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Wednesday, December 2, 2009
You can read about all kinds of things that are going on right now. A very bad economy with politicians offering solutions that even the least intelligent of persons out there realize won’t work. Perhaps you just need to take a little time and observe what’s happening right where you are. When was the last time you actually stopped and took a really good look at what’s happening in your own little part of the universe? Are the homeless people in your area bugging out?
One of the most frightening things I’m seeing is the very real possibility that the homeless are leaving the big city and heading to more rural areas. About 9% of all homeless people live in rural areas according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness in a survey in 2007. As times get tougher, the homeless are going to be moving out of the big cities and heading for the hills, literally.
I’m currently seeing more and more homeless people in the rural areas in my “neck of the woods”. Most of the homeless I’ve seen are on bikes loaded with their sleeping bags, clothes and other items. I live in a basically rural area of the state and I’m pretty familiar with most of our “regular” homeless types that hang around here. I’ve even had to deal with a few who were causing minor problems. But when I start to see more homeless people traveling the roads and highways in my county that I don’t recognize, my level of concern starts to go up. Why is this happening now? Will it get worse? If homeless people are starting to have problems surviving in the city, how will regular people living there make it?
I consider most homeless people experts at what I like to call “Urban Bushcraft”. Those more experienced at “bushcraft” techniques will be the first to tell you that surviving in a wilderness setting takes a lot of skill and fortitude. It takes similar skills to survive in the big city. With only simple and basic means of transportation, limited possessions, and with little or no money they live a life where survival is a daily struggle. They are real survivors in a real world.
They don’t have B.O.B.’s because they use shopping carts and bikes. They’ve already learned it’s a lot easier to push your gear in a basket than pack it on your back. They know bikes don’t need gas to get them where they’re going. They know where to find free food. They know which restaurants throw out the best scraps. They know how to scavenge items from dumpsters to sell and make money when thrown out by people smarter than they are. They know how to find every clothing donation box in town to keep there “wardrobe” up to date. They know the best areas to avoid the rain and the cold and can make some of the best “expedient type” shelters ever conceived.
I seriously doubt that you could leave the average person in an unfamiliar part of town with no I.D., no money, no food, no shelter and no transportation without them having serious difficulties surviving the night.
According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, there are an estimated 5 million homeless people in the United States. Rural homeless people only account for about 9% of this total. That leaves approximately 4.5 million people who may be looking for greener pastures. Those greener pastures may be in your area.
This is probably just another sign of the times and how many things are going to change. The best thing is to observe what’s happening where you are at. It will probably give you a better perspective than the national news media about what’s really happening in your area. I just hate to think about the effects of a few million homeless people deciding that city life may not be right for them anymore.
You can check some statistics on homeless people here:
Coming soon to an area near you...a few million homeless people?
(*Edit*) Here's a link provided by a reader in the comments section:
Survival Guide to Homelessness
Staying above the water line!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Pest control is sometimes an area where people may compromise their safety for a little convenience. The effectiveness of chemicals, while not the safest, causes us to abandon safety because they are efficient killers of those tiny pests that plague our everyday lives. Here are some suggestions for non-toxic pest control that may allow you to stick to your principles of safety and still rid your home of pests that can affect your food storage and your daily lives.
Cleanliness is the best way to begin a non-toxic pest control system. This is especially important in the kitchen, dining areas, bedrooms and bathrooms.
1.) Make sure there are no open food sources. Dirty dishes and open cans of food are an invitation to pests of all types.
2.) Make sure there are no readily available sources of water. Dripping faucets, leaky valves and dishes soaking in the sink can all cause pest problems.
3.) Try not to eat in areas where there is carpet. Those little crumbs on the carpet are a bug magnet. Eating in bed should also be avoided as it also can create even bigger problems.
4.) Vacuum all areas of your house thoroughly and regularly.
5.) Always wash your bedding in hot water.
6.) Bathe and shampoo and comb your pets regularly.
7.) If you’re saving aluminum cans, keep them stored outside and away from any food storage areas.
8.) Always take the garbage out regularly. An over-flowing trash can be like a dinner bell for pests.
9.) Keep your house organized and free of clutter. Old newspapers and magazines can create real problems. They create an ideal source of nesting materials for rats and mice. The fewer hiding places you give pests, the better off you will be.
For more specific approaches to getting rid of certain pests, try these following remedies.
Mice and Rats
1.) Place dried peppermint leaves behind and under the stove and refrigerator to get rid of mice in the home.
2.) Don’t forget to use the proverbial mouse or rat trap. They are very efficient mechanical type killers of mice and rats, especially when loaded with a little peanut butter.
1.) Place cucumber peels or slices in areas where ants are active as a deterrent.
2.) A small line of cayenne pepper or coffee grounds, or even a piece of string soaked in lemon juice and placed at the point of entry will keep ants from crossing.
1.) Make catnip sachets and leave in strategic places around the house or simmer some catnip in water and use to make a spray which can be applied to baseboards, etc.
2.) Put a couple of slices of beer-soaked bread (stale bread and stale beer are OK for this purpose) into an empty 1lb coffee can, and yes you can use the plastic ones that are so prevalent nowadays. Leave it out where roaches congregate as this can be an effective deterrent for roaches. Cut small openings or holes in the plastic lid.
1.) Pour a cup boiling water over a sliced lemon and let it soak overnight before sponging on your pet. Lemon scented dishwashing liquid also works great as a flea shampoo.
2.) Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (plain white distilled vinegar works also) to your pet’s drinking water on a daily basis.
Outdoors you can try these tips:
1.) Mix 1 part garlic juice to 5 parts water for a natural mosquito spray. Soak strips of cotton cloth in the mixture and hang in outside areas as a localized repellant.
2.) Use citronella candles or “tiki” torches with citronella oil.
1.) Hang cheesecloth squares filled with bay leaves or cloves in windows.
2.) Fill plastic bags with water and hang in doorways and around patios.
3.) Plain old fly strips are also quite effective.
Inside the house and in the garden - Use Diatomaceous Earth (food grade)
Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic, chalky dust that can be used both indoors and out to control many household and garden pests. Made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are hard-shelled algae, the small, sharp particles are harmful only to the exoskeletons of insects. A mechanical, not chemical killer, it clings to their bodies as they walk or crawl over it, cutting the waxy coating and causing them to dry out. The insect will dehydrate and usually dies within a couple of days.
The use of dangerous and toxic pesticides can also endanger the safety of your water sources through groundwater contamination.
There are numerous ways to avoid toxic and harmful pesticides that could create a problem for your safety and the safety of your family and pets. Using non-toxic means of pest control will benefit everyone.
Staying above the water line!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Too many times in our lives we attempt to do everything on our own. Our fierce sense of independence won’t allow us to accept the simple fact that there are times in our lives when we all need help in some form. From the time we are born , we all need assistance in some form in our lives to survive. The sooner you realize this the more prepared you will become.
Learning to share the burdens of preparedness will make it an easier lifestyle to accomplish. Preparedness can be a lifestyle that will leave you free to live your life without the need for incessant worrying about what can or will go wrong. Attempting to be all things for all situations will soon leave you with a stark sense of realization that many times situations are going to require help or assistance from someone else, regardless of your skills and abilities.
Teaching others your skills will help reaffirm your own abilities while increasing the skills and abilities of someone else. Teaching others is a great way to realize how good your skills really are and where they may be lacking in practical use and knowledge.
