August 2013 Archives


Saturday, August 31, 2013


Today we present Part 2 of a four-part entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



(Continued from Part 1)

Level I Scenario

In these paragraphs, we will look at the areas of primary and secondary importance as they can be managed in a Level I scenario.

Water

A person needs around two gallons per day for cooking and rudimentary cleaning.  For short term emergencies it may be possible to store up two weeks or more water, that much should be stored up anyway.  When you store water, treat it with iodine or Clorox or boil (iodine is better, boiling is best) and rotate water stores every six months, see level II instructions for disinfecting ratios.  Water can be recovered in the house from plumbing pipes, the back tank of the toilets, the hot water heater, and can be stored in water beds if the conditioner has never been used (treat and rotate).  Reserve the water bed, toilet tank and tub water for non-potable uses or distill before use.  Milk jugs don't make good long term storage devices, 2 liter coke bottles do.  Also, if you expect water shortages, clean the tubs thoroughly and fill them up.  Water has also been used from swimming pools.  If the water is shut off temporarily, you can flush the toilet by pouring a bucket of water directly into the bowl, use creek water or bath tub water.  Conserve water at every opportunity.

Food

Keep two months worth of canned goods in your pantry.  Canned goods will last for at least a year, longer if you turn them over every couple months.  Rotate them on a last in, first out basis to keep the stash current.  Beware of canned goods that are bulging, smell bad or make a whooshing noise when you open them, if there is any doubt, feed them to the cat.  Just kidding, cat lovers  (the cat may be needed for extra protein)  Don't forget the can opener (non-electric, of course)  Have some way to cook: an outdoor grill with plenty of fuel, Sterno cans, fireplace, camp stoves with plenty of fuel; all the above; an outdoor campfire might work. 

Shelter

A disaster may hit in the winter so have some way to heat your house if the power goes out for a while.  A fireplace, although grossly inefficient, will help, a kerosene heater costs about 150 dollars, or less, wood stoves are a good bet.  Never burn a charcoal fire inside.  Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning, use adequate ventilation, and don't catch the house on fire.  Make sure you have a couple of fire extinguishers rated for ABC type fires, keep the matches away from the kids.  Block off only the room you are trying to heat with blankets over openings not already covered with a door.   If you are depending on firewood, or whatever source of fuel, stock up well before the winter; firewood takes several months to dry out.  Have plenty of blankets or sleeping bags handy.  It would be advisable to install battery powered Carbon-monoxide monitors and extra smoke detectors, if you are heating or cooking indoors with open flame.

Physical Protection

Keep the doors secured at night; don't leave tools and firewood lying about in the open.  Avoid the cities if there is unrest; heighten driving awareness, lock the car doors and drive around crowds of people.

Spiritual Needs

Never miss an opportunity to get closer to God.  Pray for guidance before making decisions.  Try not to worry;  Matthew 6:34 

"...do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Also, 1 Peter 5:9 

            "Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."

Medical/Dental Needs

Keep current on medical issues.  Stock up on any medications you may require in case of any spot shortages in that area.  Build up a first aid kit, there is a fairly extensive one listed in Appendix A, of course speaking of appendix, with the kit listed below you could probably take one out.  Modify the kit downwards if you like to fit a Scenario I environment.  Don't forget a spare pair of glasses if you need them.  Wash your hands frequently to avoid sickness, purify your water religiously.

Financial/Legal Concerns

Make copies of all bank statements, insurance policies, retirement policies, IRAs, 401(k)s, anyplace you have money in an electronic format.  Keep a copy of your estimated Social Security benefits; this shows the amount of retirement benefits you are entitled to when you retire.  Talk to a financial advisor.  The stock market may take a dive but will probably recover.  It might be a wise move to have 3 or 4 weeks’ worth of cash at home, don't advertise, keep it in a well concealed fire-safe. 

Utilities

Power, lighting, water, gas, and sewage.  In a Scenario I environment there might be random power outages lasting for a relatively short time, maybe a day or two, think of a good ice storm or tornado.  A generator might be in order, make sure you connect it to the system safely and isolate your house from the outside system to avoid cooking utility repairmen.  Talk to an electrician; there are several options on how to hook up a generator to your house, there's the correct way and there's the way everybody does it.  Store enough fuel for the noisy, hungry beast and use only those appliances that are necessary.  An alternative to electric lights are Kerosene lamps, use #1 or #2 Kerosene, three lamps burning 5 hours a night will go through about  2 -1/2 gallons of Kerosene in a month.  Calculate your fuel requirements accordingly.
Have some trash bags on hand in case there are temporary interruptions in trash pickup.  Water and sewage disposal were covered in the water section above.

Communications

It is nice to keep informed, as a bare minimum have an AM/FM radio with plenty of batteries.

Transportation

Keep the gas tanks on your vehicles above half full at all times, (you and everybody will be lining up at the pumps so don't do it on the way to a party you’re already late for).

Level II Scenario

At this level, serious self-sufficiency plans have to be implemented.  The normal level of division of labor breaks down and purchasing everything you need at Kroger's, Home Depot and Wal-Mart might not be an option; therefore, you have to have supplies stockpiled ahead of time or have the ability to generate them yourself through home production or barter.  Nobody knows how bad it can get or how long such a situation could drag on, but it might be wise to plan for a slightly worst-case scenario and act accordingly.  A level II plan would preclude burning all your bridges, but would require some outlay of thought, money and time to prepare.  An extensive list of tools and supplies are laid out in Appendix A, more of a dream list than what one will be able to acquire, sort of like going through the Sears catalog saying "I want that... I want that..." , but it might give you some ideas.

Water

Water is critical, of course.  Level I instructions apply in this scenario.  You can purify water by boiling it for one minute.  Also, by treating it with pure Clorox at the ratio of 8 drops per gallon if the water is clear or 16 drops per gallon if the water is cloudy, shake it up and let it sit for 30 minutes to allow time for the Clorox to kill all the microorganisms.  A 55 gallon drum would require about 1/5 cup of Clorox to purify for 6 months.  You can also purify water with 2% tincture of iodine in liquid form; add 20 drops per gallon of clear water, 40 drops per gallon for cloudy water, shake it up and let it sit for 30 minutes.  Don't accidentally drink any of the iodine straight, for example from the lip of the container, as it is a deadly poison; also, the iodine is suspended in alcohol, so if the alcohol evaporates, adjust the number of drops accordingly.  Don't use Betadine solution to purify water.  Probably the best way to purify water is to distill it using manufactured heat or solar power.  One easy way to construct a solar still is to build a 3' x 3' x (12" on one end, 18" on the other) waterproof box, paint the inside black with a non-toxic waterproof paint, or line with black plastic, and construct a roof of clear Plexiglas sloping to a trough or even a multi-faceted cover sloping to one point.  The box should be totally enclosed with no ventilation.  Pour dirty water into the box and let the sun work, collect the distilled water as it evaporates and runs down the Plexiglas cover; this method will yield about one quart per day so build accordingly.  Clean the box out occasionally.  Filters are an option, they are expensive and require filter element changes.  Filters might be manufactured from earth and/or sand products. 

Rainwater catchment systems seem promising.  The rain from the roof is diverted into a cistern or barrels.  The literature I've seen says metal or plastic roofs are OK for potable water systems, but not roofs with asphalt shingles; however, if the water is just used for flushing toilets or watering cats, go with the asphalt shingles.  If you do need to build a potable catchment system under an asphalt roof, it might be ok if you use a filter made out of sand to filter out trash, I believe the problem is in tar products from the shingles and possibly fiberglass.  You can cheaply construct a washer system by letting the raw water from the roof run into a five-gallon bucket with a large overflow outlet near the top of the bucket and a smaller (1/4") outlet at the bottom of the bucket.  When it rains, the water rushing off the roof fills the bucket before overflowing into the cistern thereby washing the roof of pollution and dirt before going into the cistern; the smaller tube at the bottom allows the water to drain out of the bucket before the next rain.  All in all, quite an elegant low-tech solution.  The system might be as simple as cutting off a gutter downspout and directing it into a 55-gallon drum.  A cistern can be built out of chicken wire wrapped around circle of re-bar stakes, then plastered over with a 3:1 sand: Portland cement mixture.  There's a little more than that to it but you can research it if you’re interested in that technology (i.e. I'm not sure what all is involved, I've just seen them in use in South America).

A well would be a nice thing to have, they are somewhat expensive and most pumps require electricity to operate, plan accordingly.  Solar powered, wind powered or hand powered pumps are a viable option.  Water conservation would be necessary.  Save water used for cleaning to strain and re-use.   Water used to cook vegetables or meat can be added to soups for extra nutrition and liquids.

Food

Picture a grocery store when the weatherman gets done talking about an ice storm...now picture the same store where not only the bread, milk and eggs are gone, but everything is stripped down to include even the canned artichokes and Brussels sprouts; well maybe the Brussels sprouts will still be there.  The average grocery store only holds enough food supplies for three days; they depend on a steady stream of trucks re-stocking the shelves on a regular basis.  In addition to the two months supply of canned goods stored for a level I situation and the food in your 72 hour kit, store whole grains, pasta, rice (white not brown), beans, powdered milk, oil, spices, salt, and other items you may care for.  There is a more extensive list in Appendix A.  Whole grains store infinitely better than flour and preserve their nutrients much longer, the problem with grains is that they have to be converted to flour to make bread, this means a grinder; a good grinder can be purchased for around $250, or possibly they can be found at flea markets for $30 -$60, look for a grist mill.  The larger the grinding wheel, the faster they work, the smaller ones with a 1 1/2" wheel take a long time to make flour.  You can grind flour between two rocks or pound them with a heavy iron bar in a sturdy metal can if you have to.  Grains can also be soaked and boiled, roasted, sprouted or just gnawed on for as long as your teeth last.  The optimum lo-tech way to cook is with an old-fashioned wood fired cook stove, not really an economically viable option for most of us, so figure out what is needed to cook over a fireplace, build a wood fired grill/oven out of rocks and mud, and learn to cook over a campfire.  A Dutch oven is a great way to bake bread if it is the type that has a raised lip around the lid to hold coals on top and provide an oven like area inside the pot.  It probably wouldn't be a good idea to set up your outside kitchen out front by the street unless you have plenty to share. 

Foraging for wild game and plants might be an option, but it is better not to depend on it for your main source of food for several reasons: 1.) everybody will be doing it.  2.) When you are hunting, nobody is looking after the farm  3.) Game will become scarce(r).  4.) if you kill something, you have to get it back to the house carrying the unfortunate deceased critter with one hand whilst fending off poachers with the other.  5.) Wild game does not have enough fat on it to make a straight deer/rabbit diet feasible.  On the other hand, if a deer wanders across your yard early one morning and you are ready for it...venison for supper.  Also, you can have a box trap, or two, working for you all night while you are sleeping and have roast Raccoon for lunch the next day.  Leg holds, snares and Connibears also work.  Pay attention to wild plants for food also, get a field guide.  A pellet gun can harvest rabbits and squirrels around the house and is quiet and cheap to shoot, as well as being good practice.

Canning supplies will be a good thing to have in a survival environment, jars, lots-o-lids, pots big enough to sterilize jars in.  Food can be dehydrated, pickled in salt, or smoked in a homemade smokehouse.  The enemies of stored food are heat, oxygen and bugs.  To store grains and beans, get five gallon plastic buckets with new lids, put 1-2 inches of grain in the bottom of the bucket, put in a chunk of dry ice as big as your (4-6 oz.) hand then fill the rest of the way to the top of the bucket.  Set the lid on loosely and wait for 4-5 hours until the lid stops 'burping'.  As the dry ice evaporates, it displaces the oxygen, which cause food oxidation, and also kills the bug’s larvae by starving them of their oxygen.  The CO2 is heavier than the O2 and stays in the bucket.  Next seal the lid and store in a cool place, don't put it in an attic or hot garage, this will shorten the storage life.  Grains will store for 20+ years, beans for 8+ years, dried food for 6 months, solid Crisco stores longer than liquid oils (about 6 months for the liquid), Brown rice 6 months, flour for 6 months, pasta 2 years and powdered milk 18 months.

Just about any food storage plan is a temporary stop gap measure until food production can resume, this means seeds, non-hybrid so that the seeds can be used from year to year (if it goes on that long).   Garden tools will be required.  If livestock farming is envisioned, envision a fox in your chicken house if you don't have some chicken wire stashed back.  Fencing can keep a deer out of your garden if it is about 10 feet tall (maybe higher if the deer is a good jumper).  Seeds can be picked up cheaply after the end of the summer and would also make an excellent barter item.

Shelter

More of the same as level I, Have a way to heat it.  If you envision a more serious situation, such as a level II disaster, plan on having a wood fired heater, even a homemade one fabricated from a 55-gallon drum.  Have a way to cut firewood; the best option is a chainsaw, with a spare or at least a bucksaw as a backup.  Keep an extra bar, 2 chains, spark plugs, points, file, plenty of gas and bar oil.  If you don't have oil to mix with the gas for a 2-cycle engine, 30-weight non-detergent oil can be substituted.  Also, 90-wt gear oil can be used as a bar oil; bar oil will be used just about as fast as the gasoline mixture, so get plenty.  Eye and ear protection is also a good thing to have.  Don't forget the splitting wedge.  Plastic sheeting will be handy to further insulate windows, stop leaks or build a small greenhouse. 

Most likely your shelter will be your present home, so figure on what you could do that would make it habitable without any outside utilities coming in.  Don't put all your eggs in one basket; bury (cache) a large portion of your supplies underground to avoid a massive loss due to fire or other calamity.  Research ways to protect goods buried underground with regards to waterproofing, location, security and availability. 

Physical Protection

Here's where it starts to get somewhat confusing.  As a Christian, I have rules to follow that are not of this world; but I have a family to protect also.  I don't believe that God would have me not protect them with every tool possible.  I can only pray for guidance on this issue and hope I do the right thing as God would will it.  A gun is a tool that can be used for good or evil.  Wars have been fought with weapons that resulted in ultimate good; WWII is the most striking example.  If Hitler had not been stopped, by American's carrying guns, he would have done much more damage than he did.  On the other hand, firearms in the hands of criminals have taken untold numbers of innocent lives.  Another analogy might be that Solomon was able to build the Temple in Jerusalem because his father, David, had secured peace in the Middle East through the might of his armies.  Yet, David had wanted to build the Temple himself but was stopped by God because his hands had been bloodied in war.  Most perplexing.

If you do decide to get a gun or guns, start with a pump shotgun in 12 or 20 gauge, a .22 rifle, a center-fire bolt action scoped rifle and maybe a center-fire pistol, in that order.  Get plenty of ammunition, especially .22 ammo, it's cheap.  With the grace of God, you'll only have to use them to harvest wild game.

A dog is an effective early warning system (cats are worthless).  Also, tin cans filled with pebbles strung up on wire.  If there is civil unrest in the area, get together with several families in order to provide for mutual protection, watches, garden help and spiritual support.  Pay attention to the area and the people moving through; try to establish a buffer zone around your house, like a fence.  Don't tell people what is your exact situation.  Don't appear obviously better fed or provisioned than the people around you.  In spite of all this direness, help people to the best of your ability, without compromising the safety of your family.

Spiritual Needs

Hold regular church services, "pray without ceasing" as the Apostle Paul would say, set up Bible study classes, organize Christian counseling in stress relief areas, set up a food bank and widows and orphans ministry.  James 1:27

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after widows and orphans in their distress..."

Observe the Sacraments.  The Methodist church observes three sacraments, the Communion, Baptism and the covered dish supper.  :-)

God's will is for you to help your neighbor.  When Jesus comes back, Matthew 25:37-40 says:

"Then the righteous will answer Him "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"  The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.""

Jesus is coming back someday, or we will go to Him, and we will then have to give an account of our actions on earth.  We are not saved by good works, but do have to account for our works, good and bad.

God loves you and wants only what is best for you, as it says in the book of Romans (8:28):

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those that love Him."

If a collapse goes down this heavy, it will be somewhat scary, way out of our normal comfort zones, but if we put our hope in the Lord, we will never be disappointed.  He will take care of us to the ends of time.  Look at Psalms 118:5-6:

"In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered by setting me free.  The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid."

At some point when you trust in the Lord for your well-being, you cease to be afraid because you know that no matter what happens, He will be with you to comfort and protect you.  Therefore, why be fearful.  I think it is OK to prepare for things such as famine, Joseph did, but don't put your faith in your own human preparations.  Look at Matthew 6:19-21:
           
            "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also."

Maybe you think you don't need the Lord or He couldn't love somebody like you, well, you're wrong.  You do and He can.  Trust Him.  Listen to this, think about what it means to you.  Matthew 7:24-26:

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."

Build on the rock, not on the sand.  Jesus Christ is the rock; the things of the world are the sand.  Nobody is perfect; everybody has a past where he or she didn't live according to God's laws.  When you accept Jesus as your Savior, you may still be accountable to the world but as far as God is concerned, the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ covers all your sins and in His eyes you are pure and sinless.   Psalm 103:1-22

"Praise the Lord, O my soul; in all my inmost being, Praise His Holy name.  Praise the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits.

He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases; He redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion.

He satisfies my desires with good things, so that my youth is renewed like the eagle's.  The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.             
He has made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel.  The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.
           
As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower in the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with his children's children- with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.
           
The Lord has established His kingdom in heaven and His kingdom rules over all.  Praise the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His word.  Praise the Lord, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will.  Praise the Lord, all His works everywhere in His dominion.             

Praise the Lord, O my soul.

The fear of the Lord is not the terror inspired by a tyrant, but the respect and awe a child holds for a beloved father, a father who has always been there, even when the child strayed and sinned, a father who has always loved the child; a child that will always love the father.

Psalm 91:2
           
"I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.""

Medical and Dental Concerns

The best thing you can do right now is to get physically fit by exercise and correct eating habits; this is a failing of mine.  Preventative medicine and proper hygiene will be important.  In a sustenance type environment, it is hard to stay clean, especially if water is in short supply.  You must however, purify drinking water and wash your hands to keep from getting sick.  Get two spare sets of glasses, if you need them.  As discussed earlier put together a first aid/medical kit sufficient to handle serious emergencies, 911 might not be working or paramedics might be overloaded.  Learn how to perform rudimentary medicine and gather medical, drug and nursing books now. 

Most drugs are still good after the expiration date (not Tetracycline- toss it when it expires, it cause kidney damage when old; also, aspirin when it smells like ascetic acid (sour, vinegary, smell like blue RTV sealant) is poisonous.  If a drug is far past the expiration date, you might have to up the dosage.  Understand, do not use this information in lieu of a real doctor, I'm not one and I don't play one on TV, this information is for emergency use only with no medical help available, I believe it to be correct.  Stock up on medication in advance, Aspirin, Tylenol, anti-biotic, painkillers (or alcohol), anti-diarrheal, etc etc.  See the list below. 

Financial and Legal Concerns 

Pretty much the same as Scenario I.  Perhaps more cash set aside and maybe some investments in gold and junk silver; junk silver is non-numismatic grade, pre-1964 solid silver coinage, useful for barter.  Junk silver is in small enough denominations to be reasonable when trading and also easily recognizable as what it is, a silver coin.  Keep a real low profile with the exact specifics of your preparations.  It won't be a secret from the criminal elements of our society that people are stockpiling cash and supplies.  There are those that are stockpiling only guns and ammunition.

With regards to barter, some things are easily tradable and typically in short supply during a crisis.  Clean water, coffee, batteries, candles, kerosene and lamps, lighters, candles, toilet paper, soap, stuff like that.  Keep some for trading purposes.   If somebody needs something you have set aside for trading purposes, but does not have anything to trade, give it to them anyway, don’t be a dweeb profiteer.  Don’t use societal collapse as an excuse to get rich; use barter goods to re-supply or obtain items you have not anticipated needing. 

To be continued…



Dear Sir:
I have been reading your blog for several years but have not been able to convince my dear husband to stop laughing at me until very recently. We are very busy people with full time+on call sort of jobs, three busy kids and I'm also a full time student as well. We consider our time as important as our money. I know there are others reading that haven't started yet due to lack of 'spare time'.

I have begun utilizing the 'Subscribe and Save' feature on Amazon.com. This feature allows me to pick out items we need to add to our storage, schedule when and how much I want delivered directly to my home. As an item nears the quantity goal we have set, I simply deactivate that item and select something else from our master list. With this tool I get to add to our storage when I have time. It also allows me to track our inventory with ease. I also stay on budget because I know ahead of time exactly how much I'm spending.

Could I find it cheaper elsewhere? Maybe. But this feature also offers buyers a 15% discount on all items purchased each month over 5. And frankly, I'd rather spend what little time I do have learning with, or teaching, my kids new skills or honing the ones we already have.

Should I worry about tracking? First, do I care if how many rolls of toilet paper I'm buying is being watched by some faceless entity somewhere? Not really. In this day and age, unless I'm buying goods off the back of a truck in a dark alley with cash, it can be tracked.

Our main concern is that our time has value. We are doing more and more with our spare time to meet our goals. The truth is, there are only so many hours in a day. If others out there are putting off stocking up because they don't have the time to clip coupons or search the web for the best deals, this little tool might be the difference between getting started and waiting for schedules to lighten and getting caught in a tight spot unprepared at all.

Thank you for the excellent blog. - Mary in Nebraska



Jason in Kansas alerted me to this: More Executive Orders on guns: Administration announces new gun control measures, targets military surplus imports. There probably will be more Executive Orders. (Jason opines that will most likely come just after the November mid-term elections, and I concur.) As I've mentioned before, I believe that BHO has set a priority on banning the importation of magazines that hold more than 10 cartridges. So stock up on imported full-capacity magazines, ASAP. If there is a ban, then they will be a great investment. (Depending on the wording of a ban, their prices may triple or even quadruple.)

Emerging market rout is too big for the Fed to ignore.

Items from The Economatrix:

Citigroup Sees Gold at $3,500/oz; Silver Jumping to $100/oz

Wall Street falls, ends worst month since May 2012

Why You Should Sell Gold as Soon as Missiles Fly in Syria

No Fed Taper Until New Year Means New Highs



Elbert suggested: Improvised Weapons of Syria

   o o o

No room in their hearts for charity? It Is Illegal To Feed The Homeless In Cities All Over The United States.

   o o o

I'm discouraged that even though several of my novels have been best-sellers, no Hollywood production company has picked up the movie rights. If you know anyone at a decision making level with a Hollywood studio, or an independent ("indie") producer, please let them know about the availability of the rights to my novels. (I can ask my agent to send review copies of my books to any producers who show an interest.)

   o o o

News from Texas: Under a New Law, the Police Can Act as Gun Dealer.

   o o o

Mike Williamson sent: The Hiring Follies of Troy Industries



"Given the razor's edge the financial system now teeters on, analysts estimate a Treasury Bond interest rate of 3.5% is about where a death spiral begins. Of all the 10-year Treasuries held in the world, the Federal Reserve owns a bit less than a third. Should the interest rate tick up toward its normal 4% to 6%, the Fed would need to "print money" just to break even, meaning more bonds need to be issued to put it into play. What seemed "manageable" is transformed into a runaway, self-compounding event. Rising interest rates also trigger serious effects outside the bond market. Derivative implosions, for one. The spiral starts when buyers see the Fed losing control of artificial low rates, which is where they get the 3.5%. The spiral ends when the entire federal budget goes to pay interest. The numbers suggest this could take only a few months, start to finish. Somewhere near the final rollover look for near-total wealth destruction when DC seizes nominally private accounts—retirement, savings, checking or what have you, partly on the theory private transactions are criminal transactions until proven otherwise. But mainly because the EU and South America have shown them they can. And what they can do, they will do." - Ol' Remus, The Woodpile Report, August 27, 2013


Friday, August 30, 2013


JRH Enterprises has started their big Labor Day Weekend sale on New Gen 3+ Pinnacle autogated ITT/Exelis PVS-14 night vision monocular/scopes with five year warranty. In addition to all the standard accessories, JRH is also including for a free weapons mount and and free shuttered eye guard with this unit, all for just $2,595.

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Today we present Part 1 of a four-part entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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 United States of America is a very resilient country; that is to say, the people of the United States are a very resilient people.  But, stuff happens and our current crop of politicians seems determined to drive us into the ground with their short-sighted and self-serving policies.  The purpose of this paper is to briefly identify some possible trouble spots, and suggest a few remedial type actions to help prepare for any adverse consequences of catastrophic failures induced by pin head politicians.  Most of the current problems we face have their origin firmly rooted in, and are fertilized by, Congressional manure.  Three possible incrementally severe degrees of problems will be postulated, Level I, II and III.  These are only suppositions, not prophesies.  Nobody knows what the future holds, anybody that says they do know, probably has more confidence than competence. 

My personal philosophy has always been to prepare as much as possible without burning any bridges.  If I've got some food put back and the world doesn’t end on schedule, oh well, I still plan on eating.  If there are a couple oil lamps decorating my fireplace mantle, no problem, the next ice storm won't knock me into the dark ages.  My intention is not to scare anyone; the future, while not certain, is not without hope.  However, a certain amount of preparation might be in order.  Feel free to use any or all of this information for your personal use, but make up your own mind about its validity. 

Introduction to the problem

The myriad of ways that the thin veneer of civilization can peel away are legion.  Our system could just grind to a halt under the crushing debt load we incur, or a foreign entity could disrupt our electronic house of silicon/sand suddenly with an EMP burst.  Our government could (further) trash the Constitution and take control of the populace, precipitating an internal civil war.  The food supply is vulnerable to plant diseases.  Our country is dependent upon foreign oil supplies.  The list goes on: fill in your own disaster here; the point being is that civilization is a fragile thing.  Witness the latest hurricanes: Katrina and Sandy, and the way they brought their local civilizations to a grinding halt.  They had the benefit of being so localized that the rest of the nation was able to extricate them from their difficulties.  What if the destruction were more nationwide?  Who would save us?  It will be up to us to save ourselves, and to help as many people as we can without endangering ourselves.  The family unit, and the extended family, will be the new civilization for a time.

Banking is necessary to facilitate the orderly transaction of business.  If the banks go down, businesses cannot purchase goods and services they need to operate, people can't get paid for services rendered, deliveries grind to a halt, people won't be able to deposit or cash checks, make withdrawals or get loans and mortgages.  89% of the money in existence is just digital zeroes and ones being transmitted hither and yon; if the electricity goes away the money goes away. 

Transportation, (planes, trains and trucking) is needed to move food out of production areas, deliver coal to fossil fuel fired electric plants, deliver petroleum products from the oil refineries, deliver raw materials to manufacturers, transport finished goods to the consumer, move people to business meetings, and provide mobility for national defense. 

Telecommunications ties everything together; factories depend on phone lines to transmit data between different aspects of the manufacturing process, banks transmit money transfers over phone lines and troubleshoot remote locations, phones are used to coordinate business operations, place and receive orders, control remote switches used in routing train traffic, transmit data over the internet, and a host over other uses, you get the picture. 

Utilities are completely dependent on electrical power; electricity is critical to doing just about everything in normal life.  Electrical system are tied together in massive regional grids that move power back and forth as needs vary in different parts of the network; while this grid system is cost effective and powerful, it exposes one part of the grid to other parts so that even if one section is functional it may be impacted by failure in another section.  Sewage control is heavily automated and at risk.  Water systems are the same.

International compliance also puts the USA at risk.  Banks routinely transfer money back and forth, the world economy is very much tied together and interdependent, border security will probably be degraded in a crisis of any magnitude.  Also, a USA focused on internal problems might encourage other nations that don't like us to become adventurous.

Potential Scenarios

For the purpose of this paper, let's discuss three potential magnitudes of scenarios that could occur.  Call them level I, level II and level III.  Again, I do not have a mandate from God to disseminate this information, I don't have any idea what the future will hold, so it's just me thinking out loud and you can make up your own mind about what to believe or disbelieve.  Pick your own scenario and plan, accordingly.

Scenario I

The XYZ problem is mostly minor and the whole country muddles along.  The country has a long, slow slide into an economic morass.  There are electrical brown outs in some areas lasting a day or two.  Some rioting in the usual urban areas is quickly quelled by police and National Guard troops.  There are some partial food shortages for a few days.  The stock market takes a dive and the banks have to stock some extra cash to accommodate nervous investors.  All in all, the situation is deadlocked at times, but mostly the economy has a sort of friction or resistance that slows everything down and adds greatly to the inefficiency of the typical bureaucracy.  The government attempts to manhandle the situation, but as usual, they only make the situation worse.  The usual Sheeple bleat on about allowing the government more powers to deal with the ‘emergency’.  Overall, the impact on the general population is pretty minimal, but has the potential to get worse.

Scenario II

The XYZ problem hits hard.  Electricity is out sporadically for weeks at a time.  Water isn't flowing out of the faucets because the pumps are down.  Many people get sick from drinking water that isn't properly disinfected.  The sewage treatment plants shut down and the toilets don't flush.  The cities freak out and it isn't safe to travel through them without a strong police or military presence.   Rioting breaks out over food and many stores are looted and burned until the National Guard is mobilized to restore order and secure safety for crews working round the clock to bring the electric plants back on line.  Curfews are declared in all major cities and suburbs.   Martial law is considered by the government.  The stock market drops to 5000 shares traded before it is closed for an indefinite holiday; banks are limiting transactions to 100 dollars per day; the country is in a major recession.  Trains carrying coal to the electrical plants have to be manually switched and given priority as are trains carrying grain out of the Midwest to distribution centers in the cities.  The outermost suburbs and rural areas are mostly safe except for break-ins and pilfering woodpiles and such crimes.  Food supplies are in somewhat short supply and getting gas, when it is available, meant waiting in long, tense lines.  Telephone service is sporadic.  Agricultural production is severely hampered as farmers struggled with fuel, seed and fertilizer shortages.  Barter is the preferred method of doing business and many companies go under.  The situation gradually gets better over a period of a year or two and, things return to some sense of normalcy.  There are residual losses of freedoms that are difficult to recover.

Scenario III

Picture yourself in the wild, wild west for a long, long time.

Areas to Consider

Some things are critical to have, some things are very important and some things are nice to have.  Of primary importance are water, food, shelter, physical protection and a relationship with God based on the sacrifice of Jesus.  Secondary needs are medical/dental care, financial/legal security, utilities (power, lighting and sanitation), communications, and transportation.  Of tertiary importance are education, recreation, government relations, local area relations, and job security.  Of course if you are sick, medical care can assume a more primary role or if you need to get out of Dodge in a hurry, the need for transportation can be elevated, but these three groupings of five items each will suffice for our discussion. 

Water is vulnerable to infrastructure debilitating problems.  We need water to live; a person can go for only three days without water.  Fortunately, water is fairly easy to procure and sterilize enough to be fit for human consumption.

Food is necessary for long term survival, but a person can live for up to 40 days without it, but not without discomfort.  Food is somewhat harder to find than water and requires usually more extensive preparation to make fit for consumption.  Food is fairly cheap, now, and stores well if certain types are chosen.

Shelter can be paramount, especially in cold or wet environments; hypothermia can kill a person in a matter of hours.  Shelter is easily constructed given a little time and knowledge.  A habitat needs to be dry, warm, and safe.

Physical protection, from animals and human predators, must be considered.  Problems might propitiate societal breakdowns involving the need to act in your own self-defense or in the defense of others.  These issues are somewhat troubling to consider.  Where do you draw the line between acting in defense of your family and in following the Word of God?  Some situations are quite clear cut, some are not.  Pray for guidance.

Spiritual fulfillment is really the most important item of all.  Not fulfillment in the sense of getting something from God, but in the absolute importance of you having a real relationship with the Almighty God through His son, Jesus Christ.  You can store beans, bullets and Band-Aids from now till the cows come home, but if your name is not written in the Lamb's Book of Life, so what?  The Bible says in Mark 8:36:
           
            "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?"

A real concern for me regarding societal collapse is that it will focus my mind and energy towards dealing with physical preparations, and away from thinking about God and what He would have me do; I am no longer “praying without ceasing” if I am overly concerned with worldly survival.  God is the focus of our lives; He will protect us and guide us if we ask Him to.

In areas slightly less critical, medical and dental care is also important.  In some cases professional medical care is the only thing that will suffice, in others the body will heal itself, that's the way God designed us.  Rudimentary medical care is easily learned, first aid and such.  Preventative medicine is important, some herbal remedies are historically tried and true; medicines can be stockpiled as well as medical instruments and supplies.

Financial and legal protection should be considered.  Possibly tears in the veneer of society will cause a major recession and cause the stock market to tumble.  Are all your eggs in one basket?  Is your business vulnerable?  Will there be banks runs for cash?  Will cash even suffice, not to mention electronic mediums of “money”?

Utilities are pretty important.  Picture an ice storm that stretches on for months.  You need the ability to light your home, generate heat, and dispose of waste and trash.  Electricity would be nice, even battery powered.

Communications can be important.  It might be helpful to listen to AM/FM broadcasts, short-wave, hams, police and fire scanners, and TV.  All these are readily available, able to be powered by batteries.

Transportation, in the personal sense, just getting around town, can be a good thing.  Cars,
Pick-up trucks, bicycles can be utilized to get mobile. 

On a third order of need might be things such as education.  How can you educate your children in a long drawn out scenario III situation?  Also, if you know how to purify water and your neighbor doesn't, how can you teach him or her?  Education is critical; the more you know how to do; the better off you will be if the system crashes.  Gather reference books on all manners of self-sufficiency subjects; study them and learn from others who already know how to do it.  Cross train yourself in several areas. 
Recreation can be a good thing; if you're driving cross country with 7 kids in a station wagon, a box of crayons and some coloring books might be a lifesaver.  How could we possibly survive without television, I mean, what's the point?   :o)

Government relations could also get important.  Those power grubbing rascals in Washington might use a societal crisis to declare martial law, they have the Executive Orders in place to do it and I certainly wouldn't put it past them to try (all for the good of the people, of course).  On the other hand the government might work to help people in dire straits without exacting their pound of flesh.  We'll see.  I don’t trust them.

Local relations might be the way you relate to your neighbors and community.  Help your neighbors out as much as possible but don't hang a free food sign out on your door unless you can feed a lot of people.  There will be ample opportunities to help, volunteer extra supplies, time and knowledge.  WWJD?

Job security may be an issue.  Consider how dependant is your job on things that might be adversely affected by societal troubles.  It might not be a bad idea to have an alternate method to make money, along with the necessary tools and supplies to work at it, just in case.

Preparations to think about and implement

Some rudimentary level of preparations would be in order even if there were no global collapse looming on the near horizon.  There are any number of events that can interrupt basic services: ice storms, nuclear accidents, tornadoes, hurricanes, chemical spills, terrorist attacks using biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, loss of income, the list goes on and on.  These are good valid reasons to be prepared for a short term emergency; most events like these have a duration of about 72 hours at most of being without relief services from the government, Red Cross or church groups. 

Again the most important thing you can do is to get right with God, trust Him and He will be your rock and your refuge in times of trouble.  Follow the Roman road to salvation:

Romans 3:23-24    "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified fully by His grace through the redemption that comes by Jesus Christ."

Romans 6:23    "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 5:8    "But God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 10:9-10,13    "...if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with  your mouth that you are saved, for "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord, will be saved."

God is in charge; the whole disaster thing might just be His way of getting our attention.  Only He knows what the plan is.  Trust in God; He loves you.

Be aware of your location.  What are the primary and secondary routes in and out of your town?   Would your house be astride a major exodus from the nearest city?  What kind of locks are on your doors?  Security system? Dog? etc etc etc.

Put together a 72 hour kit for each member of your family.  A 72 Hr kit has enough food, water and other essentials to keep a person solvent for about 3 days on the road or sitting in a shelter waiting out a disaster.

Have a fallback plan always, relatives in the country, a vacation home in the mountains, something like that.  Be aware that in times of National crisis, the government will probably move to limit travel and possibly even implement martial law.  If you are going to bug out to somewhere, do it earlier, rather than later.

To be Continued…



Greetings Sir,
I read your post concerning magazine pouches for some of the more obscure weapons systems favored by many in our community. I'm not sure if the demand is there to justify a full production run of the pouches you mention, but we do produce very limited custom articles from time to time for clients with specific needs. If you would like a truly custom, American made product to fit the systems you mentioned, we would be glad to provide that service for you. Your input will completely drive the design, including, the products style, color, material, mode of function, attachment system, etc. I would be happy to send sample articles for test and evaluation before settling on a final design as well. The only obvious problem is laying hands on all the magazines you described in the post. In the past, we have just gone out and purchased the magazine in question, but with the mania of recent events still raging, that is clearly a problem. This can easily be overcome by you sending us a single magazine in each of the configurations for which you need a pouch. The magazines will be returned in good condition with the completed project if you choose to go forward with the order. Our company is DynamicDesignsUSA. We are located in Utah, so we are not subject to any of the ridiculous restrictions on magazine capacity, etc. prevalent in the more blue areas of the country.
 
If you're interested, please take a look at our web site for a small sampling of our capabilities. Only about 20% of the gear we manufacture is actually on the site because the products were developed for clients with very specific requirements. If you can describe it, we can most likely make it for you.
 
Best Regards,
 
Tyler Donaldson
Dynamic Designs LLC.
Phone: 435-313-4513
E-mail: admin@dynamicdesignsusa.com

JWR Replies: I've posted this e-mail for the entire readership, since I'm confident that I'm not alone in needing pouches for unusual magazines.





B.B. sent this encouraging news: Missouri Set to Nullify All Federal Gun Laws. I hope that they are successful and that this becomes model legislation.

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M.B. suggested a new piece of short fiction by Matt Bracken over at the WRSA site: Alas, Brave New Babylon

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Massive Drill Planned to Test Resiliency of U.S. Electric Grid.

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F.G. recommended both this article and this same training discipline for civilian shooters: 'This is not your rifle:' Marines take foreign weapons instructor course

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A spectacular OPSEC Fail: Look inside: Local survivalist's self-made 'foxhole'. (Reader B.E. mentioned that finding his address took about 50 seconds, and bringing up driving directions to his house with Mapquest took just an additional 20 seconds.)



"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." - Miles Kington


Thursday, August 29, 2013


Today we present a guest article by G.E. Christenson, the editor of Deviant Investor



Gold and silver will survive as a store of value and wealth. Paper money, the economic status quo, unfunded liabilities, pension plans, exponentially increasing debt, massive budget deficits, “to-big-to-fail” banks, and so much more are at risk of gradual or catastrophic failure.

Gold and Silver

Precious metals have been recognized as wealth and a store of value for over 3,000 years. They may no longer be used as currency but they retain their value. Example: I can’t go to Wal-Mart and buy food with silver coins but, practically speaking, I can sell or trade a gold or silver coin minted by Australia, Canada, or the United States in almost any country in the world at any time. Over the centuries, on average, they have retained their value, whether measured in gallons of gasoline, hours of labor, or food. Can you say the same for dollars, pounds, or any paper money?

The Status Quo

Let’s call the Status Quo the existing state of affairs including the system of politics, government, currencies, banks, military contractors, financial systems and so forth. We all know “something is wrong” with the system, but the system is what it is and we live within it. The system richly rewards the political and financial elite, the upper middle class and a few privileged groups, usually at the expense of the remaining “debt serfs” via higher taxes, massive debts, wars, assets transfers, currency debasement and various controls over the economy.
Throughout history, this process has been repeated many times. From Simon Black regarding Italian history:

“And as one Emperor after another bankrupted the treasury through foreign wars, palatial opulence, and unaffordable social welfare programs, Rome gradually changed for the worse.
Desperate to keep the party going, later Emperors debased the currency to the point of hyperinflation. They imposed wage and price controls under penalty of death. They raised taxes so punitively that people simply quit working altogether.

With each successive emperor, Romans would foolishly believe that the ‘new guy will be different’ and that things would improve. Of course, apart from the occasional sage, Rome’s political leadership became more destructive.”

This is a familiar story. Empires throughout history have always gone through this life cycle of rise, peak, decline and collapse. Rome. Egypt. The Hapsburg Empire. The Ottoman Empire.
And the salient points are always the same – out of control government spending, a rapidly debased currency, costly foreign military campaigns, burdensome regulations, etc.”
“Meanwhile, the ‘richest’ countries in the world (US, Europe, Japan, etc.) are so deeply in debt that they have to borrow money just to pay interest on the money they’ve already borrowed.”
This isn’t rocket science. Predicting the end of this system is not attention–seeking sensationalism; it’s just common sense.”

It is easy to see that many western governments are following essentially the same path as Rome’s road to self-destruction. Rome’s status quo was increasingly expensive to support and eventually failed. Is the status quo in Europe or the United States likely to experience a different fate?

Consider Charles Hugh Smith’s commentary: That Which is Incapable of Reforming Itself Disappears
“Here is my scale-invariant summary of the Status Quo:

  • An economy that is controlled by the government is one in which political power, not the market, controls the distribution of national income. Politics is the arena in which the national income is distributed. The primary contestants are entrenched, vested interests seeking to protect their perquisites and power.
  • A government in which political power is for sale to the highest bidder puts the wealthy at an extreme advantage, as they have the means to buy political power to conserve and expand their share of the national income.
  • In order to do the bidding of the financial Elite, the political Elite redistributes enough national income to the bottom 50% and retirees to buy their silence/complicity.
  • A nation in which political power is for sale is one in which the rule of law is bent to serve those with power.”

Further…
“The political and financial Status Quo is incapable of true reform, because real reform threatens the perquisites and power of entrenched vested interests, what I call fiefdoms.”
And…
“That leaves breakdown as the only possible endpoint.
Though the Status Quo still has enough resources to put off the eventual breakdown and collapse for a while longer, I expect an initial crisis to emerge in 2014-2015 that is resolved by the usual politically expedient half-measures.
The sigh of relief that “everything’s been fixed” may last two to three years to 2017-18, and then the ultimate crisis will gather force until it is beyond half-measures, likely in the 2021-22 timeline.”

Or, as Karl Denninger says:
“There is a mathematically-certain collapse in our funding and economic model in the offing and we are now at the point where the actions we have left available to us can only change the outcome from catastrophic to “big suck,” but cannot avoid the inevitable and ugly adjustment that must be taken.”
When debt grows far more rapidly than GDP, the consequences will eventually be catastrophic. Yes, we have ignored the reality of excessive spending, unpayable debts, unsustainable monetary policies, and Ponzi-finance for several decades, but that does not mean we can delay the consequences forever.
Yes, the consequences of failed policies, expensive wars, massive debts, and bond monetization must eventually be faced and the price will be paid. Yes, the consequences might be delayed a few more years, or perhaps even a decade. But, considering the inevitable consequences from the actions of our financial and political status quo, NOW would be a good time to transfer paper assets into real wealth – gold and silver – and store them outside the banking system.
Remember: The world has been living with unbacked paper currencies since Nixon’s default in August of 1971. Since then we have clear evidence that:

  • Governments do not maintain the value of their unbacked paper currencies.
  • Purchasing power declines.
  • Debts and unfunded liabilities increase much more rapidly than the underlying economy which must support those debts.
  • Expensive wars and social programs accelerate the process.
  • Political promises to balance the budget, put the fiscal house in order, and live within our means are good theater, but little more.

Yes, now would be a good time to transfer paper assets into real wealth – gold and silver – and store them outside the banking system.

Further Reading:



Mr. Rawles, 
I came across this today and thought it might be useful to other SurvivalBlog readers. It is called  JustDelete.me. From the web site:

'Many companies use dark pattern techniques to make it difficult to find how to delete your account. JustDelete.me aims to be a directory of URLs to enable you to easily delete your account from web services."

Essentially it is a listing of links to various web companies where you can delete your account. Currently 129 companies are listed and the site owner has a method for submitting others for inclusion. - Clark H.



Hi Jim,
I'd like to mention another heavy duty come-along/manual winch you and your readers may be interested in.   It is built by a long time American manufacturer, Wyeth-Scott.  Please note the pull ratings are based on dead lift capacities and, as they state, pull ratings are approximately double those.  Please see their notes regarding rating differences between lifting and pulling.  A vehicle on a flat road or a tree, through mud, up a hill. Thanks, - Guy S. 


Dear Mr. Rawles, and Readers,
Always be careful where you place your fingers around come-alongs. I always warn people who are using them that ""these things are responsible for more amputations than any doctor in the world." This is an exaggeration, of course, but care is warranted. I still have all of my fingers, but when I was first using these tools, there were some near misses. - Sam in Nebraska





You've got to love Louisiana: Gov. Jindal Promotes Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday: No State Tax on Guns. (Thanks to Kevin A. for the link.)

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I heard about another great company that sells only gear made only the in U.S. and allied countries: Low Visual Impact Bushcraft and Survival Inc.

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Blacksmithing alive and well in parts of Alabama. (Thanks to Pam C. for the link.)

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An Ayn Rand School libertarian who groks Firefly.

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Glock owners should find this knife/gun maintenance tool of interest.



"If you wanted a national monopoly, you must control a national socialist government. If you want a worldwide monopoly, you must control a world socialist government. That is what the game is all about. 'Communism' is not a movement of the downtrodden masses but is a movement created, manipulated and used by power-seeking billionaires in order to gain control over the world, first by establishing socialist governments in the various nations and then consolidating them all through a "Great Merger," into an all-powerful world, socialist super-state." - Gary Allen, None Dare Call It Conspiracy


Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For the preparedness minded individual, this old cliche couldn't be more important.

In my primary profession in the insurance industry, I observe on a regular basis all sorts of damage that happens to people's homes. Today, there are ample available supplies to repair damage, contractors to complete repairs, and insurance coverage to help cover the costs. Tomorrow, we may not be so lucky.

This is where our "ounce of prevention" comes into play. Whether you are preparing to live through a short-term event, a natural disaster, a grid-down event, or a long term TEOTWAWKI event, you've likely put a significant amount of thought and resources towards the location at which you plan to weather the storm.

Obviously, a catastrophic loss to your primary retreat or bug-in location after the event for which you've prepared would be devastating. Perhaps even life threatening.

But inevitably, someone's home will burn down or be struck by a tornado the day before, or the day of, a TEOTWAWKI event. You can be as prepared as you want for tomorrow, but if this happens to you, all your planning is for naught. You could be faced with the loss of your food supplies, water purification abilities, home heating systems, cooking equipment, or any other number of things that you have stored away for your long-term preparedness.

Fortunately, a vast majority of damage that can happen to a dwelling can be easily prevented.  Below, I'll cover a few of the more common property losses that I see and how they can be prevented through a combination of material selection and diligent preventative maintenance, leaving you with a more secure and functional long term retreat.

1. Fire Prevention - Fires are catastrophic no matter when they happen, but if you find yourself in a situation with no fire department to respond, they will be even more so. Even a small fire inside your retreat or bug-in location can cause extensive smoke damage and can render your dwelling uninhabitable. Here are some steps you can take and habits you can incorporate into your daily life to prevent fires.    

A. Perform a visual inspection of your home's exterior (2x per year)- Keep trees and other combustible items away from your home. A wildfire needs fuel leading up to your home in order to burn your home, so move firewood, tree limbs, propane tanks, and anything else you see at least 50 feet from your home. If you're in a fire prone area, aim for 100 feet at a bare minimum.

B. Inspect for gas leaks (4x per year)- In many areas, for those of you with natural gas, your gas company will come out and check your home for gas leaks for free. Their meters can detect even minor leaks that might go unnoticed by your nose. If this service is available, use it once per year. You can also use a simple soap and water solution to check fittings to your gas-burning appliances on your own.

C. Install fire extinguishers and inspect (1x per year) - Have a fire extinguisher easily accessible near any potential fire hazard in your dwelling. The kitchen, garage, and utility room are obvious locations, as well as near any solid fuel burning stoves. Check their pressure gauges annually and replace or recharge them when they get low or pass their expiration date. If you purchase new fire extinguishers to replace expired ones, keep the expired ones in a safe location in your house as backups. They may still work with reduced effectiveness, and if they are your only means of fire protection, you'll be glad to have the extra ammo.

D. Inspect and clean chimney (2x per year) - If you burn wood, it is important to clean your chimney regularly. Twice per year if you heat exclusively with wood, once per year if wood is supplemental heat only. I like to clean mine at the end of the wood burning season, sometime around mid to late April, then give a visual inspection in the fall before it's time to fire up the stove to make sure that my chimney hasn't become home for any wildlife.

E. Install lightning rods and inspect (2x per year) - A direct lightning strike can start a fire, destroy electronics, and scare the Schumer out of you when it happens in the middle of the night. Ask me how I know. Lightning rods are installed along the roof of your dwelling to take the brunt of the strike rather than your home. The electricity is directed along a series of wires and down into the ground. Twice annually, inspect the rods, wires, and grounding mechanism for any damage.

2.Wind Damage Prevention - A heavy gust of wind can damage the most heavily fortified properties. A tornado, hurricane, or cyclone can destroy everything in its path, and little can be done to stop it. There have been great advances in hurricane resistant building methods, but I am not well versed in them. For the sake of this writing, I'm going to focus on prevention of damage from the less than building-leveling winds.
     
A. Install high quality roofing materials - Simply said, the cheaper the shingle, the quicker the damage. Basic "three tab" style shingles are made to protect your home from rain, but do not stand up well to wind. When selecting roofing material, go with the sturdiest that your budget allows. Clay tiles, metal roofing, and 50+ year shingles will not only last longer, but will resist damage from strong winds, keeping your home protected and dry.
     
A. Brace gables - At the ends of your home, the gable of your roof (think the triangles leading up to the peak) are one of the most vulnerable parts of your home in a wind storm. I once saw a home that had the entire gable sucked right out and left lying on the ground next to the house by a tornado that passed almost a mile from said home. Upon closer inspection, the gable had only been attached to the home with a few nails around the edges. If your roof has gables (as opposed to a hip, gambrel, flat, or mansard style roof), get up in your attic and look how well they're attached. A few simple 2x4's nailed to the gable and back to the roof trusses or the home's framing can hold them in place instead of having your home exposed to the elements.
     
B. Visually inspect trees and limbs and remove any near your home (1x per year) - Does your home have large trees near it? In a wind storm, any limbs hanging near your dwelling may be broken off and fall on your roof causing damage. Large trees near the structure can also break, uproot, or split and fall on your home. Walk around, find potential culprits and trim them up or turn them into firewood.

3 . Water Damage Prevention - More damage is done to homes by water than almost any other peril. Penetration from outside water is commonly thought of, but the majority of damage comes from the water already inside your home. The damage from water can range from an inconvenient puddle to warped floor boards, to mold or an all out interior flood, so it pays to maintain the water systems inside your home.
     
A. Inspect the exterior envelope of your home (1x per year) - Take a detailed look at the exterior of your home to identify potential problem areas. Pay special attention to corners, windows, and seams. Apply caulking wherever necessary and touch up any chipped or peeling paint, no matter how insignificant. Inspect your roof for damage, missing shingles, missing flashing, or deterioration of any rubber boots protecting the places where vent pipes extrude from the  roof surface and repair or replace as necessary.
     
B. Inspect any exposed water lines (2x per year) - Do you have exposed water supply or drain lines in your basement or crawlspace or under any sinks or toilets? Perform a visual inspection to identify any drips or leaks and repair as necessary. Pay special attention to couplings, elbows, and fittings, as these are where almost all leaks originate. Also pay special attention to any lines supplying water to a filter in your refrigerator or an ice maker in your freezer. These lines are often installed by the individual who delivers the appliance and shoddy installations cause a significant number of water losses each year.
     
C. Replace water supply lines (Every other year) - Every plumbing fixture or appliance in your home has a supply line hooked to it. In many homes, these lines are a rubber or vinyl hose with plastic fittings that connect to a shut off valve on one end and the fixture on the other end. These hoses are under water pressure 24 hours per day, and if one of them bursts, there will be an unrestricted flow of water into your home until you stop it. Replace these lines every other year to minimize the risk of a blowout. Don't forget the clothes washing machine, toilets, and the dishwasher. If you have metal supply lines that connect your fixtures to your main water line, shut off the water and remove them every other year to inspect for deterioration or corrosion. Replace these lines when they show any sign of weakness, or every 5 years.
     
D. Maintain hot water heater (1x per year) - Your water heater's holding tank is a valuable source of clean water for your family should you lose your water supply. If you have a 50 gallon tank, this would supply one gallon of water per family member per day for almost 2 weeks for a family of four. It also has the capability of spilling 50 gallons of scalding hot water all over anything near it if it fails. It pays to keep this valuable appliance well maintained. Determine how to drain and flush your particular model and do so annually. When performing this flush, also inspect the anode rod in your heater and replace it if necessary. These rods divert corrosive action away from the tank walls and extends the life of your water heater. If you have softened water, this will greatly reduce the lifespan of your anode rod, and of your water heater if the rod is not regularly inspected and replaced when corroded. These rods are inexpensive and valuable to an important appliance in your home.
     
E. Install and maintain a sump pump - A sump pump is installed in a plastic basket below your home's lowest level. It provides a "path of least resistance" for subterranean water. The water enters the basket rather than coming up through your foundation. When the water reaches a certain level, it trips a float switch and pumps the water outside your home (maybe into a rain barrel?). If you're in a water-prone area, you may already have one of these. My main home is near water and has a high water table, so a sump pump is essential to a dry basement. Therefore, in my sump basket, I have a second pump that is powered by a deep cycle 12 volt battery. The battery will run the pump for about 8 hours and is kept charged by an attached charger. I have a second battery stored for it as well, with a portable solar charger, so one can be charging while the other is powering the backup pump. Twice per year, I open up the lid to the basket and fill it with water to visually inspect both pumps as they empty the water outside.
     
F. Prevent water damage from ice dams (Whenever necessary) - Ice dams happen in cold climates when hot air from inside your home or retained heat from the environment heats up the roofing surface, melting fresh snow that falls on your roof. The melted snow runs down to the roof's edge where it re-freezes. Ice dams can be prevented by installing electrical heat tape along the bottom edge of the roof.  In a grid down situation, a roof rake can be used to keep the bottom 2-3 feet of roofing area clear of snow to prevent ice build up. The roof rake is a flat piece of metal attached to a long pole, which allows you to stand on the ground and scrape down massive piles of snow right on top of your head and down the back of your coat. Again...ask me how I know.

4. Water/Sewer Backup Prevention - Human excrement runs downhill. Unless something stops it from running downhill. Then human excrement runs uphill, often right into the lowest level of the homes of some unfortunate souls. This stinks, both literally and figuratively, and would quickly render a dwelling uninhabitable in the absence of insurance coverage and professional cleanup crews. Here are some ways to prevent this excrement-y situation.
     
A. Install a backwater valve and gate valve - These relatively simple mechanical devices can stop any back flow by making your sewer line a "one-way street".  The backwater valve will allow your wastewater and excrement to flow out of your home freely, but will instantly plug if any pressure comes from the other direction. The gate valve is a failsafe mechanism, allowing you to manually close off your sewer line, preventing any inflow or outflow. Hopefully it goes without saying that once your system is stopped, you will not be able to use any interior drains. Time to dig a latrine.
     
B. Maintain your septic system (12x per year) - If you are in the country and on a septic system, in addition to regular pumping, keep a supply of Rid-X or a similar product on hand and use it monthly. These products with enzymes and bacteria help to break down human waste, keeping your septic tank drained and in good working order so it's there for you when you need it.
     
C. Maintain your main sewer line (1x per year or less) - It is always wise to know where your sewer line runs. If you are connected to a municipal system, you can find where your line leaves your house by locating the cleanout, a large threaded cap made of brass or PVC, in your basement or lowest level. The cleanout will likely be near the street side of your home (possibly underneath carpeting or other flooring). This line will run straight out from your home to the street from this point. Remove any trees that are near this line and grind out or kill off the stumps to avoid tree roots penetrating the line. There are commercial products available to kill tree roots in a main line, but it's preferable to remove the problem completely. If it's been a while since you had this main line cleaned, hire a plumber to clean it out, and ask how clogged it was. If it was in good shape, you'll probably be okay every few years, but if there were problems, you'll want to have this done annually. As much as possible, avoid putting any type of grease, oil, coffee grounds, egg shells or animal fat down your drain. Also avoid flushing items like diapers, tampons, cleaning wipes or paper towels down your toilets to prevent clogs.

5. Hail Damage Prevention - Hail smaller than the size of golf balls rarely does damage to property. Hail larger than golf balls can quickly destroy large amounts of property. While most of this damage would be cosmetic in nature, there are some steps you can take to prevent problems that will require your time that could be spent on more important things.
     
A . Install high quality roofing materials - Metal roofing, or impact resistant shingles are more cost-effective now than they've ever been. A standard asphalt shingle has a life expectancy of 20-30 years in perfect conditions, but most struggle to last even this long. Metal roofing can last a lifetime and resist damage from an ice attack by the cloud monsters.
     
B . Avoid vinyl siding - Hail can destroy vinyl siding in a matter of minutes, leaving your home exposed to the elements. Any other variety of siding may be damaged by hail, but the damage would be cosmetic in nature.

6. Theft Prevention - Entire volumes have been written about retreat security, and I don't intend to recapitulate all of that information here. However, there are some simple things that you can do to your home to make stealing your stuff more of a challenge than stealing someone else's stuff. I strongly believe in the concept of layered security. Any one of these suggestions alone don't deter a good thief, but all of them together make your home a real pain in the neck compared to easier targets.
     
A. Trim hedges and bushes near doors and windows (1x per year) - Thieves lurk and hide. Don't give them anywhere near a potential entry point to spend time unnoticed.     

B. Visually inspect your home from a thief's eyes (2x per year minimum) - This can be a daily thought process, but at least twice per year, take the time to look at your house like a burglar would. Can you see valuable items, food storage, water filtering equipment, a safe, or any other enticing items through outside windows? You can install blinds or shades in windows, but they only work if they're closed all the time. Make your home look as boring as possible for anyone who might look in.    

C. Install motion lights and test (12x per year) - Are there dark areas around your home or retreat? Motion lights can make your home less of a target by shedding light on the shadows in which creeps lurk. Be careful though, that these have a switch or other mechanism allowing you to shut them off if you need the privacy or anonymity that darkness can provide. My motion lights are all installed on a single electrical circuit. One breaker shuts them all down instantly. Test these motion lights monthly to make sure they pick up motion in the areas you desire and that bulbs are in working order. Re-aim motion sensors and bulbs as necessary.
     
D . Install alarm sirens and test system (12x per year) - A home security system by itself is no deterrent to most thieves. A good one will be gone with what they want before the cops arrive. A desperate thief doesn't care. I prefer wireless systems to the traditional wired system connected to a phone line, because the thief can't just cut a phone line before they break in. Wireless systems can be self installed, run on grid power or solar rechargeable batteries, and can communicate with a monitoring service via cell signal. In a grid down situation, this system can still provide value by alerting you to intrusion with door and window sensors and motion sensors.    

E. Avoid common hiding places for valuables - Everyone puts cash in the freezer, a gun in the nightstand drawer, tapes stuff under drawers, puts things under mattresses, and right inside the entrance to an attic. How many people put an extra fake drain pipe under the sink or a fake light switch on a wall covering an electrical box with hidden valuables? Get creative.     

F. Get a good safe and bolt it to the floor - Sturdy Safe makes my favorite safe with the best fire protection that I've found for the money. Get the biggest one you can afford or fit into your dwelling and bolt it to the floor, then build walls around it, shelves in front of it, and bolt it to the floor. Obscure it however possible and install a motion sensor from your security system near it to alert you if an intruder finds it.

6. Infestation Prevention - Bugs, mice, and other vermin are another destructive force that can turn your bug-in location into a location you want to bug out of. I keep a hefty supply of pesticides and insecticides in my storage (both the chemical variety and the organic variety)for this reason. Every area of the country will have different risks here, so know yours. I spoke above about the importance of doing a thorough inspection of your home's exterior. This practice will also aid in pest prevention by finding and sealing passageways that allow pests in your home.
     
A. Treat your exterior (4x per year) - Applying a pesticide to the areas around the perimeter of your dwelling can keep pests from invading your space. It's better to keep them out than to deal with them when they're in. Find a product that works on your local bugs and keep enough on hand to continue treating your location if it becomes unavailable.
     
B . Set mouse traps - I've yet to see a mouse at my retreat. I still have a dozen traps set inside and outside and check them regularly. I have a beautiful wife who is very helpful and supportive of our preparedness, but if mice are living in our retreat, that support is gone.
     
C . Inspect and remove habitat near your dwelling (4x per year) - Do you have a wood pile against your house? Long grass near the foundation? Keeping the barrier around your home clean and de-cluttered keeps your home from being easy habitat, or providing easy passage inside.

