Notes for Thursday – July 30, 2015

Today we remember the birthday of author Reginald Bretnor. He was born Alfred Reginald Kahn on July 30, 1911, in Vladivostok. He died on July 22, 1992 in Medford, Oregon. In addition to penning many witty science fiction novels and short stories in his characteristic style, he also wrote nonfiction articles for Mel Tappan’s P.S. Letter

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Camping Survival is continuing their moving sale, hoping not to have to move these heavy items. Now is an excellent time to stock up.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 59 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 day 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 than 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 20 Magpul pmags 30rd Magazines (a value of $300) 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 pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. A Model 120 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $340 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. The Ark Institute is 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,
  4. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  5. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  6. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate, and
  7. 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, LLC,
  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 Precision Rest (a $249 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 59 ends on July 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.

Raising Meat Rabbits: Mistakes and Successes, by JEE

We currently live on one acre. So finding a protein source that is easy to house, is inexpensive, has a fairly good turn-over rate, and doesn’t require a lot of land, was hard at first. We actually stumbled upon it by accident. We were given two Rex rabbits with a cage shortly after moving into our new house. Three months later, we had babies, lots of them. However, not ever having butchered anything before and not really wanting to, as they were such small animals, we re-homed them. However, it got me thinking and researching. It turns out that there are a lot of different types of rabbits out there, including meat rabbits!

We built two very large cages with an enclosed area for sleeping and having their babies. They are massive cages that are extremely hard to move and were even harder to keep clean. We learned early on that rabbits will poop in their sleeping area if it is too large. We were able to obtain a male and female New Zealand and were even able to get a pretty decent kit that year. That was all it took; we were hooked! Over the last four years, we’ve made lots of mistakes, and we’ve had lots of successes.

Mistakes

  1. Meat rabbits need lots of room.

    Domesticated rabbits do not need a lot of room to survive and thrive. Our original cages were massive structures that were hard to clean and even harder to move. They are 83” x 48”. Part of the original cages we completely enclosed as a nest box, then we covered the top and three sides with wood. It was not a good idea. We discovered that the rabbits would poo in the enclosed area, and it turned into a stinky nasty mess that we had to constantly clean. Also, wood and rabbits don’t mix; they chewed it constantly. One doe even chewed her way out once. We also used chicken wire, but again it was not a good idea. It’s okay for the older rabbits, as their feet are bigger, but it was still not ideal. The openings are too big for the babies’ feet and they can easily break a foot or toe. Through lots of research and good DIY websites, we decided to use ½ “ x 1” 14-gauge welded galvanized wire mesh. It is so much nicer for their feet and still big enough to let the poo fall right through! We still have our original cages, as they cost quite a bit to make, but we use them as “brooders”. We took the nesting areas out, so now it is all opened up and we also removed most of the chicken wire. When the does have their kits, we move them to those cages so the babies have enough room to grow. Our current cages are 36” x 30”, and they are perfect for our rabbits. We even moved the cages into our chicken run. This not only frees up land on our property for gardening and fruit trees, but it also keeps the area under the rabbits cleaner. The chickens scratch at the food and poo they drop, which eliminates all the flies we used to have.

  2. rabbit1

  3. Meat rabbits will eat lots of carrots.

    Meat rabbits have lots of dietary needs, like all other animals, and carrots in abundance are actually not all that good for a rabbit. Carrots have a lot of sugar, so they should only be given in small amounts. We mainly feed our rabbits commercial feed because we have young kids that we homeschool, so I don’t have a lot of extra time to make sure our rabbits are getting the right amounts of everything they need. However, we do supplement their pellets with things we grow in the garden, like lettuce, kale, and yes an occasional carrot. There are many books out there on how to feed rabbits without resorting to pellets, but for us, for now, it’s easier to go with the pellets.

  4. rabbit2

  5. Rabbits are not compatible with all other animals.

    The second year we had meat rabbits, we got a dog, a beautiful black lab. That summer we couldn’t get our does to take care of their babies. They would have large kits, but within a day or two the babies would die. I finally called a friend who also raised rabbits and he told me it was our dog. The rabbits felt threatened by the dog and would abandon their nest to save themselves over their babies. It’s a natural instinct. So we re-homed the dog and had four good kits before winter set in.

