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Monday, March 30, 2009

Prepping From Scratch: Bread and Noodles

Putting bread on the table and noodles in your bowl is a pleasure. Doing it from scratch makes it even better. My kids (two, ages four and under) are always curious about what I'm doing when I'm baking bread. I grind the flour using the "Family Grain Mill" with the manual attachment. My son, who is four, likes to crank on it himself but he loses interest quickly. He seems to enjoy the ritual. My daughter just points at the bowl and smiles. She loves the bread when it's fresh out of the oven so seems to look forward to the results.

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.
Again, I don't want to go into recipes. Get a good book. I prefer what I call hippie bread cookbooks. Do yourself a favor though and look at recipes as advice, not the law. For one, flour is fussy and will vary in moisture content from week to week, season to season. But ultimately you want to have command of breadmaking. You want to know the feel of a good dough so that when the recipe says one more cup, you know to second guess and stop where you need to stop. Take notes. Write all over the recipe that gave you the ideas. Play with substitution. Cook half the batch to try it. If it didn't work out so well, break it into small balls and serve it as rolls. Too little salt? Dip the roll in salt before baking. Not brown enough? Baste with butter or milk before baking.

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

Prepping From Scratch

It has long been considered wise to keep a couple or a few of months cash on hand for when times get rough. Lately I have been hearing people suggesting 6 months is probably a better idea. Of course this is sage advice and we would do well to follow it.

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

Don't Tread on Me appearance

Looks like I"ll be appearing as a guest host on Big John Lipscomb's show tonight.
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

We debt serfs must plan - but what about the kings?

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

Baby Coon Hound's Preparations...

Our thanks go out to Baby Coon Hound for this post, aprising us of his preparations to date and thoughts on purchasing a SHTF vehicle. Without further ado, I present his thoughts...

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.

Next up:

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
medium-term future).
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
meat-and-potatoes stuff.

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.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

FKN news - we're f*&*$d!

I hope this video doesn't offend anybody. It's extreme, entertaining at times, and, well.. disturbing!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Taking A Stand

"A worthless person, a wicked man, is one who walks with a false mouth." (Pr.6.12)

"...words. Just words." (BHO campaign speech)

To people without Honor, they are just that: meaningless sounds uttered to deceive.
To those who understand Love, Honor and Duty, words are a bond written on their heart.
These are such men and women...Oath Keepers .
Following is the ten points of their Declaration. Read them. Absorb them. Understand them. Live them. Follow them. Write them on the tablet of your heart.

Declaration of Orders We Will NOT Obey

Recognizing that we each swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and affirming that we are guardians of the Republic, of the principles in our Declaration of Independence, and of the rights of our people, we affirm and declare the following:
1. We will NOT obey any order to disarm the American people.
2. We will NOT obey any order to conduct warrantless searches of the American people, their homes, vehicles, papers, or effects - such as warrantless house-to house searches for weapons or persons.
3. We will NOT obey any order to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to trial by military tribunal.
4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state, or to enter with force into a state, without the express consent and invitation of that state’s legislature and governor.
5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty and declares the national government to be in violation of the compact by which that state entered the Union.
6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control” during any emergency, or under any other pretext. We will consider such use of foreign troops against our people to be an invasion and an act of war.
9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies, under any emergency pretext whatsoever.
10. We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
— And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually affirm our oath and pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. Oath Keepers

Now go to their site and read the testimonials. Consider your own. Sign it with your Word.

Bless God, God bless.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Convincing arguements...

