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Guest Post: It is what it is, until it isn’t


This post originally appeared over at It can be seen HERE in its original format.


by Junebug Actual

A concern I have about the preparedness efforts of others is that there may be a disconnect between expectations and probable actuality in a grid down situation.  Conversations with many others leads me to believe there is a fairly common misconception that TEOTWAWKI will be sort of like camping, admittedly for a long time, without lights and cars.  I’d like to discuss my perspective on what I believe we’ll face, why that is, what it will mean if the worst actually materializes, and what can be done now to mitigate the effects. 


After a true TEOTWAWKI event transpires, the remaining populations of Western countries will rapidly find themselves operating in an environment, at best, very like that of the earliest American pioneers – but without all the comforts of that historical period.  My suspicion, at worst, is that it will be a lot closer to the Dark Ages – but with guns and ammo for a while.  Folks will have to truly fight to get what they need, and to keep what they have from others that need scarce resources. 


Why it will go dark so fast can be broken down thusly.  Imagine our entire nation perched upon a three legged stool.  The seat of this stool is our economy, which is the driving force for every aspect of our daily lives, from what we eat and drink, to our politics, our education, and our jobs.  Everything is driven by our economy.  Holding up this stool are three legs representing oil, electricity, and skilled workers.  Oil, and the refined products we obtain from it, is essential to every aspect of modern life.  Nothing in our society or economy can function without oil at some point in its operational life span, be it manufacturing, distribution, or application.  The same can be said of electricity, and skilled workers.  These three legs are mutually supportive of each other.  This means that without both of the other two, one will fail.  Break or remove any one of the legs from the stool and both of the others will effectively … disappear.  In a TEOTWAWKI event, all three legs will be gone completely outside of small localized pockets or prepared individuals and groups. 


Briefly, oil is required to make electricity and to feed the workers that deliver and process and distribute the oil that is used to generate and distribute the electricity that is used to feed the workers that build and maintain the equipment that keeps the cycle going, etc., etc., ad nauseum.  If something happens to prevent the workforce from going to work, constantly, production will decline and eventually fail.  Suppose a pandemic kills or sickens a critical percentage of the very few thousand technical workers throughout the oil refining industry.  Regardless of how the pandemic affects the rest of the population directly, the impact on the economy will be sudden, extreme, and negative. 


Without sufficient skilled workers to refine oil into fuel and other products, the system immediately begins to fail.  Without sufficient skilled workers to produce electricity to power the critical devices we all rely on in modern society, the system immediately begins to fail.  Without sufficient skilled workers to maintain the essential elements of the entire house of cards, the system immediately begins to fail.  If major breakdown of critical infrastructure related to either production or distribution of either oil or electricity happens, the entire system immediately begins to fail.  Once that point is reached, everything associated with the entire economy and our social structure will collapse shortly thereafter, probably less than two weeks is my best assessment. 


Because the food supply for the vast majority of the country is absolutely and completely reliant on steady and unbroken access to fuel and electricity, the critical loss of these will mean zero food moving into cities, towns, and even villages.  This is not the America of my grandparents’ or even parents’ time.  Earlier in our history, most of our population either worked on or worked near farms.  A substantial percentage of our people had friends or relatives who lived in rural areas upon whom they could rely to provide shelter from economic storms in desperate times.  Family farms or ranches were common and unremarkable, and supplied the food to local communities.  Now, most of our food is provided by large corporate farms through a supply chain that is tightly managed across the globe utilizing aircraft, ships, trains, trucks, computers, storage facilities, canneries, etc.  All of which require fuel, electricity, and skilled workers. 


Because our economy, and therefore our ability to eat food and drink water, is dependent now on the never ending supply of fuel, electricity, and skilled workers, a full disruption of any of these will have ripple effects that will take the entire system down.  When the ball finally drops, however it happens, our economic system with all its disparate but interdependent parts will crater.  Food will not be delivered to stores, water will not be pumped to homes, fuel will not be available for vehicles, garbage and sewage will not be moved and treated, homes will not be cooled or heated, hospitals will close, and medicines will disappear.  Anything and everything that our society relies on for everyday survival, I mean live or die type stuff, will stop.  Dead. 


Consider the millions of people living in our large, medium, and smaller cities.  What will they eat after a week or so after the immediately available supplies are gone, and the area governments’ quick response disaster supplies are consumed?  Many, many millions of people will starve within a fairly brief window.  Their corpses will lie untended and unburied, and the corruption of their decay will result in an explosion of diseases, insects, and wildlife.   A few million others will survive, some will thrive. 


There will be warlords and tribalism, with swaths of land that cannot be accessed without conflict.  There will be starvation and disease, susceptibility to ecological and geological effects on crops and other food supplies.  Really dry times will results in lost crops from drought and a decrease in readily available game.  Heavy storms will result in floods and massive damage to broad regions.  Crops will be devastated by diseases and insects.  Dams will fail, washing entire areas clean of life.  People will become less open, more wary of strangers, and the focus will be primarily on obtaining food and water.  


The developed world’s economic system itself is unsustainable due to its total reliance on failure points that have high exposure to a broad variety of probable events.  In other words, my assessment is that eventual total system failure is certain.  The type of society that comes out of the other end will be determined by the level of readiness and preparedness by people of foresight, faith, honor, and courage.  It is incumbent on us to seek out like minded people, to connect with them and work together to develop means to mutually support and assist each other in becoming more prepared.  


Prepare for the most terrible circumstances you can imagine.  It will most likely be worse than you thought, but your prudence now will reap great benefits then.  Focus your purchases, after food supplies, weapons, ammunition, and shelter on the types of tools and resources found useful in the 19thcentury.  Instructional books from that era will be better than from today that includes tools and techniques that will be useless in a grid-down scenario.  As possible, we should develop associations among each other that will foster the development of comparatively self-sufficient micro-communities, with shared values and ideals.  These micro-communities of a few families and friends each should pool resources for large or expensive high value items, while still ensuring adequacy in their individual supplies.  These small groups should find relatively isolated locations with a steady supply of water, ponds for fishing, year-round strong flow river for microhydroelectric generation if possible, arable land for growing food, nearby timber for cooking, heating, and construction, and as far away from major metropolitan centers and their interconnecting highways as is reasonably possible. 


As long as we maintain our faith, our hope, our courage, making prudent decisions now and facing whatever might come as small, yet strong, communities of honorable people, we will be in a position to bring light into whatever darkness the folly of others has brought forth.  The pain of loss must be balanced with the joy of rebirth, recognizing that this dim time will be the twilight before night falls for most, or the dawn before a new day begins for others.  We choose now whether we will giggle and gossip while in line for the guillotine, ignoring the rumble of approaching wagons and the rasp of the rising blade, or risk the scorn and laughter of those pitiable beings as we turn away from the fool’s path and place our shoulders to the stone of our duty to shield and protect our families and those entrusted to our care. 


Mylar Miscellany Part 4 of 5

mylar black poly

By Beverly Sandlin

This post is part of a 5 part series that deals with the 2 mil reflective one side, black or white the other side, blackout, 4′x50′ roll (comes in 25′ and 100′ rolls as well), that is sold by High Tech Garden Supply on eBay for <$30 (includes shipping), that I have been experimenting with this winter.

