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Recently in Home Power Category Saturday, November 27, 2010 Letter Re: Constructing an Aboveground "Root Cellar" in Florida Permalink

Jim: In regards to running a small “window” air conditioning unit off of a solar powered system, I can convey some of my experiences. I have a total of 3,160 watts of solar panel power on the roof; about 1,700 watts feeds my 24 volt DC “house” system (mostly lights, computer, entertainment system, ½ of the kitchen outlets, and the fridge) while the remaining panels are wired for a totally separate 48 volt DC water heater system. Two 2,500/5,000 (peak) watt inverters are used for each system, each “slaved” to the other of the same voltage to synchronize the alternating current frequencies and amp loads. Importantly, each inverter has “soft start” technology to “soften” the instant high amp draws from motors, compressors, etc. I have run my small bedroom air conditioning unit (rated at 700 watts) successfully using only the solar powered system, but will only do so when the battery bank has been almost fully charged and the sun is still out. Once the sun starts going down and the air conditioning unit load gets transferred to the battery bank (capacity of about 2,100 amp-hours), I would guess that I’d have maybe 2-3 hours of operation before the inverters shut down from an undervolt condition (considering all of the other system loads; lights, fridge, etc still in use at this time). If you wanted to run a similar sized air conditioning unit (and nothing else) continuously from only solar power/ battery banks, you’re looking at a whopping system- I’m guessing 3,500 to 4,000 watts worth of panels, and at least 5,000 amp-hours of battery bank capacity. Even at that, you’d better hope for at least 4 hour’s worth of sunlight every day.

I’m basing this “guesstimate” on my lessons learned from my 40-gallon water heater system- it draws about 4,000 watts and drains a fully charged 3,300 amphour battery bank (down to the 44 volt undervolt inverter alarm) after about 30 minutes of combined total usage (or about three normal showers’ worth of water heated). The feel of a bit of freedom from the electric company makes it all worth it, but the most enlightening aspect of this whole “project” of mine towards electrical self-sufficiency has been the quantity of deep-cycle batteries needed for a system that can “get you through the night” (I have a total of 50 now, and need

more!). If you are just getting started on planning your own solar project, don’t forget to add in the cost of all those batteries! - Wayne E. Tuesday, November 23, 2010 Constructing an Aboveground "Root Cellar" in Florida, By R.R.L. Permalink

First , to tell you a little about myself. I was a prepper in anticipation of Y2K, had the property, cabin, most of the works and of course nothing happened. (my family thought I was nuts) We all went back to our living. Unfortunately sold our property, because of an illness. I never thought of continuing on for future problems. I was awakened by talking with my brother earlier this year when he told me about SurvivalBlog. So needless to say I am a prepper once again, but this time my whole family is.

I am preparing my parents home to "shelter in place" because they are too old to move now or when the SHTF. It’s a concrete block home, my dad built plywood covers (I know, he needs metal) to fit over all windows when a hurricane comes through. The property is only one acre but in a very rural area. We have started a garden and trying to talk him into chickens. He grew up on a farm so he has an idea of what to do.

My father is a builder of furniture, homes, or anything you can think of. I knew that because of the humidity and area we needed a safe place to put our food storage, we called it an "above ground root cellar". But it is really just a controlled temperature pantry room--a heavily-insulated shed.

So last summer dad drew up the plans and got it built. We have a barn/shop with a lean-to. It is a a two car garage type building. We built "above ground root cellar" adjoining the barn under the lean-to but didn’t go all the way up to the roof, so that we could double insulate it. Inside, it measures approximately 6’x10’. It is insulated on all the walls, including the roof. Two of the walls already existed from the barn which were constructed of 2x4s. We also used the same 2x4 construction for the other 2 walls. We used R-13 batting on everything because 2 - 2" solid poly foam pieces would not fit between the 2x4s. For the outside walls - we put 15 pound roofing felt on the 2x4s, then 7/16" oriented strand board (OSB) on top of the felt. All the inside walls were sheathed in 1/2" plywood. On the ceiling we used 1/4"

plywood and with a double layer of R-13 insulation -- that ended up being 6-to-8 inches deep. The insulation inside the door is 3" and again we used R-13.

Just a note: Because my dad is a carpenter, we used what he had on hand, without buying much of anything, so you could substitute here and there.) My father used to build freezers back in the 1940s (when they had wooden doors) so he knew how to build a freezer door out of wood with rubber around it with insulation. The walls are lined ceiling to floor with storage shelves. We were originally going to leave the floor dirt but decided to lay down a floor of concrete patio steps.

We placed a small room size air conditioner near the floor. We leave it running, set to 62 degrees at all times. Initially, we had problems with dampness, then we placed some charcoal on tin plates, that cured our dampness. If we have more problems we thought of a dehumidifier; not sure if that would work. We place everything in there right now but will have to divide it up later as we get more items. At present we place our potatoes, apples, and onions on the floor in crates. These last us two months or more. So we are extending our fresh food shelf life, so we can buy in quantity or harvest large quantities from our garden.

You can’t easily see the cellar door in the barn/shop; but we are planning to build shelves in front so it will be hidden. We are also looking for a solar backup for the cellar because we don’t want to depend upon the air conditioning if and when grid goes down. There was only about a $20 difference in our light bill, so not bad.

We only have a six month supply of stored food, but we are buying a little more each month, gradually building our stocks. I know it’s not enough but it is more than most people have stored.

If anyone could help us out with some information on a solar system to run small room size air conditioner, we’d appreciate it. I’ve read some books on it, but I'm confused on what we need, besides panels.

JWR Adds: Air conditioners draw a lot of current and are hence some of the biggest power hogs of any alternative energy system. The key specification for a

refrigerator, air conditioner or other device that includes a compressor pump is is the locked rotor amps (LRA) rating. The LRA rating is the peak load (expressed in Amps) that the air conditioning unit will draw from your inverter, right when the compressor starts up. Even a small air conditioner can have a high LRA. A typical air conditioner might draw only 30 or 40 amps in the middle of a cycle. But on start-up it may have a LRA of 70 amps. Multiplying this by 117 volts, this means that the inverter must be able to supply a peak load of 8,190 watts. Yikes!

Unless you have a strong background in math and electronics, the process of "sizing" and specifying the components of an alternative power system is best left to professionals. Your key part of the sizing process is adding up all of the loads. Each electrical or electronic device should have a rating expressed in either Watts or Amps. You will provide an aggregate Amp figure, a brief description of your daily routine (how many hours per day each device is used, and seasonal differences) and an estimate on the number of direct sunlight hours available for your solar array's location. A system designer can then determine your system requirements, namely: how many PV panels, what size and type of inverter, and how large a battery bank is needed. In the hopes that you will buy system components from them, the folks at Ready Made Resources offer free consulting on alternative energy system design. You can reach them at: 1(800) 627-3809. Monday, November 15, 2010 Letter Re: Advice on Backpacking Solar Panels Permalink

CPT Rawles: I realize that you aren't an advocate of fully-mobile retreating. Yes, I can see the wisdom of having a well-stocked fixed retreat. But since I'm still in college (due to graduate in 2011), my situation is different. Until a get a job, I can't afford a retreat, and I'm not in any sort of a group. So I'm approaching the whole preparedness thing coming from the viewpoint of "just what I can fit in my car", with the back-up plan of "just what I can carry on my pack", or perhaps pushing/pulling a small deer cart, like you've mentioned.

My question is: What sort of solar panels can I buy that will charge a goodly-sized base camp battery, for [charging] trays for all my AA, C, D, CR-123, and 9-volt batteries. (These are for my radios, flashlights, and the combination laser/light for my SIG P250 pistol.) I'm a kinda power hog, so I need at least 20 Watts of charging

power. I need something that is lightweight, sturdy, compact non-breakable, weatherproof, and affordable. (Like, under $350.) Am I dreaming? Oh, FYI, I'm good with a soldering iron. (I'm a E.E. major.)

Thx, - H.L.G. in Texas

JWR Replies: The panel that I recommend is the Brunton 26 watt foldable solar array. These use amorphous solar cells, so the panels are flexible. These are much less prone to breakage than glazed monocrystalline panels. Add a small charge controller, a 3-to-5-pound gel cell, some Anderson Power Pole modular DC connectors and a couple of battery charging trays, and you will be all set. Sunday, November 14, 2010 Letter Re: Priority and Redundancy in Retreat Electric Power Permalink

In an attempt both to think through the issue and to stimulate other to do likewise, I present my personal analysis of our family's current and future electric power usage. First some background: We live in a 2,400 square foot two-story home the suburbs of a southeastern city. Currently there are 3 of us, with one child away at school. Our summer temps are as high as 95F and winters can drop to the 20s. Currently is is between 50 and 80, which is great - windows often left open.

We have grid power, for which we pay $150-300/month. Additionally, I have recently installed 720 Watts of solar photovoltaic on a south-facing roof which gets 6-8 hours/day of direct sunlight. This is tied through a charge controller to a bank of eight L-16 6 volt lead-acid batteries set up in a 24V configuration (4 in series, paralleled with 4 more in series). This system drives a Xantrex inverter and serves mostly as an emergency standby for absolute essentials. The batteries can also be recharged from the grid or from a generator. The generator (5 kilowatt diesel), when running, operates more systems, as well as charging the batteries in the solar system (if needed).

So, we currently have three layers of electrical power:

1) Solar running a few lights, television, radio, and the central heat blower motor (we have gas heat) and, most important, the controller for the on-demand gas hot water heater,

2) Generator (perhaps an hour a day) running more lights, computers, router/modem, one window heat/AC unit, refrigerator, freezer and microwave, and

3) Grid - running everything else (washer, dryer, range, central AC compressors).

A separate system (three 12 Volt deep-cycle car batteries with float charger) powers the CB/ham communication gear.

Although not nearly approaching off-grid, this arrangement lets us have essentials during a grid failure, with additional luxuries during brief generator runs. During the day, when we require little power, the solar system can run the house with energy to spare, leaving the batteries fully charged for evening use.

We are overly dependant on piped natural gas; and, although we have reserves of propane for cooking, we would need to provide for heat and warm water in other ways if gas pumping stations were off-line. Also of interest, our potable water drums are arranged to backfeed into the house's plumbing after the water main is turned off. We use a 24 volt DC water pump designed for boating (fed by the battery bank) with a built-in pressure sensor that actuates the pump when water pressure falls (from opening a spigot).

I would welcome any readers' comments on better optimizing our power use and prioritizing our demands during emergencies. In closing, please get you final preparations ready soon - things are deteriorating faster than you think! - J.B. in Tennessee Wednesday, November 10, 2010 Being Prepared - How Hurricane Andrew Saved My Life, by Richard in Miami, Florida Permalink

I am by nature a positive person. On the other hand, I fully recognize that we live in a very dangerous world. Ignoring the reality will not make you safe – that would only be an illusion of safety. I sincerely believe that far too many of us live in a fantasy world shaped by what we see on television, and reinforced by our very limited exposure to the world outside our immediate communities. Also, many of us are so caught up in the daily rat race that we don’t stop to think about much else.

To me, being prepared begins with being aware of the real risks that we face daily, or may someday come our way. The fact the something “bad” has never happened to you does not mean that it never will, or that you are somehow immune from such things. I will give you an example. In 1992 I lived in southwest Miami-Dade County with my young family. Florida is known for its long history of deadly hurricanes, but I had lived through many hurricanes, and my limited experience had taught me that hurricanes were nothing more than some wind, rain and a day or two off from school/work. The reality is that hurricanes have tremendous potential to kill people and destroy property. If you are taken by surprise (unprepared), a hurricane and the resulting aftermath can seriously change your life, or possibly end it. In August 1992 Hurricane Andrew turned out to be one of the most destructive in US history and I was completely unprepared. I lost my house, most of my personal property and almost my life. After Andrew passed through my neighborhood, I had little more than the clothes on my back. At that moment I realized just how badly I had failed myself, and my family, by my lack of preparation.

We were lucky to survive, but the lessons I learned will stay with me for the rest of my life. I will never make that mistake again. Today, although I am 1000% more prepared than back in 1992, I still feel it’s not enough. Very few people understand this and many make fun of me. But they have not had death knock at their door as I have. They have not felt the fear and desperation of seeing the storm, literally and figuratively, coming their way and not knowing what to do because they had not taken the time to prepare and plan.

I don’t know what the future will bring, but I know that whatever it is, it will be unexpected, sudden and it may be very bad. Next time it probably won’t be a hurricane – that would be too easy. After Andrew and Katrina, few of us take hurricanes for granted. But given our present social, political and financial environment - anything is possible. Ten years ago we thought our biggest threat was from outside terrorism. Today, I sincerely believe that the biggest threat comes from within our own borders.The economy, complacency, willful blindness, and people who refuse to recognize that we have turned a corner. A corner that will not allow us to go back to the way things were. But, I can hear it already: "Maybe if I

just go about my business and not think about the gloom and doom – everything will be just fine."

After Andrew I saw a population that very quickly deteriorated. The thin veneer we call civilization was quickly lost in the confusion and frustration. Looters were in my neighborhood within hours of the storm. People were fighting over water, flashlights, plywood, etc. Generators that sold for $300 a week before were fetching $1,000 or more - if you could find one. People were stressed to the maximum, nerves were on edge, and the essentials were all in short supply. Andrew was a relatively compact storm that left most of North Miami-Dade County untouched. I got in my car and drove an hour north to my cousin’s house in Fort Lauderdale and saw that his place was just fine. He took us in and gave us everything we needed; for which I will be eternally grateful.

But, just imagine a larger scale event where there is no place to drive to for relief or safety; unthinkable right? Imagine that you are unprepared - No Food, water, or medical supplies. What then? This is why I prep, this is why I devote, time, effort, money and a lot of planning to prepping, so that I don’t have to face that “what then” scenario. In retrospect, and to give it a positive spin, Andrew may have saved my life. Wednesday, October 27, 2010 A Rude Awakening, by Ruth E. in Hawaii Permalink

Power outages are quite common here in Hawaii. It seems like a couple of times a month, the lights flicker, get dim, and then go out. Sometimes they stay out for an hour or longer. We recently had a blackout on one whole side of our island, which truly woke me up to the possibilities of an endless blackout (worse-case scenario).

Usually I come out of an anxiety session unscathed, but since I currently belong to an emergency preparedness group, I have been reading tons about the many scenarios that could happen to our island home including tsunamis, earthquakes, flooding, volcanic eruptions (we live close to the Big Island), terrorist attacks and many others. This time, when the lights went out, and stayed out for longer than I thought they should, my worrying just would not stop.

What if the lights never came back on? How prepared was I to deal with it? What if this was really the beginning of the end of the world as we know it? Sure, I had a few cans of Spam and tuna, a couple of gallon jugs full of water, oh, and a first aid kit. In fact, I even have a 72-hour kit for my husband and I. But what if I was unable to dry my clothes that were now waiting in the washing machine. I don’t even have a clothesline or clothespins! (Pretty trivial, right?) Going further, where was that recipe of how to make my own soap when it ran out? Mental note: Get a clothesline and learn how to make laundry soap. That was just the beginning of my worries.

Surely, if the electricity went out for an extended time, or indefinitely, it would cause pandemonium. A majority of the food we eat is brought in from the mainland, New Zealand or Asia on ships. Would we be isolated from the rest of the world? It would be a dog-eat-dog scenario, seeing who could get to the stores the quickest – that is if they were even open. If it was a worldwide disaster, we could not expect others to help us for a long time, if ever.

And, if I was one of the lucky ones to get a supply of canned foods, did I know where my manual can opener was, since the one we use every day would be useless? As our freezer would no longer keep our meat frozen, how were we going to cook it? We could have a big feast, at least until the food spoiled – unless we knew a way to preserve it. Mental note: learn how to preserve meat, and purchase a couple more can openers, and put them with my emergency kits.

Thanks to a garage sale, I have a tiny little barbeque grill. Also, since living in Hawaii, we have learned how to make an underground oven. My husband can start a fire with the husk of a coconut (lucky me, right?). We are saved, I gloated to myself thoughtfully! Also, as an artist, I have quite a bit of artwork with frames that I have spent hours on. I wondered how long it would be before all of the art became fuel for a fire to cook our dinner. Mental note: Get an ax to cut up art for firewood, and store it safely

If it truly was TEOTWAWKI, I tried to think of the good things about living on an island, as well as the bad. The good part is that it never gets very cold here, so we will not freeze to death (highly unlikely). We can go fishing in the ocean, which is vast, although we don’t even own a fishing pole or fishing net. Mental note: Get a fishing pole and fishing net, and learn how to fish with both.

Another thing that is beneficial about living in Hawaii is that we have temperate weather. It is not too hard to grow certain types of food all year round. Luckily, I have a little square-foot garden going in the back yard. Black-eyed peas, lettuce, beetroot, and Swiss chard are doing well; at least we would not starve to death right away. But, I could not just run down and buy more seeds, so I would need to know how to harvest seeds Mental note: Learn how to harvest seeds.

Water – what about water? Luckily in Hawaii it rains quite frequently, and I have a bucket that catches the runoff from the roof. I have also purchased some water purification tablets, which is a start in the right direction, but it would be beneficial if I obtain knowledge of how to distill and filter water. Now that water is packaged and sold, there really is no reason not to have a supply of on hand, except perhaps storage space. Mental note: Learn how to distill and filter water, and store more drinking water.

Fortunately, my husband manages a small farm plot near our home. Certain crops grow here in the islands better than others. I have become accustomed to eating many different types of food. Being from Utah, I used to be a meat and potato, white bread, white rice girl, (which we now know is not healthy), so I am glad that my tastes have broadened to include taro, poi, tapioca root, green bananas, pele (wild hibiscus), and many other island foods. We also have experimented with many different spices, and I can stand my food pretty “hot”. I am thankful that I have been able to adapt to many different types of cuisine.

Also, I have recently learned how to sprout beans. This knowledge has helped me realize how easy you can grow a miniature garden in your own home with mung beans, clover, fenugreek, alfalfa, barley, sunflower and wheat. I also learned that when sprouting, the seeds, grains or legumes provide a large amount of nutrients. With these small seeds and beans, we can store quite a bit of food in a small amount of space.

I love candles, so I have quite a few decorative ones, but they are not the long burning emergency candles, and obviously won’t last very long. I also have a kerosene lantern and a flashlight, but am very unsure how long the matches, kerosene, and batteries I currently have will last. Yet, another mental note: Purchase humidity proof matches or lighters, emergency candles and safely store a supply of kerosene.

I realized how dependent we have become on technology, which may never work again if things go downhill. My biggest worry is that we will be unable to communicate with our children and grandchildren who live miles away. No e-mail, no cell phones, no Facebook. Would we even be able to find out what was going on locally? Where is that old radio? Do we have enough batteries to keep it running? Do I know which frequency emergency instructions would be broadcast over the radio? Maybe we will have to rely on a ham radio operator. Do I know who in the neighborhood is trained in this skill? Mental note: Find a ham radio operator and make friends. Meantime, purchase a small emergency radio and a generous supply of batteries, or get one that you can crank, or even better, get both.

Another worry that snuck into my mind was how well did we know our neighbors? Would we be able to share with them? If we ran out of something, could we ask for it without them scoffing (or worse, shooting) at us? Online banking would be impossible, and there would be no way to withdraw all the money we have been so carefully saving each month to pay for anything. If things should get really bad, we may be forced to barter our possessions for necessities. Memories of Mad Max surfaced in my mind. Would we be survivors like Max himself with the new world order, or be annihilated by the gangs that no doubt would surface? Mental note: Be kinder to our neighbors.

I realized that it is a given, we all must die, but would we prefer to die of starvation, or by our own ingenuity be able to help ourselves and others delay the inevitable? Could we keep our minds focused – which led me to another worry – my medications. Since I take a few prescription medicines on a daily basis, what would I do when they run out? I cannot stock up on my medications because the insurance won’t allow me to get more than a few months supply at a time. Do I know enough about natural remedies to offset the lack of medication? I have quite a few herbs in my garden. Would I know which herb was for which ailment? I also have an essential oil family emergency kit that I am learning how to use. Mental note: Learn which herbs and oils help which ailment.

How long would it take for us to get used to the new normalcy? Would we have to experience a severe mental shift, or could we just stay calm and take things as they came? Would we feel afraid, become dismayed or lose faith and feel betrayed? My husband and I are Latter Day Saints and have had a lifetime of warnings from our church leaders telling us “if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear”. How seriously have we taken their advice? Mental note: Heed their advice, now!

Worrying can be a good thing. It can move us to action.

Luckily, the lights finally came back on, I said a prayer of gratitude, and went down and cooked myself a delicious breakfast. Monday, September 27, 2010 Letter Re: Getting Started in Self-Reliant Living Permalink

Editor's Note: The following letter, suggested by a SurvivalBlog reader, is reprinted with permission of Backwoods Home magazine--which was one of my favorite print publications, even a decade before they became SurvivalBlog advertiser.

Dear Jackie, I have to disagree with your Ask Jackie column answer to Joe Leonetti's questions about getting started in self-sufficient living in Issue #124 (July/Aug 2010). They missed all the most important points that a "city" person would have to master first. Here are my own suggestions:

Joe, forget thinking "self-sufficient" and start thinking "frugal;" if you have the consume-and-spend mindset so prevalent today you'll need to do this anyway to prepare for retirement. The excellent news is, many things you'll need to know no matter where you live can be learned and practiced right in the middle of town, and little by little. For instance:

*Start by preparing all food and beverage at homethen with no frozen foodsthen from scratchthen from storage foods (e.g. canned goods) then with only a stove (no microwave, other gadgets)then without refrigeration (for ingredients or leftovers). If you're an average urbanite, you'll save a boatload of money that will help you to...

*Get out of debt completely. Debt is a chain that will imprison you to your current job forever. It may be the single most common reason why people fail at a simplified lifestyle change. Pay as you go with cash, use credit cards only for car

breakdowns and other emergencies, and pay the plastic off every month. And speaking of cars...

*Trade your late-model, banker's-dream for a used, great-condition vehicle that will serve you well on rougher roads (my advice: one without a computer "brain" where everything goes when it goes) and start learning to maintain and repair it yourself. This is a rough lesson but your vehicle is your only lifeline in remote living and doing work yourself will save you more money than almost any other single thing. A car repair class (or full course at your local community college) will also teach you what tools and equipment you'll need. Then get the car totally paid off. While this is in progress, start learning how to...

*Live without electricity, unlimited running water and central heating. Practice washing laundry, dishes and yourself using very limited quantities of water; use only electronics that have solar chargers; get up with the sun, go to bed when it's dark, use a flashlight or battery lantern in between. You'll also find that you need to adjust many household choices to accommodate the new regimethe type of clothes you wear, wearing them more than one day, your soaps, your hairstyle, and a whole lot more. You'll also need a wooden drying rack, a charming rustic decorator touch for any contemporary condo. Boy, will you ever feel sorry for yourself at times, but once you get good at it, it's also very empowering. And very soon you'll figure out that...

*You won't adapt to everything, so find out what is crucial to continuing and then keep going. Concentrate on paring down your present lifestyle to as little expense, as little stuff and as little time as possible, and then it's all forward progress. You can also whittle transportation expenses if you investigate public transportation, or...

*Get a durable pair of walking shoes, a big backpack (used) and create a sturdy, homemade wheeled wire shopping cart, maybe even a bike and bike cart. These things may be your lifeline if the car goes kerflooey one time too many. Do shopping on foot or by bike several times a week, in all kinds of weather; you'll be out in it anyway if you build or garden in a remote area. And speaking of which...

*Now that you're outside more, start practicing being comfortable inside with no central heating. Turn the thermostat down to 60 and wear long underwear, warm

Bear in mind. even chain video rental places. Then order every book they have on camping. bike repair. so you might as well get your money's worth. College libraries may be open to public use as well. too..vests. hats. and gloves inside the house. You can't work all the time and you must learn to entertain yourself in other ways. When it's ready. opera halls. *Your regional library that participates in an inter-library loan system. gas piping. *Purchase a used. and may have public-use computers as well as free wireless access for your own laptop. multiplex theaters. *Urban areas have lots of entertainment. You can use this for living in when you first move onto your rural landthat's where the warm clothes come in.. you will also realize that.. plumbing. kitchen) travel trailer or camper and learn your skillscarpentry. wiring. Libraries also stock popular DVDs and CDs. the . it may be harder to break into the field than you anticipated. Joe? Have you thrown down the magazine and run away screaming yet? The majority of these lifestyle-changes can be done even if you're presently living in a high-rise condo with a view of Manhattan. megastores. no less) obtained from. and their inventory might include a selection of more specialized periodicals geared to their high-tech classes. take it out camping frequently for practice.. without which you won't consider moving to the area anyway. outdoor living. Get over any attitudes about libraries being for students and go apply for your card. you stated that with your background it would be very easy for you to get into teaching. but rural areas do not have sports stadiums. you'll need a good selection of warm clothes if you. Your taxes are paying for it. with solar chargers you can still watch a DVD (for free.. Scout out every thrift store in your county and find these gems there. toilet. wood-stove use and the basic design and construction of small homes. are you still with me. *Now. *Lastly.. whateverrestoring it. Heavy bedclothes are good here. cooking from scratch. especially a rectangular sleeping bag zipped open for use as a comforter. Begin now getting the proper certification and begin job hunting for weekend or evening teaching spots. magazines and newspapers. self-contained (bed. nothing works in your favor like an established track record. and if you ever suddenly need new employment. if your present lifestyle permits. heavy socks. As you sit in the silence.

2010 Letter Re: Lessons Learned from Hurricane Ike. In the afternoon we continued with our preparations inside. I was happy to pay extra to fill up with Premium.) Monday.com. I waited in a very long line of cars only to find out that the station had run out of Regular gas. People were buying canned goods and ice in large quantities. Sept. What was unusual about this hurricane was the large size of the storm.. . 2010. Hurricane Ike hit Houston on Friday night September 13. We . The gas station was a zoo with everyone in panic mode. Gas stations in our area ran out of gas the day before the storm (Thursday). The hurricane was classified as a strong category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 110 MPH. the station running out of Regular. On Friday morning I finished installing our plywood storm shutters on our most vulnerable windows and bringing everything inside that could be damaged by the high winds. I will never again wait until the last minute to buy gas. Grocery stores were also crazy. Think ahead to retirement (just how much will you collect on Social Security?) and start planning now for a total lifestyle that is exactly what fits you and sustainable well into the years ahead. I really appreciate the people who share their lessons learned on SurvivalBlog. 2008. The grocery stores we visited had all run out of bottled water and batteries. It was all the owner could do to maintain order with people complaining about credit card issues.very best hedge against future money troubles is the ability to live well on very little. and how people were taking too long to buy gas. in Washington (Reproduced with permission of Backwoods Home magazine from Issue 125./Oct. September 13.Liz C. so I thought I would share my experiences and lessons learned from Hurricane Ike. by John in Texas Permalink Jim. Hurricane force winds extended 120 miles from the center.

I would not be able to call anyone for help. I was amazed at the damage. The tree that hit our house was a . Fortunately. filled up our camping water storage bags. During the peak winds. the strongest winds hit our house on the back side of the storm. shingles. Our power was intermittent most of the night and finally went out around 2 AM. I also setup inverters and car batteries in the house for backup power. A television is very helpful to track the movement of the storm.charged all of our batteries. I heard a loud crash and our entire house shook. This kept us very busy for the rest of the night as we were constantly bailing the water out of all of the bins. I had insisted that everyone sleep down stairs during the storm. that is when you know the strong winds are approaching. The house was making a lot of strange noises due to the high winds. If we had any kind of emergency. I continued watching the news with a battery powered television. I thought the worst was over. We were able to catch enough of the water that the sheetrock downstairs was not damaged. sheet-rock. What made me feel uneasy was the fact that my family and I were completely on our own. To my surprise. we rushed around in the dark trying to find something to catch the water. and tree branches had fallen into my son’s bedroom. we were able to see the damage outside. We went to bed early to try to get some sleep before the strongest winds of the storm hit. insulation. The high winds and rain started to hit around 9 PM on Friday night. As the sun came up. I had to find another solution to receive digital television with backup power for future storms. That is exactly what happened in our case. What helped me to calm down was keeping busy reviewing all of my preparations and walking around the house checking for problems. The larger tree branches had come through the roof like spears. The roof framing. I ran upstairs and found a tree had hit our house. As I watched the eye of the storm pass near our home to the East on television. We needed a lot of bins and buckets to catch the water falling from such a large area of the roof. Most of the large pine trees near our home had been blown down. The television weatherman said that when your electricity goes out. Since television stations in our area no longer broadcast analog television signals. Our home is about 70 miles north of the coast. roof decking. It was at that point that my panic started to build. Around 1 AM the wind was making so much noise that I was no longer able to sleep. As the hurricane force winds raged outside. and got all of our battery lamps ready.

My neighbors paid none of the cost to remove the trees or repair the damage to my home and yard. The generator ran flawlessly for 13 hours per day on natural gas. I called insurance company and told I was on my own and I could not make any major repairs before the Insurance Adjuster arrived. We learned from a previous flooding that if the house is not dried out quickly. The funny thing was that I had cut down all of the tall pine trees in my yard after I realized how dangerous they could be if they fell on the house. I now rotate my gas yearly and put it on my calendar so I won’t forget. Since we could not put a tarp on the roof due to the tree. We started running our generator the first day using gas. My natural gas bill went up $100 and my electricity bill went down $200. I strongly recommend a good quality generator and maintain it well for best reliability.500 Watts. A second tree in my neighbor’s yard has snapped (clean break) and the top half landed in my back yard. we moved the generator to our back yard and connected it to natural gas. All the pine trees that hit my house and landed in my yard were all from my neighbors and all of the cleanup efforts and repairs were my responsibility. The generator load monitor we had was very helpful. I was amazed the generator ran well on two year old gas. After the rain stopped. a strong musty odor will develop. As long as . We then pulled up the carpet and removed the wet pad. I do not think it was a tornado from the hurricane that blew down the trees since the damage was so widespread in our neighborhood. We powered everything in the house except the central air-conditioning. A third tree had landed on the roof of the house behind ours and the top part was in our yard. We used fans to circulate the air and help dry the room out. Our generator has a natural gas conversion kit installed. roof decking. we hung a tarp inside the room to catch all the water and funnel it into a large bucket. so supporting the electrical load of the entire house had to be done carefully. tree branches. so I actually saved money running the generator. sheet rock. I highly recommend everyone keep a few boxes of these contractor bags for emergencies. The tree had broken at mid-height and the top part of the tree was still connected to the bottom half.large pine in our neighbor’s yard. The trees all fell in different directions. The contractor (thick plastic) garbage bags we had worked great for this cleanup. Our generator is 7. The tree company we hired to remove the trees in our yard used a 100-ton crane to remove the tree on our house. I remember praying that our generator would keep running since we were totally dependent on it for all of our power. We started the cleanup process by removing all shingles. The day after the hurricane hit. The only gas I had was two years old with Sta-Bil gas stabilizer added. and insulation that was in the room. We also had a mature queen palm that had blown over.

laptops. We also use Carbon Monoxide detectors in our house when running the generator. the inverter I was using for our large freezer stopped working. I was disappointed that we were only getting 3-4 hours of run time from a standard car battery. I am now more careful about overloading inverters. After two days. I took the inverter apart and found many of the internal components had been damaged. I realized what was happening and went indoors to recover. we had no problems. We setup a table in front room with power strips for them to use. hamburger. I am now extra careful when working around a running generator. Neighbors asked us to charge their cell phones. At 90%.). The operating power of the freezer was within the rated load of the inverter. I made extra ice before the storm and filled many 1 gallon freezer bags. After the storm we lost electricity. . and phone service. Several of our neighbors had electric stoves and could not cook. the generator circuit breakers would trip within a few seconds. We had no problems with water. they had none of the basic items (eggs. After about a week. and fatigue). bread. Many of the nearby neighborhoods had no water and one had limited sewer service. milk. With our generator not running for 11 hours at night. At night I used our inverters to power our refrigerators and freezers. etc. I found the freezers were able to maintain a safe temperature. sewer. nausea. but the surge current was not. We decided to shut down our generator at night to keep a low profile and so we did not disturb the neighbors (too much). but the refrigerators were not. orange juice. and natural gas service. we sometimes had problems. I was surprised that phone service went down after 24 hours. When the grocery stores opened. We had no power for 10 days. On the third night. All gas stations and stores in our area were closed after the storm since there was no electricity. I solved this problem by adding blue-ice to the refrigerators at night. the phone company restored service with portable generators they connected to the phone system equipment in the neighborhood. I started to feel the effects on Carbon Monoxide poisoning (headache. We had many offers to take their frozen food. I also purchased larger deep-cycle marine batteries to extend my run time.we kept the load under 50%. Stores reopened slowly as emergency generators were brought in. They came over to our house and used our gas stove to cook dinner. and DVD players. While working in our yard near the generator. neighbors started to clear out their refrigerators and freezers. cable/internet. The item most requested by my neighbors was ice. When the load was at 70%.

Wednesday. As our neighbors and friends told us how smart we were to buy a generator. She still says the generator was a waste of money and a hurricane is never going to hit us again. This is my biggest lesson learned from the storm. None did. September 8. hiring contractors. we had a good test of our emergency preparations. The entire process of filing an insurance claim. we did not have to move out of our home. I don’t intend to just “survive” but “thrive” – would that make me a “thrivalist?” Yes. As soon as the power came back on. What I have to say is speaking to a revelation I have had over the recent years based on my over confidence and belief that somehow I was different than the average Joe just because I know the big one is coming. Unfortunately (for me). I like to use the older term self-reliant simply because I feel “survivalist” doesn’t describe the lifestyle properly. completing all necessary repairs. 2010 The Second Wave: Survivalist Turned MZBs. I know that was a bit corny. don’t assume everything will go well for you. I was mistaken. Overall we were blessed that the damage was not worse. I thought to myself I have finally won this argument. In all seriousness. We spent more time preparing than anyone else on our street and ended up with the most damage to our house and yard. Just because you are prepared. She has always told me that our generator was a waste of money and a hurricane is never going to hit Houston. My wife does not support my preparation efforts. and we learned a lot from the storm. let’s assume you are an average Joe living in perilous times. and negotiating the final settlement with the insurance company took well over a year.Many of our neighbors and friends told us they were going to buy a generator and prepare for the next hurricane. by Dave in Florida Permalink For many years I have been working towards self-reliance. . they forgot all about it.

I had a limited knowledge of hand signals so I was at least able to keep in step with my squad for the most part. Immediately everyone around began forming up two columns (apparently something they had done before). ammunition. At this point I felt like a complete fish out of water to say the least – and was thinking “what in the heck has my friend gotten me into!?” As the patrol continued. my friend called and said “by the way. this whole concept was very new to me though it seemed to strike a cord in my inner being as something that was necessary and logical considering my concern for Y2K. food storage. Immediately upon my arrival I was overwhelmed and excited with what I saw. Again. a good pair of boots. plus anything else that could be carried on a hike. and so on. and other essentials. A gentleman took charge and then proceeded to instruct us that we were going to perform a practice patrol of the surrounding land and that each column of the formation would be independent squads. I followed my friend as we made our way to where our campsite would be and a long the way I heard several conversations discussing weapons types. Before the weekend. bring a holster for your handgun. We then moved out as a group and individuals from each squad volunteered to be squad leaders and forward scouts. plus and minuses. Throughout the property were small cabins being constructed by individual members of the group along with bulk storage areas for fuel. Having been in ROTC throughout high school I immediately followed suit. creating group standards. I was invited to come out to a friend of a friend’s cabin on acreage in Southern Georgia where we were going to “camp out” for the weekend. The moment everything settled everyone began discussing practicing a patrol. I did my best to comply with my fellow squad members. My official introduction to the concept of survivalism was done unknowingly by a friend and group of survivalists that were preparing for Y2K. After we were well out of camp the squad leaders led their squads around a predetermined patrol path utilizing forward scouts and practicing noise discipline along with hand signals. food. a backpack with essentials.My History: Before getting to the point of my article let me flash back to the beginning of my journey. and a sling for your favorite rifle. Of course all of these conversations seemed odd to me at the time yet captivating.” I didn’t quite understand the request but of course complied figuring we were simply going to hike too our campsite. Several points a long the way the forward scout would stop the squad to listen – after being satisfied there were no threats we continued .

I met some very interesting folks and maintained several of those relationships even till this day. weaknesses and strengths of our different packs. I remember initially feeling almost powerless at the task ahead. I met my wonderful and present day wife and have been blessed with five children. Several years ago. We returned from the patrol and discussed as a group the issues.our patrol. . The weekend itself continued at this tempo with several more “hikes” as we called them and intense conversations about the possibility of disaster this coming Y2K pursued. Life happened and other things took priority. Fortunately.” The moment I began reading the book I couldn’t put it down. Immediately I was consumed with the aspect of survival laid out in a way I never really conceived though I had experienced different aspects of it. We had a fairly large family and no real resources to throw at the problem. The patrols were mostly uneventful but exciting. slings. I was fascinated with the whole concept of this exercise and felt energized though we hiked with weighted packs through tough terrain and over significant distances. I now had a wonderful wife and three children (with more on the way). harnesses. Slowly we talked about the prudence of being prepared as a family. We led a fairly frugal life but a comfortable one. but never congruently. We stayed off of most trails and pushed our way through the thick Southern Georgia swamps. my concept of survival changed significantly. my wife is and was always very intelligent and open to the concept. the same friend that introduced me to the “group” back in 1999 recommended I grab the novel "Patriots" by James Rawles and “give it a read. I continued my interests in shooting and somewhat frequently made it to the range with my friends and still had several conversations on the subject but really did not formulate or act on any concrete plans. I felt it is my responsibility as a father and husband to make sure my family had the best possible life. After Y2K came and went without the slightest indication of catastrophe the group slowly broke apart and no longer met and personally my interests in the subject dwindled but not entirely. My interests were reinvigorated and I began to consume more information on the topic resulting in research and many more conversations with different friends. As a father of three at the time. Our lives were that of a typical family with not the best priorities but I would say better than average. and various tactical equipment. I didn’t want to just “survive” but to thrive in post-catastrophe.

We are by no means a perfect family but our path was indeed more wholesome and proper this time round. and agriculture and ranching is still the line share of business. We finally found the right community and area of Florida where self reliance was still a way of life. One really has to ask the question “is this sustainable?” I find the concept of supplying a remote retreat where there is no current food production. Then everything changed.Shortly there after we were met with financial hardship when I took a significant loss in work. We reached a point where after serious soul searching we knew we didn’t want to embark on the typical American life represented as nothing but shallow consumerism. My wife and I spent two years looking for land that was both remote yet still close to family in our native home of Florida. and fertilizers stored in bulk to support their eventual plans of gardens and food production. A Revelation Again. I lost a major client while retaining some smaller clients causing a huge deficit in our income versus expenses. With that in mind we have labored the past year turning our virgin land in to a farm and ranch using self sufficient methods of farming and ranching modeled after Joel Salatin and others in the Polyculture movement. We lost just about everything including our home. It seemed at every step of the way God provided opportunity and a means assuming of course we were open to it. The sense of depression was significant and further amplified by the concern of a coming catastrophe. Life no longer became about shallow possessions but about meaningful content and the pursuit of happiness by our achievements. pesticides. work came our way again almost like God had waited for us to learn this lesson before he gave us another chance. I began to formulate self reliance and survival in to our plans. We wanted self reliance not just for our own family security but for the wholesomeness it would bring to our children. With God’s grace. This went on for 18 months. After much thought and discussion with my wife we felt having a food supply of not just of stored food but active production was critical. Most TEOTWAWKI scenarios suggest a grid down situation where fuel and byproducts of fuel such as fertilizers and pesticides would become scarce – though that being the case most “typical survival plans” utilize fuel. Our credit was destroyed from our previous hardship so we had to use cash for everything. to where one would “Bug Out” and survive whilst planting a garden for . most people kept gardens.

. let alone the tools and supplies you never realized were necessary. Imagine working stressful 8 to 12 hours days 365 days a year and then coming home to work on your homesteading projects – I can tell you from experience it is hard to muster the energy today even though I am just into my 30s. Let’s say you have 24 months of food stored up and of course every gadget imaginable. We are no where near the point of producing at least 20% of our nutritional requirements. Getting the picture? Most of us have great reasons why we shouldn’t begin this phase of our survival/self reliance plans now but are you really willing to bet your life on your first-timer’s success? It isn’t until you begin planting a garden do you realize the seeds you bought are not optimized for your agriculture zone or even simple infrastructure items like near by water sources for irrigation. let alone the other stresses.long term survival to be flawed and likely resulting in disaster. Not only will the thousands of survivalists turned farmers learn food production from the school of “Hard Knocks” they will also be under constant threat of starvation when their food stores are exhausted. soil conditions. including defending the retreat. Sure you may have gotten a handy list of these items but invariably it was written by someone that lives in an entirely different agricultural zone. and garden fencing to keep the critters out are in place let alone the right tools. the Internet. Each homestead is different. hardware stores. Lest we not forget you have a full time job of retreat security. Sure there is a wealth of knowledge on farming and raising animals for food in books and on the Internet but the common-sense “every day stuff” is not spelled out. Oh . and garden pests all together. Six months have now passed and you decide it’s time to start on your farming endeavor. Let me create the proper image of the “average survivalist plan”. nor could it be grasped without actually doing it. compost bins. Ask any homesteader how long it took to get up and running – I can guarantee you most will tell long stories highlighted by serious trial and error over years of work and effort. For the past year my wife and I have had the benefit of an income.you need to remove a few trees to make room for your garden – got tools for that too? Each job will dovetail into other jobs you may not have even anticipated. and many other things that would not be available post-catastrophe to help us achieve self reliance. there is no one universal method to success. Do you have a true understanding of the time investment to get these infrastructures items in place? How long to mature your compost and sources of nitrogen and carbon to feed your piles? Or even the proper garden spot that has ample sunlight.

I had my Ruger 10/22 ready but the fox was too sly and on top of that I couldn’t make out his silhouette in the pre-dawn hours for a good shot. or possums? A good meat bird (non-broiler) or egg layer takes a long time to raise – imagine losing half your flock in one night! Not long ago my wife and I awoke to a massacre of our chickens. from the chickens and they didn’t even stir other than a few random barks that evening. coyotes. It took three separate occasions before I managed to get a good shot and bag our predator. most folks will simply try and fail to grow things they like to eat now. Only after many nights of sleeping in the dining area where we had a view of the chickens did we finally catch a glimpse of the predator – a fox. This brought forth the realization I need night sites or a good scope to shoot in low light conditions. The strange thing was there was no sign of the chickens in the form of body parts or feathers just simply they were gone. The only evidence was a small hole dug in to the coop. ducklings and poults while they grow in their feathers and can maintain their own body heat? What about the source of your eggs and chickens in the first place? What’s the likelihood you would be able to come about them without having to make dangerous hikes far from the retreat to locate and obtain them through barter? Personally. raccoons. You really should adjust your diet to reflect not only seasonal foods but indigenous foods of your retreat area. Do you even know what plants are indigenous to your retreat area? Remember – simply observing your large local farms is poor indication of this. Another example of a lesson learned that could easily result in devastation of your group’s food supply would be predators – the four legged variety. how do you plan to raise them? Do you realize most modern chicken breeds have had their broodiness bread out of them making you almost entirely dependent on incubation to hatch eggs? Do you have an incubator and a means of powering it for the incubation period of anywhere from 21 to 28 days? What about a heat source for your newly hatched chicks. We have two German Shepherds that slept only 150 ft. Otherwise.Especially if you plan to grow without pesticides and fertilizers – like an artist it takes much practice to master the conditions in your area to be a consistent grower. Imagine if we had depended on this flock of chicken for our egg and meat requirements and the possible ramifications of its loss--ranging in seriousness from inconvenient to starvation! On the subject of chickens. They typically practice monocultural growing methods which are highly dependent on farming equipment and copious quantities of pesticides and fertilizers – all things you will eventually deplete. Do you have traps available for capturing predators like fox. I would . You really need to research what grows locally without much help from bug protection and soil augmentation. regardless of season and feasibility. Imagine the stress you would feel having your first season crops fail or produce very little.

Let alone desperate men that are well armed. Typically. Bantams lay small eggs. and exciting conversations on possible scenarios that may or may not come to pass. and experienced. They will threaten those who survived the first 6. [JWR Adds: For broodiness. but they don't object to sitting much larger fostered eggs. Possible Solutions . we've had the most success with Bantam hens. It is my hope by exposing these potential flaws in common survival planning that I will protect my family and others from a deadly Second Wave attack or at least decrease its intensity. 12 to 24 months of chaos.] As you can see this will take time to master – time is invaluable when the clock never stops ticking on your food supply.prefer to let a broody hen do the work of hatching and raising chicks but this is something you don’t just do since finding good broody hens is at best hit and miss these days. guns. We all know too well how desperation will lead even the best of men. have we not accepted the principle of self-reliance and independence from a system that we all believe may/will eventually fail us? Do you live in denial of this lesson based on the actions of your every day life? If you truly believe we are living unsustainable lives and this world is on a crash course to a catastrophic end then perhaps you should consider changing your own life now? A Second Wave of MZBs My greatest fear should the Schumer hit the fan is that well-armed survivalists who are ill-prepared in the food production capability will become the “Second Wave” of Mutant Zombie Bikers (MZBs). I know – homesteading and self-reliance just isn’t exciting and sexy to the average survivalists. Do you believe that some how you will be exempt from the newbie mistakes of most homesteaders and farmers? Do you realize the convenience of a hardware store or even a quick Internet search will not be there to assist you? As survivalist. As survivalist we normally are avid researches to the point we neglect to really practice or act on the mountains of information we have read or debated. our focus is on tactics. trained.

We have had a year to work on this “grid-up” with help from friends and family with no fear of MZBs and we have hardly made a dent! Can you tell me without hesitation that you could plan every aspect of this operation in advance. years before needing it. goat. the human spirit is very capable when under pressure but unlike our Savior you will not be making wine out of water. [JWR Adds: Nothing beats gravity-fed Spring water. 3) Construction of fencing for pastures. and gardens.So what to do? Unfortunately the answer is not all that easy. paddocks. berry patches] and other plants that takes time to mature This is just a very general list to get started. As we begun our own homestead these have been the things of our focus: 1) A reliable water supply capable of operating with out grid or petroleum power machinery. doing test plantings to determine what really grows best while the Internet is still up to research your results. without having done it before? Sure. 4) Compost piles and other soil enrichment 5) Support buildings for harvest and animal processing 6) Storage areas for harvested plants and animals 7) Planting of orchards [vineyards. If you are planning to but out to a remote retreat you may want to consider finding one close enough to allow frequent trips for building infrastructure while the hardware stores are still open. and other small livestock shelters. in just one trip to the hardware store.] 2) Chicken. .

Another option to consider if you have formed a group is to allow the most capable member(s) of the group with the most flexibility to live on the retreat property and where they will engage in daily infrastructure improvement/homesteading activities. and supplies therefore the ability to adapt. plantings. Besides. and use what is at hand will become the rule of the day. If local work or income is not an option. Sure the pioneers were able to do it but they had the benefit of everyday knowledge learned firsthand or that was passed down by the generation of pioneers and farmers before them. wasn’t this the reasons for homesteads in the first place? .I doubt even the most experienced farmers and ranchers placed on virgin land would have immediate success. In the mean time group members could make frequent trips to the future retreat to assist in major infrastructure projects. If you are successful at this then you know without doubt not only will you have a secure retreat but a productive one capable of supplying your group of its basic needs. If it is absolutely not in the cards to be near or live on your retreat then I would strongly suggest you consider a 3 to 5 year food supply to give you enough time to establish your future homestead. substitute. and so on. then perhaps a small monthly donation from all group members would subsidize members manning the retreat. Let me jump back to what I said in the beginning about thriving instead of surviving. This would even allow the opportunity of animals to be kept at the retreat. and harvests of crops. Think about the benefits of stored food costs that could be saved by actively growing your own as a group? You could also establish your pastures and raise meat cattle to provide a source of fresh meat for the group and sell the excess to processors as another means of revenue generation. Common man is completely out of touch of these once generally known survival skills and therefore will be subject to a learning curve. The same could be done with chicken. skills. goats. If you truly believe in self reliance and the prudence of preparedness then why not act with your principles and embark on what you feel to be necessary and wholesome? Make the life change and increase your odds of survival by living it now and not later. I can guarantee that you will not have all of the required tools. Make this an investment that will pay for itself in what it generates for the group. There is no reason a retreat needs to be a liability constantly requiring capital to maintain.

At least in this case you have a viable farm / homestead with active and a history of successful production. It is time to reject today’s shallow society and embark on true substance filled journeys bound to bring true happiness and fulfillment. This article’s purpose to introduce the new homeowner-to-be some of these choices and to give you some background on each so that you may further investigate those that interest you. But they still do not change the reality of the situation and the points I bring to the table. Nothing is more critical than the long term aspect of survival. by S. August 29. A lot of folks will read this and either take it for what it is which is “my real life experience and revelations on the matter” or they will discard it for more interesting topics on survival while ignoring the elephant in the room. Go do it yourself and graduate from the school of “Hard Knocks” before TSHTF and while you still have the luxury of failing. Though some decisions may not have a direct impact on your prepping (the color of the countertop will not matter in a SHTF scenario) many will have a direct impact on the sustainability of your home. Don’t be the latter. Permalink When purchasing or building a home. Boilerplate survivalism is not the answer – to be honest it is more like consumerism.L. It is not intended to be a how to build a house guide! . Sunday. Don’t take my advice or anyone else’s for that matter. take a serious look at your plans. I fear most have severely under estimated their long term plans and have only focused on short term survival. your ability to prep. If you are literally just making ends meat and simply survive versus thriving then how do you intend to come to the aid of others and participate in the rebuilding of our communities? I understand these may not seem like realistic options.S. literally hundreds of choices must be made. 2010 Home Design Choices for the Prepper. Survivalism is really self reliance in the sense of traditional homesteaders and the Patriot farmers who founded this nation. there are no shortages of choices that must be made. your financial well being and thus. From type of home and features needed to financial matters.A third option is to find a self-reliant minded homesteader that is looking to find others to populate their homestead turned retreat should catastrophe happen. You will have to analyze your personal situation and take the proper steps to experience first hand what your challenges will be.

Any home built or purchased by a prepper must be. we will look at the major systems of your home. it is easier to maintain comfort in the home and will save precious resources. maintain and defend if necessary.and are occupied by smaller families. sustainable to the greatest extent possible. . I am trying to make your home require the least amount of external inputs necessary to keep it functioning. and security issues. the more resources (including money) it will require to operate. but actually need less home than we have now! We need a home that is comfortable and safe. Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC). hopefully allowing the few you have or can obtain to get you through till things get put back together. HVAC and insulation are related as is the water system and your gutters. most home are two to three times that size .perfectly suitable to the "grasshopper" lifestyle. construction. fancy kitchens and large spaces but short on practicality. strength and sustainability. leaving more money for “bullets and Band-Aids”. By sustainable. I have worked on and have toured many homes under construction and found most to be of the generic cookie-cutter variety . This has everyday advantages and is even more valuable in a SHTF scenario. I will mention that as Americans. I am not trying to save the planet (though that is a definite byproduct). which consist of the water system. We all desire a nice home. most of us desire to live in a larger home than we currently occupy. you need to research these items yourself carefully. Long on features like Jacuzzis. I have explained many of the items I will cover in this article in greater detail. I make no warranties. Both can be designed to compliment or help each other. An efficient home simply costs less to operate.As the host of The Homeowner’s Friend Podcast. but a definite balance needs to be struck as the larger and fancier the home. it saves you money and/or effort. For example. Like with any choice having to do with finances or big-ticket items. However.but nearly impossible when the gas stops flowing! Remember most families (with 4-5 kids no less) survived in 800 square foot ranch houses in the 1970s just fine! Today. above anything else IMO. In normal times. both fresh and waste. it is ultimately up to you to make the best decision depending on your particular circumstances. Though I believe my information to be true. In a SHTF crisis. its easy to heat 5. I will not look at home styles in this article as that could be one of its own. In this article. Heating. Most have at least some effect on the others and must all be properly integrated to obtain the most sustainable design. expressed or implied. electrical.000 square feet . When the gas is flowing.

a declining tax base or increased foreclosures? Is it a twenty mile commute to get to a job or store? As I mentioned in the podcasts. many considerations have to be made. A very reliable system in normal times. I have several podcasts on this topic. wells and city mains. so even in a power outage with no generator backup at the water plant. Dug wells are often 3 or so feet wide and several feet deep. but vulnerable in a SHTF scenario. sometimes the cheapest land may prove to be the most expensive after you take into account all the variables! Fresh Water Water basically comes from two sources. From choosing a community to a specific lot. I am not intending to write a book! Many of the systems. as I can control it . such as subterranean. is filtered and treated. often made of stone or a large pipe. dug and drilled. . water will continue to flow for a day or so unless people hoard it. These are installed over an active spring and can provide ample quantities of great water (or not). however. Two main types exist. with some backup stored and more unfiltered available locally. yields can suffer. Certainly. as the surface water levels drop in dry times of the year. Wells are perhaps the best for the prepper as this option allows you to basically operate your own water company. In some areas. Are there water problems. bad schools. high taxes. but again. Earthship. Also. They are vulnerable to surface water contamination and as they rely on surface water bubbling out of the ground. Extra water flows into the high water tanks to provide static pressure for the Town ([roughly]1 PSI for each feet of height (or "head") when the pumps are not needed or in time of high demand. Please though. are common amongst all types so much of the discussion will be valid. investigate the area and lot carefully. as it is an in depth topic in itself. and pumped into the system. these can not be used as a water supply for a new home because of the risks involved. yurt. etc. bad neighbors. I will not cover locations. whatever your choice. bad soil conditions. I prefer my own water system. the above ground standard framed home. Typically the tanks hold a day or so worth of water.I am also going to focus on the most common type of home. straw bale.. dome. many interesting types of homes exist.but currently we are on city water. City water is supplied from wells or reservoirs.

but are best for more shallow wells. with the city water turned off to keep from also supplying your neighbors! Using just a few 55 gallon tanks and . one can have water without the use of a grid. many standard pumps are 220 Volt AC (VAC). called a well casing. Inside [city limits on metered] city water supplies. one can store potable water in an installed tank (approved for storage of drinking water) in the basement or yard and use a pump to supply it to the home. it makes the most important life sustaining item easy to provide. Ground water levels are also more stable. however. however. you are lucky enough to find an artesian well. it may not be practical (or legal) to install a well just for emergency use. Submersible pumps located in the well under the water level. These go down hundreds of feet (300-to-500 feet is common) into deep ground water sources typically found in cracks between the layers of rock. Jet pumps are the most simple and pull the water from the well. except in springs that are above the level of the house. Both types of pump have foot valves at the input to keep the home water (which is under pressure) from running back into the well. Since well water is generally safe to drink without filtration or treatment. just pipe it to the home and you may not need a pump! Using a simple generator or solar-powered pump. Be advised. In most cases. Simply pump from the tank into the drain at your city water hookup or other cold water hose fitting. They are also more expensive and difficult to install. which is basically a drilled well that is naturally under pressure. Storage (pressure) tanks are used to allow the pump to cycle at reasonable intervals. that is cemented into the bedrock. A water storage tank can also be installed at the highest part of the home or land and used to supply water pressure between generator or sun fueled pumping sessions. This isolates the vulnerable surface water from the cleaner deep ground water. These work well. As an alternative. The top section. which goes from the surface through the soil and loose rock down to the solid bedrock is lined with a steel pipe. so small inverters and generators will not work. In this case. Occasionally.Drilled wells are drilled into the earth using (usually) heavy well drilling equipment. Rapidly cycling wells (more than once per minute with a moderate flow or so) indicate either a bad or undersized storage tank. 12 Volt RV pumps (preferably the kind with the attached storage tank) are ideal for this coupled with a generator or solar recharged battery. are clearly superior as it is easier to push than to pull water and are self priming (something you will appreciate if you sometimes run out of water). even during most SHTF scenarios. providing a more reliable water source for the homeowner. a pump system is required to push or pull the water out of the well and into the home.

even a clog in your own drain pipe to the street can cause extensive damage.) but if you are not that high. this may work even in a SHTF scenario (but understand it will exit somewhere downhill from your house . If your on a hill. This is why I never recommend having a gravity drained basement toilet or shower below grade (in a basement). The EPA recommends to add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular. as this is a prime release point in a backup . Be creative! Waste Water Systems If you are on city water. you are likely also on a city sewage system as well. If you have a gas water heater with a pilot lamp. If you want to install a fixture below grade.perhaps in another house.a pump like this. you can even have hot water.. you can go a few days if you conserve . Fill the storage tanks by hand or with another pump and battery at local streams or other water bodies.something that is much less likely to happen as they are higher than the ground level. You could even take a quick shower. it may back up into your home if you are lower in the system. Filter the water as you pump it with a simple RV filter and add some bleach to eliminate most water born bacteria or other contaminants. Worst yet. you will not be able to get rid of waste water without installing a basic septic system yourself. Remember what flows down hill. a pipe that will only overflow from fixtures on the first floor .utilizing your normal household faucets. You can also take advantage of roof water using a cistern buried in the yard or a pool to provide nonpotable water for watering plants or flushing toilets. it may back up as the pumps that keep the stuff flowing to the treatment plants shut down. Many books and Internet sources cover the finer points of water filtration. If the city system is backed up. Just a “T” on the outlet from the house with some valves where you can temporarily pipe the waste into a couple of buried 55 gallon drums buried outside to settle out the solids and into some stone to drain the water will be . stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. liquid household bleach for each gallon of water. Some of these are even automatic. if needed. It is also a good idea to install some sort of valve on your sewer hookup in the basement where it enters the house to stop any backups from entering your home. unscented. so I will not dwell on it here. Refill the water tanks with portable tanks hauled in a vehicle or behind a bike in a trailer. This may be something you do so quietly if you know what I mean. use a sewage basin and ejector pump to raise the waste water to a higher pipe.

if extreme heat is a life/death situation in your area. Of course. except to push the efficiency ratings as mentioned above. and are powered overwhelmingly by electricity.2 stage unit to account for future fuel price increases . you may never save enough to make it worth the added expense. Again. even if you have central. These tanks (especially those after the septic tank) are usually large and can accommodate some usage without power.better than nothing. where air conditioning is only used for 2-3 months in a year. sometimes a pump is required to push the water that flows out of the house into the septic tank or even from the septic tank to the leach field. Our installer indicated most folks go with a 12-14 SEER air conditioning in our area. . However.) and in a SHTF scenario.. Buy one (they are cheap these days) for this purpose ahead of time and store it. those homes with septic systems will not have these problems. unless you have a pump chamber as part of your system.putting me just above the norm. installing this “T” will be easy as will separating your drains to take advantage of the gray water availability. this till needed. In a heating system. For a couple hundred bucks more. If you are building your home. Remember that central air conditioning is a big load for a generator to handle (more on that later) but a portable window unit. Air conditioning systems are quite straight forward. the reverse will be true. Because of elevation issues. In northern climates though. so I will not talk to much here about them. I went with the [moore efficient] 16 SEER . to meet codes you may want to plan for. As you run your generator. And remember. though it may be hard to understand. but will eventually fill. it makes sense to spend more on a super-efficient air conditioner because you will use it all year and the electricity saved. at today's rates. but not execute. if you use biodegradable soaps. save the few by natural gas. In Florida. fuel will be nearly impossible to get. There is a limit to this. choose the most efficient system that is practical for your area. will offset the initial added expense before the system is obsolete. make sure these can run as well to keep things flowing. will provide relief while on generator power if needed. Heating and Cooling As for heating and cooling. gray water from sinks and showers can be used to water your garden or other plants. I recommend pushing the limits of the practical savings limits a step or two as fuel will only get more expensive (and it may skyrocket soon. strategically placed.

from heating. Let’s first briefly cover fuel choices. equipment. the quantity of fuel needed for each category and its costs. Oil units need regular cleaning (which can cost $100 or more. etc. or company owned tanks are often a rip-off. For example. may be the best option . you will be glad you can still use these appliances as usual. and some space heaters even operate without any electricity . it can be used in many areas of the home in normal times. Propane is my favorite. regional differences in costs may also effect your decision.600 and natural gas. as it does not go bad. whereas propane only has 91. Buried tanks are basically too expensive due to regulatory requirements and insurance companies hate them. With them. Propane is the most versatile fuel. water heaters. You cannot cook with it. Also take into consideration costs of maintenance. location. or more. drying clothes. so you still need an electric range or a separate gas system and . then you can shop for the best deal on propane. grills. Gas and propane burners can easily hit 95% efficiency while oil units generally peak out in the 86% range. Some web based resources are available to help with this. Natural Gas. such as stoves. Oil would be my second choice. This is a choice dominated by both personal opinions and local availability. Some of these appliances. One warning: leased. cooking. This also allows the home owner to take advantage of off-season purchases. oil has about 140. A comparison chart is generally useful to try to compare each effectively by comparing an expected BTU use per year. fireplace logs and gas stoves. depending on the dealer. but it is hard to store in large quantities. Large underground tanks can be installed to supply your needs for a full year. With having to choose both a fuel source and system type. You must also understand the cost of the fuel and its relationship to BTU output (or heating power) per unit of fuel and the common efficiency ratings of appliances. When the power goes out. which may save quite a bit of money each year.) whereas gas and propane ones really need minimal maintenance (but should be inspected for safety regularly). rented. try this calculator. hot water.except if it is not in front of you house! Also. you are typically required to buy the gas from only the tank owner and they know it! Buy your tank if at all financially possible.check for availability. for example. about half of that. Having more than two tanks of fuel (500 gallons) in your basement takes up significant space and again invites insurance headaches. from a prepper’s standpoint.Heating is much more complicated. Propane can be stored essentially forever.000 btus per gallon. including installation and maintenance costs over the life expectancy of the equipment. the options are many.

which is also an advantage. To be safe. Being underground. It has all the other advantages of propane.stove. It is not always as easy to regulate as some other fuels.while saving that excess heat you are not using for times when the stove is out. which can be bought or bartered for locally and hauled in 5 gallon buckets and dumped in your tank . cutting firewood with a chainsaw in the midst of societal collapse presents a security dilemma.but definitely possible. One nice feature. You are also able to cook with it on most standard stoves and certainly on wood fired kitchen stoves. can be used with storage tanks to allow a clean hot burn . especially if we have transportation or grid failures or terrorist attacks. so it is still a good fuel. Oil is also pretty safe.remember the strongest person may not be able to do these things in a SHTF scenario if they are hurt or worst. Wood is ideal if you have access it and if everyone in your home who will have to use it is healthy enough to cut. and it leaves the ear muff-wearing operator vulnerable to attack. please make sure . However. They are real efficient. If you have trees on site . compared to propane . who cares? A simple wood stove will likely heat your home quite well. split. any wood-cutting party will need an accompanying security detail. Expect to get around 1 sustainable cord per acre per year in a good forest lot. I recommend using an indoor boiler. can really smoke up the yard.it is mainly in the cities and suburbs where lots of customers live. [JWR Adds: As I've mentioned in my writings before. I am also not aware of an oil burner that can operate without power. If you are in a northern climate and are looking at wood to provide your main source of heat and hot water. is you can burn diesel or kerosene in a pinch. and even heat outbuildings. such as those made by HS Tarm which I have no relationship with. Outdoor furnaces and boilers are great too.it can be next to free. efficient manner). They can easily provide enough heat to keep the house warm (in a controlled. Natural gas is my favorite.try that with propane! Learn how to prime your equipment though. save for some and gas for the saw and splitter. but they are less efficient typically and if not run hot. Also. and move it . however. as this is necessary when you run dry. if the gas mains are shut down for some reason . You can stack an ample quantity in the back yard and can always get more. They have marginal power requirements though.you are out of business. disruption is infrequent .leaks are less of a problem.] You can easily heat with wood and some (including me) argue it is the best heat. so plan for that. A gas chainsaw can be heard for miles. heat hot water. Many places have outlawed them. It is also mainly domestically sourced. but if the cost is low. except that you cannot store it and availability is limited geographically .

you can use baseboard heaters. but do provide a nice option for the homeowner with a larger home. multiple units can be installed. especially counting the plumbing required to distribute the heat. Furnaces heat air. forced air heaters (such as Modine units which are popular in basements and garages). Some fire departments will also do a courtesy inspection as well.your wood burning appliance is installed correctly. as a boiler is utilized. These systems can also use in-floor radiant or baseboard heat as well. Many homes burn each year. installed in the home to provide warm-air heat and air conditioning. especially with today's flex-duct. and get a permit for the stove and inspection after it is installed. antique steam radiators. use quality materials. especially those with a wood boiler! Again for the prepper. because of improperly installed wood stoves. Higher efficiency means higher complication and . if applicable in your area. These can be expensive to install. Using electrically operated valves. Should a fire start. and even the newer popular in-floor radiant heating systems or any of these in any combination. In a two floor home. call to inquire. It is just too expensive and vulnerable to power failures to make my list. though it would work in some warmer climates. sorry! Heating plants themselves come in two flavors powered by your choice of fuel. these inspections / permits will protect you from the wrath of the insurance company! I will not even mention electric heating. Installing the air ducts is relatively simple. the units can be zoned as well or in larger installations. but can be better regulated with the ease of having multiple zones powering various types of heaters. For example. hot water (hydronic) and hot air (furnaces). are hybrid systems. sometimes killing family members. or in a separate tank heated by a separate zone of the boiler (most efficient). the choice of how to heat and cool the home must be made with a lot of thought to the future. once designed. as I like to call them. which is blown though the home. one might be installed in the attic for the second floor and one in the basement for the first. Follow the manufacturers instructions. The boiler can also make your hot water either by using a coil within the boiler itself. I guess. These systems are typically more simple and less expensive to install than boilers and are easily adapted to also provide air flow for air conditioning as well. Boilers are more expensive to install. Hydronic systems utilize boilers to make the hot water used to heat the building. These utilize a boiler to make the heat and air handlers with heat-exchangers (radiators) in them and often air conditioning coils as well. Becoming more popular.

The savings are more than worth these minor inconveniences. lights. They save gas by not cycling to maintain water temperatures as do normal tank heaters. hot water is only used a maximum of 6 hours per day . is the tankless heater powered by propane or natural gas. I feel it is worth it as the money saved can be significant. but when it disappears. Hot Water Heaters Water can be heated with electricity. The best option. The flame level varies according to the flow rate and selected temperature . Electricity Nearly every home has commercial electric service and we have become reliant on it in nearly every aspect of our lives. and work well.why heat the water the other 18? From a cold start. gas or oil. but again.a good idea. entertainment. and two showers (I have tried this). security and communications. Since most people sleep 8 hours and are at work for at least another 10 with commute times. However. in my opinion. Others are fine as well. but just barely and sometimes a brief shot of cool water comes out as the hot water in the pipes flushes out. I have personally owned Burnham and Buderus boilers and Trane / American Standard (same company) for hot air and air conditioning systems. I was told a small computer UPS will both protect the electronics and keep a tankless hot water heating going for quite some time after the power drops .more expensive and specialized parts than their simple lower efficiency counterparts. These units provide hot water when you need it and shut down when you do not. Stand-alone tank heaters come in all three flavors. I have a Rinnai and love it.its quite high-tech actually! The slight lag in hot water generation is noticeable. then revealing the 2-3 second warm up period. I have no relationship with these companies. Any boiler can be adapted to heat water with either an internal coil or external tank as previously mentioned. From our alarm clock. is that they require electricity. The other downside. Most of today's equipment by reputable manufacturers will work fine for years. my Rinnai puts out hot water in about 3-4 seconds and will do so until either the water runs dry or the gas tank empties! It puts out enough hot water to run the dishwasher. we use it in ways that we do not even realize! Electricity is not only a convenience . Again. the water goes cold instantly. it is not a big deal at all. razor and coffee pot to our heat and air conditioning. Just a little bit. I have just used these and think they are top notch.

If you have the funds. With any fuel (except propane).5 to 1 gallon each hour or so.5 gallon cans full. portable and permanent. it is also a life saving necessity in many cases. as they are generally more long lasting and are also typically better on fuel. save for a few gallons for the lawn mower. with ethanol. if you have propane or natural gas anyway. Trailer mounted ones are available and can certainly run much more. but I find they have no fuel stored. When the SHTF. Most units run on gasoline. I should have at least 20 gallons.000 watts or so. Portables are just that. and do some other chores. If for medical or other needs it needs to run more. This allows you to pump water. Though these are nice. and are fine for emergency use. Today's gas. then plan for it. I feel they are more than most people need and the portability of the smaller units is nice. charge batteries. cool the refrigerator and keep the freezer frozen. but their costs are beyond what most of us can afford and they are larger than necessary. Remember that generators are a mechanical device and can break. However. A generator is the ideal solution for short to medium term use. My generator is a 4.000 watt unit and it burns . you would need perhaps 2-4 gallons. from around 10. or 4 . portable.a week's supply to keep your unit running for 1-2 hours 2-3 times per day. quite frankly. These are generally larger. the availability of large quantities of fuel may already be available. I will categorize them into two groups for our discussion. rotate! I buy fresh gasoline in the spring and fall after dumping the old fuel in my car.000-10. generators are useless. both certainly will do the job. To make it a week.perhaps a larger primary unit and a smaller backup. the gas stations will either be closed or will have lines of cars from one to the next. Gasoline ones are cheapest.000 watts and up.especially where young and old persons are present. rotate. can . with some running on diesel or propane / natural gas (or some combination of the above). Propane / Natural Gas ones are great because of the low maintenance and. Having some sort of back up power is vital for the prepper . This should be a minimum to shoot for . it would be best to have two . Having an ample amount of fuel on hand is crucial. Running it 3-4 hours per day. Permanent generators are installed outside or in a specific room and are powered by a fixed fuel source.though. So many people I speak with have a great generator ready to go. depending on load. Heavy use units are generally diesel. rotate. They can be moved from place to place on wheels or via back-grunts and can usually produce 1. they have no generator. I tell them that without fuel. Without fuel.

These will have three positions. fine. With equipment too expensive to ruin. Look at the loads you must power. computer grade electricity. a huge unit is not always necessary. These are only 110 VAC. As such. The best way is to switch the main with a large knife switch made for the purpose. My home can run on 2. and supply clean. Some lights. .000 watts fine all day (except for the air conditioner).cause problems if you let it sit around too long. However. from the many reports I have read. In either case. the middle will turn off all power and the bottom will feed the house from the generator. My 20 gallons will go weeks instead of a days. more expensive. These run at variable speeds. if some of the others are shut down. depending on load. To help negate this risk. though. Your big loads include your well pump (220 Volts) and anything with a heating element.com for details. and more demanding on fuel. See Interlockkit.something that I feel is so valuable in a SHTF scenario. up (typically) will power the house from the commercial mains.000 watts in most cases.6 hours on 1 gallon of of fuel . Because of this. and even some non-heating small appliances all added together do not add up to 2. but at least install the transfer switch while the electrician is installing the service. so being conservative. I recommend that any new home be wired for a back up generator at the very least. This brings me to my power system sizing discussion. This is an absolute necessity for safety’s sake. Interlock kits are also available to be able to safely back-feed power into your panel via a regular circuit breaker while preventing you from turning on the back-feed breaker without first shutting of the main breaker. a furnace. and in some ways they are true. larger also is heavier. and understand they don’t all have to run at the same time. One can use extension cords to tie the generator to the loads. I intend to buy a Honda inverter generator in the 2. The maker indicates a one year storage time is possible with its use. making them impractical for those on a 220 VAC well pump. they can run as long as 9.000 watt size range. that is a definite advantage. I rotate it every 6 months regularly. six months should be no problem at all. Most feel larger is better. a refrigerator. I add Sta-Bil to keep it fresh. Even these can be used. a fan. With careful planning. If you must wait to buy the generator. the mains are disconnected while the generator is feeding the breaker box. but this is both a pain and somewhat dangerous as well.

a renewable source such as solar. completing the path to your panel. it will provide better lighting for short term emergencies in an automatic way. Definitely an advantage and not very expensive. Certainly. In the Southeast. for a prepper. if you build a home (and I strongly recommend this as the option for your permanent home as you can control the variables better). earthquakes and fires. an inverter.). This power can be piped into the breaker box. Lastly. Building Structures My first recommendation. for example. This can be accomplished by either buying commercially available battery back-up emergency lights like you see in every commercial building. With a modest bank of batteries. it would be good to install emergency lighting in your home.A heavy cable will then be run from the panel to a convenient location outside the structure where a jack will be installed. so I will leave it at that. or installing a battery bank. but. Remember also that you will have to protect your generator from theft. Electricity travels easily. or water. better yet. In either case. wind. 12 Volt appliances are also available. etc. eliminating the need for the inverter while being more efficient. so place the plug where it will make your life easy for hook up. this system can provide an amount of electricity basically forever. if well ventilated with a lift-up roof and opening side panels for example. several 12 volt lights. and a switch or relay to turn it on when the power fails. just like a generator would. Another option to consider. having some level of non-petroleum based electricity makes tremendous sense in a long-term SHTF scenario. as they will operate for years with no external inputs. and a DC power source to charge these batteries (with the necessary charge controller. entire books have been written on this subject. Many people live off-grid with these kinds of systems and they are truly sustainable. you will be surprised how much stronger a roof system can be made with . is to consult a competent architect or engineer (or at least a real knowledgeable carpenter) and ask them for the details on how to build a home that will survive the calamities that are common in your area. You may even wish to bury the cable out to a “dog house” where the generator can live and operate. Again. that may be hurricanes in California. so take that into consideration in determining its location. No home can hold up to everything. is a battery backup system charged with either the generator or. A jumper cable will then be used to connect this jack to the generator itself.

Air transfer is also very important. It is also hard to install perfectly. fiberglass batting. With a house wrap (like Tyvek) this is minimized. What they excel in is stopping air infiltration and assuring uniform insulation values. but all forms are at least as good as fiberglass. Secondly. but many times you can improve upon the codes yourself . This saves us substantial money each year and allows us to eliminate debt.going above and beyond the required elements. Look in an un-sheet-rocked attached garage at the back side of a typical house wall insulation job in any subdivision and you will see gaps in the bats around the wires. It comes in different densities which have different “R” values. The most popular insulation. By filling all voids and gaps. This is not the only factor to consider. but hard to stop completely. The effective insulation value of foam can be double that of common fiberglass and as a bonus. My current home uses 500 gallons of propane to heat it annually whereas my last home (smaller) used 700-to-800 gallons of oil to heat it.some simple wooden braces or metal strapping! The building codes often require these things. for example) but is necessary everywhere. This amount needed varies by location (more insulation is needed in Northern climates than the in South. Being that oil has more BTUs per gallon than propane. My favorite is sprayed-in foam. has great “R” values but allows air to flow through it basically unimpeded. These areas are not insulated at all. save for the future . however. our new home with its foam insulation is performing twice as well from my calculations. the foam adds greater rigidity to the home (especially the higher density versions) . messy and needs to be applied by an expert and costs 2-3 times as much as fiberglass insulation. This goes on like a spray paint and then almost immediately expands to fill all voids in the wall. Though it is easy to install and cheap. pipes and even along the sides of some of the studs. A higher “R” value resists the transfer of heat more than a lower one does. it is not always the best choice. it stops all air infiltration ensures an evenly insulated wall system. however. It is. insulation is your friend.adding to its strength. Is it worth it? In my opinion it is. These kinds of improvements may mean you still have a home after a storm instead of a pile of rubble. The “R” value is the measurement of insulation that is used in the industry.

On flat roofs. However. but often require the help of an engineer to build.these things are very hard to change out. cabinetry. Some homes are built using stone or block and insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are a great option as well. The most popular framing material is wood. build to defend if this is a priority of you. Fewer points of entry and a . Skimp. A home that is smaller and perhaps two floors is easier to defend than a rambling ranch. you may kiss the concrete siding after a wildfire! Roofing choices include metal or tin. on interior treatments such as flooring. design your home smartly with ample room for your needs. These things can be upgraded as your budget does the same.and live a better life. if you must. plastic or slate. I know my home will be the easiest to heat in my entire neighborhood! A small wood stove. It is inexpensive and easy to work with and is quite versatile. I cover these to some extent in my podcast. Each have their advantages. Metal framing including I-beam structural members and lightweight metal wall framing options exist and are great where wood eating bugs are plentiful or high-winds are likely. Don’t skimp on the structure of the home . Concrete board siding (Hardy Plank for example) is gaining popularity but is expensive. They also allow for longer open spans as well.a basement is a great option if feasible. Vinyl is final. Lastly. metal is the ideal choice in areas with high snow loads or fire danger. anyone can build with wood. wood and other more exotic materials such as concrete. but they each have their advantages depending on your skill set and location. as Jack Spirko would say. simplicity will save money and allow for easier maintenance for the homeowner so choose wisely depending on your location and needs. but not in excess. and lighting. especially with today’s engineered options. I don’ have the room to investigate each. will keep us comfortable with little effort. cheap and easy to install. a membrane is hard to beat as they will not leak if properly installed. fiberglass. With common carpentry know-how. Security Concerns Lastly. Again. but it is hard to beat fiberglass shingles for ease of installation and lasting value. Choose siding and roofing materials for your area and home design. run intermittently. In a fire prone area though. Allow room to store your supplies . If things go bad.

And if they are mad enough. I installed a system that saved a home from a kitchen fire. Personally. they will. try to do the project (or at least parts of it) yourself. dog house or storage shed first. and talk to friends who have build.S. listen to podcasts like the Homeowner’s Friend Podcast (HofPodcast).look at the options. August 23. they can just burn you out .S. a fence / gate and a big dog will make a criminal think twice. This can. . most of the problems are going to have to be solved at the local level. rather than having the threat wake you up by opening your bedroom door. Sometimes. smoke. Storm shutters are also a great option as are metal grates. are ill prepared to assume this crushing responsibility. early warning to occupants is very important. Storm rated windows are harder to break and heavy metal or wood doors are harder to penetrate .I hung around with my father and brothers and did things myself . Also. if you think they are necessary.I. Good luck! . by J. read books. to get the basics down. if they want to get in. but they are much more resilient because their scope of control is smaller. Minor smoke damage and some charred wood was the result. and has. or one that has nothing to offer.second floor definitely are advantages. Once you have these skills. Most of them have never even considered what they would do. a row of thorny briars. of the HofPodcast. high water.this is hard to prevent. A security system can alert you to danger from either a bad two-legged creature or fire. 2010 Community Crisis Planning for Societal Collapse. a warning of a break in can buy you the time to prepare to handle the threat. they can not be taken away and will make your life better till the day you leave this earth. Remember though. Don’t pick a style that will make your house stand out on the street. I never went to carpenter’s school . Remember that your best offense is to just look like every other house. Get their recommendations and by all means. too.there is no better institute of higher learning than the school of hard nocks! Build a chicken coop. If your sleeping. State and federal government are too big and dependent on technology to survive a severe crisis once the grid drops and all services start to erode. Local governments. This information can be reported to a central station by the alarm or even to cell phones on some systems. whereas the whole house would have gone up without the early call by the system to the fire department. In conclusion. Monday.R. saved many properties from fire. low temp or any number of other perils. Permalink I believe that in a severe crisis. Alarm systems and or video monitoring / recording systems are also a big plus.

I believe that most communities are doomed. I need to tell you who I am. So.This article is a discussion piece to stimulate thought on the subject of small community recovery after TEOTWAWKI. Most of the issues I mention apply to many levels of local government and law enforcement. The following are my own conclusions and suggestions drawn from my own experiences. or at least a starting point for a comprehensive plan. Some of what I say will be applicable to regional or short term events. I am never insulted by disagreement. I am talking about a large scale disaster of some kind that effects a huge geographical region and forces local communities to solve their own problems and precludes getting help from outside. I am hoping you will help yours make and implement the right decisions and that this paper will help in some small way. They have a lot of people helping and advising them. I am talking about an event that would cause a complete failure of basic services such as finance (banking) or the electrical grid and prevent the Government from repairing it quickly enough to prevent a general cascading breakdown of other services. I spent over a decade working on Army planning staffs at various levels. Also. I wrote it from the perspective of a fictional town mayor. I realize that A mayor never acts alone or has absolute power. I will use a major EMP event as my example because that would be just about a worst case event. I am a retired Army Electronic Warfare and Signals Intelligence Warrant Officer. I got the rare opportunity to see many failed states and regional crisis and how people. Before I start spouting off about what I think will occur. or overlooking factors that seem obvious to you. especially if you have a lot of experience in local government. take this for what it's worth. I am not a wizard who can see into the future. I would be very happy to hear it. I may be wildly wrong. I am hoping to hear corrections and other ideas. But I have never held any office in local government. we need to define what kind of crisis I am talking about. Many American and European communities are artificial constructs entirely dependent on modern society to keep them running. unfortunately. it will provide a basis for discussion and planning and generate a dialog. but some of it won't. so if you see things differently. I hope it will also be useful as a rough blueprint or checklist for local community leaders. First. and was a professional action officer on the USAREUR DCSINT planning staff for more than four years. You can tell if your town cannot survive by looking at the population . communities and economies react. Hopefully.

Lets hope they can maintain their humanity and Christian values while they are doing this. water supplies and other resources. Without law and order of some kind. I don't know what to tell you. then you are doomed. You have a police force of some kind and the authority to spend money on behalf of the government. The cruel will torture and kill wantonly. I am assuming a smallish town with a good water supply and a lot of working farms that don't require electric irrigation. If you live in a doomed community. For this article.. Communities are going to have to make some very hard choices if they are to maintain order and survive.and then ask him if he still thinks Anarchy is "cool". Let's imagine that you are the mayor of a small town when this horrible event occurs. no mistakes and a large touch of luck. Somebody has to take charge quickly: Anarchy is the dirtiest word in the English language and should be avoided at all costs. Rule of law is essential to any progress or recovery.. The monetary system may be . I have seen chaos and virtual anarchy up close and I was frankly astonished at the depravity of mankind. Whenever I see some teenager wearing a T-shirt espousing anarchy. your biggest asset is a limited amount of capital in the form of authority and good will. some communities will maintain order and some vestige of humanity. So what are your actions going to be? What are your resources? The town owns some land and some buildings. I get a strong urge to show him a little anarchy by beating him up and ripping it off his back. Anything less than perfection is going to require superhuman effort. If your community is in a desert and trucks in all their water. How quickly would most small town mayors realize it was EMP? I am guessing that most of them will figure it out within minutes or hours. The lights go out. and personal battery powered electronics malfunction. Your authority is real. some vehicles and maybe some utility equipment. Sorry. the strong will take from the weak.sort of. That's going to require a delicate balancing act because the two concepts are not mutually reinforcing and can be at odds with each other. Some of them may not exist anymore. If your whole population is suburban or urban and you have no working farms or farmable land. arable land. which gives you more legal legitimacy than anyone else. you can't possibly survive long term.density. But by far. most cars don't work. You represent a body of voters.. I am writing this in the firm belief that when our society crashes. Even a perfectly situated town will have huge problems and may not survive a major EMP event. but it's based on some fairly fragile cornerstones. There are enough smart folks around to advise them even if they are not knowledgeable.

solid citizens. Any indecision or misstep on your part could destroy your authority. Legal: You have limited direct "Command authority" in a military sense. the crisis will be over.. Coercive: Unfortunately. before you try to do anything else. You are going to be forced to make some very unpopular decisions and part of your community is going to be extremely angry with you. As long as you maintain control over the police force or sheriff's department. What. you have authority. Instead. but by that time. brute force is always a factor. In the absence of orders or directives. You are the representative of both State and Federal government and have to assume their roles and responsibilities until you can re-establish a chain of command. your authority can be dissolved by a few hot-heads with weapons. Without them. You will need to use all of them. If this were ever tested in court. but your town is unlikely to have bylaws giving you much power in an emergency. At least that's a good legal theory and may be enough. leaving nothing in it's place. It rests on your ability to make sound decisions and convince others that you are doing all the right things. That buys you more authority in a crisis than all the documents ever printed. exactly is your authority? Where does it overlap with county or other governments? What gives you the authority to maintain order? Impose martial law? Appoint armed deputies. Check on this. That gives the community a sense of ownership in the police and helps prevent excesses. right? Everything you do is "Legal" until you are overruled by a court. Get your troops in place first or you won't keep your authority long. a. The Federal and State Governments are both out of communications and may not exist anymore.completely wrecked. A good way to do this is to immediately beef up your police force with out of work. . you have to assume that you possess Delegated authority.. b.or ousted by a mob of your constituents. you are free to "assume" responsibility and authority. You can take on a fairly large number of deputies from the community. You must also be very careful not to abuse this authority or let your troops abuse it. You must gain firm control of your police and public employees first. Your real authority is your mandate from the people. You may not be able to pay anyone for anything. it might not be upheld. Unless you have a body of laws to back you up. you can't lean on your command authority too much. Set up roadblocks? Commandeer fuel and food stocks? The Army NCO academy teaches that there are five types of power that an individual can wield.

Figure out who can cause you political trouble and approach them to get them on your side or otherwise neutralize them. Remember. and all of them are urgent and critically important. Pull them into your administration. Find that level and stay on it. you have nothing to trade for goods and services. If you can sway a crowd or argue persuasively. If you don't lick this problem immediately. If the finance system is gone. Reward: You will initially have almost no ability to reward anyone. you take charge quickly and start issuing orders. d. Local conditions. You are going to have to face very charismatic personalities around town and persuade them to go along with you. You should surround yourself with experts. A good tool for dealing with dissension is to trap your opponents into stating a preferred way to resolve some problem and then enlist them to oversee it. Let them try their way if it can work. They have to feed and protect their families somehow. pull them into your circle of advisers. There are a lot of ways to "skin a cat". Think it out in the .c. it doesn't matter if you are right or wrong. Doing this not only makes you a better leader with better decisions. You need to gain the immediate support of community and church leaders. e. you are all on the same team at some level. of course. The following is my list of issues that you need to address immediately and some suggestions on how to address them. This sword cuts both ways. What are those orders?You have a lot of things to worry about. When a new problem arises and an expert or two are identified. You will need to change this immediately by setting up some kind of economy for your town. everyone has a tendency to follow anyone with a firm voice and the appearance of a plan. or at least stay neutral. Charisma: Unfortunately. your police and city employees are going to stop showing up for work very quickly. So. (This topic is covered below). It's much easier to sway an audience if you have a degree in the topic or an acknowledged expert in your corner. Just be sure you have a good plan and you will keep dissension to a minimum. (or fortunately perhaps) personal charisma and magnetism are much more important than we like to admit. Anyone with unique and useful knowledge has value and power. Expert: Knowledge is power. laws. it gives all of your followers the sense that you are open to suggestions and good ideas from any quarter. or you will be facing a "minority party" that will eventually oust you. I believe that in a crisis. resources and public opinions are variables that effect how you must react.

they will be worth their weight in gold. You will need plenty of paper. the people of the town. just when you need to be at the center of activity. but a notary seal (or something similar) with your signature over the top will look a lot more official than a blank paper. You will also need carbon paper or a working copier. A ham radio rig. think back to a time when radio and even telephone didn't exist. everyone not only knows your decisions. if it survives. official written communications. There are a couple of things you can do to mitigate this if you plan ahead. That way. Our founding fathers didn't have those luxuries and still managed. Actions: If you don't have working radios. either a public meeting or a written decree or order. might be very useful too. and lots of others. the county seat. .but some of these issues require immediate action. 1.and hopefully higher echelons of government. but you are still going to have to somehow establish some kind of communications with your neighboring towns and other polities.. a big EMP event will wipe out electronic communications in a blink and leave you isolated.context of your local conditions and try to at least have a tentative plan to put forward immediately. you will have less trouble. The venue for putting forth your agenda should be as transparent as possible. These will allow you to catch long range HF broadcasts from working stations possibly overseas. Even a few old telephones (and wire) can enable you to keep in touch with the town down the road. envelopes and some kind of official seal you can use.. Another thing to add to your Faraday cage is a couple of battery-powered shortwave receivers. Communications: Without communications. you are powerless. they know the reasoning behind them. Shortwave may be your most reliable source of news. If you can get consensus from a town meeting before you put out an emergency decree. or your own guard posts. The solution is a central. (with your office letterhead if possible). You must be able to communicate with your police department and other public service folks. but probably won't have them. like they used in the 18th century. easy to find headquarters. and messengers. Mitigation: If you can store some short range radio equipment and maybe some old-school TA312 or TA-1 type telephones in a Faraday cage. the State. You might even consider a wax seal. Unfortunately.

When the addressee picks up his mail. You may need to regulate your public notice board by requiring people to date their notices and limit the time something can remain posted. whistles. they have no reliable communications means and may need to link up with missing relatives or communicate privately with other community members. (Also. Set up a drop box for personal messages (controlled by someone at city hall or at the post office or whatever) and maintain a list of people with "refugee mail" on the public notice board. beacon lights. the public board will quickly get out of hand. Consider setting up a weekly town meeting where you can put out orders and public service information in person and invite discussion. you should somehow let people know what day it is). Remember. Any person traveling to a nearby town can carry mail to that town.Small communities in the past used church bells. When electronics fail. Your board may be the best and only information service most people have. Try not to get too draconian. Town meetings used to be a great source of entertainment and gave everyone a chance to blow off some steam about things that bothered them. bugles. Designate a board outside city hall or somewhere convenient and section it off into five sections (or more if you wish). A fourth section of the board can contain news items picked up on the shortwave or from other communities. if someone wants to send a letter or something to anyone else. no matter how big it is. but they still work. These methods require some planning. Allow people to post anything they want (subject to whatever constraints make sense to the town). they drop an envelope in the drop box and write the addressee's name (and a date) on the public board. The fifth [and very large] section should be made open to the public. A third section of the notice board should contain a calendar or event log to keep people advised on upcoming events. Public notice boards were a major tool of government in the days before electricity. gongs. You should also expect to do a lot of face to face meetings with crowds and individuals. That way. Otherwise. sirens and flags to communicate locally.You will need to be able to do a lot of business face-to-face. he crosses his name off the list. A board is a good way to do this and can substitute for a public mail service. If you move your . Post public policies and directives in one section and "good advice" such as water purification procedures in another.

they are going to revolt and try to take the resources they need. a lot of people who don't currently have exactly what they need. but it requires time. You won't have any of these. . Unfortunately. the likely results might be a riot and immediate looting. How will these people buy what they need? "Money" is not the fiat currency we are used to dealing with. everything else will fall apart very quickly. Actions: We might as well deal with this topic right away. everything may be easier. I would love to hear it. You simply cannot use the existing financial system or hope to rebuild it. security and communication to form.or withhold critical resources as the whim takes them. If you get this one wrong. Any finance system has to be able to allow people to exchange what they need for what they have or it will fail. It is something of value exchanged for something else of value. but it must be done quickly. or anything that happens to be valued in your new economy.headquarters to an easily accessible area. 2. Are you going to try to have a strictly capitalist system? If so. If anyone has a suggestion. In this example. messengers and face to face conversations require working transportation of some kind (as discussed below). or near a marketplace.) A free market is a wonderful thing. which could take months or years. are going to die. but will have to build an entirely new system. People who don't have food won't wait long enough for you to form a fully functional free market system. If you allow the market to "work itself out". A free market capitalist trade system will never get a chance to form without a precursor system to hold it up until it gets established. Without perceived equitable distribution of "wealth" in the form of whatever your community members need. Mitigation: None possible? I don't know how you can prepare your town for a total financial crash. Building an emergency economy You are going to have to set up some kind of economy to replace the crashed finance system. You are not going to be able to rebuild the crashed economy. like downtown main-street. you will have violence and mayhem very quickly. (More likely. About 4/5ths of your town will need food and most of the town's food will be owned by a very few individuals or controlled by a store manager in the case of a corporate chain store. This is a huge undertaking. almost from scratch. Some people will have nothing of value in the new economy [except their labor]. these few store managers or individuals will suddenly control all the wealth and be able to charge people anything they see fit...

You need everyone to work as hard as they can. designed to equitably re-distribute and manage critical resources. You need them to use their incentive. you can pay for labor and other commodities and resources with that food. Once you have a warehouse of food under your tight control.and earns a little surplus to use for other necessities. What are you planning to pay them with? Patriotism? Whoever controls the food and other scarce resources controls the reins of power. . or entitles them to a set amount of grain or other commodity on demand from the town warehouse.In my humble opinion (after seeing many different monetary systems over the years) there is no alternative to adding a very large socialist component to a postcollapse emergency economy. In essence anyone needing community resources "works for the community" and gets to eat at the mess hall. If you don't strictly regulate critical resources. they will not be distributed equitably and many people will needlessly suffer and perhaps die. Even if that's okay with you. This arrangement will also give you a huge manpower pool to work with almost immediately. the police force may be leading the charge. A better system might be to pay for labor and services with "ration cards". you will need to form a centrally controlled economy in the short term. To avoid total anarchy in a societal collapse. Food is cash. consider what you would do in their shoes.. but trying to do it immediately will undermine everything you must accomplish during the crisis. In order to form a centralized economy or even pay for the services the town is going to desperately need. Scarce resources are the basis for a currency system. Avoid giving "handouts" to anyone. you need to gain control of most of the "publicly available" critical shortage resources and use them as your basis of wealth. That ration card entitles them to eat a single meal at a community soup kitchen. If the police try to stop you. Would you watch your family starve while there was food on the shelves down at the WalMart? Not very likely. Handouts that compete with the local economy are counterproductive and destroy human dignity. It simply cannot be left in the hands of random individuals. what will you do? You will fight to the death because there is no valid alternative. You will need to slowly build a free market as you are able. At a very basic level. You might decide to gather some like-minded folks up and storm the Wal-Mart. For that matter.. You may find that you will need most of them.

If you establish a set value for your ration cards and a safe marketplace in town (perhaps even a market day. That would be an economic disaster in the long term.Without machinery. So where do you get the resources you are going to control? I am not talking about collecting up everyone's food and gasoline. Make them work for their pay and use them to build capital for the future (see below). any citizen with resources can also hire help at roughly the same rates you are paying. manpower is your biggest resource. they are solid citizens who want to work and feel like they are part of a larger effort. Anything owned by an individual for his own use is his property and must not be touched. Most of them will get to be self sufficient as fast as they are able. but not until there is a harvest or something to collect. And you need a lot of private investment to get your community through the crisis. You will need to collect taxes later. Since food is established as the gold standard. Everything else could be bartered using food or the town ration cards as currency. Cherish each unemployed citizen. (You have established a minimum wage of 1 ration card per hour). food production. . Any critical and scarce commodity owned strictly for resale should be confiscated for the common good and held by the community. People need to feel secure in their property rights or they won't be willing to invest in the future. and otherwise adding to the public larder. messenger services. If you let private citizens keep their food and fuel and other scarce resources and only confiscate and control corporate or "large retail or wholesale stocks" (explained below). Pay them a slight surplus and they will feel that they are working toward something and not living hand to mouth. This will allow much easier accounting if someone ever tries to rebuild the old economy. military duties. which helps the whole community and drives down demand for public stockpiles. You may find that they invest the surplus and build your free market economy for you. where other communities can join in the trading). hunting. Don't worry about having so many people on "welfare". these are not freeloaders. Make sure you provide a receipt to any owners you can locate or at least keep records of what is taken. you also add incentive to immediately start farming. trash collection or anything else that needs doing. You have to be careful which resources you initially confiscate and only gather large retail or wholesale stocks meant for re-sale. you have the beginnings of a free market with as little pain as possible and almost no stink of socialism. Remember.

