saw the first season of The Colony. That got me thinking about home security and stocking food. There was nothing romantic about The Colony like there was with the other shows. I quickly realized my problem – I didn't live in or near the wilderness. I have always been, and will most likely always be, a suburbanite. I had my wife watch the episodes with me so we could talk about what we would do. How would we fare in that situation? Unfortunately, that's all it was at that point – just talk, no action.

My Reality Check – Survival School

For my birthday, my wife registered me and my brother for a wilderness survival school in Florida (http://www.byronkernssurvival.com). I had an absolute blast there and realized something very important. Seeing how to do things on television is no comparison to doing it in real life! I know – common sense right? Before the class, I was completely confident that I could make a friction fire or snare some dinner if I had to. Not only did I learn many important basics in the school, but I also got a lot of hands-on experience on making a knee-high fire in no time, building a proper debris shelter, as well as a plethora of other life-saving skills. I would highly suggest all of you out there to get registered for a course. Get your hands dirty. Better yet, bring your spouse or your friends along. You don't want to be in a life-or-death situation to try something for the first time, especially something as important as making shelter or fire. Practice, practice, practice! If you look at some survival school schedules, you'll see that there are discounts many times or even free classes posted (http://www.survivalogic.com/2013/01/esee-offering-free-training-courses.html)!

Podcasts – Free Information on Just About Anything

Next to YouTube, you can find a podcast for just about anything – from investing, to gaming, to travel – even Prepping. If there was any podcast that got me into the whole 'prepper' movement, it was In The Rabbit Hole (http://www.intherabbithole.com/). I did try out some others, but for the most part, the hosts always seemed a little odd or too political for my tastes. These guys (Aaron and Jonathan) were my gateway to prepping – I quickly found many other sites (http://www.emsnewbie.com, http://americanpreppersnetwork.com/, etc) and people to follow, like Lisa Bedford (http://thesurvivalmom.com/), who often has free webinars. I give a lot of credit to these guys in getting me up to speed. This is about the time I started considering myself a 'prepper'. Some of their episodes that were eye-opening to me included being 'gray', home schooling, survival skills vs survival gear, situational awareness, bug out bags and every day carries…I could keep listing more and more. Every episode was filled with so much useful knowledge. They also have a great forum and unbiased gear reviews. If you're new to, or just plain interested in, prepping, I would start with these guys. You can download their episodes and listen to them whenever you like.

Don't let your quest for knowledge stop there. The Internet is full of free resources and advice. Get out there and search for other forums. Get involved. Ask questions. Find a group of preppers with the similar mindset you can share ideas with.

Food Storage & Gadgets on the Cheap

There's a very simple method called "copy canning" (http://www.survival.com/y2kpreparations.htm) for food storage that anyone can put in the practice right away. I believe I first heard about this on In The Rabbit Hole.It doesn't involve going overboard buying $5,000 worth of freeze dried food. Well, if you can afford to do that, more power to you! For the rest of us, this is a great, affordable method. The article has a lot of information, but here's the most simplistic way to look at it: Every time you go to the store and buy a can or box of food, buy an extra one (or more if you can afford it). That way you know you're buying what you already eat. When you get home, always put the newer items in the back. Then, eat the older stuff. A lot of people who stock up on food mistakenly stock up on foods they have never tried before. There's no point in buying 3-months of food that no one in the family will go near. With copy canning and the information in the article above, you can stock up on plenty of the things you already use. Even if you're not 'prepping' per-say, think of it as a hedge on inflation (as Aaron and Jonathan say). This method can be used for all of your consumables (toothpaste, feminine napkins, toilet paper, soap, etc).

