Odds ‘n Sods:

Reader Ben L. mentioned this one: Bird flu reports spreading in Asia. Ben’s comment: “Scary stuff. The S.E. Asians appear (!) to be holding their end in check, but the way these things tend to get out of control, I’d have to say November 2008/February 2009 would be the time to watch out for. Yes, time to stock up on animal-protein goodies from your advertisers such as Freeze Dry Guy and PrepareTV.com. (My my; their Gourmet Supreme Pack looks to be delicious.)”

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Hurricane-force winds and rain lashed northern Europe on Thursday

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I heard from Kurt at Survival Enterprises: “When the driver showed up on Wednesday, we discovered that it was a 53′ container [of canned storage foods], not a 40′ one as we had expected. And it contained more than 14,000 cans, not the 11,000 that we had originally estimated. I had my wife doing a running inventory, while my son, myself, and five of our friends spent from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. unloading thousands of cases of food in the 15 degree weather. Holy cow! That’s a lot of food!” Stock up, folks. Prices won’t get any better than what Kurt is offering. These cans are all top quality, nitrogen packed, and most were canned within the last year. These are expected to all sell out within the next four weeks, so don’t hesitate.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever." – Thomas Jefferson

Notes from JWR:

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog benefit auction for a pair of MURS band handheld transceivers, with extended range flex antennas is now at $150. These radios were kindly donated by Rob at $49 MURS Radios. Check out his products. What Rob sells are a lot of radio for the money. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from the SurvivalBlog readers that have bought these. As previously mentioned in the blog, Kenwood 2 watt MURS handhelds have far better range than FRS radios, they require no license, and can be custom programmed for, MURS, 2 Meter Band frequencies and/or weather warning (WX, receive only) channels, and they are also compatible with alert message frequencies for Dakota Alert intrusion detection systems. (A license is required if using 2 Meter Band frequencies.) I strongly endorse these hand-helds! If you don’t already own a pair, look into getting some.

Our first letter today is from “Alphie Omega”, a frequent blog content contributor. While many of his neighbors were woefully under-prepared, Alphie pulled through the recent ice storm relatively unscathed. This is a testament to practicing what one preaches. He was well prepared well, and with considerable redundancy. Emulate him, folks! It doesn’t take a millionaire’s budget. With proper planning, you too can be ready for severe weather conditions or other emergencies. You’ll even have surplus available to dispense in charity.

Letter Re: Observations on the Recent Oklahoma Ice Storm

Well, I just got back online. I had to go up to the roof and thaw the wireless [Internet] antenna with a heat gun. It seems the ice grounds out the antenna. It was an easy fix with my heat gun for heat shrink tubing. More precipitation is on the way but colder. It will probably just be snow. We never lost power but were ready anyway. I have friends with no power and they have been without power for days and no idea when it will be back on. The further out you live, the less chance of getting back on line. Power is also out at the feed mill so feed stores are short on feed and they say that they no idea when more will com. We bought extra and can always supplement with more hay or alfalfa. We could butcher the pigs early or sell some cattle if needed but all of our preparation this Fall is paying off. Think ahead! Wall-Mart is out of propane cylinders and no extra tanks around. We have plenty of tanks and are set to fill from the bulk tank here as needed. You always need an alternative means to do everything. Redundancy is the word for survival. I have some friends with no heat. They report 46 degrees in the house. Standard fireplaces put out very little heat. [JWR Adds: Yes, in fact they have been documented to put more heat up the chimney than into a room!] We have electric heat, woodstove, and propane heat. Redundancy means you will always be warm. We lost some branches and the storm knocked down my 160 Meter loop antenna but it works almost as well on the ground. (Thanks to the design and the antenna tuners we can just re-tune and are up and running.) Repair should take about 2 to 3 hours since the antenna is set to go up and down at each pole for maintenance. Hint: the design was well thought out and therefore easy to fix. Think ahead. Of course we have 4 or 5 ways to receive and transmit, plus the mobile radio. Again, redundancy. Our [photovoltaic] solar panels were covered with ice but still function, and we have more in the barn to use that are thawed. We continue to look for weak spots and all I came up with is the need for more batteries and more power. We have tow or three ways to do everything so if one system is down we just go to the next. Sure makes you feel good that instead of driving new vehicles we [instead] have heat, power, water, and food and backups for each. No worries about heat is a big relief. One of my friends has a generator, but no heat. Although he knows the items he needs to provide heat, there is nothing available. It is all sold out. Guess that is why I take those old propane heaters and put them in storage. Backup for the backup. We are looking forward to the snow–better than ice. We have wood to pick up today at the lumber mil. (We get the slabs from the mill, load on the trailer banded together and take them home. We cut it [for fuel] as we need it. More in the woods [hereon my property] but I will leave it for more backup. Keep preparing. Do one thing each day and it will all add up. Anyone got a good milk cow? We need a new one, since even livestock gets worn out and old. God Bless, – Alphie Omega

