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Thursday, December 22, 2011

More Odds and Ends
My boss asked me to attend a Red Cross seminar for him the other day. He knew I would get more out of it than he would and it was a good excuse for him not to go to another meeting. Since I like that kind of stuff I jumped on the chance and learned a few things I want to share with you.
The seminar was meant to show employers the services the Red Cross offers, for a fee, to help them keep their employees trained. The main training that the RC offers in the first aid and CPR certification. Many organizations like my employer are mandated by the state to have certain classifications and percentage of employees trained. The RC not only offers the training but also makes a clearing house for record keeping for those folks.
According to the RC for every dollar that is spent on training and preparedness the return is between $4-$6. First Aid and/or CPR given to someone within the first few minutes of need can increase their chances of survival by up to 40%. They state that first responders are an average of 15 minutes from arriving on the scene. For those of use that live in the hinter boonies the VFD is even a longer response time.
One interesting thing I learned is that you can take refresher courses on line to keep your skills fresh. You still need to get re-certified every two years but the on line skills lab will help keep you sharp between sessions. The Red Cross offers a number of classes that might be of interest and useful to preppers. They might be a good resource for you to check out.
My wife and I cleared out a bunch of the deposit bottles and cans we had in the garage. We came up with over thirty dollars from them. I also cleared out the newspaper for recycling and loaded up some trash to dump off at work. We want to get the junk out and have more room to move around in there. Heavy winter coats and the shovels for clearing snow always seem to make it tighter during the winter.
Toolman is clearing out his garage for a different reason. He e-mailed me the other day to tell me he found the wrench he couldn’t find a month or so back when he borrowed mine. I have the same problem. I borrowed a book from him once and it took me over three years to find it. It got put in a box for storage and moved to the basement. One thing I find is that my lack of organization cost me valuable time and money when I can not find something I know I have. I am always trying to improve on it.
One of my Labs is always trying to catch any of the critters that hang around the farm. He will spot one from the deck door and whine to be let out. He howls enough to scare the bejeezus out of anyone in the township and makes a mad dash for the critter. The critter runs away long before he can get to them. Well, up until today. He spotted a rabbit out by the field. I let him out and the rabbit sat for minute until it realized the dog was bee-lining for it. The rabbit went to hop off and it couldn’t move. The poor thing’s legs slipped on the ice and it fell over and rolled. It was still trying to stand up when the dog slid to a stop over it.
I have always told the dog that I didn’t know why he chased those animals; he wouldn’t know what to do if he caught one. Well, I was right. He stood over the rabbit and just sniffed it. He looked back at the house and wagged his tail and then nudged the rabbit off the ice and watched it hop away. My wife was terrified the dog was going to kill the “bunny” and dashed out to stop the carnage. Nothing to stop. The dog finally caught something and proved to me he has no idea what to do with something he caught. I laughed for a long while watching everything unfold.
I will not be posting until after the first of the year. I am getting surgery on my shoulder to repair a rotator cuff that has been bothering me for a long while. I am not even sure how it happened but suspect it wasn’t one event but rather the cumulative effect of my years yanking on wrenches and moving heavy items. Look for me to return sometime in January or February with weekly postings.
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Now More Than Ever
Have you seen any of the articles on the fact that you can be a terrorist if you have over seven days food supply stored? Coupled that will weapons, ammunition, and fuels and you could well be on the inside looking out.
Now, I must say I really question that. First of all, think about all the non-prepping people you know. How many of those folks have a freezer full of food. Surely that would more than seven day’s worth. How about the people that get paid only once or twice a month? When they shop they usually buy for the time frame between paychecks. They will have more than seven days food supply on hand. Any Cowboy Action shooter will have a nice arsenal and supply of ammo. I am sure you get my point; just about anyone can fall in that category.
Now, IF the rumor about that is correct just how in the hell can it be enforced without having half the population locked up? I suspect that there is more to this then we now know.
Look, how many times have you read about some poor guy that got in trouble and police raided his home and found a large number of guns and “thousands of rounds of ammunition.” The raid had nothing to do with guns and ammo but the guy is crucified for having them. Go out and buy a couple bricks of .22s and you too will have the same thousands of rounds of ammo headline. Toolman and I used to shoot up between five hundred and a thousand rounds on a Saturday afternoon. Needless to say in order to do that we need to have that much ammo on hand.
Prepping is hard enough without people going off half cocked about something they “heard”. We can all make a long list of stuff we have heard over the years that we can not verify. I for one would love to get my hands on that 100 mile per gallon carburetor I have “heard” about since the late 1960s.
I refuse to let them scare me into not prepping. I am not a terrorist. I spent the better part of fourteen years wearing a uniform and training to protect my fellow citizen and my country. My supply of food, guns, ammo, and fuel does not make me a terrorist, my intent to harm does, and I do not have any intention of causing harm unless I am defending myself or my family. As an old friend of mine used to say, “Don’t let the bastards get you down!” Stay positive and keep prepping, now more than ever.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Detours Ahead

Remember a couple months ago when I told about the note from Vince asking about bugging out of the city? I want to re-visit the bug out theme for a minute. Recent events have made bug out plans something you should review.

If you live near Southeast Michigan you have probably heard about the flooding on the River Raisin. This is one of the wettest years in history and the water levels all over are up. With the rain that got dumped on us last week the river is swollen over its banks and traffic has been closed down on two bridges over it. Michigan routes 223 in Blissfield and M-50 in Dundee were closed at the River Raisin bridges. That is two major routes away from large cities.

I grew up in that area so I know several back road routes that would get me out of the area. Someone that is not from the area will have to rely on the posted detours to travel out of the area. What type of bottleneck and hazards can you see there?

Bridges are a choke point in travel, plain and simple. If you have any on your bug out route you may want to take the time now to figure out ways to avoid the population centers and most used routes. While you are doing that you need to make sure that you have the extra fuel you will need to travel the extra distances. If I had wanted to go into Dundee I would have had to travel thirty miles extra, one way, to do so. Most of that would have been over rough country roads too.

I know this sounds redundant, but being prepared means being in a constant state of preparedness. You have to constantly re-evaluate your preps, your emergency plans, your stock of supplies, and generally keep your preparedness at the forefront of your thoughts.

One time my oldest son and I, on a whim, took a farm lane across country for a few miles. We stayed off the main road and traveled dirt lanes across a couple of farms just to see if we could. Probably not the smartest thing we ever did, but it was a real learning experience. We wouldn’t do it again except in an emergency. However, we now know what to expect if we do and some of the hazards that it could evolve.

On a different topic, my youngest son and I were talking the other day and he informed me that one of the guys he went to college with is now starting to get involved with prepping. I want to take a minute to say welcome Jonathan glad to have you aboard. Next time you come to the farm to shoot we can talk more about prepping.

Finally, this is coming to the end of the year. You will be reflecting back on what went well, went poorly, and on what you need to do in the future. Always be encouraged that as long as you are prepping you are ahead of the game. It is the poor sheeple that do not think anything bad will happen that are the ones I worry for. I have no doubt that while there may be holes in our preps that when the S hits the F we will find each other and shore up our holes and get through what is coming. Just keep doing what your doing and we will make it, even with detours ahead.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

It Is Up to You

I finally watched a couple of shows I had taped a while back. Both shows were from the National Geographic channel. One show was called Electronic Armageddon. It was a look at what might happen if an EMP bomb went off over America.
I must admit I was surprised at the depth the show went into. I frankly never considered that the EMP would shut down factories and processing plants. Food and fuel production would cease and there would be months if not years before supplies could again reach the population. It sure did make few months of food storage look pitifully inadequate.
The other show I watched was called Aftermath: The World without Oil. It looked at what we had in store if the world runs out of oil and we can no longer make fuel, plastics, and all the vital items that petroleum products allow us to produce.
Both shows paint a bleak picture of course. Our whole lifestyle will end as we know it. Both shows hinted that we would have to revert back to an “older” type of lifestyle where things were done much more locally. Fruit from California and Chile will be a thing of the past. Fresh seafood from the Eastern Seaboard will be but a memory. Even if they can find there way here the cost will be prohibitive.
One thing that frosted my cookies was the fact that several key parts that will be needed to bring us back up to speed after these events are no long produced in this country. Key electrical gear comes from overseas. If the world loses juice then how will we get those parts over here?
We have politicians arguing whether we should cut spending or raise taxes. Neither of those parties seems to have our best interest at heart. Why would you argue to raise taxes and tell me you are thinking of me? Leave me my money and that will help me. If you in Washington and Lansing really want me to believe you have my best interest at heart why don’t you figure out a way to protect the gird, find ways to reduce oil use or increase our own production, and help me keep more of my money.
They say that there is a stretch of road up near Detroit that was put in during the 1930s and they have never touched it since. When the built it they over engineered it and because of that they have not had to resurface it or do anything to it. If they had done that to all our roads how much money would we have saved over the last thirty years? Imagine driving all over Michigan, or any state, and not having construction zones and slow downs. That folks would have our best interest at heart!
As preppers we look ahead and see any number of assaults on our lifestyle. It could be an EMP. Loss of oil, hyper inflation, or simply losing our jobs. We are better prepared than a lot of our peers and could really be ahead of the game if those clowns in the capitols would actually put themselves last and represent the people as they claimed they would. Keep prepping folks because it sure looks like it is up to you.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Friendly Bandits

