In my opinion, these are the best of the best of survival and preparedness articles gleaned from the 'net.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

One View on the Ultimate Vehicular Bug Out by Jerry the Generator Guy

There hasn’t been much discussion regarding what might be a well-planned bug out. The following is an overview of our vehicular bug out plan. This overview is offered to assist others in fleshing out their specific needs and plans.

If you are like us, then you believe that the local area is not viable for long term personal survival. Thus we are forced to consider quickly getting to an alternate location. I won’t present our criteria for the destination as everyone has different needs.

We selected a locale for serious consideration and visited there. The “boots on the ground” impression is worth far more than any data mining that you may have done. We have also subscribed to their local paper for the last two years. Our initial positive impression of the area has increased with time. The local paper gives a detailed behind the scenes view of what the real issues in the area are or are not. Taking the local paper will also allow us to blend in faster with the locals by being talking about the latest area news. If you don’t get good “vibes” during a on scene visit then you should select another area. You have successfully avoided something that for you would have been a mistake.

We have listened to the various local radio and/or television stations here to determine which could be deemed “credible”. We judged local emergency reporting as this would show what the actual station resources and attitudes are. Most stations, in their emergency coverage, all seemed to simply parrot whatever was provided at the on site command center via the press sessions. Locally, a daytime country/western station has demonstrated careful and accurate news reporting in two major emergencies. They were the only station to send reporters to potential areas of concern to discover facts. An out of state radio station does better at forecasting our local weather than the nearby stations. We have noticed, during our travels, that most of the country/western stations seem to present a more accurate view of the news than the bobble heads on talk radio. This accuracy is probably a reflection of their “tell it like it is” listeners.

All of us should have thought out what event, or events, will trigger the launch of the exit plan. We recommend careful listening to various shortwave, local and out of state radio and television news. The news that is presented from a different locate will occasionally surprise you with different facts and/or opinions. Research for yourself the facts concerning any items of concern and/or interest. Draw your personal conclusion and take appropriate action(s) once facts are separated from propaganda.

Okay, so we now have a trigger mechanism and need a detailed plan to quickly and efficiently get from “here” to “there”. It’s time to start adding some detail to the draft plan. Since we know each specific vehicle MPG [and fuel tank capacity] then possible locations along the travel route, for fueling, can be determined. We plan to use the every two hour “Chinese Fire Drill” approach. Once every two hours, at previously-determined locations, all vehicles stop. All people receive a situation update and describe any items of concern. Vehicles are topped off with fuel. Everyone can get prepared food/drink items. Those who need a restroom stop quickly does so. [JWR Adds: Avoid using public rest areas. In the event os a crisis, they are likely gathering places for very desperate refugees that are nearly out of fuel! Pick out wide shoulders on side roads, well in advance. Assuming that you are traveling well-armed, these should offer some semblance of security when stopping. ] Plan your fuel allocation on worst case fuel consumption not best or even typical usage. We top off fuel at the two hour intervals since we are already stopped and can get extra use of the time. If we later discover any unexpected need to quickly travel for some distance we have already shifted “extra” fuel into the tanks. We plan to have each vehicle carry enough fuel so that it is able to make the entire trip without depending on any gas station being open. This approach allows success even if any vehicle does break down. All other vehicles can still finish the trip even if one is not quickly repairable. If the group is close to the destination then a tow rope will be used to [hopefully ] allow all vehicles to finish the trip. The tow rope can also be used to remove some road obstructions.

We will listen to various local radio stations along the planned route. You can get a list of the stations, their frequencies, locations and audience focus by entering the state name along with radio stations into Google; Example: Montana Radio Stations. This monitoring will allow us to become aware of any sudden need to modify our plan based on the actual local status. The monitoring is done by high school young adults and any adult who desires to assist. Each listener uses a set of earphones so they can focus on what is said. Any significant items that will be submitted to the group are written immediately on a notepad. Yes, we have a means to immediately update the group if the issue needs immediate attention. All drivers do nothing but drive. All other activities are done by others in the vehicle/group.

We strongly suggest that you, or several people, drive your planned exit route several times to discover any areas that might either become a potential problem or maybe offer an unexpected benefit. [JWR Adds: It is important to plan and practice a secondary and tertiary route.] You may be surprised--we were--about additional items that are noticed on more than one trip. At one location that we had planned to use for a stop, the overall local area feeling was very negative. We quickly decided to proceed further along the highway.

