Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Garden Update

When I got home and checked on my indoor garden, I found that all the broccoli seed has sprouted (in the peat pellets) and 1 lonely radish has popped up. I'm hoping that they all sprout quickly so I can get a fast turnaround on planting some other seeds.

Indoor Gardening

For all you who have already read my post on the Survival Bible, I want to let you know that I have updated it to include links to the various topics. I'm not done yet as it will be a few days to complete, but check back frequently to see what is updated. And feel free to do your own searches for topics that interest you.

This year I am trying to do some indoor gardening since the cat has disappeared. In the past it would lay in my planters and use them for... well, you know what for. Very discouraging to say the least.

I have taken an old wooden rack that I built a thousand years ago and placed it in front of my sliding glass door. There are 4 areas in which I can have growing trays that get southern exposure all day.

The bottom tray has 2 types of radishes; Scarlett Globe and Scarlet White Tip. These are 22 days to maturity.

The next tray up has White Bunching Onions in the full tray. 60 days to maturity.

The third tray is half Kale, Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch, 60 days and Leaf Lettuce, Grand Rapids, 45 days. The kale is shade tolerant, and I may transplant it to the north side of the house, if it ever stops raining and warms up some.

In the top rack, I have 19 jiffy pellets, rehydrated. This tray has a clear plastic top which contains the moisture while letting the sun heat the pellets. Each pellet was planted with 3 seeds ea of: Cabbage, Golden Acre (65 days), Bok Choy (50 days), Mustard, India, Florida Broadleaf (40 days), Broccoli, Hybrid Super Blend (80 days), Spinach, Tyee Hybrid (44 days) and Cucumber, Pic-l-icious (48 days). I planted 4 of the pellets with the cucumbers in case you did the math.

Ok, stop right there.

I know there are hybrids in this bunch of veggies. I am saving my non-hybrids for when I get my own retreat property. Once there I am finally going to plant some asparagus beds as I love the stuff. Right now I just want to grow something and eat it!

Anyway, I will start a new batch of plantings when these have all sprouted, I hope within 2 weeks of my 1st planting. I will do this for 7 plantings, at which time I will switch to my cold weather crops.

As long as I use the jiffy pellets, I will be able to transplant these outside when the weather improves. I bought another 40 today for $0.15 each. I think I will buy a case of them a a later date.

What is really encouraging is that after 2 days I have some sprouts showing. And most of these seeds are 2 years old or older. I think the mini-greenhouse with the peat pellets is the best way to start your seeds. Time will tell. I have 1 Bok Choy showing and 2 of the Mustard plants.

To keep soil erosion down when I water them, I created a watering bottle out of an old plastic Gatorade bottle. I drilled holes around the bottom and it works great.

Here are some pictures of the setup. Pardon the reflection.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The 10 Plant Plan

In every yard you can find edible wild plants growing naturally. I decided to see what I could find in my yard that was edible. The most common wild plant in my lawn is the dandelion. Sheeple everywhere walk on this free food and freak out when they see it show up in their immaculately manicured lawns. Not me, I just smile and see it as a future food source.

Everyone should identify at least 10 wild foods sources easily recognizable in their geographical location. (Put these in your survival bible!!)

Here's what's in my yard:
Common Sow Thistle
Curly Dock
Plantain (Broad/Narrow leaf)

Quite a variety and I suspect there are more that I am not familiar with yet.

On the next excursion to my shooting area, I will be foraging for the following plants:
Cattail Shoots
Fiddle Head Fern (Ostrich Fern)

The fiddle head will only be available for a short time in the spring. You want to harvest it before the tops uncurl.

Later this summer:
Cattail Flower head (green, not brown)
Cattail Pollen (late summer)
Wild Rose (hips)

Later this Fall:
Chantrelle Mushroom
Chicken of the Woods Mushroom
Oyster Mushroom
Field Mushroom
Puff Ball Mushroom
Cattail Roots (Rhizomes)

If you are not familiar with these plants, see if you can find a class in your area that specializes in edible wild plants. Take a field guide with you that has color photos in it to help in identification. If you are not sure, take a sample to an expert. Never eat something without positively identifying it.
Follow good harvesting practices by not picking all the plants. Leave something to replenish the area.

Here is a good source of information on wild foods as well as color pictures of them.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I Hope You Are Safe

I hope that those of you in Virginia who read this blog have not been affected by the 3 Tornadoes that passed through there today.

3 tornadoes rip through Va., hundreds of people hurt

If you have suffered from these disasters, my heart goes out to you. I can only hope that you had preperations that will see you through this trying time.

God be with you.

