Before you buy a gun | Here are some things to think about

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Few actions require more fore-thought than purchasing a firearm. But more important than the style, caliber, action and size is the reason for buying  one in the first place. Why do you want a firearm? Do you really need it?  Would you be better off without a gun? You might be surprised.

by Leon Pantenburg

For me, owning firearms was never a consideration. I come from a long line of hunters and shooters, and some of our firearms have been passed down for generations. I grew up on an Iowa farm, and all my peers hunted. Some of my first memories include my dad teaching me gun safety and how to shoot. The first item I saved up to buy was a Ruger 10/22 rifle.

These three long guns are good, reliable choices for the beginner with no experience.

The Ruger 10/22 (top), Remington 870 pump action shotgun and Remington 700 bolt action rifle are good choices for the beginner. (Leon Pantenburg photo)

In my Dad’s locked gun cabinet were firearms of many configurations, ranging from pistols to shotguns. Dad, a World War II infantryman, had an M1 Carbine, and a couple loaded magazines. That was the weapon he reached for when things went bump in the night on the farm. I never occurred to me to use that M1 “assault rifle” with the extended magazines (sometimes referred to as clips) to do harm to anyone.

But suppose you have no firearms background whatsoever, and are considering buying one. Let’s say you are concerned about self defense, and want to be able to protect yourself and your family during a potential disaster or emergency. As a side benefit, you may want to eventually get into hunting, or think it might be a good idea to learn how to shoot accurately.

Buying a firearm is not something to take lightly. Here are some of my opinions, based on experience, that will hopefully impact your decision process.

  • I support the National Rifle Association and believe in the Second Amendment right to bear arms. But I don’t think everyone should own a firearm! Anyone unwilling to invest the necessary time to become proficient with a firearm, could become a danger to himself or others. If you are mentally unstable, a convicted felon or otherwise impaired from the responsible use of a firearm, you should not have one.
  • Before you buy any firearm, take a gun and/or hunter safety course or a concealed weapons class, even if you don’t intend to carry concealed. There are many educational opportunities available, and contacting the sheriff or local Fish and Game Department is a good way to locate a class. Have a safe, secure place to store the firearm and ammunition before you go shopping.
  • Why are you buying a gun? Self defense? Hunting? Recreation? Target shooting? Learn the differences between firearms – a .38 caliber snubbie for self defense will not work very well for deer hunting. And that scoped, bolt action hunting rifle might not be the best choice to repel intruders inside your apartment.

Here are some things to think about as part of the gun-buying decision process:

Where will you secure the gun? Owning a gun that can’t be stored safely is irresponsible, and in my mind, is a good reason NOT to have one.

A firearm is neither good nor evil. It is an unthinking machine until someone picks it up and decides how it will be used. Possessing a gun won’t keep you safe. Like anything, you must develop the skills to use the weapon.

A semi-automatic weapon, with  high capacity magazine, does not make the best self defense weapon. Large capacity magazines encourage a lot of “spray-and-pray” IMHO, and the only shots that count are the ones that hit the intended target.

A few years ago, I interviewed U. S. Marine Kyle Thompson of La Pine, OR. Thompson had just come back from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he had served on Recon teams. The Marines, all of whom were sniper school graduates, were frequently dropped in Taliban territory to track down terrorist bands and help defend isolated villages.

With any weapon at their disposal, Thompson said the Marines frequently relied on the bolt action, .308-caliber M-24 scoped sniper rifle. The Taliban were armed with

My Remington 700 in 7 mm magnum caliber is my choice as an elk hunting rifle, but it is not the best choice for an overall self defense weapon.

My bolt action Remington 700 in 7 mm magnum caliber is my favorite elk hunting rifle. It is not the best choice for an overall self defense weapon.

fully-automatic AK-47s. A common ambush situation, Thompson said, was that a Taliban terrorist would open up on a patrol and empty a 30-round magazine in a continuous burst. The Marines could stay out of AK range and respond with a M-24. Results were predictable.

Probably the most important self-defense question is this: Are you willing to kill someone to keep yourself or loved ones safe? This question needs to be answered honestly before you go any further on the self-defense firearms purchasing path.

In his book On Killing Lt. Col. Dave Grossman argues that many people could not kill someone, even when threatened with lethal force. Killing from a distance, Grossman writes, such as artillery or  bombing, can be relatively easy. But a close encounter, where you can see the other person and witness the affects of pulling the trigger, he comments, can be extremely difficult for most people.

Brigadier General S.L.A Marshall discovered this in surveys of combat military personnel.

“In World War II, only 15 to 20 percent  of combat infantry were willing to fire their rifles. In Korea, about 50 percent,” Marshall writes. “In Vietnam, that figure rose to more than 90 percent.”

If trained military people have problems pulling a trigger during combat, what will your chances be?  Your unwillingness or inability to use your gun under dire circumstances could cause you to be disarmed. Then you have armed a perpetrator.

If your mind in not made up on these points, don’t buy a gun. It will do you no good, and may cause harm.

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Prepping Without Clutter: Can it Be Done?

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When my husband was in the military (which feels like many moons ago, though in reality, it was just a few years), we lived in a medium-sized townhouse. We had a little pantry and a garage and more cupboards than I knew what to do with. It was easy to convert our upstairs walk-in closet into a survival room, complete with food storage, extra clothes, and emergency supplies. I had shelves and books and first aid kits and flashlights. I had food and laundry detergent and candles and all sorts of amazing, wonderful prepping things.

Then he got out of the military and we moved to a little 2-bedroom apartment halfway across the country.

Suddenly, we were pressed for space and couldn’t store as much as we used to.

This raised the question, “How can we prep without clutter?”

When you’re living in a small space, you can certainly still prep. You’ll have to be creative, though, and you may not be able to store as much as your prepping-counterparts who have large houses or land. There’s nothing wrong with prepping in small spaces. You can absolutely still do it. You will have to think outside of the box though and you’ll have to make some tough choices.

For example, how much of a food storage do you need? At one point, we had enough food to last a few months. When we moved, we were lucky to be able to store three weeks’ worth of food. Consider sitting down with your spouse or partner and talking about how much you actually want and need to store. In reality, most families will be fine with a one-month food storage. If you’re planning to be without power or access to a store for longer than that, you may need to start thinking about getting out of dodge, to be honest.

In addition to storing less, you can also store smarter. Remember: you don’t need an extra room for prepping. You can easily store gallons of water in a linen closet or extra flashlights under the bed. You can get a hurricane or tornado box and fill that up with supplies, then store it in your child’s closet behind the pile of toys.

The biggest thing to remember when you’re trying to do no-clutter prepping is that you can’t compare yourself to other people. There will always be someone better, more prepared, or more organized than you. So what? Good for them! Worry about making your own house perfect for you and your spouse and forget what anyone else thinks. What matters is that you prep in a way that makes sense for your family.

Automobile Survival Kit

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One Veteran’s choice of items

[Nyerges is the author of “How to Survive Anywhere” and other books. He has been leading survival classes since 1974. To learn about his books and classes, contact School of Self-Reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or]

Everyone has an opinion about what constitutes a “survival kit.” Most backpacking stores provide you with a very specific list of what you should have in your personal survival kit, but that list is based upon what they want to sell you, not necessarily what you need. In fact, there is no “final word” on survival kits. The best ones are custom-made to fit your personal needs, in the situations dictated by the weather and your travel patterns.

All that said, here are the details of one man’s automobile survival kit.

Mark Tsunokai is a 26 year veteran of the Army who specialized in light infantry and chemical warfare. He had two tours in Kuwait and one in Iraq.

He showed me the two plastic containers in the back of his pickup, which he always carries. He explains how his military experience influenced both his choice to always carry a survival kit in the truck, as well as his choice of items.

“Most of the military and civilian jobs I’ve had were quite a ways from home, especially when I was living in San Diego,” says Tsunokai, who realized that he should always be ready for a breakdown or other disruption. His military background taught him that he could not always expect an immediate resupply or backup, and he should be prepared to handle a situation by himself. And since he often trained in austere situations, he attempted to select gear that had as many uses as possible.


Tsunokai’s “kit” consists of two plastic boxes and one day pack, which he calls his “get home” bag.

All the contents of this box could be purchased for about $150 to $200.

In here, he carries the gear that everyone in a car should have just to take care of the expected needs of travel. He has jumper cables, road flares, and gloves. He carries chains, since sometimes he is in snow country. He also carries a bag of kitty litter, which he has found gives him a bit more traction when stuck in the snow.

In this box, he also carries a black bag which he purchased as a unit (for about $70.).
It includes some smaller auto gear, such as a can of Seal-a-flat, reflector tape, rags, and a little compressor to give air to the tires.

This box weighs about 45 pounds, and all of it cost less than $100.

He carries an original Esbit stove with fuel and a cooking pot. For those unfamiliar with Esbit, this is a folding stove that folds down when not in use to about the size of a pack of playing cards. He carries a gallon of water, and two Mountain House entrees. He carries a spare fuel can, a large outdoor blanket, a Gerber multi-tool, a folding shovel, and a large cloth signaling panel.

We’ve all heard of a “bug out” bag, right? That’s the bag you grab in an emergency so can evac out to who knows where. Tsunokai carries a far-more realistic bag, what he calls the “get home” bag.

It’s a North Face black pack. “I chose this particular pack because it’s less boxy, but tall and narrow,” explains Tsunokai. “If I had to abandon my vehicle, I’d put on this pack to get home.”

It seems like there’s a lot in this pack, but it only weighs 22 pounds.

Here’s a list of what’s in his “get home” pack.

A roll of first aid tape.
Two of the latest military combat bandages, cost about $6 each.
A Sawyer First Aid kit, about $20.
Toilet paper.

One large military space blanket, which he’s used many times in the Mohave Desert. This one is also noisy and shiny (like most “space blankets” so it is used only in non-tactical situations.
A yellow bivvy sack (to cover a sleeping bag), about $20.
Cheap one-dollar poncho.
About 5 yards of para cord.
A large roll of duct tape.

A Gerber folding knife
A Gerber mini-ax (about $30)
A Gerber multi-tool (about $30)
A Gerber backpacking saw (about $15)
A Ka-Bar knife (about $45)
(Hey, do you think Tsunokai likes Gerber products?)

A Pelican M6 lithium LED flashlight, with two spare batteries, about $50
A dynamo pump flashlight
Three light-sticks, which provide about 8 hours of light each.

Spare eye glasses
Pair of socks, military wool
Pair of gloves, military wool
One scarf, military wool
Sun hat, orange red on one side as a distress sign.

One full MRE meal and a heater
Two Mainstay energy bars
One Datrex energy bar, the type used on life boats)
The Datrex product is designed specifically so you don’t get too thirsty eating it, and the packaging is heat-resistant. It is Coast Guard-approved.

Eight 4.2 ounce retort pouches of water
Safewater water filter, carbon based. Costs about $20.

Playing cards with survival tips on one side
The Air Force Survival Manual. Tsunokai chose this publication because it contains all the basics, is printed on waterproof paper, and has text that is easy to read.
A compact New Testament.

“You Can Survive,” which is a mini-survival kit in a can that someone gave to him.
A Deluxe Tool Kit, made by Ultimate Survival, consisting of a signaling mirror, a Blastmatch, a whistle, and a wire saw.

Tsunokai points out that his survival kit is not static, and that if something doesn’t meet his expectations in the field, he will get rid of it and try something else. Also, some things expire and must be replaced. The light sticks, for example, should be changed at least every 5 years. Food, water, and some first aid items must also be periodically checked and replaced.

Tsunokai also carries along a two quart bladder canteen, which is collapsible when not in use. This can be obtained at a surplus store. With the canteen, he carries iodine pills for water purification.

“How can you test if the iodine pills are still good?,” Tsunokai asks. He pulls one out and shows it to me. “If it’s a steel gray color – like this – it’s still good.” When the pills turn brown, they are no longer good, he explains. In time, or when exposed to air, the pills will stick together, or get crumbly, and should be replaced.

Carrying these items in his vehicle has given Tsunokai peace of mind when traveling around. He doesn’t generally tell people that he carries these things around, but his friends who know about it think it’s a good idea.

Grumblings and Goals

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Well, glad that 2015 is done and over with. Some good, some not so good. Got stronger from lifting heavy things. Built Project AR-2015. Had some good friends move from across the country and live by us. New Mad Max was awesome; new Star Wars was pretty good, too.

Didn’t make the progress that I wanted to make on a number of fronts, and took steps back in several areas. That always sucks, but we do what we can.

Given the current state of the country and world, should likely be pessimistic about 2016 shaping up a whole lot better, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to start off a year expecting it to be a crap fest.

I haven’t really written down any goals for the year; we’ve got family goals of moving to a new house and improving our general financial situation (thanks again, 2015). Wifey has signed herself up for replenishing/expanding our food storage.

Personal goals? Well, let me hash those out now.

First goal is to get new laptop. My current laptop has been in warranty repair limbo since November. Should be resolved by next week, hopefully with a check in the mail to me to purchase a replacement.

Strength training has been a big personal focus for me since I got my equipment in August. Today, I found the notebook I used to track my lifts for the first month, which was cool to see the progress that I’ve made over the course of the past several months.

I started up Wendler’s 5/3/1 in December, and have been enjoying the program quite a bit. The focus on setting new PRs and progressing every session gives a great sense of accomplishment.

Currently planning on running 12 cycles of 5/3/1 over the course of the year, which would (on paper) give me +60 pounds to bench press and overhead press (upper body) and +120 pounds to squat and deadlift (lower body). There about those increases would put my lifts into respectable territory…nothing to brag about, but at least into intermediate territory.

Goal: Foreseeing some complications over a 12 month period, a goal of +50 pounds to upper body lifts, and +100 pounds to lower body lifts by the end of the year.

Loads of people have been clamoring for the book…and I am re-arranging some things to make it a priority this year and have the support of the family to dedicate the needed time to it. If you haven’t read the novel I wrote up for the blog, you can check out You Took Away Tomorrow by clicking here…can’t believe that it wrapped up back in ’13. Yikes.

There are lots of good tales out there these days; I am aiming for something a bit different that I think will stand out from the crowd. Stay tuned.

Goal: Novel on Amazon by end of the year (or sooner).

Gear wise…nothing huge. Plan to upgrade my CCW rig and get some new plates. Otherwise, mostly plan to focus on updating and restocking some of the current gear/kits and expanding stores of consumables…food, fuel, ammo and so on.

Long shots would be some NFA fun — SBR and suppressor, or a set of night vision. I may try to get some budget NODs together as a fun project…pieced together depending on deals for a tube and parts. Not holding my breath on those.

That should get me to a good start for the year.

How about you guys–what are your goals for the year?

What are the Best Augers for Ice Fishing? Hand & Power Auger Reviews for 2016:

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Best Ice Augers For FishingBreak out your parkas and your winter fishing gear – the days of leisurely kayak fishing on a lake by yourself or your favorite fishing partner are over for the season.  Don’t fret though, fly fishing season will be back soon enough later in the year.

The good news is that this opens up lots of opportunity for one of our favorite types of fishing – Ice fishing!  While leaning to ice fish is an aquired taste that not every fishing enthusiast will dive into, we feel that there’s loads of fishing opportunity out there for the taking.

As with any type of fall/spring/summer conditions, you want to make sure you have the most appropriate type of gear for your expedition and ice fishing is no different.  Today we talk about our favorite Augers in 2016.

Outside of a communication device to use in the event of an emergency, there is no piece of equipment more critical for the ice fisherman than an ice auger.

You travel a good ways to go out on the ice, and you want to put the hole in quickly with a reliable piece of gear that won’t give out on you in the middle of drilling.

You have a lot of choices given the apparent simplicity of a piece of equipment designed for drilling holes.

How do you choose an ice auger for fishing? It all comes down to three choices: human powered versus horsepowered, fuel choice, and blade size.   Below we list our top 5 in a comparison chart for your review and get even more detailed in our featured reviews afterwards.

Let’s drill down and see what’s what.

Our Comparison Chart:

Image: User Reviews: Type: Rating: Price:
Eskimo Mako 43cc with 10-Inch Quantum Ice Auger Power $$$
ION 40V Max Electric Ice Auger, 8 Inch, with Reverse Power $$$$
Eskimo High Compression 40cc Propane with 10-Inch Quantum Ice Auger Power $$$
Strike Master Ice Augers Lazer Hand Auger, 5-Inch Manual/Hand $
Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger, 8-Inch Manual/Hand $

How to Choose an Ice Auger for Ice Fishing:

The first thing to decide when purchasing an ice auger is whether to pick a manual auger or a powered model. The selection comes down to how many holes you plan to drill, the speed with which you want to drill them, and the thickness of the ice.

Should you choose a Hand Auger?

 Why wouldn’t you want to just select a powered auger? Weight. If you’re fishing in a remote location or one that’s not particularly easy to get into, a hand auger is a good choice.

It’s a third as heavy as a powered auger. Plus, if you’re fishing early in the season when the ice is not so thick, and if you’re not drilling more than a few holes, a hand auger will do the job. It’ll certainly warm you up.

Another reason to select a hand auger is the price. You can find a great hand auger that’ll set you back less than $75. A good powered auger easily cost you three times as much. If you’re on a budget, go with the hand auger until you can afford a powered model.

The hand auger is also a good choice if you are an occasional ice fisherman (is there such a beast?). There’s no reason to spend the money on a powered auger if you’re going out once a winter.

Note, too, that if you’re fishing for large species and need that 10” hole, the hand auger is not the right choice for your situation.

Should you choose a Power Auger?

For many ice fishermen, powered augers have completely replaced the hand auger. They have become extremely reliable and, if you fish a lot on hard water and weight/portability is not an issue, the powered auger is the only way to go.

There are four power sources for powered augers: two-stroke, four-stroke, propane, or battery.

Two-stroke engines have been used to run power augers for years. They run on a mixture of gas and oil, a reliable choice and, until recently, the only real choice available.

For speed they’re unbeatable But with new technologies and designs, the two-stroke is seeing some competition because it’s higher maintenance and can be more difficult to start than other choices.

Four-stroke engines require much less maintenance and are much easier to operate than a two-stroke. The newest four-strokers cut the ice as well as a two-stroke, and some run on propane as well.

Cutting the ice is cleaner with a four-stroke, just as fast, and they don’t produce the kind of smoke you get with a two-stroke. The downside is they’re more expensive than other options.

The propane-driven ice auger has become extremely popular the last couple of years. It’s lower maintenance, easy to clean, and quieter than the two- or four-stroke engines. Propane-driven models are easy to start and have a lot of power.

Electric ice augers are convenient and, with the new lithium batteries, are quiet and efficient. If you’re drilling in a wheel-house, you won’t find a cleaner source of power. The silence with which they operate is a huge factor at first ice.

Auger Blade Types & Choices:

Ice augers come in a variety of sizes, with the 8” and 10” being the ones most commonly used. Blade size choice comes down to the size of the fish species you’re after. The larger hole is going to give you better performance in the long run.

Making sure your blades are sharp is critical when you’re heading into a new fishing season. The regularity with which you change blades is all about how many holes you drill – no surprise there, right?

You can sharpen or replace your blades, and there are sharpening jigs available, though it’s inexpensive to have a pro do it for you. It’s easy to change an auger blade, easy enough that you can do it at home or in the field.

Can I add accessories to my Auger?

We’d be remiss if we didn’t say something about accessories for your auger. The number one accessory? An auger blade extension.

The last thing you want to have happen is be out fishing in March when the ice is the thickest and discover you don’t have enough length to complete the hole. Good luck finding an extension when that happens.

No, you’ll want to have an extension on hand before you hit the heavy ice.

The other thing you’ll want to consider is getting a cover for the power head if you’re using a powered auger. Cold weather makes plastic brittle, so a cover will protect the plastic components. It will also protect the exhaust.

