Notes for Tuesday – January 27, 2015

January 27th is the birthday of the late Helen Chenoweth (born, 1938, died October 2, 2006). She was a controversial Republican congresswoman from Orofino, Idaho.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 56 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ 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 hard case 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 one 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 Warehouse is providing 30 DPMS 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. 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,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

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. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  9. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  10. RepackBox is 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. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack (a $379 value).

Round 56 ends on January 31st, 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.

Be The Gray Man, by M.F.

Blending In for Survival

One of the lesser-discussed survival topics, even among preppers, is the eventual need to go out into what’s left of the world after the fan turns brown. Most preppers focus on making preparations to survive the onslaught of unforeseeable calamities that are more than likely heading our way in the near future. While none of us can say for sure what exactly will happen to bring on a survival situation, we are all pretty sure that something wicked this way comes. Even non-preppers can “feel” that something is wrong. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that the world has changed drastically in the last 15 years or so. The evidence is all around us. Strange weather patterns have emerged and are now the norm. The threat of terrorism, both real and contrived, is always lurking around the corner. The worlds’ financial markets are a mess of lies upon lies that will have to end at some point. Bubbles within bubbles comprise the whole of the stock markets, and financial collapse is a certainty that looms over us like a giant cloud. Racial and religious tensions, which are promoted by our so-called leaders, have escalated to a near boiling point. Talk of a third world war is now commonplace, as the United States or at least what used to be the United States, seems set on pushing Russia towards outright conflict, and let’s not even talk of all the stuff happening in space. The threats are at an all-time high. With so many possible causes of disaster facing the population of this planet, you’d be crazy not to be prepared to survive it. However, what happens once you make it past the initial phase of the chaos? What happens when you are a year and a half into survival mode and the beans and rice are running low? How do you get by when you no longer have all the necessities stocked neatly on the shelves in your bunker or bug out location? You will have to return to the world you left behind and scavenge for supplies, like those who did not prepare. The good news is that you will have less competition than you would in the early days of the chaos, but the bad news is that when you go out into this newly devastated world, you will stick out like a sore thumb.

Picture the people who have managed to survive on less than nothing for the last year and a half while you were eating MREs and reading the classics. These people will look vastly different from you, or rather you will look vastly different from them. This will be problematic. People will be so desperate, and their survival skills will be so sharp that they will spot you coming a mile away with your clean clothes and your extra body fat. Who knows what these depraved souls will be willing to do in order to get a proper meal or just to find any measure of relief from their daily struggle to live. They may follow you back to your camp or shelter and attack you for what you have. They may try to rob you of those nice new boots you are wearing. They might even try to cook you up and dine on your meaty remains. It has happened many times in the past and will happen again in the future. Human nature forces you to do what you have to do in order to live. As ugly as some of it may be, the will to live is stronger than the will to do what’s right. Even the best of us can succumb to hunger, thirst, and hopelessness. I don’t even want to think of what the worst of us will be like. In today’s world of plenty, we slaughter each other wholesale for petty reasons that in no way effect our own survival. Think what mankind will do when every second of every day may be the last. That is a scary world– a world where you don’t want to stick out or be noticed but rather to blend in and seem just as desperate as the next man.

In today’s society we are obsessed with appearance only for the sake of vanity. In the world of tomorrow, appearance may become a matter of life and death. Moreover, it may not only get you killed but may get those around you killed as well. If you come out into this new world with clean clothes and a “newish” backpack, you will certainly draw the attention of those who are barely making it. They will resent you for being prepared and for not suffering as they have. They will want your food, shelter, ammo, socks, and even your women and children. They will be more desperate than anything you have ever seen or heard of. They will try anything to ease their suffering, and you will look like a nicely-wrapped Christmas present to them.

This is why you have to be the gray man. You have to blend in with the masses, and you need to look and seem as desperate and hopeless as they are. There are many facets to accomplishing this task, and you will need to master this concept, if you intend to live. This means you need to start thinking about it now and prepare for it like you would anything else.

Where to Begin

The obvious starting point is appearance, as we have been discussing appearance from the beginning of this article. However it won’t end there, but we will keep the cart behind the horse, where it belongs, and start with an old set of clothes. The older and more drab colored and worn out, the better. Head to toe, you need to look ragged and bland. Old boots that have seen better days is a good place to begin. Jeans with natural wear holes will be good for lower legs. You can stress jeans by putting them on and keeping the fabric tight while scraping it with a knife or sharp blade. Just lightly shave it thinner in the areas you want holes in and with a little bit of wear, they will tear and shred naturally; in this way, you will get the desired effect. Several layers of shirts that are also in shoddy condition will top off your look.