Check periodically during the year and see if the planned route has any recurring traffic or weather related problems. What’s the speed that you plan to travel between individual town “ X” and town “Y”? Your overall plan should use worst-case MPG and alternate plans already prepared if the road is not in the expected condition or weather is not as planned [hot/cold/windy/snowy ].

The travel maps that we have prepared all have some disinformation. The direction arrows for the travel route all point to the “from” and not the “going to” direction. In addition, the arrows stop one town short on both ends of the route.

There is an easy way to determine some of the potential traffic choke points. Find out where the highway gates that are used to block traffic during adverse weather are located. Carefully note these locations during your initial or other trips. My conclusion is these are the natural traffic restriction locations. We carry detailed topographic maps so that we can maneuver around any blockage along the route. You should have an answer ready for “highway X is blocked ahead. What are alternate choices?”

We will be towing a trailer with one vehicle. All goods that are planned to go with us are kept in what we call “here to there” locations. This means when the time comes to load there is no wasted time on “where is X?” or “do we take Y”? All such decisions have been made in advance.

Yes, we keep a supply of knocked-down boxes on site for planned use. The loading simply becomes everything from “here to there” goes – anything and everything else stays. An actual loading of the boxes has shown that the planned sequence, capacity and room is possible.

Note: You can gain a significant amount of extra “free” room by removing the back seat in each vehicle.

Have you ever followed a trailer and seen the lights flicker as it went over a bump? This defect is almost always caused by a poor wiring ground connection at the hitch. The ground capability can be tested by connecting a jumper cable between the metal tongue of the trailer and a good ground on the tow vehicle. If the lights on the trailer suddenly get brighter or a problem vanishes then you can be certain that the ground path needs work. We use an 8 gauge wire for the ground connection on both vehicles.

Should your route include travel on gravel roads then be aware that the crushed rock material may cut or even pop weak or almost worn out tires. Check the tire ply rating and tread depth.
Be sure that they are able to stand the expected use. Could your tow vehicle or trailer benefit from a stronger tire? You can check with a truck tire dealer to find tires with higher weight carrying capability. How do you know if a tire is intended for either a car or truck? Answer: Car tires are rated [marked on the sidewall ] to carry a specified weight at a maximum inflation pressure. Truck tires are rated to carry weight at a minimum inflation pressure. Example: We wanted load range D radial tires for our trailer. The local tire dealers all said that nothing was available (even via special order ). The truck tire dealer, in a nearby town, simply asked did we want the load range D in a Major Brand or the In House brand at $20 less for each?

We strongly recommend that you install radial tires on ALL vehicles. We have also observed a 0.5 MPG mileage increase with radial tires on two different trailers. My super wife and co-pilot says that she loves that the trailer doesn’t sway near as much in cross winds. In addition, when an 18-wheeler goes by the trailer isn’t sucked toward the adjacent lane. This change took her from having a white knuckle experience, when trucks passed, to being able to relax. We also installed shock absorbers on the trailers. The difference in bounce of the trailer when driving over a bump went from several up/down cycles to one. The shocks also reduced the amount of trailer would lean during a fast turn. Any items in the trailer benefit from a much smother ride.

When the potential needs seems to be imminent the trailer will be hitched, lights & brakes checked, loaded & ready to travel. The planned route and alternatives will be reviewed daily for any potential weather or other delays. Most states offer a 1-800 number and/or web site with road condition updates. Find those updates now, and put them on a list!

All fuel levels will be maintained at a 50% or higher level. Vehicle oil, spark plugs and all filters will be changed. We keep this replacement stock on site so that it is instantly available. These changes ensure that each vehicle can give us its best effort. We carry a replacement set of all radiator hoses and belts. We have each vehicle battery load checked semi-annually. Most locales that sell vehicle batteries provide a free test service. We will replace any hose/belt/pump/battery/brake that is questionable. All vehicle light bulbs are also checked . All vehicle tires are inflated to the pressure that we want to use for best weight carrying capability.