  6. Meat rabbits breed well, like rabbits.

    That’s not entirely true. Sometimes the doe is unwilling to let the buck “do his thing”. Other times, your buck may be too old. Sometimes the doe will abort her pregnancy, and you won’t even know it until the 30 days is past and you have an empty nesting box. We have gone through some “dry” times in the four years we’ve had meat rabbits. We just had one this spring. I was sure all had gone well, but 30 days later we had NO baby rabbits. So we tried again. This time we got two. We’re hopeful this next go around is more “fruitful”.

  7. Bigger doesn’t always mean better.

    Most meat rabbits are about the same size. However, there is one breed out there that is much bigger; it’s the Flemish Giant. As the name suggests, it is a giant rabbit. That sounds great, right? However, it takes an enormous amount of rabbit feed to satisfy their hunger. So, unless you are willing to put out the money for feed or are able to grow your own, stick with the regular sized ones. Also, it is best to have your buck slightly smaller than your does for the following reasons: 1) so you don’t have babies that are too large for the mom to birth and take care of, and 2) so your buck doesn’t hurt your does while breeding.

  8. Rabbits are great for kids to raise.

    If you have older kids, this is true. However, if you have young kids, it is easy for them to get attached to those adorable babies. When you butcher a rabbit, they are not fully grown, nor have they been around for a long time. The first year we butchered, we did our best to keep our kids away from the babies. (That’s not an easy task.) Also, the day of butchering we had to keep them inside. It was a hard day for them, but they got through it. They are older now and are able to handle and understand much better why we butcher and that it’s necessary. However, we still don’t let them handle the babies.

  9. Rabbits need lots of warmth and shelter.

    Rabbits adapt fairly easily to any climate. However, if you live in an area where your summers are extremely hot, you will need ways to keep your rabbits cool. They are very cold-hardy animals, but they do not tolerate extreme heat well. Even here in the Midwest, we’ve had some hot summers, and I’ve had to put out a box fan or a bottle of frozen water to help them keep cool. Putting your rabbit cages in a shady spot is ideal. Put them somewhere where they can get the morning sun but from about 10 a.m. on that they are shaded. It’s nice for them to have that sun in the morning though, especially in the winter. In the winter, we wrap plastic around three sides of our rabbit’s cages– the north, south, and west sides. This keeps the extremely cold winter winds and snow out of their cages, but the front (east side), and bottom of the cages are still open. This allows plenty of air to circulate through the cage to ensure happy, healthy rabbits. If your rabbits are accustomed to being outside, I would not recommend moving them indoors during the winter, as this extreme temperature change can actually kill them. On nights when it is very windy and snowy, or the temperature drops extremely low, we throw some straw in their cages. This not only allows them some added protection from the elements, but also gives them something to munch on to keep their blood pumping.

  10. Having a good ratio.

    When we first started out, we had one doe and one buck. We quickly figured out this would not be enough. One doe can be bred about every 10-12 weeks; that would give you four kits per year, however I would not recommend this, as it is very hard on your does. We currently have one buck and three does, and this works great for us. I breed my does twice a year, once in the early spring and once in the late summer. A doe can have anywhere from 1 to 12 babies, and most meat rabbits only have 6-8 teats, so a kit of 8 to 9 is ideal. We figure an average of 6 babies per kit, with each doe having two kits per year that gives us approximately 24 rabbits to butcher each year. This works for us, but for a collapse scenario, you may want to consider having some backups. Ideally, having at least two bucks and five or six does is what we are striving for, as sometimes things don’t always work out as you planned. For example, last summer our buck decided he was just too old to do his job, so we were stuck with finding a new buck. It’s not an easy task to find a buck that is of breedable age. Most rabbits for sale are between eight and ten weeks old, so we had to either buy a young one and wait till he was old enough, or continue searching. Through word of mouth we were able to eventually find one that was old enough to use right away. It was a good lesson for us.

  11. Supplies

    Rabbits don’t need a lot of supplies, but what they do need must be good. With our first set of rabbits, we used whatever we had lying around the house. That worked for a few weeks, but anything made of plastic they will chew to bits in no time. Anything that isn’t heavy they will knock over while they are jumping around. We found that for feeding, the metal hopper feeders are the best. We do have some plastic bowls that hook to the side of the cage that we use during those last few weeks the babies are really putting on the weight. It’s easier than having to refill the hopper three times a day. Also for watering, ideally using the nipple system is the best way to go. If you search for DIY ideas, it is the best, however, we haven’t had the time or the funds to invest in such a thing, so we use black rubber bowls. They are thick and heavy enough that the rabbits can’t knock them over, and in the winter when the water freezes, the ice pops right out.

