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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Product of the Day

The Foxfire Book: Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing, Moonshining

A great collection to add to your library. I'm slowing buying them myself.

In the late 1960s, Eliot Wigginton and his students created the magazine Foxfire in an effort to record and preserve the traditional folk culture of the Southern Appalachians. This is the original book compilation of Foxfire material which introduces Aunt Arie and her contemporaries and includes log cabin building, hog dressing, snake lore, mountain crafts and food, and "other affairs of plain living."

Quote of the Day

Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.
Andrew Grove

Food Storage Basics

Before you think about anything else you should stock up on food and water. A few weeks worth of extra food in the pantry will get you through almost anything. The average person needs around 2000 calories per day to sustain themselves. Less than that and you can count on being hungry. Even with a 2000 calorie diet you can die or be seriously affected by malnutrition if you're not getting the proper nutrients. That will take a really long time, though. If things get to that point then you'll have more important things to worry about. Just make sure that you stock food that everyone in your household will eat. It doesn't do you any good to have a case of spam in your closet if your family hates the stuff. You'll also need at the VERY MINIMUM 1 gallon of water per person per day. If you think that you can get by on that then I suggest you try it sometime. After a few days of it then you'll probably be convinced that you need at least 3-5 gallons per person per day.

Canned goods are a good place to start. They're very cheap and in a lot of cases they last for years. I stay away from things like canned stews and spaghettio type stuff. I like things like canned beans, tomatoes, vegetables, meat, mushrooms, etc. They're cheaper, almost as easy to prepare and you've got a lot more options. Vegetables go on sale for 2 for $1 all the time. Tuna is $.50 a can. Tomatoes are around $.50 a can. Having a few cans of vienna sausages, chicken and spam doesn't hurt, either. If the power goes out for an extended amount of time then you won't have fresh meat for long. Meat in a can is better than nothing.

Rice is ridiculously cheap and takes up relatively little space. It triples in size when it's cooked. It's loaded with calories. It can be added to any meal to fluff it up. The shelf life is amazing. If you store it correctly it can be good for 30+ years. You can get a 20 lb bag at Wal-Mart for around $8. Go to the wholesale stores like Costco and Sam's Club and it's even cheaper. Rice is hands down one of the best "survival foods" available. Instant rice is ok, too, but it's already been cooked so it's lost a lot of it's nutritional value and it takes up more space. Learn how to properly cook it and keep several pounds of it handy all the time. Nothing does a better job of stretching out the rest of your food supply.

Beans are another good one. Canned beans are fine but they're kind of expensive and they don't have the nearly indefinite shelf life that dried beans have. They're convenient, though, so they've got their place. I like pinto beans because they're so cheap and lentils because they're loaded with nutrients. Stored correctly dried beans can last practically forever. One thing to note about old beans is that the older they get the harder it is to soften them up. Normally you can just leave your beans in a pot of water over night and then cook them the next day. Old beans might require a pressure cooker to get them edible. You use your preps, though, so your beans won't get that old right?

Next we're going to look at staples. Flour, sugar, salt, pepper, cooking oil, etc are all very very cheap. Vegetable oil can be used in just about any recipe that calls for any type of cooking oil. A gallon of it will last you for months. Sugar is another cheap one that has a lot of uses. Keeping at least 10 or 20 lbs in the cupboard doesn't hurt. Salt doesn't go bad so why not have extra? Once again, a few extra pounds won't hurt to have around. Things like baking powder, baking soda and corn starch take up very little space and they're used in small doses in a lot of different recipes. There's no reason not to keep a box of them handy. Flour is invaluable and is used in several different recipes. Keeping at least 10 or 20 lbs handy is always a good idea. An even better idea is to get a grinder that can make flour. Then buy wheat in bulk and grind your own. Wheat is another one that stays good indefinitely. They've found wheat in Egyptian tombs that actually germinated after thousands of years of storage.

