Notes for Wednesday – December 07, 2016

On a Sunday morning, 75 years ago, America was caught sleeping. Then there was that September morning, in 2001. Let’s pray that nothing like those days ever happens again. – JWR

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Today, we present another entry for Round 68 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $15,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical 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,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package (enough for two families of four) plus seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate (a $325 retail value),
  8. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  9. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $2,400 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  9. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  10. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  6. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  7. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  8. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  9. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
  10. Fifteen LifeStraws from SafeCastle (a $300 value).
  11. A $250 gift certificate to Tober’s Traditions, makers of all natural (organic if possible) personal care products, such as soap, tooth powder, deodorant, sunscreen, lotion, and more.

Round 68 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Neophyte Survival Observations and Lessons from Hurricane Matthew- Part 2, by S.G. in Florida

The extended power outages in Florida after Matthew were due to downed power lines, mostly by wind-fallen trees. Hospitals and other essential services were given priority for power restoration. People who lived near these essential services were more likely to get power restored first. Your proximity to key services might be a good factor to consider when purchasing a home in a suburb or city.

After Hurricane Matthew, the city water was cut for an extended period due to the roots of fallen trees damaging city water lines. The two cases of bottled water we had bought for drinking would have run out within the week had city water not been restored. I do not think you can over estimate the need for potable water for survival. Multiple backup provisions should be made for this life giving substance. Looking back, we should have also utilized the emergency bath tub water storage that I had. The experience of Hurricane Matthew has made it clear that a source of raw water and water purification is absolutely essential for human survival. I plan on purchasing numerous rain barrels for water collection off of the roof and dual Berkey water filter systems for filtration.

When the city water was cut, the toilets would not refill in order to flush. We used rain water as a flushing tool. Simply pour the rainwater into the toilet tank and your toilet can then flush. Luckily, our neighbor had left out his large plastic garbage can and it had filled to the brim with rain water. A bucket located next to the toilet solved the flushing problem.

Looking back, in the case of sewage system failure, a provision for an outdoor toilet would be essential. A camping toilet should be purchased for this eventuality. Something like the Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet for $15 would seem to be ideal, since for $30 you could double your purchase under the two is one philosophy.

The most apparent effect of a power outage is the lack of lighting. It turns out that the inexpensive little solar lighting units were very handy. The little solar lights with built-in motion detectors would snap on the minute I walked by, needing the extra light to find my way. Technology can be a wonderful thing! As part of my regular preps, I had in storage a fine Coleman battery powered lantern for reading. Unfortunately, after the storm I could not find it. This emphasizes the need to have your preps organized for easy recovery. One item that was very handy was a battery powered head lamp. I would wear it just walking around the house for hands free lighting on whatever I was doing at the time.

After the hurricane, the kindness of strangers noticeably increased. Drivers actually obeyed the speed limits and would come to a full stop at broken stop lights, courteously observing the right of way of other drivers. Neighborliness increased. Our neighborhood pitched in together to clear the roads of fallen trees using chainsaws. How long this state would continue, if prolonged, is an open question. If a disaster is localized but long term prospects for recovery are slight, escape would be best accomplished during this interim period. Think ahead after the event as to how the situation unfolds and act when your judgement says to, before the situation becomes critical.

The criminal predators were out almost immediately. Several gun stores were targeted by thieves. Looters almost immediately appeared in the hardest hit neighborhoods, causing an increase in police patrols in those areas. Some neighborhoods in our immediate area had strangers knocking on doors late at night in the darkness when power was out. If someone answered, they would ask if their phone worked or some other innocuous question. Just as easily, this could have turned into a home invasion situation. Having a firearm readily accessible for immediate use, and that means in your hand, would be essential in combating the predators when power is out and services are non-existent. Leveraging your neighbors to watch for strangers would be an essential long-term asset when it comes to protecting your family in the long run.

