Seeds Almost Here!

I just checked the tracking on my seeds from MyPatriotSupply.com, and they’re out for delivery!  WOOHOO!

Yes, I’m excited.  Why?  Well, let’s just say that I love eating fresh vegetables out of the garden, and I like the idea of growing enough food for my family to take care of many of our food needs for the next year.

Theoretically, anyway.

You see, I’ve never had nearly that much luck for whatever reason.  With squash — something that’s getting planted in the next week or so — I’ve not yet yielded a single squash.  Not one.  They bloom, they grow, but nothing.

So, I’m going to try again.  Squash and onions will go in the ground fast.  Yes, it’s hot, which worries me, but I’ll get some hay to use as mulch and hopefully it’ll keep it cool enough to let stuff grow.

So what else is on the agenda?

Well, green beans is a big part of our diet, so I’ll be growing a lot of those. In this case, I’ll be growing Blue Lake pole beans, rather than the bush variety I have more experience with.  My reasoning is that my reading indicates that pole varieties will keep putting out pods throughout the season, so long as you keep harvesting them.  Obviously, this translated to more beans (DUH!).

Bush varieties, by contrast, only produce for a couple of weeks no matter how much you harvest.  This, I’ve seen first hand.  As a result, if you plant a like number of pole beans, you’ll get a much greater harvest.  This is kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it?

Additionally, I’ve got carrots and lettuce in route as well.  Still needing to be ordered are spinach (research is needed to determine what kind I want to grow), potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

With the help of succession planting, I’m hoping I can get most of these grown and harvest enough to cover our needs.  Maybe.

However, if these are successful, I’ll be growing in more beds, and hopefully add in a few other vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and corn (maybe).  We’ll see how things work out.

Now I just need this heel injury — the one I haven’t told you about — to heal so I can get outside and start digging out the beds.  I think I’ll be ready to roll by tomorrow, at least in part.  I hope to have everything ready for seeds to roll starting next Monday.

I do plan on documenting what works and what doesn’t work here, including my experiments in vertical gardening.

So, if you have questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions for varieties of spinach I can grow, please leave a comment. 🙂

Ending Radio Silence

Hello, folks.  Sorry it’s been quiet here, but life has been…interesting.

First, we had a mild SHTF incident when we lost water here at the house for the weekend.  We could fetch it from outside, but no running water inside.  It was…interesting.

It was a nice reminder that I really need to do better on my water storage.

However, I started doing a bit of garden planning now that we’re past this thing with the water (pro tip: Never assume a faucet is a simple fix unless you are a plumber).

Now, some of you might remember that I mentioned I live in a mobile home court (which is just a step up above your traditional trailer park).  We live in a decent sized, fenced in yard, but I didn’t think a garden was a realistic option.

Then I started thinking about vertical gardening.

The idea of growing up instead of out sounds like the ticket for such a limited space.  So, planning has begun.

Of course, this offers up some challenges as well.  For example, I have two parts of my hard that are where I plan to put place the garden.  One is north facing, one is west.  The eastern part of the yard is too narrow to do much of anything, plus has a lot of tree cover so it’s not ideal anyways.  The South is just too shady.  At any point in the day, there’s like zero sun there.

The biggest challenge is that it’s still shady as heck.  At 7:30 this morning, there was remarkably little sunlight hitting the ground.  By 10, it was decent on the western lawn.  By 1:30, the better sunned section from earlier was now in the shade.  However, the entire North lawn was bright and sunny and clearly had been for some time.

It’s a good thing I’m going vertical, because there’s really very little yard available for use that has decent sun.

Anyway, I’ll make it work.  The BOL doesn’t really have great sun either, so this will make a good lesson in planning around that.

 

Working On My Bug Out Bag

The other day, I took a look at my bug out bag.  Yeesh!  I really shouldn’t have done that.

OK, yeah, I should have.  Otherwise, I’d have found out just how bad life could be the hard way.  You see, I put together my bug out bad with the belief that I’d continue to add stuff to it.  Unfortunately, I didn’t.  I put a bunch of stuff in there — it was a good start, make no mistake — but then I backed off.  The result is that my BOB was horribly incomplete.

First, almost no clothing.  Second, no food.

Oh yeah, I was a hard-charging survivalist there, wasn’t it?

To make matters worse, my bad didn’t really have the room for either of those things.  It was a small pack, which is good, but it was really too small.

DSCF0026

Old bag, now empty. I’ll find use for it, I’m just not sure where yet.

The other night, after looking around, I pulled the trigger on a new bag.  This one is about 50L.  It’s an inexpensive model that had some decent reviews on Amazon, but I’m also fully prepared to reinforce straps and whatnot.

The new bag, with most of my gear transferred.

The new bag, with most of my gear transferred.