Canned food? Check. I also knew I wanted to get a dehydrator so I could preserve foods and make things like jerky and fruit leathers. Just like anything, you'll always find the best deals online. I watched craigslist for a food dehydrator a month before I spotted a great deal. I paid $80 for an Excalibur 2900. It has 9 trays and comes with waxy paper for making things that would otherwise spill through (like fruit leathers, chilli, etc). It helped that I watched many, many videos from Dehydrate 2 Store (http://www.dehydrate2store.com/). She has the most helpful and comprehensive videos out there when it comes to dehydrating food. Quick Tip: You don't need to buy more wax paper inserts – I bought a pack of five silicone cutting board sheets and cut them to fit on the dehydration trays. They work like a charm and only cost about $6. So you don't have to pay full price – just be patient and watch the classifieds or Craigslist or eBay. That reminds me, I also found a guy on Craigslist that sells food-grade 55-gallon barrels for $10 each! I now have water storage taken care of as a result. It's all out there, you just have to look!

I recently bought a Foodsaver 3880 kit using a coupon and saved a ton of money on that as well. That in conjunction with my Excalibur makes an unstoppable food storage combination. Did you know the Foodsaver is also good for keeping important documents and electronics protected as well?

It was the food dehydrator that got my wife excited about storing food. It was such an awesome feeling when she came home from shopping and said she bought an extra crate of fruit for us to dehydrate for later. I never thought I would've seen the day. This came from someone who would roll her eyes when I talked about anything prepper-related. Now she regularly buys extra food and consumables from the store to stock up.

Keep in mind this is over a period of about a year and a half. I didn't just go out there and start buying things up right away. Don't prep yourself into debt!

Another quick tip – I have five 1-gallon and ten 5-gallon food grade storage buckets, all of which I got for free. All I do is call my local Wal-Mart and ask to be transferred to the bakery department. I ask if they have any buckets they'd like to get rid of. These usually had icing in them for all the cakes. They cleaned them up and gave them to me for free. Your results may vary, but I've heard this working just about everywhere.

When It's Time to Have The Talk

No, we're not talking about the birds and the bees. We're talking about firearms. Some people are from families that are very open to guns, and some people aren't. Growing up, my family never had a gun in the house. My wife's parents absolutely object to the very thought of guns (thank you media). I always knew I wanted my own firearms. If you don't want anything to do with firearms, I respect your decision as well. You can skip this section.
I turned to people for advice asking how to convince the wife to let me buy some guns. Unfortunately, the most common response was "Just buy them, and she'll learn to live with it. Then you can just keep buying them." Yes, that does work surprisingly well for many people. That's not how I wanted to approach it.

My wife and I are members of a couple different ranges here and have been for a few years now. We'd rent the guns and just shoot for an hour or two. That's about it. Over a period of about three months or so, I would pick times to talk to my wife about the possibility of gun ownership, what it meant to us, and what the pros and cons were. She talked about what scared her most and I would tell her my thoughts. If I didn't have an answer to any of her questions, I would do some research and then tell her what I thought. It was quite a process, but I gained a lot of knowledge (and mutual respect) as a result.
It just so happens I got a gift card to Bass Pro Shop from the survival school I attended. When I asked her if I could use it to buy a Ruger 10/22, she simply said "yes." Had I asked the same question three months prior, I already know what the answer would've been. It would've been a flat out "No Way! No guns in the house!"

I've since gotten my concealed carry permit (again, a gift from my wife) as well as a concealed carry pistol. We still aren't exactly where I want to be yet, but we've taken great leaps forward. I know in the future, if I'm thinking about anything, firearm or anything else, I can talk to her about it. If we decide to purchase something or not, it'll be a mutual decision.
Note: By all means, if you have kids in the house, be sure to take them to an Eddie Eagle class if possible. Our gun range offers them free of charge every few weeks or so. If those aren't offered in your area, teach your kids the proper actions to take should they find a gun.

