Prepper Product Review: Solar Bag Water Purification

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SolarBag water purifier hiking prepper

 

This is one of the neatest products I have seen in awhile for water purification, mainly because of its ability for re-use and being very lightweight.

Now with many methods of water purification on the go, or in a bug out situation, they are either heavy, bulky, require batteries or make your water taste funny.

I have different methods of purifying water in my bug out bag, redundancy is the key.  It all comes down to time and weight, how much time do you have and how much weight can you carry.  Carbon filterer items work well, however they are bulky and take up weight, small iodine tabs work great and last a long time, however they will leave a unpleasant taste in your water, not a game changer, but it is still not pleasant.

 

The Solar Bag offers you the ability to not have to deal with weight, bulk OR taste.


The beauty of this is that empty it weighs less than a pound, thin and will fit easily in any pack and plus its reusable hundreds of times, and only requires sunlight to work!

 

SPECS:

-Tested by the University of Arizona, proven to filter out Viruses, Bacteria and Protozoa

-Up to 9 Liters of Water a day

-Can be Re-Used Hundreds of Times

-Will Work even with cloudy Skies

 

How it works is very simple.

1) Take water from a freshwater course, pour into the Solar Bag through the attached cloth filter

2) Lay Solar Bag flat in the Sun

3) Wait 2-3 Hours on a Sunny Day, 4-6 hours on a Cloudy Day (or if water is tea-colored)

4) Re-use as needed

 

The magic happens in the bag itself, inside is a nano polymer mesh inside the Solar Bag, under sunlight it activates the photochemical processes that destroys the contaminants in the water.

 

 

The Solar Bag may seem a little pricey coming in around $76 on Amazon, however you will not be using this on a daily basis, it is something that you will just set in your Bug Out Bag and leave it for a rainy day.  If you ever need it you wont have to worry about it having gone bad, as long as its daytime you can get water.

 

 

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DIY Vinegar: How to make Vinegar

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homemade vinegar

(Photo courtesy of girlgonegranola.blogspot.com)

Vinegar has numerous uses from cooking to cleaning, but apart from those wishing to be more green or back to earth homesteaders vinegars many uses have been forgotten over the past generation or two.

There are a multitude of Vinegars that can be made from Red Wine Vinegar to Balsamic, etc., however for this post I will concentrate on the more simple type since in most of the U.S. and most of the readers here wine is not so easy to come by especially in a grid down scenario.

To make Vinegar first you will need some sort of liquid that contains ethanol, that could be beer, wine or hard cider (if you are a home brewer or live in apple country this will be easy).  Another substance you can use is just plain old sugary drinks, from fruit juice to sugar water.

If you live in an area that has apples or you have planted apple trees in your yard then this will work beautifully.

The amount produced will depend on how well you do this so experiment a bit to get the right amount.

1) Wash/Clean the apples and cut them, skins and all, into tiny pieces and mush them up with your hands and feet (or a juicer if available).

2) Strain it through a Muslin or similar bag into a pot.

3) Pour the juice from the pot into clean, dark glass jugs or mason jars and cover the tops with cheesecloth or cotton shirts and fasten it with twine or a rubber band.

4) Let sit in a cool dark place (root cellar works perfect) for six+ months.

5) Once done (you will know by the smell) strain and bottle it.

 

If you have a lot of apples and make cider or pies, etc. you can let the cider sit for a long while and it will turn into vinegar, or you can take the waste from the production of cider and pies, etc. and store it in a jar or crock and cover with cold water.  keep adding the waste cores and peels to the crock (keep in a warm place for this method) and over time it will develop into vinegar.  Taste some good cider vinegar now to get your taste buds trained because this method is based on you tasting it to see if its strong enough.  Then strain and bottle.

 

To make the cheap and easier version i described earlier using sugar water, just take that liquid and pour it into  a clean jar (large) or stainless steel container.

The way to get your first batch going and to be a “starter” for future batches is to start now.  Get yourself a good bottle of unfiltered, unpasteurized vinegar or if you want to spend a little cash order a starter/culture from a winemaking/homebrew supply store (see below picture or click link to the left).

Add this starter or proven vinegar to your concoction and let it sit.  Its important if you are making it for taste to use a proven bacteria starter that will give you a decent taste right off the bat, or you will have to test and experiment to make one of your own.  Once you have your first batch made your can use some of that to add to future batches and have no need for any more of the original starter once its used up.  This is a great way to be self sustaining for harder times.

 

 

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Homemade DIY Organic Potassium Supplement

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EU-Kommission genehmigt Stärkekartoffel Amflora / EU Commission approves Amflora starch potato

 

Every plant needs potassium to grow, it is necessary for proper growth of the plant itself as well as to flower and flourish.

Anytime of flouring fruit needs a good supply of potassium to grow from peppers to potatoes to fruit trees, if you don’t have a good supply of potassium you may find your plants growth is stunted, leafs are curled and it is just not producing that well.

So how do you get more potassium into the soil and/or pots to help your plants along?

Below are a few suggestions on how to do this, all of the suggestions are focused on organic methods since if you are not concerned with organics you can just go buy a chemical fertilizer and spray it on.  I don’t like chemical fertilizers for a few reasons, mainly that they are a crutch to self sufficiency.  Sure they can give good results now but what will you do if the SHTF or you cant afford the fertilizer or some other circumstance arises where it is not available to you?  You will be left with a soil that is deficient in all the necessary nutrients for productive growth and your yield will be small to nothing.  Worse you will have no experience in the sustainable ways to do this and will be wishing you did, chemical fertilizers are a crutch that will leave you on your ass in the long run.  We are seeing the effects today as more fertilizers are being used to get the same yields as before because the soil is dead, there is no fungi or other beneficial and natural helpers left in the soil, they have been killed off by overuse of the these artificial crutches.

If you want to be self sufficient you need a garden, period, whatever that may be for you, you need it for your long term plans. You need to have not just seeds stored away but the experience and know how to raise them effectively, without that its like throwing you into a college bowl game and being told to coach on day 1, you will fail and it wont be your pride that hurts, but your belly.  An aspect of gardening, an important one is the realize and understand the intricate web that is present in nature that leads to productive yields, ignore it at your own peril.

 

 

GREEN MANURE

Comfrey Tea

Green manure, unlike its brown cousin, is plant based, hence the “green” in the name.  This is basically using beneficial plants that can provide nutrients as a fertilizer base, this can be done in two ways.

1) Use the leaves, etc to put in the planting holes and/or dig in around, beside, etc the rows/plants you are planning to grow.

2) Make a “Tea” which is basically putting in the material into water (ratios may differ depending on the plant) and letting it decompose and leech the nutrients into the water making a beautiful and healthy liquid fertilizer.

On Monday I wrote a post on Comfrey a absolutely great plant for green manure, it is high in nitrogen and Potassium among other things and breaks down quickly allowing for use as a tea or just the leaves.

Beans (soy and others) and Parsely are also good for this.  There are many others and some varieties that work better than others, do some research on “green manure crops” to find out what will grow best for you.

 

MOLASSES

Blackstrapmolasses

Unsulphered Blackstrap molasses (1-3 tbsp per gallon of water) is said to work well and is high in potash.

WOOD ASH

wood ash potash

This is the age old tried and true method for raising potassium levels in gardens.

Hardwoods work best (produce more ash) and some better than others.  As a general rule of thumb for every cord of wood you burn you will yield around 25 lbs of wood ash.

A cord of Oak will yield enough ash for a 60×70 foot garden area, while a cord of Douglas Fir will provide enough fora 30×30 garden.

Be aware that wood ash will raise the PH level of your garden, so test with a soil Ph kit and keep an eye on your garden.  If you compost with a lot of fruit (acid) this will probably help balance things out a bit.  Don’t add a bunch all at once, sprinkle it on, wait a few days/weeks, test, add more, etc.

 

Bananna peel potash

banana peel potash

Now this isn’t helpful if you don’t live in a tropical climate and can grow it, but for times when you have access to grocery stores, keep and collect banana peels (have friends do the same).  By adding this to worm bins or compost (watch for fruit flies) the potassium will be present in the worm compost (learn how to create your own worm bin here) or regular compost, however there is another way.

 

1) Dry the Peels in the sun, dehumidifier or bake in the oven

2) You can direct bury the charred remains or burn them in a small fire until they are ash.

3) You can also just directly bury the peels in the ground as well as use the rind of banana and lemon to do the same thing, but it is more labor intensive obviously!

 

If you have any other suggestions on potash/potassium supplements please comment below!

 

OTHER

A few other suggestions (but mostly you will have to buy) are…

  • Kelp Meal
  • Greensand (deposits on rocks in old seabeds)
  • Granite Dust.  Find from granite quarries, etc.  This will NOT be a quick fix and is to be used as a long term solution as it takes time to break down.
  • Directly layer manure into the ground, on top or make tea.

DO NOT USE CHARCOAL ASH! the sulphur contained in it will kill your plants.

 

If you are not interested in this DIY method I recommend Jobes Organic Fertilizer spikes for containers.  I had good results with them last year before I started my worm bins and experimented with these DIY measures.

 

 

 

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Comfrey: A Miracle Plant for your garden

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comfrey

 

Spring is gone, but no need to worry I have a plant that you can plant now and will be more beneficial to you, your garden and any livestock than anything you have planted yet.

Comfrey is a hardy perennial plant (meaning it comes back in the spring by itself without have to reseed), that can be planted anytime even in winter (if you dont get a deep freeze) that has numerous beneficial properties that make this plant something that you will look back and wonder why you didn’t get it sooner.

 

TYPES

There are three types of Comfrey and depending on what you will want to use it for primarily and how much of it you want, will dictate which type you plant.

 

 

COMMON (True, Quaker, Cultivated) COMFREY

common comfrey

(Symphytum officinale: Borginacae family)

This type is native to Europe and grows to a length of 2 – 3.5 feet tall including the flower stalk.

Flowers are a creamy white/creamy yellow, white, pink or purple depending on the exact strain.

This is primarily used for medicinal uses, however it contains less of the chemical allantonin (the medicinal chemical in the plant) than the Russian Hybrid Comfrey varieties, however it has lower PA’s (pyrrolizidine Alkaloids) which is the toxic chemical in the plant.

It is ingested internally, using older large leaves, as the younger leaves contain more PA’s than younger ones (roots contain more PA’s than younger leaves).  You can also make an herbal poultice (chopping leaves into a soft moist mass) and applied to burns and wounds, and is also said to help heal bones that have been injured.  While some of you may look at this as mumbo jumbo i have seen and head from people I trust that are not kool aid drinkers that this does actually work exceedingly well.

True Comfrey produces less biomass (about 1/3 of Russian Comfrey), however unlike Russian Hybrid Comfrey the seeds can be used to propagate new plants.  This also means that comfrey can be somewhat invasive and spread across your property but not as fast as say dandelions or other very invasive weeds.

 

Rough/Prickly Comfrey

prickly comfrey

Symphytum asperum

This is a comfrey native to Asia with blue, pink and purplish (sometimes) flowers.  This is a coarse and clumped plant and this variety that CAN (but only sometimes) propagate through seeds so it can become invasive if you are not careful, more often like the Russian variety it is propagate through its root cuttings.

It is common used as a silage (fermented high moisture stored fodder that can be fed to cattle, sheep, etc.)

 

Russian (Hybrid) Comfrey

russian comfrey symphytum uplandicum

Symphytum uplandicum, Symphytum peregrinum, Symphytum asperum x officinale

 

This is the most common species you will find around, it is a natural cultivated hybrid. It is a cross between common comfrey and rough (prickly) comfrey.

It grows to 4 feet tall and comes in various varieties known as “Bockings”, they have purple, white, magenta, red or blue (fade to pink) flowers.

The plant is sterile, meaning that its seeds will not grow and the only way to propagate the plant is by root cuttings.  This variety will create 3x the amount of biomass than the common comfrey.

The most common bockings you will find are #4 and #14

Bocking #4 is used for farming and fodder plant for animals, and is the most commonly used in permaculture farms.  This variety is high in protein and allantoin (the medicinal chemical) and has a much deeper root so it is much more drought resistant.

Bocking #14 This variety is used more as a garden supplement using the leaves to make a liquid fertilizer in a compost tea.  You can also had the leaves to compost piles to speed up the decomposition process of the pile since Comfrey leaves are high in nitrogen they add some heat to the pile.  You can also add leaves straight to planting holes and rows, the leaves quickly decompose so they will give an added shot to your gardens.

Truth be told you can use these two types for both purposes, only that one is better for its intended purposes slightly than the other.

 

GROWING

You will want to pick the location of your comfrey carefully since it has a very deep root structure once established and since it is very robust even a small amount of root will mean it will probably grow again.

Comfrey will grow in Zones 3-9, but if you live outside these zones you should try it, it will probably grow.

Comfrey likes full sun, but will do decent in light shade and will grow between 3-5 feet tall and 2-4 feet wide.

When I planted mine I mixed in a little bit of older horse manure i had cooked for a bit in a bucket.  Comfrey is a nitrogen hog and while this is not necessary it also helps it along in its early life.  Some say that it should be fertilized with manure throughout the year or with urine in 1:1 with water.  Now you can do that however if you are using this as fodder for animals their feces should do the job.

Now Comfrey doesn’t need much if any care, as long as its healthy you shouldn’t have any issues with pests or disease bothering it and if they are healthy should last several decades.

 

USES

Fodder for Animals

Comfrey leaves are around 20%+ protein so they are ideal for food supplements for animals, notice i said supplements and not main food source.

CHICKENS: chickens love it and will peck it to death, it is better to keep this away from them and just feed them the leaves or if you are creating a permaculture food forest sow it amongst other fodder crops so that the birds dont eat it as voraciously.

GOATS/CATTLE:  Add it to their hay or plant some in areas where the cattle graze.

 

COMPOST

If you have done any composting you know that it takes experience to create the perfect balance to make that pile “heat up”, the high nitrogen (as i mentioned earlier) will help immensely with that.  Comfrey mines minerals deep, deep down so it is high in NPK and minerals and will add some very good stuff to your compost.

TEA

Fill a Barrel of Bucket with comfrey leaves (half of the container) and fill with water.  Let it rote for a month or so and you will have a beautiful liquid fertilizer.  Dilute 50:50 with water.

SOIL AMENDMENT

Add leaves to the bottom of planting holes for tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, fruit trees, etc.

If you add a layer of leaves (2 inches) to the  sides of growing plants the leaves will slowly break down and add nutrients to the plants.

 

Personal Experience

This is my first year growing Comfrey and since we will be moving I am growing it in a pot (not ideal and definitely not advisable for long term).  I am growing it in a pot so that i can get some good root growth (if you grow it in a pot you will find that roots will start to grow out the bottom), and then propagate them on my property.  Considering that root cuttings go for around $4-5 each, this is also possibly a small money maker for you if you choose to go in that direction.

I will continue to show you my progress throughout the years!

*DISCLAIMER*

A study showed that Comfrey caused increased cancer in rats so the FDA has banned it for internal use (which is why you cant find it on the shelves in the vitamin aisle.)  Do your own research and talk to your doctor.

*DISCLAIMER*

 

 

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DIY Waterproofing with Wax

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Spring Log Drive Workers In Canada

 

I have packed away many cans of scotchguard that I rotate through every fall/winter season (sometimes summer depending on where I am).  However I have also packed away various bars of wax for DIY waterproofing.

You can go with paraffin wax, however it is much more involved so I will focus on using a much easier method, otter wax.

All you will need for this is…

  • Clothing you want to waterproof
  • Hair Dryer (Heat gun will work as well)
  • Otter Wax

otterwaxfabricwax

A few things to consider for this is that whenever you use wax to waterproof you will be making a tradeoff, waterproofing for breathability, that is you will gain unparalleled waterproofing but your clothes will not breath and thus it will become more stuffy and you will sweat more if its a hot climate.

*Also in a grid down scenario you can make use of the warm summer sun (since you may or may not have power available in your home).  This will mean pre planning on your part in preparation for the rainy season.  You can lay your clothes and the wax out in the hot summer sun to heat up and use that to some effect to wax your clothing.*

 

STEP 1

Lightly heat the Wax and area of clothing you are going to wax with the blow Dryer

 

STEP 2

Wipe the bar of wax like soap across the clothing.  Depending on the fabric and type of clothing you may or may not want to put more or less pressure on it.  Practice with different materials to get the effect you want.

 

STEP 3

Use your fingers and hands to wipe the wax around and into nooks and crannies and smooth it out; you can also use the edges of the bar to get into the areas not easily gotten with the bar.

 

STEP 4

Heat again with the blow dryer (or put in the sun as I mentioned in a grid down scenario)

 

STEP 5

Let cure in a warm dry place.

 

NOTE:

  • Re Apply once a year
  • Dont wash in a machine or hand wash in warm water. Hand wash in cold water and then possibly re apply the wax if needed to areas.

 

 

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Defending Yourself in SHTF: Now What

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smoking shotgun

Every SHTF scenario may be different, in some Police may be around, in others there may be no police and in this post I will try to outline some things you should take into consideration for both.

So lets say….the world has gone down the tubes, crime, even in your small community has gone up; there have been many break ins and a few violent assaults upon those traveling along the road within the country. 

Long after midnight you hear something break in your garage and you jump up to investigate; upon opening the backdoor you hear the sound of gravel under a boot nearby followed by a shot that lands in the door frame next to you.  You return fire and hit the man who shot you, a engine starts up on the opposite side of the garage and takes off, you fire a few rounds at the vehicle but it keeps going and its taillights disappear over the horizon.

Most prepper novels end there, perhaps they mention a burial, but that’s about it, the only case where this was mentioned that I can think of is a situation that happened in the LIGHTS OUT by David Crawford.

What will happen now? You have  dead body and a pool of blood on your property, what do you do?

 

 

IF LAW ENFORCEMENT IS PRESENT

 

If Law Enforcement is present in whatever way is possible call them and have them come to your property.

However one needs to take a few things into account.

 

Are the Law Enforcement in your area still reliable and trustworthy?

In SHTF law enforcement may become their own gang or they may be corrupted in other ways by other people, either way if they are not reliable, while it may seem strange, your best course of action could be to not tell anyone.  If LE in your area is corrupted what may happen is they may just outright lie and say you committed murder if you are not a well loved member of the community; this could give them a reason to ‘confiscate’ all that you have since you are now a soon to be convicted murderer.  As with many other corrupt LE around the world they may just use this as an opportunity to shake you down for a payoff, or take anything you have that’s worth taking to ‘keep their mouths shut’ etc.

You may end up needing to just bury the body as well as document what happened, which i will explain in the section below about what to do if no LE is present in the area.

This article by Massad Ayoob, a veteran Police Officer and Tactical genius is geared towards what to do after a shooting now, in pre-SHTF times but many of the suggestions could apply to SHTF times when talking to LE after a shooting.  Its worth a read regardless.

AFTER A SHOOTING, WHAT TO REVEAL – MASSAD AYOOB

 

 

 

IF LAW ENFORCEMENT IS NOT PRESENT

This is a very real scenario, things may have gotten so bad that the LE in the area has just disbanded due to lack of funding and/or the Police may have just gone home to protect their own families.

If LE is not present in your area you will want to document this shooting as best you can.

In your preps stick away a few disposable cameras, notepads and pencils (I mentioned it an article prior).  With these you will be able to document as best you can what happened and be able to use them to defend your shooting if you decide to tell authorities after law is restored and/or if you are ever accused of murder in that scenario.

  • Take pictures of the scene from all angles, show where you were standing in relation to the shooter, as well as from the shooter to where you were.  Take detailed photos of the body and where the rounds hit them as well as if any rounds from the bad guy hit your house or anything else document that.  In the scenario I put down at the beginning take a picture of you standing where you were when the rounds hit to illustrate how close they were and also this will help to show they were aimed at you with the intent to kill.
  • If you don’t have a camera, sketch as best you can the scene where the shooting took place and where you both were.  This is not so much as to be used in evidence, but to make sure you remember all the details.  Even post SHTF some a-hole prosecutor could try to slip you up in your account of what happened, this helps to make sure you stick to the facts.
  • Recover any of the bad guys rounds that may be stuck in places around your property and put them in a plastic bag, as well as hold onto their weapon (if analysis can be used to determine what rounds were fired from what gun.  Take pictures of the assailant with his gun.
  • Hold onto the gun for later evidence if possible.
  • Collect witness statements if any.  If neighbors saw anything, even just the car leaving the scene, your wifes recollection and written testimony that you were both in bed when you head the noise, etc.  Also write down minute by minute in full, full, full detail, your account of what happened.
  • Take photos of any identification of the person, if they have them on them.

 

THATS MY GUN!

Another thing to take into account, jumping back to scenario where LE is present, and this is illustrated in the Book LIGHTS OUT that I mentioned earlier, if LE comes and you have all your ducks in a row and they believe you, they may still follow protocol for shootings and confiscate your weapon for ‘later use as evidence’ etc.  What this means is, you may…if you used your primary home defense weapon…tell them you used a less useful weapon you may own.

For me if i used my 870 or AR-15, i would not be apt to give that up in a SHTF scenario, so I just might claim it was my Hi point 9mm pistol that did the deed and not my high end self defense weapon.  While this is just educational discourse, of course, you can see why this may make some sense to do. Besides they probably cant do any wound testing or send it to CSI at the moment, so unless it is a shotgun sized hole in their chest, you can probably get by with that.

 

Lastly, document where you buried the body, to not draw attention to yourself I probably wouldn’t put up a grave marker, etc. But I would note it down in the photos and write some sort of map to the location (near big oak by the creek, 10 paces to the West, etc.).  For care and burial of a body, you can check out my post on how a TEOTWAWKI funeral.

 

*Of course the disclaimer is that you should always notify the police of any incident of this sort, this was merealy a hypothetical discourse on a dystopian scenario and should be taken in the educational purpose only spirit it is intended as.  And as always dont be a dumbass and do something like not notify the police in present ‘normal’ times, that’s a quick ticket to life in prison.*

 

 

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Episode 28: The Great Myth of the Founding Fathers

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Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States

 

Today I want to talk to you about a common myth I find on many peoples minds and many arguments.

Often you will hear “The Founding fathers would be rolling in their graves” or “The Founding Fathers would NEVER have approved of this….”

The myth is this, that the founding fathers were a homogenous group of like minded people, concerned with individual liberty and wanting to restrict the power of government.

The Truth is that there were two competing groups and thoughts within the Founding Fathers.

One Group personified by Thomas Jefferson, in varying degrees believed in the sovereignty of the individual and that government at best is a necessary evil and one must rein in centralization of power at all costs.

The Other group personified by Alexander Hamilton, in varying degrees believed in the Supremacy of the State and that individual liberties should be curtailed to the greater needs of the state and its glory.

 

 

 

 

 

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Vermiculture 101: Composting with Red Worms

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DSCN4962

 

 

My family has composted with Red Worms for a long time, and this year I started my own.

Red Worms will give you some of the best soil improvements and fertilizer for your gardens out there, no need to buy fertilizer from the store, and all you need is a few bucks in materials and things you already throw away in your home!

The worms will provide you two things…

Castings: Basically Worm poop, they are several times high in nitrogen, phosphates and potash than the surrounding soil.  They will result in a healthier plant and because of that health more resistant to disease and implant good microbes and enzymes into the soil.

Worm Tea/Leechate: While not technically a compost tea, this is what is commonly referred to as the “juice” that drains out the bottom of the bin.  It is actually best that as you drain it you return it for a second time through the bin so that the worms can redigest it and make sure no harmful toxins from the plants themselves (leeched during decomposition) are in the tea.  You can also Aerate the Compost tea from worms or straight compost using this method.

You can use the juice straight if you want but dillute it 20:1 and spary on productive trees on their leaves, or a 1:1 – 1:5 for liquid fertilizer in your plants, it has a high PH so you need to be careful and test a bit before you go crazy.

 

There are multiple ways to build your bins so I will give you the plans for both.

 

1 BIN SYSTEM

Materials:

  • 1 Rubbermaid Tub (10 Gal.+) Opaque (not clear). You CAN buy these through Amazon, but I found mine through the Dollar Store and since its the Garage sale season I would fart around those on a saturday and see if you can pick some up for cheap.

  • 4-6 Inches shredded newspaper/cardboard (black and white newspaper, not glossy!)
  • 1-2 lbs of Kitchen Scraps (at the bottom of this page I give you a list of what IS ok and what is not)

 

The reason a rubbermaid type tote is recommended is that surface area/volume is better than a bucket, you want spread out worms not a sheer vertical drop like a bucket would do.  Not saying a bucket CAN’T be used.  Only that it is not as ideal, and you will not get the same return as you would a tote.  Check around discount stores or find some friends who may have a few laying around.  Just make sure it is NOT clear, light kills worms, so anything that is not clear will work.  You can construct the bin out of wood if you so choose, its up to you how much work you want to put into this.

First take your container and mark out where you want to put the vents and mark with a permanent marker around them to mark where you will drill/cut the hole.

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DSCN4952

 

Do the same for the spigot, you will want this at the bottom where the worm juice will pool up.

