Posts Tagged ‘survival’

Long underwear

November 11, 2008

Just finished doing my exercises.  I do between 9-12 sets of 30 pull ups and 30 dips.  On other days I do work with barbells.  If I do some kind of strength training 3-4 days a week, that’s good.  I walk, bike ride or ski everyday.    Mens sarna in corporo sarno.

My walks in the woods don’t come without some pitfalls.  I just pulled a tick off of myself.  It wasn’t bitten in for the requisite 24 hours so I should be safe from any tick carried disease.  Gotta keep an eye on it though.

Ok, then long underwear.

You gotta have long underwear.  When I used to work in a hydroponic greenhouse I used to wear what I called “Greenhouse Armor.”  When you do greenhouse (casa verde) work you need to start early in the morning because by 2, 3, or 4 in the afternoon it’s too hot to work inside the house.    So how to dress.  As the day went on you’d strip down to a t-shirt and jeans.  I’d start the day with a t-shirt, long underwear, t-shirt, long underwear and probably one or two sweatshirts and a heavy flannel shirt jack.  In the mornings, at 5:30 am, it could be 20 degrees outside and you are constantly going in and out of the greenhouse (70 degrees or warmer) so you need to be able to constantly adjust your clothes/underwear/comfort factor.

You know that you have to understand how to dress in layers, right?

As I was taking pictures for this post I realized that “Insulation” was a better title than “long underwear.”

Traditional-long-underwear-top1

Traditional-long-underwear-top1

This is the long underwear that everyone is probably familiar with.  These are 100% cotton and have the waffle texture to them.  This stuff is ok if there is no chance of getting wet or sweating.  There is an old saying that bears repeating, “cotton is death.”  And it is.  If you wear cotton and it gets wet you can die.  Wet cotton loses its insulative properties and will wick the heat right out of your body.

Traditional-long-underwear-bottom

Traditional-long-underwear-bottom

This is the 100% cotton bottoms that go with the traditional top.  Not bad, but remember “cotton is death.”  It’s fine to wear in a greenhouse or to the office or to go shopping, but if you sweat or cotton long underwear gets wet, you have a problem.

union-suit

union-suit

This is the traditional union suit that served folks well for so many years.  It’ll keep you warm, but once again being 100% cotton you can’t let it get wet.  The benefit is that it is very warm.  I don’t like it because it isn’t easy to adjust in case you get heated up.

Trapdoor

Trapdoor

This is the best part of the union suit.  When you gotta go you don’t have to take the whole thing off.  You just have to be as nimble as a Russian gymnast.  I’m not a big fan of the union suit.

light-poly-pro

light-poly-pro

This is the stuff I love.  It’s made from poly-propylene.  This stuff keeps you warm and wicks moisture away from your skin where it is free to evaporate and keep you from getting wet.  The downside is some people say it holds body odor.  Personally, I haven’t found that to be the case.  The other thing I like about this style is that it has a small zipper in the front so it makes it easy to adjust your core temperature by zipping it up into a turtleneck or down.

light-poly-pro-bottoms2

light-poly-pro-bottoms2

These are the polypro bottoms that go with the top.  This stuff is great.  It wicks the moisture from your body and keeps you warm.

thumb-hole

thumb-hole

Another reason I like these polypro tops is because they have a thumb-hole.  See that little hole with the blue thread at the top and bottom?  Watch this……….

thumb-hole-in-use

thumb-hole-in-use

You see that?  Now when I stick my arm through other layers of clothing the underwear doesn’t get pulled up to my elbows.  It’s also nice as a second layer over your palm and a first layer over your wrist.  If you are playing in the snow, it keeps the snow from going down into your gloves or up your forearm.

heavy-polartec-top

heavy-polartec-top

The polypro tops come in different thicknesses.  I’m not sure if you can make it out, but this one is much thicker than the one I posted above.  This top is 100 weight polartec.  I use this for ice-fishing and down hill skiing.  Once again, it has that nice zipper and the thumbholes.

polartec-top

polartec-top

This is where I started thinking to myself, maybe this is a post more about insulation then long underwear.  Anyways, this is a soft Polartec top.  No pockets, but it fits loose, has that zipper I like and keeps you warm even in the event it gets wet.  You want your inner layers to be made of material that wicks moisture away from your skin.  The brand of this orange top is Columbia.  I think I paid $30 for it.  It was kind of pricey, but it’ll keep me warm for years.  Orange in the woods isn’t as bright as you may think.  Orange is a naturally occurring color in nature.  You don’t see too many pure black things in the woods.

polartec-crew-neck

polartec-crew-neck

This is basically a Polartec sweatshirt.  It has pockets.  I got it from Campmor.  I’m sure I wouldn’t have paid more than $15 for it.  Wicks moisture and keep you warm even if it gets wet.

