Letter: Converting Edison Lamps to 12 VDC

Jim, Would you mind offering a link for a 12-volt bayonet mount adapter [for standard 120 Volt AC floor and table  lamps to use automotive interior and tail lights] that you referenced in your novel Patriots? Thanks, – Marc JWR Replies: Marc: Sadly, those bulb adapters are no longer cataloged by Real Goods. These days, with the profusion of inexpensive LEDs on the market, I would instead opt for Edison base 12 VDC LED conversions. This makes sense because LEDs draw so much less current than traditional automotive filament bulbs, and they have a much longer service life. NOTE: These …




My Toolbag, by P.G.

One of mankind’s distinctives from the animal world is in our use of tools. While other creatures may make use of twigs to fish insects out of cavities, or crack shellfish by banging them with stones, only man has exercised his mind and used tools to make so many things possible. The history of tool making is a fascinating study in itself, as our parents have progressed from the simple to the complex. Today it’s quite possible for a person of modest means to have a hobby woodshop or machine shop with astonishing capabilities. But what about most of us …




Are You Building Capacity or Capability?, by 3ADScout

First let’s define “capacity.” Capacity is how much of something we have. Think about your “capacity” in terms of beans, bullets and band-aids. For food, your capacity might be 72-hours’ worth of food in a bug-out-bag, or 1-year supply for 4 people. Your capacity for bullets might be 1,000 rounds for rifles and 500 rounds per pistol. For band-aids, you might have 10 boxes of 4×4 gauze pads, 2 boxes of gauze rollers and 2 rolls of tape enough to dress one small wound for about a week. When your capacity runs out, you have no more unless you somehow …




Garden Lessons – Part 2, by R.R.

(Continued from Part 1. This installment concludes the article.) There are numerous videos on the web about this process in building your seed-starting set up. It’s simple and again a one-time effort and expense. I’ve never even had to change a bulb after three years. I also have a surge protector that the three lights and three seed mats are plugged into. I then plug that surge protector into a timer so the lights and mats turn on/off automatically for around 10-12 hours each day. The next thing you have to plan is: when to start what  seeds or seedlings. …




Gardening Lessons – Part 1, by R.R.

So… You think that you can garden? Got the books, got some seeds, and you grew something once. Sure, it’s easy! Well, good for you. It hasn’t come easy for this guy. I’m the so called green-thumb in my house. House plants, no problem. Landscaping around the home, got that. Garden as if our life depends on, not so much. I managed lawn and landscaping crews for seven years during and after college. We did some major commercial work and I know more than the average homeowner about these things. I have to admit that vegetable gardening has been a …




Our DIY Solar Well Pump, by PJA

About four years ago, my wife and I finally got all four children out of the house and “on their way.” This allowed the two of us to pursue our dream of “leaving the city” and moving to a “rural homestead” on the edge of Middle Tennessee. The property we settled on is a modest five acres nestled within miles of rolling hills and cave fed streams within each “holler.” It included a 1940s farmhouse, two streams, a springhouse and a no-longer-used capped well casing. We managed to fence the 3-1/2 acre hill and stocked with Great Pyrenees herding dogs …




Life in the 12th Century, by Edge

The following article may offend some miserable gits with no sense of humour. If you are a miserable git, then you have been warned. Don’t come whining to me. To envisage a life after electricity, we must look back to a time without it. Most people can think as far back as the American Civil War for a lifestyle but that is modern history with Morse Code (1844), Railways (1804) and Steam Ships (1787) and not where we need to look at all. We need to go right back. In the 12th century there was a rural population of around …




Our Garden Produce Roadside Stand, by R.J.

For the past 10 years, my wife and I have been selling our produce out of a small (4 feet wide, 4 feet deep, and 5 feet high) open-faced vegetable stand which is located on our property next to a public road. The stand contains a variety of produce, priced to sell. It is unmanned, thereby relying on human honesty to pay the asking price. Our efforts have been most rewarding in more ways then just giving us a little extra spending money. We are eating better, have more meaning in life, are healthier, and often have discussions with our …




Preparedness Lessons from the 1930s – Part 1, by J. E.

It’s one or two years after an EMP attack and you are safely tucked away in your retreat somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Your storage foods have mostly been used and your high tech electronics is useless. The really bad stuff is mostly past. Now it’s try to stay fed and alive and pray that civilization as you know it is coming back. You’re going to have to work your environment to live. Ever wonder what life might be like to Homestead? What would it really be like to have no running water, electricity, sewer, newspaper or Internet? No …




Our Path Towards Preparation, by SBC

On our curious and sometimes convoluted path towards being prepared for TEOTWAWKI, I have sometimes impressed, often confounded and occasionally amused myself and family with our brilliance and stupidity. Here follows the outline of the story of our adventure in the hope that it will inspire or amuse or warn you and help your own journey be a bit easier and the load a bit lighter. We began our journey after Hurricane Katrina when FEMA so effectively demonstrated how inadequate the federal support system was dealing with large scale disasters. So what began as a ah-ha moment of “perhaps we …




JWR’s View: Storage Space Planning for Your Stuff

As a survivalist since age 14–and now 58–I’ve reached the stage of life where I’ve accumulated a deep larder and a lot of stuff. Just writing can’t help but remind me of the classic George Carlin stand-up comedy routine on “A Place For Your Stuff.” (Be forewarned of Carlin’s foul language.) But seriously, every well-prepared family has mountains of stuff. Storage space planning presents three major challenges: 1.) Where to fit it all. 2.) How to keep it safe from deterioration. 3.) Keeping it organized, so you can quickly find, retrieve, and replenish it. I will attempt to address all three …




Family Earthquake Preparedness: Are You Ready?

The recent strong earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska underscores the importance of family earthquake readiness. Thankfully, we live in a country with modern building standards. This is not in the case of many Third World nations, where unreinforced masonry construction is the norm. In the Third World, folks tend to be very stingy with reinforcing bar (“rebar”). So its seems that every time there is a large earthquake in those regions, there are building collapses, with large loss of life. By far, the safest houses for earthquakes are of wood frame construction. This is because such structures can flex and sway, …




Guest Article: Fall Chores, by Patrice Lewis

Editors’ Introductory Note:  This post first appeared in the excellent, long-running Rural Revolution blog. We recommend bookmarking it! We also recommend Patrice’s books. o  o  o Until a few days ago, October was a very dry month for us. Thankfully some much-needed and very welcome rain is moving in. While it’s delightful to walk outside and sniff the fresh moist ground, we weren’t idle during the dry weeks. Among other chores, we focused a lot on firewood, a chief preoccupation for many people this time of year. Summer before last, we had a neighbor come in with some huge equipment and clear …




The Family Stockpiles: Everything in Its Place and a Place for Everything

I’ve been a prepper now for more than 40 years. The good news is that there hasn’t been a major nationwide crisis, and that means that I’ve only had to break out my gear for localized/minor emergencies and family crises. And the food that we’ve gardened and bought in bulk has meant that we’ve enjoyed substantially lower food costs. (Not to mention less processed food additives.) But the bad news is that I own a home that is now almost too well stocked. First, some background on our situation: The Rawles Ranch is comfortably remote. It is nearly a 20 …




Gunsmith Training, by R2

I recently began to wonder about retirement. I’m in my 50s, self-employed, and middle-class. My father worked for the same company for 45 years and retired on a comfortable pension, but I don’t see that happening to me. Unlike years past, there isn’t any real loyalty between employers and employees anymore and retiring after long years on the job is more of an exception than the rule now. To add to this concern, there is the reason I’m self-employed. I’ve never performed well under the thumb of a boss. However, I have been able to excel when working for myself. …