The Survival Bible

Some of you may recognize this article from the Free Fall forum. I think it will reach and help a larger audience here on the blog. So bear with me as I post it here.

What is the Survival Bible?

It is a single or a set of 3 ring binders into which you put condensed information on any subject of survival interest in which you are not expertly trained. It could also be a set of theme books, like you probably used in school. The smaller you can make this package, the easier it will be to grab and go if you need to leave your home in a hurry.

The Alexandria Project

Everyone interested in surviving the crash should start their own Alexandria Project. Basically, it is a collection of knowledge gathered online from various sources that will preserve as much information as possible on being self-sufficient and how to do things. If any type of society is to rise from the ashes of the Free Fall, it must have the knowledge available to do so.

Do your research, compile and print out important info and place in a binder for later reference. Condense down the information you collect and put in this binder or you will run out of room too soon.

Most articles have a lot of "fluff" to make for more interesting reading. Your survival bible just needs facts and diagrams/pictures where appropriate.

Remember: Search engines are your friends. There is so much information available on the net that it is incredible. Use it while you have it. It will disappear, possibly forever after the crash. Keep the full articles and burn everything to CD or DVD for archival purposes. Print out the condensed info for your Survival Bible.

Warning: Do not go searching for info on Bomb making or explosives! To do so will flag you for a possible visit by the "alphabets" (DHS, NSA, FBI, BATFE etc..)

Create sections in the Survival Bible for specific topics by adding colored tabbed page dividers. This will help keep your info organized and easy to find. Make a printed table of contents for each colored tab so you know where that bit of info on raising earthworms is located.

Ok, you now have your binder and some divider tabs. Now what do you put in there? Well here is how you might organize and fill yours.

Start out with these:

Health & Sanitation
Heating, Cooling & Light
Disaster Preparedness
Survival Skills

Under these headings most anything can be added that you wish.
So what do you add? How about anything you are not expertly trained in and might find useful in a SHTF situation. Like that recipe for canning Salmon eggs. Or perhaps include veterinary information for your chickens, rabbits and goats. It could contain instructions for hot water bath and pressure canning.

Here is an example of how you might arrange info under each Topic heading:

Food Storage:

Long Term Storage – Buckets
Nutritional Information
Food Storage Recipes


  • Wilds Camp
  • Retreat
  • Expedient Shelters

Disaster Preparedness: (List natural disasters common to your area)
  • Wild Fire
  • Flooding
  • Snowstorms
  • Windstorms
  • Financial Preparations and Documents
  • First Aid
  • Pandemic Planning
  • NBC Planning

Survival Skills:
  • Fire Building
  • Deadfalls and Snares
  • Direction Finding
  • Knot Tying
  • Hide Tanning

  • Firearms Care and Repair
  • Reloading Information
  • Axe Sharpening
  • Knife Sharpening
  • Tool Sharpening

Small Livestock:
  • Goats and Sheep
  • Pigs
  • Rabbits
  • Chickens, Ducks and Geese


Building Materials and Methods:
  • Cordwood
  • Log
  • Cob
  • Sod
  • Straw Bale
  • Traditional
  • Post and Timber
  • Earthship

These are just suggestions, and your “Bible” contents may vary, depending on your interests and what SHTF scenario you are preparing for. Remember, the contents of this Bible may be passed on to the next generation, who might have to rely solely on its contents for the knowledge of how to accomplish tasks that you may consider to be common knowledge.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saturday's Excursion

I took Saturday off and went out with my youngest son to do some shooting with his .22 rifle and to just enjoy the day. We arrived at our favorite spot and found that others had been there before us. They shot up clay pigeons, an aquarium, a computer monitor, and other misc. junk. Of course, they left it all behind as a testament to what good stewards of the environment gun owners are.

What a bunch of idiots. Anti gunners feed on this kind of behavior! This is what gets areas closed off to shooting. If I had brought some trash bags with me I would have cleaned up what I could. I guess I will wait until next time we go.

On the bright side, these mental midgets left me all their brass! I must have picked up no less than:

1000 pcs of 5.56x45 (.223) and 500 ea. 9mm, 60 pcs .30-06, 40 pcs of .308, 100 pcs of .45 ACP, and an unknown amount of .44 mag, .357 mag and .40 S&W.

The .44 mag looked to come out of an autoloader due to the dents in the case mouth, the .06 was Greek manufacture so it could have been shot from a Garand. However, I found no 8 round clips so they either picked them up or it was fired from something else. There were also steel 7.62x39 cases, but not as much as everything else, so that may have been fired from an SKS. I found some copper washed 7.62x54R so there was most likely a Mosin-Nagant there also. They probably had 1 or maybe 2 AR-15's.