fancy-wind-proof-top

fancy-wind-proof-top

This is a fancy, wind proof top made from polyester and nylon.  The main thing here is that it stops the wind from penetrating your body.  Wind will suck the heat right out of you.  This particular top isn’t very insulative, but it stops the wind dead.  I got it from the very expensive store that’s a cooperative.  I don’t buy anything there unless it is on the clearance rack.  I paid $30 for this, marked down from $150!!!  I can’t imagine anyone paying $150 for it, but it was worth the dirty thirty.  This time of year I’d wear a poly pro top, this windbreaker and then my Filson canvas jacket and I’m good to go.

polartec-zip-top

polartec-zip-top

This is a polar tec zip top that I also got from Campmor.  It’s heavier than the poly pro long underwear.  It’s more like an intermediate layer, not right against your skin, but between the inner layer and your outer wear.  I like being able to zip it into a turtle neck or zip it down to cool off.   The pockets are pass through pockets so I can pass the hip belt from a pack right through it if I wanted to.  It also has a cord to tighten down the waist to keep stuff from blowing in and heat from blowing out.  You should be able to get something like this for between $20-$25.  It’s well worth it.

wool-sweater

wool-sweater

This is a plain old wool sweater.  I love wool.  it keeps you warm even when wet.   Wool sweaters come in all kinds of shapes, colors and sizes.  I have a bunch of wool sweaters.  Good ones will last a very long time.  I’d like to buy some wool long underwear, but at $50+ for each piece it’s way too expensive for my wallet.

thinsulate-lined-jeans

thinsulate-lined-jeans

These are Thinsulate lined jeans.  The Thinsulate is great.  These jeans will keep me warm no matter what.  Almost.  The downside is that jeans are made out of cotton so if they get wet they don’t keep you warm.  They keep you cold.  Thinsulate though keeps you warm even if wet.  I’ll only wear these if it’s very cold and dry or if it’s wet I’ll wear them under Gore-Tex.

Anorak

Anorak

This is an anorak from LL Bean, that I got on sale because it was an irregular.   If I’m engaging in some high activity pursuit that I’ll be sweating doing then this is a great piece to wear.  Throw on a polypro top, this anorak and my jacket and I’m good to go.  The other nice thing with the anorak is that it has an adjustable hood so I can wear a hood inside of a hood if I want to and the pockets are pass through pockets which is good for a hep belt from a backpack.

down-sweater

down-sweater

This is a down sweater.  I got this from Campmor too.  It’s Campor’s own brand.  There is no need to pay for the “Northface” brand.  I got this sweater for probably $50 and it works great.  Down is good.  The downside of down is that it doesn’t keep you warm when wet so you either wear it under Goretex or only in dry conditions.

My walking pics of the day-

deer-track

deer-track

More deer tracks.  What’s there to say?  Just get out there and start walking your woods.

cranberry2

cranberry2

This is wild cranberry.  They grow low in marshy, boggy areas.  You can spot them by their low growing habit and teeny, tiny leaves.  Here’s another picture-

cranberry4

cranberry4

You can see a few cranberries in this one picture.  Cranberry is good stuff.  Cranberries are high in vitamin C and are good for your urinary tract.  They stay good even when buried under the winter snows and can be dried and crushed to powder.  They also make a great addition when you cook grains, cereals, baked goods or roasted meats and poultry.

My GHB

November 7, 2008

My walking pic of the day-

Fox scat

Fox scat

I believe this to be fox scat (crap).  The fox diligently placed it on top of a rock so everyone in the woods could see it and smell it.  Fox like to do this with their scat.  Notice the seeds in it.  It looks like this fox has been eating berries.

I keep a bag in my car to provide stuff that I may need if I end up having to walk home.  I’m usually no more than 20 miles from home and usually not too far from my car.   I don’t anticipate having to spend more then one night away from home.  Probably not even.  So my Get Home Bag is designed around these specific needs: walk no more then 20 miles and only having to spend 1-3 nights away from home.  I also have a fair amount of stuff in my car that isn’t shown.  That’s another post.

The first thing you need to do in the event of having to run home is to make yourself safe.  After that, you need to unpack everything you have with you, your pockets and the contents of your Get Home Bag (“GHB”).  Take an inventory.  Figure out what you have and the multiple uses that each item has.  Slow down.  Bad decisions are made in haste.

This is my get home bag.

Get Home Bag

Get Home Bag

As you can see it’s a waterproof SealLine 20 liter bag.  I have other bags in my car that I can put it into in case I want to go incognito.  Carrying the SealLine bag through urban or suburban areas would attract unneeded attention.  I usually have a black messenger bag with me that I could stuff the SealLine bag into if I needed to.

