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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Survival Resources - The Bucket List

Original Article

The Bucket

There are numerous items that can serve as a resource. One of the most useful and versatile of these items is the bucket. The bucket is an item whose design is simple but its uses are quite varied. It is one of the ultimate containers that can serve a variety of purposes. Here is a list of just a few of the uses for a bucket.
The Bucket List
1. Storage Container - Use a bucket as a container for storage - A bucket can be used to store a variety of gear and food items.
2. Transportation Device - Use a bucket to transport items - A bucket can be used to carry just about anything that will fit inside it. They are especially useful for transporting water.
3. Garden Device - Use as a container for plants - A bucket works well for container gardening.
4. Improvised Furniture - Use a bucket as a chair - If you don’t have anything to put in your bucket, you can turn it upside down and use it as a chair.
5. Rainwater Catchment Device - Use a bucket to catch rainwater - If you don’t have a rain barrel, use a rain bucket.
6. Protection Device - Use a bucket to cover tender plants to protect them from harsh weather. Let the hail bounce off the bucket and not your plants.
7. Filter Device - Use a bucket as a water filter - Punch some holes in it and fill it with a filter medium. It can then be used to filter emergency water sources.
8. Improvised Step Ladder - Turn your bucket upside down and you can even use it as an improvised step ladder. It may be all you need to reach that high place easily.
9. Use as a Tool Box - Buckets make a great improvised tool box and will help you keep track of your tools and help prevent losing them.
10. Collection Device - Use your bucket to collect eggs - They make great nesting boxes for your chickens and don’t require a lot of modifications.
Your resources in any situation are limited only by your imagination and your need. The bucket is just one of those items that can serve your purposes on a daily basis or in a crisis.
Got bucket?
Staying above the water line!

The Prepared Child

Original Article

If you ask most people why they are prepping, the immediate response is “For my children.”  We want to give them a chance at surviving whatever disaster may befall the world as we know it today.  Through our own research, preppers know better than anyone the terrible results of a disaster.
Most of us have covered many of the bases in disaster preparedness as far as food, shelter and self-defense are concerned.  Children, however, have a psychological need for security and stability that require other types of preparations.
Obviously, the stability you normally provide will be completely rocked if you have to grab your bug-out bags and set off on foot in the middle of the night one terrible evening.  Surviving a horrific natural disaster that wipes out a child’s familiar home will take a bite out of any child’s sense of security.
We must prepare our children by building their natural resilience.  Like any other characteristic we want to instil in our kids, (like honesty or kindness) positive reinforcement and repetition can bring these natural traits to the forefront.
Teach your kids to think critically.
The ability to think for one’s self is vital in a survival situation.  Kids have to know that their own logic and instincts are to be respected, and that just because someone is an “authority figure” it doesn’t mean that person has their best interests at heart.  Sometimes this can be difficult for us as parents, since we expect (okay, we’d like it a lot!!!) our kids to obey us immediately and without question.  We have to temper that desire with the encouragement of reasonable questions from our kids.
Ask your kids the following questions to ingrain the habit of critical thinking.
  1. Why do you think I want you to do this?
  2. When watching a movie or TV show, pause the program to question the actions of the characters with your kids.  Did you see how the man asked that little boy for help? What do you think the boy should do?  If someone asked you to do this, how would you react?
  3. How does this (choose a current event) affect us? What do you think about what is going on?
  4. What do you think would happen if (choose a disaster or event) occurred? How would other people react to this?
Point out the advantages of a prepping lifestyle.
Many children find a sense of peace in knowing that Mom and Dad are ready for whatever might happen.  When a disaster occurs elsewhere in the world, point out to your children some of the beneficial things that you have done to prepare if the same thing happened in your area.
For example, when people are frantically looting the grocery stores for the last items on the shelves, you can remind the kids that your family could go for 6 months (or however long is applicable) without ever setting foot in a store.  When the heat is taken out in an ice storm somewhere in the world, you can point out the propane heater or the woodstove that is at the ready to keep them warm.
Include the kids in the preparations.
Let your kids feel like part of the solution by allowing their input and enlisting their assistance.
My daughter enjoys helping me repackage foods that we’ve purchased in large quantities.  We work together in the kitchen, pouring dried beans into glass jars and have some great discussions about how many meals can be made out of what we have just purchased.  She helps me choose between black beans and kidney beans at the bulk store.  We slice up fruit to go into the dehydrator and sneak samples to see if it’s ready yet.
We have also created some disaster plans together.  She knows precisely what to do in the event of a tornado.  She also knows where we will meet up if disaster strikes when she is at school.  She understands the importance of home security and is by far the most “street smart” of her friends.
Practice makes perfect.
Don’t just talk about survival skills: PRACTICE them!!!  Kids love learning wilderness skills and you will get the added bonus of bonding moments.
  1. Go camping – not with the RV, but with a tent in the middle of the woods.
  2. Go hiking and bring along a field guide to identify edible plants.
  3. Learn about and experiment with solar power – you don’t have to invest in a kit of solar panels – start small by building a solar cooker together and then making a meal in it.
  4. Go fishing or hunting.
  5. Grow a garden and preserve your harvest.
 Don’t forget to prep for fun.
If the power is out for an extended period of time, many kids of today will be in for some serious culture shock.  With no stereo, no Playstation, and no television, the refrain of “I’m bored” will ring in your ears like a bad case of tinnitus.  Plan ahead by stocking up on activities that don’t require any power but that of their imaginations. (I purchased many of these items at yard sales and thrift stores).
  1. Board games and card games
  2. Books
  3. Craft supplies
  4. Puzzles
  5. Sketchpads and art supplies
Don’t forget classic games like I Spy, Charades and Mother May I, none of which will cost you a penny!
Familiarity is the key to comfort.  If your prepping efforts are a part of life for your kids, then in the event of a disaster, the shock will be lessened.  Instead of having to be coddled throughout the ordeal, your child will be a productive member of the family team.

Your Community: A Survival Help Or Hindrance?

