Well, Can You?

Over at Raconteur Report, Aesop had a post about prepping with a list of very basic things you should be able to do or have on hand.  Now admittedly, I have some shortcomings on this list myself, namely those involving physical fitness…but I am working to rectify those issues.

Are you at your target weight?
Can you run 2-3 miles in less than half an hour, without calling 911?
Do you do it regularly?

How far is the longest distance have you hiked in the past year?
Can you move with a full pack 10 miles over rough terrain in a day?
Did you do it in the last year?

These are things that I need to improve on, so I am.  Diet and exercise have me moving in the right direction, because if I have to hoof it to the BOL I want to be able to make it there without having a heart attack or crippling myself.  Fitness, or more accurately lack thereof, is one of the biggest (pun intended) issues I see in the Patriot/Prepper community.  While I realize that we as a demographic tend to skew toward the older age range, I think collectively we’re doing ourselves a disservice and we need to get off our butts and get in gear.

John Mosby over at Mountain Guerrilla harps on this aspect of prepping frequently and with good cause.  From the conclusion of a post he made back in January (and really, read the whole post about setting standards):

People bitch and whine all the time in the comments on this blog about my exhortations to do PT, shoot, and train. “It’s too hard!” “I’m too crippled.” “I’m too old.” “It’s cold outside.” “It’s too hot.”

That’s fine. Blame it on the environment. I don’t give a shit.

You can’t control whether it will be hard or easy. You cannot control your past injuries. You cannot control your age. You cannot control the weather. You can control your reactions to those things. If you choose to let them stop you, fine. Just accept responsibility for it. The difficulty of exercise and training, your old injuries, your age, the weather; none of those things are in your control. They cannot control you either. You, and you alone, are responsible for your actions. It’s not your age or the weather that’s stopping you from being dangerous. It’s being a whiny little bitch who wants to blame someone else for your failings that stops you from being dangerous.

Think about this next time you get winded going up a flight or stairs or walking around at the local prepper show.  Think about this as you’re observing those around you that you’re counting on to be on your side when the SHTF.  This doesn’t mean you have to be pre-mental illness Bruce Jenner.  To quote from Mosby here:

You don’t need to be a Crossfit Games champion. You don’t need to be an Olympic decathlete, or a professional powerlifter, or any other sort of professional-level athlete.

You DO need to be strong enough to do what you need to do, and you DO need to have enough endurance to do what you need to do. How fit is fit enough? Hard to say. If we look at the instances of civilian use of firearms in personal and home defense, not very. If we start looking at other instances—say “knockout games,” and similar, being fit is certainly going to be high on the list of priorities.

Rather than taking the easy way out, and assuming the enemy will be a fat, donut-eating, pastry chef with an attitude, maybe we need to assume the enemy will be younger, stronger, faster, and fitter. If we train with the goal of being as fit as we can be, then that’s the best we can do.

So let’s get out there and do this.  Eat right and do some PT.  Make it both fun and useful.  Go on a hike with the family.  It doesn’t have to be ten miles (at least, to start).  Go play some flag football and get your heart rate up.  Scale to what you can do now and push the envelope a little at a time so that you get better.  Go chop and split some wood…you’re planning on being able to do that after TEOTWAKI anyway, so you may as well find out how well your body can handle that activity.  Get in the gym or bust out that old VHS tape of “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” that’s collecting dust in your attic.  Just get your tail in shape now so that you’re ready when the time comes.

Remember: until you have proved you can actually do it within recent memory, you can’t do it.





Need Land in North Carolina?

A friend of mine has asked that I put the word out that she has a piece of property for sale near Cullowhee, NC.  It was going to be a retirement homestead, but life got in the way.  She’s now trying to unload the land so she’s not paying property tax on a place that she doesn’t use and never visits.


Here’s a link to the current listing: It’s a steal at $85,000.


And here’s a YouTube video from a previous listing.


“But God Will Provide”

This is something that gets me more irked than a rubber-nosed woodpecker in a petrified forest.  I had been meaning to write a post about it once I had it framed in my head the way that I wanted.  Anyway, now I don’t have to write a long post about this topic, because the Inimitable Patrice Lewis over at Rural Revolution has scribed exactly what I was thinking.

These are the types of people who claim they don’t need to be prepared because “God will provide.” Despite my total belief in God’s mercy and providence, I confess I have no patience with those who refuse to lift a finger toward their own physical safety or survival on the grounds that the Almighty will supply them with whatever they need. I’ve actually heard some people say with a straight face that they have no need to prepare because they’ll be raptured up before things get really hairy.