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have that you can use a SPADE Drill bit to drill out the holes, you can also just carefully cut the hole out with a knife or box cutter, i prefer the drill because it is a no b.s. correct size hole.  If you do not want to buy roofing vents you can cut many many many 1/8′ holes along the top of the Bin (see picture below)

step2

 

Then you will cut out the hole for the spigot and thread it on, inside the container.  Pour some water in and tip it so that it covers the hole spigot, see if there are any leaks.  If so use a non-toxic sealant like a silicone bead sealant for windows, etc.

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Now you will  add the “bedding” for the worms, this is the shredded newspaper and cardboard.  Before you add it you will want to get it wet.

 

When i say wet i don’t mean soggy, i mean wet/damp.  So you can do this one of two ways.  You can use a spritzer (that hasn’t been used with chemicals) and spray and spray the newspaper until it gets nice and damp.  You can also soak it in little bits of water until the desired wetness is achieved.  I just took it in the bowl and put little bits of water in it until it was nice and damp.  If you squeeze it and a few drops come out then it is ok, if 3-5 drops come out, it is too wet.  Worms like dampness not soggy and soaking wet, this is why during a rain they come out, so they don’t drown.  Once it is wet enough, then put it in the bottom of the bin, but make sure it is “fluffed” and not all packed down.

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Next sprinkle some kitchen scraps into the bin and bury them into the bedding, then sprinkle a layer of good dirt/topsoil.  The topsoil is not 100% necessary but it does help to add some dirt for their diet, which is good for the little guys. (NOTE: I took the picture with Orange Peels in the mix.  I ended up removing these as orange/Banana peels will give you a nice flock of fruit flies)

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Then dig a little hole in the middle of the bedding and dump your worms into this.  If they came packed in peat moss that’s great.

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Then sprinkle a layer of wet bedding (newspaper/cardboard).  This will completely bury the food scraps/worms and will help to keep the fruit fly population from starting up. If you have an issue with flies, its a matter of too much food and or exposed food, make sure its covered/buried.

 

A issue that I had was some worms trying to escape, I found that this is common and the amount is what tells you if there is a problem or not.  If you have a then it may help to put a layer of dry cardboard on top of the last bit of wet bedding.  Then i also put a piece of cardboard inside over the top of it, this makes a dry layer where they dont want to go past (they like it damp).  If you still have a problem see if putting the bin in some light with the top off for 5 minutes helps, if not then go to 10 then 20 then put the top on, if a few still are trying to get out or just laying there then it is probably ok, they are just sick or confused, discard them.

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If you continue to have a lot of worms escaping you may want to sprinkle some water on them.  peel back the dry layer and pour a few splashes of water here and there and replace the dry layer.

You will know you have the right moisture if you follow the wrung sponge rule of thumb.  When you put your fingers into the bin in different spots it should feel like a wrung out sponge, not dry or soggy.  If its dry add some more splashes of water/wet bedding into the mix.  If its to soggy, add some dry bedding into the mix to help it absorb a little bit.

Put the lid on the top, presto all done!

 

 

2+ BIN SYSTEM

 

Materials:

  • 4-6 Inches shredded newspaper/cardboard (black and white newspaper, not glossy!)
  • 1-2 lbs of Kitchen Scraps (at the bottom of this page I give you a list of what IS ok and what is not)

 

This will be the same as the first bin as far as the setup for the first bin, however for a two bin system in the corners of the first bin (bottom) you will  put in 4 soda (or like) cans in the corners to be used as supports, or not, its up to you and depends whether you will have multiple bins on top. (you can also drill holes and insert PVC pipes  horizontally in the first bin to use as supports for the second bin).

For the second bin, insert the air vents the same as the first.

Then drill 1/4 or larger holes in the bottom of the second bin, this will allow the worms to migrate to the second bin for harvesting.

DSCN4964

When you are ready to harvest the first bin for castings, insert wet bedding, etc (same as you did for the first bin to get your worms ready) and then insert it over the top of the first bin.  give it a month or two and the majority of worms will migrate up to the top and into the second bin through those holes where food is plenty, away from the old bin with little food in it.

You can start this process by waiting until your first bin is NEARING completion and then inserting the second bin.  Some worms will continue to stay and eat what is left and then migrate up.

Once you have given it a week or so, drain the remaining worm juice, etc and remove the bottom bin.

What few worms are left can be tossed in to the second bin and if there are some food scraps left you can place them in the second bin as well.

Take out the castings and put them in whatever storage container you want, you can mix this in with soil for planting or make compost tea with it.

 

HOW MUCH SHOULD I FEED THEM?

After a while you will get the hang of it.  Don’t add any more food scraps for a week or so.  Before you do, check to see how they are doing, if there is still a lot of the food you initially put in there don’t add more, wait a few more days.  If it smells there is too much food in there because the worms are not eating it and bacteria is breaking it down faster than they can consume it.

Worms can eat their weight in food per 24 hour period, so roughly .5-1lb per 1000 worms per day.  The nice thing about worms is that if there is plenty of food they will start to mate and reproduce and make more worms, if there is too little food they will not reproduce and some will die off.  They have a way of maintaining the correct balance in the system.

The nice thing about worms is if you need to leave for a vacation you can add some extra food, and even if the food gets scarce they will slow down and not reproduce!

You do not need to grind their food, you can cut up say some rotten potatoes, or larger items, but no need to grind the food, put it in as is.

I recommend placing the new food in a new section of the bin every time, this way they will follow the scraps across the whole bin and not be everywhere.

 

WHAT DO I FEED THEM?

 

YES:

Vegetables

Fruits

NOTE: Peels of Fruits can and do create fruit flies, orange rinds and apple cores are ok, or if you dont care then throw it all in.  I personally toss the fruits and other items that the worms DONT like but can be composted in another bucket for the compost pile outside.

Coffee grounds

Tea Bags

Breads/Grains

Egg Shells (is also good for PH)

Orange Rind

Cardboard

Newspaper (Black and White and NOT glossy inserts)

Dry Leaves

Mature Manure

 

NO:

Many of these things will attract rodents/pests

Meats

Dairy

Any Oils (This includes veggies cooked in oil)

Orange Peel/Citrus (This will attract Fruit Flies)

 

 WHAT CAN I USED THE WORM BYPRODUCTS FOR?

worm castings

(photo courtesy of tentgardens.com)

Worm Castings can be put and mixed in with the soil that you will be planting into.  They are the most potent fertilizer you will find and are ready to be used by your plants right away no need to break down as they are the natural food of plants in nature.  If you are harvesting these castings AFTER you have already planted, I would dig in around the plant without disturbing its roots and push these down around it.  You can also just sprinkle them around the base of your plants and dig them in slightly if you are worried about damaging the roots.  You don’t need a lot to get a big effect however you can’t overdue it so that’s not an issue. Its a bit unnecessary but you can use this to make a worm casting compost tea, using it straight or mixed with other composted materials (I say unnecessary because you are also getting worm juice so need to make it into a tea you will be getting both solid and liquid fertilizer!)

 

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(photo courtesy of gippslandgardener.wordpress.com)

Worm Juice (Tea) is the liquid byproduct of worms breaking down your compost.  Using this is simple, just pour it into your container gardens at the base of the plant or if you are getting a lot of it and/or have a large amount of plants and trees you want to treat you can spray it using something like this…

I would dillute the mixture 2:1 (2 parts water 1 part juice) to maximize its benefits and have it last longer if you dont have a large system.  Once again there is NO detrimental effect whatsoever to pouring “too much” on your plants or trees, this is 100% beautiful liquid gold that your plants will eat right up, like that first cup of coffee in the morning it will get them going!

 

If you have any questions feel free to email me rmorgan(at)greatnorthernprepper.com (replace the ‘at’ with @)

 

 

 

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DIY Container Gardens: Growing Potatoes Indoors

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Today I present my Youtube video on how to grow potatoes inside in bins.  I presented this first in my post on all the uses for the lowly cardboard box, and decided to give the straw free potato bin container garden a try myself this year.

Its very simple just 4 inches of topsoil a few handfuls of straw and light watering and by fall you will be able to just reach in and grab potatoes free of dirt and ready to eat!

This is very useful if you live in an apartment or are short of space.

 

 

 

 

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Episode 27: Litecoin, Bitcoin and other Crypto Currencies

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I recorded this a month ago so some of the information in regards to “cases” and recent events is somewhat dated but all the information presented is still very relavent.

Today I talk about…

  • How Crypto Currencies Work
  • Why Cryptocurrencies are a good thing for liberty.
  • What is a “miner”?
  • The Mt. Gox Disaster and why its a good thing
  • The myth that Bitcoin enables Drug Dealers and Terrorists
  • And More.

NOTE:

I didn’t finish my posts on how to build a miner and no longer advocate it with the advent of ASICS, specialized systems that mine but at fractions of the heating cost.  Basically its getting hard for the small guy to get in on it.  I have exited my position as a miner but continue to trade the markets and have been doing pretty well.

 

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What to look for in a group post SHTF

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Post-Apocalyptic-Wallpapers-February-2014-1

 

Not all of us have a prepper group now or are planning on joining or becoming part of one.  I personally am not looking to be part of a group now, I look to my community as my “group” and while there is no community out there that is perfect, even if you have a group, if your community goes to crap you probably wont last. Now I don;t want to disparage J.W. Rawles and his Patriot Franchise, many of us, myself included were introduced to prepping early on by his novels, and as much criticism as he gets for his literary ability, I love Patriots and have read it about 4 times. That being said his story is just that in my opinion, a story.

 

In Patriots we see a small group of folks holding up in the mountains of Idaho, while that may be possible for most of us it probably isn’t, more than likely if any of us have a retreat or home we plan to bug in at, its near other people.  Where there are other people there can be problems. All of this has been a set up to get your mind in the place I’m talking about.

 

If you find yourself in a SHTF scenario, no one knows what it will actually look like, it could be bad, or REALLY bad.   However it could be bad in one place and horrifying in others, it all depends. Depending on what you are encountering where you are it may or may not make sense to join a group if it is even possible. Humans tend to congregate together, especially in bad times, however bad folks tend to congregate and flourish with other bad folks and the likewise for the other side, however this is also not a exact rule. So what should you look for in a group, good and bad to help you make a decision.

  • Before I ever approached a group I would shadow them, out of sight.  Watch what they do, how they treat each other, especially how the “leader” treats everyone.  Watch how and where they get their supplies.  Do they trade? Do they scavenge? Do they steal from others? If stealing and murdering don’t raise any flags with you, then maybe you do belong with them.
  • See if they have older people and young ones in the group.  If they do not then they are either heartless or pragmatic.  You will have to decide if you are ok with that, turning away anyone that isn’t an asset, even if it means their death.  If they do have some older folks and young ones with them, you will have to decide whether they might be “too open” and will put you at risk being that they will put the well being of the group at risk over  helping anyone in need.  I’m making no value judgements either way, just notifying you of your options.
  • After watching them for awhile, if you decide to approach them, then do so but in the daylight, cautiously.  Walk in like you would want someone to walk in on you if they had nothing but the best intentions.
  • Let them know that you are looking to join a group, ask to talk to the leader and or the group to discuss it.  Let them know what skills you have, what you can bring to the table, that you will bring more than you will take.
  • Ask them how long they have been together: Its important to know either way, and either way it could be good or bad.  If they had all been together a long time it could mean they are very tight and loyal, however it could also mean it will be very hard to crack into a group that has been through a lot together.  If they are all relatively new and have just gotten together it could mean you can get stitched in easily, it could also mean there are some bad elements in the group that haven’t been found out yet.
  • Where they came from: If they have been in the same rough area for a long time it means they have some sort of system or stockpile that has kept them there for the whole period of time.  If they have been traveling for a long time, it probably means they don’t have anything  secure there, but it also means they are very resourceful if they’ve survived that long and that far.
  • What their long term plan is:  Do they have a end destination,  a place where they want to settle down.  Do they have a end goal?  Looking for a place to settle down, plant some crops and make new little community?
  • What are their policies on dealing with raiders/criminals?  Have they run afoul of any semi-law along the way?  Its important to know how they deal with people they catch stealing or attack them.  To strict and at all sadistic and you may be dealing with some psychos, too lenient and you may be teaming up with some folks who might get you killed.

 

 

 

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Food Caches: Considerations

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rusty 55 gallon metal drum

 

We have all heard about having caches (pronounced cash-ay-s) for bug out and other purposes, I have even written a post a year or so back about how to cache weapons in the case of…the dreaded “C” word.

Leaving weapons and ammo aside, let us talk about why you should have food caches and thing to think about where you put them.

 

WHY?

The main reason to have food caches, or any caches for that matter, is to have redundancies in your preps and not to have all your eggs in one basket.

If you lose your house to a fire or to a natural disaster, or to a interested government official looking for “hoarders” during a crisis, whatever the case, the question is “how would you fare if your home and all the preps inside it were lost?”  Not good I imagine if that is where ALL your preps were.

The correct and logical course of action would be to stash some preps in other places, so if worst comes to worst you don’t lose everything, and if nothing happens you can always collect them later.

Cache’ing food and supplies can be in the same manner as weapons and ammo, using pvc pipe or pre-made vaults (Like the MONOVAULT).  You can also use clean and rust proofed 55 gallon drums to stock supplies in bury them.  Just be aware that this many supplies will be quite heavy, so you will want to truck them in by vehicle or ATV, but that also means you MAY have to hike these supplies back out.

 

CONSIDERATIONS

09_X_Marks_The_Spot

  • Store miles away from your home, preferably on your egress (escape/Bugout) routes to your bug out locations.  The reason for this is so that if you end up on the run in a hurry you will be able to access some of your preps along the way to keep you going until your get to your bug out location.  As I have mentioned before I would have 3 separate locations to bug out to and 3 separate routes to get there.  If possible I would have caches on each route, with the lions share along your primary routes and smaller ones on your secondary/tertiary routes.
  • Location is important.  Don’t dig these in right on the side of the road where the next road crew will dig it up in the summer.  You also will not want to put them near any hiking trails or camping areas, stay off the beaten path.
  • As well as keeping it out of the way, dig it deep, you don’t want some hiker or hunter to find it digging a few feet in the ground to take a dump before dinner.
  • While keeping it off the beaten path and harder to find you will want to make sure that it is NOT too far out of the way where you will have to spend 2 days hiking in to get it, you also don’t want it to be so far out and heavy that you have to make multiple trips.
  • Back to Location, you will want to steer clear of any utilities, as well as be aware of the local utilities companies in your area and keep updated on any future plans for “additions”, make sure it is not going to be in the area you buried them.
  • Public lands are good in that they are rarely sold off or ever developed, however unlike private land they are prone to be more frequented by hikers and backpackers, heed the “dig deep” warning earlier.
  • Another thing to be aware of is historical sites, don’t dig your caches in any area where historical peoples or events took place. The reason being that on occasion archaeological teams scour those areas and dig far and wide looking for artifacts.
  • As I had mentioned in the weapons cache post, to fool metal detectors and other “sniffers about” you may want to scatter old cans and other metal debris in the area and dug into the ground.  This may fool metal detectors so that they give up thinking its all junk strewn about.

 

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Field Hygiene and Sanitation in SHTF

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Meet-The-Dirtiest-Old-Man-Who-Hasnt-Seen-A-Bath-Tub-in-60-Years

 

 

Often we preppers focus on the big picture items, food, water, power, weapons and ammo to defend it.  However there are more dangerous things out there that can kill you, in fact in a total collapse you will be more likely to die from disease than roving gangs or starvation.  In WWII alone 38-55 million civilians died with around 25 million MORE dead from disease, this just goes to show you that with the massive amounts of battles, fire bombings, etc. massive amounts of people died, but still half were claimed by disease.

What lesson does this teach you?

That your vigilance is needed in the world of sanitation and hygiene as much of and more so than actually worrying about “combat”.

How can you better implement a sanitation strategy to your home/group in the event of a SHTF scenario.

First you should implement better hygiene and sanitation in your daily life now, as with anything in prepping the more you make a part of your normal life now the easier it will be in the future.

 

WASHING HANDS

This is basic, what we were taught as children “wash your hands before dinner…wash behind your ears.”

While it may have been annoying at that time, it was still good advice.  Once again listen to your mother and you may just survive this world!

Now you may think you need to have anti-bacterial soaps, however recent studies have found that anti-bacterial soaps are no more effective than anti-bacterial soaps when used by healthy people.

Something like Irish Spring Soap will work just fine and you can pick up large amounts of it in bulk.  However you may want to have some Anti-Bacterial soap on hand to use for people who may get ill, are weakened by other issues, etc.

wash your hands vigorously, scrub under your nails with a good nail brush especially before you eat or touch your hands to your mouth in anyway.  A good habit to develop is to just keep your hands out of your mouth.

 

 KEEPING YOUR BODY CLEAN

As with washing your hands keeping your body clean is of the utmost importance.

As best you can with what you have available take showers or baths daily, if you cannot wash yourself using a rag with soap and water.  The cleaner your body is the healthier you will be.

An easy and cheap makeshift shower is just a 5 gallon bucket with handle.  Using a nail and hammer, drill, etc., bust holes through the bottom.  You don’t want too many holes, fewer is better, you can always add more, if you have too many you will lose too much water to quickly.  Concentrate the holes in the center of the bucket.  Use the handle to hang from a branch and pour water into the bucket, or fill it up and hang it immediately.  Be naked before hand and get under it, and you have yourself a decent little makeshift shower.

If you do have power/water in your home you will probably want to conserve the water/electricity depending on where it is coming from.  The best way to do this is to institute the “Navy Shower” policy.  That is you turn on the water, get wet, turn it off.  Then soap up and wash yourself from top to bottom.  Don’t forget the crotch, butt and feet.  Then turn on the water and rinse off, and shut off immediately.  Its amazing how much water we waste just lounging in the shower.

A good loofa, sponge or pumice stone is great for getting off the dirty layer of muck and grim on your body or hard to get off dirt’s, oils, etc from your hands.  I had a friend tell me before I went into the Marines (who was a vet himself) to always make sure i keep my butt clean, i didn’t understand at first, but after my first few  week long forays into the field i realized that not doing so let to quite a bit of discomfort from what we called “swamp ass”.

 

EATING AND UTENSILS

It is paramount that you keep whatever you eat on and drink out of clean.  I recently had a bout of the stomach bubbles due to not keeping my cup clean on a recent hiking trip, this is just a pain now, but could spell death if your are not careful in a real survival situation, it was a good wake up call for my complacence in situation i consider second nature.

Always wash after eating and before eating if it was exposed to dirt and grime.

Water is better than nothing, and sand/gravel works well for a pre-clean scrub if you have nothing else. However this will not prevent any yuckies that may have formed on them.  I personally have bulked up on storing dawn dishwashing liquid.  You can pick up a gallon for around $11 on Amazon.  A quick word on Amazon Prime, its a great service and i have had it for 2 years now, basically it offers you free 2 day shipping on amazon prime items, most of them are. its around $90 but when you factor in shipping on a lot of this stuff it pays for itself very quickly.  Considering you could order 500 lbs of stuff and not pay shipping, that is great.  You can try it out for 30 days for free by going through this link.   

 

BATHROOM

I don’t need to go into this on this post as i just wrote a post about this recently called SHTF LATRINES: How to Poop when the water stops

 

MISC

A few other things to keep in mind…

  • Keep your socks dry when out and about, always carry a second pair, if the first get soaked take them off, and hang them around your neck or off your pack so they can dry.  Foot rot is not your friend
  • Foot and Body Powder are great if you have them, i would recommend storing some away, they can usually be picked up when walgreens, riteaid, etc have those clearance bins for dirt cheap.
  • It is also important for you to keep your clothes clean.  Now getting dirty isn’t something to be avoided like the plague, but it defeats the purpose somewhat if you keep yourself clean but never clean your clothes for weeks on end.
  • Zinc Oxide and other creams are good to keep some minor rubbing on your thighs, butt, etc from becoming infected.

 

 

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SHTF LATRINES: How to Poop when the water stops

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Latrine

 

So once again this is not a subject that most people want to talk about, that being pooping.

Nowadays most people don’t give a second thought to their bowel movements other than simply finding the nearest gas station when you have a bad breakfast burrito.  We forget what a modern miracle this is, that within a few minutes in most places there is a place that will take your waste and flush it away out of sight.

Now many of you live in a city, or at least a semi-suburban sprawl with city water.  What would happen if that water got shut off? What would happen if the city could no longer supply that water, or it would be unpredictable, off for days?  Now certainly it would be a high priority in a collapse scenario for the government to provide the basics, that being electricity and water along with food, however we cant rely on them doing so.

Latrines are old tech, but necessary to keep human waste from becoming a massive threat to your survival.  In the coming weeks I will be publishing a post on a why hygiene and sanitation is so important, i will leave the in depth detail on this subject for then, that being said leaving human waste around is not just a smelly issue, but can and will kill you if you are not careful.


Here are different types of Latrines.

 

STRADDLE TRENCH LATRINE

Dig a trench to these dimensions.

  • 1 Foot Wide
  • 2.5 Feet deep
  • 4 Feet Long

You can dig it as long as you want, but the concept is simple.  Place some boards across the edge to give the person some good footing.  As each person needs to use the bathroom have them go to the nearest edge and squat and use it.  Once they are finished cover that area with dirt and the next person will go right next to that spot in the trench, and so on.  leave a shovel at the trench for use in covering it up.  In Iraq we used this style of trench but cut out a hole in a lawn chair or wooden box (we used ammo crates), once you cover up the area with the excretion, move the box over the next open spot and leave it there.

 

DEEP PIT LATRINE

This is more for the outhouse style of latrine, you can build whatever “Box” or “Privy” that you want to.  There are plans for a Privy in my Prepper Resources Page which you can copy or modify to your needs.

The Hole is dug to these specifications

  • 2 Feet Wide
  • 3.5-7.5 Feet Long (Depending on the size of the box)
  • 1 Foot Deep (1 Foot deep for each week of expected us Plus 1 foot of dirt cover, so 2 weeks would be 2 feet for use, 1 foot for  dirt cover, total 3 feet)

You will not want to dig this more than 6 feet due to caving in of the walls, so for long long term use, you will need to dig more holes and move it.

 

MOUND LATRINE

This is for use in areas when high ground water levels or a close to surface rock prevents you from digging a deep pit.

You will want to pile up a mound of earth with at least 6 feet wide and 12 feet long is formed and you can then place the latrine box/privy on top of that.

 

PAIL LATRINE

This can be used for the aforementioned rocky surfaces are present or if you live in a urban area.  You can build a privy or latrine box as normal, but leave an open space or build a door that allows access to underneath the seating area.  If located within a building, you should try to leave the door or access area open to the outside.  Place a pail underneath each (if applicable) seat and empty as needed

Dispose of the waste by burning or burying it.

If by burning you will want to dump it in a hole or a burn barrel and fill it with some diesel fuel, light it on fire and stir often to make sure it burns well.

If by digging, dig a pit and dump it in, covering with dirt carefully to keep from allowing any unexposed waste from attracting flies or exuding its natural smell.   If you have ample supplies of lime, toss that in to keep the smell down.

 

The main thing is to keep the waste from attracting flies that will end up giving you dysentary.  I can attest to the fact that this is not only a not fun experience, but could be deadly.  While i had it (overseas in Iraq) I passed out due to dehydration and had to be given three IV’s before I woke back up, it lasted weeks and I was using the bathroom about 14 times a day; i never took off my boots or pants because I was constantly going to the bathroom all day and night with about 30 seconds of lead time!  I wrote a post about Treating and preventing Cholera you should read, as the rehydration treatment is the same.

 

 

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SHTF MEDICINE: How to Build your First Aid Kit

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para-kit

 

Now there are a million different first aid/medic kits out there that you can buy prepackaged, however I have found that 98% of these fall into one of these 3 categories.

  • They Have more than you need or your skill set/experience knows how to use
  • They are basic kiddie fell on the sidewalk boo boo junk
  • They have a decent set up but are way overpriced for what is contained in them

Now I will say up front I am not a certified EMT or a Field medic from the military, however I have been trained in combat first aid and basic triage on the battlefield, while this is not up to the same level by any measure I do know what most of you have the ability to do and what you will need.  You can always buy more if you want an advanced medic bag and learn as you go, that’s your prerogative.

Here is a list of some basic stuff you should buy.

First off you will want a bag to put all this stuff in, now you could buy some very high speed bag specifically made for EMT’s and Medics, but you can easily make do with a cheap tactical/shoot bag like the Allen & Company Tactical Bag which retails for around $30.  I would recommend packing the more necessary first aid items, that being ones that are needed for immediate lifesaving needs like gauze, pressure bandages, israeli bandages or tourniquets.  If you need band-aids they are not a immediate lifesaving implements you can stick them inside.

 

Here are some necessary items for a good first aid kit.

 

If you want a more advanced bag here are some things you may want, but please learn how to use them first

 

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The Bundy Ranch: Why it’s the wrong fight

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So I wrote on facebook yesterday the following messages…PLEASE READ TO END ESPECIALLY AT THE END ABOUT WHAT I CONSIDER OUR GREATEST WEAPON

 

“I haven’t talked about the bundy ranch issue at all since it started. Here are my thoughts…. 1) Cleven does owe fees for the use of the land. I do not agree with fed control of “public lands” within any state, those lands should be made common use BY each state through the consent of said state citizens, however he does owe the fees, but closer to 300k and not a million.