Original Article

What exactly is your community? Do you live in a rural area, or small neighborhood, an apartment building, a cul-de-sac or a city? You are prepping, stocking up and preparing for some level of emergencies. Are your neighbors prepping? In a SHTF scenario would you want their help? Would you be able to get their help? Are they even capable of helping? How well do you know them? Would they be a help to you or a hindrance to you?

Many people feel that you should keep your prepping and your emergency planning ‘quiet’. Generally speaking, I think you may be better off on your own. The bottom line is that the decision whether or not to help your neighbors is a decision that only you can make.

In a SHTF scenario, the world you know will be very different. People that have not prepared will think of many different ways to get your things. These ‘ways’ may be a good thing, such as bartering or helping with a task. But chances are these ‘ways’ could very well be devious or even intrusive.

Things to consider before you decide to put your neighbors into your fold.

Are your neighbors clueless and needy? Okay, seriously, I’m not being mean, I’m being realistic. If they are needy because they are elderly, that’s a different story. But if they are just generally clueless and needy, they will probably require a lot of your time as well as your supplies.  Once again, a decision that’s up to you.
How would they view your prepping? If you were to tell them and show them, today, all of the prepping work you have done, would they think you are weird? Or would they be receptive, ask you questions, and even start their own prepping? Something to think about when looking for a compatriot.

What are the occupations of your neighbors? Will they be able to be helpful in a SHTF scenario? Prepper groups are being formed out there folks. They are groups of friends, family, neighbors that are all preppers who are concerned about banding together for security when the S does HTF. A tight group of people with varied skills, occupations and interests that can all bring benefits to the group. Am I describing your neighbors, or not?

Are your neighbors frugal or wasteful? If need be, would you be able to get them to ration food? Something else for you to think about.

How will your community ( neighborhood, small town, apartment complex etc.), fare in a SHTF scenario? Would such a scenario increase their reciprocity? Would they follow a make shift leader to increase the strength of the community or would it be a dog eat dog situation. Something else for you to think about folks.

How many of you have watched the old TV show ‘Jericho‘? First of all, for the most part, they stuck with the mayor and sheriff as local leaders. The town generally united, but even then there were ‘factions’ that grew. Some folks combined with others from another town and thought they knew best. Although for the most part they worked together, there were still those rotten apples to watch out for. When it comes down to not having food, water or a shelter, people will act differently, instinctively. Think about this.

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Systemic Risk: The Internet

Original Article

Systemic risk is risk that affects an entire system. A systemic risk is one that could potentially bring it all down. It would be a component or a dependency of a system that itself requires the ‘thing’ to be there, to be functioning as expected, to always be up and running or working.

The Internet is itself a system, but it is also a dependency or systemic risk of bigger systems. We depend on the Internet. ‘We’, meaning, most of us. We as individuals depend on it, business depends on it, it is an integral part of our modern way of life.

Stock markets, world finance, and all banking depends upon the instantaneous ‘money’ transfer pipeline to settle transactions. If this ‘light speed’ ability were to be removed, it would all come crashing down.

Communications depend on it. While you as an individual could survive without the ability to text your friends every few minutes, the dependency upon instant communications for business is critical. Most all modern communications methods touch the internet in some way.

Supply chains of distribution depend on the various connections of feedback for supply and demand. Today’s ‘just-in-time’ inventory works because of the internet, which enables fast and real-time communications and data interchange to keep the manufacturers aligned with the demand of the distributors and retailers. Without the instant feedback loop, the ‘just-in-time’ system would crash.

The unfathomable depth and volume of the internet as a resource is staggering compared to only a few decades ago when the library was the resource. The ability to have access to this resource has revolutionized the way we think, the way we do business, and the way we live. We are dependent on it. This makes it a systemic risk to our modern way of life.

Although it appears as though the internet is resilient, and will always be there for us, we cannot make that assumption if we are to consider being prepared. It is a well worth exercise to spend a few minutes and imagine the world without the internet, and how it would affect your life. Then, prepare for it just a little, or more, if you would like.
Those who wish to do us harm, know this is one of our vulnerabilities and systemic risks. Never assume that things will always remain the same. Recognize the risks. Even if you do nothing about it, if you have thought about it, you will be a step ahead of most of the rest.

Without becoming technical, just know that the internet has a backbone and nodes where the bulk of traffic passes through. Our clever enemies know this too. This backbone is surely well secured and in many ways, redundant. But… you know what they say about when you ‘assume’…

Update, Yet another problem facing internet users, the infamous ‘kill switch’…
From, “China’s mysterious Internet outage; speculation over a ‘kill switch’” At approximately 11am local time yesterday, Internet users around China reported significant Internet blackouts. Not only were they unable to access some Chinese sites, but also many foreign Web sites that had not previously been blocked. Others have suggested that the temporary outage might have been a test run of an emergency ‘kill switch’, in case extreme measures need to be taken in the ongoing crackdown of the Chinese Internet.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dill Pickles

Original Article

Years ago, I had a recipe for dill pickles. Of course I have lost it and have kicked myself ever since. They were the best dill pickles I have ever made, or bought. I don’t remember ever putting mine in a hot water bath, so the following recipe comes pretty close. This is also from a friend, he does these every year.
Quick Dill Pickles
  • 4 pounds of cucumbers
  • 6 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons dill seed or 9 heads of fresh or dried dill weed
  • 18 whole black peppercorns or 3 small dried red peppers
  1. For whole cucumbers, small size up to 4 inches long is preferred. Larger sizes may be packed whole provided they are processed for a longer time.
  2. Wash cucumbers thoroughly.
  3. Usually with larger cucumbers it is better to slice, quarter, or halve lengthwise before pickling.
  4. combine vinegar and water
  5. Pack cucumbers into clean jars. For each quart jar, add 1 tablespoon or 3 heads of dill, 6 whole black peppers and 2 teaspoons salt.
  6. Fill with vinegar/water solution leaving ½ inch headspace. Seal
  7. Follow directions for water bath canning; process 15 minutes in simmering hot water.
If a more tart pickle is desired, use 3 cups vinegar and 1 cup water.
Preparedness Mom

Friday, April 27, 2012

Survival Scenario – Can You Survive a Nuclear War?

