Evaluating and Managing Risk Part 3: Ryans SWOT Analysis

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So far we introduced the topic of Evaluating and Managing Risk and discussed some systematic ways to look at and manage risk by discussing SWOT and Risk Management.

Below is a SWOT Analysis I did for myself.

I knew all of these things but seeing them together was still interesting. The area that jumped out to use risk management on are my currently not diverse income and our very divided society. I am going to do that and will post it as part 4 of this series in the next few days.

It looks like this will be a 6 part series. I would have waited to get the next part and include it in this but the weekend might get busy. So the risk management piece will be part 4. In part 5 I will apply a deliberate phased process for managing a specific risk. It is not doctrinal or codified but I think it makes a lot of sense and may help people. Part 6 will be the conclusion.

Evaluating and Managing Risk 2: SWOT and Risk Management

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This series the second post in our series on evaluating and managing risk. In this post we will discuss a methodology for assessing and managing risk. We are going to look at strategic planning and risk management today. For strategic planning we will specifically examine SWOT analysis. For risk management we will use the US Army Risk Management model. I was going to do these the other way speaking more about risk management specifically first. The reason I am not is that logically one could use some kind of strategic planning method to get the big picture then use risk management to drill down into that piece. I think these two methods could complement each other well.

First we will look at SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. This is a strategic planning technique, predominantly used in business, to see how different factors will aid and hinder in reaching organizational objectives.


This handy chart is used for SWOT analysis. The first column (vertical) is factors that are helpful and the second column is harmful. The top row (horizontal) is internal and the lower one is external.

The goals of SWOT are easily captured in another handy chart.


Using SWOT we want to match our strengths against opportunities while minimizing our weaknesses and avoiding threats. It is also a good way to look at whether our unique situation is well suited for the goal/ mission. An opportunity I am well suited to take advantage of might not work for our buddy Zero and conversely an opportunity that would be perfect for him might not work for me. I am not going to write a lot more about this because while I have worked with it in school I haven’t really used it professionally so my experience is a bit thin. I would rather toss out the ideas and yet you, if you want, do your own research than unintentionally send you down the wrong path.

Next we will look at the US Army Risk Management model. I will use this model because it is the one I am the most familiar with. Some folks in the blogosphere have written about it but honestly I don’t think they had any actual experience with it and thus their articles were a rewording of some overview they found on google. Not saying they were wrong but simply that their discussions lacked the experience that comes from practical implementation of the topic.

Risk Management has 5 steps:

Identify Hazards

Assess hazards

Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions

Implement Controls

Supervise and Evaluate


Core Principles of RM are:

Risk management should be integrated into all activities. This is important because the actually risky stuff is typically related to boring day to day things in part because we do them so frequently. Complacency is a serious problem.

Accept no unnecessary risk. We should try to mitigate as much risk as is practical.

Apply the RM process cyclically and continuously

To expand on the core steps. We will also do a walk through Risk Management for an event. We will do riding a motorcycle.

Identify Hazards: Taking a step back one might say “The hazards of what?” I would reply with “Your life.”

We need to apply the RM model generally to our lives to see what all could go wrong resulting in injury, death, loss/ damage of equipment or any other negative consequences such as financial loss (including the opportunity cost of an action). I would submit to you that a general assessment for your life is important. Additionally you could apply the RM process to specific events such as a trip or activity.

So we have to identify hazards for our life. Experience would show that a normal person has risks of injury while operating/ traveling in motor vehicles, risk of injury doing certain jobs/ tasks, risk of criminal actions, risk of natural disasters, etc plus of course pandemics, foreign invasions, grid down TEOTWAWKI collapses, Zombies, etc.

I would say that a big mistake people make is by arbitrarily narrowing the hazards they choose to assess. They tend to do this by drawing some magical line between normal life shit and ‘preparedness’. I recall a very famous survivalist who mentioned keeping a spare computer for the family hauler in a tin foil package in the trunk in case of am EMP but didn’t carry a concealed handgun! Not naming names but he entirely missed the point. I believe this was in part because he looked at preparedness or its less politically correct, maybe more racist, cousin survivalism as some discrete thing for extreme unlikely situations.

We need to look holistically at identifying the hazards that might impact our lives.  

To our scenario. The hazards of riding a motorcycle would be accidents or getting run over by a car.

Next we will Assess Hazards.

We want to rank hazards in terms of its probability and severity.

Top Summer Jobs to Teach Teens Prepping Skills

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: Another guest contribution from valknut79 to The Prepper Journal. Is this another time-honored tradition being impacted by year-round school? I hope not as I learned much from summer jobs that ranged from loading 100-lbs. bags of borate onto rail-road cars during a United Mine Workers strike in Boron California, and being shot at by those same United Mine workers, to working in the accounting department at Max Factor Make-up, to driving a home delivery milk truck for Carnation. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards  with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, then enter today!

Any summer job will teach your children the basics: coming to work on time, the value of hard work and money, and how to behave more like an adult. The best summer jobs, however, can also teach preparedness skills that are essential for them to learn as they grow and mature into (hopefully) responsible adults.

Becoming a waiter, while certainly an option, will not teach them half as much as some jobs. As a waiter, you make money daily, so there is no element of planning. You’ll learn about the menu, and people, but not much else. Of course, you’ll spend most of your time indoors, rather than outside. You might learn about how to help clean dishes, and you should hopefully see an increase in politeness, but this is not an ideal job if you want to learn something that would be helpful if the SHTF. What should teens be doing instead?


Life guarding is the ideal summer job. Your teen will sit outside in the warm sun, paying mindful attention to all the swimmers in the pool, lake, or ocean.

The benefits of this job are endless, but they start for preparedness with the fact that, as a lifeguard, your teen will be expected to learn CPR and basic first aid skills. These are essential basic medical practices that will be of instant use in most preparedness scenarios, SHTF or otherwise. Many teens, especially those who take jobs lifeguarding at beaches, will learn to study topographical maps, and learn about undertow, current, reading weather data, and “feeling” the weather changes as a result of their job having so much to do with the outdoors.

Teens will also learn quite a bit about being prepared with the right tools for the job. If your teen is out lifeguarding and forgets their water bottle or sunscreen, they won’t be in imminent danger thanks to rotation, but forgetting will start to occur less and less often as they find themselves potnetially sunburnt or suffering from headaches due to dehydration.

Lifeguards also are expected to keep physically fit, and are frequently drilled in life-saving drills that require them to swim long distances carrying weight. If that doesn’t do it, then perhaps the thought of having to be seen in a bathing suit all day wil help motivate them to get off the couch and burn a few calories.

Outdoor Maintenance

When I was a teen, I spent three summers working outdoor maintenance at my large local library. My job duties entailed mowing lawns, trimming bushes, deadheading and planting flowers, as well as a few indoor projects for rainy days. This was one of my first forays into the world of gardening, as I had never really planted flowers since I was in third grade science. I had never refilled the gas tank on the lawn mower since I lived in an apartment, and I found I had quite a bit to learn about maintaining power tools, sharpening blades, and how to trim a bush without destroying the bush. I even got preemptive driving lessons on the riding lawnmower since I was too young for my driver’s license. When I was indoors, I rewired a set of lights with my boss’s help, and I replaced a large number of broken fixtures and spent lightbulbs.

All in all, these jobs exist everywhere, mostly in large government buildings or as a member of your city’s public works department, or privately at landscaping companies. There is a lot for kids to learn in these jobs in regards to maintaining tools, but also about plants and gardening.

Camp Counseling

A camp counselor job is one that requires a lot of responsibility. This is not a “first job” unless you likely start as a volunteer helper, but it can be one of the most rewarding jobs that you can do over the summer, and is the only one on this list that may not feel quite so much like a job.

Counselors are responsible for a large group of children, and while acitivities are often planned by coordinators, there’s a lot that goes into this job. It’s more than just sitting and watching youngsters play at the park. For counselors of the very young, you’ll have to manage a group of upwards of ten kids at a time, and make sure that they can play safely together without fighting, falling or making a mess. You also need to watch to make sure that none of them are wandering off, and that all of them are having a good time. A bored kid is a kid about to start trouble.

What I remember most about my time as a camp counselor was that you had to be ready for everything – a lesson all preppers would do well to remember. On Monday, Jack attempted to play hide and seek in the forest near the playground instead of in the playground itself. On Tuesday, Jill fell on the sidewalk and scraped her knee. On Wednesday, one counselor’s group was late leaving the cafeteria, and I needed to teach all my hungry six-year-olds how to play rock-paper-scissors while we waited for our turn at lunch.

As a counselor, you need to be full of games and activities, you need to be tough, demanding and respected by your kids, and you need to know a few basics. Any good counselor program will require counselors to know first aid, some will require CPR, and some will expect them to demonstrate good swimming because they’ll be the only lifeguard their pool has. Sleepaway camps will require your teen to deal with the emotional issues of homesickness and loneliness.

All in all, a camp counselor position teaches your teen a lot about kids and self-confidence. After all, if they can do this job, they’ll feel like they can do anything. Mostly, though, being a counselor is a chance for your teen to stretch their legs as a leader, and thrusts them into a position of power. They’ll learn, more quickly than you realize, that being a leader means being prepared, and that being prepared makes their life a lot easier.

Nursery Supplier

Garden nursuries are an intersting and intense business. In most parts of our country, they open in the spring, right around the time that college kids are planning their summer jobs, and have to make enough money during three or four months to live on and cover expenses for a full twelve month period.

One thing about teens is that their first job really defines many of their new interests. Quite unlike their schoolwork or their family activities, they are intrinsically motivated to learn as much as possible about the job and it’s business model. Many are proud of their jobs, and many learn more from these jobs than you’d possibly realize, and their first paycheck will often make their allowance seem like a very paltry sum indeed.

When my best friend worked for a local nursury, he learned a lot about plants, to the point where he could identify different types of trees and flowers, and identify seeds by look and feel alone. To this day, he can look at a seed and tell if it’s going to be a zucchini or a butternut squash, even though they look identical to me. In addition, he planted a garden in his backyard as a teenager, and planned his finances for the year according to the plan of the business – make money in those three months to last all year – he saved and budgeted well for an entire twelve month period.

In addition to these benefits, working at a local nursery requires hard work. Since they need to make hay during a short period, workers at these jobs work quickly, work hard, and often work very long hours. There is a lot of hauling, a lot of walking, and a sense that making small mistakes – like leaving the greenhouse doors open during a late spring freeze – can lead to serious consequences.

What better lesson can a young teen learn than that? What other jobs are perfect for teens that would help them learn prepper skills? Let us know in the comments below.

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Life and Risk Management

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Hey Folks, I figured I should say hello. Things have been busy. On a positive note for me and by default you all school just finished up. Waiting for grades to post but if everything goes well I will be done. I can use a mental/ financial/ emotional break for awhile. With more available time I may blog more. No promises but it might happen.

Anyway our friend Meister did a Couple of posts about risk management which are worth looking at. He brings up some excellent points. Specifically looking objectively at our potential risks, focusing on more realistic risks instead of unrealistic ones, mitigating risk whenever possible, making are the residual risk is worth the benefits and constantly reassessing. You all should go there and leave a comment to encourage his efforts.

My next risk management post is written. It is 6 pages long albeit with some lists and pictures. I am going to review it and hopefully get it out to you all this week.

For me currently the big pushes are financial and fitness. I need to rebuild some savings and plan for a transition. Also lose a shade under 20 lbs and get faster. Other then that my main goals are rounding stuff out to really get my systems right.

If it works out ok I have some training opportunities on the horizon but that’s not really my focus right now.

So anyway I’m not dead and that’s what is up with me. 

Travel Apps You Must Have For Your Next Trip

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: A guest contribution from Rachel Summers to The Prepper Journal. If only there were an app to beam us past TSA. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards  with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, then enter today!

The smartphone has revolutionized the way we travel. In the old days, you’d be snowed under with maps, travel guides, and other accessories to get you through your trip. These days, all you need is your phone and a Wi-Fi connection. Here’s 10 of the best apps you should be downloading before you travel.

  1. Uber

Need a ride? This popular taxi/ride sharing app has you covered. You can use your phone to summon a driver, and you can see exactly where they are on the map. You’ll even have their name, picture, and license plate, so you know who’s coming. Share your ride on social media too, so you’re safe when you step in the car. This is especially helpful if you’re travelling alone.

  1. Skype

If you’re going to be away for a long period of time, at some point you’re going to get homesick. Back in the day you’d have to send a postcard, or make an expensive long distance phone call. These days, all you need to do is fire up Skype and chat to your loved ones at home. It’s free too, so it’s not going to make any dent in your travel budget.

  1. Google Translate

If you’re going to a country that speaks a different language, it’s advisable to learn at least some of the language yourself. There are even language apps like Best Australian Writers and Grammarix, which are among the top 10 learning tools out there. However, you’re not going to be perfect. Google Translate will handle translations for you, so you’re never stuck. You can even use the app to scan writing and have it translated in real time.

  1. Hopper

Flight shopping is one of the most frustrating experiences for travellers. Search around and prices vary wildly. When’s the best time go? This app will help. It searches all available flights and gives you a list depending on your needs, whether that’s cheapest first, or in a certain time frame. It’s a good way to know you’re always getting the best deals.

  1. XE Currency

‘Currency rates are always fluctuating. If you don’t keep on top of them, you won’t know what you’re paying when you’re away’ says travel manager Janet Ducal from Australian Reviewer. ‘It’s best to have an app that can tell you exactly what you’re spending.’ XE Currency is the best way of doing this. This well respected app will show you up to date currency rates, so you know exactly what you’re paying out while you’re abroad.