If any of you are in a situation where your spouse is unwilling to let you purchase a firearm, I urge you to talk things out. Don't Argue. Talk. Respect your spouse. Don't go behind his or her back – while it may be easier, it's not right.
A quick few tips:

  • If you purchase a firearm for defense, get one that you can hit the target with. You don't need the highest caliber known to man. You're no good to yourself or your family if you can't hit someone trying to do you harm.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Again, if you decide to have a firearm, you have a responsibility to know how to use it properly.
  • Get a gun safe (or two) and keep it locked. Too many people are too lazy to lock their safes. Robbers count on this. Especially if you have kids, be sure to lock things up.

The Journey Continues
I've only been actually 'prepping' for about a year and a half now. I think I have food storage down for the most part. I have a way to hunt for food and protect my family. I even have some wilderness survival gear and training. My journey is far from complete, however. I still have things I want to work on, and ideas to talk through with the wife.

Dear Mr. Rawles, 

Greetings! I have enjoyed your blog site.  I noticed you have mentioned several times your use of Dakota Alert systems for your ranch.
This is why I am writing. I would like you input and thoughts.
I was viewing some customer comments on Amazon from those who had purchased the units.  Some complained about rust-out due to moisture (rain) after a few months. 
I then followed this up with an e-mail to Dakota Alert manufacturer. 
Bryon Pedersen of Dakota Alert responded by stating that most of the moisture issues have been resolved-except for moisture seepage into the antenna of the MURS system If the antenna is not attached properly.  Bryon stated that they cannot correct the flaw completely, but are happy to replace any item under warrantee.
I am in New England and face downpours and freezing winters.  I really could use this early warning technology-but do not wish to buy stuff that will fail within 12 months.
Also, heck, I can also make the “bird house” used to hide the detector unit-seems simple enough of a design.
I am asking you and other preppers their options as I want to keep my family safe in the face of SHTF or other intrusions.
Can you provide any updates on the use of this system?
Have you had similar problems?
Have you been able to overcome some of these problems?
Have you found alternative systems such as the Chamberlain CWA2000 Wireless Motion Alert a good substitute?
I would appreciate any or all thoughts.
Best wishes, - L.F.R.

JWR Replies: We have used a Dakota Alert for several years here at the Rawles Ranch. We live in a wet climate where we have snow for two to four months each winter and rain can be expected in any other month of the year. We have had not moisture problems with our Dakota Alert, which is mounted in one of their wooden "bird house" discreet hide/shelters. I think that the bird house keeps most of the moisture away from the black plastic case. This can be improved if you used a coat of RTV silicone around the antenna, to form a gasket for the portion of the antenna that passes through the hole in the top of the bird house. That will greatly reduce or eliminate having water drip down the antenna and get to the antenna base.

The only problem that we've had with our Dakota Alert is false alarms. In one instance this was caused by a spider that was repeatedly trying to spin a web directly in front of the IR sensor. If you find false alarms annoying, you can always always substitute an inductive loop to bury in your driveway. That way, not even deer will set off the alarm--only vehicles.

One last bit of advice: DO NOT but the junky Dakota Alert clones that are made in Mainland China, such as the Chamberlain. I've had numerous bad reports about their reliability and longevity.

I'd like to recommend the best chigger bite treatment:
Put some rubbing alcohol on tissue paper and lightly rub this on the chigger bite as soon as possible. Hold in place for at least half a minute to kill germs. Then immediately rub a piece of ice on the bite for a few minutes to reduce swelling. This will eliminate pain and swelling by 99%.  After getting hundreds of chigger bites over the years, this is the best method I've found. - Paul O.

One thing to add about chiggers, or red bugs. I got these on my legs when I worked outside in Louisiana back in the early 1980s. I was told to sit for a half-hour in a hot bath, to which was added 1 cup of Pine-Sol. It did the trick, but I smelled like a pine tree for about three weeks. - Jim A.

In reference to the recent bugs article, I wanted to share another defense against chiggers. We live in Texas and frequent areas that seem to be loved by chiggers. We've found that sulfur dust is a great chigger deterrent.

