Odds ‘n Sods:

Yikes! Copper is at $7,000 per ton!

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The folks at Safecastle mentioned that they give substantial discounts (generally 10-20%)to Survivalblog readers –for everything listed in their eBay store . All you have to do is mention SurvivalBlog when you e-mail your requests for quotes. Some of Safecastle’s highest volume product lines are Maxpedition, Mountain House, JetBoil, and Katadyn. BTW, it is better if you e-mail Safecastle at jcrefuge@safecastle.net rather than using the eBay message system.

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Take the time out to read Dr. Peter Hammond’s great piece about Switzerland. This is something you don’t read in most history books.

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SurvivalBlog reader Dutch in Wyoming notes that America is experiencing another unintended consequence of our debt-financed Asian buying binge: The death of our oak tree forests.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"Strong men greet war, tempest, hard times. They wish, as Pindar said, to tread the floors of hell, with necessities as hard as iron." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Note From JWR:

Yesterday I took a “speed hike” day with #1 Son and and #3 Son here at the Rawles Ranch,. (I’m trying to lose a few pounds and get in shape for a four day course that the Memsahib and I plan to attend at Front Sight, later this year.) While on the hike, we got our best view ever of the beavers on our neighbor’s pond. They are cute, but destructive critters. They have been busy for the past two years. Their dam has raised the pond’s level by a couple of feet, and this has increased the pond’s surface area to nearly six acres. (It was formerly only about five acres.) They have also decimated the trees that used to ring the north end of the pond. Since they are rapidly exhausting their food supply, I suspect that the beavers will abandon their lodge and move further up-country next year. Coincidentally, our first letter today concerns ponds…

Letter Re: Ponds, Aquaculture, and Pond Predators

Hello James,
In the event of a TEOTWAWKI scenario, as discussed previously on your blog, food and water will become critical in supply. My query is to seek out knowledge from within your following on newly constructed ponds as a water and food source. Here are my questions:
1). What type of fish replenish the most rapidly while offering a genuine nutrition?
2). What types of fish are compatible or necessary to keep a full circle eco-system continuing?
3). How many fish can you support per cubic yard of water?
4). Should food be introduced into the water until the young are established?
5). What predators, (i.e.- ground/air living) would be a potential food source or havoc on your newly established “eco-system”.
I don’t recall any lengthy discussions on this subject. Any advice would be greatly welcome! – The Wanderer
JWR Replies: I have only limited experience with ponds and aquaculture. Perhaps our correspondent in Brazil would like to chime in. He has been developing a pond aquaculture system there for several years. Does anyone else out there care to comment?

Letter Re: Peak Oil, Hyperinflation, and Economic Collapse

Hey James,
Hope you and your family are well. I have read many books on the coming economic collapse and Peak Oil, your opinion and also your readers comments on SurvivalBlog. For quite a bit of it, I agree. However, I doubt we’ll see a true TEOTWAWKI because of a lack of
oil or even a complete collapse as some are predicting. One thing people are forgetting is the HUGE (1.5 Trillion barrels or so) of oil deposited in oil shale in the Western United States. At $35 per barrel of oil, it becomes profitable to start producing oil and gas from oil shale. So I wouldn’t be too worried about peak oil just yet.
Personally, I believe that we will see inflation to the point where they classify it as hyperinflation (prices going up 100% over the course of 3
years), and I think we will see a major depression starting somewhere around 2010. Up until that time, we’ll just see massive amounts of inflation, maybe another war and our citizens’ actual buying power decrease to a point where it really puts a strain on the economy. You know, people will still use credit cards without the thought of the ability of paying it back or what is
going on around them. I give it four years and we’ll see 10% to 15% unemployment (possibly higher), the massive increase of foreclosures and bankruptcies and the tightening of peoples’ belts.
I do see things getting worse, because oil will go way over $100 per barrel and there is no real movement on the part of our government to nip our energy crisis in the bud. Welcome back to the 1970s and early 1980s, however, it will be much worse, because this time it is not just based on world politics. Sincerely, – K.L. in Michigan

Odds ‘n Sods:

The much-publicized Iranian oil bourse, conducting trades in Euros, opens for business next week.

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SurvivalBlog reader R.B.S. (who kindly sends us several links every day) spotted this interesting site: The U.S. Gas “Temperature” Map. As you can see, Wyoming has some of the lowest prices–proving yet again that the Free State Wyoming folks made a good choice for their locale.

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An interesting thread on the pros and cons on the various commercial versus military camouflage fabric patterns is underway over at The FAL Files.

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This Generator Site has some great links in the left hand bar. (At least 50 links.)

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The Buckshot’s Camp May-June Newsletter is now available for free download. As usual, there is some very interesting reading–and as always, it is in Buckshot’s unique writing style.

Note from JWR:

Today we welcome Captain Dave’s, our 24th advertiser. They have some great products at very competitive prices. Also be sure to check out their extensive free survival FAQs, and copious links.

We need 40+ advertisers to make a go of this, so please contact anyone you know that might be an appropriate advertiser and ask them to consider getting an ad. You can tell them that our ad space rates are very low, especially compared to magazine advertising. A small ad is still just $55 per month!

