September 2013 Archives


Monday, September 30, 2013


This is the last day to place an order and take advantages of the September Mountain House sales. For the month of September, five of our advertisers have been offering special sale prices on Mountain House foods in #10 cans. They are all offering deep discounts and most of them are offering free shipping:



You might as well call me "James Wesley, Wrong", since a printing error at E.P. Dutton resulted in several thousand copies of the First Edition, First Printing of Expatriates having the hardcover spines (underneath the dust jacket) emblazoned: "John Wesley, Rawles."

Here is how the correct dust jacket spine looks:

Expatriates Dustjacket

And here is how the misprinted hardback spine (underneath the dust jacket) looks:

Expatriates Print Error Spine


This error wasn't discovered until Friday night (September 27th), when our family friend "Enola Gay" (the editor of the outstanding Paratus Familia blog) happened to look under the dust jacket of the copy that I'd given her.

The hardback edition will probably not be released as scheduled tomorrow (October 1st) because of the printing error. (The Kindle book and audio book editions were of course not affected and will be released as scheduled.)

A bit of background, and some related examples:

Over the years, I've received dozens of "John"-addressed e-mails, and I've seen many Internet references to my writings that mention "John Wesley Rawles." This can be attributed to a subconscious connection to the famous Christian evangelist and hymn writer, John Wesley. So I find it perfectly understandable that this mistake was made. (I don't suspect any foul play by Red Lectroids from Planet 10.) The staff at E.P. Dutton sent me the full dust jacket layout for approval, but I never saw the hard copy spine markings. I suppose this is the first time that a major publisher has made this sort of mistake. I certainly don't want to see anyone lose their job over this.

This slip-up is reminiscent of the notorious destroyed Jonathan Franzen Freedom novels, in 2010. And in a way, this incident reminds me of a print error on the packaging of 100,000 Atlas Shrugged Part 1 DVDs, which had the back emblazoned: "Ayn Rand's timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice comes to life..." This of course was 180 degrees out of sync with Ayn Rand's philosophy, that focused on rational self-interest and rejected the concept of self-sacrifice. Those DVDs were recalled (at great expense), and the few that slipped out to the market are now collectible. This also brings to mind the famous US Postal Service's recall of the 1994 Legends of the West postage stamp sheets, because they had an inaccurate depiction of the face of Bill Pickett. (To me, it looked like they slipped in a simulacrum of Billy Dee Williams!)

This printing error may not be quite as famous as the 1631 Bible typesetting error that inadvertently had Exodus 20:14 read: "Thou shalt commit adultery," or the upside-down "Jenny" airplane print error postage stamp. But it certainly did give me a chuckle. And I suppose that it might make the 48 advance copies that I received worth more, in the long run. (However, I don't expect a full blown Willy Wonka Bar golden ticket hunt, as book buyers look under the dust jackets to see if they've found an example with the spine printing error.)

Only one thing is certain: Book collectors will definitely be able to easily distinguish the print error "First Edition, First Printing" of Expatriates!

The hardback edition will only have a limited release tomorrow (October 1st, 2013) because of this printing error. A rush print order of revised books should be available within two weeks. The Kindle book and audio book editions were of course not affected, so their release will go on, as scheduled. I have not yet heard from the publisher whether they plan to destroy the misprinted books that they still have on hand, or re-cover them, or add an adhesive label to the spine with my correct given name.

I will post updates about how this will be rectified. Thanks for your patience.

Special Note to Brad Thor: Double check your next novel, to make sure that they don't print "Brad Pitt" on the spine. - J.W.R.



It appears, at least for the time being, that AR-15 style rifle manufacturers are starting to catch-up with demand. Not all makers are caught-up, but a few are - the companies that specialize in making AR-15 style rifles only, appear to be the ones catching-up with supply to meet demand. Although some ammo makers are making some progress in manufacturing more .223 Rem and 5.56mm ammo, the great ammo drought of 2013 is far from over. As I mentioned before, my inside sources - at ammo companies - not gun shop clerks, or Internet warriors - tell me that it will still be at least another 18 months before they catch-up with supply and demand - for orders that they already have. There is some hype ammo makers are trying to sell you more ammo, they have not created intentional ammo shortages. And, to be sure, the ammo companies have not inflated their prices during this drought. Those companies that have raised their prices ever so slight, have done so, because they are paying more for the raw products to produce the ammo - in some cases, their costs have only gone up 5% - 8%  and it is many companies who sell to gun shops or to individuals on the Internet, who have taken advantage of having a large supply of ammo in-stock and they are just ripping customers off, it's not the ammo makers doing this! (I'll now step off my soap box.)
 
I have steadily observed AR-style rifles getting more and more accurate these days. I believe there are several reasons for this, one is better barrels, and another is better triggers, and of course tighter tolerances, too. And, we also have a wide selection of ammo to pick from, and if you haven't experimented with different types, brands and weights of bullets in your AR, you are doing yourself and your AR a disservice. Some guns shoot certain types and brands of ammo better than other types and brands of ammo. If you take the time to experiment, you'll find one or two types of ammo that shoots extremely well in your AR - most of the time. I will say, I had a Bushmaster AR-style carbine, with the poly upper and lower receivers, and it wouldn't shoot anything well at all - at 25 yards, it "patterned" like a shotgun - it wouldn't group any ammo. I traded it back to the gun shop the next day. So, there are exceptions - every now and then a lemon slips through, no matter who the  maker might be.
 
I ran across the CORE15 M4 rifle at my local gun shop, some time back. And, to be honest, I had never heard of the CORE Rifle Systems brand rifles. It appeared to be a very well-made specimen of the M4gery type of rifle, and it had a flat-top upper receiver with no carry handle or rear sight - not a problem, I had a carry handle with rear sight to attach to it.
 
I won't bore SurvivalBlog readers with all of the specs on the CORE15 M4, but I wanted to cover a few of them. The upper and lower receivers are mil-spec forged 7075-T6 aluminum, hard coat anodized with a beveled magazine well for improved and faster reloads - I didn't notice this when I first looked at the gun - nice touch. It also has M4 feed ramps - not all M4rgeries have this feature, and it aids in feeding rounds from the mag to the chamber. There is also a 1:9 barrel twist, which is pretty common on civilian M4s. The gun is chambered in .223/5.56mm too - and there is a difference between these calibers - regardless of what the clerk behind the counter at your local gun shop tells you. The stainless steel bolt carrier group is also chromed - making it easier to clean. The M4 handguards are Thermoset molded with dual heat shields - some makers don't provide heat shields at all. The 6-positon retractable stock is also mil-spec. For the rest of the particulars, you can check out the CORE15 web site - and they are currently manufacturing a lot of different versions of the M4, including a gas piston model. (When I got my sample at my local gun shop, they were only making a couple of versions.)
 
The M4-style of AR is the most popular selling black gun on the market today, and some gun magazines have come up with a new title for these rifles, "Modern Sporting Rifles" and I have no problem with that, if that's what they want to call these guns. However, aren't all rifles, to a certain extent, "modern sporting rifles?" Let's think about that - anyway, I guess they can call these guns whatever they want to help appease anti-gunners. I still hear folks calling anything that is an AR version an "assault rifle" and needless to say, that is the wrong nomenclature for these rifles, too. And, we need to help our fellow gun owners to stop calling these rifles "assault rifles" as it only adds fuel to the gun debate. True assault rifles are select-fire - all the M4s and ARs we purchase over the counter are just semi-automatic rifles - one pull of the trigger, one shot is fired!
 
To be sure, I don't believe most gun buyers are buying the M4 or any type of AR as a "sporting rifle" in my humble opinion. They are purchasing these guns for self-defense of life and property. They are buying these guns to prevent an out-of-control FedGov from taking our Freedoms and Rights away. Folks are also purchasing these types of guns for the simple fact that, the FedGov and local and state governments are attempting to ban them, and confiscate them. So they are purchasing these firearms simply because they still can and because they want to own them! Off my soap box, again!
 
Without any further ado, I will report that, the CORE15 M4, is without a doubt, the most consistently accurate M4 I've ever owned. Not, the most accurate, but the most consistently accurate M4 I've owned - hands down, it holds this title! I had the opportunity to fire a wide assortment of ammo through my CORE15 M4 - and this was when .223 and 5.56mm ammo was still in great supply and prices were very affordable. Today, I rarely shoot any of my firearms just for fun - I can't afford to purchase all the ammo I want, and my suppliers, out of necessity, can't supply me with all the ammo I need - I understand this. So, when I first purchased this gun, from my local gun shop, I fired well over 1,000 rounds through it over a period of a couple months. I had from Black Hills Ammunition, a huge assortment of .223 ammo - to include: 40 grain Hornady V-Max, 50 grain Hornady V-Max, 52 grain Match Hollow Point, 55 grain FMJ both new and remanufactured, 55 grain SP, 60 grain Hornady V-Max and 68-gr Heavy Match Hollow Point. From the kind folks at Buffalo Bore Ammunition, I had their Sniper 55 grain Ballistic Tip and their 69 grain Jacketed Hollow Point.
 
For my long range accuracy testing, I removed the carry handle with rear sight, and put on an inexpensive 3-9x40 scope because I wanted to really wring out the most accuracy I could out of this rifle. At 25-yards, I was easily getting three shot, one hole groups - boring! No matter which brand of ammo, or which bullet weight or any other factor, I consistently was getting 1 1/2 inch groups - of course, some groups were higher on the target, and some lower - depending on the bullet weights. But no matter what ammo I used, I still got 1 1/2 inch groups, so long as I did my part. Amazing, to say the least. As I said, this is the most consistently accurate M4 I've ever shot, bar none. I did try some of the Black Hills 77 grain 5.56mm ammo - and as expected, because of the 1:9 inch barrel twist, the rounds were all over the place - not the fault of the ammo - it was the barrel twist - for these heavier rounds you need a 1:7 inch barrel twist to help stabilize the heavier bullets. I've used the Black hills 77 grain 5.56mm round in ARs with 1:7 inch barrel twists and had outstanding accuracy.
 
I fired a good amount of Black Hills 55 grain FMJ remanufactured ammo through the CORE15 M4 - and I had the barrel smoking and extremely hot. Still, the gun never missed a beat - in all my testing, the gun never had a failure of any sort. I was impressed, very impressed, with the performance and reliability of this M4-style carbine. The CORE15 M4 is well-made, and many of the specs are made to military specifications - not all, but many! I couldn't find anything to fault in the sample that I purchased over-the-counter, and it was a used gun at that - not brand-new!
 
As already noted, CORE15 is now manufacturing a huge assortment of M4s these days - so you have quite a selection to pick from - assuming you can find one at your local dealer - I haven't seen another one since I made my purchase, but they are on GunBroker.com if you care to check around for the best prices. I have no vested interest in CORE15 rifles, and I didn't request a sample from the company, so this gun is the same gun you can buy, and I believe CORE15 is doing their guns up "right" in my book - everything was fitted, and not just "assembled" if you ask me. And the barrel was doing what it was supposed to do. It put all my rounds where I wanted them to go. You can't ask for more than that.
 
So, if you are in the  market for an AR-15 style rifle, and in particular, an M4 type, you'd do well to take a look at the CORE15 M4 line-up - and they seem to be priced reasonable these days - all things considered I was totally impressed with my sample, and I'm sure you'll be just as impressed as I was, if you get one for your shooting needs. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio



James,
I'd like to discuss a couple of low power ("QRP") ham radio transmitters. The first kit is a 10 Watt 75M SSB transceiver appropriately named The Survivor. For the modest sum of $140 you get all the parts required to build a practical rig with a digital frequency readout capable of making voice contacts at night out to a range of 200 to 300 miles using simple (low to the ground) wire antennas in NVIS mode. Another ham radio operator provided some additional tips and advice on building this kit on his blog.

The second kit is a crystal-controlled half Watt CW transceiver with a built in iambic keyer called the RockMite. This is available in versions for the 80M, 40M, 30M and 20M ham bands. The basic kit (minus knobs and connectors) runs $29. For an additional $16 you can purchase the knobs and connectors. The kit is designed to fit into an empty tin Altoids container, or you may purchase a deluxe enclosure called the 'MityBox' from American Morse Equipment.

These compact radios can easily be powered using a 12 volt gel cell and used to provide long range communications during off grid/grid down situations.

- 73 from Rick H. in Ohio



Hello Mr. Rawles,
Just a note of thanks to you and your site for leading me to Todd Savage at Survival Retreat Consulting (SRC.)

I read your novel Patriots and that gave me the incentive I needed to pursue a retreat for my family.  I researched the means available to obtain my retreat and that included SRC's ad on your SurvivalBlog.com site.  I was impressed with Todd's well thought out process and the advantage that his own experience in making the journey with his own family brought to the process.  With your recommendation as a tail wind, I hired Todd and I can truly say it was one of the best decisions I have made.
 
Thanks to Todd's diligent efforts, my family now has a retreat in the American Redoubt that is custom-tailored to my family's needs.  But beyond the just the property search itself [which included hours and hours of his videotaping], Todd then introduced me to competent and trustworthy people to assist us with all of our retreat needs [from solar energy providers, electricians, IT specialists, nurseries and pond excavators to name a few.]  His wife met with my wife and was kind enough to answer all of her questions from wood cook stoves to organic gardening and pest control.  To top it off, our families gathered for our first American Redoubt barbecue.
 
Kudos to Todd Savage at Survival Retreat Consulting and kudos to you, Mr. Rawles, for your selection of an excellent site sponsor. - Tom  X. (Formerly of California)

JWR Replies: I do indeed recommend Todd's services. Readers might be interested in Todd's new affiliated real estate agency: AmericanRedoubtRealty.com



Jim,
If I might add my two cents to Albert's comments on Basic Mechanics Skill and Knowing Vehicular Limitations:  I was also inconvenienced with lug nuts being over-torqued. I bent the factory lug wrench in the process.   My dear spouse would have never been able to loosen one, much less five lug nuts. So I vowed to never again be put in that position again.  I made the assumption that the tire store torqued the lug nuts to factory specifications. They went far beyond that number. Apparently, many do.
 
My solution was far less high tech, EMP proof, and far less expensive: a 24-Inch breaker bar with a 1/2" drive for each vehicle.  Add the correct socket, and a six inch extension and you will never struggle with that aspect of a tire change again.   Get one for each vehicle and make it a permanent part of that vehicle's tool kit. - John T.



James,
I heard you in your recent interview on the SGT Report podcast talking about [the need for] interior blackout material [to stop light from escaping windows when the power grid is down.]    What is the name of the material and tape and where can I purchase it? Thanks, Paul Z.

JWR Replies:

You will find the information you need in these archived discussions in SurvivalBlog. Also see this theatrical supply company, and specifically this blackout fabric and this blackout tape.



Mr. Anon's Southwestern Corn Pudding
 
Ingredients:
 
1 14-oz can cream-style corn
1 14-oz can whole kernel corn or niblets, drained
1 to 3 4-oz can(s) diced green chilies, to taste  (or sub 1 can diced jalapeños for one of chilies for more spice, or sub lightly sauteed fresh diced peppers if available, to taste)
6 large eggs
1-1/2 cups soft fresh cheese (ricotta or quark)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 lb to 1 lb diced or shredded pepper-jack cheese, depending on your taste and calorie requirement (or sub medium cheddar cheese for part of pepper-jack cheese.  Using all cheddar tends to overpower the taste of the corn, though.)
3/4 cup dry cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
 
(Optional:  1 teaspoon onion powder or 1/3 cup dried onion flakes, rehydrated, or 1 cup diced fresh onion, lightly sauteed, or 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions)
(Optional:  1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano and/or 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro or parsley)
Preparation:
Combine all ingredients well in a large bowl.
 
Transfer to large lightly oiled or buttered casserole dish and bake in 325 degree F oven for about 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out almost clean (it will continue cooking for a while after you take it out).  Check at 30 minutes if using a shallow dish.  Avoid overcooking, as it will toughen the eggs and make the final product "weep" once you serve it.
 
Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

Chef's Notes: This is a very flexible recipe.  If you have fresh corn cut from the cob, use about 4 cups, and process half in the food processor with some of the egg until smooth.  For a more custardy/quiche-like texture, use less cornmeal and sub milk for some of the fresh cheese.  Control the fat content by the type and amount of cheese you use, sub milk for the sour cream, and sub extra egg whites for a couple of the egg yolks.  Make it even heartier by adding a can of drained black beans, if you like.)





Dallas County Now Has Its Very Own Bulletproof, "Mine-Protected" Military SUV. JWR Adds: An anonymous reader in Oregon wrote: "Yesterday I was driving by the Clackamas (Oregon) County Shops and Motor-pool and saw one of these MRAPs, identical to the one pictured in the article. Same paint too. It was sitting in the "repair or modify" area next to the road department trucks and sheriff's department boat, across the street from the sheriff car storage area. I doubt it'll stay tan for long."

   o o o

Jeff Ayers of Booklist posted this announcement and mini revew of Expatriates: "Rawles’ latest novel, set during a future global collapse, features characters in different parts of the world coping with life stripped of modern conveniences and technology. It’s a bit like the NBC television show Revolution but on a more global scale. People must rely on each other, and trust is as big a commodity as gold or silver. The novel follows Survivors (2011) and Founders (2012), both of which follow concurrently what Rawles calls “the coming collapse,” making it possible for readers to jump into the beginning of the end at any point. For dystopia and action fans."

   o o o

Georgia residents should find this of interest: The National Preppers and Survivalist Expo. It will be held October 19th and 20th in Atlanta. Admission is free.

   o o o

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids is conducting a three day sale beginning October 1, 2013.  They will be offering selected items up to 30% off, so stock up. Concurrently, there is a special promotion to support cancer research with the sale of a limited run of pink canning lids. (Note: The usual 5% discount code "survivalblog" cannot be used in conjunction with this sale.)

   o o o

Until October 15th, the SurvivalBlog 2005-2012 Archive DVD is sale priced at just $11.99.

   o o o

Project Appleseed tries to find middle ground in murky gun debate . (It was surprising to see this in The Metro -- a free urban tabloid with with a strong liberal bias.)



"Jump down the shelters to get away
The boys are cockin' up their guns
Tell us General is it party time?
If it is can we all come?

Don't think that we don't know
Don't think that we're not tryin', no no no
Don't think we move too slow
It's no use after cryin'

Sayin' 'It's a mistake, it's a mistake
It's a mistake, it's a mistake.'" - Men At Work, "It's A Mistake" (Lyrics by Colin Hay.)


Sunday, September 29, 2013


Today is the birthday of Ludwig von Mises. (Born 1881, died October 10, 1973.)

--

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 and the queue for that round is full, but get busy writing and e-mail us your entry for Round 49. 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.



Though food shortages and malnutrition are popular discussion topics for preppers, I doubt that many of us have experienced a real, prolonged lack of food. Certainly we’ve all had a day or two – maybe even more, for the gutsy– with minimal or no food, but often those days happen by choice and are for practice, with a set end in sight. How many of us have gone weeks, months, or more on limited rations? How many of us know what to expect and how we’d feel? How many of us are ready for the surprises and challenges that prolonged malnutrition will bring?

More than ten years ago, as a teenager, I grappled with anorexia nervosa for almost a year. Although dealing with a deadly disease (a mortality rate of 10% is often quoted. ) may not be the way most of us will confront starvation, many of the physical and mental symptoms I experienced will translate. If you’ve never really starved before, then you may be caught off-guard by what you experience if (hopefully never when) it happens. I hope that what I relate will help you know what to expect.

In this article, I plan to describe my physical, mental, and emotional experiences during illness and recovery. I also hope to sketch out some basic treatments and coping mechanisms for staying as healthy as can be possible during starvation. Due to the passage of time, and the memory lapses associated with anorexia, I know I’ll omit some details that could be helpful, and for that I apologize in advance. Moreover, I am not a doctor, and this article is not intended to offer medical advice, to substitute for professional care and consultation, or to guarantee or provide any health outcome.

Finally, anorexia nervosa is a serious physical and mental disorder affecting many men, women, and even children worldwide. If you or someone you know are dealing with it, or want more information about it, please utilize these trusted resources:

What you may experience right at the onset of starvation:

  • Emotional issues. Some people experience an initial euphoria (similar to a runner’s high) as they, in the initial phases of starvation, feel invincible. “Look what I can do with less food”, they think. “I still feel great, strong, and healthy, and a lack of food isn’t slowing me down! It’s just mind over matter.” This high won’t last – the body and the mind will grow weaker over time.

Other folks feel an increase in stress. “Food was already in short supply – how will I make it now,” they wonder. All their thoughts and energies start being directed towards meals, eating, and supplies, with little effort left over for life’s other requirements. Stress also takes a toll on the body and mind.

There may be other emotions happening that are quite different, or at least unexpected. This can disrupt your routine and feelings of normalcy, and make it harder to get through a day. Try now, or as soon as possible, to establish and stick to a routine and schedule. As I’ll describe further below, routine, repetition, and structure are incredibly essential to making it through, and recovering from, starvation.
What you may experience in the middle of a period of starvation:

  • Emotional issues. The high is probably gone, and the reality of starvation may be kicking in. This can prompt depression, anxiety, and more stress. These emotions and feelings weigh on us even during times of plenty. They may be even harder to deal with as your physical resources are depleted. Try to identify your feelings, verbalize them to someone, and work through as much as possible so that your limited energy can be directed not at carrying tough feelings inside, but at doing what will need to be done in a survival situation.
  • Osteopenia and osteoporosis. It’s possible that my bones weren’t robust to begin with; I was always a smaller kid. But what’s known is that at age 16, I had osteopenia in both hip joints and full-on osteoporosis in vertebrae L1-L4 (lower back).These  physical issues are usually found in 80-year-olds;  I was not a normal growing teenager. Three and four years later, I broke my left and right foot, respectively. Though bone scans didn’t explicitly show problem areas in my feet, I’m convinced that the low bone density brought about by starvation was a cause. Fortunately, I haven’t had a break since then. Be extra cautious of bone health. Prepare your medical supplies to take care of breaks and fractures. If possible, supplement your diet with calcium. The best way is via whole foods like leafy greens and raw milk, but if those aren’t available, take calcium in tablet or pill form.
  • Memory issues. The human brain needs fats to operate, and fats are in short supply in a starvation experience. I’d had an average to good memory as a child; remembering complicated dance routines or memorizing passages from Shakespeare presented no problems. In the last three months (out of eleven total months of restricted food intake), though, memory work that had formerly been routine became noticeably laborious and nearly impossible. This realization, and the realization that I couldn’t come up with any mnemonic work-arounds, prompted frustration and depression – which you can see is related to emotional state.

Additionally, animal fats (grass-fed butter especially) and some plant fats (avocado, coconut oil) are essential brain nutrients. Even if other foods are in short supply, if you still have quality fats available, add more to your diet. Try to avoid processed vegetable fats like canola oil, though.

  • Physical symptoms.  Not every person experiencing starvation experiences all the possible physical symptoms of it. For example, it’s often brought up that a starving person will start to grow soft, downy hair in certain places on their body (back, face, arms, etc) to trap heat and keep the person warm. I didn’t experience that. What’s important to take away here is that lack of any particular starvation symptom doesn’t mean that the person isn’t actually starving, it just means that it manifests differently in different individuals. You may grow weaker, feel dizzy more often, start to black out or faint (as I did), and be unable to do more heavy-duty tasks. In a survival situation, where medical help may be non-existent, it’s so important to be careful, especially because there may be outdoor tasks with power equipment. Work with a buddy, don’t over-exert yourself, take breaks, stay hydrated, and be realistic.
  • Obsession with food. As the amount of food I actually ate decreased, the amount of time I thought about it increased. In order to direct unwanted thoughts of food away from eating, I started reading cooking magazines and cookbooks, baking food for others, ogling other students’ lunches at school, and in general obsessing over eating (and not eating). In a survival situation, it may be irresponsible and wasteful to just think about food, rather than doing what needs to get done. Unfortunately, it’s really hard not to think about food when you’re starving – that’s how the body keeps telling you that you are, in fact, starving. Find a way (via routine, schedule, structure, and the assistance of others) not to let those thoughts control you.

What you may likely experience while recovering from starvation:

  • Long physical recovery time. It took about a decade after the initial diagnosis for my body to be essentially completely healed. My weight no longer fluctuates based on a day’s or week’s eating habits, I no longer have weak bones, my heart beats normally, and I don’t get abnormal dizziness. The dizziness and erratic heartbeat resolved after a few years, the osteopenia and osteoporosis healed (with a closely monitored, high-calcium diet, and weight-bearing exercise) after about eight years, and finally, now in 2013, my body has established a stable set point. The ratio of ten years of healing to make up for one year’s starvation may not be too far off.
  • Difficulty regulating normal eating patterns. This remained consistently incredibly difficult for almost a decade after the hospitalization, even under clinical supervision and with a structured meal plan. Don’t think that just because you don’t actually “want” to starve (the relation of will to eating disorders is debatable) that it’ll be easy to start eating regularly again. It won’t be. After the body experiences starvation, when it is presented with sufficient food again, it remembers the starvation state and tries to avoid that in the future. The body plans ahead, in a way, by increasing your food cravings in order to build up reserves (i.e. extra weight) to stave off possible future times of food uncertainty.
  • Emotional issues. It’s hard to experience physical changes in one’s own body without accompanying emotions and feelings. Sometimes, when bodies change via starvation or refeeding, it’s a traumatic experience, because it’s out of our control. Feelings of helplessness, being out of control, anger, and confusion can happen. These feelings, while powerful, are normal. You may be surprised to find you’re not thrilled when food is abundant again. Your normal way of life has changed once more, and again you have to cope with something new – plenty to eat. Get support from others during this time – even just talking about it with someone who can relate can be helpful. Again, use the buddy system, have a routine, plan your meals, and keep life as structured as possible during this transition time.

What you probably won’t experience during or after starvation:

  • Refusal to eat available food.
  • Denial of the problem.
  • Aversion to treatment.
  • Phobia of gaining weight.
  • All these symptoms are more representative of a patient in denial of a real medical and mental issue. If you or someone you know starts to manifest these behaviors, something more serious may be going on, and you should consult with a medical professional about how to proceed. My best guess is that most folks undergoing involuntary starvation will not show these symptoms, but again, YMMV, and I am not a doctor.

What this means for you (with concrete steps to take):

  • As food availability decreases, access to warmth, shelter, and good hygiene must increase. Your body will have essentially zero extra resources to spare to keep your temperature up and to fend off infection. It’s crucial that you take as much physical stress off it as possible. Wear hats, warm clothes, down, and wool. Keep your extremities covered – they’re often very difficult to warm back up, especially if you are prone to Reynaud’s Syndrome. Mittens can be better than gloves for this. You must also keep warm enough when asleep, which is when body temperature can often fall and the heart rate decrease. In the hospital, patients were often cocooned in Bair Hugger blankets (heavy-duty medical grade electric blankets). You might not have access to something of that caliber, but if electric blankets are a possibility, they could save your health. If not, again, use down and wool, and sleep with someone else if possible to utilize body heat (much like hypothermia treatment). Finally, it will be harder to stave off infection and disease – your body is working overtime just keeping basic systems going. Clean out cuts and scrapes, brush and floss your teeth, don’t pick your nose, wear a surgical mask... do whatever it takes to avoid unnecessary infection and exposure. You don’t have the physical leeway that a healthy, non-starved person does.
  • Physical exercise, while not a panacea, shouldn’t be totally avoided. It’s true that you won’t have a lot of energy to spare. However, if you, afraid of wasting energy, just sit inside and do nothing all day, your muscles will atrophy even further. It’s essential to maintain some kind of muscle tone, especially as your bones may become weaker. I’m convinced that one of the reasons I didn’t suffer a disastrous break in my back or hips was because of the level of weight-bearing activity I maintained during illness and recovery. Gardening, child care, and cleaning the house could be good lower-impact options.
  • It is very unlikely that you will be able to recover from starvation alone. Your brain won’t be working right, your body will be startlingly weak, and you won’t be able to correctly assess your physical, mental, or emotional states, or your physical needs, for that matter. You need an external point of view on your situation, which is hard enough to do when well fed. One of the more helpful things I practiced in recovery was making lunches for the younger kids in treatment. It would’ve been too easy to skimp a little (or, in a SHTF-type situation, to give yourself a little more than everyone else) on my own meals – I had no such investment in their lunches. I made their sandwiches with exact, measured amounts ; because of my mind not working so well about myself, I’d never have been able to do that for my own lunch. Find a buddy in your group who will do this for you; do it for them, as well. Plan ahead of time, when you’ve got enough food, how you’ll go about caring for each other when it’s a starvation situation. Develop a schedule and framework now to follow then. Get it on paper and put it in your resources binder. Chances are not good that you’ll be able to do all this under stress and without food.

If I had to narrow down the take-away message about real starvation to just the essentials, they would be these two points:

  • You cannot think straight when you’re starving. No matter how much you think you’ll be different – that you’ve got more willpower, more backup plans, more experience, more toughness, whatever – starvation is going to affect your mind, and affect it drastically. Your memory, emotional stability, perception of reality will all change. In fact, in some ways, starvation affects the brain more than it does the physical body, and I don’t think many people will be ready for that.
  • You cannot recover from starvation alone. Again, no matter how much willpower, toughness, backup planning, or whatever you have, I posit that it’ll be essentially impossible to return to mental, emotional, and physical health by yourself. Each of those strands of health weaves into the others, so if you, alone, are struggling emotionally, that’ll affect your mental and physical health – it’s the same for any of those strands. Having even one other person supporting you means you now have a source of strength and objectivity that you didn’t have when you were alone. Get a group; make a plan; find a partner – it’ll save your life.

I don’t wish starvation upon anyone. It can be not only physically but also mentally and emotionally devastating. I hope this article serves to highlight the seriousness of starvation, whether voluntary or involuntary, and helps those dealing with it to find the resources they need to survive and thrive.



James,
I was reading Tuchman's seminal work The Guns of August last night and found this quote, where she describes the emphasis in 1910 by author Norman Angell in his book The Great Illusion on how the increasing connectedness of business and nations would assuredly preclude future conflict:

'By impressive examples and incontrovertible argument Angell showed that in the present financial and economic interdependence of nations, the victor would suffer equally with the vanquished; therefore war had become unprofitable; therefor no nation would be so foolish as to start one.'

This cited work was published in 1910, just prior to the Great War.  Not only does this example from over one hundred years ago point out man's failure to learn from history, it also illuminates the path for those who choose to learn.  'He who has ears, let him hear' Mathew 11:15.

Recommend your readers who are interested in this idea of interconnectedness and system resilience read, in these books, in sequence:

1)  The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by  Nassim Nicholas Taleb
2)  The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism , by Naomi Klein (a Canadian Red Diaper baby but still a valid critique)
3)  The Guns of August, by Barbara Tuchman

Those who want to delve deeper into the idea of system of systems analysis (SOSA) can look to Complex Interdependence Theory, well articulated by Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye. 

As Frank Herbert says in his novel Dune, "The first step in avoiding a trap, is knowing of it's existence."  If the "trap" is system fragility, the trap-avoidance tactic/strategy is engendering system resiliency.  Readers of your excellent blog would be well advised to continue their preparations with the addition of strengthening local social, economic, religious and, yes, even political systems. - Tom K.





RBS recommended this fascinating article: Six Months in the Middle Ages: Surviving the Moscow Winter

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F.J. suggested this: Vintage Machinery Website

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H.L. liked this one: What to do when your Dominant Eye Differs from your Dominant Hand

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The 1911 Pistol Is Its Own Toolbox! (Thanks to K.T. for the link.)



"Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men." - 1 Corinthians 7:23 (KJV)


Saturday, September 28, 2013


Happy birthday to L.K.O., SurvivalBlog's Rocky Mountain Regional Editor.

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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 and the queue for that round is full, but get busy writing and e-mail us your entry for Round 49. 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.



We started "Prepping" the day I was issued my DD-214 from the 2nd Marine Air Wing back in 1970. Even way back then the writing was on the wall if you cared enough to take a hard look and pay attention.   The VietNam War was pulling this country apart. “So you don’t believe, we’re on the Eve of Destruction?” We swallowed John Prine's antidote, hook, line and sinker.

"Blow up your TV, throw away your paper
Go to the country, build you a home
Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches
Try an find Jesus on your own."

Homesteading here in central Missouri, we home birthed 6 strong kids, 3 boys, 3 girls on 25 acres of Missouri River hills and creek bottom. We planted an orchard, blasted out a well, used the rocks to build the root cellar. Farmed with mules, cut and skidded 150 saw logs off the hills. Set up and ran a small sawmill. Built a house from scratch. Built a business relining chimney’s and selling wood stoves. Inch by inch, row by row, we were just living the Dream. When 9-11-01 hit, the storm clouds started piling dark and deep. They were not at all interested in re-enlisting a 53 year old Marine Corps veteran, pissed and looking to dish out some payback but they are always ready to enlist an 18 year old Eagle Scout. In 2006, three months into his first deployment, our youngest son was killed in action by IED on night patrol outside Fallujah Iraq.

A downward, deep "dark night of the soul" ensued. Oh yes, the enemy can smell your pain like blood in the water. The real challenge is to not feel sorry for yourself, Old Nick can really work with that one. Our faith has been sorely tested but has stood fast. When this POTUS was elected in 2008, the slippery slope got steeper. The feeling of being in a slow motion train derailment intensified. Our preps became more focused and urgent. The result of the 2012 Reelection hit me with the finality of the coffin lid being shut on the land that I love, have served and as a family, we have sacrificed so greatly for. Every day the News lands with the thud of a coffin nail being driven home. I came to truly dread the daily Drudge Report  but then, this is a lot like watching the Hindenberg go down. “Oh, the Humanity”.  I’m getting to be a cynical, bitter man. Up late one night, cleaning my weapons and listening to the radio, I made a call and managed to get hold of George Noory on Coast to Coast AM, talking live with his guest, Jim Marrs from Texas. I despaired of the fact that although we were pretty well dug in, had our chain water pump, had our grain, beans, 15 grandkids to worry over, choke points on the road and clear field of fire in front of the house, what were we going to do when some bedraggled family and staving kids showed up straggling down our gravel road? Jim gave me some good, hard advice that I have taken to heart. Reach out to your neighbors, get it together, circle the wagons, work up a plan. Support a local Church to distribute charity. James Rawles has alluded to all this in his novels but it took Jim Marrs to "slap me upside the head" at 1:45 am.

So, then and there I decided to come out of the closet, overcome our self imposed isolation and make a positive, pre-emptive strike. Face it, most of us are private people, we’ve come keep this all to ourselves for some very good reasons.

My proposition to you is this, it is getting dark quick and the storm is rising. Its time to make like Peter and step out of the boat. My cousin Paul is an Army EOD Tech, career FBI, and retired Head of Missouri Emergency Management. Cousin Paul's Executive Summary of our collective situation is that: “We are so sc**wed”. We conspired to rent the hall and sponsor an open meeting at the local community building. We called it "Jamestown Prepares"  and  set out some simple flyers. We are located close enough to the New Madrid Fault to pay serious attention, we get randomly visited with Joplin sized Tornado swarms out of Oklahoma and I almost forgot the fun for all when the Missouri River busts it banks and cuts the state in half. Last winter we all lost power for a week when 2+ Ft. of snow came on the heels of a bad winter ice storm. No power at the gas station, dead of winter, and the roads are paralyzed. 

From a small country town of 362 Souls, the room filled up with 65 people. Cousin Paul started with a good, standard issue, FEMA Style, Power Point Presentation on Family Emergency Preparedness, passing out your tax dollar paid, slick FEMA brochures with the checklists and suggested 7 day supplies. Well received and timely, but now it’s my turn at bat.

"Folks, Cousin Paul's is the optimistic one. I'm thinking we are in for some very rough sledding and it’s high time we get ready. If you plot the trajectories of all the big things we worry about, there’s an undeniable tipping point coming closer by the day.  We can argue about when it happens, how hard and how long this goes on, but I’m thinking an Argentine economic crisis (1999–2002) at an absolute minimum, and that's only if we’re lucky, so then I bark out: 

“Brace for Impact” Do I have your attention? There’s a few nervous looks around, nobody laughs”. Lined up on tables down one side of the room I have a taste of the basic's. Water filter and chlorine bleach, Survival garden seed packs, Tattler canning lids. The Sam's Club FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer, a plastic-sealed brick of .22s, vacuum packed noodles, salt, canned olive oil, A 5 gallon bucket of dry ice evacuated Turkey wheat. An ear of open pollinated corn. A Corona hand crank grain mill, a field surgical kit, sutures, a gallon jug of Povidone Iodine Solution from the feed store, a jar of homemade Sugar-dine. KIO3 Iodine pills, Vitamin C. and Neosporin. A Dakota Alert motion sensor, base station and hand held radio. CB base station, hand held FRS/GMRS walkie talkies, Shortwave, and micro Ham radios, Harbor Freight Solar Panels and your new best friends, the rechargeable AA battery, solar recharger and LED head band light. You get the picture.

I went right on down the line, broke down the Why, Where and How and moved on to the next. You could hear the gears turning and see the tumblers falling in place. These are as good a people as you will find anywhere and have never forgotten or left their roots far behind. We had good mix of farmer's, veteran's, volunteer firemen, our local Banker, a retired Army full bird Colonel, and some home school Mommies. All of them some where along the road and awake enough to show up at this odd, community meeting. Although they were specifically invited, sadly missing were our town’s mayor, any local law enforcement or our "on the payroll" County Emergency Management Officer. Our local Sheriffs are really spread too thin to be effective and most government apparatchiks operate under a deep fog of "Normalcy Bias". There were many more questions and lingering conversations. I collected 56 email address’s and promised more information to come. We had to turn out the lights to run them out of there. In a couple day's I put out an email thank you, a page full of pertinent web links and notice of the next meeting. 26 folks showed up noon on a Saturday to plot the next steps. We agreed to and have set another open invite, steering meeting and a general community meeting in 30 day's on "Communications" presented by a couple of retired military Comm guy's to lay out the start of our CB radio network. Requested high on the agenda will be an Extension Service presentation on canning and food preservation. We created a private Yahoo group for a local “party line” and threw it out there. It's just starting to come to life with posts for excess garden produce, needed equipment, etc. This is the starting point I hoped it could be. I'm starting to feel a bit better. 

There are large sections of this country we will sadly have to watch go down in flames (Lord, Have Mercy). Not everybody can run to the hills but you don’t have to face it alone or go down without a fight. When we were planning this, a fellow traveler warned me not to pop my head up and draw attention to myself. 

“Get thee behind me, Satan”. Apparently, “They” already know everything about everybody and in the crunch, your neighbors will quickly figure out who you are and what you’ve got that they don’t. My Pop was in the Navy in World War II, he boxed competitively and taught his boy’s, no matter what the odd’s are, you’ll never be more than a punching bag unless you’re willing drop your guard and throw a well placed, timely punch. Its time we throw a punch and reach out to our neighbors. You may be surprised by the response. People stop me at the post office and thank me for getting things rolling. If you ever get in a room full of guitars, pluck a G string. All of the G strings in the room will vibrate. That's called a sympathetic vibration. You are not alone in your intuition and sense of impending doom. I am convinced there are millions of us located at some point along this road back to sanity. A timely nudge will be all it takes to get many folks off dead center, some encouragement and affirmation provides needed momentum for everyone.

So, I’m asking you: do you really want to be alone in your skinny little trench when the poop hits the prop?  The “Powers and Principalities” we face would really just as soon have us all frightened and fragmented, and, in fact rely on it. I would have you consider that the next logical step in your survival preparations is to reach out to those with ears to hear. There's strength in numbers and like the Old Man warned us long time ago, "Boy's, if we don't hang together, they'll hang us separately".

Now is the time to fix your eyes on Jesus, throw your leg over the side of the boat and put one foot in front of the other.
Pray for Mercy, Pray for Grace, and don’t hide your light under a basket. 



James,
Thank you for your contributions on SurvivalBlog. I read with interest the article on basic mechanical skills.  Changing a tire can be a difficult process,  last summer I had a blow out on a 100 degree day, found that changing a tire in the severe heat was a difficult task  and for an older man, and possibly dangerous.
 
I decided to decide to find a workable solution for this problem. At first I tried the 12 volt DC impact wrenches but found them unsatisfactory. My solution was to take a 1,700 watt inverter that I placed in a tool box along with a set of jumper cables to hook it to the vehicle battery, I run an electric impact wrench off the inverter, this will allow me to activate the jack, remove and replace the lug nuts, and winch down the spare. 
 
I also carry a 12 volt air compressor, some of the flat tire fixer in a can for punctures.   in one of the boxes I  also carry a tire repair kit.
with these tools at my disposal I can handle tire emergencies.
 
Thanks, - Albert from Pennsylvania





A traitorous act! Kerry Signs UN Arms Trade Treaty — Civilian Disarmament Advancing

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Loyal content contributor RBS spotted this on Craigslist: Brand New Atlas Survival Shelter - $105000 (Council, Idaho)

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Leslie in New Mexico mentioned: Reese Case: Date Set for the Appeal

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Why Revolution is axing the storyline that drove the entire 1st season. In an Orwellian lexicon shift, the "Patriots" are now the designated evil villains! (Last season it was a "Militia.") The first season had rather lame acting and implausible situations. To suffer through the 2nd season (both lame and with even more overt brainwashing) is OTT. Do not subject yourself or your family to this nonsense!



"Take a deep breath and remember that the whole world sucks, America sucks less, and Texas during deer season doesn't suck at all." - Ted Nugent


Friday, September 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 and the queue for that round is full, but get busy writing and e-mail us your entry for Round 49. 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 never-ending threat of the TEOTWAWKI looms in the depth of all of our minds.  My work experience lays primarily in public safety, government peroration to emergency response, tactical team assaults, gang mentality and survival, logistics and law enforcement radio communication.  My personal experience is very broad beginning with my first job at age 15, working continuously through college, being married for the past 16 years to my “high school sweetheart” and raising three young children.  I have been validated in court as an expert in several fields regarding gangs, firearms and narcotics.  I would like to share with you my thoughts and expertise relating to successfully bugging out of an urban area.

My family and I happen to live in the California Bay Area and like many of the SurvivalBlog.com readers, live in a heavily-populated urban area.  Don’t be fooled though, many of us urbanites are just like our rural area pepper counterparts; we just haven’t made the jump to move to the desirable off grid lifestyle, full time.  That being said, most urban based preppers are vested in the communities we live in, go to Church/Temple, donate time and resources to local charities, and are involved in our children’s school(s) as well as many extracurricular activities.  Most of us have bug out plans and a small network of family and friends to help us achieve the goal of getting our families out safely.  However, the looming challenge is knowing the right time to leave, weather to leave together or in groups, what mode of transportation will be available (vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, small aircraft, boat), what we can bring based on how we can travel, safe routs of travel (neighborhoods, highways, bridges, chokepoints, time of day, waterways, air travel) and realistic time needed for travel to your safe location.

Deciphering the right time to leave the city or urban areas is something that you have to research in advance.  It’s not something one can effectively do after the mass evacuation crisis has started.  I recommend paying attention to the raw materials trade markets, indicators of local government preparations, public schools and local airports.  While these are not traditional sources of impending danger information what each one of them show are immediate shifts in normal behavior, change in the flow of resources and change in human behavior.

The raw materials markets show the flow of milled lumber mostly white fir to China, metals, mostly recycled metals overseas especially at a reduced rate, recycled oil products to Southern America and lastly vehicle buyback programs such as Cash for Clunkers, Kars for Kids and Habitat.org.  These programs receive significant government funding to get abandoned vehicles, boats, RVs and trailers off the streets of America.  When we see the price of white fir lumber drop, the price per shipping container of metal or aluminum drop, the price to recycle your used oil increase or having to pay to “donate” your vehicle a shift in normalcy is on the horizon.  While these indicators may not be immediate indicators you should maintain a watchful eye on one or all of them to make a predicative analysis of the fall of the USD.

Indicators of local government preparations include an increase of public disaster drills (outside the norm), more specialized emergency management equipment being stored extensively at and around public safety buildings rather than at city or county corporation yards and police and fire personal response times increasing to a higher than normal routine.  When you notice changes in staged emergency management equipment and supplies at the public safety building in your community you should anticipate a large event taking place.  If it’s a preplanned event such as a fair, a celebration or a parade generally there is no cause for alarm.  But if the changes you notice appear unplanned or in such duration that goes beyond normal parameters you should pay attention.  Again these signs alone may not be indicators you should bug out, but the totality of your research and observations will be the deciding factor.

Changes in behavior at the public schools relating to free lunch programs, after school program accessibility and an increase in teacher absences are signs that the transportation logistics are failing and the priorities of the school administrators are changing.  The focus will shift from keeping children at the school to surviving with what funds and resources the schools left. 

Changes of behavior at the airports will show similar concerns.  When air fuel costs go up, plane tickets go up.  When airport TSA restrictions go up, freedom and liberty go down based directly on actions of the TSA Director.  This should raise eyebrows and should be evaluated along with the other change of behavior signs in your communities.

When you decide to leave you will need to already have a preplanned route as well as a secondary route for redundancy.  Your primary route will generally be the shortest you can take by way of a vehicle on a paved road.  If you have access to a small aircraft you will likely be traveling by vehicle with your supplies to the airport.  The same goes for waterway travel.  You will generally need a vehicle to get to a harbor or a boat launch with your gear to leave the heavily populated urban areas.  The most significant dilemma for most urban area preppers is not leaving too early where you may face being fired for not reporting to work if things don’t go bad and not waiting too long where all the highways are packed bumper to bumper where you can’t get out.  The last thing any of us want to do is lose our job if we leave without notice and are released from our employer in a non-emergency scenario.

A solution may be to leave in groups at staggered start times.  Those who have a low risk of a significant impact for leaving early are those like home makers who would face no more than a child’s school absence, telecommuters who don’t have to report to an office, business owners who decide not to open their business for a day or two, retirees who don’t have commitments in their communities and obviously those who are on their regular days off from work.  Those who can leave early with little or no recourse should leave as soon as the indicators outlined above begin to show.  Those who have jobs where leaving would cause employer concern such as construction, infrastructure jobs, public safety, government offices or other employers who require prior notification for unplanned absences, will face a tough decision.  At some point you will have to make the call to leave knowing your unexcused absence will have a substantial affect on your future employment.  Sometimes it’s a gamble and sometimes it’s an educated decision on your part.  Those who have fled suspecting troubled times in the past have suffered the loss of a job or disciplinary action because of their unexcused absence.  They know all too well what can happen for their decision to leave.  All I can suggest is you study the signs and make the best decision for you and your loved ones.

Determining you mode of travel is simple, if you have the discretionary free time and if you leave early enough.  Unfortunately that is not the reality for most of the working class in the urban environment.  You need to plan for moderate to heavy vehicular traffic.  Pack extra provisions, fuel and comfort items you and loved ones need to make the extended trip palatable.  Secondly plan for extra security measures.  Having quick and easy access to a firearm is you first defense when faced with marauders so it’s essential that you have one close to you when traveling during these troubling times.  If you flee in a vehicle is would be easy to inconspicuously and legally carry firearms with you even in the most restrictive states like California and New York.  All states allow legal vehicle transportation of firearms.  Some states are more restrictive than others and require the firearm be in a locked case and with the ammunition stored away from the firearm in the vehicle, but most do not specifically define what a locked case is and don’t require the ammunition be locked or unloaded from a magazine.  That being said I have seen some very creative case locks which include “rope”, zip ties, bailing wire and twist ties.  While under normal circumstances I would recommend sticking with a traditional key or combination lock, I think in a bug out situation law enforcement officials will be less worried about the manner in which you chose to transport your firearm and more concerned with problems of keeping the peace.

Be wary of hasty road blocks and haphazard detours.  Most traditional law enforcement road blocks need to have proper signage and notification and will “look official.”  Your best option to avoid checkpoints all together.  When driving keep your must keep your eyes on the horizon and always be looking ahead.  Travel efficiently but not too fast where you may come upon a roadblock too fast and can’t get out of the queue line before your trapped and committed.  At the onset your most efficient way of travel will be on the Highways and Freeways.  During the later stages of the exodus you will have to divert to your secondary travel route and stick to back country roads.  Lastly as a general rule never park your vehicle(s) with less than half a tank of fuel.  To do otherwise is lazy and foolish.  I shouldn’t have to say anything more on that topic.

If another mode of travel is your plan such as a boat, small aircraft or motorcycle/quad then the options open up for you.  Small winged air travel being the safest you will not need to be as concerned with the roadways.  You will however need to be concerned about flight restrictions and filing of flight plans.  If you are traveling by boat you are sure to run into some resistance and chaos at the docks with others fleeing the later you leave.  You should expect to run into frantic citizens loading copious amounts of supplies onto their boats at the same time.  The boat docks at most marinas are not designed for mass exodus and lots of people piling provisions along the docks at the same time will cause confusion and delay.  For those scenarios, it’s imperative you store as much gear on your bug out boat prior to the event to avoid delays and confrontations on the ramps and docks.  Stay light and quick and you can weave yourself and family through the rushes at the docks very efficiently. 

If the motorcycle or quad is your planed way of travel be prepared to carry extra fuel along with all your other gear which will be seen by all.  While we would like to conceal our gear and fuel it’s nearly impossible on a motorcycle or quad.  I would suggest painting your jerry cans to at least appear like traditional saddle bags so at first glance it doesn’t look like a gas can.  Also I would recommend a siphon.  There small light and can make the world of difference between only making it part of the way and walking versus riding all the way to your destination.

Travel routes and times are critical.  Plan primary, secondary and alternate routes out.  Have a road map or atlas with you so you can recalculate your route if needed.  GPS is a great tool until Murphy’s Law kicks in and it doesn’t work for any number of reasons (government satellite shut down, EMP, CME, system over use overload, etc…).  Areas of concern are heavily populated areas, low income housing blocks, chokepoints, bridges, tunnels, and highway to highway intersections.  Determining routs around these potential ambush points is your key to your safe travel.  Leaving early enough to avoid these problem areas is ideal but may not be possible.  If you run into a choke point sometimes it’s best to pull over to a safe location and observe for a half hour or so.  Learn from others mistakes and adjust your route accordingly.  Stay alert and watch your surroundings.

Most likely the best time to leave is late at night.  Just as the early bird gets the worm, the early traveler gets less traffic.  Leave after midnight but before 5:00 am.  You should give yourself enough time to be out of the populated areas in into the country before 5:00 am so plan for delays and rest stops if needed.  While headlights can be seen for up to a mile away and ambushes can be organized on you approach, it’s still safer and more efficient to travel at night.  Night vision capabilities are premium when driving at night but most of us can’t afford such an expense.  Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst and always have contingency plans.  The government does for just about everything having to do with emergency response, so why shouldn’t you?

The last two options are the least desirable.  Bicycling or walking are obviously slow and open you up to all sorts of potential problems.  While you will benefit from moving quietly while creating a small silhouette of yourself, you will have no cover or concealment.  Additionally traveling by bicycle or by foot will extend your travel time immensely so plan for it.  Coordinate it ahead of time with your group so members know to expect you in weeks rather than days or hours.

Realistic travel times need to be planned for.  If your bug out location is a five hour drive during normal conditions, then plan for twice that during times of crisis.  Inevitably you will be faced with delays, detours, unplanned refueling stops when the opportunity arises and necessary renaissance stops.  Plan for stopping to top off your fuel tanks at every reasonable opportunity you have.  Fuel prices could be rising every few hours and credit cards systems could be corrupted or shut down without warning.  I would suggest using a charge card as much as you can while the systems are still active.  Save your cash until the credit systems stop working then transition to your cash.  If/when you reach your bug out location and the credit card systems are still functional, unload your gear and family and go back out to the closest fill station and top everything off.  Fuel will be worth it’s weigh in gold when the refineries shut down and/or the fuel trucks stop rolling.  If nothing more, fuel will be a good bartering item for the new America.

In conclusion, be prepared, make the sacrifices now so you can live comfortably in the future.  Having preparations stored provides most with a sense of accomplishment and security in your future.  As Americans we mustn’t forget the duty of charity and helping others out.  That being said, take care of yourself, your loved ones and your group.  After then, and only then as J. W. Rawles says, “Give until it hurts.”  With that, be safe, plan ahead and God Bless.



Captain Rawles,
I saw the disagreement from the former natural gas industry gent located in Texas about your grid assertions as they relate to potential natural gas outages.

Two years ago in Northern New Mexico there was a multi-day natural gas outage to 30,000 homes and it was due to precautionary measures from Texas, caused by rolling blackouts.  New Mexico made the decision to keep the population centers pressurized since it would be more difficult to get the pressure back up in those areas compared to the smaller yet more remote pipelines in the northern part of the state.  I have friends in Taos, New Mexico that confirmed this for me. - G.P.

Mr Rawles -
You wrote: "Most residential refrigerators normally draw around 12 amps, but the peak load (on startup), expressed as Locked Rotor Amps (LRAs), can be substantially higher."

That might be true for older refrigerator designs, but is not true for at least some modern refrigerators. We have a large Samsung French door style refrigerator that draws (annual average) only 60 watts. When I read the specifications I could hardly believe it so I ran the fridge on a Kill-A-Watt meter for a couple of months to confirm. Running power
(compressor running) was 120 watts and the VA (what you want to use for sizing an inverter) was 180 VA with the compressor running, but the average over time was right where they claimed at 60 watts. To put this into Amps, the running current is 1.5 Amps, and the average is around 0.75 Amps.

This is not some tiny little fridge but a very large 28 cubic foot model with water and ice through the doors, LED lighting, and lots of nice features.

I am currently building a dedicated solar electric system which with a little bit of luck will allow me to take this fridge totally off-grid. - R.R.

Dear James,
I've been repairing refrigerators for several years. It's true, they do need a bigger [current] than you think compressor to start. One thing I haven't actually tried, but makes sense. There is a compressor hard start kit, which is often used by us repair guys, when the factory supplied compressor start relay goes bad. The hard start kit contains a big start capacitor, which helps with torque. Now, does that reduce the inrush starting current? I'm not sure, but it would appear so.

If your existing generator isn't quite big enough to start the refrigerator, might be able to call a refrigerator guy, and ask to have a hard start kit put on. Or buy one online, you are electrically minded.

One of the readers writes about "locked rotor current," (LRC.) Most of the literature and such that I read, talks about Locked Rotor Amps (LRA.)