This might all seem like an enormous undertaking, but when living in the situation for which you are preparing, a well maintained retreat is vital to your survival. Some of these recommendations are easy and inexpensive now. They may become impossible repairs someday, because the supplies are unavailable. The better condition your retreat or bug-in location are in when the event happens, the longer you can count on it to provide you shelter and security.

I recommend implementing a preventative maintenance calendar, on which you schedule different inspections and loss prevention items. On it, you can also include other regular necessary tasks around your retreat or plan for the upcoming year's activities or purchases.

I thank God for all of the knowledge and experience so freely shared on this blog. Remember brothers and sisters, that all things work for the good of those who love God. Trust Him and follow in the footsteps of Christ and you will survive, on Earth for as long as He wills, and in forever in eternity with him.

Psalm 23
1 The LORD is my shepherd,
  I shall not want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
  He leads me beside quiet waters.

3 He restores my soul;
  He guides me in the paths of righteousness
  For His name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
  I fear no evil, for You are with me;
  Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
  You have anointed my head with oil;
  My cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
  And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.



Captain Rawles,
I've some info that might be of interest to the visitors to your blog.
What started out as an impulse buy by my wife and daughters 10 years ago has resulted in our discovery of a creature that has a very long life span, is a good watch or alert critter, is easy to keep, provides good entertainment and lays eggs.  It is African geese. We bought two of these as goslings and raised them to adults. By doing this, we discovered that they will be very loyal to their caretakers and friendly. Anyone that has been around geese know that they are bad about sneaking up behind you and pinching.  This is not true for those who have raised them and understand their tactics. My daughters were 14 and 16 when we got our first two geese.  They treated them as pets, cuddled and hugged and talked to them. Now 10 years later, they can go out and sit by the pond and the goose will come up and sit in their lap, and rest his head against their shoulder.  At the same time, he will chase and pinch my wife if she is not careful.  We ordered some more goslings this spring.  They weigh over 10 pounds now.  They are quite pricey, about $10 per gosling.  However, they live very long, up to 20 years.  We had a guy with a track hoe come and dig out their pond last year to six foot deep so it would not dry up during the droughts.  We also have the pond stocked with channel catfish.  We have a four foot high non-climbing wire fence around the pond with an electrified wire around the top to keep the predators out.  Our first two geese were males.  Our next batch has some females that have not yet started laying.  We have designated some as pets and others as a food source.  These geese do well on whole kernel corn which we raise on our retreat.
The benefits we have discovered are as follows:

1) These are very good alert animals.  They make much more noise than guineas, but they don't overreact as guineas do, so they are not as annoying.  They alert at vehicles, strangers, and new animals. People who aren't familiar with geese would not know they aren't being alerted and hide as would someone who is familiar with dogs barking.

2) They don't fly, so they stay inside the fence.  I killed all our guineas many years ago because they devastated our tomato crop.  I went to pick the tomatoes from our 50 plants and found a 5 gallon bucket of soured tomatoes the 25 guineas had pecked.  It wouldn't have been so bad if they would have eaten the whole tomato.  I did enjoy the guinea gumbo.  Now that we grow tomatoes in raised beds with a low fence around them, our one stray guinea doesn't bother them.

3) The geese in our pond and the corn we put out for them makes our pond a haven for migratory game birds.  It is illegal to hunt this spot with live "decoys" and bait, but in a survival situation that might be different.

4) Goose eggs are three times the size of chicken eggs.

 
If you are raising geese, below are some helpful links:

IrishGooseClub.com/health.html
Worms in Waterfowl and Poultry
Gizzard Worms in Geese

Regards, - M.E.R.





Split more wood, folks! "Farmers' Almanac" predicts a "bitterly cold" winter. (Thanks to F.G. for the link.)

   o o o

Troy H. mentioned a trend that is worth emulating: Greek community creates an off-the-grid Internet.

   o o o

I've heard that the "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course" has overall had surprisingly strong sales since the price dropped to less than $20. You'll get immediate delivery, via digital download.

   o o o

Andre D. sent: Pentagon Labels Founding Fathers, Conservatives as Extremists

   o o o

I see that Powell's Books (my favorite bookstore on Planet Earth) has corrected the formerly broken link to their ordering page for my upcoming novel "Expatriates." Ausgezeichnet!



"They’re not going to tell you that a collapse is coming. You’re going to have to see it for yourself. The government’s never going to tell you that it’s going to happen. 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


Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



 Many of us that have been prepping since before the Internet have welcomed all the new information, knowledge, and interaction with our fellow preppers. But for someone who is just starting out, it can all be overwhelming. So overwhelming that they don’t know where to start. The sad part is that many of them don’t start. They feel that they have to  spend so much money at one time to get all the gear that the experts say they need, that they just can’t do it. This is in large part due to shows like Doomsday Preppers. While I watch these shows regularly, and enjoy them, they are, in my opinion, a two edged sward. They have made many people aware of the need to start preparing for _______(fill in the blank), but they also go so far beyond the basics (where we all started)  that they leave the new prepper with the wrong idea of how to start.
 
None of us started out with everything we needed. For some of us, we had no idea what we would need. We knew we had to prepare, maybe we had a vague idea what we were preparing for, and a kernel of a plan in the back of our minds. Before the Internet came along, we had to search through stacks of books and magazines for information. If we were lucky, we found a survival school nearby. We slowly built up our supplies, made a Bug Out bag, practiced our skills, and continued the search for information, gear, and more skills.
 
For those that are just beginning, I am glad you found this site. It will offer you many tips and suggestions. The gear, gadgets, and most of the advice have all been tested. The advertisers have all been vetted, so if you choose to purchase their products (and I hope you do as they help keep this site up and running) you can be assured that they will deliver on their promises.
 
I hope that with a few tips, the new prepper will continue to become prepared and will continue to seek knowledge to help them and their families become more self reliant. The tips and suggestions I offer are based on my own experience, I do NOT consider myself an expert. In fact I learn more each and every day. I have had to replace my bag a few times, often on a very limited budget. These suggestions have helped me through the years, that is why I offer them to you. These suggestions are for a bug out kit, not a bug in kit. (although it can be used for both)
 
By way of introduction, I am 44 years old and I have been prepping since I was in my teens. I took my first survival course at 16 in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I am a Nurse and an EMT, I have also been a volunteer fire fighter and a storm spotter. I have been through ice storms and tornadoes in Oklahoma, and earthquakes and forest fires in California.
 
When you pack your bug out kit, think of the five priorities you have; Water, Food, Heat, Shelter, and Security. Everything you need in your bag falls into one of these five categories. You need to try to have at least three days worth of supplies. Of course, if you can’t have that at first, remember that something is better than nothing.

WATER--
  A source of water would be your first criteria for your bug out location. (I will talk a little about this later). The recommendation is one (1) gallon of water per person, per day. So you would need 3 gallons of water for your own use. That would be about 24 pounds (8 pounds per gallon, approximately). Since most people can not carry more than 50-60 pounds for more than a short time, I suggest carrying two liters and having a way to purify or filter the rest. (search You Tube for your best choices on how to do this)Two liters should last you through most of one day’s drinking requirements. I prefer to carry mine in military style canteens, with a military style canteen holder and canteen cups. An alternate method would be using 2 one liter bottles or a two liter bottle such as a clean soda bottle.

FOOD--
 In my bag I usually carry three MREs, three dehydrated meals I made myself, a few food bars, a jar of peanut butter, M&Ms, and several pieces of hard candy and gum. Hard candy can provide sustained energy by keeping your blood sugar up while burning more calories than normal, but can also keep your mouth moist when exerting yourself. If you carry canned food, which is heavier but easier to come by when first packing your kit, make sure to pack a can opener. Also make sure you pack eating utensils. You would be surprised at the number of people who forget these.
 
Remember to check your food often for expiration dates. I do this by setting my e-mail ca lender to send me reminders a few days before I go shopping at the beginning of each month. That way I can check everything and add it to my shopping list as needed. Anything about to expire gets eaten or donated so nothing goes to waste.
 
HEAT--
 Like me, many of you have watched the various survival shows and watched while they made a fire out of whatever is handy. Building a fire this way is a great skill to have. You may need it, and if nothing else it builds your confidence. But, as my first instructor told me “It’s easier to flick a Bic than rub a stick”. That’s the reason I never leave the house without a lighter and a pocket knife. Disposable lighters are easier to dry than matches, or even a Zippo lighter, if they become wet. I carry all three of these with me in my bag or on my person. The matches are in a water proof container (available at almost any sporting goods store) along with a small piece of sand paper, since I have found that “Strike anywhere” matches actually do NOT work everywhere.  You should also pack some type of tender in your bag. I have cotton balls, dryer lint, paper (from the note book I carry) and I always have a few business cards in my wallet and in my bag (most sales people and many other businesses will be more than glad to give you one or two). There are also commercial fire starting fuels out there like Trioxane. A small saw and hatchet are also part of your heat providing gear. There are many choices out there for these items, so do your research and choose the best ones for you.

SHELTER--
In this category would be the clothes you wear and pack. You should have a sturdy pair of shoes or boots, at least two extra pair of socks, long pants ( I always pack jeans or military style BDUs) a long sleeve shirt (I pack either a work shirt like Dickie's brand or, again, BDUs) and a cap or hat that can shade your eyes and keep your head warm.
  
You should also have a good sleeping bag appropriate to your climate and season, and a small water and wind proof tent. I like to have a few hand warmers as well as a good pair of insulated gloves, and a pair of work gloves for handling wood, rocks, etc. My bag also has a military surplus folding shovel and carrier that hangs on it. This is used for digging a fire pit as well as sanitation and preparing a shelter area.
 
A roll of duct tape is also useful, both for securing and repairing your shelter. as well as repairing almost anything else. I also have a Multi-tool so I have small wire cutters, screw drivers, etc handy to help repair anything that breaks.
 
If you have never built a shelter, you can start learning on YouTube or similar site online. Once you have watched it done, practice you methods of choice until you have it down pat. It is never as easy as it looks.

SECURITY
When most people think of security in a SHTF scenario, they think of firearms. While I believe everyone should have a few of those and the training to use them properly, they are not the only form of security.
 
First aid is also a vital part of your security. Being able to treat wounds or illness is vital to being and staying alive. If you have never taken a first aid course, do so. They are available almost everywhere, and they are cheap or free. Most commercial $10 first aid kits come with a small first aid handbook. Study it. Once you have chosen a first aid kit appropriate to your level of training, check it often and replace anything that is expired, just as you do your food.  Many people have written about this topic, from lay people to doctors, so I will not go into it again. Search out these articles, essays, videos, and books, then practice the skills described in them.
 
Hygiene is also important. Staying clean is the first step in fighting disease. Having a place away from your shelter and water source to “do your business” is very important. You should have a bottle of hand sanitizer in your kit. I would recommend having a complete hygiene kit in your bag that has anti-bacterial soap along with a wash cloth and small towel. You can also pack shampoo, and deodorant in there if you choose. Make sure you have a toothbrush, tooth paste and dental floss in your hygiene kit, as well feminine hygiene products if you need them. The one thing a lot of preppers seem to forget is toilet paper. So pack that too. If you wear glasses, then get an extra pair and keep them in your Bug Out Bag in a hard case, as well as a repair kit for them. If you wear dentures, make sure you have your cleaning and care supplies in your bag.
 
For me, one of the most important security items I have is a Bible. The one in my G.O.O.D. bag is the same small Gideon one I was given when I joined the army. The New testament, with Psalms and Proverbs, has given me very good sense of security all of my life.

The next step is finding the place you will be bugging out to. As I mentioned, you will want a place with a good source of water. You also want to have a place (or places) that has good security, or that you can quickly make secure. Your site should be away from whatever disaster you are getting away from. And it’s location should never be shared with anyone outside your immediate family or group. When the excrement hits the oscillating device you don’t want everyone and their brother trying to show up at your retreat.

The most important piece of gear you have in the one above your neck and between your ears. I can not stress enough how important your mental attitude is. Having the right mindset is the most important skill in surviving any situation. Whether you are preparing for total societal collapse, or the more common natural disasters, you can not survive unless you want to survive.  Mental preparation is the most important preparation you will do. Think about the two or three most likely disasters, then prepare for them. After that you can go on to preparing for any other disaster you think may happen.
 
By finding the SurvivalBlog site and reading the notes, articles, and essays in it, you have already taken the first step. By thinking about and following through with making a BOB, you are on your way to being able to get through almost any disaster.
 
I personally invest at least an hour each day to my preps. This can be anything from reading magazines, blogs, or books (which I do every day) to cutting wood, to food preservation and storage, to learning a new skill or practicing one I learned already. I practice one of my bug out plans at least once each month, and my bug in plan at least twice a year. I also try to exercise at least three times a week. Sometimes that is walking, sometimes I combine exercise with other activities, such as cutting, splitting, or stacking wood. In colder months I use a tread mill and do calisthenics inside.
 
I hope this has helped at least a few people to become more self reliant. Remember that you can not count on anyone but your self to come to your aid in an emergency. Good Luck, Good Prepping, and God Bless.



Jim,
I enjoy your blog very much, have been following it for years. Keep up the good work.
 
On the many lists of items preppers are encouraged to obtain, I have never seen hair clippers suggested.  An essential item.
(By hair clippers I mean manual, not electric.) - Pastor D.

JWR Replies: Although they are probably still made in India and China, the best place to find traditional clippers is used, via eBay or Craigslist. If they are well-made and aren't rust-pitted, even a century-old pair of clippers will probably last another century. Just be sure to keep them well-oiled.



More evidence that wolves are called "land sharks" for good reason: Wolves kill 176 sheep near Victor, greatest loss recorded in Idaho . (Thanks R.B.S. for the link.)

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Colorado’s Secession Wildfire Spreads to Northern California: Siskiyouans Raise “State of Jefferson” Flag.

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Top 25 firearms businesses in Idaho come together, expand awareness. (Thanks R.B.S. for the link.)

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I heard that Harrison Gear (in Bozeman, Montana) has been harassed by the management of PayPal. It is Harrison's 80% complete receivers that are the issue. (PayPal is attempting to force them to remove all mention of their 80% receivers from their web site, which is egregious prior restraint.) If you want to buy an 80% AR lower, then please buy it from Harrison Gear, to show your support. Even if they are forced to removed that particular web page, rest assured that they still have some 80% receivers--but you won't be able to pay for them via PayPal. Call: (406) 404-4084 to place an order that can be discreetly paid via USPS Money Order.For any firearms-related purchase it is best not to leave a paper trail (or a trail of electronic cookie crumbs), regardless.

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9th Circuit Blasts Montana Buckaroo Rifle Plan (A tip of the hat to H.L. for the link.) Of course it is already ILLEGAL for private parties to sell post-1898 guns across state lines, so what's the beef? No Federal nexus means no Federal jurisdiction!

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Fascinating: The U.S. map would look like if each state had the same population. (Thanks to Anthony in Pennsylvania for the link.)

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Tiny Philipsburg, Montana, Pop. 840, Launches Yearlong Campaign to Attract New Residents





First look inside famous Cold War nuke vault. Under a McDonalds hamburger place in downtown Los Alamos, New Mexico!

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Leaked: German Government Warns Key Entities Not To Use Windows 8 – Links The NSA

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I recently asked if someone made a set of stencils for camouflage spray-painting rifles and other field gear to replicate popular camouflage patterns, such as Woodland pattern. Yes, there is a company that makes them. And as previously mentioned, similar stencils are also available from the makers of Duracoat, Lauer Custom Weaponry. Just be sure to use flat (no gloss) paint with them.

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Representative Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) are sponsoring legislation which amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include a 20 percent tax on handguns and a 50 percent tax on ammo.

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Curtis R. sent this news from Arkansas: Pistol-Packing Private School Takes Aim at Bad Guys

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B.B. spotted this troubling news: ATF advances executive gun controls with proposed trust rule change. [JWR's Comment: You can probably expect to read about a "run on suppressors", as trustees rush to stock up on "cans" before this proposed change takes effect.)



"Did you ever see the beauty of the hills of Carolina
Or the sweetness of the grass in Tennessee
And Lord I can't make any changes
All I can do is write 'em in a song
I can see the concrete slowly creepin'
Lord take me and mine before that comes." - From the lyrics of Lynyrd Skynyrd's All I Can Do Is Write About It.


Monday, August 26, 2013


Today we begin with a guest article by an expert on freeze dried foods.



To understand freeze drying there is less to digest than you might think. If you’re into survival, freeze dried food is your friend. It’s a good friend because you’ll enjoy it and feel good having it around. Like a weapon, a partner or a loyal dog, it serves as your trusted companion… always there for you when you need it most. Now let’s explain the process of freeze drying food and understand how this friendship begins.

What is Freeze Drying?
While today’s freeze drying industry is powered by some really smart people and super high tech equipment, the concept remains fairly simple and straightforward.
The process of freeze drying food removes moisture from a frozen material in a way which allows it to retain the benefits of its original form, aroma, taste, texture, and nutritional value.
Freeze drying is the most natural proven approach to food preservation. It delivers positive results for easier and extended food storage guaranteed to last for decades.

Why Freeze Dry?
There are three main reasons behind the strategy of freeze drying food. It is an exit, maintain, and return strategy.
1. Exit: You completely remove water in foods from A to Z (apricots to zucchini).
2. Maintain: You keep in the taste, nutrients, and composition of the food.
3. Return: You open the food sealed and preserved in cans or packets when you want or need it most.

  • Freeze Drying Fights the Bad Guys. Removing water prevents food from spoiling. Bacteria and other microorganisms feed on food and release chemicals causing it to decompose. For humans, this can simply mean experiencing bad tasting food, or illness and disease in worse cases. Additionally, enzymes react with oxygen to create the ripening and spoiling of many foods.

Freeze drying food fights bacteria and other microorganisms because just like human beings, they require water to survive.

  • Freeze Drying Provides Longer and Lighter Results. Today, quality freeze dried foods guarantee a shelf life of at least 25 years. This makes it the ideal solution for long-term food storage and those with a survival mindset.

Freeze-drying also significantly lessens a food’s total weight. Most food is largely made up of water. Removing the water makes the food up to 90% lighter and therefore easier to lift and transport near or far.

  • Freeze Drying Waits Until You are Ready. Storing food which doesn’t spoil helps you to survive. But locking in the great taste is what makes it truly enjoyable. Freeze dried food even decades after the process is the fastest rehydrating food there is. Simply add water, wait a few minutes, and then get ready to enjoy food which tastes, smells, and looks much better than your mind tells you it could or should.

Who Started Freeze Drying and When
The process of freeze drying food is built upon the methods of ancient civilizations. There are traces of freeze drying food dating back to 9th century Asia. Ancient Indians high in the Andes Mountains were also said to practice their own form of freeze dried foods.  

In 1813, William Hyde Wallaston pulled the freeze drying process forward in a big way with a very cool discovery. In a presentation to the Royal Society in London, he introduced a procedure known as sublimation.
Wallaston detailed his work for developing the fundamental process of directly converting liquid in a frozen (solid) state to a gaseous state (vapor). Sublimation is just like evaporation. It is able to occur when a molecule gains enough energy to break free from the others around it.

During World War II, there was tremendous need for human plasma due to the alarming high rate of battle related casualties. With the help of emerging developments in vacuum systems and mechanical refrigeration during these times, freeze drying was used to assist in improving the storage of human plasma.  

Later, the U.S. Military again turned to freeze drying as a solution. Freeze dried foods were introduced to Special Forces as a way of improving upon its bulky and bland C-Rations and other foods given to the troops. NASA did the same for feeding its astronauts on space missions where weight and space are critical factors for success and survival.   

Freeze Dried Foods are now a staple in the U.S. Military and Space programs as well as throughout American society. As much as many people love to bash the U.S. Government for its inefficiencies and corruption, the government rightly deserves credit for its efforts in the advanced freeze dried foods we have around the world today.

Beyond the food industry, a number of other sectors have warmed to the idea of the freeze-drying process. It is commonly used by florists and taxidermists, museums and insurance companies for repairing and restoring water-damaged items, and is an increasingly important factor in the pharmaceutical industry.

How the Freeze Drying Process Works
Rooted in Wallaston’s Sublimation procedure, modern freeze drying machines consist of the following components. A freeze-drying chamber, shelves connected to heating units, a freezing coil attached to a refrigerator compressor, and a vacuum pump.

Successful freeze drying is done in a 3-step process which takes many hours or even days. The food is freeze-dried in a system which converts ice directly into water vapor. This skips the liquid phase completely. Freeze drying bypasses the need for applying high-temperature heat necessary for creating the evaporation process.
1. Cooked or fresh food is flash frozen solid. This locks firmly into place the shape, nutritional value, taste, texture, aroma, and appearance of the food.
2. The frozen food is then placed into a vacuum chamber. A cold condensing surface helps to attract the ice vapor. Inside the temperatures are as low as minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually roughly 98% of the moisture from the food is removed through evaporating the ice.
3. The freeze dried food gets sealed by securely placing it into oxygen and moisture and oxygen barrier packaging. The preserves the food’s freshness until you are ready to open it.
After the freeze drying process it shows its superior value and versatility for survival planning and long-term food preservation needs.

  • Unlike standard frozen foods, freeze dried foods do not require consistent low temperature conditions.
  • Unlike standard canned foods, freeze dried foods are not exposed to high temperature processing which can negatively impact the nutritional value, texture, and taste. 

In essence, freeze dried food offers the best of both the frozen and dehydrated food worlds. It removes the moisture and spoiling, but maintains the beauty and convenience of looking, smelling, and tasting fresh.  The process of freeze drying makes it an ideal solution for those who see the common sense and realistic value of having survival food on hand when you need it.

Knowing the benefits of the freeze drying process, I'm sure you can see the importance of having freeze dried food in your survival food plan.

About The Author: Thomas Baldrick is an executive manager at Freeze Dry Guy, a supplier of freeze dried food and other emergency preparedness items. The company was started in 1970 by a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran. They've been a SurvivalBlog advertiser for six years without any complaints from customers.



Reader L. in Tucson recent wrote to ask for some guidance on buying come-alongs for his new retreat ranch in northern Arizona. Here is my advice:

Ratchet cable hoists (commonly called "Come-Alongs") are crucial tools for life on a retreat and for off-road driving. They have umpteen uses for everything from wire fence stretching to lifting elk carcasses for butchering. These should be purchased in pairs, for the greatest versatility.  We keep four come-alongs here at the Rawles Ranch: Two that are 2-ton capacity and two that are 4-ton capacity.  All four are American-made, by Maasdam under the trade name Pow'R Pull. I highly recommend them.

I recommend that you carry at least one come-along--together with a tow chain and a choker chain--whenever driving off of paved roads in any season. And in winter months this gear should be carried even when traveling on pavement.

Keep your come-alongs well-oiled and out of the elements and they will give you many years of service. Inspect the cable after each use for any signs of fraying. Also, be sure to never attempt to crank on a cable when the spool is nearly empty. (Always have at least one and a half wraps on the spool, before you crank it under any load. (Otherwise, the cable's terminating "button" might shear off, and send your load plummeting!) - JWR



Many years ago I worked as an EMT - part of my training was to work on a Chicago Fire Department rescue ambulance. It was exciting  and demanding. Also, in the course of working as a police officer, I had many occasions where I had to cut someone out of a seat belt that had become stuck, or cut people out of their clothing so we could attend to their injuries. While I've always carried a pocket knife, it was not the perfect tool for the job.
 
There are several different types of cutting tools on the market today, that are geared toward EMS, rescue and police officers, that are designed for helping them cut injured people out of a stuck seat belt or their clothing. However, one rescue tool really caught my attention a couple months ago, and that is the T3 Tactical Triage and Auto Rescue Tool sold by StatGearTools.com. For the sake of brevity, we'll just call it the T3.
 
The T3 is a folding knife, but it doesn't end there. It also has a seat belt cutter, that can double as a cutter to remove clothing from an injured person - and this is important, as many times, I've had to cut away clothing on an injured person to properly treat them and dress their wounds. There is also a hardened glass breaker on the butt of the T3 - this is used for easily breaking out automobile windows, and you can do it safely and quickly, instead of pounding on a window with a night stick, rock or even your hands - I've done all three in the past - not fun! On top of that, there is also a flashlight built into the T3 - and it isn't used for navigating at night, instead, if is used to check pupil dilation on an injured patient. That is a very important tool to have if you are working in EMS!
 
The 440C stainless steel blade is 3-1/4 inch long, but it looks longer for some reason - not a bad thing, just an observation. The overall length of the T3 is 5 inches in the close position and it weighs in at 6.4 ounces. It is a hefty beast, but needed in a rescue tool - you don't want some lightweight tool, that might fail you at the worse time - you want heavy-duty, and the T3 is that! Half the 440C blade is serrated, another good idea, in case you have to cut through wet rope, clothing, etc., just makes it easier with those serrations, trust me - been there, done that - and serrations make the job easier when dealing with wet material. you also get a heavy-duty Nylon belt sheath, if you prefer to carry the T3 on your belt, and there is a stainless steel clothing/pocket clip, for carry inside a pocket, for faster deployment.
 
Over the  years, I've tested seat belt cutters and serrated knife blades on actual seat belt material, so I had some on-hand for testing. The seat belt cutter easily cut right through the seat belt material with ease! It really grabbed the material and fed it into the cutter, too. The serrated blade worked almost as well, but it tended to snag a bit - ever so slightly. For my money, the seat belt cutter is the tool for - well, cutting through seat belt material. But the serrated folding blade worked 98% as well as the seat belt cutter did - no surprise there. However, I had to apply more force with the serrated blade, than I did with the cutter. Again, no surprise there!
 
The flashlight - it worked as advertised...I checked the pupils on my wife and the light wasn't blinding, like so many of today's hi-tech super bright flashlights are, that can not only destroy one's vision temporarily, but actually do serious harm, maybe permanent harm to a patient's eyes. Additionally, the battery is easy to get to when time comes to replace it.
 
The spring loaded, steel-tipped window punch tool: I was interested in this one, for sure. However, I wasn't about to break out my own car windows to test it. I had an old picture frame that was cracked, so I used that as a test media. I placed the tip of the window punch tool against the glass, and applied pressure and the glass shattered into hundreds of pieces. I know this will easily punch out the window of an auto or truck. I even tested the power of the window punch tool against a 2X4 and it made a nice little dent in it. No doubt this will easily break windows in vehicles!
 
The 440C stainless steel knife blade held a good edge, and to be sure, not all 440 stainless steel is the same. There is 440A, 440B and others, but 440C is the toughest in my humble opinion. Normally 440C is tough to re-sharpen, but the T3's blade wasn't that hard - maybe a lower Rockwell hardness? I don't know...the blade held an edge for a long time - I did a lot of cutting with the T3 - and when time came to re-sharpen it, it didn't take but a couple minutes on some crock sticks to get the blade hair-popping sharp again! The handle scales on the folder are G10 - or they at least appear to be...I didn't see any information on the web site to tell me differently. There is also a thumb stud on the folding blade, and it easily snapped the blade in-place. Friction grooves are on the top back of the blade, for perfect thumb placement in the fencing grip!
 
If you are an EMS responder, police officer, or just about anyone - you can benefit from the T3. While not designed as a survival knife per se, it fills in that role - if a person is trapped in a burning vehicle, and you need to get them out ASAP, the T3 is a survival knife - trust me! If you have family or friends in the EMS or law enforcement fields, then buy a T3 for them as a gift, they'll really appreciate it - and so will injured people. Best of all is, the T3 is only $39.99 right  now -- discounted $20 -- and orders over $100 are shipped free. I think anyone in the EMS or rescue line of work would benefit greatly by the T3. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio



Rich H.'s Peach Pie Jam

6 cups peaches, peeled and cut
2 cups brown sugar
3 T. bottled lemon juice
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
4 1/2 T. Ball Flex Batch no sugar/low sugar pectin ( or Sure-Jell one box of no sugar/low sugar pectin)

Cut and measure peaches and put into dutch oven, heating until the peaches begin to break down, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally so that you don't burn the fruit. Add 2 cups of brown sugar, lemon juice, and spices. Once you get the right flavor bring to a boil and then add your pectin, return to a boil, meanwhile prepare you sterilize jars and lids.

Ladle recipe into jars leaving 1/4" headspace, removing bubbles filling back to the headspace, clean rims, add hot lids and rings and process in water bath for 10 minutes at a full boil. Remove the jars after the 10 minutes and let cool on a dish towel over night not moving them.

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Reader J.H.B. mentioned that The Art of Manliness has made their book on sandwich making (with 500 recipes) available free of charge.

Jam and Jelly Recipes

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





What if they had a protest, and nobody came? Richmond rally supports more checks for gun purchases. You'll find buried in the third paragraph: "Speaking to a sparse crowd — perhaps 15 local supporters..." Fifteen? Gosh, even the gay boy-baiting NAMBLA group gathers more people than that. So my questions are: Who wrote that headline, and who was the editor that approved it? And since when does 15 souls constitute a "rally"? Their draw was closer to the scale of a Kaffeeklatsch. The turnout was pretty pathetic, when you consider the $12 million+ that Mayor Bloomberg has spent on just his group's latest background check ad campaign (including $100,000 for one Superbowl ad) and the $200,000 per year he spends for his stable of public relations spinmeisters. Talk about a poor return on investment (ROI)... It is had to believe that Bloomberg is famous for brilliant financial analysis and reporting. His ROI stinks.

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Colorado secession drive mirrors national politics. And meanwhile: Colorado Citizens Seek to Nullify Unconstitutional Gun Control Laws

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I heard about the The Southern Preppers and Green Living Expo, September 7&8, in Oxford, Alabama. Admission is free.

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I noticed that Camping Survival has added a full line of very reasonably priced fish antibiotics to their online catalog. (They sell the whole works: Penicillin, Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Ciprofloxacin, and Cephalexin!) No prescription is required, so stock up.

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There are several simple and very inexpensive expedients for Faraday shielding your cellular phone (such as simply alternating wrappings of plastic bags and heavy duty aluminum foil. But these new purpose-built bags are more convenient: Signal Armor.



"If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. - Frank A. Clark


Sunday, August 25, 2013


Book Bomb Day! Today (Sunday, August 25, 2013) is the release date for The Prepared Family Cookbook. This great 372-page book was authored by our friend Enola Gay, of the Paratus Familia blog. It includes many great recipes that you won't find anywhere else. Avalanche Lily has already read the book, and loved it. Most of the recipes are tailored for farm, ranch, and retreat living. In addition to hundreds of recipes, there are also special chapters on food storage, woodstove cookery, hospitality, homestead medicine, off-grid living, wildcrafting, home dairying, and homestead hygiene. Understandably, most of this came out of her great daily blog. But unlike her blog's online archives, the book is EMP-proof. Avalanche Lily and I highly recommend that you get a copy.

--

August 25th is a birthday shared by novelist Frederick Forsyth (born 1938) and American humorist Patrick F. McManus (born 1933--this is his 80th birthday.) Forsyth was the author of The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Fourth Protocol, The Dogs of War, The Devil's Alternative, and many others.

Pat McManus was born and raised in Sandpoint, Idaho, so his books could be classified as American Redoubt humor. I met Pat a few years ago, and he very kindly autographed my battered collection of his books. Some of these books have been so well-loved that the pages are falling out of their bindings. I suppose that such a sight is the ultimate compliment for an author.

--

Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).



While watching season two of Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel I noticed the “consumer prepper.” These are people who think of a problem and quickly try to throw money at the situation instead of trying to find the best solution to their issue. In one episode a wealthy older man was fearful of a major earth quake in California. He bought thousands of dollars of freeze dried food, the most expensive firearms, and even a helicopter to fly him out if things were really bad. With all of his money he made a poor choice of putting his daughter into a Tae Kwon Do school. I’m not going to bad mouth here about the down sides of Tae Kwon Do, I myself started out in Tae Kwon Do as a teenager. What disappointed me was he had his daughter learning a sport, not a self defense system. Most Tae Kwon Do schools have their emphasis on scoring points, nothing more. In the five years I studied the art I didn’t know how to throw a decent punch.

I started out, as I said, in Tae Kwon Do at the age of thirteen. After my first three month contract was up I switched schools and spent the next five years at a better school that focused on skill and technique as opposed to contracts and money. After that I learned American boxing and even became runner up for a local Tough Man contest when this event was still boxing instead of the MMA (mixed martial arts) of today. Through boxing I quickly learned that its better to fight smarter and not harder. I suffered from constant headaches while sparring and after some research found that boxers have many negative repercussions from repeated strikes to the head. Regardless of head gear and gloves the brain rattles around in the skull and can cause severe side effects down the road. Mohammed Ali would be the prime example of this.


After a short break from martial arts due to getting married and having a different life I was back studying at a school that offered several styles. The point of the school was to find something that suited you. I studied Judo, Jujitsu (Japanese), Aikido, Muay Thai, and some Chen style Tai Chi.



So what should a prepper look for in a martial art? One would think that any martial art would due looking at the name. A better translation would be military art. While they all have their roots to some form of combat fighting most have become sports over many decades of peace. There are some that kept to their roots and are still the most useful fighting styles in the world.


For a SHTF situation you want an art that has several qualities.

  • Striking (kicking and punching)
  • Grappling
  • Throwing
  • Pins and locks
  • Weapons training (disarm and using)
  • Multiple attackers situation
To sign up for anything less than this would be a waste of your time unless nothing else is available.



So what are the arts that cover a majority if not all of these skills?



First I’ll describe some standing arts and why they are useful. Tae Kwon Do is handy for its footwork and speed, quickly learning the distance between yourself and a attacker. Boxing gives a person similar distancing and foots skills with the added benefit of speed, power and accuracy with punches. Muay Thai combines these two arts with the added use of elbows and knees.


The ground arts have their benefits as well. Judo, while it is a sport over a self defense style is very aggressive and teaches how to throw, wrestle, pin or joint lock an attacker.


Aikido has grown a reputation for being a very effective fighting style. Using wrist locks and hip throws similar to Judo and Jujitsu the art teaches how to turn a attackers energy against them. After years of experience a person will learn how to effectively defend themselves against a untrained attacker. The downside is that after watching Aikido students sparring with students from other styles at the dojo annual potluck the skills are difficult to use on highly skilled attackers of other arts. The upside was learning how to disarm a person with a knife and using a Japanese sword (ken). A person may think that skills in Kenjitsu are impractical, I would have to argue that it becomes handy when a stick is your only weapon and the techniques translate well. The famous swordsman Musashi killed one of his opponents with a wooden ore he took from the boat he traveled on. Sometimes the technique and not the weapon is what matters.



Japanese Jujitsu would have to be one of the most well-rounded arts that are still around today. This is not to be confused with Brazilian Jujitsu that is popular on the UFC fighting circuit. After World War two the American military quickly learned that this hand to hand fighting style would be beneficial to troops in the field. Army hand to hand combat manuals and much of the marine corp. fighting system is based on Japanese Jujitsu. I was fortunate enough to study a Okinawa style of Jujitsu at the school I attended. The instructor favored knife techniques and encouraged his students to carry legal folding knives for self defense. In the state of Michigan a concealed knife has to be a folded blade and under two and a half to three inches, I always get different numbers depending on the police officer I ask. Along with knife work we also learned to work against multiple attackers, working as a team or group, never ending up on the ground, always expect attacker number two even if it looks like there is only one guy.



Jujitsu has a wide variety of tools that you learn from wrist locks and throws to striking and pressure points. As a prepper, Jujitsu was the only art that I found to be the best suited for my self defense needs. While this is the only style I studied that had these characteristics I know of others that have similar techniques and a combat mindset.



Ninjitsu uses many of the striking and grappling techniques that are used in Jujitsu. Also a Japanese style of fighting, ninjitsu incorporates different weapons to their school such as chains, throwing stars and various bladed weapons. My former meditation instructor and several Jujitsu students I trained with trained in this art form. While comparing techniques after class we found that many things were similar what came to be the biggest difference was the teaching of the “bush doctrine” and their school of Ninjitsu, attack first and destroy your enemy if you think they are going to attack you. I found this puzzling as a follower of the Gray Man theory, don’t be noticed and only attack when needed.



Krav Maga, from the books and videos that I have studied due to a lack of schools in my area, this maybe the one school better suited than jujitsu to satisfy a prepper’s needs. A collage of easy to learn techniques geared toward a modern combat setting, this style is the present day equivalent of what Jujitsu was a hundred years ago. Created after World WarII by Jews that were tired of being victims, Krav Maga combines what they deem to be the most useful techniques from various arts and throw them together as a new combat style. Because the art is used in real combat settings like the middle east, techniques change over time when it is found something does not work for what ever reason. This is something new to martial arts as many arts will still teach an obsolete technique for the sake of tradition as opposed to practicality. I did train with one man that had studied Krav Maga for years. When he moved to my home town he decided to study MMA instead but found jujitsu to be very close to his former school of training.



When looking for a school it is important to look for a few things. Keep in mind that these places are businesses and they make their money from having students. First talk to the instructor and learn if he is going to teach you what you are looking to learn. Second, avoid schools that trying to pressure you into signing a contract. A real instructor will want you to want to be there and not spend your time trying to get your money. Look around and see if the focus of the school is on sports or self defense, trophies on the walls or medals are a good indication of sports emphasis.



Sometimes a good indication of a practical school is if local law enforcement study at this school. In my Aikido class we had several sheriff deputies that attended and some of them had police techniques that were added to the school curriculum. If law enforcement is studying something that they are betting to save their lives it maybe exactly what you’re looking for.



Weapons of opportunity is a skill that a good school will teach. While we had sticks called yawarbo, in Jujitsu, that we used for locks and pins we were constantly told that anything from a pen to a magazine could work the same way. When you learn to use a knife it is important to realize that the same techniques can be used with a stick or a pipe. There is always something in the immediate area that can be used for a quick advantage, even a rock. Learning to be flexible in a combat situation can be a valuable tool. Find a teacher that will teach you how to think and not just react.



Many preppers spend hours at the gun range learning techniques through muscle memory. The same principle applies to martial arts. Most of what you will learn is reactionary muscle memory just like with a gun. If a prepper spends hours learning how to use a gun and researching what the best gun is, dishing out hundreds of dollars for the right gun to suit their needs, wouldn’t you do the same thing when learning hand to hand combat? Time is precious, to spend it learning things that won’t work and will get you killed in a real life SHTF situation would be a tragedy.



Do your research, find a good school. If you can’t find a school, find books demonstrating the techniques. Practice on a dummy or even a tree. It may sound crude but this is how martial artist practiced for centuries. These days I spend my spare time training on a heavy bag, repeating the same moves dozens of times and moving to the next one. I spend more time in my basement on my bag than I do at the gun range. For low budget preppers this is a cost effective way to learn self defense and stay in shape. When needed, the first time you throw a punch in self defense will be a shock. Afterward you may not remember doing and ask what happened. This is the muscle memory reacting to the situation and not “you.” This is the type of training you want to have. Its better to throw a punch when your gun jams than give up and wait to get shot or beaten.



I don’t live in the best neighborhood in the world. With a high crime rate and a low average income I’m in one of those places not recommended for a prepper to live. I’m fortunate enough to have never been in a fight in the last eight years of living here and only pulling my gun out to prevent an attack on my property. So far things have been about as good as they can be around here. I attribute that to my martial arts training and paying attention to my surroundings. There have been occasions that I have witnessed beatings, stabbings, and shootings and so far I have come through unscathed. Being a prepper that doesn’t have the option of bugging out I have come to realize that hand to hand combat is a very real reality in a urban environment. Bullets do run out. How many can you carry? What are you left with when a gun jams? A positive mind set is a real asset to a prepper and hand to hand training adds to that.



To close this article I’m going to share a story I read in Black Belt magazine years ago. A Judo student was in Las Vegas for a tournament. While walking to his car he was approached by two men that tried to mug him. The first man was unarmed and threw a punch. The Judo student threw his attacker like he learned in class. The attacker hit his head on the car during the throw and was knocked out. The second man was armed with a knife and came at the Judo student. This time the student placed this man in an arm bar. The attacked smacked his hand against his legs in pain. The sound of the smacking reminded the Judo student of “tapping out.” When a attacker in a grappling school like Judo “taps out”, a light pat on the floor or the person pinning, it signals that the hold works or the attacker is in pain, usually both. As you may have guessed the Judo student let his armed attacker go and was stabbed several times afterwards because of how he was taught. It is very important to look into how you will learn. A style that teaches you to fight with rules translates to a style where you think there are rules in the street. During SHTF this is a matter of life and death and learning how to defend yourself should be take just as seriously.



Dear Sir,
Thank you for an excellent web site. I read it every day. I have a question regarding traveling with my handgun. I live in Ohio, a reasonably free state these days. I occasionally have to travel by car to one of the totalitarian states such as New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Maryland. I of course prefer to carry my handgun and have CCW licenses to carry in all the surrounding free states on the way. However, as my need to enter these other states, would potentially land me in jail if I brought my weapon, I must make my whole trip unarmed. Other than burying my gun just outside the state line of one of these totalitarian regimes, do you or your readers have any suggestions? I have considered contacting gun retailers near, but outside the borders, to store my gun while I am in the hostile territories, but this may have many complications, including entry at many points depending on my destination and scheduling.

Thanks again, - Checkpoint Charlie

JWR Replies: While many guns shops would be accommodating (for a small fee), keep in mind that you might have to do a background check to get your own gun back! (That could be avoided if there was a fee for "gunsmithing service", while they held your guns. That could be as simple as just "lubrication.") For example, I've heard of a couple of FFLs in Tok, Alaska (the last city in Alaska before you enter Canada on the Al-Can Highway) that do this for a fee.)

Some alternatives to storage with a gun shop could be public lockers in train stations, bus terminals or in hotel concierge luggage rooms, or perhaps in mini storage company spaces. (But the latter are fairly expensive and there is lot of paperwork.) Another option might be storage with a shooting range facility. Yet another might be companies in tourist towns that rent bicycles or kayaks. (They often store luggage for the customers for a modest fee, or even free with a rental.) But of courses security might be dicey with any of those, so do your due diligence. One partial mitigation to that risk is using discreet gun cases. My favorite for this is using musical instrument cases. These come in all shapes and sizes, and many of the hard cases are locking. I've found that a trumpet case works great for a takedown riotgun, and an electric guitar case will fit a lot. Just be sure to slap on a few music-related stickers, for camouflage. Needless to say, you will need to first research company policies and state and local laws...

A side note: I've found that public locker accommodations are much more extensive in Europe than they are in the States. In Europe rail travel is much heavier per capita so therefore they've developed a much larger infrastructure. In some European train station that have hundreds of lockers! FWIW, I once safely left a sizeable cache of 19mm HK flares, gun magazines, and a few pocketknives in a locker at the Hauptbahnhof in Frankfurt for several weeks while I was touring elsewhere in Europe. Those items were much safer from theft there, and my knowledge of the laws of some of the countries that I was going to be visiting was admittedly scant.

A far better alternative to all of the foregoing is developing friendships. Using some networking, you can develop a personal "hospitality database" of trustworthy pro-gun people who live in or near state lines or national border cities. Ideally, this would be with like-minded folks who have some extra gun vault space. The quid pro quo could be just the promise of a place for that family to stay while on vacation, or taking turns at cooperative housesitting, or a place to safely park their car (if you live near a major airport or a cruise ship harbor,) or perhaps even the promise of mutual "Plan B" bugout locations, in the event of a disaster. Think outside the box and do some networking. Some of the friendships that you develop could be mutually rewarding in many ways.

Perhaps some readers would like to chime in on this.





When the ‘cure’ doesn’t end the pain: Some Lyme disease patients have symptoms that can linger for years despite standard treatment. Scientists are puzzling over how that can be. (Thanks to H.L. for the link.)

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One month to Revolution: The premiere of Season 2 of the post grid-collapse television series Revolution is scheduled for September 25th. It will air on Wednesdays at 8:00pm ET/PT. The series was renewed for another 22 episodes. It is fairly mediocre as sci-fi/survivalist television drama goes, but it is the only game in town. Seeing Revolution only makes me miss Firefly even more.

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An interesting piece, written back when 7.62mm NATO ball ammo was more affordable: 10,000 Round FAL Torture Test.

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D.L. mentioned that there are alternatives to PRISM-compromised software available here: Prism-break.org. And speaking of which: NSA paid millions to cover Prism compliance costs for tech companies.

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Remington Arms scouts Middle Tennessee after New York bans its rifle.

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The slippery slope to Depravity and the Tyranny of Enforced Political Correctness: Christian Photographer Forced to do Work for Lesbian Couple. Note: After reading of this decision, I updated my Provisos Page with the following new paragraph: "SurvivalBlog.com is an entirely private information service that is my sole property made available to others as a form of free personal expression under my de jure Preamble Citizen's right as later guaranteed in the First Article in Amendment to the Constitution. SurvivalBlog.com is not a "public accommodation" and it is preemptively exempt from any forced or coerced accommodation, via legislation (or bureaucratic interpretation thereof) or any dictate, directive, or decree by any agency of government or by any NGO or by any individual under any future "Fairness Doctrine" or similar charade. I reserve the right to refuse service (to wit: to refuse posting, linking, or mention of anyone or anything, at my sole discretion) to any person, agency, corporation, or other entity. I do so for the sake of maintaining sound business practices and to maintain my moral and religious principles."

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Another one of Mayor Bloomberg's gun-grabbing mayors goes down in flames: Filthy Filner Resigns. (OBTW, someone ought to do statistical study and determine the criminality rate of these "crime fighting" mayors, versus the citizenry as a whole.)



"I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
And when [ye see] the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
[Ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?" - Luke 12:49-56 (KJV)


Saturday, August 24, 2013


Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



You could say that Y2K started us on a serious survival path. But long before that, preferring the peace and quiet of country life, we had already begun our search for a small acreage some distance from any cities. The idea of simple living and self-sufficiency appealed to both my husband and me. Finally, in 1998, we were blessed to find a few acres in Central Texas. With a partially built house on a dead-end road, trees and some pasture, it mostly fit all our requirements and was within our rather meager price range. So 15 years later, we are both retired and, through frugal living, everything is paid for. Now our primary goal is surviving whatever may come but also to maintain a semblance of mental and physical well-being in a world that could become quite insane. The possibility of a TEOTWAWKI event seems to grow more likely each day. Whoever you are, wherever you are, the better prepared you are when it happens, the less likely you or members of your household will "lose it" when the dreaded events
are playing out before your eyes. I am here to help you and I am not with the government!

As matriarch of my family (not about to give away my age here, but I admit to having great grandchildren), the job of chief cook/caretaker/comforter in our group will naturally fall to me. Before your eyes glaze over, remember that with age, comes wisdom! When SHTF, I hope to ease the transition from that to which we are accustomed to a new, possibly stark reality and way of life. I can shoot a gun if need be, but that is not my area of expertise. Whether you intend to stay put or "bug out", it's a good idea to decide ahead of time the responsibilities that each person in your "survival family" is best suited for. A written, detailed plan should be compiled, scrutinized and agreed to by everyone involved so there will be no question of leadership and who does what when it's necessary to put your plan into action. Each of us is born with a natural talent. Keeping that in mind, choose (or accept) your role and become proficient at it!

Assuming that you are on the way to having your retreat well-stocked with water, food and medical supplies and your haven has been made as secure as possible, let's consider psychological effects of a SHTF situation. In our relatively safe, comfortable lives today it is hard to imagine how we may react when the worst becomes reality. How will you respond when the grocery shelves are bare, gas tanks are empty, the lights suddenly dim to darkness and violence is all around? The possible traumatic impact should not be overlooked or underestimated. There is a good probability that medical care will not be available. It may be up to us to deal with any after effects, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) This may occur after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. Educate yourself online about this serious condition. There are steps we can take to lessen the inevitable shock following a breakdown of society. If you haven't already done so, I urge you to begin now to hone your survival skills, build up your stockpiles and practice various "what-if" scenarios. Besides giving you peace of mind, your chances of coming through a crisis alive may depend on it!

I've come up with some suggestions which may be helpful to you preppers:

INFORMATION. The Internet, as long as it's available, is surely our best source, including JWR's blog, and we found his books to be very helpful, especially in matters of security. For Christians, the Bible is essential. I can highly recommend Carla Emery's The Encyclopedia of Country Living for all-around how-to info. If you intend to prepare meals on a wood stove there is an excellent cookbook titled Mrs. Restino's Country Kitchen. And the More-With-Less Cookbook by Doris Longacre is valued for thrifty, basic recipes. I compiled my own menus with dishes we like and that can be put together with a minimum of time and effort using our food storage. I've also run hard copies on every survival subject you can think of and these are categorized and in binders with labels. Do what you can now to get organized as there may be little time for that down the road. I think our predecessors had the idea of comfort during hard times down to a fine art. They not only made do, but they found small ways to bring joy into the lives of their families. I've gained much knowledge and inspiration from reading stories about the depression years and journals written by pioneer women!

WATER. WATER. WATER. It's already been said. We can live much longer without food than we can without water. Set up a rain catchment system suitable for your property! For $15 each, we purchased several 55 gallon plastic drums from a soda pop company. Though food-grade, these barrels aren't ideal because the syrup residue is difficult to remove, but water is water and there are good filters available.

This year we added a 1,500 gallon water tank next to our shop, utilizing a simple gutter and spigot system to capture the rain run-off. To deter the growth of algae caused by sunlight, white or light- colored barrels should be painted black or covered with black plastic. Water collected in rain barrels should be fine for laundry, watering a garden or flushing a toilet but is not recommended for drinking unless it is well-filtered. When time allows, we hope to add an outdoor shower using one of the 55 gallon barrels and a small solar panel. I can't think of anything more comforting than a warm shower! .

COMFORT FOODS. Every family has their favorites so practice creating those dishes using only items from your food stash. In stressful times a special treat may be just the thing to make life bearable. Possibilities in that category are chocolate, popcorn, hard candy, dried fruits, olives, nuts, flavored gelatins, peanut butter, instant puddings, and jelly beans. In addition, include baking goods such as vanilla, cocoa, cooking oil, leavenings, pie fillings, sugar and/or sugar substitute, instant milk, coconut and flour. And did I mention chocolate? A variety of grains and a manual grinder are a must. Don't forget a variety of soup ingredients such as canned meats, dried or canned veggies, stock and bouillon cubes. I have successfully canned butter and preserved cheese by coating with red cheese wax that I ordered online. (I can't imagine a world without cheese!) You'll want a good supply of tea, coffee or a favorite drink. Caffeine withdrawal amongst the turmoil is something we want to avoid.

Foraging for foods is possible in most areas. In our immediate vicinity we have cattails, cacti, acorns, dandelions, mesquite beans, purslane, wild grapes, and dewberries. All can become nutritious and appealing food with the proper preparation. These plants will supplement our fruit tree and garden production which is not always as dependable as we would like. Unless your garden has a high, sturdy fence, plan on planting extra for the varmints that will no doubt be showing up for meals.

QUICK BREADS TO EXTEND YOUR MEALS. (cheap, filling and surprisingly good)

1. Our family's version of Indian fry bread or what we commonly call "POOR MAN'S SUPPER": To two cups of flour, add 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt and enough water to make a soft dough.
Dust with flour, knead a few times, roll out, cut into strips and fry in deep oil (365 degrees F) until puffed and golden. Drain well; serve hot with syrup or honey. These are also very good with stir-fry
dishes.

2. We like these corn pones or "CORN DODGERS" with beans and that combination will give you a complete protein. Heat about 1/2" oil (I prefer peanut oil for its high heat tolerance) in a large iron skillet. Take a cup or two of yellow corn meal, salt to season and add enough water to make a mush consistency. This batter dries out quickly, so add water as needed. Using a large spoon, dip into the batter and drop into the hot oil, spreading to flatten to the thickness of a thin pan cake. Brown well on both sides and drain. Eat while hot and crispy.

FOOD STORAGE. This will be a challenge for us if the power goes down and we are experiencing one of our intensely hot, humid summers. I have researched alternative cooling methods to save our food preps and it looks as though our best bet will be a root cellar. The pot-within-a-pot or zeer refrigeration technique is supposed to work well in arid climates but our humidity runs way too high for that to be successful here. If you live in a hot and dry part of the country that is worth looking into. Besides using a vacuum sealer and food dehydrator I have canned vegetables, fruits and meats using water bath and pressure canners. I recently did some oven-canning of dry goods such as flour, corn meal and bread crumbs. That venture was successful and freed up space in our freezers. My best source for canning/drying basics has been the "Ball Blue Book". ALWAYS follow the safety guidelines when using any food preservation methods. Generally, a cool, dark and dry environment is recommended for optimum
storage life of foods and seeds. My attempts at drying veggies in the sun or a car have failed. Due to high humidity, the food turned moldy before it dehydrated. Because they don't require refrigeration, we have sugar, baking soda and salt stored in a broken freezer in our shop. It is air-tight and mouse-proof. Our grocery store deli gives away those handy food-grade buckets with lids which have been a God-send. If space is an issue, conceal items behind books on bookshelves, under a cloth-covered table or add extra shelving above doors or in closets. Part of our this spring's potato crop, layered with shredded paper and stored in burlap-lined wire baskets, awaits planting in the fall garden. For less than $10 we bought a set of bed risers to raise our bed several inches for underneath storage. I recently lucked upon a yard sale at closing time and picked up a free wooden bookcase. After a bit of touch-up it now hangs on a kitchen wall filled with colorful jars of canned goods. Free, decorative and useful!

PHYSICAL NEEDS. The additional work and physical exertion we will experience is going to require more calories than previously needed. That should be considered in your food preps. Stock up on vitamins to supplement your diet. Dehydration can become a real danger so make sure everyone drinks plenty of water. With our hot summers in mind, we built our home with wide overhangs for shade and plenty of windows for good air flow (no, we weren't thinking of the defense aspect when we put all those windows in!). A wet towel wrapped around your neck does a pretty good job of cooling your body. You can buy small, battery-operated fans for relief from the heat in case the power goes out. Start walking or jogging for good health and along the way, notice what natural resources are around you. When outdoors, protect your skin with long sleeves and straw hats. We will have enough challenges without dealing with skin cancer. Buy a bolt of cheesecloth. It's great for straining fruits, making bandages and
slings and it can be dampened and hung over an open window to cool down a warm room. It could even become mosquito netting. Seek out multi-purpose items! It's a good idea to have a variety of fabrics, yarn, needles and thread for repairing or replacing clothing and making quilts. Whether your winters are severe or mild as ours generally are, if you are caught without a heat source or trying to conserve your wood supply, lots of warm clothing, blankets and quilts will be needed. To keep clothes clean and fresh, all you need are a couple of wash tubs on a sturdy table, a scrub board and a plunger. And of course, soap, water and plenty of elbow grease! Hopefully you already have a clothesline. The old-fashioned clothes wringers can still be found at thrift and antique stores. I bought one because wringing out wet clothes is hard work for anyone but would be very painful to my arthritic hands. If you anticipate sleeping in close quarters, a stash of ear plugs to muffle objectionable sounds such as snoring, could make a big difference in your ability to get a good night's rest. Those little clip-on LED lights are great for reading in bed without disturbing others. We may be forced to be resourceful in order to keep our families fed, clothed, safe and relatively comfortable. And there's nothing more comforting than a good hug. I believe in the healing power of touch and that includes lots of hugs!

DOMESTIC & OTHER ANIMALS. Chickens are tops because they are easy and inexpensive to raise and their eggs and meat provide protein. Ours provide us with free (well, almost free) entertainment! Add a rooster if you want baby chicks AND a non-electric alarm clock. The few cows we had were sold after several years of drought which also caused our pond to dry up several times. We would like to try rabbits or goats but other projects have taken precedence over building cages and fences. I prefer a good dairy goat to a milk cow because they are smaller and easier to handle and an excellent source for meat, milk, cheese and brush clearing! A necessity for any retreat: a cat or two to control the mouse population and to cuddle with. A good dog can do double duty as a devoted, loving pet and an alarm system/guard animal when unwanted visitors come calling. Presently we have wild game such as deer and occasionally wild hogs to hunt. Small game that can be trapped or hunted here include rabbits, squirrels, wild turkeys, birds and frogs. (Toads are not edible.) In more desperate times there are snakes, raccoons, turtles, armadillos, opossums and coyotes. Forget about skunks. I have a horror of catching one in our Hav-a-Heart box trap. By the way, those traps are humane and come in various sizes, including ones large enough for boars. A simple way to catch squirrels is by nailing a large rat trap to a tree. If any of your "quarry" has an objectionable gamey taste, try pre-soaking the meat in milk. This works so well with venison that it tastes more like beef than deer meat. Keep plenty of spices and condiments in your pantry to enhance (or conceal) the flavor of foods you may not be accustomed to. It's well worth setting aside a good portion of your storage for animal food. That would include wild bird seed to entice those fat little squirrels and birds. Some corn and a salt lick can serve a similar purpose by attracting deer and hogs to within shooting range. IMO if you haven't eaten dove, you haven't lived. They are ground feeders and prefer to eat rice and you should certainly have plenty of that put away..

RECREATION. There may be little opportunity for recreation but even short periods of down time are necessary for our mental and physical well-being. Think lots of books, art and craft materials, small toys, crossword and jigsaw puzzles and board or card games.

LACK OF FUNDS. If this is a problem, maintaining a frugal mindset goes a long way. Before you throw away anything, think about re-purposing, selling or trading with your neighbor. Stretch those prep dollars at thrift stores, yard sales or flea markets - these can be found in most regions and there are incredible bargains out there! A large portion of our preps have come from those sources. Be on the alert for inexpensive or end-of-season sale items and freebies. The quickest and easiest way I've found to bring in extra income is selling on eBay and Etsy but do your homework first if you go that route. I am amazed at what people will buy online and there is big demand for used and vintage goods. Make prepping a top priority and the confidence you will gain from your readiness will be worth any sacrifice of luxuries you've made to get to that point.

RANDOM TIPS. Place a map of your county on the wall and familiarize yourself with the layout of the land in case you are forced to bug out. Aerial photos are also helpful and can be obtained from most county USDA FSA (Farm Service Agency) offices. On your maps, draw in cache spots, fox holes and getaway routes and of course, keep your bug-out bags in a convenient spot. Consider these possibilities for bartering: heirloom seeds, fish hooks, clothes pins, salt and matches. They don't take up much space and they're inexpensive now but potentially very scarce and valuable once SHTF.

Save plenty of containers for barter items, too. Vitamin and pill bottles are excellent for holding small portions such as salt and spices. They are also perfect for seed saving and often come with small packs of desiccant. Speaking of seeds, don't forget to store plenty of sprouting seeds. So healthy, and sprouts give a wonderful crunch to salads and sandwiches! Willow tree bark was used by native Americans just like modern aspirin. Go online and search "willow bark - uses and side effects". Willow branches can provide material for making twig furniture and a piece of stem will act as a growth stimulant when rooting plant cuttings in water. The versatile willow is common along river banks and other wet areas in most parts of our country. After one of our construction projects we were left with a big pile of sand.

Part of that we tilled and used as a plot for planting peanuts which, by the way, are super easy to grow. (Watch out for Peter Cottontail as he loves munching on the leafy green tops!) We plan to use most of that sand along with saved feed sacks to make sand bags (for defense purposes). Make your own lip balm with petroleum jelly, melted beeswax and a few drops of peppermint oil. (To please the girls, add a bit of lipstick and it becomes lip gloss.) So soothing to dry, chapped lips! Also, Avon sells a lotion called "Skin So Soft" that is an excellent mosquito repellant. The lip balm and the lotion are great anytime but an absolute necessity for our bug-out bags.

IN CLOSING. Are we where we would like to be in our plans for survival? No, but we've come a long way. There have been successes and failures, a few of which I have mentioned here. We would like for our children and grandkids to be more "on board". Hopefully this piece will serve as a wake-up call for them and others who aren't there yet. Our home is always "almost finished" - we continue to make changes and improvements on the house and land. And for the greatest comfort of all, we have a Savior who vowed to never forsake us. We have His written word to teach and sustain us and His promise that He will return. When I get tired or discouraged in our journey, I recall these lines from Isaiah 40:31: " But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Note: Any mention herein of products is intended for information only and not promotional purposes. I have no affiliations with the companies or products mentioned in this article.



Sir,
After reading the reply to the: Do-It-Yourself Weapons Camouflage and Kydex Gear
I have to ask the question... Does anyone see any specific pattern anywhere?  The answer should be NO!  Why do you ask, because there is not one!  The "pattern" that you paint your weapon and match your clothes to should be specific to your area.  Granted, Multi-Cam camo tends to blend into many different areas but there is still a common factor in the "pattern"... it is a pattern that is generated!  It has hard line edges and it is not random. There are not a lot of places that you will find hard line edges.