The Top 5 Recommended Ice Augers for Ice Fishing:

Eskimo Mako Quantum 43cc Power Ice Fishing Auger:

Eskimo Quantum 43cc Power Ice Fishing AugerThis Eskimo Mako comes with a 10-inch auger that’s 42-inches long. With a 30:1 gear ratio, it’ s going to cut through any ice you’re facing this winter without breaking a sweat.

It runs on a high-performance, 8000 RPM Viper engine and is easy to operate. It features a fingertip throttle control and foam-grip handlebars. The dual Quantum blades are replaceable.

The Mako starts right up in cold weather. It’s not going to win a speed contest, but it’s slow, steady, and persistent.

The 42-inch auger cuts through the thick ice so well you’ll be tempted to drill more just for the heck of it. It’s easy to keep upright, too, and runs very smoothly.

As with any gas powered auger it takes a few holes to break in, but it is a workhorse that will serve you extremely well for years to come.

ION 40V Max Electric Ice Auger, 8 Inch, with Reverse:

Ion 40V Max Electric AugerBehold the electric ice auger! Ion’s 40V Max Electric is a surprisingly high-performance beast, featuring an 8-inch auger that’s 34 inches long.

A 12-inch extension is included, bringing the auger length to 46 inches. At a measly 21 pounds, the Ion is lightweight and easy to carry. It’s easy to operate, too, thanks to the wide-spaced handlebar design and large trigger. A battery charger is included.

It really can drill holes as well as a gas auger, too. You will need to keep the battery warm on extremely cold days when you aren’t using it – keep it in the shack or in your pockets and it will be fine.

The lithium ion battery lasts a long time, much longer than you’d think. You should be able to drill 30 to 40 two-foot-deep holes on a single battery charge (Ion specs it at 40 holes.) This electric auger has a reverse feature, too, which is a plus.

Eskimo High Compression 40cc Propane with 10-Inch Quantum Ice Auger:

Eskimo High Compression 40ccWith a high-compression, 40cc, 4-stroke engine, and a 10-inch auger that’s 42 inches long, you are going to be the envy of every other fisherman on the ice with this Eskimo.

It features an auto-prime fuel system, too, so you simply flip the switch to ON and start drilling. The beauty of the Eskimo High-Compression Propane auger is that it is both lightweight and powerful.

With its high compression ratio, this auger eats ice like butter, and it’s a dependable piece of equipment.

It’s easy to pull start this beauty, too, and is available at a very good price. In practice, a single 1lb tank of propane should drill around 100 holes before changing. It will chew through the ice with no effort at all.

It has plenty of power for even the thickest ice, and with no gas fumes it is a perfect choice for indoor drilling.

Strike Master Ice Augers Lazer Hand Auger:

Strike Master Ice Augers Lazer HandYou’re going to be surprised at how quickly the Strike Master Lazer hand auger puts the hole in the ice. It features chrome-alloy stainless steel blades, powder coated paint to reduce ice build-up, and an ergonomically designed handle with soft rubber grips.

The handle adjusts from 48 to 57 inches, so it accommodates various ice thicknesses and fisherman heights. It’s a precision instrument that’s faster than you would expect it to be.

You’re not going to want to use any hand auger on holes that are bigger than 6 inches unless you are in excellent shape or have a helper on hand.

That said, the Lazer blades on this hand auger do a fantastic job – it is fully capable of enabling you to cut through 15” of ice in about a minute. It cuts smoothly, and makes a nice backup for your powered auger, too.

If you need something portable and you are fishing for sunfish or perch, this is a perfect hand auger.

Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger:

Srike Master Mora HandIf you plan to hike in and fish, then this Strikemaster Mora hand auger is perfect for the job. It features high alloy carbon steel blades and powder coated paint to reduce ice build-up just like its big brother, the Lazer.

Soft rubber grips and ergonomically designed handle system make this hand auger a joy to use. The adjustable handle goes from 48” to 57”. Its two-piece design makes it easy to transport and store. Comes with a blade guard.

The Mora is an impressive ice auger that drills quickly and effectively. It’s worth purchasing the adaptor for use with a drill, but unless you plan on drilling a dozen or so holes you’ll likely find the auger alone does a fantastic job.

It takes very little effort to operate and does extremely well with 6” holes. The 8” version cuts through ice like butter, too, though it will give you a workout if the ice is fairly thick.

Wrap Up:

Ice fishing is one of the most exciting times of the year for any angling enthusiast and we feel it’s a great experience to try out as long as you have proper guidance and take proper care during your first expedition.

Seasoned Ice fishers know that this sport is more dangerous than traditional lake, river or stream fishing and as such, we always recommend that you tap into any resources that you have to get someone with a high level of experience in ice fishing before braving the cold on your own.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our breakdown of one of the most critical pieces of gear for any serious ice fisher.  If there’s a model we missed that you feel belongs in our list, please feel free to let us know by dropping a line in our comments section.

The post What are the Best Augers for Ice Fishing? Hand & Power Auger Reviews for 2016: appeared first on Wilderness Today.

Awesome Prepper Websites

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The preparedness community is growing.  Defining oneself as a Prepper, Homesteader, or Survivalist is a growing trend.  However, emergency preparedness and self-reliance information has been around a long time.  There are a lot of awesome prepper websites and blogs that can help get you ready for anyRead More

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One Step Closer to Major Middle Eastern War between Iran and Saudi Arabia

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Readers of Last Minute Survival are well aware that I have been correctly predicting for years the progression of events in the Middle East toward a total regional conflagration. Speaking

Technology and Survivalists

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cash One thing I’ve noticed in the past is that every time I’ve really needed technology the most is when it let me down.  I was thinking about this the other night after my cell phone shut itself down never to start again.  I happened to be on call that night for work and in order to dial into the company network I need to have security software that ran on my phone.  No phone, no network.  It got me thinking about the other times I’ve really needed some kind of technology only to have it fail and leave me twisting in the wind.

By Jarhead Survivor, a contributing author SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

For example, not long ago I was in Canada and needed to use my debit card to book a hotel room.  My little boy was with me and cranky after being in the car for so long and when I gave them the card it was declined.  I had plenty of money in the account, it just wouldn’t accept the card.  So I pulled out my laptop to connect to the wifi to see what was going on and when I went to my bank site the online banking was down.  Lucky for me my dad was traveling with me and loaned me enough money to book the room, but to say I was feeling stressed is an understatement.  Carrying large amounts of cash is a little more difficult to do these days, but a lesson I learned here is that it’s a good idea to have at least a few hundred dollars on me to cover emergencies like this.  Lesson learned.

Another time years ago when I was in the service we were running fire missions on the new (at the time) ballistic computers.  I was the Fire Direction Control (FDC) Chief and still carried an old fashioned plotting board.  We’d been in the field practicing shooting for a couple of weeks when the batteries started to die.  We were setting up to shoot on a Saturday when my computer suddenly quit.  Oops.  We’d gone through all the batteries and there were none left in the battalion!  So we had three mortar declination diagramplatoons set up to fire and no computers.  I whipped out my old plotting board without telling anybody and plotted all the information on it while the CO and everybody else was freaking out.

Admittedly I was a little rusty, but I ran through a few dry fire missions and was pretty confident I could shoot the mission.  I told the CO to give me a round of HE (High Explosive) and shot it from our center gun.  It was pretty close and with a few adjustments I was able to shoot the whole platoon.  Success!  But then the commanders from the other platoons showed up wondering how the hell we were shooting and when I showed them the plotting board (ancient technology by that point) they were duly amazed.  Pretty soon I was shooting three platoons off the plotting board – something I’d never done before.

Data Storage

solar generatorOne of the greatest things about computers is their capacity for storage.  I love the fact that I can store a thousand books on a USB drive the size of a quarter, but I hate the fact that it runs on electricity.  I have a bunch of paper books in my library that will be of great benefit if things ever go south, but admittedly I have more stored on an electronic USB hard drive.  I also have a solar panel hooked to a deep cycle battery with an inverter so that I can charge electronics if I need them.  I’ve used it to charge phones and tablets as well as to power LED lights during power outages and it’s been rock solid for years.

If you do have something saved on computer storage make sure you the means retrieve it if you need it.  Having a laptop with no way to charge it would be a pretty sad situation to be in if the power went out for good.  I would suggest keeping your most critical documents and books in hard copy somewhere that you can get to.  A strong enough EMP or Carrington type event will theoretically render most delicate electronics useless

Compass vs GPS

Here’s one that every one of you knows to be true:  when the SHTF and you need to bug-out, knowing how to read a map and compass could save your life.  But I’d be willing to bet less than 10% of you reading this could reliably navigate through the woods on a point to point course.  Here’s a small test of your knowledge:  do you know how to adjust for the Grid/Magnetic angle in your area?  Do you know what it is?  If you can’t answer this question point to point land navigation will be impossible for you.  You’ll be able to go from road to road or other big targets, but a destination like a field or building would be difficult at best for you to find when pulling information from a map to use on your compass.

Is GPS a bad thing?  Not at all.  I love GPS.  It takes the guess work out and I like to use my phone to navigate when I’m out hiking.  But here’s a couple of things I’ve observed over the past couple of years:  one time I was hiking in the woods behind my house and called up the GPS and for some reason it showed my location more than ten miles from where I actually was.  I tried to adjust it, but to no avail.  I pulled out my map and compass and continued on the old fashioned way.  I downloaded another app that was supposed to show a compass needle on it.  Coolest thing ever!  Except it pointed west instead of north.  I looked it up and it’s a pretty common problem with android phones.

Also Read: Death By GPS

compass2If there’s one skill that you should pick up I highly recommend learning how to read a map and compass.  I put it right up there with learning how to start a fire, building a shelter, and knowing how to find water in the wilderness.  Imagine that you’re trying to get to your (Bug Out Location) BOL with your family and you’ve had to detour from your route because of traffic or what have you.  You’re suddenly on foot carrying your BOBs and dependent on ground based land navigation.  Could you find your way to your destination if the GPS you’re carrying died?  Can you find your location on a map using terrain association?  Could you hook around a road block or a town if need be and get back on track?  Can you look at a topographic map and determine what kind of terrain you have ahead of you?

Technology Isn’t Bad

Technology isn’t bad, folks.  Far from it.  I love technology and all the gizmos available today.  It’s our dependence on it that has me worried.  Even if you have the smartest phone, and the sharpest GPS unit, and the latest tablet, you should still be able to do the things your mission requires without them, like shooting that fire mission on a plotting board instead of a computer like I mentioned above.  How to get by without it?  Imagine the worst case scenario when TSHTF and plan for it as if you don’t have any of your of electronic toys.  If there are no communications make sure you’ve set up preplanned things to do with anybody you need to communicate with.  For example:  if the phones go down during a huge storm make sure everybody in your family/unit/tribe knows what to do.  Maybe you have a standing order with your kids of, “If the power goes out and we can’t talk go to grandpa’s house and stay there until me or mom can pick you up,” or whatever your situation is.  Make sure you have plans in place ahead of time.

Can’t navigate without a GPS?  You might want to consider taking at least a basic land nav course, and you might want to include others in your family as a back up in case you’re not there.  Give them the skills to survive.  My oldest daughter has had some training and my six year old son has shown some interest in map and compass lately.  He’ll know his pace count soon and understand the cardinal directions by the summer.

Use Technology to Help You Prepare

It’s fine to use technology to help you get ready for the dark times that potentially lie ahead, but when the power goes out make sure you have a way to d0 those important things without electronic devices.

Go Camping Without It

Here’s something to try:  load up your pack without any electronics and go camping.  Keep a journal of your trip and use it as a learning experience.  I love camping with just the basics such as a knife and axe, sleeping bag, lantern and oil, canteen and canteen cup, poncho, and a little food and water.  When you don’t have a phone in your hand you tend to look up at the night sky instead of down into your lap.  You’ll think more and consume less.  I love writing down ideas in my journal by the light of the campfire and the lantern.

Try it.  You just might like it.
Questions? Comments?

Sound off below!
-Jarhead Survivor

BTW:  I’m curious to know how many of you can or can’t navigate with map and compass.  Do you think a basic Land Navigation course would be useful?  Don’t have enough time to devote to it?  Already an expert and good to go?   Don’t think you’ll ever need to use it?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

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Oregon Federal Wildlife Building Occupation

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Our friend Knuckle Draggin (NSFW due to adult language and borderline close to [tasteful and beautiful] nudity) linked to a pretty good breakdown of this mess in Oregon. It explains the situation sufficiently that I am not inclined to make a redundant and at best equal but probably not better post. So I will share a couple brief thoughts instead.

Personally I can have some sympathy for and maybe even support support (morally or financially/ physically) a group that, even if imperfect and arguably wrong cough Cliven I don’t pay to graze my cattle Bundy cough who have a dangerous situation forced on them. On the other hand if a group intentionally creates a dangerous it would be an uphill battle to convince me to be sympathetic if/ when the jack boot starts pushing on them.

Also what these people really want to accomplish is to me somewhat of a mystery. I doubt they have a realistic scenario where they can measurably succeed from this. At this time I think the best realistic case scenario for all those folks is walking away with significant legal complications and likely adult time out.


Need an AR but on a tight budget? Build it!

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My review of the Smith and Wesson Sport model AR-15 as a budget AR is one of this site’s most popular articles. A lot of people want to buy an AR style rifle while they still can. But for many, money is tight and they may not have the money needed to buy a decent AR. So to […]

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All Time #1 Winter Driving Tip

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Today I am going to share with you the #1 tip for driving safely in winter (snow/ ice/ etc) conditions. SLOW DOWN!!!

This weekend I had the displeasure of driving through Portland Oregon when it was in cold, snowy, icy conditions. Vehicles were wrecked all over the place. Most were minor one vehicle slides off the road and or bumps the barrier but there were a couple of not good looking roll overs. Interestingly about half the wrecked vehicles were really good winter rigs like Subaru wagons and Toyota 4×4 trucks. The issue was that while increased traction via AWB/4WD does help you go it does not help you turn or stop. So these folks got overconfident and wrecked. Another good example that all the hardware in the world will not fix a lack of skill.

Slow down on bad winter roads. Either leave in enough time or tell folks you will make it when you make it. If the roads are really bad and beyond your comfort zone consider if you even have to make the trip at all. Better to miss an event or even lose a days wages then wreck your vehicle or God forbid get someone hurt.


Gun Laws Are Common Sense According to Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and Obama

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Per my previous volumes on the subject of gun control, Obama and his Leftist ideologues are following the script. They continue to push an agenda for a total gun ban

Mushroom Cultivation & Foraging

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Mushroom cultivationI love to hunt wild mushrooms in the summer and fall in Northwest Indiana. I usually go out in June through October for Pheasantback (Dryads Saddle), Oyster, Sheepshead (Maitake), Puffballs, Chicken of the Woods, and Boletes. I like having fresh ingredients that I can prepare to eat as soon as I get home. I can also sautee them and freeze them for later use.  It also gives me some exercise, sunlight, and a chance to inhale all the wonderful smells of fall leaves deep in the woods. I’ve also seen a great deal of wildlife while I’m out there. It just restores my soul.

NOTE: This article is about my own foraging and cultivating of mushrooms, but expert Dr. Mart “Merriweather” Vorderbruggen of Foraging Texas recommends being very careful foraging for mushrooms until you can take a class on identifying wild mushrooms and are an experienced forager. Even experienced foragers can sometimes mistake a poisonous mushroom for an edible one.

Health benefits of mushrooms

One of the benefits of eating mushrooms is that they have many benefits. Overall, they have antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. They are also a good source of iron, readily absorbed by the body. This is great for anemic people or vegetarians to keep up their iron levels, which plays an important role in forming red blood cells. Mushrooms containing Linoleic Acid can have an anticarcinogenic effect and and have anti-tumor properties.

Mushrooms are gluten free,  low calorie, low carbohydrate, high fiber, no cholesterol, and have compounds which may help regulate insulin production. Mushrooms are a source for calcium, which is wonderful if you are lactose intolerant, as well as vitamin D, an essential vitamin which helps the body absorb and metabolize calcium and phosphorous. (Another source for vitamin D is sunshine).

Potassium is also found in Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms. This can relax the blood vessels, leading to lower blood pressure, but beware it can increase potassium in people with poor kidney function, or on dialysis. Copper and selenuim are found in mushrooms. They are trace elements that we need for essential body functions. Do read up on individual mushrooms for specific benefits, because they vary between species.

Cultivating your own mushrooms


If you don’t have a wooded area near you, have a hard time walking, or don’t want to get burrs and bugs on you, consider cultivating your own mushrooms by making “mushroom logs”. I really love Shiitake mushrooms, but they don’t grow wild here, so I decided to create a hospitable environment for them and grow my own.

I needed to find some fresh cut oak logs, about 4-6 inches in diameter.  My husband and I found somebody cutting down a tree after a storm, and we asked for 4 of the medium sized logs which had been cut from it. They were happy to give them to us, because they were going to pay somebody to remove it anyway.

These logs had to sit for about a month to cure them before I could use them.  One site I researched said that freshly cut logs give off some type of protective enzyme after being cut to prevent other fungi or spores from attacking them. Another site stated the moisture content needed to be reduced by 50% internally, but still moist enough to help the mycelium from the mushroom spore to grow into the wood.

In the meantime, I ordered my mushroom “plugs” with the spore on them. I ordered a bag with 100 plugs and placed them in my refrigerator until I was ready to use them. I invited a few friends over and we did this project together. The supplies we used were:

4 oak logs, about 3 feet long

Package of mushroom plugs

5/16 drill bit and drill


Small paintbrush

Hot plate and an old pot or a tiny crockpot

Hammer or mallet

Pallet, 2’x4′, or cement block to place logs on

I warmed up my beeswax in a small crockpot. I kept it plugged in until I was ready to use it. In each log, I drilled a hole that was just slightly deeper than the plug. Next, I gently tapped it in with a wooden mallet, then each hole was sealed with melted beeswax that was applied with a small paintbrush. This would protect my spores until they became “established”. (The weblike structure or mycelium would now grow into the wood). Eventually the beeswax will break down & the mushroom would emerge from this hole.

I drilled another hole every 6 inches until I got to the end of the log. Then, I rotated it and started drilling holes again. I had 3 rows when I was finished, and repeated this with the other 3 logs. I actually ended up with mIMG_4876ore holes than I needed, but not a big deal. Since I did this in February in my garage, I didn’t put them outside yet, due to danger of frost.

Around late April, I selected a shady spot under my deck and placed 4 cement blocks down as a base for my logs. I placed them parallel to each other, then stacked the other two across them, kind of “Lincoln Log” style, then checked to make sure none of the holes were covered during the stacking. It’s important to keep them moist, so I watered them a few times per week and in the hotter weather, placed a tarp over them.

Then, in September, voila! They began sprouting all over the wood. I was very happy to begin my mushroom harvest. Now, I can’t wait until next year! I’m sure I’ll have a few new additions to my mushroom family.

Want to learn more about foraging?

mushroom cultivation

5 Reasons A Knife Can Be More Dangerous Than A Gun

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You might be a bit skeptical at the idea that a knife can be more dangerous than a gun, but over at Modern Combat And Survival they make a very strong case. According to the FBI, only 10% of officers who were shot died from their wounds, whereas […]

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Post-SHTF Business: Renting Generators

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En la puerta de un pequeño negocio. Recomiendan evaluar el costo-beneficio. (Emiliana Miguelez)

Argentina always had problems with power outages. Back when I was a little kid it was something that happened pretty often, especially in summer when power demand increased. Back then we had a drawer in the kitchen that was stacked with candles. Now, its not that I’m THAT old, it’s just that LED technology is still pretty new. It just wasn’t practical to use incandescent lightbulb flashlights for illumination. They went through batteries in a matter of minutes and it wasn’t really that bright anyway. Instead you would get a candle or two, get one of the old candle holders kept around the house, or if you couldn’t find one just lit a candle, drop a couple drops of wax on a small plate, place the candle on top and be careful not to drop it and burn down the house. So you did that, waited a few minutes, sometimes a couple hours until power was restored.

Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator $999

The thing is that as I’ve said many times, Argentina post 2001 is the same story, only worse. You still have power outages, but after 14 years of structural neglect from the government and power companies outages tend to last days, not just hours. This may be expected in more isolated locations, but in a large city like Buenos Aires where millions live it can be challenging.
It used to be that with power outages that lasted a few hours a generator was a “nice to have” item, but with those lasting days not having a generator means some people can’t leave their homes any more. You can’t ask someone with a disability or +80 years to walk back and forth to their 6th floor apartment. Water needs to be pumped up, so no power means no water for many as well. For many stores, no power means their merchandise goes bad and they can’t stay in business without working refrigerators.
Buying a new generator in Argentina right now isn’t cheap, expect to pay between two or five times more than the price for that same unit in USA. Then you have to worry about repairing the generator, maintenance, making sure it doesn’t get stolen, storing it, etc. Because of this, renting generators has become a popular choice, especially for business, stores and buildings who need larger units. The prices are all over the place, from 50 dollars a day (for a genny that costs 400 USD in America) to 600 USD a day for some of the bigger 200kva units such as the ones large stores and buildings need to operate pumps and elevators, fuel not included.

Champion 4750 Watt DUAL FUEL Generator w/Electric Start (CARB Compliant) $516,57

Just something to keep in mind. In certain climates and certain locations, having a generator is pretty much mandatory, one of those facts of life. But also keep in mind that it may be a significant asset in certain scenarios, everywhere from powering your neighbours in exchange of other goods and services or simply renting it out for cash. In this case getting bigger, reliable generator makes sense.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

21 Basic Wilderness Survival Skills

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Being able to stay safe while involving in outdoor activities is probably the number one priority for every outdoorsmen. The best way to do so is to master some of the Basic Wilderness Survival Skills that you will definitely need them in most situations. Therefore, I would like to share with you an infographic made … Continue reading

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Beatty Nuclear Dump Fire and Explosion, 300 Page Report Exposes The Truth, Stock Summarizes It Here

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While PT was wasting everyone’s time, I was reviewing a 300 page report the Fire Marshal sent me, re Beatty Nuke Dump Explosion

It’s a blow out folks….Trench 14 had not just highly reactive and flammable sodium in barrels, but also the largest amount of Plutonium and “special nuclear material” 35,000 kG of these “special nuclear materials” which include Plutonium, Uranium 233, or U233 enriched with U235.

Isn’t that special?

But when they ran some gamma scans they didn’t detect any Alpha radiation, imagine that?
They also detected strontium in the material analysis

For now I will publish in draft, some excerpts from the report.

Los Angelos National Lab — A History of Dangerous Blunders

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Was MathInvented or Discovered?(Fundamental Thoughts For The New Year)

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Dateline: 3 January 2016

Martin Armstrong sent me an e-mail yesterday morning with a link to the YouTube video above. It’s about some guys who printed the number pi on a length of paper to the millionth digit, then rolled it out on an airport runway.   From my perspective, the video is interesting, but not real interesting.

I realized many years ago (like, around 5th grade) that I’m missing the math gene. Nevertheless, I am powerfully intrigued by math and, in particular, the question of whether mathematics was invented or discovered.

Take, for example, the basic equation of 1 + 1 = 2. Did some real smart human, or group of humans, invent this concept long ago, along with other numbers and the equations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division?  

And if some real smart humans did invent basic math, did they also at the same time invent all the related branches of mathematics, like algebra, geometry, calculus and trigonometry, which are built upon and integrate perfectly with the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division?

Or, on the other hand, have smart men discovered the basics of mathematics and, in time, the deeper revelations. A case in point being Pythagoras of Samos, the greek mathematician, who lived some 500 years B.C. He typically gets credit for discovering or proving (the existence or truth of) the Pythagorean TheoremI don’t think anyone asserts that Pythagoras invented his theorem.

When you discover or prove the existence of something, that something had to preexist. It was there all the time. It’s kind of like the discovery of umami. Or it’s like the discovery of Pluto in 1930. Or it’s like the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953. Or it’s like the discovery of the tiny Microhyla nepenthicola frog in Borneo in 2010. Etcetera.

So, if math is something that preexists (as appears to be the case), where did it come from? Can something as complex, and vast, and reliable as mathematics happen all by itself? And is it just coincidence that consistent principles of math can be found throughout the natural world, as evidenced in the Fibonacci sequence? Maybe all of this evolved over millions of years by random chance and natural selection, eh? But wait, can mathematics evolve?

Well, from my perspective as a Christian, the question of where math came from (along with everything else than man has discovered, and continues to discover in our universe) is sufficiently answered for me in Genesis 1:1…. “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” 

I happily accept this because it makes perfect sense to me. It explains everything about origins and the world I live in. It relieves me of all angst and confusion about such matters. 

And I am thankful that this incredibly intelligent and all-powerful God of all creation told me this in The Book that He, through the mind and hands of a selection of his created beings, over a period of around 1,500 years, put together for my benefit (and that of all mankind). 

Right there, in the first sentence and chapter of the Bible, the matter of creation is answered. Then, from there on, God’s Book reveals much more important things that I need to know. Like why I was created, what my purpose in life is, and how to have a proper relationship with God here in this earthly realm—as well as in the otherworldly realm(s) that lie beyond.

Many people scoff, of course, at those, like myself, who believe in such a book, with it’s transcendent explanations and insights. How can you believe that old book? 

I can believe it because I see the evidence of this Creator God in the creation all around me. And if this Creator God, who is sovereign over all his creation (as the potter is over his clay) wanted to write a book to me, and preserve the essence of its message over the centuries… well that would be a relatively simple thing for such a God to do, wouldn’t you say?

By the way, as I understand it the Bible is the only book in the world that claims to be the Word of God. That right there is a whole lot more interesting and exciting to me than the number pi printed out to the millionth decimal point.

The amazing thing to me is that so many other people do not accept this fundamental explanation of the origin of all things. This dichotomy of understanding is due to the dynamics of human presuppositions.

I learned about fundamental presuppositions several years ago when I read Gary Demar’s book, Thinking Straight in a Crooked World. What Gary wrote really resonated with me.

Presuppositions are bedrock beliefs upon which an individual worldview is built. Every person develops these fundamental presuppositions in childhood and holds tight to them throughout their life. Any information contrary to the presuppositional beliefs is immediately rejected by that person as false.

Now, here’s the interesting thing about every person’s fundamental presuppositional beliefs… they are assumed to be true without absolute proof

The most fundamental of fundamental presuppositions a person can have is the matter of the existence of God, or not. Those who presuppose there is no God, presuppose this by faith. They can not empirically prove there is no God, so they must believe there is no God by faith. Make no mistake about it, atheism is a faith-based belief system.

When your fundamental presupposition is atheism, you try to make sense of the world and the purpose of your life based on your atheistic faith. You accept or reject data about the world (including the created order) based on whether or not it fits your presupposition.

Someone who has embraced the fundamental presupposition that there is no Creator God can not and will not consider the possibility that math is the transcendent creation of such an all-powerful Creator. Instead, such people will come up with all manner of other imaginative possibilities or theories 

While researching this topic, I came across This E-Mail Exchange between a high school girl (Angela) and a scientist (Dr. Math). Angela asked Dr. Math if math was created or discovered. It is abundantly clear from the exchange that Dr. Math has an atheistic presupposition. He presents all kinds of  ideas and information that help to support his worldview. But, in the end, the girl doesn’t buy it…

“Upon doing more research, I discovered that I must stand on the so-called “absolutist” side of the argument. I think that mathematics is universal and certain. Mathematics is discovered by the intuition of the mathematician, and then established in a proof.”

Angela’s fundamental presuppositions helped her arrive at her conclusion. She has a Creator-God presupposition, whether she realizes it or not. Absolutism is founded on unchanging truth. And the only absolute source of truth is transcendent truth, which is from God.

Can fundamental presuppositions change? Yes. But they don’t change easily. I think it is always something of a small miracle when a firmly-held presupposition against the existence of God changes.

I think it behoves every person to consider and understand his or her most fundamental presuppositions. And if we do believe in the existence of an omnipotent, absolutist, Creator God, as explained in the first chapter of the Bible, I think it behoves us to read what else God has in The Book.

One of the things we’ll find is God’s opinion of people with fundamental atheistic presuppositions (like Dr. Math)… “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” (Psalm 14)


The following video is a lot of fun to watch. It gets really good after the 3-minute mark. I had to laugh when the guy said math appears to be a lot less like science and more like… “the opposite of science.”

The Biology Of Doom

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Found another book at a thrift store to add to my shelf, The Biology of Doom: The History of America’s Secret Germ Warfare Project. Pretty interesting. So far I have read that they could put diseases into mice and other animals and then release them into someplace to spread the disease into humans. HMMMMMM. Kind of scary. The type of books that I have been reading lately , you would think that I would have more nightmares.


The first book to expose the true story of America’s secret program to create biological weapons of mass destruction.

From anthrax to botulism, from smallpox to Ebola, the threat of biological destruction is rapidly overtaking our collective fear of atomic weaponry. In an era when a lone fanatic could wipe out an entire population with the contents of a small vial, the specter of germ warfare has moved into a prominent position in the public’s mind. This riveting narrative traces America’s own covert biological weapons program from its origins in World War II to its abrupt cancellation in 1969. This project, at its peak, employed 5,000 people, tested pathogens on 2,000 live human volunteers, and conducted open-air tests on American soil. The U.S. government appropriated research from Japanese experiments on Chinese civilians, thus benefiting from one of the twentieth century’s greatest atrocities; sprayed its own cities with bacterial aerosols; and stockpiled millions of bacterial bombs for instant deployment. Yet, surprisingly, almost nothing has been published about this project until now. In light of America’s increasing surveillance and condemnation of foreign biological weapons programs, this exposé of America’s own dangerous Cold War secret is both fascinating and shocking.

The Biology of Doom: The History of America’s Secret Germ Warfare Project

Home Detox: How to Rid Your Environment of the Sources of Chronic Illness

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Did you ever wonder why our country seems to be getting sicker by the year?

Given the huge leaps in medical technology and the scientific discoveries made over the past decades, doesn’t it seem as though people in civilized countries would be leading longer, healthier lives?

In reality, it’s just the opposite.

Everyone is either sick themselves or knows someone who is sick. People are living sicker and dying younger right here in the Land of Opportunity. Chronic illness is now the norm instead of an oddity. A report from Johns Hopkins provides these alarming statistics:

Today, 133 million people, almost half of all Americans, live with a chronic condition. By 2020, as the population ages, the number will increase to 157 million. These people represent all segments of our society – they are of all ages, races, and economic status. Many have multiple chronic conditions, including functional limitations and disabilities. Data show that in the general population, people with five or more chronic conditions have an average of almost 15 physician visits and fill over 50 prescriptions in a year. In the Medicare population, the average beneficiary sees seven different physicians and fills upwards of 20 prescriptions in a year.

According to JHU’s study, the top chronic illnesses are:

Photo Credit: Johns Hopkins University

Photo Credit: Johns Hopkins University

But it gets even worse than this. The numbers above don’t even include cancer. These days, every other person…literally every other person…in America will have cancer in their lifetime.

  • Nearly half of all Americans will develop cancer in their lifetime. (source) Quick math tells us that is an astonishing 157 million victims.
  • Over half a million people in America died of cancer in 2012. (source)
  • In 2011, cancer was the #1 cause of death in the Western world, and #2 in developing countries. (source)
  • Cancer is the #1 cause of childhood death in the United States. (source)

This is a fairly recent increase.  A hundred years ago, the number was far different.  At that time, 1 in 33 people was stricken with the disease. And despite billions of dollars being spent to find “the cure”, the World Health Organization predicts that deaths from cancer will DOUBLE by the year 2030.

Chronic illness is big business.

Here’s the kicker. According to the report from Johns Hopkins quoted above, people with chronic illnesses account for 83% of all healthcare spending in the US. EIGHTY-THREE PERCENT.

Now, let these numbers sink in:

Are you beginning to see the epic size of the business of illness? Billions and billions of dollars. An amount of money that is unfathomable to most of us.

Don’t look for American “watchdog agencies” to look out for your health. They’ve proven time and time again that the nature of their protection is to look after the bottom line of large corporations. Their watchdog efforts are not there to protect folks like you and me.

For example, the FDA still allows many of the toxins that have been implicated in cancer, hormonal disruption, and autoimmune illnesses to be in our food and our personal care products. A dizzying array of substances that are classified as “GRAS” (Generally Recognized As Safe) may not be safe at all. The things we put on our skin are quickly absorbed into our bodies, and we may unknowingly be applying hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals per day to our skin.

It isn’t just the FDA who is dropping the ball. The EPA is just fine with upping the levels of glyphosate allowed in our environment and sprayed on our food, despite irrefutable evidence that it causes toxicity and death.  There’s an immense body of research linking glyphosate to increased cancer risk, neurotoxicity and birth defects, as well as eye, skin, respiratory irritation, lung congestion, increased breathing rate, damage to the pancreas, kidney and testes. Another study links glyphosate directly to the proliferation of breast cancer cells via estrogen receptors. Even the World Health Organization has condemned the use of glyphosate, saying that it “probably” causes cancer.

The bottom line is this: you are completely on your own to protect your family from the environmental causes of all of these health issues.

What’s causing all of this illness?

It’s possible that the overwhelming amount of sickness in the country is due to nearly constant exposure to unhealthy chemicals in our water, our food, our personal care products, our cleaning products, and our environments. Our homes are full of things that make us sick, and all of it is approved for sale in our country.

Following is a brief synopsis of just a few of the possible culprits you may be unwittingly exposed to.


Turning on the tap in many places releases a toxic stream into your glass or your shower. Some of these additions are incidental. The toxins present in municipal water supplies vary from city to city.  In the US Midwest, for example, there are high levels of pesticides (in particular, weed killers like glyphosate) due to agricultural practices that contaminate the groundwater (this also affects well water in the area).   In 22 states with military contractors, percholate, the explosive component of rocket fuel, has been found in the tap water.   In 2008, the AP released a report informing us that water treatment centers were unable to remove all traces of pharmaceutical drugs from the water supply.  (The drugs were introduced into the water by human and animal urine.) Tap water also contains contaminants like aluminum, arsenic and lead. (You can learn more about this in my book on the topic.)

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Chlorine, ammonia, and fluoride are deliberately dumped into the supply at water treatment facilities, and we’re told that it’s all for our own good.  These additives are poisons, though.

  • Chlorine: This removes disease-causing bacteria, which is great, but it also creates numerous toxic by-products, like chloroform and trihalomethanes. According to Dr. Michael J. Plewa, a genetic toxicology expert at the University of Illinois, chlorinated water is carcinogenic. “Individuals who consume chlorinated drinking water have an elevated risk of cancer of the bladder, stomach, pancreas, kidney and rectum as well as Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”
  • Ammonia: To undo some of the carcinogenic effects of the added chlorine, some facilities are also adding ammonia to the chlorinated water in order to meet EPA standards.  This creates “chloraminated” water. (Anyone who has ever cleaned a house knows that mixing bleach (chlorine) and ammonia is a no-no – so why are the facilities doing so?)   Unfortunately, it creates a brand new variety of toxins.  Fish and reptiles die when subjected to chloraminated water, and the effects on humans are just now being studied. To make a bad situation even worse, chloraminated water reacts with the lead in water pipes, releasing yet another toxin into the public water system.  In Washington DC, when chloramination of the water first began, lead levels were found to be 4,800 times the UN’s acceptable level for the toxic heavy metal.
  • Fluoride: The exact same fluoride added to the water supply in treatment facilities (sodium fluoride) is sold under a different label as a pesticide – that’s right – bug killer. The consumption of fluoride lowers IQs, causes infertility, has been linked to cancer and causes hardening of the arteries.  In fact, one study “published in the January edition of the journal Nuclear Medicine Communications, the research highlights the fact that mass fluoride exposure may be to blame for the cardiovascular disease epidemic that takes more lives each year than cancer. In 2008, cardiovascular killed 17 million people. According to the authors of the study: “The coronary fluoride uptake value in patients with cardiovascular events was significantly higher than in patients without cardiovascular events.”” (Source) It’s also important to note that the inclusion of fluoride in drinking water has no discernible positive effect on dental health. In fact, it can cause dental fluorosis,  a visible overexposure to fluoride resulting in  subtle white flecks in the tooth enamel all the way to a pronounced brown staining.


Going down the aisles of your local grocery store to select food for your family is a lot like running a gauntlet, except instead of being pelted with stones and sticks, you’re being assaulted by unhealthy chemicals, invalid health claims, and highly processed items masquerading as food.  Health claims that have been “substantiated” by the FDA are a complete fallacy.  Whole, organic foods cost more than quadruple the price of conventionally grown foods.  Some of the most common poisons at the grocery store are either unlabeled or deceptively labeled.

  • GMOs: It’s nearly impossible to shop without adding some genetically modified food into your cart. Almost every item that is processed contains corn, for example, and up to 85% of corn grown in the United States is genetically modified. GMOs bear a high price tag for your health, however, despite corporate claims to the contrary. Just a few of the results of a GMO diet (based on peer-reviewed studies) are: grotesque tumors, premature death, organ failure, gastric lesions, liver damage, kidney damage, severe allergic reactions, a viral gene that disrupts human functions…you can read more HERE.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners are deadly.  Splenda, for example, is the trademarked name for sucralose, an artificial chlorinated sweetener that is formed when the hydroxyl groups in a sugar molecule are replaced with chlorine molecules.  According to Dr James Turner, the chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health”In animals examined for the study, Splenda reduced the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50 percent, increased the pH level in the intestines, contributed to increases in body weight and affected P-glycoprotein (P-gp) levels in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected.”The sweetener has been linked to:
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Migraines
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Allergic reactions
  • Blood sugar increases
  • Weight gain

Shockingly, there is something even worse: aspartame. This excitotoxin literally stimulates your brain cells until they die.  If that isn’t enough to convince you to ditch the diet cola, is also a known carcinogen that breaks down into formaldehyde in the human body.  In fact, there are 92 documented negative health effects linked to the consumption of aspartame.

  • Pesticides: Even the hijacked Environmental Protection Agency has to admit that the ingestion of pesticides can cause health problems.  They warn of the risk of “birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time.”  (Keep in mind, however, that despite this warning, the EPA just RAISED the acceptable limit of glysophate at the behest of Monsanto.) Especially at risk of harm from pesticides are children. Infants and children may be especially sensitive to health risks posed by pesticides for several reasons:
  • their internal organs are still developing and maturing,
  • in relation to their body weight, infants and children eat and drink more than adults, possibly increasing their exposure to pesticides in food and water.
  • certain behaviors–such as playing on floors or lawns or putting objects in their mouths–increase a child’s exposure to pesticides used in homes and yards.

Pesticides may harm a developing child by blocking the absorption of important food nutrients necessary for normal healthy growth. Another way pesticides may cause harm is if a child’s excretory system is not fully developed, the body may not fully remove pesticides. Also, there are “critical periods” in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way an individual’s biological system operates. (source)

The website What’s On My Food takes a stronger stance than the EPA regarding the risks of pesticides.

The human health impacts linked to pesticide exposure range from birth defects and childhood brain cancer in the very young, to Parkinsons’ Disease in the elderly. In between are a variety of other cancers, developmental and neurological disorders, reproductive and hormonal system disruptions, and more.

  • Autism
  • Breast Cancer
  • Children’s diseases
  • Endosulfan
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Growth Hormones: Our meat and dairy supplies are not safe either –livestock and dairy cattle are injected with genetically modified growth hormone, tainting the milk produced or the meat that is butchered.