Thanks for discussing the subjects few others want to get near. - Regards, C.A.Y.

Hello JWR,
My experience with a 2 kilowatt generator (a Yamaha EF2000iS) avoided all the study of LRA requirements.  Using extension cords and a through-the-wall connection, the little Yamaha runs two full-size refrigerators, a small chest-type freezer and a pellet stove most of the night on a gallon of gasoline.  Readers may be interested that the bearings in the Yamaha are rated for twice the life of the bearings in a Honda. Best Regards,  - D.H.



Financial Betrayal - Collapse Assured

H.L. sent: Wild Hogs Roam Streets, Scare People Near Atlanta

Anthony M. forwarded this link: The Fed's 'hidden agenda' behind money-printing. Here is the crux of it: "The CBO estimates that by 2020 total debt held by the public will be $16.6 trillion as a result of the rising accumulated debt. Do the math: If we were to pay an average interest rate on our debt of 5.7 percent, rather than the 2.4 percent we pay today, in 2020 our debt service cost will be about $930 billion. Now compare that to the amount the Internal Revenue Service collects from us in personal income taxes.
In 2012, that amount was $1.1 trillion, meaning that if interest rates went back to a more normal level of, say, 5.7 percent, 85 percent of all personal income taxes collected would go to servicing the debt. No wonder the Fed is worried..."

Items from The Economatrix:

Quantitative Easing Worked For The Weimar Republic For A Little While Too

20 Ordinary Americans Talk About The Economic Despair That Is Growing Like A Cancer All Around Them

Dollar Crash Now Or Crash Later. How Long Can Gold Be Kept In The Box?



G.G. sent this: Modoc County joins Siskiyou in state of Jefferson bid for secession

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Jeff Soyer of the Alphecca blog has posted a positive review of my soon to be released novel, Expatriates. And BTW, I just noticed that GoodReads and ChristianBook.com have both opened up their Expatriates pages for reviews. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone who has already read an advance copy would post their review at those sites. (Meanwhile, reviews are still temporarily blocked on the Amazon.com and BN.com sites until the October 1st release date.)

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Hollywood's New Favorite Cars Are Armored and Electrified. And perhaps even more practical (in these perilous days,) don't skip watching this: How to Turn Your Vehicle Into a Statement of Tech Activism Against the Police State

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CONEXes are not secure! You need trustworthy neighbors to watch your property when you are absent. 19 guns stolen from AZ military weapons shop. This link was courtesy of Michael Z. Williamson (SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large.)



"Soccer's a 'jogging man's' sport and a sport for overprotective mothers who want to shield their young men from injury. I find soccer to be a robust metaphor for European foreign policy." - Temple University Professor Stanley Ridgeley (Stan was one of my MIOBC classmates, back in 1985.)


Thursday, September 26, 2013


The Age of Deception and Betrayal continues: Kerry signs UN arms treaty, senators threaten to block it. For the BHO regime to have proceeded with this--even though there was clearly no majority support in the Senate--was despicable. Meanwhile, there was a cloture vote cut off Senator Ted Cruz's filibuster of the Obamacare Continuing Resolution. This is beyond sad.

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September 26th is the birthday of the late Jack LaLanne. (Born 1914, died January 23, 2011.) His feats of strength were amazing. And he was just 5'6" tall.

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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 and the queue for that round is full, but get busy writing and e-mail us your entry for Round 49. 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.



Despite years of reading valid arguments for moving to the American Redoubt or other remote area, of the hundreds of preppers I've met I can count on one hand those who made the move and most of those were retired.  I meet relatively few preppers living at a secluded retreat, a few with secondary retreats, many planning to bug out to property they do not own (hopefully by agreement), and the majority still living in and around cities with no alternative plan to shelter in place.  Only one of those four types I just described is unlikely to be on the road at some time after a trigger event. According to NOAA, 39% of Americans live in counties directly on the shoreline.  It is for those who are not already where they intend to weather the long emergency that is to come that I share my experience.    

I am blessed to live in what has been described by many publications as one of the best small cities in the U.S.  Not only are we hours from cities with populations over 30,000, but our infrastructure is designed to withstand the occasional two-week power outage which happens every few years.  When our local grid goes down water still flows from large tanks perched high on the surrounding peaks.  We are close enough to the natural gas wells that even the elderly do not remember a time when gas stopped flowing to our homes.  We are surrounded by rivers and lakes with standing dead timber and wild game so prolific they are both considered nuisances.  While this is great for localized disasters it is still too population dense for comfort during a long-term world-changing event at 274 people per square mile, I purchased acreage in a secluded and gated community about an hour away via the highway, a couple hours via secondary roads, and a few days walk via mostly rail trail with caches buried along the route.  Deep in a holler on a dead end gated road off a dead end paved road off a township road I built a wood-heated, solar-powered cabin with hot and cold running water which my neighbor looks after in my absence.  Outbuildings and other infrastructure scatter the hillside.

Just when I thought I had everything squared away, my wife came home excited about an opportunity for professional advancement.  This new position would be closer to her parents which had become important because we recently had our first child.  My concern was the location.  It was in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia which sits on a Peninsula between Naval Station Norfolk (the world's largest naval base) and Surry Nuclear Power Plant.  Traffic on I-68 is a bear in both directions on an average day and horrendous around the holidays.  Remote controlled gates shut down Eastbound on ramps so all lanes serve westbound traffic in the event of a hurricane or other evacuation.  State studies show that it would take 36 hours to evacuate South Hampton Roads in the event of a hurricane and that is less than half the 1.7 Million residents of the metropolitan area.  Rob Case, principal transportation engineer for the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization stated "that means you'd be sitting in your car for up to 30 hours, then you'd probably run out of gas.”  If we didn't leave early we would have to bug in until the crowds thinned.  This close to such an attractive military target that meant nothing less than a hardened bomb shelter would suffice.

Fortunately my wife did not get the job so it cost me nothing to be a supportive husband to someone who, although she is not at all interested in preparedness, is supportive of my spending tens of thousands of dollars and much of my spare time pursuing it.  Although I did not have to implement the plan, the thought process I went through in developing a way to get back to my mountain retreat from such a desperate locale helped me to improve my existing plan for the much shorter distance from this small city.  I share it here in hopes that those who cannot relocate pre-incident will find it helpful in making an assessment and developing an evacuation plan.

SWOT Analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
This term I learned pursuing my MBA in the nineties is an appropriate way to consider the strengths and weaknesses of both the location and the person in that location.

S = Strengths:  As it is on a peninsula, the only good thing I could find about Hampton Roads is that it borders the James River on one side.  There are probably more, but since I never had to actually move there I did not discover them.  In the interests of humility I will limit the explanation of my personal strengths to those relevant to that fact.  Part of my job when I worked for the Boy Scouts of America was to pilot a boat ferrying scouts from typical camps to my high adventure outpost.

Weaknesses:  Hampton Roads is an overcrowded peninsula and even during “normal” times traffic is often at a standstill on I-64 in various spots between Hampton and Richmond.  As I explained earlier, even if all lanes are going NorthWest experts believe it could take days to cover that 75 mile stretch.  My relevant personal weakness is that I absolutely hate traffic!  I somehow managed a commute of six lanes each way when I was a graduate student in Atlanta, Georgia.  As I've grown older, however, I'm on edge the entire time I'm in traffic.

Opportunities: I could buy a boat which is not only enjoyable during good times.  Since as you say, two is one and one is none I would get both a cruiser and a dingy.  Although much farther away moving close to my wife's family would provide the opportunity for more time at the retreat since I'm the primary care giver of our toddler.

Threats:  Greater cultural diversity in the Hampton area has resulted unprovoked attacks.  A newspaper reporter was recently dragged from his car and beaten by a mob merely because of the color of his skin.  This friction could escalate following a trigger event because people need someone to blame and these differences are the most apparent.

Since this essay is about getting out of the city I will dispense with all the preparations I would need to make based upon identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats because these are going to change substantially.  I will instead focus on the subject of this essay which is escaping from a crowded city to a preplanned safer location.  Here in Appalachia I buried my first cache with essentials similar to a bug out bag within a day's walk in case we have to leave with only the clothes on our back. In this hypothetical example, however, we will leave from home fully provisioned and experience several setbacks so as to explore the greatest number of possibilities:

I'm home with our daughter when normal programming is interrupted news of a trigger event.  I immediately text COME HOME NOW SHTF to my wife at the nearby university.  She heads for home before most people realize the intensity of the situation while I slide out Coleman Scanoe onto its rack on the roof of our Jeep Liberty.  After filling the back with our bug out bags, the electric trolling motor in its EMP resistant metal box, and the portion of my armory I keep at the house, I slide the motorcycle rack into the hitch receiver and roll my Suzuki DR350 into place.  My wife makes it home in time to change change clothes and grab something for us to eat on the road before we head out the door.

Traffic in our residential neighborhood is not much different than during Trick-or-Treat, but once we get onto the main streets traffic is heavy and the radio reports it is already getting messy on the Interstate.  We decide to take the two-lane secondary road which we are familiar with from trying to avoid stop-and-go traffic while visiting the in laws.  I creeps along for a while until it stops completely.  We hear on the CB that there has been an accident up ahead, but unlike before we do not hear the sounds of sirens converging on their location.  They must be tied up elsewhere meaning the sea of vehicles isn't going anywhere.  People are still civil, but we do not want to be trapped her when darkness falls.  Doing the math, we decide we have to leave the Jeep behind.  We consider rolling the DR350 off it rack behind the Jeep and winding our way through the traffic, but we are still far down the peninsula and although I've seen families of five weaving through traffic on similar motorbikes in third-world countries, they weren't trying to carry as much stuff as we do.  Fortunately, the great majority of the traffic is trying to leave and while there are people waiting at intersections to enter this mess, no one is driving away from it on the streets perpendicular to the golden horde.  There are several cars in the other lane prevent me from turning toward the James River so I make a deal with the neckless behemoth in the truck next to me to give him the motorcycle if he can clear a path.  Under normal circumstances that would be a foolish trade, but I can't take it with me.  Within a few minutes we are at the James River and shortly thereafter the Scanoe is in the water with the trolling motor attach and the hull filled with the supplies from the Jeep.

It's decision time again.  Do we head twenty miles down river in hopes our cruiser does not pass us coming up river along the way?  I know if I had no other options I would have stolen one myself.  Maybe I should have headed there to begin with, but hindsight is 20/20.  Since we want to get as far away as possible before dark and the nuclear power plant on the other side of the river is still stable, we opt to head upriver in the Scanoe to the first asset I pre-positioned in a more rural area on the other side of the river.  We arrive just after sunset at the place I pay a monthly fee to store my farm truck.  I could get by with driving a 1989 Ford F250 Diesel with rust holes and no exhaust muffler in the back woods of West Virginia, but when we moved to the big city I had to leave it behind.  Instead of leaving it at the retreat I opted to strategically place it within walking distance and on the other side of the James River.  One weekend a month on my way back and forth to my retreat I stop and maintain this and my other caches which I will describe later.

It doesn't take long to get the truck loaded and on the way because I did not have to use the alternate starting procedure necessary in the event an EMP disables the ignition and glow plugs.  Traffic is still heavy on this two-lane rural highway, but with very few people trying to enter the flow from side roads it moves along at a good pace, but it still takes three hours to get to our next asset, a small self-storage unit near the small town of Farmville, Virginia population 8,200.  We arrive physically exhausted so instead of the two of us taking shifts sleeping we back the truck up as close to the roll-up door of the unit as possible, lock the doors, and set the portable motion alarms stored in the unit before locking the outside hasp open with the padlock, rolling down the door, and securing it with a chain.  I would prefer a guard, but I'll sleep in the bottom bunk with my battle rifle on my chest while my family rests up top because we want to get on the road before day break.

At 5:00 AM the battery powered alarm clock I've had since I lived in a tent for a living screams me awake.  While my wife tends to the toddler and prepares a simple breakfast, I replenish our water supply from the 50 gallon food-grade plastic barrel and load the canned food (rotated monthly due to high heat) into the back of the Jeep.  I empty the remaining contents of this 5' x 10' self-storage unit onto a large tarp which I wrap up like a burrito and place into the back of the truck.  I also top off my tank with stored diesel and ratchet down the gasoline cans that I moved from the unit to the back of the truck when we arrived. 

Except for some trepidation when we passed under I-64/81 in the middle of nowhere, the remaining 250 miles to our retreat is largely uneventful.  I remembered how foolish I felt driving up and down the Interstate with my GPS mapping road that go under the Interstate, but without off ramps. We stopped at our buried cache in Mon National Forest and added those items to our load.  More people seemed to be open carrying then usual, but it's legal here and we may just be extra sensitive.  It's not unusual and according to at least one survey we have the highest rate of armed households East of the Mississippi.  By keeping the truck registered in our retreat state, sticking to back roads, and crossing under Interstates where there are no exists, we were able to avoid road blocks.  We arrived back at our retreat community with twenty-four hours of leaving Hampton, before the bridge to our community was closed, and within the nine meal buffer before anarchy.



James,
Just wanted to amplify the recent contribution on Airsoft which focused mainly on Airsoft battle rifle emulations.

Our concealed carry instructor had mention Airsoft handguns as CQB/indoor training and drill options. In particular he thought well of the "GreenGas" Blowback emulations of semi-auto handguns. I filed this under someday and didn't begin to investigate Airsoft handguns until the recent spike in ammo prices. 

The propellant, Green Gas, is propane with a bit of silicon oil added for a lubricant. Adapters are available so you may use larger (lantern and torch size) propane tanks which are more economical.You can purchase silicone oil separately and add a drop to the intake before you fill in this fashion. Airsoft pistol magazines in addition to holding the ammo have a tank to hold the propellant gas. I looked in particular at green gas "blow back" pistols. (With these, the slide cycles with each trigger pull.) The action is very realistic while the projectile is non-lethal. Noise levels indoors are tolerable without protection unless you are in a very live hard surfaced room; outdoors noise is not stealth but negligible.

There are some excellent handgun emulations. Some manufactures have licensed emulations of their handguns to airsoft manufacture. These include trademark logos and other details . Others have merely looked the other way as long as the emulation is fairly generic and avoids logos, trade names and proprietary features. Glock has been extremely aggressive in suppressing any appearance, including descriptions, that a particular pistol is "Glock-like." You will however find some models of a G 19, 17, 16 or something pistols available that look very like an un-named 9mm handgun from a certain manufacturer.  Mine came in a plain cardboard box (turned out to be the original Taiwanese box refolded inside out). BTW most all airsoft manufacturers are in Taiwan.

A major pistol manufacturer is KWA/KSC reputed to produce reliable high quality airsoft pistols. (From what I have been able to discern they are in many cases the same company. That is, there is no discernible difference in like airsoft pistols labeled KWA or KSC manufacture.)

I purchased a KSC, "G" from AirSplat.com and a KWA M9 PTP from Pyramydair.com (the latter is a Beretta 92F in all but name). The "G" features the safety trigger that Glock is known for. Both pistols take down in the same fashion as their gunpowder counterparts. They weigh the same within a fraction. This includes the magazines which weighs the same as a fully loaded standard version of the respective model. The Beretta clone is all metal and the "G" is plastic and metal in the same places as its "no-namesake".

Since the form factor is reasonably identical, I can use my normal Glock carry holster which is leather IWB but holstering tends to cycle the slide unless I hold my thumb on the rear. The slide spring required in these devices is necessarily weaker than that of a full blow cousin and the firm grasp of this holster is a bit much for it. I have other holsters (who doesn't have a drawer full?) but I'd rather train with what I normally wear. Thumb on the rear of the slide or the sight does not seem likely to lead to adverse consequences.
Recommend at least one additional mag when you purchase a pistol (ensures compatibility). They are not inexpensive as they contain a propellant pressure tank, valves etc in addition to ammo feed. The mags are heavy (emulating fully loaded mags) and they have touchy parts... Therefore, you do not want to drop them on the floor, rocks etc. doing mag change drills.

These devices are a great training aid within the limits previously mentioned by JWR. (Namely: Keeping the correct mindset on cover versus concealment and effective range.)

Disclaimer: I have no relationship with the previous mentioned suppliers. I chose them based on comments I found on the net that indicated they were reliable. They filled my orders but I have had no occasion to test their customer service beyond that simple relationship. - Dollardog





German chancellor’s drone “attack” shows the threat of weaponized UAVs. JWR's Comment: FWIW, I've had UAVIED in the SurvivalBlog Glossary since 2006.

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The Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course (now priced at just $19.97), has been selling briskly. It is now available only via digital download, but once you have that, you are welcome to print out a hard copy for your reference binder.

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The Realities of Applied Combat Marksmanship (Or, Why Basic Marksmanship Training is Just Not Enough)

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G.G. suggested: California’s great gun grab: State’s sweeping gun control bills target firearms, ammo — and hunting

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I was recently interviewed by Joyce Riley on The Power Hour. You can skip forward to the 8 minute mark for the beginning of my interview.



"We are deceived when we consent to think about the 'price of gold.' At the very outset of our thoughts regarding gold, we are wrong, just as astronomers prior to Copernicus were wrong in thinking about the solar system as geo-centric, with the Sun, Moon and planets describing perfect circles around Earth. Gold is − to follow the astronomical simile − the center of the monetary universe, and the planets − the currencies − circle the Sun, which represents gold. The correct starting point is the price of a currency expressed in terms of gold, and not the other way around.

When the price of the dollar was fixed at $20.67 per ounce of gold, up to the time of FDR, the price of the dollar was $1/20.67 = .0483782 oz. of gold, or 4.84 hundredths of an ounce of gold.

When FDR "raised the price of gold" he actually lowered the price of the dollar: $1/35 = .028574 oz. of gold, or 2.86 hundredths of an ounce.

Thus, FDR lowered the price of the dollar from 4.84 hundredths, to 2.86 hundredths of an ounce." - Hugo Salinas Price


Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Today we present a guest article written under the pen name "Zachary Taylor" that was originally published as part of The Last Man On Earth Studies.



Basic mechanical knowledge and skills are something that any person who hopes to be successful in TEOTWAWKI must have. I am not speaking just about vehicles, but vehicles are an excellent avenue to learn them. I can only talk with authority on my own past, but I know that the wealth of much of my knowledge comes from my extensive background in working on cars.

I won't claim that any of this post is going to be something that you have never read before. Heck, I am willing to bet that you heard much of this speech by a parent or grandfather the day you turned 16. I know I did. And, like almost everyone in this country, I rolled my eyes.

Before you roll your eyes, I propose that we conduct a quick experiment.

I want you to drive down your local heavily used state highway or interstate, say, the one you drive on every day to work. Within 5 miles, you will see a broken down car. Now, the reason for this breakdown can and will vary. It could be because of a catastrophic motor event or a wreck,  but 90% of the time, it is there because the driver doesn't understand the basics of vehicle maintenance, the limits of the vehicle, or how to fix the vehicle in either event.

Tire Maintenance
What's the most common automotive issue I see on American's roadways? Flat tires. Flat tires claim more roadside breakdowns than anything else. And not because the tire went flat, but because the owner either didn't have a spare, the spare was flat, or most likely can't change the tire. Of these cars you see on the side of the road, how many have a jack underneath them, or a wheel propping the car up, and were simply abandoned mid-task? How many of them are just left there because they didn't have AAA? I have seen many a fine car left alone on the interstate for hours or days at a time.

Changing a tire is perhaps the simplest task a motorist can learn. And while it is simple, it teaches several lessons while also being a useful and money saving skill. These skills can save you valuable time and money in the every day world, while perhaps saving your life down the line. Changing a tire teaches many things including, but not limited to, the order of steps needed to complete an involved task, it teaches using a long handled tool to develop a moment to break loose lugs, balancing an unevenly weighed object, and even safety.

Now, for those of you who can change a flat tire, you realize that while it's an inconvenient, it isn't a big deal. For those of you who have practiced many times in your life, it is now a habit and can be easily fixed in a matter of minutes. Now, for those of you that can't....what does a flat tire cost you? Mere minutes? Or hours? Do you have to call someone to come help you? What about their time? Does it cost you money? How is your stress level when you miss something important?

Yet, many times the problem is deeper than that.  I remember as a teenager my grandmother regularly telling me that my tires looked flat and that I needed to put air in them. But I always ignored her until one day the rim cut the tire down and I had a blowout. I remember driving to Auburn one time and I had a nasty blowout because a randomly 100 degree day caused the tire pressure to increase beyond the capability of the tire. In either case, simply paying attention to the tires would have raised an alarm and I would have rectified the situation. Not to mention that it would have saved me several hundred dollars.  But, I wasn't in the habit of paying attention to my vehicle, neither by checking it out whenever I thought about it or paying attention to it's behavior on the road.

Here are many things that can tip you off to a tire issue, but all require the driver to be in tune to the vehicle:

  • Uneven wear on the treads. If it's worn on the outside, the tire pressure has been too low. If it's worn in the center, the tire pressure is to high.
  •  Does the care pull to one side or the other while driving? This could be a misalignment or one under inflated tire, which will also cause uneven wear. 
  • Is there a "wobble"? If so, you could have tread separation and a blowout could be imminent. 

Furthermore, great care should be taken while driving to limit the hazards to tires. 

  • Always avoid potholes. It may not seems deep or wide, and maybe you have run over thousands of them in your life. But it only takes the right one at the right angle and speed to cut down a tire. That's a a real bad thing to have happen at 70. 
  • Never run over objects on the road. IT may look like a piece of paper, but it could be a shard of metal or class ready to cut your tire. It may be a piece of plywood. Then again, it could be covered with nails. 

Now, how about understanding the limitations of your tires? For example, do you know what the capabilities of a type of tire might be? Do you know if the tires on your current vehicle can be used to go off-road, if the need arises? Conversely, do you know just how long to expect a set of off-road tires to last on the street? In the case of a damaged tire, for example, a cut tire...do you know how to accurately gauge the remaining usefulness of that tire? Or know how to extend it's life by lowering tire pressure and travel speed? In the event of a flat tire, do you know just how fast you can continue to drive on it if need be? Or how to know if you have traveled as far as the physical limits of the flat tire will allow? Do you know what the danger signs of a tire are and can you gauge the severity? For example, what it means when you see the steel belts sticking out of a tire? Do you know what the effective stopping distance in your car is in all weather conditions? Specifically, do you know the conditions of your tires and how they might perform i the rain? In all cases, it requires the drive to be in tune with their vehicle, which in this age of automation and luxury, makes it easy for people to ignore all these important signs. 

So, many of you are asking just how this might save your life in TEOTWAWKI. Let's talk about one of my posts from the 5 Stages of Preparedness. Specifically, Stage 1: The Immediate. Let's say you have identified a major threat to all cities, specifically the one you live in. While it is important to always take care of your vehicle for your everyday life, it could become vital to your survival. Specifically, if you have to get out of Dodge. You will have so many other things on your mind that you don't need to be worried about if your vehicle will get you where you need to go. Getting into habits such as checking tire conditions and pressure will go a long way to ensuring that at least the tires of your vehicle will hold up.  And, while you are on the go, you have to take care that you limit putting it in circumstances that it might fail you. Paying attention to driving conditions, specifically on the road, may save you minutes, hours, or even a dangerous circumstance that may claim others. For example, if almost everyone is trying to escape a city, the roadways will undoubtedly be extremely busy. There will be wrecks. There will be objects on the road. Slowing down, paying attention, and limiting the potential for cutting down you tires may save you when it may doom others. What if it' raining? Getting out is the priority, but knowing the effective stopping distance of your tires due to their physical condition could save you from a costly wreck. 

But things happen. Sometimes there are forces you can't control. What will you do then? Could you change a tire if you had to? More importantly, can you do it quickly and safely? Will it be such a habit that you can pay attention to your surroundings? What if you didn't already have a vehicle and you needed one. You find one on the side of the road, abandoned. Keys still in it. But the owner couldn't figure out how to use a jack. With 5 minutes work, you have secured potentially life saving transportation. We talked about understanding the limitations of the tire. Let's say that you know there is a potential problem developing that you have identified. You also know that stopping is not a possibility. Understanding the limitations of the tires may allow you to continue your path. While it may not be the optimum speed or method, it may be enough to put those crucial miles behind you. 

What does it take to learn this skill? Just time. Luckily for you, your car manufacturer gave you all the tools you would need. I am willing to bet that there are instructions on the back of the cover panel to the secret compartment that houses the jack and the breaker bar in the trunk of your car. So, take some time on a Saturday afternoon to find out where that compartment is. Pull the cover off, grab the tools, and follow the directions. I promise that even the slowest of you will only need to change the tire 3 times before you will have it down. Even if you don't believe in TEOTWAWKI, you have to believe in saving time and money. How about keeping you from walking down an interstate late one night to find a gas station? I can't think of anything more scary for a woman than the thought of having to start walking down the street to find help.

Indirectly, there is a lot of things a person can gain from learning the basics of tire maintenance. How about the money and time that you can save from simply being in tune with your vehicle by getting in the habit of paying attention to the little things. No one likes buying tires. That's a fact. Identifying potential problems like noticing the vehicle pulling to one side can save money by having it fixed early.  Maintaining the proper air pressure can maximize tire life, saving you money. Simply knowing how to change a tire can save you hours and stress. What about the things you can learn indirectly? Off the top of my head, I think about the cause and effect of air temperature and pressure. How about understanding mechanical properties and friction? If the tire is flat, the surface area increases, so the drag increases causing the car to pull to one side. How about using a breaker bar to overcome your own physical limitations of force? I know it all sounds simplistic to many of you. But I am not writing for those of you that understand. The average American knows virtually nothing about hands-on mechanical work of any kind. They have to learn it by living it. I can't think of a better way to learn than to do so while discovering a valuable skill that has definite uses in your daily life and potential use to save it. 



JWR,
Thank you for letting your readers know about [public utility] natural gas system compressor stations. I, for one, was was blissfully ignorant about them, and had just assumed that natural gas was "always on." So, now knowing that, I can now see that a tri-fuel generator that can quickly be changed to propane or gasoline would be best. Thanks also for mentioning the capacity limits of generators. That I was aware of, but I hadn't ever looked at the specs on my GE refrigerator/freezer. Now I can see that I need to do a "load budget", to determine what I can leave plugged in, and not bog down my generator. (It is a 3 KW, and all those lights in the house add up a load, real quick.) - Curtis N.

Mr. R. -
Regarding residential refrigerators and generators - I've tested a few, using a Kill-A-Watt and the Belkin Insight Tester and a test rig I built to use a clamp-on type multimeter. I've measured startup demands - locked rotor current (LRC) - and run current on the last 2 refrigerators I've bought, and on several owned by friends. I found that LRC averages between 1200 and 1400 watts, depending on size and design. That's about 10-12 amps (NEC - National Electrical Code - specifies that circuits be sized to use no more than 80% of the circuit's maximum capacity, so a nominal 15 amp circuit should never have to carry more than 12 amps, which is why refrigerators are on dedicated 15 amp circuits). The formula, BTW, is AMPS = WATTS divided by VOLTS. Or, WATTS = AMPS x VOLTS. Use actual measured figures for computation. For example, the utility-supplied voltage in my current house is consistently between 120.2 and 120.4 volts. My Honda EU3000i generator varies between about 114 and 122 volts depending on load.

Run current on every fridge I've tested - ranging from 18 cu ft to 26 cu ft - settles in well under 200 watts after 2-3 minutes. My old Amana 25 cu ft side-by-side consumed only 141 watts after 3 minutes, my new Samsung 26 cu ft consumes 155 running watts.

Fridge tip - outfit called ACU-RITE makes a wireless fridge and freezer thermometer, about $30 at Amazon.com. Put one of the sensors in the fridge, the other in the freezer, the display unit has a magnet to stick on the outside.  I suggest sensor placement near the warmest part of each. Experiment to find where that is. I tested my old Amana by setting the freezer control to "coldest" (which turned out to be -14 F) and adjusted the fridge to 33-34 F on the top shelf without freezing stuff below that shelf. Give the fridge 18-24 hours between setting changes to stabilize internal temperature. I then unplugged the unit and monitored temps. Without the doors being opened I found that the fridge rose to 46F in just under 6 hours, and when plugged back in took not quite 3 hours to get below 40F after cresting at 49F. The freezer never went above +5 F. On this basis I figured I could put the generator on other tasks for 5 hours at a time.

I experimented with [supplemental] external insulation, from blankets and quilts to rigid foam. Best results were with 2" thick polyisocyanurate sheets (Dow calls their version "Tuff-R") which have an R value of about 6.5 per inch. Using an infrared thermometer I found the weak spot in fridges is the door seals followed by the door itself, so I cut the side and top panels to overlap the door edges. To insulate the doors you'll have to remove the handles. Securing it with duct tape, and sealing the sheet edge joints with duct tape, insulating the back (above the opening for the compressor and related hardware), both sides, top and doors, I got another 3 hours after unplugging before fridge temps rose to 45-46F. - Nosmo


Mr. Rawles,
I don’t know where you got your information that the ‘norm’ for natural gas pipeline compressor stations is electric powered. As a former pipeline CEO of a large pipeline system and still a consultant to the industry (therefore I believe that I have some basis in fact) I would suggest at least on the inter and intra state pipeline transmission systems as well as the majority of gathering systems the compressor stations are powered by natural gas (taken from the pipeline that they are compressing). Only in recent years has there been any real shift to electric drive compressors and those are typically only in areas of the country that are EPA challenged, i.e. they are considered ‘non-attainment’ areas regarding air quality and as such permits for new equipment is difficult to obtain if they are gas fired.
 
[The EMP and grid failure risk that] is relevant is most of the control systems [for natural gas pipelines] are run on grid-supplied power and the vast amount of these controls are digital in some form or fashion these days. Thanks, T.C. in Texas



I recently had the opportunity to see the 2010 documentary titled "Inside Job", via a rented Netflix DVD. It describes the background and aftermath of the 2008 global credit crisis. I highly recommend it. We are still paying for the mistakes (and crimes) described therein, as the bailout of the financial sector and bubble re-inflation continues, to the tune of $85 billion per month, via Quantitative Easing (QE). Regulators have done nothing to rein in the risk created by the global derivatives casino, which is now even bigger than in 2007. The Fed and the Treasury are busy re-inflating the credit and housing bubbles to even larger proportions. When the next credit collapse occurs (and it will, once B.S. Bernanke and Company lose control of interest rates), it will be cataclysmic for the markets, for the purchasing power of the Dollar, and for the livelihoods of the American people. Be ready for this: Minimize your exposure to Dollars, hedge into tangibles, get out of debt, and develop a second source of income.

Over at Zero Hedge: JPMorgan Says "Buy Gold"

Ron Paul - Bernanke Said The US Economy Is In Bad Shape! He's Getting Out Before Collapse!

Items from The Economatrix:

Dollar Down As Fed Officials Cast Doubt Over Taper

New Vs. Old On DJIA 30

Fed In "Monetary Roach Motel," Won't Taper:  Schiff



Oregonians warned to prepare for the ‘big one.’ (Thanks to R.B.S. for the link.)

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I noticed that DemCAD has posted a video review of my upcoming novel Expatriates.

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Reader B.C. mentioned seeing some stirring words, over at From The Trenches: To Those Who Would But Ask

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Some useful reading, over ar Guerillamerica: Information Operations, Part Three: Operational Security

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Signs of the times: Soldier hit and dragged 3/4 mile by car. (Please make a donation, if you can afford to.)



"Everyone's got plans....until they get hit." - Heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson


Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Because of some factual errors and key omissions, today's writing contest entry on "Anesthetics for TEOTWAWKI" has been removed by the Editor.



I heard about another prepper-friendly church in the American Redoubt: Marble Community Fellowship. They are located at 3383 Hwy 25 N., Northport, Washington, 99157. (Northport is in the remote, sparsely-populated north-east corner of Washington.) They are 100 miles north of Spokane, on the Columbia River and are seeking conservative, patriotic families to relocate. They presently have only an event web site: MarbleCountry.com, but a brochure PDF titled "A Time for Solutions" is available upon request. Contact: Barry Byrd.

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A coin dealer that I can recommend is: American Coin and Vault, in Spokane, Washington. They are located on the corner of Wall St. & Nebraska, just north of Wellesley Street and south of Francis Street. (Full address; 5525 N. Wall St., Spokane, Washington 99205) I started doing business with them back when they operated out of a converted residence, back in the early 1990s.

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Check out Montana Brand Tools. Made in Ronan, Montana.

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I heard from my old friend Terry that Armageddon Armory (2809 Garrity Boulevard in Nampa, Idaho) has heavily restocked following the recent gun and ammo shortages. They sell locally, or can ship guns to your local FFL. They now have in stock: Many models of AR-15s and M4geries including Colt, Armalite, S&W, SIG-Sauer, Windham, Daniel Defense, Ruger, Anderson, Mossberg, Stag Arms, Bushmaster, and DPMS. They also sell AR receivers, bolts, stocks, parts and a huge pile of magazines including Magpul, Surefire, and more. They also have several models of AR-10s made by Armalite, Bushmaster, and DPMS. Other guns on hand include Armalite, LAR and Barrett .50 BMGs, various AKs, PTR91s, Mini-14s, SKSes, M1 Carbines, M1A s, Mauser M48s, several Mosin Nagants, Swiss M1911 straight pull rifles, Cobrays ("MACs"), and huge host of hunting rifles, handguns, riotguns, and .22s of all sorts including Rascal and Cricket youth rifles. One of their specialties is Saiga shotguns in .410, 20 gauge, and 12 gauge, both standard and tactical conversions, plus drums and many parts in stock. Their ammo inventory has also rebounded and presently includes .30-06, .308, 8mm Lebel, .45 ACP, 9mm, .380, 9mm Makarov, .357 SIG, 10mm, .38, .357, .44, . 45LC, and tracer ammo for .223, .308, 7.62x54R. They have lots of .50 BMG ammo in stock (new and remanufactured) including Ball, Armor Piercing, Tracer, and APIT. (Note: they have no .22LR, .17 HMR, .22 Magnum, .30-30, .30 Carbine, .30 Tokarev, or .22-250 in stock at this time.) They also sell Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) by the entree, the single pouch, by the case of 12, or by the dozens of cases. Phone (208) 465-3577, for details.

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Murders are so uncommon in the American Redoubt that nearly every one of them gets detailed news coverage.


IRS: Cheapest Obamacare Plan Will Be $20,000 Per Family.

India's coin shortage worsens. Gresham's Law is showing its hidden hand. (Thanks to Diana for the link.)

Peter Schiff - Whatever the Fed Does, Gold Will Rally! US Economy Already Ruined. Schiff posits that the current "recovery" is artificial and the that Fed will increase Quantitative Easing. In the long run, interest rates must rise. Schiff foresees more QE, larger deficits, and another currency/sovereign debt crisis, so he is quite bullish on gold.

G.G. flagged this: U.S. disability rolls swell in a rough economy

Items from The Economatrix:

How The Fed's Bazooka Misfired:  QE-Infinity Sends Experiment Awry

To Challenge These Statements Is Blasphemous

Eurozone Recovery Fades - Will The U.S. Follow?



AmEx (American Expatriate) sent: U.S. Military begins rolling on airless tires

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Pierre M. spotted this: Venezuela orders temporary takeover of toilet paper factory

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The Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course is now priced at just $19.97.

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F.J. suggested this instructive article: Choosing and Using the Right Shovel.



"Right now, the FOMC has 'a tiger by its tail' - it has lost control of monetary policy.  The Fed can’t stop buying assets because interest rates will rise and choke the recovery.  In short, today’s decision not to taper was driven by unimpressive economic data, the fear of a 3% yield on the 10 year Treasury and gridlock in Washington.  If the economy cannot handle a 3% yield on the 10 year, then the S&P 500 should not be north of 1700.  It is remarkable that the equity market continued to buy into easy money over economic growth.  QE3 has been ongoing for nearly a year and the economy is not strong enough to ease off the accelerator (forget about applying the brake).  Simultaneously, the S&P 500 is up 21% year to date and the average share gain in the index is over 25%.  Maybe today’s action will turn out to be short covering, but if it was not then paying continually higher prices for equities in a potentially weakening economy is a very dangerous proposition." - Mike O'Rourke at JonesTrading  


Monday, September 23, 2013


There are now just eight days until the release of my novel Expatriates. Please wait until the release day to place your order. That way you will get the best possible price, and we might see the book up in Amazon.com's Top 20.



Every now and then I run across one of those, "Gee, why didn't I think of that..." products - and kick myself for not thinking of it. Anyone who has been around knives at all, probably know who Ken Onion is. He's not only a very talented custom knife maker, but he has collaborated on a number of different knife designs, with various knife companies. I once did an article about Ken Onion, and one of his designs for Knives Illustrated magazine, when I was the West Cost Field Editor. Ken and I had a great talk on the phone - me in Oregon and he was in Hawaii - and to say he is a wild man is putting it mildly - but a lot of fun to talk to.
 
So, it was quite a surprise to me, to learn that, Onion designed a new Paracord bracelet. Anyone who is a Prepper or Survivalist, are aware of the popularity of the Paracord bracelets that folks have been wearing for a year or two, on their wrists. And, it's a good idea, if you're out camping, in combat or just out for a hike, to have some type of cord, you never know when you might need to lash something down, use it to replace a broken shoe lace - or any number of other emergencies that come along when you are out in the boonies or in a combat situation. So, I like the idea of the Paracord bracelet - and I own several!
 
Ken Onion collaborated with Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) and created the new Parasaw bracelet. What they've done is, besides the woven Paracord bracelet, that you can find in many stores, Onion devised a way to place a small wire survival saw inside of the bracelet. And, the saw isn't one of those cheap ones, either. Instead, it is a tungsten carbide coated wire saw - one that can actually cut, and it cuts quite well. The saw is encased in a plastic wrapper inside of the Paracord, and you have to unravel the bracelet to get the saw out.
 
So, you have 8 or 9 feet of Paracord - depending on the size of the bracelet - it comes in small and large, and you have that cleverly hidden wire saw, for cutting down small (very small) trees, or branches. I used the Parasaw around my homestead, to cut small tree limbs and other material, and it actually works quite well. Now, I wouldn't be foolish enough to attempt to saw down one of the large pine trees on my place - it's not going to happen. But you'd be surprised at the number of uses this little saw is good for.
 
I've always said that simple is better - and in this case, I don't see how you can make anything more simple, than having some Paracord on your wrist, and a small wire saw hidden inside of it for emergency use. If you get outdoors a lot, you need to be prepared! Everyone in my family has the new CRKT Parasaw, and I have a few extras around - just in case.
 
One note, don't take the Parasaw apart just to see the wire saw inside - you more than likely won't get the bracelet back together - this is for emergency situations - not for playing around. At $24.99 each, they are a darn good thing to have - and they come in different colors, and as already noted, two sizes to fit just about any wrist. The Parasaw is very hot-seller for CRKT, and don't be surprised if they are out-of-stock on some colors and sizes - get one now! - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio



Most SurvivalBlog readers have heard of Brad Thor. He is a contemporary novelist who is a master of the techno-thriller genre. Several of his books have become bestsellers, and one of them reached #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Brad recently teamed up with the clothing maker Scottevest, to design a quite versatile concealment jacket that they call the Alpha Jacket. Brad arranged to have them send me one of these for test and evaluation.

When the jacket arrived I was impressed from the start. The only disappointment was seeing "Made in China" on the tag. Like so many other manufacturers, Scottevest has found that offshore production is the only way to stay cost competitive. Seeing any product from an American company that is produced in China chafes me. But in this case, I can see why it was a necessity. This jacket has a very complex design (with an amazing 35 pockets!) that is very labor-intensive to produce. If it were produced in the U.S., I suspect that the high production cost would necessitate a retail price near $350. Even with offshore production it is priced at $200.

This jacket's design is so advanced that it has an operator manual. The pockets and special features are so diverse that for the sake of brevity, I'll just refer you to the maker's web site for details. Even a large handgun can "disappear" in this jacket's voluminous pockets. (In my tests, using a Glock 21 and a Glock 30, I found that it was best to use a holster clipped to a larger rectangular piece of sheet hard plastic to eliminate any "printing" of the pistol's outline or any telltale sagging of the jacket. (I used a "roto" paddle-style holster clipped to a piece of plexiglas.) Even someone physically groping the jacket from the outside would just think that it was a large paperback book or perhaps a Kindle or a similar-size electronic device.

The jacket's exterior is a quiet and nonreflecting charcoal gray fabric with an unusual texture. The maker claims that this fabric has a reduced IR signature. (I didn't have a chance to verify that with my PVS-14 night vision scope.) It should be great at night, in shaded forests, or in urban environments, but black is a color not often seen in nature (except in shadows), so it would stand out in high contrast in most natural environments, during daylight.

The jacket that I received is a size Large, and it fit me well, although it was a bit baggy in the midsection. (I'm 6'2" and a fairly muscular 193 pounds.) I suppose that once you loaded up the jacket with a pistol, extra magazines, a cell phone, a Surefire light, a Kindle (or Netbook) and assorted do-dads, that all of that extra roominess would be appreciated. And I've been told that some of the roominess is intentional, for an "armor cut," meaning that it allows room for body armor to be worn underneath.

The jacket's main zipper is quite stout, but most of the others seemed a bit lightweight, for my preference. Time will tell if they have sufficient durability.

One interesting feature is an RFID-blocking pocket, designed to protect your passport or "smart" credit cards from scanners.

Another neat feature is a cell phone pocket with a clear plastic window that allows you to operate the phone while it is still in the pocket. (Or if you have an iPhone or MP3 player with a display, you can read the details on the music track that is being played.)

One other feature that deserves special mention is a pair of short vertical zippers in roughly kidney position at the waist. These can be zipped up to allow fast access to a pistol carried on the belt over the buttocks, for either right-handers or left-handers. For those who carry concealed, this feature alone makes the jacket worth buying!

All in all, I was impressed with the Alpha Jacket. Brad Thor came up with an exceptionally good design, and it was well executed by Scottevest. For serious preppers, this would be a great jacket to acquire for everyday wear, since the 35 pockets could be loaded up as a veritable "wearable bug out bag" that would not attract any suspicion.



James,
Thanks for the information you deliver every day. I have recently gone on Social Security Disability and have some money to further our preps. My wife and I will hunker down in place, that being said, we have done what we can to make this as easy as possible. We can heat our home without electricity, but still need a solution for limited electric needs in the event of power outage. We are looking at the Honda EU2000i portable generator with the multi-fuel upgrade. In our years here we have never lost our natural gas supply, but have often lost our electric power. We propose to hook the genny up to our house gas supply, ready to go into service when the lights go out. 15 amps of 110 AC plus the 12 DC power would be a great addition to our supplies. Given we have beans, band aids and defense, this is a big purchase at $1,200 or so. I'm looking for advice.
Thanks, - Michael From Pennsylvania

JWR Replies: That is probably a decent solution, but only if your local gas utility provides natural gas via local wellhead pressure (possible in Pennsylvania, given your oilfields) or if they supply remotely-sourced gas via natural gas-powered line compressor stations.  If they use grid electricity-powered compressors stations (which is still the norm), then the gas pressure could stop after a couple of days of a power grid failure. But if they use natural gas-powered line compressors FROM END TO END, then you'd be fine.

You need to call your local utility and ask for a subject matter expert to talk to, to be sure. DO NOT settle for "happy-happy" front office assurances of system reliability and continuity. You need to talk with an engineer who knows about their set-up, first hand.

The second issue is the requisite size of your generator. Most residential refrigerators normally draw around 12 amps, but the peak load (on startup), expressed as Locked Rotor Amps (LRAs), can be substantially higher. Your generator needs to be able to handle that LRA load. You will need to research the LRA rating of your particular refrigerator's compressor. Here is an example: (Click on "Specifications.") This is a typical modern 23-cubic foot refrigerator that draws 8.5Amps when running, but the Minimum Circuit Required is 15 Amps. The latter reflects the LRA requirement.



Venison Pork Sausage Porcupines (from Mama in Texas)

We hunt each deer season, and make our own seasoned ground sausage.  This is a great make-ahead recipe for busy evenings.  This also freezes well.   Our 3 year old son loves helping me make these, but enjoys eating them even more!

2 lbs ground venison pork sausage (seasoned)
1 cup water
1 cup white rice uncooked
1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
 
Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9x13 dish and one smaller dish as well.
Combine meat, rice, and water in a large bowl.  Mix well.
Using a cookie scoop or your fingers, form meat mixture into 2 inch balls.  Place into greased dish.
In another bowl, mix the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce. If you want to thin the sauce with water, you can.  Pour sauce evenly over meatballs.
Cover dish with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes. 
 Serve with ketchup or siracha chili sauce for dipping.  
 

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Sausage Recipes

Venison Recipes

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



Travis Brown of How Money Walks On Fox Business: Is It Worth Moving To Another State To Save On Taxes? Brown says that taxpayers worth $2 Trillion have already moved. Note that $45 billion in net worth has moved out of California, primarily to Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. The interactive web app at Brown's site is fascinating.

Speaking of voting with our feet, see the report: Location Matters, published by the Tax Foundation.

Michael Noonan of Edge Trader Plus: Gold And Silver – Fed Taper? Never! Never, Never, Ever

The U.S. Economy Is Close To Imploding

X22 Report: Please Believe Us,The Economy Is Recovering, Really!!

G.G. sent this one: Women Waiting Tables Provide Most of Female Gains in U.S.

Items from The Economatrix:

The Fed Is Trapped, and the Taper Won't Happen Until the Market Tanks

US home sales hit 6½-year high but could slow soon

Gold, Einstein, And The Great Fed Robbery



Until October 15th, the SurvivalBlog 2005-2012 Archive DVD is sale priced at just $11.99.

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Winston Churchill once famously said: "History is written by the victors." But I've noticed an exception to that rule: The history of Rhodesia's Bush War. In this case, the victors were a gang of largely illiterate, communist (and quasi-communist) nincompoops who very quickly wrecked and looted the nation. Since the end of the war and the establishment of Comrade Mugabe's Proletarian People's Paradise there have been at least a dozen books published about the Bush War by former Rhodesians, but just handful that were written by the ZANLA , ZIPRA, and FROLIZI "War Veterans." (The ex-terrorists who took power.) And not surprisingly, it was the "winners" who turned out to be the real losers, and it is the books by the exiled Rhodies that have had the lion's share of book sales. (The books written by the former terrorists--often with the help of ghost writers--have had laughably weak sales and are mainly read by leftist academics. The only one that merits a mention is Dzino. Memories of a Freedom Fighter by Wilfred Mhanda, and even it is replete with sour grapes for Mugabe and his ZANU henchmen.) Some quite factual books about the war that I can recommend are: Fireforce: One Man's War in the Rhodesian Light Infantry, The Saints: The Rhodesian Light Infantry, A Martyr Speaks, The Bush War In Rhodesia: The Extraordinary Combat Memoir of a Rhodesian Reconnaissance Specialist, Shadows of a Forgotten Past: To the Edge with the Rhodesian SAS and Selous Scouts, Pamwe Chete, and The Rhodesian War: A Military History. 21st Century survivalists can learn some valuable lessons by studying the history of this conflict, in which isolated farms often had to provide their own defense against the "terrs."

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I was recently interviewed by Rory and his friends in a SGT Report podcast.



"You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once." - Robert A. Heinlein


Sunday, September 22, 2013


September 22nd in the birthday of the late Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Reid-Daly (born 1928, died August 9, 2010) who founded and commanded the Rhodesian Selous Scouts. His history of the Selous Scouts, titled Pamwe Chete, is a fascinating to read but very hard-to-find book.

I'd also like to wish a happy birthday to J.M.

--

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).



To many people, Airsoft is just a toy gun that annoying 12-year olds spray at each other with plastic pellets in the back yard.  But to the military and creative survivalists, it’s a training tool that saves lives.

The Japanese invented Airsoft in the 1990s and militaries worldwide soon discovered that the inexpensive, safe Airsoft guns are a realistic method for training tactical movement, magazine change drills, building clearing, and much more.

What is Airsoft?

There are a myriad of different types and styles of Airsoft guns, but the common attractive feature is that they are modeled in size and appearance on real handguns, shotguns, battle rifles, and sniper rifles. While most are lightweight but sturdy ABS plastic, the higher end models use the same wood and metal construction and approximate the true weight and feel of their real-life counterparts.

Airsoft guns shoot 6mm hollow plastic pellets anywhere from 200 to 500 feet per second (FPS). This is fast enough to project a level shot for up to 40-50 yards, but slow enough with a very light projectile to avoid injury. Still, face and eye protection are a must.

The beauty of Airsoft training is that it’s easy to acquire used or new guns, no matter how remote your location. Craigslist, eBay, and sporting goods stores have a wide variety of Airsoft guns and accessories. If you have an AK-47 or AR-15 as your weapon platform, you can find any variety of Airsoft to closely match your bang gun’s configuration:  tactical lights, scopes, and collapsible or folding stocks. Airsoft guns are made to function exactly as the weapon it’s modeled after; this means the magazine release, accessory rails, and fixed sights are exactly the same. In fact, many Airsoft components such as optics and handguards are interchangeable with their parent weapon.

Types of Airsoft Guns

Spring Action

Airsoft comes in many shooting styles – spring loaded, battery powered “automatic electric gun” (AEG), or gas blowback (GBB). Typically, spring guns are the least expensive, as they require the spring to be cocked back with each shot. This is fine for smaller children, as the velocity is quite slow, at 200 FPS or less and unlikely to cause damage at close range.

Battery Powered

But for older children and adults, AEG or GBB are the ways to go. AEG has the advantage of a lower cost to shoot, as long as the battery holds out. Happily, battery chargers are inexpensive and readily available. The disadvantage is the lack of felt recoil, reducing realism.

Gas Blowback

GBB uses either the inexpensive hand-held propane canisters which charge the magazines, or the small CO2 cartridges you can get at any sporting goods or department store.  Different GBB guns require different gas, and they are generally more expensive than AEG both for the weapon and cost to shoot. The advantages to GBB are that the gas systems work similar to real guns, working the bolt or slide, and simulating real action with each shot. This adds realism to firearms training, but without as much felt recoil as the real thing.

GBB is very effective for marksmanship training, especially with folks who have a difficult time or are intimidated by the report and recoil of real firearms. GBB Airsoft allows the trainee to feel the weight of the real weapon, and shoot in the comfort of their own home or back yard without the noise, recoil, or ammo expense. This is especially useful for handgun accuracy.  A simple cardboard box with a target in front and curtain or rags at the back to catch and drop the pellets and you can practice any dry-fire exercise with real shots and not make a mess of your house.  Just be sure to discard all spent ammo, as re-firing Airsoft pellets can damage your gun. Your child, spouse, and even you will be a deadeye shot before you know it.

How to Purchase

Now that you know the value of Airsoft, how do you go about acquiring the guns? Wal-Mart and many other sporting goods stores carry all varieties – from $29 el cheapos to $500 for tricked out, souped-up models. For training in firearm handling, familiarity, and drills, you don’t need the baddest, fastest thing out there that lets you spray pellets all over. You would never be doing that in a real-life situation anyway. You also don’t want the cheap plastic lightweight spring guns where the pellets drop out of the air after 30 feet. You want something in between, like the $125-to-$250 range if you buy brand new.

Our group decided to shop the models that were closest in weight and feel to whatever we would be carrying in the field. For most of us, that meant AK-47 and AR-15 rifles. Some prefer shotguns, so they looked for units modeled on Mossberg or Remington. Most of us are on limited budgets, so we looked on Craigslist and eBay, the two most prolific classified ad and auction sites on the internet. And we weren’t disappointed! Larger cities and environs have more used equipment to choose from, so if you find someone who is selling their guns, face masks, pellets, slings and assorted other gear all at once, that can be a great deal and worth the drive.

Horse trading for Airsoft can be a real hair-pulling experience. Remember that most sellers will be teenagers and very young adult males who need money for other interests. They will inadvertently give you wrong or incomplete information about the guns, unless you ask very specific questions and even guide them along. Many don’t know what make or model they have, even when serial or other identifying numbers are clearly marked on the side of the gun. Get this info before you make a drive to see it so you can estimate value and see user reviews on the internet. Just punch the numbers into an internet search and you will get more data than you can handle.

If you go anywhere but the seller’s home –meeting at a halfway point or a neutral location – be careful! These guns look absolutely real and gun haters and other uninformed rabbits may call the police on you. Nothing will happen to you since they’re perfectly legal and considered toys by many, but it could be inconvenient and embarrassing. All Airsoft guns are required to be equipped with a bright orange tip when sold brand new in order to identify them as Airsoft. Since many people paint or remove these tips, just be aware that since Airsoft guns look so real, to be discreet in a public setting - the same as you would be with any firearm.

Airsoft Ammo

Next is ammo, which typically is 6 millimeters in diameter. While many of the cheaper guns use the lightweight .12 gram pellets, they are so light that inaccuracy after a few yards becomes an issue. Also, in better guns with more power and higher FPS velocity, these fragile pellets can sometimes break into pieces inside the gun and damage or ruin it.

Your best bet is to select the heavier, more stable and accurate .20 gram and heavier pellets. The heavier they are (.25, .28 grams and more), the farther they will travel in a flat line, increasing realistic accuracy out to 40-50 yards or so. However, the advertised FPS ratings for Airsoft guns is almost always for the lighter .12 gram ammo. For example, a rifle rated at 375 FPS will likely get 330-350 FPS with .20 gram pellets and less with the heavier ones. While this is plenty of velocity for realistic training, you don’t want to go much below 325 FPS for open field or woods training. But for close quarters combat (CQB) training or home defense and building clearing practice, less FPS is better for safety.

Where to Train

The last thing you need before you can open fire is a place to train. You will need more than a back yard, so some acreage is optimum – the more land, the better. This will give you varied terrain, opportunities to use your land navigation and patrol skills, and the ability to train in multiple “what if” scenarios. If you want to train in buildings and rooms, they can be quickly simulated with cardboard, large canvas or plastic drop cloth walls, etc.

Another bonus to Airsoft training is that finding acreage will be easier than locating friendly live fire practice grounds. Airsoft is very quiet and you can even wear your camouflage gear. While our group plans to do their bugouts in subdued civilian clothing to blend in and not attract attention (but packing our camos so we have them when needed), Airsofters are almost always in camo when they play, and folks are accustomed to seeing that. If anyone asks what the heck you’re doing, just say you’re playing Airsoft with the kids to get them out of the house for some exercise. Everyone, including leftists, can relate to that.