Original Article

With the North Koreans getting ready to test their latest rocket it seems like a good time to scare the hell out of everybody with a nuclear war survival scenario.  Honestly, I doubt it will amount to much (but it is Friday the 13th!); however, in the interest of a thought experiment I thought I’d use it as the basis of a survival scenario.

So here we go…

By September, 2016 the North Koreans have quietly built up an arsenal of nuclear weapons and distributed them around their country in various secret locations.  The U.S. and other NATO countries are aware of some of the activity, but badly underestimate the size and number of weapons, and the determination of the North Korean leadership.

A border flare-up with South Korea starts with conventional shelling and then quickly escalates to small tactical nukes along the border.  A few small towns and several important bridges are eradicated before the rest of the world can react.  The U.S. reacts by sending stealth bombers into North Korea to bomb Pyongyang, but North Korean leadership has long since moved into mountain bunkers with all their command and control.

The North Koreans react to the bombing of Pyongyang by dropping a 20 megaton bomb on Seoul, the capital of South Korea.  The U.S. responds with three MIRV’s, again targeting Pyongyang and several port cities as well.
China, upset at the nuclear testing by their neighbor in earlier years, had pretty much written them off as allies.  When Chinese leadership saw the war escalating they too opened fire on North Korea with nuclear weapons.
North Korea finally opens the floodgates and shoots sixty-five of their weapons at the United States, a full two-thirds of their arsenal was saved just for us.

Russia inexplicably joins with North Korea and shoots at the US and China.
The world has now been officially at war for less than four hours.

In the United States warning sirens go off across the country and people head for shelter, confused and scared, hoping that it’s just a drill.

The first missiles from North Korea come across the North Pole and hit Washington State and California.  Shortly thereafter a rain of missiles comes down across the Midwest.  Russia’s weapons target the east coast and everything from Boston to Florida is pummeled by MIRV’s and nuclear bombs ranging up to 50 MT.
It doesn’t matter where you are, the world war that lasted less than 24 hours has affected you.  Fires rage out of control, nuclear fallout is in the air, EMP has destroyed a lot of the delicate electronics our world runs on, and most of the large cities have become blast zones.

You have managed to survive the initial war somehow, but now you emerge from your shelter into a world vastly changed.  Although there’s some structural damage to your home/apartment building/shelter, it appears solid enough to live in.

The government is setting up emergency shelters where they can, but are quickly overwhelmed by the number of survivors needing medical attention, shelter, food and clean water.

Look at your own situation – current level of preps, location (close to a big city or living in the hills?), number of people you have to care for, etc.

This is it folks.  TEOTWAWKI.  What do you do?  Stay in place?  Head to one of the FEMA camps for help?   Start robbing people as they go by because you haven’t prepped?  Build a wall around your place against the people pouring out of the cities?  Open your doors and start helping those who need aid?  It doesn’t look like there’s going to be much help in the foreseeable future.

-Jarhead Survivor

Update:  Yeah, the rocket fizzled and I know that they’re nowhere near to being a nuclear super power.  It’s just a thought exercise, folks!  A little something to get the thought processes going.  Have fun with it!

No related posts.