(IMHO) they cease to exist in a moral sense. a single individual can legally "own" all the arable land in a community and prevent anyone from farming it. he cannot morally control it in an emergency. this is an overall goodness that generates wealth and (at least in theory) raises everyone's standard of living. Private property for use by the individual is morally different from corporate property or privately owned property that is held for the "wealth" it generates. That specifically includes local merchants who hold stockpiles of needed resources meant for resale. this is best accomplished by jealously guarding a clearly documented body of property rights for individuals and corporations. As mayor of a community. It also allowed groups of individuals to "incorporate" to form legal entities that own vast resources. The government's charter (by constitution and a huge jurisprudence system) is to provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare. Any corporate or investment property belongs to the state in an emergency. Did that sentence scare you? It does me. The whole retail system with it's complex accounting and "ownership" laws are part of a finance . In normal times. It's almost certain that critical resources in your community are "owned" by a corporation or private investor. He is allowed to farm it. In theory. deny it's use to others or use it pretty much any way he wants. an individual is free to own thousands of acres of land and all the minerals under it. you are going to have to make some hard choices and convince others that you are right. bulldoze it. If someone "owns" something and has no intention of ever using it himself (or even seeing it). When the dollar crashes and all the banks close. the government has the right and the responsibility to negate corporate or individual rights for the common good. burn it. I feel that this cannot and must not be allowed. such as gas station and grocery store owners. Moral imperatives and common sense must prevail over law in some rare cases and this is one of those cases.Our free enterprise system has provided the opportunity for some families and even individuals to amass huge fortunes. One of these choices might be to confiscate corporate property and redistribute it as needed for the common good. In an emergency. But I believe it will come to pass. even if they are starving. If corporate interests collide with public welfare needs. I believe that corporations are legal fictions that have exactly as much validity as the rest of our complex finance system. The state has the ultimate responsibility to answer to the people and has legal power over all corporate entities. In normal times. In normal times. But this is not a universal law of nature.

"A Calculational Model for High Altitude EMP. In fact we have some evidence of this.. Farmable land owned by a absentee landlord is easy. the magnetic field lines converge (increasing the magnetic field strength). he's not there and owns it only as an investment. The Soviet above-ground warhead test #184 produced ground zero EMP intensity estimated by Soviet scientists at 350 kV. confiscate the hogs and their feed. like the stock of a chain department store are easy matters. Further North or South. I urge you to think hard about this and perhaps appoint someone wise and respected to arbitrate individual cases. Also. therefore it now belongs to the community. I believe the test gear used was strongly influenced by the Master's degree thesis by Louis W. Have cars gotten more EMP resistant . remember that the cars used in the commission's testing were older cars build between 1986 and 2002. It's generally accepted that the peak EMP is almost directly proportional to the power of the Earth's magnetic field. Large corporate holdings. But what about a silo of corn owned by a Co-op of local farmers? What about a local farmer with 1. Seiler. That means that real world voltages in real world equipment may easily exceed 50kv. there is no reason to assume that 50kv is the upper limit in a real world HEMP event. where the Earth's magnetic field is far weaker than it is at high latitudes (nearer the poles). but were never subjected to high voltage EMP. Their simulator was only capable of generating 50kv EMP and only generated a E1 event. it was simply the limit of the test gear available. Many of the vehicles showed some kind of failure or "faults" at lower voltages. A large Agra-business hog farm is easy. That thesis. Transportation and fuel Your police and city vehicles may not work after an EMP event. You (and your community) need to sit down and determine a whole new set of ownership rules. 3. but draw it you must. yet the conclusion includes these cars as having survived with no permanent damage. the testing of EMP effects on vehicles outlined in the congressional EMP report "2008 Critical National Infrastructures Report" was flawed. while brilliant. In my opinion. report ADA009208".000 acres of standing corn clearly meant for commercial sale? What about a rancher with 100 head of cattle? You really have to be careful where you draw the line between private ownership and "retail goods". not the (perhaps) more damaging E3 wave. The cars were tested only until they exhibited a fault of some kind and then the testing was halted. Jr. Your new government is going to need a lot of capital to survive the tribulations coming. Also. computes E1 gamma burst for the peak EMP at ground zero for a burst above the magnetic equator. That corporation is dead and gone and the goods now belong to the community.system that no longer exists after a severe EMP event.

I know this sounds draconian. Actions As distasteful as this is to Americans. If you cannot. A better approach may be to exclusively hire them as the driver and let them retain ownership. Diesel. If a lot of vehicles survive. Once they are gone. You may also be forced to confiscate privately owned vehicles if yours are damaged or you need specialty vehicles (like fuel tankers. you need to somehow reimburse them as fairly as possible. it might someday prove very useful. fuel oil. Fuel stocks are a public resource owned by private citizens. If . I can't see any alternative likely to work. If you are able to afford it. fuel stocks may be depleted almost immediately unless you take steps to protect them. but the police force and emergency vehicles should have priority for fuel and the only way to assure this is to implement some kind of rationing plan immediately. Any time you confiscate resources from any private citizen. at least make sure you give the rightful owner a receipt so you can pay him back later if someone manages to rebuild the economy. I don't know how much this would cost for a specific town. sized to last the police department a month or less. You need to seize and ration all bulk stocks of gasoline. This is a very bad situation that has to be dealt with immediately. or how much fuel it should hold. but if you could somehow talk the town into the merits of a municipal reserve to last even a few weeks. buy a reserve fuel supply for the police department. My conclusion is simple. you should "pay" for the fuel immediately. If you bought two tanks. emergency services and agriculture. This is a case where you are going to have to exercise some emergency powers and appropriate property from private citizens. You could rotate your fuel. The town will desperately need these fuels for heating. A lot of cars may not survive a real world event.since then? No. your community may never get any more. If possible. for instance). Mitigation Keep your town's vehicles in good shape and look into storing them inside a shielded garage when off duty. you wouldn't have any extra expense for fuel additives. propane. Your town may also have a stream of refugees pouring through or past it from a nearby city. Being indoors may prevent some of the damage. You need to work out a method of doing this without stealing. coal and other fuels used or held by the town.

If trucks are still moving on the big highways. they will drain every drop in a day or two. Your town may be in good shape. No matter what you call it. most private residences are going to be uninhabitable in the long run. Another distasteful. Some towns won't be able to keep their water flowing and will have to use extreme measures to provide water for their people and deal with wastes. You may have to haul water to a central point and purify it manually. the act of a government stealing is a slippery slope. If you don't do something quickly. they may contain resources your town really needs to survive. The results will be catastrophic in terms of public health. I believe that any interference in long range commerce or transportation is detrimental to all of society and also undermines the very laws that prop up your own authority. but probably not. Most people have never thought about how to purify water or deal with waste. I am not suggesting that this is a moral or desirable option. If the machinery for doing this is broken. a lot of your citizens are going to start defecating outdoors and many of your citizens are going to drink unsafe water.they have access to your town's fuel stocks. You still need to add chlorine and get the water high enough to maintain water pressure. This may need to be your first order in an emergency. 4. The folks with homes you cannot supply may need to move closer to your water point. you need to set a crew working on water immediately. Every hour you delay may be critical. yet lucrative opportunity you may have is to confiscate fuel (and other resources) from passing highway traffic. Without ready supplies of water. If so. You will need to figure out a way to keep this system going if you can. but someone in your community is bound to bring it up. Personally. Many towns rely on pumped water. (Refugees are discussed below). You will want to get some expert advice on this immediately. often from towers in or near the town. Think out your position in advance and be ready to argue your point. or even set up public latrines and wash points. Whether you call this piracy or taxation. you have a few days until the tanks run dry. Water and sewage Modern towns are very wasteful of water. but can't survive without it for more than a few days. .

Without fuel. Is your area dependent on irrigation agriculture? You will need to figure out how to supply that water too. On the bright side. You will need much more than that to keep them healthy in the long run.Mitigation Talk to your water providers now and get them thinking about it so they can come up with options for you. If your town can't afford any of this. Our throw-away society will be over. Old homesteaders had an outhouse to deal with sewage. nonburnable trash was often a used outhouse cesspool. 5. they threw in the "trash pile" out back. You may need to solve this by distributing simple instructions on how to do it using old-school techniques. Anything else. These problems would be a lot simpler if everyone lived within easy walking distance of town. You may need to buy some mobile water tanks for the town. Anything that can be recycled and reused. Solid waste disposal and burial of dead. Any of these preparations could be very useful during a whole range of situations and natural disasters. You also need to tell the community how to get pure water and warn them against drinking or using tainted water. but unfortunately this is almost never the case in the US. trash collection and burial can be very laborious. What do they need to manually run their system during a power outage? If they can't run manually. Ask them to do a formal assessment of your town's situation and resources and suggest mitigation strategies for emergencies. which was then covered over with dirt). like old cardboard boxes will be treasured and kept. You need to provide at least a gallon of water per resident every day. just to keep them alive. . a compost pile to deal with organic waste and a burn barrel (or fireplace) to get rid of burnables. municipal rubbish volumes are going to diminish and be replaced mostly with compost-able plant waste. (The solid trash pile for non-rotting. you might consider buying a backup generator to run pumps and machinery. You may need to stockpile fuel or extra chemicals or buy extra equipment that can be run manually. But you need to keep your eye on the ball. Actions These will depend on your town's system. (Make sure you budget for a good Faraday cage to protect this generator and keep it disconnected and keep all cables inside the cage until needed).

The only way you are going to save a substantial percentage of your population over the short term is to gain control of and ration most of the food centrally. Food. communities fight and take what they need. Embalming and cremation are modern innovations that will be too expensive to maintain. 6. [JWR Adds: The only exceptions will be in heavily-timbered regions or in coastal communities that are in driftwood deposition zones. Don't be shocked if your town is forced to fight some other town to keep the food you stockpile. Most of the food in most communities is owned by very few people or corporations. Be ready for this behavior. . when food gets scarce. Make sure they consult the church leaders or you may make problems for yourself. it will save a lot of transportation problems. Most people don't store a substantial amount of food in their homes and will quickly be dependent on town stocks. This might be a wise choice. Pre-historic villages and other primitive cultures always locate their food stocks in the center of their living space to ensure it is guarded. in the center of town if possible. perhaps there will be plentiful firewood for use in outdoor cremation pyres. Actions: Check with a local doctor and have him recommend procedures for waste disposal. I would station my police force inside my granary. This is going to be a tall order. (Short term provisioning) This is going to be a real problem.Burial and funeral services used to be handled very locally at the neighborhood church or even on your own property. Find a way to distribute them and encourage people to follow the procedures by explaining why. Historically. There. You may be able to use a church. you will need to establish a warehouse of some sort and guard it well. You are going to have to locate and safeguard as much food as possible.] You will need your medical people to oversee and recommend procedures for burial. school or other public building close to the town center for this purpose. If that building also has a substantial kitchen and cafeteria that you can get working again. You need to provide some minimum of calories and nutrition for all your citizens until the community can grow (and the free market can distribute) all the food needed by the community.

you might be able to make use of much of the frozen foods and fresh produce or even salt some away using other preservation techniques before it goes bad.) . You will probably need them. The non-refrigerated foods should all be salvageable. If you try to get people to give up their animals. The issue of what to do with pets is going to be a hard one.Sources of food you can confiscate or otherwise control: a. Save as much edible feed as possible for human consumption. Hire them. Feed stores: Most animals in your community are going to have to be slaughtered during the first year. Unfortunately retail stores don't maintain much stock these days. but logic dictates that the community refrain from using up useful food stocks on animals unless they add substantially to the local economy. You may need to keep the grain right where it's at (and guard it) or provide power (if possible) to dry out the grain or you may need to provide manpower to manually harvest crops. Seek them out and get their input and help to secure their food. Pet stores. just like they do people food. keep in mind that people get very emotional about their pets. b. it's probably not in the back room either. Even the big bags of dog food should be preserved. People are going to either buy or loot everything in a matter of days or even hours. If the pet owners work hard enough to support their animals. With modern stocking practices. Most feed mixes are good for humans to eat. Any other approach will put you at odds with part of your population. However. (Your commissary should sell the pet foods. c. Bird seed is nothing but grain and oil seeds. they may lynch you. but if you hurry. nobody maintains a well-stocked warehouse on site anymore. storage and a whole range of agricultural issues. They are mostly grain and if ground into flour and thoroughly cooked. all of them are safe to eat. If it's not on the shelves. d. Listen to your experts. They will not last long whether you confiscate the food or not. Whoever manages these establishments are also probably experts at food preservation. Alfalfa pellets and other "non-human-food" products may be used to feed livestock. you should not try to get heavy handed. Most pet foods are edible and should be saved for human consumption. Co-ops and large commercial farms: These may have livestock and large amounts of feed grain and other dried foods on hand. Department stores and food stores: Large food stores are the most obvious place to look for food. You want to avoid spoilage and loss as much as possible and these people can help.

(Remember. Colleges. Modern farms are only manageable with the aid of heavy machinery. f. These don't contain food. their crops may never make it to maturity. you should act immediately to secure them. Appoint someone (maybe a survivalist or old hippie) as "wild food forager" and cross your fingers. power or labor. i. much of this food requires refrigeration and will go bad very quickly. Unfortunately. .e. If you get lucky. You can strike a deal with farmers to bring in their crops and help in return for some kind of payment in kind or a cut of their crop and others in the area. Without combines. The centers with dried and canned goods will be in big demand very quickly. explain your situation and strike a deal that benefits both of you. farmers couldn't possibly complete their own harvests. g. Without this machinery. Libraries and bookstores. most farmers are mono-crop farmers with little use for 60 tons of corn with no market). Refugees would strip them bare without your help. They may also have usable machinery that can be converted to use. You need to prevent poachers from destroying their production capacity by over-fishing (maybe with dynamite) or polluting water resources. h. Talk to them. even routine tasks are not possible. Standing commercial crops: Depending on the season. you might be able to gather a large harvest of acorns or maple seed or some other highly prolific food species. You may be able to extend your resources by sending out forage parties to collect locally growing wild resources. Regional distribution centers: If you are fortunate enough to have one or more of these in your reach. Without security of some kind. but they contain knowledge about foraging for wild plants. These centers typically have very substantial stocks of food on hand. but important sources of food in many areas if you can protect them. but may have quite a lot depending on what they are making. one of the first tasks you need to tackle may be to help farmers with their harvest or planting or other tasks. so you need to dispatch work parties (with lots of trucks) as quickly as you can organize them. Lakes and rivers: Fishing resources are very limited. They may be more interested in what you can provide in the form of machinery. Bakeries and food processing plants: Processing plants usually have very limited stocks of food on hand.

so find somebody that is morally good. storage and disbursement of not only food supplies but fuel. Heat and shelter: When winter hits. specialized vehicles. This same person is really in charge of your whole economy and will probably be in charge of printing currency if you use it. . Whoever you appoint needs excellent people skills and the meticulous attention to detail of a banker. A bank manager might be a good choice. Actions: Appoint a good commissary officer. this is an excellent place to put them if they are up to the job. If you have political opposition in the community.Things to watch for are large grain mills and industrial cooking equipment. Someone is going to have to oversee collection. The most efficient solution. mills. Once they are "holding the baby" they will be on your side and won't be able to accuse you of any misbehavior. honest person and he or she will need a fairly large staff. You will need to think this issue out in the context of your own community situation and come up with some kind of solution. If you can repair the EMP damage. tools. People staying in private homes may not have access to heating fuel at all. The public shelter model of setting up in a big gymnasium can work. Some homes are going to be difficult or impossible to heat once the power grid goes down and the oil trucks stop delivery. they can speed the recovery of your community and really enhance your economy. power them and get them working. power generation equipment. seeds and other resources. Your community may use oil. of course is to co-locate everyone in a few larger buildings and heat them at 65-68 degrees. presses and other industrial tools. They are going to have broad powers. Providing a warm place to sleep may be all you can manage. fertilizers. You may also find water pumps. The town council is probably going to have some number of refugees to care for and they require heat too. 7. lathes. you may be faced with a grave heating fuel shortage. but it provides a very efficient vector for respiratory and other diseases. Your commissary officer needs to be a very smart. but it's easier than trying to heat 500 single family shelters. Setting up a shelter has it's own problems. gas. You should make every effort to conserve liquid fuels that will be needed for spring planting and emergency machinery. they will be much more comfortable and resistant to diseases. wood or something else for heating and each of them pose their own problems. If you can provide each family (or multiple families) with a classroom or office room of their own.

the easier it will be to heat. You will probably have to feed your teachers and school staff anyway. 8. You may be able to encourage your citizens to switch over to an alternate fuel source (like wood. The principal already has a staff dependent on the city payroll. With a general society collapse. a. You will probably have homeless almost from the start. expulsion from the community. (Each human radiates roughly the same heat as a 100 watt light bulb. so you need to get this done quickly.) Make things easy on yourself and appoint someone competent (a school principal for instance) to administer your lodging and cafeteria. frustrating job. that changes. but this is a temporary solution. It adds up fast. Some of your own civilian population is going to get unruly. take a vote at a town meeting to get public buy-in and then appoint someone to run it. Even a small percentage acting up can overwhelm your current police force. so make sure you appoint someone level headed to oversee this effort. I suggest a simpler system of corporal punishment (whipping or caning) and for serious infractions or repeat offenders. Your town will need the ability to fight off raiders or even other communities. Jails are inefficient and expensive and not very effective at curbing bad behavior. if your community has a lot of forests nearby). Your police force should be distanced from both judgment and punishment. Laying in a large supply of cots and blankets is a good idea. Home fires are bound to be more common and some people who live too far from town will need to move closer to the cafeteria. In fact you will probably need an Army.Mitigation: Location specific. your town doesn't have it's own foreign policy or the need to defend itself. so hire them to administer your shelters. Look around your town for some suitable shelter buildings and food storage facilities and check out their heating and ventilation equipment. Stockpiling fuel for the town may be a good idea if you can afford it. You may be able to improve your chosen buildings or buy alternate heating systems for them within your budget constraints. During normal times. Administration of a shelter is a big. Judgment and punishment should . you will probably need to greatly expand your security forces. The more people you can get to move into your shelter. Schools are probably your best choice for this. Security and public order: Whatever your town's current situation. Find a judge or other competent person to set up a simple system of justice that fits your circumstances. You need some way to punish them and bring them in line. Actions: You should immediately set up a shelter and cafeteria of some kind after the emergency.

be accomplished by a different group. perhaps a randomly selected jury or something equally simple and fair. You need to hire out of work locals to augment them with a reliable guard force.. (I recommend handing this responsibility over to your military. . Without electronic communications. You will need to provide point security for foodstocks. You need to keep a tight reign on your police forces or some of them are going to be tempted to take unwarranted liberties and abuse their authority. much more of your business has to be done in person. They are your knights and have to act the part. You need to reassure them that they are still going to be paid and their families taken care of. (see below for a discussion of inter-community politics.see below).) Your security forces are your "face" to the community. One of your first actions should probably be to call your security forces and emergency responders together and reaffirm your covenant with them. You may face a threat from outside polities. You need to get buy-in from them and make them feel they are part of something important and bigger than mere survival. (see below for a discussion of refugees). b. If so. They will represent the town and embody your decisions and authority. power generation. roadblocks and critical resources like fuel. d. you will need an Army or you will be destroyed. You may have to mobilize the entire population to fend off other communities. c. etc. Your uniformed police force is too valuable to bog down with these security positions. You should also let them know that you will tolerate no misbehavior. Let them know your plans and your thoughts as clearly as possible so they can represent you well. e. You are almost certain to have extensive guard duty requirements. You are going to have additional requirements for officers (or someone) to act as "messengers" to put out policies and community information. You may need to put a 24 hour presence at roadblocks or traffic control points to divert refugees away from your town. livestock..

Babylon by Pat Frank]. In essence it's an army. unsolvable provisioning problems. so you can't tolerate any dissension in the ranks or misbehavior. I expect most of them will fail and fragment. He will need to set up some kind of training program and be able to pay people to participate. The following is going to read like science fiction [a la Alas. 9. Even if most of them last through a whole season until the first harvest. He will also need an excellent grasp of tactics and the ability to plan for small scale military operations. If anyone can find a flaw in my analysis. most citizens of the USA are going to starve to death after a society crash. They have limited options and maintaining order will be desperately hard. All of your authority rests on the shoulders of your security forces. It's simple arithmetic. but I call em like I see 'em.You should also set up some kind of "military" arm to deal with extraordinary requirements. I also expect a huge outpouring of refugees from every city in the USA. perhaps impossible. there is no chance that the first [post-collapse] harvest is going to be bountiful enough to sustain everyone. The ugly truth is. There will not be enough food for everyone to live. Let your military commander hire his own personnel. Your military commander's first task will be to do some kind of terrain analysis and COA products to determine how to defend the community and try to predict future issues. Foreign relations and refugees: Every community is going to face the same challenges you have. Military training is hard work. the military arm should report directly to you or one of your representatives rather than falling under the police. then please tell . so choose someone charismatic and smart. His second task will be to build an effective military force. so don't expect anyone to take it seriously or work at it if you are not paying them. Hopefully you have a retired officer or senior NCO available. Whoever it is will have to be able to effectively give orders to perhaps hundreds of people in an emergency. City based communities have huge challenges that small towns won't. It should probably be a small offensive force backed up by a larger irregular militia comprising most of the town. If you have any doubts about the loyalty of your police chief or sheriff. Choose someone loyal and skilled with a military background and good people skills to head up your military. You can put your military commander in charge of all the guard duty requirements to assist the police as well as messenger duties. Call it a militia or a town guard or whatever you want. arm and train them and instruct your commissary and police force to assist him in anyway possible. Every community and group of people are going to face terrible.

hungry refugees knocking at your door hoping for a handout. If your community lies on a major line of drift. and grandparents who are desperate and begging.000 or more people. If they don't the small communities may be forced to take in refugees or surrender food stocks to support the cities. Once the provisions stop arriving.me about it. mothers and fathers. the city people are mostly doomed. your city is going to starve very quickly unless you can procure more. If you are a smart leader. If the finance systems are still working. If you are the mayor of a city with 100. The best a small community can hope for is that all the large polities (cities) nearby will fail and fragment quickly. you have no other choice. organization and discipline needed to do this. Your normal sources of supply are perhaps a thousand miles distant and might as well be on the moon. the countryside (agrarian areas) produce all the food consumed by cities. I am not saying every city is going to manage the level of cohesion. you will attempt to take what you need to keep going from the surrounding countryside and small nearby communities. you can expect to have many thousands of thirsty. you will attempt to save most of your people by sending them to other communities that have more food and water. so are the small communities. Your actual chances of sustaining your population long term are zero. . Groups may attempt to provision themselves by threatening small communities and extorting "protection" from them. I believe you can expect large polities to attempt to take resources from smaller ones. but if this occurs. A medium sized city could potentially muster an enormous army. this refugee stream may burn up most of the available liquid fuel in the USA in a few days. Either way. you must be prepared to fight. If you are not so smart. During normal times. especially for cities that have a military base nearby. they will move outward from the cities along major roadways until they can't get more fuel and then stop. These are going to be US citizens. sons. but it's at least a possibility in some cases. Think about it and make sure you discuss your concerns with your security leadership so they can form plans. If begging stops working. Maybe very dangerous. If they have vehicles. You also need to consider smaller polities like boroughs or neighborhoods or even church congregations making demands on your community. You can also expect to see a large stream of refugees pouring out of heavily populated areas. How will you react when the mayor of a nearby town or city asks you for provisions? Another probable development I expect to see is the "professional army". This is another layer of taxation you probably can't afford. but if you choose not to pay. they will get hostile and dangerous. daughters.

All others will have to continue down the road. They will also have to oversee a lot of coordination to grow and harvest grain crops and figure out the most efficient ways to store surplus. The only people you can let into your town are town residents. This should probably be completely separate from your commissary department. If you have any say in . especially your security leadership and make them see that there are no alternatives to a strict quarantine. Think it out carefully and you will see that you simply cannot feed everyone. small scale gardening. Mitigation: Heirloom seeds and fertilizers are going to be in very short supply. Effectively killing someone by evicting them from your town while looking them in the eye and listening to them beg is going to be hard to do. The men on your roadblock are going to crack up fast. Don't block a major road. 10. You need someone with expertise in farming and more specifically. You need to stop the stream of refugees from entering your community. Once they are inside your community. so rotate them often and watch them. It's okay to be as humane as possible and provide water at the roadblock. Instead. perhaps as part of a 4-H or school project. you will be condemning your community to slow death by starvation. They need to organize and assist everyone in the community with planting their own gardens and teaching such basic topics as drying. The refugees are going to be truly pitiful and seeing this level of misery will cause your community a lot of pain and distention. If you can somehow trick (or talk) your town into stocking up on these. If you get soft hearted and let too many stay. block a turn-off. You need to have a plan and execute it immediately or you may be overwhelmed within hours. One final note on turning back refugees: Do it as far from town as you can. but almost every refugee is doomed and you are powerless to change that fact. your town will be much better off. You are going to have to prevent refugees from consuming your community resources or you will perish with them. You need very hard men to man your line and you need to be careful to leave the refugees another place to go.I know this is a very disagreeable topic. Discuss this topic with your community leaders. Long term provisioning: You need to appoint someone to oversee food production. but you simply cannot afford to give away food or medical supplies. they will exponentially harder to deal with. This will be the most traumatic thing they have ever had to do. pickling and canning produce.

Working leaf litter and plant materials into the plots needs to begin almost immediately. The tools can be loaned or rented to citizens as needed for their own plots and the seed will need to be rationed out carefully until a stock of good seed can be built up. you need to establish a manufacturing base that can support your community. The town's citizens may have no horticultural knowledge or gardening skills and will likely not be conditioned for long hours of manual labor. Building a manufacturing capacity. Keep a lookout for likely skilled individuals and hire them to build the town a metal working capability. try to plant as many food bearing plants as possible. forging and machining metal parts and tools. You can't afford a scrap of idle land as long as you have any seeds left to put in the ground. Every lawn and every empty lot should be dug up and worked in order to build soils.M. Actions: Every piece of arable land in the community needs to be planted with something edible ASAP. You may need this immediately to repair critical equipment for pumping water or grinding grain et cetera A simple blacksmith shop will be needed to create plows and simple hand tools like hoes and scythes that you are likely to need. even if it's not planting time. Building a surplus and a working economy depends directly on their success at working small private gardens. both of which may be in short supply.public plantings for parks or landscapes. [JWR Adds: As science fiction writer S. He will need to procure hand tools by the hundreds and garden seed. Try to hire some skilled gardeners to assist and advise your citizens with their own plots. equipment and tools will begin to break down. You may also need a small foundry and machine shop to create replacement parts for critical machinery. You will eventually need a machine shop capable of founding. The "Garden Czar" will probably take up the lion's share of the spare manpower in the town just planting city owned lots. 11. this is going to be a real challenge. You may need to pass some resolutions about gardening to prevent land from sitting idle. Without power machinery. Before that time. The sooner they start getting their hands dirty the better. leaf . An apple tree is just as attractive as a pine or elm and produces fruit every year. At some point. Stirling aptly pointed out in his Dies the Fire novel series.

especially in cold climates. Think ahead. I expect most species of large animals in the USA and Europe. you are going to need a source of fiber and a fabric production capability. Dogs are peerless burglar alarms. and even swords. Cats keep vermin numbers down. you will need new fabrics. You may wish to set up a pottery shop or produce adobe brick for building materials or set up a sawmill for lumber and firewood. to be slaughtered for food until they are scarce or even extinct.springs from abandoned cars and trucks make ideal steel stock that can be used to re-forge into crossbows. You will have a long grace period while you go through existing stocks from department stores. . You simply must preserve as many animals capable of filling this role as possible. 12. Appoint someone to worry about fabric production. Preserving: A lot of irreplaceable things are going to be destroyed or lost if you don't make some kind of effort to preserve them. How do you build a loom? In less than four years. including livestock. You will eventually need to replace or repair clothing. You are going to need draft animals desperately in a few months. Other manufacturing capabilities may be needed as you go along. a. knives. Most of them are going to die. Once all the chickens are gone. Leaf springs should be very plentiful for at least one or two generations in a truly postcollapse society. Animals: A lot of people are going to be very hungry. Brainstorm this with your staff or at a town meeting. plows. but within a few years.] You should have someone begin building hand plows and other animal and human powered agricultural tools ASAP. where are you going to get eggs and poultry? Saving even a small breeding stock of all the useful animals in your community is going to be hard when people are literally starving to death all around you. You will need as many as your metal shop can manufacture and I guarantee you will be able to trade surplus plows to other towns within a few months. small hand tools.

Appoint a doctor or pharmacist to oversee this effort and support them with whatever resources they require (if you can). Someone will poach them. Every pharmacy and clinic in town should be carefully confiscated and put under guard. Some drugs require refrigeration and may not be salvageable if they are ever warmed. If your town has vaccines available. Don't forget the pet hospitals and veterinarian clinics. repairing our current culture will be much more difficult.Actions: You are going to have to put livestock under guard or they won't last long. I recommend keeping your library open for business. Knowledge: If you don't take steps to prevent it. Any private farmer trying to keep livestock is going to find out just how sneaky hungry humans can be. Records: You need to secure public and as many private records as possible. . Medical: Your existing health-care facilities and drug supplies need to be safeguarded quickly. tax records. Birth records. Your town or local school libraries may turn out to be very important for both entertainment and reference. you will probably want to use them up quickly before they go bad. Have them take charge of public health and start an outreach program for self help and public sanitation. c. It takes time to produce a working plow team out of average untrained cows or horses. You will have a very limited stockpile of opiates and other painkillers and mind altering drugs that will be very attractive to some criminal (or simply addicted) elements of society. Hire as many doctors and nurses as possible and set up a public health clinic near the town center. Art and historical treasures: If your town has any. people will burn most of the books in your town for fuel. Someone also needs to start training your working animals immediately. b. Without them. bank records etc. Your community may be able to avoid a lot of misery and casualties if you organize your health care. 13. you should safeguard national treasures for future generations. All of these may have tremendous value in the future. The very fact that you are making this effort will send a powerful message to your citizens. d.

. Will you step up to the plate and try to save your whole community? It seems like a superhuman job and daunting for a mere human. as a prepper. it will be hardest on the leaders. Give them challenging work and have them tackle real problems. Your efforts could make a huge difference to a lot of people. Your mayor and police chief will need help. I really wouldn't care for that job. As a prepper.Have someone in your manufacturing base or commissary department work with them to replace or recycle medical supplies. or explosives. When the balloon goes up. experienced gardener. That and the skills you have learned can allow you to make a real difference. Conclusion: I recognize that most of us are not mayors. or opiates. Community leaders will need to make timely decisions on a host of issues they have never considered and have the conviction to act ruthlessly. even in peacetime. They are very intelligent folks and can perform miracles if you challenge them. You probably won't have too many of these once they are all accounted for. You. those odds will increase exponentially if your leaders have a well thought out plan and make good decisions. chemists and any other scientists you can find. hire as many pharmacists. The same goes for engineers. don't be afraid of tasking them to do some very difficult tasks for you. have the advantage of thinking about it ahead of time and working out all the details in your mind. How many of the jobs that I mentioned above could you competently fill? I implore you to help them. These folks are valuable property. We are probably not the ones who will be called on to shoulder the numbing responsibilities of command during a crisis. you are in a position to provide that help. Or challenge them to figure out how to improve agriculture in your town or synthesize liquid fuel for your vehicles. Having you available as adviser (and commissary officer or military leader. maybe it's you. metal smith etc) could literally make the difference between life and death. so try not to use them as unskilled farm hands or guards. Challenge them to set up a lab and try to synthesize antibiotics. If your community has any chance at all to survive. If you have a few. Also. But if anyone can do it. They may surprise you with spectacular results. Something as simple as a building wood-fired autoclave might be beyond the capability of your health care folks but easy for your artisans.

I have bought units used for certain weapons systems. and Newark.J. The devices can be purchased from Internet/catalog electronic parts dealers like Mouser. but when you convert from DC to AC the efficiency goes down. I have used them up to 300 watts and they work very well with no maintenance for long periods of time. So why not convert once. Allied Electronics. I have found that DC to AC inverters especially the cheaper models are very inefficient to run higher powered equipment. I have gone another direction when powering equipment off of 12 or 24 volt DC power systems. and have built several radio stations for ministries around the world. Then order the correct DC to DC converter for the voltage and current rating needed for your electronic equipment. The Avel Lindberg Company makes very good shielded and moisture resistant units. The first thing to remember when converting something from one source to the other is to check the supplied power cube for the output voltage and current rating. Sunday. Many people will purchase a DC to AC inverter to run a laptop through the supplied AC to DC converter. August 22.Win or go down swinging. .I. All of the above companies can be found with a search engine to get access to their on-line catalogs. 2010 Letter Re: DC to DC Converters Permalink Hi Jim and Readers. Their primary market is the military. from DC to DC? I have found a company that sells high end DC to DC converters. the . I work in electronics. that are fairly well hardened for EMI / EMP. I also have converted equipment like some of the small microphone and media mixers from the AC to DC converters that are supplied with the equipment to straight 12 Volts DC by removing the plus minus supply internally and the AC to DC converters and installing DC to DC converters directly inside the units. The newer switching supplies are very compact and efficient. Some of our TEOTWAWKI preparations tend to lean toward running electronic equipment off charged DC battery sources.R. What I usually do is obtain Anderson Power Pole connectors before cutting the power cable be sure to check with a digital volt meter or older volt ohm meter.

Two of the benefits of making conversions like this will cut out the AC inverters from the equation and the other is reducing the current drain a little bit on your battery capacity.polarity of the power plug of the supplied power cube. insuring you set up the red positive. Ex-Army Infantry Training Officer (1970-1974). I then remove the cube from the AC electrical source. 2010 How it Started to Where I Am. father of nine children. If it checks out correctly then plug it into your electronic device and energize the device. Install the Power Pole connectors on both ends of the cut cable that are left. Connecting the DC to DC Converter to the appropriate 12 or 24 volt DC power source and check your output when the pigtail connector with the power pole with your meter again insure the voltage required and polarity are correct. I realize there are many people who would feel deliberately cutting a wire would be fool hardy if they are not competent in electronics. Performing a modification like this is simple to some. but don't do it if you feel it is beyond your capability. Blessings to all. Unplug it. former Gym Trainer (1996-1997). Then cut the cable about a foot or two from the units connector. .Dave with Martronics Friday. by C. Now take your DC to DC converter and install the appropriate red positive and black negative connectors on it. Firefighter and EMT training and certification (2009-2010). Real Estate Broker/Owner Phase I . BSAE Aeronautical Engineering. and black negative connectors correctly. The input source voltage to many DC to DC converter will accept from 8 to 30 volts DC so it will be more versatile than the original power cube. Permalink Introductory biographical note: The author is 64 years old. or electrical devices . July 30. This can be overwhelming to someone.C. so if you feel performing this kind of modification is beyond your competency level please seek out someone who is competent.

close enough to a populated city . with creeks running through the 1.500 ft. Secluded. The community had two 400 ft wells. but yet be sparsely populated and hard to find. if we were to loose electricity for any long period of time.000 acre tract.I began realizing my vulnerability in 1998-1999. Gravity feed then brought the water to the 15 property owners. but rural enough to not easily be found. Because time was a factor. It had to have access to running water and have soil to grow crops.500ft+ above sea level). and not to far removed from all civilization. I sent my floor plans to the engineering department of a nearby university and asked for help. I began. rabbit. that was part of a 1. electrically operated secured gate leading in and a permanently locked gate leading out for emergencies only.000 acres paved the main road coming up to about 1. This meant my roof would be the floor of the home that I would need to finish someday in the future. whether it was of nature. when Y2K-induced turmoil was a potential real possibility. in all haste to find and prepare for the possible disaster that might come when the clock struck 12:00 midnight and 2000 would ring in.000 acres and touching my tract.000 acres was gated with one main. It needed to have relatively high elevation (1. with only 15 other property owners.p. The dimensions I gave them were to be 37’X 52’ split lengthwise by a 12’ separation wall 12” thick of poured reinforced concrete surrounded by 12’ walls of . basically within a 1 hour drive. bear & turkey. if the world was still around after Y2K. My next step was to design and start construction of an impregnable home (fortress) that would withstand any disaster within the constraints of my budget.200 ft. My parcel sits at about 2. The well was on a timer and delivered water to multiple tanks at different locations on the three highest elevations. I found a piece of property that was nearly 50 acres on the top of a ridge line. to run the pump. but not to isolated. pump.500 feet and then graveled from there to all the tracts ranging from 500 ft to 2. The owner of the 200 acre tract reserved his for hunting and kept it seeded. One of the wells was at the bottom of my property and had a 5 h. The 1. My plan was to dig into the mountain such that only one side would be open and dirt would surround the other three sides up to 12’. with tracts ranging from 15 acres to 200 acres. ASL. The developer of the 1. I knew I could only get the basement part completed before the New Year would ring in. I purchased an 8kw mobile generator. All of the tracts are heavily wooded with hardwoods as well as evergreens. My requirements were simple. My first step was to find enough land that would be secure enough for my family and to design a place we could live and that would handle any disaster. man-made or God directed. to attract deer. for standby power.

With all this. reinforced with rebar. an oversized septic system and drain field needed to be designed.000 gal to be exact). For this I had to find the largest wrecker in the state. The basement floor was 4” poured concrete that I ran one inch polyurethane tubing 4’ apart throughout the basement floor. In addition.the same..000sq ft and poured concrete over the entire area where the tank was buried. which ran into a plenum in the base of the fireplace and back to a recirculating pump and holding tank. There are two metal doors exiting the basement. I constructed two fiberglass shower stalls for two bathrooms. At the back of the basement going into the mountain I put in a 30’ X 10’ cleaned out metal fuel tank (25. From the 2”x 6” floor I built metal shelving with 2”x 6” wood shelves to the roof of the tank. On the top of one end of the tank I had him cut out a 3’ X 3’ square and ran 4 walls. To handle the load of a semi-truck driving over my roof. I also decided to add one additional piece for security. That left me with about an 8’ walkway front to rear down the center of the tank. One is through a stairwell to the roof (future floor of the main house) and the other through the open side. valving was added to reroute the heated water into the hot water system of the house. they told me I needed 8” of poured concrete. secured from the inside. I have since changed the design of the house to have a castle look that is . with the escape hatch protruding above the surface. 10” on center and 6 by 6 [heavy] wire mesh. I then had a floor frame put in that was 30” from the bottom of the tank and added 2’ x 6” wood removable flooring. The tank was now about 4’ underground. A small. The hard part was getting the tank up the last 500’ vertical 30 degree incline to the homesite. This would allow me for gravity feed system in the basement. as well as a metal ladder to go from the floor to the top of the latch. after Y2K became a no. I added an 8’ wide X 5’ high fireplace on the open side of the basement with large racks for grilling my kill. This is what I called my Survival Tank. as well as escape. 6’ up with a latchable top. and a windmill. This is where I store all of the 5 gal urethane storage buckets. two bedrooms and a kitchen on one side of the divided wall. A few years later. a work/mechanical room. I enlarged my floor plan above the basement and added an additional 1. We had to winch the tank up the 500’ and then drop it in the ground before we poured the 12” back wall around it. I found the tank at a scrap metal yard out in the boonies and had a local welder cut one end out and put in a double hinged door secured by 1” X 1” sliding bars that were lockable with the largest master locks I could find. Two metal framed doors secured this area from the large living room that is between the divided wall and the outside open wall.event. Prior to having the roof poured I dropped in a 500 gal urethane water tank built into a frame that raised the tank from 6’ to the roof. electric hot water heater was added to the system capable of running from standard 120 VAC as second water heater capable running at 12VDC from solar panels via deep cycle storage batteries I purchased (4) 2’X 6‘ solar panels with frame. leaving the welded doors as the entry from the basement to the tank.

solar array and windmill. B & C and in some areas a plan D.300 for materials to construct up to 2. and received it. 3. But I have also build special caches for firearms and ammo that I can bury in different locations. CACHES. to a board with a 12 VDC battery. A high tunnel or hoop house are miniature greenhouses without all the fancy bells and whistles The grants are being awarded to 38 states for the purpose of extending the growing seasons of food crops and most families can qualify if they have a small tract of land to put them on. i.I keep most of my equipment& supplies that I cannot easily replace or want to safeguard the most. but it is the process of preparing the list of lists and then accumulating the items necessary to insure a plan A. from a program launched in December 2009 by the Department of Agriculture.000 gal propane tank. EMERGENCY LIGHTING.Purchased a customized ’71 & ’74 4WD Chevy Blazers on the internet.175 sf of high tunnels for growing crops.e. The ’71 was customized for brush firefighting and the ’74 was customized as a dual fuel 5.I purchased a Country Living Mill and then found an exercise bike.Purchased wall-mounted LED kits that can easily be mounted above telephone jacks. pre-1975. I also mounted both the mill and a 12VDC automobile generator. for what I hope is also a non-event. while getting in our daily exercise. whereby I will be reimbursed up to $3. GARDENING.an additional 26’ above the basement. if for any reason any of my residences become compromised. They are waterproof. Other things that have been done are the purchase and installation of an inverter system.I have just applied for a subsidy grant. Last month I had a bob- . 1. After nine years I have the walls up from the basement roof and hope to have a metal/concrete roof put on before 2012. EXERCISE/MILLING/12VDC GENERATOR. 2. 4. can hold two rifles. in the Survival Tank. gas/propane. hand guns and ammo each and can easily be buried and retrieved. I have an extra 5kva generator which has been converted to be a dual-fuel system. I did this by taking 8” X 5’ sections of PVC pipe and capping each end. using split face block that is reinforced with rebar and filled with concrete. TRANSPORTATION. thus utilizing the 2nd pair of phone wires on a 12VDC circuit wired to a single automobile battery with a small solar panel for emergency lighting. I can generate 12 VDC power for my emergency lighting or charge up the car battery or grind wheat into flour. I have a 600 gal gas tank and 1. Phase II This is really a continuation of Phase I.

I put 2-8’x10’ sectioned windows on the open side of the basement. 2. will sweat. so use plenty of rat bait and seal up all possible points of entry. 3. Twice I have had ATV renegades break in. be sure you study up on removing water from the walls created by hydrostatic pressure and have a good wall and below floor drainage system. If you are going to build an oversize fireplace make sure you find someone who knows how to calculate the ratio of the flu and damper. making large pools of water in the bottom of the tank. A security system is my next step.cat grade out about a half acre and will start planting in the fall for a early spring harvest. Metal tanks. sugar. honey etc. to books to any type of paper products and boxes will fall apart over time Dampness also invites rodents you do not want. Freeze-dried . 4. I have since then boarded up the windows and put larger Master locks on the doors. Booby traps are illegal in most jurisdictions. It is difficult to control the temperature. rice. dehydrated and raw wheat. as well as insects. even through the metaldoored tank. Mold or mildew starts to take over everything from bedding. Dampness accelerates the deterioration of metal cans making them rust from both inside and outside the can. but since I installed dehumidifiers. underground. I have found that there is almost nowhere safe from a dirt bike or ATV. through the windows. When building a basement underground. cutting the locks and thereby taking my guns and ammo and trying to hot wire my dirt bike. Foods . FOOD.Thousands of rations of MREs. 6. everything stays dry and cool. I also fog the place every time I leave. Mistakes I have made: Construction 1.

then I recommend a small. as Christians. we have a responsibility to God. destruction and the wrath that will be unleashed upon the earth before Jesus Christ returns. Although all things are in God’s hand. through his word. Through out the Bible. our church and our fellow man to be prepared both spiritually and materially. directly and indirectly to be prepared at all times.MREs do last more than 10 years [at temperatures under 60 degrees]. Patterns for making your own are available on-line. He has warned us of upcoming famine. Before us. [JWR Adds: I've had several readers enthusiastically recommend washable fabric sanitary pads. family-owned business called Naturally Cozy. “ What is meant to be. and it has been ordained as to the end and how and when it will happen. their pads are very comfortable and made to last. kingdoms and nations have been destroyed by God or God has removed his hand and blessings and they have been destroyed or have destroyed themselves. with a few exceptions such as high oil content foods which begin to deteriorate. Most agree on at least the distinction that we live in an unprecedented time in History. Or if you'd rather have someone else do the repetitive sewing work. if not the absolute certainty. will be” or “God helps those who help themselves” attitude. because your eyes are bigger than your wallet or borrowing power is.1. God gave direction. cities. of . Hygiene 1. Fruits break down and start to ferment or just go bad. through his mercy. [We've also been warned of] the possibility. God has. My Belief System For those who believe. We may choose that “God will provide”. Rotation of Food. have repented and have chosen to follow in his teachings. given guidance and direction for us to be prepared for his second coming. our families.] Don’t run out of money. From all reports. he has promised eternal life. I'm not yet sure how to handle long term supply of female monthly needs or what to substitute when supplies run out.

you’ve stocked up on seeds and a food mill. all of which are likely scenarios. as we know it. This article will discuss the proper mindset as well as the initial steps necessary for the beginning prepper. whether . This may come in a variety of forms . skills. and band-aids is the initial response. the sudden awareness s of your vulnerable present condition. and determination to do so. but there are many steps down that path. For the average suburbanite who can't fix his own car. The amount of information to be taken in. But then what? So you have your retreat (or not).some form of collapse in our system.flu pandemic. Understanding preparation in a more easily digestible form is a key toward creating a successful preparedness plan. or an EMP attack. Permalink Preparing for the end of the world as we know it is an understandably daunting task. and the anticipated financial and sweat equity costs are enough to shock some beginners into abandoning the task all together. further preparation encourages us to find a defensible. by B. Regardless of the form. the result will be very similar and our concerns are as well: How do we protect ourselves and our families and provide a living? While stocking up on beans. If we should need to return to a less technologically “advanced” society. A few forward-thinkers will. and psychological themes encountered in TEOTWAWKI strike a chord with many individuals in a society which has become so technologically dependent. Which do you want to be? Sunday. economic depression. as well as productive retreat. the list of tools you never knew you needed.J. especially for a beginning prepper. and “the event” actually comes. many people will not have the knowledge. 2010 Thoughts on Beginning Preparedness. The social. July 25. It is easy in the beginning stages of your preparation to feel discouraged by the shear size of the task in front of you. the ability to provide for yourself provides incredible rewards.H. political. bullets. Are you prepared to provide for yourself when the food runs out or if society never returns to “normal”? Although it may be difficult to learn and find the time for. doesn't grow his own food. I've always been interested in end of the world scenarios. so economically interconnected. and so highly specialized. and has never experience “hunger” greater than skipping lunch during a hectic day at the office the breakdown of civil society is hard to conceptualize in anything more than an abstract way. The path to securing yourself and your family should ultimately end in a self-sufficient rural retreat.

an extra five gallon can of gasoline which was of course only half full. I was even more discouraged. This seemed the most probable both because of the area in which I live. a few miles from a large city. Like most alarm systems it simply sends a signal along the phone line. television. buy thousands of dollars of new equipment. These are also placed behind each door. I had the food in my kitchen cabinets. I began by inspecting and performing routine maintenance on the locks of both my doors and windows. like so many Americans actually moving toward self sufficiency was not a chief concern. a hatchet that I used for yard work. I purchased several sets of large sleigh bells at an after Christmas sale. Maybe it was just a symptom of “growing up” or perhaps being married focused me more intently on the need to provided for and to defend my family. books or video games. It became quickly apparent that my level of readiness was pathetic.in movies. I went to web site after web site and read as many survival books as I could get my hands on. things that seemed impossible: move my family to a wilderness retreat. making it easy enough for a burglar to either cut the phone line or knock out power and enter more easily. but in either case I began to take stock of my readiness level and make a plan for improving it. My home has an alarm system. some flashlights. learn a lifetime of survival skills. I also check into how the system actually functioned. However. I decided to create a second level of low tech security. I felt like I needed to do so many things to get ready. Comparing my own pathetic state to the level of preparedness described in many of the books I read. a . I also purchase small wedge alarms that activate a battery operated siren when the door makes contact with them. I finished off my low tech system with some standard door bars. This was all the stood between my family's safety and disaster if a TEOTWAWKI scenario unfolded.22 pistol (each with only a box or so of ammunition).22 rifle and a . After getting married and settling in to law school I started go give more serious thought to my own preparedness for a disaster situation. After the initial panic I marshaled myself and began to analyze the situation more clearly. and the possibility of this scenario even outside any systemic breakdown. Rather than buying piece meal the items I needed to survive a long term disaster. Like any major effort. the current economic climate. so I called the provided and ran a series of tests t o insure it was functioning properly. becoming prepared would be a process with both long term and short term goals. it made more sense to me to start with a hierarchy of disaster scenarios and prepare for each in order. First on my list was a break in or home invasion scenario. they rest . and some old boots. I couldn't help but feel like I needed to go from average guy to hardcore survivalist over night. these not hang from interior doorknobs to provide extra noise when doors are opened and close. acting not only as a door stop but an added alarm.

but provided me with a wealth of confidence in my ability to react to the break-in or home invasion scenario. and powdered milk. and despite the distance still to go on my road to preparedness. I felt the basement was too prone to dampness and the attic to prone to high temperatures.underneath the door knob and prevent the door from being pushed open. the first step was done. I had basic guns skill. suburban areas of large cities might get a faster response. The gun was placed in my dresser drawer and the shotgun in a closet opposite the bed. Having grown up in southern West Virginia. I started with flour. I recognize that in rural areas even a bad storm could knock out power for a couple weeks. and our puppy. but the class taught me about moving and shooting. While the system isn't foolproof it is much more secure than it was before I started and all with relatively minimal effort. I dedicated a closet in the spare bedroom to the storage of these items. I also purchased 500 rounds of ammunition for each of my guns. I also added security lights on both sides and the back of my home. While I had been advised by many to get a .45 for stopping power. The cost of the course was a few hundred dollars. I also recognized that having guns didn't mean I knew how to use them. the Walther P99 I purchased fit well into my hand and for me was both easy and comfortable to shoot. In addition to preparing my house for the break-in or home invasion scenario I recognized the need to prepare myself. cooking oil. my wife. These items constituted the beginning of our larder and were simple items purchase in bulk from Sam's Club. Our water supply consisted of a large stockpile of liter water bottles. I purchased a new 9mm handgun and a shotgun. pinto beans. Next on my list was a natural disaster scenario with short term (one to two weeks) power loss. shooting indoors including tactical movement. The lights are controlled from a panel in my bedroom for easy activation when something goes bump in the night. canned tuna. My first step was to secure a one month supply of food and water for myself. rice. but if the disaster were of sufficient size the delay in repairs could well drag into weeks just like it would in the hollers back home. My wife and I made a decision to augment this one month supply with new items at each trip to the grocery store. . Given the layout of my bedroom it made sense to retreat into the closet if necessary and this made the shotgun placement seem sensible. salt. We also purchased extra food for our puppy and stored it in the same area. and so I enrolled myself in an urban environment shooting class. a sufficient stockpile which allowed me to go to the shooting range when I had free time while still keeping good quantity on hand in between replenishments. and shooting from common positions like the driver's position in a vehicle. sugar. With one scenario off the list I could already sleep better at night.

matches.Some of our first acquisitions included a stockpile of feminine products. The initial contents included changes of clothes and boots as my wife and I both have to wear dress clothe s to work. These items all promised to make sanitation easier in a disaster crunch. My intention was to be able to manage a fire on my own should emergency services be tied up with a large scale disaster situation. I was feeling a lot better about the security and sustainability of my home in a short term disaster scenario. with food. and empty coffee cans (to be used as candle holders). Next I started on items which would be needed in the natural disaster scenario. We have a fire pit. water. Stocking up just meant having extra on hand for when we needed it. lighting. While my alarm system had carbon monoxide and smoke detectors built in. and heating secured I felt okay about my chances in a short to natural disaster scenario. but now I needed to make sure my wife and I could get back to the house in an emergency. batteries. this wouldn' t do me any good with the power down. Next came water and food. I also bought extra propane for my grill and extra oil for my Tiki Torch type lamps. I also wanted the radio to cover the greatest spectrum of bands including the weather alert band. I also got heavy duty leather gloves and a set of protective goggles for each back. 4 liters of water and 8-10 protein bars. I also purchased several more fire extinguishers and place them at strategic locations. I also set aside an emergency stock of candles in a small bin with some lighters. When acquiring new items I tired to focus on things that my family would use regardless of a disaster scenario. toilet paper. I was ready to take on the task of creating bug out bags to keep in our cars and at work. While there is certainly a lot more that could be done. including standard matches and lighters and a . The bags were surplus swat responder bags with plenty of extra pockets and heavy duty zippers. The purchase of a couple boxes of extra large contractor trash bags rounded out this effort. My next concern was for heat and fuel. I then added items for fire creation. After the radio I procured some extra flashlights and batteries. Following the advice of a one book I got some brightly colored duct tape and wrapped the handle of each flashlight for easy location. and paper plates an d napkins. and so I ordered two extra loads of wood and created tarp covered storage bins in my back yard to hold the stockpile. I wanted the most power options possible including a hand crank. I purchased a good radio. In finishing off my natural disaster efforts. solar. and DC power. I turned back to making my home secure. I obtained stand alone units. I stocked up on gasoline in safety containers and stored this in the area of my basement at the farthest end from the bedrooms and away from any possible ignition sources.

and a first aid kits were also included. These were the first version bug out bags we created. My hope is that readers who are just getting into prepping or who have considered the scenarios but haven't taken action can appreciate this approach and implement it with success to overcome their initial anxiety. We also make a concerted effort to keep the gas tanks for the car full. getting the home ready for a longer term survival situation. and even seasoned veterans still have to maintain their training a preparation. and they have since been augmented with items like extra ammo (we both got our concealed carry permits) and a small hatchet.magnesium strip sparker. duct tape. Our next big purchase will hopefully be a water filter . and this combined with the bag contents increases our changes of making it home if things go bad. With each new phase of preparation I am increasing my odds of survival and making my family safer. and bright orange spray paint. It's obviously a long road. Other might questions the preparedness decisions I have made or the order in which I put my priorities above. a multitool. I purchased a gas mask for each bag. 2010 Four Letters Re: The Off-Grid Dream Permalink . We are increasing our food and water supplies to deepen our larder as it were. Flashlight and extra batteries. that's probably fair as well. it seemed like a better to be safe than sorry type item. I purchased items necessary to seal off the house including plastic sheeting. July 18. While the gas masks might violate the normal rule for things my family will use anyway. plywood. but the more general attitude necessary for a new prepper. nails and the like. The main point I hope to get across is not necessarily the specific plan for preparing. Many readers will probably look at our current level of preparedness and feel it is inadequate. Good luck to you all and God bless in your efforts! Sunday. Each kit also contained a tarp for shelter as well as parachute cord and tarp clips. I am currently working on the next phase of preparedness. My wife and I have stocked up on seeds and have planted gardens for the la st two summers. I agree. The tape and plastic to block air flow in a shelter area and the spray paint to make the position on an office or car window to get emergency personnel's attention. I got several layers of plastic sheeting. The final items considered the possibility of a shelter in place scenario with biological components to the threat.

any spousal input is sometimes a holdback on putting the tv (dish) on the not required list. I have some property away from my home location that gives me some hope.S. for example television. keep the chin up.net called LandBuddy that connects you with people who are looking to live off grid. . Here is a link to the full post. I would be looking at all non required costs.'s situation. We have not become fully de-regulated here yet. (I'm not overly religious. read as much as possible online. but I did pray for some rain to bring us back from the bad situation. Although I wish I had some Arizona property as well. cooling.L. The last week has drowned us in make-up rain. If I were in your situation. phone. should things become unsuitable for normal living. As always. and wish you well.) . heat (if you have firewood). I'm looking at the same alternatives as you. based on my kwh costs and extrapolating the cost expansion. I'm quite familiar with this situation. As this develops.L. the payback is still 20 years on the equipment. for J. you will understand the 100% jump that may occur. etc. At the current time. and pray for rain. I'm here in your home of Pennsylvania. I also am involved in alternative energy for a living. people who are currently living off grid and people who want to help others live off grid. and would recommend that you do a full calculation of getting a standard hookup before putting any money down on the alternatives. and it appears to be provided." That sounds useful.. We had about two months of no rain up here. I do not. J.Hector R.James: The guys over at TSLRF just mentioned: " There is a free service on Off-grid.S. but had public water backup to keep the garden alive. but if you follow Maryland's de-reg. On the garden.

come back to Pennsylvania. otherwise use a small solar system to supply power for LED lighting and solid state electronics. Also use natural lighting (skylights) and oil lamps to keep set up costs down. For initial cost savings. It is all about perspective. scrub brush and hands). 2. simple living in natural surroundings and for self reliance. He needs to place an ad in New York City area Craigslist or something similar.L. We are making it here. Unless you have money to burn. His site is a lot less populated than ours. and give it another try. Also the people with money in this area have plenty to burn. Take care. one should not expect to set up an off the grid home and have all the conveniences of a on the grid home. for one person a 300 to 500 square foot structure is more than adequate.W. Sir. Hard to believe but true. even with the Associated Press's daily bad news. . I would love a piece of property in Pennsylvania.100 square foot home is too big for even a six person family. Life in the Woods” to get a perspective on a personal declaration of independence. Use a solar clothes dryer (clothes line) and a manuals washing machine (tub and ringer) and dishwasher (sink. Although his home may not be an ideal site it is still a . Mr. His grass is a lot greener than our concrete jungle.H. Rawles: J. You can always expand the solar and wind system as funds are available. I think starting off with an old motor home is a good idea and I would suggest reading Thoreau’s book “Walden.. First off. should be able to sell his house to other preppers stuck in New York City and its’ suburbs. or. use a generator for surge electricity needs.S.If things get too frail.

better bug out site for someone living in an apartment in New York City. What is worse is the fact that many employers are now engaging in discrimination against those of us that are unemployed. With four of these kits and a 25 x 25 gazebo you end up with about 2. Peace. or put a storage tank on the property and either haul or delivery.old owner of a home that I can’t sell now due to the housing market collapse.e. “unemployed need not apply”. i. “be prepared”. almost all of my finances go to trying to simply hold on to my home. 2010 The Off-Grid Dream. This kit is the most complete of all I have researched. July 17. After all that you still need to . but as of 2009 I have started to learn hunting as both a survival skill and a sustainable off-grid skill in both archery and rifle.000 for one 20 x 30 x 12 kit from American Outback Buildings. Unfortunately this trend is not sustainable for much longer since my unemployment has completely dried up. As a single 45-yea. As of May 2010 I am embarrassed to admit that I must now use food stamps in order to be able to continue paying the mortgage. I never hunted before. Since late 2007 the job market in my area has collapsed. by J. A machinist by trade. Access to water will be a major issue (about $10. I have been very fortunate to put back a few months of storable food from Ready Reserve and e-Foods direct.100 sq.100 miles away from my home in Pennsylvania. The only way to find employment is through a "temp" agency and the two jobs I have been lucky enough to get only lasted a few months each. The time is upon me to exercise a motto from my childhood. unemployed by government design. The best option I found in my research would be an insulated steel building kit. I have also begun gardening with non-GMO seeds. but they are about $4. These kits can be assembled over a week-end with simple hand tools. cross shaped. Celia Saturday. open floor plan structure. I have also found some inexpensive tree covered property (5 acres) that is remote. This is easier said than done.S. Permalink I have endeavored to set my own off-grid plan into place.L. about 23 miles to the nearest town (in Arizona) which is about 2.000 to drill a well with no guarantee of hitting water.) T here is also the issue of a permanent shelter. ft. it is becoming more difficult to find the capital to go off-grid. Having had success in my first deer season I have gained some confidence that I can feed myself when the grocery stores disappear.

Not that life would get easier should this scenario transpire.000 to $12. though scary can be achieved as long as you take a small piece at a time (baby steps). life would get much rougher. Baby steps are all I can muster at present so I have also picked up an old.. a way to get there and the survival skills to make a go of it. $6.000 for a strong system that would include a hybrid inverter (pure sine wave is not cheap) that will accommodate both solar and wind. I realize this off-grid topic is scary for anyone that seriously considers escape. This brings into focus the voltage and total amp hours you will need.000. but the more baby steps taken now makes “the worst” less of an impact and easier to accumulate to further down the road. Russian spies. the Gulf oil spill. the inside plumbing. As you can see none of these steps are cheap. That has been my philosophy these past three years. I may not have achieved my dream yet. septic system. 24 volt. If everything else fails right now and I must vacate I have a piece of property. From my research the turbine price tag will be around $3. I may never see it complete but I endeavor daily and have reached a plateau. Iran. 36 volt. Wind turbines are a bit easier on the wallet. The question before each citizen is “how much are you willing to take before you act?" Remember… the level of tyranny you will live under is exactly the amount you are willing to accept. Alternative power systems are typically built with 12 volt. I feel a 24v system would work out fine for my needs as long as I use propane for the stove. Point of fact. wiring for electric and a power source. Although I continue to hope for the best (a new job at the hourly rate to thrive) I must be prepared for the worst (foreclosure). I feel a combination of wind.think about the interior--partitioning rooms. I believe that getting off-grid. or 48 volt battery banks. solar and a back-up propane generator would be the best system. I can only hope the world will step back from the brink. Solar is expensive though. the list is endless. extremists. (you get what you pay for) but in order to be truly off the grid you must continue to move forward every chance you get. Now there is something new almost daily designed to instill fear into the populace of America such as 2012. (1981) cheap motor home (code name “plan B”). but “we the people” have been under constant assault since 9-11. . Don’t forget that both systems will require batteries. Just in case my plan doesn’t reach completion before my home in Pennsylvania is taken away from me. This criminal government will relent from killing our “God given” rights. North Korea.

Survival preparation seems to be the only prudent move even if all that threatens us dissolves. I am not an expert in any field. I am prepared to address new challenges as they present themselves.corruption will stop and all the people of this world will join hands and sing “we are the world”. At an early age I was homeless. Next. and I carried all my worldly possessions in my backpack.and after I have spent 20 years being a prepper --I figured I should buy your book "Rawles on Retreats and Relocation". I do not believe that to be the case though. It seems the situation is only getting worse and the bottom is nowhere in sight. while you can. a little about a lot. Put together what you can. I have been that far down that my next meal came from a dumpster. Since your book "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It" has caused me to re-think several things -. Chapter 14 is of special interest to me right now as we are building a snug little adobe house on the farm we just bought. I've researched many different "housing styles" around the world and across time. though I have tried to account for every contingency. . We don't want to call it a cement bunker do we? Chapter 14 [of the book] is a good starting point but I was wondering if you have a source of more detailed information. a question. Friday. 2010 Letter Re: Advice on Building Harder Off-Grid Houses Permalink James. But I am also sure that I will not allow myself to end up in some “tent city”. We are already planning to introduce many of the species into our farm. I am sure that curve balls will be thrown that I have not thought of in my wildest dreams. I have not thought of every obstacle I will encounter. I will not allow a repetition of that at this juncture in my life. I can hope. But turning them into a modern grid independent house. June 11. but I don’t know everything about anything. The article on perennial food sources was both timely and excellent! Kudos. I know a lot about a little. This is simply a compilation of my plans.

There is the crux of the matter: I was wondering if in addition to the books you listed there might be others. This provides a place to mount PV panels. keep in mind that there are also more than 450 articles in the SurvivalBlog archives that relate to retreat security. and a flat roof with a solid wall around it gives us a good "high ground" to defend the house from. * Hardened Structures is an engineering and architectural firm that does "start to finish" hardened retreat home design and construction management. April 29. They do free consulting on alternative power systems. We are in a low rainfall area. by Mitch D. Thursday. Permalink Author’s Background . Also. JWR Replies: Three of SurvivalBlog's advertisers could assist you: * Safecastle specializes in combination walk-in vault/fallout shelter/storm shelter rooms. But we are open and interested in contacting anybody who might have professional experience building such a retreat house. * Ready Made Resources can help you specify and assemble a complete off-grid power setup. There are some real gems there--everything from thorny bush and cacti plantings to ballistic hardening. 2010 Practical Steps to Preparing a Family for TEOTWAWKI. both below grade and above grade. I also recommend that you get a copy of the book The Secure Home by Joel Skousen. Or if you know of a good architect you have worked with to create a "green" off grid bunker? We envision a semi-buried adobe style house that will have a full basement and a bunker off of the basement (for NBC protection) as well as a flat roof.

it was 60 in the house and I wasn’t worried as my new home was well-insulated and built tight. my wife and I have started making the transition to a more preparedness-minded lifestyle. At 7:00 p. ran completely on electricity with no form of back-up heat. however.m. When I went to bed at 11:00 p.m. At that time in my life. In just this past year. Looking back. We live two hours away from any type of big city. With the wind chill effect. it was now 50 in the house and I just assumed the power company guys were having a hard time in the wind and cold. but little in the way of practical advice for families. may feel overwhelmed in their initial stages of preparation. but my introduction to preparedness came in 1999 when I sat at a large table with about 15 other men in a small town café for our weekly bible study. My kids didn’t like how dark the house was. it was probably near 60 to 70 below. My home. As I have scanned and read hundreds of articles online. we built a new house four miles outside of town on 15 acres that my parents gave us. I put my four children to sleep early and piled on some extra blankets. About ten years later in the middle of a bitterly cold 2009 winter night. we make just over $56. I was now a little uneasy as I didn’t need pipes freezing up on me. who own the 20 acres bordering the western boundary of our place. at the time. I felt no urging by the Lord to prepare for Y2K. I hope this article helps young families that are either on a limited budget. however. Three years ago. Our phones in the house. all depended on electricity so I decided that my call could wait until the morning. it was just my place without power as the wires from the transformer came loose when my box moved . and prayed for guidance. the power went out in my newly-built home. A small portion of these men were worried about Y2K and urged others to prepare.200). I was lucky to have in-floor heat on both levels of my home. his electricity was up and running. but the wind was howling that night. I have found a wealth of practical information.000). To my surprise. or both. At 7:00 a. I went to call my parents. Combined. My Introduction to Preparedness I didn’t know it at the time.000 a year. My wife is a stay-at-home mom.I live in Northeastern Minnesota with my wife and four children ages: four to seven. I thought they were “nuts. I bundled up the kids and took them next door where I knew my dad had a gas fireplace.m. as the temperatures outside kept dropping and eventually hit 30 below zero.” I did respect them as Christian men. which in our case is Duluth. even though we had flashlights on hand for each of them. I teach and am a sports coach at the local high school in town (population 1. I was a squared away 24 year-old but was still spiritually immature. Minnesota (population 85. To make a long story short. I woke up in the early morning and noticed that it was about 40 degrees in the house and still no electricity.

Both guys are solid Christian men with a heart for being prepared and ready.just how they worked for us): Step One: Get on the Same Page with your Wife While my wife and I agree that the man is the spiritual head of the family. substantial prayer. “I can’t afford to buy any of these items. In addition. Is this just talk. Depending on your circumstances. or are we going to commit to being prepared? Do I want to watch my kids freeze to death if TEOTWAWKI takes place? I suggest each family assess their own individual situation and then plan out their finances in two phases if possible: . It may mean having them read One Second After. Political Science. When I got to the point where I was ready to make a commitment to preparedness for my family.” We started talking regularly and then I started emailing back and forth with his brother who lives in Alaska. This may mean having your spouse read Mr. We need to be on the same page with our wives. and Finance and am very weary of today’s economy for numerous reasons. I called the power company and they had my box fixed within the hour. a week."Patriots". and even some tutoring. How is that going to work? It isn’t. We live paycheck to paycheck with a nice big mortgage payment on the 25th of each month. this may take some time. One Second After by William Forstchen. I have a friend of mine right now that would like to start preparing. Step Two: Make a Financial Plan I first thought to myself. I also teach Economics. Reading that book gave me a sense of urgency.from winter heaving. it sure makes life easier in all respects when you both agree to commit to something together. but hasn’t had the courage to bring it up to his wife yet. here are the steps we took to get started (these are in no particular order . Nothing bad had happened.” My wife and I then had to decide how serious we really were. but it did get me thinking about a few questions: * What if we were without power for a few days.one of the “nuts. I called up one of the men in my bible study from years back…. or even longer? * What am I going to do to make sure I don’t have to be up all night worrying about my children? Later. Rawles' excellent book. They borrowed me the book.

500 investment that I could get without paying a penalty. rice. * Installation of a hand pump on our current well for water * Back up food: Both short-term and long-term * Learning new skills (Making our own bread from wheat. My friend (from the bible study) and his wife then taught us how to make the following: bread from scratch using the mill. If we have to use a credit card to get it. sugar.) * Buying some added security (Guns and ammo) For example. corn meal mush from feed corn. factor in a monthly stipend for preparation goods and materials. you have entered the official prepper stage. In my humble opinion. canning our vegetables from the garden. My wife and I won’t buy anything we can’t afford. You have to balance your “priority list” with your checkbook. cereal. and . Think of it like paying a monthly life insurance premium. etc. 200 pounds of rye berries. only this one will save your life. Step Three: Evaluate Your Situation and Prioritize Your Needs One thing to mention here: Just because you have something on your priority list of preparation items. we simply don’t! In our individual situation we created this prioritized list: * A Wood Stove to heat the house and to cook on in case of an emergency. staples. The next step for us was the hardest: long-term food.* Decide if you can make a “down payment” to jumpstart your preparation. doesn’t mean you can go get it right away. to build up a rotating pantry that will last our family of six approximately three months. we decided to cash-in a $6. We then bought 1000 pounds of hard red wheat. once you decide to buy long-term food. etc. We took $1000 from my investment and used half of it to buy a Country Living Grain Mill and all of its extra parts. Now you are in. What was next for us? Back-up food. Heat and water were no longer concerns for us. Each time at the grocery store we spend an extra $50 on canned goods. splitting our own wood. toilet paper. using non-hybrid seeds. etc. and a few other staples like wheat. We first used some of that money to purchase a new wood stove and a hand pump for our well. * Then.

380 Bersa with just one magazine. If anyone would have come over to our place in a threatening manner and we had to defend ourselves. I once did the fire drill while throwing pillows at the kids. I found two spare magazines for my . If yes. but if the time comes where I must protect my wife and kids. etc. I only had the following: a single shot Remington Model 37 Steelbilt 20 gauge shotgun. and my . With some remaining money left over. open the window.000 rounds of ammo for an added sense of security. crawl on the floor. Now you can move down your list to the next priority. Step Four: Include Your Kids in Everything so They are Prepared If I tell my kids that we are having a fire drill. We are now currently saving up for a case of freeze-dried butter powder and a case of freeze-dried egg powder. Last. as well as many other helpful tutorials we could use around the house. I have much more on my wish list that we just can’t afford at this time. I really don’t want to have to use any of these weapons. Start where you can. now you have something to save for.” Instead. one mixes the flour. The oldest can now turn the mill. but not least. All four kids also know to meet behind the shed if such a thing were to happen. that is great. My wife and I could have easily read what others have in the way of supplies and knowledge and just said. We then set up future dates to learn how to make Ezekiel bread over an open fire. I used my tax return and bought a DPMS AR-15 and 1. Our kids also help in the bread-making process. they can get out of their beds. take off the screens. surviving will be twice as difficult. Don't Be Intimidated By What Others Have! Everyone’s financial situation and priorities are different.380. All four of our kids also know . Our kids need to be a part of the process. My next big wish is to build an underground root cellar somewhere on our property. each to their own abilities.bannock native biscuit-type bread). before that purchase. and get on the same page with your family. we just decided to do what we can with what we have. “There’s no way we can do that. a Remington 30-06 Model 700 hunting rifle. What are you immediate needs? Can you get them now? If not. and get out of the house in less than one minute. I will be ready with the resources that I have. If TEOTWAWKI happens and our kids are so terrified that they can’t function. That day we taught them to be focused even if there is chaos all around them. We have to give our plan to the Lord and let him provide for us in the ways he sees fit.

hauling. Here are some things we have been introducing our four young children to: * Fishing * Stacking. “Lots of people don’t have extra grain. My wife and I are doing our best to teach our kids how to fish. We never deny them that opportunity. cutting wood * How to start a fire * Lighting a candle in the house on their own * How to identify animal tracks * A respect for guns – an introduction to shooting with the Red Rider * How to cook various meals * A familiarity with our property and our trail system * How to use walkie-talkies * Fire Drills and places on the property to meet * Camping skills and helping put up a tent * How to use a compass * How to use a slingshot . the tips to wood splitting. don’t underestimate what they can do. how to start a fire. Even if your kids are young. etc.” As a kid I grew up hunting and fishing with my dad. but we always take the time to teach the “how and why” of what we are doing. a healthy respect (not fear) for guns.where we store our food and they know not to tell anyone. Our kids love it and are now starting to ask if they can help. It is like bragging. but my dad always did the “messy” work like gutting the deer and cleaning the fish. Just tell people that dad’s hunting and fishing gear is in that cabinet. Our kids are too young to do a lot right now. We tell them.

however. We live in a small town where if one person tells others something. We have many close friends that have no idea about our level of preparedness. my wife and I have started our own little library of books. I am not going to hand my three year old a 12-guage shotgun and let him go in the woods. We are careful not to open ourselves up to just anyone. and take it from there. When we see an opening in a conversation with someone we trust. Checking out books at the library is free. if you are a beginning family or have a tight budget. etc. SurvivalBlog alone has thousands of outstanding articles written by people who have been preparing for years and years. you are helping them become self-sufficient and not reliant on others. you and your family will find that preparedness is a way of life. All of our boys. We even learned how to seal up Mylar bags in our five gallon buckets of food storage on YouTube! In conclusion. Step Six: Continue to Research and Don’t Get Discouraged! I can’t believe how much I have learned in just a year’s time. Over time that money will grow and you will have a nice start to your preparedness plan. can start a fire from scratch in my wood stove or in our fire pit. Not only are you giving your kids invaluable skills for the future.Obviously. the four-year old included. don’t get discouraged! Even if you just start by putting away $20 a month and save up your funds for a while. articles. we challenge them with the next level of preparedness. in order to save at least 30% off your next purchase look into the factory reconditioned web sites of DeWalt or in my case . Letter Re: Standardizing with DeWalt 18 VDC Power Tools Permalink James: While DeWalt is a good choice for tools. Use the internet and any other resources of information you can find. Before you know it. Step Five: Use Discernment in Finding Like-Minded Friends My wife and I have been fortunate to find an older couple to mentor us. you can assume a large minority of town knows about it. As they get older. Take down the notes you feel are important and then move on to another book. we will feel them out. Like many others.

Regards. I found out about Bosch through a open house at a welding supply house. there is a difference between 12v. These drills stood up to many years of factory daily use and they came with a one year total replacement and a two year repair warranty after that. At these open houses at your local welding [or tool] distributor you will find lots of new items to consider and you will save money during the show on new tools and get some excellent food. in a production factory setting 10 hours a day for a year as a test. Go to the factory site and look for reconditioned tools. I also purchased a table saw. I still have tools that I purchased 40 years ago and used daily at work for 30 years. The results were that I gave all our corded drills to the employees and purchased seven of their 12 VDC drills for the production floor. called the GearRatchet. I have no financial interest in these companies. then the 12 volt tools will take care of most routine jobs and will be lighter to handle.Jeff B. April 28.Bosch Tools. It came with a coupon for a hand plainer that has come in handy. a compound miter saw and a router with table from the Factory Reconditioned site at least a 30% savings. Each job is different and yes. . 18v and 24v as far as battery life. Each unit had two batteries and charger and its built in circuitry it would charge the battery without the battery developing a memory. I purchased for personal use the 18 volt combo set. I used the Bosch 12 volt DC drill. Choose the best tools you can but more important save at least 30 % while doing so. When considering your tool purchase talk to those that use the tools daily and when you purchase spending a little more can go a long way. I used to own a business and tried to buy the tools that passed the test of abuse and time. Bosch also has the 6 foot drop test on concrete test on their side. In my case I was also able to get an extra 5% off by purchasing as many tools as I could and writing a testimonial letter about my experience with the company's tools when negotiating with the sales rep. If weight of the tool is an issue. These will have a new factory warranty and you will see the latest offerings. 2010 Letter Re: Lessons from the Yazoo City Tornado Permalink . You may also look into a 12 volt[input voltage] charger that is available for both. I also was able to acquire a neat ratchet set [made in Taiwan] that eliminates the need for deep socket sets. Wednesday. The battery only needed swapping once a day.

In this region. Rawles. This means that if you had trees close to your house. who I know. more than likely. Small portions of asphalt were missing in some people’s houses as opposed to large sections of tin. Convenience stores and grocery stores will be the first looted. I live in Albertville. People will come in and try to take your stuff. Alabama. witnessed the whole thing and arrested the lady for hindering a government operation. We piled junk on the side of the road that was destroyed. Have as few windows as possible on the west side. An officer. A house with a hip-style roof will hold-up better than a gabled roof. People had the gall to pick through our stuff as we were piling more onto the pile. . They were making a bigger mess than the tornado. Asphalt shingles actually outlasted tin. Do not have trees too close or allow them to get too big. The things that I witnessed in Albertville were very similar to that of Yazoo City [which was recently described by another SurvivalBlog reader. I explained that if they took one thing they were taking it all. The woman called me an expletive and gave me the finger. We were hit by a tornado Saturday night.] I would like to add to some things for you to consider: The tornado in our town stayed above the ground for a large part of the destruction. More people will watch you work than help you work.Dear Mr. People will loot food and vice items quickly. these storms always come from the West. you are going to have damage.

Rawles and thank you to those who post here. Thank you Mr. If the stuff you need is away from your house you might not be able to get to it for many days. so my generator was ready to work the next morning after the tornado struck. 2010 . It will be in someone else’s yard when you find it. Do not park your camper in your front yard. I am a better person for it. other agencies will send officers to help and they do not know you. April 27. The badge will help you get back to your home. they will get your house's power lines ready to be re-connected. Even if you know every officer in your town. The bottom line is that my family has been reading this blog for several years. He was not able to get me the tractor he had borrowed until Sunday afternoon. we might be one of the guys looking for help instead of being ready to get to work. My brother lives on the other side of Albertville. I took the [November. . If your area is impacted by a tornado. 2009] blog post regarding generator preparation to heart. It will be scattered all over other people’s yards. When utility poles are snapped. Be on a first name basis with an electrician. Join a Reserve Deputy Program if you can.Never ever store anything you will need in an emergency situation in a portable outbuilding.JEH Tuesday. be prepared to be hassled. If it was not for SurvivalBlog.

AdamElk . I'm sure other tool manufacturers offer car chargers for their batteries too. . Thanks for all you do. The impact driver. I have ten of the DeWalt 18 VDC power tools and four of the batteries.Letter Re: Standardizing with DeWalt 18 VDC Power Tools Permalink James. These are excellent survival tools because you can get a lot of work done with them and a good set of 3 or 4 batteries without needing [120 VAC utility] power. April 26. The bare tool version of the same tool costs $139. . circular saw. You can also get good prices on refurbished or reconditioned 18 VDC Dewalt "tool only" buys. In going to an all-DeWalt power tool collection. lights. I rely on 120 VAC current for everything. [Use their Search box with the phrase "DeWalt tool only". my first DeWalt 18 VDC tool was the hammer drill with a charger and two of the Li-Ion batteries. 2010 Letter Re: Standardizing with DeWalt 18 VDC Power Tools Permalink Dear James: As a builder. In an extended grid down situation. These offers are usually about 1/2 the cost of the standard package that includes a plastic case. Once you have your first tool or two.] They have some of the best prices and offer free shipping on DeWalt power tools.99 at Northern Tool & Equipment. I have a bunch of different tools and batteries from a variety of manufacturers. R. and reciprocating saw have already proven to be very useful. which I'm liquidating. and a radio as well.Dr. I'll still have plenty of operational tools. I now have the ability to charge all of my batteries (regardless of voltage) from a PV panel and voltageregulated jump pack. This cost about $325 at Home Depot. one or two batteries. This is an excellent product line that has proven much better than some of the older 12 volt and corded tools that they replaced. For example. for even less. DeWalt sells almost all of their 18 VDC power tools as "tool only" kits that have just the tool without the batteries and charger. including some like the 18 volt nailer that are not otherwise available as bare tools. including charging the dozen or so cordless tool batteries that we use daily. Monday. and a charger. I recently purchased a DeWalt 12VDC "car charger" and am in the process of streamlining my cordless tool collection. you really do not need to pay for more batteries or chargers.

I lost my job in the spring of 1993.JWR Replies: I agree that cordless power tools made by Dewalt using 18 volt batteries are a good choice. That summer we sold almost everything we owned at the local flea market. Permalink Today there seems to be any number of reasons for the average American to turn the corner towards preparedness and being self-reliant. Not surprisingly there are twice as many reasons for the average man to not start around that corner.B. This started me down the path of finding a rural home with lower taxes and more opportunity to raise animals and a garden. We muddled through the rest of the school year and tossed out the television. but for the most part we saved . (The lithium ion batteries are still bit expensive for now. I would have been able to give you just as many reasons based on my observations through the 1980s. We chose to use the A Beka books for most of the curriculum. Having made this decision. We had envisioned a log home on a mountainside sloping to a meadow with a river running through. it was about a year later that we realized the taxes we were paying went to very few services we used. April 24. Not wanting to continue with the old ways. but in the end she made the commitment and I committed to supporting her as best I could. These were the same objections we had to overcome and did. Right about then I lost my job. Simply put: today's average American is too poor and soft to endure hardships like camping. It had been our plan to make these changes with the money I had from my income in the building industry but losing the job certainly put a damper on the plans. My wife and I woke up one day in 1993 and realized that our children (ages 2-10-1012) were being raised by godless leftists in the government schools and on television. with the economies of scale. Sometimes we were just exchanging things. Back in 1993. Renee quit her job to homeschool all of our boys. The reasons I have heard the most include the cost factor and objections to living so primitively. 2010 Turning the Corner. As it happened.J. This was decided over several weeks and Renee had some doubts as to her ability. and no TV. we pushed forward. ) Saturday. but I expect those prices to continue to fall. A lawnmower for a grain mill. Instead. by F. physical labor. especially if you get the ones with their latest "Nano" lithium ion battery technology. a bedroom set for a rifle.

as much as we could. Seeing a concrete picnic table at one site. Seemed like a good idea to me. We had picked up a GP Medium tent with an arctic liner and set it up for the first time during a snow storm at a campsite in the national forest. turning just in time to see the wolf jump off the edge of the canyon and head towards me. I saw the wolf crest my side of the canyon and knew it would be on me in an instant. Selling the house didn't bring any real money to the table and what we did have was soon spent on a used school bus ($1. Staying in the national forest (with a 14-day maximum stay) saved us what little money we had left. I quickly jumped up and pulled up my jeans. I was in the position with my paper and trowel in the ready. As I was there I got the strange feeling I was being watched. It turned out that we always seemed to have a crowd gather around when we set up camp. We learned fast and within a few months. It really bothered me to the point I had to start scanning the surrounding area to see who was there. I could write a chapter on our adventure/nightmare traveling but I’ll save that for another time. Sometimes it was another survivalist living in the forest looking for a home cooked meal and sometimes it was just the curious having never seen a tent that big. One day while in the forest at a camp we had just set up. It also helped that we had more privacy in the forest. My notion of enjoying the table was soon lost when Renee pointed out that the cold concrete table and benches just sucked the heat right out of us as we sat. Live and learn. As I looked across the canyon I saw a large timber wolf standing still and staring right at me. After the work was done and the stoves were burning we’d often have someone knocking at the door post. Not turning back again I ran into . my boys and I could set up a GP Medium with liner and two woodstoves quicker than a company of soldiers. and less than $3. I told Renee that I was headed into the woods to do my business. The GP Medium tent is 16’ x 32’ in size and I guess seeing a man and four boys set it up was worth watching. it was my thought that we should place the tent over the table so we could have the comfort of the table inside.000 we headed west. we ended up in northern Arizona in early January 1994.500) that was going to carry us all west to our promised land. two dogs. just enjoying the beauty of the canyon and forest. It was private enough and there was a nice view of a small canyon just another 20 feet away. I found a spot over a small hill and a stand of boulders from the site. After directing the boys at holding the tent posts for about an hour we finally had the tent set up. With less than $500 left. I rigged a tow bar behind our bus for our Jeep and one day in the fall with four boys. Leaving my paper and trowel behind as I leapt over the stand of boulders.

I asked him about the wolf and was told he was a regular to that part of the forest and wouldn’t hurt anyone. it was "for sale by owner" and I was able to negotiate a "delayed settlement". Not having to deal with breaking camp every two weeks was a great feeling. The boys got extra freedom to wander and I could put in more permanent fixtures at our camp. schooling the boys. I dug down only a few inches to expose the rock that would support the cabin. They were also not an airtight stove that would keep a fire all night unattended. cooking meals. and seeking a place to start our home. It was a bit larger than a ¼ mile square and had several good house sites. When they burned they burned hot. a ranger came by our camp to log our stay. He sold us all the rough-cut ponderosa pine we could haul at a time. Almost every weekend the boys and I spent searching for materials for the ranch cabin. Later. The stoves we had been using in the tent were the standard GI issue stoves. Once Renee and the boys stopped laughing at my adventure I vowed not to leave camp again without my sidearm. Renee had given me specific details on what was acceptable after many burned fingers and smoking pot holders. Renee continued working while I kept up with the boys and started planning our house. We were lucky to have found a saw mill close by. Not having to dig any farther down than that. This allowed us to set up camp on the property and save enough money to make the down payment in four months. “Wolf! Wolf! Get my gun!” Renee was at the tent door with my GP100 as I reached her. And while they were relatively affordable. the stove we now needed . I placed the chainsaw cut juniper tree posts right down on the rock and started the house. but there was nothing. For the most part we used what we could off the land in timber and stone and paid cash for the rest. This was one of my biggest concerns. "owner financing". Once we settled on the property. and the "right to occupy". It was an old mill and the owner knew what he was doing. I had found a solid outcrop of rock just below a cow path along one of the hillsides near the center of the land. I grabbed the gun and turned expecting to see the wolf.000 acre ranch. sometimes cherry red. The boys and I hiked for many miles on an old ranch land until we found a 50-acre place in the middle of an old 60. We soon sold the bus and bought an old pickup truck along with a trailer for hauling water to our property. It didn't take long to find affordable land in Arizona.our camp yelling. Once under roof we began our search for a woodstove. Further. I started cutting the best looking junipers for the post foundation of our cabin. Right. Renee was the first to find work and I took up keeping the camp.

Hot water for showers and dishes was heated by both the woodstove and the kitchen propane stove. The heated water was carried out and poured into the bag. slept at night. The boys enjoyed listening to KFI out of Los Angeles and their Radio Classics like The Shadow and The Jack Benny Show. we added a propane instant water heater to the system.was always expensive. Later. I was ready to drop a large sum of money on this right there. I noticed a metal recycling scrap yard. used oil lamps when needed. A wood decked walkway off the rear led to a small building with deck floors and a hook at the ceiling. killed rattlesnakes. We could not afford solar power or generators until much later and for the most part we lived as early Americans did. For nighttime entertainment as a family we listened to the AM radio shows. and had an outhouse for you know what. During the day we hunted. To my surprise. Being "off-grid" meant that. We could take as long a shower as two gallons of hot water would allow. aside from the chainsaw. Once the cabin was finished Renee hinted that she wanted running water in the kitchen sink. We later added a kitchen addition to the cabin with a standing pilot propane oven but the Timberland stayed on as the primary heat source for the home. Being off grid with no well I had to come up with a workable solution. We worked during the day. heated with a woodstove. Showers were accomplished in a shower house we built off the cabin. Renee started a small garden that kept us in tomatoes and peppers to cook up with the average 18 eggs a day that our 24 chickens gave . The only real luxuries we enjoyed those first years were a propane grill and our portable radio. the boys and I were using only hand tools to build our home. High on a pile of iron was the stove I had been looking for! It was a Timberland Double Door with a large flat top surface suitable for cooking on! This was God looking out for Renee (or me). At first we had a canvas military water bag with a large daisy shower head. This gave us excellent water pressure to the faucet entirely gravity flow. One day while in the big city 75 miles away from our ranch.500 gallon water tank at a ranch supply store. While building we used the water trailer as our water storage as well. Placing this tank on the hill where the bottom was above the height of the kitchen faucet I ran 2” pipe off the tank to the outside wall of the kitchen. We bought a 2. they only wanted the going rate of scrap iron per pound (less the weight of the fire bricks) for the perfect stove. At one point Renee quit working and took up running the ranch while I worked locally where ever I could. and searched for arrowheads.

2010 Letter Re: You May Not Need to Buy New 12 Volt Batteries Permalink Jim: The 12 volt DC lead-acid batteries employed in most readers' vehicles. As the money came in we added on and upgraded and eventually got to solar panels and a generator. and as soon as I can I'll be building that log home we had envisioned. The ranch sold quickly to a California family looking to get out of their situation and into a better life. The lessons we learned have made us stronger and more ready to take on what's coming. having gone to West Point. Renee and our youngest son helped finish a modest cabin with solar power. We are still survivalists.us. April 23. power storage systems and backup supply systems are expensive. Her 30 goats supplied enough milk for everyone and all the cheese we could eat. Friday. It should be said that our sons are all men now. The funds from the sale of our ranch bought us a 100-acre mountain farm sloping to a meadow with a river running through. It became clear to us that water is everything for survival and the west has too many water issues. but are difficult to keep in a state of readiness and when deemed "spent" their replacement puts a drain on already limited financial resources. Aged batteries become unreliable. they all know how to. We sold our ranch and moved back east several years ago after staying out west for about 14 years. We even had one of the first satellite uplinks for Internet connection from our off-grid ranch. . I am proud of the job my wife did homeschooling our sons and while three of them do not actively live a survivalist’s life. have finite life spans and are a critical link in the timely operation of equipment required to respond to short term and long term grid-down situations. Two of them still live out west after going to local universities and the oldest is now out of the US Army. Our choices were not always the right choice but they were ours to own.

In each case the battery. a source of energy in an inverter set-up or other traditional arrangements. This is. which had previously been unable to retain a decent charge. You might consider splitting the cost with a good neighbor or two. The Rejuvenator is not exactly cheap at $200 (delivered) but if you bring two "mostly dead" large capacity car batteries (or just one heavy duty tractor battery) back to useful life you've pretty well paid for the unit and after that everything is free.D. time consuming and the unpredictability of battery depletion. I borrowed the 'Rejuvenator' unit. lead plate breakage or separations and similar situations that require mechanical reconstruction. drawing down the battery between applications.Most people have battery chargers and the know-how to use them in an effort to keep older . Chemist . but my own results were very satisfying. then I placed a load on the battery and drew it down to about 11V. But if the battery is mechanically viable and just badly aged.or infrequently used .it's beyond repair by ordinary mortals. . such as failure of inter-cell connections. makes it difficult to keep your batteries in a constant state of readiness in a cost-effective manner that is not manpower intensive. For my own batteries. A neighbor of mine . through sulfation and other age-related deterioration. however. was "brought back to life" and held a good charge making it usable for employment as a car battery. and attached it to three different 12V lead-acid batteries of my own over a 4-day period. researched and subsequently purchased a device known as the Renaissance Charge Rejuvenator. If a battery has reached a truly terminal stage of decay.a Ph. there is a very good chance that it can be brought back to a very useful state with a device that is relatively unknown but commercially available. gave it a rest period of about 8 hours and then ran the unit through another cycle to charge it back up and apply a "second dose" of the unit's proprietary repair process. then the battery should be recycled .batteries in a charged state so they can be relied upon when needed. I will not claim that it can be made as good as new. The Rejuvenator works best if you use it repeatedly.came across. He has already brought a dozen lead-acid 12V batteries back from near useless states. I used the unit until it indicated "done" (green light).

the game rules have changed causing a change in thinking and direction of survival planning. Suddenly. family survival preparedness. however.F. in order to avoid the high costs associated with replacement. though it couldn't hurt if you mention that "Ted from Careywood" sent you. especially for those who use lots of battery banks to avoid dependence on the electrical grid. would have the ability to survive hard time and hunger. They may be inclined to give some sort of small discount. in the past few years. Best Regards. 2010 A Southwesterner's Experience in Family Preparedness. by C. I have now retired from working. there is no relaxation. As I absorb the news of the day my other life long avocation. continues to plague my mind. something has happened the last few years that is going mostly unrecognized by family survivalist and all other patriots for that matter. Just as an aside.I submit that readers would be well advised to do some research and consider purchasing one of these units to extend the life of the many batteries they already have in use. the cost/benefit analysis seems to make it a good deal. and will receive no compensation if this recommendation should result in sales for the Renaissance-Charge Company. though I have no control over that. I am sure everyone concerned about their family’s safety understands the problems in America . The current probability of a societal collapse looms ever closer. Permalink I always assumed that I would relax when I retired from my life’s vocation. I have no vested interest in the company that makes the units. We met or surpassed the survival goals set 40 years ago. America has shifted from a legal nation to an empire (check your law dictionary). However. April 2. . I was stunned when I counted and realized that I have fourteen 12V lead-acid batteries on my ranch. The game has changed! The rules of preparedness are being radically altered. including children and grand children. In any case. It is true that my family has been relatively successful over the years in family survival preparedness.Ted Friday. I have been preparing for over 50 years to self sufficient that my family. . it is imperative to understand the course change.

once you get water under pressure it is a whole new world for the family. The spring was diverted into a six-inch pipe. we built up a comfortable home that was self-sustaining. so we must think sideways. diesel. the most efficient rig is a diesel motor generator but that too is expensive in upfront cost and longterm maintenance. Slowly. located on the high desert of the southwest region of the US in 1978. We irrigate an entire acre at one time with a ‘big bird’ sprinkler. A propane driven generator is great to have also. and propane disappearing is high.100-acre ranch (very inexpensively). We lived in a tent at first. the cost of installation and maintenance soon become obvious. by the time it dropped a few hundred feet down the canyon wall. we had 140-psi water pressure. I can still see. that really made the big house livable. I first placed several 50-gallon barrels on the canyon wall and by mid afternoon. It has a small stream through it and a several hundred gallon per hour spring on the canyon wall. we washed clothes in an open washtub with water heated over an open fire. in my mind. but the escalating cost of propane has proven the old standby gas motor generator proves the most efficient.We purchased an 1. Now. That became the standby for washing clothes and charging batteries in the winter. I took a full year off work and relocated the family from the city. My wife had some funny female idea that the babies should take a bath every day. under the new rules of survival the possibility of gas. If you can get the water under a little pressure you can improvise a ‘home grown’ water turbine generator rigged from a purchase ‘Pelton’ wheel and truck alternators. my 4 and 5 year old girls carrying their little buckets of water from the stream to heat over an open fire so they could meet Mother’s requirement of cleanliness. however. There were several years of experimenting with water turbines for electricity. Of course. but requires a . there was ample very hot water for bathing and washing clothes. it was an evolutionary process that occupied several years. It was ideal for the purpose of survival. until we had built something more substantial in which to live. In the beginning. and that was abandoned in favor a 5 kilowatt motor generator. Of course. It was an exciting time of our lives. It works well.

lot of attention and the alternator wears down rapidly. Design the system where you can change that component easily.

Over the years, we built up a large solar system that provides the power for the house. In addition, satellite television has become the rage. That is a real blessing for the family. Then we developed the satellite Internet, which expanded our educational and information horizons tremendously. Out here, on the desert solar power is the best way to go, however, the weak link is the batteries. They are expensive and require a lot of attention.

That leaves wind power. Actually, it was not a hard decision; wind is not a player on the desert. But perhaps you will be in a more advantageous location. Wind is good, but it is also very expensive up front and wind turbines have to be maintained continually.

We have several fruit trees matured and producing. We have built up several acres of garden area.

Without the distractions of the city we immediately began home schooling all the children. It was the best thing that every happened. The children did not have to fight their way to and from public school. There were no drugs or teachers unions demanding more money and less work.

I ran out of money at the end of the first year, as expected, so it was time to go back to work. I encountered instant rebellion; no one wanted to return to the city. We had a house with all the amenities of a city home. The result was that I went back to work in the city alone, the family remained on the desert ranch. That was a wonderful decision.

