Letter from Re: National Animal Identification System (NAIS)

The following tongue-in-cheek letter was posted on The Claire Files, in response to The Memsahib’s recent letter on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)

Dear Sir/Ma’am,
I wish to report the demise of 43 (forty three) animals at position xxp2l. The conditions are as follows:

13 eggs (scrambled)
4 turkeys (1 stuffed and baked, 2 jerky, 1 frozen)
6 ducks (2 pressed with orange sauce, 4 processed for canning)
20 chickens (2 squashed by car, 18 processed for fried chicken/canning)

The requisite forms are being forwarded in triplicate as required and 41 [bio]chips will follow. The last chip is presumed embedded in the tire of the Coal truck that caused the death of animal xxp2l:0059856. Respectfully, – X

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"And yes, the Homesteaders, including my grandparents who left behind almost nothing, and arrived in Montana with nothing but the clothes on their back, high hopes, faith in God and dreaming of the future." – Brian Schweitzer

Precious Metals: This Time The Trend Truly is Your Friend

I often get e-mails from readers stating that are leery about investing in precious metals.  They complain that the markets are “too volatile.”  In the short term the metals markets– particularly for silver and platinum–are indeed quite volatile. (Witness yesterday’s 28 cent dip.) But it is important to step back and look at the big picture. Forget the daily fluctuations. Instead, look at the 120 day moving averages (DMAs). Next, study the 5 year and 10 year charts at Kitco.com

Back in the late 1990s, investors were piling into the NASDAQ, gobbling up high technology stocks in a speculative frenzy that rivaled Holland’s Tulipomania of the 1630s. The dot.com investor’s mantra was “The trend is your friend.” But of course history proved them wrong when the bubble burst. The dot.commers were looking from within a short term trend–not the long term. It turned out to be just a three year buying binge with a notoriously ugly aftermath. In contrast, looking at the precious metals market, one can safely say that this time the trend  truly is your friend. In this case, it is true because the bull market in metals is based upon the long term debasement of the U.S. Dollar. The Federal government’s profligate spending and both government and consumer debt point to a long term bear market in the dollar, and a corresponding long term bull market in precious metals. I don’t expect Uncle Sam to change his spendthrift ways anytime soon, so take advantage of the long term trend.

Letter From Matt Bracken Re: A Home-Based Business–Your Ticket to The Boonies

Here is another terrific home business idea which “sells itself,” requires only a minimal investment, has a high profit margin, and can be done in one’s spare time. Install front door peep-holes. A number of years back I was visiting in a large townhouse complex where my wife used to live, and a gentleman rang the doorbell. Upon opening the door, I met the man holding a peephole in his hand. He almost didn’t need to say a word. It literally needed no sales pitch, it “sold itself.” He had the tools etc to do it on the spot. Buy high quality peep-holes in bulk for a few bucks each. You just need a good portable rechargeable drill and a few other simple attachments and tools to deal with different types of doors. Ring doorbells on the weekends, in developments where you can see that peep-holes are not standard issue. Offer to install a quality peep-hole right on the spot, at the customer’s exact preferred height, for $20 FRN. One thing: I’d recommend installing a few for free on the doors of family and friends for practice. Different door materials obviously need different drilling methods. Basically, you use a standard hole saw which fits around a 1/4″ drill bit. After making a pilot hole all the way through, you need to drill half way in from both sides with the hole saw, to avoid chipping or splitting.

You are doing people a service, and they will be happy to hand over $20 FRN for an installed peep-hole. You also gain the satisfaction of helping people to better secure their “castle” from possible attack or subterfuge. Going door to door, a personable peep-hole installer can sell ten or more units on a Saturday afternoon and make about $15 FRN per 15 minute transaction. And that ain’t bad money. – Matt Bracken

JWR Adds: Regular SurvivalBlog readers will recognize Matt Bracken’s name. He is the author of an excellent novel of the near future titled Enemies Foreign and Domestic as well as the forthcoming sequel, Domestic Enemies. (See: http://www.enemiesforeignanddomestic.com/)

These days, most people don’t have basic carpentry skills or even know how to operate a drill motor without botching the job. The essence of making money with a trade or skill is leveraging your expertise. Take the time to get very good at doing a few things and you will never starve.

There are several types of commercially-made peepholes available. One brand that is made in Russia is slightly larger than most and has a very wide viewing angle. That would make a great selling point.

