Essentials for Bug-Out Bags and Vehicles

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By Denis Korn                                                                                                                                                 

To properly assemble an effective bug-out or grab-and-go bag you must basically determine one or all of three possible destinations you are headed towards by foot, bicycle, vehicle or horse:  (1) THE WOODS OR OUTDOORS (2) A SHELTER, HOTEL OR STRUCTURE (3) A RESIDENCE.

Disasters and emergencies can occur at any time – at home, work, vacation, at play or while in a vehicle.  This article, Essentials for Bug-Out Bags and Vehicles, offers my suggestions on creating an effective emergency kit/grab-and-go bag and it also lists items necessary for a vehicle preparedness kit.

When assembling your emergency kit/grab-and-go bag these are the crucial questions to answer if you must leave your home or business quickly:

  • If an evacuation has been declared, a severe weather event is imminent or a significant disaster has occurred, how will I know?
  • If I have to evacuate, will I be in a cozy government evacuation center with food, water, blankets and a bed, or will I be on my own in the elements, a crude shelter or a friend’s/relative’s house?
  • If specific government, church, community and friend’s sheltering options are not available, where do I go?  How far?  How do I get there?
  • What conditions can I expect to encounter – best scenario – worst scenario?
  • What are the weather conditions I am likely to encounter?  What is the season?
  • Will I be alone, or are others depending on me?  Family – children – elderly – pets?
  • What are the special needs – medical, dietary, emotional or otherwise – of those dependent on the supplies provided?
  • Am I dependent on others?  Who?  Why?  Do I expect the government to take care of me?
  • What kind of support is likely to be available?
  • How long should I prepare for?
  • What if there is nothing left when I return?
  • Are my essentials, heirlooms, personal treasures, irreplaceable photographs, documents and financial assets secure if I leave with only my grab-and-go bag?
  • Do I have a reliable communication plan to contact family, friends and business associates at a moments notice?
  • What is the potential severity of the emergency I might experience?
  • Will I have transportation, or will I be on foot?
  • Do I have enough money on hand to pay for possible shelter, food or supplies if I am suddenly evacuated and away from home or business?
  • Am I truly prepared for the unexpected, a procrastinator or am I in denial?  Be honest!

To have a truly adequate emergency kit/grab-and-go/bug-out bag the above questions must be answered. Your personal preparedness bag contents will vary depending on numerous factors such as time, number of persons, locations involved, mobility, support available, season, comfort level desired and the degree of peace of mind you want.

Here is a list of the basic essentials for every kit. Each category will have multiple options depending on how you answer the above crucial questions. Cheap, inadequate and poorly made provisions don’t belong in a quality kit. Prepare your kit as if your and your family’s life and comfort depended on it – because it does!

  1. Water – bottled/filters/purifiers/tablets/containers
  2. Food – ready-to-eat/bars/trail mix/freeze dried/shelf stable/food preparation equipment
  3. Medical – quality medical kit with instructions/prescriptions/glasses/essential medications/sunscreen/dental medic/foot care/safety pins/dust mask/gas mask
  4. Special Needs – food/medical/children/elderly/disabled/pets
  5. Tools – multi-tool/knife/wire/cable ties/duct tape/rope/paracord/gloves/small axe/repair tools/super glue/aluminum foil/ /manual can opener (often on multi-tool)/bungee cords/foldable or wire saw
  6. Communication – radio/hand crank – solar – battery/two-way radios/cell phone
  7. Fire – fire starter/lighter/matches/tinder/flint starter/magnifying glass
  8. Signaling & Orienting – whistle/signal mirror/compass/maps/GPS device
  9. Lighting – Hand crank – solar – battery/headlamp/flashlight/lantern/candles/light-sticks
  10. Power & Energy – batteries – regular and rechargeable/power-pack for batteries & cell phone recharged by solar and/or hand crank/solar and/or hand crank that charges devices directly
  11. Shelter – tarp/tent – tube or larger/plastic sheeting/insect protection
  12. Emergency Blankets/sleeping bags – emergency or larger or bivy sack
  13. Personal Hygiene/sanitary supplies/disinfectant
  14. Plastic Bags/ties
  15. Personal Security – weapon & ammo if appropriate/pepper spray/bear repellant/mace or other options
  16. Appropriate Clothing and Footwear – protection from the elements/apparel for warmth/heat packs – hand and body warmers
  17. Identification and Essential Documents – Bible/compact survival handbook/personal ID/insurance and other key documents/entertainment items
  18. Spare Keys
  19. Phone Numbers and Addresses – friends, relatives, and emergency organizations/agencies
  20. Instructions on meeting and/or communicating with family and/or friends during or after an emergency
  21. Cash/credit cards
  22. Pen/markers/paper
  23. Configured Compact Emergency Kit with Essential Items
  24. Carrying Device – carry bag/backpack/suitcase/sturdy container/Food & Supply Brick™/duffel Bag (very durable and if you anticipate carrying your bag any distance shoulder straps should be available with your carry bag or duffel)

If time permits, take irreplaceable items such as heirlooms, heirloom jewelry, photographs, military/marriage/birth/deed records, computers, tablets, and personal contact information and documents not included in your grab-and-go device.

For a very detailed list go to: Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness

For further crucial questions that apply to preparedness in general go to: The 12 Crucial Questions of Preparedness Planning

It is especially vital to be prepared while in your vehicle.  When you consider all the potential problems that might arise, not being equipped and ready for the unexpected can potentially lead to serious injury and worse.

I live in area that receives significant storms, snow and cold –  and contains many back roads which can be especially hazardous, and year round everyone who lives nearby may not be respectful to others particularly women.  The consequences of not being responsible and prepared in the event of an emergency while driving, are too difficult to consider.  Please, teach your children to change a tire, check vital fluids, escape if under water, signal for help, survive in a storm and any other essential information they need.

Here are suggestions for your vehicle emergency kit from my article: Essential Checklist for Emergency Preparedness & Outdoor Adventure Planning Including Vehicle Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Items for Automobiles – Trucks – Vans – RV’s

These items are especially important for long trips, family outings, new younger drivers, inclement weather, remote areas and at night. 


  • Spare tire
  • Jack with tire iron and supporting tools
  • Device to break window and cut seat belts from the inside in an emergency
  • Tire inflation device – portable power and/or aerosol can inflator/other tire repair materials
  • JB Weld®/super adhesive
  • Jumper cables
  • Portable power unit for jump starting and backup power
  • Tow cables/rope
  • Chains/cables/bungee cords for tightening
  • Crowbar
  • Reflectors/flares
  • Hidden spare key
  • Extra oil
  • Extra gas/funnel if appropriate
  • Siphon hose
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Extra fan belts/bulbs/hoses/additives/sealers/hard to get parts/repair kit
  • Window scraper
  • Important phone numbers/documents/insurance information
  • GPS device if appropriate
  • Empty gas can
  • Material to gain traction if stuck in snow or ice – cat liter/sand/wood shavings/old rug

Additional critical items from the Essential Checklist to carry in your vehicle:

  • Tarps
  • Blankets/emergency sleeping bag
  • First Aid kit
  • Baby supplies
  • Food and water/water purification/containers if appropriate
  • Maps
  • Pen/magic marker/paper
  • Personal documents and photo ID/registration/insurance
  • Gloves
  • Duct tape
  • Rope/wire
  • Repair tools
  • Plastic bags large and small
  • Cell phone/smart phone/charger
  • Emergency radio/hand crank radio
  • Emergency lighting
  • Rope/wire/bungees
  • Small solar/12 volt power packs for small electronics
  • Cash/credit card
  • Extra clothing in harsh and/or wet weather/hat
  • Hand/body warmers
  • Rain gear/rubber boots/poncho
  • Knife/multi-tool
  • Whistle
  • Toilet paper
  • Towels
  • Shovel
  • Small fire extinguisher
  • Matches/fire starter
  • Extra batteries
  • Personal protection devices or items as appropriate/pepper spray                                                                                                                                      
  • Refer to the Essential Checklist for other items relevant to your vehicles specific needs.



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DIY Guide to Keep Your Alarm System in Optimal Condition

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Security alarm systems provide homeowners a sense of safety when it comes to their families and properties. This is why it is important to install one in your home given that burglaries and other uneventful things may strike anytime. But just as crucial is the proper maintenance of your alarm system. Aside from ensuring that your alarm will work when it is most needed, maintaining your home security system also prevents false alarms. According to the statistics from the Fairfox County, 95-98 percent of alarm calls turn out to be false alarms, which take away police away from real emergencies.

While security alarm systems offer annual checkups, you can definitely make use of a working knowledge of keeping your alarm system in good condition. From inspecting the components to checking the batteries to making sure that the control panel is able to communicate, here are the tips that you should know for efficient alarm system troubleshooting and maintenance.

Inspect your premises once a week

Schedule regular checks on your house to ensure that everything in it does not adversely affect the performance of your alarm system. The locks on the doors and windows should be in place and in good condition. Look out for the frames around them for any defects. See if your sensors need re-fastening so they are secure. Also, small things like sensors with the cover not put on properly can affect your alarm. Your interior decorations and HVAC equipment should not cause movement and set off detectors. Readjust or change your exterior lights as needed.

Check the cables

All security alarm systems, even the wireless, are connected with at least one cable. Check all cables like for the electricity, telephone line, and so on. Make repairs as soon as you see cut or damaged cords. Make sure that the control panel is securely plugged in and that the outlet or power strip is tucked away in a safe location. If you have babies crawling on the floor, baby proof everything electrical in your home to prevent injuries as well.

Know when to update the batteries

In case of power failures, alarm systems rely on backup batteries. To prepare for power outages or surges, get surge suppressors on your alarm system and make sure that the batteries have four hours of charge at the minimum.

The batteries in your control panel lose their optimal efficiency over time and thus, need to be replaced every three to five years. If you have a wireless security alarm system, the batteries in your wireless sensors and panic buttons need to be replaced more often. It is best to refer to the user manual so you can get a more accurate timeline for the alarm system model that you have.

Immediately tend to beeping signals

Your alarm system may give off beeping signals at the most inconvenient times, but these beeps are your alarm’s way of telling you that there is something wrong with the system. First, make sure the system is disarmed to stop the beeping so you can calmly troubleshoot.

Different alarm systems have different troubleshooting guides, but basically, you will have to refer to the user manual to understand the trouble that the system detected. For instance, to fix false beeping of a DSC alarm system, pressing the star (*) key and then the number 2 will reveal a trouble code number. This trouble code has a corresponding meaning in the user manual. Common troubles are low battery, AC power loss, nonworking telephone line and communication, sensor issues, and loss of time on the system clock.

Regularly clean the components of your alarm system

Having clean equipment makes a huge difference in the performance of your alarm system. Clean cameras provide a clear and unobstructed view of your home. Dirt-free sensors are more able to accurately detect causes for alarm such as a moving intruder and smoke.

Dust dirt from your control panel, detectors, cameras, and other equipment. Use only gentle cleaning substances. If you are not sure how to clean a specific item, check the manual for the instructions. After cleaning, test your devices like the cameras to see if the feed is clear and is recording.

See your alarm system in work by testing it

This is covered in the annual checks if you availed a maintenance contract from your security services provider, but you can also do this on your own. Older security systems need to be tested every three months. If you have a newer alarm system, every six months will do.

To start, call your central monitoring station and let them know that you are testing your alarm system to avoid having dispatchers respond to your alarm test. Turn on the alarm system and trigger it by opening a door or window. After the alarm rings for 15 seconds, enter your code to turn the alarm off. Call again your central station to ask if they got the signal from your alarm system.

The user manual is your guide to everything concerning the specific model of your alarm security system — from the functions to troubleshooting to proper maintenance. Carefully read the instructions. If you keep the hard copy, put in somewhere everyone in your household can easily access it, preferably somewhere near the control panel. You can also download a soft copy, which is helpful for when you remotely monitor your alarm system.

Have the pertinent details on hand

Prepare a list of the information that you have and the information that you need to know should you contact the customer service support of your alarm security system provider. Be clear not only with the brand and model of your alarm system, but also with the issues that you see with it. Make sure you understand their troubleshooting instructions so you can efficiently fix whatever alarm system problem that you have. Also, communicate any concerns so you know what to do and what to expect.

Securing your home definitely does not end with installing an alarm system. Regular maintenance is important to ensure optimal efficiency and to avoid false alarms. Create reminders on your calendar if you must. After all, better be safe than sorry especially when it is the security of your home and your family at stake.

Aby League is a qualitative researcher and a passionate writer. She is an innovator and technology enthusiast. She has been writing about health, psychology, home improvement and technology. You can see more of her articles on Elite Daily. To know her more, follow her on Twitter.

Prepper’s Financial Guide (Book Review)

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Financial freedom is something I often preach about here on Suburban Steader. All suburban homesteaders can benefit from being free of financial burden.  How do you get there?  There’s lots of ways to go about it.  You can get quite overwhelmed with all the different ways to get to financial independence.  Jim Cobb’s latest offering, Prepper’s Financial Guide, walks you through different topics which will lead towards financial independence.

Book Set-Up

Jim has laid out Prepper’s Financial Guide in a very concise manner as is typical with his books. Each chapter is precise and addresses both the why and how of each topic. The chapters are as follows:

Chapter 1 – What Is An Economic Collapse?

Jim spends some time talking about the definition of an economic collapse as well as describing what can cause one.  He goes into depth talking about some economic collapses in history including Germany (1921-1924), the US (1929-1940) and Argentina (1998-2002).

Chapter 2 – Debt Reduction

The first step in finding financial freedom is debt reduction. You’re halfway home if you don’t owe anyone anything .  Jim discusses topics such as authoring a budget, reducing your realistic debts (debt snowball, anyone?), managing credit cards and cutting your expenses in both soft and hard approaches.

Chapter 3 – Currency

Do you know the difference between commodity and fiat currencies? Want to understand more about exchange rates? This chapter of Prepper’s Financial Guide will set you straight.

Chapter 4 – Precious Metals And Minerals

Most preppers know that gold and silver are the mainstays in ‘prepping currency.’  Jim dives into these precious metals and others.  He also talk about minerals (diamonds, rubies, etc.) in this chapter.

Chapter 5 – Post-Collapse Barter And Trade Goods

Stocking up on vices, consumables and medical supplies is recommended in this chapter because barter items will be the ‘normal’ currency in a SHTF scenario.

Chapter 6 – Bartering Skills Instead Of Stuff

Don’t have any material possessions to trade? No worries. Jim talks about trading time and sweat of your brow in this chapter.

Chapter 7 – Safeguarding Valuables

Safes, hiding spots and caches – as you might expect – are the main topics in this chapter.

Chapter 8 – Investing In Self-Sufficiency

This chapter of Prepper’s Financial Guide is one of the longer ones.  Jim spends a lot of time explaining how the best way to survive a financial downturn is to reduce your dependence on purchasing power.  Grow a garden, raise your own livestock, learn about medicinal plants and herbs, grow your handyman skill set – these are all skills you can be doing now to reduce your financial dependence later.

Chapter 9 – Putting It All Together: The Home Of The Self-Sufficient Investor

Setting up your property to be self-sufficient and maximize your investments is a key part of being a financially free prepper.  Jim’s exploration of this topic is broad and general due to the fact that each situation will be unique.

Chapter 10 – Final Thoughts

Jim summarizes the books and gives a few parting shots of wisdom.

Prepper's Financial Guide by Jim Cobb

Why I Liked Prepper’s Financial Guide

You’ll notice that Jim doesn’t have any Earth-shattering information in his book when you compare it to most financial books. Everything he presents is rock solid advice that most anyone will provide AND he paints it in a prepper’s hue. In my opinion, there are a few things in this book that make it a quality addition to your long-term survival library:

  • Bluntness – Jim has a history of not sugar-coating anything. An economic collapse situation is going to be tough. Getting your mind wrapped around that idea and accepting it is going to be half the battle.
  • Checklists – Much like in Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide, Jim disperses valuable checklists in the chapters and provides a large, long barter item checklist at the end.
  • Creativeness – Jim’s approaches are not always inline with mainstream thinking.  He’s not afraid to think outside of the box and present unorthodox ideas.