“ Increasing cancer risk, milk from cows injected with genetically modified growth hormone contains “up to ten times the amount of insulin growth factor-1.” The growth factor has been shown to cause breast, prostrate, and colon cancer (Miller). When humans consume this milk, it puts them at risk for these cancers. This is not the only danger to reproductive health. Rats fed genetically modified potatoes grew smaller brains, testicles, and livers, and male rats fed only genetically modified soy had their testicles change from “from the normal pink to dark blue””


Cleaning products, hygiene products, plastic containers, even tainted air

This is only a small portion of the toxins that we are ingesting, breathing in, and soaking up every single day.  We are lathering our skin with petrochemicals. BPA is leaching into our food and beverages.  Questionable farming methods are tainting the air that we breathe…it’s enough for a book, not merely an article.  Additives like MSG and unpronounceable non-food ingredients are killing off our brain cells and triggering the growth of cancerous cells in our bodies. We’re facing an antibiotic apocalypse because much of the meat and dairy products available at the store was preemptively treated with antibiotics due to horrible farming conditions.

And the result of all of these toxins in our environment?

  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Chronic illness
  • Lowered immune systems
  • Lethargy
  • Lower IQs
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Infertility and other reproductive ailments
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Shorter lifespans

What about moderation?

In my opinion, moderation is not an option.  We need to learn to avoid these toxins that are all around us, whenever possible.

Here are some examples that aren’t really that different, if you think about them.

  • Would you willingly feed your child just a “little bit of cyanide”?
  • Would you let them have a serving of strychnine “once in a while”?
  • Would you purposely give them a cigarette just because you “happened to be out and that is what was offered”?
  • Would you let them drink bleach from the laundry room as long as it wasn’t in an amount that would be immediately deadly?
  • What if it was diluted so that it didn’t burn their throats when they swallowed it?

It sounds pretty outrageous when you look at it that way, but by some of the choices we make, aren’t we doing just that?

Does your home need a detox?

Detox is a catchy buzzword these days that brings to mind drinking nothing but lemon water for a week and rejoicing over the inevitable weight loss. (Duh, you fasted for 7 days. You’re starving.) Because of this, I really hesitated to use it, but no other word seemed to encompass exactly what I wanted to convey.

noun: detoxification
  1. the process of removing toxic substances or qualities.


This is what we want to do. We want to remove the toxic substances from our homes. We want to perform a whole home detox so that our environments nurture health, instead of damaging it.

Without even knowing it, most people bring toxic substances into their homes with every bag from the store. It sneaks in with the groceries, the cleaning products, the personal care products we apply to our bodies, our home decor items, the tools in our kitchens, and the products in our OTC medicine cabinets. Harmful chemicals are in nearly everything you purchase these days, and it takes dedicated effort to weed these out and make your home a less toxic environment.

It actually takes more than just effort. Can you imagine the expense if you tossed everything in your home that contained chemicals you want to avoid and started over all at once? That’s not an inexpensive prospect. Have you ever looked at any of those crunchy granola people with their bento box lunches, their health-food store toothpaste and sunscreen, and their glass water bottles and thought, “Holy cow, it would be nice but that stuff costs a fortune.”

Depending how you go about it, living a healthy lifestyle can be far more expensive than picking up the standard household items from Wal-Mart that everyone else uses. But don’t despair. Even on a budget, you can make a change if you take things a step at a time. Removing the artificial, chemical-laden, harmful products from your home doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive. In fact, there are many DIY projects you can do to make your own versions of toxic store-bought products like cleaners, personal care items, and quick meals.

And best of all? Over the next year, I’m going to show you how.

Introducing The Whole Home Detox Series

This series is about arming yourself with knowledge and discovering why, in this age of medical miracles, people are living sicker and dying younger.

Over the next year, I’m going to show you how to remove the harmful chemicals from every facet of your home life. If you tried to do it all at once it would be completely overwhelming, so we’re going to break things down into categories and make small, meaningful changes each month. We’re going to talk about the following subjects this year:

  1. Laundry Products
  2. Kitchen Cookware and Storage Products
  3. Food
  4. Cleaning Products
  5. Yard and Garden Products
  6. Personal Care Products
  7. Cosmetics
  8. Pet Care Products
  9. Air Quality Products
  10. Water
  11. Home Decor
  12. Over the Counter Medications

We will spend the year exploring the options that are available, discussing the things to avoid going forward, and figuring out solutions that don’t include the artificially scented, chemical-laden products that nearly everyone else is buying.

I’m a single mom, so trust me, I’m on a budget too. But getting sick is more expensive than taking extra steps to ensure our wellness now. I’m going to offer suggestions in a variety of price ranges, DIY solutions, and simple lifetyle changes that don’t cost a penny.

So, let me know if there is anything specific you’d like to cover. Please feel free each week to add your own solutions to the comments – our community here has so much knowledge that the comments section often has just much information as the articles. Together, we can help each other on the road to health. Do as many or as few of these steps as you’d like and as your budget permits.  Look for a weekly post in the Whole Home Detox series with this nifty little logo on the featured image.Whole Home Detox logo

The post Home Detox: How to Rid Your Environment of the Sources of Chronic Illness appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Saving Pets During Disasters

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Keeping your beloved pets safe is a real duty because they are members of your family. Your pets provide comfort and companionship and they shouldn’t be left behind when disaster strikes. Saving pets during disasters is not easy and you should be prepared for the worst. Many of us have one or two pets that … Read more…

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10 Steps to Start Prepping and New Year’s Resolutions

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start prepping

With time you can build a food storage like this one.

Every year at this time, I see people start out the year with good intentions.  They make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, get in shape, watch less TV or to start prepping.  For the first few days they do well, and then something gets in the road.  You can see a good example of this at the gym, in January it is packed and then as spring approaches you can see the people dropping out.

So you have made a New Year’s resolution to start prepping, what do you do next?.  First, make a real commitment in your mind.  Decide that you are not going to be one of the failures.  Don’t start to try to do everything overnight and burn yourself out.

10 Steps to start prepping

  1. Evaluate what you already have.  How much extra food do you have in the house?  What kind of camping gear do you have?  Do you own firearms?  How much can you budget to purchase preps?  Don’t go into debt to start prepping.
  2. Study and make a plan.  Find a good book or two.  I recommend mine “Emergency Preparedness and More”,  but there are other good choices.  Look at the selected reading list in this blog.  How many people will you be feeding?  What skills do they have?
  3. Where does your water come from?  Is there water readily available in your neighborhood when the grid is down?  Do you have a means of purifying water?  Look up Sodis in this blog. If you don’t have a good reliable water source, you need to start storing water.  The water from your tap is probably safe to store.  Get some empty 2-liter soda bottles and start filling them.  Store them in a dark place if possible.  Under your house is great if you have a raised floor. Figure at least a gallon a day per person.
  4. Food, start adding to your food supply every time you go to the grocery store.  Start out with foods you normally eat.  Evaluate how much food you want to store and make a plan.  Learn about how and what to store for long term storage.  I think you need at least a one year supply.
  5. Look over your camping gear or figure out what you could improvise, if you were forced to leave your house today.  Put together a bug out bag, there are lots of good lists available. Upgrade your kit as you can afford it.  Garage sales are a great source of inexpensive equipment.
  6. First aid, what kind of a first aid kit do you have?  If you don’t already have it, get some first aid or medical training.  Download a free copy of “Where There Is No Doctor
  7. Do you have a garden, if not can you grow one?  Get heritage seeds and start to grow a garden. Study gardening.  Learn about what is growing in your area.  This could include wild edible plants and weeds. Can you preserve what you grow?  Learn to can and dry food.
  8. How are you going to cook your foods and light your home with the grid down?  Read the following link for information on cooking.  Research various light systems such as solar and kerosene lanterns.  Keep a good flashlight and plenty of batteries on hand.
  9. Evaluate your security, do you have good locks on your home?  Protect your home from fire.  If you can legally possess firearms or other means of self-defense, you should seriously consider obtaining them.  Spend some time learning to use them correctly and safely.  Take classes, do what is necessary to learn how to use them.
  10. Make an alternate plan in case you have to leave your home.  Get a bug out location if possible.  But keep it within a reasonable distance.

Some of you may differ with the above list and the order in which I have placed the steps to start prepping.  But regardless of the order in which you do them they are all necessary.  Now is the right time to start prepping.  Today not Tomorrow.



The post 10 Steps to Start Prepping and New Year’s Resolutions appeared first on Preparedness Advice Blog.

Train of storms to drench California, southwestern US as El Nino drives the pattern

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By Brett Rathbun – AccuWeather

A series of storms will bring welcome rainfall across California and other portions of the southwestern United States this week.

The track of these storms is fueled by El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

“The above-average temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, known as El Niño, tends to strengthen the storm track into the West Coast and occasionally California during the winter,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

While a parade of storms slammed into the northwestern United States during November and December, the southwestern U.S. will receive days of precipitation this week.

Continue reading at AccuWeather: Train of storms to drench California, southwestern US as El Nino drives the pattern

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Weather

Volcanoes Today, 4 Jan 2016: Masaya Volcano, Momotombo

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The lava lake in Masaya crater on 30 Dec 2015 (image: Maria Timmer / @ScienceByMaria / twitter)

Masaya (Nicaragua): (3 Jan) A small lava lake, approx. 10×20 meters in diameter, is active inside the main crater of the volcano. This activity seems to have started in mid December and has been continuing since.

Momotombo (Nicaragua):
A strong explosion occurred this morning at 04:22 local time at the volcano, covering much of the summit cone with incandescent ejecta.
The lava flow effusion and continuous strombolian activity had stopped in early December, followed by only high-temperature degassing, sporadic minor explosions and the growth of what might have been a small lava dome. A more intense phase of activity seems to have started yesterday. Early on 2 January, small ash emissions occurred, followed by more, still weak explosions in the early afternoon of yesterday.

Continue reading at Volcano Discovery: Volcanoes Today, 4 Jan 2016: Masaya Volcano, Momotombo

Filed under: News/ Current Events, Volcanic Activity

Welcome to 2016 | S0 News Jan.4.2016

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By Suspicious0bservers

Published on Jan 4, 2016


Observing the Frontier Conference Page:

Solar Alerts on Twitter:

Good Videos/Articles:
The Sun is Going to Sleep:…
Discussing Earthquakes with Kongpop:…
Earth’s Magnetic Reversal:…
Top 6 Climate Change Problems:…
Pause on Pausing the Pause:…
Sun Series:…
S0 Notes on Solar Shutdown:…
IPCC History:…

Today’s Featured Links:
Weather Channel Video:…
Princeton ShakeMovie: http://global.shakemovie.princeton.ed…

Filed under: Climate, Earthquakes, Environment, News/ Current Events, Science, Space Weather, Volcanic Activity, Weather

Todays Latest Earthquakes Worldwide Monday, 4 January 2016

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Source: Volcano Discovery

Earthquake list: past 24 hours (only M>=2.6) (139 quakes)

Updated: Mon, 4 Jan 15:47 UTC (GMT)

Time Mag. / Depth Nearest volcano (distance) Location Map Source
Mon, 4 Jan (100 earthquakes)
Mon, 4 Jan 15:30 UTC M 2.7 / 47 km – [info] (145 km) E OFF IBARAKI PREF


Mon, 4 Jan 15:16 UTC M 4.3 / 30.4 km – [info] (326 km) 49 km al O de Punitaqui


GUG (U. Chile)
Mon, 4 Jan 15:08 UTC M 2.7 / 31.9 km – [info] Redoubt (25 km) – 25km SE of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska


Mon, 4 Jan 14:36 UTC M 4.8 / 42 km – [info] (100 km) Philippine Islands Region


Mon, 4 Jan 14:26 UTC M 2.7 / 42.9 km – [info] (139 km) E OFF IBARAKI PREF


Mon, 4 Jan 14:12 UTC M 4.0 / 36.9 km – [info] (46 km) New Zealand


Mon, 4 Jan 14:01 UTC M 3.0 / 4.9 km – [info] (220 km) HAYDARIYE-GEMLIK (BURSA)


Mon, 4 Jan 13:56 UTC M 3.9 / 10 km – [info] (540 km) 青海海西州乌兰县


Mon, 4 Jan 13:53 UTC M 5.0 / 10 km – [info] (219 km) Ryukyu Islands, Japan


Mon, 4 Jan 13:53 UTC M 4.9 / 10 km – [info] (219 km) RYUKYU ISLANDS, JAPAN


Mon, 4 Jan 13:40 UTC M 3.1 / 36.1 km – [info] (251 km) 31 km al O de Los Vilos


GUG (U. Chile)
Mon, 4 Jan 13:36 UTC M 3.5 / 66 km – [info] (183 km) 53 Km S from Andikithira


Mon, 4 Jan 13:02 UTC M 4.1 / 10 km – [info] (1030 km) NEPAL


Kathmandu (Nepal) (77 km W from epicenter)(no details): Yes I feel (via EMSC)
Mon, 4 Jan 12:43 UTC M 3.0 / 4 km – [info] (638 km) OKLAHOMA


Mon, 4 Jan 12:31 UTC M 2.9 / 54.7 km – [info] (261 km) New Zealand



Continue reading at Volcano Discovery: Todays Latest Earthquakes Worldwide Monday, 4 January 2016

Filed under: Earthquakes, News/ Current Events

Herbal Medicine and its Controversies

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Why Are Herbal Remedies So Controversial?
This is a good question. Despite helping millions of people for thousands of years, herbal remedies, homeopathy, and other alternative medicines are still far from being accepted by western society. Medical research council’s, doctors, and the general public are dubious about the benefits of medicines that don’t come pre-packaged with a ‘This is Modern Medicine Built in a Laboratory’ sticker attached.
So why are these types of medicines controversial, and does it matter anyway?
Unvetted Sources
The first thing to acknowledge in this debate is that not all alternative medicine is legitimate. In some cases, companies try to claim their product works as an alternative cure for medical conditions when it has little to no medicinial qualities.
This leads back to the blessing and curse of alternative medicine: it’s not regulated. Because it doesn’t have a governing body in the same way traditional medicine does, it’s possible for medicines to call themselves “herbal” and be sold, without having to prove that they work. 
If a company can put whatever what they want on a label and claim that it helps treat a condition, then someone, somewhere, will do so to make a quick profit. But that doesn’t mean all alternative medicines are like that. The key is to understand that you can’t tar all alternative medicine with the same brush. This is where just a little intelligence is needed. Many accepted modern medicines can do more harm than good, yet you don’t see people refusing life-saving operations. So why do people believe that because one alternative medicine doesn’t work for them, that none will?
Little Profit
The real cause of the controversy surrounding alternative medicine is this: there’s limit profit in it. What we mean is, compared to the $3 trillion US healthcare system, there is next to no money in this kind of healthcare. You can’t monopolize natural remedies (though some companies have tried) in the same way you can patent a drug, hike the price, and make millions in the process. In many ways, alternative medicine is about compassionate medicine; unlike the health insurance companies, hospitals, and drug manufacturers who are in business to make mega money, alternative medicine practitioners are in the game because they believe in their product and want to help people.
But make no mistake: if it was possible to make a trillion dollars from alternative medicine, you would see it everywhere. The government would back it, you’d see advertisements for it on TV, doctors would prescribe it, and it would generally become part of our way of life.
Money has always driven our healthcare system, and continues to do so. Things that sell get airtime, and things that don’t get ignored. You only need to look at the staggering quantities of anti-depressant pills that are prescribed to the public each year, despite their effectiveness continually called into question. That a three month supply of the pills can cost in excess of $1000 is surely just a strange coincidence.
Be Wary Of Source
The healthcare system doesn’t want natural remedies to become popular; it’s bad for business. You should always question why somebody is telling you something. Even if – and this isn’t true – natural remedies had zero effectiveness, they definitely don’t do any harm. So why would there be a campaign against something that isn’t bad? Shouldn’t there be more of a focus on things that actually might harm you?
There’s been a conscious and constant stream of disinformation spread about natural products, and it hasn’t been for our benefit. You only have to look back to the beginning of the controversy to understand its motives. Natural remedies were hugely popular in the early 19th century, but when the American Medical Association came only in 1844, they deemed natural medicines to their rival, began a campaign to destroy its credibility, most damagingly by claiming it to be “unscientific”.
Final Thoughts
Despite what the figureheads and the media say about alternative remedies, there’s one thing they can’t dispute or stop: people themselves saying that it works. For the people who have had their epilepsy, PTSD, infections, flu, and diabetes, along with many other conditions, helped by natural medicines, they already have their answer. When you can’t trust the people telling you the news, it’s time to just try it and see for yourself that it works.

Beating The ‘Dirty Survivalists’ Myth – How To Keep Clean The Natural Way
Cleanliness is very important. Drugs and improved knowledge of anatomy have helped us to advance medically, sure, but few things have revolutionized the preservation of human health quite so much as the discovery of the importance of hygiene. Poor hygiene in hospitals is frequently described with no exaggeration as “a matter of life and death” [1]. Furthermore, a clean and fresh body and environment is incredibly good for us, psychologically speaking. Researchers have found that personal cleanliness renders the judgement of others upon us “less severe” [2]. Other sources claim that a clean home, as well as harboring fewer germs, can render us happier, less stressed, and less likely to experience conflict in our personal lives. However, these days we tend to associate cleaning with the use of artificial chemicals. What on earth would we do were these chemicals denied us? Would we have to resort to living in filth? Well, no. There are plenty of natural ways to keep ourselves and our environments clean and serene. Here are just a few.
Cleaning Your Home
A clean environment in which to live is vital on many levels. Not only does it keep you and your family healthy, it also makes you feel in control of your life, and provides a pleasant impression for visitors. It also ensures that your home – wherever or whatever it be – is likely to be better maintained than it otherwise would. In today’s world, home insurers are likely to lower premiums for properties which are demonstrably clean and well-kept, as this implies that the house is less likely to attract pests, or generally fall into the kind of disrepair which may necessitate a payout. Although insurance may not be an issue in the potential world of tomorrow, home maintenance probably will be. Letting dirt accumulate quickly leads to the erosion of the fabric of your home, as well as encouraging vermin and insect pests to set up shop there and get to work on your valuable food supplies (all while distributing germs liberally through your pantry). Without the aid of chemical cleaning tools, there are plenty of alternatives which you can use to keep home degradation at bay. Here are just a few of them:
Vinegar – Vinegar, with its acidic properties, is a fantastic cleaning tool. It’s not hard to come by, either. As long as someone is making wine or cider, you can use the leftovers to make vinegar. As Ohio State University point out [3], however, the corrosive properties of vinegar are so great that you’d be advised to make it in a wooden rather than a metal container. Once you have your vinegar (white ideally), mix it into a solution of nine parts water, one part vinegar, and use it the way you would a chemical antibacterial spray. You’ll be amazed at how effective it is!
Lemon Oil – Lemon oil, like vinegar, is also acidic and antibacterial. It has the advantage over vinegar of smelling much nicer! You can use a lemon sliced in half to clean shiny metal surfaces like brass – if they’re particularly troublesome, and need an abrasive scrub, add salt and scrub off with the lemon. A lemon rubbed over a tough stain and left overnight will work wonders at stain removal, and lemon juice kills a whole host of harmful germs.
Baking Soda – If you can get hold of baking soda, then you’re in luck. Baking soda is not the easiest thing to manufacture, but neither is it impossible in a post-industrial world. Baking soda neutralizes odors as well as often removing stains, making it a fantastic all-purpose cleaner.
Salt – Salt, particularly kosher salt, is a great antiseptic. A salt solution mixed with vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, or essential herb oils (for a great-scented home) and spritzed onto problem areas will make an amazing cleaning material. It provides that extra abrasive touch needed for tougher dirt.
Cleaning Yourself
Personal hygiene is very important for both physical and psychological health. In truth, we probably don’t need to wash quite as often as we do. Experts believe that we “over-bathe” [4] in modern society, which is actually counterproductive as it involves washing away protective substances in our skin and hair which actually protect and deodorize us. Having said this, however, bathing fulfils an important psychological need for many of us, and it’s certainly true that keeping ourselves clean makes others think much better of us. With this in mind, here are a few natural products which you can use to keep yourself fresh and lovely.
Honey – It may sound odd, given how sticky the stuff is, but you can wash your hair in honey. It’s great at getting rid of unwanted grease in your hair and, unlike modern detergent shampoos, it does it without stripping your hair of essential oils. It’s a fantastic conditioner as well. Use 1 part honey to 3 parts water, and add some essential oils should you feel like a sensual, scented experience. Lavender oil works particularly well. Carrot seed oil is also great for hair nourishment, if you have trouble with brittle hair and frizz.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is a great all-purpose cleanser for both hair and body. It’ll get rid of any grime and dirt with ease. If you fear that you’ll smell a bit ‘vinegary’ after use, then add a few drops of some scented herbal oil.
Saponins –  Saponins are herbs which can be induced to lather up rather like soaps, and have similar cleansing benefits. Examples include wild yam, ginseng, licorice, horsechestnuts, alfalfa, sarsaparilla and lily of the valley. These (usually the roots) must be mashed, and added to water to make a pleasing lather which you can use to wash your face and body.
[1] Bryan Walsh, “Happy Clean Your Hands Day!”, Time, May 2011
[2] Simone Schnall, Jennifer Benton, Sophie Harvey, “With A Clean Conscience: Cleanliness Reduces Severity Of Moral Judgements”, Psychological Science, Dec 2008
[3] Ohio State University, “Making Cider Vinegar At Home”
[4] Jennifer Phelps, “How Often Should You Shower?”, Times Union

Buying a New Compass

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Silva Ranger  – Outdoor Quest Image

There are several things to keep in mind when buying a compass.

