Wood Cookstoves: The Alternate Source For Your Everyday Life, by Sarah C.

Wood heat: Is it really the best source, and why? This seems to be a popular question. I’m sure you have heard about the many benefits of an alternative energy source, but how much do you really know about wood heat? Maybe you remember that you grandmother used to cook on a wood cookstove back in the day, but you probably assume that wood cooking is old fashioned and outdated — think again!  How much do you spend a year to heat your home? Not to mention the additional cost of cooking your food, and heating your water. We just …




Letter Re: On Surviving Hot Climates and Relocation

Mr. Rawles, Thank you for your service to our country.  In the deep south we are presently in the mist of a drought with high heat and humidity. As two-year preppers, my brother and I grow a few acres of vegetables and field corn for livestock that consist of chickens, hogs, milk goats and rabbits. A milk cow is in the planning. My brother is 71 and I am 68 and we were raised on the farm. I left for the air-conditioned work-force many years ago but still spend several hrs a week at manual labor. At my age I am …




Letter Re: Thoughts of Storm Shelters

Dear JWR: First let me say I don’t consider myself a expert.  However I have studied on the subject and would like put  forth what I have gleaned from my research. 1 Weather patterns shift.  When I was a kid in Louisiana  you never heard of a tornado’s there.  Now they are commonplace. 2 Stick built houses (2 by 4 construction) and trailers cannot stand up to even a weak twister. 3 Even in a weak storm the flying debris is deadly. I also found out that a large numbers of deaths were caused by this lethal debris as people …




Letter Re: Corn Burning Stoves

Sir, Just wanted to thank you for your blog and all the good information available through it.  Several times in the section on selecting the midwest for a retreat, you mention the lack of available fuel sources.  Corn burning stoves are fairly common in this part of the country.  They tend to be in the hands of those who don’t pay retail for corn at this time, and certainly given modern means of agriculture the Midwest (Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska) can produce enough corn for its people and corn stoves.  Who knows if this would hold true in a …




Letter Re: Survival Architecture: Building a Retreat that is Defensible, Sustainable and Affordable

James Wesley: On March 25, we saw a post by Phil M. indicating that “At a point of 6′ below the surface of  the earth, temperatures stays constant at around 60°F.”  This may only be true for very specific locales.  For most locations, constant ground temperature reflects the average yearly air temperature for the locale, and ground temps are only constant at a depth of about 30 ft. and below.  At depths above 30 ft., ground temperatures begin to increasingly modulate up and down following seasonal air temperature.  In areas of the world with seasonal temperature changes similar to the …




Letter Re: Do-It Yourself HEPA Air Filtration for NBC Shelters

Friends, In the wake of the Japanese nuclear plant melt-down situation, I called a safe room manufacturer for a hand cranked air filter.  It was over $2,000.  Too much.  I did learn that you need both particulate (HEPA) and gas (carbon) filters.   I have jury-rigged an NBC air filtration system.  Here it is: Go to a hydroponics store or find one online.  Yes, the one’s that people go to in order to grow marijuana. You will need an inline fan.  I used a  continentalfan.com AXC150B-C fan.  It is a little more expensive but German engineering costs more.  (Quieter too). You …




Letter Re: Do-It Yourself HEPA Air Filtration for NBC Shelters

Friends, In the wake of the Japanese nuclear plant melt-down situation, I called a safe room manufacturer for a hand cranked air filter.  It was over $2,000.  Too much.  I did learn that you need both particulate (HEPA) and gas (carbon) filters.   I have jury-rigged an NBC air filtration system.  Here it is: Go to a hydroponics store or find one online.  Yes, the one’s that people go to in order to grow marijuana. You will need an inline fan.  I used a  continentalfan.com AXC150B-C fan.  It is a little more expensive but German engineering costs more.  (Quieter too). You …