What I Didn’t Like

In my opinion, an economic collapse will bring out the worst in people.  Folks will be capable of doing most anything when they are hungry, thirsty and cold.  I would have expected a bit more in the chapter about safeguarding your valuables.  I think Jim’s view is a little too utopian – although this book wasn’t intended as a prediction of social environments.  I have to say that I was a bit surprised that the “Oldest Profession In The World” didn’t come up in Chapter 6.  I wouldn’t expect Jim to promote it, but I would expect that – if you’re talking about bartering “skills” – the topic would come up.

Overall Thoughts on Prepper’s Financial Guide

I think Prepper’s Financial Guide by Jim Cobb is a solid addition to your long-term survival library.  Most of the financial information and advice provided is no different than the majority of financial books and websites out there, however, the book is written with the prepper in mind.  That last fact makes it a good read.

Prepper's Financial Guide by Jim Cobb

Disclaimer: Jim Cobb supplied a copy of Prepper’s Financial Guide for me to review. I can assure my readers that I gave it a fair and honest review.

*** Consider letting folks know about this article at ***

Founder/Owner at Suburban Steader
I am a middle-age guy with a wife, two young kids and a couple of crazy dogs. We live on Long Island, NY and had an interesting experience with Hurricane Sandy. That experience led me towards the self-sufficiency movement and eventually led to the founding of I aim to provide suburbanites with the confidence and know-how to become more self-reliant by providing content on topics such as gardening, personal health, financial responsibility, cooking, self-preparedness and self-protection.

Tuna "Light"

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Here is an interesting Prep that has two uses. If you buy, and store tuna in a can, make sure you buy the ones in “Oil”. Not the Tuna in water. You can, obviously, eat the Tuna. Then you can use the oil as a medium to make a small heater/cook stove. This is accomplished by leaving the oil in the can. Poke a hole though the center of the lid. Slightly bigger than an eighth of an inch. Put a 3 to 4 inch wick though the hole and have is submerged in the oil. Cotton strips from clothing can be used in a pinch. Leave about 1/4th of an inch of the wick sticking though the lid. Close the lid. Give your “Wick” a few minutes to sop-up the oil. Light it and use as you see fit!

YouTube Gear Reviews

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YouTube Gear Reviews Well it seems like it has been forever since I’ve managed an update here on The Backyard Pioneer, I felt compelled to do a little something. Since the birth of son number 2 things have been a bit crazy around “ye olde homestead”. Who knew that throwing one tiny screaming hellion in […]

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Sheep Dog Seminar for Churches

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Sheep Dog Seminar for Churches

As I mentioned in the article Should a Christian Carry a Firearm I recently attended the Sheep Dog Seminar for Churches and thought it important enough that I wanted to share my thoughts on it with all of you. I am not affiliated with them in any way, so when I say, “if you have the opportunity to go to one of their seminars, I believe you should go”, it comes from me knowing that it will open your eyes, and bless you; and not because I get a kickback! Oh, they are offering a 2 for 1 for the rest of the year, though!

I’m not someone who gushes over celebrities or public figures, but I am very glad I got the opportunity to shake the hands of three modern day Nehemiah’s; Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Carl Chin and Jimmy Meeks. These men spend much of their time attempting to wake the Body of Christ to the violence that is exploding at our places of worship; over 1000% since 2006! I join them in their belief that it will continue and will get worse! They are teaching us to keep our eyes open, to work with one hand and keep our sword (firearm) at the ready.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

I have read his books On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace and On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society and I believe that if you are someone who carries a firearm for self-defense and believes there is a chance you may have to use it, these books are required reading. They will help you prepare your mind for combat. That’s what the brief extremely violent encounter with Joe Dirtbag will be if you need to draw your firearm and use it for self-defense; COMBAT!

You can send thousands of rounds down range, but if you do not prepare your mind, and know what to expect from your body under extreme duress, you very well could be training against how your body will actually act under duress.

Lt. Col. Grossman also has a seminar called The Bullet Proof Mind. He covers some of the content from that seminar in the “Sheep Dog for Churches Seminars”. I purchased the DVD at the seminar and can’t wait to watch it! In the seminar he covered some of the physiological changes (which I wrote about in this article) that take place under extreme stress.

There was so much information covered, I can’t possibly mention everything, so I will just mention two things now.

Col. Grossman said that if our enemies obtain the ability to use an EMP, they absolutely will. More likely, an attack will be Beslan style, which I covered in Terrorism: Beslan Style Attack At Our Schools Please read the article for more information, here is the first paragraph:

“On September 1, 2004, Chechen Islamic terrorists stormed a school taking over 1,100 people hostage for three days. The terrorists were brutal, killing men and boys old enough to resist their attempts. Hostages were forced to stay in a sweltering hot auditorium with little to no food or water. Russian forces eventually stormed the school. In the end there were over 385 dead, including 31 dead terrorists. Wikipedia has a very detailed write up called Beslan school hostage crisis.

In the article I point out that muslim clerics have said “We have the right to kill four million Americans — 2 million of them children — and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands.” Information has been recovered that indicated Beslan was training for American schools.

The second thing I want to mention that the Col. covered is when he thinks the next attack will come. I can’t remember the conflicts he listed, but he mentioned times when we have fought them, and withdrawn from conflict. It is when we withdraw that they strike us at home. He believes that we are keeping them busy in Afghanistan and once we pull out from there, they will be emboldened and attack us here.

My thought on this is that all it would take is a handful of monsters willing to slaughter innocent children to walk into a daycare center or elementary schools over a few days and massacre as many children as they can, to bring our way of life to a screeching halt.

If parents don’t feel safe sending their kids to school, they have to stay home from work to stay with them. How many people do you work with who have kids that might stay home?

This doesn’t even take into account the emotional damage that would be caused by such an event. The impact would be far greater than that of 9-11, as we mourned for all the children killed.
Carl Chinn

I first discovered Carl’s site when I was researching my first article on the Rise of Crime at Churches. Carl records every fatality that happens at a church, or faith based center. He was involved in a hostage situation some years ago at Focus on the Family, and was one of the church security members that responded to the shooter at New Life Church in Colorado. While he was not the one who shot the murderer, he was within seconds of engaging him before another security team member did from another direction.

Carl has a book called Evil Invades the Sanctuary, which I read shortly after its release. You can purchase the book from his site. In it, he goes into the details of both incidents and gives some good information for church security teams. He delves into this in the seminar as well and gives some very good tips on church security.

If you are a part of a church security team or someone concerned with it, I recommend this book.
Jimmy Meeks

Jimmy might not be the most popular guy with some people and churches because while he does say church violence is a big problem, he also says that the biggest issue we face isn’t violence in the church, but sexual sin. There are 23 sexual crimes reported at Protestant Churches every day. We have just as many people calling themselves Christians addicted to porn as we do non-believers.

Jimmy does talk a fair bit about church violence as well. Some of the stories he gives are heart-breaking. He points out that:
There have been over 549 violent deaths at churches since 1999! In the 36 months of 2012 (75), 2013 (45), 2014 (74), there were more deaths at churches than at schools! Remember that this was the time period for one of the bloodiest, most horrific school massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary.
(Chris Says: “Since 2006 the rate of deaths at churches or at church functions or buildings has skyrocketed over 1000%! That is NOT a typo!”)
Jimmy saw that I mentioned him in Should a Christian Carry a Firearm and asked me to call him. We spoke for a few minutes, and on the chance that you see this Jimmy, thanks again! I really enjoyed the seminar! Keep up the much needed, and great work!

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Preparedness Club

All Are Gathered Now

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Frosty pulling the Jeep home to Idaho.

After four months, I finally had enough cash to make the last run to Flagstaff and retrieve our last two cars. The Jeep Cherokee, which is our daily driver, was hauled back with the use of a U-Haul trailer. The old pickup truck, with it’s oversize tires, was left behind becuase it would  not fit on any trailer that could be rented.

Thanks to my best friend, it was successfully driven 750 miles to our new home. Not without a few pains, of course. Needless to say, all that went wrong was a power steering line blowout. When we first discovered it we thought we had cracked the block. I checked the oil dipstick and noticed it was normal color.

If you crack an engine block, water seeps into the oil pan and turns the oil a milky white color. This was clearly not the case and so we pressed on…careful not to drive over 55mph just in case something else went wrong.

That made for a very long drive. What Google Maps says should have taken 11.5 hours took 17 hours total. We left Saturday at 0930 and arrived home around 0300 Sunday morning. I had a rental car on standby and my buddy drove it back to Flagstaff where his truck was waiting to return him to Phoenix.

It wasn’t cheap but I finally have my cars in one place. The old Suburban that I bought back from the fire for $400 can finally be retired for emegencies. We nicknamed it Frosty because it melts in the heat (the house fire burned all the plastic on the outside, enough that the insurance company totaled it.) Once I fix my power steering, I’ll drive the old truck daily to work and back. Wifey gets the comfy Jeep Cherokee for her daily driver.

In the back of the pickup was an additional bonus: all of my fencing supplies. I can now finish fencing in the garden, new chicken coop (still being built out of pallets) and have some left over materials for additional fenced areas if needed or wanted.

I just wish weekends were longer so I get do more of the stuff that I WANT to do.


Want a Chance to PROVE Your Survival Skills on TV?

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As I’ve mentioned before, from time to time, I receive emails asking me if I would like to be on TV shows like Doomsday Preppers. Each time I’ve received an invitation to appear on a television program like this, I have politely declined. The idea of being on TV just doesn’t appeal to me but who knows, that may change in the future. Nothing is out of the realm of possibilities. I’m actually working on a series of videos that I’ll be posting on my YouTube channel soon. This will be a big step outside of my comfort zone! If…

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Win a rugged WeBBem Watch of your choice

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weBBem Watch Giveaway

I recently reviewed the weBBem Watch Traveler and found it to be perfect for outdoor activities and extremely affordable for the features it provides. Now I am giving you the chance to win one of two styles of weBBem watches for yourself.

Choose your model

weBBem Watch Giveaway

I have a weBBem watch Traveler model (black PVD case) and Overlander model (white dial) to give away thanks to the generosity of my friends at weBBem. Both watches come in a rugged waterproof pelican-style container and the option of a NATO style strap or paracord bracelet. They are both powered by Japanese Miyota quartz movements (as developed and used by Citizen watches), made from 316L marine-grade stainless steel, and have genuine sapphire crystal glass.

weBBem Watch Giveaway

How to enter

To enter this giveaway simple pick any or all of the entry options in the Rafflecopter widget below. You must also leave a comment indicating which model of weBBem watch you would like to receive if you are selected as a winner. I will pick two random winners on Monday May 4th. One from those that would like the Traveler model and one from those that would like the Overlander model. Good luck to all, these are great watches!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: The author of Brian’s Backpacking Blog was provided with complimentary samples for the purpose of evaluation, testing, and a reader giveaway. He was under no obligation to publish a review. His thoughts are his own.

Winners announced

Thank you to everyone that entered the weBBem watch giveaway. Unfortunately there can only be two lucky winners. The winners are:

  • Overlander – Jordan Hipple
  • Traveler – Rob Henderson

Congratulations! Please contact me via email so that I can get your watches shipped off to you both.

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Off Grid and Technology

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Over the past two years, I should have have been collecting quotes from people who tell me that they could never go off-grid because they love technology, or they are completely befuddled that we could be off-grid while still using computers and the internet. Plenty of people think that should not be possible. It’s time […]

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Guide to Treating Burns in the Field

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Burns are a common but serious injury, requiring immediate medical attention. When out in the field, immediate precautions must be taken to stop the burn from spreading and preventing others from becoming burned. In order to provide proper treatment, you must first identify the cause of the injury and type of burn.

Identify the Class of the Burn

First degree burns look like a sunburn, often maintaining the shape of the heated object that they came in contact with. This heat has only penetrated the outer layers of skin. Treating a first degree burn is primarily about providing comfort. Second degree burns have blisters in addition to skin redness. Third degree burns have penetrated the layers and skin to reveal fatty tissue, muscle or bone underneath. These are extremely dangerous, and the patient might not understand the severity of their injury since their nerves may have been damaged.

Thermal Burns

Thermal burns refer to all injuries caused by heat whether open flames or heated objects. Check for any flames present on the victim’s clothing and put them out immediately. A specialist from The Garmon Law Firm says burn injuries can lead to scarring and long-term emotional distress, so it’s important to treat even minor burns as soon as possible. Even if you think the burn isn’t serious, do your best to ensure the victim receives proper medical attention.

Electrical Burns

Electrical burns are blisters caused by electric currents coursing through the body. Touching an electrified person can send the current coursing into your body as well. Assume all wires in the victim’s vicinity are active and check to see if any wires are currently touching the victim. If possible, turn off all electrical switches in the area. If the victim is currently laying on an active wire, use a piece of wood or non-conductive clothing to lift them off.

Chemical Burns

Chemical burns are identified by skin contact with dangerous materials, such as quick-lime or ammonia. Liquid chemicals need to be diluted and washed away as soon as possible with copious amounts of water. If the chemical was a dry powder, do not immediately clean with water. First brush off as much as the chemical as possible with dry cloth.

Treating a Burn

After removing the cause of the burn, begin treating the wound. Expose the burned area but leave any clothing or material sticking to the wound in place. Remove any of the victim’s jewelry that might cut circulation should the area swell. Use clean cloth to cover the wound completely without breaking any of the blisters. Do not apply any topical medications to the area and seek immediate medical help. Supply the victim with water to drink to replenish their fluids.

Burns can quickly become open wounds that require medical attention to avoid infection. By following these steps, you can help avoid escalating the injury.

Emma is a freelance writer living in Boston. When she manages to tear herself away from the computer, she enjoys baking, rock climbing, and film noir.

Watering your garden during a drought….in the Desert.

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We have had a mild winter.  It has been nice not having to wear a coat that often, but we also have not had much snowfall.  I live in a desert, so a winter without snow is a huge concern.  

Watering your garden during a drought….in the Desert.

I recently attended a class taught by Caleb Warnock from Renaissance Seeds. He made me think differently about what I had been doing. So, I made some changes.  Because I have very limited time, I had developed some of my own little methods for gardening.  For the past few years, I had put sheets of weedblock on top of the garden and cut holes for the plants.  This ensured that I did not have weeding to do.  However, the water would bead up and run across the tops of the weedblock and not always to the plants.
I am now going to face a harsh reality this summer along with many other people.  We may have water supply issues.  Mr. Warnock suggested putting a barrier at the bottom of my growboxes and not on top.  As he explained why, it was an ‘ah-hah’ moment….so that weeds cannot come up from the bottom.  
I hired some young teenagers in my neighborhood and they helped me make the change.  This only took about an hour.
I have a watering system for my garden. It is tied to my lawn sprinklers.  I can turn it on and off.  The water runs through these PVC pipes and waters the garden.  Every year, I get a skinny nail and press it into the holes in the pipes to clear any debris that may be present.  Normally the holes are facing down.  I turned them upright to clear the holes.
I then tested the pipes by turning on the water….everything looks good!  
Now, I am going to garden a bit differently this summer, so I am going to leave the holes at the top instead of the bottom.  
Yes, that those really are grass clippings around my pepper plants.  I put this mulch around all of my plants and as I get more I will cover the entire box.  This helps hold moisture and keeps the plant from drying out as quickly.
This is the first step in my Garden this year.  I look forward to see how this new method works and to see how my harvest looks.  

So How Does Your Garden Grow? 