There are some other non perishables to think about as well. Ramen is cheap and easy to prepare. So is pasta. Dried potatoes are quick, cheap and simple. Powdered milk is a great milk subsititute when you're cooking with it. Instant meals in a box like Hamburger Helper and macaroni are nice to have for a quick and easy to prepare meal.

Everything that I listed is really cheap and it's all shelf stable for at least a year or two. If you spend a few extra bucks every time you go to the grocery store you'll have a hefty stash in no time. Making a special trip with a decent amount of cash to kick everything off isn't a bad idea, though. If something bad does happen would you rather be fighting the crowds at the grocery store to ensure that your family can eat or would you rather be safe and secure in your home knowing that you'll be fine for at least a month or two?

Original: http://theurbansurvivalist.blogspot.com/2007/12/food-storage-basics.html

Where to get started

People tend to complicate things. The more people there are the more complicated things usually get. This is what makes urban living such a nightmare when something really bad happens. It's also part of the appeal of living day to day in an urban environment. So how do you avoid the golden horde when you're basically a part of it? Here are a few tips.

Don't talk about your preps. One thing that I see over and over are people that tell their friends about their preps hoping that maybe they'll catch on and want to do it themselves. Most of the time the only result is them saying "Well I know where I'm going when something bad happens". Most people don't want to think about what they'd do during a disaster. By prepping they're admitting that it could really happen which would cause their safe little worlds to collapse around them. You don't want these people showing up at your doorstep in the event of a crisis.

When someone hears that something really bad is about to happen or is already happening what's the first thing that they do? They run to the store to buy last minute supplies. Doing that is a good way to get yourself stuck in the mob unable to get home. Stock up now. When you go to the store throw an extra $10 worth of canned food, beans, rice and other non perishables in the cart along with the rest of your groceries. I could walk into a grocery store today with $100 in my pocket and walk out with at least a month supply of food. Just buy extra every time that you shop. Don't worry about expensive stuff like Mountain House or MREs until your pantry is set. You want the majority of your preps to be things that you eat every day. Eat what you store and store what you eat.

Have a backup plan. You may not always be able to stay at home. Have a place to go. Have a bag packed and ready all the time. Keep your BOB (bug out bag) packed. Have a BOL (bug out location) in mind and have multiple routes to get there. Not everyone can afford a plot of land in the middle of nowhere. If you can...cool. If you can't then you still might have some better options than staying at home. A tent on national forest land will work in a pinch. A motel in a small town could work, too. The best case would be to have family or very very close friends that live in the country. Just expect to earn your keep and don't insult them by showing up empty handed if you're planning on relying on someone else's charity. If you're going to talk about this kind of stuff with anyone those are the people that you want to talk to.

There are a lot of bad things that could happen that would rip our society apart at the seams. Our decadent, entitled lifestyle could go away in an instant. That doesn't mean that your life will end, though. Do what you can to get ready now but don't get so caught up in it that you stop living. Chances are that nothing will ever happen that completely devestates the US and changes our way of life drastically. Getting ready just in case can't hurt, though.

Original: http://theurbansurvivalist.blogspot.com/2007/12/where-to-get-started.html

Link of the Day


Reinforcing Your Home's Front Door

Thank's to SurvivalBlog.com (one of the survival blogs I follow). for having this content readily available regarding this link I found. It has tons of great information about reinforcing the front door to your home.

Employee's for Government Agencies (Firefighters, Police, etc...), as well as many thieves and scum out there could use this knowledge against you. Read this post for a brief breakdown of the article that you should really look at and study a bit.

Click here (Reinforce door Story) for the link on the entire story regarding the reinforcement of your front door. This story was put together by Fire Nuggets, a firefighter related website and group.


For years, the mule kick has been the preferred way to make entry on the typical residential front door. Kicking in a door was the cool way to force entry. The problem with this technique is that if the locking mechanism was reinforced in any way, the “kicker” usually wore himself out trying to get thru the door, wasting time and energy. A better way is to use the adz (or flat part) of a halligan in the jamb of the door and push the door away from you, putting the adz in the door jamb and pulling the halligan away from the door jamb. The force created at the top of the halligan (where the adz and point meet) will force the door open (Photo 1).


