Friday, July 22, 2011

The 4 Most Likely Ways You Can Die If the SHTF

Original Article


The subject of survival in a long term disaster goes beyond having stockpiles of beans, bullets and band-aids. Those that do survive during a long term emergency will no doubt be tried and tested with a great many things. One of those trying scenarios is dealing with death.
Zombie attacks seem to be a prevalent theme for preppers to prepare for. In fact, the CDC has even posted a preparedness article on how to ward off zombie attacks. While I believe these zombies will likely take the form of substance abusers, mental patients, chronically ill or diseased, and desperate individuals whose basic needs have not been met, they will die out in the first few months of an onset of a  major disaster, and there presence will rarely be an issue in a long term situation.

In reality, a majority of those that will die during a long-term disaster will be from illnesses brought on by acute respiratory infections due to cramped living conditions, poor water conditions (or lack of), or bacterial infections from wounds. If we survive a major disaster, America would become a third world country and the aftermath of such a scenario will be similar to those living in Africa, Ethiopia and India.
Illness Due to Poor Water Conditions
Typically, any diseases that are brought on by lack of sanitation and hygiene are controllable and preventable. In a disaster where water sources are compromised, people within a 50 mile radius could be adversely impacted by illness and disease if just one person incorrectly handles water or incorrectly disposes of waste.  Contaminated water, poor sanitation and/or lack of hygeine leads to diseases such as Hepatitis A, viral gastroenteritis, cholera, Shigellosis, typhoid, Diphtheria and polio. If these diseases affect enough people, an epidemic will ensue.

Dehydration and diarrhea are also water-related matters to contend with. Those without adequate water conditions and/or are suffering from disease brought on by poor water conditions could quickly dehydrate. These types of illnesses typically affect at-risk populations such as children, the sick and the elderly. Young children in particular are at high risk for diarrhea and other food- and waterborne illnesses because of limited pre-existing immunity and behavioral factors such as frequent hand-to-mouth contact. The greatest risk to an infant with diarrhea and vomiting is dehydration. In addition, fever or increased ambient temperature increases fluid losses and speeds dehydration. Having knowledge beforehand on how to properly clean drinking water and food, and the symptomatology and treatment of these types of diseases can prevent further outbreaks from occurring.
Recommended preparedness items: water filtration systems, water purification tablets, chlorine granules, bleach, electrolyte or rehydration powders, anti-diarrea medicines.

Malnutrition
Malnutrition from either improper water conditions or from lack of nutrients is also a large killer amongst those in impoverished communities.  Medical experts say there is a symbiotic relationship between malnutrition and diarreah.  Malnutrition increases the severity of diarrhea while diarrhea can cause malnutrition. Either way, prevention for both of these health issues is key.
Those that are malnourished are more suseptible to illness and disease. Individuals who are malnourished will also be vitamin deficient and their health is likely to regress further. Those who survive from malnutrition are permanently affected by this disease and may suffer from recurring sickness, faltering growth, poor brain development, increased tooth decay, reduced strength and work capacity, and increased chance of chronic diseases in adulthood. Adult women with this condition will give birth to underweight babies.
Recommended preparedness items: dietary supplements, vitamin powders, seeds for sprouting or  seeds for fresh vegetables and fruits, survival bars, knowledge of alternative means to attain vitamins

Acute Respiratory Infections
Upper respiratory infections (URI) will also be a leading cause of death in a long term disaster. Upper respiratory infections include: colds, flu, sore throat, coughs and bronchitis can usually be cured with additional liquids, rest and nourishment. Allowing the illness to exacerbate will lead to secondary infections such as bacterial pneumonia. The germs from pneumonia are easily spread from an infected person to others by coughing or sneezing or through close contact. A major concern about respiratory infections is that there are many drug resistant strands of viruses, bacterias and diseases (including tuberculosis), that regular medicine will not cure.  In a long term disaster situation, many could perish.
To properly prepare for this type of medical situation, learn about the more prevalent viruses and bacterias in your country and how to prevent them in order to provide a healthy living environment in a long term situation.
Not only are URI’s a concern but other air-borne diseases such as tuberculosis will likely fester during a long term scenario. In regular non-SHTF times, treatment for tuberculosis requires 6-12 months of medication.  In a long term emergency, chances of surviving tuberculosis are slim. The best way to prevent tuberculosis is adequate nutrition, vitamin D and living in a properly ventilated shelter.

