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Monday, October 31, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Stuffed Shells

Original Article

This meal is easy to make and the kids love it!
serves 8
Prep time:  15 minutes


1 box Jumbo pasta shells
3 (12.5 oz.) cans chicken
2 (10.5 oz) cans cream of chicken soup
1/3  can evaporated milk
dried parsley
1 (6 oz.) box chicken flavored stuffing mix -0r- 1 recipe homemade stuffing mix (*see note)

Cook and drain pasta, set aside.  Prepare the stuffing mix and place in a big bowl.  Combine chicken, prepared stuffing and one can of cream of chicken soup, mix well.  Stuff shells with chicken mixture and place in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan or two smaller pans if baking in sun oven.  Mix the remaining can of cream of chicken soup and 1/2 can of evaporated milk together (add parsley if wanted) and spread over the shells.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Mix 1/3 of the can of canned milk into the cream of chicken soup.

Pour sauce over top of shells, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes until hot.


  • You should try making your own stuffing if you’ve never tried it before.  It’s really easy, it just requires time in the oven.  Here’s the recipe I love using for homemade stuffing.  When planned ahead, this stuffing always tastes so much better than anything boxed!
Homemade Stuffing Mix
4 cups dried bread cubes and crumbs
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried chives
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

dash celery seed
2 tsp. dried onions
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/8 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. powdered chicken bouillon
4 TBS canned butter or oil
To make Homemade Stuffing Mix:
Cut bread into 1/2 inch cubes and spread on a cookie sheet to bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking for 2 hours.  Remove dried bread and add seasonings.  Heat 1 3/4 cups of water or broth to boiling and add 4 TBS butter or oil.  Remove from heat and add dried bread and seasonings and let sit for 5 minutes.

In my book this recipe is used as a:
*Long Term Recipe
*Sun Oven Recipe
*3 month Recipe

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Audio Podcast: Episode-768-Craig Cole from The Outdoor Podcast

podcast_subscribeImage by derrickkwa via Flickr

Original Article

Craig Cole is an avid outdoorsman and hunter who decided to start The Outdoor Podcast as a method of sharing his passion for the outdoors with other people. Craig’s passions range from hunting to canoeing to wilderness self-reliance skills and … Continue reading →

Guest Post: About Laying Low (bugging in), By Northern Raider

© 2011Northern Raider

In general in the UK many members of our community are now focusing their efforts on bugging in, IE living full time in the locality of their Bug Out Location, such as (wisely) moving out of the cities, bypassing the burbs and moving lock stock and barrel to a small rural community. They normally still maintain the capability of bugging out if forced to by retaining BOBS, Caches, BOVs etc but they focus primarily on prepping their normal home to be their retreat.

The British preppers are now assessing the growing problems of (A) being able to bug out successfully and (B) finding a secure and safe BO Location when they do bug out.

Gross overcrowding and overpopulation in many areas combined with a road system that is even on a normal day close to gridlock for at least 6 hours each day. They note that even a single vehicle accident such as a car and caravan overturning can lead to massive tailbacks and localised gridlock for hours, especially as the police of today appear to thrive on closing roads often for 24 hours to investigate every possible fact of the accident. Indeed we all know of cases where entire regions have become gridlocked because of a small accident, or road works, or bank holiday traffic, or ½ inch of snow or sporting event or the dreaded farmer accidentally tipping an overloaded trailer full of hay bales onto the road. Heck up here the three main north south roads became gridlocked one day recently because  of a herd of horses got onto one of the roads.

Consider also our unpredictable climate, there is a 3 in 4 chance it will be bad weather to content with as well.(Cold, Wet, Windy or even all three)

We also consider the problem of bugging out during a crisis if 20 million unprepared and panic stricken people decide to flee the towns and head to the hills.

Consider for one moment if the riots of August 2011 spread to every city and large town and the violent unrest continued for a week, Our police and military could never hope to contain it, this could see millions trying to escape the fires and looting.

Consider the implications also that as well as you trying to cope with 20 million evacuees but also perhaps the public transport systems are not working either because the train, tube and bus drivers are among the 20 million heading out of town as fast as they can.

Consider also the fact that if mass panic did occur and the 20 plus millions did decide to flee how many of them are equipped to do so?   How many of them will have enough food and fuel and more importantly how many out of say 20 million refugees have a destination to go to where they will be welcome.