And BTW, whenever you contact any of our advertisers, please let them know that you saw their ad on SurvivalBlog. Thanks!

Peace of Mind in Turbulent Times–I’m Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

When I meet new folks, they typically ask what I do for a living. I mention SurvivalBlog and then the topic of survivalism inevitably comes up. A few ask: “How can you sleep at night, worrying about all of that?” My reply is: ” I sleep very well, know ing that I have done my best to ensure the nourishment, health, and safety of my family. I would only lose sleep if I went to bed knowing that I was under-prepared.” I am tempted ask them in turn (but being diplomatic in polite society, I generally refrain): “How can you sleep well at night, with at most a week or two food in your pantry, minimal first aid supplies, no stored fuel or backup method to heat your home, no communications gear, no alternative lighting method beyond candles to last a day or two, no method to transport or treat water from a nearby pond, and no means to defend your life and property?”

Being animis opibusque parati (prepared in mind and resources) is not a source of anxiety. Rather, effective preparedness relieves anxiety. Just don’t make the mistake of dwelling constantly on every potential cataclysm. That is a trap that will indeed cause you to lose sleep. Here is my outlook/approach in a nutshell: Trust in God. Prepare the best that your resources allow. Carry on with your normal day-to-day life. You’ll sleep well.


Book Review: The Hunt for Confederate Gold by Thomas Moore

I recently read the novel “The Hunt for Confederate Gold” by Thomas Moore. (Published by Fusilier Books, ISBN 0976998203) It may sound cliched, but I couldn’t put it down! I am not surprised that it has a perfect five star rating on Amazon.com. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that it is three intertwined storylines wrapped into one. (One of which takes place in the closing days of the Confederate States of America.) This is Moore’s first novel. It is a thoroughly captivating, thought-provoking novel. I found it both entertaining and educational. Much like in my novel “Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse“, the author weaves a lot of useful factual information into a fictional storyline. Moore includes lots of Civil War history facts as well the historical context of Reconstruction and the whole American experience, recent abuses by Federal government agencies, the fiat paper money fraud, and an analysis of current U.S. policies in the Middle East.

The story and characters are believable. Many of the characters–both heroes and villains–are obviously drawn on some real life individuals but subtly changed to avoid any legal unpleasantness. My only technical nit-pick is that one of the characters refers to “five millions” worth of gold and silver (circa 1865) fitting into two large wooden chests that could be carried by a few men. Even if it were all gold, and assuming that most of it were $20 gold pieces, then $5 million would weigh nearly 18,000 pounds and occupy about 150 cubic feet. Since the hoard was described as a mixture of gold and silver, the weight and bulk would of course be even greater. But that is just a minor quibble. In fairness, perhaps the character was referring to “five millions” worth of inflated Confederate currency…

One refreshingly nice thing to mention about this novel is that that it was obviously written by a true southern gentleman. It includes a minimum of harsh language, profanity, or other offensive content. Unlike the racy novel Unintended Consequences by John Ross (a similar adventure/think piece), I could in good conscience hand this novel to my teenage sons.

As a novelist myself, I can attest that Moore’s smooth writing style is difficult to achieve. His gift for writing is a rarity, particularly among “first novelists.” In fact, I wish I had some of Mr. Moore’s finesse! I highly recommend this novel. It is from a small publisher, so odds are that you won’t find a copy at your local book store. Your best bet is finding a copy through Amazon.com.


Letter Re: Tornado Damage and Retreat Construction

Hello James,
It has been a busy weather pattern for this early in the spring in our area. Two weeks ago tornadoes, yesterday, snowflakes! I have been surveying some of the damage in our area and have been surprised at the damage a F1 category tornado can cause. It is imperative to understand that while a large percentage of homes built today are constructed to withstand 120 mph sustained winds, that this does not take into consideration that flying debris (like entire oak trees, cars, etc…) with large mass [that] cause enormous damage when faced with a sudden stop. There were pictures in our local paper showing 2×4 lumber debris embedded into concrete walls. If that does not make one think, nothing will.
In the SurvivalBlog archives there were many discussions on varying Home/Retreat construction methods. I viewed a concrete wall home and was not surprised at the integrity, however, the roof became the hinge for the added pressure, (conventional wood roof). My personal opinion is that in this case, anyone inside of this home, (which did not have a basement or safe room) would have been sucked out and thrown many football fields away.
Your vendors have options out there for safe rooms, and the government has outlines for building your own. I suggest some serious consideration for anyone living in the prone areas for such weather events. – The Wanderer
P.S: I had a most pleasant experience with Freeze Dry Guy. As other readers have commented, it is nice to have your endorsement when making big purchase decisions like that. Thanks!