The contents:

GHB1

GHB1

Here we have a survival blanket that has all kinds of survival tips written right on it.  Even though you know everything, when you are under stress you forget or can’t recall stuff.  It’s good to have everything written down.  Next are a few rubber gloves, a dust mask and toilet paper in a zip loc bag.

GHB 2

GHB2

Here are a few large plastic bags with a rubber band around them.  The yellow thing is a reflective survival sleeping bag.    A cheesy tube tent and cheesy rain poncho.  I keep them packed in their plastic bags because it’s good to have bags in the brush.

GHB3

GHB3

Here is a NuWick candle in a can.  Packed inside of the can are the wicks and a lousy pack of matches.  NuWick should supply waterproof matches with its product.  NuWick knows it’s a survival item so they shouldn’t get chintzy with the matches.   The thing in the zip loc bag is an alcohol lamp/stove.  The black thing is a small pot/large cup to heat stuff up with.  The handles collapse around the pot.  The thing with the yellow handle and black rod is a flint fire starter.   The shiny silver thing is an old fashioned waterproof match holder packed with strike anywheres and a piece of course sandpaper for striking.

GHB4

GHB4

Upper left corner are two sets of plastic cutlery wrapped in plastic wrap.  Inside the zip loc bag (I love bags.) is a survival saw.  You can’t depend on these things, but it’s light, cheap and small so why not pack it?  Don’t depend on them though.  If you think that you will HAVE to use a saw on your way home get a better one.  You can rip the rings off the end of these survival saws with a teeny bit of pressure.  Bottom center is a small bottle of Purell hand sanitizer.  Bottom left corner is a Platypus bag wrapped with a rubber band.  It’s basically a collapsible canteen.  The Platypus bags can be boiled, frozen and rolled up very small.  These things are great.

GHB5

GHB5

The silver thing in the black case is a small radio.  It picks up AM/FM/TV and shortwave.  It’s digitally tuned.  I think I got 2 for $20.  When I’m walking home I want to be able to listen to the news.  The other thing is a headlamp.

GHB6

GHB6

Here is a shank of parachute cord.  It can be stripped down and the inside strands used for whatever.  In the middle is a shank of poly rope.  At the bottom is a little roll of duct tape.

GHB7

GHB7

At the top is a Swedish Mora knife with a sheath that has a nice belt clip.  The knife is very sharp.  It was only $9 or so from Smoky Mountain Knife Works.  A Gillette disposable razor and a cheap slingshot.  Also, floating around the bottom of my GHB are probably about 50 ball bearings.

GHB8

GHB8

This is a Survival Straw.  These things are great.  I can drink out of a puddle if need be.  You can get cheaper ones, but they are probably just filters.  In which case you may also have to treat the water with bleach, iodine or other chemicals.  This Survival Straw has some sort of silver in it that also kills the bugs and viruses.  This is the kind to get.  http://www.thestrawoflife.com/.  You can find it cheaper so look around.  Once again, save the bag it comes in and the directions.

GHB8

GHB8

This is the food I carry in my GHB.  On the left is a bag of raisins and brown sugar.  It’s like the ingredients for hooch in the can.  On the right is more food double zip locked.

GHB9

GHB9

The zip lock food bag unpacked.  At the top two packs of Swiss Miss hot cocoa, a pack of tuna, the black round thing is a small glass jar of honey, two gold and black packets of Earl Grey tea, four or five hard candies, a pack of Top Ramen, four things of Cup a Soup, the things running vertically are three packs of soup bouillon.

GHB10

GHB10

This is a one liter Nalgene type bottle.  It came packed with first aid supplies.  I got it for about $10.  Of course I had to supplement it with more stuff.

The bottle unpacked is below:

GHB11

GHB11

A pair of tweezers, a cheap compass, a bag with wet naps, an orange cheap whistle, a small roll of first aid tape and a red Bic lighter.

GHB11

GHB12

On the left in the little baggie are first aid type wipes, antibiotic, burn and stingeze.  At the top the little blue pills are an anti-histamine, to the right is a pack of Advil, in the middle anti-biotic Neosporin, a bunch of brass safety pins and at the bottom is a little shank of poly string.

GHB13

GHB13

Here we have a bag with assorted bandages and gauze pads, a pair of scissors, in the center is a disposable razor knife.  You know the kind it has like ten blades that snap off.  The bottom left is a small zip loc bag rolled up and secured with a rubber band.