Fuel tanks are filled to capacity, immediately before leaving, from on site storage. All vehicles will be parked such that on “GO” each driver can start the motor and quickly move out. Our thought is that by advance preparation we will gain a minimum advantage of 10 minutes. At 60 MPH we will be 10 miles distance down the road ahead of the majority.

We plan, by taking action at the trigger, to hopefully be at the travel end point before most people are even started. The Hurricane Katrina news coverage reinforced the fact that that early travelers were able to move at full highway speeds. Later departures were moving very slow.

Summary: We have tried to make plans for two different scenarios; 1.) We have several days to get ready, or 2.) The need is sudden. In either case we have all necessary items on site for prep and pack. The planning buys us some of the very important variable called time.

Planning also helps to eliminate the “what do we do” panic response mode. Everyone should have or develop now, at a minimum, a who/when/what/where plan. The plan doesn’t cost much, if any, cash to develop. Equipment without a plan doesn’t have any value.

Note: We do not provide discussion on specific roads to be traveled or planned speed as this to should be one of your group discussion items. Unique roads, weather, vehicles and group plans each offer a different series of opportunities and challenges. We hope to see you at the “Troy Barter Faire”! (For those of you wondering what this means, see Chapter 14 in "Patriots".)


Original: http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/02/one_view_on_the_ultimate_vehic.html

The Flexible Prepper

No, not doing back bends and splits and such but being able to change your plans or directions as problems or opportunities present themselves. Have you ever planned to leave your home to go somewhere and at the last minute someone shows up at your house? Of course you have. Have you ever planned on being at a specific destination at a set time and somewhere along the way things happened that were out of your control that kept you from arriving on time? Of course so. It happens to all of us all the time. There are many obstacles that can and do block our intended path that we can not avoid even with the best planning.

Enter, Plan B. Evaluating and reevaluating both known and unknown risks is what makes us a Prepper. It's best to always have a backup plan, several are even better. It's good to remember that an opportunity may present itself that may make our situation better too. Only through constant evaluation of our present situation can we recognize these "new opportunities".

Example: For reasons beyond my control I have to Bug Out. I have no intention of leaving my home and property for any reason but, I do have several options if I do. (Note: Several Options) Mother Nature can change things in a hurry, wildfire, tornado and flooding are just a few of the things that could change your plans of staying put. I have no control over these and can only change my plan if I am to survive. (Surviving is at the top of my plan) On the way to my chosen Bug Out location I get news from a friend that lives nearby that my location has been compromised. Either burned to the ground, swept away by flood waters or occupied by persons with much larger guns and hands to use them than I do. Time to be flexible and evaluate this situation. I decide to proceed to one of my several other options or bug out locations. Along the way I encounter a group of survivalists/preppers that are friendly toward me and offer to let me join them. They reveal to me that they are on their way meet up with an even larger group that are working their way towards a secure location. Once at this secure location we will have food, water, shelter and arms to better defend ourselves. I offer to tell them of one and only one of my bug out locations. When supplies run low we can send a small group to my location to gather supplies. I tell this group of only one of my possible locations so that if things are not as planned at our new destination (the secure location) I will have my other covert locations available to me.

This is a perfect example of what it means to be flexible. Assessing your situation and leaving yourself other options in case you run into obstacles along the way will make your chances of survival much better. So please leave a little room to be flexible when making your plans. It could be the difference between life or death.

This is Bullseye...OUT !!!

Original: http://americanpreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/02/flexible-prepper.html

Unemployment


Okay, let’s say the Boss came into your office or asks you to come into hers and she says, ‘Well, times have been real bad. We’ve all had to make cutbacks.’ BTW if the Boss ever shows up with someone from Human Resources don’t even wait for them to speak. Just start packing up.

What do you do next?

I’ve been laid off a number of times. I hate to say you get used to it. You don’t. It’s never easy, but there is something to be said for not being too vested in your job. There’s also something to be said to burning bridges sometimes. I mean who would want the bastard to have a way to get over to you. Some bridges are best burned. That’s just me though. And I know it’s bad advice.

I can really feel for people, getting laid off is as shocking to a family as a death or divorce. If you’ve been working the same job for 15, 20 or 30 years what else do you know. You’d be like a prisoner who spent his entire adult life in prison and then upon his release steals a pack of gum to get sent back. If you’ve been somewhere for 15+ years what else do you know? Then if you have kids and get laid off…

Well what do you do now that you’re driving home and wondering how to tell your husband, wife, parents, girlfriend, boyfriend or roommates? Well in no particular order: collect unemployment, stay positive, assess the situation, network, budget/debt management, look for jobs, develop a cash business, keep a schedule and exercise.