Soon, the city water was restored and regular cold showers became a substitute for air conditioning. Next the power line workers, who had come in from all over the country to work, began restoring power. Once the roads became cleared and we started driving around, my wife would clap and cheer every power line truck that we drove by. These men (and yes, most were men) were professional and efficient. In our increasingly emasculated society, these strong utility workers should serve as a reminder as to the value of masculinity in crisis.

Private property owners quickly placed big plastic blue tarps on damaged roofs to protect their real estate investments. We also observed that diligent business owners were rushing to open their businesses to customers who needed food, coffee, groceries, and just about anything else people would desire. First to open were the small business owners, who personally manned their stores.

John Locke observed in his “Two Treatises of Government” that “property” was essential for man’s survival and co-equal to man’s life and liberty. This observation rings true; wealth protects lives. The resilience of our society is really a thing to behold. Freedom and capitalism have created great wealth and independence in America. The wealth of the American nation is what protected us from deprivations that descended on Haiti, where over 1,000 people were killed. In contrast, only 12 people were reported killed in Florida as a direct result of Matthew. I question even that media statistic. Two of the people in our local area were killed by carbon monoxide fumes from their portable generator, which they were running in their garage. Another fatality was due to a heart attack. The only one in our area that could be directly attributed to Matthew was a person who was killed by a falling tree while walking a dog. Wealth protects us with quality housing, protection from starvation and disease, protection from flooding, and in countless other ways understood only too well by our ancestors. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten these important lessons, and they wrongly advocate for wealth-destroying socialism and confiscation of private property.

Soon, the consumers were back to complaining again about having to wait in lines or that a particular establishment had not yet opened their doors. Incivility returned to the roadways as people rushed back to work. Neighbors are complaining that there are still trees and branches that have not been collected from the side of the road ways. People have already forgotten the lessons that were being taught.

If I am being honest with myself, I must admit that in the event of a catastrophic calamity– a true TEOTWAWKI event– Florida is not the place to be for two reasons: food and population. If resupply was not promptly available, I suspect that the huge Florida population would turn on itself, and the thin veneer of civilization would be stripped away very quickly. This was all too apparent when the masses raided grocery stores of food items. Long term, this resupply infrastructure would collapse and doom millions of Floridians to starvation. A good book to read on why this would be is When Money Dies: The Nightmare of Deficit Spending, Devaluation, and Hyperinflation in Weimar Germany by Adam Fergusson. In response, a one- or two-year supply of hidden food would allow us to subsist beyond the initial waves of starvation, that is if we could successfully defend our supply during the desperate periods. Long term, though, the lack of local food production would spell doom. I think this is a clear-eyed reason for moving your family to a Redoubt locale, if possible. Despite this realization, our family is just not in a position to move to the Redoubt. Where ever you might find yourself in emergency, a certain amount of faith and prayer is required. We will leave these things that we cannot control in God’s hands and do what we can where we can.

After the storm, we went to church to thank God for sparing us and our family. A direct hit on Florida could have been much, much worse. Matthew may have been just the reminder that we needed to better prepare for future eventualities. I pray that your readers will find this information helpful into making their families more prepared for disaster.

Letter Re: Keeping Preps Cool Naturally In Hot Climates With No Basements And High Water Tables

Even in very hot climates, below ground soil temperatures can be cooler than an air-conditioned house or garage. When you have a house on a slab, and dug root cellars are impossible because of high water table levels, you can still “build up” by putting in an earth berm and storing preps under it.

If you have enough land, you can make the berm part of decorative landscaping, or use it to increase privacy and reduce noise from the road. Even on smaller plots, you may be able to use an earth temperature moderating technique that is more common in the north: waterproofing the base of the house and building up an earthen bank on the north side of the house. In the north, this is done to reduce heat loss in winter and increase coolness in summer. ( In the south, it may still make the house a bit cooler and can be done on all sides.)

The berm can be left sloped or end in a vertical wall using railroad ties, concrete block, or other methods. In any case, you can then bury your preps under a couple feet of cooling soil. Even OPSEC is not too much of a problem if you are seen busily gardening and planting flowers (in pots, so they can be removed easily) over your preps. If anyone asks why you are building a berm around your house, the answer is “earth cooling to save air conditioning costs”, which is also quite true. You are Green! You may even encourage your neighbors to “go green” too. That way no one will notice that your house is different.

