Gardens for the Future, by JLM

There are many reasons to make open pollinated [“heirloom variety”] seeds an integral part of your gardening experience and food storage. If seeds are collected from F1 hybrids, the plants grown from those seeds will generally not have the characteristics that you desired in the parent plant. Open pollinated seeds allow the gardener the option of saving seed and growing the plants you like, year after year. In the April 1991 issue of National Geographic, in an article titled, “World Food Supply at Risk”, the authors point out past failures of agriculture being based on only a few varieties. Such …




Two Letters Re: Survival Biscuits

Mr. Rawles: Regarding SF in Hawaii’s letter about hardtack biscuits posted on January 21st, I have made more than a few of these recently, both for survival purposes, as well as just for getting used to them. If you make them to specification they come out hard, like thick crackers. Be sure to cut them to size before you put them in the oven, as even after the 1-hour of cooking they will be too hard to cut effectively. The best way I’ve found to eat them is take a bullion cube, dissolve it in water. Next add the hard …




Land Navigation – More Than Just a Walk in the Woods, by GlobalScout

While sheltering in place has many advantages during an End-of-Civilization-Schumer-Dispersal scenario, there may be good reasons to travel on foot cross country. (In “Patriots” for example, squads and patrols traveled afoot for security, reconnaissance, communication, ambush and assault missions.) The following tips are offered for your consideration should you have to resort to “Shank’s Mare” for transportation. Land Navigation can be divided into “tactical” or “peacetime” methods. While even in peacetime there are times that it is better to travel undetected, in a tactical scenario, being caught might be fatal. You’ll have to judge the situation yourself, but when in …




Letter Re: Survival Biscuits

The history of biscuits started off in Rome around the 3rd Century BC. The word biscuit comes from the Latin bis coctum which means “twice-baked”. Back then, a biscuit was a thin unleavened wafer, quite hard, and with a very low water content – hence the name “twice-baked”. The advantage of the low water content was that the biscuit would have a long shelf-life, because it wouldn’t get moldy. Adding eggs or meat to the biscuit mix increases protein content but it will not last as long. Mixing a complementary proteins (grains with dairy, grains with beans and beans with …




Letter Re: Yet Another Article Touting “Mobility” for Survival

Jim: Thank you for response on the mobile survival fantasy. I think it is dangerous for the average Joe to believe that he can be a mountain man. Sure, some can, in some climates and locations with lots of training. Even then it’s dangerous and unpredictable. A twisted ankle can be the end of you. Remember too, those mountain survival stories were from the days when the wildlife in this country was at much higher levels. For most of us it means being cold, wet, tired, hungry and thirsty in the woods and being targets on the streets. (“Nice pack …




Letter Re: Yet Another Article Touting “Mobility” for Survival

Dear Jim: See this piece on Survival Preparedness as: “The Ultimate “Contrarian” Investment for 2007 — Be Prepared” The author knows a lot about economics (excellent web site), but one can certainly critique his “Batman in the Boondocks” or “mobile refugee” survival strategy. Regards, – OSOM JWR Replies: I’m dismayed to see such strategies proposed again and again, usually by folks who have never actually attempted to fill–much less actually shoulder–their “everything that I’ll need” backpack. It is incredibly naive to think that anyone can “head for the hills” with just what you can carry, and survive for an extended …




Horse Power, The Real McCoy, by S.N.

While I have only been a reader for a year or so, I have not noticed a lot of references to the advantages to livestock. Depending upon your retreat location, the extra logistics of livestock ownership will outweigh the costs. As fossil fuel availability becomes more limited, the conversion of non-protein nitrogen into energy will begin looking more attractive. Today I want to focus on the horse. Let’s look at the four major benefits of the equine: Transportation –A horse can move you from your residence to your retreat. You can (i) ride, (ii) drive a wagon or buggy, (iii) …




Letter Re: Advice on Small-Scale Grain Growing, Harvesting, and Processing

Dear Editor: In an earlier posting you recommended the book “Small Scale Grain Raising” [by Gene Logsdon], but [I found] that it was out of print. However, I found an Australian library that will provide a free downloadable copy. It only took a few minutes on a high speed connection, but you get the book in a PDF file. – Roger H. in Virginia