Consider also the government, regional and local authorities along with the military will not want 20 million souls plus a few hundred preppers clogging the roads and paths and exhausting the immediate fuel stocks within hours.

Those considerations among other are making many preppers choose to relocate now and attempt to adopt “The Good Life”.

(Yes I know there is equally as many preppers with the most wonderful and varied reasons why they just cannot move right now, I’ve given up trying to reason with them and now just encourage them to become very capable Urban Preppers)

So where does this leave us folks who have relocated to the boonies and perhaps what issues do we need to consider?
In the short term if rural preppers are to survive the initial crisis and the immediate aftermath I think we are all in agreement that not being disovered by the authorities or by packs of feral sheeple will feature highly for the first few weeks. This in itself will give us some interesting issues to overcome.

We are living and surviving in our rural retreat, we need to stay warm, stay clean, stay healthy, stay motivated, stay alert, stay secure and stay fed.  That is a lot to deal with if the world around us is unravelling.

I see problems with running central heating because boilers (furnaces in Americanese) need power as well as gas, and nearly all modern CH systems have noisy vent systems which on a quiet day or night can be heard from hundreds of yards.

I see problems with wood burning and multi fuel stoves if we use them during the day because even bone dry wood and supposedly smokeless fuel  both smoke until they are up to operating temperature, not to mention the smell of burning wood and coal can be detected for over a mile.

I can see problems with lighting if very strong blackout protocols are not in place, I don’t think lined curtains will be sufficient, shutters and boards probably will need to be in place at least before dusk.

I see problems with concealing larger livestock and keeping all livestock both quiet and secure in the initial post collapse period

I see noise from firearms may persuade SOME more cautious types to avoid your area of operations, but equally I foresee other bolder and possibly better armed people being attracted by the gunshot.

I see people noticing wind turbines more if they are actually turning and are more likely to investigate them, I feel turbines may need to only be turned on after dark, and ideally lowered out of sight during the day.

Water wheels and water turbines are noisy, they can be more easily concealed than wind turbines but they will need very good noise suppression measures.

If you are using motor vehicles and animals for transport or patrolling you are going to have to be very careful you don’t leave a trail of hoof prints or tyre marked mud heading back to your retreat. Indeed you don’t really want the sound of a 4x4 engine heading repeatedly back to the place you live in.  Once the societal collapse has settled down engine noise will become far more apparent.

Folks even the good lady wife boiling up cabbage could be the cause of your discovery as the smells of many cooked meats and veg travel long distances, and the hungrier the sheeple the most sensitive their noses are.

Your stockpile of firewood or coal will need to be well hidden at all times as will the parking arrangements for your BOV. Aerials for radios will need to be lowered during the day or well hidden.

In the short term at least noise reduction protocols will need to be very strongly kept in place, especially at night. In time after the die offs and rage has subsided you will gradually be able to relax and start rebuilding and hopefully enjoy a long and fruitful life.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Survival Philosophy - The Ripple Effect

Original Article

Your survival is heavily influenced by your reaction to a crisis or a disaster. This creates a “ripple effect” that will quite often determine the outcome. Just like the calm waters of a pond can be disturbed by a single stone, your life can also be disturbed by the smallest of events.

Quite often we fail to realize that even the simplest of actions on our part can create either a positive or a negative effect on our lives. The old saying “the devil is in the details” reveals a serious truth about our chances for survival should the worst happen. Our failure to maintain a proper focus on the simple things in our life can often lead to a situation that will create a catastrophe of our own making.

A failure to properly rotate your food storage, perform simple but routine maintenance on your vehicle or forgetting to leave a note to keep others informed of your whereabouts could all lead to bigger problems. It’s important not to place yourself in a situation where your own actions can create a “ripple effect”.

If you need to “bug-out”, it’s a lot harder if you have to change a flat tire first. Wishing you had left someone a note when you find yourself stranded in an unfamiliar place won’t help your situation. Even a first aid kit with expired medications isn’t going to be very helpful either if you find yourself with a minor medical emergency and a lack of the proper means to handle it.

You should realize that even the simplest of things can have a serious effect on our lives if left unattended. Avoiding the “ripple effect” will only make you better able to handle a major crisis. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that create the biggest problems.

Got ripples in your pond?