Cont. I understand why he stopped paying those fees for lands the govt said he could no longer use. 2) Public lands are not public lands, they are in essence federal government lands, due to the fact the government and not the voting citizens make decisions on what can be used on them, etc

Cont. 3) Environmental policy within the govt is dictated to by extremists. There is a concerted effort to push out family ranches who have grazed these lands for generations in favor of “no cattle at all”. The govt cannot just say no cattle so they collude with environmental organizations to bring lawsuits and then settle with with them so that the policy is court ordered and they can hide behind judges.

Cont. Most of those who claim cattle destroy the habitat forget that millions of bison roamed those areas for tens of thousands of years. Hoofed animals devouring everything, trodding every square inch of ground and filling those valleys with manure were and are a natural part of the environment, vital to growth and sustainability

Cont. It is laughable that many of these environ groups are small, comprised of people who are paid 6 figures a year, but claim non profit status because they get donations from portland and seattle, but own massive houses and have the gall to claim they are doing it all for the protection of the earth. They sow fear and say cattle are bringing the apocalypse In conclusion I stand with the bundy’s however those going down there from the militia movement, oathkeepers and individual patriots should be careful. Having weapons is fine but if I was there I would keep my AR unloaded with a barrel block in it. If the govt wanted to fire on me then they would be guilty of murder, and the govt couldn’t claim self defense but would be seen for what they are, thugs”

 

I want to clarify as I feel that I was not able to properly elaborate on my thoughts within the text limits of facebook…I also know I will be pissing some people off, but out of respect and intellectual honesty read the whole piece.  If you still don’t agree that is fine, you can even argue with me in the comments and I will answer your questions, etc.

Cliven is right and wrong

Mr. Bundy is right in that his family has worked and grazed that land long before the BLM ever existed, he claims that his prior usage rights exempt him from federal law and give him near ownership over those lands because his family grazed them over 100+ years. He Is wrong in these ways…

1) Prior usage rights are not well established and as far as i can tell are more in the realm of patent/trademark law and in some instances Water Rights, however these prior usage water rights issues regard private property and patented water rights claims, not grazing on non private land.

2) The BLM is relatively new, but prior to that the Land was administered by the GENERAL LAND OFFICE, officially established in 1812, and Bundy’s Family has only been there since 1870, which would not predate the GLO which was succeeded by the BLM.  The GLO dealt with the Homestead Act and the Preemption act that dealt specifically among other things the collection of taxes and fees for grazing on public lands, which is the heart of this case.

3) Mr. Bundy says he owes the money to the State of Nevada not the BLM, while I am a believer in States rights and that the states SHOULD take the land back from the Federal Government, and the Feds should have NO jurisdiction over land within a state (i.e. public lands), the issue here in that regard is with the STATE OF NEVADA and not the Federal Government. The State of Nevada did not step in and say we want to administer this land, they are Nevadan lands and Not the Federal Governments business, they have been silent.  The Nevada Constitution specifically states that they “forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.” That means all public lands are within the Federal Jurisdiction.  People should be marching on Carson City to make the State leaders grow a pair and take back the rightful land of the people of Nevada.

4) Mr. Bundy is right and wrong about the overreaction of the BLM, they did make a big show of force, they wanted to send a message, however it was not as if he lost his case on friday and they showed up Saturday morning, this had been going on for 20+ years, sooner or later he had to know they would show up, it just so happened it was this month.

WHY ARE PEOPLE SHOWING UP IN SUPPORT?

People are showing up in support for one main reason, It is not because this is a clear cut and dry case of a man being bullied by the Feds, that they asked him to not have his cattle on the land last week and he just found out about it and they sent in the goon squads, this has been LONG ongoing and it was not unlikely this day would come, frankly im surprised it took 20 years. People are showing up because frankly the are sick and tired of the BS from the Federal Government. They are sick of being taxed to death, being force to buy things they don’t want, watching their dollar buy less and less every year because the government wants it to, fighting endless wars, being spied on, being treated like criminals and children.

They are just sick and tired.  This resentment has been boiling for decades now and is now coming to a head. They heard partial truths and even if they were aware of the whole story all that mattered was that the same people that have been stealing from them and their children’s future were trying to take this mans cattle; whether he was right or wrong, many just wanted to show up and say (pardon the language) FUCK YOU FEDERAL GOVERNMENT! YOU CAN TAKE AND TAKE AND TAKE, BUT TODAY YOU WILL NOT! I cant take credit this insight, I felt that this resentment was a driving factor, but Jack Spirko of the Survival Podcast really crystallized it for me in his latest podcast.

 

WHY IS THIS NOT THE RIGHT FIGHT?

This is not a cut and dry situation, and in many ways Mr. Bundy is as much to blame as the Feds for this escalation.  Personally as wrong as Mr. Bundy might be, I dont think the Feds have the right to administer land within a state, and that if the Desert Tortoise is so important than why are companies that Senators sons represent somehow ‘finding’ that the habitat of that tortoise no longer extends into their areas planned for development, even though prior to that they had? Does it just take a few million dollars and good connections that a rancher doesn’t have to ‘find’ that the tortoise doesn’t live there anymore?

With that being said, yes there is corruption within the political system, but if the disparate patriot movement wants to plant its flag for a cause, we need to do it smart, we need to think politically, not everything WE think that is the next Lexington and Concorde, will or would be seen by the public as such.  Most people are turned off by politics or pissed off that i would mention we shouldn’t help Mr. Bundy purely because its not a PR win, well folks you may not like politics, but that is what wins wars and more importantly hearts and minds of our fellow citizens… IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT WE THINK, IT MATTERS WHAT THE PUBLIC VIEWS IT AS.

Personally I would wait  for a better opportunity, the equivalent of stealing candy from a sick baby.  A better cause would be to stop a drug raid on someone growing pot for their terminally ill kid, something that would make people say “I always thought those militia guys were wackos, but shit, this kid cant survive without this and they are defending him against a government that wants him to spend the little time he has left in pain and agony.”

THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL WE HAVE

chamber blcok

A second course of action would be, and one that i talked about in the facebook post.  You see that little yellow thing above? That could be THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON ANYONE COULD HAVE AT THE BUNDY RANCH

 

M-T-Chamber-Block-2

 

WHY? If everyone there had one in their weapon, it would be visible to all, and render the weapon completely unfireable as long as it was inserted, this prevents a round from being chambered and is used at ranges and in the military to publicly show your weapon is unloaded. If the feds come back and everyone is standing there with their weapons, a symbolic act of defiance, and the Feds shot, well that would be splattered all over the news that the feds killed people who had weapons that could not be fired. Sure there would be many in the Mainstream media that would say “well they still had weapons that could have fired, and they were menacing militia guys”…Sure that will happen.

 

However here are the three scenarios that will play out if the Feds show back up…

 

1) The militia and supporters back off and say they don’t want to fight.  I doubt that, all it will take is one guy to raise his weapon, the feds shoot him and everyone else starts shooting in defense.  A bloodbath.

2) The feds show up and there is a battle.  The Main Stream Media and the Obama/Bloomberg Machine will use it as a reason NO civilian should have an assault weapon and get EVERYONE who supported the Bundy Ranch, said they are a “Patriot”, on watch lists.  Every facebook post where you said “I’m a Patriot” would be looked at and you would end up on a terrorist watch list.  This is the real danger of this, and don’t think the Feds WOULDN’T push a confrontation knowing this would make the outcome of an outright ban a near cinch.  The Patriot, small government movement would be cast back 20 years into the realm of Montana Freemen and pipe bomb whacko’s Folks we do not have 20 years to make up any lost ground, this is why i don’t think the Bundy ranch is a good first “line in the sand” for us, its not cut and dry and for the little bit of satisfaction we got from seeing the BLM drive off, we could lose much much more.

3) Everyone does what i mentioned above, they have their rifles, they look “scary” and the media uses the “militia” moniker to scare all those good people in Portland.  However if they fire and kill and injure 10-20 people all of whom were captured on camera with chamber blocks in their rifles, it would be a win.  Those dead would not have gone out in the glory that novels speak of, firing the first shots heard round the world, etc.  But they would do more for the cause than anything. They would show the country that the Feds are what we know they are, bullies, thugs, no better than mafia family enforcers.  They would be shown as murderers, they would show the country that those “Militia” gun nuts that they were so scared of, took the high road, they had no way to defend themselves, they took the path of peaceful resistance, and were shot by our own government.

 

I want to also say I am not denigrating the honor of those men and women who showed up, I am an Oathkeeper myself, and i consider all of them their my political brothers and sisters, i have a high degree of respect for them to drop everything and show up to fight for what they think is right, and they are not wrong to thing the Feds are wrong. I believe we have long crossed any line in the sand that the government should have ever been able to step over, so i understand the need and want to draw a new one right here right now and say “You have been stepping over every constitutional line for decades since this countries inception, it stops now!”

 

But damn’t why draw that line at the wrong time and lose, when we can make the right decision at the right time in the right place and do it right?     Those are just my two cents.  let me know what you think.

 

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3 Big Mistakes People Make in Survival Situations

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In this article I will identify what I feel are the 3 biggest mistakes that people make in survival situations.  Before you read on realize that the term “Survival Situation” does not mean a Collapse scenario, it means a Collapse scenario, lost in the woods, a gunman in your building or even a burglar in your home.

 

STAY WHERE YOU ARE OR RUN AWAY

This can also be phrased as “Wait for help or not wait for help”, I also realize that this seems like not the greatest advice since I am telling you two opposite things; let me elaborate.

Every situation will dictate your reaction to it, so there is NO real silver bullet for every survival situation.

Take for instance a Shooter in your building.  Say you work in a large office building selling insurance, there was a big set of layoffs 3 weeks ago and many people left with chips on their shoulder.  You start the day as you normally do, but a few hours after you get there you head 4 loud bangs on your floor, people start to scream in the hallway and your coworkers begin to freak out.  Months back your company had passed out a paper for what to do during emergencies, they recommended that in the case of a gunmen in the building that all workers were to shelter in place, that is to stay where they were get under their desks and hide.  The closest worker to the door was to lock it and then go to their shelter in place area.

In this scenario someone does lock the door to your area of cubicles, the gun shots get closer and then the door handle jiggles, then the door hand is shot out and the door swings wide open and you hear the shots begin to ring out every few seconds as the steps go from one cubicle to the next….

Now we saw how Shelter in Place did not work during the Navy Yard Shooting, as people made themselves non moving targets, the one thing you dont want to be when someone has a gun.

Anyone who has ever been trained to deal with being shot at knows that the best defense against a gunmen is having a gun yourself, the second best thing to do (and sometimes in conjunction with the first) is to make yourself a moving target away from them, zig zagging in different directions to complicate their ability to use accurate fire upon you.  Sheltering in place is not a good idea.  In reality shelter in place is more for the Cops than for you in my opinion, in a mass shooting scenario if everyone is sitting still then whoever is up and moving is more likely the target, and this way cops can more easily engage the target without having to pick them out of a crowd, this is fine for the cops and makes their job easier, but not for you as you hear the gunmen moving towards you as (s)he shoots everyone in the cubicles as he moves your way.

You need to identify exits wherever you are at all times, especially in places you spend a lot of time like work, have exit strategies.

 

However on the flip side, say you were traveling in a small commuter plane going fishing in the back country, the plan loses power and you crash land, you survive the crash however you are 100 miles from the nearest town.  Now many people would instinctively think they should get up and start walking to find someone to get help.  In this case however your best chance of being rescued will be to stay with the wreckage; search planes will be dispatched once family and friends and the pilots company realizes you never came back, never checked in, etc.  Search planes will more easily see the wreckage than you walking through the woods.

 

As I mentioned in the beginning every scenario will give you this decision to make, stay or go, and each will have a different correct decision to make.

There is no silver bullet decision, one size fits all, however the silver bullet to make that decision is available and it is simple.

“What will increase my survival” once you figure this out your decision can be made.

 

PANIC

The vast majority of folks have never been faced with a true survival situation, never been shot at, never seen death, never been truly tested.  It is a normal human reaction to feel revulsion at these things that clash with what they consider “normal” and have experienced their whole lives.

We see this even in those who have been trained to fight wars, spent years or even decades readying themselves to perform in combat, the first time they see a dead body they freeze, or the first time they have to pull the trigger they do not.  Now military/Police Training severely cuts down these numbers through training and desensitizing that individual to the horrible things they will have to do and see.  However if this can still happen to people with this level of training, don’t think it could happen to you in any situation.

The key to this is to recognize that you what you may see is not normal and your initial reaction may be to freeze or panic, recognize this and you will not be in this state for very long, dont deny it through machismo or bravado ideals of yourself.

The Greatest thing that you can do is to prepared yourself.

Clear thinking is the greatest weapon you can have in your arsenal of survival tools, Recognize the horror you see and move one

If we are not talking about a situation where there is a imminent threat to your life at that exact moment like a shooter or a fire that will surround you, take a moment and a couple deep breaths and think “what do i need to do next”.  Think back to the mental training that you have been giving yourself off these months and years since you decided to embrace preparedness instead of sticking your head in the sand, you WILL come up with the solution and you WILL survive.  Tell yourself “I WILL SURVIVE”.

 

 

NOT RECOGNIZE WHAT IS NEEDED TO SURVIVE

Most people are inherently good (in my opinion), only a small percentage of folks are inherently evil (or bad if you prefer) and the others that are bad are so because of the situations they have been placed in and then become ingrained into that lifestyle.

As Good people we are often not ready to do what is needed to survive, and you need to ready yourself to be able to make those decisions.

I am not talking about looting or killing people for their food, I would never advocate becoming some immoral thief.

What I am talking about is making the decision to survive, for an example in the scenario i posted above about a shooter in your building, is not do what the “good” people do and follow directions, get up and run to the nearest exit, get out of there.  If you cannot grab the nearest object you can use as a weapon and take down that threat.  This is not something “good” people do, it is also not something “bad” people do, it is something that someone who has a will to survive does.

Within this category we can talk about being a prepper in a generalized sense, however more than likely you have already made this decision and have some food socked away, etc.  In this way you have the mindset in partial of what is needed to survive, but this is not enough.

However many of us focus on the bigger things, the bigger disasters and yet we disregard the smaller things that can happen to us, in this way we are not recognizing what is needed to survive.  That is to embrace the full spectrum of survival, to recognize that the smaller things are more likely to happen and more likely to happen NOW vs the bigger crisis that MAY happen later.

Do you have what is needed to survive a few days in your car if it broke down on a back country road? Or In a Snowstorm?  could you fix a busted tire, refill with gas?  Do you have what is needed to keep yourself warm?

Do you have a small go bag available at work with a method to use a defense weapon (whatever is legal in your area or office place)?  Do you have maps?

Recognize that you are not prepared in all areas, I know I am not, And then refocus yourself on what is needed to cover your deficiencies in those areas, instead of making the less likely more redundant.

I am not saying STOP stocking up food, I am saying that you are not really “ready” to survive if you have 3 years of food in your garage but a disaster strikes while you are visiting family hundreds of miles away and you don’t know how to read maps or find your way back.

 

 

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5 RULES FOR A SHTF/BUGOUT GUNFIGHT

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remembering-matt-hughes-pictures3

(photo courtesy of discovery.com)

 

These are simple rules and all of them are born of this notion… YOUR JOB IS TO SURVIVE, NOTHING ELSE, YOU ARE NOT A ONE MAN SEAL TEAM. In a lot of Prepper Fiction and discussions of “what ifs” there is always the scene of the roadblock and having to battle your way out of it, etc. This is of course for your entertainment, while not out of the realm of possibility; in my opinion if a collapse happens and the most ‘exciting’ and dangerous thing that happens to you is that a hailstorm takes out a early crop then you have successfully ridden out when the SHTF.

 

1) If you can, avoid any and all confrontations

This is not just a “run away” piece of advice, its also about keeping your eyes open, be aware of your surroundings, see if any cars are following you? look far ahead of the road, is there any movement? Are there any natural choke points ahead that could be used as an ambush spot?  Is anyone paying too close attention to you while you have been in town?  I talked about this in a post on SITUATIONAL AWARENESS, its a good overview of what it is and how to implement it through practice in your daily life. The point is to look for people and places that could bring about confrontation and take a wide berth, If someone is giving you the stink eye don’t try and run over to them and get in their face, move on, keep an eye on them if they wish to start it, but keep your cool. Your main goal is survival, not live out some fantasy novel in your own life.

 

2) If the other party is showing aggression. Run Away

Now I am not saying that if someone comes to your home and they are demanding you turn over all you have, you run off.  Or that if someone attempts to rape your daughter, that you call it a day and run away.  Not at all. What I am talking about is what i briefly talked about in the First Rule. If someone wants to try and act like the big man on campus, don’t give it another thought unless it is something that physically threatens your life. If you see a roadblock up ahead and you see men in the wood line, turn around, don’t try to take them out. During my time as a Security Contractor overseas, we were all very highly trained, however our job was not to go on the offensive, our job was to get our client to and from where they were going safely.  If we got engaged in a firefight our job was to fight only as long as it took to safely secure an exit, and we always made sure we had an exit, so all we had to do was to engage as we were leaving, rarely did a fight last very long.  This is your job, get to and from where you are going safely, not right the wrong in the world one bad guy at a time. Your main goal is survival, no matter the situation, You are not the savior of all mankind, your duty is to you and your family.  You will do them no good if you are dead.

 

3) If you DO get involved in a confrontation get away and run as soon as you can.

If for some reason after all the precautions you take you get into a fight, do what you have to, defend yourself and when the opportunity arises get away. Say you get caught in an ambush at a roadblock or choke point, You are not duty bound to stay and put them down so that they ‘wont do this again’, you are duty bound to your family. More than likely this will be the only alternative, if they have gotten you into this situation they most likely outnumber and outgun you, your best alternative is to get away. I read this a lot in prepper fiction, someone sees a roadblock they decided that they need to take them out, or they get ambushed and get away, but go back to take them out, etc. Your main goal is survival, you are not the Judge and Jury of Righteousness in a lawless society.

 

4) If you have a retreat/home nearby do not head directly to it.  Lead Possible pursuers away.

When you do get a chance to escape, don’t head straight for your retreat/home, if someone in the ambush group is a decent tracker, or you are bad at hiding your sign, you will lead them right to you, and you will be setting yourself up for the next fight, and every fight not fought is a step closer to surviving the situation. In my opinion I would lead them on a circular chase in the wrong direction, looping around, and then set up a ambush of your own in an advantageous location.  Now this may sound like it violates the first 3 rules, however you have already exposed yourself to confrontation so the only real choice is to wait, if they are following you then you need to end it now, because a fight at your home is much less advantageous than you taking them out in the woods or worst case you end up dead in the woods, at least in this your family is safe.  Wait a few hours, listen and watch, if they don’t follow you THEN head back home. Your main goal is survival, defend your castle by keeping its location secret.

 

5) If you can’t get away before or during, defend yourself and neutralize the threat.

This is the last resort, however this does happen in these situations, you got ambushed, you cant get away.  Now is the time for you to dig down deep, go on autopilot and let your training take over.  Take them out and make sure they are no longer a threat, be calm, efficient and ruthless, they would do the same to you. Your Main goal is survival, if someone wishes to endanger your life, then defend it.

 

CONCLUSION

Now this advice may sound harsh, as if I am saying that all that matters is for you to survive.  In a way yes I am.  I have also spoken that we need to be ready to fight to make a better future, if a collapse happens we also need to be beacons of liberty and help restore what was lost and what could have and should have been. What I am talking about today is not the ‘greater fight’ but the small things that you may encounter in SHTF/Bug Out situations.  I want to dispel some fantasies that i have heard on some forums, which I believe is fueled by the burst in prepper fiction lately.  The best way to survive is to NOT put yourself in situations that will put that survival in the balance. In short, Don’t fight if you can avoid it, if a fight is forced on you, end it, one way or the other.

 

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WHY YOU SHOULDN’T EAT YOUR LONG TERM FOOD STORAGE

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workingpoor1

 

Okay, the title is a bit misleading, its more like a good reason you should skimp when eating your long term storage and starve yourself a little. In easier terms, you should go on a diet in a SHTF scenario.

So what the heck are you talking about Richard? I stored up this food so my family and I WOULDN’T have to Starve!

Here’s Why….

 

Scenario:

The collapse hit in early March, Things were bad, but food was available, what little government was still functioning tried to quell any dissent and riots by shipping what food was left in warehouses and what could be “nationalized” from farms during the summer was shipped to central distribution areas in cities and some made it to the rural areas.

Most of the people in your town were surviving off what they could get in from the distribution centers, people were becoming thinner and malnourished from lack of quality food, but there were no truly hungry days, belly’s went to bed full.  Things have changed, what little crops made it through the summer were needed immediately to fill the gaps, and now food was becoming more scarce, calories for each daily meal have been cut from 2000 to 1500 a day and will only get worse through the winter.  The Government had started to send out pamphlets on “how to make a home garden” in late July and early August, much to late to do any real gardening and with ridiculously unuseable information for anyone outside of southern California growing climates.  Next years crops were to be even worse as artificial fertilizers were harder to come by and years of using them left them unusable since fertilizers had robbed the fields of any organic material necessary to natural growing.

As things have gotten worse people are getting skinier and less healthy looking, however you had foresight and built up a 2 year supply of food for you and your family. Meals were more bland, plain jane most nights, however you had put away quite a few spices, so a few nights a week things got ‘changed up’.  Your family hadnt really lost much weight, none of you were chubby or fat before the collapse, but all of you could have stood to lose a few pounds.

In town all people talked about food, rumors that a big shipment was coming in, or even that a large herd of cattle had been found out in the range and fresh steaks and ground beef were probably on their way.  Kids talked about candy, drunks opined over booze and moms cried because their kids wanted their favorite meals. 

As meals got cut or shipments came a few days late, people had began to talk….

“Why do the Smith’s still seem healthy?”  “We are all getting the same food and I have lost 25 lbs, do they have secret garden somewhere?”

As weeks and months went by, and food got less filling the talk of “why” and “how do they…” changed to

“They must be hoarding food…”, “I bet they have a bunch of food stored away, maybe they stole it off one of the trucks..taking from my kids!”

 

You may think that it sounds crazy, however as I outlined in my article on the Minnesota Starvation Experiment as malnutrition sets in people become obsessed with food and become dangerous and angry.  In the Experiment all the participants were avowed pacifists, but they began to develop fantasies about everyone they saw, that they were going to eat and started to become very angry at them.

These were avowed pacifists, so what do you think people who are used to huge meals and see you still keeping your belt in the same notch.

 

Think about it, if everyone else is starving or near starvation, or in the least malnourished and you are still a more than healthy 38 waist, what is everyone going to be thinking?  You can guess, because that is what ANYONE including you would be thinking….YOU HAVE FOOD STOCKED AWAY.

In my opinion the best thing to do is to finally go on that diet, everyone needs to.  Portion out the meals in combination with the extra work you will probably be doing and make sure that everyone starts to slim down.  Don’t make you and your family UNHEALTHY, however cut down the caloric intake and get everyone down to a healthy weight, now this may not cast off all suspicion, but with a good garden season people will not be be as suspicious.

With this tactic you may just save your life, they are not bad people, they are just hungry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Treating MRSA Post SHTF

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MRSA_under_microscope

I’m sure that most of you have heard of MRSA, whose full name is “Methicillian-resistant Staphylococcus aureus” and is often called a “SUPERBUG” since it is resistant to most antibiotics that are used to treat normal Staph infections.  MRSA is not a superbug in the way that it is NOT something new, but something that has grown an immunity to normal antibiotic treatments through overuse in medical and agricultural fields.  This is the perfect example of Survival of the Fittest, we all know the concept, the weak are killed, the stronger survive.  This works in the bacterial world, every time a bacteria is treated with antibiotics there is a chance that a few survive and grow immune to those antibiotics and then multiply, over time there will be NO treatment of certain bacteria with any treatment, however since this is in the future and there is nothing we can do about it we will focus on MRSA and what we can do.

FACTS

  • MRSA results in 27% mortality rate
  • Cirrhosis, Renal Insufficiency, Having lived in Nursing home before hospitalization and Admission to ICU increases death by 7-15%
  • In 2005 over 94k cases were reported
  • Older age and weakened immune systems resulted in higher rates of death
  • Contact Sports, close proximity to healthcare workers and unsanitary conditions led to higher rates of infectiosn.

HOW CAN WE TELL IF IT IS MRSA?

mrsa2-s3-spiderbite-mrsa

 

Red bumps will appear and look like Pimples or Boils and can resemble a spider bit.  If you never felt the pain of a bite or saw a saw a spider on you, chances are it is not.

mrsa2-s5-mrsa-abscess

 

It will often progress to an open inflamed area of the skin that may “weep” pus or drain other fluids (THESE ARE INFECTIOUS!!!!).