Sandy soil will make for better drainage and easier digging up of preps when needed. Why are you buying so many bags of sand? To improve soil quality, of course, so there are more flowers. Or if you wish, grow veggies.

Earth berming isn’t as handy as a root cellar or basement, but it’s much better than having all your food spoil after a week-long power outage when the air conditioning fails and the generator runs out of fuel.

JW from New York

Economics and Investing:

The biggest gold heist of all time

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Amazon introduces next major job killer to face Americans – DSV (I’m not sure this is a “job killer” any more than ATMs were, but it will interesting to see how this plays out.)

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Time Magazine Promotes Illegal Nonsense: Don’t Pay Taxes (If You Didn’t Vote for Trump)

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A Dire Warning From An Insider

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.

Readers’ Recommendations of the Week:

Reader C.J. writes in: “I just watched “Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America” (I read the book several years ago and of course the book is better). Although I am of Scots-Irish descent, it would at least be interesting for those that are not of Scots-Irish descent. The Scots history of independence from England and why they ended up in Ireland and ultimately America is ingrained in so much of traditional American culture. Religious freedom, hard working, self-reliant, “give me freedom or give me death” types.

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Recommended by Pat Cascio, SurvivalBlog’s Senior Product Review Editor: Museums, veterans keep memory of Pearl Harbor alive 75 years after attacks (6 minute video).

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Reader C.D. recommended The Earthling as a DVD worth watching and owning. A great job of acting by William Holden and Ricky Schroder. A dying man must teach a young kid to survive before the man dies in the Australian wilds. These two actors are the only ones on screen for 75% of the movie. The movie has many object lessons on surviving on your own.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Lloyd’s of London warns of devastating $2.6 trillion solar storm – RBS

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How To Grow A Lemon Tree From Seed No Matter Where You Live – DSV

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My Unhappy Life as a Climate Heretic – P.M. (Note: May require an account/login to view)

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Reader M.P. writes in:

Tom’s Hardware just published an article about an attempt by the Canadian government to impose the “Snooper Charter” style of government surveillance on Canadian ISPs, VPN service providers, etc. Time for Canadians to speak up and fight Bill C-51! We in the US need to be constantly vigilant, too. It has been tried already and, just as happened with Hillary-care failing but then us getting Obama-care, those in favor of more intrusive government will keep trying until they get what they want.”

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Readers looking for retreat properties in Panama might want to take a look at http://survivalpropertypanama.com/

Notes for Tuesday – December 06, 2016

On December 6th, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, ending the institution of slavery. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” With these words, the single greatest change wrought by the Civil War was officially noted in the Constitution.

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Don’t forget, Ready Made Resources has a very limited supply of Knight Vision AN/PVS-30 Night Vision Weapon available. These have seen action in the Gulf but are “like new” or have been refurbished. Normally over $11,000, you can get them for under $5000. What a Christmas gift!

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Today, we present another entry for Round 68 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $15,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $1,700 value),
  3. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  4. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical 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,
  5. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  6. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  7. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  8. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package (enough for two families of four) plus seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate (a $325 retail value),
  9. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $1,700 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  9. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  10. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  6. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  7. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  8. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  9. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
  10. Fifteen LifeStraws from SafeCastle (a $300 value).
  11. A $250 gift certificate to Tober’s Traditions, makers of all natural (organic if possible) personal care products, such as soap, tooth powder, deodorant, sunscreen, lotion, and more.

Round 67 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Neophyte Survival Observations and Lessons from Hurricane Matthew- Part1, by S.G. in Florida

Our family of three lives in a suburban area of Florida that was greatly impacted by Hurricane Matthew. While our home survived without damage, we were left without power for approximately a week and without city water for around three days. This article summarizes some observations and lessons, after reflecting on this experience.