A t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, and hoodie is a good combination. Plus, you can pull the hood up to hide that nice, clean hair of yours. You will probably also want to have a jacket– one appropriate for the winter in your bugout location and one which you won’t mind trashing. Hats will be popular, as they will actually have a more important function when you are spending the majority of your time outdoors, as most will be forced to do.

I would keep this outfit together in a bag and have them ready to use when you have to go out into the world. If you are part of a group, you will want each member that may go scavenging to have a similar set of hobo threads. For now, they can be clean while they are stored, but when you do finally go out into the heart of darkness, you will want to dirty them up with dust, ash, mud, or all of these.

You will want to use ash and mud to dirty your hands and face as well. Now, you don’t want to overdo it either, as that will draw attention just as quickly. Blending in means looking like everyone else, so you will want to appear as dirty and worn out as the next man but not noticeably dirtier. Be sure to apply your dirt makeover fairly evenly, and then randomly splash a few spots of mud across the bottom of your legs of your jeans. Be sure to have some dust on your face, under your fingernails, and around your ears and eyes. Don’t shave for a while before you go out, so that you look like everyone else. Most men will probably be bearded, so you may want to consider joining them from the start, so that you look like you have been without a shave for as long as they have. Never go out with a cleanly-shaven face. There is not enough dirt in the world to cover up that mistake. If you are reading this, then you know you cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to survival, and this is one area you need to be sure to focus on.

Evolving

As time goes on, your outfit should evolve with the look of the people in your area. Adapt to your surroundings, and blend in as much as you can. As I mentioned before, it may be time to embrace the beard and forsake the clean face altogether. If it’s safe enough to do so, you might also consider making regular scavenging trips at the beginning of it all, just to be a familiar face. Get folks used to seeing you here and there. Take no chances; pick up what you can, and move about as your fellow man. If they are a bit slow and lumbering, due to lack of nutrients, mimic that when you are out. Eat light, and try to seem hungrier than you actually are. If it’s complete chaos outside, then stay in. Remember you prepped to live and do what is safe. If you are in a rural area, it will be much easier to go out and blend in. Cities will be cesspools of crime and death. Blending in will be twice as important here. In my opinion, it’s time to leave the cities now. Get into the countryside as far as you can without interrupting your daily life. Maybe a change of job and location is needed altogether. Only you can make that call, and that is one of the main tenets of prepping in the first place. Location is key, so if you are in a city, get out. If you are thinking about going into one, don’t. The same is true for the suburbs, as there will be war zones of homeowners waiting on the government to come stop it all while they fight with the city folk who have looted the city clean. If you have to move through a city, travel along a train track or power line. Stay off the roads as much as you can.

Remember that being the gray man is just another means to an end– your survival. Take it seriously. Also, if you are in a group that goes out, be sure they do too. Be smart, and take off any rings, bracelets, or watches before you go out. Take the time to scout the area for a while, if you can. If you have some binoculars or something similar, you can scout from a greater distance. Then try to match the conditions of the people as best you as you can, just enough to blend. Watch for the times of day that people move through the area. Try to match the natural rhythms to your purposes. If you are looking to interact with people to gain intel or some other reason, you will want to go when there are more folks, or maybe you have noticed one person that seemed approachable; you will have to be there when they are. The same thing goes for folks that you wish to avoid, or maybe you don’t want to see people at all. Timing can be very important. If you don’t have time to scout and have to plunge in, be careful and keep in mind that you are the gray man. Act accordingly. Improvise when you have to. Adapt when you can, and always, always overcome.

Letter Re: Food Items Past Expiration Dates

Hugh,

I have been an avid reader of SB for about five years now. It amazes me that folks with what appears to be good common sense are throwing away products they have used to start or continue their prepping activities. Most of these comments say they are tired of throwing out stuff that has gone past its expiration date.

With all the long-term storage info available on this site, I cannot for the life of me understand how someone would do this. With good storage rotation practices, first-in first-out, store what you eat and eat what you store habits, this should never happen. With good inventory control, you can determine when something is coming up on an expiration date. All it takes is a little effort. Use your Outlook program or some type of “come-up” file to remind yourself that Box A or Pail B has items within thirty to sixty days of going past the “use by” dates. THEN make that trip to a local food bank and contribute it. Since many of the food banks operate on slim inventory most of the time, these things will turnover quickly.

Here, in the community where I live, the local Emergency Food Bank serves almost six hundred families– approximately 2000 men, women, and children. Their rules state that you must show a picture ID to participate and you can only visit once a month. It is run out of a 600 sf facility and has been recognized as a model program since NONE of the staff are paid and the space they use is donated by the building owner.