Most of the gear I have in the smaller back has transferred to the new bag. Next, it was examined to make sure it’s what I really need.  Let me be honest, I was stupid on some of this gear.  I went to Walmart and picked up items in stock that would meet the basic needs.  Fire, shelter, water.  Everything but food.

However, some of that gear is less than spectacular.  I need to make use of it and see if it’s salvageable.  If so, awesome.  If not, I’ll post the review and get something else.  (Yes, I plan on actually showing people I paid money on crap stuff.  Go me.)

More importantly, I’ll be showing how I’m rebuilding my bag step by step.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to help someone else put one together.

In addition, I need to build bags for my wife and daughter who don’t have one.  Luckily, my son has one already from a Boy Scout merit badge class he took.  It was fairly complete, so we’ll need to inventory it, add things in (underwear and socks, food, etc.) and make sure it’s not too uncomfortable to ruck with.

More following the jump, because this bad boy is LONG!

Continue reading

The Evil Black Rifle

I had a post bouncing around on here.  It was all about how you don’t really need a “black rifle” as a prepper, and all the reasons why you don’t.  Part of it is rationalization on my part since I’m a little broke and can’t afford one right now.

I’m not going to run it.  I’m just not.  Not after Orlando.

Right now, I won’t do a damn thing that could be construed to help the gun grabbers take our God-given right to keep and bear arms.  Despite the fact that I have never supported banning any class of weapon, I could see someone interpreting it that way.  A pro-Second Amendment ally seeing it like that, I could deal with.  A simple explanation that no, there should be no bans would probably be enough.

However, there are others who wouldn’t bother to ask.  They’d just quote me, maybe link to me, and pretend I’m on their side.  I’m not.

Today, my advice is different.  Get an AR-15 or an AK-47 or a FAL or M1A or whatever flavor of combat rifle you want.  Get it, shoot it, train with it, and so on.  Become the baddest mofo you possibly can.

Why the change?

First, there are the political facts at work.  Let’s say the left banned so-called “assault rifles.”  Do you really think they’ll stop there?  Next, it’ll be handguns, then “sniper” rifles, then shotguns.  They’ll systematically eliminate every way we have to protect ourselves under the pretense that they’re somehow looking out for us.

Every time more rifles are sold, it becomes just a bit harder for them to argue a new law will have any change.  Period.

Second, while I don’t think preppers should go looking for a fight — in fact, they should be doing every blasted thing possible to avoid one — sometimes a fight comes looking for you.  You’d best be ready to roll as best you can.

Now, not everyone can get their hands on one for whatever reason.  I get that.  Trust me, I’ve been there.  I’ve owned both AKs and ARs, sold them when times were tough, and regret not having either at the moment.

However, there are some options to consider.  These are things I’m looking into myself.

First, if you go AK, there are kits available for a not unreasonable price.  These kits are from actual demilled AKs that have been imported.  Now, you’ll need two things to build an AK, and that’s a receiver and a barrel (the barrel thing is relatively new).  I built my AK with the help of a gunsmith buddy.  Back then, the barrels were original.

Since then, BATFE decided to require the demil process to also cut the barrels.  They were going to show us AK builders!

Now we get brand new barrels, which is good because my AK had some slight barrel issues that affected accuracy.  Whoops.

The receivers are a different matter.  I suggest you get a less than 80 percent receiver and complete it yourself.  That keeps your name off of any paperwork and is completely legal in most places.

Now, if you’re wanting to go AR, things are a little different.  I’d still go with a less than 80 percent receiver for that platform, but rather than buying a kit, you can assemble the weapon with individual parts that meet your personal specifications.

Honestly, this is the route I’m going.  I’ve got a drill press and a router, both of which can be used to complete a receiver.  Might need to break out the files too, but I’ll make it work.

The point is, get an evil black rifle.  It’s our way to tell the jerks in Washington that we will not bow down to them.

First Aid Kit…Not According To Plan

First, my apologies for the brief hiatus.  I’ve been swamped with work over the last week or so, and I just didn’t have blogging in me after everything.  After all, I write during the day and the more I have to do, the less time I have for this, unfortunately.

So, after a small snafu on my first aid kit, I have to say that my plan was less than stellar.  Oh, there’s plenty of stuff, but I looked through the contents I’d ordered and realized that it’s…well…meh.

Honestly, I think I’d have been better off buying individual items after all.  Pretty much nothing was worthwhile except the bandaids and I have plenty of those already.

Well, it’s here now, so it’s time to branch out and add to the kit.  I also need to plan some way to organize it better.  Story of my life.

The blood pressure cuff and stethoscope wasn’t too bad.  It’s basic, to be sure, but otherwise acceptable.  The stethoscope will probably need to be replaced eventually, but that’s one of those items that having multiples of may be handy.  Most importantly, though, it works well enough for now.

