Notes for Wednesday – August 20, 2014

August 20th, 1935 is the birthday of former Congressman Ron Paul, who recently retired from Congress. Dr. Paul is to be commended for fighting the good fight for many years.

August 20th, in 1866, is also the day that president Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 54 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,400+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com, (currently valued at around $180 postpaid),
  11. Both VPN tunnel and DigitalSafe annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad (a combined value of $195),
  12. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  13. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),
  9. Dri-Harvestfoods.com in Bozeman, Montana is providing a prize bundle with Beans, Buttermilk Powder, Montana Hard Red Wheat, Drink Mixes, and White Rice, valued at $333,
  10. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  11. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  12. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 54 ends on September 30st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Raising Joyful Soldiers: Practical Methods for Teaching Children to be Responsible, Productive Leaders in a Survival Situation – Part II, by Dr. W

  1. Infants and Toddlers
    1. Obtaining sleep is critical, and one wailing baby in the night can have devastating effects on everyone’s ability to make sound judgments and work cohesively the next day. We eventually learned (the hard way) the value of training babies to sleep in many conditions, whether alone in a bed or sharing bed or tent space, in an atmosphere of quiet, or in an atmosphere of chaos. We often used a sound machine that had several different sounds on it, and made sure there were some nights without it, so they would not become dependent on the noise for sleep.

      Sleeping with the lights on is another important skill, though small sleep masks are in everyone’s BOB. You may have to spend a little extra time to cultivate this skill at first and use some TLC– a soothing backrub, a lullaby or psalm, staying with your child until they start to drift, et cetera– but it’s doable. Leaving the blinds open during your baby’s daytime naps can also help. Additionally, we try to utilize deep breathing exercises, something that a toddler can do. Of course, praying before bed also eases anxiety at the end of the day, whether it’s the parent praying aloud for their baby at bedtime or very young children learning by example to do the same.