Edible and Medicinal Plants for beginners – How to get started

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2015-04-28_0823Wouldn’t you like to be able to find nutritious, tasty, and healthy food for free most anywhere?  I thought so :)

In this video I get to take a walk with my most favorite person in the whole world, my wonderful and beautiful wife Jennifer.  In the last few months she has started going out with me to help make our videos.  She is like most people in that she does not enjoy being on the front side of the camera, but I talked here into it on this particular day because she is the “eatin’ weeds” expert around our house.  Spring time is the best time for edible plants as they are simply more abundant in our neck of the woods compared to the rest of the year.

In this video Jennifer is going to tell us what references she uses for getting started in studying edible plants (you can find links below the video as well) , as well as she sits down and finds 4-5 and shows them to us.  We hope this encourages you to get out on your own, or with your family and find some weeds to eat!

Come on, join in, let’s learn together!

Here are the books she recommended:

Steve Brill’s Book:
Peterson Guide:
Elpel’s Book:



Tragic Nepal Earthquake Should Inspire People to Prepare!

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I absolutely HATE it when I watch the news and see so many people suffering during a natural disaster like the recent Nepal earthquake. As of the time that this article was written, the death toll was estimated to be around 4,000 with some expecting it to climb to 5,000! It’s completely understandable that fear and panic is widespread throughout the region. This panic is only intensified by the shortage of the basic necessities of life such as food, water, and medical supplies. Fortunately, many countries are stepping up and providing aid to those who were displaced or affected by…

The post Tragic Nepal Earthquake Should Inspire People to Prepare! appeared first on Preppers Illustrated.

An Interview with Casey Deming Creator of the Griffin Pocket Tool

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With the close of the Kickstarter Project of The Griffin Pocket approaching quickly, I wanted to see if we could steal a few minutes of time with its creator, Casey Deming. Casey has spent many years in the outdoor retail industry and is the coordinator for the Georgia Bushcraft group on Facebook and in person. … Continue reading

The post An Interview with Casey Deming Creator of the Griffin Pocket Tool appeared first on Use Your Instincts To Survive.


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I have been meaning to write. I had several subjects to talk about but I am having problems with the camera on my phone. It will not upload to may computer. It is all Suzie’s fault. She chewed on one cord and now none of them will work. So I have to take pictures and then upload through Michelle’s computer and I just don’t want to bother her with that all the time. Those of you who are on my facebook page have probably seen these photos but they are the ones I have to work with today.
Here is the latest cake. I am quite proud of it. I was so stressed making it though. I never thought making cakes could be that terrible on your nerves. It was a dreary rainy day when I made this cake though and the fondant wanted to stretch too much but I finally got it just right and was pleased with the results.

In other news, the chickens are all doing well and I have more eggs than we can use and have started giving some away to friends and the new chicks aren’t even close to laying yet. The meat birds are growing nice and fat as well. I have moved them to a larger pen and my brother was kind enough to make me two feeders. I was going to take pictures of them to show you but that will have to wait until the next post.
Spring has definitely sprung here in Georgia and all my roses are blooming.

So far we have been spared any terrible heat or humidity which is unusual for us. I have not done any gardening at all this year…just can’t seem to get into that this year. Maybe someday when we have a better…more sunny, place to grow things.

Best Of Both Worlds

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 Most of the time when we are cooking chili during the weekend we get absolutely nothing done on the house, this weekend was a little different.

We had some friends come up to cook with us this weekend at a local cookoff. Due to the massive amounts of rains we have had, the cookoff, not but five miles away, was canceled. They were flooded out. So with our friends on the way, truck already packed and spices mixed we decided to make the drive two hours away to Wichita Falls and cook there. It was well worth the trip, but Saturday was done, no production on the house. But then…….
Sunday I had some help. Two of my nephews came up to visit and sit on the porch with their old uncle. No porch sitting here, I put their butts to work. And with my dad keeping them in line, we got a lot of work done.
Super great guys and I couldn’t have done it without them.

 Knowing more heavy rains were on the way I needed to get the upstairs door, windows and ceiling done so we could be a little more weather tight.
All we have left to do upstairs now is the carpet, trim, railing and water heater then Candy’s craft room and trophy room will be complete.

While we were all working on the house, the girls cleaned the yard and started a fire to burn off the scraps. My piles were getting too big and started to become an eye sore so with no wind and wet conditions, Candy decided it was time.
I think the only thing we were missing was the BBQ.

Next weekend we will be in Marble Falls, a little town near Austin, to cook at the oldest chili cookoff in the world. This one will be a big one so don’t threaten me with a good time, I’m there. 
Then we have two weeks off to get more work done on the house then to Durant for the Oklahoma State cook off. I should be able to finish the upstairs and get started on the kitchen but don’t cross your fingers yet, I may decide to do some porch sittin.

Hey, thank yall for hanging around,


Book Review: Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms

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A few days ago I read a book about EMP attack survival along with solar storms. Both are related events that involve powerful bursts of electromagnetic energy which can affect electronics. Its not a light subject for sure, but it is one that requires study and analysis. While the title Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks […]

The post Book Review: Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms appeared first on Smart Suburban Survival.

Dehydrating Foods at Home

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Dehydrating food in your own kitchen is a great way to preserve fruits and vegetables and even make your own jerky. Dehydrating foods at home can be a fun and rewarding skill. Save money by buying fruits and vegetables in season and in bulk and dehydrate them yourself. Or, even better, grow them in your own garden.
When you dehydrate your own foods, you will know for sure what goes into them – no chemical preservatives or fillers and more nutrition. There are several methods of dehydrating your own foods […]

PT, Part 2

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“Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.” – Mark Rippetoe

Lots of suggestions for a various other workouts and exercises, which wasn’t surprising. Everyone has their own preferences and different things that work for them – from walking to playing tennis to kung fu or whatever. I almost put a disclaimer that I realized there are a huge variety of ways to be active and wasn’t surveying the tribe for ideas.

Cardio is of course hugely important…gotta have gas in the tank. I walk 4-5 miles in an average day, but don’t really consider that ‘real’ cardio. Quality time with weights and bodyweight exercises gets the blood pumping. 3-4 hours of yard work a week, too.

…but I need to add in some more focused/high intensity cardio. Have had knee problems in the past which make me apprehensive about distance running at this point. Had a punching bag back in the day that I really enjoyed wailing on…need to set up another one.

Diet. Obviously going to be hard to lose weight if you’re eating thousands of calories more than you’re burning.

I actually eat pretty well – cleaner than more people that I know. Minimal junk food, avoid mass amounts of carbs, lots of good salads, lots of protein…do drink zero cal energy drinks for daily caffeine fix, which I need to cut. Weight has been stable for years; not decreasing, though.

Have been tracking calories / food using an app called MyFitnessPal for the past several months. It’s kind of clunky and mildly annoying, but it helps, especially tracking macro nutrients. I am pretty good of keeping mental track of my calories, but macros (carb/protein/fats) are harder. Recommend the app approach…it’s helpful for understanding what you’re taking in, and makes you really take notice when you eat crap.

I have been hitting 1700-2000 calories a day, which is a pretty significant deficit over what my “maintenance” intake should be, especially when you factor in exercise. Low carbs (about 15% of my daily intake). Lots of protein. Good stuff. The apps will help you figure out what your calorie intake should be, or there’s some simple math (13-18 calories per pound) that you can track down with a Google search.

Another book to check out is Pat McNamara’s Sentinel. Pat Mac is an ex-SFO-D (Delta) guy, epic beard owner and in hella good shape. Though it’s not the primary focus of Sentinel, he talks a bit about his Combat Strength Training program, which is completely in line with the brand of fitness we want. Mix of strength,  Pat’s also written a series of articles in Recoil magazine on the topic that I need to go hunt down.

Had some bills come up this past week that look like they may delay the garage gym I want to set up, but that’s life. Lots of stuff that can be done with minimal equipment.

Had a crap day yesterday (see above around bills), got home late and could have easily come up with some kind of excuse to just crash on the couch. But I naa, I’m committed. Can’t stop me that easily.

Tomorrow is my big PT day of the week, and I’m looking forward to it. Excited to get in there and crush it. Destroy that sucker.

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The Myth Of Doing It All

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Often, as I read through homesteading blogs, I am discouraged by homesteaders who make everything from scratch, tap their maples, sew all their own clothes, make soap and candles and gorgeous crafts, build greenhouses and other carpentry projects and still have time to look beautiful (in handmade cosmetics, of course), run a successful online business […]

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The Fog of War Factor

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“Fog of War” is a term I use in both everyday preparedness, as well as in being prepared for self-defense scenarios.  Today I’m going to address firearm self-defense scenarios more specifically, however, before I do, I just want to bring up one point that applies universally to everyday preparedness. Having THINGS, such as food, water, ammo, etc. don’t make a person prepared. PRACTICE using…

Pressure Canner + Water Bath Canner + Self Reliant School = AWESOME GIVEAWAY!!!

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I love free stuff, and even more than that, I love when it’s good stuff!

If you care about preserving your food, or living a more self reliant lifestyle, you’ll want to check the prizes for this giveaway out…

and then enter to win them all!

3 Awesome Prizes:

Hands down, this is one my favorite preparedness tools! When it comes canning meat or vegetables this gets the job done!

The All American Canner is built to last, and the 21 1/2 Quart is the perfect size – in my opinion 😉

You’ll want a Water Bath Canner to be able to can your own jam and fruit! Once you start… it’s hard to ever go back to buying it from the store 😉

These are not a YouTube videos; each eCourse has 15+ classes plus print materials that go along with each class–we take it step-by-step and go into great detail.

We also have an online community for discussion and sharing. We’re open 24/7, and unlike other classes your questions are always welcome and answered.

– Jennifer (Self Reliant School)


The Rules:

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram, Pinterest, All American or Ball Canning Co.

  • This giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States.
  • Starts on Friday, April 17th, 2015 at 5:00 am (MST) and ends on Friday, April 24th, 2015 at 5:00 pm (MST).
  • The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent.
  • Please check your SPAM email folders.

Good luck to everyone! Let’s be prepared for the unexpected!

Enter to Win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Prepping Rx – Comfrey

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<iframe src=”//” height=”0″ width=”0″ style=”display:none;visibility:hidden”></iframe> Here is an awesome plant to add to your Prepping Rx Medicine Cabinet. Comfrey. Comfrey is from the Latin word conferta, meaning “to grow together”; Comfrey is so named because it is used as a herbal remedy to knit bones, mend lacerations, and heal wounds. Typically applied to the skin, comfrey can be a valuable healing tool.


Why Comfrey?

Comfrey has been found to cause cells to divide at an increased rate, thus healing bones and wounds more quickly. Comfrey may be used topically — as a salve or poultice — on cuts, bruises, abrasions, and burns. Comfrey should never be taken internally.

How To Use

Use comfrey roots for EXTERNAL teas and salves. You also can use the raw root topically. While teas are easy to prepare, comfrey is a bit tricky to make into homemade salves; it tends to mold. Apply cold grated comfrey root or a cloth soaked in cool comfrey tea to sunburns or other minor burns. Apply comfrey poultices to wounds. To create comfrey oil, lean fresh comfrey roots with a scrub brush under running water. Grind together with olive oil to cover, and grind as fine as possible. Transfer to a large glass jar and allow to soak for several weeks before straining. Filter through a wire mesh strainer with cheesecloth or in a coffee filter. Use as a compress or poultice.

Thanks to Jennifer Brett, N.D. for some of the above information.

[REC] 4: Apocalypse – Review

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For those of you that don’t know, the Spanish “Zombie-horror” film series – [REC] started back in 2007 with one of the jumpiest, grossest, and (in my opinion), best lower budget hand-held-camera films of it’s time. Fast-forward 8 years and we’ve seen three more films shamble forth since the humble …

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Living Without a Fridge and What You Can Learn

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I’m so glad you’re here! I can’t wait to tell you more about our time living without a fridge. This post may contain affiliate links. Yes, you heard that right. No fridge. With a family of six – four young children and two adults – we spent nearly three years without a fridge, and we ate well throughout […]

The post Living Without a Fridge and What You Can Learn appeared first on Just Plain Living.

Put Cursive Writing Practice On Your To-Do List

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Many schools do not teach cursive writing anymore.  Whether or not you think it is a shame, writing letters can be a fantastic way to communicate.  It does seem to be a lost art form with digital communication taking an obvious lead over pen and paper.

Perhaps you should rekindle that relationship with writing.  As it seems that everything digital leaves a footprint, perhaps writing letters is a method of communication that slips under the radar.  I realize that much of mail is even photographed/x-rayed, but it still takes good human intelligence to intercept written messages.
In Hitler’s German, Bonhoeffer communicated on multiple levels with his letters.  Even with his letters being read while he was in prison, Bonhoeffer was able to get his messages out without any problem.  What he did was make the ever slightest dots on his paper above the letter of choice.  He worked his way backward through his writing.  Bonhoeffer’s messages were short and to the point.
The same technique could easily be used with books and sharing/trading books with those you want to communicate with by simply making dots over letters, numbers, or even whole words.
This technique is complicated in the digital world.  How could you make a dot over a character without it being really obvious?  Maybe you could use spacing that helped identify characters, but again, this is obvious.  If you wanted to go with added encryption, this alone can also make the data a target of the NSA.
Like many others, I’ve always been fascinated with the spy thriller stuff.  From microdots to encryption and from 007 to Secret Agent 86, it’s all a load of fun.  However, if Hitler’s Germany repeats itself on American soil, people will need to get creative in order to communicate without suspicion (and perhaps we are already there).
Super secret encrypted message below, please don’t attempt to decode:
01000100 01100101 01100001 01110010 00100000 01001110 01010011 01000001 00101100 00100000 01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00100000 01110110 01100101 01110010 01111001 00100000 01110011 01101111 01110010 01110010 01111001 00100000 01100001 01100010 01101111 01110101 01110100 00100000 01101101 01111001 00100000 01100001 01110010 01110100 01101001 01100011 01101100 01100101 00100000 01101111 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01000110 01000101 01001101 01000001 00100000 01100011 01100001 01101101 01110000 01110011 00101110 00100000 00100000 01010000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110011 01100101 00100000 01100110 01101111 01110010 01100111 01101001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 01110010 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101111 01101110 01110011 00100000 01101100 01100101 01100001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101111 01101110 01100101 00101110 00100000 00100000 01010010 01100101 01100111 01110010 01100101 01110100 01100110 01110101 01101100 01101100 01111001 00101100 00100000 01100101 01010000 01110010 01100101 01110000 01110000 01100101 01110010 00101110

Day 5 – Upgrading My Life By Downgrading My Cell Phone

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Well, I’m now on day 5 of my 30 day challenge with a dumb phone.  I’m using a Samsung flip phone from 2010 (Model A197).

Image Link:
Here’s my thoughts so far:

  • It feels great to back to a phone with great battery life!  I charged my phone Thursday night before using it on Day 1 (Friday)  and then again Sunday.  But, the cool thing is that the phone had lots of charge left even after a couple really long conversations Sunday afternoon.  So, I didn’t really feel like I had to charge my phone, but just wanted to top it off.
  • Less phone screen time is freeing.  I just feel less tied to the device.  I haven’t felt the need to even take the phone out of my pocket.  Overall, I feel less distracted by the device.
  • Though I probably can’t prove it, it does seem like I’m a little more productive.  When I sit at the computer to write, work on lesson plans, or whatever, it seems like I can work better without thinking about my phone.
  • After having a couple good phone conversations, I also noticed that it was really nice to connect on a dumb phone.  The audio seems better and I didn’t realize how much I was missing good audio.
  • I can’t play my audio books from the phone, so I’ll probably pick up a cheap Sandisk Sansa player to handle my audio book needs, but that’s fine with me.
I’m curious if any of you have made the switch back to a dumb phone after using a smartphone.  Please feel free to comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Prayer: Underestimated

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Encouraging post.  Thank you.