Letter Re: The Army and Marine Corps New “Digital” Pattern Camouflage Uniforms

I have to highly recommend AGAINST the Army’s new ACU uniform. Officially, there are only a few detergents “approved” for cleaning them, to avoid excess wear on the fabric. The running complaint from people with ACUs (a mere few months after issue) is that they wear out within a few washings. Soldiers are wearing them to look strack, but wearing their old BDUs in the field for durability. Also, ACUs are expensive.
I got to see a firing line full of troops a couple of weeks ago. At less than 100 yards, both ACUs and the new MARPAT Marine uniforms blended to a neutral gray because of how small the pattern is. While that’s better than no camo, it’s no better than the old green fatigues. Meanwhile, there were still visible color breaks on BDUs at that range. Since the main purpose of camouflage is to disrupt outlines, the BDUs are better. I’m not happy with the excessive amount of green in BDUs–most of nature is brown or tan–but they do work.
Additionally, walking around a military base is instructive. At considerable distance, the brain screams, “Look! There’s someone in the new ACUs!” The color choice doesn’t seem to blend in in any terrain, and is visible against most natural and artificial backgrounds. The Army insists that black wasn’t used because “black isn’t a color found in nature.” Bull. Black appears as shadow at a distance. Something without shadow cannot blend in. There is so little difference in the tones of color used that there is no contrast.
Frankly, as much as I love high tech, I’m convinced the digital fad in camo will die a quick death. One of the big selling points is that it’s better against [electro]optics. But how many of our current threats are using [electro]optics? And since that is the case, showing troops a video of a pattern designed to defeat digital video technology gives them a false faith in the reliability of the pattern to defeat the Mark 1, Mod 0 eyeball.
My preferred camo for the last 20 years has been [the commercial] All Season All Terrain (ASAT). (See: www.asatcamo.com.) Take a look. I think you’ll be impressed. – Michael Z. Williamson

JWR Replies: As previously mentioned, the Army gray-green pattern does blend in well in sagebrush. But I must concur that the color is not right when seen against most other foliage. And yes, it does lack sufficient contrast.

One often overlooked consideration for survivalists wishing to secure a retreat is the need to distinguish friend from foe at a glance. By standardizing with an uncommon camo pattern (such as ASAT or perhaps one the various RealTree patterns) for all of your retreat residents you will more easily be able to detect someone infiltrating your property. I know of one retreat group in Northern California that uses Swiss Alpenflage (a distinctive camo pattern with lot of red blotches in it) for just this reason. (And, not coincidentally, their retreat property is infested with poison oak, which has red leaves for half of the year.) The Woodland BDU pattern, although quite effective, is ubiquitous in North America. (It is also used around the globe–from the Philippines to Serbia!) As the new digital patterns are fielded , there will be even more Woodland BDUs hitting the U.S. surplus market. So be forewarned that if you standardize your family (or retreat group) with Woodland BDUs, then you will lose lose the advantage of instant friend from foe recognition at a distance.


Letter Re: Springfield Armory XD Series Polymer Frame Pistols are the Ars Nova

Hi Jim,
A quick comment on the Springfield XD– a friend of mine purchased one recently and has been completely unable to acquire spare parts for it! Springfield will only sell spare parts to certified XD armorers– and word is that there are none of those yet. As of now, the market is limited to (Wolff) recoil springs, spare mags, and components such as replacement sights.

So if something breaks, you have to ship your pistol to the manufacturer. Now, random parts breakage is fairly rare, but this is the death knell for these guns, in my opinion, as a serious survival sidearm. Hopefully, this will change in the future with readily-available spares.

In my personal opinion, one should, at the very least, focus on a core battery of weapons that have easily obtainable spare parts and bulk ammunition. Not in the future, but NOW, when you buy the gun. A pistol with a broken firing pin is a paperweight. A rifle with a faulty extractor has very limited use. Etc.

The reason that I recommend Glocks as survival arms is that a mentally deficient ape such as myself can maintain them with ease. Very easy to work on! Parts are readily-available and inexpensive. You can easily rebuild the entire weapon down to the smallest part, by yourself, with the basic Glock takedown tool. And the most robust and versatile of the Glocks, in my opinion, are the 9mm variants, the 17 and 19 in particular. A police trade-in, ten magazines, five sets of each spring in the weapon, and a bundle of spare extractors, firing pins, et cetera will not set you back too much.

1911s have more of a learning curve, repair-wise, but again, parts are readily available and basic parts replacement is fairly easy for handy people (hand-fitting aside). Not as easy as the Glock, but with a mentor, you can do it.

My personal favorite handgun is a Steyr M40, which I also consider superior to a Glock– academically. But from now on, I am transitioning to the Glock 9mm variants for the reasons above. Regards, – SomeGuy

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“It was on the Rütli Meadow that the Swiss Confederation was first formed on 1 August 1291. For 650 years, Swiss fighting men had earned the reputation as the most ferocious in Europe. Their determined refusal to live under the rule of foreign kings, was legendary. Most people know the story of William Tell, the hero who refused to bow before the Austrian governor Gessler. He was condemned to shoot an apple off the head of his 6-year old son at 120 paces. If he refused, both father and son would be executed. In a remarkable display of archery skill, William Tell succeeded in hitting the apple and missing his son. Congratulating Tell, Gessler asked why he had another arrow in his quiver. Tell responded that, had he injured the child, he would have sent the remaining arrow into the governor’s heart. Tell was condemned to life imprisonment for his insolence, but he escaped while being transported across Lake Lucerne.” – Peter Hammond