Successes

  1. Meat in the freezer

    Once we finally started working the kinks out of our system, we ended up with 30+ rabbits in the freezer! We cooked those suckers every way you can think of. We decided the next year to not have whole rabbits in the freezer (because I’m really bad at frying rabbit). So we pressure can or grind the rabbit meat. It’s easier to store ground rabbit in the freezer, because it takes up a lot less space than a whole one, and the canned meat is so quick and easy to use! One of our favorite things to do with the ground rabbit is to make pizza. Cook it up with some Italian seasoning and add to your favorite homemade crust! It’s also a great way to introduce people to rabbit meat. We have also made rabbit sausage patties; it’s great for our son, who has food allergies. In the winter, having canned rabbit is so wonderful, especially with a large family. Just pop open a can of pre-cooked rabbit meat and you can make great stews, chili, casseroles, et cetera. Wherever you would use chicken meat, use your canned rabbit. We love rabbit chili in the winter, and you can use either the ground or canned meat.

  2. Poo

    Rabbit poo is AMAZING! We discovered it is one of the few poos that can be put directly on your plants. We have been using their poo since we got rabbits. Even if you don’t use them for meat or are unable to get them to breed for a time, they are still useful because of their waste. Our soil has gone from normal to amazing in the few years we’ve had rabbits.

  3. Use for excess garden produce

    Our garden produces more produce than we can eat, especially the stuff you can’t save, like kale, lettuce, beet greens, carrots and their tops, even rhubarb (red stalks only!). Also things like cucumbers, bell peppers, eggplant (purple fruit only), squash and zucchini, and even tomatoes (red fruit only) are edible. There are also many fruits, tree and shrub leaves, twigs, flowers, and herbs that are safe for rabbits to eat.

  4. Companionship

    While we don’t let our kids play with or hold the babies, the does and bucks will be around for many years and trying to breed a rabbit that trusts you and is comfortable with you touching it is much easier than a rabbit that is scared of you or very skittish around humans. Whenever I am outside, which is a lot because of the kids, I talk to my rabbits or pet their noses. I will give them “treats” of garden produce or herbs. They are so used to me and the kids that when I have to move them to breed them or relocate them to clean a cage or to check on their babies, they don’t get nervous or try to bite and scratch me. We find great joy in watching our rabbits be rabbits or see them run to the front of the cage when we come near.

  5. Be a blessing to others

    Having rabbits has allowed us to help others start their journey to rabbit breeding. It can be quite hard to find a good breeder that isn’t selling to show or 4-H quality buyers, and who doesn’t want an arm and a leg for their rabbits. Most of the time, when we need a new rabbit or want to introduce new blood, we have to drive quite a ways to get it. We have also been able to bless others with meat or poo. If you have even just a few rabbits, the poo can easily pile up. Be generous with your gardening friends. Maybe they’ll reward you with excess produce for your rabbits.

When we decided to get into rabbit breeding and butchering, we had very little knowledge and even less know-how. We also had no one to turn to when problems arose. Everything we know we learned by trial and error, the Internet, and books. Raising rabbits is a very rewarding adventure, but it’s not one to take lightly and not something you can easily accomplish in a collapse scenario. If rabbit meat is something you plan to rely on, start now!

Letter Re: West Nile Virus

Hi Hugh,

I recently heard from two people (one who stayed in Florida, the other in Texas) that restaurants were hanging zip-loc bags with water in them around their outside dining areas. Apparently, that repels mosquitoes and flies. Although no one could provide an explanation as to why it worked, I have a theory that may explain it. When sunlight passes through water droplets in the air (when it’s raining) the light bends as it passes through the surface of the water droplet. The different wavelengths of light bend at different angles. A second bending occurs when the light exits the droplet on the other side. This causes the rainbow that we see when it is raining somewhere and the sun is also shining. (You can replicate this on a sunny day by spraying a fine mist out of your garden hose.) Even though insects may not be the most intelligent species on the planet, it’s quite likely they also see the rainbows and associate them with dangerous projectiles (rain) and take cover. Insects likely have eyes that are more sensitive to light than ours and can detect rainbows emanating from the bags of water. They think it’s raining and therefore avoid the area. This is definitely worth a try and may aid in keeping mosquitoes at bay. – P.B. in Maine