The Following Photos also illustrate MRSA infections

mrsa2-s4-mrsa-infected-hand mrsa2-s2-mrsa-skin-infection

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

This goes without saying that this is ONLY if you cannot reach a medical doctor or Hospital, in normal times NEVER try to treat this on your own, only in the most dire of situations.   First of all do not share personal hygiene items, towels, sheets, clothing or toiletries with others.  Or if you do make sure they are sterilized and/or treated with 10% bleach solution.  To find out how you can create a near limitless (for personal use) supply of Bleach read my post on how to make Bleach from POOL SHOCK.

 

Bactroban

First you can try to treat with Anti-biotics.  it is getting harder and harder to find antibiotics to stock up on.  I would look at going to pet supply stores as you can find most anti-biotics for humans for animals as well.  Bactroban can still be found via Amazon, click the picture above or the link below.

  • SEPTRA (SULFA BASED) Also known as BACTRIM (Trimethoprim)
  • Clindamycin
  • Anti Biotic Cream (Prescription)
  • Mupirocin (Bactroban)

 

  lancing boil

 

If you have a boil (It Often does), you need to drain it via lancing.  You can often get rid of the infection with proper draining.  Make sure that you keep any of the discharge away from any cuts or scrapes or this infection can spread.  Keep it clean and clean the area around it that may have been touched by any of the drainage with 10% bleach solution.  Look up how to lance a boil properly and NEVER squeeze it like a pimple, this will only spread the infection. Some tips from medical professionals..

  • Drain wounds immediately, then soak it with warm water 2-3 times a day and keep it open and allowing to drain
  • Make sure it drains all the way or it will come back worse than before
  • Clean House/Vehicle/Weapons anything the person may have touched with bleach solution
  • Lysol spray will kill it if you have it.
  • Use bleach for laundry
  • A Soap called Chlorahexadine will kill MRSA on the skin.  You can buy this at Walmart and other stores.  once you have the wound draining, shower daily with it.  Once healed wash with it a few times a month to keep the staph that may be on you in check.
  • Keep Fingers out of your nose if you have it, Staph can live in there, so you may want to coat your nose with Prescription Cream.

medihoney tube

Honey Has been known to Kill it, if you can use Medical grade Honey like “Medihoney”

 

 

TEA TREE OIL has been said to treat it as well, however i would only use this as a last/only resort.

STOP IT!

You can STOP the spread of MRSA within your home or community by

  • Keeping wound bandaged and covered.
  • Sterilize ALL equipment used, or throw it away if it cannot be sterilized.  I have a Post on Sterilizing Equipment.
  • Wipe any areas exposed with 10% bleach solution.
  • Wash Hands vigorously and overdue it.

*This information comes from various sources like medicinenet.com, survivaldoctor.com, the CDC and others.*

 

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IS THE US BECOMING A POLICE STATE?

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Today’s Post is a Guest Article, Or I should say Guest Graphic from Jasmine Henriques from Securitydegreehub.com

 

 

police_state

 

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The 3 Biggest misconceptions about a gunfight

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tombstone-1

 

In my experience there are three categories of people when it comes to a gunfight.

  1. Those that NEVER want to be in one, so much so that they will not even consider having a gun.
  2. Those that wish they could be in the Old West and think they will be Doc Holiday Reincarnate.
  3. Those that have been in one and know what it is really like.

 

Those folks in category 1, I am not addressing today, That would take days and weeks of writing and ‘therapy’ to relieve yourself of these false notions, and propaganda that has been fed to you the majority of your life.  I may address this in a podcast at a later date.

This article will be addressing the 2nd category of people as a person that fits into the 3rd Category.

I am not doing this to try and toot my own horn and say “I’m better than you”, I am just trying to give you some advice, relay my experiences and try to prepare you for what reality will most likely be.

 

1) THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO PULL THE TRIGGER

Most people who buy a gun, because they recognize the need for self defense, think that because they go to the range a few times a month and can hit center mass of the target that they are prepared to kill in defense of their own life or anothers life.

Unfortunately It is much more complicated than that.

 

An excellent book to read is called “ON KILLING” by Col. David Grossman, where he outlines how difficult it really is to kill another human being.  He notes that it is MUCH easier to drop a bomb from 30000 feet where the people are never seen or look like little ants than say getting up close with a knife.  One of the more amazing statistics was that in WWII, of those soldiers that fired their weapons in combat, they found that only 15-20% actually shot to kill, the rest fired in the general vicinity or over their heads.  It is not a normal thing to try and take a life.

Later as training developed, bull-seye targets were replaced with human silhouette targets and other things like cadences were changed from “Jody” (a cadence about the proverbial guy back home with your girl) to ones that spoke of killing your enemy, blood makes the grass grow, etc.  This lead to a near 80% rate of people firing to kill the enemy.

Shooting is as much psychological as it is physical (at the range).

I have personally seen it in combat where people froze at the sight of death, now this didn’t last long and 99% never had that again after their first time, however this was due to the fact that training kicked in.  However our training was constant for years (in some cases decades) before this moment, so you need to be aware that going to the range a few times a month may not be enough.

Much like my previous post on “3 Biggest mistakes people make in survival situations” you need to mentally prepare yourself for this moment, be aware that you may “freeze”.  I am not saying this is “ok” or that this may not result in your death, but you need to be aware of this possibility, not just in yourself but in others that may be in your “group”.  If they freeze when the moment comes you need to not get in their face, or make them feel like “less of a man (or woman)” for doing so, it is a natural reaction.  In fact this reaction is a good thing, it means that humanity and our compassion and what sets us apart from animals is still alive and well.  A good thing in the general sense.

Now This is not going to be a whole article on “HOW TO” for training, but here are a few pointers.

  • If you are not shooting at silhouette or “man” targets yet, do so.  never fire at bulls-eye targets in my opinion.  If you are training to defend yourself you WILL NEVER find yourself drawing down on a circle in real life.  Use human silhouette or man looking targets, this will help your mind START to get around this process.
  • Practice your draw and aiming at home every night for 30 minutes before you go to bed, at least a few times a week.  Set up a silhouette target, mannequin, etc. in your garage/room, closet, etc.  Make sure the weapon is unloaded, and don’t pull the trigger just practice drawing, presenting, and getting the proper aim.  Start slow at 25% speed, in a few weeks, up the speed to 50%, next few weeks 75% and so on.  After awhile once you have been doing 100%, start again at 25% speed and redo it again.  Focus on the fundamentals, of drawing, breathing, sight aim/sight alignment, etc.
  • Start practicing reading peoples body language in your daily life, and then use that on your dummy, start to practice paying attention to their eyes, shoulders and hands.  I know its hard on a paper target, but pay attention to these things while still keeping your aim true, center mass.  Most people will show you their intention to fire in their eyes/shoulders and hands moments before they pull the trigger.

 

2) THAT YOU WILL HIT WHAT YOU ARE SHOOTING AT

I have talked to a lot of people, and this comes up a lot.  A conversation with my wife really helped bring this home to me as something that people have fantasies about when it comes to a gunfight.

My wife doesn’t shoot as much as I would like her to, and I bought her a small compact pistol, which she picked out herself. Suprisingly she is quite accurate with it (however I find most women are more accurate out of the gate than men, they listen and aren’t looking to “prove” anything), however I keep telling her that if I am away, etc. and she hears something at night to grab the shotgun.  Because of this I want her to practice more with the shotgun.  She is still quite antagonistic to this idea saying “its too much Ill just grab my pistol”.  Which i reply that the shotgun is the premier home defense weapon, nothing beats it.  I also pointed out to her that with 00 Buck she wont have to worry if she is shaking or isnt quite as accurate, more than likely in a confined space she will at least “wing” the intruder giving her enough time for follow on shots, or scare them off.

Her reply was that “Every time we go shooting I’m really good right? so don’t worry”.

This is a reply I hear from a lot of people, that they shoot well at the range so if anyone ever came into their house, they will easily put two in the chest and be safe.

This is a massive fallacy on their parts, and I hope NOT yours.

Think of some times when you have woken up and may think you have heard someone in the house, or when that brother, sister, friend may have popped out of nowhere and scared you, giving everyone but you a good laugh.  This is what combat is like.  That feeling of a increased heartbeat, palms are sweaty, you are shaking a little bit, this is what it will be like but by a factor of 10.

You will be shaking, perhaps not even noticing it until you bring your weapon up and are trying to line up the sights, and then see that you cant get any kind of really good sight alignment.  Your palms will be sweaty and you will not have as good of a grip, and your heart will be racing making your weapon move up and down as you breath faster.  All of this combined will equal inaccuracy, its ok, its normal.

Now when you are in combat this often happens your first few engagements, but after awhile you become deadened to those sensations and your training kicks in.  The more and better training you have had the earlier it kicks in and you go on auto-pilot.

However most of use here don’t spend 40 hours a week training for this, we don’t live in that mindset 24/7 so we have to recognize that.

You must realize that you will probably not hit what you are shooting at, which is why you have to be careful and heed that old axiom of rang safety rules “know your target and what lies beyond”, meaning know if there are innocents or your kids bedrooms right behind your target.

 

 

3) THAT YOU WILL NOT  BE SCARED

This fits in a lot with the previous misconception, however it is its own separate beast.

Fear

People don’t want to think that they will be “scared” when someone breaks into their house, or that if the SHTF that they will be scared if someone tries to rob their vehicle as you are driving to the grocery store.  Most will say, “Nah, ill just start firing back, kill them and then move on”.

This is probably not the case.  When rounds fly by you in combat, it is not like the movies, when you hear that crack, the sound of a round that almost hit you, you will probably start freaking out a bit.  This is ok, its normal, recognize that its normal, when you do this you wont be freaking out that you are freaking out, wondering why you cant be Junior Rambo.  Recognize it and you will be able to calm down and THEN get to work so to speak.

We are preppers, which means we don’t put our heads in the sand and hope for the best, we must look at every situation and see what our failings might be and fix them.  This is another aspect of prepping, the mental.

When you are shot at or in a situation where you are in danger, the body’s natural response is to become afraid.  Fear keeps us from jumping out of moving trucks at 70 mph, and for good reason.  Fear keeps us alive.

However that fear can also get you killed, so recognize that fear is a normal part of the human experience, train for it, train yourself to overcome it and rely on your training, move past it and then get on with what needs to be done, that being defending yourself.

 

 

 

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299 DAYS KICKSTARTER: HELP MAKE THE MOVIE

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299 Days

Glen Has launched the Kickstarter for 299 Days the Movie….

What is Kickstarter? Its basically a decentralized way to raise money for a project, instead of going to executives and Hollywood who will change the message and meaning of the Movie, He is reaching out to the public for help in making this the right way.

 

This is something i have mentioned on Facebook and Twitter.

I have spoken about 299 Days on Multiple Occasions and Interviewed Glen Tate on 3 Occasions as well

299 DAYS Book Review

Episode 12 with Glen Tate

Episode 20 Prepping with Special Needs Children

Episode 25 The Cabelas Prepper

 
Glen Tate is now reaching out to the Prepper and Patriot Community to make this Book Series a Real Life Hollywood Movie, however unlike a Hollywood movie that would bastardize it and make it theirs, Glen wants to make this BY PREPPERS FOR PREPPERS.

 

I have personally pledged $250 to the project, however I know this may be too steep for many of you.

The Project needs anything you can do to help form $1 and on.

For each level of donation you can collect some swag and prizes, here are a few

  • $5 – Get your name on the Patriot Wall on the 299 Days Page
  • $10 All of the above and a copy of the script
  • $ 15 all of the above and a person thanks on your facebook wall
  • $20 All of the above and a 17th Irregular (the unit in the books) Sticker
  • $25 Get a Patch instead of the Sticker
  • $50 Movie Download and I MISS AMERICA CAP
  • $100 Signed DVD or Blu-Ray and YOUR NAME In the Credits!
  • $125 All of the Above and a Movie Poster
  • $250 All of the above and a part as an extra in the Movie!!!!!
  • $500 Movie, Name in Credits and Personal Video Conference with Glen Tate!!!
  • $750 Gets you a Speaking Part in the Movie
  • $1000 Get your name as on of the 43 Colonels in the last book!!!
  • $5000 Get a weekend with Jack Spirko of the Survival Podcast at his Homestead
  • $10000 A weekend with Glen and the Team at his Cabin

 

There are multiple more incentive levels in between.

HERE’S MY OFFER TO THE GNP COMMUNITY….

 

MY DONATION OF $250 will get me a role as an Extra in the Movie (you have to provide your own airfare and lodging).

So If you donate anything more than $10, email me and let me know, your name will be put into a raffle and when the movie gets made I will give up my spot to YOU if you win.

So head over to Glen’s Kickstarter Page and donate what you can TODAY and you will be Entered to WIN A PART IN THE MOVIE!!

 

 

 

 

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When they come knocking: Dealing with Friends and Relatives

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woman hands in face great depression

 

It has been a month since things got bad, well things had been getting bad for 3 months before then, but the last month was when things came to a head.  The Stock Market had crashed and the government had declared new powers to deal with the extraordinary circumstances that had occurred when the the “broken system” had “failed” America.  You had been prepared so your family was doing better than most, the food was bland but there were no nights going to bed hungry like many around the country.

You had mentioned in passing a few times to friends and family that after Katrina and Hurricane Sandy that it might be a good idea to put some stuff away if that ever happened to you, but they just laughed it off saying you had been watching too much National Geographic maybe.  They weren’t laughing about that now.

Your Brother in law had been a very successful accountant in the city crunching numbers for major food chains and big box stores in the region and had made fun of you for always choosing to live in the country, jokingly calling you his “bumpkin in law”. Before the phone lines had died a month a go he had called asking how things were where we are, his stories of how things were in the city told of gangs running wild and cops turning a blind eye or just unable to do anything about it.  The tenor of his voice betrayed the fear he had, he never asked to come out but the cracks and shaking, evident in his the way he spoke, told the story, it was a question he couldn’t, or wouldn’t ask of his “bumpkin in law”.

He never asked to come, so you never did. that had been a month ago, and the phones had long been down, you hoped they were doing okay, but the labor to keep things running around the house, planting the gardens and tending the animals you were now raising, thankfully didn’t allow for much thought on this.

One day you hear a knock on your door, you grab your shotgun and see the familiar outline of a green tahoe and you open the door to see your brother in law, looking paler and much thinner than the last time you had seen him.  He tells you that he had no other choice…..

 

In the back of our minds we all know this day will come, when things start to get bad that friends and/or family members will show up and we will be faced with a decision, can they stay or can they leave?

 

Most of use know about “OPSEC” that is the military term for Operational Security, not letting people know you are a prepper, that you have things stored, not letting people know that you are in any better shape than they are, because human nature will dictate to them that they will be better off coming to your door.

 

This OPSEC starts the day you become a prepper, as you start to build up your food storage you have to keep it safe, secure and secret.  If you start telling all your friends and family then you will end up being on their radar when SHTF.

 

Now most of us have told a few close family members that we are preppers, perhaps it has just been a few quick conversations about maybe it was be a good idea to stock up some food, water, etc.  I am not saying not to have those conversations with your family or close friends, but you have to understand that those people will now remember that conversation and when they are out of options your house will be next on their list of “we’re better off there than here”.

Now phone service may still be working and you get a call, or it may just be a knock on the door, but they will be coming, if they can get there they will show up, you can bet your life on that.  Why do I say that? Well what would you do?  Wouldn’t YOU be heading to your house? I sure as hell would be.

We have to have these conversations with ourselves and our significant others (if they are on board), because if we don’t we aren’t doing ourselves any favors in fact we are doing exactly what many preppers make fun of the rest of the population for doing…sticking our heads in the sand.

Personally I approach this by wanting to have 1 year of food for every person in my home, and another year of food for an extra person or two if possible, this way I can afford to allow a family member or two to come to the house and stay and not take away from what I have stored for my family.  My wife and I have talked about it and we have both agreed that our home will become a refuge for family as they need it, and in doing so we will need to stock away more.  We have also talked about as things START to get bad to tell our family to come out but buy and bring as much food as possible so as to give us as much breathing room as possible.  Now the food we have stocked away for family members will be basic staples, nothing fancy, but it will give us the ability to not have to make that hard decision.

 

THE HARD DECISION

We all know what this hard decision will be, telling them NO, that they can’t stay.  We have no idea what the situation will be when the SHTF and we have no idea what that situation will be by the time our family finally decides its time to leave where they are.  However we cant unilaterally decide “Of Course they can all come”…..If they come and we are in the worst of the worst case scenarios and we are having to look at having 6 months of food for your family and 1 month if everyone stays, what will your decision be?

This will be the hardest decision you will ever have to make however you need to run through these scenarios in your mind and come up with lines in the sand, How much food has to be available in certain situations to be able to allow ‘guests’ to come?

In a podcast with Glen Tate we talked about a blog post he talked about this exact scenario, when people come knocking.  We talked about how a friend had mentioned “Oh when things get bad we are coming to your house!” His answer was …”No you are not”.  Now every individual situation will be different, is this a friend from work or your older sister and her children?

 

YOUR DUTY

For me the line is definitely drawn at family, anything less than family is a definitive no go.  My family will not be eventually be starved out by a friend, plain and simple.

We had this conversation with a family friend, now she doesn’t know we are preppers, but the conversation had turned to a situation in a movie, I cant remember exactly but they know I am a gun afficionado, so she had said she would come here.  I said plainly, no you wont.  They were a bit taken back by that, but i plainly said my family is my responsibility, their family is theirs, and when it comes down to it I am not going to put my family in danger for them.

This may sound harsh, but it is reality.

Your Duty is to your family and not anyone else.

 

YOUR DECISION

Ultimately this is your decision, I have given my opinions on the subject, but the point of this post is to get your thinking, get you start that conversation with yourself and/or your significant other.

This is not a conversation or topic that is to be taken lightly, but it is also something that can’t be shoved off for a later date, sit down and start talking about it right now or later today, talk about it with your significant other if they are open to it.

Run the scenarios in your head, because if you don’t you will end up in a bad position.  If you bring someone else into your home you will start to tip the scales away from your family and towards them, it will be up to you to draw that line in the sand to see how far those scales can tip before you have to say NO.

 

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Cardboard Gardening: Dont Throw that out!

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shifting-piles-of-stuff

 

 

 

Now currently I am inundated with Cardboard from our move last year, I kept 80% of our boxes and flattened them, etc, however a whole house of stuff produces a lot of boxes, so I have been slowly using them for other things, from backing for spray painting to fire starters.

Now I was trying to look for more uses for my cardboard as it seems a waste to even recycle it if i can find a use for it, and I did!

Spring is rapidly approaching, although my prepper brothers and sisters to the east may not feel like it is!

 

Egg Cartons:

img_4452

Now I don’t buy store bought eggs anymore, I prefer to source my eggs locally until We get settled into our final destination (where we are now currently will NOT be our homestead unfortunately) so I end up with quite a few egg cartons.

One very great way to use these is for planters.  Now I know my green thumbs out there are probably going “duh!” but many folks out there are quite new to all of this!

Start by cutting the carton in half, and you can leave the flap on one side of them to write the name of the plants if that helps (i think its a great idea!).  Fill the carton with soil and then plant a few seeds in each area, this will give them good spacing to begin with. Water them and as they come up cull the weaker seeds in each carton section so that the strongest survives, once planting season is here you can just bury the carton in the ground as the cardboard will decompose.  If you can use the recycled non/white paper cartons as there are chemicals in the bleaching process.

The photo above comes from gardeninggrrl.wordpress.com, and you can see how she planted them carton and all!

 

Weed Control/Mulch:

MulchLayersInBBGarden_800

(photo courtesy of snakeroot.net)

I did this last year in a couple of my beds as a test case to see if it would work well, and I was impressed.

I started by digging out about 5-6 inches off the tops of the raised beds.  I then loosely flattened out the area and layed in a piece or two of cardboard across the whole bed.

I cut out the areas where I would plant and marked off the corners with some sticks/stakes, Then i soaked it, soaked it, soaked it, soaked it, soaked it.

You will want to make sure the cardboard is through and through soaked, because if you don’t it may become hydrophobic and repel water, and that is opposite of what you want, you want it to hold moisture.

Once it was good and soaked I then cover it with dirt then at about the 2-3 inch layer i layed down another layer of cardboard and soaked it finally, covering it all with dirt.  What this did was two fold.

It helped stop weeds from coming up all around my plants (it didn’t stop them from coming up in the areas where i didn’t lay cardboard, but it cut down weeding a lot), but it also helped to hold moisture in the soil.  Where I am currently at the sun is very hot and the wind is harsh so it leads to dry soil.  There is very little rainfall in the summer so the little we had along with my watering was held very well in the soil and led to good growth.  I would often check during the days and my soil was always damp, a very good thing in that climate.

A Note: you can also use newspaper as well not the shiny junk mail flyers but paper newspapers.

In the case of the picture above these people used wood mulch on top of the cardboard, im guessing this was more to inhibit weeds than hold in moisture as it doesn’t seem to be soaked.

 

Raised Bed Straw grown Potatoes:

straw-potatoes

This is something i can not speak much on since I have not done it yet, I just discovered this but am very intrigued and will try to do this, this summer!

I read a brief description of how to do this on the Colorado State Extension site.

Basically what you do is prep your soil with organic matter/compost, dig a trench four inches deep and 12 inches wide.

Plant your potatoes 4-6 weeks before last frost in your area and push the see (eye up) 1/2 inch down into the loos soil and space 12 inches apart.  Then fill the trench with six inches of weed free straw and as they come up add another 4 inches of straw.

Water evenly to keep moist and don’t overwater them.  The straw will help to keep the soil moist, and promote plant health and growth.  When August comes (or whenever your harvest time may be), you can just reach in and pull back the straw to reveal soil free potatoes, no need to dig them out!

Now how does this relate to cardboard…well if you wanted you can use some of the bigger boxes as planters.  As seen in the photo above they used a old washtub/basin and filled it with 4 inches of soil and then dug the trench in there and filled with straw.  On a budget or in SHTF you can use Cardboard Boxes!  The nice thing as well is that the carboard will break down and you can use that as mulch the next year, etc.

 

There are multitudes of uses for cardboard, these are just 3 ways to use it specifically for gardening!

DO YOU HAVE OTHER USES? COMMENT BELOW!

 

 

 

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How to Make a Homemade Compass

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Homemade Compass
 
 

Now many of us may remember this from our childhood, boyscouts, etc. for those that don’t this is something to put away in your mental tool chest for a day when you might need it.

Mil Spce Compass

Now of course you should have a good compass, I prefer the Mil Spec Compass since it has Tritium in it for night use and is very durable.  However for situations where you might find yourself not in the most…advantageous position, you can create this makeshift compass that you can carry with you, all you will need to do is to have water available for it to float on whenever you want to get a reading.

 

ITEMS NEEDED

  • Sewing Needle (you can also use a paperclip, safety pin or hairpin in a pinch)
  • Magnetizer (Fridge Magnets work great, but you can also use steel or iron to rub it on, silk/fur, or even your own hair to magnetize it)
  • Bowl
  • Small piece of cork (wine cork or cork board is great, but a light wood can work as well just has to be very light and move easily in the water as the needle moves. Leaves can also work in the wild)
  • Water

 

STEP 1:

Rub the needle on the magnet, don’t rub it back and forth but in the same direction, like sharpening a knife.  After about 50 strokes the needle should be magnetized, repeat if necessary.

NOTE: I fyou are using a piece of iron or steel, stick the needle in a piece of wood and rap the top of the needle on the metal item 50 times

 

STEP 2:

Stick the need through the cork, insert it horizontally through the edge of the cork and out the other side.  Push it through until there are equal portions on either side of the wood.  If you are using something like a leaf just lay it on top with equal portions hanging over.

 

STEP 3:

Fill a Bowl with a few inches of water and place your makeshift compass in the water, the needle will align itself with the earths magnetic field and point north to south (that is magnetic north to south).  Now realize that wind will push it off course and you cant stick this in a lake or pond due to currents, however you could use a small still puddle.

 

STEP 4:

You can tell if it is working by if you set it in the work it will start to spin either clockwise or counter clockwise to point form north to south, if it doesn’t and just sort of sits there, then attempt to remagnetize it.

 

STEP 5:

Now you will need to see where North is, if you know the area and have a general idea of which was is north then use that.

If not put a stick in the ground, mark the tip of the shadow it casts with a rock, wait 15 minutes and mark the tip with a rock, the line between the two should be roughly East to West, using that you can tell which way NORTH is.  Stand with First rock on left, second rock on right, then you are facing north.

If it is night, Locate the Norther star, the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper, draw a line from the north star to the ground, that direction is due north.

 

 

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The Prepper Wardrobe: Why Low Key is Best

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Contractor Picture

 

Many of us (Mostly the Guys) like to buy some tactical gear from time to time, and have probably a decent outfit of tactical gear to don, if god forbid the time comes when it is needed.

Now I am not one to judge, I myself have acquired and bought quite a bit of tactical gear, most of this was from my days in the military and contracting, however we need to thing strategically and not tactically in all situations.

What do I mean by that?

Tactically speaking and using a tactical mindset we would look at every situation in a tactical way, which is fine, but dressing the part is where you can go wrong.

