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Showing posts from 2008

My new years resolution

My new years resolution is to buy a few acres in the boonies. I'll either buy a trailer and park it out there or just put up a small cabin. If things get really bad then I'll have a place to go. Even if things don't get bad I'll have a kickass place to hang out on the weekends when I just want to get away from it all. I already know where I'm going to buy my land. Growing a decent sized garden will be feasible. There's plenty of wood and water in the area. It's far enough out of the way that everyone and their mother won't show up if things get ugly. It's close enough that I could walk there in a few days if I had to.

I don't exactly see myself longing for a disconnect from consumerism but when the lights stop turning on when I flip the switch, the heater stops coming on when it drops below a certain temperature and walking down the street makes me a little nervous whether I'm carrying a gun or not then I'll probably be willing …

Mmmm corned beef

Several months ago I bought a couple of vacuum sealed bags of corned beef at the local supermarket. They were only a couple bucks a bag so I jumped on them. They sat and sat in the meat drawer of my refrigerator until the other day when I finally decided to cook one of them. The "expiration date" on them was July 4th. I cut the bag open half expecting a rancid, stomach turning odor that would surely force everything from my stomach that's been digesting for the last couple of days. Surprisingly enough I was greeted with the wonderful scent of "fresh" corned beef. It was a bit more ripe than usual but that only added to the appeal. I decided to cook it to see how it would turn out.

I tossed it in a stock pot, dumped in the contents of the spice package that it came with, filled the pot with water until the beef was just covered and began cooking. After letting it boil for about 10 minutes I lowered the heat to a simmer and left it alone for a few hours.…

When to Buy and When to Sell

The economy is going nuts right now. The stock market is extremely volatile. The precious metals market is defying all reason. Gas prices are in the gutter. Property values just keep getting lower. Firearm and ammo sales are through the roof which is resulting in higher and higher prices. Then again, prices have only been going up and they never seem to go back down in the firearms market. So what do you do if you want to preserve some of your wealth?

If you've got money in the stock market then you need to start thinking about getting out of it. It's down a LOT right now but this is not a buying opportunity. It'll probably go much lower. For the most part I got out of the stock market at the beginning of the year. What I have left won't start taking a serious hit until Obama gets into office and starts trying to bankrupt the energy industry so I might as well wait until the beginning of the year so that it gets applied to '10s taxes.

Gas is a pretty go…

So I splurged a little

I went out and bought a puppy a few days ago. He cost me a few hundred bucks which probably could have been used for other preps. I'm pretty well set in most areas, though. The only spot where I'm sorely lacking is the off grid retreat with fully functional bomb shelter so he didn't set me back too much from that goal.

Pets are something that I feel like everyone should have. I'm a dog person myself. Even if all you can get is a little one he'll be enough to at least warn you of trouble before it's on top of you. Some of them are even better at taking care of pests than cats are. They're cheap to take care of and, for the most part, can take care of themselves. They say that just petting a dog lowers most people's blood pressure a few points. They're definitely a good stress reliever for me. After a long day at work spending time with the dogs is probably my biggest stress reliever.
A lot of times I even prefer their company to people.

P…

First hand account from SHTF in Iceland

I found a blogger in Iceland who is giving firsthand insights to what he's going through as his country goes through extremely hard times. Just a few years ago they seemed to be on the fast track to become the shining example of what a socialist country with the means to become energy independent could aspire to. They were on the verge of having the means to manage all of their own affairs while being beholden to no one. Now we're seeing exactly why socialism can never work. No matter what goes on inside of your own country you still have the rest of the world to deal with. If you're not prepared to deal with the fact that someone, somewhere can find a way to take advantage of you or your leaders then you're either destined to failure or you truly have nothing that benefits anyone. It's unfortunate that this guy has to live with the horrible choices that his leaders made but at least we can perhaps glean some useful insight from him for as long as he decides …

Home made wine

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I just finished bottling my first attempt at home made wine. I've been making beer for a couple of years now (although I still buy most of what I drink at the store) but I never really bothered with wine. I'm no wine connoisseur so it wasn't a top priority. During the spring I decided to try a dandelion wine, though. I don't remember the exact recipe but it basically consisted of pouring a LOT of dandelion blossoms into some boiling water along with some raisins and orange peels. I spent all morning filling up a grocery bag full of dandelion blossoms and then that afternoon was spent picking the petals out of the stems. After all of that was finished I filtered the must into a 5 gallon carboy and let it cool overnight. The next morning I pitched the yeast and forgot about it for a while. I did rack it a few times hoping that it would clarify but after several months and transferring it into a clean carboy at least 3 times it still looked like opaque sludge. It …