My preferred compass is a declination adjustable sighting compass (with mirror) like the trail proven “Silva Ranger.” (Silva, Brunton and Suunto all make good compasses.) The key is that this type of compass can be adjusted for magnetic declination and that keeps your wilderness navigation simple. You can expect to pay roughly $35.00 – $60.00; a cheap compass will not serve the hiker well.

My experience is that most sales clerks are compass illiterate and have little navigation experience.  While looking at a compass ask the clerk to remove it from the plastic container/packaging.  Check the compass to ensure:

  1. The dial moves freely and does not stick.  
  2. There are no bubbles internal to the liquid filled compass housing.
  3.  Information engraved on the base plate must be legible.  If there is a magnifying glass verify that it is clear and not scratched. 
  4. The tick marks on the dial are in two degree increments.  The tick marks should be readable.
  5. The base plate, rotating dial assembly, and mirror are not chipped or broken.  
  6. The sighting assembly hinge allows freedom of movement without excess side to side movement at the hinge .

 Packaging should clearly state that the compass is declination adjustable.  Adjustable compasses may have a small metal tool that allows for setting the declination.  If the packaging states that the compass has declination marking but does not use the word adjustable move to another model.

After purchase visit the website to determine the declination of the area the hiker will be traveling through.

Remember that the red magnetic needle will always point to magnetic north.  With a declination adjustable compass the rotating dial has been adjusted so that the information provided by the compass is now in degrees true.

4 Of The Best Riffles For Beginners

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I think most people that have been following me for a while share my passion when it comes to fire-power. Most guns enthusiasts know at least a thing or two about handguns, rifles, shotguns etc. But I don’t know how many of us actually got their hands on an actual gun and started shooting, be it for practice or in self-defense. Many of those that haven’t gotten their hands on an actual gun are contemplating this very moment if it’s time to take the personal security matter one step further and get their very own gun for personal protection. And this article is meant to help exactly the newcomers to the fascinating world of fire-power. Getting your own gun is a great idea, especially if we consider the uncertain and tumultuous times we’re living in. But just going online or at your local gun dealer and buying the first thing you set your eyes on won’t do. Set pride aside and accept the fact you’ll have to take things gradually, one gun at a time. I’ll show a list of some of my personal favorite entry-level rifles, which are easier to handle and shoot.

The H&R Handi-Rifle

This is a very good choice for beginners. This compact single shot is widely available and is probably the best choice for those who are buying on a budget, as it should cost around $240 – $320 (depending on the model). So if you’re not planning to spend big bucks for a rifle, look no further. Due to H&R break open design, this tiny riffle is safer in the hands of beginners than a bolt action riffle. The trigger however is nowhere near good, so you might want to have it changed. The overall length of the gun is more compact as well when compared to a bolt action riffle (by about 6 inches), which makes it easier to handle and maneuver, especially in a tight spot. Its reduced size and weight makes it easy to use even by children.




The Marlin XL7

This particular riffle might not be much too look at as far as design goes. But in most cases simplicity translates into efficiency, and the Marlin XL7 makes no exception. This particular model (the XL7) is the direct result of the hard work the Marlin developers have put in their effort of providing and extremely accurate and reliable bolt action rifle; and that they have. The riffle comes with a Pro-Fire adjustable trigger system, which also includes trigger safety. But to make it even safer in the hands of beginners, you also get a standard 2-possition safety that is found behind the bolt handle. The XL7 7 is very maneuverable and bolt movement itself is very smooth. The gun is easily available and the market and it costs somewhere in the range of $300-$400.


The Savage Axis XP

This is a very sturdy and reliable bolt action rifle that has a great advantage over most of its competitors: apart from the fact that you can have the model with a scope, you also can get the stainless steel version. The stainless steel will make it that much sturdier, giving it an improved resistance to scratches and rust. It’s easy to handle and very precise, although it could use some more refinement in the trigger department. The magazine feels a bit cheap as well, but that’s about it. It costs around $300, a price that’s hard to bit, especially if you consider how accurate it is.



The Mossberg 4×4

The 4×4 model released by Mossberg has received great reviews, and rightly so. This is one of the most reliable rifles in its price range, and it comes with an excellent adjustable trigger system; the system factory setting is of 3.5 lbs but it can be adjusted to as low as 2 lbs. It has an easy to reach 2-possiton safety which is located just behind the bolt handle that deactivates the trigger but still allows the bolt to be opened, even if the safety is on. When it comes to diversity, the 4×4 takes the cake, as it comes with a great variety of barrel and stock combos. The barrels can come in Mossberg’s signature Marinecoat stainless satin finish, but if this is not to your liking, you can either have them in a blue matte finish. The rifle is very accurate and fairly easy to use. The price is fairly decent too, as it should cost about $450.

These are some of the best choices you have on the market when it comes to entry-level riffles, but I’m sure there are plenty more out there for you to consider. There is a great variety so finding the one that suits you best is only a matter of time. But don’t rely on reviews only, you should take into consideration the feel of a riffle more than anything: how it feels in your hand and you feel shooting it matters a lot. Make the purchase only if you feel comfortable with the riffle in hand.


By Alec Deacon





The post 4 Of The Best Riffles For Beginners appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

How to Craft an Effective Bug-Out Plan

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When it comes to disasters, nobody truly wants to leave their home and all of their belongings, but there are times that the decision is made for you and the only safe option is to literally head for the hills.

The act of heading out from your current home to find safer conditions is known as bugging out. While bugging out means grabbing your supplies and getting out of Dodge while the getting is good, it does not mean that you should just all of a sudden throw what you think you need into a bag and run. The only way bugging out would be safer than staying where you are is having an effective bug-out plan in place. By crafting an effective plan for bugging out, you can make sure you have what you need, know where you’re going, and most importantly, know when to make the call. There are five key questions you need to ask yourself to make an effective bug-out plan, and by focusing on these, you should be able to safely and effectively bug out when the SHTF.

1. When should you leave?

When it comes to bugging out, knowing when to make the call to leave is by far the most critical decision. Leave too soon and the disaster may pass, opening you up to looting and destruction of your home, but leave too late and you can easily doom yourself to being trapped in whatever disaster you’re trying to escape.

For example, think about a wildfire. These are definitely not something you want to be around, but knowing where the fire is, how it’s spreading, and what your overall risk is all play in to your decision on staying or leaving.

2. Where are you going?


There are few reasons you’d ever leave your home, possibly forever; you need to know where you’re going.

For natural disasters like earthquakes, floods and fires you should know where shelters are and where the best places to be in each scenario are. For example, you’d want a high spot during a flood and a place away from the woods or fields in case of wildfire.

If the disaster you’re worried about is more of the man-made variety, then you’d be wise to plan a bug-out spot that’s far from civilization. Each scenario you have should include at least two locations to bug-out to.

3. How are you going to get there?


With the location in mind, the next question you need to ask yourself is how you’re going to get there. Are you taking your car, truck, motorcycle, ATV, or are you hiking out of town on foot? Ideally the motorized means of travel are the easiest, but depending on the type of disaster you’re planning for, they may not be an option.

Roads can become clogged and fuel can quickly become a precious commodity, combining to make it hard, if not impossible, to escape to your bug-out location by vehicle. As with the other questions above, you need to come up with a few different options based on the scenarios you’re planning for.


On top of the means of transportation, you need to have a map of how to get to your bug-out spot. While today we use GPS navigation for just about everything, this technology can easily become disabled during a major disaster, rendering it useless. What you need is the tried-and-true analog method of travel: map and compass. Plan out at least two routes to each bug-out location on a map meant specifically for your bug-out plan, and store it with your compass and any other bug-out necessities.

4. What are you bringing with you?

Speaking of those necessities, deciding on what you need to bring with you is the starting point of building your own Bug Out Bag. This bag should include everything you need to survive for 72 hours. Sure, you might be bugging out for more than that, but we’ll get to that in just a minute. For now, understand that your bug-out bag is your 72-hour survival best friend.

The basics you need to include are food, water, fire starters, a first aid kit and some additional clothing. After this there’s quite a bit you can add to make bugging out better. Check out these posts on everything you need to know about bug-out bags.

5. How long will you be gone?


With your 72-hour bug-out bag in place, you need to ask yourself how long you plan on bugging out. If you’re just leaving to avoid the aforementioned wildfire or flood, then a few days should be fine, but if you’re planning on bugging out for longer, possibly forever, then you need to think about the bigger picture.

Maybe escaping with just a backpack of supplies won’t do. If you have the time to think about it, you should bring enough supplies to keep you going for as long as possible. This is where knowing when to bug out comes into play. By gauging this correctly you may be able to escape with a carload of supplies before the highways become crowded and people start looting those of us that are more prepared.

Think about those scenarios we discussed above and estimate how long you’d need to bug out for each. By knowing how long you plan on being gone, you can better prepare for the exact supplies you need. Too few and you run the risk of, well, not surviving. Too many and you run the risk of being slowed down or targeted for looting.


Think about your answers to these five questions so you can keep yourself and your family alive. Who knows, maybe the idea of bugging out might start to be not so scary after all.

Winter Projects For A Man’s Hands

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DIY projectsWith wintertime bearing down upon us, it’s time for many of us to make a few changes. Winter coats come out of hiding and we put away the shorts and sandals for next year. Some people drain their swimming pools, while others wax up their skis. The end of Daylight Savings Time leaves us with shorter evenings, which get cold quicker. Rather than being outdoors, we spend most of our time inside.

This pattern has actually gone on for centuries, although I doubt too many of our ancestors had swimming pools to drain or would have any idea of what Daylight Savings Time is. But the part about changing our activities has always existed, especially when we were a more agricultural society.

Life on the farm is built around seedtime and harvest. Once the harvest is in and the winter seeds planted (more to add nitrogen to the soil and prevent erosion), most farming activities come to an end. Oh, there are usually a few animals around to feed, cows to milk and eggs to gather, but the vast majority of the farm work sits idle until things thaw out in the spring.

That made wintertime a time for indoor projects. Rather than repairing fences or building a barn, our ancestors put those winter months to use in improving the homestead. Even modern farmers utilize the winter months for maintenance tasks on the farm, repairing and doing preventative maintenance on their tractors.

As those who are seeking to be self-sufficient and prepared for any disaster, it seems to me that we can take a valuable lesson from our ancestors and use the winter for a few good projects. How about some of these:

Make Snowshoes

If you live anywhere where there is a lot of snow, a pair of snowshoes makes a great addition to your survival gear. Without snow plows to clear the streets, you might have trouble getting out of your home in an emergency. Snowshoes provide a good alternative; and unlike skis, it doesn’t take much to learn how to use snowshoes.

Today’s modern snowshoes are made of composite materials, but they used to be made of wood and rawhide. The framework of the snowshoe was made as a teardrop or an oval, with a couple of crossbars to support  the weight of a foot. For these wood parts, a good, flexible wood is needed, such as willow. Use green wood, peel the bark and soak it in water. Then, use heat to bend the wood. You might want to bend more than you need, just in case one doesn’t come out good.

The rest of the snowshoe consists of lacing back and forth across the framework, much like caning a chair. This was traditionally done with rawhide lacing. The idea is to create a net of lacing, so that it will spread your weight and won’t sink in the snow.

The last part of building a snowshoe is to put some leather straps on it (not rawhide) to hold your boots to the snowshoe. You only want the front part of your boot attached (the ball of the foot), so that the heel of the foot is free to raise and fall, without affecting the snowshoe.

Build Storage in the Basement

It seems that one constant shortage for any prepper is storage space. As our stockpiles grow, we need more space to store things. Not only that, but we need our storage to be arranged in such a way that we will be able to find things easily, when the time comes. Piles of boxes aren’t easy to work with, when you need to find something to fix for dinner.

So this is a great time for building storage shelves, can dispensers and other storage projects that will make your supplies more accessible when the time comes. At the same time, it makes it easier to rotate your stock, so that you can keep your food stockpile fresh.

Another storage project you might want to consider is building a root cellar in one corner of the basement. What makes a root cellar work is having it underground. Well, your basement is already underground and if you are like most people, you don’t really heat it. So, you’re off to a good start.

The nice thing about a root cellar is that it will help the produce from your garden last longer. While you can use canning for everything, that would require a lot of canning jars. Produce stored in a root cellar, especially root vegetables (hence the name) will last for a long time, even until the next spring. Although I will have to say that in the spring they won’t look as nice and fresh as they did in the fall.

Video first seen on Lacquerandlace Vintage at heart

Learn Blacksmithing

The art of blacksmithing has largely been lost, but it is making a comeback. My dad was a blacksmith and I learned a bit about it from him, before his career was abruptly ended by an accident. After breaking his shoulder, he had to give up the forge and sold it.

A true blacksmith can make just about anything out of metal. Considering that any TEOTWAWKI scenario would make the purchase of manufactured goods just about impossible, knowing how to make your own and having the tools to do so, could make you a very valuable member of your survival team or even your community.

While an experienced blacksmith has quite a collection of tools, you really don’t need all that many to start with. An anvil and forge, a good hammer (about 3 pounds) and some tongs to hold the work are a good starting point. Many of the other tools you need, you can make yourself. In fact, making those tools was a normal part of a blacksmith’s apprenticeship.

Forges can be build many different ways. Probably one of the simplest designs I’ve seen was a brake drum from an 18-wheeler. A section of one side was cut out (about 1/6 the circumference) and a blower was added to pump air through the bottom. The blower is critical, whether an electric one or the old-fashioned bellows. That’s what forces the coal to burn faster, creating enough heat.

While coal was the traditional fuel for the forge, I’ve heard of people using charcoal successfully. Coal will burn hotter, but if all you can get is charcoal, then by all means use it.

There are several different techniques that blacksmiths use, but the basic concept is to heat the metal in the forge and then use a hammer and the anvil to form it. This takes practice and builds muscle as well. The nice thing about doing it in the wintertime is that the combination of the heat off the forge and the physical work of swinging the hammer will keep you warm.

Work on Your Shooting Skills

No matter how good a shot you are, you can always be better. Most of us have trouble finding enough time to go to the range and work on bettering our skills. Well, the cold winter months make an excellent time to do just that, especially if your local range is an indoor one.

Granted, ammunition can be a bit expensive, but there are a lot of things you can do to practice, which don’t require going to the range and burning ammo. You can do dry fire exercises, draw and fire, magazine changes, maneuvering and building clearing practice. All that can be done in the comfort of your own home.

You can even do some of that while sitting and watching the game. That way, you have an answer for your wife, when she says that you’re wasting time. You’re not wasting it, you’re practicing. The TV is just on to distract you, making your practice more realistic.

Build a Homemade Recurve Bow

Modern bows are rather complex affairs, since most are compound bows. While I suppose it might be possible to build one yourself, it’s a whole lot easier to build a recurve bow. And though that may not be as easy to use as a compound, it makes a fun project and doesn’t cost as much.

You can buy bow blanks in a variety of woods. I’ll leave off the debate about which one is the best for now. You can do your own research on that. But once you have the blank, the main part of turning it into a bow is to carefully shape the limbs, thinning them out towards the end. While a drawknife can be used for this, a spokeshave will help ensure that you don’t cut off too much at one time.

The recurve tips on a bow actually add a lot of velocity to the shot. They are formed after the limbs have been thinned and shaped. The wood is soaked in water and then bent over a hot drum to make the curve. You’ll either need a strong friend to help, or a means of clamping the end of the bow limb in place while you bend it.

These projects should be able to help keep yourself out of trouble with your wife this winter and even have the potential of contributing towards your family’s survival. They can take time that would otherwise be unproductive and turn it into time that is well spent, providing you with the pleasure of working with your hands, while doing something productive.


This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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Is This The Most Beautiful Natural House You Have Ever Seen?

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This is a story of life, of living, of finding love.  It is a tale about a Man and a Woman, of nesting, of preparing life together, and of building the home of one’s dreams and imagination.

Beautiful home

This is the story of Charlie and Meg.  They built that dream, and it was beautiful. The pictures of their build and their completion went viral on-line and transformed the minds of millions of people as to the potential of building from the land, making use of what is provided in terms of lumber and earth, and turning it into something only fairy tales speak of.

Roof rafters

Feast your eyes upon the natural timbers. And then watch Charlie’s Story unfold below before moving on through the construction of the home:


Natural home frame

The togetherness of friends coming together to work for their build:

Natural home building

The consideration for the native land and use of local materials is extraordinary

Natural home build

Charlie is quite the skilled craftsman as well, and he uses those skills to make a living:

Wood carving art

Below: The extraordinary interior before it was occupied.  The creative technique of construction by finding the pieces to fit the need, and working with what you find creates an artistic impression and we have seen that Charlie is definitely an amazing artist, but also with every piece of wood placed, one thinks about the ecological savings; Each beam you purchase from the lumber store has been cut and transported, sometimes from overseas.  The required fuel to get it to a place is immense.  And here on “his turf,” Charlie was able to discover and find and assemble all of this with little need for fuel or store-bought supplies.

Next to the hobbit homes from “Lord of the Rings,” Charlie’s place is a most popular natural home shared the world over, and giving a shining example as how to build from your own land.

Natural home interior

Natural home in winter

Natural home exterior


That doesn’t mean it’s easy, because it’s hard work.  That doesn’t mean it’s cheap, because time is valuable, and it takes a lot of it.  But you can start with nothing, and build yourself a home, and Charlie shows us how.

He mentions in his video that he had built many treehouses and forts, so the boundaries for which he should have to pull permits to do something a little bigger seemed grey to him.  This was just the next step for a boy who knew his land and how to build from it.

Natural home rafters


The earthen plastered wall behind the stove has tremendous heat retention properties, and will radiate the heat provided by the stove for days.

Plastered wall

Natural home roof

The living roof helps keep the house cool in summer and provides insulation in winter.

Natural home living roof


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House Fires and Survivalists/ Hard Money Types

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An acquaintance’s friends house burned down recently. A month or so back a youtube guy’s place burned down. Not so long ago Orange Jeep Dad had the same thing happen.