GHB14

GHB14

At the top left is a triangle bandage in a bag.  The top right is a small pack of tissues.  Bottom left is a bag of anti-septic towelettes.  The bottom right is a small container of aspirin and Immodium.  You have to know not to take aspirin if bleeding is a risk, but to take aspirin in the event of stroke or heart attack.  if you didn’t know this you are weak in the first aid area and need to bone up.  Not trying to be critical.  I just am by nature.

GHB15

GHB15

At the top left are eight Micropur water purifying tablets.  The top right are some disposable brush ups to keep your teeth clean and get rid of foul tastes or just make you feel more human.  The bottom right are 4.0 Ethilon sutures.  The bottom right is a first aid guide.  I’m pretty good with first aid, but under stress I may not be thinking right so it helps to be able to read.  Keep directions.  An example, you may be suffering from hypothermia and not recognize it because one of the symptoms of hypothermia is confusion.  You start reading your little first aid guide and realize that confusion is a sign of hypothermia.  Light then dawns on marble head and you recognize that you need to take corrective action.

GHB16

GHB16

The last items in the one liter bottle is a pack of straight needles and a spool of black thread.

You get that pics GHB11-GHB16 are the contents of the red one liter bottle.

You need to occasionally unpack everything so you know what you have and also to check the batteries.  The whole thing weighs about ten pounds and measures 18″ * 9″ * 8″.

Cost = Priceless.

Mens sarne incorporo sarno.

More rambling

November 4, 2008

This is a wild fresh water mussel.  Some raccoon or heron reached it before I did.  where there is one there are more.  You can eat these things.  They are a good source of protein and would cook up nicely.

Fresh water mussel

Fresh water mussel

And a close up.  Seeing these tells you that the water is relatively clean.

Wild freshwater mussel 2

Wild freshwater mussel 2

I’m told that all shellfish in North America is edible.  That doesn’t mean if you pull something out of a polluted river that you should eat it, it just means that unlike shellfish in other parts of the world, shell fish in North America doesn’t make toxins.

This is pokeweed.  You can eat the young leaves in the spring time.  Ever hear that song, “Poke Salad Annie?”  The gators got her granny.

Pokeweed

Pokeweed

You can only eat the shoots and leaves when they are young and you have to boil them in a couple changes of water.  You need to avoid the roots and any reddish stems because they are poisonous.  The Indians used a berry tea for arthritis and rheumatism and a poultice from the leaves for skin disorders.  The berries also make a beautiful dark purple dye.  The pokeweed plant is being researched because it may hold the key to curing cancer and HIV.

This is a large ant hill.  I usually don’t see them so big around here that’s why I thought it was interesting.  It’s a couple of feet across and maybe 10″ tall.

Ant hill

Ant hill

If you are hungry enough you would eat the ants.

This is a great article from Mother Earth News, http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/1984-01-01/A-Winter-Wild-Food-Feast.aspx.

You need to buy some field guides.  You can’t have too many.  When you find something that you want to identify you will want 2-3 field guides to cross reference.

Economic matters

November 3, 2008

Everyone knows something is coming

We can all feel it. No one really knows what it is. One thing seems certain though that whatever the dark cloud that now hangs over us it has some huge economic component to it. I read something a few weeks ago on The Urban Survival website http://www.urbansurvival.com/week.htm about how the official unemployment number as reported is artificially low. The writer over there had a much simpler method of just asking your friends and family. In my circle the number of people laid off in the past year is over 15%. Ask what around do you come up with?

My anecdotal test which resulted in a 15% give or take unemployment rate, ties out nicely to a chart I saw on the Shadow Stat website, http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data.

Shadow Stats Unemploy

Shadow Stats Unemploy

You see that true unemployment is 200%+ the “official” rate.

Realistically we may have what a year at the most before all of our lives are different than we ever could have imagined before 9/11. Can’t you smell it in the air?

I agree with the Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Advisory Council Administration Transition Task Force Report that the most vulnerable time for our country is, “is 30 days prior to, as recent history has shown, and through six months after the change in administrations.” http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/hsac_ATTF_Report.pdf.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the markets lock up not too far in the future. At some point I figure something has got to give with our currency. I mean how long will be able to keep printing what amounts to worthless paper and sell it in the marketplace.

Fed & Treasury Totl Money Supply

Fed & Treasury Totl Money Supply

http://www.nowandfutures.com/key_stats.html

The other issue is the eventual inflation that will come about by this expansion of the money supply.

Our debt is already becoming unserviceable. We’re spending around $450,000,000,000.00 (Billion) a year just on interest. It’s simply unsustainable. At some point the purchasers of our debt will realize this and the big sell off begins. We then become like Iceland. No seller will ship goods to the US for any amount of our worthless paper.  I don’t have much optimism for our short-term economic outlook (five years).  Oh sure, there will be ups and downs, but our trend is negative.

it would be a mistake to assume that the availability of cheap imports will continue on indefinitely. Don’t count on the endless international supply chain to stay operative forever.