Analytically speaking it was a good project, even the home schooling went well. One on my younger sons is now almost through medical school. We, of course, would never cater to the AMA doctrines but still we needed a doctor in the family so he is becoming a doctor to get AMA teaching plus natural healing concepts. Another son is about half way through his bachelor’s degree, I expect him to become a computer scientist and follow in his father footsteps.

All the children are successful hard workers, attributable to living and working away from the corruption of the city. As far as education goes, I cannot imagine any parent turning their precious children over to such a corrupt system, one that will most certainly turn them into ‘functional illiterates’.

The children are grown now and I have a bevy of grandchildren wanting to go the ranch. And, that brings us to the immediate problem. We did what we did because of our desire to be free and raise our children outside the non-Christian society of the cities. I always had in the back of my mind the possibility of a survival crisis of some sort, however, I was able to function in society as it stood and stands to this point.

I have always been a student of history and eschatology and, believe me; something has changed in our country and society almost overnight. I will not bore you with details of the analysis but please be assured we are the verge of national crash that is going to rival the Roman Empire crash. It is going to happen! Do not believe me, take the time to study and read, your conclusion will most assuredly be the same as mine.

With that in mind, may I make a few suggestion learned from many years of playing this survival games. I think it will surprise some of you.

This crisis is going to be far too severe and to long to get through on your food storage alone. Whoa, does that shock you? Study and think about it for a few moments. It is true you must have as much food storage as possible, but that will not be enough! You will not be able to store enough food to get through the upcoming holocaust. You must have non-hybrid seeds stored away. They will be worth their weight in gold and you will need them to feed your family. You must have enough hard storage to survive a year or so until you can get a family garden going.

I will go so far as to say this, right now, this year start a family garden. If you live in a home, dig up the yard and learn how to grow a garden. If you do not have dirt immediately available, find a spot. Talk to your neighbors, look to you community for a garden spot. If you are close enough to the country, go find a farmer and cut a

garden deal. The important thing is to put some seeds in the ground. Growing food in an acquired education and you are going to need to know how to feed your family when your food supply is gone.

Start educating yourself, stay current on news. The people that intend to destroy this country are becoming very arrogant, they sense victory is near. Turn off your sports television, put down your can of beer and learn to read the news, they are telling us in advance, what they are going to do. Sunday, March 28, 2010 A Personal Journey in Preparedness, by Mountain Man Permalink

I’m fairly new to SurvivalBlog but now it’s an every day read. I wanted to write and share my own journey of preparedness with you and your readers. After living with three and a half million people for about 22 years, a move to the country was long over due. I made the decision to get out of the city back in 1999, when I starting to take things a bit more seriously with all of the talk about Y2K. I was really hoping that something would have happened back then so I could test my skills at being prepared for it. I fear that those skills will be tested in the not too distant future none-the-less. Like you, I grew up in the age of bomb shelters and the threat of nuclear attack. My father was a member of the Civil Defense and I remember a small book that he gave me that showed how to build a fallout shelter in your basement. I always wished he would have done that but it never happened. What a great little fort that would have made for me and my brother, more on that later.

Anyway, I have wanted to live in the mountains since I was 12 years old so I headed out to the Rockies in search of a good bug out spot. I found just the right spot out in the middle of nowhere, 36 acres off a dirt road with the nearest Wal-Mart on the other side of the mountain range. It took another 5 or 6 years to actually be able to make the move. I was fortunate enough to start dating a like minded gal before the move and the minute we started talking about bug out bags and storing food, I knew I found myself a winner. We sold most of my furniture and put my home up for sale and were finally able to make the big move to our retreat property and start getting things situated.

Since we settled down we have been able to stock up on about two years worth of food, medical supplies, gasoline and diesel etc. To date we’ve put up about a ½ ton of wheat and a ½ a ton of corn, beans and rice. More than enough for us and enough to share with those that haven’t or couldn’t do it on their own. I love making things from scratch, so owning a welding and fabricating business has been a huge blessing as we are able to make most anything right here in the shop. And those things don’t necessarily have to be made from metal. We’ve been able to fabricate everything from a well water retrieval bucket made of pvc to our own colloidal silver generator to our bio diesel processing set-up. We converted an old exercise bike into a pedal powered grain grinder and I’ve made a lead melting pot so we can pour our own ammo and start loading it once we set up a loader. We have made a solar oven, solar air heaters for the roof of the shop and will be putting together a solar hot water heater real soon.

The shop has a small lathe, mill, drill press, cutting torch set up, MIG, TIG, Arc, and Plasma machines with two generators, sheet metal bender, notcher, roller, English Wheel and a ton of various hand tools. The hand tools will be a real important part of the operation when there is no more power from the grid and the gas for the generators runs out. We’ll be putting together a Faraday shielded box for some of our electronics in case of an EMP. In this box we will store a spare computer set up, radios, walkie talkies and anything with a circuit board that we don’t want to do without. Granted, the Internet may become a thing of the past but we have a lot of valuable information stored on hard drives and discs, we’re talking thousands of pages of info, and if we have a working computer, then we can access that info when needed.

Speaking of information, our survival library is currently at over 75 books, so at least some of our information is accessible without a computer. A few of the books and magazines that I would personally recommend would be “Dare To Prepare” by Holly Deyo, "The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It” by John Seymour, The Foxfire Book Series and The Mother Earth News magazine.

Every library should have books on gardening, first aid, holistic medicines and any skills that you might consider learning. It could be hunting or fishing or re-loading ammo or carpentry, canning, raising livestock or whatever peaks your interest. ‘Never stop learning’ is a good motto to hold on to. We try to learn something new every day. And this blog is a great way to do that.

We’ve been able to put in a huge garden, two greenhouses and I take a deer right off the land each year to put in the freezer. Moving here really has been a dream come true. Many of our friends here in the mountains feel the same way as we do about what the future holds and it amazes us as to how many people are getting ready for what’s to come. And yet we only discuss it with a select few from our church.

We have always felt that this was our bug out retreat since we left the hordes, but lately we’ve been wondering what we would do if we had to bug out of here. So, as soon as the ground thaws this spring, we start the next big project, an underground bunker. Dug into the side of our mountain, it will be made out of cinder blocks with the roof made out of ½” thick channel iron, since we just happen to have a bunch of that laying around. Then the entire thing will be buried under about 2 or 3’ of soil and will have two steel doors and even a periscope that I’ve made out of two 90degree fittings and a couple of mirrors that we found at the hobby store. That way we will at least have a small view of the outside world if we have to hunker down for an extended period of time. Our biggest problem will be concealing everything with the proper camouflage, the tube that the periscope will be housed in, a solar panel to help keep the battery charged, a wire antenna for a radio and one of the steel doors will all be outside of the shelter. I‘m enjoying the other posts on this site of other shelters and would like to see more folks write in with their ideas. There are some pretty talented folks on this site.

My father has been a Ham for as long as I can remember and before too long I will be getting my Ham radio license and that will be another big asset for this whole effort. We’ll even try to install a transceiver in the shelter so we can keep in touch with the outside world.

I’ve read quite a bit on this site about obtaining skills for when TSHTF and couldn’t agree more. One of the first things I did when we got settled in was to join the local Search & Rescue team and Volunteer fire dept. and not long ago I got involved in a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The training that I’ve received from each of these has been invaluable. Skills like wilderness first aid, CPR, rock climbing, rope rescue techniques, evacuation, firefighting, use of radio and much more. It takes a lot of personal time but I urge others to make the commitment and learn as much as they can. Being involved in these organizations might also give us a heads up with some advanced information and that could come in real handy.

Another thing we’ve done here is to load up a number of six gallon buckets with all sorts of items that we might need if we had to evacuate the house for some reason. These buckets hold some emergency supplies like food, bottled water, meds, blankets, tarps, rope, fire starters, gloves, socks, knife, flashlight, spare batteries and a small Sterno stove to heat water with. It’s amazing how much stuff you can cram into a six gallon bucket if you do it right. These buckets are buried strategically throughout the property. We keep the locations handy so we can get to the nearest bucket, dig it up and at least have some supplies to work with. In each bucket taped to the lids are the locations of the other buckets. Chances are pretty slim that anyone would find any of the caches by accident, being that all the buckets are buried on our own property and well camouflaged. All of the containers have a good seal around the lid to prevent moisture from getting in and when we bury them we have a piece of plywood cut in a circle that is an inch or two larger in diameter than the bucket. This helps keep the dirt off the lids when we need to dig them up. Each bucket is buried only a few inches below ground level and we stash a small garden shovel nearby underneath a rock, bush or by a tree trunk to make it easier to get the buckets out in a hurry.

As far as transportation goes, we have a gas powered pick up, a diesel pickup and a 1970s-vintage Jeep that has no [microprocessor] electronics in it that would be affected by an EMP. We burn vegetable oil in the diesel during the summer months, the harsh winters here make it a bit too thick to use, even with the additives we put in to help thin it out. I would also suggest that you get a good bike for each family member, know how to tune it up, know what the most common items are that would break and how to repair them. Have the right tools to carry on the bike and know how to use them. Here in the mountains we are a long way from anything and someday a bicycle might be the fastest way to get there. But in a big pinch there is always foot power. You obviously need to have good packs that fit well and a couple of comfortable pairs of hiking boots. You also need to maintain good physical health if you plan on hoofing a lot.

We try to teach others to be prepared as well. Not necessarily for TEOTWAWKI kind of thing but for the more common ‘what if’ scenarios like bad weather, power outages etc. We feel that if we can get our family members to consider those scenarios then they will be able to use that knowledge in case things really do hit the fan. It’s pretty frustrating knowing that my loved ones will not leave the big city and are pretty clueless as to how to survive when things take a turn for the worse. All we can do is pray for them and hope that they get a clue before it’s too late.

I know some readers will be thinking that we have it made being able to have a retreat, vehicles and a business that allows us to fabricate most of the things we need. Much of the emergency items we have were purchased from yard sales and thrift stores. We also barter for a lot of items and services. No doubt we’ve been blessed but it was not easy in any sense of the word. When we first got here we lived in an old camper with no water, shower or toilet for 14 months. We started out with a bucket for a toilet until we could get a port-a-potty hauled in. That was reason for celebration! It took about a year to get our place built and has been an ongoing struggle the whole time. But it has all been worth it. Being out in the middle of nowhere, we had no idea how we would make a living. It took about two more years to make a name for ourselves in the fabricating business. But word of mouth is the best advertisement in tight knit localities like this. We depended on miracles almost every month (and still do) when we didn’t know where the money was going to come from to pay the mortgage. It was a big leap of faith moving here but that’s what we were led to do. That leads me to one more item to mention before I close and that is faith in God. As many others have stressed, getting yourself right with God is the most important thing you can do. Faith has brought us this far and we continue to build our faith as things start to look darker and darker by the day. Pray for each other for knowledge, provision, wisdom and discernment and that we’re on the other side of the fan when it finally hits!! Friday, March 19, 2010 Letter Re: Questions on Backup Generators Permalink

Jim, Thanks for the great blog. I have purchased several items from your sponsors and appreciate your screening them for us.

I live in suburban Detroit and am looking to find a small farm. Values are still declining here. Until I can make a move, I'm stuck living in suburbia. Currently I own a cheap gas generator and am looking to upgrade. Should I go with a diesel or trifuel generator? Can you suggest some sources? God Bless, - Bob P.

JWR Replies: That all depends on how many hours you intend to run the genset. Because they run at lower RPM, a diesel is preferable for a genset that will get "high hours."

Another factor is the local ordinances on fuel storage. If you cannot legally have a 2,000 gallon diesel tank, but you can have a 2,000 gallon propane tank, then your choice is clear. If ordinances are very restrictive fuel tanks, then you might consider a "plumbed-in" genset, running on utility-piped natural gas. (The best solution, of course is to move somewhere out in the country, where there are no fuel storage restrictions. But I recognize that family and work obligations might preclude such a move.)

Do comparison pricing via the Internet. Generator sales is a very competitive market, especially in the current recession. And, since shipping costs are substantial, it often pays to find a vendor that is fairly close by. Saturday, March 13, 2010 Letter Re: The Daylight Savings Time Home and Survival Checklist -- Renew Your Preparedness Measures Permalink

Dear JWR, On March 14th at 2 a.m. it is the Daylight Saving Time change time in most of the US. So now is a very good time to check some things that you haven't thought about in a while. I'm sure you heard the Public Service Announcements to change the batteries in your smoke alarm and to test them. That is certainly a good thing to do, but is that the only thing you should do this time of year? Grab a pen and paper and let's look around your home.

Batteries and Battery Powered Equipment Since you're changing some batteries already, this is also a great time to check the batteries in your flashlights, radios, and other battery powered equipment around your home and cars. Turn them on and see if they still work and if you still know how to use them.

First Aid Kit Hopefully your first aid kit didn't see much use, but you need to check it for expired food and medications, put what needs replacement on your shopping list. If things

have migrated to all parts of your home, bring them all back together into one central location. Update any contact information, medication changes or allergies in your document kit.

How Are Your Vehicles Doing? You probably use your car every day but have you taken the time to really look at it recently? Check your tire's pressure and look for signs of wear. Use a penny to check your tread depth, if you can see the top of Lincoln's head you need new tires. Look in the wheel wells for signs of rust. Pop the hood and check the fluid levels and not just the oil and windshield washer but brake, steering and radiator. Look for leaks and worn belts. Get a helper and make sure all the lights work.

What Did the Winter Do To Your Home? How well has your house and property weathered the winter? You might want to start another page and call it the Honey Do list. Check under sinks and around outside faucets for water leaks. Drain your hot water heater. Not only will this clear the buildup of mineral deposits and silt, it will make the hot water heater more efficient and give you more available hot water and faster too, but also more drinking water in case of an emergency. Look around the foundation, driveway and sidewalks for cracks in the concrete. Check your foundation, deck and fence for damage or rotting with a pocket knife, particularly around the base of posts. Small piles of sawdust indicate signs of vermin or insect intrusion. Grab your binoculars and inspect your roof for missing shingles and flashing. Test your lawn mower, generator and other gas powered equipment and their fuel.

Oh and don't forget to set you clocks the night before. "Spring forward, Fall back." Friday, March 12, 2010 It is All About the Means of Production, by Mark. B.

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From the beginning of time, ownership and control of quality farm land and raw materials have been closely associated with wealth creation and prosperity. What can you grow or raise? What resources and commodities do you own and control? How much metal, stone, glass, and wood do you own? Do you have the means, knowledge, tools and skills to produce valuable items from this land and these raw materials?

As America was settled, the pioneers knew very well the fundamentals of nonelectric, independence away from the city and just how critical natural resources were to survival. If a parcel did not have fresh water and tillable flat bottom farm land, it was left alone and many years later those same lands are now national parks, national forests, and BLM lands owned by the government.

The primary questions in the minds of those early settlers should also be the same questions in the minds of today’s long-term prepper families. Those questions are simply, “Will this parcel of land support our life?”, and “Do I have ownership and control over the means of production of my food and fuel on this land”?

All along the Blue Ridge mountains, the real estate agents have a phrase they use concerning land value, that phrase is, “the steeper, the cheaper”. It is well known that when you see land advertised as “good hunting land”, that the property really will not support its residents. It is too rocky and hilly, and will not support decent crop production for man and livestock. It is only the last few generations of fearful city type suburbanites and armchair survivalists that have elevated the notion that mountain land remoteness equals security and that is the number one quality to look for in a “retreat”. But mountain living leaves much to be desired in security in many important areas and ways. Never be deluded into thinking that you are safe high up in the woods and that no one will know you are there. It bears reminding everyone of the biblical verse and truth:

Matt 5:14 “A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid”.

Caves and mountains are where you go to if you are on the run, and need temporary shelter from pursuit, just read the Bible and look at history. People only

lived that way out of destitute desperation, because everything [needed to support life] must be hauled in on a continual basis in order to survive. Those locations are not an assured long term sustainable solution in many cases. The primary reason is that very little livestock feed can be produced. Be careful that your homestead location does not separate you from the critical means of production, and forever tether you to others for the things you should be producing yourself. If possible then always opt for sustainable systems capabilities in your land purchase decisions as the most important criteria. I encourage forward thinking preppers to expand their retreat and homestead plans to the realities of true societal and monetary system independence. Be willing to transition to an agrarian lifestyle now, and take control over all the means of production of two things in your life: food and fuel. Get to the place where you own the finished goods and things you cannot grow or raise each year such as salt, tools, and ammo. Owning a lifetime supply of salt is something that is not too difficult. You are trying to reach the point where a yearly cycle in food and fuel production is all you have to worry about. This gives you the freedom to stay out of the cities and towns for basic supplies others will be clamoring for; for a great many years. This starts not with the question of how remote is my land from society’s "zombies", but “will my land support life, and do I own all the means of production”? The litmus test is really drawn not at the backyard 4x4 square foot garden level, but rather: can I grow feed for my livestock and my family’s fuel production on this parcel? This is really what the means of production are all about.

It is ownership and control over the means of production of food and fuel that will ensure you and your family of long term survival in a TEOTWAWKI scenario.

Be willing to ask the questions of a pioneer settler with his family in a covered wagon in 1850. “Will this land support life”?, “Can I grow feed for my poultry flocks, dairy and meat animals, aquaculture ponds, and humans”? “Is there a surface fresh water source on this land”? “What about timber and material resources”? Do I have the tools, knowledge, skills, and finished goods for these systems and processes? These are the basics of life and questions that a century ago would have been common knowledge to all, but today’s modern city sheeple prepper wanna-bes too often overlook and discard. Just like we are spoiled with instant everything, we think of every shortcut possible to “instant survival”. At some point you must get to the place where your “retreat” becomes your “mini-farm”. Otherwise, you are simply camping with a can of food.

“Can I produce all my own fuel from this land?” is the second part of the means of production mindset. There are six primary farmstead fuels that wise people should all be in the process of utilizing for their energy independence. They are: wood,

charcoal, methane, ethanol, producer gas, and beeswax. Study these fuels, learn all you can and purchase now all the means of production for them on your land. Do not look to the left or to the right. Turn the television off and spend your free time developing these systems and learning the skill sets needed for their production, storage, and use.

Many today will never voluntarily choose an agrarian lifestyle or pursue the ownership and control over the means of production. Instead they will rely solely on commercial packaged food and fuel produced by others who are wise enough to own the means of production. They must haul each load to their retreat, with no hope of new supplies while they keep their city office jobs and suburban comforts till they believe they will “bug out” and be "safe". Lord, help them all is all I can say.

While having the courage to pursue the ownership and control over the means of production instead of mere temporary “preps” is essential, the real challenge for First World urbanites is the shift in practicing and mastering the skills surrounding those means. It takes work and that is a four letter word when everyone wants to be a musician, artist, writer, or celebrity. Choose the agrarian/skills-based lifestyle now even with all the learning curves and mistakes you will make, before you are a fleeing refugee of this empire collapse, and can only wish you would have chosen this path and secured these means sooner. All of the suffering and sacrifice you endure now in becoming skilled and truly prepared, is nothing compared to all of the suffering and sacrifice you would endure later if you are not already skilled and prepared.

I'll close with two more Bible verses:

“Wise men lay up knowledge.” (Prov. 10:14)

“Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7) Thursday, March 11, 2010 Some Needful Things Permalink

I'm often asked by my consulting clients about my specific gear recommendations. I've noticed that I repeat mentioning a lot of these, so to save time in my subsequent consulting calls, I'm posting the following list (in no particular order):

* Gamma Seal Bucket Lids. We use these constantly with our bulk storage wheat. rice and beans. * K & M Industries waterproof match cases. The best, made by a Mom & Pop business * Gerber Omnivore LED Flashlights. These can use AAA, AA, or CR-123 batteries. Sadly, they're made in Mainland China. * Maxpedition gear bags. Incredibly tough and well-made. * Dakota Alert infrared intrusion detection alarms. We leave ours on 24/7/36, here at the ranch. * Leatherman Wave Multi-Tools. These need no introduction. * Wiggy's sleeping bags. I've used their FTRSS bags for 20 years. * Buttstock-mounted ammo/utility pouches. Get one for each long gun. * Anderson Power Pole D.C. Connectors. These sure beat those enormous cigarette lighter plugs that pop apart unexpectedly * Save The Rain Downspout Diverters. These pay for themselves just saving water for gardening, and may prove crucial someday! * Columbia River Knife And Tool (CRKT) Tanto Pocketknives. My everyday carry knife. Buy several, because they will get "borrowed" and never come back. * Berkey water filters. After 15 years of family camping trips, ours now has a few dings and scratches, but it is still going strong. * Break-Free CLP . We use it on all of our guns. * AN/PVS-14 night vision scopes. They cost more, but they're the best. * Parachute cord. 1001 uses!

Saturday, February 27, 2010 Two Letters Re: Thermoelectric Generators for Wood and Coal Stoves

David in Israel (SurvivalBlog Correspondent in Israel) James. In my experiments. It would make enough electricity to run a small radio like the kind found on dollar store crank radios or a few LEDs. Check out the work they and others have done with their product. But several can be ganged [together in series. Modern TEGs are much more efficient and use a solid state Peltier–Seebeck chip. TEG lantern/radios are available. To follow up on an earlier letter and your reply. there are better combinations but this was easy to get. I used one attached to a home made brass reflector on a kerosene pressure lantern and produced less than a watt at 3 volts. Tennessee Thursday. Robert. . Be sure to buy a high temp solder chip. Shalom. Thermoelectric Generators (TEGs) work by generating power from the movement of heat from the hot side to the cold side of a dissimilar metal junction. since the ones used in coolers will melt at much lower temperatures. February 25. in Nashville. These solid state devices can also be used with lanterns. so don't just throw it in the middle of a fire! I followed a design from "The Boy Electrician" by Alfred P Morgan 1913. I ran across the guys at Hi-Z Technology. or series/parallel arrangements] for higher voltage or amperage. 2010 Letter Re: Thermoelectric Generators for Wood and Coal Stoves Permalink . Since I have messed with TEGs for some time. An important consideration is that TEGs can become heat saturated or worse if you can melt your TEG. It uses German silver wire and copper wire with hammered junctions.parallel.Permalink James.

February 18. it will give you the means to trickle charge a few small batteries even when the only fuel you have available is firewood. I envision something about the size of a briefcase .Hello You folks do an outstanding job of informing those who want to learn! I was just wondering if there was information about homemade thermocouples out there. I also found a web page for a commercially-built stovetop fan that is powered by thermoelectricity. Thursday. 2010 Three Letters Re: Some Real Life Battery Data Permalink Dear Jim. I have some comments on the comments regarding batteries: . In a grid down situation this would be set on top the woodburner that would be going for heat and cooking and hopefully produce enough power to run a few lights and charge some batteries etc.Rich N. I was watching my woodburner last night and it has one of those little fans sitting on top that start to spin when they get hot and was wondering if I could find plans to build a bigger version of the thermocouple. And here is a commercial TEG site. for later use with a stable output. Here is a video of one experimenter's project. Given their irregular voltage output. JWR Replies: In my opinion thermoelectric generator (TEG) technology has been pitifully under-developed. If nothing else. . it would of course be wise to route the power through a charge controller into a battery bank. Is there anyone who has an information source that could tell me how to go about building this? Thank You. I encourage readers to do some experimentation with TEGs. marketed by Sportsman's Guide. given its potential for using otherwise wasted heat.

Basically. . There is only currently one importer in the US that I know of. perhaps there will be a revival of the technology. no one wants to use them for standby applications anymore due to the energy cost with keeping them charged. This effect gets worse as the temperature drops. In some cases approaching 40% per month. there is a penalty for having your battery bank too big for the application. dump and flush the acid and then use inert gas to dry out the plates. the air pumped through the battery to dry it out will lead to oxide forming on the plates. Probably not worth the effort. But as photovoltaic solar power becomes more common. If you have a big bank. Regarding lead acid cells with no acid. and have a large bank to keep power available for extended periods. you would need to discharge the battery. That's good for a little used location. smaller or cheaper with lead acid. it's just that most applications work better. On the plus side. As the cost of electricity goes up. thus limiting the amount of energy wasted to keep it charged. but none of them are ideal. But if you are charging with a generator.Nickel Iron (Ni-Fe) batteries do indeed have very long shelf and operating lives. If any acid is left it will cause undesirable changes to the plates. Realistically. you can leave the battery discharged for long periods without any problems and they will not freeze (in any sane temperatures). you will waste a lot of the generator's output on self-discharge. and the required discharge/charge levels would vary based on interior construction. there are several issues with drying out a new battery for storage. then partially re-charge it. Ni-Fe batteries also do not like high charge/discharge rates. Not likely to be economical or produce reliable results. Similar to NiMH cells (they are not the same) they have a very high self-discharge rate. If you attempt to air dry the battery. If you have a large solar array that is always making excess power. you are all set. You would want to make the bank last you no longer than a week or so of typical service. which means you may need a larger bank of them for the same type of service. There's no conspiracy to keep them out of the market. There's at least a few patents out there to address some of these issues. But they also have some significant downsides. ruining the battery in the drying process. you will also need to waste more energy keeping them charged.

It was also mentioned where one could get Nickel without having to resort to melting nickels. one can simply use electricity when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. can lead to seriously unpleasant accidents. Scroll down to 1-29-10 then click on the "8PM" to download the mp3 file. especially large ones. . Home made batteries. . Thanks for the web site and all of the information.Joe Sir: Monday's post mentioned the Nickel-Iron Edison battery. If you live in a sunny location. I thought you might enjoy it. Monday. C. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned simply not using batteries at all. Not perfect. Regards. Consider that the standard car battery has dozens of square feet of surface area and has been optimized over years of experience. but the required acid mixture and charge cycles to form the plates are most likely a proprietary process that they have no interest in sharing. I found an interesting short video linked at Silver Bear Cafe about Nickel-Iron Edison Cells--a design battery I hadn't about previously. February 15. Regards. but they won't have anywhere near the capacity of a commercial product. You can make your own batteries. Having seen smaller batteries explode due to internal shorts.Mr. At The Intelligence Report's web page. During its evening broadcast on 1-29-10 The Intelligence Report described a method to build your own Ni-Fe battery was discussed in the second half hour of the 8 PM broadcast. I would want nothing to do with a 5 gallon bucket of H2SO4 and rolled up sheets of lead.Cactus James Wesley. Great job with the blog! Thank you for the work you are doing. 2010 Letter Re: Some Real Life Battery Data . .It's too bad that none of the manufactures sell "green" batteries that have not yet been converted. but virtually guaranteed to work even after sitting idle for 10 years. click on "archives" in the left hand part of the screen.

The plates need maximum surface area exposed to the electrolyte so one must drill many holes or corrugate the lead sheet to increase the surface area. To begin with. While home made cells will not have the high ampacity to pound ratio of commercial cells. Wheel weight lead-alloy will work too. They were in direct competition with standard oil and big oil plans for gasoline vehicles so they had to be stopped. Exide eventually bought all the dies and machinery and was still . All those nickel [US five cent coin]s that everyone is saving could [conceivably be melted down to provide the material for] the nickel plates for your grandkids batteries if you are wise today. they would have qualities most suitable to the long term prepper. Edison cell plates are nickel and iron and use lye and water for the electrolyte so they are alkaline and not acid cells. The electrolyte is simply 30% sulfuric acid to 70% water. a grid plate mold could be fashioned from steel and lead cast into it. It is only after the initial charge is applied that the positive plate changes chemically due to the sulfur ion action. Do not expect the performance of a commercial cell from these. Additional compounds such as antimony are not essential in a home made cell when you have a room full of replacement plates stacked up. Contrary to the confusion established by the battery manufacturer cartels.Permalink Jim. day out hauling massive loads with electric motors running on Edison cells. I have been following with interest over the last several days this thread on batteries and feel I have some information to share. but when sustainability is all important. The plates do not corrode over time and they can be stored dry forever before filling and charging. the positive plates could be made as thick as one wanted to prolong their life span. Just add more cells to the array bank. Older plumbing stores still sell large sheets of lead for roof vent stack flashing. the only solution to a long term lead-acid battery bank is to make your own cells. Edison had over 50 patents on these cells and at the turn of the century entire fleets of delivery trucks used these day in. The electric car industry was eradicated as gas vehicles could go so much faster. In addition. namely serviceability and parts replacement. It lies in the lowly Edison cell. performance can be compensated for. Lead has a perpetual shelf life and oxidizes very little over time if protected. One could make them in 3 gallon HDPE buckets using standard stud mounted battery posts on the lids. A little known fact is that there are still banks of Edison cells in deep cycle applications today over 80 years old. the real solution to perpetual deep cycle sustainable battery power for the long emergency lies not at all in the lead-acid cell. Or if one is handy with metal fabrication. They can be either coiled or flat plates. both plates begin as simply pure lead (Pb). However.

but I personally felt the investment was justified and truly multi-generational for my family. but I have found that in order to truly get a dry battery . you are absolutely correct. all the safety precautions you . most all the companies (Including Trojan) that I have talked to tell me that they can not (or will not) sell true dry batteries to the general public.e. Really. is a company called beutilityfree. Finding a true dry battery (one that was not flooded and then emptied) is nearly impossible.one that has never been flooded with acid one would almost have to work at the manufacturing factory or component supply level . be an insider in the industry. and then remove the acid yourself and store separately? How difficult is it to evacuate a battery? Can the plates then be neutralized by adding an alkaline solution to stop the small amount of sulfation that has/would take place if the batteries plates were not neutralized? Should the battery then be flushed with fresh water? There has to some way to accomplish this and produce a shelf stable storage strategy for what will become very precious assets in the future.com which is where I bought mine. My interest in this topic. Perhaps some other SurvivalBlog readers can provide some help on this topic.S.] It frustrates me that I can't store extra batteries for future use. as I am sure most of your readers'. I find that I get about seven years out of my Trojan L-16s [before they sulfate to the point that they will not hold a charge. Would it be possible to buy some freshly manufactured batteries. is in the area of deep cycle and commercial batteries. When they first hit the shelves.i.Dad4Him Sunday. Companies like Eveready began several years ago making what was touted as "new technology" and called the cells "nickelmetal hydride" or NiMH as we all know them today. So here is the question I have for the chemists out there in your readership base. and would love to be able to buy shelf-stable batteries to put up for the future. 2010 Letter Re: Some Real Life Battery Data Permalink Hello Jim I took interest in your response to the post by Steven J S "Letter Re: Some Real Life Battery Data" and the concept of storing "dry batteries". From my long and intensive research on this. February 14. "Look honey Edison cells in AA size". and of course.making them until they sold everything to china some years ago. . I just laughed and told my wife. The only importer now from that china plant to the U. They only order like 4 times a year and it takes 3 months to get here and they are pricey. I do have a small solar generation system. Any help your readers could offer would be much appreciated.

with this "Dapter" charger. which are programmable from a PC. For a house-size battery bank.000 cycles versus 500-800 for lead acid and 500-1000 for NiMH). which can be expensive. better deep-cycling performance. 2010 Letter Re: Some Real World Battery Life Data Permalink Hi Jim.Fullclip Saturday. venting or caustic chemical refills and they operate at almost 100% efficiency.Jeff M. These lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4. The recent article by 'Cactus Jim' got me thinking about a type of battery rarely mentioned. . The cut-off voltage is unique.7. Most charge controllers support only lead-acid or have fixed settings for only the most common battery types. . There are batteries becoming widely available these days with the lithium/ironphosphate chemistry (different than the lithium/cobalt chemistry in laptop batteries). If you topped these batteries off once per year they should remain good for a decade or longer. I've been using a disassembled Dewalt battery pack for my portable radio rig. you could use the Outback Flexmax line of charge controllers. where the end-user fills the battery with acid after purchase. February 10. and the batteries will be damaged from overcharging. Thank You. There is also the need for a programmable charger. The main advantages are a vastly improved cycle life (2. NiCd and NiMH batteries.mentioned in your first must be strictly adhered to when doing this type of work. unlike lead-acid. they won't explode like laptop batteries and need no maintenance. or LFP) cells were first used in Dewalt brand lithium power tools. February 13. .000 . which is higher than lead-acid (in Dollars per Amp-Hour) but less than other lithium or metal-hydride batteries. Wednesday. the 'dry-charged' lead acid. The only downsides are the price. high discharge current closer to lead acid. 2010 Letter Re: Some Real World Battery Life Data Permalink Jim.

Monday.S. rubber "mud" boots-called "Wellies" in the UK). and it would still have a 5+ year service life. to use as a handle. but merely "spun dry". after the batteries are factory tested. most of these batteries are designed for engine starting --not true deep cycle duty. OBTW. boots with thick uppers (or better yet. by Cactus Jim Permalink . keep in mind that you' and your helper will need to have the appropriate safety gear. to wit: an apron. Battery acid is stable and does not deteriorate if kept sealed. 2010 Some Real World Battery Life Data. if kept sealed in a temperature and humidity stable environment. could last indefinitely. and a full-coverage heavy long sleeve shirt. If you have any experience with these batteries perhaps you could relate the info to your readers.Initial impression is that this type. In a long-term girddown scenario. goggles. heavy rubber gloves. . February 8.Steven J. then you could leave one of these batteries on the shelf for a couple of decades. This leaves traces of battery acid that will cause some sulfation of the battery plates. JWR Replies: Be advised that most of the "just add acid" batteries sold by automotive parts dealers are identical to standard production batteries. Also. one trick that my father taught me to keep plastic acid funnels from tipping: Clamp the funnel's lip "tab" in a pair of Vise Grip pliers. Price is the same as for the equivalent wet-charged units except the acid must be purchased separately. Our local NAPA auto parts store stocks small (motorcycle/garden tractor) units and will special order most any size 12v battery. only being flooded and charged when needed. that sure beats the alternative! When storing carboys of battery acid for this purpose. add acid. But conceivably if you can get dry-condition storage batteries from a battery vendor (such as your local Trojan dealer).

thus providing a real level of confidence in the results. An extensive selection of all standard sizes was tested. most of those batteries were still in my possession. Each battery type is discussed by type and brand if applicable. rechargeable alkalines. I stocked various types and brands of batteries for long term storage or use. removing clear outlier data. with the exception of the commercial Energizer D cells. All voltages and times are given as composite averages of the tests. I wrote dates on all the batteries and rechargeable batteries had logs kept of use and maintenance. as technology has provided for improvements. which were 12 years old at the time of testing. having virtually eliminated the old carbon-zinc batteries that were still sold in the 1990s.Battery technology has come a long way in the last 10 years since Y2K. Back in the late 1990s. gel-cell sealed lead acid. Generic Alkaline These are what you find at most stores on the shelf. Note that the word battery and cell are often used below in singular. All were stored for 10 years. lithium and even the ubiquitous flooded lead acid Trojan T-105 floor scrubber batteries. generic deep cycle marine batteries. In most cases enough batteries were purchased to allow for a reasonable statistical sampling. even though the same test was repeated multiple times on different units. NiCd. Finally. 10 years later. untouched (with a some exceptions) and I decided to run controlled experiments on them to see how they fared. . such as an obviously failed cells that leaked electrolyte during storage. some additional battery types are discussed that have only received short term testing due to being recently brought to market. Energizer commercial use (not sold via retail) and Duracell. including Energizer. All batteries were stored in 60-to-75 degree F conditions with <50% relative humidity. The cells offered 2-4 year lifetimes based upon their expiration dates. Batteries ranged from store purchased alkaline.

1V difference. The commercial Energizer cells matched their retail cousins almost identically to the 0.9V mark) was 18 hrs for the 10 year old battery vs.8 and 0.2V at 27 hrs.9V at 22 hrs to 0. of which I had over 50. with several case leak failures damaging equipment that had Energizer brand batteries left in them for longer time periods (1-2 years). 22 hrs for a brand new cell.Several of the Energizer cells (2 out of a lot of 50) had developed leakage failures during storage. No failures were seen with the Duracell alkaline batteries. 2. At the 18 hr. They also performed slightly better even though they were older.1V different from a brand new battery and maintained this difference until the battery chemistry failed. This matches my anecdotal experience with this brand. but there was a smaller sample available (20 of each type). in one case contaminating a co-packaged battery. The new cell soldiered on. the usable lifetime (to the 0.2V once the battery chemistry started to fail. which would not provide even the smallest amount of usable light in a flashlight. (12 Ohms for AA cells.9V cut off.2V a matter of minutes. they did not exhibit the sharp 20 minute decline to 0. did not have a single failure. the old cell dropped to under 0.2V. Initial current drain of approximately 1/20th of manufacturer recommended maximum was used. However. declining slowly from 0. This . mark.75 Ohms for D cells) The output voltage of the 10 year old batteries started out at approximately 0. spanning a sample period of five years. The voltage discharge curves tracked each other with the noted 0. For AA batteries.2V marks. the commercial Energizer batteries. Interestingly. I expect these are design related failures since even newer batteries of this brand leaked. leading to a rapid decline in voltage. The aged batteries were tested on a constant resistance tester that tracked battery voltage until the cells were completely depleted. Instead they provided another 5 hours of possibly usable output with a slow decline between the 0. to a voltage of 0.

4V or so after storage. If the battery shows a voltage of 1. Alkaline batteries properly stored for 10 years will still provide functional capacity of 75-80 percent with lighter loads such as flashlights and radios. Batteries sold for commercial use may be built better and will last longer than stuff sold into the general retail market. My anecdotal evidence points to cheap batteries not lasting long (as little as 0-3 months for cheap no-name brand packs) and expensive brand name cordless tool packs still going strong after eight years of light use. Nickel Cadmium Rechargeable The entire lot of 1990's era NiCd batteries were found to be unusable. . There are also many variables that affect the durability of NiCd and NiMH. both from a cycle life and long term storage standpoint. This matches with published manufacturer recommendations that alkaline cells should not be used in high current draw applications. There will likely be a fallout rate with some percentage of cells showing complete or partial failure during storage. The well known self-discharge and memory problems are still issues with this chemistry. All working cells showed an open cell voltage of 1. This technology has drastically improved over the last ten years.4V before being connected to a load.would be indicative of a slightly longer life span in an intermittent on/off usage where the voltage would creep back up to a more usable range during the off cycle. the 10 year old units showed excessive voltage droop very quickly. Conclusions: Alkaline batteries are usable well beyond their expiration dates. showing shorts or inability to take a charge of any capacity. When batteries were tested at high loads. although such batteries are still of limited long term storage use due to rapid self discharge and not having a design criteria for long life. it's still probably usable. Thus large packs of batteries should be broken up into smaller packs to limit the amount of damage one leaking cell can do and extra batteries should be purchased to take into account such failures.

The recharge cycle was unusual in that if the battery was heavily discharged it's recharge cycle life was very short. The cells chemistry failed at the 22 hr mark vs. The 10 year old AA and D cells were fully charged before testing. Cheaper than other rechargeables.2V and within minutes was 0. Starting voltage was only 1. 28 hours for the 10 year old cells. This technology was produced for a few years but never really saw commercial success. With shallow discharges. provided that could be topped up once a year. Nickel Metal Hydride No Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) cells were used in the long term test due to their very high self discharge and the technology being in it's infancy in the 1990s. only 16 cycles or so. but there are better alternatives available in NiMH. Rechargeable Alkaline (no longer made) A group of Eveready rechargeable alkalines were also tested. thus being ready to go after longer storage periods but could also be re-charged. Expensive portable tool packs might have long life spans with periodic use and charging. The batteries had low self discharge.Conclusions: Not suitable for long term storage. even compared to 12 year old alkaline cells. Looked like a perfect fit for long term storage. All fell significantly short on both voltage and life. Conclusions: Be careful with new untested technologies.2V lower than the 10 year old cells. . Probably acceptable for daily use. the battery could be "topped off" hundreds of times.

Conclusions: A technology to watch. with the actual type not disclosed to the consumer. A fully charged battery can be at 50% in under a month of sitting idle. Long term life span is currently unknown or unpublished. with devices still working 20 years after installation. Duracell Precharged and Eneloop are the two most commonly available brands. No tests were performed on this stock of batteries since they are so well understood and quantified. this chemistry deserves mention due to some recent innovations. Although NiMH batteries have higher capacity and most of the memory effect has been overcome.] I have been extensively testing these over the last year with very good results. so be aware that not all lithium batteries will have long shelf life. They have been around for decades and are well understood. The CR123A battery size almost always comes in a chemistry that will allow for 10+ year storage without a problem. There are many different chemistries that are used. . These cells are often sold as "pre-charged" or long shelf life NiMH.However. Lithium primary batteries Non-rechargeable lithium batteries are the king of long term storage. the higher the capacity of the cell the faster the self discharge. very good tolerance for high current drains such as radio transmitters and good shelf life. good capacity compared to alkaline batteries. I'm still using up my 12 year old batteries and even in bulb style Surefire lights they last so close to a new cell that it's hard to tell the difference. Recently a new internal construction was designed that allows NiMH cells to retain up to 80% of their initial charge up to year later .[JWR Adds: These are also sometimes marketed as "Low Self Discharge (LSD)" batteries. In general. they continue to suffer from very high selfdischarge. may replace alkaline batteries in many applications. No outright failures to date.

None were . All showed degraded performance (over 10% capacity loss) after the 5th year. but available commercially in over a hundred different sizes. Conclusions: Low weight. Extensively verified 10+ year shelf life. High capacity and high current. AAA. Typically seen as 6V or 12V batteries with connecting tabs.8V to make up for any self discharge and four of them were used intermittently for various purposes from charging a motorcycle battery to powering GPS in aircraft. At 10+ years.56 X 3. All were 12V 7Amp Hour packs of the commonly available 5. but that remains to be seen. The small batch (5 units) of lead acid gel cells I had from 1999 all died various deaths over the last 10 years. They are commonly used in backup devices such as emergency lights and alarm systems. Lead acid gel cells Gel cells are a type of truly sealed lead acid battery.94 X 2. CR123A and various non-consumer sizes. Best for low temperatures.70 size. When they reach 15 years I will test a few and see if the group test should be put at the 15 or 20 year mark. All were trickle charged at least once a year to 13. Available in AA. shapes and voltages.I had a limited stock of AA lithium cells from the 1990s and they too appear to be at 80+ percent capacity. they are still the top choice with the exception of price. Industrial/commercial availability in 9V but metal body versions are slightly oversized.5V batteries use a different chemistry than the 3 volt CR123. Note that the 1. even packs that were 100% unused and one pack that was under a constant charge. thus they may have a shorter life span.

The last unit. Require yearly charge maintenance due to self discharge. there has never been any consistency between brand. Very high current capacity. I consider any car start battery over 2 years old to be suspect. constant resistance to 50% state of charge. The long term test batteries encompassed two large deep cycle "maintenance free" Energizer batteries from Wal-Mart and a bank of 24 Trojan T-105 6V industrial units. While I have had certain vehicle starting batteries last eight years.2V and discharge test was done at 1/20 capacity. The fact that they can be seriously degraded or destroyed by a single deep discharge makes them worthless in any situation where one must depend upon them. allowing for use to minimally re-charge much larger lead acid batteries. Often used inside of car self-jumpstart packs and for backup batteries in alarms and lighting. which had been installed in a trickle charging backup application failed this month. size or use. Each cell was charged and then test discharged to 50% once a year to check remaining capacity. All were maintained as they would be in an industrial setting with water level. Charging was done by constant voltage to 14. as indicated by voltage. At the seven year mark the first cell had a complete failure. specific gravity and voltage checks each month. After the five year mark. sudden failures may take the battery out of service without warning. Conclusions: Realistic safe life span of five years. Even the consumer branded "deep-cycle" batteries are suspect from my experience. .ever subject to severe discharge cycles or overcharging. Flooded lead acid batteries I'm going to skip right past car starting / dual use batteries as they are 100% unsuitable for any long term application.

with cycling to 25-50% depth of discharge each day. Note that "maintenance free" often means that there is just a slightly larger reservoir of water and acid in the battery. they continue to function. They have no ports to add liquid and will re-combine any generated gas internally. They were used a few times a year to power tools and lights through an inverter. These must be vented to prevent explosions and corrosion of battery terminals other any nearby items. but even my bottom of the line T-105s lasted five times longer than the cheap "deep-cycle". The military and aircraft industry use this technology due to low self discharge (1-3% per month) and no liquid to . In 2002 the system was converted to use the batteries each day for a period of 6 hours. If you want to try and use these. I consider any such off the shelf consumer batteries as a poor choice and false economy compared to a commercial battery such as the Trojans. AGM Absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries are a type of true maintenance free lead acid battery. cheap batteries you should pop off the top caps with a screwdriver and re-fill the water just like any flooded lead acid battery. The deep cycle batteries from Wal-Mart didn't make it past two years.The Trojans were connected to a grid-tied solar system and kept at peak charge for the first three years of their life. Conclusions: Buy true commercial/industrial batteries. Note: Flooded batteries make hydrogen gas and a fine mist of sulphuric acid when being charged. Flooded batteries require maintenance (water & charging) or they will fail. They were more heavily discharged at least once a year during power outages or for testing. Although their capacity is currently at about 60% of rated and there has been one hard cell failure in the bank. They cost more.

thus creating a cycle of many starts followed by long periods of inactivity. showing less than 3V when disconnected. both in starting applications and for deep cycle use.spill. . As it's difficult to tell the difference between a gel-cell and AGM battery from the outside. All are in vehicles that sit for extended time periods (6-12 months). I have three units in starting applications. space and price are not an issue. This would not seem unrealistic given that old industrial telecom backup batteries are often sold after 20 years of service with buyers reporting acceptable capacity of these 20 year old batteries. allowing me to start a car that had sat idle for six months as if I had been driven the previous day. The unit was charged overnight on a commercial bulk charger and then load/capacity tested back down to 10V. My actual test time with them has been limited to only two years. May be the best longer term / large capacity battery technology if weight. stick with brands that have been making AGM for commercial use. but then get used frequently. Conclusions: Expensive. All indications were that the battery suffered no damage and it was returned to starting service. They have only recently become widely available. I have had one internal cell failure on the most used battery in it's first year. One unit was subject to a severe discharge. There are many cheap imports being labeled as AGM. The two others have worked perfectly. Stick to name brand and industrial battery makers. Current specifications for heavy industrial AGM batteries and accelerated life tests indicate life spans of 20+ years even under heavy use.

silver or nickel are often very thin. Contact Corrosion When batteries are placed inside and object that is subject to motion. Never use an abrasive to clean contacts. Finally. you can place fabric or paper barriers between the batteries and the contacts to prevent metal to metal contact until you want to use the device. thus slowly draining it. especially if subject to temperature cycles or vibration. Coatings such as gold. This can be addressed in several ways. 2010 Three Letters Re: Lessons Learned From an Ice Storm Permalink Dear Editor: With regards to the battery powered carbon monoxide (CO) detector. there is the strong possibility that atmospheric oxidation various types of corrosion will occur. Some newer electronics use solid state ON/OFF switches or run a clock or memory retention device from the battery. The contacts can be safely cleaned by rubbing with with a pencil eraser or clean sheet of paper. it should be okay to leave the battery out indefinitely. I just want to second that. Sunday. The . The contacts can be gently cleaned once a year or whenever low output is noticed. 2007 ice storm that took out the power to half of Oklahoma. such as storage in a car. Note that this can be useful if you have devices such as radios that slowly drain the battery even when powered off. Basically the contacts will become dirty and poor overtime. The batteries can simply be replaced every year. If the settings are stored for two weeks. February 7. When my family went through the Nov. The batteries contact areas can also be cleaned in this fashion. leading to the dreaded weak or intermittent flashlight output that magically restores itself when you bang the light a few times. and left there for extended periods of time. as you may scrape away any protective coating that has been plated on. You will want to verify that any any stored settings on the device are saved even without a battery present before disconnecting the battery in this way.Heavy industrial AGM batteries are very expensive but will offer a real 20+ year life. Even sealed flashlights will develop this problem. we were running off our generator for two days.

These handy devices are mechanical switches that route your generator power directly to your home electrical system. This cost me under $200. so YMMV. and resolved to buy a generator so I wouldn't lose all my perishables (not to mention my mind). Knowledgeable. as many make their living installing transfer switches on chicken houses. Our home was built in the 1960s and has attic vents on the sides. it's a wonderful resource. or through the attic. Plus.first night I put it outside. thereby preventing the generator's electricity from feeding back into the power company's lines and injuring their linemen trying to restore the system after a power outage. We've also found that one of the plastic kid pools works well with some duct tape to provide a temporary shelter for a generator in case of rain. by G. but close to the house to help shelter it from winds. hire yourself a licensed electrician to install said switch. . . I went through a similar experience when I first moved to the hills. and physically separate this source of power from commercial power. experienced electricians able to do this work are common in the Ozarks. Thanks for running the site. We ended up having the fire department come out and check things. Connecting the generator to the home electrical system was easy enough: simply purchase a transfer switch or a "double throw switch" or a "break before make switch" to the tune of about $200 bucks at any contractor supply house. you don't have to worry about tripping over all those pesky extension cords running to your refrigerator or freezer or whatever. We ended up moving the generator about 10 feet farther away from the house and didn't have any problems after that. Next. but this was over 10 years ago. It was determined that the CO came in through either the dryer vent.Chad in Texas James. I really enjoyed reading "Lessons Learned from an Ice Storm". which was close to where the generator was. Our CO detector went off in the middle of the night. in the Zarks.

volunteer fire. I committed to not being here when it did. it sure beats sitting in the dark and cold praying the power comes back on soon. Since the house is primarily heated by . Rawles: Re: The article "Lessons Learned From an Ice Storm. in the Zarks" in the Friday. and the stories told me by those whose experience preceded arrival of power lines and pavement. RV antifreeze in all drains and traps including washing machine and dishwasher. drain the water lines and shut off the electric water heater.L. It took me just two hours to load up and be on the road in my 16 year old conversion van.When I bought my generator. Second. can I offer the some lessons I've learned in 40+ years as an Ozarker? First. February 5th posts of SurvivalBlog. Not the best situation. About 8:00 the morning the big ice storm was to hit the Ozarks. I listened and learned as much as I could from the fast-dwindling group of Ozark natives when I moved here. I looked at the weather maps. Once showers are done. but just couldn't come up with the bucks. I didn't waste my time with the media weather female meteorologists or guys outstanding in the rain. I learned to watch the weather and know something about it. but until I can come up with the money to buy a larger generator. I am unable to power everything in my (unfortunately) all-electric house simultaneously. For example. I can run a couple of lights. all I could afford was a 6. . I wish I could have bought something bigger and better (read: diesel).my well pump and hot water heater at the same time. This necessitates careful load management. Mr.500 watt gasoline-powered screamer.H. by G. Experience told me I'd be iced in for some time and the come-latelys would be in the ditches or otherwise draining the resources of our overtaxed and under-staffed sheriff's deputies. and EMT crews. so hot showers are possible. That included preparing the house for what was ahead too. further converted to a self-sufficient home on wheels kept well stocked. the well pump and water heater circuits are turned off and the refrigerator or freezer or what ever else needs doing are turned on. remembered my years of experience here. Consequently.

even in below zero times. and check for damage from trees in my 10-acres of hardwoods that surround and hide the house. With middle seats removed. I called my sister-in-law.wood. She did. . to keep friends advised of my whereabouts beyond cell phone range or need. where ice began appearing on the antennas on the van. I was out of danger on the flat land another 25 miles south and headed toward Texas via the shortest and fastest route. Plastic storage units fit elsewhere for other supplies. my van contains a bed. who lives a few miles away. keep the refrigerator going through a deep cycle battery. A melted quart of ice cream was the worst clean-up problem. water. Some Texas State Parks are sources for free Internet hookups. 60-second brown and wild rice and meals. coo ware and other necessities in cabinets made from Sauder kit furniture units all bolted together and anchored to the mounts that held the middle van seats. on the crest of our mountain range. The van also is outfitted with three amateur radio and two scanner radios and antennas. 40-quart chest-type Engel 12 and 120 volt refrigerator with efficient rotary compressor. The 120 volts can run the laptop computer's TV module when TV stations are in range. discreetly mounted inside the luggage rack on the roof to be invisible to any but someone climbing the van's ladder. There's a Porta-potty tucked under the table holding the microwave. two electrical strips were left on at low level to keep the inside above freezing. The 190 watt solar system also powers a 750 watt modified sine wave 120 volt power supply that runs the microwave for limited cooking such as my 2-minute oblates. I can cook on either microwave or propane stoves. Solar power panels. Six inch walls and a modest size make my house easy to keep above freezing and at adequate food storage levels. and told her to drop by when conditions allowed to clean out the refrigerator as appropriate. and food. I began a leisurely 30 days in the Lone Star State's state parks and other favorite and cheaper Texas camping places. I met the leading edge of the storm about 75 miles south of home. The storm had given a war zone background to the beautiful mountains and valleys. Once there and rested up after an overnight in a state Hospitality Center parking lot. Its own batteries handle e-mail. about a week later when the others who live down my road had cleared a path. but nothing hit either my house or two metal-clad outbuildings. and keep me appraised of what is going on around and above me.

a few that went wrong. we were getting snow.m. February 6.m. In our town it started to rain at about 7 a. monitoring the real news sources of public service and other early warning media. As the storm came together we received updates that refined the details. At approximately 3 p. Prepared in priority. . 2010 Two Letters Re: Lessons Learned from the Oklahoma Ice Storm of 2010 Permalink Dear Editor: The Oklahoma Ice Storm of 2010 is now melting away and as usual there were lessons learned. the setting: I live in Southwestern Oklahoma and have been here for almost three years.What I've learned from my resourceful and self-sustaining Ozark native friends is not to rush out and stock up after the first warning from the Weather Channel but to be ready to adapt to what ever may be coming. and to know if and when it is coming by experience. heat. civil unrest. madness spawning something else. Power outages. First. Unfortunately an inch+ of ice and two inches of . Saturday. I'll be out there somewhere. As the temperature dropped that rain froze on metal objects. cold. In that vein I am going to rehash several things that went right. About January 22nd we started getting word of an impending ice/snow storm scheduled to hit on about January 28th.m. and others that we can improve on the next time that “life as usual” is not. if you happen to come upon me camping or rolling down some highway or back road. the rain changed over to sleet and ice pellets and by 9 p. and finally on roads. look for me gone in these less-likely but slower moving crises. Many of these should have been “known” before but we are never as prepared as we should be. I can ride them out or bug out in hours or less. Financial collapse. identifiable from the next vehicle only by license plate. New Madrid acting up. The reports of January 27th were remarkably accurate to what we would receive as well as the specific times that each type of precipitation would start to fall. rain or snow. winter storms and summer tornadoes or hurricanes. on January 28th. then on trees and plants. "Lessons learned from an ice storm?" Really be prepared.Vern M.

It went out again at 4 p. tents. and would remain off at our house for the next six days. we were still pleased that during one seventeen hour period without any heat source in the house. the good news list. lanterns. Realizing that it is possible to do better. and natural gas service. tents and sleeping bags and water purifiers to campsite sized Coleman cook stoves. It was very easy to . cots and heavy sleeping bags. This includes lighter weight stoves. (the sewer lagoons are at an elevation where the sewage has to be pumped to them) and those concerns brought about the possibility of the city turning off the water to prevent sewer backup but power was restored before this eventuality. While most of this equipment was not used it was comforting to know that if the situation continued to deteriorate. that we could adapt.m. Dutch ovens. sewer. There was concern at one point that the sewers would back up. and 20 mph winds. I should mention that throughout the storm we had full water. Electricity went out about 11 a.m.m. Now that we are settled into what we hope is our last home. We bought a standard frame house with brick veneer when we moved to Oklahoma which is approximately 35 years old.sleet/ ice had already destroyed many trees and power lines (both the small distribution lines in town and the major transmission lines into town) were down. The house has two hot water heaters-one electric that services two bathrooms and one natural gas that services the kitchen and laundry room. outside temperatures from 17 to 26 degrees. We enjoy camping and backpacking and have all the equipment to do both activities year round and be comfortable. We haven’t spent money on kitchen. packs. and was restored by 3 p. we keep on hand sufficient food to last for approximately six months. bathroom or carpet upgrades but we have put 20 inches of blown insulation throughout (to include over the garage and the porches) and we replaced all of the original double pane aluminum frame windows with energy efficient vinyl frame windows. With reasonable rationing we could go even longer. the temperature in the house only dropped five degrees from 67 to 62. Second. We have a good rotation system and keep on hand about four months worth of food that we eat every day and two months worth of emergency type rations. This power outage was universal for every house in town and every town within a 30 mile radius.

I need to point out that these stoves should not be used indoors. Ultimately one old fashioned gas station in town hooked up a generator and could run receipts in his office. what we can do better. While we did not bake. The regular phone system remained operational throughout the storm and recovery period. In some cases phones with integrated answering systems could dial out but the phones would not ring if the ringer depended on plug in electricity. We shifted to our propane stoves. 2-1/2 to 4 inches burn down in the center and leave a candle rim that blocks light. In the brain dead category we have Coleman stoves and lamps that are dual fuel. and keep sufficient oil on hand for 4-to-6 months. We discovered that candles that are about an inch in diameter are optimal. folks that only had cordless phone systems could not access the lines. However. When we do get around to remodeling the kitchen I am going to replace the stove top with a gas appliance. we did have the capability by placing a Dutch oven on the propane stove. We have one of the old style rotary phones that works perfectly on the telephone line current and were able to send and receive calls. We cooked outside on the patio. Showers were courtesy of the two gallon watering bucket that my wife uses to keep the sun room flowers fresh. Unfortunately I gave all of our Coleman fuel to the Boy Scouts so we failed in “Being Prepared”. I anticipated trouble getting more fuel trucks to town. In the final analysis we look at the Oklahoma Ice Storm of 2010 as being the most lavish camping trip that we have ever been on.take hot water to the bathtubs and perform personal hygiene. We also learned that the best candles put out very little light. I have not done an inventory but there are boxes of them. Ultimately they just shine a small circle of light on the ceiling. maintain them. We have a couple of antique oil lamps but they are for decoration and did not have wicks in them. Credit cards did not work so cash or an established charge account with the owner was the way to do business. We topped off all the vehicles and gas cans a couple of days before the storm. We have a lot of candles. Third. We are going to acquire more oil lamps. What I did not think about was the gas station could not pump gas without electricity anyway. We never felt as though there were . Larger candles.

I started reading a lot of blogs on prepping and storing food during the holidays. As I pondered this. I had a gas heater mounted on my dining room wall.any true hardships and after the initial storm period we spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying the snow and volunteering at the local Red Cross warming/feeding center doing whatever was asked of us. We look forward to implementing a few changes and the next opportunity to test our preparedness. kerosene.everything. in the Zarks Permalink While watching the local weather over the last few days. preparing myself for the next inevitable ice storm.. candles. By the way. bringing with it the distinct possibility of not just snow. Hello! I am new to reading your blog and love it! I wanted to comment on the ice storm post. the ice storm hit seven days ago and people are still without power.a 7 gallon Aqua-Tainer from Wal-Mart. but our little town was cleaned out of generators. In just a few short days. I went to Wal-Mart a few days later (when power was still out all over the county) and the shelves were completely empty in some areas. That was a wake-up call to me. I also bought my first water storage container . Last year. propane. I decided to make a menu and strict food budget so I could afford to buy extra food for long-term storage. by G.Kay in Oklahoma Friday. I bought emergency candles and I am so glad I did! We didn't lose power (thankfully!). it brought to mind our recent experiences with ice storms over the last few years. 2010 Lessons Learned From an Ice Storm. A few days before the storm. it has become apparent that a winter storm is heading for our part of the world. Thanks for the wonderful blog and such useful information! . February 5. Coleman stoves.. . but significant amounts of ice. stores can be emptied. I am doing a little each month and will sleep soundly knowing that my kids will be warm and fed if anything happens. I am a single mom and a teacher and I know how difficult it is to come up with extra money to help become better prepared.. I live in Oklahoma so we know all about these ice storms. I bought a month's worth of food this January. It is wise to not wait until the last minute.

“All is Well” can get you killed. A hot shower can become an unbelievable luxury in a surprisingly short period of time when the power is out. I must confess that when the weather man said “Chance of ice. I should have gone through the mental exercise of “what if” and reviewed the supplies I had in contrast to what I was likely to need in this situation. Unfortunately. My wife did likewise. I failed to properly evaluate the nature of the threat. characterized by an artificial sense of well-being and overall lack of awareness.most notably in January 2007. I thought some of our “lessons learned” were worth sharing with others. In contrast. In that particular instance. but we supplement the electric furnace with portable kerosene heaters in order to keep utility bills . frankly. Temporary interruptions in the grid caused by weather are far from unusual here. power in the closest town was only out for hours. regardless of the time of year. I already had several cases of drinking water and approximately 200 gallons in drums in the garage as well.” I didn’t really take him all that seriously. Heat was the next issue we tackled. woke my wife and told her the power was out. The ice came. While I have spent my entire adult life trying to make sure my family is prepared for the myriad of difficulties we experience. I filled the bathtub and several buckets with water in case the generators failed at the local water district. What I couldn’t know at the time was our power would not be back on for 8 days. because I considered myself and my family to already be prepared for this event. I immediately got up. These are standard precautions on our part. our hot water heater is “gasp!” electric. At the very least. This is. of course. In a real emergency. We had been blessed with several years of reasonably mild winters leading up to the 2007 storm. what the late Colonel Cooper referred to as Condition White. the good times often seem to lull people into a state of complacency. no surprise to me. In the early hours of the morning I awoke to find the power had gone off. This was. and took a hot shower before the water in the tank had a chance to cool. I freely admit to being somewhat guilty of the “All is Well” syndrome where the weather was concerned also. (Yes. Our home is all-electric. Upon waking. Neighbors not far from us were out for 13 days.) Also. I didn’t think through the potential ice storm scenario to any great degree.

This five-minute modification allowed me to more efficiently heat the living room with a kerosene heater. and we faced the storm with less than 5 gallons of kerosene. by stapling blankets over the doorways leading to our hallways and kitchen. That covers water. was by far the most valuable lesson I received during this time. I now buy kerosene in 55 gallon drums. and a battery-powered CO detector is a must. when it became available. Furthermore. They also give off significant amounts of heat. Illumination was not a problem. First. in fact. They would be less pleasant to utilize in hot weather. By the way. They are bright when used according to the instructions. and minimized heat loss into the unused areas of the house. the Aladdin lamps are excellent. a large percent of the local population had turned to kerosene heaters in the absence of electricity. ATMs were only intermittently operational. So bright. with a few hundred other unfortunates. albeit somewhat expensive. however. and heat. They are definitely bright enough to read by without undue eyestrain. which was helpful in the cold temperatures. It became clear that we would not have sufficient fuel for our heaters to last throughout the cold snap. A second important lesson regarding heat is to have ample fuel supplies on-hand to handle an emergency. that I recommend anyone planning on using them also spend the extra money for lamp shades. In addition. which is where we spend most of our waking hours. All of the above were put to good use. Several valuable lessons concerning light were learned. . I was even able to supply some of my neighbors with Dietz lanterns and oil during the time we were off-grid. This was an excellent technique for preparing some of the freeze-dried Mountain House food we ate during the event. The wait. No more queues for me. I did have enough cash on hand to make the needed transaction. I asked my wife to pick up an extra container of kerosene on her way home from work. I eventually found myself standing in line for approximately four hours in order to purchase 10 gallons of kerosene. I have a wide variety of Surefire brand flashlights and spare lithium batteries for nighttime chores around the house. When the weather forecast seemed ominous. On the heels of the ice came painfully low temperatures for several days. outdoors in single-digit temperatures. since I work long shifts and would not be away from work before the station closed. shelter. and shame associated with my lack of preparation have impacted me deeply. Fortunately. As a result. I was actually able to boil water by holding a metal cup over the top of the chimney for a brief time. The helplessness.manageable. She forgot. We were burning kerosene on a daily basis before the storm. Local suppliers soon ran out of kerosene. kerosene heaters should never be left unattended for any period of time. Of course. I used the same “compartment” approach at night when heating the bedroom. Our next issue was light. I isolated the living room. I keep several Dietz lanterns and two Aladdin lamps along with several gallons of high-grade lamp oil on hand. anxiety.

Also. In retrospect. The good news is the batteries generally have a shelf life measured in years. I keep a 5kw generator with the tank drained along with several gallons of stabilized fuel (religiously rotated) and sufficient oil. order them directly from Surefire’s web site. so you can afford to stock up without worrying too much about discharge rates. The same morning that the power went off. The freezers were left closed as much as possible. as opposed to the older ones with the xenon bulbs. Only one of my freezers in indoors. Food was not an issue due to pre-existing stocks. Surefire lights are also outstanding illumination tools. They are easier to use when you are moving around as they have handles and can be carried while lit. You can get them in bulk for less than $2 per battery. . it would be advisable to have the ability to connect the genset to portions of the house (with the appropriate safety measures. the others being outside. and wrapped with blankets for additional insulation.Buy at least twice as many mantles and chimneys as you think you will need. but are significantly less bright than the Aladdins. It was only necessary to run the generator for a couple of hours every two to three days to maintain the integrity of the frozen food. All our cooking was done outside on a propane burner from a turkey fryer. Don’t buy CR-123 batteries from places like Wal-Mart. they are too expensive there. as these are the most fragile parts of the lamp. All the standard precautions apply when using anything that is actively burning while you handle it. We even had friends over for “Mountain House night” to provide a little levity and fellowship in an otherwise dreary situation. read the instructions. Instead. The major shortfall is battery life. of course) for added flexibility in using a limited number of electric appliances. you will go through a surprising number of batteries. Coffee prepared in an enameled percolator was definitely the biggest morale-booster from day to day. That food was prepared and eaten first. I discovered that when you are using them as a primary illumination source. The battery life problem can also be mitigated somewhat by buying the newer generation of LED lights. Dietz lanterns are excellent tools for the money. I removed all perishables from the refrigerator and stored them in a Rubbermaid tub in the cold garage. My only purpose for the genset is to keep the freezers frozen in just such situations.

bread. Also. batteries (D-cells were the most in demand). * Thieves and looters will come. Take threats seriously. lamps & lamp oil. rummage around and return with the item she was requesting. * It’s not really a disaster if you can still go to Wal-Mart. they wisely ran away.” Lessons Learned: * An "All is Well" attitude will get you killed. Wal-Mart was open for business. I watched my closest neighbor make at least two trips to Wal-Mart per day. It will be one less critical thing to worry about in an emergency. Roads remained passable. Each home was rural and isolated. with no neighbors in direct line-of sight. when the armed homeowners confronted the would-be thieves. You could hear the rattle and hum of Briggs & Stratton engines in almost every direction. candles. Within hours they sold out of bottled water. returning with armloads of white plastic bags each trip. * Keep fuel in sufficient quantities for emergencies. I had two different coworkers whose homes were “cased” by potential thieves. On a personal note. within days. flashlights. while the power was off for several days. While she has always been supportive of my efforts to prepare. * Have your water taken care of now. the experience was also a validation of the preparedness mindset for my wife. batteries. she would say something like “Gee. Keep in mind that. By the end of the storm. this was in fact only a pseudo-disaster. there were enterprising individuals selling small generators out of the back of tractortrailers. it would be nice if we had…” upon which I would go to the back room. Fortunately. her most frequent comment was. * Be able to cook outside. even in rural areas. Over the course of three days. More than once during the storm. and within a day. * Batteries. manual can openers. and most foodstuffs that don’t require preparation. milk. batteries.During the crisis. . in both cases. she was from time to time also prone to grumbling about the amount of space occupied by our preparedness supplies. “I’m glad you’re my husband.

even though I had an additional 50 gallons of fresh. but I had used the last pair of mantels and had not replaced them. and the spot flashlight we both thought we knew the location of. use up. unless they know what they stand for. Abbreviations on a list that have meaning to you. the propane for the stove? What do you need to splint my broken arm from a fall in the ice? How am I supposed to get you to a medical facility without a phone? . We had enough short term food that we were able to provide a chili meal for some of our friends and coworkers that were doing without. are worthless to your partner. Band-Aids. I had plenty of beans. We had more money of all kinds than we needed. yea. was the first week. We still had water. What I hadn’t planned for. The Beautiful Wife (TBW) and the pets. Make sure your BTW or your closest friend knows where that list is. I had one for the grill. one for the stove (Oh. I had a Coleman lantern for light. I don’t know where that one is). but a headlight would have served much better. yea. Oh. but I had neglected to put the propane and the connector hose with the stove. Cooking with a flashlight leave the cook one hand short. Have a scavenger hunt and find random items on the list. Where is the fire extinguisher. bullion and bullets. and what it means. I’ll get them on sale or when we go to town next. the spot flashlight. I had to go dig that out of storage in another box. Have a list! Know what things you need to rotate. we thought! We had moved less than a year ago. We both knew where the spot flashlight was. Same thing for the propane. and has an inch of ice over the storage door. Drill! Work with your partner to fine tune the list. and a spare. We had enough flashlights. whatever. the spare is in the travel trailer. And then I forgot! I would have paid three times what the cost just to be able to read after dark. Hummmm! Thank goodness for deicer. Oh. treated water for myself. you know. I Thought I was ready. I knew that I had a Coleman propane camp stove. We found it in the travel trailer on the fourth day. well that was in the old house.Letter Re: I Thought that I Was Ready! Permalink I have just returned to my house after 6 days without power. What I didn’t have was the stuff I needed to get through the first week of a massive power outage. replace.

while the other three still had useful voltage. Monday.I have been reading SurvivalBlog for a year now. Yesterday. and I thought I was doing pretty good. pictures for craigslist ads. was I wrong! Keep up the good work and God Bless. 2010 Letter Re: The Importance of Testing "Dead" Batteries Before Recycling Them Permalink JamesI wanted to share a money saving tip that applies to inexpensively preparing for TEOTWAWKI. . they continued to produce useful light for another 3 to 4 hours. I took the four “dead” batteries out and replaced them with fresh batteries. It uses four AA batteries. single cell AA LED flashlight ($1 each on clearance from Home Depot during the holiday season).Ray B. family photo opportunities at parties. while taking some pictures. to be . With so many digital devices depending on batteries these days. I could’t know how much useful amperage was left. Ones that still show good voltage go in a plastic bucked. each of the lights worked at very good brightness. etc. The tester indicated one battery was completely dead. But are the batteries really dead? Usually. I tested each of the four batteries. it issued its standard low battery warning. February 1. I placed each of the remaining “good” three batteries in a cheap. I didn’t discard the old batteries. not all of them are. For about six hours. Without more sophisticated battery testing equipment. when a device like a digital camera or other smart gadget tells us the AA or AAA batteries need replacing. That’s nearly 30 hours of useful utility/reading/navigating-in-the-dark light from three “dead” batteries most of us would discard without a second thought. I left the flashlights on. How valuable would 30 extra hours of battery powered light be if the power grid was down for an extended period? Very valuable! I’m putting a simple system in place to take advantage of this: I will now test all “dead” batteries. Boy. we simply toss out the “dead” ones and put in fresh batteries. So I did an experiment. After that. I have a handy little Canon digital camera that we use around the house for insurance documentation. most of us are conditioned so that. I have a 40 battery rack with tester.

I am not the seller and I haven't ordered one of these yet. Two Letters Re: A Simple Off-the-Shelf Solar Power System and Off-Grid Power Tools Permalink James. But the ones I keep in tool boxes. Use of the Ryobi batteries. “Interstate Marine/RV 12 volt battery #27DC-1 ($68 from Sam's Club)” I . etc.Rich S. This will give the best of both worlds. single cell LED flashlight duty. but I will keep rotating them and using them until they are truly dead. kitchen drawers. gun safes. Search eBay for "EX-One use AC adapter replace Ryobi One+ P103 Lithium" or seller "lcdpayless". It plugs into the tool in place of the battery then you can plug an AC DC power supply into it. since the batteries may not last very long. The adapter is only $20 but doesn't come with the AC/DC power adapter. . gun mounted lights. . The “Bill of Materials” for this project included.) will still always get fresh batteries. now use the “dead” cells. The advice to use an inverter connected to a 12v deep cycle battery and regular corded AC tools was good advice also.L. My fresh battery supply will last longer. Sir: A clarification for your readers on the article titled: A Simple Off-the-Shelf Solar Power System and Off-Grid Power Tool.used for non-critical. I just thought your readers with Ryobi One+ tools might be interested to learn of this possibility for backup power for their tools. Keep up the good work. Having just recently purchased a set of Ryobi one+ tools myself. I don’t expect they’ll store forever. cars... and I will save money that can be put toward other preparations. etc. you can connect an AC/DC power supply to your 12v deep cycle battery and basically have a corded tool.D. I found a seller on ebay selling an adapter for the one+ tools. Front-line flashlights (emergency kits. then once the batteries no longer hold a charge. Your readers recently bring up good points about the advantage of battery powered tools with solar recharging.

These are not often found in warehouse stores. neither of which is optimal for this application. 14v.spent some time on the internet trying to find exactly what this battery was. die a quick death. When used carefully. when pushed hard. Just wanted to chip in some advice on Ryobi batteries: Of the name brand cordless tools. If pressed hard. given that there aren’t any Sam's Clubs nearby. they will work well for a couple of years. A search of Interstate’s web site leads me to two conclusions: 1) The part number cited is a Sam’s Club number and not likely to be useful elsewhere. dramatically shortening the entire pack’s life after only a few months. Ryobi seems to have the worst NiCd battery quality. Deep Cycle batteries tolerate more frequent and deeper (more than 10%) discharge without early failure. do not push them to the point where the battery pack gets hot and is . The best type of marine/RV battery to use for this application is one rated for true “Deep Cycle” duty. 2) Interstate only makes (in Group 27) Start Only duty or Start/Deep Cycle duty batteries for marine use. To maximize the useful life. they will die a much earlier death. Friday. I have found that some packs will have a bad cell. 2010 Two Letters Re: A Simple Off-the-Shelf Solar Power System and Off-Grid Power Tools Permalink JamesThanks for the interesting article on the Ryobi 12v solar setup. but this is the first time in over two years that I’ve seen one there and I live in a “seaside community”. I’ve experienced this with 9. particularly with a high drain device like a circular saw.6v. My local BJs had one this week. January 29. and 18v Ryobi setups. Deep Cycle only batteries are not often found for under $100. Even the healthier packs.

Not only will you not have to worry about replacing high-technology 18volt portable batteries every three years. The Rigid line is typically twice as costly as the Ryobi line. regardless of the reason. With regards to A Simple Off-the-Shelf Solar Power System and Off-Grid Power Tools. as the lithium packs last longer in use. as the same 18v charging setup you describe will work with either type of battery. it is a better investment. but you won't even have to worry about replacing deep-cycle lead acid every seven years neither. and they will replace the batteries if they fail to hold a charge.all other parameters being identical. The Rigid line may be a good alternative for those purchases who intend hard use for their cordless tools.Rich S. Also.R. I must object to a portable tool solution based on short ("2-3 years") rechargeable batteries which are fundamentally non-replaceable after TSHTF as opposed to a contrasting setup using inverters to operate 117 VAC-conventional power tools . . hold a charge longer. If the purchaser can afford the lithium setup. Just skip the 18 volt rechargeable tools and batteries and DC-to-DC chargers and stick with regular AC tools. JWR Replies: I agree with the simplicity of your approach. Sir. and have much better shelf life. . Ryobi’s latest 18v sets (“ONE+”) can be powered by either their lithium or NiCd packs. consider adding them later. but they do occasionally go on sale and represent a better value for people who wear out their battery packs. Regards.S. If you cannot afford the lithium battery packs with the initial purchase. .completely drained. In order to prolong the deep-cycle lead-acid batteries into the "unlimited" range: stay within the top 10% of the battery capacity. Home Depot’s Rigid cordless tool line currently come with a lifetime warranty that includes the lithium battery packs. Such hard use guarantees the pack will lose capacity and cease to hold a charge for extended periods of time.

by K. the phone companies would have implemented it long ago. BatteryMinder #BC2410 battery clip assembly ($10 from Northern Tool and Supply) 3. Ryobi #P130 18 volt vehicle battery charger ($40 from Home Depot) 7. there is no such thing as a "forever" or "unlimited life" lead-acid battery.Sadly. two 18 volt batteries. Vector #VEC005 12 volt battery clips with accessory outlet ($6 from local hardware store) 6. My goal was to put together a system which is easy to use and does not require a lot of technical knowledge. Even if they are kept fully charged. ("Cycled. Wednesday. they are replaced once every eight years. and case ($89 from Home Depot) 8. That chemical reaction is inevitable. 2010 A Simple Off-the-Shelf Solar Power System and Off-Grid Power Tools.") If there were some way to make lead-acid batteries have unlimited life. I have been using this system for over a year and have found it to be efficient. Ryobi #P824 18 volt tool starter kit with drill. house current battery charger. they will eventually sulfate. in Texas Permalink This article is written for those who have no experience with solar power and would like to set up a simple beginner system. and can at best just be delayed. One evidence of this telephone companies spending millions of dollars rotating their deep cycle batteries that they they use for backup at the Central Offices (COs). BatteryMinder #SCC-015 Solar Charger 12 volt with 15 watt solar panel ($150 from Northern Tool and Supply) 2. EQUIPMENT LIST: 1. circular saw. IIRC. And those batteries only rarely get drawn down. January 27. Interstate Marine/RV 12 volt battery #27DC-1 ($68 from Sam's Club) 4. Battery box for group 27 size battery ($10 from Wal-Mart) 5. A two or three level heavy duty shelf .

the charge controller and the battery condition indicator are not exposed to the weather. The BatteryMinder's battery connections are the spade style with holes. position the solar panel. The aforementioned equipment reflects the exact hardware that I use. so I know it works. black to negative. you can purchase your equipment wherever you like. smooth sided. smooth sided posts. The prices give you an idea of what your system could cost. Let's start with the BatteryMinder Solar Charger (item #) and follow the instructions on setup. again. I suggest you purchase tools which use at least 18 volt batteries. SETUP: Begin by reading and heeding the instructions with all of the listed equipment. I use the battery clamps instead of the spade style connectors.Obviously. etc. you can purchase the BatteryMinder solar charger and battery clip assembly from Northern Tool by starting at the "Affiliates" link on the SurvivalBlog main page. I placed the BatteryMinder charge controller and battery condition indicator on the shelf one level above the lowest shelf. Northern Tool offers an optional accessory. . The battery comes with two types of posts on the positive and negative sides. If you would like to support SurvivalBlog. left side. Black and Decker. While at the blog's the "Affiliates" page. these can be fastened onto the threaded posts. you may also want to look at the Allbattery. Next. I positioned the solar panel near an exterior door of my garage so the wire from the solar panel to the charge controller can be run under the door to a three level shelf just inside the door. I leave my system set up 24/7 so that when sunshine is available the system is charging/maintaining the 12 volt deep cycle marine battery and even on a cloudy day some charging activity is going on. place the Interstate 12 volt marine battery (item #3) into the battery box (item #4) and place both on the bottom level of your shelves. one post is larger. red to positive.com site to see what is available in the way of rechargeable batteries and chargers which may be used with this system. I have listed Ryobi brand tools because I've used them for a number of years and found them to work well. and designed for a battery clamp and the other post is threaded. Northern Tool also carries a number of battery powered tools. The instructions are four short pages on how to wire the system. which replaces the spade style battery connectors with battery clamps. third item from the top. In order to use battery clamps do not place the box top on the battery. This way. item #2 in the Equipment List. remember red to positive. and how the system works. You could use other brands such as DeWalt. These make it quicker to disconnect the system from the battery. I connect the clamps to the large. black to negative.

Other uses . and "Poor" is 11. I use the threaded posts.place the Ryobi vehicle charger (item #6) on the shelf above the bottom shelf.0 to 12. Ryobi and others have a number of other tools which use the 18 volt batteries. If you charge a number of 18 volt tool batteries at one time. It's easy.I have found that I use the drill the most. it does use electricity when not charging a tool battery. you have assembled the BatteryMinder system and hooked it up to the 12 volt deep cycle marine battery. Use of tools . OPERATION: With the Ryobi vehicle charger hooked to the 12 volt deep cycle battery just plug an 18 volt tool battery into the vehicle charger and wait until the green light comes on.1 volts. followed by the circular saw. My BatteryMinder maintains a full charge on the 12 volt deep cycle battery of about 13. just hook the Vector battery clamps to the unused post on each side of the battery. Just plug the Ryobi charger male end into the Vector accessory female outlet. but if the indicator shows "Fair" or "Poor" you should stop charging tool batteries until the BatteryMinder has had time to catch up and fully charge the 12 volt deep cycle battery. That number of fully charged batteries would be able to do more work than I care to do at one time. black to negative.0 volts. "Fair" is 12. Now you are ready to hook up the Vector 12 volt battery clamps with accessory outlet jack (item #5). reciprocating saw.5 volts. Be sure to disconnect the Ryobi tool battery charger when not in use. red to positive. in my case. Anything that calls for a 12 volt DC car charging . If the indicator says "Good" you are okay. It needs plenty of space for air circulation because it puts out some heat when in use. you will have no problem charging 4 to 6 tool batteries without discharging the 12 volt deep cycle battery too much. On the battery condition indicator "Good" means the 12 volt deep cycle battery is holding a charge of 12.2 volts. it's getting repetitive! Last step .Of course you can use this charging system for other things besides charging 18 volt tool batteries. When the sun is shining the battery is being charged/maintained. again. and jigsaw. With the 12 volt deep cycle battery at full charge. be sure to use the battery condition indicator to check the 12 volt deep cycle battery. Ryobi says a cold tool battery could take about 1 hour to charge. I have found these tools so useful I packed away my corded drill and circular saw.At this point.5 to 12. With occasional daily usage.5 to 13. the drill battery will last 2-3 weeks on a single charge. I know.

BatteryMinder says you can maintain 2 parallel connected medium sized 12 volt batteries at the same time.e. I expect the 12 volt deep cycle marine battery in this system to last seven years or more. Also. Rawles. Just a suggestion about something you and your readers might be interested in. and a couple of hours at 200 lumens. just remember. MAINTENANCE: Not much. i. Once this system is placed into use you can stagger your purchases of new 18 volt tool batteries so that all of your tool batteries don't die at about the same time. 4Sevens' 2-AA Quark light is good for 30 days continuous on low. with proper battery management. There are no moving parts so unless an electronic part fails. CONCLUSIONS: With careful monitoring. cell phones. and have 4Sevens lights in all . January 20. In the event that there were no new 18 volt tool batteries available. The 18 volt tool batteries last about 2-3 years with fairly steady use so they will have to be replaced. The ability to have power tools available when there is no grid power could prove to be very useful. rechargeable batteries. Other than checking the condition of the 12 volt deep cycle battery the only other thing to check is the level of water. I hang around the flashlight-nerd subculture. Even if you have a generator. I'm not affiliated with the vendor in any way. laptop computers. Wednesday. you could still have the use of power tools for several years. it is very handy to have fully charged tool batteries available without using the generator to recharge the tool batteries. to maintain a bank of fully charged 12 volt deep cycle batteries. 2010 Letter Re: Suggestions on LED Flashlights Permalink Mr. you could rotate any number of 12 volt deep cycle batteries. etc. just a very satisfied customer.source can be charged. one at a time. use the battery condition indicator so that you don't too deeply discharge your 12 volt deep cycle battery. Just fill according to the battery instructions using distilled water. If you were to use a sealed battery you can forget the distilled water. These are by far the best LED lights on the market at this time. the rest of the system should last a long time. MP3 players. You can also use this system to run 12 volt DC gizmos.

Pocket sized. and much smaller. The single-AA versions burn up too much power in the voltage converter. have antireflection coated lenses. Still. Way better than Surefire's 120 lumen best effort.) 4Sevens sells some "warm" lights. I suggest their sporadically available warm white LEDs. (You do. though they are very well made. it is the bomb. My professional hunter kept mine as part of my tip. if one can recharge LSD AAs. They are basically blue-white in spectral output. have sapphire coated scratch proof lenses. They work. you can recharge LSD AA lights with solar chargers. check them out. Surefire makes great lights. Their TK-20 is warm white. but they are also way behind in efficiency. This light. but only for 3 minutes. 4Sevens has some incredible lights. uses AAs. My Surefire 6P. are waterproof. many times brighter than a Mag-Lite. and have poor color rendition. and use the latest generation LEDs.000 lumens. and it will still work fine. on high. if briefly. is 1. (No. and obviously. to get the light out. The 2-AA is the way to go.) You can also run one over with a truck. You can't tell when meat is cooked with a blue-white LED. Personally. I know! (Oops!) Anyway. which is the norm at the moment from other vendors. and they'll run off of regular AA and lithium AA batteries too. as does Fenix. . The second best thing out there is Fenix. but that is what you want. I'm not exaggerating. and will throw a spot at 100 yards. and he's thrilled with it. but use AAs and LEDs. None of the mass-marketed LED lights currently is warm white. and forever away as far as quality is concerned. Obviously. But I digress. They are Surefire-priced ($60-ish). You can tell rare from well done with the warm white LEDs. Anyway. I refer to what passes for "white" LEDs these days. I used Fenix lights on safari while night hunting. is probably brighter than any light a normal family owns. for current urban uses.my survival packs. Mine is blinding in daylight. are small. if you want to be able to make out colors at night. it owns the night. The 2-AA is the best. I cannot imagine a better solution for illumination. 4Sevens and Fenix are 2-5 years ahead of Home Depot and Wal-Mart as far as LED lights go. When I say "blue" LEDs. heavily modified with parts from Candlepower Forums.

all of the capital costs were from public funds. Use clear nail polish to set the vials.06 per kWh or $197 per resident per year. Apparently. It's not clear when the overall system was constructed but the hot water pipeline system was built around 2005.000 at $0. but I thought that was sufficient for a first assessment.395 per resident in capital expenses. and I will have to look into this further.0% mortgage would cost $74. straight line amortization with no interest cost.900. in a hurry. and they last 30 years or so. That is $5. excluding operating and maintenance costs. for an estimated net cost of around $4. which I would estimate by rule of thumb for large installs at 50% of the amortized capital expenses. Useful to be added to any equipment one must find in the dark. the principal cost would be ~$520 per resident per year. I took a look at their web site and ran the numbers to look at whether such an installation is commercially viable. If you included reasonable capital costs. this would mean about $3600 per year (about $2. not for housing but just for heat and electricity. This translates out to about $10. The 1.080 for principle and $1. Amortized out over 20 years.500 interest) for heat and electricity capital cost plus the unknown operating costs. Assuming an average family of four.One other note. Rawles: As an engineer interested in long term sustainability I was most interested in the item from Troy H. a 20 year fixed 6. Also [large military surplus ] tritium map reading lights [commonly called "Betalights"] can be found without too much trouble.000 kWh) that is a total annual savings of $150. but are still easily obtainable [if you look at secondary market sources such as eBay].000 or about USD $7.000 at present exchange rates.Nemo Letter Re: An "Energy-Independent" Village in Germany Permalink Mr. If we include the return from the electrical power (an estimated annual surplus of 2. mentioning Juhnde. .51 per month per resident.500. Germany.600 per family for heat . It might be possible to play with the financing costs and rates to find a sweet spot.400. epoxy turns translucent in short order.400 per year per family. Tritium vials. The capital costs listed were EU 5.5x5mm glass vials are easily inset into survival equipment (green is by far the brightest). Tritium vials are not commonly available here in the "land of the free".

duct work.000 to support a family of four. woodstove and chimney. and I turn off the lights!) Plus an allowance of $500 for repair and replacement.and electricity. a highly productive society such as present-day Germany may be able to afford to subsidize a 50% increase in energy costs and a 25% reduction in crop output. What this analysis tells me is that interesting as Juhnde is. . Saturday. propane. were about $13. But of course that flies in the face of the uber-greens that are fixated on carbon emissions. Traditional agriculture in a partially forested region (for firewood) with good topsoil and reliable rains provides a much better shot at true local mutigenerational sustainability. (Yes.14 per month or ~$1. (Obviously. Now. and I also don't have a huge house.120 per year capital expenses plus $1. Sustainable designs have to be sustainable from an economic perspective as well as a technical and biological one. Regards. electrical costs vary tremendously and affect the analysis) My costs for my home's physical plant. My annual energy cost. A truly sustainable solution offers economic benefits and a competitive advantage. at least in a small area over the short term. but in my judgment this is not a viable long term solution for the USA. there for the taking.900 in operating expenses including preventative maintenance (PM) and repair allowance. Talk about missing the forest for the trees. January 16. Using the same logic and rates. and this example may be useful as a 'proof of concept' test bed. 2010 Two Letter Re: Some Observations on Fortifications Versus Camouflaged Retreats Permalink .. The real push behind this may be found in the proud statement that the village has reduced it's carbon output by 60%. and the costs of cutting/splitting wood are about $1. I have good insulation. it is not economically sustainable. renewably providing countless billions of BTUs. which include a propane furnace with electric heat pump and associated tanks.400 per year.000 per year. electricity. etc.Larry JWR Replies: Also missing from the grand cost accounting equation are the costs of the fossil fuels used in producing and transporting the crops used in biodigesters. This totals $3. Our forests are enormous solar energy collectors. my mortgage cost for heating is $93.

Dear Editor: Ah. (A) The article refers to producing methane for power by "dissolving" milkweed in water. Keep up the great work. I think that even taking into account the risks of living underground for prolonged periods these sorts of shelters offer the highest degree of security for their owners after TSHTF. Presumably. the barbarian hordes in a post-collapse scenario will not have the luxury of sitting in place indefinitely. Additionally. Unlike the armies that successfully overran ancient fortifications. so sorry to sound the defeatist.D. . . I question whether after TEOTWAWKI the marauders most likely to be challenging such a retreat will have the resources to see a siege through to a successful conclusion. waiting for those hunkered inside such a bunker to exhaust their own resources. and even accelerating the breakdown by immersing the milkweed in salt water and running a current through it.James: Just a quick observation about the wisdom of sheltering in a missile base or some other Cold War-era fortification. While Chris is correct that history demonstrates that fortifications can and will be breached by enemy forces with the resources and determination to maintain a well-conceived siege. the scarcity of resources is precisely what would make a fortress such an inviting target. Unless a well-organized and well-armed assault force happens to catch the owners of the fortress completely unprepared. but the self-sufficiency plans outlined in the recently-posted article by "Chris" would not stand up to scientific scrutiny by folks that actually work with closed-cycle environments. there is little hope of people armed only with conventional weapons successfully breaching the walls or blast doors of a structure designed to withstand anything but a direct hit from a sizable nuclear warhead.

Said decomposition requires a number of things: (1) a warm. so the 120 liters of methane produced as above would weigh about 0. Decomposition bacteria do *really* poorly in salt water. Nearly a thousand metric tons of fermenting waste would hardly count as inconspicuous. One must also ask. All of which presumes that sufficient methane can be collected from a compost pit the size a small town and transported to the burner. if we assume that the author is thinking of using a methane-fueled internal combustion engine connected to an alternator. This means fans or pumps. it is first necessary to *compress* the methane. where is the electricity coming from that would be passed through the saltwater solution to supposedly accelerate the dissolution of the milkweed? Hmm? It would be a good idea to *produce* more power than one must consume in the production of the power. not a salt-water solution. if the milkweed is being fermented for methane to generate power. Then there's that compression problem again. Methane weighs about 2 kg per cubic meter. Absent a compressed methane supply. the only possible means of power generation would be external combustion of the methane in an open flame and boiling water. methane) fueled generator producing 5000 watts (a very small home – just enough for lights. but alas. and that would be a good means of providing an emergency fuel source and heat source in cold weather. A natural gas (i. Methane is produced by the decomposition and fermentation of organic matter. or semisolid matter. It's the reason "salt-curing" is the preservation method of choice for meat in the absence of refrigeration. merely "dissolving" milkweed will not produce methane. Certainly it would be possible to produce methane from compost.e. moist environment.02 kg. One kilogram of solid waste subjected to anaerobic fermentation will produce about 120 liters of methane – a year. . and like compressing the methane or electrifying salt water. However for power generation. (3) one or more bacterial cultures that decompose biomass – these are usually found in moist. Continuous operation would require a compost pit containing >800. a fan and one small refrigerator – uses approximately 2 kg of methane per hour. and could only run the generator for one day out of 365.000 kg of compost. (2) a low oxygen content in the biomass being fermented. that would also require some means of *pushing* the methane into the pipes leading to the burner. To keep a methane-powered generator going for a single 24-hour day would require 2400 kg of compost.In point of fact. would waste the very power being generated.

algae is biomass. the inconvenient truth of renewable fuels is that it takes power to make power (fuel). One square meter of algae will consume about 10 kg of CO2 per year and produce about 8 kg of O2. plenty of nutrients on the water – oh. That's between 0.(B) Next the article turns to air and water filtration. with flowing water in the tank. First. They are called bioreactors. but also turning algae and yeast into biofuels. But there's still that pesky problem of power to operate the lights and pumps. and the fact that while algae will enrich the air. Better yet. Thus for every two liters of O2 produced during daylight. Not to mention what to do with the excess biomass of algae that needs to be skimmed from the tank weekly – add it to the 5 square mile compost farm. or 15-20 kg/year.05 kg of each per day. biological weapons or zombie virus. algae consume CO2 and produce O2 during the day. For the sake of argument. assuming the ideal light and temperature. Unless the algae is grown under artificial sunlight lamps – but there's that pesky problem again of consuming all of the power in the process of generating the fuel to generate the power… However. but a little acknowledged fact is that *all* plants consume O2 and produce CO2 at night when chlorophyll is deprived of the sunlight required to power photosynthesis. A single adult male runs about 20. and can be composted for methane! However. The efficiency of this cycle is about 2:1 given 12 hrs day and 12 hrs night. and any biological or radiological contaminants that need to be filtered out lest they kill the inhabitants of the bunker would also kill the algae.000 liters through their lungs each day. This is the stuff of which long-duration space flight is made.03 and 0. Finally. one liter will be consumed the following night. and work at very high densities. So. That way one person can be completely sealed into the bunker. Certainly *some* air will be derived from the outside unless it is completely contaminated with fallout. there are still many issues with the *implementation* of this plan. let's say we need to produce enough breathable air for a single person each day. what is the efficiency of algae-based air "freshening"? One can assume that it is not entirely necessary to produce *all* of the breathable air. and plenty of water – will likely scrub the air of excess CO2 and enrich it with O2. two square meters of algae under artificial sunlight. About 1000 liters of O2 are consumed and 1000 liters of CO2 exhaled. this is still a far cry from filtering it. It should be pointed out at this point that there *are* industrial and systems for not only reducing CO2 and producing breathable air. Bioreactors require . probably. It is true that algae are a great technique for scrubbing the air of excess CO2 and enriching it with oxygen. Efficient units are quite large and small units take days to weeks to produce enough fuel to power a vehicle or generator for a few hours. and is on its strongest foundation. or additional people can be supported by supplementing with outside air. That's 16 one-liter breaths per minute.

That can work. stirrers and cooling systems. did I mention that Tesla coils consume *power*? . fans. Second. Still. One could argue that the Tesla coil will be "downstream" from the algae tank. While such systems have been considered for arcologies. Run the electricity through the algae tank and there goes the air supply. Tesla coils used for those fancy demonstrations are usually powered by industrial generators providing 50-100 kilowatts of electricity. and uses just a tiny fraction of the electricity. (C) So what's this about using a Tesla coil for water filtration? A Tesla coil? Seriously? A TESLA COIL? No. They have been proposed mainly as a way of reducing industrial waste CO2 or to convert grid-supply electricity into portable fuels for cars and trucks. Unfortunately those algae above are living cells.*almost* as much energy as they produce just to operate the lights. Not to mention the sad end for a person that survives civil collapse and retreats to a hidden bunker only to be electrocuted the first time he reaches for the water tap. Mars missions and orbital facilities. Powering that will take a compost heap the size of Rhode Island. and not directly in contact. the algae will get electrocuted. but the power requirements are considerable. pumps. A simple ultraviolet light (like those use by koi pond enthusiasts) works just as well. the insidious thing about electricity is that it tends to short to ground through water – if there is *any* possible connection – such as through the water pipes. and to use that to purify water. ] First – where does the power come from to generate the electricity output by the Tesla coil? The piddly little 5000 watt methane-powered generator wouldn't even power a Tesla coil enough to raise the hair on your forearm even after rubbing it with a cat for an hour. electricity kills living cells. Third. [JWR Adds: I believe he was referring to using a Tesla coil to generate ozone. That's clearly the idea behind using electricity for "filtering" the water. it is primarily because they can tap into the abundant electrical power produced by the nuclear and next generation solar power plants proposed for those installations.

