Notes for Saturday – November 01, 2014

November 1st, 1923, was the birthday of science fiction writer Gordon R. Dickson (born 1923, died January 31, 2001). Many of his novels and short stories, such as Wolf and Iron, have survivalist themes. November 1st is also the birthday of economist Martin A. Armstrong. For many years he was a prisoner of conscience, in part because he refused to turn over his proprietary trading algorithms to Federal prosecutors. After seven years in prison without a trial, the longest Federal incarceration for contempt in American history, Armstrong was finally put on trial in a proceeding that was branded as a sham. He was convicted on securities fraud charges based upon some marginal testimony and given a five year sentence. He was released from prison in September of 2011. Notably, Armstrong continued to write his economics newsletter while in prison, producing most of the issues on a prison library typewriter.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 55 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 hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. 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.
  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. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

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

Round 55 ends on November 30th, 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.

Slimming Down, by Dan from Alaska

No, this is not an article on weight loss, though it should be; I need to take off a bunch of pounds. It’s more about how I readjusted my lifestyle and budget after a loss of a paycheck. Both my wife and I have been working steadily since our teens, and I consider us to not be rich, per se, but in the comfortably middle class. We have been married for the past 10 years, and we both met each other at work. That is when I first heard the moniker, DINK– Dual Income No Kids.

As I stated, we lived comfortable though it wasn’t lavish. We tried to just live off one paycheck, while the other one went into savings. We bought most items in full and tried not to get into more debt, as the mortgage is more than enough! That being said, I wasn’t out buying a new car every year or having caviar for lunch, but I was afflicted with the man disease of “if it’s sharp, shiny, or goes boom then I must have it”!

Then last year we got blessed with a baby girl. Now, by itself having a baby is a budget changer, but also having a spouse stay home and raise that baby is a different twist altogether. We made lists, rewrote budgets, prayed, and contemplated what we should do. We made the decision to have my wife stay home and raise our child instead of throwing money at a daycare. This was the best decision we have ever made, and my wife is absolutely loving her new job title of Mother!

Now comes the slimming down part. How does one cut back on a lifestyle that you are so use to? How does that effect your prepping? I did what most people probably have done many times before; I cut back on the most frivolous stuff first. I got a library card and cut out the hundreds of dollars going to Amazon for books and movies. I took more “brown bag” lunches to work, instead of going out to eat so much. Then I looked at one of my other big bills– ammo.

My current career field has me wearing a pistol, and within my career I worked my way into becoming a Firearms Instructor. So, needless to say, I shoot quite a bit. I’m a very firm believer that shooting is a perishable product; I can really see that when I compare all the people I qualify who take it seriously and practice versus the others who don’t take it serious and are just there to barely qualify in order to keep their job.

So, I crunched some numbers and figured that I shoot roughly a 1000 rounds a month through both my AR and Glock, which equates to about $600 a month. That being said, I don’t really feel that I’m practicing enough. So, a while back I purchased a SIRT pistol from Next Level Training and used it for dry fire practice at home. Pat did an excellent review of the SIRT and so I’m not going to try to elaborate more on the subject, but I want to reaffirm how the SIRT pistol and AR bolt are excellent training tools. Now that I’m looking at finances, it occurred to me that I really wasn’t using my SIRT pistol to its fullest potential. This is what I did.

I came up with drills that I did on the range and incorporated them into drills in my garage with targets taped on the back of the garage door. I now have a 7 yard, 4 lane, indoor range for my SIRT pistol. Here are just some of the pistol drills I did regularly on the range:

  • Hammer drill: Two rounds to center mass from the holster, scan for threats, reholster.
  • Body Armor drill: Two rounds to center mass, one to the head/pelvis from the holster, scan for threats, reholster.
  • Combat Reload drill: Load two rounds in all magazines, shoot one magazine until empty, reload pistol with fresh magazine focusing on techniques (elbows down, drop empty magazine with strong hand while support hand retrieves fresh magazine, keep pistol in your center line low, while keeping constant eye contact with threat, feed fresh magazine into mag well by indexing finger on front side of magazine, drop slide, reengage threat). On last magazine scan for threats, reholster.
  • Tactical Reload drill: Same as Combat Reloads except you retrieve fresh magazine first, drop a partially used magazine into support hand while loading fresh magazine into the pistol, put partial magazine in pocket (or dump pouch), reengage threat. (The thought behind this is that you may need partial magazine for the future, and Tactical Reloads are used during a lull in fight.)
  • Cover/Concealment drill: Move to cover/concealment and engage threat with two rounds standing along the strongside of cover/concealment and two rounds kneeling along the strong side of cover/concealment, scan for threats, reholster. Repeat same drill but utilizing support side of cover/concealment.

These were the core drills I would do, adding a few others when I can due to my limitations of using a public range. It seems that the old days of going down a forest service road and shooting at the old gravel pit are long gone. So, a lot of dynamic drills of moving and shooting, engaging from the ground, and shooting around awkward covers are not allowed on my range. These core drills I did on the range easily translated over to the SIRT, with some exceptions, like the SIRT pistol slide can’t be manipulated.