If you are living at 40th and Plumb (forty miles from nowhere and plumb back in the sticks) and it is a major event to go into “town”, you may just have to plan a little better. If you are making a trip that takes all day, why don’t you volunteer some of your time and make an effort to help the fine people that run these efforts? Who knows, someday you might be on the receiving end of someone else’s generosity.

Depending on how far off the grid you are, you can probably get a tax deduction of some sort for what you donate, if you want. If not, then enjoy the personal satisfaction you get from knowing your prepper food is not going into a landfill but into the kindness of helping another person not go hungry. Personally, we are bringing several types of canned meat products and some other things we get on sale to our food bank about every five to six weeks and everything is at least thirty days or more before the expiration date. The folks at the food bank never ask any questions; they just take the food with many heartfelt thanks, and we see how it helps. I don’t think there is anything as sad as the look on the face of a hungry child.

If you need another reason, here it is. Someone once said that the most dangerous thing in the world is an “idea”. That may be all well and good if you are speaking philosophically, but in my mind, the most dangerous person in this world is a parent that can’t feed their hungry children, and that my friends is a person that it dangerous! – An older prepper in NC

HJL Responds: When I first started prepping, I was struggling with my own startup business. Money was tight and food beyond what we had in the normal pantry was precious. When a friend had the sale of a house fall through and ended up in an even worse financial position than me, I knew what I had to do. I took my precious larder and split it in half, giving the other half to my friend. A couple of months later, the wife of my friend took my wife aside and told her “You need to check your food. I had to throw most of that food away because the cans were a few weeks past their expiration date.” I felt crushed. My charity had ended up in a trash can because of a manufacturer’s arbitrary date designed to absolve them of any responsibility for the food. The expiration, especially that of canned foods, is more of a suggestion. Food doesn’t magically go bad when the expiration date passes. The food will degrade, and the nutrients will gradually break down over time. The speed of that degradation is intertwined tightly with the conditions of the storage. With cool, dry storage, canned goods will literally last for multiple tens of years past the date stamped on the can. The fiber structure will gradually break down, and the vitamins will degrade, but calories are calories. As long as the can is undamaged and the food is palatable when opened, you can eat the contents. Oxygen and temperature extremes are the enemy of any stored food, so if it is protected, the date is just a method of tracking how old the food is so that you can rotate your stock. While botulism is a tasteless and odorless bacteria, it generally grows in an environment that other, far more odoriferous bacterial also grows. The visual appearance is also a critical indicator.

As for donating to a food pantry, the nanny government sets standards and any expired food you donate will be thrown away.

News From The American Redoubt:

Many are asking why President Obama is choosing Idaho

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This is incredibly expensive toilet paper! Craigslist ad: Obama speech ticket – $1000

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Some megaload protesters report text messages from FBI. While I can’t condone the protester’s message, they have the right to protest. The FBI, however, has demonstrated some scary behavior here. – RBS

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Study Indicates Eastern Oregon’s Ontario is the state’s Least Safe City. For some residents of the border town, they refer to it as CompTario in reference to crime infested Compton, California. – RBS

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How safe is your county from a natural disaster? Research from NOAA based on 44 disaster variables lists 3,114 counties in the continental United States. Of the rating of the top fifteen safest counties from natural disasters in the U.S., 11 counties are in the American Redoubt. – B.W.

Economics and Investing:

Markets or Mercantilism. – An interesting view of the free market. – S.B.

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The global economy has degenerated into one massive currency war. This is not sustainable nor a rising tide that lifts all boats…

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Precious Metals Coveted Once More as Draghi Acts: Commodities

S&P Cuts Russia To Junk, Ruble Plunges To 6-Week Lows

Greece Election: Big Syriza Win – This is going to get interesting.

David Stockman: Meet Bloomberg’s Latest Idiot: Shobhana Chandra On Why Falling Prices Cause Hungry People To Starve

Odds ‘n Sods:

American Radio History (Including ‘Technical & Engineering’ magazines/books). – A.D.

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Mark Dice is revealing the utter stupidity of regular Americans again: Americans Want Obama To Repeal The Bill Of Rights: “Let’s Do It, Let’s Get Behind It”. – F.B.

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U.S. Spies on Millions of Cars. – G.P.

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Video (43 Seconds): Binary Firing System – Franklin Armory

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Where food crises and global conflict could collide . – RBS

When It Is Time To Leave Your Home, What To Bring, and Where To Meet, by R.W.

In a recent meeting of our Christian-based preparedness group, the following bylaws were distributed for consideration to the adult members of the group. I hope there are some take home items here that will help other individuals or groups when they are in the midst of considering this most difficult decision:

If things get bad, there may be a day when you have to leave your home and evacuate to a safer location. These circumstances might include:

  • Regional, large-scale, natural disasters, such as an earthquake, tornado, flood, or fire,
  • Civil unrest caused by grid down or large-scale economic collapse,
  • Nuclear or hazmat disaster,
  • Pandemic outbreak in earliest stages, or
  • Governmental crackdown or Martial law.