While relatively unlikely (I don’t personally know anyone who had had it happen in a decade or more) it still happens. Also without hard data I think survivalist types who often live in older homes with equally old electric systems, heat with wood and are far from responding EMS are proportionately at a higher than normal risk.

Also for survivalists and hard money types the impact of these events is higher. Money in the bank or stock market doesn’t burn in a house fire but tangibles in your home are almost surely a loss. If you have a decent percentage of your wealth in metals (gold, silver or steel/ lead) in the home that is an issue.

So what can we do about this?

Risk Prevention:

-Try not to live in a tinder box with a shoddy electrical system.

-Clean the chimney/ stove regularly. If in doubt about the safety of the stove/ pipe chimney etc fix it.

-Smoke alarms and fire extinquishers.

-Having a plan and testing that plan to get out safely is essential. In the event of a slow fire or part of the house (kitchen fire) fire you might have time to move vehicles out of the garage or grab your brief case (with the important papers, cash, etc). [In this situation unless it was clear the whole house was going I would be fighting the fire and in the event the whole house was going there might be a mad dash to grab the briefcase/ wallet and move vehicles but I do not claim to be an authority on this and every situation is different. My goal here is not to say what is the perfect answer but to provoke thought to spur your own personal action.]

Damage Mitigation:

-Have sufficient insurance. Consider writers for high value items (if you are comfortable with there being a record of said items). 

-Have a home inventory for insurance purposes. Video is a nice way to do this.

-Have back up documents for all important stuff. Birth certificates, insurance documents, rental/ mortgage agreements, bank accounts, etc all. Scan it and put it on a couple thumb drives then disperse them to separate safe locations.

-Along these lines if you have a rarely used credit card keeping it outside the home could be a good idea. Ditto a checkbook.

-To the largest extent practical spread out your proverbial eggs. Valuables stored at an alternate location will not be damaged if your place burns.

 -From a preparedness angle have at least a full set of clothes stored outside the home near by. Maybe you have a shed at the bottom of the pasture/ end of the yard far enough away it is unlikely to be affected by said house fire. Maybe you have a like minded neighbor; you store a tote/ trunk for them and they do the same for you. Extending from this a spare gun or two is a nice idea if you have them to spare. I know Orange Jeep Dad really wanted a CCW pistol after his house fire and well if your place burns down money is tight. That CCW pistol from a gun or two ago which isn’t quite right or the ambiguous J frame .38 which is in many a sock drawer is a good candidate.

Anyway those are my ideas. I have implemented some of these. As to the other ideas either they do not fit my personal situation or I have not gotten there yet. What are your ideas?

Building A Wind Turbine From Scratch

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There are several DIY wind turbine projects on the internet. This project is appropriate for high school level science projects and was originally sourced from Vela Creations a very good site, maintained by a couple living off-grid. Their site is definitely worth a look. Another good website to visit for wind turbine projects is OtherPower though these turbines can be fairly large.

DIY Wind TurbineDIY wind turbine project

We have included some modifications to the original instructions for a larger treadmill motor which weighs more, takes larger blades, requires better fastening for the blades and uses a bearing to attach to the tower.

Making a wind powered generator from scrap materials helps keep those materials out of the local dump.  Most of the items you need, can be found in your local hardware store, your own garage or from one of the “Freecycle” groups in your area.

Try doing a search on Google for “freecycle” to see what parts you can pick up for free. For the wind turbine built in these pictures, we picked up the motor on eBay for $10 plus shipping and the PVC pipe for the blades from a junk pile. The tail is made from an old roller paint pan.

Safety should be your first priority.  Your health is more important than a DIY project, so please follow all safety instructions you read, use common sense and get help if you are unsure about something.  Wind turbines can be heavy, dangerous machines, with fast moving blades and the chance for electrical shocks.

This wind turbine is based on the Chispito Wind Generator with it’s simple and efficient design and assembly. We have included several photos showing our changes, using the larger 20 amp motor.


The Permanent Magnet Generator (PMG) – You’ll need a PMG that produces at least 1 volt DC for every 25 RPM, thus if your wind turbine blades turn at 400 RPM it would generate 16 VDC. A 260 VDC, 5 A continuous duty Treadmill Motor with a 6 inch threaded hub is well suited for a small wind turbine. These motors are available locally and on eBay or other internet sites. You can get about 7 amps in a 30 mph wind. In other words, it is a simple, cheap little machine to get you started.

20A Treadmill Motor

I picked up a 90 VDC, 20A treadmill motor off eBay for $10 plus shipping. This motor requires an upgrade to most of the original instructions due to the increase in size and weight. It also produces a lower output voltage. The motor is better suited for a system with gearing to increase the RPM.

You may use any other simple permanent magnet DC motor that returns at least 1 V for every 25 rpm and can handle upwards of 10 amps. The Ametek 30 is one of the best motors but is hard to find and the price seems to be getting rather high.

Try to find a motor that comes with a 6″ hub to attach the blades too – a circular saw blade with a 5/8″ shaft adaptor might work. For our larger motor we initially used a metal slow moving vehicle sign, bolted to a 3.5 inch pulley. The triangular shape was just what we were looking for. We reinforced the sign with a wooden ring. This hub ended up blocking much of the wind on the smaller blades and we eventually switched to a six inch wooden hub, reinforced with metal plating. When hurricane Ike went through, that hub was also damaged. Thus we’d recommend a metal hub such as the saw blade or a used thick metal frying pan bottom.

Mounting the Generator


  • 6 ft of “L” tubing
  • misc nuts and bolts
  • 3/4″ Self-tapping Screws
  • For the larger 20Amp motor, I used a caster wheel with a hole in the center(Caster with a Hollow Kingpin) to attach the motor to the tower. This allows the heavy motor to turn very easily and doesn’t provide dolley-with-holewear to the tower or flange.


  • 90 VDC, 20 A continuous duty Treadmill Motor
  • 30 – 50 Amp Blocking Diode (one-way)
  • 4 x 5/16” x ¾” Motor Bolts
  • 8″ X 16″ PVC Pipe – or larger depending on the size of the treadmill motor (cover)


  • 1 sqft (approx) lightweight material (metal) – used roller paint tray will work
  • 2 X ¾” Self-tapping Screws to attach the tail


8 inch PVC tubing for turbine blades

  • 24″ length of 8″ PVC Pipe
  • 6 X ¼” X 20 Bolts
  • 9 x ¼” washers
  • 3 sheets of paper and tape

Wind Turbine Assembly

Cutting Blades – makes 8 blades (or 2+ blade sets) and a thin waste strip.

I have created a separate page with more pictures and expanded on this process a bit. After you’ve done this once, it makes sense. These instructions could use a little help for the first time wind turbine blade maker.

Here’s the link to the page: Making PVC Turbine Blades

  1. Place the 24″ Length of PVC pipe and square tubing (or other straight edge) side by side on a flat surface. Push the pipe tight against the tubing and mark the line where they touch. This is Line A.
  2. Make a mark near each end of Line A, 23″ apart.
  3. Tape 3 sheets of A4 paper together, so that they form a long, completely straight blade linespiece of paper. Wrap this around the section of pipe at each of the two the marks you just made, one then the other. Make sure the short side of the paper is straight along Line A and the paper is straight against itself where it overlaps. Mark a line along the edge of the paper at each end. Call one LineB and the other Line C.
  4. Start where Line A intersects Line B. Going left around Line B, make a mark at every 145 mm. The last section should be about 115 mm.
  5. Start where Line A intersects Line C. Going right around Line C, make a mark at every 145 mm. The last section should be about 115 mm.
  6. Mark each line using a straight edge.
  7. Cut along these lines, using a jigsaw, so that you have 4 strips of 145 mm and one strip about 115 mm.
  8. blade splitTake each strip and place them with the inside of the pipe facing down.
  9. Make a mark at one end of each strip 115 mm from the left edge.
  10. Make a mark at the other end of each strip 30 mm from the left edge.
  11. Mark and cut these lines, using a jigsaw.

Shaped turbine blades

Note: we also made a set of blades 38 inches long using the same measurement – only the length was changed – 24 inches to 38 inches.

Sanding the Blades

You should sand the blades to achieve the desired airfoil. This will increase the efficiency of the blades, as well as making them quieter.

The angled (leading) edge wants to be rounded, while the straight (tailing) edge wants to be pointed.

Any sharp corners should be slightly rounded to cut down on noise.

Shaped mounted turbine blades

Making The Tail

The exact dimensions of the tail are not important.  You need about one square foot of lightweight material, preferably metal.  You can make the tail any shape you want, so long as the end result is stiff rather than floppy, we used an old aluminum paint tray (flattened). Our 6 foot long rail has holes already in it, so we will simply bolted the tail in place near the end of the rail – see instructions below about “balancing” the complete setup. Note that this design has no FURLING to take the blades out of the wind, in very high wind conditions. You can read more about furling designs here: FURLING YOUR WIND TURBINE

Drilling Holes in Blades

…using the ¼” drill bit

  1. Mark two holes at the wide end and along the straight edge of each of the three blades. The first hole should be 3/8 ” from the straight edge and ½ ” from the bottom. The second hole should be 3/8 ” from the straight edge and 1 ¼” from the bottom.
  2. Drill these 6 holes – 2 per blade (3 blades in total)

mounted pvc bladesDrilling Holes in Hub

…using the 7/32″ drill bit and ¼” tap

NOTE: You may want to modify these instructions. Try replacing the hub with an old, used 7 1/4 inch skill saw blade. The larger surface area will give you more space to screw or bolt the blades to. We also used 1/4 inch bolts rather than drilling and tapping holes. I’ve also see old aluminum frying pans used for this purpose. They are light and solid!

  1. hub layoutIf the Treadmill motor comes with the hub attached, take it off, hold the end of the shaft (which comes through the hub) firmly with pliers, and turn the hub clockwise. This hub unscrews clockwise, which is why the blades turn counter-clockwise.
  2. Make a template of the hub on a piece of paper, using a compass and protractor.
  3. Mark 3 holes, each of which is 2 3/8″ from the center of the circle and equidistant from each other.
  4. Place this template over the hub and punch a starter hole through the paper and onto the hub at each hole.
  5. Drill these holes with the 7/32″ drill bit.
  6. Tap the holes with the ¼” x 20 tap.
  7. Bolt the blades onto the hub using the ¼” bolts. At this point, the outer holes have not been drilled.
  8. Measure the distance between the straight edge of the tips of each blade. Adjust them so that they are all equidistant.  Mark and punch each hole on the hub through the empty hole in each blade.
  9. Label the blades and hub so that you can match which blade goes where at a later stage.
  10. Remove the blades and then drill and tap these outer three holes.pulley



Ring SUpport for mounting PVC blades

Note: the metal slow moving vehicle sign is not solid enough to stand-up in high winds. We screwed on a wooden ring to the back of the sign to give it the required strength. This blocked to much wind so we ended up replacing it with a 6 inch wooden hub, reinforced with a metal plate on the back. Even later, we ended up replacing this hub with a 6″ metal hub for added strength.

smaller hub for HAWT

Make a Protective Cover for the Motor

  1. sleeveDraw two straight lines, about ¾” apart, along the length of the 8 ” x 16” PVC Pipe. Cut along these lines.
  2. Make a 45º cut at the end of the pipe.
  3. Slide the cover over the motor and secure in place.

Turbine Assembly

  1. Remove the rubber wheel from the Caster. Drill through the caster and bolt to your tower assembly (top pipe of your tower)
  2. diodePlace the diode on the “L” tubing, about 2” behind the motor, and screw it into position using a self-tapping metal screw.
  3. Connect the black wire coming out of the motor to the positive incoming terminal of the diode (Labeled AC on the positive side).
  4. Connect the red wire coming out of the motor to the negative incoming terminal of the diode (Labeled AC on the negative side).
  5. Place each blade on the hub so that all the holes line up.  Using the ¼” bolts and washers, bolt the blades to the hub.  For the inner three holes, use two washers per bolt, one on each side of the blade. For the outer three holes, just use one washer next to the head of the bolt. Tighten. This points the blades away from your tower.
  6. Hold the end of the shaft of the motor (which comes through the hub) firmly with pliers, and turn the hub counterclockwise until it tightens and stops. Our motor didn’t come with a hub, thus we attached our “pulley-hub” to the shaft.
  7. Attach the caster dolly to the motor and “L” rail. Balance this whole setup by moving the 1 square foot tail section along the 6′ long rail. Once you find the spot where everything is balance, bolt the tail to the rail at that spot.
  8. For our larger (heavier) motor, we used a rotating caster with a hollow kingpin, bolted to the top of the tower. The dolly/caster needs to have a hole in the middle that you will run the power wires down, through the tower. The dolly is bolted directly to the DC motor which made the complete mounting system much easier.


testing assembled wind turbineassembled-wind-turbine

For a longer life span of your wind generator, you should paint the blades, motor sleeve, mount and tail.

8 foot sweep wind turbine at Lake Huron

On the larger 20A treadmill motor, we attached a dolly bearing directly to the bottom of the motor and then onto the top of the tower. Get a dolly wheel with a hole in the middle, which you thread the power wires through.

We also used the same PVC Blade Pattern to cut 3 foot blades. Just make the length 3 feet rather than 2 feet. The measurements at both ends stay the same – 145 cm wide sections that are next cut into 2 blades. This gives the same curve to the blades.

Depending on the size of your motor, you may want to experiment with different lengths of blades. Our larger blades were not balanced as well as the shorter blades initially and thus turned slower. We cut them down in length from 36 inches to 32 inches and balanced them. To balance the blades, we placed the blades and hub, onto a long pointed nail. We than slid a washer along the blades to find the balance point. Then epoxy the washer in place (try to account for the weight of the epoxy as well).

How much power can we get from the wind?

Power AVAILABLE in the wind = .5 x air density x swept area x (wind velocity cubed)

Example: air density = 1.23 kg per cubic meter at sea level. Swept area = pi x r squared. Our 2 foot blades = 0.609m, 4 ft = 1.219m. 10 mph = 4.4704 m/s, 20 mph = 8.9408 m/s.

How much power is in the wind: 2 ft blade, 10 mph winds = .5 x 1.23 x 3.14 x 0.609squared x 4.4704 cubed

= .5 x 1.23 x 1.159 x 89.338 = 63.7 watts

With 4 foot blades and 10 mph winds = .5 x 1.23 x 4.666 x 89.338 = 256 watts

With 4 foot blades and 20 mph winds = .5 x 1.23 x 4.666 x 714.708 = 2051 watts

That’s the MAXIMUM power in the wind. However, it’s impossible to harvest ALL the power. The Betz Limit tells us that the maximum percentage of power we can harvest from the wind is 59.26%.

Thus our maximum power from these turbines would be:

2 ft blades, 10 mph wind = 37.7 watts

4 ft blades, 10 mph wind = 152 watts

4 ft blades, 20 mph wind = 1,215 watts

These values are the maximum power achievable. Your results will be less, depending on how well you shape the blades, how well balanced the blade assembly is, drag going over the hub, copper losses, etc. A very well built DIY HAWT would not likely get more than 50% of the above numbers.


Gearing for a higher RPM motor

If you can’t find a good, low RMP motor such as the Ametek 30 and need to gear-up the motor you have, here’s a video of one possible layout:

Originally published on Green Terra Firma

The post Building A Wind Turbine From Scratch appeared first on Walden Labs.

The Paper Towel Dilemma

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The paper towel dilemma. How to replace paper towels with cloth rags and napkins | PreparednessMama

Two years ago my family quit using paper towels. In an effort to reduce our waste and save some money we used that last roll and went cold turkey. No more paper towels at all! There was a bit of grumbling from my husband, but for the most part we adjusted pretty fast. That lasted for […]

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Part 2 – Defying ISIS: Knowing The History of Our Faith in the Middle East

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   There is a statement in Johnnie Moore’s enlightening book, Defying ISIS: Preserving Christianity In  The Place of Its Birth and in Your Own Backyard, that struck me to my core.  He states, “It has always been a mystery to me why so many Christians in the West struggle to live for what so many Christians in persecuted countries are willing to die for.”  Please don’t skip over that statement… think about it deliberately.

Christian Children Murdered
for Refusing Islamic Conversion: ‘We Love Jesus’

     Why do so many people who call themselves Christian in this country have such a difficult time living their lives for Christ; living in obedience to God’s commands and willing to sacrifice everything (home, family, material wealth) for a relationship with His Son?  And how is it that Christians who most likely live without the comfort and ease that we have; who are struggling to survive in this world, have a much easier time dedicating their lives to Him and following Him, even unto death?  After all, we are not beaten, imprisoned, and murdered for our faith… yet.  And still, we cannot find it within ourselves to make Him first in our lives!
      As Moore writes, “Sacrifice and martyrdom are deeply rooted in Christian identity and Christian theology.  They have been in place since the first century, and they are every bit as relevant today as they were back then.  Remember, all but one of Jesus’s disciples was martyred, and the story of the early church is as triumphant as it is blood-laden.”  I’m afraid that we Christians in the West assume that this kind of sacrifice is all a part of Christian history and we will get to heaven after a comfortable or natural death; while our brothers and sisters dying in the Middle East today know that they are no different than those who, centuries ago, were willing to affirm their love for Jesus in the midst of a horrifying death.
     Christians are giving their lives, affirming their love for Jesus… TODAY!  Once again they are being forced to pay for their faith with their lives, and once again — as in so many times in history — they are willing to do what is required of them in order to demonstrate to the world that hate is no match for the love of Jesus.  If we were willing to throw off our discomfort about this fact, we would see that Middle Eastern Christians are showing us that the brutality of ISIS (and Satan, himself) is only measured against the defiance of the faithful; the defiance which is exhibited in the very love of Jesus, Himself.
     Remember, Zena, from my post on Saturday?  She was the bright, educated, chemical engineering student who was forced to flee Mosul, and who expressed the devastation of losing the security of her church and Christian community.  Johnnie Moore asked her a difficult question:  “How has that experience affected your faith in Jesus Christ”?  He was surprised at the response he received, and describes it like this:  “The depression and hurt that had monopolized our conversation to this point went away almost entirely… A tender defiance filled her voice as she revealed to me her unwavering commitment to Jesus Christ.  She didn’t say that she doubted God, or wondered why God allowed her and her fellow Christians to suffer so much, so often.  Instead she said, “We thank Jesus one thousand times for life… Our Lord Jesus saved us from death; maybe this is the beginning of our story.”
     Is that how you or I would answer that question, if we suddenly lost our homes and possessions and were forced to flee from the onslaught of evil?  If we witnessed death and barbarity all around us because we professed faith in Jesus?  These Christians are actually living out the description that the Apostle Paul gives us in Romans, Chapter 8 of the persecuted church in Rome:  For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.  No, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For [we] are convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
     Here we are 2,000 years later, and evil men are still beheading Christians, and the love of Christ continues to  prevail over their hatred.  These Christians have a very real and full understanding of the historic significance of the persecution they are enduring.  Moore says he heard numerous times, “Now, Jesus is requiring us to carry our own crosses.”  They know that they are just the latest in a long line of Christians who are willing to show their defiance and commitment to Jesus.  Like Ignatius of Antioch (which is in Syria), they are willing to become martyrs in order to attain Jesus.  And like Tertullian, the Christian author who lived in North Africa in the third century, they believe that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” and that “the Christian, even when he is condemned, gives thanks.”
     I know that all of this seems so foreign to our Christian experience in the West.  It is hard for us to understand that such bastions of the Christian faith exist in the heart of what we perceive as Muslim strongholds.  But we do not understand the history of our own faith; that our faith has deep roots in ancient Assyria, which was one of the Great Mesopotamian powers along with the Babylonians and the nearby Persians. The areas they occupied are roughly close to the borders of modern day Syria (Assyria), Iraq (Babylon) and Iran (Persia).   It was in this region that Adam and Eve were created.  It was from here that Abraham was sent, and it was here where prophets like Jonah and Nahum preached.  The northern kingdom of Israel was taken captive by the Assyrians (modern day Syria), and then 166 years later, the southern kingdom of Judah was marched into exile to Babylon (modern day Iraq).  