If you or the friendly landowner whose property you’re training on asks what will happen with all those spent plastic pellets all over the place, you’re in luck. With the rapidly growing popularity of Airsoft, commercial Airsoft parks especially have addressed this concern by using biodegradable pellets. Usually only available in .20 grams and heavier, they are about 25% more expensive than their non-green counterparts. But they promise to dissolve and go away completely in 6-9 months, making environmentalists and landowners alike very happy.

Training Basics

Okay, now you and your clan have Airsoft rifles and ideally, decent pistols as backup just as you would have in a real-life survival situation. You have some training acreage, ammo, and your gear. Now the fun begins. You can create simple scenarios such as a family attempting to move through an area, avoiding simulated road blocks, ambushes, and confrontations.

Even before the shooting fun starts, it’s notable how someone who has never hoisted any kind of gun before feels completely clumsy and awkward with it. Carrying harmless but realistic Airsoft rifles with some heft to them is a great way to learn shooting positions, how to fall quickly to the ground without discharging the weapon or impaling yourself, crawling, and all those other enjoyable activities. Last but not least, perfecting muzzle discipline where the most serious incident will be an annoying shot to the butt of the person in front of you will make everyone more at ease and ready to learn.

Bring in the Kids

Children, especially, take to Airsoft like ducks to water. If the child is sufficiently mature and follows direction, eight years old is not too young to train them in firearm use, patrolling, security, etc. Even if their real gun is a lightweight .22 carbine or if they have no gun at all, this training will make them competent and safe with firearms, and a valuable asset to any family or group.

When children see they get to have fun, run around, sneak and peek, and shoot stuff, even the most difficult of them become amazingly attentive. After all, they want to be like the “big kids” and they don’t want to miss out on the action. And kids are knowledge sponges anyway, so go ahead and load them with information and tasks. If they falter, dial them back a bit to their last level of competence. They will rise again quickly.

Don’t be surprised if children in your group study and practice diligently and become more skilled than some of the adults. Even children who are shy or uninterested at the beginning will see how much fun their siblings and friends are having and will soon want to join in. Kids gobble up responsibility to their highest ability and will pleasantly surprise you with their eagerness to please and to be useful.

Ready, Set, Train!

Once your group is comfortable with the Airsoft guns and demonstrate safe practices (same rules of firearms safety as with real guns should be practiced rigorously until it’s second nature), it’s time to work on those group movement, recon, communications, and other skills in either staged scenarios or spontaneous reactive drills. Useful exercises include taking cover under fire (with real Airsoft pellets zinging around), combat medical response when someone is hit, covered retreat (can you move and find cover without being shot?), intelligence gathering, find the sniper, etc.

Snipers, Stealth, and Vehicles

Speaking of snipers, Airsoft is a great training vehicle for those budding long-range shooters in your group. From developing effective camouflage, preparing hides, learning patience, sighting through a scope, to scooting to safety after making the shot, they can efficiently practice these basic skills.

Sniper Airsoft rifles are bolt-action, just like the real ones. They are also the only quality Airsoft rifles where spring operation is optimal. Airsoft sniper rifles use powerful springs designed for one long distance shot at a time and often require a bit of muscle (usually teenagers and adults only) to pull back the bolt. Sniper rifles fire at 450-550 FPS, so they can be dangerous at closer than 100 feet. They fire straight line for up to 100 yards, depending upon the quality of rifle and spring. For safety, shoot these at long distance only, please.

Conversely, “man down” drills for the team under sniper attack, along with searching out the sniper so the group can continue movement, are also valuable training.

These skills can also be utilized in group vehicle movement, something sorely lacking in many prepper training regimens. What happens if your convoy comes under fire? What if the lead vehicle is disabled and you need to evacuate everyone safely to another vehicle? What about the rear vehicle? For many, just rapidly exiting a vehicle without getting their weapon tangled in their gear and dropping magazines is a challenge in itself. Better to practice and find out your capabilities in a safe environment before it really counts.

Reality Check

While many Airsoft guns are capable of auto fire at 10-13 pellets per second, our group works to “keep it real” by using semi-auto only, just like our regular firearms. And while most Airsoft magazines hold 100-500 pellets, we use the honor system to limit ourselves to 30 shots or so before we are required to reload the magazine or exchange for another. This forces shot discipline and marksmanship. But at the end of training, we usually do something with full auto just for kicks, because it’s really fun and fast. This is the part the kids love the most, too.

There are even groups out there that have, as instructors, former military personnel who are Airsoft enthusiasts. They practice and train real-world military maneuvers and tactics.  Look up “Airsoft milsim” (military simulations) in your search engine for all sorts of info and links. There are good youtube videos, too. Check your local area for this fascinating aspect of Airsoft. If you’re starting from scratch, this could be a great way to get basic training from guys who have been there and done that.

The Best of Airsoft

Now that you see the value of Airsoft, let’s review the advantages and versatility added to your training:

  • Economical – shoot plastic pellets instead of scarce ammo
  • Safe – accidentally shot by a hollow plastic ball beats a .223 any day
  • Realistic – simulate your carry weapon in form and function
  • Discreet – quiet without attracting attention
  • Family Friendly – the kids are all right
  • Tactical training from experts

There are infinite situations and scenarios you can practice as a group without the inconvenience, danger, and expense of live fire training. Use your imagination and the possibilities are endless. Happy Airsoft!

JWR Adds: As I've previously mentioned, Airsoft and paintball are fine for learning some aspects of camouflage and small team tactics. The fatal flaws of both, however, are that:

1.) Since paint balls and Airsoft pellets have hardly any penetration, players start to subconsciously equate concealment with cover.

2.) Because Airsoft pellets and paint balls only have limited range, people start to subconsciously think of anything beyond that range as "safely out of range" (for maneuver in the open.)

If you can regularly remind yourself about those shortcomings and adjust your training regimen accordingly, then you'll find that they provide somewhat worthwhile training. But it is essential that you integrate high velocity ballistic realism. This means perfunctorily declaring anyone who stands up in the open at 50+ yards "dead meat." Ditto for anyone who mistakenly takes "cover" behind bushes or small trees. Always remember: concealment is not cover!



James,
Thanks to Sheri for pointing out several fallacies regarding women fighting men who mean them harm, specifically, that a punch/knee/whatever to the groin will incapacitate the man. She's correct (or her male advisers are): It won't. Hollywood says it works, but in fact it has the opposite effect of enraging the male further. I am a male, and I know. I learned how to fight after being kicked in the crotch in junior high.

I am not a martial arts instructor, but I have taught several women how to defend themselves. I have been a bouncer at large bars for a total of four years. You can't do that without learning something about how men fight. Women: If you're attacked, bite your attacker. It may be distasteful. But men don't expect to be bitten. It works. And honestly, the instep or nose is a weaker point than the groin, unless you're using a blade or broken bottle to attack the femoral artery. In my current capacity I'm an EMT, which actually is very useful for self-defense training. If you know the places where a person can most readily be injured to the point of death (so that you can save them) you know where to attack a person when it is your life at stake.

One argument I've found typical in women I've taught self-defense is that most of them have boasted (to me) that they carry a pocketknife, box-cutter, or something similar. The last woman I gave brief instruction to was carrying a box-cutter with which she planned to stab any attacker. It was wintertime. The blade was 3/4 of an inch long, maybe an inch. Most people's coats are thicker than that, even in Mississippi, during November through February. Not much stabbing to be done in that situation. I told her that if she insisted on carrying that particular blade, she should attack the hands, face, throat, or other bare skin, or her blade would be worthless.

The nose, brow, throat, ears are all good targets because they typically bleed freely. A cut brow or forehead will bleed into the eyes, a broken nose or crushed windpipe can be highly demoralizing, and nothing much hurts worse than a broken eardrum. Learn to attack with an eye toward demoralization, which in many cases will end the fight. If you're going to use a knife, try to fillet (forearm, cheek, whatever) rather than stabbing. An avulsion (open flap of skin and/or muscle) bleeds profusely, is terrifying to the recipient, and needs immediate attention, whereas a stab wound is primarily effective if the organs are penetrated.

Anytime you fight to protect a life -- whether it's your own life or that of a child or another who cannot defend themselves -- you must pay no regard to any preconceived ideas as to what constitutes a fair fight. I firmly believe that the only unfair fight is one which is won by an unjust aggressor. If someone is actively threatening your person, and ultimately your life, then nothing you can do should be considered unfair. Your sole consideration should be to take the threat you have been given, and render it into a non-threat. Use common sense. Don't shoot someone just because he yells at you, and don't knife someone who bumps into you at the grocery store. But if your life or meaningful property is being actively threatened, defend it to the fullest extent you can muster. To do less than this would result in an unfair end to the fight.

And finally, practice. Practice with the tools you carry. If that's a small knife or a gun, practice with it. Become comfortable with what you carry daily. Know how to deploy your tools rapidly and effectively. If all you carry are your car keys, learn how to use them as claws. And if all you have are your hands, feet, and head, practice bringing your body into motion. - J.D.C. in Mississippi



James W. recommended: Derivatives, The Gift That Keeps On Taking. [JWR's Comment: I've been warning my readers about derivatives since 2006. That was two years before derivatives CDOs torpedoed the real estate market and triggered a recoveryless recession with bailouts that have doubled the national debt and tripled our money supply. Ironically, the magical smokescreen "solution" to the ongoing recession (actually just a forestalled Depression) has been Quantitative Easing, which creates $85 billion per month out of thin air, mostly by means of buying up Mortgage Backed Securities (MBSes), which are derivatives!]

The Never-Ending Charade Of Debt Ceiling Fights

Items from The Economatrix:

Obama’s ‘Lame-Duck’ Status Could Lead to Wall Street Woes

Gold Rallies on Fed’s Taper Delay; Jim Rogers Forecasts a Drop to $900

House Votes To Taper Foodstamps



Frequent contributors B.B. and H.L. both sent this: US Gun Owners: Felon or Free

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Missing the point about Alexis: How Can Red Flags Be Missed Like Navy Shooter's? This article claims that the security clearance system has failed. But what was not mentioned is that the gunman only held a Secret clearance. That clearance level only requires a National Agency Check (NAC) and a local records check. So anyone that has never been arrested usually qualifies for a Secret clearance. You don't get the right answers if you ask the wrong questions.

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Reader F.J. sent this: Flooding Brings Tales of Rescues, Improvisation. F.J.'s Comment: "I guess they've never heard of a bug out bag --or any preparedness at all?"

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What’s Next After the Firearms Freedom Act Ruling?



"But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." - Colossians 3:8-17(KJV)


Saturday, September 21, 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.



During a break-down of society you may happen upon a dead body. In a without-rule-of-law situation such would not be unusual. This article will give you a rough outline of what to look for when you examine a dead body. The dead body may be near your camp and you may need to get rid of it pronto. There are several reasons why you might need to closely scrutinize a corpse and document what you see.

You may need to protect yourself from the outbreak of disease. You may need to protect yourself from later accusations of murder once the system rebounds. You may need to know whether a killer is on the loose somewhere near your camp. You may need to know if this is a body which can be safely buried and preserved, or whether the body needs to be burned in order to stop the spread of disease.

If you have a camera available, be sure to take photographs. If you have the means to write, by all means take notes. Put on disposable surgical gloves if available. Use a breath mask if available. Use common sense not to infect yourself. Put on old clothes or strip to the bare essentials if necessary. Obtain soap and bleach and water to clean yourself before you chance touching anything contaminated.

Each death scene is unique, so you must use your intuition. The steps you take may be the only chance this victim has for future justice. Loved ones of the diseased person, if they can, may later thank you for the information you retrieve. You may find evidence that exonerates an innocent person. You may find answers that determine whether your group should break camp and leave the area.

As you write your report it is important to both jot down your general feelings, and to specifically note certain important items. Note the location where the death occurred, because it may be important later for law enforcement purposes regarding jurisdiction. Different state or local authorities get involved in investigations depending on the location where the body was found. Make note of anything that seems unexplained or suspicious, or that may turn the death scene into a crime scene. State in your report whether or not you think the death was accidental.

Note the date and time, and make a record of any identification paperwork you may find, such as a drivers license or an identification card, because they may later be lost. Look for tattoos or identifying marks on the body. Do not overlook the obvious, such as cell phone numbers which must be written down before the battery gives out.

Try to determine the cause of death. Make certain that the person has not just passed out and is still breathing. Mark off the area where the body is located and do not let others contaminate it. Look for any loose hairs or skin under the person's fingernails that might reveal they defended themselves or have been in a fight. Do not jump to conclusions as to what happened, but rather look at things with an open mind. Your job at this point is to record facts and details, not to come to a firm conclusion of how the person died.

Notice how the dead person is dressed, and record any anomalies. Figure out whether you think the body has been moved. Note whether the body is stiff and rigor mortis has set in. If the body is contorted or looks like it fell in an awkward position, that might mean the person died suddenly. An apparently painful look on the person's face does not necessarily mean they died in pain.

Note any blood or vomit. Vomit can be strong enough to cause acid burns on the face or the skin. If the body has been dead for several hours, gravity will make the blood drain to the lower parts of the body, so look for tell-tale signs of discoloration. Note whether the eyes are open or shut, and whether the eyes have clouded over. These details may be important to later determine the time of death. Note any odor, discharge, or discoloration.

Take a photograph or make a drawing showing the position of the body before you move it. Only then should the body be positioned face up for examination. Begin without removing the clothing, rather tug and stretch the clothing to take an overview of the various parts of the body. Later an autopsy might be done, but at this point the purpose is to see if there are any general signs pointing to the cause of death.

Note any signs of good or bad hygiene, nearby liquor bottles, hypodermic needle marks, and torn or disheveled clothing. Swelling of the body may be due to retained water. Purple condition of the upper body often points to sudden stoppage of the heart. Record the condition of the hair and teeth. Abnormalities in the eyes such as different sized pupils should be recorded, as should puffiness of the eyes. Blue lips may mean lack of oxygen. Note any blood coming out of the eyes or ears or mouth, and anything else that seems out of the ordinary.

If you push on the skin and it dents instead of springing back, that is a sign of dehydration. Note and record the location of any bruises. Yellow skin points to liver failure. Pale skin may indicate loss of blood. Look for scrapes and lesions on the skin. Skin condition indicates many different things, so anything you find may be important to an expert later.

If there are any people around who know what happened, ask them questions and write down their answers. See if there are any medicine bottles nearby, and ask if anyone knows about any medical documents. Write down anything that indicates this was a natural death, as well as anything that indicates it was an accident, a crime, or foul play. Ask if the dead person complained of chest pain or other pains in the previous few days. Find out if the person over-exerted, for example by hiking much further than normal.

Write down relevant things like snowy or rainy weather, finding the body outdoors, finding the body in or near water, ropes or chains or weapons nearby, signs of a scuffle, etc. If there is an injury try to figure out if it was made by a blunt object such as a baseball bat or a sharp object such as a carpenter's saw. Look and feel for broken bones, which may or may not poke out through the skin. Look for scrapes and burns, and signs of suicide such as multiple cut marks on wrists.

Lacerations are blunt force injuries which are often confused with cuts. If there is a gunshot wound, look and see if there is also an exit wound where the bullet came out. The types and causes of wounds are so vast that it is important to take photographs or write down descriptions for later reference. Remember that the body will deteriorate, so chances are you will be the only person available to document these facts.

Decide whether you think rule of law soon be reinstated. It may be days, weeks or months before authorities can be summoned. If this is the case, then it is important to take steps now that will help identify the body later. This may include taking a DNA sample with a swab to the inner cheek, taking fingerprints with any ink or dye you can find, taking a blood sample, and taking a hair sample. Do not overlook other things such as keeping cigarette butts, keeping car keys, drawing facial pictures, etc.

Beyond that, look for signs of infection which occurred before death as opposed to deterioration which occurred after death. Old healed scars may be signs of previous surgery, and must be differentiated from recent wounds, but both are important to record. Other cuts or injuries may be indicative of earlier resuscitation attempts by medical personnel.

When rule of law is gone you and your associates may have to decide what to do all by yourselves. For health purposes you cannot afford to let dead bodies deteriorate near your camp or water source. You may have to pick up camp and move on. Or you may need to bleach or burn clothing or other items to be sure to get rid of infection.

Even if you have a fortress supplied with all the amenities, it will do you no good in the long term if there is infectious disease from a rotting body nearby. You may have to make a decision about whether to burn or bury a dead body, or whether to leave an infected area. Timing is key, and it may be better to make the decision sooner rather than later. In your situation take all the known factors into consideration, obtain the advice of others, and then act decisively. The decision will be totally up to you.



Hi JWR,
In response to Sunshine's research into gas masks online, I've purchased from Approved Gas Masks.com before. They sell many different brands of masks, canisters and other NBC products. The canisters I've bought use the standard NATO threads, are sealed and dated. They're going to set you back a little more than the mil surplus but they're current production from reputable companies. Hope this helps. - S.M. from Pennsylvania





Reader R.B.S. sent: Poison-resistant sewer rats discovered in four Swedish cities

   o o o

Lou F. suggested this piece: Is Buckshot Lethal at 50 Yards?

   o o o

Rebel-on-Rebel Violence Seizes Syria. (Thanks to Pierre M. for the link.)

   o o o

Hunger grips Acapulco: Mexico storms strand thousands of tourists, with no reprieve in sight. (A tip of the hat to Luke D.)



"And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,
The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation." - Numbers 14:17-18 (KJV)


Friday, September 20, 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.



For 45 years I was all about the Great American Dream.  A 100 mile per day [round-trip] commute to a six figure pressure cooker job supported an upper middle class lifestyle.  All that changed in 2001 when I was squeezed out of that job during a company transition to second generation children.   Overnight, the new CEO and COO determined I was too traditional and old school for the vision they had for the company going forward even though I had served their father profitably for a decade.   In quick succession I lost the house, the cars and a wife of 20 years because I could no longer ‘support her in the manner to which she had become accustomed.’   Yes, said those very words in the divorce papers which were incidentally served on the date of our 20th anniversary.  Thank God and Greyhound she’s gone.

What followed was what my teenage daughter who opted to live with me dubbed the Baloney Years.   It was an apt description as I re-invented myself from a shiny shoe wearing cubicle slave to a self-employed man.  Things got progressively better as the years passed.  I never re-married or bought another big house during that time period.  I had an expanding Internet business which was very lucrative and required just a few hours per day on my part.  I diversified my holdings with rental property and a car shop where I bought fixer uppers and flipped them.  I was carrying a substantial amount of commercial debt but little to no personal debt.  The cars, motorhome and personal items were paid for and I had no credit card debt. In 2008, the recession wrecked my business plan.  The rental properties were vacant and were sold for no profit or returned to the bank.  The Internet business fell off 80% in the space of two months and the car fixer upper business became unprofitable as well.  At 53 years old I was left with a motorhome, an SUV, some tools, firearms and an empty nest as my daughter had joined the military.  Luckily, this go round, I had a little money saved up and a small income each month from what was left of the Internet business.  It gave me time to assess the situation and choose my next plan of action.

Folks who live year around in recreational vehicles are called fulltimers in RV parlance.   Most, but not all, have given up their traditional sticks and bricks home.   Fulltimers are not to be confused with snowbirds that flee in their motorhomes, fifth wheels and travel trailers southward each fall to escape the cold weather.  However, some fulltimers are snowbirds who use their RV as a means to seek out the best climate year round.  Traditionally fulltimers have been retired folks who chose to travel and enjoy their twilight years.  After 2008 this traditional definition began to change.  I still meet many retired fulltimers who travel from RV park to RV park getting by on retirement income.  More and more these days I see younger folks who are still working but have chosen a recreational vehicle as their home.   Some of these working RVers had a defined plan and chose the lifestyle as a way to escape the 9 to 5 suburban hustle.  Others did it as a last resort.   Many lost houses and jobs and took the last few remaining dollars they had and purchased an RV.  It is better than being homeless and living in a refrigerator box under the overpass.
 
I truly enjoy living in my recreational vehicle.   It is compact and mostly self-contained.  With the addition of a generator, a battery bank and solar panels I can sleep in my own bed just about anywhere I chose.  I love the freedom, I love the lifestyle with no defined boundaries, I love that I pay no property taxes and don’t have to mow the lawn.  I follow the work from place to place. Sometimes I stay a few days; sometimes a few months. I am a 21st century nomad.

Nomads are as old as history itself.  Genghis Khan and his Mongol horde, Bedouins of the Saharan Desert and Romani Gypsies are nomads.   When the Spanish Conquistadors came to North America they brought horses.  The American Plains Indians acquired some of those horses and their entire lifestyle changed with the mobility the horses afforded.   Much like the Plains Indians, my lifestyle has completely changed with the mobility afforded by an RV but it did not happen overnight.   Since I was the victim of two harsh economic calamities this third chapter in my life was initiated only after long consideration and considerable research.  

The Third Chapter

You don’t have to be a smart man to realize we live in unsettled times.   I have read Thomas More, John Locke, The Federalist Papers and Thomas Jefferson.   I read the current offerings of Mark R. Levin, James Howard Kunstler, Mac Slavo and Captain Rawles. At a point in my research I realized the ‘American Dream’ had been little more than carefully prepared and artfully packaged slavery.    Brainwashed by the American School System from kindergarten onward, we were told that if you work hard and obey the rules that you will be a success.  Success meant debt for most of us.  Bigger houses in nicer neighborhoods, new cars every few years, swimming pools, country club memberships --- that was success as we Baby Boomers were taught.   Behind the scenes, in the offices of powerful people, we were counted among the good minions.  Our task was to fill the coffers of Big Business and Big Government and we did an admirable job. People in debt have to go to work every day to service their debt.   30 year mortgages and cars that cost $50 grand just about insure that you will be in debt until the day that you die.   Our economy is based on ever expanding spending and if we don’t spend more money each successive year the economy falters.   Well, I worked hard and obeyed the rules and had the rug brutally jerked out from under me – twice.  I resolved I would never again be a wage slave.   After all, nobody came to my rescue and bailed me out!

Near the top of every preparedness list I see is a requirement for a bug out location.  Some acreage in a rural location with everything available that you will need when the SHTF seems to be de rigueur.    I commend the folks that appear to have attained the optimal bug out homestead and I wish I was one of them.  I just don’t see it happening for most of the rank and file people like me.  

  • Buying property usually means assuming more debt.  Most of the people I know do not have the financial ability to lay out considerable quantities of cash to purchase a property outright.   Even during the Great Depression, banks foreclosed and the repo man came to get your vehicles.
  • I grew up on a rural farm.  You just don’t go to Tractor Supply, the John Deere House and the local library and become a farmer or a rancher.  It takes years to acquire the equipment and the knowledge to use it.

One of my paying jobs during this Third Chapter was working for an excavation company that specialized in rural retreats for rich folks.   These city fellas had worked most of their lives with the dream of retiring   to a country estate where they could ‘get back to the land’.   I saw the pattern repeat itself many times over during my tenure with this company.   A 50 something executive from the city buys a few hundred acres of unimproved land. We roll in with bulldozers and backhoes and excavators and clear the brush, build roads, dig fishing lakes and clear a spot for their ranch house.   The executive buys a Ford King Ranch truck, a John Deere tractor, a Polaris UTV and a chain saw.  Seems like reality sets in about the second year.  The executive realizes he does not have the skill set required to pull this off and he also does not have the time left to learn it all.  He also is forced to acknowledge the hard reality of physical limitations that advancing age brings you.   I know it was frustrating for the executive.  It was heartbreaking to watch it unfold time after time.

I watched the television show Doomsday Preppers with interest.   Each and every one of those folks was convinced they knew the future and each were preparing for a specific calamity.  EMP, economic collapse, nuclear war and earthquakes --each and every one of them had it pegged unequivocally.  I just wish I was that prescient.    This Third Chapter of my life embraces the Nomadic lifestyle and my best efforts to prepare for an uncertain future.  I honestly believe we will see rising inflation and reduced services from the public sector.   Do the math and its’ a pretty simple conclusion.  Our elected officials are going to do nothing to stem the rising tide of debt and at some point the bills are going to come due.  You can only kick the can down the road so far. Things we take for granted like police services, fire protection, mail, utilities and road maintenance are likely to be less evident the farther you get from major Metro areas in my future scenario.   I have no intention of ever being in close proximity to a major Metro area ever again so my plans address a lifestyle that does not include these elements available at current levels.   I cannot depend on Social Security income in five years when I become eligible which is another consideration.

The RV
is not a really, really small apartment—not even close.  It took me over a year to understand all the systems and to become reasonably proficient at repairing or replacing systems that failed.   The same elements that make an RV livable in an off the grid environment make it complicated.  RVs have dual power systems which are 12 volt DC and 120 volt AC.   They also utilize propane for heating, cooking and refrigeration.  Some appliances like the hot water heater and refrigerator may have both electricity and propane as dual power sources.   A converter/charger applies the power to the on board 12 volt batteries and the 120 volt accessories.  My wife and I recently upgraded from our 20 year old diesel coach to a large travel trailer that is towable behind one of the SUVs.   Maintaining an increasingly problematic older RV and another power train simply did not make sense.  The 2010 model we bought (for cash) was immediately upgraded with the following components:

  • Addition of second 12 volt deep cycle battery
  • 200 watt solar panel, controller and charger to charge the batteries
  • 4,000 watt inverter
  • Progressive Industries Energy Management System (EMS) to monitor and protect  onboard appliances from erratic power sources
  • Double canister water filter with ultra violet light sterilization for drinking water
  • Honda EU3000i portable generator
  • Additional 120 volt AC small refrigerator to supplement the RV fridge
  • Wilson SOHO wireless cell signal amplifier  boosts a weak Internet air card signal AND our cell phone signal in rural areas
  • Flojet macerator pump which allows me to pump raw sewage  via a ¾” garden hose up to 200’ to a septic cleanout, residential toilet, porta-john or external  portable septic tank

These additions to the existing travel trailer components have allowed us to be independent of the grid if we choose to do so.  The cool thing is we still have all the comforts of home including Internet and HD satellite television.

Our Environment and Prepping
go hand in hand. There are myriad ways to make a dollar while living in an RV.   Some RVers work for an Amazon Distribution Center during the Christmas rush.  Amazon pays them well and provides free spots to park the RV.  Other folks go to the Dakotas and harvest sugar beets.  Some follow the State Fair circuit or NASCAR.  Others work virtually over the Internet.   The opportunities are endless.

For the last three years my wife and I have been Level II Security Guards in the North and South Texas oil fields.  We have been on site at construction sites, pipeline construction, electrical transmission line construction and active drilling sites.  The work has been 100% off grid.  The company we work for supplies water, septic system and a large diesel generator.   We have no lot rent to pay or utility bills and it is a great environment to polish our prepping skills.  Why?  We are self-sufficient in many respects.  We are off grid, we have a limited water supply that must be rationed and treated to be potable. We are miles from the closest grocery store and infrequent trips to town are carefully planned for maximum benefit.  We are in a fringe area for communications and rely on additional equipment to provide communication access to the outside world.  Police presence here is rare and we rely on our own resources to settle disputes and minor altercations.   We live in a harsh, remote environment for weeks on end and both my wife and I have adopted a survivalist mindset to get by day to day.   The difference in the way we deal with everyday life is especially noticeable when we retreat back into normal civilization for some time off with friends and family. 

Water
is a major consideration in any survival plan.  Our water, as delivered, originates at a potable source but the handling between origin and destination is questionable and I do not trust it.   Our water source is a 300 gallon translucent plastic tote.  I have installed a three-canister water filter system on the outside of the tote with a bypass valve on the third canister and a 12 volt pump.  I check every water delivery with a dissolved solids meter.  If the meter reads high, I place a 5 micron sediment filter into the first canister and a 1 micron sediment filter in the second canister.  I bypass the third canister for this operation.  I place the outlet hose into the top of the tank and recirculate the water through the canister filters for several hours until the dissolved solids meter shows an acceptable reading.   The outside tote is treated with chlorine on a routine basis to prevent algae growth and I monitor the chlorine levels with a pool test kit.  I wish we had a black potable water tank as we had at previous locations.  Algae growth in a black tank is negligible.

I pump the water from the tote into our on board 50 gallon water tank with the 12 volt pump.  This water is reasonably pure because I filter it through the three-filter outside system as it is pumped aboard.   In this operation, the first canister contains a 1 micron sediment filter, the second canister contains a granular carbon resin 1 micron filter and the third filter is a 1 micron carbon block filter.  I only use NSF certified filters and keep a one year supply of spare filters on hand.  I also have several spare 12 volt pumps that I picked up used on eBay.  The water from the onboard tank is used for washing, showers and flushing the toilet.   Potable water for cooking, drinking and coffee making is delivered via a separate spigot at the kitchen sink.   This spigot is connected to a 2 canister system under the sink.  The first canister has a 0.5 micron spun polyester sediment filter and the second canister contains a 1 micron carbon block filter and the ultra violet light.   The company that manufactured this system supplies the same system to our US Military for use overseas.

Electricity
in some form is necessary for our survival especially during the heat of a South Texas summer.  Air conditioning is not a luxury; it is a necessity if you are living inside a tin can.  Our prime source of electricity is a 4 cylinder diesel generator with an output of 20 kW.  It provides ample electricity for our needs.   Secondary electrical backup is our small Honda EU3000i gasoline generator.  It is quiet and extremely fuel efficient.  At 3 kW it will power every appliance on the travel trailer including one air conditioner unit.  Some judicious power management is called for with this power source.  For example, it will not power the AC and the coffee pot simultaneously.    Our third power source is the 12 volt battery bank, solar panels and inverter.   RVs use 12 volt power for lighting, water pumps, water heater, furnace and refrigerator circuit boards.  The inverter will run the microwave, coffee pot, television and DISH receiver and the various laptop and cell phone chargers.  The inverter will not run the air conditioning unit because it quickly depletes the battery bank.

Food Preparation
may not sound like a big concern for most but it is for us.  The RV has a microwave, propane cook top and propane oven that my wife uses to full advantage.  However, when the summer heat is 100+ for days on end,  using the cook top or oven heats up the inside of the RV for hours afterward.  We enjoy cooking outside during the summer months.  We have a small propane grill, a propane smoker that will also serve as an outside oven and a Volcano stove that is tri-fuel.  It has a removable propane burner and it will also burn charcoal briquettes or wood.  We have a small selection of Lodge cast iron cookware for use outside and we are gradually learning to use them as time goes by.
Even with two refrigerators, we do not have the refrigeration capacity you would find in a residential refrigerator.  My wife manages the refrigerated space admirably with her infrequent stocking trips to the grocery store.  A large cooler is a standard item in her SUV because of the length of the trip.  She will fill it at the store and then ice it down thoroughly.   What doesn’t fit in the two refrigerators is left in the ice filled cooler as long as possible.  Through practice, she has learned how many items she can purchase with no resulting spoilage.

I wish we could have a normal garden.  In years past both of us raised a garden on a regular basis.  Being mobile as we are a garden is out of the question currently.  We have laid in a good supply of seeds and we are bucket gardening.  2.5 and 5 gallon buckets are transportable and work well as garden containers.  I am glad we started this project because our gardening skills are much rustier than I thought after a decade or more of inactivity.   Our current project is a winter salsa garden which consists of tomatoes, peppers, onions and cilantro.  One of the blessings of South Texas is you can garden for almost eleven months out of the year.

Storage space
is a huge limiting factor in an RV.  RV manufacturers utilize every square inch available in most cases but it is never enough.   My large SUV only has the front row of seats available.  The second and third row have been folded down or removed to make room for cargo and storage. An air compressor, tool boxes and footlockers full of maintenance items fill the SUV, and it is still not enough space .  As you have read my description above you can tell we are dependent for the most part on fossil fuel.  Diesel, gasoline and propane figure prominently in our plan.  We purchased a small enclosed trailer that we use as our ‘nurse trailer’ and my wife pulls it behind her SUV when we move.  It stores several items that are rarely used and our supply of fuel.   I like propane because it is very portable and has an unlimited shelf life.  At one point in the past we had a 6.6 kW propane generator that has since been replaced.  I found it to be very noisy and fuel hungry.  Filling a propane tank will never be as easy as filling up a 5 gallon can of diesel or gas.  I DO like the propane for heating and cooking as it is very efficient when applied in that manner.  When it comes to diesel and gasoline storage I had a hard time deciding exactly how to store it.  I considered 50 gallon fuel drums or auxiliary fuel tanks which would be stored in the nurse trailer.  Ultimately, I decided the price of the tanks or barrels and the need for an additional 12 volt pump and nozzle to transfer the fuel was unwarranted, pricey and cumbersome.   A 55 gallon of fuel weighs around 400 lbs!  We decided instead to use 5 gallon NATO surplus jerry cans.  They store in an economical fashion, they are tough and they do not leak.  Current reserves of fuel are five 30lb propane tanks, two 40lb propane tanks, 50 gallons of diesel and 75 gallons of gasoline.   The diesel and gasoline are treated with PRI preservatives.  Both SUVs are also kept full of fuel at all times.

The nurse trailer is also the home for 20 gallons of potable water in 5 gallon Reliance Aquatainers and a 65 gallon water tank that is only filled in emergencies.
I store a spare set of 12 volt vehicle and trailer batteries in the nurse trailer.  They are maintained with a Battery Tender trickle charger that also has temperature compensation.   The 2 SUVs are used infrequently and sometimes 3 weeks will pass without them being driven.   They are kept on a Battery Tender as well.

I have an aversion to being broken down on the side of the road.  Neither of our SUVs are new; both of them are on the other side of 150k miles.  They are maintained meticulously as far as service, maintenance, tires and brakes.  For the main SUV I also have spare radiator hoses, serpentine belt, alternator and starter motor.   All of these items are easily replaceable in the field.

Stockpiling
supplies in a recreational vehicle is near impossible due to space limitations.  We try to keep a ready reserve [of staple foods] onboard which loosely equals about a one month supply.  While I see or future economy going through a severe long term decline I do not think we will see a true SHTF situation.  Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst.   We do have a bug out location in North Texas which is a still active family farm.  I have attempted to tailor our strategic reserve supplies to include this scenario.   We move around South Texas quite a bit so storing supplies in an offsite location would be hit or miss at best.  With my luck, I would rent a storage room close by and then the next week we would take an assignment 300 miles away.  Texas is a big place you know!

My wife is required to go to a doctor for a checkup every two months and for years she has used the same doctor north of San Antonio.   Two years ago, we rented a small climate controlled storage in that small town.  We collect a variety of supplies in the two months prior to her appointment and she deposits them in the climate controlled storage.   In two years we have accumulated quite an inventory of food and other items.

I entered our marriage 3+ years ago with a dry storage unit in South Dallas.  Since it is not climate controlled, we are limited on what can be stored at that location.  Currently it holds tools, tires, a small cargo trailer and a 7.5kw diesel generator.  We also store a small supply of potable water and food there.  It is an all day trip to go up there and back. The North Texas bug out  location is over 400 miles from our present location.  As the storage units fill, we leapfrog the excess to the bug out location.

Our plan is to draw on the supplies in each storage unit should the need arise.  If we come down to a true SHTF scenario and anarchy across the land is on the horizon, both storage units are on our direct route to the North Texas location.   Even if we had to get out of Dodge in one of the SUVs with nothing more than the SUV  contained and the clothes on our backs we could easily resupply and continue our trip north with a stop at either or both storage units.

Fortress RV
we ain’t.   Most likely you could shoot through one of our walls with a pellet gun.  I would like nothing better than to have 500 acres of impenetrable castle somewhere up in the hinterlands of the Texas Hill Country.  Maybe if I win the Powerball [lottery] and have another ten years to build the castle complex... Like most everyone else my wife and I have a set of circumstances called our life that we have to work with.  Our situation is far from optimal but we have to work within the framework we have to get by and prepare for the tough times ahead.

JWR's Comments: Nomadism is a fairly tenable during a "grid-up" depression, where law enforcement would still functional. But in a grid-down world, frequent travel will simply be an invitation encountering ambush after ambush, and your life expectancy will plummet. Don't plan on taking those sorts of risks. My advice for The Crunch: Have a planned destination, get there pronto, and hunker down!



Jim:
I couldn’t agree more with the article written by T.Z. regarding prioritized prepping. Many of us lack the needed organization and discipline to distribute our prepping budget evenly between the different survival categories and instead succumb to impulse buys – more ammo, more guns, more dried food, more camping gear. While stocking up on non-perishable supplies that will always have some use may seem like a good idea, what good are 50,000 rounds of ammo if your only water filter just broke, or you ran out of oil for your two-stroke chain saw?

My way of managing these impulse buys is with a plan – a comprehensive list of all gear and supplies needed for various situations, used to ensure every critical survival category is somewhat covered. I document any item me and my family consume on regular basis, as well as needed items for bug-in, bug-out and loss of civilization amenities may require. Following the familiar principals of redundancy I am constantly updating a prioritized list of supplies and equipment that I already acquired and items to be acquired. The lists, or rather “lists” document several things:

Inventory of perishable items – non-long-term food supplies (content of my pantry mostly), toiletries and household items, with expiration dates of items where applicable – this list is also synchronized with my mobile device and serves as a useful shopping list when visiting Wal-Mart/costco and the likes. This is the list hardest to keep updated but an hour a month usually keeps it in decent shape.

Comprehensive gear and equipment list – non-perishable items, every equipment and supply purchase in various categories, covering tools, shelter, water treatment and storage, fire making, portable cooking, communication and many others. This list helps with packing for various scenarios, as well as a reminder of what you already bought (how many emergency candles do I have ? Oh, I forgot I bought a case of 24 100-hour candles on sale last year).

Medical supplies – earned its own list with both non-perishable gear and medication with expiration dates that needs to be updated twice a year to reflect things I used, expired and replenished.

To do list – no explanation needed - various prepping projects.

To buy list – divided to many sections: there’s the affordable stuff to buy next time I am at the store – by store – home depot, Wal-Mart etc. Then there’s a list of big purchases to make when the time is right – yeah, a dirt bike may be a good idea (or a radiation meter, or a chest freezer, or a wood stove) but can’t buy them next time I am at the store. I also have a list of stuff to buy if I feel a TEOTWAWKI event is coming. We may get no warning, but if there was a small window of time to get some things done and buy a few special items I would never buy otherwise – I want to have a list telling me exactly what to do and buy and not start thinking about it for the first time (propane generator? Bio-fuel gear and truck? 6 months’ supply of frozen meats? A greenhouse? That great solar system with a few expensive 6V batteries)

Long-term food supplies – Anything I store that I do not plan to use in the next few years has to be inventoried well. Stocking a 1000 lb of rice with 1 lb of salt is not useful. My long term food store has to be balanced to provide the nutrition needed and fight menu fatigue. Inventory management is crucial and a lot of words were written about it.
And yes, I have my guns and ammo list as well. Have to be able to protect what I have.

My whole prepping activity is centered around these lists. If I read the excellent survivalblog.com web site or others, I update my lists with new ideas of what to buy or do. I go over the lists often and look for ways to improve my prepping, looking for weaknesses, lack of redundancies, expiration of items.
There are so many overlooked items that can be great in a SHTF situation, or useful in other cases, that you should absolutely stock up on if you have the room to store them. The hardware store is an endless source of such preps. Nails and fastening devices were mentioned – how about PVC Pipes? PVC pipes are cheap, if stored in the shade last many years, and have so many uses – they can be used to route water from rain catchment or wells, but also for construction – you can build a greenhouse with PVC pipes, duct tape and plastic sheeting. Various means of water storage and filtration are often overlooked and are essential. Dental treatment kits. Disposable and work gloves. Automotive and 2-stroke oil. Various sizes or garbage bags. Lots of batteries and chargers. Pest and insect control (you can’t call the rat catcher any more). Fuel stabilizer !!! (probably one of the most valuable items post-apocalypse). Siphon tools.

To summarize – balance your preps among categories so you don’t end up having to barter at a disadvantage to get essential supplies you neglected to procure in advance. - Regards From H.P.
 

Hi JWR,
A few comments on the thought provoking article Prioritized Prepping by Z.T. I did a bunch of research on gas mask filters a few months back after realizing the filters that came with my 'brand new in box' Israeli masks found at a thrift store were woefully expired. Masks in perfect shape, probably sat boxed in someone's attic for 25 years. Filters generally have a shelf life of 10-15 years provided they are sealed and kept free from moisture. A good quality filter is something worth investing in, not saving a few bucks because it "might" work. An expired filter might help, it might not. Make sure your filter is rated for NBC protection, this covers the whole gamut of potential toxins. These filters protect you from all known biological agents in addition to chemicals like sarin and other nerve gases, mustard gas, cyanogen, arsine, phosgene plus many organic and inorganic gases/vapors and inorganic acids.

I spent hours researching the purchase of filters online and let me warn you that the majority of filters sold "brand new" on Amazon are surplus expired or have no date stamped on them. This was repeated over and over in the reviews posted by people who bought them, always read product reviews before you buy! Also, a lot of the sellers aren't shipping what they advertise on Amazon. I went beyond Amazon and really couldn't find a reputable vendor selling new, sealed filters with a clear expiration date or date of manufacture. I gave up for the time being and would love to see some recommended sources posted on SurvivalBlog. Thanks, - Sunshine in New Mexico





Rick B. recommended: Crop Rotation in the Home Garden

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I knew that Bobcats were versatile little tractors, but I had no idea that they were this agile. (Thanks to Chester for the link.)

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Three Important Lessons from a Canadian Border Crossing

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Update on the big September Mountain House sales: The folks at Safecastle report: " 27% of the Mountain House canned varieties are now backordered.
 
Mountain House foods now on backorder till October: Pilot Crackers, New Orleans Rice with Shrimp, Mexican Style Rice & Chicken, Uncooked Eggs, Vegetable Stew, Ground Beef, Green Beans, Peas, Corn, Cottage Cheese, Chicken Stew.
 
The good news: Sweet & Sour Pork and Breakfast Skillet are back in stock and shipping out again."

Here is a summary of the five September sales on Mountain House foods in #10 cans. They are all offering deep discounts and most of them are offering free shipping:



"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will." - Frederick Douglass, 1817-1895


Thursday, September 19, 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 wish that all women had some self-defense training.  But, most don't, even among preppers.  Worse yet, most women I know are too embarrassed to learn anything about fighting.  They don't know where to learn or maybe don't want to appear foolish.  And the misinformation out there about how a woman should defend herself is often worse than useless - it's actually harmful.  Most men teach what works for men and often, those techniques don't work very well for women.  This article is intended for those women who have little or no experience with self-defense.  I won't kid you, reading something to learn to defend yourself is not the way to learn.  I hope no woman ever has to defend herself.  But, if your man is down, or you're on your own, even if you aren't terrifically effective with these techniques, some of this information could make the difference even if all you do is read it.  I'm a woman and this is what I believe works for women.

So I want to recommend this exercise: sit with your butt on your heels, on the floor about two feet from your opponent, who is sitting the same way.  You should be facing each other.  Put a small cloth, like a bar towel or washcloth on the floor between you.  Here's the game; you are trying to grab the cloth and quickly roll away from your opponent before he (or she) can reach out and touch you anywhere he can reach.  Neither of you can touch the other unless one of you is holding the cloth.  Your opponent is trying to do the same thing, in which case you're trying to reach out and touch him before he can roll away with the cloth.  This exercise can really help you in several ways.  It teaches you what your reaction time is and what other people's reaction time is.  It teaches you to feint - fake a grab that you won't complete in order to keep your opponent off balance.  And, it teaches you to read your opponent's body language, and how your opponent "telegraphs" what they're about to do. 

The reason I recommend that exercise is that most women I've known don't have a lot of confidence in their ability to defend themselves.  And, for good reason - because most women are at a big disadvantage in a fight with a man.  But, most women have equal or better reaction time compared to most men.  Even if a male opponent has studied martial arts, women often can win at this exercise.  So, it's a confidence builder for women in an area they can excel.  And, when your life might be on the line, you need to know what your assets are, what you can do with a reasonable hope of success.  And what your opponent can do.  You can do the exercise with men, other women or kids.

The sad truth is that a woman's chances in a fight with a man aren't good.  For this reason, a woman has about seven seconds to take a guy out in a fight before the odds for your success start to decrease.  For that first seven seconds, your opponent probably doesn't see you as a lethal threat and you really do have a big advantage.  He probably thinks you won't be a big obstacle.  You have to be lethal in your seven second window of opportunity.  That fact narrows down your range of targets considerably.  There just aren't that many targets on a male opponent that will kill or disable him in a short time frame.  After that seven seconds, you can still win, it's just harder. 

Don't try to look tough.  In fact, try to look scared and totally useless.  By trying to look tough, you're just advertising to the guy that you intend to fight back.

Rule One: The best weapon is never your body.  Nearly anything you can grab or hold is less likely to break and therefore a better weapon than your fist is.  Anything hard or sharp that you can get a good grip on is a weapon.  If you have a choice between a four inch knife and a ten inch knife, go for the shorter knife - it's harder for your opponent to get away from you.  Never throw a weapon.  Keep your weapon and keep it in your control at all costs.  There are nearly always weapons around.  If you can get to a knife, slash at your opponent's hands, short circular slashes that can reach both of the guy's hands.  By circular slashes, I mean out and back towards your body, so that you're set up for another slash.  Don't try to get past his arms for a body stab.  Instead shred his hands.  Always stay aware of both of his hands.  Men are smart and competent, so if you are only paying attention to one hand, you can bet his other hand is about to take your knife away.

Take a few minutes to look around any room you're in and think about what could be used as a weapon and how it could be used to bludgeon your opponent's "soft" targets (like his nose) or to cut someone.  Anything you can reach that is not too light or too heavy can be used in one of those ways.   Be aware your opponent will try to get any weapon away from you.  As I mention later in talking about multiple strikes, if you don't meet his move to disarm you with additional strikes, he probably will disarm you.

Rule Two: Forget any kind of typical karate punch.  You'll break your wrist.  The bones in your hand and wrist are more fragile than almost anything you could hit.  And aside from a strike to someone's nose or throat, that type of blow won't incapacitate your opponent.

The difference between a male's upper body strength and a woman's is huge.  You can pound sand for a couple of years to work up to karate-style punching, if you want to.  But you have better weapons available: your knee, foot, elbow, side of fist, back of fist, head, teeth.  Those are your weapons if you can't get a better one.   Having said that, it's sensible to do 20 pushups a day (working up to it).  That little bit of muscle might save your life and will keep your tits from sagging as an additional bonus.

Karate is a power style and it suits men perfectly.  I don't think it works for women.  Oh, it can work!  But it still plays to men's strengths.  Wrestling is the.same deal.  If an assailant tried to wrestle with me, I'd try to bite his nose off.  Karate and wrestling are biased in favor of power and size.  If you want to take a martial art, try jiu jitsu (which uses leverage instead of power) or kickboxing - even boxing will teach you to duck and be light on your feet although it won't teach you how to successfully hit someone.  I'm sure there are women martial artists who will disagree with me on this issue.  But, in a fight between a reasonably fit guy with no martial arts training and a woman with a black belt in karate, my money would go on the guy.  I wasted years on karate before coming to that conclusion.  And it wasn't a conclusion I was happy to reach.

I used to think that martial arts was mostly a matter of learning to take a beating, ignore the pain and keep going.  There's a weird humor in that, and it's also true.  In a real fight, adrenaline will usually keep you from feeling the damage, for awhile.  Some people are really pain sensitive.  Other people are really afraid of pain and that's a much, much bigger problem.  But pain is always preferable to death or permanent damage.  Pain is temporary.  Don't let the prospect of pain wipe you out.  In a sense, martial arts teaches you that pain isn't the end of the world.  Like hunger, if you ignore pain, it fades away.  I've known people who were afraid of hunger as if it was a big, scary thing.  Hundreds of thousands of years have honed humans to function perfectly in spite of pain or hunger.  We're built to do that and succeed.  Even if someone shoots you, you can still function.

Get out of the mindset that you'll lose the fight.  Your biggest limitations are mental.  You can do a lot more than you think you can.  You won't lose if you're vicious and sneaky enough.  It takes 12 pounds of pressure to break an elbow - including the elbow of a six foot four inch tall, two hundred and fifty pound guy.  About four pounds of pressure will break his nose.  In either case you just have to know your targets.  Speed and accuracy are more important than power. 

In a true do-or-die fight, go for gouging out eyes, nose strikes or bites, windpipe hits (below the adam's apple), breaking knees or elbows.  Bite fingers off - don't just bite them, bite them off.  If you want to win, you have to be brutal.

I've been told by guys who should know what they're talking about, that kicking or kneeing a guy in the balls creates such a adrenaline surge that a guy doesn't always become incapacitated for several minutes afterwards - and for those few minutes you have an enraged, adrenaline-overloaded opponent to deal with.  I mention this for what it's worth.  That doesn't mean I wouldn't go for a guy's genitals as a target of opportunity.  I just wouldn't put all my faith in it.  Giving the impression that you're terrorized will give you an addition edge.  Terror is incapacitating.  If you allow terror to rule you, the other guy's job is already done for him.  You handed him your life on a platter.  But you can give the impression you are terrorized and it will lull your opponent into not expecting much retaliation.  Don't rush him, let him come to you, then move in at the last second when he's in arm's reach.  Read his body language for how he's going to attack or grab you.  What I'm trying to communicate is that, for a woman, there are a small number of targets and  a small number of ways of attacking those targets.  This should simplify your decisions.  Hence the next "rule."

Rule Three: You need to work continual strikes.  Do not kick someone and then back off to see if the guy is going to stop or run away.  It'll never work.  Use continuous strikes at your attacker - nose, knee, eyes, throat, temple, elbow, genitals and whatever else you can strike at.  The only exception to this rule is if you can either run away or get to a better weapon.  In that case, run or break away and/or go for the weapon.

Most people, in a fight, will try to stay back from their opponent.  That doesn't usually work for a woman, kid or smaller guy.  When you back away, you're playing to your opponent's strengths - his longer reach.  It's not instinctive, but a smaller fighter needs to get inside the reach of the bigger guy.  That way the bigger guys blows can't deliver with full power and you can actually reach your targets.  The danger is being close enough to get into a grapple with someone who weighs a lot more than you.  But any distance where you can reach your target is fine.  You don't want your opponent to be at the end of your reach, but within your reach. The big point here is that backing away isn't in your best interests.  Your fear tells you to back off.  Ignore that fear.  You have to be close enough to hit the guy.

You cannot use brutal techniques (with the possible exception of breaking an opponent's knee or elbow) on some drunk guy who grabs your ass or a school-yard bully.  If you do, you'll go to jail for a very long time.  Brutal techniques are for situations that are deadly to you. [JWR Adds: Any strikes at the neck or head are considered lethal force attacks, for good reason. Do not use them unless you are in a truly life threatening situation where you are legally justified to use lethal force.]

If someone grabs you (including chokes), always break the hold towards the guys thumb.  The thumb is the weak part of any hold.  If someone grabs you by the wrist or arm: swing or twist and pull your arm in a direction that puts force against the guy's thumb, bending it towards his wrist.  Be fast.  If you can get the guy's arm straight while you're trying to break the hold, bring up your other hand and use the heel of that hand to smash into the back of the guys elbow or his nose.  If he pulls his head back, go for his knee or groin.  And continuously go for any other target of opportunity.  Back of neck, temple, ear, etc.  Any move you make will cause your opponent to change his position to protect what he thinks you mean to attack, and his motion, in turn, will bring a different target into reach.  If you try to pull out of his grasp, he'll brace his knees beautifully for you, so you can break them.

If someone is choking you from the front reach up and try to grab the guys thumbs  and pry them away. Thumbs move in more or less three directions with some kind of mobility, but not in the fourth direction, directly back towards his wrist.  That's the direction you use to pry his thumbs away from whatever they have a grip on.  If you can get your fingers around his thumb you can break the choke by twisting the thumbs back fairly easily.  You can also try to bring both your forearms up between his forearms and explosively push your arms out against his arms - but this probably won't work for an untrained woman against a powerful man.  Better to gouge his eyes or strike his throat with the side or back of your fist or your elbow.  If you can reach his eyes, go for them - that'll almost always break his choke hold.  Or grab his private parts in your fist and twist hard.  The guy will let go of your throat.

Sometimes trying to pry out of someone's grip isn't using your best resources.  Better to break his knee, which is usually conveniently close (more on this later).  The great thing about knee attacks is that even if you don't strike accurately enough to break it the guy will probably be limping and you can outrun him and you can almost always reach his knees with some kind of kick.  If someone has you from behind, usually your hands and feet (and possibly your elbows) are free.  Head butting (smashing back) into the guys nose is a great technique, but often the guy is so much taller that you can't reach his nose with the back of your head.  Same deal for using your forehead to bash someone's nose.  You can often reach back with your hands and grab, squeeze, wrench or tear the guy's groin.  You can drop all your weight completely, which will sometimes get you free (to roll fast and get up).  Although women have much less upper body strength than men, a woman's leg strength is almost as great as a man's leg strength.  If you have shoes on, you can rake the guys shin with your heel, smash his foot (aim for the top of the arch) or better yet, kick back with one or both feet, repeatedly, to try to hit the front of his knees with the heels of your feet.  Most guys, holding you from behind, if you're trying to hit his knees with your heels, will bend forward (to try to distance his knees from your feet) - this brings his head conveniently close so now you can smash the back of your head into his nose.  And, while you're doing this, be thinking about a weapon you can grab if you get free.  Also, scream your rage loudly.  Get in touch with your inner berserker.  Sometimes rage and relentlessness are more important that power.  If you can't reach his nose with the back of your head, hit anything on his face - except his teeth.  Other than teeth, every single part of his face is more susceptible to damage than the back of your head, or your elbow or the back or side of your fist, for that matter.  If you do all this, fast enough and continuously enough, you probably will get loose, at least briefly.

Before we get off the topic of an assailant grabbing you.  I just want to mention the tactic of faking blows (feints) to set up your opponent for a different blow.  We all telegraph our attacks, more or less, and you can use this to set someone up.  As I mentioned earlier, if someone has hold of you by the arm or wrist and you tense as if you're about to break or wrench away, he'll instantly brace for it.  That brace sets him up perfectly to break his knee - he's got the knee all nice and braced for you.  Braced, it takes more time for him to get his knee out of the way or turn his knee to direct your blow at a less vulnerable part of him.  Every kind of attack sets up your opponent for another attack.  Every time your opponent moves or braces, he's setting himself up for a different strike.  You need to think about that a little.  Every time you move, he'll brace, move or try to compensate.  Every attack sets your opponent up for the next attack.  The point in feinting is that it helps avoid telegraphing your real attack. 