One nice aspect to being single is there's only one person to talk into or convince of anything. Knowing Myself as well as I do, it's really easy for Me to talk Myself into some kind of mischief (Myself is a pushover).
But when it comes to talking another into something, I'm pretty convinced that the person being persuaded has to be 'in the mood' to being receptive to the project or idea.
Which is the dilemma many preppers face: convincing Better Half of the need for particular items of interest and need. As Publius commented, "Got any ideas on how to convince Dearly Beloved of the need for preps?"
No. Sorry. Zip. None. Nada.
But I do have a story about how an acquaintance got his Better Half fully on board until she became the Prepper and he sat back and watched. Consider this...
...around the early 70's I was stationed in a Nameless Place to learn some military things. Being there quite a while, I made friends and learned to influence people. One of them was 'Bill'. ("Hi, my name is 'Bill' and I'm a closet Prepper.")
Bill was a Prepper First Class. Ex-military, Viet vet, and a jack of all trades. He'd returned from Nam and decided he wasn't going to be caught up in the nine-to-five of the rest of the world and went about making a decent living doing whatever came to mind. Scrounging was his specialty and he could find anything, could talk a snake out of its fangs.
Except for the Missus.
At the time, they had been married only a short while- less than a couple years- and with her career as a police officer ahead, she wasn't about to put on a tin foil hat and espouse tales of doom and gloom for this country. (Jimmy Cahtah hadn't been elected yet.) Needless to say, Bill was in a quandary.
True to his Prepper code, however, he wasn't deterred. One way or another he was going to get Sally on board.
Surrounding a campfire one night, consoled by a bunch of us beer swilling military types, he brought us into his nightmare. Brainstorming ensued and the plan was...
...0300 and the tires made a helluva racket in the driveway as Bill screeched to a halt, slammed open the door and ran into the house screaming, "Sally- get up! We gotta run!"
Of course, awakened from a deep sleep, Sally was kind of confused as she watched her husband load guns and packs on the living room floor, telling her to get busy.
About five minutes later, several (half drunk) buddies race into the drive, honking horns and shouting, "It's happening!"
Of course, we helped Bill and Sally load their BOBs into Bill's truck, offering advice and encouragement, totally ignoring Sally's questions.
It didn't hurt that Sally knew some of us, that we weren't nuts and one even had a really serious position in the military establishment.
Less than 15 minutes and Bill and Sally were racing off to Bill's hideout, Sally still confused but obedient. On the way he explained what had happened: Israel had been attacked and the U.S. was under red alert as well, Russian subs spotted off the coast (which wasn't that far away) and people were being warned to prepare for missile attacks.
(If Sally had been smart enough to turn on the radio or call her department, the gig would have been over. But that's another story.)
We saw Bill a few days later and he was grinning ear to ear: Sally had really been pist when he told her the truth, but had listened as he explained the current events and how easily this country could be in turmoil even by something as far away as Israel and Egypt. By the time he was finished, she was fully convinced he was right and willing to help any way she could.
Now, I'm not going to say Bill's technique was proper or right, but it was effective. And IMO, it's up to we who are paying attention to world and local events to show the non-believer how it all fits together. Such as how the markets have been dropping- no one can miss these events without hiding from the truth- and how our 401Ks and other retirement plans or being wiped away. Of how leaders of other countries are implying the 'only way to solve the dilemma is a world bank and one-world leadership'. Even the MSM is coming out with news about possible civil unrest due to the scarcity of jobs, medical assistance, lay-offs, decreasing food supplies, hoarding, increased gang activities, border troubles with Mexico- the pending war within that country and its law-v-drug cartels, how this is heading north of the border. There's enough danger going on that the denial response has to be exposed for what it is and acceptance of responsibilities follows. Hopefully, anyway.
Another opportunity may be to drag them to the screen and force feed them wisdom from others of their gender on reasons for being ready. After all, setting aside for a rainy day is a normal American reaction.
We just have to convince them of that.
One serious comment: Millennium Ark: Hot News
God bless, prep on.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Take your twelve year old daughter or son, or your spouse...

Now stand them in front of a man-silhouette target placed 20 feet away. With your shotgun loaded with number #8, #6, or #2 shot, or buckshot... aim at the silhouette and tell me you're willing to take the shot at the 'bad man' holding your child or spouse hostage.

Using the same scenario, this time, use your MBR (Main Battle Rifle) or a pistol that you practice regularly with.

Get my point?

There are a great many scenarios making the rounds these days about what the future is going to be. Short of a Zombie-from-Mars invasion, most of them are not only frightening, they frighten. From Mad Max to the current crop of Jericho, theories run rampant, with good reason: none of us knows what will ensue. (Although we can rule out Martians, unless Mork decides to pay a visit.)

Being an 'original' Mad Max enthusiast (I saw it at a drive-in theater) , I empathise with this scenario, but do not prep for it in the truest sense. I do have a feeling this is very close to what will ensue eventually, minus the Lone Ranger Maximilian and the crazed biker horde.