Socialism vs capitalism

Capitalists tend to be few and far between even in a capitalist society and a lot of capitalists just want what's best for themselves. They don't care how well (or badly) everyone else is doing. Some of them will step on whoever they need to or whoever gets in their way to accomplish whatever it is that they want to accomplish. There are a lot of capitalists who recognize that they're doing well and want to help out some of the people who aren't doing so well, though. On a very basic level this is why a capitalist society works so well. Limited government involvement, through taxing everyone on things that they utilize and benefit from (gas tax which pays for our highway, sales tax that pays for most of our government workers, etc) ends up benefiting everyone. Anyone with some ambition and a halfway decent business mind can put together something that works, profit from it and hire some people to help them out. Give them enough leeway and they start giving their…

Inflation or deflation?

This is one of the big questions that I see people asking these days. Everyone knows that something really bad is going on but there's a lot of debate about what's really happening. First you have to understand how our financial system works. Credit is really the driving engine. It allows people to buy things that they can't normally afford. If you only make x amount of dollars then obviously it'll take a while to save up enough money for that house, new (or newer) car or that big screen tv. You might not be able to afford to buy it outright but if you can convince someone to loan you the money then you can get it now and make payments on it over a period of time. Someone with a huge surplus of cash can take their money that they don't need right now and get a monthly income by loaning it to someone who can afford to pay back slowly over time. By the time that loan is paid back they get a lot more money than they loaned out in the first place. You have thi…

Canning...old school style

Canning is something that I think any self respecting survivalist should be able to do. In most parts of the US it's impossible to grow crops year round. If things get so bad that the supply lines shut down then there will probably be several months out of the year where the grocery stores just don't have much produce on the shelf. The months when they DO have plenty on the shelf are the months when your gardens should be in full swing, anyway. The same goes for meat. Not everyone can raise their own meat animals thanks to ridiculous local laws and hunting ends up costing more than what it would cost to just buy the meat at the market at today's prices. With prices getting more and more expensive, canning is becoming all the more viable. A year ago you could fill up a pantry with canned meat and vegetables from the grocery store for half of what you can today. I went to Wal-Mart today and canned TUNA was $1 a can. A year ago it regularly went on sale for 3 for $1.…

The ATF

Let's look at the ATF for a moment. It's the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. These are the three things in the economy that aren't affected by recession. The people that smoke are going to keep smoking as long as tobacco is available. I was at a cigarette store the other day. The guy was obviously hurting but he was going to walk out with a carton of something. I walked out with a box of 200 filtered tubes for $1.70. He walked out with a carton of cigarettes for $35. A few months ago I bought a pound of tobacco that cost about $20. It's still about the same price and I still have enough for a lot left. Eventually these smokers are going to figure it out and get on the ball.

I've been brewing my own beer for years. I also make wine when the juice becomes available. I have the diagrams for a simple still and I know how easy it would be to go that route if I decided to. I will always have alcohol as long as farmers are growing and selling grain.…

Inflation, deflation and printing presses

A lot of people seem to be confused lately by what's going on in the economy. I am most definitely among them. When you stop and take in the big picture, though, then some of the actions of the government start to make some sense. Obviously, we have a fiat money system as does the rest of the world. There are a lot of reasons for this which I don't really feel like getting into. Basically, though, we were forced to switch to a fiat system because, at the time, the rest of the world was moving towards doing the same and if we hadn't done it then the rest of the world would have been able to purchase our gold backed dollars with their fiat money and then cashed them in, thereby stealing all of our wealth. I read somewhere that South Africa has recently stopped production of krugerands. Do you really think that most of South Africa's krugerands are still in South Africa?