Staying above the water!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Post: Chances, By Northern Raider

Two campers with gear hiking through Bear Moun...Image via Wikipedia
© 2011Northern Raider
Some of our community have a somewhat romantic idea on how they are going to survive after TSHTF, Many envisage grabbing their BOB and heading for the hills to live as bush-crafters until things blow over.
That got me thinking about their odds of survival, primarily because even though I was a very experienced Infantry Sergeant with a very strong interest in wilderness and combat survival, my own experiences and those of many other well documented cases from various nations soldiers showed us that even fit young well equipped soldiers were normally in a fairly terrible state of wellbeing within 14 days.  Cold, Wet, Tired, Dirty, Hungry, Exhausted and Stressed were often the norm and it was difficult for me as a soldier at the peak of my personal fitness to do much more than just survive.
Often going days without sleep because you dare not let your guard down in case you are discovered or your only camp fire may go out, you cannot take your boots off for days on end in case you have to flee at a moment’s notices, not even having the luxury of changing your socks or undies or wipe yourself over with a wet cloth. I’ve never met anyone on such expeditions or exercises who was not constantly hungry as well, your hair is filthy your eyes red raw because of the smoke from your camp fire IF you dare light one. You are often hot other times cold wet and tired but can’t lay down because it’s not safe to do so.
That makes me think just how well would just an ordinary every day prepper fare  in a similar position, nay how would a prepper and his wife, two kids and possibly a grandparent fare in that situation.
Odds on its 50 / 50 it could be raining, equally there is a 3 in 4 chance that it’s not high summer when you bug out. Its 50/50 it could be windy, equally it could be windy and cold or even windy wet and cold.
You perhaps are a healthy fit youngish person who could survive living in a basha in the woods near your home, maybe even for more than a month if your trapping and fishing skills are good.
BUT what could your extended family do in that same position, or what if hostile other peoples were operating in your area preventing you from hunting, trapping, fishing or cooking?
In the UK we in theory have 4 seasons and at best only one of them makes for a comfortable environment for rough camping or bushcrafting, We generally rarely get two days alike, how will you or your family take to staying away from home for weeks on end without the benefits of healthy food, hot water, clean clothes, comfortable beds and no stress.
Be honest with yourself  there is a pretty good chance that it could be during the November, December, January, February and March period with god damn awful weather to contend with as well as millions of panic stricken sheeple, bad guys and government officers to crap your best laid plans.
I don’t think the urban prepper will be any better off overall because even though he may find it easier to find some place dry to shelter, he also has 100 times the amount of people who may harm him, rob him, infect him and compete with him for food, fuel and water.
I think the bush-craft BO plan needs much more real world consideration.

Wind Power for your House, Home, Retreat

Original Article

Wind power may be a good choice for some, when considering alternative energy sources for house and home, for either emergency preparedness or part-time power.
Some parts of the country (world) are much windier than others, with steady breezes just waiting to be harnessed. Geographical location is important while attempting to harness wind power, the best places being those with often steady breezes. For example, those who live along the ocean, breezy conditions are often part of daily life. Much of the open plains, or locations where winds are funneled through valleys are also often windy.
The following map of the United States shows favorable locations for wind power generation.
This next map of the US shows average wind speeds at a height of 80 meters, which is the common hub height of the ginormous wind generators (turbines) of wind farms that you may have seen along the landscape.


Global Wind Power Map
Looks like it’s pretty windy for you folks in the UK region! (lots of ‘red’, more than I thought)

Much of Australia is in the ‘yellow’ too.

The following 1,000 Watt wind generator (turbine) appears to be ideal for the home, and is much less costly per watt when compared to solar panels. Of course, the wind has to be blowing for it to generate electricity…
Windmax 1,000-Watt 24-Volt 5-Blade Residential Wind Generator Kit
1,000 watts could keep a bank of specialized batteries (heavy duty deep-cell for alternative energy storage) charged up for usage during periods when the breeze diminishes. Two of these wind generators (turbines) (2x $1K) would be equivalent to having ten 200-watt solar panels which themselves would probably cost you between $7K and $10K !
I currently enjoy the benefit of solar panels but do hope to add on a wind generator (turbine) at the new Retreat one day, and report back on the result.

The more you can do to become LESS dependent upon the grid, the better for you and your ‘risk insurance’.