I think the thing to do is to prepare the best we can. You see it on all of the   website, tangibles.  Buy a little extra food every time you go shopping. Try to pay down your debt, or at the very least don’t allow your debt load to increase. Anyone in the markets may want to develop an investment strategy that leans towards asset preservation. Be good to figure out how to get a second income stream flowing if possible. Have enough cash around in case you can’t use you debit, credit or ATM cards.

Make sure you have enough food and water to hide out at home for a week or more. All the regular stuff for a storm: batteries, radio, flashlight, canned goods, water, can opener, candles, first aid kit, extra prescription medicines, maybe a firearm and ammunition, a generator if you can afford one, an assortment of small bills, an alternative way to cook, a personal hygiene kit, sleeping bags, water filter, toys for your kids, etc. You know the routine by now.  Learn a new skill.  Watch what you spend.  Get to know your neighbors.

I’m a big fan of getting any imported stuff that you normally use sooner rather than later.  I need to buy another pair of jeans or two and a pair of sneakers.   It’s a better investment than the stock market.

What’s missing….

October 29, 2008

It’s easy to think about what we should prepare for. As I wrote in a previous post we need to prepare for those things most likely to occur and those things that are easy to prepare for. To that end I’d like to recommend a list of stuff of some people don’t think of. Mind you I don’t expect to be running through the streets slinging an AK over my shoulder like Mosul or Lebanon. I just don’t see that happening in the US, at least not in the near future. Holed up in my house shooting at the Zombie Golden Horde through gunslits in my walls, not likely.

Do you have:

Water purification or filter. You need this. This has to be number one on your list. You also need redundancy here. Have a minimum of 2-3 filters of the same type and five replacement filters. I would not want to trust just one filter no matter what.  Without water you are a worm on the hot summer pavement.

Toilet paper. How much do you use every week? Do you have enough for six months. You need this stuff.

Batteries. One of the first things to disappear and easy to trade. Get alkaline, rechargeables and lithium. Brand names don’t matter. They’re all made in the same factories and labeled later. Avoid heavy duty. Get alkaline.

Ammunition. Personally I think it’s better to have fewer guns and a better understanding of the ones do you have with ample, more than enough in your wildest dreams, ammunition. Or reloading supplies.

Firearms. No need to mention, but don’t go all gun nutty on me at the expense of not having a way to get or clean potable water and enough food. You can’t eat a gun. Also, make sure you have enough Hoppe’s No. 9, oil and patches. Maybe some replacement parts.

HBA. Health and beauty aids. You need this stuff. I mean toothpaste, tooth brushes, lots of soap, hand sanitizer, shampoo, razor blades, feminine products, and so on. Baby wipes are great. Go look at your medicine cabinet and under your bathroom sink. You need more of this stuff. If it really goes to Hell in a hand basket staying clean and tidy means that you have a better chance to stay healthy. Nothing will make you sicker quicker than having dirty hands. Sheets, pillowcases, towels and blankets, blankets, blankets.

Kitchen knives. I know we all like knives, but make sure you have a bunch of good ones that hold a good edge and are easy to sharpen. You should be able to get good kitchen knives for $5-$20 each. I think $20 is a lot for one knife. Avoid wooden handles and look for a full tang. NEVER leave you kitchen knives to sit in a wet sink over night. Clean your knives as soon as possible and dry them off.

Sharpening stones, irons, diamond stones. A dull knife is a danger to the user. You gotta keep your knives sharp. I sharpen mine just about every time I use them.

Paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic cutlery. It may be tough to run a dishwasher or heat water to wash dishes. Disposable is good. Tin foil, plastic wrap, wax paper, bags, bags, bags, zip lock, foldable, kitchen bags, big trash bags. Dishwashing detergent, SOS pads, sponges. Look around your house. This is what you’ll need.

Solar battery chargers. I like these. You can get good ones for $20-$30. Get a few extra for trading just in case.

Lots of food. I liked canned. Some people like storing grain. I like to store what I eat every day. I don’t grind grain so I hope I don’t have to start now. Oils. Store vegetable and olive oils. You need fats. Another great think to store is seeds for sprouting. Here in the cold north I can’t grow greens in the winter, but I can sprout seeds in a cold dark closet and make a mini salad. Sprouts are great, offer a lot of protein, roughage and micronutrients. Vinegar is great stuff to store – white, red wine and cider.

First aid supplies. You need to have a super kit. You need antibiotics and pain relievers in it, sutures, scalpels, razors, all kinds of gauze and bandaids and so on. Aspirin, Ibuprofen. You can go through this stuff quickly so make sure you have much more then you ever anticipate needing.