If you look at my core drills, you may see a pattern. I believe it was Clint Smith that said, “If you’re not shooting, you should be loading. If you’re not loading, you should be moving.” That has stuck with me, and I try to ingrain it into my training. Now, here is where I think the SIRT pistol shines. You can do these drills and more, without having local range limitations and safety issues. Speaking of safety, make sure all other weapons and ammo are locked up or inaccessible. You don’t want to pick up a live weapon when you are doing dry firing exercises in the house. Also, if you set up a “back yard range”, make sure to know who is watching. I’m lucky that I don’t live in an urban environment, where everyone can see my backyard. Just imagine what your neighbor would think, seeing you in your full battle rattle, running around your house like a Tier One Operator at Osama’s compound. You might end up meeting your local SWAT team in their full battle rattle!

Now that I have a pistol that fires just a laser, my training has expanded throughout the house and more. It’s not just a dry fire tool, it’s an active shooter trainer. I’m sure lots of people have thought of what they would do if someone was in the house. Well, with the SIRT you can! Have your spouse set up a target somewhere in the house and practice clearing room by room. Get intimately familiar with your home; it is where you spend most of your time, so you should know how to defend it. How would you react if, while you are sitting in your lazyboy watching football, someone kicks in your front door? Where is your weapon at? How do you approach the door? Where are your cover and/or concealment locations?

I’ve also added the SIRT AR bolt to my collection, and the nice part is that you get to use your own personal AR. It’s a drop in bolt that not only shoots a laser out your bore but auto resets your trigger. So, again not only am I using this as a dry fire trainer but also in active shooter drills. Putting this all together with two different components, you get to train with your rifle and incorporate pistol transitions. Again with my previous limitations, I couldn’t shoot my AR and do pistol transitions on the range.

I’ve just scratched the possibilities of what you can do with the SIRT line of products. During my lifetime I have always kept my eyes and ears open to new things to learn. I love going to YouTube and seeing if any good training ideas come up. One interesting trick came from the CEO of Next Level Training and inventor of the SIRT, Mike Hughes. On his video he talks about using the SIRT pistol and confirming your correct form by videotaping yourself. How about taking this a step further, setup your camera, iPhone, or whatever you have next to your target and see how you react or expose yourself while engaging it during your house clearing drills.

SIRT products are an awesome set of training tools, but they are not a replacement for live fire practice. Even Mike Hughes will mention this on his videos and website, be sure to look at his Next Level Training website and his videos on YouTube. He has lots of great training info for both civilians and police. I still go out a couple times a month to get in live fire time, but this had an affect on my budget. I saved about $400 to $500 a month, with an investment of about $600 in the SIRT products I purchased. The best part is that I have increased my training at least by ten fold.

Letter: A Two Year Experiment

Two years ago I buried cash and silver coins on some property I own as an experiment to see how well the cash and silver would fare. Oct 31st 2014 was the day it was recovered.

The vessel was a white plastic PVC pipe about 6” round and about 1.5 feet long capped and sealed with PVC Glue. The cash was placed in standard zip lock sandwich bags and a moisture absorber pouch was placed in each. The silver was placed in the standard coin tubes you receive when buying 20 coins at a time. No absorbers were placed in the tubes of coins. Also, no absorbers were placed in the general compartment outside of the zip lock bags.

The results.

  • CASH – There were no signs of mold or decay. The cash was dry.
  • Silver – There was a bit of tarnish on the edges of the coins. Otherwise, there was no difference between these and other coins purchased at the same time.

What was done correctly.

  • The PVC Tube was sealed correctly, as no moisture was present in the tube. I used a liberal amount of glue on both the tube and the cap. Then, I added more to the outside after about 20 minutes of drying. I did wait one day before burying.
  • The moisture absorbers did their job, as no humidity damage was present at the time of retrieval.

What was done wrong.

  • The cash had a distinct smell of PVC glue.
  • The solution is to use a food saver sealer to ensure the bags are airtight.
  • Double up on the bags for extra measure.
  • Silver tarnished on edges.
  • The silver should have been sealed, like the cash, with moisture absorbers.
  • Possibly insert a small oxygen absorber in the general compartment of the vessel, but not strong enough to break the PVC seal by creating too strong of a vacuum.

Next Time considerations

  • Mark the spot better.
  • Even though it is private property and it was buried under a fallen tree using landmarks to locate the specific place along the tree where it was buried, I still had to dig three holes to locate its exact location. Imagine the excitement (ha) after the first hole netted only dirt. This was due to natural changes of the earth. One marker was a small tree used to line up the spot, and it had died and fell during the two years. Another was a pock mark (small hole) in the bark-less fallen tree under which it is was buried. In the two years other pock marks had appeared, due to the natural decay of the tree. Hence the three holes that had to be dug to locate it. The third was a tree stump where I had dropped a tree just before burial.
  • Without the stump I would have had to dig many more holes.

To mitigate this in the future.

