Leatherworking for the Beginner, by R.S.

Leather has been used for millennia as a durable resource for clothing, shelter, armor, and more. If you pay attention, there is an abundance of leather all around you. It’s on furniture and baseball fields, in cars, and on garment racks. If you found yourself in a post-collapse situation, leather is a readily available scavenge resource. If you know how to work with it and have a few simple tools and supplies, you have the solution to countless problems. Later I’ll explain some basics. My journey with leather began a few years ago. I was attending a homeschool conference and saw a beautiful leather backpack. It was extremely durable, functional, and handsome to look at. It had been constructed to minimize points of failure and last a lifetime. Zippers, for example, were eschewed in favor of buckles, as zippers are typically the first thing to fail on a bag or garment. I immediately began my online search for this glorious bag only to find that it retailed for $695. Knowing my wife would have an aneurysm if I paid that much for a bag, my dream of carrying this pack died a little that day. A few weeks passed, but … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: WaterBOBs and Reservoirs

Mr. Latimer, Just an FYI that I saw the WaterBob on Amazon. Not sure if it is indeed “discontinued”, but it’s still for sale–it looks like. I have one. Thanks for your blog. I have received good info on it to help my family prepare for all sorts of scenarios. – MHC o o o Thanks to JWR’s post, I just ordered two WaterBOB’s from Amazon for $40. I checked and the Reservoir cost was about $75 for one. The WaterBOB is a one time use. Not sure that’s the case for the Reservoir. I assume the supply of WaterBOBs won’t last long. Thanks for the heads up.

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Letter Re: Firestarters

HJL, I’ve read with interest and amusement the recent firestarting articles (https://survivalblog.com/letter-re-easy-fire-starting-article/ ) and wanted to add my 2¢. For everyday firestarting in the wood stove at home, I use egg cartons dipped in melted bacon fat. We have bacon once a week and save the drippings in a big plastic coffee container. (I also cook with bacon fat, but that’s another story!) Once a month or so I carefully melt that fat in Mr. Microwave until it’s clear-ish. Then I dip the egg carton egg “cups” into the container and put them in an open gallon Ziploc to cool. (Yes, I have laying hens, but some of them are slackers and so we also buy a dozen eggs a week for cooking and for the Dogs of Doom. Hence the surplus egg cartons!) The bacon grease penetrates the cardboard nicely. They start quickly with a long-reach lighter, and they burn furiously for several minutes, which is plenty long enough to get my kindling and small wood going before adding the bigger wood. I’ve been doing this for years. (Funny story: When I first started using these one of our dogs couldn’t resist the bacon odor and pulled one out. … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Easy Fire Starting

HJL: Once upon a time after the passing of my father, I told my wife I needed to go on a hike. Being the good woman she is, I went with her blessing. I loaded up early in March and went to a park near Silva, North Carolina, near a place known as Stone Pile Gap. I was drawn to the site because of that name and my fascination with the ancient custom of first building a cairn in the memory of a loved one and subsequently for travelers to add a stone and say a prayer. That people have been doing that in a spot for a couple millennia is just aweing to me. It is very human and attached at our most spiritual level. On that hike in the leafless forest, I came upon a shoulder where a rather large family cemetery was located. You could see quite a distance because of the season. I offered a prayer that day. Later, after having traveled down one ridge and following back on another, it grew late, and I was nowhere near a prepared campsite. Randomly, I turned up into the woods to set up camp near a curious pile … Continue reading

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Easy Fire Starting, by A.H.

Next to water, fire is one of the most essential needs for survival. No doubt you have six different ways to start a fire you call favorites and another twenty more you could use in a pinch. Here’s a twist on an old tried but true method. I first learned this method from Boy’s Life many, many decades ago. I wasn’t even a Boy Scout. (They didn’t want me, but that’s another story.) Anyway, I’ve always liked this method for it’s simple elegance. However,, I thought of one tweak to make it an awesome choice. Making the traditional fire starter is easy as pie. You’ll need an old newspaper, some paraffin or beeswax, and some string. You’ll also need two pans and a source of heat to melt the wax. I recommend using something disposable for the wax. Even a steel can should work. Make sure you have some tongs or some other way to handle the can. Note, many prefer beeswax to paraffin. While one can list good arguments for both, why not experiment on your own? What stops some is a good, inepensive source of beeswax. The fact is, there is an excellent source right under your nose! … Continue reading

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The Fallacy of the Bugout Bag, by J.C.

I began my quest to become self-sufficient in a bug out situation sometime around the end of 2004 or the beginning of 2005.  My first purchase, if I recall was a gravity fed water filter and a small solar battery charger.  The old saying that one can live three weeks without food but only three days without water, in hindsight is what drove me to that purchase.  I don’t regret buying it to this day, but the chances that it will be with me in a true bug out situation, are slim to none. Before I go any further I would like to state that there are numerous different scenarios in a survival situation and that each requires its own skill set and supplies in order to get through them.  In two of those three scenarios, that big gravity filter will be worth its weight in gold. There is the shelter in place scenario, during which weight, bulk and duplication of gear and supplies mean very little.  In fact, during a shelter in place scenario, in nearly every instance, the more the merrier.  There is also a shelter in or near vehicle scenario.  Here bulk does become a problem.  If … Continue reading

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Prepare to Be Prepped – Sometimes You Have to Survive Daily Life, by Just-Do-It Jane