For any of the kicks, imagine the target is about six inches past where it actually is.  Really believe that - that you're trying to strike something behind the true target.  Don't worry too much about power because trying to put all your power into it will slow you down and make pulling your foot back after the strike harder, plus you'll telegraph the coming strike to your opponent a lot more.  Aim for a point behind your target and pull back instantly after striking, all in one motion.  That's how you want your kicks to work.

There are three basic kinds of kicks.  Front kicks, side-kicks and back kicks.  Front kicks involve hitting with the ball of your foot at something in front of you (unless you have hard shoes on, in which case use any part of your foot).  Keep your toes bent up if you're barefoot - you'll strike with the ball of your feet.  Think about running in place, how your foot comes down and hits the ground and recoils back to your torso.  Like running, your toes aren't pointed towards the ground as your foot comes down, they're angled up, out of the way, so that you'll hit the ground with the bottom of your foot. Now try to translate that kind of motion except instead of hitting the ground you're hitting a target.  Hit and pull back like a spring.  If you have heavy shoes on, you can kick the way a guy kicks a football without hurting your toes.  Any attacker, if you try to kick anything above his knee or leave your leg or foot out where he can grab it, will grab your foot and lift it (keeping hold of it), putting you down on the ground and completely in his control.  You need to pull it back in to prevent that from happening and also to support yourself for your next strike.

Side-kicks involve hitting with the outside edge of your foot at something sideways to you.  Side-kicks are both powerful and fast.  I wouldn't hesitate to side-kick to the front by turning slightly while I'm kicking. It's a stronger blow that front kicks and faster pulling back.  Watch a martial arts movie to see some side-kicks, but ignore the fancy high strikes.  Nothing above the knee.  Imagine you're running up to a boulder, then raising your foot to push off the boulder and reverse your running direction - and since you're moving fast you're pulling that leg back and down fast to hit the ground and continue running.  That's not a perfect analogy, but for someone who has never tried this, it's better than nothing. 
Back kicks usually mean using your heel or back edge of your heel as a weapon to hit something behind you.  Again, don't worry about power,  worry about speed, accuracy, not telegraphing the motion and getting your foot back under you fast.
Elbow strikes mean using your elbow as a weapon.  Practically any place you can hit is a good target.  But, preferentially, throats, or noses, solar plexus, ribs, kidneys, anywhere on the face or throat is less ideal but good targets. 

As I mentioned before, if you need to use your hands, use the bottom or the back of your closed fist or the heel of your hand rather than your knuckles.  The reason is that these blows don't compress your wrist as much.  By the bottom of your fist, I mean the area on the same side as your little finger - hammer-wise, the way you would pound on a table.  Back of  your fist is similar to 'backhanding' your opponent, except with your fingers closed in a fist.

A lot of women have long fingernails.  Another reason for using the bottom or back of your fist is that these blows can be used without a really tight fist so they will work even if you have long nails.  If you have any nails, a normal karate or boxing-style fist strike (like you see in the movies) will compress your nails into your palms.  But, back of fist or bottom of fist strikes can be done  with a loosely made fist, just fine.  Regardless, any kind of fist is your very last choice as a weapon.  And if you do have to use fists, put your heart into it.  Targets are nose, throat, temples but hit anything you can reach if you have no other option.  Don't pound on a guy's chest or upper arms, they're useless as targets.  Worse than useless.

Striking with the heel of your hand is very effective for nose strikes.  The area around someone's nose and upper lip has more nerve endings than (almost) any other place on their body.  A hit to someone's nose is one of the most painful blows you can give someone.  It makes your targets eyes water copiously, so your assailant can't see too well.  It bleeds a bunch.  The biggest danger in this strike is that your miss the nose and hit your opponent's teeth.  His teeth will really mess up your hand.  A lot of people think you can drive someone's nasal bones up into their brain, killing them, with this kind of blow.  I've been told it's an urban legend. The heel of your hand is also effective against the back of someone's elbow.  Use a hard sharp blow at the exact back of the elbow, pushing the elbow in the direction it doesn't bend while holding the guys wrist or forearm with your other hand.  If you don't have your other hand on his wrist, but he's holding you, that works too.  It has to be fast because your opponent only has to slightly turn his elbow so that the elbow can bend with the blow, if he sees it coming.  But even if he turns his elbow, it'll hurt. 

Another way to break an elbow, if the guy isn't too much taller than you, is to step under his arm (turning so your back is to him) and bring his arm down on your shoulder so that his elbow is just ahead of your shoulder, pull it down hard to break his elbow.  If the guy's too tall, you can't get the leverage you need to break his elbow this way - your shoulder needs to be almost as high as his. 

As an example of continuous strikes: Let's say the guy throws a punch at you.  You quickly bring up your forearm to block his punch, then slide your arm and grab his wrist and start to swing under his raised arm.  As you swing into the turn, you build momentum to swing your other elbow around into his solar plexus (just below the breast bone) which brings his head down, bending him over a little and that puts you and him in position to swing you fist up for a back fist strike to his nose.  Which swings his upper torso back and away so he's set up for you to bring his upper arm down on your shoulder to break his elbow (his elbow is facing down).  See what I mean about each strike, even if it doesn't land, setting him up for your next strike?

A few words about blocking: the most common way to block an incoming blow is to use your forearm against his forearm.  It's a pretty decent move but only slightly diffuses the direction and force of his blow, so you also need to be moving to the side so his target (you) isn't where it was.  

To gouge someone's eyes: punch your thumbs into the very inside corners of your attackers eyes (the side where his tear ducts are). Once your thumb is in behind the eyeball, bend your thumbs in and push towards the outside corners of his eyes and then back out.  You're reaching in behind his eyeballs and then pushing them out in one smooth move.
If you're down on the ground, on your back, and your opponent is standing anywhere near your feet, you can hook one foot behind his ankle and with the bottom of your other foot, push hard on the front of his shin, just below his knee.  That will put your opponent on their butt if you do it fast enough and it doesn't even take much strength.  Roll fast and get a foot under you to get up and away fast.  The reason you always roll to your feet is that it's faster than any other way to get to your feet.  It uses your momentum to help you get up.  You have to practice.

The classic way to fall when you go down onto your back, is with your arms out from your body about thirty degrees, slap your forearm and hand on the ground hard, just as your back hits but before your head hits.  That slap will defuse the force of the fall to prevent your head from hitting.  Don't get your elbow under you, keep your arm out nearly straight at that 30 degree angle out from your torso.

Often a man will grab a woman by her hair to try to control her.  If a man has a handful of your hair, use your hand to try to press his fist against your head while using your other hand or feet to attack him.  If you can keep his fist against your head, it keeps his hold on your hair from hurting you.  If you can't do that, attack with everything you have and ignore the pain. 

You can practice kicks on a tree trunk or stacked bales of hay, if you don't have a heavy punching bag.  Everything else, you can practice with a brother, boyfriend or friend, except use soft slaps or taps instead of blows - practice ducking, blocking blows and feinting (faking moves).  Practice with your kids or women friends.  This alone won't make you a good fighter but it's a lot better than nothing and might save your life or your family.



James,
I work for a large, three-letter computer manufacturer with a penchant for Blue.

Joe Ax's comments about the problems with maintaining a digital library are right on the money. When I worked in our Storage Division (hard disks, tapes, etc.), this issue came up during a talk on medical systems' storage needs. There is a requirement for medical records to be maintained 100 years, and yet no computer data storage system has been designed to do this.

So what is the 'solution'? 

It seems that doctor's offices are cajoled/required/encouraged to upgrade their office systems on average of about every five years. In so doing, all of their old records are transferred to the new system. This side-steps the problem without actually solving it.

While I am a big fan of digital libraries, I think that every book/document which is  absolutely essential to a prepper be 'backed up' by keeping a print copy on high quality  paper. At the present time, this is the most practical solution I am aware of.

Best Regards, - Bear


Jim,
As the author of the original article I wanted to wait for a while to try and address several of the issues (all good points) raised, and clarify why I made the various choices I did in my suggestions.

Some responses seem to have missed my main thrust which was bringing this concept in at the best matrix between cost, accessibility, usability, longevity, and availability of surplus gear. Obviously this type of matrix has some degree of subjectivity.

The reason I chose XP was because of the recommendation I made for purchasing older, obsolete laptops which probably will not be capable of running Windows 7 or Vista. This met my criteria for cost, usability, and availability. As one response noted correctly, the original activation can be done offline using a telephone. Copies of XP that are not pirated can still be purchased online cheaply. Also may of the surplus laptops may already come with an activation sticker (license key) still attached which obviates the need to even purchase a copy. Activation should be done ahead of time. In a grid down or disaster situation there are a variety of (relatively) easy methods to bypass the activation should the laptop decide it needs to be reactivated.

At least one response mentioned the lack of updates and age of XP as an issue. This is the primary reason I stressed to never connect these laptops to any network. It didn't have anything to do with backdoors or NSA access, it is purely to remove issues related to having the information on your digital library laptop leaked out to internet and remove the need to frequently update and patch the systems. The second simplest system to secure is one that is never connected to another system. The simplest system to secure is one that doesn't exist. (Yes, that's rather zen-ish but I like it. =)

Another letter addressed the changes in technology making backup media obsolete, and failure rates. I believe this response failed to read my entire article. This is why I stressed rebuilding the backup media every 24 to 36 months. It allows reorganization of your digital library as well as alleviates the issue of age related data corruption. Also keeping as many spares as practical, and supplies of backup media.

Several users mentioned Linux. While Linux is my personal preferred operating system, I have spent a certain amount of time doing end user support, development, and security for Linux/Unix and Windows operating systems and I would put a 95% chance that there isn't a single person on this forum who has not used Windows, and most will have used (or are still using) XP.

I would be surprised if more than 10% even have heard of Linux. Having taught a number of classes involving both Windows and Linux over the years, I will tell you there is a significant learning curve between the two environments, not the least being conceptual rather than technical. And for the Apple fan-boys out there, I'm lumping MAC OS X in with Linux at the conceptual level -- and yes, I know it is a BSD derivative. =)

Another response mentioned Calibre for a digital library organizer. This is an excellent program, and I do use it. If you are careful to tag (add index keywords to documents) that you import, it makes an excellent resource tool for organizing documents. However as a different respondent mentioned, I also primarily rely on a simple folder structure. This allows me to also include other document types (blueprints, schematics, etc.) in related folders. Also don't be afraid to have multiple copies of the same document. For example I have copies of documents relating to making charcoal in folders under 'Consumables/Smithing', 'Food/Smoking', 'Fuel/Wood', and several other locations.

All of this aside, ask 10 geeks how to preserve a digital library and you'll get at least 20 answers. As presented mine is only one of many approaches that are all workable, cost effective, and can be implemented by someone without a ton of technical expertise.

Go with God, - H335



A reminder:

Pantry Paratus is excited to celebrate our second year on as an e-store.  We are looking to expand our digital marketing appeal with real pictures; so in order to do that we are hosting our first annual 2013 photo contest to celebrate all the harvest of this season's bounty.  All the official rules are here, but the basics are these:
-all photos must be original work and submitted to photocontest@pantryparatus.com between Friday, September 6th and Friday, September 20th.
-there are two categories: "Canning" and "Food Preservation."  The first one is easy to define, but the second one can be anything from saving seeds to rendering lard to making jerky--surprise us!
-We have one grand prize winner ($200 of selected merchandise) and one First place winner ($150 of selected merchandise), one second place winner ($100 of selected merchandise) and one third place winner ($50 of selected merchandise) for each category.  There will be seven big winners in all!
-Since people tend to be private about their food supply, people need only supply their name (any name will do really) and a valid email address so if they win we can contact them--or else the contest is pointless, right?
-one entry per person, per email, per category  (e.g. John Smith can submit one (1) entry for "Canning" and one (1) entry for "Food Preservation" from johnsmith@emailaddress.com).



Gold Is Not A Safe Haven? Tell That To People In Indonesia

U.S. on ‘unsustainable’ budget course: CBO

Fed Says: No Taper. [JWR's Comment: At this point, tapering from the artificial liquidity of "QE To Infinity" would spike interest rates, send the bond market into a tailspin, cause a derivatives tremor (if not a full tsunami), and crash the real estate market. Ben Bernanke has firmly backed himself into a corner. Ben will wean himself of QE about as quickly as your local crackhead will wean himself from his addiction.]

Don't say you weren't warned: Mulligan Mint Files For [Chapter 11] Bankruptcy

Items from The Economatrix:

Holiday-Shopping Season Forecast To Be Worst Since 2009

August Inflation Rises 0.1%, Less Than Expected Driven By Lower Utility Prices

Reality Is Breathing Down Bernanke's Neck



Ay, ay, ay Acapulco: Desperate thousands try to escape cut-off Acapulco

   o o o

Reader James W. suggested this: How to Meet Mutual Assistance Group Members

   o o o

Reader Pierre M. sent: The NSA's secret org chart. Marc presents a fine conceptual chart, but of course what it lacks is the corresponding physical structure, showing the Field Stations around the globe and the relationship between the NSA and its tasked military counterparts such as the Air Force Security Command (AFSC), the Naval Security Group (NSG), and the U.S. Army's Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM.)

   o o o

Food for thought: Biblical Prophecies of the Middle East Poster.



"There was another thing that the camels carried, and that was various forms of currency. The currency problem was an important one. Through that admirable institution, the Chinese Post Office, I had been able to transfer the bulk of our capital from Peking to points west by simply paying in a cheque at the Peking branch and then drawing the dollars at Lanchow and Sining. But the Mexican silver dollar which they use in China is a big coin, and the country through which we were to pass had a lawless reputation; a suitcase heavy with silver could not be relied upon to remain indefinitely an asset and might indeed prove a major liability. So we carried the minimum of coin-- 600 or 700 dollars secreted in different places among our gear. With the remainder of our capital-- rather more than a thousand dollars-- I had bought in Lanchow a 12 oz. bar of gold which, besides being easily concealed, had the advantage of being negotiable anywhere where a file and a pair of scales were available. For the remoter Mongol communities, who often have no use for gold or silver, we took with us eight bricks of tea and a good deal of cheap coloured cloth, one or the other of which is always legal tender." - Peter Fleming, News from Tartary (a book about an overland journey from Peking to Kashmir in 1935.)


Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I've just sent the completed manuscript of my nonfiction book "Tools For Survival" to Penguin Books for editing. This is the first time that I've written a book with accompanying photographs. (Skillfully created by my #2 Son.) The Foreword was written by our Backcountry Editor, Mat Stein. The book should be released in June of 2014. Now I can jump back into writing my novel "Liberators," for E.P. Dutton. That manuscript--part of the "Patriots" series--is due in March, and the book should be released in October of 2014. (Deo volente.)

--

Today is Chilean Independence Day. On this day in 1810, Chile declared independence from Spain.

--

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, like so many people across the country, can't walk out of my local sporting goods store without buying the limit of ammunition. Now, before you judge me, realize that most places limit you to small boxes of ammunition, and usually one two per caliber. Is it being prudent or just being obsessed? While the firearm and ammo situation is very much a media-hyped thing,  I have even talked about things you must buy every time you are out, like my article on Things Commonly Overlooked.  But what about those items that you pick up, look at the price tag, but pass on it saying "maybe next time."

In conversations with my other prepping type friends, it would appear that ammunition and firearms are the centerpiece of all of our preparations. While all of us love to shoot and none of us want to cut a good day of shooting short because it will take us weeks to resupply. the truth of the matter is that we are making firearms and ammunition the priority, both in the money and the peace of mind spent to assure our continuation in a world gone bad. But does it really do either of those?

After a few comments from my better half, I got to thinking about how much money I have sunk into my firearms and ammunition in the last year. I have bought at least a half dozen guns. I also make it to my local Academy at least once per pay period and have never walked out without buying the 2 box limit of 9mm or .45, or the limit in .223/.22. Which means the cheapest possible trip in and out is approximately $45. Commonly I buy an additional box of .38 special or .357, which is at least an additional $25. So, let's say I do that once a pay period or twice a month. That's over $1000 a year in ammunition. Again, that's a very conservative estimate. Truth be told, i don't shoot that much and my stock had grown such that I have...well...more than I need.

It was after the crisis in Syria became front page news that I started thinking: What could I have bought instead of all this ammo. More importantly, what things could I possibly need in a split second that guns and ammo couldn't get me. The first thing that I thought of was the one thing that was all over the news. There were scenes of those killed by gas. There were scenes of those luckily to only be maimed by it, usually losing their eyesight. I don't know about you, but that's one sense I'd rather not do without. What did these people not have  that might have saved them? Gas masks.

All of the ammunition in the world couldn't help those people exposed. There was nowhere to run. Once within that poison cloud, you couldn't simply run or hide from it. You certainly couldn't fight out of it or buy/trade your way to safety. But, had those people had access to gas masks, what then? Chances are, they slip them on and escape to live another day. So, while I was on the treadmill at the gym, watching this horror, I got on Amazon to see what gas masks were selling for. In the back of my mind, I assumed that it was just another piece of equipment that I knew I might one day need, would love to buy it for piece of mind, but just couldn't afford to buy it. I'm like everyone else. I am middle class, and while I do believe in being prepared, the pragmatic part of me sets limitations.

What did I find? Amazon has Russian/Israeli/etc military surplus gas masks....to the tune of about $40 shipped to your door.

Now, I didn't forget about the kids. After all, life really isn't worth living if I can't get my whole family. So, still on Amazon, I looked for the same thing in kids sizes. To my surprise, they were also extremely affordable. I was able to buy 3 kids size military surplus masks for under $40 shipped. Not bad, eh?

So, that got me thinking....we spend all this time talking about things we may need, but can't "justify" spending the money on...even though we nickel-and-dime ourselves away prepping on other things. And while I did think of some things.

  • At home water cistern/storage. I had been talking about doing this for a long time, specifically to my dad. See, they live on top of a mountain that's actually above the local water tank. So, there is a booster pump at the bottom of the hill to provide water pressure. It goes out constantly. Well, he has chickens. And dogs. And tons of everything. Not to mention the need for water for himself. He elected to buy an off the shelf version that caught rainwater running off of his shop. I believe it's a 450 gallon unit and it filled up with the first rain. You can get pretty ingenuity with yours and do it fairly cheap (under $150) and go as far as you want to make it work for you. For example, putting it on stilts, adding a 2 way valve to your house water supply, and you can now use your house water system. 
  • Tyvek suits are something that are relatively cheap and very useful to have ready. Will they protect you against many nasty chemical weapons? Will it stop radiation? No. But, it will do an admirable job against most chemical weapons and biological ones. They are water proof. They are easy to find, easy to put on, and cheap. 
  • "Noah's Ark" seed assortments. Tons of places sell heirloom seed assortments. They are around $80-to-$100 and will come with a large variety and assortment of herbs and vegetables. If you are like me and my wife, you normally buy your seeds annually from a catalog. What if instead, you bought one of these a year. And the next year, you planted your old one when you received your new one? This would ensure maximum freshness. While I understand that most people don't have that kind of room and couldn't use a whole set, you can at least use some of them. This way you can save yourself a little money on groceries, but most importantly, get into the practice of growing your own and learning all the little pitfalls.
  • Indoor plant growing station. Even if you live in an apartment you can buy one. Sorry, I couldn't think of a better name for it. The stands and the correct lights (you can't just use standard bulbs) do cost a good amount of money, usually around $100. Maybe that's one of the reasons that I never bought one to begin with. Plus, Alabama has such a temperate climate that starting your own seedlings isn't usually necessary. This year, however, we experienced a deluge of rain that kept me from planting. Plus, a friend was moving out of town and was selling his setup. So, I bought it cheap. With a cheap bag of soil, I was able to easily grow 30 tomato plants in a 48" long tray until they were big enough to separate and grow in their own pots. So, it cost about $125 counting the lights and stand, the soil, cups, and seeds. What would 30 half grown tomato cost you at Lowe's? There you go. 
  • A dirt bike. A used dirt bike can be found easily and cheaply around here. Especially an older one that is carbureted and has a non-electronic ignition. Why would you want such a thing? Well, in the case of an EMP, it would be one of the few rides left around town that ran. You couldn't put a price on being able to ride to and fro when the lights went out. Additionally, if you didn't get out ahead of everyone in another catastrophic event.. For example, let's say that you were in gridlock traffic and you just KNEW something really bad was about to happen. You could unload your little dirt bike off the back of your truck and take off. Paved roads, dirt roads, through the trees, doesn't matter. You could ride almost anywhere. Sure, it would cost you $1,000 up front. But, like we were talking about earlier, I spent that in ammo this year. This is a much more useful tool.

Again, these are but a few things that I thought of in a short thinking session. I hope that I will hear from some of you to point out others. The point is, you simply can't let a once time price stop you from buying semi-affordable things. Especially when you are dedicated to spending the money anyway. There are certainly things that I can't afford. But, I find myself spending money on things I can afford while ignoring things I could afford. So, put things in a price-perspective. Do you need another assault rifle? Another case of MREs? Maybe. Maybe not. But think of all the other things you could do with $1,500 that could buy you precious minutes or hours.



Hi!
Thanks for all you do.  In my quest to do one thing to prepare for the coming uncertainties each day, I thought I would take a moment to remind you and all readers that this coming weekend is the Equinox, the time that I update my car kit to prepare for the coming winter.  Besides my day to day car kit, I'll add extra warm coats, hats, gloves, boots and scarves to the trunk.  Additionally, a few ponchos and garbage bags.  Here in one of the nanny states in the northeast US, there aren't many places I go that will require much more than that.

I also think it it's a good time to remind all that a half tank of gas should be considered an empty tank.

All the best, - Project Manager X.



James,
In "Letter Re: Advice on Firearms Caching", Mark J. wrote "Should I simply use a Hot Hands hand warmer inside the mylar bag and then another one inside the PVC tube? I should not have to worry about moisture if it is vacuum sealed? right? "

Well, no--regardless of the chemicals in the heater. Putting any temporary heat source in a sealed container may actually cause corrosion or water damage that wouldn't have happened before.

This is why:
Heating air does not remove moisture from a confined environment; it simply increases the air's ability to absorb moisture from other objects in that environment. That sounds exactly like what we want--except, this only lasts as long as the air stays warm. If the warm, moisture-laden air isn't moved out of the environment, when that air cools back down it will no longer be able to hold the extra moisture, and the moisture it was holding will condense back out of the air--probably as droplets on the surfaces within the container. The galvanic action that causes corrosion is especially strong on the edges of formed water droplets, and is often why we see pitting of metal surfaces.

When using heat to remove moisture, either the heat must stay on, or the moisture-laden air should be able to circulate away from the item(s) being protected before the air can cool. Folks often think of the warming dehumidifiers used in gun safes--these work for two reasons: much of the warm, moisture-laden air is circulated out every time the door is opened, and when the door stays closed, the heater keeps the environment constantly warm.

These principles are true for any sealed environment, whether its a PVC tube or a CONEX shipping container.

Thanks, - Britt (A Mechanical Engineer with experience in the HVAC industry)



Investment Banker Alpert: 'Massive Deflationary Forces' Lurks

Money Versus Currency - Australian Comedian Michael Connell's View

25 Fast Facts About The Federal Reserve

Reader "Subman762" wrote to warn: "There have been some fake Chinese silver plated copies of Northwest Territorial Mint's Stagecoach silver bar circulating on eBay. The corner radii are a little off and the fakes come in plastic holders that open,while the genuine ones are sealed. I was unfortunate enough to buy some of them and they are very convincing. A scratch test quickly revealed their plated nature and the acid test produced mixed results, due to some silver being present. I saw your link to NWTM's web site and wanted to recommend buying directly from Northwest Territorial Mint and not via eBay."

Items from The Economatrix:

Summers Steps Out Of Fed Race

Industrial Production Misses For 5th Month In A Row

They Denied That We Were In A Depression In 1933 And They Are Doing It Again In 2013



K.T. sent: Media mongers new fear campaign over 'bump fire' stocks. (FWIW, I bought a short stack of SlideFire AR and AK stocks, just in case further production is banned, but their possession is grandfathered. )

   o o o

Reader Joe G. recommended this holster maker in New Hampshire: Mitch Rosen

   o o o

The Red State Ranger recommended: The Don't Own Stuff You Can't Fix Plan for Life



"The concept of 'necessity' is almost always dangerous and insidious in political matters. Asking whether vanilla is necessary for a specific cupcake recipe is very different from asking whether guns or tobacco or beer or soda or cocaine is 'necessary' for a person’s life. People place different values on different things, and it is supremely arrogant and insulting for a person to look at a particular product and think that he can decide for the rest of humanity whether it is 'necessary' to own.

It is true that certain guns are not 'necessary' for human beings, in the sense that without them people will immediately perish, but the same can be said of almost anything. Art and dancing and tennis, for example, are not necessary for human beings in order to stay alive. Does that mean that they can be brushed aside as inconsequential trivialities that the fat governor can and should take away from us?" - Mark R. Crovelli


Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Today (September 17th) we celebrate Constitution Day in these United States. Let's fight to retain the rights that we have left and to regain those that have been eroded.

--

Until October 15th, the SurvivalBlog 2005-2012 Archive DVD is sale priced at just $11.99.

--

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.



Did you ever wonder just how waterproof your ammunition is?  Over the years I’ve seen ammo stored in everything from cardboard boxes in the attic to sealed ammo cans in the basement, to fruit jars in the refrigerator.    Case corrosion and propellant degradation can occur as a result of exposure to elements, oxygen, and extreme fluctuations in temperature and humidity.  Think of the times when both you and your ammunition were exposed to the elements…wouldn’t it be nice to add one more layer of reliability to your primary weapon system – by ensuring waterproof reloads?  Okay, I’m not going to go into the basics of reloading…just going to talk about a few of the evolutionary steps I’ve taken to ensure that my reloads work as intended.

Being a re-loader of metallic cartridges for some time, I finally decided to conduct an un-scientific experiment of various ammunitions’ ability to remain viable after being underwater for 48 hours.   From a long-term storage and use perspective the military has some of the best ammunition around.  U.S. Military small arms ammunition is mostly produced today in the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Liberty, Missouri.   M193 55 grain Full Metal Case (FMC) 5.56 ball, M855 62 grain FMC ball, M85 7.62, 9mm ball, etc – all have bullets and primers sealed during manufacture.  Further, the primers are ‘crimped’ to ensure a better seal and avoid any possibility of the primer dislodging during firing and potentially injuring the operator, damaging or ‘jamming’ a weapon.   A spent primer in the lower receiver of the AR-15/M16 family of weapons can find its way under the trigger group, and prevent the full range of trigger travel required to fire the weapon.  In a serious situation – this could be a life-ending malfunction.  

Since most of us can’t afford to purchase the full amount of military grade small arms ammunition we might like to stock for future ‘famines’ or any other reasons,  we’ve turned to reloading.   Or, it could be that you have non-military calibers in your fleet that you re-load and wish to maintain.  All center-fire rifle and pistol ammunition can be reloaded as long as it’s ‘boxer’ (not Berdan) primed.  Boxer primed simply means one priming hole in the center of the cartridge base.  Berdan primed cases have two or more small holes (off center) and standard reloading dies can’t ‘punch’ the spent primers out through the bottom of the case.  Most steel cased ammunition from overseas is Berdan primed.  It varies widely in performance and quality, but generally it’s decent for long term storage, probably water-proofed to some degree by sealer or total case ‘lacquering’.   When you can find it cheap it’s fine for long term storage and ‘shoot it and leave it’ applications.   One of the hazards commonly associated with lacquered cases is build-up of the lacquer material in the weapons chamber.  This usually occurs only when the weapon gets hot through rapid-fire sessions.  The lacquer can melt in the chamber, then cool and harden – potentially causing a fail to chamber, or more likely, a failure to extract.  This is more common in weapons that don’t sport a chrome chamber, but it can occur with any of them.   Accuracy of overseas military surplus ammunition is generally man-of-angle but nothing close to what a determined re-loader with some patience can achieve.   I’ve stored some of the mildly corrosive Wolf and Norinco ammunition for well over 30 years, with no degradation to reliability.  Is it as good as brass-cased, US military grade ammunition?  Absolutely not – but it beats the heck of throwing rocks and falls into the ‘good enough’ and ‘grateful to have it’ and ‘serviceable’ category.  However, the vast majority of military ball is just that – full metal jacket – and if you want to load hollow points, match bullets, etc you can exercise this option and still build reliability into the products.

Moisture and oil are the two biggest killers of smokeless powder and primers.  Avoid any exposure of oil to the inside of the cartridge case, powder and especially the primers.  The more cautious reloader keeps all primers in sealed ammo cans, with desiccant, in a cool and dry environment until loading time.    When I purchase primers and powder, I mark the year and the month of purchase, loading the oldest first.  During reloading I only handle individual primers with tweezers – never my greasy fingers, lest I inadvertently contaminate the primer with traces of oil.  This author has also started sonic cleaning his brass (after tumbling and de-priming) to ensure that no foreign substances are lucking inside the case.  For this I’ve settled on a cheap cleaner from Harbor Freight Tools, and about 3 tablespoons of Citranox per load.   I can usually get two to three baskets of brass cleaned before switching the cleaning solution.  After I pull them from the cleaner, I rinse twice in clean water.  Two successive 5-gallon buckets of clean water do the trick.  Then I dry on 170 degrees on a cookie sheet in mom’s oven until good and dry.

Many of you out there reload military brass, and have encountered the crimp around the primer.  After de-capping, that crimp must be removed in some fashion to ensure that a new primer can be seated without deforming or catching on the remnants of the crimp.  It can be removed through reaming – removing case material in the priming hole at about a 45 degree angle until the little rim left from crimping is removed.  Hand reamers and electric reamers are available from a variety of resources.  However, I’ve over-reamed a few cases in my day with a Black and Decker Drill and large bit.  Due to the lack of precision in my process I learned about primer venting, and sacrificed an AR-15 bolt in the process.  It slowly became obvious to me by looking at my once fired brass.  There were small black holes where gases escaped by the primer.  Shoot an entire 1,000 rounds like I did and you’ll notice a small recessive furrow melted in a perfectly concentric pattern around the firing pin hole on the bolt face.  This was caused by a majority of 1,000 primers venting and melting small pits into the face of the bolt.  I noticed it after the first 30 rounds or so, but decided to just sacrifice one bolt rather than many. It was either shoot them all – or pull all those bullets.

Currently, I prefer the Dillon’s Super Swage 600 for rolling back the crimp on military brass.  It bolts to the bench and simply removes the crimp by pushing it back with a tapered, hardened rod.  It appears more consistent to me and doesn’t weaken the pocket by removing case metal.  Once you’ve done this you now have a slightly tapered pocket just like you find on commercial loads.  However, the lack of a crimped primer makes it easier for moisture to contaminate the primer and powder.  The hotter your loads and the more your load your brass, the looser these primer pockets become.  If you don't want to take the time to prepare all that brass yourself a source I do recommend is mi-brass.com.  Send an e-mail to Aaron and he'll get back to you with prices on brass preparation.  He's very reasonable, fast and honest. 

After a bit of research on the internet I found Midway was carrying Markron Custom Bullet and Primer Sealer in ½ liquid oz packages.   The product information claims that an application of this “will keep moisture out up to 30 days of complete water submersion.”   In order to test my reloads I took 12 rounds of Lake City 5.56 brass, swaged and reloaded them with 55 grain bullets.  I also took 12 rounds of .45 ACP that I’d reloaded with at least once-fired commercial brass and Montana Gold 185 grain hollow points.   I then applied the Markron sealer to the primer as well the exterior of the case where the bullet meets the case mouth.   I was careful not to apply too much around the bullet, especially with the .45 ACP since these rounds head-space off the case mouth.  Although drying time is specified as 5 minutes, I let them dry overnight.  For the ‘control group’ I used the same batch of 5.56 and .45 reloads but without the primer sealer.  I also included 12 rounds of Lake City M855 ball that have been carried a bit, but were as good as new.   All these rounds went into separate coffee cans full of water. There they stayed for 48 hours.  

The results of this layman’s experiment follow:

Cartridge

 

Fired

Misfired

.45 ACP Reload 185 JHP

Not Sealed

9

3

.45 ACP Reload 185 JHP

Sealed

12

0

5.56 LC Reload 55 FMJ

Not Sealed

11

1

5.56 LC Reload 55 FMJ

Sealed

12

0

5.56 LC M855 Factory

Sealed from factory

12

0

                 
What was surprising to me was that fully 25% of my small sample of .45 ACP and 8% of the 5.56 that were unsealed failed to fire.  Just to be sure, I went ahead and re-hit all of these primers at least twice.  They were dead as a doornail.  Collectively that’s a 16.6% failure rate for unsealed ammunition.  Placed in a more positive light – that’s a 100% success rate for primers sealed with Markron Primer Sealer.   As expected – the M855 Lake City ball was as tight as ever and never failed to fire.  At this point I decided to test the limits of this primer sealer, as well as search for a ‘local option’ that might be cheaper and still fit the bill.   I settled on Spar Urethane, which seems a bit thick for the application, but dabbed on with a small paint brush and excess removed with a clean rag seemed like a logical choice.  I sealed 15 rounds primer only, and another 15 both primer and bullet. After application I let the rounds dry 48 hours, then submerged in water for 48 hours.  With 30 test rounds of 5.56 reloads, it became apparent that this stuff indeed keeps the water out.    Be advised that all these bullets were also crimped with a Lee Factory Crimp die.  Results were very positive. 

Cartridge

 

Fired

Misfired

5.56 LC Reload with FMJ

Sealed Primer

15

0

5.56 LC Reload with FMJ

Sealed Primer and Bullet

15

0


Conclusions:  For water resistance and reliability this author is going to start sealing all reloads, and all factory ammo that isn’t visibly sealed, prior to placing it into storage.  This will help ensure reliability under adverse conditions, less than ideal storage, hunting, or whatever environment you might find yourself in. 



JWR,
I'm looking for any insight regarding regarding discreet water storage in a suburban neighborhood.  My family is most certainly amateur peppers living in a suburban neighborhood just north of Des Moines, Iowa.  We have security, food, medical supplies along with other essentials.  The one thing we don't have is near enough water.  

My main hesitation from just going out and getting 55-gallon water barrels is how conspicuous they would be. However that said, that may be the best solution. Are there any other solutions that I should consider?

Great site and invaluable information.  Thank you! - J.P.H. in Iowa

JWR Replies: Yes, I would recommend getting blue HDPE 55-gallon water barrels or perhaps metal frame "tote" food grade tanks, if you have the floor space. If they will be stored in a garage where they will be in public gaze if the garage door is open then be sure to drape them with tarps, or camouflage them with scrap cardboard boxes that have been sectioned. With some creativity, you can easily make the row of drums look merely like a stack of typisch Middle Class excess "stuff."



James,
I have a short comment on today’s article for “Pat's Product Review: All American Sun Oven”.
 
My wife and I bought the $399 model at a Dallas Prepper show a couple years ago and used it in order to make sure we knew how to operate it.
After several weeks of use, my job took me to a long overseas visit and the oven went onto a shelf in the garage. It sat for six months without anyone using it. Yes I cleaned and dried it out.
Upon returning from my trip I got it back out to use it again and found that the cheap bolts holding the leveling shelf in place were completely rusted up. I quickly disassembled the oven and removed the rusty bolts and went to hardware store and bought same size Stainless Steel bolts, washers and nuts. Put it all back together and went back to using it.
 
It is a fantastic unit and I agree with Pat’s description. My only complaint is for nearly $400 they could spent the extra dollar and go with Stainless Steel [hardware] to reduce the corrosion.
 
My two cents (solid copper of course). God Bless, - Edward A.



Cheryl N. sent: A Map Of America's Future: Where Growth Will Be Over The Next Decade. Not surprisingly, the "Inland West" (which includes much of The American Redoubt will benefit from conservative transplants from other states. It is all about personal freedom and opportunity. Here is a quote: "From 2003 to 2013, [the Inland West] enjoyed the most rapid population growth in the nation: 21%. It is expected to continue to outgrow the rest of the country over the next decade, as the area boasts the highest percentage of young people under 20 in the U.S."

   o o o

The folks at Barr Specialty Tools (in McCall, Idaho,) have expanded their line of excellent hand-forged knives and other tools.

   o o o

The annual Battle of the Palouse grudge match between the University of Idaho "Vandals" and neighboring Washington State University "Cougars" is scheduled for September 21st. Who will make The Loser's Walk, this year? ("The walk was disbanded after 1969, but you’ll find a few traditionalists taking the walk after the Idaho-WSU football game.")

   o o o

Wyoming Population Growth No. 4 in Nation. JWR's Observations: North Dakota is booming because of the exploitation of the Bakken oil fields. Washington DC is booming because of the exploitation of taxpayer wallets. Texas and Wyoming are booming because they are safe havens from the exploitation of taxpayer wallets by the governments of other states.





G.G. flagged this: Imagining a Cyberattack on the Power Grid

   o o o

Reader F.G. sent me a link to some eye candy: Herra Kuulapaa: High speed ballistics photography. (The Guy Fawkes mask was a nice touch.)

   o o o

Bob K. and his wife recommended the classic short story: The Machine Stops, by E.M. Forster, written in 1909.

   o o o

Activity On The Sun Flatlines: Bitterly Cold Winters Ahead?

   o o o

14 Civilian Disarmament Bills on California Governor's Desk



"Trillions were created so that a system choking on existing debt could issue more debt. But you can't lose sight of the creation process, created isn't 'out of thin air', it's never out of thin air. Created is loaned into existence. We are issuing debt in order to transfer debt in order to 'free up credit' which basically means to create more debt. This is how our monetary system works." - Post comment by "kridkrid", at Zero Hedge


Monday, September 16, 2013


The continuing floods in Colorado underscore the importance of having both Get Out of Dodge (G.O.O.D.) kits and Get Home Bags (GHBs.) See: Officials to flood-hit Coloradans: Leave now or face weeks without supplies.

--

Today is the birthday of "Mad Jack" Churchill. (Born 1906, died, March 8, 1996.) He was a world class eccentric. He went to war in WWII armed with a broadsword and a longbow. (The latter was successfully used to dispatch several German soldiers.) He later became a devoted surfer. He was truly an original character.



It goes something like this, "one is none, two is one, and three is two!" No, that's not new math - although these days, it could be with all the insane things they are now teaching in public schools. What I'm talking about relates to survival. If you have one of "something" and it breaks, you lose it, or whatever happens to it, you have none. If you have two of "something" and one goes south, then you still have one. If you have three of "something" then if one stops working, you still have two to fall back on. Makes a lot of sense if you stop and think about it.
 
I thankfully, don't have just one firearm, I have several - not nearly as many folks believe I have. I'm not a gun collector, I'm a habitual gun trader. So, if one of my firearms breaks, is stolen, gets lost - whatever - I still have a few to fall back on. If you're a Prepper, you need to have something to fall back on, be it firearms, extra food, extra water, or just about anything - you need to have a Plan B and a Plan C, if you want to survive. When it comes to cooking, my family and I have several methods with which to cook our foods. We of course, have our electric range in the kitchen. We also have a rocket stove, we have a propane BBQ grill, we have a propane camp stove, and we have some small compact little camp stoves that fit in our backpacks, so we pretty much have things covered when it comes to cooking, one is none, two is one and three is two, right?
 
I received the All-American Sun Oven for testing some months back, and it is a must have as far as I'm concerned if you're into prepping for the bad times that are coming - the bad times that are already here. Sure, there's a lot of foods you can eat cold - but not much fun. However, many foods need to be cooked before you can eat them. For many years, I read about home made solar ovens or cookers, and I always meant to get around to building one - never did! Just seemed like a good idea to have the sun do my cooking for me, and it can also help save on your power bills, by allowing the sun to do your cooking - for free!
 
Now, you can not only cook in the Sun Oven, you can also bake, dehydrate, steam foods or boil water - for making it safe to drink - have I caught your attention, yet? Good! The Sun Oven can reach temperatures from between 460 and 500 degrees, without fear of burning your foods, like a conventional oven can. I like the idea of being able to dehydrate foods - without having to plug-in our food dehydrators, they are noisy and take a long time to dehydrate at times, depends on what you are trying to dehydrate.
 
For the past 28-years of so, Sun Ovens have been widely used around the world in more than 126-countries, and have become the world's most well respected cooking appliance, especially in third world countries, where, well, to put it quite simply, they have no electricity or gas for cooking - they cook over open fires, while not a bad way to cook, it's not controllable and you are dependent on a fuel source. With the Sun Oven, your fuel is the sun!
 
Now, that's not say that the Sun Oven if perfect, and you can cook on it 365-days per year, you can't! You are dependent upon the sun, and in my part of Oregon - the wet side, we have about 8-months of rain and overcast days - that's not to say, we don't see the sun for 8-months, we do - but not on a daily basis. So, we come back to one is none, two is one and three is two - when it comes to sources for cooking meals. On days when the sun isn't out, we can cook on our electric stove, or if the power is out, we can cook on our little propane cook stove - which we do when the power goes out. Or we can cook using our rocket stove, that takes very little fuel - and we have plenty of trees on our homestead to use for fuel. So, we have a back-up plan, to our back-up plan when it comes to having a means to cook our food. In many areas of the country, you might have sunshine 365-days per year, and you can use your Sun Oven for many of your cooking needs.
 
The Sun Oven in American-made weighs about 22 pounds, and is large enough for most of your baking and cooking needs, and it is fairly compact. The E-Z Sun-track indicators - big term for a little device that allows you to set-up the Sun Oven to take advantage of the proper placement and alignment of the sun's rays. The front cover on the Sun Oven is 25% thicker than the glass on previous models, for increased shatter resistance and it also improves the insulation properties of the oven. The body of the Sun Oven appears to be made out of fiberglass, and it is sturdy, it should give you a lifetime of cooking use, assuming you don't abuse your oven - as in dropping it on a hard surface, where it might crack. The reflectors, and there are four of them, that surround the over, are designed to direct the sunlight directly into the Sun Oven. There are also wind resistant alignment legs with ground stakes, that allows you to raise or lower the oven's orientation to meet the sun on the horizon - really, it takes a minute to set it up, easy to do!
 
The model of Sun Oven I received is the basic model, and it only came with a dual purpose leveling rack, which hangs inside the oven and swings freely to prevent spilling food in a pot on the rack. It can also be set on the floor of the oven to increase the usable area inside the Sun Oven - again, easier done than explained.
 
Okay, enough of the "technical" stuff, so how does the Sun Oven work in practice? Well, I'm not a baker, my wife does all the baking around our place, but I am a cook, and a good one, at that. I do a lot of the cooking at our home, I enjoy it! Over the period of several months, we used the Sun Oven for baking breads and pies, and it works just as advertised, and the outside temps do not have to be hot at all - all you need is the sunlight being reflected into the oven to do your cooking. It doesn't matter if the temps are freezing or super hot - the oven will still cook for you, so long as the sun is able to hit the reflectors. Yes, in cooler temps, your cooking time takes a little bit longer, but not much, and on hotter days, your cooking time is less. We also boiled water - the Sun Oven web site says you can boil water to purify it, but we wanted to test it ourselves, and in short order, a pot of cold water was boiling.
 
I love pizza - it's my favorite food - followed by a good Chicago-style hot dog, then a good burger. Yeah, my eating needs are rather simple compared to most folks, I guess I'm easy to please. We baked pizzas in our oven, as well as "roasting" hot dogs and "frying" burgers. And, one thing you will notice is that, you foods are much more moist when cooked in the Sun Oven, compared to other cooking methods - especially breads and cakes.
 
There is a wealth of information on the Sun Oven, on their web site, be sure to check it out - you'll literally spend hours there watching videos and reading all the cool stuff about the oven. What is most amazing is, the simplicity of the Sun Oven, the darn thing works and works and works as advertised - so long as you have sunlight, you can cook. In a SHTF scenario, you have a way of cooking when the power goes down, and one of the nice things about the oven is, with much of the foods you cook inside the oven enclosure, it won't give away to the neighbors or the bad guys that you are cooking. They aren't going to smell the burgers cooking on a barbeque - little or no smoke or aroma to drift from your location. And, best of all, you are cooking for free - no other source of fuel is required, only the sun! Right now, we are just getting to the end of a heat wave in our part of Oregon, and we honestly didn't want to do any cooking or baking inside the house, it was hot enough. So, the wife placed the Sun Oven in the front yard and we did most of our cooking there - keeping the house a little bit cooler.
 
The only drawback I can see is that, as already mentioned, you can't cook in the Sun Oven all the time - if you don't have sunny days. That is where we revert back to our one is none, two is one and three is two rule - you have different methods for cooking your meals, just in case the sun isn't out on a particular day, you can still cook by another means - if you have prepared and have other means available for cooking and baking.  I like the idea of being able to cook and bake in one device. On my little propane camp stove, I can cook - yeah, they make an attachment for baking, but it's so small, I don't honestly know what I can bake in it. With the Sun Oven, you can bake and cook.
 
I received the base model Sun Oven, and it only came with the leveling rack - nothing more, and it sells for $349 - a bit steep you might say? No, not if you look at all the benefits you get by using the sun to do your cooking, and in a SHTF scenario, you'd give anything to have a Sun Oven to do you cooking and baking. And, if you stop and think about all the money you'll save by allowing the sun to do your cooking, you will recoup the investment in the Sun Oven. However, I would pop for the $399 Sun Oven model, as you get an entire host of accessories with it. Yes, you can purchase the accessories separately, but it is a huge savings if you purchase the $399 model over the basic one - well worth the extra $50 if you ask me.
 
If you're planning on cooking or baking when the power grid goes down - for whatever reason - you absolutely, must get your hands on the Sun Oven. And, as an added benefit, it's just a lot of plain ol' fun cooking in the Sun Oven, and it's fun to experiment - we haven't gotten around to doing any dehydrating with out Sun Oven, but we will. Honestly, this is a worth while investment to add if you are a Prepper, or just someone who wants to save money by not using your kitchen stove all the time. Simple - get one! - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio



As I've mentioned before, Wikipedia's editors have strong leftist and statist biases. This is evidenced by the way that they selectively delete content and gradually push the Point of View (POV) of articles to match their world views.

According a SurvivalBlog reader in Switzerland, the following section was deleted from Wikipedia by members of an anti-gun Wikipedia cabal on August 14, 2013. (It had been part of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns article):

Members convicted of illegal activity
 
Some members of MAIG have been convicted of crimes. They include:
 
Baltimore, Maryland - Mayor Sheila Dixon
 
Hartford, Connecticut - Mayor Eddie Perez
 
Racine, Wisconsin - Mayor Gary Becker
 
East Haven, Connecticut - Mayor April Capone Almon

Detroit, Michigan - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Guttenberg, New Jersey - Mayor David Delle Donna
 
Jackson, Mississippi - Mayor Frank Melton

Passaic, New Jersey - Mayor Samuel Rivera

Austin, Texas - Mayor Will Wynn
 
Jersey City, New Jersey - Mayor Jerremiah Healy
 
Birmingham, Alabama - Mayor Larry Langford
 
Inglewood, California - Mayor Roosevelt F. Dorn
 
White Plains, New York - Mayor Adam Bradley

Port St. Lucie, Florida - Mayor Patricia Christensen

Hamilton, New Jersey - Mayor John Bencivengo

Brownsville, Texas - Mayor Pat Ahumada
 
Monticello, New York - Mayor Gordon Jenkins

JWR Adds: Never mentioned in the Wiki article was the fact that there are charges pending against at least seven other members of their "crime fighting" organization:

Marcus Hook Mayor James 'Jay' Schiliro. (The "furnishing alcohol to a minor" charge was just dropped on a technicality, but he still faces misdemeanor charges of official oppression, recklessly endangering another person, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment, in a bizarre incident where he tried to force a young man to have homosexual relations, at gunpoint.)

Trenton Mayor Tony Mack

Spring Valley, New York Mayor Noramie Jasmin

Coaldale Mayor Richard P. Corkery (Still no formal charges, after two years!)

Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe

West New York Mayor Felix Roque

Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins

And a couple more have left office without formal charges:

San Diego Mayor Bob "Filthy" Fillner

Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello

And then there are those who have shamelessly refused to leave office, despite clear proof of criminal and unethical behavior:

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Portland Mayor Sam Adams

East Orange Mayor Robert Bowser

...among others. - J.W.R.



Hi James,
After a firearm has been oiled up with RIG grease and vacuum sealed, I want to put it into a rifle length mylar bag as well and then put into a 6" PVC tube.  Should I simply use a Hot Hands hand warmer inside the mylar bag and then another one inside the PVC tube?  I should not have to worry about moisture if it is vacuum sealed? right?  I do have some silica gel packs but did not know if you can mix the two together.

I tried to do a search on your site but could not find the right information.

Thanks Jim for all your research and God Bless all your efforts. - Mark J.

JWR Replies: DO NOT use hand warmers or oxygen absorbers for storing guns, ammunition, or tools!  Use only silica gel.

Here is quote from the Hot Hands web site:

Q.  What’s in a pack? What makes it work?
A.  Our HeatMax® family of air activated warmers all contain a mixture of natural ingredients that when exposed to air react together to produce heat. This is accomplished through an extremely fast oxidation (or rusting) process. Ingredients include: iron powder, water, salt, activated charcoal and vermiculite. HeatMax® has perfected the process so that our warmers, depending on the individual product, produce heat anywhere from 100°F to 180°F for duration of 1 to 20+ hours.

Putting rust, water, and salt in proximity of your stored guns is a potential disaster. Again, use only silica gel. To be sure that the silica gel has the full desired desiccating effect, dry the packets in an oven overnight on low heat (175 degrees.) That will drive out any accumulated moisture.



James,
Concerning the recent posts (all good) about a digital library:

I admit I didn't read every word, but as a fairly long time (23+ years) IT professional for the same company, I would be remiss to not identify the problems we have had.

First off understand, technology always marches on! And whiles many times I have successfully restored rewritten 20+ year old data, there have been many failures. As densities of storage medium grows the physical size of the actual stored information shrinks! So the actual stored magnetic 1's and 0's are written is in smaller and smaller spaces, becoming ever more susceptible to corruption. And this is but one of the dangers of data storage. Technological advances are probably even more troublesome.

During my 23 year tenure we have changed the backup medium at least 4 times and densities at least 3 times. Each requiring a different piece of hardware. Many requiring a re-reading from the old format and re-writing to the new format.  From 1/2" reel to reel type tape, to 1/4" cartridge tape, to low density 8 mm VCR type tape, to high density 8 mm tape, and now on to several different densities of the newer LTO format. We literally have several thousand tapes in our digital backups, but currently I can only read the last three generations. If you do not transfer your data to the current medium in a timely manner then your data stands at risk!

Optical technologies are a bit more stable, but I believe the DVD gold standard medium is only good for about 20 years. Assuming you have hardware that can read a DVD 20 years from now! And if the markets decides DVDs  (reference the old VHS or Laser-disc!) are no longer valid, then poof they are gone. These changes don't happen overnight, but rather in months to a year or so. You need to stay vigilant.

Understand that there is no guarantee that the IDE / USB drive you have backed up onto will be readable in the future. The old (late 1980's to mid 1990's) MFM interface (modified frequency modulation) drives are ancient and you would be lucky to find anyone who knows of them or to find a working interface for current PC's! The USB (2.0) 3.0 interface of today may well fall to the OMLITNNFIITW (Oh my Lord its the next new fastest interface in the world) syndrome. For example, there are few IDE interfaces available on the motherboards of today, most are SATA. Almost no serial ports to be found on the motherboards of today. A parallel port is a dinosaur. And it's next to impossible to find a floppy interface on today's motherboards, though you can still find USB floppy drives. For how long? Your guess is as good as mine!

The current SATA drive interface may last for decades, or just until they find something better. And the newer incredibly fast PCI-SATA interface is hitting the market as we speak. How long will either last? After 23 years the only thing I know is, is that change is constant!

In short computers are a dynamic and ever changing medium. As is your backup medium.

See you on the FALFiles, - Joe Ax



Naomi's Chili With Fresh Tomatoes

I don't use tomato products that are in cans because of my concerns about BPA, an endocrine disruptor found in the plasticized lining of canned food cans, which is particularly bad in tomatoes.  However, this poses a problem when making chili, because most recipes call for canned tomatoes or tomato paste.

I developed this recipe to use fresh tomatoes in making chili.  It does involve a jar of salsa (which is in glass) and frozen veggies, but those can easily be substituted for fresh stuff or omitted all together.

Chili from fresh tomatoes

Ingredients
2 onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 green bell peppers, diced
2 lbs ground beef/beef chuck
10 big tomatoes, or 20 smaller ones, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
Chicken or beef broth
1 tablespoon molasses (blackstrap is fine)
2 cans beans (or 1 lb dry beans, soaked)  (pinto, black, or kidney)
1 jar salsa (medium jar)
1 can fire roasted green pepper
1 bag frozen southwest veggies
pinch of sea salt to taste

Preparation

1. Brown the meat with onions, pepper & garlic
2. Add spices, pepper, tomatoes, beans, salsa, veggies, and chili. Cover with broth, and simmer. About 4 hours is long enough for the tomatoes to "melt" into the chili, but keep simmering all day long for best flavor. 
Add salt last, about 1/2 hour before serving.

*If using dried and soaked beans, hold the tomatoes while the beans simmer in broth for an hour or two, then add the tomatoes (otherwise the acidity will make the beans stay hard.)

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Food Network's Chili Recipes

32 Top-Rated Chili Recipes

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



Fed set to unveil tapering of asset purchases next week. [JWR's Comment: Don't be surprised if you hear that this decision is quietly rescinded, just a few weeks from now. Free money is more addictive than crack cocaine. And I'm sure that TPTB realize that any substantive "tapering" would throw the credit market into a tailspin. Merely talking about tapering is much more comfortable to the banksters. This is something akin to your local crackhead talking about gradually giving up his addiction--and just as likely.]