Make sure that your equipment blends in with your surrounding environment to make yourself, your equipment and others "invisible".  I know that there are some people out there that may say "If your close enough to see what I am wearing then you are already dead!"  Think big picture, of 1-2 person patrol or hide site, up come 2-3 maybe 5-10 OPFOR (not knowing if there are more to following) that are close.  Think OPSEC... Are you willing to give your/other(s) position away?

Black is not a natural color from an art prospective but it is a good base because there are dark/blackish shadows in almost all environments.  Does that mean leave your weapons totally black, absolutely not!  Black is a good base color.  If you look into the woods you will see what looks like black because of shadows.  Build on that.  In the art realm to create depth you should start dark at add light colors over that.  Going from the darkest to the lightest colors in your area.  This will give the perception of depth even though it is a flat object.  It doesn't have to be exact or even pretty!  It just needs to break your natural pattern and have random/blending edges.  I could go into a big art explanation but I will save you all from the nap time because I know that you all have work to do.

I was able to shoot a trophy deer this last year at 30 yards (with a rifle) from the ground at the base of a tree on the edge of a field coming at me because I blended in with my environment. (I never had a good angle until he was just 30 yards away.).  I have had deer within 10 yards of me, while prone on the ground, that have never gave me a second thought because I had matched my camo to the area that I am in and played the wind!
Re-think and re-plan your camouflage. Godspeed. - Sparky



Mr. Rawles:  
As a prepper living in the Redoubt, allow me to respectfully enlighten Professor Prepper from Montana with my own nickel's worth on the topic:

I think you are a little high on the horse, pard.  I detected the hint of a threat towards those not already living in Montana, even though you lightly qualified with a disclaimer that "we Montanans" are American, and "we" do not want to take up arms against other Americans. I will concede, however, that you believe your intentions to be honorable, and you sure can't be accused of not being proud of your state of residence, Big Sky Country.  I have hunted a few parts of it and concur that it is a magnificent piece of our country.

I am a veteran from the Viet Nam era, having served my country both here and abroad.  I am also a retired peace officer.  You might have heard that a lot of us have retired to the Redoubt, and for good reason.  That is a plus for you, believe me.  More importantly, what I am not is a whining, sniveling, malcontent...in fact, I am (no surprise) an armed, self-reliant, Christian, conservative, carnivore.  When I moved here after retirement, I remember being yelled and cursed at by a passing local motorist because I didn't yet have my new state's license plate; I guess he ASSumed that my old plate meant that I was a visitor, no doubt looking for some prime real estate to snatch up from under him.  Quite unnecessary and a testament that you really can't fix stupid, no matter where you choose to live.  People like this brain-dead bozo breed like rats, and can be found anywhere, in numbers.  To be honest, WTSHTF, it is a guy like me, and my colleagues,  that you would want around to help out, not alienate by screaming obscenities from the highway.

I have a legitimate right to live within the borders of the USA, anywhere I please, Montana included, at least for now.  As you said, "Capisce?"  This is America, professor, not some fascist Third World lash-up that dictates where citizens can or can not live, or that they all live in the same manner and have the same beliefs, and contribute equally to society (that sounds vaguely communistic, no?).  And BTW, I will not tolerate being interrogated by self-appointed vigilante's blocking my way to a place I have a right to travel to.  There are some people out here, professor, that will take that sort of behavior as a threat to life, and have a plan for that.

My friend,  there are many others, my own sons included, who are like-minded with us, but they are still fighting the fight from within the slave states they live in.  Those states were not always so.  These guys won't be wearing a sign when they arrive, and it's real hard to tell if they are or are not "the good guys"...you certainly won't be able to tell by their shoes, either, trust me.  Many want to get to a redoubt state but can't just yet.  Many good people are not on board yet, but are listening and learning.  Some are even making plans, but haven't yet been able to pull the trigger for whatever reason.  And please don't forget about the older folks, the young people, the single moms, the uncles and aunts and cousins, who may well end up to be refugee's, fleeing for their lives to their loved ones in the Redoubt...if they can make it.  Many many people will simply abandon their old homes all over the US in order to live with relatives in a Redoubt state, "doubling up" for the sake of survival and practicality.

Keeping a watchful eye over natural resources and abuses by those who would take advantage is one thing...to be openly vigilante, before that becomes appropriate, is quite another.

Let me ask you this:  If heaven forbid your state, specifically your city, suddenly gets nailed with a nuke (you do have a few targets), or a pandemic,  or let's not forget Yellowstone blowing up, or some other problem, and you had to bug out to say N. Idaho, how would you feel if you encountered a roadblock at the border.  You encounter hostiles ("we Idahoans") who would not let you pass, perhaps because they think the state would become overcrowded with out-of-staters who would want to change things.  Some of those refugee's would undoubtedly be liberals (yes even from Montana), some would be enviro-whackos, some would be felons.  And some would simply be worthless leeches, and none of those types are a welcome sight to the average middle class Idahoan.   Only a proper interrogation could tell, yes?  Sorry, that just isn't a free country by definition.

I agree that in some parts of the country, celebrities and other pushy people have bought up real estate and have tried to push their weight around and in general be a pain in the rear.  They won't last when the SHTF.  They are not relevant.  The tougher it gets, the quicker they will disappear to be in the company of their own kind.  They certainly won't stick around to help out.

Having spent a little computer time on ancestry.com as a hobby, I can tell you this:  None of us are originals, no matter what state you may claim as your home base.  My ancestors are from Scotland and Ireland, and it was fascinating to find out how far and wide they migrated within the borders of America, after just a few generations from the time they hit the beach in the New World, and who they mixed with along the way.  What we can't forget is that they left a place they used to call home,  because it became unlivable for them, and oppressive.

We shouldn't be closing our state borders to fellow Americans, but rather building our population and industries and educating newcomers.. (like the weapons industry being forced out of the East Coast slave states).  Like the free-thinking people who would like to come here, in the same way the folks who are nanny-state residents by choice want nothing to do with the Redoubt mindset.   They are too deeply entrenched in their own brand of America.  But until the government dissolves, and restrictions are in place,  all have a right to move about within the borders of the USA. 

 Let's face it, liberal folks in general aren't exactly the types who are into self-reliance of any kind, being fans of big government taking care of all, or defending themselves with the use of force, especially the dreaded firearm.  In short they think we are nuts.  In short we think they are sissies.  Just like Redoubters would not live in Massachusetts because of the liberal mindset, those folks in turn would not live in the Redoubt because of ... us.    Recently, Fox news analyst Juan Williams declared that in Idaho, there is "a machine-gun behind every tree"!   If it were only so!

But lest I forget, let us all be reminded that John Q. is not the problem.  Big, oppressive government is the problem.  History reminds us of that when we study other civilizations that are no longer on the scene.  Let us keep the enemy on the radar screen, and not ourselves.

None of what I'm saying means that you can't "keep your eyes peeled" when strangers move in to the area.  We should all be vigilant to danger.  We should all be well acquainted with our neighbors...OPSEC.

I am sadly positive that yes, the time will eventually come when we will be confronted with the unpleasant tasks that a collapse brings with it.  That will include roadblocks, detentions, interrogations, and worse.  There will be many who will be out to invade and conquer, or become a burden to society either as cons or sluggards.  But we aren't there yet, not by a long shot.  Better to practice OPSEC and for now be small, and gray, than to be confrontational and make enemies of the wrong people.

You mentioned all of the wide open space.  Same here.  There is plenty of room, and the Redoubt as a whole is lightly populated.  The reputation of the Redoubt is growing, and those who want to be part of it will come, and those who despise us now will avoid us like the plague in the future.

God Bless, - L.R.





Citing grave security concerns... Say Goodbye to Skype. "Not only is Skype plugged directly in to the surveillance grid, but the company is actively contributing to the most complete surveillance system in the history of mankind." (Thanks to H.M. for the link.)

   o o o

G.G. suggested: Amaranth: Another Ancient Wonder Food, But Who Will Eat It? [JWR Adds: See the previously posted warnings in SurvivalBlog's archives about containing your Amaranth crop plantings! (The tiny seeds are carried on the winds so the plant can easily become a weed that can grow out of control.]

   o o o

Do Not Walk, California—Run from EDLs

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I've been lurking in an interesting thread in progress over at the Survivalist Boards Forums: Bump in the Night...

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For those in "Flyover Country", Farmer Mike recommended an amazing upcoming auction where a lot of restorable EMP-proof vehicles will be sold: Lambrecht Chevrolet Car Auction in Pierce, Nebraska. Seeing 50 year-old cars with just a few miles on the odometer is a real rarity. But having the chance to choose from 20 or more of them all in one auction is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. (The auction will be September 28th and 29th, 2013.)



"The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law."- Deuteronomy 29:29 (KJV)


Friday, August 23, 2013


Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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 just putting the finishing touches on my signs. Do you like them? They say “Trespassers will be shot without warning.” I think that gets the message across. Don’t you?

So I’ve heard you are thinking of bugging out to Montana when the SHTF. Is that right? Well, I’ve got some advice for you: The first thing to remember is that Montana is already filled with people. Not as many as most other states, but still, there are many of us here whether you saw us or not the last time you took a family trip through Montana. Yeah, we are a big state filled with rivers, lakes, mountains, and wide open prairies, but those waterways and lands are not yours for the taking just because things have gone downhill for a while. But since we are all Americans, I’ll let you in on a secret. You can bug out to Montana, but you just have to know how.

First a little geography lesson. Montana is the fourth largest state, or rather the third since Alaska messes up all comparisons. But size is not quite everything. Montana is roughly rectangular and borders four other states as well as two Canadian provinces. But there’s more to that picture. The US states flanking Montana are, on the south and west, mountainous and wild with few roads. And to the east, huge expanse of openness across the Dakotas. To the north lie Saskatchewan and Alberta, both wild lands rivaling Alaska in remoteness and low population. In other words, Montana is buffered by some pretty significant geographic and geologic challenges meaning that unless you are already nearby, not only are you multiple-gas tanks away, but also at the whims of the weather since all access points into Montana present significant driving challenges at least four months out of the year.

And speaking of driving, you might want to take a hard look at a Montana road map. The paved entry points are few, and only two interstate highways, one east/west, the other north/south. And that’s for a state with nearly 2,000 miles of border! Many of the other paved access points into Montana are over passes including one stunning 10,000 climb that as you might guess opens late in the year and closes early. Additionally, there are many bridges as the roads wind through the mountains meaning there is only one way through the area and it has a significant constriction point. In fact my town of Missoula has the Hellgate Canyon and you can even go to Hellgate High School here. The name Hellgate describes the such a constriction point so named after the unfortunate results some early travelers experienced as they were forced into the mountain gauntlet on the east entrance to our fair city. Our city is close close to paradise, but to to reach it from the east, you will need to pass through the gates of hell.

Flatlanders and those with a head full of television shows and movies are used to options when approaching a roadblock. Around here, there might be a mountain to your right, a river and a mountain to your left, and a hundred miles of nothing behind you. You won’t be racing around or over any of our road blocks. And whether by design or luck, most of our towns are surrounded by plenty of constriction points. Take a stroll around Google Earth to see what you are up against when bugging out after the SHTF. And summer vacations do not qualify.

However, I’m happy to report that Montana is home to many fine people who will be quick to welcome new faces as long as those faces are attached to skilled individuals and not just another whiny mouth to feed. Surviving, and even just living in Montana is work. Glorious work, but still work. Unlike cities where convenience rules and internal combustion does the all the heavy lifting, we in Montana are accustomed to the arsenal of nature. Whether blizzards, wildfires, floods, or angry animals, Montana has them all. Drowning and falling are two popular check-out methods tourists use in Montana, and yes, we do feel bad, but just because there is no sign warning of the dangers in the river, or the crumbling edge of the cliff doesn’t mean it’s safe. Every year we lose many visitors to gravity or water with plenty of other deaths we never know what happened because we cannot find their bodies. Strangely, the same things we do here for recreation are the same things that kill city dwellers.

World class hunting and fishing are two of Montana’s exports. I’ll admit that yes, there is game everywhere. Some Montana cities are even culling the city deer herds because the numbers are just too high. And Montana is quick to capture and prosecute poachers and others who violate the rules and laws of hunting and fishing. You must understand why we have those rules and laws in order to appreciate them. Historically, humans took what they needed when they needed it. But that all changed when hunting became a source of financial income, and cities demanded more food, especially birds, big game with big antlers, and weighty fish. No longer were hunters subsisting. They were now in the business of volume and sales. It didn’t take long to deplete the game supply, and worse, the reproductive patterns of the animals were disrupted to the point that the few viable offspring were not enough to sustain the species. While the commercial hunters just moved on to different game in different places, the residents were left with nothing but scorched earth. So hopefully you can see that we are a little reluctant to loose sight of you while hunting. Unless you live around here, we have no reason to think that you truly appreciate what we have, and will take appropriate action if necessary. You are welcome take that however you want.

Montana is also filled with dirt roads and places where not roads are allowed. Those roads do go somewhere, and just because you managed to drive all night and cross into Montana unobserved does not mean you now own the land wherever you park your bug out vehicle. When a bug out location seems perfect, even too perfect to be true, it is probably part of someone else’s plan, or perhaps even the landowner’s. Federal land is considered up for grabs as long as you don’t infringe on another camp whether by presence, activity, or upstream effects, and that you respect the resources. You are not allowed to cut down trees to build a cabin. At least not right away. America is a great nation and we Montanan’s will not allow our wild resources to be looted, stolen or destroyed simply because of your poor planning, stupidity, or greed. Remember, Montana is what America used to be, and we will be keeping it that way. Capisce?

Sadly, it is a common occurrence here under the Big Sky to have out-of-staters throw their weight around thinking they own the place. Sure, some do when they buy large tracts of real estate and then upend the local ecosystem. We usually can wait until their dysfunctional lives implode, marriages fail, and the FBI moves in to commandeer their possessions and land. But in a SHTF scenario, we won’t wait for the FBI. Arrogance is a danger to us all so we just might have to eliminate or at least temper the arrogant threat. Sorry, but I think you understand.

So how does one come in peace to Montana? One way is that you are welcome to purchase your own bug out acreage and homestead it as you please, but that still requires you can get “home.” Nothing greases the wheels of a roadblock like being a landowner. But you will have to answer some questions first, so brush up on your trivia about where your supposed land is located. And there is always the relationship angle leveraging friends, family and acquaintances who have already exercised a previous Montana option. But of course this is America, and we Montanans are also Americans. We do not want to take up arms against our countrymen, but then again, we are expecting a certain level of appropriate behavior from our visiting brethren, and our rights have not ceased to exist just because your neck of the American woods is a little complicated at the moment.

Let’s assume you have successfully driven your BOV through the buffer states and now find yourself humming along the desolate roads of Montana (which are often desolate even when things are great which is how we like it). You come face to face with your first roadblock. It is a handful of old trucks (of which we have plenty) completely blocking the right of way 100% across and two or three deep. Let’s also assume it is summer, daylight, and the SHTF event is more economic then viral. As you slowly approach the obstruction, with your hands on the wheel and tinted windows rolled down (We’d hate to have to lower them ourselves from the outside), you notice the road behind you now has an obstruction as well. Yes, you are trapped. As you have nothing to hide you have no need to worry. But you must understand that we too have families that need protection. We simply cannot let anyone wander into what we have tried so hard to maintain, and that we believe to be worthy of preservation as representative of what makes America great.

Our questions for you will be simple. Who are you? Where did you come from? Where are you going? Once you pass that test, we would love to pick your brain for news about what’s going on in other places. In fact, depending on your experiences, you just might be the hero of the day joining us for dinner. Didn’t see that one coming, did you?

I told you we up here in the north are good folk. We have nothing against you, and if you belong here, then welcome home! However, if we detect that your motives are not pure, and you could be a liability if not an outright danger, then we may give you the option to turn around and try your luck in Wyoming, Idaho, or South Dakota, or just handle it ourselves in the old fashioned but effective ways early Montana settlers are famous for. 

Let me give you a couple other tips. I can tell an awful lot about you from your choice of footwear. The reason I am telling you this is to help you be honest. You can no more pretend you belong here as you could blend in while wandering the streets of New York City. You can fool yourself, but you cannot fool us. Everything about you is telling. The way you drive, where you walk, how you handle tools including firearms, and of course your reaction to what nature dishes up whether wind, wildlife, water, or whatever. Everything from your choice of hat to vehicle tires screams information about you. As does your knife, your backpack, even your water bottle. So don’t even try to lie. Honesty goes a long way around here.

While it is imperative that you roll with nature’s punches in Montana it does take some practice. Sorry to generalize, but most city folk are soft. They are too sensitive to temperature. They are not used to walking (and I mean miles), and they have lost their nature smarts. They do stupid things. They miss clues and cues. In a nutshell, they want things to be a certain way that nature has no intention of accommodating. You know what folks? Sometimes it is just plain freezing out. And sometimes mosquitoes and flies are annoying. And sometimes you lose your game to the bears, wolves, coyotes, (insert predator name here). Sometimes it rains and you get wet. And sometimes you are cold and miserable. And hungry. And tired. And sore. And concerned. And lost. But after a while living like this, it grows on you. You want it. Or maybe it’s more that you don’t care because the good outweighs the bad.

Bugging out to Montana is not like in the movies. I’ll admit that there will be many successful impromptu bug outs to Montana, but those first arrivals will set the stage for everyone else. The moment we Montanans feel threatened or used, then overnight Montana will be the hostile land that it once used to be.

Please don’t take it personally, but if you really want to bug out to Montana, you really need to already be here [when things fall apart.]



On Monday, August 5, 2013, I posted a piece titled "Calling It Quits With Mulligan Mint." It was pointed out to me that it included a factual error, so I've truncated that post.

I'd like to give everyone an update on what has transpired since then.

First, the Good News:

1. I have been impressed that the staff of Mulligan Mint has overcome all of the hurdles of transitioning from a fledgling company that simply struck outside vendor-supplied .999 fine dimensioned blank planchets into a company that now consistently turns raw .999 fine silver into finished coins, in quantity. They have a dedicated and hard-working staff, and they have invested a lot of money into capital equipment to make all this happen.

2.) All of American Redoubt orders placed before August 1st have apparently been filled, as promised. A few new orders have been placed since then, and I've been told that all but 93 ounces have now been shipped. (In summary: Mulligan sold 11,009 1Troy ounce American Redoubt silver coins, Of the 11,009 coins sold, they have minted and shipped all but 93 pieces, the balance of which have been promised to ship by August 24th. So now 99.2% of all American Redoubt coins ordered have been minted and shipped.)

3. I have now been paid my commission. (In the form of 220 ounces of American Redoubt silver coins.)

4. To the best of my knowledge, the order shipping delay has never exceeded five weeks, despite the exceedingly high demand created when spot silver dipped below $20 per ounce.

Now, the Not So Good News:

1.) Rob Gray has never answered my repeated questions about the status of the return of the 71,400 ounces to Republic Metals Corporation. Three times, I've asked him point blank: Has Republic's court-ordered return demand been successfully met? (Either by return or the physical metals or delivery of a bond of equal dollar value.) He has never answered that question. All that I wanted was a yes or no answer.  I consider his repeated failure to respond a mark of intentional evasiveness.

2.)  Rob Gray has left me in the dark about the advent and status of the court-issued restraining orders against Mulligan Mint. The latest Temporary Restraining Order extension was dated August 15th. In my opinion this Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) casts great doubt on the ability of Mulligan Mint to continue to meet its many commitments.

While I am satisfied that the Mulligan Mint staff has fulfilled orders to the best of their ability, I find the company's ongoing legal problems with their key supplier quite troubling. I am also disturbed by Rob Gray's evasiveness and his lack of forthright communication about the company's continuing legal troubles.

With all of this in mind, I cannot do business with Rob Gray, nor can I in good conscience send any customers to him. 

Mulligan Mint has removed the American Redoubt coins from their web site.  I now consider this a closed issue.



Dear JWR,
After reading your list of needful gear I wanted to offer some insight. First, the weapon stencils you mentioned are available from the makers of Duracoat at Lauer Custom Weaponry. They offer the woodland pattern as well as many other camouflage patterns, including multi-cam. In addition to that they sell a  template kit that you use to design the pattern yourself.  While you're there don't forget to check out their Duracoat kits, colors and temporary camo paint for mission specific camouflage that is removed by another of their products.

As for the Kydex equipment, there will never be enough on the market. I suggest creating your own custom holsters and gear from the material. Kydex.com has tons of information and specifications for the materials applications, including adhesive agents and shrinkage. Two more sources for Kydex sheets are eplastics.com and Professionalplastics.com. A quick Internet search will yield plenty of options. I've even found multi-cam sheets for exceptionally reasonable prices, and with the money saved on material and taking pride in your hand made kit, what's not to like?   - Michael S.





Merry suggested: 40 maps that explain the world

   o o o

F.R. spotted this over at Instructables: KP Pyramid Wood Stove

   o o o

Some satire is too accurate to be comfortable: Stop, Drop, and Cower. (Thanks to Wayne B. for the link.)

   o o o

Should You Be Able to Buy Food Directly From Farmers? The Government Doesn’t Think So.

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Yet another reason to vamoose the Land of Lincoln Obama: Illinois expands background checks to all gun purchases



"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too." - W. Somerset Maugham


Thursday, August 22, 2013


Do you have a favorite quote that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers, and that is properly attributed? If so, then please send it via e-mail, and it will likely be posted as a Quote of the Day. Thanks!

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Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.

Today's entry is by M.D.L., who won Third Prize in the most recent round of our writing contest.



The last time I sent an article to SurvivalBlog [The Secret Prepper, in May, 2013], I told of how I was secretly preparing for the possibility of the “S” hitting the “F”.  Well, I’m proud to say that I’ve finally come out of the shadows and into the light.  The lesson I’ve learned is to quit worrying about how much the Band Aid is going to hurt and just rip it off.  It wasn’t all that hard and my life is better for it, even if my family has taken several opportunities to fashion me an aluminum foil hat.

That said, I have just completed the long and drawn out process of closing on my new “summer home”.  I put that in quotations because my true intent was to have a retreat location.  “Summer Home” was simply what the realtor assumed, and I told him no different.  Truth be told, this will in fact be my vacation spot until I can build a business that allows me to work from home.  Then it will be my full time residence.

I thought long and hard about where I should purchase my home.  My biggest problem is that I live in New York.  I’ll pause while you sneer in derision and send raspberries my way…

Okay.  Now that that’s over:

Why move?

We each need to take a look at our living situations.  Bugging, whether it be out or in, is a decision based upon so much more than having a place to go.  Will you need access to medical care?  Can you feed your family once you get there?  Can you protect yourself better there or at home?

I currently live a couple of hours from the northernmost border of New York City.  While my area has everything I could possibly need: A good amount of rainfall, fertile soil, privacy enough for me to have a few animals and keep my weapons zeroed; it is also likely to be ravaged by the Golden Horde as it’s simply too close to a major metropolitan area.  If I want to keep my family safe, I need to get them further away.

My family and I have spent the last twenty-two years vacationing in the mountains of Upstate New York.  There isn’t a major city for hours; though there are a few smaller ones they are mostly populated by college students whom would likely start leaving as their trust funds and bank accounts dwindle.  Either way I won’t be within a hundred miles of one of these smaller cities, as the crow flies.

In the name of operational security, I had to put some thought into seemingly benign decisions:

Choosing a realtor

Maybe I’m a bit more paranoid than I’d like to admit, but I chose a realtor who was only marginally familiar with the area and who wouldn’t be able to find his way to the listings without use of a map.  Cell and GPS do not work reliably in the mountains of Upstate NY and so my potential location couldn’t be saved to GPS for future reference. 

When he asked how I came to get his number I explained that a friend had used him several years back and I supplied him with a fairly generic name for reference.  Being a salesman, he politely claimed to remember my “friend” and sent his regards.  I’ll be sure to thank Mike Richards for the referral if ever I meet him.

Choosing a location

I needed to find a balance between being remote and being close enough to other people that I wouldn’t completely lose my mind.  Human beings are inherently social animals, and I’m no different.  The need for news and barter should not be underestimated, not to mention the fact that if my family and I are to eventually move to our retreat location there needs to be something for them to do when we get there.

Medical assistance is also something I needed to consider.  What good does it serve to go through all of the trouble of creating a safe haven for my family if I sustain an injury in the process that kills me due to the absence of reasonable care?

I believe that I achieved that balance: 15 minutes to an urgent care center, 30 minutes to a mall, ½ mile to the nearest neighbor… all in an area with a population density of <70 per square mile.  For New York this is pretty empty, and these are people who know how to live independently.

I feel I must add that most of the state of New York is like this, and that it’s the over 60% of the people living in the bottom 15% of the state that ruin things for the rest of us.

Needs versus wants

What I wanted and what I needed were both short lists.  I did not compromise when it came to my needs list:
- Brick or stone
- Gravity fed well
- Stream deep enough to sustain year-round fish and fast enough to limit freezing
- A metal roof
- Reasonably remote location with enough land to maintain privacy and hunt safely

What I wanted was:
- Multiple ways of getting water
- Multiple ways to heat the home
- Enough sunlight throughout the day for solar power and farming
- A root cellar

I ended up having to compromise on the brick or stone, as there were no homes on the market that fit the bill.  I can always harden the home as I repair it, and have taken steps to do so.

What I ended up with was a home with a metal roof, propane heating as well as two wood burning stoves (with cook tops), an electric well as well as a hand pumped well and a stream that fed into a hand dug basin.  It also has a cement garage, a barn and a root cellar big enough to house a small family.  All of this located on several dozen acres at the dead-end of a tertiary road and abutting federally protected land.

Paying for it all

I am a big proponent of living well within your means.  For years my family and I have watched others as they spent large amounts of money on material goods, then listened to them complain about financial problems when the next big thing turned out to be just another monthly bill. 

Don’t get me wrong… Be good to yourself, but remember that you have a responsibility to your family.  Being prepared after all, means being financially prepared as well.

That said; we have been saving up for a summer home for several years and after saving every penny we could, we had managed to collect what we felt was a sizable down payment.  Imagine our surprise when we found that the market in the area we focused on had homes on acreage that we could pay for outright. 

We are now the owners of our second home and have somehow (my wife’s amazing management skills) managed to remain debt free.  I understand that this is likely not possible for most people, but I must say that the positive psychological effect of not being beholden to anyone is amazing.

Pre-positioning and security

I am now in the process of updating my retreat home.  While doing so, we are using it as a base of operations for hiking, fishing, camping, boating, hunting and anything else we can do.  It is only a matter of time before it is ready for full time occupation. 

With every trip I make I bring some of my stored goods.  Buckets of Mylar sealed food have been additionally fortified against moisture and are being positioned in the root cellar.  Health and hygiene items like toilet paper, toothpaste and the like are being stored in quantity not just for TEOTWAWKI but because snow is measured in feet versus inches.  As repairs are being conducted extra items, such as plywood, are being stored in the garage for the proverbial rainy days.

But what good is it all if, while I’m absent, a drifter comes along and “digs in”, or there’s some form of natural disaster that renders my retreat un-livable?

As far as natural disasters go, well, there isn’t likely much I can do about it.  With regards to random persons attempting to occupy there are a few things I am doing.  I need to mention first that in the trips I have made so far, I have yet to see anyone with fewer than 4 legs anywhere near my property.  But you can’t be too careful so:

First, I have plenty of “No Trespassing” signs posted around my perimeter.  They let people know that someone has a vested interest in the land they’re about to cross, and most times will serve to dissuade a person intent on simply going from point A to point B.

In addition to that, I have a fair quantity of “Beware of Dog” signs.  Little yellow electric fence flags are located closer to the house to accompany these signs, and with luck this will prevent someone who has disregarded the no trespassing signs.  Also, at the driveway and along the immediate perimeter of the house I have signs from an alarm company, and have conspicuously placed surveillance cameras in several locations.  The security system and cameras are currently not operational, but they are real and will be used in the future.

Lastly, I have a P.O. box in town at the post office so that there won’t be a stack of mail overflowing from my mailbox down at the road.  One thing I have learned simply by observation is that you can always tell when nobody is home by the number of newspapers in the driveway and the presence or absence of mail in the box.

All of these measures are simply visual deterrents and if tested by a determined intruder will fail if I am not there to provide the final measure of security.  There is only so much I can do until I manage to build my home-based business to the capacity that it can provide for my family as my only business.

In conclusion

I think that there are a number of constants to choosing a retreat home, such as features that are low maintenance like a metal roof and brick construction.  Duplication of necessities, such as water access, I believe to be crucial.  The difficulty lies in balancing safety and security with distance and privacy. 

We each have our own issues, mine being asthma, that force us to select a location which will best serve our day-to-day needs.  I sacrificed additional distance for access to medical care.  I figure it’s worth it given all of the other bonuses.  In the end, you have to find what fits into your everyday life.  

Much like stored food, if it’s not something you’d use there isn’t a point to having it. For a closing thought, consider 2 Chronicles 15:7: "Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded."



Hello Mr. Rawles,
Regarding the recent blog article Rabbits for a Stable (and Staple) Protein Source, by S.F.D. in West Virginia: I too have chosen meat rabbits to be my SHTF meat source. Raising, butchering, and of course eating domestic rabbit has become a great learning experience for myself and my family. The one problem I foresee is providing food for my rabbits. But one possibility, of which I have a friend who has much success with, is growing a substantial plot of dandelion. My friend from northern Maine has a 90 foot-long plot of dandelion which he harvests and then dries for the winter. I'm thinking if space isn't an issue, for either planting or storing the dried product, this is going to be one of the easier routes to take.  
Thanks for all you do, - J.K.



Mr. Rawles,

Regarding your big listing of American-made tools: For 30+ years I was a devotee of CeeTee pliers because they were the best.  Alas, like many, they are no longer American made.  Even 25 years ago, I noticed that the then-new CeeTee pliers were not as heavily made as the pair I had purchased in 1971.
 
A few months ago, I was bemoaning the state of CeeTee pliers to a friend that works in a hardware store.  He set me onto his favorite pliers (like me, he had been a CeeTee devotee):  The pliers are from Wilde Tools.
 
These hand tools are all 100% American made, produced in Hiawatha, Kansas.  They are heavy-duty and have a Lifetime Guarantee. Explore their web site.  Get at least a pair of their “regular” pliers.  I’ve only had mine a few months, but I love them! I cannot recommend these highly enough.
 
Keep up the great work with the blog! - Doug P.





Another big solar coronal mass ejection (CME) occurred on August 20th. Luckily, this one was not pointed directly toward Earth. Next time, we may not be so lucky. (It could be like the 1859 solar storm.) Are you ready to hunker down for months or years without grid power? Get ready, folks!

   o o o

Raising Mealworms for Chicken Food

   o o o

Glock 17 and Glock 19 owners, take note: If you are looking for pouches that will fit 33 round Glock magazines, SurvivalBlog reader Jeff S. recommends using the 1980s/1990s vintage (ALICE era) flashlight holder pouches that were commercially made to fit the traditional military angle head flashlights. Jeff says that these pouches will hold a pair of 33 round Glock magazines quite nicely. These flashlight pouches can be found in both Olive Drab and Woodland camouflage pattern at many military surplus stores. They come with ALICE clips, but can be easily adapted to newer MOLLE gear, either by home-improvised modifications, or the factory-made "ALICE to MOLLE" adapters.

   o o o

Michael Z. Williamson (SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large) recommended this: Do Not Link allows you to ethically criticize bad content

   o o o

Mike M. sent some us news from Nanny State North: Apparently folks in Nova Scotia must now word their e-mails and text message very carefully, under an Orwellian new law. (Thanks to M.S. for the news tip.)

   o o o

After a brief outage caused by a technical glitch, Ready Made Resources reports that their web site is now back on line.



"Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one's life." - Novelist Kate Chopin


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I was saddened to hear that bestselling novelist Vince Flynn passed away at age 47 after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. My condolences to his wife and three children. His novel Term Limits was fantastic.

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I heard from Ready Made Resources that during the upgrade of their web site that they had a technical glitch which sidelined their site. It should be back up with 24 hours. If you have any questions, you can call them at (800) 627-3809. (They are taking orders by phone, even during the web outage.)

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Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



Triple-decker mint brownies are one of my favorite treats.  The base is a thick, chewy brownie.  Next, a layer of green mint filling is spread on the brownie which is then topped off with a thin layer of creamy, chocolate glaze.  When I think of these delicious brownies I think of prepping.  The thick, chewy brownie on the bottom represents the base of my preps.  This is long term, shelf stable food, water, security, sanitation, first aid, communications, and all the other things which are the foundation of being prepared.  This is by far the largest layer.  The mint layer represents bug out bags, bug out vehicles, and mobile preps.  It’s a smaller layer, yet very important to the overall composition of the entire “brownie”.  The thin layer on top is everyday preps or a get home bag.  All three layers work together to create a yummy dessert or a complete preparedness plan that all work together now and will meet the needs of my family down the road.  The brownies wouldn’t be complete without the chocolate glaze on top.  Prepping for everyday (small) emergencies is important and can help me get ready for larger, more complex emergencies.

The foundation preps are a constant work in progress.  I’m regularly thinking about, making lists of, shopping for, and organizing my basic preps. Long term preps are strictly stored and earmarked for family (or group) use only. My bug out bag is packed and ready to go in the closet near the front door. Bug out bags are for the family, but may also be shared with others, if the situation calls for it.  I can’t store my bug out bag in the car because of the heat.  Many items would be ruined in a very short time.  This leaves me without anything to grab and go with at work.  I primarily work at a school, which doesn’t have an appropriate place to store a bug out bag.  Another layer of preparedness is necessary to complete my overall plan. My solution is a small get home bag located inside my purse.  A get home bag is, of course, for my use, but seems to be more about assisting people whenever I can.  Looking for opportunities to help others daily, and having the supplies to do so, helps me prepare mentally for all sorts of more intense challenges that may come my way.
 My large, oversized purse (can also be a messenger bag, small backpack, or a computer bag for guys) holds numerous supplies and is with me all the time.  The bag has a long shoulder strap which can be worn across the body and the bag carried in front or back.  There are pockets on the outside to hold my phone, my keys (three different sets), and pens.  It’s hard to find these items in the bottom of the bag because my purse is so large and so full.  I may need to get to these items quickly.  I always shop carefully to find the right purse.  I also carry a book bag filled with classroom supplies, so I get plenty of exercise lifting all my gear.  Here are some of the important items that are with me all the time:

*Water bottle filled with water - In a hot climate it can burn your mouth if left outside for too long, so be careful!  In Arizona water is always your first priority, no matter where you’re going.
* Cell phone – for obvious reasons.
* Keys – can be laced between the fingers and used to strike an assailant, if necessary.  It’s good to carry keys this way, especially if walking at night.
* Camera – if you have a good one on your cell phone, then you don’t really need a separate camera, but I like mine – it’s small – and I have photos of family members on it in case I need them for identification purposes.  This is good to have in case of an accident – take photos to help remember details.
* Money – “In an emergency, cash is king.”  Sometimes students need lunch money – not necessarily an emergency.
* Snacks – no melty stuff - just *nuts, granola bars, crackers, fruit snacks, jerky, gum, mints, etc. 
*Nuts can be tricky – some classrooms have posted nut-free zone signs for students with allergies (most of these students carry Epi-pens with them).  I go easy on nuts during school.
* Scissors – I use scissors every day – in my kitchen, in the garden, at school and for sewing - to name just a few.  They are one of the best inventions ever made!  Students ask to borrow my scissors all the time because they know I always have a pair.  This small (3” blade), but sharp pair, is the closest thing to a weapon that I can carry at school, since it’s a weapon-free zone.  (My bug out bag contains a Swiss army knife and a Leatherman tool which I could quickly retrieve and put in my purse on the way out the door, if conditions require it.)
* Small pliers – another great tool.  I’ve rescued kids who were trapped inside jackets with broken zippers with these babies!
* Small sewing kit – made from an Altoids box with at least two needles threaded – one black and one white for quick fixes.  I also like Hi-Mark thread and dental floss for heavy duty repairs.  Include lots of safety pins.
* Small screwdriver – Try to find one small enough to fit in the sewing kit (mine is from an old sewing machine).  These are great for fixing broken desk legs, computer carts, hinges, etc.  It beats calling the maintenance man and waiting.  If the screwdriver is small enough, it can be used on tiny eyeglass screws.
* Small first aid kit – this needs to be larger than an Altoids tin so it can hold large Band-Aids, dressings, antiseptic, gloves, and tape.  I have an even larger first aid kit that I keep in the school supply cupboard (inside a lunch box), which I can grab on my way out the door.  You can never have too many first aid supplies!
* Hat with a brim in front to keep the sun off of my face (a folded baseball cap works well).  In the winter I replace the hat with my “driving gloves”.  Warm hands and feet are a must when walking.
* Small case that contains sun block, Chap Stick (SPF 30 or higher or the medicated kind for burned lips), toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss (great for sewing up ripped backpacks), mirror (for signaling or starting a fire), nail clippers, Motrin, Tums, Pepto-Bismol, cough drops, etc.
* Kleenex – T.P. substitute/Hand sanitizer
* Small flashlights - several types, including bite lights (hands-free, small lights that are held in the mouth and the light follows wherever you look.  These are great for a small area, when you don’t want a bright light to call attention to where you are).  I also carry a small LED flashlight which will let everyone and their neighbors know where you are!
* Bandana – If someone is hurt, a bandana can be placed on the ground to prevent burning while the person is lying down (hopefully in the shade).  Also used for applying pressure to heavily bleeding lacerations or used as a wash rag.  Our family has color coded bandanas, which could be tied to a street sign to signal that a message has been left.  (See Post-its)
* Book or Kindle – books can be burned, but only for survival purposes (I would rather read them than burn them).
* Large Super Sticky Post-its – if I need to write a message, I can stick it on a smooth surface and hopefully it won’t blow away.  I also carry a large assortment of writing instruments.
* Map – a laminated, blown up map of the neighborhood with various routes home highlighted.  This is a half sheet of card stock, so it’s not too large.  More complete maps live in my BOB, again, this is just to get me home.
* Spare eyeglasses – when I get new glasses, the old ones get spread around to my purse, my BOB, a box of spare glasses on the emergency shelf, and so on. (Theodore Roosevelt packed 12 pair of glasses when traveling to Panama while the canal was being built.  He was prepared!)
* Large Ziploc bags – at least gallon size.  Can be used for wet or throw-up items.  At school, you always need to be prepared for throw-up!
* Paper clips – can be used to pick locks, fish things out of small spaces, and fix cars!  One day my car wouldn’t start and I used a paper clip (and my screwdriver) to tighten the clip around the solenoid of the battery.  It worked perfectly!
* Sweater or jacket – I usually have one with me or leave one at school, especially during the hot weather because the AC gets too cold in some rooms where I can’t adjust the thermostat.  This can also be used as a ground cover.

This list doesn’t include some personal items, plus I add a few more goodies to my bag when the school year begins.  It’s great to be prepared for everyday emergencies like nose bleeds, cuts, lost pencils, “starving” students, students that throw up, ripped backpacks, ripped clothing, and so on.  I’m often asked to help individuals with problems at school or I’ll take home a project that needs attention.  I try to do one “Good Samaritan” deed each day.  I might stay with a student with an injured leg (after they’ve fallen while running across campus) while another student goes to the office to get the nurse and a wheel chair.  I might walk a crying student to class and offer her/him Kleenex and kind words.  I might clean up after a student has a bloody nose (wearing my gloves) or clean up a throw up mess (yes, I’ve done that too – the student didn’t make it to the trash can or outside – also wearing my gloves). 

I rarely get sick because I do a good job with hand washing/sanitizing while at school.  I don’t get flu shots because I don’t like introducing an illness into my body unnecessarily.  Flu shots are a hit and miss proposition anyway.  Only three or four different types of flu virus are given in the vaccination.  The experts try to pick the ones that will be most common that year, however, if they pick the wrong ones and other strains start spreading, many people will still get sick, even if they’ve had a vaccination.  Some years many students miss up to two weeks of school because of flu.  I’ve never had the flu at school, only colds, even when students all around me are “dropping like flies”.  This may have something to do with working around so many germs all the time – I’ve built up some immunity. I have to stay healthy in order to help others.  This is especially important during emergency situations – take care of your own health first, and then be prepared to help others in any way possible.

My home is about a mile from work, so I frequently get dropped off in the morning and walk home in the afternoon.  It normally takes me 20 minutes to walk home (15 minutes if I pick up my pace, and ten if I run).  This gives me a chance to observe things around the neighborhood and learn all I can about my area. Usually, if someone stops to give me a ride, I say, “No, thank you, I need the exercise,” even on 110 degree days!  When I was a child, we had “Helping Hands” in our neighborhood.  Parents who were home during the day, and were willing to help a child in need, placed a poster (provided by the school so they were all the same and “official”) showing an open hand in the front window of their home.  This let children know they could go to them if they ever needed help.  For children who walked (the majority of the students at my elementary school), this gave them a sense of security.  The children mostly walked in groups anyway, rather than alone, which was a safety measure, as well.  Obviously, this wouldn’t work today because the wrong people would put a hand in the window to lure children to their homes.  As I walk home, since I usually walk alone, (there are also students walking at the same time), I mentally picture “helping hands” in the windows of people I know that would assist me if I was ever in need.  I think about their schedules and who’s home during the day in each house.  This is a small mental preparation that I make as I walk.  I hope my friends and neighbors feel the same way about my home – if something dangerous happened on the street, they could turn to me for assistance/refuge.

As I walk home I also try to notice who drives what car, who’s having work done in their yards, people around the neighborhood, areas that could be used for concealment, and so forth.  The HOA in my community maintains green belts with walking/riding paths and water features.  These green belts are part of several different routes home, including cut offs between houses and behind backyard fences.  The water in the green belt “lakes” is pumped in from the local water treatment plant.  I could filter or boil this effluent water if I ever needed to drink it. (I need to add a small filter and an enamelware cup to my bag for boiling water.)  Knowing where cacti are located is also important.  Pushing someone (who’s an unsuspecting threat) into a cactus is a quick way to cause pain and help them lose their focus.  Then I would run!
You would think that I don’t need much in a get home bag, living so close to work.  If something happened in the neighborhood, however, and I had to take a different route home or got stranded, this would be a great help to me and others.  Even during a fire drill (which we have every month) I take my bag with me.  I just never know when I’m going to need it.  There are many times when having extra “stuff” is a blessing.  Here are a few examples:   

Lockdown drills and actual lockdowns happen every year at school.  This can mean two hours of tense students worrying about something bad coming through the doors.  I tried to stay calm and reassure the students as much as possible and kept trying to call the front office for further instructions.  I also spent those two hours walking back and forth between the two doors thinking about what my response would be to gunmen or other threats.  I hovered around the students, making sure they were doing alright.  I was responsible for those children.   What would I do?  Many scenarios went through my mind.  It was a wake up call!  This was a chance for me to test my mettle.  Was I willing to sacrifice my life for that of a student?  I also wished for more items in my bag to pass out to distract the students (I didn’t carry as much “stuff” back then). (I won’t share the decisions I came to and things I pondered that day, because they are personal and each individual must find their own moral road.)  You can’t positively know how you’ll react in a dangerous situation until you’re actually in it, but thinking through various scenarios can help mental preparation.  The class was never in danger, but we didn’t know it at the time.  Later on, I found out that the SRO (School Resource Officer), wearing his bulletproof vest, fully armed, was on duty in the courtyard, right outside the classroom, the entire time the lockdown was going on, but the office didn’t let us know.  Just a little communication would have saved us a lot of worry and stress.

Contrast that to a more recent lockdown which lasted about 45 minutes near the end of the school day.  Changes have been made to lockdown procedures and supplies since the previously mentioned lockdown. A “Go Bucket” and a case of water bottles are now stored in each classroom (although the water bottles seem to disappear, the “Go Buckets” never do).  The buckets have an inventory list and instructions on the front – to be used only if necessary – and placed outside the classroom door after the lockdown or lockdown drill is completed (call the office, request a new bucket, and they will pick up the used one). On this day the students quietly drew pictures, read, did homework or slept on the floor until the lockdown was over.  After the lockdown was announced, the office communicated with the classroom via e-mail and kept everyone up to speed.  I was more prepped and ready as well, with lots of items in my bag to pass out, if necessary, and a calm attitude about the situation.  Shortly after the lockdown was over, the students were dismissed for the day.
 I had a problem, however, because I was walking and a news helicopter was hovering right over my path home.  A shooting had taken place, but other than that I had no information about the situation.  Was it safe?  I wasn’t sure (although the students were released), so I called for a ride home.  Had I not been able to get a ride, I would have walked right by the crime scene tape and dozens of police officers and news reporters!  I really wouldn’t have done that because I’m a prepper – right – and I would’ve taken one of my alternate routes home, away from the crime scene or stopped by a “helping hand” home of a friend.  The street where the crime took place was taped off for several days.  The situation was a domestic disturbance in which multiple people, including a child, lost their lives.  I thought about the neighbors who lived next door and down the street that couldn’t get back into their homes for at least two days.  I thought about living someplace else when society comes crashing down (I really hope I’m elsewhere by then).  I thought about my bag and not going home for several days.  I would be fine, with the exception of clean clothes and deodorant.  As long as I could touch base with all family members and account for everyone, then I would be okay with temporarily finding another place to stay, even without a BOB.  In addition to the shooting, dangerous chemicals were found stored in the backyard when the house was searched.  Another day of yellow tape was needed while the Hazmat team removed the materials.  The chemicals were stored next to a cinder block wall which was next to the green belt where many people and their pets walk and run (including me).  I had no idea it was so close to a public area.  This lockdown and crisis in a neighborhood adjacent to mine helped me to be more alert, more vigilant as I traveled through my community.  It was another (different kind of) wake up call.

Getting home from my secondary job is more complex.  Its located 25 minutes from my home by car on a college campus.  My first prepping priority is to make sure my car’s in good shape every time I travel to this job – full gas tank, tires fully inflated, oil changed & maintenance up to date, Justin Case (holds jumper cables, air compressor, and other emergency gear) in the trunk, etc.  If I could drive even part way home from this location during an emergency, it would be wonderful.  If I had to walk all the way home, it would take me two days.  I don’t carry a purse to this job because security isn’t great.  I do carry a tote bag with water, snacks, a magazine or sewing project, my pouch with my toothbrush in it, and spare bite lights/flashlights in the bottom.  If this gets stolen it’s not a big deal.  I can buy more water and snacks from the vending machine and I could “borrow” items from the first aid kit on the premises, if needed.  All personal items are carried on me (ID, money, keys, etc.).  I also wear a work apron that contains a sewing kit, Altoids, Chap Stick, phone, camera (sometimes), Kleenex, scissors, pliers, screw driver, Band aids, Sharpie, pen, Post-its, hand sanitizer, and bite lights.  I can’t carry as many preps because of the size of the apron. It’s very full as it is.  Another difficulty is the time.  I usually get finished with work around 10:30 p.m., so if something happened, I may have a hard time contacting people for help – they may be asleep.  I wear all black when I work this job, so I would blend in with my surroundings while walking at night, but there are some unfriendly, unfamiliar neighborhoods adjacent to the university.  I wear good shoes to this job since the cement floors are hard to stand on for long without supportive footwear.  My feet would be protected and I always carry a black hoodie, as well, so I would have another layer of “shelter” (clothing is considered shelter).   I only have one “Helping Hand” location on this long walk home.  I have keys to my sister’s place, which is on one of my possible routes home.  Other than that, this could be a long two days of travel and danger.   I only work this job ten to 15 weeks per year.  This (thankfully) limits my time in this location.  The extra money is nice, however, it lets me get items on my prepping list, pay outstanding debts, and invest in silver.  At this point, I’m not inclined to give up this job, but I need to work on some additional strategies for being safe in an emergency situation while I’m there.  Even if my car was inoperable, if I put some extra supplies in my trunk (just for a week at a time, so they wouldn’t be ruined), I could possibly get to them to help me get home.  I don’t think being on a college campus during an upheaval is a great idea.  I would try to leave as soon as possible, or at a minimum, walk to the police station (on campus) down the street.  Even during normal activities, like football games or graduation, there are so many people in one small area that chances of something happening are high.

Preparedness really is a layered process, just like great brownies.  Adding something to one of the prepping layers (long term/bug out/daily) makes a difference.  Sometimes, I get bogged down thinking I’ve done too little or I’m not prepared enough.  I stop myself from thinking this way by doing at least one preparedness task each day.  It could be as simple as thinking about prepping or adding an item to one of my lists (ear plugs were added recently) or looking through my preparedness binder for ideas or cleaning out a soda bottle and filling it with water or exercising (running) or practicing building a fire with one of the 17 different methods on my fire list.  (A recent favorite is a soda can with melted chocolate spread around the bottom edge and angled an inch from the kindling to start a blaze.  What better materials can be used to start a fire in Arizona in the summer than melted chocolate and an old soda can?  I can easily locate these materials.)  Action helps me think clearly and plan my next step.  All the little things I’ve done don’t seem like much, but when put together, they add up.  One of my favorite sayings is, “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”  Prepping is absolutely greater than the sum of all the things you put together because you also gain experience and knowledge as you assemble your gear and test it out.
 
A drop of water doesn’t seem like much, but keep collecting drops and eventually you’ll have a bucket full of water, and that is something!  Every time I prep I’m adding a drop of water to my survival bucket.  Daily preps and get home bags may seem insignificant, but they are really important because they help me practice for what’s coming on a regular basis.  I need this reinforcement – both mentally and physically.  Get home bags are the important first step in a layered prepping strategy, or if I’m thinking of those brownies again, each layer of the brownie treat is okay by itself, but not unforgettable.  After all, would you like to eat a boring brownie or enjoy an outstanding, triple-decker dessert? I want fabulous, outstanding, multi-layered preps, so I’ll keep working on each layer, starting with my purse.



JWR,
Thanks so much for your invaluable blog.  I’ve been reading with interest all of the checklists on what to include when bugging out.  But I’ll be 70 years old on my next birthday in January.  So even 40 lbs. on my back is too much for me to travel very far.  That limits what I can carry and how long I can stay viable.  Then I remembered when I was camping in the mountains of eastern Oregon, I saw what some hunters brought with them to bring back their deer.  It was a home made single wheel cart using a bicycle wheel with a frame above that held a sheet of plywood smaller than 4X8 feet.  It was able to go on almost any trail and could haul one or two hundred pounds with relative ease.  In this way, you could bug out and still bring almost everything you need for an extended period of time, not just a week or two, if there was a source of water that could be purified.  I hope this suggestion is helpful for you and your readers. - Cary T.

JWR Replies: I don't recommend a "bugging out" strategy for urbanites or suburbanites of any age, unless you already have a prepared retreat that is well-stocked.  Unless you have a very large truck, there is simply no way that you can get your family and everything that they will need out of town in just one trip.   Travel light, and travel fast (ahead of the herd.)   98% of what you need should already be waiting at your destination.

Deer carts and similar devices should indeed be considered, but reserve them for a worst case "Plan B."



Hello James,
One item that is often overlooked in preparing for a collapse situation - where hair and beards can grow long and so can the interval between showers, is the humble nit and lice comb.
So take a look at the Shantys nit and lice comb, and watch their video. (I have no connection whatsoever with this company)
 
Best Regards, - Andre D.

JWR Replies: Reviewing the history of the 20th Century, one could summarize: "War is hell, but it is also lousy." Whenever people live in close confines, the spread of lice increases dramatically. Just imagine your household, after The Crunch, with an extra 10 or 12 relatives and friends sleeping on the floor. That would be the ideal breeding ground for lice. So Andre's point is well taken!



A new CATO Institute study found that a mother in New York State with two children is eligible for $38,004 in welfare benefits--which is greater than the annual salary of a first-year New York school teacher. Note where Idaho falls in the benefits spectrum. (Idaho certainly can't be faulted for "encouraging multi-generational dependency." (Thanks to John in Washington for the link.)

G.G. sent: $2,001,093,000,000: Fed’s Ownership of U.S. Debt Breaks $2Trillion for First Time.

Items from The Economatrix:

Stars Aligned For "Serious" Stock Correction

Dave Hodges:  Escape From Wall Street

Cramer:  Giant Reset Looming For Markets



Colorado Counties Vote on Forming a New State. (If they are successful, I will certainly expand the American Redoubt!)

   o o o

Anyone who owns a 26.5mm flare gun (either a flare pistol or one of the big RV-85 shoulder-fired flare launchers) should consider getting one of these new ATF-approved goodies: Sub-Caliber Device for .45 Colt or .410 shotshells. Kennesaw Cannon also makes one that shoots .22LR. (Of course consult your state and local laws before ordering either model.) These inserts are sold by a number of Internet/mailorder firms, including Cheaper Than Dirt.

   o o o

Maine Bill Would Require “Voluntary” Checks for Private Gun Sales.

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Andre D. sent: The BBC says anyone who accuses it of bias – is biased

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The surprising ages of the Founding Fathers on July 4, 1776



"A man is a worker.  If he is not that he is nothing." - Joseph Conrad, Notes On Life And Letters, 1921, Part II, "Well Done"


Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Happy birthday to former Congressman Ron Paul. (Born 1935.) I commend Dr. Paul for fighting the good fight for so many years.

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Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).



All sources of preparedness information stress the importance of water. Without water everything else is put at risk. You cannot drink bullets, beans do not have a lot of moisture and sucking on a bandage will not help.

The ideal situation is to have some form of safe running water on your property. But what if you don't? Hopefully you have a well, but if your electric goes out your pump will not work. A hand pump will work, but it takes a lot of energy to get that water, and then you have the situation of Operational Security (OPSEC) while you are pumping that water and hauling it to the house.

About a year ago I started seriously investigating an alternative source of water. I looked at hand pumps but at my age of 70 that did not seem a practical solution. I also looked at windmills. In our area of the country windmills are a viable option and have been used successfully for years. But the location of our well is very close to the house and with the trees around here I did not believe that was our solution. If you have a well and the wind conditions, a windmill is something to consider. The costs are about the same as a solar system with less maintenance costs. Around the country there are windmills that have been pumping water for 40 or 50 years. Literally millions of head of cattle are provided water every day by windmills, and they are not the great big windmills being used today to generate electricity.

After much research we decided that for us the solution was a Solar Powered water pumping system. 

In our situation we live on top of a hill, there is no running water on our property or even nearby. But we do have an 180 foot deep drilled well. This works fine most of the time. But after one 500 year flood that wiped out electricity for many days, and tore out most water lines around the area, that got us thinking. The flood was so bad that it flooded the electric substation to a depth of 10 ft. All roads in every direction from our house were under water for a period of time. We live 10 miles from a small rural city and have the availability of city water, but do not use it. Our two closest neighbors are on city water and we were able to help them out because of our well and a generator. I called the local water department and asked if they had generator back up to be able to run the system and pump water, they do not. Most smaller cities do not have generator back up for their water systems.

 Then add in three tornados that happened in the area that wiped out electricity, we got to worrying. One tornado touched down just a quarter of a mile from our house and wiped out all electrical systems (including ours)  for about 6 miles. The second tornado touched down close to our sons house and wiped out 30 large trees on his property but luckily he house was not damaged. But it tore out the same electrical system as the first storm.

All of this was in a four year period, and we live in an area that has not been known to be flood prone or tornado prone in the south. Things can happen anytime and anywhere.

Recently I pulled the 220 volt AC (VAC) pump out of the well and installed a solar system that consists of a 1000 gal. approved plastic water tank partially buried, solar panels, two pumps and the control equipment necessary.

The water tank is 7 ft tall and has a diameter of 5 ft. We dug a hole two and 1/2 ft deep and 6 and 1/2 ft in diameter. This  had two purposes, the first to get the bottom of the tank below the freeze line and second to put the top of the tank at a height that will allow me to look down into the tank for inspection purposes. I put in a 6 in layer of fine sand for the tank to sit on and made sure it was level and well compacted before putting the tank in the hole. After installing the tank I filled in around the tank with fine sand. We installed the 2ö water outlet of the tank 4 inches above the bottom of the tank so that any sediment that might be pumped into the tank would settle and we would not be pulling that into the pumping system. The inlet to the tank is installed above the maximum water height of the tank so that when filling air would be introduced into the water on a continuing basis. We also installed a float switch in the tank that automatically shuts off the pump when the tank is full and adjusted it so the pump comes on after 100 gallons of  water has been pumped out.

 I also built a 10 ft by 12 ft building over the well head after putting the tank in the ground. After the building was finished the top of the water tank  is four ft. above the floor. This gave me a place to put the solar panels very close to where they would be used and also the equipment is all inside and out of the weather. We insulated the building in order to minimize the freezing potential. The 1,000 gal water tank is refreshed with 56 degree water from our well and will go a long way to keeping the building above freezing in most weather conditions here. With the 10 by 12 ft building I have enough roof space left to add six more solar panels in the future to bring some solar power into the house.

Our system is a two stage system. The Solar well pump is at 180 ft depth. That pump, actually pumps 1 gallon per minute into our 1000 gal storage tank. I know that does not sound like much, but over an eight hour day that is 480 gallons of water.  The pump is not on a battery system it is controlled by the sun, when the sun shines the pump is working. It even pumps a little bit of water when it is cloudy. I installed a float switch on the pump, so that when the tank is full it stops the pump. As it turns out we had a day that was cloudy all day and the water level was down to the point that the pump came on, by the end of the day the tank was again full, even with our water usage and no sun to speak of.

Solar systems are standard in 12 volt DC (VDC) and 24 VDC with some available in 48 VDC. The general rule of thumb is the higher the voltage the less the amperage draw. I elected to go with the 24 VDC system. This required two 12V batteries hooked up in series to provide the 24V backup for the pressure pump. The pump runs on 24 volts which draws less power than the 12V pump would, and the battery power lasts twice as long in a no sun situation. By opting for a 24 volt system the wiring was simpler.

The second stage of the system is an additional solar panel that charges two deep cycle large batteries, purchased from our local auto parts store. This powers the pressure pump that supplies normal water pressure to the house. Our water pressure to the house is the same as it was on the old pump and the volume is also the same. Our old system had a pressure tank in the basement, I installed a second pressure tank in the well house, this keeps the pump from kicking on so often.

I have tested the pressure pump system by disconnecting the power source and letting the system run on just the batteries with no charging. After five days the batteries still had more than half a charge. So I am confident that during a cloudy rainy period the water system will still work. Even on cloudy or partially cloudy days there is some charging going on.

We measured our water usage over a two week period of time, using our normal living pattern. We did not try to conserve water during this period. Our average usage of water was 80 gallons per day. The 1000 gallon tank would provide about eleven days of water if we had no sun, and more than twice that time if we were in a disaster situation as we would be conserving water.

When I first started investigating this project, all of the information seemed a bit overwhelming. I got a book titled Solar Electricity Handbook. (Mine is the 2012 edition, bit there is now a 2013 edition available.) It is written in plain English and easy to understand. I also got on the internet and searched for information and called many suppliers and manufacturers of equipment. Most of the suppliers were able to email me their installation manuals and spec sheets before I bought anything.  After all of that it made more sense and was really not that difficult to come up with a plan. I have a tendency to overbuild on projects, that's just me. In designing this system I increased the solar capacity by about 25% to give me some extra supply in the winter when the sun is in a different position and the days are shorter. After one year, we will evaluate the situation and I will look into adding some low voltage lighting to the system.

In a project like this you need accurate information whether it is a do it yourself project or a contract project. Solar energy for home use is a somewhat new technology and there are a lot of people out there that claim knowledge but really don't have that knowledge. Do your homework before hand and it will save you problems in the future. In evaluating this project I selected products that have good ratings and a history. In estimating your solar power needs it is important to remember that your pumps will only be running for short periods of time each day, so you may not need as much power as you think.

When planning a solar project it is very important to take into consideration sun and shade. The solar panels must face a southerly direction. I set up a wooden panel over the well when I started this project to see exactly where the sun would hit the building, for how long during the day and how the nearby trees would interfere with the solar panels. This resulted in some tree trimming that in my particular situation will be required about every two years. This is not a big project for me, it can be done with a pole saw from the ground. Shade is a killer for a solar system, so plan accordingly. Before you start make sure that trees or buildings will not be a problem. If they are you can move the system to another location and just have a little more plumbing work to do. Depending on your situation it may be a better idea to remove a couple of trees, you have to judge for yourself.

The estimated life of the solar panels I purchased is 20 years. The estimated life of the pumps are 15-20 years and both pumps can be rebuilt. The estimated life of the batteries is five years. I selected batteries that are both deep cycle and deep charge commercial batteries. Even with that the cost was just $100 each. I purchased kits to rebuild both pumps after getting the system up and running. That way I know that I have the parts available instantly, no matter what happens.