How does a wind turbine work?
Incoming winds brush past the curved edges of the propeller, turning it as they go. The turning propeller rod connected to a gearbox translates a slow but high-torque turning motion into a very fast but low-torque motion which is connected to a generator, generating a continuous electrical charge.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guest Post: Reacting to a CONTAGION, By Northern Raider

29/365, contagionsImage by massdistraction via Flickr

© 2011Northern Raider

With the advent of the new movie CONTAGION and as we head back into the winter I thought we could look at preps to minimise the threat from global pandemics, IE what real world practical steps you can take to protect yourself from a worldwide  outbreak  of a highly contagious disease.

Obviously the greater threat lies to those who insist on living in larger towns and cities and those who use public transport systems, especially to those who continue to shop and work DURING an outbreak. But rural communities can be just as easily infected if refugees or wildlife carrying the virus pass through your community

INTEL GATHERING, if you are to survive a plague be it viral or bacterial you absolutely must have first rate intelligence coming in. You must study multiple media sources to see how the outbreak is progressing, For example an outbreak may be ravaging the European continent but not yet have reach the US or UK, that gives you time to prepare BUT only for a very short time if international air travel is still happening. If planes are coming and going from abroad you know that in seat 32A on the flight into Heathrow or JFK someone is brewing a fever, and that same person is going to use the subway or underground to reach the city centre.

Your best real world defence is SELF RELIANCE &ISOLATION, if you are not exposed to the disease you cannot normally get it unless it is an airborne pathogen. Do not believe the government advice of to “not panic and keep working” because this has more to do with protecting the economy and little to do with caring for the community.  It’s amazing how quick the authorities will use the quarantine and isolation cards on individuals but will try and any costs to keep everyone else out and about working, earning and shopping.

If we are on the receiving end of a really nasty virus your best defence is to not become exposed to it until at least a tried and tested inoculation is available. You need to bug in and lock down until the crisis has passed.  You will need to stop travelling into cosmopolitan areas or areas with large public transport hubs, you may need to stay away from work, and certainly visits to the Theatre, Movies, Diners and Malls must stop. You may choose to keep your kids away from school especially if the outbreak is claiming lots of lives.

Buses and bus stations, taxis, trains and stations, planes and airports, ferry’s, boats and harbours must be avoided and especially underground rapid transit systems must be avoided.

To achieve this you will need to have a good cache / stockpile of FOOD, WATER, MEDICAL and FUEL supplies, enough at least to sustain you in isolation for a month or more.

You need high quality foods to help keep you as healthy as possible so ensure you have vitamin supplements as well and a broad range of food. It must be able to survive storage for extended periods without refrigeration.  Of course there is nothing wrong with consuming the fresh produce from your fridge or freezer at the start of the self-imposed quarantine, far wiser to use it and eat it than to let it go to waste.  But in general you must plan on a diet of tinned, freeze dried and basic essentials like flour, rice, pasta, preserves etc to sustain you for the duration.  Make sure you have enough formula etc for infants to sustain them for a long period.

You will need lots of clean drinking quality water, both for drinking and for keeping everything as clean as possible, your home / retreat and personal hygiene must be first rate.  I keep a full box of 72 tubs of alcohol based hand sanitizer to deploy around the house, bathroom and kitchen, I keep aerosols of Detol and Detox sprays to use on work surfaces and crockery. I have gallons of concentrated Flash liquid to keep floors clean and sterile.

ALL WATER regardless of source will be passed through our Berkfield water filter fitted with the silver treated ceramic filter candles.

Each person will have one individual set of coloured pots, pans and eating irons that no one else can use.

If we have to go into LOCK DOWN the family pets are going to have to get used to living outdoors for the duration, we cannot take the risk of them bringing in any disease on their coats or paws.

No Mail or Parcel deliveries will be accepted during the crisis unless the contents and packaging can be sterilised before they are brought into the retreat.

All waste will be sprayed with disinfectant and if we are unable to incinerate waste in the garden it will be double bagged and stored.

Plastic sheeting, nylon tarps, various plastic bags, roles of duct tape etc will be kept to seal up windows and doors that are not required for ventilation or entry / exit from the retreat, or for wrapping any unfortunate people who pass away during the outbreak.

All clothing that has been outdoors will be treated or washed to kill off any pathogens as will be any tools.

Note that disposable face / dust / particulate masks tend to only be effective against pathogens for about 20 minutes because as soon as your breath makes the cloth moist it loses its protective value. So wear one whilst putting the garbage out in a lock down situation but dont rely on one for any length of time.