Spices. I like black pepper so I store a lot of it. Also, store other herbs and spices. Lots of salt. Get a few one pound containers just for trading. Ketchup, mustard, mayo, bbq sauce, teriyaki, etc. All of this stuff makes food more palatable.

Bleach. This stuff is great for cleaning and purifying. You can mix it with water and sterilize surfaces.

Books. Have all kinds of books for entertainment but also how to books: how to can, how to set a broken limb, how to fix a toothache, nature guides for edible plants, trees and wildlife in your neck of the woods.

Maps. You can’t have too many maps for you area and where you could possibly have to travel to. Get as detailed as possible including USGS topo maps. Learn how to read em too.

Passport. Just get it. Get it now. You never know. Millions of people never thought they would have to flee where they live. Go ask the Georgians, the Rwandans, the Cambodians and so on. If it happens there it can happen here. Wildflower is right on here. Prepare.

Get copies of all your “stuff” on a memory stick/jump drive. Scan all of your credit cards, driver’s license, debit card, birth certificate, vaccination certificates, marriage license, divorce decree, health insurance cards, insurance policies, the deed to your house, titles to your cars, anything in your wallet or file cabinet that may be important. Scan them onto a memory stick and keep that stick handy.

Ammunition. I know I mentioned ammunition above, but it’s a big one. Great investment. Better then the stock market.

Lanterns, candles, flashlights. You need light. Nothing will make you. Depressed faster than sitting around in the dark. Get a variety of them. Get the grind up kind, the shake kind, LEDs last a long time, get regular bulbed lights. Coleman lanterns, oil lamps and candles. You can’t have enough ways to shed light on your life.

A way to stay warm. What are you gonna do if the oil truck don’t come around, electricity goes out or the natural gas lines stop? You need a way to stay warm. The temperature of a house starts to drop right away. Being cold hour upon hour and day upon day will beat you down. Have you ever had cold feet for 12 hours? It grinds you down. Woodstove, inserts, propane heaters, etc.

Miscellaneous hardware supplies. Kits to fix your toilet, nails, screws, wire of assorted sizes, rope of assorted sizes, glues, epoxies, extra roof shingles, roofing cement. Is there anything in your house that you fix every month or every six months? Get more of it. I like to have some plywood and other assorted lumber just in case. Do you have a tarp large enough to cover your roof if it springs a leak?

Ask yourself what you get that’s imported from overseas. Sneakers, shoes, rubber boots, hunting boots and other footwear. Most of our clothing is now imported. Get long underwear, a few more pairs of jeans, bras and panties, rain gear, winter jackets, hats n’ gloves. Any special foods you like that are imported? Get em now. If it can happen in Iceland it can happen here.

Vitamins. If your nutrition goes to Hell at least you can supplement it with vitamins. I also like to have fish oil capsules.

A way to cook. If you have an electric stove get a small propane stove or white gas or both. If you have a gas stove get an electric hot plate, propane or white gas or all of the above. A hot meal does wonders for morale. If things really go south, cooking a hot meal for your neighbors will make you king of the neighborhood.

Stuff to bug out with if you need to. Tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and other camping gear.

Cutting boards.

Light bulbs.

Extension cords.

Vegetable and herb seeds. Soil amendments. Lime is great it sweetens your soil and is good for a latrine should you have to dig one.

Canning supplies. Do you like pickles? Food dehydrator.

Fire extinguishers and CO detectors, smoke alarms (battery powered). When I travel I bring a smoke alarm with me. You have a much greater chance of dying in a house fire then shooting it out with someone. Prepare appropriately. No more guns for you until you get detectors all over your house.

Fuel. A variety of fuels. If you store gas use a stabilizer. Store some propane tanks large and small (for trading). Store cans of white gas, which has gotten really expensive. Kerosene?

Heavy duty cooking gear. I love cast iron. Are you prepared to cook over a fire? Get a Dutch Oven and some cast iron skillets.

Cash. You gotta keep some cash in your place in case there is a bank holiday or the power goes out.

Ways to carry stuff. Buckets, barrels, wheel barrels, wagons, bags, packs, suitcases. I love the heavy canvas bags with handles on them. When I was growing tomatoes commercially I used to say that a farmer’s best friend was a five gallon bucket.

Hand tools. Saws, axes, screwdrivers, mauls, hand drills, shovels, rakes, spades.

Masks.  Get some masks to wear in the event of a flu pandemic, bird flu or some other crisis.  Remember the pictures of the people running down from the towers on 9/11 with soot all over their faces?  I like the N100’s.  Be careful if you buy surplus gas masks.  They need to fit correctly and the canisters need to still be good.