This post is for all the applications for Mylar that I couldn’t fit anywhere else.parabolic mirror

  1. Use this tough, durable, weather resistant product to create your own solar cooker.
  2. You may be able to use it as a solar griddle, especially with a parabolic mirror.
  3. How about creating a solar food dehydrator?
  4. The light reflective surface of Mylar is also great for oil lamps and solar lights.
  5. Do you have a water leak that you can’t get to right away? Mylar is waterproof and will catch the drips and leaks.
  6. Create a personalized Faraday Cage that is impervious to solar flare emissions with Mylar. Just use Mylar tape to secure it. NOT impervious to a full nuclear EMP attack.
  7. Want to create a parabolic mirror for solar cooking, cutting or the dreaded death ray? Yup, it’s as easy as covering a garbage can lid with Mylar and sucking the air out of it to create the bowl shape needed. It is dangerous, so don’t let the kids play with it!mylyar as a mirror
  8. How about an outside reflective tanning booth – or maybe just for your legs?
  9. Off Grid and need to maximize the light hitting your solar panels? Mylar will reflect the sun’s rays for optimizing your solar array.
  10. Are you a photographer and need to enhance the light on your subjects? It is used all the time on movie sets as a lightweight, durable enhancer of natural light.
  11. You can make your own custom food storage bags by heat sealing the colored side on three sides, turning the bag inside out, turning the the colored sides on top into themselves and sealing the top.
  12. Changing a flat tire at night? Put a Mylar blanket on the back of the car to reflect light and make other drivers more aware of you.
  13. Tie pieces of Mylar, reflective side out around you or tape to you for safety at night when walking on roadways.mylar over bed
  14. Stuck in a traffic jam and can’t make it to a bathroom? A square of Mylar will contain and seal up the mess or a blanket will act as a sheild by the side of the road.
  15. Use over insulation on water pipes as another barrier to keep from freezing. Or to prevent the drips from condensation.
  16. Make a Mylar envelope to keep your credit and debit cards in when in stores, so that they can’t be scanned by a scammer. Yes, lead is better but it is heavier.
  17. Spas use Mylar body wraps to relieve aches and lose water weight.
  18. This Mylar is really no reflective enough to make a mirror but the 2 mil both sides reflective is and is used as a lightweight alternative mirror in dance rooms, kids toys and wherever you would like a mirror with very little weight.

Mylar to Keep You Warm & Cool Part 2 of 5

mylar white poly

By Beverly Sandlin

This post is the second in a 5 part series that deals with the 2 mil reflective one side, black or white poly the other side, blackout, 4′x50′ roll (comes in 25′ and 100′ rolls as well), that is sold by High Tech Garden Supply on eBay for <$30 (includes shipping), that I have been experimenting with this winter. Some ideas will overlap given the topic headings to make this post stand alone to be printed.

  1. If an inexpensive Mylar emergency blanket is the only thing between you and death, don’t you want the best possible blanket that won’t rip? You can make your own emergency blankets that are stronger and more durable than any you can buy with this roll of Mylar by duck taping the edges.emergency blanket shades
  2. You can make a Mylar sleeping bag with a hood by taping it or even sewing it!
  3. Or create a passive solar heating window box using it to reflect solar rays onto black aluminum cans or metal tubing, and using it on the back to reflect the captured heat back into the house.
  4. If you purchase the black one side you can tape it over your windows leaving 2” open top and bottom and absorb solar heat. Cool air will be drawn up from the bottom and come out warmer on the top. At night just tape the flaps on top and bottom securely and all the heat you captured will stay in and be reflected to the inside.
  5. You can cover your windows and unused doors in an emergency to keep heat in during cold weather or glue it onto shades.
  6. You can cover your windows and doors with the reflective side facing out to keep heat out in the summer – think about the south and west facing windows especially.
  7. By putting it over your windows, it can produce a 100% blackout effect – This Mylar is blackout, not all are. Many subdivisions have covenants that only white can show in window treatments. Buy the white one side and you have gotten around that.
  8. Cold bedroom? Stay toasty warm by putting the Mylar under your sheets to reflect back your body heat and between blankets on top to do the same.mylar hoody
  9. Line your attic with the reflective side out and you can keep your house at least 10 degrees cooler in the summer. Turn it around in the winter and you now have a 10 degree warmer house. Or just buy the Mylar that is reflective on both sides. Be sure to leave room for any condensation to evaporate.
  10. Glue or silicone it onto insulation board and block off seldom used windows for energy savings.
  11. Place under a sleeping bag to increase warmth.
  12. Line your sleeping bag with Mylar to increase its warmth.
  13. Because you can sew it and wash it, you can use it to make insulating curtains, thin quilts, a tea cozy or add it to a thermal cooker, and even clothing.
  14. Want toasty warm feet or have a leaky boot? Just wrap your feet in Mylar and slip into your boots. Or fit it around your boot liner or glue it onto a pair of shoe inserts or make your own shoe inserts with felt or cushioning foam and Mylar.
  15. Using your rocket stove as an emergency heater and/or cooking stove inside? Mylar under and on the back will make it safer and reflect the heat produced maximizing the burn – never use wood or charcoal in a rocket stove inside, use Sterno, Camp Heat or some other non-toxic fuel that doesn’t produce smoke.
  16. Using candles for warmth, cooking or ambiance – safety first with Mylar under and in back of them to provide maximum heat, safety and lighting.mylar cat house
  17. Need to create a warm room or isolation room quickly? Mylar is very lightweight, tapes together easily and you can hang it with thumb tacks or a staple gun quickly.
  18. Cover the inside of your pet’s house to keep it waterproof and reflect their body heat to keep them warm.
  19. Raising chicks, ducklings or other baby animals that need warmth and a draft free environment? Mylar on the bottom and sides of a box will give them additional heat, make the box easy to clean (Just lift, take outside, shake and put back in.) and draft free. Just be sure to keep a thermometer in there to monitor the heat so that it doesn’t get too hot.
  20. Need a place in the barn for a sick calf or baby goat that is warm and draft free? Mylar to the rescue! You can even lay a newborn colt on it that was born in a rain storm and can’t get up and drag it to the barn for mama horse to take care of.
  21. Need a dog, goat or horse blanket quick? Cut the Mylar to fit and tape on reflective side in. Or sew it on the side of a doggie coat or horse blanket for extra warmth in cold weather.mylar in marathon
  22. Lay a Mylar blanket on the snow before you sit down or to work on a vehicle.
  23. After strenuous exercise wrap yourself in a Mylar blanket to prevent muscle cramping, chills and to keep you warm – great for marathon runners!
  24. Create a sail or canopy over your outdoor living area with Mylar reflective side up and it will keep you up to 20 degrees cooler on hot days!
  25. Cut a 2′x2′ square and shove it in your pants over your rear for a “butt apron” and you can sit anywhere in the damp or cold without getting wet.

Silver for Grandchildren & Children

silver coin am.

Recently I found out that I am going to be a first time Grandma (I’ve just adopted Bob’s grandchildren, but this is my first.), with my son and daughter-in-law, to a little baby girl. They are professionals and the child will want for nothing. For that matter, it is almost impossible to buy something for them, so I have gotten stuck just giving them gift cards which seem so impersonal and just promotes consumerism.

What do you give a child that has everything they need and most of what they want? I’ve thought about this and decided that a troy ounce of silver in the form of a coin on birthdays and appropriate holidays will probably be the best thing that I can give both my children and my soon to be grandchild. 


1. Inflationary Hedge Savings: Back when my kids were born, silver could be bought for $4-$5 an ounce. When they graduated from high school it was going for around $20 an ounce – not a bad inflationary hedge. Imagine the start they would have had moving out and going to college with a collection of 2 to 3 silver coins a year collected for 18 years.

2. Savings that are Hard to Spend: When I was young I had a silver coin collection that I just loved and added to regularly. Guess what, one of my sisters took to stealing from my silver coin collection and spending it at the local burger stand for ice cream, etc. I was devastated by the loss of years of collecting. She just brushed it off as if it were just dimes and quarters. A troy ounce of silver is not too spendable. Most, maybe not all, retailers will question an uncirculated silver coin.silver coin canada

3. Presents with a Learning Experience: Because I collected coins as a young person, I do understand some of the research and fascination that can go into coin collecting. There is a living history with many coins. Who knows if I don’t come up with silver coins from other countries that the child can turn over and over, not only look at, but perhaps even learn something.