This can be a do it yourself project if you are careful, have a little background in plumbing and electrical work. If you don't have the necessary background then you can hire a professional. Before hiring a professional, do your homework so that you do not spend more than you need. My background is in industrial maintenance, where I had to deal with AC and DC power sources,  so that made things easier.

A word of caution is needed here about dealing with DC power. An understanding of electricity both AC and DC is necessary for a do it yourself project. Most people understand that high voltage power lines can kill you. Low voltage can also kill you. Voltage does not really kill, it is the amperage that does the job. A stun gun may have as much as a million volts or more, but just enough amperage to give you a good jolt. Solar panels can put out high levels of amperage. If you do not have the background, get professional help. I have a friend that is an excellent electrician and has the capability to wire industrial systems correctly, but has no experience in DC or solar power. He would not attempt a solar systems without gaining more knowledge on DC power.

We also have 600 gallons of water barrel storage that could be used for flushing toilets etc. The water barrel storage is set up easily catch rain water if necessary. Right now the barrels are filled with our well water and are located where they can easily be reached and if necessary some can be moved into the basement. They are treated with a mild bleach solution and the plan is to empty and refill them on a six month basis.

With the system installed and running successfully we now have peace of mind about our water situation. This also gives us the opportunity to share the water with neighbors when  the need arises, all of them are on city water. I have convinced our next door neighbor to get some water barrels and keep them full. If the need arises I can help refill her water barrels.

We do not have a specific type of disaster we are preparing for. Just any type of disaster, sort term or long term. An EMP is one of those possibilities. So I purchased additional solar controllers for the system. These items are kept in our small Faraday Cage container along with an emergency radio, hand-held short wave radio, laptop computer so that I can even refer to the SurvivalBlog Archive DVD when necessary.

I ended up purchasing all of the solar equipment, including the pumps from Northern Arizona Wind & Sun, Inc. The reason being is that they were knowledgeable, helpful and spent a lot of time answering my questions and making suggestions. There were able to provide instruction manuals before I purchased anything. I am not in anyway connected with this company, I was impressed with the service and quality of information provided.

We will give this project some more time to make sure it works as planned, then I plan to add to the system to provide solar power to two freezers and one refrigerator with a few low voltage lights thrown in for good measure. For anyone that has been without power for a few days, you know what  pain it is to keep food cold or frozen with a generator, that needs gasoline that you might not be able to obtain.

As a side note: I hired a local person to build the well house. Turns out that as a child he grew up on this very property. He lived in a house that was on the back of our property which has since burned down. He related to me that his grandfather lived two doors down and seemed to be somewhat eccentric as he was a prepper before there was such a thing. He generated his own electric by means of a windmill and had battery storage in his basement. He had a 500 gallon underground gasoline tank, a water well with pump that was powered by the electricity generated by the windmill. He was also an avid hunter and fisherman.  Had a large garden and they canned most of what they got out of the garden. When he retired 25 years ago he sold the place and moved to Montana to be self sufficient. What did this man know that we are just learning?



Hello Mr. Rawles,
Some thoughts on the recent post on Pulse and Glide driving (PGD), taking for granted that safety is always more important than fuel economy, and not considering any survivalist aspects:

I don't doubt the core claim made by Steven B. - that his use of PGD has reduced his fuel consumption. I am, however, skeptical about some of the other statements made in support. I note that while my comments are
based on my experience as an engineer and physicist, I have not done any tests of PGD versus other driving styles. If an actual automotive engineer writes in, please trust them and ignore me!

Disengaging the transmission and letting the engine idle while the car coasts is not necessarily the best advice. The fuel control system in a modern car does "cutoff on overrun." It will not open the fuel injectors
at all if it thinks that the car is "driving the engine". In this case letting the engine idle will increase fuel consumption since the engine must now burn fuel to avoid stalling. Exactly how modern the car must be
varies with manufacturer, but I would expect a 2008 vintage car to have this feature. Your car manufacturer can tell you, or you might be able to find out yourself with one of the myriad diagnostic port readers on
the market.

If you have cutoff on overrun the best thing to do on a downgrade is leave the transmission engaged. The fuel consumption will be reduced as the power from the descent replaces the power from the fuel. On all but
the mildest downgrade the descent will provide more power than necessary to idle the engine, fuel consumption will drop to zero, and you will have to use the brakes slightly to prevent picking up speed.

When using PGD on level ground the utility of cutoff on overrun is less clear. With the transmission engaged during the glide (and your foot off the gas!) the fuel consumption will still be zero, but the car will decelerate faster, making the next pulse come sooner, meaning more pulses and thus higher fuel consumption per trip. This would be interesting to test, if I could spare a few weeks and tanks (fuel here is about $ 9 USD per gallon). When approaching stop signs, lights, etc. you should have the transmission engaged to get the zero fuel consumption. There might be no reason to burn more fuel than at idle, but there is a
reason to burn less!

As you point out in there is a minor safety issue in having the transmission disengaged and thus being unable to quickly accelerate out of danger, though I can count on one finger the number of times I've had
to do this in twenty years of driving.

The advice to go easy on the brake pedal is spot on - brakes "throw away" the car's energy rather than using it to overcome drag or climb hills. In the long term the energy has to come from the fuel, so every
bit of braking is burning a tiny bit of fuel for no reason.

The advice to avoid engine braking is less well founded. Engine braking is exactly what's needed to activate cutoff on overrun (assuming the car can do it). And while it's certainly more stressful than idling it's
still a very small stress compared to acceleration. As Steven states, engine braking is not an effective (i.e. quick) way to slow down, and mild deceleration means mild stress. Compare any car's 0-60 time with
its 60-0 time using purely engine braking - the engine's working far harder during acceleration.

The advice on drag is correct, though the term should be "parasitic" drag. This point is actually the most important, and deserves to be at the top. For a given car with a fixed body shape and fixed accessory load (e.g. air conditioning) the biggest contribution to fuel consumption is drag a.k.a. air resistance. At city speeds it's a major component of the total fuel use. At highway speeds it's overwhelmingly the greatest.

If drag reduction is number one then load reduction is number two, and Steven's advice here is good. Air conditioning ("aircon") is likely the largest load and keeping it off will reduce fuel consumption but if you then open the
windows to keep cool the increased drag may negate the savings. Another interesting thing to test.

Headlights are a much smaller load than aircon, but you just might detect an improvement from keeping them off. Other electrical loads tend to be things you can't usefully and/or safely turn off, like fuel pumps,
power steering pumps, demisters, etc.

Not mentioned is the importance of keeping your tire pressure correct which I would rank number three, though the fuel consumption change between "correct" and "dangerously underinflated" is probably less than 5%.

The use of high octane a.k.a. premium fuel is debatable. On one hand modern engine control systems are smart enough to adjust the fueling and ignition to avoid knocking with whatever fuel they're using (within
reasonable limits!) On the other hand "premium" fuel here does not have the 5% ethanol that the regular does, which could create the appearance that "high octane" provides better range despite octane rating having
nothing to do with it. For what it's worth I follow Steven's advice - burn the cheapest fuel you can find that doesn't knock.

Regarding the core claim: I suspect the reason PGD is giving reduced fuel consumption is nothing to do with pulsing, gliding, idling, braking, or anything like that. I suspect it's simply that PGD results in a lower average speed. If a safe speed is (say) 60 mph, then driving normally you'll likely stick close to that, and maintain an average speed of 60 mph. If you repeatedly pulse to 60 mph then glide to 50 mph your average speed is somewhere around 54 mph.

54 mph is 90% of the non-PGD average speed. Since drag force is roughly proportional to speed squared, the average drag force is now 90% squared i.e. 81%. Since power required is roughly proportional to force
multiplied by speed the average power consumption is down to around 73% (81% force by 90% speed). In the long term power can only come from fuel, so power consumption is fuel consumption. These numbers are not perfect, but I think they're close enough to explain the observed 25% saving. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has compared driving with PGD, then normal driving at the same average speed, say for a month of each style.

My thanks to Steven for an interesting letter, and to you for SurvivalBlog. - Ross E.

 

James:
Sorry, but I have to take exception with Steven B. and his use of this technique of PGD (Pulse and Glide) on public roads that must be shared with others.
 
I have seen this “technique” in use on the roadways here in Florida and while I never knew it had a name, it doesn’t surprise me. I always have thought of people using this driving “skill set” as the problem drivers or more commonly as “That A**hole”.
 
What you are doing is extremely dangerous to others moving at constant speeds and your sanctimonious technique of slowing down then suddenly speeding up, will inevitable causes someone to have to make an evasive maneuver or slam on their brakes because they were accelerating to get around you and your indecisiveness in not maintaining a more normal and acceptable speed.
 
In short you will be the cause of road rage in others.
 
I would suggest that you may want to rethink this dangerous practice – frankly it is likely to get you pushed into a ditch or shot in the event that you cross paths and upset someone of with a short fuse – especially in a SHTF or bug out situation. - G.W.



If population density is proportional to relative safety in a societal collapse, then the American Redoubt would fare very well. Note that around 90% of Oregon 's population and 80% of Washington's population is west of the Cascades, which means outside of the Redoubt. If they were considered separate states (as they really should be), Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon would probably be ranked just above and just below Idaho. Here is the big picture. (That map also makes it clear why I picked the Four Corners Region as one of the locales for "Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse".) Overall, the Redoubt is quite safe, although the earthquake risk is moderate, so it is best to build with highly earthquake resilient architecture.

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I heard about a small but quickly growing company in Bozeman, Montana: Harrison Gear. They make quite innovative AR-15/M4 and Ruger 10/22 muzzle brakes and are developing a line of 80% complete (no-FFL required) receivers.

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Steve N. suggested repeating this link: This Amazing Map Shows Every Person in America: Segregation, diversity, and clustering become very clear when every human becomes a dot. This map makes it clear that some sections are quite homogeneous. While I abhor racism, the zoomable version of this map might be useful in selecting a low population density region where you could find a retreat. (Hint: One of the biggest blank patches on the map is The American Redoubt, and the adjoining Northern Plains states.)

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Wolf advocates post how-to manual for saboteurs. (BTW, in my corner of The Redoubt the only "Earth First" bumper stickers and T-shirts that we see are parody shirts that have a second line that says: "We'll Log The Other Planets Later.")

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10,000 homes threatened as Idaho wildfire spreads to 92,000 acres





Yesterday I mentioned needing Anderson Power Pole adapters for cigarette lighter plugs and jacks. Several readers promptly wrote to tell me about two companies that already make them: Quicksilver Radio and Powerwerx. (The latter has a huge variety of DC power products.)

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Here is a small company in Huntersville, North Carolina that was started by a retired Navy man who is now a Christian missionary, to help with his retirement: ThriftyPrepperMall.com

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While doing some research for my now nearly complete "Rawles on Tools" book (for Penguin Books, scheduled for release in May in 2013), I ran across a hardened steel wire draw plate that is much more versatile than my old 32-hole plate. This one has 80 holes. If you aren't familiar with these, they are used for resizing wire. Jewelers use these a lot, but they are also surprisingly useful in a home workshop. These are also made with square, triangular, and half-round holes--which is mainly of interest to jewelers, but useful also for some hobbyists, like model train builders.

   o o o

Mike H. sent news of seven recent bear attacks in Michigan, Alaska, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho. (Be careful out there! And carry pepper spray, lead spray, or both)

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This company's custom hidden doors are "spendy", but their web site provides some great ideas for skilled home carpenters.



"A system of capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank. Capitalism cherishes voluntary contracts and interest rates that are determined by savings, not credit creation by a central bank. It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking." - Former Congressman Dr. Ron Paul


Monday, August 19, 2013


Camping Survival's Wise Foods and Berkey water filter bundle sale ends tomorrow (Tuesday, August 20, 2013,) so order soon.



The third sequel to Patriots, titled Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse, will be released on October 1st. Meanwhile, I'm already writing the fourth sequel to my novel Patriots, which will be titled Liberators. This novel will be set primarily set near Bella Coola, British Columbia, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord(JBLM) , Washington, and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Anyone who has recently lived in those regions is invited to chime in. I'd really like to add some local color--including local history, flora and fauna, and geographical quirks.

Liberators will also have a strong emphasis on guerilla and counter-guerilla warfare, so I encourage folks with real-world warfighting experience in such conflicts to e-mail me. Please recommend every tactic, technique and trick that you can recall. It will be those tips that will give the novel great realism and that will make it useful as a training reference as well as exciting to read. That will be greatly appreciated! - J.W.R.



I love dropping hints. Wouldn't it be great if someone made any of the following products? (Some of these might already exist.)

  • A set of stencils designed for camouflage spray-painting rifles and other field gear to replicate popular camouflage patterns, such as Woodland pattern.
  • Custom checkered wooden grips or molded checkered plastic grips at a comfortable Glock/1911 grip angle, to solve a problem that has existed since 1896.
  • A Kydex holster that would fit a HK 26.5mm flare pistol.
  • Kydex belt pouches shaped to fit all of the most popular Leatherman tool models.
  • Kydex belt pouches for FN FiveSeven pistol magazines.
  • Earth tone nylon magazine pouches specifically for those loooong magazines, such as HK93 40 rounders and Galil 50 rounders. (The Vest Guy already makes pouches for Saiga 12 magazines.)
  • Earth tone nylon magazine pouches specifically for FN FiveSeven pistol magazines with +10 extensions installed.
  • Earth tone nylon magazine pouches specifically for Glock 21 pistol magazines with KRISS magazine extensions installed.
  • Earth tone nylon magazine pouches specifically for Glock 33 round pistol magazines.
  • Stereo headphones with extra sturdy (larger gauge) cords and stress-relieved mini-plug that would last more than a couple of years.
  • Replica olive drab canvas skeeter gloves. (Open palm and no finger tips)
  • A soft start power box for radios that use vacuum tubes.
  • AAA, / AA/ C / D / 9 Volt and CR-123 smart battery charger trays with Anderson Power Pole connectors
  • Dewalt and Makita battery chargers with Anderson Power Pole connectors, to operate from 12 VDC power sources.
  • Speedloaders for large frame S&W top-break revolvers.
  • Speedloaders for .41 Colt DA revolvers.
  • 80% complete receiver modules for SIG P250 pistols
  • Waterproof hard shell plastic portage packs in earth tone colors with backpack straps, similar to the discontinued York Packs.
  • True expedition quality four season tents in earth tone colors similar to the discontinued Moss brand tents.
  • Replacement Valmet .223 and .308 magazines that really work reliably.
  • Replacement SIG AMT/SIG-510 .308 magazines that really work reliably.
  • Replacement Galil .308 magazines that really work reliably.
  • Replacement Yugo .308 magazines that really work reliably.
  • Replacement AR-180 magazines (with the thin mag catch slot) that really work reliably.
  • 20 Round magazines for Romanian PSL rifles that really work reliably.
  • 20 Round magazines for HK 770 / SL-7 rifles that really work reliably.
  • 15 and 20 Round magazines for HK USP .45 Compact pistols that really work reliably.
  • 10, 15 and 20 Round magazines for Ruger Scout rifles that really work reliably.

The aforementioned magazines should be taken as hints to the management at MagPul and at Uinta Industries.)

Note to America's Entrepreneurs: Take all of the preceding as new business venture suggestions. Some of these might be suitable for home-based businesses. - J.W.R.



Sometimes, I'm just beating my head against the wall, when it comes to trying to explain to some folks, how important it is to have a source of clean, pure drinking water. I have an old friend back in Chicago - we've known each other since 1975, and it is just impossible to make her understand that, in due time, the water from her faucets will stop running, and what will she do when that happens? I've tried to get her to store a couple of the large blue water containers, that the big box stores carry, all to no avail. I have, at the least though, convinced her to get some freeze-dried/dehydrated foods for storage - so that's a step in the right direction. However, with a source of clean, safe water, he freeze-dried foods won't rehydrate...I'm still working on her!
 
There are a lot of different water purifiers/filters on the market, and not all are the same. The local Big Box stores and many sporting goods stores sell some really cheap water filters - and they are not the same as a water purifier - and they are okay, so long as the water source you are using isn't extremely dirty or contaminated - but how do you know? Over the years, I've tried a lot of different water filters/purifiers, and some work better than others. Just don't go thinking that the water pitcher, like Brita or Pur are actually water purifiers - all they do, for the most part is make you water taste a little better - water from the faucet. I wouldn't dare put water in my Pur from a small stream on my property, and then think that water is safe to drink - it isn't!
 
I've used the water purification tablets, the type the military issues, or used to issue - any more, they spend millions of dollars to fly-in bottled water to our troops in combat zones. For the life of me, I don't understand this, doesn't the military have the capabilities to treat and purify water any longer. Sad! The bad thing with water purification tablets is, the treated water often has a "funny" after-taste. You really need to pour that water back and forth from one canteen to another, to get some air into that water, and make it taste a little better. Still, it's better than drinking contaminated water.
 
I recently received, from Pantry Paratus an item called the SolarBag water purifier  and to be honest, I was a bit skeptical as to how well this simply little water purifier would work, so I did some research on it, before using it. I learned that it is made right in my home state of Oregon - just outside of Portland. What we have with the SolarBag is a simple, clear plastic bag, that can hold up to three litters of water. There is a specially treated "mesh" membrane on the inside of the plastic bag, that helps purifier the untreated water. The bag also has an attached pre-filter, for use, if the water source you are using, is murky - you don't want to have sediment or dirt in your drinking water - even though the water has been effectively purified. So, you pour the water through the pre-filer, into the bag, first!
 
The SolarBag water purifier comes with a little bottle of blue liquid. When you fill your bag with water, you add but one drop of this liquid, and when the water is clear, you know your water has been purified. You simply hang the water bag in direct sunlight and in 2-3 hours, your water is purified - on slightly cloudy days, it may take 4-6 hours - still, your water will be purified and safe to drink. The maker says you can treat up to 9 litters of water per day - that is sufficient for a family of 3 or 4 to drink each day. Plan you day accordingly, and don't wait until the sun is ready to set, to start purifying your water - start early in the day.
 
Here's the simple breakdown on how to use this set-up. Rinse your SolarBag before using it the first time - that means, rinse it in a clean, safe water source - your home tap, for instance. Now, put your pre-filter over the mouth of the heavy-duty plastic water bag, before pouring the water in. This will remove any sediment, then add one drop of the blue liquid that the company calls Pur-Blue, put the cap on the bag, and hang it in the sun for the required amount of time - and you'll know when the water has changed from a blue color to clear - then drink the water - can't be much easier than that in my book.
 
Here's a list of the harmful contaminants that this set-up will treat: bacteria, viruses, protozoa, pesticides, herbicides, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, arsenic, lead and mercury. It will remove 99.9999% of bacteria, 99.99% of viruses, and 99.9% of giardia and crypto - not too shabby there if you ask me.
 
You can reuse the SolarBag up to 500 times. Now, if the timing process is taking too long, and your water isn't clear, it will be time to replace your SolarBag. I'd also suggest that, if you are using a really dirty source of water, that you collect it in another container, like a bucket, and let it sit, until the sediment settles to the bottom - then dip that water into the pre-filer - and into your Solar Bag - this way, you won't be clogging-up your pre-filter all the time.
 
I'm not privy to what the mesh pad has on it, that is inside the SolarBag, but it obviously is the "magic" to purifying the water - along with the sunlight. Also, if your pre-filter gets too dirty, gently wash it by hand. The SolarBag has a dry shelf-life of 7-years. Don't crush or fold it during storage, either. And, if you're not going to use the bag right away, after initially using it, drain the bag and allow it to dry then replace the cap - this may take several hours, depending on weather conditions and temperature.
 
The SolarBag is yet another device for helping your purify your water before drinking it. And, there is a rule of three, that many Preppers and Survivalists go by, and that is one is nothing, two is one and three is two. In other words, make sure you have more than one way to treat your water source - don't depend on just one. If that fails you, then you are "up the creek." So, the SolarBag is yet another method you can have on-hand, for treating your suspect water source, and it isn't much easier that to just fill the bag, let it sit, and then drink the purified water.
 
Retail on the SolarBag is $77.99 and when you consider you can reuse it up to 500-times, that's a cheap source of pure, clean drinking water. I've reviewed other products that Pantry Paratus sells, and they only carry top-of-the-line products. Check out the SolarBag, and I think you'll be impressed, like I was...the darn thing works as advertised. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio



Hello,
I enjoyed the recent blog article Rabbits for a Stable (and Staple) Protein Source, by S.F.D. in West Virginia.  With all the rabbits running around this year I have been thinking about giving this a try.  I had a couple of questions after reading though and hope you or S.F.D. can answer them.
 
1. Food pellets won't be readily available after the stores shut down.  What would you recommend for easily replenishable year-round rabbit food?
2. The temperature swings here in the South between seasons can be drastic.  Is there special care needed in extreme cold or heat?
3. Is there a particular breed that is recommended?  I could easily catch wild rabbits here to start, but they are kind of scrawny.
 
Thanks, - G.S.

JWR Replies: I've raised rabbits off and on since the early 1990s. Although feeding hay is more messy than using pellets, rabbits do quite well eating hay. Growing up in California's Central Valley during World War II, my mother raised rabbits and for their feed simply cut weeds in vacant city lots. Alfalfa is particularly nutritionally dense, but Timothy and Latar Orchard Grass also make good rabbit feed. (Latar is a favorite in the Inland Northwest.) Unless you have a large number of rabbits, you can grow your own and simply harvest it with a hand scythe. If you don't have room to grow hay, then you can buy it by the bale or more cost effectively by the ton. (Incidentally, Alfalfa bales are heavier than grass hay bales, so there are fewer bales per ton.)

Rabbits can handle cold temperatures well, although they should be sheltered from rain and wind chill. It is heat that kills most rabbits. In hot summer weather, one expedient is providing each cage with a frozen 2 liter water bottle. (Used sodapop bottles work fine.) If you have a double set of bottle sand carefully rinse clean the bottles before refreezing them, it is quick and easy to keep up to a dozen bottles in your chest freezer at all times. Evaporative cooling (using an old terry cloth towel hung vertically near each cage, and kept wet with a dripper system) works moderately well, but only when combined with a box fan.

Don't try breeding wild rabbits! Not only will the wild does tear you up when you try to handle them, but there is also the risk of endemic diseases, such as tularemia. Most meat rabbit breeders use the New Zealand breed. They were bred specifically for meat production. They put on weight quickly, which makes them economical to keep. If you want a combination breed (for meat and fur), then I recommend Rex rabbits. Rex bunnies are also cute, so you will also have a chance to sell some of your rabbitry's offspring for pets. But regardless of the breed that you select, be sure to get your breeding stock from a good breeder that has proven healthy bloodlines with does that have a history of large litters and good nurturing instincts. It is better to pay more for your first few rabbits, so that you get started with solid genetics. If you start out "on the cheap", then you will probably have lots of problems down the road. (Small litters, babies left on the wire to die, and so forth.) You should also swap bucks with other breeders once every year or two, to prevent excessive inbreeding,



Sunshine Buttercup's Oriental Green Beans

I make this dish whenever I have a surplus of green beans. Everyone who has tried it says it's tasty and a great way to liven up green beans.


Ingredients
    1 lb green beans, trimmed
    1 teaspoon sesame oil
    1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
    Crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
    1-1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce
    2 tablespoons water
    1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted, garnish

Directions
    1.    Steam beans for only a few minutes, you want them crisp.
    2.    Dash beans in cold water to stop the cooking (do this the day ahead if you wish) Heat the oils and saute over low heat with the garlic & ginger until you can smell that wonderful aroma (the garlic will be golden). Add beans, pepper flakes, soy sauce, and water.
    3.    Cover cook over high heat for a few minutes until the water evaporates and the oils have coated the beans and they are hot .Shake the pan as the beans cook.
    4.    Garnish with sesame seed.

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Green Bean Recipes

Storing Garden Abundance: Freezing

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





For folks with a large stream on their property, a Pelton Wheel system like this is fantastic: Algonquin Eco-Lodge - 12 kW Micro-Hydro Turbines

   o o o

Why we face grave danger from space: The discovery that a colossal solar flare hit Earth in the Dark Ages reminds us that catastrophe could strike at any time, says Michael Hanlon.

   o o o

.50 BMG shooters might find this reference page on specialty military rounds of interest.

   o o o

Mike Brown is planning to build a new generation of reliable 8 horsepower steam engines that will be able to run a 5 kilowatt generator.



"In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life and they lost it all - security, comfort and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society, but for society to give to them; when the freedom they wished for most was the freedom from responsibility, then the Athenians ceased to be free." - Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire


Sunday, August 18, 2013


Today we present a guest article by "Joe Snuffy." He is a former U.S. Army officer (now presumably in some nebulous IRR Control Group) and the author of the book Suburban Survival: Preparing for Socio-Economic Collapse.



Many preppers and survivalists have tried to convince family members and friends about our current predicament, being the long-term collapse of industrialized civilization. As intellectual survivalists, many of us have studied the works of Dr. Joseph Tainter (The Collapse of Complex Societies), Dr. Nate Hagans (Peak Oil / environmental economics), John Michael Greer (catabolic collapse theory), etc. Many of us collapse theorists have performed a form of fusion between these noted theorists, as well as noting significant events ourselves, since the early 1970s, in particular.

How about a neat little Gedanken (a thought experiment) or role playing game during a family get-together or social event? In this game, we travel back to the year 1970, where the traveler (or even a group of people, which would be better, for collective input) is the time traveler to the year 1970, and the rest simply play the parts of ordinary, average people of that time period (not our usual doomer selves, in the modern sense), oblivious, and amazed that this person was able to travel back through time, from the year 2013. Note-taking and illustrations on a dry-erase board could add to the fun, and create more effect.

Here is how a realistic dialogue could go during the role playing between one of our typically uninformed, NFL/NASCAR/Disneyland relatives/friends being the time travelers, and us as the 1970s people:

Us: “Wow, so you’re from the future! Groovy!”

Traveler: “That’s right”

Us: “Wow, so it’s like 2001: A Space Odyssey, in 2013, right? I just saw that movie.”

Traveler: “Uh…no…not really.”

Us: “What do you mean?”

Traveler: “We don’t put people in space anymore. Only the Russians do.”

Us: “What!?”

Traveler: “There’s an International Space Station in orbit, but the Russians are the only ones flying to it. I think American astronauts are getting rides with them.”

Us: “What!? But it’s like that one in 2001: A Space Odyssey, right?

Traveler: “You mean like a big, giant round thing? No, it just looks like the small one that the Russians had in space from the 1980s, to the 1990s. My cousin said he talked to someone who works for NASA, who said that the Russians even built the modules for the newer space station, because they were they only ones who knew how to do it.”

Us: “Well, isn’t the US going to put something like that in space?”

Traveler: “We had a little one of our own called Skylab for a couple of years. I think that was around 1973. But, I mean…nobody has any money anymore for stuff like that.”

Us: “What are you talking about?! We’re the Unites States of America! We’ve got Apollo Moon missions going on! We’re fighting a war in Vietnam! There’s nothing we can’t do!”

Traveler: “Well, I don’t know. When I hear older people talk, they talk about the economy back in the 1970s, with the gas rationing that went on in 1973 and 1979. I also hear them complain about how Nixon took the US Dollar off of the gold standard in 1971, and that it’s causing problems in my time. I also have this loony cousin, who says that US oil production peaked in December of 1970,… whatever that means…I heard this one guy, Schiff,  I think his name is, saying that we ‘went into debt in the 1970s, in order to pay for everything we did back in the 1960’s’.”

Us: “No gold standard?! Well then what backs the dollar? Nothing?

Traveler: “Yeah, pretty much.”

Us: “Oh my God… But we produce all the oil we need. At least that’s what we’re told.”

Traveler: “Well, I think we’ve always imported oil from foreign countries. I think even in your time, we’re importing oil. There’s a lot of talk about something called shale plays in the US, but my cousin says they’re a lie, that they’re actually starting to peak, as they ‘play-out.’ He says it’s like the lie about food in the movie Soylent Green, whatever that means.”

Us: “What’s Soylent Green?”

Traveler: “Some really ugly movie about the future, with Charlton Heston in it that comes out a few years from now...Oh, by-the-way, that reminds me: I think that people were encouraged to kill themselves in that movie. Just before I time traveled, there was a news story about how since 2010, suicide was the number one cause of death in the US and Europe, exceeding traffic accidents. The article said the numbers were actually conservative, with one researcher saying that the real suicide rate was probably 30% higher, because coroners can’t always tell what the motive behind accidental death is.”

Us: “Oh my God…By-the-way, you don’t seem to be recalling this stuff very well. Didn’t you have any schooling after high school?”

Traveler: “Yes, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, but I haven’t been able to find a job, so I work two different part time jobs at the mall.”

Us: “You mean one of those new indoor shopping malls?”

Traveler: “Yeah. I work 30 hours a week at an Orange Julius. It’s a place that serves fruit drinks and hot dogs. Then I work 20 hours a week at a clothing store that sells punk rock and goth stuff to kids.”

Us: “Punk rock,… goth?”

Traveler: “Never Mind.”

Us: “So what do you do when you get home?”

Traveler: “Oh, I waste time on the Internet, chatting with friends, etc.”

Us: “What’s ‘the Internet’?”

Traveler: “It’s this global network of computers that all communicate, and share all of the knowledge of the world that has ever existed.”

Us: “So for a time traveler representing the future of humanity, how come you don’t seem to know much?”

Traveler: “I don’t know…

Traveler: “I then usually watch TV. I like ‘Dancing with the Stars’. It’s my favorite TV show.”

Us: “What’s that?”

Traveler: “It’s this show where celebrities go and have these dancing contests.”

Us: “Oh my God…That sounds stupid. Well…Then again,... we have these ‘variety’ shows on TV, that are probably just as stupid.”

Traveler: “What are those?”

Us: “It’s where these celebrities host their own TV shows, and perform skits, play jokes on each other, stuff like that.”

Traveler: “You’re right. That does sound stupid,”

Us: You know, your future doesn’t give us anything to look forward to. I can’t believe it! There is no way I’m going to allow my kids to have any children of their own. Why bother! They’re just going to suffer. Is there anything else that sucks about the future?”

Traveler: “Oh yeah. One other thing: You mentioned Vietnam. I don’t know much about that war, but I heard that we lose that war a few years from now. Anyway, we had another series of illegal wars in the Middle East, after the World Trade Center in New York got crashed into by some airlines, in 2001. A lot of people compared these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to Vietnam. Also, my cousin said that the attack on the World Trade Center was a false flag by our own government, because of the way they completely came down from a set of implosions. One building didn’t even get hit by anything, and it imploded in on itself, as well.”

Us: “Oh my God...Martin Luther King himself even warned us about this, in his Beyond Vietnam speech, when he protested the war…He said it would continue, if we didn’t stop acting like an empire...” I think I just saw something on 60 Minutes about how the Gulf of Tonkin incident never actually happened. By the way, next time, have your ‘crazy cousin’ do the time traveling. He sounds a little bit better informed…”

Us: Okay, so apart from the fact that our future is totally screwed, how much do things cost in the future, like a home, cars, stuff like that?

Traveler: Well, a decent house, depending on where you live can cost anywhere from $150,000 on-up to a Million. Most new cars are from $20,000 to $60,000. Bread is about $3.00 a loaf. A gallon of gas, last I checked, was around $3.80.

Us: My God! The average price for a new house now is just somewhere over $24,000. A good new car is around $3,500. A gallon of gasoline right now is about 36 cents. Bread is only a quarter. What happened to the value of the dollar? Oh wait, that’s right. You just said that Nixon is going to take us off of the gold standard. And you said we’re already importing oil. How much are we importing in the future?

Traveler: My cousin told me, because of something called ‘demand destruction’ and those shale oil plays, just less than half of what we use each day comes from a whole mix of other countries. Before the economy got really bad in 2008, we imported over half of what we used…

...

I think everyone can see how this can go. Yes, in this example, the time traveler takes some ribbing, to say the least, but YMMV, based on how cooperative and good-natured your friends and relatives are. Just have fun with it. You can even have a large group, divided into two halves, serving as time travelers and as 1970s people. Also, it may work out better if it’s one of us unplugged types who does the time traveling, as some of us might have a deeper knowledge of history, and the ability to convey it.

Some of my inspiration here comes from the ultimate intelligence officer, himself, the character Gary Seven (Robert Lansing) from the old Star Trek episode Assignment Earth. (He was so high-speed, he knew that the Enterprise crew came from the future, as soon as he encountered them. “Humans, traveling with a Vulcan…”) The Canadian documentary Stupidity also came to mind. This particular documentary, narrated by Donald Sutherland, asks the question: In a world where information is more accessible than in any other period in human history, why do people insist on remaining stupid?

As things quickly transpire, like most other doomers out there, I am convinced that it is simply too late to preach to people who want to stay clueless. However, this could be fun, and have a powerful psychological effect (or at least create a serious paradigm shift.)







"To whom ye forgive any thing, I [forgive] also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave [it], for your sakes [forgave I it] in the person of Christ;
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." - 2 Corinthians 2:10-11 (KJV)


Saturday, August 17, 2013


This weekend only, (August 16-18, 2013), Camping Survival is having a 10% off sale on all Honeyville long-term storage food products. Use coupon code: "honeyville10", at checkout.

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Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



A while back, I remember reading a tantalizingly titled but substantively misleading news article about a group of junior high school students who built a “car” that attained a fuel efficiency of 150 mpg. After reading the story, my skepticism was confirmed that a bunch of junior high school students “out-engineered” those who engineer automobiles for a living, or more succinctly for profit. The vehicle they built was little more than a soap box racer with a Briggs and Stratton lawn mower engine; more of a go-cart instead of a practical conveyance.

What I did discover in reading the article was that the efficiency was much more attributable to simple driving techniques rather than technological innovation. I immediately saw the opportunity to save a few dollars. When I practiced and developed these driving techniques, it was no longer a matter of saving a few dollars. Upon extrapolating it out over the course of one year, it was over $300 which is quite substantive to me.
Pulse and Glide Driving (PGD) was the term used in the story and it very effectively captures the essence of the technique. It is not difficult to deduce the practical application from just those four words. I have applied this to my regular driving habits, which living in a major city suburb limits me to about 90 percent city driving conditions. I have proven that it does indeed work in stop and go traffic, although not as effectively as dramatically as it does in highway conditions. There are other factors I have also incorporated to further reduce the impact of fuel expenses on my wallet. I will mention them here as well, but be mindful that the bulk of the improved efficiency is gained by cyclical periods of moderate acceleration and coasting along in neutral.

First, let me tell you about my vehicle.  I do not have a good bug out vehicle. I drive a sensible commuter in the form of a 2008 Kia Rondo and my commute to work is less than two miles. In the South Florida summertime with the air conditioning running, it gets about 16 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. Using PGD, I routinely inflate those figures to 20 mpg city and about 25 mpg highway, and that is with the air conditioning still running. These figures represent approximately a 25 percent improvement without installing a penny’s worth of performance improving equipment or sacrificing environmental comfort. You would be totally surprised (or not) how important both those notions are driving around with three females; two of them under the age of eight.
The basic principles of PGD are very simple:

  • Accelerate to a good cruising speed and decouple the transmission (means shift into neutral for automatics or push in the clutch for standards). When in neutral, keep your foot completely off the accelerator. An idling engine burns little gas and keeps your hydraulic and electrical systems working to maintain steerage and braking capacity. Use your vehicle’s momentum to keep going down the road for as long as practical before re-engaging the transmission for another stretch of acceleration.
    NOTE: You may want to get the engine’s RPM up a bit from idle before re-engaging the transmission to reduce the mechanical stress on the power train as it begins to apply force to the ground again. This takes practice to get the transitions smoothed out and is not completely necessary.
  • Use downgrades to your advantage. Let gravity accelerate your vehicle while your engine sips the same amount of fuel as it does sitting at a stop sign. This is especially effective in hilly or mountainous areas. I have averaged 32+ mpg in West Virginia on a road trip; doubling my city mileage and by far my best record!
  • Shift into neutral when approaching red lights and stop signs. There is no reason to be burning any more fuel than at idle coming up to a place at which you know you need to stop. Additionally, other drivers (even those following closely behind you) will have little reason to become angry since it’s obvious why your speed is bleeding off.
  • Try to keep your cycles fairly even. By this I mean accelerate to your cruising speed, coast until about 10 mph have been bled off and accelerate again to cruising speed. There does come a point of diminishing returns if you coast to a dead stop before reaccelerating.
  • Do not use more braking than is needed. Every time you tap the brake pedal is energy burned off your brake pads instead of moving you down the road. Do not be fooled by “engine braking” either. Using an engine to slow your vehicle is not very effective and puts additional mechanical stress on your engine. Brake pads are much cheaper than engines and far easier to replace.
  • Do not make your target cruising speed too high as this will reduce your efficiency. Any pilot will tell you that induced drag is not a great thing to have more of when it is you paying the fuel bill. The faster you go, the harder the apparent wind pushes back on your vehicle no matter how aerodynamically it has been constructed.
  • Avoid accelerating too quickly as jackrabbit starts do not burn fuel as completely as does a moderate acceleration. If you are in a situation where you do need to move quickly as a matter of safety, then by all means punch it without a second thought. Fuel is far less expensive than life.

There are also a couple extra things you can do to stretch your tank’s range even more.

  • Reduce the load on the engine as much as possible. Air conditioning is something that you might not want to do without depending where you live, however the electrical load of headlights are totally unnecessary in clear daylight hours in all but the most unusual driving conditions. Any other high current devices should also be shut off or otherwise disabled when not needed.
  • Although ethanol blends are nearly universally distributed as the main gasoline fuel supply, search for pure gasoline retailers. Make trips there a couple times a year with your gas cans and rotate them accordingly. Pure gas contains no ethanol, burns more efficiently and will increase your mileage since an inefficient fuel is not being added. Go to Pure-gas.org and see if a retailer is open for business in your area.

This is all well and good, but there are times when you definitely should not use PGD techniques.

  • By constantly varying your velocity on the highway in heavy traffic, you are sure to earn the enmity of all who are driving behind you on cruise control. Exercise good judgment and employ PGD techniques only when conditions allow.
  • If you’re on a busy secondary road with traffic close behind you, do not make yourself a nuisance.  Just drive normally until you have a quarter mile or so of empty space behind you.
  • Do not accelerate to unsafe speeds in order to get the longest glide possible. If you have to ask why, then go find the nearest cast iron frying pan and beat yourself in the forehead because you are an idiot. A speeding ticket will negate half a year’s savings. Additionally, fuel savings are of little consequence to the dead. Keep it sane.
  • Do not expect to develop the technique too fast. If you are like me, get used to the idea of steering with your left hand a lot while operating the gearshift with your right. I was surprised how sore my left arm became on long trips. Other aspects of PGD require much practice to develop and you should not expect to be great at doing it right from the start. Be patient with yourself and the results will come as you put more thought into what you are doing.

Another thing to think about is by developing and refining these techniques is that you are not only going to save money now, but you are also extending the driving range of your vehicle. A tankful of gas that used to get me only 250 miles now gets me 300; more if I turn off the air conditioner, headlights and parking lights. In the less austere times that could lie ahead, this may be an important factor. If maximum range is of the most importance to you, use the highest grade premium gasoline you can get. For everyday driving however, use the lowest octane rating that provides acceptable performance without engine knocking or pinging. It’s also cheaper, which is the whole point here. Imagine the extra preps you could have after just one year!

If you are on the road to your retreat for a permanent move, incorporating these techniques could mean the difference between getting there with the fuel you can carry drawn from your own stocks or facing the reality of having to obtain more fuel along the way. It may be prohibitively expensive, dangerous to scavenge or outright unavailable at any price. Bring your jerry cans and have a few 5 Hour Energy drinks readily available-- you never know when you might need them.

JWR Adds: Be advised that coasting in neutral is banned in some jurisdictions, for safety reasons. "Gliding" can be hazardous in areas with traffic congestion. Also be aware that you can burn out your clutch if you don't fully disengage it during your "glides." FWIW, I used to turn my engine's ignition off just before very long downgrades (which is illegal in many jurisdictions.) But of course with modern steering column locks, this is no longer possible with most manual transmission cars and light trucks.



Hello, Mr. Rawles:
I'd like to share a hint with you and your readers: Save all of your empty (discharged) disposable lighters, such as "Bic" brand lighters. They contain flints that you can use in your Zippo lighter. [These lighters can have their striker mechanism quickly broken down with a pair of pliers.] These are longer than the replacement flints that are sold in stores. They also work well in the older Coleman lanterns equipped with flint strikers.



Reader C.D.V. sent: New Fox, Same Henhouse: Wall Street Takes Over LIBOR. This piece includes some interesting thoughts on derivatives: "A former trader who worked in both New York and London recently told me, 'At the end of the day, this market is running on the [Federal Reserve]. Once they pull out it’s all over. Cheap money, loads of people making loads of money, but no lessons learned.'"

I noticed that Backwoods Home magazine now has a "pay for your subscription in pre-'65 silver coins" option. (We do likewise, for our voluntary Ten Cent Challenge subscriptions.)

Similarly, Late's diner offers 1964 prices to customers paying with silver coins. (A hat tip to H.L. for the link.)

Items from The Economatrix:

Has The Landscape For Gold Changed Forever?

Summer Retail Is A Bust, But Watch Out For Fall

Gold Surge Bodes Ill For Economy



I was pleased to see that Mark Levin's new book The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic hit #1 overall on Amazon.com.

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Ohio Shawn spotted a piece about a single-wheel human cargo trailer, over at Instructables.

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Bob G. sent this study in contrasts: AK-74: Fast Assembly & Disassembly In Russian School. (Most American school teachers would throw a fit before they would allow this in their classrooms.)

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Just for fun: Swiss "Jetman" flies along B-17 aircraft

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New Company Allows Organizations to Hire Fake Protesters



"There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.
An horse [is] a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver [any] by his great strength.
Behold, the eye of the LORD [is] upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he [is] our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name.
Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee. - Psalm 33:16-22 (KJV)


Friday, August 16, 2013


It sounds like our friend Tam (of the View From The Porch blog) is having Epic Fun at a three gun match at the western edge of The American Redoubt, near Bend, Oregon. She sounds jazzed.

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I was glad to that the Rural Revolution blog is back up on line at its original URL.

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Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



What if you could have a protein source that is inexpensive to maintain, that would not draw attention the attention of prying eyes and ears and it actually produces valuable bi-products that can be used/traded/sold to help offset remaining costs?   Consider the common domestic rabbit.

Rabbits have been kept as a meat animal since before the times of the Roman Empire.  They have fed people during good times (as a farm or ranch animal) and in bad times such as: wars, famines, even in America during the Great Depression and both world wars.    Today you can find rabbit meat in some grocery stores, available online and shipped to you frozen and on the menus in some fancy big city restaurants.
Six ounces of rabbit meat contains up to 60g of protein. This is more protein than in similar sized portions of beef or chicken. They are an excellent a source of iron, phosphorus, and potassium.  Additionally, 6 ounces of rabbit meat has about 300 hundred calories – though not a problem for most Americans these days, this could be a possible issue in a TEOTWAWKI situation where calories are likely being burnt at much higher rate than most people do in a typical day at the office in these fatter times.  A larger herd of rabbits could be the answer to that issue.

Raising rabbits takes very little space and 6lbs or 7lbs of rabbit meat can be raised on the same amount of feed that it takes to produce about 1lb of beef. Rabbits are also much quicker to be ready for consumption.   A “fryer” rabbit is harvested three months after being born and when served-up with some easily stored pantry food likes beans, greens and rice you have a well-rounded, filling meal - the bones can then be boiled for a soup base for another meal. Another advantage with rabbits is unlike purchasing a calf or hog, your investment is spread-out over many animals and you can eat fresh meat, much sooner (daily if you keep enough animals) without the need to burn valuable resources processing hundreds of pounds of large animal in a relatively small window of time. 

My least favorite aspect of raising rabbits is killing and processing them.  On a positive note, it really makes you stop and think about where your food comes from.  The good news is you get about the same amount of meat from one rabbit as a same sized chicken, but without nearly the same amount of work.  The other good news is you can process a rabbit (from start to finish) in less than fifteen minutes, after your first couple of experiences completing the job.  A quick “rabbit punch” to the back of the neck quickly and humanely kills the animal.  I process mine well away from where I keep the other rabbits in a small processing station where I have a laundry sink, cutting board, knives, paper towels and a couple of buckets close by.  Hang them up by the rear feet, cut off the head and letting it bleed out for a couple of minutes is best, then carefully and shallowly cutting them from anus to chest - which allows you to removed organs (many people like the heart, kidneys and liver – but these go to our dog).  Skinning them is easy – start up and around the hind legs, make a circle with your knife around each leg and then slice down to your original incision and peel it down toward the shoulder and front legs (easiest to do while the rabbit is hanging upside down with a hook in each hind leg).  This method allows you to quickly skin them.  After this you place the carcass in some cold water to clean it and keep it fresh.  You can then quarter it up to cook immediately or place it in the refrigerator or freezer to store for later use – that is, as long as the grid is up and power is working.  It might be a good idea to try canning a few meals into jars and processing them in your pressure canner.
There are additional benefits to raising rabbits too.  Rabbit pelts can be processed and turned into an asset (more on that below), their manure is not a “hot” manure and can be placed directly into the garden without composting, but the real fringe benefits of the manure being produced is the worms that can live in it.  Worms can be free feed for chickens, used (or sold) as fish bait and they make the rabbit manure into something even better – worm casings (worm poop) which is an even better supplement for your garden (and also a possible income/bartering source). 

Some people tan or cure the skins or sell them to an outside processor – I think they would be good for crafts, etc. but it would take a lot of work to get enough of them to make clothing or a blanket for an adult.  Thus far I have not been successful finding a vender interested in purchasing the raw skins so these are currently being discarded.  This is unfortunate, as I hate to waste anything, but at this point I have found more pressing issues requiring my time.

These easy to handle animals are a handy commodity to have at your disposal, they can be sold as pets, food, 4H projects, and in rural areas even high school students in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) needing a project for their Vocational Agriculture classes are potential customers or they can be traded for something else you need.  You are only limited by your space and time commitments and your imagination.
Caring for two dozen rabbits takes about the same time as caring for two rabbits.  A mineral block, fresh water, some commercial pellets, hay and occasional treats are about all they need food-wise, though it is a good idea to handle them regularly to keep them familiar with you and thus easier to manage when it time to sell/trade/process them.  Well cared for rabbits take up little space, are quiet and will not draw attention if you are careful about your placement of their hutches.  Rabbit hutches are simple to build using some purchased “rabbit wire” and scrap lumber (though it is important to avoid using treated wood where they might be able to chew on it) and the hutches need to be placed where the occupants will have plenty of shade and ventilation. Rabbits can generally handle cold weather, but they really don’t like to get too hot.  Keeping them safe from predators is important too – not just woodland creatures, but your neighbor’s dog, your dog, your neighbor (think SHTF type of situations).  An existing building such as a garage or tool shed, with proper ventilation, can easily be modified to house your rabbits and their hutches.  People even have kept them in their basements when the situation called for it.  Stacking the hatches from floor to ceiling with trays or tin flumes between the levels to capture or channel dropping and urine will go a long way to keeping everything sanitary and discreet.

It is a good idea to keep good records of the production of your does – how large their litters are, the number of surviving kits, which buck you bred them with and how long they have been producing.  If the doe consistently produces large litters of healthy kits and this is documented, the records can then sometimes be used to place a higher value on any of the rabbits being traded or sold from that doe’s litter.  Good record keeping will also show you which does haven’t produced healthy litters of kits or which were does were not very good moms – this can help you cull the less productive animals and keep track of the pedigrees of the best producing members of your herd.  Some rabbit breeders tattoo numbers in one ear of each of their doe’s and buck’s to keep track of who is doing what and that is especially important if the rabbits are being kept all together, but based on the compact size of my rabbitry and the fact that each animal has its own hutch, I have never felt the need to go this trouble.

Some people use a colony approach for their rabbitry with the rabbits all living together in a big pen (picture a hippie commune), but I prefer to keep them in individual hutches (think bunny apartments).  I have found they are easier to care for this way, it is easier to keep records and if one of them becomes sick, you can quarantine it from the others until it can be treated.  It is also easier to monitor how much food each one is eating and their individual water intake.

Expanding you herd is simple enough to do. Take the female (the doe) to the male (the buck) for breeding and then return her to her cage.  Never take the buck to the doe’s cage as she will likely injure or kill him – I believe Marlin Perkins from the old “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” series called this behavior “territorial ferocity” - call it what you wish, but avoid this simple mistake.  I have found that if you take her over to the buck’s cage in the early morning, they will usually breed within a half hour or so.  After they settle back down, I usually remove the doe back to her cage and bring her back again that evening.  Sometimes they don’t breed when they first are introduced (especially if one of them is young), but the afternoon meeting usually goes well.  Sometimes they breed morning and afternoon – hence the term breeding like rabbits.  A healthy buck can take care of a dozen does (though not a good idea to have him that busy all at once).  If you have more than 6 does, I have found that it is a good idea to have 2 bucks to keep some diversity in your rabbit herd. 

The cycle goes kind of like this:  start out breeding the rabbits when they are about 6 months old.  The pregnant doe will usually have her nesting instinct kick in about 25 days after breeding.  Place a nesting box into her cage and give her some soft straw to complete her nest, don’t be alarmed when she pulls her own fur out of her underside and places it in the nest too.  She will give birth about 30 days from the date of breeding.  A couple of days after she has her litter of baby rabbits (kits), check the nest for dead or deformed kits that may need removed, but don’t handle any of the healthy ones, as the doe may reject them.  She will nurse them for 7-8 weeks and they will transition to pellets and hay during this time.  I let the doe rest for a few weeks in her own cage, the rabbits of the new litter (soon-to-be- fryers) are fine to be kept together. They will be ready for your skillet or for sell or trade a few weeks later and the doe can then be bred again to restart the cycle.  

If you follow this schedule, one doe can produce 1,000 times her body weight in a year’s time from four separate litters.  If you have 6 does on slightly staggered breeding schedules with each producing 4 litters each per year (with about 5-6 kits in a litter) you are looking at some serious protein being produced.  That is easily enough rabbits for a small family to have a couple of meals a week and still have some stock for trading/breeding/etc.  A larger family or group to feed could also keep a larger number of rabbits on hand.  

There is a lot more detailed information available online and in books and magazines that goes into much greater detail than a quick internet article can, but nothing beats hands on experience.  With all of the benefits that having a rabbitry can provide, it may be good idea to incorporate one into your long term planning.  Consider the possibilities.





The Nation’s 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods.

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Reader T.K. wrote to mention some good news: "The price of the PTR-91 [a HK91 clone rifle] has returned to normal. I bought mine a couple of months after the Newtown Shootings and paid well over $1,400. One Source Tactical is now selling the rifle with five new mags for $975. It was a good rifle at $1,400 but a great one at $975."  [JWR Adds: It is noteworthy that all of their recent production rifles have barrels with the "GI" spec chambers, which makes them tolerant to most types of ammo. That, and plentiful mil-surp magazines still under $3 each makes the PTR-91 my top choice for .308 battle rifles .]

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Camping Survival is running a Wise Foods and Berkey water filter bundle sale. The sale ends on Tuesday, so order soon.

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A new book from Boston T. Party will soon be released: Modules For Manhood -- What Every Male Under 40 Must Know. This promises to be a great book.

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California Set to Become Strictest Gun Control State with Ammunition Registry



"Fast is fine, but accuracy is final."  - Wyatt Earp (1848 – 1929)


Thursday, August 15, 2013


Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



Introductory Disclaimer: I am not an expert in amateur radio in the sense that I have extensive electronics knowledge, nor am I an expert in prepping. However, I have some experience in disaster and lightweight, portable radio operations and have an interest in being prepared.

I have been an amateur radio operator, or “ham,” since 1997 when I was first licensed as a fifteen year old. At that point I was drawn to the hobby because my grandfather has always been very active in the amateur radio community and a stickler for disaster communication readiness. In 2011 I finally upgraded my license to a “general class” which opened up privileges on all amateur frequency bands. This has allowed me to communicate with amateurs all over the world from Europe to Africa to Southeast Asia.

About two years ago I discovered an area of ham radio that combined my interest in radio with my love for the outdoors. This program encourages hams to “activate” various summits for points. One of the primary guidelines for the program is that you operate without the benefit of commercial power. That is, you must operate using batteries or some other kind of power as long as it isn’t a generator. By nature this means that using low power, five to ten watts, is much more efficient than running fifty or one hundred watts. Furthermore, because of the low power nature of this part of the hobby it is much more efficient to operate using Morse code than voice communications (more on that later). What I have also come to realize with my study of preparations is that this form of communication is almost tailor made for disaster scenarios. What I intend to do here is lay out my argument in favor of low power ham radio for preppers as well as offer some steps for the new ham.

Low power, amateur radio disaster communications.

For about a century amateur radio has been the backbone of disaster communications across the globe. Even with the advent of cell phones ham radio operators have been crucial links in the communications chain, especially in the immediate area of a natural disaster such as a hurricane. Cell service may be available outside of the affected area but ham radio can help bridge the gap across the “last mile” so to speak. In a large scale disaster or collapse scenario it would be unwise to rely on any form of telephone or internet communication. I believe this is where amateur radio would really shine. I could also lump in CB radio here as well but I believe that the variety of frequency options available to amateurs gives them a much greater flexibility and reliability than citizen’s band (absolutely nothing against CBers here I’m just trying to be realistic).

Amateur radio operators have privileges ranging from 10 Gigahertz all the way down to 1.8 Megahertz. This means that hams have access to frequency bands that support both short and long range communications twenty-four hours a day. For instance, one of my favorite bands to operate on is the 40 meter band (7 MHz). During the day it is good for communications out to a couple of hundred miles while during the nighttime hours is can reach out to several hundred to thousands of miles. Depending several factors including time of year, the solar cycle and propagation, hams can operate on frequencies that allow for worldwide communication with a minimum of power.

This brings me to my argument for low power communications. I am currently using two radios for my ham activities, neither of which put out more than five watts of RF power. FCC regulations allow hams to use up to 1,500 watts on most bands but encourage the use of as little power as is necessary to maintain two-way communications. Using Morse code, a simple wire antenna and a small battery I have made successful contact with stations as far away as Eastern Europe. On a typical day of operating from home I can count on several contacts around the southeast with only two to three watts of power.

Let me pause here to address power supply considerations. When I operate portable I use a 1.2 AH sealed lead acid battery. It weighs about one pound and will sustain operations for several hours depending on how much I am transmitting. With two of these batteries I can easily operate all day. I haven’t purchased one yet but many hams use small solar chargers to replenish their batteries for extended portable operations. One thing that I would love to explore would be mounting a small solar array on my roof which would be connected to large batteries in the house. The solar panels would offer a slow trickle charge and the large battery would sustain longer durations of communication. This would effectively remove my radio station from the grid which would mean uninterrupted communications in a disaster. Naturally batteries would not last forever without recharge so in a situation where the grid was down it would take discipline to operate some while allowing the batteries sufficient time to charge whether by solar power, wind power or a generator. Again, the benefits of operating with only a few watts in this scenario are clear, less draw on the batteries equals longer time on the air.

My argument from here will be centered on two things, the simplicity of low power radios and the benefits of using Morse code. As far as simplicity goes, a low power Morse code radio is not only budget friendly but also quite easy to assemble and maintain. I have built and operate a radio that is about the size of a paperback book and weighs about one pound. It also gives me three bands to choose from which I picked for long distance and local communication (different frequency bands propagate differently). My entire portable station which includes; the radio, antenna tuner, wire antenna, battery, ear buds and key only weighs a few pounds and fits neatly in a small backpack. There are other options for radios that are built in Altoids tins and batteries like those used in RC aircraft that cut down on weight and size even more! All of this adds up to an extremely portable radio station that you can reliably communicate across the globe (North America to Australia is not unheard of with five watts of power).

Now let me take a few moments to address modes of communication as a ham. Amateur radio has done a stellar job of evolving with the technology of the times. Now there are modes that are completely digital and occupy a very small amount of bandwidth. Typically, this involves the addition of some kind of computer so I will not go into detail here. The two most popular modes of communication for hams are single sideband (SSB) and Morse code (also known as CW which stands for continuous wave). Sideband is obviously the more convenient of the two because you just talk into a microphone. The drawback is that it is less efficient, particularly in low power situations, and require more complex equipment. Though it is less efficient it is not out of bounds for low power. I have received good reports from as far away as Austria using only two watts on sideband from my home on the east coast.

In my opinion the best option for low power communication, especially in a disaster or collapse scenario, is Morse code. I hold this opinion for several reasons.

  1. CW requires much less signal strength than voice. All you need to hear is “dits” and “dahs” not words and sentences.
  2. A Morse code key can be made from just about anything. All you need to do is complete an electrical circuit. In a pinch you could send code by touching two wires together.
  3. Morse code is a code. This reason would be particularly helpful in a collapse scenario. While Morse code is not a “secret” code in the strictest sense the vast majority of people in the world don’t know it. This means that your communication automatically has slightly higher security to it. If someone is tuning around with a receiver and hears some dits and dahs and doesn’t know Morse code they are going to have no idea what you are saying. Speed also become a factor here. I am only proficient up to about fifteen words per minute right now. When I hear guys running twenty-five words per minute or faster then I’m lost.

Getting Started in Amateur Radio

For those of us who are preparation minded there is no reason I can think of to not become involved in ham radio now. The FCC has eliminated the requirement of knowing Morse code to get a license. There are three levels of license that offer greater privileges across the spectrum. The most basic license class, technician, offers complete privileges on VHF and UHF frequencies and some limited use of HF bands. The general and extra class licenses grant privileges on all HF bands which means some serious long distance communication. I will say, if I can get a general class license then anyone can. It does take some effort and study but it is very doable. There are many great books, web sites and courses available to anyone interested in becoming licensed. There is a test to pass in order to receive your license and most local ham clubs offer testing on a regular basis for a small fee.

One recommendation that I would make is to learn Morse code as soon as possible. It has taken me a little over a year to get to where I am at fifteen words per minute and the sooner you learn the better. Again, there are web sites and CDs galore to help in this process. One of the side benefits of learning code is it’s just plain cool. When you learn it you know something that fewer and fewer people know and friends will be amazed.

Once you become licensed the next thing is to get some gear and let me tell you…hams love their toys. If you so desire you can spend tens of thousands of dollars on your radio equipment, and no one will think less of you if you do. However, I have less than $500 wrapped up in all of my equipment and only $200 or so in my portable gear. If you look at swap meets, hamfests and on ebay there is plenty of good gear for reasonable prices. The best way to save some cash on radio gear is to make as much of it as possible yourself. I have never bought and antenna for HF operations. Simple, wire antennas perform at a world class level and can be constructed for a few dollars. I have also built a radio, two antenna tuners and a power/SWR meter. Through that process I’ve gained knowledge and confidence in handling electronic equipment.

Conclusions

I’ve made my argument for amateur radio communications for disaster or collapse scenarios and tried to offer some advice for those who want to get started. In my mind the low power ham radio station is perfectly suited to the preparation mindset. If and when the grid goes down the ability to communicate with others, gather news from near and far, and link up with other communities will be vital. Now is the time to be prepared for communications needs. You could easily get together with like-minded friends and get your licenses at the same time and start regular, on-the-air nets to practice for the unwelcomed event of a disaster. The truth is, there are already hundreds of nets going on each week to keep amateurs ready for natural or man-made disasters.

Finally, the argument could be made that when/if we find ourselves in a situation without the rule of law then you could just start operating on amateur frequencies without a license. That is certainly an option but one that I am not in favor of at all. First of all, just because there may not be an FCC to regulate radio communications sometime in the future doesn’t mean we can’t follow the law anyway. I would hope that no one would want society to remain in a state of lawlessness and one of the great things about ham radio is that we try our best to be self-regulatory.  Should the worst happen, I will continue to operate my radio station in a manner that is consistent with the rules that govern me now. I will continue to use my callsign and I will do it within the boundaries set for me. The absence of law does not mean I have to be lawless and if operating my radio station in a legal manner helps in some small way to restore order that is what I will do.