Forgot: wine, beer, liquor or whatever else soothes your mind and eases your body.

Look around your house. What you see is what you need. What you use every day is what you need to store. I know that guns and dehydrated foods are sexy, but store the stuff that you use. So you may have ten years worth of dried beef stroganoff stored, but can you shave your face, wash your dishes or wipe your butt?

Take it easy.

The range

October 28, 2008

Just got back from the range. Kind of a bummer. I like going first thing in the morning on rainy, cold, dark days. I generally don’t like people. Not that I’m a loner. I just don’t like to interact with a bunch of people I don’t know. That’s why rainy mornings are good at the range. If I go on a nice Saturday there are a ton of people. Everyone is nosing about everyone else’s business, which I don’t like . I like to mind my own business fire off a few rounds and be done with it. When I go if other people are there everyone is interested in what everyone else is shooting and how everyone else is doing. Sometimes they want to trade firearms so they can try mine and I can try theirs. Then if you need to reset your targets you need to wait until everyone on the line is done, make your guns safe, leave them on the table and then all go down to the targets like a herd of cows and reset them all at once then everyone comes back to the line like a herd of cows. God forbid your target blows over or something because then you gotta wait for everyone else to finish and be ready to go back down. In other words it’s more fun by yourself. I get to do what I want, how I want, when I want.

The other thing I don’t get is bench shooters. These guys can shoot a paintball hanging by string at 100 yards. They’ll take five minutes to fire off one .22 round. They always shoot sitting down and straight at the target. I don’t get it.

I like to shoot from different positions. I say to myself how often will I be shooting from a sitting position with a bench in front of me? Not very often. Because of that I shoot standing and kneeling positions. I like to move around too. Depending on whether I’m using a rifle or a handgun I’ll get up close to the target, maybe 5-7 feet for a handgun and 25 feet for a rifle. Bam, bam, bam. Then I’ll move back a bit. Bam, bam, bam. Then maybe I’ll move to different angles. Bam, bam, bam. Then I’ll move diagonally backwards. Bam, bam, bam. Then I’ll fire a round and step diagonally back to the left, fire a round and step diagonally back to the left. I’ll try to shoot while moving forwards.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s important to move around when you shoot. You need to be able to acquire a target, shoot and move out of the way, acquire a target, shoot and move, acquire a target, shoot and move. Move closer. Move farther back. Move straight. Move diagonally. IMHO, shooting practice should not be from a static position.

That’s another reason I don’t like going when others are there. It cuts down on my fun and it proves to them that I am nuts.

If you only shoot from one position you are making a mistake.

OBTW, the bummer is that there were like 20 cops at the range this morning. Cops are nosey by nature so it wasn’t a good trip to the range for me.

I expected…

October 27, 2008

The Market to go down more today. The last Monday in October has not been a kind time to our financial markets. I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen it go down 1,000 points today.  The pressure is still there though.

I still expect the general economy to tank like most people don’t expect. Kind of like a storm blowing on the horizon, most folks have their backs turned towards it, most folks don’t care, most folks wouldn’t know it even if it blew right through their car.

Most folks don’t pay attention to their surroundings. One of the most important rules of survival is to be aware of your surroundings. A survival rule almost as important is to accept the world as its presents itself to you and not to see the world as you want it to be. In other words, if you think you may be lost, admit that you are lost then figure out what to do. Stumbling around in the dark saying to yourself, “Yeah, I know where I am; our trail is right up ahead” even when you know in the pit of your stomach that your trail isn’t right up ahead is a sure way to deny reality and stumble further into the town of Lost.

But I digress, the economy is beyond saving. Something has to give. It may not be tomorrow, or the day after or next month or next year, but the depression, crash, breakdown or whatever can’t be stopped. All the actions of the Bush Administration will continue to have little to no effect, but continue to weigh down all of our futures like a heavy snow on power lines. Each additional bailout is just more slush piled upon the power lines for our economy. Today I heard one of the Administrations spokes animals float the idea of taxpayer funds being used to bailout private business, like the corner grocery and hardware store I guess. I’m against that too. Business should either be able to compete on its own, or fail in the marketplace. I need to add a caveat, I am in favor of citizen funds being used to help fund NEW business or NEW technology. I think it’s a good idea to invest in the future, to get something started, but once in motion business either needs to be able to propel itself or allowed to fail.

I don’t want to predict where there market fall may end. The speed of the collapse so far has surprised even me, and I’m a pessimist. Originally, I thought it would stop around 7,000-7,500. Now I’m not so sure.