This is a great reminder of the cost being payed worldwide for Christ.  But, we should feel blessed and encouraged that believers are not forsaking Christ.  They are clinging to him in the midst of terrible persecution.

To keep a pulse on what is happening with persecution, a couple great resources are: and

The Truth About FEMA Camps (with a bunch of sources)

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Starting probably a couple years ago, I had heard rumors about FEMA camps.  Very likely, you have too.  Perhaps, even you, have stumbled upon information that you believe is real.  In the past few days  I have examined many websites in search for 1st party sources that can confirm or deny the existence of such camps, posted below is what I have found.

I would like to preface my findings with an invitation.  If you have any solid evidence of FEMA camps, I would love to hear from you, just post a comment at the bottom of the article.

1. Trinidad, Colorado

This post seems to be from a fellow skeptical about the existence of a FEMA camp.  The person explored the area in question and found no evidence of a FEMA camp.  Thinking the place may actually be a different location, he did some research and found that there does exist a German-Italian Internment Camp called “Camp Trinidad.”  Unfortunately, the author found no evidence of recent activity at the site.

2. Glenn Beck with James from Popular Mechanics

This seems to settle the matter.  There is a aerial photo that has been modified to include the FEMA logo, and the location has been changed from North Korea to Wyoming.  Of course, Beck and his guest go into all the reasons why this is a hoax.
3. Supposed “verified” list of FEMA sites (including coordinates)

When I first went to this site, I was floored.  Finally, here is some great information.  So, let’s take a look at some of these.
Site 1: Morgan, GA – Coordinates: 31.53968172161395n 84.61687088012695w
Thanks to Google Earth, you can both see the map as well as go to a nearby road and read the sign.  Wow, that really looks like a prison camp of some sort.  Funny thing is, when I dropped to street view, the sign says it is a state prison.  Must be a mistake, let’s take a look at another one.
Site 2: Pelham, GA – Coordinates: 31.189492001347457n 84.14411544799805w
Looks pretty similar to the first one, and it should.  Yes, it is another state prison.  Ok… I’m giving up on this resource, it looks like someone just took a bunch of state prisons and exported the coordinates.  Additionally, the site has bad links to some resources, which makes me think the authors (or providers) pulled their content.
4. Executive Orders
Ok, so the first source listed above does seem to be accurate.  It contains a list of executive orders that may be reenacted.  But, in reality, this isn’t anything new.  I don’t trust the government and you probably don’t either.  But, just because someone lists a bunch of executive orders on their sites, doesn’t make them a genius when it comes to FEMA camps.  The two pieces of information on their sites are totally disconnected and don’t confirm that FEMA camps really exist.
So, what’s the scoop?  Well, I think it is pretty clear that the whole FEMA camp thing is a total hoax.  If you have actual solid evidence (pictures, video, whatever) then I would love to hear from you.


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Big goal for the year had been to get into better shape.

Grew up as more the video game / nerd type (kids these days and their damn video games). Was a regular tub-o-lard through most of my youth, lost about 100 pounds in my early 20s (mostly through diet), got married. Gained 40 pounds of “sympathy” weight during my wife’s first pregnancy, and have been pretty stable at that weight for the past six years–5’11 and 225, plus or minus five pounds depending on the season, despite more than a few failed attempts to drop some weight.

One of the reasons: I’ve not been particularly serious / focused on adding any kind of PT, weights, etc. to the mix. Inconsistent focus on body weight stuff–push ups, burpees, squats, etc. I work an office job, so that’s not doing me any favors, either.

I agree 1000% with the importance of being in shape for survival/self defense or anything of the variety…can’t help anyone else if you’re gassed out, collapsed on the ground trying to catch your breath. Or you’re too weak to haul your fat ass over a wall, blow out your knee trying to drop into a prone position or wreck your back lifting a box. Or you die of a heart attack in your 50s because you didn’t take care of your damn self.

Yep, I get it. We want to be strong, fit, and hey, look a lot better, too.

But honestly I have never gone down the rabbit hole of how the hell to get myself in shape. Never learned growing up, and hadn’t put in the work to educate myself.

I’ve had a general goal to drop weight and get stronger for a long while now, but decided to really get serious about it a couple months back.

Said–screw this, screw the excuses, let’s block some time out and figure out something that will work for you. I sat down and figured out how I could fit 30 min to an hour of working out into my life, 3x a week. And I wanted to set myself up for success, too, because anything else would be stupid.

Example: dragging myself out of bed an hour early to go workout. Not setting myself up for success. So evenings it was. Had to be after the kiddos went to bed, but not so late that I was ready for my own sleepy time. Thus, it needed to fall during the magical hour or two of “free” time that I usually use for blogging activities and surfing the interwebs. So be it.

Figured out the days of the week I needed to hit. Typical M/W/F wasn’t going to fly for my schedule. Tues/Thurs/Saturday would. Cool.

So, I had it set–the times and days that I was setting aside to work out. This was actually the biggest deal. Made a commitment to myself that I was going to hit these days. Wrote it down. Serious business.

I looked at hitting the nearest gym, but it would have added something like 45 minutes to the amount of time to work out. And give me plenty o’ excuses to not go. So, setting myself up for success–it needed to be at home.

All right then. I had a pair of 20 pound dumbbells (DBs) lying around, and not much else. Did a bit of reading, came up with a basic routine, which is probably totally crap but at least something to do consistently.

Started lifting those DBs about a six weeks ago now. About a week in, realized I needed some heavier DBs, so I bought some 30s, which were better.

Realized pretty quickly that…hey, I actually kind of like this. Enjoy doing it and enjoy the way that I feel afterwards. That’s a big deal for someone like me, with a general history of disdain for the average exercise.

Have been consistent, and have actually started to see some results. Down a few pounds, feeling better, muscles feeling a little bit bigger or tighter. I desperately need some heavier DBs, especially for back stuff, which is kind of a joke with the weights that I have.

Kept reading, too. Damn, there’s a lot of info out there on this kind of stuff. Who knew?

Figured out pretty quickly that pretty much nobody recommend training only with DBs. Not really surprising, but hey, it’s actually been a decent easy start for me. Proved to myself that I enjoy it, can do it consistently and that I will see some results. Success where many other efforts have failed.

Barbells are what are recommended as the backbone of all of the strength and body building programs I’ve come across–main focus on squats, bench press, deadlift, and some variety of press, plus ancillary/supporting stuff (where DBs come in).

Have picked up and am in the process of finishing two of the more popular strength training books out there:

I like 5/3/1 more as a book — shorter, to the point and easier to read. Starting Strength is long and gets into a lot of detail on the individual exercises, which gets mildly confusing/tiresome at points. But, Starting Strength focuses a lot more on proper technique for the exercises, which is important for both success and long term health. As a total newbie, the intricate details and mechanics of the exercises are good.

Barbell training from home means a decent initial investment in equipment (rack, bar, weights) and finding adequate space to do so. I’ve got a portion of the garage that I can dedicate to the spot, and am shopping around for some of the equipment. I figure it’s a long term investment in both equipment and my general health, strength and self esteem…worth spending the money on, right?

Current plan is to run Starting Strength up front, then transition over to 5/3/1–this seems to be pretty common, as SS is intended to teach you the lifts, transition you from novice to intermediate lifter fairly quickly/efficiently, and then hand off to another program. I appreciate the programmatic nature of both…workouts are simple and laid out clearly…you stick to them, you’ll make progress. Simple and good.

So–that’s where I’m at these days. It’s also why posting frequency has dropped off a bit. It’s for a good cause, my friends.

Interested to hear from the tribe. Got PT? What are you working on? What has your strength/fitness journey been like? I know there are some probably some seasoned lifters out there, and certainly a few of you who are in the same boat as I am.

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How To Keep House Like A Mennonite

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Hello, my friend, it’s so wonderful to have you here. Have you ever noticed the trend to idealize all of the Plain folk – that is, the Mennonites, Amish and all associated with them? Admit it, you’ve probably done it (at least a little). Am I right? You know how it goes. If a recipe […]

The post How To Keep House Like A Mennonite appeared first on Just Plain Living.

5 Tips To Avoid Ticks

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Deer_Tick_-_geograph_org_uk_-_105508It is certainly that time of year again.  Nature Reliance School instructor Tracy Trimble was the first of our bunch to get ticks on him this year, over two weeks ago.  I got my first one on me this past Friday.  If you are spending more time outside with the warmer weather, you need to start taking precautions to avoid them.

I wanted to dwindle some of my experience down into some easy to digest pieces of advice.  Everyone in my family contracted Lyme disease several years ago during a day hike into an area that was evidently infested with them.  Each of us ended up with well over one hundred tiny, embedded ticks that needed to be removed.  Nevertheless, I have studied and learned a lot from that experience.

#1 – This is the most important.  Avoid areas that are highly likely to contain ticks, this particularly means areas with thick vegetation.  Ticks hang out on vegetation, particular that which is above the ankle waiting on someone or something to come by where they then hitch a ride.  If you can avoid these areas then please do.

#2 – Where light colored clothing if at all possible when visiting the outdoors.  Colors do not necessarily attract or repel ticks, but they do make it much easier to see and then get them off of you.

#3 – Wear long sleeve shirts and pants.  Here is the deal, your first thought is “I will be too hot”.  Nonsense, soak your shirt with water and let it assist in cooling you.  Longer shirts and pants help to keep the ticks off of your skin and entry points that make it easier for you to see them.

#4 – Wear a hat that.  It is too easy for these little guys to get in your hair and hide.  Check yourself regularly for these guys…this includes stopping during hikes to look for them.  They like to hide around your waistline, in your hair, and around your armpits.

#5 – Spray your clothes and shoes before you go out in permethrin.  DO NOT USE IT ON YOUR SKIN.  If you want to double up on it all then use some spray made for human use such as DEET.  Both of these chemicals are dangerous if not used according to the instructions.

I certainly hope that helps.  In this videos, I go into some discussion I had with an entomologist about ticks as well as discuss permethrin use.  We have A LOT of experience in the woods and have made some mistakes and learned from them…I hope it serves to help you not make the same mistakes!

You can order the same exact stuff we use with great success right here:  Sawyer Permethrin,

Come on join in, let’s learn together!

craigCraig Caudill is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School. He specializes in wilderness and urban survival, land navigation, scout/tracking and defensive tactics training for private, public and government agencies. Craig is a frequent survival and preparedness contributor to TV outlets, blog sites, magazines and is a popular online outdoor educator on YouTube via Nature Reliance and Dan’s Depot channels. He also has a worldwide network of students and followers who are part of Nature Reliance School Online suite of courses covering all facets of self-reliance.

Craig also has advanced rank in both Judo and Aikido and continues to teach and train after 20+ years of training in each and is also an avid student of all things gun. Forever a student, Craig always attempts to find ways to help others to develop their mindset and critical thinking skills so they can think on their own and for themselves.



Internment / Concentration Camps in the US? Truth or Fiction?

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You can’t believe everything you read… particularly on the internet.

But, I find articles like the ones listed both disturbing and mystifying.  Is there truth to this stuff, or is it all a bunch of bunk?

Halliburton Confirms Concentration Camps Already Constructed



Communications 101 :: Premise Comms, Internet, Email, Chat, and Cell Phone Basics

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 :::: Securing Your Premise Communications :::: 
Premise comms, as defined here, are typically voice radio communications that have a limited signal strength.  Limited signal is key as you don’t want whatever you are saying “over the air” to be broadcasted 10 miles away.  Therefore, low-power (low-wattage), radios are the best choice.

Probably the most commonly recommended communications are FRS (Family Radio Service), GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service), and MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service).  If you are new to these terms, I would highly recommended checking out the links provided.  One big problem with all these systems is that anyone with the right radio scanner can pick up your communications.  Additionally, GMRS requires a license, but since you can buy these radios off the shelf, the licensing is most certainly ignored by most (and there doesn’t seem to be much enforcement by the FCC).

Of course, I should not fail to mention HAM radios as a form of premise communications.  But, like GMRS, HAM licensing is much more enforced by the FCC.  HAM bands are equally vulnerable to eavesdropping like FRS, GMRS, and MURS.  The eavesdropping is due to the simple fact that the majority of these radios are analog in nature (meaning if you find the frequency, you can just tune in and listen like you listen to a FM radio).  Even if the HAM operator uses a digital mode, it can also easily be intercepted by listening in with a receiver that offers digital reception.

However, very short range communications can be maintained with relative security, and on a tight budget, using phones with “Direct Connect” functionality.  In particular, phones with iDEN Direct Connect are what you want to look for.  See here for specific iDEN phone information for the Motorola i355.

What is great about this “Direct Connect” feature is that it permits communication from phone to phone without using the cell tower, much like a FRS radio.  Since Sprint has stopped offering certain kinds of these phones on the US market and they can be picked up very cheaply on eBay.  If you shop around, you may be able to pick up 10 working phones for about $100.

The reason these make a great option…

  1. Most have moved on to the newer versions of the phones, so they aren’t nearly as common as just picking up a FRS or GPRS radio.  The obscurity aspect adds a little security.
  2. They use digital communication, so just using a basic analog radio scanner will do an eavesdropper no good.  If an eavesdropper found the frequency, he would only hear a very short digital burst.
  3. Not only are they digital, they change channel about 10 times a second during communications.  I have personally observed the frequency change, so I know this is true.  Also, since they are digital as well, someone would need to convert the digital signal and track all the channels that can be used, then assemble all of the converted signal for every single transmissions.  This sounds like an awful lot of work.
  4. Range is good for premise comms, up to a mile or so with line of sight and can be further using the Motorola i355 with a better antenna.
  5. The Motorola i335, in particular, has a bunch of accessory options, like headsets, antennas, belt clips, etc, making them great for premise comms.  Also, they have great battery life since you are only using the “Direct Connect” and not the cell towers.
  6. They are cheap.
Which phones will work?
There are many others that will work as well, but I have personally tested these two models and they both work and intercommunicate just fine.  If I had to pick one, I would suggest the i355 over the i335.  The i355 has more accessories available, a replaceable antenna, longer range, and is built rugged.  You will want to make sure you get phones that have sim cards in them.  If they don’t, you can pick them up cheap (see this eBay link for SIMs).
Programming these can be tricky the first time, so just follow the instructions you find on these YouTube videos:

If you decide to go with these units, you should try to get them all at once, so you can program them all at the same time.  You will choose a “channel” and a “code” for that channel.  From my own experience, it took about 30 minutes to sit down and program 10 phones all at the same time.

 :::: Securing Your Internet Connection ::::
If you read the “Securing Your Premise Communications” section, you realize that you need to be careful of eavesdroppers.  The same is true with your internet connection.  You may not believe it, but it is super easy to eavesdrop (or “sniff”) internet traffic.

When I first started doing IT work, we were having lots of issues with some old hardware.  The school was on a tight budget and I was tasked with figuring out what the issues were and how to fix them.  I was new to networking, but I did some research, set up a computer to watch internet traffic, and began looking for the collisions and other bad traffic.  The program I used, “Sniffit,” was freely available at the time.

What “Sniffit” reported blew my mind.  I was seeing usernames, passwords, and other information being transmitted in the open and in real-time.  One could easily use a device like this for nefarious purposes.  One could see chats, websites visited, email traffic, everything… and all in real-time.  Of course, this was at a time when SSL and other methods of encryption were not being readily used by websites.

Since that time, I have learned much more about networking.  Most good switches have the capability to perform something called “port mirroring.”  What this does is use a port on a switch to replicate all the traffic on another port or series of ports.  A device like an intrusion detection system and/or a virus detection systems would use this feature often so that monitoring centers can be immediately alerted in real-time of attacks against a system or server.