Survival groups that have multiple people living under one roof will only increase the likelihood of passing air-borne infections and diseases to one another. In addition, those in an at-risk group (elderly, immuno-deficient, infants) are more likely to catch illnesses.  If a survival group is sharing a home, an infirmary or sick room should be prepared for those who have fallen ill.  Isolating the person who is ill will limit exposure to the other members of the group. Adequate nutrition, water, rest, good sanitary practices and ventilation of the home is essential in curbing this.
Recommended preparedness items: decongestants, expectorants, upper respiratory medicines, antibiotics (for secondary and bacterial infections), knowledge on medicinal herbs, prepare a sick room at your survival homestead
Infections From Wounds

Open injuries have the potential for serious bacterial wound infections, including gas gangrene and tetanus, and these in turn may lead to long term disabilities, chronic wound or bone infection, and death.  Anitibiotics will be few and far between and will be more precious than gold.  Without proper medicines, antiseptic and knowledge on proper medical procedures, many will die of bacterial infections.  Learning medical skills, gaining knowledge on natural medicines and alternative medical antiseptic (i.e., Dakin’s Solution) before a disaster occurs could help people survive from wound infections. Also, ensuring the area that you treat medical emergencies is clean and as sterile as possible may also prevent bacterial infections.
Recommended preparedness items:  stock up on maxi pads for wound absorption, gauze, celox, antibiotics, suture needles and other basic first aid supplies.



Additionally, consider developing the following skills: basic first aid class, sign up for EMT classes in your community, an off-grid medical care class such as those offered by onPoint Tactical. Also, consider investing in books such as When There is No Doctor and When There is No Dentist.
Also look into making your own antiseptics utilizing alcohol distillation, such as the custom made units from LNL Protekt.


These illnesses (provided above) have impacted countries all over the world. These illness and conditions, coupled with unsanitary living conditions such as substandard sanitation, inadequate food and water supplies and poor hygiene, make disaster-affected people especially vulnerable to disease. These illnesses will affect us no matter what part of the world we live in, what socio-economic status we currently hold, and no matter how prepared we think we are.

Understanding what can happen and being prepared when it does is absolutely essential. The last thing we want to do when a serious condition arises is to panic. Preparing your supplies, developing your skills and educating the rest of your family and preparedness group on how to prevent, identify and counteract these serious conditions will provide a significant boost to your ability to survive if the worst happens.
Recommended Readings:
Patriot Nurse: 5 Diseases that Will Explode WTSHTF
Prevention and Management of Wound Infections
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Emergencies



Curing meat

Original Article

98036058 XS Curing meat
Cured Meats (from livestrong.com)
Curing meat is an age old process.  It has been used to preserve, intensify flavors, and make unpalatable cuts of meat acceptable for consumption. Most of us don’t worry about the preservation aspect so much anymore, but if you’ve ever made a marinade then you’ve dabbled in curing (perhaps with out even knowing it).  In this post I’m going to go over some of the ingredients needed to cure meat and introduce a couple of salt mixtures that can be very useful in curing your meats.  I’ll also go over some things that could be kept in your food storage.




First of all there are a couple of items that are needed to cure meat.  You don’t have to use each of these items when you cure, but they all play an important part in the curing process.
  1. Salt
  2. Sugar
  3. Nitrites/Nitrates
  4. Smoke

Salt


Lets talk about salt first.  In terms of curing, salt’s primary purpose is to kill the microbes that inhabit the meat you are trying to cure.  Of course a very nice side benefit is that your meat tastes better in the process.  There are two primary ways to apply salt to meat: a dry cure, and a wet cure.
The dry cure is simply applying the salt along with any spices directly on the meat and putting it in a cool place to allow the curing process to take place
The wet cure (brining) uses water and salt.  The meat is submerged in the brine until done.
The length of time to cure really depends on what you want to do with the meat.  If you are trying to store the meat then you need to make certain that all harmful microbes and bacteria have been killed off.  This will take longer and of course depends on the size, weight, type of meat etc.  If you are curing for flavor and are going to be cooking the meat, then it is less important to kill the harmful bacteria.  You just need to give the meat enough time to pull in the salt and other flavorings that have been applied.

Sugar

The main reason for sugars in cures is to help compensate for the harshness of the salt.  Additionally the sugar brings flavor to the meat.  Think maple syrup when curing bacon.