1. Collect unemployment - first things first. Get in touch with your state’s department of employment assistance or transitional assistance or whatever government name they have for it and open a file. if you can do it on-line then do it on-line. If you need to do it by phone then make sure that your portable phone is fully charged before you call. Use a speakerphone so that you can do other stuff while you wait on hold for an hour. If they call, return their phone calls. If you need to fill out a form or take a class then do it as fast as possible. Keep track of who you speak with and what was said. You have time now. If you need to keep a log of your job search then do it. You’ll need to update your claim every week. Make sure that you do it. Otherwise your claim will be closed and you’ll have to start from scratch again. Don’t ever lie to the unemployment people. It’s a serious offense and even with everything they got going on now they like nothing better than to screw with you. Don’t lie to them. They have secret Government ways of finding out. So treat collecting unemployment as a job. You’re lucky to be getting it so make sure you do what they ask of you. Check out what option you have for health insurance. Maybe it’s COBRA or some state policy.

2. Stay positive - Tough to do when you’re worrying about your next meal, paying the rent or getting necessary medicine, but you have to do your best. Maybe it’s going to church, temple or the mosque. For me it’s walking my dog and spending time outside. I’ve found over my short life that some people, places, events and things are energy vacuums. You need to avoid energy vacuums. If you know a particular person is going to give you hard time about something then avoid them. If your mother or your ex always dumps on you then don’t give them the opportunity. You don’t want to be sitting around all day with other unemployed people who are negative. If they are positive and doing and going and making things happy or happening then that’s another story. Avoid the energy sucks in your life. You know who or what they are.

3. Assess the situation - Spend some time just figuring out where you are at and how you got there. Where did you think you would be at this point in your life and where you are at. What’s changed and what hasn’t. Should you consider moving someplace different to increase your chance of finding work? Go to school? The state may pay. Get some retraining or learn a new skill maybe. Maybe you need to change your living arrangements or sell the boat and jet skis. Don’t become an unwitting observer of your own life.

4. Network - Now is time to get out there. Have any favors that people owe you or friends in position to hire you? You need to speak with everyone you meet. You never know where one simple hello may lead. The more you do the more people you meet, so do more. Just because you are unemployed it doesn’t mean that you should sit at home. Volunteer at the town kennel or the senior center. The Internet, Facebook and Myspace are great to network. If you belong to any organizations or associations like the VFW, AmVets, Italian American Club, Masons or Order of the Arrow than work it. Check on your fraternity brothers or sorority sisters. Now isn’t the time to be hiding out in your mountain top bunker by yourself.

5. Budget/debt management - You have to try and get your finances in as best shape as possible. If you have the where with all to write out a budget then do it. Get an understanding of how much income you are taking in every month and what your monthly expenses are. If you need to, for a week keep track of every cent you spend and write it down in a little notebook. Set priorities for your bills and debts. Make sure you put unsecured creditors last. That’d be like credit card companies. Try and figure out where you can cut back. Forget about the coffee out everyday. It’s bad for the environment anyways. Forget about the lottery or going out to eat. Only you know where you can cut back. Don’t ever go shopping without a list. Use coupons if you have the patience. Make shopping lists. Sell your junk that is in your shed or closet. Have a yard sale or post crap on E-Bay.

6. Look for jobs - Personally, I never like job fairs. It’s like ants at a picnic. Use the Internet and sites like Craigslist.org. If you went to college check with the alumni folks at your alma mater. Check USAjobs.gov. Most states and municipalities are hurting, but they’re still hiring who they need. Consider part-time work or a few part-time jobs. I like the idea of having a number of part-time jobs, diversification of your income is good. Looking for a job is a job. You really should try and spend an two or three hours at least five days a week looking for a job. It takes a lot of time and it sucks.

