Notes from JWR:

I just got word that the US House of Representatives voted down the $700 billion USD Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) Bill. I’m glad to see that it was defeated. There is simply no proper substitute for allowing the credit market to correct itself, by working the bad debt out of the system. Propping up the system would have made the eventual reckoning day even worse. There will probably be some substitute or “bipartisan compromise” legislation offered, but don’t fall for it. If it extracts money from your wallet to bail out the banks from Credit Default Swap derivatives and other toxic debt, then it is bad legislation. Please contact your congresscritters to let them know your position on the legislation.

On news of the defeat of the TARP bill, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost 555 points (more than 5% of its value) in just one … Continue reading

Letter Re: A Successful Search for a Survival Retreat Property

Hi Jim,
we wanted to share our story with your readers who may not have been able to acquire their retreats yet, and worry they never will. We hope our story will inspire them….

We sold our home in record time recently (big shock) and then went on a major hunt to find our “perfect spot”…we have been preparing and stocking up and looking to find the area we wanted to buy retreat in and start in earnest to live self-sufficiently, hoping and praying when the time came it would all come together.

We had very specific parameters: minimum of 40 acres, very private and secluded but yet close to a small community, a year round creek or spring fed pond was of high importance, and of course our house had to sell in this terrible market and for a good price to reduce debts and leave enough money … Continue reading

Letter Re: Storing Multipurpose Castile Soaps

Thanks for your warnings and all the help your novel and blog are to us.

In reference to the recent mention of Dr. Bronner’s soaps, I just wanted to pass along some tips on Kirk’s Castile coconut soap. It doesn’t have a lot of added chemicals. I can purchase it at Woodman’s for 79 cents a bar.[JWR Adds: It is also available at reasonable prices from several Internet vendors if bought in full cases.] It can be used as shampoo as well as to brush your teeth. People don’t believe me when I tell them it’s been my shampoo for years. It’s better for your teeth than any toothpaste that has glycerin. It can be used as dish soap also. Why buy many products to store when this one is inexpensive and has many uses? Staying clean is so important to our health. Praying … Continue reading

Letter Re: Recommendation for Water BOB Bathtub Water Storage Bladder

Dear Mr. Rawles,
All the stories recently about power failure and storing water in bathtubs have encouraged me to write to you about the WaterBOB. It’s a heavy duty plastic bladder that you put in your bathtub and then fill with clean water from the tap. It comes with a siphon so that removing the water is easy. IMO, The greatest advantage of this product is that the water remains potable, even though a bathtub is generally not suitable for storing drinking water. The WaterBOB holds 100 gallons.

Prices have increased substantially since I first bought mine a year or so ago, but if purchased in quantities of 20+, the price drops significantly and shipping is minimal. A group could order together, or someone might want extras for gifts.

I recently ordered a quantity shipment for family birthdays, Christmas gifts, some upcoming anniversaries, and wedding/housewarming gifts. It’s a … Continue reading

Letter Re: Expect Delays and Confusion During FDIC Settlements

If Michael A. in Seattle was surprised by his little run-in with the FDIC, I urge him and others to research what happened in Texas during the S&L crisis. That’s within fairly recent memory, just about 20 years ago, not like the Great Depression [which has faded from memory. And this was when the entire rest of the nation’s banking system was largely intact but the S&Ls in Texas (and a few surrounding states) caused all the fuss.
Common problems included:
1. Inability to get at checking or savings accounts for months at a time.
2. Inability to get employers to immediately turn off Direct Deposit, resulting in some paychecks simply vanishing forever.
3. Inability to pay bills even though technically you had money, at least according to the FDIC. (This caused numerous foreclosures despite the person never … Continue reading

Letter Re: Making Alternatives to Commercial Chemical Light Sticks

Hi Jim,
I’m a long time reader of the blog and I liked your novel. I have been amazed at your ability to acutely foresee coming events. More and more yours is the first site that I read every day. I noticed your article on glow sticks and I have an excellent upgrade for your readers.