4. Prepping the Family: Lastly it is an effort to prep the family. The parents will not take those coins. BUT, what if something horrible does happen – We pray not, but we all know it could happen.  My son and daughter-in-law do not believe that anything can ever happen to our current society – end of conversation.  Those “dumb coins that Grandma sends…” could someday put food in the belly of their family – just sayin’…

Note: Right on our sidebar we have a trusted company that sells silver very reasonable, but the minimum purchase is $100. But I can also say that having been down to Pawn America that they sell for higher and seldom get in bullion. And if they have old silver coins they don’t sell for silver price, but coin collecting price. That said, if you just look at Christmas and/or birthdays and have a couple of kids and grandkids it is pretty easy to spend $100 on silver and then you are prepared for the gift giving ocassions.


The Versatile Bicycle – An Important Prep

bicycle against fence

By Beverly Sandlin

The right bicycle can mean fun and exercise now given all the bike trails that are out there and being built, but can also be one of your most valuable preparedness items. It took a hundred years, but the bicycle finally did replace the horse for the majority of people. It is one of the most popular recreational “vehicles”, takes up very little space, is easy to transport with a bicycle carrier and doesn’t need fuel and doesn’t need to be fed!

Why would a bicycle be important if you want to save money, the grid went down or you want to bug out without a vehicle?

Money Savingbicycle packs more yet

Your bicycle can take you to your job on a nice day and up to the market with no gas spent using just your own muscles for power. Put some pack bags on it and you can carry a lot of groceries or other items. And you are exercising too!

You can power a small TV, computer, recharge batteries or your cellphone and get exercise too!

Grid Down

For whatever reason, if the grid goes down you still have transportation that takes absolutely no fuel. It is easily repaired, stored, hidden and practically silent! I hate meeting bikes on the trail with horses as almost invariably the horses spook when encountering bikes.

Fit it with packs and you can haul a lot.

bicycle cross country packs


Add a cart and you can haul water, produce, and even animals.

bicycle cart dog

bicycle care plans

bicycle cart


Bugging Out

The right bicycle can pretty much go anywhere off-road that a horse can. You can pack it and you can even pull a cart with it. On the road you can easily go 40 mph with the geared bikes and travel all day if you are in shape and with a cart or packed you can weave in and out of stopped traffic easily. You can even make it into a camper!

bicycle cart tent

bicycle packs

bicycle packs more

bicycle cart wood

And you can customize your bike fairly easily and cheaply. Add a windshield or surry top. I have even seen rifle mounts on mountain bikes used for hunting.

bicycle recumbent cross country

bicycle 3 wheel surrey

The Right Bike for You

They come with 3 wheels:

bicycle 3 wheel with cart

And they even come where you can lay back comfortably, pedal and enjoy the scenery!

bicycle recumbent

Cob Building Now and Post Collapse

cob building

Very inexpensive, owner built, easy to heat, almost bullet proof home! Imagine a rocket mass thermal heater, cob stoves and oven, perhaps an earth sheltered greenhouse! Now this is a prepper’s retreat!

A MUST SEE article if this interests you at all…

Camouflaging Your Car Packs

pink backpack

By Mammarock

I would like to note here that all the emergency backpacks and car packs that I have been seeing lately are either, and, or…. red in color or have EMERGENCY KIT, or the company that prepared them…. like EMERGENCY ESSENTIALS…. sewn on or painted in huge letters across them in an obvious place. 
Now, I know we who bought or prepared them should know what they are and what is in them, but we do not need to broadcast to everyone that walks by our car or heaven forbid, is out walking the interstate with us… that we have a pack full of things that they may want or need desperately.  We need to put our supplies in a nondescript pack or bag, cut off patches that identify our carefully thought out contents, or camouflage them in some way that makes them unattractive to a thief or worse.  I have had my car broken into twice and both times they took my red, plainly marked “EMERGENCY ROAD KIT” purchased from Sam’s Club.  So they stole both my original and my replacement kit until I got smart and put the newest of the three into a PINK kid’s backpack from the dollar store. 
Moral of this story is…. don’t make yourself or your preps a target!  Make sure that you have them (or can keep them) when you need them. 
When we had bad weather here in Atlanta a few weeks back, people were shoving people down in grocery store parking lots and stealing their newly purchased supplies.  One person even got shot when he refused to give up his legally purchased supplies.  It doesn’t take long for scared people to turn violent and take what they need.
Protect your preps!

Some Other Weird Prep Items from Wyzyrd

grill brush

by Wyzyrd, Editor-at-Large

I was going through one of the containers, and ran across a few things that don’t make it onto a lot of “Survival Gear” lists, but can come in very, very handy.

1) a “4-in-1” Farriers’s Rasprasp_

Now, I haven’t been in kicking distance of a horse in a long, long time.

Intended for trimming horse’s hooves for shoeing them.

If you ever plan on doing any “rough” woodwork, ever, you probably want one of these in your kit. A half-round wood rasp and wood file,

a flat wood rasp and wood file, all in a compact 8-inch package.  Steel projects will wreck it, but it will clean up after your knife/axe work in record time.

$5-10 bucks at your local hardware store, or   $$5.47 (this should contain SCP’s Affiliate code – no extra cost to you)

2) A Dollar Store metal-bristle BBQ grill cleaning brush.

If you use that rasp/file on green wood, or plastic or aluminum, the teeth WILL clog with a lot of “compressed crap” and eventually work about as well as the back of a credit card. The same goes for metal-cutting files. You can go buy a specialist machinist’s tool called a “File Card”- a brass or steel bristled brush intended for cleaning files, for $20-50. You can go to a Dollar Store or a megamart and get a metal-bristle brush for a buck or 2. You have sharpening tools for your blades,  same thing for files and rasps.

3)  Canned Sardines (imports, in olive oil)

This is definitely a “WTH?” item. I’m not at all a “picky eater”, but, after growing up in the 50′s and 60′s with a Mom who couldn’t cook her way out of a paper sack, canned tuna is one of the few  food items that makes me run for the latrine, immediately.

sardinesThese are not the stinky, rotten-smelling canned sardines my dad used to mix with ketchup and chopped onions for sandwiches, every Friday.

They taste GOOD. Really- I’m not kidding. 3 pieces (according to label) are 200 calories/ 13 grams protein. Right around 2 bucks /2.25 a can at most grocery stores. $57.21 for a case of 25 cans here:

I’ll admit that a lot of my vehicle preps are “stuck in the boonies in cold-weather” biased.  What do you do after the fish is all eaten up? You have a metal can with leftover oil in it. A piece of paper towel, or a twist of TP, or a piece of a cotton sock as a wick turn it into an Innuit “kudlik” – an oil lamp. What has been used to warm up Arctic winter shelters since Moby Dick was a minnow. You need ventilation, obviously, and you may end up spraying “Febreze” on your clothing and car when you get home, but it will provide light and heat most of the night.

Are We Crazy?


By Randy Bock

I recently read an article on a prepping blog entitled “Are You Crazy To Continue Believing In Collapse?”  which made me realize that my ideas and purposes in ‘prepping’ may be a bit different than mainstream.

I am first a homesteader.  From a young age I had a homesteading spirit, and enjoyed working with my hands, gardening, landscaping, raising horses, chickens, ducks, turkeys and rabbits.  I’ve also always liked organization and order, and that serves me well in my efforts.