We put the sulfur dust in a sock and the tie a loose overhand knot in the sock. Before we go into a chigger infested area, like a dewberry patch or tall grass near a body of water, we'll take the sock and pat it on our shoes, socks and pants (or legs if wearing shorts) up to the knee.

It's not a foolproof method as we'll get an occasion chigger bite, but I've gone into the previously mentioned areas in shorts and yellow tinged legs without being bothered by chiggers. We also try to stay out of these areas during the morning, or at least until the heat has burned the moisture off of the plants. It seems that there are fewer chiggers on the dried vegetation.

Best Regards, - Jeff B.

Peter S. recommended this: Tiny Off-Grid Cabin in Maine is Completely Self-Sustaining

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I had a shock when I recently bought a replacement set of studded snow tires for our full-size SUV. Complete with studding, mounting and balancing, four identical tires from the same maker and installed by the same Les Schwab tire store cost $753 in January 2011 and $952 in January, 2013. And they tell us that "consumer price inflation is low." Yeah, right. The effects of the BHO Administrations's massive Quantitative Easing are now starting to pervade the economy. Get out of U.S. Dollar-denominated assets and into tangibles quickly, folks!

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Mike R. mentioned a source for a more recent (2011) frequency allocation chart.

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Here comes that "compromise" that I warned you about: Obama Smacks Down the NRA on Background Checks and High Capacity Magazines. Please contact your elected representatives and remind then that A.) Private party sales are outside of Federal jurisdiction (since they are intrastate sales and hence not under the Interstate Commerce clause), and that B.) Full capacity magazines deserve the same Constitutional protection as the guns that they fit. In related news: Ann Coulter Issues a Warning: Universal Background Checks Lead to Confiscation and Extermination. (A hat tip to B.B. for the latter link.)

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Don G. sent this Makezine link: DIY Single-Use Antibiotic Ointment Packets

"...every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid." - Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper No. 78 (Paragraph 10)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course was out of print for nearly three years, but I'm pleased to report that it is available again, via digital download. Because of the efficiency of digital delivery, it now available at just a fraction of the price that had been charged for the original hard copy binder edition. The course was designed for beginning and intermediate preppers, with this premise: Could you prepare your family for a major disaster, with just one or two trips to your local COSTCO or Sam's Club store? In the course I describe exactly how to do that. One of the most useful course appendices is a lengthy table of shelf lives for various foods that was assembled from various sources and my own research.. That table has not been published anywhere else.


Today we present another entry for Round 45 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize: A.) Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course. (A $1,195 value.) B.) A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795, C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and G.) A $200 gift certificate, donated by Shelf Reliance.

Second Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training. Together, these have a retail value of $589. C.) A FloJak FP-50 stainless steel hand well pump (a $600 value), courtesy of FloJak.com. D.) A "grab bag" of preparedness gear and books from Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials and F.) Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Third Prize: A.) A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21. (This filter system is a $275 value.), B.) A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206, C.) Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy. This is a $185 retail value, D.) A Commence Fire! emergency stove with three tinder refill kits. (A $160 value. E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value), and F.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security.