100 Things to Teach Your Children

Original Article

Call me old fashioned but it seems like kids these days are learning very few useful skills.  By the time I was a teenager I could fish, hunt, make pickles, grow a garden, backpack for a week without getting lost, rappel off a sheer rock cliff, swim across a lake...actually a very long list of things, compliments, mostly, of the skills my grandparents taught me.  And it wasn't like they went out of their way to teach me these things, it was just part of their lives and all of us kids basically learned from watching (back then there was no such thing as sitting in your room with a computer, there was lots of work to be done to get on with everyday living so it was an "all hands on deck" sort of thing where everyone pitched in to get the work done thus a lot of skills were taught this way).  Here's 100 basic skills that every child should learn:
  1. How to swim.
  2. How to catch a fish.
  3. How to safely use a variety of firearms (and clean them too).
  4. How to hunt and dress an animal.
  5. How to grow vegetables.
  6. How to take care of animals.
  7. How to perform CPR.
  8. How to perform the Heimlich maneuver.
  9. Basic first aid skills.
  10. A nice set of good manners (yes ma'am, no sir, thank you, not to gossip, etc).
  11. How to fight.
  12. How to set a goal and reach it.
  13. Way-finding (with GPS and map and compass).
  14. Good hygiene.
  15. How to take care of their body (everything from exercising and cooking nutritious food to brushing teeth and wearing a bicycle helmet).
  16. Backpacking and camping skills (how to start a fire, how to make a shelter, etc).
  17. How to read (well and voraciously if possible).
  18. How to write effectively, clearly, and correctly (ie: how to write a consumer complaint, how to write a letter to your grandparents, how to write an essay, etc).
  19. How to speak to people in a variety of situations (good posture, good grammar, speaking loudly enough, etc).
  20. How to think logically.
  21. How to play a variety of games (chess, checkers, Monopoly, etc).
  22. How to be a good sport and have a good attitude.
  23. A variety of physical skills (that build strength, flexibility, balance, and cardio).
  24. Good social skills.
  25. How to set up their own business and earn money.
  26. How to budget, save, and invest money.
  27. "Old-time" skills (everything from fencing and archery to woodworking and leathercraft).
  28. How to express themselves through art (dancing, music, painting, etc).
  29. Safety skills (how to escape from a house fire, how to avoid "stranger danger", how to keep their information private, etc).
  30. Electronics (everything from HAM radio to how to build a robot).
  31. Teamwork (by joining a team sport or working with a team towards a goal).
  32. Food preservation (canning, freezing, smoking, drying, etc).
  33. How to mediate disagreements.
  34. How to shop effectively (looking for bargains, comparing prices, using coupons, asking for a discount if a product is damaged, etc).
  35. Sciences (botany, astrology, biology, chemistry, etc).
  36. Math (consumer math skills such as how to figure out discounts, how to figure interest, how to measure for carpet, etc).
  37. A foreign language (our country is becoming more multi-cultural by the day).
  38. Basic car repair skills.
  39. How to report an emergency (how to call 911 and provide useful details).
  40. How to drive a variety of vehicles (car, bike, motorcycle, boat, etc).
  41. Basic life guard and water safety skills.
  42. How to follow directions (ie: follow a recipe, build a model, etc).
  43. Building skills (ie: basic construction, welding, plumbing, painting, etc).
  44. How to choose, use, and care for tools.
  45. How to teach someone else a skill.
  46. Emergency prep skills (how to evacuate in an emergency, how to create a communications plan, how to make a BOB, etc).
  47. Social media safety skills (ie: no sexting, how to protect your private information online, etc).
  48. How to reuse and recycle items.
  49. How to cook (everything from soups to desserts).
  50. How to sew.
  51. How to knit and crochet.
  52. How to learn about and prepare for disasters that are most likely to hit your area.
  53. How to procure and, if necessary, purify water.
  54. How to forage for food in the wilds.
  55. How to apply for a job (including how to put together a resume and interview well).
  56. How to plan for, and travel alone from, Point A to Point B (via bus, subway, train, plane).
  57. How to make your home safe (check fire extinguishers, check the smoke alarm, lock windows, etc).
  58. As many sports skills as possible (karate, ice skating, skiing, etc).
  59. How to escape, evade, and hide in an emergency.
  60. How to resolve school problems (with teachers, administration, and other students).
  61. How to do research (online and with primary sources).
  62. How to learn (good study skills, how to self-teach, how to edit their work, etc).
  63. How to give back to others (volunteering, good deeds, helping others in need, etc).
  64. How to clean and organize their room/the house/their things, etc.
  65. How to have good relationships (choosing their friends, asking for help, empathy, resolving problems, etc).
  66. Homekeeping skills (yard work, laundry, basic handyman skills, etc).
  67. How to develop hobbies.
  68. How to save up and pay cash for an item that they really want.
  69. How to apply for and receive various documents that are useful in our society (driver's license, library card, passport, etc).
  70. How to safely use dangerous tools (knives, chainsaw, ax, etc).
  71. How to resolve a consumer dispute (asking for a refund, writing to the president of the company, getting publicity for a problem, etc).
  72. What to do if they get separated from the family (everywhere from at the mall to if the family is separated by a major disaster).
  73. How to plan, prepare for, and carry off a major event (party, family vacation, etc).
  74. How to check their credit report and fix any problems with it (obviously small children shouldn't have anything on their report but this prevents fraud).
  75. How not to become a victims of consumer fraud (ie: don't fall for scams, don't loan money to people, don't give out your private information, don't co-sign for friends, etc).
  76. Good work habits (how to show up on time at school/work, how to be organized, how to take direction, etc).
  77. How to type.
  78. How to effectively use technology (I'm sure they will teach you a bit about this).
  79. How to take responsibility for their actions.
  80. How to enjoy simple things in life (looking at clouds, taking a walk, etc).
  81. How to build good character skills (being responsible, owning up to mistakes, being kind, being confident but not arrogant, etc).
  82. How to call for and request appointments (doctor, dentist, car repair, etc), then how to record that appointment so it won't be missed.
  83. How to take care of babies and children (babysitting skills).
  84. How to take care of people who are ill.
  85. How to take care of people who are elderly.
  86. How to shop for food (finding sale items, figuring out the price for produce, how to choose ripe produce, how much meat to buy from the butcher, how to check expiration dates on dairy items, etc).
  87. How to open a checking and savings account, write a check, use an ATM card, and keep the accounts balanced.
  88. How to be observant (from playing " I Spy" with small children to walking through a crowd with teenagers and seeing how much they can remember).
  89. How to plan their future (will it be college, trade school, the military? Start preparing now).
  90. How to apply for credit and use it wisely.
  91. How to tithe.
  92. How to turn off the electricity, water, and gas in an emergency.
  93. What their legal rights are and how to interact with the police (ie: provide basic information and car license/insurance if requested, that they have the right to remain silent, that they don't have to open the door unless the police produce a warrant, etc).
  94. How to resist peer pressure (or how to get out of difficult situations when they are with their peers such as at a party or when their driver is drunk, etc).
  95. Some basis in religion or a higher power.
  96. Where to go when they or a friend need help (hint, it may not be you.  They need to know there are resources out there to provide help such as Planned Parenthood, the Suicide Helpline, 211, etc).
  97. How to protect themselves in social situations (how not to become a victim of date rape, kidnapping, hazing, etc).
  98. How to gamble (play poker, bet on the horses..and of course how not to lose your shirt doing these things).
  99. And a random assortment of other life skills: how to pack and move things, how to wear a suit, how to eat in a fancy restaurant, how to tie a tie, etc.
  100. And how not to do things (usually taught by your example) such as not smoking, not drinking, not doing drugs, not breaking the law, not lying...and all of those other things that could get them in trouble.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gear Review – Cold Steel Bushmaster Knife

Original Article

Cold Steel has a reputation for making good knives.  Expensive ones, so when I saw the Bushmaster Knife on Amazon for $23 I had to give it a try, so  I ordered one online and it showed up a couple of days later.
 Here are a few thoughts on the Bushmaster after using it for a few days.

Cold Steel Bushman
This is a fairly good sized knife with a 7” blade, which is big for a survival blade in my opinion.  It’s got a hollow handle, but it’s made from a single piece of steel thus there is no joint between the blade and the handle.  When you first open it there’s a note on the knife saying that it will rust, so be sure to keep it clean and lightly lubed and not to store it in the sheath for any length of time.

It came with a good sharp edge on it out of the box and I left it as it was.

Performance-wise there are a couple of things I don’t like about it out of the box, but with a little ingenuity these issues can be taken care of.

First, the round handle and light weight of the knife causes it to twist in your hand when chopping.  Even batoning wood was a little tricky because of this, so I looked online and found a lot of people had the same issue.