Letter Re: Veterinary Antibiotics and Medical Freezers

A lot of folks, myself included, have been buying fish/aquarium grade antibiotics for a while now. Recently my favorite source dried up. I called them to ask why they no longer had the products and they stated that it is becoming difficult to carry them because the FDA is scrutinizing the industry. What was told to me was that the capsules were still available, in packs of 12. I did find other sources, but some publicly searchable web pages can no longer be found via Google – hidden pages that I couldn’t navigate to through the web sites search engine – I had to know the page URL. I think this source is going to dry up at some point, once the AMA/FDA/DEA turn their attention to people using these sources as alternatives to ‘regular medicine’ they will get banned somehow.

But I do have a medical grade freezer, thanks to information gleaned from SurvivalBlog – I found a refurbished one for $70 at an auction. It had been rejected because the housing had some dents in it. I’m stocking up. Again). I wouldn’t take my ‘the sky is falling’ e-mail as gospel, but it might be worth a look into by someone with more time on their hands than me. – Jim H. in Colorado

Odds ‘n Sods:

Chuck sent us this link: Peak Oil Update – January 2007: Production Forecasts and EIA Oil Production Numbers

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I noticed at the RWVA Blog that there are a whole bunch of Appleseed shoots and clinics already scheduled for this year, all over the country. (Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming.) More locations may be announced later. Check the schedule for a shoot near you.

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The big “Container load sale” at Survival Enterprises that I mentioned last week is now underway. They bought a shipping container of canned nitrogen packed long term storage foods from an east coast cannery that is going out of business. Survival Enterprises just received more than 11,000 cans of storage food, (a full to the gunnels 40 foot shipping container load) These include everything from beef, ham, chicken, and bacon TVP to green beans to corn starch,. The majority is in the large #10 cans, but there are thousands of #3 and #2.5 cans as well. (The smaller cans make more sense when planning meals for one, two or three people.) These cases of long term storage food are being sold only to SurvivalBlog readers at special prices for the next 30 days. All sales are in full case lots only (no breaking cases) and they are all “first come – first served.” The prices are less than half of retail. Survival Enterprises can take all major credit cards, PayPal, cash, gold and silver coins, but no checks or money orders. Survival Enterprises now has a web page that has the running inventory list with prices. (As they sell out an item, they keep visible track what is left.) All orders must be phoned in, or by appointment to come in and pick up your order in person. (Survival Enterprises is located in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.) For special requests, you can call Kurt of Survival Enterprises at (800) 753-1981 or locally at (208) 704-3935 as late as 8 p.m. Pacific time (5 p.m. Eastern time), or e-mail him at: kwATse1.us (Change the “AT” to an @symbol) OBTW, Kurt reminded me that he is also blowing out his remaining inventory of Mountain House freeze dried storage foods in conjunction with this sale, at 25% off.

Note from JWR:

For the many folks that have been asking about how to get an autographed copy of my novel Patriots: The quickest and easiest method for those here in the States is to simply PayPal me $22, directed to my primary PayPal account: rawles@earthlink.net. Be sure to mention your mailing address where you’d like the book(s) sent. For all other ordering methods and pricing on larger quantities, see my mail order catalog. If you prefer to pay by credit card, I also sell some autographed copies through Amazon Shops. And BTW, un-autographed copies of the the novel are now available through Amazon.com, Borders.com, BN.com (Barnes and Noble), Powells.com, and a variety of Internet booksellers in the UK. But, needless to say, you aren’t likely to find copy in your local; “bricks and mortar” bookstore.

Letter Re: Advice for a New College Grad on How Best to Prepare?

Hi Jim,
I’ve been reading Survival Blog for a few months now, and I enjoy it. I really like how there is such a wide variety of topics to read about. I recently graduated from college with a four-year degree in computer science, and I am currently living with my parents until I get a full-time job. My question for you is this: What is a good way to start out in gaining survival/preparedness skills for someone in my situation? I’ve been doing some basic things such as reading a lot and learning some gardening skills. It does seem that to accomplish a lot of things discussed in your blog I will need to have some money, move out of my parents house, and buy a house and/or land. I plan on doing this, but it may be a few years before I have money to purchase some of those large items. Would you have any advice on how a beginner like me can start out? Since there is such a large variety of topics to research, what areas would you suggest I begin with? – M.F., Twin Cities area, Minnesota

JWR Replies: Given your circumstances, the best way to get better prepared is to network with like-minded people. Either join an existing preparedness group, or form your own group. One good way to make contacts for this is through the “hidden” (unlinked) web page sponsored by survivalistbooks.com. For your own security, if you find a prospective group or a new group member, I recommend having some long conversations by telephone before you ever meet face to face or reveal your address! Proceed with prayer, background checking, and extreme caution.