Having an evacuation plan prepared and in place that includes rally points, rendezvous, signaling codes, times, dates, alternative locations, and ways of communication, without giving up valuable or critical information, is imperative.

Proposed Bylaws/Requirements for Members:

  • Secrecy is imperative; no person will be allowed to reside/evacuate with the group who is not a member of the group.
  • Members should be preregistered and committed to the group, and acceptance of the bylaws by signature should be required.
  • Personal concerns will be addressed by committee vote/hearing.
  • The following of the Ten Commandments is mandatory.
  • The group should follow the moral compass of the Bible.
  • An ongoing relationship with the Lord will be encouraged.
  • We will not negotiate with terrorist or marauders for lives of members of the group.
  • No members of the group will be left behind without retrieval being attempted.
  • Benevolence will be established and group admittance after the fact will be determined.
  • Dedication, to the Lord, and the group will be expected.
  • Participation is mandatory in the form of work details.
  • Duty rosters will be established.
  • Advanced training will be encouraged.
  • Capitalism will be encouraged.

EACH PERSON OVER 18:

  • Is encouraged but not required to have a handgun and 300 rounds of ammo of that caliber, 9 mm or larger.
  • Men over 18 are encouraged but not required to also have a rifle and 500 rounds of ammo of that caliber, including five mags of the same caliber if pertinent. (AR-15 Variant is recommended but not required.)
  • The alternatively to having a rifle is for men over 18 to have a shotgun, 20 gauge or larger, pump action or double barrel, with 250 rounds of various size shot, 50 rounds of buck shot required in round count, 20 deer slugs required in round count.
  • Must have at least $100.00 in cash.
  • Should have pre-1965 silver with a $25.00 face value, U.S.-minted coinage or equivalent.
  • Must have a CB, walkie-talkie, or hand held radio.

EACH PERSON OVER 16:

  • Must have some form of state/federal identification.
  • Perform twenty hours per week community service while at evacuation location.
  • Have hand tools, with a minimum of four tools per person
  • Must possess a survival knife with blade over 4” long and a sharpening stone

EACH PERSON OVER THE AGE OF 12:

  • Is required to participate in four hours a week of training. Training will include hunting/marksmanship, bush craft, personal defense, gardening, food preservation, first aid, nutrition, plant identification, and more.
  • Is required to have a personal first-aid kit/trauma kit (Hardship cases will be evaluated if requested on a person-by-person basis.)

FOR EACH PERSON IN THE FAMILY, FAMILY MEMBER(S) MUST CONTRIBUTE:

  • A total of forty hours of prior community service to the group’s evacuation location preparation.
  • $100 (or $200 for entire family) of construction materials on-site or in place at evacuation location.

FOR EACH PERSON IN THE FAMILY, THE FAMILY SHOULD HAVE STORED THE FOLLOWING:

  • 200 lbs. of canned/dried goods per person.
  • 100 lbs. of rice or beans or oatmeal per person.
  • Two flashlights plus batteries.
  • Five long-life candles.
  • One kerosene or Coleman fuel lantern and mantles,
  • One alternative cooking source.
  • One alternative heating source with spare fuel.
  • Twenty-five lbs. of toiletries.
  • Twenty-five lbs. of first aid items.
  • For each viable female, a case of famine hygiene products.
  • Babies still on breastmilk or formula must have a six month supply of formula.
  • Five lbs. of salt.
  • Ten lbs. of sugar.

EACH FAMILY IS REQUIRED TO HAVE:

The items above are mandatory. What are the other things recommended to previously obtained and have in place or ready to take with me? When it is time to evacuate, there will be more for you gather, such as.

