Note from JWR:

I was recently interviewed by Sarah Hodd of ABC (the American one, this time), as background for a piece that “Nightline” plans to soon produce about survivalism. She asked me to post the following: Do you store large quantities of of food or gas? Do you have a safe room or NBC shelter in your dwelling? Have you taken steps to prepare against a long term power outage, or an oil shortage? Do you live off grid? ABC News is looking for current members of the Survivalist movement to discuss the dropping value of the dollar, rising food shortages, and Peak Oil theories. Participants must be willing to go on camera to discuss their participation in the modern Survivalist movement. If you are interested, please send an e-mail with a brief description of your survivalist preparations to: Sarah.J.Hodd@abc.com.

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Letter Re: Retreat Locales in the Eastern United States

Mr. Rawles: I see that [in your Recommended Retreat Areas page] you only list information for retreat selection in 19 western states. Do you not think other states are worthy of retreat locations? We live on 300 acres in southwestern Missouri (Polks County). Not totally ideal I am sure, but it is home, children and grandchildren are here and more over we feel placed here by our Lord over 35 years ago. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts pro/con on the state of Missouri so that we might be better prepared. — Paulette JWR Replies: I consider Missouri marginal as a retreat locale, primarily because of it population density. The state of Missouri is on the safer (lower population density) side of the Mississippi River but it is still far from ideal, since the state is bisected by the Missouri River and the dramatic drop in US population density is west of the Missouri. (As I will discuss later in this reply.) My choice of reviewing retreat locales in just 19 western states has been discussed a few times before in SurvivalBlog, but for the benefit of the many newcomers, I will reiterate: After much consideration, all … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Do It Yourself Coffee Roasting

After reading some information in SurvivalBlog about roasting green coffee beans I thought I could offer some useful info on the subject, since I’ve been a coffee supplier and roaster for about 10 years. Let’s assume the grid is down—how does one roast coffee? You can do it over an open flame such as a propane burner, or campfire. In the days of cattle drives the cook would roast in a cast iron pot just stirring the beans constantly. If you do that then a peaberry type coffee bean works best because they are more round, and my research tells me that that’s what many of the old cooks packed. Regular beans have a flat side and have a tendency to burn some of the beans on that side regardless of how much you stir. But here is the method I’ve tried and it worked reasonably well. Use a good heavy duty wok pan. (Avoid a Teflon-coated wok pan at all costs). Place 6-to-8 ounces of green beans in it, and over the hot fire flick it forward like a chef does, doing so constantly. In a few minutes the beans heat up and you can hear the first crack … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Ammunition Reloading for Survival

Jim, I saw the article that mentioned Reloading for autoloading rifles, and some comments that seemed to not completely answer questions people may have. It is important to note that reloading any caliber is a delicate undertaking for any gun you are about to trust your life with. The use of case gauges is an important one, but for the part-time reloader they are an expensive investment (~$30-50 each!). A much easier method is to test the cartridge in the firearm, to accomplish this, if you are working on either a progressive or single stage press, reload a few rounds as dummies. This means no powder, no primer, just case and bullet, and test them in the gun for fit and feed. Do not test fit live ammunition unless you are in a place where a discharge is allowed. (For most of us [that live inside city limits] this means a firing range). Numerous negligent discharges have resulted from people not following proper safety precautions, and even if you do this is never a guarantee that a mechanical problem won’t develop causing an accidental discharge. If you have issues with reloading bottle-neck rifle cartridges, a likely fix is to use … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

Lisa C. suggested this article: One Guy Who Has Seen It All Doesn’t Like What He Sees Now about an elderly financial that fears the effects of the current credit collapse, but suggests buying stocks. I concur with the former, but not the latter. In my opinion the US stock market is heading for a fall. The recent Dow Jones rallies have been nothing but sucker rallies. And if you look at the volume of stock that insiders are selling, it is clear that a lot of the “smart money” is abandoning ship. (See, for example, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s regular dumping of his own shares.) I predict that there may soon be a stock market collapse, most likely immediately after the Federal Reserve stops easing interest rates, and starts raising them. That will be the turning point. That will also likely be the day that those of you that took my advice and invested in gold and silver will become very happy campers. And also, BTW, the recent pull-back in the spot gold and silver prices are a great buying opportunity. I recently wrote that a gold price south of $875 would be a bargain, an I stand by … Continue reading

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Note from JWR:

Reader Jeff T. kindly did some digging and found the text link to my recent ABC (Australia) interview: Global food crisis sparks US survivalist resurgence. And here is the audio link.