I remember a quote from the Great Marine Corps General James Mattis that he told us when I was deployed to Iraq “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”  Now this to the layman may sound harsh, but in combat it is a reality one must accept.

This fits perfectly with what this article is about, in a SHTF scenario you must be analyzing all situations at all times with an eye to being ready to use force to defend yourself.

That being said, dressing like you are  trying out for Zero Dark Thirty 24/7 is not being of the tactical mindset  it is looking a part that doesn’t need to be, you need to have the mindset not wear the gear.

Like I said having the gear for when the time calls for it is smart, but it is smarter to know when to wear it, there is a time and place for that but not the hour after an even starts, or even a month into it.

SO WHY SHOULDN’T I WEAR MY GEAR?

This is topic was brought up initially in a conversation  between myself in Glen Tate over a year ago in a telephone conversation.  We were talking about a part in his books where the “Team” first introduced themselves to the locals at Pierce Point, the bug out location for his semi-fictional self.  Normally they dressed up in full tactical gear since the SHTF started, but to introduce themselves they came dressed in jeans and hunting camouflage.  Why is this important?  Because they were not trying to look like badass dudes, they were wanting to blend in look like the locals and not be seen as a threat.

Now everyone’s situation within their local community is different, however even in the most conservative gun loving communities, if there was an emergency and your first reaction was to show up in full tactical gear, chest rig, vest, M4 and leg holster, people are going to look at you quite strangely, and with good reason.   This isnt to say that at a later date that may be appropriate, but often this is not the right move.

Showing up in full tactical gear, in that person mind, You would think you are projecting this image.

  • Confidence
  • Ability
  • Proficiency
  • I know what I’m Doing
  • I am prepared
  • Follow me!

However what people will be thinking is this

  • Who is that guy
  • Scared
  • Worried
  • Wow what an overreaction
  • This guy is nuts
  • Oh my god one of them militia psychos

 

We all know that when it hits the fan, even after all of that most people will still be hanging onto “normal”, even with the world falling down around them they will stool look at you in that ‘garb’ and think “why? What a nutjob”.  Now does this mean they are right because most of them are thinking that? No.  It does mean that you will need them to survive as much as they will need you, and because of this you will need to not PUSH this on them, it means you will have to take it slow, and only when the time is right or necessary to you go all out.

Besides going all out is more about you wanting to finally use your gear, not about being effective.  Be smart about it, take your surroundings into effect, and remember that your survival depends NOT just on the gear or preps you have but your neighbors as well.  Without them your preps will get you far, but not to the finish line.

 

Another aspect you will want to think about is the fact that SHTF doesn’t mean the government and LE is gone, it might just mean they are ineffective for real crime and will focus more on the big things..ya know like control?  Dressing yourself to look all tacc’d out may just bring you unwanted attention especially if you combine it with any sort of public speech that could be regarded as “demeaning” to the powers that be.  In situations like this when things are tense, it doesn’t take much evidence to haul people in.

The Bad Guys may also take notice of you, if you carry a pistol or even a AR but dress normal, a bad guy looking at you may think you have a nice gun, more than likely not to mess with you if you look like you know what you are doing, probably not worth the hassle and danger, better to hit the person up the street with the progressive bumper stickers.  However if you are all tacc’d up with the newest and most expensive gear, that bad guy knows you probably have some more guns and other brand new goodies at your house, and since you are only one person, it may be worth the risk to try and take you down.

Publicly wearing all this gear may make you think that you looking like a solo porcupine in a pack of deer in the wild, full of quills, impenetrable.  However Remember that cougars figured out how to pick out that porcupine, flip it one its belly and eat it.  No one is impenetrable and more often than not blending in has more advantages than standing out.

 

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Password Protection: Keeping it close and secure

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IMG00290-20131127-1644

 

For those of us who have the forethought to take the necessary precautions to make our passwords extremely secure we have the tradeoff of them being…difficult to remember.  The most secure passwords are those that do not incorporate personal information into them say for instance if I made my passwords ALL “Morgan1234!”.

Now this would satisfy most if not all commercial password requirements, however it is very easily guessed and not very secure.  The best passwords are random, using upper/lowercase letters, numbers and characters, If you need a resource go to www.random.org and scroll down to the passwords, use a 24+ key password, I know of some people that use 1000+ for their encrypted files to make sure that there is no way in this lifetime they can every be broken.

The hard part is remembering them, I often change mine every 3-6 months depending just to make sure that they remain secure, somewhat unnecessary, but I layer all of my security and I never use one password for all of the sites, emails, etc.  I use a separate one for each.  So how do I remember all of them?  I don’t, I have them written down and hidden in a very secure location. Now for security reasons I will not show you the exact way that I hide my passwords, but this IS one way I have done it in the past and you can use this form or use your imagination to come with other inventive ways.  The key is to make it not noticeable, not conspicuous and easily looked over.

The example I will be showing you will be using chapstick, so for this I would not keep it right next to the computer, keep it in a junk drawer or in a old camping pack, etc.  Granted it would not be easily accessible, but more secure, and security is our goal.   All you will need for this is a chapstick (preferable an old ratty one but with a decent amount of chapstick left, a knife and your passwords on  small roll or paper (you can experiment with size).

 

 

First remove the stick from the tube

IMG00291-20131127-1644

Then take your password note and roll it up, you don’t need it to be too tight, just small enough to fit in the tube.IMG00290-20131127-1644

IMG00293-20131127-1645

 

Once its in the Tube then reinsert the chapstick tube and roll it down until it hits the paper IMG00294-20131127-1645

IMG00295-20131127-1645

 

Once its in there then take your knife and cut off where it meets the top

IMG00296-20131127-1646

IMG00298-20131127-1646

 

Rub it around a bit to round it out, then perhaps dab it one the carpet or ground to get some hair and “yuckies” on it to make it look crappy, old and used. IMG00300-20131127-1648

 

Like I said at the beginning of the article, you don’t have to use this exactly, but use this as an idea, a jumping off point to come up with your own idea.  Keep it secure.

 

 

 

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Bones: A tale of lost nutrients

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bone broth cooking bones

 

Most people think that Bone is just rigid object in the body, when in fact it is a living as the hearts, lungs and muscle are.  Often they are just cast aside and left to rot in the woods or a dumpster.  Along with marrow in most parts of society bone is considered a bit to “savage” to eat in favor of more “civilized” eats.

Bone contains collagen, calcium phosphate and other minerals (such as sodium, magnesium, chondroiton, glucosamine, etc.) all of which is gone when you throw it away.  Considering that in our preps, one of things recommended to have is a stash of multi vitamins since nutrition would dip in the event of a collapse.  Not even going over the fact that many studies have called into question the effectiveness of multi-vitamins, why create a need when there doesn’t need to be one?

Our ancestors didn’t need to have multi vitamins, they got what they needed from what they grew, foraged and hunted.  Of course there are many incidents and evidence of malnutrition, but that was due to war, famine or a mixture of both.

One of the main ways that people of old got their nutrients was from fresh foods and vegetables as well as using the majority of the animals they killed.

Bone is wonderful for creating broths or to add to soups for a heartier and more nutrient dense meal.

When Cooking Bone keep these things in mind.

  • add a couple ounces of apple cider vinegar to your stock, this helps to bring out more minerals without altering the flavor.
  • If you cook you bones in a oven prior it will add color and flavor to your stock
  • Simmer the stock slowly and for a long time to bring out nturients, small animals can be around 20 hours or a day, beef and lamb can go for a few days.
  • Sometimes with larger bones from large animals you may want to stick them in a canvas bag and break them up with a hammer or sledgehammer, do this after cooking them for a period of time.

 

There are concerns with lead toxicity, when testing specifically for lead in bone broths levels have been found to be 7-10x higher than tap water, now this sounds concerning however there is a silver lining.  Minerals like Calcium, Iron, Vitamins D/C and Thiamin have protective effects against lead toxicity.  What this means is that the natural ingredients in the bones protect against any adverse effects from lead.  You can research this for yourself and make your own decisions.

 

In short, you may not want to eat bone broth or marrow now, but in the very least practice now so that when the time comes you know what to do.

 

 

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Episode 26: The Ukraine Crisis and what it means for you

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Crimea crisis ukraine

Now this situation could have some ramifications in regards to preparedness, I want you to be aware of some of the History of the current Ukrainian crisis and what will probably happen.

  • Ukraine is historically intertwined with Russia
  • Kiev, Ukraine was the seat of power for the Ancient Russian/Slavic State
  • Ukraine is a major producer of Corn and Wheat
  • Any hostile action in Ukraine will drive up the price of Gold
  • Many of the “opposition” movements are funded by the U.S. covertly
  • Russia will not invade Ukraine proper, but it may put more troops in the Crimea

 

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Target Identification: Kill or be Killed and living with it

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silhouette target id

 

So you hear something in the middle of the night and you grab your gun and then the door begins to open and you see a silhouette of a figure in your doorway, you take aim and fire…the target goes down….Celebration? No, not at all. In the case of Oscar Pistorious he shot and killed his girlfriend killing her instantly and now stands trial for murder in South Africa.

This shows how important it is for you to have proper, in-depth and quality training when you own a firearm.

I was lucky enough to have a lot of it over the years between my time in the Marine Corps and working as a security contractor, i had endless hours on the range practicing what is called “Target ID” or Target Identification.  This is extremely important; as important as it is to be able to accurately and efficiently put fire on a hostile threat it you must also be able to in a split second recognize whether or not your target is a ‘hostile’ or a ‘friendly’.

It goes without saying, but accidently shooting a loved one or innocent person would be just as damaging as not shooting a hostile, more so in your mind.  I have seen what killing an innocent person can do to people, it tears them up and forever scars them, some never let it go and some take their own life, thus two people were killed that day, the innocent and years later the man who made the mistake.

I have been caught in complacency, in training a few times and shot an innocent.  We would be going through room clearing time after time after time, and being in a good rhythm you start to just go on auto pilot, this isnt necessarily a bad thing, however in my case i turned off my internal target ID and learned my lesson.  After one of the run throughs of the scenario, instructors went in and pasted a few Hands over where the weapon was on the target, I came in as number two man through the door, saw a target, fired and moved on to the next threat.  However at the end of the scenario, the instructors brought us back through and asked me If i had shot the target (pointing at it), I looked and confirmed and saw what I had done…I did not look for a threat, I assumed all ‘targets’ were threats; This was a dangerous and deadly mistake, one that would have ramifications beyond just my own psyche, but would put every brother in arms i served with over there in danger.  Every innocent killed was a recruiting tool for our enemy and often family members of innocents join up for revenge.  I learned my lesson and never repeated it.

So how can you train for his scenario?  Well you wont be worrying about clearing rooms full of hostile insurgents, however a scenario where you are creeping around your house weapon ready is a very likely scenario (not in general but as far as scenarios go where you will be using your gun, it is much more likely than going into a home full of hostile Al Qaeda members!).

Remember the story about Oscar Pistorious I mentioned above.  South Africa has a very high rate of burglaries and Mr. Pistorious was very worried about this, which is why he had multiple weapons, however even with the right mindset of protecting himself and his property he still made a mistake…a life changing/destroying one.  Learn that lesson.

When you go to the range or wherever you shoot, most likely you will be shooting with friends, make up scenarios for each other.  I recommend that you bring 5-6 standing target stands and past targets on them, however a few of them past hands over the gun to simulate “innocents” (You could buy targets of non shooters for this, they make them, but the point is to have yourself be faced with extremely similar targets, exactly the same, but not all have a gun).  Have your friends set them up at varying distances if you want and mix the hostiles and friendlies up.  Have your back to them as they do this.

Disclaimer*

Always have your pistol unloaded and holstered (in the case of the rifle unloaded and pointing downward or on a table, our rule was alway no hands on a weapon when people were downrange setting up targets, do not touch them to clean them or check them, do that when everyone is behind the firing line!!!!)

 

Once they set it up, load your weapon, return to holster then turn and face your targets and unholster and “present” your weapon (that is bring it out of its holster and aim) and begin to fire.  Do this slow at first take a second or two to recognize the target as a threat or not.  Over time speed it up, and you will get very proficient at this.  After many many many hours you will automatically be looking for a threat in the target and firing immediately if there is one, and not if there isn’t.

Remember that you are the always responsible for what you do with a firearm, even if you think you were under a threat and it turns out you were not your are still and should be held responsible.

Always have positive Target ID before you fire, the second you pull the trigger there is not take backs or do overs, this is a very serious situation where life and death hang in the balance.

 

 

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3 Tips for better preparedness

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tips_for_project_management

These are just three things I have learned in my journey of preparedness that I hope can help you.

Feel free to add to them in the comments below!

 

1) Get the Spouse or Significant Other on Board.

 

I want to preface this with “On Board” does not mean that they are as passionate about it as you are, “Tolerating” is good enough in my book.

When we first got married I hadn’t talked much about preparedness, she knew I loved guns and the country life and that I wanted to have a small farm someday as life allowed us.  However I kept most of my prepping secret, she didn’t ask what was in this bucket or that bucket, it was a trust thing for the most part and she knew i didn’t cook meth so whatever it was, she didn’t care much.  However as I started to make it a bigger part of my life and thus our lives, it began to be a subject that needed to be talked about.  Initially she was not against the idea in that she was not saying no or digging her heels in, but it was more of a approach of “this is your hobby, not OUR life”.  It took many conversations, some heated some not.  In regards to the heated conversations this was a major flaw and fault on my part, one does NOT convince someone of the need for something or why this was the right thing to do by arguing and belittling the other persons point of view.

Her antipathy to this lifestyle and mindset was not her fault, she was raised in an affluent neighborhood in a major city, this is NOT something that is ever talked about and if it ever gets any mention its about some “nut job” in Montana got caught with C4 or something of the sort.  Eventually She started to get on board after a few years, I outlined this a bit in my Podcast episode about Reluctant Spouses, but the basic gist was I had been going about it all wrong, I was trying to “sell” prepping in terms of “why it makes sense to me”, however that doesn’t work, I WAS NOT TRYING TO CONVINCE MYSELF! I WAS TRYING TO CONVINCE HER.  It took some things happening on the national scene as well as constant subtle clues such as pointing to this disaster or that storm, etc. saying “wow what we do if that happened to us?” Those sort of things.  She is not 100% there but although its not a 180 turn,  shes at about 110, and above the “tolerating” stage of prepping she is between the point of wanting to budget more for prepping and not minding if i spend some money on solar panels.  That is fine for me!

Basically you need to focus on what is important to them and then shape the preparedness message to those concerns, dont argue or get angry, that will get you nowhere.  However if you cannot get your spouse on board, i dont like to say it, but as Glen Tate and I talked about in a podcast recently, sometimes you need to do what you need to do.  Don’t bankrupt your family, don’t spend the rent money, but if you have to go behind their back…you have a duty to your family and your spouse…even if they don’t agree.

All in All if you can get them somewhat on board or fully on board your life will be much easier, when something does happen they will thank you for it.

 

2) Don’t Focus on a Single Issue.

I have been guilty of this as well and I see this a lot in the Preparedness community.  Many of us come to Preparedness from different avenues, we all had different things that made us have that light pop on and say “Something isn’t right, things can’t always stay ‘normal’”.  For some of us it was the 2008 crisis, others a local natural disaster, whatever it was this is what helped to shape your outlook on preparedness.  However I have to caution you, never let one ‘possibility’ of disaster be the mold in which you shape your preparedness.  Those who focus on Coronal Mass Ejections/EMP are the most visible in this, as they often focus on everything being “EMP proof”.  This is fine and all, and its not that EMP is not a possible event, however given the range of things we face in this world, EMP is on the lower end of the spectrum of possibilities out there.  Now lets just say that EMP is very plausible, concentrating most of your resources on EMP-proofing will greatly reduce your ability to stock much more needed supplies like food, water and the ability to defend your supplies.  This applies to everyone from Economic Collapse to Major Natural Disasters, whatever it may be for you, don’t get lost in that scenario.

Concentrate on GENERAL preparedness, no matter what the scenario just focus first on general preparedness, that being food, water, shelter and the ability to defend those things.  If you have those things you will be able to survive any scenario.  Sure if an EMP hit you may lost your ability to use your shortwave radio, however if an EMP took out your radio it took out anyones ability to  transmit to you anyways.

 

3) Don’t Get Burned out

This happens to everyone, in fact I have recorded a podcast that will go out in the next week or two just on this subject, however I wanted to address it here as well.

No matter how long we have been prepping we all have “wish lists” of what we want to have, and it never ends, no matter how well prepared we become; there is always more we want to build on in our preps.

We look at all the things we want to get done and sometimes it begins to overwhelm us, I know it has happened to me.  I keep looking at what I want our food storage to be at, I find more things I am missing, I need to get my battery bank finished, and on and one.  I end up getting stressed out and it affects how i interact with my family.

Now I started to realize this and also realized that this was counter to the tenets of preparedness, that is to live a better life, this better life applies not just to a disaster but also before as well.  We are supposed to be doing this for the betterment of ourselves and our families, not to harm our relationships we have with our family.

First of all don’t let what you don’t have or can’t do affect you, after all there is nothing you can do about it at the moment.  Concentrate on what you can do at the moment and above all the main focus should always be on your family and your own health.

 

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The Importance of Dental Hygiene

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pulling-teeth

(photo courtesy of correywallace.com)

 

 

Recently I had a bit of a dental issue, something I don’t think about much in regards to my preps, but should.

I have a copy of “Where there is no Dentist” an excellent book about rural dental care in areas of the world where a dentist is not easily found or cannot be found at all.  It is an excellent book and provides some great advice and ‘How To’s’ in regards to doing some of these things when you have no other choice.

My issue was a stabbing pain in my mouth that grew in intensity over a week-long period, I hoped that it would just “go away” as I didn’t want to pay for another co-pay this month, however it did not.  Turns out it was an infected salivary gland that was the result of a “salivary stone” much like a kidney stone but occurs in the salivary gland.  A few days on antibiotics cleared it up, but it got me thinking about how I need to take preventive care now for an uncertain future.

We all hate going to the dentist because of the hassle and the constant reminders to “brush better”, “Floss more”, etc.  However this is not merely just routine things to say, it could be a matter of life and death in a SHTF scenario.

We may not recognize it here in the U.S. but issues such as cavities, gum disease or a disease of the tooth can result in death if one was not able to get to a dental professional in time.  Very quickly a abscess could result in an infection that could very easily bring about your early demise.

The best time to start taking care of your teeth and gums is not when something happens, but NOW.  Even if nothing ever happens you will be saving yourself some serious bills in the future by practicing proper oral hygiene.

  • Avoid sugary food and drinks
  • Brush twice a day at a minimum using a circular technique
  • Floss at least twice a day
  • Dont brush hard and damage your gum line exposing roots of your teeth
  • Toothpaste is great but not necessary, baking soda concoctions or even charcoal or just water is fine (in hard situations)
  • Rinse with an oral solution like Listerine, but alcohol can do the trick as well in a pinch.

If you do these things it will not guarantee that you will not have any issues with your teeth , but you will reduce the risk dramatically and this is what we do as preppers, reduce risk as much as possible.

 

I have realized that my oral hygiene while ‘ok’ is not great, I need to brush and floss more often and have started to brush (when possible) if i ever eat or drink anything with sugar in it like soda or have some candy.  Whenever your teeth are exposed to sugar (or certain carbohydrates) your mouth creates bacteria that can leave your enamel damaged, if you brush right after you keep that bacteria from forming.  That being said if you ever eat or drink anything acidic (like orange juice, etc.) brushing soon after is not a good idea as this can damage your enamel further as it softens it.

 

It makes no sense to spend money and time preparing for a worst case scenario, stocking up on hundreds of pounds of food, building backup systems, etc. and then get an abscessed tooth a week after something happens, and be dead within a few weeks.

 

Take care of your teeth!

 

If you want to learn more about basic dental care, pulling teeth, etc. Get the Book “Where there is no dentist”, it will list the tools needed for basic exams, scaling of tartar from teeth and even how to treat various dental issues such as and abscessed tooth and how to pull teeth.

 

 

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Why I no longer Say the pledge of Allegiance

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obamaflag2640

 

Before you accuse me of being unpatriotic let me tell you a few things about myself, I have served in the United States Marine Corps with multiple combat deployments and have spend a shade under a decade training for and deploying overseas in the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq.  I proudly fly the Flag of the United States of America at my home, because I believe in what it stood for, but not how it acts currently or even in modern history.  I am a patriot through and through and believe the United States was once the beacon of Liberty in the world, and that liberty still beats in the hearts of many which gives me hope for our future.

Please read the entire article before you past judgement, I don’t believe everyone will agree with me even after reading it, however I don’t think that you will come away without having moments of pause as well.

 

History behind the Pledge

In 1892 the pledge of allegiance was born, Daniel Sharp Ford was the owner of a magazine called “Youth’s Companion” and he felt that barely 3 decades after the war between the states that the United States was still in need of some sort of patriotic boost.  Part of the campaign he launched involved one of his staff, Francis J. Bellamy to compose a pledge of allegiance to the flag; Bellamy was an author and minister as well as staunch advocate of Christian Socialism.  The pledge was written and published and soon became very popular across the country at schools, campground and other public meetings as well as Congress itself.

 

Bellamy Salute

Now Mr. Bellamy felt that it was strange to just stand there limply and recite the pledge of allegiance so he devised a “salute” to accompany the recitation of the pledge of allegiance, that involved extending your right arm, angling it slightly upwards with fingers pointing towards the flag. This salute was not controversial until WWII, as you can imagine from the picture below…it very much resembled the Nazi/Fascist salute and thus became to be discomforting for Americans to be doing the near same thing as our enemies were in Europe.

bellamy salute

In 1942 weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor Congress amended the Flag Code and stated that the pledge should be said while “standing with the right hand over the heart”.  This has become the familiar pledge stance, however one cannot forget the eerie photos above, and just because we are saluting ‘our’ flag does not mean that the sentiment of blind obedience is not present as well.

 

What does the pledge say and why do I no longer say it?

 

The current pledge reads as follows (with the section “under God” being added in 1954)

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

 

I have a few nitpicky issues such as pledging allegiance to a government that does not care about the rights of it citizens, or referring to ourselves as a Republic when we are no longer a Republican Federalist system (not since Lincoln).

 

However my main issue is with the phrase “One Nation…., indivisible”

 

This harkens back to a early time in our history, I don’t want to write 15 pages for this post so if you want to do more digging you can, however from the very onset of our nation there were two groups of ideological thinking; The Jeffersonians, who believed that a large centralized Government was harmful to liberty and that states as sovereigns where the best chance at protecting that liberty from a large centralized state and the Hamiltonians who believed that a large federal government, a central bank, imperial ambitions overseas and domestically was necessary to a “strong” government, basically that a strong large government was more important that individual liberties (you can see I am not a Hamiltonian).

For 70+ years the Hamiltonian thinkers were kept at bay mostly by Southern interest who did not believe in central banks, paper currency, heavy tarriffs to protect industrial interests, etc.

Central Banks and Paper Currency and their problems should be quite obvious by now, if they are not, then I don’t know what else will convince you short of a total economic collapse and even then im sure you can reason your way around it!

Southern Politicians were most against Tariffs because they hurt the south more, the South produced about 3/4 of the output of America at the time, while the North was becoming more industrialized, large business interests and corporations in the North had long wanted and had been somewhat successful at times in introducing heavy tariffs for imported goods.  This hurt the South the most because of the fact the South imported much of their products and with a tariff they were forced to pay higher prices to Northern Businesses, a kickback from increased Tariff revenue was also with handing out subsidized loans and payments to Northern Business like railroads and steel for projects that wer never completed and rife with corruption a “twofer” for northern corporations and a early taste of the corporate welfare we still have today.

Lincoln was a hardcore believer in the ideals of the Whig party which held as planks of their ideals, heavy tariffs, centralized government and subsidized (and corruption rife) domestic ‘internal improvements’ (i.e. paying railroads to build railroads).  This was Lincolns agenda all along and one doesn’t have to dig too far to realize he didn’t give two craps about slavery his main goal was to institute these programs but could not with Southern opposition.  A digress back to slavery, the main reasoning behind the fight to stop slavery from expanding to the territories, for Lincoln, not speaking about the moral issue, was to kill votes for democrats (southerners) from expanding, pure and simple.  It is also interesting to note that the Emancipation proclamation was only  set to ‘free slaves’ in the areas of the south where the federal troops had no jurisdiction.  In pro union slave areas no slaves were set free after the emancipation proclamation, this proclamation was aimed at trying to start a slave rebellion while most southern men were gone at war, this was not a moral decision, but a military one.  Lincoln also had rejected the idea of compensated emancipation, a way that all other slave holding countries had solved the problem, by paying those who had slaves a set rate and requiring their freedom upon payment, this was a much less costly way of ending the slave debate, however Lincoln rejected this and had long believed that all slaves should be sent to Africa or central America upon emancipation as they were not equals to whites.

