Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Crash Hits Close To Home

Today at work 21 people recieved their pink slips due to this downturn in the economy.

Fortunately, I was not one of them, at least not this time. This is in addition 19 people laid off earlier this year. Our company is a major employer in the area so the layoff is a large blow to the local econnomy.

I work in the waterworks industry, and as an infrastructure oriented business, we usually are only hit at the end of bad economic times as everyone needs water, right?

This year has seen the company revise its budget 3 times, as sales have been off an average of 30%! They have now gone to revisng the budget quarterly. It was expected that sales would be off as new housing starts are near collapse, but it was felt that infrastructure spending would be stronger than what it actually is.

It seems as though local governments have suspended a lot of the summer time projects that we see at this time. August is generally our strongest month and sales are only at 60% of budget. Other companys in this field are feeling these effects also.

This is some serious doodoo for the waterworks industry. It does not bode well for the american sheeple either. If the locals are not repairing or upgrading their aging water systems, the opportunity for failure of those systems increases and the prospect of neighborhoods and cities without water raises its head.

Now the prepper will have water stored in jugs and barrels, as well as having at least 3 different methods for purifying water available. Water is largely taken for granted in our society, you turn the handle on the spigot and water comes out, right? Except when it doesn't.

Got H2O??

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One Man's Trash: Making Gear From Garbage

Some of the sites I like to visit on the internet are the ultralight packers sites. They build alot of their own gear and they give me inspiration for ways to recycle everyday items into survival gear. The coke can alcohol stove is one item that is outstanding as it costs next to nothing but is a valuable resource.

If you open your mind when you look around your kitchen, you will see a myriad of items which can have extended uses. Cheap gear is great to have when you are planning on caching items for later uses. If your cahce is found, you are not out a great amount of money if it is comprised of recycled items.

Some items I use on a daily basis are sports drink bottles, such as Powerade and Gatorade. I feel Powerade is the better choice now as their bottles are a thicker plastic. This wasn't always the case, but it seems that Gatorade bottles have become thinner lately.

Powerade has been on sale lately as cheap as $.60 a bottle so I stocked up on some. We rinse and fill the emptys and put them in a second refer for drinking on a daily basis. I am not one to buy lots of soft drinks, so drinking cold water is the main beverage consumption around our home. Refilling the bottles also supplements our emergency water supply.

I find that for storing water on the cheap, recycled one gallon SunnyD orange juice jugs are a good choice. I have been taking 2 Powerade bottles full of water to work for the past couple of years. I generally use the same 2 bottles and they have held up perfectly with no deterioration. I think they work as well as any sports bottle.

Two of the best canidates for reuse are the Heineken 12oz and 24oz beer cans. They are made of heavy enough aluminum to be able to reuse as a cooking vessel. The 24oz is the best choice for a pot and the12oz for a hot drink container or a container to eat from. Cut the top out of them and sand the cut edge to make it safer for use. Put the 12oz can in a beer cozy and you will be able to eat hot meals from it. Many ultralight backpackers cooking kits are designed around them.

Many sites recommend cutting the top off with a "Safety Cutter". This will take a lot of the strength away from the can rendering it vulnerable to crushing if not stored in some sort of container.

Other items to consider for reuse are the Folgers Cafe Latte container (with measuring scoop), The General Foods International rectangular metal Coffeee Drink Mix container, and a plastic lemonade mix container. These will allow you to store smaller amounts of bulk food in your cache or BOB.

The measuring scoop is equal to 1/8 cup.

The plastic trays that microwave dinners come in with their divided trays are another example of something that can be reused as originally designed. There are lots more items out there that you can reuse, just set your imagination free.

Water bottle, eating bowls, food storage container, kitchen sink.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Security Preps

I have made some improvements to my security situation since my last post. I have installed a motion activated light on the front porch and purchased a wireless intercom system from Radio Shack ($59 for 3 units, bought 2 sets). The intercoms have 3 different frequencies that they use so that you can intercom all units or individual ones.

One unit goes on the back porch, one in the living room, and 1 in each bedroom. This will leave me with a spare. These units seem to use the ground wire in your home’s electrical wiring to connect with each other. They have a button that allows you to use it as a room monitor, like a baby monitor. The backporch and living room will be on the same frequency. I wish they had more so you could isolate each room but I guess I will have to work with what I have.

Next up, I have some Quartz Halogen Motion sensor lights to cover the backyard. There is a lack of exterior outlets (only 1) and no empty breaker slots to expand with.