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Letter Re: Spare Parts Now Available for XD-45 Pistols

Jim: You mentioned that spare parts for Springfield Armory XD pistols have been hard to find. That was the case, up until recently. But now spare XD parts are starting to show up at PistolGear.com. Hover you cursor arrow over “Springfield XD” at the bottom of the window that pops up . There should be a line that reads “XD Factory Parts“. I just got a whole stack of [factory spare XD parts] in the mail last week. There are still some critical parts that are missing, such as the extractor. I have done a lot of business with them and talked to the owner Tom a good deal, good fast service and sounds like a pretty good guy. My first XD has over 40,000 rounds through it without cleaning and it functions perfectly. They are just as tough as a Glock, just as easy to field strip, but a bit more difficult to detail strip. Overall, it is a great pistol. – Regards, – Bert M. JWR Replies: That is great news! Consider the proviso that I mentioned yesterday, withdrawn. I can now without reservation endorse the XD pistol as a primary pistol for the long term survival firearms … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Cooking Aromas and Post-Collapse OPSEC

Greetings All, SurvivalBlog has, and is, providing great practical information as well a thoughts on just about every aspect overcoming adversity and disastrous conditions. This brain trust provides information on retaining as much privacy as possible in this era of electronic monitoring of everything we purchase, and how to camouflage just about every type of inanimate object. I have noticed one issue that hasn’t been addressed. (Don’t faint!). During a long term situation in particular this one issue can impact any family or group’s safety. So here is the question. How can we best ‘camouflage’ or limit the smell of food cooking? In a short term situation, as after hurricane, this would be a less dangerous situation provided relief was available and the aftermath limited in locale. During a hurricane most of us in our neighborhood had huge cookouts to use up frozen foods before they spoiled, or shared prepared food. We knew the limits of the damage and even with a week or more without power, while ‘bothersome’, wasn’t creating any real dangerous situation. Our family gathered a large percentage of our frozen food as well as some of our neighbor’s food and took our freezer and it’s contents … Continue reading

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Three Letters Re: What Determines if a Storage Bucket is Food Grade?

Greetings Jim, I have found the folks at the bakery counter at [supermarkets such as] Safeway are willing to give me food grade buckets for free or maybe $1 each. They get frosting five gallons at a time. Once you read the label on that stuff you may never eat store bought cake again! – DAP in Missouri   Jim: I wanted to share the best priced source I have found for Food Grade Buckets. Other than getting them free from food vendors, I haven’t found a price better than $3.99 for five gallon food grade buckets. Lids are $1.09. People might not see the terms “Food Grade”, but seeing NSF, FDA, or USDA approved means essentially the same thing. – Joe A.   Jim, A couple of days ago you wrote about storing grains in [HDPE] plastic buckets. Since then people have had questions regarding what constitutes a “food grade” bucket. Questions that you have answered fully. However, in that original post you mentioned putting the grain in plastic bags inside the bucket. My question is what [plastic composition] bags should I use? The first thing that came to mind was a trash bag — Convenient as they are … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: Observations on a Tour of a Telephone Company Central Office

James: The batteries are why the phone still works when the power goes out. That is if you still have an old style (hard wire) phone and not all cordless phones. The cordless phones need 120 VAC power to run the base station. You should maintain at least one all wire somewhere in your house. I believe the [common design for COs is that the] whole building is built in such a way that it is a big Faraday Cage. It would take a pretty close proximity EMP to take one out. The EMP danger is in the above ground wiring [and antennas]. Most of this kind of engineering is done for lighting protection, but it is something of an EMP protection as well. That is [on reason why they are continuing to switch to underground wiring, even on expensive long[er] distance routes. The switch to fiber optics helps here also, even though the main rationale for its adoption was capacity and cost. The phone companies are some of the most engineering conservative utilities in this country. When I worked with them, everything was “double built”. 100 percent redundancy. And they are learning a lot fast about “hardening” their properties. … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

Paul D sent us this article about the Ug99 wheat fungus: Stem Rust Never Sleeps    o o o Analysts Predict: Gasoline May Soon Cost $10 Per Gallon in US    o o o A traveling video-journalist meets Vern Switzer. There are some self-sufficiency lessons in this piece.    o o o China steps up monitoring of deadly virus outbreak. (A hat tip to frequent contributor RBS.)

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