Letter Re: Backup Generator Purchase Recommendations

I agree that diesel is the way to go for durability, and as most American manufacturing is being quickly offshored that must be a consideration. I decided that the electric start Northstar 6500 diesel (6,500 watts peak) was best for me because the larger sizes such as 10,000 watts and up use considerably more fuel, which can and will become very expensive and
scarce. There would also be considerable waste most of the time with a larger size unless I was running the dryer, central air or oven. I do not consider those survival items and there are such things as portable electric stoves, fans and washing machines. Those high voltage items require a 50 amp connection anyway, which my generator doesn’t include. The
other important aspect of fuel is that smaller generators use less, so less storage space is needed. Diesel is ideal because it is safer to store in quantity than other fuels, and biodiesel which I use is safer still. Biodiesel gels at 7 degrees or so depending on mixtures, but that can be improved somewhat and isn’t a real issue here in Delaware. Transfer boxes are necessary if you want to “plug in” the house, and will add significantly to the cost. I run mine once a month and keep a solar trickle charger on the battery. I set it on a rubber pad in the (ventilated) shed and routed the exhaust through the floor and away. (But I still refuse to inhale inside the shed if it is running). The shed has solar lighting so I can see if utility power goes out at night. – B.F.

Letter Re: Publication Recommendations?

Dear Sir,
I caught your blog via www.savvysurvivor.com and saw some interesting comments. I am a metro-area person with family, and have interest in personal protection issues. We have a moderate supply of food, numerous firearms (I’m focusing on .22 [Long Rifle], .30-06, .30-30, and .45 [ACP]. I am a concealed carry permit holder in Minnesota. I think I am moderately capable in firearms (a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources instructor) and have two sites that I could move to. Can you refer me to any publications which might enhance my knowledge? (Yes, I can skin deer, etc.) I’ve interest in radio, but it seems kinda rough… Thank you, – DJH

JWR Replies:  To start, keep reading this blog. It covers a wide range of topics, and the letters sent by readers impart a wealth of experience that goes far beyond my own. Obtain copies of the books listed on our Bookshelf page, as your basic “come-up-to-speed” reading, and to keep handy for training others. (Used copies can often be found via Amazon.com at bargain prices.) If you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss the SurvivalBlog static page on specific retreat locale recommendations.

It sounds as if you are well trained in firearms safety, but tactical training at Front Sight, Gunsite, or Thunder Ranch is well worth the investment. If you plan to stay in a northern area, don’t overlook winter/outdoor survival training, as well as an education on traps and snares. The DVDs produced by The World Survival Institute in Tok, Alaska are excellent.  (Their winter survival videos are great, and their Tracking and Ambush video is worth its weight in gold.) I also highly recommend the trapping and snaring videos produced by Buckshot’s Camp. Take full advantage of American Red Cross First Aid and CPR training in your community. Your local ARRL affiliate club can get you started in amateur radio. Those old “Elmers” really know their stuff, and they are willing to share their knowledge, gratis. Furthermore, look at each piece of training as the chance to network with like-minded people in your region.

Letter Re: Recommended Firearms Training Videos/DVDs?

Hey Jim,
First, I’ve been reading your blog since late August (almost from the beginning) and have read “Patriots” (stayed up all night to do so). Consequently, I’ve begun collecting beans and bullets. Thank you for your influence and information.

Second, ideally I know I should attend training for combat/tactical shooting. Realistically, however, that’s not going to happen for me. In lieu of on site training, do you recommend video training? If so, what do you recommend and what do you not recommend?  Thanks again for the information and influence you provide. Best Regards, – Doug

JWR Replies: They are no proper substitute for attending in person, but DVDs do provide some valuable adjunct training. My home video library is small. Perhaps some of the SurvivalBlog readers have some specific recommendations on firearms training tapes or DVDs that are particularly good. (Or bad ones to avoid.)

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"Those gentlemen, who will be elected senators, will fix themselves in the federal town, and become citizens of that town more than of your state." – George Mason

Note From JWR:

Please continue to spread the word about SurvivalBlog. I have free banner illustrations available in a variety of sizes, if you would be so kind as to paste one into your web page. Thanks!

Today we present another entry for Round 2 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best article will win a four day course certificate at Front Sight. (An up to $2,000 value!)  The deadline for entries is the last day of January, 2006.

