Note from JWR:

Today is the last day to order the SurvivalBlog Archive CD-ROM during our mid-year 25%-off sale. The latest six-year compilation includes as a bonus my book “Rawles on Retreats and Relocation” in digital format. Having an offline archive is the only sure way of knowing that you will have access to SurvivalBlog’s content, regardless of what happens to the Internet. At the sale price, the CD-ROM is $11.25 and the Digital Download is just $7.50. Be sure to order your copy before midnight, May 31, 2012. — Today we present the last two entries for Round 40 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The other articles still in the queue will “roll over” into the judging for Round 41. The prizes for this round include: First Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) 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 C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate … Continue reading

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Buying a Used Wood Stove by Sid S.

Near the top of the List of Essentials is is keeping warm. One surefire way to do that is with a wood-burning heat stove. Wood stoves are reliable as a main source of heat or as backup but can cost between $1,000 and $2,000 new, so buying used is a practical way to go. Before you buy however, there are a few things you should know. First of all, you need a good, certified wood stove. Why certified? Because they use less than half the wood that the previous generation of wood stoves used, don’t exhaust clouds of unburned soot into the air, and have close clearances to combustibles, some as close as 4″. Also because certified wood stoves are mandated by the EPA in all fifty states. Virtually all certified stoves have a ceramic window that looks like glass but is impervious to heat, through which you can enjoy the fire and keep up with the need  to adjust the wood or to feed in more.  I don’t recommend getting a stove with a catalytic combustor as they are more expensive and have a declining efficiency. The efficiency of a non-combustor-equipped stove never changes and newer standards have been … Continue reading

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Beyond The Four Pillars, by Adam H.

Obviously it’s fun talking about boom sticks and charging in to save the day. But here are some other items for your consideration for the other 23 hours in the day when the castle is not under siege: FOOD & WATER – Your body can last 30 days without food, and only 3 days without water. What are you doing to secure a minimum of a gallon/day for each member of your family. Remember, in a grid down scenario, it will NOT take long for industrious groups to recognize that water will be more valuable than gold. Plan on making a hike to a nearby stream each day with your bucket? How long do you think it would take a gang to recognize the power of strategically placing sniper or blockades to/from accessible watering holes? You’re going to need a Plan B – plastic water cans (5 gal) that can be carried, 55 gallon drums, 250 gallon rain capture systems. These will be life savers. One final word on water – consider a well hand pump like this one from Flojak. JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A WELL DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE WATER! Without electricity, how do you plan to get … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Commercial Scale Organic Farming and Ranching

Hi Jim, I wanted to let you know about an interesting visit I had last week.  Part of my job is to evaluate start-up companies for potential early-stage investments.    Ran across an interesting one last week.  Located in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, they have embarked on a totally sustainable commercial scale organic farming/ranching enterprise.  They have about 1,000 acres in Oregon and another 1,000 acres in California in the Central Valley.  Here’s their process to convert regular farmland to sustainable organic agriculture and ranching: 1.  First, they acquire standard farmland, usually tilled. 2.  They convert it to pasture ensuring that there is irrigation and planting it with a robust mixture of grasses, clover, grains, hairy vetch, and other sturdy broadleaf plants.  It takes 3 years to be certified as organic so from this point on, they do not apply pesticides [herbicides,] or non-organic approved fertilizers. 3.  They then run sheep on the pasture land, moving them from segment to segment every 3-5 days. They sell the lambs yearly and keep the breeding ewes for about 5-7 years when they are also sold. They also harvest hay to feed the ewes over the winter.  Volunteer weeds are favorites of … Continue reading

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Letter Re: FTX Games for Developing Recon and Perimeter Security Skills

JWR, Thought I’d pass on some field training exercise (FTX) grunt games that we used to use for training. It’s an excellent way to evaluate your rural home or retreat security, and develop reconnaissance skills. I don’t know if the military still encourages this kind of training, but during the Cold War, there was a game we used to play to try and keep sharp. If I remember right, both my army reserve unit and later, my regular army mechanized infantry units both practiced this. It costs about nothing, but hones critical skills. The premise is simple: To send a team out to gather as much information on the opposing team as possible, and report back without being caught. To make things a little more interesting, each aggressor team member would have a deck of cards, and place them on items of value that they could have stolen or destroyed inside the defenders camp. And if one of the aggressors were caught, they were usually held inside the camp, and made to do something embarrassing (singing a nursery rhyme, clucking like a chicken, or whatever the officer or NCO felt like at that time). The defensive team would, of course, … Continue reading

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Economics and Investing:

Pierre M. sent this: Debt crisis: a $46 trillion problem comes sweeping in Pierre also suggested this by John Rubino: Welcome to the Currency War, Part 1: Iceland and the Tragedy of the Commons Insight: European firms plan for Greek unrest and euro exit. (Thanks to Sue C. for the link.) Ex-employees punish JPMorgan via CDS derivatives trades Food stamp Usage Remains at All Time High, Record Number uf Households Receive $277 in Poverty Assistance Monthly Items from The Economatrix: Home Prices in US Fell at Slower Pace in Y/E March Consumer Confidence in US Fell in May to Four-month Low Oil Advances for Third Day on Outlook for US Economic Growth