Thanks to a relatively recent and massive furthering of technology our system has become incre…

A bailout rant

I don't post many rants but every once in a while I get annoyed enough with what's going on that I just can't help myself. I can't believe how lazy people are. This country is so well off and so successful that we can't imagine what we'd do if we actually had to TRY to get by. The poorest people in the country live better than the "well off" people living in third world countries. There's enough money floating around to support millions of workers who do nothing but sit on their ass all day and push buttons. Then they have the gall to bitch about how much their job sucks. They're also shocked when their job is shipped overseas or they're fired because of "budget cuts". This entitlement mentality is what's destroying this country. The politicians are certainly helping but you can't put all of the blame on them. There are most definitely some legitimate, hard workers that are swept up in all of this mess and are hurting be…

Silver and gold in SHTF

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been busy with the garden, work, etc. It took a sprained foot to get me to sit down long enough to make a post. I was walking barefoot to the car last night, stepped on a rock and my foot slipped off of the sidewalk and rolled into the grass. It's not bad. I didn't even bother going to the doctor. Why bother when I had the same stuff to treat it that the doctor would have given me (minus the expensive x-rays of course)? It's just swollen and I can't put much weight on it. If it's still bad in a few days then I'll go get it checked out but it feels a lot better even since this morning. As far as real preps go I bought a canner a few days ago and have been experimenting with that. I canned some pickles the other day and I made some cucumber relish today. I'm probably going to can some green tomatoes pretty soon since it's going to freeze before all of my tomatoes get ripe enough to pick. I wish …

More on Loose Change

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Several months ago I did an article about saving your change. You remember the one. Don't spend your pennies or nickels. Keep a lookout for silver dimes and quarters. Yeah, that one. One thing that I neglected to mention was how to easily identify silver coins. Once you've got all of your coins separated there's a quick and easy way to find the silver coins without checking each individual date. Newer coins have brown edges because the middle is made up of copper. Silver coins are all silver on the edges. Just take a bunch of them and look at the edges like so.



The silver ones will stand out like a sore thumb. Sorry for the crappy pic but it's pretty obvious which coins are silver and it's very easy to see how dramatic the brown is on the newer coins. Every once in a while you'll get a dirty silver coin that looks like it's brown or a brand new one that looks silver. Just check the dates on the coins that seem suspect.

Ever since silver went thr…

SHTF Recreation

Recreation is an important part of your preps that everyone should think about. It's easy to get caught up in the serious stuff like food storage and arsenal maintenance. At some point you're going to get a chance for a break and you'll want to take that opportunity to relieve some stress. These days a break from reality is right at our fingertips. We can turn on a TV and get away from everything for a few hours. We can turn on our playstations, Xboxes, Nintendos or whatever and fire up a game that can easily occupy us for hours. The internet is an infinite source of entertainment and information. One of the most obvious indicators that you are in a real SHTF scenario will be when the lights go out and you don't have constant, easy access to all of those anymore. So what do you do when the easy entertainment sources aren't always available? There are plenty of options out there.

Books are a great start. If the lights go out and nothing else is going on the…

Another SHTF movie rundown

Sunshine: This isn't so much a SHTF movie but a "how Earth reacts to a global SHTF scenario". It's years in the future and the sun is dying. Somehow the human race lasted up to that point and they have a plan to kickstart it. A few years earlier they had sent a mega nuke to try to make it happen but the mission failed. The second mission was their last chance since they used the last of their resources this time around. The entire movie takes place on a space ship headed for the sun and they have to deal with several problems along the way. I thought it was good and you might like it.

Diary of the Dead: It wasn't as good as some of his other movies but it was still good nonetheless. I'd recommend this to anyone who's into the zombie genre. Once you realize the point that George A Romero is trying to get across then it becomes much easier to appreciate his movies. He's a guy that understands the human nature aspect and does his best to make t…

So I started smoking again

I quit about 5 years ago. I was doing pretty good. There was always that nagging itch in the back of my mind, though. I never really stopped wanting one. A few weeks ago I just said fuck it and bummed one off of a buddy. A few days later I bummed a couple more at a party. The next day I bought a pack. I've been rehooked again ever since. So what does this have to do with survival?

Smokers want cigarettes. If you're a smoker then you'll want to be able to smoke if the supply lines get cut. If you're not a smoker then you might have to deal with those edgy assholes that haven't had a smoke in a few days. Let's face it. Tobacco will be one hell of a trade item during a crisis. If you're the guy with the fix then people will rely on you for something. One cool thing about tobacco is that it's one of those things that people won't necessarily kill for. If you trade off a few boxes of ammo to some guy then there's the possibility that he…

Hot Tip: Silver and gold prices are WAY down

Spot silver is down to $12.70 an ounce this weekend and gold is sitting at $786. If you've got a reputable dealer nearby and you've got some extra cash sitting in the SHTF fund then now is as good a time as any to go snatch some up. It aint gonna get much cheaper. While the government keeps reassuring us and telling us how things keep looking up we continue to see home values slide even more, the unemployment rate rise every month and foreclosures and huge bank losses continue. Once something else happens that sends the price of oil skyrocketing again we'll see the price of precious metals skyrocket right along with it. Get it while it's cheap.