A very substantial medical kit is kept with an extra set of all prescription medicines and items such as dentures, eye glasses, insulin pumps and syringes

Anti-viral medications do not always work and viruses can mutate at an alarming rate soon making themselves resistant to AV drugs.


You are going to need enough fuel to heat your home for at least one month independently of the national gas and electricity networks.  If the power workers go sick it could be months before the power comes back on. You must have enough fuel to keep your home or retreat warm and lit AND to ensure you can continue to provide plentiful hot water for essential hygiene protocols, cooking and cleaning for the duration of an extended outbreak.  Heating oil, coal, firewood, bottled gas etc should be a high priority issue before a pandemic stops normal commerce or drives prices through the roof.

You must also keep enough treated and stored fuel to keep your vehicles ready in case you need to bug out if your area becomes too dangerous to remain in.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Small Town Retreat

Original Article

Assuming you’ve made reasonable preparations, the greatest single danger to your survival when ‘the’ crisis strikes will be your proximity to concentrated masses of systems-dependent people. Even living in a relatively out of the way place in a high population density area is extremely hazardous when it comes to ‘the’ crisis.
The major consideration for determining your retreat location is the population density. The location should ideally be a tank of gas away from any major metropolitan area while the local population should be low. Why? Because those who are not prepared, especially the bad element at first, will overrun and loot as desperation sets in.
Another consideration should be the location’s proximity to any nuclear power plant. Even if a nuke plant is say, 100 miles away, if you are downwind from the prevailing winds of the region, then you are in harms way. Nuke plants need electricity to remain safe. Without it, well, just look at what happened in Fukushima Japan.
Be cautious of choosing a retreat location that is embedded into a major forest, as a forest fire may not be contained during ‘the’ crisis as it would be otherwise. Isolationism is not the answer.

Consider the possibility of nuclear war and the potential target areas thereof. Although most people cannot fathom the possibility and brush it off as something that would never happen, the fact is the threat remains.
Other considerations include a reasonable climate, agriculture, hunting, fishing, and trapping.
During ‘the’ crisis, retreating to isolation or living in a remote isolated region, is probably not the best thing. Instinctively many would think it to be so, however when you consider that a large marauding group can easily overcome a small isolated group, and when you consider that long term survivability depends upon the working and complimentary skills of many people, you may conclude that an ideal retreat location may be in a small rural town of sufficient numbers of like minded folks.
The ideal rural small town of preference will have a population of 5,000 or less. Most of these small towns have populations that look out for themselves and their neighbors, they mostly know each-other, will barter together, they recognize outsiders, and will probably band together during crisis with a greater sense of responsibility than perhaps the bigger town.
According to the 2000 census, more than 80 percent of the nation’s population resided in one of the 350 combined metropolitan statistical areas.

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Pandemic Defenses

Original Article

If there really and truly is a pandemic outbreak of the flu, there are a few things you need to have on hand.

~ disposable gloves

~ N95 masks

~ disinfectant

~ cold/flu meds

~ quality tissue

~ fever reducer (never give children with a fever aspirin)

~ water, vitamin C drink

~ duct tape

~ clear plastic

~ garbage bags

I think you should see a few movies to understand pandemics better.  I Am Legend, Outbreak, 28 days, Contagion

There are  always going to be folks who get the flu.  What's up with FLU shots?  I'll be honest originally I was on the fence about flu shots. After some research I discovered the flu vaccine (shot/nasal mist) is engineered every year based on some very intelligent doctors predictions of what the top 3 flus will be for the season.  One vaccine to cover three different strains of the flu I like those odds.  So all of us are getting our flu vaccines and there's a bunch of us. I think you should too. If it can keep us from getting sick, or make it easier to deal with if we do come down with it then I think it's important to hedge our bets and get the flu shot/nasal mist.

While. the flu is typically associated with cold weather,  this has nothing to do with the outside temp but everything to do with more folks being indoors, in closer quarters.  Likewise we see a spike in the flu September/October through March/April.. However, this doesn't mean you can't get the flu in June.

You are contagious to others a day before you are showing symptoms and five to seven days after you have the flu. Let's think about that, it means you don't know who may or may not be contagious at any given time.  SO wouldn't it make sense to always take precautions?  Wash you hands, cough into the crook of your arm, if you have a fever stay home, don't share pens/pencils, don't put things in you mouth! There's lots of ways to keep the germs at bay but hand washing is the number one thing!  Good ol' soap and water!