In contrast, learning new skills will alleviate some of your own burdens and make a state of preparedness second nature to your everyday lifestyle. You will find increased confidence follows learning new things. A confidence that will help you survive even the most difficult times.
Sharing the burden of preparedness doesn’t stop with simply teaching and learning new skills. It must be followed with the practical application of those new skills. It is in the "doing" that we become proficient and with increased proficiency comes the benefit of being able to solve more and increasing difficult problems. Problems which may have previously been a burden have now become an opportunity, instead of a roadblock, to achieve your goals.
Just as you wouldn’t hesitate to use a needed tool or a particular item of gear to help you eliminate a crisis or to handle an emergency, don’t hesitate to use the skills and knowledge of others as well. Family and friends can be valuable tools when the need arises. You only need realize that they are quite often more than willing to help, if you will only give them the chance.
Once you realize that no man (or woman) is an island you will be well on your way to a better state of preparedness. Being prepared is a lot easier if you simply learn to share the burden.
Staying above the water line!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Improper pesticide storage and disposal can be hazardous to your health, the health of your family and pets and extremely dangerous to the environment. If conditions are such that you must use pesticides, make sure you are aware of how to do so safely. Here are some simple safety tips on using pesticides.
Pesticide Handling and Storage Safety Tips
Don't stockpile. Reduce storage needs by buying only the amount of pesticide that you will need in the near future or during the current season when the pest is active.
Follow all storage instructions on the pesticide label.
Store pesticides high enough so that they are out of reach of children and pets. If possible, keep all pesticides in a locked cabinet in a well-ventilated utility area or garden shed.
Never store pesticides in cabinets with or near food, animal feed, or medical supplies.
Store any pesticides that may be flammable outside your living area. Keep them away from any possible ignition source such as a furnace, a car, an outdoor grill, or a power lawn power.
Always store pesticides in their original containers, making sure it has the label listing ingredients, directions for use, and first aid steps in case of accidental poisoning.
Never transfer pesticides to soft drink bottles or other containers. Children or others may mistake them for something to eat or drink.
Use child-resistant packaging correctly. Close the container tightly after using the product. Child resistant does not mean child proof, so you still must be extra careful to store properly, out of children's reach, those products that are sold in child-resistant packaging.
Do not store pesticides in places where flooding is possible or in places where they might spill or leak into wells, drains, ground water, or surface water.
If you can't identify the contents of the container, or if you can't tell how old the contents are, follow the advice on safe disposal.
You can get additional information here:
Safe Pesticide Transport and Handling (560.90 kb)
Knowing how to safely handle and store pesticides will make them safer to use when necessary.
Staying above the water line!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Are you an allergy sufferer? Have you been coughing your head off, constantly sneezing, blowing your nose, frantically rubbing your irritated eyes and grasping for breath through a highly congested respiratory system? Guess what? You’re not alone because millions of Americans suffer with allergies every year.
What can be done to avoid the symptoms caused by pollen and molds that can dramatically affect your quality of life? You can choose the medicine route and end up dependent on medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that often have side effects worse than your original ailments you’re trying to alleviate or you can try some simple and practical tips that can help you tame your allergies naturally.
Practical Tips to Avoid Allergy Problems
1.) Wear sunglasses or protective eyewear during outdoor activities when pollen and mould counts are high. Even the slightest breeze can cause pollen and mould spores to get in your eyes causing serious allergy problems.
2.) Use a tissue or clean cloth to wipe your eyes or nose. Never rub your eyes or nose with your fingers. It will only make your conditions worse. Keep a small pack of tissues or a handkerchief handy at all times.
3.) Wear a bandana or kerchief. Farmers have done this for years when working in dirty and dusty conditions to prevent the inhalation of dust and other irritants. You can also wear a simple dust mask. You may not make the local fashion page but you won’t be suffering as much either!
4.) Avoid outside activities during the hours of 5 AM to 10 AM. This is the time when pollen and mould counts are typically the highest. Schedule your outside activities for alternate times if possible.
5.) Wear gloves. You’re less likely to rub your eyes or nose and thereby transfer pollen and mould spores to the highly susceptible areas of your body.
5.) Always take a bath or shower and put on clean clothes after any type of outdoor activities. Your clothes will be loaded with pollen that can create problems for you.
6.) Change the filters on your A/C or heating systems more frequently. High pollen and mould levels inside your home can be reduced with a good quality air filter that is changed on a regular basis.
A few simple precautions can make the difference in having a good day or a really bad one.
Staying above the water line!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Many people talk about being prepared and some even find it hard to convince others of its value. It has a value that is shared by most people. Being prepared is really quite simple when you think about its true purpose and the value it adds to your life and the life of others.
Many people go through their lives everyday being prepared to one extent or the other without even realizing it. Many are, in fact, quite good at it even though they don’t recognize it as such. They prepare in simple but effective ways to keep order and a sense of "normal" in their lives.
To understand what preparedness means, it is necessary to understand what it does. Being prepared does one major thing for everybody no matter who they are or where they may be. It allows you to return your life and the life of your family to a state of “normalcy” in the fastest and most expedient manner possible, regardless of the circumstances which have disrupted your life.
Many people carry a spare tire in their vehicles so that in the event of a flat they can return to “normal” vehicle operation as soon as possible. The frustration of a flat tire dissipates quickly once the spare is in place and you’re back on the road, able to continue your trip and eventually arrive at your destination. Unfortunately, if you’re unprepared and your spare tire is flat, you will need a lot longer to return to a state of “normal”. This is but one simple example of the value of being prepared. The worst the crisis, the harder it is to return to "normal" and the more you will need to be prepared.
Everyone likes “normal”. "Normal" is natural for everyone. "Normal" is a good thing, with a small dose of “routine” thrown in every so often for good measure. "Normal" is comfortable and a lot easier to live with than being unprepared and winding up in a state of “NOT NORMAL”. "Normal" is good for your health and well-being. Many things have a tendency to disrupt those good feelings that a sense of "normal" creates. These should be prepared for in order to handle these disruptions in your life as quickly and efficiently as possible. Normal is something you should be prepared to maintain in your life and the life of your family.
Preparedness means being ready to return your life and the life of your family to a state of “normal” as quickly and expediently as possible, no matter what type of crisis or emergency.
Staying above the “normal” water line!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
After getting temperature and humidity under control, it's necessary to look at the effects of light on your food storage. Light is a form of energy and when it shines on your stored foods long enough it transfers some of that energy to the food. That energy has the effect of degrading its nutritional content and appearance and will eventually make it unfit for consumption. Artificial lighting and sunlight can create serious problems for your food storage.
High intensity lighting can expose both perishable foods and packaged foods to increased heat and radiation from infrared and ultraviolet rays that cause discoloration, surface fading and spoilage.
Perishable Food Items
Fruits and vegetables should be stored in a cool, dark place, away from the adverse effects of light. They are extremely susceptible to the effects of light. Light from both natural and artificial sources accelerates the ripening process of fruits and vegetables. This can cause fruits and vegetables to ripen more quickly which will cause them to decay and rot before they can be eaten.
Packaged Food Items
Direct sunlight is also very detrimental to packaged foods. It can speed the deterioration of both the food and its packaging. The heat from sunlight can also speed the deterioration of nutrients, such as fat soluble vitamins. It is always best to store foods away from excessive sunlight or other high intensity lighting.
Tips to Avoid Excessive Light
1.) Store your food items in a cool, dark place away from light sources.