However. the human body makes up its own. A considerable amount of the "bulk" of solid human waste is live and dead bacteria. the author references the "very negative biological effects" of deep underground environments on the human body. Recycling and recapturing useful compounds out of liquid and solid waste is an excellent idea. which is an *anaerobic* process. urine and feces do not just decompose on their own without help. the human body will fall into a natural 26-29 hour day. and fully functional. not at all detrimental to health. Unlike composting. Other problems with living underground have been more due to temperature. coli. and if untreated can cause death. . Set up the filters. But e. The reason wastewater treatment plants constantly stir waste in huge tanks is to ensure that the material stays oxygenated to reduce the growth of infectious bacteria. the most common danger is e. Without even getting into the problems of typhus and diphtheria which come from food and water supplies contaminated by human wastes . What mainly happens is that in the absence of a defined day-night cycle. ears or nose can cause serious infections that can cause cannot be easily treated. coli in the mouth.(C) Waste treatment. coli is particularly hazardous because it is so common. As long as the subject remains isolated from the outside world. it can be dome properly. As for performing the waste treatment in airtight containers. The human body has a number of defense mechanisms for dealing with e. this cycle will continue.e. and lose out on recycling than to have a waste system that kills the user by virtue of insufficient sanitation. etc. even a small dose of sunlight each day will set up a conflict between the external and internal clocks. fill it with lime. but no. Of those. remarkably stable. they must be sterilized. Again.. but the proper means involve a sufficiency of power. humidity. From this it can be assumed that the author is referring to experiments where individuals have lived underground or in sealed environments for extended periods. However. See. The reason for this is precisely because the most hazardous of the wasteborne bacteria thrive in low-oxygen situations.or salmonella which comes from animal wastes . sorry. composters and separators. water and space. Yet. Without a sunlight-induced 24-hr clock. groin. coli – at least in the regions where it is most commonly encountered – skin. (D) Finally. Solid wastes *are* compressed and either used as fertilizer or burned for fuel. air. the primary effect of living underground is not necessarily detrimental to humans. as with all of the concepts presented here. Community wastewater treatment plants ferment semisolid waste using specific bacterial cultures. aside from lack of sunlight and exercise. eyes. Unfortunately I see no provision for disinfecting the waste. Insomnia and sleep disruption can occur until the subject is fully immersed in either the outside or inside environment. waste decomposition is an *aerobic* process. before either can happen. Better to dig a latrine pit. molds and air contaminants than merely the fact of being underground.

Other "neat ideas" and exercises of the imagination are more appropriate to cartoon or fiction than a serious blog about practical survival. *power* that could never be generated. Ph. it's going to become a target when they become ..R. Dr. and *emissions* of noise. None of the idea presented here would even meet the authors first stated intent. Given the social chaos that's going to hit well before the 2012 solar event(s). They are the result of looking at some popular ideas in the press without considering the real world implications. Each idea would require *space* that a secret hide-away could never afford. M. No matter how much planning. no castle ever withstood siege indefinitely. (Physiology/Pharmacology) Friday. B.To summarize. heat and effluent that would certainly call attention to such a secret base. T. (Biology/Chemistry).S. more tech exists to create these bunkers. disease and death. The show featured people converting missile silos to survival bunkers. Still. 2010 Letter Re: Some Observations on Fortifications Versus Camouflaged Retreats Permalink Last night I watched Jesse Ventura's "Conspiracy Theory" show which centered around the government's cover up of the coming 2012 scenario. If people know a shelter exists. the concepts presented in this article are not practical. to live in seclusion . but the same level of tech exists to break down their defenses and it all comes out in the wash.S. and in these cases the incentive to do so was a fraction of what it will be in the coming scenarios. if people know they exist. preparation and defense was put into a stronghold. Historical precedent will quickly point out a glaring problem with this approach.in secret – with none of the ravening hordes aware of the authors existence. *resources* that would be obviously diverted away from public view and into the hide. or even carefully working through the biology. Consider that relative to the technological level of their day. January 15. history will repeat itself. Bunkers will suffer the same fate that any medieval castle suffered. it was eventually overrun. malnutrition.D. chemistry or physics of the problem. Sincerely. It is one thing to sit and ponder ideas on the basis of "wouldn't it be interesting if this worked?" and another to consider how likely the idea will result in sickness. Today the ante has been upped. (Aquatic Biology). European castles were more heavily fortified than any bunker being built today (by virtue of the fact that your average monarch of Medieval times had far more resources available than anybody seeking to build a shelter).

Hordes will gather in desperation to raid a shelter and retrieve whatever is inside. Further filtering (charcoal. The best possible defense is to be invisible. solid waste is separated from liquid waste. etc. then burned to help heat the shelter. what will drive these hordes will be what they think is inside. Waste is recycled. Nobody in town (a rural Central Georgia town) knows that I even know what a shelter is.) as a final stage completes the process.desperate enough (which isn't going to be long). What I do need to purchase is broken up among various hardware stores in the metro Atlanta area so that I don't spend too much time or money in any given store. Handling of liquid waste is still being explored. Like a septic tank. Rammed Earth construction is used for the shelter itself because I don't have to go out and purchase an inordinate amount of materials which people will be wondering what I did with. My own plans are quite meticulous in the area of staying hidden. The subject is never discussed. Being holed up in one of these places. Methane can run a generator. Air filtration has outside air running through several stages of an algae-rich water system. ammonia and other chemicals need to be extracted but can be bonded with other elements to produce something useful. you just became a resource for every starving person who didn't plan ahead. What about covert power sources? Here is one theoretical approach: Milkweed grows just about anywhere. What's actually inside doesn't matter. it grows very quickly and breaks down even faster in salt water. after the incoming air has passed through the algae-rich water stage. Algae converts CO2 to oxygen quite efficiently. People won't raid what they don't know is there. Organic trash goes into this container as well. The solid waste is dried (in an enclosed airtight container). putting current through the water may help the milkweed break down even faster. The goal is to generate methane with the milkweed dissolving in an enclosed container. pulverized. . Building is done in secret. exhaust air goes through the same system. this is applied in a later stage of filtration. A very high voltage Tesla coil in the filtration water ionizes the water and breaks down impurities. Since salt water is an excellent conductor of electricity.

I have had a “be prepared” attitude for about 30 years. but they hired countless contractors who helped build the things. If people know you're there. These contractors. January 10. so that those who are still in the thinking stages rather than the action stage can see that it’s not too hard to begin. but with prolonged.Chris Sunday. I am thankful for the advice that I receive each day. Two years ago my son and his family were in a life threatening accident. no matter what you do. The Maginot Line was simply marched around and France fell in a few days. instead of planning for TEOTWAWKI for just myself. The best option anybody has is to avoid being attacked in the first place. nearly every government bunker is going to be overrun well before the 2012 event(s) ever occur because social breakdown is going to hit well before that time and the necessity of raiding these shelters will be extreme. My guess is. they're going to come after what you have. food). .Go too deep underground and you get into very negative biological effects on the human body. 2010 A Preparedness Plan for a Single Woman With Children Permalink I’ve been reading SurvivalBlog for almost a year.e. although the past two years have thrown several speed bumps and roadblocks my way. Staying hidden is your only real defense. The only way to do this is to remain hidden. I now am the proud “parent” of three elementary aged children. consistent immersion in a deep underground environment. From the beginning of time. in desperate times. These are very subtle and gradual to start. So now. they do intensify. Even with these changes to my situation. I spent almost every penny I had saved toward retirement to help my daughter-in-law recover. Those attacking you will not be restricted to isolated individuals wandering onto your land. The government thinks they're going to be safe in their massive bunkers. in droves. history has shown that unless you have a Mongol horde behind you. you're going to fall if there's any reason to attack you. The Normandy defenses took a lot of American lives but still fell in a matter of hours. This year I fought for and won custody of three of my grandchildren from my daughter. I wanted to share what I am doing with your readers. you're going to face mobs and hordes that your little home defenses are not going to compete with. I am still actively preparing. If it's perceived that you have goodies inside (i. Historical precedent says that you're not going to fight your way through this. . are going to gather together large assault forces (not difficult to do when everybody is starving) and go after what's inside. a 50 something divorced woman.

I have five acres with a good house. I vote for calm. a good well. I am working hard to cut my expenses to almost nothing. lakes add to the humidity) rather than trying to scare people into believing that we are destroying the world. they should say that we can alter our microclimate (planting trees lowers the temperature around our homes. Barring any additional family disasters. . Part is because I do not allow myself to be influenced by the news story crisis of the day. Fourth. I also need to make some changes along the property boundary to make it less welcoming.000. I also plan on having cash on hand. paving roads and parking lots raises the temperature in the city. Or. I assume that the weather patterns may fluctuate as they have throughout time.000 and 15 miles from a city of 500. That way I can retire sooner and live prepared rather than being in a state of getting prepared. I expect the government to steal some of my pension. it’s not in the direction that the masses of people would head toward. I know that my attitude and my actions will influence those around me to be either calm or crazy. Third. Second. Fifth. I started with my basic premises. the act becomes second nature. I assume that I will live where I’m at forever. While it’s really close to a lot of people. I do not panic.Years ago I decided to create a written plan. I assume that when I retire from my government job that my pension income will exist. Times of trouble is not when you should be learning new things. Part of this is because I practice. but I will not buy into any of the global warming and cooling as something that we can truly prevent. I will practice. If the environmentalists wanted us to change our habits and become more energy efficient. as I know that when you practice. With that in mind I need to set up the house and yard to fully sustain me and now the three grandkids. I live 10 miles from a city of 100. I wish they would have just come out with that statement. (Most people just think that we are given money but I put in 20% of my income into this pension fund) I also expect to receive some social security benefits and plan to start collecting my money as soon as I hit the minimum age. I behave very level headed and am rational. a great climate for growing food and lots of storage. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be reduced. First.

It was simple. The stuff. was used in a year gave me a very good idea of what I would need for 10 or 20 or even 30 years. I keep it very organized. and am well stocked with sewing supplies. and making an inventory of everything. I know I should have more protection and I also . socks. how much do you need for the next 30 years? I started keeping track of what I was using. thread. I can not say I don’t need to be educated. paper towels. Now that I have the grandchildren. or dedicated because God will provide. t-shirts (long and short sleeve). weekly. underwear. soap. I also sew and have fabric. glasses. Now I have three more people in the house. Every time I went to Costco I’d buy an extra laundry detergent. I’m not going to discuss weapons to any real extent. Let’s start with household items. etc. and a 12 gauge shotgun. I trust God. room by room. pans. shampoo. pots. I witness my friends buying things that they know they have somewhere in their homes but they are so disorganized they have no clue what they have or where to find it. Simple Green. I started by going through my entire house. how much toilet paper. I have devoted space for bins of clothing. and yearly. This topic is definitely best left to someone who knows what they are talking about. There are items that can last forever: dishes. How would I figure how much I need? I decided to keep track of what I did and what I used. vinegar. tractor. I am expected to work hard. a . The bins include the basics in every size: jeans. monthly. I really get into this topic on this blog so as to learn more. There are items that are used up daily. hats. Keeping track of exactly how much food purchased. and what seems like miles of floor to ceiling shelves.Sixth. The last thing I shot was a rooster who was roaming my yard and continuously tried attacking me. It looks like a mini Wal-Mart. I also figured I probably have 30 more years to live. Then I just started buying extra. I don’t have a basement but I do have a huge garage.22 pistol. God will take care of me if I try to take care of myself. I know that God expects me to take care of myself…or at least to prepare myself to take care of myself. The first thing I did in my quest for independence was to determine what I really needed. 409. or prepared. furniture. jackets. tools. sweatshirts. bleach. Well. freezer. It holds my truck. etc. dish soap. I probably have a 10 year supply on hand without any pain at all.22 rifle. gloves. although I hope I’m blessed with much more. and shoes. I do have a .

avocados. kumquats. almonds. egg yolk. Each year I let some of the beets go to seed in the beet section of my garden. apricots. I also have seeds on hand. salt. Change your diet! Stop eating instant boxed stuff. Noodles are another one of our favorites. plums. Mix it together with a spoon. Let it rise an hour. 1 ½ tablespoon chunky salt (kosher. Since moving to my property 12 years ago I’ve planted fruit trees and plants with most of my spare money. eggplant. irrigation parts. etc. rakes. etc. You can buy a pound of yeast at Costco or Sam’s for the same price as three small packages of yeast at the grocery store. limes. pears. I let broccoli go to seed. hoses.” Sure. olives. lemons. I have oranges. Cut into whatever shape you want. I’ve been canning for 30 years now. and mushrooms. I have lots of gardening tools. figs. and probably some others that I’ve forgotten. Bake 350 for 15 minutes. but is it what you like to eat? Will those varieties do well in your area? Go to your local nursery and pick up seeds of vegetables you eat. Boil for about 10 minutes.need to involve the children in gun use. peaches. grapefruit. If nothing else. you will save lots of money. the grandkids. We have sheep and goats for meat and chickens for eggs. I smash a pumpkin on the ground in the pumpkin section. I do save seed each year to make sure I have a several year supply of all my vegetable seeds. water. Mix and roll out. blackberries. I don’t have to replant the entire garden each year. Have a garden like mine. sea. Put some flour onto the counter and pour the dough onto the flour. asparagus. 3 cups warm water. and my animals. The only fruit or vegetables I buy are bananas. Although they are easy to raise. and peppers. hoes. I love the 5 minute bread recipe. at least one for each of us so we can all work together: shovels. apples. Maybe this summer we will all go to gun camp and then set up a practice target in the back yard. My garden is my hobby but also something that I’ve set up to feed myself. I do replant the corn. The stuff just comes back.). it will grow you a garden. nectarines. I don’t milk the goats because I don’t have time. Flour. I don’t raise rabbits or hogs due to religious dietary restrictions. Learn to cook. kiwi. I do buy beef and chicken . We use the pizza cutter and make crazy shapes. mulberry. loquats. If I can’t can it or freeze it we eat fruit and vegetables in season or we don’t eat them. 1 ½ tablespoon yeast. cherries. pineapple. raspberries. 6 cups flour. Learn to bake. I don’t have enough property for a steer because I don’t want to have to rely on buying hay. It is crazy to spend the money on the latest fad of “non-hybrid seeds in a container for only $150. (At this point I like to add Italian seasoning to half the dough) Shape into individual rolls or two round loaves.

and cards. We have a great library at home. freezer. new books. I don’t need a huge solar system since we use minimal amount of electricity. science. We are on a well so we aren’t relying on city water. Go through your cabinets and see what you use. computers. My electric bill is only about $40 a month for the refrigerator. Classic books. Buy lots of them. just about all topics for all reading levels. set up a solar hot water system. and more gauze. . and history for each grade level. Since I am at work and the kids are at school. We don’t usually have much wind so I don’t think a wind generator would work. washer. Read the articles already posted about medical supplies. We really do conserve on electricity. and at some near future point. I try to keep the heater turned off during the week. Worst case scenario. You need lots of gauze. we don’t get sick often. heat the house with my wood stove. microwave. and more gloves. cook books. Rescue workers will change their latex gloves every 5-15 minutes. survival books. I do want to remind people that even minor injuries can use up lots of supplies. I have a rescue bag in each vehicle plus a large supply at home. gloves. heating the house. gauze. gloves. My next project (with money from my tax return) will be to set up a solar power system to charge batteries for running the well. television. Fortunately. I keep a good stock of vitamins and OTC medicines. I do have a large stock of supplies for injuries. I would use wood to cook with. I’d also like to set up solar for a backup for my appliances. The propane is used for cooking. I have a 500 gallon propane tank that never has less than 250 gallons in it . We don’t use much for heating the house. And. We also have games. I don’t need to waste propane heating an empty house. grammar. On the weekends I use the woodstove. dishwasher.from the store but know that at any time those purchases can stop and we can provide all our meat needs. Lots of indoor activities for the kids to do. puzzles. I also have school books: math. I haven’t been able to convince our doctor to write a prescription for extra medications but I have been able to stock up on some. and the hot water. and the kids leaving all the lights on.

a basketball hoop. badminton and volleyball net. I plan on planting some non-inviting plants in the front along the road and along the sides and back of the property as well: probably cactus. However. whiffle ball. I knew that there had been an old house there at one time. or even poison oak! I really need to get backup power. or drew water from the stream that runs through the property. We also go hiking and bike riding.com) kept us warm although I’m sure the grandkids would have liked it warmer than 30 when they got up in the morning! The trailer held all the clothes and food we needed for our two week trip. pencils. This winter we took it on a trip to Colorado and Oklahoma and didn’t turn on the heater. pens. Our water table is 12 feet so the pond would have to be deep in order to hit the water table. double it. there is water at about 60 ft. or so it looked when I opened it. crayons and markers. just some common sense and dedication. Well--An Amazing Find Permalink Dear Mr. I found a water well that I didn't know I had. Rawles: I have owned my retreat for some years and as unbelievable as it may sound. January 4. When I bought the land in the 1990s. cones to zigzag around. I know that being in good condition helps keep the mind in good condition. I also set up a tetherball pole. and glue. nets to crawl under. blackberries.We have tons of office supplies: paper. tape. It had an old Gould's 1HP pump at the end of 120 ft. I’d like to hire someone to dig a pond. Whatever amount you think you need. The well had been capped for years. full bathroom and a tank that holds 40 gallons of propane. of 2" galvanized pipe. and a cross country running track. This past summer I made an obstacle course for the grandkids (and me). I also would like a holding tank for several thousand gallons of water. not just for shooting roosters and possums. Exercise and being active is important. just for fun. croquette. ropes to climb up trees. It all takes time and money. Incidentally. Our sleeping bags (from MajorSurplus. I found the well. We have tires to run through. It has a stove. refrigerator. but assumed that they had either used a cistern. Monday. down. They think it’s just for fun. and a soccer goal. staples. I have more to do. Three months ago I purchased a 23 foot used travel trailer. some itchy thistle. or triple it! Take advantage of the end of summer back to school sales. It was great practice. I need weapons for protection. There is no . erasers. a sprinting area. but this is an example of what I have done with not too much money. 2010 Letter Re: Well. paint.

nor with the local water management board. (The line loss for a DC well pump hanging at 100 feet would be tremendous. so from the road nobody sees anything. and when there isn't.) Friday. and many others fill in the gaps in knowledge for preparation for times to come. and are not all of us Liberal Socialists. thank you for your informative site. the inverter specifications. you can even install a PV system without any batteries.record at the county [offices]. . it doesn't. I live just three miles from the San Andreas Fault . Regards. so even if the Schumer doesn`t hit the fan. 2010 Letter Re: Photovoltaic Pathway Lights for Emergency Lighting Permalink Dear Jim: First. MD JWR Replies: Congratulations on your find! If you use a poly service line. If you install cistern for gravity flow to your house. physician or even a dentist into your Group if at all possible. Since the prices of photovoltaic panels have dropped dramatically in the past two years. January 1. One bit of advice: Recruit a veterinarian. that is simplicity itself: when there is sun it pumps. with inverter.Robert F. (A float switch will stop the pump whenever the cistern is full. They are out there. I know you`ve helped me. you can install a well pump by yourself. not the house. the barn or anything! The well is about a half mile from the county road in a grove of trees. (The pipe is flexible and fairly lightweight. you should probably go ahead and put in a PV system. They know about the well I drilled a few years ago when we A question: How can I best develop this well for use and still maintain strict OPSEC? My retreat is shielded from a county road by a large grove of trees. et cetera. for this well. They can let you know how many panels you'll need.. to power an AC well pump. I do not intend to report this find either.) Bob at Ready Made Resources (one of our advertisers) does free-ofcharge consulting on alternative power system specifications. .

and your readers. and brackets and belts to run duals. but have inherent fire danger. 2009 Letter Re: Covert Home Power for When The Grids Go Down Permalink Hello. I started placing them throughout the house.without any other supplemental lighting. on close-out sale for about $30 [for all 12]."the big one" could come at any time. and [that you] are [just] as unprepared as they are. they also are not going to attract a lot of attention. I became so enamored with them that we use them every night now instead of leaving any lights at all on to make your way to the bathroom. 190 up to 270 amps. people may think you have a couple candles going. but you could walk around the entire house. the base model 190 amp puts out a 130 amps at idle ( factory puts out maybe 60 amps.with out bumping it to anything . your family. but it was a wind storm that helped me think of this trick. and was able to bring a little light to each area. December 26. Candles are great.and brought them inside. et cetera. I started playing with improving the lighting produced by them when I realized what a great safe reusable alternative they could be. I just wanted to pass along a link to a company that sells new made in USA alternators for common vehicles. they are not bright. If you give it a try then I'll bet you`ll put a few in the house at night. or place them in front of a mirror. I even made a little chandelier with four of them that was bright enough to play games under. I hope this is of help to others.while I grabbed a couple of battery powered lanterns. so I twisted off the fat Frisbee-shape tops . The local utility power recently went down and the girls broke out some candles.Steve K. on a full size truck) these things look built to last. Saturday. With all the lights down in the neighborhood they seemed very bright all of a sudden. I had just purchased a dozen solar yard [pathway] lights. you'll save on propane and white gas. Another use they have is you can recharge your size AA batteries for flashlight or radio with them. and may the Lord bless you . One easy way is to set them on top of a glass. Meanwhile. Thanks for everything you do Jim. and would run . and would not be with out them. .and set a piece curved foil behind them. Thus I`ve been prepping for many years.

JWR was right to point out the danger of potentially back-powering the grid when plugging in a hot extension cord from the inverter. and the house tolerably warm for three days when the power was out. 2009 Three Letters Re: Covert Home Power for When The Grids Go Down Permalink Sir: I am not an electrician.200-1. and I set as system like this up at my house three years ago.500 RPM may not even be enough to power the inverter. and set the engine at about 1. How much will depend on your car. Yeah. it draws 100 amps at 12 volts. Because the average 1.an inverter a lot better than stock. not affiliated with company at all. I would never power the house by using an extension cord with two male ends. I will be getting one of these soon! As usual just an interested consumer. I recommend that you plug those items directly into the unmodified extension cord from the inverter. December 20. the neutral is still connected to the grid. I watch the volt-meter built into the inverter.) When my inverter runs at full power. If you have a small alternator (smaller car). make sure to check the output of the alternator. letting your car run at idle will run down your battery. so you need to kick up the throttle a little bit. you gotta move the extension cord around a bit.500 watt inverter will only power one or two major appliances (or one furnace blower). But I endorse a couple of important differences.Matt Bradley Sunday. Can you imagine the liability you would incur if you accidentally electrocuted a local repairman who was trying to get your neighborhood back online? He may even be one of your neighbors. (I looked it up at an online auto parts store. I saw this at the DieselPowerMag. never mind worrying about burning out your electrical system.com blog. because that's where the voltage stays high enough for the inverter. Also.500 RPM. . It kept our food cold. but you won't hurt anyone and you don't need to worry that you might ruin your inverter when the grid does come back up. First. I've made mistakes in my life (no one seriously injured because of them) and I can't justify the risk of injury when it's so easy to avoid. . Even with the main breaker turned off. The alternator doesn't reach full output at low RPMs. Second. That means you're drawing amperage out of the battery when the inverter runs at higher power. then 1.

When adding up the wattage you need to support. you risk creating an electrical fire. and probably do not represent the power used under normal circumstances. Before TSHTF. This is a case where there is no substitute for actually measuring the power draw. Power (watts) = Current (amps) x Voltage (volts). you've wasted money. hopefully stay warm. Electrical cable needs to be sized for the current it will be carrying. What you need to do is to have a handle on the power and current that the cable needs to carry.Remember. These are maximum values possible. the main objective is to survive the ordeal. If it's too big. and then determine your amp load. and not accidentally hurt anyone else in the process. I'm sure Tom H. If the cable you find is too small. 1. When talks about getting the "largest cable size you can get". it really opens a door for disaster.Dave in Missouri Dear James. don't go by the tag value on appliance alone. Add up your power requirements for a given voltage. meant well with his article on using power from a car to power a house. but I have some serious nits to pick. The good news is that it's easy to do with a Kill-A-Watt (plug-in power meter). and size it appropriately. Current (amps) = Power (watts) / Voltage (volts). Here is a link that gives conservative estimates for the current carrying capabilities of various American Wire Gauge (AWG) wire sizes. . Remember. test each of your . 2.

There are so many problems with the vehicle/inverter backup system presented in today's article that I felt I had to comment. 300. It would be wise to find out ahead of time how big your alternator is and plan accordingly.). that can get someone killed in very short order. Best Regards. . For good measurements. connection issues. and have over twenty years of experience with power inverters ranging from a few hundred watts up to 300KW (that's right. Best Regards. You can see the power being used at that moment. But there are other reliability/safety concerns the author does not address. the weak link in this system is not the inverter but the size of the alternator output. and the power consumed over time. December 18. The good news is that there are after market alternators available for some trucks and 4x4s which are designed to output more power to run tools through inverters at remote work sites. use a Kill A Watt or similar meters. diode current ratings.Bear in the Sierra Mr. and the proper wires sizes are used. Rawles. 2009 Five Letters Re: Covert Home Power for When The Grid Goes Down Permalink . Assuming the proper breakers are thrown. and transient inverter loading concerns.appliances by plugging the Kill A Watt electricity usage monitor into the outlet. 3. The system cannot sustain more continuous power output than the alternator can provide. etc. and then the appliance into the Kill A Watt.John in Colorado Friday. You are to be commended for pointing out the foolishness of the power cord backfeed method. I am a degreed electrical engineer and certified reliability engineer.000 watts). but that will quickly drain the battery. SLI battery limitations. ground bonding. . For the record. The battery may act as a 'surge protector' by supply the difference when the demand is larger than the alternator can supply. These include vehicle alternator issues (overheating from insufficient air flow.

A few may have 3 phase power. JWR added this advice: "The best and safest solution is to have a qualified electrician install a proper bypass circuit breaker panel that will eliminate any risk of a back feed!" ." Most homes in the USA have what is known as 120/240 volt single phase power coming into the house from the electrical company. He wrote: "Next. single or 3 phase. deep freezer. plug in one end of the extension cord to the inverter and the other end into any 120 VAC outlet in your house. cut the receptacle end (female) off the 120 VAC extension cord and install the replacement 120 VAC plug (male) to the cord.JWR The article written by Tom H. spouse. or other critical load is not on the same "leg" of your power panel as the outlet you are back feeding. if a load such as a furnace has motors that run from 240 volts. contains some dangerous advice and overlooks some important issues. white to white and green to green). Don't take the chance of killing your child. and power is applied to only one leg of the motor. You will now have a cord with a [male] plug on both ends. Back feeding a 120 volt outlet with power will only energize 1/2 (or 1/3 if you have 3 phase power) of the 120 volt loads in your house. If one end is plugged into a power source. or even yourself by having such a cord around where someone could try to use it. (Black to black. Tome also wrote: "After making sure the main power disconnect is off. If your furnace. and should never be made." Such a modified power cord [commonly called a "disaster cord" or more aptly a "suicide cord'] is extremely dangerous. the other end now has exposed electrical contacts and anyone touching them is in danger of electrocution. it will not get power and will not run. it could damage or destroy the motor. Worse. Make sure it's wired correctly. refrigerator.

A large 50 amp battery charger would recharge the pair of batteries in a few hours. Here is an easy solution if your furnace only requires 120 volts AC at some reasonable amount of current. you can determine which breaker powers your furnace. they also use far less fuel. If you spend the extra to get a very quiet generator such as many . and tested it with an inverter powered from a pair of golf cart batteries. Therefore.. or when I needed more power for appliances such as the deep freezer or refrigerator. As long as you have gas for the car.This is certainly true. Because the furnace was a low power consumption type (hot water heat) I was able to get around two days of power for my furnace before the batteries needed charging. Back in 1999 I made such a modified power feed to my furnace. however. is not going to stand out. Run the other end of the cord into the breaker box and wire it safely to the power wires going to the furnace. and disconnect the wire to the furnace from the breaker." While most inexpensive generators make more noise than an idling car. a hour or so of power twice a day from my generator would keep them cold. Mount a small electrical box with a single 120 volt outlet on it next to your breaker panel. and may be the only easy way to be both safe and meet electrical code when providing backup power to a furnace. If you are competent to work on your own electrical panel (a working knowledge of electricity is a useful survival skill). Tom wrote "A car that is quietly idling. and plug the cord into an inverter or generator. electrically the furnace is hooked up just as it was before you started. If I kept the doors shut on the deep freezer and refrigerator. and feed it from the breaker that former fed the furnace. Drill a hole in the box next to the outlet and bring a short power cord with a male plug on the end out through a grommet (to protect the cord from damage as it exits the box).. There are some other solutions that are safe. If you unplug the cord from the outlet. . When the short power cord is plugged into the new outlet. I would only need to run my generator when I needed to recharge the batteries. you can safely power the furnace with zero danger of back feeding the power lines. parked in the driveway. you are in business.

buy the larger cables (Lowest number AWG). Higher RPM. the mechanical resistance required to turn it becomes higher. (If you ever want to see the max amount of power your alternator can put out. As the current draw on it increases. I would not recommend doing this on a vehicle with computer controlled anything!) 2. A secondary effect of this will be high heat problems in the DC side of the wiring. try to find instructions on how to "full field" it. The more surface area you can get in the connection. the higher the load placed on the alternator.) Power loss because of clip on jumper cable connection will be high. you can have both the quiet and low fuel consumption. but I have personal reservations about it. when looking at jumper cables to carry with you. Be warned however. On a side note. the more energized it becomes.RAR Jim: I think that Tom presented a very inventive idea. possibly enough to melt the insulation off the wire. The engine RPM increases to compensate. so these are just theoretical observations: 1. Trying to jumpstart one of my vehicles in 25 degree cold that had been sitting for three months took me two pairs of "el cheapo" 12 gauge cables.) Under normal circumstances. more sound. Larger diameter cable = lower resistance and heat buildup = more electrons streaming into your dead battery One way to decrease this would be to replace your vehicle battery cable connectors with marine style terminal ends (The ones with the wing nut and post on them) and securing the inverter to the battery with actual ring terminals. I haven't actually tried this in a real world test scenario.of the modern inverter/generator sets. the better. Blessings on you and your family! . most marine style terminal ends I have used have a noticeably smaller inside diameter than .

regular automotive terminals. The much larger vehicle engine capacity and all of the accessories attached to it (water pump.D. and this comes from the engine and the fuel. As someone who has both solar photovoltaic/battery bank and multiple generator standby power options at home. and at a remote airfield location without grid power. I would like to offer my opinion on the article "Covert Home Power for When The Grids Go Down" offered by Tom H on Thursday December 17th 2009: The use of a vehicle based generator system does offer a number of potential benefits. and needs functioning transport with available fuel). and all of the associated drive trains/belts for these etc.R.) take power. When was the last time you had a vehicle with a pull cord "re-coil" style starter option found on most small gas engines? There are other issues too. such as leaving your vehicle engine running (not overly covert?) and the risk of vehicle theft as most modern engines will need the key in the ignition to run (especially bad if someone is looking to G.) If a running generator will make you a target.and expensive ones at that after a year or more in storage. increasing consumption. not to mention a large and safe fuel storage capability .O. 3. power steering pump. If you do choose this option. A. do you have a spare key to lock the car with the engine running? You may want to consider . Dear Sir. The relative fuel economy of a small gas or diesel powered engine.O. As with all things in life there are also unfortunately an equally if not larger number of negatives/limitations associated with vehicle based generator methods. compared with a typical car/pickup engine (and its' 12V electrical generation capability) is vastly different. a running vehicle will as well. They will require some force to go over your auto battery terminal posts.you do always keep your tank at least half full? Without these important activities the author is correct that small gas powered generators become nothing more than "garage queen's" . air conditioning pump. maintenance (hopefully?) and fuel replenishment aspects. most importantly the regular running.

This can be located inside the (ventilated) garage and you can use slightly longer and/or thinner jumper cables with this method. so shorter cables are better. One option seldom considered when using a vehicle based generator is the "extra battery method".they can even automatically start/stop the engine as power is used from their onboard battery systems. Toyota Prius).you may already have one if you own a larger trailer or caravan/camper? Connecting to the vehicle battery with jumper cables often stops you from fully closing the hood. Connect the inverter (also now in the garage) to this second battery and it provides a "reserve of power" for heavy starting loads . or risk a short circuit if you do. but by doing so will blow hot air into the engine bay where the alternator is housed. any other 12V appliance). This can then be used to jump start other cars. so a raised hood may be another give away and can increase the noise signature of the running engine too.recharging from the running vehicle once this is passed.fitting a wheel clamp or similar to deter someone driving off . but this then places the inverter at greater risk of being stolen . The longer the cables (and I agree that thicker is better) the greater the power loss. Take a large car or truck battery (or leisure battery) and connect this using the jumper cables to the vehicle battery. Google "Anderson SB connector") under the hood and a matching end on your jumper cables. Remember that 2.000 Watts of power from the inverter is around 200 amps at 12 VDC (there are losses in the inverter) so you are placing a considerable strain on the vehicles electrical system . power your inverter (winch. increasing fuel .g. and stops people from borrowing your jumper cables as they only work on your car now! This method also reduces any risk of polarity reversal/short circuit accidents.how many vehicles are capable of continuously producing this amount of 12v power from their alternator system. right next to a really hot engine too.g. and even if they are the considerable heat generated will not be so easily dissipated as there is little if any air movement that would come from a moving vehicle in normal operation? The radiator fan will cool the engine. and factor in the cost of repairing/replacing it verses the costs of a separate generator? There are some very special instances with hybrid vehicles where they are capable of generating much larger amounts of electrical power (e. but these are the exception rather than the norm.you also need to protect the inverter from any water/moisture ingress even next doors dog relieving itself! Consider permanently fitting a high power 2 pole connector to your battery (e. You may want to check the continuous rating of your vehicle's alternator output. If you have a Prius/Lexus then Google "Prius UPS" for details on these systems .

. security and power available etc.exposing the live pins.000 watts continuous. even if you do buy a bigger inverter [~1.efficiency and running time. If you are going to use a back feed cable I would advise you to set up a check list of actions (for both connecting and disconnecting/returning to grid power). but if you do not have anything else that is diesel powered it can prove difficult to "rotate" your fuel supply" (even if that is only every 2 . Propane stores almost indefinitely. and vehicle based systems can and do work so long as you acknowledge their limitations in running time. you can use it on your gas grill in the summer and this can also provide standby heat and cooking facilities all year. heating oil. even clean engine oil at a push. and far more safely than gas (petrol) IMO.remember it may be dark/cold when you are doing this and you may not remember exactly from memory what is needed pilots (amateur and professional) use check lists.3 years) and they can be much harder to start in cold climates. (I would not aim for much more than 800 to 1.use one. Diesel fuel stores for much longer than gas (especially with anti fungal compounds added) and once warm the engine can run on a variety of different "fuels" including cooking oil. The location you choose to plug this in must consider risks from people tripping over the cable and pulling it from the receptacle . The components required for vehicle based systems can also be "recycled" into a more permanent fixed solar/battery/generator system as time and funds permit. The best option would be in install a power inlet and transfer switch if at all possible.500 Watts] to allow for "start-up" surges). and they regularly practice their emergency actions. These really are the best vehicle based generator systems if you already have such a vehicle. The down side for both of these being that the generators are typically more expensive to purchase initially. Any system is better than none. and whilst these are functional there are considerable risks associated with this method. There have been many articles on the use of back feed "suicide cables" to power to grid down locations. A few medium sized propane bottles (a minimum of 2 . Anywhere that children may be able to access it is not even considered in my opinion! A couple of options not considered are small diesel and propane powered generators. so take a hint from people who really need to get things right first time! I would also attach a brightly coloured plug or label/streamer to the "live" end of the back feed cable as a reminder not to touch this when the system is back feeding power. plus a full spare) can be safely stored in a garage or shed. Please do not think that I am being negative with my comments. and follow these in strict order to ensure you do not cause a dangerous condition .

Whilst "modified sine" inverters are much cheaper than the "pure sine" variety. Ian H. About a dozen of them went out to various Army posts to be used by civilian trainers. We have all ignored our generators since September. They are really too small to be much help. Finally it should be remembered that any small engine (gas/diesel/propane) can also provide considerable distraction when trying to get them to work after periods of storage. several of our sites tried to start their little generators and were shocked that they were inoperative. The difference in cost between the two types is substantial. There are lots of little micro-generators around 1 KW. Heavy duty power plants are more than ten times the price of a backup generator. but I am not talking about those. some of them have no military background. (You do have a plan B. as can some satellite/cable boxes in my experience . The Army sent my organization a cheap generator several months ago as part of a bigger system. you should be careful with electronics/motors working from modified sine power. and I hope and pray that the true meaning and message of Christmas will support you all over the holiday season following your loss of the Memsahib. when after a few minutes it should have become obvious that it isn't going to start and that you should abandon it for now and implement plan B. main power generators and backup generators.NSoB (Nanny State of Britannia) Jim. (I am just as guilty as they are. so as a compromise. This week. right?) My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.if you can afford a pure sine inverter then this is the choice to make. Some items such as cell phone chargers and other "transformer-less" wall-wart power cubes can fail quite spectacularly on modified sine power. . only returning to it when this is working.) There are basically two types of internal combustion generators out there. but some compact fluorescent lamps can flicker or make high pitched noises on modified sine power. but the . many of us wind up owning a backup generator of some kind. Kind regards. Ordinary filament light bulbs work fine.

you will need to drain the oil and replace it with new stuff before you use it.500 watts and costs from 300 to 600 dollars. but they are a pretty good if you take care of them and use them within their limitations. There are two basic approaches to backup generator maintenance: You can maintain it constantly ready for action. I am talking about your generator. . You can let it run dry or drain it from the fuel filter (or disconnect the fuel line). Gasoline is explosive. Mothballing is probably the best choice for most people. Maybe less than once a year. They should be fine for short duration crisis and in a total collapse. or you can mothball it between missions. it needs to be replaced immediately.. In fact. They are basically backup generators intended for short duration events. If it has convenience outlets instead of a wiring collar. Also. drain out all the gasoline. if they can get their generator up within about half an hour.. that's probably just fine. No need to get fancy. When you try to start it later. I am talking about any generator too big to carry but small enough to wheel (and has wheels). Be careful.. and it's big enough to to run a freezer. Use regular 10W30 oil. You can leave the oil in the engine (and probably should) but if it sits for a year without starting.6 liter for the model I have). To mothball a generator.be patient and keep pulling.larger ones can be very useful for keeping refrigeration or pumping water or any number of tasks when the grid is down. The engine only holds a little over a half a quart (. Look at the oil before you use it and use common sense. Most people don't really need to be able to push a button and have their generator come to life. unless you have made a substantial commitment to storing fuel. The typical backup generator is about 6 HP gasoline rated for something like 3. If your oil is ever black for any reason. These are not top-of-the-line generators. The following is specifically written about a "All Power" AGP3002D 3. but since it's is a typical survival generator this will also apply to many different models and sizes. you will have to keep pulling the starter rope until you suck fresh gasoline though the system. your cheap generator will easily outlast your fuel supply.500 watt gasoline generator. most people need a backup generator very infrequently.

but they seem to be unnecessary unless you are storing a lot of fuel. That's pretty much all there is to mothballing. Regular maintenance requires you to run it under load for about an hour per month. 1. There is often no oil filter so this is really important. For maintenance run-up. I don't know much about fuel preservatives. 2. It holds 4 gallons. If you have only a few containers of fuel for emergencies.... Plug in your stuff and smile smugly at your own cleverness. You should start it up at least once a year and it should work when you need it. You may need to siphon or pump the old oil out if there is no drain. fuel it and start it up. Most of these things are not really made to sit outside in the weather. I think old fuel may be the most common cause of failure in small engines. On my model. Oil it. If you have a fuel filter bowl you really need to check this when you refuel and drain out the water if you see any.gunk) in a few months. You will need to change the oil after the first 20 hours of operation and then every 100 hours thereafter. Check the oil level. You can leave it in a garage and haul it out when needed. about a pint of any kind of unleaded should be enough. You should follow this procedure whenever you run the generator for any reason. so I can expect to need about a half gallon per hour of use. Or. When the grid power goes off and stays off long enough for you to use your generator. you can maintain your generator ready to use on short notice.. I only keep about 20 gallons and rotate my fuel every month. so only add a little and then run it almost dry every month.500 watt load. You will need to follow some steps to do it safely. (it will be the lower layer. You ideally want to burn through all your gasoline every couple of months. My tank is sized to run the generator about 8 hours under a 1. The oil level is usually checked at a cap or plug at the bottom of the engine.Protect the generator from the elements while in storage. you can rotate them and burn the fuel in your car or truck. Put in fresh gasoline.duh). There is no dip stick on cheap gas engines. Don't use much because gasoline has a short shelf life and turns into varnish (or technically. It has a drain plug for removing water. Don't leave old gas in your tank or you will be sorry. The oil plug is slanted into the base of the . If you must store it outside. you are risking weather damage and theft. That requires more work. there is a fuel filter (glass bowl type) in the back. so try to store them in some kind of shelter..

My generator is rated at 3. but I am not sure if this is just superstition or if it is fact. but in a smoky or dusty environment.500 watts. If you ever run it without oil you will be very sorry. but it can be anywhere. that's perfect but basically. but that's a lie. 4. so don't screw it up. Attach a load that draws at least 1. you may need to clean this filter every time you refuel. wet the ground around the rod with salt water (or any water). Pull the starter rope fast but smoothly until the engine starts. Let it run 5 minutes before attaching a load. (crossing your fingers seems to help). If you are in doubt. When the engine catches. drive it in horizontally for it's full length instead of leaving it sticking out.. Ground it! Generators are dangerous. This is potentially lethal. you are really going to feel bad. superstitious primate. if you can touch the oil with your finger without inserting it past the first knuckle. let it run a few minutes and then push the choke back to the run position. My system is designed to run for long periods at half load.about 10 gallons to increase conductivity. Even dirty oil is much better than no oil. (Mine is hidden by the air filter.000 watts. (if it's a replaceable filter. 3. If you hit bedrock. You are supposed to ground it using a long grounding rod. That's the start up surge capacity. 7.engine so that when the generator is level. That still sounds like a lot until you start counting up the watts you need. If you get a kid killed. An electric space heater or even an old steam iron will work for a load. I have always heard that running a generator without a load is bad for it. (like a lot of lawn mower engines.500 watts. I would love to hear it. I have always used a load because I am a primitive. The manual on mine says to clean it every 60 hours. you will need spares). multiply volts times amps and that gives you watts.000 watts. Sand is a terrible conductor. Check the air filter periodically and wash it with soap and water when it's dirty. . but a dedicated ground rod is usually safer. Push the choke as far as it will go if you have a manual choke. which is only 1. 6. the oil level should be exactly as much as it will hold with the oil plug out.. My maximum rated load is only 3. You might be ok strapping it to plumbing.) If a few drops spill out when you open the plug. It will be on the same side). (an inch or so below the top) you have enough. If someone knows the definitive answer. To figure out wattage. and it's not really big enough to run that much. 5. Turn on the engine switch (mine is on the control panel.

Your generator is going to be noisy. Running the 120 VAC electrical system from your automobile may seem like a relatively easy thing to do. Get a heavy duty extension cord for safety. you can even destroy the inverter outputs. Your cord will need to be pretty long to reach outside to the generator.JIR Hi Jim. Without adequate ventilation \a gas engine can kill you in minutes. If you are hoping to hide a cheap backup generator. In simple terms you can not simply multiply the current and voltage to get an equivalent power draw from the system. so get a good one. You may want to set it up downwind and far enough away to not be annoyed. It's best to check the inverter users manual or contact the manufacturer for proper operation of inductive loads like motors. or by simultaneously running multiple motors. . I do. forget it. 120 times 7. Thin. Hiding any internal combustion engine will be even harder if everything else in the area is quiet. Cheap engines are not overly efficient. . Just a few additional caveats to the article: Covert Home Power for When The Grids Go Down. One issue is called Power Factor which happens when a reactive load (such as a motor) is running.5 amps at 120 volts. This may happen with a motor that is two large. You might even need to wear hearing protection if you are working near the engine.5 is 900 watts.Example: a typical Mr. Depending on how the output of the inverter is designed and protected. They also put out copious amounts of carbon monoxide. Coffee (drip coffee maker) draws 7. Under no circumstances run this thing indoors. but there are some hidden issues one must be aware of. long cords add a lot of resistance and can heat up under a heavy load. They are much louder than expensive power plants of the same size. so they stink.

Keep in mind also that when supplying the higher power. or can mean you've destroyed your inverter. December 17. This can simply mean that the motor won't start. Short of installing a complete off the grid system. but there can be a problem here also. The additional power is used to take a physical piece of material (the motor shaft and get it moving from a stopped position.Another issue that was already mentioned is inrush current on a motor when it is starting. on and on and on. .LVZ in Ohio Thursday. and know those limits (preferably by testing) before you need them.5 Amps when running under a load.500 Watts / 12 Volts). keeping in mind that a 1 HP motor at 120 VAC will draw at least 6. so it is better when using more than one at a time to turn them on separately. which will typically be your alternator and DC power source. 2009 Covert Home Power for When The Grids Go Down. These systems range from a simple inexpensive plug in inverter for your car 12 VDC socket (which may power a lap top or a cell phone battery charger) to an extremely complicated self-sufficient system that will operate your whole house. Even an incandescent light has some inrush current. inverters. A 1. the automobile engine may be more than just simply idling. Motors may have this specified on the name plate as Locked Rotor Amps or LRA. almost every other solution will require some sort of hassle and inconvenience. A typical automobile alternator is rated at 50-75 Amps and the higher output alternators can output 100 or more. Overcoming the inertia can take a bit of extra power. solar panels. battery banks. by Tom H. Recommendations have been made for the installation of a generator.800 watts) on startup. the . Permalink There is much written about the Power Grids going down (for whatever reason) and how to prepare for that event.500 watt inverter at full output will draw about 125 Amps (1. automatic system switches. A 1 HP motor under load can draw as much as 40 amps (4. The simple fact is that most people will not install such systems for a variety of reasons ranging from cost to placement and sometimes simply knowledge. The main thing here is to know the limits of your system. Back on the DC side you can do the simple math. A good rule of thumb is 5 to 6 times the running current draw . If it is winter.

many auto parts or sporting goods stores. electric stoves. or worse. Any generator use will produce noise when in operation.(anything that produces heat). place it in their garage. They will have forgotten how to start the gen set and connect it to the house. first aid. This is particularly valuable if the power outage is in the winter. Heavy duty automotive jumper cables in the largest cable size (diameter of the wire) that you can get. 2. For $200 or less you can buy this at a discount store. Many will buy a generator. inexpensively effectively. no ongoing maintenance and very little cost there is a more effective solution to powering part of your house. broadcasting to all within ear shot that you are producing electricity and potentially make you a target. this set up becomes useless. The idea is to do what is absolutely necessary. start it to make sure it runs. conveniently. Thy typically range in size from 1. This should also be of the largest wire diameter (gauge) that you can find. etc. Powering only your furnace will keep you warm and keep your pipes from freezing.000 watts in capacity. and are about the size of a small briefcase. The larger size is preferable to the smaller ones as they provide more power and therefore will power more items at the same time. If you live in a small neighborhood in a city. this will be of particular concern. the gas will turn to kerosene. and a myriad of other places.000 watts to 2. dust will gather on both. With a little preparation. (gumming up the carburetor and eventually making the gas in the can useless). What Do I Need ? In its most simple form. etc. Most people reading this are already somewhat prepared in the areas of food. fill its gas tank. you will need the following: 1. one or more appliances at a time. A 120 VAC extension cord. Over the course of a year. as most do. A 12 VDC to 120 VAC inverter. put a full five-gallon gas can in the corner and think they have the solution in hand. 3.problem is compounded as it takes very large amounts of electricity to run electric heaters. . and not bring attention to yourself and enjoying the use of electrical power. Without considerable effort and knowledge.

Turn it off. This is normally on or in the meter box.4. the better. (There is significant "line loss" in DC cabling. The shorter you can make any DC cables.W. The main breaker should be "tagged out" with a prominent warning sign.R. In this condition. Extra stored gasoline for your car. You will now have a cord with a plug on both ends. This also duplicates a Grid down condition. Make sure it's wired correctly. Under no circumstances turn the main power disconnect back on while the inverter is attached to the house. cut the receptacle end (female) off the 120 VAC extension cord and install the replacement 120 VAC plug (male) to the cord.) Make the cords and cables as short as you can between the inverter and car. but it can create a dangerous "back feed" condition that could electrocute a power lineman. locate the main power disconnect (breaker or switch) that connects your house to the Grid. What Do I Do With This Stuff? First. Do not modify the jumper cables unless you have the tools to do so correctly. (Black to black. even if the power comes back on. Do not turn off the main breaker in this panel. or better yet both tagged out and "locked out" physically.] . This second main breaker must be in addition to and separate from the main house power disconnect. white to white and green to green). 5. [Editor's Strong Warning: Putting AC power into an outlet in your house might seem like a simple solution. (Hopefully you will have identified which breaker powers what items or rooms in your house). when an attempt is made to restore power to your neighborhood! It is ABSOLUTELTY ESSENTIAL that you turn off your home's main circuit breaker before energizing your home's wiring with any alternative power system. Turn off all the sub-breakers in your house.J. you will have no power coming into your house. but not in AC cables. A replacement 120 VAC plug for the extension cord. Next. The best and safest solution is to have a qualified electrician install a proper bypass circuit breaker panel that will eliminate any risk of a back feed! .

and some other appliances will not work. (Warning: Do not run your car in your garage. if you bought a 1.] . which runs the inverter. Your car battery will start to discharge and may not have enough juice to start it later. you are in business.to neg -) with the jumper cables. unless they require more wattage than the inverter produces. A car that is quietly idling. you can quickly overload the inverter. or you may get carbon monoxide poisoning. you will have 120 VAC going into your house to the breaker panel.) [JWR Adds: And keep in mind that the peak current draw comes with an electric motor's start-up. overheating may be a problem. (e. At this point you should start your car. it will only run 1. but in warm weather. There Is A Catch The inverter will only run items which do not exceed the wattage rating of the inverter. so do not turn on the inverter without the car is running. but it is the least expensive and simplest way to have power while not alerting scavengers. Your electric oven.g. which then produces 120 VAC power to your house. A car can often be idled safely for many hours in cold weather. This necessitates you do a little homework. Make sure the connections are as tight as possible. and those items will operate. For example. your electric dryer. fifteen 100-watt light bulbs).Place the inverter on the ground in front of the car. As long as you have gas for the car. most efficient way to do this.500 watt inverter. As you can see. it will send power to whatever is plugged into the outlets on that circuit. After making sure the main power disconnect is off. plug in one end of the extension cord to the inverter and the other end into any 120 VAC outlet in your house. the car alternator will charge the battery.500 watts total at the same time. (They require too much power.) When you then turn on the inverter. Connect the inverter to the posts on your car battery (pos + to pos + and neg . As you turn on a breaker. What I have described is not the ideal. parked in the driveway. is not going to stand out. and are often on 220 VAC circuits. As long as you have fuel to run the car.

. or the refrigerator and a few lights. You must do a inventory of every item that is plugged in and know what breaker controls each. it may tell you how many amps it draws. this arrangement will allow you to run individual appliances at the same time. If you have your refrigerator plugged into the same breaker as your furnace. Unplug every item in your house that is plugged into an outlet. The amperage listed is almost always more than it actually takes. and thought will allow you to continue on through a emergency without a lot of expense. You will then need a bigger inverter. You may not want to run lights anyway.800 RPM. and the affordable portable generators all seem to run at 3. Saturday. As you can see. from the car and then the house. I use my generator primarily for powering sound equipment in the field. undetected by the outside world. A little organization.Your furnace may take 1.600 RPM. the your refrigerator another 1. but no more than the inverter will handle. turn your main house to grid disconnect back on. If and when the grid power supply returns to normal. planning. the microwave may take 1000 watts. I have owned generators for around 20 years for emergency backup and portable power uses. It may be that all you need to operate concurrently is the furnace and a few lights. If the tag on the appliance doesn't tell you how many watts it takes. the inverter may not power both at the same time. and you are back to normal. November 28. 2009 Two Letters Re: Generator Experiences During a Recent Nor'easter Permalink Jim: The letter about Generators today inspired me to write this email. As a result I looked for a quiet generator. disconnect the inverter. and know how much power you are using for every item. Do the math.000 watts. The very quiet generators all run at 1. as this will only draw attention to you. This item will draw 240 watts. and so forth. or you will quickly overload the inverter. You must know how much power is consumed by each item in your house. but it is expensive to make a generator that runs slow and quiet.000 or more watts to run the blower. You can convert amps to watts by multiplying the amperage (it may say 2 amps) by the voltage (120 volts).

When I purchased my current generator 10 years ago. though not as quiet as a 1.800 RPM engine. (I recommend Amsoil Synthetic Oils for all your cars as well. The most important issue for long generator life is clean oil. or Amsoil's gas stabilizer is always added to the fuel. The engine on my generator has a dual air filter with both a pleated paper filter and an oil soaked foam filter. but when my current stock of oil is used up I will probably switch to the new Amsoil Synthetic Small Engine Oil. spare spark plugs. I have found the key is shutting off the valve in the fuel line under the tank and letting the engine run until it starves for lack of fuel. I can always use the siphon to refill the gas cans. and oil for my generator along with the needed spark plug wrench and a fuel siphon. Oil gets dirty from dirt in the air. I use Amsoil's Synthetic Marine Oil in my generator. I keep one or two 6 gallon gas cans out in my shed (not in our garage or house for safety). It is not necessary to drain the fuel tank or take other steps in my experience as long as the valve is closed and the engine run dry of fuel. It is also important to use an oil that does not break down under use.) I have a plastic storage bin that holds spare air filters. With regards draining the fuel. Of course Sta-Bil. and that keep water in suspension so it does not rust engine parts. Since all our vehicles have full tanks of fuel. My current generator has had fuel in the tank for its entire ten year life and starts on the first pull every time. These I found to be significantly quieter than the typical generator engine. The combination seems to do a good job in keeping the engine oil clean. . Coleman had just started using the Briggs and Stratton "Vanguard" OHV engines in their generators.

To be fair. Likewise disconnect the power cords before stopping the generator Blessings on you and your family! . Here in southeastern Virginia. but haven't taken the time to periodically test and maintain it. . If your loads are connected during start up in particular the voltage surges as the generator engine gets up to speed and settles to a constant running speed can destroy electronic equipment.Jim H Wednesday. The conversion is also able to run on propane. 2009 Letter Re: Generator Experiences During a Recent Nor'easter Permalink Greetings Mr.Running the generator under load every few months is an excellent idea. but luckily got it back 29 hours later even though we were told to expect several more days of grid-down living. But here's the kicker: on my . I live in Florida and have had quite a few encounters with week long power outages due to hurricanes. Rawles.RAR Mr. and is not good for any equipment. Rawles. Four years ago I converted my portable generator to run on natural gas for only a little more than $200. I just wanted to pass along a quick reminder to your readers who took the time and expense to buy a backup generator. It has a pull start and only takes one or two pulls to start after sitting in storage for months. November 25. Get the generator running at a steady speed. we are still recovering from what was called the "Atlantic Assault" by the hyperventilating reporters on the Weather Channel. though. and then plug in your power cords. I don't have to worry about ethanol contamination in the carburetor anymore.00. Always start and stop a generator with no load connected. or back to gasoline with only the re-gapping of the spark plug. We lost power the evening of November 12. Here is the web site where I ordered the kit. this was indeed a whopper of a Nor'easter that gave us flooding only a foot or so less than Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

. I just change it once per year. I even leave the lid off the fuel tank for a few hours -. the generator started on the second pull and ran like new. .. I know. Ask me how I know. I now have a standard monthly testing cycle for my generator that runs it under load for about half an hour. along with a new in-line fuel filter from the marine parts store. fuel lines. too. And I also have a new schedule for changing the engine oil.to let it completely air dry. and I bought a replacement carburetor via eBay for $70. pulling and draining the fuel lines. During heavy use. Remember that oil is cheap and it's the life-blood of a small air-cooled engine. Anyway. After installing the new carburetor. So my generator was one of the ones that worked during the recent storm. The gasoline had stabilizer in it. but I discovered my mistake well before this storm.in a well-ventilated space -.Mike in Virginia Monday. So what's going on? As many boaters unfortunately have also discovered. and fully draining the float bowl of the carburetor. no amount of cord-pulling or carburetor cleaning would induce my generator to start. I hope your readers can learn from my mistakes and how I corrected them. It was nice to be in the position of being able to help others rather than needing help myself. Extra precautions to completely drain fuel tanks. and even draining the old gas and using fresh didn't help.street. Testing my backup power source only once per year was pretty stupid. infrequently used engines are suffering significant damage to their carburetors from the ethanol in our gasoline supply. 2009 From David in Israel: Off Grid Alternatives to Utility-Supplied Electricity . I also have a standard routine for servicing my generator after each use. In early June I pulled my generator out for its yearly testing at the beginning of hurricane season. I change the oil every once three days (about 50 hours) of operation. I was also guilty of insufficient testing and maintenance. November 16. Otherwise. and carburetor float bowls are absolutely essential before putting the generator away for storage. I eventually got tired of messing with it. Yes. Of three other friends I checked with after the storm. This routine includes draining the fuel tank. there was one other [like me] that could not start his generator. only two of the four houses with generators could get them started. and I was able to run 12-gauge extension cords to two of my neighbors to keep their refrigerators running.

but these still need mains power for the drum motor. Even in a national emergency and societal breakdown it is very rare for supplies of diesel fuel. There is no reason a normal family shouldn't consider an off grid option for their home. Dryer . Having had a minor role in a micro-satellite system design proposal one thing you learn when confronted by limited power supply is to either economize or do without. . Most people find they actually prefer gas once they are used to it as it is a more even heat. and LP gas to be unavailable for long periods at some price. They are built to be inexpensive or if you are better off durable.There is no reason to use electrical power for cooking. a solar clothes dryer is under $5 at nearly every hardware store.Enemy number one especially in a large family. it will also keep the air humidified. ask for a clothesline. Even in winter indoor drying can be assisted by using a fan. Some may use an electrical ignition or thermostat but nearly all can be retrofitted either with a piezoelectric (no battery needed) spark starter or can just be lit with a match avoiding the danger of the old style pilot light since they now are equipped with a thermal safety. After trying the above and finding you just can't make it there are LP gas heated clothes dryers. gasoline. Oven/Stovetop . Excellent caterer grade ovens and stoves are available at most appliance stores which run totally on gas. Folding indoor drying racks are very popular in Israel. The appliances you own for on grid use are not efficient. even the fancy electrical appliances out of Europe with the Energy Star are in reality a big waste of power once you are paying by the off grid watt for solar panels and battery banks.Permalink James One of the most troubling things I see when speaking to people about going off grid is how badly they want to keep all of their electrical appliances and just spend many thousands of dollars on a battery bank more appropriate for a U-boat and solar cells or generators to keep them topped off. We have had good success using MSR camping kerosene burners when the gas to our home was unavailable for a few weeks. kerosene.

kerosene. for every foot of elevation . There are portable swimming pools that are the same as US Forest Service uses for firefighting. For those with the skills required to build and test a system which can withstand 250 psi anhydrous ammonia. Heating . Descending water can be run reverse through some pumps generating electricity making it a very effective and inexpensive way to store electrical power once your battery banks are full. and at least one portable reservoir.Some older large shop tools can be powered by a PTO shaft or belt system. There are high quality kerosene and LP gas powered absorption refrigerators.Nearly any off grid home will benefit from the addition of a solar collector in addition to a well-insulated gas water heater. The possibilities from a gas motor. gas. Think about turning down the thermostat or using a secondary gas instant heating system and low flow shower heads to stretch your hot water supply. and a gas powered portable pump for emergency firefighting. to steam. available from a few suppliers even in the US. Water pressure . 433 pounds of water pressure is required for filling your tower or cistern and this pressure is returned when water is used in your home or property. Since anti-drug manufacturing laws make obtaining anhydrous ammonia difficult. pellet. Power Tools .Most stores and contractors can provide a wide variety of wood. to hydro and beyond are limited only by your imagination.In many areas there is not enough wind for a windmill to keep a water tower full so an electrical or gas pump might work better once all factors are evaluated. Insulation is key to keeping your alternative heat system from breaking your bank account. If your retreat is located below the summit of the hill it would probably be much easier to install a pool or cistern on the summit to provide pressure for firefighting operations even if your pump is destroyed. or oil-fueled stoves and furnaces and space heaters. some with secondary mains power optional. an icy-ball can be built with drains on the absorptive . Refrigeration . copying the old Crosley Icy-Ball chest refrigeratorfreezer is a thrifty option.500 gallons and a 300 gpm capacity.Hot Water . Anyone living in a wilderness area should have in addition to a gravity fed water system of at least 1.Most readers if their inventory their refrigerator will find mostly leftovers or things which actually will last until consumption without refrigeration.

Metal halide lighting is much more power friendly than incandescent if large areas require illumination for security purposes. While in college I worked in a gun and camping shop which sold a reverse fitting for refilling disposable Coleman LP gas cartridges from the older non-tip over shutoff bulk tanks making camp lights highly practical for hanging. A warning: Ammonia is a dangerous respiratory irritant and any homemade system should be used with caution and kept and recharged outside in case of leakage. A water evaporation cooler cabinet is another very cheap option for keeping food. This will . It should be remembered the operating rule of just as much power as required and the usage of low power consumption modes like CW. Before refrigeration people would buy eggs and milk fresh in the city or if they could have chickens and a cow or goat would produce their own.water side to self distill ammonia from cleaning solution. Tube systems are notoriously wasteful of power and tubes have limited life so these should be kept as backup systems in most cases.Your radio communications system should have a redundant battery bank and power supply should your services be required in an emergency. and large stereo systems are wasteful of electrical power if left on. One DIY design includes a shutoff valve to keep the ammonia from reabsorbing until the valve is opened allowing it to be stored in a charged condition. A chicken is easily consumed by even a small family once cooked. Television sets. Unplug or employ a disconnect switch [or power strip with switch] on all electronics unless they are in use. A small notebook computer for occasional movies and an MP3 player for music will save many valuable watts. satellite receivers. Lighting . Communications . Battery powered florescent and LED lights and LED nightlights are also useful for reading and small tinkering. It must be remembered that gas lighting presents an increased fire hazard so precautions including avoiding clutter and considering the floor and wall surface must be taken into account. There are offline viewers which will call up all the web sites you normally visit and grab them all for later viewing.Gas mantle lighting once found in most urban homes is not difficult to implement using either camping lamps and piped gas or better yet certified indoor lamps. Only power up satellite Internet systems after you have typed up all the e-mails and set them up to send immediately after going online. in less than a day.

and should work in most telephone systems even if the central office with its redundant power goes offline but the wires are still intact. DO NOT use rechargeable batteries for your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms! Due to the higher fire risk using flame-based alternatives to electricity I even more strongly recommend installation of fire sprinklers in all rooms.protect them from power surges in addition to eliminating sleep-state power draw. . Install outdoor standpipes and stocked hose locker for wildfires. Most importantly have an evacuation and rendezvous family accounting plan and volunteer with the local volunteer fire department. by Pete Montgomery ."] Telephone .David in Israel Wednesday. goggles. This will not save off grid watts but is a good way to add redundancy to your retreat. officially only for alarm systems. a charged mobile phone for 911 (BTW. Safety . install long life lithium batteries and check on the first of the month and every time you change to or from daylight savings. November 11. gloves. flame hoods over all cooking surfaces with automatic sprinklers that have a manual activation. [Also know as a "phantom load. this is usually cheaper than a line with actual telephone service. and Nomex face shroud. The Telephone company will either splice the wire pairs at the neighborhood box or at the closest central office.If your retreat can obtain telephone service a secondary redundant system connecting you to selected neighbors can be set up in some areas by ordering an old style alarm or bell line to one central home. 2009 Solar Electric Vehicles for TEOTWAWKI. you need not have an active calling plan to use a cell phone to call 911 in the USA) and if you have to retreat from interior firefighting. and at least two standpipe and hose cabinets with 100 gpm gravity flow minimum per standpipe.Install at least two combo carbon monoxide sensing smoke alarms in your home in addition to a smoke alarm in every occupied room. With an engineering eye it is often possible to reduce your home or retreat electrical requirements to an inexpensive few hundred watts once alternatives are considered. it is possible to set up anything from long run Ethernet or simple voice lines with an old style "everybody rings" party line. Shalom. ABC-rated fire extinguisher. In these alarms. learn when the fire is just too big to fight by yourself.

PVs are certainly worth a closer look. gas. We have developed something more functional and far more cost effective for the average person or family that wants an alternative means of transportation. Just think of the uses for solar on the family farm/retreat or even the home in the suburbs. I always wished that I could have a motor vehicle that didn’t depend on the “grid” for its power. etc. These LSVs are quickly gaining national attention and are . PV power has always been a viable means of providing power to his or her retreat. Power the well. bio-diesel. as well as tremendous increase in quality and efficiency of PV panels. the primary drawback was the enormous price tag and limited power that first generation PV panels produced. however. with the advancements in solar technology and falling prices. I have experienced many powerful storms. With never-to-be-seen-again Federal Tax incentives. meaning. dating back as far as the early 1970s. produce all the power needed for the home and sell what you don’t need back to the grid for peak prices. The uses are virtually endless around the home but what about getting around on the homestead? Why not take advantage of the sun’s limitless power with the vehicle you drive?I’m not talking about those fancy space-age looking gizmos that you’ve seen gliding along on the Salt Flats someplace in Utah. Until recently photovoltaic (PV) power solutions were out of reach and electric transportation was just a pipe dream. that wish is now a reality. with the associated loss of power and the joy of waiting in line for gasoline.Permalink Having been a “prepper” for more than 25 years. any public road that is posted 35 mph or under and allowed by local ordinances. Early visionaries put largely inefficient banks of PV panels on their homes or barns to utilize the sun’s endless power. The new PV vehicles that are being produced by several manufacturers in the US are classified by the IRS as Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs). back then. Until recently PV options have remained principally out of reach. These experiences have cultivated a growing interest in solar power and how it relates to providing power in an emergency situation. In the mind of the “prepper”. With recent advances in PV technology and electric vehicle technologies. However. ethanol. diesel. i. energy directly from the sun is now reliable and affordable for the average consumer. growing up in Florida where you had to be prepared for the inevitable annual hurricane. most of which can be used on any road.e.

LLC a company that markets and sells street legal. turn signals. you have reliable transportation. as the solar panel acts as your own personal portable generator. however. Options include just about anything you can think of including AM/FM radio. . Every vehicle has a 120 VAC plug-in charger. which can be driven on or off-road while still qualifying as a “Street Legal” LSV. low speed vehicles (LSVs) for “on-road” and “off-road” use. etc. seat belts. self-adjusting drum brakes. in case you ever need a conventional charge. You must be a licensed driver to operate a LSV on any public roadway. What’s even better is the “fill up” is free. brake lights.] This year I had the opportunity to go to work for Long Drive Solar. greater range. free of charge. The product line starts with vehicles that may appear similar to a standard golf cart all the way up to 24-seat trams. PV electric hybrid. taillights. CD player. that it would take more than two days of full sun to recharge a LSV's batteries that have been deeply discharged. not to mention they are a lot of fun to drive. use Curtis charge controllers and a powerful 48-volt battery bank with eight large 6 VDC batteries. under normal usage. like any other lead-acid deep cycle battery bank. Most models sold by Long Drive Solar have been certified by the IRS and are GSA approved. all you have to do is park your LSV in the sun to let it recharge. giving you higher performance. As long as you have sunlight. horn. you will need to buy a new set of batteries once every 4 to 7 years. and substantially longer operating time between battery charges. (8-Trojan T-145s.5 horsepower motors. there is an “off-road” or ATV classification of the LSV.completely “Street Legal”. [JWR Adds: Keep in mind. because of inevitable sulfation. and DOT-appoved windshields. The factory installed 210 or 230 watt solar panel is state-of-the-art. Also. These vehicles are powered by strong 5. However. wood grain trim. But the one that I like the best is the 12 VDC to 120 VAC power inverter. producing 260 amp hours). The uses for this type of vehicle on the retreat are endless. headlights. This lets you have a 110 power outlet anywhere you can take the vehicle. you’ll find that the sun is all you need to keep your vehicle fully charged and ready to go. Long Drive Solar has a wide range of on and off-road tires for just about any terrain or environment. Likewise.

000 to $10.gov/afdc/ to find out what your State offers as Tax Credits. to qualify as an LSV. . garden produce. this opportunity is just right for those interested in buying a vehicle that is a self-sustaining. you have the ability to capture up to 120% of the actual cost. I strongly suggest the solar option). The Scout comes in 2. so when you go to buy your LSV. like Georgia. affordable means of transportation. This is clearly the way to go for a rural retreat. thanks to Uncle Sam and your local State government you get an early Christmas present in the form of huge Tax Credits. front basket. Go to www. make sure you get the right vehicle for your money.afdc. and Florida benefit in the 70-80% Tax Credit range.energy. The Scout is designed for on or off-road or trail use. and up. There are many additional difference. That mileage may vary depending on terrain and driving conditions. Federal and State Tax Credits With the Federal and State governments pushing to implement “green technologies”. I’ve driven the one I have for several months and I have never had to “plug it in”. however. As previously stated. firewood. and most have a top speed of around 10 mph. off-road knobby tires. and top rack (if you don’t use solar. 4. you could get your “dreamcome-true” off-road vehicle for a net cost of zero. the vehicle must go between 20 and 25 mph. and an unusually-high 19" ground clearance to the bottom of the deck. Either way. If you happen to live in Oklahoma. One of the most frequently asked questions is how far and how fast will these vehicles go.5 horsepower. not once. or other items. Although a vehicle like this costs between $7. Other states. It has 8” ground clearance to the axles. As to “how far”. Depending on which State you live in. zero. Our LSVs are constantly charging the batteries through the solar panel and have an average range of 80-100 miles [in a day] on a single charge. Hawaii. most standard golf carts have a range of about 20 miles on a single charge. Yes. while our LSVs are 5.org and http://www. and 6 seat configurations and can also have a box body on the back for hauling hay.dsireusa. whereas the LSVs (by law) must travel between 20 and 25 mph. you can count on a minimum of at least a 30% increase in performance. that’s right.So what’s the difference between a standard golf cart and a Low Speed Vehicle (LSV)? Golf carts are not street legal [in most jurisdictions].000 dollars (with a solar top). you can actually make money by purchasing one of these vehicles. Long Drive Solar has several models to choose from but the one that works best for a retreat application is unquestionably the Scout. brush guards/bumper. The golf cart motor is normally just 3 horsepower.

make sure that your dealer provides you with certification from the IRS that their vehicle (and specifically the model you are buying) qualifies for the Federal and State Tax Credits. For those of you that lean toward the “green movement”. Make sure you check with your tax accountant regarding any paperwork you will need to get from the dealer. Georgia. Bad Boy Buggies and several others. 2009. and believe me I’m all for renewable energy. 2009 and will likely mot be renewed. therefore. while others extend until 2015. you can find a lot of good info and can take a look at some of our products. Eco E ATV. Individual State Tax Credits vary. these vehicles can help with your LEEDS certification points as well as helping to offset your personal carbon footprint. Long Drive Solar has its corporate offices in Atlanta. so that you can legally take advantage of the tax credits. the higher the credit. Some of the other companies that provide quality products are Tomberlin Vehicles.com. So where can you buy your LSV? Here’s where I get to plug our company and some of our competition. Please give us a call or contact us online. the higher the amp rating. to take advantage of this tax credit. so make sure you’re getting the most power and the highest available tax credit for your dollar. We also have a large Dealership in Oklahoma City and dealer representatives located throughout the US. .Note that the largest part of the Federal Tax Credits expire on December 31. Please check with your local State Tax Commission on the time lines. some end at the end of this year. Beware before you buy: When you go to buy your vehicle. Note: Long Drive Solar is the only company in the US that sells a factory installed solar system on most models of their LSVs. One other important note: All electric vehicles are not created equal with respect to the Federal tax credits. The amount of credit depends on the amp rating of the battery bank. If you go to our web site LongDriveSolar. The IRS has many different levels of tax credits on the same vehicle. all electric vehicles must be purchased no later than December 31.

Just remember. They will not last. I have been living "Off the Grid" for fifteen years. . only use "Deep Cycle" types as the plate construction used in these is designed for multiple deep-discharges. and the monies and the time procuring and cabling such will have been wasted.delivering a bunch of power for a very short period of time.If you have always wanted a reliable means of transportation with a renewable source of energy it would be well worth your time to take a look at the new forms of sustainable transportation on the market today. after but a few discharges they cannot be recharged and expected to hold said charge.. hours. The number of discharges varies given the size of the battery itself. as well as the once-in-a-lifetime Tax Credits that could make your solar vehicle absolutely free [after you complete your taxes for 2009]. i. November 6.000. in the case of batteries. and can assure your readers that vehicle batteries can only handle 3-5 complete discharges before they are useless. or days. they are the wrong choice for any task where discharge exceeds the constant charging input into the battery. 2009 Two Letters Re: How to Capitalize on Urine. Ergo. Yes. Wood Ashes. size matters. my solar LSV was looking mighty fine when gas was pushing $5 per gallon.com Friday. Believe me. From my perspective this type of transportation is something to consider. Car Batteries. and can range from as few as 100 to well over 2. If you would like to learn more about any of the products or technology talked about here please feel free to contact me at: pmontgomery@longdrivesolar. Said time is measured in seconds. not minutes. Bones and Bird Schumer Permalink Jim: Car batteries are designed for one thing and one thing only .e. If one intends to utilize batteries and a charger of whatever source to power lights or equipment of any sort. do your homework and buy the best you can afford because one day your life may depend on what you have invested in.

microhydro. the appliance manufacturers decided to stroke our egos because having to wait a few seconds for an appliance to "warm up" was frustrating. even though one believes such is the case. wind. ignoring this will destroy your batteries. Pardon the pun. one more bit of advice. Mo James. and if out there pioneering. It's more than just money. On the way out the door. Period.00 or so. There's no point in paying for something your aren't using. And if you are dependent on a battery bank. remember that when using a battery to "store" generated power. a little digital readout tells you how many "watts" that appliance uses when it's "off". and all those other things that we believe make life worth living and pretty soon we're talking about real money. Then "Off" really means "Off". The easiest way to find how much your favorite appliance is robbing you is to buy a little device called a Kill-A-Watt [electricity usage monitor].J. or if "Off the Grid". . That television that is presumed "off" may well be using 30-40 watts constantly. you get my drift. many of your appliances consume power. 24-7-365. Either you pay the power monopoly for it. We demand "instant on" from everything. put all such appliances on power strips. whether from solar. this on "Phantom Loads. well. and this comes with a price. And never forget that "Volts X Amps = Watts". shut down the power strip.Another little hint: When engaged in the mathematics of power generated in relationship to end use. Good Luck! . say goodbye to your batteries. you deplete and perhaps even destroy your batteries. and when you want them truly off. about $30. available at hardware stores and places like Lowe's and Home Depot. A few decades back. Add in stereo components. One plugs it into the wall and then you plug the appliance into it. printers. Even "off". Solution? Whether "Off the Grid" or dependent on a power monopoly. with the appliance still "off". Much to your surprise and then chagrin. computers. or fuel powered generators." Many of the appliances we buy today are never actually "off". factor in a loss of 6% of the power produced due the requirements of the chemical reaction in the battery. If you don't model your production and usage with these numbers in mind. but the results will "shock" you. Now such a wait would border on a personal insult.

I'm enumerating the primitive uses of some very basic components for those interested. This stuff is scattered all over urban population centers. and even if you did it would become a target for looters. and this movement requires electricity in the simplest setup. I thought I'd write in and share some information I've gathered over the years in my work and in my hobbies. and many of it can be used for basic life-sustaining purposes.. and . It also allows you to maximize your space by eliminating huge buckets of soil. 2009 How to Capitalize on Urine. Wood Ashes. [JWR Adds: Handling strong acids and bases also necessitates wearing goggles. . Wood Ashes. Permalink Throughout the last few centuries. combining raw materials and energy to create. by Jeff M. Car Batteries.Jim E. long sleeves. as it relates to sustaining life if you're trapped in an urban area. with the limited growing season. Hydroponics requires that you're moving fluids around in a growing medium. Safety First! God Bless. As a caster myself I have learned that this is an extremely hazardous thing to do. [Traditional lead alloy] wheel weights [made before the recent switch to zinc] are the preferred metal for most bullet casters. The lead plates in car batteries are impregnated with arsenic and calcium to aid the the chemical reaction to generate electricity. stuff. November 4. mankind has been building and building up. a safety apron. Bones and Bird Schumer. having proper ventilation.. Melting these down will generate arsine gas which is highly poisonous. Many urbanites will not have enough room to grow self-sustaining gardens in the soil in your backyard. Bones and Bird Schumer. Car Batteries. this wasn't meant as a guide for building any of this stuff. While they contain about a quarter of a percent of arsenic they do not contain calcium and do not generate arsine gas when melted. Construction of a greenhouse in your backyard with adequate security may be a worthwhile compromise. One downside to hydroponics is that it requires more advanced technology. by Jeff M. further research is definitely necessary and DO NOT try any lab chemistry without becoming an expert first and observing all the appropriate safety precautions.I noted with concern one item in the recent blog article: How to Capitalize on Urine. He also recommended using lead wheel weights. Wednesday. extra long gloves. Using hydroponics in your greenhouse will maximize your yield. and having an eye flushing bottle (or fixture) and neutralizers close at hand!] I hope this inspires others to share similar uses for modern waste. He recommended using car batteries for lead to cast bullets from.

most often an energy supply. If you're running a generator. it's very mature technology and has been very easy to afford with the increased usage of solar energy. I have a circuit wired in my basement which can be switched to backup power. It happens to be the cheapest form of storage. the easiest fuel to reliably store is propane and many homes are equipped with propane and natural gas powered backup generators. Propane is produced from natural gas and. it is especially important . It would be a good idea to have backups. The best way to do this with a generator setup is with a multiple-bank charger or charging station. who has already bought a long-term supply of food and other essentials. radios. or with multiple charge controllers in a solar setup. and propane is selling in my area for $1. you don't need a 5. The equipment to build a battery backup system is widely available. Just one large solar panel on a pole will be enough [to provide charging] for your odds and ends DC-powered electronics. Regarding solar. are the two fossil fuels we're least likely to see a shortage of. Solar panel prices have also dropped almost 40% in the last couple of years. A 300-to-500 gallon propane tank can be bought used for around $500 in most places. Propane is extraordinarily cheap right now as well.79/gallon. along with coal. Car batteries can be used to power your food supply and your home. build themselves a photovoltaic backup system to keep your electronics running for years. the deep cycle batteries are available from Wal-Mart and Costco at the best prices. so you might as well have one charge controller for every battery. a temperature probe is good but not necessary. you will need to come up with a scheme to charge them. so for me it would just be a matter of wiring an extension cable out to my greenhouse. flashlight battery chargers. using deep-cycle marine batteries for storage. laptop computers. If you charge a random collection of batteries off of one charger some of them may overheat and explode. If you intend to use scavenged car batteries for home power. Most fuels will go bad with time. with some very energy efficient appliances. Another downside is a requirement for more specific fertilizers.000 watt solar panel farm to power your essentials. You need to have an individual charging circuit for each of them. I recommend some form of sustainable electricity. LED lights. You can calculate how much energy you'd need to power your appliances but a better setup for survival would be to only power a single DC circuit. a typical setup is a very sturdy shelf to hold rows of the deep cycle variant. I recommend that someone with the cash to spend.

Black powder is made with a mixture of 75% potassium nitrate. or saltpeter. widespread use of "smokeless powder" was adopted. Mixed with a fuel it forms the ingredients of many fireworks such as bottle rockets. perhaps as a signal flare. The urine/straw mixture would change over the course of a few months to contain nitrates. Potassium nitrate is a powerful oxidizer.that you use a battery backup system. and these strong acids are used to convert many other substances to something usable. Potassium nitrate has an NPK rating of 13-0-38. Sulfuric acid is used in many industrial processes. Your urine contains nitrogen in the form of a chemical called urea. which is which can be made from cellulose and . You can buy potassium nitrate over the counter from the hardware store (Lowe's and Home Depot). should you have a need for rockets. run water through it and then run the resulting mixture through a wood ash filter. If you're doing that last minute shopping. Another interesting thing about car batteries is what you can do with them if you're not using them for power. which is about three times as powerful as simple black powder. as it allows you to use the energy more efficiently to charge up a battery bank which you can use for days to power efficient appliances. Hundreds of years ago people made saltpeter for formulating black powder by urinating in a jar and adding straw to it (almost too easy. It's a source of elemental sulfur. 15% charcoal. This was called a "niter-bed". It's known as stump remover and is available in 1lb bottles. In the 1890s. This was a result of a substance called nitro-cellulose or guncotton. A more industrious method would be to mix straw and manure into a pile and urinate on it regularly to keep it moist. and then air dry the resulting mixture in the sun. Sulfur can be found on the electrodes of the car batteries. Any failed batches could always be used as [the basis for a larger quantity of] fertilizer. Wood ash contains mostly potassium compounds and can be used to convert remaining nitrates to potassium nitrate. and 10% sulfur. sulfuric acid and lead. After a year. which means it also makes a good fertilizer (1 part urine and 10 parts water immediately applied makes a decent fertilizer). it might be a good idea to swing by the pesticides shelf and buy all the stump remover while you're getting your fertilizers and everything. A good rocket fuel is 60% potassium nitrate and 40% powdered sugar. Car batteries contain two main ingredients. huh?). or it can be produced through electrolysis of the sulfuric acid. mostly a chemical called potassium nitrate.

H. et cetera. Nitric acid is a very useful substance. [JWR Adds a Strong Proviso: This summary information is provided for educational purposes only. With the leftover parts of the car battery. Adds: Doing any of this will take considerable study and storing some other chemicals. [Reader M.22 LR brass and lead wire. a glass distillery connected to a vacuum pump (a vacuum distillery). Also. commonly just called "gunpowder" today. from the car batteries. in short order!] Another interesting thing I'll mention is that handgun calibers and muzzleloaders are better suited for lead bullets with no copper jacket. the set of directions on making nitroglycerin in the book The Anarchist Cookbook. which is generated by the nitration of toluene. [JWR Adds: One notable exception to this is making jackets for . see the book titled "Chemistry and Technology of Explosives" by Urbanski (available online). and potassium nitrate. Compounded with glycerine. Forming a copper jacket around a bullet is difficult and expensive. For example. permits obtained. For details.] The government has made it difficult to purchase nitric acid without a valid reason. Potassium nitrate and black powder aren't controlled substances. that with added stabilizers forms dynamite or blasting gelatin. from the niter beds. such as an ethanol distillery. You can make it out of sulfuric acid. which is a compound of nitrocellulose and a number of other proprietary ingredients. be advised that the instructions presented in many of the published references on do-it-yourself explosives making have insufficient safety margins. so it may be something you'd want. it forms nitroglycerine." It will get you killed or at least maimed. Nitro-groups or nitronium ions can be added to certain chemicals to create explosives. mainly lead [and wheel weights as a source of antimony for hardening]. and all the legalities and zoning issues must be researched.] I think it's also worthwhile to . since they travel through the barrel slower they can be made softer. it forms [the equivalent of ] RDX explosive. Take care that you don't cross into illegal territory with your experimenting. since nitric acid just by itself will not (to any significant degree) nitrate organic compound such as glycerine. which can be made with discarded .nitric acid and some other chemicals by means of nitration. using commercially available forming dies. regardless. The lab equipment required to perform some of these reactions is useful in many other processes.22 caliber bullets. It can be made from cellulose and nitric acid and some other chemicals by means of nitration.) The most useful application of nitric acid though is in making smokeless powder. You will need some basic lab equipment to do this. hexamine or toluene. EXTREME safety measures must be taken. Compounded with hexamine fuel tablets (Esbit fuel). you can mold lead bullets. (Not to be confused with trinitrotoluene (TNT). could best be described as a "recipe for disaster. and a hot plate. but at some point gunpowder becomes classified as an explosive and requires a permit to manufacture.

Potassium can be gathered from wood ash easily by running fluids through it. so it is the area where you focus the most energy. So. nowhere is this more true than in a hydroponic system. Match heads can also be used for their phosphorus content. You may want to boil it first. hydroponics and gunsmithing. Either stockpile thousands of primers or use a flintlock style rifle. [Do plenty of research. but the temperature must be kept warm. and a commonly used fertilizer for plants is bone meal in the form of calcium phosphate. I've opted to fortify my suburban home . aquaculture. I mentioned that urine can be used as a fertilizer. and has proven to be a commercial success. and get lots of practice. if for some reason you have thousands of matches with no barter value. Even the modern muzzle-loader propellants (like Pyrodex) are smokeless powders. you may find black powder is all people are using one of these days. Beginner's mistakes could spell the end of you if you're depending on this for your urban survival. Plants need three main chemicals to grow. If you've ever maintained a koi pond you know this can be accomplished with the use of a bio-filter. Bone has phosphorus in it. Tilapia has been the preferred fish stock as it will eat a wider range of things. Bat guano is one of the best sources of phosphorous. Bone meal has an NPK rating of 4-12-0. mainly to serve as leafy plant production on top of a primarily fish producing setup. Manufacturing guncotton is not nearly as easy as black powder. which means connecting a fish hatchery to a hydroponics setup. and bullet forming equipment. Many of these techniques can form the foundations of exciting hobbies such as model rocketry. Back to urine fertilizers: When you urinate into the water your urine and many other nitrate fertilizers begin to break down into ammonia. It's possible that even in colder climates a greenhouse would provide sufficient trapped heat to keep the fish alive.own at least one muzzle-loading black-powder rifle. many contain diseases especially pigeons. urine is easily the best source of nitrogen in soluble form. which needs to be filtered out. You can no longer readily buy black powder [in gun shops] today. if they appeal to you. Phosphorous is the hard part. as they can make it in their backyard. The fish and the plants thrive off of each other. Another way to do it is with an aquaculture setup. This has evolved into it's own industry called aquaponics. all three of which must be in a soluble form. try feeding it to a 55-gallon barrels full of Tilapia. and bird droppings ("Bird Schumer") can similarly provide a good supply. and many fruiting plants need phosphorus. it is less stable and more expensive to ship.] especially when it comes to something sensitive like fish or hydroponics. Be careful with bird droppings though. If you get sick of eating that dried corn. I strongly encourage you to absorb some of these hobbies in your life.

It includes four muzzleloaders and supplies. and my wife has made it very clear she has moved for the last time. Our neighbors include a medical doctor and a nurse/midwife and two miles down the hill is a dairy farm with 400 head. with over two years of food storage for me and my family to get started and enough energy to cook it. . The driveway could be easily blocked if necessary. We use a small greenhouse to extend our short growing season and have apple trees and blueberry.000. We can and dry fruits and veggies. We used to be cold weather tent. Not an ideal location. but we work with what God have given us. or oil. a deep artesian well and a developed spring with a concrete cistern.000 residents. We have three spring-fed ponds. at the end of an 1. We heat with any of three sources. I hunt and we both cook. We own 60 acres. frozen and grains) and expand our larder as we are able. Vermont is where we will be for the foreseeable future. We live within a rural town of approximately 2. Our arsenal is varied.100 foot driveway and it is not visible from the road. deep and redundant. We lack like-minded neighbors both in faith and preparedness. my wife and I will have to retreat where we are. We hope our far-flung family will be able to rally here. We are about seven miles outside of a twin-city with a population of 28. but they will still put food on the table or provide defense in a pinch. While I could wish to be west of the Mississippi. We have about 18 months of food in storage (dehydrated. My elderly parents are nearby. (one is stocked with trout). up and three miles out of town on a dirt road. mostly wooded with some pasture. they are hunting and hobby rifles. We have cleared good areas around the house without giving up our privacy.campers and have all of the equipment that goes along with that sport in both propane and white gas. canned. raspberry and blackberry bushes.on a quarter acre and optimize it for survival. If this is all you can afford then make the most of it! Letter Re: Making Do at a Rural Vermont Retreat James. wood. pellets. Our home is close to the middle of the land. but are realistic about their chances.

We do hope to add solar in the future.. vegetables. highly recommended!) and some writings by James Wesley. Fuel storage is a problem in quantity due to permitting issues. Our greatest assets are Jesus and each other. we are far too dependent on a very fragile and tenuous energy and distribution grid.. We will never be as ready as want to be.." They are on a farm about 30 miles from here. turkeys. a couple of lights and a radio. We do have the fuel oil tank in the cellar for the tractor. A few observations: 1) The root idea is that whether or not some disaster hits. Monday.We have much on our “things to do” list.B.C. I was surprised at who they were and the mindset I encountered. . Our home is not as defensible as I would like due to glass windows and doors and we lack man-power for long term survival. Raising your own chickens. goats. Rawles. 2009 Letter Re: Thoughts on Preparedness in a Diverse Community Permalink I just met this past weekend with a group of " preparedness folk. and lots of other cool ideas that are scavenged from junkyards. and not the fashionable mindless silliness coming out of the "environmentally conscious" crowd. November 2. 2) They were "green" but green in a good way. rabbits. (Sorry if my contempt shows here) I am talking about using a local stream to turn a box of old alternators from junked cars to produce current to charge batteries. but gasoline will be limited to our cans. .. but we will be as ready as we are able. Our only generator is small. I have become interested in the subject after reading One Second After (a New York Times best seller. only able to power the pellet stove. building a steam fired boiler to run a generator. pigs and cows is preferable (and more nutritious and tasty!) to standing around in a Kroger (think "post-Katrina") looking at the empty aisles.

blah. If that distribution system is disrupted. we have evolved into a society of urban dwellers who produce nothing necessary for root survival needs. 3) The mark of an "advanced" society is division of labor. I have encountered a lot of religious whack jobs. due to a failure of the electrical grid or a fuel supply disruption. and less heat source needed during cold weather). It wasn't 7) I was also surprised about their attitude about guns. Rather. There were realtors. a cop. I expected this crowd to be a magnet for them. and a contract security guy (a "Blackwater" type. and they all believe that they have a duty and a right to protect their families themselves and their freedoms and rights against all who would challenge them. I encountered a crowd of mostly ex-military guys who understood that guns are tools. but also squirrel. and some varmints). which surprised me. although he never worked for Xe). Instead. blah. turkey. and were just as critical of Reagan (for different reasons) as Obama. These folks recognize that. I expected to find a bunch of hyperventilating folks screaming out "Molon Labe!" as a password or something to enter the farm. and the ones who make the most money are the ones most efficient in distribution rather than production (think "Wal-Mart"). However. They all hunt (mostly deer. 6) I was probably the biggest Bible Thumper out there. they were amazingly cynical of any politics. but concerned about the potential for future instability of a calamitous nature. a programmer. Their attitude was more that of folks just trying to live their lives while being confident that their best shot at any change would come from being fiercely independent and doing what they could to remain so. In my life. Cities are extremely dependent on everything being trucked in. an auto parts distributor. Their attitude was that you would no more expect to defend . fearful of antichrist Obama and the New World Order. we would be helpless. I expected to see a bunch of rabid Republicans. blah. dove. 4) I did not meet any tin foil hat folks. veterinarians. No religious zealotry at all. 5) I was surprised at the political make-up of the group. They were just normal folks living their lives. with the dependency on each other coming from specialization of labor being more efficient and less costly.including using a scrapped walk in cooler from a convenience store for a chicken coop (no insulation needed.

October 27. you fill in the blank. I do think that "working with your hands so that you may have something to share with those in need" is a proper goal for myself. However. even if many other ideas are polarized apart. 2009 Letter Re: A Safe Method for Connecting Home Backup Generators . and shoot. you will want to prepare for it here. I think "survival" is an improper goal for a Christian. live cheaply. 7) The final funny observation is how close these guys are with all the ex-hippie counterculture who have moved south from Chapel Hill as the area has become completely yuppified. they are all affiliated with it and looking to it as a kind of resource/preparedness area in the event of: 1) a major earthquake (we sit on a huge fault line in North Carolina.. I am looking forward to interacting more with these folk. The whole group of folks were not now living on the farm.. I never knew that) 2) a failure of the oil distribution system 3) a major currency collapse (my bets are on this one as having the best odds) 4) a major terrorist attack on the US. In fact. but no one in his right mind would wish it. There are only three families there. but we are interested in some people whose ideas about simplicity and "back to nature" mirror what we would like to see ourselves. Rather than sitting on his pile of weapons fervently wishing for social collapse so he could play "Rambo" or something. 5) .. he just emphatically declared that if you ever lived in a society where the social order even partially breaks down. Tuesday. though. eat his own "organic" produce. The two types of "fringe" groups have a sort of affinity for each other.rights and freedoms without guns than try to change a tire without a jack. and jerk his own venison. one of the guys there at the group was just a total stoner who had essentially moved down to smoke his own hydroponic. We are supposed to be "dead" already. Especially enlightening to me were the remarks of the contract security guy who worked security in Kosovo.. prepare. My wife and I are not moving down there (smile). having surrendered all this stuff anyway.

Most of my notes are cheap solutions used by people in developing nations all over the world. . I would like to offer some personal insights based on my experiences from living in a small rural town one of the larger Caribbean islands. allows you to power any circuit in your home via the selective use of the circuit breakers. in Texas Monday. There may be better ways. It does require some planning for installation in that your power company will have to agree to it's use and will probably want to install it. mine was installed by my local power co-op for free. When you see that hurricane on the news. I've mentioned before a gizmo called a Generlink which allows a lot of flexibility when using a generator for backup power. October 26. flush. or wash dishes is the worst. Expect the quality of water from the town water supply to drop. but these work and cost next to nothing. depending on the capacity of your generator. I've recently read several of your books and found them both interesting and educational. Add a few capfuls of bleach to make it keep longer. One or more 55 gallon drums and 5 gallon plastic buckets are essential items to have. 2009 Letter Re: Survival Notes from the Dominican Republic Permalink Jim. Regards. Rainwater collection should be .Permalink JWR. put the barrel it in the shower and fill it up right away. It's especially useful in that nothing has to be re-wired in the house to safely use your generator. Not being able to shower.K. Water: There is something especially disturbing about opening the faucet and hearing a sucking air sound. This device is installed behind your power meter and.

Most businesses have diesel generators. . vegetables and we have a 365-day growing season. Dirty bucket bottoms and careless bathing are common causes. Storing food is always wise but not nearly the problem it is in some other locations. eggs. Washing dishes from a bucket without using gallons of water is tricky. rice.set up right away. It takes some practice to do it right. Most families have a garden plot to supplement household food. If the water is cold don’t try to heat up all the water. If you don’t stack your dirty plates and wash them right away. Bring a good sized cooking pot to a near boil and add it to the cold water. be vigilant. Since we have occasional power most people do not have generators but just charge when the lights are on. It is very easy to contaminate your water supply. A small plastic cup and a five gallon bucket makes is easy. A person can wash easily in 2 gallons of water. you only have one dirty side and no dried food. Food: Our community is an exporter of meat. A gravity tank should be put on the roof. Much of our farming is done with hand work. Pouring about two gallons of water rapidly into a toilet from a 5-gallon bucket will flush a toilet. milk. Washing up from a bucket is easy enough. If possible the roof should fill a large cistern with a pressure pump. Power: We have daily blackouts here and most houses have invertors with battery backups.

