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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Price of Procrastination

Last summer
my work partner and I stopped at a Mexican specialty market that had a small
restaurant in the back. We ordered our lunch and walked around the store
checking out all the imported items. I spotted a bottle of coconut oil for
cooking. I have heard that the US no longer allows the sale of coconut oil
because of the high fat content, but that it is really some of the best oil for
certain items to be cooked in to give them good flavor. I decided to go back to
the store and buy a bottle for my supplies.
We got our
lunch and after it was set in front of us we realized this was no Taco Bell.
This was true south of the boarder fare. It was ok, but not to our taste for a
lot of repeat business. We left and I forgot to grab the oil.
Fast forward
six months. My partner retired from work and I am off with my shoulder surgery.
I had to see the doctor today and run several errands. One of those errands
took me by the Mexican store. I went in a looked all over for the oil. I could
not find it anywhere so I finally asked a clerk. Sorry, they no longer sell
coconut oil was the answer. I screwed around and missed my chance to buy
something I know I could use with my survival supplies.
How many
times have you done that? You see a box of cheap ammo, a good set of tools, or
maybe you just keep putting off filling those gas cans for a cheaper price? We
all find it easy to delay certain things and spending money is one thing that
is easy to delay. I could make a long list of things I have delayed over the
last few years.
If we hope
to have ourselves well prepared for those possible events coming on the horizon
we need to make sure we don’t keep putting off important item acquisitions.
Make that list of items you need and carry it with you in a small notebook. If
you spot an items and cannot buy it right then write down the store and
location so you do not forget where you can find it again.
Being prepared
is an everyday chore. It doesn’t have to be drudgery, it just takes small
amounts of action on your part to stay ahead of the curve and not pay the price
of procrastination.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Old Tractor

When I was
growing up on the farm my Dad worked in the factory and farmed the acreage. He
got laid off more than he worked in the factory. It seemed like he spent a lot
of time in the fields. Dad had bought a used 1939 Allis- Chalmers WC to work
with right after he and Mom married. It was about the perfect size for our
The tractor
pulled our two bottom plow, set of disc, our drag, had a set of cultivators
that mounted to the tractor, a belt drive wheel that ran a large circular saw
and the neatest little air compressor that mounted near the hitch for blowing
up tires and such. Dad could do about anything with that tractor. He pulled
stumps and brush, hauled wagon loads of stuff around and would borrow Uncle
Bill’s combine to harvest crops. Growing up my sister and I always figured Dad
was a super hero and his super power was common sense. He had that practical
farmers approach to solving problems.
After Dad
got the millwrights job in the city and work became steady he stopped farming.
I wasn’t smart enough or ambitious enough to take over and farm so we shared
the land out. Later on Toolman and I tore apart most of the equipment and sold
it for scarp. The old tractor got sold at auction after the folks died and that
was the end of the farming for us. We still rent the land out and I became a
“gentleman” farmer.
I wish I
had kept all of it. That ’39 tractor would work even after an EMP. The
equipment would let me farm the place by myself after TEOTWAWKI and let me haul
wood up to the house and cut it with that saw. We might have to harvest by hand
and toss the corn into the wagon, but we could harvest none the less.
I have been
seeing some shows on RFD TV about old tractors and it sure makes me wish I had
been smart enough to farm this place has a kid and kept the equipment instead
of selling it. Talk about 20/20 hindsight, I sure can see clearly now.
Warrior has a nice tractor and will help me out any time I need to use one, so
it isn’t that critical right now that I acquire a tractor, but I can see how
having an older model tractor with some minimal equipment sure would be handy
for any prepper with enough land to justify owning one.
Would I
trade a couple of $20 gold pieces for one right now? No, but see me after the
balloon goes up and that might change. Until then I will use my garden tractor
for small chores around here and use other means to harvest wood, till the
garden, and do my chores. If I ever have opportunity and preparedness come
together I might pick up an old tractor. If any of you have any experiences
with them to share feel free to drop me a comment.
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Sunday, January 15, 2012