2.) Use opaque food containers to limit the effects of natural or artificial light on your food storage items whenever possible.
3.) Keep the light in your pantry turned off when not needed.
4.) Cover any windows to block out excessive sunlight in food storage areas.
The detrimental effects of artificial and natural light on your food storage items are easily avoided with a few simple actions on your part.
Staying above the water line!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
At its most basic level, a common houseboat offers extremely modest amounts of living space even when compared to small apartments. Unless they are state-of-the-art, which can be very expensive, they won't have many of the same conveniences that a house on land might. The major drawback would probably be the limited amounts of storage space that would be available and the necessity of having a large stream, river or lake available for your houseboat. You would have the advantage of a readily available source of fresh water, if on a fresh water stream or lake, requiring only treatment and purification, along with a high protein food supply in the form of fish, etc. Plus putting into shore would also give you the option to do a little hunting on land to supplement your food reserves.
The names of the spaces in a houseboat are different but their basic use is the same as a home located on land. Here are some of the basic areas in a houseboat:
Berth: The bed.
Stateroom: The bedroom.
Galley: The kitchen.
Head: The bathroom.
Cabin: A common living area or room where passengers get together.
Bridge: The place where the boat is steered (the helm is the specific steering station).
Navigation Room: This is the place where navigation equipment is located. This is where the houseboat's radio for communications, navigation charts, GPS, and other instruments will be located.
Everyone's needs are different, but the above rooms are the same kind that can be found in most homes. This is pretty much the same whether or not they're on land or floating on the water. The navigation station and equipment are necessary additions that would be required in houseboats since they have the capability to move about on the water and you would need some way to determine your position. It would also enable you to be ready for emergencies.
Non-cruising houseboats are similar to homes on land in that they're simply hooked up to a direct source of water and sewage treatment. An external hose brings in water from any fresh water system available directly onto the boat. A separate sewage line will suck sewage directly from the houseboat's head (bathroom) away from its location in the same fashion a regular house.
If the houseboat is of the cruising variety, additions commonly include a water tank for drinking, showering and washing. There would be a separate holding tank for waste. This would be similar to an RV in many respects. A head can either be electric, similar to a regular house, or a manual type. There are also several different options for disposing of waste on a houseboat. Some of the systems treat the waste and are then allowed to pump it off of the boat, while other systems incinerate the sewage into ash which can then be legally disposed of into the water.
Power could be provided in several different ways. Alternate sources, such as propane, kerosene, or diesel, could also be used but would require a greater amount of dependence on oil products that may not be readily available. A stationary (non-cruising) houseboat could also be directly hooked up to utilities located on land or at a marina. Cruising houseboats might use generators or solar power with rechargeable batteries. A separate battery source would be needed for the engine. Additional equipment would be required, such as amperage and voltage meters, to monitor the amount of electrical power that is being used or would be available during trips. Refrigeration, running and heating water, flushing toilets, using lights or watching television will use power. Being stranded without power or electricity could cause you some problems.
While considering your options for a retreat location, you might want to consider living on a houseboat. Rental fees at a marina could be expensive or you might just purchase a small lot onshore to give you a place to “park” your houseboat, or merely lease the right to tie up at someone else’s place for a modest fee. You would probably need to be well organized due to limited space and have a location where a lake or river would make it feasible. And if you’re really handy, you might want to build your own!
Houseboats were also used by many people during the Great Depression after they had lost their regular homes. Read a brief story about this here: http://www.seattlefloatinghomes.org/about/history
Living on a houseboat would be a great way of bugging out if needed.
Staying above the water line!
Monday, November 23, 2009
You can add a little more versatility to your .38 Special / .357 Magnum handguns by shooting #9 shotshells. This is a good option for close shots at snakes, varmints and other pests where the possibility of a shoot through could be a danger to others in the area.
CCI / Speer makes more handgun shotshell ammunition than any other manufacturer. This is a good choice for close range pest control. The cases are aluminum and not intended to be re-loadable (the cases are head stamped NR). They come in a hard pack of 10 rounds of # 9 shot (1/4 inch) with a pellet count of approximately135.
I use this load in my Smith & Wesson Model 65 Revolver. It’s a great little round for my revolver and will take out the occasional copperhead or cottonmouth and other small pests around my property. I’ve got a lot of field rats around my property in the country and they are really destructive little critters, so I try to be prepared with a few rounds to keep those nasty rats out of the shed. This ammo works great from my revolver out to distances of about 10 yards, which is about the maximum range for # 9 shotshells. Most of the time the actual distance is only about 10 to 15 feet.
This round is excellent and very useful for killing snakes which can always be a threat when out in the sticks. You need to be pretty close to achieve maximum effectiveness for this round, but it sure beats having to go at that copperhead with a shovel or a hoe, which have awfully short handles when dealing with a large snake! This makes my S&W .38 Special / .357 Magnum revolver a good tool for use around the property or while on a fishing trip in the country.
Be sure and pattern test the rounds for your particular pistol, as the rate of twist makes a huge difference. In S&W revolvers with 18"rifling, these shotshells at distances of about 10 to 12 feet will cleanly kill a snake shot in the head, but in faster twists they will only wound it and a second kill shot may be required. You might want to keep a couple of speed loaders handy with regular .38 Special or .357 Magnum rounds handy in case you run across something a little bigger.
Around my part of the woods this round is usually called “rat shot” because that is its main use. Eliminating rat problems will keep the snake population down, as you eliminate a primary food source of the snakes.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Milk is a combination consisting of fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, carbohydrates and water. Milk is a highly nutritious food. It is also used as an ingredient in many recipes. Milk is often difficult to transport or store in its liquid form due to the weight and its highly perishable nature. Storing powdered milk is a better option.
Powdered milk contributes nutritionally and economically to a wide variety of food recipes including baked goods, reconstituted milk, nutritional beverages such as cocoa and other prepared foods.
Powdered milk products have an extended shelf life. By removing the majority of the water, liquid milk is transformed into a shelf stable dry powder with a shelf life of 12 to 18 months. The maximum shelf life of liquid milk is only about 18 days when kept refrigerated.
Approximately 10% of the world's powdered milk is manufactured in the United States.
This makes the United States one of the largest powdered milk producers in the world.
Approximately 60% of the powdered milk produced in the United States is actually used within the United States. Many food manufacturers depend on powdered milk when formulating their food products. The other 40% is exported to other countries.
Advantages of Powdered Milk
1.) Powdered milk requires significantly less storage space than liquid milk.
2.) It does not require refrigeration.
3.) It retains a high level quality during its 12- to 18-month shelf life
4.) Its cost is very economical.
5.) It can be used in an emergency or crisis situation when fresh milk may be unavailable.
6.) It is easily used as an ingredient in a wide variety of foods and beverages.
Powdered milk can also be stored in your freezer. This will extend its shelf life for an even longer period of time.
Staying above the water line!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Many areas have difficulty storing metal canned goods for long periods of time. This is usually caused by very high humidity levels, exposure to moist, salty air in a coastal environment or storage in basements or cellars with high humidity. If this is a problem, it is possible to extend the life of metal cans by coating the outsides of the cans. There are several different ways in which this can be accomplished.
Paste Wax Method
Combine 2 to 3 ozs. of paste wax with a quart of mineral spirits. Warm the mixture carefully in its container by immersing it in a large pot of hot water. Stir the wax and mineral spirits thoroughly until it is well mixed and completely dissolved. Paint the cans with a brush making sure to coat all seams and joints. Place the cans on a wire rack until dry. DO NOT HEAT OVER AN OPEN FLAME!