Hugh Responds: I have not heard anything about that method of mosquito repellent, but I am highly skeptical. Around 1900, it was already known that “germs” were spread through common points of contact, such as telephone handsets. Several companies marketed “Hygienic Telephone Discs”, which were simply disposable paper discs that one placed over the mouthpiece of the phone to protect the user from picking up germs or spreading germs to the phone handset. To be especially effective, you could soak the paper in an antiseptic as well. However, the uneducated person did not understand how the paper disc protected the user from the germs, so it became quite common to find these paper discs hanging on the telephone lines outside of homes. The owners reasoned that if the discs protected you from picking up germs from the phone, why even bother letting the germs inside the home through the telephone lines in the first place? I suspect, in a similar vein, the sealed bags of water are related to the instructions of not leaving open stagnant bodies of water around for mosquitoes to breed in rather than any repellent ability that they may have.

In the meantime, my wife suggests the following recipe for making 8 oz of mosquito repellent from essential oils:

  • 2 oz. of rose geranium essential oil,
  • 12 drops of peppermint essential oil,
  • 8 drops of lavender essential oil,
  • 6 drops of clove essential oil,
  • 2 drops of sage leaf essential oil,
  • 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, plus
  • Enough base oil to bring the volume to 8 oz. The base oil can be olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, or (for an especially light option) sesame oil.

My wife prefers the heavier oils as she has dry skin and the lighter oils are quickly absorbed. I prefer the lighter sesame base oil. An application seems to last about two to three hours, depending on how quickly your skin absorbs the oils. We place the repellent in an 8 oz spray bottle and shake before each use. Spray it on exposed skin and then rub it in so that it has an even application. So far, it seems to be as effective as the DEET products, though the application doesn’t last as long. The aroma is not too feminine or masculine and is rather pleasant, so even children don’t fight it. We also use it on our dog, though only on areas of her body where she can’t lick (on her collar or back of neck) and it deters not only mosquitos but other pests as well, such as fleas and ticks. You can mix just peppermint and lavender oils in coconut oil for use on dog’s paws, between toes and on torso, as it is safe for their ingestion and will aid in warding off fleas, ticks, and other bugs in those areas of their body also.

Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog reader K.S. wrote in to tell us that GunMag Warehouse currently has a fantastic price on Springfield XD-9 and XD-40 magazines – $13.99 for either.

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For those that care, a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) is a hiccup from our sun. Doesn’t happen often, and when it does it normally misses the earth.
One of significance hit the earth in 1859 known as the Carrington Event. If an event like that would happen today, it would fry our electrical grid and it would take out all the large transformers which are custom made, so there isn’t a spare sitting on the shelf. If you have ever heard of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), the effect is quite similar. North Korea and Iran and others would love to detonate one a few hundred miles over the US. This is reason given why NORAD has moved back deep inside Cheyenne Mountain. Consider a world or a US without electricity, with basically no warning. Generators only run until the fuel runs out – MtH

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California Drought Could Wipe Cities Off Map If Their Water Runs Out – G.P.

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If you are traveling across state lines with a CHL, this is a good article on if one has a duty to inform law enforcement of carrying firearm without first being asked. – J.C.

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Double standard? LA Police Chief pilfers 7 guns, forges checks, steals city cash and gas – gets probation – T.P.

Notes for Wednesday – July 29, 2015

29 July 1805 was the birthday of Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville, who died 16 April 1859.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 59 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 day 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 than 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 20 Magpul pmags 30rd Magazines (a value of $300) 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 pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. A Model 120 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $340 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. The Ark Institute is 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,
  4. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  5. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  6. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate, and
  7. 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, LLC,
  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 Precision Rest (a $249 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 59 ends on July 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.

Thoughts on Pre-Event Healthcare Preparations – Part 3 , by B.E.

Vaccinations

[Editor’s note: This article takes a pro-vaccination stance. It is SurvivalBlog’s position that every parent has the right to raise their children as they see fit and that mandatory vaccination programs are an overreach of governmental authority. Aside from the discussion of whether the vaccinations cause reactions of one sort or another, there is an ethical issue on what materials are used in the production of vaccines. SurvivalBlog will never advocate using vaccines that are manufactured with aborted fetal tissue and/or toxic ingredients.]