How to Reply to “When the SHTF, I’m Going Over to Your House”, by Rolf in the Northwest

How many times in the course of a conversation at a meeting, party, event, or whatever, has the subject of emergency preparedness come up, and you make a comment about the having done something (anything) about it in some way, and someone says “the next time [something bad] happens, I’m coming over to your place!” How do you reply? You can’t invite everybody in need, you don’t want to invite parasites, you don’t want to piss off friends and co-workers, and you may not be able to tell if they are joking or serious.
However viscerally satisfying a “I got mine, you socialists are yer on yer own, and I’ll shoot you parasites on sight in an emergency” may be in the short run, I think it is generally counter-productive on a number of levels.
I’ve struggled with how to reply to this comment over the years (at least since the early 1990s), because there are so many variables in each situation (how recently there has been an “event,” how close of friends you are with the person making the comment, what sort of mix there is present of good friends-acquaintances-strangers, the tone of how it was said, how much you
know about the background of each one, what the relative wealth and social standing of all parties present are, location, etc.), and many times there are far to many unknowns to give a really good, tailored answer, that will get more people to become preparedness oriented and independent-minded (which is what we really want, right?).
But after reading a very long thread on the topic recently, talking it over with my other half, and in light of this specific comment being directed at me several times in the last month (I am in the Puget Sound area, so the windstorm hit where I’m at pretty good – lots of trees and branches down around here, and I had fun making lots of chain-saw-dust), I think I may have come up with a pretty good “all purpose opening response.” Look directly at them, and then quietly and matter-of-factly say: “A long time ago, I made the conscious choice to not be dependant on other people, and I was willing to forgo some of the luxuries of life in order to accumulate the stuff and the skills to prepare me to take care of myself and my immediate family for any likely emergency that may occur in the region where I live. I would be happy to help you figure out how you can do the same thing most efficiently.”
There are four very important things about this phrasing: you are saying some things very clearly, some things are obviously implied, a lot is left completely unsaid, and you are not being in any way threatening, arrogant, condescending, judgmental, or patronizing. You are offering them help on how to help themselves now, and you are not saying you will shoot them on sight in the future (you are helpful and non-threatening), and you are not saying you will give them a handout and implying that there are limits to what you are able to do (but don’t expect free-bee’s). You have stated a basic
philosophy with a fairly limited and hard-to-argue-against scope, you have not given away to much information about what or how much you have, you are alluding to a simple method for others to do the same; you are opening a conversation that puts the ball in their court on how to respond, at which time you’ll have a much better idea about what to say, or not say, from there. You are serious but neutral; if you can get them to seriously consider and pursue emergency preparedness, you have expanded your “mutual-defense circle,” if they don’t and the need arises, you can turn them away with a much clearer conscious. You haven’t given them any more reasons to hate you, target you, fear you, or depend on you (which is a good defensive move). All you need to do is ask some pointed questions, like “this area gets snowstorms regularly, why not have chains for your car and just keep them in the trunk all winter?” or “$45 a month for cable TV? That’d put up a lot of extra food in a year.” Make observations like “yes, a generator is nice, but not everyone needs one, not everyone can afford a good one, and not everyone has a place for one; you just have to be ready to work without power,” or “supplies aren’t everything; what if the disaster you are preparing for causes your well-supplied house to burn down and it takes everything with it? Attitude and skills are just as important.”
If they say “what sort of luxuries did you give up?” some possible follow-ups might be: “I don’t have a new, big screen TV, I have an old 19-inch beast; but I do have a generator.”
“I don’t have a Rolex or a Hummer, but I am debt-free except for my house mortgage.”
The first one might not be the best example to use if they were bragging about their spiffy new 55″ HD 1080p wonder-vision unit [HDTV], just after freezing their butts off in an ice storm, but you get the idea. Get across the idea that it is all about making appropriate choices now, using as neutral a tone and wording as possible. Don’t say “of course only an idiot would
drive a Lexus when he doesn’t have a month’s supply of food in snow-storm country” when talking to someone you know has a Lexus parked out front and no food in the fridge. If you have no idea what sort of ‘stuff” they have, focus on skills, e.g., “I don’t spend money on yoga classes, I take self-defense and home-repair classes.” Keep it neutral, informative in a general way, and neither promise anything or sound judgmental for the opening few minutes (even if this requires biting your tongue, hard, for a bit), until they have done a fair bit of talking and you have a much better feel for the lay of the land, whereupon you can teach, share, run, or whatever as needed.
Think through a couple of paths that the conversation could take, and how you would respond in a way that would appeal most to the sort of person who would go down that path. A socialist who is used to depending on the state might say “are you saying you wouldn’t feed me if I showed up on your door-step after a major earthquake if you had any extra food?” Saying “of course not” will just piss them off and may make you a target, with them calling you a “greedy hoarder.” Saying “I would have a hard time justifying taking food out of my children’s mouth tomorrow to feed a casual acquaintance today, especially if we did not know when services were going to be restored and supplies replaced” puts a whole different appearance on it.
Information is your friend; don’t start by telling them what you have, what you have planned, how stupid they are for not being equally well prepared, etc. Find out a bit about their mind-set, skill-set, resources, and then go from there in the best direction. Best of luck with your next “conversion” into the mindset of independence and preparedness!