My idea was to put some hockey tape on the grip, so it wouldn’t turn and this was one idea of many put out there by readers and viewers on Youtube.  Other ideas included wrapping paracord around the handle (I tried it and it just came loose, but there were other ways to weave it as shown on Youtube), and putting tape around it.  I’ll probably opt for the tape option although I haven’t done it yet.

The cordura sheath confused me at first because I wasn’t pushing down on it hard enough to get it all the way in.  The pommel should be at the same level as the loop on the sheath and it requires a good bit of force to get it down in there.  Not necessarily bad, but it does take getting used to and it doesn’t strap in, so make sure it’s good and tight.  It has a small pocket on the sheath for fishing line and hooks, or a firesteel, or whatever you want to store in there.  I put a Gobspark firesteel in mine.

One of the more interesting features is the hollow handle.  It can be used to store small items of survival gear or – get this – you can put it on a long stick thus making a spear.  I highly doubt I’d ever need to do that, but it’s a pretty fun idea.  Supposedly the knife can take the abuse although I haven’t subjected it to that kind of treatment yet.  Check out this video of Lynn Thomspon – the owner of Cold Steel – abusing one of his Bushmaster knives.
You can throw them, put them on a stick to make a spear, or just use them as a regular old knife and at the $23 price tag ($22.79) if you break or damage the knife it’s not a bank buster.
The bottom line:  a great blade for the price.  Yeah, it’s a little big, but if you’re looking for a backup knife or one to store in your extra BOB, or whatever then I would recommend this knife.  Chances are good you’ll never have a good reason to make a spear, and throwing your knife in a true survival situation is never a good idea (at least for me), but if you want to play around with it you can.
I like this knife for its versatility and its utility.
3.8 out of 5 stars.
-Jarhead Survivor
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

10 Powerful Spices For Your Health

Original Article

The following list of spices are extremely high in ORAC value, meaning, they are very good for you and your health and should be incorporated into your diet to take advantage of the many antioxidant and other benefits. In the American diet, it is so common to simply add ‘salt and pepper’ to nearly everything. In addition, or instead, if you can get into the habit of adding these spices to your food dishes, you may gain the reward of better health and life.

List of powerful, high ORAC value spices

Cloves (ground)
Cinnamon (ground)
Oregano (dried)
Turmeric (powder)
Cocoa (powder)
Cumin (seed)
Parsley (dried)
Basil (dried)
Chocolate (baking, unsweetened)
Curry (powder)
While so many preppers are focusing on food storage, I’ll bet that many are not thinking as much as they should about spices and healthy additives, all of which would be especially rewarding and beneficial during a time of long lasting disaster. It is simple to stock up on spices. You can also easily grow some of your own too, such as oregano, parsley, and basil.
Cloves. Although most spices are excellent sources of antioxidants, cloves rank as the richest source of them all. The abundant health benefits of cloves have been well known for centuries. Cloves have antiseptic and germicidal properties that help fight infections, relieve digestive problems and arthritis pain.
Cinnamon. Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes. In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections. In a study published by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood. In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
Oregano. Oregano is known to have strong antibacterial properties, perhaps as a result of the volatile oils the herb contains which have been shown to inhibit the growth of many kinds of bacteria, including some that cause serious food borne illnesses. Researchers have even studied oregano as a treatment for the common bacteria disease known as giardia. This common amoeba is common throughout the world.
Turmeric. Research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns. It is a natural liver detoxifier. It may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory. It has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
Cocoa. Cocoa consumption is associated with decreased blood pressure, improved blood vessel health, and improvement in cholesterol levels. Flavonoid-rich cocoa consumption is also linked to reductions in risk factors for diabetes. Antioxidant benefits include a reduction in blood pressure, improved circulation, improved digestion, improved function of the endothelial cells of the circulatory system, protection from free radicals and the promotion of cardiovascular function that fights heart disease.
Cumin. The seeds themselves are rich in iron and are thought to help stimulate the secretion of enzymes from the pancreas which can help absorb nutrients into the system. It has also been shown to boost the power of the liver’s ability to detoxify the human body. It can help with flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, and morning sickness. Cumin is also said to help relieve symptoms of the common cold due to it’s antiseptic properties – you’ll want to boil the seeds in a tea and then drink a couple of times a day. Researchers from Michigan State University, publishing the result of a study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry have found that this amazing natural compound is able to prevent the destructive formation of alpha-synuclein proteins that are the hallmark presentation in many neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Parsley. Parsley’s volatile oils—particularly myristicin—have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. Extracts from parsley have been used in animal studies to help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood. Parsley is an excellent source of two vital nutrients that are also important for the prevention of many diseases: vitamin C and vitamin A (notably through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene). Parsley is a good source of folic acid, one of the most important B vitamins. Folic acid is also a critical nutrient for proper cell division and is therefore vitally important for cancer-prevention in two areas of the body that contain rapidly dividing cells—the colon, and in women, the cervix.
Basil. The main use of basil medicinally is as a natural anti-inflammatory. Many naturopathic doctors prescribe basil in treatment of diabetes, respiratory disorders, allergies, impotence, and infertility. This may be because basil contains cinnamanic acid, which has been found to enhance circulation, stabilize blood sugar, and improve breathing in those with respiratory disorders. It is also know that basil is very high in antioxidants, especially when it is used as an extract or oil. These antioxidants can protect your body against free radical damage associated with aging, some skin ailments, and most forms of cancer.
Chocolate. Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure. Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent. It stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure. It contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant. This information doesn’t mean that you should eat a pound of chocolate a day. Chocolate is still a high-calorie, high-fat food.
Curry. Curry is a mixture of several spices, predominantly turmeric. The most prolific benefit may be its effect on those who suffer from arthritis or otherwise sore and inflamed joints. Turmeric may reduce swelling and ease the pain associated with inflammation of the joints. The compound that makes curry yellow could help fight skin cancer. Curry may help protect the aging brain.