Most of us that write for the preparedness blogs touch on the same subjects over a period of time. We extol the virtues of having water, food, fuel, and defensive measures. You can not have too much in storage. You can not predict how long an event might last, how many folks will show up looking for support, or if you will even be able to reach your supplies. A flood or a fire can wipe out everything you have worked years for also. I recently discovered another way I was losing supplies; I had a case of friendly bandits.
The first time I noticed I had been raided is when I went out to the barn to fill the tractor so I could mow the lawn. I should probably remind you that I store my emergency gas supplies in cans in the barn. The cans range from 6 gallons to one gallon. I date each can when I fill them and I use them up from oldest first. They get cycled through in about every two years. Once emptied a can is placed on the floor with the date tape removed so I can fill them when prices dip. Since we had had a price dip a while back all the cans were filled and ready, or so I thought.
I grabbed the oldest five gallon can off the shelf and it was empty. Oh crap I thought, I had a leaky can. I grabbed the next oldest can and it was empty too! Before I was done I had four empty cans. I was down twenty gallons of gas and prices have just jumped. I was pissed.
While I mowed the lawn I kept going over it in my mind and decided that all the cans didn’t leak. I asked the family and my oldest son confessed that he had a bad case of the “shorts” and filled his car with the oldest gas. I didn’t care that he used the gas. I use some too when I have the shorts. What bothered me was that he didn’t tell me so I could refill them when prices were low. It also left me with a false sense that I have more stored fuel than I really did.
When we moved back to the farm I put a shelf in the basement for paper products. I loaded the thing with paper towels, paper plates, napkins, and some toilet paper. When loading the paper towel rolls I noticed that the price on the rolls jumped ten cents at a time and I started at 49 cents a roll and ended at .99. It reminded me that if you buy a lot of bulk early on you save a lot of money long term.
A few weeks ago I saw my wife had bought some paper towels. It made me realize that I had not seen her buy any before. I checked the basement and all the paper towels were gone. Over the last few years my wife used up all the stored supplies and was just now buying a few at a time. Once again what I thought was a nice inventory of a much needed supply was not at all there.
It has always been difficult to get my wife to see that she needs to keep supplies up. She figures we are saving a ton of money using up stuff we already have. We don’t fight tooth and nail over prepping, but she doesn’t see the same future that I do. I will have to be the one that goes out someday and buys a large number of towels and puts them someplace where I can get them when the emergency happens.
Over the last year I have used up one of my cans of Coleman fuel and not replaced it. I mentioned before that my kerosene has been used up over the last few deer seasons and not replaced too. Even I am guilty of using supplies and not replacing them.
While you may have really good preparedness and solid plans in place, make sure that you keep a finger on the pulse of your supplies or like me; you may find you have lost some things to friendly bandits.
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Friday, November 18, 2011


I am a packrat. My wife has informed me of this fact on a regular basis over the last thirty years. Still, I like the fact I can go out to the barn and look up some old stuff from years gone by and make sure my memory is correct. I also enjoy stumbling across a box of old magazines and re-reading some of the stories. I recently found a pile of True magazines from the late 1960s. There was a long article about Euell Gibbons in it and how he hunts wild food. I made a copy of the article and shared it with Tonto. Thirty year old info is still good today.

Toolman and I share a collection of the early Mother Earth News magazines. There are a lot of useful article in them about home made equipment and how to about raising your own crops and animals. A lot of this info might be needed if we go into a long term TEOTWAWKI situation. Toolman dropped them off the other day. He is cleaning out some stuff in the house and needed to move them here. They will go on the shelf in the barn with the old issues of Backwoodsman, Countryside, Backwoods Home, Backhome, and a few others. All of these magazines hold very useful information that might come in handy down the road. I like to store these old magazines because they are EMP proof. Also, I may not be able to remember all I need to on a subject or I might not even care about raising chickens right now but will if they become critical to survival. I can then go back and read up on them.

If you read the blogs long enough you will see most of us post about books and reading martial every few months or so. That is because they are important to long term survival. I probably will not be around to help out the grandkids if we can keep from sliding over the edge for another decade. However, the supply of books and magazines I have left behind just may help insure my family’s survivability multi-generationally. If all that takes is for me to be a packrat, so be it.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spending a Saturday Prepping, Sort of

Toolman, Tonto, and I escaped responsibilities Saturday and we loaded up and went to a pair of gunshows, a Fiber show and did some shopping. It was the first time we have all been together in a while. It was too bad E couldn’t join us.

We hit the first gun show and what we discovered was prices where up again. One example I can give is this. My Dad’s deer rifle was a Winchester ’94 in .32 Winchester Special. It is now the gun my son uses for deer hunting. It is not that common a caliber and when ever I see some at a cheap price I buy it. I picked up a couple of boxes for $15 three years ago and Two years ago I found it for $18 a box. This gun show I saw it from $22 to $28 and a couple older boxes were marked higher for their “collector value”.

Tonto wanted to pick up some extra magazines for one of his sidearm’s and the only one he found the guy wasn’t $30 for it and could not guarantee that it would work in Tonto’s model. Toolman could not find the items on his list at any price. I saw some very rough, rusted, ammo cans fro $5 each, the kind we used to pay a buck for. I did find a half box of .30-30 rounds for $3 which I thought was ok.

One booth had a lot of books that would be of interest to anyone building a survival library. Three different Country Wisdom volumes, several books on raising livestock and some on butchering said livestock. Another booth had a nice array of medical supplies that might be good to have for TEOTWAWKI. Gunshows still are great places for finding gear; just realize that prices are going up all the time.

We stopped at Dunham’s to look for a couple items. I found a box of .22s on sale for $17. That is the cheapest I have seen on a brick of .22s in a long while so I bought one. I noticed one lone box of M-1 carbine ammo and I picked it up. I about fell over looking at the price. I showed Tonto and his jaw dropped. Toolman came over and had the same jaw dropping reaction. Forty-five dollars a box!

Next door to the second gun show was a “Fiber Show”. We had no idea what a fiber show was and decided to walk over and check it our. Toolman opted to stay in the van and eat a polish dog so Tonto and I walked over. There was no charge to walk through so we did. There were a lot of animals there, each which produced a nice fur for yarn. Tonto explained that his girlfriend has a sweater and pair of socks made from alpaca yarn and she just loves it. He was half looking for another pair of socks for her. The highlight of the show for us was the camel they had on display. Tonto and I got to pet the camel. I asked the guy that was controlling the thing if he ever rode the camel. He said he rode it a lot. I asked him if that made him a camel jockey. Some woman standing there whirled around and gave me a dirty look, not appreciating my joke. Oh well, Tonto laughed.

We did find that there are a lot of different models of spinning wheels and saw the possibilities of spinning yarn and making clothes as a barter item especially after TEOTWAWKI. We didn’t spend enough time there to really get a clear picture of what the fiber show was about and probably need to look into it more

After the gun shows and fiber show we returned to the farm and Toolman brought out his new Ruger LRC in .357. He had an accident at work and with his hand in a cast he could not cock the slide on his semi-auto so he got the little Ruger to carry. We all managed to punch some holes in the target with it and Tonto said that the stainless model had much better control than the aluminum model he shoot a couple weeks ago at the range.

It was nice for all of us to get together again even if it was only for a short time spending a Saturday prepping, sort of.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Alternate Plans for Staying Warm

I will admit that over the last month or so I have not had preparedness at the forefront of my mind. I was enjoying the fall days and busying myself with small things like trapping animals for my mother-in-law and reviewing old articles on prepping. Last Sunday my wife and I sat watching the news and saw the tons of snow that was dumped on New England and my wife turned to me and stated she sure was glad that didn’t happen here. It sort of jotted me that indeed it could happen here and I had not set up several of my back up plans for staying warm in a power outage.

I have written several times in the past about the PACE system for preparedness. I first heard it referred to as PACE over on Joe’s Viking Preparedness blog which for some sad reason he seems to have burned out on and no longer posts. Anyway, PACE is an acronym for Primary, Alternate, Contingent, and Emergency. It is a layers system of plans for any part of an operation. It was refined by Special Forces but has been around in many forms for years. Our family had the “One’s good, two’s better and Three’s is about right” plan for as long as I can remember.

A couple quick examples would be lighting, Primary, throw the switch, Alternate, propane lantern, Contingent, kerosene lantern, and Emergency, candles. For water you plan might run something like, draw from well, used stored bottle water, filter rain water, and boil any water you can find. I think that gives you the idea.

Since I live in Michigan and it gets a mite chilly from time to time I have in place a PACE system for heating. Now, this is not the plan I want to eventually have, but it is the one I have now. Like many of you, I dream of the day I can pick up a good woodburning stove that will heat and let me cook on it. Until that day arrives that is not an option and my plans need to reflect my reality.

My primary heat is my furnace which runs on propane. My wife and I have been fortunate enough to pre-pay for our propane the last few winters so we can count on it being full most of the time. If we lose power for a long term reason I have a generator I can hook up to the power and make sure the furnace works.