In all honesty, I’m probably better prepped on medical supplies than 95 percent of the population, so I have that going for me.

Now I just need to make this whole thing not suck so much. 🙂

First Aid Supplies Ordered and WaterBOB Arrives

It’s been a somewhat productive day.

First, my WaterBOB arrived.  Now I have some means for storing water.  It won’t cover everything, but it’s a start.  I’ve mentioned the downsides of this method previously, so I won’t go into them again.

What I will say is that this won’t be all for water storage for me.  However, it’s a nice start.

Second, I had a little fun with first aid supplies.

As I said when I talked about the plan, I knew I was going to need these.  We’ve got bandaids and such, but there are a lot of holes left with that.  However, I’ve never been really fond of the commercial first aid kits you can get.  Part of it is that my knowledge extends past most kits.  The other part is they always seem overpriced for the kit when all I wanted was the contents.

Well, luckily you can get first aid kit refills.  I went with a class B kit refill.  For those who are unfamiliar with the kit types, an “A” kit is for most general accidents.  Cuts, scrapes, things like that.  These are most of the kits you come across.  They’re basic, but most people can use any of the contents as they are.

A “B” kit is for higher risk environments.  These are a bit more advanced as far as kits go.  They’re also a bit more expensive, of course, but I personally think it’s worth it.  While I still will want to add to the kit, I’ll be adding a whole lot less with one of these kits.

I also picked up a stethoscope and sphygmomanometer (otherwise known as a blood pressure cuff).  I know how to use these, and will be teaching the whole family how to as well.

Total cost?  Less than $35.

Still need to work out some plan on what food to grab this weekend, but I’ll definitely be picking up some.  There are just so many options since I have so many holes still, which makes the whole thing a bit overwhelming.  The key is to not get too worked up over and keep moving forward.

Just think, I’m a buttload better prepared than I was a few weeks ago.  Once the first aid supplies get here, I’ll be even more prepared.

And knowing that you’re more prepared is a wonderful feeling.

One Step Closer To A Bug-Out Location

While many of my plans at this point revolve around sheltering in place, I’m not stupid. (Hey, you? Stop laughing!)  I recognize that while we may want to stay here, that may not be realistic.  We may just have to get out of Dodge.

So, today my wife and I had lunch with my mother-in-law.

She recently sold the farm that had been in my father-in-law’s family for years.  She held onto five acres out of the couple hundred that had been in place with the understanding that her sons would take care of them.

They won’t.  The MIL knows it, my wife knows it, and I know it.  One might if someone asks him first.  The other?  Not gonna happen.

That means this land will probably be neglected.  And that’s when I offered to help take care of the land in exchange for using it for family camping and hunting.  Yeah, it’s just five acres, but it’s surrounded by woods in prime whitetail deer country.

Anyways, she was agreeable, so now we’re going to plan a trip down to do some work on the land, which I’m kind of looking forward to.  I plan to spend some time exploring the land and scouting out good places to set up our own camp that I’ve already mentally dubbed Camp Teotwawki.

There’s a well on site, though it needs work.  That includes a hand pump, but also needs some other things as the water is kind of muddy right now.  I’ll learn and fix and make sure that should The Bad Times come, we’ve got a place to fall back to.

And if not?  Well, we’ve got a way to get the hell out of the city.

Here’s hoping this acreage butts up to the creek.  If it does, then I can see some quality time fishing with my son.

Looking forward to the work too, oddly enough.  The idea of making a place fit is kind of appealing.  Especially since I sit on my butt all day for work.

Step One on Water Down

It’s time to slow down a bit, as I said before, but fate waits for no man.  Neither does the bus, but I digress.  I said it was time to slow down, but I also pointed out that I planned on securing at least one piece of prepper gear with each paycheck.

I’m basically self-employed, with different customers paying on different schedules.  I use the once per month payments to cover bills, but one customer pays weekly, and that’s what I count as “mine,” so to speak.

Well, today I ordered a 100 gallon WaterBOB for the tub.  Assuming we can fill it before losing the water, that should be about 25 days of water for my family.  This is good.

The downside is that it’s assuming I can actually fill it first, of course.  So, this is only a start.

The thing is, a WaterBOB is actually pretty cheap, running about $20.  I personally think everyone should have something similar on hand, just because.  Assuming, of course, that they work.

However, I now have something for water, and a decent amount of water.  It’s a nice foundation to base things around.  Sure, I still need a good filter, and I need to figure out how to put some water away.  I need to do all of that.

The important thing is that I’m doing something.

Realistically, I doubt I’ll ever be as prepared as I want to be.  Few of us ever will be.  What matters is the overall direction one is taking.