    2. The Quiet Game is fun, but it’s also training them for potential life-or-death scenarios. This training begins at infancy with Mama showering attention on happy babies but not overly responding to willful cries that are not coming from legitimate needs (e.g., boredom, crankiness, tiredness). This is a controversial and very personal matter of wisdom for each parent, but the goal is to consistently reward desirable behaviors, and that process begins early. As toddlers are able, The Quiet Game transitions to little contests to see who can earn the prize by staying quiet the longest in a car ride, outside while hiking or observing wildlife, in the grocery store, or at the table. Naturally, ongoing dialogue with our kids is a constant, but we have tried to play this game in as many settings as possible, including sitting our children in empty pews at church after hours, while Daddy went up front to read from the driest, most monotonous book he could find. This practice was something our fellow churchgoers came to appreciate when they realized they didn’t have to panic and make a beeline for the other end of the sanctuary when they saw our family seated with all our kids in the service rather than in Sunday School.
    3. Delayed gratification can be instilled at a surprisingly early age. Give your toddler a piece of candy and tell him to wait to eat it until you give the signal. Stretch it out–– half a minute, two minutes, five minutes, et cetera. They can touch, sniff, or squish it, but they must wait to eat it. Give ample applause and celebrate the final eating. It sounds silly and simple, but my very self-controlled 18-year old credits this to helping her win most of our family’s contests of “Who can make their treat last the longest?” Obviously, this self control has served in numerous other ways as well.
    4. Before the age of two, children can help immensely in running an orderly home. They can put toys away, dry non-breakable dishes, grab a diaper for Mama, help shuck corn, and more. Our kids always received one additional chore for each year as they got older. By the time our oldest was ten, she could prepare simple meals for the family, do the laundry, and organize her siblings to help clean up the living room in under five minutes.
    5. Teaching babies sign language, which has increased in popularity in recent years, is easier than you may think and has many obvious benefits when a degree of silence is preferred. Many resources can be found online for using sign language with babies. As children get older, this idea of using non-verbal signs translates seamlessly into training children to watch for prearranged signals from their parents to communicate danger or caution.
  2. Young Children
    1. The Obedience Game was another fun yet critically important training tool. I recall laughter-filled afternoons, sitting in a circle giving my children outlandish commands. Stand up. Sit down. Five jumping jacks. Run and get Teddy. Now run and put him back. Run and get him again as fast as you can! Go get the trash and empty it in under 20 seconds. Kiss the baby on the head and then go wash two dishes in under a minute. Our house rule has always been “Cheerful, immediate obedience,” and The Obedience Game has helped us get closer to that ideal.
    2. The Blessings Game has cultivated joyful, thankful hearts. Non-readers can take part in a contest of Who –Can-Name-the-Most-Things-You-Are-Thankful-For, played as a round robin where nobody is allowed to repeat what’s already been said. This is great for memory skills and long car rides. Young readers and writers can practice penmanship in creating and then sharing their lists. In hard times, this activity could be a vital morale booster—for kids AND adults!
    3. Field trips in our own neighborhood (usually with homemade cookies in tow) were always a boon. On our street alone, we got to know our closest neighbors and in doing so we not only helped our kids develop social skills, but we also learned about carpentry, building an airplane from a kit, growing apples, making a quilt using a 100-year old manual sewing machine (my son won first prize in the fair!), riding quads, and butchering elk.
    4. Family time spent reading exciting survival stories aloud has fostered a proactive, think-on-your-feet mindset. We personally prefer books over movies so that we can control the stories, when needed, by editing on the fly to avoid objectionable content. It’s easier to stop reading a page than to win a split-second race to the stop button on the remote when a graphic scene pops onto the screen which could haunt kids (or adults!) for years. The alternative is to preview all movies, and many excellent family-friendly movies and books are recommended on this site.
    5. As our children were learning to read and write, we bolstered our cache of the Word of God in their hearts and focused on specific character traits by utilizing selected Bible verses. The books of Proverbs and Psalms are particularly helpful in fostering responsibility, maturity, and a robust confidence and hope in the benevolent providence of God, no matter the outer circumstances we may find ourselves in.
    6. As we teach our children the value of truth-telling, we are faced with the challenging task of also teaching them discernment regarding when it is appropriate to avoid telling the truth in order to protect lives (e.g., families who hid Jews during Nazi Germany). Unfortunately, young children are the most vulnerable to disclosing secrets in the tragic event that they are threatened with physical or psychological pain to try to “get them to talk.”

      Because this discernment comes with age, when our children are young we can make it easier for them to be able to tell the truth under coercion by giving them secret truths that are safe to disclose if they must. For example, if you think they may be vulnerable to being coerced into disclosing the location of a cache, then by all means have a small decoy cache that they can safely disclose, if under duress.

      As with all behaviors we wish to develop in our children, practice is key. Both the Tickle Game and playful wrestling matches (see who can go the longest without saying Mercy! or Uncle!) are excellent ways to practice self-control in this area at a young age.

  3. Older Children
    1. Over the years we have come to appreciate the joy of both growing our own food and of harvesting what grows wild on its own (prickly pear fruits, apples, citrus, dandelions, mesquite beans, berries, and so forth). However, once I narrowly avoided a trip to the hospital because I drank some prickly pear juice from inadequately washed fruit. Now we are beginning to learn about edible, medicinal, and noxious plants.

      Last year we took a trip to the local botanical garden to identify these categories of plants. When we came home I set up a contest. I gave each kid a digital camera, pen, and paper, and sent them out to photograph and name as many of these same plants in our own neighborhood as they could within a certain time frame. They came home and we compared notes, putting our heads together to try to identify any remaining mystery plants. The next step, had we not run out of time, would have been to go online to verify our answers, followed by some small celebratory feast, where we ate at least something edible that we found.

    2. With older children, it’s easy to assign each one the task of researching and learning a useful skill they find interesting. They then come back and teach others in the family what they have learned. This teaches them communication skills and fosters pride and confidence. I have learned from my children many things, ranging from how to trap lizards to how to treat sucking chest wounds.

      Our family dedicates Saturday evenings to Family Night. We try to turn off all electronics, and we don’t answer the phone. We rotate who gets to pick the entertainment for the evening. Family Night has been a welcome and cohesive anchor in our busy lives, and it also provides another platform for learning together. When it’s my turn next, since I want to learn to use the map and compass, I am planning some type of a game of Hide-and-Seek-the-Cache. It should be fun!