I can’t imagine ever ‘bugging out’ to another location.  I’ve been in our home since 1981 developing these 3 acres to suit our purposes and I feel safer here than anywhere else.  Our home is in as perfect a location as I could hope for, with low population density, no chance of hurricane, flood, forest fire, earthquake, tornado, tsunami, major inclement weather events and virtually no likelihood of nuclear or chemical event.  Economic events are, however, another story.

As a homesteader and a ‘bug-inner’, my infrastructure is of primary importance to me.  We heat with wood (although we do have electric ‘backup’), have a good well with a windmill as well as a submersible pump, two 3,000 gallon above ground water storage tanks, a generator and a significant quantity of propane to run it, facilities for chickens and goats , a small tractor and several garden areas.  This requires more than a little work to maintain and upgrade, which suits me perfectly.  Home is my favorite place to be.

Having a functioning and hardy infrastructure that you can depend on will literally be a lifesaver if (when) times get difficult.

Although our region has little very cold or sustained wet weather, it seems that when you most need firewood is when it is most likely to be wet. Having a dry place to store at least weeks’ worth, to me, is a luxury, because I’ve had to make do with tarps or scrap plywood or anything to keep it covered and dry. 

Making sure my animal pens are predator proof is another consideration. This has been a recent and continuing project.  A 6 foot adobe wall around the house, gardens and animal pens is another ongoing project on which we have made very good progress over the past few years, with part of it always under construction as time allows.

We enjoy a wonderful and comfortable lifestyle, but many things threaten that.  Trying to be too specific can be over-thinking the situation, because preparation for inflation, weather related disaster, extended illness, loss of jobs, a Walmart truckers’ strike, viral pandemic or total economic collapse may have the same or nearly the same consequences affecting your life style, short or long term.  My greatest concern is loss of electrical power for an extended time.  I know that I can never hope to replace the cheap and abundant electrical power I now use, primarily for pumping water. 

My entire ‘prepping’ mindset is ‘What will I need for the next five years?’ and to that end I try to prepare.  I know that in time I will need a new water heater, so that is on my list to have on hand, along with the fittings to connect it. Whether in stockpiling food and supplies, or upgrading buildings and systems on the homestead to try to achieve a greater degree of independence, I try to think five years ahead.

When I find great sales on groceries or other items we use regularly, I don’t hesitate to buy cases of it.  Surprisingly, the clerks rarely ask you why you’re buying so much.  Expiration dates don’t bother us much, and we use what we buy and we buy what we use and if you make a trip to the supermarket only to buy 6 cans of beans when they’re on sale, you haven’t saved very much.  Expiration dates don’t matter with shampoo, conditioner, soap, detergent, toilet paper, plastic forks and spoons. 

Although it’s a bit more costly, we’ve begun buying our cornmeal, beans, rice, wheat and several other items in #10 cans, because, with just Karen and me eating it, the larger containers may not stay as fresh. We do have a supply of wheat and beans in 5 gallon buckets since we’ll likely have to feed our kids and grandkids plus some friends if it comes to that.

We have some experience with this.  We were ‘prepping’ before Y2K. Remember that?  We are still grinding wheat we purchased prior to the year 2000, and it still makes wonderful bread.  We did ‘repurpose’ some soy flour that we just didn’t like and gave the last of our hulled sunflower seeds to the chickens after they turned rancid, but all in all, it was a good investment.  And on a homestead, not much goes to waste.

If nothing ever happens, we’ll eat this food anyway, and will have saved money because of inflation and not making such frequent trips to the supermarket.  I’ll use that spare water heater and plumbing parts and the rope and twine and extra work gloves and duct tape and dog food and lay pellets, toothpaste, shampoo and Band-Aids.  At least, if I live long enough, which I expect to. 

It’s an investment, unlike homeowner’s or auto insurance, which is a gamble that I usually lose.

Are we crazy?  My kids mostly think so.  But, when they’re running short of something and don’t want to stop at the store on the way home because the grandkids are fussy they don’t mind asking if I have an extra bottle of this, a package of that or a spare full propane tank.  (And they know I always do.)

Complete self-sufficiency is a pipe dream, unless you want to live under a bush and kill your food with a rock.  We are too dependent on each other, civilization and sharing the work load to go back to prehistoric times.  Even early explorers and settlers of this continent had tools, weapons, clothing and equipment purchased or bartered from others.  They hunted and gathered much of their food and lived in crude shelters made with their own hands, but their lives were not easy, nor did they enjoy a level of comfort that the poorest among us enjoy today. 

Most of us want more than mere survival.  Most of us want to preserve a life style that we have come to enjoy.  And many of us have begun to modify a lifestyle that may be considered ‘excessive’ into one that is more sustainable, more self-reliant.  And that’s an important prep to consider.

We can anticipate our needs for 3 months, 6 months, a year or five years.  Maybe we won’t think of everything and maybe we can’t afford to implement everything that completes our ‘ideal’ list of preparations, but what you are able to do will be better than doing nothing.

And that’s not crazy.

Why You Should Have A Junk Pile


By Bev,

There has been a lot of talk on prepper sites about having caches of supplies on your property and other places, just in case. And most of the time the thought is to bury these caches. I’m sorry, but in Minnesota that means buried until spring and the frost goes out of the ground. But what about an old freezer above ground?

I know that junk piles, brush piles and junk vehicles are unsightly, BUT why should a prepper have one of these on their property? Your basic farm junk pile is, as Wyzyrd would say an “obtainium” pile. All that stuff that doesn’t need shelter, but could be useful “someday”. An old freezer would look right at home in that junk pile, wouldn’t it? Keeps the weather and critters out (I have one for my grain in the barn) and be accessible during the winter. You can even put an old latch and lock on it that wouldn’t look too out of place.

Paint that old freezer in camo colors and put it in a brush pile and you have habitat for the birds and woodland critters and a safe place to cache…????

That old vehicle that has obviously been sitting there in a weed patch for years could be a wonderful greenhouse in a pinch and a cache for all kinds of stores in the meantime and also accessable in the winter.

Like all preparedness plans, caches are something you should think about ahead of time. That old freezer or car may just be sitting out there, but if something happened… The first 3 days to a week will be chaos and no one will be looking or caring that you are carrying a five gallon bucket or a box out of the house.

I, personally, want my long term storage food and guns in a climate controlled area – the house. But I also have several plans if things get dicey how to split my cache up, so that I don’t lose it all if something happens to the house or we can’t defend it.

Do YOU have a plan?

Have you prepped for visitors?

Summer11 115

by Ecomum

I live in the UK on my own, with my daughter, her husband and their two children living nearby. As money is tight for them I prep for them as well as myself. Recently my brother moved to my town; there’s no way I would tell him about my preps as it would be akin to taking out an ad in the local paper. So now I prep for the six of us.

We’re about to have a family reunion making 23 people plus 3 dogs.  I’m not too worried that civilisation will collapse over that weekend, but, given the recent unusual weather patterns, it’s possible that we might all be snowed in or cut off by floods. From my preps I can feed us all for quite a while, but I realised that it’s all the other stuff that I don’t have enough of.

If the electricity goes off, then I assume it won’t be long before the pumps stop working and we lose water and gas.  Certainly our gas central heating won’t work without electricity to pump it. I have a wood burning stove as well as central heating, but not the space to store a large stock of fuel, and everyone would have to come to me to stay warm. The average house in the UK is smaller than in the US, and I have a smaller than average house – a Victorian terraced cottage. We wouldn’t all fit round the stove and would have to take it in turns being warm.

I have 4 hot water bottles, not enough. My daughter only has the microwave variety.  My camping stoves would not be able to cope with cooking for such a large number of people. My daughter has camping equipment and a barbecue; it would be difficult but we could probably manage.

I have half a dozen torches and 4 head torches; the children also have the type which need to be squeezed or wound up but they soon get fed up with doing that.  Although I have camping lanterns, we may need to save the fuel to cook for so many. I have plenty of candles and tealights but they may not be safe with so many children around.