Since they were shooting up trash, it is evident they were there to just blow off some rounds and not really practice any shooting skills. This is just wasteful. I suspect they may have been younger people, impressed with their firepower but with no realization of the responsibility of gun ownership.

All in all it was a great day weather wise, I enjoyed the company of and conversations with my Son, and I got a bunch of brass to reload or trade.

A nice thing to observe about all this empty brass: If these people don't replace this ammo right away, it will be that much less available to be used against other survivalists in the future.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Security Measures for the Retreat

The 70's in Rhodesia saw unrest and terrorism from several guerilla groups, ZANLA, the military wing of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), and ZIPRA, the military wing of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU).

The situation they faced is possibly one that we might face after TSHTF. Armed groups roaming the countryside attacking isolated farms and homes is a realistic possibility. Here is how the Rhodesians dealt with this threat. What worked then, will work again.

This article is a reprint of the original, used with the authors permission.

Rhodesian Farmers Defensive Arrangements

I knew many Rhodesian farmers and have visited many farmsteads over the years. At every farm, defensive arrangements were made up to suit their particular situation and infrastructure. The following would be a general overview:

1) Most farmers fitted hand-grenade grills to the outside of all windows. Doors leading outside were likewise security grilled.

2) Many farmers built thick walls about a meter in front of bedroom windows to stop bullets, but particularly to deal with RPG 7`s. Beds were never placed against the outside walls of a farmhouse.

3) It was usual to have a designated safe room within the farmhouse that could be defended until support arrived. Sometimes this was a central corridor that allowed the farmer to move into other rooms to attack those outside through the windows. In the loft or ceiling over the safe room, some farmers laid sand bags to deal with possible mortar attack.

4) Every farmhouse in a given area was linked by a radio system called “Agric Alert”. This allowed radio contact with other farmers who formed their own defence units, usually under the umbrella of PATU (Police Anti-Terrorist Unit), which would react to a call from one of their neighbours for assistance. Another means of alarm raising was the use of a signal rocket - The Agric-Alert system was not done away with after the war, such was the lack of trust in Mugabe`s promises. It performed admirably as well when dealing with criminal activity such as stock theft. The alert system arranged for all farmers to check in with each other at a given time in the morning and evening as a means of monitoring their status.

5) Around all farmhouse gardens were erected security fences with barbed wire (or razor wire) and which often had simple alarm systems built into them. Some I believe were electrified, if not before the end of the war, certainly afterwards. Within the fence boundary, every farmer usually had a couple of large dogs. The dogs were fed their largest meal in the morning instead of the evening, in order to help keep them awake at night. Other farmers had geese or ducks, which made excellent guard “dogs.” Gardens were kept deliberately trim so as to keep clear fields of view and fire etc. The farm houses also had outside flood lighting erected in such a way as to blind those outside the fence, but not to interfere with the vision of those within the farmhouse.

6) All farmers and their wives were armed with an assortment of weapons, and most farmers were trained military men. They had at least one assault rifle, usually an FAL 7.62, assorted shot guns, .303 hunting rifles and so forth. It was also not unusual for wives to carry Uzi`s around with them, or other equivalents such as the Rhodesian Cobra. All members of the family were trained on the various weaponry available to them, including the kids. In one famous incident a child successfully fought off the attacking terrorists after both of his parents were wounded. The main defensive weapons were at all times within immediate reach of the adult farmhouse occupants, and were placed next to the bed at night.

7) Some farmers used mine protected vehicles, as a favourite of terrorists was to landmine the driveway outside the fence. A great deal of time was spent looking at the dirt roads for freshly dug earth points and so forth when driving around the farm.

8) Some farm gardens and particular points external to the fence were wired with home-made claymore like devices strategically placed in areas where attackers were likely to take cover. In a few instances farmers deliberately erected “cover positions” for the terrorists to use outside the fence, which were then blown up upon attack. A particular favourite was a section of plastic piping filled with nails, nuts, bolts, screws and so forth. I witnessed tests with these and the tubes cleared large areas of their intended aiming point of all bush cover and leaves from trees etc for about 30 meters into the bush. By placing a number of figure 8`s in front of these tests, it was apparent from the strike patterns that not one of them would have walked again had they been terrorists.

9) Some farmers also hired soldiers on leave to guard their premises at night. Usually these were men looking for extra “beer” money. They were called Bright Lights, and often ended up in fire fights with the terrorists, where they came as a nasty surprise to the terrs when the latter were expecting a nice soft hit and run. Like all farmers in an area, Bright Lights would participate in the support of other farmers when the situation required.

