The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “JWR”. Our goal is to educate our readers, to help them to recognize emerging threats and to be better prepared for both disasters and negative societal trends. You can’t mitigate a risk if you haven’t first identified a risk. Today, we look at how your Apple iPhone is tracking you.

Reduced Soil Tilling Helps Both Soils and Yields

Reader C.B. suggested this, over at Reduced soil tilling helps both soils and yields. Here is how the article begins:

“Agriculture degrades over 24 million acres of fertile soil every year, raising concerns about meeting the rising global demand for food. But a simple farming practice born from the 1930’s Dust Bowl could provide a solution, according to new Stanford research. The study, published Dec. 6 in Environmental Research Letters, shows that Midwest farmers who reduced how much they overturned the soil—known as tilling—increased corn and soybean yields while also nurturing healthier soils and lowering production costs.”

Has Vermont Been Bloomberginated?

Reader A.K. sent this from The Vermont Digger: Senate to consider banning assault-style weapons in some public spaces. JWR’s Comments: It is bitterly ironic that in Vermont — the original home of “Vermont Carry” — that they are considering disarming the citizenry. Wake up, Vermonters! They are after your guns.

Virginia Sheriff Says He will ‘Deputize Thousands’

Reader G.G. suggested this: VA sheriff says he’d ‘deputize thousands’ of citizens to exclude them from state gun bans

A snippet;

“Sheriff Scott Jenkins of Culpeper County, Va. proposed a way to exempt citizens from newly proposed Virginia gun laws that might otherwise bar them from owning certain firearms.

In a Wednesday Facebook post, Jenkins warned that some of the gun laws proposed in the Virginia General Assembly would “disarm or handicap our law-abiding in their defense,” and in turn suggested he would confer the label of deputy on thousands of law-abiding citizens to include them in law enforcement carve-outs included in new gun legislation.

‘I remain very optimistic that our General Assembly will not pass the proposed bills. Obviously, if passed, there are many of us willing to challenge these laws through the courts,” Jenkins said. “In addition, if necessary, I plan to properly screen and deputize thousands of our law-abiding citizens to protect their constitutional right to own firearms.’”

Railroad Handcars Still in Production

Reader Steve J. wrote to mention: I found the Kalamazoo Hand Cars web site, that might be of interest to people considering using abandoned railroad tracks, in a grid-down situation. I hadn’t known that anyone still made them.

Argentina and the Perils of Socialism

A video produced in 2015 about the history of Argentina provides a lesson in the perils of the socialist path.

Your Apple iPhone is Tracking You

Reader DSV sent us this, from Kim Komando: Your phone collects your location data, even when you tell it not to.  A brief quote:

“According to a new report from Brian Krebs at Krebs on Security, Apple’s latest iPhones (the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max) will continue to track your location, even if you’ve disabled location services for specific apps and features.

This flies directly in the face of the company’s alleged “pro-privacy” stance and opens doors to skepticism about how Apple is handling the data it collects.”

Pensacola: The Saudi Connection

Linked over at the great news aggregation site: Six Saudis Taken Into Custody After Saudi Military Member Shoots Up U.S. Military Base, Reports Say.

You can send your news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) Thanks!


  1. The classic farming methods used in Minnesota in the 1940’s on our family farm, 160 acres in size, used crop rotation, animal manure, and tillage to control weeds, plant diseases, insects, and to provide nutrients for the crops. No commercial fertilizers, except lime, were used and no chemicals were used. The classic rotation used grain and a grass crop planted together, the grain was harvested and the grass crop was left to both cover the land and provide nitrogen to the soil, the next year the grass crop was harvested as hay, and often for 2 years, then the hay land was also used for pasture. Following that the land was fertilized with animal manure, plowed, etc, and corn was planted. The grasses had crowded out the weeds, the corn pests had died as there was no corn on the land, and the animal wastes and grasses had restored the soil fertility for the corn. If I remember right, it was 70 years ago, there was a law that the corn land had to be plowed under by a certain date to prevent the corn borer and other insects from wintering over in the crop residue. The problem with soil erosion due to wind and water were controlled by using strips of crops following the contours of the land, bare land in corn or soy beans, then a strip of grasses or grains.