Sometimes we encounter a security door in front of the front door. These doors do not pose a big problem, if you understand how to force them. Understanding how these doors are made and mounted will greatly improve your ability to force them. The idea of the security door is obvious. It provides an extra line of defense for the homeowner as well as providing a secure way to provide some ventilation. The flaw of these doors comes in the manufacturing as well as the installation. There are basically two types of security doors: lightweight and reinforced.

The lightweight door is the easier door to force compared to the reinforced door (Photo 2).

This reinforced door, because of the additional reinforcing bars above and below the door handle, is not flexible and thus presents a more difficult forcible entry problem. It is important to recognize which door is which as soon as possible, since the reinforced door requires the use of the irons to force it (Photo 3).

Original: http://theaspiringsurvivalist.blogspot.com/2009/01/reinforcing-your-homes-front-door.html

Recipe: Corn-FryCakes aka Hoe-Cakes

Several weeks ago, an online-friend sent us a link to a recipe for hoe-cakes. Tried them, and yum! We don't particularly like the term hoe-cake, because, seriously, we don't plan on baking them on a hoe like when they were first "invented". So, we're calling them "corn-FryCakes". And we like that these are very simple to make, with very few ingredients. So economical, especially in these hard times. And gluten-free.


2 cups cornmeal, finely-sifted/ground
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp salt (or a bit more to taste or less for heart-healthy)
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil


  1. Mix cornmeal with salt, then add boiling water.
  2. Let stand for a few minutes.
  3. Heat non-stick pan on low heat.
  4. Add olive oil. Turn up heat to medium.
  5. Spoon into the pan the now-thick mixture into 2 or 3 small "pancakes". Smooth out the batter with the back of a greased spoon.
  6. Slowly cook. May take 7-10 minutes.
  7. After a few minutes, carefully flip them over.
  8. Ready when lightly browned.
Additions: chopped onions, bell pepper, jalepenos, or other spices or herbs. We slather thick honey on plain corn-cakes. Good with a variety of meals: Tex-Mex, American, etc. Very filling.


Questions: Will this work just as well with Masa (instant corn masa flour) or colored corn? For instance, next year, we plan to grow Black Aztec Corn, which is a good sweet corn, but the kernels turn black as it dries, and is good then for cornmeal. Good crop to grow. We can't find any in a health food store to buy, so we're wondering if there's any difference.

Update 12/17/08: We tried these tonight with corn masa flour, and needed a bit more water than with corn meal. In addition, we added about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter. BE SURE to fry until completely cooked through. It's not the tastiest when the middle is mushy, and is best when it's crunchy and browned.

Next summer, we plan on making these in a solar oven. Anybody done this yet? We will post an update when we have more answers.

Copyright (c) 2008 New View Group, LLC

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2008/11/recipe-corn-cakes-aka-hoe-cakes.html