  1. Wi-Fi Map

These days you’ve got to have Wi-Fi, wherever you are. Many businesses are realising this, and are offering Wi-Fi to their patrons. This app is how you find them. Boot it up, and it’ll use your location to search for Wi-Fi locations around you. You’ll then be able to find the nearest hotspot to you, so you can get work done or upload those holiday snaps without eating into your data.

  1. Triposo

This app is designed to be used offline, so even if you can’t find a nearby Wi-Fi signal, you’re in luck. It’ll pull travel guides and other useful information from thousands of different sites online. When you’re out in the Wi-Fi wilderness, you can still pull on the information found there, thanks to this app.

  1. Snapseed

Your travel pictures are great, but some of them aren’t as good looking as you want them to be. That sunset is a bit washed out, or that photo of you in a club is slightly too dark. This app will help you edit them so they’re perfect. ‘This app was great was I was on the go and needed to upload pictures’ says travel blogger Gerry Henderson from Elite Assignment Help. ‘I could edit a picture in a few minutes on my phone, and it’d be ready to go.’

  1. Pocket

When you’re out on the road, you’re going to need some reading material. You’ll be spending time on planes, buses, and waiting rooms as you make connections. Pocket helps you collect and save reading material online, so you can read it when you’re ready. It’s brilliant when you find yourself with an hour layover and nothing to do.

  1. AirBNB

Many travelers swear by this app if you’re looking for a place to stay. An AirBNB can be a lot more comfortable than a hotel. They’re a good option if you’re travelling with a large party too. ‘The best part is they’re often very affordable’ says traveler Fiona Morgan from Revieweal. ‘It meant I could afford to see places I couldn’t have otherwise gone to.’

Give these apps a try the next time you travel. They can make the process a whole lot easier, and more enjoyable.

Rachel Summers is a veteran writer, living and working in the UK. She specializes in education, working with companies such as UK Top Writers. She aims to make education easier for everyone, and to help students find the best ways to tackle their studies.

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Living in Student’s Dormitory: What to Know

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: A guest post from Julie to The Prepper Journal. Some takeaways here for not only college bound students but for any of us being thrown into a communal situation.

Being a college student is challenging. It has multiple advantages, yet some of its disadvantages might drive you crazy. For instance, dorm living is something some students enjoy, yet many pretty much hate. In the end, it all depends on your background experience. Sharing a room with a person you’ve never seen in your entire life can be tough, but it could also be an enjoyable experience.

In order to make the best out of your college years, we’ve provided some tips on how to survive living in a dorm. What are the things that you should know? Is there anything that you could change? How can you manage conflicts? Let’s discuss all these and see if it helps you.

Buy Earplugs

College is going to drive you crazy if you are not used to a lot of noise. Loud music, loud people, loud cars, loud debates – you are going to experiment all that. Dorms are really noisy and can make your life miserable if you don’t prepare correspondingly. You might need a good pair of earplugs in order to sleep well.

If your neighbors get on your nerves, make sure you manage the situation properly. Don’t come out of the room and yell at them, nicely knock on their door and ask them to turn it down. If they don’t cut it down, talk to the RA. He or she is going to know how to handle these types of situations.

You Have No Privacy

Sorry to disappoint you, but college means a complete lack of your privacy. Your dorm is the only place where you can find your peace, but if you don’t get along with your roommate, that might be difficult too. Anyways, don’t freak out. Any campus has places where you can be alone, like spiritual rooms or the counseling center. You just need to find them!

To be honest with you, there is a high probability that you are going to spend 90% of your time with different people. You are going to share a room with someone, eat with someone else, and study in large groups. Of course, you can always choose to avoid crowded places, but where’s the fun in that? You’re going to have enough alone time after graduating, so enjoy these years!

Buy Essentials

College is not the place for bubble baths and scented candles! You are going to wait in a long line before taking a shower, so get used to it. If you thought living in dorms would be comfortable, surprise! It isn’t! But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy it. You just have to be prepared for it. Therefore:

  • Buy cleaning products! You should clean up the shower cabin before getting in it. You should destroy any bacteria and keep yourself healthy
  • Buy flip-flops! Please don’t shower bare foot, that can be really unhealthy for your body. Bacteria can be found everywhere, especially in common shower cabins
  • Keep your hair and body products with you at all times, don’t leave them in the shower. It’s college – people are going to use them
  • Buy a bathrobe to wear when you get out of the shower. It is cozy and fluffy, and a great asset to help carry your showering supplies.

Prepare to Accept

You are going to meet new people and make new friends in a second! That is the best thing about college. It is always nice to make new connections and deal with new personalities. Well, almost… even though you are going to meet amazing people, you should also prepare for personalities which don’t correspond to your values.

Unfortunately, that’s when conflicts start to appear. Or should I say fortunately? Learning how to deal with difficult personalities can be a plus in the long-term. Think about your future job – you are going to meet people you don’t like for sure. So, why not practice solving conflicts beforehand? College is a great place to start. Some advice:

  • Avoid fights or verbal accusations of any kind, that might really get you in trouble
  • Try to figure things out and find a solution for any problem
  • Explain what bothers you and act maturely
  • Be patient and don’t overreact.

How About Food?

You might like the food or not. Anyhow, freshmen have only one option usually – the cafeteria. If eating there does not satisfy you enough, don’t do it. Eating food you don’t like is going to get you sick (been there, done that). Make sure you talk to your parents about options to avoid nasty food. Don’t consume too much fast-food, you are going to put on a lot of useless weight. Remember to stay active, and try to eat as healthy as possible!

Make Friends with the RA

Ken Robertson, former RA coordinator, and freelancer for one of the best resume services online, shares his opinion. “The RA is probably the most important entity in your dorm hall. Get to know him or her! Having them by your side is going to bring you important advantages. For once, you are going to make a new friend, and meet a new type of personality. You are also going to have someone to go to in case of a conflict. If the RA likes you, he or she is more likely to help in difficult situations.”


Even though there are difficult situations you’ll have to deal with in college, don’t forget to enjoy it. College time is fun time, as challenging as it might be. Make new friends and discover yourself! Get involved in different clubs or intramural sports! Join volunteering activities and help the people around you. Attend parties (but drink responsibly!) Embrace the experience and let it change you!

Wrapping Up

No matter the circumstances, don’t forget to have a good time. Watch out for fake friends and conflicts, study a lot, buy your cleaning supplies, and avoid nasty foods. These are the rules of surviving dorm rooms. Good luck!

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Practical Preparedness: Sanity Savers

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Sanity is important. Really. It’s easy to think that in a disaster we’ll just make do because we won’t have any choice. That’s adding a lot of stress to our bodies and minds in an already stressful situation.

People die and are brutalized as a result of today’s stresses, and various reactions to them. We are not all going to be immune should something occur – income loss, natural disaster, or nation-altering event. However, we can make some sanity-saving preparations to ease those stresses rather than increase them.


We’re used to a great deal of privacy in most Western cultures. It’s no longer the norm to have 3+ generations in a single household. It’s no longer the norm to have even a nuclear family live without separate bedrooms and usually at least one family room to choose from and “get away”.

People make it through boomerang children and sudden house sharing. Flip side: Consider how many conflicts (and separations) occur when folks retire. Sometimes, two people are “suddenly” exposed to each other 24/7/365 and discover they actually only liked each other in small doses.

When we share tighter spaces, or share with more people than usual, conflicts tend to arise. Being able to retain even a minor visual escape from fidgets and from annoyances can be huge.

Cubbies can be arranged for tiny reading nooks, as well as to create smaller rooms or block off a bunk to provide some escape space. All we need to maintain some privacy and individual space are some sheets or fabric, and some screws, screw-in hooks, or some heavy-duty staples. You might also want to snag something like garden mesh or tulle that can be doubled up to provide a visual barrier but not block as much airflow.

Ear Plugs

As with getting out of sight, getting away from sounds can be enormously sanity saving. I prefer the Rite Aid-brand of soft orange foamies ($5-$8/50). They fit a variety of canals, fluff out fast, aren’t scratchy, and you can sleep on your side. They can also be used in conjunction with over-the-ear and around-the-ear headsets, which can further reduce the intrusion of outside noises.

Music & Headsets

Many of us like music, but don’t want to hear somebody learning to play the harmonica and singing may require those earplugs. Within my family, various infidels think Skillet is a pan, Pitbull is a breed, Celtic Woman is plural, FFDP=5FDP, and it’s normal to howl to country music. There’s audio torture in there for pretty much everybody.

Happily, we have options that will allow us to all dance to the beat of our own drummers.

There are umpteen music and video download services for smart phone or tablet. MP3 players have become wicked inexpensive. Phones are media storage devices, giving those old electronics we replace frequently new life. Terabyte external hard drives not much bigger than a wallet run $10-$20. They all fit compactly in Ziploc and EMP boxes and shields http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/default.aspx?catid=1006.

Even more happily, there are these handy things called “headsets”. This is different from earbuds. Headsets go over your ears or fit all the way around the ear, sealing off even more of the outside world. Plus, you can wear earplugs with a headset.

You’ll want to make sure you’re also stocking multiple power options. There are rocket stoves that can produce electricity. Small solar chargers are inexpensive. Some are barely bigger than an old flip phone, some are the size of smart phones and tablets, and some that are still in the $20-$50 range take up the space of a laptop – some of which expand to 2-3x times that for collection. Most will handle cell phones and mp3 players easily.

Cough Drops & Syrup

It may seem ridiculous, but somebody repeatedly hacking really will get on others’ nerves. It can also be disruptive to sleep – theirs and others’. Sleep deprivation is one of those things that generates emotional outbursts and bad decisions. It’s an easy fix.

Books, Games & Entertainment

Don’t ignore entertainments just because you think you’ll be working and then sleeping, and won’t need light or distractions. We watched and listened to stories and played sports and games even during pretty tough, lean periods of history.

There are compact card versions of a lot of board games, quickie fun like Man Bites Dog, and games like Qwixx that can cross purpose into Farkle, Yahtzee, and other dice games with some pre-printed instructions. We can create holiday, seasonal, and educational versions of Pictionary, Last Word, BINGO, and Scattergories. (Budget extender: home-print prompts and draw for letters instead of buying the game/alphabet die.) Notebook-sized dry erase boards provide reusable playing and scorekeeping.

Books run the gamut from the usual suspects (crosswords, Sudoku, search-a-word, “Brain Busters”) to fiction in line with family’s TV or gaming interests. Large-print versions will be easier to read in dim light. Some of the free papers in front of supermarkets have a puzzle page (don’t forget to snag the next addition for answers, and pencils).

There’s nothing wrong with adding books to our electronic media, but have some hardcopies.

Places like Oriental Trading Co. can be great for nabbing tiny jigsaw puzzles, finger-fidgets, all kinds of crafts, brain teasers, small activities, dominos, and bead mazes, for less than $5-$10 per lot of 4-24. Watch for their free shipping with no purchase limit specials ahead of holidays.

You can have jigsaw puzzles made out of favorite photos, or print your own. A dozen with their pictures fit in a shirt box. Some Nerf or airsoft guns and home-printed targets can make for an all-ages pirate or zombie party. Indoor bowling sets, non-pokey dartboards, mini indoor basketball goals, homemade bean-bag tosses, and similar are all ways to keep boredom and stress from boiling over even if we’re not trapped by weather or in a bunker/compound situation.

If there are adults and adolescents, don’t forget the condoms. Especially if you don’t plan for other entertainments.


For some, books, games, movies, music, and the internet are vices. For others, it’s nicotine or booze, chocolate or caffeine, popcorn or chips. Some people are pretty well addicted to their sports, watching or playing. Socializing and shopping will be a hard loss for others.

Loss leads to stress, and we’re already looking at stressful situations. We can either add to losses, or mitigate some. People “Jonesing is only going to further stress them and those around them.

Vices can absolutely be poor choices, especially in contained spaces. Still, weigh them out. Some aren’t so bad. Many addiction vices can be stocked for an initial transition period. Other types can be stocked to be a once-in-a-while treat or easily, inexpensively indulged.


Heat can be the straw that breaks a camel’s back. Heat can also cause actual medical stress, so combating it checks extra boxes.

One easy, fairly inexpensive helper are battery-operated fans. Some of them are tiny little AA and AAA mini’s we clip to strollers and dashboards. Box fans come in 6”-10” and 12”-20” ranges, running off 4-8 AA or 1-4 C or D batteries. Many can now be charged directly via USB.

Some of them generate a fair bit of breeze, which can help tremendously with perceived temperature. Even the less-effective ones can help a little. You can increase effectiveness by sticking something cool or cold in front of them, like a frozen water bottle, wet sponge, or one of those crack-cool ice packs (especially wrapped in a damp cloth).

Dunk-snap bandanas and soak-activated neck coolers (those start to get slimy after multiple uses) can also help significantly.


The loss of friends and family, the loss of purpose after losing a job or retiring, loss of social outlets, and injuries already cause people to spiral into depression. It’s a common problem as-is, and is fairly guaranteed to increase if our worlds are ripped away. Anything that can fight it will be a big help – exercise is one of those things.

Exercise also helps with stress. It’s going to be a necessary outlet for active folks who are suddenly “trapped”. It allows some to release some of their frustrations – some, not everyone. It can also ease anxiety.

Physical therapy and senior citizen exercises can be helpful even for young, healthy bodies. We can leave mat space for calisthenics and Pilates, have chairs sturdy enough for exercise props, and stock resistance bands. There’s also the option of sticking a bike on a rack – which has the advantages of potentially being connected to a grinder, a laundry machine, or a generator. Hand bikes, rowers, or reclining bikes have their own advantages.

I personally wouldn’t install a boxing bag or treadmill somewhere everybody has to hear it getting pounded, since that’s only going to create more conflict and frustration.