Now back to my initial story about having to get a vaccine due to a lack of records in our possession. With the exception of sanitation and possibly the development of antimicrobials, vaccines have been responsible for more lives saved than any other invention/discovery by man. “It is estimated that 3 million children are saved annually by vaccination, but two million still die because they are not immunized. Tetanus, measles, and pertussis are the main vaccine-preventable killers in the first years of life.” (Vaccine. 1999 Oct 29;17 Suppl 3:S120-5)

The United States is currently in the worst pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic this country has seen in fifty years, due to a lack of compliance with health care recommendations as well as a waning immunity in the older population. In a first world country where vaccines are readily available, we are having the worst outbreak in 50 years. Imagine what it would be like when organized health care is not available, or don’t imagine and just look at what is happening in Syria in regards to polio– a disease that had almost been completely eradicated. Quoting from the UN and WHO regarding polio, due to the “seriously damaged health infrastructure, poor health access and utilization because of insecurity inside Syria, and massive movements of vulnerable and at-risk populations in and out of Syria – all make controlling the outbreak and rendering health protection to Palestine refugees in Syria and across the region very challenging.” Look at how easily measles made it into a first world country that is mostly vaccinated. All it takes is one person being around you or your family with a communicable disease, and you not having protection, to make all your other preparation obsolete. It is difficult to take advantage of all your preparations if you are too sick to move or if you are dead from a preventable disease.

In recent months, pertussis has taken a back seat as a mysterious “polio-like” illness with paralysis that has hit the pediatric population in this country. The suspicion is that it is related to the Enterovirus that swept the country last fall and this winter, but in all reality the scientific community doesn’t have an answer. There’s no answer when the top specialists are working on the problem. Trust me; disease will become a significant concern in a broken society.

There is a movement in this country to not vaccinate. It has entered into almost everyone’s conversation these days. As a physician, I can tell you neither I nor any of my partners have ever seen a severe reaction to a vaccine and this encompasses over 100 years combined medical experience. I am not saying adverse reactions don’t happen; there is no such thing as 100% safe medicine, food, liquid, et cetera. Obviously, there are people out there who have had severe reactions to vaccines or the warnings would not be present on the handouts we give to parents concerning potential reactions, and there wouldn’t be a fund to pay for vaccine-related injuries. It just isn’t anywhere as prevalent as the misinformed claim.

I have, however, personally seen severe disease and even death from various vaccine-preventable diseases in the unvaccinated population.

I am not going to argue with people who are anti-vaccination, as you can’t convince someone of the best available scientific evidence if they are convinced there is a conspiracy or that the falsehoods spread on the Internet are real. I am just stating that if you really understand the disease process and what will happen with health care and public health in a break down of basic services scenario or in a pandemic situation, then vaccination would be a “no-brainer”. Just like with those who accept the inherent risks associated with driving, what it comes down to is the benefits outweigh the risks, and if you are truly preparing for a major disaster, vaccination should be part of your family’s prepping plan.

Antimicrobials

Right now, the medical profession practices what is called evidence-based medicine, meaning there is enough scientific evidence to support the care and treatment that are currently provided. Will I tell you that all medicine is safe? Absolutely not! Will I tell you antibiotics are over prescribed? Absolutely! I see reactions to medications and improper use of medications constantly.

Alexander Fleming, a British bacteriologist, discovered penicillin in 1928 by accident when he sloppily left a Petri dish of bacteria unwashed in his lab. He found a substance (later named penicillin) growing on it that killed the bugs, and modern-day antibiotics got its start. Fleming shared the Nobel Prize in 1945 for the discovery. The biggest problem with antibiotics is overuse. The rampant use of antibiotics has resulted in super resistant bacteria that nothing can kill. If anyone is going to prescribe an antibiotic for you, they should be able to answer what bacteria are they treating.

So what should you know about antimicrobials in a disaster situation? Are antibiotics found in local pet stores safe for humans? How long will stored antimicrobials remain viable?