  • Gardening tools (large and small), seeds, fertilizer, buckets, watering cans, et cetera,
  • Clothing for at least seven days, including weather dependent four pair of shoes (minimum two pair for hiking),
  • Cash, precious metals, barter items,
  • Protection in the forms of weapons and ammunition, force multipliers, battle gear,
  • Construction tools in carrier or tool box,
  • Construction materials,
  • Long-term food stores, all you can carry (plus all you have previously stored on location),
  • Personal effects, documents, identification, driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate,
  • Means of communication– two-way and public monitoring radio, scanners, and cell phone,
  • Alternative lighting and heating options, fire starters, and related items,
  • Alternative cooking devices and spare fuel,
  • Food preservation aids, such as vacuum sealers, canners, pressure canners, Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and so forth,
  • Food mills and grinders,
  • First aid supplies, prescription and non-prescription medications, creams, ointments, bug spray, sun screen, lotion, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Vaseline, and other related items,
  • Toiletries: soap, shampoo, hand lotion, grooming items, tooth brush, paste, floss, razor, et cetera,
  • Feminine hygiene items and contraceptives,
  • Bedding, towels, pillows,
  • A Bible, games, books, playing cards, and other means of entertainment,
  • Batteries, chargers, and adapters,
  • Battery-powered hand tools for construction,
  • Generators, converters, spare batteries, and other power sources,
  • Cooking utensils, pots, pans, Dutch ovens (the larger, the better for community meals),
  • Preparedness library, downloads from Internet printed out, phone apps on survival, Boy Scout manuals, and how-to books on wilderness survival,
  • Camping gear– sleeping bags, tents, tarps, portable shelter, portable stoves, et cetera,
  • Cots, air mattresses/pads, rollup mattresses, hammocks, and rope,
  • Fishing gear and hunting gear, plus meat processing equipment,
  • Spices
  • Coffee, hot drink or cold drink mixes, tea, et cetera,
  • Water treatment supplies/storage containers,
  • Alternative ways of hunting, such as cross bows, bows, slingshots, snares, and/or blowguns,
  • Ammo reloading supplies and equipment,

Having a location in advance to evacuate to may allow for large portions of these items to be stored up in advance.

CB Radio communications and Rally Points

CB users should monitor Channel 17 each evening at 6:00 PM, if there is notification of an impending or active crisis, for evacuation status.

The status levels are as follows:

  • Green level means all is well; there is no perceived need to monitor radio/cell phone at this time,
  • Yellow level means things are heating up and in flux; updates of times and radio frequencies to monitor will be issued, and
  • Red Level means the times are showing stress and difficulty, and evacuation is imminent. Instructions for evacuation locations, times, rally points, and additional instructions will be issued in coded form to members of the group. Departure times will be determined after rally points are reached and a census is taken of members present.

Codes for evacuation locations:

  • Rally point 1: location A
  • Rally Point 2: location B
  • Rally Point 3: location C
  • Rally Point 4: Head to bug out location

If a Rally Point is deemed unsafe to use, the first person arriving will paint, mark, or tape a large “C” (meaning that the location is compromised) or place a red bandana on the entrance to the location to warn others to move to an alternative rally point, which is given in the original instructions via the radio.

Codes for radio communications instructing telling when and where to meet:

  • Times will be based on xxxx
  • Days will be based on xxxx
  • Rally points will be given as numbers listed above.

Springfield Armory XD Mod.2, by Pat Cascio

Much has been written about this redefined little 9mm handgun from Springfield Armory– the XD Mod.2 since the first day it came on the scene. The gun is also available in .40 S&W, and by the time this article appears in print, it will also be available in .45ACP. I’ll be the first to admit that when the first XD subcompact 9mm came out, I wasn’t all that thrilled with it. It was too chunky to my way of thinking, and it just didn’t feel right in my hand. I shot one but never bought one!

Just a quick run down is in order on the new and improved XD Mod.2. The virtues have already been listed in numerous other articles, since everyone was fast to report on this gun. The thing that strikes me is the new, improved and slim frame. The second thing is the “Grip Zone” areas on the frame; there are three different textured areas on the grip, all subtle but all doing the job they were designed for, which is keeping the gun in your hand under recoil. There’s a 3″ Bbl, and the gun comes with two magazines– one is the 13-rounder, and the other is an extended 16-rd mag with a sleeve on it. The XD Mod.2 is a double action only handgun. I love the two white dots on the rear sight and the red fiber optic (replaceable) with green on the front sight, and SA provides extra fiber optic rods.

Springfield Armory also provides a nice polymer holster and double mag pouch with the gun, along with complete instructions, a cleaning brush, and a magazine loading tool, plus all this comes in a nice carrying case. What’s not to like here? The little gun only weighs 26-oz unloaded, and is made in Croatia.

The one and only thing I didn’t like on my sample is the magazine floor plate. It doesn’t allow me to get a third finger around the gun. The pinky just kind of dangles there. I ordered up some of the Pearce Grip magazine extensions, and I’m here to tell you, it makes the gun feel all that much better in my hand; the grip extender simply replaces the factory floor plate on the magazines – takes all of a minute to swap out…it has a nice curve to it and gives the biggest hands a better purchase on the gun. I showed the gun to a number of shooters, and every last one agreed the gun felt (and shot) better for them, with the little pinky extension on the magazine instead of the flat magazine floor plate. I’d like to see Springfield Armory include one of these Pearce Grip mag extensions with each gun and let the gun buyer decide which floor plate to use. I betcha everyone will select the Pearce Grip extended floor plate.

