Note from JWR:

Today we present another entry for Round 33 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include: First Prize: A.) 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, and B.) Two cases of Alpine Aire freeze dried assorted entrees, in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $400 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $275 value), D.) A 250 round case of 12 Gauge Hornady TAP FPD 2-3/4″ OO buckshot ammo, courtesy of Sunflower Ammo (a $240 value), and E.) An M17 medical kit from JRH Enterprises (a $179.95 value). Second Prize: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value courtesy of Next Level Training. B.) A “grab bag” of preparedness gear and books from Jim’s Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, C.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and D.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value). Third Prize: A.) A Royal … Continue reading

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Our Experiences with Raising Meat Chickens, by Pat O.

Our family has raised about two dozen laying hens each year for several years, and we felt pretty confident in our poultry capabilities.  Learning more about meat breeds of poultry, we felt it was a good time to try our hand raising some of these birds to evaluate their value and quality.  Cornish cross chicks are well known for their rapid, almost freakish growth rates, so we found a large, reputable source online and ordered 50 of their male chicks.  We had to wait almost a month for the male chicks, because of availability – everyone seems to want the males which grow faster than the females.  Finally, the birds arrived. Inside the box, only 3 of the 50 chicks had died in transit.  In the next 24 hours, 30 more of the birds died, despite our best efforts with proper watering and heat.  The directions shipped with the birds and found online were followed religiously.  When we called the supplier, they indicated that losing this many birds is actually normal, and they agreed to ship us 35 more birds as soon as more males were available.  Not wanting to wait to late into the summer, we agreed to take … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Question on Canned Food Alphanumeric Date Codes

Hi, I’ve noticed Sam’s Club is carrying large (#10 size) cans of chicken and other foods. I looked for expiration dates and could not find any. There was a series of numbers. I’ve heard those numbers reveal the dates. Could you tell me how to read or decipher them? Thanks, – Laura C. JWR Replies: This has been mentioned before in the blog, but is bears repeating. It’s important to have a Julian Calendar (since some packers use Julian dates) and a hard copy of this chart showing how to decipher date of pack codes from various canners and packers. Print them both out and keep them in your Key References Binder. OBTW, if you don’t already have a Key References Binder, then start one! I suggest that you use a sturdy 2″ ring binder and a thick stack of archival page protectors. To start filling your binder, search the SurvivalBlog Archives using the search phrase: “references and hard and copy”. You’ll find lots of articles like this one. It is best to also save as many of those references as you can on your G.O.O.D. Kit memory stick. If your binder eventually overflows, then split it into two binders: … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Suburban Preps on Long Island, New York

Hi All, I’d like to contribute some details on my preparations in a region where tricky geography, difficult society, and extremely difficult legal issues can make planning difficult. As for tricky geography, Long Island is essentially a 100-mile long 23-mile wide (at its very widest) ‘no outlet’ roadway prison stuffed with nearly 8 million people. Take a peek at the Wikipedia page about the island to get the idea. We are east of New York City with its 50 million people in the immediate 35 mile radius. When things get Schumeresque – there is very little most residents will be able to do except flee or misbehave. I expect lots of both. I expect that anyone close to the city will flee West over the crossings, and many will flee east to somewhat less populated areas. The suburban sprawl will become untenable quickly without outside intervention – which scares me even more than unrest. That said there are some regions that can be found that offer some protection. Were my family not near such a region we would already have left. We plan on leaving within the year in any event. When I mention difficult society – this is an … Continue reading

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Economics and Investing:

Fake Silver Coins/Bars/Ingots ARE on the market in U.S.! This includes some useful videos with tests for fakes. (Thanks to Nic for the link.) Reader “Firecracker” notes: Paul Krugman (Nobel prize-winning Princeton economist) recently spoke to students at The University of Oklahoma.  The local paper had a very short article about his speech. The last line in the article sums it up pretty well: “We’re eating our seed corn,” he said. “We are very far from being over the financial crisis.” Items from The Economatrix: Royal Canadian Mint Now Saying It’s Difficult Securing Silver   War, Martial Law, And The Economic Crisis   What You Need To Know About Buying Silver Today Gold $2,300, Silver $150 and Looming Stock Market Crash  

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Inflation Watch:

Middle East Mirrors Great Inflation Revolutions Since 1200 A.D. (Thanks to Mark G. for the link.) Bobbi, South Dakota notes: “Six weeks ago, I could buy canned Progresso brand soup (ready to eat) for $1 per can. Yesterday it was $2.29. Gasoline (10% ethanol) was $3.06 four days ago. It is now $3.36. The “Cheap” white bread was regularly on sale for $.79 for a 24 ounce loaf. Now it is $.99 (as a “Hot Buy”) for a 16 ounce loaf. Navel oranges are still $.78/lb, but those in the latest batch are very small and even slightly green. Cucumbers and peppers are $1 each, head lettuce is almost $2 per head, and tomatoes are out of our family’s reach at upwards of $3/lb. Thankfully we have lots of garden space and plenty of seed!” China’s Inflation Exceeds Target for Fourth Month, Adding Rates Pressure. Thousands protest against high food prices in Delhi Frequent content contributor C.D.V. sent this: Stagflation 2011: Why It Is Here And Why It Is Going To Be Very Painful