With the tremendous influence of South of the Border drug gangs; with the ghetto-minded youth with 'nothing to live for but the group'; with the vast number of 'regular' people who did nothing to prepare, I feel this society is in for some very tumultuous days.

The question is: How do we prepare for this? What kind of guns will I need to protect 'me and mine'? Depending upon who one asks, the answer is quite often, "The best M-15 (.223 M-16 clone for civvy market) and a hundred magazines and 10,000 rounds of ammo". Or it could be, "You need a 12 gauge loaded with number 4 buckshot," or even, "You definitely must have an 'Uber-Gestalt-double-barreled Uzi-heat-seeking radar bazooka rounds loaded with thermo-nuclear individual stomping devices that never miss a barn wall sniper rifle."

Another train of advisers recommend every day hunting rifles and enough ammo to get through a protracted period- including reloading supplies- of hunting seasons that run throughout the year. (I fall into this group for the most part.)

Getting back to our loved one behind the bad guy...

When it comes to home defense, I have long questioned the advisability of the shotgun, regardless how wonderful a sound it makes chambering a round. (That story is so old it nearly makes me feel young.) And that is one reason I always question someone who advises it as being the 'ultimate home defense weapon'. Because, if one seriously looks at that weapon, it isn't. The slugs will shoot through several walls- go ahead: try it. So will a .223 or .9mm, so the question is really moot. If you add horsepower, the damage will be even worse.

But honestly: who cares if the damn round will go through four walls and trash the neighbor's car when our child's life is at stake? So going through walls is a stupid thing to worry about.

The pattern put out by the shotgun is something to consider, though. My advice is simply to think the 'shot' through before pulling it off.

But I am an advocate for handguns when it comes to interior defense or 'clearing' a room in my house. Actually, I advocate handguns for any defense needs at less than 15 yards. That's 45 feet. At that distance or less, with a handgun, I am certain I can hit what I aim at and not have to worry about wounding bystanders. I'd never try that with a shotgun- I've shot birds at closer distance and left myself with only a pair of wings to mount.

Back to long guns...

Does one really need an M-15 or M1-A1 or other kind of M-forgery MBR? (I love these weapons.) And, why does a person 'need' anything more in an auto weapon than such as an inexpensive SKS? Why won't the 'average/common/every man's' hunting rifle be fine?

Let's consider the MBR clones as M-15/M1 or any other semi-auto, clip fed, shoulder fired 'battle' rifle, including the SKS and AK.

Load the clip to the max- usually around 20 rounds, more with some such as AK's- and go to the range. (Or go to the range then load it.) Now shoot ten shots at a target at 100 yards. Nice group? Now shoot them fast...one-two-three without stop. What does the group look like now? Nice group?

Okay- now move the target to two hundred yards. Repeat with ten shots, then shoot one-two-three again, fast. Nice groups?

Move the target to three hundred yards. Now repeat. Nice groups?

I doubt it.

The single shots may well be on target, but you can bet the burst shots are so far off as to be missing the whole barn let alone the wall.

Unless you're well-versed in shooting long distances, that MBR M-15 is no better than the 'average' hunting rifle. Maybe not even as good if it's not in .308 or better caliber.

However, that M-15 will still be a good hunting rifle for short distances. The .308 caliber will be even better. So the gun does have merit. My point in this exercise is that the 'common average every day person' is not going to have enough experience with the MBR to utilise it's full potential. Don't discount it as a weapon, but think the possibilities through.

I can hear the wheels grinding now... "What if the horde is attacking and I don't have time to work a bolt action or reload a magazine?"

If they're that close, why not use a pistol?

Currently, the Springfield Armory XD series is the 'hot' item in handguns. The XD-M more so. From 9mm, .40 cal, to a .45 Colt Auto Pistol round, they're proven reliable and battle tested rounds. As are many of the semi-auto handguns on the market today. If the 'enemy' is that close, why not choose a more maneuverable, lighter weight, fast-to-action semi auto pistol? They may not hold 20 rounds, but 19 is close enough. Too, I'm willing to bet nearly anyone can reload a pistol faster than a rifle. Besides which, this is one weapon you can pack on your belt and no one is the wiser. Try that with any rifle or shotgun.