My first attempt at gardening

Now that I've tried my hand at gardening it's time to make some observations. I did a mix of square foot gardening and conventional gardening. I built four 4x4 planters for my square foot garden and I tilled up another section of my yard to grow some tomatoes. I also grew a few things in pots to see how they would turn out. I grew some of my plants from seed and I bought a few plants that were already started. Some of them did very well and some of them didn't. Maybe some of you with lots of experience can weigh in and correct some of my mistakes.

I planted a wide variety of plants in my square foot garden. In my planters I made sure to fill them all up with "Mel's Mix" as defined in his book. The first thing that I noticed is the only benefit that I got from dividing the boxes into square foot sections was that my dog stayed out of the three boxes that I divided up and he dug up 3/4 of the one that I didn't bother with. I don't need little wh…

Thoughts on a "BOL"

Lately I've been thinking more and more seriously about finding a little piece of heaven to call my own and building a little getaway. If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time then you'll know that I'm not in the "get ready to bug out while you can" camp. I can, however, imagine some scenarios where getting out of dodge wouldn't be such a bad idea. I keep a bug out bag packed and ready to go, a lot of my preps are stored in such a way that I can grab them and go and I know several different routes out of town that are both on and off the beaten path. The main problem right now is that I have nowhere to go. I'd end up in a national park somewhere fighting the masses to find a place to pitch a tent until things blew over or I could figure out how to make things work on a more long term basis. Needless to say I consider bugging out to be a last resort plan that I must implement in a life or death situation. If I do have to bug out the…

Blog Spotlight: The Archdruid Report

Thanks to Bison for mentioning The Archdruid Report a few months ago. I've been reading it ever since. The link is in my "links to live by" section on the left hand side of my blog. To put it lightly the guy knows his stuff. He lays out exactly what's going on now, what he sees happening in the future (which I, for the most part, agree with) and he backs it all up with historical evidence. While I don't agree with everything that he writes, he's so close that I can read what he's written and say that there's no one else that comes closer to explaining my vision of the future. He's just a lot more articulate than I am and he spends a lot more time on his posts so I'll leave it up to him. His posts are a bit long but he only posts once a week and he keeps you interested. If you're just as interested in the how and why as you are the when and where then this is the blog that you should keep tabs on. He's not exactly a doom and gl…

Roasting Green Coffee Beans

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This is something that I've wanted to do for a while now. I'm a big coffee drinker. I can appreciate the good stuff but I'm not so hot on the cost of it. You won't see my car parked in front of Starbucks. The idea of roasting my own beans came up not so much because I want to be able to drink fresh, delicious coffee whenever I feel like it (although that's a great benefit) but because green coffee beans store better and last longer. If stored properly the shelf life is practically unlimited. Once you roast the beans the flavors will start to deteriorate even after a few weeks. Ground, store bought coffee will get stale just as quickly once you break that seal. The price of green coffee beans is ultimately what was discouraging me. A local store has their own industrial sized roaster so after making friends with the guy that does the roasting I'm getting green coffee beans for just over his cost.

My first attempt went very well. I roasted about half…

Details Magazine Interview

I was interviewed by Details magazine today. I guess that the whole "survivalist" mentality really is hitting the main stream pop culture. Maybe if enough people catch on it'll soften the blow a bit if the ball really does drop. The article should appear in the November issue. That might actually be a good enough excuse to buy a copy...

The bug bit me hard

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I found a guy with a 71 Honda CL-175 that he's had in his barn for years. He sold it to me cheap and even delivered it. This is probably going to be a rat project. These things get around 70-80 mpg and they're pretty easy to work on yourself so I figure that this will make a good scoot to putt around town in. It also looks a lot cooler than a scooter. It's going to take some work to get it running again but I don't expect it to cost more than a few hundred bucks. If I can get it running good and reliable for under a grand then I will be ecstatic.