Because we have a houseful of folks, I find myself wiping down light switches during cold season.  Anyone that is using tissues, they are responsible for getting them into a trash can or flushed!  Washing dishes? Put on gloves before you pickup the dirty dishes and wash your hands with soap and water afterwards.

A can or two of disinfectant spray might not be such a bad thing.  What's really important, CDC says "social distance"  meaning if you're sick stay home, if you're in a social setting and others are sick , go home.  No need to expose yourself or others.  Stay healthy, eat well, exercise, and get plenty of rest this will help keep your immune system bolstered, especially during the flu season.

Clean up behind yourself and others.  Caretakers need to be more careful than others to keep themselves healthy.

Seasonal Flu

  1. Outbreaks follow predictable seasonal patterns; occurs annually, usually in winter, in temperate climates.
  2. Usually some immunity built up from previous exposure.
  3. Healthy adults usually not at risk for serious complications; the very young, the elderly, and those with certain underlying health conditions at increased risk for serious complications.
  4. Health systems can usually meet public and patient needs.
  5. Vaccine developed based on known flu strains and available for annual flu season.
  6. Adequate supplies of antivirals are usually available.
  7. Average US deaths=approximately 23,600 per year.
  8. Symptoms: fever, cough, runny nose, muscle pain. Deaths often caused by complications, such as pneumonia.
  9. Generally causes modest impact on society (eg, some school closings, people who are sick advised to stay home).
  10. Manageable impact on domestic and world economy.
 Pandemic Flu ~ it really is different and here's some hallmarks of a pandemic FLU

  1. Occurs rarely (three times in the 20th century).
  2. No previous exposure; little or no preexisting immunity.
  3. Healthy people may be at increased risk for serious complications.
  4. Health systems may be overwhelmed.
  5. Vaccine probably would not be available in the early stages of a pandemic.
  6. Effective antivirals may be in limited supply.
  7. Number of deaths could be quite high (eg, US 1918 death toll was approximately 675,000).
  8. Symptoms may be more severe and complications more frequent.
  9. May cause major impact on society (eg, widespread restrictions on travel, closing of schools and businesses, cancellation of large public gatherings).
  10. Potential for severe impact on domestic and world economy. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Audio Podcast: Episode-765- Useful Small Animals for the Homestead

podcast_subscribeImage by derrickkwa via Flickr

Original Article

Okay there is a lot of gloom and doom out there and to be honest some of the crap is really hitting the fan right now.  It will be necessary for me to delve into that world more and more … Continue reading →

Squatting After the SHTF

Original Article

Jarhead brought up one kind of alternate housing, let me run another by y’all that’s been knocking around in my head for awhile.  Squatting.  I’m sure we all know what it means, empty house + free rent.  But what would it mean in practical terms if we were looking at it from a SHTF Shelter point of view?
Vermin – I guarantee you’re going to be sharing that shelter, with all manner of vermin. Everything from lice to cockroaches to other squatters.  Some vermin are edible, so maybe that’s a plus in really desperate times.  In not so desperate times, it’s a negative, and something you’ll need to guard your food and clothing from.

Water Problems – Whether the utilities have been off for years and humidity has rotted the drywall, or a hole in the roof went unpatched, or a sump pump didn’t kick on for a couple of wet seasons, water is likely to be in all the wrong places.  You’ll likely not have running water either, so obtaining potable water could be a problem.  If you have allergies or asthma issues with mold, I can see that being a problem.    These kind of problems can crop up fast, I’ve heard some horror stories coming out of the foreclosure house mess. Banks owning more houses than they can care for and people opening up a literal can of worms when they go to check in on the property after a few months of inattention.
Speaking of homes – Isn’t that someone’s home you’re talking about squatting in Calamity?  Well, no not necessarily.  It could be a foreclosure property, owned by a bank or government entity. It could be owned by speculators who have no intention of coming back.  In the case of a SHTF event, maybe it’s property left by illness or famine, left by someone with no close heirs.  I’m certainly not advocating that you toss someone out of their house, or that you break into property that’s under ownership to a real person, or that you plan elaborate schemes about how to live a posh lifestyle of rent free bliss.   What I am saying is that current estimates put the empty house number at millions, some places like Detroit have 30,000 homes, vacant and mouldering.  I’m not sure it would be wrong to have people in need take shelter in them.  I know in the UK you can use Freedom of Information laws to request listings of empty buildings from local governments.  Whether that would hold up on this side of the pond, I don’t know.  But, it’s worth a thought.