I requested another 16-rd extended magazine from Springfield Armory, and my local gun shop had some of the 13-rd magazines in stock. I purchased four more of the 13-rd mags for this gun and another 16-rd mag for an extended shooting session– a mini torture test! A quick accuracy test was in order, and I’m here to tell you, this little 3″ Bbl sub compact 9mm will hold its own against full-sized 9mm handguns. Many writers will limit their accuracy testing to 15-yards. I didn’t! I took the target out to 25-yards, and as long as I did my part, I could easily keep five shots inside of 3-inches. That is remarkable accuracy from such a little handgun. Yeah, there were some larger groups; however, if I did my part all the time, I could keep all the rounds inside of a three-inch group. What’s not to like here? The most accurate round was the Black Hills Ammunition 124-gr JHP +P load.

I had a good variety of 9mm ammo on hand from Black Hills and from Buffalo Bore Ammunition for a 1,200-rd torture test. My friend, Tim Sundles, who owns Buffalo Bore Ammunition tells me that, as a rule of thumb (sorta), +P+ ammo usually won’t be reliable in a 9mm handgun with barrels under 4-inches, and I’ve followed that rule in my 9mm handguns that I carry for self-defense. From Black Hills Ammunition, I had their superb 124-gr JHP +P fodder, and their 115-gr FMJ loads. From Buffalo Bore, I had their 147-gr JHP standard pressure load, 147-gr FMJ standard pressure load, 115-gr +P+ Barnes All-Copper hollow point load, and their 124-gr +P+ FMJ FN load. So, a good assortment of ammo was run through this gun.

Long time friend, Jeff Hoffman, who operates Black Hills Ammunition with his wife, Kristi, supplied me with the bulk of the 9mm ammo for the torture test; that’s over 1,000-rds from them alone. Thanks! I had everything in hand and ready for my testing. I had two assistants to help with loading the magazines, and I thought they could keep up with my rapid-fire shooting. To be sure, the magazine springs in the XD Mod.2 are VERY stout, to put it mildly, and the magazine loader was used by the two, along with a generic 9mm magazine loaded. After about 500-rds, my assistants had to take a break. They simply couldn’t keep up with my shooting. To be sure, my trigger finger developed a small raw spot. There was a very tiny burr on the trigger face that I didn’t see, and it rubbed my finger raw. I ended the shooting session for that day with NO malfunctions.

Two days later, I resumed my torture test. The gun was only cleaned and lubed at the start of my testing for this article, with no further cleaning or lube applied during the testing. I ran 200-rds of Buffalo Bore Ammunitions +P+ ammo through the gun, and once again no problems were encountered. My two assistants were able to keep up with my shooting, and after all is totaled I ran more than 1,200-rds of ammo through the little XD Mod.2 with zero malfunctions of any type, no matter which ammo was used. I will say that the gun got hot, real hot, and if you touched the slide you knew it was hot. I’m not admitting I ever touched the slide…LOL!!!

In all my testing, which included the torture testing of 1,200-rds and then another 200-rds of various ammo through the gun for accuracy testing, the gun never once missed a beat, not even close. I will say, I was totally surprised that this little 9mm gobbled-up +P+ ammo without any problems. I’ve had some full-sized 9mm handguns that choked on +P+ ammo. The gun was as solid after all the testing as it was at the start of the testing. I was totally impressed, to say the least.

I asked Jeff Hoffman at Black Hills Ammunition to just send me some 9mm reloads, or even some factory seconds, for the torture testing, but Jeff wouldn’t hear of it. Instead, he sent me brand new ammo in their red boxes. It just about broke my heart to fire up all that brand new Black Hills Ammunition in a torture test. Many writers only fired a small amount of ammo through their XD Mod.2 samples, in a rush to be one of the first (and there were dozens of “first” writers out there reporting on this gun the very day it came out). I elected to do some serious shooting and a torture test of the little gun to see how it would really perform under harsh conditions. Now, while this was only a mini torture test, unlike some tests where guns were run with 10,000-rds through them in a torture test, I have no doubts this little gun would come through a longer torture test with flying colors.

I’d say that Springfield Armory has done a great job with this little gun, and it is a hot seller already. A .40S&W version is on the market, and just as soon as the .45ACP version comes out I’ll be begging for a sample. I’m not sure what full-bolt retail is on this gun, but it’s over $500.00 to be sure. I see the gun selling for well under this price. In my humble opinion, this is a best buy in a little concealed carry handgun– one that will keep going and going. Additionally, and it comes with everything you need to strap it on and head out the door to the range or the mean streets of America, and you’ll have confidence in the gun’s ability to keep you safe, no matter what kind of ammo you run through it.