Forget using glow sticks and graduate to Krill lights. Now glow sticks still have their place, but 98% of the time this will be a better item to use. I have purchased several of these over the years and have always been impressed. They work like giant [electro-luminescent] Indiglo watches. They run for what seems like forever on AA batteries, comes in different colors including infrared (IR), they have 360 and 180 degree models, flashing models are available, all at greatly reduced cost verses equivalent glow sticks. I am … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

Some more newspaper gleanings, most coming from our Economic editor: Citigroup to buy Wachovia banking operationsBailout Failure Will Cause US To Crash (For full disclosure, I would append the headline with: “But Bailout Success Will Cause Dollar to Crash”) — UK Banker Leaps To Death In Front Of Express TrainFed Pumps Further $630 Billion Into Financial SystemHouse defeats $700 Billion financial markets bailout

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Hawaiian K. suggested an article over at Treehugger on aquaponics

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Reader FFF spotted this: How China has created a new slave empire

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Mister DC sent this: What if disaster struck? Counties, schools update responses. (“How many corpses can fit in your local ice rink?”)

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Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the … Continue reading

Notes from JWR:

Today we present another entry for Round 18 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

First Prize: The writer of the best contributed article in the next 60 days will be awarded two transferable Front Sight  “Gray” Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 18 ends on September 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entries–either for this round or for the next. Remember that articles that relate practical “how to” skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

What Will You Do When Your Stored Food Runs Out?, by Woodsman

What Will You Do When Your Stored Food Runs Out?, by Woodsman

Among the multitude of preparations conducted by would-be survivalists, gardening is often minimized in value compared to the physical purchases of beans, bullets, and band-aids. However, in any long-term TEOTWAWKI event, gardening would probably become nearly the sole means of subsistence for your family and as such, it is critical that you make the efforts now to learn the ins and outs of how to produce a year’s worth of fruit and vegetables from your own land.
Prior to moving to our retreat, my family lived in a moderate-sized city and neither of my parents grew up with any genuine country-life experience, be it with gardening or anything else to do with growing your own food. Due to God’s providence, we fell into company with a master gardener, himself concerned about world events, and over … Continue reading

Letter Re: Investing in Foreign Currency CDs

Today the dollar posted its largest one-day decline against the euro since that currency was created.

I am rebalancing my investment portfolio to account for the market’s recent gyrations – and the fact that our government is attempting to make the dollar even more worthless than it currently is. Several years ago I was in a similar mood and found EverBank, a bank that issues a number of CD products tied to foreign currencies (effectively getting your saving out of dollars into something that’s not dollar-denominated).

I am not preparing for a complete meltdown or the end of civilization: I am preparing for a prolonged economic depression. My main goal is to preserve the value of my capital while earning at least some return on my investments. My investment portfolio is modest, but large enough that I can’t practically or safely (from a diversification standpoint) convert … Continue reading

Letter Re: Advice for an Unprepared Greenhorn

I’d like to add one piece of advice to the “Greenhorn” reader who hasn’t gotten started, but knows he must. After getting the basics you listed, he should start on a food preparedness action plan to feed his family in a crisis. The blueprint for all that is in the great preparedness course you created. I know it’s not cheap, but the mistakes it helps you avoid will more than offset the cost, even for someone on a tight budget. And for that reader who wrote in to share his story, it’s free. Just send me his address, Jim, and we’ll immediately send him a complete Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course with our compliments. Best, – Jake Stafford, Arbogast Publishing

Odds ‘n Sods:

“BeePrepared” wrote us to recommend the Hippo Roller as a method to transport large amounts of water without a vehicle.

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Cheryl (our Economic Editor) sent us this raft of news and commentary. The first item should not come as a surprise to you, since I’ve been warning about the derivatives threat for years: Bailout Secret: To Prevent $68 Trillion Derivatives CollapseFinancial TEOTWAWKI: LIBOR TED Spread Flashes Trouble. (“I don’t want to name names, … but there is a silent bank run going on. There are no lines in the street, but it is a run nevertheless. It is large investment funds and corporations quietly pulling their money from some of the best banks in the country.”) — Credit Markets Hit By Cat 5 Financial HurricaneGreenspan Calls For Action On Financial … Continue reading

Letter Re: Advice on Fuel Drums and Fuel Transfer Pumps?

Do you have any idea where I can get a 50 gallon fuel drum with a manual pump like the one that your previous writer discussed? – SF in Hawaii

JWR Replies: You should first consult your local fire code, for capacity limits. This is generally not a problem outside of city limits, but laws vary widely. Needless to say, you should store any fuel cans or drums in a detached storage shed that is away from your house, not in an attached garage!

In North America, the fuel drums that the reader mentioned are usually made in 55 gallon capacity. Your local fuel distributor should have new ones, or you can scrounge used clean ones locally if you post a query on Craig’s List. The fuel-rated pumps are often D-handle design, like these. Again, used ones are less expensive.

Or, of … Continue reading