Recommended Region: The Grande Ronde Valley Union, Wallowa, and Baker Counties, in Northeastern Oregon

This region is on the east side of the Blue Mountains

Statistics (for La Grande):
Average high temperature in August: 85.
Average low temperature in January: 23.1.
Average snowfall in January: 6.7”.

Growing season: 160 days.
Advantages: Proximity to good hunting and firewood sources in “The Blues.” More plentiful water than in many other parts of eastern Oregon. Fairly diverse agriculture. Grande Ronde Valley crops are primarily wheat, hay, and barley, with some oats, apples, cherries, sugar beets, and beans.
From the Oregon Blue Book: “The Grande Ronde Valley in Union County is nearly table flat and is covered with the rich silt of an old lake bed. Highly diversified, with an annual rainfall of twenty inches, the valley boasts of never having had a general crop failure. The county’s 1,092 farms average 473 acres a unit.”
Disadvantages: A major interstate freeway (I-84) passes … Continue reading




Letter Re: Mormons, Knives, and Olive Oil

Jim:
I am an non-denominational Christian, (not a Mormon), but I do appreciate the fairness you exhibit on your blog. The Mormon man’s recent comments were good reading and I hope his view is representative of all Mormons. Thank you for your fairness and honesty.

ABOUT KNIVES: I have found that the Cold Steel “Recon Bowie” with its 5/16′ thick blade is an excellent field knife which can be used like a hatchet and it is quite tough. It’s big brother – the Trailmaster Series is also another great large knife.

ABOUT OLIVE OIL: I purchased a three liter can of Bertolli Brand “Classico, Full Bodied & Mild” olive oil in July of 1998. It was stored in a dark cool place in the basement (average temperature about 60F). I opened this can in late 2004 and the oil was fresh, and is still fresh now at the bottom … Continue reading




Letter Re: Retreat Architecture

Hello from a long-time fan. With some of the discussions going into how to build a home that will be designed with survival in mind, I’d thought that the following may be useful (If you haven’t seen this stuff already).

I’ve been researching extensively differing home structures and came across what the owners of this home call “The Ultimate Secure Home” See: http://www.ultimatesecurehome.com/

Now I’m not advocating anyone buy this place, but it is chock-full “Secure Home”. What scenarios to consider like plague, economic collapse, fire, and items dealing with water support, off-grid power, communications…etc. Also the unique dome-structure itself that has inherent security features which led me to a company called Formworks Building Inc. See: http://www.formworksbuilding.com/ They are experts in designing thin concrete-shelled Earth homes using a unique steel reinforcement structure that (according to them) will cost no more than a standard framed home. Best … Continue reading




Letter Re: Advice on Missouri’s Retreat Potential?

Mr. Rawles,
I realize you are busy, and appreciate any response you can supply. I am residing about 20 miles out of St. Louis, Missouri. I realize my close proximity to such a large urban area is far from ideal, but I do not have the financial security to quit the job and move out to a less populated area. Now, my question is not in regard to my specific area. Rather, my question is regarding the rest of Missouri. I have friends owning land in central Missouri in a small community that have extended an offer to allow me to bunk with them if worst comes to worst. I do not see Missouri on your Top 19 list, and I wonder how it ranks up in your personal opinion? I can certainly research my state’s ranking as compared to other states, but any opinion you could share on … Continue reading




Letter Re: Buckshot Bruce’s –“I Could Never Eat That!” Article

Hello Jim,
I really enjoyed Buckshot’s post on eating wild game. Like him we eat “off the land,” on a regular basis. There is bear, beaver, turtle, pheasant, muskrat, rabbit, squirrel and venison in our freezer right now. We recently tried canning up some blue gill with great success.Free food is out there for the taking and it is good. Get started now and find out for yourself, which is the best way to fix game to your tastes. By the way we like to brown the cut up muskrat, place it in a roaster, make gravy in the frying pan and pour over the meat. Put some dressing balls on top the meat and cook it for a couple of hours at 350 degrees. (This will tenderize the meat if you are cooking an older animal) Make some mashed potatoes and you have a feast. Remember folks, anyone … Continue reading










Recommended Region: The Umpqua River Valley (Douglas County, Southwest Oregon)

The agricultural Umpqua River Valley is one of my most highly recommended regions in Oregon. Unlike the Willamette Valley–Oregon’s largest agricultural region, which may get swarmed by the masses from Portland and Salem, the Umpqua River Valley has relative geographic isolation. However, the proximity of the major population centers of northern California are troubling. The Umpqua valley wraps around west from Roseburg, Oregon.
Concentrate on small towns like Melrose, Cleveland, and Umpqua.
According to Oregon State University (OSU)’s School of Agriculture, Umpqua River Valley crops include: snap beans, beets, head cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, medicinal and culinary herbs, onions, green peas, peppers, pumpkins, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, melons, and various vegetable seed crops.
Statistics (for Roseburg):
Growing season: 217 days.
Average snowfall in January: 3.5” (6.1” annually).
Median residential home price in Roseburg: $129,940.
Advantages: Very long growing season and … Continue reading




From Buckshot Bruce–“I Could Never Eat That!”