My alternate heat is still the propane, but what will happen is my wife, myself, and the dogs will cocoon down to the family room and heat it with the gas fireplace. It keeps that room warm and we can stay in there for most of the time we need to. Our kitchen is in the opposite corner of the fireplace and if it gets real cold in there we can turn the burners of the stove on and heat both corners making the room nice and toasty.

Years ago when we lived in the city my wife and I heated the house with kerosene. We found it kept the place nice and warm and since we bought kerosene as we used it the large heating bill from the gas company never showed up. We kept that heater and that is our Contingency plan for keeping warm. To be honest with you, right now my kerosene stores are way down and we would not be able to heat for a long period of time before we drop to our Emergency plan. We have not replaced the kerosene we used while deer hunting the last few years because I keep waiting for the price to come down. When we lived in the city K-1 kerosene was just under $2 a gallon. It is now double that and I keep hoping it will come down. Tonto and I have several places we check the price on and share the info. Now that I have my gas storage completed I hope to at least buy several more can full’s of K-1 for the future.

As an aside, several years ago I stopped at an Amish farm and asked the folks how much kerosene they used in a years time. The guy told me that they used about a hundred gallons for lighting and cooking. They use a kerosene stove during the summer for cooking on. They do not heat with kerosene so you can guess that you would need several hundred gallons stored away for heating and lighting.

Our gas fireplace can be converted to a wood burning fireplace with an hour’s work and a few tools. Once I fill the heater with the last gallon of kerosene I will be converting the fireplace over and we will then be heating with out Emergency plan.

As a guy I work with once told me, “It is easier to get warm than it is to get cool”. Staying warm in the dead of winter can be easier than cooling off in the ninety degree heat of summer. If you come into a room from the outside when it is well below freezing even a 50 degree room is warm.

I am sure that you have heard that the experts have all predicted that this will be a really bad winter with lots of cold and snow. If they are correct than now is the time to make sure you have some alternate plans for staying warm.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spreading the Word about Prepping

I got a message from one of the Michigan readers the other day. He expressed a concern that many new preppers have mentioned. In essence what he asked was, how do you deal with people that think you are around the bend when you mention prepping to them?

Being a prepper draws a lot of raised eyebrows and comments to your face and even worse behind your back. I do not know if you have seen Momma Bear in the Mitten posted from time to time on the blogs, but she is family. When she first started prepping she was like an evangelist for prepping and now everyone in the family makes cracks about it. Since I started prepping back in the 1970's very few know I do so now. Look at prepping like selling Amway, you are either a believer or you run and hide from the idea of someone tiring to recruit you. You are not trying to get people to sell soap and make money but rather you are trying to get them to prep for dire times. It still breaks down to whether they are believers or not.

I had a guy from work come up to the farm one Saturday so he could try out his new pistol. I broached the subject of prepping to him and now all he does is go around work telling people he is coming to my farm if the world goes to hell. You have to be selective in who you talk to about prepping. By rights the guy should have been a good candidate for prepping based on all I know about him, but I sure missed the mark on him.
Sure, it might be best to keep your mouth shut and say nothing, but most of us want our friends and family to survive and be there. Another thing I have found is a lot of people are prepping but they do not think they are preppers. I have one cousin that has a back up generator, stored food, and a few other items to help out in an emergency, but she doesn’t think she preps. Prepping comes in many degrees, some of us running on high go ahead and others slightly above idle.

Do not let the sheeple get you down. Keep prepping because you know it is right to do. My family has been ready since the 70's and we still keep prepping even though so far we have not had TEOTWAWKI. It is like the guy falling off the skyscraper, as he passes each floor he says, so far so good. Sooner or later he will not have “good” anymore.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Couple of Updates

The rabbit we rescued was not a good fit with our home. Every time one of us held the rabbit she would pee all over us. The dogs did not bother the rabbit other than they would smell her as she moved around the kitchen, but the dogs bothered the rabbit by being around at all. One of the cats looked at the rabbit as a nice lunch. My wife spent hours sitting on the floor petting the rabbit but the rabbit would shy away from her most of the time.

My wife mentioned the rabbit to her boss and he told her if we wanted to get rid of it he and his wife would love to have it for their 14 year old daughter. We discussed it and made the choice to make a gift of the rabbit to the girl. Today the rabbit is well cared for, and hops to the girl when she gets home from school. The boss told my wife that the rabbit shows affection toward the girl, has the run of the house and is a great fit for their family. Everyone is happy, so I guess it is win- win as they say.

The walnuts are gone. Carhart Warrior loaded them in the dump bucket of his tractor and drove them back to the woods where the squirrels are having a fall banquet. Now, fat squirrel I like a lot better than walnut so this could work out to be win-win also.

I trapped a second opossum at my Mother-in-Law’s and this one is “as big as a dog”. This one was re-located to a drainage ditch half way between the city and our farm. No, I did not dispatch this one; it was smart enough to get the hell out of the cage when I opened the door. However, I did e-mail Bill and told him we were having special hamburgers at half-time Saturday. (He is the one that found the critter at Mom’s.) He declined the invite for some reason.

My finally trapping adventure at my mother-in-law’s resulted in one fat raccoon. We left him go at a metro park. As soon as the cage was opened the coon was headed into the woods as fast as his legs would carry him. Now one of my wife’s co-workers is talking about maybe having me trap a skunk she saw in her yard. I will think on that.

Thank you to all that left a comment and let me know I was not alone out here. It helps a lot to know I have at least some support.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Odds and Ends

My wife started to get a tooth ache so she called and made an appointment to get it looked at. I went along for the ride and while she was in the chair I did something I have not had a chance to do in a while. I went dumpster diving.

I started with a walk through a car wash looking for money. I found sixty three cents. I then headed behind a grocery store to check for any “loot” I might find. I hit the jackpot as it were. I found several canned goods in the dumpster. I got some beans, tomato juice, cream of mushroom soup, tuna fish, steak sauce, a large package of mushrooms, half a dozen boxes of pudding/pie filling mix, and the surprise of the evening was a two pound jar of peanut butter and six jars of jelly. I had the makings of several meals at least in part, and lunches for a couple weeks as long as you like PB&J sandwiches.

We lived on dumpster diving several years ago and my oldest son did most of his “shopping” by DD when he was in college. There are a few things you need to know about eating from a dumpster, but the worst part is the image folks have of it, not the food you get. If I had been prepared for the DD I would have gotten a lot more stuff too.

I went back and re-read some of my earlier posts here and I am wondering if Ken, Treesong, and several others still read regularly? It sure would help keep me going if I got a few more comments from the posts. I sometimes think I am writing only for myself anymore.

I have another bumper crop of walnuts this year. I wish I knew some way to put them to good use. I would give or trade with anyone in the area that wants some. If you live in Monroe, Lenawee, or Washtenaw County and want a bunch of walnuts let me know.

My wife wants to go on a day photo safari this afternoon. We ran some errands this morning and she as already taken several shots of a log cabin and some nice color foliage. Our next stop is an old mill and who knows where else.

My mother-in-law lives in a big city and is plagued by a possum “as big as a dog”. I set two live traps last week and caught a possum Tuesday. She was thrilled we got the culprit but we still set the trap since the one I caught was smallish. Trapped it did not look “as big as a dog”.

I post once a week. I send my post in on Thursday and it goes up when they have time. Once in a while I struggle for a post but most of the time I have two or three in the can ready to go. It is not a killer pace I have set for myself. I wonder why there are so many blogs out there that have not posted in months? I check about a dozen blogs on the weekend that I have not seen an update for in a long while. Even guys like Joe over at Viking are not posting regularly anymore. I will admit I could not do a daily post, but come on, since July?

Somehow I left my cell phone in my pants and it got washed. It was an old dinosaur of a phone but it worked for me until I washed it. I hate this new phone like you can not believe. If you have something that does the job for you and you may not be able to replace it, guard it jealously.

I need not remind you that winter is coming. Have you got your back up heat sources ready in case you need them? Are you ready for a week without power or being snowed in for a few days? The great fall weather we are having now will soon be replaced with the cold and snow of winter, so do not let your guard down. Keep prepping and being ready for the worst, just in case.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Is it Truly a Year’s Supply?

This is my fourth or fifth attempt to write on this subject. It just never comes out the way I want it to nor does it convey what I am trying to express. I will try again and see how it goes.

We always hear and read about how much folks have supplied. This guy has two years worth of food and the other guy has six months of gasoline. Have you wondered how they know those numbers?

Over the last few years I have kept track of several things I use daily to see just how much I would need for a year’s supply. Just before we moved to the farm I found a store going out of business that had three bottles of shampoo on sale for a ridiculously low price, three for a dollar I think it was, maybe 50 cents each. Anyway I figured that would last me most of the rest of my life. It turns out that one bottle will last 24 months. My second bottle is about used up and except for the time I was in the hospital and used the shampoo they gave me I have pretty much stuck with my “supply”.

My wife and I each use a separate bathroom for showering and well, other stuff. One roll of toilet paper will last me two weeks. I have tracked this for a while and that is my average. The other day I was in the bathroom changing out a roll of toilet paper. I knew it was Friday because I change out the toilet paper every other Friday, almost like clockwork. A four pack of rolls is good for about two months in my bathroom. Six to eight packages of toilet paper should last me one year. My wife goes through a little more in her bathroom. Add in the additional usage from guests and the boys home on leave and the total of rolls we use in a year is right around 100 rolls. Call it a case of toilet paper, 96 rolls. I no longer have that much in storage, but I did a few years ago.