In times past most folks knew that gold was the only real money there was. The trouble now is that while some might tow the gold bug line that this is the case, in practice we all trade and hoard greenbacks instead. There is a heavy penalty for keeping gold. We must pay a dealer fee to buy it and another fee to sell it if we need trade currency since no one accepts gold as payment anymore. And it accrues no interest. Even if there is no real return on paper investments this is the argument put forth by central bank apologists.
In times of deflation the price of gold will go down. But more than likely the purchasing power will increase as sellers are more desperate for sales as no one has any jobs or excess income to spend. In times of inflation golds price will increase but the purchasing power will hold steady or even better reflect an added premium as there is far less gold in existence than will meet demand in times of calamity. That is why the price of gold went from $35 to $800 in the 1970’s. More people wanted a stable real money as things got worse throughout the decade.
Gold will hold its purchasing power. Forever. The only reason your value of gold will decrease is if the supply suddenly increases. The only way that is going to happen is if we are able to economically mine it from sea water or an asteroid. And the odds of that happening are slim. Unless a freak accident like that happens your gold value will not be effected. Not through Depressions or hyperinflations or wars or changes of government. Gold is the only way for you to preserve your wealth in total safety.
It is true that gold will not feed you during a famine. It will not protect you from bad men with guns. You need beans and bullets. But to carry your excess capital through your life and perhaps into that of your kids and grandchildren you should only have gold. Land can be taxed beyond your ability to pay. Diamonds are vastly inflated over their value by the monopoly on them. Silver is too heavy for its value, although in and of itself is an excellent value store. It is just not portable wealth. The only thing that can come close is valuable knowledge, and that is not a constant. Knowledge can erode or blossom in value depending on many factors. Gold stays constant because it is so scarce.
We all have excess wealth. The guy making minimum wage has excess wealth. He uses it to buy pizza and X-Box games and trying to impress the girls with a car. Middle class couples have plenty of excess wealth, they just waste it all on cars and a big house and what not. I am not judging. I don’t race down to the coin shop with my excess wealth either. My point is that gold is affordable to all of us. If we choose it. In a way it is good that nobody thinks they can afford it as then it would cost a lot more than it does now.
We all know the dollar will eventually become worthless. That is a given. In less than one hundred years it has lost 97% of its value. In the last seven years we have seen most prices double. No ones income has doubled, except perhaps that of lawyers. Or politicians or defense contractors. The average worker is seeing their purchasing power erode very quickly. This might seem like the worse time to buy gold. You can now least afford the disposable income needed to safeguard your wealth. But the actually question you have to ask yourself is, do you want to eventually see all your remaining dollars used as toilet paper or do you want to bite the bullet now and get it while it is at a low, artificially held down value. You don’t even need $700 per once ( roughly- at $625 an ounce and commission and sales tax ). You can buy coins of less than one ounce weight. You will pay a higher commission but will need less up front cash.
This all assumes you have your grains and beans and ammunition. And other basic supplies. Iodized salt, grain grinder, LED lights, alternate heat. The usual suspects. It actually doesn’t matter if you don’t buy gold at all. Usually. Supplies are much more important. This is of course about preserving wealth. Supplies are about preserving life. Just don’t discount gold hoarding as unneeded. Social Security might fail. You might need savings in your most vulnerable period of old age. A little is better than none. Everybody needs savings for rainy days and gold is the best. Assuming things get a lot worse and people take gold as money again and you don’t have to pay to convert to Greenbacks to spend it.

