Blacksmithing as a prepping skill

AvilI’ve always been interested in Blacksmithing, both as a link to past skills and as a possibly useful prepping skill. Early in 2012 I began looking into how I might be able to start learning this craft.

I quickly found ABANA, the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America. As the organization’s name might imply, most people doing blacksmithing today are doing it as an art or for ornamentation purposes. Through ABANA, I was pointed to our local Utah ABANA chapter, the Bonnevile Forge Council.

This local chapter has meetings on odd numbered months for its members and those interested in learning about the club and blacksmithing. These meetings are often centered around demonstrations of hands on projects. The club members try to make it less intimidating for newcomers who have never heated metal to 2000 degrees before.

I was able to attend the March 2012 meeting and meet many of the club members. I haven’t missed a meeting since. The next meeting for the club will be this coming Saturday in Provo and focuses on teaching forge welding. I hope any of you who are interested will be able to make it out. Please see the meetings link above for details.

If you are not able to make it to the meeting this weekend, the club president is hosting a short class on making flint strikers which will teach several basic blacksmithing skills. This three hour class will take place the evening of Wednesday, May 15, 2013. More information is here.

We recently posted about an all day introductory blacksmithing class taught by the club President and Mark Henderson, both accomplished blacksmiths. I was informed that the class filled up quickly, mainly due to interest from those who heard about the class through this site. I’d like to hear any feedback any attendees have on the class as well as gauge interest in additional introductory classes and other courses of instruction.

Introductory Blacksmithing course this month!

AnvilThe Bonneville Forge Council (Utah’s Artist Blacksmith Association of North America group) Is hosting an introductory Blacksmithing course on April 20th. Mark your calendars. More information is below and at BFCSmiths
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FEMA guidelines and instructions for CERT drills and exercises

CERT Logo

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has long supported CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) in locales large and small by providing training material, grants and other support. This week they released a new set of FEMA guidelines and instructions for CERT drills and exercises. These exercises cover the gamut and include tabletop exercises, functional exercises, full scale exercises, and competitive events.

Find out more about these drills and exercises after the jump.
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Preparedness items at local Sam’s Clubs

I work near a Sam’s Club and sometime head over for a lunchtime visit. It is hard to beat a Polish Dog and soda at $1.50 for lunchtime frugality. While I am there I often browse through the store to see what seasonal items are on display. Over the last couple months I’ve noticed a few preparedness items at local Sam’s Clubs.

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Powerless Cooking Event

Join us for an evening of free information on different options for cooking when the power goes out.  Representatives from great companies such as Sun Oven, Volcano Grills, Humless, and InstaFire will be combining with Jodi and Julie from Food Storage Made Easy to help you learn about these products as well as several free or inexpensive tools you can make yourself.  Come and enjoy free handouts, event discounts, giveaways and more!

Cost: FREE! Bring a friend!

Date:  Thursday May 10, 2012

Time:  7-9 pm (7-8 will be instructional, 8-9 will be Q&A at individual booths)

Location: 

American Preparatory Academy
12892 S. Pony Express Rd. (Just off of I15 and Bangeter)
Draper, Utah 84020

Click here for more details and to RSVP

Testing Seed Germination Rates

If you have seed saved from prior years, it is a good idea to test the germination rate before planting your whole garden with it. Depending on the rate of germination, you can decide if you want to plant normally, plant more thickly, plant single sprouts, or just toss the seed out and start with fresh seed.

Testing seed germination also just happens to be a requirement for the Boy Scouts’ Gardening merit badge, so my son got to do this project for us this year while I took pictures. Here’s how we do it.

1. Gather the seed you want to test. Just for fun, I gave him some cucumber seed I had left from the survival seed can packed for planting in 2000. That’s 12 year old cucumber seed.
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Utah Prepare Conference and Expo – Ticket Giveaway

Interested in a day of workshops focused on preparedness? Who wouldn’t?  Utah State University, BYU, and BeReady Utah have combined to host a day of classes and booths called the Utah Prepare Conference and Expo. Now, the title is rather similar to our name, but hey, it involves many groups that we rely on for well-researched information.