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Odds ‘n Sods:

F.G. sent this: Census: Near-record level of US counties dying. JWR Adds: Of course some of the mentioned “dying” counties in the northern plains states that are de-populating might actually make good retreat locales. Low population density has its advantages!    o o o Randy F. sent a link showing that CBS News is finally catching on: Gunrunning scandal uncovered at the ATF. (But of course they don’t tell the whole sordid story.) Here is a bit of background on why the BATFE conspirators felt they needed to boost their “traced to U.S. gun shows” numbers: WikiLeaks exposes true origins of Mexican cartels’ weaponry (Hint: It’s not due to the “mythical” gun show loophole). Oh, and for the unvarnished truth on the scandal, read this: “Project Gunwalker” scandal is breaking wide open. The actions of the BATFE are absolutely despicable. For law enforcement officers to become law breakers for the sake of justifying their own budget is reprehensible. That rogue agency should be shut down!    o o o Joe Huffman (of The View From North Idaho blog) discusses the poor prospects for any attempt to step back to traditional agriculture: We cannot go back.    o o o Jon … Continue reading

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Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“Our obligation to promote the public good extends as much to the opposing every exertion of arbitrary power that is injurious to the state as it does to the submitting to good and wholesome laws. No man, therefore, can be a good member of the community that is not as zealous to oppose tyranny, as he is ready to obey magistracy.” Reverend Samuel West (1730-1807) Colonial Preacher and Patriot

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Note from JWR:

Today we present another entry for Round 33 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include: First Prize: A.) 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, and B.) Two cases of Alpine Aire freeze dried assorted entrees, in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $400 value.) C.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $275 value), D.) A 250 round case of 12 Gauge Hornady TAP FPD 2-3/4″ OO buckshot ammo, courtesy of Sunflower Ammo (a $240 value), and E.) An M17 medical kit from JRH Enterprises (a $179.95 value). Second Prize: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $439 value courtesy of Next Level Training. B.) A “grab bag” of preparedness gear and books from Jim’s Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $300, C.) A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials, and D.) two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value). Third Prize: A.) A Royal … Continue reading

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Experience in an Ice Storm, by C.V.Z.

During the winter of 2007 Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado had a major winter event in the form of a blizzard and a wide ranging ice storm. Saturday morning came and no weather, by that afternoon, Eastern Colorado and Western, Kansas was in a full blizzard and ice storm. Within hours the ice was over 3 inches thick on power lines and was popping power poles in every direction. Then the wind picked up and we went black and quiet. The storm took down cell towers, radio towers, internet towers, emergency communication towers. The small rural communities were shut down. No vehicle gas, no grocery store, no trading at all. Everything was closed, banks, grocery stores, and convenience stores. They had no electricity.  They had no way of selling anything. We work in agriculture, so we had to be prepared. We are also home canners and put up a years worth of food in jars and our freezers. Our town was able to keep the water on because of diesel engines. They were also able to keep our sewer on because of diesel generators. We were able to cook because of propane grills. We were cold in our homes. There … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: A Bank Run Reality Check

Dear Mr. Rawles, While the quantity of FRN currency and coins on hand at a bank branch certainly makes or breaks one’s ability to withdraw one’s funds in a “run” situation, the overriding factor of which most depositors are completely unaware is that only checking accounts are “demand” accounts, meaning that you have a legal and immediate right to all of your money when you demand it. If you read the account disclosure fine print for your certificate of deposit (CD) or savings account, you will find that the bank is under no obligation to return your money when you ask for it, but only within the number of days specified in the account agreement (contract). In practice a good bank will make every effort to return your funds when you request them, but in the case of a bank run or other situation that leaves them short of cash or even actual funds, the provision buys them with the time to acquire what they need to repay you from another bank or ultimately from the Federal Reserve. So if you are concerned about being able to get your money out of the bank in a pinch, you need to … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Storing Spare Vehicle CPUs for EMP Preparedness

Mr. Rawles,   I recently have been going through the PCM/ECM/ECU vehicle engine/transmission control module nightmare. And it is a nightmare. Dealers typically won’t warrantee or allow return/refund on the vehicle computers unless they perform the diagnostics first. That’s a couple hundred bucks right there, before you get to buying the computer – which in my case for a 10 year old truck was $480, before sales tax. Then you have the labor to install it. Oh, and only the dealer can program it.   So I started snooping around on Google.  Using the search terms “remanufactured PCM” and “remanufactured ECM” I found dozens of links to companies which sell preprogrammed vehicle computers [from wrecking yards] for all makes and models. And they are “plug and play”.  Meaning that a reasonably able person could put one in themselves.   And the prices seem to run about $150, rather than $500 or more.   All the caveats posted by earlier contributors about multiple computers on a vehicle, and other factors, still apply.   I only wanted to point out that there are other sources besides the dealers.  And their return policies, warrantees, and delivery beat the pants off the dealers to … Continue reading

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