What about heat/light/water? I hear some place you can just call the utility company and tell them you want utilities at X address in Bob Joe’s name and send them some money and you can have utilities.   Now, if there’s a deposit, and then something happens and you have to bug out, well that money is probably gone.  Putting utilities in your name, could give authorities a route to find your name and legal information. Paying for them could be problematic, depending on your work situation. So, maybe you should plan to do hobo rocket stoves and warm clothing.   That almost seems easier to me.   But, some people like their comforts. :-D
Keeping things easy and utility free also helps with security.  If the windows are already boarded up, that’s a plus, fewer people will even be able to tell you’re inside.  If you’re quiet and only in town for a few weeks for a job or whatever, it’s possible to go unnoticed.  Do any scouting with a clipboard and some sort of badge, so people think you’re with the bank or realtor or something.  Move in after dark, and leave for work before dawn every day, I think you’d have a good chance of not drawing attention to your squatting.

Just some thoughts.   If unemployment continues it’s upwards crawl, and if the foreclosure glut continues to sit on the market, I think we’ll see more and more of this kind of thing.   I would consider doing it in an emergency.  Would you?
- Calamity Jane

Monday, October 24, 2011

Duh, of Course That's Why We Do It!

Original Article

Ron Hood Special Edition of Survival Quarterly Magazine

Original Article

I just received an email notifying me that a new copy of Survival Quarterly Magazine is being released on November 1st and it is a tribute edition to Ron Hood. If you are not familiar with Ron Hood – he is a legend when it comes to wilderness survival and being prepared. Visit for more information on Ron.

I own all 4 previous issues of Survival Quarterly Magazine that have been released – and will be ordering this new edition shortly.
I highly recommend buying all 4 issues as seen in the picture above – as well as the new tribute edition.
For more information visit
© 2011, All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Winter Survival Tips - Keeping warm

SnowstormImage by arcticbears via Flickr

Original Article

With the shorter days, freezing conditions, wet weather and wind your chances of hypothermia increase.  Here are a few tips to keeping warm in the winter.

Food is essential for winter survival.  It is a necessity for creating and maintaining proper body heat.  The calories in food produce energy and heat through the digestion process. It is for this reason that it is important to have adequate food supplies during the winter months. In case of a disaster or power outages you should store plenty of non-perishable food that requires no refrigeration or cooking.  Some of these foods can include freeze dried foods, nuts, crackers, canned food, grain, and dehydrated fruits and vegetables.

Store plenty of water, even during the winter.  Don't let the cold mislead you,   Water aids in digestion and blood flow and it's easy to become dehydrated even in the winter time as dehydration can "sneak up on you" since you don't feel as thirsty as when it is hot out.

Dress Properly
Dress warm, head to toe.  Especially keep areas of the body covered that are prone to heat loss such as the head, feet, and hands.  Always wear warm socks, hat and gloves when exposed to the cold.  Your clothing must be able to keep you warm and dry at all times.

Carry an emergency blanket

Keep emergency blankets that are big enough to cover your whole body, water proof, and small enough that you can fit in your pockets.

One candle is enough to keep you from freezing to death in a stranded vehicle for as long as the candle will last.  Make sure you stock plenty of them

Keep moving
Keep moving just enough to not break a sweat.  Motion and activity creates heat and keeps your blood flowing.  Those calories you are burning are all the more reason to have plenty of food. 

If stranded in a car
There is no reason you should freeze in a stranded vehicle.  If you've planned properly you will already have your extra clothing, emergency blanket and candles and you would have let someone know where you are going.  Telling someone of your trip plans and where you are going and having supplies on hand will go a long way in helping you wait for help to arrive.  If your clothing is not enough, look for alternate sources of insulation that can be used to stuff into your clothing.  Look for paper and wrappers that you might have in your vehicle.  Try your floor mats, and carpeting.   In a survival situation, you don't have the luxury of worrying about the value of your upholstery, use that to wrap up in.  Break up the cushion material in your seats and use that as insulation.

Feel free to copy and repost this article on your blog as long as you credit and link to The American Preppers Network as the source.