Letter Re: Advice on Small-Scale Grain Growing, Harvesting, and Processing

Sir: Friday’s letter on grains was very good. I have acquired myriad of 19th century farm tools at what are called Threshermen’s Shows in Wisconsin. These are shows for Hit and Miss [stationary] engines, Steam engines and the tools from late 19th Century to early 20th Century Farming. There is usually a flea market as well. I have picked up a scythe in reasonable condition for $20.00. I had to spend about an hour carefully sharpening it, but I got it sharp enough to cut my thumb pretty well. After a visit to my first aid station I took it …




Letter Re: Advice on Small-Scale Grain Growing, Harvesting, and Processing

Hi, I love your survival site. I was wondering about finding low cost or fairly low cost equipment to harvest, thresh, winnow and hull grains such as wheat, barley, millet, oats, etc. Also low cost equipment to extract oil from seeds such as sunflower seeds. I’ve done an extensive search on the Internet and can find very little that is meant for a family or small group of people. Manual (hand power) or electric/gas/diesel are all of interest. Being able to process and use grains is extremely important but I don’t know of any sites that sell survival equipment that …




Pre-Crisis Survival Skills, by D.A.L.

Pre-crisis survival skills: The only tool more valuable than knowledge is an attitude of self sufficiency. The mere willingness to provide for your own needs can pay off everyday, even absent any “end of the world as we know it” event. In fact, simply being willing to provide for your own needs can pave the way for not only learning valuable skills, but saving money to boot! By way of example let me tell you about a recent experience with the steam heating system at my lady friend’s house. It is a Victorian house and the main boiler furnace was …




Letter Re: Resources on the SurplusRifle.com CD-ROMs

Jim: It’s not often I recommend a web site, but this web site will disappear soon and your readers will want to check this out: SurplusRifle.com Jamie Mangrum has cancer and is shutting down the web site in three months. I bought the 2 CD set called “The BIG CD-ROM” 1 & 2. I think that the content is excellent. The web site includes instructions on how to disassemble and re-assemble many types of military surplus rifles and handguns. In addition, it also included videos on how to blue firearms and cast bullets. Anyone who does maintenance on their firearms …




Letter Re: The James Kim Exposure Death Tragedy: Lessons to Be Learned

Mr. Rawles: I followed the search and rescue story [the tragic death of James Kim–stranded on a remote Oregon logging road] in the news recently and was struck with very emotional feelings about their ordeal. Apparently he and his family did the right things, but in the end bad luck and a lack of proper survival gear was disastrous. Putting myself into his shoes I feel that I too would have definitely tried to hike for help after a week of hunkering down and waiting for rescue. See the series of Google Earth images showing his path while trying to …




Letter Re: Some Good Things Prompted By SurvivalBlog

Jim, The following are some things SurvivalBlog.com has prompted me to do since I began reading it: I’ve had no debt for 20 years, but my meager holdings are now about 1/3 precious metals. Is lead considered a precious metal? 🙂 My freezer is full of elk, whitetail deer, and caribou. I added to my long-term foods during your Safecastle special, but I’m now reviewing the viability of my existing stocks. Like the realtor’s mantra of “location, location, location”, a survivalist’s creed should be “Rotate, rotate, rotate. “ A 10 KW Generac generator is ready to be wired to my …




Letter Re: Tool Chest Needs of the Survivalist

As a survivalist, you need a complete set of tools to keep your stuff running. As this could include cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, ATVs, bicycles, snowmobiles, little red wagons, etc. You might think that is already a fair number of different types of tools required. But what about other things you might need tools for? Some examples: Weapons – tools used by a gunsmith or armorer are rather specialized. General – Hammers are a common, but what about sledge hammers? What about post-hole diggers? Axes? Hatchets? Roofing hammers? Crow-bars? Saws? Levels? Mattocks? etc., etc., etc. Plumbing – Requires some specialized …