Running a refrigerator off a battery backup system is just not cost effective. and read books on interpersonal relationship skills. clocks. Rarely does this cause any real problems for honest people but you do need . a laptop and a fan or two for about two days and costs about $2. Running a generator for about 4 hours will charge most battery systems. microwaves. Your generator will need to be at least twice the capacity of your inverter. Low wattage bulbs are essential. take a pair of pliers and crush the annoying power alarm beeper. All those VCRs. wi-fi boxes. Police: When we have a crime wave. Spend some time researching body language. While you have the case open. Operating like this you can have basic lighting for the cost of about 2 or 3 gallons of gasoline a day. Alternativel. An off the shelf battery charger will speed things up."].y your car can be used to charge the batteries (12 VDC only) Guns: While being armed is important. Many people have put up both solar and wind systems as a way to produce some additional power to keep the batteries topped off. A few simple solutions: Computer UPS systems usually operate on a 6 or 12 V battery.A 2. it could change a potential fatal firefight into a new friend. You need to learn your house circuits and unplug and turn off the breakers for things you don’t need. the police set up road blocks coming into and out of town. The charger on these systems is very small and will take a very long time to reach a full charge. all pull a significant load. life is so much easier when there isn’t a conflict in the first place. alarm systems. Here we are all very aware of vampire appliances [aka "phantom loads.5 KW inverter system with 4 deep cycle batteries will keep a few lights on. The better systems run on 24 VDC. Besides improving your life right now.000. Some people always seem to have problems wherever they go and need to pull out weapons while others seem to walk through the valley of death without a care in the world. It is very easy to open one up and connect a large battery by running wires through the back of the case. TVs. This will give a much longer run time.

With that in mind I have noted some of the more common security precautions here. Your best defense is to be the least interesting but hardened house in a occupied community. Fighting it just is not worth the trouble. cattle thieves or burglars. or turn back. Knowing your local police makes a big difference. Some of them are drug smugglers. Night time home invasions are rare but they do happen. They rarely survive an encounter with police. passengers and your car at a minimum. Most Dominicans always have someone home in the house. People who do this time of crime are extremely dangerous experienced and hardened criminals. Local criminals gangs are much harder to control. If you see large gangs forming. Either pay it with a smile. On the flip side the crimes committed by these people are usually the most brutal. Vacant houses attract soft criminals and people who need a place to sleep. seriously consider leaving the country as it is a no-win situation. say sorry but you can’t today. . A smile and a friendly face makes things go much smoother. It is very hard for a crime group to survive outside of their own neighborhood where they have local knowledge. a place to sleep and the support of family and friends. Crime: Most traveling gangs are small and short lived. Home Security: This is a very safe country. Acting aggressive or angry will get a messy and thorough search of your person. but it is safe because people here do no depend on the police and protect themselves. My experience here is that a house with lights on and occupied is the house that is left alone. Persons who are well liked and respected in the community are usually left alone.to have your paperwork for your car or firearms on hand. Sometimes we are asked to “help them out” which is code for a bribe. Often these are well-connected individuals or gangs who are very good at remaining undetected. plead poverty.

Country people live in small groups of three or more houses with the fields surrounding them. Know your local area for alternate routes and don’t try to travel during strikes. Their intention is to cause just enough of a disruption to get government the government to resolve the problem without getting arrested.Isolated houses are at the worst risk for the most serious attacks. Your most vulnerable time is being ambushed entering or leaving your home or car. German Sheppard. the citizens will organize a protest/strike/riot. Dogs differ widely in personality. electric gate. Rottweiler. walled yard. Be aware and realistic of their shortcomings. Much of the bad behavior is more for show than reality but trying to pass the road blocks will result in getting your vehicle wrecked by the strikers. don’t build easy ambush points for attackers. pit-bulls are recognized and avoided. They are light sleepers. a second set of eyes and ears and are cheap to feed. . Don’t overlook the value of small "yippy" and intelligent dogs like Chihuahuas. It is important to know why people are protesting and to be sympathetic to their cause (in many cases it is well justified). Often the organizers are union leaders or other nongovernmental community leaders. poison. Professional thieves routinely outmaneuver. This sort of thing doesn’t happen much in a small town. A gated community. The usual format is to shut down the with road blocks and burning tires. bars on the windows. A pair of large dogs of a known breed are a very significant deterrent. Trying to pass the roadblock means that you are disagreeing with the reason they are striking. I know too many people who depend entirely on a easily circumvented dog for security. dogs. even armed security guards are all common place here. When designing your landscaping. Dogs: Good dogs are essential. Protests/Strikes/Riots: Occasionally when the power or water is out too much. Be sure yours matches your needs. They often work well with the bigger dogs. or shoot dogs. Doberman.

The people who are capable leaders and community contributors often get first dibs on any help that does arrive and the right to make decisions on how goods are distributed.Watch your dogs. While horses are very common here there would be a shortage if things really went bad. they are apt to join in. earthquake) the best thing for everyone is to keep the community together. I have seen this numerous times here. This will often be your first indication of an awaiting problem. Community After a disaster (hurricane. Just as looting is contagious. etc will make friends and build relationships that are not soon forgotten. Building a good reputation and personal relationships with neighbors and community leaders will make all the difference when resources are scarce and people are scared. Many people have adapted cars and trucks to run on both fuels using a special carburetor. As propane stores well this is a good emergency option for transportation. Additionally propane machines can run on biogas and syngas. nervous. Filling sandbags. missing or dead. If your dogs suddenly become sick. and power generation. They did become proportionally more valuable as the price of fuel shot up. If there has been an intrusion it may be hurt. clearing roads. cooking. Look for your dog before you pull into your drive or get out of your car. This sort of thing can really bring a community back together in a hurry. passing out information. providing power. Transportation Propane is subsidized here and is significantly cheaper than gasoline. it may mean they were poisoned and you should expect a robbery that coming night or the following day. We all depend on each other and leadership through positive action is a great way to rebuild. organizing relief. when people see others working together and helping. flood. .

Salaries are paid in local currency. In my opinion. Merchants learned to price goods on replacement cost.I rarely see wood gasification mentioned as a alternative fuel supply. As prices shot up. Interest rates on loans are still slowly retreating. Both alcohol and biodiesel require working farmland and refineries. Asking prices never really came down. The economy stopped dead because it becomes impossible to price things and nobody wants to work. power. fuel or light will do well. Post crash employment: Anyone who can provide alternative sources of food. Food prices shot up. not what the replacement value is. Prices are often quoted in USD instead of local currency. people here who can repair things never seem to make much money here but they always have work and food on the table. Interest rates sky-rocked. At the end of the slide the asking prices for everything got just crazy high. Skilled labor prices went through the roof. Currency and hyperinflation: After a major bank failure here. wages lagged way behind. for most people this is the best solution to combustion engine power after a complete breakdown. A little Google work will show what technologies work on a small scale and provide business opportunities both now and after. Three years later. As the slide begins there are lots of opportunities to buy up things at old prices as many people price things based on what it cost them. . the currency has stabilized. but pegged to the USD for stability. Additionally. (See the Wikipedia page on wood gasification) This is an excellent modification that was used heavily in Europe in the 1940s. and the bid prices so low that almost no transactions took place except as acts of desperation. but bid prices slowly rose up and as the spread reduces the economy starts to move again. the currency here devalued by a factor of four in about two years.

I asked if maintenance installed the hurricane shutters or do the residents? If the residents do where are they located? At which point in time is the decision made to batten down the hatches? Just blank stares. or any moral person should do if able to.I wasn’t expecting to write such a long letter but maybe some of this will help people prepare and know what to expect. all I can say is thank you. not a burden. due to great parents we had been brought up to always be prepared. I should point out our plan was to protect our valuables as best we could but we would be bugging out. The reason is two-fold: A) It's what a Christian. With a little common sense I learned things that I'd never have thought of had I not seen the aftermath. Second. Rawles. A few things I'd like to add to what TiredTubes said about hurricane preparedness: First. However. I just finished reading Patriots. Friday. October 23. Sincerely. B) If you have not experienced a hurricane first hand you will glean countless lessons just cleaning up in the aftermath.H. I could easily tell that this manager of about 200 units had never been asked this question. even if it requires some travel. So we read and made preparations for ourselves. Soon after moving to southeast Florida for school the west coast of Florida was hit by hurricanes Charley and Frances.S. and Katrina Permalink Mr. Take your own gas. help other areas after a hurricane. . My wife and I both drove over to help out with our church group. offer to help form one it will likely come out better if you do. 2009 Two Letters Re: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes Ike. more specifically go to areas affected. no answers. ice. water. supplies you want to be a help. food. . and if they don't have one. tools especially the tire plugger and 12 VDC compressor. when my wife and I first moved to Florida we had little knowledge of hurricanes and their impact. If you live in an apartment or condo complex get the info on the managements plan. If there is room take extra supplies and come home in an empty vehicle. We lived in an apartment at the time (now we live in a 1960 block home with hurricane panels and a new tile roof) and I asked the apartment manager about logistics of preparing the complex for storms. Rita.

the lights stayed on and the gas supply lasted. When we were hit by hurricane Wilma (not necessarily high on the Affairs Hurricane scale but 3rd costliest hurricane in US history) we were prepared but lost power for 17 days. though they are almost . creature comforts. Many lower end generators do not put out pristine power. For us relief came in the form of a friend who had a window air conditioner unit which our generator could handle. Batteries are not expensive. A small example is the fact that I was the only one on my street who took five minutes to dig his mailbox up out of the shallow sand and put it in the garage (what's that crazy guy doing?) but then it didn't end up as a missile like some others. Thankfully the freezer stayed cold. what added to her discomfort was the fact that most generators cannot run a central air conditioning system and it was hot and muggy. This provided a room where my wife could comfortably rest and I could have decent sleep to recover from the post-hurricane cleanup. However. Thanks again. when we were hit.Steve B. none would work together reliably. Be sure to test any UPS/generator combination before you have to rely on it.You can develop an eye for weaknesses. from puritanical to promiscuous. Dear Editor. I have tested several combinations of generators up to $500 and UPS units up to $200. Third. Many off-the-shelf UPS units will not accept or pass on incoming power that is not pristine in terms of frequency and voltage. Higher-end UPS units such as those for commercial data centers can usually be configured for a wider range of incoming power quality. The units are not excessively expensive and can provide a welcome relief. something a book or web site can't provide alone. Bidding on eBay might land you a deal on a 2KW or greater commercial UPS that needs a new set of batteries. . A fan can only do so much for an expectant mother. at the time my wife was pregnant with #1 daughter and not feeling well.

Besides strengthening a neighborly friendship. by TiredTubes Permalink In September. the number of damaged houses was probably reduced by one. 2008.. Just a $2. loaned to my daughter. Some coastal communities like Crystal Beach no longer really exist. i. It is no substitute for a proper battery bank and inverter. It started on the first try. People were at a complete loss to understand this. filters. Hurricane Ike--a Category 4 hurricane--pounded the Gulf Coast of the southern US. Usually it is skills and not "stuff" that helps others and yourself. and Katrina. We were quite well prepared. At least she had. exercised. hooked up to his idling truck provide the juice for a Skilsaw and a few lights. allowing him to finish. . The first thing that I did was turn it so the exhaust faced away from the house! She had placed it so that the starter rope was in a convenient spot. was ready to go. I repaired a few generators during and after Ike. Inland. like I had asked. For those of us on the South Coast hurricanes are a frequent reality. My portable genset. 1. Early in the next week it [ran out of oil and] threw a rod. She ignored my admonition to change the dirty oil ASAP and then once every 50 hours. Keep your stuff squared away.always sealed lead-acid types that will need to be replaced every five years or so given gentle treatment. 2. 2009 Lessons Learned from Hurricanes Ike. chained and locked it to a foundation pier. My daugher-in-law owned one of the generators that I repaired. valves set. My 1 KW inverter. but the power went out before a neighbor finished boarding up his house. etc. I came to check it and change it's oil as soon as it was safe to travel. life was severely disrupted.99 quart of oil would have saved discomfort. fresh oil. I observed that every one suffering from lack of use. load tested. ruined food. but used the disruptions and dislocations as a test and opportunity to tune up our preparations. Be ready to help others and to accept help We didn't need much during Ike. gasoline that resembled turpentine in the carburetor. -Vlad Thursday.e. Rita. She was in the dark for another week. October 22.

After every hurricane Darwin gets a few through accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Ants can profit from short-sighted grasshoppers. tire pressures. After that is a 100 Watt solar array I've been tinkering with to provide power for security lighting. recharge everything rechargeable. My daughter spent up to two hours a day foraging gas. I estimate that an equivalent amount of gasoline would have cost more than $300. Our own [permanently-installed] genset uses natural gas (a tri-fuel generator) which in the majority of cases is superior and much cheaper to operate. take “before” pictures. trim trees. Develop a pre-event SOP: When we hear of a hurricane in the Gulf. without which. Have backups for your backups.. etc. then add one. some still in the box. get a carbon monoxide detector in case the wind changes and wafts exhaust in your windows. intelligent maintenance is impossible. oil changes. .. There are some inexpensive self contained hour meters made for lawn equipment that work very well and require no hard wiring. mostly waiting in lines. If your genset doesn't have an hour meter. If you have a generator. It goes without saying have all your vehicles filled up and serviced so they can be depended upon with out much attention. check prescriptions. The portable generator above was our backup to the natural gas-fueled genset. belts and battery terminals. Don't join them. I stopped it every 75 hours for oil and filter. Then an inverter and ups. It's really the only practical way to keep track of operating time. get all the laundry and dishes done. treat the swimming pool with "shock" chlorine. etc. etc. get all the trash out for pickup. Over the 11 days that we didn't have power it consumed $100 worth of natural gas. She found out that the problem with gasoline-fuel generators is gasoline! It's expensive. we pick up loose items like branches that can be thrown by high winds and cause damage (aviators call this rubbish FOD). 3.etc. I recommended to a friend he latch onto one of these and purchase a dual-fuel gasoline/natural gas carburetor] kit. on Craigslist following Hurricane Ike at bargain basement prices. Pay particular attention to cooling systems. I noticed that many generators.

This protects the cylinder from moisture. keep a fresh spark plug. and read 'em ! Keep the oil changed. after six months burn it in your car and replace it. If you store gasoline then use stabilizer. And the machine still retains the capability to burn gasoline! Since gasoline became hard to come by (it was impossible to get for a week after Rita) but diesel fuel was plentiful we did any necessary traveling in my old diesel Mercedes (which is EMP proof. With the exception of automatic "exercising" fully automatic generators these add a layer of complication and cost. Most importantly run it under load once a month.in short supply (when it is needed most). Keep the manuals. One important word on generators: Treat yours like it is the last one you'll ever get. BTW. to reduce it to a ritual. If you get a permanently installed generator carefully consider installing a manual transfer switch and other upgrades. This is where the engine feels like you are pulling it through a "detent". keep spare [oil. Had it been able to use natural gas then she could have stayed home and been one less person waiting in line. pull off the cowling and clean all the dirt and dust from fins on the cylinder jug. Closely examine the starter rope. Replace 'em if they ain't perfect. It puts the piston at the top of the bore and closes both valves. since t has more light fractions and starts easier year round. I've had better results storing "winter" blended gas. and fuel] filters. Don't store gasoline in the machine other than enough for one periodic test run. Few experiences are worse that trying to clean out a carburetor by a dim flashlight whilst being consumed alive by salt marsh mosquitoes. The difference is methodical maintenance. Develop a ritual on test runs: such as every other payday.) For storage between test runs: On portable gensets [with the ignition off. I prefer either a Honda or Briggs Vangard engine. Trust me on this. Unless it's new. Try and get a good one. et cetera. I run mine monthly whilst cutting the back yard lawn. (The mower makes more noise. BTW). and it takes gas to go and get gas! Needless to say I rounded up the parts and the portable is now a dual fuel machine. . slowly ] pull the cord until you can feel that the engine is at the top of the compression stroke. My Vangard portable is approx 10 years old and absolutely dependable. the fuel lines. air. or the last Saturday in the month.

Don't forget about your equipment after the crisis is over: There are valves to set. keep the candles in the cupboard. We also sent some food home with people to hold them over. So what we consumed whilst hunkered down seemed out of proportion. Don't forget to also store plenty of 2-stroke [fuel mixing] oil and chain oil if you intend to use a chainsaw. I was able to "lend" a retired neighbor enough generated power to keep his freezer. and have had good results with them. How much food you will go through will surprise you. and fan .If you use gas cans. and have enough. On that note. [in humid climates] don’t keep spare spark plugs with the machine. et cetera. Keep them inside or in a sealed can with some silica gel. It finally dawned upon us that we almost always eat dinner (lunch to you Northerners) and sometimes breakfast away from home. things can. and may likely go wrong. or longer. I keep a 55 gallon drum of stabilized gasoline to fill up their cars to get them home. Unless it is TEOTWAWKI. Small children usually do not take kindly to being plunged into total darkness. preferably safety cans. television. especially if there are small children about. stick with metal. then break the engine in on gasoline and make sure it operates properly on both fuels under load. This is because in outdoor storage the insulators can absorb moisture [and the metal parts can corrode]. Use high quality oils. This was a lesson learned after the Rita evacuation cluster. I use Rotella brand synthetic oil and Wix brand filters. Keep the necessary connectors for gas operation on the machine so that you don't have to go searching for that 3/8ths-inch pipe nipple with a flashlight. Even if you own two generators and have enough flashlights. If you have a dual-fuel machine. oil and plugs to change. Maybe store some extra for your neighbors that are less prudent. automatic emergency lights. Make sure you have enough oil. Plastics are slightly permeable and it will go bad much faster in a plastic can. Several relatives from coastal areas evacuated to our house (approximately 50 miles inland). Double your plans for helping other people. filters and plugs for at least two weeks (336 hours). etc. An old one-quart paint can is ideal. 4.

etc. If you live near a major market the local AM news station. sunburns and sore muscles in the aftermath. If it's a predictable event such as a hurricane. laundry supplies. If you have a cordless phone. play games or just sleep. be alone. The UPS will take the "bumps" out of the generator's power. then find out where the local hams conduct their emergency nets. Have Band-Aids. Make sure you test the UPS periodically by plugging in a 100 Watt lamp and pulling the plug on the UPS. If you're not a Ham radio operator.scrapes. Have things other than television to keep youngsters occupied. baby supplies. bruises. and listen on your shortwave radio (HF) or scanner (2-meter and 440 band) and you'll know a lot more that the local television news truck can find out. food. have all the dishes and laundry done. 7. This also meant that he was one less person in line for ice.going. A television in a room by itself will keep the racket contained from those who want to read. Have plenty of soap. 4x4s. the cable modem (and the cable) went down with the power. then keep a traditional antenna handy. Plan for the guests. If you have cable television. Have a rather complete first aid kit that includes a backboard and splinting materials. Make sure you are medically prepared. peroxide etc. Keep a dial up phone line around. 5. plug the computer and the desk lamp into it. There will be plenty of cuts. and so forth. I find I need to replace that UPS battery about every 2-to-3 years. You'll probably be plenty busy after you can poke your head out again. neosporin. If you have the space. have a small flashlight (preferably with rechargeable batteries) for each guest. In this vein don't forget dishwashing supplies. Have plenty of acid reducer and immodium on hand (stress . 6. read. after 24 hours the cell phone tower generators started running out of propane. your computer will thank you. have some privacy or get a fussy to baby to sleep cuts down on contagious stress. Remember how to make that dial-up modem work. then a “quiet room” where people can just rest. then it is probably a good bet. Have a good UPS. before it hits. Try and get plenty of rest. He was genuinely happy. plug it into the UPS too.

and unfamiliar cooking), have at least two weeks of prescription drugs on hand [and preferably much more for any chronic health issues]. Have a good assortment of Tylenol, cold and sinus preparations, BenGay [muscle ointment], good multivitamins, etc.

8.Be extra, extra, extra careful. You getting sick or more likely injured can really mess things up for everyone you have prepared for. Not to mention that the local fire/ambulance is probably already overtaxed. Be extremely careful handling fire and fuels. A lot of us are not entirely fluent in using chainsaws, small engines, fixing roofs, trimming trees and moving debris.[JWR Adds: safety equipment including heavy gloves, kevlar chainsaw safety chaps, and a combination safety helmet with face shield and muffs are absolute "musts"!] Don't get in a hurry unless there is a threat to life. Be hyper cautious, be very aware of your surroundings and things that can go wrong. Don’t toil alone. Make sure you have a clear path to beat a hasty retreat if things go wrong. Wear those gloves, safety glasses, boots and maybe a hard hat.

Don't overtax yourself. Getting a fallen the tree off of the roof today avails you little if it triggers a heart attack or heat stroke. Ask God's assistance and start over tomorrow.

Keep fire extinguishers near the gas generator, in the kitchen, and near the camp stove.

Avoid using candles at all costs, and absolutely prohibit smoking indoors for the duration. Have more than enough battery smoke detectors around.

9. Be ready to make temporary repairs.. The missing shingles, damaged windows, etc. Have some plywood, a few 2x4s, some Visqueen polyethylene sheeting, batting boards, duct tape, a tarp, some nails, and so forth around. If you happen to have a good cordless drill, then you'll find sheet rock and deck screws are very superior to nails. If you're squared away then you already have this stuff , but a neighbor might be in need, so buy extra.

Debris creates flat tires for quite some time after many events. Have a tire plug kit and a 12 VDC compressor in each vehicle. Repairs to structures, especially roof repairs guarantee nails in tires. Be ready for them..

Have everything rechargeable recharged. Make sure you have some traditional nonpower tools, I have a handsaw that I've had for decades, a good bow saw, ax, maul, sledge and an old eggbeater style hand drill still get regular use.

10. If I had my choice of just one utility it would be running water. Fortunately where we reside is served by a well run rural utility district which has prepared well for hurricanes. Failing this, in addition to stored water I have a portable gas utility pump (Robin brand) that can pressurize our water system from our pool and has sufficient capacity for a fire line. The pool got a good jolt of shock a day before the storm hit.

11.Keep some cash money handy. For a few days [with no utility power] there were no functional ATMs, and no way to use credit or debit cards.

12. Keep a low profile. About a week after Ike a passerby indignantly asked "How'd you get your lights turned on?" This showed his ignorance on several levels. He seemed to think someone just had to flip a switch downtown and "shazam!" his lights are on. I couldn't make him understand there has to be an unbroken physical link between a power plant and consumer, this seemed to aggravate his obvious helplessness. Telling him that we had been making our own juice seemed to irritate him. I wonder who he voted for? People with this mindset (that the world owes them something) could be a genuine liability in a real catastrophe. (BTW on a news show during a piece about energy, I actually heard a lady refer to natural gas as “just another dirty fossil fuel”) and not be challenged on the facts. Little minds scare me. I think that the hyper-liberals would love to use the heavy hand of government to force the ants take care of the grasshoppers. Keep a low profile. The best advice I ever heard on the subject (I believe it was Howard J. Ruff ) was to "keep your principles public and your actions private".

13. Keep a notebook, keep a record of what happened, but especially keep a record of preps you overlooked or screwed up, or stuff you ran out of, or skills that need to be added or honed. That's where most of the preceding information came from! Also keep tabs on what's scarce after an event. Gas was scarce, but diesel plentiful

after Rita. In contrast, after Ike there was plenty of fuel, but few operating stations due to lack of power. (There was a "mandatory evacuation" during Rita which turned out to be a fatal traffic jam for a few poor souls which quickly emptied the filling station tanks.) Out our way the local Wal-Mart made a heroic effort and opened up on locally-generated power, two days after Ike. The sheriff’s department was there to “maintain order”. (Let’s just say that they actually wear brown shirts here.). This event was a lifetime opportunity to study the varied behaviors of people under stress.

There were plenty of canned goods and auto supplies. But fresh fruits and veggies were a little thin, no meat due to lack of refrigeration for a few days, batteries, Coleman fuel, trash bags, paper plates, disposable diapers, formula, and nails evaporated. The pharmacy was closed.

Even with the numerous mistakes we made, we were able to stay safe, secure and comfortable and help others while "victims" were standing or idling their car engines in lines. It was an opportunity to try things out under more or less controlled conditions. WTSHTF there will not be controlled conditions! Letter Re: Lamar Alexander's Solar Homesteading E-Book Permalink

JimYour recent link to an item in the Preparedness Forum (100 things that go first...) led me to other parts of the forum where I found a link to Lamar Alexander's Solar Homesteading e-book.

Besides the videos/pictures etc. an e-book is offered for $5. What a bargain! It is full of useful practical ideas, for example: a barrel-in-a-barrel digester that he uses to fuel his gasoline generator which he had converted to run on natural gas; how to dig a "driven-point" well; a solar dishwasher. And on and on. Your readers will want to get this e-book! BTW, I have no connection with LaMar Alexander. - Bob B. Thursday, October 8, 2009 Letter Re: Getting Self-Sufficient in Wyoming Permalink

Dear Mr. Rawles, I was recently given your novel "Patriots" by a like-minded friend in Wyoming. I read it once for pleasure, then twice with a highlighter, notepad, and Google. It's a wonderful resource, and I'm looking forward to the new book ["How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It"]. Reading "Patriots" left me proud to be an American, and revitalized something I felt I had been losing in the recent years. This is a wonderful country, and I have faith that there are still a bunch of decent Godfearing people who will stand up for her when needed.

I was 20 when I moved here from Baltimore, to run a cattle ranch that my father had the foresight to buy in the late 1980s. It became the working family "retreat" where I lived full time, and my parents lived half-time. I am forever indebted to Dad for my life. He was my best friend in more ways than can be counted. He passed at age 68 in late 2007, of a digestive cancer. I will always wish I had more time with him on earth.

Life in Wyoming has been wonderful for me, as I developed good self-sufficiency skills and eventually (starting 1995) built a passive and active solar/wind charged earth-bermed home. I remember back in 1984, when Dad (in the computers/operations research field) bought our first PC - an XT with dual 5.25" floppies and 128K of RAM. The first thing I did as a teenager was make my lists of things I'd need to go survive in the woods! I have no idea where those thoughts came from - it was absolutely natural. I'm currently forty, and pretty shocked by current events and economics.

What are we doing? Is hyperinflation around the corner? There are two things my dad taught me long ago, that I always use to analyze everything...

1) Nothing is free. 2) If you have to lie to accomplish your goals, maybe you'd rather reevaluate your goals!

Now I'm building marine-grade expedition campers that can operate far from civilization, and restoring old mechanical diesels in my spare time. Next spring and

summer my projects will be a good root cellar, a rebuild of my wind charger, and a new small barn for our goats and chickens.

Thank you for the inspiration. I hope one day to shake your hand. God Bless, Darrin in Wyoming Thursday, September 3, 2009 Letter Re: A Nation of Improvisers--More About Everyday Life in Communist Cuba Permalink

First our prayers are with your family in these dire times.

The first thing about surviving in Cuba was that we did not see it as "surviving", it was more like living, we did not know anything else, as the media in Cuba is tightly controlled.

I remember as a child we did not have glue so we made glue out of Styrofoam and gasoline, just mix them up in a glass container that you could close to preserve and that's it (if you go a little crazy on the gas it would be too liquid and take forever to dry). Canning was done basically with pressure cookers because there was nothing else, so all the knowledge of our grandparents was very handy and since you can't buy a new house we all live together, so it was very common to live in the same house with your parents and grandparents and sometimes your uncles and your cousins. You learn not to throw away anything useful, screws, bolts, nuts, washers, you never know when you will need them and there is no hardware store available. Food scraps went either to the pigs or chickens or if you did not have any, you give to someone that has, that becomes a bartering tool you can say you will take care of the food and get some part in the profits when they are killed.

I know that a lot of people are amazed at how we kept old cars running, but trust me, it wasn't that big of a deal, a little bit of ingenuity goes a long way. I'll go later into more detail.

We were born with the system, so there was no getting ready like we are doing now, and believe me, no matter how ready you can get, if the S*** really hits the fan and it's TEOTWAWKI, you will run out of things, and even if it doesn't and we are stuck in the middle, then you need people because there is no way you can learn everything.

Your best bartering tool is your knowledge, if you have a trade, mechanic, electrician, construction, carpenter,... that is a life saver, the people that had a harder time were teachers, musicians, economists, etc.

They could not trade their work for nothing. For instance if you are good working with metals you will find someone to get the metals and that person will join with you and you can make parts for cars, if you are a welder you can also join in, remember that old cars were very simple, no hydraulic steering, no power nothing. It was basic carburetor, spark plugs, distribution and engine. An alternator is not that hard to fix, it basically a motor, the parts that wear down can be made again, maybe not the same quality as the originals but they will do. You can also adapt an alternator from another car (we had Russian cars coming in, including some WWII jeep-style Russian vehicles), they are mostly 12 VDC (some trucks are 24 VDC).

A good mechanic will make an adapter so you can use the transmission from a Russian built jeep and make it work with an old American car.

My trade was electronics (we use to call electronics to anything below that 24 volt and electrical anything above) so I will get in when they needed the electrical system of the car fixed, again it is very simple; remember no computers or anything like that in those cars. Here is a link of how a car alternator and a bicycle dynamo were used in the mountains to produce electricity, no means to store it so it was to use immediately, but when there is no power even a radio is an amazing thing. (See this YouTube segment: La Cuchufleta - Alternative Power Generating in Cuba.)

I also fixed radios and television, I used to buy old radios and television and use the parts to fix the other ones.

Later on when computer UPS [devices] became available, by available a mean people started to steal them from the government and sell them in the black

market, then we can hook up a battery and get electricity when the power went off, which was very common. No deep cycle batteries, just whatever battery you could get.

Other people were real artisans; they would make shoes with leather and old tires, and let me tell you, they were super nice and expensive.

The hardest thing of all was to get food, because you need food to survive, you can live barefoot but not on an empty stomach, at least not for a long time.

When you were able to buy rice (the amount they give in rations, every family had a ration book, was minimal, so again black market) you would buy a good amount as much as you could afford because maybe next month the guy was in jail or it was impossible to get.

The rice you got was not stored properly so you always had to first put it on a table and go slowly through all the rice to search for small stones and foreign objects, then you put the rice in water and keep moving the rice with your hand and look for bugs, worms, they float and would come to the surface. I still remember as a child that grandma would call the children to "escoger el arroz" (that is what the cleaning process was called).

Milk was always boiled first, that way you could use the top which has more fat to make butter (you saved it till you had enough). If for some reason milk was spoiled and not drinkable you would make a dessert with it, I have to get you the recipe if you are interested.

After you ate the inside of oranges and grapefruits, you would use the rind and cook it in water with sugar and it was an excellent dessert.

To have some variety, you will get spaghetti, crush them and leave them in water, next day it was kind of a soft mix in the bottom, get rid of the excess water, add sugar and an egg and you could make pancakes.

Alcohol is consumed in Cuba in enormous quantities, I have no statistics, but it was relatively easy to make with a small homemade distillery (again quality is not a great concern), and I guess it's a good way to forget the problems, although it brings another problems.

People would fight for the simplest of reasons, and there is no 911, and you better not be the weakest link because your family is in for a rough time because no one will respect you. Criminals would typically give you respect if they know you and you respect them and they knew it was not going to be easy to take on you or your family. If not you would be the target of thieves all the time.

Those are my experiences living in a country in permanent crisis, you would have times when power was on for whole days, and times when power was on for only 8 hours a day, times when it was relatively easy to get meat, or bread and times when it was almost impossible. There is no planning, everyday will bring a new challenge and you have to adapt, and only your knowledge, wits and Faith are going to help you through.

Unless we go down into total collapse - War, in which case all bets are off and nothing will ever prepare us for that because it would be the law of the jungle, whoever is stronger will survive and then you better have a strong group of family/friends or you will have to join a group, because alone you are pretty much gone.

Read the accounts of Somalia and Serbia so you have an idea. I know more of Somalia because my father served for two years (in the 1970s) in the wars between Ethiopia and Somalia, Cuba sent troops there to fight on the Ethiopian side.

I'd also like to respond to a misinformed comment in the article "Developing Our Family's Survival Strategy, by FBP". Cubans cannot grow 70% of their own food as a country, let alone in the cities. Cubans eat a lot of rice, beans and potatoes, there is no place in a city to grow enough of that to supply a family, much less a whole city.

The population density in Havana City, Cuba is 7,908.5/sq mi,

By comparison: Detroit, Michigan - 6378.1/sq mi Los Angeles, California - 7876.8/sq mi

So can those cities provide more than 70% of their own food? - ILR Thursday, August 27, 2009 Two Letters Re: Construction Without Electricity Permalink

Jim: The recent Construction Without Electricity article reminded me of a stint spent with the Amish here in southwestern Missouri. I worked making buggy wheels, but one of my duties was to ride a stationary bike which powered a one cylinder compressor so they could spray paint the buggies. The buggy shop owner wanted to run a compressor off his windmill to a pressure tank but the community said that was going too far. With that kind of set up you could run all kinds of air tools. It smacked of being "too modern". So I rode the bike. - Anonymous

Sir: Regarding the article by Curtis M. (Construction Without Electricity): as a long time devotee of antique hand tools I must mention that one of the most important items to own when using cutting tools (saws, chisels, drills, planes, etc) is a proper set of sharpening instruments. This would include sharpening stones, files, gauges and fixtures. Without the ability to sharpen a tool, it will quickly become useless. In addition, learning the techniques for sharpening the various types of tools will allow a person to save time and render the best possible edge. Thanks with prayers and best wishes to you and your wife. - Jacketch Wednesday, August 26, 2009 Letter Re: Battery-Powered Dirt Bikes Permalink

Dear Mr. Rawles, Your family is in our prayers, and we hope everything is going as well as possible.

Imagine my surprise today as approximately ten dirt bikes drove by me up the street, but weren't making any noise. I expressed surprise to the friend in the car with me, who responded with, "Oh yeah, there's a company that makes battery powered dirt bike motorcycles, just around the corner."

Out of curiosity, I headed around that corner and discovered that they were having a large open house, with free dirt bike rides, information on their products, and free hot dogs. Naturally, always looking for a way to "store" food, I eased over to the BBQ grill for a hot dog. At the same time, I admired the appearance of their motorcycles. As it turns out, they have lithium ion batteries packed into a container about the size of a pick-up truck battery. These will power the bikes for approximately two hours. If you're wealthy enough, you can have an extra, charged battery nearby that you can easily swap out for another two-hour run. It seemed eerie watching these bikes drive around, making only the amount of noise that a small child's remote-control car would make. They have three or four models, some for the street and some for off-road use, and one that is a hybrid. They aren't cheap, as they vary in price from $7,000-9,000K. They sort of reminded me of when I was a kid, when the first Honda Trail 90s came out, but with a lot less noise. As I plan my retirement home in Oregon, I anticipate it will be off grid, with solar panels providing most of the power, and these battery-powered bikes would fit right in, especially since my property is rather steep. One of the salesmen indicated that they sold two bikes to a couple of farmers in Northern CA who like the idea of being able to approach someone tampering with their crops fairly quietly on a motorized vehicle. Friday, August 21, 2009 Letter Re: Preparedness for Living on a Chesapeake Bay Island Permalink

Mr. Rawles, I am just now (pretty late in the game, I know) becoming aware of the impending collapse and have begun reading your blog regularly (it is the first thing I read in the mornings now). I realize now that I must prepare as much as I can and have a question about my current location. I live on an isolated (no bridges, ferry and

airplane transport only) Island in the Chesapeake Bay. It is somewhat densely populated for its size, but everyone knows each other and most residents hunt and fish and have their own boats. Many residents are quite self sufficient and the crime rate is virtually non- existent. I realize we are downwind of several nuclear targets (DC is only about 70 miles away as the crow flies) but this area (the Delmarva Peninsula) and this island in particular are sparsely populated. I recently bought a house here and cannot afford to move anywhere anytime soon, and if I could, I could only get to rural western Virginia, West Virginia, or Eastern Kentucky at the furthest. The only benefit of my current locale is that in the event of a collapse, it would be isolated and looters would be unable to get here. On the other hand, there would be 500+ residents and little or no fuel to power fishing vessels after current supplies run out. The climate is mild and we could get by with little or no heat in the winter. Much of the surrounding land is swampland and not conducive to agriculture. There are few firearms on the Island other than a few shotguns for duck hunting. I currently own a Glock 21 (.45 ACP) for personal protection and am looking into rifles. I would like an M1A but probably could not afford one. How could I make my current situation more suited to riding out a crisis? Any response will be greatly appreciated. Very Respectfully, - R.T.

JWR Replies: A few things come immediately to mind:

* You should stock up on fuel for your own use, and for barter.) Coleman white gas has a 6+ year shelf life, and can be used in engines as well as lanterns and stoves. * Stock up on two-cycle fuel-mixing oil. (For chainsaws and older outboard engines.) * Have a large propane tank installed, and make sure that it is has a wet leg. (So that it can be used to fill smaller containers.) * If you don't have one already, get a tri-fuel generator, and a photovoltaic power system if you can afford it. * You need a long gun for defense. Even if it is just a well-used "beater" Mauser, Mosin-Nagant, or Enfield bolt-action, that is better than nothing. And in essence, what you currently have is almost nothing.(Don't bring just a pistol to a rifle fight!) * Stock up on non-hybrid gardening seeds. (Several of my advertisers sell them.) Also, build up your topsoil!

Your situation is unusual, but not unique. Make the best of the local resources, and organize with your neighbors to provide a common defense.

One could safely predict that in the event of a "slow slide" depression, you may see a situation develop similar to that of present-day Roatan Island (off the coast of Honduras), where burglars and even home invasion robbers commute to the island from the mainland via ferryboat. Friday, August 14, 2009 Construction Without Electricity, by Curtis M. Permalink

I watched the second episode of the [reality television show] The Colony, [that is currently airing on The Discovery Channel]. I found one part of it especially idiotic. They had a bank of automobile batteries for electrical power [to power an AC inverter.]s They did not have a way to charge the batteries yet, and they were still using a circular saw and a Sawzall to construct different things, among them was using a Sawzall to cut tread out of tires for shoes. They were building some thing out of plywood and they were cutting the plywood with the circular saw. All jobs that could be done with a handsaw, the tires are best cut with a hack saw. I remember back when I entered the work force, I worked for my father in construction. The circular saw had just taken hold but mainly they used hand tools in construction. I can remember using a hand saw till I thought my arm was going to fall off. It was not that circular saws were not around, they were, but cost so much that labor was cheaper. I can remember visiting jobs that my father was on and seeing several men using a ripping hand saw to rip 2x6s and 2x10s. Could you recognize a ripping hand saw if you saw one? They have fewer teeth per inch than a cross cut. A cross cut saw can be used to make a rip cut, but it will be slower. Ripping is where you cut with the grain of the wood. I remember my father’s carpenter’s tool box. It contained three hand saws; one cross cut, one rip saw and a cross cut that came to a point instead of being blunt, two planes, one door plane (large) and a pocket plane, a set of wood chisels, a plumb bob, a framing square and a nail set. There was also a tape measure and a folding carpenter ruler--it was an 8-footer. He also had a 16 oz carpenter’s hammer and a roofing hatchet and a brace and bit. How many people know what a brace and bit are? It is a hand drill used mainly for wood. (But with the right bit metal is not out of the question, it also depends how much labor you are willing to do.)

Seeing this episode of The Colony got me to thinking about hand tools and the fact that when TSHTF there will probably not be any electricity. Having experience using hand tools and a system of cordless power tools to use in an emergency would be a good thing. My favorite cordless power tools are Dewalt brand, specifically the [later variety with the] 18 volt battery. I checked the Dewalt web site and found 47 18-volt tools with a few duplicates. Dewalt makes a battery charger that runs on 12 volt DC current. I have a portable battery pack that can jump a car’s battery or run 12 volt devices i.e. Dewalt 12 volt DC charger. I can charge two 18 volt batteries before charging the battery pack. The battery pack can be charged by a variety of ways. Bicycle power or photovoltaics or a generator, or plug it into my truck. Currently I have a Dewalt drill, circular saw, Sawzall, and two lamps. Hand tools are two hand saws (cross cut), a set of chisels, framing square, speed square (smaller), a set of mechanics tools, assorted files, draw knife, three hand axes, key hole saw, a set of duct tools (to make air conditioning ducts) assorted clamps, saw horses, and several utility knives. Tools that I want to acquire are a good brace and bit with bits, a one man cross cut saw for cutting trees, and wood planes.

Another power source is air-powered equipment. The bicycle [frame] that runs an alternator could also be used to propel an air compressor. I know that there are drills and sanders, nail guns, and water pumps that are air powered by air. I think that a person could have both air powered and cordless equipment and use the best equipment for the job at hand. As shown in The Colony, having an old lawnmower around could be a power source by removing the lawnmowers blade and putting in a pulley and belt to run an alternator and an air compressor and tank. The lawnmower could provide two power sources, electricity to power cordless and air for air powered equipment. Most lawnmowers will run on Coleman fuel. Coleman fuel has a longer shelf life than standard gasoline. By having a lawnmower that runs on Coleman fuel, and supply of Coleman fuel, and using it to keep your cordless batteries charged up you could extend your supply of other fuels. Also the lawnmower is a simple engine that could be run on wood gasification. Now you have a power source of almost endless power; as long as you have wood you have a power source. [JWR Adds: Coleman fuel is quite expensive per gallon. In my opinion, if your goal is battery charging, the same funds that you'd use to buy a generator and Coleman fuel would be much better spent on photovoltaic panels. Well-sealed ones can remain serviceable for decades, and of course there is no expense for fuel, or worry about running out of it. Gasification is not very reliable, and of course you are still dependent on an engine with a limited service life.]

Most old hand tools can be salvaged. Old hand saws that have some rust on them can be oiled and scrubbed with steel wool and sharpened and returned to service. The same with old chisels for either wood or metal. Hammer heads can have there

I know that not every one will have the needed construction experience to use said tools but each group needs some one that has construction experience. and recycling centers. but a better solution is to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity. set of chisels. I remember almost filling the can with 16 and 8 penny nails. and a couple of heavy duty jacks. A couple hundred hours spent helping build some one a home will go a long way. that way you have a lead person on construction or repair/remodel project. post hole digger and gardening tools. First thing he put me to doing was straightening out the nails and we worked on the feed room using salvaged lumber and nails. I think this would be a good start. sledge hammer. a couple of wood planes. He did an excellent job. This was a large pile of lumber. straight edge. He gave me an old paint can and told me to save all the nails I pulled from the lumber. as I have. The table was 80 years old when I looked at it. The joints were tight. This will give you the basics. Then on Saturday morning he woke me up early for a Saturday and we went to our hog farm. When I got in the truck I saw a couple of saw horses and the can of nails. As long as we are talking about salvage. Of course you'd also need a couple of shovels. and the table was in good condition. a couple of hammers. This can build a group of tools to use. If you do not have construction experience you feel you need then build a library of books on construction. Same with axes. a couple of handsaws. framing square. at the same time saving money. You could tell it was put together by someone who . brace and bit and drill bits. I was told that he built it with hand tools and that he did not use nails. Almost anything can be reused! I can not tell you what you need for tools. cordless tools. If you belong to a church or other place of worship volunteer when a building or remodeling project comes up. here is a story from 30 years ago: One Friday while working for my father put me to cleaning up lumber. 2x4s and 2x6s. Old shovels can have there handles replaced. Side bar: a great place to pick up hand tools is eBay. I would think this list is a good starting point. pick. mechanic's tool set. sledge hammers. picks.handles replaced. pawn shops. a DC charger for the aforementioned cordless tools. Places to find old tools are Goodwill [thrift stores]. The other way to get experience is to check out your local community college and take a couple of courses in construction. I remember going to a family reunion and seeing a table that my grandfather built.

otherwise all of your constructions are going to have a very square shape to them. you can make it yourself. Sections are simply cut to desired length and pieced together. The originator of it is simply trying to get the word out. re-size it. -Design is non-proprietary and patent-unencumbered. Thursday. workbench. shelving. Having a tool box filled with hand tools and experience with said tools could be vitally important when the electrical power go’s off line. Memsahib. You can take the idea of Gridbeam to any machine or woodworking shop and ask them to make it for you. Pros: -Can be used for basic furniture. It's simply a length of squared wood. -Assembly of pieces is fairly simple. Gridbeam is described as a sort of "Erector Set system for adults". -All pieces can be re-purposed later if needed. When it's put together how you like it. . leave it as-is or take measurements to build a more aesthetically pleasing version. I see it as being most useful for basic functional constructions and low-tech prototyping. I wonder how much I have built will still be around in 80 years.knew what he was doing. 2009 Letter Re: Grid Beam Construction Permalink Hi Jim. I've seen references to it on Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools and the Makezine web site. aluminum or steel with precisely drilled holes [at regular intervals] along its length. take it apart. "Gridbeam" is a building system that's been getting some attention recently among do-it-yourselfers. Having other ways to generate electricity will also be important. Although the proponents of the system seem to be suggesting that all sorts of things can be made from it. Holes are drilled in both directions so that they intersect in the beam's middle. Additional pieces can be designed and added on to connect pieces at different angles. -Prototyping of "ideas" for construction: build something. August 13. if you're handy.

The basics are a stack of grid beam stock. This echoes my advice on building a very versatile stationary bicycle frame for generators. Be sure to file or grind down any rough edges and the protruding ends of any bolts--especially those that have been shortened! Wednesday. Keep up the good work on the site. grain grinders. (Or a hacksaw if you aren't in a hurry).Cons: -Most of the things you'd make with this aren't going to be especially attractive. and have a nice day. a socket set.Brian JWR Replies: I'm also a fan of grid beam for prototyping. . Take it for what it's worth. I haven't used this myself at all. As I mentioned in the blog last month. an aircraft operations manager for a Federal agency. . Oh. and even meat grinders. August 12. the lateral (bending) strength of gridbeam is a bit less than that of standard square stock of the same dimension. with grid beam you can fairly rapidly reconfigure prototypes. 2009 Preparedness Beginnings. Just keep in mind that because of the perforations. a bucket of nuts and bolts. commercial airplane and helicopter pilot. and I'd also add one item to the "Cons" list: Sharp corners and protruding hardware. so I can't provide any sort of informed review. by "Two Dogs" Permalink I am a retired Marine Corps officer and Naval Aviator (jets and helicopters). and a Sawzall. and most recently. the readergenerated KK Cool Tools web site has posted a review of the recent book How to Build with Grid Beam. A quick web search will show other references to it. While welding is a great skill that I consider a "must'.

I do not want to talk about all of those preparations. This course covers everything from field sanitation to squad and platoon tactics. firearms training. intelligence. and Navy advanced jet schools.I graduated from numerous military schools. have I begun reading some of the huge amounts of literature about how one can prepare for serious long-term off-the-grid survival. I have bachelor's and master's degrees. I view these as the most critical needs. Only in the last few years.S. I have tried in each place to do what I could to maintain a level of self-sufficiency for my family that varied greatly with locations and personal finances. Like most Marine officers. Army Airborne (“jump”) School. fuel. My thinking on begins with my own estimation of the basic problems: shelter. What I would like to do is to talk to those. and might desire. artillery and other ordnance delivery. and security. I found out first hand how thoroughly corrupted is the federal bureaucracy and the government. an 8-month school (only five during the Vietnam era – my case)..S. in general. I have found that the preparation required to be ready for that contingency seems to be endless. As a result. primarily as a result of the political and fiscal situation in the U. to begin to prepare. who are not true survivalists in the commonly referred-to sense. yet. but the two that I am thinking most about are economic collapse and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.S. which is still designed to produce a second lieutenant who is trained and motivated to lead a 3540 man platoon of Marines in combat. In addition. but not doing much else for EMP. but who are genuinely concerned about the future of this country. Nevertheless. I have attended military “survival” courses whose primary focus was generally short-term survival off the land. my wife of forty years and I seem to have been moving endlessly from place-to-place. There are many scenarios that might require this. reconnaissance. and recovery from remote areas. Navy Divers School. Not a pleasant experience. I’d rather have been flying. food. both follow-on schools and centered upon the academic study of tactics and strategy as they applied to the missions of the Marine Corps. and besides. I attended the Marine Amphibious Warfare School and the Command and Staff College. communications. whether . I flew helicopters offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and across the U. I attended The Basic School. U. water. Army helicopter. including the U. escape from capture. like me. and much more. I’m not there. Perhaps my elementary and simplistic efforts might be of help to someone else who is beginning to think about the subject of preparedness. I’m building small Faraday boxes. Later. Others have done so very well.S. My intention here is to try to share some of the less-thanperfect ways that I have tried to accomplish that end. perhaps like me.

recognizing game tracks. It pretty much rattled my cage. but then don’t cover other topics. It is still a great reference if one is looking for an all-in-one manual for starting fires. in my view. I have been thinking about them for quite a while.living in a tent or other outdoor shelter or here in our rural home in West Virginia. frozen. a retired USAF pilot. We were “issued” ten rounds of . Encyclopedia of Country Living-type books. I can confirm that unfortunately it has been made politically correct--with the traditional woodcraft skills showing any injury to innocent and defenseless trees duly expunged.22 rifle with open sights. dried. For example. my older brother and I used to track and shoot small animals in the deep woods of Missouri as youngsters. but not often. tying knots. Tracking books. for example. and the Boy Scout Field Book is no exception. I think that my first education in “survival” came at about fourteen. Here I have and often take for granted what I have -. field medical books. The Boy Scout Field Book sits right there next to the military survival manuals. less. factory-made and reloaded ammunition for any one of several firearms. and much more.com. They do cover security problems. I have them and have read them. basic to the notion of preparedness and in surviving in the wild. a small stream.30-06. canned. That’s when I first shot a . Reloading books. A few novels devoted to the “what ifs” of the future. So I advise searching for pre-1970 editions!] ) One does not necessarily need the SAS Survival Handbook or the U. and quite a few others. fuel for the generator and portable stoves. kerosene heater and lanterns. single shot. one’s ability to be patient in waiting for the shot. having used just those ten rounds – and sometimes. in fact. Mostly. and freeze-dried foods. Gardening books. Books to fill an entire bookcase.22 LR ammo by our father. well water. Edible plant books. a rain barrel. my very first “survival book” was the Boy Scout Field Book.S. Perhaps I’ve been thinking about them ever since I was a young lad. And it need not be exotic . One would be surprised what that meager handful of loose ammunition could do for one’s choice of shots. but don’t know [JWR Adds: Yes. (It’s probably been scrubbed to favor the politically correct. My point is that the knowledge of firearms is. a canning book. as do Tom Brown's Field Guides. the The Foxfire Book series. Hunting books. the original of which I still have (circa late-1950s edition). to be used in a bolt action. . making simple shelters. Those are the basic things about which I think. longer than I even realized. a pond. and for one’s great satisfaction at having brought home six or eight squirrels for the cooking pot. there appear to be no “perfect” manuals.shelter. Army survival manual. I note that it is still available on Amazon. And so I was beginning the journey even before I knew that I was. Alas. including Jim Rawles' excellent "Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse". But it’s not a bad beginning. an old [Model 19]03 Springfield.

22 LR rounds would be very precious. Suffice it to say that whatever firearm one chooses – and make no mistake.45 ACP. And I’m hoarding them. of course) above. I shoot a . as well as shooting them. one is necessary in my opinion -. but very basic survival skill with a rifle can be had without much cost if one is committed to learning the skill and if one disciplines oneself. One can surely attend modern schools that will teach one to double-tap a cardboard target or silhouette at seven yards with a semi-auto pistol.” In a purely offthe-grid survival scenario.45 ACP. I’ve camo-painted the first one to make it recede into the bushes that surround it.ne-design. Consequently. 44 Magnum/. depending on the situation and the person. 7mm-08. and I chose for my own security the . Personally. Yet it appears that much of that ammo could be used for barter. As Col. One must endeavor to shoot it well.62 M1A SOCOM. Suffice it to say that in Vietnam I had the opportunity to see the effects of all of these.380 ACP. and to do it more cheaply.308. It’s amazing how rapidly a 55 gallon barrel will fill in even a moderate thunderstorm.30-06. and even though I own handguns and rifles that will shoot . I wasn’t really thinking of “survival” when deciding to do this about twenty years ago. “Only hits count. . I have not yet solved it. pump shotgun. and how many choices one has to solve this problem. while my wife is comfortable with the milder . combined.there are all kinds of reasons to choose one over the other. I have the capability to reload all the calibers (except . I had never even considered this until reading some of the recent “survival novels. but was interested only in having the capability to shoot more. as well as basic and advanced tactical rifle courses. .44 Special.45-70/. .457 WWG Magnum (a wildcat). and . I’ll talk about one that is likely even more important. I have put up a rain barrel.308 and . .270. .38 Special. I got mine from Aaron’s Rain Barrels.25-06.net/. http://www. Start with only one round. I won’t even begin to get into the debate over . I prefer a M1911 . . I can envision that . . and work up from there.223.308 and 9mm vs.7. Water.38 [S&W] revolver and 20 gauge. as I could do forever on my favorite subject. .45 ACP pistol and a 7.62x39. as well as shotgun ammo in 12 and 20 gauge. indeed.223 vs .22 LR/Magnum. Owning a firearm is of almost no consequence.or overly complicated in nature. unless it is properly employed. and plan to get a couple more.” My apologies. I’ve wandered into the weeds here. . and normally at least twice a week. at all. . It is amazing how complicated this can be. .22 rifle and pistol more than all of the others.45 ACP. Having got my favorite subject out of the way. Jeff Cooper used to say. .357 Magnum/.30-30.

I have bought three different water filtering devices. I’m not recommending it for anyone. See: http://www. and I’m willing to try it. much cheaper than a Solar Jack. Bisquick (sealed in plastic bags with desiccant inside).htm. but I’ll use it. [JWR Adds: The same Katadyn filter model is available from several SurvivalBlog advertisers. or kill it. of which we own half (The owner of neighboring property owns the other half. in my thinking.org/wiki/Solar_water_disinfection.). as I haven’t got one. My apologies. rice. . and numerous grocery store-type canned foods (expiration a couple years). I’ve either got to have it [stored]. and the same distance uphill with full ones. intend to solve my “water problem. in addition to dried beans. But that’s over a hundred-yard trek downhill with empty buckets.We have a very shallow stream down the hill that I need to dam so that it keeps only about a foot-or-two deep pool for gathering some water. grow it. Now.” I’ve also started collecting clear plastic soda bottles for use in Solar Disinfection (SODIS). I’ve set up a rack for putting out the bottles in a sunny place. yet. these solutions are relatively cheap and effective.wikipedia. folks!] With the exception of the Simple Pump. It works wonders in that shallow stream and pond down the hill. It has plenty of good reviews. it’s a bargain. It isn’t quite as complicated as the water problem. all-stainless Katadyn Pocket Microfilter.. http://en. see. the best of which is the Swissmade. So my next “big” purchase will be a Simple Pump that allows one to drop a pump and pipe though one’s existing well casing down to below water level and extract water by means of a hand pump or DC motor attached to a battery which. for me. in turn. This is much. Again. They deserve your patronage first.com/deepwellpump. I prefer to have something closer. It flows into a large pond. So far. they are what I’ve come up with.survivalunlimited. I won’t go much into the food problem. two-serving meals from Mountain House (expiration dates circa 2016). for one. if not producers of great volume. that’s a backup. I’ve started storing all kinds of Mountain House freeze dried #10 cans (with expiration date dates in 2034). while that is okay for a backup. but I am just talking about how I.200 for the hand pump capability (I’ll add on the DC and solar later). because I’m going on 63 years. At $1. salt. will connect to a solar panel.

for two. diesel. One is a butane stove. Personally. ready to hit the trail if need be. But it’s a start. But it’s heavy. I’d go for a multi-tool. I’ve still got my old three-season tent. Now I have so many knives of so many types that I can’t remember them. I can recommend a book that I read back then called The Complete Walker. Of course. and still have all the gear. Fletcher’s advice when I pack. according to my pocket book. A spoon will do (I’ve done it) along with a pocket knife.” I always think about Mr. That is to say. Basically hit-or-miss. Nevertheless. I never used to carry a weapon while backpacking. Anyway. and maybe even corn oil). etc. don’t pack a tent if you can get by with a tent fly – which you cannot in cold weather. and the price is getting exorbitant. as well as several small backpacking stoves. That is. wheat. I was heavily into backpacking when we were stationed in Hawaii in the late 1970s.sugar (Domino. Don’t carry a “mess kit. I have two bug-out bags with essentials in them. Remove all packaging material unless it is absolutely necessary (usually never).” nor a knife. There was so much good advice in that book that helped me in the USMC. And he emphasizes: don’t worry about pounds – worry about ounces. it was (and is) illegal in Hawaii. not pounds. I haven’t read it in at least a decade. but they must be bought. I need to get this “food problem” organized and do it right. I’ve got two Coleman two-burner stoves. Concerning backpacking stuff. kerosene. Ounces. which are sold in one-pound plastic tubs). if one is packing tea bags. by Colin Fletcher. He emphasizes simplicity in gear. but I think one would be remiss in not doing so today. olives. I think I’ve got the camping stove angle covered in spades. My plan is to pull out our pellet stove and replace it with a free-standing wood stove. Same goes for kerosene heater and lanterns (5). trailer. “Think ounces. After having one knee replacement and hedging doing another. I’ll not be backpacking if I can help it. until the fuel runs out. peanuts. I think we’ve got only about a 60-day supply now. the best of which is a MSR Whisperlite International. if nothing more than when packing my helicopter before a mission. so far. and the other a dual fuel (white gas or unleaded gas). fork and spoon set. but its import is such that I remember much of it. which uses virtually all fuel (unleaded. That is to say. I’ve saved up and bought two good Wiggy's bags and a couple of his poncho liners. . Pellets are nice. or truck to move across the country. or a car. but am saving up for a fourseason. remove the labels from the bags. They likely will be non-existent in a crunch. white gas.

I am thinking of buying a bunch of used railroad ties to build cover in the back. has still got its priorities straight in this regard. butane tanks. is a maze of downed pine trees blown over by the wind. which faces the forest. interspersed with small saplings. I’ve thought also of bricks and sandbags. That is to say that I can choose which circuits I want to power by engaging or disengaging the switches on the transfer box. So there’s a line here concerning security versus “normalcy” that I must cross sooner or later. It is somewhat selectable. of sorts. vines and low brush.I connected a 12. Inasmuch as my wife is a few years older than I and is on constant medications. The forest. West Virginia. I do not have access to dynamite. hospital and pharmacy are a necessity. the downed trees would make excellent cover and concealment. to all but the most ignorant observers. Unfortunately. We live in a split-level home on about ten acres of forest. The problem is that it uses gasoline. For those who are determined. But I digress. Not a likely avenue of approach for anyone but the most determined. in addition to the 50+ gallons of gasoline. as I have with every house in which we’ve lived for the last two decades. It would be about $500. But I’ve got it wired. at least around here. but framed in back. The main reasons for having this were to run the 220V[olt AC] well water pump and to run the refrigerator and our freestanding freezer during power outages. So in a long-term outage it would soon become useless. The sweet sound of gunfire can be heard at times in a full circle. a job that I did myself. I’ve had the propane gas company come out to estimate what it would cost to get a dedicated 100 gal propane tank for the generator. anyway. but I think they are getting rare. Nevertheless I’ve got the bags packed and gear ready to throw into the pickup (Toyota 4x4 – like to have one of those older model American trucks. itself. This is a frame house with half of it below ground in front. I’ve started buying rolls of barbed wire and baling wire. at least.000 Watt/50amp gasoline generator when we moved into this house nine years ago. We used it back then to blow stumps while clearing the land for our house. except the other 220V appliances – water heater and heat pump. I’m afraid that finding a retreat (if we could even afford one) would be out of the question. and it’s safe. it would make a great explosion when hit with a tracer round. but then. which we used to be able to buy in a hardware store in the 1960s. Problem is we’re reaching the point in all of this where the house would begin to look like a fortress. I gleamed this because everyone out here shoots. Which brings me to the subject of security. as access to doctors. to nearly every circuit in the house. It works. and white gas that I keep stored in a separate outbuilding. I’ve got it wired through a transfer box to the circuit-breaker panel. as well as at the front. And what . So I have a security problem to solve there. The property is surrounded by other similar-sized properties of seemingly like-minded individuals.

I could do a lot more and likely in a far away place. I’ve got time to think about it. I still have to build a cache or two for guns and ammo and a few other necessities. if they try to take the guns from my cold. but as it is. All too often.) in West Virginia Tuesday. So it looks to me as if we are here for the duration of the crisis. So I’m glad I’m retired. What will they think of next?). If I were rich. My shortwave is up and running. dead hands. to the point that these extremes actually detract from the ability to survive a disaster situation. as I am. Long Live America. grumble. .“Two Dogs”. All of this shows me that one “problem” in this “survival” business leads to several more. USMCR (ret. “That old retired Marine down the road is nuts!” So that’s what I’ve got to say. however) to run the small battery chargers and the CB radio. or sooner. I’ve thought of organizing the apparently gun-loving neighbors. These range from .there are will likely go to the Cash for Clunkers Program…. Keep the Faith. July 28. much less know. 2009 Gear Up -. and they in turn lead to even more problems. Overcome. Lots to do. we do with what we have.grumble. I can just imagine the words that would come out of their mouths if I were to mention to them the notion of forming a security “company” and establishing a perimeter. Speaking of. I do hope it at least stimulates some thought for those who are starting out trying to prepare. Adapt. if not field phones and commo wire.Appropriate and Redundant Technologies for Prepared Families Permalink I frequently stress the importance of well-balanced preparedness in my writings. And since I’ve more-or-less made that decision (here for the duration). I will have to wait to talk to the neighbors. I've seen people that go to extremes. Col. I’ve begun to buy walkie-talkies. I’ve got solar panels and several batteries (need to get a mega deep cell or two. I have to use the lessons taught to every Marine: Improvise. whom I rarely see.

And keep in mind that there'll be no more "quick trips to the hardware store" after TSHTF. * Flexibility and Adaptability (Examples: shop to match a 12 VDC standard for most small electronics. In the real world. squared. classified ads. and biodiesel compatible vehicles) . My approach is to pick and choose the most appropriate technologies that I can maintain by myself. NATO slave cable connectors for 24 VDC vehicles.the "all the gear that I'll need to survive is in my backpack" mentality to the "a truckload of this or that" fixation. Like my other spare electronics. Here is my approach to preparedness gear. and moderation. strict budgeting. 12 VDC) * Retain the ability to revert to older. Think of it as investing for your children and grandchildren. Tri-fuel generators. At the Rawles Ranch we have both 19th century technology (like hand-powered tools) and a few of the latest technologies like passive IR intrusion detection (Dakota Alerts). Freecycle. multi-ball hitches. * Strive for balanced preparedness that "covers all bases"--all scenarios. and electronic night vision. Another common mistake that I see among my consulting clients is an overemphasis on either very old technologies or on the "latest and greatest" technologies. my main shortwave receiver is a Sony ICF-SW7600GR. * Fuel flexibility (For example: Flex fuel vehicles (FFVs). For example. Blowing your entire preparedness budget on just one category of gear is detrimental to your overall preparedness. * Vigilantly watch Craigslist. But in the event of EMP. I also a have a pair of very inexpensive Kaito shortwaves and a trusty old Zenith Trans-Oceanic radio that uses vacuum tubes. these are all stored in a grounded galvanized steel can when not in use. but to always have backups in the form of less exotic or earlier. and eBay for gear at bargain prices. albeit less-efficient technologies. preparedness necessitates having a bit of both. I jokingly call my basement Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) * Buy durable gear. But genuine preparedness lies in comprehensive planning. truly multi-purpose equipment. Anderson Power Pole connectors for small electronics--again. in a nutshell * Redundancy. photovoltaics. more labor-intensive technology.

* Learn to maintain and repair your gear. * Select all of your gear with your local climate conditions in mind.. * Use group standardization for weapons and electronics. Strive for commonality of magazines. then buy mil-spec. * If in doubt. but buy them used. and learn from the experts. then buy two. and only as your budget allows. * Rust is the enemy. and lubrication and spot painting are your allies.) * Store extra for charity and barter * Grow your own and buy the tooling to make your own--don't just store things. Don't worry about appearances--concentrate on practicality and durability. accessories and spare parts . (Avoid debt!) * Invest your sweat equity. Buy quality tools (such as Snap-on and Craftsman brands). * Avoid being an "early adopter" of new technology--or you'll pay more and get lower reliability. then buy the larger size and the heavier thickness. (Our motto: "Two is one and one is none. Not only will you save money.") * Buy systematically. to save money. (Always buy spare parts and full service manuals!) * Buy guns in common calibers * Buy with long service life in mind (such as low self-discharge NiMH rechargeable batteries." * Don't skimp on tools. file to fit. * Recognize that there are no "style" points in survival. and paint to match. * Skills beat gadgets and practicality beats style. preferably when bargains can be found * If in doubt. * As my old friend "Doug Carlton" is fond of saying: "Just cut to size. Tools without training are almost useless. * Train with what you have. but you also will learn more valuable skills. * If in doubt.* Purchase high-quality used (but not abused) gear.

It is commendable to make such inquiries.) I recommend that you ask detailed questions. It is also essential that you do some research first. but it is essential to ask detailed questions. (In some cases. Especially when contacting elected officials. Monday. You need to direct your letter to someone that has the authority to make policy. * Tools without the appropriate safety gear (like safety goggles. to direct your inquiry letter or phone call to the right individuals. such as: Do you have a back-up generator. and has the budget to implement it. earth tone colors * Plan ahead for things breaking or wearing out. general questions tend to elicit vague. It is an investment that breeds. general answers. then I recommend that you take a similar approach. and how many days of fuel do you keep on hand? What is your contingency plan to implement before that fuel runs out? . they just implement it. helmets. July 27.* Gear up to raise livestock. * Build your fences bull strong and sheep tight. and chainsaw chaps) are just accidents waiting for a place to happen. * Always have a Plan B and a Plan C If you are serious about preparedness. 2009 Community Disaster Recovery--Asking the Right People the Right Questions Permalink I was pleased to see this post over at the Mountain Steps blog: A letter to our county commissioner about emergency preparation for hyperinflation. buy things in flat. and hence most likely no action will be taken. vague. this will mean separate contacts to whomever controls the purse strings. * Whenever you have the option. Flunkies don't create or change policy.

Can you continue to operate without grid power? If not, then what contingency plans do you have?

Is the city's water supply gravity fed, from end to end? If not, then what contingency plans have been put in place to provide water to utility customers, in the event of a grid power interruption longer than 48 hours?

And ask:

Are electrically-pumped filters used, or traditional gravity filters?

Then, if you discover that the water system is mostly via gravity, but it uses electric pumps only for pressurized filtration, then ask: If electrically-pumped filters are used, then has a disaster contingency waiver been established with the USEPA, (for turbidity and other standards), to allow bypassing of filters in the event of a griddown emergency situation?

Similarly detailed letters or phone inquiries should be made to your local irrigation district, your fire department, power utility, phone companies (both cellular and land line), refinery, hospital, kidney dialysis clinic, coal mine, National Guard, grocery store, et cetera.

Do not expect the grid to magically stay up and running, Assume the worst case, and plan accordingly.

OBTW, one key word to search for when estimating the resiliency of your community's infrastructure is co-generation. Find out where the co-gen plants are, and their capacity! Saturday, July 25, 2009 Letter Re: Power Failure Alarms Permalink

James; I need your advice. I am worried about power failures, and even EMP while I'm sleeping. This could take out my security system, and leave my family vulnerable. Is there any sort of device that'll alert me if the power goes out? Thanks, - Nolan S.

JWR Replies: There are fairly inexpensive commercially-made plug-in power failure alarms available via mail order for under $15. (Or under $20 each at larger home improvement stores.) I recommend buying one for each bedroom, and one for your generator house. (The 86 dB alarm is not loud enough to be heard from far away, but having a light on for you at your generator house on a dark, snowy night is a very welcome sight!) Needless to say, these are a must for sleep apnea patients that use a CPAP machine, or for anyone else that uses other 120 VAC medical devices for chronic health issues. These alarms work fine for houses with grid power, or for houses with backup generators. (The alarm will trip before an autostart backup generator kicks in.) If you have a grid-tied alternative energy system, you would of course need to plug one of these into an outlet that is exclusively gridpowered. If you live off-grid, you won't have any way of knowing, but then again, if your level of concern for such an event will probably be minimal.

If your specific concern is a power failure in the event of EMP, then you could always wire up a battery-powered traditional buzzer with a "normally closed" relay. (When the grid power is disconnected, the relay closes, and energizes the DC buzzer circuit.) That is 1920s-era technology that would be EMP proof. Thursday, July 9, 2009 Survey Results: Your Favorite Books on Preparedness, Self-Sufficiency, and Practical Skills Permalink

In descending order of frequency, the 78 readers that responded to my latest survey recommended the following non-fiction books on preparedness, selfsufficiency, and practical skills:

The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery (Far and away the most oftenmentioned book. This book is an absolute "must" for every well-prepared family!)

The Foxfire Book series (in 11 volumes, but IMHO, the first five are the best)

Holy Bible

Where There Is No Dentist by Murray Dickson

"Rawles on Retreats and Relocation"

Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook by James Talmage Stevens

The "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course

Crisis Preparedness Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Home Storage and Physical Survival by Jack A. Spigarelli

Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times by Steve Solomon

Tappan on Survival by Mel Tappan

Boston's Gun Bible by Boston T. Party

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth

Survival Guns by Mel Tappan

Boy Scouts Handbook: The First Edition, 1911 (Most readers recommend getting pre-1970 editions.)

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency by Matthew Stein

Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills, Third Edition by Abigail R. Gehring

Preparedness Now!: An Emergency Survival Guide (Expanded and Revised Edition) by Aton Edwards

Putting Food By by Janet Greene

First Aid (American Red Cross Handbook) Responding To Emergencies

Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook by James Talmage Stevens

Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson H. Kearney (Available for free download.)

Cookin' with Home Storage by Vicki Tate

SAS Survival Handbookby John "Lofty" Wiseman

Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables by Mike Bubel

Outdoor Survival Skills by Larry Dean Olsen

Stocking Up: The Third Edition of America's Classic Preserving Guide by Carol Hupping

The American Boy's Handybook of Camp Lore and Woodcraft

Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton

98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by Cody Lundin

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth

Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life by Neil Strauss

Five Acres and Independence: A Handbook for Small Farm Management by Maurice G. Kains

Essential Bushcraft by Ray Mears

The Survivor book series by Kurt Saxon. Many are out of print in hard copy, but they are all available on DVD. Here, I must issue a caveat lector ("reader beware"): Mr. Saxon has some very controversial views that I do not agree with. Among other things he is a eugenicist.

How to Stay Alive in the Woods by Bradford Angier

The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman

Tom Brown Jr.'s series of books, especially:

Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival

Tom Brown's Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking

Tom Brown's Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants (Field Guide)

Total Resistance by H. von Dach

Ditch Medicine: Advanced Field Procedures For Emergencies by Hugh Coffee

Living Well on Practically Nothing by Ed Romney

The Secure Home by Joel Skousen

Outdoor Survival Skills by Larry Dean Olsen

When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikesby Cody Lundin

The Last Hundred Yards: The NCO's Contribution to Warfareby John Poole.

Camping & Wilderness Survival: The Ultimate Outdoors Book by Paul Tawrell

Engineer Field Data (US Army FM 5-34) --Available online free of charge, with registration, but I recommend getting a hard copy. preferably with the heavy-duty plastic binding.

Great Livin' in Grubby Times by Don Paul

Just in Case by Kathy Harrison

Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson H. Kearney (Available for free download.)

How to Survive Anything, Anywhere: A Handbook of Survival Skills for Every Scenario and Environment by Chris McNab

Storey's Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance by John & Martha Storey

Adventure Medical Kits A Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicineby Eric A. Weiss, M.D.

Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener

Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook (superceded the very out-of-date ST 31-91B)

Wilderness Medicine, 5th Edition by Paul S. Auerbach

Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Longby Elliot Coleman

Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills, Third Edition by Abigail R. Gehring

Government By Emergency by Dr. Gary North

The Weed Cookbook: Naturally Nutritious - Yours Free for the Taking! by Adrienne Crowhurst

The Modern Survival Retreat by Ragnar Benson

Last of the Mountain Men by Harold Peterson

Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked into the Wilderness by John McPherson

LDS Preparedness Manual, edited by Christopher M. Parrett

The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century by James H. Kunstler

Principles of Personal Defense - Revised Edition by Jeff Cooper.

Survival Poaching by Ragnar Benson

The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses by Eliot Coleman

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 Net Producer-Net Consumer Equations for Self-Sufficiency: Getting Out of the Pit Permalink

In a recent phone conversation with one of my consulting clients, I was asked why I placed such a large emphasis on living in the country, at a relatively self-sufficient retreat. I've already discussed at length the security advantages of isolation from major population centers in the blog, but I realized that I've never fully articulated the importance of self-sufficiency, at a fundamental level.

In a societal collapse, where you are in "You're on Your Own" (YOYO) mode, it will be very important to be a net producer of water, food, and energy. This will mean the difference between being someone that is comfortable and well fed, and someone that is shivering, hungry, and thirsty, in the dark.

If you were to create computer models of a typical suburban home as compared to a small farm, they would probably present two very different pictures:

A typical suburban home is an energy pit. It generates hardly energy other than a bit of garden waste that could be used as compost, or fuel. A farm house on acreage, in contrast, can often be a net producer, especially if the farm includes a wood lot. (Standing timber that is suitable for use as firewood.) Properties with nearsurface geothermal heat, coal seams, or natural gas wells are scarce, but not unheard of. I've helped several of my clients find such properties. For some further food for thought, see this article by Lester Brown over at The Oil Drum web site: The Oil Intensity of Food

A typical suburban home is a food pit. Just picture how many bags of groceries you tote home each week, month, and year. Compare than with the net volume of food produced by a small farm, or the meat produced by ranch. (For the latter, a ranch that is large enough to produce its own hay and grain is ideal.)

A typical suburban home is also a water pit, dependent on utility-piped water. But with a spring, or with well water and a photovoltaic or wind-powered pump, you can be a water exporter--charitably providing surplus water to your neighbors.

There are are of course some work-arounds for these limitations, such as installing photovoltaic power systems and rainwater catchments cisterns. But it is nearly impossible for a family to be a net producer of water, food, and energy, when living on just a small city lot.

Consider the inherent limitations of life on a "postage stamp" lot:

Limited acreage means that your house will always be a net importer of home heating fuel. Unless you live on acreage where you have a wood lot for firewood, you'll end up on the wrong side of the production-consumption equation. Photovoltaics are practical for lighting and running some appliances, but the big energy loads like space heating, hot water, and kitchen range cooking exceed what PV panels can produce, unless you are a millionaire. Yes, there are substitute energy sources, but most of those--such as propane-but those-are also "imported." Hmm... Perhaps it is worth the extra time and effort to find a retreat property that has a natural gas well, a coal seam or that is in a geothermal zone. At least buy a property with a wood lot, so you can heat your home and water with firewood.

Limited acreage and a location inside limits usually means restrictions on raising livestock. You might find a property that has been exempted or "grandfathered", but without the room required to grow animal feed crops, you will still be a net importer. (You will be forced to buy hay and grain, rather than grow it yourself.)

In many jurisdictions, it is illegal to have a private water well in a neighborhood that is served by a public water utility. This usually has more to do with maintaining a monopoly, rather than any genuine worries about a public health issue. There are of course exceptions, such as older houses with wells, that pre-dated the advent of a water utility. In many jurisdictions, the owners of these wells benefit from grandfather clauses. If buying such a property, make sure that the grandfather clause exemption is transferable. (Otherwise, you will have to cap the water well.)

One of the great ironies of urbanized life in modern-day America is that there has been a great inversion. In 1909, it was dirt poor farmers that lived on acreage, while wealthy people lived on city lots. But now, in 2009, owning acreage is something that most people only dream of, for retirement. In the more populous coastal states, the price per acre of land that is within commuting distance of high-paying jobs has been driven up to astronomical prices.

Have you ever stopped to think why there are large Victorian-style houses falling into disrepair in some Inner City ghettos? This is because at one time, those neighborhoods are where rich people lived. They were nice, safe neighborhoods, and were conveniently close to work, shopping, and schools. But times (and neighborhoods) change. These days, most of the wealthy have long-since moved to suburbs or to the country.

If you decide that you must stay in the suburbs, then I recommend that you at least relocate to a stout masonry house that is on the largest lot that you can afford. When you search through real estate listings, some key phrases to watch for are "creek", "grandfathered", "mature fruit trees" (or "orchard"), "secluded", and "well water." Another key word to watch for is "adjoins". It is advantageous to own a property that adjoins park land.

As I've often written, I recommend moving to a house on acreage in the country-that is if you can afford it, and your work and family situations allow it. But I'll close with one admonition: Don't bite off more than you can chew. There is no point on living on acreage if you have a large mortgage, and no working capital remaining to build up the infrastructure for genuine self-sufficiency. In fact, that would be "the worst of both worlds", since you would have higher commuting costs, a bigger mortgage, and perhaps even a bigger annual tax bill. Owning non-productive land may be worse than owning no land at all. Friday, July 3, 2009 From Mike Williamson: Some Useful DIY Home Power Technology Web Links Permalink

The following links will be of interest to anyone interested in do-it-yourself (DIY) power generation and 19th Century technology. Most of these come from Lindsay Publishing. [JWR Adds: They are also one one of my favorites!] :

Generator and Inverters

Wood into Charcoal and Electricity (although the generator design is at best a temp make-work design while you scrounge to build a better one).

Gas Engines and Producer Gas Plants

DIY Wind Turbine Power Plant (The best DIY design out there, although you might find a cheaper copy elsewhere).

DIY Machine Shop (This is a Gingery design, not suitable for those that are clumsy)

Other Wood Gasifier DIY Books.

A FEMA-designed wood gasifier that will hold you over while you build something better, if you are lazy and wait until it is almost to late. Not even remotely the best design but it is quick and fairly easy to build. It is titled: "Construction of a Simplified Wood Gas Generator for Fueling Internal Combustion Engines in a Petroleum Emergency/"

I hope that folks find these useful. - Michael Z. Williamson (SurvivalBlog's Editor at Large)

Prefabricated Garden Sheds as Instant Shelters and Storage Spaces for Retreats Friday, June 19, 2009 Letter Re: Advice on Deep Water Wells in a Grid-Down Era Permalink

James, I know that I have seen posts about deep water wells, but when I search I really don't see that many applicable posts. I am looking at a property where water [static level] is about 400 feet down. In a "grid-up" scenario, this isn't really a problem, but I am looking for "grid-down" options for using a well at this depth. Not knowing much about the specifics of wells, I am not having much luck searching with Google, either. Would you be able to cover some deep well basics and some options for grid down/solar/backup pumping, specifically for deep wells?

Thanks so much for the blog. I have been an avid reader (pretty much daily) for two years and have several copies of your book to loan out to friends. - John C.

JWR Replies: As per your request, here are a few deep well basics:

Solar and wind power are the best solutions for deep wells in a grid-down collapse. If you live in an area with reliable winds, a windmill used in conjunction with a large gravity-fed tank or cistern, is relatively inexpensive and trouble-free. Photovoltaics are getting less expensive with each passing year, but system complexity is an issue, especially with systems that use a battery bank. (To maintain water pressure during hours of darkness, you will either need to store water in a gravity-fed cistern, or you will need a battery bank, so that you can operate your well pump. )

Deep wells can be pumped with submersible AC pumps, but not submersible DC pumps. This is because the "line loss" (voltage drop) in DC cabling is tremendous. Even with fat, heavy gauge DC cables, if you start out with 24 Volts DC (VDC) at your battery bank, you will likely be down to just two or three volts at 400 feet! Given that sad fact, there are two good solutions:

1.) Use a DC-to-AC inverter top-side, and run AC cabling down the well shaft to an AC well pump. (Note: Many of these pumps require 220 VAC, so you will either have to use a much more expensive 220-capable inverter, or replace the pump with a 120 VAC model. (You may be an electrical neophyte, and asking "What type of pump do I have?" Take a quick look at your AC circuit breaker box. If the breaker labeled "Well Pump" is a pair of breakers that are ganged-together with a wire loop so that they'll be actuated simultaneously, then the chances are 99% that you have a 220 VAC pump.)

Homeland Security via "Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act" (EPCRA) requires anyone that has more than 10. for the sake of versatility an redundancy. Letter Re: Pros and Cons of Propane Storage Permalink James. 2.000 pounds of virtually any hazardous material (except for explosives and radioactive materials that have their own unique requirements). but it would be a challenge for a typical rural family working with an improvised hoist. However. I generally advise my consulting clients to "hang" both an AC pump and and a DC pump. 50 feet or less) can be pumped with a DC submersible pump. More recently they've been made with metal or fiberglass. Even with ash wood. Unfortunately changing all of the leathers on a downhole sucker-rod actuated pump means yanking the entire sucker rod and then the weight of all 400 feet of your service line. Lifting a 1-1/2" or 2" diameter 400 foot long pipe is no problem for a pump company. The pump cylinders are made of brass and will last many decades. one above the other in the same well casing. and in my experience I found them problematic.) Install a jack ("cricket") type pump or a windmill to actuate the sucker rod pump cylinder. fingers and toes" safety precautions and protective gear. You will notice that the crucial piece required is the flange that catches the pipe unions on each 20+ foot long section of service line pipe as they are raised or lowered in the well casing. I've previously owned a jack type pump. the pump leathers will eventually wear out. Traditionally. Having a lot of propane on hand has some serious issues. their service life is measured in decades. to . I recommend that you watch your pump company man carefully as he installs the pump in your well for the first time. sucker rods were made from hardwoods such as white ash. That is a lot of weight. requiring a heavy duty hoist and of course all the usual "mind your head. Shallow wells (say. so you should consider buying a couple of spare sets and storing them someplace safe from mice and moisture/mold.or. I would much rather use an AC submersible pump.

white or silver reflects heat very well and keeps your propane tanks happy.report that quantity to the State Homeland Security Office. To comply with the act. But because I live 15 miles from the nearest asphalt road and over 60 miles to the nearest town. Power outages for a week are not uncommon. I have an automatic generator that kicks in (that just happens to run on propane) that will power our main well and power the [electric] propane pump motor. Overall. diesel. Take the advice though. and gasoline quantities on hand and a set of plans of the operation showing where such is stored.] I always try to work within the system. all bets are off anyway. If the whole grid went down for a year. I have the capability to pump propane from a pair of 1. either. I believe we have a bit over . After several years of working on the project (more pointedly. You know. someone sitting up a high hill with an API bullet just waiting for the right time to set off the show. Otherwise. If the grid is up. when the grid is down.000 pound full unit has a 240 volt power supply to the electric pump that does the work moving liquid propane from the storage to the smaller tank it is filling. These reports are open to anybody that wants to see them. I am a member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (a county wide group with members appointed by the state) which is responsible for looking about. Of course with propane. I can pick this tank up with a diesel powered skid steer and since I had the small tank plumbed on the bottom for liquid with the proper connector.000 pound limit. Hopefully. The skid based 12. Camouflage the tanks asap if Schumer gets spread by the fan. It is very difficult to talk your local distributor to participate in this kind of project because they are turning you into a potential competitor. I am not making that up. I have also purchased a 250 gallon propane tank that I fabricated onto a skid using 2x6 rectangular steel incorporating a pair of forklift ports.000 gallon tanks that are connected on the bottom for propane liquid connection. working with the vendor). (Now you know how the bad guy knows where the stuff is. the pump will run on it. Big white tanks make an easy target. finding illegally stored material and requiring compliance. and the Local Emergency Management Manager yearly. all they have to do is ask and the Emergency Manager has to give them the information by law). So if being off the radar is important to you [then keep under 10. we will have our perimeter secure if there is that need. there is always a security problem. the local Fire Marshal. I can feed liquid propane by gravity 250 gallons at a time to any tank on the ranch. we would still have power periodically as we fill the stock tanks and keep the freezers cold. I file what is known as a Tier II report to the three agencies listed above yearly listing propane. Of course if the system fails.

Again. There won't be any lines at your local propane distributor. My pickup has a 600 mile cruising range now. Heck. if you put propane into a vehicle to use as fuel. I have a propane powered vehicle. Two gas tanks. Being able to fill vehicles and small 25/35 pound tanks (BBQ tanks). The trick of course is having the right nozzles. it was 2.. Yes.49. (That is illegal by the way but in a pinch. the trick is to get your local distributor work with you. Because propane is such a clean burning fuel. you should be paying state tax on that propane (and federal no doubt soon). I.. when there is the next mass evacuation.. Propane wins hands down. You can't just find this stuff on the internet. you don't have to change the oil very often.70 a gallon with residential use propane being (summer rate) at $1. is a really handy thing.. I know because I tried. The last time I filled my truck with propane. if you get the right adaptor. and an 80 gallon propane tank. Good luck getting those nozzles. Synthetic oil is more expensive but doesn't break down and stays much cleaner than oil in engines fired with gasoline and especially diesel fuel tanks. However. lines will form at any gas station that is open. Therefore I would never suggest such an action unless you know your local state tax collector personally. Most propane conversions enable dual fuel use. combined with synthetic oil in your crankcase.000 gallons of propane which would power our "headquarters" for many months and maybe years if used part time. Unlike Agricultural Diesel (Red) and Residential Fuel Oil (Green). Perhaps several years between oil changes if you only use the vehicle sparingly. Propane fired vehicles have several advantages. Just flick a switch.7. Either regular gasoline or propane may be used by my personal conversion. (hit the solenoid with a tech-tap once in a while) and your off running on the other fuel. They are worth more than silver by weight and they are made only of bronze. Residential Propane has no marker to trace where it came from. I have put over 10..). you could hook a BBQ tank up to your vehicle. . of course fuel my propane powered vehicles at the local propane fill operation. Another advantage. Your power is reduced slightly but your mileage is similar to using gasoline. It will keep indefinitely if kept comfortably cool with no additives needed.000 miles on an oil change before and it really didn't look dirty though it may have lost some of it's lubricating qualities.

I am prepared". Signed. So much for staying off the radar.Frank B. I would call the conversion about a 6 out of 10 if you like automobile work. I said "no. 2009 Letter Re: Portable Oxygen Condensers Permalink James. far more versatile than an inverter placed into any vehicle electrical system. Also. they tend to be fly by night guys who recycle many parts over and over again and do it as a sideline. Mine fits nicely under a short tool box and it is impossible to see unless you look over the bed. a 1986 Chevrolet Suburban 1 ton (modified with some parts that were originally incorporated in the M1008 CUCV). it may not be easy to find someone who has the technical savvy to do an installation on your vehicle.Propane conversions are available for most gasoline engines including lawn mowers. This customer also is afflicted with COPD and uses a 110 VAC Oxygen generator. The guy shoots running coyotes at 300 yards. Now he is also working on contingency planning with fall back plans to me if he fails. being a military designed system is far more durable. and most importantly. It sort of just blends in. far more rugged. .. I recently installed an AuraGen system similar to the current listing on eBay (#330329068735) onto a customer's Bug Out Vehicle (BOV). automobiles (there are even donut shaped tanks made to fit in the spare tire area).EMP is also not an issue as it meets the military requirements for such use in medical units for power generation. and trucks. Having said the preceding. boats. (I'm not saying there aren't professionals out there. that skill might come in handy if coyotes become a problem. (15 miles from the nearest asphalt road) Friday. . A good neighbor asked me if I was afraid when he saw that I was a "survivalist". just a heads up). The Auragen. About two days of dedicated "spare time" will do most conversions. Just make sure you don't route the propane hose next to an exhaust line or you might be driving a flare down the road and make the papers. (My nearest neighbor is 4 miles away). June 12. Being a mil-spec unit. Trucks enable a larger tank to be mounted forward in the bed.

. I'm not very certain Solar Panels or photovoltaic (PV) Modules if you prefer) are up to surviving electromagnetic pulse (EMP). much less EMP resistance. networking. . but the modules themselves are not free from risk. LOL. Tuesday. I personally have a PTO drive system in my own vehicle and have used it in several situations where. About the only references to PV and EMP you can find are discussions concerning space deployed PV Modules being at risk to solar flares.Bob S. Solar Panel manufacture is akin to basically creating large scale photosensitive semiconductors and few manufacturers will quote even static electricity resistance. They told me that there that almost no EMP test results have been released to public domain. Additionally. which have many characteristics of an EMP event. but that their Aerospace departments feel that PV Arrays are vulnerable at the junction level as well as the wiring diode matrix and controller levels. Obviously the controllers are at great risk. These are not cheap. most PV modules have bypass diodes to protect cells. but what price is reliable power when lives depend on it? Best Regards. 2009 Two Letters Re: Protection from EMP Effects for Photovoltaic Panels and Communication Gear Permalink Jim.At around $1. Some designs put these diodes in the junction boxes. as some say "The Schumer has hit the rotating impellers".700 on eBay the end user can add about another $500-to-$600 for install and miscellaneous parts. I just made some queries with contacts at University of Manchester and Michigan Tech. powering some mission critical communications. June 2. and telecom facilities for other NGO customers. while others incorporate them more integrally in the PV assembly.

this is the best that I can find. Product model numbers and such have changed. Install a grounding antenna switch and keep the antennas grounded when not in use. 3. Install a good Earth ground. This basically consists of 2 or more standard electrical grounding rods connected with #6 solid Copper . Make grounding the antennas part of your checklist when shutting down the station after use. There is a very detailed 4-part article about EMP protection for Amateur Radio equipment. per their guide. 5. the corollary is there. It's a study that was done by the ARRL in the mid 1980s. they make the following recommendations: 1. (Note: antenna switches are often used when folks have multiple radios/antennas. Mr. install it on the wall or workbench your equipment is on.The [PV-powered] satellite literature repeats the observation that even a minor solar flare can wipe years to decades off of the life of a PV array and a full coronal mass ejection (CME) will take the array out. Get a piece of Copper plate or thick sheet metal.Steve W. EMP or near-misses can be protected against. such as a CB and ham radio or a 2 Meter VHF radio and a scanner. but the basic concepts haven't. Rawles. 4. Several of the Disaster Shelter Builders state that PV Panels are at risk in EMP and include shielded storage for "after the event panels. . and attach all equipment grounds and protection devices to this." I wonder whether that is marketing hype or good science? For now. Install a high-quality surge protector on all AC power cords. In a nutshell. If you want to just skip to the recommendations. Though an EMP [cascade waveform] is not exactly the same radiation. 2. go to "Part 4 of "Electromagnetic Pulse and the Radio Amateur". You'll need to shop around to find one with the highest possible rating. Your equipment will not survive a direct lightning hit no matter how well protected. Install coax surge protectors (available from most ham radio suppliers) within 6 feet of the radio equipment to be protected.

2009 Wood. Here are some quick links to EMP protection devices: Solar Panel charge controller protection. . I've found that the electrical panel bonding lugs sold in [building] contractor stores work great for this.wire that is buried. by Bill S. The exhaust gases can then be used to fuel an internal combustion engine. Gasifiers were used across Europe during WWII to power tractors. Finally. the Alternative Energy for the Rest of Us.JN-EMT Wednesday. a fuel readily available in most parts of the country. Coax lightning protection (manufacturer) Cheers. but under adverse conditions the tank could run dry. Gasification is a process of burning wood or other solid biomass in a specialized combustion vessel (basically an upside-down wood stove) that generates hydrogen and carbon monoxide (CO) gases as by-products of the high temperature combustion. Grid connected electronics would be more vulnerable. and stuff with long antennas worse still. Fortunately there are two systems capable of generating electric power with wood. trucks and buses when gasoline was not available.S. the book Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson H. May 27. Kearney [Available for free download] states that equipment such as hand held radios with short antennas (less than 14") should be okay against EMP. but there are a many areas of the U. The return of gasoline after the war caused gasification to drop off the radar. Permalink Solar and wind electric generation systems are affordable and efficient. where wind systems are not feasible. A group of American pioneers have . and few localized areas where solar systems are not feasible. A diesel powered generator with a large underground tank is reliable.

from 1-to-20 horsepower. Mike Brown has a package of instructional materials for sale and will insist you do your homework before purchasing of one of his engines. . Steam engines require a boiler to generate the steam to drive the engine.revived the technology and made great strides in bringing this lost technology back to the market. GEKs are operating around the world. These systems are best suited for short term backup power or as a supplement to a solar/wind system. Boilers can be made from copper tubing and junkyard scrap for a few hundred dollars providing there is a metal worker in the neighborhood. Steam engines powered the industrial revolution and were in use well after the advent of petroleum products and the electrical grid. ASME-certified boilers are available in limited quantities. steam is dangerous in inexperienced hands. Both systems will generate electricity when gasoline. The design and operation of the gasifier requires wood blocks/chips. diesel and propane fuels are unavailable. All Power Labs in California sells do-it-yourself kits and complete gasifier systems. the plans are free and users are encouraged to experiment and share their knowledge. They both require tending and maintenance. Neither system is “off the shelf” ready. they both require back yard engineering skills and American ingenuity Both systems require a stock of wood or other solid fuel to operate for any extended time. The other option is small scale steam. the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing . Note however that life in the future may become very unrealistic. that is. known as gasifier experimenter's kits (GEKs). Split firewood is not an option when operating on a small scale. pellets or similar sized fuel. it is potentially a complete solution. Mike Brown in Missouri manufactures a range of small scale steam engines. GEKs have been used to power cars and generators. Operating a steam engine requires specialized knowledge and skills. Relying on steam or gasification for a year-round supply of electricity for a retreat is unrealistic in most cases . GEKs is an open source project. plans and a how-to video are available from Mike Brown.

consistent-sized fuel such as dry wood chips. A 3 hp system steaming for 6 hours per day for a month would generate approximately 400 KW. 400 KW is less than one half of what the average American household uses in a month. To understand the concepts of kilowatts and kilowatt hours (KWh). however plans are free and a gasifier can be built with scrap steel and junkyard parts by any welder/metal worker. in which I could be off by ±25%. Cons: Requires small.000-3. but under lock-down conditions you may be the only one within 100 miles that is powered up after a week. 400 KW is a huge amount of electricity in terms of the creature comforts it can provide. lights. Under emergency conditions you will be at home with enough time on your hands to stoke the fire every hour. For comparison. The exhaust gas from the IC engine is water vapor and there is no smoke. GEK users will be happy to share what they know.000 per year plus many hours of manual labor. Will power many internal combustion engines. At $225 per cord it would cost approximately $3. I have not done a similar analysis of the gasifier. Will burn chipped/blocked wood and forest scrap. including hot water. I am assuming a battery bank for storage. generator or storage batteries). Cannot be installed within a living space (same with steam). Waste heat from the gasifier and IC engine can be used to heat water (which can be used to heat a home). . a deadly gas although this gas can be used to fuel an outdoor stove. laptop. A gasifier is a very efficient use of biomass. that inversion to AC with a modern inverter is about 80% efficient in typical use. walnut shells and more. but far more than most solar or wind systems will generate. the smoke has been converted to a combustible gas. We get by on less than 400 KW per month and the retreat is all electric. I would expect you can achieve much the same results as a steam system. This is not what the modern American considers convenience. Cost: Approximately $1. and they can be about 90% efficiency under optimal conditions. Gasifier Pros: Technically within the range of the do-it-yourselfer. Generates carbon monoxide (CO).) If oak were used for fuel it would take 13 cords of firewood per year (that is a lot of wood).000 (not including engine. I did some rough calculations. radios and cell phone chargers.But will these systems power a retreat? If you had a 3 hp steam system the answer is yes. range and refrigerator and I run many power tools in the shop. Limited supply. see Wikipedia. [JWR Adds: Don't forget that when drawing DC power from a battery bank. Under emergency conditions 100 KW/month would drive a well pump.