Using a double boiler, paraffin is melted and brushed onto clean, rust free cans. Make sure to get a good coat on all the seams and joints. If the can is small enough, it can be dipped directly into the wax. Be careful so as not to cause the labels to separate from the cans. Do not leave in long enough for the can to get warm. Afterwards, place on a rack to dry.
Spray Silicone Method
A light coating of ordinary spray silicone may be also used to deter rust. Spray lightly, allow to dry, and then wipe gently with a clean cloth to remove excess silicone.
Clear Coating Method
A clear type coating may also be sprayed or brushed on the seams and joints of the cans. This is best suited for larger re-sealable cans, but it will keep your canned goods protected from corrosion for years.
Staying above the water line!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Turkey is an extremely good source of protein. A four ounce serving of turkey provides 65% of the daily protein needed by our bodies. It also provides approximately 12 % of our daily requirements for saturated fat. This is less than half the amount of saturated fat found in red meat.
Turkey is also a very good source of the trace mineral known as selenium. Selenium is very important to our health. It is an essential component of several major metabolic systems in our bodies. Just four ounces of turkey provide 47% of the daily amount of selenium needed for good nutrition.
Turkey is also a good source of two other important nutrients. This is the B vitamin known as niacin and vitamin B6. These two B vitamins are important for energy production by our bodies. In addition to its DNA actions, niacin is essential for the conversion of the body's proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into usable energy.
Vitamin B6 is essential for the body's processing of carbohydrates (sugar and starch), especially the breakdown of glycogen. This is the form in which sugar is stored in muscle cells. Four-ounces of turkey supplies 27% of your daily needs for vitamin B6.
Get healthy! Eat more turkey! You can grow your own or hunt them in the wild!
Staying above the water line!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Sent: 10/14/2009 3:10:55 P.M. Central Daylight Time
Subj: Representative Shimanski's October 14th Email Update
Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule takes effect tomorrow (Thursday, Oct.
15). It protects residential utility customers from having their heat
shut off through April 15, provided they contact their utility to set up
a payment plan. Those who are having trouble paying their heating bills
are advised to contact their local utility company right away.
Here are some energy-saving tips from the Minnesota Department of
Commerce Energy Information Center. Some of these minor things can save
you money this winter. The recommendations include:
● Sealing attic bypasses. The Attic Bypass Guide from the Energy
Information Center will help you locate and fix leaks inside your home
that allow heated air to escape into the attic.
● Turning down your thermostat to 65 degrees while at home and 55
to 60 degrees when away or asleep.
● Replacing your old furnace with a new, efficient model. Look for
the ENERGY STAR label on all new appliances.
● Replacing or clean furnace filters monthly during the heating
● Placing window film on the interior of the leakiest windows in
● Calling your utility about having a home energy audit and ask
about a budget plan to spread out your heating costs over several
● Keeping radiators and duct registers clean.
● Calling, write or email for our Low Cost-No Cost Home Energy
Guides that contain many ways to help control energy costs all year
Log on to www.staywarm.mn.gov for details about heating assistance
grants, gas and electric discount programs, weatherization help and more
energy efficiency and safety tips. You also may contact Minnesota's
Energy Info Center at (651) 296-5175 or toll free in Minnesota at (800)
State Rep. Ron Shimanski
227 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
Sign up for my legislative email update at
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
“We are facing a serious threat”
Dr. Fatih Birol, Chief-Economist of the International Energy Agency (the agency which advices OECD countries on oil, including the US) and “one of the most powerful men on earth” according to the British newspaper, The Guardian has lately attracted extensive media attention.
Indeed, in a recent interview to the British newspaper, The Independent, Dr. Birol was reported of saying that the world was heading for a catastrophic energy crunch that could cripple a global economic recovery.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Sent: 9/2/2009 10:02:58 A.M. Central Daylight Time
Subj: Representative Shimanski's September 2nd UpdateDear Friends:
This is prime season for our area farmers markets and a growing number
of people look to buy their fruits and vegetables locally. Farmers
markets allow customers to pick produce at the peak of flavor and
preserve the freshness and nutritional value.
The markets also stimulate the local economy by providing area family
farmers with a larger share of each dollar spent than other retailers.
I am the owner/operator of an apple orchard and know first-hand how much
area farmers appreciate your support.
The Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture puts out a Minnesota Grown directory
each year. You can obtain a free copy at the McLeod County Extension
Service office in Hutchinson, 840 Century Ave. S.W. You also may order
a directory by calling (651) 201-6000 or by logging on to
www3.mda.state.mn.us/mngrown. The Web site includes information like a
what is-in-season chart.
Local farmers markets will close in October. Here is where you can
find public markets in the area:
Glencoe Farmers Market: 3 to 6 p.m. Thursdays and 8 to 11 a.m.
Saturdays through Oct. 3; 1107 11th St. More information is at
Hutchinson Farmers Market: 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to noon
Saturdays through October; parking lot of VFW service club, 247 First
Silver Lake Farmers Market: 3 to 6 p.m. Fridays until mid-October;
State Hwy. 7.
Winsted Farmers Market: 3 to 6 p.m. Fridays ending in October; 211
Also, many supermarkets carry local products and you can look for the
“Minnesota Grown” label if you are unable to visit a farmers
Enjoy the season,
State Rep. Ron Shimanski
227 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
Sign up for my legislative email update at
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sent: 8/18/2009 1:29:28 P.M. Central Daylight Time
Subj: interested in meeting other twincities preppers
Hello, after reading "Just In Case" we started prepping for emergency situations about 4 months ago. The author of "Just In Case" suggested we join our state "preppers" so we can grow in knowledge and substance. We would love to know if there are any preppers in the st paul area and how we can get in contact with them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you, Ed and Kim
Sent: 6/8/2009 12:18:16 P.M. Central Daylight Time
Hi - the wife and I have been growing increasingly concerned about the state of the country and have begun putting together bug-out kits and have started storing some water, food, short term survival equipment, firearms etc. We have enough supplies for a short duration but if things really blow up we'd like to be better prepared. Can you tell me a little more about your organization? It would be nice to network with like-minded folks and brainstorm about being better prepared.
Sent: 7/15/2009 12:44:02 P.M. Central Daylight Time
Subj: Gardens & Mr Nagant
A little input from a long time survival gardener. Thought over 50 years experience could help. I grew up the eldest of 12 children & never ate a vegetable that we did not grow & preserve until I went off to college. Mom put up close to 3,500 jars a year.
Kale &/or other Cole crops often are attacked by the little green cabbage worms. A good thing to deal with them is to use un-slaked lime dusted on them after a rain or watering. The lime is none lethal & washes off easily. A 25 lb bag is pretty cheap & with an inexpensive duster can save a crop. It's a sure part of my long term plans as I've seen what these little devils can do to a garden patch. The butterfly stage is the small white moth that you see flitting about your Cole crops (cabbages, broccoli ect.)
If you're not squeamish, a little used kitty litter sprinkled on the garden edges helps ward off bunnies & squirels. They don't like the predator scent. I personally used the air rifle or my long bow. I took the precaution of clearing this with my neighbors who whole heartedly encouraged me. Bunnies have been eating everything in my neighborhood except for the thugs. I wonder if I could encourage them in the thug-o-phage direction?