Nitrites / Nitrates

“Nitrite does a few special things to meat: it changes the flavor, preserves the meat’s red color, prevents fats from developing rancid flavors, and prevents many bacteria from growing, most notably those responsible for botulism poisoning” – taken from Charcuterie pg 38.  You generally won’t store nitrites or nitrates by themselves but they are found in many commercial curing salts such as Mortons Quick Cure, InstaCure and DQ Curing Salt.  One common cut of meat that really benefits from salt curing with nitrites is a brisket.  If you let that set for a week then the brisket will cure, and will turn the nice red color that is associated with Corned Beef.

Smoke

Smoke is used in curing for two reasons.  Really the main reason any more for smoking is to apply flavor to the meat.  The smoke also helps preserve the meat.  Generally hard woods are used to help smoke the meat.  Ham, for example, is a smoke cured meat.  You can also use smoking as just a flavor enhancer.  The weekend BBQ jumps to the next level when you start smoking your meat.

What to store


  1. Salt.  The salt that you plan on using for curing should not have iodine.  That will mess with the flavors of the cure.  I don’t have any direct recommendations on the amount to store, but most simple recipes can call for 2 cups of salt or more.  If you plan on doing a lot of curing then be sure to store plenty.  Plus if you have extra you can use it as a barter item.  You really should have a few different kinds of salt.  Kosher salt is great.  Keep lots of this on hand.  You can also get regular table salt (just with out the iodine).  You should also have some curing salt such as the Mortons Quick Cure or InstaCure that were mentioned earlier.  You don’t usually need as much of this since a little goes a long way.
  2. Sugar.  In most wet and dry cures the sugar is about half the amount of salt used.  So store half the amount of sugar that you plan for salt.
  3. Wood.  This one is hard since it is bulky.  You can get everything from wood chips, chunks and of course whole logs.  I generally keep several bags of my favorite woods (maple, mesquite, hickory).  In a pinch you can also store liquid smoke, but it doesn’t always work as well.

Like most preparedness matters you really should practice curing before you need it.  The upside is that the results are delicious!
Try making:
With the help of the curing process they all taste fabulous.



Saturday, July 16, 2011

Useful resource mapping

Original Article

USEFUL RESOURCE MAPPING

http://preppersuk.freeforums.org/

© 2011Northern Raider



A warning about supplies.




Do ensure that when you approach sources of supplies that they are not already under someone else’s control, do not take unnecessary risks its better to go elsewhere or try again another day.

Avoid confrontation and unnecessary contact until things get as normal as possible, be prepared to barter for supplies. Don’t assume no one is left to claim legal ownership of what ever you find.





Identify and keep records of any useful resources that may be useful to your group post collapse, along with 6 figure grid references. Its often prudent and beneficial to at least have a look at the target via Google Earth, a picture is often worth a thousand words.





Some materials like coal or building materials can frequently be left in place and they are unlikely to come to any harm, unless of course such materials are going to be in short supply.





Highways agency Solar and Wind power generators used to power remote traffic information signs. Suppliers of portable generators, micro wind turbines and PV array suppliers.




Bolt together security fencing, often found around schools and small industrial estates.



Recoverable sources of Firewood, Coal & Coke, Peat, Heating and fuel oil, Bottled Gas (butane and propane). Check coal yards, railway sidings, gas bottled refilling centers etc.



Suppliers of wood and multi fuel stoves.



Petroleum Products, Petrol, Diesel, Avgas, Paraffin (Kerosene), Hypoid, Lubricants etc

(Most petroleum products will need treating with preservatives) Petrol stations, refineries, transport depots etc



Suppliers of Building Materials, Lumber, Bricks, Cement, and Aggregates etc. builders yards, DIY centers, quarries, building sites etc




Water Supplies, Tanks, ponds, reservoirs, streams, wells (including capped ones) artesian and aquifer sources.



Water filtration and purification equipment and stockists.

Identify locations of fast flowing or fast falling water that could be used to turn generators, mills, etc.



Food stores, supermarkets, distribution centers, regional warehouses, bulk buy outlets, grain stores, farm equipment and grain suppliers etc.



Free range herds of cattle, sheep, chickens, deer etc

Rabbit farms, Rabbit warrens, Fish farms, angling clubs, Small scale special breeds farms ( Alpacas, miniature pigs etc).




Allotments, Smallholdings and Orchards.



Off road and agricultural vehicle suppliers.



Camping and Out door equipment stores and suppliers, Military clothing and equipment suppliers. Cobblers, outdoor footwear manufacturers and suppliers.