Anyways I know this may seem inconsequential to the pledge, however it all starts with the War Between the States

*Another side not, a Civil war is one where a group wants to overthrow the current government of a country and rule it themselves, the south had no wish to rule the whole of the United States, only for each of the states of the Confederacy to just leave, thus it was a war between states and not a civil war*

Basically there are two schools of thought, that the States created the Government or that the government created the states.  Those who say that secession is treasonous or that there IS no right for a state to secede is saying that somehow the Government of the United States predated the states themselves and the colonies that predated them.  This is on its face and in fact absurd.  There is no way that a Federal Government existed before the states since the STATES HAD TO RATIFY THE CONSTITUTION TO CREATE IT! In fact numerous states reserved the right IN THE VERY RATIFICATION of the Constitution that they could secede if the federal government became tyrannical or if it was just no longer in that States interest to be part of the ‘Union’.

The Constitution was a contract with the people, but the people of each state, the states as they ratified it were voluntarily giving some of their sovereignty to the Federal Government, but were not abdicating it completely.  As with any contract if one party felt that the compact was no longer valid or had been violated they would be free from this obligation.  Also since there is not statement of “perpetual union” there was no requirement that upon ratification that they were obligated to stay as part of this compact forever, there is not time agreement at all thus this contract is only valid as long as both parties agree to it.

 

What Lincoln did before the war started and during it (and his groupies continued to peddle this lie afterward) was to make people believe that secession was treason, that it was illegal and there was no basis or right to do so.  As I hope you can see this is not true, secession is a weapon of last resort for a sovereign people to regain the rights they feel have been violated, it is not a simple and easy thing to come to, but it is still a right.

So finally back to the Pledge, with the words “indivisible” the pledge is perpetuating this lie that there is not right to leave the compact, that is something that i cannot agree to.  Each state has the right to leave whenever they feel they have no other recourse to regain their liberties.  Much like a Home owners association when you join it you are giving up some of your rights (god help you if you do move into one!), such as what you can paint your house, decorations, etc.  When you enter into this agreement you are saying yes to this, however if later this HOA decides that you can no longer own a certain type of vehicle or that you are not allowed to bring friends over that are of a certain color or religion you may rightfully say that this is not the agreement you had.  But the difference is you can leave at any time, if Lincoln was the HOA president then he would send security guards to beat you and burn your house down to make sure that you continue to part of this ‘voluntary’ union.

 

In no way do I believe that Slavery was “ok”, I think it is an abomination to any people or country.  I however can’t throw out the baby with the bath water, the North did not invade the South to stop slavery and the South did not fight to keep slavery, the issue was states rights with slavery used as a backdrop by revisionist historians who don’t want people to know the full truth.  That it was corporate welfare, cronyism and bloated government that was the cause and the underlying reason.

If you still feel that I am not patriotic and Hate America because I wont recite a pledge written by a socialist that denies the very rights that this nation was founded on, Well…I don’t know what else to say.

 

If you want more information on what i explained briefly in here please comment below and I can point you in the right direction.

 

 

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5 Overlooked Prepping Items

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coloring-page-of-a-boy-packing-his-backpack

 

Back in September I wrote i post on 10 important Barter Items that people may not have thought of, I wanted to keep doing this every so often to bring attention to items we often dont think about when we are focusing on the 3 Big B’s, that is Beans, Bullets and Band-aids.

 

1) Note Pads and Pencils

215_1_b890 notepad

I for one jot down a lot of notes on all different things, from ideas on posts for the site to shopping lists to keeping track of our expenses.  This of course is more in line with ‘normal’ living, however even in the worst SHTF scenario you will want to be able to keep track of many many different things.  Think right now, how many pads of paper do you have right now? Perhaps you have a ream of paper for your print and maybe a few little pads in the junk drawer, is that enough?

Think of uses for writing in a SHTF scenario one can come up with many uses.

  1. Keeping track of your gardens: I keep track of all my garden beds and plants in the house, i write down what their status is, how they are looking, the temps that day, how much water i gave them, how well they are producing and growing, what compost if any i added to them etc.  In reality you should be doing this now so that in a SHTF scenario you arent starting from scratch (no pun intended)
  2. Shift Rotations for guard duty and a log book would be useful, have those coming on duty sign in and write hourly statements on what is going on; most likely nothing is going on but it reminds them to keep on the look out and gives them something to do.
  3. Keeping a log of food input and output.  More likely it will be 90% input until you can get those gardens going if you havent already, but this way you can see how much of everything you are using daily, weekly, monthly and know how long you have left before you are going to need to cut rations or go out and find more food or barter.
  4. If you have kids, they are a great thing to have for them to play with, sketch and take their mind of of the situation.

These are just a few ideas, but having a good supply of notepads and pencils will help in this.  Pens are useful but pencils work until they are nubs and never have issues like ink drying up etc.  Have a good measure of each.  Looking on Amazon you can buy small 4×6 notepads in 100 page-120 pad bundles for $69 or 6 dozen small notepads for around $8 or if you prefer legal pads you can pick up 12 50 page legal pads for around $25.  Pencils you can pick up 144 regular #2 for $14.60 or 144 small golf pencils for $8.

 

2) Percolator

coleman coffee percolator

 

Granted you will need to have stored some Green Roasting Beans and have the necessary info on how to roast your own beans etc which i explained in a post awhile back. But once you have that coffee you will want to be able to brew that delicious nectar of the Gods.  If you have never used a camp percolator you are missing out, there is just something about brewing coffee over the fire that really makes it delicious.  The picture shows the Coleman Coffee Perculator which is coming in at around $32, however a less expensive option is the Wenzel at $18.  If you can find an older WWII GI one that would be better.  Camp Percolators are good because they require no coffee filters and you can use this over a campfire, rocket stove or propane/camp fuel stove.

 

3) ZIP LOC BAGS

ZIP LOC BIG BAG

Need I say anything?  For storing anything smaller than  tote size Zip Loc bags are excellent for organizing or keeping food fresh in your fridge or freezer.  They are also worth their weight in gold when you are needing to keep smaller items or packs of socks and underwear dry in your pack.  I keep all my clothing items in Zip Loc bags in my Bug out Bag, Having a dry pair of socks, underwear and shirt can be very nice or necessary to your survival depending on the situation if you are actually doing bug out on foot.

In the picture above you can see the XL Big Bag that they offer than can pack away larger items of clothing or a whole ‘outfit’, while Freezer bags will work for anything else and are more desireable and hardy than the smaller sandwich bags.

 

4) Vermin Reduction

SONY DSC

Now this is a multiple of items under the same header so I am cheating a bit!

However most of us, especially those not in the country don’t realize how prevalent vermin populations can grow once they get a foothold, sure in the city you may see a rat in the alley way garbage or a cockroach in your kitchen but most of those are kept at bay with a lot of spraying and city pest control.  Once systems start breaking down do you think the government will concentrate on control and feeding the population to keep them docile or hunting rats and spraying for roaches?  The fact that you wont be able to just call Orkin when roaches start moving in is also something to consider…become your own exterminator.

 

In the 4 corners area of the southwest and areas around it HANTAVIRUS is a major concern this can kill you in days, so if you are in an area where hantavirus is possible you will want to keep your mouse population as close to zero as possible, any droppings you find spray with a 10% bleach solution, let it sit for a minute or two and then dispose of it.  Hantavirus is spread by disturbing the droppings and the dust particles that fly up are what carries it.

Now I don’t like Pesticides and I don’t use poisons for mice mostly because I dont want them storing it where my child or dog could get at them, but this a decision that you will have to make.

Consider stocking up on these items.

 

 MOUSE/RAT CONTROL

Mouse/Rat Traps: I love the plain old Victor Moustrap, you can pick up a pack of 72 for just under $40, however i have begun to like the ones with the fake cheese as the trigger, if you slather a peanut butter/molasses mix on to the fake cheese the mice really have to dig in to get it and easily sets off the pedestal snapping them up.

 

D-con style poisoning:  If i didn’t have children or pets around i would consider this, the mice eat it and die later, an issue can arise if they die within your walls, which is another reason i don’t like poisons.  for anyone who has never enjoyed the smell of a rate decomposing where you cant get at it…not a good week or so!

 

Live traps: I don’t like live traps, mostly because i don’t want to “free” them, they will be back within the hour! However if you really want to they are an option.

 

Bug Control

Sprays: I spray certain areas of the house where my kids and dog cant get into them as well as they wont leach into any areas where i grow food, so I spray under the house, garages, up in bedroom lofts, etc.  I like the Scotts Home Defense max a jug with a batteyr operated spray wand for around $15.

 

Foggers: Foggers are great to gut out a house, just set one in each room (make sure all windows are shut), pop them and leave for a few hours.  After you return open up all the windows and doors and run the HVAC for an hour or so.  they say to cover all your areas where you prepare food, personally I did this but i scrubbed every carpet, floor and area where it may have settled i didn’t want my daughter exposed to anything so it was an all day affair.  You can pick up 3 cans that cover 2000 square feet each for under $10. Make sure that if you don’t have cans specifically made to NOT set off if the pilot light in your stove is left on that you unplug your stove. personally i shut off the main breaker.

 

Bug Spray: Now in a SHTF scenario if you live in mosquito country and have to hunt for food, etc. if you are not used to bugs you will be wishing that you had some good bug repellant.  Personally I cover any entrance areas such as sleeves and bottoms of jeans with 100% deet sprays as well as my hat, etc.  For on skin i stick to the 25% stuff.  I recently bought a mess of bug spray that was discounted for under a $1 a bottle once winter was setting in and they needed to get them off their shelves.

Glue Traps:  Glue traps i have found dont work well for mice, sometimes they stay stuck, sometimes they end up crapping everywhere as they drag themselves around teh garage and eventually get out, however they work great for trapping HOBO spiders and other insects that can be deadly.  Areas where snakes or other reptiles can be a problem they make heavier duty versions.

 

5) OIL

No I’m not talking about cooking oils, I’m talking about the lifeblood of engines.  Now if you have some plans for backup power using a generator or are planning on using your vehicle post SHTF you have started stockpiling gas/diesel and use some fuel stabilizers such as PRI (which i did a post on if you don’t know what it is).  You might even have hundreds of gallons of fuel for these engines, however do you have the other important part…Oil?

From your car to your Generator to your chainsaw and other engine powered items you will need oil for it to stay running.  Now make sure that you have the correct oils for all the different items you are planning to use, but especially the car and the generator.  For your chainsaw and other 2 cycle engines you will need oil to mix as well as bar chain oil to keep it running smooth.  Do not forget this, or you may only get a few days/weeks out of these engines before they are bone dry and you are trading some hard stored food supplies or something else that you could have spent $50 on now to not be in that position.

 

 

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Weapons Cleaning Basics

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Cleaning-Gun-Barrel

 

So for those of you who don’t have much experience with firearms, perhaps bought one recently or maybe just inherited the old shotgun and pistol from your father it is important to know how to clean your weapon.

In fact knowing how and when to clean your weapon is just as important as knowing how and when to use your weapon, you can be a crack shot, but with a busted or locked up weapon you are now just holding a hunk of steel that will do more damage if you threw it at the assailant.

Unclean weapons have lead to more deaths on the battlefield than can be counted, famously the story of Jessica Lynch’s convoy is a cautionary tale.  Of course after action reports can be notoriously…edited, however one fact that shines through is that her unit was unable to return accurate and sustained fire because most of their weapons were jammed with dirt and dust.

 

Now you may say “I have a AK-47 (or other similar low tolerance weapon) so it wont jam even if you cake it in mud!”  That old adage is partially true.  Yes the AK is famously reliable in shitty conditions however you are tempting fate even with a exceptionally reliable weapon like the AK and not cleaning it.  In fact the AK was made to be easily stripped down and cleaned so that even the most uneducated mud dweller could do it, i hope you have a little more intelligence and care for your life than Somali Pirate.

 

The basic components of a weapons cleaning kit are…

First off, I consider the AP brush to be one of, if not THE most important part of your kit, you can clean more of the weapon with a simple AP brush than anything else.  I used the AP brush more than any part of my cleaning kit in all my time overseas.  You CAN use an old stiff bristle toothbrush, but it really wont hold up, the best use for a old tooth brush is knocked the dust off of components and the outside of the weapon as well as magazines (clips if you have a rifle that uses them).

As far as Gun Oil goes, I have always used CLP, the military version of Gun oil and I have loved it to this day, however any sort of lubricating gun oil will work.  Solvent is tricky and you will want to make sure you are careful with it.  I prefer J-B Bore Cleaner, it is sort of like a greyish paste that you put on the patches and push through, I will explain more about the Solvent portion later in the post, this is more a “BEWARE” section.  The Beware is most in effect with a produce called “SWEETS”, which works wonderfully… However DO NOT LEAVE IT IN THE BARREL LONGER THAN 20-25 MINUTES!  Why? Because the solvent is so caustic it will actually begin to ‘pit’ your barrel, leaving small indents in it which will adversely affect your accuracy.

As far as the Rod/Brush/Patch holder goes i would recommend having both Plastic and Brass brushes.  The Brass brushes will not scar your barrel and are much more effective in getting carbon and copper fouling out than plastic.  The plastic bore brush comes in when you are using a COPPER SOLVENT (such as JB or SWEETS as i talked about above), because the solvent dissolves copper that starts to accumulate in the rifling grooves it will also start to dissolve the Brass brush (brass has copper in it!).  So you use the Plastic brush for solvent cleaning.  with most basic Rifle/Pistol cleaning kits you will usually get one set of rods that you can add onto for longer barrels etc.  I like the metal rods for most uses, but in my precision rifles i prefer to use hard plastic rods as to not ding up the edges of my barrel.  You will also want to make sure you have all the brushes you need for your various firearms, you cant clean a .45 with a 9mm brush, etc.  Buy 4 or 5 of each as backups (we are preppers!) since most are relatively cheap.  I bought an old tackle box to hold all my cleaning kit and it works quite nicely and i can fit all the different brushes, patches, rods, oils, etc inside.

 

Patches are pretty straight forward, you CAN sometimes use larger than listed patches for smaller caliber firearms, all depends on how big a difference.  However I often take old t shirts, underwear, etc. and use those for gun cleaning rags and patches.  Over time you can accumulate quite a bit of patch material, also look at going to thrift shops that will give you pounds of white t shirts for pennies, take those home and have a fun Saturday afternoon cutting patches!

 

Other things you may want to have…

  • Q TIPS: These are great for getting in nooks and crannies of your gun parts to remove carbon…Carbon is not your friend, it builds up from the gun powder residue
  • Pipe Cleaners: These, like q tips can get in some more nooks and crannies
  • Gun Cleaning Mat: This can be anything from an old sweatshirt to a more fancy made for cleaning materials that soak up oil, etc.  You dont want to do this on the living room floor necessarily, but wherever you clean you dont want it soaked with oil and gunpowder residue I’m Guessing
  • Safety Gear: This is up to you but *disclaimer* you should use latex gloves and eye protection when cleaning your weapon.  When using more caustic solvents this actually is a really good idea, as you are brushing there is a spray of the oil/solvent and carbon that splatters in the area. Solvent in the Eye is not fun.

 

AP BRUSH:

AP BRUSH

Not much more to say here, but the AP brush is great for busting off dust and dirt off the outside of your weapon as well as the inside components, basically any where it will reach it will do a great job.  depending on the weather and terrain i will put a small amount of oil on it (drop) and then scrub the inside components to break up the carbon, wipe it clean and brush it dry again until it is pretty clean.  The AP brush is plastic bristled so it may take some time to break up built on carbon if you have been firing a lot and/or haven’t cleaned it since the Reagan Administration.

Otis sells a great  9 Brush Kit a mix of plastic and brass bristles for around $15

 

CLP:

M PRO CLP

I prefer military grade CLP if you can find it, it can be very expensive, but in places like MIDWAY USA you can purchase gallons of it, which will last you a very long time.  I prefer M-Pro personally, it has proven reliable and of high quality.

 

SOLVENT:

JB BORE CLEANER

 

I mentioned earlier that I prefer JB Bore Cleaner, which can be seen above in the picture, however SWEETS is also a great solvent, however as i warned you earlier DO NOT LET IT SIT LONGER THAN 20-25 MINUTES!

 

 

 RODS, BRUSHES, PATCHES

 

You can purchase a basic gun cleaning kit for “Rifle” or “Pistol” or “Shotgun”, that is more than fine its a cheap and easy way to get your cleaning kit started.

 

HOPPES makes these and other varieties of kits

 

HOPPES UNIVERSAL GUN KIT

HOPPES CLEANING KIT FOR .380, 357, 9mm Pistols

 

OTIS ELITE CLEANING KIT

I Love Otis, they make a beautiful product and their “rods” are not rods but a plastic coated metal wire that slips down the barrel for easier and more compact cleaning.

 

For Patches you can purchase large packs like this one for .223 (5.56) for your AR, about 1000 patches for 17.64, but of course you can do it the DIY hard way and make your own from old clothing, use cotton, not nylon/poly blends.

For brushes just shop around for ones for all your weapons like these for 9mm Pistol, or these for .30 cal rifle (will work for 7.62)

 

gun patch holder cleaning

Make sure you also have the patch holder attachment for your cleaning rods, it basically looks like a large end of a needle.  They come in the basic gun kits, but if you are parting together a kit, this is essential have both metal and plastic.  I prefer plastic so as to not ding up my barrel, its really not an issue, but I’m overly cautious.

 
That About covers all the stuff you need to have a good Weapons Cleaning Kit.

If you have any questions or comments please email me or leave them in the comment section below.

 

 

 

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Guide to Shotgun Shell Types

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ShotgunAmmo

 

I received a question from a reader recently on what the different types of shotgun shells mean, and I figured It would be a good time to do a general overview of the types of loads available for the venerable shotgun.

There are two basic types of Shotgun Loads; Shot and Slug.

 

SHOT:

This is the most common type of Shotgun ammo, basically small tiny balls (made from various metals such as lead, steel, bismuth, tin and zinc).

Lead is in my opinion the best choice for home defense and hunting, when fired the lead deforms as it leaves the barrel and presents a better and wider pattern than steel; some hunters report more wounding shots with steel vs lead.

With Shot Shells there are two different types, Birdshot and Buckshot.

 

BIRDSHOT

GunPictures039

Birdshot is often just referred to as “Shot” or the number associated with it such as “number 3 Shot”, the numbers are based conversely on their size, the smaller the number the larger the shot.

Size Nominal diameter Pellets per oz (28 g) Quantity per lb.[5]
Lead Steel
FF .23″ (5.84 mm) 35
F .22″ (5.59 mm) 39
TT .21″ (5.33 mm)
T .20″ (5.08 mm) 36 53
BBB .190″ (4.83 mm) 44 62 550
BB .180″ (4.57 mm) 50 72 650
B .170″ (4.32 mm)
1 .160″ (4.06 mm) 72 103 925
2 .150″ (3.81 mm) 87 125 1120
3 .140″ (3.56 mm) 108 158 1370
4 .130″ (3.30 mm) 135 192 1720
5 .120″ (3.05 mm) 170 243 2180
6 .110″ (2.79 mm) 225 315 2850
7 .100″ (2.54 mm)
.095″ (2.41 mm) 350 3775
8 .090″ (2.29 mm) 410 686 5150
.085″ (2.15 mm) 497
9 .080″ (2.03 mm) 585 892 7400

(table courtesy of wikipedia.com)

 

For Home Defense Birdshot is not the most ideal, Buckshot (explained below) is far superior and 00Buck is the standard, however if you have some larger birdshot like F or FF or even BBB it will do some real damage.  There are differing schools of thought in regards to birdshot for home defense.  Since say #9 has nearly 600 BB’s inside (not to be confused with the shot size BB, referring to the shape…like a BB), it will have a nice large pattern in a home hallway.  #9 also will not penetrate distant walls and possibly enter a sleeping child’s bedroom as easily as 00 Buck will.  Another good point I have heard is that by using birdshot, if you do use it now (not in SHTF but ‘normal’ times) you cant be accused by a prosecutor of ‘premeditation’ (sounds crazy, but crazier things have happened!) by loading up those scary ‘known’ man stopper rounds as this is a very common hunting round.  Personally if you were taking this approach i would put the first or second rounds as birdshot and the remaining rounds be 00 Buck.  If the first few didn’t dissuade them then you need to use something more potent.

Personally I would rather face prosecution for defending my family than face the morgue for using a sub par round. But this is your decision.

I have heard of people using what are called “Cut Shells” (See this Youtube Video for more information), basically this is a birdshot round turned into a “slug” by nearly cutting the in two )nearly halfway up) this causes the shell to fire out holding the shot inside and making it a nice little improvised slug.  This was used during the depression when slugs were more expensive.

 

BUCKSHOT

low-brass-bird-shot-vs-high-brass-buck-shot

Buckshot is a larger size of shot, primarily used for…you guessed it DEER!  The most common buckshot is the 00 BUCK that holds 9 .33″ shot inside and works perfectly for hunting deer or in home defense.   As your can see in the photo above, 00 Buck is on the right and #7 1/2 Birdshot is on the right, you can see the size difference.

Size Nominal diameter Pellets/oz
0.60″ (“Tri-Ball 12 “) 0.60″ (15.2 mm) 1.4
0.52″ (“Tri-Ball 20 “) 0.52″ (13.2 mm) 2.1
000 (“triple-aught”) .36″ (9.1 mm) 6
00 (“double-aught”) .33″ (8.4 mm) 8
0 (“aught”) .32″ (8.1 mm) 9
1 .30″ (7.6 mm) 10
2 .27″ (6.9 mm) 15
3 .25″ (6.4 mm) 18
4 .24″ (6 mm) 21
T .20″ (5.08;mm) 31.3

 

For Home Defense I would recommend 000, 00, 0, #1 or #4 Buck, however the larger .52″ and .60″ Tri Ball rounds offer better penetration and range, however you will lose a little of your faster follow on shots that 00 Buck can provide in a sticky situation.  There are also “Low Recoil” 00 Buck shells becoming more available, which will give you a reduced range and stopping power, but faster follow on shots.

While this post is not to be about different types of shotguns, their barrels and chokes, I will say that if you have a rifled shotgun barrel you do need to be careful about shooting a lot of buckshot or birdshot out of them as the wad (the plastic piece inside the shell that holds the shot together) will start to foul up the rifling, i have heard that if you clean it often this isnt as much of an issue, heat up the barrel with a torch or hair dryer then run brass brush and heavy patches and that should do the trick.  You also need to be aware that your buckshot and other shot rounds will have a wider pattern than with a smoothbore shotgun barrel as the rifling will cause the wad to open sooner.

 

SLUGS

Slugs can be molded chunks of heavy lead or copper, with or without a plastic tip depending on what kind you buy.  The main difference between slugs and shot are that slugs are one object while shot is multiple objects when fired.  They can come in a variety of shapes but they often are shaped like bullets, and you can also buy ‘rifled slugs’ which have grooves in them and cause them to spin in the air like a pistol or rifle round, improving their accuracy.

Brenneke Slugs

These are slugs that were developed in 1898, a solid lead slug with fins cast on the outside much like a rifled slug.  Since it is solid and not hollow it will not deform as much on impact and will provide more penetration, the Black Magic Slug is great for use against Bear, however they are not stable at long ranges and should be used in short range engagements.

 

Foster Slugs.

Developed in 1931 and was made to be used in non rifled shotgun barrels, however they can be used in rifled barrels, but lead fouling (lead that builds up in the grooves) can be an issue and will need to be cleaned often.  There is a deep hollow area in the rear of the round which places the center of mass at the tip of the slug and allows for stable flight out to 75 yards.

 

Wad Slugs

These are variant between the Foster (above) and the Sabot (below) Slugs, designed to be used in non rifled shotgun barrels (although fouling is not an issue like the Foster).  It has a deep hollow like the Foster which allows for stable flight but it also has a web wall moulded across it reducing the stress on the plastic wad when it goes down the barrel.  It is good to about 75 yards.

 

Sabot Slug

These are lead cored, full copper jacketed or solid copper projectiles supported by a plastic sabot outer, which is designed to engage the rifling in teh barrel and put spin on the round.  This allows you to get ranges out to 300 yards which is damn near the effective ranges of most rifle shooters out there.  These are great for longer distance shots, and this type of round is what makes a good shotgun such a great all around weapon.

 

 

Now this wasn’t meant to be a complete no detail spared overview, but a general one, since i skipped some types of shells that are out there for the sake of a quick down and dirty.

 

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HAPPY TO WELCOME JM BULLION TO GNP

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2014-american-gold-eagle2-304x304

I am very happy to welcome a new sponsor of the show the Great Northern Prepper Family, J.M. Bullion.

 

J.M. Bullion has made a great name for themselves in the world of silver and gold and has been used and trusted by many in the preparedness industry.

J.M Bullion offers you everything that you could want in the form of Silver, Gold, Platinum or even an IRA program to invest in your future with precious metals instead of worthless government bonds!

If you want Krugerrands or Gold Eagles they have it, If you want Junk Silver or Silver Bars from 20 grams to 100 oz, they have it.  Its a one stop shop.

 

I am confident this will be a long lasting and great partnership between GNP and J.M Bullion.