Most of us in the U.S. have been touched by winter storms. If you live in the South like I do, then you’ve probably tossed your hands in the air and said to yourself, “Wait a minute! What happened to mild winters?!” Fortunately for me, my friend “Survival Messenger” has had the foresight to help me (and many others) understand why we should prepare for come-what-may scenarios. She has shared everything from her favorite high-tech gadgets to trusted and ingenious homemade solutions for everyday problems. I’ve been the thrilled recipient of handy buckets and bags filled with so many helpful goodies that it’s like Christmas each time she walks in the door. But her generosity doesn’t end with physical products. Almost every conversation we have contains a gold mine of valuable information I store for future use.  In January and February of one recent year, I came to know how important her preparedness values had become in my life. Weather/Round I After two years of searching, I finally found the homestead property of my dreams, which consisted of an old 1920s farmhouse and outbuildings on almost seven beautiful acres with trees, a spring-fed pond and plenty of room for gardens. … Continue reading

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Lessons Learned in Livestock – Part 1, by C.K.

Editor’s Introductory Note:  Some details in this article were deleted or slightly altered, to protect the anonymity of the author.- JWR A brief history of my background and education: My family has been farming since they came to this country in the 1840s. My Father was a farmer like all the previous generations, but also started working livestock auctions in 1961. Now I work auctions only on a part time basis, and attend about thirty auctions a year. My life took a change on my second marriage. Not only did I get a beautiful wife; she also came with the word of the Lord. So after much prayer my journey began. Like most people I’m bottom middle class. Fortunately I have a farm, rural location, unlimited water, and some good ground for gardens. My Grandmother told me many stores of the shortages of WWII and raising six boys on the farm. I took her life lesson to heart, and knew what needed to be done. That is where the journey began. We have 160 acres on a side road that’s thirty miles from a mid-size town, so we have chosen to be cautious and quiet and self-sustaining. The goal is … Continue reading

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Storing Eggs for Survival, by J.D.

Nothing beats a fresh egg! Eggs are inexpensive and quite versatile. They can be cooked in may ways, added to dishes to make them richer and creamier, and they are a great protein source. Eggs also contain choline, which aids in proper liver function. Eggs also contain a host of other vitamins and minerals, so they make a great addition to your survival pantry. Unless you have your own chickens, you most likely get your eggs from the grocery store. In the United States, the government regulates the food industry, so eggs have been sanitized and stored in refrigeration. They are delivered on a refrigerated truck to the grocery store and stored in refrigeration at the grocery until you purchase them and take them home, where you store them in the refrigerator. Eggs from your grocery can be weeks or even more than a month old by the time you purchase them. In a situation where there is no power and the grocery stores are empty, how would you get and keep fresh eggs? I will discuss keeping fresh eggs for up to 8 months out of refrigeration by oil coating and proper storage. There are many sources on the … Continue reading

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I Love Sharp Things, by Phil M.

In any survival situation a defective tool is pretty much worthless and will cost you dearly in frustration or even your life. I’m sure you can think of a lot of examples. Effective tools are a big part of my life and most all of them need to be sharp, and some of them very sharp, like chisels and planer blades. When I started thinking of all the tools that I keep sharp the list started running into the dozens, everything from a potato peeler to a chainsaw. A lot of you are like me in one way or another as far as needing something with a keen edge to get the job done. For instance, the little scissors for trimming those pesky nose hairs or loping shears for the trees and shrubs. All of us have knives in the kitchen drawer or knife block, but how many of them are sharp and I mean really sharp. From experience I can tell you that most are not very sharp at all. Many examples of this come to mind like taking fresh baked bread to a neighbors party and asking for a bread knife that turned out to be so dull … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Charcoal for Disaster Cooking?

Mr. Rawles, I am now reading your book “How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It“ for the third time. I am wondering why you did not mention the use of charcoal barbecues for cooking. I envision using a small one [such as a hibachi] for small meals, and a larger one for larger meals. Charcoal is storable. I am wondering if one can get a barbecue going by starting with wood, building up a hot base, then adding charcoal? (That’s for when you run out of starter fluid.) Has anybody done this? Love the book. Regards, – Eric C. JWR Replies:  A charcoal fire can indeed be started by using paper and kindling sticks.  It just takes a bit of patience and practice. It is also a safer method than charcoal lighting fluid. You are correct that charcoal briquettes will store for many years, and long as they are kept dry. I recommend buying a couple of extra 40 gallon galvanized steel trash cans for storing charcoal briquettes, to keep them dry. I do not recommend buying the more expensive “self-igniting” charcoal that is saturated with a starter.  Not only will the briquette starter gradually … Continue reading

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Training for Truly Defensive Driving, by K.W.

After a long day of work, where you had plenty of motivation to get your rear in gear and start working on your projects, you hop in the car for the drive home. As you grab 5th gear, good choice on driving a manual, and look over your left shoulder to merge on the highway as a truck 200 yards in front of you just dropped a huge pile of tree branches in your lane. You look ahead as you are merging and see that pile of branches! What do you do? Time is quickly going by, and so is the distance. Hitting this pile of tree debris just might disable your fancy Prius that gets so many miles per gallon, let alone the fact you may be injured severely. Hit the brakes and the driver that was only feet behind you as you merged might end up in the middle of your car. Instinct takes over in a situation like this. Your instinct was to physically lock up and slam on the brakes, you hit the pile of debris and the driver who was texting rear ends you causing major injuries sending you to the hospital in a Helicopter … Continue reading

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