An Outrageous Charge

Last summer I stopped at a church rummage sale
and found a one man cross cut saw for sale there. They wanted ten dollars for
it which I thought was a great deal, a new saw like that would cost over $175.
The saw I bought had a broken D handle, but I figured I could make a new one or
trade it off with another handle from a saw I had.
The other
night I was going through a couple of back issues of Countryside magazine when
I spotted an ad for a company called Crosscut Saw Co. out of Seneca, New York.
I checked out the website and lo and behold I found they had D handles for
sale. The cost was $18.50, almost twice what I paid for the saw, but even at
that I figured it was a good price. I also found they had a manual on their
website on the use and sharpening of crosscut saws. The manual was only $4, so
for $22.50 I could get my saw fixed and sharpen it. I really like the idea of
having a saw I can use that will make far less noise than the chain saws I
I printed
out the order form and filled out the top part and then went to the bottom and
filled in the shipping cost part. I could not believe what I was reading. The
cost to ship my two items from New York to Michigan was going to be $24, more
than the cost of the items.
I triple
checked everything and sure enough, that is the cost. I even thought about just
ordering the manual but the $4 manual would cost just under $10 to ship. Not
only no but No #^@(& Way!
I went on
line and found several sites that explain how to set and sharpen a crosscut
saw. I am not sure the cost per page of printing out a dozen or so pages, but I
will bet it is a hell of a lot less than the $13.50 it would cost to order the
manual alone. My Survival Bible just got thicker with more information I want
to have in case we go grid down and I cannot look something up on-line.
folks, how can anyone send that kind of money for items like that? I ship large
boxes to both my sons in the service and they do not cost that much. I would
order the manual for say an extra two bucks for US mail cost and that would
more than cover it. The handle in a puffy envelope wouldn’t be more than three
or four dollars postage. Screw Crosscut Saw Co.! I will make my own handle. I
will find another way to learn to sharpen my saw. I will save myself fifty
bucks too.
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Eat Like a Wild Animal

I mentioned last post about Dick Proennke and his living in Alaska for most of his later
life. Like so many folks that spend time in nature he made a lot of
observations. I found the following quote most interesting.

“…this business of fishing can turn serious pretty quick when a man is hungry.
I have learned something from the big game animals. Their food is pretty much the
same day to day and I don’t vary my fare too much either.
Food is fuel and the best fuel I have found is oatmeal, beans, and fresh fish, and a
caribou or porcupine stew once in a while. I just season simple food with hunger and I have never felt better in my life.”

While he has a vast area to hunt and fish in that no other human hunts and fishes he
makes a good point about survival eating. Based on what he talks about we could
store a large amount of oatmeal and beans and have most of the meals he talks
about. Imagine not having to store seventeen different five gallons buckets of
food to get by on when hunger will make the two different flavors taste mighty
fine. Who needs freeze dried cobbler and potato flakes? Sounds good doesn’t it?
One minor problem. If you watch the two movies you will see him prepare numerous meals.
Shortly after he makes that observation in the second film he shows his meal,
flap jacks and blueberries with some kind of syrup. He plants a garden with
onions, carrots, and potatoes. Now I realize those are the types of veggies you
would put in a stew, but while he says simple fare he has more than just
simple. He also talked about bush pilots visiting and dropping off supplies and
cookies along with letters. Several times he shows making his sour dough
biscuits too.
Reality seems to be that we do need a bit more than just the basics for a well and
nutritious life. Add to that the rigors of a wilderness lifestyle and maybe
those seventeen different buckets of food are just the ticket.
While it sound good to run into the woods if
the balloon goes up the reality is that you need more that you can carry unless
you truly plan to eat like a wild animal.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Personal note. I am able to use my arm and write on
the computer a lot earlier than I figured I would be able to. I still will have
a lot of re-hab to do before I can return to normal activities, but I already
feel I am on the road to recovery

Individual or Team Work?

My son called
and told me about the second part of a movie that was going to be on so I taped
it. I got a chance to watch Alone in the Wilderness Part Two while I am home recovering.
If you are not familiar with the Alone in the Wilderness movies, they are
documentaries about Richard Proennke (1911-2003). In the late 1960s Dick
Proennke moved to an area called Twin Lakes in Alaska and started living as
many of us have dreamed of doing. He built his own 11X14 log cabin and a cache
house and lived on his own for nearly 30 years.
Dick wrote
and filmed his daily life in Alaska. He hunted meat, raised a garden, cut
firewood, made nearly everything he used in and around his cabin, and was very
self-sufficient. Unlike Henry David Thoreau, Proennke lived a very deliberate
life for many years. For any preppers that feel retreating to the woods and
living there is something they want to do I suggest that you watch the two
movies and read his book. There are a lot of good things he can teach us.
In the second movie Proennke makes the
following observation:
“I don’t think a man knows what he
actually can do until he is challenged. I do

think man has missed the deep feeling of satisfaction if he has never
created something

or at least completed something with his own two hands.
We have grown accustomed to working
on pieces and parts of things instead of taking

things to completion. The emphasis seems to be on team work.
Now I realize that man working together
can perform miracles, such as sending a man to

walk on the surface of the moon, and there is definitely a need and a
place for teamwork. I

would be the last to argue that point.
We need each other, but never the
less in a jamb the best friend you have is yourself.”
What I read
into that is that while Mutual Aid Groups and a team for support is ok, you
need to make sure that you can stand on your own as well. That is why acquiring
so many different skills is emphasized on so many of the blogs. How many times
have you seen the quote: “A human being should be able to change
a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building,
write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying,
take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new
problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight
efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” — Robert A.
Heinlein. There is something to that.
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