Just on the east end of Barron Wisconsin is a sign pointing north to a Mennonite store that sells bulk foods. I buy 50lb sacks of hard red winter wheat there for pretty cheap. They also have an incredible supply of bulk food stuffs including some magnificent cheese!!! It's worth the trip. We pack a lunch and visit friends in Cameron. The stop is interesting as they also sell crafts. They're very nice folks too which is a welcome bonus. Nothing beats a loaf of sourdough made with fresh ground wheat. The smell seems to bring visitors though one or more of my brothers seems to show up after we pull a loaf from the oven.
Fleet Farm has a supply of Swedish Military surplus laundry bags with brass grommets for a closure cord. They're heavy duty OD canvas & cost the princely sum of $2.99. I use them for clothing for our Bug Out Kits (GOOD Get out of Dodge) & for a rope bag. Paracord & a couple of hanks of 3/8" & 1/2" rope is an always useful idea & the bags keep them organized & available. Throw in a couple of 'biners & a figure 8 descended & you're good to go.
Mr. Nagant can be a good rifle as it is easily maintainable in the field. Check to make sure that the barrel is not blown out and put together a cleaning & maintenance kit. You can find parts on line & don't need a lot other than a couple of bits & cleaning supplies. I usually suggest a 12 ga for most folks as they are easier to get, relatively cheap & easy to maintain and the shells are easy to come by & are available in loads that range from defense (00 Buck Shot & Slugs) to light hunting loads (low base 8 shot). The Mossberg 500 series is a good bet. Get the synthetic stock & a sling as well with a field cleaning kit & you are loaded for anything short of a T Rex. That being said, the Nagant is a good choice though ammunition may be difficult to come by in the long run & it takes a lot of regular long term practice (which can be fun in itself) to get & stay competent with it. I'd love to have one as a back up on the farm & probably will grab one asap.
My wife & I have just bought 8 acres with a 100 year old farm house about 45 miles south of St Paul. For years I've prepared for survival evasion & escape from an urban environment. Now we have a place to go & a place to stand.
I'm a new reader who only just discovered this blog ....I'm enthused! I've been around a long time & there's a lot of stuff I know & can do. My nature is to share as I'm by inclination a teacher. I taught martial arts for over 30 years. I'd be happy to contribute as I am able though I'm kind of a "word duffer" I'll do my best if you would like.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
On my end of things, my garden is doing OK. It's about 15 feet by 30 feet, and I am growing tomatoes, corn, squash (winter and zucchini), radishes, pumpkins, lettuce, beans, peas, peppers, and kale.
Something has been nibbling at the kale big-time, but my friend and fellow prepper suggested that birds might be the culprit, so I have covered the kale with some wire fencing.
I'll post some garden photos, soon...
While visiting my sister down south of here, we stopped at a farmer feed store, and bought their last 50 pound bags of wheat berries - the same stuff that farmers actually plant in the spring. It's edible, because it has not been treated.
As far as technical preps, I've acquired paracord, a grain grinder by Retsel (vintage) that grinds using stones, a flip-out blade knife, books on edible plants, and more. Including a new Russian friend of the portable variety that will be able to confront attackers with doses of high-velocity reality. His first name is Nagant, and last name is M1895.
I have also had training in the use of said friend, and will soon be able to legally take him around with me.
What else? Things look like they are getting far worse on the economic front: my brother, whose middle name has been denial, is now officially worried about the economy, because he didn't make his sales quota last month. For the first time. Late last fall, I remember him telling me that anyone who was jobless was just too lazy to work. I guess he couldn't admit reality until it started to affect him. My uncle has also lost his job, and my sister-in-law out in California has been told that her catering job will be ending, as the company is closing down.
All in all, wouldn't you say you should be prepping?
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
FOR Eugenia Bone, opening the kitchen cupboard in her SoHo apartment is like dipping into a favorite TV show. “The jars are like characters, with story lines that I remember,” she said recently, scrabbling around in search of a jar of yellowfin tuna preserved in olive oil and salt. “Seeing them brings back the farm where I bought that case of artichokes, or the day we picked all those cherries.”
Monday, May 18, 2009
Here in the city, I've finally cleared my somewhat large (for a city) garden plot. It's at a friend's yard, a 10 minute bike ride away.
My only slight worry is that, if things get bad late this summer, I'll have garden raiders to worry about... of the human kind. The furry kind I will deal with using fencing if necessary. I'd like to pop a few rabbits with my new Beeman dual caliber (.177 & .22) air rifle, but I doubt that the friend who is leasing me her yard would approve. We'll see.
I also need to try to bribe her into give me a bit more yardage, because I want to grow some corn. I am also going to try the "secret patriot garden" idea from Big John... I live near the river, and there are plenty of areas that seem out of the way. The problem, though, will be lack of sunlight.
That's all. Let's get some interesting gardening articles on here!
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
***Note: I'm going to go out on a limb and say that no information on 9/11 can be trusted anymore. This is likely to be disinformation, just like everything else.
Friday, April 17, 2009
04/18/2009 New Show
On "Pioneering Your Way To Freedom" with John Milandred, at 5pm ET.
This show is dedicated to educating as many people as possible the Lost/Forgotten Art of Basic Human Survival and Getting Back To Basics
Special Guests: Tom Martin of American Preppers Network
at 5:00 PM Eastern Time on RTR Radio
Please be sure to tune in, and email others, this show will be tomorrow evening. We can rest assured Tom will have tons to say about prepping, preppers, and patriotism. Bound to be a fun program.
In 'other news', spring is finally making an appearance and life has been busy, busy, busy getting ready for summer. Yard work never ends, and the garden must go in.
The Duluth Tea Party was a blast- a wonderful, pleasant surprise with the numbers of people who showed up, flags, banners and placards galore. Some estimated the number to be upwards of one thousand, my estimate was closer to four hundred- but let's go with the higher amount just because it's more fun.
My spirit was certainly lifted at sight of so many people who feel the same as I about the direction the country is going. Reckon I'm not the Lone Ranger I thought I was (color me surprised and tickled pink!).
Monday, April 13, 2009
The following is a list of CONFIRMED Tea Party Tax Revolts planned within the state of Minnesota. Please note that we ONLY list events happening on April 15th.
When: April 15, 12:15pm
Where:March and Rally - Harbor Drive (Behind the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center)
Facebook Group:Coming Soon
City: Fairmont, MN
When: April 15, 5 p.m. to ?
Where: 201 Lake Ave, Martin County Courthouse front steps
Other Info: Bring friends and signs
City:Mille County (Milaca & Princeton)
When: April 15, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Where: 145 Central Ave. S (City Museum and surrounding block)
Contact: EMAIL or EMAIL
Other Info: Group will be invited to join the Twin Cities Tea Party in St. Paul from 5-8pm!
Facebook Group:Coming Soon
City: St. Cloud
When: April 15, Noon
Where: St. Cloud Public Library
When: April 15, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Where: 1101 First St South
Facebook Group: Coming Soon!
Have an event planned for Minnesota? Email Amy and let us know!
For further information, go here: Tax Day Tea Party » Minnesota
The above link will bring you to a site that lists each state's planned parties.
As Americans, we have a solemn duty to our country and its Constitution, its Founders and our children, grandchildren, and ourselves. If you are concerned for any of them, feel obligated to defend them all in any way possible.
We do not want and are not looking for any armed resistance to get our country back on its Constitutional track. Let us follow any means we can to avoid conflict now and in the future.
Protest loudly, protest peaceably, protest with dignity.