GEKs can be manufactured from plans without royalties. Cost aside. This would be great for transporting heat sensitive pharmaceuticals during a move of some distance. including alcohol. Quiet. If time and money is of the essence then the GEK is the best bet. [In the novel] a young girl who dies because her insulin supply deteriorated. Letter Re: Questions on EMP Protection Permalink Hello Jim. a team of garage mechanics could have a GEK up and running in a week.Steam Engine Pros: The most reliable and simple of backup systems. but remember patience is a virtue. Can be powered with both solid and liquid fuels. Cost: Approximately $7. Lack of adequate refrigeration degraded the quality and effectiveness of the insulin. the greater part of the cost for a manufactured boiler. Forstchen]. Cons: Requires a good bit of self-study. it could be months before you take delivery. potentially a great business opportunity. I recently finished reading [the recently-released novel] One Second After [by William R.000 for 3 hp engine and boiler (not including generator or storage batteries). My question is this: What effect would an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack have on this kind of machine? Does it contain modern circuitry that would be susceptible to the EMP effect? The second question: . I was reviewing some bug out literature and ran across a list of equipment that included a portable 12 VDC cooler unit. Potentially hazardous. Limited source of supply for engines and boilers although both should last a lifetime and be worth their weight in silver should it come to that.The potential realities of this story can grab you. Steam can be used for multiple purposes including space and water heating and making bio-fuels. Steam engines are precision machines available in limited quantities.

(Generally. 2009 Letter Re: Sale on Inexpensive Solar Rechargeable Lights Permalink Dear Mr. But do they contain any circuitry that an EMP wave would destroy? I read your site every day. hand held radios. Friday.Are solar panels susceptible to EMP effect? I am referring to just the panels and not associated secondary storage.) But just to be safe.JWC in Oklahoma JWR Replies: In answer to your questions: Even if your refrigerator has some microcircuits. Solar panels themselves are not at risk. it is probably not at risk to an EMP waveform. the most practical solution is to buy a couple of spare charge controllers. . Cordially. but charge controllers and possibly inverters are. scanners and the like seem to be simple transformers. to act as a protective Faraday cage. . devices that are connected to grid power are at greater risk of EMP coupling. The third question: The chargers that come with solar panels. and store them in ammo cans. you should store it in a galvanized steel garbage can (with a tight-fitting lid). May 22. Rawles. because they use microcircuits. when your compact refrigerator is not in use. control and electrical connections. especially if it is running from a stand-alone 12 VDC power system. spotlights. Since protection via zener diodes is not always reliable.

just bring them in inside each night without the pole. April 30. These would be great to use for an extended power outages . from 2007. I just thought I'd share since the price was so low.Jeremy JWR Replies: Yes. but True Value Hardware stores around the country are selling boxes of six (6) solar powered pathway lights for $11. this has been addressed. May 9. I tried them out last night and was able to read with two of them. We live outside a major metro area and probably wouldn’t want to be on the roads anyway. Any comments for those of us who fit this bill? Thanks . See this letter in the archives. OBTW. 2009 Letter Re: Home and Ranch Methane Gas Generators .99. Thursday. Using all six lights in the box lit up my small house enough to where I wouldn't need a flashlight or lantern to get myself safely around. You may have addressed this previously. Wouldn't this be great for those living in apartments? . 2009 Letter: Re: Long Term Health Care Needs in TEOTWAWKI Permalink Good Morning. in Virginia Saturday. and they will shine for 8 hours.This sale ends Saturday so maybe it's too late to share it. Our six year old daughter has significant medical needs (none requiring electricity thankfully) requiring us to shelter in place. There's two LED lights in each one. but I could use your help on this issue. be sure to follow the back-links there for the previous SurvivalBlog article on mid-size photovoltaic systems for medical needs such as sleep apnea CPAP machines and small refrigerators for insulin storage.Rod McG.

and so we probably wouldn’t want to get involved.Permalink Jim: I saw the following post concerning Gober ("dung") gas. heating in the winter. My guess is that the only real disadvantage is that the idea is incredibly effective. I’ve seen these systems in use in Nepal. never saw a Gobar Gas system in Afghanistan. 2009 ." Wikipedia has an entry on Gober Gas. but this looks like a great set-up for anyone that keeps livestock. but he is certain that the idea would take hold in the villages. "During breaks from tracking training – I was sweating like crazy in the jungle heat – I asked many questions about Afghanistan and Nepal. April 29. More than two decades after his dad made it. It also creates excellent fertilizer. He said that his dad made the first Gobar Gas system in his village. simple and cheap. over at Michael Yon's web site:. a British soldier. and of course the usual sanitation rules must be enforced. the contraption creates methane. . Aunty Entity would be proud. Most Afghans don’t even have electricity. It worked like a charm. and photographed one about five years ago. and he talked about a simple way to make many of the Afghans lives easier. The generator is simple: the owner just collects human and animal waste. hundreds of Gobar Gas systems popped up around the village. all while improving sanitation. But this Nepalese man. his dad installed a “Gobar Gas” (methane) generator next to the house in Nepal. Wednesday. What’s the catch? None that I’ve heard of. heat and light the house. they create enough methane to cook. Between their own toilet and four cows. which is then used for lighting. dated 27 April. Regards. the thing is still working and doesn’t cost a single rupee to operate.Larry JWR Replies: The usual safety (for piped explosive gasses) rules apply. and through a fantastically simple process. When he was about fifteen years-old. 2009. cooking. When the other villagers saw it work. and today it would costs maybe $300 total investment.

such as when someone is cooped up in a fallout shelter. This is similar to the construction method often used for hobby-built electric go-carts and similar projects. JWR Replies: Just keep in mind that every hour spent trudging away on a bike frame generator is an hour that you could also use doing something else productive. Many folks are 'buying things'. The aforementioned letter points out the folly of this approach. I'd like to pull back the shade a bit on why 'just buying stuff' and reading books isn't going to cut it when the balloon goes up. you will minimize the amount of welding needed to fairly quickly reconfigure the back half. searching the internet with the thought that when the time comes. you could attach various pulleys and V-belts that can in turn be attached to a Country Living grain mill. or a metal grinding/sharpening wheel.the conscious competence learning model. reading books. but make it readily adaptable to multiple purposes. Sunday. One is a web site that offers free plans. 2009 Letter Re: Learning the Details of Self-Sufficiency Permalink Jim.Letter Re: Bike Frame-Mounted DC Power Generators Permalink James. a meat grinder. they will begin living the self-sufficient lifestyle in the country. With perforated steel box beams. photovoltaic panels are the way to go--they make power every day with minimal maintenance. For example. I consider bike-frame mounted generators fairly specialized devices for peculiar circumstances. April 26. I just . by using perforated box beam construction for the back half. I'd like to add an additional perspective on the letter on "Learning the Details of Self-Sufficiency" -. go ahead and build one. Just a follow-up to the question about bicycle power: If you do a Google search on the phrase "bicycle power generator" then several interesting options come up. My general advice is: Yes. Dollar for dollar and hour for hour.

want to take a step back and look at why so many people are taking an unproductive approach -.with the correct spacing. Stage 2 lasts a long time because the more a person learns. They certainly don't understand the ramifications of not having mastery of the things they don't know. grains and fruits have different requirements? Gee. Carrots have different needs.it has to do with how people assimilate new skills. etc. Here a person doesn't even know what they don't know. I can cook using the blanched and frozen beans I grew last year. This is when you can perform a skill reliably at will. In fact. Stage 4 is unconscious competence. what would happen if I grew my garden in 'compost' I bought from a local garden center and the entire crop failed. People who reach this level of expertise often can't teach another person how to do what they are doing because so much ability (not knowledge -. Then you can begin to appreciate that beans are not carrots. Stage 3 is conscious competence. selected the correct variety of bean seed. it's not until they go a bit further into consciously incompetent (stage #2) when they begin for the first time to understand some of the things at which they are incompetent. I know how to do that too. which beans grew in your garden. which were stored in the root cellar you made. Most people stop right here. and hey. I wonder if all these different vegetables. They feel safe. and begin to realize the impact of their incompetence on their desired outcome. fenced from the deer. and I couldn't buy my veggies from Wal-Mart? Last example was a true story for me as a local nursery sold me 10 yards of 'compost' which [later] tested almost zero for N. which plot you cleared from the forest. I want to put up some dilly beans. Have you ever seen a . at the right time of year. My crops bolted and died within three weeks.for beans.big difference) is assumed. wow. It's not until you actually eat the beans you've canned. With a new skill set (like self-sufficient living in this example) a person at first is unconsciously incompetent (stage #1). I know how to do it. the more necessary skills they uncover. with the proper sun exposure. & K. which skills they have no experience whatsoever. planted at the correct depth. I can put up more beans this year. Then and only then will you have begun to have some gardening experience -. I know how many rows of what dimension and how much seed I need. which garden you protected from insects. amended the soil. This is where you aren't even aware of the skills you are using to produce the desired result. P.

and make it look easy? Then you tried and found. Notable exceptions are using a small wheel generator for bike lights or small battery charging like mobile phones as you travel. You could power an old belt drive Singer sewing machine. We've only talked about beans so far. The only way to gain new skills is by doing. but there are much better ways to spend your man hours and food calories. April 22. wind. and go do it! . If you want electrical power. or pond on a hilltop and pump using wind power. so I don't even know all I know! If you aren't doing these things right now. but I've been doing this for years now. then go with solar. since these do not require such exertion. how about production quantity gardening for the 20 or so veggies. and where you need to be before you risk your family's life on homesteading in the midst of a crisis. harvest. Kilo Wednesday. summer or winter. fruits. then you won't be any good at them in a time of need. but hubs dynamos are expensive around $50 plus requiring a wheel rebuild. Don't be an energy slave. cull. it works to provide some feeble current. "Hey. cistern. this is the slavery of powering off of your bicycle. this is harder than it looks!" That's what stage 4 is. select. until the power comes back.Mr. and grains you're going to need? How about producing pork? Chicken? Rabbit? Lamb? Can you breed. and prepare all of these? How about dairy operations? Retreat security? Redundant water systems in place? Redundant power systems in place and functioning? Productive relationships with neighbors? Suppliers? I'd like to give you a more complete list. BTW you will need to add a rectifier and voltage regulator circuit since bike generators produce AC power. going nowhere. store. an inexpensive friction generator will wear on your tire. or flywheel for light machine shop tools.craftsman produce a beautiful result. process. grow. imagine being asked to pedal uphill for hours on end. Take advantage of whatever time we have left before things get much worse. there are plans available for using a broken bicycle to put the pedal drive under your work table. 2009 Two Letters Re: Pedal Power for Electricity Generation and Water Pumping Permalink James: As for using a bicycle as a PTO device. To move water make a water tower. or a water wheel. since it will be gravity fed you have available water in the storage and the pump will run every time there is wind .

2009 Letter Re: Pedal Power for Electricity Generation and Water Pumping Permalink Hi Mr. I recommend standardizing with 30 amp Anderson Power Pole Connectors for all of the small (low current) 12 volt DC devices at your retreat and in your vehicles. Are there products out there based on pedal power? Meaning. I’d like to power a water pump by bicycle so that I can draw water from my well or the creek a couple of hundred yards away. . These genderless connectors are vastly superior to cigarette lighter-type plugs and jacks. there are several proven products. JWR Replies: Yes. See the SurvivalBlog archives. Also. or the very reliable inertial pump. What I’d like is a way to keep a few deep cycle batteries charged to power my rechargeable AA-size batteries (do they make rechargeable batteries in any other size?). For battery charging.Matt Monday. Other options are using a water wheel pump. Thanks. you can use that battery bank as a 12 volt power source for an automobile-type charger for AA Batteries . There must be alternator/bicycle systems to do that but I can’t find any.refilling the storage. April 20. . All the best to you and the family . Any ideas would be appreciated. it is probably best to use a fairly large generator to charge a pair of 6 volt DC deep cycle batteries. my cordless power tools and other objects. I have a question that I haven’t seen addressed. As I've mentioned in the blog before. Then.75. I can’t afford a real alternative energy system or a large storage area for gasoline.Joe F. The issue is available online for $3. Rawles: Thank you so much for your efforts on this blog as well as Rawles Gets You Ready.David in Israel Jim: Back Home magazine published an article on a bicycle powered water pump in their March/April 2009 issue (#99). .

Spare Parts In the parts department do you have spare wicks and globes for your oil lamps? And lots and lots of mantles for gas lights which I do not recommend for the reason that they are so fragile that bugs break them. and particularly here in the western Upper Peninsula ("U. often minor. Do you have extra chains for your chain saw and blades for your bow saw. Do you have extra leathers for your water pumps? And handles for your axes.Wednesday.P. I have developed an acute appreciation of the necessity of having a good inventory of parts on hand. A good bow saw [or bucksaw] is definitely a tool to have if gasoline is scarce or unavailable. the inevitability of interruptions in materials and basic goods becomes even more probable. Having spent a lifetime living on farms. When I was young in the ‘50s and early ‘60s there was an abundance of cars made in the late ‘20s and ‘30s in remarkably good shape that were shoved into barns because of breakdowns. April 15. for which parts were not available during the depression. I heat with wood and do not own a wood splitter.") of Michigan where the nearest farm supply stores are down in Wisconsin a day's drive away. particularly when you are tired or exhausted which we will be if we are in this situation. and as that built in disaster of “just in time” production and distribution is used more and more. A good example of this is to be found in cars. So combine a disruption in supply with a remote refuge location and the problem could become insurmountable and be very inconvenient if not life threatening. I do it by hand and have never broken a maul handle except at the end of the day when I am tired and miss the block of wood with the head and hit it with the handle. splitting mauls. So think in terms of two different plans: parts and maintenance. As our economic system becomes ever more complex and specialized. We all are focused on our armaments and basic survival materials to the detriment of being able to continue to use our tools and equipment when they inevitably break. These cars were hauled out by enterprising young men returning from WWII and Korea and turned into hot rods or just driven into the ground when parts again became available in the ‘50s. Even in the best-case scenario of a sever depression spare parts will be often unavailable through normal channels. 2009 Letter Re: The Importance of Spare Parts and Maintenance for Preparedness Permalink James Wesley: One subject that I think is under rated in preparedness discussions is spare parts. or if . hammers and saws? These have a way of getting broke when used with regularity. So count on breaking things when you are tired or in a hurry.

And boot laces. and get them organized. Do you have the tools. wool socks and other warm and durable clothing that you do not often use and replace but that will become something that you will use every day under adverse conditions. It changed my feelings about my fellow farmers plight to a great degree in many cases. One of the things that struck me most was the almost universal lack of grease guns on these bankrupt farms. My granddad liked to say “grease and oil are cheap and parts and labor are expensive”.P. I’ll use them eventually even if nothing goes wrong. So get the spare parts you will need.you want to cut wood without attracting attention. marriage and family and we will get through this time to come. Which leads to another point about neatness. but it is well maintained and seldom breaks down because of grease. For instance. I own a lot of old equipment that gets used hard. A neat environment helps keep you safe from injury and has an important psychological component. And maintain your home. Plastic bins and totes with labels make things easy to find and protects them from vermin. And do you have the files and sharpening stones to keep them sharp by hand and the teeth properly set? You might also want to practice these skills because they are skills. dirt and corrosion and makes taking inventory a snap. manuals and knowledge to fix things. because I knew the business and could milk cows. Anyway you get the point. tools. particularly under adverse conditions. Is your shop supplied with lubricants and grease to keep the place running. gloves. equipment. During the 1980s I was a Trustee for the United States Bankruptcy Court and I handled most of the farm cases here in the U. . Buy what you know you will need and may be able to trade to those less provident. equipment and tools and determine what you need to do to keep it working. And if we are wrong about the future we will still be the better for it. Maintenance| Maintenance is always a neglected area of planning. Stock up on daily used items. and if it does I’m covered and I’ll have some great bartering material. Keep your stored goods organized so you can find them. April 4. Saturday. Look at your home.Ken S. It is well worth re-reading and considering. last week the local hardware store had leather palmed work gloves on sale at two pairs for a buck so I bought 50 pairs. body. Recently a most excellent article was posted in SurvivalBlog dealing with keeping the place neat and clean. Most people are poor at maintenance as a matter of course and some cannot even seem to consider it. oil and general maintenance. And maintenance of the area around you is also important. mind. A lack of daily maintenance is a precondition to disaster. and some to trade. 2009 .

I asked him what would happen if the Russians nuked Phoenix. until the new owner of the property took it down. flammable gasoline.which she later filled in and used as a flower bed. where we rattled ballistic missiles at each other. But I kept my 'Small Electric Company' operational. A hill of dirt left over from a construction job finished it. Then the Cold War with Russia. by Axman Permalink I remember the Great Gas Crises of the 1950s. I got 21 miles per gallon with that peppy little car! When Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crises came about I dug a foxhole in my Mother’s back yard -.000 watt. I went right home and started assembling my own small solar electric system! Several years later the Berlin Wall was taken down. That way. Arizona . then it could be years before the power could be restored! Convinced. I would not have to store large amounts of expensive. built in the high desert above Phoenix. He replied that if we were lucky. short run generator. One day at a gun store I met a man who was high up in our regional electric company. I still use it every evening! In addition I picked up a pitiful little generator some guy had taken out of his motor home. I still maintain this generator in good working . This machine was a great comfort as the year 2000 came closer.Is it Enough?. I filled several metal five-gallon cans with gas and put them behind the seat of my 1941 Plymouth 6-cylinder Business Coupe. I actually built an above-ground fallout shelter out of a retired metal dumpster and a piece of conduit big enough to crawl through. I figured on running it just 2 to 3 hours per week during the crisis. our electricity would be out for a few weeks to a few months! If they scored a direct hit. no frills. It lasted about 7 years. Eventually Y2K came on the scene. I sold my little noise maker and replaced it with a new Coleman 3. My shelter looked like an earthen igloo. It is just big enough to run the wife’s washing machine and any of my shop’s tools one at a time.

loved ones. So I went out and bought 3 or 4 cases of Ramen noodles. During the pre-Y2K months an old Baptist turned-Mormon school chum convinced me to start a food storage program. I am in the process of improving the latches on my exterior doors and outfitting a designated bug out vehicle capable of sustaining our lives for 30 days. and civil unrest. plus taking some independent action of my own in the way of trade goods. I instructed my financial advisor to prepare my investments for the worst. In time I learned to hate Ramen noodles! My thrifty wife insisted on recycling or rotating them through my digestive tract! I think I have finally got her convinced to save the last case for our neighbors who fail to prepare for the big one! I now buy canned pinto beans. canned corn.order by using it to power my electric chainsaw 2 or 3 times each year as I cut wood for our stove. I am teaching my wife to use a battle rifle and improving my rain water barrels. 2009 Letter Re: A Carrington Event Space Storm--A Natural EMP Equivalent Permalink JimNew Scientist magazine article recently published an important article titled "Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe. political turmoil. This is an ongoing thing and saves us a few dollars as the price of food continues to rise. reconstruction skills and a small investment in precious metals. green peas. Vienna sausages. thus higher prices! Now along comes the Mega Depression of 2009. Uncle Sugar just keeps printing money and devaluating our Dollars. Friday. just to survive this coming period of economic disaster. pork and beans. green beans. March 27. I have talked up the need to prepare with friends. and neighbors. [minor rant snipped] so this then is my biggest challenge. Is it enough? Only time will tell. potted meat." The article outlines possible scenarios for the risk of solar storms that could severely damage national grids and vital . stuff I like or can at least tolerate! I figure on keeping 6 weeks to 3 months supply of food and water on hand and rotating it every 3 years. keeping it no longer then 5 years.

Gregg T JWR Replies: I've received more than 20 letters in the past 48 hours from readers concerned about this article. this natural "EMP-like" effect is just another reason to get prepared. and wind power systems will probably be safe from a Carrington Event." Could off-grid standby equipment such as power generators or solar cells also be damaged? See the National Academy of Sciences report. western civilisations have busily sown the seeds of their own destruction.) If you have a microprocessorcontrolled battery charge controller. In my opinion. As with any other "EMP redundant" radios and other electronics. Most home non-grid-tied photovoltaic. then one fairly inexpensive measure is to buy a spare. (The field strength and coupling effects will be roughly analogous to that of nuclear EMP. (After registering. Our modern way of life. then perhaps your could plan to revert to DC-only system. The probability in any given lifetime is quite low. micro-hydro. Thursday. with its reliance on technology. In the event that your large (whole-house) inverter get fried.electrical and electronic systems. you can download a free PDF file of the report): Best Regards. and store a couple of spare small inverters for crucial AC loads. buying a spare large inverter is cost-prohibitive. One quote from the article: "Over the last few decades. has unwittingly exposed us to an extraordinary danger: plasma balls spewed from the surface of the sun could wipe out our power grids. you should store your spares in ammo cans. . But for most of us. all-metal cookie tins. by Y. March 19. Cornelius Permalink . The effects would be catastrophic and devolve societies into a desperate survival situation for individuals. 2009 The 19th Century Home Retrofit. but the impact if it were to happen would be devastating. with catastrophic consequences. or similarFaraday cage structures.

and when I say old I mean over 150 years old. In the basement there is a large hole in the floor. I have cleaned this up and now have a source of water right in the house. perhaps it was considered a “sump hole” by later inhabitants since there was evidence of long overworked pumps in under the silt and gravel. . but are you really? Are you ready to do without? Without that generator when the fuel runs out. but was allowed to fill in with junk. we bought this type of farm house and have been in the process of renovating it over many years. It is best summed up as a “Big House. Little House. it is nothing fancy and looks like so many others in our area. it was a cistern. but it still offers water for cleaning or for our animals. but you could build your current retreat or home to some of these specs. Our home for example was built just after the War of 1812 it was fully functional for a family of eight with room for boarders/labors and or relatives. Ours is a timber frame with some masonry on the exterior and is incredibly well built and has a brilliant house plan. thus not taking valuable heat from other areas. Hubka which details the reasons for the ways structures developed. fuel stored. I highly recommend this book. (If you want a leisurely read on the history of these buildings. yet they have different roof lines and are of different sizes. You and your family or group are ready to handle the coming collapse. (this water will still need to be treated since it is technically surface water being only ten feet below grade).By now most SurvivalBlog readers have gone about your preparations for your ideal home or retreat cabin. is your place set up to function as a 19th century homestead? My wife and I bought an old New England farmhouse many years ago. PV panels carefully concealed and hooked up to the battery bank.) Anyway. or it will be too dangerous to “run-thegauntlet” and get more. the rooms can be closed off when not in use. generators ready. One of the many wonderful things about an old house. Barn” and this is the title of a wonderful book written by Thomas C. The kitchen is large while many of the adjacent rooms are small (less space to heat) all the rooms are situated around two large central fireplaces and have thimbles to allow for a small wood stove in each. or a critical piece is worn out and a new one cannot be had? At some point your supplies will be used up. storage fuel consumed and there may not be any to refill your tanks or more realistically you may be priced out. all storage food and tools acquired. Can you manage in your place without electricity? Can you cook with wood? Do you have space enough to process the abundant food you grow and must preserve either by canning or other means? Can you move throughout your buildings without being seen from the outside? My point. floors. Back House. it is a traditional connected farmhouse meaning that the buildings are all linked-up. although the renovation could more reasonably described as going back to the future. is the ability to reuse much of the lumber in the walls. I realize that many people are not up to the task of going through this sort of process. and ceilings or the masonry whether it is brick or stone.

First it served to allow a large un-insulated cook area that was necessary during the harvest time to allow heat to escape from the constant fire in the cook stove during the canning. Now. for tools (a sort of machine shop). Our kitchen is “modern” but if the power is out we can cook on our wood fired cook-stove. We can also bake in a bee hive oven built into the massive central chimney which I rebuilt and lined with modern flues. Our Home: We have “renovated” our home to fully function without electricity. or you simply run out. The primary goals must be on heating your home and preparing food without petrochemical fuels. at first I wondered why this was necessary. a significant storage of fuels and food. while on the other side made the other fireplace into a large wood storage container. we have multiple generators. but further study enlightened me to the fact that this area was a vital part the home complex. things will eventually break. I left one of the original fireplaces. I and am currently finishing up with the PV panels and battery bank/inverter set-up. it was also a place that field labors had their meals prepared and ate without having to clean themselves up much and not dirty up the regular kitchen. We can heat with wood and with a solar hot water system connected to baseboard radiators as well as a copper coil running through the wood fired furnace [for when there is not solar gain or during a heavy snowfall]. (The hot water moves via thermo-siphon no electricity needed only checkvalves to keep the hot water moving in one direction). in-fact these were simply work areas that were sheltered from the often harsh and wild weather we experience. Overall. Also there is a summer kitchen. Focus upon knowing how to live your life with little to no electricity or “conveniences”. (It could double as safe room or vault if needed and may well have been at one point since the opening is nondescript and hidden from plain sight). One could be for wood storage. The buildings between the summer kitchen and barn (sometimes it is one long building divided only internally or there are up to three distinct roof lines and end walls that divide them) any how these areas were used in a variety of ways to allow a small cottage industry to occur. The point is not to recreate that lifestyle but to utilize that mindset and build similar multi-purpose structures. but in-fact we do not “need” those items to exist here. they are an extra. going through all the motions to secure some sense of normalcy. it is about 120 years old and with a little “TLC” is now fully functional not to mention beautiful to look at. your retreat needs to be functional without electricity. or areas for processing wool from sheep. installed airtight doors and an exterior air vent. it appeared to be redundant.There is a large “root” cellar to store food stuffs and canned goods. most modern homes are .

Putting all of the threads of knowledge together into a tapestry of self-sufficiency. The wealth of love and knowledge you gain from your extended family is irreplaceable. I walked the roads with my grandpa squirrel hunting. I learned to safely handle and accurately shoot a . co-workers. friends. March 18. My sisters and I spent weekends and summers alternately at my mom’s family dairy farm. and at my dad’s family cabin “up north”. Wednesday. Preparedness Skills from our Grandmas and Grandpas The foundation for preparedness begins with my childhood in Michigan. 2009 Life's Lessons and the Foundations of Preparedness. which was just outside of the city. We lived in Lansing where my great-grandmother was next door and my grandmother lived next door to her. My great-great-grandfather still lived in the old log cabin when I was born in 1956. The “old timers” told stories of hardship during the great depression and the dust bowl era (we live an area that was the largest prairie east of the Mississippi. We knew all of our grandparents and some of our great-grandparents very well. My father was born in great-grandma’s house after the family moved to the city during the early 1900s.22 rifle with peep sights when I was six or seven years old. There were bigger than life lumberjack stories and stories from Prohibition and the World Wars. church. reading books and SurvivalBlog. We learn from many sources and experiences such as: family. and survival capabilities. Permalink We may soon depend on all of what we have learned over the years. and hopefully from our mistakes.) Memories of crop failures with tales of early and late frosts were passed down. you cannot store enough for the really long haul.B. by A.particularly horrible in this area. We ice fished on local lakes and . Change your mindset. These were the richest times of my life. is part of the lifelong quest for our family’s security. We have been fortunate to have had five generations alive consistently from then until now. teammates. teachers. There were also hunting and fishing stories passed down as we learned to hunt and fish with older family members.

Pigs. Most times the conversations continued outside the Church after the sermon. Animal husbandry and caring for the land lead to sustainability. There were many topics of conversations at the Sunday breakfast table. pay attention and learn. It was the only time you saw the other farmers. when to harvest. and sheep were raised along with the dairy cows and we cleaned the barns and spread manure. We mowed. The place was originally homesteaded by my great-greatgrandfather in the late 1800s (a few electric lights were added at some point. We hauled water to the bull pen and helped milk as we got older. Us kids learned how to tend good gardens and helped preserve the food we raised. There are strong religious underpinnings with good people engaged in caring for one another as well as the animals and the land. When you are a little guy you tended to be quiet. Grandma also taught vacation bible school during the summer break. Preparedness from "Roughing It” The log cabin “up north” had a well-house for getting water and an outhouse for getting rid of water.went to Tip-Up Town USA every year. As a kid I learned to drive tractors and pick-ups to and from the fields. oats and corn were the field crops. Knowledge is passed down from generation to generation such as when to plant. All of this adds to ones persona and the early experience helps awaken the necessary “survivalist” traits. There was a red checkered oilcloth on the table with cane chairs around it. The next morning started with an awakening trip to the outhouse and then fetching a bucket . On a working dairy farm you rapidly learn about life (and death). We took care of the barn animals while the uncles milked. The milking must be done every day and chores do not wait. bailed and then stacked the hay in the mow. where to plant. There was a wood fired cook stove for heat and kerosene lamps to play cards under. chickens.) We used to go up on Friday night after Dad or Grandpa got out of work. Alfalfa. Survival skill sets from the farm come from being part of a close knit community with a solid work ethic. Grandpa was a farmer and Grandma was a one room school teacher. Many things are debated and discussed after chores and before Church. and how to raise the animals. Animals do become food and harvesting the crops sometimes seems little reward for the hard work.

My first solo backpacking / climbing trip came in the summer of 1980 in the Organ Mountains of southern New Mexico.000 . Teamwork and sharing responsibilities for the group were learned. Outdoor cooking and keeping things sanitary were heavily emphasized. We learned to wash our hands and boil the crap out of everything. A leave no trace and waste nothing ethic was being born. Animal tracks were learned and followed with hopes of a glimpse. Life was considered sacred unless needed for food and being a part of nature became obvious. I later solo climbed most of the 4. On a cold morning you stepped lively until the fire was going. We also hiked the Pokagon Trail in northern Indiana and learned to camp in the winter. You took a bath in the river. The old cabin was also used for small game hunting in the early fall and deer camp in the late fall / winter. hickory nuts or raspberries and huckleberries. Grandma would cook buttermilk pancakes on a griddle that my great-grandmother had used in the lumber camp. Food poisoning is no joke – we had one patrol that damn near killed us with their meal. My mom and dad were actively involved in Scouting when I was growing up. This experience then led to the development of technical mountaineering skills.000 and 5. Hiking and backpacking skills were beginning to be developed in the Scouts. Skills were practiced and ingrained.of water from the well house and kindling for the wood stove. We would take walks in the woods and look for morels and other edible things like may apples. Once the stove was hot. You had to carry a full pack if you wanted the patch. and to learn the special skill sets required for survival in the cold. The books Basic Rockcraft. Advanced Rockcraft and Knots for Climbers were memorized along with study of the book Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills.the Scouts version of the death march. There are beautiful views from Seven Springs and other spots along the Laurel Highlands Trail during the winter. Clothes were washed on a washboard in a wash tub and then hung out to dry. We went in the winter both for the solitude it offered. Opportunities for further wilderness and pioneering skill development were provided by Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Eggs and bacon sizzled in a cast iron skillet. We day hiked a 20 miler once a year on the Johnny Appleseed Trail . During the summer we would fish morning and evening and water ski on the nice days. The family summer vacation was spent camping in a tent along the river or at a state park. While living in Pennsylvania (later in life) I started winter backpacking with a few of my buddies.

I met a like minded climber on one of those hikes and we made a summit bid on Mt. To go along with these survival skills you also need the ability to share knowledge and work as a team. I served on small boats as part of a search and rescue team in the USCG. Skill and knowledge can’t cover your a** like a buddy. We learned to play without other kids around and had chores to do for our allowance. I set the first tracks both that year and when I completed the circuit in June of 2001. One person couldn’t do it.D. Some Patrols set up tents while another set up the kitchen. then cooking or smoking them were all part of being a good fisherman. You learn “one hand for yourself and one hand for the boat”. You can do things as a team exponentially quicker and safer than you can by yourself. The only problem is summed up with the statement “no man is an island”. Your bunkmate becomes your partner in boot camp and later becomes your shipmate. You will need others sooner or later. they are your only hope. Map and compass skills were required. I learned to gather the wood and light a fire as soon as I was old enough.by yourself you are probably dead. You pumped the water and filled the reservoir if you wanted warm water for washing up. You learned to use guns and knives as tools while you learned hunting techniques and cleaned the game for the table. In a bad storm someone has to steer while someone bails out the boat. Teamwork helps to overcome the steep learning curve and high risk of being a selfsufficient survivalist. Rainier in June of 1998. G.but it may cost you your life. My sisters and I developed basic teamwork skills while setting up camp. I also began the solo circumnavigation on the Wonderland Trail that year. We had a “system”. It was tough in my 30s and 40s. It’s even harder now that I am in my 50s.O. Doing things alone is great . Avalanche in the back country is another perfect example . This was carried further in Scouting. Most of the skills you learn will help you to fend for yourself one way or another. It’s nice to have someone else on the rope with you. Responsibility and Teamwork We learned to be responsible and self-sufficient during our childhood. As a team you can survive what would kill you alone. . Being a responsible hunter meant taking ethical shots and using what you kill. to the deep woods is doable but it would be a hard life.O. Catching and cleaning fish.footers in New England (many in winter). Primitive camping while carrying everything you need to survive for two weeks is a tough proposition. The girls helped mom and I helped dad. These valuable lessons were used later in life as I went through boot camp and during service in the military.

I had come home for my Grandpa’s funeral and was returning to New England. . I had drifted away from the true values I had learned early in life. You can’t start learning or teaching these things too soon. boating. Remember what you did as a kid and don’t sell the kid’s of today short. hunting in fields and the woods. safe gun handling and accurate shooting. Teach and learn and cross train. fire building under all conditions. gardening. first aid. making things “homemade”. That’s when the light came on and as I drove it became apparent that I was going the wrong way – both figuratively and literally. Some survival skills to learn right along with reading. It is with family and God and where your roots are. Two people allow you to send someone for help while rendering aid until you are too tired to continue. Losing my grandfather and returning to the north woods had shown me where home really is. Remote locations usually cross that point which is a distinct disadvantage (unless the SHTF). Everyone needs to be able to render first aid. We were chasing the so called “American Dream”. writing and arithmetic are: swimming. There is a point of no return. The action of being responsible for one another is at the root of any team. One person helping may bring back the life but it better happen quickly. Being part of a team or extended family that functions like a team is fun. In the back country one person can’t help himself. Something was wrong and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Two can alternate CPR while waiting for the one who left for help to return with the defibrillator. 10 years ago we moved back home to Michigan after living all over the USA. knot tying. where to get water and how to make it safe to drink. The Prepared Family The family is the primary source of knowledge.Teaching everyone at least something you know and learning from everyone something you don’t know can only make the group stronger. Three people allow almost indefinite support. then it’s done. fishing in rivers and on lakes. The group is only as strong as the weakest link and precious resources are spent covering someone’s a** that’s not up to speed. If help is real far away. If someone gets sick or is tired someone else can step up. CPR is a good example here. Without teamwork you will usually die if something bad happens. camping. Everyone has to be a good shot. Teach them the skills they need and allow them to grow into the responsibility.

Skill sets from the north woods and from the farm are derived from living simple. We didn’t think that the day would come that just about all of what we learned from our family and from our life would come into play. cashed out the 401(k). and bought the homestead from grandma. The kids have great-grandparents and a great-great grandmother. We pruned the grape vines back and tended to the asparagus beds. Bedtime stories were told as we drifted to sleep and the whippoorwills sang into the night. We used to fall to sleep on a feather tick mattress while listening to rain tapping over our heads in the loft of the old log cabin.) I taught a niece and nephew to shoot with the same . My sisters are both Grandmas themselves now and they are taking care of our mom and dad. The folks put down another well up the field and had another septic system installed for their travel trailer. We had a 100 amp power drop installed and we also buried a power cable from the field to the trailer for a 12 volt system (small scale solar and wind). The whole family gets together up here once or twice a year. No one believed him when he came home and told them. We know how to provide for and take care of each other. Do we learn from our mistakes? Preparedness Skills and Materials . Thank God for our tight family and all of the distilled knowledge passed down to us.22 that grandpa used to teach me with almost 50 years ago. now an 8th grader.I resigned my position. It looks like we will be talking of another “Great Depression” soon and the complete cycle renews. living manual and living with nature as part of nature. I now live in a home built over the site of the original log cabin and now we have 7 generations since my great-great grandparents first cleared this piece of land. If the SHTF my sisters and the rest of the family will head up here to the homestead and once again adopt the ways of our Great-Great Grandpa and Grandma. (I refused to get an Firearms ID card so my guns never left the house in 16 years. My wife renewed the old flower beds and I have replaced the split rail fence. We re-roofed everything. Things have now come full circle in our life. My understanding wife of thirty years and I live here on the homestead as stewards of the family heritage. got his first deer this past year. We planted 24 fruit trees and installed irrigation systems for the gardens. He did it on his own. My grandma lives with us in her old house through the summer. My nephew. Everything we have learned through our lives will serve us well. I once again could use guns after living in the tyranny of Massachusetts.

All of the tools required to garden both manually and with gas engines. 5. Several redundant computers and complete wi-fi coverage with satellite internet. books and manuals. Fence building tools and supplies. gas and DWV systems. We must practice our learned skills and trades all of the time to stay fresh and perpetuate our way of life. mauls.500 watt gas generator.We’re preparing for the future and I hope to teach what I can to as many people as I can before it’s over. Wood stove and saws. wedges. and material acquired over the years: Comprehensive set of Snap-On hand tools. Preparedness is a constant quest. It starts with the family and moves out to the extended family then to the neighbors and on to town folk and into the blogosphere. equipment. Survival trades that I've learned: ASE Certified Master Auto Technician Journeyman Machinist and Apprentice Welder. Many people have grown up in similar circumstances and have similar experiences. and lots of lead. All of the carpentry. Survival tools. plumbing and electrical tools needed to build a house. We must keep acquiring new skills and more materials for survival. diagnostic equipment and garage. axes. Experience with all aspects of house construction from framing to finish work. including house wiring and plumbing for water. Professional ditch digger and home brewer of beer. We can survive well if we draw on one another’s strengths and knowledge. Survival firearms battery: . bits of gold and silver. Stores of food.

270 Win.56 (I qualified Expert in USCG) Marlin . 2008.300 Win Mag with optics A manual water pump (the old pump is gone) Wind turbine and photovoltaic panels for water pumping and power generation. Battery bank and inverter More kerosene lamps Night Vision for the AR-15 Radios Tuesday. Permalink Preparations In January. 2-3/4” (I've shot this gun since 1969) Reloading equipment and supplies (loads for Barnes Bullets) Survival Quest 2009 (the final pieces I'll need for grid down and "zombies"): Ruger M77 Mk II .45 ACP (I qualified Marksman in USCG) Stag Arms AR-15 with 20” Bull barrel.22 WMR (squirrel / varmint gun) Mossberg .22 LR (shot this since 1962) Ruger M77 Mk II . I told my wife that we needed to stock-up on food because I felt that the supply lines . 5.Auto-Ordinance Model 1911A1 .32 Win. 3 -1/2” Ulti-Mag in Camo (turkey / duck / goose gun) Winchester Model 1897 12 ga. (my deer rifle) Winchester Model 94 . 2009 Cold and Dark--An Account of an Ice Storm. March 17. the outlook for people in the United States appeared bleak. by Steve S. Special (got my first deer with Grandpa’s gun) Mossberg 12 ga.

butane lighters. I found 4 red 35 gallon chemical barrels that were set aside for gasoline. I noticed that food prices were increasing at an alarming rate in August. There. My wife was starting to wonder about me. I had about six 5 gallon gas cans to operate my 4 wheeler. surrounded by thousands of farmland acres and two liquor stores. I had a 300% increase in Arkansas concealed carry classes. That hasn’t stopped to this day. Starting in November 2008. Handguns would be . my home base. Being a hunter and former U.62x39.were thin and vulnerable. The pantry was full. and other miscellaneous items.22 rimfire. .45 and .38 calibers. I had read Jim's book. looking for one year at a time. staple guns. on average. I began my preparations by Internet search. I found JWR's SurvivalBlog and I bought a copy of his novel. In the meantime. I tried to buy what would last through 2011. Shotguns would be 12 gauge. Rifles would be . She said that if I thought we should buy it. Later that figure would reach 35%. Not much would. three 20 gallon and one 100 gallon propane tanks were filled. I have a 35 acre facility that is a former bean field. and sundry other small engines like lawn equipment and field water pumps.200 square foot building for classroom and office space. They were up 18% on same item purchases. that I should. I had a lot of camping (survival equipment) on hand.S. Stocks of ammunition were increased starting early in 2008. I didn’t. Army officer. My plan for survival guns was simple. I looked at the expiration dates of every purchase. I bought some LED flashlights. Day to day. I bought a freezer at Sam’s Club and filled that also. so I bought with the idea of buying more later. . I got a two burner propane stove with a center grill feature. I only talked about this to a trusted few. I bought food that we generally ate. ropes. I use them for my barbeque grill. my business started to boom. Soon thereafter. and had found many links on the SurvivalBlog that helped me know how much of what to buy to be balanced. I told my wife that we should buy a generator. I am an NRA certified training counselor/instructor. All guns were to be military calibers. a 52 foot trailer for storage. a Harbor Freight store opened in Jonesboro. I have a 1. I started buying cases of canned goods. I now have eight 55 gallon drums. fishing boat. Sleeping bags were there.308 and . I found some water barrels at a local food processing plant. Arkansas. I purchased several more items I saw as essential. 7. polypropylene long johns.30-06 calibers.

Stores emptied out their goods and shelves became bare. We placed a carbon monoxide detector in the room to keep us from being statistics. no one has a backup plan for how to sell anything without electricity. you could see flashes of light as one by one. No cable TV so we cranked up the radio and began to listen to the results. Transportation was what we already had. We ate breakfast normally. the phones didn’t work. What is left? Communications. Arkansas is forecasting a wet winter storm cold front with frigid weather following out of the Northwest. The power was off. The world outside looked like a war zone with ice-laden limbs and the things they crushed. First. Stores of batteries were laid in. With no electricity. Generators and flashlights were nonexistent. Batteries and power supplies followed suit. Outside. open the flue and light the gas logs in the fireplace. The propane stove was set up over the electric range for cooking and a 20 pound bottle of propane was connected to it. which were adjoining. By morning. the temperature had quickly fallen to about 40 degrees. food. Then I set up a propane heater and went about blocking off all rooms except the den and kitchen. I checked on our neighbors to make sure they were coping. Very few vehicles were moving. The Storm January 28. Inside the house. and to exchange cell . I bought a set of 25 mile range pair of Motorola hand held communicators with recharger on sale for $38. Cell phones. The whole world became our refrigerator. Gas cans were a faint memory. we felt isolated in our home. I thought to crack a window for ventilation draft to reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning. 2001 Dodge Durango 4x4 and a 2005 Chevrolet 4x4 extended cab pick-up. Outlying areas quickly ran out of gasoline and propane. I started thinking about how I should have bought a generator.Shelter. Sadly. Freezing rain collected on everything in near biblical quantity. the outside temperature was about 27 degrees Fahrenheit. security. 2009. I used 4 mil plastic to cover two entrances to the den. KAIT –TV weather in Jonesboro. The temperature quickly found about 62 degrees. Many businesses were unable to sell anything as their computers were down and lights and heat were out. I was awakened in the early morning of January 29th and you could hear branches starting to snap with a sound like gunshots. Reports of some break-ins started coming in as people abandoned all electric homes for the designated shelters in town. the transformers on the light poles blew out. When it began. It was time to go to work.

We were on a main highway in town. The telephone system actually works without outside electricity if the type of phone you use doesn’t need 110 volts from the grid. We had one emergency phone for that reason. I disconnected the wire from the circuit breaker and wired it directly to each wire with a male plug on the other end to mate with the wire from the generator. the den wall circuit. Failure to do so could kill workmen repairing downed power lines and connecting transformers. Some people didn’t. The operation book has a chart in it showing the watts used by each type of appliance. There was a truck inbound with 75 generators. You must calculate the [load] amount used by your appliances. the first thing I did was to disconnect the house from the grid by turning off the main breaker. The heater kicked on. I used the cord provided with the generator. with a generator. I wondered how many people knew about that? The day passed relatively uneventfully. outside the house. I asked why they were there. I did this for the heater circuit. I was able to venture out for things that would be nice to have. To get things operational quickly. our gas furnace would work. Many in town were without electricity for . It was the only hole in the preparations. After the passing of the first day of “survival. I went in to the local Lowe’s.phone numbers. like a generator. You see. All you need it for is the electric blower. I bought 10 gauge wire. Twenty minutes later I was in the electric department buying the necessary wire nuts and power cords needed to hook my [newly-purchased] generator to the power panel in my house. I offer one final note about using a generator. In the back of the store there was a line of about 13 people. It was the 30th of January. and we had our electricity hooked to the grid after spending only a few nights without. while everyone fought what southerners call severe cold. To operate the [selected] areas to connect. We had everything we needed to exist in a minor disaster. We turned off all appliances and I pulled out the circuit breaker for the selected rooms. I got in line. after checking a couple of other stores. A few died for their lack of preparedness. and it was operational. You must do this before attempting to connect a generator to your power panel. It has to add up to less than your generators running wattage rating. and the master bedroom wall circuit.” tree limb removal became the priority. When I got home. the kitchen wall circuit. which used four grounded plug outlets. The temperature was unrelenting with nighttime lows of 9 degrees and daytime highs of 20.

Cell phones go down after only a few days without a charge. It was on from the start. Reducing reliance on the grid is the ultimate goal. but I want to talk about future plans. It is good to exercise your plan. plugging the generator to an installed wall socket. Prepare for the worst and pray to God that it doesn’t happen. . Make sure all of your gasoline cans stay filled and stabilized. as a precursor to getting a more comprehensive system. but Mother Nature will have a surprise for you no matter where you are. I am in the process of planning where to install additional natural gas stubs for appliances that can be added. the generator would have had to have been used on a part time basis. LED lights use very little electricity and they are very long lasting. I also bought the connections necessary to hook up the generator just by turning off the main breaker. and cranking it up. If we had been out of power long term. The warmest place in the house was the utility room where the water heater is located. again. Make sure you have plenty of batteries for radios and flashlights. Final Words You can war game and "what if" emergency situations as much as you like. That means that daytime operations would have been using only one or two rooms. at night. Make sure all of your propane bottles stay charged. The natural gas hot water heater was a blessing. Remember to have books and games for those evening hours when you would have been watching television. People in tornado and earthquake zones know about being ready for these things. Limbs still line the highways and yards a month after the event began. In outlying areas. Roger’s Rangers rules #1 rule is "Don’t fergit nuthin!" I may have missed a few issues. Lessons Learned It was nice to be confident in the preparations that we had made. When power goes down. After the fact. The problem is that real situations have a way of waking you up to the holes in your plans. I am going to install photovoltaic panels to run an emergency LED lighting system. This would be a small solar panel. The line crews working to restore power were fantastic. the best fallback is natural gas.three weeks. I bought a portable power battery for that purpose. if you have it. some are still not connected. It was also easy to see the holes in the plan. probably 45-60 watts [and a deep cycle battery]. Make sure you have enough essential medicines. More technology will be added as it becomes available. Do not wait to begin planning for the next disaster. I now have the generator that I knew I would need when the grid goes down.

and you don't need to give them a gate key. The Meter Reader comes once a month to read the meter. I have “country” property on the Grid and have to furnish the Meter Reader a key to access the property to read the electric meter. Thursday. an off-grid parcel is actually advantageous. March 14. In the early stages of the search. self-sufficient retreat. a very big “Pro” to buying off-grid land that was not mentioned is that you will not have strangers having access to your property. March 12. for two reasons: . I am specifically referring to the Meter Reader for the utility company. at your convenience. JWR Replies: Don't forget the propane delivery truck. (Maybe you have a suggestion on how to prevent the meter reader from accessing the property) This stranger therefore has access to the property and also has a key to the gate and obviously has some knowledge of what is physically located on the property since he traverses the property to get to the meter. 2009 Letter Re: Selecting Retreat Properties--Pros and Cons of Buying Remote and Off Grid Permalink Jim: To follow-up on your recent article.Carl D.Saturday. he asked about the pros and cons of buying undeveloped "off grid" properties that do not have utility power poles nearby. 2009 Selecting Retreat Properties--Pros and Cons of Buying Remote and Off Grid Permalink I recently had a consulting client that hired me to do a search on his behalf for a rural retreat property in southwestern Oregon. But at least that can be scheduled for once every couple of years. I have not figured a way to deny them access. Being off grid puts you in a position to be able to keep everyone off of the property which to me carries a lot of value. . This summarizes my reply: From the standpoint of setting up a rural.

) The property is unlikely to have line of sight to neighboring residences.1. This could isolate you from commerce and social interaction especially in an era of fuel scarcity. Friday.) Off-grid properties sell at up to a 30% discount versus comparable properties that have grid power. part of which might be on either US Forest Service road or a road that you have to maintain yourself. 2009 Depression Proof Jobs for a 20 Year Depression .Part 2: Developing a Home-Based Business Permalink Yesterday. I'd like to talk about one specific approach: self-employment with a home-based business. February 27. On a large acreage. in Part1.) They are generally more remote and away from natural "lines of drift" and hence are far less likely to be in the path of the Golden Horde. and then there is very remote--a one hour+ drive to the nearest town. 2. this savings is often enough to pay for installing a photovoltaic power system The downsides: 1.) There is remote (30+ minute drive to the nearest town). . 3. since it is just the "way out in the hills" properties that don't have power poles nearby. Today. Most of the low river valleys have long hence had grid power. I discussed the "safe" and counter-cyclical occupations for the unfolding economic depression. There are a few exception that I've encountered 2.) Off-grid properties tend to be at higher elevation. That can raise the risk of burglary if your retreat house is left unoccupied for extended periods of time.

You can live at your retreat full time. If one of your home-based businesses fails..but I'm not self-employed. That usually doesn't work. and livestock. fruit/nut trees. (Newcomers from the big city certainly don't have hiring priority!) My suggestion is to start a second income stream. since you will be there to tend to your garden. but there are some important points that are worth repeating: The majority of SurvivalBlog readers that I talk with tell me that they live in cities or suburbs. There are numerous advantages to this approach. Their complaint is almost always the same: ". but they would like to live full time at a retreat in a rural area. and the nature of my work doesn't allow telecommuting. with a home-based business. namely: You can get out of debt You can generally build the businesses up gradually. Over the years I've seen lots of people "pull the plug" and move to the boonies with the hope that they'll find local work once they get there. then you can fall back on the other. Once you have that business started." They feel stuck.. I can't afford to live in the country because I can't find work there. so that you don't need to quit your current occupation immediately By working at home you will have the time to home school your children and they will learn about how to operate a business. then start another one.I posted most the following back in late 2005. . This will contribute to your self-sufficiency. Folks soon find that the most rural jobs typically pay little more than minimum wage and they are often informally reserved for folks that were born and raised in the area.

) Burglar Alarm Installation .Ideally. people still set aside a sizable percentage of their income for "escape" from their troubles. then start your own! Mail order/Internet sales of entertainment items. a home-based business should be something that is virtually recession proof. for someone that is preparedness-minded. (When times get bad. Ask yourself: What are you good at? What knowledge or skills do you have that you can utilize. For example. video rental shops have done remarkably well during recessions. or possibly even depression proof. Some good examples might include: Mail order/Internet sales/eBay Auctioning of preparedness-related products. Locksmithing Gunsmithing Medical Transcription Accounting Repair/refurbishment businesses Freelance writing Blogging (with paid advertising) If you have knowledge about a niche industry and there is currently no authoritative blog on the subject. consider which businesses will flourish during bad times. Next.

scambusters. dolls.. and jewelry. which includes instructions and parts. All you have to do is pay a fee up-front for the starter kit. collectibles. Craft Assembly This scam encourages you to assemble toys. you'll be told by the company that they "don't meet our specifications.Other home-based businesses that seem to do well only in good economic times include: Recruiting/Temporary Placement Fine arts." . Sounds good? Well. (See below.. or other craft projects at home with the promise of high per-piece rates. or other "discretionary spending" items Personalized stationary and greeting cards (Freelance artwork) Calligraphy Web Design Beware the scammers! The fine folks at www.) Mail order/Internet sales/eBay Auctions of luxury items. crafts. Creating and marketing your own designs--not "assembly" for some scammer.org have compiled a "Top 10" list of common work-at-home and home based business scams to beware of: 10. once you finish assembling your first batch of crafts.

and no one to sell them to.they offer to pay you $25 per e-mail processed -. Email Processing This is a twist on the classic "envelope stuffing scam" (see #1 below). or outsource the processing to firms. even if you were a robot and did it perfectly. Don't expect to get your money back with this one. you're left with a set of assembled crafts... and often the lists of "potential clients" are outdated or just plain wrong. companies that don't take homeworkers. 9. The only problem is that the list is usually a generic list of companies. it would be impossible for you to meet their specifications. 8. you pay $300-$900 for everything (supposedly) you need to start your own medical billing service at home. as well as a list of potential clients in your area. Medical Billing In this scam. "A List of Companies Looking for Homeworkers!" In this one.In fact. The scammer company is making money selling the starter kits -. Your software may not meet their specifications.. For a low price ($50?) you can become a "highly-paid" email processor working "from the comfort of your own home. What you're not told is that most medical clinics process their own bills. or companies that may have accepted homeworkers long. trying to get a refund from the medical billing company is like trying to get blood from a stone. what do you suppose an email processor does? If you have visions of forwarding or editing emails.. not individuals. So. You're promised state-of-the-art medical billing software.would any legitimate company pay that? 7. As usual." Now. forget it. long ago.not selling the assembled product. . What you get for your money are instructions on spamming the same ad you responded to in newsgroups and Web forums! Think about it -. you pay a small fee for a list of companies looking for homeworkers just like you.

Typing At Home If you use the Internet a lot. this one's at least half-true. "Turn Your Computer Into a Money-Making Machine!" Well. "Just Call This 1-900 Number For More Information. for spammers!" This is much the same spam as #5." you receive a disk and printed information that tells you to place home typist ads and sell copies of the disk to the suckers who reply to you. it should read: "Turn your computer into a money-making machine. above. beware: The Federal Trade Commission may consider it to be a pyramid scheme. but you can be charged with fraud." 3.6. Does that sound like free to you? 2. Once you pay your money.. then odds are that you're probably a good typist. How better to capitalize on it than making money by typing at home? Here's how it works: After sending the fee to the scammer for "more information. however. If the MLM business opportunity is all about finding new recruits rather than selling products or services. Like #8. you'll be sent instructions on how to place ads and pull in suckers to "turn their computers into money-making machines. then you know that there are legitimate MLM businesses based on agents selling products or services. 5. is when the pyramid and the ladder-climbing become more important than selling the actual product or service.. Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) If you've heard of network marketing (like Amway). To be completely true. 1-900 numbers cost money to call.." No need to spend too much time (or money) on this one. and not only can you lose all your money. One big problem with MLMs. and that's how the scammers make their profit. The fine print. this scam tries to turn you into a scammer! 4. Chain Letters/Emails ("Make Money Fast") .. states that it is "free in the sense that you could be earning commissions and bonuses in excess of the cost of your monthly purchase of" the product. Save your money -don't call a 1-900 number for more information about a supposed work-at-home job. too! We saw an interesting MLM scam recently: one MLM company advertised the product they were selling as FREE... though.

then add your name to the bottom. since hard economic times are likely to trigger a substantial crime wave. all they have to do is send you $2. This scam should be called "Lose Money Fast" -. but here's a sample: Much like #5 and #4 above.. Envelope Stuffing This is the classic work-at-home scam. and you already have a strong background in sales. pre-paid envelopes? Well. It's been around since the U. or other undesirables might move in!) .S. And the pre-addressed. when people see those flyers.00 in a pre-addressed. --- In closing. After all. and one day you'll be a millionaire. Ingenious perhaps.. making. Then you stuff that envelope with another flyer and send it to them. 1. the only thing you might be one day is prosecuted for fraud. someone has to keep watch on the tens of thousands of foreclosed.000 envelopes a week that you can stuff. All you have to do is send money and you're guaranteed "up to 1. vacant houses. They promise that all you have to do is send the email along plus some money by mail to the top names on the list. and it's moved onto the Internet like a cockroach you just can't eliminate. you've probably received or at least seen these chain emails. This is a classic pyramid scheme. retailing.. Depression of the 1920s and 1930s. then crack cocaine addicts. but certainly illegal and unethical. Beware of any franchise where you wouldn't have a protected territory. Chicago syndicate politicians. Actually. advertising yet another harebrained work-from-home scheme. you are promised to be paid $1-2 for every envelope you stuff.and it's illegal.If you've been on the Internet for any length of time. or consulting about something where you can leverage your existing knowledge and/or experience. you get a short manual with flyer templates you're supposed to put up around town.. From all that I've heard. with postage and address already affixed!" When you send your money. I'd like to reemphasize that home security and locksmithing are likely to provide steady and profitable employment for the next few years... and most times the names in the chain emails are manipulated to make sure only the people at the top of the list (the true scammers) make any money. most franchises and multi-level marketing schemes are not profitable unless you pick a great product or service. My general advice is this: You will probably be better off starting your own business. (If not watched. pre-paid envelope. There are several variations.

I work at just above minimum wage. due to some changes in my theology. I work a full-time job and another part-time job. or a societal break-down here in the USA resulting from any number of possible reasons. I figured that at the very least we would have a roof and some plantable land. A few years ago. I married.5 acres in the southeast. I fell out of favor with my denomination and had to return home to the USA. With our savings we were able to buy a small rural house and 7.Sunday. As I studied current events I became concerned about the possibility of a world-wide economic and/or societal collapse of some kind. very little understanding of the southern American culture that I found myself living in. It amounts to setting goals and getting your family on board with you. on nine different mission fields around the world. We were able to pay cash. What can you do when you have very limited means? Actually there is much you can do. but was accepted by the missionary societies of my denomination because of my experience under my father and my willingness to go to dangerous areas. I am thankful that the Lord provides. February 22. by Kuraly Permalink I was raised in a missionary family. Our income is very limited. and I was concerned about my responsibility to feed my family should a similar collapse happen here. I wanted it to be ours with no strings attached. and my wife and I have now six children. regardless of what the future held. I was faced with a situation of suddenly having to feed and care for a large family with: 1. I bought in the area my parents lived in to help care for them as they progressed in years. I had witnessed the chaos of the nineties in the former Soviet Union. I was forced to take very low-paying jobs and survive on a low-income. 2009 Perspectives on Prepping on a Very Low Income. I had no formal Theological training. I went out to serve the Lord on my own in the former Soviet Union. At the age of nineteen. The first thing I did was (after my wife and I had many long talks and she began to see . had watched doctors and physicists sweep streets and live off of potatoes and bread for months on end. no formal education/training/skills of any kind and 2.

radios. Let me interject here that after being born and growing up on a third-world mission field. Large scented candles (better than nothing) at closeout sales and garage sales for 30 and 50 cents. beans etc. We began to buy a few extra cans of food when we went shopping. washing in cold water." My first priority was for two weeks worth of provisions. I explained about our limited means. I had also along the way added to my ammunition stocks for my Winchester . exactly how much money was coming in. they were far from spoiled children! They were accustomed to living in tight quarters. how much went to utilities. Some weeks ten dollars of canned goods and/or dried foods like rice. I explained what I believed the dangers were. since the food required for this amount of time was such a major expense. beans or noodles. Anything that was inexpensive.22 LR. noodles. We taught the children to like corn-meal mush and grits since they might get quite a bit of it one day! Gradually we worked our way up to 30 buckets. batteries and other odds and ends to get by. and candles. This raised the issue of long-term storage in buckets. We bought gas cans at thrift stores and garage sales for a dollar apiece. enough food for our family plus a little extra. I gathered the family around and explained everything to them.things in a similar way). feed corn. and just about anything we could scrounge that might come in handy if the lights went out. My father gave us a tiller with a blown engine which we were able to get fixed. Some weeks just food. This opened up many entirely new possibilities. We began to buy canning jars and lids to put away in the attic for the future. mylar bags and oxygen-absorbers. and we began to garden. The first garden . It did not take us long to build up enough supplies to last two weeks in an emergency. and ten dollars in ammo or medical supplies. We had to save for months to buy an order of oxygen-absorbers and mylar bags on ebay! We found low-cost buckets and began to fill them with rice. some weeks just extra gasoline. we began to focus on the six-month time frame. fuel.30-30. eating cheap. We had enough gasoline to drive to work for two weeks (if needed). At this point I made a strategic decision. I set a goal of 20 dollars per week for prepping. etc. but reducing it in favor of procuring means and experience in growing and canning our own food. Not entirely stopping the food storage. After we reached the point where we felt we had enough for a two-week catastrophe. I explained what we needed to do as a family. we had to make sure that it would last for several years. and basically just "roughing it. and my bolt-action . I decided that we needed to invest our extra funds in gardening. corn meal.

some get eaten by our dogs. but we didn't. I am happy to announce a much higher survival rate for animals that we bring home now. I then began to consider what type of semi-automatic I could afford. it would have saved the lives of a lot of animals. We let half of them free range and half range in portable pens that we built which have an open floor that we could move each day to fresh grass. If you haven't figured it out yet. We learned how to make them roost and lay where they were supposed to. We have learned to care for them. We bought a goat and promptly saw it attacked and killed by a stray dog. financially as well as emotionally. We had to learn everything from scratch. Sometimes we would wake up and find rabbit carcases torn to shreds. and watched some of them die. I felt like I needed a greater firearms capability (what man doesn't?). We had zero experience at any of this. Gradually I am seeing my children grow confident in their relationship to the animals under their care.was not very well thought-out. That hurt. I bought another goat. We learned about bugs and blight. Gradually we are learning the needs of these animals and how to make them produce for us. some of them be eaten by neighbor's dogs. We learned first-hand what pollination means and about soil fertility. and they learned things the hard way. My wife is a musician. We watched them eat their own eggs and learned to give them calcium. These have survived. and the hardy survivors begin to lay eggs. My kids handled most of this. I spent my life traveling and overseeing the translation of Christian literature into foreign languages. We were totally green. After sending the dog to join the goat "on the other side". We gained valuable experience. If we had had some kind of hands-on training. We bought some rabbits and learned a lot. some did not. real fast! We experimented with many types of portable cages for rabbits which would allow us to move them from one grassy spot to another without giving them time to dig a burrow. At first I bought a Mosin-Nagant since they were so cheap ($75) and the ammo was dirt-cheap as well. I thought long and hard. But we learned. and no one around that we knew to advise us. because a neighborhood cat had gotten to them. I looked at the prices of ammo which was very critical since I would . and then another. Some things grew. We also invested in chickens.

We have made it a priority to buy a generator at least strong enough to run the well and freezers for an hour or two a day. along with a row of thorny bushes in front of the wire next to the road. I add Sta-Bil and plan to use/rotate it yearly (as long as the price stays low). In response to this my next expenditure is to be fence posts. I am also trying to fill up as many containers as possible with gasoline. We also have several large piles of sandstone (we live on top of a mountain) which could be placed strategically and then perhaps sand bags on top of that. I know that this is only a temporary solution but is about all we can handle right now. We also have a neighbor 1/4 mile away which has an artesian spring on his property. and to start checking the thrift stores for pillow cases to buy and store. I have gradually gotten up to about 500 rounds for each of them. Our water supply is a [grid-powered] electric well. The house is only about 65 feet from the dirt road in front of our house. fencing. and barbed wire. My greatest concern is our proximity to the road.have to train my entire family to shoot. I then turned my attention to our home and it's defense. I just need to check on the ramifications of the high iron content. though it has extremely high iron content. about five miles from a small town. and last but not least. semi-auto and the ammo was very cheap at the time. I am very thankful for the non-fiction writing contribution about the siphon pumps for wells such as mine. we are close to our neighbors 100 yards +/-. This is one of my biggest worries. After purchasing these guns I began to pick up ammo for them when I could find it on sale. dependable. I later added a cheap 12 gauge pump. about 15 miles from a large town. My remedy/forlorn hope is to have plenty of sand and gravel on hand. We could also cut logs and add that to the mix. While we live in the country. At the time the best deal for us appeared to be the SKS rifle. offering no ballistic protection. a 17 round Bersa Thunder 9mm. that offered up new possibilities which I have not had time to address yet. I have purchased two 330 gallon plastic livestock watering tanks and several drums which I can fill at the first sign of trouble. I can also load them on my little trailer and pull them down to the neighbor's to fill up from his well. It was cheap (a good quality Yugo[slavian SKS] was less than $200). perhaps we would have time to bag up sand bags and at least harden up certain corners or rooms of the house. and about 90 miles from Atlanta (upwind fortunately). I would like to keep . A looter or burglar/rapist could be at the door or windows before the dog barked. Our house is a soft target.

And it is some of the finest farm land in the world. but potatoes grow without trying. to trust Him for that which is beyond our vision and power. Some vegetables will grow great. I have four wind generators that I . Some of the information in the previous letters is wrong and I would like to clarify them . As for power. 2009 Two Letters Re: Alaska as a Retreat Locale Permalink Jim. Our immediate plans are to build more pens and raise more chickens and goats. We also look forward to planting a much bigger garden this spring and maybe use some of our hard-won experience of last year. everything grows amazing here. perform our duties as husbands and wives. mothers and fathers. Our responsibility is to be good stewards of the talents we have.at least 250 to 500 gallons on hand at all times. We want to spend more time with them in the woods and in the garden so that they feel comfortable there and begin to think about survival from their own perspective. As Christians we have "read the back of the Book" and we know Who wins. We also are beginning to exploit the library for free resources for them to study on various topics. It gets light here in May and gets dark at night again in late August. The future of this country looks grim. as well as herbcollecting hikes from the local community college field school (which are free and fun). I may start using them instead. Monday. I live near Delta. but you learn to live with less and enjoy it more. The growing season may be a little shorter in days of light. that's the idea. For starters I would like to say that Jim you are dead-on with your Delta Junction recommendation. I buy old gas cans at yard sales and just found a source for cheap 55 gallon drums with sealed lids ($3). We also want to involve the kids in martial arts classes if we can afford it. Corn doesn't like it. some don't do so well. And as for isolation. but in total hours of light it is much longer than other places. solar is awesome here in the summer. and ultimately. at least in the Delta area you do not need to worry about that in the winter. but in winter the wind is ever present. February 9. maybe a pig or two. Things are harder to get.

mush dogs etc. hour winds that blew down many trees and damaged a lot of structures. etc. (Yes we have buffalo in Alaska). I have trees that I know weren't there ten years ago and are over twelve feet tall.Z. Spruces grow well here. We just went through a couple weeks of -50 to -60(Tok recorded -78) temperatures then 70 m. There is plenty of water though. stay where you are. I wouldn't encourage anyone to try to move here and set up a retreat this late in the game. We have been here for over 10 years now and have our place set up pretty well. I will never go outside [Alaska] again. and birch is my main heat. I have seen -72. fish. A lot of Russian immigrants have moved from the lower 48 into the Delta area. And they grow faster not slower. We live off grid and in the bush. My suggestion for people who are thinking about moving to Alaska is simple.h. are used to constant extreme weather changes. and stockpile it. you can keep it. Most of the ones I have met seem to be good people but most live off . and can do it on your own.000 gallon tanks buried in their yard. I never had a loss in the battery bank. Along with Many other species of flora and fauna. Moose and caribou ar always around as a meat source. Fuel is more expensive here. but it fluctuates like anywhere else. Rawles I too am a long time reader and this is also the first time I have written. As for me. or find some place else. I have a fair sized house. These things are a regular occurrence.p. In this area it is not uncommon to see the temps dip below -60. trap. It is harsh up here. And the stores never have what you want. It is dark all winter. I live in Delta Junction area and love it. In this area it is common for people to have a couple of 1. As for the wood situation. Galt's letter concerning Alaska as a retreat locale. I live off of their grid anyway. my well is thirty feet deep. and the pump is set down to twenty feet. certain types of trees do incredibly well here.built from old car alternators and Fan blades. hunt. in Alaska Mr. buy when the price is low.F. On the other hand Alaska is not a place for those who can not take care of themselves. I urge all of your readers to take head to Mr. as with buffalo in this area. catalyst stove and burn 5-to-7 cords of wood per winter. . and a new. so I am used to adapting. Unless you have lived a subsistence lifestyle for a while.

Wells are at $50 a foot this year. Most of the farmers get buy living off of government programs and are deeply in debt. Fire wood from Delta Lumber is $180 per cord until they run out for the winter other sources are up to $250. (Barley. If you buy land where there is bed rock you may drill 450 deep and still get mastodon pee to drink. Because of the GMD program everyone around here thinks their land has gold on it and prices it accordingly. I have seen one add for firewood for $300 per cord. Delta is profiting from a small military bubble economy brought about by the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program but with you know in office now all that could come to a screeching halt at anytime. Dry firewood is a must because -50 the soot form green wood builds in the chimney thus creating chimney fire.69. Currently heating oil is 2.23 at the pump in town. The bad bunch of them are thieves already not just the Russian but Americans also. The people from Delta lumber are great people and will work themselves silly trying make sure no one goes cold. potatoes. and carrots are the main crops grown here. Yes. Delta does have a big farming community.) For the last three years we have had a frost in the middle of August that pretty much killed any vegetables that were not in a green house. They didn't get in enough dry wood for the winter. Diesel is currently $3. more if its delivered. Better plan on how to get water out of the well when the power goes down. Most people here are enjoying high power bills now since Golden Valley increased their rates. Wells in Delta are any where from 40 to 450 feet in depth. The average size house power bill is running $300. The ones that don't live off the program hurt. The local jobs don't pay enough to live on the grid and the government jobs stay filled mostly.$400 [per month] in . It hit $5 last winter. Luckily they were able to run to separate garage and no one suffered any cold injuries. Finding a place to cut fire wood now is getting hard to find. When the welfare stops we'll have problems. The cold doesn't allow much time for plant matter to decompose plus it's hard to have crop rotation with only Barley. Most farms lay dormant wile collecting CRP checks. A friend of mine got burned out at -50 for that very reason. hay grasses. I have heard that there will be no more new CRP contracts in the future.welfare. Anyone planning to move here and find a job might be in for a rude awakening. The fertility of the farm land has gone way down too because of the climate here. The Russian community has a bad reputation for it though.

The cabin is only a place to warm up. Wind power is a possibility if your turbine can withstand the wind. Rent is running around a $1.the winter maybe less if your really frugal. In a diesel that is like running a 1. The wind here isn't steady it is really gusty. they were the lazy type and didn't ever have enough wood cut so they covered the windows and blocked out some of the cold but mostly the light.000 to $16. cut more fire wood when it's not too cold. care for the horses. Living is done outside the cabin. They pulled up [stakes] and left middle of the winter. It is easy to get lazy and lethargic during the winter. if I were looking for a retreat locale this late in the game then it would be some place more hospitable. How would you like to cut 20 cords of wood with a hand operated saw and axe when you run out of gas and or you saw goes down? Running chain saws in the sub-zero weather is hard on them. I told the lady to make sure she kept the windows uncovered in the winter. The only cure for it is to be outside. They do it to eat. I am not knocking them for that. build some log furniture. then you's better find out before you try to make a permanent move here. not good for turbine. People who don't procrastinate and get all there chores done and food stores in order for the winter and plan to stay in the cabin for the winter suffer the worse. They made it though one winter but the next one they didn't. Cost to build is running around the $150 per square foot range and going up. Cabin fever has been the demise of many people who move here and plan to live the wilderness experience. Better get extra clutches for them. Well. If you don't know how Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) will affect you.500 watt electric heater. It don't matter what the the temp is you got to get out side when it's light. Closer to the mountains it has been 100 mph. People do the latter two to cope. When the SHTF it will be even worse therefore even we will have to start going further into . alcoholism. We had a couple move in not to far from us. We did move here for the lack of people and when things get even worse I expect people to start migrating out of Alaska especially the interior.000 depending. I personally have never had it. It requires a lot of hard work to live here more especially so if your living off the land. We trap.000 and up for a three bedroom home. SAD has be the cause for suicide. We don't procrastinate but we don't stay in either. As much as I love living here. The Russian community poaches a lot of the moose in the Delta management area. I have too much work to do. mush dogs. You have to fight the urge daily. Certified sewers are from $6. fire up the blacksmith forge. You have to keep your vehicles plugged in. and drugs. eat and sleep. What about when the mosquitoes bloom and you have run out of bug dope? Hunting is decent here.

It ain't. the suburbs are a bad. Anyone planning to come to Alaska to survive the upheaval better have there you know what together or they won't make it. been converting to suburban communities for workers who commute to Anchorage. and can produce huge vegetables because of the length of the days. Therefore. February 7. Also. but there is some in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. 2009 Letter Re: Alaska as a Retreat Locale Permalink Mr.the bush to hunt using sled teams to get there. People here are willing to help if you are not stupid. [Here they eat mostly] fish. depending where you are. However. this is the first time I have written your site. As we all know. bad place to be WTSHTF. Some vegetables do well there. Sorry that my letter has gotten so long but I want people to know what they are getting into if they come here thinking it's paradise. and I wouldn't have it any other way. but it's the life we love. carrots and cabbage. there is a major drawback to this fact. I have heard the climate in the south compared to that of the mid-Atlantic states on the East coast. This land is unforgiving and the least mistakes get big in a hurry. one may want to think twice unless the situation forces their location there. Most parts of the state are totally without agriculture. First of all. as a retreat locale. if one intends to do any kind of farming in Alaska. It has. The climate can range from arctic in the north to relatively mild in the south. let me say that Alaska is my favorite place in the world. The letters posted on your site today respecting Alaska as a retreat locale raised a few possible issues in my mind.B. Although being an avid reader. The salmon that makes it this far inland is [best -suited for] dog food. However. the "Mat-Su" Valley is where it is possible. such as potatoes. The Mat-Su valley is one of the most densely populated areas of the state.C. The flesh is a faint pink to gray color as they are close to the end of the life span. as of late. it is important to remember that the conditions and terrain in Alaska are very wide ranging. It is pretty beat up by the time is gets here. If you plan to have dogs and sled they require a lot of food. The growing season is usually around 100 days long. from the perspective of retreat logistics. Rawles. Our favorite saying around here is "If you gonna be dumb then you'd better be tough" . Saturday. And even if one were to build a retreat in a .

there is no way to know that it would remain so for the next five years or more.'s letter says. I would strongly recommend a logger certification class for anyone planning to possibly use firewood as a retreat fuel. due to the oblique angle at which it hits the state (as it is so far north). with no gas or diesel = no power tools to cut [and haul firewood]. is extremely dangerous. as one letter pointed out. felling trees. ammo. food.L. firewood is a possibility. Trees grow much slower in Alaska People who do not heat their homes in this manner would be surprised at the amount of fuel a wood stove can use in a winter. especially by hand. however. it takes roughly 10 to 15 cords to get through the winter. and it may prove more difficult in Alaska. but the shipping is still expensive. This makes these products not only more expensive. Although the course will focus on mechanical forestry. but this raises three issues. medical supplies and any other product must be shipped in from the [continental] US or elsewhere. and ammo is pretty over-priced. to heat the house on my family farm. Third. with a little to spare for safety's sake. Solar is out. it would take up time for farming and other chores. Imagine cutting that much firewood on a 25 . but it is less intense than elsewhere. Fuel. unless one has a retreat on a very spacious lot. especially outside of the urban centers. Not only is there very little light. Ordering off the web makes them easier to get. fuel. but generally less available. Building materials. Hand cutting firewood is also time consuming. too. As K. Prepping before the SHTF is made more difficult by the state's isolation. Fuel of any kind is the most expensive in the nation. Since it would need to be done in the summer. I don't know a lot about wind. any parts would be difficult to get.section of the valley not yet suburban. Also. This might not be a problem if you are part of a large retreat group. guns. at least during the winter. not Alaska. As he says. the safety principles are the same universally. For instance. in any way. Getting by without fossil fuels is a main goal of most preppers. Any broken hand tools would be irreplaceable. so that may be a possibility. and even having extras is likely not enough when you plan to cut by hand and burn firewood for a very extended period of time. And that is back in New York. If it was. it is possible to run out of firewood to cut. is a major problem.

but that is a bad way to meet the neighbors. but would present much greater difficulties than other feasible places. even in today's economy. teeming masses of Anchorage is troubling. . My wife thinks I'm trying to keep it all for myself. then go for it. especially after TSHTF. with no fuel available. Its proximity to the hungry. 2009 Retreat Building Lighting Systems. Galt JWR Replies: Thanks for that input.) Monday. I have my doubts about the viability of the MatSu Valley in worst-case collapse. Army Northern Warfare School). in Alaska's interior. One may be able to cut off of their property. This letter ran much longer than I planned.. by The Old Yooper Permalink .acre lot for five years or more. and I would like to go on further. I haven't been there since the summer of 1980 (when I attended the U. and one can only wonder what it would be like grid-down. If you think you can do it. In short. Alaska cannot feed its population. but with: Better farming conditions Lower prices in general A climate not requiring huge amounts of fuel for the winter Ability to travel through the US without crossing international borders (If they still exist after TSHTF) And so forth. It is absolutely possible. one can find the same type of isolated area.S. but time prevents me from doing so. I encourage anyone serious about living in Alaska to look at the Delta Junction area. February 2.. think twice about a retreat in Alaska. but it struck me as a very productive agricultural region.J. In the lower 48.

It’s important to try to keep your home as normal as possible in the hard times ahead for you. It’s not that I didn’t know that when I built the cabin. Today we are heading into a monumental depression of historic magnitude. not as good as some. kitchen and dining room. My home does not fit the definition of a retreat. There are lots of homesteads too far off the beaten path to have grid power connected up here in the UP. day to day life can get pretty difficult at best. refrigeration. So a failure of one or even two will not make my lights go out. I just did not think it was anything I needed to have at the time. The utility company wanted as much money to run the power lines through the woods back to my cabin as the cabin cost me to build. I know the subject of lighting may seem somewhat mundane and even silly to some. The cabin is fully wired for 110/220V AC power. reliable lighting. normal household electrical current. it’s just the way I am. All lighting systems take energy of some form just as cooking and heating do. Rawles has said in the past “two is one and one is none”. This is not that unusual in the UP as it may seem to most people. It is as modern as most houses today except for how every thing works. they hope. two baths. Only by coincidence has my home worked out to fit a retreat definition. this is the first thing to keep in mind when planning for your lighting systems. It has never had grid power run to it. Supplied via gas generator.Lighting systems in a retreat home (not connected to the grid). put a few candles away and we will be OK. In later essays (if anyone is interested) I can explain cooking. your family and whoever may be seeking refuge with you. I have four. heating. I think it was Benjamin Franklin that said “prepare for the worst and hope for the best” and that’s as true today as it was over 200 years ago. I hope you don’t mind my folksy/personal writing style. better situated them many. living room. I have learned this the hard way. electricity. separate. But without sustained. distinct and independent (from each other) lighting systems in the house. It is quite secluded. As Mr. not included in the square footage above. wind . The cabin is 2000 sq. ft. by experiencing a failure in a system. The first lighting system is AC electric. I built it about 30 years ago in the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) when the idea of a retreat location was not on my radar screen. No one truly knows how bad it will get or how long it will last. I will only concentrate on lighting in this essay. with three bedrooms. the only house at the end of a dead end dirt road. etc. Also a full basement.

To light them I use a Bic lighter under the mantle and turn on the gas. however I tend to forget about them being on and along with the TV and lights on in the living room. I only have . [JWR Adds: These are so-called "phantom loads". you flip a switch and the lights come on. I have two styles of gas mantle lights in my home. you know how that is) the batteries are drawn down much too fast. to light them. My second lighting system is propane gas. It followed the line into the house. These are gas mantle lights. Mantles cost about $7. The phone lines are underground but the lightning hit it anyway. When I first installed the gas lights. so I can turn off the TV. spare parts would be out of the question. and inverter/charger battery bank system. One of the exceptions are the under-cabinet 10 watt halogen lights in the kitchen. We all know how electric lights work. I soon switched to a Bic lighter. Well I can’t use the kids excuse anymore. and I have instant light. That is true with inverter power also. unless gas becomes unavailable? I have had generator and/or inverter system failures. Just to be clear about electricity. typically caused the microcircuits for clocks and other sub-modules. For the most part the electric lights in the house are compact fluorescent with a few exceptions. bathroom and a bedroom (kids. I have run out of gas. I would use a kitchen match (wooden matches). NOTE: I have plug strips supposedly with electrical breakers built into them. I must admit that they are nice to have on and 130 watts is not all that much either. blowing every phone jack off the walls and ruined all three of my phones.00 each. The cabin is plumbed for gas lights in most of the main rooms down stairs and the master bedroom and bathroom upstairs.] The lightning went across these plug strips as if they were hard wired in. They are about as bright as a 65 to 70 watt incandescent light bulb. My homes owners insurance covered all repairs and replacements. and the like so they will not run down the batteries. It also crossed over to the electrical wiring and fried most every thing plugged in to wall outlets. This was a major system failure. as long as you use the right inverter system. it's grandkids now. Ten watts is not much but there are 13 of them under the cabinets. All modern electronics and appliances use power even when there not in use. stereo. yes even the best will not last indefinitely. again if anyone is interested I can go into greater detail about the electrical systems in another essay. I soon discovered I was very good at poking a hole in the mantle with the match. The worst electrical failure I have experienced was lightning hitting the phone line coming into the cabin.generator. However in a TEOTWAWKI there would be no insurance and no repairs or replacements unless I fixed them myself and. aggravating at the time but not a major problem. it is by far the most convenient and at the same time the most susceptible to failure of all the lighting systems I use. The first and the ones I started with are Humphrey gas lights.

I have all three styles in my cabin. Humphrey gas lighting fixtures can be found at most propane distributors and country hardware stores. If you do not know how to install gas fixtures have a licensed plumber do them. When I installed the gas lights I used 1⁄2” soft copper tubing for main runs and 3/8” soft copper tubing off the main run for a single lighting fixture.. Gas lights are just as bright as electric lights. Both the Humphrey and Falks gas lights use the same globes and mantles. Falks gas lights can be ordered from Lehman's.23 lb. If you did the math you will find that it isn’t exactly 20 lbs. A 20 lb.085 lb of gas per hour per mantle. Both Falks and Humphrey gas lights use about . If you ran a gas light for 5 hours a night one 20 lb. If there is a leak (and there will be some) at a connection you can have an instant blow torch on your hands. Never use a match to check for leaks. These are a much more elegant lighting fixture made in Canada out of solid brass. I have several spare mantles and globes on hand at all times. A single mantle wall mount. As far as I know there is only one style.7 gallons of gas. and that blow torch can just as well be in your face. These are good dependable well made lighting fixtures of sheet metal construction. Therefore a 20 lb. double mantle wall mount and a double mantle chandelier. propane tank (type for gas grills) contains somewhere in the neighborhood of 4. There are three styles of Falks lighting fixtures to pick from. the numbers aren’t carried out properly to the last decimal place. I think a little math is in order here. One gallon of propane weighs about 4. the only drawback is there a little homely. Only use soft copper tubing and flare fittings that are designed for gas applications. propane tank will run one mantle light for approximately 234 hours of continues use. tank will . If you put in gas lights never use hard copper tubing that requires soldering the joints. The second gas lighting fixture and the one I prefer is Falks gas lighting fixtures. a wall mount fixture.two of them. The cost for the single Falks gas light is about $80 US and $75 US for a Humphrey gas light. Use a soap swab to check for gas leaks at every connection.

I have a 500 gallon propane pig (tank) for gas. (Just a little whining). (not when).05 per hour to run one light. A log cabin retains heat very well. If you are going to use Aladdin lamps you will need to stock up on Aladdin Chimneys. to coat your ceiling and fill the air with a witches' brew of noxious gas and smoke. it just takes a little practice to learn how to use them. I can heat my cabin with nothing but Aladdin lamps (if it’s not too cold out). that’s a lot of heat in the summer time from one lamp. tank will run one mantle light for approximately 1. tanks is the most expensive way to buy and store propane gas. Food. I also use propane for other things in my cabin. which is kind of a lot for just lighting. After making it sound awful. Aladdin lamps can be a bit temperamental to operate. There are two types of Aladdin . one is a Majestic Table lamp. At that price it cost approximately $0. You can’t say that for gasoline. My third independent lighting system. All Aladdin lamps are mantle lamps similar to Coleman Lanterns however they use a round wick like an old kerosene lamp. but the only things that I can see going down in price is real estate and gasoline. The temperamental part. If you would like to try Aladdin lamps they are available at many country hardware stores and Lehman’s by mail order. repairs of anything and the stuff you need day to day haven’t gone down at all. A 100 lb. However if you don’t turn the wick down. Aladdin lamps will generate the equivalent of a 50 watt incandescent light bulb and at the same time will put out about 2. And if you ran a gas light for 5 hours a night. clothing. I make lots of mistakes. Also propane will store for ever with no degradation of the gas (it doesn’t "go bad"). I like my Aladdin lamps.176 hours of continues use. All you have to do is turn down thee wick so the horn is not touching the mantle and the carbon will burn off the mantle. If it is not you will get flame spikes (I call them horns) coming up into the mantle and if. The last time propane was delivered last October it cost $2. On the bright side. these little fiery horns touch the mantle it will start building up with carbon. A side note: I am told that we are in a deflationary spiral. In the evenings in the fall and spring of the year. I use two types of kerosene lights in the cabin. the wick must be trimmed evenly all around the top. kerosene or diesel. and all my windows are triple glazed. The first is Aladdin lamps. Mantles and Wicks. tank will last for 235 days more or less. I have four Aladdin lamps. However refilling 20 lb. kerosene lights.last for 47 days.700 BTU’s of heat. and the two others are on each end of the fireplace mantle. and three Genie III shelf lamps one of which is in a hanging fixture in my bedroom.49 per gallon. I’m sure someone will check my math to see if it works out and that’s Okay. the mantle will continue to build up carbon and eventually put out copious amounts of lovely black soot. one 100 lb.

How mush kerosene should be stored? I am told that kerosene will last for about 15 years before it goes bad. In 2008 I used about 30 gallons of kerosene. It is amazing how much stuff is thrown away that could be used in a grid down situation. it allows the glass to move as it heats up and cools off without breaking. In my opinion the Heel-Less Chimney is superior. Just feed a prewaxed string (wick) through the hole in the bottom of each candle mold. Almost forgot. After the lamp is hot you can adjust the brightness. I also have one very ornate Victorian hanging library lamp in my dinning room. As the kerosene flows faster the flame will get bigger and bigger.00 a Gallery Adapter will convert a Burner to use a Heel-less Chimney. Newly manufactured Aladdin Lamps come with Heel-Less Chimneys. If it sounds like my cabin is old fashioned. it casts 8 candles at a time. I have had one of these for a very long time. The wicks are consumables and no matter how careful you are chimneys break. I trim the wick just to clean it up flat across its top and I cut a small 45º angle off each end of the wick. so the flame will have a domed appearance. and lots of prisms. The last lighting system is just old fashion candles. If that is not clear just experiment with it. every time the lamps are filled the wick should be trimmed. I’ve had them last for years and also had them break in a week. There are two basic ways to make candles. it is. I have several table and wall mounted old fashion kerosene lamps. The first is the Lox-On Chimney. Several years ago I was able to acquire about 200 pounds of wax from a company I worked for. For about $12. When they had a product change on the coating machine they had to purge all the wax out of the machine and put in a different formula for the changeover. I use more in the winter then in the summer. bend it over so it will not come out. The candle mold is simple to use. If you plan on using kerosene lamps stock up on wicks and chimneys. glass shade. There is no reason for the chimney to soot up if you just start with a low flame and let the lamp heat up. light the wick with a low flame and let the lamp and kerosene in it heat up. The company applied wax to one of the products they manufactured. All this wax I have stashed will someday have to be made into candles. It is solid brass with a ruby red hob nail. If you’re going to use kerosene as one of your lighting systems I would suggest storing from 100 to 200 gallons in 55 gallon plastic drums. The first is to mold (cast) them in a candle mold. One rule of thumb in lighting any kerosene lamp. Tie the other end to a rod across the top of the mold . As the kerosene gets hotter its viscosity goes down and flows much faster. you will learn as you go. In a TEOTWAWKI I would be mush more conservative than I am right now.Chimneys. The purged wax was pumped out into five gallon buckets and discarded.

or make. never melt wax in your house and never on your kitchen stove. . we heard crashes as our neighbor's trees lost massive limbs. A wax fire is almost impossible to put out with water. or PVC plastic pipe would work also. Remove the mold from the water and using a wooden rod with an end on it that fits the full diameter of the candle push the candle out of the mold and let cool.in advance . everything became coated with a half-inch to an inch of ice: roads. But if anyone is interested in hand dipping candles. The second way to make candles is by dipping them.and fill the mold with wax. trees. just Google the subject to learn how. dip in hot water and pull out the candles. Trim the string off the bottom of each candle and store in a cool place until needed. Melted wax is highly flammable. Cut to the length desired and chamfer both ends inside and out side (de-burr it). I make candles outside away from any buildings on a nice summer day. Candle molds can be made fairly simply to just about any length and diameter you desire.everything. In the morning. Use the same procedure for casting candles above. After the candles are cast and hardened put the molds in vary hot water to loosen the wax from the mold. About a quarter million people were without power in our county. Take a cap that fits over the end of the tubing and drill a hole in the center of it to fit the size of wick you have. We knew it was only a matter of time before trees limbs (which are not properly trimmed back by our utility company in an attempt to cut costs) collapsed on power lines and caused widespread outages. This way is a little more cumbersome [and time consuming] and I don’t recommend it. . but almost everyone in the western half of the state had lost power.is critical. Do not take this warning lightly. cars. One more safety concern. power lines . Use hard copper tubing. Within a few hours. I have made 1” diameter x 14” long candle molds. it just spreads the fire over the kitchen and all over you. and anyone that is with you at the time. Let the wax solidify. but this is not a drawback in my mind.The Old Yooper Letter Re: Lessons from the January Ice Storm Permalink Jim: The Ice Storm that just plastered Kentucky brought some reminders of just how bad things can get and how being prepared . everything had turned to crystal. Throughout the night. The ends of the candle will be flat.

2009 The Community Retreat. Out in the rural areas. Kerosene lamps and plenty of fuel.S. Sunday. gone. and those who couldn't were sheltered in the campus auditorium. Lots of people I know have no alternatives to heat their homes or cook food. . My next home will be better equipped with alternative sources of heat and power. so as I headed out the next morning on a full tank of gas. I can't even light it manually. I will be buying a dependable generator once this crisis passes. It's amazing when you fully realize how dependent our society has become on electricity. Looking for a generator at the local big box home and garden center? Forget it. Fireplaces. it didn't help as hundreds of traffic lights weren't working. Extra stored fuel for your vehicle (which would have allowed you to make that 8 hour round-trip).dead. gone. gone. The sales guy told me they weren't going to get restocked for the rest of the season. even if it mean melting buckets of snow--which is agonizingly slow and laborious. gone. and prepare systematically: Wood or coal fired stoves with a horizontal cook top. It's as if a nuclear ice bomb had been dropped on the state. My daughter called from the university she attends about a four hour drive to the West. like mine. Their whole city was without power and water. they say it will be two weeks or more. Get extra. February 1. my plan was to stop at each significant town on the way to check their power and gas pumping status. not one city on the way had electricity.J. if possible. We are being told it will take up to 7 days to completely restore service in our county. Traffic was snarled badly and travel times easily doubled. I've learned a lesson: get what you need before you need it. which is completely urban. JWR Replies: Events like the recent ice storm underscore the need to be self -sufficient: Think things through. Driveway salt. I turned back. Each stop was the same as the next . Unfortunately. again with plenty of fuel. Temperatures have been dropping into the teens at night. As I neared the half-way point on my gas gauge.Our county actually did a good job of plowing and salting roads. Gas cans. a backup power generator. by Kathy Harrison . are electrically controlled gas logs. Often overlooked in winter is the need for a backup water supply. quickly sold out. The university asked students to leave. Ice scrapers. They didn't have any cots so you had to sleep on the floor or in the auditorium chairs. Snow shovels. Hundreds of businesses are closed and loosing money every day the power stays off. and water filtration. She wanted me to come pick her up.

compost piles. some more interested in the implications of Peak Oil. King Corn and Life At The End Of The Empire were shown. evacuating to a retreat is not a proposition that is readily available to very many. Out of this format. most importantly. Therefore. Such a town is likely to have a well-developed sense of community. building small businesses and. Pulling off such a feat off in a large city or an affluent suburb would be pretty difficult. “how do we locate like-minded families and establish a network of support. we would be well advised to explore how to approach ways to turn our own residences into retreat communities. There are generally problems with finances as well as family commitments to contend with. no rules of order. Each film was followed by a discussion group. with possibility of barter arrangements and the sharing of skills and tools in such towns?” We began by attending a film series a few years ago. Such communities are generally located in areas that have climates suitable to growing food crops. You will also likely find a diverse set of necessary skills. Free showings of films such as The End of Suburbia. Many folks. The location of the community is of the utmost importance. We have no membership list. Setting up this kind of series can happen at a library or house of worship. forging important community ties that would not be easily broken. a core group formed. . We do follow a loose agenda to ensure that we get some work20accomplished but much of our time together is devoted to chit chat about current topics and sharing ideas. some with financial collapse. We are a diverse group. We began meeting on a monthly basis. Others are the local growers of organic produce and the breeders of heritage breed livestock. like me. have spent years in establishing perennial food plants. no dues and no criteria for coming to our monthly meetings. A small town in a rural location with a high proportion of families who already raise food and livestock is your best bet. Hunting is often a part of the local culture so firearms ownership is not seen as a problem.Permalink Establishing a retreat seems to be the dream of many survivalists but realistically. It has been my experience that a large number of survival-minded folks find themselves living in this kind of locality. strong family ties and a faith-based community. all with the sense that life as we knew it was unlikely to be sustainable for the long term and that we needed to take steps to prepare for the eventual change. garden plots. The question then becomes.

This is a series of free workshops devoted to helping people learn valuable skills from others. he bought enough for many other group members. photovoltaic systems. We have helped each other get in our winter wood supply. This was remarkably well-attended and led to a day long event where folks opened their homes to people who wanted to see each system in operation. cheese making. A couple of us are really interested in wild foods. We saw underground homes. The object is to make all of us less dependant and share skills that might otherwise be lost. vehicles and equipment. . We consider helping each other as a given. When my husband scored some very inexpensive sap buckets. We have had classes in raising chickens. Together we gathered fox grapes and put up 20 gallons of juice.One of our most successful endeavors has been our "101" classes. Out latest project is to take a firearms safety course together. herbal medicine. solar heat collectors. When a major ice storm left our town without power for over a week. we set up a panel of people already alternative sources of energy. When I found myself overwhelmed with peaches. We still have work to do. We also see the wisdom in becoming more involved in our town government. knitting and many other subjects. three of us processed 50 quarts in an afternoon. we saw an opportunity to check our preparedness level and hone our skills. The tour ended with a pot-luck soup and bread dinner. wind powered homes and a couple of places that had been off-grid for years. canning produce. We realize that we are not as well prepared for medical emergencies as we would wish so some members are researching becoming EMTs and First Responders for our local volunteer fire department. We are still eating the fiddleheads we froze last May. mushroom propagation. Many of us were also able to provide help and provisions to those who were less prepared including the elderly in our small town. harvested and dried over 100 pounds of wild mushrooms and canned 35 quarts of wild applesauce. Recognizing that energy shortages are likely. can an abundance of bulk purchased chicken and traded off tools.

search on "Marine Band Radio".I know this is not the kind of preparedness one generally reads about on sites such as this but I think for many. bonded together with common purpose and presenting a united front. this is the most realistic. I would recommend buying using Marine Band radios on eBay. or are CBs the answer? I appreciate all that you post on your blog. or type of two-way communication do I look for. If you want a low-power system (assuming that you don't have a large PV battery charging system). (There. And it will probably remain crowded if the power grid stays up.) These do not require a license except for "vessels over 65 feet in length". consequently. (In many rural areas the band is essentially uninhabited. I have just purchased the "SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog" book to look back on what I have missed since I started reading late last year. Should the worst happen. I have several family members in the same small town and would like something that we all could communicate with. I would recommend MURS band radios. Reader Don K. I live in Kansas. I have found your articles to be so beneficial to me and have recommended your site to others." and am finishing up your ["Rawles Gets You Ready"] preparedness course and I have a question: What brand. Sincerely. mentioned that only radios that are . 2009 Letter Re: Advice on Two-Way Radio Communications Permalink Mr. . I have read "Patriots. about as far inland as we can go. . we will be prepared to ride it out with friends and neighbors. is that something to consider.) Most transmissions in that band require no license.Kathy Harrison Monday. Ready Made Resources recommends a GMRS system. If you want a higher-power system. but the MURS band has far less traffic. Inexpensive used MURS band handi-talkies are available from MURS Radios--one of my advertisers. (But be advised that there are FCC restrictions on "inland" use. January 19. The MURS band radios have have comparable range to GMRS band radios. Rawles.Thea JWR Replies: I expect the Citizen's Band (CB) to be quite crowded with "chatter" in the event of a widespread disaster.