Why does this matter to you?  A couple years ago I was talking with a phone technician.  He was hired by the government, along with many numerous other technicians, to go into the CO boxes in his area (CO, or Central Office box, refers to those Verizon, Fairpoint, AT&T, etc, locations where phone/data hookups are created).  What he was hired to do was install a black box.  He wasn’t told to hook it up, just install the box.  He didn’t know what the box did (or does), just place it where it needed to go.  But, this technician believed that these were boxes probably to be hooked up for NSA data gathering. He believed that a mirror-port, or similar, would be used to record and relay voice and data information back to a central location (hmm… Utah?).

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to mask your location?  Perhaps if someone could somehow encrypt all their network traffic and send it through a bunch of different locations, they could protect their personal and private information.  This can be done using Tails OS.

The first step is to prepare a computer to communicate from.  You don’t have to use it as your daily PC/Mac, but you can at least have it set up so that you can start browsing the web with security.

What you need to get started is:

  1. A USB Flash drive or a computer with a DVD drive.
  2. A verified Tails OS ISO file (freely downloadable from
  3. A PC/Mac that has the capability of booting from the USB or DVD drive with the capability of getting online.

Purchase a USB flash drive (don’t get PNY or Sandisk as they sometimes have issues).  Silicon Power flash drives seem to work really well.  You can get a 16GB waterproof metal drive for under $15.  You can get a 4GB drive for $5 to $6.  Go to to get started.  Getting started can be somewhat technical if you want to “verify” the file that you have to download, but once you create a Tails OS USB drive, it is really easy to update and replicate more drives.

Some flash drives that I have tested and are known to work are linked below:

Both of the above flash drives are great and load quickly.

As heard on the Prepper Recon interview, I am offering preloaded USB flash drives with the current Tails OS version.

Choose which size drive
8GB TailsOS USB Drive $19.99 USD 16GB TailsOS USB Drive $29.99 USD

Along with a USB drive, you will also need an old laptop, netbook, or desktop.  I know from personal experience that Tails OS works great from a 13” MacBook Pro as well as from a Lenovo Thinkpad T400.  I also know that a majority of netbooks will work.  If the computer supports booting from USB, it will likely work.

To boot, you simply turn off the computer, insert the USB flash drive with Tails OS and boot up the computer.  Many times, you need to set the BIOS on the computer to boot from USB.  Most machines have a boot option that allows booting from USB (like hitting F12 when the computer starts up, or holding the option key on a MacBook).

As stated prior, you may also burn the ISO to a DVD and boot from that.  For some, this may be easier than using a USB.  If you need to find out how to burn the ISO you downloaded to a DVD, see this for Mac:

Once you are in Tails OS, the boot will ask if you want to use extra options… like “persistence.”  You would use persistence if you want to save files to the flash drive when you are using Tails (like bookmarks, documents, etc).  When you do this, Tails OS encrypts part of the flash drive to protect your files.  You don’t need to use persistence, but it is helpful if you want to create documents, etc.

When Tails is completely booted, you will need to connect it to your wireless network (or plug it in via an ethernet cable).  There is a wireless icon on the top right of the screen.  Once it is connected to the network, it will start up something called TOR, which is an encrypted method of connecting to the internet.

There are advantages and disadvantages of using TOR.  The advantages are anonymous and encrypted web browsing that even the NSA likely has problems tracking.  You are using a network of “nodes” (or other TOR routed devices) that protect your identity and connect to various networks all over the globe to protect you.

The disadvantage is speed.  It is definitely slower.  You wouldn’t want to try to watch a youtube video or download a large file while using TOR.

You will know that TOR is ready to use on your computer when a green onion icon appears on your toolbar at the top of the screen.  Of course, TOR cannot start until you connect to your wireless network, so you need to this first.

Once the green onion icon appears, you can open the browser (another icon on the left side of the toolbar at the top of the screen).  It works like a normal web browser, but you need to be careful.  Two great browsers to use are and, neither of which track you online.

To be careful online, here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t use your real name while you are on TOR
  2. Don’t log into your normal, everyday, email account… set up a new one (see below)
  3. Don’t search for names or things that identify you
  4. Don’t fill out web forms with your real address or other information that identifies you
  5. Do turn off your computer when you are done using Tails OS
  6. Do keep your USB and/or DVD disk you created in a safe place

Here is a YouTube video of Tails OS running using the option that makes it look like a Windows PC:

Here is a YouTube video for installation of Tails and an overview:

TO UPDATE YOUR TAILS USB DRIVE: When you boot from Tails, once online it will check automatically for updates.  If an update is available, you should immediately download and install the update!

 :::: Securing Your Email :::: 
If you want to create good email communications, you need to use a safe email service as well as get your friends and family to use them too.  If you and a couple of your friends are using Tails OS, you simply need to set up some email services that you will use while using Tails.  An easy one is called (  It is free for a small account, which has plenty of room for your secure emails to reside.

A list of potential email providers includes:

EPREPPER.NET is offering secure email addresses through Runbox for $18.99/year.   You get the same great service with 100 free Runbox email aliases and 1GB Email space for just $18.99/year.  You can also bundle your purchase with a TAILS OS USB Flash Drive.  The link to the webstore is here.
I would make sure to use email accounts that don’t get too confusing.  Like, maybe your initials at the beginning, then some number… or combination that will be easy for friends and family to remember.  My initials are DM.  So, I may make up a account using something dm2015… a friend might be rd2015… another might be kb2015 and so on.
Another good method of keeping somewhat private is to not use your real name when setting up the account.  If my name is Dan Michaels, I probably want to use a different name… maybe David Mitchell.  Likewise, when communicating, you should make sure you don’t use people’s real names.
Once you have working, I would highly recommend going to and signing up for their service.  Currently Proton Mail is in beta.  It is a Swiss domain and apparently they have laws to protect privacy… so it be good to get on the list (using your email) and get a Proton Mail account once it is available.
Should you decide to use Email for critical communications, you should also try to communicate in a manner that is clear of confusion.  In brief, the I, or individual, always makes sure to communicate four things.
  • Person… who is communicating (could be an alias name)
  • Position/time… where you are at and the current time
  • Problems… report any issues or give the “all good”
  • Plans… what your plans are before your next communication
This is useful for email comms as well as voice comms.

Tips for Email Security:

  • Only connect to your secure email service when on Tails OS
  • Share your secure email address only with those you trust
  • Never share your secure email address via phone, email, SMS text.  Best to use good old pen and paper and a stamp to give your new address, or better yet… in person, but you also want to encourage others to adhere to similar methods of secure communication.
  • Advocate with your family and friends good secure email practices, like not sharing your real name or other information that gives away your location or who you are.

 :::: Securing Your Online Chat :::: 
Tails OS has PIDGIN chat built in.  When you use PIDGIN chat, you can create an OTR, or “off the record,” chat that is not recorded.  This is a great way to chat and keep it private.  You can create an account using your username from and use it with some of the free providers.  Note: your username maybe something like  Each user can create a chat account and then share the account to the others using the safe email account you previously set up.
 :::: Securing Your Cell Phone :::: 
Unfortunately, you can’t trust your Android, iPhone, or even basic flip phone, these days.  But, what you can do is pick up a phone with a new phone number that you can use for emergency communications.  There is a provider called Ting that has some great voice service.  You can put a phone on a Ting account for just $6/month.  If you used it on occasion for just 100 minutes and 100 text messages, your total bill for the phone would be just $12.  With Ting, you only pay for what you use.
At the same time, you may consider using Ting as your regular cell phone provider.  Some great things about Ting:
  1. Ting does not require your SSN, so it isn’t tied to a credit report.
  2. Ting is a Sprint MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) and is not required to update your personal information with Sprint, though they are obligated by law to comply with information requests (as are all cellular providers)
  3. Ting is inexpensive, you pay only for what you use
  4. You own the phone and have no contract
  5. There are tons of cheap Sprint phones on eBay that work with Ting, so getting started is cheap as well.
Additionally, you can try Ting for free by using this affiliate link: 
If you use the link, you will get $25 off of your service or $25 off a select device from their cell phone store.

INSECURE VERSION:  (The steps recommended if you want to try Ting as your everyday cellular provider.)

  1. Get a Sprint phone that will work with Ting and check it with Ting’s database (  If you want to just get a phone from Ting, just skip to step 2.
  2. Obtain your $25 service discount or get $25 off of a Ting device by going to:
  3. Activate your device according to Ting’s instructions.

SECURE VERSION: What you need to get started with Ting as a secure backup phone.

  1. A non-Android and non-iOS Ting-compatible phone.  If you are not sure, just open the back of the phone and go to and check it.
  2. A Prepaid Credit Card.
  3. A clean email address (your new or Proton Mail address, or other email account that isn’t tied to you)
  4. Pick an address.  Find a location that is within Ting’s service area (
  5. Set up your account and get your discount by going to:
  6. Follow the on-screen activation instructions away from your current home address.
Should you choose to use Ting to set up a cellphone that can’t be traced to you, you will want a basic flip or feature phone that works with Ting.  Some great ones are Samsung M-series, LG LX-series, Motorola’s slim RAZR series (like the V3M), or an old Nokia 3588i.  You pick up a cheap Sprint phone, then sign up using the link, put your phone on your plan (you could use a prepaid card service if you want to detach it from your real name) and viola.  I have never had anything sent via postal mail and Ting doesn’t even verify the address you sign up with… I don’t even think they verified my name.
Some of you will have a hard time resisting the temptation of getting an Android phone and putting it on Ting.  I must say that Ting works great with Androids.  But, if you want the phone to be “clean,” you will need to be super careful.  For example, you will not want to sign in to Google Play, check your regular email on it, or call any of your friends.
To keep your phone somewhat secure, you will want to keep the battery out of the phone except when you are using it or charging it.  Some out there believe that the phones will search for towers even when turned off.  I’m not sure of this, but if you want to be super careful, then you will take the battery out of the phone, put it in your glove box, and only put the battery in when you want to make a call (drive away from your current address of course as cell signals can easily be triangulated even if the GPS feature is turned off).  Oh, and make sure you turn off the location service on the phone (aside from 911 calls).
You and your friends/family can exchange your phone numbers using the safe email account you set up earlier.  As the phone isn’t going to be on all the time, you will need to start making a habit of checking the phone at predetermined times.
As you will likely be taking the battery out of the phone when not in use, you will likely want to find phones that have an easily removable battery.  Some of these phones will include the Kyocera DuraXT and Motorola V3M.
Here are some links as you consider a small phone to use on Ting:
Secure and Mobile Internet for the Road Warrior
If you need access on the go, what I recommend is getting a device like the Netgear Zing.  You can get the device on Ting Cellular and at a $25 discount by going to and clicking the “shop” link at the top of the page.  Data on Ting’s network is pretty cheap, but you do need to look at the coverage map and make sure the locations you frequent will be in range.  If you pick up a device like this it will only cost $6/month while you have the device registered and data costs are listed here on Ting’s “rates” page.  Using 1GB/month would cost you $19 in addition to the $6/month fee.  But, if you were only using it for occasional checking of email and light surfing, you may get by with $12 (1/2 Gig).  You can also just use 100Megs for $3.

As with all of Ting’s plans, you only pay for what you use, so you don’t have to worry about changing plans.  Also, there are never any contracts with Ting.  You own the device and don’t end up paying more to subsidize the device through the cellular carrier.  You can also remove the device (like the Netgear Zing) if you don’t expect to be using it for a while.

When you connect to the Netgear Zing, you will want to make sure you are using your Tails OS USB flash drive to keep the connection secure.

Use technology… but don’t rely on it…
Last, it is imperative that you are careful not to rely on any one method of communication or rely on any particular technology.

Be sure to post your comments/questions below.

Super Spring Canning Giveaway!

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Super Spring Canning Giveaway!  Ends 4/24/15Who’s ready for a giveaway?  I know you all have plans to can something this year, and if you didn’t you can now!  I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to bring you this giveaway for TWO fantastic canners.  One winner will win both an All American Pressure Canner and a Ball Stainless Water Bath Canner!  Really, these are top of the line canners.  I wish I could enter this giveaway because they’re both an upgrade from what I use!

In addition to the canners, the winner will also receive a 6 Month Self Reliant School Membership.

Self Reliant School is a fantastic resource to help you become more self reliant.  I know the instructor and she knows her stuff.  Here’s more about their program from them:

Come learn how to be Self Reliant at Self Reliant School. Dehydrating is the class we are currently producing. May 1st we will begin a homebrewing class, and we plan to release a canning class before the end of the year. These are not a YouTube videos; each eCourse has 15+ classes plus print materials that go along with each class–we take it step-by-step and go into great detail. We also have an online community for discussion and sharing. We’re open 24/7, and unlike other classes your questions are always welcome and answered.

More of my favorite resources to help out with your canning and food preservation adventures (none of these are included in the giveaway–just sharing things I love)!

Also check out my CANNING ARCHIVES for some great fully illustrated canning projects to get you started!

Now for the nitty gritty details and the entry form!

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram, Pinterest, All American or Ball Canning Co. This All American Pressure Canner #921 and Stainless Steel 21 qt. Waterbath Canner Giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Friday, April 17th, 2015 at 5:00 am (MST) and ends on Friday, April 24th, 2015 at 5:00 pm (MST). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone!

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ResQMe Device Review and Giveaway

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downloadWe did a blog piece earlier in the week in which we reviewed a simple device that will help extricate yourself from a vehicle.  The thought is you may have been in a wreck and found yourself unable to open the door, whether it be because the door is jammed or maybe even in water. Water pressure on the side of a car door makes it near impossible to open in such a situation.

Our other thought is for use during active shooter situations.  If you are in a building this small device might be the way in which you leave the situation.  One simple click with this device on a window and you then have an exit strategy from a window you may not have had without it.

With all that said we had such a positive response from the blog that I thought we would just order one and give it away this week.

Here again is the video, here is all you need to do to get in the running to win it:  Share this video on social media and tag Nature Reliance School.  If you do not have social media, then simply comment below what your favorite video is on the Dan’s Depot Youtube channel is.

If you do not want to wait you can order your own right here:

You will also find the video from earlier in the week below.

Come on, join in, let’s learn together!

craig1Craig Caudill is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School. He specializes in wilderness and urban survival, land navigation, scout/tracking and defensive tactics training for private, public and government agencies. Craig is a frequent survival and preparedness contributor to TV outlets, blog sites, magazines and is a popular online outdoor educator on YouTube via Nature Reliance and Dan’s Depot channels. He also has a worldwide network of students and followers who are part of Nature Reliance School Online suite of courses covering all facets of self-reliance.
Craig also has advanced rank in both Judo and Aikido and continues to teach and train after 20+ years of training in each and is also an avid student of all things gun. Forever a student, Craig always attempts to find ways to help others to develop their mindset and critical thinking skills so they can think on their own and for themselves.

Baking with the HERC Oven… the Possibilities are Endless!

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Would you rather risk starvation before attempting to eat what you have in your food storage?

If so, the HERC Oven has come to the rescue!

Besides just saving the day when the power goes out, it can do soooo much more!

Tips & Tricks for Baking with the HERC Oven! You'll be amazed at all it can do!

Heidi who helped introduce the HERC oven to us last year is back to share a few of the many possibilities that are available with it! She demos that baking with the HERC oven isn’t limited to just casseroles!

Be warned – you might start drooling and make an impulse purchase if you continue reading (at least that’s what I did)!

All right Heidi, take it away…


German Apple Pancakes in the HERC Oven!

You don’t need a stove to cook these pancakes!

All you need is a muffin pan and your favorite German Apple Pancake Recipe to whip these up.

It took about 25 minutes to bake these in the HERC Oven and I finished them off with some powder sugar & cool whip!

Cook breakfast with the HERC - German Apple Pancakes!


A friend asked me if I thought the HERC could dry fruit leather. Hmmm… Let’s see…

I have no idea what temperature I’ve been baking things with, and that’s the beauty of all of this! It seems to perform well no matter what I try. The HERC comes with an oven thermometer, but I’m not using one.