The Viking Method of Semi-Auto Handgun Clearing and Loading, by Shooter

Hello to all the Survival Blog readers! My name is ‘Shooter,’ and I came across this blog one day looking for information on the novel “Patriots”. Actually, I was hoping to find a sequel, or even a second novel, by Mr. Rawles. Instead, I found a great tool to better prepare for when the oscillating air disruption machine dices the Schumer. I wrote James hoping to have my own blog linked here, and found that he had an interest in what I had to say. My contributions to this site will revolve around tactical handgun training that I have received over the past 10 months in a weekly class called Tactical Tuesday.
I was granted a Concealed Handgun License by the State of Texas last spring. Since that time, I have logged several thousand rounds through my Springfield XD-40 and Kimber Pro-Carry II 1911. Not just shooting static targets, mind you, but engaging in tactical exercises to sharpen my mind and hone my shooting abilities for the unlikely event that I may have to one day defend myself or my loving wife from harm. While these weekly training sessions are geared more for those of us with CCW permits, they also have a place in TEOTWAWKI times, too.
My personal blog is a chronicle of these weekly lessons called Tac Tuesday at the range we shoot at near downtown Houston, Texas. I do not profess to be an instructor, nor do I claim to have any military or LEO training, either. I am merely a student relaying information to others who do not want to be caught with their pants around their ankles when the proverbial ‘balloon’ goes up. These Tac Tuesday classes are made up of students from all walks of life; doctors, lawyers, bankers, ex-green berets, DSS (State Dept. Diplomatic Security Service), IDPA/USPSA Champion shooters, principal dancers for the Houston Ballet, school teachers, students, housewives etc, etc. Our instructor, whom I refer to as Instructor Greg, or IG for short, is also a certified lethal use of force instructor, a Texas CHL instructor, has hunted big game in Rhodesia, worked as a bodyguard in South Africa, was recently with Blackwater in New Orleans, and testifies as an expert witness in self-defense shooting cases. His curriculum vitae is a lot longer, but I am just glossing over some of the juicier parts. IG also owns his own company manufacturing quality Kydex holsters and accessories. He is able to pass on the knowledge he has and the knowledge of others like Paul Howe, Clint Smith, Mas Ayoob, John Farnham and others to make us each a stronger and better fighter in self defense situations.
It is my hope that the articles I provide Survival Blog readers will help you become better shooters and stronger fighters when the time calls for it. I am going to start at the beginning and move through the lessons as I have moved through them. I plan on covering everything from safe/proper gun handling, to basic carbine and shotgun drills, and a plethora of handgun skills.
Since this is my first contribution to Survival Blog, I thought I should start with the “Viking Method.” Instructor Greg has a unique way of injecting wry humor into his lessons and making them fun and enjoyable. “No Sven, it’s Pillage, Plunder, then Burn!” as IG puts it (actually, he says it another way, but I promised to keep it clean for Jim). Very simply put, the Viking Method refers to the proper and safe loading/unloading of semi-auto handguns. This is the technique as it was explained to me:

Clearing a semi-auto handgun:
STEP ONE (PILLAGE): Remove the source of ammunition! First things first, punch the mag release on your semi-auto. However you want to store that magazine is up to you. If it is full, put it in a pocket, or a mag pouch, or even stick it in your waistband. If you know it is empty, or is of no further value, let it fall to the floor. Don’t worry, mags are relatively cheap…more will be made if yours breaks (if yours breaks, you may wanna find a better magazine!).
STEP TWO (PLUNDER): Clear the chamber! First, turn into your weapon and make sure the ejection port is facing down. With your weak hand, wrap it over the back end of the slide and rack it a couple of times to clear the round out of the chamber. Don’t worry about picking up your bullets. They’re cheaper than magazines. I am quite positive they will make more bullets for you. Repeat and lock the action open for visual inspection.
STEP THREE (BURN): With your non-nosepicking finger, physically and then VISUALLY inspect the chamber to insure that the weapon is now clear.

Loading a handgun:
STEP ONE (BURN): Draw your weapon from the holster and point it downrange.
STEP TWO (PLUNDER): With your weak hand, draw a fresh magazine from your mag carrier, pocket, whatever. **NOTE: Your magazines should always be carried “bullets forward.” This way, you can insure that the magazine is facing the right direction when inserting into the pistol.** Bring the gun up and turn it so that you can easily access the mag well. Guide the mag into the gun and insert smartly.
STEP THREE (PILLAGE): Grab the base of the slide with the meaty part of your hand and rack the slide to chamber a round. You may also use the ‘pinch/pull’ method to rack the slide. Condition check the chamber and holster.