The layoffs start in earnest Q109. Next time you are driving around look around and imagine 1/3 of furniture stores, cell phone stores, eye glass stores, auto dealers, mattress stores closed. All of the “mall-based” retailers are under pressure heretofore unknown. How many Abercrombies, Banana Republics, Gaps, Brookstones, Pacific Sunwears Apple stores, jewelry stores are going to close? I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that upwards of 1/3 of these retailers will also be closed within a few years.

A-out.

Prepared for what?

October 26, 2008

How do we prepare? What do we prepare for?

I think the probability of a shoot em out, shoot em up, kind of SHTF scenario unlikely to occur. That doesn’t mean that it won’t. It just means that I don’t see the need to have three AR platforms or a .50 BMG. For most of us the firearms that we already have will be adequate.

Firearms are fun. Hell, I love them and spending an hour or two at the range is a great way to spend some time. But really, what do we need – a 22 rifle, a shotgun, a center fire rifle and maybe one or two handguns. I leave the house with a handgun just about every day. When I think of all the events that would have to occur to make it SOP for me to leave the house with a rifle every day, that I don’t see happening. Am I worried about hordes of zombies running loose on the streets? Not really. Do I anticipate having to shoot someone from 200 or 300 yards? Probably not. I mean what kind of self-defense do you have to extract from 250 yards away. Shooting someone at 200 yards sounds more like murder then self defense. Could I be wrong? I am more frequently than I like to admit.

Keeping all of the above in mind then the question is how to prepare. I like to think of various events that may occur and assign probabilities to each. Based upon the risk of occurrence, the danger from the event, the difficulty/expense in preparing and the risk of being unprepared, one can come up with a system to prepare. For ease of explanation let’s look at a simple matrix.

Likelihood of event occurring

Highly unlikely

Unlikely

Possible

Likely

Highly likely

Easy to prepare

More difficult

Neutral

Difficult to prepare

Very difficult

So we have to be prepared for the things that are easy to prepare for if they may occur. On the other hand we have to prepare for events that are likely to occur even if they are difficult to prepare for. If something is unlikely to occur and is difficult to prepare for then don’t waste your time. What’s in between is left to the discretion of each of us and each of our relative resources.

Suffice to say I place a lot more importance on food and water than I do firearms.

More particulars to follow.

First Post

October 25, 2008

Welcome to Abraham’s Blog. This is my first post. It will take me a while to figure out the “dashboard.”  Have patience.  Learn to be a better you and learn to have patience.

I plan on writing about freedom, liberty, economics, business, the Constitution, current events, survival and preparation for the hard times that are coming. Unlike most people who have affiliations with a political party, I call them the way I see them. Sorry if you don’t like the truth. Sorry if the truth or the facts conflict with your preconceived notions of how the world operates.

This morning I’d like to talk about the economy. Things are going down and going down fast. It’s already a done deal that things are going to collapse and that in a few years our country will be a much different place then it was just a few years ago. We may not recognize the United States of our future as resembling anything close to the republic that we grew up in.

I personally expect the market to go down a bit more. Maybe it will be 500 points maybe it will be two or three thousand points. It’s immaterial at this point because the match has already been touched to the tinder and all that’s left is for the clapping flames of tinder to catch the larger logs of our economy as the whole thing is consumed in a funeral pyre of enormous flames and the wisps of our economic futures float freely up to the economic Valhalla of lost empires.

What really pisses me off is when I hear the talking heads on CNBC speak about how the crisis in the financial markets will spread to the “real economy.” Ergo Wall Street isn’t the real economy and where we all live is. Got that? Before we move on absorb that.

What does that say about the financial markets, Wall Street, the DOW, NASDAQ, investments, hedges, stocks, bonds, futures and derivatives aren’t part of the real economy? That really should be a kick to the balls if you have any money in the markets. Hey you with 401k’s and 403b’s wake up; that 2, 3, 4 or 5% of your salary that you defer every pay period is being siphoned off to something that isn’t “real.” That’s the big shots definition, not mine. We stopped contributing to our retirement plans earlier this year. I mean it was crazy to take $100 out of our paychecks and then get a statement that we lost $1,000. You are better off buying food and ammo. Those two items offer a greater return YTD then the market has offered.

Deflation or inflation who is to know what will happen. I say both. Deflation followed by inflation. At some point the Trillions floated by the Bush Administration in the past two months will come back as inflationary pressures. I just don’t see any way around. Thanks to Bush there is more money chasing what seems to be fewer goods. Isn’t that the definition of inflation? We just haven’t seen the worst of it yet.

Things are bound to get much worse before they get better. Don’t get me wrong the market will go up, the market will go down, but the trend for the economy for the next 5-10 years is down.

That’s enough for my first post. Keep preparing. More to follow.