November, 2008

Family BOB Example: The Lances

A local friend of mine recently posted his notes about creating a set of emergency bags (BOB72 Hour Kit) for his family. It’s great to see a friend getting his family so ready, and even better when they can share such excellent information. In his example, I think he does a great job of presenting how he will get his young sons to carry a small part of their own gear, without overtaxing them. I know all younger families like myself worry about how to ‘carry enough’ for the younger children, and this example shows great thought in dealing with that concern. Check out the Lances BOB setup. Several pictures showing all the included gear, in and out of the bags.

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Preparing for a Nuclear Attack: Determining YOUR Scenario

This is the second in a series of posts that will go over preparation for a Nuclear Attack. The first can be found here.

Determining YOUR Scenariogz_thmb

In our opening post we provided some background information on what can be expected in the event of a Nuclear Attack. While one isolated Nuclear Incident by terrorists or some other force is what we can hope for, as preppers we must prepare for the worst possible scenario, a real WTSHTF type of event. For this discussion that means a full scale Nuclear Attack perpetrated by at least one foreign country against us. This scenario means multiple bombs hitting us, potentially in the hundreds. After all, if they’re gonna throw one at us, why not unleash them all and finish the job? That’s what we have to assume we’re prepping for.

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Preparing for a Nuclear Attack: Some Background

This is the first in a series of posts that will go over preparation for a Nuclear Attack.

gz_thmbWhy a series on Nuclear Prep?


Some of you might be up on this stuff but for the most part, when the Cold War went away so did major fear of nukes and as far as I know, a LOT of the information about a potential nuclear attack and how to prep for it and survive it was forgotten. It seems that a lot of people are almost too scared to actually confront the possibility, better to bury their head in the sand and pretend it just won’t happen than to study it and learn how to be prepared for it.

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Preparedness Christmas: Stocking Stuffer Ideas

This will be the first of a couple themed posts around having a “Preparedness Christmas”. With world and U.S. conditions being what they are, if you’re like me the last thing you can stomach right now is the idea of spending a bunch of money on silly toys and other frivolous items that will be either lost or destroyed (and somewhat unappreciated) within a week or so of Christmas. Christmas gift giving is a great time to think about sharing the security and comfort of being prepared with the rest of your family.

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Blogger Highlight: Riverwalker

In an effort to help recognize some of the great preparedness bloggers out there, and help people find some of the other great resources on the web, I’d love to introduce folks to a blogger I’ve been reading for a while now. Riverwalker maintains a couple of blogs himself, the Stealth Survival, and Riverwalker’s Survival Gear.

Riverwalker has a great way of presenting very useful information in an appealing, direct manner.  He’s also been great at helping other preparedness bloggers get their start, and get connected to other folks.  Please take some time and read up on what he’s already published.  A lot of nice, simple, to the point posts that will go far in helping anyone be ready for any kind of emergency.

A few recent topics of interest from his blogs:

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Preparedness Motivational Poster

Nothing like a little motivation.  Ok, I know I’m a Star Wars geek.

because_you_never_know

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Review: Costco Emergency Supply Kit Deal

Kit as advertised

Kit as advertised

In the recent Costco mailer, some friends and I all noticed that a “72-hour” kit that Costco carries had a limited time online discount available.  The $60 kit was/is available for a limited time for $40 with shipping (Costco 72 hour kit sale), so I decided to check it out. One more 72 hour kit could be good for my family, and if it was nice, would make a great gift to give to some family members and friends.

The kit is all self-contained in a 2.5 gallon bucket, that has a nice airtight seal (gasket lined-lid), but has the one-time use strip around the edge, so you know if it’s been opened.  The bucket of course will still reseal, but

The Bucket

The Bucket

with the thinner lip that’s left after the protective strip is removed.  So you don’t need a bucket tool to open this thing, but you will need some kind of knife or tool to release the first seal.  I had to cut that part open.  The bucket itself contains a listing of contents, as well as basic nutritional information for the food inside, which is nice to have available.  However for this review I wanted to actually get my hands on what was inside, to see the quality, etc.