No offense, folks, but that’s about the stupidest contingency plan I’ve ever heard.

I guess it’s irritating others as well, as John Jacob Schmidt over at Radio Free Redoubt talked about the same thing on his podcast recently and pointed out that a pastor who says that is essentially saying, “Hey, I don’t have to prepare because someone in the congregation will hook me up if I need things.”  In other words, the pastor he was speaking of expects The Lord to provide by means of his “flock” taking care of him because of his status as the pastor.  Some shepherd, huh?

And since I’ve now used “inimitable” twice, that’s going to be how I always refer to Mrs. Lewis on my blog.  When I write about Harry Flashman again, I’ll probably tag him with the sobriquet “the Irascible Harry Flashman“, just because it seems to fit a retired Marine.

Backwoods Home Says Goodbye to Print

I’ve been a subscriber to Backwoods Home Magazine for a number of years now, and have thoroughly enjoyed their print editions and collected their anthologies.  Sadly, they’ve sent out an email notifying subscribers that they will cease publication of their print version with the November/December 2017 edition.

We have come a long way for a family magazine, but age has crept up on my wife, Lenie, and me, and so has competition from the internet. Although we outlasted all other print magazines in our genre, even the original Mother Earth News, we cannot outlast the internet with its free and endless content. Declining paid print subscriptions have not kept pace with printing and postage costs of a six-times-a-year magazine, so economics has essentially dictated we must close.

Fortunately, they will continue with availability on Kindle…but there’s nothing like reading dead trees.  Additionally, Self-Reliance magazine (published by their children) will remain in print.

Self-Reliance is run by younger, but related, people. Daughter Annie, 34, who longtime BHM subscribers have seen grow up in the pages of BHM, is the managing editor, and son Sam, 22, is the publisher. Self-Reliance caters to a similar audience as BHM, but with more emphasis on the idea that “anyone, whether you live in the city or country, can achieve self-reliance.” It is about to publish its 19th issue.

If you can, take advantage while you have time and collect the Backwoods Home anthologies; they are replete with well-written and timelessly useful information for the prepper or homesteader.

So The Rich Are Getting the Prepping Bug

Over at SouthEastern Preppers Network, one of our members posted a link to this article from The New Yorker. Here’s an excerpt:

Steve Huffman, the thirty-three-year-old co-founder and C.E.O. of Reddit, which is valued at six hundred million dollars, was nearsighted until November, 2015, when he arranged to have laser eye surgery. He underwent the procedure not for the sake of convenience or appearance but, rather, for a reason he doesn’t usually talk much about: he hopes that it will improve his odds of surviving a disaster, whether natural or man-made. “If the world ends—and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” he told me recently. “Without them, I’m fucked.”

Huffman, who lives in San Francisco, has large blue eyes, thick, sandy hair, and an air of restless curiosity; at the University of Virginia, he was a competitive ballroom dancer, who hacked his roommate’s Web site as a prank. He is less focussed on a specific threat—a quake on the San Andreas, a pandemic, a dirty bomb—than he is on the aftermath, “the temporary collapse of our government and structures,” as he puts it. “I own a couple of motorcycles. I have a bunch of guns and ammo. Food. I figure that, with that, I can hole up in my house for some amount of time.”

Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort.

Last spring, as the Presidential campaign exposed increasingly toxic divisions in America, Antonio García Martínez, a forty-year-old former Facebook product manager living in San Francisco, bought five wooded acres on an island in the Pacific Northwest and brought in generators, solar panels, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. “When society loses a healthy founding myth, it descends into chaos,” he told me. The author of “Chaos Monkeys,” an acerbic Silicon Valley memoir, García Martínez wanted a refuge that would be far from cities but not entirely isolated. “All these dudes think that one guy alone could somehow withstand the roving mob,” he said. “No, you’re going to need to form a local militia. You just need so many things to actually ride out the apocalypse.” Once he started telling peers in the Bay Area about his “little island project,” they came “out of the woodwork” to describe their own preparations, he said. “I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now.”

In private Facebook groups, wealthy survivalists swap tips on gas masks, bunkers, and locations safe from the effects of climate change. One member, the head of an investment firm, told me, “I keep a helicopter gassed up all the time, and I have an underground bunker with an air-filtration system.” He said that his preparations probably put him at the “extreme” end among his peers. But he added, “A lot of my friends do the guns and the motorcycles and the gold coins. That’s not too rare anymore.”