It is very easy to underestimate the amount of an item you hope to have a year’s supply of. When we moved back to the farm I loaded a shelf in the basement with paper towels. My wife and I looked at the full shelves and decided we were good for at least a year. Six months later we were buying towels again. Underestimating some items is no big deal, but if you have made a short guess on your food supply you might be in for a long hungry time until crops grow. Or if you heat with wood and you figure two cords is enough and you need four, you will be down right cold or working in the subfreezing weather trying to cut wood.

It is an easy task to track usage. Make that list and write down how much of something you use. Once you get a handle on it the task of maintaining a year’s supply of anything gets easier. If you know you need 96 rolls of TP for the family for a year once you reach that you can move on to other items. A few times a year you stock up and forget about that item again. It takes a load off of your mind and helps you feel like you have accomplished something.

Start with a few items and keep building on the list. Before long you will know the peace of mind of having a year’s supply put away. The more items you do that with the more peace of mind you will have as we race toward TEOTWAWKI.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shangri-la or La-La Land?

To many preppers the retreat is almost the same as Shangri-La. They view their cabin in the woods, lake side cottage, mountain top retreat or desert hideout as the safe place they can go to and live in peace. I do it myself sometimes. We think of all the great reason we can live there and never truly look at the problems we will have to overcome as well. Game will always be plentiful, gardens produce bumper crops, the water will flow and be pure, and only trusted, invited, guests will show up. Paradise to be sure.

An acquaintance of mine dropped by the house a while back. He had come by to discuss deer hunting on my property and see how I did last year. During our conversation he mentioned how bad the economy was and how he had a fall back plan. I didn’t tell him I was a prepper but I did probe him on his plans.

He had just returned from a week or so stay up north at his in-law’s cabin. He told me how great it was up there, good fishing, great weather and he saw a lot of game there too. He told me his plan was to head up there if things went to hell in a hand basket.

That scenario is common. His is not the first time I heard that plan and I actually heard a guy a work tell a similar idea to that last week. Looks like the woods will be crawling with survival minded folks once the balloon goes up. Anybody see a problem with that?

During the Depression game was hunted hard and heavy for a meal on the table. My mother used to tell me about how she would come home from school, pick up her .410/.22 over under Savage and walk the railroad tracks behind her home looking for anything they could make a meal out of. She would kick up a rabbit once in a great while, but the wild asparagus and the fruits she found were mostly what they had. She told me that she would sometimes see others walking the track hunting too. Most days she just enjoyed a long walk. My father also told me stories of the Depression that were very similar. He would walk to school carrying a 12 gauge double barreled shotgun and walk the fence rows to and from school hunting and trapping. It was not unusual to see several boys skinning game under the willow tree behind the school. Can you imagine seeing half a dozen boys walking up to school with a shotgun today?

I have written several times about my grandfather and his brother going to a cabin in the Huron National Forest back in the late 50s or early 60s and planning to live off the fat of the land for a while like they did as kids. He always ended that story with, “The fat of the land is pretty damn lean!” They found very little game, the fishing was poor and they ended up going to town to dinner more than once.

If your plans include heading for the hills you might want to have a serious think session with your plans and make sure that you have everything in place. My cabin is ok for three seasons but without the generator and propane we would freeze to death in there. If I had to bug out to there in late fall we would be in a world of hurt. Because of crime and break-ins we have not pre-positioned a lot of supplies there either. Tonto is always giving me crap about that too. He even put a cache up there as an experiment a few years back to see if it would survive a couple years in the ground.

Take off the rose colored glasses and give your woods retreat a long hard look. It could be pure folly to have that as your primary prep plan and find it was all a nice fantasy.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thoughts on a Problem?

I received an e-mail a while back from a Michigan Preppers reader asking for my thoughts and advice on a problem he faced. The guy, I will call him Vince, lives in the suburb of a large city. Picture a nice home in Wyoming and working in downtown Grand Rapids. Vince is concerned on how he will be able to get out of town and to a safe location.

My suggestion was buy a good county map and/or city map that you can plan escapes route with. I had five different routes out of the city to the farm. I also practiced driving them from time to time to make sure they were still open, nothing had changed, and I knew about how much time I could make them in under ideal conditions. Mark the routes with different colored highlighters and make sure everyone knows each route. I always assumed my wife and both boys would have to find their way to the farm by themselves. Also, there is a lot of good information out there on having a meeting location and a common contact in the event of some need.

Maybe some silver rounds will buy your way through a road block or two, but I wouldn’t count on it. If they think you have more they might ambush you for any food, gas, women, or valuables you have. A ironic drawback to bugging out is that it is most likely you will load up with as much of your supplies as you can. The more you carry the more attractive you are as a target. That is why so many recommend pre-positioning your supplies at a retreat.

My plans used to revolve around my sons being at school, my wife and I each at our places of employment and all of us meeting at the house to leave for the farm. Not always practical like the time the factory down the street from the house had a “hazardous spill” and it was between school and home. The boys were trapped at school and we could not get to them. In case you didn’t know it Murphy is a prepper too.

Vince didn’t include a lot of details in his question, but with just the bare bones info of needing to bug out of a city to your retreat posses a lot of possible answers. How many of you face the same challenge? I often wondered if I might have to force my way out of the city maybe having to threaten or shoot at the boys Scout leader or soccer coach in order to get out of town. We never know how others will react or in all honesty, how we will react. For those of you that live in the city and plan to bug out, how do you have it planned?


Thursday, September 8, 2011

How will it turn out?

Ok, let me get this straight. The State of Michigan is asking one body of state government if it is ok for another body of state government to tax the people getting a pension. Gee, I wonder how that will turn out.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Visiting Bill

Stopped in and visited with my Brother-in-law this weekend. I write his name as Bill because spell check drives me nuts when I write Bil. Besides, it is a good Opsec name for him. He has become more and more preparedness minded over the years and now figures his sister’s husband is less nuts than he first thought.

When I stopped by he was just getting ready to burn up a bunch of downed limbs from last weeks hail storm. He also burns all of his mail that has any personal or account numbers on it. He feels no one else needs to know any of his account numbers. We talked about the different ways we keep our numbers private and how we sort to burn. He has one waste basket all his stuff goes in and he burns it in an outdoor fire ring. I put all my “to be destroyed” envelopes and documents in an empty dog food bag. When it gets full I take it out and burn it in the burning barrel. That way I can not make the mistake of tossing it out as garbage. I know a couple of guys that run everything through a shredder before it leaves the house. Regardless of the method used, make sure you keep your account numbers and SSN to yourself. Always think Opsec.

Bill asked me to take his propane tank to be filled. He lives in a bigger town and it cost nearly $20 to fill a twenty pound tank. My rural company fills mine for just over $12. That is a big savings. He also told me he was on the lookout for one more tank. He has two now but felt he should have a third in case he needs one for cooking during a power outage or some other reason. I told him I had just acquired an empty one that he was welcome to if he wanted it filled. Made him happy and I was glad I could help him out.

Bill also told me that he found some larger cans of chicken on sale for a dollar a can. He put ten cans back in his food storage so he had some protein put away. We talked about several ways to prepare it so it didn’t get boring eating it as a survival food. Bill is a great cook and has good ideas on survival cooking.

We had a nice visit around the fire with an absolutely clear blue sky overhead. It was a beautiful morning for us and pleasant to exchange some ideas and information. He has always said that he plans on coming to the farm when TSHTF. Knowing he has a solid plan of action, knows what to bring, and that he will be an asset makes him more than welcome.

On that same line of thought, I emailed my cousin that lives in Roanoke, Virginia today and asked what preps she had taken for the visit of hurricane Irene. My cousin is not prep minded and I figured her answer would be a good counter point to my consent prepping thoughts.

Part of her reply was this: I have had my basement waterproofed since water leaked in 5 to 10 yrs ago with another hurricane. As far as provisions, I keep a couple gallons of water and otherwise plan to hunker down with one of a few friends who are "prepared." Oh, yes, and I have also had all my trees trimmed so that hopefully, unless blown really far, no limbs will fall on the house.

I suspect that her couple of gallons of water is just that, two gallons. She did not mention food storage at all. No back up lighting, no way to heat if needed, toward the end of her e-mail came the conformation I expected: In case of long term power outages, my prepared friends have generators.

It gets mentioned on preparedness blogs a lot; open up a dialog with your friends and family about prepping. Her preps are to go live with someone else that she knows does prep. How many of your friends and family have that exact prep in mind? Your thirty day food supply could fall to a week in a hurry if several people come to your retreat. I feel very fortunate that my friends and family are at least somewhat prepped. I know that my wife’s brother is not only prepped but has a plan to show up with food, arms, and prepared to help defend the farm. I learned all that because I opened up dialog with and spent time visiting Bill.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some Randomness

Toolman stopped by the other day and dropped off some scrap metal for the pile. I have ended up making a trip to the scrap yard four weekends in a row. I have used the money to top off the fuel supplies. I am still working on filling up some more kerosene cans, but most of the other stuff is completed. One thing I do regarding fuels is keep two five gallon cans of diesel fuel here. I do not use diesel fuel but the neighbor does and I want to make sure we can fire up his tractor if we need it. Also, there are a ton of ancillary items that you need to keep on hand to make sure your vehicles will keep running; things like oil, gas treatment, brake & steering fluid, and anti freeze to name a few. Storing supplies for when TSHTF can have many layers for total preparedness.