Round 45 ends on March 31st, 2013, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical "how to" skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Being “bugged” by insects is a problem we will likely face in TEOTWAWKI. Americans will spend more time outdoors in an effort to gather food and fuel as well as hunt and guard their retreat and resources. Exposure to insects will increase exponentially. Our defenses against pests will diminish significantly as our homes and retreats have their windows and doors left open more often. Also, the commonly available pesticides will probably not be available as supplies (of all kinds) decrease when TSHTF. We all know that insects have the potential to spread disease as well as lower our quality of life.  
While some insects have many beneficial roles in nature, this article will focus on those that are considered biting or stinging pests, e.g., ants, mosquitoes, flies, chiggers, fleas, ticks, lice, bees, wasps, and bedbugs.  Certainly, there are many more insects that can be considered pests. The brief descriptions here are intended to familiarize the preparing reader with insects that may be a nuisance when TEOTWAWKI comes and give some information on the dangers they pose and some suggestions for their control when supplies may be limited. Each of the listed insects below has a brief description, their likely locations, the effect and treatment of their bite or sting, as well as suggestions for their control when supplies may be limited.
Ants are found on nearly every inhabited land mass of the planet. Most ants serve beneficial roles in our ecosystem, but occasionally conflict with humans. Examples of such conflict include, invading retreat larders and foodstuffs, damage done to equipment by ant hills, and of course, ant bites. There are many species of ants: the Black Ant is the most common while the Fire Ant is the most feared. Ants may be nomadic but most build nests that are made up of chewed vegetation and soil. Their nests may be located on or underground, under stones or logs, inside logs, hollow stems, or even acorns, in and on buildings in walls, windows, and even electric appliances. Ants enter a home to forage or seek shelter or both. Most ant bites cause brief pain, but scratching at them can lead to skin infections. Fire Ants are the only ant species that both bite and sting. The sting can be painful for several hours. Multiple stings can cause anaphylaxis and death to individuals that are highly allergic to insect stings.  Treatment for ant bite/sting consist of topical cortisone cream and oral antihistamines such as Benadryl. Control of ants is difficult. For ants found in the home, a bait that the ants carry back to their nest is the most effective. Many commercial products are on the market and a supply should be included in your preparations. Other control methods are to be sure your home and retreat are tightly sealed with caulking, screens, etc before TSHTF. There are many folk remedies for repelling ants, many more than can be discussed here, but I’ll include citrus oil.  Save any citrus peels, boil them gently in a small amount of water for 10 minutes, strain, and spray areas that need ant control. Boric Acid powder placed where ants will walk through it clings to their exoskeleton and dehydrates them or is ingested when they groom and kills them. Boric acid can be effective for up to a year if kept dry.  Please investigate other remedies to determine what will store well, be affordable, and perform to your satisfaction.
Mosquitoes have been called by some “the most dangerous animal on Earth”.  Mosquitoes are found everywhere, except Antarctica. Stagnant pools of water are required for most mosquitoes to lay their eggs. The water can be fresh or salty depending on the species of mosquito. Both male and female mosquitoes feed on nectar and other plant juices, however, only the female of some mosquito species requires blood protein for egg production. Besides the irritation of their bite and possible allergic reactions, mosquitoes are known to transmit West Nile virus, St. Louis Encephalitis and Eastern Equine Encephalitis to humans. Use insect repellent containing DEET, citrus oils, or diluted Skin So Soft (Avon) on exposed skin and/or clothing. Products containing 100% DEET have been shown to provide up to 12 hours of protection while those with concentrations of 20% - 30% DEET offer 3 – 6 hours of defense. DEET is very stable and is effective indefinitely as a mosquito repellent.  The repellent/insecticide permethrin can be used on clothing to protect through several washes. Always follow the directions on the package. Avon Skin-So-Soft (diluted 1:1 with water) sprayed on skin and clothing is an excellent, economical repellent. Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits. Have secure screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out. Limit outdoor activity during peak mosquito feeding times such as early morning and evening hours. Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, open barrels and other containers. Make small holes in tire swings so water will drain out. Children’s wading pools should be kept empty and on their sides when they aren't being used, as should similar containers.  