I don’t have the room to store 2 gallons of water a day for so many people. I have a couple of dozen bottles of water and 5 rainwater butts, all currently full. I only have a small domestic water filter.

I have a garden shed where we could improvise a toilet if that became necessary, and plenty of toilet paper and wet wipes.

Many of the visitors will have come with just an overnight bag so I’ll have to try and come up with spare clothes.

So, my list of things to do before they come includes buying more wood, charcoal and camping gas; a couple more hot water bottles; lots of long life milk and crackers/crispbreads for if we can’t bake bread.  I need to bring down spares of toilet paper, etc, from the attic so it’s not too obvious if I need to go get some. I just want to appear as though I have a full pantry, not that I’m a prepper.

I’d love to hear what preps others make for large-scale family get-togethers, or if you have any suggestions for this ‘probably won’t happen but best to be prepared’ scenario.


Time Change!

time change

Don’t forget to “spring ahead” tonight on your clocks. We lose one hour of sleep but gain daylight!

Time to rotate your water? Vehicle Get Home Bags? New batteries in your smoke detectors? Check your fire extinguishers?

What do you rotate or check on the time changes?

Brick Rocket Stove Videos


Both videos submitted by GrammaMary,

Very Cool Rocket Stove idea!

Make a drawing of this one for your Survival Binder and get the materials ahead. I’m thinking that these should be firebricks as opposed to regular bricks.

And would it be possible to create a baking oven on top of it?

WOW! New and improved rocket stove design from same builder WITH firebrick.

Do you have YouTube videos you would like to share with other SCPers?

Please email me at bcfossillady at gmail dot com

or Rourke at scprepper at outlook dot com

Thoughts on Survival and Preparedness


The following post was originally published over at ModernSurvivalOnline. It can be seen HERE in its original format. – Rourke

Thoughts on Survival and Preparedness

by Robert


 I was curious to read much of what other people who prepare had to say. My wife seems to think anyone who would look ahead to any of the numerous possible scenarios that require preparation are doomsayers and require anti-depressants. I obviously disagree but will admit that the folks on shows like “Doomsday Preppers” are a bit more into it than I believe necessary. But that is their affair and I wish them well. Many of us fall into the tamer category, that being we realize the importance of a plan and act accordingly while still living our lives.


  “Why prepare?” many people ask me. My answer is usually, “why not?”. What possible harm can come from having a food store sufficient to feed my family in a prolonged crisis? What part of having a plan to get out of the urban area we live in to a place of relative safety makes me paranoid or worthy of ridicule? Why not have a set procedure to get through a hard time that is indeed on the horizon, just as past hard times were once only on the horizon? The answer, when you pose these questions to a person who thinks us foolhardy, is usually a shoulder shrug. Which tells me they realize the logic of preparing yet still don’t want to be bothered. These are the people who will suffer when the time comes. And it will, as it always has.


  Now, as far as having school buses full of food, weapons, ammo and livestock, I believe that’s something many of us will pass on. Again, that’s a personal choice and there’s absolutely nothing weird or wrong about it. The core of preparing for a majority of us is this: have a plan, have a reasonable supply of food and water and ensure you have everyone who you involve with your preparations on the same page.


   Having spent 12 years in the Marine infantry, I’ve learned the importance of a team. You WILL need other people that think like you to help when the time comes. And it’s not hard to get your plan together. Ensure you trust the people you associate with and involve in your planning. Then you simple sit down over a few drinks or dinner and discuss, point by point, what your plan will be and what you need to do to make it work as far as food stores, fuel, power and transportation. You’ll be surprised how fast the night goes and how much planning can get done in a few hours time. This is the key to the Marines success on the battlefield, and it can be your key to surviving a national crisis.


   The most critical part of a plan is a food store. Your first move is to determine how many people you will need to feed, and for how long you will need to feed them. Most health authorities will say an active person needs in the neighborhood of 2,000 calories a day to sustain them and a minimum of a gallon of water. I personally have to cover three people in my own family. Every trip to the market I buy at least twelve cans of food: six of a vegetable and six of a bean. Beans are a great source of protein and other nutrients and can be eaten right out of the can. Check the dates on your cans and log it so you’ll know when you need to replace it, if you so choose. In reality, most canned goods are safe for years. They may not taste great, but they’re safe. Also, shelf stable foods like pastas and rice are great additions to your store. Keep a log of what you have and how long you’ve had it, and store all of it together in the place you plan to go in case of trouble so you don’t have to haul it all with you.


 That brings me to a mobile food supply, which you may need if you have to leave. This should be whatever you will need to feed your party for a reasonable amount of time. I personally keep four days worth of food in my vehicle and in my wife’s vehicle. Much of this is MRE items so as not to take up too much room. Each vehicle also has a small water filtration pump and water treatment pills in the glovebox in case the supply runs out. You can survive for a time on small amounts of food, but you will need water. Learn how to treat it yourself and buy the right equipment to do so.


  Communications are a HUGE part of your plan. In each of my vehicles is a walkie talkie, a Grundel emergency radio, a Garmin GPS receiver and spare batteries. There is also a detailed map with different routes to our destination if we have to leave. It’s impractical to drive EVERY possible route to your destination, but try to cover the main ones you’re most likely to use. Notate gas stations and food stores. Also look for stores that carry items you may need (sporting goods stores or outdoors outlets) so you can resupply if need be. Needless to say, a total breakdown of society will destroy the dollar, but during a lesser incident (hurricane, power outage) these places may still be open so make sure you have money with you.


  Some folks are compelled to carry firearms. I am one of them. You have every right to protect yourself and your family with a firearm, but you also have a responsibility to use your weapons responsibly and only as a last resort. Make sure you choose the right weapon for you. For home defense, I feel a 12 gauge shotgun is your best bet. It’s easier to hit a target with that than a pistol, especially if you’re heart is racing and you’re scared out of your mind, which you most likely will be if you have to use a gun. A pistol is a good weapon to put in a go bag simply because it’s small. Either way, ensure you train with your weapon and know how to use it as safely as possible. And ALWAYS ENSURE CHILDREN CANNOT GET THEIR HANDS ON IT! Lock it away when you’re not using it.


 My last thought is this; RELAX. Hopefully, nothing happens and everybody gets to keep living the way they like. Prep with the hope that NONE of what you’re ready for comes to pass and with the knowledge that if it does, you ARE ready. Then go on with your life. Being ready doesn’t mean you have to be paranoid; it just means you’ve thought ahead and have done what you can to help yourself and your family when there’s nobody else to call. Good luck and God Bless.



Preparing For More…

garage sale signThe WE2′s were scrambling around for dollars to get all our real estate taxes and personal property taxes paid.  While pulling out our “envelopes” of dollars saved throughout the year for this purpose, we found ourselves still short.  Then Mr. WE2 pulled a blue zippered makeup bag out and unzipped it, and there he found over $100 that wifey had “stashed” from this last summer’s yard sales! LOL 
After paying all our taxes on time with no penalties, we had $5 so we splurged…and bought a Little Ceasar’s pizza for supper! Guess the little blue bag was a “prep” tool and lesson about “never putting all your eggs in one basket! 
For us putting food by isn’t the only thing that is a preparedness lifestyle.  We try to put dollars by also, for such a time as this.  Having money available should a great depression hit isn’t the only time we need funds.  Even though our properties are paid for, and we wouldn’t “have to have” insurance on them, there’s still annual taxes that are due.  Having been involved in the real estate field in various forms, we’re both very aware of how quickly people can find themselves facing either foreclosures or tax liens that force them to sell their homes. 
We’ve also faced “renter mentality” at it’s worst.  Having owned various properties throughout both of our lives, we know how people descend into this type of thinking, and care nothing about the upkeep of a property and think with just a phone call, you have to come “fix it”. 
That’s why we’re “sold out” except for one duplex which is home to an aging parent and a disabled son.  The aging parent pays no rent and the son pays minimal rent because his income is barely enough to pay rent & utilities etc. 
Then…we get a call when it’s sleeting/raining outside, the roads are slick & icy, we’re roaming around the house in our pj’s…the back porch light needs a new bulb and the power strip for the laundry room heater keeps tripping.  Grrrrr!!!! 
How do you prepare for renter mentality?  You get a bit onery and tell them to “stuff their shorts” for a few more days, nobody (including us) needs to be out in this kind of weather!  We’re getting a bit better at learning to be “onery” but it’s not always easy.  The phone call came from one who prepares NOTHING past his current meal plan or current girl friend. 
So, the WE2′s can say they practiced sound money management and saying “no”. 
Christmas Tree2
Wishing a very Merry Christmas to all our internet friends,
especially to those facing much worse challenges than the WE2′s.