A real problem in purchasing the MBR-type weapons today is the availability: you're probably going to have a three to six month wait, same for the ammo to feed it, before you get it in your hands. So the question arises: do we have that long? How much time will anyone have to practice with the weapon? Will the order be cancelled due to governmental restrictions suddenly imposed? Will the ammo be restricted? Odds favor a common every day weapon in this sense.

Only one person should be telling anyone what kind of weapon to purchase: the buyer. Then buy only after considering what you expect to happen, what scenario do you see upon the horizon? How deep are your pockets? How necessary is a military type MBR to your arsenal?

However, one thing every one should be telling the purchaser is "practice practice practice". You will never get enough practice regardless which weapon you choose.

Just some food for thought.


Counterpoint to Mad Max type doom

Here is an excerpt from an article on the ArchDruid blog, entitled "No Different This time." Click first paragraph to go to full article.

This writer, John Michael Greer, is quite good and worth reading. He's written a book entitled, "The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age" (New Society, 2008)

I realize this kind of writing, which is a bit abstract and philosophical, is not completely pertinent to prepping. However, Greer doesn't believe that the "Mad Max" type scenarios painted by the Survival Acres writer are very likely. He believes that a decline and contraction is underway, but that we will adapt and form new types of social and economic arrangements, with few big "die-offs."

Who is right? Time will tell. Let's discuss it below. And then the next articles will be more practical, I promise.

My argument, basically, is that the narrative of total collapse is another example of the same kind. Since the late 19th century, when religious apocalyptic began to lose its grip on the Western imagination, a narrative as stereotyped and dysfunctional as the narrative that drives speculative bubbles has circulated in the industrial world. That narrative claims that the world faces collapse of a historically unprecedented kind: sudden, complete, and final. Like the bubble narrative, the collapse narrative brings its own rhetoric with it, and applies that rhetoric to currently favored catastrophes – peak oil, global warming, the Y2K crisis, nuclear war, race conflict, every major comet of the last century and a half, you name it – in the same way that the bubble narrative applies its rhetoric to the asset class du jour. Like the bubble narrative, in turn, the collapse narrative always insists that the failures of the past don’t matter, because it’s different this time.

The narrative of collapse shares another feature with the bubble narrative: it produces consistently inaccurate predictions about the future. Again, people have been predicting collapse in the terms of the narrative for around a century and a half, using arguments identical in form to the ones now being used to justify the same predictions today, and the results have not exactly been good. This isn’t simply a function of the future’s obscurity, for other approaches – based on other, more nuanced narratives – have yielded better results. Arnold Toynbee and Oswald Spengler both made predictions about the cultural evolution of the modern West, for example, that have proved quite prescient. For that matter, the central argument of The Limits to Growth – that unlimited economic expansion would bring industrial civilization up against hard planetary limits in the first half of the 21st century, leading to an age of crisis and contraction – seems far more plausible now than it did when first published.

This reasoning undergirds my suggestion that it’s crucial to recognize the collapse narrative for what it is, and set it aside as a guide to the future, just as anyone hoping to make sense of economics in the real world would be well advised to start by setting aside the bubble narrative. Insisting that it’s different this time, and a way of thinking about collapse that has consistently produced false predictions for a century and a half is going to turn out accurate this once, just doesn’t seem plausible to me.

I suspect Dmitry Orlov is right that America is facing a collapse along the same lines as the Russian experience. If that happens, though, it’s just as likely that twenty years on, something like the rest of the Russian experience will have replicated itself as well, and an approximation of today’s United States will have undergone some degree of recovery from collapse. Equally, other regions of the world will likely be experiencing their own trajectories through the twilight of the petroleum age, and some of those trajectories will include sudden downward jolts of varying severity. Over the long term, as I’ve suggested, all those trajectories will trace out a broad pattern of decline, but history shows that the decline of a civilization is a complex thing, and there’s no reason to think that it will be different this time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

follow up on prepping paranoia

Is this really far-fetched, or not? (clicking will bring you to full article):

Protection & Defense

The downside to collapse is the danger this will pose from fellow humans, who will be quick, ruthless and capable of exploiting any weakness or vulnerability they find. Psychopaths will thrive. Desperation will turn mild-mannered book worms into dangerous bone-crunching cannibals and I’m not picking on bookworms either. Housewives, teenagers, soldiers, even the elderly will have nothing to lose.