For  those of you planning on bugging out with a knife and a backpack when the SHTF, read no further because nothing in this article will be of value to you. For those of us who, for one reason or another, have to plan on bugging in, this might serve as a reminder to stock some cheap but necessary items that you may not have considered. Judging by the number of survival threads and articles that I have read, a number of us plan on maintaining, if possible, some sort of energy source should EMP, flood, hurricane, terrorist act or other event disrupt our electric service. At times like this, we can expect blackouts, rolling blackouts, brownouts, surges, peaks or other electrical gremlins to occur. All of these things place stress on electrical and electronic devices and the components designed to protect them; fuses. In addition to blowing out, fuses wear out. This is most common in devices that draw large amounts of power and are switched on and off frequently such as home HVAC units.  Heavy current flow through a fuse generates heat and the fuse link expands and contracts with the temperature change until metal fatigue finally takes its toll. Take inventory of all of the electronic and electrical devices around your bug in location and you will be surprised at the variety of fuses necessary to keep things running. Yes, I know, you can often bypass fuses to keep something running in an emergency but you also bypass the item designed to keep the device from burning out or malfunctioning, possibly when you need it most. Fuses are low cost items that are readily available during normal  times but that is not what we are talking about, is it?

Start by examining the service entry box at your house. If it is an older house, it may still be wired with screw-in plug type fuses. Modern electrical devices cumulatively draw more current then these systems were designed to handle and you are probably already accustomed to occasionally replacing some of these fuses. It might be wise to accumulate a large supply of those fuses in advance in the event a trip to the local hardware store is not wise in the future. If your house has a panel of circuit breakers, examine it closely to see if all of these breakers are rated at 25 amps or below and, if they are, the panel will also contain a pair of large cartridge type fuses, often concealed behind a large Bakelite handle which also serves as a disconnect device. A spare pair of these fuses is a cheap investment. Remember, brownouts and surges can stress components to a level above normal.

Start closely examining the instruction books and manuals for the various types of electrical and electronic equipment that you own. If you are so talented, open up the devices and examine them carefully for fuses which are often placed somewhere in the device close to the power input source. These fuse devices are not generally meant to be user serviced but, in an emergency, might allow you to retain the use of a critical device. Some of these may not appear to be the normal type of fuse that you are accustomed to seeing but may quickly disable the device in the event of a power surge. Enlist the help of a knowledgeable friend if you are not comfortable doing this. The circuit boards will often be marked with numbers identifying the parts and fuses are often designated with numbers such as "F101" etc. I recently opened up a 2000 watt power inverter to find that it contained eight 250 watt inverter modules, each with its own 40 amp fuse! If this inverter were to be overloaded or subjected to an extreme power surge, it would be possible that these fuses could all blow out in sequence as the remaining modules each attempted to assume the load vacated by the first module to blow out. Don't forget charge controllers and  the inline fuses in the connecting wires of 12 volt radios, scanners and CB sets. Also, closely examine the cigarette lighter plug  which allows you to run some devices off your vehicle's electrical system for a cartridge type fuse behind the tip of the plug. The very popular Maha MHC9000 charger often used with Eneloop batteries has such a fuse in its 12 volt cord as does the charger for my 2 meter ham radio and the vehicle charger for my Craftsman power tool batteries. I have also seen cigarette lighter plugs which use miniature blade type fuses inserted into the side of the plug.

By the way, if one of your power tool batteries suddenly goes "dead", particularly after you have stalled or overloaded the tool, open the battery up. Inside, you may find a small strip of metal that is used to interconnect the individual cells in the battery and see that there is a melted gap in one part of the metal. That is a fuse! You can make an emergency repair and continue to reuse the battery by carefully soldering a small piece of copper wire across the gap. Try to avoid using too much heat while doing this and use a good grade of rosin core solder. Scraping the metal for a clean surface in advance often helps the solder to adhere to the metal.

Last and certainly not least, check your owner's manuals for a complete listing of the fuses used in your vehicles. Many modern vehicles contain more circuits than your house and use a wide variety of fuses. A large kit or selection of those fuses would be a good investment. Harbor Freight sells assortments of the common sizes of blade type fuses at reasonable prices. If you have a RV equipped for bugging out, don't rely on the owner's manual to tell you about every fuse hidden in the vehicle. Trace the wiring for everything that connects to either the incoming AC power, the onboard generator if so equipped, or the "house" batteries for inline fuses as well as any fuses installed in fuse panels or blocks. Some RV refrigerators have fuses hidden inside them. Again, a knowledgeable friend may be very helpful. The Ford chassis used as the basis for my class B motor home has a master fuse block located under the hood and a second fuse block beneath the dash and they each use different sized fuses. The coach itself has fuses in the inverter/charger unit and large fuse links in the battery bay. Again, trace the wiring.

Fuses may seem like small, unimportant items but remember, "for want of a nail, the shoe was lost………..". You can't have too many fuses as some problems may be reoccurring until the fault is located. Be safe, be prepared.  - G.L.D.   



Eight College Degrees with the Worst Return on Investment. [JWR's Comments: One loser program that they left off the list: the Bachelor's Degree in Social Work (BSW.) OBTW, is it just a coincidence that many of these degree programs are dominated by leftists--both students and faculty?]

Reader CJA suggested: The Incredible Shrinking COMEX Gold Warehouse Inventories

US debt six times greater than declared - study

Items from The Economatrix:

How Washington Could Push Gas Prices Higher

Next Fed Chair Will Lead Us to ‘Economic Ruin,’ Says Peter Schiff

Top technician: Yes, 2013 does look like 1987



Brazil uprising points to rise of leaderless networks. (The 21st Century Paradigm: Unemployment + social media networking = riots.)

   o o o

A reader in Switzerland wrote to mention that an anti-gun "Ministry of Truth" cabal at Wikipedia is attemping to systematically expunge any references to mayors who have resigned and the mayors who have criminal convictions from the Mayors Against Illegal Guns wiki page. These guys make Stalin and his successors look like amateurs. If you are an experienced Wikipedian, feel free to chime in.

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Ingrown Toenails in Tough Times

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Part of the amazing aircraft collection of Merle Maine will be auctioned this weekend, in Ontario, Oregon. (In eastern Oregon, near the Idaho state line.) How many private pilots can say that they own an operational Grumman F7F-3 Tigercat, a T-28, a DeHavilland MK-35 Vampire, a Grumman S2F-2 Tracker, a MiG-17, or a MiG-23? Quite the collection of old Caddies, too. Merle had class.

   o o o

What Global Warming? 2012 Data Confirms Earth In Cooling Trend



"Science must not impose any philosophy, any more than the telephone must tell us what to say." - G.K. Chesterton


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


August 14th is remembered annually as Victory Over Japan Day. V-J Day in 1945 was indeed a day to celebrate. Although communism would soon again bring war clouds over East Asia,V-J Day brought a sigh of relief to millions. Few could have predicted that in just a decade Japan would re-emerge as an economic powerhouse, only to be eventually eclipsed by a post-communist China. On August 14th, President Harry Truman announced: "This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor. This is the day when Fascism finally dies, as we always knew it would."

--

Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



Wakeup Call
 It was 2 o’clock in the morning when our two year old toddler woke me with a terrifying scream. She was just across the hallway, but I was disoriented for a moment and couldn’t figure out why I was blind.  As I realized the power was out, I looked for the battery-powered lantern I keep beside the bed only to find it missing.  The three year old had probably been playing with it again.  I felt my way around the house and hoped the lantern would still have power.  It clicked on and what a blessed sight that light was.  After a few minutes of rocking and lullabies, the baby was soundly sleeping, but I was wide awake.  I found the extra flash light and left it turned on in the older children’s room so they wouldn’t be scared if they woke in the pitch-dark.  I went to the deck and saw the entire subdivision blacked-out.  Across the fields and interstate the city was aglow, but our tiny part of the world was eerily quiet.  All the white noise of technology was gone and only the frogs and bugs by the irrigation ditch were chirping away.  I lay awake long into the night, on high alert for the sound of little ones crying, pondering the long list of things I did not have prepared. 

Prior to that night I had 72-hour kits, winter-weather packs for the cars, and some bulk foods on hand for rainy days.  I grew up in the country where we kept a flashlight by the back door to check animals in the middle of the night.  My mother was and still is a wonderful advocate of food storage and small animal self-reliance.  Our family enjoys watching shows like “Doomsday Preppers” and “Mega-Disasters.”   My lack of preparation wasn’t because I hadn’t heard the message, but rather the notion that there would be time later.  My goal in writing this article is to provide an outline for individuals new to the prepping world. The first item of discussion is disasters, but which disaster? The second item is creating the LIST, in other words, what stuff is needed to survive said disaster.  The third portion addresses how to keep it all organized once you start making lists.  And I’ll mention a few tips on organizing for the smallest of disasters, Category I’s or 72 Hour Evacuations. 

Item 1: Disaster, Which Disaster?
Survival and Emergency Preparation information is available in many places and it can take days and weeks to sort through.  Our church hosted an Emergency Preparedness Fair with workshops covering many topics such as Heirloom Seeds, Getting Water without Electricity, 72-Hour Packs, Planning, Canning, and Non-canning food storage.  Each participant received a binder entitled “Provident Living” for organizing information and setting goals for future needs.  I dusted that binder off and began reading with new eyes. 

There are as many disaster scenarios as there are “preppers”, so how the heck do you know what to plan for? (Check out “Different Prepping Approaches” by Marlene M. posted July 20, 2013 in the Survival Mindset Category, SurvivalBlog.com.)  Using one presenter’s advice1 to create lists for different scenarios, I summarized his information on disasters into four categories.  It just made sense to start with disasters of shortest duration and build up to The End of the World as We Know (TEOTWAWKI)-level disaster.

Table 1. What types of Disaster do I Plan for?


Disaster

Category I
Evacuation

Category II
Home-Bound

Category III
Provident Living

Category IV
Worst-Case
Scenarios

Description

Natural or Man-made requiring evacuation

Natural or Man-made

Rainy Days & Hard Times

Long-Term Calamity TEOTWAWKI

Shelter

Forced out of home, no utilities or supplies except what you take with you

In home or have access to it, but there are no utilities

In home with possible utilities, insufficient funds to purchase supplies

May or may not be in your home, nothing available anywhere at any price

Duration

72 hours to 2 weeks

Short term- up to 2 months

A few weeks to  a year or more

Long Term- Unknown

Causes

Localized:

  • Natural Disasters
  • Weather related
  • Chemical Spills
  • Wildfires
  • Terrorism

Localized:
<-    All of these, plus

  • Riots
  • Civil Unrest
  • Disrupted Utilities

Economic Crisis:

  • Unemployment
  • Death
  • Medical Problems
  • Hospital Stay
  • Extended family needs

Widespread Catastrophes:

  • War
  • Drought
  • Devastating Storms
  • Terrorism, etc.

Special Emphasis

All essentials in a portable container
Small, compact, lightweight

Emergency Supplies
Emergency Skills

Pantry Principles: Practical
Prudent
Provident

Long-term storage, self-reliance skills of mending, repairing, providing, bartering, medical care, etc.

Item 2: List, What List?
My vague wish list for long-term storage items was not enough.  I began to sort through what I had and figure out what would be needed for possible disasters.  I needed a master plan to get organized and felt that the Lord would guide me.  A Sunday lesson had taught how the Creation was a pattern for gaining self-reliance.  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1). Following this example, I created a plan for my little “Homestead” taking into mind food storage, water, gardening, small livestock, and so on.  I made the following Table and listed some basic supplies for each section to give you an idea. For exhaustive lists search the “List of Lists” on Survivalblog.com. 
Table 2. Creation-Based Planning


Scripture

Items

Category I

Category II

Category III

Category IV

 

Time Frame

72 Hour Minimum*

3 Month Supply

1 Year Supply

Indefinitely

Genesis 1:3-4

Light & Heat

-Candles
-Matches
-Flashlights
-Batteries

Add
- Oil/Kerosene
-Lanterns
-More Matches
-More Candles

Add
-Wood Stove
-Wood for heat
-Cooking Briquettes
-Propane for BBQ

Add
-Generator
-Log Splitter
-Rechargeable Batteries

Genesis 1:9-10

Water

-72 hour supply
-Portable jugs

Add
-2 week supply
-Purification method tablets, filters

Add
-Private Well
-Hand Pump for Well
-Large Storage Tanks

Add
-Portable Filter
-Knowledge of local water and geography

Genesis 1:12,29

Plant Based Foods

-MRE’s
-fruit leather, raisins
-Granolas
-Fruit cups
-Peanut butter

Add BULK
- Fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, fats & oils, nuts, seeds, sugars and peanut butter

Add
-Seasonal Gardening
-Composting, Natural Pest Control
- Canning & dehydrating skills

Add
-Heirloom Seeds & preserving skills
- Farming Tools

Genesis 1:21,25

Animal Based Foods

-Protein shakes
-Jerky
-Tuna
-Powdered Milk

Add
- meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, milk, honey bees (powdered items for back-up)

Add
-Chickens
-Dairy Goat/Cow
- Other livestock
-Hunting Weapons & Ammo

Add
-Fishing supplies
-More Animals
-Gun Smith tools
-More Ammo

Genesis 1:27

Human Necessities &
Comforts

-Toiletry Kit
-First Aide Items
-Sturdy, warm clothing
-Shelter
-Sanitation Items

Add
-All Toiletry Items
-Socks, Underwear
- Medical Supplies
-Cleaning Supplies

Add
-Sewing Machine
-Extra Shoes/Boots
-Fabrics
-More Toiletries

Add
-Outhouse or other Sanitation solution
 -Travel Trailer
-Bartering Goods

Genesis
2:3

Rest from your work and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with being prepared.  Remember to honor the Sabbath day even in times of hardship.  Those in your company will be in need of Spiritual nourishment as much as physical nourishment.  Ex 31:17 “he rested, and was refreshed.”

Genesis 2:15

Put All into Practice

Set a time every year to rotate items

Store food that your family will eat, and rotate through it

Garden, Raise Livestock, and Live as if your life depended on it NOW

Learn Self-Reliance, Practice It and then spread the word in your community

*72 Hours is the minimum amount of time to plan for.  As recent natural disasters have shown, it may take longer for you to return home and have full use of utilities.

Item 3: How to Organize

So now you have all these areas of your life that need preparation and the list in your head is getting longer by the minute.  Ahhhh! It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the details, but don’t stop now!  Take a deep breath and remember that you only have to start with ONE item this week, and next week you can do another, and so on.  Look at different lists until you find a style that resonates.  A simple spreadsheet design on SurvivalBlog.com is titled “List of Lists”.  They offer detailed lists from an expert on every necessary area.   

All you need is a 1 or 2 inch ring diameter binder and some dividers to start.  The binder system allows you to easily add information along the way.  Start with a section entitled Homestead which will include: Communications, Evacuation Plans, and Tools.  Continue to make a section for each set of items from Table 2: Light & Heat, Water, Plant Based Foods, Animal Based Foods, Human Necessities & Comforts, and Spiritual Needs.  Some additional sections may include Financial Preparations, Safety, Security, and Maps.  Again, the work has already been done in “List of Lists” referenced above and they are free to use.  I just put each list under the best-fitting section and make personal modifications as needed.

Item 4: Category I- Short Term Evacuation

So let’s get into the short term evacuation scenario.  You need to leave your home quickly with enough supplies to carry you through … fill in whatever type of disaster you wish. I started organizing for Category I with “72 hour kits”.  Other names for this type of kit are the B.O.B. “Bug-Out-Bag” or the G.O.O.D. “Get Out Of Dodge” bag. You may have seen the term I.N.C.H. bag as in “I’m Never Coming Home.”  As this last name implies, it would be a kit that is kept for Category IV scenarios with more emphasis on rebuilding tools and long-term survival away from home.  Some helpful hints for beginners: designate an area for these items, make water portable, have a backpack for each person, and post a list in a visible spot. 

72 Hour Emergency Station- Create one spot or “station2” where all things needed for the 72 hour level of emergency are kept together. We now have a closet in our laundry room that is designated for that purpose.  This ensures that any person at home could load the evacuation supplies and meet up at a Rally Point with other family members. To help young children prepare, practice drills where each family member is assigned certain items to carry for an evacuation.  Use a stopwatch and make it a game for them. 

Water
- The general rule of emergency preparedness is 1 gallon of water per person or pet per day. There are 5 people in our family x 3 days= 15 gallons.  Because my small children can’t carry the weight of three gallons, I have 2 liters in each pack with the additional water in a combination of 5 gallon jugs and cases of bottled water.  Since this is the bare minimum, it’s also a good idea to have water purification methods in each of the kits. 

Backpacks
- There is one backpack or small rolling suitcase for each person and pet in the home.  These hold everything from important documents in waterproof covers, flashlights, food, clothes, and first aid kits to books and tiny toys for the kids.  This is where list making is needed.  After studying several suggested lists, compile an individualized list based on what type of disasters are common in your region and specific needs of the person such as extra prescription drugs, glasses, or diapers. 

Evacuation List- Make a printed list that hangs in the station listing evacuation items in order of importance.  You decide and make sure everyone else knows that the list is law.  Take time to think it through now so when the SHTF evacuation will go smoothly and safely.  Put the “Extras” at the bottom of the list.

Extras- “Extras” are the items that would be nice to have if there was time and space to take them, but not essential to your survival for three days.  It could be a duffle bag or other portable container.  Mine is a blue Rubbermaid tote that is easy to move, water proof, and doubles as a child’s bath or wash tub.  Inside the tote is an inventory of items so that all family members will quickly know what resources are on hand.  I also added a copy of driving directions and a map of alternate routes to our evacuation spot. 

Item 5: Line Upon Line

Following the example of organizing for Category I, continue to develop your plans for the next category, and then the next, and then the next.  It’s a situation where the principle of “line upon line, precept upon precept3” applies because after you have planned for and acquired supplies for 3 days, 2 weeks will seem do-able.  After you have two weeks’ worth of supplies, three months won’t seem like too big of a burden, and all of a sudden you will have a year’s worth of supplies and be living like a veteran “prepper.” 
The last section titled Put it all into Practice happens when “prepping” becomes a way of life.  “Line upon line” you will gain knowledge of self-reliance, including but not limited to: gathering resources, building a personal library, networking with people, gardening, raising livestock, physical fitness, self-defense, hands-on training, and tools of a trade. 

Gathering Resources-
The internet is a wonderful tool for gathering information on every topic imaginable.  SurvivalBlog.com, Mother Earth News and Honeyvillegrain.com are just a few of the sites I like to search. As I find a specific topic that I want to learn more about I send for free catalogues to look at supplies. My preparedness binder has a growing section of articles I’ve printed from professional and amateur blog sites. 

Personal Library
- When the grid goes down, having a collection of books on a wide range of topics will be invaluable.  I want the peace of mind knowing that I can refer to tried-and-true information in times of need.  Take the time to read reviews on books before purchasing them.  Many times I was saved from buying a book because the other readers pointed out it lacked the critical information I would need for real-life scenarios.  I also subscribe to GRIT that offers information on all kinds of homesteading topics.

Networking with People
- The talents and experience of neighbors, extended family, and community members is a wealth of knowledge that is only useful if we know where to go.  The Preparedness Fair at church gave me insight into the resources of our congregation.  We moved into a new subdivision and as we get to know the neighbors, I’ve found that one is a Jack-of-all trades that can build anything from houses to engines while another on is an avid bow hunter and camper.  Ask these people for advice and help when you come across new and unfamiliar prepping topics.  Being new to this blog, I find it exciting to know there are countless people out there with similar interests and a wealth of knowledge.
If you are a veteran prepper that has been doing this for years and can think of someone you know who hasn’t caught the fire to prep, maybe they don’t know where to start.  Don't give up; continue to be the great examples you are and someday it will reach someone like me.

Gardening
- Grow what you can, even if it’s a few pots on the patio.  Learn about local soil, how to fertilize, controlling pests and climate restrictions.  Living in a dry area with short growing seasons means that my ability to preserve a large harvest is crucial.  Up here we plant mid-May and harvest by late September, so in a TEOTWAWKI scenario, I would be eating canned or dried produce 9-10 months of the year. 
Look to your local county extension office for help.  Each state has this program under their county government listing. They offer scientific based help for agriculture, livestock pastures, family and consumer sciences (cooking and preserving methods), and horticulture.  One example of courses offered by Yellowstone County helps develop horticulture skills in a Master Gardener Course. 

Raising Livestock
- Start small and build your herds and flocks with the same principle of “line upon line.”  I grew up in the rural 4-H setting, so I dabbled in everything from pigs to dairy goats to horses.  If you have children from ages 6-19, find a local 4-H club to join.  The kids get to enjoy the responsibility of caring for animals and parents have an automatic network of experienced project leaders that volunteer hundreds of hours to the program.  Their programs extend beyond animals to include a wide range of topics with everything from Aerospace and Astronomy to Wind Energy and Woodworking.  Check out page 16 of the Project Material Order Form4 for a full list of the 115 projects available.

Physical Fitness- After reading several articles5 I realized my kids will be depending on me to keep them safe, sheltered, and fed when SHTF.  I’m 35 pounds overweight and I feel stiff and tired many mornings.  That comes after a good eight hours of sleep in a very comfortable bed with plenty to eat and a hot shower each day.  Imagine being on the run, sleeping on the ground with limited calories and an immense load of stress.  This was another important area that I needed to start making changes in now, and not wait. So thanks to a great neighbor, I’ve started cardio and weight lifting, alternating days and resting on Sundays.  When I get tired, I envision having to put up a shelter in subzero temperatures or bug out with all our gear.  That’s what motivates me to push harder.

Self-Defense
- I cannot add any personal experience in this area of preparation yet.  If you are like me, unfamiliar and intimidated by handling firearms, the best advice I can offer is to seek out opportunities to learn these skills.  This summer I will be attending a three day camp, just for women, that focuses on outdoor skills.  (An idea is already forming for my next article, Women and Firearms: 101).  This fall I want to take a two-part basic pistol class offered by a local shooting range. My goal is to increase my confidence through these experiences and become knowledgeable enough to purchase my own firearms. 

Hands-on Training
- So how do I become self-reliant?  If I wait to learn by trial-and-error, I may not last the first week or the first growing season.  Start by asking family members to share things they know about.  My father-in-law is a Vietnam Vet and was really helpful when I told him I had started “prepping.”  Search out camps and retreats that offer classes by experts.  I found affordable and local classes put on by the Wildlife, Fish and Parks Department in Montana.  They offer classes on things like packing horses in the mountains, GPS and Compass reading, Rifle, Archery, Outdoor cooking, and Wilderness Survival.  Locally the police department put on a free woman’s self-defense class.  Even if your funds are limited, be resourceful and find ways to learn the skills you want.  Organize classes through local churches or volunteer to be a 4-H project leader.

Tools of the Trade/Craft
- If the grid crashed today and there was no FedEx or Amazon.com would you have the tools and supplies needed to perform or produce something of value?  For example, my extended family raises dairy goats.  Each spring the children choose newborn kids for 4-H project animals and the extra milk is used by our families.  There are many valuable products besides milk such as cheeses, soaps, meats, hides and pack animals.  While these aspects of the goat herd aren’t being utilized right now, having the necessary equipment on hand such as molds, lye, presses, cheese cloth, Rennet tablets, etc. will be crucial for us to have a means of bartering goods and providing basics for survival. 

Just Do It
Just do it!  If you made it this far, I know you have been “awakened”! You are now aware that there are various types of disasters to plan for and that each can have a different list of supplies. Use a system to keep it all organized so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.  Remember to seek the council of the Lord.  Start with the smallest disaster and build steadily toward TEOTWAWKI. Make self-reliance a way of life and may God bless you in all worthy endeavors.

References



JWR,
I have been a reader, and sometimes commentator, of your blog for some years. I have read all kinds of ideas on what should be carried for all kinds of bad things happening scenarios. One thing I have rarely seen mentioned is the simplest and cheapest fire starter around: a magnifying glass.

No moving parts. No fancy training. Hardly any space required. Less that $10 in any drugstore as a “reading glass.”

I have one that is 4” diameter by ½” thick one that I have carried, unprotected, in my coat pocket for over 30 years.
It has a lot of scratches on it. It will still get a pile of dry leaves into open flame in less than a minute, regardless of the air temperature.

I also carry in my back pack, in a simple manila folder, an 8 1/2 x 11 "Full Page Magnifier Fresnel Lens" It doesn’t provide the pin point hot spot that the glass lens does, but that can be an advantage if your target is damp. The larger “hot spot” seems to dry out a larger area before it gets to the ignition point. That larger area gives the flame more to work on when it ignites.

I don’t think there is any excuse not to carry either one, or both, on you at all times. - KBS





Reader J.H. sent an fascinating video that illustrates why so-called dry washes can be so dangerous: Amazing Flash Flood / Debris Flow Southern Utah. J.H.'s comments: "The amazing thing is that the heaviest rain fell 40 miles away from the film site and the peak rain came six hours before the wave passed through. Local weather conditions give no clue as to what is about to happen. Swimming in the trash laden water is an absolute non-starter. Pity the camper who has one of these walls of wet wood squash him while he is wrapped in a sleeping bag, zipped up in a tent. Take home message: Never completely trust a 'dry wash' in desert country."

   o o o

A misinformed reader in New Jersey wrote to chide me about recently posting a quote from Adam Baldwin, complaining: "The Baldwin brothers are all leftist weenies." To clarify: Adam Baldwin, (who played Animal Mother in Full Metal Jacket and the role of Jayne Cobb in Firefly) is a libertarian conservative. He is not related to Alec Baldwin (a stridently statist left-wing PETA member. The mass media-magnetic Baldwin Brothers were born in New York. But Adam Baldwin was born in Winnetka, Illinois. The latter and Alec's brother Stephen Baldwin (an outspoken Christian conservative) would be well-received in The American Redoubt. But Alec Baldwin would probably get the bum rush. Oh, and speaking of Adam, he apparently visits SurvivalBlog. Shiny!

   o o o

Bad news for Mayor Bloomberg's police state ambitions: NYPD's 'stop-and-frisk' practice is unconstitutional, judge rules

   o o o

M.O.B. sent this news from Wisconsin: Libraries 'overwhelmed' by interest in patron seed share programs

   o o o

F.J. liked this piece over at Instructables: How To Make A PVC Water / Air / Vacuum Pump



"Truth is treason in the empire of lies." - Former Congressman Ron Paul


Tuesday, August 13, 2013


August 13th is the birthday of my old friend who was the basis for the "Jeff Trasel" character in my novel "Patriots."

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Camping Survival has started a Wise Foods and Berkey water filter bundle sale. Check it out!

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Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



My experience this past weekend camping with two of my friends and all of our children reminded me of the difficulties that one would have in a TEOTWAWKI situation.  To begin with I have two friends that I have known since jr high or longer.  We have, since that time spent lots of time together camping, hiking, biking, canoeing and any of a number of other outdoor adventures.  We have climbed over 12,000 foot passes while backpacking and ridden our bikes for hundreds of miles, camping along the way.  When we began having children we decided that we would do an annual camping trip to push the limits of what they and we could physically handle.  The ultimate goal, to build a life time love of the outdoors for our children and also to prepare them for the really fun trips we can do when they are finally big enough to carry their own weight.  For this article I will talk mostly of our most recent trip but may throw in lessons learned from the past.  

This years trip was by bike.  We rode 25 miles from one of our houses to a campground on the outskirts of our city.  In our party are three 38 year old men who are in decent shape but not the shape we were before fatherhood.  We had 3 girls 9,7 and 5 and 4 boys 5 ,5, 3 and 3.  The 9 year old rode her own bike but carried no equipment. We then had the other two girls and oldest two boy riding trail behind bike.  We had three Burley bike trailers carrying the youngest two boys and all of our equipment.  

We actually had room to carry more stuff but for the ease of transport we elected to only bring food for dinner and breakfast with the plan to resupply during the following day.  We ate our meals on the road at restaurants.  We cooked by fire to avoid a stove.  We had clean water available to us so we brought no water purification equipment.  The forecast was for temps from 60-80 so we could skimp on cold weather clothes and sleeping equipment.  All of these are thing I would be reluctant to leave behind were it not for the the fact that we were only gone three days and a rescue was only a phone call away.  We had the usual other camping and first aid equipment, as well as bike tools and tubes.  We did not have any tactical equipment or firearms with the exception of my carry gun and 2 extra magazines.  I state all of this to make it known that we would have wanted to bring a lot more with us or have it cached if this was a true bug out situation.  

The ride out there went pretty well.  We covered about 8 miles before we had our first break.  All the kids were hungry and thirsty and tired, though with in a few minutes most of them had begun playing red light green light and were clearly not that tired.  We had another 9 miles to go to our planned lunch stop.  My son who is very diligent about staying hydrated had to stop three times to use the bathroom in that next 9 miles.  It is good that I do not have to worry about him not drinking enough but it really slows momentum when the whole group has to stop so often.  About two miles from our planned lunch the nine year old was losing steam.  Even though we were only 20 minutes away at most from lunch we had to stop and let her eat a snack.  It was a good lesson for the rest of the kids when they did not also receive one as well(rationing) but it is once again a momentum stopper.  The truth though is that you can not make kids at this age wait to eat.  If they crash their energy reserve they will not recover for some time and that will slow the rest of the trip down.  This is true for adults as well.  I have certainly pushed myself to the point where with out food I was slowed to barely a walking pace while biking.  It can takes several hours to get your system up and running again and that is not a position you want to be in under any circumstance.  We made it to lunch and spent a good hour eating and resting before finishing our trip.  I believe we made it without any stops from lunch to the campground about another 7-8 miles.  I should add that we were riding mostly on a trail that was built on a rail road track so there was very minimal grade to contend with.  Whenever we met hills the weight of our combined rigs was a lot to deal with.  The whole trip took us about 5 hours with about 3 hours of riding time.

Some word on bike choice would be appropriate here.  I have a lot of bikes to choose from in my garage.  In order to pull a trail behind bike you can not have a rear rack because the trail behind mounts to the the seat post.  For this reason I did not ride my commuter bike which I am the most comfortable on and has the widest range of gears.  I picked an older bike that was a top of the line racing bike 20 years ago.  It is geared to go fast and it does, but I found that I was riding in the bottom 2-3 gears most of the time and was not able to maintain the cadence I would like unless we were going about 12-13 miles an hour.  If I were going up any kind of incline I had no choice but to fight down the pedal in way too tall of a gear.  I have ridden a lot and given our situation I could handle it but I would have been much happier with a bike geared for a lower speed range.  The truth is that even 12-13 miles an hour was never maintained for more then a few minutes and so I found myself always pedaling slower then I would like.  I will say though that when we faced one of those up-hill climbs and I yelled back to my son to pedal hard--he was helping me get up the hills.  It is important to take advantage of their energy when you can but also be mindful of preserving it on the level.  I suppose a mountain bike would be the best choice in a bug out situation but if you are comfortable on a commuter style bike the skinnier wheels will save you a lot of energy.  Half of our ride was on crushed lime stone which those bike handle well.  I have ridden them on true country gravel roads though and found them to be difficult to keep upright when loaded down.  I have also ridden a mountain bike with smooth but still fat tires on long trips and found them to be more able but about 1-2 miles an hour slower, there is always a compromise.

I will also comment on bike maintenance and equipment.  It is wise to have a tool kit with wrenches etc that will fit most if not all the components on your bike(s).  They do not generally have that many different sizes so the kit is not that big.  Spare tubes, tube repair kits, spoke wrench, chain breaker and tool, as well as a spare chain and chain oil would all be good things to have as well.  Remember tubes for all the different wheels you have.  [Albeit a rare occurrence,] a broken chain can be a real problem.  I was stranded once and had to have my sister come get me because I could not fix the chain and I was too far away to walk.  Chains breaking can be a very dangerous thing as well.  Many of the injuries I know of with bicyclists have happened while going hard up hill or sprinting and having their chain brake.  The rider almost always suffers a bad crash in this situation.  In some instance I know of broken bones and concussions.  

Once we reached our camp ground we put up our tent and set up our camp.  We rode back to buy firewood, much easier then foraging and set out to explore the campground.  We had drank all of our water plus three Gatorades, a chocolate milk for all the kids and drinks from water fountains along the way.  I would estimate that was at least 4 gallons of water but probably more.  That takes along time to pump through a purifier or boil and cool were that necessary.  Plus we had all begun the trip well hydrated.  We went to get more water and found that it tasted pretty awful.  A lot of the kids seemed like they would not drink it.  I am sure in time they would have but not before risking dehydration.  Luckily we had powder mix and found that it could be mixed pretty lean to take away the bad taste and still last.  

Here is the hard part about camping with kids.  The dads are tired and the kids are ready to play.  They are old enough to do so with out us but they like it better when we participate and after all we are there to have fun.  This gives our group a good chance to gain some unit cohesion where one father will entertain the kids while the other two get some work done.  By the end of the weekend the kids rarely care which dad is lifting them up, applying sunscreen to them or cutting their food.  It also give us the chance to discipline them all as necessary so that we can effectively operate in the absence of one parent such as when one of us had to go to the grocery store the next day.  If nothing else comes from these trips the chance to have a close relationship with your best friends children is worth it.  We never know when one of us may be gone and it is easier to rest knowing that there are at least two good men in their lives.  This is especially close to my heart as my father died when I was 19 and I would have liked to have had that relationship with some of his friends.  

After dinner, Smores for dessert, and another walk it was time for bed.  It is hard to get kids to go to sleep in a tent when it is still light out.  Expect it to take a while.  Even though they are tired, it is not dark enough and they are out of their element.  You will spend a good while going back to assure them that you are just sitting by the fire.  We stayed up until about 12:00 or so as adults then slept poorly until about 6:00 in the morning when the first kids started to wake up.  One thing that you get a lot practice with as parents in general and especially while camping is sleep deprivation.  I am sure in a bug out situation it would be worse but we would also be more careful about staying up so late and better about napping during the day.  

We made breakfast and then two of us took the kids to the playground while the other went to the store to get food for the rest of our stay.  This turned out to be a good opportunity for me to try my Mainstay Emergency rations on the kids.  When we returned from the playground to get our swimming suits for the beach the kids were all hungry again.  We had some food left but I told them we did not and offered them each one of the lemon flavored emergency bars.  To my surprise all but one of the kids liked them.  They did have a hard time eating the whole thing but it carried them over well, until lunch time.  I ate one as well and found it to be a little dry but filling.  At lunch we ate a loaf of bread,  chips, grapes and a few other snacks.  However much you think that you will eat get about 20-30 % more.  Kids eat a lot when they are outside all day playing.  The rest of the evening went well with the usual filling of all the water bottles every couple of hours.  The only new lesson learned was that my younger son who never has nightmares woke up in the middle of the night screaming about a bad dream.  That could be a big problem if you were dealing with a security situation but I am not sure how it can be avoided.  I think that if you went to bed with them it would help but it is only a theory.  

The next morning we were up again by 6, had oatmeal, packed up camp and were on the road by 9:30.  We could probably shave some time off of this but we did not have to pump water or do many of the other tasks that would have been necessary camping in the wild.  We made good time back going almost 12 miles before our first stop.  Another 5 miles brought us to lunch.  The last stretch we also made with out a major stop.  I find that the kids start to travel better the longer that you are out.  

We could probably have made it another 10 miles that first day but that would have been about the limit I think.  If we had traveled the next day I think that it would have had to be a pretty easy day but we could have probably made 20 miles.  After that I think that we could settle into a 30 mile a day routine.  I say this from past experience on longer trips.  The 2nd day is usually the hard one and after that you can usual get into a rhythm that works for awhile.  I think that it would be awhile before you could go much more then 35 miles a day and expect to keep doing it day after day.  

Another consideration is in a real situation we would have our wives with us.  That would increase our cargo capacity but also increase our cargo.  The other problem is that in our situation we are three friends that have done this kind of thing for over 20 years together.  We know our groups strengths and weaknesses and for the most part deal well with them.  Having spent the weekend at a cabin with the same group plus wives I know that our group does not operate as well.  I am sure it is something that would work itself out, as we are all married to very capable and intelligent women, but it still could make for some difficult moments.  

I have also given consideration to pulling larger trailers with multiple bikes.  We have done this once before when we built chariot type rigs to be pulled during our High school homecoming parade.  They were not of the highest quality construction so I am sure I could improve upon the design but they were manageable.  With two bikes attached as horses would be it did not take to long to coordinate with the other rider starts, turns and stops.  Hills were very difficult and some provision would need to be made for assisting the trailer up the hills possibly by less encumbered riders.  More likely by walking up  the hills.  The other problem and the main reason that I would see this as last resort is that they were very difficult to stop or turn quickly.  In this way you would expend a lot of energy going up hill and not getting the advantage on the coast down as you would be trying to keep from turning into a runaway train.  Another idea I have for moving more stuff is to shuttle half the group forward with half the equipment and then send the strongest riders back to pick up the rest of the stuff and the other half of the group.  This is also an idea I do not like but the truth it that we may be forced to make decisions we would rather not have to make and it is good to think about it ahead of time.  

In closing if biking is part of your strategy please ride as much as you can.  Ride to church, ride to the store, ride whenever you  can.  You body will remember those miles when the times comes.  Practice pulling additional weight up a hill, you will be surprised how much you can feel that 20 pounds.  The eye opener to me in all of this is that I need to consider more seriously caching food and equipment.   The cabin that I thought was one hard day of cycling away, is probably more realistically 3 to 4 days away.  All the extra space I had intended for more tactical equipment would be taken up by the additional food requirement.  

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning.  



Sir:
I have some of the larger military surplus ammo cans and would like to build my own Faraday cages to store my spare electronics [to protect them from EMP or a severe solar storm]. Do you have any sources to guide me?

OBTW, I just finished reading your novel "Patriots". That was a great read and I could not put it down. Regards,- J.L. (Former NYPD Officer)

JWR Replies: What you plan to do is is pretty simple, since the can and lid are already great Faraday shields. The only issue is the gap where they join. That joint needs to be conductive, in order to create a fully protective cage. I recommend that you:

1.) Remove the can's rubber gasket. (Save it, in case you decide to restore the can to water-tightness, at a later date.)

2.) Wearing eye protection, use some coarse sandpaper or a rotary wire brush to remove the paint on at least a 3-inch section of both the top lip of the can and underneath the lid where the gasket was attached. This bare metal will provide a good electrical contact between the lid and body of the can.

3.) Replace the gasket with a continuous thick "fuzz" of stainless steel wool that will just barely allow the lid to to be clamped shut. (Selecting the correct thickness to use takes a bit of experimentation.) The steel wool can be glued in place so long as you do not insulate the short section(s) where you sanded off the paint.

Store items inside wrapped in plastic bags or in heavy duty cling wrap, to insulate them from the can. Use additional padding (bubble pack or gray foam) inside if the cans will be transported loaded with fragile gear.

Do not add an external grounding strap.



Uh-oh! Some New Yorkers have caught wind of the Redoubt, and might swarm in and Damage Our Calm. See: Your Own Private Idaho. Even worse, there are some nice photos, as the New Yorkers say, "to go with." Quick! Give all those Easterners a zap from The Flashy Thing. (Well, at least those ones who aren't conservative, law-abiding, gun owners.)

   o o o

Census Bureau: Oregon's largest counties grow while rural areas empty. (Eastern Oregon still has plenty of elbow room, but with its weak economy, it is best to be self-employed before moving there.)

   o o o

"Thy OPSEC doth stinketh": $250,000 in rare coins stolen in Idaho home invasion. In cases like this, it is usually maids or home health care aides who have the loose lips.

   o o o

Reader M.W. recommended a small company called Fish Hunt Fight (FHF) in Belgrade, Montana. M.W. says: "I have some of their gear and it is end-user-design-driven. Paul is a stand-up honest guy and really wants to please his customers. This is a smaller and more adaptable company always coming out with something that the end-user asked for/designed as custom or semi-custom work... and yet the price is somehow still very reasonable. This stuff doesn't just have randomly placed pockets and pouches. It all fits a purpose, often in the non-tactical end of things such as for hunting, but they still have camo and tactical goodies that are all well-made with US sourced material and all made in USA. Call them to work out a custom rig for your specific needs."

   o o o

Child-molesting kidnappers from California are hereby warned: The backcountry of Idaho is a bad place to try to hide out with your victim. The sheriff departments, their posses, and even the Civil Air Patrol will give finding you their full effort, and you'll get ventilated. (Federal agents often get the cold shoulder in the American Redoubt, but not in kidnapping cases!)





F.G. sent: Marines and Army deploy new helmet designed to stop Rifle Rounds

   o o o

H.L. recommended this article and video: Build a $300 underground greenhouse for year-round gardening

   o o o

Bob P. wrote to reiterate one of SurvivalBlog's long-standing recommendations: "Zippo Lighters are American-made. They are manufactured by the Zippo Manufacturing Co. in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Even though I don't smoke I always kept a Zippo lighter handy since I was in the Army in the 1960s.  I keep one in my BOB and one in my ready pack in my pickup.  Zippos will burn just about any fuel and some of my Army buddies used to refill their Zippos and similar wind proof lighters by dunking them in the gas tanks of gasoline-powered equipment. (Don't use diesel!)  They always worked and the lower the octane of the fuel the better. They seem to be more reliable, wind proof and work better than butane lighters in cold weather. We always keep extra flints in the bottom, under the cotton packing."

   o o o

Mugabe signs secret deal to sell uranium to Tehran.



"We believe in high quality of content, design and production of books, thereby, we approach highly academically established authors, as well up coming up writers to encourage their research and writing skills. Our books are printed in latest printed machines. In addition, our aim is costumer satisfaction, prompt delivery of our products to domestic market as well over the globe. Our organisation, professionally committed and devoted team of editors, proof reader to look after and ensure each detail before sending for printing." - From the web site of Global Vision Publishing House of Daryaganj, Delhi, India. (Copied and pasted with no alterations, from the text posted on August 12, 2013.)


Monday, August 12, 2013


I was sad to hear that Eydie Gormé passed away on August 10th. Though her talent was often wasted on ballads with sappy lyrics, she had an amazing voice. Now she is singing with the angels.

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Two readers wrote to ask me about an e-mail that they had received from one of my publishers. This was a legitimate e-mail, and it had my blessing. The e-mail offered a free mini-report about water storage, which is available to everyone. (You don't have to be a subscriber to Sarah Stafford's site or be a buyer of the Rawles Gets You Ready preparedness course.) The course has now been published for six years, but is now available only via digital download. The good news is that it is now very affordably priced--less than $20.



I have to confess, at one time, I had a huge CFP-90 pack, that was my own personal BOB, and I had so much stuff in it that I could hardly get it on, much less hike any distance - it probably weighed in at 50-pounds or more. But I was good to go, for a week or two without having to resupply, except for a source of water. What was I thinking? My only excuse was, I was young and dumb, and I was actually a lot younger, but a lot stronger back then, too. Today, I have a more sensible BOB for my own use - still working on the wife - she has a pack that is too big, but change comes hard to her.
 
I live out in the boonies - I'm six miles from one town, and ten miles from another town, with the main road about 3-miles from my digs. We don't have many people who live on our rural road, so whenever I see something a bit out of the ordinary, it catches my attention. For the past several months, I've been seeing a young man, probably in his early to mid twenties, hiking up and down our road, several times per week, with a HUGE backpack on his back. And, you can tell the bag isn't heavy, but it is stuffed - to make it look heavy. Just by the way the backpack carries on him, you know there isn't anything very heavy in there - oftentimes, he has a young teenage boy behind him. I don't know, maybe he his trying to impress the young teen with the monster pack, but it is probably full of clothing - to make it look full and heavy. To each his own, I guess.
 
If you think you can carry everything you need to bug out, in a backpack, you are only dreaming and kidding yourself. A BOB is meant for the bare essentials, to keep you alive for a few days - nothing more. It's not meant to be a bag that is packed for a two week vacation. You only need the basics, food, water, a change of clothing, a first-aid kit, a knife, perhaps a firearm with spare ammo - things like that. You honestly don't need the kitchen sink, and the bigger and heavier your bag is, the shorter the distance you will cover if you are on foot. I admit I'm getting older - later this year, I'll collect my first social security check, and I know my limitations. And, bugging out with a huge backpack isn't going to work for me - nor will it work for most folks, either.
 
The good folks at US Tactical Supply recently provided me with one of their Removable Operator Packs for testing. This isn't a big pack, it only has about 1,178 cubic inches of room inside of it - however, it does have bungee cord on the outside, for attaching other things, perhaps a jacket, poncho, or things like that. The sample I received is in Multicam camo, however, it is available in several other colors and camo patterns. The concept behind the Removable Operator Pack is that, you can attach it to you tactical assault vest, so it is part of it - or you can carry it solo, on your back. Attachment hardware is included for attaching the pack to your tactical vest. And, with the popularity of tactical assault vests, and vests that carry body armor, this is a great pack to add. I know that US Tactical Supply is now selling Infidel Body Armor, and I did an article on this outstanding and very affordable hard body armor on SurvivalBlog some time back, and US Tactical was so impressed with this armor, they are now a dealer. US Tactical Supply thought this pack would be the perfect accessory to this body armor vest, it is easy to attach and even easier to remove the pack, if you need to get it off in a hurry.
 
I know a lot of law enforcement personnel don't give much thought - and I should know, I was a cop - several times - as to down time on a call out. What happens if you are a SWAT cop, and you are on-scene for hours or even days - what do you do for food and water. What if you are holding an sniper position on a roof top, and you can't leave to get a drink of water or you need an energy bar or an MRE to eat? You don't have that with you - just your weapon and hard body armor vest. Well, with this Removable Operator Pack, you can have it attached to your tactical vest, and when you don't need it, just drop it - easy as that. And, as already mentioned, you don't need to be wearing a tactical vest to enjoy this pack, it works just fine on it's own - as a BOB - that you can keep in your vehicle or near your front door - just grab it and run.
 
There is a large main compartment, as well as a front compartment, that has side entry, and it is easy to get to the gear you have packed inside of it. There is also modular webbing for attaching additional pouches on the outside of the pack - then again, you are starting to add more weight - just how much can you carry for any distance or length of time? The zippers are heavy duty, and there is a grab/pull handle that won't pull off or rip, if you have to grab it and actually pull someone who is down - try that with many lesser packs! There is Velcro material for putting on unit patches on the back of the pack, too. There is a packet for carrying a 2 litter water bladder inside the pack as well - and you can never have enough water on any mission of bug-out scenario. And, if you are younger and stronger than me, like a Spec Ops guy, you can attach this little pack to an Extended Range Operator Pack (such as those made by Tactical Tailor,) for carrying additional gear, besides whatever is in your main pack.
 
Many Spec Ops guys might go out on a mission for weeks at a time, and resupply is difficult, if not impossible at times - they don't want to give away their positions, by having an air drop of supplies, or having a helicopter landing near them - that could spell disaster. So, these guys might hump out of base camp with a pack weighing a hundred pounds or more - and the DoD is talking about cutting military pay and benefits? I think not!!!!! Anyone in the military earns every red cent then are paid - so why are we even talking about cutting their pay and benefits? Don't even get me started...
 
For a BOB, the Removable Operator Pack, is an out standing choice - if you pack it wisely. We simply aren't talking about carrying everything you "think" you need to survive in the wilderness for weeks at a time, or forever. Those with a mind set like that, aren't going to survive for long at all. You simply have to pack wisely, and train smarter - only take the things you absolutely need. And, not all bug out situations means that you have to bug out to the wilderness. Maybe you just need to bug out for a day or two - and head to a motel or to Aunt Martha's house because of a nearby fire or flooding. Just don't go thinking that every time you bug out, you have to head to the wilderness and survive like a caveman - such is not the case. More often than not, you just have to leave your dwelling for a day or two, three at most. If you honestly believe you have to bug out to the mountains, you had better have pre-positioned a lot of supplies ahead of time.
 
Think smart and pack even smarter. Everyone should have some kind of BOB, and for some, it might just be a suitcase, for others an overnight bag, for some, it might mean a small backpack, and the Removable Operator Pack will sure fill the bill nicely. It is made from 1000 denier Cordura Nylon construction - many lesser packs are made from 600 denier - and they rip easily.
 
I've tested several products from US Tactical Supply over the years, and they only carry the best of the best. To put it bluntly, and in poor English, "they don't carry no junk." If you want junk, go to Wal-Mart or your big box store and buy junk, but you'll be buying junk again and again because it won't last you. The Removable Operator Pack is $95. That is not cheap, but not too bad - we are talking high-quality here - not junk! Check it out on the US Tactical web site for more information. You could do a lot worse, or get a bigger pack, that you won't be able to hum for very long. Pack smart, buy smart! - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio



Back at the dawn of time, when I was commissioned in the Army Infantry, I reported to Fort Benning, Georgia for my officer’s basic course. As part of our processing, each lieutenant received two large boxes of books. There were many books on weapons systems; from the M16 and M1911 to the .50 caliber Browning Machine Gun. Not forgotten were mines, demolitions, and rocket and missile systems. There were also manuals for vehicles and maintenance, first aid and hygiene, and books for subjects I no longer can recall. Most interesting to me were the Field Manuals (FMs) for tactical operations. These started with individual movement and went up to company and battalion operations. These FMs are all readily available, but have limited value to the civilian prepper.  FMs are written for a large organization called the United States Army. The Army has defined units, a chain of command, transportation, medical support, logistics, etc. that dictate tactical doctrine. In short, Army manuals are written for Armies. Preppers are better served to get training and information designed and formatted for the civilian.

Over the next few months I’m going to review a number of books that are, in my opinion, more accessible, current, and applicable for someone wanting to protect family and friends from today’s threats and tomorrow’s unknowns. The first of these is A Failure of Civility. This is a big book and comprehensive in its coverage. Let me say at the outset, this book is not just a tactical guide. Frankly most preppers need to start before any tactical training and consider what their situation is, what resources they might be able to rely on, and what their objectives should be. That is exactly where the authors of this start. In fact, the first chapter is, “In the Beginning…” But this book is so full of information that it includes a valuable chart before the title page. The two-page chart inside the front cover lists 22 possible catastrophes. For each possible event there are 13 possible consequences. So if tornados are a threat you’re concerned about, you can assess the impact it would have on your family and community. The chart includes much more than natural disasters; financial collapse, class riots, EMP events, and many others are listed. This information can be a roadmap for anyone planning for worst case scenarios.

This is a good place to mention the subtitle of the book. “How to Defend and Protect You, your family, friends, neighborhood and America during a disaster or crisis.” I don’t know of another book that takes this approach. Bugging out is not a practical solution for most people. Only a minority of people have the wherewithal and the foresight to establish an alternate home (base of operations) that is fully equipped and provisioned. Staying at home, in a true societal collapse, can work. Success will be dependent on preparations and cooperation. A Failure of Civility shows the importance of neighbors and suggests solutions to defensive problems that will need to be addressed.

There are chapters on weapons, medical concerns, survival psychology, and yes, even on travel should bugging out be required.  No single book can provide all the answers. This book is an excellent starting place for someone trying to know where to start and how to understand what might happen when the unthinkable becomes reality. It also has a place with the advanced prepper or experienced person. We all have holes in our knowledge and need checks on what we think we know. In my opinion, this is a must have book for anyone who is serious about protecting their family.

The authors suggest putting the book in a sealed plastic bag when it’s not being read. That is not bad advice for a book that will be highly valued in an emergency. Just don’t put it in a bag until after you’ve read and understood the lessons it contains.

A Failure of Civility is copyright 2012 by AFOC, LLC. The ISBN is 978-0-615-67010-2.



JWR;
I had noticed some mention of Tor and I believe there was some mention of alternatives to Tor as well, to better protect one's privacy on the web.  I really hate to say this, but, anonymity on the net really only exists as fiction these days.  Tor has had problems with it's exit nodes for a very long time and there was a lot of talk in the "penetration testing" community about the FBI using Tor to set up stings last summer.  One can use a VPN (virtual private network) that claims to keep it's users secrets secret, but there is that incident where a member of "anonymous" had his activities reported to the FBI by the VPN provider he was using. (I believe it was the "Hide My Ass" VPN service).  Proxy servers, both public and private, but mostly the public ones, leak tons of information to other people using those networks.  Sometimes, a simple program like Wireshark is all that is needed to gather the info required to identify and track users.  Let's also mention that the https encryption protocol has also been cracked as well.   There is also the i2p network, which until recently was the best way to go for your proxy server needs (in my humble opinion), but even that has been cracked (look up "Practical attacks against the i2p network"). As a person who has dabbled in the field of "penetration testing" I can tell you with absolute certainty that if someone is properly motivated they will crack the programs and services people use to remain anonymous on line, or, those service providers will gladly turn over your info when pressed by law enforcement.

In summary I would like to say that in this digital age, the programs and services you use to protect your data and anonymity may be safe to use today, but probably won't be safe to use tomorrow, or next week. - E.

JWR Replies: Your points are valid. Something that most Tor users don't realize is the last exit node in a Tormail route is not hidden. As far back as 2007, we were warned:

"It should be noted that Tor does not do anything above the protocol level to anonymize traffic. Cookies, browser identification strings and other information can be used to identify who is using the connection to anyone with access to the traffic. Obviously, logging in makes that even easier. Another known threat to anonymity using Tor, even with end-to-end encryption, is timing analysis. If someone can monitor the timing of the packets at the client and those at the server, they can make a statistical correlation between the two."

What cannot be hidden electronically can be exploited by HUMINT methods like Swallow/Raven honey traps, or good old fashioned coercion--whether it is Luigi threatening to use a baseball bat on some SYS ADMIN's kneecaps, or just mentioning that he could have his IRS buddies do six years of tax audits on the IT guy, or on his mother.



H.D.'s Homemade Bannock Bread Dough

This is for a flour-based equivalent of traditional Bannock.

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar (or any other sweetener from honey to Splenda . . . )
Pinch of salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup water
Oil

Mix the dry ingredients together. You can put them in a Baggie (or I put them in a crystal light container after I've used up the packets that come in it). Add 1/2 cup water and mix well. You should have a very stiff mix. Slowly add the remaining water until you get a mix that has bread dough consistency (goes tack and releases from your finger). You want it stiffer to wind up on a stick and bake over the fire, or a little wetter if you plan to make fry bread out of it.

Variants

Add two tablespoons dry milk to the dry mix. Start with adding one egg and then up to 1/2 cup water. Makes pancakes on the trail.

You can take the basic dough, pat it out into little patties, and then fill with fried venison burger, yucca flowers sautéed with the venison or if you don't have yucca fry it up with some onion and garlic salt, and minced hard boiled eggs, and make pouches out of it (like an empañada) and bake in a Dutch oven for 30 minutes or so.

If you make fry bread then you can top it with retried beans and taco meat and whatever else you like to make Navajo tacos.

This dough is the basis for a lot of cooking you can do on the trail. I've even had it cut into little bits and added to stew like the dumplings in chicken and dumplings or spaetzle.

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Inuit Country Food Recipes

Pemmican recipe

Bannock Bread History and Recipes

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





The political realm is not that different from my horse corral or my hen house. Periodically, the Schumer gets so deep that you can't just continue shoveling a bit off off the top or around the edges. Merely covering it up with straw is no longer sufficient. The smell becomes too much to bear. What you really need to do is to roll up your sleeves and start shoveling, and do not stop until you've scraped right down to bare soil or bare wood. Une zone totalement dépeuplée. To do it right, you leave no media for the germs to multiply in and no shelter where the maggots to grow to adulthood. Can things be much different in our nation's capitol city? Just say no to all incumbent candidates. Vote them all out! Pardon me for mixing metaphors, but the fictional space pilot Ellen Ripley had the right idea, when she said: "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure." The next election must be a clean sweep. (Or in case of Congress, the next three elections, since their six-year terms are staggered at two-year intervals.)

   o o o

Male sheep (ram) attacks farmer for selling off female sheep (ewe)

   o o o

Some interesting reading, over at Max Velocity's blog site: The Home Invasion Dilemma - Discussion & Scenarios. Also see: Solutions: Follow Up to the Home Invasion Dilemma. Max has a good grip on small unit tactics, as is evidenced by his classes.

   o o o

‘Gun insurance’ requirement would be punitive tax. And speaking of guns, B.B. was the first of several readers to send this: Picturing The Plunge In Gun Crimes (As Gun Sales Surge)

   o o o

H.M. recommended this over at the Paratus Familia blog: Pimp Daddy Sam



"These are stone killers, little man. They ain't cuddly like me." - Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb, Firefly


Sunday, August 11, 2013


Patrice Lewis's blog Rural Revolution (www.rural-revolution.com) is involved in a domain name problem with Blogger, the hosting site. Until such time as this issue is resolved, the blog can be seen at:
www.PatriceLewis.blogspot.com. Please spread the word in prepper forums about where her blog can now be found.

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I just realized that our queue of Recipes of the Week has opened up. Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? If so, then please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

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August 11th is the birthday of SurvivalBlog editor "The Werewolf" in Brazil. Feliz aniversário!

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Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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 context in which this article is written is to attempt to give guidance and provoke thought and inspiration to those determined individuals who wish to be as self sufficient as possible by growing as much of their own food as possible. Everything in this article has been tried and to varying degrees produced results for my family. Our little farm rests just below 7,000 feet in elevation with much sun, wind and deep spring snows, with temperatures in winter falling briefly to 15 or so below zero to highs in the upper 90’s and even the 100’s for at least 30 to 40 days during the summer. I mention this only as a means of encouragement – many, many parts of the country and especially parts of the Redoubt have a much more hospitable climate for producing one’s own food. This article will attempt to outline in as brief but thorough means possible from choosing a site to starting seed through tillage and tools needed, as well as other considerations for the long haul. I will not cover food preservation means and methods as volumes have covered that topic already.

The Garden Site
In choosing your garden site, assumptions will be made that at least a few acres of land are available for gardening at your retreat. Whether clearing an opening in a woodlot, fencing off a chunk of prairie or placing your garden spot in a lush valley, all gardens will need decent soil (which can be improved over time), ample amount of sunlight and water. Where I live, an old homestead had been used for a dairy farm with a huge old barn built in the 1890s with old wood stanchions . My first thought was to wonder where all that manure must have been placed. There is a flat area north of the barn of several acres that seemed to be the obvious place to haul manure. After some explorations with a shovel, this proved to be the case. The soil on the flat had nearly a foot of black humus soil atop the sand that lie beneath it (and everywhere else for that matter). Choose a spot like this if possible. Soil gets amended naturally over the previous eons in some areas. In a woodlot, look where leaves and dead trees and duff have decayed for years – this will be a good start for a garden site. If you’re lucky enough (or wise enough) to have acquired a lush valley with good topsoil, beware of low-lying areas and try to situate your garden site on a bit of a rise for drainage purposes. Once your site location is determined, you might want to consider fencing around it to protect it from the ubiquitous predators that lie in wait for freshly sown seeds, newly sprouted sprouts and the bountiful harvest that they will undoubtedly lay claim to! Choose the fence that that will be tight enough to keep out the rabbits and tall enough to keep out the deer – you’re on your own for elk, though fortunately they don’t seem to be as interested in high quality, home-grown produce as deer; and thank God for that. My favorite is 1 ½” x 3” rectangle woven wire or welded wire fence attached to well-set posts at least 5’ remaining above the ground, set 3’ deep in the ground. Deer can jump over this height; but, with some reflectors and a few Mylar balloons, don’t seem to want to risk it. Place a 10’ gate at each end if your garden is fairly large, as well as a man gate. Be sure to place the wire over your gates as well. I suggest leaving at least 10’ around the long sides of your garden beyond your intended garden plot on each side and at least 25’ on the ends. You will need gates to enter the garden and ample room to turn around tractors / horses with implements on the ends. The room along the sides is nice to have when staging gardening supplies, planting and harvesting.

If your property is hilly, try to situate your garden site on the side of the hill that faces to the south and east. Your garden will get the most amount of sunlight if situated at this angle. Also, if on hilly ground, be sure to plant your rows across the hill to avoid erosion and collect as much rainwater as you can between the rows. If you plant up and down the hillside, the water will just course rapidly down the hill between the rows doing more harm than good. If in an existing woodlot, do some studies on when the sun clears the top of the trees at daybreak and when it goes back behind the trees in the evening. You may have to clear the opening in the forest canopy a bit more so your garden spot can get full morning sun and at least a good portion of early afternoon sun. Even with sufficiently good soil and water, your garden will never reach its full potential without sun. Keep in mind that when seeding and transplanting in your garden in the spring, the days will be getting longer for a month or so, depending on your latitude and frost dates. As your plants mature throughout the summer, the days will be getting shorter and shorter.

This window from spring frost date through the first frost date of fall is a crucial measurement, which we get into later.