Stupid Modular Home designers anyway. I will need to either replace the bus bars in the existing box to allow adding more or add a second smaller box to feed the lights and extra outlets I would like.

I think I will add 1 or more driveway alerts to the area where I park my vehicles. Then I will be able to catch the bastards prowling my cars in the act. Maybe.

I am securing my backyard by barbed wire. They will have to traverse a nasty blackberry patch or cut the wire to gain access to the east side of my home. I have a 6' wooden fence on the west side with 2 gates that will be secured with a padlock. They can still come thru a neighbor's yard if they wish to brave the blackberrys on the back property line.

Prepping Accomplishments

I managed to buy 10 cases (120ea) of regular mouth quart canning jars this payday. I also got 1 case each of regular and wide mouth pints. I am planning on canning some butter in the near future and wanted to put it in wide mouth for convenience. My goal is to have at least 365 Quart jars filled with main courses by years end. I also bought 20 packs of regular lids and 10 of the wide mouth. I am going to can up some bacon and chicken once I get enough together to fill my pressure canner. I may even try some steaks for the hell of it.

I recently purchased a small butane stove for short term emergency cooking so I bought 5 canisters of butane ($1.99 ea.). I will be stocking up on that as much as possible. Anyone have any experience with them? If so, how long does a canister of gas last?

I have acquired some flat folding 3 ring binders for organizing my Survival Bible. My info on canning takes up a whole 3” binder. Got your's done yet? Mine keeps growing.

Have any of you purchased “Rawles Gets You Ready”?

I did.

It was disappointing to me, but I have been prepping for 30 years. It might be worth it for newbies to prepping/survivalism, but if you can operate a search engine and have some common sense, save your money, and invest it in ammo, food or canning supplies. Most of the info can be found on various web sites. Just do some research every night instead of watching the boob tube.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Under Siege

My family is under siege.

We are being attacked frequently from an unknown and unseen enemy.

The attacks have so far come in the form of vandalism and theft.

I have had my tires flattened. I have had my home invaded and property stolen. I have had my property vandalized.

Last weekend I took a trip over to my friends place to get a feel for the “climate”. There was a big “wingding” in town so I attended it to see if I could get aquainted with some of the locals. A lot of the folks in attendance were known to me from the area in which I grew up. Some were transplants from the Seattle area who had retired to the area.

Then there were the locals. They were nice enough for the most part but after they consumed some alcohol their real opinions came to light. My friend has lived in this area for over 15 years and they referred to him as a “Coastie”. This opinion may be limited to the two individuals I was associating with, but I doubt it.

With out a doubt, if you wish to be accepted in a rural community, you must relocate there now and get involved at a local level so that you are a familiar face. When the SHTF these people may view you with suspicion, and leave you out to fend for yourself when things get tough.

When I got home Sunday afternoon, my youngest son told me that the house had been broken into, and my oldest son’s computer monitor had been stolen, as well as my nice new blender. The blender was found outside in the bushes, broken. In my back yard, I found a stereo which I had lent my son, smashed.

I have a few inactive vehicles, one of which I was considering for a bug out vehicle. It is a 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. The front windshield had been smashed. It was previously in good shape.

Last night as I slept, some person(s) entered my home and stole my stereo speakers from my living room. They took the old speakers as well as the new ones. The old ones sat next to where my oldest son lay sleeping on a futon in front of the window AC units. They entered thru his bedroom window, which was broken.

They moved a $250 power inverter to get to the old speakers. They also moved a $120 dollar propane heater to get the old, heavy ass speakers out of the boxes and out the sliding glass doors. They walked past my expensive compound miter saw on the way out.

I am under siege.

I think they will be back yet again.

I don’t know if these persons are armed when they enter my home. I will assume that they are and take the necessary precautions. I have worked out a system to where my youngest son can barricade his door so no one can force it open. He also sleeps with a Kukri. I am considering buying him a Katanna. A Katanna is safer than a gun, and silent. I may also get him a Javelin.

Woe to any who manage to enter his room.

I am going to install a wireless intercom system with the master unit in my bedroom next to my bed. I will be able to listen to the whole house. Also, if any family member needs me to come to their assistance, I will be able to hear them. I am sure that whoever is doing this is known to myself or my oldest son. They are too familiar with our property and daily habits to be some random ass stranger.

My cars are prowled on a regular basis. I don’t leave anything of value in them because of this. I have no choice now but to buy the most affordable surveillance system I can. I may not be able to buy the best, but if I can get my attackers on video, I will know who is to blame. I may turn it over to the lame ass law enforcement we have here, or I may deal with it myself.

Vengeance is sweet.