That was the very first lesson I learned. In several easy steps, I now know how to handle any handgun placed in front of me. When I walked into the first Tac Tuesday, I thought I knew it all already. What knowledge I had may have been correct in some areas, but this first lesson helped build upon that knowledge base. Another lesson learned is that we have been inundated with rules, rules and more gun rules. I no longer think of safe gun handling as a number of rules to follow, rather, I consider it to be ‘Good Gun Manners.’
The range we work at is considered a “Hot Range.” We are able to carry our weapons holstered in whatever condition we are used to carrying concealed in. This usually means holstered with one in the chamber and configured accordingly. Wherever I am legally able to carry (concealed or otherwise), I practice Good Gun Manners. That means:
-The gun remains holstered at all times unless I have been given permission to shoot. Either certain circumstances or the Range Officer will dictate when it is okay to shoot.
-My finger WILL REMAIN OFF THE TRIGGER UNLESS TWO CONDITIONS ARE MET: My sights are confirmed on target, and it is safe to shoot. You may know this as keeping your finger in register. Also, when they drag you to court for your self-defense shooting trial and play the grainy convenience store security camera footage, you want to prove to the jury that you are not some crazed Rambo wannabe, and you do have a modicum of self control.
-Don’t point the gun at anything or anybody you are not willing to destroy. It’s just plain rude!
-Be cognizant of your specified ‘safe direction.’ That usually means guns remain pointed downrange at all times. Our class operates on a 180 degree rule. If we see the muzzle of the gun move greater than 180 degrees, then that person is done shooting for the day. The real world is 360 degrees, so be aware of a safe direction. Brick walls, televisions, stacks of telephone books all make safe places to point a gun. I use my television when I dry fire practice.
You are probably muttering to yourself right now, “Geez, Shooter, this is stuff we already know. Why not give us some good nuggets of tactical, ninja-suit, cloak and dagger prowess to use?”
I decided to start at the beginning for two reasons. First, to remind myself and the rest of you of the simple basics of safe gun handling. Second, so the new people joining our ranks have something to refer to when they start their firearms training. This article is an added benefit to those leading a retreat group, or those who expect to train their neighbors and friends after the world is unavoidably “schumerized.” Think of it this way, I have given you the syllabus to your first lesson as a firearms instructor post-TEOTWAWKI.
Just remember, though, that practice is the key. As you train yourself and others, repetition and practice will build muscle memory, confidence, and control. These are but the stepping stones to the other lessons I participated in and will share with you. Next time, I will discuss draw techniques.
And before I leave you, I will bestow the final lesson in your syllabus. I did mention there are really no gun rules, just ‘gun manners.’ Well, I lied. There are actually three rules that I live by, and, no, “the gun is always loaded” isn’t one of them. Actually, my guns are ALWAYS LOADED, so that is a statement of fact.
The three gun rules I live by are:
1. Keep your finger off the trigger!
2. Keep your *&$% finger off the trigger!
3. Keep your &*%$ finger off the #$%& trigger!*
*unless sights are confirmed and it is safe to shoot!

Letter from The Army Aviator Re: Backup Generator Purchase Recommendations

Just me, but I’d call and ask. It sure looks like a generator that runs in the 3600 RPM region. Some use a slightly higher or lower RPM than 3600 but they’re all the same class of service. Northern has a habit of calling non-continuous duty generators a “professional model”, which means absolutely nothing. I’d look around for an electric start 1800 RPM RV version. Also very quiet (to meet the National Park Service regulations), rated for continuous duty and, courtesy of the site, can be fitted for switchable propane or gas. A new 4.5 KW model runs ~$2200 and go for around a grand in used condition.Just my 2 cents worth ….. or is that already my .02 Euro worth? I dis-remember.;-)
Regards, – The Army Aviator

Letter Re: Dome Homes as Survival Retreats by Rourke

I live in southern Louisiana. A guy that lives near me built a dome several months before Hurricane Andrew it is a wood framed [geodesic] dome, covered with shingles.He told me he had a very hard time finding some one who would agree to shingle it. That dome has held up to every hurricane to hit us since Andrew with only minor damage. – Mosby in Louisiana

JWR Replies: I much prefer monolithic domes over the more conventional Buckminster Fuller geodesic style wood frame domes. My brother was the owner/contractror of one of latter and he could never get the thing to seal out the rain properly. Shingling all of those little triangles is a nightmare.  Geodesic style wood frame domes have roughly the same lifespan as any other wood frame house. But a monolithic dome will probably last for generations.

All dome homes can take tremendous wind loading. This is because of Bernoulli’s principle. (The wind velocity–and pressure–is roughly the same on the front and the back of any round object.)

Letter from J.M in Wisconsin Re: National Animal Identification System (NAIS)

Just a little correction to R.J.’s note regarding animal I.D. in Wisconsin. As of January 1 every livestock owner was subject to mandatory premises registration and this includes horse owners. Even if you only keep one animal you are suppose to register.  I found out that our very crooked legislature was trying to rush this through late in 2004 and tried to organize some opposition among fellow horse owners but you know how hard it is to wake up the sheeple. Thanks for trying to keep this from going national! – J.M.

Letter Re: Backup Generator Purchase Recommendations

Here is a link for an American company from West Virginia: http://www.propane-generators.com/    They make conversion kits for all sizes of generators, etc. to propane and natural gas. (I have yet to order mine, so I was hesitant to share this.) It has been proven that the gases burn much cleaner, and engine life is greatly extended, because the small amount of ash left behind with gasoline that contaminates the oil, etc, is not introduced every time it fires. Carbon build-up is history!  I have been procrastinating on ordering a kit for mine, guess I should get moving. Right now, procrastination is my worst enemy. Sid, Near Niagara Falls