    On the same land today, farmed with no till farming, the land has been in corn or soy beans, for over 20 years. There are no animals on the farm, and thus no animal wastes, and the weeds are not crowded out by the grasses in the rotation. The procedure is to use large scale machinery in the spring to plant, fertilize, kill the weeds and insects, and cover the seeds in one pass. This is followed later with another pass or so to reapply fertilizer, weed killer, and fertilizer to the field, and then in the fall to harvest the crop and return anything that is not saleable, to the field as a chopped up mulch. The system works well with fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, seeds that will tolerate the chemicals, etc, and returns an adequate amount of money to pay for the inputs and massive amounts of machinery needed to farm the soil and minimizes both the total amount of labor and the periods it is needed.

    However, it is not possible to raise a single crop year after year without massive amounts of chemicals, even if you do use labor intensive methods and thus for a long term survival situation, the present agricultural no till farming system is not suited for the individual who wishes to be able to “live off the land”. As it is now practiced, it does not furnish the broad range of crops needed to sustain the people and animals on a limited amount of space, nor are the inputs replaceable at the farm level. As with everything else in life, the devil is in the details. For our present society as a whole, the old ways will not work, the individual practicing survival farming on “pick your level depending on family size and location” acres, will not produce enough excess food to feed the rest of the population as it exists. In turn large scale farming and its surpluses can not be used by an individual in a survival situation. While as individuals we can do well on the edges as small scale producers of various food products and even be self sufficient, a ranch by an unknown river perhaps, we will still require some other way to generate the other inputs we need to survive in our present situation, medical care, basic non farm inputs, etc, and unless we are willing to live in a different setting, Amish, Indian Reservation, etc, we can not live on our own island.

    1. As with most things we do, we typically choose the most expedient, but seldom the most efficient or successful, processes, and then expend massive resources trying to make them work better. In this case, there are a few variables we could manage a lot better to improve our agricultural outcome.

      Recycling our fresh water supply is a doable thing, and could drastically reduce human consumption, thus allowing for more available water for agriculture. I have helped build a number of recycled water plants around the world, and they will substantially mitigate distressed fresh water supplies. Desalination is another viable option. No-till and crop rotation require more land be available for a year over year consistent yield. We currently use a small percentage of all the arable land that could be put into production because of the aforementioned water not being available. Subsoil compression also diminishes crop production by making the root bed too shallow. But all this is technology based, and I think you are correct to say that, in essence, there ain’t no going back to what was.

  2. Re; VT gun ban proposal. It’s even worse than that. The “scary” headline has been changed to reflect the reality of the proposed law- it’s not “assault style weapons” but rather semi-automatic weapons they want to ban. The “assault style weapons” headline was produced by the online news site that doesn’t know the difference. A gun is a gun……

    Sadly, VT is one of the safest places in the US, maybe half the population owns guns and gun related homicides are rare. Most that do occur are done by drug dealers from out-of-state who have weapons that are not legally obtained(and as felons they aren’t legally allowed to possess them anyway). Nothing like trying to stop a problem that doesn’t exist while disarming the law abiding residents of the state!

  3. The iPhone news is outdated and has been responded to by Apple.

    I’m not a fan of Apple, nor Google, but this site seems to give a pass to Google, or at least Android.

    I would love it if this site did a thorough comparison of both platforms’ security and privacy so readers can make an informed decision.

  4. The railroad hand car is very interesting but if you were to be using the grid down situation and find yourself on the same track as a disabled train manually moving it to another track would be nearly impossible due to the weight.

    Socialism in Argentina: How many examples of failed socialism does it take for people to realize it that socialism doesn’t work? Apparently, a lot.

    VA Sheriff: Deputizing the citizens of his county is a great idea. George Mason was one of the founding fathers, and he said “The militia is the whole of the people. It’s every man, it’s every woman, that is who the militia is.”
    Now act like it.

  5. Every State in the Union have laws , both Federal under the Constitution, and State under the 10th amendment (the original 12th amendment) to have an armed militia. These are now known as State Defense Forces and in most of the 28 states that maintain them they fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. I was a member of the defense force of our state for 7 years after completing active duty military service, Army Reserve, and National Guard. My commission was via the OCS process and was recognized as valid when called to active duty many times for various training and deployment within the states and once to Puerto Rico for rescue after hurricane Maria.