  • Let another trusted individual know exactly where it was buried. Even have that person along during burial, so they can visualize its location in their own mind.
  • Use other landmarks that have a longer life expectancy.
  • I don’t suggest drawing a map, because that can be misplaced or stolen, but that is a judgment call.
  • GPS may or may not be available and at best is only good within a few feet (an assumption), but it should be close enough to find it in a relatively short amount of time.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS

  • The money I buried had a specific value. Today that money has lost some of its buying power when comparing the cost of groceries alone.
  • The same is true for the silver; however, using ancient methods, an ounce of silver should still be a day’s worth of labor when the artificial paper market stops manipulating the prices. I use the dollar cost averaging method with my silver purchases so that decline does not really matter to me.

Any comments and suggestions are very welcome.

Economics and Investing:

UK finance ministry says takes orders for first renminbi bond. – G.G.

o o o

Slowly but surely. The pace seems to be picking up though. China puts a new nail in dollar coffin as it begins direct trade with Singapore. – A.H.

o o o

Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Greenspan: Fed Can’t Exit Without Turmoil

Why Did Q3 GDP Jump: Thank ISIS And The “War On Terror”

U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to Lowest Since Early 1995

Hugh’s Quote of the Day:

“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3 (KJV)

Notes for Friday – October 31, 2014

October 31st is Reformation Day.

o o o

Today, we present another entry for Round 55 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 hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. 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.
  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. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

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

Round 55 ends on November 30th, 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.

Survival To Go, by JMD – Part 2

In my checked bag, when flying, I put a small zippered case that contains:

  • A Gerber Folding Sheath Knife, which is a good trade-off between size/weight and capability. I’ve found that most people (LEOs in particular) tend to be a lot less suspicious of folding knives than fixed-blade ones.
  • A Boker Plus Credit Card Knife. I put this in my pocket if I’m going out for an evening and I can’t bring my EDC kit, because it’s completely unobtrusive in a front pocket. It’s not necessarily the most robust knife in the world, but it’s the same size as a credit card and has a decent blade. If you’re in a particularly nasty part of the world, where something like kidnapping is a real possibility, you can attach it to the inside of your belt in the back with a length of Gorilla tape; you can easily reach it with your hands tied behind your back, and no one will notice it even if the kidnappers pat you down.
  • A knife sharpener for the evenings in your hotel room, which are a good time to keep your knives up to snuff.
  • A Leatherman Wave Multi-tool. In an urban environment, sometimes pliers and screwdrivers are as important as a knife.

When my checked bag arrives at baggage claim, I immediately transfer the small case (containing the items above) from my checked bag into my backpack so it’s handy. (Just don’t forget to put it back in your checked luggage before you check in for the return flight!)

I also keep a small Esbit stove and some cut up fatwood in my checked bag for heating up water when everything’s out. (Note: smoke alarms in hotel rooms continue to function even during a power outage.) Also, note that you CANNOT legally pack Esbit tablets (or any other fire-starting chemicals) in either your checked bag or your carry-on, but pieces of wood are okay.

Tips and Lessons Learned

In addition to having the kernel of a survival kit, it helps if you know and do the right things. I’ve collected a number of tips and things I’ve learned over the years that might be useful for improving your comfort/safety/survival when traveling:

  • Develop a basic worst-case route plan for getting home or to a meeting place prior to your trip, and share it with your spouse/relatives/friends. If possible, as soon as you know a disaster is about to hit, communicate your current location, planned actions, and planned destination(s) back home.
  • Dress to blend in. Use a standard backpack (Swiss Gear, Outdoor Products, Columbia, et cetera). Do not carry an OD military tactical molle bag, and don’t dress in camo or tactical vests. That tends to gather a lot more of the wrong kind of attention from people, especially when going through security.
  • If I’m going out for an evening (dinner/bar/et cetera) where I can’t take my kit with me, I always have the Boker credit card knife in my pants pocket, the Schrade tactical pen, and the H2O filter in my shirt/jacket pocket and the dog tags/whistle around my neck. It’s better than nothing if I can’t get back to the hotel immediately when a disaster hits. In some countries, man purses (murses?) are acceptable wear in more formal business settings, and they can provide you with a lot more carrying capacity for a travel EDC.
  • Request a second floor (or whatever floor is the one above ground level) hotel room. (In some countries, this floor above the ground level is called the first floor.) There is less concern about break-ins or flooding than on the ground floor; compared to rooms on higher floors, there are fewer stairs in the event of a power outage/fire and it’s easy to break a window and climb down on a sheet-rope in case you’re trapped in your room during a fire or after an earthquake.
  • When traveling in a foreign country, always keep your passport in a hidden pocket on your person, preferably in a waterproof bag, along with some local cash. If you have to bug out of the country during an emergency, it’s your ticket into your country’s embassy; you may not have time to get back to your hotel room to grab it.
  • Before you travel, locate the camping/outdoor/Walmart/Cabelas/Bass Pro/REI/gun/et cetera stores nearest to your hotel, work place, and along the route between the two. In a SHTF situation, you won’t have to waste time Googling for the closest stores (assuming cell/Internet service is even available). Also consider spending some time online on the prepper boards a find out what stores the local folks favor. You may make some new friends in the process that can help out in an emergency. I met some great prepper folks online while preparing for a trip to Hong Kong, and I had a fun night out drinking with them!
  • Try to be discrete about the fact you’re prepared. Laying in your hammock, eating hot oatmeal under your warm fleece blanket, during a winter storm in an airport/bus terminal/train station that’s lost power and heating, in front of a crowd of cold, hungry people (especially with children) is sure to draw the wrong kind of attention.
  • Maintain physical contact with your bag at all times when you’re around other people, especially while sleeping. Keep an arm through one of the straps, use your bag for a pillow, or sleep on your side and hug it. If you’re a heavy sleeper, get a movement alarm for your bag and set it while you sleep.
  • If an emergency situation is developing, immediately fill your water bottle from the closest clean source. I’ve been in situations where water went out in an airport while stuck there for two days, due to severe weather and frozen pipes. Also, grab some spare toilet paper and paper towels.
  • If you’re in an airport and you can’t string your hammock, head to the baggage claim area and check where they keep unclaimed luggage. If it’s accessible, you can lay a bunch of bags/suitcases out on the floor side by side and make a bed for the evening. It’s slightly more comfortable than a cold, hard floor. If it’s a true SHTF situation, the abandoned bags can be a good source of supplies/materials.
  • Most business-class hotels do a good job of taking care of their guests during an emergency by providing shelter, food, water, medical, and so forth. You should only leave your hotel if the situation becomes untenable, such as all of the hotel staff bugging out, which is a good indication. If you’re staying at a Motel 6 in the middle of nowhere, you’ll probably need to do a lot more prep yourself.
  • If you have to leave your hotel room (even temporarily) during an emergency, take your kit with you. The batteries that run the key card locks in most hotels may or may not work for any length of time, and you might not be able to get back into your room. I’ve had this happen on several occasions, even though there wasn’t an emergency. Security had to get the maintenance people up to my room to change the batteries on the lock so I could get back in.
  • If cell/Internet coverage goes out during an emergency, turn off the cell and WiFi radios on your cell phone to save the battery; then, turn them on once an hour or so to see if it’s back. Better yet, power your cell phone down and just turn it on occasionally for checking your navigation or cell coverage. As soon as you have a signal, send a status message to your primary/secondary contacts, including any updated plans or destinations. Create a plan document on your device and update it regularly, so you can quickly send it if service is only available for a short time.
  • Be careful about bringing your knives into any customer work place when travelling. If it’s even a potential issue, leave it in your rental car (stuck up under the seat or dash or in the trunk but not in the glove box!); you might also ask Security to hold onto it while you’re visiting. Also, never show it off anywhere!
  • Know the local knife laws. In some facilities/cities/countries, certain (or in some cases, any!) knives are illegal. While a foreign prison might afford you food, shelter and (questionable) medical care, it’s generally not most people’s first choice.
  • Traveling with business associates can make for tough decisions in an emergency situation. If you’re stuck somewhere for a while, the security and companionship of a known group can be a good thing, but you might feel obligated to share your resources. If it’s most likely going to be just one night and you’ve got enough, you can impress your co-workers with your preparedness. If you’re concerned, make an excuse about wanting to explore or needing some personal space for religious reasons (or loud snoring) and tell them you’ll see them in the morning.
  • I never try to travel with a gun any more. Yes, you can put them in your checked luggage (as long as you declare it), but the hassle and attention you get, plus the overhead of protecting it along with the hassles of local laws, makes it a nightmare. If a SHTF situation occurs while you’re on the road, try to be one of the first to the closest local gun store/police station/National Guard armory and acquire or buy one. If it’s a true national/global TEOTWAWKI situation, most gun stores won’t be worrying about background checks, but you’ll probably need to use those gold bars, since cash most likely won’t be worth much.
  • Take your kit with you when heading out for work every day and, if possible, keep it in the front seat with you when in a rental car; you may need to grab it fast and get out. Make sure you have easy access to the Gerber hook knife (for your seatbelt) and the glass breaker in case of a serious accident.
  • If you’re forced to travel a long way to get home after a major disaster, consider locating an off-road bicycle. You can make good time, power without gas, remain relatively silent, and usually fix problems fairly easily; it’s important to practice riding a bicycle with a fully-loaded backpack to get comfortable doing so, as it can be harder than you think.
  • Think trains. If it’s a local or regional emergency and you can safely evacuate the affected area, trains are most likely to keep running in adverse conditions that will limit aircraft and road vehicles, and you don’t have to spend hours behind a wheel. I use an Android app called RailBandit that covers most of the passenger train systems in the U.S.
  • If it’s a SHTF/ TEOTWAWKI situation and you’re on foot/bike/motorcycle trying to get home, following train tracks can be a good choice. They’re generally isolated, easy to travel, and typically pass close to a lot of warehouses and such, which can contain supplies that haven’t been delivered to stores yet. Obviously, stay off the tracks if the trains are still running.
  • Apply the same prep habits to your rental car you do with your personal vehicle, including keeping the gas tank at least 3/4 full at all times, so you don’t have to stop for gas if you need to bug out or get stuck in a blizzard.
  • Most countries offer a 911-like emergency service (and most are staffed with English speakers), but they typically don’t use the “911” number. Learn the local emergency number.
  • Memorize the location of the closest friendly embassy/consulate when you’re in a foreign country, and program it into your phone’s mapping software. (You don’t want to try to ask directions to an address in Tokyo during an emergency.) Also program in their phone number(s).
  • When traveling overseas (at least if you’re American), find out where the closest U.S. military base is and memorize/program its location as well. Even a small U.S. military liaison office can offer assistance in national emergencies, and you might be able to hitch a ride back to the U.S. in an evacuation situation.
  • The best seats for fast egress during a flight emergency are aisle seats near the front or rear of the aircraft. That’s where the flight attendants/pilots are during an emergency landing, and they’re more likely to get the doors open quickly than the panicked masses in or near the over-wing exit rows. Even if you’re sitting in the window seat next to the exit door, you might get swamped by panicked people before you can get the exit open.
  • If on a plane and you’re told that you’re going to make an emergency landing, put on any outer wear you have with you, grab your carry-on backpack, make sure you have easy acceToday, we present another entry for Round 55 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ worth of prizes for this round include:
  • ss to your goggles and a filter mask (in case you have to move through smoke), and stick the bag under the seat in front of you. When you get up to evacuate, sling your pack on the front of your body with your arms through the straps (assuming it’s not a water landing and you have to put on your life vest). If you have a belt strap, clasp it behind your back. Yes, they tell you to leave your bags behind, but if you’re in a true emergency situation, they’re not going to make a fuss as long as it’s not interfering with your or other passenger’s movements. (Hence, the reason to have it in the front of you, so you’re not banging it into other people.) Also, if the landing is in the wilderness, you’ll be glad you have it.
  • If you travel to a lot of out of the way places that are far from civilization, consider carrying a Personal Locator Beacon for local or regional emergencies. Get a 406 MHz one; they work anywhere in the world. Another alternative is the DeLorme inReach SE; it allows you to send 160-character text messages via satellite from anywhere in the world, so you can stay in contact with your family while you’re trying to get home. You’ll need two of them, since they only work with each other, and they require a monthly subscription service.
  • If you travel to one place frequently or will be staying there a long time (I had a project where I was commuting from Boston to Dallas every week for nine months), consider stocking an evacuation cache near your destination. If there are woods or open lands nearby, use those. If you’re in a city, consider renting a storage locker, preferably somewhere between your hotel and work location, or in a small town along your most likely route home. Also check with your hotel, if you’re going to be staying there a lot; they’ll frequently agree to hold onto a small cache suitcase for you when you’re not there. (Please don’t ask them to hold onto a large, camouflaged waterproof tube!) If you’re working at a customer site, ask them if you can leave a bag there.
  • One of the most useful skills you can possess, during an emergency in an urban environment, is lock picking. Trying to knock down the door to the gun store, like they do on TV, is a great way to injure yourself, and smashing them in can be noisy and attract unwanted attention. However, keep in mind that possession of lock picking tools is illegal in most places, unless you have a locksmith’s license. That being said, if you still want to carry a set, look for one of the credit card punch-out kits, and practice at home until you’re reasonably competent. DO NOT put it in your carry-on, as TSA (and potentially the local police) will want to have a very long and uncomfortable conversation with you when they find it.