From a professional stand point, in a non-disaster scenario, I would strongly recommend against the use of any antimicrobial not prescribed by your physician, as I have seen severe reactions with antibiotics (look up Stevens Johnson Syndrome). However, if I had no other alternative in a disaster situation and I knew what I was treating, I would use anything available, including pet antibiotics, antibiotics I found in the neighbor’s medicine cabinet, antibiotics that were years out of date, et cetera. The key here is the part about “if I was in a disaster scenario and knew what I was treating”. If you don’t know, you could absolutely do more harm than good. The one class of drugs I would definitely avoid, if more than a year old, would be tetracycline, minocycline, doxycycline, due to issues involving the kidneys.

As far as longevity of antibiotics, there were studies by the U.S. military that looked at ciprofloxacin out to 10 years, depending on the environment in which it had been stored. Ciprofloxacin was the most bioavailable after prolonged storage, but multiple antibiotics retained some potency long past their expiration date.

The pharmacist will tell you antibiotics are good to one year past their date of sale, but like with food storage environment is everything. In all reality the antibiotics in your medicine cupboard have probably lost considerable efficacy by year two, but that wouldn’t prevent me from using them if I was in a dire situation. Sunlight and heat are probably the worst environment for medications followed by high humidity. Ideally a cold, dark, dry environment would be ideal for antibiotics. I would suggest storing antibiotics in a fridge after placing them in a dark bag with an oxygen absorber. So let’s say you buy fish antibiotics or online antibiotics or over-the-border antibiotics. How do you know how to use them?

In my opinion, the best resources for someone trying to determine what they are treating and what they should be treating with is The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy with Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple as a back up for those who really want to study the pathogens you are dealing with. I would also have a Dorland’s Medical Dictionary in my library to define terms found in both the other books. The Sanford Guide takes a condition, lists symptoms, lists common causes and first, second, and third line treatments for many of the conditions as well as the dosage. The drawback is that you would have to know things like “tinea cruris” means “jock itch”, in order to look up the therapy. This is where the dictionary would come in handy. While parts of all these books will be way over the head of someone who has never studied microbiology or is unfamiliar with biological terms, Micro Made Ridiculously Simple does contain descriptions of symptoms caused by various common bacteria. The best thing about the Sanford guide is that it is extremely small and light weight yet packed with tons of useful knowledge, and if I had to go with just one antimicrobial guide it would be the Sanford. It usually runs $15-$20.

To sum up, while I personally think clean, potable water is the most important preparation anyone can make, personal health preparation should be a high priority on your preparation list if you want to continue to enjoy your current quality of life after an event.

Letter Re: West Nile Virus

Hugh,

In August of 1999, my father, then just 67, fell ill at 0240 while my family was staying with he and my mother on a vacation. I took him to the local hospital; his pain was debilitating, localized just above the pelvic region.

After initial medical triage, he was transferred to the larger city hospital, where his condition worsened. He fought fever of unknown origin, underwent exploratory surgery, became confused and comatose, and after a total of 30 days from start to finish, he passed away.

As the hospital bore some degree of suspected negligence (they incorrectly inserted his feeding tube into one side of the lung, after which he unsurprisingly developed pneumonia), we retained a medical investigate attorney. After the hospital records were received and studied, our attorney informed us that, on examination, my father’s death was caused by viral encephalitis, most likely acquired via a mosquito carrying West Nile virus.

The bottom line: This was Iowa in 1999; West Nile is here to stay. – T.K.

Hugh Replies: This is certainly a wake-up call on multiple levels. Do we have what is necessary to protect against a vector transmitted virus, like West Nile? Do we have the skill and preps to treat a person infected, or at least access to someone who does? These are things that can be critical in areas that are known to have this virus (which seems to be an ever-expanding area). At the most basic level, prevention is prudent. While I keep DEET-based products around, I dislike using them on bare skin. We are learning, however, that there are effective alternatives with far fewer risk factors that seem to be just as effective, though not as long lasting. These could be critical skills and knowledge to have in the future.

Economics and Investing:

You Cannot Afford a $250,000 Home with a $50,000 Household Income!

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The Economic And Financial Problems In Europe Are Only Just Beginning… – B.B.

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

What Really Happens When Pensions Disappear – This is the kind of nonsense that CNBC puts out. Over committed, over compensated pension funds cannot and will not exist any longer. We have leveraged public sector debt to the hilt, and this is the logical end to this nonsense. Also, the thought of fewer government workers, the majority of which are overpaid for their positions compared to private sector, is supposed to be a bad thing??