Hurricane Matthew took a very unusual track in the Caribbean, threading the needle between the mountains of Cuba and Haiti to maintain its strength. After this move, Matthew took a very unusual jog to the West, threatening Florida with a severe Category 4 storm. Once Matthew made its track apparent, we purchased several cases of bottled water for drinking. The stores were way ahead of us and had pallet after pallet of bottled water ready for our dollars. As an additional measure, I filled two six-gallon water storage containers for emergency use or for car use if we needed to quickly evacuate. In hindsight, I should have also filled my pre-prepped 65-gallon bathtub water storage bag, but for some reason we did not do this.

Protecting a home from windstorm damage involves protecting exposed windows from debris impacts with boards. I had pre-prepared boards for this purpose that we nailed on the house to cover the windows. Rather than large plywood panels, I would suggest utilizing lighter weight boards that can be handled by one person. Boards that require two persons to install are a mistake. That extra person might not be available when needed, as they are preparing their own home. Boards, as opposed to large plywood cutouts, can also be easily stacked for storage or recycled for use in temporary repairs after the storm.

A few days before the hurricane struck, many gas stations sold out of gasoline. Thankfully, following the survival mentality, we had topped off all of our vehicle gas tanks. I could have also filled my extra gasoline containers, but for some reason I did not. As the storm grew closer, the escape routes quickly became jammed with traffic. Luckily, Matthew was a slow moving storm and the roadways were clear by the time it grazed the Florida coast. However, a fast moving storm could catch drivers exposed on the highways and stuck in traffic.

Before the storm, I printed out and put in my van several different escape plans, all avoiding major highways and traveling in different routes. Each plan laid in a different direction so that I could respond flexibly to any change in hurricane direction at the last minute. Also included with these plans were phone numbers for the friends on the other end who had agreed to take us in. I would also recommend an up-to-date paper road map book for quick in car rerouting. Luckily, we did not have to utilize these plans, but it was good to have them in hand in case of quick evacuation. In the event of another hurricane, I will be sure to top off the extra storage tanks so that we can drive all the way to our evacuation destination without needing to stop for gasoline.

During the storm we hunkered down and reviewed procedures if the roof should become damaged. We discussed the safest interior parts of the house. The hurricane was headed right for us, and we needed to rehearse our responses should catastrophic damage occur to our home. About six hours before the storm passed us, the power failed. At that point we were committed to our plan of remaining in our house. The hurricane could have very easily made a direct and catastrophic impact on our area, and we would have had to ride it out right where we were.

Our family does not generally participate in or support the big electronic media, and we do not have cable or most other electronic entertainments. Living a simple life allows for better judgment during crisis situations. We observed others, though, who suffered from electronic withdrawal when the power failed. I am of the firm belief that you do not need this added stress when a crisis hits. The media can be a source of sensationalist panic, and one should take care not to become obsessed with the continuous media coverage. For example, at one point just before the storm passed, a news anchor warned that our children would die if we stayed. When telephones, television, and the Internet were cut, radio was the only source of up-to-date information. This information was spotty and dependent on the whims and skills of the radio host. Remember that you do not need to be camped 24 hours a day next to your radio. Turn it off once you get the information you need and live your life. Do not let the little electronic boxes turn into continuous stress machines. Regardless, radio reports became our window into the larger world.

We had several media-focused teen family members evacuate to our house due to their media-stoked fear. Secretly, we were happy to have these family members stay with us, which happens all too rarely. The kids quickly learned the pleasures of playing cards. The adults also found that playing cards are a fine way to get your mind off of hardship, and every prepper should invest in a few quality decks.

After the storm had passed, we walked outside to assess the damage to the neighborhood. Fallen trees blocked literally every road. Many neighbors had their portable generators going within hours of the hurricane’s passage. After visiting Lowes and Home Depot, we learned that many neighbors bought their portable generators to be returned after the storm. Mostly, the generators were used to power refrigerators. Remembering that gasoline was not generally available, the long-term use of the portable generator is questionable. Without fuel, they are useless. I would suggest a multi-fuel unit and a realistic assessment of fuel consumption over time. It is also worth commenting that generators are noisy. In the event of a long-term problem, those with working generators when others are out of fuel will be a transmitting beacon broadcasting to the neighborhood who has fuel and who does not.