7. Develop cash business - If you’ve always wanted to “follow your heart” or try something different and never had the balls to actually do it, now may be the time. I believe just about anyone can accomplish just about anything they set their mind to. You can too. If you’ve always wanted to write a book, become a taxidermist or whatever else it is, then think about turning it into a business. Turn your hobbies into a business. In our New Economy v.2 having an independent income stream will be a very good thing indeed. Don’t get all crazy though and start spending a bunch of money you don’t have to make money. If you plan on “investing” in tools, equipment or such for a new business, don’t do it without first developing a detailed business plan. That said though, look around your house, you already have the tools for your hobbies, sports and recreational activities. Teach people to tie flies. Put in vegetable gardens for people. Fix bicycles. Tutor someone’s kids. Babysit or take care of someone’s elderly parents. Maybe run errands or clean houses. Fix cars for folks. Cook meals for working people so when they get home from work dinner is already made. Specialize in small engine repair. Catch fish and sell em to your neighbors. Set up your own little farm stand or sell bouquets of flowers. Maybe learn how to homebrew beer and wine. Mow lawns or trim hedges. Your imagination and other people’s doubts are your only limitations. If you’ve had a desk job your whole adult life you’ll be pleasantly surprised how nice it is to do something different and maybe move around for a change.

8. Keep a schedule - You can’t be sleeping all day. You may not have a paying job, but you can still be useful and contribute. Try to wake up and go to bed the same times each day. Don’t stay up all night playing video games. Make Mondays be a drag and look forward to Fridays. Clean the house. Cook meals. Go to the library. Get out. Keep busy and make your unemployment be like a job. Make a schedule so you get out of the house everyday to get the newspaper, look for jobs or walk the neighborhood. Make a list of things that need to be done around your home - filing, painting, cleaning, snaking the drains. Have meals at regular times. Set your alarm clock, wake up, shower and shave. You too ladies. You can’t start living like a pirate now, no matter how nice it sounds. Unless of course it’s a pirate you want to be then be the best damn pirate you can, be the captain of other pirates and be a pirate’s pirate. Anyways…

9. Exercise - This is a biggie. You have to get some exercise everyday. You have the time now so there is no excuse. Exercise will relieve stress, help you sleep better and keep you healthy. Ideally, You Get Outside Every Day so you get some fresh air and sunshine. Walking is great exercise. Explore trails near your house. Do stuff around your yard. If you are lying awake in bed at night worrying you aren’t exercising enough.

If you are not laid off yet: don’t get your personal identity from your job, arrive early, don’t surf the Net at work. Start saving a little cash every pay period. Pay down your secured debt as much as possible. Whatever your job is, keep current on new trends or breakthroughs. Take classes. Start buying some extra food and other non-perishables like toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent and so on to store. If you are working and having a tough time meeting your bills then make some changes while you still have steady income. I’m not telling you what to do, but if you are still contributing to a 401k or 403b really think about what you are doing. Especially if you are like me and don’t know what you are doing. The days of buying and holding are behind us.

Get outside everyday!

I was out skiing. There really isn’t much snow left but I know the last places that melt.

v3

Look how blue that sky is and the way the blue changes from kind of white near the horizon to bright blue of the heavens. Crazy. Anyways, this big field is actually sort of a bowl. It doesn’t look very steep, but I guarantee if you aren’t a good cross country skier you will fall. So when I ski this area I kind of follow the tree line on the left down to the bottom of the little slope. At the bottom of this little hill is a good size pond. It’s out of the picture to the right. Then I ski back up and ski down again a bunch of times.

So at the bottom of the hill lo n’ behold what do I see………………but a………………

v5Chicken of the Woods! I don’t eat the stuff, but it is a good find nonetheless. Believe me, what I eat is directly related to my level of hunger. No offense, but I would eat you too if I was hungry enough. And I would expect no less from you. Anyways, Chicken of the Woods is pretty unique looking as far as wild edible mushrooms go. I’m not one to collect mushrooms, but there really isn’t anything else that looks like this that is poisonous. They grow on trees, even dead trees. They’re orange and yellow. They don’t have gills. They’re best to eat when young. You can cut the edges off of them. That’s where the best taste is. I read that you should avoid the ones that grow on conifers. As with all wild edibles, test them first before eating in quantities.

YOU GOTTA DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH though until you are comfortable with what you know. Don’t Eff around with mushrooms. You have to put in the research time or you could die, and then what good will all those high capacity magazines do for you? Just kidding. You can keep them ………..for now.

v7Here’s another picture. You’ve seen these haven’t you? Google Chicken of the Woods and then commit it to memory.