Original: http://bisonsurvivalblog.blogspot.com/2006/12/gold.html

food charity

Charitable food donations after a crash has come up recently on www.survivalblog.com and also in a book I just got done with from Bruce Clayton ( an old 80’s magazine article compilation published by Paladin Press ). That was where I got the “animals are all brown” argument in the camouflage article. In the article in the book Clayton argued the merits of giving stored food as barter. In the Survival Blog article it took more of a Christian Charity tone. While both answers have their strong points I would instead argue for the more selfish approach, if for no other reason than to be different and difficult.
When Bruce arrived at his Super Secret small town location in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains ( back when the state was a fit place for both man and beast to live ) his no doubt delightful mother in law blabbed to the whole place what an important survivalist writer he was. So, out go the plans to buy a few Battle Rifle Cadillac’s ( H&K 91’s for those Stone Age types that mistakenly think I’m referring to M14’s or FN-FAL’s- look, Ma, no gas fouling and near indestructible parts ) and he decides to stockpile enough to feed all his neighbors in a five mile radius. I would have bought the HK’s, shot the mother in law, her daughter too if I got any lip about it and moved to an even more remote area.
The idea was to trade the wheat to each household on a weekly basis and get barter in exchange, such as a normally unproductive old crone knitting a wool sweater instead of popping prunes and cashing in a Social Security check. That’s how you get these old farts to pay their way. And no, they did not pay their fair share into the system. They paid far less of the 15% I’m paying and for a shorter period of time. The average recipient now gets back everything they paid into the system their entire career in under five years of Old Bugger Welfare. 78 Friggin Million people are now or shortly going to be on this generous vote buying welfare. The old bastards are going to bankrupt us a lot faster than single moms on welfare ever could. If about one in three of the population is working and 25% are on government Job Welfare, that means every holder of a private sector job is going to have to support one friggin old worthless fart. And I don’t even ( much ) blame them, the worthless old ones who won’t have the decency of walking out into a snowstorm and relieve the tribe of the burden of feeding them. My dad is on the public teat. So if I can’t hate him for bankrupting the system I can’t hate your dad either. I hate the politicians that lived off of the scam.
The other argument is that you have a moral obligation to at least warn your neighbors of the impending doom. And then try to set a little aside for them when it all comes crashing down. A great idea when your close neighbors are three miles down the road. A really crappy idea for most of us that don’t live out in the country. I have over a hundred neighbors in my trailer park. I ain’t warning one of the bastards. One, they will form a lynch mob and kill me and steal my food. It will be enough to feed all of them one half a day. I keep two hundred pounds of wheat and two hundred rounds of ammunition in my trailer. The rest is in storage. If I can keep them at bay long enough with my .357 I can load up the rifle. But odds are one will be able to shoot back. Better they don’t know I have food.
And, to be fair, what the Hell is this Blog, anyway? I know I’m trying to make money off of it but the majority ignore my pitiful sniveling and read it for free. I am providing a public service here, warning about the coming hard times and showing you how to cheaply prepare for them. How much more charitable am I supposed to get? Aren’t I doing enough? How many people has Jim over at Survival Blog helped out by publishing his book before Y2K? I would wager tens of thousands. He got the message out to the confused and ignorant. He is still getting mail all the time thanking him for turning them on to the danger. Why should he feel obligated to help his neighbors also? At most I would give them a copy of my book at a house warming, if I were him.
The only good reason you should have for stockpiling food for others is so they can work it off with needed skills. And even that can backfire when they kill you, steal your food, put your wife and daughter to work in the new post-Apocalypse brothel and take over as area warlord. I don’t trust anyone past my family in that case. My dad might be old with a bad ticker but I can trust him when I go to sleep. My brother in law might agree with me on the future and still fail to prepare but I don’t mind providing for him as he is still more trustworthy than a stranger off the street, even if they are a doctor. Well, some professions are worth taking the risk. Like a chemist. They would be worth their weight in wheat.
Be cautious with any charity. It is noble, but until civilization stabilizes after a collapse you are risking your life by trusting strangers. And risking your family. A human being can rationalize any behavior, including betrayal and cannibalism. Including killing you and your three year old child. The traditional rationalization for Native American genocide was they occupied our land. We justify holding Muslims indefinitely without a trial because there is a slender chance they might become a terrorist. I might become a child molester, since I’m male, should you kill me before I do anything? Rational thinking will go the way of the electric grid after a collapse. Be prepared for it.