Toolman told me that the seeds I gave him grew well and he has been harvesting crops for a couple weeks now. Good to know that even those older seed packets will produce a decent crop of food.

I had to kill an hour the other day so I walked through a small flea market. I found some ammo cans there. I probably did not need to add more ammo cans to my stock but when the guy was willing to take $7 a piece for them I took them all. Ammo cans used to be a couple bucks each and then two for five and then they went to five bucks each. The last year or so they have gone up to ten each at all the gunshows I have hit. I feel they will make a great trade item down the road and well worth putting some extras back now.

Any of you readers in the southeast corner of the state might wish to stop by Worley’s Outpost. It is a new “bulk food” store that also sells freeze dried foods, silver & gold, MRE’s and other prepper supplies. I talked to the lady while at the flea market for just a minute and hope to visit the store in the near future. It is on Stearns Road on the corner of Jackman. I do not know the owners nor do I have any affiliation with the store, I am just passing on the info for any preppers that might want or need it.

As we prepare for uncertain times and events we sometimes get complacent. Tonto put in a nice garden this year and had kept us updated on the progress all summer long. He wrote last week that he would likely be busy as hell for a few days canning all the tomatoes that were about to come in. Last Thursday night a sever summer storm came through his area and the hail came down like a snow storm. His garden got “shredded” as he put it and he lost most of the above ground crops. He sent photos and you have to feel for him. Imagine if TSHTF and that happened just before winter; no food storage for Tonto and his clan. It is another reason to have back-ups for your back-ups.

We rescued a rabbit last night. Poor thing got abandoned in a house in Toledo. It was left in a cage with no food or water. The floor of the cage was a solid mass of rabbit pellets and the poor creature had to sit on a wooden piece to stay out of the crap. Some people should not be allowed to have kids or animals until they show they can take care of themselves.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Doing Some Seedy Things

I have mentioned several times in the past about picking up different items at flea markets, gun shows, and garage sales. I find wandering a flea market to be a relaxing way to spend some time. I don’t feel a need to buy something every time I go and if I haggle over a price and can not get it for what I think is fair I walk away, not hard feelings.

I rarely go looking for a specific item, but I do read through my prep notebook before I do go just to put the items I am looking for fresh in my mind. About the only item I am always looking for is cheap ammo. I bought eighty rounds of .30-06 Remington rounds for five dollars a couple years ago. I do not even own a .30-06 rifle but figured I could trade them if nothing else. I buy any cheap ammo I find. I usually manage to find some shotgun shells for around a dime each if I bargain well.

I stopped at a flea market a short time back and picked up a box of seeds. The box had three hundred and thirty seed packets in it. I offered five bucks for it. All the seeds were from the year 2004, so there is a likelihood that some of them will not work, but out of 330 packets of seeds I should be able to grow enough for a few meals.

Of the 330 packages of seeds there was one package of flower seeds. Everything else was a vegetable. I found 33 different types of vegetables in the box. I put away one pack of everything for myself. I then went through the piles and took one of everything that was left and made three different bundles. I gave one bundle each to Tonto, Toolman and E. My neighbor, Carhartt Warrior picked out a bundle of the ones he wanted.

The rest of the packets will be put away and saved for barter next spring. Yeah, I know they are old seeds. I also know that most of the seeds I have planted over the years have all been from older stock. My folks would buy out old seeds every fall and we would use some each spring. Some of the stuff we used was a decade old and they produced well. I offered some to folks at work and only one person refused any seeds because they were “old”.

I do not know what the rate of germination will be, but even if it is only 25% I will have one hell of a crop.

Speaking of seeds I was talking to Blondie the other day and he mentioned that one of the guys he works with has a small garden of heirloom seeds going. Blondie made a deal to help with the garden for some of the food and some of the seeds they gather. I am going to mail him am article I have in the Survival Bible on how to save seeds so he can make sure they get good ones for next planting.

Being a prepper can sometimes mean having flexibility in shopping, storing, and looking for different ways to insure you have the supplies you may need. That including doing some “seedy” things from time to time.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stumbling Forward

What is the difference between survival and living? Come on, you know what I mean. You stay alive in both cases, but in one case you carry on some semblance of life. A debris shelter and a rabbit over a flint and steel fire is survival. A wood stove in your house with a meal cooking on it is living. Be honest with yourself. Which would you rather be doing after the balloon goes up? I for one do not want to be setting deadfalls if I can preplan ahead and buy traps and snares that work better. I have books on wild edible foods, but a garden would be better.

The old saying is that forewarned is fore armed. You are reading the prep blogs so you can have yourself better prepared for any future problems. It is important that you maintain a steady progress toward that magic point where you feel totally prepared. I personally doubt I will ever reach that point, but each week I get closer to it and feel better about my family’s chances.

A lot of e-mails and phone call were traded within our small group of preppers. The events of the Dow drop and the riots in London have made us step up our awareness. Tonto pulled the trigger on some planned purchases, Toolman came by and dropped off some “trade goods” and checked our supplies of defensive martial. E has kept us posted with some internet news articles from around the globe. My farm is one of several “fall back” locations for Tonto and Toolman. If things get beyond what they feel they can handle at their locations they are likely to show up here. All of these plans have been discussed already and everyone is kept in the loop. (E has a farm fall back location in Central Ohio waiting for him or he would be welcome too.)

While none of us feel we are totally prepared and ready we do know that with the help and support of each other we will weather the coming months, or we will band together and defend our supplies against all odds.

All of the talking, reading, planning, and prepping everyone has been doing is starting to look like “money in the bank” as it were. I hope that my fellow Michiganders are ready. Always remember that even when you stumble it is in a forward direction, so when all else fails, kept stumbling forward.


Friday, August 5, 2011


If you follow most any sport you will hear the coach or players say at some point that they are not playing well and that they need to get back to the basics. Everything that is successful is built on a strong foundation. Building a good preparedness plan needs to be built on the basics too.
What are the basics for survival? Listen to the Rules of Three and you will find that is pretty much the list, in order of what you need to do for preparedness. You can live three seconds without thinking, three minutes without air; you can survive three hours without shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food and three months without hope. There you go, a nice guideline.

Since you are reading this blog and hopefully others it is obvious that you are thinking and working on your survival, so you have that covered. I will also assume that you are not reading this underwater or in a vacuum and you have good air to breath. (If you are reading this on a computer powered by a running generator in an enclosed space refer back to number one.)

Why is shelter listed above food and water? Because the elements can kill you. The news this week has been about a number of folks that have died because of the massive heat wave sweeping the Midwest. We hear the same stories every winter too. Have a safe shelter is the highest priority in places like Michigan were the weather can affect you at both extremes.

Most of us have our home or apartment as our primary shelter. A tent stored away with camping supplies may be your back up for shelter. Whatever your future plans are, shelter in place, bug out, or pray for FEMA, make sure you include in your plan a way to shelter you and your loved ones from cold, wind, rain, and heat.

Water is essential for survival. Keeping hydrated is a key to personnel health and should be strived for. I live in Michigan and the state once bragged that in Michigan you are never more than eight miles from a lake, river, stream, or pond. Your home and bug out kit should have a good water filter so you can walk to one of those sources and drink to your hearts content. Plan ahead in your survival for several ways to filter and purify water.

Whether you have wheat to be ground, MREs, bags of rice, or Raman noodles, food storage is one of the prep items that gets a lot of attention. Over the long haul food will be the “make or break” item for a lot of preppers. If they do not have enough to bridge them until the system recovers or resets then they might become part of the Golden Hoard and be out looking for a meal. I am not sure what is the correct amount but feel that six to twelve months worth of storage can not be too far off.

Those are the basics. Once you start on the list you can fine tune it and add as you need to. Once you have your shelter plans you can add extra ways to heat it, you can plan for a generator or solar power, you can harden it against attack and a lot of other things, but first, you need the basics of a simple shelter. Preparedness has many levels. You can go into great depth or you can keep it simple. Regardless of where you take it, for a good preparedness foundation you need to start with the basics.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Best Defense

The Outdoor Channel has a lot of interesting shows on it. Hunting is a part of a lot of preparedness planning and you can learn a lot about hunting from The Outdoor Channel. One show they have might surprise the preparedness minded community too, they have a show on preparedness!

The Best Defense is hosted by Michael Bane and over the last couple of years they have moved the show to survival/preparedness segments. Water filtration, food storage, defensive shooting, weapon choices and bugging out have all been topics covered.