Original: http://hotdogjam.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/unemployment/

Talking to your children about emergency preparedness

By Joseph Parish

If you experienced an emergency of any sort from a fire to an earthquake would your family survive? Would each member of your family know and choose the appropriate course of action in order to save their lives? Do all family members know what your emergency action plan is and how to implement it? What if family’s members become separated do they know what to do? Do they know where to once again meet up and join forces?

These are extremely important concepts that each family must consider when planning any kind of emergency actions. This can be a very delicate and scary situation for adults so you can imagine how children must be feeling about it. I feel that it is vital that each parent set up an emergency plan and then sit down with the children and discus the plan and its implementation. By talking to your children about the plan you can get their feedback on it and adjust the necessary plans or clarify them according to what the feedback is from the children. It is important that you not make the mistake of thinking of your children as merely dependents of yours but rather as active keys towards the family’s ultimate survival during times of crisis.

Talk it over with them and this way they will fully know what is expected from them in an emergency as well as what they are doing. You want them to be as prepared as possible to ensure their safety. Above all a child who understands what they must do will remain calm and make intelligent decisions based upon specific facts.

Here are several key items that you may wish to discus with them. There are certainly many more however these few should get you thinking in terms of safety and emergency survival.

Sit down and identify several different ways that a family member can escape from any room in your home. In my case we have high windows which will necessitate the child climbing up several feet before they can get to the windows. As such appropriate plans must be made. Escape ladders are of course necessary in this situation and we are on a single floor. In the event that you have several floors then the ladders would certainly be a necessity.

After the escape plans have been created make sure that the family takes several times each year and actually does the escape routine. Practice makes perfect. Don’t leave anything to chance.

It goes without saying that one must locate a safe meeting location away from the home where each family member can meet upon escaping the immediate danger. Don’t make it too far from the home and of course do not locate it too close to the home either.

There are certain precautions that children should be taught concerning escaping your home during a fire. In many cases these are taught in the public school system but never the less you should ensure that each child understand what the precaution is and why. Teach them that if they have a smoke filled room they should crawl o safety. Make sure they check a door for heat build up before opening it and above all you must stress that once they are out of the house they must remain out – never return to the home.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish


Original: http://www.survival-training.info/articles9/Talkingtoyourchildrenaboutemergencypreparedness.htm

Simple Survival Tools - Eyeglass Repair Kit

Prescription eye glasses are generally a very costly item. Most eyeglasses require a prescription and have to be made specifically for your own personal requirements. Safe-guarding your vision should be one of your priorities in being prepared if you require the use of eyeglasses to see properly. Eyeglass frames and their lenses do not come cheap and the ability to fix or repair them in an emergency or crisis will be critical. It is also a good practice to keep a spare set of eyeglasses as a back-up, as well as an eyeglasses repair kit.

If your eyeglasses happen to break, you may have to get your glasses repaired by a qualified technician or optometrist. However, in many cases you may only need minor repairs to your eyeglasses. Many of these minor repairs can be done simply and cheaply until more adequate repairs are available.

Here are some simple repairs that you can do with an eyeglass repair kit:

1.) If the hinge in your frame has loosened or stretched, you can use a small rubber ring, which is included in most eyeglass repair kits, to hold the loose hinge in place.

2.) If the metal hinge breaks off from the frame, you can repair your eyeglasses with a little fast-holding glue, such as super glue, until more permanent repairs can be obtained. You can even use a small piece of duct tape as a more temporary repair.

3.) Loose screws can also cause you problems with your eyeglass frame. Loose screws can simply be re-tightened with a small screwdriver that usually comes with an eyeglass repair kit.

4.) If you have lost a hinge screw, you can simply use a replacement screw from your eyeglass repair kit. If a replacement screw is missing or doesn’t fit, use a tiny safety pin. Push the pin through the hole for the screw and then close or fasten it. You can also use a small piece of wire as a temporary repair. Although these are temporary repairs, they should be satisfactory enough to allow you to continue using your eyeglasses until a better repair can be made.

Eyeglasses repair kits can be easily found in most department store, pharmacies, and optometrists offices. They are a cheap and inexpensive item that could be critical to your survival in a crisis or disaster situation if you need to wear corrective lenses in order to see properly.