See this article, Prepare For Your Defense for suggestions on rifles. A real battle rifle is a hundred times better then a hunting rifle, simply because you can lay down covering fire so quickly. Accuracy is reasonable and can be excellent with some tuning and in the hands of good marksmen.

Even if you don’t intend to fight off the mutant zombie hungry hordes, you will still need some type of protection as your defense. Hide. Stay out of sight and stay put if you can. Moving around exposes you to all kinds of things. Unless you are really remote, staying put makes the best sense if possible. You will avoid roaming hordes, exposure to disease and lower the risks of hurting yourself.

Hide underground if possible. A basement, root cellar and hidden dugout will work pretty well. The problem with existing underground structures is they are fairly easily identified. It’s not hard to figure out which houses have basements for example, and basements are known to contain food…

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Prepping and paranoia, Big Brother and collapse

This little essay is going to discuss a subject that has slowly started to concern me more as the collapse intensifies (I'm not claiming that all-out collapse and Mad Max is imminent, just that things are progressing).

Some of the bloggers and preppers out there are extremely paranoid about what is coming. A great example is the guy who runs and blogs at www.survivalacres.com . Here's a link to a sample essay of his (click on long excerpt below):

Survival is personal warfare, not in the sense of ‘attack and destroy’, but in the sense that all the rules are thrown out. All of them. We saw this with 500 law enforcement officers quitting during the Katrina disaster. It just didn’t matter anymore when their world was totally destroyed. We saw looters, assassinations, rapes, murders and probably much more. And that was in a regional disaster, actually fairly localized compared to what could occur on a global scale now.

Loyalties got thrown out with the dirty flood waters and people reverted to self-preservation mode very quickly. Of course, not everyone did (or will), but many did, bearing in mind that they all expected rescue. What about when there is no more rescue? No more larger society to come tooling along and fix the problems? This is when things will really reveal themselves, the will to live, struggle, survive and go on will be the daily challenge, hour by hour, minute by minute.

It’s when the food runs out (or runs low) that people will start getting really afraid (and really wierd). Food is comfort, safety and security. Food is life itself, few really seem to consider it’s critical importance or fragile nature. Civilizations and tribes throughout history have risen and fallen according to the food supply (duh!). I emphasize this because that is the very issue at risk. Humans can live without power, and humans can even cope with climate change (to an extent), but 6.8 billion humans cannot live without food that was raised with cheap power, cheap petroleum, vast distribution systems and predictable climates. When these go away, and they will, cheap energy, vast crop lands, affordable transportation, distribution systems and stocked shelves disappear, desperation will set in. And then violence will set in, with a vengeance.

I thought a fairly long excerpt was warranted, and I suggest that you read the whole thing, and check out some of his other essays.

This blogger really thinks that it is very dangerous, perhaps suicidal, to stick your neck out and be a public "prepper," or try to get involved in politics, etc. He did it, obviously, but he has taken steps to remain anonymous.

According to this line of reasoning, when collapse sets in, the government, or even local gangs and bad guys, will seek out preppers to take their stores, or to prevent them from forming any kind of coherent opposition to the fascist-type government that is coming.

Other thinkers, like the wonderfully witty Dmitri Orlov, do not think that there is really any great danger in standing up and blogging, writing, and getting involved in your local community in a political way. There will be dangers and challenges, but it will be caused mainly by human stupidity and the economic and social challenges posed by a collapsing economy and political system. I recommend the following link for a look into Dmitri Orlov's thinking:


But I highly recommend his other essays, and his book, Reinventing Collapse.

So... what is the truth here? Do preppers have much to fear from our increasingly (it's true) Orwellian government, with its thought-police and computerized spying systems? Are we at risk of being targeted?

In a fast collapse, what is the best way to avoid becoming the victims of local gangs or warlords? If the collapse is slow, how do we avoid becoming the victims of government confiscation? Did you know that the government has, in the distant past, outlawed "hoarding," and still has the power to do so?

At the very least, I believe it is prudent to hide the extent of your preparations from neighbors, and all but the most trustworthy friends. If a friend is not a prepper, he should not know about your preps. It's time to start blending in.

But how paranoid should we really be?
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