Motorcycles for SHTF

With a new bike purchase comes a sorry attempt to justify it. Everyone knows that they're dangerous. Cargo space is at a premium and if you've got a whole family to worry about then you won't be packing them up on the back and hauling them anywhere. They do have several advantages over other forms of transportation, though.

Improved gas mileage is the most obvious advantage over cars and trucks. The biggest, baddest, most gas guzzling bikes get gas mileage that's on par with "economy cars". With the price of gas on the rise and the likelihood of it getting much more expensive the economics of riding a motorcycle is only getting more appealing.

Motorcycles can go places that your car can't. As long as you're not riding an 800 pound cruiser you'll have plenty of maneuverability. If there's a real emergency then one of the worst possible situations could be getting stuck in traffic. In an emergency getting around a traffic jam is a lo…

AK Chest Rig Update

Back in February I made a post about the AK chest rig that I use. A reader just emailed me a link to some mods that you can do. I knew that it would be easy to make some mods and I intended to do something like this myself eventually but just in case I never get around to it myself I figured I'd post the link. Check it out here. He shows how he added some clips to make it easier to adjust and take it on and off. He also provides a link to find some shoulder pads for it. I'll be doing something similar as soon as I get around to buying myself a sewing machine.

The new BOV

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As if my garden wasn't keeping me busy enough I just bought a new bike. Don't expect too many updates as long as it's nice outside :). Here is a pic of the garden. I also broke ground in another corner of the yard and planted a few more tomato plants. I'll probably put up a more detailed post later.



Here's the new BOV. It's a Virago 750 with less than 8k miles. It runs like a champ and didn't break the bank. Hopefully it won't break me anytime soon.

Hot Tip:

Target has some emergency preparedness knick knacks in their $1 bin. Some of the things that I saw were mini first aid kits, light sticks, emergency blankets, inflatable pillows, Cutter bug spray, cheapo swiss army knives, flashlights, splinter removal kits, a 5 in 1 emergency whistle and some small lexan bottles. There were probably a few other things that I can't remember. I got this tip from Arfcom so I'm assuming that it's the same at Targets everywhere.

So This is What Peak Oil Looks Like

The price of oil has been getting a lot of media attention in the last couple of days. $10-$14 a gallon gas is just over the horizon! People will starve because they're pouring all of their money into their gas tanks! American Airlines wants to charge $15 for carry on luggage to help offset fuel costs! It's all big oil's fault! The speculator's are driving up prices! This is probably just a bubble that we have to figure out how to pop! There has to be an answer! We've all seen this coming for a while but now that it's getting to the general public they're demanding action. Realistically, there's only one answer. I'll get to that later, though.

Whether or not we've hit peak oil there are a few things that we've got to realize. Production isn't going up. Whether or not OPEC can pump more oil they're not doing it. They've demonstrated that they're perfectly happy keeping production at the current level or even a b…

Don't Get Too Excited

The end is inevitable! The writing is on the wall! We're watching it all unfold as we speak! I've been seeing this type of stuff pop up more and more lately because of things like the natural disasters that have been occurring, gas prices and the economy. Part of the problem is the ready availability and ease of distribution of information. This is a new phenomenon. We don't have to rely on the mainstream media to tell us what's going on on the other side of the world, anymore. It's a lot harder to let things go unreported. When a disaster happens we know the details almost immediately after the fact no matter where it happened in the world. Instead of reading about it in the morning paper or waiting until the 6 o'clock news to find out about it we get it all shoved down our throats 24/7 on the internet and on 24 hour news channels. Basically in the last decade or so we've been hit with doom and gloom overload.

Another problem is the fact that the eart…

Another Busy Weekend

I've been hitting it hard in the yard again. I finished my dog's pen and I got most of the work done on my garden. When I'm finished I'll have 5 or 6 4x4 square foot garden planters in the back yard. I plan on concentrating more on obscure cash crops. Heirloom tomatoes sell for around $5-$10 a pound around here. Exotic peppers are pretty close. It's amazing how much people will pay for stuff that they can just grow in their back yard. I'm also going to plant some hops vines (the "how to homebrew with your preps" post is coming once I finish my all grain setup). I'll be eating a lot of what I produce but I want to use it for supplemental income as well. "Normal" produce is so cheap that I just can't justify doing all that work to get stuff that I can buy for a couple of bucks. Even with most food prices going through the roof fresh fruits and vegetables are still really cheap.