While I do applaud them for putting in some thought and effort toward prepping, I find the article leaves more questions than answers.  The tone of the piece seems to be “these people spent a lot of money”.  I couldn’t help but pick up on some things that seem to be missing.
Continue reading

An Intangible Product of Prepping and Homesteading

Having no homestead of my own, one of my favorite blogs is Rural Revolution.  I get to live vicariously through the wins and losses of homestead life as experienced by the inimitable Patrice Lewis and her modern day frontier family.

Her latest post is really worth reading because, courtesy of one of her commenters at World Net Daily, it exposes a key difference in the mindset of conservatives and progressives and where that divergence takes place:

Some time ago, I came to the realization that, living on a farm, a shortage is that there being no more to be had. A shortage in a city is that you do not have the money to buy more. This artificial view of reality is what makes the progressive possible.

That’s just the teaser, so it’s worth heading over to read the whole piece titled “Links Of A Chain” and getting to the meat (pun intended) of that idea and Patrice’s ruminations on this thesis.


Why Trump?

Just a short post here, but I wanted to lay out the Prepper’s rationale for voting for Golden Weasel Hair.  Let me first say that I’m not that big a fan of Donald Trump.  I was a big fan, once, in 1988 when I read his book The Art of the Deal.  To put that in perspective, I was a sophomore in high school and still learning about how the world works.  These days, being older and (questionably) wiser, I’m not that much of fan.  Having said that, here’s how this election breaks down for me.


This vote is like walking into a casino that only has two tables.  One is the Hillary table.  The other is The Donald table.  I know that if I decide to play at the Hillary table that the game is rigged against me.  The player has no chance, the house is going to win every single bet.  This has been proven repeatedly, from Whitewater to Benghazi.  Putting your money down on the Hillary table is a shell game with Calvinball rules mixed with Russian Roulette.  However, if we step up to the Trump table, it’s just a straight game of craps: we’ll probably lose, but at least we have a legit chance to win.


I’ll put it in the perspective from which I see it.  No, Trump wasn’t my first, second, or even third choice.  Realistically though, I have to chose between him or Hillary.  As a prepper I have to go with Trump.  Why?  Because with Trump the inevitable is delayed and that gives us more time to prepare.  Collapse at this point is unavoidable, but I’ll take the extra time to get ready that we’ll get with The Donald compared to the much more rapid fall into TEOTWAWKI that we’ll see with Hillary.


Vote Trump.  Not because the left of center New York billionaire is going to save us, but because if the globalist Alinsky New York billionaire wins, the STHF comes a helluva lot sooner.

A Quick Look at Food Storage

I wanted to give a little overview post on some basic food storage techniques.  I’m not going to go too deep though, this will just touch on dry storage and canning.  For many, this is a boring topic, but it is essential.


Dry Storage

Because it’s an easy one, we’ll first look at dry storage, specifically dry bulk storage.  The reason for this is that commercially- as well as home-canned goods are going to get old after awhile.  You’re going to want variety because “food fatigue,” eating the same thing day in and day out, really sucks.  Plus, there’s something about a home cooked meal that helps with morale.

So what kinds of things are we talking about here?  Things like dried beans, whole grains, and dehydrated or freeze dried fruits and vegetables.  One of the upsides is that not only do properly stored dry goods last for a long time, like so many other things, it’s cheaper when you do it yourself.

What do you need to store bulk dry goods?  Just a few basic things: mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and a clothes iron.  Just place what you’re storing into the bag, drop in an O2 absorber, squeeze as much air out as possible, and then seal the bag shut with the iron.  You’ll need to make sure that the O2 absorbers are of the appropriate size for the mylar bags you’re using.  I recommend Discount Mylar Bags, as I’ve used their products for several years with great success.

Here’s a good video that demonstrates how to store food in mylar bags:


Home Canning


Home canning is more involved,  but it’s a great way to preserve all manner of fresh foods.  While pressure canning is not that really that difficult, I can not stress enough the importance of paying attention to what you’re doing.  Paying attention and using quality equipment will allow you to safely pressure can your own food.  For this, I’m going to make a few recommendations:

  1. Get a copy of the Ball Blue Book of Canning.
  2. If you’re not confident that you can properly and safely can your own food, find and take a local class on this art.  The best place to check is with your county agriculture extension agent or community college.  There may be other instructional resources in your area as well, such as prepping oriented stores or garden clubs.
  3. Get a quality canner.  A cheap one is fine for starting out, but if you want one that will last, get an All American canner (I have an All American 921).  It’s American Made and built like a tank…your great grandchildren will be using it.
  4. Regular canning lids are meant to be disposable.  That’s not a problem when normal manufacturing and supply chains are functioning, but if you anticipate a situation in which the availability of replacement lids is questionable, consider having a good stock of Tattler Reusable Canning Lids.