    3. Our family has a tradition once a month of fasting and praying, along with friends in other parts of the state. On this day, we abstain from food but not water. Depending on individual circumstances, the amount of food our children abstain from may vary. Our children may abstain from just snacks, from one meal, or from all meals for the day, participating only as they are able, always of their own volition, and as something we do before the Lord, not men. They learn not only a great spiritual discipline, but they also gain great confidence that they can go for a day (or part of a day) without food and suffer no ill effects; they can even sometimes gain unexpected benefits, like increased clarity of mind or decreased asthma and allergies. Additionally, after a day of fasting, which naturally cleanses the palate, plain food, including Mama’s infamous veggie smoothies, taste great! Should we ever have to face serious deprivation, we pray this habit of occasionally “going without” will serve us well. (Note: One should always consult a health practitioner before undertaking any type of fasting, for adults or children.)

The activities I’ve described in this article have been a tremendous blessing to our family. With a little creativity, you and your children will no doubt come up with equally beneficial ideas for your families.

Reality Checks

Excellent child training resources abound. Our family never would have become who we are without them. The ones that helped us the most in biblical, child-training principles were from NoGreaterJoy.org. They teach practical methods of capturing our children’s hearts, instilling first-time cheerful obedience, and teaching kids the virtues of hard work and self-discipline. NGJ offers extensive archived articles, ranging from how to potty-train a 2-month-old to safely teaching children the art of knife-throwing. Be aware, however, that among the plethora of child-training resources, there are many controversial opinions regarding the personal decisions each family should make about rearing their own children. So, caveat lector: prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.

Obviously, respect for a clear chain of command is needed in any societal endeavor and at many levels, from the family unit to the business model and from the military to the government. In a retreat situation, however, it becomes critical for survival. When it comes to raising children, because more is caught than taught, it bears mention that the degree to which you want your children to demonstrate cheerful, immediate obedience is going to be proportional to the degree that they can see this demonstrated in their parents. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

In our own family, in spite of all the best principles and practices outlined above, sin remains alive and kicking in our hearts, and war must be waged daily against this enemy. Lest you think we are superhuman and you can’t relate to or apply these principles in your own family, please know that we, too, have had our fair share of selfishness, laziness, and strife. However, results speak for themselves, and the principles and practices outlined above have consistently produced either sweet or bitter fruit in direct proportion to how much we have applied them over the years. It’s an upward journey traveled via grace, so we keep moving forward, thankful for the forgiveness we have in Christ, and working toward the goal of maturity on every level in hope that He will finish the good work He began in us so that we can accomplish our work of building God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Letter Re: Storage Without a Basement

Hugh,

I agree the heat in the South can be hard on food storage. However, the older homes were built on posts. The “old timers” and their dogs, along with other creatures, recognized that that crawl space under the home was a cool respite. Most of my relatives took advantage of this space by digging down into this space and using it as the closest thing to cold storage that they could get. Anyone living in manufactured housing has this same cooler space available.

I have used this space, just like the generations before me, for food storage. Sand is normally used in three-sided cribs for the root veggies and the 5-gallon sealed pails do fine there as well. I enclose this area now to keep out snakes, armadillo, and other animals but have housed food in this way for years without having any issues.

I also have an area where ferns abounded under trees with brush. This area, too, has been enlisted as a storage location. It is naturally cooler and moister there.

Get out and experience your property; there are probably places that fit your needs. – P.C.

Odds ‘n Sods:

An excellent article for when you “suddenly” inherit some of those fine, feathered cackleberry producers: Build a chicken house in a day – RBS

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Listen to the American People: Secure Border, No Amnesty – B.B.

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More on U.S. Army ATP 3-39-33 : New Army Manual Calls for the Use of Lethal Force Against Peaceful Protesters. – T.P.

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For our friends across the pond, it appears there may be an option so you can own an “almost” semi-automatic AR-15 type rifle. LR223 is New British Almost-Semi-Automatic AR15. – J.C.