10) Good relationships with farm labour, particularly the house staff, very often warned of problems before they occurred. All of us who grew up in the country have fond memories of those employees who took care of us as kids, and who often placed themselves at great risk for doing so.

The author of this article was a member of 2 Commando in the Rhodesian Light Infantry.

Many thanks to him for the permission to reprint this informative article.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rice Update

I just got back from shopping at my favorite store and was disappointed with the rice supply I found there. There were only 9 of the 1lb bags that I bought for $.69 last trip, but a bunch of Basmati rice in 1 lb hard plastic jars for $1.99!

I about crapped my pants when I saw that price. Instead I bought 4 lbs of each: Lentils, White beans, Black beans and Pinto beans. Then I bought 2 bags each of every kind of pasta. I topped off my cart with a canned ham and 4 cans of spam. They had 15lb bags of large russet potatoes for $2.99. Canned fruit, coffee, bacon, cheese; all were purchased in quantity.

At least 30% of what I buy goes into my food storage program. I still got out of the store for under $200.

Stock Up Now! It isn't going to get any cheaper!

Retard of the Week

The Brady Campaign should be commended for their effort in hiring the handicapped.

However, they should not use the mentally retarded to be a spokesman.

Read this article and you will understand the context of this post.

States act to shield gun holders

“Weaver, of the Brady Campaign, said there's no evidence to show that open records put people who carry concealed weapons in greater danger.

"We feel that the greater danger is putting concealed-weapons permits in the hands of convicted felons and people that should not be allowed to have them," he said. “

Ok retard, concealed weapons permits require fingerprinting and a FBI background check. I seriously doubt a convicted felon would pass that.

These people should seriously check their lies before they open their mouths. It really steals their credibility and helps us gun owners when they spout this drivel.

For all you truly mentally handicapped people out there, I apologize for associating you with this, uhhh, person.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Paying the Piper: What to do about Debt

When it comes to debt, we all can agree that it should be avoided if at all possible. But you may not be in that enviable position of being debt free. I have seen a lot of posts talking about paying down or paying off debt, but this is not something that I would recommend doing as a primary action. You and your family's welfare must come first. Make only the minimum payment and invest the rest in tangibles.

In our current environment, I would recommend putting any extra money into preps such as food, clothes, shoes, ammo, firearms and other consumable items. Once you are sufficiently stocked up on these items, you need to create an emergency fund. You can't do that if you are sending all your money to the crooks, er I mean creditors. With the way the economy is going, you will not make sufficient headway to make a difference before the crash.

Once you have a 2 month supply of emergency cash, cut up all of your credit cards and cancel them. Then look for card offers with 0% interest for x amount of months for balance transfers. Transfer all balances to these card offers. Be sure to thoroughly read these offers to be sure they are not a worse creditor than what you already have.

Cut up all your new cards on receiving them but one. After the initial no interest period is over, cancel all these cards but one. You will keep one line of credit open for emergencies. If the crash happens quickly, this debt will most likely disappear with most of our modern electronic society. If it is a slow crash, you will pay these debts off with cheaper dollars. Everything else will keep rising in price; food, gas, ammo, clothes.

Once you are comfortable with your preps and have your cash reserves where they need to be it will be time to pay down your debts with any extra cash you might have. Concentrate on paying down the one credit card you have that is still active and pay only $2 over minimum payment on the closed accounts. In this manner you meet your moral and legal obligations to payoff your debts, but have managed to prepare for SHTF scenarios also.

Note: Gas has just shot up to $3.79 a gallon, a $0.10 change in 1 day. This could be an economic SHTF for many people. $4.00 a gallon gas is just round the corner and I wouldn't be surprised to see $4.25 a gallon before the end of the summer. Looks like the economic stimulus is going to go to the greedy commodity traders, refiners and oil companies coffers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Starting Point: Part 2

In the 1st half of this topic, we discussed steps 1 - 5.
Here’s the rest of the story...

Step 6: Secure a 2 year food supply. Rice, beans, corn, flour, salt, sugar; you know, the whole Mormon list. After your move you may not be able to find enough work right away to purchase any but the most basic of items. If you have secured your food supply before hand you can concentrate on getting your new place set up.

You should also have 1 years worth of expenses set aside to tide you over. That is, 1 years worth of expenses at your new living standard, not the old. Since you have your food and no house, electric, water, sewer, garbage, natural gas, cable tv, etc…, the amount you need will be determined by how much you need to drive; gas, insurance, licensing, vehicle maintenance and propane for cooking and refrigeration.