The show is run several different time slots on Wednesdays. If your cable system offers The Outdoor Channel I recommend you check out a few of the shows and see if you don’t want to add watching The Best Defense you your list of prepping options.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Survival Questions

Survival Questions

Has anyone ever heard of Bright Fuel? I made some phone calls last week looking for white gas. One place told me they sell Bright Fuel to the Amish in the area instead of white gas. It works the same according to the guy on the phone. $4.65 a gallon, which is way cheaper than the $9.95 a gallon for Coleman fuel. The drawback for me is that it is half a state away and the smallest unit I can buy is 55 gallon drum. Based on the figures I have been able to come up with, my guess is that 25-30 gallons will last around a year for my family. It would be nice to have a 55 gallon barrel for trade and charity, but it also makes my family a target for those that want what I have stored so they don’t have to pay for it. Next time I am at my retreat/cabin I will ask the Amish in the area where they buy there white gas. I should just e-mail them…

I read a short blurb in the Parade Magazine about life in Zimbabwe. One of the “rules” that was passed by the dictator was that no one was allowed to plant a garden. It was felt that a garden would hurt the economy since you would be buying less food. In that country $4 US will get you 10 million dollar notes. You have to wonder several things at this point. If they passed that rule here, how would you hide a garden? Pot growers might be able to give some ideas here. How would that rule effect your survival plans if it was against the law to garden?

We all know we all read almost all the same blogs and magazines. Face it; we all see the same names mentioned in the comments. It is great we are a “close” community. Have you noticed that some/many of the sites have come up with different ways to produce food post SHTF? They are all good ideas too. Everything from smelt fishing, dumpster diving, hunting, trapping, gardening, and learning to live off the land. With so many different ways it just might be that we might not keep bumping into each other while getting the food we need.

Have you priced gas cans lately? I was in one of the big box stores the other day and saw that 5 gallon cans have jumped up to near $15 each. I asked the guy behind the counter why and he told me that it was because of the new law in California. The new cans are “spill proof”. A buddy of mine told me with the new push down nozzles that people are spilling more gas and bending tanks and equipment trying to fill them. When I told the guy behind the counter I was glad I had a bunch of the old gas he told me to “hold on to them, they are like gold”. I had been buying them at garage sales and flea markets over the last few years, cleaning them up and filling them. My gas storage is not near what I want, but at least I will be able to pour it into my truck or tractor as needed.

Am I the only one, or do you too have the feeling that the S hitting the Fan fluctuates? There are times I feel that I have mere days before something in going to bust loose and then things settle down and the S seems awhile away. I still am trying to get my priorities squared away as soon as I can so it will not matter, but I am sometimes surprised that the stress ebbs and flows.

This question comes up every time there is a spike in the price of gold and silver. Is it better to sell off junk/scrap gold and silver with the prices high and turn that cash into survival needs like food and ammo? I read some place that it is the junk stuff that barters best in a collapse. As much as I would like to take all the bracelets bent rings and other precious metal items and turn them into a pile of Mountain House food or cans of ammo, I wonder if I am better served having small trade/barter units of precious metals?

I did an experiment the other week. I sent my brother in law an e-mail giving him a SHTF scenario and asked him to list what items he would grab from his house if he had to bug out of town and come live with us at the farm. My brother in law is not totally survival minded, but he is not against the idea of having some plans either. I figure my brother in law is one of the people that will show up post SHTF. Giving him this exercise will open his mind a little and give me a chance to send him a priority list of stuff to bring, just in case. This might be a way to get your “maybe show up” people to start thinking about what to bring instead of just showing up. Tell them you are working on an article for the web so they will respond.

I just want to throw these out there and see if I can get some help puzzling them out.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Duplicate Supplies

How and why we have seconds, thirds and more of supplies is sometimes a mystery. I mentioned a few entries ago that I had a shovel and matches in every out building. I did not go out and buy three or four shovels and purchase a load of matches just have one hand. Those items grew slowly over the years. One of the shovels I have has a broken handle. It was being used to pry on a rock or stump and the handle cracked. My father glued it back in place and then wrapper the handle with some wire to strengthen the crack. As long as we only use it in the field were having looser soil to work that shovel works fine. The other shovels have arrived on the farm from various sources. I think one came home from a farm auction as part of a group of stuff my Mom bought. Another came from my Grandfather’s place after he passed away.

The Special Forces teach the philosophy that “two is one and one is none”. Having back-ups are important in most aspects of life. When we find ourselves in that future SHTF situation having extras of any supply might turn out to be a life saver. I might be able to trade extras for items I didn’t think I might need.

I am not suggesting that as a prepper you need to have duplicates of everything nor am I suggesting that you go out and start buying double of items. What I am saying that if life presents you with a second of an item at a good price, or better yet, free, it doesn’t hurt to put it away. I for one am a big proponent of duplicate supplies.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Will Handle It

I am not general known to write long foul-mouthed rants. Just don’t think they really get the full message across. However, a couple of things have converged to make me want to symbolically take pen to paper and express a concern.

I went to Detroit Metro Airport the other night to pick my youngest son up. Blondie, as he is known in my circle of friends. He is an Infantry officer in the Army. He was home for a few days before he starts a three year billet far from home.

Anyway, as I was waiting for him to grab is duffles and head for the truck a guy in a newer SUV pulled up in front of me and jumped out. As he headed into the terminal I saw his back up lights on. Crap! I sure didn’t want his empty car backing into me but I couldn’t get is attention. Traffic was jammed three deep around us and I couldn’t move. I was trapped!

Trying to decide what to do left me with no more option then I had already thought through. What I did notice was that the back up lights went out, as did all the lights on the car. Double crap! Another one of those new fangled safety things. I hate those #^(*!@%$ things.

I will no longer tell someone their lights have been left on in the car. I am tired of being laughed at with, “Oh those will go out later, IT”S a NEW car”. I saw a car up at Houghton Lake earlier this year with the lights on and they looked like they were dimming but I was dammed if I was saying anything.

Another thing I do not need or want on my truck is having to stomp on the brake to put it in park. Do not let your kids play in the vehicle, how hard it that? I also want my lights out when I turn them off and on when I want then on. I am very capable of deciding that all by myself. I did it for years and didn’t smack something in the dark because I forgot to turn on the lights or have problems walking to the door in the dark and getting in the house. Make it an option for those timid souls that afraid of the dark. Also, I will lock the #^(*!@% doors if I want, I do not want the car doing it when I put it in drive. And that seat belt alarm bell, cram that up someone’s…well you know.

Since my wife doesn’t often read this blog I can admit this out loud, I am a control freak and hell yes that means controlling my lights and driving too. I have great confidence in Wolverine. He has always done well and trusts his gut. My gut tells me now that all this safety stuff is going to make us more enslaved later on. I think I would much prefer to rebuild an old 1960s pick-up and not have all the new safety $#!+ on it. Yeah, before you ask, I hate seat belts too. Actually, when I was younger, like in my teens and twenties I always wore my seatbelt. Once they made shoulder straps mandatory I rebelled and said hell no! Yes, I have gotten seat belt tickets and still refuse to kowtow to some government that insists IT knows more about my safety than I do. I am alive today because I wasn’t wearing a seat belt, twice! I will take care of Wolverine thank you very much.

Part of what started this rant is a commercial from some TV show that asked what I would do if I saw someone doing this bad thing. My answer is not a damn thing; I do not want to get sued. Why would they purposely put people in a position to have to act? If they did that to me it would be my last effort to jump in and help anyone. I hate bullcrap and that is what that is. Makes me wonder if the guy in Toledo a few weeks ago that jumped in front of the car trying to escape after the passenger hit someone and got dragged to his death was trying to do the right thing or get on TV. (Just a rant, he did the right thing and died for it, a tragic shame.)

I am one of those people that wants to keep control of things in his life. I do not turn things over to others to handle, period. I do not use electronic banking and do not own a debit card of ATM card. I go to the bank when it is open. If I screw up and miss getting my money, MY FAULT! I don’t need or want twenty four hour access to my money. A lot of preppers are that self-reliant kind of folk that understand my rant and just might feel the same way. We need to start telling the people in government that are trying to help us to butt out, we will handle it. As for me, I will handle my problems and safety, I trust me so much more than others.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Alert Today Alive Tomorrow

I was flipping through the channels looking for a good western the other day and I spotted this movie listed. The title caught my attention so I looked at the guide and found that this was a Civil Defense (CD) movie made in 1956. The main crux of the movie was to get the people fired up to volunteer for either the CD or Red Cross so they would be ready to help out when the H bomb hit.

I watched it twice, missing a lot the first time through. Like I missed the part about “pressing into service” any one of several items that the government might need to use. Ham radios were one of the items mentioned. I hear confiscated when they say pressed into service.

The film was shot in Reading, Pennsylvania and showed some of the locals going through various phases of training. First Aid was pushed. The projected figures from the film stated they wanted 3000 people out of every one hundred thousand trained competently in FA. They were training motor bike clubs to be messengers and Auxiliary Police. Fire suppression was also a big concern; the most civilian casualties in WW2 came from fires caused by bombing.

Most of what the film covered was a lot of the same items covered in the modern CERT classes. When I lived in the city I took CERT and later became a CERT instructor. It is good training and helps you stay more self-reliant in the event of a catastrophe.

Jay Bonafield produced the film for the RKO-Pathe company and it was only a little over a half hour long. If it shows back up on your Turner Classic Movies you might want to watch it and see how far prepping has progresses since 1956. I originally thought it might have bomb shelter building and that sort of stuff but still it was interesting to see some of the roots of making some of us more prepared.