Monastery of Mar Mattai/Saint Matthew
on Mount Alfaf, northern Iraq

     As you can see God has always had a place for Iraq in His plan.  And tradition teaches that the Disciple, Thomas, was responsible for the church in Syria.  In fact, Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, gives us some important information on the history of Christianity in this region and why the stories of our Christian brethren in the Middle East should affect us to our core:  “The Nineveh area (near modern-day Mosul, Iraq) is profoundly significant to Iraq’s Christians.  From antiquity, it has been the homeland of the Assyrians, who accepted Christianity, according to tradition, from St. Thomas, the Apostle, himself.  It is studded with historic churches and monasteries, some dating from the 4th century (such as the monastery of Mar Mattai/Saint Matthew).  Christianity spread from this region by Syriac missionaries across Asia to Tibet, China, and Mongolia … Western Christians owe an immense spiritual, theological, and cultural debt to this Church.  Iraq’s Christians still pray in Aramaic, the language of Jesus.”
     Moore’s book also makes the following assertion, which I firmly believe, that one of the reasons we Western Christians fail to have the heart we should for our Eastern brethren is that we mistakenly think that Christianity was birthed in Jerusalem, grew westward to Greece, then Rome, and into the countries of Spain, France, England, and eventually, “the New World”.  We have also been taught that by the Middle Ages, Christianity was mainly European, until it hopped the Atlantic and became American.  We have been taught that the heart of Christianity has always been westward.  What we fail to realize is that Christianity also moved east, as it moved west.
     If we were honest in our retelling of history, we would easily understand that Christianity originated in the Near East, and during the first few centuries, it had its greatest centers, monasteries, and churches in what was known as Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia.  In fact, Eastern Christians were at the heart of Christianity from the days of the apostles until at least the 1300s — the first two-thirds of Christian history!  Furthermore, most of the modern Muslim world was once the Christian world, and so much of ancient history is built upon a Christian foundation.  And although Christianity has declined in prominence since the Arab conquests of the Middle East, in every one of these countries, until our modern era, there were Christian communities who could trace their lineage for a thousand years.
     And now ISIS is threatening to decimate every vestige of Christianity, and we in the West fail to both realize the threat, and to react to the historic significance.  Are we able to acknowledge that Christian genocide is a reality and that we are allowing the destruction of Christianity in the place of its birth?
     At the beginning of his book, Johnnie Moore makes the declarative statement, “The threat of ISIS is a threat to the livelihood of every sensible person on the planet, and in its crosshairs is the faith of the world’s two billion Christians and nearly all of its Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists.  If they have their way, you won’t live another day.  There’s nothing in the world truer than that.  That’s why you should read this book.”  Note that it is not only Christians who will suffer genocide, but all those who oppose Satan’s will in using ISIS for his purposes.
     At the end of the book, Moore quotes the Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerhl, who spoke out on the issue of Christian genocide:  “Where are the voices?  Why a silence?  I think each one of us has at least the power to raise our voice.  In solidarity with these people distant from us, unknown to us … atrocities happen because there are those who commit them, and those who simply remain silent.”   Moore then concludes:  “As for me … I am done being silent.  I will not have it on my conscience that I stood by while 2,000 years of Christianity was eliminated from the Middle East.  What about you?”
     But, perhaps it is more important for us to hear from representatives of the Church inside the Middle East; those who have first-hand knowledge of the persecution and oppression.  The Reverend Canon Andrew White is the Anglican Vicar of Baghdad, and he’s become famous for being one of the few sources of news about Christians from inside ISIS-influenced areas.  His stories are difficult to hear, but leave us with no doubt that we must stand with our fellow Christians, storm the throne room of God with our prayers — and do it now! 
     Finally, I conclude with these thoughts … Will we stand by and watch the march of Evil across the globe?  Not only should we be raising our voices in support of Christianity in the Middle East, but we should be lending our financial support to those organizations that can make a real difference in their lives.  I am sorry to say that I no longer put my trust in elected officials to do anything meaningful, or to follow through on empty promises.
     Johnnie Moore suggests supporting refugees from this genocidal crisis through an organization called World Help, by visiting  He is also the founder of The Cradle Fund, which provides immediate humanitarian assistance, and is focused on developing a stable future for the entire region.  You can visit his website at
     It think it is important for us to see that, as Christians, it is our duty to show the love of Christ to not only those who share our faith in the Middle East, but to all peoples, of all faiths.  That is what Christ commissioned us to do.  It is the way the pagan world was transformed in antiquity, and it is the surest way to see dramatic change in the chaos we are witnessing today.  Those dying, this minute, for Jesus in the Middle East are leading the way … love must be the answer to hate; and it is time we intercede on their behalf, take our stand, declare our commitment to our Lord, and prepare to bear our cross.  How will history tell our story?

 Ephesians 6:18     Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).

Reader Submission: hidden wall safe with an expedient, emergency retrieval system

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The following has been submitted by Claude Thigpen

In my idle thoughts, I often find myself mentally running “what if” scenarios.

The one I return to the most is if I awoke in the night and my home was ablaze. After securing my families safety, what would I carry with me? In that moment, which item would I value above the others? Or would I have an opportunity to save anything? This scene alters and plays differently depending on where I am in my home when I run the drill.

I originally thought of purchasing a fire safe for protecting my valuables. However, after some research and finding that in a perfect world where either your home was across the street from the fire department, or your home burned completely in less than 3 hours and sustained temps never exceeded the rating for the safe, that a fire safe was not a realistic option for me. Especially since my valuables would not be readily accessible in emergencies (for example, when rapid retrieval of a weapon was needed).

So while in a waiting room, watching a reality based police television show, I saw how the police hooked a cable to a wrought iron burglar bar door and snatched it clean away. This was the inspiration I needed when I devised this notion…

How to Build a Hidden Wall Safe (with expedient, emergency retrieval system)

Here’s my idea: I’ll fab a sheet metal cabinet, sized to fit in the thickness of a stud framed, exterior wall, this in turn provides a hidden, in the wall, safe.

This cabinet would have a rigid metal frame, on the exterior side of the cabinet. To this frame, 2 cables would be attached on either side, as high as possible so as to create more leverage when pulled against. These cables would be connected to each other with a shackle, and then to a longer, primary cable.

This would look like a Y configuration. These cables would be covered by siding, a false exterior door, false window, etc. Each install would have unique requirements. The primary cable could be discreetly located a safe distance from the wall in whatever you could dream up — a bird bath, a patio stone, a plumbing cleanout, etc. The camo is in the eye of the beholder.

From this point, in case of something as catastrophic as a house fire, retrieval could be achieved with a vehicle, i.e. a fire truck, simply by pulling the safe through the wall, out of harm’s way.

I like this choice, rather than having to choose. I’m sure I left some details out and I would like to hear any input, comments, thoughts on improving or questions.

This Innovative New Greenhouse Makes It Possible To Grow Crops Even In The Desert

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In regions that regularly experience high temperatures, frequent droughts, and severe dryness, farming is virtually impossible. Roots Up is a non-profit organization in Northern Ethiopia that strives to help Ethiopian farmers produce healthy crops in even the most undesirable weather conditions that the region is subjected to.

Roots Up greenhouse


The team has come up with an innovative, multifunctional greenhouse, the Root Up Greenhouse, that is capable of both growing food and producing water by working with an arid environment rather than against it.

During the hot hours of the day, hot air is trapped within greenhouse and the temperatures continue to rise. All of the heat causes water to evaporate creates a humid environment within the greenhouse atmosphere, providing an excellent grow environment for the plant life as well as maximizing the dew harvest.

Roots Up greenhouse

From evening until morning when the temperatures drop substantially, the top of the greenhouse can be opened allowing it to cool. Eventually, the greenhouse environment reaches dew point, at which point the atmospheric water vapor condenses into small droplets on the surface of the bio-plastic sheet where they drip into the container below, providing the farmer with clean water for drinking and irrigation.

H/T: The Mind Unleashed

The post This Innovative New Greenhouse Makes It Possible To Grow Crops Even In The Desert appeared first on Walden Labs.

How To Stop Your Gym Clothes From Smelling Bad

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I was visiting my daughter, Heidi for Christmas and she mentioned this huge tip to me: how to stop your gym clothes from smelling bad. Here’s the deal, I wish I could say I need this tip. You know because I am working out every day, I wish! Of course, this is one my New Year’s resolutions, you know, start exercising. Same as last year. Anyway, Heidi and her husband work out every day and are healthy and strong. I admire both of them. Well, Heidi shared her tips on how to keep our gym clothes from smelling bad. I better go get some workout clothes……..just saying.

Gym Clothes

The first important step is to dry the sweaty shirt after working out before you throw it in the laundry basket as shown below. The shirt is the only one she hangs to dry because that’s the smelliest one. If you don’t sweat much you can skip this step. I would love to break a sweat working out, I need to step up my game.

How To Stop Your Gym Clothes From Smelling Bad by FoodStorageMoms

Nate, her husband has three complete outfits to work out in and Heidi washes them every three days in hot water. She places the gym clothes in the washer and scoops 1/4 cup of baking soda right on the pile of dirty gym clothes. She uses 1 tablespoon of liquid detergent as well as the baking soda. She is using regular baking soda, not the washing soda. You can see below she has an OXO container like this one: OXO Good Grips POP Rectangle 1-1/2-Quart Storage Container. I think this is a great tip because you don’t need to go to the kitchen to get the baking soda, it’s right there in the laundry basket. She stores the 1/4 cup measuring scoop in the OXO container ready to scoop the needed amount to put in the washing machine. I remember Heidi bought those gray wall hangers from IKEA years ago. Here is one made by the Amish people: Indoor Wooden Wall Mounted Clothes Drying Rack – Made with Pine Wood. I love the quality of the products made by the Amish people. They are made to last a lifetime.

How To Stop Your Gym Clothes From Smelling Bad by FoodStorageMoms

I tried this baking soda trick with  my microfiber bath towels and it works great! Please check your workout clothes to make sure you can wash them in hot water and use baking soda. Another HUGE tip for me was Heidi said NEVER use fabric softener and NEVER put the clothes in the dryer since these steps MAY make the wicking factor less effective. Hang them up to dry after washing. Please let me know any tips you have used to keep your gym clothes from smelling bad. I will add them to my post.

I believe the fabric softener issue is because it’s kind of like our microfiber rags, once you add fabric softener they do not work as well. I am thinking the “wick” stay dry issue of workout clothes may be the same idea. Happy New Year to everyone. Let’s help each other start exercising…one day at a time.

One of my favorite websites: Lehman’s Laundry Tools and More


The post How To Stop Your Gym Clothes From Smelling Bad appeared first on Food Storage Moms.

Improvised Weapon You May Not Have Considered

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

0.5/5 (2) Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from David Paul Smith. In this article, David discusses a defense method that has been going the internet around for years. I would urge readers to research this method further before relying solely on this for defense. Naturally with any method […]

The post Improvised Weapon You May Not Have Considered appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

How Your Guard Dog Security Could Easily Be Compromised

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[Editor’s Note: We would like to think our dogs are vigilantly guarding our properties and will deter anyone who dares to enter, but this isn’t always the case. Dogs can easily be swayed and manipulated to concede.

In a SHTF scenario, you want to ensure that your dog will not back down; and training a dog to protect requires a different type of training they are given at obedience schools. Look into local guard dog training facilities in your area or training manuals like this one, if you feel confident in your abilities.  As well, do not solely rely on your canine to protect your home. Look into adding layers of security in and around the home; because as Ruby Burks points out, dogs have been trained to back down with one simple item: treats. ]


As those of you that have been keeping up with my posts know, I had to take an off-farm job several months ago in order to help make ends meet.  I work for a utility company located here in the Sierras and my job involves a lot of driving and even more hiking as I go from one location to the next to perform inspections.  It’s the first time I’ve worked off-farm in over five years (with the exception of working at farmers’ markets) and it’s made me realize a few things: too many people drive while talking on their phones and there are lots and lots of supposed “guard” dogs.

A large part of my job involves going onto to private property unannounced in order to do inspections.  Most people don’t realize this, but when you contract with a utility company for services, you’ve granted them easement rights and we can enter your property at any time without notice.  Most utility companies make every effort to make it as convenient for you as possible and will try to schedule appointments or at least let you know when we’re going to be in your area, but a lot of times, and especially for the type of work I do, we’re in and out to do quick, routine inspections and you’re never the wiser.

When it comes to guard dogs, I hear it all the time: people think that their dog would never allow anyone on the property or inside the house.  Or they think their dog has a ferocious bark and an intimidating presence that will deter all but the most determined criminals.  I thought the same things about my own dogs.

I inspect hundreds of locations ranging from densely populated urban areas with six-foot fenced enclosures to very rural areas with acreage in locations that require 4-wheel drive each month, unannounced, and I can tell you from experience that there have been very few times that I haven’t been able to get past the dog and onto the property.  When I enter a property, the vast majority of the time no one is home and I never know who has a dog or if that dog is loose.  I’m shocked at how easy it is to get their “guard” dog to let me in.

First, I carry an assortment of dog treats.  It’s important to have an assortment because every dog is different and some will turn their noses up at one treat, but not the other, and if I can find the treat the dog wants most, I’m golden.  As I approach an enclosure, whether it’s a six-foot solid wood backyard fence like one would find in urban/suburban areas or a cattle gate in a rural area, I always do the same thing: shake or pound on the gate to draw the attention of the dog.  The last thing I want to do is walk into a yard or onto a property and surprise a sleeping dog.  I want to see the dog and know what I’m dealing with, but more importantly, I want the dog to see me.

Once I have the dog’s attention, I size it up.  Dogs that are big enough to take me down or reach my throat slow me down and require the most coaxing, but rarely am I ever stopped from entering.  I start by talking to the dog in a sweet sing-song voice.  You know the voice- it’s the voice we all use with our own dogs when we love them up.  Next, I break out the treats.  It helps if I pretend to eat them- it shows the dog I have something delicious.  Once I know I have the dog looking at the treat (even if they continue barking at me), I toss a treat or two over or through the fence.  I have never seen a dog yet that can resist going over to investigate what just landed in their yard.  A sniffing dog stops barking and his or her mind is no longer focused solely on ripping my face off.  They always eat the treat.

If the area is fenced in anything except a six-foot solid wood fence, I attempt to get the dog to come to me to take a treat through the fence.  This does two things: it allows the dog to smell my hand and know I’m not going to strike them and it allows me to keep my hand safely behind the fence until I know your dog isn’t one of those sneaky-sneak dogs that act like they’re friendly, but in reality is just trying to trick me into a false sense of security so they can get close enough to bite.  Once the dog takes a treat through the fence, I test their obedience by commanding them to sit before I’ll give them another one.  Not every dog will- mostly because they were never taught to or because they’re just so happy to get a treat they’re too wiggly with joy to do it.  Either way, obediently sitting or silly-happy, I just got past your guard dog.

I am now free to go about my business.  While I’m there walking about your property doing whatever I want with your dog’s permission, I make a point of getting to know your dog.  Ironically, well-trained dogs are the easiest because they have been conditioned to know that if they behave, treats and praise follow.  They’re also the dogs that really want a job to do.  I have them perform basic commands for me like sit, stay, and lay down.  I’m now in command of your dog.

I’m also looking around the property or yard for any dog toys.  I love seeing a ball- that almost always means you’ve got what I call a Ball Dog.  All I have to say is, “Where’s your ball?” or something similar in an excited, happy voice and your dog is off on a mission to bring me his ball to play fetch with me.  If your dog hasn’t been taught basic commands and is instead a Happy Wiggler, I’ll make a point of stopping my work every now and then to scratch its back or otherwise give it positive attention.

Once I’m done and am ready to leave, I always make sure to either tell the dog to sit one more time and give them a treat or I’ll play with them or scratch their backs before giving them another treat.  Dogs have great memories and I know that even if I don’t come back for another month or so, they’ll remember me as the Human Who Brings Treats and Plays.  The next time I come, they’ll bark less and will trust me faster.  I’ve laid the foundation towards conditioning your dog to allow me entry.

There are exceptions to every rule, of course, but for the most part, I can get past almost any “guard” dog.  A little patience and a bagful of treats almost always guarantees me entry.  Once in, I’m able to condition your dog to remember me so that the next time I show up your dog will be even more trusting and friendly to allow me faster access.  Next up, I’ll talk about how to train your dog to prevent this conditioning from happening and the steps you can take to make it more difficult for someone to get past your dog.  Stay tuned!

Ruby is a first generation Californian who grew up in the heart of the Central San Joaquin Valley farming community. She’s been involved in agriculture for 40 years and learned to preserve food, traditional home arts, to hunt and fish, raise livestock and garden from her Ozark native mother.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Monday Musings 1/4/2016: Free E-book!

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This post is by Bernie Carr, Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog. First the blog updates… Free E-book!  Normally priced at $2.99, my e-book, … Continue reading

The post Monday Musings 1/4/2016: Free E-book! appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

Windows 10 Is Spying On You And It’s Super Creepy

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January 4th, 2016

Video courtesy of Tim Pool

Windows 10 is tracking you and reading your content and soon windows will roll out the same updates for Windows 7 and 8.

New Pocket-Sized Device Lets You Create Your Own Personal “Micro-Grid” That Can Charge (Or Run) ALL Of Your Electronic Devices… And… Jump-Starts Motorcycles, Cars, Trucks… Even Buses!


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Do I really need that?

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The simplest way to start living a minimal life is to ask yourself, “Do I really need that?”

Honestly, this can be used in any number of ways each day.

“Do I really need that extra slice of pie?”

“Do I really need the large size?”

“Do I really need this box of books I’ve never read?”

“Do I really need to buy another blanket?”

This week, consider asking yourself, “Do I really need that?” When you focus on this idea, you’ll find that you’re more conscious of what you’re consuming and what you’re bringing into your house. Even if you’re a prepper – which I highly encourage – you can still ask yourself if you need things. The best way to prep is to do so within reason. You probably don’t need 370 jars of green beans for your pantry. You might need 50. You decide. Just remember that sometimes, we think we need things that we really don’t and a bit of self-evaluation can go a long way.

5 Tips for Being More Minimalist This Week

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One of the most important things I’ve learned since moving overseas is to let the big things go. Mostly, I’ve learned to stop worrying about every little thing. Learning a foreign language is tough (few people speak English where I live), so one of the first things I’ve had to learn to let go of is my own sense of embarrassment. If it takes saying a bunch of words incorrectly and utilizing crazy hand gestures to get what I need, so be it. It doesn’t really matter if people think I look silly or stupid. What matters is being able to communicate what I need.

In minimalist living, a lot of people, especially newbies, tend to focus on impressing the people around them with how little they own. That’s why you have the posts on Facebook talking about how someone only has 12 items in their bedroom or six things in their closet.

Um, who cares?

The goal of minimalism isn’t to impress people. If you’re living your life trying to get people to like you because of stuff you do, you need to seriously reevaluate yourself. The goal of minimalism is to focus on living life more fully and letting go of the things that don’t matter.

This week, try to let the things go. Don’t worry about random irritations or annoyances. Focus on pleasing your family and yourself, rather than impressing people. This does not mean you should go be a wretch. It means you shouldn’t be upset when someone doesn’t like you or isn’t impressed with you.

Here are five things you can do this week to be a little more minimalist and a little less fussy.

1. No complaining about bad drivers

2. Stop getting annoyed with little kids

3. Remember that your day is not ruined

4. Don’t jump to the worst-case scenario

5. Breathe

Seriously. Try these five things this week. You’ll be surprised at how these small, simple things can lift your mood and help you avoid stress. Not every bad thing that happens to you is a big deal and by making small, simple changes to the way you view the world around you, you’ll be able to focus more on the big-picture things that really do matter.