Dealing with Conflicts

Anytime you increase stress, problems are going to start showing up. It’s not like preexisting issues go away, either. Especially in situations where you’re doubling-up in homes, living in RV or camping conditions, or in a bunker-barracks scenario, conflicts are going to arise.

Study, train, and stock material related to anger management, stress, grief processing, PTSD, forgiveness, passive-aggressive tendencies, abuse/assault, compromise, divorce, loss specifically related to parents and kids and miscarriages, for-real conflict resolution, and both assertiveness and sensitivity training. Get training on listening – specifically listening to family members – for as many as can attend.

We see divorces, PTSD, business partnership dissolutions, and family meltdowns every day. Thinking that high-stress will only bring our people closer, not crack some and create fissures, is delusional.



Sensory Processing/ Perception Disorder can manifest in a range of ways. Some “feel” and “see” certain sounds – sometimes like corduroy rubbing in the ear, or that awful sensation of a pencil eraser’s metal scraping paper and desk. I don’t actually recognize background noises – clocks ticking, ceiling fans whirring, dogs panting, conversations behind a door, and rubbing of a callous are as prominent to me as face-to-face words. It has advantages and frustrations.

Other common and regularly undiagnosed sensitivities include misophonia (triggered by picking at nails, whistling breath, chewing, sucking on teeth, flicking and tapping pencils, thumbing pages of books) and misokenisia (many of the same, plus twiddling thumbs, jerking feet, bouncing knees, etc., especially when the repetitive motion is at the verge of peripheral vision).

It’s not just “get over it” territory or being appalled by bad table manners and fidgets. The mis-wired brain triggers extreme flight-fight reactions. It can make sufferers want to cry, scream, or stab someone. People have grit their teeth so hard they crack fillings, and dug nails so hard into their own thighs and earlobes that they draw blood.

Providing escapes and being cognizant of bad habits, sensitivities to bad habits, and finding resolutions is going to be important. Especially since being trapped for a long winter already causes people to go postal (hello, cabin fever) and so many people have weapons handy.

Other sensitivities to note now, especially for tight, closed quarters, are things like somebody wheezing from Vick’s or Aspercreme, somebody sneezing and sniffling until aerosol deodorizers dissipate (and that person not covering their mouth/nose properly), regular detergents making somebody itch, improper hand washing (“Gross!” & “Don’t touch food/dishes!” tiffs), and the smell of certain cleaners turning somebody’s stomach. There’s usually a work-around.

Anytime there’s nowhere to flee – trapped together by a hurricane or frigid weather, or in a bunker-type situation – the reaction to stressors is going to be to fight.

Pay attention, learn sensitivities ahead of time, and figure out ways to prevent and mitigate them. Distractions and mini-escapes will help tremendously.

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Homes For Heroes Is Tackling America’s Veteran Housing Issues

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Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: A guest post from Chrissy McDonald to The Prepper Journal. Published under my name because I am adding my 2 cents at the end. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly receive a $25 cash award as well as be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards  with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today!

A note about our author in her words: “This is personal to me because my grandfather, father, two uncles, and three brothers have all served in the military with many relatives going in to law enforcement or becoming firefighters.”

Between 2016 and 2017, the number of homeless veterans increased by 1.5 percent. This means that our military men and women who put their lives on the line to protect and serve America now make up approximately nine percent of the homeless in our streets. This matched the rise in overall numbers living without a home. For the men and women that we consider our heroes, it seems like they are facing an increasingly harsh reality when they return home from serving. In June, 2017 the government announced plans to halt one of the country’s major homelessness programs aimed at veterans, and faced a major outcry from politicians and civilians alike.

In the face of increasing hardship for our heroes, there has been an organisation that has rapidly become a household name and trusted resource for our military men and women. Homes for Heroes has quickly risen to become one of the nation’s fastest growing charities, and a highly rated one as well. Launched after the 9/11 attacks, the national non-profit has expanded to 49 states across America and has shown its support for veterans in a number of ways. Here are some of the ways the organisation is helping to combat veterans homelessness.

Building Homes for Heroes

Homes for Heroes has announced its goal for 2018: to gift a home every 11 days. Its longer term goal is to house 200 veterans with homes by 2020. Judging by the past two years, it is certainly on its way to achieving that goal. For the past two years, Homes For Heroes has provided 57 homes to injured veterans and their families.

The Foundation

Through the organisation’s foundation and support of programs like the AREAA Housing Assistance Program, Homes for Heroes has granted over $400,000 to deserving veterans and their families. In December 2017, Homes for Heroes also donated $5,000 to the AREAA Education Foundation that will go towards helping veterans with housing repairs, amendments and any down payment assistance. The program has been praised by many including Illinois senator Tammy Duckworth who stated, “Your efforts and generosity, not only benefit the men and women who have served our country, but you are an example of leadership for the next generation of Americans”. The organisation also supports and promotes self sufficiency for those injured veterans readjusting to their life changing injuries and life after serving.

The collaboration with local businesses and other non profits continue to be seen with corporate organisations Chase and Madza joining forces with Building Homes for Heroes in September to assist three veterans during Military Appreciation Day. Two of the families were awarded new Mazda vehicles and allowed to choose a car of their choice. 

Hero Rewards

As of 2017, the Homes for Heroes network has grown to include over 2,200 affiliates across 49 states. Since its launch over 10, 000 heroes have been helped with reduced fees and red tapes when purchasing a home through the Hero Rewards Program. The 25 percent reduction in fees and donations from clients are funneled into the Foundation, essentially helping more heroes in need.

Homes for Heroes continues to find new ways to say ‘thank you’ to the men and women who serve the country during its time of need in Iraq and Afghanistan. The organisation is proud to have achieved its goal of one home every ten days in 2017 and 93 percent of its income goes directly to its causes.

Editor’s note: How does this help Preppers? Well, while it still doesn’t answer the open question of “just how do you REALLY make arrows off the grid” it is along a subject line that permeates our current news. And the comments following are from some research and seeking to know exactly what the business model is behind this enterprise because we, as Preppers, respect our veterans, a lot of us are veterans, and want to see them given a helping hand when needed.

Be clear, realtors view this as a for-profit business. That is an opinion that is prevalent on the web site Active Rain which is a real estate blog. I don’t buy it but leave it up to you to research. CharityNavigator states the following:

“Building Homes for Heroes has received a perfect 4-star rating from CharityNavigator, the nation’s largest charity evaluator and independent watchdog for nonprofit organizations. Building Homes for Heroes was also awarded a perfect score of 100 in the category of Accountability and Transparency.” – Wikipedia defines this group as “An American independent charity watchdog organization that evaluates charitable organizations in the United States.Wikipedia”. It is a 501(c)(3) business headquartered in Glen Rock, NJ.


So is it or isn’t it a charity? The affiliates are real estate agents who have signed up for the program as a promotional advertising method. They agree to provide a 25% discount on all transactions associated with the home sale to Homes for Heroes in exchange for using their branding and advertising. This is what they are in most states, from their website “Hero Rewards offers are limited and/or restricted in Alaska, Kansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.” I believe this to be more a matter of state regulations on real estates transactions, for example Texas allows agents to reassign commissions as they deem fit. 

From Active Rain: Where do they make money? They charge the “affiliates” $120 a month. Yes, that’s $120 a month, just to be called an affiliate. That gets you NOTHING! Let me also explain that Homes for Heroes will remind you over and over that they are not a lead generating company. That further means that you could be paying that $120 a month each and every month throughout the year, and never get a Hero referred to you. This is simply the reality of the business. They are straight forward about what they do and are providing a service to Veterans, but like every other prepper, I like to look under the hood and kick the tires. So just another consideration when you might be transacting real estate.

I will go one step further on the vein, I am currently trying to sell a home and was not aware of this organization. I have opted for a flat-fee realtor to represent me and it is working just fine…so far. The business model of giving away 6+% of your home value (3% on each side of the transaction) is really an amazing thing. Does the documentation change in difficulty on a real estate sale of a home priced at $122,500 vs one priced at $855,490? Maybe the extra ink to print numbers with a larger footprint, but toner and ink prices aren’t that high.

My realtor recommended not putting a restriction on “the going rate” in my listing for the buyers agent because “most agents will pass on showing your home unless they get the full commission, their brokers insist upon it.” I see it as a selling point if I am a buyer as I can tell the seller the agents fee for both ends of the transaction are $6,000, total, as opposed to 6% of say $300,000. Keeping $12,000 of what was your money in the first place is NOT a bad thing. This model is catching on so look for the large brokerages to start copying the DNC on negative information generation. I will shut up now as I wait to see if the buyer on my house, sold in one day, really thinks I am going to pay for a whole new roof for THEM to live under. I admit that I did not budget that into my pricing.

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The Best Preps for ANY Budget

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: Another guest contribution from R. Ann Parris to The Prepper Journal. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly receive a $25 cash award as well as be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards  with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

Get In Shape

No, really. With absolutely nothing to your name, you can be better off than a quarter if not half the preppers with gear, land, and partners. Want a little ‘for example’? How about the huffing and puffing we hear when folks run from the cold or rain? Or are forced to hustle to catch mass transit of some kind?

There’s the muscle injuries and heart attacks that get warned about ahead of winter storms. There’s a lesser publicized set of aches that even active homesteaders work through at the beginning of spring or late summer and autumn as we get back in to full swing – doing more than shoveling snow, poking in checking on things, hauling feed to the (usually) closer barn than to and around pastures. Every year, there are hikers who end up overextended and in distress.

We shake our heads at news stories when people put themselves in sucky situations. Let’s make sure we’re not one of them sometime in the future.

Get in Shape for WORKING

General physical ability can be helpful, and it’s a leg up, for sure. However, there’s gym fit and there’s street-woods fit. Gear your “workouts” to things you’ll be doing. You can also find exercises that directly relate to activities you expect.

Mix up your walking/packing/jogging/sprint surfaces. If you live rural and plan to cut cross-country if you’re away from home, sure, focus on the “natural” surfaces around you. Don’t ignore hardtops, but they’re less important for one-time, single-digit day-count packing. If you live or work in a lot of urban environments, though, make your training more fifty-fifty.

Walk on the sides of ditches and in loose leaves to build your ankles up. Sandy beaches offer a variety of challenging textures that can also help seriously strengthen legs and ankles depending on where in the tide line or above it you exercise and run. It’ll be helpful in snow and ice as well, and in tilled gardens or hand-harvesting hay and grains and big bean plots.

Those strong ankles will also be an aid in keeping your balance anytime you lose it – like if you anticipate ever getting shoved or tripped.

If you live somewhere floods are a risk or where you get a fair bit of snow, start plowing through some water if any’s available. You may be able to find times of day or parts of parks where you won’t attract attention slogging through a little stream or knee-deep in lake, bay, or marsh water. You may also be able to find an affordable YMCA or similar pool, although you’ll be “stuck” with waist-high instead of the more-unique pulls of calf- and knee-high slogging. (Please watch for snakes that will be annoyed with you and wear good sneakers.)

Go slow – this isn’t a sprint, it’s preparing you for winter work and bug-outs, not a footrace. Steady, certain steps are the biggie, and developing the muscles. Don’t be too ambitious at first. Rushing is a broken ankle or wrist and be careful waiting to happen. Be smart in cool weather – hypothermia doesn’t require freezes.

You can find gym equipment or band workouts that can help you build muscles for raking and shoveling, swinging an ax, or hauling and pushing carts and wagons. Bands require an investment, and there are contrasting opinions about them, but they’re affordable and compact – exercise anywhere.

Boxing and kick boxing exercises abound on the internet. Both build an enormous amount of core strength.

A gallon of water weighs about eight pounds. (Start with a half-gallon or liter, please.) If we get milk, we can get weights at home without spending an extra penny or having to build in time to go somewhere. When you’re ready for more, look around your environment for pipes, golf clubs, sturdy pruned limbs, etc., that can be used to create a bar. (Duct tape them – sliding weight, even “just” 8-16 pounds, is a recipe for an injury.)

Do Exercises Correctly

Do weight, stretching, and isometric exercises slowly. Use a mirror to check your form. When your form is muscle memory, close your eyes and concentrate on the feel.

Bucking, rocking, kipping or whatever you want to call them are not only cheating yourself. They’re also an injury waiting to happen. You also work more of your muscles, longer and harder, by working them slowly.

Build the Right Strengths

Start with low weights and high reps. Keep those high reps and slow motions even when you advance in weight. Practice holding at each point, and stopping midway for holds, too.

There are the instant-action parts of homesteading and camping/packing/paddling, absolutely: that moment when you heave the pressed hay up and over, to stack or to carry, or slinging a bag of feed up and over your shoulder, shoving off rocks or getting flipped backwards. There are “power pops” when you stress your tool maintenance guy and your body taking bypass pruners to tough wood and at funny angles.

However, many of our tasks are endless repetitions – raking, forking, shoveling, paddling, hauling a rope of a beaver slide or pulley lift to get hay or straw to a loft or hoist an animal for butchering.

In low-power or no-power situations, and low- or no-noise situations, there’s also hand sawing – which is a fast action, but a lot of it. There’s things like rocking a garden weasel back and forth, and push-pull lawn cutting with a rotary mower. There’s the bent or crouched schnick-schnick-schnick-turn-toss-schnick-schnick-schnick of harvesting grains or hay or straw, or gathering small branches or vines, or trimming down tree feeds for livestock.

Do, absolutely, work some of the hand-and-footwork speed drills, too. There are times when higher weights and quick motions do come into play.

I have to have the “snatch” strength to catch that ladder before it tips, or to snag a tree when rotting stuff gives way underfoot, to help somebody on steep trails or slipping on ice, or the harness line when my goofy dog accidentally bounces another dog over the edge of something (most recently it was her brother off a boat dock).