Original: http://bisonsurvivalblog.blogspot.com/2006/12/food-charity.html

unemployement diet-$1 a day

I am not going to talk about food storage today. I would like to talk about an unemployment diet. The grocery stores are still open, the economy is humming along fine on government stimulus and wishful thinking. But for whatever reason you are unemployed, broke and have nothing in your cupboard. Having been there a couple of times myself and suffered from taste fatigue due to lack of planning or good sense I thought I would pass along a few pointers.
Not having a nickel to my name and few places to go, once after losing my job I decided to live on potatoes for a month. You really can live on potatoes and some grease for awhile. Of course it effected my judgment since I re-enlisted for the Army after being out almost two years. I should have just kept eating potatoes. I fried potatoes, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes. I baked them in different shapes. I tried different condiments. At the end of a month I was so tired of potatoes I didn’t eat any, including French Fries, for years. I think it cost me about $3 a week filling up on taters and a tub of margarine.
Another time I moved on greyhound to Cheyenne WY and paid $150 for a months rent at an old hotel. I then had about ten dollars to my name. I bought an electric hot water pot at the thrift store for $3 and a big bag of rice for two bucks and some soy sauce and a tub of margarine for another two. Then I was broke. I went looking for a job the next day. I had very little to pick from but settled as a host for a restaurant since I got a free kids meal every day I worked ( it was a tease more than a meal ). I lived on just rice for about a week and then rice with that kids meal each day for another week. Then a week after that I switched jobs with one of the waitresses so she got more per hour and I got tips right away. So then I ate rice, the kids meal and after work a big sausage dog at 7-11. I didn’t touch rice for awhile after that.
The next fiasco was waiting for the first bi-weekly check and mostly living on Top Ramen to bulk up the little I had in the cupboards- extremely gross!
Do not just eat one kind of food. I know I preach a wheat only storage for poor people but a survival, end-of-the-world diet is a lot different than an unemployment diet. You will basically just be eating starch and grease but you can choose from different types. If it lasts any length of time you will need to worry about taking vitamins and/or getting a source of protein, but this should keep you alive in reasonably good health.
You want fresh potatoes. They do have almost all the vitamins you need to stay alive and healthy. They might lack a bit in those vitamins found in dark green veggies but if that is a concern grow some sprouts ( if you hate the taste put a bit of tomato juice in the blender and puree the sprouts in it so it’s a fresh V-8 juice- a generic can of juice for a buck should last a week and veggies are pennies a pound ). Potatoes will give you the vitamin C you need. But they need to be fresh. The instant type is just paste. Pay about 35-55 cents a pound. Well worth the cost. Make mashed ( and the next morning potato pancakes ), baked, fried. I am willing to bet you can get a library book on potato recipes that will boggle your mind.
Next is white flour if you can’t stand whole wheat. If you can stand a bit of the healthy stuff mix them half and half. Lots more nutrients than straight white. White flour is twenty cents a pound. Forty cents a pound for store bought whole wheat. If you grind it yourself it is about the same but much healthier. Make flat bread, pancakes ( have sugar on hand and make your own “syrup” ), biscuits, sourdough, etc. Buy pasta dishes for fifty cents a pound. Spaghetti, top ramen, mac and cheese.
I never have really liked rice and usually just served it plain as a side dish or with some meat mixed in for a one dish meal. The old farts like it with milk, sugar and raisons for breakfast. Some throwback to treasured memories from childhood. I’d rather eat top ramen for breakfast. The main advantage of rice is it gives you a break from potatoes and pasta.
Cheap canned foods are usually under fifty cents a pound. Corn, pork and beans, baked beans. These are a “treat” to break up the main starches. Your mainstays are rice, potatoes and flour. You can get a few extra cheap foods such as oatmeal and corn meal ( get that from the Mexican section- most regular corn meal is degerminated ). But they won’t really be good meal after meal. They are rarely used in most folks diets.
Now, the whole idea here is to live on a few bucks a week. A five pound sack of white flour is a dollar. Three pounds of rice is the same. Potatoes are usually no more than fifty cents a pound for a small bag out of season. So call it about three bucks for a good size bag of potatoes. A three pound tub of margarine is a buck fifty. Seven bucks will feed you for awhile, at least the week. Try to eat a different food each meal ( if you don’t do more than one ) and a different recipe for that food every day. In other words, breakfast for several days is pancakes, biscuits, flat bread, waffles. Lunch is cooked rice, fried rice, rice with soy sauce, rice and hot sauce. Dinner is potatoes fried, baked, mashed, wedges with flour coating baked or fried.
Yes, it will be boring. But much better than eating all of one food. To this day I can’t eat top ramen more than about once a month. Don’t suffer taste fatigue to go along with stress from being unemployed.

Original: http://bisonsurvivalblog.blogspot.com/2006/12/unemployement-diet-1-day.html