Animal feed and veterinary care must be factored in if you have or plan to have livestock. Supplies to grow and preserve the contents of a large garden are no less important. Stock up on shoes and clothing appropriate for the seasons in your new locale.

Step 7: Buy your “Junk” travel trailer or camper and begin modifying it to your specs for use at your new property. This is cheaper to do when you are close to hardware stores than when you have to drive 20, 30 or more miles to the nearest town.

This is when you modify the plumbing to incorporate the greywater system and the electrical to incorporate your alternative power system. Replace any items in the trailer that are 110volt with an 12volt or propane alternative. 12volt is preferable as it will be available thru your alternative energy system long after propane has disappeared.

Step 8: If you have health insurance thru your current employer, take advantage of it. Get any dental work done. New glasses if you need them. Several pair if you can afford it. If you quit your current job when you move to your new location, all those benefits will cease until you are able to get new employment. Even then, you may have to pay your own premiums. So shop around now for coverage thru available health plans.

Step 9: Plan your security system for your perimeter. Purchase your equipment and supplies. Motion detectors, security cameras, trip flares, barbed wire, razor wire (if you can afford it), a guard dog if you don't have one already. Training for your dog is desirable, but not mandatory.

Step 10: Review your Plan. Are all the points covered to your satisfaction? Good! Its time to purchase and move to your piece of freedom. If you can reasonably commute to your old job, keep it. Otherwise it is time to sever the relationship and search for new employment near home. If possible, do this ahead of time to assess the employment prospects. Check the local paper, The Chamber of Commerce, etc...

Check bulletin boards at local establishments to see what services are being offered. Go get a haircut at the barber shop and engage the barber in conversation. He should be a great source of info. Also, stop by the local feed store and talk to them. They will know of any farmers needing help. Leave no stone unturned.

You may be planning on starting your own business. A good one would be organic produce or herbs. Another would be selling rabbit meat. Talk to the local grocery store to determine if they would buy your products. Look into a local farmer's market.

Because situations change with the passage of time, you must allow some flexibility in your plans. Don't be too rigid, especially where the desires of your spouse are concerned. And remember, these are just guidelines, a starting point to help you determine your own steps to independence. As with all things, research all your options before committing time and money.

Have I forgotten anything? Probably, but I am sure you will find out for yourself once you begin to implement your own steps.

Those of us who have not yet made the move wholeheartedly wish you the best of luck.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Storage Food Recipe

Ok, you have been waiting in dread of it, the inevitable "Recipe Post". Well, wait no longer. Here it is for your enjoyment!

Someone else has probably already done this, but since I haven't seen it anywhere else, I'll go ahead and post it here.

Appetite fatigue is something one must face when your storage foods lack variety. So gathering recipes that utilize the contents of your food storage program is a must do.

Here is a recipe I concocted that passed the kid test.

They ate it.

All of it.

In one evening.

I only got one bowl myself.

1 package of black beans (any bean will do)
1 medium chopped onion. Dehydrated will work also.
¼ cup bacon. This was left over from breakfast. The kids said that it was too hard to eat as they were a bit overcooked.
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1 cup white rice
Ham soup base to taste

I tossed the beans into my 4 qt. crock-pot and cooked for 3 hours on high. I then drained the water and added more water to about 2” below the top of the crock-pot. If you pre-soak the beans overnight you can skip this and go straight to the next step.

I cooked it until the beans were getting soft and then added the rice. Be sure to add enough water to bring it to almost the top of the pot. Now add the ham soup base to your taste and let it simmer for awhile until the rice is done. I found that the overcooked bacon was now rehydrated and was very tasty.

The rice thickened the soup up until it was like a thick porridge. If you don’t like thick soups, remove some and put it in a container to add back later. Add more hot water, a 1/2 cup at a time until you get the consistency that you like. You may need to add a little more soup base to restore the flavor to your taste.

If you don’t have bacon to add, any meat source will do. Meat however is not required, as this combination is a complete protein. It just "spices" it up a bit.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Gimme Shelter

Oh, a storm is threat'ning
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin'
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

The floods is threat'ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
Kiss away, kiss away

Gimme Shelter
(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

If you frequent Craigslist as any wily prepper does, you will be astounded by what you can find in the Free listing. My main interest lies in the free campers and travel trailers that are posted there. Some have no titles, or they have water damage that needs repaired.