If you have questions, feel free to drop me a comment. Happy food storing!

A Little Primer on Prepping

This was posted over at “the old place” and was originally written as a submission for a prominent blog (I was not taken up on the offer), but I wanted to resurrect it since the current climate has more and more people figuring out that they need to be ready for whatever may be coming our way.

The Burning Times Are Coming – Are You Ready?

I’m intending this to be a weekly post covering generalized aspects of Emergency Preparedness, aka “Prepping.” I’ve been a “prepper” off and on for several years now, but I didn’t get truly serious about it until after a tour in Iraq. I came back from seeing what Chaos can do and decided that should Chaos descend upon The Land of the Free that I would be able to take care of myself and those around me. No, I don’t have a bunker in the backyard, but I do have a friend with a farm in the boonies an hour away that I will go to should SHTF. To put it another way, I’m like most preppers: we in no way resemble what’s depicted on the National Geographic show Doomsday Preppers.  We’re mostly like everyone else, just everyday people trying to get by; the difference is that we look at the political, economic, and natural world around us and recognize that in an instant our relatively idyllic lives can change. Usually, the media will attach the term “survivalist” to the prepper lifestyle, because it invokes images of Rambo or nutjobs like Eric Frein.  This is precisely why the vast majority of preppers reject the “survivalist” label.   While popular culture paints preppers as being monolithically politically conservative, rural, Christian, and white, nothing could be further from the truth.

For instance, most preppers are hugely anti-GMO; however, this stance based is not so much on “ZOMG FrankenFood!” as it is the knowledge that growing a multi-generational garden from GMO seeds borders on the impossible.  I can also point to examples that highlight the diversity within the crowd of preppers that I interact with: a hippie girl that makes a living selling tie-dye and as the landscaper at a nudist colony, a grandmother raising her mixed race grandchildren, and a lesbian couple.  Does this mean that there are no tinfoil hat-wearing types out there prepping?  Of course not, there are plenty of them…but they are a highly vocal tiny minority and face it, you’re going to run into them anywhere you go.  This brings me to another point: often people are in some form or another already a prepper without even realizing it.  Like the Moron Horde.  Don’t believe me?  Look at what gets posted in here on the weekends: a gun thread, a food thread, a gardening thread.  All of these are cornerstones of prepping.





So, you’ve thought about it and this prepping thing sounds like it might make some sense, but you’re not sure where to start.  That’s where this post comes in.

First, you have to determine what it is you are prepping for.  What is your “worst case scenario” (within logical reason)? Is it a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake? Is it financial collapse and hyperinflation? Maybe it’s a pandemic outbreak of some dread disease. Maybe it’s on a smaller scale, but no less catastrophic to you and your family, such as an unexpected job loss.  I know several preppers whose time in the unemployment line was made much easier because they had food stashed away and were able to eliminate that concern when their cash flow was interrupted.

In each case, how you prioritize your preps will be different. Some of this answer should be driven by your location. If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, how you prep is going to differ from your cousin in Ypsilanti, Michigan or your aunt in Coral Gables, Florida will prep. Each environment poses its own challenges and will dictate how you conduct business and acquire materials and skills. That guy in Phoenix is going to have to consider water much differently from the one in Ypsilanti. The guy in Ypsilanti will have a higher priority on heat sources than the lady in Coral Gables. Another factor in your prepping will be how you answer the question, “Where will I go when SHTF?” Again, this is should be driven by where you live as well as whether or not you actually have somewhere to go. Some preppers have made their plans to “Bug In,” i.e. stay at home, while the majority have some sort of plan to “Bug Out” to a more secure location (we’ll discuss these options in future posts). The upside to prepping is that it usually covers multiple scenarios to some degree.

So where do you start?

As always, start with the basics!