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Protect and Serve Thyselves. What police militarization hath wrought– from walking the beat in 1914 to emergency patrol cruiser response in 1974, to full-on military assault gear and weaponry in 2014. A look at the transformation. It’s somewhat jaded in its outlook, but it lays the facts out, nonetheless.

Notes for Tuesday – August 19, 2014

Today, we present another entry for Round 54 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,400+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com, (currently valued at around $180 postpaid),
  11. Both VPN tunnel and DigitalSafe annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad (a combined value of $195),
  12. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  13. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),
  9. Dri-Harvestfoods.com in Bozeman, Montana is providing a prize bundle with Beans, Buttermilk Powder, Montana Hard Red Wheat, Drink Mixes, and White Rice, valued at $333,
  10. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  11. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  12. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 54 ends on September 30st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Raising Joyful Soldiers: Practical Methods for Teaching Children to be Responsible, Productive Leaders in a Survival Situation – Part 1, by Dr. W

The very first writing prize on this blog was awarded to an article titled “Preparing Your Children”, which explored the mindset and general principles of nurturing our children to become responsible adults who can survive and thrive in a post-collapse setting. This article will guide readers away from the general to the specific, exploring, in detail, easy-to-implement principles and activities that parents can begin to apply now, regardless of their children’s ages and stages, to the nitty-gritty details of raising our children day to day.

As a homeschooling family with several children, we aimed to raise our kids to love God and have fun enjoying the many blessings and privileges He’s given us but always with a sober eye to the possibility that they may one day be forced to raise their own children in a drastically different environment. As a result, all of our work, play, worship, study, and mealtime conversations were done with a subtle preparedness mindset, so that it naturally and easily became a part of who we were, both during the years we lived in a rural setting and now in our home in a big city (where they can attend college).

Through all the years of raising our family, we’ve lived “normal” lives. Our primary focus has been on preparing our children to seek first the Kingdom of God and be of service there. We have come to realize, however, that as a result of this, the principles, methods, and activities described below have, in fact, produced well-adjusted young adults who are becoming increasingly prepared to adapt to any scenario.

May these thoughts equally serve your family, or at least provide a wellspring of ideas to adapt to your particular situation. After all, the great work we have been given to make disciples of all nations is a shared work that involves all people through all of history. Therefore, our focus and hope naturally falls on the next generation to continue to build the Kingdom.

This article has two parts. Part One offers useful principles and methods– the ones we applied at every age and stage in raising our own children. Part Two chronicles practical activities and ideas we applied at specific stages, and these are divided into three categories– infants and toddlers, younger children, and older children.

Part One: Principles for All Ages

In a worst-case scenario, immediate obedience could be a matter of life and death, as one small act of disobedience could endanger the entire group. Self-control is of paramount importance not only for safety but also for harmonious living with others. Good stewardship of personal health likewise affects self and others, especially in tight living quarters. Responsible use of resources is vital, and, as the saying goes, attitude is everything. The following ideas, which are not age-specific, all bear these facts in mind:

  1. By far the most valuable “cache” we created was the Word of God, buried deep within the hearts of our children. A wise pastor once suggested we commit to memory not just verses but rather entire chapters and books. This turned out to be surprisingly easy with a simple routine implemented at an early age. We began our experiment by selecting one of the shorter books from the New Testament. We simply recited, out loud, one verse at a time before each meal. We started this before most of our children were old enough to read, as memorization is primarily auditory. (You recall those silly TV jingles you heard repeatedly as a child and can still bring to mind at the mention of just the first couple of words or notes.) As each verse was mastered, we tacked on another to our pre-meal ritual, until a chapter had been memorized almost effortlessly, at which time we all celebrated with a big treat and moved on to the next chapter. In less than a year, our two oldest children could jump on their beds and recite the entire book. (This resulted in almost 30 minutes of welcomed reprieve for Mama, who could get chores done knowing her kids were engaged in a safe activity that built character as well as mental and physical fitness.) This skill served our children well throughout their academic years and was also used to memorize other edifying writings—some of them extremely long—all with minimal effort.
  2. Equally important has been our commitment to daily devotions as a family, which we view as our duty and privilege but which also has innumerable practical benefits. Subjects like emergency medicine, food rationing, and defensive drills can be scary for children, but daily prayer to the One who provides wisdom and protection helps us keep things in perspective, building faith rather than fear. We constantly remind ourselves and one another that should our children ever find themselves separated from their family in a stressful situation, they are not truly alone.