Water.
Obviously there is no life without water – a truth that is as constant for us as God’s creatures as it is for God’s creation that we will be stewards of, our plants. Most of us in a rural environ will obtain water by one of a few ways besides relying solely on the waters that fall from the heavens. We will either utilize a well, a cistern or tank or a ditch carrying water via gravity from a river, stream or maintained and regulated irrigation ditch. Just a note on maintained irrigation ditches. For those newly relocated to the west and part of a “water district”, spring is a wonderful time to meet your neighbors on the ditch. Each spring brush must be cut back and leaves, twigs, branches and other things that impede the flow of water must be removed prior to the ditch being “turned on”. The best way to fit in and prove yourself a productive and trustworthy member of your immediate community is to find out when the ditch cleaning work is to be done. Showing up in long sleeves, long pants, sturdy boots with work gloves, pruners, rake, shovel or chainsaw will break the ice of the most hardened of the native residents. Don’t overlook this opportunity.

If you are on a well, hopefully you can run a water line from the well to your garden area and install a frost-free hydrant rated for your area. That means that the amount of hydrant pipe buried will put your water line connection to the hydrant below the frost depth to avoid freezing and breaking your waterline. Don’t skip on this – better to be two feet too deep than two inches too shallow!  Many people choose to use 1 ½” black poly pipe as their water line material. This may or may not be a good choice. In our area, subterranean critters like to sharpen their teeth on plastic. I would suggest 1 ½” Schedule 40 PVC for a longer lasting waterline that won’t be chewed through by rodents. The other water source you may use is a cistern or a tank – some kind of collection apparatus. As a kid in Kentucky, nearly every rural home got its water from a cistern fed by all the downspouts. The frequent Kentucky rains kept the cistern full in all but the most severely dry summers – rare as they were.  In some cases, if your roof (which feeds the cistern) is a fair distance from your garden, you may end up placing a tank nearer to the garden site and pumping water to it periodically. From this point, water can be distributed by the means of a small pump, whether electric, solar or hand.

If on a well and reliant on its continual proper functioning, I highly recommend laying in or installing a hand pump. Most wells will require a deep well hand pump to deliver water from 100’ to 250’ or so. One could also use a solar water pump. Whatever you prefer, please follow the rules of JWR’s “redundant redundancy” and plan on your electric pump failing at some point – maybe for an extended period. In my own garden, I have grown quite fond of the T-tape drip flat tape connected to a header pipe on the upper end, long side of the garden, connected then to the hydrant and monitored by means of a battery powered timer. This is the most efficient use of water for me, losing none to evaporation from a sprinkler and providing a consistent means of watering. In the heat of the summer, I set my timer to water at 4:00 AM and 4:00 PM for 60 minutes each. This system of drip tape placed down each row and covered by mulch will give you a very dependable and successful watering means. With care in the fall, one can get multiple uses out of the tape. Roll it up on a coffee can and store in a dark place throughout the off-season. As another thought provoker, I suggest obtaining some good old galvanized three-gallon watering cans. If worse comes to worst, the rows can be hand watered by means of sprinkling cans drawn from your deep well hand pump. No electricity – no problem!

Seeding.
Winter always brings much anticipation to the family that looks forward to growing their own food. Seed company catalogs begin showing up around the first of the year and many hours get spent thumbing through them over and over looking for the varieties that suit your individual needs. A good place to start is to go back to the growing window previously mentioned. With help from the local county agriculture extension agent and Hardiness Zone charts, and especially neighbors in your immediate area who have experience, you can get a pretty good idea of your average first and last frost dates.  With this knowledge, you can then choose the seeds that have a maturation period that will work for your own area. Example: if your last frost of the spring normally falls around May 30 and your first fall frost normally hits around September 30, then you have a 120-day season. If you choose a tomato variety that takes 80 days to mature and you want to enjoy tomatoes in the summer, then you had better get an early start under grow lamps or greenhouse so the plants are big enough to actually produce fruit for a longer period of your season. There are lots of resources to help you in this. One of the best I’ve found is Seed Sowing and Saving, by Carole B. Turner, from the Ark Institute. This is a wonderful book that helps determine when to sow, transplant and little tips along the way for a huge selection of vegetables and herbs.

Starting seeds can be accomplished in sterilized dirt mixed with perlite in left over milk jugs cut in half or many other containers. However, for the more serious gardener who is actually going to produce enough food for an average sized family, I would suggest making an investment in the more durable trays. These will last many seasons if cared for and are large enough to germinate several hundred seeds per tray depending on the type. I would also suggest spending the money and purchasing some germination mix. Storing away half dozen bales of Pro-Mix will last most serious home gardeners a decade or more. I’ve personally been using Pro-Mix for germination soil for thirty years or better and always find it consistent. Keep in mind that you will only be using this germination soil mix for the vegetables that need to be sown early and then transplanted into pots after germination and then finally transplanted to the garden. This includes cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers and the longer maturing plants. The other direct seeded vegetables that mature more quickly like corn, beans, peas, squashes, beets, radish, spinach, lettuces and the like don’t need to be started and then transplanted – thus the “direct seed” classification. Back to starting seeds. Make a calendar of sorts once you determine your Hardiness Zone and frost dates, then add to that what your going to start, how your going to start it and when your going to transplant if needed. For instance, cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower can be started early in your germination soil under grow lamps and/or heat mats under the trays. To start seeds in trays, mix a wheelbarrow or other large open topped container of Pro-Mix and warm water thoroughly and let sit for a few hours, covered if possible to retain heat. Large plastic totes with lids works well for this and can be used for this purpose from year to year. Once mixed and rested, add this to the trays and spread out with your hands as best as you can. I like to use a piece 2” x 2” cut as long as the tray is wide and screed the soil off level about a half inch from the top. Then, once level, tamp it down a bit with the same wooden piece. Scratch some lines crossways every inch or so for rows – not deep, just enough to see a row. Then place the seeds in the rows spaced a half inch to an inch apart, careful to not let them touch each other. Then, sprinkle a fine layer of dry Pro-Mix on top, label what type of plants are in the tray with a waterproof marker and plastic label. Spray some warm water from a little pump up hand sprayer on top, cover with a sheet of plastic and place under the lights, or on top of a heat mat. In just a few short days most plants will germinate. Leave the plastic on top until all the seeds are 1” or so high. Remove the plastic but keep either under the lights or on the mat. Some seeds like light, some don’t. Some seeds like bottom heat, some don’t.

You are creating a whole cycle and you will be busy! Germinating, transplanting, tilling, direct seeding, transplanting again, setting out drip tape, mulching, staking, setting trellises, etc. I always feel like a timer is ticking away in the spring and everything has to be done at a certain time to maximize the harvest. It is a little stressful –or can be – but be sure to try to keep it fun. It is, after all, a very important part of your self-sufficiency and should be enjoyable for the family. Okay –next, direct seeding. Peas can be directly sown in the garden as soon as the soil can be worked. After the cabbage and kale have germinated and have been transplanted into peat pots and have stems about as thick as a pencil, they can join the peas in an early place in the garden, as these crops can stand a light early frost or two in the spring. Then the tomatoes and peppers, started a little later than the cabbage and early starters can be transplanted into their peat pots. I mention transplanting into peat pots because I find them to be the best and most economical vessel to transplant into. As soon as your plants germinate and grow a second little leaf, carefully remove them from the tray and place in a 3” peat pot full of partial Pro-Mix and partial topsoil. These little plants will develop a strong root system while growing and waiting to be transplanted again into the garden. Just peel away the bottom of the peat pot and plant when the time is right. At this point, I feel that cooler and drier is preferable to warmer and wetter. Your transplants growing in the 3” pots will grow thicker – less spindly – if kept out of the heat. My favorite thing to do at this point is to place some of these plants in hotbeds. My hotbeds are 3’ x 12’ in size, built out of 2”x12” boards. To these I have a center 2”x4” laying flatways in the center for support. On top, I have some 8mil twin wall polycarbonate hinged on the back to allow me to open and close them. As a kid, we had boxes made of cypress that would never rot, and cypress frames with 6”x6” plate glass “shingles” between rows of tenons. But, those are gone forever, I’m afraid.  Place in these boxes a deep layer of green manure, followed by straw, topped off finally with good topsoil about the first of the year. By the time your plants in the three-inch pots are thick as pencils, plant them in the hotbeds. I assure you, these will be the hardiest and healthiest plants you have on the place. Then, once the danger of frost passes, relocate them to the main garden. As another consideration, remember those subterranean critters mentioned earlier? I would advise screwing some wire lathe or hardware cloth to the bottoms. They will burrow up into a really nice and warm buffet without it. I hate doing this because it makes cleaning the beds the next fall much more difficult, but we have to do it here.
Hopefully that is somewhat clear. Mixing soil, seeding, covering, heating, transplanting after the second leaf comes – that’s all there is to it.

Planting the garden.
Now that most everything is ready to plant outside into the garden, I’m going to skip the tillage and focus on layout and planting. There are several internet sites that discuss companion planting, so I’m just going to touch on it briefly. I typically lay out the rows at 36” apart, at least that’s the distance between my valves for the drip tape in my header pipe. Try to think of where your prevailing wind comes from. Can you use tall corn for shading the row or two next to it? Remember that corn likes to planted in blocks rather than just a long row or two. Often I will plant summer squash in four or five rows for the first fifteen feet, then corn, ending off the last fifteen feet of those 5 rows with zucchini. Then I have a block of corn rows instead of several long ones – they’ll germinate better.  Many crops can be double rowed, that is, plant a row on each side of the drip tape. Bush beans, beats, spinach, lettuce all work well in double rows and you can squeeze more into your space. I haven’t touched on potatoes, onions or garlic yet. These are easily self-propagating. That is, you might have to buy seed potatoes your first year, but then you can plant what’s left over the next - same with garlic. I usually buy onion sets each year. I have determined that a good-sized garden for a family of 6 like ours is 80’ wide x 200’ long. In that size garden, we can raise enough (5 rows) potatoes to feed us all year and have plenty left over to plant the next. We can raise enough green beans (2 double rows) to eat fresh frequently in the summer and put up 60 or so quart jars. The 5 rows of corn (most years) allow us to eat fresh corn on the cob in the summer and still put up 60 or so quart jars. Lettuce and spinach needs to be planted every week throughout the summer for a steady supply. One row of tomatoes is plenty for eating and canning salsa, while another row of a “paste” variety is plenty for canning tomato sauce and paste. One half row of jalapeños, one half row of chili’s and one row of bells gives us plenty to eat and freeze. Two rows of broccoli works well to feed us all summer and early fall and still provide enough to freeze 50 or so gallon freezer bags. One row of green cabbage provides plenty to fill at least three crock batches of kraut and slaw to freeze. One double row of beets, one double row of carrots, one double row turnips work well for us. We plant two rows of pickling cucumbers and only a half row or so of slicing cucumbers. Two rows of butternut squash, two rows of acorn squash and one row of pumpkins round things out. What a pleasure! What a blessing! Fresh food right off the place all summer. Canned and fresh frozen or stored in the root cellar the rest of the year for family and plenty for those left fortunate at our church’s food drive.

Tillage.
I skipped over this because it’s sort of the Alpha and Omega of the garden process. Caring for your soil is a big part of the health, productivity and longevity of your garden and the one that will have the longest learning curve. When to till, how to till, how deep to till, no till, cover crops, etc. all come into play and will take a lifetime of learning to reach its maximum potential for your individual seasons, crops, soil type, weed types and other factors. I’m going to refer to a very fine book on this subject – the New Horse Powered Farm, by Stephen Leslie. It covers small farming and vegetable production performed with horses, but is applicable to tilling with small garden tractors and walk behind rototillers as well. I’m partial to using horses for working the garden. I’ll be 50 next year and started cultivating my tobacco crop with a single mule and an adjustable width, walk behind cultivator in my early teens. Soil doesn’t get compacted under the weight of the tractor tires, oil doesn’t drip from the old engine, horses can get on soil earlier in the spring, just after the frost is out without wallowing in the mud and many other advantages for the retreat gardener. Maybe someday, most importantly, tractors need gas, oil, filters or spare parts, which might be hard to come by for an extended period of turmoil. I’m sure folks that haven’t spent much time around livestock might be intimidated. I will suggest a breed like the Haflinger for a retreat garden (and general work around the retreat). They are smaller than the huge draft breeds, have wonderful dispositions and their DNA contains centuries of living with their masters in high mountain small farms in the Austrian highlands. Seems like a match made in heaven for hardy Redoubters, huh?

Resources.
I feel obligated to mention some companies and products that have been an important part of my gardening for decades. I receive no compensation of any kind for mentioning them.

Harris Seeds
. While I don’t use a lot of their seeds, they do have good supplies as far as drip tape, trays, nozzles and other supplies.

Pioneer Equipment
. The Homesteader is a high quality, well-engineered horse drawn system for the small farmer/gardener. Plows, discs, harrows, hillers, etc. can be added and removed and the cost is very affordable.

Planet Jr.
These are the original walk behind seeders. I’ve personally planted uncounted miles of rows with one of these. Finding one will be difficult and replacement handles from Farmer Brown’s Plow Shop might be necessary, but it’s worth the effort. They are all steel and cast iron construction that will never, ever wear out. Be sure to find one with the different sized seed discs and the legend under the hopper cover matching the seed to the proper hole in the proper disc. This linked site features the new style seeder that replaced the old model. I’ve not used these new models but the site is worth visiting and the seeders look better than all the plastic ones I’ve seen. From time to time old ones can be found  on Ebay.

Ark Institute
. Check them out not only for the book I mentioned, but most importantly for their good selection of non-GMO seeds.

Pro-Mix.
Mentioned often, I feel this is the best germination medium out there. Try to find the big bales – they stack better.

Simple Pump
. Deep well hand water pumps that work amazingly well and are built to last.

The Small Farmers Journal
. A really good periodical that covers every angle of small farming with livestock.

American Haflinger Registry
. This web site has info on breeders and shows across the country that showcase the Haflinger breed.

I’m somewhat reluctant to mention pesticides, but even when marigolds and herbs are planted throughout the garden to drive away insects, often a little more is needed. Personally, I will have a pretty good store of Sevin Dust and Dipel stored away and suggest that you do to. I’m sure some folks will gripe, but it is extremely difficult to raise many types of vegetables without a little help from the chemistry lab - not applying too close to harvest and thorough washing of course.

I’m hopeful that all of us that are fans of this wonderful site can grow more self-sufficient for the troubled times that await us. I have strived to be self-sufficient most of my life and learn something new nearly everyday while reading SurvivalBlog. It is truly a blessing for those of us with our eyes wide open.



In response to Crazy As A Fox's recommendation of donkeys as a potential multi-purpose survival animal, I would argue that everything positive aspect of donkeys noted can also be said of mules (the product of a male donkey and female horse).  They have the additional benefit of being less stubborn, faster, and more intelligent than donkeys.

Working at a Christian dude ranch in Colorado, I had the opportunity to ride mules on a daily basis and can vouch for their amiability as well as their refusal to put their rider or themselves in danger which makes them particularly suited for inexperienced riders. Best Regards, - Scott in Minnesota





Another Secure Email Service, Silent Circle, Is Shutting Down

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Reader J. McC. sent: Scientists Disclose Plans To Make Superflu In Labs

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I missed this article when it ran back in June: 1 in 12 on Bloomberg’s gun victims list are crime suspects killed by police or armed citizens acting in self-defense. Oh, and and speaking of Mayor Mikey, another one of Bloomberg's gun-grabbing mayors is under suspicion: Stockton Mayor is under Peeping Tom investigation as city goes through bankruptcy. And, meanwhile, we read more about the sexcapades of San Diego's mayor, "Filthy Filner." Oh, and there has not yet been a trial date yet set for the mayor who tried to coerce drunken gay sex on a young man, at gunpoint. (Another one of Bloomberg's heroic "crime fighters.") America doesn't need mandatory background checks on guns. It needs mandatory background checks on mayors!

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Glenn Beck Explodes! Total Chaos Coming!

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I was glad to see that with their new Competition series ARs, Colt has finally, after 50 years, caved in on their two-screws-instead-of-a-front-pivot-pin monstrosity. (For many years, the only semi-auto ARs from Colt that came with two normal pivot pins were their "Law Enforcement Only"-marked models, that have sold at a premium/)



"And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and [that] they will hear it." - Acts 28:24-28 (KJV)


Saturday, August 10, 2013


Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



[Editor's Introductory Note: I sometimes receive quite lengthy articles that are mix of great practical information and extended political narratives. In such cases I sometimes opt to edit out the particularly ranty sections. Where I have done so, you will see: "[Some deleted, for brevity]". My apologies, but to make an article of this length readable, editorial discretion is a must. Furthermore, I have to recognize that all politics are local. Since SurvivalBlog is a publication with an international readership, I feel obliged to chop out political discourses that would be of little or no interest to my readers in places like England, Germany, or India.]

My family and I have received so much benefit from all of the information from SurvivalBlog as fellow blog readers, that we wanted to give something back.  Hence we decided we would submit this entry into your writing  contest.  Hopefully it will help other readers, who like us, struggle with both, not seeing as clearly as we may think what lies in store for us, nor knowing exactly how to prepare for it when we do see it.  While there is something to be said for lessons learned the hard way, as we all know, there is also never enough time to make all those mistakes again for yourself. So for that reason, as well as all the wasted time & resources we've fumbled our way through, we would like to share with other readers the lessons we've learned, with the hope that they will help someone else streamline their preparations better than we did.  We certainly don't have all the answers, in fact I can't even say for sure that the answers we do have are the right ones for anyone other than us, it's just what we've found, and how we have addressed our various concerns.  I guess here's also where I should say, "your individual mileage may vary." To best convey the lessons we've learned  I would like to do it in three distinct sections. First, how we arrived at where we did, secondly, the information which generally guided our then redirected and more aware thought process, and finally, the actual equipment and decisions that actually got us to where we wanted to be. 

I should start off by saying that we are middle class Americans.  Christian, law abiding, patriotic, and freedom loving of course.  We are not disenfranchised, anarchists, social malcontents, nor psychotic. We are just worried by what we see happening in our country.  I'm a ten year military veteran, former police detective / SWAT officer, and now a licensed in a medical private practice. My wife works as a sales representative. We have three sons who are in their mid to upper teens.  We're just average, everyday people by most standards.

Like most folks, we thought we had been moving along the prepping path fairly smoothly, until recently when my wife and I both began to feel very uncomfortable with what we were seeing regarding how easily our various elected "leaders" were apparently embracing the concept of "political corruption with impunity".  Additionally, we were very concerned not only with how all of us, as citizens were being treated, but the very way in which these same "leaders" seemed to view us at a fundamental level.  They seemed to be barely able to conceal the disdain they have, both for us, as well as the constitutional rights we claim, when we question their actions, and seek their accountability. 

[Some deleted, for brevity]

Our hope and goal of course, is to be able to remain low profile, and stay in the home we are preparing on our northern Idaho ranch.  It is, after all, our primary security and logistical base.  I know many of us realize that at some point we may need to defend our homes, as well as ourselves, be it just as a single family, or in cooperative groups.  Home defense, to whatever degree may be required, I happen to believe, can only be realistically attempted against civilian threats, and even then, only in reasonable numbers.  Certainly not against any, even moderate size, or type of conventional military, or militarized police forces.  Like most in the prepper community, we want to avoid any armed confrontations with anyone, to whatever degree we can.  Our intent has been to do that by being as discreet as possible.  Knowing that will only go so far however, our simultaneous plan has been to make our ranch as inaccessible, and undesirable of a target as possible.  Worth neither the risk, nor the cost, to any potential miscreants. Should the worst come to pass, hopefully, Good Lord willing, there will be an evolution into cooperative communities throughout The Redoubt, be that simply a single street, a whole neighborhood, or entire communities.  An evolution into working together for their mutual security, as well as other common benefits.  The down side to this hope however, is that such cooperation will likely take time before people realize the logic and mutual benefit in doing so, as well as to develop the willingness to trust anyone again.  In view of these things, our mindset had been to hope for the best, while preparing for the worst.  All well and good I suppose, until in our scenarios, we started replacing criminals and looters with federal sanctioned enforcement troops, who viewed us as "the threat".  We then started wondering, what happens at that point?  More importantly, what if these same "leaders" who show such disdain for the citizenry and their constitutional rights now, become a bigger component in this forthcoming problem?  What's left then, just to run and hide?  I must admit, we considered that tactic. Just hide, survive, wait for the dust to settle, and then help rebuild. Hard for us to swallow to be sure, but something we had to consider, none the less.  In the end however, we felt that simply leaving our ranch to be plundered, and running away to hide, in what we access would clearly be a hostile environment at that point, with no additional substantial support structure in place to sustain us, just to avoid potential conflict, put us all in an equal, albeit different type, of danger that is every bit as grave.  

[Some deleted, for brevity]

Up to this point, our preparations being geared towards living discretely and then hiding and waiting things out, was not a bad starting framework.  However, given these aforementioned realizations, we have been forced to evolve in our thinking, and therefore make some adjustments to our preparations as well.  Due to the increasing concerns these realizations have have brought to our attention, my wife, now thoroughly stressed out, opted to turn it all over to me (God bless her) to find the solution.  To that end, I began doing research both historically, as well as regarding current military forces, and their use in quelling the civil unrest that's currently going on around the globe.  As a result, I've come to the conclusion that there will very likely be more violence directed at dissenting citizenry than we personally were anticipating. That appears to be the common thread in how these situations unfold. Additionally, as for us, we were probably too open in voicing our opinions about the current state of affairs in our country, letters to newspaper editors, etc.  Thus, I don't think we can effectively "fly under the radar" at this point.  We've already spoken up and drawn all the wrong kinds of attention to ourselves, "making the list", so to speak.  Decision's I'm not sure I would make a second time. They only served to draw negative attention to our position on these social issues, while producing no apparent immediate positive change.  Why send out such an alert, when we are all so closely scrutinized?  Why inadvertently shorten your G.O.O.D. reaction window, and become one of those first houses visited without warning?  Was it worth it or not?  I cannot say. 

[Some deleted, for brevity]

Things in recent world news, as well as events here in the various scandals of our own government,   It scares us to death.  It's as if our elected leadership has been empowered, and turned down the path of trampling any of our rights that are not convenient for them.  Usurping authority, abusing citizens, and not to sound melodramatic, but turning not only ungodly, but just plain evil.   Such demonstrated behavior compels us to believe that without the boundaries of accountability and resistance when needed, their abusiveness will not end, but rather will only expand and grow worse, until it destroys us all.  If that's in fact true, and we see no reason to think otherwise, then the hide and wait scenario has a very limited shelf life after all.   No more "low profile", hide & wait it out.  We're all going to have to stand the line, or live with something much worse than what we're complaining about right now!  While we can't speak for anyone else, we've decided that we're not up for passing that legacy on.  The buck had to stop somewhere, & that's where some new stuff for us had to begin. These realizations have changed both our thinking, and how we prepare, we believe for the better. This section was about realizing the underlying threat.  The next two sections respectively are about better understanding that threat & how to cope with it, and then the item by item list of how we modified our preparations meet this evolving threat. We hope that it helps others to to take a look with fresh eyes at their own preparations and consider the realities we did not.

[Some deleted, for brevity]

I also learned military operations today are primarily focused around the concept of forces being "inserted" near a conflict area.  This can be done via airborne drops, rotary wing, vehicle, etc type transport.  Once deployed, forces may have to move on foot a couple clicks to an objective, where they perform their specific mission, and walk back to their vehicles or extraction point for transportation back to their base of operations.  They don't really march in & out any more, which enables them to carry more high tech gear on their missions, the downside of which equals heavier combat loads.  It also means however that in carrying that extreme load, they are unable to move as quickly during actual contact (look at pictures of guys in full kit and see how likely you think it is that they can effectively get prone, & when they do, that they can get back up & quickly sprint to a new position). Additionally, unless it is an "Elite" soldier, whose physical conditioning standards are significantly higher, they are not going to carry all that gear very far very fast (below is an AAR about that). Regarding that issue, I learned that overall, in today's conventional military forces, although some have the title, there is generally speaking, no longer a true "Light Infantry".  By light infantry I am referring to foot-borne units that are capable of rapid movement over long distances of varied terrain, being able to rapidly engage a non-static, elusive target. All my reading led me to believe that in significant part, the inability to move as quickly, having a less intimate knowledge of an operational area, and the dissidents ability to "disappear into the indigenous local populations" (which in some instances supported them in their cause), seemed to account for most of the problems abusive governments had with using conventional military forces to deal with dissident type problems, and offset much of the benefit of the increased technology. (now the caveat, that does not of course include the numerically limited, elite units such as Rangers, S.F., SEALs, etc, as that is precisely their game.) It seemed as though this would be applicable to us as well, rather I should find myself at odds with abusive government enforcers, OR an overwhelming group of marauding civilians wishing us harm, and that could not be successfully preemptively repelled at a greater distance.  Being able to move faster & farther, knowing the area better, and being able to disappear, seem generally beneficial across the board.  I further discovered that when confronted by a force by which you are outgunned and out supplied, a static defense (such as defending a home against a military or militarized police unit) is almost certainly a losing proposition.  However, if you turn the tables, and they have to carry all those beans and bullets as they pursue you, and you are fluid, fast (i.e. can travel light due to pre-positioned cache points), and can blend in, they are generally not able to be very effective in such a dynamic situation.  Basically, what it all boiled down to is that it's hard to catch a ghost.  In support of that, I also came across some interesting information from a S.F. NCO in Afghanistan, that the average fighting load carried by a combat infantry soldier in the mountains of Afghanistan is 60-80 lbs. Now bear in mind that that is what he is carrying in the midst of the actual combat, i.e. closure with the enemy. This same soldiers "approach march load" (which is what he carries to sustain him in the field just getting to the fight) is between 130-150 lbs.  It is also noteworthy that the load weights listed, only addressed the "doctrinal load", and did not include the inevitable addition of personal items that most guy's also carry.  Now I realize, these are fit and conditioned young men, but that's a lot of weight to pack, and having a little brother currently over there, I know the Hindu Kush mountains are some serious mountains.  Thinking about that, and digging further I found this information, which puts into perspective the results of carryings such massive loads.  This is an excerpt from an after action report from a first sergeant in the 187th infantry regiment of the 101st airborne div. during operation Anaconda in Afghanistan.  It stated:

“We had extreme difficulty moving with all of our weight. If your movement would have been to relieve "a unit in contact", or a time-sensitive mission, we would not have been able to move in a timely manner. It took us 8 hours to move 5 klicks. With just the vest (Interceptor Body Armor vest) and LBV, we were easily carrying 80 pounds. Throw on the ruck and you’re sucking.”

I also discovered in this information that these incredible loads were based on apparently short term needs vs more protracted time periods, because they were factored on 48-72 hr regular re-supply.  They are not able to be self reliant any longer than that and remain at full capability.  Now one of the things I found particularly interesting about this information, was how it related to a previous study conducted by the U.S. military that I found, (it seems the military quickly forgets the lessons of it's past).  In this study, they determined that a soldiers maximum "approach march" load should not exceed 55 lbs. That was the maximum that he could carry, and still possess the energy to be able to fight effectively when he got to the fight.  Now bear in mind, that "approach march load" is inclusive of all the gear they carry, period.  The study further determined that a maximum 48 lb "fighting load" could be effectively carried in actual combat if it was carried by a "conditioned soldier".  

Now, that's all interesting stuff, but why go into it? For several reasons.  Because I wanted to understand something about those who may be sent to come after us, and at least in part, some of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as to have a better understanding of both myself, as well as the physical abilities we need to possess.  Realizing that while in good health,  I am no longer the highly fit, conditioned soldier of my youth, this helps put into perspective the importance of our daily PT regimen because survival isn't something that is graded on an age curve.  You either will, or you won't.  The age, we're stuck with. The mileage, and the wear and tear, well, it just is what it is. The conditioning however, that is within our control to improve every day.  This information was also helpful when we got down to seriously culling our gear.  When I looked at all our preps in the harsh light of these weight recommendations, it was clear that we were carrying far too much in our BOBs.  Think about how much faster could you run, or if necessary, better defend yourself, if you were carrying less weight.  When it comes to surviving there are no points awarded for second place, we want to have every advantage possible, even before we start cheating!  For me, this is when I realized that the gear we were amassing, and the way we were planning to utilize, and transport it, was totally inadequate for this updated scenario.  Our gear was set up great for an extended "backpack" type movement, or to pack it all on the mules and haul it up to a remote alpine static location & hide there until the smoke settled.  We definitely were not however, set up for a "break contact" type running gun battle while trying to E&E from folks intending to incarcerate, kill, or perhaps do even worse things to my family and I.  What we were doing wasn't going to cut it for people who had to be alert, fluid, and ready for a spectrum of scenarios.  Scenarios ranging from the daily working and defending of our ranch, to short range patrols around our AO / Community, to fight, disengage & run from surprise encounters, and unexpected E&E when you might not have all your gear with you, and progressing all the way up to proactive offensive actions.  All while still trying to function in discreet daily living on our ranch.  A pretty broad spectrum to fill.  What we needed was a system, and gear, that would be as adaptable to both home / ranch security, as to living in the field, or on the run, and it all had to be able to be accomplished potentially without the availability of the ranch as a base to work from any longer.  So, we switched from a full size, catch-all emergency / survival pack system which involved a get home bag, a B.O.B., separate cold weather gear packs, and a separate tactical gear set up, to a lighter, more efficient, integrated four tier system.  I was able to, for the most part, use gear I already had to accomplish this, although some new stuff was required.  

Now that we've identified the threat, and have a fundamental understanding of it as well as it's various strengths and weaknesses, we can now look at the actual equipment changes we made to address those issues.

Before delving into how we cut incredible weight from our loads, and streamlined our equipment, we feel it would be irresponsible not to point out something that is best expressed by a saying from a man with some real credibility in this area.  "Software trumps hardware."  My interpretation of this is, skills are more important that excess equipment.  Beware of the trap many of us have fallen into, gear is absolutely necessary, however, training and the high level of skills it produces, even more so.  That being said, onto the gear!  Oh, and by the way, I have no affiliation with any of these products other than as a consumer, except the Kydex mag pouches, which we make ourselves.

The first sorting out, or "Culling" of our gear, was done according to this new load weight information, and threat expectations.  It was done according to the recommended mnemonic of SMOLES. This stands for Self defense, Medical emergencies, Observation, Lost & found, Extreme weather, Survival.  Focusing on those priorities, with an eye on cutting weight, actually reduced what we thought was a pretty "Necessary stuff only" out by about half.  We were feeling pretty good at that point, little did we know we had barely scratched the surface.  With our newly updated version of "necessary" gear as a starting point, we began looking at putting it into tiers, and found some great recommendations out there to combine with our own experience.

In breaking down my tiers, I found it most effective if it is built upon a base uniform, and then each tier folds into the next, but is independent from it.  This is important since it, in essence, this prioritizes the gear.  The very first issue I ran into however, was how I was going to be able to have my Tier 1 gear (basic survival essentials) on me at all times, as that was our goal for Tier 1.  I'm sure there are a lot of other ideas about how to skin that particular cat, but the way I did it, was opt for a style of military clothing called Combat Vehicle Crewman (CVC) coveralls. They are a type of coverall that looks very much like the flight suits we built our ghillie suits on in the military. They are inexpensive and they are actually ideally suited for my purposes.  They are fire retardant, have re-enforced knees, elbows, and seat. They also have both a front zipper that opens from the top down as well as up from the crotch up, and a seat flap, (trying to be discreet here) both of which are quite utilitarian when you are wearing a tac-vest with plates and a battle belt, and don't want to have to virtually disrobe when nature calls, hence this also makes them unisex applicable.  Additionally, they have 9 zipper closure pockets wherein I can secure all of my Tier 1 gear.  Thus, as long as I'm dressed, it is with me.  The only adaptation required was to put in an additional chest pocket I reinforced with kydex to support my P220 when I'm not wearing my Tier 2 gear, and sewing on some 1 3/4' exterior belt loops.  

Regarding clothing, and viewing it in light of using it in the Rocky Mountains of the pacific northwest, and in an attempt to more or less standardize, we tried to err on the side of going bit  overboard, knowing we can cull it down as necessary.  Some of our selections were due to what we felt is the very real possibility that we may end up living in a field base camp(s) situation for an extended period of time.  Therefore, durability, medical, as well as hygiene issues came up in our considerations, and influenced some of our choices.  We decided to start at the basics, and worked our way through a complete set of field clothes.  Since the CVCs may be a bit warm during the hottest time of the year in the Pacific Northwest (although I don't think unbearable, by any means) we put extra cost into undergarments to stay as dry as possible, and avoid things like severe rashes, yeast infections, etc, as those types of issues not only interfere with your ability to move rapidly, but can also be an unnecessary drain on medical supplies.  We avoided cotton altogether.  We did some research on a product called Under Armor Heat Gear.  Well made, it wicks moisture extremely well, eliminates chaffing, dries quickly, and is antimicrobial.  Additionally, it comes in a style that acts very much like the nylon leggings I used to wear under a karate gi, to allow it to slide freely and not bind up during kicking, jumping, etc.  Thus they have the same effect regarding combat athleticism in the CVCs, as an added benefit.  They also have shirts to match. That is what we use under the CVCs as a base layer.  For cold weather we also have the underarmor cold gear, which we already knew, works fantastically.  Polypropylene sock liners, again wicks moisture, and eliminates friction, helping to eliminate blisters, etc.  Wool outer socks for cushion, as well as being insulating even when wet, have been useful in all weather.  We discovered that a style called "wader socks" work the best for us. 

Footgear has been an individual choice, it's only requirement being, that it is constructed of heavy leather to minimize the potential penetration of snakebites.  Those are overlapped with TurtleSkin snake gaiters.  Many may think I'm crazy on this one, but here's our logic;  Without antivenin a Rattlesnake bite's hemotoxin can be bad at best, and fatal at worst.  Discounting the approx 20% of bites that are "dry", that still leaves 8 out of 10 bites that potentially envenomate the person struck.  Medical care being uncertain at best, we were not willing to gamble on those odds.  Antivenin is not something we can access, nor stockpile.  Contrary to popular belief, they don't always rattle, before striking, or rattle early enough to be of any help.  According to a gentleman at Turtle Skin who happened to have spent a great deal of time working in the woods for the forest service in northern Idaho, and is quite familiar with the area, it's unlikely that any of us would run across a rattlesnake. However, "unlikely" is not the same thing as won't.  Living and operating in the woods constantly, can only increase our "unlikely" chance of that one "run in" with one. While we are normally very alert to the things around us, as well as avoiding high risk behaviors and places for them, our concern is, that in running from pursuers, or trying to navigate and hastily exit a two way firing range, we'll likely have other things on our mind, and may find ourselves stepping in the wrong place at the wrong time.  This strikes us as one of those times where an ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.  Moving on, we included KEPS (knee & elbow pads) which anyone who as ever had to drop to their knees or prone on rocky ground will understand, and for headgear use the old standby USGI boonie hat.  Lastly we all have solar watches that also contain a digital altimeter, compass, and barometer in them.  This constitutes our basic field uniform.  (BTW, should anyone else opt for CVCs, be sure to break up the solid OD color with some Rit dye in spray bottles, it works great, if you don't then they will stand out.)

\This brings us to the four tiers of our gear.  Tier 1 is our basic survival stuff.  It's the stuff we figure you should always have on your person in such an environment.  It's a pared down compilation of various experts recommendations, as well as our own experience.  It's primary purpose is that if due to some threat, I needed to immediately run without any other gear, or had to ditch my gear so that I could run faster than the "fed-ex man" pursuing me with my FEMA invitation, I would still have what I needed to survive until I could get to either a safe place, or a cache site.  ~ yes in our system we chose to employ the use of cache sites for long term emergency resupply ~  Tier 1 is what you have on you when you are just working, etc. within what you consider to be your secure area, whatever that may be at any given time. This gear provides for the needs of defense, shelter, navigation, fire, water, and food, and would never be discarded.  The way I currently have it configured, it all fits nicely in the nine various pockets of my slightly modified CVCs.

Our Tier 1, "Survival Load" that, Lord willing, we will never be without, consists of the following:

1. SIG P220 & one spare mag in modified, kydex re-enforced, zippered chest pocket of my CVCs (whenever not in Tac gear). (S.S. 220 with 1full 8
        rd mag and 1 in the chamber + 1 spare mag of eight 230 gr. JHP's weighs a total of 53.6 oz OR 3.35 lbs.

2. Leatherman Wave tool. (weighs 7.9 oz)

3. #550 cord (50' daisy chain weighs 3.9 oz ~ we also use #550 cord in my boot laces, 5" daisy chained pull tabs on all 9 zippers, with a cord-lock 
         on the end of each.  Those pull tabs, while just normally handy, when "unchained", each also provide 2'4" of emergency cordage, believe it or 
         not.  9 separate 2'+ sections (12' worth) of #550 cord with a cord lock on each. (Great for shelter construction, making a yeti for concealment, 
         etc.)

4. Small Silva compass. Explorer Pro High Vis.  (This is redundant, in case of failure of the digital compass built into our watches) (1.0 oz)

5. Small flint & steel fire starter & 15' roll of jute. Tie 3 or 4 overhand knots back to back and then leave 3-4" of cord & cut.  Fray the un-knotted
        end into a "bird's nest" & strike a spark. Works great & lasts long enough to get your twigs going well and then some. (Jute weighs 1.7 oz & the
        "Light my Fire" flint & steel weigh 0.3 oz, for a combined total of 2.0 oz)

6. A small collapsable MSR dromedary type bag (we use a Camel-Bak bladder & tube) and purification tablets to purify it. (2 liter bladder & tube
        = 7.3 oz, 1 bottle Potable Aqua & 1 bottle of Potable Aqua+ , weigh 1.1 oz each, combined total of 9.5 oz and will treat 25 ltrs of water)

7. Small fishing kit (a roll of spiderwire, some small split shot & some #10 hooks in a Zip-Loc bag.)

8. Casualty blanket for shelter ~ Heavy duty, OD green / reflective (with 4 daisy chained, 5' long sections of #550 cord, one attached to each 
        corner grommet.  All you then have to do is make some quick stakes, or use some rocks for that matter (weighs 11.8 oz) 

9. A rat trap (Works great for catching squirrels around the house here, but I need to test it, out in the field) (weighs 5.4 oz) [JWR Adds: I'd rather carry 10 wire snares (also about five ounces, combined weight) for 10 times the number of chances to catch critters.

10. Plain fish netting (two pieces, approx 12"x24" and 2'x6') In the military, I learned in Survival / E&E, staying hidden is very important.  With the
        2X6 netting you just cut a slit in the middle of for your head, drape it over you like a poncho, and secure it around your waist with your belt or
        #550 cord and you have the foundation for a quick, makeshift bushrag.  Thread it with whatever foliage is appropriate.  Use the 12x24 over your
        boonie hat, for your head veil.  Not as effective as my full ghillie suit, but it's field expedient, light weight, and it's quicker and easier to throw 
        together than a yeti. It's also versatile and can be used for other things as well.

11. Gig head. Cut shaft for it in the field, if needed. For frogs, fish, reptiles, small mammals (weighs 1.7 oz) [JWR Adds: For safety, be sure to cap your gig's points with a piece of rubber or a wine bottle cork, when stowed!]

12. Blackhawk Serpa holster (weighs 4.3 oz + 2.0 oz for chest adaptor = 6.3 oz total)

13. Pistol mag pouch (weighs 2.2 oz)

Tier 1 weight before culling:  103.1 oz, i.e. 6.44 lbs.  We felt that this was too much, so after consideration, we made the following initial cuts:

The ever-painful "Culling Of The Gear":

Dropped gig head (-1.7 oz), P220 (-38.4 oz), 2 empty magazines (total -5.0 oz), 17 rds of ammo (-10.2 oz), holster (-6.3 oz), mag pouch (-2.2 oz). Combined weight of these cuts was 3.99 lbs.
(The pistol and ammo can be replaced if the threat situation merits it.) 
 

Results: 
Total weight of my Tier 1 load is after culling is: 2.46 lbs) 

Tier 2 is all of our basic combat gear, our "Fighting Load", or "Kit", if you will.  It's contained on our Tac-Vest / battle belt.  In my case, I opted to attach a battle belt to my plate carrier tac-vest. While I wouldn't say it's necessary for everyone, due to my body geometry (i.e. long torso) it's just the way I chose to go.  It gives me a little more real-estate to put my gear on, without interfering with my ability to get prone, should I need to.  Tier 2  is supplemented by your survival load which you will always have on your person.  We would be wearing Tier 2 gear for example, anytime there was an elevated threat level, when performing security operations at the ranch, or of course for anything that took us out into the field, things of that nature.  It is not a "stand alone" gear list however, it both builds upon the Tier 1 gear, and is in turn, supplemental to the Tier 3 gear as well.  It is divided this way so that if any of us were to find ourselves in a fix and needed to hastily E&E, and our combat gear was slowing us down too much, we could ditch it in order to run faster, and come back for it later.  Meanwhile we still have all of the necessary 1st tier gear on our person, because it is not actually attached to the Tier 1 gear.  The important point here being that you can dump Tier 2 and still have your survival load. This gear would be the last of the three tiers to be discarded.  Our goal here, although probably unattainable given our choice of battle rifle and caliber, is to keep the combined weight our Tier 1 & 2 gear to right around 40 lbs, with a maximum of 48 lbs.

My Tier 2, "Fighting Load" consists of the following:

1. Tactical vest:  We went with Blackhawk's S.T.R.I.K.E. Commando Recon front & back plate carriers, along with Infidel Armor front & rear ballistic
        plates.  Heavier than I'd like, but they fit into the budget.  We've gone to wearing our's while doing PT & H2H practice, & it's beginning to feel a
        little less foreign at least. (plates and vest collectively weigh 268 oz, i.e. 16.75 lbs).

2. Battle belt (attached). We went with High Speed Gear's "Sure Grip" belts for those who wanted them, with a Cobra riggers belt as an under belt.
        (weight unknown at the moment)

3. M1A Rifle mag pouches, X 6.  We went for seven 20 rd mag's - two on the vest, two on each side of the battle belt (both in the event of an
        extremity injury, as well as I reload faster from different sides, depending on my shooting position) & one in the rifle.  Went with kydex, since that
        is my side business anyway, and made our own custom mag pouches. (weight per mag pouch is 3.5 oz, for a total of 21.0 oz)

4. M1A magazines X 7 ~ one carried in the rifle and 6 spares (loaded w / 20 rds each), (weight per empty mag 8.6 oz, loaded mag is 26.6 oz, X7
        = total of 186.2 oz or 11.6 lbs)

5. M1A rifle, in Sage EBR mod 1 configuration, with scope, with no mag. (weight 224 oz or 14 lbs) 

6. M1A rifle sling (I did not opt for a fancy "tactical" sling, instead I went for the simple Blackhawk "Rapid Adjust" 2 point sling.  With SOCP, as my
        primary form of H2H, you will understand why I chose to avoid a 3 point tactical sling.  (weight 5.9 oz) 

7. Pistol mag pouches, X 1 .  Again we went with the kydex, and made our own custom single mag pouches. (weight is was excluded at Tier 1)

8. SIG P220 SS magazines X 2 ~ one in pistol + 1 spare, loaded w / 8 rds each +1 extra for the chamber (weight was excluded at Tier 1)

9. SIG P220 ST, .45 ACP (weight excluded at Tier 1) 

10. Dump pouch.  We went with the Blackhawk S.T.R.I.K.E. folding dump pouch, mounted rear center of the battle belt so that it was accessible with
        either hand.  (weight 8 oz)

11. SOCP dagger (While some may cringe at the non-utilitarian nature of having a "dagger", and I would have too, it's not what you're probably 
        thinking it is.)  Since we use SOCP (my brother is a SF NCO), in part, for our hand to hand / CQB defense, this is actually fantastic.  If you're
        curious, then do a web search on it.  Watch Greg Thompson's demos and see for yourself, it's fairly close to perfect, especially when you are loaded down in kit
        and things need to be simple and effective!) (weight 2.5 oz)

12. Tomahawk. Some may think I'm crazy on this one too, but honestly, after spending a lot of time in the woods using it for everything from
        firewood, to pulling the handle out and using it like an Alaskan Ulu knife, I've found it's a lot more versatile that my ghurka kukri.  It's quite handy, and
        between it and my Leatherman I've had no want of anything edged. I made a custom kydex sheath for it, it stays out of my way, but is handy when I
        need it.  (weight 30.0 oz)

13. B.O.K.  (You could think of it as a trauma first aid kit) (weight 18 oz estimated)

14. 2-Way Radio (currently undecided on model)  (weight TBD)

15. Poncho with liner, in pouch on rear plate carrier (weight is approx 21 oz for poncho and 21 oz for liner, TOTAL is 42 oz)

16. An empty, drawstring closure pouch on the back of my Tac-Vest for carrying dehydrated food, as well as being able to carry your emergency 
        water bladder when you're not packing your Tier 3 Camel-Bak.  (weight 12 oz)

Tier 2 weight before culling:  817.6 oz, i.e. 51.1lbs. The initial weight of our Tier 2 gear was more than we were satisfied with, so again, we let the culling begin!

After consideration we made the following cuts:  As much as I hated to, I reallocated the tomahawk to Tier 4 (-30.0 oz), & reallocated the poncho / liner (-42 oz) to Tier 3 as it's only necessary away from home. 

Combined weight of these cuts was 72.0 oz, i.e. 4.5 lbs.
Total Tier 2 weight after culling:  46.6 lbs.

Results: Combined Tier 1 and 2 "Fighting Load" weight is:  49 lbs (goal is 48 lbs or less) compared to 60 - 80+ lbs, for an average conventional foot soldier, or enforcer who may be pursuing the pleasure of our company [JWR Adds: Note that his calculations are based on an empty Camel-Bak and minimal rations. The weight of water and food adds up quickly.

Missed the weight allotment goal for the Tier 1 and 2 combined "Fighting Load", by 1 lb.  I really would like to do more reduction. However the body armor and the M1A EBR are big drains against our weight allotment.  The weight of the .30 cal ammo is also not helpful.  While we did not opt to trade away what we see as a ballistically more beneficial caliber for our varied purposes, one could clearly present a legitimate case for the lighter weight of both the AR platform rifle, as well as it's lighter .223 caliber ammunition in this particular context. Those tradeoffs just are what they are however, not much can be done there.  Unquestionably, without just the armor plates alone, the load is reduced by 15 lbs, ( down to 30.41 lbs) but that option was off the table for us.  Expecting the lack of surgical facilities to deal with a thoracic gunshot wound, we don't see that as a chance worth taking.  The reality is, this is going to be the Tier where the the real weight is. I'm not sure anything else can be cut at this point, after all, we need what we need, & then cull out the rest. This heavy stuff (i.e, the armor plates, ammo and rifle) are necessary.  At this point I guess that just means more PT, and after all, 48 isn't that old, right?

Tier 3 is our S.R.R.P. (Short Range Reconnaissance Pack).  It falls under the higher combined weight restrictions of the "Approach March" load's 55 lbs maximum weight, although should still be as minimal as possible.  For us, that currently means it should be somewhere in the area of about 6 lbs.  We knew from the beginning that was not going to happen.  The pack and water alone weigh more than that already. . .  This is the gear that it would take to sustain us, in addition to the items in Tiers 1 & 2, for those times you would be in a potentially hostile, field environment, overnight and up to 3 days.  You are basically living out of a Camel-Bak.  Logistically speaking, this is to enable you to perform short term patrols / missions within your AO.  It is supplemented by the equipment that is already contained in your Tier 1 and Tier 2 loads.  It is the "less essential" gear that could/would be dropped prior to dropping the Tier 2 gear, if anything had to be dumped.  Agai, it is not actually attached to the Tier 2 gear, it simply augments it.  Excluding Tier 4, this gear would be the first option to be left behind.

My Tier 3, "S.R.R.P. load" consists of the following:

1. Camel-Bak W / bladder.  We use the Rim Runner model. (36.5 oz) (note: the H2O will weigh an additional 4.4 lbs, a total combined weight of 6.7
        lbs)

2. For "field rations", so to speak, as I am only addressing a 24 - 72 hr window, we decided to go with the "Mainstay" emergency ration bars.  Good
        for five years, these come in 400 cal meal bars, 6 to 9 in a packet depending on what you order.  You can check the other nutrients on line if you 
        are interested, but they're good.  Additionally, they do not increase your thirst, a good thing if you find yourself in an unexpected situation where
        water is either scarce, or if the incoming fire that your attempts to access it creates irritates those around you. A 2,400 cal pack contains six 400
        cal bars, each a meal they say, and weighs 16 oz.  the 3,600 cal pack contains 9 of the same bars and weighs 24 oz. They figure that at 1,200 cal
        a day, this is a two day supply pack, however they are also thinking in terms of someone in a life raft on an ocean.  But honestly, how far are you
        really going to walk per day, in that case?  Being a "land lubber", I planned for a higher caloric need of 2,400 cal per day.  Six bars a day, 
        breaking it down however you want.  The good thing about this however, is that should you need to reduce your consumption for some reason
        and stretch this supply out, or share with someone, you can easily do so.  I also include 3 multi-vitamins as an additional margin.  (weight is 48 
        oz)

3. Petzl headlamp with one set of spare batteries (4.3 oz) 

4. Casualty blanket to wrap up in (this = 2, 1 for shelter, which is in my survival load, and now a second one to wrap up in)  (11 oz)

5. Poncho (with liner) (42 oz) 

6. Underwear, extra pair (U/A Heat Gear type) (2.2 oz)

7. Poly-pro sock liners, extra pair (0.6 oz)

8. Wool socks, extra pair (6.7 oz)

9. Under Armor cold weather hood (1.6 oz)  

10. Solo stove / pot (16.3 oz)

11. Leather gloves  (4.8 oz)  

12. Safety pins X3 (0)  

13. Area map (N/A)

14. ACE wrap (2.2 oz)

15. E-Tool (40 oz)  

16. Note pad & pencil  (1.7 oz)   

*** Locking "D" ring, & rappel brake  (NOT FACTORED IN AGAINST WEIGHT ALLOWANCE BECAUSE IT IS PURPOSE SPECIFIC, & DEPENDENT
        UPON TERRAIN, 

*** Rope for rappelling seat and a 100' rappelling rope (NOT FACTORED IN AGAINST WEIGHT ALLOWANCE.)

Tier 3 weight before culling:  170.4 oz = 10.7 lbs + 6.7 lbs = 17.35 lbs.  The initial weight of our Tier 3 gear was way more than we were satisfied with, so again, we continued with the culling.

After consideration we made the following cuts:  Reallocated the e-tool to Tier 4 (due to high wt. & limited use, more useful in establishing a remote base camp than on a S.R.R.P.) (-40.0 oz), dumped the spare sock liners (-0.6), spare wool socks (-6.7 oz), solo stove & pot (-16.3 oz. With the Mainstay rations no cooking is required, & with H2o tablets no boiling water is necessary on a 3 day patrol), 1 Mainstay 2,400 cal packet (can live for 3 days with NO food, so can surely do fine with 1,600 cal, i.e. four bars per day)(-16 oz), casualty blanket (may rethink in winter, along with socks) (-11 oz), spare underwear (-2.2 oz).

Combined weight of these cuts was 92.8 oz, i.e. 5.8 lbs.
Total Tier 3 weight after culling: 11.55 lbs, (without H2o weight 7.15 lbs.)

Results: Combined Tier 1, 2 and 3 "Approach March Load" weight is:  60.61 lbs (56.21 lbs without the H2o) compared to 130 -150+ lbs, for the average "Marching Load" of a conventional foot soldier, who my be pursuing my family & I …  

While 5.6 lbs over what we wanted for our Maximum March Load, given the larger, heavier rifle, the heavier basic load of ammunition, and the extra 15 lbs of armor, we are quite happy with where we are at this point.  The bottom line:  We got the "Fighting Load" to 49 lbs,  one pound over our 48 lb. maximum goal, but still  11 - 31 lbs lighter than that of potential pursuers.  We got the "Approach March Load" to within 5.6 lbs of our 55 lb. maximum limit goal, but are still 69.4 - 89.4 lbs. lighter than that of potential pursuers.  The difference being more than the weight of our entire Marching Load Out. Frankly, at this point I think we have more or less reached bare bones, if you will.  I just can't find any more reasonable cut's to make, so for additional gains at this point, the game has to change from an issue of hardware (equipment) to one of software (skills, tactics, conditioning, area familiarity, etc.). 

Tier 4 is my L.R.R.P. (Long Range Reconnaissance Pack).  It's incomplete at this point, still undergoing construction and refinement. It is the gear that would allow us to set up a distant field base of operations.  It is primarily the equipment required for establishing a primitive alpine safe haven, should you be forced from your normal AO. It would also serve to develop a base camp of a semi permanent nature, from which could be conducted security patrol operations to a distance greater than that which your SRRP provides for. The areas for camps were pre-selected as optional sites and then will be chosen specifically depending on the situation. The pack will contain more rations, to sustain you during the initial set up of your field location.  As well, it will have a longer term shelter system, increased & upgraded medical supplies, and additional munitions.  This is not a tier that would normally be carried in the field, and with any luck will be transported by pack animal, although it, out of necessity, is man portable as well. It is best thought of as a sort of foundation level, emergency camp construction pack.  It's intent is to provide for the needs covered in S.M.O.L.E.S.  (but of a base camp nature), and expands upon the equipment you already have at your disposal via the first 3 tiers.  At this point, ours contains the following, although exacts amounts and weights have not yet been determined:

1. Backpack (Gregory, North Face and Dana, internal frame packs, although any quality pack will work, this is just what we have).
2. Food, dehydrated (additional rations).
3. Second full set of clothes & cold weather gear -fleece pants & top.
4. Medical kit (more inclusive).
5. Shelter ( a new enclosed 4 season hammock design).
6. Spare magazines and ammo. 
7. Spare weapons parts (Firing pin, extractor, cleaning supplies etc).
8. Mission specific items, (Rappelling ropes harnesses, etc).
9. Mini-mag light with solar rechargeable batteries and spare bulbs.
10. Range finder & spotting scope.
11. Weatherproof notebook.
12. Additional H2O purification tablets.
13. Additional roll of jute rope.
14. Tomahawk.
15. Mess kit.
16. Wyoming saw.
17. Spare parts / sewing kit.
18. P220, mags & ammo.
19. Solo stove & pot.
20. E-Tool.
21. Second causality blanket.
22. Spotting scope.
23. Solar charger kit.
24. 100' of additional #550 cord.
25. Night vision optic is currently under debate as it has an IR illuminator as enhancement option, and given the preponderance of IR detection 
        devices out there in the hands of anyone and everyone, we are evaluating the risk of sending out such a beacon as opposed to the reward any night 
        time surveillance ability may offer.  Of course the logistics of it are an additional concern. May well end up becoming a cached away special 
        purpose tool, since we already have it.

While tier #4 is still a work in progress, and being interfaced with pre-positioned caches and preps, we look for it to eventually, like the other 3 
        tiers, come together as part of a cohesive system.  

Hopefully this information will be of use to other prepper's in understanding, more fully than we did, the dangers facing us all, as well as the need to adapt to it.  While certainly not the only way to address these issues, we hope our solutions will stimulate thoughts, and help other survivalblog readers find the ways that best address the issues facing them in their unique situations.  Master your skills, travel light and fast, blend in well, and most importantly, trust that God often shows His strength through our weakness!  





Some pointed commentary from Claire Wolfe: America’s UberGovernment. And the rest of us.

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Here is something new: The Ron Paul Channel

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The Pseudo-Republican: Chris Christie Signs 10 Gun Bills Into Law. The article states: "One of the new laws will disqualify any person on the federal terrorist watch list from obtaining firearms identification cards or permits to purchase handguns." Later, the article notes: "Civil liberties advocates have criticized the watch list for its secrecy. The list is not public, nor can one petition to have his name removed from it. There were about 420,000 names on the watch list as of 2011. It has swollen to nearly 900,000 as of this year." This secret list--which treats people as guilty without any trial--is also notoriously inaccurate. And Christie still has five more gun bills awaiting signature on his desk. Like California, New Jersey is now a lost cause for gun owners' rights.

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Paul B. sent this: SOL: The $350 Ubuntu laptop that runs on solar power

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Voting with their feet: Firearms maker blames New York gun law for move to Pennsylvania



"And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.
And the city shall be accursed, [even] it, and all that [are] therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that [are] with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
And ye, in any wise keep [yourselves] from the accursed thing, lest ye make [yourselves] accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.
But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, [are] consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.
So the people shouted when [the priests] blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city." - Joshua 6:16-20 (KJV)


Friday, August 9, 2013


Today is the birthday of James Paris Lee (born 1831, died February 24, 1904.) He was a Scottish-Canadian and later American inventor and arms designer, best known for inventing the bolt action that led to the Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield series of rifles.

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Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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 am a Vice President o a very successful company in the western side of the Midwest.  I am in my early 60s, and after 30 plus years with the company - I will retire in next year or so with no debt, a good retirement plan, stable lifestyle – no worries, right?  So, why do some of those around me think I'm crazy (even me sometimes)?  Here's my story.
 
I grew up a farm boy working the family farm with my grandma and grandpa, old school Swede - German homesteaders - milking cows, slopping hogs, baling hay, walking beans, driving tractors, gathering eggs, and yes, shoveling S#%*.  Small rural town, 40 kids in my graduating high school class in late 1960s, sports, 4-H, Boy Scouts (be prepared), etc.  Dad and  Mom were both Marines in WWII. Brother was Marine in Vietnam (I missed the mandatory draft by 30 days in 1972 - otherwise I would also be a Marine.) My darling wife, an Asian pre-teen immigrant in mid-60's, has similar old time conservative culture values from her early years of primitive, survival type sustenance in post-war Korea, which was not a pretty picture or an easy life in the 50's - 60's.  As kids growing up, on opposite sides of the ocean, we weren't rich, but we never went hungry either.
 
Flash forward over next 40 years - college (didn't have enough money to farm), college professor, corporate job, worked hard, moved around, promotions, and the good times rolled.  In 2005 we purchased a small farm in an un-named western midwest state, as an investment, and was finally able to renew my farming roots ("Green Acres is the place to be...").  Bought some cows, chickens, and a donkey, and hooked up with a neighbor farmer to help manage-operate, and viola, I am again a farmer boy.  Not much of a cash flow farm, but a neat place with wooded rolling hills and pastures, lower quality crop ground, well fenced, two ponds stocked with fish, two wells, a couple of buildings, and a rocky bottomed creek that runs year round, plus an artesian water tube that also runs pure and clear most of the time.
 
2008 hit us hard - stock market crash and global financial collapse fears, Enron fiasco (yes, I too had, and still do have, way to much money tied back into 'the' company). This, coupled with my growing concerns with the changing ways of our society and culture, both domestically and globally, all led to a growing sense of concern of the future. In 2010, I cashed in a chunk of my retirement and paid off the farm, the cars and truck, and the McMansion house in town.  Debt Free!!!
 
But during this time I also started to think even more about about 'preparing' (Boy Scout).  Prepare for what - I do not know, other than my growing sense that our society is not sustainable the way things are going (Agenda 21?).  I stumbled on SurvivalBlog and got interested.  Since then, I have read many of the 'survival' books and blogs - yours and others - and I envision a day in the future that things won't be the same as they have been for 'us' over the past 50 - 75 years.

Even though I myself am spooked, now five years later in 2013, (stock market 15,000), I have to admit that I probably won't live to see a SHTF world. But, I do believe fully that my children or grandchildren likely will.  So, my prep activities are focused primarily for them.  Okay, now here's what I am doing and planning.
 
Hunker Down:  Refer to farm described above.  Very isolated. 10+ miles from nearest small town (<2000).  60+ miles from nearest small city (100,000).   75+ miles from nearest Interstate highway.   200+ miles from 3 larger mid-size cities (250,000+).  ~700+ miles from nearest mega city (CHI), 75 miles from nearest Interstate highway, 150+ miles from nearest 'strategic' military base.  Sits on secluded, low-travel gravel road, 2 miles from nearest county paved road.  County population is <19/sq. mile.  Few neighbors (<20 in 5 mile diameter).  Closest neighbor (1/4 mile) is a like-minded, well prepped and avid hunter and trapper.  I see this as Wyoming-like, in a Midwestern state, and I call it Redoubt-East.
 
Currently we are building a 'retirement house' on the farm - off-grid and self-sufficient capable with redundant solar, propane, diesel, electric, and wood power-heat systems, deep water well along with alternate artesian water source.  Constructed with solid concrete basement and concrete upper walls, small high, burglar-bar  windows, steel external doors, and video/sensor security system.  Also has concrete root cellar under basement and underground 'escape tunnel' out of basement.  Sized to hold our 3 families (if we crunch up).  Will be finished in early 2014.  Should be sustainable and secure for localized rogues or small scale insurgents, but probably would not withstand an army-like assault (if they can find us) - like I read about in some of the Armageddon books.  Also, we are keeping eye out for roving Obama drones!  Oh well.
 