Being prepared for a disaster while traveling requires a lot of up-front planning and thought, along with the right tools and supplies. As with home-based prepping, waiting until a disaster actually happens is a good way to end up dead, but being prepared across a lot of different locations can be difficult. One additional recommendation is to carefully document and save all of your planning work for each trip, since you never know when you might be going back. If you return to the same location in the future, you can simply update your existing plans, instead of starting from scratch every time.

As with any prep work, my kit and plans are constantly evolving. If you have any ideas, comments, or suggestions, I’d appreciate hearing them.

Letter: A Few Comments

Hello Hugh,

I just wanted to pass on that the article you posted on Monday, the 27th, ER Doctor: What Scares Me Even More Than Ebola, made the rounds amongst the nurses, doctors, and some of the EMTs in the mid-sized hospital emergency room where I work, and every single person that read it was in total agreement that it was the most sound and well thought-out plan for dealing with wide spread pandemic infectious disease, whether Ebola or what ever the next wave might be. I have my doubts about it being taken to heart and applied nationally, but perhaps in some proactive communities it could make the difference.

Also, I found the article you posted entitled 21 Days on Tuesday, the 28th, to be the best, detailed, scientific look at emerging infectious disease, without all the too-common political posturing, that I’ve seen yet (from the perspective of this old, ER nurse).

Lastly, there was some discussion of .40 vs 9mm conversion kits a few days back. I gotta put in a plug for the after-market barrels for Glock made by Storm Lake and Lone Wolf. I have one in my model 23 .40 cal, and it allows me to shoot 9mm all day long (with the appropriate magazines) at a drastic cost savings for practice time at the range. Best regards, – NWER

Economics and Investing:

US Homeownership Rate Drops To 1983 Levels: Here’s Why. – G.G.