FEMA recommends a baseline kit that covers you for 72 hours (you can also point to this when you need to shut up liberals when they question your prepping). A 72-hour kit is very easy for most people to assemble and usually consists of gathering items that you already have around the house into a single place so that it’s readily accessible. Additionally, there are many vendors that sell pre-made 72-hour kits but these sometimes will contain low quality items. When considering these, caveat emptor definitely applies. Most preppers prefer to assemble their own kits, as this allows them to customize for their own needs as well as avoid purchasing items that are either of inferior quality or are simply unneeded. I would recommend that you use the FEMA guidelines as just that: guidelines. Build your kit to address your specific needs, but plan on expanding to more than just 72 hours. Anyone that has paid attention to history knows that a mere 72 hours of supplies is insufficient. Just ask Katrina survivors.

No matter what you’re readying yourself for there are some primary considerations that every fledgling prepper must take into account: water, food, and shelter. Since water is the most essential of these, that’s what we’ll look into today. The conventional wisdom is that a person can survive 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food (some also include “3 hours without shelter”). Assuming O2 will always be readily available, water is of primary concern. There may be a time when that kitchen faucet doesn’t have clean, potable water flowing from it and the stores have all been raided of bottled water. What’s your nearest water source? Is it a creek or pond in your neighborhood? Maybe you’re a One Percenter and have a pool or a hot tub and can draw water from there. Perhaps you have several 55 gallon drums of water tucked away in your garage. If you’re really set, you’ve got your own well equipped with a hand pump. Once you’ve identified where your water is going to come from you have to figure out how to make sure it’s safe to drink.

There are numerous methods of purifying water, everything from tablets to liquid chemical additives to filters to boiling. Ideally, you’ll be able to use a combination of methods. What I prefer to do is filter, then boil, my water when the source is  questionable. I have a few different filters for water, used depending on whether I’m at home or traveling or hiking/camping. For home use, I have one of the “Berkey” family of gravity filters (in my case, a Berkey Light). These tend to be pricey, but then again, most quality prepping items of this nature are. As a note, there have been some issues with some “candle” (so called because of their shape) filters leaking. However, there is a simple solution for this problem in which some silicone applied to the base of the filter resolves the leakage. To test your filters, add a few drops of food coloring to the water. If the “clean” water retains any of the coloration you’ll know you have a problem. These filters are typically rated to purify 3000 gallons each, so you’ll want to have some spares if you’re anticipating a long term situation. If you’re a real Do-It-Yourselfer, you can build your own gravity filter system.

        A “Berkey Light” with food coloring in the source water to test the filters.

If you’re on the road or trail, you’re going to want something smaller to filter your water. Personally, I carry a few different methods (along with some purification tablets). One of these is a water bottle with an inline filter. There are several different manufacturers for these; in my case I got three of them included when I purchased my Berkey Light. One is at my desk at work (our water supply is foul-tasting), one is in the “Get Home Bag” that stays in my truck, and one is on the shelf as a spare. Another item that I have handy in my gear is a Sawyer Mini Filter System.  Alternatively, a hugely popular option is the Lifestraw Personal Filter.

When considering chemical purification the generally accepted best method is the use of chlorine bleach. This is fine as long as you have relatively fresh bleach with no additives such as scent enhancers. The accepted ratio for mixing bleach with questionable water is tiny, so a gallon of bleach would last for a long time.


                Table shamelessly stolen from ModernSurvivalBlog.com

(check ‘em out)


The problem with liquid bleach is that it will degrade over time. If you’re looking for something that you can put away in storage that will last indefinitely, you’re going to need to head for the pool supply store. Powdered calcium hypochlorite, aka “pool shock,” gives you the ability to manufacture your own bleach solution. This solution can then be added to your questionable water for purification. According to the EPA:

“Add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (approximately ¼ ounce) for each two gallons of water, or 5 milliliters (approximately 7 grams) per 7.5 liters of water.

The mixture will produce a stock chlorine solution of approximately 500 milligrams per liter, since the calcium hypochlorite has available chlorine equal to 70 percent of its weight.

To disinfect water, add the chlorine solution in the ratio of one part of chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water to be treated. This is roughly equal to adding 1 pint (16 ounces) of stock chlorine to each 12.5 gallons of water or (approximately ½ liter to 50 liters of water) to be disinfected.

To remove any objectionable chlorine odor, aerate the disinfected water by pouring it back and forth from one clean container to another.”

I hope this has been a good introduction into the world of the prepper.  Remember, it’s not about militias and Wolverines, it’s about you being able to take care of yourself and your family should all hell (whatever that is for you) break loose.

Books of the Week

Non-Fiction: The Disaster Preparedness Handbook: A Guide For Families (Arthur T. Bradley, PhD)

Fiction: Lights Out (David Crawford)