Two Letters Re: Some Woodstove Experience

James: I’d like to suggest to Yvonne with the woodstove that she could mount a half inch thick [steel] plate to the top of her stove to get more cooking area.  The plate could hang out past the edges of the stove to give her more cooking area.  She could bolt or weld it on.  It sounded like she was tight on money, so this would be a cheap and easy fix. – Tim X. Dear Mr. Rawles, Tom in Juneau is correct. Tulikivi soapstone heaters from Finland are the cat’s meow. They are the gold standard for contra-flow masonry …




Letter Re: Some Woodstove Experience

Sir: For the true self-sufficient survivalist the Tulikivi soapstone heater (with bake oven) [from Finland] is the supreme method of heating and cooking in a home.   We replaced a dangerous old fireplace with a Tulikivi four years ago and admit they are very expensive, but worth every dollar.  A two hour fire heats our wel- insulated 1,200 square foot home via one two hour fire per day. On very cold days…15F and below. We burn two shorter fires in the morning and evening of one and a half hours each. The wood savings over a conventional wood stove is approximately 50% and the even radiant heat …




Some Woodstove Experience, by C.V.Z.

Being without electricity in the middle winter is cold. We didn’t have any heat during an ice storm. With that winter in mind, we finally purchased a wood stove for heat and cooking opportunities. As the wife and mother, I had this horrible image of an old black pot bellied stove belching smoke and catching the roof on fire. I could hear the neighbors complaining about the smell and my kids going to school smelling like they had just burned down the house. Images of black walls and ceilings and truck loads of firewood haunted me with every winter wind. …




Earthships: Sustainable Living for TEOTWAWKI, by Sgt. P.

How much did the average home owner in the United States pay for utilities last month?  Last Year?  How much will they pay for utilities by the time they pay off their mortgage?  If they averaged $250 per month in utilities, which is below the national average of “$264.33 per month” (Statistic quoted by White Fence) the answer is shocking.  With the average home loan lasting 30 years, without taking into consideration rising costs, utilities would be $90,000!  For that amount of money this homeowner could put one child through a four year-degree at a very nice university.  What if …




Alternative Energy Sources For Emergencies, by Smiledr

Being in preparedness mode opens your eyes to a number of factors, not just Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids. As a battalion coordinator for the Los Angeles Fire Department’s CERT program, I was asked to give a presentation on Alternative Energy sources for an emergency situation. My research into this was very enlightening, and I found a number of great ideas. This does not encompass everything available, but it is fairly thorough. So, why Alternative Energy? In an emergency, such as a major earthquake, there can be a loss of power, gas and water. If it is a short-term problem e.g. …




Letter Re: One Man’s Approach to Preparedness

Sir: Just to let everyone know, I am new to the prepper lifestyle, and new to the kind of changes one must make in one’s life to begin saving as opposed to spending, or maybe a better way of saying it is to say “ changing what your spending your money on ”   where before it may have been a new dirt bike, man toy,   or flat screen television, now my extra cash (after my tithe and savings) is going to preparations.   My change in spending habits quickly brought about a realization , that some items that …




Letter Re: Mobile Fuel Storage System

James, Let me introduce your readers to propane and the many possibilities it offers your planning and TEOTWAWKI preps, that you will likely never have thought of before. Over the last number of years I have carefully thought out and planned a “system” if you will of key pieces of equipment which all operate on a single, inexpensive and highly efficient and large mobile fuel storage system. Naturally, I have the standard wood stove and gasoline operated family vehicle(s), but what is most interesting is some of the items I have been working on and extensively testing/ using on the side.   …




In Defense of the Fortress Mentality–and Architecture

I recently got an irate letter from an outspoken Peak Oil commentator who often stresses “community agriculture” and “sustainable development.” He castigated me for “advocating a fortress mentality…” and “encouraging gun-buying…” I think that he meant those as insults, but I took them as compliments. I am indeed an advocate of the fortress mentality, and fortress architecture. The two go hand-in-hand. As I pointed out in my book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It”, modern American architecture with flimsy doors and large expanses of windows is just a 70 year aberration from a global …