    While on active duty I had command of troops from several states involved in the training or duty, from National Guard units, State Defense Force units, and other reserves such as the USMC Reserve unit, Air Force, etc.

    I’ll admit its a difficult task trying to explain to folks who haven’t heard of a State Defense Force officer (or enlisted for that matter) being in command of “regular” troops. We cannot be deployed overseas since we answer to the Governor of our state, or if deployed to another state that states governor; however the duty is great, the experience of over 52 years in uniform given to the next generation, and a feeling that I did something positive with my life in service for my fellow Americans.

    Our drill duty is the same as the “National Guard” ( a Federal entity created by the Dick Act) 80% of the force have to be prior service people, and the 20 percent left can be non prior service such as engineers, doctors, nurses, etc.

    We did not get paid for drill, bought our own uniforms concurrent with what ever uniform the Governor demanded which usually was that of the current National Guard uniform. We did get paid as State Employees for active duty deployment for rescue missions, the same base pay schedule as the current military pay scales, the training was of the same level and caliber as the current soldiers skill levels 1 through 5, and a soldier was given latitude for age. I’m 70 now and cannot hump a ruck like I did when I was 20 and serving in Special Forces.

    I suggest anyone reading this reply contact their state department of military and veteran affairs and see if there is a defense force in your state, go to their drills at the armory since the armory and the National Guard belong to you the citizens and you have a right to attend and observe training that you are paying for. I always welcomed the public to our training with the defense force, and was able to recruit my replacement as my executive officer until my final retirement.

    Stop talking about militias and defense and surviving TEOTWAWKI … join, become a member and make a difference. Even if you have no prior experience with the military you will be trained. If there is no active state defense force your state, bug the hell out of your elected leaders to start one.

    When “WE” out number “THEM” then WE won’t have a problem. But it does take sacrifice and commitment to a cause much bigger, and far longer reaching into the future, than yourself.

    1. “But it does take sacrifice and commitment to a cause much bigger, and far longer reaching into the future, than yourself.” ~ Thank God, there are so many Americans willing to step up to a life of serving America [other people].

      1. M-ray, for the several years I was the commanding officer of the detachment I had at every drill ( both days or two weeks for our AT drill periods) what is called “Commanders Call” time. The first hour of our training was mine to do as I wanted to do. For years I used that time to teach a course called The Institute on the Constitution. The troops loved it, and I was more than happy to give them the training contained in it. You can see the course here at this website:

        Hosting this course is easy, and well worth the time and effort. One time I had to go elsewhere for active duty training and the troops watched three of the videos and completed all the home work assignments when I returned for the next drill!! One thing I drilled into them: NO soldier has the obligation to follow unconstitutional orders. A soldier takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the Republic it created … therefore to answer your question for myself, if given orders to confiscate weapons from any citizen I’d most likely start WWIII by shooting the son of a B that gave me the orders. I have little doubt that the soldiers I trained would do any less …

      2. A lot of >dangerous left-wingers need to be >disarmed. … Left-wingers are delusional; they think Hitler was pro-life. = Either that, or left-wingers are engaged in constant, crazy name-calling.

        Representative Steve Scalise and other Republicans were wounded and almost murdered by a crazed left-winger [targeting Republicans]. … Recently, supporters, of left-winger Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threatened to kill Scalise >[Ocasio-Cortez >supporters are making the threats].

        This was said two years ago, on a Catholic site, that usually comments on just religion. =

        “There is no clear explanation why liberals are more ready to use violence, particularly mob violence, against others. One hypothesis is that conservatives tend to favor a live-and-let-live approach to things in general, and are more likely to fight defensively –only when their lives, rights or property are threatened.”

        “Liberals are more likely to form >bands to fight, and become inflamed over vague ideas, even if they cannot articulate what those ideas mean. It’s surprising given that liberals are anti-gun and pro-peace, and strangely, pro-Sharia law.”
        [This comment follows with a long list of left-winger attacks]

        Videos are on YouTube, of gangs of left-wingers chasing down conservatives, for wearing MAGA red hats. The conservatives were severely beaten.

