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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Prepping and Preparedness - Life As We Know It

Original Article

Our life as we know it is clearly being assaulted on a number of fronts until it seems that civilization is at the verge of collapse. Our own dependence on the trappings of what many consider a civilized society is our biggest enemy. Its effects on you and your family can be lessened or avoided with a decent amount of preparation ahead of time. On the other hand, you may have decided to let the institutions that control our civilized society take care of your problems. If so, you may be in for a rude awakening to the reality of our situation.
Let’s consider a variety of present day situations that can affect our lives.
1. While we are able to predict the occurrence of certain natural events to some extent, we do not have the ability to stop them from happening. Major flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters will continue to threaten our existence and without a proper amount of planning ahead of time will be an even greater threat to your survival. Our society is already crippled by an inability of our institutions to respond to these threats in an efficient manner. The strain which has been placed on our emergency services by these natural events has already been seen in recent events over the past few decades.
2. While we have one of the better systems of emergency services of any civilized society, it is increasingly burdened with a greater number of events and more people that need those services. As the population continues to increase and the severity of natural disasters, which also seems to be on the rise, increases, our emergency services which have been hindered by a lack of resources themselves due to a lack of adequate funding, mismanagement and an increase of government “red tape” will eventually be unable to keep up.
3. While our government institutions are largely responsible for a number of policies that affect our everyday lives, they are not the only ones responsible for our current situation. Many private institutions also have a role in these problems. Corporations driven by greed that are seeking ever larger profits continue to do so at the expense of those who have come to depend on their products and services without regards to the true cost of their actions.
4. As our population increases, there will be even greater demands on our food and energy resources. Shortages of food and fuel are already commonplace events in many parts of the world and we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking we are immune from those same shortages. The availability of these resources is continuing to decline and will eventually put us on a collision course with disaster.
5. We are also beginning to suffer the effects of an aging infrastructure that has been neglected to the point where we may not be able to fix the problem without drastic measures. This will only increase the cost of maintaining many of our basic services that are now taken for granted. Water supply systems, sewage systems, electrical power systems and many of our transportation systems (highways and bridges) are failing and very little if anything is being done to alleviate this problem and is being largely ignored until something actually does fail.
6. All of the above factors continue to place a severe strain on our economic situation as well. You also need to consider the effects of high unemployment rates, low wages and inflation rates that affect the cost of basic needs such as housing, food and fuel. Many of our basic institutions continue to ignore these problems and rely on government hand-outs to correct fiscally irresponsible business practices or rely on government printing presses to furnish the funds for reckless spending levels which are unsustainable.
It is this basic inability of our institutions, both public and private, to deal with these problems and situations in an appropriate manner that puts us in this rather precarious situation of needing to be prepared.
Be aware, Be informed. Be prepared.
Riverwalker






How To Make a Fish Spear

Original Article

how-to-make-a-fish-spear
You are in survival mode, and are located near a river or lake whose shallow waters are revealing fish lounging or swimming lazily near shore or around the weeds – within reach – if you could just catch them.
If you have a fishing pole and gear, you are all set – all you need to do is to scavenge some bait.
Without fishing gear however, your choices are limited. You could fashion a net if you had the right materials, you could try to catch the fish by hand (good luck with that), or you could try to spear the fish.
I have recently been watching and enjoying a TV show called ‘Dual Survivor’ on Discovery Channel (Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin), which has provided lots of real-world survival experience (and entertainment), as well as lots of interesting survival ideas. During part of one recent episode, David Canterbury fashioned a fish-spear which he proceeded to use with a make-shift ‘bow’ while harvesting several fish for a delicious meal.
Since he had made the fish-spear from bamboo (a very straight growing hollow-strong wood), and since I have some bamboo growing in the corner of the yard from an expanding growth in the neighbors yard (the stuff spreads like wild fire), I decided to give it a go and make one for myself. After all… practice makes perfect.

