Letter Re: Oregon Snow

Hugh, Many years ago we had a winter in the Spokane area that was threatening to put nearly three feet of snow on our rooftop. Roof rakes sure looked like a lot of work to use, and they raised the question of damage to the roof shingles (though the nicer rakes have wheels). So I hunted for a better solution and found the Roof Razor. This amazing tool makes me laugh every time I use it (which hasn’t been in a while!). For less than $150 I’ve got a tool that can clear my one-story roof of 2+ feet of snow in about a half hour. A D-bracket on a pole holds a straight edge with a trailing tarp that gets pushed under the snow. The snow comes zipping off in big blocks! Watch the video above; that’s really how well it works. The straight edge has wheels on it to keep it from actually contacting your roof shingles; there’s no damage! And you can get pole extensions for reaching second floor roofs. They all have to be pitched roofs. This isn’t going to work very well on a flat roof, sorry! (But I bet some clever person can figure … 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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Letter Re: Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned

Good Morning, SurvivalBloggers, SurvivalBlog recently had a very good list of hurricane preparation tips in Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned, written by a Florida resident. As a former 20+ year Florida resident I’d like to add to his excellent piece. In Florida, hurricanes are a way of life, and the period from June 1 to November 30 is known as “hurricane season.” The period from December 1 to May 31 is known as “not hurricane season.”  “Not hurricane season” is when one should be doing their preparation for the other six months. During “not hurricane season” one can find plywood on sale occasionally, generators are plentiful, frequently at reduced prices, and contractors and handymen are available. “Not hurricane season” is when one purchases plywood (tip: thicker is better), cuts it to fit windows and vulnerable doorways, drills mounting holes in it and labels each sheet as to which window or door it fits so installation can be done faster when a hurricane arrives during “hurricane season.” In short, anything non-perishable that one might need during “hurricane season” is procured and gotten ready during “not hurricane season.”  This includes laying out multiple travel plans to escape direct contact with a hurricane. As … Continue reading

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Letter: Another View of Alaska as a Survival Location

My family and I arrived in Alaska in 1974 while I was in the U.S. Army. I was stationed at Ft. Richardson (now part of Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson. JBER). I spent five years at Ft. Rich. A 3-year tour, with two one year extensions. In 1980 I left the Army and moved my family back to Anchorage, where I currently reside. I grew up in mid-eastern Pennsylvania and spent two summers working on dairy farms in that area. I agree with some of what S.J. had to say in regards to whites not welcome in native villages as well as that drugs and alcohol are a problem in these villages. Also the population in the “Bush” is so small someone new in the area will quickly be the major topic of discussion in that area. In short, you cannot hide. If you want to live a “survivalist” lifestyle here you must realize that 94% of the food consumed in Alaska is shipped in with most of it coming through the Port of Anchorage by two ships each week, Sunday and Wednesday. This past January one of the ships went in for two days of maintenance that stretched into three weeks. … Continue reading

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Hurricane Matthew–Some Lessons Learned

Dear Editor: Although I shouldn’t have been, I was once again amazed at the panic and last minute attempts to prepare, as Hurricane Matthew approached Florida. Florida’s geography dictates that there is only one way to travel to get out of the state, and that is north, unless you own a boat or plane.  The interstate freeways and highways get a lot of traffic and the stores get cleaned out, by hurricane refugees.  The parking lot of the Walmart that I visited was full of recreational vehicles (RVs).  Many of their owners were standing around with nowhere to go.  When a nearby gas station had what looked like a fuel resupply truck pull in there was a stampede of people on foot with empty gas cans lining up at the pump and blocking cars from getting in. Be prepared and top off as soon as you hear the word “Hurricane”: Nearly everything sold out.  Bread, milk, water in all containers, the camping sections were cleared, gas, diesel, propane, and butane were all gone.  The big box stores did quite a bit of business in plywood and lumber. Even car batteries took an inventory hit.  Empty propane bottles and gas cans … Continue reading

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Lessons From the Oklahoma Ice Storm of 2006, by Dr. Prepper

What I have found most useful from many useful articles on SurvivalBlog are the ones that honestly deal with personal experiences of stressful events, for example, those who have gone through hurricanes, floods, other natural storms, or man-made events. While it is useful from a planning perspective to speculate how things might be in an event that changes the world for us, there is nothing like learning from other’s experiences and what they thought went well and not so well. My family and I discovered first hand the value of preparation as well as the cost of the lack of it during a particularly severe ice storm in Oklahoma in the winter of 2006. It was about three weeks before Christmas, and we had three of four kids at home, my elderly mom, my elderly father-in-law all living with us, and my oldest daughter’s future husband as a guest for four weeks. I had kept some food and bottled water items in storage in a rather haphazard manner and a 4000-watt generator. We had a water well for our house and two acres with a septic system but no garden. Our heat was a natural gas furnace with an electric … Continue reading

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Letter: Fall Season Prepping

Dear Mr. Rawles and Mr. Latimer: Since the Autumnal Equinox has passed us by, may I offer a link to a relevant string of articles? I have been contemplating seasonal adjustments to my preps, and Cheaper Than Dirt has a series of blogposts that I found useful in provoking thought. I hope folks find this useful, as we tune our plans for the changing seasons. Thank you for your blog, and all you do. – Skyrat

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Base Layers and Their Differences – Part 2, by A.S.