My medical supplies do me no good if I can’t heave my heavy dog over my shoulder and get it somewhere, or drag my family and partners out of something or into something. Maybe it’s a house fire, maybe they slipped off a bridge, maybe a bookshelf tilted. Maybe it’s a large animal, and being able to slam and brace and hold a gate to keep something out and away from them.

Even so, most of those have an endurance aspect. Catching for a moment is only half the battle.

I have to sustain that hold, and I have to be able to pull without losing my grip. I have to scramble with that hold sometimes, or not lose my footing.

Maybe today there’s an earthquake or tornado that starts a fire, some nut-job shooting, or a 500-year flood strikes. If I can’t carry or drag my loved ones all the way out of harm’s way, I lose them.

Maybe today’s task is sitting on the ground or edge of something, digging in heels, straining against a rope and “climbing” to haul something to a loft or my kid/partner/lover/parent out of a well or somebody’s deer pit. If I can’t hold onto that timber we’re hauling, if I slip as belay anchor or lose my grip on that rope, I hurt somebody.

Initial adrenaline will only take us so far. It’s worth getting in shape for.

Prepare Your Body, or Prepare to Fail

All the gear in the world isn’t going to help somebody who can’t get out of a building or down the road, who can’t escape a fire or flood, who can’t evade a mob and then put enough distance between them to beat the police barricade lines.

The best bug-out location on earth won’t help somebody who can’t get to it and keep it going – who can’t lift their kid and that fancy bag up over a fence, who can’t build a shelter against cold, wet weather to keep their family from hypothermia, who can’t lift enough water in big buckets to keep livestock and gardens watered, let alone bathe.

The expensive spotting scope and fancy rifle that found and took a deer doesn’t help the guy who then can’t get it up a hill or across the flats – at all, without injury or heart attack, or “fast enough” in some parts of the world where bears, hogs, and human scavengers like to check out gunshots.

Side Benefits to Exercise

Exercise is also incredibly good for the brain, both in combating stress and depression, and in sharpening our minds and senses. Tired bodies help us sleep better, with sleep hugely important to stress, recovery, mood, and decision making.

When you feel stronger and fitter, you’ll also find your confidence increasing, which in some cases actually decreases aggression and combative attitudes. (Lack of confidence tends to lead to those small-dog yappy-snappy, argumentative people who take everything as a personal insult and a direct challenge to authority.)

That’s going to make a disaster of any scale a whole lot easier to deal with, no matter how active or sedentary it is.

Prep for Retaining & Regaining Strength

If you’re lucky enough to have a bunker, a storm cellar, or a tight compound, don’t forget to stash ways to stay in shape while you’re locked down. You only need a little space and some things that – besides bands – are probably already there. Make sure you also have a variety of exercises, stretches, and drills printed out and stashed.

Not only is endurance and raw strength important, and something that can be easily handled at little to no cost, work on flexibility. Exercises for seniors can be an excellent source there.

Physical therapy exercises are beneficial as well. Don’t forget to print up what they apply to. It can range from post-stroke and nerve damage recovery, to knee replacements and torn ACLs, out to oddballs like whiplash and dislocated fingers and wrists. Not only are many actually pretty fantastic stretching, mobility, dexterity, and strength-building regimens, if there is an accident or injury, you’re prepared for full recovery.

The One Irreplaceable Prep

Every disaster and evacuation, we hear of refugees surviving incredible hardships and long journeys, and people managing incredible physical feats to save their loved ones. But for every feel-good victory, there are losses. Not everyone makes it fast enough, far enough.

Increasing physical ability can be done in two, three, or four 10-20 minute sessions a day, a few times a week. It can cost nothing.

Some of it can be done pumping our fuel or during regular shopping trips, adding less time than we’ll stand in a checkout line or lust over goodies behind glass. Some of it can be done one hand at a time, reading or scrolling the internet with the other. We can keep up with weekly shows/sports doing cals and Pilates and physical therapy on the carpet and kitchen chair, or using a bar hung from a sturdy doorway.

Your body is the one thing there is no backup for. There are no excuses. Not time, not money, not current physical limitations. We can get stronger, and by doing so, improve our chances of survival.

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Welcome to 2018!

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Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

So you decided to stick it out for another year, congratulations! 2018, according to the Chinese and their 12-year zodiac cycle, is the year of the Dog, sometimes called The Earth Dog.

What does the New Year mean to us?

  • Well, individual income taxes are due soon, yet again…and they will be different which is a welcome change for most…
  • Auto licenses will need renewal, yet again….
  • We really gotta make an effort at meeting our resolutions, for a change, starting tomorrow, yep, after the football games today, yep….kale and okra smoothie for breakfast…
  • We have to really rethink what we drank last night….did I really say your mother could visit anytime? Would it be “hair of the Earth Dog” if we were in China?

Speaking of Russians everywhere and in everything, did you know that in fact, Russian New Year’s Eve is a bigger holiday for them than Christmas? Some blame it on the “godless communists” and I am okay with that but it is their biggest holiday. May Day is now more important to the American Left than to Russia. And Russians celebrates New Years twice! The same day we all do and their “old” New Years, January 14th, thanks to the Russian Orthodox influence. Having been to Moscow in the winter I completely embrace this tradition as the vodka does give the illusion of warmth, temporarily.

What’s new for The Prepper Journal? Well, we are adding “The Prepper YouTube Channel” to post related videos, and topical information, we are now on FaceBook and will share articles on a regular basis, we are also on Instagram and will see if that makes sense…..all because Social Media, like a broken clock, still has some use….and, as we have seen, in the hands of an expert, it can be an excellent hammer.

Sincere best wishes from The Prepper Journal for a safe, sane and profitable 2018!



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How Church Life Will Change in a Post- Apocalyptic World

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: Another guest post from Red J to The Prepper Journal. As we mull over our New Years resolutions, this article may give us a few ideas, may set on on a path to thinking of things that will directly effect us that we may not have considered to date. 

I have been a pastor for 20-plus years.  Since I discovered prepping, I have sometimes wondered how life will change for churches and pastors in a post grid-down scenario.  Even if you are not a believer, your community will be affected.  Here are my thoughts on how church life will change.  Most of these ideas will apply to all religious groups in general, not just Christians and churches.

Life in a grid-down situation will become extremely difficult.  Will faith endure when people face incredibly hard decisions?  The closest Biblical parallel is in the prophetic period in the later period of the Old Testament.  Some believers will feel like they’ve been abandoned or punished by God, and/or that God does not love them anymore.  All those unconditional promises by clergy speaking for God, will seem like broken promises.  Some may lose hope and forsake the faith.  There will be questions of sin, God’s punishment, and whether faithful believers can still claim a covenant relationship with God.  Can one still believe and hope in God when the material things have been stripped away?  Can one still hope in God when one sees so much death and devastation?  How can one trust in a God who allows so much pain and suffering?  Church leaders will be severely challenged by such questions and complaints.

The degree to which church leaders adapt to this new way of faith, will determine how effectively they can lead people of faith.  A study of Old Testament prophets could equip one to adapt faster to a similar period; investing in a few books or commentaries would prove helpful.  A study of how the Israelite’s survived the prophetic era, would equip believers in a similar period.  Studying how the Israelite’s survived the exile, could help those who will be uprooted by unforeseen hard times.  Clergy and Bible teachers would be wise to begin studying the prophets and the exile now, so they will be prepared to help believers when times become unimaginably difficult.

One practical change is that people will stop driving to church.  Imagine neighborhood churches in which people walk or bike to a church with others from your neighborhood.  Even if vehicles still function after an EMP, people will probably not use precious fuel to drive 20-40 minutes to church in another community.  That means that local churches will reflect the people in your geographic area.


This may have good and bad consequences.  It will be positive in that seeing your neighbors in church will reinforce your relationships with your neighbors, which may lead to cooperative arrangements and bartering with neighbors you trust.  This will mean that you will get to know some neighbors that you rarely see now.  Perhaps this means letting your neighbor borrow your roster for a few weeks, in exchange for some eggs.  Or your neighbor plowing your large garden, in exchange for part of a hog.  Maybe this means the people on your block getting together for a winter social event in someone’s shed or barn.


However, this may be negative if one has a bad experience with certain neighbors.  For example, let’s say you agree to rototill a garden for a neighbor, in exchange for his cutting firewood for you.  You did your rototilling, but your neighbor has not yet done his part.  Now winter has begun, and your wood supply is growing short.  How will you feel about seeing this neighbor in church?  Or imagine that things have been disappearing in your neighborhood.  No one knows who the thief is, but your neighbors suspect that it’s someone from your neighborhood.  When you go to church, you find yourself wondering if it could be someone in your congregation.

Losing electricity will affect churches whose current pastors commute more than a few miles.  If your pastor drives more than a few miles to your church, he will not likely continue serving your church in a grid-down scenario.  Consider if an elder or person in your neighborhood could step in as the pastor in an emergency.

There will be a large demand for pastoral services like leading worship, teaching Bible studies, pastoral care and counseling.  Remember how church attendance soared in the months after 9-11?  I foresee a similar response to a grid-down scenario.  However, when US dollars have little value, how will pastors and clergy be compensated?  This is no small issue for pastors who have a family to feed.  Back in the 1800s, it was common for pastors on the frontier to be paid in garden produce, eggs, a chicken, part of a hog that was butchered, or venison after a deer was shot. While that will help pastors, it will not likely be sufficient for provide for his family’s needs.  Thus, it would be wise for prepping pastors to learn a couple other skills to help provide for their family.

Look at utilities for church buildings and parsonages.  If your facility depends on natural gas or electricity, you may be wise to make contingency plans.  For example, will your church building and/or parsonage have a wood stove for winter heat?  Are there enough trees and forest in your area to provide wood for everyone who will be cutting it down?  Will an outhouse be built behind your building after a disaster?  Will you have a way to procure drinking water when electrical pumps fail?  These challenges will come up quickly after the grid goes down.  Thus it’s wise to have plans and materials in place now.  If you and your church do not have contingency plans in place, it will take you longer to respond to a radically different way of life after a major disaster.

When times get hard, there may be congregations that don’t meet in a traditional church building.  Some congregations may meet in a shed, barn, picnic shelter at a park, or backyard, especially if a church building is not available.  Another option is for two congregations to share a building.

Can a congregation play a role in forming mutual survival groups?  Some pastors know their members well.  If you’re thinking of asking a member to be part of your group, you may want to ask your pastor for his thoughts on that person.  He may recommend that person positively, or he may suggest being leery of that person.  This is like asking your pastor to be a personal reference.  There may be others in your church that you may want to ask to be a reference.  Discernment is crucial when asking others to become part of your group.  When asking someone for their personal thoughts on another person, assure that person that what s/he says will be kept confidential, and then keep it confidential.

Another issue will be, how will your congregation respond to those asking for food or other assistance?  Such requests will increase after a disaster, and likely increase dramatically.  Do you have a way to separate the legitimate requests from those who simply don’t want to work?  Here’s where a neighborhood church has an advantage.  Chances are, people on your church board will know who in your neighborhood has a genuine need and who has trouble getting out of bed on time or is wasting precious resources on alcoholic indulgences.

If you are a minister, you may want to get some training on caring for trauma survivors or counseling those with PTSD.  It wouldn’t cost much to buy a few books on caring for those with trauma or PTSD.  It may also be wise to be prepared to train members in helping those with trauma or PTSD because there will be many with those issues after a grid failure.  Imagine how your church could be a blessing in your community if you trained a dozen people to help trauma victims in their families or circles of friends.  Such care will help those individuals and families adjust to a different world.  One can also download YouTube videos on helping people with PTSD, as long as one takes precautions to protect your device from an EMP.

In a grid-down scenario, schools will cease functioning, leaving a void for the education of children.  I believe that churches could fill that need, if one is willing to make some plans.  Teachers today relay on the internet and a smartboard for daily lesson plans.  Imagine an elementary school using supplies and methods of a generation or two ago.  That means using chalkboards, textbooks, pencils, and paper tablets.  If your church prepares by buying such materials, it may not be hard to provide math, reading, writing, and U.S. history for kindergarten through 4th grade.  There would be an adjustment period for teachers, students, and parents.  Can a school function without buses, electricity, telephones, or internet access?  Yes, if educators are willing to rely on methods of previous generations.

If you wonder about the education of older children and teens, I believe that they will be needed to help supply water and food for their families, because meeting our basic needs will require much more work and time.  My parents grew up in the days when boys dropped out of school because they were needed on the family farm.  Middle school and high schools will be seen as unnecessary luxuries that only a few can afford.  However, I do see a future for apprentices to learn a skill.  If you’re a hunter, farmer, gardener, blacksmith, or seamstress who can train others in those skills, it could be a way to supplement your income.

Church leaders will be challenged to show that faith, hope, and love can endure unimagined difficulties.  When lifestyles change after a grid-down situation, there will be challenges and opportunities for pastors and churches that are prepared for a different world.  Will your church and your pastor be ready?



The post How Church Life Will Change in a Post- Apocalyptic World appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

A Very Merry Christmas to One and All

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Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”  – Isaiah 9:6

We at The Prepper Journal wish to extend our sincere hope that this Christmas the true meaning of the Season will touch us all, that time spent in the warmth of family and friends will last us throughout the upcoming year and that we will each reaffirm why we prep – for family and for our God given right to be independent of a tyrannical government.


The post A Very Merry Christmas to One and All appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Photographs Are Our Memories

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editors Note: A guest contribution from Capt. Denis to The Prepper JournalAs always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly receive a $25 cash award as well as be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.