Little Gifts

Xmas preparedness 002

By Bev,

We all have people that we give small gifts or tips too, these may be neighbors, the postperson, newspaper deliverer, friends I don’t get to see much, etc. I’m on a fixed income and I’m not going to gift the postman or anyone else $20 in cash or a gift card.

I used to do a lot of baking and candy making, make dry soup mixes packaged in canning jars, etc., but it seems that everyone I know is on a diet or can’t eat this or that. Scrapbooking pages were popular with the kids until I ran out of photos. They still are popular with the grandkids. I love home crafted, or home love, gifts. And generally, I like to keep these gifts less than $5.

I recycle bows and ribbons. And also the bags and boxes I get from others, and sometimes I buy them – usually from the Dollar Store for a $1, or 2 for a $1. Space is very limited in my home, so I try not to keep too much around that I don’t use all the time.

What I hit on this year, that came directly from my preparedness pantry, was putting little gifts of packaged drinks together. A couple of packets each of hot chocolate, apple cider, green tea and coffee singles are something everyone can enjoy. I actually have them set up by the door in case some surprises me with an unexpected gift then I have something to give them that looks like I expected them.

Personalizing them is very easy. Sometimes I decoupage a little saying like “Friendship is a Gift” in the top. Sometimes I just write a note specific for the intended. They are small enough gifts to make someone feel special, yet not feel obligated. And if they are home when I drop them off, we often share a cup from the box.

Do you have a tradition or gift giving idea you would like to share? Please email me at bcfossillady at gmail dot com

Happy Holidays!


Disaster Preparedness Video

Twenty Five Minutes long, but I thought he made some excellent points.


Gift Giving Ideas

By the WE2s

Christmas Gift Sack

Christmas Gift Sack


Sometimes during the Christmas season, we have a few close friends and family members that we still like to take gifts.  But also, sometimes, the money’s just aren’t there.  One of the ways that we have found to prepare for gift giving seasons (birthdays too!) is when we’re canning, dehydrating etc., we set a few back for our “gift bags” or our “gift baskets”. 

Wifey is an ace at finding baskets at 2nd hand stores and little, unique bags that apples come in etc.  She also is always on the lookout for “tea” cups at yard sales etc., that can be purchased for nickles or dimes.  One year we fixed a gift basket with 2 cups, 2 packages of hot chocolate, a jar of dehydrated lemons, and some coffee singles…and tied a “bow” on it from a head scarf. 


Plastic Bag Scrubbies

Plastic Bag Scrubbies

This particular year we doing plastic bags that we saved back from some apples we purchased.  We’ve filled the bags with a jar of cinnamon apples, a small jar of homemade taco sauce, a mylar ziplock bag of pumpkin spice cappachino and one of wifey’s plastic bag crocheted dish scrubbies.  We save our plastic bags for many uses :-) 

We’ve also, in the past, made baskets with handmade soaps we’ve purchased from the plain people’s stores, a bottle of wine, scented candles, and shower scrubbies that wifey crocheted from yarn. 

We save all year, little bits here and little bits there, and then combine different objects/items for our gifts.  Another thing we enjoy doing is scouting yard sales etc., for cheap jewelry and use those for “bows” instead of things people will throw out.  We try to put our gifts together with items that are things people will want to keep.  People seem to really enjoy receiving gifts that they know have been really “thought out” and planned for them.

Respiratory Issues if SHTF

Respiratory issues if SHTF

By Debnow

I’ve been a respiratory therapist for the past 30 years, working in hospital settings as well as home care. I think about problems folks with respiratory conditions could face in an emergency situation. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but would like to offer a few tips for coping in an emergency.

If someone in your home or family uses oxygen continuously or even just periodically or at night, make sure you have extra masks, cannulas, tubing or whatever supplies you normally use. Most home therapists always carry extra supplies and I am sure they would give you a couple of extra masks or cannulas if you ask them.

If you have backup oxygen cylinders, keep a couple of full cylinders in reserve for emergencies. If you use a cannula, you might ask your doctor if you could benefit from a nasal cannula with an oxygen reservoir- these allow a person to use a lower flow of oxygen to meet their needs, thereby conserving their precious tanks. These cannulas are a bit pricey, but could be invaluable in getting the most longevity from 02 tanks.

And if you use 02 only for exercise or only occasionally, double check that the tank is turned completely off when you are done. You don’t want to waste any amount of such a necessity.

If you take nebulizer treatments at home, or use an inhaler, keep an adequate supply of your meds- they could be hard to replace in a crisis. Home nebulizers need to be cleaned to prevent infections. I instruct my patients to soak their nebulizers in a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts sterile water, then rinse in sterile/distilled water and air dry. So keep some white vinegar on hand, as well as some sterile water. Of course, you could always sterilize water by boiling it.

Asthmatics could also have increased problems in an emergency scenario. Dust, smoke, pollutants, etc. could trigger attacks. Again, keep a decent supply of meds- both long acting and rescue inhalers and also stock up on some n-95 or N-100 masks. If cold air is a trigger for you, limit outdoor exposure and cover your mouth and nose with a scarf. The use of a peak flow meter can help asthmatics in predicting possible attacks- this is a “cheap insurance policy“, but could be of great benefit.

Most of my patients living in rural or even suburban areas that depend on an 02 concentrator, have a backup generator as well as back up 02 tanks at home. Also, if you use an 02 concentrator, you need to make your power company aware of this, so that your home can be a priority should there be a power outage.

This is not an exhaustive list of tips for a respiratory emergency, but perhaps it will spur you to think about, and plan for this type of situation. Hope it helps a bit.

One last thought- I firmly believe everyone needs to know CPR and the Heimlich maneuver- these can be lifesavers. Take a class if you can- extra knowledge is invaluable.





Paper Shredders

Paper Shredders


The Coach


I have a lot of personal information such as credit card statements, bank statements, sales receipts, bills of sale, paper checks, personal information, computer printouts, etc. on paper. I had been throwing away all of this paperwork in the trash. I realized that anyone could read these items without any trouble at all. I knew I had to do something to protect my personal information.

If someone steals your identity, it can cost you thousands of dollars, a bad credit rating and years to put your life back together.

I spoke to a police officer that I knew about this matter. I asked him about putting all of my paper information in the trash can. I told him that I then placed the garbage can to the curb in front of my home for it to be picked up. The police officer told me that once anyone places anything into the trash and puts that trash out to the street for pick up, everything that is waiting for pickup can no longer be claimed as being your personal property. In addition, you no longer have an expectation of privacy over anything that is placed to the curb for garbage pickup. The police can take everything you have put to the street for pick up without a warrant and go through it. Anything they find can be used against you or used to build a case against you. Also, private investigators, a neighbor or a stranger can take your garbage and recover anything from it that they want.