Friday, June 24, 2011

The Travel Trailer as a Retreat

Like so many folks did, I bought a copy of M.D. Creekmore’s book, Dirt Cheap Survival, One Man’s Solution. I read it and loaned it to Tonto to read. I had intended to write a review a few weeks ago but put it off. I really doubt that any review I do on the book would be much different then any of the others you might have already read.

I was discussing the book with a friend of mine that lives in Missouri. He is also a writer of outdoor and survival articles. I mailed my copy to him to read and also mailed my old copy of Brian Kelling’s Travel-Trailer Homesteading Under $5,000.

Both books tell how the authors converted a travel trailer into their main living quarters. They have a similar approach to wanting to live frugally and not have the monthly expenses that drag most of us down.

Creekmore’s book has a little more detail on the power system he uses to live off grid. Kelling installed his own septic system and Creekmore uses a composting toilet system. Kelling has to haul water and pump it while Creekmore has a spring for his supply, but still has to pump it. Between the two books you can get a good idea on it what it would take to make a travel trailer your permanent home as a retreat.

Tonto, Toolman, and my sons all have had numerous discussions on my place as a retreat. There are a ton of pluses for moving to the cabin if TSHTF, and a few negatives as well. We take a generator up for deer season and use it to heat the cabin but most of the time the cabin is an “electric free zone”. The big drawback to my trailer as a retreat is that without power it is very hard to heat the place. It is fine for eight months out of the year but we need power to run the furnace or we freeze during hunting season. We have looked into wood stoves and other sources of heat but the trailer just doesn’t have the room for anything other than what is there.

Kelling wrote his book based on his place in the desert while Creekmore is snug in the hills of Tennessee. You would need a little from each book to make a travel trailer retreat in Michigan. If nothing more than allowing your mind to have an academic debate about living in a trailer for survival I suggest you read either of the two books, or better yet, both.


This is the original article I did when I got my travel trailer placed up north. This was originally on Jim Dakin's Bison Survival Blog 6 April 2008

A Survival Retreat for Under $1000

Call it a survival retreat, hunting cabin, or summer cottage, a place away from the crowds and turmoil of the cities is a dream most of us share. Some folks plan out a survival retreat in such detail that long-term storage, over lapping fields of fire, and fuel supplies are worked out. Others, like myself, approach it as a vacation spot that can be readily converted if need be to an alternate living location.

Back in the late 1960s my family had a small two-room cottage on a lake in northern Michigan. The cottage had no electricity, no running water, or no heat. What it did have is nostalgically called a “bath with a path.”

This cottage did however provide what we needed. A few steps from the back door was a pump with clean, clear, cool water. All that was needed was a strong arm and a few minutes to fill the bucket. Cool summer nights were warmed by the glow of the fuel oil lantern that was hung over the dinner table. This lantern produced enough light to fill the cottage and allow card games to be played well past a normal bedtime. The heat from the lantern warmed the place and fuel was cheap. Dinners were usually planned around the nightly campfire, but the old propane stove would serve if needed.

During those periods of time that my father was laid off from work we would spend a week or two stretch of time at the cottage. Living was easy and cheap. Fish from the lake provided many meals and nuts and berries from the woods around the place were gathered and baked into pies. Fall small game season produced meat and poultry in the form of rabbits, squirrels, pheasants and grouse. My Dad and I talked often about living up at the cottage if the world went to hell in a hand basket.

After high school and moving into the world of college and working, my trips to the cottage were few and far between. Usually they were only to go up and help Dad secure the place from the last break in that occurred. Sadly, I let the cottage fall into neglect and vandals took care of the rest. Broken doors and windows let the weather in and after a few years the cottage became uninhabitable.

Mom kept the land after Dad’s passing and I started taking my sons there for a few weekend camping trips. Soon the idea of getting the cottage back in shape was talked about, but the northern winters did a good job of making the place beyond repair. With the approach of Y2K and talk of chaos renewed my thoughts of a survival treat. I discussed this with some buddies of mine and ideas of small barns to large military tents were discussed. Like the old saying about when all is said and done, there is more said than done, Y2K came and went and still nothing was done about the cottage.

One of the guys that I had discussed the ideas of a cabin in the woods with called one fall afternoon and suggested that I drive out to his campground and look at a travel trailer that they were giving away. Giving away, free for nothing, giving away? Yup, just make sure it is gone before Halloween.

My youngest son and I drove out and looked at the place. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Although it was a 1955 travel trailer, the interior was clean and bright. The wood finish on the walls was unstained and the place showed signs of good upkeep. I drove home and talked the idea over with my wife and my Mom. The wife had to agree for us to take it, and my Mom had to let us put it on the lake. Both agreed, and my sons and I started planning on getting it up north.

My wife and I agreed that a budget of $500 was all right to spend. We knew that we couldn’t build a lawn barn to use up there for that much money.

Calls to find a mover to haul it north for us were made. Prices ranged from $700 to over $3000. I was taken aback by this and did a total rethink. The guy that helped us find the trailer to begin with suggested I try the guy that moved his out to the campground he was at. That turned out to be a cold trail, but I did find a company in Indiana that was willing to do it for around $200, PROVIDING, I put new tires on it so that it would be pretty much guaranteed to make the trip.

They no longer make the same size tires for travel trailers that they made in 1955. After countless phone calls to any kind of a place I could think of I was referred to a place that dealt with a lot of farm equipment. They informed me that the size I wanted was no longer made but they did have a cross-reference tire that should work just fine. $135 later a pair of the tires were mine. The bad news was I needed them put on the rims and the rims were still on the trailer, 60 miles away. Several more phone calls to repair stores and a place was found that would put them on at the site, but the cost would be around $200.

Getting the tires on proved easier than anyone led me to believe. Even though they were old fashion split rims, the job took just under an hour and the cost was around $170. This put the cost of moving the retreat at the $500 level we had agreed would be reasonable for our budget. I was very pleased and at 11:30 in the morning I left the north central Ohio campground headed for northwestern Michigan.

Thankfully the trip was uneventful. Ben, the very nice driver that the transport company assigned to the job did an outstanding job of getting the trailer to the lake and spotting it where I wanted it. We had to chop out a couple of small trees to get it parked in the sheltered area I wanted, but the job went easy and we were done before darkness set in. The last act of the night was to finish putting the lock and hasp on the door of the trailer before I headed north to my friends cabin for the night. I figured it was easier to drive a little farther north and stay at a buddy’s cabin than make the long drive home.

Mediterranean, Southwestern, early American and assorted other styles of furniture are discussed in the finest design magazines. We settled on what my sister termed “early garage sale.” The propane stove came from a travel trailer that was being scraped out. The chairs for the kitchen table came from the roadside garbage pickup in the neighborhood. The table was a gift from my sister’s basement. Some pots and pans and silverware came from the local Goodwill store. Two sets of bunk beds came from a buddy in the Reserves that worked for a college that was recycling the bunks they had in dorms. The picture pump for the well came in trade for some home repairs done for a neighbor down the street. All in all the cost of the retreat was under $600. Some expenses that will be incurred soon: a new coating on the roof to insure it stays water-resistant and plywood shutters to secure the windows during our absences.

We now have a three-season retreat that allows us to fish, swim, hike, and hunt in the outdoors. We can practice our survival skills, such as fire building and outdoors cooking, and not look like we are doing much more than having a family campout.

We are away from crowds and turmoil of the city. Our friends and family think of it as our “vacation” home, but we know that in a time of crisis we have a survival retreat to go to, and under $1000 cost.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Doing No Harm

I read around a half dozen prepper blog sites every day and during the week I catch up on a little over a dozen regularly. Each offers something for me or I wouldn’t read them. Sometimes it only makes me think a little. Everyone has their own motivation for reading the blogs. Sometimes two separate postings will mesh to really make my mind work. Such is the case of a couple of recent postings by Commander Zero and Natog.

Notes from the Bunker is Commander Zero’s site. CZ asked the question about “what if…” you had all your supplies, and the world never went to hell? Thirty or forty or more years from now you can buy all the food, gas, and ammunition you want. In other words, the whole prepping thing turns out to be a bust.

Natog over at TEOTWAWKIAIFF also wrote a post about the dualaility (sp?) of prepping for the future and living in the here and now. Natog preps for the bad things he thinks are headed this way, but also has to keep up current training and certifications for his job to maintain his income. Frankly, that is a valid concern and something that needs to be addressed. Face it; your personnel survival is dependent on a steady income.

Being that I have gray hair and am long in the tooth as it were this is not the first time this subject has come up. I can not remember if it was Howard Ruff or Harry Browne that first wrote about it, and I am not going to dig through my old stuff to look it up to be sure, but back in the 1970s the answer was simple. If nothing happens then you go ahead and drink your stored water, eat the food and use the supplies. Think of the money you will save by not buying food for a year or so.

I know there are those that think only yuppies can prep correctly and there is a camp that figures anyone that has two silver rounds to rub together is an upper crust survivalist. The truth is that most of the preppers I know get up every day and go to work and hope to make enough money every week to stay ahead on the bills and add to the supplies so that if TS does indeed HTF they can protect their family. For them it is the same as making the car insurance payment or the house insurance or any of those other things we do to protect our family.

