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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A big welcome to our new Sponsor: LIVE FREE, USA

Thank you, LIVE FREE, USA, for choosing to sponsor Daily Survival!

The History of Live Free, USA The Live Free, USA organization was created in the late 1960’s to promote wilderness survival training activities. The organization expanded its programs to include emergency preparedness and general self-reliance in the 70’s.  Live Free USA played an important role in explaining and defining the true philosophy of the survival/self-reliance movement in the 80’s and 90’s. Live Free USA has consistently maintained a reputation for common sense and responsibility.  Today Live Free USA is recognized as one of the oldest and most respected survival/self-reliance advocacy organizations in the world.

I invite you all to visit them. They have a lot to offer.




Per UncleJoe's advice, here is something I know:

This my favorite, go-to basic soap recipe. This makes a nice, lathery hard bar. It's a generally balanced formula, but is slightly more drying than some homemade soap recipes because of the coconut oil. It's also a great recipe because 1) all of the oils/fats are easily found at the grocery store and 2) it's a great way to use up oils/fats that are ready to be rotated out of storage.

Basic Ratios:
30% Crisco
30% Coconut Oil
20% Canola Oil
20% Olive Oil

2.5# recipe (w/ 6% superfat):
430.9 g water
159.5 g NaOH (Lye)
340.2 g Crisco
340.2 g Coconut Oil
226.8 g Canola Oil
226.8 g Olive Oil

This recipe can be scaled up or down, depending on the size of the mold. My mold for the 2.5# batch is portion of a cardboard box lined with waxed paper (shiny side in). You can calculate the size of the batch needed for your mold by: Cubic Volume of mold (in^3) * 0.38 = weight of oils.

Then, use the SoapCalc utility to get the correct amounts of reagents for your desired sized batch. The utility also allows you to tailor for different oils. Crisco has changed formulations recently (added palm oil), you'll need to update the calc if you're using the new formulation. This is a great utility to play with, especially if you have a good soap book handy. It makes the chemistry a breeze. Speaking of books, here are two for your library:
Smart Soapmaking: The Simple Guide to Making Traditional Handmade Soap Quickly, Safely, and Reliably, or How to Make Luxurious Handcrafted Soaps for Family, Friends, and Yourself
Watson, Anne L. "Smart Soapmaking: The Simple Guide to Making Traditional Handmade Soap Quickly, Safely, and Reliabily…" (Jan 2007) I love her shea butter soap and make it for Christmas presents every year.

Print most of Kathy Miller's pages and put them in a binder. Her site is better than 98% of the books on the market. She has the SAP values for fats/oils in tabular form; these are *must have* if you ever have need to improvise a recipe but don't have access to the internet.

Follow Miller's and Watson's instructions faithfully for tools, temperatures, procedures, and safety protocols and you will have awesome soap. I'd love to try out any recipes you've had success with, so please post and share!
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Why SHTF is more than Red Dawn/Mad-Max/TEOTWAWKI

Mad MaxImage by MacQ via Flickr
A popular misconception about being prepared is that you are preparing for a total, catastrophic meltdown that throws us all back to the stoneages. One minute we're living, the next we're running around in chest rigs and getting into firefights with zombies.

A SHTF event can be anything from an aggravating annoyance to what was described above.

You can move/leave if it's a localized event so it's not SHTF

There are any number of scenarios where this simply isn't true. Medical issues, family responsibilities, jobs, resources, quickness of weather events, etc can all conspire to prevent you from dashing off to safety. And even if you could, I can't think of a worse case of the poop hitting the ventilation than having my home destroyed or a family member killed.

Minor things like flat tires are so easy to deal with that they aren't SHTF events

Really? Your car gets a flat in a construction zone on the highway, it's hanging out into a lane of traffic and the flat tire is on the traffic side. As those cars whiz by your head please explain to the class how you aren't in a bad situation.