My police officer friend advised me to purchase a good paper shredder and shred ever piece of paper before placing it in the trash.

I went to my local national chain office supply store and inquired about paper shredders. I learned there were many different brand names and types of paper shredders in many different price ranges. I found two of the most important things to consider when purchasing a paper shredder are the size of the shredded pieces of paper and how many sheets of paper can be shredded at one time without jamming the shredder.

There are basically three types of paper shredders, strip-cut, confetti-cut, and micro-cut.

The strip cut paper shredders are better than doing nothing. They typically shred a regular piece of paper into approximately 45 long horizontal strips. These types of strip cut paper shredders are usually the cheapest of the paper shredders and not very well constructed. There are computer programs that can be used to reconstruct a document that has been shredded by a strip cut paper shredder. However, it only took me a few minutes to start to reconstruct some of these paper shards to be able to read part of the document.

Papper Shreder Article 010

Confetti cut paper shredders are much better. These shredders are also called cross-cut paper shredders. They slice papers horizontally and vertically. This type of paper shredder is MUCH better than the strip cut paper shredders. The confetti cut type of paper shredder cuts a normal size sheet of paper in approximately 350 pieces. This makes it a lot harder for anyone to put a document back together. They cost a little more than the strip cut paper shredders but are well worth it. Papper Shreder Article 003

Micro-cut paper shredders are the best type of paper shredders to use. The micro-cut paper shredder is the type that many federal government agencies use. They are also usually the most expensive of all of the paper shredders. This type of paper shredder shreds a normal piece of paper into approximately 2,500 small pieces.  To my knowledge, it is almost impossible to put a document back together if this type of paper shredder is used to shred a document. This is the type of paper shredder that I decided to purchase.

Shred ALL of your paper work, including trash mail before you throw it away. The increased volume makes more paper shreds and thus makes it more difficult for someone to put the shreds back together.

Do not place shredded paper in any type of a bag for disposal. Doing so makes it easier to put the shredded paper back together. Instead, place the loose shredded paper in the very bottom of the garbage can. This way when the garbage man or anyone attempting to recover the shredded paper turns the garbage can upside down to empty it, the paper shreds will dump out further mixing them up. This makes the shredded paper even harder to put back together.

You empty the paper shredders by one of two ways. One type of shredder holds the paper shreds in a pull out drawer/hopper that collects the shreds and retains them for disposal. Another type of paper shredder retains the shredded paper in a waste paper basket. You lift the paper shredder apparatus off the basket and empty the basket.

Wait until the paper shredder hopper, the basket or pull out bin, is almost full of shredded paper before emptying it into trash can. The more paper shreds in the trash can, the harder it is to place the shreds back together. It is unknown to me if there is a computer program that can be used to put back together confetti-cut or micro-cut paper shreds. Even if there is such a computer program, it would be a lot harder and more time consuming to accomplish.

No piece of paper leaves my house before it is shredded, except for the newspaper. Even advertisements and junk mail gets shredded. The more paper shreds that are placed into your garbage can at one time, the harder it is to attempt to put any particular page back together.

If you are really concerned about your confidential paperwork information being compromised, after shredding your documents, burn the shredded paper, if your local laws allow, then bury the ashes.

Also, some paper shredders have an additional feature that you can use to shred credit cards, DVDs and CDs. The micro cut paper shredder that I purchased has these features.

There is usually a safety feature built into the mechanics of most paper shredders. When you remove the hopper to empty the paper shreds, a deactivation switch automatically stops the shredder from working.

Some paper shredders have an automatic cut off switch built in that activates when the paper hopper becomes full.

Never attempt to clear jammed paper, in any paper shredder, unless you unplug the electric cord first. The blades of a paper shredder can shred you fingers just as easy as it can shred paper.

Extreme caution should be used when having and/or using a paper shredder in a home with children and/or animals.

Quote of the Day!

Genuine wisdom is knowing what you are talking about but deciding to keep your mouth shut!”

Rope Tricks – Part 1

Rope Tricks – Part 1

hanksby Wyzyrd, Editor-at-Large

 I’m willing to bet that every single one of us has, at some point, dealt with a big ol’ hank of some kind of rope, or other cordage, that looks like this: 

All neat and pretty and organized, UNTIL that fateful moment when you actually have to use it, and then, no matter how OCD you may be about unwinding it, it IS going to tangle, knot and kink, and you will waste time trying to get a useful piece of rope to use to fasten something.  It is an even more annoying situation if the cordage is wet and/or your fingers are cold.  The hank is also pretty big and bulky. 50 feet of 550 paracord is probably not a huge storage/carry issue. 200 feet of ½ inch rope, done this way, is almost as big as a sleeping bag in a stuff sack. My packs aren’t THAT big.

Old-time mariners apparently swore by flat coils on deck to store extra line for fast deployment. (I would assume they also swore AT them a lot – imagine the daily rum ration being passed out, and Jack Tar kicking the coil, and undoing a half hour’s work..)  Since I don’t live on a 100-gun frigate-of-the-line with a full crew of scurvy-knave-pirates to assist me in becoming the Scourge of the Seven Seas, this bulky, non-portable cordage storage idea doesn’t work real well.

Carefully-wound hanging coils also work pretty well, only a bit more tangle-prone than flat coils, but once again, they take up a lot of space, and are not at all easy to store inside a pack or EDC bag.spool

Where nautical lore fails, mountaineering-practice doesn’t.  I was taught this method by a climber-friend when I was in college, and so far, it has never failed me. The “knotting method” is called a “double chain sinnet”. Spend 5 minutes looking at the photographs and practicing, and you will be able to do it with your eyes closed. It works with string, mason twine, bankline, paracord, clothesline, rope, whatever you have.  NOTE: If you knit or crochet, you can probably already do this better than I can . It’s basically a long line of crochet stitches. (note 2: if your cordage is already on a spool – leave it there as long as possible- spools are HANDY.).




 1)  Take the time to untangle, un-knot and un-kink your line (Spin the line between your fingers when it ‘wants to go in the wrong direction’).  Put the 2 ends together, and lay it out as evenly and neatly as possible. You’re just making a loop half the length of your rope.

2) At the “loop” end, tie a simple slip-knot – just an overhand with a loop slipped inside – does not have to be too tight. Tight is not your friend. If the ends are not perfectly-aligned, big deal.. nobody is grading you :)


3) Take both running pieces (“bights”) of the line, and pass a loop through the loop of the slip-knot.


4) Tighten slightly, and pass another loop through the loop you just made.


5) Repeat until you are almost out of rope.  Slip the 2 ends through the last loop, just to keep it from unravelling.



You will end up with a flat “strap” that can be used for tying down items to a pack or roof-rack, when needed. Climbers frequently carry their ropes, tied this way “Bandido Bandoleer” style, frequently with extra carabiners through the loose loops.  The big advantage is that the rope will now be able to conform to the size and shape on whatever you carry it in/on. (For example purposes, approx. 7 feet of paracord is now about 7 inches long and 1 inch wide)

To deploy your rope, you only have 1 “knot” to undo, then just give it a yank (Pull both ends outward). Assuming you didn’t pull anything too tight, it all pulls free in 1 tangle-free length. Even if it doesn’t save your life on a mountain or at sea, it can keep you from using a lot of bad language when you need a piece of rope. :)  On another note, this method also works well for easily stowing heavy-duty electrical extension cords from becoming tangled nests of annoyance when you need them. (In this usage, it is called a “Contractor’s Wrap”).

In Part 2, we’ll talk about the “Cobra Braid/Survival Bracelet Braid” that allows you to cram even more cordage into a smaller space, but is a lot slower to tie and deploy. Still useful. :)

Quiz: How Prepared Are You?