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Alan Greenspan: Gold Is A Good Place To Put Money These Days

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

Obamacare Sends Health Premiums Skyrocketing By As Much As 78% – This is about spot on to what I have personally experienced in the private market as well.

Does This Look Like A Housing Recovery To You?

From This Day Forward, We Will Watch How The Stock Market Performs Without The Fed’s Monetary Heroin

U.S. Economy Up 3.5% in 3rd Quarter, Capping Best 6 Months in Over a Decade

Odds ‘n Sods:

By way of The Daily Sheeple comes an excellent video on How To Treat a Traumatic Gunshot Wound. – J.W.

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Man had four beatings by PA State police in 11 hours, including one in the hospital while the already injured victim was still handcuffed to a gurney. Man charged with breaking a trooper’s fist with his face. – T.P.

I’m going to have to put Pennsylvania in the same class as other places that I never want to go.

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WND has an excellent video about the indoctrination of our children in public schools. Get them out while you can!

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Why Ebola Quarantines Will Grow Larger — And More Troubling. – JBG

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From Mike Williamson, SurvivalBlog’s Editor At Large, comes this story of a “Bet he won’t do that again” prank.

“I’m not sure what is supposed to be funny about a ‘prank’ like this. It strikes me he got off easy. He could have wound up with a bullet in the brain in parts of the U.S.” – Mike

Notes for Thursday – October 30, 2014

October 30th, 1735 was the birthday of President John Adams. (Other sources cite his birthdate as October 19, 1735.) He died on July 4, 1826–just a few hours after the death of Thomas Jefferson.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 55 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 hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. 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.
  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. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

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

Round 55 ends on November 30th, 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.

Survival To Go, by JMD – Part 1

Many of us have invested in learning the skills, stockpiling the tools and supplies, and hiding the caches necessary to survive in the event of a major disaster that impacts our local area, but the reality is that these types of events happen around the world on a daily basis. While skills are useful anywhere and anytime, the best stores and caches are useless if you’re hundreds or even thousands of miles away when a disaster strikes in your current location! While developing my survival strategy, I realized that I had a major gap– I travel a lot on business, both nationally in the U.S. and internationally (80,000+ average flying miles per year, plus driving and trains), and if disaster struck while I was on the road I’d be forced to scramble to get any kind of survival kit together. To give myself a leg up, I decided to use a lot of the advice from various sources to build out a basic kit that can travel with me.

The Kit

Anyone who has ever traveled knows that modern travel, especially by air, can be tiring and burdensome, so they tend to focus primarily on improving their comfort. I wanted to cover safety and survival as well as comfort, and the good news is that a lot of the material in your kit can help with all three objectives. For any flying trip that is more than a single day trip (there in the AM and back in the PM), I have two bags– my backpack carry-on and a checked bag. The checked bag size depends on the length of the trip. I know a lot of business travelers hate the idea of checking a bag, but in order to get some of your critical survival tools to your destination you’re better off doing it. Note that I’ve flown nearly a million miles in the last 15 years, and my checked bag has only gotten rerouted twice; both times they had it back to me within eight hours. When traveling (even on business) I always dress for comfort/safety/survival first, so I pack my business clothes in the checked bag.

Here’s what’s in my carry-on:

  • Work stuff, including a lightweight computer, external hard disk, cables, papers, et cetera.
  • Vapur Eclipse (1 litre) water bottle that folds up small and stands when full.
  • H2O Survival Water Filter Travel Straw. It is only good for about 18 gallons, but it is the smallest and lightest you can buy (same size as a largish pen). I have a Sawyer Mini in my checked bag for longer-term use.
  • Small first aid kit that includes gauze wrap, surgical pads, band-aids, antibiotic ointment, a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide, some Quick-Clot, nitrile gloves, et cetera.
  • Kaito KA800 emergency radio that gets AM/FW/weather channels; it’s small, light, and rechargeable from USB.
  • Adventure Medical Kits Sol Survival Blanket, which is better than the cheap mylar ones and just as light and compact.
  • Fifty feet of 550 paracord; need you ask why?
  • Cocoon ultralight travel pillow, which packs smaller than my fist and makes a huge difference if you’re forced to sleep in an airport/gas station/train station/elsewhere overnight. It can also double as a butt cushion if you need to sit on the cold ground or a hard seat overnight.
  • Bic lighters in standard type.
  • Levin Solstar Solar Panel Charger 5000mAh battery that will recharge my smartphone phone and tablet and can be recharged in the sun (slowly, though). Remember those pictures of people huddled around a generator in NYC after Hurricane Sandy, trying to charge their cell phones?
  • Brite Strike ELPI (2 x AAA) & Fenix MC11 (1 x AA) flashlights. The Brite Strike was a gift; it’s very powerful but goes through batteries fast. The Fenix has great light and battery life and can be held/hung/propped-up in a lot of different ways. I also pack extra Lithium batteries.
  • Cyalume sticks; a couple are packed because they are great for lighting up a pitch-black hotel room during a power outage, and they provide broader light than a flashlight. Note that these contain liquid, so if you don’t get to go through TSA’s Pre-check lane, you’ll have to put them in your liquids baggie when going through security.
  • Offline maps installed on both my cell phone and tablet. Even if cell or Internet service is disrupted, you can still use your smart phone/tablet and GPS for navigation (assuming you have the maps already installed locally). Remember, most terrestrial events won’t impact the GPS system (for a while anyway). I use Maps With Me Pro for Android and have downloaded the maps for all of the lower 48 states, plus whatever other country I happen to be traveling in at the time. Remember that even if you’re flying from NYC to LA, there’s no guarantee you won’t end up somewhere else during an emergency. (Remember what happened with flights on 9/11?)
  • Food. I carry some Clif bars, jerky, trail mix, oatmeal, hot chocolate, and powdered drink mix. (I don’t drink coffee, but you could obviously bring some instant.)
  • TOAKS Titanium 450ml Cup and a Spork.- Fill cup with hot tap water (or boiling water from the airport coffee shop/hotel room coffee maker) and make oatmeal/hot chocolate/soup.
  • Zip ties in small, medium, and large size. They are one of the best travel quick fixes there is, usually faster and stronger than tying, and they can be used for whipping up many emergency items and repairing broken luggage.
  • Gorilla tape (1″ wide roll). It’s stronger and has better adhesion than regular duct tape and works well even on uneven and wet surfaces.
  • Small toiletry kit– toothpaste, travel toothbrush, soap sheets, deodorant.
  • Small travel towel that is great for drying off after a sink bath when you’re stuck in an airport/gas station/truck stop for a few days. They frequently run out of paper towels in stranding situations.
  • Cash. I keep a couple of hundred dollars in a small opaque waterproof plastic envelop at all times. Keep $50 or so in your wallet, in case you get mugged.
  • Outdoor Research Radar Pocket Cap, which folds flat and is lightweight and waterproof.
  • Waterproof backpack cover.
  • Spare underwear and socks.
  • Dog tags with my name, blood type, DOB, allergies, and home phone. I keep this on the chain around my neck whenever I travel, along with an emergency whistle. If you’re found unconscious it can make all the difference, and in a plane/train crash at least they can identify your body.
  • Acme 636 Safety Whistle can help rescuers locate you or attract attention when you’re in trouble. Also, you can blow it in close proximity to an attacker’s ear and disorient them.
  • Gerber GDC Hook Knife that can be used to cut paracord/zip-ties/seat belts/material/more, and TSA has no problem with it. I keep it clipped on the outside of my pack so it’s visible and accessible.
  • Byer The Traveller Lite Hammock. Cut off the factory ropes and hardware and just store it folded flat. You can use your own paracord to string it up, and it beats anything out of sleeping on the floor in an airport. Also, it works as a ground cloth/tarp/cover. I sprayed it with extra waterproofing to enhance the protection.
  • Schrade Survival Tactical Pen that can be used as a fire starter/whistle/glass breaker/baton. Plus, it writes, too! I carry it in my pocket when I’m out and about town without my kit. I’ve taken it through airport security numerous times with no problem.
  • Secret stash Bic lighter stuffed with a bunch of Tinder-Quiks. You can buy a modified lighter on eBay, or you can make it yourself. (Just Google it.) A spark and good-burning tinder can be had in one unobtrusive package.
  • Leather work gloves for digging out of rubble, grabbing hot stuff during a fire, breaking windows, knife fights, rappelling down a sheet rope from a burning hotel room window, et cetera. If it’s cold weather, I bring a pair of insulated gloves. (These are are available from Home Depot, treated with leather waterproofing.)
  • Vented safety goggles for when you have to move through smoke, dust, et cetera. They can also double as rain/snow goggles, and in a viral outbreak event they can keep airborne bodily fluids out of your eyes. Get the ones with the indirect vents, not the ones with a bunch of holes drilled into them, and treat the inside with anti-fogging liquid you can find at any ski shop. (Home Depot is a good supplier.)
  • Antiviral face mask for when you’re sitting next to someone who is sneezing/coughing the whole flight or the next Ebola/SARs/Bird Flu/whatever epidemic. (Walgreens carries these.)
  • N95 Dust Mask for when you have to crawl your way through a smoking hallway, walk through a dust storm, et cetera. Note that these won’t stop airborne pathogens, so that’s why you have the antiviral mask.
  • A small notepad that, besides writing on, can be torn into small strips and used for kindling, if necessary. While they’re nice, I avoid the Rite-in-the-Rain ones, because the coating prevents the pages from burning easily.
  • Frogg Toggs poncho, which is several steps above a cheap plastic one but almost as compact. (Walmart carries these.)
  • Waterproof and zip lock bags for my phone, radio, notepad, and so forth in case of a water event.
  • Shemagh, which is very useful in any weather, but many people might be leery if you wear it over your face in a non-emergency situation (especially in airports). Stick with using it as a scarf, unless it’s an emergency.
  • Small compass.
  • Sharpie pen; I use the stainless steel one, just because…
  • Small coffee filters, which I use as a first-stage water filter for removing larger particles when drinking from the H2O or filling the Sawyer squeeze bottle from a questionable source.
  • For colder weather I also include a pair of lightweight thermal underwear (top & bottom, silk or polypro), a lightweight thermal balaclava, a pair of glove liners, and a small fleece travel blanket in a roll.
  • A bunch of 1-gram gold bars, because in a national/global emergency they’ll buy you a lot more than cash will.

