This weekly column is a collection of short snippets: practical self-sufficiency items, how-tos, lessons learned, tips and tricks, and news items — both from readers and from SurvivalBlog’s editors. We may select some long e-mails for posting as separate letters.
To begin, reader H.L. sent this: With the lights off, food spoiling, gas pumps out of order, New Orleans faces an extended power failure. JWR’s Comment: It is an interesting coincidence that Hurricane Ida made landfall 16 years to the day that Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.
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Readers J&M wrote:
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Readers S&T offered this link, regarding vaccination exemptions:
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The latest on Lanternfly: Northeast residents told to destroy invasive insect.
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Reader C.B. spotted this: Asian giant hornet nest destroyed in Washington state.
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Reader K. in Tennessee wrote:
“Keep fighting to good fight.
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Retired Major C.H. wrote us:
“Billions of dollars of sophisticated equipment (helicopters, secure radios, fixed wing aircraft, etc) left behind. More in small arms, trucks, APCs, and artillery.
J.M. had this to add to Pat Cascio’s recent article about ponchos:
“I’m a huge fan of ponchos, and I pretty much always have one with me anytime I’m outside (especially when hiking/backpacking). In addition to wearing it to keep dry, I’ve used it in almost every possible shelter configuration, but the one I’ve found to be the most useful is the Alpha Tent design by Warlord. My current poncho is a Helikon Tex in CamoGram (basically multicam), and setting it up as an Alpha tent is fast and easy, and putting a couple of leaves or branches on top in terrain with any kind of vegetation makes you almost invisible.”
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Reader Mark G. recommended this book: Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness, by Ron Melchiore.
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Over at Breibart: Marine Lieutenant Colonel Resigns Commission over Afghanistan, Vows to Bring the Whole F*cking System Down’. (Thanks to H.L. for the link.
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3AD Scout sent this:
“What we did to prepare in August: Performed some TLC on the hay rake. Used Rustoluem Rust converter, then painted and greased it too.
The Amish barn crew showed up to rehabilitate our old barn. They started by lifting one side up at a time, removing the old deteriorating concrete foundation and converting it over to a pole barn, replacing the wood siding with metal siding, adding a lean-to on the North side and then putting a metal roof on. They also added some additional supports under the beams that support the second floor. I am trying to save some of the old wood to sell it to crafters, etc. Managed to save Several 8”x8”x6’ beams, and some 4×4’s (I’ll keep those for making pens inside). The crew was working on placing metal siding on one of the loft end when their platform collapsed sending them tumbling down. I was out in the field cutting hay and one of the crew came and got me to report “a little accident”. Only one crew member had an injury. The injured person was laying down and had taken his boot and sock off, I looked at it and no bruising and only slight swelling. He was conscious and alert and said nothing else hurt. I went in and got 4 instant ice packs and activated one for him. He wanted to go get an x-ray of his ankle. So we got him loaded into a vehicle and I drove him to a chiropractor’s office that he had gone to before who has an X-ray machine. The man had a severely sprained ankle and a very small break (like a hairline crack) in his lower leg. The Amish guy asked the chiropractor if the chiropractor would go get a cast if he had a break like this and the chiropractor said he personally would not but if that was the course of action the Amish man was going to take he needed to not put any weight on it for 6 weeks and keep it immobilized.
The chiropractor suggested an air cast. The Amish man asked where he could find one and the chiropractor said he didn’t know. At that point I piped in that I had one. And they both kind of looked at me like “really?”. So I talked to the chiropractor about where the break was so I knew what size (foot, half leg, whole leg) to give him. We got back in the vehicle to return home and I looked at his ankle again and this time it was really swelled up. I called the wife and told her to pick up instant ice packs and Ibuprofen. I took the man home and talked to his brother (who is also part of the barn crew). I went home and retrieved a half leg air cast and a dozen more instant ice packs from the preps and returned back to the injured Amish man’s house. Since he won’t be able to work for 6 weeks the wife brought the checkbook and we gave him a check for about half of the project. The rest of the crew finished up the barn the following week and now I’ve started building pens for the cattle, pigs and who knows what else. Backfilling the spaces left when the old foundation was ripped out with 2A crushed limestone. Spent time cleaning up and putting away items the the crew used for the project, burning scrap wood, hauling scraps of metal siding/roofing away and picking up screws and nails that fell to the ground.