Some parties are suggesting 'period' dress- such as worn by the original protesters in Boston. Use your imagination. All parties are asking for each person to bring a camera, video and still.
Perhaps some will decide to include a 'tail gate' party and barbecue as well: use your imagination to make this not only a memorable, but effective, event. Use the event to make new friends, contacts and have some fun in a serious way.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
p.s. the moderator of this site has my permission to remove this short post as soon as he/she feels everyone has gotten this message. It's not normally my practice to post on other prepper sites, but we need to get more organized and I'm beginning to get overwhelmed with work to do, we need more help.
Friday, April 3, 2009
One aspect of prepping is the 'common group-think' that is certainly going to arise when people form survival groups, communes, or whatever. Each of these groups will need some form of leadership, whether it be parental as in a family unit, a mayor as in a community, or a chieftain as in tribal units. In selecting the people to join 'our' group, we will invariably select people who think much as we do and there-in is the group-think dilemma.
Leadership of each group will have different ideas of what makes a community, how it should be legislated or ruled. IMO, since many do not read the Constitution as it is written, let alone believe it, nor does everyone believe in the God of the Bible as being the Ultimate Authority in all situations, there will be many ideas of government. Socialism, as in the old hippy days communes, is going to become prevalent in many of the groups. Democracy will dominate some groups. Some groups will form as Muslim under Shariah Law. Some will form under pre-Saul Biblical tribes with a single leader and legal system. Sad to say, whatever the idea, there will be some who agree with it and will gather under that flag. Not all will have "American Constitutional" goals or desires.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Of course, bread is more than flour, water, and yeast.
- Salt. Try making it without salt. It won't be wasted. You can spread butter over it and shake salt on that. Or you can make french toast from it. It is of course rather flavorless. In general the ratio is 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour. But you should experiment to see what you like. Taste the raw dough to get it right. Also note that some say to add the salt after the first rise to keep it from challenging the yeast. I don't bother with this, but it might be worth trying.
- Sugar or Honey. I use about a third of a cup in wheat bread that has 6 cups of flour. Of course this is not necessary in every dough, but I recommend it. It's not just about flavor. Honey and molasses add aroma. But sugar also helps the bread brown. Molasses can be used as well.
- Milk products. This includes milk and butter but can also include buttermilk and cream. Butter makes a loaf tender and less chewy. It will also help with the browning of the loaf. The same is true of milk. I keep powdered milk in the dry storage both to keep the kids happy and to substitute for raw milk in recipes. I haven't yet used it for cooking, but there will be time to try that later.
- Oil. This can be used like butter. Though it will not have the same browning properties, it will make the bread more tender. Olive oil is a luxurious choice, but vegetable oil or rendered fat can work too and will add a nice savory touch to a bread roll.
- Yeast. I buy bricks of dry active yeast. It's vacuum packed and has a long shelf life. Even so, it will be a good idea to get into the practice of using sour dough starters. If you don't have yeast (say you run out), create a starter by leaving a few cups of sticky flour and water mix (sponge) out for 3 days. Keep a towel over it most of the time or just make sure the top isn't drying out by mixing it.
- Baking soda and powder. Powder is self-activating. Soda is not. Soda is activated by acids. So if you're going to make a soda bread, use buttermilk for acidity or even add some vinegar to activate it. I generally use powder for quick breads with some soda when there is something acidic in the bread, like bananas. I use soda for bannick which appears to be the same as cowboy bread. Bannick is traditional in the Metis reservations of Canada and I learned it from my native ancestors. Of course, don't call it a reservation! It's first nation in Canada.
- Stuff to toss into the sponge include seeds either cooked or raw in the case of sunflower, dried fruits including raisins and others, nuts, cooked wheat berries, etc.
Of course, with your command of bread you will know how much will feed your family. Now you can do the math to figure out what supplies you need. Figure out how much you need a week for X amount of people, calculate your portions, and project into monthly supplies. Keep track of how much wheat berry it takes to do the loaf if you're grinding.
Now for the noodles. I love noodles and so does my family. My son can eat a huge bowl and ask for more. My daughter thinks they're fun to eat. I just put stock on them and serve them up. I can toss some together in minutes, including mixing, rolling, and cutting. However, adding a bit of time to let the dough rest makes them even easier to make. The kids can help with the whole process.
The basic noodle is just flour and water. You can take a high protein flour like semolina and simply mix it to the right consistency, which is a hard but pliable dough, and roll it out. The same is true of any flour though the noodle will be very fragile with a lower protein flour. My preference is egg noodles: 1 per cup of flour. But eggs could become a luxury, so I am trying out more no-egg recipes. Of course when I'm feeding my kids a big bowl of noodles, I want the eggs to be there for protein and fat. As with bread, play with the salt content. Thin noodles might not need it at all since the preparation can add that (like brine water or stock, for example). But thicker noodles might be dull without some salt.
I tend to simply cut out noodles in 1/4 inch widths and add them to soup or simple stock. Of course, you can make any shape. You can even stuff as a ravioli and bake them. I also make perogies which I stuff with cheese and potato, boil, and fry in onions. Perogies require a softer dough. I use sour cream to make the dough even softer, but you could also use a small amount of oil or go with a low protein flour and add nothing extra.
I can't think of noodles without thinking about dumplings. I think of a dumpling as a fragile noodle that I don't have to roll. I always add rendered fat or butter to make them tender and flavorful. The easiest way to make them is in the oven basted with stock, but you can drop them into stock on the range top as well. Chives in the dough is a nice touch. You can put just about anything in them. This is worth working on since it's a real nice way to stretch meat supplies (or replace them).
For more information about planning quantities try the Mormon Food Storage Calculator. Also look for a good wheat grinder and start grinding. It's worth the extra fuss if anything just for the extra flavor and vitamins.
In the next post, I'll discuss what I've called bridge items. These are luxuries we can't expect to keep a lot of and should not expect to have on hand long-term. Again, these are to keep you alive and happy while you toil to adjust (in the not-a-hobby-anymore garden for example). They will also be useful for trade and should be thought of as stored wealth, especially while they're still cheap. Just think of a tuna can as a really thick coin and you'll know what I mean.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Then there is the question of food supplies. Of course, as many of us live paycheck to paycheck we also live grocery trip to grocery trip. Even if we're going to a warehouse type of operation, we're still buying triple-sized Fruit Loops, cheese bricks the size of our heads, Prilosec in bottles traditionally reserved for multi-vitamins, bags of nasty heat-and-serve meatballs, or monster sized bags of boneless and skinless chicken breasts. Of course, to change to a prepping approach is not to simply buy more of this... and when the freezer runs out of room to buy another freezer. No, we need to go to a from-scratch reality.
We need to be ready to make meals from basic ingredients and we need to start now. We need to understand that the food we store now is as important or more important than saving cash. We need to think of some of our efforts now as a bridge to what we'll need to do in the future: an effort funded by what's left of the reality that is about to change drastically.
Those big warehouse stores started out serving businesses like restaurants. Smart restaurant operators make as much from scratch as they can. Of course, this costs less, increasing margins. To serve them, the warehouse stores have 50 and sometimes 100 lbs bags of flour, 25 and even 50 lbs bags of pinto beans, 5 lbs bags of yeast, etc.
Of course, we can go even more basic than this on the flour. We can buy wheat berries and a flour grinder. For this, coops are a good source. However, you will pay more than a $1 a pound for organic. Searching further will probably reduce the cost. I like to use the organics because I rotate the supplies into my weekend bread making efforts. To increase my supplies further, I may find a non-organic source.