I’m really excited about this conference, in that it is *not* a sales machine. BeReady is the state organization charged with getting citizens ready for known disasters in the state, and it has teamed up with some of the best resources for preparedness around. Anybody who has done real research into local agriculture, animal husbandry, or food preservation has come upon materials published by the USU extension. They are the standard for food preservation testing in the country, and we love having them locally.

Of course, there are vendors there as well, so don’t fret about missing out on the “toys” and fun there as well, but the conference itself is not “consumer-first”, and that should mean a lot to real preppers.

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Prepping featured on the Today Show this morning – Today Show Preppers

NBCs Today Show via Google Image Search
As I was getting for work this morning, like most mornings I had the morning news on so I can try to be up to date on those events that are reported on. As I was finishing up and getting ready to walk out the door, the Today Show on NBC came on following the local news. One of the first things they mentioned? The growing number of “preppers preparing for the end of the world”.
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Davis County HAM Radio Class: March 17th 2012

Reader erixun72 sent along a link to the Davis County Amateur Radio Club‘s posting about their upcoming radio class and test. If you’ve seen our posting’s about the Utah County tests, and figured it was too far of a drive, maybe this is a bit closer to you.  There’s never been a better time to get your license, as you can quickly find a local community getting ready for the Utah Shakeout and help out.

If you know of any other classes, please send them along via our contact form, or if you want to post directly, let us know and you can post too. To attend the class, just follow the instructions below.

From the site: Continue reading “Davis County HAM Radio Class: March 17th 2012”

Fixing it up: Refinishing a Table

Preparing for this past holiday season gave cause to some concern in my family.  Recently moved into a new home that is larger than our old one, my wife has the itch to furnish. Add to that the fact that her extended family was coming to visit to celebrate Christmas at our house this desire became much stronger.  There was one issue, however.  The fact that we had just moved into a new house, meant that our discretionary funds are and we are unable to purchase anything new.

The largest of concerns for my wife was our dining room table. Inherited from her grandmother, it hadn’t handled the years of abuse our kids have given.  Pitted, scratched, and discolored the table had truly seen better days.  My wife was really looking into what could be done to replace this thing. Dreams of counter-height, new colors, and more seating area were frequently discussed, but the reality of the budget didn’t leave her room to get what she wanted.

This then left me in the position of being able to work a little with my hands in order to make my wife a whole lot happier. Continue reading “Fixing it up: Refinishing a Table”

Living in the Past: Iron Age Reality

Yesterday I was linked to a BBC show on youtube that I found quite interesting. The video was a follow-up, thirty years after the filming of a show called Living in the past. The show itself was in effect a reality show, but not one designed on conflict, but the actual experience of a group living as a community in an iron age setting in England.

It’s quite interesting seeing a nice summary of their experiences, and how living a truly primitive lifestyle for 13 months changed the way they think.
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November 9th Emergency Broadcast System Test

If you are like me, you grew up occasionally hearing your TV issue a loud beep followed by “This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test.” Followed by another loud beep.

Today, Wednesday November 9th, 2011 at noon (MST) Utah time the National Emergency Alert System will be conducting a nationwide test for the first time. The Emergency Alert system system is meant to allow governments at every level to alert their citizens to events that may affect them. The hope is that the system will be usable by local cities, counties and states as well as by the federal government to issue alerts at the national level. These alerts may cover child abuduction/Amber alert notices, sever storm warnings, tornado warnings, terrorist attacks, or pretty much any conceivable notice that a government may want to advise the public of.

As interesting and useful as this system will hopefully prove to be, I think it provides another, far more important purpose. It serves as a great reminder to check on your emergency plans and gear. Take few minutes today to check your car kit and your 72 hour kits. Are they still complete? We often “borrow” gear from our readiness kits and then forget to put them back or replace consumables. Use today as a reminder that as preppers we need to stay on top of our preps. Preps are not a one-time purchase but a commitment.

For more information on the test today, visit www.fema.gov/eastest/