 

If you are considering buying Gold and Silver, please go through our link on the sidebar to the right and let them know that you heard of them from Great Northern Prepper!

I get no commissions for anything your buy, so I have no incentive to tell you to buy from J.M. only that I KNOW they are worthy of your Money, Trust and Confidence.

 

AND FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS!

 

 

How to Make Logs for burning from Junk Mail and Newspapers

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newspaper junk mail burning logs

(photo courtesy of traybellakc.blogspot.com)

I have found that this IS NOT even close to being as efficient as some good dried hardwood…or even softer woods like Pine.  However that being said most if not all of us are constantly getting reams of junk mail and newspapers in our mail box and dropped on our door.  Im sure you can also easily get this from your friends and neighbors who will be MORE THAN HAPPY to offload this.  It makes a neat little project and also offers you the ability to ‘create’ your own heat.  In hard times im sure it will be harder to find, but you may be able to find large amounts laying around even in hard times.

Just something to take note of and stick away in your brain, another tool in the toolbox.

 

ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Large (or small depending on how much you want to make) amounts of newspaper/Junk Mail

*Be aware that some of the junk mail/magazines that come in that have the “coated” heavy shiny paper can burn quite badly with thick black smoke, so try to avoid those.*

  • Large bin to soak the paper in, something like a rubbermaid tote will work great (Sink can work as well, but doing it outside is better and cleaner)
  • Cotton Twine/String.  This can be other types of twine like Jute, just not anything poly based (it has to burn!)
  • Water

 

 

STEP 1:

Get your newspapers and/or junk mail and soak them, not to the point where the more weaker newspaper falls apart, but get it wet/soaked

Wet_Newspaper

 

 

STEP 2:

Hang the paper out to drip dry on a line, or wherever you can hang it.  You only need to do this for a few seconds to a minute, the goal is just to let the excess water drip off, not dry it out.

clothespin

 

 

STEP 3:

Roll the Paper.  Now looser rolls means it will burn faster, tighter means it will burn longer.  After you roll the first bit, put it on top of another amount of paper and roll that into it, until you get the size of the log you want.  Now you can roll quite a bit each time, but don’t try to do too much or it will be a mess and a pain in the butt, this is just a learning curve issue, you’ll figure it out after the first few logs.

 

 

STEP 4:

Once you have the size you want keep a hand on the roll so it doesn’t unravel, and use the twine/string to tie it securely (both ends and middle).  Set it somewhere to dry, let it sit for a day or so (depending on how large it is).  Stand it up so one end is up and one is down.  Sunny, Dry, Windy locations work best.

 

 

Now some of the paper may develop mold on it, so you can lay it on a rack if you want to avoid that.

 

Now just start your fire as normal and throw some of these logs on!

 

 

 

 

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LITECOIN MINING 101: PART 3: OPERATING SYSTEM AND SOFTWARE INSTALLLATION

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Data-mining

Presenting the Third Part of  Five Part Series on Litecoin/CryptoCoin Mining, Today we will cover Software Installation for Windows Based Mining Rigs.

If you Havent Read the First Two post, start here

LITECOIN MINING 101: PART 1: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BUILD A MINER

LITECOIN MINING 101: PART 2: HARDWARE INSTALLATION

 

WINDOWS INSTALLATION After you have finished your BIOS settings, put the Windows installation Disk into your DVD player. It should boot up and show this screen

 

Screenshot 7

Then It will ask you to setup the language, time/currency format, keyboard/input method (most people just leave as US).  Select your settings and click continue.

IT will then show a button “INSTALL NOW”, Click on that.

 

 

IT SHOULD NOW SHOW THIS SCREEN

Screenshot 2

You will now come to the Product Key page, and ask you to input your product key

Screenshot 3

 

 

This will be found on the slip that the CD came in and should be 25 letters/numbers long, then click “NEXT”

Now it will ask you to accept the License Terms, do so.

 

 

You will now see this screen

Screenshot 4

If you are using a brand new Motherboard and building this rig from the ground up you will need to click “CUSTOM” on the bottom.  If you are using an old motherboard that had Windows 7 on it with the Hard Drive that it had before (i.e. you are using parts from an old computer you had) then click “UPDGRADE” More than likely all of you reading this would be using “CUSTOM

 

 

 

Now You will be asked to select where you would like to Install Windows 8.

Screenshot 5

If you only have One Hard Drive then you will see what is shown above, and only one will show up, click next to continue.  If you have More than 1 hard Drive (if you are building a Liteocin Rig, you wouldn’t, because that would be a waste of power and money??) then select which one you want to install it on. You can partition your drives, however this is a tutorial on setting up a mining rig NOT building a new Home Computer.  So just click next.

 

Windows is now coping files to you drive to install itself.  This can take a few, so if you need to fill up your coffee cup or take a bathroom break, you will be fine!

Screenshot 6

 

 

After this is done, Windows will restart itself, no need from any input from you.  You will see this screen as it restarts as well as updates on what it is doing (i.e. getting devices read 15%…..).

Screenshot 1

Windows may restart a second time before it is ready to go to the next step.

 

You will now see this screen

Screenshot 8

Now Click on Personalize, name  your computer, you can pick the color, etc. You can click through these options and set them up individually.

 

 

Screenshot 9

 

The “SIGN IN” section is where you can set up your PC using a Microsoft Email account (HOTMAIL/OUTLOOK)

If you do not have one, you can create one, if you don’t have one and don’t want one Click “SIGN IN WITHOUT A MICROSOFT ACCOUNT” and click next

 

ON THE NEXT SCREEN CLICK “LOCAL ACCOUNT” and here is where you will pick the username and password to login to your computer (Later on we will disable this so it logs in automatically, this is so if there is a restart on your system/power outage it will restart your mining rig, log in and start mining again, without you there).

 

Windows will now finalize your settings. And start to show you some functions that are new to Windows 8, just sit there and love it….. After the Demo is over it will continue to get the PC read, and install the apps.   You will then see a unfamiliar screen of colored boxes…this is the new Windows Start menu.  In the lower left hand corner look for “DESKTOP”, click that and you will now be on the Desktop of your Rig!

 WIN FREE LITECOINS with LTC4YOU!  No gimmick, I have played this game every day and they do payout! Disclaimer: I do get points for referrals, hence why I’m Pitching it

 

 

SOFTWARE INSTALLATION:

 

I Would create a folder on your Desktop for all the software downloads, etc.  I named mine “Mining” and then separated them into Different categories, this way it was easier than going through the “downloads” portion to find the right one.

All the software below you will install EXCEPT CGMINER and CATALYST DRIVER.  Download ONLY, DO NOT INSTALL  YET!

 

If you are using a USB WIFI connection to connect to the internet, have the installation cd that came with the WIFI and install that.  If you don’t google it on your other computer and download it to a Thumbdrive, plug it in your rigs USB slot and drag and drop it into your software folder.  Install it so you can get internet access.

 

MSI AFTERBURNER (or TRIXX)

Just google MSI AFTERBURNER or go to this link (MSI AFTERBURNER) and download the Latest Version of it.  Nothing really to do other than open it up once its downloads and then click settings on the bottom, and under the general tab (should be the main menu that pops up) Click every box (X) and click save.  This synch’s all the cards that are alike (i.e. 7950’s or 7970’s) with the same settings as well as unlock the voltage so you can “undervolt” your cards, which lowers temps and more power efficient. I have not personally used TRIXX, however I have heard no bad things about it, so you can look into that as well.

 

TEAM VIEWER (For help form forums) This is a free download for personal use, you can download here (Team Viewer), however this will install google chrome toolbar, etc onto your Internet explorer, which you don’t need.  This is used if you are having issues on your setup and a forum member offers to go in and check your settings and see what you are doing wrong.  Yes this allows someone onto your computer, but it has helped me multiple times when I was stumped.  Just be smart.

 

CATALYST 13.12 DRIVER This is the driver for your GPU (if you are using a AMD based, specifically the Sapphire 7950), which connects it to the computer and installs all the ‘parts’ needed to function, think of your computer as a house, your gpu as curtains, the driver is like the curtain rods and mounting hardware, without it its just a curtain on the floor, this puts everything where it needs to go to work as you need it.   You can download the Latest Version Here (AMD DRIVERS) DO NOT INSTALL IT. 

 

CGMINER 3.7.2 You can find the index for all versions of CGMINER Here (CGMINER), I would go with 3.7.2, but I know of folks using 3.4 etc.  DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANY VERSION NEWER THAN 3.7.2 (e.g. latest version 3.8.3).  You are mining for Litecoins which uses “scrypt” you don’t need to know what all the details, however later versions DO NOT ALLOW FOR SCRYPT MINING, so it wont work! Download it and put it in the mining software file. DO NOT INSTALL IT.

 

REMOTE DESKTOP APP Download the CHROME BROWSER (www.google.com/chrome)

SIGN IN

If you have a gmail address already you can sign in on the main screen that pops up after downloading Chrome.

If you don’t have a GMAIL you can sign up for one. If you don’t want to Sign up for one you can sign up for a Google account using your current email (This may change in the future).

Go to https://accounts.google.com/SignUpWithoutGmail and sign up there for a Google account using your current email. Now sign in on Chrome and google “Chrome Remote Desktop” it will take you to the app page and in the Upper right hand corner click “INSTALL”.

From there you will download the app and move on to the…

 

Installation.

You will see a screen asking you what you will use this for.

Screenshot 10

 

 

On top is a “REMOTE ASSISTANCE” for IT support, don’t click that.

The Bottom Option, “MY COMPUTERS” is where you want to go, click “GET STARTED”

 

Now Click “ENABLE REMOTE CONNECTIONS”

It will install ask for you to enter a “PIN”, this is the code needed to remotely access your  computer so do not make it “1234” or something stupid, pick a good secure PIN.

You are now set up for Remote access.  This way you can access you computer, control cgminer and MSI AFTERBURNER, etc. from say your inlaws house 1000 miles away!

 

NOTE- to do this you will need to have Chrome Browser on your laptop or whatever computer you are going to use to access it remotely.  Then you will sign in with your google account, open a new tab and click the APP app Button and click on the Remote Desktop Iconrd.  Your computer name (whatever you named it during WINDOWS SET UP) should show up and then you can click that computer, enter the pin and click connect.

 

DO NOT TRY THIS NOW.  YOU HAVE TO CONFIGURE CGMINER to allow for this or it will crash!! We will go over this again at the very end (after cgminer is finished and you are successfully mining).   

 

SIGN UP FOR LITECOIN WALLET/ADDRESS

 

I have outlined how to do this on a Youtube Video (HOW TO GET A LITECOIN WALLET 101) as well as written a overview Blog post on Litecoin and the different types of wallets and ways to store your coins.  Choose whats best for you as fare as storage, but you will need to have an address to have your mined coins sent to.

 

Watch the Video or just follow these steps

 

Go to www.litecoing.org

 

Download the appropriate file based on your operating system (Window, Mac, Linux) Allow for a lot of time for the Wallet to get synchronized with the network.

 

Go into the “RECEIVE” tab and on the right is your “address”

 

Go up top in the “RECEIVE” Tab and click to “encrypt your address” this is basically asking you to create a password.

 

USE A STRONG PASSWORD AND DO NOT LOST IT OR YOU WILL LOSE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE MINED!!!!!

I would go to random.org and create a 24 digit random password of upper/lower case letter, numbers and symbols.

Encrypt it and write down and store in a SAFE location your address and your password.

 

Your address is fine to be public you can write that down on a piece of paper and leave it next to your computer, or email it to yourself, whatever you want to do.

Just keep the password secret.

You now have a Litecoin Wallet.

This is not 100% secure (neither is online banking), so please consult my post on how to store your coins more securely. (LINK TO POST)

 

SIGN UP FOR A POOL

There are many pools out there, I personally used COINOTRON (as well as TEAMDOGE.com and LITEGUARDIAN.com) currently, but you can choose whatever one you want, compare them and make your own decision.

Basically you will sign up on their website

Inside your account info you will need to input your Litecoin address (which you should have after setting up your wallet, but you don’t necessarily need until you are ready for a payout).  Re verify that you address is correct after inputting it, you don’t want to mine for awhile and realize someone else has been getting all the benefits of your hardwork.

Check to see what the fees are in your pool.  Currently (December 2013) the Fees are 0% for payouts above 1.5 Litecoins, so you don’t pay any fees when you “get paid” unless its for less than that.  Make sure you set your “Payout Threshold” at 1.5 or whatever you want it to be, this is the number that triggers a payment. For instance if your Threshold is ‘5” once you mine 5 litecoins it sends those 5 to your address.  If you do not have a Litecoin (or whatever coin you are mining) address yet you will want to set the threshold high so that it doesn’t send your coins to the server owner.  So, set it high and set up the wallet whenever you are ready to be paid.

 

However there are fees based on whether you are paid by..

You will select one of these when you create your “worker”

PAY PER SHARE (PPS) Or ROUND BASED PAY PER SHARE (RBPPS)

 

PPS is more risky for pool operators for many reasons, I don’t want to get into details about blocks, orphaned blocks, etc.  you can research them through your own pool.

PPS can offer higher payouts but it’s a higher fee on your mined coins while RBPPS has lower fees, I currently use RBPPS, its reliable and easy.

You will then set up your “worker”, most likely you aren’t looking to get real detailed with all of this, no more than is necessary, so for simplicities sake we will just consider one pool, one coin.  I am not looking to write the end all be all of Litecoin mining and ALL its “ins and outs” This is meant for the average person just looking to get in and make it as easy as possible.

So you will set up a worker, you will see where it asks to create the workser username and password.

Your workers username will be your SIGN IN NAME (to sign into coinotron from the main page) + whatever you input. So lets same my Sign in is JSMITH and I set my worker username to “1” my worker username that will be used for mining will be “JSMITH.1”.  Whatever you enter for your password is up to you.  However as you will see in the 4th post setting up cgminer, you will need to know your worker username and password.

 

Once you have done this you are good, you are now part of a Mining Pool, which although means you make less than if you were solo mining, it is difficult, if not impossible (pretty much impossible for any existing coin) to solo mine anymore.  I am more interested in consistent and constant streams of coins than hoping for my solo mining rig to hopefully find a block and solve it.

 

Stay Tuned for the next Installment of Part 4 and 5 of my Series on how to set up a Mining Rig!

 

 

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LITECOIN MINING 101: PART 2: HARDWARE INSTALLATION

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Data-mining

 

 

Today I present the second part in a 5 part series on how to build and run a Crypto Coin Mining Rig, with this you can mine any SCRYPT based currency such as Litecoin, Dogecoin, RonPaul Coin, etc.

If you haven’t read the First Post in this Series, What to Buy, Start there.

CASE

DairyCrateBlack_x

I used a milk crate for the “case” of the computer *(If you want to see the PVC version I also built It is at the end of the post) , this offers a very cheap option for the case as you can pick them up for around $6 on Amazon or you can just keep your eye out on craigslist or garage sales, I was able to pick up a few for free from a neighbor.  The milk crate also offers a very open area for cooling as you will need this since the GPU’s (Graphic Processing Units) will get VERY HOT and need a lot of cooling.   You will not want to use a classic closed case like most computers have, since they will overheat and shut down (or if you are not careful burn up).  You can also make your own out of steel/aluminum frame or even wood if you so choose, however a milk crate works great and is cheap.

NOTE: With a standard Milk crate size, 6 GPU (even 5) was sort of pushing it space wise (4 is fine!).  So if you are planning on building a 6 GPU at any point, I would possibly look into getting a 24qt Milk crate, which are more expensive.  You could also just put a metal bracer on the lip as I did  and cut the sides out so you can add one or two more GPU’s.

DSCN4781

I ended up cutting sections out of my milk crate to allow easier access to the USB and other plug ins on the Motherboard and Graphics cards as well as allow for better cooling of the GPU’s.

DSCN4786

I cut a section out so that the power cords to the Motherboard and CPU were not in the way of the GPU’s and ziptied them to the frame so they would not come loose.

DSCN4793

Pull the Motherboard out and set it in the milk crate whichever way it fits best, The layout for my Motherboard is above and you can see where the PCI slot for the GPU’s are, and you can see where the GPU will rest on the crate.

DSCN4789

I also noticed that the GPU’s were heavy and pulling the side in so I bought a metal frame used for shelving for $2.44, cut and screwed it into that side and then drilled holes to put the GPUS in.

 

This is skipping ahead a bit, but put in the PCI riser on the GPU

 

On the frame of the GPU it should be pretty easy to figure out what is the attachment frame part ( SEE PHOTO ABOVE), L shaped and metal vs….nothing.  Put this on the lip of the Crate.

DSCN4782

Holding your GPU with one hand use the other to connect the other end of the Riser (small end) to the Motherboard, the First PCI slot that is closets to the CPU.  As seen in the photo below.

DSCN4804a

Now move the GPU as far over as you can, you don’t want it tight tight, but so there is the tiniest bit of slack in there, don’t want it to pull out of the Motherboard if its moved at all.

Then mark on the metal where that hole is

DSCN4790

I then keep that first GPU where it is and put a second one next to it a few inches away, then remove the first one and mark where the second hole should go, then hold the second one, pull the first GPU you just removed and place it a few inches away where the 3rd will go and continue on until you have marked where all the GPU’s will be.

 

Now you may have to redo these if you get to the end and notice you have 6 inches of space left over, it’s a bit of trial and error and depends on if you are running, 3,4 or 6 GPU’s.  Since I am running 5 currently I only had room for a few inches between them, if you are only going with two or three or even four you will have more space between them, so you can figure that out on you own.

Then pre drill the metal holes with a small drill and then with the large bit (whatever size is needed for the screw).  Some have used nails, I did at first it makes it easier to remove, however screws hold them in better.

This should go without saying, but after you get those holes marked DO NOT HAVE THE MOTHERBOARD IN THE BOTTOM WHEN YOU ARE DRILLING HOLES, CUTTING PLASTIC, ETC.  You don’t want all that debris to fall on the motherboard and possibly stay in there and cause a short, or worse, your drill slips and now you have a nice gouge in the board, more than likely rendering it useless.  After making the marks, pull it out and set it on the Static Bag it came in.

 

GPU BRACKET

DSCN4793

Now the GPU’s even with the screw may sag, so I installed a bracket about ¾ way down the GPU to hold it up, make sure it isn’t interfering with anything and hold one in (if they are all the same) to wee where to screw in your bracket.  Now with a metal lip and screw you shouldn’t really need it, but I like to go overkill and it makes it easier to move them around slightly to make uniform air circulation between cards, I used some old plant pot holders for this

 

DSCN4795

Once I got the right distance I screwed in both of them to get the holds in there, then I removed them since the Motherboard can’t be put in or pulled out with them installed.  Now your GPU’s can rest on this.

 

DSCN4801

I put down paper bowls to stand the Motherboard up on since the PCI Riser Cables would not stretch far enough if the motherboard was sitting on the bottom of the milkcrate.  This also allows for more circulation below the motherboard, however you can buy the 12 inch risers if you so choose to, I have 6 inch, but the 12 inch will allow even more airflow between the motherboard and GPU’s.  This is a better option if you are building a custom case from metal frame, wood, etc. as it will help with cooling.  I may do this in the future but at the moment the Milkcrate works fine.

 

GROUNDING

Grounding and its necessity depends on who you talk to, some say its ABSOLUTELY necessary, some say they have never done it except in special circumstances.  I erred on the side of caution and built my own grounding cord.

Discharge-Antistatic-Wrist-Strap-Anti-Static-Wristband

I first got an anti-static wristband (you can pick up for around $6) and then I grabbed some spare CATV Cable from the garage.  You can use cord that has copper line in it as long as it is long enough to reach from where you ground it to where you are working (obviously, but check first!).  I then stripped one end about 6 inches to the copper and one end about an inch or two.  BE CAREFUL WHEN STRIPPING THAT YOU DON’T CUT THE COPPER IN HALF!

Grounding with Cold Water Line under Sink

I then wrapped the 6 inch piece of copper around the metal on the cold water pipe under the sink and the other end was clamped with my anti-static wristbands alligator clamp.  Now you can also cut down on static electricity by not wearing socks on carpet; as you know rubbing your socks on carpet will build up a charge, so don’t do it if it’s possible.   The amount of static electricity needed to fry the circuits on a  computer is so small you wont even know you did it.  Chances are you will be fine without this, but why take the chance?

 

 

MOTHERBOARD

DSCN4804a

The Motherboard should be sitting on the Static Bag you laid it on after getting the GPU spacing from earlier.

You don’t have to do the hardware installation on the Motherboard in any particular order as it all has to be done before you turn it on.

Consult the manual that came with the Motherboard and/or Internet to see the Layout of the Motherboard and what is labeled what so you are putting your components in the right place

 

 

CPU

DSCN4811

I first installed the CPU (Central Processing Unit), this is the brains of the computer, what INTEL sells, etc.

I used a Intel Celeron 2.6mhz Processor, which is not powerful, but a miner doesn’t need a fast one, as all the work is done in the GPU’s.

Take the Processor out of the package, being careful not to touch the underside of the Processor, which you can see is different from the topside which is smooth.

 

DSCN4808

On my Motherboard there was a latch that you had to pull out and up to open, with a plastic case that was removed BEFORE YOU CLAMPED DOWN THE CPU.

DSCN4814

Once that was flipped up I placed the CPU, flat/shiny side up lining up the indents on the CPU with the indents on the Motherboard.

DSCN4818

DSCN4820

Then I clamped it down, its ok if it seems to need a little force, as long as its right side down and lined up with the indents, this is normal.

DSCN4811

16-Install-CPU-Heatsink-Fan

Then I installed the CPU Fan, which contains 4 little posts that are pushed down in the corresponding holes around the CPU.

CPU FAN POWER

There is a cord that runs around this and goes to the CPU fan plug on the motherboard, make sure that this cord can reach it no problem, and then press down on the posts until you hear a click then turn them in the direction of the arrows that you see on the posts.

You now have installed the CPU

 

RAM

DSCN4807

There is only need for one RAM (4gb for Windows ) so all you need to do is find one of the Slots for RAM and press it in until you hear it click.

 

 WIN FREE LITECOINS with LTC4YOU!  No gimmick, I have played this game every day and they do payout! Disclaimer: I do get points for referrals, hence why I’m Pitching it

 

 

 

NOW YOU CAN PLACE THE MOTHERBOARD ON THE BOWLS ON THE BOTTOM OF THE MILKCRATE.

YOU SHOULD HAVE ALL HOLES DRILLED AND EVERYTHING CUT OUT.

IF FOR SOME REASON YOU CONTINUE ON THE INSTALLATION AND FIND THAT YOU NEED TO CUT MORE OUT AFTER EVERYTHING IS IN…PULL IT OUT THEN MAKE THE CUTS AND THEN PUT IT BACK IN.

It sucks but don’t mess around with damaging/destroying thousands of dollars of equipment to save you 5 minutes.  Be patient.

 

PSU

This is your Power Supply Unit, I used a LEPA 1600w (because I will be creating a 6 GPU system eventually, the models I listed in Chapter 1 for a 4 GPU system will work fine), you will also want to consult the “layout” of what goes where, however It should be labeled.

 

DO NOT PLUG IN THE PSU AC CORD INTO THE WALL YET!

Leave it unplugged until you are ready to turn it on, you can FRY your system or components by having it on and plugging /unplugging it.

DSCN4809

DSCN4810

My PSU had these two slots to power the CPU and Motherboard, you will plug those two ends into the cpu and then plug them into the corresponding slots on the Motherboard.

 

LEPA 1600 Layout

This should be labeled on the Motherboard in Shorthand, but consult the layout as well, but since there are only two slots on the Motherboard (most likely) that can take these two plugs and they are different sizes it should be pretty intuitive and easy to guess what goes where!

DSCN4786

These cords may not “click”, but you can tell when they are in, then pull them throw the slot you cut for them and zip tie them in so they are not in the way of the GPU’s (place a couple GPU’s where they would go and make sure that they don’t rest on the power cords, you will want the power cords to have some give in them so they are not being tugged on and pull out of the Motherboard and shut the whole system down, but not looping so high they hit the GPU.  The rubbing of the GPU can end up rubbing through (after along time) into the power cord.  A bad day.

SSD (Single State Drive)

ADATA 32gb SSD

I used a 32 gb SSD (Solid State Drive), this is easy to install.

SATA-Cable

Pull out the SATA cord and plug it in the SSD, this will be the 90 degree L side (cords may vary)

 

I just wanted to make sure the Straight plug went into the motherboard for ease of use and space saving.  It doesn’t matter for function which side goes in where.

 

Then mount the SSD on your case using zip ties or it can lay on the desk, whatever is easiest for you.

sata-molex-hdd-cable-large

Now plug in the SSD to the MOLEX power cord. The side for the drive will be any one of the multiple MOLEX 4 PIN  on the PSU (See layout above).  Then plug it into the PSU

 

 

 

NEXT STEP

Now you are almost ready to start up.  Do not install the GPU’s yet, just leave them in their boxes, but you can plug in the GPU power cords to the PSU

gpu cord

The power cords will look like this

 

LEPA 1600 Layout

 

Plug the 12 pin connector into the PSU in the GPU Slots (Consult Layout and markings on your PSU, above is marked Red/orange).  The orange end (6 pin + 2 pin, for my PSU, yours may vary) will plug into the GPU.