Even if the camper is not repairable, the fixtures and wiring are worth salvaging as well as the aluminum skin, which can be recycled for cash or saved for outdoor projects. Goodies include sinks, water pumps, trickle chargers, propane heaters, propane lights, propane ranges, propane water heaters, copper propane gas lines, water tanks, 2 and 3 way power refrigerators, iceboxes, 12v light fixtures and so on.

All of these salvaged items can be easily transported to a remote location and incorporated into a cabin or appropriately engineered underground shelter. Being able to store the 20 lb propane cylinders indefinitely is a big plus in grid down SHTF situation, allowing you time to ride out the crisis if short term, or give you time to rig up a more long term solution while the die off is in progress.

As for the campers which are still in good shape, they should be set on timbers off the ground and a small peaked roof built over them to prevent any future leaks. Depending on your location, build the roof with enough rise so that snow will slide off. Put on gutters and direct the runoff into food grade 50 gallon plastic drums.

Underneath the sleeping area that hangs over the truck cab is a great storage area for chairs and other supplies once enclosed. It could house your battery bank and generator, galvanized trash cans with food stuffs, or just misc gear. If you do use it for housing your batteries, be sure to build a battery box that has a vent to the outside to allow hydrogen gas to escape as the batteries are charged. Store your fuels and propane away from your shelter for safetys sake.

Now campers at best are poorly insulated, so you will want to improve this. Under the camper, you can use Styrofoam panels, bubble wrap, garbage bags stuffed with styrofoam peanuts or Thermax insulation panels from a building supply company.

To insulate the walls of the camper, you will need to frame up a shell that will allow you to use either fiberglass batting or some other form of insulation, such as what you used under the floor. Insulating the roof is important also. Create a plywood box to surround the ceiling vents to keep the insulation from interfering with their operation.

For siding, you will reuse the aluminum skin which you salvaged from those free travel trailers or campers. You did keep it, didn’t you? Now paint your structure in subdued earth tones such as brown, tan, gray and olive drab. If you want to be really creative, use vegetation to create a camouflage pattern to help blend in to your surroundings.

You now have a very inexpensive retreat shelter and while it may be cramped for more than 2 people in a camper, it will keep you warm, dry and safe during nasty weather. The travel trailer will have more room inside and will accommodate a family in more comfort. It will also require skirting to keep the wind from blowing cold air under the trailer.

We will look at living in this small space in a later post.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Global Warming My Ass

Here it is, April 18th and I am looking at 1" plus of snow, with more falling. This is very uncommon for my area as I live in a maritime climate. Rain yes. Snow, well I guess yes also now. It has been a very wet and seemingly cool spring so far. Then ground has been too wet to rototill up, and anything I dare plant will probably rot. Checkout this website. The guy has some interesting things here.

Not by Fire but by Ice!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Home Made MRE

I have been looking for sometime for a direct replacement for the commercial MRE due to the high price, weight and limited choices in entrees.

I first started back in 1983 with a then new vacuum sealing system. This was before retort pouches were widely available and the few that were had a limited variety. I was unhappy with the results I was having with the available choices of food for backpacking trips and started experimenting with my own concoctions. I tried instant rice, instant potatoes etc… I met with varied success but was never really satisfied with what I was coming up with.

With all the new advances in packaging and the different choices now available, a homemade "MRE" style food pack can be made for a fraction of the cost of the commercial variety. I have recently searched on the web for prices on MRE’s and have seen them as low as $62.00 dollars per case up to $89.99 and that does not include shipping!

Besides being expensive (I feel), MRE’s are fully constituted so they are heavy as well as bulky. I have heard some people that claim to strip down their MRE’s to lighten the load. If that is what you are going to do, just buy the entrĂ©e instead of the whole thing. I do have several cases of MRE’s, I don’t think they are all that bad other than the price. Mine however, will be stored in my safe room or pre-positioned at my base camp at a later date. I don’t want to carry all that weight.

Over time my criteria evolved and culminated in this current home made MRE. Here is a picture of version 1:

1 packet hot chocolate
2 packets flavored instant oatmeal
2 packets instant cup of soup
1 packet cappuccino
1 packet spiced cider
1 package cheese n crackers
1 granola bar
1 package raisins
1 packet of tea
2 packets of beef bouillon
1 Oberto meat stick
1 book matches
3 pcs jolly rancher hard candy
1 vitamin pack

This is designed with the premise that breakfast and supper on the trail will most likely be eaten in the same encampment. It is also designed around a warm meal with warm drinks for cooler and cold weather. The rest can be consumed while on the move during the day. 2 packages of oatmeal in the morning along with either cider or cappuccino for breakfast, granola, crackers, raisins, hard candy and meat stick for on the trail, hot soup and hot drinks for evening after the day’s journey.