Practice - not so much on shooting, but in the last couple of years, more so on gardening and more primitive food preserving skills.  My Korean wife remembers lessons from her grandma (watching) in food gathering and preserving.  Turnips, yams, kimchi, other basic staples - to take the bounty of the current year and preserve it to get through the winter (non-growing seasons).  In our practicing, we have 'discovered' a really neat way to naturally sun-dry some of the veggies and fruits we are growing (or buying at the farmers market).  We use two spare window screens (from the McMansion), thinly slice the veggies - fruit, and place between the 2 screens, clamp the edges, and set out in the sun to dry.  It takes about three days of good sunshine to fully dry.  No bugs, no muss, no fuss.  When dry, put in Zip-los bags (modern, yes, I know) and store in a cool dry place (root cellar is best).  This makes excellent, naturally preserved veggies and fruit (fancy food preservation machines not needed), that will provide flavorful and nutritious basic staples (scurvy) through the winter and beyond, if stored properly.  

Food - currently have at least 1+ year supply of easy living basics, even if electric-fuel grids go kaput.  Working at two year supply of very basics.  After 1 year adrift, we will go big time to gardening (have heirloom and hybrid seeds, tools, water & land), home-raised livestock (cattle & chickens) and abundant wild game (deer, turkey, fish), as needed.  Assuming Mother Nature and OPSEC security provides, should be sufficient to survive and lead to the 'rebuilding' process.
 
Security - we have decent assortment - rifles (varmint & long guns), assault guns, shotguns, handguns, knives and 'special' tools, accumulated over the years by the direct family members (and like minded neighbors).  We are not optimal in large stocks of ammo though, as we only got serious on this in last year or so, just when the ammo supplies went south, but we are able to self-load though.  Rather than blow brains out in current ammo craze (serious money), I will be patient and stock up further as retail stocks reappear. (Hopefully in near future).
 
Barter - we have been accumulating stuff (things), like booze, cigarettes, meds, households, ammo, gold-silver-coins, gadgets, etc.  No idea what will be useful or needed for a future SHTF scenario.  If it does happens, then 'stuff' should come in handy.  If not, then grand kids can all get together some day and go through it all, and laugh about their crazy old grandpa.
 
Survival Tip - Mr. Rawles advises that articles on practical 'how to' survival skills have an advantage in the judging.  So, those of you old enough to remember the movie ‘The Graduate’ remember the ‘one word’ success tip whispered to Dustin Hoffman: "Plastics."  So here is my 'one word' survival tip - Donkeys.  Yes, I said 'donkeys'.  Here's what a 'multi-propose 'survival' donkey' can do:

* Anti-predator - keeps roving coyotes, cougars, wild dogs (wolves?) away from cows/calves or sheep.  Really amazing to see! 
* Intruder Alert - donkey 'brays' at strangers coming up the lane (if you've never heard before, it definitely gets your attention).  Also, watching the donkeys laser-like ears and eyes is dead-on if you want to know where a lurking intruder is located.  Her (jenny) ears, eyes, and nose are much better than ours.
* Halter Breaking calves - another story in itself.
* Pack-bearing - can haul couple hundred pounds of gear/supplies.
* Cart Pulling - can pull cart (or person) with gear/supplies.
* SHTF transport - can ride - for when doctor (son) must make 'SHTF calls' around the township/county for house calls or emergency (good enough for Jesus).
* Family-Friend-Companion – it’s amazing what an apple a day can do.
 
So, am I crazy?  No question about it.  I could be planning an easy, fun-filled retirement with golfing, a beach home, and world travel vacations.  NOT - been there, done that!  Yes, I am crazy, but we are also HAPPY and EXCITED.  My wife and I are looking forward to the next 15+ years of a 'back to the farm' lifestyle, growing old together, rediscovering our rural roots and old fashioned passions, enjoying weekend visits and summer farm vacations with our kids and grand kids along with new found friends and good times with our rural neighbors.  And oh yeah, if the S does HTF, we will be ready, I hope.  Crazy as Fox.



Sir,
It occurs to me that the sudden desire to "privatize" Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is simply a way to deploy the wet ink dollars out of the Fed and big banks without overwhelming the money supply. We all know what would happen if those dollars entered the mainstream market place. This just seems to me to be yet another ploy to stall the inevitable, but I haven't seen anyone else talking about that. Am I missing something? - Big Jon

JWR Replies: You are essentially correct. The majority of the U.S. Dollars that have been magically created by Quantitative Easing (QE) have been used to buy up Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) derivatives paper. This was $70 billion per month in QE2 and $85 billion per month in QE3, and this has been going on month after month. QE2 began in November of 2010, and QE3 began in September of 2012.

Quantitative Easing doesn’t do much for the real economy. It is really more of an asset swap that benefits high level financiers. They reap the benefits, while only a portion gets trickled down into the economy at large. It is a grossly inefficient mechanism for boosting the economy, but it has done great things for the bottom lines of the investment houses. It has proved to be just the trick for re-inflating the bi-coastal real estate bubble. Quantitative Easing effectively increases the money supply, since lower interest rates let banks generate more loans. (It unleashes the fractional reserve banking multiplier effect.) But because all of that QE money is top fed and directed primarily at the real estate sector, it is creating false prosperity for both the residential and commercial real estate markets. Granted, a lot of that money is almost immediately reinvested in other vehicles/sectors, but that doesn't change the fact that this money is created out of thin air, and in he long run it will prove to be very inflationary. And, as I've mentioned in my blog several times before, inflation is a hidden form of taxation. Creative legerdemain like QE might outwardly look low risk, beneficial, "and all that happy stuff" but the long term effects will be devastating: Injecting all this artificial money encourages malinvestment, encourages casino style investing, discourages thrift, and does little to build up a long term economic base in sectors like manufacturing. A decade from now, we will look back on QE as one of those World Class "What on Earth was I thinking?" varieties of big mistakes.

All of the recent talk of "privatizing" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac largely ignores that fact QE money has already been used to prop up both of them. A report issued by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank in 2011 notes:

"The first round of QE began in March 2009 and concluded in March 2010. One of the primary goals was to increase the availability of credit in private markets to help revitalize mortgage lending and support the housing market. To accomplish this goal, the Fed purchased $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities [MBS] and $200 billion in federal agency debt (i.e., debt issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae to fund the purchase of mortgage loans). To help lower interest rates in general (and thaw the frozen private credit market), the Fed also purchased $300 billion in long-term Treasury securities."

In July, 2013, the House Financial Services Committee pushed forward a bill that would Liquidate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It was heralded by HuffPo as a way to "...dramatically reduce the U.S. government backstop in the mortgage market." But in actuality, it is not privatization (or, more properly, re-privatization.) It is simply a new venue for Uncle Ben's Instant Rice Dollars. You and I (indirectly, through dilution of the value of the U.S. Dollar) will be paying to "privatize" Fannie and Freddie. Most of the "privatization" money will be coming from QE Dollars! So the bottom line is that our wallets will be fleeced to enrich a bunch of Wall Street mortgage financiers.

The opinion molders at HuffPo go on to say:

"The House bill would abolish government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within five years and replace them with a non-profit, utility-like platform that investors would use to securitize mortgages. Unlike mortgage securities offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the new securities would be issued without a government guarantee."

Oh, really? That might sound great on the surface--as if it will take the American taxpayer of the hook--but what is really going to transpire? Instead of two great big assets for the taxpayers (with a huge underlying liability), they will become assets for the banksters. But here is the kicker: the bankers have been implicitly told: "Don't worry: you are Too Big To Fail", and we will always bail you out. (And they have been, again and again. It is no coincidence that the $182 billion government bail out of American International Group (AIG) in September, 2008 came just a week after the government takeover of "quasi-private" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The real story didn't emerge until two years later.) So we--the American taxpayers--will give up the assets, but retain the liabilities. How charming. And the banksters won't be using their own money to do this. They will be using the unending stream of QE Funny Money--that again, is a hidden form of tax! Someone with a corner office on the 67th floor with a great view of Central Park must be saying: "Sounds like a 'win-win' to me!"

As a blogger who lives out in The Hinterboonies, I am just a distant observer of all these machinations. I can only shake my head in disgust. I know that writing more letters to my senators and congressman will be futile. But one thing that I can do is step back and look at the big picture: The folks in Washington D.C. and their banker buddies are systematically destroying the U.S. Dollar. They are doing so because the American people are ignorant and treated like mushrooms (i.e. kept in the dark and fed Schumer) by the mass media. There is nothing that I can do to stop it. But I can protect myself from the inevitable resulting mass inflation, by shifting most of my assets out of Dollar-denominated investments and into tangibles. The D.C. crowd can debase the Dollar all they'd like, but they can't erase the inherent value of a box of .45 ACP Hydra-Shoks. I recommend that you diversify, similarly.



Captain Rawles,
I have a question about military wall lockers. I have searched high and low trying to locate some military wall lockers for gear storage but have been unable to find any as you mentioned in your novel "Patriots". I was just wondering if you had any ideas where I might be able to find some. Thanks for any help you can give me in this area or any alternatives you can suggest.  Thanks, - Tony from Texas 

JWR Replies: Any large steel lockers or cabinets with solid backs and tight-fitting doors will do.  The crucial thing for storing your food and field gear is that they be mouse proof.

Check Craigslist and Freecycle first, for local bargains. If you can't find any individuals with lockers or cabinets for sale then do a web search or your local Yellow Pages for any nearby used office furniture or used industrial shelving companies.

Reader Tom K. mentioned that the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) has sales to the public at many locations around the world.





"How could anyone possibly need more than a 10 round magazine?" Well, for instance: Alaska man kills charging bear with assault rifle

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Scarcity inspires creative "reinvention" and "technological disobedience": Cuba's DIY Inventions from 30 Years of Isolation. (Thanks to M.R. in Kansas for the link.)

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Sun Will Flip Its Magnetic Field Soon. (We are at solar maximum, but it is a relatively weak maximum, for this 11-year cycle But the big Carrington-size flares can happen, regardless.)

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H7N9 bird flu in likely China spread between people, researchers find. (Of course a receptor mutation would be needed before the bug would become easily transmissible.)

   o o o

Dim Tim sent: Rust-Oleum NeverWet, Superhydrophobic Coating That Makes Everyday Materials Repel Liquid



"The loss of freedom, tyranny, abuse, hunger would all have been easier to bear if not for the compulsion to call them freedom, justice, the good of the people." - Aleksandr Wat, Polish poet (1900 - 1967)


Thursday, August 8, 2013


Jenny of The Last Frontier blog, who was tragically widowed in 2012 is now Seeking a Husband. Her blog post echoes the theme of what Jim's late wife Linda ("The Memsahib") selflessly wrote on her deathbed, in 2009. (See: From The Memsahib: On My Bucket List--Looking for a Wife.) Jenny is a friend of mine. We recently had an unexpected and providential meeting, and have become fast friends.

Both Jim and I were widowed, and we were brought together by God's providence. We're praying that Jenny finds a new husband, in a similar way.

Do you know any single God-fearing men who are back-country pilots? Jenny is truly a sweet, honest, down-to-Earth, straightforward in communication, looks you right in the eye with a very calm spirit, kind of woman. Her strong faith in God is very evident. She is extremely interesting and fun to talk with. My prayer is: May only truly God-fearing Gentlemen apply!

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August 8th is when America celebrates our national Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night :-)
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Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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 a situation that will be characterized by, among other things, gutted pharmacies and unmanned hospitals, the remaining population at TEOTWAWKI will be required to provide their own medical care and to meet their own pharmacologic needs.  While there have been numerous helpful articles outlining the importance of antibiotics in the context of TEOTWAWKI there has been very little addressing the importance of an overall pharmacologic strategy.

Some of you—especially those who take daily prescription medication—have likely considered this problem before.  But perhaps you are young and healthy, unburdened by any medical diagnosis.  There should still be a pharmacologic component to your overall survival strategy.  Even the robustly healthy occasionally encounter the minor health annoyance—a stomach bug, say, a case of diarrhea or constipation, or perhaps a urinary tract infection.  The problem, of course, is that, in the context of TEOTWAWKI, the minor health annoyance can rapidly spiral into something life-threatening.

Consider the title of this article, for example.  Constipation is, for most people, an infrequent and easily remedied problem—a couple of Sennekot and a quart of juice cures 95% of cases.  If worse comes to worse, there are suppositories—or enemas.

But suppose that you have no access to over-the-counter laxatives.  Suppose you are plagued by constipation for several days but because it ranks low on your list of immediate problems, it goes untreated.  By the time you get around to dealing with it, you’ve got a very large, rock-hard ball of stool in the lower rectum, and it isn’t going anywhere.   This what medical folks refer to as a fecal impaction.  Impactions are common among already sick, weakened individuals; the treatment is manual removal.  Without intervention, an impaction can lead to colon perforation, peritonitis, sepsis, and eventually septic shock and death.

Or perhaps, in desperation, you attempt to unimpact yourself, or have a willing family member do it.  In the process of this procedure, you inadvertently lacerate one of the delicate rectal vessels--and suffer a large hemorrhage.  Incidentally, I have encountered this exact scenario before, working as an EMT in rural Alaska.

It sounds ridiculous—that a case of constipation could lead to such dire straits.  But make no mistake.  Due to decreased fluid intake and no access to fresh fruits and vegetables, there will be hordes of constipated people at TEOTWAWKI. 

Consider another common health complaint, especially for females: the dreaded urinary tract infection.  Normally it is cured with a three-day course of nitrofurantoin, or, if you lack health insurance, a slightly longer course of ciprofloxacin, which costs ten dollars.  But suppose you have no access to antibiotics, and again, decreased fluid intake.  You have nothing with which to treat the fever that develops.  Eventually you start passing bloody urine, then clots.  The pain evolves from a mild discomfort during urination to a stabbing sensation in the flanks; by day five or six or seven it feels as though every organ in your abdomen and pelvis is on fire.  The infection has migrated from the urethra, to the bladder, up the ureters, and has now settled in the kidneys.  You have developed what is referred to by medical folks as pyelonephritis.  The fever climbs to 105. Your blood pressure bottoms out as the infection spills over into your bloodstream.  Untreated pyelonephritis leads to urosepsis.  Outcome same as above—septic shock and death.

The point is, if you have a body, eventually something will go wrong.  Eventually you will require pharmacologic intervention.

 

THE FOUR CATEGORIES

From a pharmacologic perspective, there will be four categories of people at TEOTWAWKI:  The first are those who are healthy and dependent on no medication, or very little medication, for day-to-day function.  They may have diagnoses ranging from seasonal allergies to mild asthma, psoriasis, and the like—the loss of pharmacologic treatment might be inconvenient but it would not be catastrophic. 

The second category includes those with diagnoses like hypertension and hyperlipidemia, who currently enjoy relatively good health. The loss of pharmacologic treatment will have no immediate impact on function.  But in the grand scheme of things, lack of access to drugs will permit deterioration of organ function; in the case of untreated hypertension, for example, long-term exposure to high arterial pressures will cause the heart muscle to become thickened and stiff.  A stiff, noncompliant heart does not pump efficiently: the inevitable result is heart failure and all its symptoms.  This group also includes those with type II diabetes, as long-term exposure to elevated blood glucose spares no organ system in the body.

The third category of people encompasses those who are able to maintain a normal lifestyle in the sense that may still be capable of work, of managing activities of self care—indeed they may even be fit and athletic depending on the nature of the diagnosis--but they suffer from a condition requiring daily intake of prescription medication, the loss of which would be serious or even fatal.  This category includes individuals with diagnoses like type I diabetes, some types of heart disease, and severe hypothyroidism.   It also includes patients who received a donor organ for transplant and rely on immunosuppressive drugs to prevent organ rejection. 

The last category of people are those who would be considered unhealthy, either because of a systemic disease that limits function, function that cannot be fully restored even with daily medication, or because, even though they may still have moderately good day-to-day function, they are dependent on a constant supply of medication and/or medical technology for survival.  The former suffer from severe heart disease, cancer, congenital heart disease, and degenerative neurological conditions such as Huntington’s or Parkinson’s.   The latter group includes dialysis patients, COPD patients who require constant supplemental oxygen, tracheostomy-dependent patients, or those who can only take nutrition via tube feeds.

 

This article is aimed at all but the last group.  Not that members of the last group have no chance of survival at TEOTWAWKI, but the preparations that would be required are outside the scope of this article.  Pharmacologic preparation of the first three groups, if undertaken with a specific strategy and numeric goals in mind, is quite feasible.

THE STRATEGY

  1. Determine your daily prescription medication needs.  If you and your family are perfectly healthy then the task is simple.  See Appendix A for my recommendations of prescription drugs.  If not, the task is still relatively simple: a one year’s extra supply of necessary prescription medications, in addition to those listed in Appendix A.  You may need to estimate—in the case of an asthmatic that uses inhaled steroids, for example, or for the migraine medication that is taken on an as-needed basis.  Determine what constitutes a one-year supply of the drug.  Record the data, with the names, dosages, and schedule, in a spreadsheet.
  2. Determine your over the counter (OTC) medication needs.  See Appendix B for my recommendations for the average individual.  Gauge your needs by looking in your medicine cabinet—perhaps you use a lot of liquid acetaminophen because you have small children in the home.  Perhaps your family goes through more   
  3. Inventory what you already have.
  4. Develop a plan for obtaining the rest.  Plan to obtain the drugs listed in Appendices A and B within one year.  This will require extra visits to doctors, calling in refills on schedule, being willing to fib about international travel perhaps, or being willing to change physicians.  More on this below.
  5. Store the drug stockpile in an organized and responsible way (indoors, labeled, airtight containers, with 02 absorbers, under lock and key if any controlled substances are included).
  6. After OTC and prescription needs are met, work on a stockpile for bartering purposes.  See Appendix C for ideas.
  7. Buy pharmacology reference books.  See Appendix D for recommended titles.

 

A WORD ABOUT OTC MEDICATION

Don’t discount the potency or usefulness of a drug just because you can buy it at the local drugstore.  Many drugs that used to be prescription-only are now sold OTC.  One example of that is the proton-pump inhibitor omeprazole, used to treat acid reflux disease.  To expand on this example, imagine a situation in which a person who suffers from acid reflux disease exists solely on a diet of canned chili for an extended period of time, without access to his usual proton-pump inhibiting medication.  One day he begins vomiting blood, having developed a gastric ulcer as a result of his untreated condition.  If one of his companions has a supply of omeprazole on hand, currently available at any Walgreens or CVS without a prescription, his condition could be treated in the same manner in which it would be treated at the ER—with a large dose of a proton-pump inhibiting medication. 

Another example is aspirin.  Aspirin has a multitude of uses beyond pain relief.  It is a blood thinner.  For this reason it is often the first medication someone receives when they show up at the ER exhibiting signs and symptoms of stroke.  Aspirin is a central component of the standard protocol in treating patients who are suspected of having a heart attack—the blood thinning properties of aspirin are useful when a clot has occluded a coronary artery.  Aspirin also has unique anti-inflammatory properties—its use is normally avoided in children, but in the context of certain pediatric diseases, high-dose aspirin is a critical component of treatment.   Every time I shop at Sam’s club for groceries, I purchase aspirin in bulk.  Aspirin is inexpensive and potentially useful in so many ways. 

 

A WORD ABOUT PSYCHIATRIC MEDS

Not long ago a friend mentioned to me that he had thrown away some expired anti-depressant medication.  I suggested that he might instead sock away such medication for the possibility of a survival situation.  His position was simple:  in a true survival situation, he would have no tolerance for psychiatric illness.  People suffering from depression and other psychiatric maladies would be a drain on resources and a liability for everyone around them. 

I considered my friend’s position on this matter for a time and concluded that he was mistaken, for several reasons.  Number one, in extreme situations like TEOTWAWKI, people will inevitably experience depression, psychosis, PTSD, and so on.   Many scientists consider the aforementioned to be adaptive evolutionary responses to trauma, disappointment, and loss (research “Behavioral Shutdown Hypothesis” and “Analytical Rumination Hypothesis” if interested in further information). These conditions affect the toughest, most seasoned soldiers in the US military, so it is folly to assume that a meticulously chosen survival companion will be immune to them.  Depending on the nature of the psychiatric illness, at the very least it will affect the morale of the group; in the worst-case scenario it may indeed adversely affect the group’s chances of survival.  Having the means to treat such a condition may ultimately determine the fate of an entire group—consider a well-prepared, well-stocked family, the head of which is then struck down by a paralyzing depression—imagine that this happens at the worst possible time, at the very height of danger. 

Second, a survival companion may (whether they have chosen to share this information or not) already be taking a medication for depression or other psychiatric illness.  As aptly noted by author West Texas Prepper in the article Letter Re: When the Anti-Depressants Run Out, ceasing certain medications cold turkey leads to a crippling withdrawal syndrome.  Having a small supply of the same medicine on hand would allow a dose taper, thereby sparing the individual of any withdrawal symptoms.  I have witnessed patients, normally fully-functioning, contributing members of society, completely bedbound with nausea, vertigo, and paresthesias after running out of their daily anti-depressant medication.  In an already tenuous survival scenario, it would be imperative to avoid such a situation.

Third, many psychiatric medications have multiple indications.  Some were developed and manufactured for the treatment of other diseases years before their usefulness in treating psychiatric illness was discovered.  Case in point, my friend had thrown away four sample packages of the drug Depakote, known generically as valproate sodium, or valproic acid.  It had been prescribed for a patient diagnosed with bipolar disorder who was experiencing a depressive phase of the illness.  But, unbeknownst to my friend, valproic acid is used to treat a multitude of other conditions, most notably seizure disorders, but also migraine headaches, and chronic pain characterized by neuropathic symptoms.

 

A WORD ABOUT EXPIRATION DATES

The expiration dates assigned to drugs is arbitrary and very few drugs are actually toxic past the expiration date (tetracycline and doxycycline being the exception).  Testing has demonstrated that drugs maintain their potency decades after their expiration dates.  Save drugs you are certain you will never use, or never need again, save the ones you think were prescribed in error.  It is impossible to predict what might be useful. Save them regardless of the expiration date, regardless of how few tablets might be left in the package or how little ointment left inside the tube. 

My grandmother suffered an extended illness, the cause of which was unknown for a time.  Her physicians, not knowing what they were treating, hoping to eventually hit on the right drug, prescribed countless medicines, medicines from different classes and of varying strengths.  When I helped my grandfather clean out his medicine cabinet last summer, I found a cardboard box filled with bottles of unused diuretics and anti-inflammatory meds used to treat autoimmune diseases (and also useful in treating malaria).  With my grandfather’s permission I took the unused medication, removed the pharmacy stickers from the pill bottles, and replaced them with medical tape on which I wrote the names of the drugs and the milligrams per tablet.  For those without medical training, I suggest also recording the indication and recommended dose.

Although there are laws prohibiting the stockpiling of prescription medications, there are no reports of arrests for stockpiling medication in the manner described above.  Those who fall under legal scrutiny do so because they stockpile controlled substances, with intent to supply their own habit or to profit financially from supplying the habits of others.  That being said it is best to not discuss this type of preparation with others.  Nor would I advertise on craigslist requesting unwanted prescription antibiotics.  Limit those you involve to immediate family and trusted friends.  

 

A WORD ABOUT YOUR PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR

 

Your primary care physician (PCP) may or may not be a good resource.

On the one hand, he or she may be in total agreement with you, and willing to write scrips for an extra supply of your regular medications, and perhaps even some antibiotics.  On the other hand, he or she may interpret your desire to prepare for a worst-case scenario as a manifestation of mental illness, one that is potentially dangerous and requires further investigation.  If the physician knows you have weapons at home, the situation becomes further complicated.  Therefore I do not recommend that people approach their PCP and ask for prescriptions for stockpiling purposes.

If you decide to do so and are honest about the reason why, and your physician responds by asking searching questions about your psychiatric history, or says, “Now tell me, how long you have had this obsession with the apocalypse?” then abort the mission immediately and refocus all efforts on damage control.

However, there are ‘legitimate’ reasons that physicians sometimes write prescriptions for large amounts of antibiotics, and there are numerous taken as needed (PRN) drugs that physicians write prescriptions for on a daily basis.  Odansetron, the anti-nausea medication, is one that comes to mind.  Benzonatate, the cough medication known as “tesselon pearls” is another.  If you are willing to ask for such medications, citing the presence of nausea or a cough that keeps you awake at night, you can easily obtain such prescriptions.  If you ask that refills be available if needed, your doctor is likely to oblige.   Refill the drug on schedule as refills are sometimes limited to a twelve-month period.

Be a hypochondriac for a year.  Get more than one PCP.  Pay out of pocket for duplicate prescriptions. Ask for samples.  Have a lot of colds. 

Another strategy is to go to the physician with a request for prescription meds for international travel.  Present a list of recommended drugs to have on hand when traveling in that area, perhaps one printed from a reputable web site (CDC).  I don’t know of any physicians that require the patient to present their boarding pass before writing such prescriptions.

 

APPENDIX A:  RECOMMENDED PRESCRIPTIONS

  1. Antibiotics
    1. Augmentin-600mg-60 tablets per person (three 10-day courses)
    2. Ampicillin-500mg-63 tablets per person (three 7-day courses)
    3. Amoxicillin-500mg-100 tabs per person (50 days’ worth per person; ten 5-day courses, five 10-day courses, seven 7-day courses—it can be tailored to what is being treated)
    4. TMP-SMX (Bactrim DS)-84 tablets per person (three 14-day courses)
    5. Azithromycin-500mg-15 tabs per person (three 5-day courses)
    6. Cephalexin-500mg-120 tablets per person (three 10-day courses)
    7. Clindamycin-900mg-90 tablets per person (three 10-day courses)
    8. Metronidazole-500mg-90 tablets per person (three 10-day courses)
    9. Cefdinir-300mg-60 per person (three 10-day courses)
    10. Nitrofurantoin-200mg-42 tablets per person (three 7-day courses)
    11. Gentamicin ophthalmic solution-two bottles per person
    12. Erythromycin 0.5% opthalmic ointment-three tubes per person
    13. Ciprodex Otic-ciprofloxacin 0.3%, dexamethasone 0.1% solution-two bottles per person
    14. Aurodex Otic-antipyrine/benzocaine solution-one bottle per person (this is not an anti-microbial but it is useful for attenuating symptoms of ear infection)
    15. Mupirocin 2% antibiotic ointment-two tubes per person
  2. Anti-virals
    1. Acyclovir-400mg-63 tablets per person (three 7-day courses)
    2. Oseltamivir-75mg-30 tablets per person (three 5-day courses)
  3. Anti-fungals
    1. Fluconazole-100mg or 200mg tablets-60 per person
    2. Clotrimazole topical-several per person
    3. Nystatin suspension-100mL per person
    4. Nystatin cream-two tubes per person
    5. Ketoconazole-200mg-28 per person (one four week course)
  4. Anti-parasitic (for treating intestinal worms)
    1. Mebendazole 100mg-20 tablets per person
    2. Pyrantel pamoate (Pin X)-720.5mg-10 tablets per person
    3. Thiabendazole (Mintezol) 500mg tablets-10 per person
  5. Cardiovascular Health
    1. Anti-hypertensives
      1. HCTZ-25mg-365 per person
      2. Metoprolol-100mg-200 per person
      3. Lisinopril-20mg or 40mg-365 per person
        1. An alternative is one of the –sartans (i.e. Valsartan, 320mg) but they are more expensive
      4. Clonidine-0.2mg-100 tablets per person
      5. Spironolactone-50mg-100 tablets per person
      6. Furosemide-40mg-100 tablets per person
      7. Phenoxybenzamine-10mg-25 per person
    2. Lipid Reduction Agents
      1. Simvastatin-10mg-365 per person
      2. Fenofibrate-35mg-100 per person
  6. Gastrointestinal Health
    1. Omeprazole-20mg-365 per person
    2. Ranitidine-150mg-365 per person
    3. Misoprostol-200mcg-80 per person
    4. Odansetron-4mg-100 per person
    5. Promethazine suppositories-25mg-25 per person
    6. Metaclopramide-10mg-25 per person
    7. Diphenoxylate-atropine-300mL per person
    8. Anusol HC suppositories (2.5% hydrocortisone)-10 per person
    9. Lactulose-100mL per person
  7. Urinary Tract Health
    1. Allopurinol-100mg-100 per male
    2. Finasteride-5mg-365 tablets per male
    3. Bethanechol-25mg-20 per person
    4. Oxybutynin-5mg-20 per peron
    5. Colchicine-0.5mg-100 per person
  8. Gynecological Health
    1. Ethinyl estradiol/norethindrone combination-28 day packets-12 per female (useful for a multitude of menstrual problems)
    2. Contraceptive method of choice-one year’s worth per sexually active female
    3. Estradiol gel 0.06%-several tubes per older female
    4. Estratab-0.3mg-365 tablets per post-menopausal female
  9. Pain Medications
    1. Carbamazepine-200mg-50 tablets per person
    2. Gabapentin-400mg-100 tablets per person
    3. Diclofenac-50mg-200 tablets per person
    4. Cyclobenzaprine-5mg-50 tablets per person
    5. Keterolac-30mg-50 per person
    6. Tramadol-25mg-50 per person
    7. Immediate Release Morphine tabs-5mg-25 per person
    8. Extended Release Morphine tabs-15mg-50 per person
    9. Sumatatriptan-100mg-25 per person
  10. Allergies/Asthma/Respiratory
    1. Hydroxyzine-25mg-50 per person
    2. Prednisone-10mg-200 per person
    3. Loratidine-10mg-100 tablets per person
    4. Albuterol metered dose inhaler-3 per person
    5. Steroid metered dose inhaler (Advair, etc)-3 per person
    6. Benzonatate-100mg-100 per person
    7. Hycodan syrup (each 5mL contains hydrocodone 5mg-homatotrropine 1.5mg)-150ml per person
    8. Epinephrine injection (EpiPen, EpiPenJr)-two injection pack-three per person
    9. Guafenisin-phenylephrine (Entex)-100mL per person
    10. Montelukast-10mg-100 per person
    11. Metaproterenol-20mg-30 per person
  11. Skin Conditions
    1. Mometasone furoate 0.1%-15g or 45g tube-two per person
    2. Silver sulfdiazene-45g tube-five per person
    3. Cleocin 1%-two tubes per person
    4. Permethrin (Lindane)-five bottles per person
  12.   Psychiatric/CNS Medications
    1. Lorazepam-1mg-50 per person
    2. Lorazepam suppositories-0.5mg-10 per person
    3. Alprazolam-0.5mg-30 per person
    4. Fluoxetine-20mg-60 per person
    5. Wellbutrin-150mg-30 per person
    6. Haldol-5mg-10 per person
    7. Amitryptiline-50mg-30 per person
    8. Bromocriptine-1.25mg-10 tabs per person
    9. Meclizine-25mg-50 per person
    10. Scopolamine patch-ten per person
  13. Endocrine Health
    1. Metformin-500mg-500 per person
      1. For those with a strong family history of diabetes, Hispanic background, or prediabetes, I recommend stockpiling a one year’s supply of 1000mg strength metformin.
    2. Levothyroxine-150mcg-100 per person
    3. Insulin-300units-10 bottles per family (must be kept refrigerated)

APPENDIX B: Recommended OTC Drugs

  1. Acetaminophen-500mg-1000 tablets per person
  2. Acetaminophen liquid-five bottles per person
  3. Ibuprofen-500mg-1000 tablets per person
  4. Ibuprofen liquid-five bottles per person
  5. Naproxen Sodium-500mg-1000 tablets per person
  6. Aspirin-325mg-1000 tablets per person
    1. 325mg tablets can be cut into quarters, the quarters then approximate the normal 81mg dose recommended for most people with mild coronary artery disease or hypertension
    2. Alternative you can purchase the ‘baby aspirin’ version, often in chewable form, which is 81mg per tablet, though it is not common to find this in bulk and it is more expensive.
  7. Water-based lubricant jelly (KY)-5 tubes per person
  8. Petroleum jelly 100%, 13oz containers (i.e. Vaseline)-5 per person
  9. Immodium (loperamide)-100 caplets per person
  10. Docusate sodium-100mg-500 caplets per person
    1. Simply Right Stool Softener with 400 gel caps per bottle is an inexpensive example of this.
  11. Glycerin suppositories 2gm glycerin per suppository-100 per person
    1. Consider purchasing the pediatric version, containing 1gm glycerin per suppository
  12. Diphendydramine HCl-25mg-1000 tabs per person
  13. Fleet enemas (containing monobasic and dibasic sodium phosphate)-eight per person
    1. Alternatively you can purchase empty enema bottles and make your own saline solution, 1.5 teaspoons table salt to 1000mL of water; this can be preferable to the phosphate solution in store-bought enemas as phosphate can cause cramping.
    2. You may also want to research how to make a soap suds enema, the type often used in hospitals, and store the ingredients—liquid castile soap is the standard.
  14. Hemorrhoidal cream (Preparation H or Equate Brand Hemorrhoidal cream-contains 0.25% phenylephrine to constrict vessels, glycerin 14% as a protectant, pramoxine 1% as a local anesthetic)-2oz tube-5 per person
    1. Phenylephrine is the active ingredient in some decongestant nasal sprays like Neo-Synephrine Extra Strength Nasal Spray or WalGreens Ephrine Nose Drops; moreover these sprays contain a more concentrated dose of phenylephrine (usually 1%)—I have found that a cotton ball soaked with aforementioned spray works far better than Preparation H (or its equivalent) cream for getting the patient quick, effective relief—as an alternative to stocking up on Preparation H, I recommend stocking up on extra nasal spray for the purpose of treating hemorrhoids
    2. If you want a local anesthetic component for treating hemorrhoids, any local anesthetic ointment can be used to supplant a vasoconstrictor—I recommend using lidocaine, 2% or 5%, which requires a prescription.
  15. Medicated hemorrhoidal pads, active ingredient witch’s hazel 50% (i.e. Tucks)-several boxes per person
    1. An alternative to purchasing $6 boxes of Tucks pads containing 20 pads each, is to purchase a $3 16-oz bottle of 100% witch hazel (at Wal-Mart or most drug stores) and make your own pads using cotton balls or the like; witch hazel has many other uses too.
  16. Zinc oxide ointment 40% (i.e. Desitin)-five large containers per person
  17. Medicinal foot powder-1% menthol-(Gold Bond, Walgreen’s brand)-10oz bottle-three per person
  18. Anti-fungal foot powder 2% miconazole nitrate (Tinactin, Lotrimin AF, Walgreen brand ‘Athlete’s Foot Powder)-3-4 oz containers-five per person
  19. Pepto Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate)-16oz-5 per person
  20. Triple antibiotic ointment(should contain bacitracin, neomycin, and polymixin b)-ten tubes per person
  21. Tea tree oil-2 fluid ounces-ten bottles per person. This is an expensive oil; however it has many uses—a recent study indicated that tea tree oil is more effective than prescription medication for the treatment of lice, which is the main reason I have it listed here, as the rate of parasitic infections will be increased at TEOTWAWKI
  22. Pseudoephedrine-25mg-100 caplets per person
  23. Dextromethorphan syrup, 30mg dextromethorphan per dose (Robitussin, Delsym))-5 bottles per person
  24. Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol 16oz-ten or more bottles per person
    1. Warning-in a TEOTWAWKI situation, there will be desperate alcoholics in withdrawal, willing to drink anything with a label that indicates any percentage of alcohol within, no matter how small—isopropyl alcohol is usually not fatal if ingested and its effects resemble those of ethanol (the form of alcohol for drinking); the treatment is supportive care and to not do anything or give anything that interrupts metabolism, as the metabolite (acetone) is less poisonous than isopropyl.
    2. Drinking of isopropyl alcohol will not have the same effects as the ingestion of methanol (found in windshield wiper fluid-causes blindness, confusion, respiratory failure and death), or ethylene glycol (found in antifreeze-causes muscle spasms, heart dysrhythmias, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, death); nevertheless, for any product containing any percentage of alcohol on the label, I recommend adding a bright red sticker with the words “NOT FOR DRINKING-POISONOUS!” with skull and crossbones drawn—and if the TEOTWAWKI happens, keep these items stored in a place that is not well-frequented.
  25. Hydrogen peroxide-10-20 gallons per person
    1. There are many uses of hydrogen peroxide.
    2. See this site as an example of where inexpensive hydrogen peroxide can be purchased (Less than 10 dollars per gallon)
  26. Ben Gay Muscle Pain/Ultra Strength (30% methyl salicylate, 10% menthol, 4% camphor)-three tubes per person
    1. For those with allergy to aspirin an alternative is Tiger Balm Ultra, which contains 11% camphor and 11% menthol
  27. Mentholated topical cream, active ingredients camphor, eucalyptol, menthol (i.e. Vick’s VapoRub)-three jars per person
  28. Electrolyte replacement packets (Pedialyte makes these; a 4-pack costs about $5, Walgreens carries the equivalent; an 8-pack costs $4)-20 per adult, 40 per child
  29. Multivitamins-1000 per person (make sure and include some chewable forms for children or those who cannot swallow pills)
  30. Vitamin D-(1000-5000IU)-500 per person (also comes in liquid form)
  31. Folic Acid (400mcg-1mg)-500 per ovulating female
  32. Vitamin B12-(comes is dosages as low as 100mcg, as high as 5000mcg-recommend a variety)-500 per person
  33. Hydrocortisone cream 1% hydrocortisone, comes in 2oz tubes-10 per person
    1. Alternatively you can ask your doctor to prescribe a stronger version of the same medication, 2.5% strength hydrocortisone cream; this may be preferable if you or your loved ones suffer often from dermatitis, eczema, or other skin inflammation.
  34. Calamine lotion, contains calamine and zinc oxide, can be purchased in 6 oz bottles for about $1.50 at Wal-Mart. - Three bottles per person
  35. Sterile saline solution 0.9% concentration-1L bottles-10 per person
    1. You can make your own 0.9% saline solution but it will not be sterile; this becomes important when using it for the irrigation of wounds, etc
    2. For making your own solution, 9grams of sodium is dissolved in 991 mL of water
    3. Research and print the many uses of saline solution.
  36.  Oral liquid/gel anesthetic (20% benzocaine)-3 per person
  37. Coal tar shampoo (T Gel 2%, Denorex 2%, Psoriatrix 5%)-one per person
    1. If you or your loved ones suffer from psoriasis you may want to purchase other OTC coal tar products (bar soap, ointment, etc)
    2. For those with skin issues, three bottles per person recommended.
  38. Selenium sulfide shampoo-three per person
  39. Phenazopyridine (Urostat)-
  40. Miralax powder-17.9oz-three per person
  41. Fiber powder (Metamucil)-16oz-three per person
  42. Magnesium hydroxide suspension, 1200-2400mg per 10-30mL (Milk of Magnesia, etc)-16oz-five per person
  43. Antacid tablets, calcium carbonate 500mg per dose (Tums)-1000 per person
  44. Mineral oil (liquid petroleum)-16oz-three per person
  45. Earwax removal solution (carbamide peroxide)-three per person
  46. Nasal spray (Oxymetolazone HCl, phenylephrine)-five per person, more if you plan to use these to treat hemorrhoids too
  47. Doxylamine succinate 6.25-50mg per dose-50 doses per person
    1. This is the sedating component of NyQuil brand drugs
    2. It is a potent anticholinergic and can be used to treat a multitude of conditions (morning sickness, allergies, insomnia)
  48. Caffeine tablets-50mg-200 per person
  49. Trolamine salicylate cream 10% (Aspercreme)-5oz-five per person
  50. Tiger Balm Liniment (Menthol 16%, Oil of wintergreen 28%)-0.63oz-three per person
  51. Capsaicin products 0.05-0.1% strength-this is the natural ingredient found in hot peppers; it has been found to inhibit the actions of substance P in pain transmission; it can be used to treat the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, tension and cluster headaches, osteoarthritis, trigeminal neuralgia, shingles, and more)
    1. Creams (Capsa Cream 8, Zostrix, Walgreens brand)
    2. Nasal sprays (Sinol, Sinus Plumber)
    3. Qutenza, a prescription pain patch that contains 8% capsaicin
  52. Povidone-iodine topical antiseptic-16oz bottle-five per person
  53. Phenol lozenges 14.5mg per lozenge/spray 1.4% in solution (Cepestat, Chloraseptic)-three per person
  54. Cinnamon supplement, 500mg-1000 capsules per person
    1. See the scientific evidence in support of cinnamon as having multiple healing properties
    2. Because I was a gestational diabetic, and because of my Latina heritage (my father emigrated from South America), and because my father, and multiple relatives on my mother’s side suffer from Type II Diabetes, I know that is where I am headed, despite a normal BMI and active life style.  Evidence suggests that cinnamon aids in glucose metabolism; studies have shown a decrease in A1C in diabetics who take cinnamon daily over a period of months.  I take cinnamon every day, in hopes of preventing or postponing Type II Diabetes.
  55.  Fish oil (Omega-3)-1000 caps per person
    1. A cardiologist I trust recommends daily fish oil even for the young and healthy.  Here is an article outlining the evidence.
  56. Baking soda-several five pound bags per individual
    1. There are many medicinal uses for baking soda, and whole books written on this subject
    2. Baking soda is also useful for cooking, cleaning, hygiene, as a fire extinguisher, biopesticide, cattle feed supplement, numerous others.
  57. Nutritional supplementation-Boost, Pediasure, etc
    1. To be used after electrolyte replacement therapy but before someone is ready to take regular foods again.
    2. A nutritional shake can make a huge difference in whether someone gets much-needed calories during a medically vulnerable period.

Appendix C: Drugs for Bartering

The two categories of medication likely to be most useful for bartering are antibiotics and pain medication.

  1. Antibiotics
    1. Amoxicillin-500mg-easy to get and inexpensive
    2. Bactrim DS-excellent for skin and wound infections
    3. Opthalmic antibiotics
  2. Pain Medications
    1. Aspirin
    2. Acetaminophen
    3. Ibuprofen
    4. Any narcotic/opioid (i.e. Vicodin, Percocet)—would be highly desirable in a situation involving serious injury
  3. Vitamins
  4. Insulin-will be a commonly needed, highly valued item since there are so many diabetics in our population.
  5. Inhalers for those with asthma/COPD
  6. Contraceptive devices—condoms, foam, other types of birth control
  7. Caffeine pills-ability to stay wired at critical times will be priceless at TEOTWAWKI
  8. Anti-diarrheals (loperamide, Pepto Bismol)
  9.  

 

Appendix D: Pharmacology Bookshelf

  1. The Pill Book (Prescription medications)
  2. The Pill Book Guide to Over-the-counter Medications
  3. Any basic pharmacology textbook
  4. Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy
  5. Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2013 (Lange)

 

JWR Adds: In addition to storing OTC laxatives (such as Senna tablets and plenty of Metamucil,) I also recommend stocking up on sprouting seeds and stainless steel screen mason jar lids (sold by several SurvivalBlog advertisers,) for growing sprouts at home. Be sure to regularly practice growing sprouts. Growing your own dietary roughage is the most healthy and reliable way to keep yourself regular.



Dear JWR:
By way of background, I’m a middle aged woman in reasonable shape.  I go jogging, do pushups and take karate.  I have never been in the military.
 
Around a month ago I tried ruck marching with my 25 or 30 lb bug out bag (BOB), to see how well I could handle it.  I wore wool Army socks and a pair of boots that I thought were reasonably broken in, and walked laps around a park as fast as I could walk.  The ruck was a civilian backpacker’s external frame pack with a belt.  I carried some water separately from the ruck – not as much water as I would want to carry in a bug-out though.
 
The cardio walking briskly with a ruck was similar to that from jogging, and that was manageable - but I got blisters on the balls of my feet and a sore arch after only 2 miles that made me have to stop.
 
After I got around the rest of that lap to the car, I put first aid tape on my feet, and at home I also taped on a small pad of paper towel to support my angry arch.  I had to wear this tape for about a week, and ended up buying arch supports and finding a pair of my boots that both they and my feet would fit in.
 
What I took home from this (besides blisters) was this: with a ruck on, your feet get a lot more punishment than if you’re unencumbered.  If you are going to embark on a hiking bug-out carrying any kind of weight, it would behoove you to protect your feet from blisters before starting.  One hiker told me she used duct tape for that purpose. Another thing you can do is wear some nylon knee-highs under your socks.  Nylons have additional “prepper” or “tactical” uses, your imagination is the limit there.  They also come in various thicknesses, strengths, and slipperiness.  Support or slimming hose tend to be slippery and strong, this is what you want for walking.
 
Granted, there may not be an opportunity to doctor up your feet before fleeing from someplace on foot, but if you have time, then do it.  Your feet will thank you, and it might make the difference as to whether you can walk the next day.
 
Packing a ruck also is an art, deserving of a whole other article. The things you carry should also be in layers, and be a little redundant, so that if you have to ditch the outermost layer several times you will still have something to work with.  The innermost layer is your knowledge, experience, and your muscle memory – you don’t want to be stripped down to that, but you want that layer to be real good, because it’s what makes the rest of the layers useful.  I guess you could argue there’s even a layer under that – the grace of God.
 
Finally, it’s a good thing to practice your bug-out route on foot.  Start small like I did, and stick close to your car or house at first just in case something like blisters or sore arches happens to you, until you work up to the actual route.  And come up with a ready excuse as to why you are romping around with a ruck on, before you start.  I had Nosy Nellies asking me stupid questions. - Penny Pincher

 

James: 
I thought the article "Car-Mageddon" was very good. What she describes is very similar to how my cars are set up. I'd like to add a few thoughts based on my own personal preferences too.
 
1. Disposable fire extinguisher - these come in containers that look like wasp/hornet spray. They are cheap and can be found at Wally World.
2. I keep my water in stainless steel containers with threaded lids. You can buy these at Wall-Mart, CVS, and other general stores for about $4 each. These won't break or puncture as easy as plastic water bottles, and you can refill them with tap water (do not filter the tap water or it won't keep as long). I suspect with a little ingenuity you could even use these to boil water in an emergency.
3. Fix-a-flat. I keep 2 cans in each vehicle, and they will keep you going after a puncture flat (nail, screw, etc). It is faster than changing a tire, adds a few lbs of pressure, and will seal leaky nozzles too so that if you have a major blow out and find that your spare is not holding air this works great.
4. My favorite food item to keep in the emergency backpack in my trunk is a box or two of Cliff bars.
5. Lastly, I buy those Halloween glow sticks for 10 cents each after Halloween is over and throw a dozen of them in the car. I have just tested some that are over two years old and they still work well. Flashlights are better, but batteries don't keep well in hot/cold weather in the trunk or glove box.
 
Oh, I know I said "lastly" above, but I always fill up as soon as my gas gauge gets half way down. I think a full tank of gas on most vehicles will get a range of about 300 miles, but if you are trying to leave an area where a disaster has taken place, so is everyone else. That 75 mile drive to the "safe" area might take several hours. You don't want to become disabled in heavy traffic half way there. Be safe, - Mark V.

Dear Mr. Rawles,
Becky M.'s letter prompted me to write with a suggestion for other people with small children.  My daughter is just on the verge of being too big for her stroller, but I still keep it in the trunk and plan to keep it there for quite a while.  If the car breaks down or we get stranded for any reason, a five-year old will get tired of walking pretty quickly. For now, the comfort of crawling into her stroller and pulling up the sunshade will go far to calm her down in a stressful situation.  Even when she is too big for the stroller, we will be able to put my purse, our car kit, water bottles, her doll, etc. in it and keep our hands free and our backs unburdened.  

My husband asks me if I'm getting ready to reenact "The Road" and I tell him I hope and pray I never have to go that sort of extreme, but if the day should come that we do need to fend for ourselves on the road, I want to be ready.

God bless you and the work you do. Sincerely, - Emily S.

 

JWR,
I greatly enjoyed the article "Car-Mageddon: Getting Home in a Disaster, by Becky M.". Being a person who has to drive about 45 minutes every day to and from work (1.5 hours daily) I have spent some time thinking on this
same theme.

I have equipped all of the family cars with a small survival bag. Most of the items Becky recommended are in mine. But I have a couple of things to suggest:

Basic categories: All bags should have at a minimum: cordage, a blade (knife of some sort), snacks, walking shoes & jacket (women may need some additional items to avoid long walks in dresses/skirts), a poncho (or large
garbage bag), and a fire starting kit. Flashlights are helpful but should be used carefully to avoid drawing attention.

Note on water: I have found that the Venom brand energy drink cans are a great survival item. The aluminum can is thicker than most "disposable" cans and really is a cheap aluminum bottle. In addition to the 230 calories and
liquid in the can, it could easily serve as a container for boiling/sterilizing water found along the way, and with the screw on lid, can store 16 FL Oz of water at a time. A similar camping or hiking bottle of aluminum costs around $12 to $20, versus $2 for the Venom drink.

But in addition, don't forget: a compact MAP in case you have to find a new route. CASH: never know when you need to buy something and power is down. A battery powered radio (I have a tiny MP3 player that is also an FM radio). Always keep a day pack handy; it's no use having items in the car if you have no way of transporting them!

Alternate Transportation: Skates, skateboard, a Razor scooter, or a folding bike are all portable solutions to a long walk. If you have never used a Razor scooter, take a look at them. They are similar to skateboards, but have a handle that can be used for balance. Just about anyone can quickly learn to scoot along on one in minutes, and it would cut energy expense in half because one push with your foot can propel you for several yards. They are also lightweight (unlike folding bikes), and unlike skates, don't require you to change footgear.

Alternate weapons: I sometimes keep a pistol locked up in my car. But sometimes that is not safe/possible, so I keep a youth baseball bat in the car. A padlock can be put into a knee-sock or bandana (tie a knot above the
lock to keep it in place) can make an innocuous but effective defensive weapon. - Patriot Refusenik

 

Hi,
First time writer here, just read the post on car preparedness and thought I'd share a few thoughts I had as reading it:
 
Gasoline: rather than just keeping it above a quarter tank, keep it full. It’s only expensive the first time if you stay on top of it and keep it there. I deliver pizzas part time and fill up after every shift. It not only is good just in case of blackouts as OP stated, but it’s just convenient to not have to stop and fill up in the middle of my shift thus losing money.

Food: Keep it in a mouse proof container! I learned this the hard way. I kept a bag of trail mix and assorted crackers and fruit and nut bars on my passenger floor board within easy reach, only to see a mouse on my passenger floor board one morning on the way to work. My unwelcome visitor was disposed of the next night with a trap baited with peanut butter, but I’d rather have never had him in there, and I’d still have the food he ruined. Go for either a sealable small plastic bucket or an old metal lunch box or the like, maybe even an ammo can, but the lunch box would be much less attractive to burglars than the ammo can.

Light: A hand crank is great in theory, but I wouldn’t want to count on any of the ones I’ve ever owned. Get a large mag light that will double as a defensive weapon if needed. Get a small one for EDC as well. I have a Fenix E01 that lives on a small carabiner clip on my belt loop with my key fob and takes just one triple-A battery, and it's still on its first battery with almost-everyday use when I'm locking up the chickens at night.

She mentioned kids a few times. Keep a stroller in your trunk or cargo area if you regularly are carting the kids around. Even if you don’t have them with you the stroller would make a great cart to get any other goodies home.

One glaring gap is a fire starter. Even though I quit smoking over a year ago now I still keep at least 2 lighters in my car at all times and one on my person. - Aaron B.





Yet another data point, for selecting a retreat locale: How Many Illegal Immigrants Live in Your State?

   o o o

Reader Craig J. sent this: Popular gun range target blamed for forest fires, called potential bomb source. The "forest fires" claim is a red herring. Chainsaws and off-road motorcycles start dozens of fires on USFS and BLM land each year, yet nobody has suggested banning them. Our congresscritters tend toward free floating anxiety followed by spastic fits of legislation. So all that I can say is: stock up on Tannerite! (If there is an explosive target ban, then there will likely be a grandfather clause.)

   o o o

Circuit Court: 'Unsettled' if 2nd Amendment Applies Outside of Home. Note that this precedential decision comes from the "Third Circus" court. Here is the decision. A Constitutional Right is is not subject to he vagaries of "Only on Tuesdays", or "Only Inside Your Home." Hopefully the supremes will eventually overturn this travesty.

   o o o

Joey D. sent us this tale of California's Political Correctness, run amok: Assembly approves bill on gender identity in schools.

   o o o

F.J. mentioned: FlameStower: Compact ThermoElectric Charging for Happy Campers



"The history of fiat money is little more than a register of monetary follies and inflations. Our present age merely affords another entry in this dismal register." - Hans F. Sennholz


Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Happy birthday to Jerry Pournelle (born 1933.) He, along with Larry Niven authored the survivalist classic Lucifer's Hammer. He was also a contributing editor to Mel Tappan's P.S. Letter. Jerry is also noteworthy for writing a blog long before they were even called blogs.

--

Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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 live in southern California, which means at any moment one of many earthquake faults could decide to slip, a fire could break out, the economy could finally bottom out, an EMP cleverly directed toward Hollywood would finally fix the bad movie plight, or…you get the point.  We all have to live with the annoying little feeling that at any moment TEOTWAWKI could begin.  Lots of preppers will spend thousands of dollars to adequately prepare their house or bugout location, which is awesome.  Some plan to hunker down and ride out the problem in the comfort of their own home, while others will converge on a bugout location and hide from the insanity of the world.  But what happens if all hell breaks loose while you are at work, or driving in your car?  How many of us have adequately prepared our vehicles?

When you look at the numbers, it is shocking how much time we spend in our beloved vehicles.  Americans are in their cars on average 48 minutes per day and 38 hours per year stuck in traffic.  If you were to calculate this it would lead to approximately 300 hours per year, or almost 13 days just behind the wheel.  And this is merely the average.  Some people spend a lot more time than this in their car.   According to statistics, nearly 128 million Americans commute to work with approximately 75% of them driving alone.  Thus, considering many people don’t work at home and have to travel to get groceries and other items, it could easily be argued that the likelihood that chaos ensues while you are out and about is high.  

So what would you do if a major event occurred while you were driving or at work?  Gridlock would likely be moments away followed by mass chaos, as an unprepared public begins to freak out.  There could be fires, looting, loss of power, no cell service.   What if you had to get your kids?  Could you get home quickly?

Most of us drive within fifteen to twenty miles of where we live, including myself.  If you consider the average person can walk 3 miles per hour uninjured, how long would it take to walk 10 miles?  20 miles? Consider these "best case" figures:


·         3 miles = 1 hour
·         6 miles = 2 hours
·         10 miles = 3 hours 20 minutes
·         15 miles = 5 hours
·         20 miles = 6 hours 40 minutes
·         25 miles = 8 hours 20 minutes
·         30 miles = 10 hours


Then you have to consider obstacles and rest breaks, weather, your physical condition, whether or not there are children with you, or if you or someone in your party is injured.  A 10 mile walk could turn into a 10 hour trek. 
If you are like me you don’t have tons of extra cash to outfit your vehicle with expensive gear.  But, I have listed 10 things that you can do so that you are better prepared in the event that all hells breaks lose while you are on the road.  If you take a bus or carpool to work, the items are things you can keep in your desk or locker.  Most of these items are already around your house, so you won’t have to spend any money, just a little bit of time.

1.       PLAN:  If you are in your car when a major TEOTWAWKI event occurs, you already need to have a game plan as to where you want to go.   Back home?  Bug out location?  Are there people you need to get first like your family or friends?  Pets?  Go ahead and assume that cell phones will not be available, in other words prepare for the worse.  There is a good chance that the roads will be in severe gridlock. 
You need to determine the average distance you drive from your house so you can stock your car accordingly.  For the next few weeks, keep a pen and paper in your car and every time you drive somewhere write down the distance and location.  Get a feel for how far you actually travel from your home on a daily basis.  Then, pull out a map or use many of the free map services on line to study your routes.
Situational awareness is critical while creating and executing your plan.  Are there any major obstacles you might have to overcome to get to your location?  Do you pass through a rough part of town?  Are there bridges or lakes?  I work on the other side of a lake from where I live.  If the bridge that spans that lake collapses, it is absolutely necessary that I know alternative routes to get to my kids. 
That plan needs to be laid out ahead of time and discussed with all parties involved.  It wouldn’t be too far fetch to even consider a time frame for arrival so a search party can come after you along your pre-determined route from work if you don’t show up within 24-48 hours.  Extreme?  Maybe, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
 
2.       GASOLINE:  Get in the habit of making sure that your vehicle always has at least a quarter tank of gas.  Never let it drop below that line.  Yes.  I know gas is expensive, but allow me to share a story about a coworker to help you realize the importance of this little trick.  Two years ago she rolled in to work on fumes, knowing she would stop on the way home to get gas.  Unfortunately an unexpected city-wide black-out occurred at the end of the work day.  Not a single gas station could run their pumps.  Most of the traffic lights stopped working.  It was chaotic.  Luckily a coworker allowed the woman to crash on her couch for the night and the blackout only lasted for twelve hours, but had the grid gone down for a few days this woman would have been unable to get back home to her loved ones in a timely manner.
 
3.       CLOTHING:  Whether you have to dress up for work or not, it is a good habit to keep a spare set of clothes in your car.  Ladies, imagine walking ten miles in high heels?  No thank you.  Dig through your closet and find those old tennis shoes or hiking boots that you were going to donate and just shove them in your trunk.  Don’t forget the socks!  Toss in an old sweatshirt and if you have an extra hat you don’t wear anymore, add that to the mix.  Also consider a cheap rain poncho (usually $0.99), shorts or pants, and a towel or small blanket.  I know it seems like a lot, but consider this:  if your child is in the car during a chaotic event and you need to keep them warm, you’d be glad you had that little blanket.
 
4.       FIRST AID:  It’s always important to have a first aid kit in your vehicle, but these can sometimes be a bit pricey.  Last year I found this really cool web site that talked about making mini go-bag kits.  They are super simple to assemble and conveniently small.
Get an Altoid or Altoid-sized metal container and put in the following items:
·         Alcohol or other cleansing swabs
·         Gloves:  two latex or nitrile (in case you come across something bloody)
·         Band-Aids of various sizes
·         Ziploc bag with medications like pain relievers, antihistamines, any other meds specific to you (Not only are the pills useful but so is the plastic bag.)
·         Needle taped to inside lid, and consider about one foot of dental floss to add to this in case you have to suture something up really quick.
·         $20 cash (if the ATMs or credit card readers don’t work, you will need cash)
·         Book of matches
·         Sharpened pencil and piece of folded paper
·         I also include a whistle, a sealed razor blade and a small key chain light (yes, it all fits!!!!)
·         Rubber bands:  after you close the lid, put one or two rubber bands around the container to make sure the lid doesn’t pop off.  Rubber bands have numerous practical uses 
These are all things I already had around my house.  I put together a bunch of the little kits and put one in my car glove box, my purse, my desk at work and then I gave one to my husband.

5.       FOOD/WATER:  I keep a few bottles of water and some non perishable food next to my spare tire in the trunk.  It is suggested that a person carry upwards of 3 liters while hiking in the heat.  I currently keep 5 bottles in the trunk, but I live in a mild climate and there is shade available.  Consider your climate and distance when deciding how much water to keep in your car.  I know some people that keep a case of water in their trunk.   
 
Peanut butter crackers are great source of nutrition because of the carbs and protein and they are super cheap.  But any high calorie, easy to store food would work as long as it does not require cooking.  Don’t forget to rotate these items out every few months.
 
6.       BACK IN:  The other night I was at a training meeting for my girl scout troop and the teacher said the most profound thing:  always back into your parking spot.  She explained that in the event of an emergency, you can just whip on out quickly.  It is such a simple thing to do and most of us never do it.
 
7.       FLASHLIGHT:   This is probably something you already have in your car, but if you don’t, go put a flashlight in there now.  I found a hand crank light really cheap and keep that in my glove box next to my Altoid first aid kit.
 
8.       KNIFE:  I can’t afford to keep a gun in my car, and it is illegal in California to conceal and carry.  But, I always keep a legal sized knife either in my purse or in my pocket.  Pocket knives are relatively cheap and shoving an extra one in the glove box isn’t a bad idea.
 
9.       PARACORD:  This is an amazing tool that can be used for so many things.  You can easily ball up the cord and put it in your glove box, or even wrap the flashlight handle with the magical rope.
 
10.   BAG:  If you have to abandon your vehicle and go on foot, you are not going to want to carry your flashlight, first aid kit, water and food, blanket or towel, and other items in your hands.  You might have to carry a child or maneuver around obstacles.  Regardless you need to be light on your feet and not look like a walking grocery store. 
 