They also make a great barter item!

Got corrective lenses? Get a repair kit!

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/02/simple-survival-tools-eyeglass-repair.html

A Personal Ad for Survivalists

Looking For:

Camouflaged, well armed, paranoid suburbanite seeks canning enthusiast who enjoys .223 rounds, rotating food stores and can signal ‘I love you’ in Morse code via eye blinking

- Thanks to Suburban Prepper for that description, a wonderful survival blog that you should check out.

You may have some family members that do not share your views on survival as you. They may pigeon hole you as a 'nut', a social outcast, wasting your time concerning yourself with the possibility of social collapse.

If you have people like this in your life, do not push your survivalist attitude on them. Let them come to their own conclusions. Shoving it down their throats will accomplish nothing.

Thankfully, I am not in this position. My wife and family understand the importance of being prepared. However, here is a basic list, taken straight from Ready America, a government website. If your anti-survivalist family & friends do not share your views, perhaps they will at least listen to their government.

Here is a list of basic items we all should have prepared:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
Additional Items to Consider:
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler's checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Original: http://theaspiringsurvivalist.blogspot.com/2009/02/personal-ad-for-survivalists.html

Home Made Fire Starter

Vthompson asked in a thread if anybody made fire starters from sawdust and wax. So, here's a batch I made today.

Here are some home made fire starters. They are simple to make and work very well. There are similar commercial ones available, but if you would rather make your own…

The materials I used were sawdust, dryer lint, wax, cardboard egg carton. You will also need a way to melt your wax. I prefer to use a double boiler method and a little camp stove. Some people like to use the microwave, but in order to maintain marital bliss I am relegated to my work shop.





I use a large block of wax that I have, but if you save wax from your candles that works great. Do not heat the wax directly over your stove. The double boiler method will keep you from burning down your house, garage, work shop, etc.





After you pour some wax in the molds stir it up a bit and then tamp it down. Note that on the open section of the carton I just poured wax on a large pile of saw dust.



When you cut the egg carton to separate the fire starters, leave the cup in tact and leave an edge that can be used as a wick (makes lighting easier). For the larger block, just cut them to the size you want. Experiment with it so you will have an idea on how long they will burn. Depending on how tightly you pack them it will change the burn time.



Here I have lit the edge of one of the egg cups and the corner of one of the pieces I cut from the block.



At five minutes.



At 15 minutes.



At 25 minutes.



The smaller piece went out shortly after this pic was taken. The larger piece went out at about 37 minutes. In damp conditions that should be long enough to get your fire going. Or you could use one to heat water if you were making a quick stop and wanted some coffee.

Original: http://www.wilderness-survival.net/forums/showthread.php?t=5859

Shelf Life of Pantry and Kitchen Staples

Someone recently asked on our blog how long cooking oil will last in the pantry. In researching that I came across this website: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22593162/

Thought I'd bring the info over here to help out our readers:

Flour
Humidity is the biggest enemy for flour, so don’t store flour in the paper bags used by manufacturers. Besides exposing flour to moisture, these bags are messy. When you get home, transfer flour to an airtight container. Make sure to use a container that’s wide enough to dip a dry measure into. The natural oils in whole-wheat flour and cornmeal go rancid after just a few months. If you go through whole-grain flours slowly, slip packages into large zipper-lock bags and store them in the freezer.

Sweeteners
Granulated sugar will keep indefinitely if stored in an airtight container, like flour. Other sweeteners require gentler handling.

Brown sugar becomes rock-hard after a few months. An airtight container slows down moisture loss, but once brown sugar gets hard you will need to use this trick to revive it. Place the hardened brown sugar in a bowl, add a slice of sandwich bread, cover the bowl, and microwave for 10 to 20 seconds.

Honey and molasses will last indefinitely. Keep honey out of the fridge, where it will crystallize. The biggest issue over time with these sweeteners is that the lids become stuck in place. Try this trick: Dip a paper towel in vegetable oil and wipe the threads of the jar with the oil. This bare film of oil keeps the lid from sticking.

Maple syrup contains more moisture than honey or molasses and is susceptible to mold and bacteria. Once opened, keep maple syrup in the fridge for up to one year. Unopened bottles are fine in the pantry for a few years.