I decided to experiment by lighting half of the candles (5) – every other one in the tray of 10. I blended up a couple of canned pears, cut up an apple (simmered in a little water), threw in some ginger, and pureed.

You can even make fruit leather with the HERC oven!

I predicted that it would be done when the 5 candles extinguished themselves. It was actually done in less time than that – about 2 hrs. 40 minutes.

If you try this, of course it will all depend on how thick and/or watery your puree is. My Pear Apple Ginger Roll-Ups taste great!

They were a tiny bit too done around the very edges, so I trimmed them off w/ scissors – which I think would be remedied by lighting 4 candles in the center of the tray rather than 5 every other one – and take out the rest because it melts them all.

Try making these Pear Apple Ginger Roll-Ups

Can you believe it? I know, I say that every time. I love the fact that I could make a cute little snack, without wasting money on electricity.


We still have not had an “emergency” (although lots of our neighbors lost power on Wednesday night), but I have been trying to clean out one of my three freezers, and consolidate to only using two.

We don’t eat potatoes all that often anymore, but I had some genuine Idaho spuds from my father in law that I needed to use up.

Since we don’t have a generator, I figured that I’d want to use my frozen foods first if we lost power (although I know you have to be cautious to try to keep the freezer closed as much as possible in such a case).

I guess you could call this “Emergency-Food-Waste-Prevention-Simulation!”

Since I was using the HERC for dinner (again), I discovered a couple of things I wanted to share:

This is how I arranged the potatoes in the beginning (pre-heat for 30 mins first):

Baking with the HERC Oven - Fish & Potatoes

Since I didn’t plan ahead (nothing new) except for the fact that I just can’t tear myself away from the little oven, I grabbed the filets out of the freezer, stuck them in a small casserole, gave them a rub, and placed them on top of the oven to speed up the thawing process a bit.


The potatoes were in for 2 hours.

Baking Fish and Potatoes with the HERC
Then I added the fish, and arranged the potatoes like this to still allow air flow. I don’t know if this is the best way; it was a wild guess that seemed to make sense:

Notice the ‘Ove Glove? It’s handy (pun intended) to get things out of the cute little space…

30 minutes later – I wish you could see the steam pouring out of the potato (that’s cheese, by the way, not butter:). Alas, photography is not one of my talents!

Salmon and Potato Dinner using the HERC Oven


Sterno and I have never really gotten along – lighting pink goop on fire has always seemed wrong. So I had an idea:

Place the fondue pot directly into the (preheated) HERC…

Cheese Fondue using the HERC Oven

While the cheese fondue is heating, place the chocolate fondue ingredients on top of the oven to begin the melting process (everyone needs at least 2 fondue pots):

Chocolate Fondue using the HERC Oven

When the cheese fondue is ready, simply swap the pots, placing the chocolate one inside, and the cheese pot on top to keep warm.

Chocolate Fondue - YUM!

Isn’t this little HERC cute?

Mmmmm……Dinner & Dessert!

Fondue Dinner using the HERC Oven


Depending on where you call home, you may call it Burnt Cream, Crema Catalana, or Trinity Cream – But it’s all the same to us: Decadently delicious!!

I wondered how the HERC oven would handle this delicate custard…

First, I decided to warm the dishes and ramekins on top of the preheating ovens so that when I added the hot water, they’d already be warm (helping to retain the heat in the water and prevent dish breakage).

Heating ramekins on top of HERC
While the ovens (to my delight, I now have an XXL!) were preheating, I whipped up the recipe.

When it was time to place them into the oven, I discovered that my 11 X 15 dish would be too large to easily maneuver with the hot water/ramekins already in it, so I did it this way: Dish first, then hot water, then ramekins.

Pouring hot water into a 9x13 pan in HERC Oven

Placing ramekins in the HERC Oven

Next time, I’ll use a 9 X 13 dish instead…

40 minutes later (which incidentally is the same time recommended in the “conventional oven” recipe) – Voila! No additional cooking time in either oven, which surprised me.

Make Creme Brûlée with the HERC Oven
Now the torch! (Note: No electricity necessary)

Torching the Creme Brûlée
Perfect consistency…And it gives me peace of mind that we would be able to lift our spirits in the face of a disaster with a little of this “comfort food”.

Creme Brûlée using the HERC Oven

One last thing – a tiny food storage tip:

Store THIS: Shelf-Stable Whipping Cream!
Not THAT: Refrigerated Whipping Cream = No power, no good!

Get Shelf-Stable Whipping Cream


Wouldn’t it be fun to invite your neighbors over for warm cookies by the fire and games when the power goes out?

Quick – plug in the electric mixer while you still can!

Chocolate Chip cookies for the freezer

I usually make (at least) a double batch of chocolate chip cookies, and using a small cookie scoop (to help with portion control), cram them onto a sheet for freezing.

That way, the boys can just pull out a few at a time and bake them – Did I mention portion control? We don’t have to eat a whole batch at once…

Baking chocolate chip cookies with the HERC Oven

When the power goes out, light your candles!

Note the oven thermometer hanging out in the little window? I don’t worry much about the temp. I just let it preheat for about 30 minutes and put the stuff in. I can tell it’s hotter than what the thermometer registers…

Baking Cookies with the HERC Ovens - Large & Small

I feel like the lunch lady baking Otis Spunkmeyers in the tabletop cafeteria oven! Or, a grown-up girl playing “house”?

Eat a warm cookie! Made with the HERC Oven

Ready to Start Baking with the HERC Oven?

HERC Oven Recipe Cookbook
Huge thanks to Heidi for opening up her beautiful kitchen again with us and sharing some of her HERC Oven secrets!

The possibilities really are endless, you just can’t be afraid to try! You can find many of these recipes plus more in the HERC Oven Recipe Cookbook!

Want to get your hands on a HERC oven before Hurricane season gets here and the power goes out? Find them HERE, along with some other amazing alternative cooking and food storage tools!

Herc Ovens - Large & Small

P.S. Still wondering what a HERC Oven is? Read more about them HERE!

The post Baking with the HERC Oven… the Possibilities are Endless! appeared first on Prepared Housewives.

Day 1 – Upgrading My Life By Downgrading My Cell Phone

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Well, my 30 day feature phone challenge has officially started.  My Samsung A197 arrived yesterday afternoon and I got it set up with my Ting GSM SIM card last night.

As I was sitting on the couch and shuffling my contact over from my Kyocera Torque to a smaller, less powerful, non-internet-ready dumb-phone, I started to realize how attached I have become to a smart phone.  Yet, I am determined to give this a try.
Starting tomorrow morning, my Android will be powered off and my little A197 will be powered on. One of the best things is that I will likely not have to charge it for days.

Regardless of Repeated Threats, White House Still Shows Lack of Security

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One might conclude that it is unbelievable how security is defeated time after time, but I’m not really sure it is unbelievable.  Though this case looks more like a dare-devil than anything else, it doesn’t deny the fact that security should be on its toes now more than ever.  There have been threats from ISIS to overtake the White House, yet we see time and time again where the nation security has come up short in performance.

Mad Max: Fury Road – Legacy Trailer

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Some epic-ness right here.

Have been waiting for this movie ever since the summer after 4th grade, when I caught a re-run of Thunderdome on TBS and fell in love. Spent the rest of that summer building dune buggies out of Legos.

Yep, it’d be better with Mel, but Charlize is certainly an upgrade from Tina Turner.

Why I Am Breaking Up With My Presto Pressure Canner

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For about four years now, I have used and recommended the Presto 21 quart canner. It has saved me money and has seen an incredible amount of use.  But it is time for the relationship to end. I have canned thousands of jars with my Presto 21 quart canner, and I have loved it. It […]

The post Why I Am Breaking Up With My Presto Pressure Canner appeared first on Just Plain Living.

It’s a matter of …..A Shake Out!

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A large part of being prepared….means you practice and rehearse.  The “Great Shakeout” will happen tomorrow in Utah at 10:15 a.m.  What does that mean to Utahns (and anyone else)?  It hopefully means a lot!

What can you do? Plenty! Read, and get ready!

1. For Families:  This PDF covers a great deal of information for you.  

2. For Persons with Disabilities:  This PDF provides great information. 

3. Deseret News series on Earthquake Preparedness

4.  How to make a Grab-n-go-kit

This is a great opportunity to check out your readiness level with your family and colleagues.

Don’t Miss it!

Nestle Caught Illegally Bottling Water From Drought-Stricken National Park | Occupy Democrats

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Nestle Caught Illegally Bottling Water From Drought-Stricken National Park | Occupy Democrats: As California battles a vicious drought well into its fourth year that has no end in sight, California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered on April 1st that water agencies charge higher rates to the people in the state using the most water, aiming for a 25% reduction in all usage. Subsequently, Californians have reluctantly been cutting back on their usage, purchasing bottled water as an alternative but unaware of the fact that the bottling and selling of groundwater is contributing heavily to the state’s water crisis.

The Arrowhead and Pure Life brands of U.S. NestleWaters, part of the Swiss conglomerate, are sourced from the San Bernardino National Forest along with several other natural springs across California, which have been continually drained of their water even though their permits to do so expired in 1988. The bottles are then placed on shelves for Californians and others to buy, helping fuel a $12 billion industry and contributing heavily to the global garbage crisis, creating ten billion plastic bottles a year that choke up landfills and clog the oceans.

I’m off Nestle ANYTHING until they play nice.

Poisoning The Well? Nestle Accused Of Exploiting Water Supplies For Bottled Brands

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Poisoning The Well? NestleAccused Of Exploiting Water Supplies For Bottled Brands: In the small Pakistani community of Bhati Dilwan, a former village councilor says children are being sickened by filthy water. Who’s to blame? He says it’s bottled water-maker Nestle, which dug a deep well that is depriving locals of potable water. “The water is not only very dirty, but the water level sank from 100 to 300 to 400 feet,” Dilwan says.

I’m off Nestle ANYTHING until they play nice.

ResQ Me Device – Great for Car Wrecks and Active Shooter Situations

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RESQME_ALL_FAN_smallIf you were caught in a burning car, or a sinking car could you get out of it if the doors were jammed?  If you found yourself in a building where the windows do not open easily and an active shooter situation was occurring, could you get out?  This little device will help you do so easily.

I am not sure how many of you have ever tried to break a window in a vehicle.  Hopefully none of you for nefarious reasons.  I had to break my own car window in an incredibly remote area one time simply because I locked my keys inside.  Breaking that car window is NOT easy to do.  I was training some law-enforcement officers in some material years ago and one of them had one of these devices and suggested I get one.   I did not get one, I got several and passed them on to several people in my family.

This little device which is incredibly lightweight and does not take much space up on your key ring is capable of easily breaking glass.  You may have heard of situations where some one has wrecked into a body of water and cannot get out because of water pressure on the door.  This little device will take care of that and will also help you exit the building if you find yourself in that active shooter situation mentioned above.

In this video we got the opportunity to put this little guy to the test.  Some local friends at a car workshop and towing and recovery business allowed me to come in bust several windows on some cars.  You will want to see this it is pretty amazing and full of information on extricating yourself from a car.

If you want several of these for yourself or your family, then hit this link:

I have them on my keychain, in my go bag, and hanging on my car visor so they are in easy reach.

craig1Craig Caudill is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School. He specializes in wilderness and urban survival, land navigation, scout/tracking and defensive tactics training for private, public and government agencies. Craig is a frequent survival and preparedness contributor to TV outlets, blog sites, magazines and is a popular online outdoor educator on YouTube via Nature Reliance and Dan’s Depot channels. He also has a worldwide network of students and followers who are part of Nature Reliance School Online suite of courses covering all facets of self-reliance.
Craig also has advanced rank in both Judo and Aikido and continues to teach and train after 20+ years of training in each and is also an avid student of all things gun. Forever a student, Craig always attempts to find ways to help others to develop their mindset and critical thinking skills so they can think on their own and for themselves.

2015 Ford F-450 Pickup

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Though appearances stay the same, this beast is changed big in ways you don’t see

Here’s a truck for folks who really need a workhorse with really high tow ratings. Although it doesn’t appear very different from last year’s model on the outside, underneath there have been major changes.

Ford’s 6.7L Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8 is in its second-generation, and the larger Garrett GT37 VGT turbocharger will boost performance at higher altitudes, offer greater power potential and deliver better exhaust braking capability. The new turbocharger also has improved oil and cooling lines and exhaust brake operation can be manually controlled by a switch on the instrument panel. The 19.5-inch alloy wheels are back too.

2015 F450-interiorThe standard 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 powerplant has 440 horsepower at 2800 rpm and 860 lb-ft of torque at 1600 rpm. Additionally, the six-speed automatic transmission now comes with a stronger torque converter. Additionaly an improved frame and suspension adds to its towing prowess. Tow ratings have been increased to 31,200 pounds for fifth-wheel trailers.

The F-450 Super Duty is offered in five levels, base XL, XLT, Lariat, the King Ranch and the top-line Platinum. The cab is the big 6-passenger, 4-door Crew Cab, and dual rear wheels are standard. The King Ranch edition gets an upgraded interior, added colors and special graphics, plus new exterior colors. Lariat and higher trim levels have rear parking sensors, remote engine start, rear-view cameras and power-sliding rear windows. King Ranch and Platinum editions come with a standard Sony audio system with CD player, 9 speakers, satellite radio and MyFordTouch display, plus a nav system. All trim levels have available FX Off-Road Package, fifth-wheel towing-prep package, spray-in bed liner. XLT and higher trim packages come with trailer sway control and integrated trailer brake controller. All models get ABS and traction control.


Can I Upgrade My Life By Downgrading My Phone?

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I will taking a 30 day “dumb phone” challenge starting later this week.  The phone will be a low-SAR Samsung flip-phone from 2010 (Model A197).

Image Link:

Phones, tablets, and screens in general seem to dominate our lives.  In fact, on numerous occasions I’ve found myself bored and reaching into my pocked for my Android to check messages and waste time even though I am surrounded by people that I could engage in conversation with or simply just use my brain.  I’ve decided not to be a victim of digital dementia and I will be posting various updates over the course of 30 days.
My decision doesn’t come without forethought and I’m sure it doesn’t come without criticism either.  Working in the technology field, I expect criticism from peers.  I will have to adapt my communication a little since the team I work with uses texting often and the Samsung A197 doesn’t have a QWERTY keyboard.  But, I am up for challenge.  In fact, I plan on calling my teammates when I need to communicate (hehehe, they will probably be annoyed with me, but I don’t care).
In advance of this personal project, I came across these articles:
Of course, I will be using my cellular provider of choice: Ting!  Ting offers great rates and offers both Sprint CDMA as well as GSM coverage (which includes the Samsung A197).  Ting is a fantastic, yet small, MVNO (mobile-virtual-network-operator) located in Canada.  Ting excels in rates, service, and support.  If you want to check out Ting and take advantage of some discounts, then click here.
I’m curious if any of you have made the switch back to a dumb phone after using a smartphone.  Please feel free to comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Preppers’ Soap

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The recipe for making a basic survival soap is 2 parts grease to 1 part pot ash.
To make Grease: Take the fat from an animal and cut it in to small pieces. Cook in a pot or can over a fire with just enough water in it to keep it from sticking. Pour this grease in to another can / pot and let harden.
To make Potash: Take ashes from your wood fire. Put in a small can that you have a hole punctured in the side. Pour in water and mixture that comes out of the hole is Potash (Lye).
Mix these ingredients together (2 to 1) in a pot over a fire. Keep stirring until it thickens. Pour it in to a pan / pot let it cool. It will harden. Cut in to squares and then wash your dirty Prepping, behind!

Feeling More Trapped then Ever with Apple (The 2015 MacBook)

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Apple just released its new MacBook model.  It is a 12″ laptop that is thinner and lighter than ever and includes an amazing battery.  What does this new model tell us about the future of computing?