        + Ex NYC Mayor, Mike Bloomberg wants confiscate guns from >honest citizens. Maybe, his security guards should be disarmed. … Mike could then walk around NYC without any guns. = Walking unarmed in left-winger Heaven. …. [He’d probably hide in his Mansion and never come outside again.]

        M-ray, you have a pretty good idea if we >just disarm all the left-wingers! Make all left-wingers live their professed values. America would be a much safer place.

        Conservatives would NEVER approve of wide spread gun confiscation even from honest left-wingers. … M-May you just proposed a hypothetical about >our military. … The left-wingers are already plotting gun confiscation. We should worry about left-wingers, and not disparage >our military with conjecture.

        Peace M-ray.
        I like this statement quoted earlier: “One hypothesis is that conservatives tend to favor a live-and-let-live approach to things in general, and are more likely to fight defensively –only when their lives, rights or property are threatened.”

        1. How do you defeat a nation? Divide it, white against black, or any other color, remove the basic Godly principles from the population, control its currency such that in place of tangible gold or silver coin you have debt, control its education system, and when ready for the final coup d’etat: disarm every citizen under the guise of safety for all … but let the bought and paid for lackeys of the world system that our Constitutional Representative Republic system of government is diametrically opposed to be armed to the teeth … that’s how. Sound familiar? Be careful of what you call for; and be ready to know who and what is the true threat to freedom and liberty to all. And most importantly: be guided and led only by the Holy Spirit for He alone can lead you to the right decisions and deliver you from the snares of the opposing forces.

    2. LT Mike,
      Thank you for the reminder about the state defense forces as a way of serving.

      I was not permitted to join the active forces because I had a few seizures when I was a toddler, even though I hadn’t been on any medication for several years before trying to join. I hope that won’t be a problem.

      My other problem is finding the time to serve. My job is full time and some overtime, there’s always something to do at home (cook/laundry/garden/PT), and, God forbid, going out to enjoy life sometimes. I hope I can carve out more time when I move.

      Good job on teaching people about our Constitution.

      I’m looking to move out of crazy California next year; maybe I can join the state defense force where I end up.

      1. MJ, oddly enough California has a large State Defense Force .. imagine that. You should at least consider contacting them and see how it may fit into your life style. It’s not for everyone, and there are those who can contribute even if only in a fund raising role. Even though I’m now retired I still help with the fund raiser for our States Defense Force, and also do some recruiting effort too.

      2. MJ, and others interested might want to look at Wikipedia under ~State Defense Force.~ There’s a map of the states with such a force. The links work for Wikipedia to the various States. It’s a place to start. [LT. Mike provided a >good idea to people.]

        “When we help others we feel happy. There appears to be a direct correlation with overall well-being and giving our time, money or other resources to a cause that we are passionate about. Studies suggest that people who volunteer report better health and more happiness than people who do not volunteer.” [Psychology Today Jan 29, 2017]

  6. Read an article years ago about farm boys suffering from malnutrition. You could clear out a piece of forest and plant crops but if the soil didn’t contain the necessary nutrients the produce wasn’t beneficial to provide proper nutrition.

    American Indians understood this and used fish for fertilizer and crop rotation ( three sisters ) . It is frightening to think what would happen once we can no longer rely on petroleum-based agriculture.

    Oil has allowed us to sustain large amounts of people. Once that infrastructure is no longer in place or starts to deteriorate chaos and massive die-off would be something out of a horror movie.

  7. “Bread from Stones” – just finished reading it, and although it doesn’t give a detailed list of what should be in the “stone dust”, I just ordered a 40 lb bag of Azomite to try in the garden beds this next growing season. All the text made sense, and it’s time to try…

    We grow everything organically with minimal organic fertilizers…just want to increase yield. Except for tomatoes, it’s been our best year yet!

    We don’t till, just add compost on top each year and more organic soil if needed – on top of the cover crops that we grow in the fall/winter.

    Michael J.

  8. My eighteen year old Daughter is at Naval Air Station Pensacola. This is her first assignment after completing USMC boot camp at Parris Island. I was so worried when news broke about the shooting.
    I am so thankful to the lord that she is safe!!
    I am also thankful that she AND my 22 year old son stationed at USMC Air Station Miramar, San Diego will BOTH be home for Christmas !!
    Merry Christmas everyone

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