Chemists, pharmacies and medical equipment suppliers



Tool stores, engineering suppliers, plant hire agencies, sports shops, gun shops, gun smiths, boat yards, marinas, ships chandlers preserved railways etc



Property and Real Estate




Remote or isolated housing that is conducive to self reliance, IE has things like large established vegetable gardens, functioning large chimneys and fire places, ultra insulated, double/ triple glazed, multi-fuel heating / cooking facilities, has a well or other clean (gravity fed) water supply, solar panels, wind turbines, methane digesters, local supplies of fuel, defendable, etc other facilities like outdoor residential centers, outward bound centers, alternative technology centers, camping hostels, retreats etc are worth considering.



Check out footpaths, bridle ways, navigable water ways, canals, rail lines, broadcasting masts, radio masts, wind farms, etc for both salvageable supplies and suitable bug out or safe transport routes.



Please remember that in survival INFORMATION is not only power, but a lifesaver as well.



Water Challenge: One Gallon of Water for One Day

Original Article

Similar to other emergency drills such as earthquake, fire, and tornado, this drill is intended to familiarize your family with a difficult situation. They may also become more confident and prepared to deal with other challenges that could arise. Use wisdom and caution when trying out this challenge. Keep members of your family well hydrated and it will be a good experience for everyone.

The Challenge

Consider living at least 24 hours with only one gallon of stored water per family member per day. For example: a family of four would need to live off of 4 gallons of water for a 24 hour period.

You may be thinking this will be easy. Anyone can go without cooking or extensive cleaning for 24 hours. You can expect that your children will have no problem drinking less than a gallon of water per day. However, consider average water usage in non-emergency situations.


When you begin to consider sanitation, cooking, and washing clothes you'll notice that one gallon of water is an absolute minimum.

After completing this challenge you may want to take some time to evaluate what occurred and re-evaluate your family's preparedness plans. Were the proper tools available to cope with limited water use? Would one gallon of water per person per day be sufficient for your family? Most recommendations are for 2-5 gallons of water per person per day in an emergency. Spend some time discussing the results with your family and adjust your plans accordingly.

Click here for more about how this challenge can help you and your family be prepared.




Essential Tools: Around the Retreat

Original Article



Today we’re going to look at what a basic end of the world toolkit looks like. This is by no means an absolute list, but rather a starter kit you should have at your home or retreat. You can add to it as money and skill allows. None of these tools are particularly expensive, and most could even be picked up at yard sales if you are careful about checking for wear and quality. If you can afford the cost and storage for multiple tools, double up (or more) whenever possible. Tools do get lost or break sometimes, and they are nifty barter items.

Hammers – There are a lot of specialized hammers, but you need a minimum of two types: a claw hammer for hitting nails, and a ball peen hammer used for striking metal.

Saws – Handsaws are cheap and easy to use. For the long term, think about learning to sharpen them by hand.

Hacksaw – buy plenty of blades, they wear out. For cutting metal objects such as pipes.

Screwdrivers – A complete range of slotted, Phillips and Robertson screwdrivers would be the minimum for me. There are other specialist types such as Torx, but if you’ve got the big three, you’ll be okay in most situations.

Allen wrenches – Also known as hex keys, these are used for the recessed hexagonal headed screws/bolts seen in many applications. A good quality set with a range of sizes.

Measuring tape – at least one of 25’ or so. If you can afford a large reel tape of the sort you see surveyors use, that’s nice to have, as well.

Squares – Two types here, roofing or framing square, and a smaller combination square.

Levels – Two again, short one and at least a four footer.

Bit and Brace – what you’ll use after your electric drill doesn’t run. You might need a little practice using it, and make sure you know how to keep the bits sharp. Try to have a nice variety of lengths and sizes of bits.

Hand drill – NOT a bit and brace, but similar in use. Generally a hand cranked, geared drill, you can use it for lighter, tighter, and finer work than the bit and brace.

Socket set – ½ “ size, with a good variety of sizes and some extras like extensions and maybe a breaker bar.

Combination wrenches – A wrench with an open jaw one end and a box end on the other, in a variety of sizes.

Adjustable wrenches – At least two, and more in a variety of sizes if you can afford it. There’s always an off size bolt you’ll need these for.

Pipe wrenches – Always in pairs, and two pairs if affordable in larger and smaller sizes.