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Leatherman Micra Deal

Just passing along a link I got from amazon for one of their black friday deals.  A Leatherman Micra for just over half off. $12.99. Obviously this is a limited time deal from them.
These are handy little tools for your EDC, and a great stocking stuffer.

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Do you EDC

EDC = Every Day Carry

What’s in your pocket, bag, desk, or any other place.  Every Day Carry is about what you have with you for whatever your needs may be.  While much of true preparedness means being ready even without tools, we all know that the right tool will make any job easier.  Just like that hero of ours, MacGyver (oh, checkout the list of things he solved) we know that a swiss army knife might be just the thing you need in a tough spot.

So whether it’s keeping things related to emergency preparedness, a better way to keep your phone with you, or keeping the tools of the trade (whatever you may do), you can rest well knowing you aren’t the only other one who has wondered what else you might need, or how you can carry it better.

One of my favorite resources with all things EDC related is the aptly-named edcforums.com.  This excellent group of people can help open your eyes, and much like a self-help group, bring you to a greater understanding of your desire to load up the bat-belt, and what to load it with.  Stop in a check out their information, and get yourself to EDC exactly what you need for your lifestyle.

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An Easy Breakfast

I thought I’d share a nice and easy way to utilize your whole wheat berries for an on-the-run breakfast.  Of course, I’m talking whole wheat cereal.  Now I remember as a kid hating this stuff, my mom would make it for us kids, and we’d all turn our noses at it, pleading for something sugary.  But we did have to eat it anways, it was what we could afford.

Fast forward to now, after years of living away from home, and getting used to some of my favorite breakfast foods (BACON!), I have realized that I need to eat a little better.  I also know that I need to eat a little cheaper a lot of the time, and using my cheapest food storage is a great way to do that.

One of the biggest problems with a whole wheat cereal is that those berries require a lot of soaking/cooking to get soft enough to eat.  Who really wants to wake up extra early to spend a long time cooking some ‘simple’ breakfast?  Well, it’s easy to avoid that, and it truly is error free.

Just combine 1 part whole wheat berries, and 2 parts boiling water, along with a pinch of salt (kosher of course :) ) to a thermos.  Seal well,

Simple Ingredients, Healthy Food

Simple Ingredients, Healthy Food

then let sit overnight on your counter, ready to grab in the morning rush out the door.  Pour into a bowl at work, and add your favorite flavorings (honey, syrups, berries, raisins, brown sugar, butter, etc).  You get an amazingly cheap, powerfully filling, energy rich breakfast for pennies, and the time it takes to microwave a little bit of water.  And with all the different options for what to add in, you can easily rotate flavors every day with storage foods (or fresh ones from your garden).

Now, how much do you need?  Especially at first, start small.  If you haven’t been eating whole wheat food (maybe this is your first attempt at using your wheat?) then switching too fast is going to make your insides get a cleansing they weren’t ready for.  But a single serving won’t be bad if you are taking it easy.  I find about 1/3 cup of wheat to make a nice serving size for starting out.  That stuff really swells up with the soaking, so that is a good sized adult portion for most folks.  After you have found the flavors you love, it’s easy to adjust to the amount you will eat.

Now, I still crave the usuals (Bacon, Sausage, Eggs, etc.), but for on the go, and at work this is an amazingly simple food, that will keep you full through the day.  Add to that the amazing financial sense of it, and you can’t afford not to try it out.

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Reading Country Code From Barcodes

I love the tips that get passed around online that just make your life work a little easier.  This quick tip was posted to me today.

Example UPC barcode

Example UPC barcode

I’d always known that standard barcodes included country information, but wasnt’ sure how to parse it out, or where the numbers matched up to.  Well, here’s a few quick answers:

Howto Read Country of Origin Codes

Wikipedia’s List of all country GS1 codes

The short of it all is this, the first digits tell you where it’s from.  000 – 139 are US, though most unused still.  Just as a note, older products didn’t have a leading 0, such as the posted example, so assume 0 padding for the full length when calculating.

690 – 695 is China.