Tactical Gear: The Best For Every Situation

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The term tactical means “concerning to or constituting tactics.” Tactical is more a mindset than an accessory. This is also known as  tactical mindset. When you think this way, you’ll realize that your tactical gear should be centered on your tactics to save your life.

Before you plan to buy tactical gear, you need to reconsider whether it fits to your situation and whether it is something you need to win over the situation.

 Most people are focused more on finding what they think is the right equipment such as guns and gear. That’s why they lack in other departments. Weapons and ammunition are unquestionably very important.  That being said, weapons are not the only things you need.

Tactical lifestyle is about obtaining the right balance in every situation. You win battles with guns and grunts.  You win wars with logistics. Winning of a war for food, water, and safety requires you plan to the right budget.

This article is not focused on budget planning for food. It’s about saving your budget for all other equipment required to survive in all situations. Your main motivation is to survive and not just to win the fight. You have to plan your tactics accordingly.

Tactical Gear For Your Defense

 As mentioned above, your main goal is to survive and not to win. Therefore, you should carry all the necessary equipment (including weapons) to survive in the situation. Some examples of “Must Carry Equipment” are:

  • Extra ammo for reloading your weapon
  • Magazine Pouches For Modern Rifles
  • Medical Kit
  • Knife
  • Compass

In addition to the above items, you should consider your situation and decide if you need to add the following tactical gear:

Plate Carriers

Plate carriers are an alternative to the heavy, burdensome flak jackets. The small size and weight make it easy for the soldiers to operate it. Plate carriers are the best tactical gear for both police and military because of the mobility and protection they offer.

Plate carriers quickly become uncomfortable and you will soon be sweating your butt off. Plates are not the best idea for home defense as they are heavy, fragile, and expensive as well.

Load Bearing Vests

Load Bearing Vests, or LBVs, are similar to plate carriers. While similar, LBVs are indeed a better option than plate carriers if you don’t want some form of body armor. An LBV is a nylon vest with a Molle or PALs system to hold gear but it doesn’t have a spot for plates.  They do provide a similar mounting system for ammo and gear that plate carriers do. At the same time, they are more comfortable and less expensive than plate carriers.


Tactical belts, which have a MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) or PAL (Pouch Attachment Ladder) System, are popular among infantrymen for carrying equipment.

The reasons the belts are widely used is due to the ease of access and the capability to carry a fair amount of payload. It becomes easy to climb in and out of vehicles or move out of buildings and tight locations. They are perfect for carrying an IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) because it becomes easy to access it by simply taking off the belt.

 These belts can be stashed in a backpack and easily used whenever you need them.

Leg Rigs

Leg rigs are a more luxurious option as they are not required and don’t provide any utility that belts and LBVs or plate carriers do.  With that in mind, it is easier to draw a handgun from a leg rig. Another option can be to use a waist holster which is available at half the price of leg rig and it is bit difficult to pull a magazine for a reload from the leg rig.


As you can see, there is a lot of tactical gear above and beyond weapons and ammunition that you should consider.  Also remember that, while tactical gear is quite important, an even approach to prepping is required to meet the demands of a SHTF scenario.

Tactical Gear

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Guest Poster: Garry Bowman
Garry Bowman is a blogger and content writer at, the finest dealers of tactical equipment in Ontario, Canada. also provides superior quality of tactical equipment for law enforcement, military, EMS, security professionals, corrections officers, and preppers.

4 Forgotten Ways Your Ancestors Stayed Warm During Winter

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4 Forgotten Ways Your Ancestors Stayed Warm During WinterYour home’s heating is an essential part of your survival in cold weather. Even if your house is insulated well, it will eventually get dangerously cold if your heating system is off or the power grid goes down.

Many homesteaders have fireplaces or wood-burning stoves in their homes, an idea that has plenty of merit, considering that wood has been the most common heating fuel throughout history.

On the plus side, wood is a renewable resource that one can harvest on their own. On the minus side, a fireplace or wood-burning stove is limited as to the area that it covers. You can’t heat an entire home with a fireplace.

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Our ancestors solved this problem in a variety of ways — many of which we can adapt to our own use. Knowing what they did and why they did it gives us some insight into how to keep our own homes warm without electricity, even in the midst of a winter storm.

American homes have grown through the two centuries of our country’s existence. The average home size now is 2,600 square feet, which is large enough to be considered the home of someone wealthy 200 years ago. Wealthy people could afford more than one fireplace and many of their homes had them. Some even had a fireplace in every room.

4 Forgotten Ways Your Ancestors Stayed Warm During WinterIt’s difficult to retroactively install a fireplace in every room of your home, even if you have the money to do so. It probably would be easier to build a new home designed for all-wood heating. But if that’s not an option, then we need to look at other options.

If we look at our country’s Colonial period and the westward expansion of the pioneers, we see that homes were much smaller. A one-room home was much easier to heat and a single fireplace was enough to do the job. So most people lived in one-room homes.

The fireplace became the focal point of the home, much like the television set is today. People would sit around the fire, talking and working on small tasks. Much of the handicrafts of the day were done sitting around the fire in the evening.

As homes grew, one of the first rooms added was a separate kitchen. This helped keep the rest of the home warm, as well as providing a larger work area for processing food. It also helped to keep the rest of the home cooler in summertime, as the main fireplace would not have to be lit. Kitchens always had their own fireplace or a wood-burning cooking stove.

Many homes had a loft where the children slept. Since heat rises, the loft would be the warmest part of the home. Mom and dad’s bed would often be located below the loft, so that they could have some privacy from the prying eyes of the children.

Here are a few “forgotten” ways our ancestors kept warm that we can borrow, either now or in the future when the electricity is out:

1. Thick bedding and curtains

The classic down comforter was intended to allow families to sleep in comfort, holding in their body heat. Beds were piled high with quilts and comforters in an attempt to keep warm.

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Quilts and comforters weren’t the only thing that beds were piled high with; they were piled high with bodies, as well. While mom and dad usually had a bed to themselves, the children often slept all together. As the family grew, there might be a boy’s bed and a girl’s bed to provide more room.

4 Forgotten Ways Your Ancestors Stayed Warm During WinterWarm night clothing was common as an additional layer of insulation against the cold. Most people even slept with stocking caps on, to protect themselves from losing heat through the tops of their heads.

The idea of bed curtains also traces its roots to trying to keep warm in cold weather. The extra layer of fabric used for the curtains would help hold a person’s body heat in the bed area.

2. Bed warmers

Before retiring for the night it was always a good idea to warm up the bed. This was done with a bed warmer. These are covered copper or brass pans, with a long handle. Holes would be punched in the lid, forming a design. The pan was filled with rocks that had been heated at the edge of the fire and then slid between layers of bedding using the long handle. This would warm the bed quite effectively.

3. Foot warmers

Foot warmers are both similar to and different than bed warmers. Typically, they were a wood-framed tin box with a wire handle on it. Like the bed warmer, heated rocks were placed inside the foot warmer, which could then be placed by the feet, under a blanket.

This was most commonly used as a heater in the family wagon, when going to the store or church. Wealthier churches had boxed-in pews, which allowed the families to bring in their foot warmer and lap blankets to keep warm in church. In many churches, this was the only heat to be found on a cold Sunday morning.

4. Soapstones

An alternative to the bed and foot warmer was a soapstone. Soapstones would be placed in the fire to heat and used directly, often wrapped in rags to prevent anyone from burning themselves on the hot stone. They could be used as bed warmers or foot warmers.

Due to their mass, soapstones were often more effective than a foot warmer. The more massive the stone, the more heat it can hold.

Have you heard of other ways our ancestors kept warm? Share your advice in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Blackouts This Winter? Read More Here.

Off-Grid, Salt-Free Alternatives To Chemical Deicers

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Off-Grid, Salt-Free Alternatives To Chemical Deicers

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Winter brings to mind wonderful visions of snow-covered fields, perfectly round snowballs and ice skating. It also brings memories of scraping ice off of car windshields, shoveling sidewalks and desperately trying to keep your footing on slippery walks from the house to the car. If you have ever experienced an early morning of ice scraping, sidewalk shoveling and slipping your way to your car, the idea of using deicers has certainly crossed your mind.

There is one thing to know about deicers. They aren’t made to remove all ice and snow from an area. Deicers are designed to break up the ice enough to shovel it away. There is a bit of chemistry involved based on the knowledge that the freezing point of salt water is lower than that of fresh water. When the ice melts from the deicer, a layer of water is created under the ice that allows the ice to be broken up and moved.

What’s Wrong With Using Salt?

The most common way to deice driveways and sidewalks is to use rock salt. Although cheap and easy to use, rock salt is concentrated and very corrosive. It affects plants, pets, water and even paint.

Rock salt can be found in nature, but it is spread out, unlike how we use it in our neighborhoods. Because the salt dissolves in water, it can flow and absorb into all sorts of ground and water areas.

The effect of this salt on your grass and other surrounding plants is simple: rock salt = dead plants. It will ruin your lawn because it limits the growth of plants. And it can drain into the ground water.

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Animals that drink the salty water or eat the salty grass often develop health problems. The most dangerous issue is salt poisoning. If you have to walk your dog on the salty city sidewalks, you have probably noticed how raw or inflamed the dog’s (or any animal’s) foot pads get from the salt.


Alternatives need to be healthy, safe and durable. They should contain ingredients that are non-corrosive to metals, plastics, paints and pavement. Having non-chemical alternatives will help keep your children, plants, pets and wildlife safe. Most alternatives are non-staining as well.

Off-Grid, Salt-Free Alternatives To Chemical Deicers

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Organic salts, or those that have acetate in them, are more biodegradable. Some examples of these salts are potassium acetate, calcium magnesium acetate and sodium acetate.

Here are some other mixtures and products that can be applied to ice to help break it up or make it passable:

  • Mix one teaspoon of dish soap, one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and ½ gallon of hot water. You can use more rubbing alcohol, if needed.
  • A mixture of beet juice, alfalfa hay, tiny gravel and a touch of table salt. (Yes, cities are even using beet juice now.) There are different recipes, so experiment.
  • Epsom salts will melt both ice and snow, and is said to be harmless to plants and animals.
  • Sand or fine gravel provides more traction than ice-melting.
  • Rubbing (Isopropyl) alcohol slows freezing, and is often used in commercial deicers.
  • Snowmelt mat: Made of electric wires, this mat heats from underneath.
  • Heated mats: Stays on the surface of the desired area, and melts snow and ice.

When to Use Deicer

If you have a powdery, dry snow, then don’t use deicer. Simply shovel or sweep the snow to prevent it from forming hard, packed layers. For heavy, wet snow, use deicing methods as soon as you notice the snow. For freezing rain, apply deicer before the freezing rain sets to prevent a buildup of ice.

If there is more than two inches of snow, you must shovel first. Putting deicer on thick snow will not melt enough to be helpful. When you get to a packed layer, or when you are near the bottom layer of snow, you can add deicer.

Remember: Always start by using the smallest amount of deicer and increase as needed. Within 15 minutes of application, the ice should start to melt.

What are your favorite organic deicing methods? Share your tips in the section below:

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The WWII-Tested, Multi-Purpose Antique Rifle That Can Beat An AR-15

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The WWII-Tested, Multi-Purpose Antique Rifle That Can Beat An AR-15When you talk about famous firearms of the British Empire, a couple of examples will quickly ring a bell.

One is the respected Brown Bess and its variations, which saw the uniting of the crowns into the United Kingdom and the rise and expansion of the British Empire. Another would doubtlessly be the Enfield Rifled Musket, which saw action in the Crimean War and was used by both sides in the American Civil War. The Snider-Enfield and Martini-Henry Breechloaders followed, and were used throughout the colonial wars of the later 19th century.

But one modern rifle served the British Empire and its commonwealth through the two largest wars in history and is still available on the surplus market: the Lee-Enfield.

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The .303 bore Lee-Enfield was adopted by the British Imperial Forces shortly before 1895. It saw use in the bloody Boer War, where teething issues were experienced, particularly when the rifle went toe to toe with the German Mauser rifles utilized by the Boers. Beginning toward the end of the Boer War, the British started a push to switch from the Enfield to a rifle that incorporated a Mauser action. During this time, a new variant of the Enfield, the “Short Magazine Lee-Enfield” or SMLE for short, entered service with the British Army in 1904, with a further change in 1907. This, consolidated with enhanced .303 cartridges, extraordinarily extended the rifle’s range, and increased its accuracy. With the start of World War I, the effort to replace the rifle with a Mauser-type firearm was ended.

During WWI, the Enfield beat almost every other rifle in the combat zone. With its 10-round magazine, and a one-of-a-kind cock on close action, the Enfield could be discharged by a trained infantryman at a rate of 30 rounds per minute. At the battle of Mons, the Germans reported coming up against machine gun fire, not knowing it was British Infantry discharging volleys during a “Mad Minute,” using the Lee-Enfield.

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When the Canadians entered World War I, they were equipped with the accurate-yet-lethally defective Ross Rifle. After tragic results, the Canadian troops happily turned in their Ross Rifles for Enfields. The Enfield turned into the standard long arm of Canada for the following three decades.

It was later said that the French had the awful rifle (Berther and Lebel), the Germans had the best Hunting Rifle (Mauser G98), the Americans had the finest target rifle (Springfield M1903), and the British had the best military rifle (SMLE).

At the finish of the First World War, the SMLE became the No.1 Mk. III rifle, and the push to modernize the rifle further was started by the Brits. Toward the start of the Second World War, the SMLE equipped the majority of the British Empire, and also Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It was joined and in many ways supplanted by the No. 4 Mk. I rifle, which was a modernized Enfield. The new rifle was intended for large-scale manufacturing and was much less expensive and simpler to build en masse than the SMLE. The No. 4 Mk. I was equipped with a spike bayonet reminiscent of Napoleonic days rather than the sword bayonet utilized by the SMLE, but it kept the dependable Enfield action and 10-round magazine of the prior No 1 Mk. III. The Mk. IV saw wide usage in World War II and Korea, as did the SMLE. In World War II, the SMLE was the most widely used British rifle in the Mediterranean and Indian theater of the war, while the Mk. IV was for the most part utilized in Europe.

The WWII-Tested, Multi-Purpose Antique Rifle That Can Beat An AR-15During the 1950s, the Enfield was supplanted by the L1A1 in both British and Commonwealth service and many surplus rifles flooded the surplus firearms market in the USA and Canada. The Enfield still sees military use with the Canadian Rangers, who are finally in the midst of replacing their aged rifles with modern .308s

The .303 Enfield has been to the Canadians what the .30-06 M1 Garand and M1903 Springfield rifles are to the Americans. It is an excellent hunting rifle, and throughout North America has killed a huge number of deer, elk and moose, and bear.

I personally have enjoyed the Enfield as a range gun. The 10-round magazine is very unique for a bolt gun and provides more “plinking time.” While .303 isn’t sold everywhere, you can find surplus rounds online. The rifle is accurate (not as accurate as an M1903, but more accurate than an AR-15). I have seen it used for deer, and can attest to the lethality of a soft-tipped .303. The occasion it took a large whitetail in my presence, it was a one-shot kill that dropped the deer in its tracks.

An Enfield can be employed in a home defense role, but be careful if you choose milsurp rounds as they will easily puncture walls, bricks, chimneys, etc. Most mil spec rounds on the market are armor-piercing, not unlike much of the .30-06 surplus from the 40s and 50s M1 Garand owners use. Hunting rounds are a better option for home defense for the Enfield. Its fast bolt action will come in handy here.

An Enfield can be a good all-around multi-purpose rifle for hunting, self-defense and scavenging.

Have you use an Enfield? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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7 Guaranteed Ways To Beat The Post-Christmas Winter ‘Blahs’

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7 Guaranteed Ways To Beat The Post-Christmas Winter ‘Blahs’

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The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over, the cold weather has set in, and spring seems like a long time away.

If you are like many people, you may be experiencing a post-Christmas letdown or what we commonly call the “winter blues.” Some of the causes include the low amount of daylight hours, the wintry weather that keeps us more sedentary and the after-effects of some holiday diet splurges. In addition, we may be less than thrilled with heading back to the same-old, same-old after a festive break from our normal routine.

Take heart. There are some tangible ways to combat the winter blues. Here are seven ways you can get your 2016 off to a healthier and more energetic start.

1. Get outside. During the shorter days of winter, our bodies produce more melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle. As a result, we can feel more sluggish. When we combine that lack of energy with the wintry weather outside, we may stay inside more than we should.

To combat the negative feelings that result from staying put too often, plan to spend some time outdoors each day. Even a 20- to 30-minute walk can improve your outlook by triggering the production of mood-boosting endorphins in your brain.

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Aim to make the most of the day’s sunlight, since the sun provides the body with important Vitamin D. In addition, when you are inside working, try to sit by a window to expose yourself to as much light as possible during the day.

2. Get some exercise. If it is too cold or wet to spend much time outdoors, head to the gym for a workout. Even 20 minutes of activity can elevate your mood and reduce anxiety levels.

January is a great time to start an exercise class or to take up an indoor sport, such as swimming, that will get you moving. It’s even a great time to start an outdoor sport, such as snowshoeing.

Don’t forget to use exercise as a time to unplug from your electronics. A growing amount of research indicates that our dependence on our smartphones and other forms of technology is making us more stressed.

3. Bring the outdoors in. Indoor plants can boost your spirits and make your home or workplace healthier. Many plants absorb airborne pollutants and release fresh oxygen and beneficial negative ions into the indoor air.

7 Guaranteed Ways To Beat The Post-Christmas Winter ‘Blahs’

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The Environmental Research Laboratory reports that rooms filled with plants can contain more than 50 percent fewer airborne molds and bacteria than rooms without plants.

Additionally, a 2014 study by Exeter University that was published in the journal of the American Psychological Association found that employees were 15 percent more productive when a few houseplants were added to their previously bare workspaces.

Similarly, another study by Washington State University found that workers with common houseplants in their offices were 12 percent more productive and reported less stress than workers without plants in their offices.

Another way to being the outdoors inside is with better indoor lighting. Many sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) find they feel better when they spend time in front of or beneath a light box. Your doctor can give your more information on this light therapy.

4. Watch your nutrition. You don’t need to beat yourself up for all of those Christmas goodies you ate, but now is the time to get your diet and nutrition back on track.

When we reach for sugary foods and for comforting carbohydrates such as pastas and breads, we may in fact be contributing to our feelings of winter doldrums. Be sure to include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and lean proteins in your diet.

In addition, many of us neglect to drink enough water during the winter. With dry indoor air and cold outdoor temperatures, we need to make an effort to stay hydrated. You’ll feel better and look better if you do!

5. Plan activities you enjoy. After the holidays, we can miss the social aspect of parties and other events. There is no reason your winter calendar should be a blank slate. Look for ways to keep active.

Try an art class or a book club, for example. Attend movies, concerts, plays or museum events. Plan fun activities or outings around winter holidays such as President’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

6. Help others. Many people look for ways to give back to the community over Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the need for volunteers is great all year-round. A benefit of volunteering is that it makes you feel better while you are helping others.

The opportunities for helping others in your community are endless. Check with your place of worship, your local food bank or homeless shelter. You also could ask at your library or area schools.

7. Plan for spring. Another way to lift your spirits is to make concrete plans for the warmer months. Check out seed catalogs. Create a map for your spring and summer garden. Take a gardening workshop. Reorganize your garage workspace for spring projects.

When the weather permits, prepare your garden for vegetable planting by turning over your soil. Add compost, leaves and other organic material to the soil to enrich it for your spring garden. Research ways you can conserve water when the warm weather hits.

What advice would you add to this list? Share it in the section below:

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