Vise grips – There probably isn’t a more abused tool out there, but it is invaluable for many jobs. Multiple sizes and styles if possible.

Pliers – The traditional style to start, then add needle nose and other types as you see fit. There are dozens of types, but have found lineman’s pliers and fencing pliers very useful. Your mileage may vary.

Pump pliers – in two sizes. These are adjustable long handled pliers that come in handy in a variety of situations.

Files – A variety of sizes and types, used for metal work/ sharpening.

Tin snips – For cutting sheet metal.

Cold chisel – Used to cut heavier metal.

Wire stripper – Self explanatory, I would think.

Side cutter pliers – Used to cut wire, you’ll find other uses the manufacturer never intended.

Wood chisels – A moderate range of sizes will keep you going in most circumstances.

Wood plane - a general purpose plane such as a jack plane. Learn how to use it.

Bolt cutter – Also known as a chain cutter, this is a specialized tool, but one I think necessary for certain uses. Buy a large one.

Crow bar – used in demolition mostly, but pretty handy to have around.

Nail puller – You can use the claw on your hammer, but the specialized tool is easier on wrists and hands if you’re salvaging a lot of lumber.

Box cutter and blades – multiple uses.

Stapler – I mean the construction type here. Great for tacking up almost everything. Buy lots of staples.

Clamps- If you have room and money, clamps make building anything easier, especially when you haven’t got someone around to ‘just hold this here’.

Bench vise – and some bolts to mount it. Even if you screw this to a log, you’ll find doing a lot of things easier when they are held securely. It is nearly indispensible when sharpening a variety of tools.

There you go, a list of the basics. You can of course add to it, but when acquiring tools keep in mind the likelihood of needing the tool (You need a six foot long pipe wrench? Really?) and your ability to use the tool.

Some tools come in a variety of weights (hammers, for example) or sizes (saws). Make sure the tools you have are tools you can use safely and without undue fatigue. If you’re not a person handy with tools, start learning now. There are lots of how-to guides out there for almost every task and project imaginable. Start simple and build your skill, confidence and toolkit. It’ll save you money, and maybe even your life someday.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

Keep your Go Tube ready to go!

Original Article

OscarDelta Go Tube with wall mount attached.
OscarDelta has released a wall mount dock along with their new Go Tubes, allowing you to store the Go Tube securely and ready to move. The wall mount is a no-nonsense plastic bracket that fits the 20mm diameter Go Tubes perfectly. It holds the Go Tube tightly enough for vertical or inverted placement, and needs only a single screw to be secured. The wall mount is made from sturdy plastic and should hold up to use well.
A standalone of the wall mount.

The wall mount is affordable, too - you can add two to your order for a measly £1.

Install the wall mount in an out of the way place and add a Go Tube stuffed with supplies. Attached to a closet wall or ceiling, backside of a dresser, underside of a desk or some other out of the way nook, the wall mount allows you to have your bug out tube ready to go at a moment's notice.


The wall mount is available on OscarDelta's Buy Now page, in the drop down box for Go Tubes. Check it out right here



Canned Food Groups for Survival Storage

Original Article

canned-food-groups-for-survival-food-storage
In addition to your consideration of our sponsors who offer excellent food supplies for long term storage, if you are stocking up your food pantry to withstand a period of ‘down time’ just in case you cannot get to the grocery store for awhile, or worse, for a disruption or collapse in the food supply distribution chain, consider adding some basic grocery-store canned foods from the following categories.
Keep in mind that when considering which canned foods to stock up on, you should be considering calories as well as a balance of food types. You should look for canned foods with a decent amount of calories while attempting to balance protein, vegetables, grains, and fruit. Note that some canned foods contain very few calories, which although great for a healthy diet, they may not bring you the best bang for your buck (survival preparedness is not necessarily ‘weight-watchers’…).



Canned Soups

Vegetables, veggies with meat, with grains, look for higher calorie soups.

Canned Meats

I know that Costco sells canned chicken and beef for example… there is quite a variety of canned meat sauces too, plus canned ham, etc…
Canned Tuna and/or Salmon

Even with the Mercury risk, once or twice a week consumption OK according to many reports.
Canned Stews

These usually have lots of calories and quite a variety of mixtures with vegetables.
Canned Beans

Brown rather than green will typically contain more calories.

Canned Pasta

With sauce – meat sauce – Ravioli, etc…
Canned Vegetables

Although somewhat low in calories, corn, carrots, etc… will offer a variety of flavor to add with your other foods.
Canned Fruits

For the sweet tooth, a good desert, and a healthy supplement to your diet.