All of this fits nicely into my 30L Outdoor Products backpack, with some extra room in case I need to stock up with extras on the run. I use packing cubes and a Gridt-It organizer to hold and organize all of the bits and pieces, so they’re easier to find in an emergency and don’t all fall down to the bottom of the bag. Note that with the computer it’s a bit heavy, but for me (6’, 185 lbs., and in decent shape) it’s perfectly manageable.

Tomorrow, in Part 2, I’ll share what I pack in my checked bag, and I’ll also give you some tips and lessons I’ve learned that might be useful for improving your comfort, safety, and survival when traveling.

Letter Re: Kids Can Earn Their Keep

Dear Hugh,

I thought T.B. had some good ideas for kids involvement in almost any situation, but I wanted to bring up a point about feeding the animals.

We are about two years into our new retreat now, and in the process we acquired farm animals. The first year we bought chickens; the second year we bought cattle. My experience with both has led me to believe it is not necessarily a good idea for children to be working with farm animals, as I had my own learning curve with them that has resulted in some injuries. I’ve owned two roosters that both were into attacking people. First, I got rid of one. The last one died of lead poisoning after he spurred me so hard I had to make a trip to the emergency room, get the wound cleaned out, and got on anitbiotics. He got me in the forearm through a shirt and down to the muscle. I think he was going for my face. All I did was bring in the food to their enclosure. I had previously and wrongly thought I had the attacking problem solved, but he injured me just the same. I was really fond of that rooster, too.

Our cows are by nature very sweet, but they are very large. Even when we bring out food they like, some of them bounce around excited like a happy dog, a TWELVE HUNDRED POUND dog. We have one who will come up and try to head butt you to demand more of what is being served. Also, if a cow is accidentaly startled, she can kick hard enough to kill you. We were securing one in a pen who had just given birth for the first time and had to assist the nursing process at the beginning. As I was closing the gate, she kicked the gate back into my forehead pretty hard. Luckily, I have a hard head. (Just ask my husband.)

That is why I would be extremely reluctant to let kids feed farm animals in TEOTWAWKI. If they are nearly into adulthood and we give them some good supervision first as to what to watch for, then yes, they should be able to feed the animals. I know I may sound like I am in contradiction to the intent of Future Farmers of America, and I like that program, but if you no longer have medical care available for animal accidents, now what? I’m pretty careful, but I still got hurt from my animals. Animals aren’t always predictable.

All that aside, we as protective parents are supposed to earn a keep for our children. Ideally, we introduce them into responsibility according to their maturity level, even in TEOTWAWKI. Even then, and especially then, kids need play time, too. Sincerely, – Mrs. RLB

Hugh Replies: One of the reasons that our cities are so full of incorrigible teenagers today is that we allow them to act as little children well into adulthood. (We won’t discuss the underlying family issues here, mainly the lack of a family.) By the time a child is 15 or 16, they are capable of performing a man’s or woman’s work, physically. If they are not ready mentally by that time, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Having been raised on a farm, I have memories of caring for animals that “had it in for me”, but that didn’t stop me from handling my responsibilities. In fact, I learned much about life by becoming resourceful in dealing with these animals. I have watched a neighbor girl who is seven years old hold off a rooster with nothing more than a badminton racket while she collected eggs. I used to have to feed a cow that would pin me up against the fence when it got the chance and try to gore me (though it had no horns) when I was 10.

When you deal with these things as children, you learn to respect them and you learn how to read them. There are very few animals that are unpredictable. In fact, most animals tell you well in advance what their intentions are. By working with our children when they are young, they will be able to handle all but the most ornery animals by the time they are teens. By the time they are 15 or 16, they should be able to handle any of them as well as you. There are always exceptions. There are animals that are not right in the head as well as people, and those should always be taken into account, but coddling our children will only set them up for failure when they need the most success.

We are dealing with a prime example of this right now. While we were on vacation for two weeks, we had some city folk take care of our chickens. It’s not hard to deal with them as there is no rooster in the bunch right now. You just have to feed and water them regularly. Upon our arrival home, they were not laying. I like to think that they missed me, but the reality is that the teenagers caring for them obviously were not regular in their care of them. The chickens are still letting me know how unhappy they were in our absence. I’m hoping for eggs again sometime soon! On the flip side, we boarded our dog with a kennel that didn’t use cages or TV’s and the person actually spent quite a bit of time loving on the dogs in her care. We returned to a fat and happy dog that was almost reluctant to come home. Remember, the earlier and better we learn those lessons, the more prepared we are to handle whatever happens if TEOTWAWKI actually happens.

“Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.” – 2 Chronicles 34:1-2

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12