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Odds ‘n Sods:

A reminder that the ongoing Radio Free Redoubt podcast series is now available on iTunes.    o o o Simon Black brings us news of the latest absurdity from Nanny State Britannia: Trust me, this is good news. (OBTW, one of the comments to that article mentioned a parallel event, in California.)    o o o Almost half of new veterans seek disability    o o o G.G. flagged this surprisingly well-balanced article from The Guardian: Indian women turn to firearms against threat of violence. (Notes on the Video: The family in the opening sequence seriously needs to get some eye and ear protection! But you gotta love their Broomhandle Mauser carbine and the Road Warrior truncated double-barrel shotgun. They deserve a few style points, for those.)    o o o Pierre M. sent this news from Southern California: Flea-Borne Typhus Warning in Santa Ana

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Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“While the majority of Americans are oblivious to the warning signs around them, recent actions taken by our government and the governments of other industrialized nations suggest The Powers That Be know very well where we’re head. They are and have been taking steps for quite some time to prepare for what is coming next… …When it hits the fan, and things go critical, the recent actions of our government demonstrate that it is only capable of responding in one way – through brute force and tyranny. Everything they have done in recent years with respect to liberty-restricting legislation, the militarization of our police forces and the expansion of the security industrial complex has been to prepare for the inevitable. They already know it’s coming. They’re getting ready for it. You might want to consider doing the same.” – Mac Slavo, in his SHTFPlan blog

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Notes from JWR:

Our mid-year 25%-off sale on the SurvivalBlog Archive CD-ROM ends tomorrow (May 31, 2012.) The latest six year compilation includes my book “Rawles on Retreats and Relocation” in digital format, as a bonus. At the sale price, the CD-ROM is $11.25 and the Digital Download is just $7.50. Be sure to order your copy before the sale ends. — Today we present three more entries for Round 40 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include: First Prize: A.) A gift certificate worth $1,000, courtesy of Spec Ops Brand, B.) 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 C.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $350 value.) D.) a $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear, E.) A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value), and F.) A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo. Second Prize: A.) A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol. It is a $219 … Continue reading

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For TEOTWAWKI, Do The Easy Stuff First, by Dale Martin

There are a lot of things to be fearful of in this old world.  But, for most of us Joe Average North Americans, there are things we believe that are likely to happen, and many other events that are a lot less likely. Most of us are not all that worried about a magnetic pole shift, the Mayan calendar ending this year, the Yellowstone super volcano, or an alien invasion from outer space.  It’s not that all those things are impossible, but there are threats that are simply a lot more probable. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Average (the people that don’t have their heads stuck in the sand in denial) are most worried about an economic collapse.  Joe knows these events have happened historically in our own country (1929), as well as many other countries.  He is not so rigid as to think it can’t happen again. In the current world, Joe hears about it from many different media outlets.  Prior to the last few years, since around 2008, Joe never heard such dire thoughts from any media source, much less from the now countless sources.  He knows the causes could be myriad, and everyone out there has a theory … Continue reading

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Earthquake Preparedness for Preppers, by Janet C.

Prepper fever has gripped the nation!  While I can find no exact numbers on how many of us there are, public awareness is gaining momentum. The National Geographic Channel has a television show on the subject, which showcases some of the most colorful preppers in the United States, and their approach is as varied as their personalities.   You Tube is full of videos teaching old time skills that were a way of life for generations before us, such as cooking beans from scratch, making fire with a bow drill, or raising and butchering rabbits for meat.  With a little spare time, one can learn handy new skills in minutes and a few hours practice, for a lifetime of application. I have been a prepper in the making since my earliest memories around age six, and I am now in my fifties.   The Great Depression left indelible marks on my parents and grandparents. I grew up watching them save rubber bands into giant balls, reuse tin foil and little bits of soaps were treated as valuable as a new bar. “Waste not, want not” was more than a cliché in our home.   Stories of how folks survived by bartering with neighbors, hunting … Continue reading

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Preparedness as a Disabled Individual, by Barbara H.

Disability has many faces and people with disabilities come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you are born with a disability or become disabled at some point in your life, learning to survive “differently” than able bodied persons is a challenge. Life in general is geared for those who are strong in mind, body and spirit. Having a disability, whatever it is, does not mean that you are less of a person or unable to have a good life, or survive catastrophe should it occur. Our Disabled Veterans would surely agree since some of their injuries are visible and some are not, and this is true with all people. We must not judge a person’s value by how they appear.  Growing up I learned a great deal from my parents from how to paint a wall to refinish furniture. I loved using tools and became confident about building and repairing things. Broken tile? Need a new light switch? Leaky water pipe? No problem. I learned to do things that were traditionally male type tasks and I enjoyed it as much as I did art, cooking, gardening and sewing. Suddenly, I found myself disabled at 40 years of age. I was … Continue reading

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