Out of all the personal belongings lost in a disaster, family photos seem to be what is regretted. Those precious memories of your ancestors, kids growing up, and the good times together with family and friends. When you have to leave quickly before the SHTF and can only grab a few essentials like your bug out bag, may be some extra clothes, and a hand full of valuables. You toss them in the car with the wife, kids, pets and go. You do not have time to grab up everything or the space to carry with you all you wish to carry.

Be it a flood, wild fire, tornado or some other disaster we have planned for, there are always those items that are not included in our plan. Photo albums are bulky and, if you are like me, most pictures and negatives are in boxes put away in a not-so safe place. I only think about them when I want to share a memory with someone or just wish to reminisce. We rarely look through them anymore, but we still treasure them for the next generations. It is our history and our legacy to pass on.

After the recent floods here in southeast Texas, I have heard it stated several times how sad people are that they lost all their precious photos. Pictures are our lives and memories. They are the fabric of our soul as we age and move ahead in life. Once the muddy waters or flames get to them, they are lost forever. That is why we must take the time to sort through them, mark the event or occasion, and save them somewhere secure. The best way I found to do that is by having them digitized and cataloged. I do my own, but there are professional services that will do it for you at a very reasonable price.

Honestly, cataloging the images yourself is enjoyable, but it is also very time consuming. Nevertheless, before sending off any images or negatives for scanning professionally, you will have to go through them, sort by subject, and cull out any that you feel are not worthy. When paying for the service you may not want to pay for digitizing bad pictures. Although a good service will clean images, using their professional equipment that will repair some pits or scratches, a bad picture is a bad picture and no matter what you do, you cannot fix a bad picture.

Since I am most concerned with the do it yourself scenario here, I will not touch anymore on the professional services other than to say if you interested in going that route, you may want do a search on the internet to find a service, their prices, and specifications for digitizing images. Some offer video digitizing as well, for your home movies/video files. Most services use digital software known as Digital Image Correction and Enhancement or digital ICE. It uses a filtering technique during the scanning process to adjust color shift and correct some image degradation. The scanning software I use has its own version of Digital ICE that does a satisfactory job for my needs.

For the do it yourselfer, to save time, it is best to do the cataloging and scanning in steps. The first thing I did was to take a box of old photos and go through them. As I sorted them, I tossed the bad one, those pictures that are out of focus or are too messed up to work with. It is hard to part with them, but there is no need in keeping pictures that are not usable. You can take a dark or light photo or one that has some color shift and correct it. Even photos that are torn or damaged are repairable to a certain extent, but a bad picture is a bad picture. So to save space and time, I decided to just toss them.

Once I get a collection together, I put them in order so that they are together with like photos. You get the idea; you want your scans to be grouped together so they are easier to catalog later. Once I have them in order, I will set up the scanner and prepare the computer side. I want my scans to go into a specific folder with a certain file name and number that categories them. Software like Adobe’s™ Light-Room makes it easy to catalog photos with tags, making them searchable. If the photos are all of the same trip or same subject, then tagging a folder of image files can be done in a batch process, where all the files will be done at once which saves the time of having to do them individually.

Once you have sorted through and scanned all your photos, saved them in their proper folder, and labeled them and added tags, it is time to keep them stored in a safe place. Of course, a cloud service is ideal for this, although they are vulnerable to an EMP attack as are most digital media, so I will let that one sort itself out. However, for keeping images safe from floods, tornadoes, fires, and other such disasters, it is always best to keep a copy of all files at an offsite location. For this, I use a RAID (mirrored) drive, external hard drives, and even high capacity flash drives. The RAID drive has two drives that are mirrored so that if one drive fails the other has the same information on it. My RAID drive is here on location to back up my computer’s hard drive. For offsite, I use an external hard drive and flash drives.

With cost of digital storage so inexpensive these days, it is easy to have your memories stored in a safe place. For external storage, a one-terabit drive will hold a lot of image files. Each time you have some new files, just write them to the drive. If that one fills up, then add another drive. As I continue to add files today using digital equipment, I just save those to new folders on my existing drives or purchase a new drive as these other ones fill up. It is also a good idea to keep more than one external drive of images in a second location. The more copies the better. Disk drives do fail as do flash drives. So by having several copies if one fails this is an additional safety measure. Besides keeping image files saved in this manner, I also keep my document folders duplicated and saved offsite as well.
I have a lot pictures I have taken through the years from traveling around the U.S. and the world. Many hold a special memory I want to keep, while many are what I consider photographic art, for example, of some obscure landscapes or a still life that will someday be a vintage photographs. Many photos I have taken over the years are of places that no longer exist. As family members pass away and new lives are added, our albums grow. Looking through the photos I have taken over years and remembering the past is a very special time. After a major disaster has radically disturbed our lives, taking some time to look through old photos can be a real moral booster and help to take away some of the despair.

Editors Note: My bug-out bag has a small album of laminated photos, less than 20. I would carry these if they outweighed my ammo and food. A personal choice.

The post Photographs Are Our Memories appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

The Simple Life

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The Simple Life

The Simple Life

Thoughts and recipe contributed by Dakota

The stove crackles, the coffee pot gurgles. The herd of deer have been fed, the wild barn cats as well. Quiet time in the cabin, nestled in a grove of majestic cedars and snow frosted hills……Its chilly this morning. I sigh with gratitude and contentment for our simple life without excessive needs. To sit and ponder, to let the day unfold, unscheduled.

Continue reading The Simple Life at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Death and Dying!

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Death and Dying Micheal Kline “Reality Check” Audio player below! In this show EK is back. She will be talking about a very tough topic. Death, dying, and the stages we all go through in the process. In this show we will be discussing what stages a person goes through when they know they are … Continue reading Death and Dying!

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Upcoming Plans

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One of the cool things about survivalism/ preparedness is that it has so many facets. You can pursue a lot of things within it. That may be part of the reason it has kept my interest an this blog has stayed alive as long as it has. 

Things that I am going to be working on and likely talking about. 
-Physical fitness. I need to get back to my roots here. Reestablish good patterns and stay consistent. 
– Handgun shooting. Specifically shooting, ideally at least one IDPA match a month. 
– Combatives. Keep pushing to improve. 
– Finances. The essential topic almost every survivalist ignores. 
– Organization/ systems. I really want to firm up my heavy bug out and bug in stuff. That will give me a better idea why I really need and an opportunity to get rid of the rest. 
– Caches. I can improve my situation and know most of you could stand to do the same. 
Honesty I’m not going to promise anything in terms of regularity of writing. Honesty the blogs healthy priority is somewhere below practicing guitar and above watching tv so it naturally comes way after relationships, work, school, fitness, jiu jitsu and other work. That’s part of the reason I demonetizes the blog, so I don’t feel like I have to write. Things go in cycles aandnright now it’s a busy life/ slo blog time. 
If this hurts readership honesty I don’t care. I hope core people stick around. Maybe setting up email alerts for posts is a good idea. Anyway be well folks. 

Prepping should not be 24/7 serious…

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Prepping should not be 24/7 serious… Ray Becker… “The Ray Becker Show” Audio player provided! In the first segment I cover the equities markets, metals, the dollar, Shanghai metal prices, BDI, VIX…All of the Indicators that we’ve been following. I believe that it is critical for us to closely monitor all activity at the beginning … Continue reading Prepping should not be 24/7 serious…

The post Prepping should not be 24/7 serious… appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Air Travel an Preparedness

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I travel for work sometimes. I also travel to see my kids. Both are at least in the short term unavoidable. Also traveling for fun is nice.

Traveling by vehicle is easy for preparedness. Assuming you have some space in the vehicle you can just bring whatever. Also your ability to control your own travel means you can choose to leave right now. You can go a hundred miles the wrong way to avoid a big problem.

Air travel is more difficult. Still I think you can be reasonably prepared for most even semi likely events if not the end of the world.

The most restrictive set of stuff for air travel is if you are only using a carry on. It is also what you can have on your person on the plane. What can you have? Listed in rough order:
-Good footwear. You don’t need hiking boots but shouldn’t be wearing flip flops or heals either. A decent set of close toed shoes you can walk a few miles in can fit with most styles and are very prudent.
-Decent all around clothes. Not combat or hunting gear but some kind of reasonable clothes in case you need to do something or get stuck in them for awhile. Also reasonable outer wear for your area.
-CASH. Probably the biggest single problem solver in real world survival situations. 
-Credit Cards. Having a card with a big balance gives you options. Need a last minute ticket, OK. Heck if you need to buy a used car to drive out of a problem it is an option.
-Medications. Having a week or even better a month of medicines you need is very wise.
-OTC meds. Stuff for standard travel sickness like diarrhea, Tylenol, Benedryl, etc.
-First aid gear. Minus the needle I can’t see why you wouldn’t be able to have a full IFAK in a carry on bag.
-A water bottle.
-Maps. This is wonky as planes cover huge distances but even a state road map is better than nothing. Doubly so if you are not familiar with the area at all.

Now lets say you check a bag. For the sake of this a bag to anywhere. What can you add.
 -A good knife.
-A multi tool.

Checking guns. Obviously on a flight to most foreign countries this is not an option. However when it comes to traveling in most of the US it is not a big deal to fly with guns. I have done it a few times and the only one where it got any scrutiny was in Louisiana at a local airport where the guy just wanted to see what I had. Really flying with a gun isn’t anywhere near as big a deal as people make it out to be.

That said if you travel to the same place often and can afford to do so it isn’t a bad idea to consider an operational cache.

How serious about all of this should you be? I suppose it depends. Primarily in my mind it depends on the risk level of where you are going. If I was flying into Northern Iraq or Pakistan or Indonesia would have things locked down. Thousands in cash a full on BOB, an as many weapons as you can get in and carry would be prudent. On the other hand if you were flying to a few hundred miles from home and it isn’t to a place with a high threat then some cash, decent clothes, a compass and a map an your not doing bad at all. Toss in a good folding knife and a gun or two and its a good set up for a relaxed area.


Summer Complacency

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Realistic Emergencies- Money not Guns and Gear and Buckets O Food

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Recently I had an emergency. I didn’t need my pocket rocket .380 or my trusty AR. Did not need buckets of rice and beans or body armor or night vision. Know what I needed, MONEY!

Our friend commander zero talked about this recently, well more or less. 
From losing jobs to surprise car repairs or medical problems or legal issues that require a lawyer the common denominator is these problems cost money. The way to solve them is with cash. Yes a bunch of food stashed is a good thing and can displace some expenses but good luck sending your landlord or bank 200 pounds of rice as payment!
One of the blind failures in survivalism and its hipper more politically correct brother preparedness is focusing too much on unlikely or outright fantasy (the classic grid down collapse apocalypse porn stuff) at the expense of failing to adequately prepare for much more likely real life events. 
Got Emergency Fund?

Raising Dogs for Hunting and Farm life!

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Raising  Dogs for Hunting and Farm life Austin Martin “Homesteady Live“ Audio in player below! DO you want a dog for your farm that will not chase and kill chickens, and that will still retrieve birds and track wild game for you? Find out how to get that in this episode of Homesteady Live. Since … Continue reading Raising Dogs for Hunting and Farm life!

The post Raising Dogs for Hunting and Farm life! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

What is? What if?

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I watched a man die at one of the stores where I work doing merchandising. He just fell over and died right there about 15 feet away from me. I didn’t go over, there were already several people gathered around, 2 people were performing CPR on him, the store had already called 911. I stood back and prayed silently as I continued to work.

I watched the paramedics work on him and take him away. I saw one of the paramedics in another store later in the day and asked about the man, she told me what I already suspected, he didn’t make it.

As you can imagine, that weighed heavily on my mind the rest of the day. I have now witnessed 4 people leave this earth, each had a somewhat different affect on me, this one made me think about just how fleeting and temporary life truly is. This helped put life into perspective, what is really important, what is really insignificant, what do I need to go ahead and do instead of putting it off for later. I wonder what that man might have done differently that day had he known it would be his last day to spend here on earth…

These words are not meant to bum you out, but rather are meant to get you to look at your life, let go of the insignificant things, realize what is important, live your life to the fullest each and every day… Hug someone you love.

All too often, we put off what we really want to do, we get caught up in the minutia of life and focus on the insignificant parts. We all have things we want to do, at least I can say that I do. But going to work, doing a job we hate just to make ends meet, taking a vacation once or twice a year and believing that will recharge us for the rest of the year. I’m not saying quit your job and become a bum, you should be reasonable, but you could be using that time while living day to day to work toward living the kind of life that is more satisfying.

What are your goals? You DO have them, right? What would you do differently today if you knew you were going to die tomorrow? Of course that is an extreme, but we ALL have an expiration date, we just don’t know when that is, it could be before you finish reading this sentence, it could be tonight, tomorrow, next week, next year, in 10 years… you get the idea, it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when, not if.

So what are you going to do with your life? Here is what I decided to change, I have been wanting a camera, a good one, I can make money with it, it will also be pleasurable for me to use. Nearly everyday, I see some scene that I could snap a great picture of, but I keep putting it off. I do it for various reasons, there are always more “important” things to buy, there is money coming but it isn’t here yet, the problem with that thinking is, yes, the money does come, but I don’t spend it on the camera and it gets nickle’d and dime’d away.

I have the money saved right now to more than buy the camera I want, there is nothing stopping me from buying this camera, right now, the only thing standing in the way is me, my pitiful excuses, well no more, I am buying that camera, I’ll have it in my hands by the middle of next week. I’ll test it out and write a review on it, I’ll write about it here.

What would you change right now if you could?