G.G. suggested: More Americans Struggle to Afford Food

Reader "Dollardog" recommended this: An empty storefront, and a $32,000 tax bill

Items from The Economatrix:

Labor Participation Lowest Since 1978

Employment Trending Down

Initial Jobless Claims Plunge Due To "Computer Upgrades" And "Faulty Reporting By States"



Pre-1899 and replica gun law tested in Texas.

   o o o

On November 16, 2013, I will be a featured guest speaker (via teleseminar) at the Charlotte, North Carolina Back To The Basics convention. (Formerly known as Charlotte PrepCon.)

   o o o

Some redoubtable folks: Maryland counties join movement to secede from largely Democrat-run state. (Thanks to S.R. for the link.)

   o o o

Killer robots and crippling cyber attacks: How the world is going to end - according to super brains such as Stephen Hawking

   o o o

Robert L. wrote: "I recommend Royal Bag as a source for zip-loc type storage bags in 2-mil, 4-mil and 6-mil bags up to 24” x 24”. These, in my opinion, are much better construction than the [conusumer grade] Ziploc brand."



"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." - Hebrews 13:5-9 (KJV)


Sunday, September 15, 2013


Please keep the folks in the flooded valleys in and near Boulder, Colorado in your prayers.

--

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).



Ragnar Benson wrote the book “The Survival Retreat: A Total Plan For Retreat Defense” many years ago, but one of the things he discussed has stayed with me for a long time.  Reading this blog influenced me to read it again recently.  A great many of the things in the book don’t apply to my situation, but his discussion of the insights into the conditions during a disruption of normal society influenced my decision to “bunker in place.”  His descriptions of the situations of refugees especially affected me.  Refugees are basically at the mercy of whichever authority is controlling the area they are moving through, or temporarily residing in, at the time.  More than anything, what I have taken from this section of his book, and I have paraphrased here is, die if you must but never become a refugee.  In the broad sense a refugee is anyone who is not residing in a permanent, sustainable, and defendable location; and has no intention of moving from it in the foreseeable future.  The qualities of your location may be dependent on your means at the time, but they are necessary.  By this definition, if you have to commute to and from work through an area that could become dangerous during any societal disruption, during the time you are moving through this area you are a refugee.  You have limited resources, you have to move through territory that may have unknown dangers from obstructions, you have no fixed defenses, and you may have a limited time to reach your destination.  This is especially true if you are truly “bugging out”, moving you, your family, or your group from an area which is not any of the above requirements for a retreat.    Most probably even though you are a “prepper” and have made many preparations for eventualities you do not live permanently at your retreat location.  Even if you do, most of you have to work somewhere else, and very few of you stay within a few miles away from you retreat every minute of every day.  You take vacations, shopping trips, visits to the relatives, etc.  I don’t think any disruption will be sudden enough that you won’t have 2 or 3 days to get to your retreat, but that doesn’t mean something like a war or major volcanic eruption in Yellowstone can’t happen. Even so, some difficulties will be manifest during a slow slide to oblivion.  Unless you are part of a military armored column with close air support and adequate recon capabilities you are a refugee.  You are vulnerable.  To maximize your chances of reaching your destination safely you have to think and act like a refugee, a smart refugee.

When you are moving you are extremely vulnerable.  Anyone who has hunted knows that the best time to find game such as deer and elk is when they are moving and you can “lieth in wait” as the Bible says.  When they are bedded you have to move to find them, and that gives them the advantage.  Every moment you are on the move or stopped in some questionable camp you are vulnerable to the predators that will be waiting or moving in search of prey, and it won’t take much movement to attract their attention.  In a true “fan” situation, and even in a temporary local disruption if it happens to be your local, every thing beyond your line of sight including intervening obstructions such as gulleys must be considered “Bandit Country.”  If you live in a city this includes down to the corner and around the block.  Any place that could hide a hunter or a group of hunters is suspect.  Your status as a refugee may be extremely temporary, but it can take no time at all to put you in grave peril.  As a refugee you want to be as inconspicuous as possible.  Any attention you attract is probably not good, and in a total meltdown can be deadly.  You need to avoid all contact with anyone outside your trusted group.  This includes the neighbor you’ve known casually for many years.  Trust no one outside your group, and have no one in your group you don’t trust. Everyone must know and act according to plans and instructions.  Bugging out is no place for a debating society.  Since it may not be possible to avoid all contact you want to blend in as much as possible.  Don’t look too rich or too poor.  Most of the people you meet will not be prepared for this and will look rundown, ragged, and discouraged.  If you look too rich by being prepared they will try to latch onto you either to make you responsible for them by association or to steal what they need.  The same goes for looking too weak or too powerful.  The larger the group the more attention it will draw; and the harder it is to stay out of the spotlight as it were.  The individual or single family with a child will be very attractive to just about anyone.  As to the logistics of bugging out there are a number of things which must be considered to maximize your chance of reaching your retreat successfully.  These are based on your having to move after a fan situation, but can be applied any time you are away from your retreat.

If you live east of the Mississippi river your retreat should be on the east side also unless you live somewhere in Minnesota near the headwaters.  It’s a big river and there are a limited number of bridges over it and they are well known to every local.  They make great choke points for movement.  The same goes for any of the major mountain ranges, or other major geographical features which funnel movement through limited avenues.

If you are less than 50 miles away from your permanent retreat, why haven’t you moved there already?  Move now and commute.  Buy a cheap car that gets good gas mileage and never let it get below three quarters full.  Keep good tires on it and keep it in good condition.  It may be a pain to commute, but it is much easier for one person in a small car to negotiate hostile territory than 2 or 3 loaded vehicles to do so.

If you live more than 100 miles from your retreat you should allow for at least one night on the road somewhere.  The reasons for this assumption will be itemized and explained below.  They are based on worst case scenario premises and a realistic assessment of conditions during a total fan situation.

Speed.  

  1. If you are out of fuel you are going nowhere and thence a truly desperate refugee, so saving fuel is a high priority. Drive the optimal speed for fuel economy. (Research this for your particular vehicle.)
  2. Every thing past the end of your block is bandit country even if you were on the same route this morning.  Yesterday was a lifetime ago.  It is a brand new unknown country and you have to treat it that way to survive.  Every blind turn, sharp curve, overpass, underpass, bridge, tunnel, hill, or even stretch of road with dense vegetation close to the edge must be investigated prior to driving through.  Ditty-bopping along at 60 mph and topping an overpass to see a sawtooth log barricade across the road or a massive pileup at the bottom could be very embarrassing.  Might even be deadly.
  3. Any vehicle will be much quieter at 25 or 30 than at 55 or 60.  I live in quiet country away from any major paved road and the whine and roar of a car or truck on a paved road can be heard for quite a few miles.  Remember, you’re a refugee and you don’t want the attention of the hunters.  Also, remember the other really desperate refugees that will also be on the move, going nowhere.  While not that dangerous in themselves, the larger the group the greater the consumption of limited resources and the harder it is to stay out of the spotlight.  Dissension in the ranks can be increased tremendously.
  4. If you have to travel on unpaved roads the dust trail of a vehicle at speed can be quite impressive and highly visible if the weather conditions are right.  If not, say unplowed snow, traveling at speed is dangerous in itself.

Travel time.

  1. You will only be able to travel during daylight hours.  The reasons should be obvious.  If they aren’t you have no business attempting this sort of a bug out.  If you have to travel during the winter you may have only 6 to 8 hours of daylight to travel in.  The following requirements will reduce this to only 4 or so hours of actual time.
  2. Since you will have to spend at least 1 day on the road depending on the distance you have to travel you have to find a safe camp to spend the night in.  Even if you have a number of possible sites picked out which have all the requirements, water-seclusion-defendability-space-accessibility, others may have the same locales in mind.  Desperate refugees hue to the even a blind monkey can occasionally find a banana philosophy.  Local hunters may also know of these locations as good places for harvesting whatever.  You will have to start looking for and find a suitable place long before dark because your camp will have to be set up, members fed, children bedded, defenses and sentries set, and light and noise security established long before full dark, which can be as early as 4:30 in the winter.
  3. In a real TOTWAWKI it will have to be a cold camp.  Cooking food smells can travel for miles and smoke and light from a fire even further.  Even the heat from a furnace in a trailer can be detected, and the noise of a fan can be quite loud if it is the only noise for miles around.
  4. Light and noise security must be maintained until full daylight which is usually 8:30 or 9:00 in the winter depending on the weather.  Patrols must be sent out to determine the operational situation since last patrol the night before.  Only then can the camp be allowed to stir, members fed, and camp packed up for the days travel.  Set up and tear down must be done with the utmost quiet to prevent attracting the oft mentioned attention.

There are many other requirements which could be listed here, where to have the noon meal, how to keep small children quiet, what to do with human waste to prevent propagation of the smells, which roads should be the primary route, when to leave, who and how many to trust, and on and on.  These itemized here should be sufficient to convince anyone intending to travel any distance to a permanent retreat to be “getting real” about “bugging out” before they actually have to.  As for me, I am bunkering in place for as long as I can, and have discussed with my closest neighbor, not too close, how we can support each other.  I may have to die in place also, but I have decided I won’t become a refugee.  My children are all grown, though I don’t think it would change my thinking if I did have small children, or if my grandchildren were living with me.  If you are a Christian death is not the end.  That, and a quick death can be a blessing compared to what some small children have been subjected to.

One other item, and it is off on a tangent towards equipment, but is part of the mindset.  Remember, you are a refugee; if you can hide, hide by all means.  Never initiate contact with anyone you don’t have to.  Especially combat contact.  You will probably be carrying a precious cargo of non-combatants.  If the hunters, or others, are 50 yards away and they haven’t seen you, keep quiet and stay in hiding.  Don’t under any circumstances initiate contact unless you know they have discovered your location and appear to have evil intentions.  You have set up your camp to be as advantageous to you as possible.  You want them as close as possible before initiating an engagement so you can neutralize the threat as quickly as possible with the least amount of damage to your personnel and equipment.  Remember, they have to move to get to you and that makes them vulnerable.  Therefore, the battle rifle in 7.62x51 caliber which can hit a target at 800 yards won’t be of any real advantage.  The 5.56 caliber weapon can be just as effective at 200 yard or less, especially with the XM855 ammo.  You can only carry so much stuff in or on any vehicle and you can carry more rounds of the smaller caliber.  Any engagement will be very short in duration, absolutely terrifying, unbelievably violent, gut-wrenchingly horrifying to your group’s psyche, deadly in effect, and quickly final one way or another.  Number of deadly projectiles downrange per second will be very important and the smaller caliber is easier to fire with combat accuracy by the inexperienced.  Right now you can’t afford to take any casualties since you don’t have a MASH unit traveling with you and you can’t depend on the locals or they wouldn’t be hunting you.  Once you get to your retreat being able to reach out and touch someone or something, like an elk, at long range will be much more important.  I have both for the reasons stated above; and other large bore calibers also. Just because I can I suppose.



 

Captain Rawles,
I just saw a very shocking statistic from the USDA: 50% of the US population resides within two miles of three different grocery stores. There are 150,000,000 people in this country who have never been more than two miles away from three different sources of food.

I have made a career out of the food industry, most recently in the grocery sector. I know first hand how oblivious people are to where food actually comes from, what unsightly things go into the food supply to produce a sufficient volume to keep the shelves of Wal-Mart stocked (think the of horrors of Monsanto, their GMOs and chemicals), and how many resources are actually consumed in getting that carton of strawberries to the shelf of a Whole Foods in New York in the middle of December.

Statistically only 3% of the population works in the farming and agriculture industry, 9 million people grow the food that feeds the other 291 million people (not counting the millions we feed by giving food assistance to other counties). As anyone with the simplest bit of knowledge can deduce, the food supply in this country could very easily be disrupted, and the fallout from a disruption would be disastrous. I feel confident in saying that most of the "prepper" community is aware that when the shelves in the store go bare, many people will starve. I always assumed 30-40% of people would suffer from food shortages, I had no idea that when the shelves go bare HALF of the country would starve to death in month (if they don't kill each other first to take what's left of each other's foodstuffs, but then again the people who are dependent upon a grocery store are the same people who detest firearms, so most likely neighbors will be beating each other to death with tennis rackets and golf clubs, but I digress).

This information from the USDA serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of being able to produce our own food. Wether it be gardening, farming, livestock, hunting, stockpiling, or something else, when the shelves go bare, its going to be an unpleasant time for 150,000,000 people.

My very best regards,

A. CP-FS (Certified Professional in Food Safety)



Dear JWR:
I had an interesting conversation with a member of the CDC about decontaminating N95 face masks. The study results can be found here.

You'll notice that the test gives positive results but more research is needed. Here was the conversation I had with Edward Fisher after reading it.

Here are some snippets from our exchange:

Me:
1. Did you remove the metal nosepieces from the masks before sterilization?
2. Any updates to this study?

Edward:
We did not modify any of the tested filtering facepiece respirators
before decontamination. If the masks had metal nosepieces, they were
not removed.
There are no further updates on the study. Currently my lab is
focusing on evaluating the risks associated from handling and/or
reusing previously worn masks.

Me:
OK thanks! I thought perhaps they were removed because of the metal in
a microwave. Did you have metal arcing from the metal nosepieces?

Edward:
We did not experience arcing from the metal nosepieces. The key to
the microwave method is the addition of water. Without water and
steam, the microwave can melt the masks. (See Viscusi et al. Ann.
Occup. Hyg., Vol. 53, No. 8, pp. 815-827, 2009). It should be noted
that the steambags have not been evaluated using Influenza and more
research is required. Currently, decontamination of disposable FFRs
is not recommended. As mentioned previously, we are now trying to
evaluate the hazards associated with handling and reusing contaminated
masks and have moved away from decontamination testing. This
link
may be helpful for any information you may be seeking
in regards to respirator research and influenza.

Keep an eye on this topic. If it's effective it'll really save on N95 mask costs. I think I'll chance it if we have a pandemic and I'm wearing a mask but am not around anyone confirmed to be sick. - C.D.V.



Avalanche Lily & Mr. Rawles –
Just wanted to say that Survival Blog  never ceases to amaze me!  As you may know I’m not a fan of the entire survivalist or “prepper”  craze, but I have to admit the drum carder and angora bunny advice posted today was spot on.  I would not have guessed that SurvivalBlog [readers] would have been as knowledgeable about home textile production. (However I did  take exception to the sheep recommendations.)

You may be interested in my “dish towel” project.  Sometime within the next couple of weeks the flax straw from this summer will be rippled and retted; with scutching, breaking and hackling to follow. Spinning the line should commence by the middle of October with weaving by Thanksgiving.
Again – I’m impressed by SurvivalBlog. All the very best to you and yours, - Granny Miller



CFPB's data-mining on consumer credit cards challenged in heated House hearing

Gainesville Coins has produced a handy infographic on how to spot circulating silver U.S. coins. (Statistically, your best bet is to search rolls of half dollars. Ask for a few rolls, the next time that you go to your bank.)

Items from The Economatrix:

US Income Gap Soars To Widest Since "Roaring 20s"

August Jobs Report:  Hiring Continues As Unemployment Falls

An Alarming Jump In "Job Losers"



Here at the Rawles Ranch, I use ratchet wire tensioners for building building fence corners and H-braces, as well as for tensioning our solar-charged electric fences. I was recently bemoaning the fact that the only tensioners that I could find at my local feed store and hardware store were made in China, and priced at nearly $4 each. So I did some searching and found a mail order company called Zeitlow Distributing Company in McPherson, Kansas that specializes in electric fence products. They sell the Tru-Test Strainrite tensioners that are made in New Zealand. They had these sale priced at just $2.66 each. They also shipped my order very quickly--apparently shipped the same day. Note that the Strainrite ratchet tensioners (called "cliplock strainers", in Kiwi parlance) are slightly wider that the typical American ones (such as the old Hayes brand), so you will need a tensioning tool (aka "ratchet handle") made by Strainrite, or one that is of compatible width.

   o o o

Your drone detector? A clever new sonic radar, using a re-purposed woofer speaker and signal processing.

   o o o

Pierre M. suggested this: Miller: National gun registry gets head start as Maryland compromises gun owners’ privacy

   o o o

Also on the privacy front, Bob J. sent: Your E-ZPass Might Be Tracking You Everywhere, Not Just Tollbooths. And R.B.S. sent: NSA disguised itself as Google to spy, say reports. Ad n G.B. in Texas sent: FBI Admits It Controlled Tor Servers Behind Mass Malware Attack



"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." - Hebrews 13:5-9 (KJV)


Saturday, September 14, 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.



Prepping is never far from my mind. A few months ago I was talking with a friend and the subject of TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We know It) came up.
Tom (not his real name) said that he would like to prepare for upcoming emergencies but didn’t know where to start. The answer was simple; start where you are.
Obviously most people cannot start with a full larder and weapons/ammunition cache. That is of course, unless you really do have all of that, in that case…well, that’s where you are.

I asked Tom what scenarios he wanted to prepare for. “Like what?” he asked. You know… EMPs, natural disasters like the Yellowstone Super Volcano, earthquakes, social breakdowns, pandemics…what?

He said, “Yeah. Those things.”

I guess he’s a lot like me. I really don’t know when or why I’ll need my preps…I just know that sooner or later I will!

The only difference in the end will be the timeline of the disaster. It could be years with a war or catastrophic natural event, or just a few days in duration like a blizzard. I wanna’ live through it all and I want all of mine to live, too!

To help Tom get started we did an inventory of what he had: food, medical supplies, stored water, tools, gardening supplies, clothing and shoes, finances, cash on hand, firearms and ammunition, and skill sets. We also took a long and hard look at his home and property.

We then drew up a plan to go from where he was to where he wanted to be. Since he was on a limited budget we needed to get creative.

As we looked at his discretionary income we discovered that he could squeeze about $75 USD per month from his budget.

“Is there anywhere else we can find some money?” I asked.

“I don’t think so”, he replied. Wow, this could take a really long time. Time we don’t necessarily have.

Since Tom and I are really old friends he allowed me to look at his budget. Right away I saw a few places he could cut down to “find some money”.
The following is a running tally of where we were able to gather some resources:
            He, his wife, and daughter all had cell phones. Eliminate land line, savings about $40 USD per month. Total $40 USD.
            Downgrade his satellite TV to basic package. Found money- $60 USD per month. Total $100 USD.
            Shopped for auto /home insurance (I know this guy…) savings $900 USD per year, equals $75 USD per month, total $175 USD per month.
            Take coffee with him eliminating Starbucks, saving $4 USD per day times 20 days per month equals $80 USD per month, total $255 USD per month.
            Tom eats lunch at a restaurant nearly every day. He spends $8-12 USD per, average $10 USD. If he packs his lunch and works through his lunch hour he can leave early and save $200 USD per month, totaling $455 USD.
            He also usually bought a candy bar and a Coke most afternoons. If he eliminated that he would save the money plus cut several hundred calories a week from his diet. I suggested he take a piece of fruit with him.  This cost him about $2.50 USD x 20 = $50 USD / month, totaling $505 USD per month.
            Tom’s wife works about 5 miles from home and her vehicle gets about 32 mpg. Tom on the other hand commutes 80 miles per day and only gets 17 mpg with his SUV. Let’s do some math:
Tom – 80 miles per day x 5 days per week = 400 miles per week divided by 17 mpg = 23.5 gallons of gasoline.
Mrs. Tom - 10 miles round trip x 5 days per week = 50 miles per week divided by 32 mpg = 1.5 gallons of gasoline.
If they trade vehicles Tom would have 400 miles per week divided by 32 mpg = 12.5 gallons and Mrs. Tom 50 miles per week divided by 17 mpg equaling 3 gallons of gas. The savings would be 12.5 gallons (Tom) minus 3 gallons (Mrs. T) or 9.5 gallons per week multiplied by the price per gallon, which was about $3.50 USD at the time we figured this. The savings was $33.25 USD per week x 4 weeks or $133 USD per month.
This added to the $505 USD savings we already had came to$638 USD plus the $75 USD he started with, brought him to over $700 USD per month to start his preps. This totals $8,400 USD per year. Your mileage may vary.

With figures in hand we decided to start a “Prepping Budget”.  We didn’t want to spend all $700 USD on food or guns or on just any one item. We wanted to spread it around so that if TEOTWAKI hits next month he will at least have a little of everything.

Water storage is probably the least expensive item to complete, and next to air and shelter is the most vital for survival. And so it was easy to get his basic water storage completed.
While normally there are only three members in his household, he also has two grown children; a single son in college and a married daughter who has one child and expecting her second. When TSHTF they also expect to take in Mrs. Tom’s handicapped (wheelchair bound) brother. This brought their total to eight. Realistically they should build in a fudge factor of 50%, or prepare for 12 people.

With this in mind we calculated the minimum amount of water to be stored. At two gallons of water per day per person (authorities recommend one gallon per day per person<remember the Preppers Code: two is one and one is none!>) and fourteen days worth stored equals 24 gallons per day times 14 or 336 gallons.
So off to Pepsi went Tom who bought seven used plastic 55 gallon drums that had been used for soft drink syrup for $10 USD each. (total expense was $70 USD) He brought them home and rinsed them out, drained them, made a solution of 5 gallons hot water with 3 tablespoons of dish detergent and placed it in a drum. We replaced the bung (plug) and rolled the drum between us. After a few minutes we drained the drum through a funnel into the next drum. (We let it drain for several minutes to get it as empty as possible) We continued this system until all drums were washed. We did have to change the water after the fourth drum, as it was pretty skanky! The drums were left upside down overnight so that they might drain well.  The next day we repeated the process, again allowing them to drain overnight. Next about 10 gallons of warm rinse water was placed in each drum, they were rolled again and drained.
The next step was to put about 5 more gallons into each drum with a quarter cup of chlorine bleach. We rolled each drum several times over the next day, after which we emptied the drums.
We removed the drums to his basement storage area, wiped the outsides of the drums and placed them on pressure treated 1x4’s covered with ¼ inch plywood. This was to keep the drums off the concrete floor which could affect the plastic drums.
We then placed about a tablespoon of unscented chlorine bleach into each drum and then filled them through a food grade water hose with tap water.
We date labeled the drums so that they could be used and refilled in a consistent manner.
Total expense for his water storage was about $102 USD plus the actual water from his tap.


Keeping in line with an across the board spending he next purchased a solar battery charger online for around $70 USD. Also in the order he spend around $20 USD on each, “C”, “D”, “9v”, “AA”, and “AAA” rechargeable batteries. Total was ~$170 USD.
The next trip was to the LDS Family Food Storage Center where Tom spent $200 USD on commodities. He placed an online order for plastic pails, Mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers. Cost – around $100 USD, subtotal $300 USD, total $572 USD.
Off to Wal-Mart where he bought a Coleman propane camping stove and a 20 pound propane tank. Total there was $120 USD. Total of all $696 USD.

And so Tom was able to get a good handle on his beginning preps with his water storage well started, as well as batteries and charger, a small stock of essential food storage items, and something to cook it on.

Month 2
After another planning session Tom made his purchases for the second month:
            Another $100 USD in rechargeable batteries.
            An AM/FM/SW/ NOAA radio - $120 USD
            A Big Berkey water filter - $320 USD
            3 Dietz kerosene lanterns, a 5 gallon safety fuel can, and 5 gallons of kerosene - $115 USD.
All of these purchases totaled $655 USD. I suggested that he put his $45 USD away for seed money.
He took me literally and bought a number 10 can of heirloom seeds from Emergency Essentials.

Month 3
This time when I met with Tom his list was already made. After a review I agreed to his plan:
            150 12 gauge 00 (double ought) Buckshot shotgun shells for $99.99 USD (Tom already has a 12 gauge shotgun)
            2 cases of MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) at $60 USD each, $120 USD total - $220 USD.
            2 large and 1 medium “Alice Packs” for total of $95 USD – total $315 USD.
            3 “experienced” USGI sleep systems @ $80 USD each, for $240 USD, total - $555 USD.
            The $145 USD balance was spent on USGI canteens, web gear, and pouches. Total spent $725 USD (Tom went a little over budget).

Month 4
As I write this Tom is purchasing this month’s preps.
As this is canning (bottling) season there are many canning supplies on sale. His goal is several dozen quart jars, extra lids and rings and a pressure canner. I also recommended that he purchase a good reference manual on preserving food.
(Sidebar: Tom did not have a garden this year but plans to purchase some produce at the local farmers’ market and can some vegetables for the experience.)
We estimate this cost at ~$200 USD, although the produce itself will come from his household budget.
Other purchases this month will include:
            4 Family channel radios (2 sets) with headsets and external mic - ~ $120 USD.
            A handheld GPS and USGS maps for each section to the family farm (BOL) ~ $250 USD.
Hiking boots for Mrs. Tom $125 USD.

Tom’s shopping list for the near future include handguns for he and his wife, along with appropriate ammunition, holsters, accessories, CCW class, and CCW. He also plans to purchase three new shotguns, a 12 gauge pump (tactical style) for him, and two 20 gauge pumps for his wife and daughter.
Of course his food storage, gardening tools, medical supplies, solar/generator, tactical clothing, BOV, MBR and ammo, and a myriad of items remain to be prioritized and purchased.

THE MAIN THING IS THAT Tom, et al, has found a way to afford the things they need. If only TIME will allow them to complete the basics they should be all right. If not… well, they’re already better off than they were!
Summary
In summary I would like to add a few observations:

  1. No matter your budget there are almost always some extras you can cut and use that “found” money for your preps. (I wish the US Government would follow this advice!)
  2. It is always better to have 30 days of a wide variety of preps, rather than a year’s supply of any one or two things. Plan accordingly.
  3. Have a plan and for the most part stick to it. An exception might be a really good sale or bargain on something you were going to purchase soon anyway.
  4. Never borrow money to buy preps. If you do use your credit card then pay that purchase off before using it for another prep purchase.
  5. Understand that you will never, never, never be ready for TEOTWAWKI. There will always be one more thing you need, one more skill to hone…

Start where you are, examine your lifestyle and yourself, enlist those who mean the most to you and trust in the Lord. All will be well.

JWR Adds: In addition to budget trimming, to generate cash I would recommend developing a small second income stream, such as home-based mailorder business. And if the inventory that you develop for that business is of items that would be good for post-disaster barter, charity, and your own family's use, then it is a "win-win." Excess frippery (such as collectibles) can also be gradually sold off via eBay. Don't make the excuse of just saying "I don't have the money to prepare." The money is there if you just get creative, as Louie suggested.



Dear Mr Rawles,
Since I have worked for a few decades now with computers as programmer, installing systems and building/repairing computers, I read last week's articles/letters on a digital libraries with interest. Though most information provided is correct, some possibilities weren't discussed, while others may not be entirely clear or confusing to the uninitiated.
So, in addition to the previous postings, here is my take on 'digital libraries for dummies':

Putting together a digital library is a good idea and I have one too. It contains everything from books to reference diagrams, user manuals and SurvivalBlog archives. However it can become a needless burden on (possibly scarce) resources if not done correctly. So before you run out to buy things you may not need, lets take a look at whether your intended
approach fits with your other preparations.

- How much storage is required? As much as you need/can afford/deem necessary. I know that doesn't say much but it is really what it comes down to. For example I have scanned all old family pictures I could find and stored the scans along with newer digital pictures. They are part of the library, together with copies of music CDs and vinyl records, a few movies and family videos. And some games in case people get really bored. The computer says the library has grown to over 150,000 files most of which are compressed by lossless algorithms to around 100GB total required storage space. That's a small hard drive, average SSD, 4 32GB SDHC cards, 20+ DVDs or 150 CDs.

- How do you manage this much information? I do not use a program to manage the library but simply use a folder structure to keep everything in a place where I can find it. For instance there is a 'books' folder, a 'documents' folder, a 'pictures' folder, etc. Each of these folders contains a tree of subfolders to quickly find items. I know: I'm old fashioned but it works and saves me the trouble of having to learn another piece of software that may or may not work (I still remember losing a number of pictures due to buggy picture management software that came with a camera). Besides, if I really can't find something, Linux has built-in commands to find (the path to) files and to scan any and all documents for keywords.

- So do you need encryption? Well that depends but, realistically, the answer is probably not. If your library consists of KJV, Moby Dick and chicken coop blueprints published by the government in 1922, then you are better off without encryption since that won't raise anyone's suspicions. On the other hand, if you are carrying around guerrilla warfare planning documents ... you are probably in way over your head if you are looking for advice here. Please keep in mind that weak encryption is worse than no encryption, because you may rely on the encryption to keep your secrets whereas un-encrypted info won't give you that false sense of security. FWIW I don't use encryption on my library except for folders containing personal info and password vaults.

- Should you rely on CD and/or DVD disks for your library? As H335 pointed out you will be dealing with bit rot. This can be somewhat alleviated by storing archival type (= relatively expensive) disks in a cool, dark, dry place but even that is not fool proof according test data available on the internet. Do I use disks as back up? Yes, but I keep three copies of all documents in my library on three different media: a very reliable old hard drive, DVD disks and SDHC cards. Surely something will survive!

- Why SDHC cards? They are small (=easy to hide), cheap and reliable. All you need for them to work is a good quality USB reader. Don't buy any reader that costs less than $10-$15 or you *will* regret it. For the cards themselves, try to buy units that carry a lifetime warranty [for the best price you can find]. The really nice thing about the cards is that they are re-programmable. Apart from being able to delete unwanted documents this greatly enhances their longevity. Here is how that works: their data retention is usually specified as 5-20 years depending on quality of parts used. They should also allow a minimum of 3000 write cycles before wearing out the cells. So to be on the safe side, I refresh the data (=copy to another card) once every year or so and can, conservatively, do so a 1000 times. I think they will outlast my needs ... Because of their small size I am not really worried about EMP damage, but it doesn't take much to protect them properly. If you want/need something really tiny, get a microSD card. They are about half the size of your finger nails and just as thin and have the same storage capacity as regular SDHC cards. Easy to lose but might come in handy if you want to sew them into your coat. If you don't mind something bigger than SDHC cards, USB sticks (in many disguises) can be used the same way.

- Do you really need printers, paper, toner, etc.? You might if you plan to be holed up in your fortress and expect to be without power for extended periods of time. In that case I suggest you start printing now when supplies and power are still cheap and plentiful. My philosophy is that I may need to leave in hurry without the possibility of dragging paper around so I have made no provisions for printing large quantities of documents. Nor do I care to leaf through hundreds of printed pages looking for a passage or table when the computer can find it much quicker. However if you plan to be teaching a community group for example, there are legitimate reasons to stock up on supplies.

- By going fully paperless I will need something that can read and display the stored information. A full desktop computer will do nicely, especially on your retreat, but may not be the best solution. Laptops and tablets use less space and energy.

- laptops. I usually keep two of them around. They are identical so if one dies I can use the other one and have spare parts for it. My personal preference is to use Dell Latitudes because they are plentiful (=cheap) and have worked well over the years for me. I also know how to take them apart and fix them which helps. IBM's Thinkpads also have a good reputation. If you go shopping for a laptop: look for an off-lease business laptop - they are made with premium grade components and all the bad apples have been weeded out long before they come off-lease. Do *not* buy a pallet full of laptops for $50; chances are none of them will work when you plug them in for the first time. 30%-50% of the units should be salvageable but only if you know how. Your $50 is better used for buying a laptop that has been tested and is guaranteed to be not DOA (plenty of those listings on Ebay). As a rule these laptops have their hard drives wiped and a fresh install of the OS. If the hard drive wasn't wiped there is no real reason to go out and have them professionally wiped. This was a good idea in years past when we had low capacity drives. However hard drives that were build in the last 3-4 years use very narrow magnetic tracks that can be effectively wiped by simply having your computer overwrite them once with new data as shown by blind testing in data recovery labs. Of course there is a downside to this: your own data can be lost that much easier too ... Don't go for the latest and the greatest. Older laptops are built better and have sturdier electronics because they are build on larger process nodes. Single core machines are just fine for what you will likely use it for. I still have a laptop that is over 10 years old. I only use it for programming micro-controllers which means it gets lugged around all over the place, but its doing just fine and I am less afraid of breaking it than the newer ones. It even gets 4 hours run time out of today's higher capacity batteries. The downside is that I need to run Windows 98 or something like Puppy Linux because its underpowered for almost any other OS.

-tablets. I have been thinking of getting one but have a hard time justifying the purchase. Their big attractions are small, light weight and energy efficiency which is important if you don't have too much available. But ... they are throw-away electronics. Especially the ones where you cannot replace the battery. Under normal daily use/nightly charge cycles the battery should give out in about a year (you might still get 1-2 hrs run time on a charge but nowhere near advertised spec.). So you are either tethered to your charger or can go buy a new one. That's assuming you haven't run into any of the wear-and-tear issues associated with today's high performance/small footprint/passive cooling designs. So if I need to keep laptops around as backup in (the somewhat likely) case that the tablet fails, why not just stick with the laptops. The second thing I am not too keen on is that most tablets (and smart phones for that matter) work as personal tracking devices in their default configurations. And they are really good at it. Having said that, if you already own one and it has an SD card reader or accessible USB port; there is nothing wrong with using it with your library. Just don't depend on it as your only reader.

-Windows XP. I noticed it mentioned in some posts. This product is fine to use as operating system for your library reader provided you understand the risks. From April 8, 2014 onward Microsoft will no longer support it. Without security updates you will be a sitting duck for viruses and other types of attacks. So you should only use it on computers that are not connected to the internet which may not be a problem when SHTF. However SHTF also means you will not be able to re-activate your copy should your computer crash or need a new hard drive, CPU, etc. For these situations there is a solution. Make sure you have downloaded and stored a piece of software called AntiWPA. You install this right after you install Windows XP. It works by starting windows in safe mode and switching to normal mode once you are past the activation code check. Your windows license is not tied to your activation code but to your machine. Assuming you bought your machine with a retail copy of windows or the machine came with a COA sticker, you are not doing anything illegal by using AntiWPA to start your machine. If your machine came with a COA sticker (likely if its an off-lease business laptop), make sure you make or download your own CD with a copy of windows (or any other OS) and know how to install it or know someone who does. Just adding a how-to document to your library will lead to some very unpleasant moments/thoughts when the computer tells you it can't find a bootable hard drive. As for me, I still use Windows XP occasionally to reliably run some older programs and create my tax returns. But it lives inside a Virtual Machine (VM) without access to the internet. Its universe is restricted to the 10GB file on a hard drive in which it resides. If you are really concerned with (internet) security, take a look at a program called VirtualBox. It surprisingly stable and easy to use and comes with sane defaults so you can just click your way through the initial setup wizard to get started. And if you mess up, you delete the file and start over again till you get it right ... which works great for practicing OS installs too.

- What about data security? There are many aspects to this question most of which you won't be able or need to deal with. Here I will highlight three: local data storage, cloud and internet use.

- Local storage security. Data security of your locally stored information can be achieved to a reasonable degree if you wish to do so. If you want to add a digital layer of protection to your locally stored information, the most important aspect is your password. It needs to be long, unusual and contain numbers and punctuation marks. Password cracking software tends to incorporate lists of often used passwords or even a dictionary because trying those first yields far better results than applying brute force techniques due to people's common password choices. It also needs to be long because top-of-the-line graphics cards (think Radeon HD7970 @$350-$400) can find any password of less than 9 characters via brute force in 2 days or less. The next model (due out in October) is expected to do it about 30% faster. At any rate a 12-15 character password should be safe for the next few years. In case the government confiscates your disks to look at them, I doubt any type of encryption available to you will stand up against their attempts. And please give sufficient thought to how and where you store your backups. Under a slab of concrete is far more secure than in a kitchen cupboard.

- Cloud security. Assume it doesn't exist and that the cloud is as transparent as glass. This goes for both data storage and information processing in the cloud. If you don't believe me read the fine print in the 'terms of use' you are agreeing to. Some companies use OSS cloud software which lowers your risk somewhat but you still have to traverse the internet. For example I saw someone touting the virtues of removing EXIF data from pictures before posting or emailing them. He had the right idea: I never send any picture out without stripping all its EXIF data. Then he mentioned this could be easily done in the cloud: all you have to do is send your picture over and it would come back to you in stripped format. You just have no idea how many copies were made before the exif data was stripped. For real OPSEC you want to download something like 'exif-tools' and process your image at home.

- Data security during transmission outside your computer should not be assumed as has been documented by Mr. Snowden et al. However there are a few things you can do to lower your risk because not all software is created equal. Running DOS might be fine because it pre-dates the time that the internet was a household word. Its just that its kind of useless in that it won't run any program that is capable of rendering today's web pages. All other Microsoft OS, MS Internet explorer and Apple products are suspect and I don't use them to get on the internet if I can help it. Unfortunately I feel I also have to put Google's Android and Chrome OS in this list. So what's left to lower your risk? Basically something called Open Source Software (OSS); this means that the source code of the programs that you run is freely available for download by anyone interested in improving the code, looking for bugs, back doors, etc.

The premier OSS operating system is Linux. But Linux by itself isn't much fun: you will also need a desktop environment and apps to do something useful. Examples of Linux based user interfaces are Android, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, etc. (The reason I mentioned Android as suspect is that its user interface comes with [closed source] binaries that cannot be inspected). If you want to try a Linux flavor for the first time: download a free copy of Linux Mint 13 (codename Maya and supported till 2017) because it has the most windows-like user interface of all Linux distros. It even has the familiar 'start' button, though they call it 'menu'. Burn the iso image on a DVD and start your computer from that DVD - guaranteed virus free for the lifetime of the DVD and also a very useful approach should your system crash after the grid goes down. Alternately you can use a program called Unetbootin to load the image on a USB stick and start your computer from there. Mint comes with Firefox as default browser and includes media players (including VLC), document viewers, pdf readers and an office suite out of the box. It also has a software center for additional app downloads.

I would be remiss if I didn't explicitly point out that 'lowering your risk' is not the same as 'taking away your risk'. For example using Linux will lower your risk of running into a virus or giving easy access to your documents via a backdoor. Sending an encrypted email lowers your risk of people other than the recipient reading them. The stronger the encryption, the lower your risk. However, in the last few weeks a number of valid concerns have been raised that the NSA has spend a lot of effort making sure that various internet encryption protocols were designed in such a way that their implementations would be easy to crack for them. In such a scenario a properly written OSS app without known backdoor still would not provide adequate protection against NSA efforts. In laymen's terms: depending on the contents of your encrypted messages you may want to consider using carrier pigeons instead of the Internet. - D.P.



Reader Rick D. spotted this over at Zero Hedge: GLD ETF Investors Unable To Get Physical Gold. Here is a key quote: "[Hedge fund manager Grant] Williams warned that the massive and escalating paper claims on physical gold at COMEX warehouses will create an explosion in the price of gold. Paper claims on gold are now at 55 to 1 meaning that there are contracts worth 55 ounces for every one ounce of actual physical gold in the COMEX warehouses."

Singer Joni Mitchell foretells an economic collapse. (Skip forward to 4:20.)

Items from The Economatrix:

Employers Hoarding Labor: Here’s Why That’s Bad News $1 Trillion In US Bank Deposits Held Abroad Will No Longer Be Insured

Housing Market Resumes This Damaging Downtrend



Pierre M. sent: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to Coptic Christians: Convert to Islam, or pay ‘jizya’ tax

   o o o

Joanna H. recommended this web page: How to Make a Rabbit Skin Blanket

   o o o

The first Seattle Sustainable Preparedness Expo is scheduled for September 29th, 2013.

   o o o

Boy Scout alternative, Trail Life USA, launches ‘premier’ Christian group for boys. (Thanks to RBS for the link.)

   o o o

SurvivalPrepStore, a new Kansas City area survival store (with a nationwide mailorder customer base) is by offering an All American Deal in remembrance of 9/11.  They are offering sales prices on two America-made products with a special Silver Dollar bonus:
 
1.       The All American Sun Oven (The 2013 version) at their previous 2010 price of $279.99.  This includes free shipping.
2.       Or purchase the Talia Filter System 4.5 gallons at $237+ Shipping. 
 
Bonus offer: Any orders of these two items placed through September 18th will receive a One Dollar Silver Coin.
 
Note: The Talia Filter system is made by an Ohio-based company.  The owner uses these systems for overseas missions in places like Africa.  It is a Christian organization.  Their systems are comparable to Berkey water systems.  They have 440 Stainless steel containers, carbon-ceramic filters impregnated in silver solution and the filters are stainless-steel threaded instead of plastic, making them more reliable and durable. Be sure to use this promotional discount code, at checkout: rawles.



"Many of life’s circumstances are created by three basic choices: the disciplines you choose to keep, the people you choose to be with, and the laws you choose to obey. " - Charles Millhuff


Friday, September 13, 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.



There is a lot of talk in the media these days about three dimensional (3D) printers. For our community there is the Liberator, a 3D printed gun. It is an amazing development but certainly not ready for widespread use. 3D printers also make it possible to print your own magazines, holsters, and just about anything else you can think of that is made from plastic. But how good are these printers? Should they be part of your survival arsenal? If so, which one should you get? You can get used 3D Printers for around $550 without trying very hard but is it a waste of money? I'll answer these questions and much more in this article.

My Background
I am a mechanical engineer and I design products every day. I use my own 3D Printer regularly, which is a Thing-O-Matic from Makerbot. I bought it for $1,200 a few years ago and I had to build it myself. I have since made my own customizations to it to make it work a little better than it did originally. I use it to make parts, for projects to help me demonstrate a concept to a client, for prototyping an idea, or for fixing my kids' toys. It costs me pennies to make something on this machine and I can go from idea to finished part in as little as 5 minutes.

I also have access to an Objet 30, a $30,000 machine. I use this machine regularly when my 3D printer isn't be sufficient. It has a bigger build volume (12"x8"x6"), a better surface quality, higher accuracy, and is a dual material printer (I'll explain more below). I only have to pay for the material costs and it typically runs overnight.

When I really need a large item printed or a nearly perfect quality part I use a local 3D print house. They can even make molds of my "Master" part and produce replicas using nearly any plastic material. It usually takes a few days for a master part and a lot more money. They have an array of printers but their printers can easily cost $500,000.

How do 3D Printers work?
3D printers all use the concept of building a part in layers. Most machines build from the bottom up. Typically the "entry level" printers build each layer of plastic by squirting a noodle of hot plastic out a nozzle. The nozzle is connected to 3 servos(motors) that control the left-to-right, front-to-back, and vertical motion. There is also a servo to control whether the hot plastic is being squirted out the nozzle or not. These four motors are controlled by a computer that coordinates their actions.

The build process works as follows: if your part is going to be a tube standing on end the 3d printer would squirt material as it moved around a circle on the outside. Then it would stop squirting plastic and move to the middle and draw the inside circle of the cylinder. Next it would fill in the material between the two circles. Then the nozzle would lift a small amount, usually .005 to .020 inches and repeat the circles and fill. It would repeat this process hundreds of times until your part looks like a tube. On a more complex part the inside and outside profiles could be any shape. During the setup process you decide whether you want the printer to create the part as completely solid or internally use a honeycomb structure (which makes the part lighter and saves material).

3D printers are unique in that they can build parts that you can't build with any other machine. They can create internal features on a part because the nozzle has access to the inside of the part during the build process. 3D printers have created a new market of manufacturing referred to as "Additive Manufacturing".

If a machine has only one nozzle you can't build parts that have any sudden overhangs.  If it does the noodle will droop and give you a poor quality part. Another issue with single nozzle machines is that you need parts that have a wide flat base. These are big limitations. You really want a printer with a dual nozzle. On these dual-head machines one nozzle lays down a support structure with a water soluble material and the other dispenses the part material. If your machine is a dual-head printer then when your part is done you need to clean the part in a sink to remove the support material. A high pressure sprayer is helpful.

The best dual head machine on the market is the Replicator 2x from MakerBot (owned by Stratasys). This is the machine that the Liberator pistol was made with. In fact Microsoft says that the next service pack of Windows 8 will natively support the Replicator 2 as another printer. I don't know what this means exactly because there is more to the process that just connecting to it.

The Replicator 2x can dispense different colors and PLA or ABS plastic. ABS is a relatively strong material that isn't brittle and has a relatively high melting point. PLA is also strong and can produce more accurate features but it has a low melting point. Parts can droop in a hot car. The Replicator 2x is $2800 (not including support service).

There are other kinds of 3d printers that use a process called SLA in which a movable platform sits in a pool of liquid. A laser shoots at the top surface of the pool and hardens the liquid where it builds the parts. These machines are extremely accurate but the resulting part is brittle. A new "entry level" printer called the Form 1 is due in November 2013 that has the professional rapid prototyping service companies nervous. It is expected to cost $3300 which is extremely cheap for this kind of machine.

Let's assume that you decide to buy a printer. You also need a computer to run the printer. If you want to create your own parts then you need software to design your parts. Right now you can download Creo Elements for free. Creo Elements is a basic 3D modeling software but it is very functional for many parts. For the price you can't go wrong. Personally I use Solidworks but it starts at $4000. SolidWorks is the most common 3D software among small to mid-size companies. I can design anything with SolidWorks.

If you don't want to design anything you can download 3D parts such as magazines and grips that others have designed. DefCAD.com has a lot "defense" related models. You can also get some at grabcad.com and 3dcontentcentral.com. In my experience they usually aren't designed very accurately or for 3d printing. DefCAD is your best bet. There are also other sites that have zipped up the DefCAD models and made them available to ensure the models never become inaccessible.

So are these 3D printers useful in a TEOTWAWKI scenario?
I think that there may be some very useful applications for a 3D printer. I could see someone developing good quality models of magazines, belt clips, grips, and other "accessories" for your systems. When you need more you print them.

I personally wouldn't make any parts for a weapon that see any kind of high pressure, temperature or need high precision. The Liberator gun suggests replacing the barrel between every shot of a .22. It would take nearly 2 hours to print one barrel. It costs maybe $1 in material. Between time and money it isn't worth it. Even more importantly, the danger is that the barrel is made in layers and under high pressures it could crack and or disintegrate in unpredictable ways. I suppose if things got really bad I might consider it but it would be have to be extreme circumstances.

Is there anything else a 3D printer could be used for?
There is an entire other possibility for 3D printers that I haven't mentioned yet. This is the idea of making molds for parts. There is a resurgence in the DIY market of making your own molds and therefore producing low volume production of parts. The essential company to know is smooth-on.com. They have everything you need to make your own molds and parts. In fact, in some cases you don't even need a 3D printer. You might be able to take some of the existing parts you have, create molds, and duplicate your parts. Smooth-On has an unbelievable array of materials that you can make parts from. You can even make metal parts from some of their mold materials. Now if you combine a 3D printer into the mix you have yourself a versatile, small production manufacturing capability. It does take practice learning how to make a mold well but it isn't rocket science.

Should everyone get a 3D printer?
Personally I think if you operate in a relatively large group and are well prepared a 3D printer and molding supplies might be worth considering. More likely is that I would suggest the tools and knowledge for someone that wants to have a backup profession for when the SHTF. I could see someone being the local manufacturing guy in their area. I have made hundreds of parts in my basement from my 3D printer, mold materials, and some simple tools (drill, knife, screwdrivers, etc).

Right now the 3D printer market is still in its infancy. There are a lot people out there trying to figure out to get the average household to want them in their house. No one has figured it out yet. If you do think that you want get a printer then I recommend the Replicator 2x. It has good customer support, a strong community, and lots of connections to software. I will seriously consider the Form 1 printer once I see that the bugs are worked out. There are less expensive printers out there that you might consider to experiment with but I don't see them as a useful tool. Best wishes in your preps and be safe.



James:
To further the excellent article Protection from Radioactive Fallout by Tennessean:

The author cites "The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, 670 pages, November 2006".  A reprint version of this book is available, but is more
than $50 at Amazon in paperback.

As this book is in the public domain, I have made an on-line version of the 1977 Third Edition available at my site for many years.

The index points to PDFs for the individual chapters which may be printed or downloaded for offline storage.

Accompanying it is a web application which implements the circular slide rule which accompanied the 1962 edition, plus instructions for making your own physical slide rule.

- Kelvin at Fourmilab



This is in response to the recent question re wool cards for angora fiber. Please let me add a few important facts on this subject.

Angora fiber needs to be processed on cards with a fine tine. The fibers are comparatively short and incredibly soft and fine. Buy cards referred to as cotton cards or recommended for carding exotic fibers or cotton.

Yes, one can pluck and spin the fiber off a rabbit in one's lap, but that's generally a trick for fiber shows. Really, please, just pluck the rabbit and let it down to run around while you spin.

Unless one has a large herd of fiber rabbits, the fiber yield will not be prodigious. The OP mentioned only one rabbit, so they will only get about 6-10 ounces per year if they only harvest twice in a year.

For others, though, please know that maintaining a large herd of angora rabbits is extremely difficult. At one point in time, I had 40, and I do not recommend that unless one has no other responsibilities or has a helper. There are considerations above and beyond raising meat rabbits. Proper, regular grooming must be done to prevent wool block; saving a rabbit from wool block is time consuming and difficult without an IV or a vet. One can use a blow dryer for this on a weekly basis. Keeping the vent area clipped prevents nasty abscesses. Since one keeps fiber rabbits for many years, rather than 12 weeks, providing a place in the cage so the rabbit can be off the wire prevents sores on the feet. The poop detail is horrendous. The cages must be cleaned of poop and hair regularly for cleanliness and good health. I recommend a propane torch. Maintenance in hot summers is more important than worrying about cold winters. There are many other considerations.

Back to fiber. Angora fiber has no elasticity; thus an item of 100 percent angora will droop and have no spring or ability to naturally stay the same as when made. With small yields and elasticity concerns, the better method for maximizing angora is to mix it with sheep's wool or other elastic fibers, or to simply use it for trim or accents.

Consider also keeping a couple of sheep. When buying said sheep make sure to get ones with a softer hand (smaller diameter fiber/micron count) if wanting items to be worn near the face - scarves, wimples, etc. Consider Merino or Corriedale.

If one is serious about using wool for clothing, a drum carder is the way to go. Although expensive, a family could spend as much on enough hand cards to be productive as it might on one good drum carder. A person could spend an evening hand carding rolags to equal 20 minutes' worth of wool off of a drum carder. My personal favorite for solid construction is made by Strauch.

As with all survival gear, have some saved for the future. Carding cloth is incredibly expensive. In a SHTF situation, there won't be any manufacturers of carding cloth for a long time, I dare say. I've known beginners to use dog grooming tools as hand cards before investing in expensive fiber tools. Consider stashing away a shoe box of dog grooming tools in case someone drops a wrench on your carding cloth. (Don't ask me how I know. )

Sincerely, - J.G.





Update: The big sales on Mountain House long term storage foods packed in #10 cans are continuing. Some varieties are now sold out, for example: New Orleans Rice & Shrimp, Sweet & Sour Pork, and Pilot Crackers. On any of those, you can now expect up to a two month delay before shipment!

There are now five SurvivalBlog advertisers that are running September Mountain House sales, and I strongly recommend that you stock up to take advantage of these sales prices in September.

Here is a summary of the five September sales on Mountain House foods in #10 cans. They are all offering deep discounts and most of them are offering free shipping:

Because of the huge volume of orders expected, you can expect up to a 15-day delay before your order ships from stock on hand with all five of these Mountain House dealers. (Although Safecastle reports that drop-shipped orders coming directly from Mountain House's facility on Oregon are shipping within five days.)

Note that the deepest discounts are limited to selected varieties and to stock on hand, so place your order soon. Check with the vendors' web sites often, as they will be adjusting some pricing during the month, and listing the food varieties that have run out.

   o o o

Peter S. sent a link to this brilliant parody: Help Kickstart World War III!

   o o o

Oh and speaking of Pinterest, Mike Williamson recommended this Pinterest page: Salt and Prepper.

   o o o

J.E.L. suggested this post over at Gold is Money by someone who has lived truly off grid and grubby: 102 Prepping choices I would change

   o o o

Joe K. suggested: Living Without Running Water: A Practical Guide. JWR's Comment: This drives home my oft-repeated point that it is essential to have a retreat property with spring water (preferably gravity fed) or a shallow well (32 feet, or less.)



"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them." - John Wayne as J.B. Books in The Shootist. 1976. (Screenplay by Miles Hood Swarthout and Scott Hale, based on the novel by Glendon Swarthout.)


Thursday, September 12, 2013


Jubilant news spread across the Internet on Wednesday morning, proclaiming the historic recall of two anti-gun Colorado legislators, one of whom was the President of the State Senate, John Morse. These recalls were significant, and could foreshadow a conservative pro-gun backlash in the November midterm elections. Former Senator Morse was quick to downplay the news and characterize his recall "purely symbolic." (Reader George D. wrote to mention this and asked: "Symbolic? Symbolic of what? How about symbolic of 'You're fired, you anti-Constitutional bas***d!'") It is notable that leftist Former Senator Angela Giron "represented" a Democrat party stronghold district in the Pueblo region. That recall campaign was led by Victor Head, a 28-year old plumber.

--

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.



Part One

About me: I’m a retired Ph.D. biochemist who has worked with beta emitters in the laboratory.  I’ve no financial interest in any of the firms or products mentioned below.

This post is dedicated to the late Cresson Kearny and his wonderful hard work in preparing the most essential book Nuclear War Survival Skills available at www.beprepared.com and other sources.  

Dr. Stephen Hawking was once told by his publisher that for every equation he placed in his book the readership would drop by half.  Dear reader the author will harass you with only three equations.  The late great thermodynamicist  Dr. Josiah Willard Gibbs would often observe…”Words are no substitute for equations.”  Dr. Gibbs came up with the “Gibbs free energy change” which describes in which direction any chemical reaction will go at constant temperature and press.

In this essay we do not concern ourselves with the “prompt” radiation from the nuclear fireball itself, nor from the thermal pulse which may set fires, nor the possible EMP effects, nor the blast wave which will damage or destroy structures.  This piece is limited to the dangers of local fallout and the reduction of those dangers.