Like Natog I have to go through annual training to keep my job. Frankly, some of it is a pain in the ass. We live in the here and now. We work now, not in the future. We need to do those things that keep us employed and if that means taking a certification class or going to training then we do it. Losing your job is a personal SHTF situation as several preppers I know have experienced, Right MBitM?

My wife and I are approaching retirement. While we look forward to having more time to pursue things we have talked about for years we also have to balance that against the bills we need to cover each month and the items we will use up and we can not replace. There are no easy choices in prepping if you choose to do that as part of your lifestyle. All you can hope for is to make those choices that do no harm.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Surviving a Hostile City, a Review

Tonto and I went to a gunshow a few weeks back and ran into one of the authors of Surviving a Hostile City, Book 1. Retired SF Sergeant Major, Kent Alwood is the author, along with Lorna Dare. We talked with Mr. Alwood for a few minutes. He has several books geared solely for prepping to survive in the city. Each approaches aspects of sheltering in place while in a large town.

The book has twenty chapters covering a lot of the normal concerns that come with sheltering in place in a big city. Alwood covers food, water, medical needs, MAGs (Mutual Assistance Groups), hunting & trapping, and Gangs to mention a few. There are a couple of chapters that may cause the faint of heart to have convulsions. One such is on animals in survival. Very few people would look at the neighbor’s poodle as a future meal. Alwood simply mentions that and others as a possibility. In other parts of the world dogs and cats are “ranch animals” to some extent. I extreme conditions you might surprise yourself on what passes for a meal.

Another chapter that will more than raise eyebrows is his chapter on cannibalism. He gives a fairly straight forward thought on the prospects of eating fellow humans to stay alive. He is not some Jeffery Dahmer or Alfred Packer that eats others for some psychotic reason but rather states that it might be the only source of food left to keep you alive. He also states that if you do resort to cannibalism you are most likely as good as dead yourself since you have to be at your lowest ebb to turn to eating another human.

I like the approach that Alwood has taken in his book. His “I live in a city and I am going to stay and survive here” approach gives you a lot of the meat you need to put together just such a survival plan. Since my preparedness plans revolve around sheltering in place at the farm I have used many of the same ideas Alwood presents in the book.

One drawback to the book is that he has broken a lot of the chapters down into other volumes he plans to bring out in the future. His book might have been a little better if he had added more to this volume and put more knowledge into one book.


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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Keeping deer from eating your garden

 Keeping deer from eating your garden
 by Hunter

Over the years I have had to deal with deer eatting my gardens and have come up with some ways of at least making it not worth their while. A few of the things that I have used are as follows.

1) Eggs and dish soap. I put three or four eggs in a blender with some dish soap once mixed I add to a watering can with the rest filled with water. Then I cover the pole beans that are growing on my fencing. If I keep up with this every week or more if heavy rains and watering I find that the deer will leave them alone. I have also used this methode in open gardens and have had simular resaults. works well on bunnies and bugs to.

2) mouse traps and peanut butter. Take a dozen or so mouse traps and drill holes to run a wire through and hand them about two feet off the ground. deer love peanut butter but are not to fond of the mouse traps hitting their nose. The same idea can be used with an electric fence by smearing the peanut butter on the wire for the deer to lick off.

3) fencing, I have used the high 6ft fence with good resaults

4) deer follow trails at least to get into your garden area, if you remove as many theings that the deer nibble on around the edges and use tactics around the boarder of your land in will help reduce the number of deer that cross your land. Trim lower limbs that deer eat on and find cover in. If you have dogs use there droppings up and down the trails the deer have been using to get onto your land. supply the deer with something they like that draws them away from your garden area. Create obsticals.

5) Motion activated lights and radio. It is nice to have the lights turn on and a radio play when you are enjoying the garden in the evening hours but with it on a motion activated system the deer will be surprised. To set this up get a two light motion activated light unit and one screw in outlet to plug in a radio ot tape player.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fire and Water

Fire and Water

The people of Monroe have been under a boil advisory for a few days now. Apparently there are some bacteria in the water and it needs to be boiled before it can be used. I am sure that a week or so ago very few people in Monroe thought much about their water. They just walked over to the tap and drew a glass full and drank it, no fuss no muss. The same can most likely be side for the folks in the Midwest. One day they had homes and jobs and family and the next an F-5 tornado took everything. Now the survivors have to boil water to drink and they are without power and resources to do that in a lot of cases.

How about you? Have you thought about what you will do for emergency drinking water? With all the rain we have had here in Michigan the last few weeks the ditches are full and there is a lot of standing water, but it has to be treated before it is safe to use. Does your BOB have a water filter in it, or tables, or just matches for a fire? Water ranks high on the list of human needs so make sure you are putting some thought into how you will prepare you and your family for this life giving item.

I made a great find the other day. I walked in an out of the way store and happened to spot a pile of Strike Anywhere matches on the shelf. The three pack bundles were marked three dollars each. I broke out a twenty and took the whole lot. Strike Anywhere matches are harder to find now. Most everything in kitchen matches are the new Strike on the Box kind.

I transferred the boxes of matches into several large glass jars I had in the barn so they are now sealed in a dry enclosure to insure they will stay working for years to come. One other note on matches. When I hit the rummage sale where I bought the crosscut saw I also picked up a coffee can full of box matches for a dollar. I put some of those in several locations around the farm so I would have matches close at hand if needed. A dozen book matches in a jar with a lid can turn out to be very handy. I have some in the barn, the outbuildings, the garage and the basement. I feel that is one of those low cost prep items that can prove to be a life saver under the right conditions.

You need to make sure that the basics are covered in your preps, so start with two of the most important basics, fire and water.


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Sunday, May 29, 2011

When Is An Emergency Big Enough To Use Supplies?

I just experienced one of those things that leaves you in total awe of how some people think. Now I do not know about you but hate people that can not think for themselves and parrot a company policy as their reason for not thinking. Even though most people do not think so even the military wants its enlisted folks to think and operate with independence when it is needed. Not so the managers of such stores as Big Lot’s. Let me set this up for you.

The wife wanted to run down to the store for some stuff she forgot to pick up shopping. I wanted to stop at Big Lot’s for a couple of items they carry that are close to two bucks cheaper than anywhere else so I rode along with her. We got our items and were standing at the check out when someone came in the store stating that a car was on fire in the parking lot. The car on fire was parked up by the front of the building, maybe eight feet away at most.

Some facts where quickly established, i.e. the people in the car were out and safe and 9-11 had been called. The cashier looked out the window and came back and grabbed the microphone and announced that a red car next to the one on fire should be moved. A couple minutes later an older woman came running up and looked to see if it was her red car. It was. She started screaming at the cashier for not making the announcement right away. Well lady, the cashier made it as soon as she discovered the problem. Older Woman ran out and jumped in her car and moved it, right in front of the door to the store. Mind you she could have moved it out away from the danger zone but she decided that she needed to park right by the door for her quick escape later? Older Woman then came running back in the store bitching like crazy she had left her purse in the store and it was probably stolen. I told her we had been watching it for her and it was safe.

While Older Woman was moving her car someone asked the store manager for a fire extinguisher. Store mangers response was, “It is against store policy to use fire extinguishers.”

WTF! I couldn’t believe my ears. A guy stepped up and said he was a fireman and if they would give him one he would put out the fire. Again the policy was stated.

Like I said, I hate that kind of mentality. I stated out loud to no one in particular but really for the manager, “It cost less than $20 to fill an extinguisher and hundreds of dollars to repair smoke and fire damage.”

Some young kid walked up and handed the fireman an extinguisher. The manager started to say no but stopped and the fireman walked out with it. Just as he reached the door a loud boom was heard from the car and the flames leaped higher.

By this time my wife and I had managed to get everything checked out and paid for so we got out of there. By this time most people in the store had run up to the front and when they heard the explosion they bolted for the parking lot and were leaving. The Fire Department was arriving as the wife and I left.

Had quick action been taken more than likely the car fire would have been minimal and surely no explosion would have occurred. The explosion was not large in terms of throwing fire and debris around, but enough to make the fireman stop approaching and using the extinguisher.

Several years ago my oldest son was driving his brother’s truck and it caught on fire after some road debris was picked up when he drove over it and caused something to spark under the hood. He whipped the truck into a parking lot, sprinted into the building and grabbed an extinguisher and went out and put out the fire. He did not ask if it was policy or not, he acted and saved the truck. I stopped the next day to pay them for the use of it and they waved us off stating they were glad it was there and it helped. That is how someone should react to an emergency. They did not worry about policy but rather results. They were genuinely pleased that my son and the truck were safe.

Part of my job at work is to check the fire extinguishers monthly and hold the safety drills. Maybe because of that I am closer to the value of having those items handy. In my life I have used fire extinguishers several times to put out a small fire that was soon to be a big out of control fire. Those things save lives and property.

As an aside I hope that your preps include a good quality fire extinguisher and not one of those Kidde ones that has plastic values. I bought good metal reconditioned ones from the company that does ours at work. Like I said earlier, a $20 refill is a lot cheaper than building a new home. To steal the tag line from Riverwalker, “Got fire extinguishers?”

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