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Why a Depression today would be worse than in the 1930’s

A while back, I saw this post on SurvivalBlog www.survivalblog.com.

Jim
I run a museum that covers, in part, the Great Depression. In a reply to Steve’s letter about how people may react to a “modern” 1930s type depression, you listed a number of economic, social and cultural differences in America in the two time periods. I might add, or expand on, a few.

In the 1930s, many more people lived on farms or gardened. Even in many towns and cities, it was common to have a garden and raise a few animals including chickens, rabbits, pigeons. An enormous difference, then and now, is that the garden seeds then were “heritage” or open pollinated. That means that a family could save their seed year after year, and always have a crop. That is no longer possible with today’s hybrids. If you save seed now, they, (the hybrids), won’t come back the next year. In a major economic breakdown, there will be little distribution of anything, including seed. No seed, no garden.

In the 1930s, most people had wells or cisterns for water. Today, if the electricity goes off, no more “city” water. Formerly, most people had outhouses. They didn’t need flushing. Today, if you can’t flush, you’ve got a biological lab in your bathroom within three days. In the 1930s, there were more horses, more donkeys, more mass transit and railroads, and more bikes. Today, no gas means no mobility. 80 years ago many more people preserved their own food. It was common for most folks to dry, can, smoke, salt, pickle and cold cellar, food. Today, many people consider food storage a discount card to a restaurant. In the 1930s, most people heated with wood or coal. Now, it’s almost entirely “on demand” gas in a pipe, or electricity. Formerly, most people had treadle sewing machines, grain grinders and meat grinders. Today, nada. In the 1930s, far more people practiced folk medicine and used herbs. If you got cut, sew it yourself. Got sick, chop a chicken and make soup. Today? You’d better have a pill bottle and insurance.

In the 1930s, far more people were church goers. Families tended to live closer to each other. People in general had a more self-reliant attitude. If someone had a problem, they tended to try to solve it themselves. And if they couldn’t, their church family, or own their family, would help them. Society today includes far more people who think the gov’t should, and will, be their caretaker.

It’s my belief, that if today we have a depression, if only as bad as the 1930s Great Depression, that [the societal impact of] such a depression will be many times worse. It’s a somewhat real possibility that, today, in a severe enough crisis, there would be no transport, little food or medicine, no heat, no sanitation, no water and very little cohesion of society.

In the 1930s, people sold apples on street corners, and a popular song was “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” I’m afraid that today, it may be far more common for people to try to take what they can, and consequences be d***ed. A 1930s-type Depression today ? Not pretty.

Jim Fry
Museum of Western Reserve Farms & Equipment

I have to completely agree with everything the museum curator said. Americans are entirely NOT prepared for anything remotely resembling hardship. We have become a nation of debtors and are addicted to debt. We’ve lost the sense of personal accountability and self reliance that characterized Americans for 200 years.

Here in Utah, I am surrounded by people who believe in the principle of self reliance, preparedness, etc. Not everyone is on board with these tenets, but I believe we Utahns are far better prepared than most in other states, particularly those in large cities.

Don’t believe me? How would these people react to a pandemic, food crisis, etc?

Do we even need to wonder if they have any food storage, money, etc. set aside for a rainy day, let alone something far worse?

What are YOU doing to prepare your family? Even if a catastrophic event were to never occur, what is the downside to gardening, food storage, and general self reliance? I know that if I could afford it my family and I would live on a self sufficient family farm. Today I would be running it in maintenance mode, just keeping a bare minimum of animals, produce, etc. However if something were to happen I could ‘flip the switch’ and ramp up to a self sufficient family farm. What I mean by this is that we would be producing enough milk, honey, wool, etc. to supply our own needs and have some to sell or trade for what we can’t or aren’t producing ourselves.

For now this is just a dream. Our little half acre just isn’t big enough. It is already cramped with our garden, chickens, goat and dogs.

What do our readers think about these topics? Am I being to down on our preparedness level as a society? Am I crazy for dreaming about a little family farm? Comments welcome.

One last plug for the great SurvivalBlog:

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