Perhaps the best guide we have to what we might expect is from reference.  In 1953 there was a series of above ground nuclear tests at Yucca Flat in Nevada.  This series was given the name of Upshot-Knothole.  A total of twelve detonations were made over a ninety-day period.  The nuclear bombs were placed atop a 300 foot tall steel tower.  This short tower allowed the resulting fireball to suck up a lot of soil and rock, adding to the intensity of the fallout.  Each detonation was given a name:  “Nancy” yielded an explosion equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT.   “Dirty Harry” was 32 kilotons;  “Simon” was 43 kilotons.  The sum of all the yields of the twelve tests was 253 kilotons of TNT equivalent.   On some of these detonations the wind unexpectedly shifted, giving St. George Utah moderate fallout.  This test series caused the deaths of about 4,000 sheep that had grazed in areas west of St. George and ingested lethal doses of fallout.  The main forage of the sheep was sagebrush.  It was later found that the sagebrush leaves retained more fallout than the leaves of any other plant.  The descriptions of the effects on the sheep are quite dramatic and grisly.   Cows and horses suffered beta burns but few died.   Several sheepherders became quite ill.  Many residents in the area lost all their hair.  The subsequent incidence of childhood leukemia almost tripled, as did the deaths of adults from cancer.  Dr. Knapp estimated that from the “Dirty Harry” shot alone that infants in the St. George area received as much as 440 rads to their thyroid glands from the accumulation of radioactive iodine, first by cows from forage into milk, then from milk into the thyroid glands of the babies.   A later analysis estimated that from the entire series of the Upshot-Knothole tests that children up to five years old received a total dose of about 1,200 rads to their thyroid glands

The Atomic Energy Commission(AEC) repeatedly assured the inhabitants that the amount of radioactivity in the fallout was harmless and did everything possible to hide the fact that the sheep died from radiation poisoning.   In 1954 the movie “The Conqueror” was filmed about 15 miles west of St. George.  The Atomic Energy Commission assured the director and actors that there was absolutely no danger from the residual fallout.   In subsequent years many of the film stars and staff died of cancer.  Some years ago there was a “Mythbusters” episode on Discovery TV on this.  The producers went to the places in Hollywood where many of the costumes used in the movie were kept and found no significant radioactivity and concluded that fallout from the 1953 series of tests played no part in the cancer deaths.  Well, this was some 55 years later.  Any fallout not removed when the clothes were washed would have nearly totally decayed.  Note that huge fans were used in the battle scenes to stir up dust storms and all the costumes would have been extremely dusty by the end of the film.  The costumes shown on the “Mythbusters” show had all been obviously laundered.                                                                                        

The “Simon” detonation in April of 1953 caused a “hot spot” of fallout in Troy in New York State.  As the radioactive cloud from “Simon” passed over Pennsylvania, the Hudson Valley, Vermont, and Massachusetts’s heavy rainstorms caused much of the radioactivity in smaller particles to reach the ground.  It so happened that Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, measured the amount of fallout hitting the ground.   No doubt there were other “hot spots” along the way, but no data are available as few monitoring devices were in use at the time.  Dr. Harold Knapp testified that infants in Troy could have received a total dose of 30 rads due to drinking milk containing radioiodine.  An updated version of a report from “Project Gabriel” estimated that if the radioactive cloud from a 13 kiloton blast ran into an intense snowstorm or rainstorm enough radioactivity would be dumped to kill most of the inhabitants in an area as large as 100 square miles. 

The idealized, simplified, fallout patterns discussed below and shown in many books are about nearly worthless.  For one thing, winds at different altitudes blow at different directions most of the time.  This fact tends to spread out the fallout deposition.  The central problem is that local, severe, hot spots can occur literally thousands of miles from the detonation event.    One cannot assume safety if the nuke event is far away.  This is why instruments to measure radioactivity are absolutely necessary.  In the former Soviet Union when the Chernobyl accident occurred it was illegal for an ordinary citizen to possess any type of radiation meter.  Many reports have come from Japan after the Fukushima disaster that police confiscated the radiation meters from ordinary citizens who were doing their own measurements.   I, for one, do not trust governments to tell us the truth about dangers from a terror nuke event.  I cannot count the times I’ve seen folks on television say it would be easy and simple to clean up radioactivity after a dirty bomb attack.  A “dirty bomb” is the descriptive term for a conventional high explosive mixed with radioactivity.  Any chemist who has actually spilled a bit of radioisotope on a laboratory bench top will tell you that removing the radioisotope is far from an easy, trivial, task.  Been there, done that.

If you believe that a terror nuke explosion of a fission weapon with a yield equivalent to more than a few kilotons of TNT equivalent is probable, then the book “The Day We Bombed Utah” is surely the best guide out there to risks from radioactive fallout.  I cannot recommend this book too highly.

Types of radiation from nuclear fallout.

First it may be helpful to note two integers associated with the isotope of any element.  The first is the “atomic number” that gives the number of protons in the nucleus.  The second is the “mass number” that gives the numbers of both protons and neutrons in the isotope.  The atomic number is unique to each element.  However any element can have a number of isotopes with differing mass numbers.  Some of these isotopes will be stable.  The radioisotopes have unstable nuclei and will decay (perhaps in a series of steps) to an element with a stable nucleus.  Hydrogen has an atomic number of one.  This means there is one proton in the nucleus.  The most abundant isotope of hydrogen has a mass number of 1, leading to the conclusion that for this isotope has no neutrons in its nucleus.  This isotope has the symbol H1.    A somewhat rare isotope has one neutron in the nucleus and is stable.  Its common name is deuterium.  Often the symbol D is used to represent deuterium.  Heavy water is D2O.  The radioisotope of hydrogen with two neutrons in the nucleus is often called tritium, and symbolized by the letter T.  This is an unstable nucleus.  It is a weak beta emitter with half-life of 12.1 years.  More on decay modes and half lives below

The U235 (the isotope of the element uranium with a mass number of 235) nucleus when hit by a neutron will split into two atoms and several neutrons.  There are at least forty different ways in which this fission occurs, leading to more than eighty possible daughter products (Gl).  The majority of the fission events give rise to two new elements of similar mass.  Generally these new elements are unstable, with a neutron to proton ratio that is too large for the mass of the nucleus.  These will decay over time to a stable nucleus that poses no radiation danger.  It is sometimes the case that several separate decay events must occur before stability is reached.

  • Alpha particles.  These are essentially helium nuclei, two protons and two neutrons.  These have little penetrating power.  For example an alpha particle from plutonium has a fairly high energy and an average penetration in air of about 1.5 inches (1).   Once the energy has dissipated through collisions this particle will capture two electrons and become a harmless helium atom.  The penetration into skin is about 1000 times less than for air.   The energy possessed by alpha particles will cause the formation of ionized molecules and atoms, splitting chemical bonds.  If ingested or inhaled alpha emitters pose a very real health risk.
  • Beta particles.  These are just very fast moving electrons ejected from the nucleus.  These result from the conversion of a neutron into a proton in the nucleus of the radioisotope.  These fast electrons will be absorbed in about ten feet of air (1).  Direct contact of beta particles with unprotected skin causes burns that may be quite severe.  Reasonably heavy clothing will absorb most beta particles before they reach skin (1).  Beta emitters that are ingested or inhaled also pose a very real health risk. Beta burns on the skin could pose a very real problem if the person’s immune system is damaged due to gamma radiation.
  • Positron emission.  A positron has the same properties as an electron, but carries a positive (not negative) charge.   This particle is emitted when a proton in a nucleus becomes a neutron.   Otherwise quite similar to a beta particle.
  • Gamma rays.  A photon with very short wavelength, shorter than X-ray photons.  This can be the result of electron capture, wherein a proton captures an electron to become a neutron.  Note that the energy content of a photon is inversely proportional to its wavelength (Planck’s Law). This is why gamma photons break chemical bonds and infrared photons only change the vibrational states of molecules. Calculation of the attenuation of gamma photons is much more complex.   One reason is the wide variation in energy of gamma photons.   The high penetrating ability of gamma photons means that a substantial mass must be interposed between the source(s) and humans.  More on this later.  And any gamma emitter ingested or inhaled also poses a serious health risk.

I must note here that none of the aforementioned particles can cause the production of a radioisotope in any material impacted by them.   Neutrons absorbed by nuclei often result in an unstable isotope.  This is why ground bursts produce much hotter fallout than air bursts.  In a ground burst tons of surface material are sucked up into the fireball and bombarded with neutrons from the fission processes in the fireball, causing the production of radioisotopes which are rarely produced in fission events alone.  Which radioisotopes, you may ask.  Well, that totally depends on the elements that are most abundant in the surface material and is quite complex and will not be further explored here.  Na24 (the isotope of sodium with a mass number of 24) is the greatest problem as a rule.

Note that only an extremely tiny fraction of the fallout will emit neutrons, a fraction so small as to be insignificant.  That said, if fallout comes into direct contact with material the material may well absorb some fraction of the radioactivity.  To put this in perspective, imagine that fallout has somehow landed on canned food in a grocery store.  The outside of the can may be radioactive, but the contents inside will not be (unless the metal in the can has a hole in it).

Estimating the size and distance of the event.

If you can keep your wits about you, begin counting off the seconds between the start and end of the bright flash (this accompanies the thermal pulse) and you will have an approximate yield.  These data come from the circular slide rule in some early editions of (?).  This will be easier done with a digital watch with a stopwatch function.   As a general rule, the greater the distance from the event, the less fallout.  Please note the modifier “general.”    Some idea of both yield and distance will help you decide whether or not to shelter in place or evacuate.

Estimated yield from                Estimated range from
Illumination time:                     flash to bang time
                                                                       miles to
Seconds:    Yield:                  min: seconds          ground 0:
 < 1              1-2 kt                       :05                1.1
    1              2.5 kt                       :10                 2.2
    2              10 kt                        :15                 3.5
    3              22 kt                        :20                 4.5
    4              40 kt                        :25                 5.5
    5              60 kt                        :30                 6.7
    6              90 kt                        :45                 9.9
    7            125 kt                       1:00                13.7
    8            160 kt                       1:15                16.8
    9            200 kt                       1:30                19.9
  10            250 kt                       1:45                23.0
  12            325 kt                       2:00                26.7
  14            475kt                        2:15                29.8 
  16            700kt                        2:30                32.9
  20            1 mt                         3:00                39.8
  24          1.5 mt                         4:00                52.8
  27            2 mt                         5:00                65.9
  40           5 mt                        10:00                130
  50          10 mt                       15:00                200
  70          20 mt                       30:00                400

 

Biological effects of gamma photon exposure.

The measurement of radiation can be very confusing, with a multitude of units used.  For biological purposes the unit of interest is the RAD (radiation absorbed dose) which is a measure of the degree of damage to the body through processes that split chemical bonds.  Since water is the major compound in our bodies, much of the damage from gamma photons comes from the splitting of water into two “free radicals.”   A “free radical” is an atom or molecule with an unpaired electron.  When water is split generally an OH free radical and an H free radical are produced.  Free radicals are extremely reactive, and if they are in the neighborhood of one’s genes, breaks in the DNA will occur.  We have enzymes that can repair certain radiation damage to our DNA, like excision and repair of thymine dimers.  Thymine is on of the four “bases” in our DNA’s genetic code.  If there are two thymines adjacent to each other in the same strand these can become chemically crosslinked by a passing gamma photon.  A gene with such a crosslink cannot be transcribed into messenger RNA (with subsequent synthesis of the protein coded for by that gene) nor duplicated (leading to cell division) until the defect is repaired.  The same is true for a single strand break.  If the DNA in the cell does not have double strand breaks it is likely to be repaired and the cell can then function and divide.  If double strand breaks are in the cell the cell cannot divide.  Ever. 

Now we connect failure of cells to be able to divide with the overt symptoms of radiation exposure.  It is critically important that stem cells in bone marrow and the circulating B cells that make antibodies to be able to divide so the immune system can mount an effective response to an infection.  The other issue is that if the bone marrow cells are heavily damaged the production of platelets will be reduced.  If this reduction is too great, one’s blood will fail to clot properly and spontaneous bleeding will become a serious issue.

Nausea is produced by the failure of cell division of the epithelial cells in our alimentary canal.  Severe diarrhea and vomiting can rapidly cause fatal dehydration.   Doses above 300 rems will cause hair to fall out due to (again) failure of hair follicle cells to properly divide.

Now we consider the effects of 200 rem (or rad) total dose. The lymphocyte (immune cells) count is reduced to about 25% of normal with the minimum count at about 30 days (EWS).  By 50 days the bone marrow has recovered enough so that the count is near 90% of normal.  Platelet counts are minimal at about 30 days also, dropping to about 50% of normal and recovering to about 85% of normal after 50 days (EWS).  Red blood cell counts drop off more slowly and recover more slowly and will likely reach a minimum of about 30% of normal at 50 days (EWS).  At this dose fatality is not likely.  At least half of those receiving this dose will feel quite sick with vomiting and feeling very lethargic (4). For this dose level symptoms will become apparent within 2 to 3 hours (Gl).

As the total absorbed dose becomes higher, the incidence of death from bleeding and infection goes up so that at 450 rem  mortality is about 50% in 2 to 12 weeks. (4).  The symptoms will appear within about an hour.  Incident of vomiting is 100%.  Clearly having a supply of antibiotics is likely to be life saving for doses higher than about 300 rem.  

A few relevant comments here…  very few novels or movies about fallout deal with actually measuring the dose.  Two exceptions are the book “Pulling Through” by Dean Ing (later included in The Rackham Files) in which a Kearny Fallout Meter (KFM) is used to great advantage and the movie “The Day After” which shows putting a remote Geiger tube on top of a building. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank skirts the importance of knowing the dose rate and has the mistake of saying that gold jewelry will become radioactive on exposure to fallout.  In the PBS movie “Testament” no one in the affected town has any means to measure radiation doses and no idea as to how to minimize exposure.  In the Ray Milland movie “Panic in the Year Zero” the father is smart enough to get his family into a cave.  However, they have no way of knowing when it might be safe to exit the cave and to go outside.  And no way of knowing how long they can stay outside without serious radiation exposure.

As the Dean Ing book clearly shows being able to monitor the dose rate is likely to make the difference between life and death.   Simply being able to ascertain the part of your basement getting the least gamma photons could well be a lifesaver.  Note that if one is able to shelter one’s leg bones so that the radiation dose they receive is minimal one will have protected a sizable fraction of one’s stem cells from damage and preserve to some extent a competent and working immune system

So here is the problem… how to reduce one’s total rem dose to less than 100 and avoid significant damage to our bone marrow and gut epithelial cells.

 


Part Two

Units of radiation amounts and rates.

For most folks the prefixes to scientific units present a confounding challenge.  It is hoped this table will help in that regard.  We use as an example the unit of mass.

1 megagram (Mgm)                  = 1,000,000 grams
1 kilogram (kgm)                      = 1000 grams
1000 milligrams (mgm)              = 1 gram
1,000,000 micrograms (mgm)     = 1 gram
1,000,000,000 picograms (pgm) = 1 gram

There are, of course, other prefixes, but these are the ones used below.

First we need to distinguish between the amount of a radioisotope and the rate at which it produces radiation.  One measure of the amount of a radioisotope is the Curie.   One Curie has a decomposition rate of 3.7x1010 disintegrations per second.  This unit arose because it is the rate at which one gram of radium atoms will disintegrate.  One Bequerel (Bq) is one disintegration per second.  Contamination of liquids is often given in Bequerels or in picoCuries per liter of liquid.   One Bequerel is equal to 37 picoCuries.   Note that a picoCurie is 37 disintegrations per second.  A small amount for sure.

For civil defense purposes one Roentgen is equal to one rem and equal to one rad.  Since it is gamma photon damage that is the main problem this makes the math a bit simpler.  Rem stands for “Roentgen Equivalent in Man” and rad stands for “Radiation Absorbed Dose.”

Yet another unit has become commonplace, the Sievert  (Sv), another measure of dose equivalence and for gamma photons 1 Sievert = 100 Rems.

Radioisotopes decay according to the first order rate law.  The consequence of this is that for any given radioisotope the half-life is constant.  The first order rate law may be expressed as:

Ln(X) = ln(X0) – k*t.

Where ln is the natural logarithm function, X0 is the amount of radioisotope at time zero, X is the amount remaining after time t, and k is the first order rate constant.  Now the half-life is the time at which X =X0/2.   From this we can solve that t1/2 = ln(2)/k or = 0.693/k. 

A one megaton fission air burst will produce about  0.1 MegaCurie of Sr90 (the isotope of the element strontium with a mass number of 90) (Glasstone).  Thus Sr90 is one of the major radioactive fission products.   It has a half-life of 28.1 years and decays by beta emission.   At the end of each half-life the amount of the radioisotope (and the rate at which it produces radiation) drops by half.  If one began with 1 Curie of Sr90 after 28.1 years 0.5 Curies would remain.  After 56.2 years 0.25 Curies would remain.  After 84.3 years 0.25 Curies would remain.  After 112.4 years 0.125 Curies would remain.  It is the radioisotopes with the longest half-life that pose the greatest long-term threat.

In some cases it is the product of the first decay that is the problem.  For example Cs137 (the isotope of the element Cesium with a mass number of 137) is another major fission product.  It undergoes beta decay with a half-life of 30.2 years.  The decay product is Ba137 (the isotope of the element barium with a mass number of 137).   This nucleus then undergoes gamma decay with a half-life of 2.55 minutes with the gamma photon having an energy of 0.6616 MeV (mega electron volts).  While the initial beta decay particle cannot travel far in one’s body, the subsequent gamma decay produces a very energetic photon.   After this gamma photon emission a stable nucleus results that does not undergo further decay. 

 

Local and delayed fallout… the importance of the size of the fallout particles and the type of weapon.

Ground bursts would be used against missile silos and certain hardened targets.  Air bursts would be used against cities and airfields.  The nature of the attack would have a substantial effect on the amounts of deadly fallout.  A terror nuke attack might take either form.

“Local” fallout comes from the larger particles that settle to the ground in the first few days.   As fallout particles get smaller their rate of descent to the surface decreases. If much of the fallout is injected into the stratosphere these small particles will partially decay well before reaching the ground.  This is termed delayed fallout and will be spread widely over a range of latitudes.  Of course the radioisotopes with long half-lives will eventually reach the ground.  The distribution of this will be over a very wide area.  Very small particles that are injected high into the stratosphere will remain there for a quite long time as the air is far less dense and Brownian motion will greatly slow the rate of descent.

 However, local weather conditions can produce very hot spots in certain areas.  If one is evacuating an area after a nuke event being able to monitor the radiation rate could be life saving in avoiding “hot spots.”

The overall decay rate of fallout over time.

The mix of radioisotopes produced in a fission event and their differing half-life results in a rate of decay that follows the 7-10 rule (Glasstone).  This rule states that for every seven fold increase in time the radiation rate will drop by ten fold.  Suppose that one hour after the fission event the radiation rate from fallout on your roof is 100 rem per hour.  After seven hours the rate would be 10 rem per hour.  After 49 hours the rate would be 1 rem per hour.  After 343 hours (2 weeks) the rate would be 0.1 rem per hour.  After 2401 hours (100 days) the rate would be 0.01 rem per hour.  This rule holds for about the first six months of decay.  After this time (due to the mix of radioisotopes and daughter products that are also radioisotopes with widely varying half-lives) the radiation rate decreases much faster.  After one year the actual amount of remaining radioactivity is only 40% of that predicted by the 7-10 rule (Glasstone).  After five years the remaining is only about 7% of that predicted by the 7-10 rule.  After 25 years the remaining radioactivity is only 0.02% of that predicted by the 7-10 rule.

Now this rule is true for the fallout from only one fission event.  Suppose there are two such events in your vicinity separated by, e.g., three days.  Then the 7-10 rule must be applied to both events.

It would be very useful to have a supply of 4 cycle log log graph paper. If one is handy with Excel one may generate this paper.  For a single fission event the plot of ln(radiation rate) vs. ln(time) will be about linear for the first six months.  If your plot shows an upward break in the linearity then you are receiving fallout from at least two separate events.

The bottom line is that it will be critical to reduce your exposure to radiation from fallout very especially for the first several days.  Cresson Kearny’s book is extremely valuable for several reasons.  First is the complete set of directions and templates for a home made dosimeter that is really quite accurate (the Kearny Fallout Meter or KFM).  This book has instructions for pre event preparations (the most important of which is to make several KFMs). 

Reducing the exposure to gamma photons from fallout.    We cannot control time, but it is our ally in reducing radiation exposure.  Distance from the radiation source is also important.  Consider a spot source of gamma photon production.  If the dose rate 1 foot from the source is 100 rem per hour at two feet the rate would be ¼ of that, or 25 rem per hour.  At 3 feet the dose would be 1/9 of that, or 11 rem per hour.  This is the radial square law.  However. the most important factor is shielding.  Gamma photons are absorbed by electrons.  The greater the density of the shielding the more dense the electrons.  This means it is the mass between you and the fallout that matters.  The relevant equation is (and is very similar to the first order rate law for radioactive decay):

Ln(I) = ln(I0)  -  m.x 

where I is the radiation rate experienced at thickness x of shielding, I0 is the rate outside the shielding and m is termed the ‘linear absorption coefficient.” (Glasstone).  If the thickness is measured in units of feet the value of m would have units of feet-1.  For example, suppose we are behind 3 feet of shielding with a m = 1 foot-1.  Suppose the radiation rate outside the shielding is 100 rem/hr, then the rate behind the shielding would be 4.98 rem/hr.  Now suppose we are behind 6 feet of shielding.   The rate behind the shielding turns out to be 0.2 rem/hr.

The “protection factor” of shielding represents the reduction in radiation.  For example the 3 feet of shielding would have a protection value of 20 and 6 feet of shielding a protection factor of 500.

One consequence of the above equation is that one may define a quantity not unlike the half-life of a radioisotope: the amount of radiation is reduced by one half for every additional “halving thickness.”  From Glasstone we can compute the halving thickness for gamma photons of differing energies:

 

MeV energy           air     concrete       iron            lead
   1.0                  285’      0.10 feet     0.049 feet   0.029 feet
   5.0                  660’      0.32 feet     0.092 feet   0.046 feet
 10.0                  880’      0.38 feet     0.10 feet     0.038 feet.

So if all our gamma photons had 5.0 MeV energy and the rate outside the shielding was 100 rem/hour the rate behind 0.049 feet of iron would be 50 rem/hour, the rate behind 0.098 feet of iron would be 25 rem/hr, the rate behind 1.47 feet of iron would be 12.5 rem/hr, the rate behind 0.196 feet of iron would be 6.25 rem/hr, and so on.

These data are for ordinary concrete with a density of 2.3 g/cm.  Iron has a density (at 20C) of 7.784 (CRC) and lead a density of 11.35 g/cm.  If one wanted to construct a fallout shelter the overhead concrete should contain not pea gravel, but pieces of iron or lead.

For the mix of gamma photons produced from a fission event the halving thickness of packed earth is 0.30 feet (CK).   If one had, e.g., 0.6 foot of packed earth between you and the fallout the protection you would have two halving thicknesses, and the radiation rate would be reduced by1/4 (protection factor of 4), for 0.9 feet the rate would be 1/8 that of outside (protection factor of 8), for 1.2 feet the rate would be 1/16 of outside (protection factor of 16) and so on.  A thickness of 1.5 feet of packed dirt would provide a protection factor of 32.   It is not impossible that a shielding thickness providing a protection factor of a 1000 would be needed to survive. 

Glasstone provides idealized, simplified, fallout patterns.  Suppose the event is a surface burst of a 1 Megaton fission weapon and that at all altitudes the wind is directly toward you from ground zero at 15 mph. 

                                   Radiation         Total dose
Miles downwind       rate at               in the first
From ground zero    18 hours           18 hours:

  •                         70 R/hr              3,000 R
  •                        20 R/hr              1,000 R

65                          9 R/hr                300 R
120                        3 R/hr                  50 R

If you are unlucky enough to be closer than 50 miles from ground zero for this event without an excellent shelter you would soon be dead (if winds at all altitudes are from the direction of the event).  For reasons discussed above, do not rely on these estimates, they can easily be much higher or lower.

Houses themselves provide a minimum protection factor (Gl).  Consider a house with a first floor area of 2,000 square feet.  A one story brick veneer house would provide a protection factor of 3.0 for the center of the first floor, and 14 in the center of the basement.  It is assumed that the floor of the first floor is level with the ground all around the house and the basement has no windows nor doors to the outside.   A two-story brick veneer with a first floor area of 2000 square feet would provide a protection factor of 4.1 in the center of the first floor and 34 at the center of the basement.  The protection factors for a two-story 2000 square feet first floor house without a brick veneer would be less, 2.4 in the center of the first floor and 29 in the center of the basement.


Part Three

So… let us suppose that a fission event has taken place and you live in a two story house with a basement that has some small windows on one side, and is only half covered with dirt on that side, being all the way covered up to the first floor on the other three sides.  Exactly where in this basement has the highest protection factor?  The only way to discover the best spot to sit in would be if one had a device to measure the radiation rate.

There are many other reasons why a radiation measuring device is necessary.  In references (RDH) and (BC) are nomograms showing  how to estimate the radiation rate at future times from current rate data.  And a nomogram for giving the maximum time one could be outside at future times only if one knows the radiation rate outside.  As Cresson Kearny points out a device to measure radiation rate is absolutely essential.

Now we move on to a comparative analysis of instruments to measure the radiation rate.

Again we must distinguish between an instrument that measures the rate at which radiation is being experienced (a rate meter) and a dosimeter, which measures the total amount of radiation that the dosimeter has received since the dosimeter was reset or zeroed.  The Kearny Fallout Meter is a dosimeter that may be constructed at home with ordinary materials in a few hours.  If kept dry it is a remarkably accurate dosimeter with a range of zero to at least 43 Roentgens/hr.   By timing the separation between the two leaves of ordinary aluminum foil with a watch one can compute the Roentgens per hour.

For example, if the separation between the bottom of the two leaves of aluminum foil decreases by 14 mm over a time period of 15 seconds the radiation rate is about 43 Roentgens per hour.  If the separation decreases by 2 mm over the time span of 16 minutes the rate is only 0.1 Roentgens per hour.

A table of times, separation distance decreases, and the R/hr is cut out from the instructions and pasted onto the KFM.  This instrument requires no calibration of any kind.  After making this instrument charge up the aluminum leaves as directed and make sure the leaves stay separated over time when only background radiation exists.    The usual background radiation rate is about 20 counts per minute at sea level (unless you have radon gas in your home).

A kit for making the KFM is available from some suppliers listed at www.ki4u.com.  A comment I have about this kit is that the metal can is far too flimsy.  A can from a small can of beans is much more suitable. 

Other choices for dosimeters include:

1. The RADSticker: a chemical dosimeter whose change in color reflects the absorbed dose. These are available from suppliers listed at www.ki4u.com.  At the time of this writing (May 2013) the cost was $25 for five of these. These suffer from the fact that they are single use dosimeters and cannot be reset (rezerod). In addition their shelf life at room temperature in the dark is only about two years.  If kept in a freezer the service life is about ten years.  There are color patches to indicate a total exposure to gamma photons and beta particles with energies above 1 MeV.  The patches indicate if the sticker has received 25, 50,100, 200,400, and 1000 rad exposure.

2.  Quartz fiber dosimeters.  There are several sources.  New or used civil defense dosimeters and chargers are often available from military surplus outfits.  Typically these dosimeters have a 0 to 200 Roentgen scale. The surplus CD dosimeter chargers require one D cell battery.  I do not know if the lower voltage (1.2V) rechargeable NiCad or NiMH will work in these chargers.   The American Civil Defense Association (www.tacda.org) has rugged 0 to 200 milli Roentgen (mR) dosimeters.  These are likely to be more useful than the CD surplus 0 to 200 R dosimeters.   www.seintl.com sells a piezo electric dosimeter charger that needs no batteries.  Check with the vendor for current pricing. It is critical to ascertain that one’s dosimeters are not electrically “leaky” by charging them to read zero and going back after a week to see if the dosimeter still reads zero.  If the dosimeter fails this test I discard it.   One reads a quartz fiber dosimeter by holding one end toward a light, and looking through the other end at a scale on which a vertical line is seen.  This is the quartz fiber.  The accumulated dose is given by the position of this fiber on the scale.  www.seintl.com also sells quartz fiber dosimeters with a total range of accumulated dose of 200 mR, 500mR, 2R, 5R, 20R, 2 mSv, 5 mSv ranges.  These are alleged to have an accuracy of better than 10% of the dose from either Cs137 or Co60 (the isotope of the element cobalt with a mass number of 60).   The temperature range is –20 C to 50 C.  An option for these is a protective sapphire lens, much more scratch resistant than glass lenses.   Over time the lens tends to get scratched up with use.  If one is using a dosimeter to record total received dose when one is outside it is important to keep the dosimeter in a plastic bag and clip it onto your belt to record the average dose received by your body.  Since most of the radiation will arise from fallout on the ground, your feet will encounter a higher dose of gamma photos than your head.  The plastic bag keeps fallout from contaminating the dosimeter.  This same idea is useful for any radiation measuring device taken outside after an event.   Note that conventional “electroscope” dosimeters do not suffer from the “saturation effect” that conventional Geiger-Muller tubes do as explained below.

 

Rate Meters

A very important problem with Geiger Muller tubes is that at higher radiation rates they become saturated so that the meter reading can be seriously in error on the low side.  Cresson Kearny cites the example of a dose rate meter sold in 1982 that when exposed to a dose of 150 R/hr it gave a reading of 13.9 R/hr.  Dr. Bruce Clayton tested another of these same meters at a dose of 400R/hr and the reading was only 16 R/hr.

Some beta emitters, e.g. tritium, produce such an extremely weak beta particle and are not generally detectable by any rate meter.  Even with a liquid scintillation counter the efficiency is only about 30%.

One may often see for sale the yellow surplus CD rate meters from military surplus sources.  These in general have NOT been calibrated and are likely to have very serious error even if the “check” function reads ok. The surplus CD meters were specifically designed to work properly up to 500 R/hr and in general only measure gamma photons.  The vendors listed at www.ki4u.com sell CD meters that have been properly calibrated by the ki4u lab.  I’ve not been able to discover the frequency with which these CD meters need to be recalibrated. 

The www.seintl.com online store sells several types of rate meters.  Their M4 radiation rate meter is said to be accurate up to 50 mR/hr with an accuracy of +-15% for gamma photons from Cs137.  It detects gamma photos down to 10 keV through the window and down to 40 keV through the case (plastic) of the meter.   Detection efficiency for 50 keV beta radiation is about 35%.  Detection efficiency for 150 keV beta radiation is about 75%.   Detects gamma photons down to 10 keV through the mica window of the small Geiger tube. The analog meter has a useful logarithmic scale that provides easier reading at the low end of the ranges of 0 to 0.5 mR/hr, 0-5 mR/hr, and 0-50 mR/hr.  A 9 V battery is used and there is a battery check function.  With continuous use an alkaline battery will last about 2000 hours and there is a battery check function.  There is an audible click for each particle detected.  This may be turned off for silent use.  There is a headphone jack for earphones for the audible clicks.  The manual for this meter is quite comprehensive and useful.  This rate meter is available as a kit.  I’ve assembled two of these kits and both worked the first time.  These are NOT kits for beginners.  The circuit board traces are small and the soldering tricky.  It is easy to have a cold solder joint or a solder bridge between traces.

In the March, 2013, issue of “Nuts and Volts” magazine is an article describing a homemade radiation meter.   As of this writing a complete kit is available to construct this device from www.nutsvolts.com.  This device features a voltage output that can be continuously logged onto a PC with software which uses a $29 Dataq voltage data logger that connects to the PCs USB port.   The device contains a built in timer capable of counting seconds, minutes, hours, or days and a LCD display.  One may select the time interval for recording radiation by means of a momentary switch.  An audible alarm is given if the radiation rate exceeds 30 uR/hr.  An alkaline 9 V battery will last about two days with continuous use.  The unit is mounted in a small plastic Serpac case, which has a built in holder for the 9 V battery.  This is not a kit for the beginner.  I had trouble identifying which transistor was which.  The circuit board has tiny traces.  Two capacitors were missing. 

A very interesting and useful rate meter is the RADAlert, small enough to fit on one’s key ring.  Available from some vendors listed at the www.ki4u.com site.  We keep one of these in the glove compartments of our vehicles.   This detector does not use a Geiger-Muller tube.  Rather there is a compound inside that produces a small flash of light when struck by a gamma photon.  This flash of light strikes a cadmium sulfide photocell, which produces a small voltage spike that is processed in a way that the number of chirps emitted by the RADAlert reflects the amount of radiation.  This detector arrangement is not easily saturated.  At 50 (and above) R/hr 10 chirps will be heard every thirty seconds.  The number of chirps decreases with decreasing radiation rate measured so that if the radiation is 0.1 R/hr only one chirp is heard every thirty seconds.  The internal battery is said to be good for about 10 years.  One may test the device by chilling and then returning to room temperature.  This process produces chirping until the innards of the device all reach ambient temperature.  Note that the upper reading this device will properly measure is 1/10 that of the CD meters and 1000 times that of the M4 meter discussed above.  The RADAlert does not respond to alpha or beta particles, but I do not consider this limitation of any real importance.  The great thing is that this device is constantly on.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of available rate meters. For example, www.readymaderesources.com has a number of rate meters for sale.

 Blocking uptake of radioactive elements:

The concept here is competition.  The body cannot distinguish between a stable isotope of, e.g., iodine and a radioisotope of iodine as they are chemically identical.  If we ingest 1 picogram of radioactive iodine along with 1 microgram of stable iodine we would expect that 1,000 times less radioiodine would be taken up by the thyroid gland than stable iodine, and the subsequent radiation damage would be reduced by a factor of a thousand as opposed to the situation in which only 1 picogram of radioactive iodine were ingested.   The blocking competition below is for ingested radioactivity with the exception of iodine, which exists as a gas, and if inhaled will make its way to the thyroid gland.   The other radioisotopes listed will be inhaled as small particles and for the most part will remain stuck in the lungs.

  • Radioiodine is perhaps one of the greatest threats.  The principal  radioisotope produced is I131 (the radioisotope of iodine with mass number 131) whose half-life is 8.07 days (6).  This is a beta and gamma photon emitter with 90% of the beta particles emitted having an energy of 0.606 MeV.  Iodine is rather rare and is actively concentrated by the body into the thyroid gland, as it is essential for the synthesis of thyroxin.  The other problem with iodine is that it exists as a gas under ordinary conditions. Please note that this radioisotope becomes concentrated in cow’s milk when the cows’ pasture has been contaminated with this radioisotope.  So there are two subsequent concentrating processes that make milk especially hazardous for children after a nuke event.  I’ve read that 40% of children in the Fukushima area have thyroid abnormalities.  Two bad outcomes are possible.  The thyroid gland may literally die or it may develop a malignancy.  The Chernobyl disaster also resulted in a huge number of children with damaged thyroid glands.  For this reason one essential prep to have is a large supply of nitrogen packed nonfat dry milk.  One may protect one’s thyroid gland by taking potassium iodide or potassium periodate pills.  Experiments in the UK have shown that the bioavailability of the iodine is essentially identical for the two compounds.  It is recommended that folks buy and store sufficient tablets for a dosing lasting several months.  For an adult about 100 milligrams of potassium iodide per day is about correct.  Some people develop allergic reactions to iodine and this must be considered in the dosing regimen.
  • Bone seeking elements.  Strontium, barium, and radium are chemically similar to calcium and become concentrated in bone tissue.  And where are stem cells located that turn into red blood cells, immune system cells, and platelets are located?  In long bones.  A serious problem here.  A supply of calcium citrate tablets would be an excellent idea. (4)
  • Plutonium.  This is an extremely dangerous radioisotope if ingested or inhaled.  Uptake from ingested material can be blocked to a limited extent by iron supplements, as these two elements have similar chemical behavior.
  • Cesium.  Cs137 is  chemically resembles potassium and foods rich in potassium will help block absorption.  The good news is that Cs will be slowly excreted and is not concentrated in any one tissue. (4).
  • Zinc.  Zn65 (the radioisotope of the element zinc with a mass number of 65) is a gamma photon emitter with a half-life of 243 days.  Seaweed and certain nuts are good sources of Zn and will help block uptake.  Zn is to some degree more long lived in the body than cesium because it is tightly bound to many enzymes.
  • Cobalt.  Co60 is a very minor product of fission reactions.  If, however, an enemy wanted to produce heavy fallout damage having the bomb casing made of cobalt would produce enormous amounts of Co60  which is a gamma photon emitter with a half-life of 5.26 years.   As far as I am aware cobalt is only needed as the central atom in vitamin B12.  It may be that increasing the amount of B12 in one’s supplements might reduce the uptake of Co60.

 

When it becomes safe to take short trips to the outside.

The nomograms referenced above will, along with the known radiation rate outside, allow you to decide how long you can be outside your shelter each day.  A dosimeter in a plastic bag worn on one’s belt when outside will serve the same purpose but it would be great to know in advance how long you could stay outside.  The critical thing here is NOT to bring fallout back into your shelter with you.  A “duster” type coat with a hood should be kept outside the shelter, but protected from falling fallout, rain, and snow, along with boots.   A covered porch would meet these requirements. On leaving the shelter put on the duster and boots.   One may buy tyvek thin hazmat suits.  If you wear one of these over the duster you will have even less contamination available to enter the shelter with you.

How not to contaminate the shelter when you return to your shelter.

Before returning to the shelter at the very least remove the duster and boots.   I further suggest keeping an entire set of clothes out on your covered porch and leaving the shelter buck-naked and return the same way.   Obtain a solar heated shower device and keep it handy on your covered porch and shower before entering the shelter naked.  And getting dressed in the shelter with clothes that have not been out of the shelter.  Immediately check your dosimeter and write down the accumulated dose you have received on this outing.  A radiation rate meter should be used once you are inside to check your naked body for residual contamination.  Safety before modesty.  Important places to check are the ends of fingernails, hair, and nasal entrances.  I suggest men stay clean shaven with hair cut as short as possible.   An N-95 facemask should protect you from inhaling fallout.  Remember that the extremely fine particles are (in the absence of a “hot spot” produced by local rain or snowfall) are going to be a very minor issue.

Frequently survey all around the inside of your shelter to insure you’ve not contaminated anything inside.  Pay particular attention to the floor.   Yet another very important reason to have a low-level rate meter in your shelter.

My Suggestions:

Visit www.ki4u.com and download their piece on what to do if you believe that nuke event(s) may soon happen.  Then read it.  Many most excellent suggestions.

Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson H. Kearney is a must have book for a great many reasons.  The first and foremost are the field-tested instructions and templates for a KFM.   Included are field-tested instructions for the construction of expedient fallout shelters.  Note that there will not be enough time after the event to construct a high protection factor shelter.  Kearny points out the extreme importance of adequate ventilation in an enclosed shelter and shows that the CD plans for shelters given out during the Cold War would result in the deaths of the occupants from inadequate ventilation.  Living humans emit an overall energy of about 100 watts and a substantial amount of water.  In an unventilated shelter the temperature and humidity levels will rise and become lethal.  His book provides plans and instructions for making a quite usable air pump for ventilation of a shelter interior. 

Build two KFMs and practice using them.  Obtain several dosimeters of various ranges and a dosimeter charger.   Check the dosimeters for leakage.  Consider getting two rate meters: one a calibrated surplus CD meter and a more sensitive rate meter for less than life threatening radiation levels.  All electronics of any kind need to be placed in an adequate Faraday Cage.  See reference (AB) for complete information on EMP and Faraday Cage protection. 

Get a two-month supply of KIO3 tablets for each of your family members.

[JWR Adds: The now dominant school of thought in medical circles is that Potassium Iodate (KIO3), Potassium Iodide (KI) or other thyroid blockers for radiological events are not recommended for anyone over 40.]

I expect most of the readers of this excellent blog already know the importance of having stored a lot of food and water.

Understand how to make an expedient shelter in your basement.  Reference (BC) shows sketches of how to arrange household articles around an area to provide some protection. 

Consider making a basement shelter with filled concrete blocks as shown in reference (BC).  Note that protection factors are multiplicative.  If a location in the center of an interior basement gives a protection factor of 35 then a stack of filled concrete blocks 8 inches wide would itself provide a protection level itself of four for 5 MeV gamma photons.  Inside the 8 inches of concrete around and above oneself the total protection factor would be 280.   Note that any entryway into the area of stacked concrete blocks must have a 90-degree turn so that gamma photons cannot enter the “safe” area of the shelter.   One would have to do careful engineering to design such a shelter whose 8 inches of concrete on the top would not collapse and crush the inhabitant.

If you are concerned about potential blast wave or fire damage the obvious choice is a dedicated underground shelter.   You might consider something along the lines of our shelter.  We are fortunate to be on a 35-degree slope, which made things easier.  We acquired a piece of a large abandoned diesel fuel tank some 64 inches inside diameter, six feet long, with one end cut off.  These may often found in farming areas for the price of the scrap metal.  First I cleaned off the old diesel from the inside and painted the inside white with an oil alkyd paint.  I painted the outside with a similar paint (which bonded well to a slightly rusty surface) and then coated the outside with roofing tar.  I excavated (with a shovel and pickaxe) a place on the slope to place this piece.  With three come-alongs I positioned it into the excavated site. 

The inside was braced vertically by PT 4x4 posts; cut tapered to just fit inside.  Horizontal bracing was with PT 2x4s.   This bracing was used to build shelves at the back end and sides of the enclosure.  A door opening inside (and the door) was framed with PT 4x4 posts for some blast resistance.  The bottom horizontal braces were used to provide a flat floor of deck boards.  A small shed was built over the entrance and camo tarp used to enclose the entrance to the shed.

The tank was situated so that its three openings were at the top.  Two of these were 2” in diameter and were fitted with PCV pipe for ventilation, ending in a 90-degree angle pointing down with a screen wire block for insects.  A third hole, about 1” diameter, was used to run in 12 VDC from a solar array nearby charging a bank of golf cart batteries.  In addition a short-wave antenna lead was passed though this hole and the hole sealed.  I’ve a Drake SW-2 digital radio in a Faraday Cage inside.  There is a 12 VDC lighting system, using vehicle bulbs, which can be turned on one light at a time if need be.  I keep a mechanical windup alarm clock, lots of 4 cycle log log graph paper, KIO3 tablets, first aid kits, HazMat booties, gas masks, dosimeters and charger, sleeping bag, spare clothes, water, food, and other goodies.  If the balloon goes up the radiation meters go into the cave with us.  A solar shower and a small port a potty reside in the covered entrance.

This doubles as a root cellar.  Our saved seeds are stored there in evacuated glass jars, in the cool and dark.  A 12 VDC fan in the door provides adequate ventilation when needed.  This project is not yet complete, as I need more shielding on the top of the tank.

References:

  • The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan, 670 pages, November 2006  (in print)  (Note: It may be possible to find one of the used early editions that contains a pocket in the back cover with an incredibly useful circular slide rule.)
  • The Day we Bombed Utah, John G. Fuller, New American Library Books, New York, 1984
  • Nuclear War Survival Skills by, 1987 revised and updated edition
  • Life After Doomsday,  Dr. Bruce Clayton, The Dial Press, New York, 1980
  • Emergency War Surgery (NATO Handbook:- Third United States Revision, 2004) by Dr. Martin Fackler, et al. U.S. Defense Department
  • Radiological Defense: Planning and Operations Guide, Department of Defense, Office of Civil Defense, SM-11.23.2 June 1966
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics”, 56th edition, 1975 CRC Press
  • Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms, Dr. Arthur Bradley, 2012 edition


Hi James,
I was just looking at your FAQ article about antique firearms.

Apparently, there has been some controversy over the dates of manufacture of some Winchester firearms. The discovery of so called Polishing Room Records have dates of "manufacture" which apparently disagree with the previously established "Madis" dates of manufacture.

I was just wondering what your take is on this subject.

Also, I've been trying to find out if there is any logical reason for selecting December 31, 1898 as the Antique firearms cutoff date. Did someone just arbitrarily pick this date? I know that there were cartridge ammunition and smokeless powder before that date.

Thanks, - Jim P.

JWR Replies: The Polishing Room Records are of interest to collectors, but have no legal bearing. The ATF has repeatedly held that the date that a receiver is made legally constitutes "manufacture."   So once a serial number goes on a receiver or frame then that is it's date of manufacture, in the eyes of the law. (Although in recent years, they've clarified that for modern guns as to say when a serial number stamped on a receiver that is more than 80% complete.) So, for example, even though S&W was still assembling large frame .44 top break revolvers up to around 1913, they are all considered antique, because they stopped making frames for them before 1899.

The December 31, 1898 cutoff date was essentially arbitrary.  I suppose that some nameless legislator (or more likely some pimply-faced congressional staffer) might have been thinking about the Spanish-American War, for a frame of reference, since that was the last war where we fielded black powder Trapdoor Springfield cartridge rifles. (Although Krag rifles and Spanish Mausers were both high velocity smokeless powder guns.) But you are right: The 1898 date has little to do with the state of the art in fireams technology. Colt switched to steel frames for their famed Single Action Army(SAA) revolvers in 1893, and smokeless powder Mausers had been made in quantity since 1891.  For that matter, there had been shoulder-fired full-auto battle rifles around since 1887.

The bottom line: American legislators should keep their sticky fingers off of all guns, regardless of their vintage.  The Second Amendment codified a sacrosanct right that predates the Constitution itself.





G.G. sent: In Mexico, self-defense groups battle a cartel. [JWR's Comment: I wonder if the photographer realized that the "meanacing"-looking scoped AR in the foreground was a .22 rimfire? Take a close look at the magazine.]

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Number of People Who Showed Up For “Million Muslim March” . . . 21. (Perhaps they heard that there would be 2 million bikers coming into town.)

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Carol J. mentioned: Fabric coating thwarts detection by night-vision devices. "The coating combines a squid protein, reflectin, plus graphene."

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Over at Frank and Fern's blog: TEOTWAWKI, Two Years Later

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Californians can kiss goodblye their M1 Carbines, Remington 740 series rifles, Valmet Hunters, Mini-14s, and many others: California Passes Gun Control Bill Banning 'Assault' Weapons



"... the president was on the televisor last night urging us to memorialize those who were murdered on this day twelve years ago by flying air strikes in support of the faction that murdered them. Whatever else may be said, that took an amazing level of chutzpah, to call on a nation to go to war in support of terrorists the night before going to lay a wreath at a ceremony commemorating their victims." - Tamara, Editor of the View From The Porch blog


Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Today is the 12th anniversary of 9/11. I find it incredibly ironic that the BHO regime is now planning to support our sworn enemy, Al Qaeda. We truly are living in the age of deception and betrayal.

--

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.



If you or your readers are contemplating carrying a rucksack [or backpack] of any type for any distance there are three items this old soldier heartily recommends:

1. Compression type Smart Wool Socks
2. Two Toms brand Sport Shield Liquid Roll On.
3. Insoles: Green Super Feet

I am still ruck'in these days (an old LC-1 pack frame with 40lbs of weight plates zip tied to it [I am certain I am quite a sight if anyone is up at 04:30 AM]), so I believe I know what I am talking about. Six to ten miles per day. I wish I had figured this all out while I was on active duty!

I have noted specific manufacturers, because, these are what have stood the test of time and miles for me, your mileage may vary. If you find a less expensive substitute that works, please share with the rest of the class.

I have not had a single blister since discovering Two Toms, not a one, not even a hot spot.

I have old school OD Green Jungle boots and new school, feather weight USGI boots, pick your poison, neither cause me problems.

BOOTS: Boots come in all shapes construction. Costs run from reasonable to WTF? From a ruck'in perspective, you need to find a reasonable compromise of: (1.) shock absorbing functionality; (2.) mid sole flex; (3.) ankle support; (4.) insulation.

SHOCK ABSORBING: Most newer boots seem to incorporate some form of running shoe technology in their construction. If you are purchasing via mail order, do some research.

FIT: Fit is important. I purchase boots 1/2 size larger and 1 size wider than normal running shoes. I normally wear a 10.5 running shoe, so I purchase and use an 11 wide boot. Your feet will get hot and expand while ruck'in. Plan accordingly.

FLEX: When carrying a load, your boot needs to flex in the middle or you find yourself "...stomping..." and "...clomping...." with weird top of foot pain. Hold the boot by the heel and toe and push your hands together. The boot should flex in the middle. Don't get pig-headed about it. Forget the brand name, or what your buddies swear by. They are probably miserable because they did not put in the thought that you are putting into your ruck'in system. Buck the trend and do not become a casualty.

ANKLE SUPPORT: A good ruck'in boot should be at least eight inches tall to support the ankle. If your foot comes down on a rock and your ankle begins to twist, a well made boot will protect your ankle. Good laces help with ankle support. Do not tie ruck'in boots too tight, when your ankles swell and your feet get hot, you will wish you had tied them looser.

INSULATION: This is a relative and very personal item. A few years ago, during a blizzard, I purchased a pair of insulated Danner Acadia's, they worked great, but I have not work then since, they are too danged hot! When you are ruck'in, your feet will get hot. On cold, wet and/or snowy days here, with my 40 lb ruck, my un-insulated boots serve me best. If I was in an ambush or snipe hide, I'd probably lust after those insulated Danners, but down over boots seem to do the trick for me these days.

RECOMMENDED BOOTS:

BELLVILLE: These days, my go to boot is the Bellville Model #590. They are well made (this pair is going on 500 miles plus with little to no wear), good shock absorbing, good flex, excellent ankle support, fairly light in weight and good insulation (it snows here and is wet, a lot). Sierra sole (watch for mud accumulation), speed lacing (excellent), mid calf cut outs (enables boot flex). Running shoe technology. After walking on concrete at the gun show for six hours, you will not be sore. After 10 ~ 12 hours in the woods hunting, you will not be crippled.

ALTAMA: Altama's are a great value. They used to make an OD Green, Sierra Sole jungle boot which is still the holy grail of good ruck'in footwear. If you can find a pair that fits you, enjoy them. Their like may never some again. Altama's come with either the SIERRA or PANAMA sole configuration. The Panama sole is a good one, it seldom collects enough mud to become a skate board. They come with eyelets or speed lacing system, speed lacing systems are a great leap forward.

DANNER: When I was on active duty, I could not afford them, now I can and I do love them. They run the gamut from feather weight to concrete overshoe weight, but it is hard to argue with their quality of warranty. If you are purchasing Danner boots, test drive them with the insoles you will be ruck'in with. Danners can be cozy, you may need to experiment with width and length with your preferred insole. Do not assume that your normal size will work with your preferred insole and a Danner boot. Word to the wise.

INSOLES:

Good insoles are essential. Most default insoles, under the load and stress of miles and weight will dissolve rather quickly. My best experience is with the SUPERFEET brand.

They are stout. I have at least 500 miles on this pair with a 40 lb ruck and they are still going strong. They are coated with a blister reducing green material that has yet to separate from the insole underneath. They do not seem to pick up foot odor either.

This brand is made to work with several different foot arch contours, so do your homework and get the color, arch that fits you best.

SOCKS:

As a soldier, I was sold on USGI OD Green, double thick wool socks, until I did some homework and discovered, SmartWool, compression socks.

The best I have been able to come up with are the Smart Wool PHD Ultra Light. I have purchased these for myself and my spouse, even she likes them.

They are long lasting, fit close to the skin, never ever sag and bunch. They are not cheap, but if you only have your Leather Personnel Carriers (LPCs) to get you around, they do not seem that expensive.

TWO TOMS SPORT SHIELD LIQUID ROLL ON:

Who says you can not teach an old dog new tricks? This stuff is just plain amazing. I roll it on the heel, top of foot and where my toes meet the flat of my foot. Put on socks. Settle into the ruck and get moving. No hot spots, and no blisters, ever.

I am not kidding, this stuff works so good I keep extra in the truck, by the bed, in the bathroom, etc...

You will hate spending the money the first time, and kick yourself for not spending the money sooner after you have experienced it.

So, what is the bottom line? I can not tell which is the single item that makes the biggest difference: Socks, Two Toms, Insoles or Boots, but thinking of them as a unified, ruck'in system, this system will work in your favor, support you, enable you and not let you down.

There is no substitute for experience. If you intend to ruck, then go out and Ruck! Join the folks at GORUCK when they come to your town, and remember "...runnin' ain't ruck'in...". I can not stress that enough. You may be able to run ten miles, but, put on that 40 lb ruck or heaven forbid an 80 lb or 100 lb ruck and you will quickly be humbled.

Train like you will fight. If things go bad, and you are fully acclimated to numerous miles with a 40 lb ruck, a short ten mile walk without it will be a snooze fest for you.



Mr. Rawles,
I am leaving Alaska and actively looking for a new home in the American Redoubt. The State of Idaho is (was?) at the top of my list but several recent articles in SurvivalBlog have cause for concern. (The recent item about he Boise gun show cancellation, for example.)
 
I understand that 'nothing is perfect' but can you reassure your readers that Idaho is not being infiltrated by the loony leftists?
 
Thank You and best regards, - Tom in Alaska

JWR Replies: The news item about Boise was posted because it was unusual, and definitely not the norm for Idaho, which is generally very pro-gun. In my estimation Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming still represent the very best states to work in and to live. While eastern Oregon and eastern Washington are at mercy of their respective state legislatures west of the Cascades, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are consistently conservative, safe, and common-sense places to to live. Look at the whole gamut of issues and determining factors: taxes, gun laws, business climate, zoning, strong social fabric, right to work laws, demographics, crime rates, natural disaster risks, population density, self-sufficiency, insurance costs, pollution, home schooling laws, nuclear weapon targets, nuclear power plants, traffic, and on and on...





Reader J. McC. sent: Small California City Welcome Doomsday Bunkers

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For those who are concerned about the privacy of your search engine history, I heard about a company that prides itself on keeping no stinking histories: ixquick.com. So, hoping that their promise is legitimate, I have that set as my browser's home page, so that I don't forget to use it. OBTW, friend Dave reminds me: "There is an IXQuick add-on for the Firefox search bar." It is time to divorce ourselves from Google, folks!

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The feds pay for 60 percent of Tor’s development. Can users trust it?

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An interesting bit of history and etymology: Dread Nought.

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Wikistorming: Colleges offer credit to inject feminism into Wikipedia. [JWR Adds: A few years ago, I started referring to Wikipedia as LeftistAgendaPedia, for good reason: The statist/leftist/homosexual/environmentalist/civilian disarmament cabals rule Wikipedia with ferocity. They use Wikipedia's rules to their advantage, via WikiLawyering, sock-puppetry, POV-pushing, and cleverly orchestrated "consensus." For example, one of the cabals deleted the wiki article about one of my novels, even after it was a New York Times best-seller, claiming that it was "non-notable." Beware of the bias of anything that you read on Wikipedia!]



"Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have." - Harry Emerson Fosdick


Tuesday, September 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.