For the next Chapter you will need to have a DVD drive, I picked up a cheap one off Amazon for around $30 that plugs in to the USB, you won’t need it after the installation of windows.  You will also need to have a spare monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Once you get everything done, these DO NOT need to be kept on the system unless you have them extra and just feel like keeping them on there.  You can actually install remote desktop programs so you can control your miner from your laptop wherever you are at the moment.

I had a spare monitor, keyboard and mouse laying around, but you can use the ones from your desktop for this, don’t need to buy them.

 

 

 

Dvi-cable

Make sure your monitor has a DVI CABLE, the reason being is that your GPU cards have a DVI Female connector.  If your monitor Does NOT and uses a VGA (smaller and blue), you can buy this…

SONY DSC

VGA to DVI ADAPTOR, as this will be needed to plug into the motherboard first when installing software and later into the GPU’s.

If you don’t know what connector your monitor uses look at the pictures below

SONY DSC

VGA cord (SMALL AND BLUE)

Dvi-cable

DVI CORD (LARGER AND WHITE)

 

MOTHERBOARD DVI HOOKUP

Now Plug in your monitor to the DVI Slot (Shown above, your layout may vary) on the Motherboard, and plug in your Keyboard and MOUSE into the USB Slots on the Motherboard (if you are using a USB Wifi connector plug that in as well, However ETHERNET is better)

MOBO ETHERNET

If you are using a hardwire Ethernet connection for your internet plug that in as well

Belking 4 port USB hub

You may also find that there are only a couple USB ports on your motherboard but you need more than that to plug everything in.  You can purchase a USB HUB online for under $20 and this gives you multiple USB slots and only takes up one slot on the USB port on the Motherboard.

Stay Tuned and Friday I will Present the 3rd part of this 5 part series, Operating System and Software Installation.

 

* I Mentioned the PVC Case I built at the beginning of the post here it is*

I wont go into detail how I built it, just give you dimensions

You will need about 2 8′ long sections of 1/2″ PVC Pipe

Cute them into these dimensions

  • 4- 2 foot sections (For Length)*Study Photo
  • 4 6″ sections (For Height)
  • 4- 2″ pieces (length from “T” ‘s a front, first level and back side for height second level)
  • 2- 6 1/2″ pieces (to attach first level front to the back from the “T” ‘s)

You will also need

  • 4 – “T’ joiners
  • 8- 90 degree joiners
  • PVC Glue
  • Cardboard/Wood for bottom panel for Motherboard to Rest on

 

DSCN4835

gpumachine-0042

*Photo and plans courtesy of wilsafris.wordpress.com*

 

 

 

 

 

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The Day We Fight Back: Join in protesting the Surveillance State.

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The-Day-We-Fight-Back-2-e1391612024967

 

Today is the day we en-masse contact our elected representatives to show them we are not complacent sheep willing to hand over our liberties to the Surveillance State.

A Banner should be appearing below, if not click the picture above to go to the main site and sign up to email/call your elected representatives and let them know you want this to STOP.

 

Thank you for doing your part.

 

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Episode 25: Glen Tate of 299 Days: The Cabela Prepper

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299 Days Book Series Book 7 CHange of Seasons

Today we once again talk to Glen Tate, author of the 299 Day Book series.

Today we Talk about

  • Updates on his latest addition to the Series (Book 7, 299 Days: Change of Seasons).
  • “Cabelas Preppers” and the danger of buying the gear but not having the training or mindset needed to survive.
  • Why it is more important to Prep than to not just to make your spouse/significant other happy.
  • The Lack of mental resiliency in our children and how that will play out in the coming troubles
  • Planning for people to come to you in hard times
  • And much more!

The 299 Day Book Series is available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles, and you can pick them for any platform from hardcopy to Kindle /Nook and Ipad.

 

 

MEMO

 

The 299 Days Website : http://www.299days.com

The Article Glen wrote we spoke about in the interview: http://299days.com/ill-come-to-your-place-when-shtf-no-you-wont/

 

 

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Biolite Camp Stove Review

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BIOLITE CAMP STOVE REVIEW

 

Today I review the Biolite Camp Stove.  Biolite is a great company that primarily focuses on sending their product to the third world to help those in abject poverty have access to power to recharge their small electronics as well as eliminate much of the soot and waste that causes various respiratory disease that come from open flame cooking.

SPECS

Weight: 33 oz (2lbs 1 oz)

Dimensions: (Packed) 8.25 inches High x 5 inches wide

Fire Output: LO setting, 3.4 kW, HIGH setting 5.5Kw

USB power output: Max continuous: 2W@5V, Peak 4W@5V

Compatible Devices: Most small USB chargeable devices such as smartphones & Headlamps

Charging Time: Iphone 4S, 20 minutes=60 minutes of talk time

Boil Time: 4.5 minutes = 1 Liter of water

MSRP: $129.95

 

This Stove can use any renewable biomass such as sticks, twigs, pinecones, etc.  Anything you can burn in a normal stove this will burn.

You can see more in the YouTube Video, but this a great little stove and would be excellent for redundancies in your preps in regards to cooking as well as recharging small items.

 

Find out more at BIOLITESTOVE.COM

 

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Minicast Episode 20: Why Debt wont Dissapear in a Collapse

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debt-burden

This Minicast is in response to some things i have heard around the Prepper community, on forums as well as in emails to me.

Most of them involved the sentiment of…”Well I think the collapse is happening in the next 6 months (or a future date), so I am going to load up my Credit Cards with storable food and other stuff, because when the collapse happens their wont be anyone to collect the debt anyways!”

This is problematic in many different ways, most notably, no one knows when the financial collapse will finally happen, so if you load up your credit cards with all this debt, what happens when the collapse doesn’t happen for another 2 years? you will end up being in a  worse place than you started.

I elaborate further on different scenarios and more reasons why this is a bad idea.  Bottom Line, dont do this, its stupid.

 

 

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Antenna Search: How to find or avoid Cell Towers Near you

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cell phone towers

Antenna Search is a website that i stumbled on after reading Survivalblog.com, it is a great program because just inputting an address into the search bar can show you all the cell phone towers and antennas within a 4 mile radius.

Now this can be helpful for two different things…

 

1) To make sure you can have cell phone reception in areas you are traveling to and/or through

2) More for preppers, you may be looking for a bug out location and/or retreat location and you may want this to be truly off the grid…and this means NO CELL PHONES!

Watch the video, its real easy!

 

ANTENNASEARCH.COM

 

 

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BITCOIN/LITECOIN/DOGECOIN Basics 101: How does a Transaction work

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What is Bitcoin How to bitcoin for dummies

Today I present a video explaining how a Cryptocoin (Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc.) actually works, how miners come in and how your wallet is secure but public.

I hope this helps you learn a little bit more about cryptocurrencies.

 

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Want to help support the site? find out more here! Or just click the amazon link below, bookmark it and go there every time you shop on Amazon, it costs you nothing more, but they will kick back a portion of your purchase to the site to help run things smoothly and keep you informed!

 

 

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Political Change: A Forgone Conclusion

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voting-elections

I write this to try to convince some of you who still believe “If we just get _________ into the ________ we will get things back on track!” that you are wrong.

If you look back over the last 50 years we have had a mix of Democrats and Republicans in the White House and in control of the Congress, however has the government in that time ever..EVER gotten smaller? Scaled back the encroaching Police State? Not Inflated the Currency more than their predecessors?

Our problems in this country, what will bring us down is economic, not China or Abdul in a Cave, but pure economics. We spend too much, we can’t pay it back and we have inflated our currency to a point where there is no turning back. The only question now is WHEN not IF the U.S. Economy will Crash and the Dollar will have to be replaced or re-valuated (i.e.$1 now equals .10 or .01).

These problems have been exacerbated by every President to hold the office and every Congress who has had a majority and the free rein to pass what it wants (or a bipartisan one).

Most of my readers are conservatives by and large so I will speak to you and the problems being just as much with the Republican Party as it is with the Democrats.

For example…

Much ado and many jokes have been made about “Obamaphones”, most conservatives if asked where this program started would tell you It was Obama and his Democratic Congress who gave away these phones and started it.

If you are specifically talking about cell phones, in a way yes you are right, however the program that has morphed into the “Obamaphone” should be called “Reaganphones” Yes the deity known as Reagan started the program of taxing every single phone so that we could pay for others subsidized phone lines, in his day it was land line (and this was in no part to lobbying by Telcom companies, they paid nothing and got more customers as well as got any work done in rural areas completely paid for and kept any profit made!)

So the next time you hear “Obamaphone” flash a picture of Reagan in your head.

On the topic of Reagan, I liked what he had to say, and if you take the extremely low bar of constitutional and small government loving administrations in recent history, then yes he was a good president, but this a bar so low, one only has to show up to be the best.

Reagan was responsible for some of the largest tax increases and largest budgets in American History, he was not a small government president, he was a politician who possibly actually believed these ideals, but given the circumstances made the politically expedient decisions to keep the government functioning vs doing the right thing in the long run.

Most Conservatives have woken up from the Love of Bush years, however it was the Bush presidency that laid 99% of the groundwork for NDAA, the program many conservatives love to peg onto our current president, however without the Patriot act NDAA would not be possible (and this was also supported with a healthy portion of REPUBLICAN Congressman!)

It was Republicans who expanded medicare, laying more groundwork for Obamacare to be implemented

It was Republicans who started No Child Left Behind who layed the groundwork for Common Core

It was Republicans who expanded HUD and the FHA loan program under the guise of “cuts”

Entitlement Spending actually grew by 8% more with Republican Presidents vs Democratic ones.

sentina giveaway

CLICK THIS PICTURE TO FIND OUT HOW TO WIN A FREE SENTINA FREIGHT GLOVE TO PROTECT YOUR FOOD STORAGE

 

 

Friends there was once a political solution to the coming economic problem…disaster on the horizon, there was a time, a time that wasn’t that long ago.  However we are still holding onto the belief that we are still in that window, we are not.  That window is long gone, broken, shattered and burned down.

The political solution to this problem no longer lies in the present, and averting it, but in the future and averting our grandchildren from experiencing what we are about to.

 

I want to say “I don’t mean to be beating up on you if you are a Republican”, but I can’t I am beating up on you.  But I am coming from a position that sees where you are, I was there years back, I am a recovering Republican myself, because the party I thought Stood for the things I stood for, doesn’t, and hasn’t for a long time.

To be equal in my rant I should lay into progressives, however I highly doubt you still read this blog if you think that more government is the solution.

Democrats often believe the same thing that Republican rank and file do, that the Republican party is actually a party that wants smaller government.  A quick view of history will find that both parties are equal in their building of the state, and their belief in government as a problem solver.

GOVERNMENT is what is bringing these problems to bear, to a head and it will be government that will say they are the solution when it all comes down.

Imagine this country as a person, a person who has lung cancer from smoking statist cigarettes, and is now laid up in the hospital.  Two people enter the room saying they can fix your problems, but both are offering you a pack of cigarettes…One Blue and One Red….

 

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LITECOIN MINING 101: PART 1: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BUILD A MINER

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Data-mining

If you are Reading this then you have become interested in the modern “Gold Rush” of Crypto currencies, specifically Litecoin since Bitcoin is no longer viable for the average person with limited funds.
This is listed as a “LITECOIN” miner, but the basic setup, other than the settings for the pool in cgminer (which tell it what to mine) are the same for any other Crypto currency out there (Feather Coin, Doge Coin, Terra Coin), other than Bitcoin.

These posts will be a Step by Step Guide for you to build your first Mining Rig, based on my experience. I am not a computer expert, but an amateur so all I am passing on is what I have learned through trial and error and help from many people.

I feel that this will be helpful, because I dont speak computer as a first language so I am coming from the same place you are. I use acronyms farther into the book, but spell them out when I first talk about them. For example later I use “GPU”, but early on I will say “The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit, the Graphics Card)”. You can also take a look at the last post for the ACRONYMS and reference them there (or just google it we are in 2014!)

 

You will see from start to finish how I set up this 4 Card Litecoin Mining Rig.
We will cover in the coming post’s as follows.
• What hardware I bought as well as some alternatives you can buy instead
• How to Make a Case out of a Milk crate and Putting together all the physical hardware
• How to set up your BIOS settings, then windows then all the software you will need to run the miner
• Then connecting all the GPU’s and installing all the necessary software to get them to work and be recognized.
• Finally I will show you how to join a “MINING POOL”, set up the Mining Program and then tweak your settings to get maximum performance with the lowest power draw.
The basic hardware components of a Litecoin (or any scrypt based crypto currency) miner are these.
• Motherboard
• CPU (Central Processing Unit)
• RAM (Random Access Memory)
• HD (Hard Drive) Whether a HDD or SSD
• PSU (Power Supply Unit)
• GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
• PCI Riser Cables (powered or non-powered depends on your system)
• Keyboard, Monitor and Mouse are necessary for the initial set up and tweaking, but not for the actual functioning of the system once you get it running.
For Software
• Operating System (and one that can handle what system you are building)
• Miner program (GUIminer, CGminer, Reaper, etc.)
• Driver (necessary for proper installation of GPU cards)
Litecoin Wallet (or whatever you are mining) Linked here is my Youtube Video on how to set up a Litecoin Wallet.

 

SO WHAT SHOULD I BUY?
This is the question on every prospective miners minds, what do I need to buy?
Well in actuality there are a multitude of choices out there; it all comes down to three questions
1) What size am I building? (# of GPU’s)
2) What is the most efficient (in terms of hash rates, power and cost)
3) What is available.

For example most people prefer the Sapphire 7950 OC Boost Cards due to their more efficient hash rate to power usage. In the world of mining it is not necessarily the highest hash rate that wins, since high powered cards can draw A LOT of power, thus cutting into your profits and in a sense defeating the purpose of you building one. The “Best” cards for mining are those that have the lowest power consumption per Hash, and the Sapphire 7950 is the top of the list. However Nowadays you will be paying a premium for used ones, higher than they even cost brand new, so for most these are out of the question. I was able to get mine before the rush really hit, so while I spent more than I would have six months prior, It was still not the crazy prices today; and unless you are lucky and find some reasonably priced you probably won’t find them or don’t want to pay the prices for them.

This is also true for many of the best PSU (Power Supply Units) out there as well. So for each of the items I listed above I will list numerous different types, and will focus on a 4 GPU system, however if you are going to build a 5 or 6 system you will want to check and make sure that the components I list will work. On the flip side whatever I list will more than be fine for a 1,2 or 3 GPU system, however you may want to check if there is a cheaper alternative. For example you wouldn’t want to buy a 1250w PSU (Power Supply Unit) when you could save $100 and get a 500 watt PSU (that is unless you are planning to upgrade and add more cards in the future!).

 

HARDWARE

The Lists below are not itemized by “best”, if they are considered to be the “best” then I will indicate it however the first one indicated will be what I used, the rest will be other alternatives. If there are limitations in them I will also list those.

 

MOTHERBOARDS
Motherboard choices all depend on what you will be running, however if you buy an INTEL BASED MOTHERBOARD USE AN INTEL PROCESSOR. Flip side is if you use an AMD based motherboard buy an AMD processor. Either choice is fine as the processor is not important for mining.

MSI Z77a GD65

1) MSI Z77A GD65 -$190 (4+ GPUS)
This is the Motherboard featured above, which I bought because it could handle 6 GPU’s and was used by another person who was building the same setup as I was. It is a good Motherboard, however if you are only using 4 or fewer GPU’s you may want to look at a cheaper version like the ASUS or like below.
2) MSI Z77A G55 – $140 (4+ GPU’S)
3) ASUS M5A97- $95 (4 or Less GPU’S)
4) Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 -$189 (4 or Less GPU’S)
5) Gigabyte Intel GA-77xUD3H – $140 (4+ GPU’S)
6) ASROCK 970 Extreme3 – $140 (4+GPU’S)
7) ASROCK MB-970EX4 – $100 (4+ GPU’S)
Check to see if the motherboard you purchase has a on board power switch, that is a button already on the motherboard that lets you push to power it on, if it doesn’t you will need to purchase one (usually around $6).

 

CPU (Central Processing Unit)
You do not need a powerful CPU to run a mining rig. In the past you could mine on CPU’s however that is no longer the case, so you just need a basic CPU. You are fine with pretty much any low priced CPU, but as noted above in the Motherboard Section Make sure you use a AMD CPU for a AMD based Motherboard and an INTEL CPU for an INTEL based Motherboard.

Celeron G1610

1) Intel Celeron G1610 2.60 GHZ LGA 1155 – $43
2) Intel Celeron G1620 Ivy Bridge Processor – $40
3) AMD Sempron 145 – $35

 

RAM
For any Windows Based Mining Rig, you don’t need a lot of RAM, 4GB will be enough (less can result in issues, so stick to 4 GB unless you are using Reaper mining software, in which you will want to have 8GB of ram possibly.

Corsair Vengeance 4gb DDR3

1) Corsair Vengeance 4GB DDR3 -$60
2) Kingston 4GB DDR3 -$40
For Linux (Ubuntu) based miners you can use less than 4GB

 

PSU (Power Supply Unit)
The Size of the PSU will all be card dependent, for Sapphire 7950’s they will need less power than say a R9 290, consult the GPU info and forum boards to see what specific PSU wattage you need to run the system.

LEPA1600 watt PSU

1) LEPA 1600w (these are hard to find)
2) EVGA 1300 Watt Gold Rate ($230)
3) SEASONIC X1250 (with the AMD 280x you can safely put 3 on here, but 4 will probably be pushing it)
4) CORSAIR TX850 – $140
Once again this will all depend on what exactly you are building (how many GPU’s) as well as how much power each GPU pulls. For example you WILL not be able to run a 4x Sapphire 7950 on 1250 if you do not undervolt the cards (overclocked and undervolted my whole system is pulling 1000-1100 watts). I include the 850 watt Corsair since you may be building a smaller GPU system. Once again consult the specs on the cards you will be buying, as well as look at what others are using.

 

GPU’s
Use MSI/SAPPHIRE/GIGABYTE Brand GPU’s, they are the most reliable and stick to dual fan cards if possible, however external (i.e. box fan) can make up for the cooling issues, as well as undervolting (which is to go below factory power input to the cards, thus saving you power and not running your power unit as hard)

I used Sapphire HD 7950 OC Boost’s however these are harder and harder to find at reasonable prices and the factory has no info on even WHEN they will be shipping new ones to distributors, so here are some of the GPU’s.
1) Radeon SAPPHIRE 7950 OC BOOST – $350+ (on ebay), capable of 600+ khs. The most energy efficient power/khs card out there, which is why they are hard to find.
2) AMD R9 270 -$180. 450 KH/S. KH/WATT RATIO: 2.25
3) AMD 7970 -$350. 725 KH/S. KH/WATT RATIO: 2.416
4) AMD R9 280x -$320. 450 KH/S. KH/WATT RATIO: 2.416
5) AMD R9 290x -$560. 880 KH/S. KH/WATT RATIO: 2.416
6) AMD R9 290 -$400. 900 KH/S. KH/WATT RATIO: 3
7) AMD 7990 – $660. 1385 kh/s. KH/WATT RATIO: 4.6266

 

HD
You don’t really need to go out and buy a SSD (Solid State Drive). I did before I realized I didn’t need it. In reality you can just use an old HDD (Hard Drive Disk) from an old computer, but if you really want to spend extra money you can go out and buy a new HDD or SSD.

ADATA 32gb SSD

ADATA 32GB SSD – $44.99

 

 

RISER CABLES
I recommend that you go with Powered risers however you do not necessarily need them, however I do not want to take the chance of hurting the motherboard from too much power draw.
You also do not need 16x-16x PCI risers, you can get by with 1x-16x risers. There is no specific company or brand I can say “buy these”. The ones I got were directly from a factory in China through Amazon.
These can be a crapshoot and on occasion you can get a bad one, I have heard about people having issues on occasion, but the only way to find out is when you are installing the GPU’s individually and they don’t work. Through repeating the steps of installation and switiching out the power cables, riser cables, etc. You can find out if you have a bad power cord, PCI riser cable or just a bad card. It happens.

 

POWERED RISERS

Powered-Flexible-PCI-E-1x-to-16x-Riser-Cable

The top part is the 1x that fist into the motherboard PCI Slots, the Bottom (larger) part is what goes onto your card. As you can see there is a powered connector that will connect to the MOLEX power cord coming off your PSU. These can run from $10-$20.

UNPOWERED RISER CABLE

1x 16x riser cable

This is the exact same as the Powered Riser Cable, but there is no…power!
The 1x slot that goes into the Motherboard PCI slot is the small top portion and the 16x that goes into the card is on the bottom of the picture.
If you are gaming then you will want 16x-16x cables if possible as the 1x can degrade gaming quality and speed, but for mining 1x works fine. However I have heard some folks had to buy 16x-16x cables to get the 5th and 6th cards working. Everything with mining is unique to the system, you will find that a fix that works for 90% of people may not for you. Its all about patience and trial and error. These can run $6+

 

CD/DVD DRIVE
This really doesn’t matter what you use, you can buy or just borrow someone’s as long as it will plug in and play. I used a Samsung 8x Slim DVD+/-RW Slim USB External Drive, Black SE-208DB/TSBS for about $35.

Samsung SE208dbtsbs

KEYBOARD/MONITOR/MOUSE
This is insignificant since you can use ANY monitor, keyboard or mouse and don’t need dedicated ones unless you like spending money or have them laying around. Plus once you get the Remote Desktop hooked up you will be able to do everything you want over you laptop or desktop anyways. Find the cheapest junkiest pieces of junk or whatever you already have.

 

SOFTWARE

 

Other than the first thing I list, Operating System, the rest are all free, but will depend on what kind of Components/Operating system you are using, so choose what’s best for you.

OPERATING SYSTEM:
As with a lot of things, this will depend on what size system you are building.

 

LINUX/XUBUNTU: COST: FREE

ubuntu screenshot

Linux is a better option in regards to power consumption and is less prone to viruses/etc. However It is different from Windows, which may pose a problem to some uses (however Windows 8 is a massive difference from the Windows we all know!).
Just so you know, Ubuntu is a type of Linux OS. Ubuntu is used by many miners, and most like it, the fact that it will save you nearly $100 is also a nice incentive to at least try it! Use Xubuntu as normal Ubuntu is more of a memory hog.

 

WINDOWS: COST: DEPENDS

Windows XP ($50-$100): I have never used Windows XP personally however I know that it has been successfully done with Windows XP SP3 and newer. Any version earlier than that I cannot speak for. Make sure that it is XP SERVICE PACK 3 to be sure.

Windows 7 ($0-$100): Many miners use Windows 7 because they already have it and/or its cheaper if they are running a larger mining rig. However for a 4 GPU rig, Windows 7 will work just fine, no need to go with windows 8. All you need is the most basic version which I have seen for sale for less than $70 at various sources

Windows 8 ($95): Since I was going to be building a 6 GPU rig, I bought Windows 8.1 OEM which cost just below $100. This is a onetime use OS, so It cannot be transferred once you install it. If you are planning on a 4 or less GPU rig there is no need to pay for Windows 8. I also have to say that I DO NOT like the new layout of windows 8, as it is designed for the touchscreen market and is not as user friendly (my opinion) for those going ‘old school’. It is not impossible to use, just takes some getting used to and it took me a minute or two to find the “Desktop” icon so I could actually do some work.

MINERS:

Click the name to go to the download site.

 

 

DRIVERS:
This will all depend on what Cards you have and what miner (and version of the miner) you are going to use. Some miner versions will not like a certain driver, while others will. I have found that any AMD based Cards work best with CGminer, and version 3.7.2 that I use prefers the latest version of the Catalyst Driver (currently 13.1.2). Since I am building this rig and explaining it using one possible group of hardware, you will have to do some research and find out what drivers work best for your Miner/Card Combo.

 

WALLET:
This should be easy. For Litecoin I have had no issues, I downloaded it, set up fine and started to synchronize right off the bat. For my Feathercoin wallet, it took some tinkering with my firewall and what “node” I was connecting to, to get it to work. The best thing to do, since I cannot cover every issue that may arise is to head to forums dedicated for that specific cryptocurrency and ask around/search the forum to find the answers to your specific issues.
Always make sure you download your wallet from the legitimate source, there are scammers out there who have set up fake sites to steal your Litecoins.
Litecoin: www.litecoin.org
Feathercoin: www.feathercoin.com
Terracoin: www.terracoin.org

There are hundreds of other coins such as DogeCoin, Diamond Coin, AnonCoin, etc.  Too many to mention here.

 

CHECK OUT MY VIDEO ON HOW TO CREATE A LITECOIN WALLET

 

There are also other ways to store your coins, from physical “paper” wallets to Online Websites. However there is a decision to be made if you want more security or ease of use, the more “online” that it is the less security it has, but more ease of use, the less online has more security, but less ease of use. You will have to decide what is best for you. For more information on wallet types, you can read my post on This Specifically.

 

NEXT POST WILL BE ON HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE MINING RIG

 

 

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