Notice the size of these 3 meals compared to one MRE meal.

This MRE weighs nearly a pound all by itself! While I don’t have a weight on the ration pack I know it is not that heavy.

In order to increase the amount of calories available per day I am considering the meal extension pack.

If at anytime you are hungrier than what the homemade MRE will satisfy, a spoonful of peanut butter and/or honey will help satisfy that hunger. The bacon bits will lend a bit more meat into your diet as will the tuna and the mashed taters mixed with a boullion packet will be better than going hungry.

Here is another meal extension pack:

Add the French vanilla flavoring to your oatmeal or make a hot beverage with it. Trail mix needs no explanation.

Here is a second MRE version I have created:

In this pack you see a different soup mix which will make 1 quart of soup.

Here is 5 days worth of meals from home made rations:

Now lets compare this to 5 meals of MREs.

Where I live and hike, water is not much of a problem. Streams, ponds, lakes and rivers are abundant and you will likely run across water somewhere along your hike or bugout. Each of my ration packs will require between 2-1/2 to 3 quarts of water per day. This doesn’t include what I will drink on the trail. I will be carrying at the least 2 quarts and when I make camp I will need several gallons for cooking, drinking, washing and restocking my canteens. Some can be boiled, some will be purified.

Cost wise, I save money on my rations by visiting food warehouses and liquidation stores. I bought everything but the matches and bouillon packets at a liquidation store near where I work. Boxes of granola bars were a $1.00, a package of almonds for $0.25, a box of instant oatmeal for $1.00. You see how cost effective this can be. Also, when I am visiting other stores, I am always on the lookout for other items that would make good additions and add variety to these packs. Over a few months time, I have assembled a 30 day supply for each of us three.

I realize this would not work for very arid regions due to the amount of water you would have to carry. Those regions can pose big problems. Perhaps someone else will be inspired by this article to tell us what their solution is.

The Starting Point

Everything must have a starting point, and my plans are no different. The starting point is not finding and buying your land, nor is it selling your house.

Step 1: The Starting Point is making the conscious decision to start doing something about your future, now! After you have committed yourself to making a move, you must create your action plan. It is very easy to procrastinate about making the change. Most of us, although alarmed by what is going on around us, are very comfortable where we are. Fear of the unknown keeps us in our place, unwilling to change from the familiar to the challenge of starting anew.

Step 2: Create a plan to guide your actions and set goals. If you are married or have a significant other, you must include their desires in your plan. The support of your spouse is crucial in making the plan work so each must be in agreement as to the steps outlined in it. It is entirely possible that making these decisions will end your relationship if the other person can not find common ground with your perceived needs.
This also will be the phase in which you decide where to buy land, what to live in, layout of your structures, how big of a garden and orchard you want, what livestock to raise and other "infrastructure" improvements to your land. By doing this now you can be aware of the price tag of designing your new homestead.

Don’t forget to include the “kid” factor if you have children. If you are remote enough you may have to homeschool. Research the laws that govern homeschooling in your new location as some states have better laws than others.

Be thorough in your plans, searching the internet for information and using the local library if need be to check out books before purchasing them for later reference. Diligence at this point will prevent possible failure at a later date because you didn’t research well enough. Book reviews posted on Amazon can also help determine whether or not to spend money on a book.

Step 3: Get rid of everything you will not need to start your new life on your soon to be new property. Sell your stuff on eBay, craigslist or have a yard sale. Put away the cash for either buying your land or use it to buy tools and preps you will need for later. Buying your solar panels and batteries now will give you the opportunity to learn how to set them up properly before you need to rely on them for power. Likewise, buy your gardening tools now if you don't already own them. Get at least 1 fiberglass handled tool of each type you need. Their long life will be worth the money spent.

Step 4: Inventory what you have kept, store it in numbered boxes, and further reduce your electronic footprint. Unless you are planning on remaining connected to the power grid, you must re-think your electronic needs. Buy a Kill-A-Watt meter and determine your electronic items power usage.
They are priced from reasonable to expensive ($18 to $40), depending where you buy. Look for 12volt alternatives to your everyday items. RV and Marine supply stores will have many appliances that are low energy draw or propane powered.

Step 5: Start eating more simply. When you move to your new property you may have to look for a closer job. It most likely will not pay as well as your current one, so you will not be able to buy as much prepared foods as you did before. If you simplify your diet now, it won’t be such a shock to your system when you do make the change. Plus you will save a ton of cash. Start rotating your least inexpensive storage food and that with a shorter shelf life into your daily diet. A little at a time is better than all at once if you are not used to eating those items.