Dig around for an old backpack or gym bag that is collecting dust or pick one up at a thrift store or garage sale.  Put that bag in your trunk.  Heck, you can even put the emergency clothes in it.   If you don’t have a bag, you can shove everything in your blanket/towel then use the paracord to hold it all together and toss it over your shoulder.  Not comfortable, but doable.
 
I’m not hoping for some sort of horrific event to occur, but we live in a world of uncertainties and I want to be confident that I can get home to my children as quickly as possible.  If we spend hours upon hours preparing our homes for TEOTWAWKI, then we should spend just a little bit of time preparing the vehicles that will get us home.



Mr. Rawles -
I have been living with a CPAP for many years now, and am one of the persons for whom it has worked very well. I also know how bad things can be after not having my CPAP for three days when an airline lost it. After three days I was almost totally non-functional and was ready to lay out the $2,000 out of my own pocket to get a replacement machine. Fortunately my machine was found by the airline.

More recently I had 3 nights in 2 months where power outages deprived me of the use of my machine. I determined that I needed to find a way to get my CPAP off the power grid.

The first step was to measure the actual power drawn by my machine. Using a Kill A Watt monitor I learned that my machine used 27 watts of power. This of course could vary with the pressure setting, and model used.

I then found a 55 watt solar charging system on sale at Costco for $200. The system came with 3 panels, mounting frame, charge controller, and 200 watt "modified sine wave" inverter. I added a 125 A/hr deep cycle battery,
battery case, and some 10 gauge wire. Since my CPAP did not have a DC power option, I could not run it directly from the battery. The AC input, however, was a "universal" design which can accept any AC voltage from 100
to 250 VAC without switching. Such a universal power input has no problem dealing with the less than ideal power from the "modified sine wave" inverter. If my CPAP had just a conventional 120 VAC power input then the
use of a "true sine wave" inverter might have been needed.

This system worked fine to run my CPAP all spring, summer, and fall, but come winter with shorter days and more clouds, it could not keep the battery charged. I needed to supplement the solar charging system with a AC powered battery charger.

The next year I purchased another identical system, and hooked two of the panels to the [batteries for the] CPAP system. The charge controller supplied with the systems could only support 5 panels for about 91 watts of power in peak sunlight. This expanded system worked great all this last winter.

After the success of my off-grid solar electric system, I now have a separate system for my ham radios, and am building a larger system to power our refrigerator.

It is quite possible and not that expensive to build an off-grid solar electric system to power relatively small loads like a CPAP machine. Like everything else in preparedness, it is better to build and try your preps now, while we still have the support infrastructure to allow you to make mistakes and correct them. - Suburban R.

JWR Replies: Many thanks for giving us the details on how you made your system work. Having separate system provides redundancy. And keeping them separate will help prevent an accidental deep discharge of your system. (This typically happens when an appliance is accidentally left turned on.) Having separate systems also gives you some redundancy because of equipment failure. You could fairly quickly reconfigure your ham radio power system into a power source for our CPAP. Something as simple as just a broken power cord could deadline a system, so buy spares for all of the crucial parts. Remember: "Two is one, and one is none!"

From what I have read, the motors inside most CPAP machines run on DC voltages. So for someone to run a DC to AC inverter, only to feed your machine's 120 VAC input jack (or cord) which is then in turn transformed back into DC is grossly inefficient. So I recommend this to anyone who is dependent upon motorized medical equipment (such as a CPAP machine or an Oxygen Concentrator) with an AC input: Do your very best to replace them with a unit that has a 12 VDC power input. If you contract with a medical supply company, or a care facility, or there is a medical insurance company involved, then this might be more complex. DO NOT overly complicate the process by telling them all about your alternative power system (or your plans to get one.) That will just confuse the situation. Simply tell them that you need a system that is compatible with power available from a car cigarette lighter. THAT is something simple they will be able to understand!



Special Note: For any SurvivalBlog readers with pending orders (already paid, but order not received) with Mulligan Mint (a former advertiser : Please e-mail me and let me know: Your name, your order number, the number of ounces ordered, your e-mail address, and the date that you placed your order. I will then do my best to get them to ship you order. (Mulligan Mint claims that they are presently shipping orders.)

Matt H. sent this: U.S. gasoline consumption takes a nosedive.

G.G. suggested: Pandemic of pension woes is plaguing the nation

Items from The Economatrix:

Paul Craig Roberts:  Hiding Economic Depression With Spin

Jim Willie:  Bullion Banks Have Pilfered 60,000 Tons Of Gold From Allocated Accounts

Theft By Deficit

“We Have Become a Nation of Hamburger Flippers”: Dan Alpert Breaks Down the Jobs Report



Todd M. suggested reading this troubling MIT Technology Review article on SCADA systems vulnerability: Hacking Industrial Systems Turns Out to Be Easy: New research from Black Hat shows it’s possible to trick water and energy infrastructure to cause physical damage—and securing these systems remains painfully slow. Meanwhile, G.G. suggested that we read: Chinese Hacking Team Caught Taking Over Decoy Water Plant. Oh, and coincidentally, my friend Bob G. just called and recommended this novel, based on a credible terrorist scenario: Gridlock.

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Some folks have put together a combined Calendar of Prepper, Survivalist and Self-Reliance Shows. I hope that they will keep this updated on a regular basis.

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What will really happen when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts? (And BTW, most of the American Redoubt is upwind of Yellowstone. In contrast, the downwind Upper Midwest and Plains States will get most of the ash fall.)

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Feds Are Suspects in New Malware That Attacks Tor Anonymity.

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The power behind the throne: Benghazi Bombshell: Valerie Jarrett, Commander in Chief. (Reader F.G. mentioned that Rush Limbaugh read this compete article on the air on August 6th.) Since when does a White House staffer who wasn't confirmed by the Senate get to issue a "Deny Tactical Support" order? BHO and his cronies must go. Time for impeachment.



"The power to tax is the power to destroy." - John Marshall


Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Mike Williamson's latest book Tour of Duty: Stories and Provocations was just released! (Mike is SurvivalBlog's Editor At Large.)

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Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a breathing disorder which is caused by the narrowing or total occlusion of the airway while sleeping.  The study of sleep using electroencephalogram electrodes, chest and abdominal effort belts, breathing sensors, and blood oxygenation sensors is called polysomnography.  The advent of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines in the 1980s started the home treatment revolution of OSA.  Studies have shown that untreated OSA can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, excessive daytime somnolence, fatigue, occupational accidents, and motor vehicle accidents.  More recent studies have shown that OSA is linked to adult-onset diabetes, fibromyalgia and attention deficit disorder.  OSA is just one of the disorders in the Sleep Disordered Breathing realm.  Depending on the diagnosis and appropriate treatment, a person may utilize a CPAP, Auto-PAP, BiLevel, Auto Servo Ventilation (AutoSV), or Variable Positive Airway Pressure (VPAP) machine.  For the rest of this article, I will refer only to OSA and CPAP for simplicity.

OSA is a common problem in our nation.  One study shows that about 1 in 5 men and 1 in 10 women in the United States have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (1).  While many people have been tested and treated for OSA in the past two or three decades, it is still suspected that more people have been undiagnosed than have been diagnosed.  One of the first things that will be seen without electricity is a die-off of people afflicted by many life-threatening ailments.  People sustained by ventilators will be gone in minutes after a large scale power failure.  People who require dialysis for kidney failure will be gone in a matter of days or weeks.  The vast majority of people with OSA will not expire in the short term without their CPAP machines.  However, they would likely become miserable, exhausted, and experience physical and mental breakdowns from not getting restful sleep.
I am a respiratory therapist and sleep technologist.  I also have OSA and use a CPAP machine.  I love and endorse it.  In a national crisis and utility collapse, I would miss running my CPAP on AC current.  However, here are some ways to cope.

Run your machine on DC power.

Most of the modern CPAP machines have a 12 VDC power input port.  Cords can be obtained from Home Medical Equipment (HME) providers but are not a prescription item and insurance does not cover them.  It is least expensive to find what you need on the internet.  I have a cable with a DC jack on one end and a male cigarette lighter plug on the other.  This cable alone could be used to power the machine in a vehicle from the cigarette lighter.  I have second cable which has a female cigarette lighter socket and splits into two jumper cable type battery connectors.  When connected to a fully charged deep cycle marine battery, I get at least two nights of power for my CPAP.  This is what I do when I go ice fishing in a sleeper house in the winter.  Hiking with a deep cycle marine battery is cumbersome to say the least and not practical when on the move.  A small number of CPAP machines have internal batteries but they usually only offer about 8 hours of power before being depleted.  Heated humidifiers really consume battery power.  If you use a humidifier, it is best to use the humidifier passively and just let the air pass over the water in the chamber.  You won’t get nearly as much humidification but it’s better than none at all.  Use saline to moisturize your nasal passages and drink water to stay hydrated.  The number of hours you get out of a deep cycle battery varies depending on the battery’s amp-hour rating, the ambient air temperature, and the pressure(s) that your ventilatory device operates at.  To recharge the battery, photovoltaic mat or panel can be used to trickle charge it.  I have looked into portable military grade solar mats and panels  They are expensive, running a few hundred to over $1,000.  However, they can also be used to recharge cell phones, GPS devices, and any other battery powered gear.  It may be worth it to you to invest in a good one.

[JWR Adds: Be sure to get a charge controller, to avoid over-charging your battery bank. For a typical CPAP machine, plan on a battery bank with at least 260 amp hours of capacity. Generally, this means buying four deep cycle ("marine" or "golf cart") 6 volt batteries, and cabling them in a series-parallel arrangement, to provide 12 Volts, DC. I recommend using 6 gauge cables. Your local golf cart shop should have a 6 gauge cable terminal crimping tool available, and can fabricate the cables for you, for a nominal fee. These days, the copper in the cables will probably cost you much more than the terminals and the labor charge.]

Provent nasal valves.

Provent is made by Ventus Medical Inc., Belmont, California.  These nasal devices were introduced a couple years ago.  They look like a pair of penny-size adhesive bandages.  In the center, each contains a small valve.  Provents are peeled and adhered over each nasal opening.  The valves allow air to easily be inhaled through the nostrils, but when exhaling, the valves close, leaving only a small hole to exhale through.  This creates backpressure which props the airway open much like CPAP.  A chin strap is recommended to keep the mouth closed.  Studies have shown that they are quite effective in treating OSA and are used primarily for people who fail to tolerate CPAP (2).  They are also used by people with OSA who go on extended outdoor trips where there is no electricity.  It requires a doctor’s specific prescription for Provent Therapy and cost about $60 to $70 for a month supply.  Like prescription medications, it could be difficult to stockpile large quantities that would last you many months or years with no electricity. 
See Proventtherapy.com for more information.

Get fitted with an OSA dental appliance now.
This may be the best option, in my opinion.  No power needed.  These are very effective and portable.  I am not referring to the television infomercial “boil and bite” anti-snoring mouth pieces.  Those usually deteriorate within a matter of months.  There are several different styles of dental appliances used to treat OSA.  Very strong materials are used including high tech hard plastics, titanium, micro screws, and springs.  These are not cheap devices.  They can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 to have them custom molded, fitted, and tested by a dentist specializing in treating OSA with dental devices.  They advance the lower jaw, creating a mild under bite, advancing the tongue, and opening the airway.  Care must be taken to optimize the effectiveness of the appliance without causing temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) problems or pain.  If you wear dentures or have bridges, you will likely not be a candidate for a dental appliance like this. 

See www.abdsm.org for a list of dentists who specialize in this area.    

Positional sleep therapy.
When there are no other options, at least try to sleep on your side with upper body elevated.  A significant angle helps overcome gravity and prevents airway tissues and the tongue from drooping and blocking the airway.  Sleep at angle on a hillside if outdoors.  In your survival retreat, use a wedge or several pillows to significantly elevate your head.  45 to 60 degrees may be required for desired effect.  Many people note an improvement in sleep when in a reclining chair.  It can help.  However, I’ve rarely seen anyone sleep on their side in a recliner.  They are still essentially supine and still can exhibit obstructive apneas and flow-limited breathing.  Sleeping prone is no guarantee of a patent airway either.  I’ve seen many people snore and have respiratory events while sleeping on their stomach.  There are several pillows on the market which claim to treat OSA.  However, your head must stay in the correct position for it to work.  For anyone who has taken a CPR course, you know the head-tilt, chin lift method to opening the airway of an unconscious victim.  This head position would work great at treating obstructive sleep apnea, but who would ever stay in that perfect position while sleeping?  One positional method includes wearing a backpack with a soccer ball or basketball inside.  It prevents turning to supine position while sleeping.  If you are in the woods with a full backpack, wear it while you sleep to stay on your side.  There’s still the possibility of airway collapse when sleeping laterally and elevated but it’s less likely than totally supine.    

Lose weight now.

Obesity is a contributing factor in OSA.  That’s not to say that all obese people have OSA or that slender or fit people don’t have OSA.  People I see in the sleep lab come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.  One of the loudest snorers I’ve ever heard was a petite, middle-aged woman who was 5’ 4” and 125 lbs.  The longest obstructive apneas with the most severe oxygen desaturations I’ve ever seen were exhibited by a man who was 5’10” and 185 lbs.  People can be predisposed to having OSA due to the size of their tongue, tonsils, soft palate, and uvula.  They may have a small and / or recessed chin (micrognathia and retrognathia).  Their neck circumference, alcohol and tobacco use, age, and gender are all contributing risk factors.  However, weight gain is a major cause in developing OSA, especially during middle age.  In a survival situation, calories will be a commodity hard to come by and many will no longer have a choice in the matter.  Today while we still have all the modern conveniences, it’s a lot easier said than done to lose weight and keep it off.  If you are obese, significant weight loss is likely to reduce the severity or presence of OSA but is no guarantee that you will be “cured”.  Your goal should be to get your weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) into a normal range.  Refer to this National Institute of Health chart, to see where you are and where you should be.

Surgical treatments for OSA.
Surgeries are not always the best solution to treating OSA.  All too often, people arrive at the sleep lab and state, “If I have obstructive sleep apnea, I just want to have ‘the’ surgery and fix it once and for all”.  Unfortunately it’s just not that easy.  There are many different types of surgical procedures.  There are too many to go into in this article.  However, I will state that most surgical procedures focus on removing, shrinking or toning the tissues of the upper airway.  Depending on which surgeon is selling you their services and which procedures they specialize in, results vary greatly.  I see many people in the sleep lab who were diagnosed with OSA, disliked CPAP, had surgery, and still had OSA and had to continue with CPAP.  The surgeries are invasive, costly, painful, and require weeks of healing time with no guarantee of success.  The only surefire and drastic way to surgically treat OSA is with a tracheotomy, which people rarely agree to.  Proceed with caution and research the surgeon and the procedure they want to perform on you.

Use Breathe-Right nasal strips to decrease snoring. 

High nasal resistance is a contributing cause to snoring.  Narrow nasal passages, a deviated septum, history of nasal fractures, polyps, and congestion all contribute to increased nasal resistance.  Perform Cottle’s maneuver (3) by placing your index fingers on your cheekbones about an inch under your eyes.  Gently pull the skin on the cheekbones outwards toward your ears.  If you note your nasal passages open and you can move air easier, then you likely have some nasal resistance.  A Breathe-Right strip can help decrease nasal resistance and the likelihood of snoring from nasal issues.  Remember that snoring and OSA are two different things.  Often, Breathe-Right nasal strips do little to alleviate respiratory events caused by a compromised airway in OSA.  However, they are a great adjunct therapy in combination with wearing a CPAP mask or dental appliance to help a person exchange air nasally.  They are extremely small, portable, and light.  I feel that the treatment of snoring is also important as it could be a security risk.  Snoring while outdoors can give away your position, whether in the day or night.

In Summary:

In a world where there is a bed, bedroom, and electrical power, I will take my CPAP any day.  If there is no grid power or I’m out in the wilderness, my strategy would be to sleep laterally with my head elevated, using a dental appliance in conjunction with a chin strap and Breathe-Right nasal strip.  However you decide to manage your OSA in a world without electricity, it is my hope that you find a way to get some quiet, refreshing sleep, as it is imperative to your mental and physical acuities to be alert and sharp in order to survive.
God bless and keep you!

References
1.  Young T, Palta M, Dempsey J, Skatrud J, Weber S, Badr S. The occurrence of sleep-disordered breathing among middle-aged adults. New England Journal of Medicine.  1993;328:1230–1235.

2.  Walsh J, Griffin K, Forst E, Ahmed H, Eisenstein R., Curry D, Hall-Porter J, Schweitzer P.  A convenient expiratory positive airway pressure nasal device for the treatment of sleep apnea in patients non-adherent with continuous positive airway pressure.  Sleep Medicine. 2011;12: 147-152.

3.  Tikanto J, Pirila T.  Effect of the Cottle’s maneuver on the nasal valve as assessed by acoustic rhinometry.  American Journal of Rhinology.  2007 Jul-Aug;21(4):456-9.


About the Author: Chris X. is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, Registered Polysomnographic Technologist, and a Registered Sleep Technologist



JWR,
That was an excellent article By Michael H. about chickens. (Animal Food Sources in TEOTWAWKI.") One thing to consider is that raccoons can reach though chicken wire and dismember the chickens. Small weasels can easily get through chicken wire. It's better to use 1/4 or 1/2 inch (at the largest) metal hardware cloth for chicken coops and runs.



America's conservative heartland--a lot of it is in the Redoubt and Plains states. This map, courtesy of Nick Gillespie of the Hit & Run blog at Reason.com shows just how conservative the American Redoubt congressional districts are, compared to much of the rest of the nation. (The Republican-held congressional districts are shown in red.)

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The Free State Wyoming forum was "suspended" about six weeks ago, and the members were unable to contact Boston T. Party or discover any reason for the suspension. So they decided to go ahead and establish another forum, called "Wyoming Mavericks" that is independent of FSW. (Click here, for some background.)

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Part of the Monderno team has relocated to Montana.

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R.B.S. sent: 3,600 mink released by activists at Idaho mink farm.

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Montana State Representative Krayton Kerns warns Montanans need to be vigilant about preserving their state's well-written Stand Your Ground law.

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Reader R.B.S. in Idaho sent: States respond to Idaho's concealed weapons rules.

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Report from First annual “Northwest Patriot and Self-Reliance Rally”





F.J.R. sent this from MacLife: Eight Apps for Wilderness Survival. The piece begins: "It might seem counterintuitive to rely on a device so associated with the comforts of civilization for survival in the wilds, but a well-prepared iPhone could mean the difference between life and death when stranded in the great outdoors..."

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Let's hear it for home schools: They are educating kids better than public schools. (Thanks to Bob G. for the link.)

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Mike Williamson's latest book Tour of Duty: Stories and Provocations will be released tomorrow.

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A privacy-minded reader in Bend, Oregon wrote to mention that he was having trouble finding a .50 BMG bolt action rifle from a private party seller. In the same e-mail he mentioned that he was in the process of parting up several AR-15s. Well, here are a couple of solutions for him: The Ferret .50 or the Safety Harbor .50. Any adult can buy these .50 BMG upper halves by mail order with no FFL paper trail (Form 4473) and then complete it with a generic AR-15 lower.



"When I was a boy, I was told anyone can become President; I'm starting to believe it." - Clarence Darrow


Monday, August 5, 2013


August 5th is the sad 64th anniversary of the Mann Gulch Fire in Montana that took the lives of 13 firefighters (including 12 smokejumpers and one former smokejumper), in 1949. The intense, fast-moving forest fire was in what later became Gates of the Mountains Wilderness. The events of that fire were chronicled in the book Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean and immortalized in the haunting lyrics of the ballad Cold Missouri Waters by James Keelaghan. This anniversary of course reminds us of the recent Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona, where 19 hotshots died. Please keep their family members in your prayers.

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After hearing the recent news, it is probably a good time to avoid visiting US embassies, consulates, or other places westerners congregate anywhere in the Islamic world: Senior U.S. Official: Intercepted Al Qaeda Communications Indicate Planned Attack ‘Big,’ ‘Strategically Significant’. FWIW, I think they've overlooked giving alerts in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei.



stop doing any business with Mulligan Mint.



Several readers sent me a link to a study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania recently published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine that had some surprising results: They concluded that big cities are statistically safer than small towns.

This study, titled Safety in Numbers: Are Major Cities the Safest Places in the United States? has a number of flaws. First, it treats deaths by intentional violence equally with accidental deaths and deaths related to the use of alcohol and illicit drugs. This is not quite fair, because the former are not nearly so avoidable as the latter. If I want to avoid most drunk driving accidents then I can simply abstain from drinking. (Unless of course, it is a drunk that hits my car, or me as a pedestrian.) That means that I can effectively excuse myself from being part of the statistics. But if I want to minimize my chance of getting robbed and shot to death, then I can only do so by changing my ZIP code. And if I want to avoid high speed traffic accidents, I can drive more conservatively. Again, that means that I can in part at least excuse myself from being part of the statistics, or at least lower my actuarial risk.

The "flattening" of volitional differences by the researchers also ignores the psychological impact of various forms of death. All families are of course aggrieved by the loss of a loved one. But consider this: What would be the quality of your sleep for the rest of your life be if your teenage daughter were killed: A.) In a simple highway traffic accident and you never saw her body, or B.) Your home was invaded by a gang, they tied everyone up, and then you witnessed your daughter being violated and then murdered? To a statistician, it is all the same. But to you and me, not all "injury-related" deaths are equal.

Another flaw is that while the University of Pennsylvania study narrowed in on trauma, it ignores lifestyle differences that can contribute to significantly longer life spans that would put then outside of statistical norms. A non-smoking, non-drinking rural person who drives conservatively, drinks pure water, breathes fresh air, eats veggies from his own garden, and who eats local trout and lean venison is probably going to be a "Statistical Outlier"--that is, someone who defies the odds and lives to a ripe old age. And guess what: That is the very definition of a SurvivalBlog reader, or at least what he strives to be, and urges him to where he plans to live.

One other flaw is that the statistics are all based on the county of deaths occurrence, rather than the county of residence of the decedent. (Death certificates are filed in the place where someone assumes room temperature, rather than their Home of Record.) So this ignores neo-local deaths. I can assure you that there are plenty of them in The American Redoubt. The populations of some towns in the Redoubt doubles each summer. Every year in our county, accidental deaths peak in the summer months. That is when the idiotic drivers from western Washington come here to "play." (And that play often involves drinking and driving fast, or drinking and water skiing.) And then there is hunting season when, again, urbanites come here to release their Inner Idiot. Many of the deaths due to exposure and snowmobile accidents are neo-local. And the only negligent shooting death in recent memory involved out-of-state hunters. Many of these yahoos come from either Seattle or Portland.

Again, there is the flaw of throwing together intentional deaths with unintentional deaths, in drawing the report's primarily conclusion. Granted, when you are dead, you are dead. But to say that it is more "risky" to live in the country where people often commute long distances at high speed versus in the Big City, where people commute short distances at low speed is not quite fair. Not when part of the offsetting risk of "injury-related" death risk in urban areas comes from instantaneous lead poisoning when you dare to step outdoors after dark. All things being equal, I'd rather face the risk of spinning out on black ice or the risk of a deer coming through my windshield than I would having a twitchy drug addict sticking a pistol in my face and saying: "Your money or your life."

Notably, I found this proviso buried in the report: "We chose to exclude terrorist-related deaths, the majority of which are associated with the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States." Well, well, that was convenient! When 3,000 people get whacked on a single day, it badly messes up your intention to show that cities are "safer", doesn't it? I have a news flash for them: Terrorists regularly target big cities, because that is where population and news cameras are concentrated. They don't intentionally crash airliners full of screaming passengers into Kansas wheat fields. No! They aim for Manhattan skyscrapers. They don't set off pressure cooker bombs at 5K Fun Runs in Lander, Wyoming. They choose events like the Boston Marathon, where there are huge crowds and more television reporters than you can count. And when they eventually get their hands on some nukes (and they will), they won't be be shouting "Allahu Ahkbar" and pressing the button in Miles City, Montana. No, it will more likely be in Los Angeles or Dallas. So someday--most likely in the next 20 years--there will be a great big "Boom!" (or more likely simultaneous "booms" in multiple cities, given their proven modus operandi) potentially with millions of deaths. And that event will absolutely blow their statistics right out of the water. (Or should I say, into mushroom clouds.) Then, and only then, will the statisticians say to themselves: "Gee, maybe it is safer out in the boonies."

I recently did some web wandering, and gathered some interesting murder statistics, from the most recent years available. (These are mostly 2010 stats.):

Honduras homicide rate: 91 per 100,000 people.

El Salvador homicide rate: 69 per 100,000 people.

Detroit, Michigan homicide rate 58 per 100,000 people.

Flint, Michigan homicide rate per 48 100,000 people.

Colombia homicide rate: 32 per 100,000 people.

Oakland, California homicide rate: 22 per 100,000 people.

Washington, DC homicide rate: 21.9 per 100,000 people.

Richmond, California homicide rate: 20.3 per 100,000 people.

Stockton, California homicide rate: 16.8 per 100,000 people.

Louisiana homicide rate: 11.2 per 100,000 people.

Jersey City, New Jersey homicide rate: 10.2 per 100,000 people.

New York City, New York homicide rate: 6.4 per 100,000 people.

Tennessee homicide rate: 5.8 per 100,000 people.

Chile homicide rate: 5.5 per 100,000 people.

Bolivia homicide rate: 5.3 per 100,000 people.

Ohio homicide rate: 4.1 per 100,000 people.

Montana homicide rate: 2.6 per 100,000 people.

Washington (state) homicide rate: 2.3 per 100,000 people.

Maine homicide rate: 1.8 per 100,000 people.

Boise, Idaho homicide rate: 1.5 per 100,000 people.

Wyoming homicide rate: 1.4 per 100,000 people.

Missoula, Montana homicide rate: 1.4 per 100,000 people.

Idaho homicide rate: 1.3 per 100,000 people.

Vermont homicide rate: 1.1 per 100,000 people.

Newport, Washington homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Condon, Oregon homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Rogue River, Oregon homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Lewiston, Idaho homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Moscow, Idaho homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Bonners Ferry, Idaho homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Bozeman, Montana homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Helena, Montana homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Cody, Wyoming homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

Newcastle, Wyoming homicide rate: 0 per 100,000 people.

It certainly sounds safer, in some respects, out in "The Wild West."

As for me and mine, we keep our guns handy, and we'll continue to primarily travel in a big, safe SUV with a massive "Deer Stopper" bumper, in which we carry both a trauma kit and an AED. We'll take our chances, living out in the country, thanks. - J.W.R.



Hollywood movies often show secret agents tossing cell phones out of car windows, and grabbing new ones to activate. In today's world of almost universal surveillance and tracking, that is actually fairly good tradecraft. When operating in guerrilla warfare mode, a cell phone that is used more than a few times is a liability. So is a cell phone that is "turned off", but that still has its battery installed. (They can still be tracked.)

In summary, here is some cellular phone tradecraft for times of genuinely deep drama:

1.) Don't create a paper trail when buying clandestine phones. Pay cash for cell phones and don't give your name. Preferably buy them in small stores without video surveillance.

2.) Activate phones only as needed.

3.) Never "recharge" the minutes on disposable cell phones. (This leaves a paper trail--at least leading to the place where you bought a recharge "minutes" card. And buying minutes via a phone call and credit card transaction leaves a huge paper trail.)

4.) Set a "phone talk time limit" for your group, depending on the then-current severity of the threat. Once you've reached the limit for each phone discard it. (But save the batteries, if they interchange.)

5.) Never program any cell phone numbers into your phone.

6.) Also carry a retained "cover" phone, on which only totally mundane (non-operational) calls are made. If you can make your operational phone disappear, then your cover phone will give you some plausible denial. (But you won't be Teflon Coated, since the geographical movements of your cover phone can be correlated to operational events or calls from any of your clandestine phones.

7.) Discard phones discreetly, with the batteries removed. Alternatively, you can leave the battery in if you want to lay a trail to confuse those pursuing and you suspect that phone location is being tracked.. (You can mail the phone to a random address that is a thousand miles away. (Use a padded envelope and just drop it in a mail box.) Or you can leave it in a donation box for regional charity. (These charities usually send donated items to a sorting center.)

8.) Keep in mind that cell phone Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) chips are quite compact and can be moved from phone to phone.

Take a look at the history of how Ryan Fogle was bounced out of Russia. He used some very bad tradecraft. Learn from the mistakes of others.

One final tip: Reader Jeff H. mentioned that Tracfone now sell LG800G with 1,200 minutes loaded. The nice thing about these is that their minutes never expire. So this sort of phone would be a great phone to buy and just "tuck away for a rainy day."



Several readers wrote to suggest some more American makers to add to my recently-posted lists:

Alvord-Polk Tool - Aircraft quality reamers. 

Brubaker Tool, Division of Dauphin Precision Tool, LLC  - Mills, taps and drills.

Ames Corporation is the parent company for several brand names that make all American-made tools. These include:

Miller Electric (a sister company to Hobart Brothers.) - Engine Drive welder/generators. Made in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Quincy Compressors - Air compressors. Made in Quincy, Illinois.

Hypertherm - Plasma cutters.

Torchmate - CNC plasma cutting machines. (Part of Lincoln Electric Cutting Systems.)
 
Ventamatic - MAXX brand fans. Made in Mineral Wells, Texas.

Liberty water pumps - Electric transfer pumps (for use with garden hoses), sump pumps, macerator pumps, etc.

Bark River Knife and Tool - Mostly hunting, utility and filleting knives. Made in Michigan's U.P.

William Henry - Top quality pocket knives. Made in McMinnville, Oregon. (While they are a bit "spendy", they source all of their parts from suppliers in the States. For instance, their high end Damascus steel is forged in Alabama.)

Queen Cutlery/Shatt & Morgan - Quality and made pocket, hunting and other knives. Made in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Rada Cutlery - Utilitarian knives at very reasonable prices. (Making it easy to stock up).  They make kitchen knives and utensils, as well as stone bakeware.  Made in Iowa.

Reader E.M. wrote to lament that a lot of fishing tackle is now made in China, but that one American company he does recommend is X Factor Tackle.

And Reader J.K. wrote this pitiful news: "As a former employee of Stanley Black and Decker in Towson, Maryland, I'm sorry to say that a vast majority of DeWalt (and other SB&D brands) tools currently produced by the company are actually made in China. While the current generation on the market are wonderful and durable tools, they are not made here any more. The only American assembled tools I handled there as a test technician were engineering prototypes. About the only thing SB&D does in America now for its various branded power tools is production lot sample testing for life limits and safety regulation compliance. Unfortunately, as I understand it all manufacturing will probably end up in China as a part of their 'Design to Value' campaign."



I've had a fondness for the FAL and L1A1 rifles for many years, even before I carried one in Rhodesia, (now Zimbabwe) back in 1976. Even before that, I still remember the first FAL I ever saw. It was a select-fire version, hanging on the wall of my local gun shop outside of Chicago. I asked to handle it, and it was love at first sight and touch. There's just "something" about this style of rifle that calls out to me - and thousands (or millions) of other gun owners, and for good reason, they are time-tested battle rifle, that at one time, served in approximately 90 militaries around the world, and it is still serving - a testament to the design and the .308 Win (7.62 NATO) round - when you want to reach out there and touch someone - the .308 can get the job done.
 
There are a few scope mounts out there for the FAL (generic term) of rifles these days, and I've tried a few - albeit, they are very expensive and a bit bulky and heavy. I like saving a few bucks whenever I can. B&T Enterprises produces a very lightweight and very affordable set-up for your FAL if you want to mount a scope or red/green dot scope on your rifle, without adding a lot of weight.
 
Brian, at B&T Enterprises, sent me an FAL top cover, with a light-weight aluminum scope mount attached to it. My first thought was, "this looks a little flimsy..." and as is often the case, first impressions are not always the right ones. I have a Century Arms "FrankenFAL" - meaning, it isn't quite an FAL nor is it an L1A1, either - it has parts from both designs, one being metric, and one inch pattern. Many parts will interchange between the inch and metric guns, and Century Arms did a good job on my sample - however, they have had some bad guns get out there, that didn't work. The good news is, Century stands behind their products and will make it right if you have a defective gun. Only thing is, Century doesn't run many batches of these guns, they aren't exactly easy to assemble and make work. So, when they do a run, they usually sell out very fast - be advised. You can find these guns on Gun Broker and Guns America, if you take the time to search their web sites.
 
My biggest complaint with the FAL is that, the rear sight isn't the most stable - no matter what you do, many of them will have some play in them - and that is NOT a good thing, especially if you are looking at any long-range shots. What might be ok at a hundred yards, won't work at 600-yards if that rear sight isn't tight and it is moving around on you. So, a lot of folks want to mount a magnifying scope or a red/green dot scope of some sort on their FALs. Well, now you can do it, and do it for a lot less money, too.
 
B&T has several options for you. You can send them your FAL top cover, if it fits tightly on your FAL, and have them attach their mount to your cover. Or, you can request one of their covers with their mount attached, and fit it to you own rifle. Most of the time, this isn't a problem, it doesn't take much to fit a top cover so there isn't any play in them. The sample B&T sent me, with their mount already
attached, fit my FAL tightly - perfect!
 
I had a couple cheap red/green dot scopes around, and I tried them on the top cover with the mount attached, and they all fit nicely - no problems at all. I also tried a 3x9 scope on the top cover, and it, too, fit nicely - no movement of the top cover when it was installed on the rifle. I don't know that I would install a great big scope on the top cover with the mount, though. Seems like the red/green dot scopes or a light-weight magnifying scope would work best.
 
When I went out to the range to test the mount, I had one of the red/green dot scopes installed, and I had a good supply of Black Hills Ammunition .308  168-grain Match ammo, along with their .308 Hornady A-Max 168-grain load - which is for hunting purposes, and it is also match-grade in my book. From Buffalo Bore Ammunition I had their Sniper load which is a 175-grain JHP bullet, that is really screaming out of the barrel of your rifle. In all my testing, I fired about 100 rounds of ammo, through my FAL, with the red/green dot scope, and a cheap 3X9 scope. I removed the FALs top cover several times and replaced it, and there wasn't any noticeable change in my zero - I was shooting at 100-yards. B&T Enterprises shows on their web site a video of similar testing and there wasn't much change in the zero. This is a good thing!
 
Additionally, my German Shepherds knocked my FAL over at least a dozen times while the gun was sitting in a corner in my office, and the aluminum mount on the top cover didn't come loose. I was impressed! B&T has the aluminum mount, attached to the steel top cover with some sort of adhesive, and as I said as the start, I was a bit concerned that, this mount might work itself loose under recoil. While I know that firing 100 rounds through my FAL isn't a real torture test, I believe my German Shepherds gave it a good work out by knocking the gun onto the floor numerous times, and the scope that was mounted on the top cover never caused the mount to come loose in the least. In B&T's own testing they said the mount should stay attached to the top cover from -40 temps up to 190-dgrees - and I see no reason to doubt this claim.
 
The mount only weighs 1.2 ounces, so you aren't adding any appreciable weight to the FAL...and most red/green dot scopes don't weight all that much, either. It's when you add a magnifying scope, is where the added weight comes in. I think I would just leave a red/green dot scope on the mount myself. And, one nice thing is, if you want to take the dot scope off, you don't have to actually take it off the top cover. (You can still see through the iron sights.) If it were me, I'd purchase another top cover - they are usually under ten bucks. Then take your top cover off, with the mount and scope attached, and put on your spare top cover - only takes a few seconds to do so, and you don't have to worry about re-zeroing your optic.
 
I like saving money whenever I can, I'm not rich, not by any stretch of the imagination, and when I can save money, and find a quality product, that will do all I ask it to do, for less money than a more expensive product, I'm going to jump on it. If you send B&T your FAL top cover--one that fits tightly--they can install their aluminum mount for $69.99 and return it to you - plus shipping. And, if you want one of their mounts with a top cover that they supply, contact them for full information on prices - it depends on what type of FAL you have, as to what it will cost you. But I believe the most you'll be paying is under $90 for their top cover with the mount installed.
 
The B&T Enterprises brings the FAL and it's clones into the 21st Century with a top cover with a mount on there, especially if you want to add a red/green dot scope, and they are providing a top quality product, at a great price, too. A lot of work and testing went into this mount - and it isn't as easy as you may think, to come up with the mount and a way of attaching it to the top cover. Check out their web site for complete information before ordering. I think that you'll be impressed with the light-weight set-up for your FAL.  - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio



Published by Edinburgh University Press, ©Birsen Bulmu, 2012
ISBN 978 0 7486 4659 3 (Hardback) $75 to $99 on Amazon.com
This book has 195 pages including comprehensive bibliography, endnotes for each chapter, and index.

Today, I 'm reviewing Plague, Quarantines and Geopolitics in the Ottoman Empire . Once you get past the price, this book has a lot of good information for any prepper in any nation, not just Turkey. The author discusses various diseases and the reactions of theologians, physicians, politicians, and business leaders. They all have a different approach to the problems over the centuries.

Theologians quote holy book passages to support their side of the debate, while physicians use facts, science, and their experience. Business leaders oppose any measure that will hurt the bottom line, and politicians try to not offend everyone. These have not changed over the centuries.

Nowadays, epidemics quickly overrun available local medical services. Outside assistance usually saves the day. Bottled water disappears from store shelves. Politicians are besieged with angry demands to solve the problem.
Recent natural disasters have shown that those of us who are prepared are faced with an inconvenience, not an emergency. History has and will continue to repeat that fact.

The story in this book takes place from the 1400s to 1923, and is useful to all of us today trying to prepare for the next catastrophe. It took the Ottoman Empire authorities almost 400 years to build an immigrant quarantine site in their capital city of Constantinople (Istanbul today). During those centuries, epidemics came and went with regularity. The author explains the interactions of all players in telling why it took so long to do the obvious to fight diseases.

Muslims on both sides of the debate quoted the Quran. It is God’s Will that epidemics kill people. It is God’s Will if you live or die. It is God’s Will if people take steps to eradicate disease. The same arguments were seen in Europe between Christians. The difference was the Europeans took corrective action quicker.

Sanitation reforms finally began in 1838 at the urging of Europeans hoping to improve business prospects in the empire. Measures such as sewage disposal, clean water systems, immigrant quarantine, and better building codes aimed at preventing disease were begun after much debate and fierce resistance from the local citizens. The opponents were leery of government interference in their private lives and perceived religious transgressions.           

In any case, the Sultan had the final say and improvements were made. He took the advice of a Muslim reformer who said, “Take precaution and get ready by any means but do not put yourself in harm’s way: God created you and your actions.”

In other words, “Be Prepared.”

What can we learn from this history? What is important for readers of this web site is to know what happened before we had the sanitation and medical services we now enjoy. In a societal collapse, we will return to the Dark Ages. There will be no hospitals, sewage treatment plants, or clean city water systems.

When epidemics struck our ancestors, the first reaction was to flee the area, or to ‘bug out’. The disease usually hitched a ride and quickly spread. Europeans were the first to use quarantine as a defense. [JWR Adds: The practice of enforced health segregation actually dates back to at least Old Testament times, as mentioned in Leviticus 15:4-5.] Citizens were told to stay away from the marked houses, but do not leave the city. Keep the disease localized and allow it to die out. Other cities would not allow you to enter. The Ottomans finally embraced this practice in the early 1800s. The lesson is: you need a place to bug out to in your present location or nearby.

The bug out place needs clean water, sewage, and garbage disposal of some sort.

You need the proverbial beans, bullets, and Band-Aids. Information on all of these items is available in the archives of this web site.

This book is well written and organized in eight chronological chapters. The ten pages of comprehensive bibliography provide the interested reader with a wealth of further reading. Chapter endnotes and the index are also handy.

The author has skillfully blended the political, theological, scientific, and commercial debates of the subject into an easily read and understood treatment of the subject. All we have to do is learn from history.



Jim,
I believe that the world is on the verge of a possible economic meltdown. I think that there is just too much debt (both governmental and private), not enough assets, and with a end result of the financial system breaking down with devastating consequences.
 
There are some common problems that the countries I will be looking at  all share. The first is high debt levels that cannot be repaid. However, the more important factor is negative demographics in these countries.  I think that national demographics do not receive enough consideration when analyzing a country's economic potential. This is a mistake. Demographics are probably the single most important issue that should be examined. For example, a country could have massive natural resources available for both domestic use and export. But if this nation has a elderly and child 'bulge' with a very small working age population that doesn't have the manpower to exploit these resources, then the resources will provide this country with very little economic benefit.
 
The title of this article asks a question. The honest truth is that I don't know what the exact answer is (or when).  I think it will be Europe first, but Japan isn't looking so hot either. China is a export-driven economy. Yes, they have some serious problems too, but I think they won't truly take a hit until either Europe or Japan go off the rails first.
 
 
EUROPE
 
I think Europe's economy collapses first because of something originally designed to help the area's economy: the Euro Currency. Having a regional currency used by multiple European countries is a idea that has failed completely. When a nation controls it's national currency it can devalue the currency if it's economy slows down. A devalued currency will make that nation's exports cheaper for its neighbors to buy. More exports leads to a higher level of economic activity and the end result will be a pick up in economic output overall (Please keep in mind that these are general economic theories, and they may not work every time in every country. If a nation has no exports then a currency devaluation does them no good, since the price of their imports will rise).
 
Since most of Europe uses the Euro Currency, and not their former national currencies (the Italian Lira, French Franc, Greek Drachma, etc) there can be no currency devaluation at the national level in a effort to goose exports and sell more of that nation's cheaper goods to its neighbors. This is why European countries like Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy have been mired in recession for the last couple of years. the 'easy' way for them to get their national economies back on track by boosting exports through devaluation is no longer a available option.
 
These countries now have to boost their economic output by much harder methods: internal labor market reform, (translation: working more for less) opening up protected industries to competition to make them more productive, decreasing governmental control of the economy, and other ideas that aren't well liked by the locals.
 
Things are beginning to reach a breaking point in Europe. Yes, I have written in previous articles that I  thought the Euro Currency would be collapsing by now. And maybe I am wrong this time as well. I have underestimated the ability of European politicians to keep kicking the Euro Currency can down the road in their desire to keep things from imploding in Europe. Last year, I did not expect that European Central Bank President Draghi would make his infamous "Whatever it takes" comment and then unveil the ECB's plan to buy unlimited amounts of European sovereign debt in order to keep bond yields low (BTW, one year after Draghi announced the ECB bond-buying plan, there is still today no formal plan, idea, document or even anything sketched out on a soggy cocktail napkin on how exactly the ECB would conduct it's bond buying operation and how the plan would actually work).
 
The general Unemployment levels across Europe are  hitting all time highs of around 12%. Youth (18-to-25 years) unemployment in countries like Greece and Spain are around 50-to-60% and rising. Since more people are unemployed, this means economic activity is negative pretty much across Europe (Germany is still positive, but not by much) High unemployment and lower growth have two bad effects on a country's finances. First, government has higher expenditures due to increased numbers of unemployed citizens needing government-provided social support. second, governments take in less tax revenue from both businesses and employed individuals. Higher government expenditures and lower incoming revenues can really raise government debt levels. This is why Greece needs another  multi billion Euro Bail-Out (it will be their third or fourth, I have lost track) The Italians may soon be asking for one also. And the Spanish are lining up for their second hand out. Even the French aren't in such great economic shape anymore, and may soon be needing financial help.
 
The bottom line is that Europe is in trouble and there is no real way out of it until they kill the Euro Currency and go back to previous national currencies. The Euro Currency has become a noose that is slowly strangling European economic growth. Even if the Euro is killed tomorrow, Europe isn't out of the bad economic woods yet. European demographics are ugly. Too many retirees, not enough workers, and not enough Europeans having kids to sustain national populations going into the future. All national Social Security type programs are basically legal ponzi schemes. There needs to be a steady source of incoming workers starting to pay into the system to replace the retiring workers who will soon be receiving payments from the system. Thanks to the postwar 'Baby Boomer' generation that is starting to retire, Social security programs will soon have more money flowing out of the system then into it. (This is just not a European problem, The USA will have to deal with the exact same issue)
 
High levels of unemployment, exploding debt levels, decreased government revenues, no national currency that can be devalued: add it all up and things are grim in Europe and getting worse by the day. Europe's current downward spiral cannot continue. Something will break, and it will be soon.
 

 
JAPAN
 
Japan is the only country in the entire world with a demographic picture that makes Europe's look easy to fix. Europe's demographics are bad. Japan's demographics  are horrible, ghastly, terrible, and hideous.  Europe has bad sovereign debt problems. Japan's debt problem is simply impossible to fix. They will default someday, probably within the next two years. Japan is reaching the point of no return, and they have few options left.
 
What does the number 'One Quadrillion' represent? If you said "That is the Yen-denominated figure of all outstanding Japanese Government debt they have issued", then you  just won a free drink on me. Congratulations!  Yeah, that number is accurate. Honestly I'm not sure exactly just how many zeros there are in a Quadrillion, 14? 16? I do know that if you started at 'One' and counted one number every second until you reached One Quadrillion, you would be counting for 32 million years. Does that sound like a number that Japan will ever be able to pay back?
 
For the last two years, a milestone has been  achieved in Japan, but nobody in Japan should be popping a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne in celebration yet because the milestone reached was not a good one. The milestone reached was that the sale of adult 'Depends' style diapers now outsells regular baby diapers. This is because Japan has the fastest growing elderly population in the entire industrialized world. Nobody comes close to the speed that which Japan is becoming old. Once again, demographics are key. If national demographics are bleak, there just isn't much a country can do to fix it.  Japan is no exception. Unless Japan starts  making some huge gains in robotics starting tomorrow and starts developing 'Cylons' (I admit it, I'm a big 'Battlestar Galactica' fan), then going forward they just will not have enough workers replacing all the retiring elderly. Japan does control the value of the Yen, and they have been devaluing it ("Abenomics") but they have a slight problem. Thanks to World War Two, they aren't the most well liked country in Asia ( to put it mildly). They have few friends in the region who want to buy cheap exports from Japan. And thanks to some current nationalistic events regarding disputed territory involving China and Japan, Japan's largest export customer, China, has stopped buying Japan's goods. So even if the Yen gets devalued massively, it won't help much regarding China's  lack of desire to now  buy Japanese products and services.
 
Making a bunch of robotic worker 'Cylons' is about the only option Japan has left, since they allow almost no migration into the country. The economic picture is getting so bleak that they have had around ten (yes, 10) different Finance Ministers in the last five years. One FM actually committed suicide while he held the post. Another had to  resign and be checked into a mental hospital because the job was so stressful. If you have the time, look up on 'Youtube' some speeches by a billionaire Hedge Fund Manager named Kyle Bass.  He lays out Japan's ugly economic future quite well.
 

 
CHINA
 
Just when you thought it would be safe to pick up Asia's economic pieces once Japan explodes, here come the Chinese. Unlike Europe and Japan, the Chinese actually have a growing economy. But they have problems. Thanks to China's 'one child' policy, they will soon be hitting some unique demographic issues. Because of the policy and a Asian preference for baby boys, there will soon be a generation of Chinese males without girlfriends or wives who will be caring for four grandparents all by themselves. Personally, I can barely manage my own life, so the idea of taking care of elderly relatives doesn't have much appeal. Luckily, I am not facing this prospect, but a lot of males in China soon will be, and I wish them the best of luck cause they will need it.
 
Bad demographics aren't the only issue mainland china faces. Due to them becoming the manufacturing center of the world, all that industrialization has produced massive environmental damage that will takes decades to heal. Their factories rely heavily on coal-fired power plants for energy.  Burning all that coal is another factor in China's environmental problems and is also a issue regarding health problems.
 
There are economic problems as well. When the global economy tanked in 2008, the Chinese central government kept their economy growing by launching a multi trillion Yuan stimulus package. This backfired due to the fact that  many construction projects were launched that were completely unneeded. Think 'bridges to nowhere' on a massive scale. The Chinese built entire cities that stand vacant with very few residents. This overbuilding also produced rampant property speculation, resulting in local governments making bad real estate investments that are now badly  underwater. The speculation also led to large amounts of shady deals and outright criminal activity that has no positive benefit to the nation. The central government is now so concerned about bad debt levels at the local government level that they are conducting a massive audit of local finances to get handle on just how big this problem could be. My prediction is that what the central government learns from the audit of local book keeping will result in a whole bunch of local commissar type folks getting lined up against a wall in a police station basement and.... not walking out again, ever.
 
I know it makes for pretty depressing reading, but these are some of the things I see ahead for the global economy. Even the best-case outlook still results in  a lot of uncertainty that will soon be upon us. And the worst case means that we could be looking at: Regional conflict?, Economic meltdown? World war? It is something that we all need to keep a eye on. - CDWT



Hello Mr. Rawles
, I enjoy your site. A good idea if you are in the market for a used CONEX shipping container would be to take a container inspection form that you could get online from numerous sources, American Bureau of Shipping to start. A proper inspection form could help you to assess your container. Thanks, - Ed B.

JWR Replies: Thanks for that advice. I just found this detailed inspection guide available online. I also found a more brief Army inspection procedure in FM 55-17.



KAF's Lemon, Almond, and Date Balls (or Bars)

1 cup Almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dates, diced up
1 whole diced up lemon with the zest and juice
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tsp. amber agave nectar

Pulse all together in food processor or in a heavy duty blender, so it's all chopped but still slightly chunky and sticky, then dump the prepared mixture into a square pan and pat down with spoon. Refrigerate, and when thoroughly cold, cut into small bars, or, you can roll this sticky mixture into small serving candy balls and roll them in more unsweetened coconut flakes to coat them, and wrap them individually to go.

Healthy. Yum!

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Fruit Bar and Square Recipe

Summer Seasonal Recipes

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





Mike Williamson's latest book Tour of Duty: Stories and Provocations will be released tomorrow, August 6th.

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Reader J.B.G. recommended this video: Demystifying Alabama’s new ‘shall issue’ gun law.

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H.G. sent this: Feds go after Proxy Servers - Half of Tor Sites Compromised! Here are a few article quotes:

"In a crackdown that FBI claims to be about hunting down pedophiles, half of the onion sites in the TOR network has been compromised, including the e-mail counterpart of TOR deep web, TORmail."

<snip>

"This is undoubtedly a big blow to the TOR community, Crypto Anarchists, and more generally, to Internet anonymity. All of this happening during DEFCON."

"If you happen to use and account name and or password combinations that you have re used in the TOR deep web, change them NOW."

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File Under Global Warming Climate "Change": North Pole Sees Unprecedented July Cold – Arctic Sees Shortest Summer On Record — ‘Normally the high Arctic has about 90 days above freezing. This year there was less than half that’

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Mugabe wins 'deeply flawed' Zimbabwe election. In related news: Tsvangirai brands Zimbabwe elections 'a huge farce'. JWR's Comment: With vote fraud and voter intimidation so deeply ingrained, the election was probably stolen. Mugabe and his vile ZANU-PF henchmen have systematically looted the former Rhodesia for the past 33 years. They must go!



"9/11 has allowed the government to use fear to get unlimited power. But when you get power, it doesn't mean you can quickly spring it on everybody, because that shocks and startles them. So you use the power a little bit at a time, and let the people get used to it, and in that way you never meet any opposition." - Paul Craig Roberts


Sunday, August 4, 2013


Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set of all 22 of the books published by PrepperPress.com. This is more than a $200 value, and G.) 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.) Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security., E.) A Tactical Trauma Bag #3 from JRH Enterprises (a $200 value).

Round 48 ends on September 30th 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.



About seven years ago I met a young lady who would later become my wife, in a college religion class. We fell in love, worked extremely well together and have created an amazing six-member family. This is important because, before her I had never hunted, rarely camped, and had a penchant for electronics and wasting money. Becoming a husband and father has curbed many of those issues and marrying into a family that camped and hunted their whole life was an eye opener.

My first few steps into becoming a (self-proclaimed) Prepper were unobtrusive and hardly noticeable. My father in law invited me to go dove hunting with the family, this was great I thought because I had shot skeet many times before and was relatively proficient at it. Needless to say, I barely hit my limit the first day, but became more proficient from there.

It was shortly after this experience that I was taken to the family's “Squirrel Camp”, this is a big gathering of about 4 to 5 families a year to readjust the local squirrel population. I had never really eaten game meat before but became fairly accustomed to it in the years to come as my father in law was an avid hunter and always put in for the standard Arizona game (i.e. mule deer, elk,  and antelope).
Then I decided that I wanted to try my hand at big game and though I have only been drawn twice for anything larger than a squirrel I have yet to be fortunate enough to get anything (hopefully that will change with being drawn again this year).

But as my palate for non- processed meat  became greater, I started wanting to hunt more and one thing became abundantly clear, not only can hunting be an enjoyable experience but it can easily make your grocery bill much lighter. Because my father in law is single now he always shares his bounty with us, which is a considerable help to a family of 6. As I started to realize how much money we were saving I started to add up the costs associated with hunting.

The first cost is your tool or weapon for taking a particular game.

For me the first weapon had to be a shotgun, in this case I started out with a Weatherby PA-08 which set me back $300, five years ago.
Over those five years we have had 10 dove seasons, 5 quail seasons, and 5 duck/geese seasons.

As for dove we NEVER leave without our limit (10) and we have averaged 20 dove hunts each year. I average 3 shots per dove throughout the season at a cost of $.75 averaged per dove. That is $150 per year for 200 primary sources of protein in a meal. Considering Cornish game hens in Arizona average $5 each, that is a savings of $850 a year

Quail is a bit more sporadic as it requires more work and time to get a limit so we only average 20 a year. Our cost is a bit higher as they flow low and fast and often in between bushes. My shot average is 4 per quail at a cost of $1 each for a total of $20 with a comparative savings of $80

Duck gets much more interesting as we typically average 2 shots at a cost of $2 per duck. I have averaged 10 a year for a total of $20, which in comparison to a whole chicken (only thing we have around here) would cost $150 for 10. That is a savings of $130
Geese have been easy to hit for a couple years here and we average 2 shots on them but typically only get 5 a year. At $2 each that’s $10 a year, with a comparison being against a small turkey which often costs $25 each. That is a savings of $115 for 5 birds.
Weapon: $300
Ammunition: $200
Savings if we were to purchase the alternative: $1175
Savings after Weapon and ammo in a single year: $675 and each subsequent year after has been $975

Now I do not include time into the equation as we choose to do this and it does not interfere with work or family (mostly because the whole family goes). Now consider an average meal from the grocery store will often cost a single person in our household $4 each we save on average about $1 per meal per person or $6 a meal. This is a massive savings at the end of the year, when it’s averaged out. Every cent counts.
So here I am hunting for food at this point, mostly because I enjoy dollar cost averaging and think it’s silly to hunt for any other reason than to eat.

Now, here comes my second weapon:
A real tree camo Remington 597 .22LR with a Bushnell 3-9x40 scope on it. I chose this one, partly because the wife liked it, and partly because my pocketbook liked it. It cost $200 including the scope at a sale from our local Cabela's.
This is used to hunt squirrel and rabbit.
Fortunately I happen to be a decent shot with a .22 and have averaged 2 shots or less per kill. Now mind you these prices are before the unfortunate runs on ammo, and being as cheap as they was I bought 4 boxes of 50 every time I went to the store. So my costs have been and will be likely forever stuck at $.04 per round.
So with an average of 2 shots at $.08 a kill and an average of 10 between both rabbits and squirrel we are at $.80 a year for something (rabbit) that costs $15 for a whole one at the local Asian market. That is a massive savings of $149.20 a year.
Weapon cost: $200
Ammo cost: $.80
Food savings: $149.20
Savings after two years including purchase of firearm $99.60 and each year after being $149.80.

So after two years I have saved a considerable amount of money and have covered the costs of both firearms, now I can speculate on what large game with cost and save but until I know firsthand, I won’t bother.

Here comes the Accidental Prepper part. Having worked in prisons and having family being former military and police I have maintained the prison mantra of “Low trust, high suspicion”.  This has caused me to be a bit obsessive on prices in regards to firearms, ammunition, precious metals, and other commodities. So a few years ago when I first started embracing subsistence hunting I began to dollar cost average ammunition and precious metals mostly and looked at firearms as a hedge against inflation/tyranny. The latter being more prevalent each day.

Now we (as a family) have taken dollar cost averaging to a new level, one way we do this is to avoid buying new items at all costs, with the main exceptions being undergarments and shoes.
One way we do this is by garage sale shopping, we have nearly eliminated back to school clothes costs by paying on average $1 per clothing item. We typically go to more upscale areas and buy what the rich would throw out or donate. We have in turn turned this into a side business for my wife who will buy baby clothes and set up a small portable store on the side of the road. Baby clothes are often extremely cheap at yard sales ($.25 on average) and she cleans them and sells them for $1, which doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that even after laundry costs we double our money at nearly no risk.
I on the other hand look for more manly items, i.e. camo, ammo, guns, and military surplus ("mil-surp") items. The latter of which is where I make most of my spending money and fun money. Mil-surp has huge resale potential as does ammo. I often buy 100s of rounds from little old ladies whose husbands passed and have no idea what to do with the stuff. I will typically buy all they have at a large discount for buying in bulk, then keep what I want and sell the rest.
The most impressive yard sale profit I made was on a small dagger, this dagger was a last minute pick up at a late yard sale. It was not even the reason I stopped as there was a desert camo boonie hat hanging on a rack and behind it was an original Luftwaffe (Nazi) airman’s dagger. While I despise the Nazis for everything they had done, I am not above selling a piece of history. So I ask about the hat and the lady wanted $5, I asked if she would throw in the dagger and she did. Turned out that it was worth a pretty penny and I eventually sold it for $500 to a local collector.

So while being a Prepper has kind of been in my blood from my thrifty parents, it’s not until you find out that if you’re smart you can do it for next to nothing if you get creative.



Jim:
I have read over every article with the term CONEX in it on survivalblog.com and have determined that we need to find a CONEX container that we can pack stuff into, get moved to a new location and store things in.

How do you evaluate potential sellers of CONEX boxes?  I followed the links on this SurvivalBlog article,

...which led me to:

ContainerAuction.com

...which led me to a container company in Kansas City, Missouri.

I have now found this site that sells containers closer to where I need one: ChuckHenry.com.

My question to you: How do I know if they are reputable, trustworthy and all the other things I should know about them?

Thanks for all your work and this site that is an education place for many of us.  You know, this site may be one of many blogs that really are a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC.)

Blessings, - H.A.

JWR Replies: You really need to ask around with former buyers, locally.  Most companies have a reference list that they can hand you. If not, then ask: "Who are some if your regular customers? Also do a BBB check.

It is also very important to buy a CONEX built with Corten steel construction for the longest life. (Corten steel is also known as "Weathering Steel.")

Some dealers will let you "hand pick" from among several CONEXes.  If so, then carefully inspect the door hardware for good function and a tight seal, and also have someone shut you in for just a minute to check for light leaks--especially in the top.  Also look and sniff for signs that anything toxic might have spilled. Write down the marking numbers of the one you approve and insist that only that particular one be delivered.



James K. sent this: The 10 most oil-rich states. "These 10 States accounted for roughly 94% of all onshore U.S. reserves as of the end of 2011."

J. McC. sent this: America’s Urban Distress: Which States and Regions set up their Cities to Fail? Once again, notice the reverse correlation of The American Redoubt region.

Items from The Economatrix:

Extreme Gold Market:  Supply vs. Demand

Old System Struggling and Dying-Catherine Austin Fitts

If "Europe Is Fine" Why Is Deutsche Bank Deleveraging At The Fastest Pace Since The Crisis of 2011?



Reader K.A.F. sent: Comparison of operative and non operative management of acute appendicitis. (Consider antibiotic therapy BEFORE proceeding with emergency surgical
appendectomy !)

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Several SurvivalBlog readers have inquired about the Clearly Filtered Radiological Straw water filter. Yes, they do indeed remove radioactive particulates from drinking water, very effectively . They can be purchased through several Internet vendors including US Tactical Supply.

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A glimpse of the future, for other big cities? Oakland surveillance center progresses amid debate on privacy, data collection. (Thanks to Stephen S. for the link.)

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10 Fascinating Train Routes Across The World



"Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
To give light to them that sit in darkness and [in] the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel." - Luke 1:68-80 (KJV)


Saturday, August 3, 2013


Today we present another entry for Round 48 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), F.) A $300 Gift Certificate from Freeze Dry Guy. G.) Two BirkSun.com photovoltaic backpacks (one Level, and one Atlas, both black), with a combined value of $275, H.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. and I.) A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com. The current value of this roll is at least $225.

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.) $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P.), E.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials F.) A full set