The post What is? What if? appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Prepper Dating

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Prepper Dating Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps“ Audio in player below! You hear about it, we get questions about it often but yet there is no good sources for it. This show is to be dedicated to those that already prep together and for those searching for another to share in the thinking, this life style … Continue reading Prepper Dating

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Survival: City Life Versus Country Life

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In a previous article we talked about living in a city and how, because of your location, you may be the target of an attack. A target simply because of the population density, or in some cases, you may be a target because of critical infrastructure, or your city may be having a symbolic celebration, […]

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Flying with Guns

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Weapons Man  did a post on this. As always it is good. I have some thoughts.
– Obviousky make sure whatever you are flying with is legal on both ends of the trip.
– In case of fbe off chance they cut your locks have spares. A 4 pack of normal master IDK pas locks is like $20.
– Like weapons man said plan in time. An extra half hour,  which probably puts you there 2 hours early is wise.
– Know the airlines policies. They vary. If in doubt call the airline and ask.
– Unless there is some compelling reason I wouldn’t fly with real expensive or heirloom type guns. Guns do occasionally go missing. Take a $500 Glock and a $600 rifle not your nighthawk custom 1911 and full auto FAL.
-Deensinf on the company you can have different amounts of ammo. All I’ve used let you take some and have it in the case with the guns. I’ll bring at least enough to load the gun 1-2 times. If I wanted more ammo for whatever reason at the end point I would get it shipped there. Most classes will let you send ammo to them.
– Weapons Man mentioned loaner guns. That is definitely an option if the people you are visiting have appropriate guns to spare.
-If your host does not have spare guns to loan and you go there often consider staging a cache there. The cost and moderate annoyance of checking a gun a few times justifies leaving an old revolver an a long gunnifnyiu want one along with some speed strips and a knife. This also helps with your risk management. If your house burns down an whatever is in it is gone the gun at Grannies may be handy.

Life and Times, Operational Cache, Et All

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Hey Folks, I sort of took a break over the holidays. I went home and saw my kiddo’s, family and friends. The way things worked out I got to see a relative at the opposite end of the PNW so that was cool. Also my first time traveling long distance in the US by train. The trip there was pretty awesome. Very old school with some nice touches of class. The one back sucked as there were delays and all sorts of drama. Now I am back to work and normal life.

Over this trip I accessed my operational cache. Everything was fine. I sort of took a cue from Meister and added some good stuff to it. I tossed in my normal EDC knife and flash light as well as a more duty oriented pistol. Also a good set of long johns, a pair of multicam pants and some other odds n ends. I was going to put in a better backpack but the one I planned to use had a buckle break on the trip so I need to get it fixed.

Sort of along Meisters theme I literally cached stuff I regularly use. Motivation to spend hundreds of dollars on stuff to cache can be hard to find. So as a forcing function I put my normal stuff in there. Finding motivation to replace the thing I carry every day that is gone should be much easier to find. Of course if you genuinely can’t afford it this is a bad plan but for those who can it is a good way to get priority #10 which never gets done up to priority #2 or 3.

I wanted to go through all of the contents and toss some less than entirely needed stuff. As I put in better items the newly redundant and inferior stuff can get tossed. Space is a consideration.

 I am looking hard at setting up another cache soon. Hopefully this spring. It will be another operational cache. Good to have goals anyway.

My stupid computer has really been giving me problems. Honestly it is hindering blogging as a 10 minute post takes more like a half hour between it freezing and re starting. I am going to either fix or replace it in the immediate future. My goal is to get to blogging 2-3x  a week.

Anyway that’s what has been going on with me. Hope you all are well. Talk to you soon.

Various Thoughts

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Hey Folks, I’m not dead.

I have been trying to refocus on fitness/ health, jiu jjitsu and dry fire. The core of my survivalist individual skills. That has been occupying a lot of my time and energy this week. I am trying hard to refocus. Also I have a class coming up in January to get ready for. It will challenge my combatives skills and fitness so I want to do my best to get ready.

For fitness I am going to be focusing on endurance for awhile. A friend wants to do some races this winter/ summer so I need to get working on that. Also it is as good a goal as any. A marathon is probably on my bucket list anyway.

I realized that maybe I need a handgun in between the Glock 19 and the Ruger LCP. I end up carrying the LCP a lot which is probably not ideal. Recently carrying a borrowed air weight J frame I noticed I could carry it appendix in most of my normal clothing. It vanishes under a normally fitting T shirt. I would get an S&W with an exposed hammer and try some different grip options to get the right balance of concealability and shootability.

Potential candidates beside a .38 would be the Glock 26 or a Walther PPK. I am going to borrow and experiment with both in coming weeks. I am open to your thoughts here. No urgency as the weather is rapidly cooling so I can just wear a sweatshirt or loose ish flannel type shirt which will hide anything. The easy days of CCW are getting to be upon us.

I am looking hard at purchasing a new (to me) vehicle. Probably a Toyota FJ Cruiser. If you have personal experience with them please share.

Recently I put together a plate carrier as part of my home defense set up. May talk more about that later.

The only up side of this post election rioting light is the darn clowns seem to have calmed down.

Sort of like Zero and I both said. I am not sad I bought the stuff I did for the election. Now I have it. I can’t see a situation where 5.56 ammo, Glock or AR mags get cheaper than they are today so it is all good.

So what is coming up in the next couple weeks on the blog.

A post or two about the Mountain Guerilla Clandestine Carry Pistol course.

A post on realistic vs fantasy worst case scenarios.

A post on multiple streams of income.

A post on my home defense gear set up.

A fighting load post.

Water Is Life on Prepping Academy

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Water Is Life! Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Listen in player below! One of the most important aspects of prepping, water. It is a life giving fundamental we take for granted every day. Whether you’re at home or work you always have ease of access to it. What happens though when the power goes … Continue reading Water Is Life on Prepping Academy

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Life In The Remote Wilderness!

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Life In The Remote Wilderness – Could You Do It? Karen Lynn “Lil’ Suburban Homestead” Could you live in the remote wilderness?  Karen Lynn says she could rough it for a while but doesn’t know if she is as tough as Ron’s wife Johanna. Ron Melchiore is an Outdoorsman, Pioneer, Homesteader, Remote Exploration Camp Manager … Continue reading Life In The Remote Wilderness!

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State of Myself, Preparation and Lastly The Blog

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Hey Folks, I figured it was time to touch bases. I am doing pretty decent. Some time for reflection was good. As to where life is going I have a better idea then before so that is good.

I have been sober for a minute now. Won’t say that has been a magical solution to all of my problems but it certainly helps. If nothing else I am creating life problems at a much more sustainable pace. Figuring out what makes me happy now has been interesting. I like live music and ice cream a lot.

Some of my time and energy is going towards getting my body back to where I would like it to be. That mean weights and running, also eating better. Working on my skills also. Regular dry fire and after my time with the kids is done I will get back to combatives and a regular shooting regimen.

Most of my preparations and energy towards that is the stuff listed above. The rest of the energy is really going to solidifying my systems. In an incremental way I am working on setting up EDC (light and heavy) then my fighting load, get home bag, heavy bug out set up etc. This is moving pretty quickly as I am really just rounding things out, not totally reinventing them. My EDC is done and the fighting load only needs a couple things (I think a single double taco and the belt that will come from replacing the EDC one). The GHB can use a phone charger and I think that is it. Beyond that the issue is mostly organization. Small holes will likely come up when things are organized but the right stuff is generally around.

I am also working on organizing normal life stuff and getting rid of excess. I hesitate to use the word minimalism as it doesn’t exactly apply. Maybe getting rid of excess stuff is a better way to put it. This applies to all sorts of stuff that is not regularly used without a valid purpose as a back up or contingency. I have considered some alternate housing options and to make that kind of thing work I would need to have a lot less stuff.

As to the blog. Consistently posting a couple times a week is the plan for now. As to focus I want to catalog my efforts to focus on realistic preparations for likely survival related events. I think we can get too focused on very unlikely events at the expense of much more likely ones which is a big mistake. I hope to get people thinking in the right direction.

The commercial side of the blog is in limbo. I am toying with setting up a much more automated model. This way I can eliminate or at least minimize administrative hassles. Also I won’t feel like I owe an advertiser something as much as I did in the past. If I get busy and blog a bit less it is fine.

So anyway that is where things are. Your input is always appreciated.

From Survival Blog: Is Being Prepared Getting In The Way of Living?, by M.

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What are you preparing for? Are you getting ready to survive an EMP attack? A financial meltdown? Flu pandemic? Nuclear holocaust? Regardless of what we are preparing for, sometimes it is healthy to ask ourselves how we are living in the meantime. Those of us who feel a need to prepare do it with a passion, but are we preparing in sensible ways that allow us to enjoy life each day, or are we so busy watching and waiting for the chaos of life to justify the time and money we’ve spent on our “preps” that we miss a lot of the important business of living in the moment?

I was born in the late 50’s and grew up just outside of Washington, D.C. The Cuban missile crisis happened while I was in kindergarten. To this day, I remember it vividly. We were sent home early from school wearing name tags. When my sister and I walked up to our house, my father was loading up the car so we were ready to flee at a moment’s notice. Around that same time, I remember touring a fallout shelter, which my parents were considering buying and burying in the backyard. Living where we did, they thought long and hard about that one. Lots of our neighbors did, too. A few years later, I remember standing on the porch of our suburban D.C. home with my father after Martin Luther King had been killed. Riots quickly erupted. We could hear the explosions in downtown D.C., only a few miles away, from the rioting and devastation. The experience was chilling. Then Richard Nixon resigned after Watergate. I was in college at the time and working a summer job at the Pentagon. I listened as people I worked with, who came from all different backgrounds, actively talked amongst themselves and wondered if the government was going to fall and if the guidelines provided by the Constitution were gone forever. I remember sitting in line for gas during the gas crisis of the 70’s and creeping along mile after slow mile (on odd or even days, according to your license plate number) for a turn to fill up the tank. When I married a career Army man, we spent years living overseas, mostly off-base in German and English neighborhoods. During the first Gulf war, while my husband was deployed to the Gulf, military families living off base were given very specific safety instructions. One of the things I had to do every morning was get down on my hands and knees to check under the car before I drove our children to school to see if there was anything suspicious under there. I would always keep the children inside while I turned the key in the ignition, just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything and the car didn’t explode. Sound to you like maybe I was overreacting? My husband was the duty officer of the day when the Red Army faction tried to blow up the NATO school in southern Germany with a car bomb in the 80’s. He only survived because of a faulty timing mechanism on the bomb. 

So what else is new, you might ask. You say that you already know we live in an unsettled world. My point in rehearsing my little history is to share the fact that, although I grew up in a home where we were always prepared and my husband and I continued to practice always being prepared, I never felt like a prepper. I applaud prepping. I respect independence and self-sufficiency. However, I see too many people today who are so busy prepping that they seem to have forgotten how to live happily in the here and now. I offer up the following guidelines as examples of my own benchmarks. They are my mental safeguards that help me to be prepared but keep me from crossing over into an unhealthy obsession with prepping. And yes, there is such a thing as an unhealthy obsession with prepping. Any virtue carried to an unhealthy extreme becomes a liability. 

Rule #1: Prepping supplies cannot spill over into the comfortable living areas of my home. I don’t care how valuable certain items might be for bartering after the SHTF, if they interfere with my ability to provide a comfortable living environment for my family, then they have no place in my home. Making memories in the here and now is important, and I don’t want my child’s predominate memory being that there was never a clear path to walk between rooms and that she was embarrassed to invite a friend over because the clutter was so bad. I believe in stocking up; I really do. I have a tower of TP out in the shed and buckets of wheat in the downstairs closet to prove it. However, my family members feel like they live in a clean, comfortable home, well, at least most of the time.

Rule #2: Every spare minute cannot be devoted to prepping. Prepping takes time and careful thought, but every hour spent prepping is an hour that you will never get back with your family for family memories. We combine the two when it makes sense. Working in our garden together as a family teaches many valuable lessons. However, if the kids are endlessly waiting around to play football with their dad and he is always too busy because it is more important to organize his bug out bag, then the wrong lesson is being taught. I have watched parents justify all of their time spent prepping by saying that they are doing it for their family. In my experience, children would rather have their parents’ time than just about any other resource. Okay, so maybe they won’t have the coolest gadgets or the greatest variety of foods in a crisis situation. But if they have good memories with their parents in the here and now, most will consider that a more-than-fair trade-off. There is also a much greater likelihood that they will function more effectively as a family unit and know how to support each other. They will also probably be happier and more adaptable.

Rule #3: Prepping decisions need to be jointly agreed on by both spouses. Otherwise, resentment simmers and eventually boils over. The biggest argument my husband and I ever had (and this is the truth) was about shipping empty Clorox bottles I had saved for water storage from Massachusetts to England during a military move. He was livid that I would even think of expecting the U.S. taxpayers to spend their hard-earned dollars on such folly. My position was that it had taken me two years to save up that many empty bottles. I made enough sacrifices as a military spouse already. It wasn’t fair that every two years I had to go back and start from zero again. In the end, we compromised. Mostly, I gave in. We shipped a few empty bottles– just enough so I could start a water storage plan as soon as our baggage arrived. The rest were thrown away. Prepping decisions always involve time or money, and both are important resources. Both parties need to be equally invested in those decisions. Even if one party is willing to do all of the gardening chores, both parties need to be in agreement on the amount of lawn to dedicate to the garden as opposed to, say, a hot tub and pool.