If you recall from the first installment of this article which was posted early this month, I discussed the start of base layering principle which I am sure most people are very familiar with–especially those who read this blog. I also brought up the types of material used such as Polypropylene, Merino wool and the new fibre Tencel. In this installment I want to break down some information on the other layers involved and give my thoughts from long time use of garment materials that work in longevity. Goretex jackets are great for hikers and for those who take trips you maybe10 or 15 times a year in the great outdoors, but they are not suited for day-in, day-out wear/ This because once the waterproofing membrane has worn down by either rubbing on pack straps or other wear points such as where a [holster or] knife sheath is attached, you will see major wear problems. Then your expensive jacket will be pretty much useless. However, before I delve further into my solution, I want to go back to Merino wool and then the layers from the initial skin thermic layer and explain the differences between wool weights that are on … Continue reading

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Letter: Drought in Western Retreat Areas

JWR: Has the recent drought in the western United States caused you to change any of your “Recommended Retreat Areas”? – T.I.A. JWR Responds: No, it hasn’t. There is an old saying: “Climate is what you expect, and weather is what you get.” I do not believe that the current drought in the northwest is any evidence of any long term climate change. We are simply in an El Niño weather pattern that most likely will last only another year or two. The El Niño weather pattern has temporarily shifted the jet stream, disrupting seasonal rains, particularly in California, where the the drought has been quite severe and protracted.

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A Beginners Guide to Practical Prepping: Lessons From a True Story of Disaster, by R.L.

It was September 1989, a time in history that is forever burned into my memory. I was working as a firefighter in a small town outside Columbia, South Carolina. Hurricane Hugo had developed in the Atlantic, it was ripping apart the Carribean islands and it was headed our way. All the news on television and radio were inundated with updates on this killer storm; we were tuned into the Weather Channel at the firehouse carefully watching and waiting. The original forecast was that the Category 4 hurricane would turn north and only threaten the North Carolina coast. It was assumed that as with most previous hurricanes the forecasters were usually correct and there was little concern, only that we would see high winds and maybe some bad weather. As my shift continued throughout the day I was asked to work an additional shift the following day in anticipation of the “storm” so I agreed to work an extra shift. There was a quiet sense of anxiety and being nearly glued to the television all day we quickly realized that the storm of the century was in fact more of a threat to us than we had first thought. A nearly … Continue reading

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What I Learned From the Midwest Ice Storm of 2011, by J.M.

The three elements of nature that cause damage– sun, wind, and water. My bet is on the last one, especially the frozen kind. Preparing and acting upon it are two entirely different and opposite things. The rain started in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, without much concern at first. Although the weather report at first said the possibility of ice was real, it would stay south, in Ohio. Lesson #1: Nature is fickle, and even NOAA cannot always track the line between rain, snow, and ice. Predictive weather paths can give you a false sense of security, and margins of error are costly. Unfortunately, the prediction of a little bit of accumulation of ice turning to snow was wrong. It was all ice, at least for my area in Southeast Michigan, and we paid the price for the miscalculation. All was well until dark. The warm upper atmosphere and the cold air clashed as it swepted out of the northwest. By the time I looked out the front door, two hours later after dusk, it was too late. Ice hanging like chandeliers had already formed on the trees and power lines in front of my house. A hundred-foot tall … Continue reading

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Guest Post: Is This the End of 80% Receivers? by Timothy Priebe

While the rest of us were enjoying our own post New Year’s Day activities, BATFE Director B. Todd Jones was approving his department’s latest ruling. On January 2, 2015, ATF Ruling 2015-1 was approved. The ruling was a clarification of ATF Ruling 2010-10. That ruling advised licensed dealer-gunsmiths that they may legally perform certain firearm manufacturing activities on completed firearms if certain conditions were met. However, since that ruling in December of 2010, it appears that issues surrounding “incomplete” or “80% receivers” have moved to the forefront of the ATF’s purview. For those not familiar with “80% receivers”, “blanks”, or “paperweights”, let me explain. These items are castings or molded blocks of aluminum or polymer that have not been manufactured to the point of being legally recognized as a “firearm”. Hence, they are “80%” done. They are not quite a “firearm” that would otherwise require the seller to provide and the purchaser to complete ATF paperwork to purchase them. After purchasing the 80% receiver, one then has to complete the rest of the machining so that it can be used in conjunction with other parts to make a complete firearm. This usually requires some sort of machining in the fire … Continue reading

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