I worked for years as a cook and have always enjoyed cooking and baking from a young age. I have enjoyed cooking from scratch long before I realized that we were heading for the crisis of a lifetime. This gives me some insight into what's needed and in what proportions.
I don't think my time here will be best spent talking about recipes. Working back from the recipes you like will allow you to do the math and figure out exactly what you will need. Some Mormon sites I have read suggest making a list of 7 days of meals that will keep your family happy, then working back from that to gauge your supplies. That seems like excellent advice and we'd do well to listen. The Mormons have been prepping for a long time now. Note that they have also suggested that supplies be worked into your daily routines. I think this can be phased in and I don't doubt you'll actually improve your lifestyle because of it.
So let's make some generalizations about the supplies we need.
Beans are easy. Calculate how much you need per day for a good storable protein source and multiply that by the number of days, weeks, years for which you are prepping. What isn't obvious are the things that will make the beans enjoyable to eat. At the very least you will need salt. Calculating 1 tablespoon per pound will give you more than you need. I have to admit, I've also started stocking chicken boullion for this. Sure it's high tech and processed, but it stores well and will make things easier for a time until you adjust to a harder, if more satisfying life.
I'll be drying vegetables this coming season for beans and soups. Don't forget that many vegetables that are being thrown away by coops and other organic stores will be excellent for drying. So in addition to growing your own vegetables, take advantage of the last days of the throw-away mentality.
For breads, we need salt and yeast in addition to the flour. Gluten is a nice processed item to have on hand to make your whole grains lighter if you're going to be grinding from berries. Sugar and honey will make things more enjoyable in desserts, etc. And this can be purchased in 50 lbs bags.
For some luxury, I buy powdered cocoa for the desserts. But I also buy canned chicken (ideally thighs since they taste better). This is a luxury item and a "bridge" item.
Fats are going to be necessary as well. Large containers of vegetable oil are available at the warehouse stores. Those are a good choice. I suggest the cheapest for quantity but also think about oils in different forms. Crisco for example will be good for frying as well as for making pies. The ideal solid fat is lard though it is hard to find in my area. I have already been in the habit, learned from my depression era grandparents, of storing rendered fat from bacon and other meats including chicken. I keep these frozen and use them for beans and dumplings.
In my next posts, I'll go into using the flour. I'll suggest a plan for what will be needed in addition to the flour. Only a few generations ago, flour was essential for expanding meals and filling hungry bellies. Bread and noodles should be a basic part of the menu for a new food reality. I'll also expand on the food as stored wealth and how to use processed foods, not intended for a long-term strategy, as luxuries that can make life easy in the transition and can even be used for trade.
Friday, March 27, 2009
The topic of the day will be: "Will cities become death-traps?"
Should be interesting. Welcome listener's of Don't Tread on Me. This site will soon have much more information for those of you interested in self-sufficiency, preparation, freedom, and the ongoing crash of our corrupt system.
Here's some basic info on the show and how to listen:
His radio show web site:
How to listen online, live:
Go to the following web address (URL):
Choose the "Network 1" stream. You have a choice of 4 streaming formats, including Real Audio and Mp3. Just click your choice of format. If your computer has the appropriate software installed, it should start to play automatically.
How to listen to the last show. This is just a repeating stream of the show from the previous evening.
Go to this URL:
Again, just choose your format.
How to get the Podcast version. Go here:
You will be able to choose from an extensive MP3 archive of past shows, and subscribe to the RSS feed.
How to call in to the show:
When the show is live, you may call in at this toll-free phone number:
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
A good friend of mine - and the only close friend who is a fellow prepper , sent me this email today. It's short and sweet and to the point:
So the serfs will plan. But so will the kings. I have an idea that somehow at the end of this exponent function, there must be a plan for the kings to take everything from the serfs.
Maybe there is a plan from the kings and maybe it started a long time ago.
For example, perhaps home equity loans are part of this plan: Extract ownership which makes it easier to take everything. I think you can still get plastic that takes equity from your home in trade for coffee and a scone at Starbucks. 401K? Sure. Your money in a bank is guaranteed. Having liquid assets gives you a bit more power. Put it in the 401K. Then you can jostle the money out by pouring from the stock cup to the bond cup until the 401K "owner" thinks it all spilled onto the floor.
The other option would be to create an enormous calamity in order to drive people out of their homes and away from their other assets. Maybe that was on the table too. But since the kings aren't as into brutality out in the open as they used to be, they chose financial instruments of extraction.
Of course calamity is still an option if/when too many people suspect they've been had. In this scenario, you make serfs blame serfs for the result which leaves no serf with anything. This leg of the operation depends on years of chipping away at a sense of unity. You need the serfs not seeing each other as humans but as labels. Liberals hate conservatives. Conservatives hate liberals. Protesters are never legitimate whether it's a bunch of gun nuts protesting illegal immigration or a bunch of stinky hippies demanding peace. Any strong communities outside of government corporation are watched closely and in some cases dispatched (Waco). When all is said and done and people have nothing, serfs will blame each other and will not join together to go after the kings.
Then we start to pick up the pieces but only after enough people are dead (insurrection, famine, and wars) and enough assets have been freed up to be resold. Prosperity returns as the hamster wheels start turning again and we race off to the next calamity while convincing ourselves another like the last one will never again be possible.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I'm a pretty new prepper, having just got started in the last couple of
months. I've gotten some LTS food, bought a full array of non-hybrid
seed, made plans to install a wood stove in the house, stashed about 50
gallons of gasoline that I rotate, beefed up our medical supplies,
thought about and discarded (after careful thought) moving to an even
more remote location (we're currently two miles out of a small town in
outstate MN) but decided against it because we've got a great house for
sitting tight and inviting some important friends and family to stay in
case TSHTF before we're really ready.
I had a prepper mindset before I "officially" became a prepper. By that
I mean that for about 13 years I was a professional geek in the cities.
I made good money, I lived in a nice house, and had I wished it I could
have been driving a Corvette and had a boat on Minnetonka, maybe even a
home. But I always felt uncomfortable flaunting wealth, and I ferdamshur
felt like the money could be spent more wisely...though I never seemed
to do that well. One decision on a September day in 1997 was one of the
better ones I ever made. I was in Minnetonka at a car dealership, not
sure what I wanted, when I spotted a slightly used 1996 Geo Tracker.
Purple. Vikes anybody? I drove it home. I drove it about 145,000
miles. I drove it until last week.
The alternator went bad. Probably just the brushes, but who knows? By
this time, of course, it also has LOTS of "personality". Rust almost
through both doors, one panel coming off the vinyl top (brrrr.), iffy
ignition on occasion, passenger door that needs grease but is used so
seldom it hasn't been worth greasing, carpet in back coming out, etc.
Anyway, I may or may not keep the critter as a backup, but I decided it
was time to get a new vehicle. Given my relatively new awareness of all
things survival, I thought it would be good to put that knowledge to
work as I surveyed the field.
