Letter Re: Armored Window Shutters, Ayn Rand, U.S. Military Organizational Structure

Dear Mr. Rawles, My copy of your book [Patriots] has been read by so many people that the binding is falling apart. I’ve read it three times myself. Are there photo examples of the retreat doors and shutters? Sorry, I cannot post pictures, due to OPSEC. I did my best to describe the shutter and door ballistic upgrades in detail in the novel. (In narrative form.) If you want to construct something similar, just be sure to take the weight into account when sizing the hinges, and remember that the hinges need to be attached to some substantial framing or …




Letter Re: Survival Retreats in the East

Hello, I’m in the process of locating/purchasing a retreat home. My family (wife and four kids) and I live in [deleted for OPSEC] Florida and are looking for a place in the mountains. I’ve followed a lot of the guidance online for research, but I find the information between sites differ. If you have time, could you review the assumptions I’m using and add/subtract if needed? To help give some background, I’m a 40 year old USAF retiree with a background in disaster prep, manpower, deployment planning, and beddown/field feeding (I was a Services planner). I’ve got a master’s in …







Recommended Region: Klamath Falls Region (Klamath County, South Central Oregon)

This region is blessed with plentiful water (the largest lake in the region) fertile soil (lake beds left behind by receding ancient lakes), and geothermal energy in some areas. Like the Rogue River region, the Klamath Falls region might be a good area to consider for someone who has strong business or family ties to Northern California. In a grid-up scenario it would be a great place for a retreat. However, in a grid down scenario where a mass out-migration from California could be expected, it might be marginal. because of the high elevation, you should build some large greenhouses! …




Two Letters Re: Missouri’s Retreat Potential

Dear James, Missouri has more to offer for retreat potential than almost any other state in your top 19! It has a much longer growing season than Montana or Idaho. Most rural areas have an abundance of excellent soil, good rains, abundant woods, pastures and gun friendly small towns. Missouri is one of the few states with a concealed carry law. [JWR adds: Actually, 34 states now have “shall issue” CCW permit laws on the books.] Hunting potential is good, since wild game is plentiful. If you avoid the metropolitan areas of St. Louis on the far east of the …




Another Letter from Iraq

Hi Sir, Just wanted to drop you a brief line about a couple of things you might find interesting. Iraq has been a surprise to me. Accommodations are nicer than expected, with running water indoors for showers and urinals (gravity fed from tanks 😉 electricity (albeit 220 VAC rather than 110 VAC ) etc. However, I’m terribly disappointed in the way we fight. It’s been, for lack of a better term, garrisonized. “Higher” cares more about whether you have holes in your cammies than if you can fight, they expend more manpower building walkways with sandbags than reinforcing the buildings, …




Letter Re: Preparedness on a Budget and Surviving in the Suburbs

Hello, I love the site. I also just picked up Patriots for $19 at a local gun show. I love it and am learning just how much I haven’t thought about. That leads into my big question; how do you prepare thoroughly on a budget? I make less in one year than some of the characters in your book SPENT on supplies in a year. What can I do to be ready making $20,000 or less a year? Also, I can’t leave Ohio because both my parents are getting older, any ideas on a retreat or on securing a house …







Notes from JWR:

1.4 million page hits, and counting! Today I’m covering another region in Oregon in my detailed analysis series. It would be greatly appreciated if you mention SurvivalBlog when doing business with our advertisers, or other companies that would be good potential advertisers for the Blog. (In the blog threads we mention dozens of companies that would benefit from advertising on SurvivalBlog.)




Recommended Region: Steens Mountain Region (South Eastern Oregon)

This remote region was settled by cattlemen like Pete French and my great-great aunt’s husband, David Lawson Shirk. (Two of my Crow family relations each married Shirks.) The area is still dominated by large cattle ranches and some hay farms. This may sound foreign to some of the blog readers that live back east but many of these eastern Oregon ranches span multiple sections. (A section of land is 640 acres.) 2,000 to 5,000 acre or larger ranches are not unusual. Some owners use a light plane to keep track of their livestock. Advantages: Low population density. Excellent hunting and …




“Rick Smith” on Blacksmithing as a Valuable Trade

Introduction In a truly long-term TEOTWAWKI scenario, the ability to fashion and shape metal will become critical. If you can work with metal, you will be able to make tools; repair, fashion and heat treat gun parts; fabricate household, farm and mechanical implements of all shapes and sizes; and have a valuable trade to generate income or barter for goods and services. On the frontier west, no town was complete until it had a working Smithy. To start into blacksmithing, you need two things: tools and information. The good news is that you can make many of your own tools …




Letter Re: Herbal Medicine and Chevy Suburban Restoration

Howdy, Hope all is well with you and your tribe. I have two books you should check out if you have not seen them. 1.) Herbs to the Rescue, by Kurt King M.H., This book is a must to have in the G.O.O.D. pack. 2.) Ditch Medicine by Hugh L. Coffee, also has a video, a good book. My wife and I are both in an Master Herbalist course.It is fun lots to learn, my goal is to be doc-free.The school name, School of Natural Healing in Springville,Utah. My brother and I were talking trucks, I just got a 1983 …




Letter Re: Inexpensive HF Transceiver?

Could you give me some advice/direction on purchasing a HF Transceiver for use in emergency communications events. Money is limited (like when is it not) but I want something that is a good all around investment. Most bang for the buck so to speak. I have background in radio/tv. Thank you so much! JWR’s Reply: Your best bet is a probably a “pre-digital” vintage rig from the 1970s–perhaps a Kenwood. Just make sure that it is set up to run on 12 VDC so that you can use a vehicular mount or run it from a retreat solar power/battery bank …




Letter Re: The Importance of Practice Weekend

Jim, We are living on our “retreat” now in the Quachita area of Arkansas. After a terrible storm yesterday and a power outage that is still going because Entergy [the local power utility company] has so much going on with the hurricanes, I can wholeheartedly recommend that everyone turn off their power for a weekend and make a list of things they haven’t thought of. Hubby and I have decided on more things that we should get. The generator is getting a good workout and we now know how much gas it consumes per hour and can plan accordingly. A …




Letter Re: Combat Medicine School in Ohio

Hi Jim and Memsahib: Observing the failure of the Rescue and Medical Infrastructure after hurricane Katrina, cemented in my mind the absolute necessity of having the knowledge, skills and tools to take care of oneself, loved ones and neighbors. Procuring beans, bandages and bullets is useless if one does not possess the knowledge and skills to use them. We train (or should) regularly with our firearms to keep our skills honed. Food preparation is a daily event for most so those skills come automatically and require minor alteration in a survival situation. When it comes to medical skills and knowledge …