Also, for optimum food rotation efficiency, it is always best to purchase what you normally eat, so that you will consume through your food storage over time, while replacing it with more of what you normally eat. This way, there would theoretically be no spoilage over time.



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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!




Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Travel Trailer as a Retreat

Original Article

Like so many folks did, I bought a copy of M.D. Creekmore’s book, Dirt Cheap Survival, One Man’s Solution. I read it and loaned it to Tonto to read. I had intended to write a review a few weeks ago but put it off. I really doubt that any review I do on the book would be much different then any of the others you might have already read.

I was discussing the book with a friend of mine that lives in Missouri. He is also a writer of outdoor and survival articles. I mailed my copy to him to read and also mailed my old copy of Brian Kelling’s Travel-Trailer Homesteading Under $5,000.

Both books tell how the authors converted a travel trailer into their main living quarters. They have a similar approach to wanting to live frugally and not have the monthly expenses that drag most of us down.

Creekmore’s book has a little more detail on the power system he uses to live off grid. Kelling installed his own septic system and Creekmore uses a composting toilet system. Kelling has to haul water and pump it while Creekmore has a spring for his supply, but still has to pump it. Between the two books you can get a good idea on it what it would take to make a travel trailer your permanent home as a retreat.

Tonto, Toolman, and my sons all have had numerous discussions on my place as a retreat. There are a ton of pluses for moving to the cabin if TSHTF, and a few negatives as well. We take a generator up for deer season and use it to heat the cabin but most of the time the cabin is an “electric free zone”. The big drawback to my trailer as a retreat is that without power it is very hard to heat the place. It is fine for eight months out of the year but we need power to run the furnace or we freeze during hunting season. We have looked into wood stoves and other sources of heat but the trailer just doesn’t have the room for anything other than what is there.

Kelling wrote his book based on his place in the desert while Creekmore is snug in the hills of Tennessee. You would need a little from each book to make a travel trailer retreat in Michigan. If nothing more than allowing your mind to have an academic debate about living in a trailer for survival I suggest you read either of the two books, or better yet, both.

Wolverine

This is the original article I did when I got my travel trailer placed up north. This was originally on Jim Dakin's Bison Survival Blog 6 April 2008


A Survival Retreat for Under $1000

Call it a survival retreat, hunting cabin, or summer cottage, a place away from the crowds and turmoil of the cities is a dream most of us share. Some folks plan out a survival retreat in such detail that long-term storage, over lapping fields of fire, and fuel supplies are worked out. Others, like myself, approach it as a vacation spot that can be readily converted if need be to an alternate living location.

Back in the late 1960s my family had a small two-room cottage on a lake in northern Michigan. The cottage had no electricity, no running water, or no heat. What it did have is nostalgically called a “bath with a path.”

This cottage did however provide what we needed. A few steps from the back door was a pump with clean, clear, cool water. All that was needed was a strong arm and a few minutes to fill the bucket. Cool summer nights were warmed by the glow of the fuel oil lantern that was hung over the dinner table. This lantern produced enough light to fill the cottage and allow card games to be played well past a normal bedtime. The heat from the lantern warmed the place and fuel was cheap. Dinners were usually planned around the nightly campfire, but the old propane stove would serve if needed.

During those periods of time that my father was laid off from work we would spend a week or two stretch of time at the cottage. Living was easy and cheap. Fish from the lake provided many meals and nuts and berries from the woods around the place were gathered and baked into pies. Fall small game season produced meat and poultry in the form of rabbits, squirrels, pheasants and grouse. My Dad and I talked often about living up at the cottage if the world went to hell in a hand basket.

After high school and moving into the world of college and working, my trips to the cottage were few and far between. Usually they were only to go up and help Dad secure the place from the last break in that occurred. Sadly, I let the cottage fall into neglect and vandals took care of the rest. Broken doors and windows let the weather in and after a few years the cottage became uninhabitable.

Mom kept the land after Dad’s passing and I started taking my sons there for a few weekend camping trips. Soon the idea of getting the cottage back in shape was talked about, but the northern winters did a good job of making the place beyond repair. With the approach of Y2K and talk of chaos renewed my thoughts of a survival treat. I discussed this with some buddies of mine and ideas of small barns to large military tents were discussed. Like the old saying about when all is said and done, there is more said than done, Y2K came and went and still nothing was done about the cottage.