So, instead of reaching for a pill, how about reaching for a few of these powerful and natural spices and herbs!
There are many other beneficial high ORAC value foods, which are listed in the following article, Top 100 High ORAC Value Antioxidant Foods.

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A Rocket Stove Made From a Five Gallon Metal Bucket

Original Article

The principle behind a rocket stove is simple--rather than cooking on an open fire, you burn wood in an insulated chimney. Rocket stoves are highly efficient and easy to make. They run on twigs, so you can avoid cutting down a whole tree just to cook dinner.

We've had a rocket stove made out of brick in our backyard for several years. The post we wrote on it in 2007 is--oddly--the most frequently searched post on this site. I figured that since there was so much interest in the topic it would be good to offer one that didn't require masonry work. Better yet, I figured that it should be portable, so I made it out of a five gallon steel paint bucket. (eta: for your googling pleasure, it seems retailers call these cans "steel pails" rather than buckets). The project took less than an hour to complete and I'm very pleased with the final result. We created a pdf with full instructions that you can download at the Internet Archive. What follows are some photos showing the building process:

Using a piece of 4" vent pipe and a 90º elbow, I made the chimney. See the pdf for the exact dimensions.

I traced the outline of the vent pipe on to the lid of the bucket and cut this hole out with a jig saw. Tin snips would also have worked.

Using the vent pipe as a guide again, I cut out a 4" hole near the bottom of the bucket.

I used one part clay (harvested from the yard) to six parts vermiculite as my insulation material. Mixed with water, the clay holds the vermiculite together. I could also have used dry wood ash, but I had the vermiculite and clay on hand so that's what I went with.

With the vent pipe in place, I packed the insulation into the bucket and let it dry for a few days before putting the lid on.

I found a barbecue grill at Home Depot that rests on the top of the bucket to support a pot.

Next you want to get yourself a tin can, take off both ends and open it up with tin snips. Cut a piece to serve as a shelf in the mouth of the pipe. It should be about 4" long--so it sits forward in the mouth of the vent. The rear part of the vent, where the fire burns, is open. The twigs rest on top of the shelf, the lower half is for drawing air.

The last step was to add the new Root Simple stencil to the back.

Some fire tips from the little lady, our resident pyro:

A rocket stove isn't like a campfire--you don't throw on a big log and kick back. Cooking on it is intense and concentrated, best suited for boiling or frying. The best fuel source is twigs, small ones--I prefer pencil-sized twigs, and I never try to burn anything thicker than a finger.

To start a fire just shove some paper or other tinder under the shelf toward the back of vent. Lay some very thin twigs, pine needles or other combustibles on the shelf. Light the paper and watch it go. Start adding larger twigs to establish the fire. Of course, twigs burn fast and hot, so you have to keep adding more fuel. Also, the twig are burning from the back (the fire is concentrated in the bend) so as the fire consumes the sticks, you just keep shoving the unburned parts to the rear.

There's a balance between choking the vent with too much wood and having too sparse a fire. After a few minutes of playing with it you'll get the hang of things. If you're doing it right, there should be no smoke, or almost none. These things burn clean.

Let us know if you like the pdf and if you would like to see more similar instruction sheets (maybe in an ebook format) of these types of projects. There's also a good book on using rocket stoves as heaters:  Rocket Mass Heaters: Superefficient Woodstoves YOU Can Build by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

First Aid: How To Stop Bleeding

Original Article


The most common and most practical First Aid skill to know is ‘how to stop bleeding‘.
Related to this is bandaging and the possibility of having to use a tourniquet.
Bleeding usually looks worse than it really is. Having said that though, when a large blood vessel is cut or torn, the person can lose a lot of blood within minutes.
You can stop most bleeding with pressure.

Call 911 if…
  • There is a lot of bleeding
  • You cannot stop the bleeding
  • You see signs of shock
  • You suspect a head, neck, or spine injury
  • You are not sure what to do

How to stop the bleeding

  1. Make sure the scene is safe. Get the first aid kit, or having someone get it.
  2. Put a dressing on the wound (gauze pad or other clean dressing). Apply direct pressure on the dressing. Use the flat part of your fingers or the palm of your hand.
  3. If the bleeding does not stop, add more dressings on top of the first and press harder.
  4. Keep pressure on the wound until it stops bleeding.
  5. If you can’t keep pressure on the wound, wrap a bandage firmly over the dressing to hold the dressing in place.

An important thing you may not realize, is, don’t lift the dressing to see if the bleeding has stopped. This will tear the clotting and start the process over again. Just add on more dressings over the bloody dressing and continue pressure. Leave all dressings on as you add more.
A dressing can be a gauze pad or pads, or any other clean piece of cloth. If you don’t have a dressing, you can use a gloved hand.
If the cut or scrape is minor, wash the area with lots of clean water to get the wound clean before applying the dressings.
Small wounds heal better and with less infection if an antibiotic ointment is used.

If an arm or leg has severe bleeding and you can’t stop the bleeding with direct pressure, you can use a tourniquet. Tourniquets should always be a last resort and only used if there is no other way to stop the bleeding and life is threatened. Use of tourniquets is widespread in military applications, and have the potential to save lives during major limb trauma. Studies show that a properly applied tourniquet can be left in place for up to one to two hours with minimal risk of permanent damage.
The best tourniquets are premade, or manufactured ones. If you don’t have one, you can make a tourniquet out of a piece of cloth and a stick-like object (e.g. screwdriver) to tighten the tourniquet.
If you apply the tourniquet correctly, it will cause pain as it stops the bleeding.

How to make – use a tourniquet

  1. Fold a cloth or bandage so that it’s long and at least 1-inch wide.
  2. Wrap the bandage – place the tourniquet 2 inches above the injury.
  3. Tie the ends of the bandage around a stick (or similar)
  4. Turn the stick to tighten the tourniquet.
  5. Continue tightening until the bleeding stops.
  6. Secure the stick to the tourniquet stays tight.
  7. Note what time the tourniquet was placed and get help ASAP.