Our plans for food were superbly taken care of by my wife. Having a partner who is aware of the need to prepare and is on board with you in taking care of the family is a tremendous asset. She had stocked up on canned goods, which she always seemed to have a new recipe for. At first, we cooked meat that was subject to spoilage. Outdoor grilling was abundant in the neighborhood. We had two full propane cylinders and a gas grill that came in very handy for boiling water and cooking. Looking back, we should have stocked more propane cylinders. A safely designed fire pit for cooking, with appropriate gear to cook, would be a huge asset in the long term. Thankfully, we did not get to that point. We did eat some canned foods, which were surprisingly good.

Coffee is an important morale booster when the power is out. Make sure to stock plenty of coffee in your preps, as there is really nothing like it. While we were able to improvise a boil water container on my propane grill, this was not very efficient. One idea, which I had never tried, was to hook up the coffee maker to my van’s on-board power outlet to brew some coffee. A self-contained coffee maker and a supply of coffee cannot be overstated as a luxury item during a power outage.

Your vehicle is a tremendous expense on the average family budget, but it can also be an important asset in the event of long-term survival. Our family’s mini-van has several survival advantages built in. Obviously, the van can be used to escape a disaster, with drivers switching off while one sleeps in the back. The extra space can also be used to carry water, food, tools, and fuel for a long trek. A van can even serve as a emergency shelter. The on-board power outlets can be used as emergency chargers. You should factor in how you could leverage your everyday vehicle into a survival aid by considering survival uses into your car choices. Buy vehicles such as vans, four wheel drive Subarus, off road capable trucks and Jeeps, while eschewing less useful vehicles. When buying a new vehicle, think of how the addition of a few options (such as flex fuel capacity or a tow hitch) could improve its utility during emergency.

Evacuation can be rendered difficult by fallen trees. The chainsaw was the most immediate tool required for clearing out paths of escape. When trees fall throughout the city, everything is blocked and your world shrinks to a very small area. A chainsaw can also be utilized to produce firewood from fallen trees. Interestingly, while there were chainsaws available at Lowes, chainsaw lubricant was sold out and unavailable. Make sure you have this item next to your saw. After the hurricane, there was lots of firewood laying around. A chainsaw turns this problem into a solution by supplying firewood for our outdoor fire pit. Be very aware, though, that an out of control fire is an extreme danger, especially when fire departments cannot reach you.

Letter Re: Dakota Access Pipeline Update

HJL,

We went to Bismarck this weekend and had chance to get a bit more information. In talking to one of the “protesters”, he is paid $1500 per week with legal and medical costs covered. In addition, he receives a bonus each time he is arrested. Their encampment receives supplies and propane for free with multiple deliveries each week. He looks on it as a job, and this is not his first protest.

In other news, we are expecting a killer cold front this week and the state of North Dakota has plans in place to shelter and feed the “protesters” at state expense. Law enforcement has bent over backwards to treat them with respect while being spit on, shot at, bombarded with nuts/bolts from slingshots and had molotov cocktails thrown at them. Vehicles and machinery have been set on fire or destroyed, livestock killed, grass fires set, and IEDs planted, but we aren’t going to let them freeze to death. They have cost the ND taxpayers millions, but we are expected to pony up more.

It should also be noted that when the blizzard hit last week (18″ of snow), the Standing Rock Tribe’s casino refused to rent rooms to “protesters”, closed all public rest rooms in the casino, and disabled all electrical outlets in public areas. Evidently they didn’t want this rabble, even though they are “supporting” the tribe. – R.B.

Economics and Investing:

The Warren Buffett War on US Pipelines – P.M.

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The Problem Is A Single Central Bank…Not A Single Currency

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Dakota Pipeline Project Halted as Obama Administration Denies Permit for Last Leg

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Don’t Hold Your Breath on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.