The Illusion of Isolation

If you are an eastern urbanite and come to the conclusion that you need to buy “a cabin in upstate New York” or “a brick house in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens,” then you are wrong, quite possibly dead wrong. (By the way, I had both of those earnestly suggested, in e-mails from readers of my novel Patriots.) A rural area that is within an overall heavily populated region is not truly rural. It lacks real isolation from the basic problem–population. Most of these “rural” areas—except perhaps for a few fortunately bypassed zones, as I mentioned yesterday–will be overwhelmed by refugees …




Retreat Location Criteria

A retreat is not just “a cabin in the mountains.” Rather, it is a well-prepared and defensible redoubt with well-planned logistics. A proper survival retreat is in effect a modern day castle. Be prepared to escalate your defensive posture to match an escalating threat, and in a “worst case” your retreat will be so well defended that looters will most likely give up and find someone less prepared to prey upon. Ideally, a survival retreat is located in a region with the following characteristics: A long growing season. Geographic isolation from major population centers. Sufficient year-round precipitation and surface water. …




A Special Note for Commonwealth Readers (REVISED)

You will note that in my blog posts that I don’t make specific recommendations for regions in British Commonwealth countries that I consider safe havens. This is for two reasons: First, Because of my lack of familiarity with the terrain and microclimates, I don’t feel qualified to do so. Second, and more importantly, in my opinion there are no safe areas! The gun control laws and other facets of The Ubiquitous Nanny State have made your nations a poor place to stay in WTSHTF. Your laws prevent bearing arms for the defense of you own life and property. (And in …




From The Memsahib: Selective Breeding

Selective breeding of small livestock is important to the survivalist because you will not be able to get replacement livestock from other sources if things get truly bad. You will have to maintain your own breeding population to replace those animal you consume, are killed by predators, die of disease, or even old age. The first principle is that you will keep only a few male animals and a preponderance of female animals. The females of course gestate. The more females you have the more offspring can be produced. You will need some males. You certainly would want to have …







Channelization and Lines of Drift

Most major routes out of major cities will be very dangerous places to be in the event of a massive involuntary urban exodus. Imagine the situation WTSHTF in small towns on either side of the Snoqualmie Pass in Washington, or near I-80 across the Donner Pass in California, or on the Columbia River Gorge (dividing Oregon and Washington), or virtually every other stretch of interstate freeway that is within 150 miles of a metropolitan region. These channelized areas (also called “refugee lines of drift” by Military Police war game planners) should be studiously avoided. Conversely, there are areas between lines …




A Special Request From Jim:

I’ve been amazed and gratified that this blog has already has already had 1,960+ unique blog accesses and a total of 29,395 page hits. That’s not bad for a site that is just three days old… I’m asking a favor: Please send a brief and informal announcement to all of of your family, friends, or co-workers that have an interest in preparedness, self-sufficiency or related survival issues. Let them know about survivalblog.com. Please help spread the word! Just remember, if they get motivated and squared away, they will be one less person knocking on your door in need of charity …




Letter Re: Raising Rabbits as a Protein Source for Tough Times

Jim, Glad to see your Blog page starting up. I wish you well with it. To add to your son’s warnings on a rabbit meat-only diet: Eating strictly rabbit meat, the lack of fat causes the human body to start to crave. Early mountain men & wilderness travelers found this out the hard way. It is sort of like a salt craving: One’s body goes through some hard times when this happens, up to including malnourishment symptoms. By the way, it is noteworthy that “New” vegetarians experience these symptoms until their body becomes accustomed to vegetable fats. This can be …




Letter Re: “On Population Density”

Jim, read the ‘population density’ analysis and couldn’t agree more. When I was on the road moving to North Idaho earlier this year I came up[U.S.] I-5 and swung over through Washington. There are a lot of people in that corridor. But when I went back for the second load I went down [U.S.] 395. I was amazed at the absence of civilization (at least on a large scale) From John Day [Oregon] through northern California it was DESOLATE. To the uninitiated this would seem frightening. Sometimes a half hour would pass before you passed another car. And the Eastern …




Letter Re: Small Livestock on a Budget

Howdy Jim & Memsahib, Regarding getting rabbits free after the usual Easter bunny buying frenzy – great idea. Get them producing, and optimize your cage designs at the same time by using those Easter bunnies as test subjects. One notes however that the “pet” rabbits are generally not designed specifically for meat production, and there are oftentimes sizeable efficiency differences between the breeds. As soon as possible, consider sourcing true breed lines that are designed for meat – you’ll kick up production quite a bit. Using the 4H as a source is probably the best idea – depending on where …




Letter on the Asian Avian Flu

I have an idea for a topic that I would certainly like to get your thoughts on. As you probably know, scientists are nervously watching poultry in Southeast Asia for signs of a new virulent strain of flu. Just today the Guardian published an article on the topic, and how scientists think they can contain the epidemic to 200 people. I am not so confident in their efforts, and would like to hear your thoughts on the topic of how one can prepare for the possibility of a possible flu epidemic. – “T” JWR’s Reply: Asian Avian Flu (H5N1) is …




Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“The larger [Persian] Ismaili fortresses provide outstanding examples of military architecture. Their strategic position and the skilled use of natural resources to ensure, that despite the difficulties of the terrain, the castles were well supplied with food and water and therefore able to withstand a prolonged siege of many months, even years. In his account of the destruction of Alamut by the Mongols, the historian Juwayni (d. 1283) describes with considerable admiration the vast underground store rooms built by the Ismailis and the difficulty the Mongols had to destroy the castle’s fortifications.” – from Nizari Ismaili Castles of Iran and …




The Golden Horde

Because of the urbanization of the U.S. population, if the entire eastern or western power grid goes down for more than a week, the cities will rapidly become unlivable. I foresee that there will be an almost unstoppable chain of events: Power -> water -> food distribution -> law and order -> arson fires -> full scale looting As the comfort level in the cities rapidly drops to nil, there will be a massive involuntary outpouring from the big cities and suburbs into the hinterboonies. This is the phenomenon that my late father, Donald Robert Rawles–a career physics research administrator …




The Thin Veneer

In my lectures on survival topics I often mention that there is just a thin veneer of civilization on our society. What is underneath is not pretty, and it does take much to peel away that veneer. You take your average urbanite or suburbanite and get him excessively cold, wet, tired, hungry and/or thirsty and take away his television, beer, drugs, and other pacifiers, and you will soon seen the savage within. It is like peeling the skin of an onion—remove a couple of layers and it gets very smelly. As a Christian, I attribute this to man’s inherently sinful …




From The Memsahib: Small Livestock on a Budget

I suggest that when in comes to small livestock equipment, start out with used equipment and/or build it yourself. If you want new, your local feed store is likely to have fair prices. But do not buy your equipment at a big chain pet store. Compare these prices. Used rabbit cage at a garage sale: $10 with everything included. Build your own: $20. Buy a similar cage at the chain pet store: $75! The handy person can construct much of the necessary equipment themselves. But if you want to buy it, I have some suggestions for you. A great time …