Quote of the Week: Ford on Limitations

Original Article

Old Truck

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right. ~ Henry Ford

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pine Trees for survival

Pine cone with nutsImage via Wikipedia

Original Article

The "Pine Tree" can quite arguably be considered the Survivalists (and Preppers) number one friend in the forest. Not only can every part of this highly versatile king of the woods be used, but those uses can range anywhere from shelter and heat to food and medicinal purposes, and even some less well known uses like glue and gum! We are fortunate that so many forested areas of our country contain varieties of this majestic friend from the towering sugar pines and ponderosas in the west, the pinyon in the southwest, the loblolly in the southeast, the eastern white pine in the northeast, and many more. All told, there are between 105 and 125 species worldwide, a third of which are right here in the U.S!

Let's take a look at an overview of the different parts of the pine tree and see what uses those parts can serve. (We will look more in depth at each part in subsequent articles.)

Pine Needles
Pine needles vary greatly in size depending on the variety of tree, but for the most part you can take advantage of many of the uses below no matter what variety you have available.
  • As a mulch or as a compost. (While pine needles will help make alkaline soils more acidic, despite popular myths, pine needles won't make your soil nearly as acidic as you might think). They are not poisonous, and they will last about 2 years as a mulch
  • Baskets and Rugs. The longer varieties of pine needles are excellent for braiding or weaving with thread or long grasses in order to make baskets, rugs, and could even make a long term survival blanket in a wilderness shelter.
  • Starting fires. Dry pine needles are excellent for starting fires. They burn fast and hot and can help ignite larger sticks and pieces of wood.
  • Tea. The needles from most  pine tree varieties can be used to make tea rich in vitamin C.  (however, it must be noted that large quantities of pine needles have been known to cause miscarriages in livestock)
  • Survival Shelter roofing. Pine needles are great as a roof covering for your survival shelter. (of course be cautious of the fire hazard, especially with dry needles)
  • Animal bedding
  • Pillows and Mattresses. Another great use for a survival shelter. The needles have been known to help repel fleas and other insects.

Pine bark also has many uses. Some of these include:
  • Mulch
  • Pine bark extract. antioxidant and anti-inflammatory uses
  • Food. The inner bark can be eaten. Excellent to know in a SHTF survival situation.
  • Water filtration

Pine Sap
You would be surprised at the number and types of uses for pine sap, some of these include:
  • Turpentine. Pine sap can be distilled to make turpentine.  Which of course has many uses as well, including but not limited to, as a solvent, a cleaner, a lubricant, and medicinal purposes.
  • Gum.  Pine sap can be chewed like gum and will actually clean your teeth. It can also be used as a temporary filling for a toothache.
  • Starting fires. Pine sap is flammable and is great for starting fires.
  • As a candle. Use pine sap on sticks to make candles.
  • Medicinal uses. Pine sap can be used to seal wounds and has been used for its antibacterial properties.
  • Glue. Excellent uses for adhesives and as waterproof sealant
  • Flavoring.
Male pine cone flower
An excellent source of protein, the pollen from the male pine cone flower can be used to thicken stews or as a flower substitute.

Pine nuts
The nuts are edible and actually quite tasty.  Many recipes can be found on the web.

Pine cones
In addition to ornamental purposes, pine cones can also serve some uses in survival situations.
  • As a fishing bobber. You can use a pine cone as a bobber when fishing.
  • As a bird feeder. Take a mixture of cornmeal, shortening and bird seed and fill and cover the pine cone with it. Hang the pine cone to attract birds.
  • As a fire starter. Fill the pine cone with sap and use it to get your fire started.

Don't forget the wood!  This is of course, is the most well known and most versatile part of the pine tree and has virtually unlimited number of uses including heat, construction, furniture, paper, tools, handles, and just about anything that you can think of that is made of wood.  But did you know about it's water retention properties? The wood can be used in your garden to store rain water.  When buried below your garden in the soil, it will absorb the rain water like a sponge and continue to water your vegetables for weeks and sometimes even months.  This method is known as hugelkultur, and while a topic for another article, it's something definitely worth getting into.

As you can tell, the uses for pine trees are so numerous and there is so much detail that I could get into that it's not possible to cover everything in a single article. Therefore, I will cover each section more in depth in articles to follow, so keep checking back.

Feel free to copy and repost this article on your blog as long as you credit and link to The American Preppers Network as the source.