BofA: The U.S. Economy’s ‘Moment of Truth’ Has Almost Arrived

How A Chinese Farmer Lost More Than Everything Trading Stocks

Notes for Tuesday – July 28, 2015

28 July 1914 It’s the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I– the War that irreparably changed geopolitics. Officially, the war lasted until November 11, 1918, but American troops were still running around shooting Russians until well into 1919.

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Camping Survival is having a moving sale with 30% off of Mountain House #10 cans. Backpackers pantry is also on sale.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 59 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 day 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 than 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 20 Magpul pmags 30rd Magazines (a value of $300) 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 pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. A Model 120 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $340 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. The Ark Institute is 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,
  4. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  5. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  6. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate, and
  7. 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, LLC,
  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 Precision Rest (a $249 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 59 ends on July 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.

Thoughts on Pre-Event Healthcare Preparations – Part 2 , by B.E.

Waste Elimination

When confronting sanitation issues, the basics are still the most important. Practicing good personal hygiene, such as bathing regularly and washing hands before handling food, eating, and after using the toilet, will prevent the spread of pathogens. However, sanitation can be over done. All these antimicrobial soaps and hand sanitizers are probably contributing to the emergence of MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus) and other resistant bacteria that are so prevalent in the news now days.

I don’t think the importance of waste elimination can be overemphasized, despite it not being a very palatable subject (no pun intended). In addition to treatment of drinking water, proper waste disposal is vital for maintenance of health in a grid down scenario. Assuming TEOTWAWKI will eliminate indoor plumbing, we may all be digging outhouses in the backyard.

So how does this translate into basic preps for the homeowner? Obviously, the answer is where will your waste disposal occur? I’m not suggesting you dig an outhouse in your back yard tomorrow, unless you already have a bug out location built and stocked. If that is the case, then you might want to consider a just-in-case alternative location for waste elimination. I’m talking about having at least a bucket with bags or sawdust that can be used indoors and having reviewed or printed off the information in the article from this website “An Essential Prep: The Outhouse, by KMH“.

I’m trying not to be redundant, but if you have at least considered where waste will occur in a scenario where you lack indoor plumbing you will be well ahead of the rest of the population. Just remember that any waste elimination should be at least 200 feet from a water source and that proper sanitation is a must for healthy living. In addition to thinking about water and sanitation from a healthcare standpoint, I suggest we all be proactive in getting our medical preps in order. There have been a number of excellent articles about first aid kits, so I would like to discuss other aspects of personal healthcare preparation.

Personal Healthcare Preparation

Medications

In addition to keeping accurate records of your vaccinations and health history in your bug out bag (so you don’t have to get that extra tetanus shot), I strongly suggest that anyone that is on daily medication have at least one to three months storage of the medication.

This can be difficult if you are on a fixed budget, especially with the prohibitive cost of pharmaceuticals. However, this can be accomplished a number of ways. The easiest and most obvious is to order your medication as a 90-day supply and always try and refill when you have a month left. Unfortunately, this method is subject to the whims of your insurance company (who continues to attempt to practice medicine without a license, but again I digress). If your insurance is such that a 90-day supply is not allowed, you may need to save up and buy a months worth of medicine at the same time you fill your insurance-covered prescription. If you are on multiple medications that are essential to your health, this may take a while to save up and buy with cash so you are always a month ahead.

Your health care provider should be willing to write an extra prescription or change to the 90-day supply if you talk with them and explain that you want to be ahead just in case of future money issues, disaster, travel, or unforeseen circumstances. If you don’t have a regular health care provider, you may need to establish a relationship with one before asking them to write for extra medication. Most health care providers don’t have a problem with this, as long as there is a standing relationship with the patient. Another method to increase your emergency supply would be to obtain an extra month or two from abroad. In particular, Mexico and South America prices are significantly less expensive on most medications. However, the controls that are in place to assure safety and efficacy of medications in the United States are not the same in other countries, so buyer beware. It will be important to have a prescription to show customs if you are asked when re-entering the country.

