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Friday, November 25, 2011


Original Article

Hiding In Plain Sight

A couple days ago, I saw a guy driving a Jeep Cherokee, towing a small utility trailer with 10 5-gallon gas cans in the back.  I commented on the Facebook page that he was probably either a prepper or an arsonist.  Some reader comments got me to thinking about OPSEC (operational security) with your preps and keeping things discreet.

For this guy with the trailer and gas cans, a simple plywood and tarp structure would have kept his trailer contents completely hidden.  A reader, Steelheart, sent in this photo:

He took a regular old utility trailer and built up two foot walls with plywood and then added a tarp.  It's low enough, it doesn't affect drivability, yet provides discreet moving of anything you don't want everyone to see.  It also provides secure moving of trash, brush, or other things that would be hard to do in an open trailer.  Big thanks to Steelheart for sharing this.

Another fuel OPSEC issue is storing it.  There is a house near here that backs up to the interstate.  Every time I drive by, I'm amazed at how much propane they have stored behind their shed, in full view of thousands of drivers each day.  They've got a 100 lb tank and 6 or 7 20 pounders back there.  These folks also have a large garden, so my prepper radar goes off.  They've got a 4 foot chain link fence around the back.  It'd be simple to put those plastic strips in the fencing to obscure the view of their yard.

I moved a lot from the time I got out of high school until I got married at 35.  I lived in 11 different places during that time.  If you have to move preps, that's another place to be concerned about what folks see.  All those #10 cans of food?  The gun safe and cases of ammo?  What about the two generators and 10 gas cans?  How to move that into your new home if it is in view of the neighbors.  I sure don't want Gladys Kravitts hollering, "Abner, Abner, you should see what the new people are moving in!"  If you have an attached garage, that can be ideal.  Just back the truck in and unload there to move into the house.  Guns can be wrapped in blankets or carried in duffel bags rather than gun cases.  For the safe, check with an appliance store and see if you can get a refrigerator box, and cover it with that.  For the food, get some big boxes from the U-Haul store and put the manufacturer's boxes in those.  The generators and gas cans might be the hardest.  Sometimes you might have to unload in the wee dark hours of the night.  A friend has a his generators in a small shed with that pink Styrofoam type insulation in it.  The generators plug into a junction box in the shed that is wired to the house power system.  He's adding some low level vents for cross ventilation of the exhaust, and will be able to run them inside the shed, with a minimal sound signature.

You want to keep your preps low key and out of the public view as much as possible.  Sometimes, it takes some creativity to keep them that way.

50 Things to Do Between Now and the End of the Year

Original Article

There's a lot to do before the end of the year.  Here's a list:

  1. Pay off a debt.
  2. Go to a gun show (I happen to like gun shows so thought I would throw that in).
  3. Go for a hike in nature.
  4. Review your annual credit report and correct any mistakes.
  5. Fund your IRA or other retirement plan for the year.
  6. Make any tax deductible donations before the end of the year.
  7. Update your vaccinations.
  8. Take any "use or lose" leave from you job.
  9. Use up any "use or lose" health spending account funds.
  10. Dump out your BOB and revamp it for winter.
  11. Clean out and organize all of your files (both computer files and hard copy files in your file box).
  12. Make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape for winter.
  13. Gather all of your tax receipts to get ready for filing your taxes.
  14. Make appointments for your annual: physical/vision/hearing/dental check ups.
  15. Back up all of your computer files.
  16. Get a new calendar for 2012 and get organized.
  17. Check all of your important documents (passport, CCL, driver's license, etc) to see if any are expiring in the upcoming year and need to be renewed.
  18. Plan your annual vacation for next year.
  19. Set your 2012 goals.
  20. Clean out your house and minimize your possessions.
  21. Clean all of your firearms.
  22. Stock up on ammo.
  23. Get out to the shooting range and practice (a nice change from sunny, summer shooting).
  24. Is it still hunting season in your area? Go out for a winter hunt.
  25. Try backpacking or camping for a weekend during the winter.
  26. Winter is a great time to stay in and bake. Try your hand at baking bread, cookies, even pizza.
  27. Stock up. After Thanksgiving and Christmas a variety of holiday-related food is on sale. Now is a good time to stock your freezer with turkeys and your pantry with canned goods.
  28. Make sure your emergency fund is fully funded by the end of the year.
  29. Review the monthly bills you have paid over the past year; how can you reduce or eliminate these?
  30. Set your goals for next year (consider ways to increase your income, decrease your debt, train in a variety of preparedness/survival skills, etc).
  31. Get some exercise, eat better, lose some weight.
  32. Connect with friends and family (kind of what the holidays are for).
  33. Spend time with your kids (kind of what all of the school holidays this time of year are for).
  34. During the next big snowfall, practice: driving in snow, building a snow shelter
  35. Check your house now for problems you can fix in the spring (how is the roof, are there any drafts, how is the water run off near your place, etc).
  36. Order your 2012 seed catalogs.
  37. Experiment with winter gardening.
  38. Eat through your food stockpile and restock.
  39. Teach yourself (or your kids) some winter survival skills.
  40. Update your Will, Power of Attorney, insurance coverages, etc.
  41. Volunteer (at a school, thrift store, homeless center, etc).
  42. Become an expert on something next year; use this time to figure out what and how.
  43. Enjoy some winter sports: skiing, skating, etc.
  44. Join a club (hiking club, shooting club, chess club...so you can learn some useful prep skills).
  45. Celebrate the holidays and maybe start a new tradition.
  46. Learn a new skill (you are spending more time indoors at this time of year, so it's a good time to learn how to knit, sew, do some woodworking, etc).
  47. Help your kids get ready to be successful (SAT tests are coming up, scholarship applications will be due soon, they may want to consider joining the military after graduation, etc).
  48. Fix a persistent problem.  Start the new year off lighter by fixing a problem that has been bugging you.
  49. Have a fire drill.  Yes in the middle of the night.  Yes in the middle of winter.
  50. Consider what you are thankful for this year.