During a rain break the week before the accident, the crew leader of the Amish construction crew (the one who would break his leg later) asked me if I had a reloading book (he knew I reload from past conversation) and if I could show him the load recipes for .22-250, so I took him down to the man cave. The other crew member came down too. While the crew lead and I were talking reloading the other Amish guy was perusing my library. He said he really like my collection of books and I offered to loan him some. Now here is the funny part, the Amish guy says, as he has his hand on my single stage reloading press, is this what you reload with? I said yeah why. He then tells me he has a progressive press. The Amish guy has better technology than me!! I learned on, and am very comfortable, using a single-stage press and I tried to change over to a progressive but it didn’t go well and press was sold. The Amish guy then asked if I sold ammo and I said no. He said we wanted to get dies and stuff to reload for other Amish in the neighborhood. I told him I had several die sets I was willing to part with. I bought a lot at auction and have like $5 a piece into them, most in calibers I will never own. We discussed going to a future gun auction together. After he broke his leg and was told to stay off his leg for 6 weeks he was worried about being bored (no TV, radio, X box, computer or smartphone to keep him busy). I suggested that he reload since deer season will be here before you know it. His brother came over with a list of gun powders he was in need of and I went out looking for them. No luck as of writing this.
Second cutting of hay was a dismal failure. I cut it and a day later there was thunder storm that developed over us and didn’t move, dropping about 4” of rain on my hay in about 3 hours.
In the beginning of February, my brother, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He gave me a bunch of military stuff he had, mostly woodland BDUs and canteens with covers and old style magazine pouches. He had a bunch of 12 ga shotgun shells too. He also had some 1950’s and 60’s Western Auto catalogs that I’m going to use to educate myself on older farm tools. Spent some time washing the BDUs and equipment since it smelled musty. Sad way to get preps. By the 4th week in August he was in hospice care.
Still working on the pizza oven as time permits. The barn is really monopolizing my time. I’m a few bricks away from having one layer all around the stainless steel firebox. I picked up some fire brick for inside.
Found 6, made in America, parts organizers and 27 quart jars and 6 pint canning jars and a brand new in the box home brewery kit at the Salvation Army. I also found 2 enameled cups and a cheese cutter (looks like a garrote).
Flea market/garage sales: new in box (made in US) 13 piece porcelain on steel camp set (coffee pot, 4 cups, 4 plates, pot and pan plus lids), a pair of Simmons 10×50 wide angle binoculars, a hardy hole tool, a draw shave with collapsible handles, about 20’ of 14 ga wire, 4 spigots for 5 gal drums, 100 brass cases for .308 and a pair of tooth extractors. I bought a Grimm ground belt drive Tedder for haying. I like going with ground drive since if SHTF we can still use the ground drive equipment with horses or oxen.
Auction finds included an old but nice (and complete) plumber’s lead smelting pot; a old hand-operated sausage stuffer; a hand cranked coffee grinder; a cast iron grain/grist mill, a hatchet and a box lot of junk but had a bag of leather tools that was worth several times what I paid for the box, and an old biology dissection kit.
I did manage to find Ball, regular mouth, canning jar lids at Walmart so I picked up 12 dozen. Picked up 5 brass male garden hose replacement ends that were on clearance. I was shocked to learn that I didn’t have a good supply of grease for the grease gun, so I bought a dozen tubes. I picked up and packed away another 33 pounds elbow macaroni info a Mylar bag and plastic bucket. Picked up some canned meats, several jars of spaghetti sauce and a big jar of peanut butter. I found a box of 500 lead 230 grain polymer coated bullets in 45 caliber. I purchased 3 barn stall gate clasps at the Ollies close out store. Very nice clasps for like $13 which I thought was a great deal (I bought 2 of them a few months back too).”
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Lastly, (and quite importantly): Computer scientist warns global internet is not prepared for a large solar storm. Our thanks to reader C.B. for that link.