A few other popular additions to first aid kits to help stop bleeding are…
The Emergency Bandage 4″ (Israeli Bandage)
Adventure Medical Quikclot Sport Pack

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Testing Precious Metals for Long-Term Preparations

Original Article

With the current world economic situation, wise people understand that paper money is simply the illusion of money. It is a representation of wealth of which the value can be rapidly manipulated. The US Federal Reserve randomly prints off bills with no commodity backing them, making the only value of these bills the worth that is allowed by the banksters and the elite

So in light of this, how do we save for the rainy days to come?

Once you’ve established the basics of your survival preparedness, you can protect your personal wealth by investing in precious metals. There are many different ways to acquire gold and silver. Here are a few:

• Purchase the pieces from mints or exchanges
• Purchase old pieces of jewelry or coins from yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores and Craigslist
• From trusted sellers on EBay

Mints and exchanges offer a sure thing. These businesses are built on trust and integrity. However when you purchase from everyday people or take a gamble on buying something at the thrift store, you need to be able to identify and test the metals yourself.

1. Look for markings. Jewelry made from precious metals in the US was required to be marked for metal content in 1906. On silver pieces you are looking for the numbers “925” – this indicates that the piece is Sterling Silver or 92.5% silver. If the piece you are considering is gold, you are looking for 10K, 14K, 18K, etc. 24K is 100% gold, and is very soft, so the other numbers are indicative of the gold content that has been mixed with a harder metal to make it less pliable.

2. Inspect the piece carefully. Is it rough near the edges? Is it discoloured in places? Is the finish chipping or flaking? These are all indicators that the piece may only be plated with silver or gold. These items require further testing. (Note: Sterling Silver will “oxidize” and tarnish – don’t be put off by black discolouration. This should wipe off with a soft cloth.)

3. If the piece has been marked, then you will want to test it further. Carry with you a strong magnet. Precious metals are NOT magnetic, nor are the other metals that are used in jewelry to harden them. If the piece of jewelry or coin reacts to the magnet it is not gold or silver.

4. Test it with ceramic. You can purchase a small piece of unglazed ceramic tile at your local hardware store. If you have a piece of questionable gold, run the piece across the ceramic tile. If it leaves a blackish mark, it is not genuine gold.

Once you have performed these quick tests, you may want to go further. There are two more definitive tests – the “Archimedes Test” and the acid test.

Archimedes Test

Break out your physics hat and perform a density test to determine the content of the metal you have on hand. For this you will require a vial marked in millimetres in which you can submerge the item in question.
Do not fill the vial to the top, since you will be displacing water with the jewelry item. Note exactly the amount of water in your container.

Weigh your item on a digital jewelry scale, marking down your result in grams. This is the “mass” of your item.
Place your piece in the vial and note the new water level.
Calculate the difference between the two numbers in millimetres. This is the “volume displacement” of the item.

Use the following formula to calculate density:
Density = mass/volume displacement

Here is a sample calculation:

Your gold item weighs 38 g and it displaces 2 milliLITRES of water. Using the formula of [mass (38 g)]/ [volume displacement (2 ml)], your result would be 19 g/ml, which is very close to the density of pure 24K gold.
Remember that different gold and silver purities will have a different g/ml ratio:
o 14K – 12.9 to 14.6 g/mL
o 18K yellow – 15.2 to 15.9 g/mL
o 18K white – 14.7 to 16.9 g/mL
o 22K – 17.7 to 17.8 g/mL
o 999 Silver – 10.49 g/mL
o 925 Silver – 10.2 to 10.3 g/mL

Nitric Acid Test
This is the most definitive way to test the metal in question. This test is where the saying “passing the acid test” originated.

WARNING: Nitric Acid is highly corrosive. Wear safety eyewear and protective gloves when working with this product. Protect all surfaces that could come into contact with the acid.

To perform an acid test, you will require Nitric Acid, a non-reactive dropper, and a stainless steel container in which to perform the test.

Place your item in the stainless steel container. Using the dropper apply a very tiny drop of acid on a non-exposed part of the item in question. (Remember: If the item is not gold or silver, the acid may permanently mar the finish.)

If you suspect that the item was merely plated, you can make a small scratch in a hidden place in which to test the item.

The acid will turn different colors in reaction to different metal contents:
Cream: 90 to 100% silver
Gray: 77-90% silver
Green: less than 75% precious metal content
No reaction: Gold

Test kits containing the chemicals and instructions can be purchased through Amazon for less than $10.

Finally, when purchasing gold or silver, always trust your instincts. You may not always have access to your testing kit when an opportunity arises. If an item looks suspicious or the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

25 Ways to Cut Your Gas Costs

Original Article

Well, my local gas station just tipped $4 per gallon this morning, which, according to friends in other areas, had already happened to them a couple of weeks ago.  Unfortunately I don't see this price receding any time soon.  Here's some ways to keep a grip on your gas costs:

  1. Buy an electric or hybrid car (obviously an expensive proposition but if you commute really far each day and gas prices stay high you may come out ahead. Do the math first, of course).
  2. Find the cheapest gas prices in town here.
  3. Carpool. I used to do this when I went to a lot of meetings and this saved me a ton of money on gas as well as wear and tear on my car.
  4. If you do drive for work, make sure you are getting reimbursed for your mileage (when I used to be reimbursed for my mileage, I would simply check our state rates occasionally to make sure they hadn't changed since last I checked).
  5. Live closer to work. Another high-front-end type of expense but walking to work could save you a lot of money and give you some cheap exercise as well.
  6. Group your errands together and do them in a gas-saving fashion (I tend to make a circle to hit all of the places I need to go to when I do my errands to the bank, library, post office, grocery store, etc).
  7. Do as many errands from home as possible (I do nearly all of my banking and bill paying online, for example).
  8. Have "no travel days". In other words, don't leave your house unless it is by walking or bicycling a couple of days a week in order to save money.
  9. See if you can work four ten hour days instead of five eight-hour days. This will save you the cost of commuting one day a week.
  10. See if you can work from home (even better!).
  11. Commute by motorcycle or moped instead of car. 
  12. Buy gas and store it. You could realistically buy a few tank fulls of gas at today's prices and store it for future use. We used to do this with gas for farm equipment years ago. BUT you need to be able to store it safely and use it before it gets too old.
  13. You can always play the market and bet on oil futures. Obviously not a good idea if you don't know what you are doing but some people who "bet" on oil prices a while back are now raking in the money.
  14. Try bicycling or walking instead of driving. I have some healthy friends who can bike 20-50 miles a day to and from work without a problem (I am guessing they are super healthy from all of that exercise).
  15. Take the bus instead. This is what I did when gas prices hit $4+ a few years back. I left my car at home, bought a monthly bus pass, and found I preferred traveling by city bus rather than driving myself.
  16. Check your insurance rates. If you will be ditching your car most of the time to save money on gas, see if you can get a discount on your car insurance.
  17. See if your employer has van pool options. My sister in law does this. She lives far from where she works in Atlanta and her employer actually offers free van pools to take her to and from work. The only thing her van pool mates need to do is alternate who drives the van.
  18. Drive better. This article gives some great tips on how to not drive like a maniac (speeding, fast braking, etc) and save money on gas.
  19. Buy cheaper gas. Actually our vehicle has never had the experience of premium gas so it doesn't know what it is missing. The cheapest gas works just fine in our car.
  20. Look at other travel options. When we are going to travel somewhere we look at ALL of the options (the cost of driving, taking the bus, taking Amtrak, flying, even going by way of cruise ship).
  21. Don't make wasteful driving trips when other options will work. I am always shocked at the number of parents who drive their kids to and from school when walking or the bus would work just as well. Ditto for my sister's late night McDonalds runs.
  22. Don't take more car than you need. If you have two or three cars on hand, take the cheapest one that will work for your purposes (obviously hauling the soccer team will mean you will have to take the Escalade, but running to the store for groceries can probably be done in the tiniest car you own).
  23. Make fewer trips. If you are going grocery shopping, try going only once a month to make the grand haul on groceries like this.
  24. Can you ditch your car altogether? Having no car at all would be very difficult for us but here's a website of people who have gone car free.
  25. Can you become a one car family? At the most I think we had six cars in our driveway at one time. Fortunately we were eventually able to shift down to one car shared between the spouse and I which works out very well (and saves us the cost of gas plus insuring, cleaning, and maintaining multiple cars).

Here's some more great ways to save money on gas.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Episode-866- Rob Gray on Copper, Silver and Gold

Podcast or podcasting icon Français : Icône po...

Original Article

Today we are joined by Rob Gray, founder of the AOCS (American Open Currency Standard)  to discuss AOCS copper, silver and gold as a barter currency and all things monetary. The AOCS exists to expedite the implementation of metal as … Continue reading →

Civilian vs Military MRE’s

Original Article

This the second part of an article on MREs, the first part was posted yesterday.  Civilian MREs (meals ready to eat) are a confusing issue.  There are currently a number of manufacturers producing MREs for the civilian market.  The three major manufacturers of MREs for the military (Ameriqual, Sopakco, and Wornick) have all started producing their own civilian MREs. Recently International Meals Supply, a certified supplier of emergency rations for the Department of Defense, has started selling a brand called “MREStar”.
Ameriqual sells under the name APack; there are 12 meals to a case, 6 different menus.  They provide approximately 1400 calories per meal according to their website.  Their meals include a flameless MRE heater.
Sopakco sells under the name Sure-Paks, each case includes 12 meals, two each of six different menus. They offer vegetarian options. Flameless heaters are not part of the standard case, but can be ordered if needed.  Their website did not list the calories per meal, but other sites say about 1200 calories per meal.

Wornick manufactures EverSafe.  This is a product that underwent several changes in recent years.  Their current MREs consist of 12 meals to a case, with 6 different meals.  These provide approximately 1200 calories per meal.  Flameless heaters are included.  There are still some older production MREs that are packaged 10 to a case being sold by some dealers. These are older and I suggest you avoid them.
International Meals Supply manufactures “MREStar”.  These come 12 to a case. There are 6 different meals in each case. The meals have from 1100-1300 calories per meal.  Flameless heaters are an extra at a cost of $8.00 a case.
The above mentioned brands are similar to the military MREs and mostly use the same components.
Private label
Besides the name brand civilian MREs, produced by the same companies that make them for the military there are several smaller companies that make private label.  Sometimes these are called store brands. These MREs are custom assembled in small batches by people or companies that will produce your name brand of MREs.  They are often sold under such names as “MRE Full Meals”, “Field Ready Rations”, or just “Meals, Ready to Eat”. Be careful of businesses that sell them as “Military Rations” or “Military-like MREs” in an attempt to make you think they’re the actual military version of the MRE. Some are a combination, consisting of a military entree and civilian accessories.  The civilian accessories normally have a much shorter shelf life.
Some of these companies are located outside the United States.  Golden Season is a Singapore registered company that is selling in the United States. They also manufacture HALAL Meals-Ready-to-Eat for Muslims.
RationZ are starting to show up on the internet, their office address is 99 ShunKang Street, Lu Shun Economic and Development Zone, Dalian, China 116052

Advantages of Civilian MRE’s
  • Civilian MREs actually offer some advantages over military MREs, the biggest is you know where they have come from.
  • Military MREs selling on eBay may be a bit cheaper, but you don’t know how they have been stored.  They may have been sitting in the desert for six months or in someone’s hot garage.
  • You can buy from reliable, legitimate dealers.
  • You have someone to sue if you get food poisoning from your MREs.
  • They are readily available
Disadvantages of Civilian MREs
  • They are often missing the flameless heater, particularly in the private labels.
  • Military often have more food.
  • There are 12 different meal per case.
  • Cost often lower on eBay vs. civilian MREs
  • Possible shorter shelf life on civilian accessories.
Remember that these are subject to  approximately the same storage requirement as military MREs.  If you are purchasing MREs do your home work first, be sure of what you are buying, in an emergency you want them to be edible.
In another post I will compare MREs to some of the other alternatives such as freeze dried, dehydrated foods and others.