I'm a bit of a Rawlesian, but very lite. That is to say that I'm wary
of the "Golden Horde" and I like his take on many things, but I'm not
COMPLETELY convinced of all he writes. Geez, I feel like a minor-league
rock musician describing my "influences". Anyhooo...Rawles and those
like him seems to think that you should go for a diesel vehicle, and I
looked at them. Really. I don't know if it's because of the inverted
fuel prices lately around here (diesel more expensive than gas
generally), but diesels are NOT abundant. And those that are are all
newer, with electronic ignition and all the extras that I really don't
care about. The purple Tracker didn't even have air conditioning, and I
loved it. I could care less about electric locks, power steering, and
the rest. I also am not as afraid of storing gasoline as many seem to
be. If it was that dangerous, more gas stations would explode. With
the dumb yahoos I've seen handle gas and still come out alive, I figure
I can do it. (Editorial note: I think diesel is preferred due to longevity of both engine and fuel without stabilization requirements, but I could be wrong. Also, if driving a vehicle with electric windows, always carry a knife or EMT/police window punch to break a window out in an emergency. Shy)
So I decided on gasoline out of partial necessity/convenience. I always
wanted a pickup and they seem REALLY handy for both pre- and
post-TEOTWAWKI, so this seemed like a good time to make the leap.
I like to buy American, and to judge by the business news, it looks like
Ford is the only American company that sells trucks that might actually
know how not to die. (Also, buying Ford keeps Minnesotans working- for now.)
That leaves me with the FXXX line. Speaking with some contractor
friends, they steered me "down" to the F150 for the purposes I had in
mind. When you look at F150 compared to F250 or F350 you get the idea
that it might be small if you don't know much about pickups. Then you
have a wife who insists on a back seat that can carry an infant seat,
and that steers you to the F150 extended-, super- and whatever-cabs, and
you start to see that an F150 can be a formidable vehicle.
I'm doing okay, but I'm NOT "rich" and I don't believe in buying brand
new. Any vehicle loses 10% of its value once you drive it off the lot,
and I just don't see the economics in that. I wanted something less
than $10,000 and less than 125,000 miles. Those of you who have only
driven cars may feel I'm nuts for just stating that. I would have
thought so. Until I entered the world of pickups and discovered that
they both hold their value better than cars AND have a longer lifespan.
Figure that while your average car is likely to conk out somewhere
between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, your average pickup has AT LEAST
200,000 miles in it, and likely 300,000 or maybe even 400,000 or more,
if it's been well-maintained.
Long story...well...less long that it could be, we decided on a used
F150, 150,000 miles, total cost including tax, license, etc. right about
8 grand. Carfax says it's been immaculately maintained (how many people
have their oil done professionally for 150,000 miles, with the greatest
deviation from 3,000 miles being about 100 miles?), the engine and body
are spotless, it comes with a REALLY nice topper and all the
accessories, and it is just plain a sweet-looking and -running vehicle,
so I'm guessing it has a better-than-average chance of seeing 400,000
miles. Not so good on gas, but then you're ahead of the game if you can
find a workhorse pickup that gets better than 15 anyway. It's got a
"super crew" cab, which means that the back seat is basically full-size
and it's a 4-door. Short box and not much room to put in a long-range
box-held tank, but I may do that anyway. First, it only has the one
tank so I'll likely look up auxiliary under-body tanks soon and see
what's available. I'd like this thing to have a cruising range of at
least 1,000 miles fully fueled, as I could see a trip to the cities
possibly in my future if TSHTF and I need to pick up a few friends that
live there to come home with me...and it's always good to have something
left over for, you know, LIVING, right? (Ed.note: with the saddle tanks on my F-150 4WD stick I can cruise close to 800 miles without refill: and it's easy to throw a couple jerry-cans in the box with extra gas. Shy)
So there's the short story on how I arrived at my decision. I have a
wife who isn't on board with the prepping thing yet (though I see signs
of hope there) so this was the best I could do. I'm not unsatisfied. I
fully realize that this vehicle will not fare well in the event of an
EMP attack, and I'm just hoping that doesn't happen. I happen to live
in the only house I've ever seen that has a 3-car tuckunder garage. The
topography of our lot is such that our cars basically sit in our
basement. I'm hoping that might give them some protection, as they sit
there usually 2/3 of the day and chances are really good that that's
where at least one of them will be at any given time. For that reason,
I'm planning on not habitually using the truck, hoping that it will
survive such a thing. But in all other ways, I'm happy with my purchase.
So while not all preppers would be happy with my decision, I think it's
the best I could do given my personal set of circumstances and pressures.
1) Making that wood stove purchase and getting it installed ASAP.
Anybody who hasn't done that, be aware that the stove is the minor part
of the purchase. The flue is the major part in most cases, including ours.
2) Buying a whole lot more LTS food and stashing it in the basement.
3) Planting at least 4 fruit trees on our property within the next 2
months, two each (for cross-pollination) of apple and some other fruit.
4) Buying a whole lotta canning equipment.
5) Planting at least a few seeds of every single variety of heritage
seeds I have, if for no other reason than to get a new batch of seeds
for next year. They're supposed to keep for several years at least, but
you never know, right?
6) Convince at least 3 other people in town that I'm not crazy. It's
not general knowledge to anybody but my wife and parents that I'm a
prepper, but this would be a whole lot easier, and even fun, if I had
somebody else to share it with. (That's why we're here, Baby Coon Hound :-D )
7) Buy a handgun (probably 9mm) and start the process of getting a CCW.
8) Buy a shotgun. I have a .22 and a .30/30, and I want a
9mm and a 12 to go with them. Maybe also a battle rifle, but I don't
feel a pressing need for that right now. I feel that the .30/30, a
shotgun and a 9mm would suffice in our position to defend anything I see
us having to defend, if we have enough ammo. When I feel wrong about
that, I'll buy something else. (Don't forget a good supply of ammo for each.)
9) Convince my wife to learn to shoot. I think I could at least get
her hooked on the .22 (an excellent "gateway drug"), and see if I could
move her on to the .30/30 and so forth.
10) Get a gasoline fuel tank of at least 200 gallons
installed somewhere unobtrusive on the premises. Maybe underground, I
dunno, but I want something to last us out at least 1 winter with
whatever happens to be in our NG tank when TSHTF in combination with my
soon-to-be-installed wood stove, our stored food and our 4000-watt
generator (probably to be upgraded to a >10kw generator in the
11) Install a solar system and/or wind system, grid-tied to begin
with, that will fully support our electricity usage. Start with one,
then the other, and when we have the kinks worked out, get off the grid
entirely. My understanding is that if there is an EMP attack, if you're
hooked to the grid, you stand a much greater chance of having your
panels and so forth fried. I'd rather that not happen. Plus, I just
like the idea of not depending on the grid, and it would be cool to be
the only kid on the block with power when the electricity dies. I got a
taste of that after a bad thunderstorm a few years ago (due to my
gasoline generator hooked up to power my house as long as we didn't run
the microwave, the stove, or any other major appliances) and was able to
win major brownie points with the neighbors by running extension cords
to keep their freezers and refrigerators going.
There are others, but these are the majors.
Keep on prepping. Two years ago, looking at a guy doing the things I'm
doing, I would have said that guy's crazy. But I'm a college-educated
guy (alumnus of our fine Minnesota State University System) telling you
here and now that while it's not a foregone conclusion, the shit could
very well hit the fan in the next few years. I'm prepping for all I'm
worth. I've cashed out nearly my entire 401K and converted to "physical
assets", as they say. No gold or silver yet, but that's next after the
Now if I could just convince my family. My brother-in-law is from El
Salvador and has intimate knowledge of the troubles of the 80s. I'm
pretty sure he's a closet prepper. I'm soon going to open the
conversation with him. Wish me luck. (We do.)