SurvivalBlog provides a wealth of prep-related information. Many here cut and paste critical essays to store as Word documents for safekeeping and later access when crisis times call for it. I suggest going one step further. Build a structured notebook of your family's prep information, with each topic index tabbed for easy access and available for all family-tribe members to consult when the need arrives. Let this notebook become your family's SHTF collapse response manual, your SOP for surviving a collapse.

People panic and make fatal errors under crisis when they do not have enough information and do not know what to do. The most critical prep is: having a plan: knowing now what you will do when "it" happens. Prepping may be described as having a structured plan based on an adequate scope and depth of information.  Having a comprehensive plan... in writing... becomes your critical survival tool. That plan needs to be written out on old-fashioned paper and indexed by topic in a notebook that everyone on your team can access. 

If and when TSHTF it will be very helpful for you (and, especially, other family members if you happen to be away from home when TSHTF) to have ready access to that plan.  Your family will need immediate access to your written guide on just what to do to address the list of critical needs. Make this notebook your family-tribe's operations manual for when TSHTF, where members can retrieve critical information on a range of topics... what to do on day one, then how to handle the unfolding crisis on a long-term basis. We have built such a manual for our household and the larger family-tribe living on our country lane.
     
We are blessed to live on an old extended family farmstead divided among four sibling homesteads, with cousins and nephews also living along our remote country lane. This is a rural side road with no cross roads, one access at each end, making it easily blocked and defended. We are six miles outside a small town of 2500, forty miles from a small city of 20,000, and ninety miles inland from a coastal city of 90,000.  Our neighbors are brothers, sisters, and cousins forming our extended family tribe.
            
Each homestead ranges from twelve to a hundred acres of land mixed between fields, gardens, mixed forests, and multiple water sources. Each home is a self-sufficient single family household. That strength multiplies when neighboring households unite as a tribe for survival. Our tribe is united in mutual support, preps, politics, ethics, skill sets, and trust. Within the extended family tribe is a wide range of skills from homesteading to agriculture to mechanical trades to health care. Within our family tribe we have discussed plans for mutual aid and defense.
          
We experienced a real-life rehearsal of our SHTF responses a decade ago when a huge ice storm collapsed the electric grid statewide for more than a week in the cold dead of a dark New England winter. This event suddenly presented our tribe, community, and the entire state a great training and learning experience. We brought to bear all our grid-down preps for heat, food, power, communications, water, and cooperation within the community.  Following that event, everyone in town not already on board with preps were immediately enlightened. Those who were prepped learned their weakness. Since then, our tribe has become more organized, aware, and ready. Our motto, semi-jokingly, is "we will be the last to die."
     
Perhaps the most valuable prep item added to our household since then is the Notebook: our SOP manual on every aspect of surviving a collapse.  Its pages are index tabbed for chapters on water, food, heat, energy-power, health care, hygiene, home safety, sanitation, communications, defense, agriculture, foraging.  Each chapter details immediate primary actions, longer range plans, and backup contingencies. There are even blank pages to journal unfolding events, experiences, and lessons learned.

Water management, for instance, starts with a detailed list of known sources: current active wells, idle old original settlers' homestead wells, brooks, natural springs, plus instructions on how to retrieve and manage that water. Water usage and recycling protocols are described along a continuum of rationed uses from drinking to cooking to hygiene to laundry to flushing toilets. Toilet protocols present choices and emphasize caution to avoid disease.  Flush toilet rules (yellow versus brown; you know the rhyme) are a starting point, but progress to assembling and using a composting toilet or outhouse setup. 

The notebook declares that the primary use of stored gasoline is to operate portable generators, whose primary role is to power domestic water pumps to fill water storage containers.  We recently added a propane generator as an alternative resource. Redundancy is important. This will be about the only time generators will run, briefly and occasionally to fill water storage containers. If generator use becomes a problem, water can be dipped by bucket from the top of shallow wells and springs. The guide also describes proper concentrations of bleach to clean containers and protect stored water.  Redundancy includes bleach, water purification tablets, iodine purification kits, and filter kits.

Preventing infections and disease is top priority. Hygiene must be emphasized in a now-compromised world, despite a stash of a range of antibiotics. Sanitation, hand-washing, and teeth-brushing become lifesaving rules.  Who wants to die of an abscessed tooth? Who wants the task of ripping out a loved-one's molars?
     
Food management is a big chapter from short-range management of stored foods, to balanced rationing, to long-range agriculture planning.  Several plans are presented for food management in a grid-down world.  We may have wild game now, but that will quickly disappear once THSTF.  Hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering will be an immediate but perhaps a shorter term task, coupled with proper preservation of bounty. Agriculture is already established but will need to be seriously expanded when the balloon goes up, to take over long-term where food stores leave off short term.
           
Situation awareness and information become immediately critical.  If we awaken to no power grid, we must determine if it is a local, statewide, or nationwide event. We will turn to several avenues of communications, since no grid means no phone, Internet, or television.  A quick check of the news on the car's satellite radio may, hopefully, tell us if TS really did HTF. If that source is not working, we may assume something large has occurred.  We then turn to shortwave and HAM radios powered by 12V solar backup power to obtain critical news to determine appropriate response. 

If it looks like a hardcore nationwide grid collapse such as a Carrington flare event or enemy-led total grid takedown, the first order of food preps is to rescue what is in the chest freezer. We keep this packed with extra ice to sustain frozen food for at least 2-3 days during our frequent weather-related power outages. This can be supplemented with an hour per day of generator use, if needed. But if it is confirmed to be long term grid down scenario, meats will be thawed, ground, and cooked-dried into hamburger rocks on day one.  This will add lots of protein to canned or dried foods already in place. 

If communications reveal a long term grid collapse, longer range agriculture plans must be implemented.  Diesel fuel stores will be dedicated primarily to homestead tractors for garden needs and firewood gathering.  Existing gardens may need extensive expansion: digging, plowing, soil enhancement.  Family tribe cooperation will be critical to expand and disperse multiple gardens to assure surviving crop failures, pests, deer invasion (venison!), and even theft defense.  Cooperation will aid in planting, tending, harvesting, storage, nutritional balance, protection, and mutual aid.  Sharing skills, equipment, and workload will be important.
          
Gasoline was to be dedicated solely to generator use, until we added the propane generator to our preps. This allows us to shift gasoline use to chainsaws to cut up as much firewood as possible to add to existing stores for long term heat in our frigid New England winters. Safety in this work becomes critical to prevent injuries that cannot be treated as effectively as in the "normal" world. The manual reminds family members work safety rules that cannot be compromised.
     
Health care needs are supported by existing skill sets within the family tribe: EMTs, nurses, physical therapist, and experienced grandmothers. This is supported by stored medical supplies.  Bandages, surgical kits, a range of medications, splints, crutches, braces, TENS units, reference manuals, and medical knowledge all become survival essentials. The notebook lists the stored antibiotics, dosages, what ones for what types of problems, and their precautions. A wide range of leftover, renewed, or otherwise acquired meds becomes a treasure. 
     
Power, lighting, and heating instructions list a range of choices in each area of concern. Various cooking fuels are available from wood to propane to kerosene to others fuels using a variety of equipment. Again, redundancy rules. Wood is most available long-term, with perishable fossil fuels carefully dedicated to powering chainsaws, tractors, generators, and rototillers. 

Lighting has a similar range of options from 12 volt LEDs to lanterns to candles. Several solar panels with charge controllers and multiple deep cycle batteries will power LED's and recharge batteries for flashlights, lanterns, and walkie-talkies. They also power Ham radios and scanner.  Our manual provides extensive how-to instructions to manage solar panel setups and properly operate their intended devices. All family members need to know how to handle these tools.
     
Area defense is discussed in the manual. Few in the family tribe have military training, but there is enough to offer basic skills. All have extensive skills in various shooting sports and possess equipment typical of a well-prepped rural lifestyle.  All the adults are trained, experienced, and well-armed at a civilian level.  Tribe members from pre-teens on up will need to be brought up to speed on all weapons available to the group.  The more experienced members will update the less experienced ones with .22 weapons to ease them into heavier firearms. Weapons, ammo, reloading, maintenance, and redundancy are adequate within the tribe.

Decisions will be made on defense based on information gathered from communications on what is going on locally, statewide, and nationally regarding security and rule of law.  The road we all live on is easily defended and access controlled, but structured plans for defense may need to be dedicated if TS has severely HTF. The extended family tribe has enough members to rotate and equip lookouts. The manual contains essays gathered on these topics as they pertain to our AO, for consideration by tribe members.
          
The final section provides a detailed list of prep stores including foods, medical supplies, energy sources, heat sources, hygiene supplies, weapons and ammo, winter clothing, repair and construction materials, radios, batteries, disposable eating utensils, water preps, camping supplies, soaps, seeds, toilet supplies, paper products, canning and food prep supplies, tools, playing cards and games, kids' treats and diversions, record-keeping materials, maps, reference manuals, good books, copy of US Constitution and Bill of Rights, Bible, as well as trade-barter items.
     
This is all written out in the notebook to provide information in a readily accessible and organized manner.  Frightened family tribe members can regain comfort, coordination, and direction from consulting the manual.  We supplement this with a small library of additional references such as the Boy Scout Manual, Back-To-Basics, and a variety of other manuals taken from the internet to strengthen the tribe's survival SOP.
           
The act of writing this manual becomes a prep tactic as family members collaborate, discuss, and decide how things should be done as the manual is built. Everyone in the tribe should be aware of what is in the manual as it is written, reviewed, and updated over time. The manual is an education tool before a collapse and a survival manual after it happens. It is easy to share when new tribe members are brought into the fold.



Jim,
I love your blog. Thank you so much for running it in these challenging times. God bless you and your family. It read top to bottom daily.

My family and I are now raising meat rabbits since early April: one California buck and 5 does, New Zealand, Rex and SilverFox. We now have 39 kits and the first litter is weaned and growing at an amazing pace. My wife only bought into this idea after I committed to be the butcher and the final product looked like chicken. Deal. Only the parents have names. The kits are all very cute and we enjoy them for the season they're with us, but their destiny is a 100 day life span.

I'm studying how to best tan the skins and prepare the pelts for sewing. Brain tanning keeps rising to the surface. My wife enjoys working with textiles so we eventually want to procure a long haired French Angora rabbit(s) that we believe we can "harvest" the hair twice a year, actually spin it right out of the rabbit while it sits comfortably in one's lap.

I'd like to know more about the tools people use to card the hair "carding"  and spinning and a good loom manufacture and plans to make all three.  I can google to my heart's content, but I'd rather lean on the huge and more trustworthy survivalblog audience.

Again, thanks for all you do. - J in Colorado

JWR Replies: Carding combs are a must to transition wool from a fleece into “bats”, that can be then hand spun. I recommend that you buy a couple of pairs. As long as you keep the steel tines dry (to prevent rusting), they will last a lifetime. For larger-scale production, a drum carder is a good investment. This is a 2-foot long wooden machine that clamps onto a tabletop. We have one that was made by Ashford of New Zealand.  These are built to last, but be sure to teach your children early on to never reverse the direction that you turn the handle!



My friend Terry H. mentioned that all of the scheduled Boise guns shows have been cancelled, because of an arbitrary new policy mandated by the Ada County Board of Supervisors. They are requiring the local club (Eedahow Long Rifles--that organizes the show) to buy a $5 million liability insurance policy for the shows. That would mean a $40,000 per year insurance premium on a show that generates a net revenue of only $16,000 per year!

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Kay G. sent: Idaho wants to manage federal lands, but funding a question. In related news: Wyoming wants other states to join fight for federal land

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Here is a fairly new AR maker, in Lewiston, Idaho: Seekins Precision. (Their machined billet lowers are excellent.)

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The 3rd Annual Spokane Sustainable Preparedness Expo taking place at the Spokane County Fairgrounds on September. 22, 2013.

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TOPS Knives (in Idaho Falls, Idaho) makes a great Pry-Probe-Punch tool that comes highly recommend. It is is a cross between a punch and a nail-puller. Its back end is a hardened pointed punch that can be used to shatter tempered glass.





H.L. sent: Venomous Spiders, State-By-State

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Commentary from Mac Slavo: Map: Where You Don’t Want to Be When It Hits the Fan

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Fascinating: In search of Food Deserts. Be sure to scroll down and see the maps of Wyoming and Montana. FWIW, it is a 25+ mile drive to the nearest grocery store for my family. But it is just a few steps to our well-stocked pantry room and to JASBORR.

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Reader C.K. (who lives "on a mountaintop in North Idaho") wrote to suggest this site: Ethanol Alcohol Fuel Test Kits. Ne noted: "I read that PRI-G has organic dispersants -- good on one hand, but could certain cases cause problems, warrants readers to check out the good information compiled at this link for themselves.

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Michael Z. Williamson (SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large) recommended this WikiHow article: How to Obtain an EU Passport as a US Citizen. OBTW, Mike was born in England and is qualified for several passports. From what I've read, Ireland is one of the most accommodating nations. With just one Irish-born grandparent, you can qualify for dual citizenship. Consider multiple passports part of your "Plan B, Plan C, Plan D" contingencies.



"The cesspool our government has turned into has neither the honesty nor the will to confront the root of this problem and on it goes, worsening with every passing day, unabated until we finally reach the tipping point when this nation is flat broke, no longer able to send the monthly checks, pick up the abortion bill, provide the food stamps or subsidize housing.

So folks, cinch up your saddle and make sure your feet are in the stirrups, because when this thing finally blows, it’s going to be a wild ride." - Charlie Daniels


Monday, September 9, 2013


According to my publisher's schedule, Eric Dove has nearly finished the narration for the unabridged audio book edition of Expatriates: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse. The hardback, e-book and audiobook will all be released simultaneously on October 1st, 2013. (Please wait until the release day to order your copies.) My previous books were narrated by Dick Hill and Phil Gigante. I'm pleased to report that Eric Dove is in the same league as those narrators. He has a great voice.



As the economy in the United States becomes increasingly complex, job opportunities continue to shift toward specialized skills. Employees working at large companies are required to have little or no understanding of how their company operates as a whole.

Like any specialized tool, many employees have become useful for only one thing. This presents a real problem for workers who get laid off or fired, because finding another job with a specialized skill set can be a difficult task.

A side effect of this problem is an increasing dependence on our interconnected system. Necessities like food and water are expected to always be provided and available at the local Wal-Mart in exchange for the dollars earned performing a totally unrelated task. While this type of monetary system is inevitable in an advanced society to some degree, the dominance of large companies over local businesses creates an extremely dangerous situation.

When a strong local economy exists, local businesses and community members can pull together to provide necessary items in a collapse. This type of resiliency in a community is somewhat of a rarity in the U.S. today. Our supply system has become so delicate that any disruption could prevent the delivery of even our most basic necessities.

A real collapse could leave entire communities in the dark. Communities made up of people who have skills that no longer apply.

Why Self-Employment is a Great Way to Prepare

I enjoy reading articles about prepping. So much that I created a web site, Survival Pulse, where I read hundreds of blogs each day and link to my favorite articles. Many of the articles that I have both read and linked to recommend learning skills that can be applied in a SHTF scenario. I think this is a great idea and a good way to guarantee that you can provide value to your community.

Today though, I would like to explain how being self-employed in any type of business can improve your chances of survival if SHTF.

Reduce Your Risk of Job Loss - There are many who believe a complete economic collapse is headed in our direction. Even if a collapse doesn't happen overnight, there is no doubt that economic changes are affecting the stability of the job market. For one example, changes in health care law are causing employers in my area to cut hours and benefits, even for full time employees.

Despite economic changes, businesses will always find ways to make a profit. It is the employee whose head is on the chopping block if things get tight. You can avoid the risk of being laid off or fired by creating your own income stream. While some people associate self-employment with risk, there is nothing more secure than not having to rely on someone else for your paycheck.

Understanding the Big Picture - Most individuals that spend their careers as employees have no idea what is required to make a business succeed. Business owners fully understand what it takes to make an idea come to life. While it might not seem like it matters, this ability allows an individual to have a more realistic perspective and become a better decision maker.

Decision making and perspective are two keys to survival if/when TEOTWAWKI arrives. Being able to gauge the likelihood of a project or mission succeeding could save time, energy, and even your life. A decision like whether you should bug in or bug out could determine your fate. You will be forced to make this type of decision with whatever limited information is available. For business owners, making important decisions based on limited information is just another day at the office.

Providing Leadership in a Collapse - In a post-collapse world there will be an endless number of missions that need to be completed ranging anywhere from building latrines to guard duty. The unprepared masses will be lost and in need of direction. Being a prepared individual with leadership skills will make it easy for you to direct small groups toward accomplishing goals. Without leadership, even a small number of people can become chaotic very quickly.

Strengthened Resolve - On the way to building a successful business, entrepreneurs are met with constant setbacks and challenges. This forces the development of a "never give up" attitude and an underlying belief and confidence in oneself.

Most of us will agree that life after a collapse would be full of challenges that test your resolve, day in and day out. Having the will and the confidence to push forward despite harsh conditions will not only increase your chances of survival, but also boost the morale of those around you.

Post-Collapse Community Building - There is strength in numbers. Surviving any long term disaster will likely require small communities to form so that your entire group's needs can be met. Having multiple people that are able to perform critical tasks within a community will also make the group more resilient in the event that something should happen to one or more of the group's leading members.

By using business skills to build relationships and lead projects in a small community, you strengthen the bond between community members and help make friends out of people that might have been enemies if you hadn't been there. Of course, this also means that you will be considered a valuable member of the community and have a whole group of people that are watching your back.

Working Under Pressure - As an employee of a business, the quality of your decisions and your work can get you a raise at best or get you fired at worst. While this definitely creates some pressure for you to perform, you can always go out and get another job. Additionally, this environment often leads to workers doing the minimum required amount of work and simply going through the motions.

Business owners on the other hand are under constant pressure to perform. When building a business from the ground up, every decision pushes you toward success or failure. If you don't give it your best effort you will likely fail and lose all of the time and money you invested.

After a person works under pressure for some time, it starts to feel natural. For this reason I feel a self-employed individual is better suited to handle the pressure of post-collapse life.

Networking - No business succeeds all by itself. Networking is virtually a requirement to make it happen. Effective networking creates opportunities and benefits for all parties involved.

Regardless of how prepared you are, you are going to need some help to survive in a post-collapse world. Networking and negotiating with other groups of survivors could open up opportunities for the trade of goods and services.

Personal Responsibility - Somewhere on the way to success, I believe all entrepreneurs take personal responsibility for their situation. This means not blaming outside factors for their success or failure.

After any major disaster, it could be very easy to have a "woe is me" kind of attitude. By taking personal responsibility for your situation you will realize that your actions, not luck, are going to determine whether or not you survive.

The Ability to Adapt - The ability to quickly adapt to a new set of rules (or the lack of rules) in society is one of the most important keys to surviving a SHTF situation. For example, realizing there are no police coming to help you could change the situations you are willing to enter as well as your level of caution when interacting with other people.

Business owners are forced to constantly adapt to changing technology and market places. If not, their business could lose money and eventually fail.

I'm sure you can see the parallel between keeping your business alive and keeping yourself alive when SHTF. If a true collapse occurs, you are going to need to accept that the world has changed. You can change with it and learn to thrive, or you can stick to your old ways and likely die.

Not Being Afraid to Act - The fear of failing can prevent a person from taking action. Without taking action there is clearly no chance that you can succeed.

In a world WROL every action is going to have to some inherent risk. To be successful, a business owner must become good at taking calculated risks. Having this type of real world experience will allow them to act quickly without being paralyzed by fear.

Business owners also realize that mistakes will be made, opportunities will be missed, and not every decision will be the right one. Knowing this won't stop them from taking action though, because they realize you can't succeed if you are too afraid to act.

In Closing

Starting your own business takes a lot of work but it can be extremely rewarding. Throughout the process you will gain a ton of useful skills and qualities that can be applied in other aspects of life.

I believe these same skills and qualities can be applied directly in a SHTF scenario. If you have ever thought about starting your own business, I hope this article has given you some more motivation to take the leap.

Good luck!

Editor's Note: This article was written by the editor of Survival Pulse, a great daily aggregator of preparedness-related info from around the web.



I'll reach social security age later this year - time has flown by in my life. However, my mind is still sharp, and I can remember so much of my childhood, it amazes me at times. If you were a guy, and grew-up in the 1950s and 1960s, you'll appreciate this memory. I don't know of any kid on my block, back in Chicago, who didn't make a "spear" of some sort - usually, we got in big trouble, because we took the kitchen broom and broke the handle off and sharpened (using that term loosely) into a point, and we all had spears to toss at targets. Even back then, as kids, we knew better than to throw the spears at each other - but usually found cardboard boxes to use as targets. And, when it was discovered that we "requisitioned" the kitchen broom - and we all did it - for our spears....well, let's just say we paid for our evil deeds.
 
Cold Steel's owner, Lynn Thompson, has a fascination, with all manner of sharp objects, not just knives. He also has developed many useful self-defense products, that are used daily. When I was running three martial arts schools, at one time - in different locations - I made a large purchase of Irish Blackthorn Walking Sticks, from Cold Steel - and my students snapped them in up short order. These were the genuine Irish Blackthorn Walking Sticks, not the synthetic ones, which Cold Steel is now offering. I can't think of any place in the world, were a walking stick is illegal to own. You can even carry one onto a plane - just "limp" a little bit while walking with your "cane."  So, it came as no surprise to me, that Lynn Thompson developed the Assegai Long shaft  and Assegai Short Shaft spears. Thompson never ceases to amaze me, the way he searches history, to come out with improved and modern renditions of ancient weapons.
 
The Assegai Spears were first on the scene in the early 1800s and were the result of Zulu King Shaka, and if you've ever watched some old movies, in which some tribes in Africa were depicted, you usually saw the warriors carrying some type of spear, with the most common one being some sort of long shaft Assegai Spear. Thompson is a real student of ancient and modern weaponry, and don't kind yourself, he isn't just into things that cut or can smash a skull, he's also into firearms and big game hunting as well. And, he can shoot, and shoot very well, too.
 
The Assegai Long Shaft spear is 6-foot 9 1/2 inches long - it is definitely on the long side. The short shaft model is 38 inches in length - quite a bit shorter than the longer version. The SK-5 mild carbon steel heads are 13 1/3 inches long on both models. And the shafts are made out of American Ash wood - with the shorter shaft being dyed a darker color - for some reason. I waited a year for my samples to arrive, these spears are always in great demand, and more often than not, you'll find them on back-order on the Cold Steel web site. However, if you search around on the Internet, you can usually find them for sale some place...and they are well worth the wait or the search, trust me.
 
Now, the Long Shaft Assegai Spear is meant to be thrown in target practice, the mild carbon steel heads will bend if you hit something hard, though - like a large tree - been there, done that - on my own homestead. However, you can set-up a bale of straw, or hay. or an archery target, or very thickly-stacked cardboard and practice your throwing skills that way - just be close enough to the target, so the spear doesn't smash into the ground. And, without a doubt, the long shaft Assegai is much better suited for throwing purposes, while the short shaft model is better suited for close-in combat against an attacker. [JWR Adds: Shaka, King of the Zulus was right: Except for a few circumstances, stabbing with a spear is the best way to use them in combat. That is why he ordered that all spear shafts be shortened.)] And the spears aren't designed for slicing and dicing, they are designed to penetrate an attacker, and with the 13-1/3 inch head, it can do the job. However, in a pinch, if you can get close enough to a game animal, and have practiced your throwing skills, I can see you taking game in a survival situation, I really can!
 
Now, I'm not advocating that anyone head out to the wilderness, with only an Assegai Spear, and live off the land and hunt with it - that is not what this spear is designed for, and you'll die in short order if you believe you can live off the land with a spear and a loin clothe as your only clothing.  Nor am I'm saying that the Assegai spears are the perfect weapon for self-defense, either. What I'm saying is that, these spears are a lot of fun to own, and they would look great hanging on the office wall at home or at work, and they are a great conversation piece as well, not to mention the history behind them.
 
We are simply looking at, a couple of very well made spears, that can, in a pinch, save your butt, let's say, if someone was breaking into your home - "yes" you can defend yourself with a spear - but let's not be foolish here - I'm sure you've all heard to never bring a knife to a gun fight - well, the same holds true here, don't bring a spear to a gun fight, either. Believe me, if someone had one of these spears flailing it around in front of me and I had nothing but empty hands, I believe I would remember an appointment I had on the other side of town and get to it.
 
Survival comes in many guises, and unfortunately, many armchair survivalist, believe that survival means heading out to the wilderness and playing Rambo with a knife, or in this case, just a spear. Yes, you can, in a pinch, take game with a spear, if you've practiced and have a quality product to start with. However, a spear wouldn't be my first choice in a hunting weapon, but it also wouldn't be my last choice, either - I believe I'd take a spear over a David and Goliath sling shot. And, I'd sure take a spear over throwing stones, or being empty-handed, too. So, there is a place for a spear, especially if you are into more than just guns and knives, as a collector, Survivalist or Prepper.
 
Both the Long and Short Assegai Spears come with a polymer sheath to cover the spear's head when not in use, too. And, the spears come in two parts, the head and the shaft, that you have to put together - just a couple screws, takes a few minutes. The Long Assegai retails for $76.99 and the Short Assegai retails for $65.99 - and in my humble opinion, you'll want both models - if for no other reason than to hang them on the wall in your office or den. When I worked for the late Col. Rex Applegate, he had several spears and other weapons from Africa in his Annex building - that was next to his house - where he kept all his guns, knives, books, and other weapons, and we had many conversations about the spears, that once belonged to a relative of his, who was a professional big game hunter in Africa.
 
So, if you want to add a little something a little bit different to your weapons battery, or just have one of these Assegai Spears as a conversation piece, or have some fun, throwing them into a hay bale, or as a last ditch weapon, place your order for one or both - and I'm betting you'll want both of them - they are a lot of fun, and they do start conversations when someone comes to your home or office. Lynn Thompson never ceases to amaze me, with the variety and different types of weapons he comes out with at Cold Steel. And, one comment I have heard over and over again, by folks when they saw my Assegai Spears was "awesome!"  - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio



Linda H.'s Three "Beans for Beginners" Recipes

They’re healthy, they’re thrifty, and they’re delicious. What’s not to love about beans?! Here are three very different, easy, and tasty recipes to get you started.

Lee’s Pinto Bean Soup

½ lb. bacon, cut into large dices
1 c. diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
2 cans (14.5 oz. ea.) chicken broth
2 cans (14.5 oz. ea.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. finely chopped jalapeno peppers (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

In large saucepan or soup-pot cook bacon over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, another 5 minutes. Drain most of grease, leaving 1 tbs. or so.  Add rest of ingredients, except for salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  (This soup just gets better the longer you cook it, so don’t be afraid to leave it simmering all day. It will also simmer just fine in the crock-pot on high setting.) Salt and pepper to taste before serving.  Makes 4-6 servings.

 

Hot Bean Dish

½ lb. bacon, cut into large dices
½ lb. ground beef (or other ground meat)
1 c. diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
1 can (14.5 oz.) pork and beans, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz.) green beans, drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) butter beans (baby limas), rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) wax beans, drained
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. ketchup
¼ c. cider vinegar
1 tsp. dry mustard

In soup-pot or Dutch oven cook bacon, ground beef and onions together, stirring frequently, till beef and bacon are done. Drain grease. Add rest of ingredients. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 6-8 servings.
Note: any 5-can combination of beans may be used.

 

Ham and Bean Soup

1 lb. dry navy beans
8 c. water, plus 10 c. water
2 c. diced ham
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 c. cubed potatoes
½ c. chopped onions
½ c. chopped celery
½ c. chopped carrots

In soup-pot or Dutch oven bring the beans and 8 c. water to boil. Boil 2 minutes then remove from heat, cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain water. Add the 10 c. fresh water, the ham, garlic and bay leaf. Bring to boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer 2 hours. Add potatoes, onion, celery and carrots and continue to simmer 1 hour, or until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Useful Recipe and Cooking Links:

Just Bean Recipes (4,033 of them!)

Israeli bean soup (marak shu'it) recipe

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





There is a new but familiar listing on SurvivalRealty that I once owned: Secluded But Not Remote Retreat for Sale in Idaho County, Idaho. I can personally vouch that it is a fantastic piece of retreat land, with multiple springs, a good mix of timber and quite a variety of wild herbs. It is advantageously situated down at low elevation on a very private side canyon of the South Fork of the Clearwater River. The winters there are very mild--with just a month of snow that "sticks"--and a long growing season. The surrounding properties are large cattle ranches, so it feels very private. The property has abundant water, fantastic harvestable timber, and a naturally-exposed quarry of road rock (that can be crushed as needed) right next to the road through the property. With only one vehicular approach, the property is quite defendable. I highly recommend this retreat property!

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Here is an interesting "water risk" map that is useful for retreat locale selection. (Thanks to CDV for the link.)

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As I 've mentioned before, for National Preparedness Month, Mountain House has removed their Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) restrictions on their authorized dealers for long term storage foods packed in #10 cans. This is an unprecedented opportunity, with low sale prices that haven't been seen in decades. There are now five SurvivalBlog advertisers are Mountain House dealers, and I strongly recommend that you stock up to take advantage of these sales prices in September.

Here is a summary of the five September sales on Mountain House foods in #10 cans. They are all offering deep discounts and most of them are offering free shipping:

Because of the huge volume of orders expected, you can expect up to a 15-day delay before your order ships, with all five of these Mountain House dealers. Note that the deepest discounts are limited to selected varieties and to stock on hand, so place your order soon. Check with the vendors' web sites often, as they will be adjusting some pricing during the month, and listing the food varieties that have run out.

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G.G. flagged this: Survive the apocalypse in style: Home that boasts a luxury bunker 26 feet underground with fake grass and simulated night and day.

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Rick G. was the first of several readers to send this: Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security



"Was the Mayflower launched by cowards, steered by men behind their time? Turn those tracks toward Past or Future, that made Plymouth Rock sublime?

They were men of present valor, stalwart old iconoclasts, Unconvinced by axe or gibbet that all virtue was the Past's;
But we make their truth our falsehood, thinking that hath made us free, Hoarding it in mouldy parchments, while our tender spirits flee
The rude grasp of that great Impulse which drove them across the sea.

They have rights who dare maintain them; we are traitors to our sires,
 Smothering in their holy ashes Freedom's new-lit altar-fires;
 Shall we make their creed our jailer? Shall we, in our haste to slay,
 From the tombs of the old prophets steal the funeral lamps away
 To light up the martyr-fagots round the prophets of to-day?

 New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
 They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
 Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
 Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,
 Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key."  - Thomas Lowell


Sunday, September 8, 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).



My sister and I both retired due to disabilities are working as we can trying to prepare for the family. Often, we say did we really do that, like talking to a stranger in our local Wal-Mart and saying we would like some green beans and he happened to have about a bushel in his truck he had not sold so, we got them and yielded 14 quarts of beans we needed. Ask and ye shall receive hit us in the face so hard, Thanks be to God! We are on an extremely small budget but we continue to buy sale items. Then, we do a stupid things and go where it tells you how much you need for x people and kids. It is so disheartening. The adult kids know we are preparing but they do not have the time or seem too understand what can happen even with us talking to them. We pray they come to their senses and help.

Where do you store 500 lbs of flour, and rice, or 200 lbs of oatmeal and 300 lbs of assorted pastas? And do not leave out the 500 lbs of beans of all kinds! It is on the floor, table, corners, under the bed, under anything and everything and stacked to the ceiling here and there. But now where do we live? Then, there are the candles, and wicking, and of course Toilet Paper. I do not want to use corn cobs which I have, or other alternatives! Store toilet paper.

One work in progress is our assortment of "Gimme Bags." They are bags to hand out to people who ask "please gimme something to eat" or to tuck into your backpack! They are snack bags and zip lock bags of a pack of coffee, tea bag, kool aid, hot cocoa mix, and sugar in a bag. Then, in another bag, add protein bar, cup of soup, Raman noodles, pack of tuna or whatever you devise. In another add some dried beans with salt and pepper packets. Make a snack bag with band aids, Q-tips, other first aid items. You can add on and on. Another thing we are adding to some is like a Weight Watchers Protein Drink, 10 gram. Dollar Stores are great, but watch for sales. Packets of salt, pepper, and a bullion cube or two helps too.

Be creative and make a list of possibilities on an index card, pull that card, make up a few, then another card with different things and make a few. Mark the number made. EASY to pull out things already together than trying to go through your stuff if one shows up. Children can design a paper bag with artwork for you to hand to the “visitors“. Always keep your children away from the doors, out of sight, if someone shows up. Have your good ole handy defense weapon on you, not "nearby"! But, in order to be God’s children, help others as you can, but do not forget they want your stuff! I am sure you have things in place to determine when to open the door and not to! Be careful.

Make out menus, extend them to include your family members coming. Oops, I need 2 lbs of beans, instead of a cup, and see how it stacks up to your storage. Do not let it get the best of you. You are starting to get all things together, keep it up. Do not panic, just pull up your big girl drawers and suck it in and go on! Check calories, protein, etc! Have something for the kids too, pudding, or a cookie. We are saying a prayer, “GOD give us a chance to find beans cheap and some dried milk! Seriously, think of the amount a family needs! Rice doubles but even though millions of people eat it, we are used to a different diet and the beans with rice would make each go farther but can get very tiring!
Know how to make noodles, spaghetti, and breads! That includes lots of flour, solid shortening, and yeast! Get your recipes together for all kinds of breads! Corn bread on a fried grill is quick and good but again you will need variety! You must practice making things!

One thing that lays ahead for my sister and me is killing the rabbits with a broomstick and canning them. Yuck! I know we have to but do not look forward to it! YouTube has things on there that are amazing on how to dress rabbits or squirrels to making breads or cheese! Please get your act together and get organized! This is one thing I am doing too!
check for those dratted mice! I thought the mylar bags would deter them but to no avail. I lost some vital dried vegetables, and some other goodies. They do not seem to like cinnamon, so I sprinkle some around, get the cheap kind. Only mylar bag not eaten had some in it! Go figure! Make sure you have traps, etc for those unwanted detestable things. Be careful with handling them due to the disease they can carry!

One note of dehydrating things. One ounce of dried equals about a pound of raw vegetables, so when you see the cans on sale use this like a guide to determine if you can do it for less! IF we get the stuff given to us, it will be cheaper but to buy 10 lbs of green peppers and then uses the electric, etc compared to $14 a #10 can, you determine what best fits into your needs. Check into dried vegetables in minestrone soup or vegetable soup at your local discount stores! Usually, the package is about $1 and it is over an ounce of dried ingredients, so I think it is cheaper to buy!

Remember to get the necessities, like Gorilla Glue, metal tapes, and duct tape and Toilet Paper. Make sure all your tools are in good shape with good handles and clean them up. Get a few yards of extra screening, or muslin for cheese making and tuck it away in that pile, but label it well. You know what specifics you need in your neck of the woods. Of course, you need all the staples and some other necessities like chocolate and coffee! Check on this blog for list and lists. Not many can have everything they think they need but start marking off what you do have. It makes you feel like you have done something! Those hash marks behind the cans of coffee make you feel like I know I can have coffee! Also, try to find natural alternatives! If we can no longer get coffee or chocolate, the world would not end, but sure would make it easier to tolerate tough times with it!

One trick my sister thought was when storing canned jars, take off the rings, place clear plastic on the top of the jars and lids, and put a rubber band around it to keep the moisture out, and it works! She is so smart!

It is almost to the panic zone! Okay, we have the stuff to do an appendectomy but who knows how! Get someone in your group or two or three that have some medical training. Or who knows how to deliver a child? We see on television, it just comes out but really! Run off lots of" how to" situations and add in another binder. Pictures here are helpful. Let’s go from Point A to… Can you sew a cut or cleanse a wound, or bind a broken bone, find out how.

We are solicitors too, but it is legal. We ask people for apples when we see the trees are full, and not being picked, and have made lots of apple butter, apples, etc. We ask people if they do not want the produce may we buy it, usually, they give it to us and we can and can. ASK and ye shall receive, at least doing it in the right way, under the Lord’s guidance, we have been blessed.

My sis and I plug away, we read this blog daily and run it off too. Thank goodness people give me paper.
We will take most anything one gives us and find a way to make it work into our plan. If we do not can it, we bind it, or box it or seal it or sew it!

Please prepare for the children too. Get the crayons, cards, board games, glitter, glue, dice, books (i.e. school), rulers, pencils, (do not how to make pencils) etc. IT will be hard on them living a life so differently than they have for10 years or so. Get some cheap presents to have on their birthdays and for Christmas and tuck them away. A frilly top can work wonders on the girls and a neat shirt for the boys. Cheap! Right now summer sales are on. Get ones in several sizes.

SHOES-Where will I find a size 13 or 3! I can not make them, so how do I have room for all this or the money to get it! I have Please get boots in various sizes for your crew! Please tell the adults to bring boots! Good sturdy, hiking boots or work boots! Even community boots wear out, and you need several pair of working boots, and rain boots, and and and….

Okay, it hit’s the fan and the crew is coming! Have them bring clothes, bedding, and bring all the food they can fit in the car. Make sure they bring food for the animals too! Tell the family to make sure others in the family can pick up the kids from school. Keep trying to talk to those loved ones who do not believe it will happen. Also please talk to them about the value of having extra meds they need on hand! They do not have time to stop and get whatever at the store as it will be gone and your car will be stripped if you try and stop! Listen, have ears, and look, thorough eyes that GOD has given you! Have a plan, a meeting place and pray all will make it.

Being informed will help you in making wise choices. Know how to use that grinder, water purifier, and baking bread from freshly ground flour. IF you wait till something happens that is more burden on you and more stress. Practice some simple things with few ingredients that are great tasting and give you the proper nutrients. That is a job but one you must do, in all your spare time! Many cookbooks with four or five ingredients are great! This article could be 20 pages long and still not share all I feel is needed but certainly hope this may help at least one person.

Remember the Lord, go to HIM in prayer, and hold on to your faith, and beliefs. - The Peas in a Pod Sisters in a Pear Tree (And yes, we do have a pear tree).



JWR: I had to ad my own two cents to the Preserving a Digital Library. As a seasoned IT pro myself (one of my early customers upgraded all the the Windows for Workgroups network I setup for him to Windows 95 himself and called me when he couldn't get it working) I have reliance on my systems, be it my cache of reference documents and ebooks to documents I've written myself to my gear and prep inventory spreadsheets.

I see no reason to choose Windows XP over Windows 7 or Windows 2000 or Windows 3.1 when it comes to back doors.  Every version I can remember since Windows 3.1 was rumored to have a back door.  That includes XP, 2000, etc.  A Windows preference you may wish to stick with XP just because it can run on older hardware.

With regard to activation, sure you can over the phone, but we are talking disaster planning. What happens when you have bugged out of the area you lived in due to a storm and arrive at a motel and your drive has crashed and you reinstall and then the phone lines are down when you try to activate.   I've seen a number of desktops, laptops and even servers just decide one day they were no longer activated and require a re activation or reinstall to fix.  I myself also have some laptops with OEM XP which will install and run for years without ever activating, so Windows 7 is not the only (Windows) OS that can do it.

On a related note Windows activation has been cracked multiple times over the years resulting in Microsoft changing and improving the code over time as well as blacklisting some licensed and OEM keys which were widely pirated.  This has resulted in a few combinations of install CDs that would not accept the license key on the computer I was attempting to reinstall.  Many of us IT folk who dealt with end user workstation installs ended up with multiple XP install CDs so we could use one with worked with a customers license.  By the way, a quick call to Microsoft World Wide Fulfillment with a valid license key would allow purchase of a replacement media for around $20, though its been quite a while since I last called.

I've chosen the Linux route.  For the average end user its no more difficult to install now a days than Windows.  I run the oldest distro (Slackware) which comes with a stock Kernel compiled to be very compatible.  I've taken the drive from a laptop and stuck it in an adapter and booted it in a desktop. Sure I might not have gotten all the extra hardware or X windows to work upon first boot but the Kernel was able to figure out the new hardware and load the right modules to get the system up and running.  Try that with XP without a BSOD.

I've seen activation issue over the years with software such as Microsoft Office as well.  I've seen compatibility issues even with Adobe PDFs. I have some scans that were created with an old version of Acrobat that the current versions of the reader have to repair them to open them. When I made the Linux switch I started converting everything to as open a format as I could.  This was I have no software that needs activation or even a license and my files are more portable to new software should the need arise.  One of the things I strongly suggest when you are refreshing your backup media is to test opening various files to ensure the software you have now can open the file you saved many years ago. Lastly there will never be an end to which is more secure, closed (Microsoft, Apple) or open (Linux, BSD) source.  Close proponents argue that its harder to find exploits without access to the source while the open source world says more eyes can quality assure it and fix it faster.  The closed source software still has the highest number of exploits if you look at statistics though there are many other factors such as size of user base, ease of exploiting, availability of tools, etc.  I believe the open source side is a better match to self reliance. - Eugene X.





A reminder from Al in Maryland: Readers in Maryland are doubtless already aware that after October 1, 2013 it will be illegal to buy a firearm defined as an 'assault long gun' including any long guns deemed to be 'copies' [of banned models.]  Current owners are grandfathered-in, for now.   Handguns will be harder to acquire and there will be more hoops to jump through." There will also be restrictions on full-capacity magazines. So Marylanders should stock up, muy pronto!
 
In related news: Maryland gun applications overwhelm police, dealers as tough limits draw near.

   o o o

B.B. sent: Homeland Security Allocates Nearly One Billion Dollars For Explosives Storage Magazines

   o o o

California’s slippery gun-control slide

   o o o

Scary Implications: San Antonio Passes Ordinance Banning Anyone Who Opposes Homosexuality From Running For Office, Receiving A City Contract…



"And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." - Mark 11:22-26 (KJV)


Saturday, September 7, 2013


September 7th is the 98th birthday of Richard Cole, (born, 1915) who is one of just four living Doolittle Raiders. He was General Doolittle's co-pilot.

Today is also the birthday of Dr. Ludwig Vorgrimler (born 1912 in Freiburg, Germany; died 1983) Vorgrimler was the designer of the Spanish CETME rifle, from which sprang a plethora of roller-lock descendents from HK including the G3, HK21, and MP5. His bolt design was also copied by the Swiss for their excellent PE57 and SIG 510 rifles. (Although the Swiss felt obliged to mount a "beer keg" charging handle on the right side of the receiver, for the sake of familiarity to Schmidt-Rubin rifle shooters.)

--

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: The following article is presented as an intellectual exercise, or gedanken. Be forewarned that there are mentions of torture (mental and physical) herein which are of course not conscionable behavior! But this mention is only for the sake of showing the full range of potential interrogation techniques, and as a warning that in the future -- under different circumstances -- you might have to be prepared to resist interrogation. "Forewarned is fore-armed." Again, none of the following is intended to encourage any SurvivalBlog readers to do anything immoral, or illegal, or unethical. It is in your own best interest to learn about interrogation techniques, even if you never intend to use them yourself. If nothing else, this knowledge could prove useful to recognize when subtle interrogation and propaganda techniques are being used against you. - J.W.R.)

(Author's Introductory Note: This is not a manual for interrogation, but rather an attempt to convince the preparedness community of the importance of seeking out references on this topic. The methods and mindsets associated with interrogation are too large to catalogue in even one book, let alone an article.)

"All Warfare is based on deception." - Sun Tzu

In the best case TEOTWAWKI scenarios, such as earthquakes or hurricanes, our survival training and preparedness will enable us to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe until order is restored, and we can get back to our lives. In the absolute worst case scenarios, such as economic collapse, terrible plagues that wipe out large parts of the population, or nuclear apocalypse, the American Prepper may be facing complete anarchy for an extended period of time.  In these scenarios it is highly unlikely that the supplies that have been set aside will last for more than a few months, and I’m sure that your planning on raiding your local Wal-Mart or other superstore, but remember, so is everyone else.  In this new Darwinian world money will have zero value, and there will be two ways in which a lone survivor or a family unit will be able to obtain more supplies. You can barter, or you can take, and in order to take, you must know where the goods are. Now I consider myself a moral man, so the idea of stealing repulses me, especially if that stealing will cost other persons their lives due to starvation or inability to defend themselves. But here is the simple truth, not a whole lot of other survivors will feel that way. In the initial months following the “event” there will be a quick culling of the herd. Those unprepared for the scenario will starve, and those willing to prey on others (I.E. criminals, immoral persons, or simply desperate regular people who quickly adapt an extremist mindset) will stockpile what they can take, while killing those who stand in their way. Of course Preppers will be holed up in bug-out locations, waiting for all this to blow over. But what comes after? Afterwards we will be forced to look outside for more supplies, whether by farming or by scavenging for that which cannot be grown. And here is the basic fundamental fact, others will want what you have, and you will want what others have. In talking about these scenarios often basic principles are overlooked. Most importantly that is will be highly unlikely that anything of value will be left at the super-stores. Persons will hide the supplies away. So we must ascertain the locations of these supply caches, but how? We could do house to house searches, exposing ourselves to small arms fire. We could look for camps and appeal to their humanity (it is unlikely that they will have any humanity left at this point). Or, we can approach this situation from a guerilla warfare mindset, and take the information that we need. In order to know where the goods are you will either have to go find it yourself, or ask someone who knows, enter interrogation.  

Enemy soldiers are a goldmine of information. You can learn more information in a five minute interrogation than in a week of scouting. For the purposes of this article I will speak on interrogation as related to a scenario where we are searching for supplies. But there are many other scenarios in which the need would be pressing and undeniable. One of your party’s members has been taken hostage to an unknown location, you capture an enemy scout; will you be able to educe the location of their camp from him? And in doing so save your family/friend? Your group has fallen into conflict with another group, you decide to go on the offensive, you capture one of the enemy scavengers and want to find out all the tactical details of their camp, will he break? You are alone and on the move and become engaged with small arms fire by a small group. Your superior marksmanship and cool head win the day, you kill two and wound one but are injured yourself and it looks bad, you need medical attention. The injured enemy is bleeding out and you don’t have a lot of time, you don’t know the area and need to find medical supplies, can you get him to break before he dies? The applications and need for a thorough understanding of interrogation is obvious. But the area of interrogation as a teachable science is still in its developmental stages by the US Military and Intelligence community. The average American citizen known very little about interrogation methods and most all of what he knows is learned from Hollywood or media reports; not the most reliable sources. I am in the military and have deployment experience in HUMINT operations; I am also a student of Intelligence (About to graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Intelligence Operations) and have studied every reliable source I can find. I want to be clear when I say that I am not an experienced interrogator, but rather someone who has conducted a thorough study of materials produced by experienced interrogators and am presenting my findings to yo.  I will not present you with a roadmap to a successful interrogation. I won’t even concentrate on methods; you can read every book on the subject and still be less effective than someone who has conducted only one interrogation. I will simply dispel myths, and provide several proven guidelines to interrogation so that if the Schumer ever hits the fan, you will be able to develop your skills quicker.  Interrogation is something that you can only learn by doing, so read this and know that while you will still be a novice, at least you will be an informed one.

The myths surrounding intelligence are so numerous that it is almost comical. Hollywood depicts interrogations that last a grand total of thirty seconds with the result of a highly indoctrinated terrorist in the corner crying while the hero is shaking hands with impressed onlookers. The media is so busy telling us that torture doesn’t work that they have managed to ignore all other methods used in interrogation. And here is food for thought, if torture doesn’t work, then why has it endured millenniums of use. You’d think if it had such a high failure rate someone would have noticed. You must approach interrogation with an open mind. Here are the best and most easily abbreviated principles. For a more thorough study, see the “KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual”. [JWR Adds: "KUBARK" is an obsolete a CIA cryptonym for the agency's own name, used in internally-published documents for purposes of deniability for interagency training, or in the event of unintended release.)

  • Just ask first, you never know how unhappy he is in his current organization, you may be the answer to his prayers.
  • A successful interrogation is a process, not a series of events. You can’t torture a subject then five minutes later attempt to talk him into giving up what he knows.
  • You must tailor your methods to the subject, everything matters. Age, sex, ethnicity, all of these have influences that if not respected and worked around can hinder and even kill an interrogation.
  • No matter who you talk to, anyone who has experience with interrogation will tell you that rapport building is the most reliable way to go. Now this doesn’t mean that you need to convince the subject that you are his best friend. But you must get him firmly rooted in a relationship of your choosing, even if he sees you as his enemy, if you can get him to respect you as an enemy then you are well on your way. The roles you can take are limited only by your imagination. But he must perceive you as being in control.
  • Torture is interrogation for the unskilled. Better to break his spirit than his body. But if you must torture, don’t try to be fancy. Waterboarding and car batteries are a lot of work and you run the risk of killing him. Pliers and heated blades are classics but you have to be careful of shock and passing out. Fists are a viable option but make sure you don’t break your wrist hitting him, which would make you look ridiculous and seriously hinder your interrogation.
  • He will be silent, then he will attempt to deceive, he will keep deceiving until you catch him in a lie. Then he will tell the truth.
  • If he fears that you will kill him after you are done, then you may be forced to resort to physical torture. Try not to let him think about that.
  • Never ever lie. He must believe that you will do the things that you threaten to do. Whether you are threatening him or promising reward.
  • Fear is a product of imagination. His imagination will instill in him more fear than anything you can do. Feed that, build on it. Don’t tell him what comes next, let him fear the worst.

Keeping these tenants in mind I hope alongside you that none of us will ever be forced to resort to them. Remember that these are not rules but merely guidelines. And that nothing can take the place of experience. You may have noticed that I spend much of this article justifying the reasoning and morality of interrogation; it is because to me the biggest hurdle of interrogation wouldn’t be the interrogation itself, but convincing my group to allow it. Many people would be willing to kill but for some reason torture is completely unacceptable to them. Keep this in mind, don’t become the evil that you have set out to destroy. At all costs avoid hurting the innocent. But recognize that someday you may be forced to choose between your morals and your life, or the life of a loved one. Only you can make that decision. If you are really interested I suggest that you download a copy of the KUBARK manual, which is an interrogation manual written by an accomplished CIA interrogator in the early 1960s, before such actions were put under government oversight. The science of interrogation is still in its developmental stages, and the current engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan have provided a unique opportunity for experimentation and innovation. Expect some great products and manuals to be produced in a few years. And remember, the best skills that you can use in an interrogation are those that you use every day, the ability to read faces and emotions, the ability to relate and emphasize. Trust yourself and be willing to adapt. And good luck.

Bibliography
The Central Intelligence Agency and Dantalion Jones. The CIA Document of Human Manipulation: Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual. Central Intelligence Agency, Langley VA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2008.

Christopher E. Kelly: “A Taxonomy of Interrogation Methods.” dissertation., University at Albany, State University of New York, 2013

Lawrence E. Hinkle and Harold G. Wolff: The Methods of Interrogation and Indoctrination Used by the Communist State Police

National Defense Intelligence: Educing Information Interrogation: Science and Art

JWR Adds: I recommend that anyone who anticipates a societal collapse or a foreign invasion and a subsequent war of resistance should study both counterintelligence (CI) and human intelligence (HUMINT.) Though the terms are often mistakenly used almost interchangeably, CI and HUMNIT are distinct spheres. In the context of the DIA and its subordinate agencies the rule is that HUMINTers cannot do investigations and that the CI guys ("Special Agents") cannot do interrogations. (However, CI Agents do some strategic level debriefings.) When deployed overseas, CI operations are conducted "inside the wire" while HUMINT is collected "outside of the wire." (But raw HUMINT is then analyzed and fused behind the wire.)

Coincidentally, the protagonist in my fifth novel ("Liberators", scheduled for released in October of 2014) is a DIA contract CI agent.



I just received this announcement:

Pantry Paratus is excited to celebrate our second year on as an e-store.  We are looking to expand our digital marketing appeal with real pictures; so in order to do that we are hosting our first annual 2013 photo contest to celebrate all the harvest of this season's bounty.  All the official rules are here, but the basics are these:
-all photos must be original work and submitted to photocontest@pantryparatus.com between Friday, September 6th and Friday, September 20th.
-there are two categories: "Canning" and "Food Preservation."  The first one is easy to define, but the second one can be anything from saving seeds to rendering lard to making jerky--surprise us!
-We have one grand prize winner ($200 of selected merchandise) and one First place winner ($150 of selected merchandise), one second place winner ($100 of selected merchandise) and one third place winner ($50 of selected merchandise) for each category.  There will be seven big winners in all!
-Since people tend to be private about their food supply, people need only supply their name (any name will do really) and a valid email address so if they win we can contact them--or else the contest is pointless, right?
-one entry per person, per email, per category  (e.g. John Smith can submit one (1) entry for "Canning" and one (1) entry for "Food Preservation" from johnsmith@emailaddress.com).



To correct a letter regarding software (Microsoft Windows):

I do consider myself an expert in this area for several reasons. Partly because I do it for a living, but past jobs have required off grid computing for various security reasons.

1. All current and and past versions of Windows can be activated without a network (Internet) connection.  This is generally accomplished via an automated call to Microsoft through the use of the keypad and voice prompts. I've done this on ALL versions of Windows. Some companies and government rules require that certain computers are always off the grid and Microsoft is aware of this. As a result, they continue to make this available.  To accomplish this, try installing Windows from a disk or USB and then try to activate it without an Internet connection. It should give the option of using phone.  It is easy to do, and does require any personal info. 

2. Additionally; most software that normally uses the Internet for activation will also allow phone or email activation.  When using email, you would of course use a separate computer. 

3.  Many OEM (original equipment manufacturer) operating system restore disks will automatically activate upon installation as long as they are installed on an approved machine. For example, most Dell operating system disks will re-install and be pre activated when installed on compatible Dell PC's. 

4.  I believe the reason the first author suggested using Windows XP, was because he/she believes it was written before the invention of mass spying by corporate and government interests. This is probably correct, but not provable. Most commercial software written today is ,effectively encrypted in a way that prevents unauthorized persons from analyzing it for bugs, or other intentional/ unintentional flaws.  This is good for keeping your work safe for copycats, but is not ideal when looking for "bugs". 

5.  Without getting into too many hypotheticals, I believe that no matter what software or version you choose (Apple, Microsoft, Linux, DOS, etc) there is a level of security risk that comes from using code (programs) written by someone else.  Even the most highly secured system is not immune from attack. What you can be reasonably sure about however is that a computer without an outside network connection is orders of magnitude safer from attack than a networked system. The most common and unsafe connections include WIFI, Ethernet cable, (including VPN) Bluetooth, dial up, or sneaker net (look it up).