So, before you lay your money on the counter for your next handgun purchase, take a real close look at the Springfield Armory XD Mod.2 in 9mm, .40S&W, or .45ACP. I think you’ll sincerely be blown away by how small the gun is as well as how great it feels in your hand. – Pat Cascio, SurvivalBlog’s Field Gear Editor Emeritus

Recipe of the Week: The Best Chicken and Rice Soup I’ve Ever Eaten, by P.P.

Ingredients:

  • One Rotisserie chicken (Sam’s has the best in town)
  • Chicken stock made from the chicken carcass and skin, with fat skimmed off
  • One Chicken bouillon cube (crushed and dissolved) or ½ tsp of Chicken Base
  • Two shafts of celery (diced)
  • One onion (diced)
  • ½ lb sliced or chopped brown mushrooms
  • One can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • One can of condensed cream of chicken soup
  • One box of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice (NOT INSTANT)

Directions:

  1. Pour 2 ½ to 3 cups of chicken stock into large stock pot. Bring to boil.
  2. Add rice with accompanying spices. Reduce to simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. While rice is cooking, slice and dice onions and celery: sauté until translucent and add to the stock pot, add the sliced/diced mushrooms a little later.
  4. Shred chicken, being careful not to keep any fatty or gristly parts.
  5. When rice and vegetables are cooked, slowly add cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup, stirring to dissolve completely.
  6. Add shredded chicken and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered, to reduce soup to your desired consistency … or add stock if you prefer it to be thinner
  7. Salt and Pepper to taste

It tastes better the second and subsequent days, after all the flavors have had an opportunity to meld together. It freezes well too. Makes about 2 quarts.

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Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlogreaders? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

Letter Re: Livestock Guardian Dogs

Hugh,

In regard to your letters about livestock guardian dogs, I would add that we have an Akbash, which is a Turkish livestock guardian dog. This breed is similar in build and appearance to a Pyrenees (white) though less heavily built and shorter (less mess) hair. This is a different breed of cat… if you will!… I am not an expert, but I will say that by and large you do not train these dogs… they do their thing… My wife and I raise various breeds of domestic animals, and we no longer have a predator problem; our farm/ranch is bordered on thousands of acres of forest land, and over the years Lucy has treed and/or run off (that I know of) three cougars; bobcats; bears; coyotes, and who knows what else . She stays relatively close to home; we have four dogs (at present!!). We have two Jack Russell’s for pack rat control; a border collie as a stock dog; and Lucy, our livestock guardian. Lucy is on the lead during the day, and the border collie is on the lead at night, as I do not want them to run, and Lucy does her thing every night– woof woof woof; some nights are more busy than others. This is not a city dog/town dog or a pet. She has a purpose and does it well. That said, she is affectionate to us and I have not seen her be aggressive to strangers. I suppose the biggest problem we have along these lines now is when someone in the area allows their dog to run and I end up having to deal with that issue.

In closing, I would say that the most pressing problems we have in our neck of the woods is noxious weeds and communists, and the priority problem is not necessarily in that order! If I could train Lucy to deal with the latter, we would certainly be living safer lives. Yours in liberty, living in the Redoubt, DB

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HJL,

In response to the letter inquiring about Anatolians, I have had one for the past 10 years. He is the best working dog I have ever had, and I have owned Labradors, Mastiffs, and Great Danes. I acquired him as a puppy of about 30 pounds, and he has developed into an 180-pound giant. His primary objective is to guard his flock, and in my case it is my family that he perceives as his flock. From early in the morning until late at night, this dog patrols the fenced perimeter of my property to the extent that a path has been worn in adjacent to the six-foot fence. If any stranger approaches within about 50 feet of the fence line, he challenges them and as such steps must be taken not to allow him off property, unless leashed under supervision. I live in a rural area and have no fear of trespassers on my property. The dog requires a lot of training initially, mainly to learn that his master is the alpha leader and that they are not in charge. When inside the house, he prefers to sleep in the central area of the house so that he can check on the occupants; he works all of the time. Even as a puppy, he never played with any dog toys or balls; he was all business all of the time. Around family members, he was always gentle and allowed the children to touch and pet at any time. I could go on and on about this guardian I have simply the best dog ever!!! – G.P.

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Hugh,

This is my response to the letter asking about Livestock Guardian Dogs. It turned out quite a bit longer than I expected. I don’t know about the breeds mentioned in the letter, but I have used Marremas to guard sheep on a small sheep farm in southern Oregon. We had 50 to 100 sheep, depending on the time of year, and three Marremas. While the neighbors claimed there where cougars, coyotes, and bears in the surrounding hills, we never lost a single sheep to predation. However, our sheep where in fenced paddocks, and the dogs only had to patrol small areas at any one time. If the sheep had been ranging over a larger area, the dogs may have had more work to do.