Chocolate
Never put chocolate in fridge or freezer — if you do, a white film (called bloom) will develop on the exterior. Wrap opened bars of chocolate tightly in plastic and store in a cool pantry. Milk and white chocolates will keep for up to six months, whereas semisweet, bittersweet, and unsweetened chocolate are fine for one year.

Oils
Light is the big enemy here, as is heat. So keeping oil in a clear bottle next to the stove is a big no-no. Even when stored in a cool pantry, flavorful oils (like olive and toasted sesame) will become rancid after several months. We suggest keeping toasted sesame oil in the fridge —even if you do a lot of Asian cooking, it will go rancid in the pantry before you finish a small bottle. Olive oil becomes cloudy in the fridge, so it’s best kept in the pantry.

Don’t buy more olive oil than you can use in a few months. And read labels for harvest or expiration dates. Olive oil is best used within one year of harvest date.

Neutral-tasting oils, such as canola and vegetable, are more forgiving, but don’t keep them for longer than one year. If in doubt, heat a little oil in a skillet. If the oil has an off smell, throw out the bottle. Also, over-the-hill oils become viscous with time and sticky under the cap. If you’re having trouble loosening the cap on a bottle of oil, the oil should be thrown out.

Spices and dried herbs
Whole spices will last about twice as long as ground spices. The flavor of ground spices will go downhill after a year, as with the flavor of dried herbs. In the test kitchen, we write the purchase date on stick-on dots to track age of spices and herbs. To maximize the flavor from any dried herb, push the herb through a mesh sieve (or crush herb between your fingers) to release flavorful oils.

Eggs
Do not store eggs in the egg tray that comes with your refrigerator. The paper carton protects eggs from picking up odors. Also, the egg tray is located on the door in most refrigerators and the temperature there is warmer than in the main part of the fridge. Place the carton of eggs on a shelf in the refrigerator. Keeping eggs in their carton also lets you track their expiration or sell-by date.

Butter
When stored in the refrigerator, butter (even when wrapped) can pick up odors and turn rancid within a few weeks. Keep butter in the freezer and transfer it — one stick at a time — to the fridge.

Coffee
Ground coffee belongs in the freezer. Even in an airtight container, coffee stored on the counter becomes harsh and bitter after a few weeks. If you have an extra 10 minutes, measure frozen ground coffee into the filter and let it warm to room temperature. It will make better-tasting coffee than super-cold grounds.

Nuts
Keep all nuts in the freezer, where they will stay fresh for at least six months. Even in a cool pantry, opened bags will go rancid very quickly.

Leaveners
Yeast, baking soda and baking powder will lose their punch over time. Store yeast in the refrigerator or freezer and follow printed expiration dates. Baking powder and baking soda begin to lose effectiveness after six months. Keep them in a cool pantry and, unless you want flat biscuits and cakes, replace them often. Write the date you open baking powder and baking soda on packages.

= = = =

NOTE: I strongly believe that most of the above information and lots of what's found on the internet and in books is conservative estimates of time. We don't want to get sued either from people getting sick from using expired items, so we're not going to say much more. Just that you need to use your judgement. If leaveners stop working, replace them. Figure out alternatives. Same with the rest.

The oil situation - that's a main reason that we'll be having goats and/or cows on our mini-farm/homestead. Fresh butter!!!

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/02/shelf-life-of-pantry-and-kitchen.html

Recipe: Crockpot Whitebean Stewp

A stewp is a thicker than a soup and thinner than a stew. Good and hearty for a Winter meal. Put it on to cook before work, and it'll be ready when you come home!

Ingredients:
2 cups dry white beans (pick through)
2 tablespoons dried garlic granules
1 cup dried onion dices
3 cups broth
3 cups water
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup dried tomato slices or dices
1/4 cup sliced black olives
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Soak beans overnight. Add all ingredients except tomato and olives to crockpot. Cover and turn on low. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until you get home from work! Mash some of the beans to thicken the stewp, add the tomatoes and olives and cook another 20-30 minutes. Serve topped with parmesan cheese, and with a plate of fresh homemade bread.

Copyright (c) 2009 New View Group LLC

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/02/recipe-crockpot-whitebean-stewp.html

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