Rule #4: Specialization is smart. Be grateful for the skills of others. They save you boatloads of time and effort, which allows you more time to enjoy the genuine pleasures of life. None of us is good at everything. I am really good at sewing, storing and preserving food, and gardening, but I am hopeless at figuring out solar energy configurations and options. In fact, pretty much anything having to do with energy seems to slip right out of my brain, no matter how many times I try to get it to stick up there. Luckily for me, my brother helped me to set up a very efficient and functional off-grid solar system that would power our freezer, fans, wheat grinder, lights, and other small electrical appliances if the power went out. I am now looking for a smallish fridge that will work well given the capacity of the system. My brother is my best source of advice. Likewise, he was thinking there was no point in his trying to garden at his cabin, which sits above 8000 feet in the Rockies. I was able to share with him some tomato seeds I had that were developed in Russia during Soviet times for a short, cool summer growing season. He hasn’t planted them yet, but the growing seasons aren’t that different, and I think there is a good chance that they will work. Being able to share your individual areas of specializations with those you trust can save everyone valuable time, which can then be spent on simply enjoying life.

Rule #5: Keep the Sabbath Day holy. I find that if I focus on worshiping my Savior on the Sabbath, my time during the rest of the week is expanded to compensate. My financial resources also seem to stretch further. It has to do with the economy of heaven, and it really does work. My husband and I never prep on the Sabbath, and we feel that we have been blessed in our preparedness efforts as a result. Try it for yourself. If there is a particular area of being prepared that challenges you, or if you are short of funds for a particular purchase and you can’t see where the money is going to come from, or if your spouse or other family members are not as supportive of your efforts as they could be, try simply keeping the Sabbath day holy; test the Lord. He always comes through. I can say that miracles have happened in my own life by following this simple principle.

No matter how many years we are blessed with, life is short. While there is no denying that we live in a dangerous world that challenges us with a multitude of different scenarios to prepare for, we always need to be mindful of the need to live our lives each day with gratitude and joy and to set the example for other family members in this as well. Peace comes from being prepared, yes, but joy comes from living. Here’s to finding a sensible balance.

From the excellent Survival Blog managed by Hugh and owned by JWR. I think they are OK with stuff being reposted as long as it is attributed to them. 

My thoughts:
I wish I would have read and internalized this excellent article a long time ago. I would write a rule very similar to the one about not spending every minute on prepping that says not to spend every spare dollar on prepping. Balance kiddos. Figure out a reasonable amount of money to put towards preparedness. Also put money towards entertainment, travel and whatever other stuff you enjoy.

The part about relationships, heck if I know. For me this wasn’t a huge marital issue. Preparedness relate conflicts were mostly about space with stuff trickling into living space. Beyond that I am 0/1 for marriages so I do not feel qualified to give advice there.

Life and Various Things EDC, Caches, ETC

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Hey All, I spent about half the summer in Eastern Europe for work. Maybe I will talk more about that at some point but I am back in the US now. I also have the kiddos with me for the remainder of the summer. So I went from being busy with work to being busy with the kiddos. Thoughts have been brewing in my head lately. Also since the kids go to bed early and I have them with me there isn’t a ton of stuff to do after they go to bed so you may hear from me more in coming weeks. No promises though.

Here in eastern Kansas it is hot and humid. Not quite the sauna that is Louisiana but still a hot and humid. So I am pretty much living in shorts and tank tops outside of work. This has some EDC challenges as cargo shorts have officially jumped the shark. I am toying with some new carry methods for my Ruger LCP and a new knife. The theme is maintaining basic capabilities in a way that fits within my lifestyle. In a couple more weeks I will talk about the specifics of these things some more.

Along these lines I have been thinking about the ‘naked bag’ that lives in my vehicle. I got the idea from Pastor Joe Fox’s book The Survivalist Family. I have it in a separate bag in my vehicle so I can change, if needed, then rock out in some functional clothes. One might say this is redundant as I am obviously wearing clothes in the vehicle but I may be coming or going from the gym, being lazy on the way to the store for milk, etc. The first time I did this the clothes in it were really pretty outdoors/ paramilitary in nature.

I realized this is dumb. Odds are far, far higher I will be using the clothes in this bag for some sort of normal mundane reason than some emergency scenario. Maybe I cover my shirt in BBQ sauce at the beginning of a day in town. Maybe I forget to pack something for a trip. Maybe some nice young woman takes me home for the evening. All of these things have happened and not once have I needed to change into my crazy pants (literally) and run off into the woods with a back pack. Also I no longer live in a rural area. I live in a mix of suburbs and exurbs of a city with intermittent farms in between.

So what does this mean? My ‘naked bag’ looks a lot more like a generic overnight bag then some survivalist thing. I need to choose clothes I would actually wear that would work for me to actually wear and have a useful secondary function of JIC clothes. This means sturdy non cotton clothes and a good pair of shoes. I added a fleece and a rain jacket which generally lived in the back of my vehicle anyway. In addition to those items I included a pair of gym shorts to sleep in and a hygiene kit. Maybe I will post on it later.

For whatever reason the idea of caches has been in my head for awhile now. Maybe I was bored and had wandering paranoid thoughts or maybe that little voice is telling me to spread out my risk. Recently I was visiting family in a place where I could potentially end up if things go sideways. Having an EDC setup, a rifle, ammo n ancillary stuff next to an old ALICE pack full of camping/ survival stuff in their attic would be a win win as they are like minded but on a tight budget. Depending on some other things I may put together a couple more caches.

Before we get into a discussion about money where people call each other poor or yuppie survivalists I should note I do most of this type thing with stuff already on hand. The costs are sunk so its not like I am writing big fat checks today, which I could not afford.

The next post I write will probably be on some things I am working on right now.

Take care of each other

Lessons Learned from Being an Outdoorsy Kid

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

One lesson I have learned from my parents and now encourage my children to participate in is being an Outdoorsy Kid. It didn’t matter if it was after school or during the summer time my brothers and I would often hear my mother say “Go play outside.”

The post Lessons Learned from Being an Outdoorsy Kid appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Who Do You Absolutely Trust… with Your Life?

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Written by Bolo on The Prepper Journal.

What if every stranger you encounter represents a potential or real threat to the safety of your family and/or to your community, whether large or small? If that happens, who can you trust?

The post Who Do You Absolutely Trust… with Your Life? appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Life Updates

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Not Dead, just distracted.

One of the things I am busy with is working on myself trying to get healthy. Think that some good long term personal growth is happening. Don’t want to say anything now as that is a shot you can’t take back. However suffice to say I am tacking a long term personal shortcoming.

Beyond that I am looking at how I want to go about making my back up rifle once the lower gets here. I am looking at the cheapest option (which I am comfortable with anyway) which is probably a barreled PSA upper with one of their premium FN made barrels vs a more mid to upper mid shelf option. The difference might be less than one would think.

Also I have been re watching Jericho on Netflix. Some interesting lessons there. Of course the primary goal was entertainment but it brings up some thought provoking stuff.

Bike rides and jiu jitsu as often as I can plus the usual boring Army PT.

What have you been up to lately?

Recent Prep Related Acquisition- SHTF Bicycle

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I purchased a Specialized Hybrid bicycle. Could have gotten a cheaper one but they often have issues and in a weird way spending more makes me feel like I really need to use it often. Honestly I purchased it primarily for recreation. However it has signficant benefits if gas becomes prohibitively expensive or something like that. You can move faster/ further or carry more weight (loaded and pushing it or in a trailer) than otherwise.

I need to do a couple things to it at some point. A water bottle holder, a pouch to hold a few little things and a seat made for cruising not going fast. Also a basket or some panniers to put some stuff in.

Since it has gears and such this bike is more prone to long term issues than a fixie but in the mid to short term it is a lot easier to move around on. With a few spare tubes, a set of tires, some brakes, etc you could probably keep a bike going for a real long time. If I was going to buy a bike strictly for preps the fixie would be the way to go but having a spare bike just for that seems redundant for now.

I am enjoying the bike and try to ride it every day possible. It is relaxing, good for me and (excluding the initial cost) free.

Other than that not much has been going on. I have been traveling for work and my energy outside that has been spent on fitness and generally working on myself.

Prepper Mindset – The Will to Abide

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Having the right mind is paramount and with this mindset comes the stoicism and steadfastness that leads to quiet strength in emergencies, natural disasters and the ability to deal with whatever, whichever wicked and /or good things that will come your way in this crazy little thing called life.

The post Prepper Mindset – The Will to Abide appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Small is the new large

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Since moving off grid, many of my day to day things have had to be downsized, my fridge for one, I went from having a full size, side by side with ice maker to a small chest type freezer to fridge conversion. The large fridge and even the small dorm size units used too much power for our small system. One thing I discovered along the way, when I had a full size fridge, I tended to store leftovers in it until it was time to throw them away, I am forced to be more frugal with the smaller box now.

But the biggest thing I have downsized on is my computer. I used to build computers as a hobby, a serious hobby, I could tear down and rebuild a tower from the ground up. I knew we wouldn’t have the power necessary to run all the computer equipment I used to have so I went to a laptop, that was mentally difficult, guys think going from a Harley to a kid’s bicycle, that’s what it felt like to me.

I did eventually embrace my laptop, even though there was very little I could do to it to improve it, short of adding a bit of memory. I have gone through 3 laptops since moving out here. I am looking at getting #4 soon.

Last year, I discovered the joys of tablets. I wouldn’t have gotten one, except that I needed one to do my job in merchandising. I quickly discovered I could do most of the things I did on my laptop each day but the really great thing is they use so little power! I generally only boot up my laptop 2-3X a week now, preferring to do most things on my tablets.

I can go to bed with my tablet next to me, falling asleep watching Downton Abbey via Amazon Prime without worrying about draining my small solar system. In fact, I generally leave the internet running 24-7 now, something I never did before. I’ll turn it off if no one is going to be at the house, but that is a rarity.

That tablet is an 8 inch Samsung Galaxy Note 8, I purchased it factory refurbished, paying a small percentage of what they cost new. I love the size, bigger than a phone, but still portable, with a screen that is comfortable to view.

I have since acquired a larger tablet, a 12 inch Galaxy Note Pro, I use it for some photo editing and such, but honestly I prefer my smaller tablet for day to day use. Yes, these are older technology, but for me they work just fine.

Now I’m asking those who have gone off grid, what and how have you downsized? Do you like it, does it work for you? I’d love to hear your ideas 🙂

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Meister RE: Ryan vs Liberterian Solutions to Urban Poverty

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Meister wrote this in response to Ryan vs Liberterian Solutions to Urban Poverty and I felt it most appropriate to reply in the larger context. His words will be bold. My thoughts are going to be after every paragraph. My thoughts will be in italics.

Tough love is an important part of society. You succeed, or you deal with the consequences. The idea that everyone deserves their own home is just silly. Just 50 years ago we still had 3-4 generations of family living together. Of course, That was back when the family unit was an important thing in America. Today the idea of an equal partnership in marriage has squashed the family unit all together. It leads to many more issues than it helps, and our kids pay the price. (disposable relationships) I know you are dealing with that issue now, and I’m not saying you are at fault, just that society as a whole has accepted failure as an option in relationships, mainly due to the breakdown of the familial leadership structure.

I agree about tough love and that consequences are an effective motivator. Personally I am pro multi-generational home. I would note that in many poor communities this is much more common both for cultural and economic reasons. 

As to my own life. First I don’t take offense at what you said. Second
while the marriage was totally broken and needed to end it is very unfortunate that it hurt the kids. That my actions/ decisions (I own my piece of the split) have had negative effects on my children is something that bears heavily on my mind. Third heck if I know what any of the answers are man. I am 0-1 on marriage and not in a hurry to try again. At the end of the day we can’t look back in anger. Oasis said so.

I interested in hearing your thoughts on REALISTIC ways to fix these problems in the short (say under 5 years) to mid (call it a 20 years) range. Emphasis on realistic. Everybody adopting a specific religion, no kids born out of wedlock and no divorces tomorrow would not be realistic.

The poorest have little incentive to live a different way. I’m not saying that those unable to care for themselves should starve, I’m saying that even people with health issues are useful to society in more ways than just receiving benefits. The ticket taker at my local movie theater is a wheelchair bound person with limited hand control, but he can tear tickets and point you in the right direction like a champ. He has a genuine smile that tells me he’s enjoying his job, when 95% of the welfare recipients would refuse to do such a menial task. 

This part is complicated because the multi generational poor have an entirely different set of values than the rest of us. The way they look at things like money, relationships and values are totally different, obviously they have totally skewed views/behaviors about work. 

I agree with you about working. People should not be starving or homeless in America. (I would prefer a more private model to a government one.) However those people should provide a useful service in exchange. Even if it is half ‘make work’ jobs people would get used to the behaviors of working (get up on time, go somewhere, dress appropriate, work hard or reasonably hard, shut up when the boss is a jerk, etc) to hopefully transition to a more meaningful job.

We must once again look to the past to see how we need to change course or perish. Communities thrived long ago because they knew they were part of something. Today’s neighborhoods are full of strangers.

I do not know the answer but I think the breakdown of community when we changed to patterns of life based on the automobile was a big part of the problem. People used to live and work (mostly) in the same area at much higher ratios. There were businesses on one floor and apartments up top or in the back. In a more rural setting the business might be in the barn/ fields. Work and life were a lot more commingled. Now we work 20 minutes from home and shop 10 minutes away in another direction. That means a lot less time spent with family and around close neighbors. 

Sorry if I rambled.

As always the comments section is open.

Going “Green” Instead of Being A “Prepper”

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

I can tell you we’re not all that bad. You may find that it is wiser to couch your actions by going green instead of broadcasting you are a prepper. And sometimes, preppers and greenies are already kind of walking in lock-step. We just don’t always realize it.

The post Going “Green” Instead of Being A “Prepper” appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

What To Do With Some Money?

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If everything goes as it should I will have some money become liquid in the next month or so, between $15,000 and 20k. I am trying to figure out what to do with it. As such I am soliciting your input.

