Garden Lessons – Part 1, by Greenthumb in the West

There is an old saying: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” We had this proverb in mind when we bought our retreat property five years ago, and started work on the garden and orchard immediately, even before we started on the house. The past five years have been a steep learning curve of lessons in taking raw land to (semi!)-productive land. We have had the blessing of not needing to rely on our garden for sustenance during this time. I wanted to pass on what we’ve learned and purchased …




Pirate Radio for Sea and Land, by Tunnel Rabbit

Editor’s Introductory Note: The following lengthy article is being posted in one piece, for the sake of continuity.  I recommend printing a hard copy for your radio reference binder. Note that some of the methods described are illegal outside of disaster situations, and are presented for educational purposes only. — If our country ever becomes Balkanized or collapsed, boat owners could at some point just sail away to calmer waters, sandy beaches, and palm trees. In a WROL situation, they could use their VHF and HF Marine transceiver sets to good effect, much like how Amateur Radio operators can use …




Keeper of The Fire, by PJGT

This article is not about cutting wood, nor is it about the best chainsaw or other tools. It is about keeping the fire. About the life and warmth of a fire. If you are thinking about transitioning to wood fire heat, I’m hoping to help avoid some of the frustrations and shorten the learning curve of learning to keep a fire. I’ve lived in many different parts of the world, and there are different types of forests and wood available. Use what you have. Make it work. That’s my best advice. Getting things together and making it work is what …




Effective Garden Preparedness, by Paul H.

How To Get Started Many people in the prepping world often ask me how to get started producing products local to their own back yards. Good news? It’s easier than ever in history to get started with a garden! The vegetables and fruits you grow not only will provide nutritonal benefits for you and your family, but also provide an excellent stress reliever from your hard day at work. First, I completely understand that some folks live in apartments or condos and simply cannot garden to the extent that the garden will provide enough. I suggest that if you fall …




Ontario RAT 1 Knife and AccuSharp Diamond PRO Sharpener, by The Novice

The story is told of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The bravest and truest of the knights would ride out betimes in quest of the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail was the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper. They imagined it to be a golden chalice studded with jewels. In my version of the story, the Holy Grail was actually something quite different. It was part of an unmatched set of crude earthenware dishes. The disciples had borrowed the dishes from the owner of the upper room in order to set the table …




Simple Heat Treating for a High Carbon Steel Knife Blade – Part 2, by Steve A.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) The blacksmith would heat the steel to a bright cherry red, check it with a magnet, bank the forge fire over the steel, and let it cool in the dying fire overnight, ensuring a very slow cooling rate. A modern heat treat shop would heat the steel to temperature in an atmosphere-controlled furnace and then turn the furnace off until the steel has cooled sufficiently. Another way to do this starts by clamping the file by its tang upright in a metal vise and annealing it with a torch. If you slowly …




Simple Heat Treating for a High Carbon Steel Knife Blade – Part 1, by Steve A.

Modern civilization owes its existence in part to the early discovery that iron containing small amounts of carbon could be made much harder than other iron compounds. This substance, iron with between about 0.6 and 1.7 percent carbon and no other alloying elements, was the first predictably hardenable steel and can be referred to as “high carbon plain steel”. Such steels can be made as hard as a file and form the most basic group of tool steels, where tool steel is defined as steel that is able to cut softer steel. The range of these steels include the simple …




How To Build a WTSHTF Gas Station, by Samantha B.

Gas is often not stored safely. A vaporized single gallon of gas cause catastrophic consequences if it ignites or explodes. People often store gas in 5-gallon cans. Cans are placed in barns, outbuildings, and garages alongside valuable equipment or stored household goods. Some people even store gas in the basement of their home in cans that are not properly sealed. Our primary reason for constructing this gas station was to have a safe place to store fuel and provide some security from short to moderate gas supply disruptions. We also wanted to avoid unnecessary trips to town just for fuel. …




Constructing My Culvert Cooker – Part 2, by J.P.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) Start Cooking! Stage III. Build the deck (Two Days) Since adding a deck to your outdoor kitchen is optional I offer no plan or directives for you to follow. Again there are expert builders – even average builders – who are capable of producing a fine deck for these purposes. Likewise big box stores and most book dealers are a source of good plans for your deck. Here a few things for you to consider: * Craigslist and other on-line postings are likely to turn up trex and other similar used materials …




Constructing My Culvert Cooker – Part 1, by J.P.

Introductory Note: Since posting the article on Wood Fired Coffee Roasting (Dec 8-9) a number of you have asked for some directives on building the counter height cooker. Because I love using my cooker, and I can’t think of a more practical piece of outdoor equipment, here goes with my best attempt to guide you through the construction process. I highly recommend putting together the entire outdoor kitchen, but if you are interested in just the culvert cooker then you’ll find that below – Stage II, Culvert Cooker. First, read through the entire article. — If Wikipedia knew about the …




Cap and Ball Sixguns: Old Technology, New World, by Randy in S.C.

Ammunition is in short supply these last few months, and probably will be for the foreseeable future. RImfires and common defensive calibers like .380, 9mm and .45 went first, then .223/5.56. Since the election, even shotgun shells are scare as hens’ teeth. Leftist politicians may not have to gut the Second Amendment if shooters can’t find ammunition. When Mahbub Ali gave Kim a revolver, it was fully loaded. “Of what use,” the wily Afghan observed, “is a gun unfed?” What ammunition is still available is often at scalpers’ prices. Paying a dollar a shot for steel-cased Russian junk is not …




Gear Review: Morisk Waterproof Flashlight/Plasma Lighter, by The Novice

According to the ancient Greeks, Prometheus lay the foundation of civilization by stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mankind. The mythology of the ancient Greeks does not accurately represent the one true God, His holy character, or His plan of redemption. But the Greeks were remarkably perceptive regarding the role of fire as the foundation of civilization. Heat, light, protection from wild animals, food preparation, the forging of metal tools, and a host of other possibilities all lay hidden within the glow of a tiny flame. Effective fire starting is so foundational to survival, that I try …




Surviving the Disaster Golden Hour – Part 5, by J.M.

(Continued from Part. 5. This concludes the article.) If I’m going to be operating in a rural or wilderness area there are some changes I make to what I bring with me. I lose the Boker tool and the shove knife (since there probably won’t be many doors I need to get through), and I add in an Orion Pocket Rocket Aerial Signal Kit. That gives me 4 signal flares that will go up to 300’ and burn for 6+ seconds, which should significantly increase the odds of being spotted by rescue personnel. As I mentioned previously, when I’m backpacking …




Surviving the Disaster Golden Hour – Part 4, by J.M.

(Continued from Part 3.) One piece of kit that almost everyone has with them all the time is a cell phone, and there are a number of ways it can be useful in an emergency: This may sound obvious, but if the situation warrants it and you can safely do so, call for help! If you’re trapped by a fire on the upper floor of a tall building, the 911 operator can usually connect you with emergency personnel on the scene who may be able to rescue you or provide guidance on a safe route for you to take. If …




Surviving the Disaster Golden Hour – Part 3, by J.M.

(Continued from Part. 2) Another way to reduce the impact of surprise in an emergency is to be able to detect the potential signs that something may be happening you need to be concerned about before it reaches the critical stage. Outside of sudden events like explosions and earthquakes there are almost always early indicators that something may be going wrong around you. A slight whiff of smoke, the creak and groan of a roof support, wildlife acting strangely or a look of concern on the faces of facility security personnel as they hurry by may be signs that you …