There is still another option, but it will only work with things that are multi-dose delivery medications, such as asthma medicines. Assume you are on albuterol; when you see your physician for your yearly check up, ask him to give you 12 refills and then make sure and refill your medicines every month whether you are out of the medicine or not, or if you are on a daily inhaled steroid, such as Flovent one puff once or twice each day, ask your doctor to write the prescription for two puffs twice per day, even if you are on a lower daily dose. That way you will get multiple months out of one prescription, and as you continue to fill the prescription every month you will quickly have your month reserve. Finally, ask if your provider has any samples, again explaining that you w ould like a few extra doses in case of unforeseen issues. Most physicians are more than happy to help you if they have samples of your particular medication.

Physical Health

Other personal medical preparation should involve resolving issues now that you have been having or ignored for multiple years.

I understand that most people don’t have time to go to the doctor, be referred to a specialist, get that bum knee or torn rotator cuff operated on, and then spend all that time rehabbing the injury. However, imagine what might happen if you continue to ignore the warnings your body has been giving you and all of the sudden there is not the medical care available to you that we take for granted. How are you going to survive in a world of no conveniences if that injury or illness gets so bad you can’t perform your share of the load or even handle the basic activities of daily living?

If you are the person that is refusing to get that physical exam, those tests that sound less than fun, address embarrassing concerns or nagging injuries, you probably would be better off stopping all of the preparation now and enjoy spending your resources on entertainment and frivolities before disaster strikes. You most likely will struggle in a post apocalyptic world with physical restrictions and just think how upset you would be knowing you could have fixed those things. I am not saying that those with physical disabilities are doomed; I’m saying if you have a physical issue that can be fixed, now is the time to see someone about it.

Dental Health

Now let’s talk about dental health maintenance. Can you imagine what life would be like when a dental visit isn’t possible? What will you do with the abscessed tooth, the cavity that is keeping you awake at night, the broken tooth, the heat/cold sensitive tooth? I hate mouth pain, so a deficiency in this healthcare preparation scares me more than others. I have read accounts of what passed for dental care prior to the invention of modern techniques, and I say “no, thank you” to pulling a tooth without anesthetic. My personal preparation in this regard is that I have made friends with a number of dentists in the hope that I would have a resource in TEOTWAWKI scenario :).

However, regardless if you make friends with a dentist or invite them into your preparedness circle, everyone should have optimal oral hygiene at all times, so that if an event occurs you aren’t already in trouble from an dental point of view. Routine dental maintenance while services are available is a must. Resolve those problems now; stop procrastinating.

Do your preparedness supplies include the ability to continue routine dental care after an event? Do ?ou have toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss? Do you have the means and correct tools to extract a tooth if you have to? What about a supply of numbing agent? Do you even have instructions on how one goes about extracting a tooth if necessary? There was an episode of The Deadliest Catch where a fisherman tries to extract his own tooth with pliers and ends up breaking the tooth. What would be worse, being stuck on the Bering sea with a sore tooth or a sore broken off tooth? Dentistry is a vocation and skill and when amateurs play at it, all sorts of bad things can happen, so I would also advocate that your cache include at least some form of written information on the management of dental problems (if you are unable to cache a dentist) so that you aren’t having to make it up as you go. We have purchased the book Where There Is No Dentist, but I’ll still be trading anything to my dentist friends for their help, if I have a real problem.

Physical Fitness

If you are the average American, you are likely overweight and out of shape. You might be under the assumption that you can procrastinate getting into shape in that you will be forced to get in shape with all the manual labor you will be doing once society falls apart. This is probably true; however, if you have to bug out or run from danger before all that manual labor forces you to get in shape, it probably behooves you to do something about your fitness level now.

A nutritionist I work with outlined the most common reasons we, as a nation, are out of shape and overweight.

  1. We eat out entirely too much. At most we should be eating out once per month.
  2. Every convenience and entertainment in our life promotes a sedentary life style. Find something active that you enjoy doing, and get out and do it. Exercise for the sake of exercise is rarely sustainable over the long haul, unless you enjoy the activity.
  3. We take second, third, and fourth helpings at each meal, or we require a dessert after every meal. If you eat like you should be managing your money i.e. living off of 75% of your take home pay, then you should eat until you are 75% satisfied.

Below are some standard charts of where you should be for optimal weight.

WeightCharts

Based on these charts, I should be at least 6 foot 4 inches tall; I’m not. While I think all the personal health preps are important, this one may be the one that saves your life in the first weeks after a disaster.