Letter Re: 10 Cent Challenge Subscription Renewal Reminders?

I just had to scan through tons of e-mails to see when I last contributed [to the10 Cent Challenge]. I just wanted to stay current because I sincerely appreciate the information you convey. It would be very helpful if you would just send out a little reminder as my year anniversary approaches so I can stay up to date. Once again, thanks for your wonderful blog! – Andy

JWR Replies: Thank you for your continued support. It is very much appreciated. But as much as I value it, I don’t e-mail our 10 Cent Challenge subscribers, bugging/begging them to renew. Our subscriptions are entirely voluntary. If you realize that it has been more than a year since you sent in your last annual subscription payment and you think that what you get out of reading SurvivalBlog is still worth 10 cents a day to you, then please just send another subscription payment via AlertPay, PayPal, check, cash, or money order. I don’t do any arm twisting to get a voluntary payment from anyone. In my estimation, sending a “subscription renewal” e-mail is contrary to the spirit of a truly voluntary support network. Please just mark your calendar to remind yourself about your renewal next year. Thank you so very much!

Jim’s Quote of the Day

“I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools [in the U.S.] that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn’t there. If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don’t ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school.” – Oprah Winfrey

Notes From JWR:

Congratulations to Chris in the Carolinas, the high bidder in the most recent SurvivalBlog benefit auction, that ended last night. He won a batch of 16 survival/preparedness reference books, most of them courtesy of the fine folks at Ready Made Resources. (They are one of our first and most loyal advertisers. Be sure to visit their site and check out their huge inventory of preparedness-related products.) Today we are starting another auction, which runs until February 15th. This one is for a pair of MURS band handheld transceivers, with extended range flex antennas–at least a $150 retail value.The high bidder will receive: “One pair of Kenwood TK2100 VHF 2 channel, 2 watt portable radios in excellent condition, with installed optional six inch “range extender” antennas, tested batteries, spring loaded belt clips, and drop in chargers. Currently programmed for MURS frequencies but can custom programmed for the auction winner.” These radios are being donated by Rob at $49 MURS Radios. Many Thanks, Rob!

Letter Re: How I Convinced My Wife to Prepare

Dear Jim,
I am a very recent reader of your blog, and just finished your novel [“Patriots”] (which I thought was fantastic). I plan on taking the 10 Cent Challenge just as soon as I set up a PayPal account. Anyway I thought you might be interested in how I was able to convince my wife that our family needs to be more prepared in case “something happens.” My wife thinks that I am a little nuts because I believe that society is extremely fragile and will collapse with just a little prodding. She has always put off my desire to spend the family money on preparedness items. This has recently changed: We took a short vacation to New Orleans, and while there went on a post-Katrina tour. The devastation was frightening. Even now there are neighborhoods where cars are rolled over in the middle of the streets and abandoned houses go on for miles. Even more powerful than that was the stories told by the guide. Months without power, no drinkable water available for weeks, and the rampant looting that went on throughout the city. It was one thing to watch it detached on TV and another to view it up close and be able to talk to people who lived through it.

My wife has done a complete attitude shift. We started discussing preparedness from a “natural disaster” standpoint and are making plans to purchase items to see our family through in case the worst happens. She has also asked me to buy more ammo and guns, and we are looking to make our house livable without city electricity or water. Our biggest drawback is the fact that we live in California and can’t leave for about ten years. My boys from a first marriage are still in school here, and I can’t abandon them. I would ideally like to buy land in a more rural location in a more “friendly” state, but will consider it a “win” just to have my wife more interested in preparedness than she has ever been in the past!

As an aside, I have been in California law enforcement (we are no longer “peace keepers”) for thirteen years, and would be happy to answer any California law questions that come up. I will tell you that most officers I talk with these days believe, just like most citizens, that it is the government’s job to take care of us and individuals have little responsibility for their lives.
Keep up the good work and keep your powder dry! – Kevin M.