But of course don't consider them "secure". most shipboard equipment is not approved for Land Station use. I suggest a couple of large 6 volt DC deep-cycle ("golf cart") type batteries for each radio. . so I have a first hand experience of what can happen I will describe some things that I did right and some things that I did wrong. you will need a more capable backup power system for battery charging. Louisiana. We were unable to relocate to a place like Idaho as we had elderly parents who could not and probably would not relocate to a more appropriate survival area. 2009 Hurricane Lessons Learned and Some Advice on Getting Prepared. She would not waste anything. since they can still be detected and monitored with a multi-band scanner. Thursday. water. Until her death in 2007 she refused to run a dishwasher or air conditioner. I am located on the Gulf Coast 60 short miles from New Orleans. We were ground zero for Hurricane Katrina. The beauty of the MURS band and the VHF Marine band is that they are both essentially "private bands" in many areas. by Ken on the Gulf Coast Permalink Sometimes it is not an option to relocate so you have to get prepared wherever you are located."Type Accepted by the FCC for part 80 use may transmit on radio frequencies in the Maritime Radio Services. or anything for that matter. They lived a survivor lifestyle as a matter of everyday life.") Since most Marine band radios draw more current than a MURS handi-talkie. She could not bring herself to waste electricity. Equipment used for Land Stations must be specifically approved by the FCC for this use. She instilled in me a fear of having absolutely nothing. Fines by the FCC can be and usually are substantial. My mother was born in 1930 the daughter of a sharecropper in the Louisiana delta. January 15.

The following is what most people did wrong: A lot of people had generators. Upturned trees broke gas lines all over the region. Alarm systems don't work after the batteries are dead. A propane system would have been better. No gas means no power! Nobody had enough food. it was only blind luck that left me with gas pressure. the problem was that they only had a couple of cans of gas. So they were all without power in less than 24 hrs. we were one out of 75. I was up and running less than 36 hours of the storm. No guns! I had friends who did not "believe in guns" that ended up borrowing some weapons. All of the gas stations were disabled. the day after Hurricane Katrina. it took almost three days just to get the roads clear. I did inherit her fear of hunger. When she died I lost a valuable source of survival information. It was also a mistake to select natural gas as a fuel source. The following is what I did right: I had a natural gas generator installed. Because of my mother's influence.Although not as dedicated to thrift as my mother.000 or so who had lights and running water 36 hours after the storm. they recommend three days. you have no warning of intruders. and vulnerability to the unexpected. She died in fear of depression era conditions returning. No dogs! Without dogs. .

Mistake #1: I sent my dogs elsewhere. . When gangs of illegal aliens and welfare recipients' were roaming the streets. I did not have a fuel source independent of the grid. Weapons: I loaned my old shotguns to all the people who did not believe in the private ownership of guns. quite another when there is no help in sight. It's one thing to take care of people when you know help is on the way. I was able to provide water pressure to my house.I had drilled a water well. the folks who didn't believe in guns didn't hesitate to request assistance. I left the dogs at my bug out location before I returned to the disaster area. I would have been forced to choose who I would have to turn away. The other thing I was unprepared for were refugees. I fed a lot of people. I was totally unprepared for the 16 families looking to me for food and direction. I call them refugees because they would have gone hungry without the food in my pantry and freezers. I had lights and water. city water was out for weeks. Some other things I did wrong: I did not have enough food. I tied the system back to the house by a simple water hose going from a faucet on my pump to one on the house. Here is what I did wrong: I evacuated the elderly mothers and dogs to an area 100+ miles north. my motor home generator powered my sisters house where I left our parents and dogs. Electricity was out over the entire state. In a real end of life as we know it scenario.

When I leave I will have dogs. However. tools. . It has a propane refrigerator.200 to 1. and arms. Catahoula Curs. You cannot stay awake 24 hours a day. It’s diesel generator can put out 12 kw for a long time. Australian shepherds. Dogs do not miss much if anything. but the following work for me: Miniature Schnauzers. It has a huge fuel tank that I can use to run the house if the natural gas generator quits. They would then shut down the running generators and leave the running lawn mowers while they absconded with the generators. I have a bug out vehicle that has a 1. I plan to bug out. I have several bug out locations within four hours where I can evacuate to.The following are changes that I have made: I now have a Bluebird Bus motor home. I have a photovoltaically-powered water supply. If things get out of hand. I have ten acres and good soil. and full facilities. thieves were cranking up lawn mowers and pushing them up next to running generators after the storm. I am putting in a very large garden. I do not feel that I can overcome the huge welfare population we have here. It is equipped to pull a full-size 4WD with trailer. It has a water system that can provide water pressure to my house.500 mile range. I have a much larger store of food. I now have an RV that has a tremendous range. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I can’t recommend a breed of dog. food. If you live in the south and have some land you cannot beat a Catahoula Cur. It has a propane refrigerator. I can literally live on the side of the road for weeks or months. I also have shortwave radios. An Australian Sheppard is a close second for all climates. I have dogs.

Regards. but the point is. She notes: ". Each trip to Wal-Mart is an opportunity to add to your supplies.. don't store your batteries (or your hearing aids) in the bathroom. it is probably worthwhile to store a good supply of batteries for long term use. thus allowing air to reach the holes and activating the batteries.They will all go dead in a short time. dry environment. For the same reason. if you use red dot aiming devices and it uses one of these type batteries. its too late to think about being prepared. lithium Energizer CR2032. But reader Shirley A. The batteries are inert until the tab is removed. The one thing I learned is that when the storm hits. almost 13 years ago. The humidity in a refrigerator will cause the protective tabs to become loose. 2009 Letter Re: Red Dot Sight Battery Longevity Permalink JWR. food. Start to prepare now. and unless you can go without sleep 24 hours a day don't forget the dogs! Wednesday. January 12. I know this is anecdotal. . Think: food. I recently opened it and have been testing to see if it would still work. which was stored in it's original packaging in a refrigerator since May 1996." Monday.--who is an audiologist--mentioned that this is a bad idea for zinc air batteries.You have to develop a survival mentality.. they become activated. Zinc air batteries should be stored in a cool. hence "air-activated" batteries. and more food. at present I have about 11 hours of use on it. I have a red dot sight battery. Once air reaches the hole(s) on the back of the batteries. in Texas JWR Replies: Lithium batteries should be stored in a refrigerator. January 14. You have to think: if a disaster strikes. ammo.do not store zinc air batteries in the refrigerator. bandages. 2009 Letter Re: Advice on Storing and Recharging Hearing Aid Batteries Permalink .K. you have to add to your preparation everyday. like a dresser drawer. how long can you feed and protect your family? I add to my provisions every day.

JWR.Matt C. My radios and sensors arrived during one of the best snowfalls we have had in a while. or creeping up behind you.in Northern Ohio JWR Replies: You probably missed the link in SurvivalBlog a few months ago for a clever little photovoltaic button battery charger. once again thanks! . How long can I reasonably expect hearing aid batteries to store? In the event of TEOTWAWKI. Any info will be greatly appreciated. and you can't even detect someone speaking to you.. and store them in your refrigerator. What a very dangerous predicament to be in. once established. Our terrain is mountainous. Needless to say I got a screaming deal! I live in the Pacific Northwest. literally in the middle of dense woods. And of course buy a four year supply of batteries. Longer range not tested (It was cold. using the FIFO method.. Thank you so very much for what you do! Your blog is the best resource on the net for preparedness info. I imagine many elderly folks may have the same problem. I would be heartbroken to see my little girl unable to utilize one of our most precious senses. Here are my results (which may be helpful to your readers who may be thinking about purchasing them): [Dakota Alert MAT] Sensors: Solid transmission to Base station (located in a metal building) at 3/4 mile. The temperature was in the very low 20s. All of the trees were loaded [with snow].) . Buy two or three of them. I just recently purchased a MURS band Dakota Alert and Radio setup from [MURS Radio] that advertises on your site. news and views that I know of! My 8 year old daughter wears hearing aids in both ears.. and I did not require longer range. 2009 Letter Re: Field Test with a MURS Band Dakota Alert Intrusion Detection System Permalink James. Rotate your supply religiously. the world falling apart. January 8. Thursday.

This is not a tactical problem but is an annoyance. [also made by Dakota Alert] to and from base station. I contacted the manufacturer about it. sketchy at 3/4 mile. HT to HT solid at 1/2 mile sketchy at 3/4 mile. Suggestions: BNC connectors and pull up antennas are leaky. collapsible] antennas by covering them with gray heat shrink [tubing] and a little magic marker action. They said the unit would function at the higher voltage but it would be hard on it. I highly suggest wrapping the BNC connection and each segment joint of the antenna with COAXSEAL. Since I live off the grid It makes no sense to run the base station (which is 12 Volt DC) off my inverter. use a [voltage] regulating cigarette lighter plug. I plan on disguising my [chromed. Problems: The sensor does not have enough transmission time to finish the third [repetition of the] "Alert Zone 2" message due to [an error in] the speed of the person recording the message. Sensors to HT solid transmission to 1/2 mile sketchy at 3/4 mile. Just to play it safe I contacted the manufacturer about the maximum voltage the unit could handle as I charge my batteries at 14. I wired it up to my 12V distribution network that I use for all my comm devices Ham. They recommended some sort of voltage regulation device.(A hand moldable plastic. If you need more than four sensors you will need a second receiver. The only drawback is that there are only four alert messages. A cold vehicle (just started) dose not always activate the sensors. and they said that all their current units are all this way. (All other alert messages are fine) This is not a problem. but one does have to chuckle. and reduce it's life expectancy.) This will insure total water proofing of the unit. limiting the number of sensors you can use at one time. No one wants to be #2. solid to 1/2 mile. CB. etc. You could "fab"one up or as they suggested. In addition to the manufactures suggestion to add a packet of desiccant inside the sensors. then sealing the BNC with coax seal.4V.Hand held transceivers [handi-talkies (HTs). I plan on calling the manufacturer and suggesting a "record your .

It would be very rude to try to enter someone's front yard without being invited first. The gates were also locked at all times. Rawles. and they were all shut at night. more American style houses were being built and that's a shame. We bought all of these components from MURS Radio. The first house we lived in had steel shutters. 2009 Six Letters Re: Home Invasion Robbery Countermeasures--Your Mindset and Architecture Permalink Greetings Mr. . At our second house. as did everyone in the neighborhood. we lived in Argentina for three years and we could all learn from their security measures. In reference to the recent article on home security. The small front yards usually have tall steel fences with the same height gates. Thanks for listing them.John JWR Replies: Thanks for the review. we were seeing less and less of the shutters and bars. had bars on all the windows. Thanks for your dedication to helping prepare us for the future. Big dogs were also the norm. January 1. and is usually not possible due to the locks and dogs.own message" modification. It is a normal custom to clap your hands to alert someone you were at their front gate. I read your blog everyday and am learning so much. Here at the Rawles Ranch. as new houses were being built. Programming the transmitters to match our MURS frequency was quick and easy. I am totally pleased with these units. one of our neighbors had concertina wire around the top of their walls. We have been very pleased with their sensitivity and reliability. The doors have locks that automatically lock when you leave the house. These are great products that provide a low-cost solution for detecting anyone entering our property. The back yards were usually walled in by concrete block walls sometimes 10 feet tall. we also use MURS band Dakota Alert transmitters in conjunction with some gently-used Kenwood transceivers. . Homes that didn't have shutters of some kind. Thursday. But.

It was very difficult at first to live with these kinds of security measures. and then drop a cane bolt through the openings in the eye bolts. Thanks again for your hard work. I had some fairly extensive conversation with the contractor regarding my desire to have sufficient "beef" beside each window to be able to run several 5" x 1/2" eyebolts beside each window (with the eyes of the bolts aligned in the vertical direction). slide the trimmed-to-fit feedlot panel over the eye-bolts. Gun control is very strict and very few folks have guns.) . but after awhile it became normal and comforting to know your house was secure. Rawles: Feed lot panels are extremely useful for hardening windows against dynamic entry. The height varies but is typically 54" high. For those who are not familiar with the product. They are typically 16 feet long. Just wanted to share those observations with you. Also desirable to use a cushioning material to hold panels away from frame of window to eliminate scarring. . so home security was very important. The panels are inexpensive and semi-rigid. Our primary goal was to increase energy efficiency by reducing cold air infiltration during the winter and to improve our cross ventilation during the summer. feed lot panels are welded wire product. Rubber or vinyl garden hose is a possibility. We recently replaced a 13' x 69" bay window with a 60" by 60" picture window (one pane) flanked by a couple of 60" high by 24" wide double hung windows. The wire is very stiff (typically #4 or #6 gauge) and the wire is galvanized for long life. (Minor detail notes: Roof overhang requires that cane bolts be inserted from bottom. Warmest Regards. but "drop in from top" is a more natural word picture. Hello James Wesley.Beverly A.

Feed lot panels also help protect windows against airborne. Can you offer any additional advice on making barns more secure? I'm more concerned about the horses than all of the tack and saddles.Pete in Florida JWR Replies: I do have one specific recommendation: Buy a MURS band Dakota Alert infrared intrusion detection system. But defeating them requires time and tools. I am worried for my horses if someone should try to force their way inside and manage to stay very quiet. Thanks. Feed lot panels can be defeated. A number of ideas came from your web site. you can hear everything and my house is 300 feet away. but they are cheap. Other than the simple measures of installing a Radio Shack microphone/speaker and. Thanks. durable and relatively easy to install. but then a 4x4 was bracketed into the top and bottom headers immediately beside the 2X4s on each side of each of the three windows.. I've already made numerous changes to my home and property to thwart / limit any would be thefts and boosting the overall security.not something typical home invaders want to expend/lug around. one of our advertisers). Jim. locking the doors of my barns with snap links and walking out the front and locking that door. flying trash during extreme wind storms. . Put one Motion Alert Transmitter (MAT) out at the end of your . Wood is cheap. Joe H. given proper tools and some time and the foresight to have enough wood to bolt into.. Each window is framed in with 2x4s next to the window frame. They may be ugly. (Available from MURS Radio. I'm very impressed with my $149 Radio Shack investment.He was very happy to comply. But those items aren't cheap either.

It would have worked if the dummies hadn't opened the basement door preparing to depart with their loot. I write not to simply share my story (which is. or noticed. They did steal an old rifle that I had recently bought. I am compelled to thank you for your service to all those who would learn from your knowledge and efforts.m. Last February. while my wife was at work and I was taking my son to daycare (it was 11:15 a. Metro Atlanta home with a brick front facade. and they fled never having made it out of the basement. In our experience. but to point out what I learned: . this combination is ideal for detecting intruders on likely avenues of approach. We have been very satisfied with their quality and reliability. but we did install a fairly comprehensive alarm system. our alarm system. thugs broke into our house by kicking through the basement wall! Evidently. Dear Mr. Many of the "weak links" that you pointed out exist in my home. opening the door set the alarm off. but it is only a small token of my appreciation in light of all that I have learned from your excellent blog. My 2009 10 Cent Challenge contribution is forthcoming. I live in a typical recentconstruction. Of course. and one "watching" the front of your barn door. All in all. We use Dakota Alerts in conjunction with matching frequency Kenwood MURS band hand-helds here at the Rawles Ranch on a daily basis.driveway. I wanted to add a note of my reality to your recent excellent comments on the sorry state of home architecture in our country today. and tried to bypass it by going through the wall. the crooks suspected. unfortunately. not very uncommon). with a "daylight basement" comprising the first story. and had left in a storage closet awaiting a good cleaning. . It is essentially three stories. middle class.). and Hardiplank (a concrete-like product molded to look like wood siding) on the remaining three sides. First. we were very fortunate. Rawles. as always.

step back inside and turn on the alarm. you invite disaster. he was ambling back down the street in the opposite direction. my main concern was. You'd better believe that I will arrive home in condition yellow to orange. 3. If I hadn't turned on the alarm. with no way to defend yourself. If I had heeded my instincts. I noticed a rough-looking young man walking slowly up the sidewalk. I feel that God was watching over me that day (by the way. and hope it doesn't happen again. but I didn't call the police to investigate (something that they encouraged me to do in the future while discussing the event). and then some! I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas. "what will I do if I arrive before the police?" At the time. Best Wishes. which leads me to my final point.SH in Georgia . which I didn't usually do for such short trips (things are different now). I know it can be terribly stressful to admit to yourself that our society has "come to this". and will have a terrific new year. God gave me a second chance. fiberboard sheathing. I try to live in "condition yellow". By the time I had buckled my seatbelt. I did. and who had done it! During the frantic 3 mile drive home. I was shocked to learn that the only thing between my "inner sanctum" and the bad guys was the Hardiplank. Any time you walk into your home [after an absence] in condition white. and I am committed to learning from this experience.especially if my family is in tow! Oh yeah. but I have responsibilities. though I slip into white more than I would like.it had only been 20 minutes since I left the house) and gave me a second chance. as soon as I got the call from the monitoring service.The concrete feel and appearance gives a false sense of security. resistance to invasion is not one of them. I guess I could remain in condition white. . have many virtues. and drywall! Even if your 1st story sheathing were 5/8" plywood it would present a much more formidable barrier! 2. the burglary could have been avoided. I knew exactly what had happened. As it was. while buckling my toddler into the car. Though Hardiplank. I would have probably walked right into a home invasion in progress (stupidly in condition white!) after dropping my son off.1. and similar products. I had no firearm with me. the police were on site when I got home . All of the alarms in my head went off. Yes. however. and my next house is going to be as solid as I can afford. and some people would rather just play the odds and hope it doesn't happen to them. looking for any hint that something is awry . That morning.

Second. concerning that no place seems safe from this bizarre rise in sadistic violence. however. First. unlike in early times when the criminal element wanted to avoid the residents. On a positive note. this new class of thugs want that violent encounter. (I have 'home invasions" as a google search alert and get messages on this topic many times a day). twenty years ago true sadistic attacks were more rare as the goal seemed to be to steal and leave. I would like to point out some things that I have been tracking for almost a year now. Passive conduct by the victims that might have allowed these thugs to rob your home and leave you alone might have worked twenty years ago. Rawles. . Perhaps it can be linked to violent video games? I am not sure what else could link these acts world wide. these sadistic home invasions are world wide. This is a major change in the high level of deprived violence of these burglars who are now being reported as "home invaders". The attacks are sadistic. It is. unlike violent home crimes in years past. terror. Third. I have noticed that most of these invaders are not so much interested in carting away ill-gotten booty from the residence that they have invaded as much as the first object is to terrorize and torture those in the dwelling. I think this does require that decent folks to have a change in understanding what is taking place. (Most of these invasions seem to take place between 11 PM and 5 AM). whereas. I have also read of numerous residents who have successfully fended off the invaders by being properly protected within their homes. Clearly. I have been an advocate for survivors of violent crimes.James. the home invaders are attacking during the hours when it is more likely that the residents are home. . These criminals are not just getting the pleasure of taking your property but they want to cause you and your family extreme fear. and pain. but I think today's home invaders first literally will want a pound of your flesh. I am 'surprised" that the media doesn't seem to do much coverage of these heroic deeds of the victim defending himself or family members from these sadistic invasion. I have not yet figured out why this is so.Advocate for Survivors of Violent Crimes Dear Mr.

(And if you have those.(They are available at home improvement and hardware stores such as Home Depot and Lowe's.) Under those circumstances. in Louisiana JWR Replies: A corner lot is problematic. I would like to see you elaborate on the "Countermeasures" portion of the title. Make both the maximum height that you can get away with. without being branded as the Neighborhood Paranoid Poster Boy. What low-tech methods could I deploy to allow full coverage around the perimeter of my property to signal of coming trouble. It would help if the ideas were designed to not create an abundance of false alarms and not alert the surrounding neighborhoods like a trip alarm.Steve F. You should also plant thorny bushes below each of your windows. you might want to .000 people. The gate should have a spiked top of some sort. Maybe you can do a post on with and without grid power in SHTF scenarios. position a passive infrared Motion Alert Transmitter (MAT) for a Dakota Alert. but if you are forced to stay. BTW. titled "Letter Re: Home Invasion Robbery Countermeasures". to discourage gate jumpers. and install a gate across the front of your driveway. Specifically. So it is best to just test them but not mount them outdoors until needed. could you show some real examples that people could use as "force multipliers" similar to this .Regarding your post on Tuesday December 30. Just inside the gate. For example I live in a suburb of a city of about 80. if it would not look too out of the ordinary then you might consider planting a "decorative" thorny hedge around as much of your perimeter as possible. I would need some simple ideas to keep my family safe as long as possible. I don't have a retreat location but I'm getting my finances in order to allow a property purchase soon. Motion-activated floodlights are inexpensive and very easy to install. (But note that their reviews mention that they have a short service life. Thanks. If TSHTF tomorrow.) If the power grid goes down. I read your "Patriots" novel and it was awesome! I am about half way thorough your "Rawles Gets You Ready" course and it too is great. a pair of night vision goggles would be a must. Depending on the landscaping that is prevalent in your neighborhood. then solar-powered floodlights might suffice. you really should bug out ASAP. . I live on a corner lot and have a fenced in back yard.

The simple fact of all this is that by being prepared you get to relax a bit during a potentially stressful time. It was actually a bit fun to see all this preparation fall nicely into place. I had a generator. Thanks to the information you present in your blog and the preparation that I have taken over the last few years.Relaxed in New England Friday. December 14. Sunday. I already had food stocked up. I am writing to tell you about the serenity of my day in the midst of the hard hitting ice storm up here in New England. 2008 Letter Re: The Recent Storm in New England--A Ready and Able Family Permalink Hi Jim. (I was even able to loan a spare generator and fuel out to a friend. The great thing was that I wasn't stressed out before. I had drinking water available. My family mentioned over and over how terrific it was to be prepped. Being battery powered. But of course keep plenty of spare batteries on had for all of your flashlights and other home security and communications electronics. I got to enjoy the ice sculptures of the day and was able to help out someone else. I had heat via a wood stove.) I had plenty of alternative lighting (candles and LED lights). December 5. 2008 Letter Re: Some Disaster Preparedness Information for Asthmatics .) I had fresh batteries for the flashlight and radios. I had sufficient quantities of ice melt and sand on hand. during or after the storm. I had plenty of fuel for the generator. I have been a long time reader of your blog and have spent quite a bit of money with many of your terrific advertisers. too. I had a scanner to listen to all the emergency calls in the area. I was fortunate that they were on the "let's get prepped" band wagon with me over the last few years. all I had to do to prepare for this storm the day before was two things . Thanks for all you do! . Being prepped for any emergency isn't that hard to do and the resources you collect over time are useful in nearly any condition.retrofit your floodlights to use infrared bulbs. (You will realize how under-prepared your neighbors are by all the assistance calls. This wasn't an end of the world scenario but nonetheless the preparation was almost the same. your Dakota Alert system will continue to operate without grid power.fill the fire wood box and fill the bath tub for toilet flushing water.

2008 Letter Re: Some Disaster Preparedness Information for Asthmatics Permalink Dear JWR I am fairly new to prepping but as a lifelong asthma patient I quickly realized that I cannot depend solely on my current nebulizer WTSHTF. They cost around $200 or slightly more but I can tell you that this is a bargain compared to dying of an asthma attack because there was no power and the hospital is not an option for one reason or another. When I did some research. Not knowing how sensitive a medical nebulizer is and knowing that some equipment is sensitive to modified sine wave power from the cheaper inverters was terrifying. My son has asthma and I have had the unfortunate experience of not having power when he needed a nebulizer treatment. .GB Thursday. There are now handheld nebulizers that have both AC and and DC car adapter abilities as well as a rechargeable [gel cell] battery.The prayer that I said when turning on our only nebulizer plugged into a gizmo (my wife's word. Please inform you readers of the absolute necessity of having power inverters and testing your needed appliances before an emergency. For other people who will want to do this kind of prep for . I now have several and we insist on our young drivers keeping their cars full of gas. Nebulizers are not very power hungry and can be run with very inexpensive equipment. Having the power out and an asthma attack at the same time was bad enough. Rawles. This is because it plugs into a wall and does not have any other alternative way to work when the grid goes down.Permalink Hi Mr. however. I found a beautiful thing. not mine) that was attached to a car running in the driveway with jumper cables was unique to say the least. December 4. Buy good inverters and test [them with your various electrical and electronic equipment] before the storm. My point in writing you was to inform your readers that everything in their house can be ran in a emergency.

it seems to be on backorder from most of the local places I have tried. to "maxi. I recommend setting these up on a windowsill. . since they charge slowly. . I was just told today by one company that they haven't yet received their order that was placed in August . via "trickle charging".themselves or family members with asthma a prescription is required for the medicine and also the nebulizer. to "mini"." Do you have personal experience with any of these solar chargers? Can you recommend any? Many thanks.. solutions can run from "micro". So for preppers I advise start the process now if you need one of these. most nebulizers have fairly modest current requirements. but be advised that they are not waterproof." These inexpensive solar chargers sold by Ready Made Resources (one of our long-time advertisers) work fine as a "micro" solution.) Thankfully. The most common issue though is to acquire this unit. JWR Replies: Depending on your budget. December 3. Wednesday. you wrote: "As your budget allows. . 2008 Letter Re: Advice on an Inexpensive Solar Battery Charger? Permalink Hi Mr.. inside a southfacing window.and elaborated on further in a subsequent letter about refrigeration for insulin.SKT JWR Replies: This is a similar requirement than the CPAP machines needed by some folks with sleep apnea. it is best to buy at least two of these chargers. In my experience. buy a small solar charger for your AA and AAA NiMH batteries. Rawles: In your comments to the family living in Trinidad & Tobago. Respectfully..Larry T. (This has been discussed previously in SurvivalBlog.

photovoltaic (PV) panels.Thanks. they will provide only 12 volt or 24 volt DC power. claim a better vacant property. There are so many LED lights. the combined Federal and state tax credits may reduce your expense by as much as 70%. I'm using a different strategy and hope for your input. Wednesday. My plan is to prepare (as best we can here) and after a disaster. I recently became a fan of your blog and wanted to commend you for your work in educating the masses. Rawles.Moving up to the "mini" solution. when all is said and done.5 watt flexible (amorphous). I live in western Maryland. I'm trying to rig some way to attach a bicycle to a generator and store energy and provide exercise for my family . Two other thoughts: I recently purchased David Blume's book "Alcohol Can Be a Gas" and intend to fuel my own flex fuel vehicles and have a barter tool. If you have a bigger budget. Even modest-size PV systems with a small deep cycle battery bank can make a huge difference in providing small scale lighting and battery charging for crucial security measures such as radios and night vision equipment. either with or without an AC power inverter.) Keep in mind that starting January 1st. and various pieces of electronic gear available that will run directly from 12 VDC or from a DCto-DC converter. they offer free alternate energy system design and consulting. Mark W. Secondly. (Without an inverter. Many states also offer their own tax credits. grid-tied PV systems will be eligible for a 30% Federal tax credit in the US. . Post-TEOTWAWKI? Permalink Dear Mr. that you might be able to skip the expense of a full-up system with a large AC inverter. In some states such as Florida and California. 2008 Letter Re: Finding Abandoned Properties. there are these 6. Ready Made Resources (RMR) and other vendors can also supply larger pre-packaged PV power systems. While I don't have a retreat. (BTW. November 19. battery charging trays.) RMR even has experience designing "maxi" systems--6 KW or larger. Historically we are fairly disaster-proof from natural disasters enjoy all four seasons.

there would still be due process and the normal legalities of properties being seized for property tax delinquency. It would take an incredible "worst case" situation with massive de-population before properties would be totally abandoned. Neither does cooking oil so that needs to be fresh. There are several brand of bike generator stands on the market. mostly from preppers on tight budgets that have hopes of finding "abandoned" properties. 2008 Letter Re: A Suggested Checklist for Preparedness Newbies Permalink Here's a beginner's list I made for my [elderly] father today: Food {Brown pearl] rice does not store well. You can prepare on a modest budget by teaming up with like-minded people in your area and buying contiguous parcels in a covenant community to provide a local bartering base and mutual security. But given the continuing collapse of the United States real estate market. Heinlein said it best: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch (TANSTAAFL).JWR Replies: I regularly get e-mails like yours. A vacant property still has an owner--or at least has heirs of a deceased owner. including the UGen.400 pounds . who knows? There may be some very inexpensive foreclosed or even tax delinquent parcels available at auction in rural areas in just a couple of years. I recommend that you plan more realistically. and then being sold at auction to the highest bidder. No.bulk order at your local health food store . Crisco doesn't count. Coconut oil would be your best bet. Science fiction novelist Robert A. Wheat berries . And unless government totally disappears in some anarchic spasm (which is highly unlikely outside the Horn of Africa). Saturday. Abandoned properties are more the stuff of daydreams than reality. November 8.

Rainwater catchment is a common practice in Hawaii] Water filter Cooking Cast Iron Cookware Firearms FN PS 90 10 PS 90 magazines 5.400 pounds .7 handgun 10 FN 5. small stove and hoses to connect freeze dried fruits.bulk order at your local health food store Mylar bags Spices Salt Country Living grain mill propane tanks. Water 500 gallons of water [storage capacity. vegetables.7 handgun magazines 5. eggs and meat if you can find them.Beans .7 ammo .

(Note: eBay sometimes has course certificates for $100!) Body armor: Nick at BulletProofME.com) Transport Gasoline in 5 gallon cans or better yet.000 cash in small bills 100 one-ounce silver coins (GoldDealer. this.com Medical Personal medications Augmentin antibiotic Up to date dental work Painkillers Bandages Iodine Anti-fungal spray Finances $10. Gas stabilizer Mountain bikes Air pump Miscellany Flashlights Rechargeable Batteries .Training: Front Sight four day defensive handgun course.com or Tulving.

. . The "high capacity" advantage of smaller caliber handguns is not available to civilians in Hawaii.SF in Hawaii JWR Adds: The following is based on the assumption that SF's father also lives in Hawaii: Because of the 10 round magazine limit for handguns.45 ACP. given the arbitrary 10 round limitation. Both the Springfield Armory XD . so you might as well get a more potent man stopper.45 Compact or the Glock Model 30 would both be good choices. I recommend that Hawaiians purchase only large bore handguns for self defense--such as .Battery charger Hand held walkie talkies Topographical map of your area Spare eyeglasses Shortwave radio Home generated power 12 volt battery system Good backpack Good knife Good compass Good shoes Bar soap Toothbrushes Dental floss Toilet paper Fishing kit Salt licks Connibear traps Regards.

When I say store up. The key to survival will be adaptation. I’m talking. take the required training. you will not be able to squirrel away enough. Look until you find a good troop or better yet. Permalink You are incredibly mistaken if you think you can store up enough to see you through bad times. take them out of soccer and dance classes and immediately put them in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. both critical survival skills. 2008 Adapt to Survive. You will influence more lives than you can possibly imagine. packages and feel like you have an edge. . You and your children will have outdoor living experiences that will see them through the rest of their lives. I know many of you are sitting on little mountains of barrels. but not go so far as ‘grow it myself?’ ” How long will the bad times last? Who knows? What will you do when the stash runs out? Barter those silver and gold coins that no one can eat? Survival skills depend on knowledge and practice. just like in nature. provisions. Simply put. November 3. If you have children.Monday. cans. and begin your own troop. What happens when the stash runs out? I was shocked to read this week (October 31. by Elizabeth B. and whatever. tools. food. dead wrong. Did you ever cook your food over a wood campfire and lie on the ground scanning the night sky for meteors with the smell of smoke and coyote yelps lingering in the air? Scout troops teach children community living and cooperation. 2008) when a SurvivalBlog reader wrote: “Is there a good book that you can recommend on food storage for someone like me that is on a budget and wants to "do it myself”. You are wrong. Those who survive will be those who can readily adapt to a changing environment. barter equipment. join up.

get very familiar with your ax and saw and hammer and pliers. practice. filtration. dutch oven. They’ll never go bad and will be a high demand item. Matches are an excellent storage item. . * Shelter: Practice making shelters from as many materials you find on hand for a variety of conditions. in a box oven. Practice. practice throughout the changing seasons * Tools: Know how to clean.Read everything you can until you become familiar with survival concepts and theory. * Fire: Get rid of that propane tank and charcoal briquettes. practicing daily. in a tin can. * Solar cooking. on a plank. store tools. Sleep outside in different weather as often as you can. Rent if you can’t buy. You don’t have enough room to practice and store your supplies in an apartment. Accumulate a couple of iron items such as a good grill or tripod. practice fire-starting with a variety of materials that you find. in a trench. and work gloves … learn how to cook over coals. move out of your apartment into a house. save and store seed. Buy as many matches as you can. Then you need to begin to practice. in a hay box. Here is a short list of skills you and your loved ones need: * Water: Harvesting. sharpen. glass jars. Make solar cookers from boxes. Build many types of fires. then you shouldn’t be storing food. lifters. make soil. aluminum foil. First of all. You’ll grow to love it and will discover the night sky. propagate. sterilization * Gardening: How to plant. no matter what anyone says. Feel free to stock up on nails and screws and wire. storage. in a rocket stove…know how to dry and smoke … know how to build a fire anywhere on any surface and how to improvise safe surfaces. If you can’t afford to buy.

They won’t last forever and you can’t buy/store enough for the rest of your life. Look on every square inch of your yard as an opportunity for food supply. and begin now. My Great Depression-era father thought that pickled pig’s feet. Learn to prepare a huge variety of tasty foods. Read up. Be ready for your little chicks and their fabulous eggs. You are contributing to the toxic waste stream by buying . First. This will truly be the key to survival in the future.* Cooking: Unfortunately. Everyone needs to know how to eat beans and rice with a few additions such as meat for flavoring. I saved this topic for last because it is so huge. herbs and spices to make each meal new and palatable. Composting and mulching cannot be overstated or overlooked. Learn to eat more simply now. very late to learn this skill. figs. apples.you never know. Get a dog for the other food scraps. pinto beans with cornbread. I have mesquite. In my incredibly tiny area I have pomegranate. There is no SPAM or tuna in my storage. It takes three years or so for fruit production. Make soup a daily fare. buy some sturdy gardening tools from Craig's List. olive. You should never throw another scrap of fruit or vegetable away again. and protection. Terrific cookbooks like Apocalypse Chow and Backpacker's Recipes can point you in the right direction. strawberries. roses. Look on each meal as a practice event. Complainers will not be survivors. When you are out of the apartment. and edible flowers. shut down the smorgasbord of choices for each picky eater. and I’m morally opposed to eating tuna due to depletion of our oceans and crashing fish populations. lilies. go to free community gardening events. you might not be able to house them right now due to city or HOA regulations. blackberry. and bananas. Picky eaters will not be survivors. Food is going to be much more important than just stashing and hoarding. If you have children. and greens were some of life’s greatest pleasures. friendship. Practice container gardening -. cornbread crumbled into buttermilk. You need to plant fruit trees specific to your zone which will thrive. Finally. Learn to eat a huge variety of foods. Eat each meal at home. Practice serving vegetarian meals at least once a day. Can you bake bread in a dutch oven? Can you make pasta with wheat and a pasta machine? * Food. the current generation of young adults really knows practically nothing about tasty and thrifty food preparation. It won’t matter if you have thousands of dollars of food stored if it is not familiar foods that people enjoy. Include edible native plants that you know you can serve in a pinch. Invite wild birds into your garden. You eat multiple times a day. yesterday was already getting very. cacti. today. True. I won’t eat SPAM. don’t eat out. Real freedom comes from being responsible for your own food. talk to gardeners. you’ll be able to prepare for your chickens. forget the batteries. The older ones are better. This is easily remedied. but the time will come. Learn what the sun requirements are for specific plants and what your garden can supply.

I’m only speaking in generalities because it is up to you to adapt to survive.com for endless videos on any subject in the world. wars. Tools will be worth their weight in gold. they represent finite supplies. A lot of things can be improvised and adapted. made in South Africa. But I'd rather have them in reserve for a critical situation and not need them. ditch the battery idea. famine. we have been tested whether it has been by ice ages. They are built to last. Get a hand crank dynamo or solar radio. If you can adapt. you can survive. (Needing them. [JWR Adds: While Elizabeth has made some excellent points. Prepare to adapt to a new life. I recommend the BayGen radios.] Critical issues such as waste removal. As you reach for an item in the store. The inverse is not appealing. at some point you have to depend on yourself. Check YouTube. your existence will depend on your own mind and your own heart and your own hands. weapons. Throughout time. would I miss it? What could I use instead? Can I do without this today and forever? Rethink your lifestyle and prepare for another test of adaptability that may be thrown at humanity. You need to find out the information for yourself and think of new ways to live. It’s impossible to teach someone everything there is to know. but high quality . [JWR Adds: Be warned that most of the Chinese-made "dynamo" hand crank radios on the market are very flimsy and are unlikely to last more than a month of daily use. There are some critical uses for both propane tanks and rechargeable batteries that justify their inclusion in preparedness planning. I’ve improved my vegetable growing methods by learning from experts on YouTube. ask yourself this question: What if I could not buy this today or ever again. residual recycling. Like I said. and community need to be in the back of your mind.) Imagine if you needed to conduct impromptu surgery. spirituality. In the end. A radio is actually a terrific idea. but that is for another essay. Survival is not only about surviving. Granted.batteries. If you just insist on having a flashlight. Would you prefer to perform a surgery by the light of fat oil lamps? I disagree with her assertion about not storing extra tools. it is about living and enjoying life. she has overstated her case for adaptation. or plague. but not having them. then go buy a case of Faraday flashlights that work on the principal of magnetic induction.

the deeper the larder that you'll need. Consider having the rugged laptops that are shock.] Saturday. Just be sure you have back ups of your data on hard drives and DVDs and a spare system or two stowed away in an EMP-shielded cabinet. et cetera) is similarly important in cold climates. any spare laptops should be stored in 40mm ammo cans. cold northern climes. 2008 Good Compsec Practices for Preppers. Stored fuel (firewood. The capacity for enormous data storage in a very small footprint makes it a valuable resource when the grid and net go down. hard drives. Laptops make sense as spares due to their transportability and lower power consumption. personal records and pictures. That is why it is very important to have several years worth of firewood on hand. and in some years with early frosts you will have hardly any garden yield.tools--especially those with tight tolerances cannot. coal. etc. by T. first aid and medical info. (Since growing seasons are short. The colder the climate. for EMP protection. The personal computer is a powerful tool to help cope with any disaster or survival situation. You will have all the information you need at your finger tips. And consider this: With a Unimat lathe (in properly trained hands) and given enough high speed steel stock you can build just about any tool including another Unimat lathe.] Make sure you have spare batteries and chargers. maps and topography. but you cannot improvise a Unimat lathe. water and dust resistant. and the list goes on and on. There may come a year when you cannot cut a fresh supply of firewood--say you break a leg or have a major illness. equipment and firearms manuals.[JWR Adds: Like all of you other spare small electronics." Lastly. Thus a "stored" tool can be eminently useful for "adaptation. You can probably improvise a plow. Here are some examples: Dell Ruggedized Laptop Panasonic Toughbook Laptop . It can not be ignored if you plan to use computers now and after a SHTF situation. October 18. Permalink Compsec is a subset of OPSEC that is concerned with computer security. keep in mind that preparing to survive in a warm southwestern climate is considerably different than in cloudy.

Consider that most viruses and malware are written for Microsoft products. if you leave Microsoft behind and enter the world of Open Source software where you will find a plethora of great software ranging from the LINUX operating system to office automation. Check out these web sites for some alternative ways to go: Ubuntu Red Hat SourceForge . databases. and make backups on CD-ROM].See the recent article on how to power your PC with solar energy in Computer Power User magazine's November. so open source is generally more secure for that reason alone. Look around and gather those free files now[. a loyal SurvivalBlog advertiser. 2008 issue. Solar Laptop chargers are available from: Basegear Ready Depot [JWR Adds: Compact photovoltaic power systems are also available from Ready Made Resources. The article is titled: “Get Off The Grid”.] Here are some sites with useful information that you might want to stow away before TSHTF: USGS Topography Resources KI4U Library First Aid References EquippedToSurvive (PDF) NIH Medline eBooks There are many other treasure troves of information on the Internet. You don't have to spend a fortune on software. and hundreds of useful programs.

all in the dead of night while you sleep. may well still exist somewhere on the internet even after it seemingly is gone. or an email you sent. some is obtained illicitly through hacking or purchasing outright what should be private information. Anything that is stored on a computer that is connected to the internet is susceptible to data harvesting. do indeed follow their security recommendations and make sure you get all the updates installed as soon as they come out.Tucows If you prefer to stick with the tried and true Microsoft. Even though using the internet can be hazardous. Get over it. It gives the hackers a lot of time to work on cracking your system and once cracked hackers can use your PC in their zombie army to launch more attacks and collect more data. If you . Some of the data is obtained legally from public records and news sources. “You have no privacy [in the Internet era].It’s not a good idea to leave your computer running on-line 24/7 unless you have a specific reason to do so. There are gigantic databases all over the world with data on any minutiae that may have been recorded from many diverse sources which can then be correlated by high power computers to produce a pretty good picture of you as an individual should someone wish to. Anything you posted to an on-line message board. You won’t notice the hard drive and network activity. The data may also come from spybots and Trojan horses right on your very own personal computer. By all means install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and update it frequently. you have absolutely no security at all. long time or on a back up tape in some obscure data center somewhere. Scott McNealy. Change passwords regularly because even a strong password can eventually be cracked by brute force cracking which simply tries random character patterns until it finds the one that works. there are ways to make your surfing safer. but weak passwords are easily cracked and once that is done. Most operating systems now come with firewalls so make sure it is enabled. or a form you filled out. it’s a pain. In the unthinkably large database of Google it may live a long. a co-founder of Sun Microsystems once said. I recommend using the automatic updates for the operating system and software packages as well as virus and spyware scanners. a database that archives web pages.” That is definitely a true statement. It can be made even more secure if you do the homework. It may even attain near immortality in the “Wayback Machine”. Use strong passwords. Another essential is to have a firewall.

I’m willing to bet that most PC users are running software for programs they never even use anymore. Whatever browser and operating system you use. such as clearing of private data when exiting. You need to look into all the setting and options that are available with what ever hardware and software you have. I use the Firefox browser because it has better security features [than others like Microsoft Internet Explorer]. . They make the login slower and slower as they accumulate and some of them may even be spybots reporting back to home base of your activities.use words that can be found in a dictionary or even words slightly modified. Another problem with most PCs running a Microsoft OS is that they become laden with junk over time. The basic philosophy of system hardening is to close all the open doors. the ability to manage individual cookies. and only open up those that you absolutely must in order to operate. Here are a few sites to learn about how to clean your PC of these start-up parasites: Info on start-up programs This a database of good. be aware that these are much faster to be cracked. You can learn about strong passwords here: Microsoft Password Checker LINUX Password Checker Free Ultra-Secure Password Generator from Gibson Research Pay attention to security settings on your web browser. As you install new software and hardware your registry grows to a huge size and you accumulate startup programs that start up when you logon and run even if you may not need them. and the ability to disable the “HTTP referrer” information that tells the next web site you visit where you just came from. and then start tightening up as much as possible. install locks. There are many open doors and loosely guarded doors in an unsecured system which comes right from the manufacturer that way. bad and optional programs that might be running on your PC. make sure that it is as secure as it can be and still be functional for your needs.

If you have a Google account and have logged in to check your Gmail then it is possible for Google to link your login to your searches thus reducing your anonymity even more. be careful to select the option to make backups before you clean up the registry. Click on the services tab and select Shields Up! to give your system a security check up. It can be traced to your PC. Visit these web sites to give yourself some good security check-outs: Tons of good compsec information. Surf anonymously. Here is a cleaner I have used successfully. Here are two free anonymizers: CEXX. The solution is to clear browser cache immediately after accessing encrypted pages.org ComputerBytesMan One note of caution about encrypted files and web sites that your browser accesses: The browser will copy it to cache and it will be in clear text allowing anybody to read it or a Trojan to copy the page back to its home base server. Using a search engine link will provide the web site you visit with all the search terms you used to make the search. copy and paste the link into the browser navigation bar for a little extra anonymity. The Junkbusters site will tell you if your browser is giving out too much information. This will help keep those who do not have a need to know. Check out all their other good security info.Microsoft registry cleaner. Gibson Research. out of your affairs. This page will tell you about your Internet "persona" and check out other good information. The cleaners occasionally clean too much and break a program that you need. [JWR Adds: I . Instead. Free Tools and Utilities. Just remember that ‘somebody’ will know what your internet IP addresses is. and that ‘somebody’ is the anonymity provider or proxy server. There are other commercial products available.

When I started to realize that I had a lot to do. One neighbor plows our drive when it snows. We discussed my home as the retreat. and my husband is a self-employed painter. lightly populated road.] I hope this information has been helpful for those preparing for those tough times ahead that lay ahead. and have a community here. We treat him to his favorite brew on occasion to thank him. We know most of our neighbors. Instead of laughing. Visit Set2Survive. and the lists got longer. We have a well. I am a union electrician. We used recycled bleachers for the boxes. we could have as many as 30 family members here. The idea that I needed to prepare came easy for me. she got on board. and we had to get out of the house for a while. I do believe the personal computer can be a powerful survival tool if. my friend and I built raised garden beds that are still producing. I started doing the things in the book. it has a lot to offer. Worst case scenario. Saturday. on the bottom shelf. or should I say when. with varied skills. At a flea market. But water? Oops. Although it doesn’t fit every need. An old hog waterer with the waterer cut out.recommend that SurvivalBlog readers go a step further and use the Scroogle Scraper intermediary portal to do any Google searches. where we are working to get things organized. subject to layoffs. Last spring.com for more information. was a book titled “Making the Best of Basics”. and I have even taken him a bowl of hot soup when he arrives. set in the ground at the . the TSHTF. I hadn't thought about that one. always buying extra for the pantry. and before we went home that night. and has for two years now. So. and two acres. I thought I had done well. old shelving and other “trash” for the trellises. by Sparky Permalink My preparedness journey began when my mother in law was dying. Our home has a basement. I shared my thoughts with my best friend. 2008 Prepping: A Labor of Love. The cover caught my attention. about 20 minutes from a medium city. October 11. I had read and re-read the book. but it is a momentous task to try to prepare for that many people. and my mind was always going. We are on a gravel. links and resources.

. One thing that we did consider—a hundred gallons of propane will work this stove. meat grinders.proper angle.) We have been learning to save our own seeds. I have learned a lot. We also have propane heaters. and pressurize the tank. became a cold frame. and a Freecycled propane cooktop. pond water. etc. I don’t even rinse them. we also have our eyes on a pump that would be inline. eggs. which now helps the air conditioning bill. We also have laid in a supply of sprouting seeds. I have studied new and old methods of drying. 16 ounces of alcohol. We can also use it in the barn or basement if the weather necessitates. which is helpful when working with canners. It is actually a very pretty garden! I have dried tomatoes. even offering up the remnants of the soaps in them. This will happen soon if things hold out a while! Although I store drinking water. but also use the older method of using salt and vinegar rinses to preserve color.ProvidentLiving. for a year and a half. when it is just hot. mushrooms. mostly due to the awakening of some of the sheeple.]. canned heat. For now the well is primary. expecting to get some small livestock. and jellied. and will definitely help later. A friend helped build an Amish [summer canning] kitchen from some table legs. We also have the supplies to expand the garden next year. A couple of extra tanks are on the list to obtain! By putting the cooktop outside. One plus to this that we didn’t consider—the stove is lower in height. the stored water is contingent. canned anything that I had time to. Directions for making these can be found on the LDS preparedness sites [such as www. and other kitchen helpers. and have dishes or laundry to do. and my family is scrounging for jars for me. However. or the propane stove in the kitchen. it was decided that the best route for us was to just ready ourselves to be off grid. wood. would be the emergency. (The latter is a 1-quart steel paint can. with a double pane window on it. and use them. I keep sodium metabisulfite. and the rain water. onions. I now store water. The supply is dried up here. cabbage. the hand pump is alternate. those bottles will work perfectly. and using the PACE system means that we have several means of getting more. and there is no air conditioning. and I have been studying some animal husbandry.org. apples. My three garage sale dehydrators run most of the time. After consideration of a generator. and for emergencies. plums. Second-hand shops have provided hank crank blenders. zucchini jam. When we are without water. I also started saving detergent bottles for non-potable water. with a roll of toilet paper with cardboard liner removed. we don’t heat the house up. and cantaloupe jam. with new recipes for dandelion jelly. food processors.

and get a brake bleeder. My mother was supportive. you can go to your local auto store. I also found a neighbor who grows corn. but we sprout it for both us and our dogs. . and pledged to give more. and now seal all my dehydrated foods with vacuum on them. Incidentally. I obtained the mason jar sealers. press it into the jar attachment. I was able to find a supplier locally for wheat. which is worth sharing. This would be fine as a temporary fix until more permanent work could be done. very reasonably. Don’t ask me how I know. When you remove the pump. i. we should have minimal power. but not overly helpful until this month. by the way. who took my order for about 10 bushel. and the usual things on my list from garage sales. Along with jars. Within a couple of weeks. I do understand that during the probable turmoil. Not only do I grind flour. Guess some cornbread with all those beans would be a welcome thought. will collapse a five gallon bucket. Just put the conical end on the bleeder. the jar seals. and is also now actively engaged in the OPSEC end of our needs. and if time permits. but with all the preps. and would need only a path for the solar cell wire. and they would be of great use. so we know what we all need to work on. I found an article for a vacuum pump. We are in the process of getting a community inventory. and are both also prepping. etc. which. and pump away. Seal your buckets with a little less vacuum! My friend and her mom got on board early. By eliminating the motion sensor and photo-eye. My husband has become more supportive as the economy teeters. A mason jar will hold 20 inches (Hg) of vacuum. with a gauge and several attachments.Solar and human generated power are ideas that I am investigating. and his chronic halitosis had vanished. I had seen build-ityourself pumps. and I started adding sprouts to the dog food. I hope that my electrical abilities will help here! Several years ago I installed some solar powered flood lights on my parents’ home. our older dog was having some health issues. their use would be limited to avoid the target on our backs. socks. where I am the only customer. and directwiring a switch. when the moisture content is down and we can store it. making our own breads when time permits. tins. She also gave me a nice check to help with whatever we need. through a window. However. eventually things will settle. building one was not in the time allotment. she has started getting winter clothes. and now plan to put some both on and in my home. However.e. these lights could work in the house as well. he was acting like a puppy. with minimal outlay.

Lists will be filled. and gives us much. having all your supplies means nothing if you don’t know how to use them. stay warm with less heat. They also know (thanks to SurvivalBlog) what they need to look for. I have given them ideas on putting things away when you can barely afford to eat. I look in the closet in my office. laughing as she learned to use a drill. I walk to the basement. and peace grows. and enjoy just looking at the fruits of my labor. or a can of milk. and lay in a supply of jars and lids. I know that we will not panic. Even on a bad week. and see not only hours spent with my best friend. I would have laughed. It is our responsibility to use it wisely. Every week. without asking myself if it has another purpose. Eat wheat. Your blog site has been invaluable. and feel some peace. beans. pudding. and find sleeping bags. I see the full jars of home processed foods. What we have begun is a new way of life that takes what we have today. and the many other medical supplies. 2008 Letter Re: Some Practical Notes on Third World Living . or month. God is good. and we have a plan. sprout seeds. I see the first aid box. but the many meals we ate. and builds on it for tomorrow. blankets. Then we have to count on Him to take care of the things we can’t. the more I know that I don’t know! But knowledge is power. If you had told me 10 months ago how very many hours I could find in a day. week. and when to get headed home. Remember. and I often come home from visits with the car full of goodies. learn to use the canners. rice. and will still eat. Although I struggle with the fears of not having enough done. get at least one item. I am much more prepared that most. October 1. Are we ready? Not by a long shot! The more I know. He can only guide our steps if we start walking. to do all these things. and send it. Thanks again for what you do! Sparky Wednesday. I don’t throw anything out any more. you can afford a box of salt. from our bleacher boxes. and see the supplies there. However. My family has lists of things that they are to watch for. grow a garden. struggling to survive. they also pick up an extra bag of rice or can of beans when they can. and other items to help out family when they are forced here. and amuse yourself without television.Our children are like most kids. and as times become more unpredictable. and I do know that when things happen. you are the first thing I check when I log on. Learn to cook with your essentials. Now I look at the garden.

is a must. They're also too cheap/poor to put enough steel in the buildings. or you wont be parking anything soon. This is very true. I have a nice bike. Political corruption is the norm. and I'm sure its kind of disorganized. Houses not made of cement block are broken into through the walls. All water is boiled before ingestion. People walk on your roof at night. In Third world Peru. as the power goes out regularly. Re-bar is [used] only in the corners. after things stabilize. except [commercially] bottled water. it gets stolen. Farmers carry guns. off street parking. This allowed her to correlate things that occur in her former patria with our situation. it has not been reviewed by an outside set of eyes yet. but this is some info about third world life. My wife is from Peru. A courtyard inside larger places is the norm. People with nice hats walk around with a hand on their head. I get a new bike but not as nice as the first. the Nuevo Sol. it gets stolen. even in nice houses. Most any government official can be bought for a couple hundred nuevo sols. Everyone had bars on every window and door. As this is not a competition entry. everyone steals everything so often that everyone ends up with the same trash that nobody wants to steal anymore. so they fall down easily in earthquakes. if you can afford a vehicle. I buy the worst looking bike I can find. (after boiling) Hopefully you have a big tank on your roof to gravity feed it through your pipes. There is no space built for an American style range. as I can see it here. we're young whippersnappers) She recently started to help out in getting ready. with big seven gallon bottles. What helped her was comparing the current economic climate here to Peru. Trucks come with semi-clean water and people line up to fill up their buckets for washing and drinking. She was born during the Peruvian hyperinflation and transition to its next fiat currency. It stays. .g.Permalink Jim. and your personal well and pump wont work. (Yeah. She is a source of info on the Third world medium sized city way of life. e. Nobody has an exposed to the street yard. Inyokern told me this concept: When things go really sour. everyone cooks with propane camp stoves.

This underscores the importance of having practical skills. The poor wear them. I’m sort of reluctant to share this because. Well there’s a shining example of the truth in it. Unfortunately. and you can't cut that with a knife. acquired use of a generator. well. . but most tires I know of are steel belted. Often if you sell higher "dollar" stuff.Tantalum Tom Letter Re: AVGAS as an Alternative Source of Gasoline During Spot Shortages Permalink James. These are said to be made out of used car tires. the power goes out all the time. Regards. Traffic in her small town is nearly non existent. . the neighbor allowed my uncle to run an extension cord over to his house to keep the fridge and freezer going. home based Liquor stores. My two pair are made from rubber mining belt I think. but traffic in Lima is suicidal. During Hurricane Ike my uncle. The stores here are obviously not prepared for that. In Peru. money and product are exchanged though the door bars. Candles are common. I know you’ve said that a million times. having valuable skills can allow you to barter work for the things you need. etc. In return for his help. My uncle is a trained mechanic (former career) and was able to fix it. People wear sandals called yanki. That’s an interesting story in itself so I’ll divert for a second and elaborate: He didn’t own a generator but his next door neighbor did. There is no such thing as a big box store. People don't stock up there. Even if you can’t afford to store a lot of tangibles. your customers don't even come in your building. who lives in Houston. as the tread pattern is cut by hand. Keyed locks on both sides. tricycle and mototaxis. Even disposable diapers are bought one at a time. I might need to do it someday and its value is in the fact that most people don’t know it. the stores I guess have sufficient on hand to handle the outages and subsequent candle runs. it wouldn’t start. Selling food in the streets. and they supposedly last a loooooong time. the neighbor had never run the generator and when they needed it.Just about everyone is self employed.

is made in leaded formulations and those are not compatible for use with many of the newer vehicles that have catalytic converters. at least in most English-speaking countries. I only had the minor inconvenience of being without electricity in Houston for five days. They bought all they could use. my heart goes out to all those who truly suffered with loss of life or property as a result of Hurricane Ike. First of all. Rawles. JWR Replies: Thanks for that reminder. Nobody was flying in or out. and even if they had gas. which left the airport well stocked with gas and apparently. It works fine in both cars and equipment [such as generators]. no fighting. It seems a lot of people here had generators which burn lots of precious gasoline. You can have only so many batteries and . I’m not suggesting this as an alternative to keep a sufficient supply of fuel on hand.) So I had a taste of what it is like to be off-grid and learned a few things to share with your readers. they also had a way to pump it. Almost all public airports sell AVGAS.) Wednesday. September 24. No lines. all I can think is that there are probably dozens if not hundreds of pilots gassing their cars up with avgas… and doing it very quietly. Best. 2008 Letter Re: My Hurricane Ike Experience Permalink Dear Mr. The only people who thought to buy avgas were other pilots. no competition. We toughed it out.Back to the point I wanted to make: They didn’t have enough gas for the generator and quickly ran out. [(aviation gasoline). As I read about the gas shortages in the southeast (right now). Also. (Using AVGAS in ground vehicles has been mentioned a few times in the blog. most AVGAS (such as 100LL). So… My uncle is also a private pilot and flies out of a local general aviation airport. there was no power to pump it. (Since leaded formulations quickly degrade catalytic converters. He drove up there and bought all he wanted. But it’s an additional resource if your supply runs out. one grade of] which is just highly refined 100 octane gasoline. (There are still over one million in Houston and the surrounding area without power. But after a few days the gasoline runs out.) Just keep in mind that there could be road tax issues. The stations were out. I did have small camping-type battery powered fans and several flashlights but can't imagine what we'd do in a situation without power for the long term.Matt R. .

Also had many frozen plastic milk jugs in freezer and big igloo to keep some things cold for a couple of days. as water plants use electricity to pump water. Also. This helped many to have meals.then what? We had water drawn in bath tub to use for flushing toilet. They let in a few people at a time for crowd control. (Many buying gas for their generators). There is some good news in that we shared our generator with neighbors. Others in the neighborhood were doing the same. Thursday. I was lucky to have my nonperishable food stockpile. We have been without power until late today.p. Luckily I didn't see civil unrest. I am now more afraid than ever of what it is going to be like if the power goes off frequently or stays off in a worse-case scenario. Ohio and had 76 m. Be sure to have one that fits your current phone model. I used my television band radio a lot to get information. I know this is merely a temporary solution to heating. Everyone helped to clear trees and limbs from the roads and yards. I told my husband recently that I wanted to buy a camp stove and now he may agree with me. Thanks for all you do. Since I can't leave. Gas stations were slow to reopen and had hours to wait when they did open. .h. Our neighborhood looks like a war zone. 2008 Letter Re: Tropical Storm Ike's Devastation Works its Way North to Ohio Permalink Hi Jim. . winds on Sunday. To heat water for coffee we used sterno called Canned Heat and it worked very well. Some of the kids set up a barbeque stand and were selling hot dogs and hamburgers for cost. Grocery stores were closed for a couple of days and there were lines just to get into the stores when they did open. I think we need the most help. The majority of people are using common sense. We had full tanks in advance of the storm. In general the west side of Columbus seemed to get hit the worse. many don't realize that cordless land line phones use electricity so you need to have a standard corded phone (which I had) if you want to even find out if your land-line works. One important item we used was the car charger for the cell phone. September 18. We live in Columbus. Ice was very hard to come by. And of course no television or computer which is really tough. I would move out of the city.Nancy B. Schools are still closed for Wednesday and many intersections still have no signals. Remember to have extras for relatives. Please continue to remember the trapped-in-the-city dwellers when you post ideas for survival. Many trees on homes and in yards. but what if power stayed off longer? If there was any way. I will continue to prepare the best I can.

The only thing we found was a length of heavy pipe. . I have never been one. We had water stored but it was not needed. We had plenty of gas for the generator and batteries for all of the flashlights and push on lights.Let me say that we rode this out without much trouble. that could be used on outside fires. Well that has all changed as of last night. We have you to thank for helping us to prepare as well as we did. I will be getting a gun and taking safety classes to ensure proper use so that our property will be defended if needed. I could have told her a few other ways to make meals but she moved on. We thought we were prepared but now have found a few items we still need to get to be better prepared for next time. however. I did notice that several stores had raised prices on these items but most were sold out. When I returned I saw a car pull up in front of the house. She looked at me and was so surprised and said she would not have thought to use the grill. to own guns and always felt that I would not need one.Melanie & Rick Tuesday. The car moved on when the driver saw me standing and looking out the window. I went shopping for a few things and while at the store a family was there buying emergency supplies. 2008 Letter Re: Tropical Storm Ike's Devastation Works its Way North to Ohio Permalink . We were the only house [in the neighborhood] to have lights and it could be seen from the road. We had been watching television using rabbit ears and I got up to go to the other room. I saw so many people trying to find ice as well as generators. You could also hear the generator from the road. We got it and then did not sleep for fear of losing the generator. Sincerely. I asked if they had a grill and she said yes. We had the right tools such as pots and pans etc. Camping items such as lanterns were all sold out in stores. We decided we needed something in case they came back trying to take the generator. We had the generator chained to the deck with heavy chains and locks and thought it was safe. The mother commented to me that she didn't know what she was going to fix to eat since she had no power. September 16. I told her to either buy or use some cheap pots and pans and use the grill to cook. This was not the case for many.

Ohio] radio when you did your quick interview. The power is still out to over half a million people. One can only hope. I've been well prepared for quite a while. My power just came back on about 10 minutes ago. About 50% of the grocery stores are down without power. power and we've enjoyed a couple of days Internet free. Nice job.Hi James! I heard you this morning on WLW [in Cincinnati. It is the easiest way to deal with barns. [The] Krogers [grocery store chain in the region] has over 50% of their stores closed and are predicting quite a loss in frozen/fresh foods at those locations. A number of these homes . which I might add hasn't really been that bad! Maybe this will be a wake up call to more people locally to get prepared. but I'm waiting until it stabilizes before shutting down my emergency power system. so no long gas lines for me. plenty to eat. Ohio Sunday. It is amazing here in Cincinnati the level of chaos that exists.] When the grid is available to home or retreat. 220 volt tools and wells. 2008 Letter Re: Generating Photovoltaic Power When Grid Power is Available Permalink Jim: I agree completely with your comment that [photovoltaic] solar systems should not be grid-tied to run the meter backward [to isolate the photovoltaic system from potentially devastating coupled electromagnetic pulse (EMP). I believe it is worth connecting.Larry in Cincinnati. We had quite a mess with lots of downed trees and power lines. God bless you and yours! . and a bit of gouging here. but overall it wasn't as bad as Houston .thank God! There has been quite a run on gasoline. September 14. but some thought to solar wiring can go a long way. Many custom homes and retreats were built with home-run wiring before the price of wire jumped so high.

This was very difficult to do because I have Charter [Communications. I run a server and a large desktop computer from solar. Grid-down. My solar system utilizes all available solar power and protects me fairly well from EMP.com web site. refrigeration and 220 VAC is on the grid and most other 110 VAC is off-grid. My television is wireless as well. Think of two modes – solar when the grid is up and solar when the grid is down. My home/retreat has well-insulated metal siding and metal roof for some added fire and EMP protection. I only run my laptop and have to control my well (dual 110 volt inverters) versus my refrigerator and chest freezer so they do not run at the same time. the grid tie is broken (I don’t need the well then. all my barns. 2008 Letter Re: Build it Yourself Farm and Homestead Equipment Permalink Mr Rawles While looking for plans and ideas for a new outbuilding for my home. Inc. download able and free. Anyone who has ever work around farm equipment knows to keep on their toes or you might end up with a . Grid-up. All my computers are hooked to my computer network by wireless cards. The thing many people have not thought through is how to utilize their solar power when the grid is up and they make the lazy choice to grid-tie to realize the value from their solar system. I found this little gem solid information buried deep in the Countyplans.] It took a broadband wireless repeater between the converter box and the television. .] high-definition cable [television service. September 12. When I leave the property.and retreats can be solar-controlled simply by DPDT switching circuit wiring at the fuse box. lighting and refrigeration are solar run. This stuff is in PDF format. It has probably has around 150 plans to build everything from a Turret Lathe and Mill to Cement Mixers and Tractor Scoop Loaders. Grid-up.SAR Friday.) and all phantom loads. The plans are reprints from old do it yourself magazines and are past copyright so there isn't any legal issues with the downloads Now a lot of these equipment plans would not pass the government's current nurf world standards for safety so use them at your risk.

In New Orleans. was the third-most damaging hurricane in U. On September 11. history and provides some valuable insights into how people react when an entire self-contained community loses most of their creature comforts. These lessons learned are from the personal recollections of a member of the command and control element. The command and control element reported directly to the mayor of Kauai County and to the Governor. At one point there were 5. Within three days. there were only a handful of deaths attributed to the hurricane. if not impossible. The population in 1992 was about 50. there were approximately 1. to achieve in more densely populated areas or disasters that affect larger geographical regions (as we saw following Hurricane Katrina) . 2008 Hurricane Iniki . Due to early warning and good Civil Defense planning. Most striking was the number of relief agencies that arrived on-island within a week to two weeks after the storm.interesting new nickname. By way of background. Hurricane Iniki made a direct hit on the island with winds upward of 150 miles per hour. the military response was initially focused on rescue or recovery and not on law enforcement. It. This ratio of 1:10 would be difficult. . The 1:10 ratio of relief workers to residents was one reason that there was almost no looting or lawlessness in the aftermath of the storm. September 6. which struck the island of Kauai on September 11.000 National Guard personnel on the island. Saturday. along with a small. our prayers are with you and yours. Permalink Hurricane Iniki.Henry S. . The hurricane missed the rest of the state except for brushing the leeward coast of Oahu. 1992.S. National Guard troops from other islands were on Kauai eight hours after the hurricane had passed. Glad to hear the Memsahib is back in charge.Some Lessons Learned. Approximately 70 percent of the buildings on Kauai were destroyed or damaged. Kauai is the fourth largest island in the Hawaiian Archipelago.000.000 relief workers representing 80 different governmental agencies and private organizations supporting a population of 50. by B. privately-owned island off its western coast make up the County of Kauai. Telecommunications and electricity were lost and not entirely restored to all areas for six months.000. 1992.

In most areas water was back on-line within 3to-4 days. The hurricane downed perhaps a third of telephone/electrical poles on the island. were available within a few days after the storm. which consists of reservoirs in the mountains and some wells that service the drier parts of the island. maneuver. assessed and tracked to determine their current status to coordinate support and to help estimate how long before each system would be brought back on-line. Feeding stations serving a hot lunch were set up at various locations around the island using military cooks and idle chefs from the various resort hotels. the novelty of eating MREs quickly wore off and distributing food became a high priority. Communications and electricity .e. . headcounts changed daily and it was difficult to ensure that sufficient food was available at each location. Replacement poles were obtained from the mainland and shipped to Kauai. To facilitate planning. The first priority for Civil Defense was to install generators at all pumping stations. supplied by the Federal government.There are few private wells on the island.MREs. there were few cellular phones. communications. Crews were flown in from as far away as the east coast and worked months to repair the damage. etc.Military planning is built around “operating systems” i. Food . The County owns the water system. Water . However. However.In 1992. the operating systems inherent in all civilian communities were identified. Nearly everyone relied on land lines for their telephone service. They became the main source of calories for most people. These systems were: * Water * Food * Communications and electricity * Sewage treatment and waste disposal * Traffic control and public safety * Medical Services Each of these operating systems presented unique challenges and insights as they relate to disaster planning.

banks. Two looters were arrested within the first week following the storm. People began to dump trash along side the roads. and incarcerated within a week. However. Looting was minimal due to the large presence of the military. FEMA provided generator support to the Kauai County sewage treatment facilities and sewage never became a major health issue. The Honolulu SWAT deployed to Kauai and operated at night in high priority areas such as near jewelry stores. Restoration of electricity to key intersection was given high priority so that traffic signals would be operational. The case was widely publicized and served as a great deterrent. A decision was made to free-up police officers whenever feasible to take care of their own families. It should be noted that Hurricane Andrew had hit Florida three week before Iniki and the two areas were competing for some high priority items like telephone poles and the. Sewage treatment and waste disposal . A new landfill with an expected life of ten years that had been opened shortly before the storm was completely filled within a couple of months. blue plastic tarps used as temporary patches for leaking roofs. A military police unit was flown in to provide traffic control as needed.Kauai is a mix of public sewer systems and [private] septic systems. The hurricane created a lot of destruction and debris. the base yards in several western states were emptied of poles to support the recovery operation for a community of 50. as conditions improved. However. Few accidents were reported. Some of these sites had only minor damage and were quickly repaired. The fact that access to the island was tightly controlled for the first month also stopped any outsiders from taking . Within a week. was delayed for up to six months as crews replaced downed poles. people adapted to driving without traffic lights and were generally courteous to other drivers when arriving simultaneously at intersections. much prized.Reportedly. etc. There were microwave relay sites on the island to transmit communications signals from Kauai to the other islands and. worldwide. telephone service was available to the public via mobile phone trailers that were set up around the island. Others were destroyed and replacement equipment was flown in from Oahu or the mainland. telephone service to individual homes. tried and convicted. there was little civilian traffic for the first week since few businesses were operating and most of the roads were blocked by downed poles. The County landfills were initially closed. then.500 active duty soldiers were brought to the island with their equipment and went door-to-door cleaning up yards and hauling away debris. like electricity. In what amounted to lighting justice.It became apparent within the first few days that the Kauai Police Department was overwhelmed. Traffic control and public safety . County sanitation workers had been furloughed to take care of their families. they were charged. Interestingly. Waste disposal was more challenging. About three weeks after the storm over 1.000.

However. State and County Civil Defense had air evacuated most expectant mothers and dialysis patients to Oahu a few hours before the hurricane struck. Research and memorize the checklists that first responders use as they assess patient needs and prioritize casualties. and refrigerated perishable food that had been barged and flown to the island. No illegal drugs were getting on the island because the airfields and seaports were controlled by the military. Initially. Drug addicts presented a special problem in that their regular supply was disrupted. Talk to emergency room workers and find out how they triage incoming patients. One of the most prized items turned out to be generators. After about a week. Typically this occurred 7-10 days after the storm. As any infantryman will tell you. Interviews with doctors from the various relief organizations uncovered a pattern of medical emergencies. Research and build your own medical kit.All medical personal who live on Kauai were affected by the hurricane and. they started to appear at medical aid stations. If you don’t believe you have any skills to offer a group. the welfare and location of the unit medic is always on your mind. In many instances. As a last resort. the local police department. provided electricity to medical facilities. with the exception of emergency rooms. relatives of Kauai resident living on the other islands or the mainland bought generators and have them shipped to the Kauai. Medical challenges provide some of the most relevant lessons learned for people interested in preparing for a breakdown in local. The lesson learned is that highly visible military and police presence coupled with quick convictions served to keep criminal activity at a manageable level. Military and civilian generators . Research the process doctors use to diagnose patient complaints and symptoms.advantage of the situation. cleaned sewage. if necessary. as we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. you should develop your first aid and medical skills. The first few days saw broken bones from falling off roofs. normal medical support ceased. Generators pumped water. Without the immediate influx of generators from FEMA and the military. addicts turned to known drug dealers and. is probably incapable of maintaining law and order. broke into the dealers’ homes looking for drugs. There will always be a need for a “doc” to take care of group members. nail punctures and similar wounds. life of Kauai after the hurricane would have been much tougher. regional or national government. diabetics and people on mood altering prescription drugs started to show up at the clinics looking for medication. These were followed by people who had ran out of medicine for chronic maladies like high blood pressure and epilepsy. Medical equipment and a confident air could be your passport to safety. Medical .

Apparently some local residents felt that it was worth the risk to provide refrigeration and lights to their families. Also. MREs quickly lost their savor. 2008 Letter Re: Advice on Photovoltaic Power Systems Permalink Greetings! I'm a long time reader. never to return. A communication plan that is well thought-out ahead of time would be a great psychological boost following a catastrophe. something as simple as a bulletin board that is updated every few hours would help the cohesiveness and bonding of the group. In 1992. batteries and inverter)? Though I have heard of things like Trace. Finally. Xantrex. Others left the island. charge controller. I need to say something about the way people reacted and adjusted following the storm. Some folks could not cope with the dramatic changes in their routine and committed suicide. people in their 70s and 80s had lived through the Great Depression and World War II. have you ever heard of a dual setup where one could run their house the . They proved to be tougher than one would expect . the easier their transition and recovery. They usually had a better attitude and often adapted better to living without television. especially for children. Tuesday. I apologize if this has been covered before . In general. but what name brands would you recommend for the main components (panels. first time writer. Kauai residents would tell you that the most stressful time came immediately after the hurricane when all communication was lost and people were restricted to their immediate neighborhoods by the downed poles and trees. July 22. In addition to a good electronics. the more outdoor oriented people were. They simply did not know if they were going to get any help because they did not know whether the other islands had been hit by the storm. The willingness to risk jail to obtain a generator can likely be traced to the desire to eat fresh food. Military veterans had often endured tougher times and also quickly adapted.point me in the right direction and I'll check the archives.arriving at the port on Kauai were occasionally stolen by enterprising homeowners who simply backed their trucks up and drove off with a generator that had been offloaded and staged for pickup by the legal owner. I have been interested in "offgrid" photovoltaic power systems as a way to generate power should the grid go down. I'm pretty well versed on electricity and concepts. Military people found the duty easier than most field training exercises. electrical light and refrigeration than did many younger people. gel battery and pure sine wave. my practical knowledge is limited.

) Batteries are another commodity. service life. depending on maker. even if you eventually add a few panels. (They are essentially just looking for a source of lead plates for recycling. you might prefer to buy an American-made product. if you have a strong back and aren't afraid to get your hands dirty. I strongly recommend that you buy the batteries for your system from a local dealer. such as your local Interstate Batteries dealer. Most have similar warranties (although some are slightly better). this can save you several hundred dollars. Also keep in mind that the more "bells and whistles" on a charge controller equals greater vulnerability to . and ability to withstand the weather. Be sure to do some comparison pricing before you buy. Because of their high shipping weight. glazing strength (impact resistance). the price per watt should be the main determining factor in picking a brand. If the dealer offers a "core" credit and you are buying an entirely new system. "on-grid" way and then flip a switch near the breaker box to have all the outlets in the home powered by solar? Keep up the good work! .) If their core refund terms are based strictly on battery weight or the combined number of Amp hours capacity. Just be sure to get a controller that can handle your anticipated needs. following some serious disagreements with the Xantrex corporate management. truck. free for the taking. and they still control a large portion of the market. PV panels should be considered a commodity. (Batteries that are so old and sulfated that they will no longer hold a charge.standard. but all of the major brands are roughly comparable. Depending on the size of your system. (Although if you are like me. As for inverters: Inverter technology varies considerably. an up-and-coming company that was started by a group of former Xantrex engineers. and as such. one trick is to ask around locally at venues such as Craig's List. at least if buy traditional lead-acid deep cycle ("golf cart" type) batteries.) Part-time mechanics often have a dozen or more such batteries available. Charge controller technology is still advancing. For these reasons. and tractor batteries. The Outback brand holds a slight margin in inverter technology. for free used car. be advised that dealers are often not particular about what you provide them for your trade in.Josh in Illinois JWR Replies: All of the major brands of monocrystaline weatherproof photovoltaic (PV) panels are essentially comparable in terms of their rated output. The Trace brand inverters are now sold under the Xantrex Technology name. Their major competitor in the US is Outback Power Systems.

As to that. et cetera. word is that [the US] EPA will soon (if they haven't already) re-block importation of these marvels because they don't meet emissions requirements for stationary engines. Anyway. They can design true "turn key" system for you that will require no upkeep other than periodic battery maintenance.) Ready Made Resources (one of our most loyal advertisers) offers free consulting on alternate power system system siting. rising shipping costs and the hassle of US Customs have pretty much halted importation.) but they're more expensive and not widely distributed. high metal prices. I'm told by the folks who sold me my Listeroid . A grid-tied system can be set up to provide "automatic failover""--meaning that there will be no interruption of power to your home or retreat more than at most a few moments. The anemic dollar. 2008 Letter Re: Low RPM Diesel Generator Availability Permalink Dear James Thanks for the great article link on "growing fuel" and thanks again for all the information at SurvivalBlog! Low speed diesels [that were recently mentioned in the blog] such as the Lister and Listeroid clones are fantastic. and so forth. in the event of a power failure.it's more likely that the cost of certification is prohibitive. so it is wise to keep a spare. they're less suited to running vegetable oil fuels and may require a bit of modification for this purpose. and that's obviously not the real purpose of such inane regulation. load requirements/system sizing. To make matters worse.EMP. there are emissions-legal alternatives (the Yanmar. such as a a steel ammo can. June 24. Sadly. Also. Weichai. but sadly that ship has sailed.You can also design a system that will allow you to sell power back to your power utility--the much-touted "meter running backwards"--depending on your local laws and power company policies. the annual total emissions of these stationary power plants are meaningless in the grand scheme. stored in a Faraday cage enclosure. Listeroids are extremely efficient so they might just meet standards . Also. Tuesday. Be sure to take advantage of this very generous free service. (They are fairly inexpensive.

. Yet another indicator of how late it really is [to prepare]. Typically with DC wiring the red or white wire is positive. Rawles. 2008 Letter Re: Advice on a Mini Photovoltaic Battery Charging System Permalink Hi Mr. Regards. Thanks for your time and your blog. so also do searches on "low RPM Diesel" or "one cylinder diesel". C. and that would go to the "tip" terminal on the lighter plug. Those are available for any electronics supply store such as Radio Shack. If you upgrade to larger capacity storage--such as a standard car battery or better yet a pair of golf cart batteries--either add a charge controller to the circuit or be very careful about checking voltage regularly during charging so that you don't "cook" your battery. How does the panel connect to the battery pack? And does your recommended Accupower AccuManager 20 Battery Charger (a battery charger for AA. OBTW. JWR Replies: Lister clone engines do pop up on the secondary market here in the US. I had a question about the article titled Letter Re: For Want of a Battery. AAA. could you please tell me how many AA batteries you could charge from one 12 volt battery pack. . Watch for them vigilantly at Craigslist. (Note: Be sure double check the polarity with a volt-ohm meter before plugging it in!) One nice thing about jump packs is that they have a built-in charge controller. with this battery pack . you would have to wire a cigarette lighter-type plug on to the lead wires from the photovoltaic panel. In it you said to connect the Northern Tool & Equipment Solar-Powered Trickle Charger — 5 Watt Item # 339973. SurvivalBlog reader Glenn recommends Central Maine Diesel as a source. and 9 volt rechargeable batteries connect to the 12 volt battery pack via the cigarette lighter plug? Also.com and in newspaper and "nickel" paper classified ads. Signed.Fred H.LZ JWR Replies: Unless it already has one installed.that the Chinese expeller presses that press the oil from seeds have likewise soared in price and are practically impossible to come by. . Saturday. June 21. D. Note that not all sellers will use the correct terms Lister or Listeroid in their ad titles.

June 17. The charger has six "channels". you can’t do it overnight unless you’re Warren Buffet. I bought a safe to store it in. 1998. and no fuel to move food to the JIT grocery stores.so they will not over-charge your batteries. I can’t claim a campaign ribbon for any disasters. A 10 watt panel (or two 5 watt panels wired parallel) works much better. absolutely not! Let me share with you the good and the bad of what I have done in the last ten years. I bought food. I could see things getting very ugly. In fact. Tuesday. how many batteries you need to keep charged. They were designed by a company in Germany.) I have not had to live through or endure Hurricane Katrina. people new to self-reliance are like ants at the foot of a mountain staring up with their head touching their back wondering how in the world they will ever be able to replace modern society and be able to take care of themselves WTSHTF. C. With a five watt photovoltaic panel it might take two or three days to charge your jump pack. they do work well. (Although I have a friend in the service that sat in a command bunker holding his breath at Y2K – the government didn’t know what was going to occur. and your time available to re-position the panel to keep it in full sunlight throughout the day. Your ability to "make do" with a smaller panel depends on your budget. D cells. I had been willing to fight for this nation as a member of the US Army. I became awakened to the idea of being self-reliant. I . No participation in the 9/11 attacks. I bought a Springfield Armory M1A. but I was sad to see that they are now made in mainland China. So often. Well. so it can simultaneously hold four AAA. They come with both a 12 VDC cord (with cigarette lighter plug) and a 120 VAC adapter. When the electricity went off and there would be no water to drink. I bought another M1A (for the spousal unit of course!) I bought ammo. You can recharge at least 20 AA cells from a jump pack that is fully charged. Y2K was a salient topic of conversation. truth be told. Am I upset or sorry that I have changed my life to follow a path of self-reliance? Most definitely. Y2K didn’t cause a global melt down. AA. I bought gear. 2008 After 10 Years--Some Observations and Lessons Learned by a Y2K-Era Prepper Permalink It was June. and two 9 VDC batteries. It got my attention. They are a "smart" charger-. Lots of it. However. Now it was time to fight for my household. That was 10 years ago. and a 20 watt panel works even better still.I own an AccuManager 20 Battery Charger.

She is just beginning to come around in the last two years. Get in an argument with a gal and it is like pouring water into a bucket of sand – the surface may dry after a bit. You need to see what you have (inventories!) Store what you Eat/use – I did great on the cartridges. I could have used that money for a higher priority item. They have been “stored” sitting on pallets in a friends storage building for 9 years because I have not been able to get to the replacement power system yet. let me share a few of my screw-ups. Great intent. The handle that you click onto the blade cartridge gave up the ghost after many years of faithful service. How about the initial purchases I made while in a state of “marked concern” when I became “self aware” with regard to self – reliance. forgive and are back to being friends. but it dries up pretty quickly. that you can make significant progress. No photovoltaic panels No wiring until last year. and one is none. A grade of “F” to me for consensus building. (If two guys fight.) I very religiously squirreled away Gillette Atra razors because that is what I used each day. Let me show you! In order to show you that you do indeed have cause for hope. they belt each other like two crazed wolverines. talking living proof. The stores don’t sell them anymore! Now I have three dozen packs of five cartridges with no way to use them to shave! Fortunately. shake hands. Did I re-learn some valuable lessons? You bet! Two is one. Do you think this view of “my nest” versus “the world may end” led to some intense “discussions”? You bet your last dog flea it did. The money I invested in self-reliance was my spousal unit’s “down payment on a house”. I did find a second/spare handle in my stores and will be able to use them up. Kinda like a cow urinating on a big flat rock – big splash and splatters. however. Eventually they realize they were stupid for fighting.am walking. but it stays wet down in that bucket for a long time. For much of the intervening 10 years I have been the one prepping while my wife harbored a severe grudge against the entire topic because I spent our money for the house down payment on crazy self-reliance materials. but forgot spare handles! In the run-up to Y2K I bought a dozen 6 volt golf cart batteries to be able to set-up some kind of power system in the house. . Poster child example of a bucket of wet sand.

What preps could you get done with an extra $60. The list goes on. We kept 3-6 months of expenses in savings. One thing we did do smart was underbuy on our home with a condo (sixplex) in town. Will a deployment take me away from directly protecting The Lovely Spousal Unit (TLSU)? Yes. No credit card payments. Fix the DR mower. Does a pension check from age 65 on make us better able to care . Thank God I listened to my in-laws and did not try to finish the upstairs interior construction while living downstairs! Prior to Y2K I tried very hard to create a group. You know . Had Y2K caused the feared problems.living the typical American city life. We did many things very right. Was I able to foresee the "second & third order effects” of the change to a country homestead? Nope. my spousal unit was trained well by her farmer parents. I am not proud of failing. Massive mistake. I am proud of jumping into the fight and giving it my 110%. I have returned to the Army by working as a tactical/leadership contractor at a nearby Fort and getting reappointed into the National Guard. “What an opportunity for character building!” Learning lesson for me was that I should never have stopped Soldiering. It failed in many ways. Don’t get me wrong – I would not trade my homestead back for city living for anything. but we were nowhere near ready to deal with WTSHTF/TEOTWAWKI. Does staying employed doing what God designed me to do mean we’ll have a steady income? Likely. and hair implants. Two out of three ain’t bad! I endured the gauntlet of multiple careers trying to find a fit for who I am. buying Jaguars. Thankfully. we would have been the third or fourth critter on the highway run over by life. Maybe chief amongst them is my underestimation of the massiveness of the size of this endeavor! I joke with friends about not being free from the To Do list to be able to get into trouble for at least five years! Fix the septic pond berms. however. we would have been road kill.000? I am certainly not happy I put one in the “L” column. The Yuppie Queen and her husband went right back to spoiling their princess/daughter. Put a deck on the back of the house so the [building] code Nazis will give us the permanent occupancy permit. Cut and split and stack firewood. Sort out the “scrap” lumber. clothes.The spousal unit and I built our home last year. Mow. Not even having read Backwoods Home magazine for 8 years. Fix the leaking pressure tank in the basement. No car payments. Okay. One business venture was as a franchisee for Idiotstate. I simply have green blood. Four years with no income for me and a net loss of $60. The other couple moved out onto 20 acres in a very rural county and raise goats and chickens. Some learning experiences occurred. Clear 30 trees dropped to get the septic pond clearance (not done with that one yet).000 overall. We never carried any debt other than the mortgage. I am on 20+ acres and moving in a self-reliant direction. As they used to tell me in the military.

It sets on a chunk of land that is 20+ acres. (More on that later.800 square feet of living space. 8” of reinforced concrete. About 1. that area is not finished yet. it looks like we have a very big check mark in the “W” column. not so fast there Skippy! I have a thing or two that should go in the “W” column. carbine). The walls are 1” of concrete fake rock veneer. I have several other . rifle. nor losing access WTSHTF.) Geothermal heating/cooling and a soapstone wood stove.45 ACP] as back-up. 2. and Precision Rifle with Clint. about our home… Home Your home is your castle. 2. with one for each of us and a G30 [compact Glock . rifle.5” of foam. however. shotgun. The wellhead is inside the home so I don’t have to worry about winter breakdowns or freeze-ups. (We have a credit rating of 804.) Training for both of us includes Defensive Handgun 1 and Team Tactics with Clint and Heidi Smith at Thunder Ranch. It butts up against a cemetery to the north. I should give you a massive dose of hope! Let me describe to you in a quick overview where I have come to in my 10 year quest to become more self-reliant. We are running at top speed towards the 20% equity checkpoint in order to get rid of the bankster-invented Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) extortion racket. so the “risk” the bank incurs by carrying our note is a freaking joke!). a 900+ acre conservation area to the south. I am an NRA Certified pistol. Two stories with a basement. It suits our lifestyle very.5” of foam. The home is an Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) structure. I have also had General Purpose. More details on the design/floor plan in a future article! Weapons & Training We have an M1A set-up for combat. a river to the west. Urban. The Lovely Spousal Unit (TLSU) doesn’t carry a rifle or carbine. right? Well mine actually kinda is. being made up of 12 wall sections each 8 feet in width. The Glock 21 [. One has to prepare for that contingency as well. It is “round”. and a section line to the east. just the pistol. I completed a special symposium at Gunsite (pistol. The terrain is rolling and 95% wooded. and home defense instructor. It may actually remain fairly normal. (2. 5/8” of sheetrock. Metal roof. Our intent was to have a very low maintenance home. By now you have to be thinking “What a knothead! This guy couldn’t find his fourth point of contact if you put one hand on a cheek!” Well.45 ACP] is the base pistol for the household.700 with the basement. Having lived here one year in two more weeks. very well. The world may not disintegrate in 30 days.for ourselves? You betcha. First. and one set up for long-range precision work. No carpeting – oak floors and tile.

45 ACP/.35 WAI scout rifle. No. but now "I will dance with the one that brung me". know how to properly employ them now. food. food and “stuff” you can imagine. I have chosen to bend my knee to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I laos have a Mossberg 835 [riotgun]. wolves. weapons. but He is the one ultimately in charge. etc. If you ain’t right in this area. I do have two of these. and sheepdogs. Mom & Dad in-law. and my Mom & her husband will show up on our doorstep.22 LR pistol..30-06 ball. vehicles. Ruger MKII stainless . . I am definitely striving to be the ant storing things for the winter. and the four pistols with same were certainly not cheap. ammo. property. Party paradigm of having a battle rifle. In today’s world your “teeth” are your firearms. There are sheeple. Food & Supplies The spousal unit & I could stretch the on-hand food to cover two years. Or maybe just accept the brilliance of the M1 Garand at $620 delivered to your doorstep from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). I do.45 Auto Rim. and “normal use” food is the last 10%. Nor was the training. Canned freeze dried is 45% of it. We have built a rolling rack set of shelves for the 3rd part to ease rotation of the canned goods with each grocery store trip. A second one in the more common 7. I haven’t found the secret spy decoder ring sequence on how to rotate the bulk and freeze-dried stuff with our normal.weapon platforms as a “Dan Fong” kind of guy. is Security. one stainless). I would likely go with a FAL. Were I starting over today. the M1A. both of us work. ammo. I can amass all the weapons. First topic up. Part of your security is weapons. S&W 625 pistol in . it will really matter in eternity. lifestyle. That makes for an even dozen mouths to fee Security Now for a bit more detail. The base of everything here is God.62x51 chambering is in work now. I am charged to be a prudent steward of His possessions . The sticking point for this area I see is that WTSHTF. Brother-in-law with wife and two princesses (one with hubby). I plan from a Boston T. two Ruger 10/22s (one blued. and a couple of Mosin-Nagants round out the field. I renovate Mausers as my hobby and so have a . however. Hard to argue with . Hence. bulk buckets is 45%. I am definitely in the 3rd category.my family. The two rifles with accoutrements. a few Enfields. IAW my military training. Sister-in-law.

so I can’t sell it without taking a significant bath on it. I think it may save you some of your money. Off to Kimber. TLSU had a heck of a time with it at Thunder Ranch. so I can handle the grip. . It was a jammomatic. I Loc-Tite’d the recoil rod and staked it so it wouldn’t come undone again. A pistol is what you use to fight your way back to your rifle. but all my pistols wear tritium anyway. Glocks cost roughly one-half of what a Kimber does. The Gold Cup is a target pistol. The rear sight broke twice. Free warranty work and 48 hours without my selfdefense pistol. Clint loaned her his G21. Took that money and bought a stainless Ruger P90DC.]. I bought a Kimber Compact to carry instead of the Ruger. My short fingers are mated to big palms. Two [different weight] trigger pulls [for first round double action versus subsequent round single action. Still bowing at the altar of the 1911. No ambidextrous safety required.) The Kimber was going well. Sack of hammers tough. Feeds only hardball. I received a Colt Gold Cup [M1911] . No problems with the G21 however. I am not pleased with Gaston [Glock]’s refusal to take responsibility for any mistakes they make in manufacturing. They always go bang accurately and they have never rusted. Now I have no confidence in the pistol.45 ACP pistol from my Dad as a graduation gift from the Hudson Home For Boys [aka USMA West Point]. This nasty habit caused a problem when you were firing the 2nd through X rounds. After some marked de-horning. you could even make it run in a fight without shredding you at the same time. One marked problem. Then I sold it. I carried it on the East-West German border leading patrols. Crummy factory sights. (I still have the Ruger – it is still “the gun that my Dad gave me” and no one buys the P90 used for anywhere near it’s initial cost. always goes bang when you pull the trigger. Then I got a little too aggressive at slamming magazines home in the shortened grip and jammed it. and that can be tenuous proposition. A weapon as a gift – how can you ever be wrong in doing this?! However. a terrible choice as a combat weapon. but it is a comfortable and working relationship between Glock & I.Let me detail for you the path to get to the Glocks. TLSU has been trained on the Glock Model 21 (G21). I hated it. Sold it to a guy that wanted to target shoot. No more trigger problems. The front sight shot off once and tore off twice. Inexpensive as far as handguns go. which you shouldn’t have laid down in the first place. as now it operates as a single action. Great intent. Tight tolerances. I have a G21 and a G30 for both of us. It ain’t an issue of psychological derangement like many guys get about their 1911/Glock/H&K/Springfield. This started to teach me to throw the muzzle down as I pulled the trigger in double action. Then the recoil rod unscrewed itself during an IPSC run and seized the gun while messing up the trigger.

7.M1As hit my safe because it is what I knew from the service. Ammo from the CMP is cheaper than any other cartridge out there. save the communist surplus stuff.I have two M1 Garands. A VZ24 is stored . They also fire a full power cartridge. Mouse guns firing rabbit rounds don’t scratch that itch for me. My two are old enough to have USGI parts and good quality control. less wood.5-10x40 scope Handmade leather cheekrest Other weapons . It makes cover into concealment. along with a 2A. To each his own. Maybe they will help you: Krylon paint job to disrupt the "big black stick" look M60 [padded] sling Front sight filed down so that zero is achieved with the rear sight bottomed out Handguard ventilated National Match trigger group. a #3. An M1917 Enfield (also from CMP) is in the safe. One is a Danish return. and a #4. I have to hit the bad guy with a powerful blow once and move on to the next wolf/bad guy. TLSU has claimed this one as hers.62x51. barrel. One is stored offsite with a "Bug-In Bag" (BIB). Here are the mods I made to my “combat” M1A. that I restocked. I don’t have the other 10 guys in an infantry squad fighting with me so I can maneuver under their covering fire. and sights (came as a “Loaded” package from Springfield) Rear aperture drilled out to make it a ghost ring Skate board tape on slick metal butt plate For the “Surgical” M1A (it shoots1/2 minute when I do my part): National Match loaded package Trigger assembly additionally tuned at factory Unitized gas system Factory bedded Stainless barrel Swan rings and QD bases Leupold M3 3. Both were bought from the CMP.

000 rounds of .000 rounds of 7. There are some improvements we can make though. The local river comes out of it’s banks about every other year and blocks our driveway for several days. I could never find any 20 or 30 round magazines that would function reliably. but she is there. I just bought a weather alert radio from Cabela’s today. coyotes sound off regularly. No. (unfortunately) locust trees are all there.30-30 Winchester. staying near a major city so we can have decent paying jobs. About 95% of the property is wooded. It is about as good as we can do. We don’t mind. I would feel a great deal more secure if the homestead was picked up and dropped into Idaho or Alaska. I would caution against selling any gun you buy. It is as far from the city as we can get and still stomach the drive to work. The first Mauser I renovated is sitting there as an additional . (The 700 mentioned above is a 2nd precision weapon and I have no AK to train with. . I really don’t feel like I bought enough in the past! I need to plus up the quantities/smatterings of other cartridges that I have like . hoot owls.offsite. I don’t know if I have ever come out on the positive side when selling a gun. The SKSs could be useful for arming the family showing up on your doorstep. It is between two major line of drift corridors – 12 miles to the major one. A new pup is in the pipeline. Now that the costs of ammo have risen to heart stopping levels. Tough to hear tornado sirens when you live miles away and have 1 foot thick walls! We need a .22 LR.270 Winchester. The folks in the cemetery don’t say much. I have over 10. loons. When I quit holding out for TLSU to become a Warrior and carry one. I formerly had [Ruger] Mini-30s. A few hickory. A Mosin-Nagant (M44 or M38) ride in each vehicle. 8 miles to the secondary one. . The critters in the wildlife area are more vocal .30-06 with a Trijicon 3-9x40 tritium-lit scope. A Remington 700 with Leupold VX-II scope is in the safe. Now I have to re-buy an AR-15 to have one for training purposes. It is bordered by neighbors on only one side. I sold them and got SKS carbines. I am pondering the purchase of an AK folder because it is a sack of hammers tough and can be transported discretely. lots of oak. The location of my home is the best I could get balancing competing requirements.) Ammo is required to feed these weapons. Still deciding. I sold them off to fund other toys. walnut.62x51. geese. Hindsight being 20/20.40 S&W. but never comes near the house. I don’t think these amounts are enough. though. The German Shorthair is long in the tooth for security. I have over 10. but likely to be sold soon.the ducks. turkeys.