The Housefly comprises about 90% of the common flies. Not only is the Housefly a nuisance, it spreads diseases as well. Houseflies lay their eggs in decaying, organic material from which larvae (maggots) emerge and develop into the adult. Houseflies serve as vectors of diseases such as Amebiasis (amoebic dysentery), Giardiasis, Typhoid, Cholera, bacterial dysentery, and intestinal viruses to name only a few. Flyswatters may keep kids busy and provide temporary relief from these pests, but other control measures are needed. Several commercial fly sprays are available, use the one you are familiar with which provides the control, price and availability you desire. In a TEOTWAWKI situation, a DIY fly trap may be useful. Re-purposing a 2 Liter (or similar) bottle with a funnel taped to the mouth (small opening in the bottle). Use a little waste organic material or waste sweet substance as bait. When full, remove the funnel, place the cap on the bottle and pour on the compost pile. Start over again.. Remove organic trash daily (or more frequently) to the compost pile, which should be located well away from the residence and water source.  If Houseflies (or other flies) are a problem, look for the source of decaying organic material and remove it. Wipe out waste receptacles, rinse, and bleach weekly or as needed. Sanitation is the key to Housefly control. Horsefly females inflict a painful bite. They are present in nearly all of the United States. Control is difficult relying on long sleeves and pants with DEET  insect repellent. Horseflies are known to transmit many blood borne pathogens between humans and Tularemia from rabbits to humans in the western US. They also transmit Equine Encephalomyelitis to horses. 


Chiggers (aka Red Bugs) are found worldwide and are present in the United States. They are common in the Southeast and Midwest but rare in the northern areas, deserts, and mountain terrain. A Chigger is a mite that lives in forests, grasslands, low, damp, marshy areas and appears to be more active in early summer. They seem to thrive in hot humid climes. Chigger larvae attach to human (and several other animal) skin. These larvae form a hole in the skin (not a bite) and inject digestive enzymes through this hole. The Chigger larvae then ingest the cellular contents and after 3-5 days on its host they drop off. The redness, itching, and irritation of a Chigger “bite” are not usually noticed until more than 24 hours after their digestive juices are injected.  Chiggers are not known for transmitting serious disease in the U.S., however serious cellulitis and secondary bacterial infections are common. Over the counter topical corticosteroids and/or topical/oral antihistamines are often used to treat Chigger “bites”. Cool or warm baths have both been described as bringing relief for Trombiculiasis (Chigger “bite”s). Fingernail polish applied to the “bite” does not suffocate the Chigger as is commonly believed. Control methods include wearing long pants/long sleeved shirts when possibly entering an area Chiggers are known to infest. Use a DEET or permethrin  pesticide before engaging in activity near Chigger infested areas. Wash clothes in hot water or leave them out in the hot sun for an extended period will clear the Chigger larvae from the clothes. Widespread or spot/area pesticide treatment of areas known to have chigger infestations is probably not practical in a TEOTWAWKI scenario.


Lice (singular is Louse) are small insects that are very species specific. Human lice affect only humans, while different animal lice affect only their host specie, i.e. cattle louse for cattle, dog louse for dog, etc. Lice are spread by direct contact and there are three types of human lice. These are head lice, body lice and pubic lice. Head lice are spread by direct head to head contact, sharing combs and hair adornments (hats, caps, etc.). They are very common among children, but also spread by child-parent contact. Body lice are also spread by direct contact as well as by sharing clothing and like articles from an infested person. Pubic lice are spread by direct contact, sexual contact, and/or shared towels, bedding, and clothes. All three types of human lice feed on blood, but do not burrow under the skin. The body louse has been known to spread diseases such as typhus.  All lice cause itching, redness and the possibility of secondary bacterial skin infections due to the intense itching. Head lice are treated most effectively with  a combination of lice combs to remove the nits (louse eggs attached to hairs) and wet combing every 3-7 days until the infestation is cleared. Hot air blow drying until the nits are dehydrated is effective, but not against newly hatched larvae.  Several other treatments are described, but may not be available when TSHTF.  Prevention is directed at preventing contact with affected persons and scrupulous hygiene when an infestation of head lice is occurring. Body lice are more easily treated by improving personal hygiene and washing clothing, towels, and bedding in hot water greater than 130 degrees F. Leaving clothes unwashed, but unworn for greater than a week will also kill the lice and prevent lice eggs from hatching.  Pubic Lice (aka Crabs) require clothing and bedding to be laundered and topical treatment by a physician using a permethrin or lindane product. Sexual or other direct (or indirect) contact should be avoided until the infestation is cleared. The take home message about lice is not to let an infestation get started in a TEOTWAWKI situation. There’s enough to worry about. Be careful of sexual, direct, or indirect contact (by group or family members) with new additions to your group until sure they are healthy to prevent pediculosis (louse infestation) as well as other health problems.


Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed exclusively on blood. The name "bed bug" comes from its preferred habitat: inside of or near beds or bedding in warm houses. Bed bugs are mainly active at night. They usually feed on their hosts without being noticed.  Many adverse health effects may result from bed bug bites, including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. Diagnosis involves both finding bed bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms. Bed bugs are bloodsucking insects. They are attracted to humans mainly by carbon dioxide and body heat. Their bites are not usually noticed at the time. Itchy welts develop slowly and may take weeks to go away. Bed bugs prefer to bite exposed skin, especially the face, neck and arms of a sleeping individual. It takes between five to ten minutes for a bed bug to become completely engorged with blood and then it returns to its hiding place. Bed bugs can live for a year without feeding; they normally try to feed every five to ten days. When it’s cold, bed bugs live for about a year while at warmer temperatures they survive about five months. Bedbugs are carried to new locations on clothing, luggage, visiting pets, and transfer of furniture and/or on the human body. They may also travel between connected dwellings through duct work or false ceilings. Elimination of bed bugs is difficult. They are beginning to enjoy resistance to many pesticides. The active ingredient Lambda-Cyhalothrin found in Hot Shot Spider Killer has been found to be effective, but not appealing to use around human sleeping areas. Vacuuming, heat treating mattresses and bedding as well as wrapping mattresses must be included in any attempt to exterminate bed bugs, here again, be careful what you bring into your home or retreat. Bed bugs are hard to find and usually move only at night. They usually stay unnoticed in dark crevices, and their eggs can be found in fabric seams. Aside from bite symptoms, signs include fecal spots, blood smears on sheets, and molts. Bed bugs can be seen alone, but often congregate once established. They usually remain close to hosts, commonly in or near beds or couches. Bed bugs can also be detected by a unique smell described as that of rotting raspberries.


Fleas are small pests that cause discomfort and disease. They are laterally compressed, wingless insects that are found worldwide. Both male and female fleas bite and feed on the skin cells and blood of their host which may be human or domestic animals such as dogs or cats and rabbits, squirrels, etc.  For every adult flea found on a host, there are many more in the environment. Fleas cause discomfort by biting and crawling on the hosts’ skin. Their bites cause itchiness and redness. Some people may be highly allergic to these bites. Fleas also spread diseases such as plague, flea-born typhus, and cat-scratch fever. Treat flea bites with topical steroid or antihistamine creams, and/or calamine preparations. Flea control is difficult, especially if you have canine security or feline rodent control as part of your preparations. Modern flea control for pets is very effective; however the best topical or oral flea control products may not be available long when the grid is down. There are many, many flea control suggestions. Some are effective and others are hopeful. The following suggestions are offered for use when better flea control products may not be available. Salt, boric acid (borate), or baking soda can be applied liberally to bed linens and laundry mixed well in a closed container and left for 24 hours, then washed thoroughly. This will dehydrate and kill the fleas. These same compounds can be liberally sprinkled on floors and other places fleas may hide. Luckily, these are non-toxic and have many other uses so they may be too precious to use for flea control. Stock up! On the pet, most shampoos and diluted dishwashing detergents will kill fleas if lathered well for 10-20 minutes and rinsed well, however, this offers no long lasting control. Another suggestion is to use as much discarded citrus peelings or rinds as you can, boil in a small amount of water for 10 minutes and allow to steep overnight. The resulting fluid may be used as a non-toxic flea spray on humans, pets, and the environment, if you are lucky enough to have citrus fruits available. Have a container