6.  As a side note, I recently read that the German government recommended against using Windows 8 due to known back doors.  http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/34119/german-federal-government-warns-on-the-security-dangers-of-windows-8/

Stay informed and aware as technology changes overnight.   - A. Techie 

Good Afternoon,
There is a fantastic free piece of software for managing a digital library called Calibre.  The especially nice thing about it is that the portable version can be run directly from a CD or thumb drive without installing.  With this application you can categorize and search your books instead of having to dig through hundreds or thousands of different different files or folders. 

I have an external hard drive and a laptop in my EMP stash with over 5,000 digital books stored. (Just In Case.) - Elizabeth G.

Ralph in Hawaii later noted: A new 1.2 Release( on September 6, 2013) of the software is available at Calibre-ebook.com.   The new Windows  32bit, 64bit and Portable, OS X and Linux versions are there as well as Video Demo, Help and other links.



Ann Barnhardt talks Syria and economic collapse.

Uh-Oh: Chinese Chicken Processors Are Cleared to Ship to U.S. Here is a key quote: "And because the poultry will be processed, it will not require country-of-origin labeling. Nor will consumers eating chicken noodle soup from a can or chicken nuggets in a fast-food restaurant know if the chicken came from Chinese processing plants." (Thanks to F.G. for the link.)

Items from The Economatrix:

U.S. Stocks Rise As Payrolls Data Revise Fed Views

G20 Says Economy Recovering But No End To Crisis Yet

Dollar Holds Near Recent Highs, Upbeat Jobs Data To Help



A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I wished someone commercially made a soft start power box for radios that use vacuum tubes. Now I've been told there already is such a product, made by the folks at Electric Radio Magazine. Such a device will likely pay for itself in just a few years, given the inflated price of tubes. (Have you priced a replacement 1L6 Pentagrid tube, or a Magic Eye tuning tube recently?)

   o o o

Here is a good message: Why I'm a Republican. Sadly, however, the Republican Party's leadership has now embraced statist socialism. (They are just in less of a hurry than the Democrats.)

   o o o

This is too cool: Zip line link a big boost for tiny Italian towns. E'assolutamente grandi!

   o o o

H.L. sent: Rooftop Solar Panels Become Growing Threat to Firefighters



"The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.
The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance." - Psalm 33:10-12 (KJV)


Friday, September 6, 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.



We all accept basic firearms safety rules and know that if we were able to carry them out flawlessly, there would be no such thing as an unintended injury or what we pitifully refer to as an “accidental” discharge. [JWR Adds: Properly, this is termed a Negligent Discharge.] There is another much more broad concept that, if we can also just hone it to a fine edge, we can employ it across a broad array of activities to greatly reduce the chance of damage, injuries and even death. Activities as diverse as cutting a project out of construction paper, opening that latest package from your favorite prep supplier, chiseling a door for new lockwork, raising a grain silo, stretching a fence or winching a truck out of the mud.

Like the safety rules for firearms, you can stay safe to an amazing degree, if only you can maintain the awareness and follow-through. Avoiding injury is always important of course, but in a TEOTWAWKI situation the need to avoid even minor injury will be of supreme importance, and more serious injuries might be more likely to result directly or indirectly in loss of life for lack of definitive medical care, or the inability to perform in vital roles and activities.

Stated briefly it entails always being aware of the Direction or Line of Force. Anytime work is being done, force is there to make it happen. From the tiny force necessary for something as trivial as cutting the string off a bundle to the amazing strength of a tractor pulling a disc harrow across a field, to a crane lifting a tower for a new windmill. From big to small, anytime any amount of force is applied energy is amassed that can be released unexpectedly, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. And “force” is everywhere around us, doing jobs large and small, making things happen or keeping things in check, all the time. Most times is obvious because work is getting done, something is moving! Other times it’s more passive, such as the stored energy created by  tension of guy wires supporting a radio tower against gravity.

Force in any direction: pulling, pushing, lowering, lifting, bracing, supporting, levering, prying, twisting. Whether you are using your body, a rope, wire, cable or wire rope, chain, a lever or tool of any kind, a brace or prop or other structure. When you are applying force to accomplish some task, applying pressure or attempting to resist or overcome other forces, like gravity or tension, there are points of failure in the “system,” or in the “machine” that you cannot entirely control or predict. What you CAN do, is make sure you are not in the path if the stored energy is suddenly released, or have a plan to accommodate the movement. And you can stay safe.

In the paragraph above I started to write “the unexpected movement” but that’s rule number one for what we’re going to try to accomplish, making sure it’s ALWAYS expected! When it comes to staying safe when force is in the picture, you must try to banish “unexpected” from your vocabulary.

You are lifting an engine with a block and tackle, the direction of force is a vertical lift against gravity. If the hoist fails, if the chain fails, if the attachment point fails, the release of stored energy, the mass of the engine, will be straight down. Make sure no body parts are ever in this path and no failure will harm you.

If you are raising a radio mast, or a windmill or a light pole, you know that failure will cause the object to fall out across the ground, and until it is almost vertical the path is easy to predict. But don’t forget about the other pieces of the system. What about the cable or rope that is applying the force? Which direction will it recoil if the pressure is suddenly released? Are there other pieces? A block and tackle, a winch, a come-along, supports, a tractor or other vehicle? What paths might these pieces describe if suddenly set free?

And in preparing to sidestep – literally - one of the greatest killers, is there anything in the vicinity that might change the path of a falling or suddenly released object? A great many serious injuries occur when a suddenly released moving object encounters an obstacle and deflects in an “unexpected” direction. (There’s that “u” word again.) You may think you are prepared for something to fall down. Provided it does in fact just fall “down.” But have you considered whether anything in the area could re-direct the object sideways? That takes being or getting out of the path from straightforward to perhaps impossible.

You are using a winch to get a truck out of a mud hole. The direction of force is along the winch cable in the direction of the pull. If any part of the system fails, things are going to move along this line. Either vehicle may shift, but the most violent reaction will be in the cable itself, being much lighter than the vehicles. It will recoil along the direction of the pull and can sever limbs as it whips around. If you’ve ever seen a winching and seen a tarp draped over the cable and wondered what the purpose was, it’s to hopefully capture and dampen some of that energy if the cable or an attachment point fails. You’ll also see hoods raised to protect windshields. But the best answer is don’t put yourself along that path of force. That’s one reason the winch controls are typically on a long lead.

A drawback to the ever-handy come-along discussed here recently, is requiring that you be up close to operate it. Another reason to never approach the rated limits of the device or other parts of the system, and to replace any components that show signs of wear or corrosion. You might employ the canvas drape device also if spacing permits.

Expand your awareness of direction of force to also encompass anything that is under tension. It’s easy to overlook things that are not currently being employed to apply force to move something. There are plenty of things that seem “passive” but are constantly under tension, that have the stored energy of a force being applied against a restraint, that can create a severe consequence if a part of the system fails. The guy wire on a tower or pole or antenna mast. A new fence line that hasn’t relaxed. A temporary or permanent prop or brace against an object or structure. These are all resisting tension or applying pressure against the force of gravity. It isn’t usually difficult to understand which direction things are going to move in a failure, but you have to expect the possibility of a failure and have a plan to be out of the way, and you have to account for all of the various pieces of the structure or machine that may be involved.

I first read a paper on this subject around the time I learned to sail. If you’ve ever been on a sailboat you know that it’s a jumbled (incomprehensible to the uninitiated) mass of cables and ropes comprising standing and running rigging. Cables that keep the mast and other things where they belong, and ropes keeping sails in place and moving them about as required. The forces involved are unimaginable. The pieces are carefully engineered, but not overly so on most pleasure craft. You look at the diameter of the cables and ropes, you look at the stainless fittings, you look at the fasteners, you think about the wood and Fiberglas bits they are connected to, and you wonder how on earth any of it stays together against the enormous pressures involved. But what really occupied my time was deciding where I did not want to be if any part of the machine failed. And though it’s not easy to escape the myriad paths of potential failure on a sailboat, I was always aware and tried to minimize the risk by not putting body parts close to and along the axis of lines under strain, or anything they controlled the position of for any longer than necessary.

When you are using a chainsaw, of course you have taken precautions against the dreaded evil kickback, but do you keep in mind the amount of pressure you are applying and where that pressure will direct the saw if the limb you’re cutting suddenly snaps or the cut breaks through? How and where you might fall if it throws you off balance, and more importantly what happens to the running saw?

You are using a digging bar to pry out a buried rock, do you maintain your awareness of what’s going to happen when the tip slips? Of what’s behind you if you fall? Or how you will control the dangerous top end of the bar if you do? I have shifted my position to one that didn’t give me quite as much leverage, but gave me a much better chance to control myself and the bar. That’s the trade-off you have to see as invaluable. The job will get done, eventually and with sufficient effort. But you may only get one chance to avoid a serious injury.

Stretching a fence is always dangerous because being up close and personal is unavoidable. Working deliberately, with another pair of hands, wearing appropriate heavy duty clothing and safety gear, minding the condition of tools, using a back-up tensioner, deploying canvas drapes a la winching, staying as close to the tensioner as possible while starting to attach the wire, working with your back to the tensioner, and working on the opposite side of the posts from the wire all help if something lets loose. Not to mention being aware of the energy stored in a new coil of wire when releasing the strapping.

When you are applying a great deal of force to a drill, do you keep in mind where that force is going to go if the bit breaks, or breaks through the material? Have you ever supported a panel from behind while pushing a drill through from the front and had the bit break through more easily than expected, only then to consider the juxtaposition of your supporting hand and the bit’s path? Your secret’s safe with me, comrade.

When you lift something with a jack, do you consider what will happen if the jack slips or fails? Yes, but what if jack stands won’t work in this instance? What if it’s a hi-lift jack situation? And have you considered a sideways shift of the object lifted as opposed to a simple straight fall? Lifting something, whether by pulling from above or pushing from underneath, always creates potential energy against the pull of gravity. And there is always potential for the support to fail. Don’t let a body part you value be there when it does.

All of this is not just about the “heavy-lifting” labor around the homestead. When you are cutting something with a knife or scissors, do you consider where the force, and the momentum that will suddenly occur, will carry the blade if the material gives way or the blade slips out of the cut? Another of your body parts, someone else’s, or just an object or material you don’t want to damage. How about when using a wood chisel? What about a hammer and cold chisel? A crowbar or pry-bar?

My son is eleven and can open any box or package or other wise wield a utility or pocket knife or scissors or shears more safely than many adults I know. Why? Because every single time he’s ever made such an effort I have been right there with the same question: If the blade slips out of the cut, or the material gives way, where is the blade going to go? Where is it going to end up? Where is it going to stop? And those things have occurred often enough – as they always will – to nicely demonstrate the concept and drive the point home.

When you have a stubborn fastener and you are applying ever-increasing amounts of force to a wrench, do you keep in mind the direction and force of movement if the wrench slips off or the tool or the fastener breaks?

Some of these scenarios we’re all familiar with and know the outcome is likely to be nothing more than some painfully skinned knuckles. But if you train yourself to always recognize and be aware of force applied, you can stay safe when the machine and the project and the forces ramp up to levels where a failure can cause serious injury or death. Or even just serious damage to the object in question and other things around it. Every single time you apply pressure – force – to anything large or small, realize that force is necessary because something is resisting movement. Take a moment to consider what will happen and how things will move if that resistance is suddenly lessened or removed, for any reason.

If you are making a cut with a circular saw you must be aware of the direction of force in the event of a kickback. But you must also be aware of the direction of force you are applying to move the saw through the material. Where the saw is going to go if the blade rides forward, up and out of the cut. What is beyond the material you intend to cut? And the big common target in these instances – where is your other hand? And if that happens, is it going to throw you off balance with a running saw in your hand? What happens when you can’t release the trigger because of your grip and because you’re trying to manage a fall? Where is your other hand going to end up as you try to break the fall? Under a running saw perhaps? Always consider the direction force is being applied and what the consequences will be in a failure of the system. I have stopped mid-cut and adjusted my stance and my grip to improve my balance and position, and to increase my control of the saw – including being better able to consciously release the trigger – in the event of a sudden change. All because this awareness is something I’ve cultivated and nurtured until it is ever-present.

You’ve heard that a sharp knife is safer than a dull one. This may seem counterintuitive, but managing force is exactly what this axiom is talking about. Sharp knives, sharp chisels, sharp saw blades all require much less pressure, much less force to cut through the material at hand. Much less pressure being applied means much less potential movement to avoid or control when material gives way or a blade slips out.

Stored, potential or “passive” energy can be difficult to see sometimes. A friend put up a ladder against a thick limb that needed to come down. (The standard rule is don’t use chainsaws on ladders, but we know that only works in the mystical world where the manufacturer writes the safety manual.) He had experience with a chainsaw and took all of the standard safety precautions. The cut was just outboard of the ladder, he wouldn’t have to reach, and the limb would fall cleanly in an open area away from the ladder on a slight away slope so it wouldn’t roll back. Even though he was actually not far off the ground, he even tied a short hank of rope over the top rung and the limb, just so he could concentrate on the cut. Sounds pretty thorough, so what was he missing?  The force buried in the tree. The effect of gravity on the tree from the large limb he was about to remove. It was as though an invisible rope was bending that tree toward the ground, and that rope was about to be cut. Disconnected from all of that extra weight the entire tree stood up straight in relief and flung him and the ladder backwards. He was very lucky. He did not suffer any injury from the fall, and was able to consciously toss the saw away. Great lesson. If only there was video.

Any time you lift something, beware of the direction of force of gravity. Anytime you push or pull on something beware of the direction force is being applied and what is going to happen to you or the objects involved if something fails. Anytime you see anything under tension or pressure, keep in mind the direction of force involved and avoid being in the path, or have a plan to remove yourself from the path. In many cases the movement will lie in two directions, the direction of the force and the “rebound” direction opposite, but always along the same straight line. That’s the axis you need be keep in mind.

At the very least perhaps you can avoid being the latest viral internet video with “fail” in the title. But you might also save a body part or life itself.

A simply mantra can reduce your chances of injury by many orders of magnitude:

  1. Always consider the direction of any force(s) being applied or potential energy existing in everything you come in contact with.
  1. Always expect some part of the system or machine to fail.
  1. Don’t be in the path of the direction of force, or any objects that may move in the event of a failure.
  1. If you are physically a part of the “machine” be prepared to protect yourself by maintaining our balance and position. Or in the case of some large complex operation, have a plan to immediately distance yourself in the event of a failure.

Stay safe!



Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,

Greetings from the C.R.O.S.S. Ministry family, the Woods!

Many and great thanks to those of you who have spent time before God praying for the ministry God placed before us, pray for us, and praying for guidance about how/when to minister to those in South Sudan. Thanks to those of you who donated financially and may God return to you abundantly more than you gave! God has worked greatly in us while pursuing the mission field in South Sudan. He has stretched, taught, corrected, edified and simply put, grown us in Christ through this process. We have been used of God to minister to others and be ministered to! God alone deserves the glory, honor, and credit for what He is doing in South Sudan!

In praying about whether to continue to pursue South Sudan or not (as we have faced some significant obstacles in raising sufficient funds and moving over there) I believe that God wants us to put South Sudan on the back burner for now, but not permanently. I am pretty attached to the country and its people, though I have only been there once. Please continue to pray for the people, in particular, those along the border areas with Sudan and South Sudan.

However, at this time despite my burning desire to help the Saints in that region, I believe God wants me to focus on my family's needs for the time-being, but I believe that South Sudan is still in the future for us, just not according to our initial timetable. For those who have been wondering, what this means for C.R.O.S.S. is that the assets will stay in a trust account, waiting to be used of God. If C.R.O.S.S. were ever to be dissolved, then the assets would be transferred to a qualified Christian charitable organization with similar goals/vision in mind as they must by law and as they should be, before God. But I believe that He will send us in His good time to South Sudan. Our hope is in Christ crucified, buried and resurrected!

For now, please stop sending contributions, as we wait for God's guidance.

Pray for the body of Christ worldwide and in particular now, those in South Sudan and adjoining countries!

In submission to Christ, - Micah and Dania Wood



James,

Regarding the article "Preserving a Digital Library" written by "H335": Windows XP requires [remote] activation [from a Microsoft server]!

If XP runs at all after a fresh install, it'll only be for a few days.  If you find yourself reloading XP on a computer in any sort of a grid-down situation, you're not going to be calling up Microsoft to get your fresh install of XP activated.  Without activation, you can't even log in to Windows XP.

If you want to run a Microsoft operating system, I'd suggest Windows 7.  I've been running a copy unactivated on a laptop for well over a year just to see what it will do. It complains a bit, but has yet to stop me from using it in any way.  I have no experience with Windows 8.x yet.

Or, use an operating system that doesn't require any sort of activation. Just my $0.02. - F.C.

James,
I wrote about the tin "whisker" problem a couple of years ago and you published it on your blog, but it merits bringing up the subject again. As an electronics design engineer in the space environment and high reliability systems it is worth nothing that since the RoHS initiative that caused the lead to be removed from solder in modern consumer electronics the MTBF is reduced by an order of magnitude, even if the equipment is stored unpowered the tin will still grow whiskers.

Since modern electronics has very close spacing, especially laptops and the such, the whiskers can grow and short pins in a matter of months in some cases. Please have your readers research this for themselves. NASA has done the best job in this area I have seen. I have experienced first hand failures due to this phenomenon, I will see if I can get you some SEM
pictures. Old desktops will last longer due to the larger size components and component spacings in some cases. If you have old pre RoHS computers keep them even if you are stuck with Windows 98 SE or Windows 2000, in the long term of 10-20 years after TEOTWAWKI it may be the only hope. I personally back up data on different brands of CD's once a year and keep the old ones too. Please see the following listed web sites. Note that the wikipedia link will
not paste correctly due to the trailing ")" at the end of the link.

http://nepp.nasa.gov/WHISKER/
http://nepp.nasa.gov/whisker/background/index.htm
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2008/apr/03/research.engineering
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_(metallurgy)

Regards,

- Jimmy in California



More details on Mulligan Mint 's legal troubles with Republic Metals have emerged in a recent motion before the court, for a writ of attachment. Once again, I don't recommend placing any orders with Mulligan Mint--at least not until they are free of these potentially show-stopping legal encumbrances.

Reader Allen C. sent: Why Incomes Could Fall For the Next 30 Years.

When is theft not considered theft? When a national government does it, on a grand scale: Poland reduces public debt through pension funds overhaul. (Thanks to John N. for the link.)

Items from The Economatrix:

A new contagion is brewing gold could see mega-highs, according to two super-bank economists

The Global Financial Death Spiral, Part 2



Reader Nick R. mentioned that the price of .308 ball ammo is now back below $700 per thousand. (It was at least $1 per round, in January.) Is the ammo drought finally ending? Even .22 LR is coming back down in price. (For a while there, I thought that Walton Creel would have to give up his life as an artist.)

   o o o

My friend Terry H. mentioned another pistol recall. This time it is the S&W M&P Shield.

   o o o

The American Redoubt may be growing: State of Jefferson: Board votes for separation

   o o o

G.G. flagged this: Tables turned on armed robber who tried to hold up an Iraq war veteran: Thief stares down the barrel of quick thinking victim's gun after trying to steal from a store

   o o o

Warning: D.C. cops under orders to arrest tourists with empty bullet casings. (Thanks to B.B. for the link.)



"A monitored human being is not a free one." - Jakob Augstein


Thursday, September 5, 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 articles have been written on preserving food, weapons, ammo, and various other perishables. While there are also many articles regarding the preservation of digital information, rarely do I see one written with the thought that perhaps the infrastructure itself might no longer be intact. This article will address several key areas, including equipment, media, printing and reproduction, testing, and backups. While books and print materials are critical to maintain, electronics can be preserved and protected even against a Carrington Event or EMP weapon.

My approach here is Keep It Simple As Possible (KISAP). The more technologically savvy may argue their personal preferences on any number of items, but my intent is to provide a minimum level of attainability for the non-techie user. I make some recommendations for preparation that may involve outside parties. This is deliberate to make this task doable for as many people as possible.

Equipment

Where to obtain hardware I need?

Surplus auctions. This includes schools, municipalities, public utilities, auction houses, etc. When evaluating equipment for this project (specifically computers) look for items marked 'obsolete, works, no Windows 7 support'. What you actually want is older working laptops, preferably identical models for spare parts. Often you can pick these up for very cheap or even free. I've seen entire pallets of 20 or more laptops with CD burners, travel bags, mice, and extra batteries sell for $50.

Ebay and auction companies for asset forfeiture and repossession from failed businesses are also good sources.

What do you need for hardware?

Computers

Look for two or more laptops, preferably identical models, which were designed for Windows XP. You don't want Apple systems for this project. One will be operational and loaded, one will be a spare. You can get by with two, one loaded and one spare, but given the cost of surplus laptops you should have a third or fourth. If you can pick up more than two, I suggest that you keep two loaded and ready to use and the remainder for spares.

Look for units that have a built in CD or DVD recorder, or purchase a standalone CD/DVD burner that plugs into a USB port. As always, if you buy a new one, have a spare, and have a spare for your spare.

Printers

You will need at least one USB connection style black and white laser printer. No ink-jet because ink goes stale and hardens, print heads go bad, and ink jet printers are quite wasteful. Laser printers have longer lifespan and the cost per sheet is much less. Black and white laser printers can be obtained for under $100. Buy this item new. Budget for or buy a second identical model. I would not suggest a multifunction copier/printer as they are more complex and have a lower (worse) mean time between failures (MTBF).

You will need extra toner cartridges for the printers. Given that most toners for home use laser printers will top out around 2,000 pages you should plan over time to store enough toner for a minimum of 10,000 pages. This sounds like a lot, but if you are looking at a grid down or TEOTWAWKI, this extra reference material may be invaluable for barter or survival.

Paper

Lots of paper. Medium weight paper takes more space but is much more durable than light weight. And since printer paper may be in low supply durability is a factor. Store as much as you can make room for. This is an instance where recycled content paper isn’t advisable. It tends to draw moisture more than virgin paper and moisture is going to be your enemy here.

Anti-static storage bags

Various sizes. Ziotek makes some good ones that are resealable. You need a variety of sizes including ones large enough to hold an entire laptop.

Conductive aluminum foil tape

A 45m roll of this runs about $20 USD, and will last for a long time. This tape is also useful for a variety of other things including entry detection (it tears easily), sealing Faraday type storage cages, and grounding sensitive electronics.

Media

Recordable CD-ROMs. The 50 or 100 pack spindles at Costco are perfect. I want to point out that I did say CD, not DVD. While they are slightly less common, CDs suffer less from "bit rot", which I will elaborate on later. You will also need some paper CD sleeves.

Secure USB Thumb Drives

These are useful for holding securely encrypted data. While IronKey is the ‘gold standard’, I personally recommend (and use) DataShur devices. They are somewhat lower cost than an IronKey, but they have a significant advantage over the IronKey in that there is no software required to run on the computer or device to which you are connecting the DataShur. This means less compatibility issues. Purchase at least two. They run ~$120 US. These are where I store supply inventory spreadsheets, scanned copies of critical papers (Driver's License, Birth Certificate, Social Security Card, etc.).

Software

• Windows XP
You will need at one copy of Windows XP for each laptop you want to have in a 'ready to go' state. Many surplus laptops may come with a Windows XP license sticker on them, in which case all you will need is a copy of a Windows XP installation CD. These are now a dime a dozen and are easily obtainable. If the laptop doesn't have a Windows XP License sticker (with the product key), you can either look for one that does, or purchase new copies of Windows XP that vendors are trying to unload since support is being discontinued in 2014.
• Adobe Reader (Free download from Adobe.com)
• PDF Creator (Free download, PDFForge.org)
• Darik’s Boot and Nuke (Free download from DBAN.org if you are a do-it-yourselfer and tech savvy)

Preservation issues
Storing Paper

Paper is very sensitive to relative humidity and moisture. If you are doing any kind of dried food storage you probably know how to handle this already, but if not you need desiccant packets, and airtight storage containers. Store in a relatively temperature consistent location. You can use the dry ice trick to exhaust the air from storage container just as you would with foods.

Storing Electronics

Remove the batteries from the laptops for storage. They won’t be any good over the long run, but you’ll want to keep them to insert back into the laptops when you fire them up and test them every six to nine months. Laptops tend to get cranky when they don’t have a battery inserted, even if the battery is no good. Store electronics in a relatively temperature consistent location. Swings in temperature will cause connectors and chips to work loose from sockets.

Store all items in anti-static bags along with desiccant packets. This especially includes the laptops, and all their power supplies. Don’t over pack the bags. Once packed, seal the bags, then double seal with the foil tape, making sure that the tape wraps at least 1/2 inch around each side to the front of the bag.

Store the bags in a full metal cabinet or a Faraday cage. Do not ground! An oversized ammo can (like a mortar flare can) is also good for this, but you need to make sure that there is metal on metal contact all the way around the interior of the lid and lip of the can. Sand the area around the gasket on the lid down to metal. Then sand the top edge of the inner lip that meets the gasket down to metal. Make sure you don’t have any burrs. Make a double sided layer of foil tape (stick the two sticky sides together) so that you can have a foil on foil seal over the gasket. This will provide the conductivity to provide full electromagnetic shielding. Please note this does make it vulnerable to rust. (It is a tradeoff.)

Storing the printer

This is a little more difficult. There are a couple ways to do this. Cut anti-static bags down and use foil tape on the seams (both sides). Place a layer of duct tape over the foil tape (both sides). Form a large enough bag to store the printer. Another way is to just store the printer in an airtight bag (heavy duty garbage bag with desiccant) and place it into an EM shielded cabinet.

How to put all this together

Unless you are technically savvy or somewhat of a geek, this is where I recommend you involve a third party. I would suggest a local (non-chain) computer tech or your favorite local geek. You’ll usually get better service, and generally they are not going to look too oddly at you when you bring in three or four laptops to have them security wiped. :)

Take the laptops in and tell them you picked them up surplus, and would like them security wiped with DBAN (Darik’s boot-n-nuke) because you want to start playing around with laptop hardware. This will probably cost you no more than $50 in a shop. If you know a local computer geek you can probably get it done for the cost of a six-pack of beer or their favorite caffeinated beverage!

I’d also suggest bartering out having your friendly geek load Windows XP and Adobe Reader on the laptop(s). This will cost more in a shop, but if you tell them they don’t need to be updated or patched as they will never be on a network, it’ll usually save them quite a bit of labor. As far as bartering, a lot of geeks are closet gun lovers and would love to shoot. A day at the range burning some powder can get you a lifelong computer geek friend at your disposal. And if you have gadgets (laser sights, range finders, chronographs) to show off….well that’s like nectar to a bee. :)

IMPORTANT!

I cannot stress this enough: DO NOT, DO NOT, and DO NOT EVER connect these laptops to the Internet. They are never to be connected to ANY network. Software should only be loaded from CD/DVD or USB thumb drive. Putting them on a network (wifi/wireless, wired, or the Internet) will guarantee their compromise. If you can’t listen to this, I suggest you abandon this project entirely. I’m that serious.

Storing your data

Collect your library of data on any other PC. By installing PDF Creator on that PC, you can print any web site, article or other file (word document, excel spreadsheet) as a PDF file and save it on your PC. These PDF files can be viewed or printed on the laptops using Adobe Reader.

Create an index (this can be done as simply as putting it in notepad). You will want to keep a printed copy of this index updated and stored with your data library. The index should list the filename, disc it is stored on, and some important keywords (medical, first-aid, wind power, etc.)

Once you have started your library collection and want to archive your first set of data you will insert a blank CD into your main PC where your files are saved. Windows should open up a box asking you if you want to burn files to the CD. You will answer yes; you want to create a data CD. That will open up a window showing the files on your CD (initially blank). You can copy and paste the files or simply drag them from where you have them saved into the blank window. Depending on what version of Windows (XP, Vista, 7) or what CD burning program came with your computer this process may be slightly different, but there will be a button or selection that says to ‘burn to disc’ or ‘write files to disc’, or something along those lines. Once you have burned them to the disc you can verify the process worked by inserting the CD into one of the laptops and see if it has your files on it.

Long term storage of CD, DVD, and thumb drives

All of these media suffer from a process sometimes called bit rot. This has to do with the chemical (for the CD/DVD) or electro-chemical (for USB thumb drives) properties. In a nutshell, over time the data will lose its integrity. This is why the best practice is to burn three identical copies of the DVD or CD, taking them from three different spindles of blank discs. The statistical likelihood of bit-rot occurring in the exact same files on all three discs in very, very, low.

All CD/DVD and USB media should be redone every three years at most. For the most critical materials I usually recommend 24 months. So every 24 to 36 months, copy a set of the files from the CD/DVDs back to your main PC. Then update them and burn them to entirely new discs. Always, always, always verify each one of these discs before destroying the old copies.

This is also a good time to rebuild your index and consolidate discs as you will gradually accumulate new materials. Every time I rebuild my library I’ll have accumulated with anywhere between 30-45 discs (10-15 discs with two additional copies of each). When I’m done I usually have 3 or 4. I also use this time to delete old or obsolete materials.

Final Thoughts

It is possible to accumulate a good digital library along with a reasonable chance of it surviving EM events. If you aren’t worried about EM events, your storage and preservation process becomes much less cumbersome, with moisture and temperature your primary concerns.

The cornerstone of Information Assurance is CIA: Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability. To quote Gandalf on Confidentiality “Is it secret? Is it safe?” Don’t disclose the existence of your digital library. Multiple copies and spares help verify Integrity. Regular testing of the hardware and rebuilding the media ensure Availability.

Like most preparation, the startup is the most frustrating. Once you have your gear lined up, and your validation and assessment process worked out (how often to test, how often to refresh your library, etc.) it can operate as smoothly as your well cared for firearm.

This is also a good way to preserve and duplicate rare or hard to find items in your library. Purchasing a flatbed scanner (which can be picked up pretty cheap on eBay) will allow you to scan in other materials you own which may be out of print and hard to obtain multiple copies. Just remember that even though they may be out of print, they may still be copyrighted. So don’t give out those electronic copies in violation of the law.



Dear JWR,
I was just surfing the Internet and found a site selling a lot of fake goods, called DHGate.com.

How about a supposed Cold Steel Trail Master for under $20? Seeing these fakes makes me glad that I got all that I'll need years ago--long before the risk of buying fakes. I think that there should be a loud warning put out about this.

Here is a link to their fake Cold Steel knives.
 
They also have fake Trijicon scopes for sale.
 
Beware! - Simon M.



Ol' Remus of The Woodpile Report pointed me to this piece by Michael Pento: Will the Last Person to Leave the Treasury Market Please Turn Out the Lights? Pento's piece begins: "Wall Street and Washington love to spread fables that facilitate feelings of bliss among the investing public. For example, recall in 2005 when they inculcated to consumers the notion that home prices have never, and will never, fall on a national basis. We all know how that story turned out. Along with their belief that real estate prices couldn’t fall, is one of their favorite conciliatory mantras that still exists today. Namely, that foreign investors have no choice but to perpetually support the U.S. debt market at any price and at any

Business stalls for equipment manufacturers--outlook for precious metal companies flat

Items from The Economatrix:

Money Is Not Safe In The Big Banks

The Jobs That Could Save the Middle Class

Five Reasons the Fed Will NOT Taper in September: “What’s the Hurry?”



Reader Jim T. mentioned that there is a very lively discussion going on over at Surivivalistboards about how to make friends or enemies with your neighbors at your newly-acquired retreat.  Is is very easy to tell who is from the city and who is from the country, from the responses. I think some city folks need to be educated on how things work in the country.

   o o o

Readers H.L. and B.B. both sent: Illinois State Police Begin Registering Concealed Carry Instructors. [JWR's Comment: "I hate Illinois Nazis."]

   o o o

As I mentioned before, for National Preparedness Month, Mountain House has removed their Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) restrictions on their authorized dealers for long term storage foods packed in #10 cans. This is the first time the company has ever done so, and it has created the opportunity for low prices that haven't been seen in decades. There are now four SurvivalBlog advertisers are Mountain House dealers, and I strongly recommend that you stock up to take advantage of these sales prices in September.

Here is a summary of the four September sales on Mountain House foods in #10 cans. They are all offering deep discounts and most of them are offering free shipping:

Because of the huge volume of orders expected, you can expect up to a 15-day delay before your order ships, with all four of these Mountain House dealers. Note that the deepest discounts are limited to selected varieties and to stock on hand, so place your order soon. Check with the vendors' web sites often, as they will be adjusting some pricing during the month, and listing the food varieties that have run out.

   o o o

More Global Warming Climate Change news from this alleged "Summer" in Alaska: Deep Cold: Interior and Northern Alaska Weather & Climate

   o o o

Adam sent a link to a news story about a wolf attack. (As the Canadian timber wolf packs proliferate and spread out, attacks on livestock, pets, and humans are certain to get more commonplace.)



"Civilization, as we know it, is largely the creation of psychopaths. All civilizations, our own included, have been built on slavery and mass murder. Psychopaths have played a disproportionate role in the development of civilization, because they are hard-wired to lie, kill, cheat, steal, torture, manipulate, and generally inflict great suffering on other humans without feeling any remorse, in order to establish their own sense of security through domination." - Andrzej Lobaczewski, in "Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes"


Wednesday, September 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.



Because you are reading SurvivalBlog, I am going to assume you are already well on your way to becoming more self-sufficient.  And since I am making that assumption, I will also assume you are making the proper preparations to live that lifestyle. You are acquiring guns and the proper, good quality ammunition, although now impossible to find at a decent price, if you can find it at all.  It’s also important to remember the often forgotten parts such as cleaning supplies for your weapons and training such as self-defense, gunsmithing, and ballistic information.  You are storing food that is good quality and also long lasting food such as freeze dried. Along with food are water, water storage, and purification tools. Heirloom seeds are another important survival tool. I think this is one of the things that is often overlooked by many these days. On a side note, if you do the math, you pay many times more at the Big Box stores for little tiny seed packets compared to what you would pay by buying the seeds in bulk. When you buy the seeds in bulk, it is imperative that you store the seeds in a dark, dry, and cool place. Be sure to rotate them according to date and use up the old ones or donate them. I always say teach a man to grocery shop for a meal, but teach him to garden and he’ll feed himself for life.
 
So then what can I offer you in preparation for your survival and your freedom? When I first read JWR's books, I realized he had one item of preparedness right that I feel many people overlook. One thing that is so important, that without it, I believe you are in deep trouble.

No, it’s not guns, silver, water, or food. It is much more important than any of those. It is my belief that the most important “survival” item a person can possess is salvation. Some of you may be thinking “Oh no, here we go again, another preachy thing that someone has been trying to talk me into for years.” But please, just hear me out.

I’m not trying to sell you anything, nor am I trying to condemn you. I believe not many people in the “church” today have done a good job of explaining things. Or I’m also willing to bet we “the people of the church” have hurt, betrayed, condemned, or have tried to sell you on something it seems like we don’t live by ourselves. Therefore to you people on the fence or non-believers, I would like to apologize. I would also like to try to explain why I believe some of us people of faith have hindered your growth, or downright turned you away from coming to know what Jesus Christ has truly done for everyone.

First off, I am no expert. I myself have only read the Bible a few times. I do however study it every day and have for several years. I am a 36 year old husband and father of four boys. I am merely a self-proclaimed auto technician “master” who over the past 18 years of working on cars, has spent the last six years studying and listening to the Bible and any radio sermons or podcasts I can find. So enough about me, here’s what I can offer. Or perhaps I should say what God has to offer you. I believe in what the Bible says. I believe that the world is in a “fallen” or evil state. I believe that the Bible is 100% accurate in everything it claims. I believe that all people are sinners and that we are in need of a savior. I believe that Adam and Eve were made in the image of God. Not that God looks like us necessarily, but that they were made spiritually alive and the day they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they spiritually died. They did go on to die a physical death hundreds of years later. So now that this is a fallen world and we all are in fact sinners and born spiritually dead. I do believe God manifested in flesh, came to Earth, lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead in order to make your salvation possible. But most of all I would like you to understand God’s perfect love and the acceptance he has for you. I don’t believe you can start understanding, until you understand his forgiveness. Jesus died for you without you asking him to. He also died without you doing anything for him. Because of what He did, God now perfectly loves and accepts you. If you accept and acknowledge that you are a sinner and you are in need of a savior, He will accept you into his kingdom. God forgave you because of his perfect love for you.

I truly believe that seeking a relationship with God and realizing that you can only be saved because of what Jesus did for you, is the best preparation you can make for yourself and your family. While it is important to be responsible, take care of your family, and have the necessary tools and items, the time here is like a blink of an eye compared to eternity. Once you start to understand your God’s love, you will have the most freedom you can experience here on Earth. And once you understand God’s love and forgiveness, you will not be bound by this Earth nor the people or government on it. It is the one and only survival tool that follows you everywhere. It never wears out or needs replacing. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, because it’s 100% free. It is the true prep for your future. It is my belief that if you invest in your relationship with God, it will pay you back more than anything or anyone can. I know without a doubt, if you seek him, you will find him. You may not always find ministries that have pure and good intentions. And you may not get true doctrine taught. If anyone says or teaches that it’s Jesus plus this or that, you may want to question their teachings. It is Jesus… it is only Jesus. What he offers is available to you all. No matter what race, class, age, no matter what you have done. No matter how bad you think you have sinned, he waits for you. I think once you start to understand Jesus and what he has done for you all, you will begin to understand his love and the completeness of his forgiveness. I came to Christ many years ago, but only in the past few years did I understand the complete forgiveness we all have received. Only through this will you start to know God’s love. So when I think of survival, true survival, I can think of no better way than living for eternity with God. What better prep can you offer your friends and family? So I beg you all, please consider God as your most valued “prep”.

God will never leave you nor let you down. Trust me, if you seek him, you will absolutely find him. I’m not asking you for any money or trying to sell you anything.  I only want you to experience God’s love, forgiveness and friendship. I know of many free resources for anyone who wants it. After a lot of consideration, I decided not to post them. I’m not affiliated with any one church or resource, and I don’t want people to think I’m drumming up donations for these people. But if anyone has questions on anything Biblical or wants any resources, I’d be happy to help in any way I can.

So the ball is truly in your court. God waits for every single one of you. So if you want to be saved, it is very simple. What must you do? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:30-31). Why do you need to be saved? We are all infected with sin (Romans 3:23). We are all born into sin (Psalm 51:5). We all choose to sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Sin is what caused us to be spiritually dead…”unsaved”. Because the penalty of sin is infinite and eternal, only Jesus could pay the penalty. Jesus has fully paid for all of our sins and has already done all of the work necessary for your salvation. Just receive what he has done for you. Believe in faith what Jesus Christ alone has done for you. Believe in him and you will never perish (John 3:16). Jesus is the way of salvation (John 14:6). Growing to know Christ is a wonderful journey that will fulfill every need your heart has and in every step of the way, you can be confident that God loves you (Matthew 28:20).



Jim:

I'm planning to get the "Rawles Gets You Ready Preparedness Course." Does it have any details on the shelf lives of foods like beans, rice, canned goods, and vitamins?

Thanks So Much, - K.S.

JWR Replies: Yes, and in fact the shelf life appendix (in tabular format) is quite extensive, spanning 15 pages. You can of course print out a hard copy, for your reference binder.





Troll culture has reached the border of free Michigan: Labor Day ‘Mackinac Bridge Walk’ will feature warrantless bag searches. (Thanks to F.G. for the link.)

   o o o

The Buzz on a Bumper Crop of Yellow Jackets. [JWR Adds: My readers throughout the Inland Northwest have confirmed my own local observations that this summer has been light on mosquitoes, but heavy on yellow jacket wasps and bald faced hornets. ]

   o o o

News from Nanny State Britannia: A knitting group said it was no longer allowed to meet at a library because its needles are "dangerous" and its members are too noisy. (Thanks to Andre D. for the link.)

   o o o

I see that Walther is still concentrating on what they've always done best: pocket pistols.

   o o o

Speaking of pocket rockets, most folks have already heard about the factory recall of Springfield 3.3 XD-S pistols in certain serial number ranges. (Thanks to Nick G. for the link.)



"Men cannot give a meaning to history that they themselves lack, nor can they honor a past which indicts them for their present failures." - R. J. Rushdoony (Biblical Philosophy of History, p. 135)


Tuesday, September 3, 2013


September is the annual Kilted to Kick Cancer Month. That was a wise move guys, not picking January. (Brrrr!) September is of course also National Preparedness Month.

--

Today we present Part 4 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.



(This is the conclusion to the article series that began on Friday.)

Appendix A

The following is essentially a "wish" list; however the items that are in bold are relatively important.  The tools and medical areas would be for a complement for 1-10 people.  The sundries area covers a family of six.  The food area is for one person for one year, multiply (or divide) as you see fit.  There is extra food included for charitable impulses.  Coordinate purchases among the group if you plan to congregate.  I live in Georgia, so the clothing and supplies are tailored for that area; make modifications to the list to accommodate your particular AO or preferences.  The weapons list really is a bare minimum.  The anvil included in the lists is a clue that I plan on bugging in, rather than bugging out. (Bugging out, while it may become necessary, is just a fancy way of saying "refugee.")

TOOLS           

Shovel, round point (2)                                     Shovel, square point                                   
spade                                                                                      Hoe (2)
Entrenching tool                                                            Machete                                                
Pick                                                                                    Mattock           
Wheelbarrow                                               
Post hole digger                                                           

Axe, double bit                                                            Axe, single bit
Hatchet, framing                                                            Chainsaw,
16" bar                                                                   Chainsaw blades
Hard hat/face shield/ear muffs                        Peavey           
Log dogs (4)                                                            Froe
Steel wedges (6)                                                            Splitting maul                                               
Block and Tackle (2)                                                 Crowbar, large
Crowbar, small                                                            Pry bar, small                                   
pinch bar                                                                        Pulleys, large (6)                                   
Pulleys, medium (6)                                                Pulleys, small (6)                                   
Chain hoist                                                                        Chain, 30'                                   
Come-along                                               
           
12 lb sledge hammer                                                8 lb sledge hammer                                   
4 lb engineers hammer                                    4 lb cross peen hammer                       
40 oz ball peen hammer                                                40 oz straight peen hammer                       
40 oz ball peen hammer                                                32 oz cross peen hammer
24 oz framing hammer (2)                                    20 oz bricklayers hammer                       
16 oz nail hammer (4)                                                14 oz Mallet                                   
16 oz ball peen hammer                                    12 oz Warrington hammer                       
Tack hammer                                               

24" Jointing plane                                                            12" Jack plane                                               
9" Smoothing plane                                                4" block plane                                               
Compass plane                                                            Rabbet Plane                               
Radius plane                                                            Chamfer plane
                                               
Adze, large                                                                        Adze, small                                               
Broad axe                                                                        Draw knife                                               
#80 Scraper holder                                                Spoke shave (2)                                               
Scrapers (3)                                                            Wood chisels, 2"-1/4"                                   
Corner chisel, 1/2"                                                Corner chisel, 1/4"                                   
Framing Chisel, 1"                                                Framing Chisel, 2"                                   
Socket Slick, 2"                                   

10 tooth crosscut saw (2)                                    8 tooth crosscut saw                                   
5 tooth rip saw                                                            Hack saw (2)
Mini-hacksaw                                                            Dovetail saw                                               
Compass saw                                                            Keyhole saw                                               
Coping saw                                                                        Coping saw blades (50)                                   
Back saw                                                                        1-man timber saw                                   
12" Bow/hack saw                                                12" blades (20)                                                
30" bow saw (3)                                                            30" blades (20)                                               
Bow saw                                                                        Bow saw blades, Asst.
Frame saw            

Brace, large                                                             Brace, med                                               
Brace, corner                                                            Bits, 2"-1/4"                                               
Twist drill (2)                                                            Twist drills,  (2 sets)                                   
Brad point drills                                                            Screw starter bits                                   
                                                                       
Pencils, carpenter (40)                                    Pencils, regular (40)                                   
Chalk line            (2)                                                            Chalk, 1 gal                                               
Marking chisel                                               

Combination square                                                Compass                                               
Dividers                                                                        Framing square                                   
Speed square                                                            Plumb bob, brass (2)                       
25' tape (3)                                                            100' tape                                               
Folding rule                                                             4' level                                               
2' level                                                                        Torpedo level                                               
Line level (2)                                                            Water level                                               
           
Pipe clamps, 6' (8)                                                C-clamps, Asst. sizes (20)                       
Wood vise, 12" (3)                                                Hold downs (7)
Work bench                                                            Shaving Horse                                   

cat's claw                                                                        nail belt, leather
nail belt, cloth (4)                                                            Wood glue (3 gal)                                   
Wood glue, small bottle                                                glue brushes, 18
Nail sets, 4                                                                        Mason's trowel                                               
Putty knife (3)                                                            Sandpaper                                               
Sanding block                                                            Peg sizer                                               
Box knife (3)                                                            Straight blades (100)                                   
Hook blades (20)                                                            Saw set                                                           
Bicycle tire pump                                                Traps (Asst.)
Plumbing fittings, valves, pipes, etc           
           
20d nails (100 lbs)                                                16d nails (100 lbs)                                   
8d nails, box (100 lbs)                                                Wood screws (50 lbs)
Fence staples (50 lbs)                                                1-3/4" Roofing nails (50 lbs)                       
8d finish nails (40 lbs)                                                1 3/4" lead head roofing nails (30 lbs)           
4d finish nails (20 lbs)                                                Concrete cut nails (20 lbs)           
16d double headed nails (10 lbs)                        Wire brads (3 lb)                                   
                       
Tool box, mechanical                                                1/2" drive socket set                                   
3/8" drive socket                                                1/4" drive socket set                                   
Screwdriver set                                                            Asst. bits for 1/4" drive handle                       
Extra #2 Phillips                                                            Extra 5/16" flat screwdriver                       
3/16"-2" box end wrench set (2)                        4mm-23mm box end wrench set                                   
Pliers, side cutting (3)                                                Pliers, slip joint                                    
Pliers, linesman                                                            Pliers, needle nose (2)
Pliers, electrical                                                            Vise grips, Asst. (6)                                   
Crescent wrench set (3)                                    Water pump pliers (3)                                   
Fence pliers (2)                                                            Scissors (2)                                               
Staple gun                                                                        T-50 staples (3000)                                   
Glass cutter (2)                                                            Sharpening stones, Asst. (6)                       
India ink (1 pt)                                   
                       
Anvil                                                                                    Forge
Stump vise                                                                        Manual powered blower           
12V DC blower                                                            Hardies/mandrels
Mechanics vise, 8"                                                Wire brush (3)                                   
Leather work gloves                                                Leather apron
Coal, 700 lbs                                                            Files, Asst. (20)           
Solder irons (2)                                                            solder, 5 lb
Tongs (7)                                                                        Pipe wrench (2), 14"
Tin snips (3)                                                            Sheet metal flattener
Swage block                                                            Oil, 2 gal                                               
Shears                                                                        Tap and die set
Punches, chisels                                                            Grinding wheel
Hacksaw blades (50)                                                Oxy-acetylene rig
Propane torch                                                            Propane bottles (50)    
                   

TRADING SUPPLIES

           
Clorox                                                                        Disposable lighters
Soap                                                                                    Salt
Pepper                                                                        Candles
Nails, 16d,                                                                        Needles/thread
Fish hooks                                                                        Coffee
Kerosene                                                           

WEAPONS, Long guns (minimum)

 

Centerfire bolt-action rifle (w/ scope)            12 or 20 Ga. pump shotgun, full stock            
.22 rifle                                                                         .177 Pellet rifle
           

WEAPONS, Handguns (minimum)

.357/.38 - 4" bbl                                                           

Ammunition

 

.Centerfire ammo (200)                                                12 or 20 Ga rifled slugs (50)           
12 or 20 Ga #0 buck (100)                                    12 or 20 Ga #4 (100)                                   
12 or 20 Ga #7-1/2 (100)                                    .22 LR HP high-vel (1,500)
.177 pellets (1,000)                                                .357/.38 HP (200)                                   
  

Other Weapons
         
8" knife                                                                         Survival knife (1)                                   
Swiss Army Knives (2)                                                Power pliers (1)                                               
                       
Single recurve bow w/ arrows                        Cleaning kit, base                                   
Cleaning kit, field (2)                                                Solvent, 2 pints                                   
Oil, 4 pint                                                                        Grease, 4 med tubes
Eye goggles (2)                                                            Ear protection (5)
                                               
Bow strings (2)                                                            Holster                       
Extra magazines (where required)                        Spare parts, springs, sears, pins, etc.
Spare scope           
           

FISHING GEAR

5' spinning outfit, med action (2)                        Tackle box, med spinning gear           
Net                                                                                    Trot line hooks, 200                                   


SUNDRIES

           
Cast iron Dutch Oven (2)                                    Cast iron frying pan (3)                       
Pots (4)                                                                        Cast iron griddle                                   
Bread pans (7)                                                            Coffee pot                                               
Meat grinder                                                            Grain grinder (2)                                   
Metal grate for outside oven                        Copper pads                                               
Kitchen knives (7)                                                Asst. utensils                                               
P-38 can openers (7)                                                Asst. dishes                                               
Hand water pump                                                Tripod
Bell                                                                                    20 yds Cotton cloth
Canning Supplies (300 jars w/ lids)            Wool blankets (12)                                   
4" foam pad, 84" x 60" (6)                                    Pillow ticking                                   
Pillow (6)                                                                        Sleeping bag (6)                                   
Pup tent (2)                                                            Cabin tent                                               
           
ALICE pack w/ frame (2)                                    Day pack (4)                                   
Large pack w/ frame                                                Compass (4)                                               
Area map (6)                                                            Binoculars (2)                                   
BIC lighters (24)                                                            Ball bearings, 50                                   
Stick matches, 30 boxes                                               
Survival Kits (6)                                   
            Swiss Army pocketknife                                   
            razor blade
            bic lighter
            magnesium starter
            twine
            hooks
            line
            sinkers
            container
            button compass
            space blanket
            Water purification tabs (100)

LC-2 belt (2)                                                            LC-H suspenders (2)                       
Canteen w/ cup w/ holder (4)                                    Shotgun pouch (4)                       
LC-2 first aid kit (6)                                                LC-2 butt pack (2)                       
Compass pouch (2)                                                G-3 mag pouch (2)                       
           
BAJA waterproof bags (6)                                    LBE rubber bands (20)                                   
Trioxane bars (100)                                                Survival cards (2)                                   
Light sticks (48)                                                            Signal mirror (6)                                               
Sewing kit
            needles, Asst., 100
            thread, Asst., 50 spools
            buttons, Asst., 100
            pins, 500

Watch                                                                        Zip-lock bags
           
Kerosene Lamps (7)                                                Kerosene lantern, (3)
Funnels (3)                                                            Gas lantern
Propane lanterns (2)                                                Propane stove, 2 burner
Propane stove, 1 burner                                    Propane tanks, 5 gal, 3
Adapter kit for lantern/stove                        LP 2 Propane adapter
Candles (70)                                                            Extra wicks/globes/mantles                                                            
LED flashlight (3)                                                Red lenses (3)                                   
D cells, Ni-Cd (12)                                                AA cells, Ni-Cd (21)
12 volt battery, Storage (2)                                    Solar charger(s)                                   
Extra bulbs (6)                                                            Radio, shortwave w/ antenna
Radio, AM/FM                                                            Scanner
CB base station SSB                                                CB handhelds, 3, SSB           
Sound powered phones, 6                                    IR Detectors, 3
Phone cable, 700 ft.                                                Phone jacks
Asst. coaxial adapters                                                Hand powered DC generator
Gas powered DC generator, 12V                         12/3 Copper Romex wire  (500 ft)
Twist connectors (700)                                                16 Ga stranded wire (700 ft)
Jumper cables (3)                                                            Butane operated soldering iron
Butane canisters (7)
                                                           
General purpose electronic repair items
            transistors
            IC's
            Switches, GP
            resistors
            caps
            fuses
            CB crystals
            solder wick
            solder/flux

Soap bars (300)                                                            Soap, liquid, 3 gals                                   
Toothpaste, tubes (12)                                    Tooth brushes (12)                                   
Floss, dental (20)                                                Towels, hand (7)                                   
Towels, bath (12)                                                TP (300 rolls)           
                       
Boots, hiking (2 pr ea)                                                Boots, Shoe-pacs w/ felt liner (1 pr ea)           
Shoes (2 pr ea)                                                            Socks (20 pr ea)                                               
Poncho w/ liner (1 ea)                                    leather gloves (3 pr ea)                       
Work gloves, (12 pr ea)                                    Mittens (1 pr ea)                                   
Underwear (12 pr ea)                                                Pants,  (4 pr ea)                                   
Shirts, (4 ea)                                                            T-shirt, (6 ea)                                   
T-shirt, (6 ea)                                                            Shorts, (4 ea)                                   
Parka            (1 ea)                                                Jacket            (1 ea)                                               
Travel vest                                                                        Hat, floppy                                               
Belts (2 ea)                                               
           
Paper, 8.5 x 11 (3,000 sheets)                                    Area Maps                       
Manila folders (50)                                                pencils/pens (4 ea) w/ refills                       
Gum erasers                                                            3X5 cards, 200                                               
Books (many)                                                            Bibles (10)                                   
Coffee cups (6)                                                            Guitar                                                           
Strings (3 sets)                                                            case                                                           

Wood burning Stove                                                 Leather sewing needles                                   
Tarp, 12'x16' (1)                                                            Tarps, 12'x10' (2)                                   
40 gal tub (2)                                                            Washboard                                               
Broom (2)                                                                        Mop (2)                                                                       
Bucket, metal (7)                                                Bucket, plastic (7)           
Gold pan                                                                        Figure-8 breaker bar

K1 Kerosene, 25  gal                                                Unleaded gas, 55 gal
White gas, 5 gal                                                             Gasoline can, 5 gal (10)
Water cans, 5 gal (3)                                                Sta-Bil gas stabilizer (for 55 gals)
55 gal drums, 4                                                            Gasoline pump, manual
                                                   
Wire mesh                                                                         Baling wire, 1000'
Fencing, 100'x 5', 6 rolls                                    Chicken wire, 100'x 3', 6 rolls           
Hardware cloth, 1/4" (20') &nb