The following video illustrates one way to make a fishing spear, which you could use by hand to spear fish, or with a bow for added velocity.
bamboo-fish-spear-prongs



The fish spear could be made of other wood than bamboo, given enough elasticity, strength, and ‘straightness’, and is fairly easy to make.
Find a straight piece of bamboo (or most any wooden branch) that narrows to about the size of a pencil or slightly larger.
Split the end (lengthwise) with a sharp knife into four splinters.
Sharpen each splinter to a point.
Use small wedge pieces to insert between the ‘splits’ in order to spread the tip somewhat.
Use some type of thread or string to wrap around the wedged diameter so to strengthen the spread-out tip section.
That’s it!





Remember, when looking at fish in the water, there is light ‘refraction’. The light bends through the water and the fish will appear slightly further ahead than they really are. Aim slightly behind for a good shot!





Click here to view the embedded video.



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A Rain Barrel Could Be a Key Part of Your Prepping Strategy

Original Article

Clean water is a precious commodity. We would die without it after 3-5 days. Pets and plants need water as well.
One solution for getting clean, free water is making and using a rain barrel as part of your prepping strategy. It may be a key element for successful survival gardening.
For more on this, check out the following article. It’s from Ag Opportunities, Volume 22, Number 6, June 2011, the newsletter from the Missouri Alternative Center.


Making and Using Rain Barrels

By Jennifer Schutter, Regional Horticulture Specialist, Adair County
Just in the past three years I have incorporated three gardening practices into my yard and garden-raised beds, compost bins, and a rain barrel. I absolutely love all three and encourage you to do the same.
People are now encouraged more than ever to use rain barrels as a way to protect our lakes and rivers while saving money on water bills.
So, what is a rain barrel? A rain barrel is a container used to catch rainwater. It is placed at the end of a home’s guttering downspouts to catch and store rainfall from the roof.
Using rain barrels is not a new practice. People have been using containers and barrels for hundreds of years to catch rainwater, only now days they are a little fancier than they were back then.
Instead of letting the water flow down your driveway and into a storm drain, you can collect it. Just a small amount of rain of less than half an inch can easily fill up a 55 gallon rain barrel.
There are several benefits to using rain barrels. You can use the water collected to water your garden or container plants. It is estimated that nearly 40 per-cent of household water is used for lawn and garden maintenance.
Rain barrels can be used in areas where you may not have a convenient spigot. Rain barrels can be a very effective tool against basement water problems, and they can prevent run-off from potentially washing harmful chemicals and pesticides into local streams and rivers.

Clean your barrel before using it. It is best to use a food-grade barrel. Plastic is best because it will not rust. Do not use a barrel that has been used to hold petroleum products or chemicals! They may leach toxins into the water.
Water collected from rain barrels should not be used for drinking, cooking or bathing. The lid should be secure so children or animals do not fall into the barrel. You should disconnect the barrel during the winter and attach it in the early spring to fill it for use.
You will need to elevate your rain barrel slightly to make access to the spigot easier. The screened louver vent will prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your barrel. Consider joining multiple barrels for additional capacity. You can add goldfish to your barrel.
Rain barrels are easy to make and it’s much cheaper than buying one. All you really need is a 55 gallon barrel, a spigot, overflow valve and a drill and bit. If you are from the northeast region of Missouri, you can find 55 gallon barrels at the flea market in Rutledge for $10.
You can get the spigot and over-flow valve at any hardware store. Make sure the valve has pipe threads on one end and hose threads on the other end. You want to be able to attach your water hose to the overflow valve and the spigot.
But, you need pipe threads to insert them into the barrel. You will probably want to drill a hole with a 15/16 inch bit. If you drill your hole this size, you will want to purchase a 3/4 spigot and valve.
You basically drill a hole about 3 inches from the bottom of the barrel and put in your spigot, and drill a hole about 3-4 inches from the top of the barrel for your overflow valve. You can go on the internet to find plans on how to make one.
I love having a rain barrel. It is located about 20 feet away from my garden and since I do not have a spigot on that end of the house, I use the water in the rain barrel to water my garden. I also use the water from the barrel to water my container plants and plants in my raised beds.
If you don’t already have one, try making one this summer. You are sure to love having one too!