Next: Part 2 of The Starting Point

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rice Prices

I have seen mention on several blogs that I frequent the price people are paying for rice in their locale. Last week (Friday) I priced 30 lbs at a store I patronize called The Grocery Outlet. It was in the form of a bale of 1 lb bags, $0.69 each, or a total of $20.70. In the past they have had it in 10 and 20 lb bags, but not this time.
This store specializes in closeout items and market trials that didn't make it so you never know what you will get. There are a lot of items that are there each week, but you must be prepared to pounce on the really good stuff when it comes in. Makes it worth a weekly trip just for the good deals.

The Plan

Many people feel that something enormous in impact is about to occur. With me it is a feeling that I must flee from the populated areas to a remote location somewhere, in hiding as it were. At times this feeling becomes almost overpowering, and I want to load up and go. Since I do not have my retreat property yet, I will only be able to plan for the day I do get it.

My plan is to buy 5 – 20 acres in a semi-remote area and place a travel trailer there. Yes, this is being done by others, and is overall a good plan. Once purchased, the land will be placed into a Trust to protect it financially. By not building permanent structures, I hope to keep the property taxes down.

If I do drill a well, it will not be recorded with the county. I plan to harvest rainwater for much of my needs. I will use a greywater/blackwater system to reuse as much of my water as possible. A greenhouse or 2 will help with my vegetable gardening needs, as I plan to container garden to a large extent as well as use the square foot gardening and companion planting methods.

I plan on a small orchard of dwarf fruit trees, and a vineyard of various types of grapes. I will plant nut trees such as Filbert, Pecan, Almond, Walnut, Oak and Chestnut; berry bushes such as Blueberry, Raspberry, Currants and Goose Berries. As many varieties as possible. I will plant a woodlot on one corner for a firewood supply, using fast growing poplars. I will also include Alder and Sugar Maple.

By not building a house, I will avoid the mortgage trap, leaving any income free for supplies and such. This will allow me to pay cash for items and not leave a paper trail. For storage I will use earth sheltered CONEX containers (re-inforced with channel iron).

I will raise rabbits and chickens, as well as geese, turkeys and ducks. If I feel adventurous enough, I will try sheep, goats and perhaps a beef or two. I will raise fish in a small pond or will try it in a barrel as I have read about. I will raise earthworms (vermiculture) to make compost from my kitchen and yard wastes, and to supplement either my chicken's or fish’s food.

My energy consumption will be reduced to what I can provide with Solar, Wind, and Generator. I will have a root cellar or if near a stream, a spring house. My refrigeration will be either springhouse, 12volt or propane. My heat will be either hydronic/solar or wood. I will use evaporative cooling to keep the living quarters cool in the summer.

These are all great aspirations, to be limited only by time, money, energy and my ambition. The goal is to be as self sufficient as possible for my food supply.

Next: The Starting Point.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Ok, so thats a little "Dark" for a 1st post. But as I read whats going on in the world, largely unreported by our media as they focus on their new "Darlings"; McCain, Clinton, and Obama, I can't help but feel a slow creeping fear that the Free Fall will happen before I am ready to deal with it on the level I feel capable of.

Even though I have been prepping for years, I am saddled with a mortgage and no place to safely run if a SHTF scenario were to demand it. I have a junk piece of land as Jim Dakin (Bison Survival Blog)
recommends, but it floods upon occaision and would not be a good place for serious improvements. This picture is from my lot. It is nearly an acre (.80 acre).

So I am going to sell it for whatever I can get and put that money down on a more remote piece of land. I have a plan, it might work for others in my situation, but for some it will not be feasible.

Something Wicked Comes

It is almost palpable, this feeling of dread. It builds each day making me want to scream out loud.

The evil grows, like a noxious weed, feeding on the human spirit. It wants to devour us; its hunger is unsated by the death and destruction that it unleashes. It controls our leaders and their minions, and to an extent, the masses of sheeple surrounding us.

It is borne on the wind, howling ominously in the trees, voicing its disdain for our wellbeing. It thirsts for our tears as it seeks sadness and woe, spreading gloom and despair in its wake.

The wickedness takes on new forms as well as old; poverty, plague, starvation, disease, climate change, drought, addiction, predation, rioting, oppression, wars and sudden death from acts of violence.

Children attack their peers, laughingly, thinking it great sport to inflict pain and suffering. Parents, wrapped up in the daily struggle of consumerism, pay scant heed to their own children until the wickedness washes over them like a black tide, spilling darkness into their lives and choking off the light.

Yes, the wickedness.
It is here now.
It has come.