That being said, when I first arrived at the farm I was truly impressed at the dogs’ instinct for protecting the sheep. The dogs lived with the sheep full-time throughout the year. Whenever we moved the sheep, the dogs would race ahead and the sheep would follow the dogs. In the pasture, the dogs would patrol the fence-lines or relax with the sheep.

While I’m sure some of their guardian behavior was instinctual, much of it was also taught to them by their parents. One of our dogs was a male about four years old. The other two were his son and daughter who were only a year old when I arrived at the farm, so they were still learning how to behave around sheep. When one of the younger dogs would get too playful with the sheep (sheep don’t like being chased) their father would discipline them. I have heard of dogs being used to guarding pigs and fowl as well as sheep, but ours only protected sheep and goats. They were not used to cows, chickens, or pigs, so they liked to kill chickens and bark at everything else. That’s one thing about LGD’s– they bark A LOT. I did get used to it, but even after several months, they occasionally woke me up at night. Eventually I could tell when they were just barking at a cat or car and when something was wrong, like escaping sheep.

During lambing season, the dogs where quite helpful in that they could tell in advance when a ewe was about to give birth. They would stay close and protect them. They would keep other sheep away but never interfered when a person approached. I’m sure part of that dedication was due to their love for afterbirth. We tried not to let the dogs pull the afterbirth from the ewes who had just lambed, as there is some possibility that it will cause excess bleeding, but I’m sure the dogs did that many times when I wasn’t present and no harm ever came of it. There were a few times that we found partially-eaten newborn lambs. However, since the dogs never killed any lambs, I believe they were still-born and the dogs knew they were already dead. I didn’t begrudge the dogs the occasional bit of dead lamb. When a lamb or sheep would die of illness or accident, I would cut it up and feed it to the dogs. One issue I ran into was that some of the sheep developed a taste for dog food. Feeding a raw meat diet would solve that problem. If your sheep develop a taste for raw meat, you have bigger problems.

The dogs where very friendly and always excited to see people. I never saw them growl or bark at anyone, except in greeting. They were not well trained or obedient. They didn’t know how to walk on a leash or sit or stay. They would come when called, if they felt like it, but I think that independence is normal for dogs that are left without supervision most of the time. Perhaps, they could have been trained, but then they may have become too attached to people. The Marremas were NOT friendly to other dogs. As the younger male matured, he started to bump heads with his father. When they started fighting and wounding each other, we had to separate them. By the way, NEVER get between two fighting dogs. A farm-hand tried that and got bitten, though it was not serious and the dog really did look sorry afterward. To separate fighting dogs, you can grab their tails to pull them apart. Perhaps if they had more room to roam they would have settled their hierarchy and got along. I know other ranchers have larger packs of LGD’s. The father and brother never fought the female, but the breeder told me that female Marremas will actually fight each other to the death. Our older male often had to guard the sheep on his own, because the younger dogs really did not like being alone. I think LGD’s work better in teams and are happier. I don’t believe they see themselves as sheep, so the sheep don’t provide the same companionship another dog would.

Right now I don’t have any sheep or enough livestock to justify keeping LGD’s. They eat a lot of dog food, so you need quite a few animals to justify the cost. You also need good fencing and tight gates to keep the dogs from wandering. Our dogs learned to respect the electric fence better than the sheep did. If I ever have enough sheep to justify keeping livestock guard dogs again, I absolutely will, but I’ll make sure they get along with chickens too. – A.G.

Economics and Investing:

Goldseek Radio Interviews Chris Martenson. In this interview, Martenson describes what he calls Central Bank “Peak Credibility”, the credit market’s unrealistic expansion, the recent jump in the Swiss Franc, and the threat of a derivatives-driven global collapse.

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The global economy has degenerated into one massive currency war. This is not sustainable nor a rising tide that lifts all boats…

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Oil Crash Needs A Villain But The Story Is More Complex Than That

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27 Facts About The Middle Class In America After 6 Years With Obama In Office

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U.S. Retail Sector Begins Massive Collapse

Odds ‘n Sods:

Bill Whittle recently posted a video with some cogent analysis of American gun ownership rates versus murder rates.

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Video: Nanny State Billboards…Cuz the Government Is Your Mommy! – H.L.

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In a sad testament in how the government has a keen ability to make anything worse, Blacklisted News has posted that 400 TSA agents have been arrested for theft of passenger items while not one terrorist has been caught.. – H.L.

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SurvivalBlog reader C.M. sent in these two articles detailing the relationship between Google and the NSA. It’s fairly detailed and seems legit. How the CIA made Google and Why Google made the NSA.

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Panic-buyers flood grocery stores and commuters are begged to stay home ahead of ‘historic’ blizzard that threatens to drop THREE FEET of snow on New York City and up to 57 million on East Coast . – JBG