How Prepared Are You?

By: Editor at Large Suni

Below You will find a quiz to see how well you would fair in a survival situation. Although I did try and cover all scenario’s some of the quiz will not apply to everyone. Have fun with this and post your score.  

20 Question QUIZ

1) Does each person in your family have a Bug-Out Bag which can sustain basic needs for 72 hours?

2) Do you and your family have a plan detailing where to meet after a disaster (if your home becomes unsafe)?

3) Do you have a basic first aid kit in your home and in your vehicle?

4) Do you have one gallon of water per person per day stored in the event of an emergency?

5) Do you know how to treat contaminated water to make it safe to drink?

6) Do you have an alternative water source? Or, if you get your water from a well, do you have means to operate this well if the power is out?

7) Do you have a plan for dealing with waste if the water is cut off and the toilet can’t be flushed?

8) Do you have a plan and supplies for what to do for personal hygiene?

9) Do you have a battery-operated or wind-up radio to use for information and updates if the electricity goes out?

10) Do you have back up-batteries for powered devices (tools, cell phone, flashlight, radio, etc.) in the case of a power outage?

11) If the electricity is out, do you have an alternate way to cook food and heat water?

12) Do you keep cash, or other valuables for bartering?

13) Do you have basic fire starting skills? Do you have the tools to start a fire?

14) Do you know how to stay warm without a fire, how to stay cool without air conditioning?

15) Do you know how defend yourself and your family?

16) Do you have at least 3 days of food on hand for each person in your family and for all pets/livestock?

17) After a collapse if there wasn’t a way to buy food, do you have the means to produce a garden?

18) Do you have the knowledge, supplies, and skills to plant a garden?

19) Do you have the knowledge and ability to hunt, dress, and prepare wild game or fish?

20) Do you keep your gas tank at least half full at all times?

Each question is worth 5 points

What Does Your Score Mean

  • Survivor. If you scored 90% or more, you’re a Survivor. You’re pretty much prepared for any eventuality and will most likely survive and thrive. You are probably a leader and don’t mind helping others to overcome difficult situations.


  • Laborer. If you are 80% to 89% prepared, you’re a Laborer. You’ve got a few basic preparations to make, but you’re well on your way. Keep it up.


  • Beginner. If you score 79% or less, you are a Beginner In the event of a disaster, meeting your basic needs is going to be very difficult. Thankfully, you’re already thinking about these things and can begin to prepare now.

The 5 W’s of Emergency Survival

The 5 W’s of  Emergency Survival


by Wyzyrd, Editor-at-Large


As “codified” by “Survivorman” Les Stroud.


These are really all “common sense” things, and not my original ideas, but an experienced close friend came within a couple feet of dying last weekend, and sometimes, we all forget the basics.



1) Water

 If you don’t have a supply with you, and a way to safely obtain more, you might be dead within 3 days.


2) Weather

Is it hot? Is is cold? Is it raining or snowing? The type of shelter you set up is totally dependent on the weather. A woven hammock with a shower curtain over it will probably OK work in Virginia in August. If you do that in Canada in February, the grizzly bears will complain about frozen food.


3) Wood

You will probably need something to build your shelter, and wood (or other burnable material) lets you add additional heat for warmth, cooking or sterilizing water.


4) Wigglies

Are you in copperhead-country? Stay away from rock-piles. Been walking through grass all day? Check for ticks. Avoid red ant colonies and such things. Do you have mosquito netting or repellent? Can you sleep off the ground?  The little ‘creepy-crawlies’ are more likely to hurt you than “lions and tigers and bears”.


5) Widowmakers

Look up before you set up camp. Do you see a big dead branch? Do you see a crumbling rockface? Look around next. Do you see evidence of flash floods? A leaning dead tree? If yes to any of the above, pick a different spot. (refer back to #2 – Weather – rain, wind and snow make these worse.)  My buddy ignored #5 this past weekend and woke up to a 30 foot dead Sycamore tree between his tent and his firepit.


Stay safe.



The Importance of Storing Food & Water!

The Importance of storing Food and Water!


The Coach

Editor At Large


I live in a suburb of New Orleans, Louisiana. Today, Friday, 9/6/13, the local TV stations had an article on their evening news broadcast that shocked the entire New Orleans metro area.

In St. Bernard Parish, another suburb of New Orleans, it was announced that a four (4) year old boy died in August from encephalitis caused by a brain-eating amoeba.

The authorities stated that they believe the four year old boy had been playing on a “Slip-N-Slide” and had caught the brain eating amoeba while doing so. If that was not shocking enough, the authorities stated that he died in August of 2013. They had waited a month to release the information.

The authorities stated that the water was safe to drink, bathe in, wash dishes and clothes in. Then they say that the brain-eating amoeba was found in the toilet tank inside the house where the four year old boy had caught the brain-eating amoeba.

Now, I am not a rocket scientist, but if the brain-eating amoeba was found inside the houses water system, would you drink or use the water in the Saint Bernard Parish area for anything. Not me!

Why the public officials didn’t announce the boy’s death when it occurred?

Could someone else have caught this horrible brain-eating amoeba because the public officials had waited to announce the boy’s death in a timely manner?

Would you have liked it if you had been using this possibly contaminated water for a month without knowing the possibility that it had the brain-eating amoeba in it?

Bottle water is getting very hard to find in the Saint Bernard Parish area!

This is yet another reason to store extra food and water. It is also important to have a good water filter. You never know when the public officials will tell you that there is a problem with the areas food or water supply.

If you would like to read more on this incident, below are two of the local TV stations that ran this story.–222753651.html


Quote of the day:  Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst!


Purchasing Post Disasters!

Purchasing Post Disasters!


“The Coach”

Editor at Large


One of the VERY valuable lessons that I learned post Hurricane Katrina was that buying anything was a problem.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, all of the electricity for the entire New Orleans metro area failed.

Then the levees broke and the flooding started. It did not flood where I worked in the central business district. Neither did my residence flood. Both were high and dry.


However, all of the main branches of ALL of the banks in New Orleans were flooded and without electricity. This had more of a far reaching effect than I had ever imagined.

Everyone that stayed in the New Orleans area, post Hurricane Katrina had the same problem. Because ALL of the branches of ALL of the banks in the New Orleans metro area did not have electricity and/or were flooded, this placed ALL of the banks computes systems underwater and/or without electricity to power their computers.

No merchant could confirm that you had any money on deposit with the bank that you used. This meant that NO business would take ANY credit card, ANY debit card or ANY check because there was no way to verify how much money you had on deposit with your bank. The only thing that any merchant would take was CASH! If you did not have cash, you were not able to buy anything.

Another problem was that because payroll checks, Social Security and retirement checks, etc. was electronically deposited into our bank account, there was no way to confirm that any funds were on deposit in your bank account. So, NO auto bills were paid from our checking accounts, making all of those bills delinquent.

I found one gas station that had a generator powering one gas pump. I tried to use silver, U. S., one once, American Eagle, coins to purchase gas. The manager told me he had no idea what the coin was worth. The station manager then told me that it said “one dollar” on a one ounce silver U.S. coin and that is what it would buy, one dollars’ worth of gas. I had a 32 gallon gas tank. You can figure out how many one once, silver, American Eagles it would have taken to fill my gas tank? To the gas station manager, it was just a U. S. dollar coin.

DO NOT store only gold and silver coins for emergency purchasing purposes.

I HIGHLY recommend that along with your emergency supplies, you keep some cash money in varied denominations. If you decide to do this, store only one, five, ten and twenty dollar bills. That is all merchants would accept without any problem.

                        Bartering is another way to obtain items. However, that is the subject for another article.


Quote of the day:  “Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”