I can see the utility of sandbags if things got really ugly. We worked on the plans for five years. It was part of a six-plex set on a small pond. Land line telephone and power service into it via buried lines. I will write a separate article detailing our construction woes. Our Home We started the 10 years in a condo. They have ASSA [high security] locks. You must build and maintain a mini sewage plant (Your septic system/pond). the superior insulation of the walls means we hear nothing outside. You build and maintain mini roads (your driveway). we have not lost power so far – great job juice Coop!) . having a dog. Overall. The well head is enclosed in it. Two years after re-entering the job market we built our house. Good thing! I didn’t get a paycheck for four years. The metal roof should outlast us. Food stored in it. We also ran DC wires to each room in the house for the use of LED lighting off of a battery system.driveway monitor/alarm. Again. We opted for no carpeting due to the track in mud nature of the property. Less fire hazard as well. Some more land line communication assets would be useful. and me having allergies. We did not want to spend a constant stream of Federal Reserve Notes [FRNs]on maintenance. You must build and maintain a mini water plant. as would an AK. We scraped by. DC wiring in place to the attic for when we get to the photovoltaic [PV] system. We used insulated concrete form (ICF) construction for the structural strength and the energy efficiency. The geothermal and the R50 walls of the ICF are paying us back the initial investment in construction costs. The basement has a 10’ square root cellar for the storage of canned produce from the garden. I hate Homeowner’s Associations and their covenants! We could afford the mortgage on one of our two paychecks. (Your well. It also has a safe room/shelter. I think an AR-15 for training people would be useful. (In spite of several damaging thunderstorms this past year. Beware! Finding a property piece and building a non-shoebox home on it is not for the feint of heart! You effectively are funding the construction of a mini town. I think we have done pretty well in the security arena. The soapstone wood stove augments the electrically driven geothermal. 12” of concrete overhead. Let me highlight some of the self-reliant features of the house for you. Wood and tile floors don’t hold dirt like carpets do. They have peepholes.) You must perform mowing and tree removal for the mini parks of your town (Your “yard”/acreage). We used commercial steel doors for the exterior and security-need spots.

It is kind of eerie waking up at 0200 hours and having no idea if the thunderstorm is just a thunderstorm or if it is a tornado. not to mention moving stuff up or down them! The mud porch/entry was set up for coming in with muddy boots. We should have made it 1’ wider. . With regard to 2legged varmints. TLSU wanted a green house in order to take advantage of the great view of the property. or for snow covered coats.The stairwell was kicked out onto the W/NW of the house. or more mundanely. What a huge nice difference that foot makes to walking up and down each day. We can’t hear anything without a door or window being open. the only commo needs are between myself and TLSU. It has worked out well in terms of traffic flow and such. brother-in-law. off of. We are pricing Shattergard vinyl film for the ground floor windows. a driveway MURS Alert system is on the purchase list as we have had multiple invited guests show up. when someone comes out to the property while we are away from the house all day at work and they help themselves to our stuff? Some relief is in sight. beat on the front door. This shields the house from the hottest part of the day’s sunlight. When the sister-in-law. Windows were one of the few areas that caused some fireworks. The bench is great for donning/doffing boots. The television is useless when the rain is so heavy that the dish won’t get a signal. We made the stairwell an extra foot wide. human or canine. No light installed there means nothing is visible through the peephole. I will have to install a camera and/or light so I don’t open it to let the dog out in the morning and get rushed by 2-legged varmints. I am still hugely uncomfortable with the nakedness the windows leave us with. So far. parents-in-law and my Mom show up and we start pulling security. and the coldest winter winds. as it can be a little tight. The security door at the foot of the stairs is a tough choke point to deal with at 0500 in the dark. and have to walk around to the living room windows to get our attention so they can be let inside. Things That are Still Need on the Home The great thing about the R-50 ICF walls is that they are R-50 and pretty tough. Okay for invited guests – certainly too close for uninvited varmints! The entry hallway was one of TLSU’s “must haves” in the house layout. Hence the just purchased weather alert radio for us from Cabela’s this week. but what about when we experience incoming rounds. Yes the view is great. however. I wanted firing ports to defend against mutant zombie hordes. The bad thing is that they are R-50 and pretty tough. The tile is easy to clean the muddy paw prints.

how can you argue? I have to admit though. but I am working on the self-discipline needed.we will need to be able to talk more. which then overwhelms us in the planting department. but obviously will need more in this area. etc. onions. walnut and persimmon . pecan. We did look ahead and sink the FRNs into running 12V wires in the home for future installation of PV panels and batteries. the first iteration of this tree-planting endeavor. it is an endeavor run by TLSU. we got them the Thursday before Easter weekend. having never been outside of CONUS cannot give up on the electric water heater. are of a higher priority though. Spinach. TLSU was indeed a great Trooper about it. Monday I had shoulder surgery to grind off bone spurs and remove cartilage chips. more food. I still have an ASSA lock to install on the shelter door. I am ready to give it a rest. and some herbs. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to draw hot water at the kitchen sink. We really did very well on the whole house building thing. I well understand what a brilliant piece of technology they are. too fast. lettuce. The opposite of what everyone warned us about. carrots. Just not a sexy/fun area to spend FRNs on for a combat arms kinda guy. There just never seems to be enough $ to go around. TLSU. Friday night and all day Saturday we planted our buns off. I am pretty proud of that performance! Food We started a garden this spring. She still doesn’t believe that the electricity will ever go out for more than an hour or two. and one to put into the basement door. and take a hot shower from a propane fired on-demand heater? She doesn’t get it yet. Initial inspection of the cherry. shelter. beets. and outside storage doors. Obviously things like the Shattergard film. Sunday was spent at church and pigging out at family’s homes for Easter. planting right along with me. Other projected door enhancements include armor plates for the front. We are working our tails off to reach the 20% equity mark to get rid of the PMI extortion as well. oak. that after two years of the 100 seedlings. Too much. I have not been able to convince her to expand the size. does there? The other major source of fireworks during the home design/build was on-demand water heaters. But at 7 FRNs per 12 seedlings. So far. Obviously not something to break up a marriage over. Having taken a 30 minute hot shower with one in Germany for 5 marks while on an FTX. outside basement. more Band-aids.. This year we settled for seven apple saplings. She wants to learn in steps and I am the whacko that orders 100 seedlings at a time from the conservation department. For example. I have an old set of TA-312 [field telephone]s and wire for the primary LP/OP. potatoes.

syrup of ipecac.. drinking alcohol. more baby wipes. You know. no chips allowed. etc. How much is enough? I don’t know. Oh. get the bone spur ground smooth in my other shoulder and the cartilage chips taken out. 3-4 times per week. Only another 10 years and we will be getting food from them! The initial freeze dried and bulk storage food needs to be rotated. more bandages. We have canning jars for this year’s veggies and the root cellar has a robust collection of shelves to store them on. all forms of baby stuff. . more hospital type stuff. the band-aid and antibiotic salve with ibuprofen kit that handles 90% of life’s issues in this area. poison Ivy soap and remedies. There are sugar detectors on the doors. you know – “we must deprive/punish all to protect you from a few. more medicines. I run over lunch at work about 4 miles. (It is a stewable ingredient to make drugs.”) TLSU and I eat very healthy food – locally raised beef with no antibiotics or growth hormones. I did get in on the last great iodine buy before our loving big brother government banned the sale of iodine to us mere citizens. more feminine stuff (think of a vaginal yeast infection with no drug store open). “Needed Still” list includes: Blow out kits. sutures.seedlings around the house reveals about an 80% survival rate. Spinach from the garden. gauze pads. Anyone figured out how to do this kind of at home cooking when the two of you work? The canned/”normal” food is now being rotated with each grocery store trip. well. No growth hormone dairy products from a local dairy. more hand sanitizer. Also. athlete’s foot cream. more antibiotics. get rid of the cat (allergies). 4-5 times per week and lift weights twice per week. The combat blow-out packs for gunshot wounds or serious car wrecks. Now comes the high-dollar investment stuff. We get to the dentist regularly. I did go along on a buying trip to a medical warehouse and got some catheters. She jogs 3 miles. Four geographically separate and secure stashes of three year’s worth of food for all of the family? Who knows!? Medical I have Boo-boo kits just about everywhere now. you don’t need to be able to sterilize water anyway – we’ll take care of you on that too…. We both do Physical Training (PT) .

I bought gas and paid for business expenses . We did this never incurring any interest penalties because we zero the balance out each month. The Corolla gets 37 MPG.02/FRN in the store. We are going to be saving for quite a while. stubborn/strong enough to do what I thought was the right thing and .everything I could pay for with a credit card was paid for with the Cabela’s credit card. It gets 37 MPG. the ventilation system fan. It is paid for and has AWD/4WD.01/FRN spent. However.000 miles. I saw a danger and acted. A 1998 Toyota Corolla bought with 30. Both have trunk guns. We need more cash in the BIBs and Bug Out Bags (BOBs) All of the preps in this section were done via Cabela points. We also decided that the G21 was what she could carry and dropped the SKS and chest pouches of 10 round stripper clips.000/month of stuff between personal and business stuff. After two unsuccessful winter BOB campouts where I could barely waddle one mile with both of them on at the same time. $. Both have roadside gear to help ourselves out of a jam. Originally I sought to wear a tactical vest and ruck. weapons gear and parts – a significant percentage – 85%+ . Both were paid in full when bought. We are not leaving home to go on a combat patrol in Hit or Fallujah. No consensus development. it adds up! The gear for the BOBs & BIBs.Vehicles We still have the same vehicles we had in 2001.62 linked. Our BOBs are set-up to sustain us for 10 days. You get points at some sickening rate of $. however. when you buy $6-8. Her ruck is a Camelback Commander.000 miles. to include government hospitality suites in stadiums. She has only recently begun to do so after eight years of seeing me provide for and protect her. the trunk lock. Both avoided the 25% loss of value when driving a new car off the lot. I was. I am a male/sheepdog/warrior type. That is as big of a ruck as she can hope to carry without killing her back. I am not sure that I could have ever persuaded her to participate in any meaningful manner before Y2K. TLSU’s back is in tough shape due to scoliosis. I can’t find anything to touch that.came from Cabela [credit card bonus] points. and a 1999 Ford Explorer bought with 45. I dropped the vest. The Ford is too big to get decent mileage. I hate it. Both vehicles have BIBs and gas masks in them. and too small to really be a useful truck. We are fleeing some kind danger and have every intention of avoiding additional entanglements. so she is not humping any mammoth rucks with the extra three mortar rounds and can of 7. We are saving for the replacement of them both. It always starts. Every bit of plastic on it has broken – the car door locking mechanisms. When I got birthday or Christmas monetary gifts I spent them on self-reliance items. They are packed in Cabela’s wet bags for load out in five minutes. The Lovely Spousal Unit (TLSU) I started self-reliance the wrong way.

Most “males” check their gender specific anatomical gear at the wedding alter and continue on in sheeple status. does need attention every now and then. Not wanting the tornado to destroy the house or the hurricane to wreck your and the adjoining three counties is. I laid all the tile and 95% of the wood flooring in the house. paying a plumber $200 to show up and start billing me for work Building – I invested 13 full work weeks of time during the building of our home helping the contractor. A definite and growing check mark in the “W” column! Skills Skills that I have acquired: Rifles – renovating Mausers and training at Thunder Ranch helps your ability to use these tools immensely. Soldering – fixing plumbing leaks myself vs. TLSU is finally helping me to rotate food via the grocery store purchases. not logical. ) Skills still needed: . and my Mom taught me to survival sew/repair things. Some of it was the nubby work of cleaning up the scrap and sawdust. We have come a substantial distance from sleeping on the couch each time a self-reliance topic hits the table of discussion though. she will not ever be a warrior. my dear Grandmother taught me to sew buttons. Fix-it – the DR Brush mower has long passed it’s warranty period and while performing quite admirably. Some of it was banging in joist hangers. at best. Each of these repair work challenges teaches me a little more about mechanical items and taking care of things myself. Sewing – Yes. I get that females are the nurturers. She has come a long way. I get that they work from an emotional starting point. She is running 3-4 times per week and gets some PT from work outside in the garden. Once I explained to her that I was planning to shelter and feed her parents and siblings and that our one year of food wasn’t going to feed all of them for very long.to heck with what was popular. The 1974 F100 demands attention regularly. the French method of addressing life. She even likes spending the points off of her Cabela’s card now. She no longer rolls her eyes or sighs disgustedly when I spend my Cabela points to buy gear. As best as I can tell. she started to get on board. A 1960 gear driven Singer sews nylon gear though!.

I just may get ambushed and not have my trusty M1A in hand. Mill lumber – with 95% of my property wooded. progress is progress and I can already do more to maintain weapons than 95% of the population. 2008 Letter Re: For Want of Battery Permalink . Have I always done the smartest thing? Absolutely not! Much to the crazed satisfaction of a former operator buddy. Still. Even better is learning to assemble the scales and blank myself. CRKT is my friend. I need more practice with the tools I have. Knife making – I just cringe at the idea of spending $300 for top quality knives. it revealed an “old man” shortcoming in my shoulder. I need a way to saw the tree into lumber though. knowing how to forge blanks myself would be useful. More riflesmithing – each birthday or Christmas gift of money has been partially apportioned to the purchase of gunsmithing tooling. the mill. yes! Could you do better than I did? Good chance. I have the material to be selfreliant with regard to my lumber needs. First. I have cycled through the “best/high dollar” gear approach to the “sack of hammers USGI/AK” school of self-reliance. Having unarmed defense skills means never having to be a steak dinner/victim. but have not gotten the metal stands for the tanks built. Have you done as much as I have in the last 10 years? Only your freedom. I am getting the shoulder fixed (hopefully) during “normal” times versus after Schumerization. Good news. I recently secured Parkerizing gear. Don’t get me wrong – I ain’t surrendering my Kifaru rucks anytime soon! However. then the skill to use it. June 15. Eventually. Then I have the gear to diversify my income and help others. Sunday. and the quality of your life post-TEOTWAWKI depend on the answer to that one. Good news – I got started on knocking it off the list. loved ones. yes! Am I better able to maintain my independence and protect and provide for my family? Absolutely. there were a great number of FRNs spent on those self-reliance tuition payments! Have I learned a lot? Absolutely.More First Aid – it appears that a first responder or wilderness 1st aid course may be in the cards for this year. Bad news. More Hand to Hand – my goals and objectives list has had this goal on it for several years. I still need more tooling.

If you delay.Hello Jim. Bill Bonner wrote: "Just on Thursday and Friday of last week. And that does not count the impact on diesel (killing trucking and agriculture) and jet fuel (killing airlines).) SurvivalBlog readers plan ahead. It is noteworthy that many of us long hence foresaw these dark days. or the farther it must travel (all the way from raw material to your doorstep) the greater the impact of the fuel price jumps.Jeff in Ohio Friday. multi-fuel generators. make that number $1. 2008 Some Preparedness Implications of Rapidly Escalating Fuel Prices Permalink The recent jump in fuel prices are going to have some far reaching effects on our economy. In a recent issue of The Daily Reckoning. Can you imagine what will happen to the retail price of just about everything if and when the price of gas tops $5. So let’s round it out and add another $500 to the annual gasoline bill to operate one average automobile in the US of A. the higher cost of fuel will be "passed through" to consumers. from inventory that your dealer already has on hand.000. As prepared individuals. Sooner or later. (If you look at the Retreat Owner Profiles--most of which were written in late 2005 and early 2006--you will see a remarkable number of fuel-efficient "secondary" vehicles. bought alternate fuel vehicles. There is speculation that crude oil may soon spike to $150 to $170 per barrel. and installed underground fuel tanks.com is also having a major sale on battery chargers and some other items as well. and do so locally. I just wanted to let readers of the blog know that Northern Tool & Equipment is having a sale on their solar panels right now. this time next year. accordingly. but will impact some product prices more than others. and it shows. The heavier and bulkier the item. in two days. and at least one vehicle just for the sake of fuel economy. To follow up on your recent post. If you are a two-car household. AllBattery. No typo." Effectively. then buy it soon. wholesale gasoline prices went up 33 cents. (One hint: If you've been planning to buy a gun vault.50 per gallon? Transportation cost increases are significant. These can be significant savings for anyone needing these items. That’s 33 cents. we need to adapt our plans.) . the recent price jumps will be like inflationary snorts of cocaine. Just from a two-day spike. it will likely cost $200 more. . June 13.

prices will undoubtedly catch up. one option is finding a 4WD of the same year and the same maker as your 2WD propane-engine truck. I predict that there will be a long lag time while the price of propane catches up to the prices of other fuels. wood-fired steam/co-generation. geothermal. such as used DVDs. UPS. and who they will affect life at your retreat. Subaru all-wheel-drive cars are the most popular cars with America's contract rural mail carriers.) Vehicles If you are planning to buy additional vehicles for your retreat. (Utility companies often use these. Another option. The cost of electricity will also lag behind. do some comparison pricing. Also consider getting a mo-ped or motorcycle for handling some of your errands in the current pre-Schumeresque times. if you are thinking about setting up a home-based mail order business. (Consider the merits and drawbacks of photovoltaics. But even if you can't find one that is 4WD. then you'd had better consider focusing on small and lightweight products. wind. (Something like a used Geo Metro or Toyota Corolla--but for serious preparedness planning avoid the high cost and complexity of a hybrid. and then combining parts to create a "Frankentruck. biodiesel. but it will leave you with another nearly complete vehicle to cannibalize for spare parts. and so forth. Think through you options. Exploit this lag time to build up the alternative energy potential of your retreat. Watch for auction announcements." Not only would this be great mechanical experience. that would be ideal. especially in regions that have predominately hydroelectric power.) If you need four wheel drive. is converting an . albeit more expensive. OBTW. bio-gas. micro-hydro. and then get busy.) If you could get one that is 4WD. and US Postal Service rates next year? It won't be pretty. consider buying a used Subaru. consider the following: One of your vehicles should be a very fuel-efficient runabout. Notably. however.What will happen to Fed-Ex . Look for a fleet surplus propane-powered pickup. In the long run. Think through what the fuel prices will do for various product prices and availability (think: spot shortages).

Just keep in mind that the resale value will likely drop to nearly nothing if gas prices continue to escalate. Just ask around. and change your purchasing plans is this approach matches your needs and the pasture carrying capacity of your retreat. At present. a barn. There is a lot to this: horsemanship. hay storage. hay cutting (preferably horse-powered). I've mentioned Bad Boy Buggy electric ATVs as well as ATV suspension conversions for electric golf carts. pasture fencing. If your budget allows it. veterinary supplies. good saddle saddle horses are literally being given away. It describes a gaz naturel comprimé (GNC) conversion done on his Korean import car. Budget-minded preppers might consider buying an older RV to live in. Own at least one E85-compatible "Flex Fuel" vehicle (FFV). posted at his personal blog site: Alternative fuel for your car. (I have seen pairs of 47-gallon capacity "torpedo tanks" installed above the wheel wells in a pickup box.) Since a propane conversion will likely void a warranty. it is best done with an older vehicle that is "out of warranty". Here is one vehicle possibility that might at first seem counterintuitive: There will probably be thousands of used recreational vehicles (RVs) hitting the market in the next few years--some for pennies on the dollar. consider getting an electric vehicle. If you are not . don't miss the recent piece by FerFAL. (Several times in SurvivalBlog. in much of the western US. so only buy one if you can truly get it dirt cheap. so this has pushed the price of horses down tremendously. This allows nearly full use of the pickup bed space. this is best accomplished with a 4WD pickup. while building their retreats. our saddle horse Money Pit may soon have some new friends in the pasture. and so forth. learn as much as you can about horses. (SurvivalBlog's correspondent in Argentina). tack. Hay and grain prices have been sky high for a full year now. Because Propane tanks are large.existing 4WD to propane. Speaking of propane. particularly for someone that has a large alternate power system with a battery bank. Horse Power For the really long term. Here at the Rawles Ranch.) An electric ATV makes an ideal "at the retreat " utility vehicle.

(Of course consult your state and local laws before doing so. You can simply adapt your lifestyle to make trips into town less often.yet an experienced rider. diesel is still a viable fuel for standby generators.) Retreat Locales Higher fuel costs will likely change the way the at you look at your retreat. and even home heating oil in your diesel genset. Despite its current high price tag. log chains. The whole concept of "public transportation" is foreign to folks that live in places like Wyoming or the Dakotas. Even carpooling can be difficult for people . (See the SurvivalBlog archives for details on fuel stabilizers and and antibacterial additives. then the impact could be substantial. Yes. then limit your search to older. Watch your newspaper classified ads and Craig's List for horses as as well as tack. and where it is located. Generators Needless to say. So while you are searching for saddles. for both OPSEC and fire safety. I generally prefer underground tanks. Consult you local fire code for any limits where you live. consider buying a larger tank. Buy them while they're cheap. the impact won't be nearly so great. and other work horse tack. hay mowers. That way you can buy during occasional dips in the market as well as have a reserve that will help ride through any spot shortages. If you are retired.) What size tank(s)? The bigger. the better. Various diesel generator and tri-fuel generators have already been discussed at length in SurvivalBlog. Keep in mind that you can legally burn less expensive off-road (untaxed) diesel. flexibility will be your goal with your backup generator(s). long reins. think in terms of working horses. bacteria will actually grow in diesel fuel. self-employed. (The latter is for diesel. gentle "bomb proof" mares or geldings. horse collars. take advantage of the current low prices for horses. also look for wagons. If you have plenty of pasture and hay ground. buck boards. That fuel will be like money in the bank. biodiesel. But if you have a daily job "in town". If you use propane. In addition to saddle horse. Ditto for gasoline and diesel fuel. and a horse trailer. or if you telecommute. Fuel Storage Storing extra fuel is a natural for family preparedness.

So. There are so many items that I'll depend on in an emergency that need batteries: My weather radio. if you do some concerted searching. and a thought struck me like a lightning bolt: Without batteries--lots of rechargeable batteries--I'm hosed. I predict that both carpooling and ride sharing will undergo a great resurgence in the next few years. and my flashlights. (Since most survivalists value having "elbow room". with that realization. or a surface coal seam. you might be ale to find a piece of land with a low-volume natural gas well. OBTW. As I've mentioned before in SurvivalBlog. if and when it all hits the fan. But the bad news is if you are trapped in a corporate job and must commute to work. so such a decision might be a momentous one to make. There are of course security trade-offs. The carpooling networking sites like SpaceShare and eRideShare will probably become very popular. 2008 Letter Re: For Want of a Battery Permalink Mr. starlight scope. then you might want to make the new fuel cost paradigm a more important part of your locale selection process. Rawles: I was working through my "List of Lists" yesterday. speaking of carpooling. This has both positive and negative implications. I'm investing in a . I'd be at huge disadvantage to looters. BTW). The good news is that it will make remote properties more affordable and will also make them less likely to fall prey to "commuter criminals" and looters.) Monday. If you have not yet bought a retreat. (And thanks also for your suggestion of IR [flashlight] filters).that live in lightly populated areas. who could be wandering the countryside in droves. Ditto for farmers and ranchers that must get what they produce to market. The information networking power of the Internet will undoubtedly be put to full use in matching drivers/riders and destinations. then you might consider buying a retreat that is close to a community in a truck farming region--someplace that can expected to be selfsufficient in the event of chronic gas and diesel shortages. Another possibility is finding a property with a large year-round stream and sufficient change in elevation ("fall") allowing installation of a micro-hydro system. June 9. Kenwood MURS handhelds (thanks for that suggestion. If you are an adherent to Peak Oil theory. Without [those battery-powered items as] "force multipliers". Remote properties will seem even more remote when gas tops $5 per gallon.

You can then plug in a 12VDC "smart" battery charging tray (using a DC power cord with cigarette lighter plug. search on Item # 339973. the shoe was lost. (Which is very inefficient. Two Letters Re: Advice on Backup Power for a Ranch in Western Canada Permalink Hi Jim. If you can afford to.. However. Do you still recommend All-Battery [as a supplier]? And who sells a small panel--say 5 to 10 watts--that is reliable and weather-tight? The battery situation reminds me of that old poem: "For want of a nail. buy a triple or quadruple set for each piece of gear that takes batteries. . there is a . JWR Replies: Yes. and a boatload of NiMH batteries.) That is far more efficient than using an AC inverter and then a DC transformer (like those in most home battery chargers) That way you are just changing one DC voltage to another DC voltage--instead of a DC inverted -to-AC-and-transformed-back-to-DC proposition." Thanks In Advance. Once you are at Northern Tool's web site.George L. These are available with either110 VAC (US/Canada) and 220 VAC (UK) utility power charging cords. It is currently the most reliable rechargeable battery on the market.) To keep your "jump pack" charged.) You are correct in mentioning the NiMH low self-discharge (LSD) technology (such as the Sanyo Eneloop).. All-Battery. (Even if you don't use them all yourself. Regarding the Canadian who was wondering about wind power versus diesel. The Windmill is a good idea if he uses an Amateur Radio "Crankover" type tower. As I've mentioned in the blog before.small [photovoltaic] solar panel [for battery charging]. then at least buy a "jump pack" 12 VDC gel cell unit. the extra batteries will be ideal to keep on hand for barter and charity. I recommend the small PV panels available from Northern Tool & Equipment--one of our Affiliate Advertisers. if you cannot afford a large battery bank of deep cycle batteries.com is an excellent source. better than the crank up towers [usually sold for small] windmills.

then have a spare. stuff happens. Even a bird hit on a reasonably modern power generating windmill will cause mucho damage. Yes. 2008 Letter Re: Advice on Backup Power for a Ranch in Western Canada Permalink Hello.caveat: If [the reader in Canada] goes with wind power. They keep ticking over. Things have changed a bit [in recent years on wind generator reliability]. where high gusts and debilitating dust are the norm. Just my humble opinion. . etc. never mind broiling heat. Then I figured out the -60 F temps for nine nights was likely the cause. I came up with a mod for that too. If he can [afford to] put up two windmills. For any maintenance issues that might come up (rare) the best bet is to install them on a tip up tower. Do I install wind power or purchase and fill another diesel tank? The wind power would be the best investment. Regards. but my concern is the wind tower would be a giant sign that a prepared person lives here. then they had to. They just built everything another 20-50% thicker. They are little beasts. I'm debating with myself. They can be lowered and raised with a come along or horses or whatever if necessary. corrective actions are underway. Regards. Oh well.The Army Aviator Dear Jim. wider. then buy three. They are the Hornet Series [from Hydrogen Appliances] Essentially. I live in the middle of the Canadian west 10 miles from a town of 1. I had L-16 battery problems at the ranch this year for the first time in 10 years.Mosby Saturday. . when he buys them[. but there is a wind unit on the market that is darn near bullet-proof (in fact. June 7. they took a standard wind genny and beefed it up. which will provide one as a spare]. almost to Russiantype specs. old school turbines with folding vanes are a pain.000 people 40 miles from a city of . no problems and turn out juice in slow to screaming wind.) They have been flown in hurricanes and are being used in Iraq.

I would recommend hiring a crane company to do so.000 acre parcel. And of course there is the OPSEC factor if there are any public roads with line-of-sight to your property. where no mechanized help would be available. Talk it over with an alternative energy pro.) Saturday. it might be more cost-effective to use PVs. but meanwhile both the cost-per-watt and the reliability of wind generators has remained about the same. They tend to fail in high winds. In the event of TEOTWAWKI.000 people and 250 miles from a city of 400. I own 1. Even at your high latitude. Also consider the safety factor. JWR Replies: I only expect fuel prices to continue to escalate.000 acres and my yard is in the middle. 2008 .000 people. like Bob Grizwald (with Ready Made Resources) or Steve Willey (with Backwoods Solar Electric Systems. and that could be a real risk. or its tail-vane flipping mechanism fail. but it could be a issue for many other retreat owners. That is probably not an issue--since your home is in the middle of a 1. small wind generators are generally more trouble than they are worth. I would be willing to lease land at a discounted price to any reader who is interested. so simply adding more diesel tank storage space might be a mistake. OBTW. But so might be getting a wind generator. In the present day. Thanks for your help.25. . Who wants to climb a tower and work with hand tools to swap brushes or other parts at a time like that? For the past 25 years. We are working on changing the government. a generator can run over speed during high wind gusts. you would have to do it yourself. If a wind generator's automatic prop feathering mechanism. Let me explain: As I describe in my preparedness novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse". May 31.Ethan. I also think plenty of water is a good trade for winter. and tear itself apart. This happens with alarming frequency. Raising or lowering any large wind generator from a tower is a tricky operation. usually in the dead of winter. Does the distance from large population give me enough protection to install the wind power? I think the only drawbacks of my location is winter and the government. the cost-per-watt for photovoltaic (PV) panels has come down steadily.

In the US. and perhaps [shared by] some of your readers is this: is home heating oil and kerosene acceptable fuel for a diesel engine? . you can't be accused of cheating on the road tax. the formulation of home heating oil is almost identical to the diesel that was made before the recent advent of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD). BTW. Of course if you are using the fuel in a generator set. since kerosene typically sells for as as much as one dollar more per gallon than diesel. it is presumably safe to mix as much as 20% kerosene with your diesel and not cause excessive engine wear. so it might harm injectors. the UK.Thanks. The question I have. there is no dye added to roadtaxed diesel. but in may countries it is not legal to do so in a vehicle that is driven on public roads. . by JLG in Texas Permalink . Aside for a red dye additive. Kerosene is a different matter. this is largely a non-issue in all but exceptional circumstances.Letter Re: Can I Burn Home Heating Oil or Kerosene in a Diesel Engine? Permalink James: Your article today about diesel vehicles still providing long term cost savings was quite interesting. but the fines can be substantial. JWR Replies: Home heating oil burns fine in any diesel engine. and several other countries it is not legal to use dyed (untaxed) fuel in a vehicle that is driven on public roads. or in an off-road vehicle such as a tractor. Kerosene has insufficient lubricity to be used just by itself in a diesel engine.Jim G. But in an an emergency. the aforementioned road tax is also an issue for kerosene. However. The only significant difference between the two is the Federal standard on ash content. May 13. so stay legal. I have also read that it burns hotter than diesel. Tuesday. The two types of diesel fuel are distinguished by the dye additive. 2008 Technology After TEOTWAWKI. To explain the road tax: In the US. Enforcement of these statutes varies widely. This is a "road tax" issue. And. Canada.

" (Proverbs 24:5-6) Most survivalist planning focuses on physical needs—food. but a group of survivors has a distinct long-term advantage—if they can overcome the challenges.. for waging war you need guidance. As I formulate and revise my overall survival plan. first aid. mobile phones. and radio communications give you a huge advantage in almost every situation—especially if you run up against an aggressor. in the next county. or across the globe. clothing. Anything is better than nothing. there's almost always some empty space left in the locker/bunker/trailer/back-ofthe-truck for. depending on the skill set of the particular individual or group—those who have a "techno-wiz" or two in their midst can obviously support more complex technology than others. The mobile phone infrastructure may or may not be operational. videoconferencing. By evaluating your group's capacity for utilizing technology. so at least grab a set of inexpensive "bubble pack" . and increase your access to outside resources. God has woven this into our genetic code. and a man of knowledge increases strength. your survival retreat might not have decent reception—so don't count on it. the primary challenges facing larger groups center around communication issues—making sure everyone is fully informed and knows The Plan. it's basically about human communication. I find myself evaluating various technology gadgets in this light: Would this gizmo (whatever it is) provide communication benefits to me if I were in survival mode. email. shelter.you name it.. and for victory many advisers. and carefully selecting from some proven technologies. Communication helps build trust. What to put in there? Human beings are social animals. While the physical essentials rightly belong at the top of the list. and. Postal mail. is it feasible and reasonable to utilize it in that capacity? Note that what is "feasible" and "reasonable" are almost completely subjective. telephone. two-way radios.something. Other than basic supply-scale issues. if so. you can improve your survival capabilities in numerous ways by improving your ability to communicate within your group of survivors. A "Lone Ranger" survivalist might have an edge in the short-term. or with the family down the road. One of the reasons I enjoy being a technology consultant is the fact that technology brings people together. text messaging. fax."A wise man has great power... and we need each other. and even if it is. If your group consists of more than one person. odds are that you will need to split up at some point. and trust-based relationships are exactly what you need as a survivor—whether you're dealing with your family. Here are some ideas: Get your ears on. self defense. be it large or small.

This may be true to varying degrees on a global or regional scale. Find yourself an expert and get educated. Get some night vision equipment. D-Link. one person with a laptop computer can cover a lot of ground just sitting in a chair. right?).] Get eyes in the back of your head. etc. Using multiple cameras with software like Security Spy for Macs or NCH Software for Windows. so the man on duty doesn't have to keep his eyes glued to the screen. Better still. Remember all those survivalblog. so it's perfect for photovoltaic-powered systems.FRS/GMRS radios. You can even configure the software's motion detection features to alert you (by making a noise..} Get connected. or go wireless. you have a huge advantage over the guy who can't. but if you can see in the dark. both wired and wireless. Linksys/Netgear/D-Link cable/DSL routers.g. if just one location has internet access. Remember. if you build a "mesh" of interconnected networks. Others have written extensively and with much more knowledge on the subject than I possess. 'Nuff said. Virtually any inexpensive wireless access point (e. What's more.. What happens to the internet after TEOTWAWKI? A safe assumption is that the Internet will be unreliable at best. Apple AirPorts. you can use point-to-point wireless links to connect your survival retreat with your closest like-minded neighbor (you do know your neighbors. flashing the screen.com articles you always meant to print out but never did? If the server is still online. You can string network wires through the trees. and draw upon his expertise.or house. there is strength in numbers—especially when you can maintain good communications. direct-bury. Find yourself an expert and get educated. but understand that the internet itself is simply a conglomeration of smaller networks. TrendNet and others make decent network cameras. see if you can develop a relationship with a likeminded radio guy in your area.) can be used to provide a basic communications network for wireless cameras. so you can communicate more quickly and easily. now you can get to them! .. for around $100 each. [JWR Adds: One night vision gear vendor that I recommend is JRH Enterprises. Much of this equipment runs on 12 VDC. Own the night. etc. A good survival retreat includes a security system.) when anything moves. those communication and information resources immediately become available to the entire mesh. If you've built a security network like the one mentioned above. and possibly unusable.[JWR Adds: See the ARRL for a directory that will include a ham radio club in your area. and this is a great place to leverage technology.

Solar power is quiet. and I recommend sizing your solar panels to at least double your usage projections. or wrapping a cardboard box with a couple layers of heavyduty aluminum foil. anything that would heat up in a microwave oven will attenuate the signal. A basic solar power plant is comprised of one or more photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. if your two locations are separated by foliage or terrain. For one thing." When we're talking . For another thing. and at Home Power magazine. Stored in these containers. but it's non-line-of-sight (NLOS) and will shoot through trees. on PV panel performance. your electronic equipment is reasonably protected against EMP.11b/g radios hooked to a directional antennas. and they either ignore or underestimate the effects of cloudy days. and even if they regionalize their numbers for the amount of daylight in your area. don't overlook the references available at SolarDoc. which can be converted to 120 VAC using an inverter—though it's more efficient to simply use equipment that will run on 12 VDC. [JWR Adds: One alternative energy system vendor that I recommend is Ready Made Resources Also. so you won't be giving away your position with a noisy generator. you'll have to get those antennas up over the treetops. Don't skimp on photovoltaic gear. Most "experts" on EMP seem to agree that the most straightforward way to protect equipment is probably to store it inside a "Faraday box. Light 'em up! A good solar power system is a great addition to a survival retreat in any case. and simple unknowns. many vendors quote solar panel performance based on best-case conditions. but it's also a very easy way for non-friendlies to locate your retreat. EMP is surrounded by misinformation. It's pricier. but the specific effects of EMP on various types of electronic equipment. which generate electric current whenever they're exposed to light. they typically use an average length-of-day instead of the shortest length-of-day. The disadvantage to this configuration is that 802. you'd be better off utilizing more specialized equipment from a manufacturer like Motorola or Trango.] Protect your equipment against electromagnetic pulse (EMP)." which could be made by lining the inside of a metal filing cabinet with several layers of newspaper. etc. Note that I said "reasonably. dust coating. too. Not only is that a hassle.The least expensive wireless point-to-point equipment is generally going to be a pair of weatherproofed 802. at Backwoods Home magazine. bird feces. Thus. and the most effective ways of protecting that equipment. and electronics to regulate the voltage and manage the battery charging. In that case. The general effects of EMP are fairly well documented.11b/g is a "line-of-sight" technology that uses microwave frequencies—so. but it becomes a necessity if you want to leverage electrically-powered technology. you'll always want more juice than you think you'll need. urban legend. are not so well-documented. one or more deep-cycle batteries to store the excess power for later use. Power is usually delivered at 12 VDC.

If you decide to utilize any particular technology. I highly recommend building and testing the system now. a broken wire. Only you can determine whether or not the benefits of these technologies are worth the money and effort in your particular survival plan. If you're an expert in one or more survival fields. But pity the man who falls and has no-one to help him up! Also.about EMP. you should always have a "Plan B" for those times when—not if. to help get you started: Night vision: Sideroad.com N)Vision Optics Planet . a diverse enough skill set to be able to handle the widest possible range of survival tasks. if not a complete volume. rainwater in the wrong place. too. that the ideas presented here were kept to a basic level of information due to the limited scope of this article— each topic would easily merit a fairly lengthy book. before it's needed. find someone who wants to be educated and teach them. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. they will keep warm. Again: Find yourself an expert and get educated."Two are better than one. if two lie down together. so all you can do is make reasonable preparations and pray to God for grace. is to build and maintain these kinds of relationships even (or especially) in a survival scenario. because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down. of course. two can defend themselves. aside from its immediate tactical use. and survivability—for electronics and people alike—is obviously highly dependent on where you are in relation to ground zero. among them. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered. And. but when—the technology fails. his friend can help him up. we're talking about nuclear attack. Remember that part of your survival plan should involve building relationships with like-minded people who have. and a dead battery all have the same end result—dead equipment—and you need to plan for it. in order to be explored to a satisfactory degree—so I strongly encourage you to seek further knowledge in those systems that are of interest to you. EMP." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) Here is a non-exhaustive list of Internet resources. One of the primary uses of communications technology. Note. Being a survivalist doesn't mean you have to be antisocial.

in Memphis. and who has the best prices? . smoke detectors. and so forth? I'm also planning to get night vision goggles. right? If so. . May 10.T. 2008 Letter Re: Advice on Stocking Up on Batteries Permalink Sir. what kind [of rechargeables]. I assume rechargeables.Point-to-point and outdoor wireless: Radio Labs Trango Broadband Motorola PTP MoonBlink Wi-Fi Teletronics Photovoltaic power: Solar Power Directory Solar-Electric EMP protection: AusSurvivalist EMP Protection Pages Faraday Cages 1997 Military EMP Hardening Handbook Parrhesia. soon.E. I was wondering: How many batteries should I store for all my radios.com EMP Hardening Handbook Saturday. flashlights.

That is [on reason why they are continuing to switch to underground wiring. Unlike the older Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) technology. It would take a pretty close proximity EMP to take one out. One discount supplier with a very good selection that I can enthusiastically recommend is All-Battery. Tuesday. April 29.com. such a lithium CR-123s. I believe the [common design for COs is that the] whole building is built in such a way that it is a big Faraday Cage. You should maintain at least one all wire somewhere in your house. The switch to fiber optics helps here also. (The diminished capacity because of the memory effect has always been one of the greatest drawbacks to NiCds batteries. NiMHs do not have a "memory" effect. but it is something of an EMP protection as well. even though the main rationale for its adoption was capacity and cost.) The best of the breed are the latest Low Self Discharge (LSD) variants. The cordless phones need 120 VAC power to run the base station. That is if you still have an old style (hard wire) phone and not all cordless phones. Stock up plenty of them.JWR Replies: I recommend buying mainly nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Most of this kind of engineering is done for lighting protection. They also have great prices on "throw away" batteries. such as the Sanyo Eneloop. The EMP danger is in the above ground wiring [and antennas]. 2008 Two Letters Re: Observations on a Tour of a Telephone Company Central Office Permalink James: The batteries are why the phone still works when the power goes out. including some extras for barter and charity. . even on expensive long[er] distance routes.

The phone companies are some of the most engineering conservative utilities in this country. Many times people have these nearby and are unaware of them. propane or gasoline depending on the location. company policy. When I worked with them. Some of the upgrades I have seen done inside those little brick buildings spread around the country make them into pillboxes. They are generally unobtrusive and sometimes do not even have the company logo on them.most have few or no windows and are most often brick. etc. They are made this way because they house what is considered critical communications infrastructure and because they are supposed to be semi-secure and protected against all but the very worst mother nature can dish out. These are required to keep the system up if the grid goes down . etc. This link has pictures of COs. generators. They are also a desirable target for terrorists. I saw the stuff about phone Central Offices (COs) and thought I would contribute a bit as well since this is a part of my area of specialty. The one's listed under California (619) might serve a few thousand customers. and so forth would be strictly off limits in all but a true TEOTWAWKI situation. everything was "double built". . 100 percent redundancy. And they are learning a lot fast about “hardening” their properties. The larger one's will also have fuel reservoirs of either diesel. They do change the batteries our regularly because they have to . but most people do not have a clue where or what they are. These buildings will generally not be more than about 3 to 5 miles apart in suburban areas and even closer in urban areas so they are quite common. Hi Jim.Keith S.however they are only meant for a few days operation at best on generators. If you look at the Kansas page you can see the COs that might exist in a small town . As far as I know it is a Federal felony to disrupt the operations of one of these buildings so batteries.where they may serve at most a few hundred customers. They do have large battery back-ups and larger one's have generators. They look like a generic office building . concrete or concrete block.

.Adam in Ohio Thursday. In the case of a prolonged power outage the technicians will cycle through the remote units with generators to charge up the batteries. The best money can buy. I was also surprised at all the circuit boards. I know that society would have to totally break down in order to make use of these resources but I bet not too many people know about the battery banks. I also found out that there are many small remote units around that run on a couple of deep cycle batteries for back up power around town. [Their surplus battery sales are] a decent way to get good. Retreat Vehicle Fuel Flexibility. and hence wipe out] all the phone circuits. Monday. In the case of the grid going down it has a generator back up. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would easily take out [these microcircuit boards. Just something to keep in the back of your mind because every town will have something like this. . Many of these offices are unmanned. It is made up of large clear cylinders and you can see the acid level and the plates inside. Regards. I just came back from a tour of one of our local phone company’s central office (CO) and this is what I learned: Besides finding out how our phone lines work. There is a large battery bank in the basement and the batteries are charged by the grid. used deep cycle batteries. 2008 Letter Re: Biodiesel. April 28.Tim P. March 27. .keep the grid operational. I found out that the hardware there runs on 48 volt DC power. 2008 Letter Re: Observations on a Tour of a Telephone Company Central Office Permalink Hi Jim. and Power Generation Permalink Hello Jim.

Don't laugh. I am in the early stages of doing this myself. Whether homegrown or bought.com B100Supply. 1) Try drying your own fruits and vegetables for food storage. 3) You need a diesel vehicle to use the biodiesel in. It's not that hard. This will become much more critical as fuel prices skyrocket in the future. 5) A recent [SurvivalBlog] post talked about a vehicle as an improvised generator. While probably somewhat inefficient in terms of fuel consumption versus electricity produced it sounds perfect for someone on a budget. In addition to a diesel truck. specifically the 240D and 300D models made from 1977 to 1985 are built like tanks. Most people don't have tillers and there should be a good market tilling ground for people. I have two questions: Will running the inverter straight from the battery prematurely wear out the starter battery in the car or should the inverter be wired directly to the battery cables? Will using this set up overwork the alternator and cause early failure? Some Useful Web Sites: UtahBiodieselSupply. think about getting an older Mercedes Benz diesel car for an everyday driver and second BOV. Here are some random ideas that others might find useful. I am not mechanical at all and plan on doing all the work on mine.I am a prepper who is trying to do so on a very tight budget (wife. DieselGiant. If things get really hard gardening will make a dramatic comeback. These cars have no computers so they should be EMP-proof. lots of space and they are fairly simple to work on. and two jobs just to make ends meet-you get the idea). Besides saving a lot of money now this will also allow you to build up a large amount of fuel storage for vehicle and generator use inexpensively.com . The W123 chassis cars. Assuming you have enough fuel/spare parts this could make you indispensable in a small town. 2) Consider making your own biodiesel. four kids. This can be done inexpensively and dried food takes up very little storage space.com has great pictorials and do-it-yourself DVDs to help you. Just pay attention to detail and do it right. 4) If you have a high quality roto-tiller such as a Troy-Bilt or BCS brand (and you should if your serious about food production) it could be used to earn money/barter.

These share a common drive train with the much more common 300D series four-door sedans. and/or to run a small 120 VAC inverter--will not cause excessive wear and tear on your battery or alternator. This is just my little contribution to the blog and I hope others find it useful. for safety it is best to attached heavy gauge battery cable and terminal lugs. so parts are readily available.Jeff S. Rather than using jumper cable clamps. Although they are fairly scarce. The recent spike in diesel prices will give you a big advantage in bargaining for a price when buying any diesel vehicle. Ready Made Resources (one of our most loyal advertisers) offers an affordable small-scale biodiesel making system.) As previously mentioned. in parallel with your vehicle battery cables. Ideally.com Look at the eBay Motors listings if you want to see what these Mercedes vehicles look like. such as carbon monoxide venting. and one diesel car at every retreat. Just keep in mind the usual safety precautions. it is probably best to buy a bank of deep cycle ("golf cart") type batteries that you can charge whenever you run the engine. .. Use a detachable high-amperage-rated 12 VDC polarity-protected "Pigtail" block connector. You may have to rig a manually-controlled set-throttle. for 12 VDC devices "downstream" from your battery bank that draw 30 amps or less. one utility pickup or quad. JWR Replies: I recommend having at least one diesel tractor. I recommend . in SurvivalBlog. a pre-1986 Mercedes diesel 300D series station wagon (on the W123 chassis) is worth looking for. then using a vehicle's alternator as a power source--for either DC loads.com DieselGiant. That way you can quickly disconnect and still be able drive your vehicle without a time-consuming cable un-bolting procedure. and making sure that the transmission lever does not get bumped into "drive". To conserve your precious fuel. in my experience. In answer to your questions: As long as the engine is left running at low to moderate RPMs. (This online primer is a good starting point. your battery bank will be the heart of an alternative power system that will also--as your budget eventually allows--include some photovoltaic panels.MercedesShop.

PSK-31is nearly as good as Morse code for punching through noise.) Set up a proper antenna length for the band you are listening to. I don't expect any data network resembling the Internet to evolve if the grid goes down. much better than voice mode. HF amateur radio and shortwave radio will be the way to get your world news if the grid goes down. but it would be a low priority in both electricity and time. the complex mailbox routing networks are now mostly replaced by the Internet. Buy a radio that will receive upper and lower sideband (USB/LSB) or you will be limited to megawatt commercial AM stations. Thursday. Even if people do not want to obtain their amateur licence it is advisable that they obtain PSK-31 sound card software and a connector cable to decode low power PSK data signals. amateur controllers have no way to maintain the main systems on the host satellite. March 13. For those operating out of a backpack look at this PSK terminal device. Unfortunately while many hams played with packet 15 years ago. This is not to say that local networks using sound card data modems on CB or FRS radio or with Wi-Fi gear might not spring up. (SSB is used by the power poor. an antenna tuner is not good enough. .standardizing with Anderson Power Pole connectors rather than flimsy cigarette lighter plugs and jacks. 2008 Letter Re: Alternative News Sources When The Grid Goes Down Permalink James In the early 1990s--before Internet was ubiquitous--I remember a well-connected VHF packet remailer network that was nearly on par with the old Fidonet dial up network. No laptop needed! Amateur satellite (AmSat) is fun and a great way to talk worldwide without needing HF gear but if the grid ever fully went down I would expect satellite tracking stations to lose control of their satellites as the employees are detained protecting their families. Most AmSat gear is piggybacked on commercial satellites and is powered from the main buss.

what possible reason could any survivor not want to get licensed and on the air. inverters etc. Perhaps an overlooked. but wonderful option for a BOV is an ambulance. They come with lots of storage compartments and equipment built in. Worried about expensive gear? while I put down the tuna can transmitter for use as a survival set. but easy and small enough for every member of the family to build and hide in a Tic-Tac breath mints box for under be $10 the Pixie takes the prize. Rawles. If you search the net there are several sources for the pixie kit. . It is easy to remove the outer lights and replace them with other more TEOTWAWKI appropriate choices. as well most have propane fuel systems. The outside storage compartments are often ready to go for the prepper as they are often diamond plate on the interior and have webbing for securing items in place.LOL. They are easily "hardened" and easy to drive. David in Israel Wednesday. You can often find used ambulances on eBay or at [fleet dispersal] auctions. They often have fairly low miles. There is usually at least one "bed" in them as well... You will of course want to have it painted. March 12. generators. have been well maintained and are most often diesel. it is a great way for a family to build a first transmitter But if you want an actual usable Morse-only radio transceiver with even minimal long range survival utility. 2008 Letter Re: Surplus Ambulances as BOVs Permalink Dear Mr.Look a few months back in the SurvivalBlog archives for the article on Earth Moon Earth (EME or "moon bounce") propagation for an exotic and often difficult alternative to HF radio.. My plug for getting your license in the United State is: There is no longer a Morse Code test requirement! Anyone can memorize the question pool and easily pass the tech and general exams now.

Not only are they more sturdy. inspecting tires. Given the same basic amount of insulation included with each type. the “coffin” freezer). the ambulance is by far and away our favorite. the upright and the box. but I feel very confident in its capabilities. I personally love the looks I received when driving a muddy ambulance (prepaint job).We have taken our lovely BOV to the ATV park here and put it through some serious tests. (I am leery about buying a van that was converted to 4WD unless I know the details about who did the conversion. If you aren't familiar with inspecting vehicles (checking for leaks. look for one that is built on a pickup truck frame rather than a cargo van frame. checking for exhaust system leaks. There are basically 2 types of freezer.. to the point where both manage the loss of cooling at the same rate. The cold sinks and falls out the front. hoses and belts.. However. the “coffin” appears to be more efficient during access. examining dip stick colors. much like you would expect water would pour out of it in the same circumstances. When the door of an upright freezer is opened. . all of the usual caveats and disclaimers about buying at auction apply.but like most prepper wives I am not your average soccer mom.. but the chances are much better that you will find one that came from the factory with a front differential to provide four wheel drive (4WD). I was reading Monday’s letter regarding “Sizing a Retreat AC Power Generator”. et cetera) then bring someone that is experienced along with you for "advice and consent" before bidding. and is replaced by warmer air .Prepper Mom in Washington JWR Replies: When shopping for a surplused vehicle such as an ambulance at auction. Cold air sinks. Tuesday. 2008 Letter Re: Observations on Chest Freezer Efficiency Permalink Hi Jim. There are a lot of unqualified "shade tree mechanics" out there! Needless to say. We also have a 4x4 Durango that we are currently working on for a second BOV. It has some disadvantages as it is a pretty heavy beast. the cold air inside will pour out. (what we call around here. March 11. and a thought came to mind when the author mentioned super-insulating a freezer for extended cooling durations.

The more frozen stuffs you have. the vast majority of cold air remains in the box. Keep as much food as possible inside the freezer. Monday. the less space warm air has to occupy. and there is also a heat exchange effect at the boundary of the two layers. . in the event of a power failure. Not only will it mean less cold air spilling out. Cold food loses temp much much slower than displaced air does. your year is probably up. and give the impression that things are staying cold due to that same recentlychilled air passing over your face. we fill up any extra chest freezer space with used one-gallon plastic milk jugs that have been 3/4ths-filled with water. When you open the door of a box freezer. renew your 10 Cent Challenge! Admit it. heat is being absorbed by everything inside the freezer. the cold has nowhere to go. it’s easy. March 10. the door may remain open for longer periods as junior tries to decide on rocky road or vanilla (the only real flavor on earth…) icecream. It’s easier to keep our prey “on ice”. A box freezer thus saves on the energy needed to take the temp down to its set level after opening the door. There is disturbance of the upper layer of air as the door opens.from above. and with this practice in place. Here’s a tip for preserving low temps for those with upright freezers. The remaining low volume of air will chill much faster after the door has been closed. We prefer our “coffin” for bulk storage. and the energy required to do this will be less as well. in reality.… well. but the education is still coming to you! . This is good for post-TEOTWAWKI as well as everyday living.Randy in Central California JWR Replies: I agree wholeheartedly that it is important to keep a chest freezer full. Here at the ranch. While the contents of the freezer chill the incoming air immediately. 2008 Letter Re: Sizing a Retreat AC Power Generator Permalink Hello Jim and SurvivalBlog Readers: I have enjoyed reading the vast knowledge shared on this topic and the awakening you have brought to us about our fragile economy! How can one put a price on a wake up call?. but their thermal mass will also provide more of a time lag before defrosting.

The Honda units are totally amazing! Almost silent running. barter off the genset after that. at today's price of diesel. easy to throw into the vehicle.. it appears that you would obtain more kilowatt hours per dollar in this scenario. My thought is this. then use caution and go with your primary Lister type genset. At the rate of one gallon of gasoline per day. My thought is that while the large Lister type genset's are proven to last. and you could have 400 days of gasoline portable power. and you just greatly extended the days in which you will have portable power.000 or 2. Watts of power.. Not to mention that diesel engines last longer when left running. In a post-SHTF scenario where we would be very vulnerable early on.. Since the freezer is so important. Use your head and run the gasoline genset 6-10 times a day for shorter duration.10KW. diesel. you would have 200 days of run time before even really counting on your diesel genset. and while gasoline is fresh. etc..I have not seen any talk on your site about a "miniature" diesel genset. and pump as much as you can into storage containers... etcetera. Fire up the big boy for pumping water and what not once a week. vibration signature. It seems foolish to fire up 5KW. it will be worth considering super insulating your freezer when not running. expend your gasoline fuel supply. their will be a time when running something with a much lower noise signature. we could consider using the little guy first. at a time when most will have already been wearing out their big gensets and consuming their fuel. I know this thought defies what has been discussed.000 watt Honda portable unit with the savings of storing 200 stabilized gallons of gasoline vs. etc. Here you sit with everything fresh and ready to go. Might make a fine job opportunity to be able to [arc] weld. all many moons after the onset of TEOTWAWKI. Given the cost of gasoline versus diesel. and fuel consumption will be necessary to survive. not starting and stopping all the time. run 220 VAC equipment. It seems like the big genset could be very valuable in offering you the ability to weld. one could afford to buy a 1. when you may only need enough to run your furnace and the freezer. . Use your head and run the generator only as needed. and the 1. easy to start.. 25KW. (10 minutes or so several times a day to keep the freezer going). Whereas the gas unit would not know the difference. but a few hundred gallons of gasoline stored almost pays for the Honda generator in savings over buying diesel .000 watt unit will easily run a freezer and furnace for a day on less than a gallon of gasoline.

We dug out the culvert that that the highway department should have kept opened and that I should have kept checking. My son went to Home Depot--one of the few stores still open--and was able to rent a large 2" diameter pump. Yesterday it was warmer then normal there for a lot of snow melt. and Lessons Learned Permalink Mr. [Because of advice in SurvivalBlog] everything was in Mylar bags in five gallon buckets. thank you for your research and SurvivalBlog posts. I have been a [10 Cent Challenge] contributor for a couple of years and have gotten more than my money's worth. As the group was getting ready to head to the range for night shooting I went to my basement to get my ammo. (Over 108 inches!) That is the fourth largest every recorded. I had sand bags that we used in the basement to keep the water in one area once it started to rain again.Friends You Can Count On.[fuel] at today's prices. of course. run the figures with an expert to make sure you are not starving the electric motors which would prematurely burn out the appliance. shovels and axes that we had on hand. Once again. Once that was open it stopped raining but it should keep the water out with everything else we did. That emptied the basement in about two hours. Here in New Hampshire we received a record amount of snow fall this year. I started bailing with buckets. The hot water heater was damaged. I went to turn on my submersible pump that I have not had to use for years and it did not work. We attempted to get a siphon going with out success. Last night my group and I met at my home. Rawles. It was like a water fall coming in the basement at time. Last night it rained. I found 18 to 24" of water down there.The Wanderer A Flooded Basement . Thank you. We dug a trench out side in the driveway to get the water to go into the back yard. All the water was running in off the roadway and into my basement. Using spades. Thought I would put it out there for thought. floating. . All the best! . The sand bags worked great creating a pool in that area for the pump to work. Thank you for your writings.

You have to plan for the future but live in the here and now. Generators are (of course) rated at sea level.000 watt generator where I live at 6. My rule of thumb: after sizing for load.000 feet of elevation or your generator will be undersized. it'll be a blessing just to have refrigeration .5% per 1. It's important to de-rate generator capacity by 3.000 "label watt" generator is [effectively] only a 4. A couple of lessons: You need good people that you can trust. 2008 Letter Re: Sizing a Retreat AC Power Generator Permalink Jim Great blog! I wanted to point out an important calculation everyone missed internal combustion engines produce less power at higher elevation.New Hampshire Hillbilly Thursday. We were going over our bug out plans and storage plans for the retreat prior to heading to the range. Hope this helps everyone. I once again thank the Lord for his providence. one good in first aid and one security . one an administrator. Once is a propane tech. The simplest . All of them have various skills that are needed.. I had a stash of cash on hand to purchase or rent the pump and anything else needed last night. If the grid stays down.000 feet higher than that. one is a mechanic. . Other food for thought: You don't need to run all your big loads simultaneously. size generously for elevation or you'll be buying twice.it doesn't need to be like today where we run everything at once while blow-drying the dog! There's no reason you can't shut off the freezer if you need the well pump. That will be on the list now. Having a good working pump would have been invaluable. (A 5. March 6. I have a stream that flows all year long in my yard and I could even use a good pump for fire control if needed..) Density altitude on a warm summer day can easily be 2. We have different people with different skills.One of the members of our group is a tech for a propane company and he was able to get the hot water heater up and going with the tools and supplies we had on hand. He was able to make sure the furnace was going well.000 feet.defensive person.

000-to50. This generator (significantly oversized to run a MIG welder. given the weak dollar.000 hours of service with minimal maintenance. mill or compressor/plasma cutter combo) cost me less than $3. Test #2 for the chest freezer yielded the following results: KWH usage for the full 24 hours came to 1.Fred H.700 watts) over a 24 hour period for an average of 112. The next step is to test our other refrigerator and our upright freezer and to calculate the Amp Hours required (how many deep cycle batteries I'll need) to build my homemade UPS system. Rawles: I saw that you recently posted my question to the blog. etc.transfer switch allows you to control power to various loads. My genset is home built using a Listeroid (Lister clone) diesel engine and generator head purchased separately. and this allows you to use a smaller generator to accomplish everything.5 watts-per-hour. Now mind you. using up ice.. All in all. March 3. that includes all the hours we were asleep and so no one was opening the door. I'm pretty happy with those results. . Mind you.020 watts. During hours of heavy usage it was using about 150 watts-per-hour.02 KWH or 1. lathe. this freezer basically only gets opened once per day when we take out whatever we're defrosting for dinner. Based on decades of British Empire experience with these beasts in third world countries. It gingerly sips fuel and is easily operated on biodiesel or waste vegetable oil without modification. This is an average of 42. 2008 Four Letters Re: Sizing a Retreat AC Power Generator Permalink Mr.7 KWH (2. steel prices and current shipping rates).5 watts-per-hour. . I expect it will give 30. My second test showed the refrigerator consuming right at 2.000 including truck freight and welding up a stout steel frame (probably $4. so I thought I'd update you. Regards. Monday.500 now. I ran the tests again and got what I believe to be a more accurate assessments.

Several years back. one needs not only to calculate the total energy consumption of all electrical appliances one anticipates to be running simultaneously. Most electrical motors are labeled with their electrical current needs. the owner needs to use his Kill-A-Watt [meter] to determine the current used while running (typically 3-5 amps) and multiply this by 3 to get a good estimate of the starting current demands. This assumes that no more than one heavy draw appliance starts at the same time. In regard to an appliance which doesn’t list this information (such as a refrigerator). The process should be to add up the total draw for all the appliances. so that it'll be full when I actually need it to be. in Amps. inductive load) and thus have up to 3 times the energy demand to start as opposed to running.in my area. and went ahead and bought it. one simply needs to multiply by the operating voltage (typically 120 or 240 Volts).200 peak Watts ). The main issue here is that there is a significant difference in the average electrical energy consumption of an appliance and its peak usage. and then double the highest one and add that also to the total. we were living off of an emergency generator rated at 5. I know you guys usually endorse diesel as a primary genset/retreat fuel. I found a really good deal the other day on a 4 KW emergency gasoline genset. but to cover all the starting currents would require a much larger generator. so I can run her on propane. . When sizing an electrical generator. commonly listed as starting or peak current and continuous current. My next big purchase will be a tri-fuel conversion kit from US Carburetion.FYI.000 Watts (6. I can rent a 300-gallon tank (I own two 100-gallon cylinder tanks) from the propane provider for around $50 per year and fill it a little at a time as opposed to making an expensive all-at-once fuel purchase. One should disregard the . This issue is compounded by electrical devices such as motors which are not purely resistive (i. during an ice storm.A "10 Cent Challenge" Subscriber Dear JWR: I was catching up on SurvivalBlog this weekend and noted the article on generator set sizing. My logic there being that I can dump a little in each month.JSC in West Virginia . but I really like the stability and shelf-life of propane . This is commonly referred to as “starting current” verses “running current”. This will give a rough estimate of the peak current draw. To convert Amps to Watts.e. but also to cover the starting current for the item with the heaviest draw.

with consumption roughly linear with the load. think of fuel storage requiring long-term stability. they are the exception. and leaves us with NG/LPG or diesel. This effectively rules out gasoline. hence no “starting current”) consumed 4.500 Watts. Second. but it is still a finite resource. As a caveat. Third. They can be useful as a bridge . their Achilles’ Heel is fuel availability. which would extend to one year or more with limited part-time use. While some air cooled units are built for longevity. We went with a diesel powered 15KW unit which would even cover the arc welding unit and it uses about 1/4 gallon of fuel per hour during typical household test uses. In order to take a hot shower. the unit needs to be water cooled. This constant switching of loads was a real nightmare. After an hour. our 5 KW unit uses about 5 gallons of gas in an 8 hour period. typical consumer portable electrical generators are not up the rigors of continuous use. This vastly improves fuel economy and noise level as well as longevity. We store adequate diesel fuel to run the generator full time for approximately two months use. you will need at least 10 KW and 120/240VAC capability. Their fuel economy is atrocious. the water heater was disconnected to allow the well pump to be operated to provide water through the water heater to the shower.“peak” rating of typical portable emergency generators since they are uniformly overrated (I have noticed that recently. get a unit with double windings so it can run at 1. Fourth. While electrical generators are very useful and highly recommended. After a week of trying to keep this loud and hungry beast fed. we needed to turn off all other circuits and allow the water to heat up. look for the “continuous rating”). I would make several recommendations: First. if you pump water or want to run a welder or air conditioning unit.800 rpm instead of 3. peak rating is what is listed.600 rpm (to make up 60 Hz AC power). Consider taking your lawnmower into heavy wet grass and mowing continuously for 200 hours. Our water heater (a purely resistive load. The gas generator seemed to use virtually the same amount of fuel regardless of the load. but the diesel unit just sips fuel when it is just loafing along. thankfully the power came back on-line. When choosing a generator for long term use. They are also typically powered by the equivalent of an air-cooled lawnmower engine.

Most watt meters have the option to see how much power is currently being used by whatever is plugged into it.MercCom JimHere's a helpful site for figuring power requirements.000 watt inverter for $65. figure 600 watts startup power. If you use good sense in using power.400 watts. In your situation. If you want to find out how much power your refrigerator uses over the course of the day leave it plugged into the meter for a few days at the minimum. times four appliances would be around 2.NC BlueDog Sir. The refrigerators and freezers that I’ve dealt with generally don’t use more than about 150 – 200 watts while running. I’m guessing that there will be other things that you will want to run also (lights. COSTCO has a 1. and keep your vehicle tank(s) full.500 watt generator but as long as you aren’t looking to power your whole house from top to bottom with it you don’t really need a huge generator. running a refrigerator or freezer a couple of hours twice a day is adequate with limited door opening. Once the foodstuffs in the freezer and refrigerator are used up. battery charger etc. figure they use about three times that during startup. we all have useful generators sitting in our garages--in our car and/or truck.) so you may want to go with a 3. you will still need a manual pump for your water well in TEOTWAWKI. You’ll want to look at that while the appliance is cycled on. The Kill-A-Watt meter is a great tool but [KSC] really didn’t give it a chance to work. you . By the way. . Except in the hottest climates. grain mill.for short duration (till the power comes back on or we learn to live without). Hope this helps. An inverter will let you tap that power. .

Saturday.. Some of the topics are. Thanks to you and your family for all you do. March 1. See the Invention Nation web site..Bob B. The show primarily feature inventors who are inventing ways to "go green". a chest freezer. I'm afraid that I am doing something wrong. The series will rerun starting in March and may be worth a look for the preparedness minded.can ride through a temporary power failure.Randy G. used cooking oil for diesel engines. I have finished watching a series on the Science Channel called "Invention Nation". I have run across some interesting questions that I hope you and/or your other readers will be able to help me with. The provided cables have useless terminals (closed end type) for the battery end of the cables. etc. namely 2 refrigerators w/ freezers. Rawles: In attempting to size an emergency generator for my home. . I don't know if this has been posted here or not. I am attempting to set my home up with the ability to keep a bare minimum level of electrical appliances running in the case of a longterm outage. honestly. . I lived through the blizzards of the 1990s here in the southern West Virginia coal camps. Not bad for $65. Letter Re: Sizing a Retreat AC Power Generator Permalink Mr. solar power technology. and I will never forget us and all of our neighbors being without power and unable to get out of our own driveways for 23+ days in 1993. 2008 Letter Re: The "Invention Nation" Documentary Television Series Permalink Jim. My number seem awfully low. And. . so fairly energy efficient). Many of these inventions and ideas fit in perfectly with being self-sufficient. passive solar for heating homes and water. I am gauging the power being used by these appliances using a Kill-A-Watt. It marked the very beginnings of my awakening to the necessity of being properly prepared. and an upright freezer (all just a few years old. bicycle generators. But you also will have to buy or make up a pair of cables that will clip to your battery. With that in mind.

JSC Friday.05 KWH or 50 watts of power at 25 watts per hour. There would not be the luxury of time to train and equip. I'm finding sites that estimate the typical household fridge uses between 150-250 watts per hour with peaks upward of 700+ watts. To that end. even with all that. In my opinion. As a result of the chest freezer coming in lower than I expected.The first test I ran was on my chest freezer.13. I was surprised. They dubbed this the "Come as you are war" concept.55 cu. the freezer had consumed just 0. A measly 130 watts at 65 watts per hour. Am I doing really well on efficiency or am I missing something? I'll wait to hear back before I run the remaining tests. ft. the Pentagon's strategic planners came to the realization that the next major war that the US military would wage would not be like the Second World War. I also refilled the dog's water bowl from the door (forcing the pump into action) and virtually emptied the ice bin as crushed ice through the door (a big cup of ice water is yum!) to force the ice maker to have to run and make more. but not terribly because the lid was not opened during the span of the test. Researching this online. I purposely skewed the refrigerator experiment with the hopes of over-estimating the true usage. model with water and ice in the door. I tested the refrigerator in my kitchen. We must recognize that in these days of rapid news dissemination. 2008 The "Come as You Are" Collapse--Have the Right Tools and Skills Permalink In the Second World War. In the late 1970s. the same "come as you are" mindset should be applied to family preparedness. Next. But. the United States had nearly two full years to ramp up military training and production before decisively confronting the Axis powers. Thanks! . after two hours of measurement. looking at the recent experience of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. I was sure to be a bad boy and do things such as holding the door open and staring in like a goober for five minutes. They realized that we would have to fight with only what we had available on Day One. it . February 22. my two hour test yielded a cumulative KWH usage of just 0. It is a an Energy Star compliant Whirlpool brand 25.

up. Front Sight. body armor. The concept also applies to your personal training. they would surely ask a king's ransom in barter for them. In essence. it may take just a few hours before the highways and freeways leading out of urban and suburban areas are clogged with traffic--the dreaded "Golden Horde" that I often write about. WEMSI. in a post-collapse world: razor wire. NBC masks. tritium scopes. and the ARRL. advanced first aid gear. But the demand for them during a societal collapse would be tremendous. or pounds of gold. entire strings of well-broken horses. If you haven't learned how to do things before the balloon goes. How could you compete in such a scant market? Anyone that conceivably has "spares" will probably want to keep them for a member of their own family or group. then don't expect to get anything but marginal to mediocre on-the-job training after the fact. the RWVA/Appleseed Project. you'll be very glad that you did. but you won't once the Schumer hits the fan. the WRSA.may take as little as 10 hours before supermarket shelves are cleaned out. and semi-auto battle rifles. biological decontamination equipment. The come as you are concept definitely applies to specialized manufactured equipment. I'm talking about quarter sections of land. Worse yet. This will be the "come as you are" collapse. dosimeters and radiac meters.You are dreaming if you think that you will have the chance to to purchase any items such as these. or even the chance to fill your Bug Out Vehicle's fuel tank. Dakota Alert or military surplus PEWS intrusion detection sets. night vision equipment. Are you physically fit? Are you up to date on your dental work? Do you have two pairs of sturdy eyeglasses with your current prescription? Do you have at least a six month supply of vitamins and medications? Is your body weight reasonable? If you answer to any of these is no. you have the opportunity to take top quality training from the best trainers now. then get busy! . photovoltaics. Take the time to get top-notch training! Train with the best-with organizations like Medical Corps. It make take just a few hours for queues that are literally blocks-long to form at gas stations--or at bank branches in the event of bank runs. Offers of anything less would surely be scoffed at. Someday. So even in the unlikely event that someone was even willing to sell such scarce items. Think about it: There are very few if these items (per capita) presently in circulation. Do not make the false assumption that you will have the chance to make "one last trip" to the big box store. Don't overlook the "you" part of the "as you are" premise.

" So WTSHTF will truly be a "come as you are" affair. ) What you have is what you got." That is sage advice. I consider charity my Christian duty! I have repeatedly and strongly emphasized the importance of living at your intended retreat year-round. (At least not for several months. I repeat. one G. Sunday. organized by Major Robert Rogers during the French and Indian Wars of the 1750s had a succinct list of operating rules. family obligations. A closing thought that relates to your retreat logistics: The original colonial Army Rangers. re-think your preparedness priorities. trip. If you have the funds available. The version of the "Rules of Ranging" recounted in the novel "Northwest Passage" by Kenneth Roberts started with a strong proviso: "Don't forget nothing.D.) at the eleventh hour. you will need extra supplies on hand to help out relatives. you will have an advantage over the average suburbanite.O.O.) Maintain balance in your preparations. then hide what is there from burglars. friends.O. But I realize that because of personal finances. If there isn't someone living there year-round. You will have to make-do. February 17.Even if you have a modest budget. As I often say. (See the numerous SurvivalBlog posts on caching and constructing hidden compartments and rooms. that this is not realistic--except for a few of us. and the constraints of making a living at an hourly or salaried job.D. Stock your retreat well. Your knowledge and training alone--what is between your ears--will ensure that. then by all means pre-position the vast majority of your gear and supplies at your retreat. So be sure to develop your "lists of lists" meticulously. It would be virtually impossible to build something that elaborate in the aftermath of a societal collapse. and neighbors that were ill-prepared. In a situation where you are truly hunkered-down at your retreat in the midst of a societal collapse. there might not be any opportunity to barter for any items that you overlooked. If there is a major crisis there will probably be no chance to "go back for a second load. With all of this in mind. Odds are that they will have less than two week's worth of food on hand. you will be miles ahead of your neighbors. And even with just a small budget for food storage. mainly retirees. construct a combination storm shelter/fallout shelter/walkin vault. 2008 Letter Re: AA Cells and Mobile Power Permalink .O. If you are stuck in the Big City and plan to Get Out of Dodge (G. You will most likely only have one.

Good NiMH C cells have 2-to-3 times the capacity of AA cells.com). and so forth. (With those. Thanks. The shelves are chockablock with storage food (all labeled and organized "FIFO"-style). there is certainly some merit to having full size 10 Amp Hour (10. see Overstock. a pair of gloves. and NiMH D cells have 4-to-5 times the capacity of AA cells. barter/charity stuff. If you shop carefully you can find 10AH NiMH low self discharge D cells for around $10 each (As an example.") Look carefully and the MaH ratings before you buy! Also. They can be charged in a reasonable timeframe on a good quality charger like the MAHA MH-C801D. Many of the batteries on the market have no more capacity than a size AA. essentially you are getting the same "guts" used in a size AA cell. propane cylinders (that fit our camp stove and camping lantern). medical supplies. Each of these contains a Dutch Army surplus wool blanket. .BR JWR Replies: I recommend that SurvivalBlog readers be very careful when shopping for size C and D NiCD and NiMH batteries. tools. a half dozen pairs of . My missus and I have been into "prepping" for about 15 years. 2008 Letter Re: Keeping a Low Profile is Crucial for Preparedness Permalink Jim. Friday.There was a discussion about batteries a few days back on SurvivalBlog. While I do agree that this is a good approach for some devices. Not only is capacity significantly higher on larger cells. but the maximum safe current draw is higher too. reels of field phone wire. a Chinese knockoff of a Leatherman tool. with adapters for devices requiring C and D cells. but just in a bigger "can.000 MAH) batteries in high [current] draw or long term use devices. ammo cans. Following the example of Mr. paper products. The writer advocated using AA NiMH cells almost exclusively. a pile ("watch") cap. February 8. each packed in a cheap Made-in-Taiwan nylon duffle bag. Our house has a basement and it is practically wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with shelves--with just narrow aisles in between. assorted "field" type gear. be sure to buy only brands (such as Sanyo's ENELOOP) that have "Low Self Discharge" (LSD) rates. Whiskey (from your "Profiles") we have recently built up 27 sets of designated "charity duffles".

I do the same for the SurvivalBlog [10 Cent] Challenge. a firearms rights organization]. a thrift store man's jacket. room for four days worth of food (which we would pack from our FIFO inventory. All of the empty boxes have the "to" and "from" address labels cut out with a box cutter knife. To "stay in the fight" politically. The specific measures that we have taken to keep a low profile are: 1. a tube tent. we take the boxes home in our minivan. JPFO and CRPA [The California Rifle and Pistol Association. like our church.) We take no UPS deliveries at our house.) After seeing what happened to that guy in Norco last year. I have four flush roof-mounted Kyocera PV panels (cannot be seen from the street) and six deep cycle batteries. a collapsing plastic water container (the type that Campmor sells). We get all of the gun information we need online. (The neighborhood built up around the house. we will do so through an intermediary. Even though we live in a standard suburban neighborhood. (We are Methodists. I do make regular anonymous contributions to the GOA.socks. but the well is still functional with a 24 VDC submersible well pump. ("Teach a man to fish.. (I'm a sales engineer for a medium-size company.We are always sure to unload the van from inside my garage. At the core. I am glad that I keep a low profile. Etc. It is the oldest and sturdiest house on the block. Shame on any of you that read this blog regularly but don't pony up the 10 pennies a day!) .. a waterproof match container. When the time comes to hand out the charity duffles.") From there. I consider my preparations my own business. which is now "off the books"-since the house is now on "city" [metered] water. The cables are run series-parallel to provide both 12 VDC and 24 VDC outputs.") When we moved back to California in 1998.) 2.) It has a basement and its own water well. via Post Office Money Orders. as needed). with the garage door shut. when the property was subdivided in the 1960s. (BTW. and a hand line fishing kit. I discard the flattened boxes in the cardboard recycling dumpster behind the office where I work. Nearly all of our mail-ordered goods are sent to our private mail box at the local UPS Store (it was formerly a "MailBoxes. we picked our house specially because it was built in the 1940s.) We don't subscribe to any shooting or hunting magazines. none of out neighbors are any the wiser about our preps.

so I bought a lot of guns when we were there. Ready Made Resources. This eliminates the "trail of paper" from writing checks or using a credit card. We buy a lot from Nitro-Pak. (No calling history paper trail. also [chambered] in . I'm still looking for one or two more of those.30-06. but they are scarce. Also. and even harder to find private party. but by Divine Providence I bought several Glocks and [Colt Model] 1911s when I was living in Arizona for a couple years. ) We don't mention our preps to anyone outside of our family. .) Most of of our preps purchases are either made F2F.] There is isn't much to do out in the desert except shoot. Drat! But at least there was a grandfather clause. 6. mainly at SoCal [(Southern California)] gun shows.) We use a TracFone whenever calling a mail order vendor. so we will switch [to them] when our current subscription lapses.3. two of which have had their barrels shortened to 18.] 7. We also have three [Winchester] Model 12 pump[-action] 12 gauge shotguns.) We signed up for an identity theft and credit report checking protection plan three years ago. back in the late '90s.49. targets. gun gadgets. We have two [M1] Garand rifles. ammunition. Their service has more bells and whistles and a lower subscription cost that our current provider. we can still at least buy rifles and shotguns that are more than 50 years old without having to buy through a [licensed] dealer. and Lehman's. 5. It is cheap insurance to prevent what would otherwise be a very costly incident. needless to mention. Anyone moving into the state must now register their handguns. and cleaning supplies are bought "private party". Major Surplus. [JWR Adds: That loophole was recently closed for Californians.) 8. We have coached our kids from an early age to keep their lips zipped. [JWR Adds: I highly recommend this service. or with Post Office Money Orders if ordering by mail. 4.) We access all web pages via Anonymizer.) All of our guns. and a FN. with no exceptions. I noticed that SurvivalBlog just started running an ad from Comprehensive Risk Solutions. with cash. these are greenback transactions only! In California.5 inches. Handgun buys in California all require paperwork.

(It is a keyed deadbolt lock. February 7.F. Just be sure to print out a hard copy for use when the power grid goes down!) It is important to tailor your lists to suit your particular geography. I plan to retire to the mountains of central Nevada in nine years. These precautions might seem kinda "over the top". preparing it on a wood stove (or camping stove. but I consider that a small price to pay for my privacy. then draft prioritized lists for each subject.) . In the People's Republic of California it pays to be a bit of a Secret Squirrel. climate. on separate sheets of paper. 2008 From the SurvivalBlog Archives: Start With a "List of Lists" Permalink Start your retreat stocking effort by first composing a List of Lists. 10. (Basements are actually rare in California tract neighborhoods. Most of our friends and relatives don't realize that we even have a basement. When you come home from work on Friday evening.) To anybody that visits. the basement door stays closed and locked.) Spend that weekend in primitive conditions. turn off your gas main (or propane tank). the basement door just looks like a locked closet. I does cost me about $300 per year to get my mail and packages at the UPS Store. in Southern California Thursday.) We don't leave anything "suspicious" out where it can be seen in our house and garage. but put yourself in my shoes. and population density as well as your peculiar needs and likes/dislikes.L.) The basement has no windows. Someone setting up a retreat in a coastal area is likely to have a far different list than someone living in the Rockies. Practice using only your storage food. and shut your main water valve (or turn off your well pump. As I often mention in my lectures and radio interviews. I am making do in my present circumstances. but for now.) Whenever we have anybody visit our home. turn off your main circuit breaker. . (Or in a spreadsheet if you are a techno-nerd like me. a great way to create truly commonsense preparedness lists is to take a three-day weekend TEOTWAWKI Weekend Experiment” with your family.9.

Your List of Lists should include: (Sorry that this post is in outline form. False assumptions will be shattered. Most importantly. Things that you take for granted will suddenly become labor intensive. but it would take a full length book to discus all of the following in great detail) Water List Food Storage List Food Preparation List Personal List First Aid /Minor Surgery List Nuke Defense List Biological Warfare Defense List Gardening List Hygiene List/Sanitation List Hunting/Fishing/Trapping List Power/Lighting/Batteries List Fuels List Firefighting List Tactical Living List Security-General Security-Firearms Communications/Monitoring List Tools List . some of the most thorough lists that you will ever make will be those written by candlelight.A “TEOTWAWKI Weekend Experiment” will surprise you. Your family will grow closer and more confident.

firewood. manure. and a good filter could be a lifesaver. you never know where you may end up. this is another good reason to upgrade your retreat to a fireproof metal roof. fertilizer. Buy plain Clorox hypochlorite bleach. For transporting water if and when gas is too precious to waste. such as hauling hay. since five gallon food grade buckets are the largest size that most people can handle without back strain. A little goes a long way. Even if you have pure spring water at your retreat.) Drawing water from open sources. If you can afford it. Also see the recent letter from David in Israel on this subject. (BTW. Don’t buy big barrels. (Available from Ready Made Resources and several other Internet vendors. et cetera. Buy some extra half-gallon bottles for barter and charity.) Food Storage List See my post tomorrow which will be devoted to food storage. Food Preparation List . (BTW. buy a couple of heavy duty two wheel garden carts--convert the wheels to foam filled "no flats" tires. you will find lots of other uses for those carts around your retreat.Sundries List Survival Bookshelf List Barter and Charity List JWR’s Specific Recommendations For Developing Your Lists: Water List House downspout conversion sheet metal work and barrels. Buy extra containers.) Treating water. buy a “Big Berky” British Berkefeld ceramic water filter.

etc. rendering. and sentries standing picket shifts exposed in the elements. BTW. It is better to learn through experience and make mistakes now. gambrels. For example. when the loss of crop is an annoyance rather than a crucial event. Gary North: “Nails: buy a barrel of them. dish washing. you should plant a vegetable garden every year. given the heavy manual tasks required for self-sufficiency. Prescription and nonprescription medications. Barrels: Buy a barrel of them!”) Don’t overlook skinning knives. soap making. chocolates. consider your neighborhood going for many months without power. gut-buckets. Stay in shape.) Spare glasses. CDs. and practice them. You will also need even more kettles. Birth control. extensive use of open flames. Then consider axes.Having more people under your roof will necessitate having an oversize skillet and a huge stew pot. even if you don’t presently live at your retreat. and 5 or 6 gallon PVC buckets--for water hauling. (To quote my mentor Dr. They will also make great barter or charity items. “Comfort” items to help get through high stress times. you will want to buy several huge kettles. chainsaws and tractors being wielded by . and clothes washing. (Books. and meat saws.) First Aid /Minor Surgery List When tailoring this list. Educate yourself on survival topics. Any elective surgery that you've been postponing Work off that gut. because odds are you will have to heat water on your wood stove for bathing. Personal List (Make a separate personal list for each family member and individual expected to arrive at your retreat. and dying. Back strength and health—particularly important. Keep dentistry up to date. games. barrels.

) Buy a full minor surgery outfit (inexpensive Pakistani stainless steel instruments). . and a greater likelihood of gunshot wounds. Under current circumstances. Tea Tree oil. HEPA filters (ands spares) for your shelter. temporary filling kit. and starvation. Put a strong emphasis on burn treatment first aid supplies. radiac meter (hand held Geiger counter). add the possibility of no access to doctors or high tech medical diagnostic equipment. duct tape. …) Gardening List One important item for your gardening list is the construction of a very tall deerproof and rabbit-proof fence.newbies. Don’t overlook do-it-yourself dentistry! (Oil of cloves. extraction tools.) This is going to be a big list! Chem/Nuke Defense List Dosimeter and rate meter. even if you don’t know how to use them all yet.) Natural antibiotics (Echinacea. Biological Warfare Defense List Disinfectants Hand Sanitizer Sneeze masks Colloidal silver generator and spare supplies (distilled water and . rolls of sheet plastic (for isolating airflow to air filter inlets and for covering window frames in the event that windows are broken due to blast effects). and charger.999 fine silver rod. With all of this. or you will have the opportunity to put them in the hands of someone experienced who needs them. it could mean the difference between eating well.) Outdoor shower rig for just outside your shelter entrance. a raid by deer on your garden is probably just an inconvenience. et cetera.(See my recent post on that subject. After the balloon goes up. Potassium iodate (KI) tablets to prevent thyroid damage. You may have to learn.

Toothpaste (or powder). goat milking stand. Livestock List: Hoof rasp. etc. laundry soap. leads. carding combs. Hunting/Fishing/Trapping List . hand sheep shears. Soap in quantity (hand soap. dish soap. tack repair tools. manure shovel. SWOT fly repellent. et cetera. (Non-hybrid “heirloom” seed assortments tailors to different climate zones are available from The Ark Institute Herbs: Get started with medicinal herbs such as aloe vera (for burns). Hygiene/Sanitation List Sacks of powdered lime for the outhouse. If your region has selenium deficient soil (ask your local Agricultural extension office) then be sure to get selenium-fortified salt blocks rather than plain white salt blocks--at least for those that you are going to set aside strictly for your livestock. hay fork. Tools+ spares for barter/charity Long-term storage non hybrid (open pollinated) seed. collars.Top Soil/Amendments/Fertilizers. Bag Balm. (Unless you have health objections to the use of fluoride. hoof pick. leashes. horse brushes.) Sunscreen. bulk grain and CO-B sweet feed (store in galvanized trash cans with tight fitting lids to keep the mice out). This is a good item to store in the attic. udder wash. hay hooks. See my novel about stocking up on used phone books for use as TP. Ladies’ supplies. hoof nippers. Floss. teat dip. elastrator and bands. various tack and saddles. nail clippers (various sizes). echinacea (purple cone flower). but it is very bulky. Fluoride rinse. Buy plenty! TP in quantity (Stores well if kept dry and away from vermin and it is lightweight. Copper-tox. valerian. et cetera. feed buckets. styptic. cleansers. halters.) Bottled lye for soap making.

then get a diesel-burning generator.“Buckshot” Bruce Hemming has produced an excellent series of videos on trapping and making improvised traps. Make plans and buy materials in advance for making blackout screens or fully opaque curtains for your windows. (And plan on getting at least one diesel burning pickup and/or tractor). don’t “go hunting. (He also sells traps and scents at very reasonable prices. Have the game come to you. buy nickel metal hydride batteries. When possible. In a pinch. Buy some frog gigs if you have bullfrogs in your area.) Greater detail on do-it-yourself power will be included in my forthcoming blog posts. Post-TEOTWAWKI. and natural gas. Fuels List . At the same time. and battery charging Salt. and chimneys.) Night vision gear. plenty of extra wicks. (These will also make great barter items.” That would be a waste of effort. They will also make very valuable barter items. propane. Power/Lighting/Batteries List One proviso: In the event of a “grid down” situation. these have no adverse charge level “memory” effect. spares. your house lighting will ruin the night vision of your LP/OP pickets. Extra tackle may be useful for barter. maintenance. Kerosene lamps. Learn how to rig trot lines and make fish traps for non-labor intensive fishing WTSHTF. but probably only in a very long term Crunch. get a “tri-fuel” generator--with a carburetor that is selectable between gasoline. Buy 20 or more salt blocks. if you are the only family in the area with power. Buy some crawfish traps if you have crawfish in your area. you can run your diesel generator and diesel vehicles on home heating oil. Sell your fly fishing gear (all but perhaps a few flies) and buy practical spin casting equipment. it could turn your house into a “come loot me” beacon at night. (Unlike the older nickel cadmium technology. mantles. If you heat your home with home heating oil.) If your home has propane appliances.

They are expensive but they might save yourself a trip to the emergency room. goggles. Always wear gloves. do not buy an aboveground fuel tank that would visible from any public road or navigable waterway. Have someone who is well experienced teach you how to re-sharpen chains. Buy plenty of extra fuel for barter.) Get the best quality chainsaw you can afford. (See my previous blog posts. gas.) . and plenty of two-cycle oil. (Two-cycle oil will be great for barter!) Get a pair of Kevlar chainsaw safety chaps. In any case. don’t cut up your wood into rounds near any rocks or you will destroy a chain in a hurry. or diesel tanks that your local ordinances permit and that you can afford. and fire concerns. Wear a logger’s helmet when felling. ballistic impact concerns. 2” water line from your gravity-fed storage tank (to provide large water volume for firefighting) Fire fighting rig with an adjustable stream/mist head.Buy the biggest propane. (Frequent your local thrift store and buy extras for retreat newcomers. Smoke and CO detectors. home heating oil. Tactical Living List Adjust your wardrobe buying toward sturdy earth-tone clothing. Even without looters to consider. charity. Buy extra chains. you will want some in one or two gallon cans. as well as the greater fire risk associated with greenhorns who have just arrived at your retreat working with wood stoves and kerosene lamps! Upgrade your retreat with a fireproof metal roof. Don’t overlook buying plenty of kerosene. and ear-muffs. you should be ready for uncontrolled brush or residential fires. BTW. critical spare parts. and barter.) Stock up on firewood or coal. I prefer Stihls and Husqavarnas. For privacy concerns. (For barter. Always keep them at least two-thirds full. underground tanks are best if you local water table allows it. Firefighting List Now that you have all of those flammables on hand (see the previous list) and the prospect of looters shooting tracer ammo or throwing Molotov cocktails at your house. If you can afford it. buy two of the same model. think in terms of fire fighting from start to finish without the aid of a fire department.

) Buy the best starlight scopes. Save those wine corks! (Burned cork makes quick and cheap face camouflage. and standing guard duty. and litter discipline. anti-vehicular concrete “planter boxes”.500 each. The Wiggy’s brand Flexible Temperature Range Sleep System (FTRSS) made by Wiggy's of Grand Junction. Noise.) Starlight electronic light amplification scopes are critical tools for retreat security. Mosquito repellent.000 times. Rebuilt first gen (early 1970s technology scopes can often be had for as little as $500. Stock up on some boxes of green and brown cloth dye. antivehicular ditches/berms. since you will be doing more outdoor chores. exterior obstacles (fences. ballistic protection (personal and residential). gates. These are best used as backups (in case your expensive American made scopes fail. intrusion detection/alarm systems. Colorado is highly recommended.Dyes. light. goggles. One Russian model that uses a piezoelectric generator instead of batteries is the best of this low-cost breed. They may be life-savers! If you can afford to buy only one. They should not be purchased for use as your primary night vision devices unless you are on a very restrictive budget. 5/8” diameter (or larger) locking road cables. Synthetic double-bag (modular) sleeping bags for each person at the retreat. Don’t overlook ponchos and gaiters. Even if you don’t have time now. With dye. This burlap is available in large spools from Gun Parts Corp. hunting. Two-inch wide burlap strip material in green and brown. plus a couple of spares. “decorative” ponds (moats). you can turn most light colored clothes into semi-tactical clothing on short notice. (They are better than nothing. stock up so that you can make camouflage ghillie suits post-TEOTWAWKI. etc. Buy some extra for barter. A Starlight scope (or goggles. Late issue Third Generation (also called or “Third Gen” or “Gen 3”) starlight scopes can cost up to $3. (More on this in future posts--or perhaps a reader would like to send a brief article on this subject) Security-General: Locks. Night vision gear + IR floodlights for your retreat house Subdued flashlights and penlights. and monoculars you can afford. razor wire.) Cold weather and foul weather gear—buy plenty. make it a weapon sight such as an AN/PVS-4. Starlight light amplification technology was first developed during the Vietnam War. rosebush plantings. or a monocular) literally amplifies low ambient light by up to 100. Russian-made monoculars (with lousy optics) can be had for under $100. with a Gen 2 . turning nighttime darkness into daylight--albeit a green and fuzzy view.

carrying cases.(or better) tube. (This may sound a bit “over the top”. cleaning equipment. with your retreat property on the center map. piece together nine of the USGS 15-minute maps. Range cards and sector sketches. so you can mark it up just like a military commander’s map board. plus city and county office contact numbers for quick reference and tack it up right next to the map board.) Study and memorize both the terrain and the neighbors’ names. web gear. One dealer that I trust. The market is crowded with rip-off artists and scammers. “Oh. Note: In a subsequent blog posts I will discuss the relationship and implications to IR illuminators and tritium sights. is Al Glanze (spoken “Glan-zee”) who runs STANO Components. Communications/Monitoring List When selecting radios buy only models that will run on 12 volt DC power or rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery packs (that can be recharged from your retreat’s 12 VDC power system without having to use an inverter.” Security-Firearms List Guns. Each rifle and pistol should have at least six top quality (original military contract or original manufacturer) full capacity spare magazines. and minimal scintillation. If you live in the boonies.) . but remember. eye and ear protection. targets and target frames. ammunition. training. Cover the whole map sheet with a sheet of heavy-duty acetate. Draw in the property lines and owner names of all of your surrounding neighbor’s parcels (in pencil) in at least a five mile radius. Note: Considerable detail on firearms and optics selection. spare parts. and you will seem like an instant “old timer. magazines. Mount that map on an oversize map board. scopes. (Get boundary line and current owner name info from your County Recorder’s office. don’t you live about two miles up the road between the Jones place and the Smith’s ranch?” They will be impressed. Make a phone number/e-mail list that corresponds to all of the names marked on the map. Make sure to specify that that the tube is new or “low hours”. Inc. It is important to buy your Starlight gear from a reputable dealer. use. et cetera. you will be able to say. and logistic support are covered in the SurvivalBlog archives and FAQs. gunsmithing tools. It will also help you get to know your neighbors: When you are introduced by name to one of them when in town. has a high “line pair” count. you are planning for the worst case. Nevada. in Silver City.

such as Carla Emery’s "Encyclopedia of . use. (But never assume that any two-way radio communications are secure!) Note: More detail on survival communications gear selection. I recommend buying two or more 12 VDC marine band radios. you will want to have two or three copies.” Woodworking tools. Auto mechanics tools. nails. Hand or treadle powered grinding wheel. abrasives. Book/Reference List You should probably have nearly every book on my Bookshelf page. Don’t forget to buy plenty of extra work gloves (in earth tone colors). et cetera. Tools List Gardening tools. These frequencies will probably not be monitored in your region. If you live in a far inland region. Sundries List: Systematically list the things that you use on a regular basis. Keep your spares in sealed metal boxes to protect them from EMP. EMP protection. nuts and bolts. leaving you an essentially private band to use. security/cryptography measures. For some. Bolt cutters--the indispensable “universal key. training. twine. buy spare radios of each type if you can afford them. duct tape. cyanoacrylate glue. weather stripping. Gunsmithing tools. Emphasis on hand powered tools. Welding. white glue.As a secondary purchasing goal. antennas. reinforced strapping tape. and logistical support will be covered in forthcoming blog posts. chain. or that you might need if the local hardware store were to ever disappear: wire of various gauges.

Barter and Charity List For your barter list. Semi-waterproof matches (from military rations. Some of my favorites are ammunition. Ladies supplies.) Pre-1965 silver dimes. get plenty of .Country Living". ammo will be worth nearly its weight in silver. 1-gallon cans of kerosene.) Military web gear (lots of folks will suddenly need pistol belts. non-perishable.) Two cycle engine oil (for chain saw gas mixing. again even if you don’t own a pistol chambered for this cartridge. This is because these books are so valuable and indispensable that you won’t want to risk lending out your only copy. holsters. Waterproof dufflebags in earth tone colors (whitewater rafting "dry bags"). Store all of your ammo in