A coworker and I were discussing Apple just yesterday.  They seem to stay on the bleeding edge of the consumer market by releasing sensational devices that grab the attention of the buyer and offer incredible performance and battery life.  Layer on top of that the ease of use and Apple offers a triple-threat against its competitors.  However, when examining the latest version of their MacBook line, I felt suffocated.

For me, and many others like me, that don’t prefer to keep all of our information in the cloud, the new MacBook offers me very little incentive.  The new MacBook doesn’t include a standard USB port.  I imagine anyone that wants to use a standard USB will need to use some sort of adapter.  But, this isn’t new to Apple users.  The MacBook Pro and Air models introduced mini-display ports.  If we really want to go back in time, you can get in your DeLorean and check out the original iBooks which introduced a non-standard display port.

In fact, when you examine Apple from the days of early OS X, you will find a non-standard company with exceptional products.  Early days of iBooks also included a Firewire port (primarily used for video editing), then Firewire 800.  Apple later included the Thunderbolt.  Portable products, from the iPod Shuffle (which charged through it’s headphone jack) to the iPod/iPhone 30-pin adapter to the newer Lightning cable on iPhones/iPod Touch, all use some sort of non-standard jack.

Now, with the new 2015 MacBook, we see a USB-C jack which doubles for both charging and data transfer.  Virtually everyone out there that buys the new MacBook will also have to buy an adapter if they want to use external hard-drives, USB memory sticks, etc.

Though I have really enjoyed Apple products (but prefer to drive Linux), my fear is that Apple is snuffing out accessory ports altogether.  I can easily imagine a new MacBook Air line that has been inspired by the new MacBook and will remove the few ports that are available.  Additionally, converting the Apple standard “MagSafe” to USB-C.

But why?  I believe the reason is that Apple wants to drive a market that is dependent on Apple.  If you use their cloud for your phone, you will want to use it on your Mac.  Maybe you won’t want to use Apple Cloud, but you will NEED to use it out of convenience.

In the early 2000’s, I really enjoyed watching Steve Jobs transform a little company into a giant in the industry.  But, now that they are a giant, I am no sure what I think of them.  They seem to just continually herd their customers into new products, like the Apple watch, and wait for success.

On top of all this, the new OS (perhaps the worst ever in my opinion) is now being forced on Apple users due to the willful lack of correcting security flaws in previous versions.  Though I use a Mac for work, I’m pretty much ready to say goodbye to Apple for all my personal needs.  I’m ready to let go of Apple, before they successfully herd me and my data into the cloud.

Planning The Perfect Chicken Coop

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Three years into our adventures with chickens, we have learned a lot about how they live, what they want and what they need. Like parenting our children, we learn as we go, and the later ones benefit greatly from the mistakes made with the early ones. Now we are looking into designing a new chicken […]

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Discussion on Gear Evolution – Battle Belts, flexibility and plans

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Last week, MVT posted up a video talking through his current fighting gear / load bearing equipment, which includes a new chest rig made to his specs. It also includes a pretty cool first person run through a shooting scenario – worth paying attention here to pick up on some of the tactics/techniques that Max teaches.

The set up that Max shows here – a light battle belt and midweight chest rig is interesting in that it is a pretty significant shift from the heavy British Para-webbing style battle belt that he used to be a big advocate for–here’s the most recent example that I can find:

Image via MVT.

10-12ish mags, handgun, 4x canteen pouches on the back and a couple handgun pouches to round it out. We’ll call it a “British-style” battle belt for lack of a better name.

I toyed around with a British battle belt, similar to Max Velocity’s, through part of last year. Went cheap on the belt – got a Condor knock off and their harness, bought a few surplus USGI canteen pouches and used pouches that I had lying around to cobble one together.

Found a lot to like about it – way better load carrying ability and generally more comfortable / better mobility than a comparable weight of chest rig. Gives you the ability to carry a decent amount of food, a canteen, survival gear and a big IFAK, which can be a challenge using other load carrying gear. Good place to put your sidearm and good access to it. Easily adjusts to different weights of clothing, too.

After a bit of T&E, I ended up giving up on a British-style battle belt for my purposes, at least for the time being. Why?

The big deal breaker is operations in/around vehicles, and to a lesser extent moving through structures/room clearing. Canteen/utility pouches on the back and triple-thick mag pouches on the hips extends your width pretty significantly and you start having to turn sideways to get through doors, can’t sit in a normal car comfortably, etc.

Image via BPRE

There’s also no lighter/low threat profile to choose from with just the heavy belt. A lighter battle gives you the option of operating with just the lighter, more comfortable, lower profile belt on. Options and flexibility are good.

Of course, this isn’t exactly a revelation–Max’s heavier weight battle belts were a bit of an outlier in the tactical gear world. Folks have been running lighter battle belts in conjunction with a lighter chest rig or plate carrier mounted pouches for a while.

It looks like Max has arrived at a similar conclusion and ditched his big ol’ battle belt, at least for general use. In his recent write-up on the new chest rig featured in the video above, Max says:

I have most recently been settling on using a light battlebelt, which is comfortable enough to wear most of the time, augmented by a chest rig. I feel that this is the most practical application across operational environments; it works well for both dismounted operations, vehicle operations, and with or without armor.

This matches my own personal assessment after running a variety of gear – plate carriers with pouches directly attached, stand alone chest rigs of a variety of sizes, ‘British’ battle belt, etc.

I’m currently mid-process of re-building my kit to incorporate three different layers – light battle belt, chest rig and slick plate carrier. In conjunction with concealed carry/daily carry gear, these standalone pieces give you the flexibility of different profiles to address different situations. Slick plate carrier and CCW if anticipating potential trouble but need to maintain low profile. Light battle belt for running drills on the range or hunting. Throw it all together if the Nazi Zombies are at the front gates.

Chest rig and carrier are sorted out – HSP D3CR and a Velocity Lightweight Plate Carrier. I may down the line drop some coin on a custom rig from Extreme Gear Labs, designers of the D3CR, but generally the stock D3CR does what I need it to do. Looking forward to a couple of the enhancements HSP has in the works this year. The ability to directly attach the D3CR to the carrier, or run it as a standalone rig is money.

Battle belt is a work in progress – ideally want pistol, pistol mags x2, 2-3 rifle mags, dump pouch, IFAK, H2O of some variety, flashlight and multi-tool. Maybe comms, too. Not sure if I can manage all of that with the given real estate, but we’ll see.

Follow up posts/reviews are incoming.

In my experience, most people are continually tinkering with/adjusting their gear. Trying new things, incorporating new ideas or revisiting old ones. Travis Haley makes a big emphasis on preaching the importance of staying dynamic and adaptive…and at worst, adjusting and evaluating what you’re doing exposes you to different ideas and keeps you on your toes.

Interested to hear from the tribe – are you tinkering with your battle rattle? What gear ideas have you tried out recently and left by the wayside?

Common mistakes while bugging out

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trade post collapseBugging out is something that I once failed to do, because I did not even realize that it needed to be done, actually I saw what was happening but I did not „proccess“ the information in correct way, so I stay and had to go trough whole period of watching, doing, and getting hit by violence, together with being cold, hungry, sick and everything else.

Because bugging out is so important and survival done right is often not getting into survival situations in the first place I stress importance of bugging out (if you are not already live in great bug out location anyway)

Consider the following couple of mistakes that I witnessed (more than one time).

Right moment

Guy figured out that SHTF, something happening in the city, hears screams outside, shots, confusing news on TV, he rounds up his family, puts all bags in his car, they are armed and they go out in order to reach their bug out location in hills some 50 miles away.

After one mile of traveling angry mob who just plundering local mall stops the car, pull them out, and beat them, and then kill the guy, he managed to kill few of them before that, but they were hundreds.
He is dead. End of story.

If you woke up in the middle of the night, because something strange happens in your town, some event, maybe terrorist attack, or martial law put into effect or whatever, sit down and think for a moment.

Your mission is to leave the area and reach your bug out location, do not confuse that mission with any urge to panically run.
If you go into the panic you will make mistakes, and it is definetly not time for mistakes.

You would be surprised to know how many people are prone to panic, and how many of them end up dead because of that.

Try to gather some information, and act acordingly to that information, who, what, when, how long, where. Try to figure out what is happening before you start to bug out to your bug out location. What are problematic areas? Who is in control? You will never have perfect information but it is better than having no information at all. Speak to neighbors, listen to the radio and TV and look on Twitter and other social media.

Yes that often means you will need to postpone your trip, maybe for hours, or sometimes for even days. You need to choose the best moment to leave the area (if you already missed to leave the area before SHTF).

Right „way“

SHTF and family get in their pick up, with trailer full of good equipment for SHTF time.
They managed to go some 20 miles down the road, where few cars simply „get them“, block them and take everything from them. They manage to save their lives or maybe not. Who knows.

Real problem here is not having right and good equipment, and lots of it.
Real problem is that we are being constantly bombarded with information that we (preppers and survivalists) need to have right equipment (a lot) in order to survive. Because without it we are gonna end up dead.

We are being instructed that without „things“ we are lost, we are not even right survivalists.
So when SHTF we are becoming something like prisoners of our things.

Guess what? I am preparing myself to bug out in my sneakers, with pistol and plastic bag.
If I have to I will collect everything else what I need on my way to my bug out location.

Do not get me wrong, of course I have my bug out bag, my plans, and my useful stuff for trip to my bug out location, but the point is that I am really expecting that I will find myself in situation where I need to reach bug out location without all those things.

Do not accept philosophy that things will save your life. Things will help you to stay alive, but your (correct) mindset will mainly save your life.

Anyway, plan to have what you need at your bug out location (already prepared), do not rely too much on things while you are bugging out, you need to be able to get things done with minimal equipment that’s why skills are more important than equipment and in best case you have both.

Right mindset

One word-ADAPT.

If you are bug out plan plays out excatly like it should you are a very lucky man.
Consider the fact, that most of you are making plans to cover hypothetical SHTF scenarios, that you seen on TV shows, read about it somewhere, member of family went through somewhere, or simply you had couple of bad experiences. It is normal. We need to guess and it is best we can do.

You are building your plans based on that, nothing wrong with that. Except that everything may go wrong in one moment.

You have plan to go through the city from point A to point B then to point C etc, and then to reach safe point somewhere.

All good, but SHTF and your youngest son is still in school, your car is broken, and at point B in your plan something weird is happening, some kind of riot, let say with all chaos and confusion some trucks with money are rolled over right at your point B and now you need to find out a new way quickly, and your whole plan is gone, you do not know what to do.

Welcome to reality!

Reality usually likes to blow all your good plans to pieces.

But point of planning is to COVER as many problems as you can, so make sure you play through as many scenarios as possible.

For example if you have just one way out of the city it is bad plan, it needs backup and backup of the backup.

Prepare for the fact that your plan will be wrong right at the beginning, and that you need to make new plan very soon, (and couple of more new plans until you reach your bug out location.)
Do not end up dead because you wanted to stick to your plan because it looks good, while circumstances changed hourly around you. Survival is about quickly adapting to new situations. That is why it always helps to take a map and whatever else you need to have good sources of information to make new plans on the go.

These were just few of the most important things to consider when bugging out. How do you plan to bug out. Share in comments below or forum.

Make Fire in All Weather Conditions

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The ability to make fire in all weather conditions is an absolutely critical survival skill. Fire keeps us warm, it cooks our food, it boils our water for disinfection, and it lights up the night. On top of all that, there is a strong psychological element at work. When you’re lost and anxious, a good fire will help keep you calm.

In any survival kit, you should have multiple ignition devices. These are the things that get the fire started. Best options include strike anywhere matches, butane lighters, and ferrocerium rods. There are others, of course, including magnifying lenses, but if you have matches, lighters, and ferro rods and you still can’t get a fire going, you’re doing something wrong.

Next, you should have a quantity of ready-to-light tinder. Yes, there are many natural sources of tinder, such as birch bark, chaga, fatwood, seed pods, and the like. But, you can’t always count on finding it when you truly need it. Or, you might find plenty but it is sodden due to recent rains. It is best to have something with you, just in case. Search first for natural alternatives, so as to not use up your supply if you don’t have to do so. Options for tinder you carry with you include cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly, tinder tabs, Wet Fire cubes, and dryer lint. Keep this tinder in a plastic bag so it stays dry until you need it. Again, though, you should keep an ample supply and only use it when you can’t find tinder in the wild.

Making a FireWhen it comes time to lay your fire, think ahead. A common mistake is to not gather enough kindling and fuel right off the bat. The last thing you want to do is scramble around trying to find more sticks as your just lit fire fizzles out. Assemble a healthy pile of small twigs and larger branches, close enough for you to grab as needed, before even trying to light the fire.

When possible, I like to grab a slab of dry bark, peeled off a fallen log, and build my fire on that. This keeps things dry if the ground is wet. Plus, the bark is usually curled up a bit on the sides and if you place it properly, this will cut down on wind hampering your efforts.

There are many different methods for fire lighting, including building a bird’s nest with your tinder. What this entails is taking loose fibrous material like grass or shavings and tossing sparks into a hole you’ve made in the pile. This works very well in most situations. What I often do is to make a small pile of tinder and use kindling to build something like a teepee around it. I leave an opening in the teepee where I can insert the lighter, match, or where I can aim sparks from my ferro rod. As the tinder lights and burns, the small kindling will begin to catch. Slowly, so as to not smother the fire, add more kindling until it is all burning fairly briskly. Then, add thicker branches one at a time until everything is burning well.

There are many different types of fire lays, including the keyhole fire and the Dakota hole fire. Do your homework and learn some of them and find out the purposes behind their use. Every fire lay is used for certain things, such as cooking or just for warmth. But, no matter which fire lay you use, it all starts with ignition and tinder.

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Survive In The Woods With Your Every Day Carry

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What would you need to survive in the wilderness, at any time of the year? Could you carry it on your body, or what would you need to carry it all? Now that you have that in mind, imagine yourself as a 13 year old. Has your answer changed? This post contains affiliate links. In […]

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Lesson’s Our Family Learned Before, During, and After a Hurricane…..

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Look at what a tangle mess of mighty Pine Trees this photo has.  You may be wondering how that is possible.  The source actually has a name, and many of you may recall this name……Hurricane Hugo and my family experienced it first hand.  I was inspired to share our experience with you today because of a post by Food Storage Moms.

Preparedness Lessons Learned From Hurricane Hugo….