People tend to fall into a few different groups.  The majority have their heads in the sand, trusting the government to have their back.  Some know they need to do something, but are paralyzed by fear and confusion (Yes, I was in this camp for far too long).  Some are convinced they can take what they want in The Bad Times and aren’t worried about it.  The rest are the ones spending a lot of time getting ready, just in case.

The important thing is to be in that last group.  That’s where I am now, and I’m damn glad to be there.

Don’t Get Too Wrapped Up In Your Own Ideas

Preppers all have their own ideas of what things are going to be like in The Bad Times.  We all have our pet theories based on…well, whatever.  It doesn’t matter what they’re based on.  What is important is that we have them.

From time to time, some of us get too wrapped up in our own ideas.

On a post at SurvivalBlog.net, a gentleman dropped a line that got published regarding HAM radio operations.  Now, I know less about HAM radio than I do about quantum mechanics, but this tidbit really got up my dander:

IF the SHTF (or maybe better WHEN), there will be absolutely no accountability with people using amateur radio bands; NONE. That will be the last thing on the minds of the alleged authorities.

A CB radio with good linear will get out pretty far. When the bands are right, they might even get out of country. In a TEOTWAWKI, there will be almost no comms because in that type of event, the air will be so clogged with fall out (pulverized rock), radio will not work except for very specific and narrow bands.

(Emphasis added by yours truly)

Now, the gentleman who wrote this argues that in case of TEOTWAWKI, no one is going to care about licenses for HAM radios.  He’s right.

However, I personally think he’s wrong on some key points.

First, he appears to be very locked into his own version of what kind of disasters could occur.  Fallout?  Sure, in a nuclear war or supervolcano, but what about an EMP?  What about a pandemic?

Plus, note the first bolded part.  SHTF events can take any form.  A tornado devastating an area is definitely an SHTF situation.  However, there’s still the rule of law.  Simply assuming you’ll be free to do as you wish in any version of a disaster is about half-silly.  It’s begging the government to pay you a visit when things settle down.

The thing is, I have an idea what’s happened with this gentleman.

Personally, I think he’s done a lot of thinking.  He’s done the threat assessment and has his idea of what is the most probable situation.  I get that.  I’ve done the same thing.

However, he’s become too focused on that, I believe.  He sees that scenario as the only one, and that colors all of his thoughts.  He’s expecting a huge bang, lots of dust, and something that will clog the air for days.

But there’s a pile of things that could go wrong with those assumptions.  For example, one may assume that the clogged air will keep people away for a period of time and therefore haven’t planned any near-term security.

Now, I could be wrong.  This guy may have N95 masks ready for a pandemic, and plans in place for EMP hitting us and anything else.

However, it’s probably smart for us to take a moment from time to time to make sure we haven’t fallen into a trap of our own making and assume too much it’ll be just that one thing.  The idea behind prepping is to be ready for any eventuality.  Don’t get too tied up in one that you completely ignore everything else.

It’s a good reminder for me, and I hope it helps someone else.

Skill Of The Quarter

Prepping is often thought of as being more about accumulating stuff.  After all, we call it prepping and the things we get are called “preps”.  We tend to focus on buying food, water filters, guns, or whatever.

However, more and more preppers are talking about skills.  It’s actually a pretty smart thing since skills weigh nothing and can’t be taken from you by bad people willing to do bad things to you.

I’m not going to bash anyone who likes to accumulate “things.”  I don’t want to be a hypocrite, and I have way too tight an attachment on things, so I won’t judge.

Now, that brings me back to skills.

The reality is we need skills.  We need all of them, and we need all of them right now.  Unfortunately, it’s not particularly reasonable.

So, what I’m going to do is spend each quarter of the year learning one vital skill.  I won’t master them by any stretch of the imagination, but I can learn it well enough to not devote all of my attention to it.

The goal here is to have a skillset that permits me to be dropped in the middle of nowhere with nothing but my knife and not just survive but to thrive.  Couple that with proper preps along the lines of what I’m doing now, and my family and I should be just fine.

Unfortunately, where do I start?

Realistically, I only have a finite amount of time to devote to any skill.  And, well, money being spent on this needs to be minimal.  Three-week courses on edible plants, for example, aren’t really an option.  A book, however, is.

A book on the topic and a lot of time in the woods, however, is.

So, my first skill needs to be something straightforward that can be done without me spending a pile of money, but I also think it needs to be something that will provide a good foundation for these skills.

Therefore, I’ll go with fire starting.

Yes, I can make a fire with matches or a lighter.  However, if all I have is a knife (no fire starting rod, mind you), I don’t have a lot of options along those lines.  Realistically, I should have some kind of fire starter under almost any circumstance, but that’s beside the point.

So, I’m going to do some educating of my own butt.  Rubbing sticks together to make fire is a useful skill, just because.  Then I can figure out what to do next come September.

I’m open to suggestions for that timeframe.