One of the guys that I had discussed the ideas of a cabin in the woods with called one fall afternoon and suggested that I drive out to his campground and look at a travel trailer that they were giving away. Giving away, free for nothing, giving away? Yup, just make sure it is gone before Halloween.

My youngest son and I drove out and looked at the place. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Although it was a 1955 travel trailer, the interior was clean and bright. The wood finish on the walls was unstained and the place showed signs of good upkeep. I drove home and talked the idea over with my wife and my Mom. The wife had to agree for us to take it, and my Mom had to let us put it on the lake. Both agreed, and my sons and I started planning on getting it up north.

My wife and I agreed that a budget of $500 was all right to spend. We knew that we couldn’t build a lawn barn to use up there for that much money.

Calls to find a mover to haul it north for us were made. Prices ranged from $700 to over $3000. I was taken aback by this and did a total rethink. The guy that helped us find the trailer to begin with suggested I try the guy that moved his out to the campground he was at. That turned out to be a cold trail, but I did find a company in Indiana that was willing to do it for around $200, PROVIDING, I put new tires on it so that it would be pretty much guaranteed to make the trip.

They no longer make the same size tires for travel trailers that they made in 1955. After countless phone calls to any kind of a place I could think of I was referred to a place that dealt with a lot of farm equipment. They informed me that the size I wanted was no longer made but they did have a cross-reference tire that should work just fine. $135 later a pair of the tires were mine. The bad news was I needed them put on the rims and the rims were still on the trailer, 60 miles away. Several more phone calls to repair stores and a place was found that would put them on at the site, but the cost would be around $200.

Getting the tires on proved easier than anyone led me to believe. Even though they were old fashion split rims, the job took just under an hour and the cost was around $170. This put the cost of moving the retreat at the $500 level we had agreed would be reasonable for our budget. I was very pleased and at 11:30 in the morning I left the north central Ohio campground headed for northwestern Michigan.

Thankfully the trip was uneventful. Ben, the very nice driver that the transport company assigned to the job did an outstanding job of getting the trailer to the lake and spotting it where I wanted it. We had to chop out a couple of small trees to get it parked in the sheltered area I wanted, but the job went easy and we were done before darkness set in. The last act of the night was to finish putting the lock and hasp on the door of the trailer before I headed north to my friends cabin for the night. I figured it was easier to drive a little farther north and stay at a buddy’s cabin than make the long drive home.

Mediterranean, Southwestern, early American and assorted other styles of furniture are discussed in the finest design magazines. We settled on what my sister termed “early garage sale.” The propane stove came from a travel trailer that was being scraped out. The chairs for the kitchen table came from the roadside garbage pickup in the neighborhood. The table was a gift from my sister’s basement. Some pots and pans and silverware came from the local Goodwill store. Two sets of bunk beds came from a buddy in the Reserves that worked for a college that was recycling the bunks they had in dorms. The picture pump for the well came in trade for some home repairs done for a neighbor down the street. All in all the cost of the retreat was under $600. Some expenses that will be incurred soon: a new coating on the roof to insure it stays water-resistant and plywood shutters to secure the windows during our absences.

We now have a three-season retreat that allows us to fish, swim, hike, and hunt in the outdoors. We can practice our survival skills, such as fire building and outdoors cooking, and not look like we are doing much more than having a family campout.

We are away from crowds and turmoil of the city. Our friends and family think of it as our “vacation” home, but we know that in a time of crisis we have a survival retreat to go to, and under $1000 cost.

Wolverine



Sunday, July 10, 2011

Simple Survival Tips - Leave A Note

Original Article

A failure to properly communicate with others about your intentions can often have disastrous consequences. The simple act of leaving a note that explains where you are going, how long you expect to be gone, and when you plan to be back can be the difference in whether or not you survive should something go terribly wrong.





It can also help you to establish a goal for for survival. If someone knows when to expect you back, they will know to come looking for you. You will be able to set a goal for how long it will be necessary for you to"go it alone" until help will arrive. A short note left in your car or at home explaining your travel or hiking plans can make a big difference. Your odds of rescue on a desolate back country road or a wilderness hiking trail go up dramatically by the simple act of leaving a note.





If nobody knows where you are, how you plan to get there, where you are headed once you reach your destination and how long you plan to stay, you could find yourself in a very dangerous situation.






Got note pad?





Staying above the water line!





Riverwalker