Take it a step further. Now it's your wife/daughter. When they call you on the phone in hysterics just tell them to suck it up and how "minor" the situation is. Let me know how it turns out.

You break your leg. Not a SHTF event right? What if you just started a small cleaning business? You have three contracts at different apartment complexes and are a one-man operation. Now you can't work, can't bill and can't make money. Oh yea, your apartments will likely replace you with someone else. Call me crazy, but something like that seems pretty bad no?

Because a situation is minor for you doesn't mean it will be minor for all in your care. Furthermore, any number of circumstances can ambush you to turn a minor event into a full blown catastrophe.

If there aren't zombies it's not SHTF

Are you 6? Forget the zombies for a minute.

You go out to dinner with the family. You round the corner on the way home to find your house has burnt to the ground.

A chemical truck spills and releases toxic gas into the air. You have to leave and leave right now. You have just enough time to grab your family but have to leave your dog standing on the front porch.

A major blizzard snows in your elderly father. His power goes out and he needs his insulin to survive. There is no way for him to leave, and very little chance of someone getting to him.

You move into a dream home for which you have saved your entire life. Six months later an earthquake damages it beyond repair. You then find out your cut-rate insurance doesn't cover the damages and you don't have the money to fix your house.

You are on the way to take your oldest son to college. As you pull out of the driveway the phone rings. It's your boss and you've just been fired.

Now sure, those are fabricated situations. But you can't deny that in each one of them some level of crap has solidly hit the fan.

If I prepare for Mad-Max I'm prepared for all of the smaller things that could happen

Maybe, maybe not.

People who focus on Mad-Max also tend to focus a lot on MRE's and guns. They also tend to overlook little things like tire repair kits, quality footware, cooking equipment, how they will take care of bodily waste, etc etc.

While you are planning for your trip to live in the woods, did you remember to buy ice melter so when your driveway is a sheet of ice you can get out?

You know what else they tend to overlook? Training. Yea. Kinda important to know how to do stuff, not just have kickass Condor and Uncle Mikes gear.

Its just too easy to get wrapped up in the fantasy land of becoming a wandering one-man army in your brand new Multicam BDU's and your 1000 yard rifle when all you think about is EOTWAWKI. Trust me, it will cause you to overlook a simple preparation along the way.
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SHOE-GOO is a "Shoo-In" For Survival Repair

Eclectic Products 110016 3.7oz Shoe Goo GlueI love "The Original SHOE-GOO" in a red and white tube, initially brought on the market, if I recall correctly, to affix loose soles to tenny-runners when high ticket jogging footwear came on the scene some years ago.

I was late in "discovering" it for that...and then with a tube kept 'round the house, I found myself reaching for it more and more. Cheapest place to buy it is W-M where they seem to delight in moving its location around, but generally can be found on an endcap display area.

Nowadays I am stocking ahead on it. The S-G people package it very, very well; a solid tube, affixed with an air-tight form-fitted "bubble" over it to hold it against cardboard sales display backing. And when I stash it in my Glue & Paste Tub (system described in Articles Section) and snap on the tight lid, I don't fear it drying out and becoming unusuable due to environmental problems.

It's great mend holes in rubber gum boots, fix tennis shoes, build up areas of a sole that get worn, and was uber-impressed when I repaired both sets of my lined, expensive deer-hide gloves that seem to no longer be manufactured (painting it on with a brush so it dries like a new app of leather.) Its uses are probably only held within the parameters of your own imagination as a dandy repair product and barter item.

Husband's pair of black wingtips that he wears once a week for two hours now need a bit of repair to adhere sole to upper. In scrutinizing, I saw a few feathery leather cracks in crease area. Will delicately paint on very thin veneer of S-G to "weld" the stress areas together, when dried give it a whisk of Black Permanent Marker. When dry apply polish, buff, and they should last another year or two. Maybe for "the duration" for dress wear.

We haven't yet got where we don't gamble by purchasing unripe green bananas. Yet.