    Our devotions include the singing of psalms, which over the years have created another cache of resources for times of stress. Once, while on an unexpectedly difficult hike out of the Grand Canyon with friends from church, our oldest daughter decided to sing the psalms to help keep her mind off the pain. We later learned from one of the elders in our church, a non-hiker who found himself in a world of hurt during the hike, that he would have given in to the pain and simply quit, had he not been able to listen to this “angel” singing the psalms the whole way out.

  3. From birth we tried to make our children a part of every activity, from chores to work to study. Infusing all our preparedness activities with a sense of fun and games created enthusiastic buy-in. My kids became adept at and now enjoy using the Food Saver, dehydrating foods, preparing healthy meals, reading articles on preparedness, practicing first aid, attending firearms safety courses, seeing who can use the smallest towel to dry off after a shower, et cetera.
  4. Training in self-control and sexual purity began in infancy during diaper changing times, when a gentle “No” from Mama taught our babies to lie still and keep curious fingers where they belong. As children grew, frank discussions about the devastating outcomes we witnessed from the poor choices made by other teens cultivated in our children their own desire for chastity. Knowing that our family’s retreat will likely include as many children as adults, we are trusting God that this lifelong training will minimize the chance that promiscuity will disrupt an already stressful living environment.
  5. We removed sugar from our diets once we started having children. This not only reduced medical bills and fostered healthy eating habits, but it also made it possible to use simple things like raisins or homemade fruit ice cream as treats. It’s amazing how far you can stretch the goodies when a lollipop is measured in terms of licks rather than bites. Since these types of treats were easy and plentiful, our kids grew up thinking we were the most generous parents in the world when it came to showering them in goodies, and they never felt deprived. This changed somewhat as they unavoidably spent more time in the world of candy bars and Doritos and learned of our ruse. However, an important appreciation for healthy food had already been well inculcated by then.
  6. Serving others has been another attitude and skill set we tried to develop through the years. As a family, we have made it a point to make things, like picking up litter, harvesting local fruit and delivering it to food banks, or playing Secret Santa year around for a single working mother fun outings that the kids enjoyed. (We even stealthily sneaked in during the day and left a clean house and a meal in the fridge, and then giggled the rest of the year every time we run into this person.) At birthday time, each family member gets to choose a service project we all participate in, helping keep the focus on other people rather than on self. We pray this will help them as young adults be prepared to wisely but joyfully share their food when they themselves might be hungry.
  7. Finally, getting rid of our television and making the outdoors their playground allowed our children to become accustomed to healthy play that challenged body and mind, at all ages. Whether we were in the mountains or in the city, they came to enjoy activities, like making homemade bows, arrows, and targets; engaging in Airsoft gun fights; constructing shelters, teepees, and miniature homesteads; playing Hide-and-Seek; growing larger and larger gardens; and exploring the neighborhood for edible plants and fruits. These all translated into practical skills that could be useful in a retreat setting. We also look for opportunities to pursue physical fitness as a family. We’ve recently begun to participate in Spartan Races, which are elaborate obstacle and endurance races that promote rigorous training of body and mind at age-appropriate levels. (See www.spartan.com)

Letter Re: So You Think Starting a Garden Will Be Easy After

Greetings Jim & Hugh:

I read with interest the SurvivalBlog postings “So You Think Starting a Garden Will Be Easy After TEOTWAWKI” by Dr. Prepper and was very happy to see a modicum of analytical insight on the concept of growing a garden for sustenance. Too often the “idea” of having a garden lulls us into a feeling of self-sufficiency, while the produce derived from this garden would be woefully inadequate for proper family sustenance, if the S truly HTF. Of course, growing one’s own food in any capacity is admirable. However, Dr. Prepper’s analysis of caloric necessity derived from one’s garden on a day-to-day basis was eye-opening and helpful.