Ideas I have considered then discarded
-Beans, bullets and band aid’s. I am relatively pretty good there. Of course these are always areas we are working to improve but I have a bunch of guns, cans full of ammo, literally tons of food, etc.
-Various medium to large sized prep items. FLIR, silencers, a nice rifle scope or two, etc. Will get many of these in time in due time but I can handle them (except FLIR) on a save for a couple months then buy type plan. I try hard to be smart with the occasional times I get a big chunk of cash.
-Buying a(nother) house. With my semi nomadic nature buying a place I planned to live where I am working is a lot more space than I need, plus the costs of buying/ selling as often as we move add up. Buying where I might live later would leave me as an absentee land lord for a long time. Also that would involve debt which I really don’t like.
-Cash in the bank. I have an emergency fund and a vehicle replacement fund both in the bank now. Between the two that is as much exposure to that risk as I can tolerate. Still I included this in the poll on the right because it is a good ‘figuring it out’ short term option.

Ideas that remain with pro’s and con’s
-Buy land. Pro. BUG OUT SITE!!! Tangible and not going away. Will allow me to cache a bunch of stuff I have been hauling around. Like no BS I would set up a Terminator Cache!!!  Except technically a Terminator inspired cache as we should all know CONNEX’s are only designed to take weight on the top corners not on the roof or sides so literally burying one would require bracing, probably via poured cement but I digress. Will give me a place I could go and live real cheap if I need to. Con. I am in the bottom end of this being feasible price wise. Fixes me to a location. As I move every 2-3 years that it is a bit more complicated than buying land 30 minutes from home. If I don’t end up nearby when I settle down this could end up being a long distance thing which is not optimal.

-Buy gold/ silver. Pro. Inflation proof and (particularly silver) at pretty good prices these days. Transportable store of wealth. Con. Doesn’t solve any problems for me. Also leaves me trying to physically store more assets and a higher percentage of my net worth. My risk, relative to my overall financial situation, of a catastrophic break in is already about at tolerance level now.
-Replace the soccer mom SUV. It is still running fine now but isn’t getting any younger. I hope to get another year or 18 months out of it but am not totally sure that is realistic. Since I do not borrow money for vehicles this will be a major expense. Pro. Solves a significant financial/ life problem I have coming up. Con. This is the closest thing to a nest egg I have and using it for a short term (vehicles constantly need fixing/ replacing) problem seems penny wise and pound foolish. Used right I think this money could go a long way to setting me up in a decent spot. Also I feel like having the upcoming need to replace the vehicle will help me be disciplined in saving for that while I might not be so disciplined to put money back in the bank (or whatever) to replace what came out. Worst case if the vehicle I have now dies before I have the cash to replace it outright I could borrow from my emergency fund or get a loan for some of the money and pay it off in a hurry, which ever made the most sense.

-Something else I didn’t mention?

My gut says if I can make it work land is the preferred option. 

Please vote in the poll on the left and leave your comments here.

Concealed or I Suppose Open Carry and Social Interactions/ Dating

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I am interested in your experiences, both good and bad, as well as thoughts on being armed during social interactions, dating, etc all. I know not all of my circles are rabid gun people and suspect yours aren’t either. No right or wrong answers, I am just curious.

Thanks in advance

All Time #1 Winter Driving Tip

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

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

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


Successful Fitness in 2016!

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Successful Fitness in 2016!
James Walton “I Am Liberty

Successful Fitness in 2016If you don’t think this is a relevant topic for my show or for this network than I think we need to talk one on one. Fitness is not about abs and pecs. Fitness is not about playing sports and fake tans. Fitness is about quality of life and longevity. You have to be prepared physically before you can do anything else, in my opinion. You don’t have to look like Adonis but you better make sure your body and mind are working properly. Otherwise why are you so hell bent on surviving anyway?

Fitness IMG_20150309_182039Now that that’s out of the way we can talk about 2016. Every year tons of people make resolutions to get fit in the new year. Its very admirable but unfortunately many fall out of the race early on. Its not uncommon. In fact its more common for New Years resolutions to fail. When we talk about fitness there is some serious infrastructure that you can put in place to assure a higher success rate. That will be the bulk of what we talk about tonight.

There are four crucial practices that I would recommend integrating into your fitness plans. These four will give you options on days when things don’t fall into place. It is very important to have several options and several motivations in this thing. Remember that fitness, health and diet are not short term goals they are total life changes. It doesn’t come easy but if you make it part of your life and build around it you will be a beast for the rest of your life. Trust me.
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I’m Back

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Hey Folks, I am back. Kind of had some field time for work and didn’t really plan so well with putting up posts. There has been a lot going on and whatever. So at the last minute I slapped up 3 weeks of posts the best I could.

I appreciate your concern. On another note Wifeywas nice enough to drop by and keep thngs even keeled. At some point if she is still getting mentioned here she will need a new name. That is a problem for another day. 

Anyway I am back and  generally well. There is a lot up in the air but I am OK. I am looking forward to getting things settled and moving forward. Nothing is certain but there are some exciting possibilities in the future.

Normal posting will come back tomorrow or so.

Rain and Gumbo

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The aftermath of that hurricane in the gulf is a lot of rain here. It has been raining all day and we are currently under a flash flood alert.

Being rainy, overcast and not above 80 degrees it actually feels like fall now. Fall is soup weather.

 Paw Paw decided to make Gumbo today and that got me craving it. So I decided to make some. Since this was the first time I have attempted gumbo I did not make the roux myself. The roux is really the soul of gumbo.

Gumbo is for all intensive purposes Cajun stew served over rice. Like stew the exact ingredients are somewhat flexible. Folks tend to either go smoked sausage and chicken or seafood but those are not hard and fast. It can vary by what you have on hand or your groups taste buds.

I went smoked sausage, chicken and shrimp. Of course there were bell peppers, onion and celery. The peppers were from my garden. The soon to be ex would point out they were like $50 peppers but still kind of cool.

Got it cooking and when it was about 20 minutes from being done did up a pot of rice.

The roux was weak but overall the result was pretty good. It made about a 2 gallons. I will freeze half of it. Next time I am going to try making my own roux.

Life Update

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Kids are good. Honestly they are not really old enough to get it. In that regard it is better now than if we had somehow kicked the can down the road a few (more) years. They are with (soon to be ex) MIL and surrounded by family.

I video with them a couple times a week or so.

I am doing OK, settling into a new normal I guess. The bad ‘OMG my life is over’ days are getting much more rare.

I am keeping up on PT and doing OK on dry fire. On the plus side I have started cracking the code on the eating side so I am seeing real results there. 10 down and 13 to go. More on this in due time.

On the big D side we are figuring it out. Trying to balance protecting both our interests while not spending 2/3rds of our money on lawyers to fight over the remaining 1/3rd is the goal anyway.

So that is what’s going on here.

From the Desk of John Rourke – October 21st, 2015

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This is going to be short. Extremely busy day today though I have had a lot on my mind and trying to sort everything out.

I see all the comments posted on many things here and it is very comforting to have so many like-minded folks come together in one place and frequently. What has been on my mind? I’m nervous. I have been in deep thought about all the things that are going on in this country and in this world. You know what I’m talking about. I have been envisioning a coming collapse/societal turmoil and the repercussions involved. It has motivated me and also has me considering a variety of plans that I really did not appreciate previously.

Time. How much time do we have? Is it all just going to be ok? Will 50 trillion in debt 20 years from now be just fine? Will the constant struggles between countries in this world all end in peace? Will the declining morals within the populace suddenly change and families start staying together and celebrating life? Will Patriotism ever return to where the average citizen gets a lump in their throat when they see a flag being handed to a wife of a dead soldier and the son of the hero?

Unfortunately my hopes are not very high right now. Don’t let my post get you down.


Not all is lost and not all bad. I have brothers and sisters out there that visit this site, comment, send emails, and even meet me for lunch here and there.

So – everyone just remember……

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Prepping Through Dry Stretches

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There are certainly different levels of preparedness. Some folks are happy with a case of buckshot for the family shotgun, a good water filter,  a stash of emergency food sufficient for a regional disaster (say 30-60 days) and a shoe box full of batteries for flashlights and radios. Aside from rotating canned food if you go that way (which is a good idea it has a lot of pro’s and limited downsides specifically weight and occasional need to rotate them) and batteries, which with some organization can be done through normal use this guy is done.

Other folks want higher levels of preparedness, some much higher. For folks on the longer end of the spectrum of preparedness goals it is a long journey. It is years or most of a lifetime of work. A marathon not a sprint if you will. In any multi year effort there are going to inevitably be times where you loose focus or life’s demands creep up. Medical issues can come up and money gets tight. Sometimes we just plain get bored or lose interest. Now it is easy to do nothing about preparedness for a week or a month but when a month turns to 2 or 3 it can be an issue.

So what can we do to minimize the down sides of these inevitable events?

-Hold what you have got! This means keeping up on needed maintenance for small engines (or going all the way and draining fluids, etc), rotating fuel and mid term type food, occasionally cleaning some guns, etc. If we can do this at least we should be able to maintain the levels of preparedness we worked so hard to get to.

-Automate whenever possible. Metals Pimp does a regular monthly plan for silver and gold. Set it up on a CC or transfer from your bank and forget it. [As soon as I get a better picture of what my post divorce money situation will be I will set one of these up.] I think there are similar plans for food storage out there.

-If the reason you are slowing down/ distracted only affects one area (space, time, money, physical stuff, etc) then focus on the other areas. If you are broke you can still do PT and dry fire. If you are short of space you can still train. If you are short on time you can still accumulate supplies. Work on what you can work on. You get the idea.

So those are my general ideas about how to manage the inevitable dry stretches. Now here are a couple thoughts on how to get out of them.

-Shift focus. Start a new preparedness related hobby. If you are a big radio guy get into shooting. If you are a big shooter get into canning. If you are a big time gardener work on pt.

-Do something useful but a touch indulgent. Splurge on a cool new radio then play with it. Build that precision rifle or get licensed and pick up that Enduro bike you have wanted. Dig deep to find the money for that class. You get the idea. [Incidentally I am going to try hard to make ECQC happen in 2016 as a present to me. Also an Appleseed.]

-Reevaluate and set new goals. Look at where you are and where you want to go. Find some goals to be excited about and get back to work.


Vehicle Discussion

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Tpals brought it up and well I can not think of another thing to write so here we go. Vehicles.

The vehicle I have and am going to get in the split is a Korean soccer mom SUV. It is a fine enough vehicle for what it is. However the soccer mom SUV has a shade under 140k on the odometer. Korean vehicles aren’t the junk they used to be (nor are they the amazing value they were after they fixed the issues but before people realized it) but 140k is getting close to the danger zone. It is showing its age these days.

The goal would be to sell it before it starts to have the kind of issues that cost me money or really falls off the cliff in terms of value. On one hand I could sell it ASAP but an already paid off vehicle is a darn nice thing. If I could drive the soccer mom SUV for a year to let me save up for a newer vehicle that would be great. However that could backfire and instead of being able to sell it for a few grand I end up with NADA out of it. On the other hand buying a vehicle now is a less than optimal option. I am not really at a good place for big purchases.

For the next vehicle I want more towing capacity. Like enough to move a decent sized travel trailer if I choose to go that way for housing down the road. That means a V8. 4wd is a must. Also darn it I have wanted a real no BS truck or awesome SUV for a couple decades and darn it I am getting one for my next vehicle.
If/ when I decide to buy a new vehicle I have a decision to make. Part of me wants to buy an old school, EMP resistant, vehicle like an 80’s Blazer or Suburban. The up side is I could buy one comfortably with cash and they are awesome. Anything with a Chevy 350 and associated drive train is about as common as it gets in the US. The downside is those things are about 30 years old, often have some miles on them and there is a real potential to have it $500 the crap out of me.

 On the other end I could get a newish (say 07 or better) SUV or quad cab truck like an F150. The up side is everything except cost. Realistically for something with sane mileage (say under 60k) I am looking at about 20k. This means either hitting my cash reserves pretty hard or taking a loan, neither of which exactly appeal to me.

Then again if I have a long commute for the cost of a newer truck I could have a sweet old school SUV as well as potential, at some point, a little daily driver car to putter around in. Have a sweet older vehicle for that role and if I have a long drive just buy a little car. If cost was spread out by awhile I could probably wrangle paying for both in cash. Best of all that is just if I work far from home. I could realistically drive an 85 Suburban 5 miles to work and 5 back for a long time without any real issues. 

Your input is appreciated.

Heavy Unfortunate News: Separation

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Wifey and I are separated and moving towards divorce. I am down here and she is at home with the kids and dogs. Of course nothing is over till its over but it sure looks unlikely the current course will change. I didn’t see it coming though I should have. The unfortunate truth is that we have probably been throwing good money after bad for awhile now. I wish her the best going forward. Hopefully we can settle things as painlessly and quickly as possible.

So that is what’s going on with me.

So what am I going to do moving forward. I am going to keep writing (need this little invisible community more than ever) while I try to figure things out. Heck I’ve started writing fiction again. No promises on when anything might come out but it is still progress.

How am I doing? Emotionally I am all over the place. Mostly moving between a sort of one foot in front of the other OK and sadness. On a positive note I am at least somewhat trending in a good direction and getting used to things. Figuring out what my new normal looks like. Working hard to forge stronger connections with friends and fill my time with positive, or at least neutral things. Have some self improvement to do also.

I am scheduled to leave here in the winter and go to a new duty station. Going to go home to see the kids as much as I can. Also I am looking hard at a new plan where I end there for good (and could be a meaningful part of their lives) a lot sooner than planned.

I don’t write this to solicit advice or pity and for goodness sake I do not want to talk about my feelings. My intent is to let you know what is going on with me and get it off my chest. Please bear with me, the usual regular quality posting will continue in due course. In fact from a preparedness angle some pretty interesting things are probably going to happen.