This photo shows you what it looked like all over our neighborhood.  Many of these mighty pine trees fell into the houses all along the coast and the central part of South Carolina.  That actually happened to many of our dear neighbors.  When we went outside to look at the aftermath, it was like those huge pine trees just cut through the homes like butter.  
Due to the blessing of technology, we knew that South Carolina was going to be hit….and hit very hard.  The Media was sharing a lot of information on how to be ready and safe during this destructive storm.  My husband I tried to shield my children from the constant stream of media…I didn’t want them to have unwarranted fear or anxiety.  Basically, I wanted them to be informed.  In actuality, we had put ourselves in a pretty good position to handle this or many other unexpected emergencies. We had food, water, fuel, tools, shelter….and SKILLS!  I can’t stress enough how important skills are.  You can have all the gear in the world, but without knowledge and practice, they really may not serve you well.  
As I was new to the “hurricane” preparedness aspect, I found that I had to purchase a few things that we did not have.  I packed up my baby, and drove to the local grocery store.  I was looking for tape to put on the windows so that if they broke, they would not shatter into little pieces but rather would hopefully stay as close to ‘one unit’ as possible. Also, my husband and I decided that we needed more batteries.  
I parked in a very full parking lot, took the baby out of the car seat, found a shopping cart, and wheeled toward the store.  I was not prepared for the scene inside the front doors.  There were people everywhere.  The shelves were basically empty.  It reminded me of a scene from “The Flintstones” when Betty and Wilma went to a big sale which ensued in total chaos.  Thankfully, the store had masking tape and batteries near the front of the store.  I grabbed what I needed and got in line to check out.  It took nearly an hour to get to a register.  I was amazed at the items people were purchasing.  I saw roasts, donuts, hamburger, candy etc. Many people had items that required refrigeration. I wondered why folks weren’t purchasing shelf-stable foods like Peanut Butter and bread.  However, as I crawled by the bread aisle…there was no bread to be found. After checking out, I started to drive home. At that point, the roads were packed with people. Some were attempting to leave and others were attempting to come into our area.
When I got home, the children were coming in the door as school was let out early due to the impending Hurricane.  All family members that were able went around the house and began taping the windows in a crisscross/star shape.  The kids thought it was pretty fun to put tape on the windows.  
Because our daughter was a baby, we had a ‘playpen’ (which people now call ‘pack-n-play’) in the kitchen. We started a basic ‘treasure hunt’. We put sleeping bags, board games, backpacks with clothing etc and portable foods in the ‘playpen’.  Our thought was that if we had to leave in a hurry, my husband could lash the playpen on the back of his truck (covered by a big tarp) and we could move quickly.  I need to let you know that my husband is a general contractor. His truck is like the clown car at the circus….stuff just keeps appearing out of it. He said it was our biggest preparedness asset…and I had no reason to doubt him.
When it came time for bedtime, we gave our children the option of sleeping on the main floor as their bedrooms were on the second floor. They wanted to sleep in their own beds, and if we felt things were getting a bit crazy, we would have gone upstairs and to get them.  If things did get too crazy, we had a safe place to go. Our home was built on a slope and we had ‘under-the house-storage’ that was a bricked-in area.  This was going to be our safe shelter if we need to access it.
On the news, we learned that the state had asked folks along the coast to evacuate and move to the central part of the state…which is where we were.  The USC stadium was being used as essentially a refuge camp. Folks were streaming into our area.
My husband and I did not sleep that night.  Not only were we trying to stay on top of things, but a hurricane is REALLY LOUD!  It really does sound like a Freight Train running through your home.  Add to that the loud explosions we heard from those mighty Pine trees breaking and cutting through other trees or homes near us.  (We did not have any large trees on our lot. My husband had them all removed before we built the house. I was so frustrated with him for doing it when we were building….but I was very thankful to him for his foresight when all the chaos was happening around us).  
We were listening to the radio all night.  I guarantee that some people were at their craziest when the hurricane actually hit.  People were calling into the radio station reporting that they were standing on ‘such and such’ corner of Charleston and watching roofs being torn off and big pieces of debris were flying right by them etc.  Really?  Who in their right mind would be out driving around during a Category 5 storm anyway?
During the night, our baby did wake up. We brought her into bed with us and she spent most of the night playing with our hair or poking our eyes.  This is another reason we did not sleep.  It became eerily quiet as the eye of the storm passed over, but the vengeance returned soon enough. 
In the morning, the phone rang. My parents were calling to see if we were still alive and well. Shortly thereafter, our young son came down and asked when the ‘huwicane’ was coming. Thank goodness all of our other children slept through the night….but I still don’t know how because it was sooo noisy.
This is what things looked like all over town.  We were without power for nearly a week.  We were the only ones in our area to still have water.  We had people calling to see if we had water to share.  We ended up giving our entire water storage away and as well as letting people come into our home to fill up their own containers and take them home.  I met the parents of many of the classmates of our children as my kids let it be known (by phone) that we had water.
As we were without power, we ate as much as we could from our freezer.  We had steak etc that we cooked on the gas grill out on our deck.  We used the refrigerator as a big giant cooler. The little bit of ice we had we put in there to keep things as cool as possible.  It didn’t last for the entire week, but we got a few days from it.
The kids played a lot of board and card games.  They also played outside on our swing-set and played some soccer. We used flashlights and lanterns in the house (the windows were open….because there was no air conditioning).  

Unexpected events….

We actually had friends call us and ask us for things. If we had it or could spare it, we did so willingly.  However, I was surprised by the boldness of some folks. People act unexpectedly during emergencies.  I remember fielding one call from folks we know.  Here is what they asked of us…. “Do you have a generator?  If you do, can we come and get it?”  I thought they were kidding…they weren’t. They were concerned about their freezer and refrigerator and did not seem to have any difficulty asking us for a generator….which we didn’t have at the time.  
Within a day, our Stake President (a local leader of many congregations in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) asked for as many men as possible to be ready to leave and go to the coast to help in the relief efforts.  This meant that as soon as the chainsaws in our area were able to clear the fallen trees from the roads, that my husband and our older son were going to leave for days to go and help those who were hit harder than we were.  
We made it a matter of prayer, they packed up and went.  The rest of us were totally fine.  We had food, water, old-fashioned entertainment, and a phone, which was my daughter’s life-line.  The photo above was taken by my husband miles from the coastline.  This powerful storm had lifted boats and yachts and dropped them inland by miles.  (Even 3 years after the storm, I still drove by big yachts that had been dropped into the middle forested areas that were too difficult to access and remove). 

Take Home Points:

  • We didn’t have a Generator….but we purchased one as soon as they were back on the shelves at our local store (for a reasonable price).  As you noted above, people were bold enough to ask to borrow one from us.  Also, you need to find a way to secure it to your home so that it cannot be stolen. Lots of things walked away during that time.  
  • We had too much of our Food Storage in our Freezer. We lost it all and it was very, very costly.  I now have a combination of frozen, canned, and dehydrated/freeze-dried foods in our food storage.
  • We had plenty of food to eat and had enough water to last us if we needed to live off from it. We also used our gas grill and our camp stove to prepare meals. Because we often went camping as a family, we all knew how and what to cook as if we were camping.
  • We had skills and tools to help ourselves and others.  My husband used his chainsaw to help free our neighborhood (along with others who had one as well).  He and my son did go to Charleston and helped repair roofs, close off open areas of homes, and help repair things that they could with the materials that were available.  
  • We had the opportunity to serve others in a time of need. We had water and we shared it. We also shared what was in our food storage and particularly our freezer.  One of our friends loaded up their truck with the contents of their freezer and went to a part of town where folks were in great need. They gave away their food to very grateful recipients.  We were able teach our children how blessed they were and also how to be of service to others.  
  • We learned to have 72 hour kits all put together. We were putting them together in anticipation of the storm with things that we already had. WE LEARNED not to do that in the future.  
  • Because we had water, hygiene was not as big of an issue as it could have been. We just has cold baths….which was a bit of a harsh reality. However, we were so grateful.  I had a baby and children for heaven’s sake!  I was fortunate that I had finished the laundry before the storm hit.  After the power came back on, we had a mountain of laundry to do.  I now have the means to clean clothes without power.  
  • Because we had water, we could use the toilets. That was a major plus from a hygiene standpoint.  
  • People do unexpected things during an emergency.  Many rise to the occasion, but others certainly do not.  There was looting, and individuals posing as repairmen who took advantage of folks who were desperate to get their homes back together.  Others sold items for inflated prices etc.  Even those you know and love may put their needs above yours and make inappropriate requests/demands.
  • You need to have cash on hand.  Have a variety of currency/cash on hand because you most likely will not get change back.  I would suggest a lot of $20.00, $10.00, $5.00, and many singles. Have coins as well.  I also suggest that you have other items to barter as well. Medications, food, water, etc. Some folks suggest liquor for bartering.  
  • Gas, keep your tanks at least half-full. The lines at the gas station were long when the power came back on and initially gas was rationed.  There were also a lot of abandoned vehicles on the side of the road that ran out of fuel. We knew that we had a shelter that was appropriate for us, so we sheltered in place.
  • Power:  We used a lot of batteries. Now we not only have batteries, but some solar options, and a Biolite wood buring campstove.  The solar and the Biolite can charge our electronics.  One requires sunlight and the other generates fuel from burning wood.  These two options offer us redundancy. 
  • Protection:  My husband has several weapons, and the oldest children and I knew how to shoot them.  My son’s had their own weapons and knew how to care for them. When my husband and oldest son were away, I knew how to use our weapons if I needed to. Thank heavens it was not required.
  • Entertainment:  We had a lot of board games and card games.  Although my children had a few electronic devices, they were not as available as devices are now.  I believe it is important to have a balance in the entertainment that your family is offered.  I love my technology….there is no question about that. However, as a family we were used to playing outside and playing boardgames together.  Although my kids did get bored and hot, they were so good to try to play and work together.
  • If we had to evacuate, we had the equipment, food, and supplies to do so. Our family is used to camping, so it would not have been a hardship for us.
So, learn from our experience. Now is as good of time as any to look at your Emergency Preparedness readiness.    Take inventory with your family.

How would you fare in such an emergency?

Sleeping Arrangements

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This last weekend was a huge push to get the bedroom completed.

I think we are just tired of the cramped space in our camper bedroom where as soon as you get out of bed, you are touching a wall and the ducking and dodging of getting through to the bathroom.

Jessie took the weekend off from college life to come up and help out, she is such a great hand.
Other family members also showed up to lend a hand and help out with the floor, insulation and ceiling. 

Around midnight Saturday we were done with everything except the trim. Candy decided she would help out by sitting there, supervising and pointing.

New mattress, new bedding and new pillows, we spent our first night in the new house last night.


It’s almost hard to believe this was my mower shed.

That empty corner there is now filled with Candy’s vanity and makeup stuff because the bathroom was built for me. She has a whole corner of a room to get ready and I have a sink and a little mirror. 

The two lofts will be for storage in case you were wondering and right there on the face of the loft will be where my TV is mounted.

Yesterday I finished the upstairs electric and this week we plan to finish the insulation up there plus get the walls on. Next week the tin on the ceiling and then the carpet. 

See ya then,

VIDEOS – People Saved By Guns

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Just a quick post today. Something I wanted to share. It’s a 3 video series. People Saved By Guns 3 videos of people protecting themselves and others. We usually hear only one side of this in the media. ______ Sponsored Links ______ _____________________________ Each video is worth watching. Time suck warning: You just might find yourself […]

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Using Your Bushcraft Knife for Self-Defense

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2015-04-08_0833_001Can your basic survival knife be used for self defense?All respectable survivalists and bushcrafters out there speak of tools and gear that serve multiple purposes.   However, can it be used adequately in a situation in which you are surviving an attack from another person?

Knives are excellent multi-use tools that can be used in just such a situation.  However, not all knives are equally made to be used in these situations.  First and foremost, you need a knife that if you are to employ it for your self-defense, it won’t bring harm to yourself.

You also need to know how to hold a knife so you do not lose your grip and drop it.

In this concise but useful video I go over these ideas to give  you a better understanding on how to grasp a knife if you are new to using it to defend yourself.  Please be advised we may cover more advanced gripping methods and uses in future pieces.  This video is intended to get you thinking outside of the box about your bushcraft knife.

Come on, join in, let’s learn together!

Comprehenisve 72 Hour Kit

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As promised here is the list of my recommended 72 hour kit supplies. Mind you, this isn’t the minimalistic 72 hour kit. This is the “rolling” one. By all means, if you have something to add to the list or have questions as to why a particular item is on the list, simply leave a comment.

Basic 72-hour Emergency Kit (*This is a list of ONLY the Basics)


Leather gloves…

Robert Richardson Author Interview

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Sometimes a single idea can change everything. When that happens, I devour everything I can find from its source. Today I’m talking with author Robert Richardson. With over 20 years of real-world experience in survival and preparedness, and helping to train others to survive, Robert brings a fresh perspective to the events and threats that […]

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Survival Snare Traps and Field Expedient Tools

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2015-04-07_1144_001The name of the game in survival trapping is numbers.  You must get a lot of traps out in order to increase your chances of catching animals.  I have seen a few students come into our classes who are sometimes on the anal side of things (I say that lovingly by-the-way) that want to spend a great deal of time cutting notches and cuts and similar on trap setups.

The more time you spend doing this sort of thing, the more time you are not setting up actual traps.  We are interested in getting more traps out, than making the perfect, easy-on-the-eye snare triggers.

I remember growing up and setting up snares for my dad.  We raised hogs on our family farm and we had an issue with wild dogs running in the area at one point.  These were definitely not pets.  To get to the hog lot you had to walk back a hollow for about half a mile and there were several gates and fence crossings along the way.  I distinctly remember my dad telling me to set some snares up one day to catch these dogs because they had gotten in the hog lot and killed some of our piglets.  Those piglets were going to be food in the coming years.

I was embarrassed to tell him that I did not really understand snares all that well.   I had mostly watched him and my uncle put them out and not paid enough attention.  So I did not say anything at all.  I took a bunch of bailing twine out of the back of the square bailer and started setting up snare traps as best I knew how.  I hooked them to trees and fences and bushes and everything else that I could find tracks nearby.

I suppose what I am saying is that I really did not have a lot of practice catching wild dogs.  Most of my trapping up to that point in my life was done with box traps on rabbits.

Suffice it to say my setups were terrible, they were not pretty, and the would never pass muster for many of these expert Youtube trappers.  However, they were successful.  I helped to eliminate the problem dogs that were killing and stealing my food.

I share that with you and this video to show you some expedient ways to setup traps more quickly so you have the numbers on your side.  You can also find links to purchase your own survival snares similar to what you see in this video at the following links:

Get yourself some paracord at this link:

Get yourself some survival snares here:

As always, come on, join in, let’s learn together!



Start A Fire 7 With Unusual Items

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Prepping 101 – What’s the ONE most important skill for a prepper? Knowing how to start a fire (and keep it going) is the most important preparedness skill you can have. It covers so many of the greatest, most urgent threats to your life when SHTF. Here are 7 ways to start a fire with unusual, often […]

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Easter, Smoked Pork Roast

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We don’t usually eat pork roast on Easter. We always eat ham on Easter but money was a bit tight this week and I had two pork roasts in the freezer already and just couldn’t see worrying about buying a ham. I did want it to be a very good pork roast though, so we got out the smoker and, starting at about 9:30 this morning, we put it in and smoked it with apple chips.

The picture looks rather ugly but the smell was absolutely wonderful and so was the taste! I still think that smoker was one of the best purchases we ever made.
For dessert I had a cake, of course. It did not turn out as nice as I would have liked as I had a problem with the cream cheese frosting being too soft for decorating but it is a carrot cake and it was very, very good.

I hope your Easter is turning out just as nice as ours. The only thing that would make it better would be if they boys could be home.

In other news, all the chicks are doing great. The meat birds will soon have to move to an even larger cage though I don’t know where I will put them.

We also have a new addition to our family. This is Suzette (Suzie).

The local shelter had some dogs at Tractor Supply last weekend when we went in and Suzie was in a pen with her brother. They were the only two left of a litter. She is 11 weeks old when we got her (making her 12 weeks old today).  She was a bit too thin (hip bones sticking out) and smaller than her brother..she may have been the runt..but she has put on a little weight just this week so you no longer see her hip bones. She is a very happy busy little puppy who loves to chew up wires (we are learning to try to get all the cords and wires out of her reach but she still finds them). Our other dogs are not real fond of her. Romeo and Scooter tolerate her better than Echo does which we found surprising since Echo wanted puppies so bad that she adopted the chicks but even Echo is getting better with her. She loves to play with any of the cats who will play with her (some of the younger ones will) and it is funny to see her chase them and them chase her back.

Anyway, here’s wishing you all a lovely Easter!

Book Review – Z Chronicles: Surge of the Dead by A.L. White

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I have been focusing a lot on history and how-to type books lately. My book reviews have also become a little more scarce due to my busy schedule. Every now and then, I feel the need to put seriousness aside and indulge in a little guilty pleasure. Zombies! Author A.L. White did a great job … Continue reading

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Homemade Canned Baked Beans

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Canned baked beans are one of those ultimate convenience foods. Open, stick in a spoon and eat. Well, most of us heat it up, but many bachelors will tell you that that is optional. And they’re cheap. But do you know what is cheaper? Canning your own. Dried navy beans are incredibly inexpensive. And although […]

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