“I could never eat that!” I can’t tell you the numbers of times I have heard that one! With normal grocery-store-plastic-and-foam-to-grill crowd I can understand that statement. But from hunters? I have seen people look down their nose at suggesting eating wild game but mention other animals and they freak out. Mention eating muskrats and people look at you like you are from Mars and have two heads. They have that “Stay away from my children” look. I find it amusing. Muskrat (a.k.a. Marsh Rabbit) is said to have a rat tail. But true rat tail is round whereas a marsh rabbit’s tail is flat on the sides.)

This reminds of old western movie I saw with Paul Newman. A lady says “I could never eat a dog.” Paul Newman replies ” Lady if you were really hungry I mean really hunger not just missing a meal but … Continue reading




Letter from Mr. Sierra Re: AK-47 Reliability

Hey Jim,
A gent recently wrote you regarding the reliability of the AK. This is something I can attest to first hand. Kind of a long story so I’ll try to keep it short. My nephew had used one of my Polytech AK’s one weekend he was visiting, cleaned it and gave it back. Let me preface this by saying that I’ve had this particular weapon almost 20 years now and have had no less than 30,000 rounds through it. And yes, the barrel is pretty shot out at this point, accuracy is about 1/3 of what it originally was. Anyway, the next time I used the rifle was for let’s say a defensive rifle shooting competition. This involved engaging targets at varying ranges up to 200 yards under more than a little stress, movement, etc. Right from the start the action of the rifle felt “slow.” I hesitated … Continue reading




Letter Re: Google’s Aerial Topographic Map Site

Just a little more information on Google Earth (also available for free from Google if you type “Google Earth” in Google.com) and Google Maps satellite view (also free) maps.google.com – you can use street addresses any time – usually easiest done in 100 Main Street, 42276 or some similar fashion. It’s also very easy with lat/long coordinates in the search field. There is a ton of information for free there. Also consider http://virtualearth.msn.com for older but more complete satellite maps. – L.C.




Letter Re: Redoubling Our Efforts

Hi Jim,

Our first mountain snow of the season here in Wyoming has re-vitalized our preparation efforts. We took a good, hard look at the homestead and made some substantial improvements this past week or two.

Transportation – I took my EMP-proof 1984 diesel 4X4 in for the new steering gear that has been on the back burner for some time. The new engine is now broken in, so I installed a dual filter system and switched to synthetic diesel-grade motor oil, which will only require semi-annual changes.

Backup Heating – We already had a wood burning stove in the lower level of the main house. Added a wood stove to the outbuilding that houses the pantry. To insure a long term supply of fuel, I called a local logger and ordered a logging-truck load of logs… specifying nothing larger than 10 inch diameter. A load costs about $1,000 and … Continue reading




Letter Re: Food Storage Calculations

James,
I came across a website advertising a food storage calculator for $18. Here’s a free one from the LDS Church.
http://www.providentliving.org/emergencyprep/calculator/0,11242,2008-1,00.html
It invites you to identify the gender/ages of family members to produce the custom report. By reading carefully, you will note you can manually change the suggested quantities to reflect your family’s preferences. It’s pretty complete and lets you calculate quantities by quarters (3 months, 6 months, all the way out to 3 years). One thing for sure: it will make you realize that money and proper storage area are important issues to deal with. Maybe most folks would be starting with a 3-month’s supply and then adding as money and storage shelves etc. become available. OBTW, I think the water amount in a “family report” from the LDS Food Storage Calculator is only for preparing these foods. The amount of water at … Continue reading




Letter Re: Redoubling Our Efforts

Hi Jim,

Our first mountain snow of the season here in Wyoming has re-vitalized our preparation efforts. We took a good, hard look at the homestead and made some substantial improvements this past week or two.

Transportation – I took my EMP-proof 1984 diesel 4X4 in for the new steering gear that has been on the back burner for some time. The new engine is now broken in, so I installed a dual filter system and switched to synthetic diesel-grade motor oil, which will only require semi-annual changes.

Backup Heating – We already had a wood burning stove in the lower level of the main house. Added a wood stove to the outbuilding that houses the pantry. To insure a long term supply of fuel, I called a local logger and ordered a logging-truck load of logs… specifying nothing larger than 10 inch diameter. A load costs about $1,000 and … Continue reading