I wanted to perhaps offer some additional experience of my own regarding the maximization of a garden’s food-producing potential from the standpoint of someone who has constraints on the amount of area to devote to planting a high-yielding garden (ie: semi-urban environments and small property area). I simply do not have sufficient room to grow multiple 50-foot rows of beans and corn. While caloric output from a garden is an essential consideration in its ability toward self-sufficiency, it is not the only vector of importance. Sometimes, simply the production of large quantities of food in a limited space might be of the important survival consideration. What follows are my own thoughts and conclusions based upon my own gardening experience, with emphasis strictly on the maximization of food output from the smallest amount of area to work with:

1) Emphasis should be given to root-type vegetables when working with a limited sized garden. Carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips are easy to grow and can be densely planted, offering foods which are readily amenable toward canning the excess once harvested. Of these, beets and turnips have the greatest “bang for your buck”, since both the roots AND the greens are edible and nutritious.

2) While Winter (ie: hard) squash were touted in Dr. Prepper’s articles as a good source of caloric value, I wanted to also mention the value of summer squash (ie: green and gold zucchini, crookneck, et cetera). In contrast to winter squash, whose plants require a LOT of area to grow and meander, summer squash plants maintain about a 3-4 foot spherical radius per plant, making them ideal for a limited area setting. Additionally, each plant can continuously produce a HUGE amount of food throughout the season (especially if the fruits are allowed to achieve large size). Lastly, although the prevailing wisdom seems to argue against it, summer squash IS amenable toward canning in my experience, allowing for the safe storage of excess harvest for the leaner months. My own observations are that summer squash plants BY FAR out-produce the amount of food produced by winter squash plants.

3) Dependent on the species and growing season, tomato and cucumber plants can produce the densest harvest per square foot of almost any other plant. Additionally, excess tomatoes can be canned, whole or as sauce, in order to preserve the nutritive value for the winter when there is no harvest available.

I mention these points not to disagree with the well-thought-out article by Dr. Prepper, but rather to offer additional insight (based on personal experience) into how one might go about maximizing food production from one’s garden in the event of TEOTWAWKI, when one’s life (and the lives of family members) will truly be dependent upon what sustenance can be derived from the loam which is beneath us. -SF

News From The American Redoubt:

John Kitzhaber’s Jihad. – RBS

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A look at Idaho’s campus gun law from a liberal, higher educator’s view. I find it interesting that they are questioning the constitutionality of the law. Outgunned, for Now

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GOP Boosts Libertarian ‘Spoiler’ in Montana

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Montana felons can’t own firearms after serving time, probation

How, exactly, is a convicted felon, who has served his time and probation going to defend himself? Or, is the court suggesting that the state will maintain guardianship and guarantee his protection? Or, is a convicted felon who has served his time no longer considered a man with unalienable rights, according to the constitution?

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Idaho Medal of Honor recipient dies at age 87

Odds ‘n Sods:

After Ferguson, how should police respond to protests?. – D.C.

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A very disturbing new Army manual: U.S. Army Techniques Publication 3-39.33: Civil Disturbances . – J.H.

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Another Bloomberg mayor bites the dust. Mayor with Bloomberg gun control group charged with bribery. – N.G.

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In a strange twist, the Middle East is advising protestors in Ferguson. Advice for Ferguson’s Protesters From the Middle East. – CDV

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More Than Just Your Papers, Please … – T.P.

Notes for Monday – August 18, 2014

A recent web search showed that the words “free press credentials” mostly resulted in listings for a few commercial sites that are selling flaky press passes. Sadly, our own spin-off site, The Constitution First Amendment Press Association (CFAPA.org), which provides free press credentials that are legitimate didn’t even make Google’s first page of search results. :-( To cure this under-representation, any readers who have personal web sites or blogs are encouraged to make a mention CFAPA.org, with a link, and include the words “free press credentials” in their post. Many thanks, folks!

On a related note: Police in Ferguson, Missouri recently ordered people to turn off their cell phone cameras. The legitimate response to these situations: Just politely say “no” to police who don’t respect the First Amendment.