Letter Re: Major Mistakes with a Building Contractor

Hugh,

Regarding the Major Mistake, B.M. needs to track that guy down and serve him a subpoena. Take him to court. People have tried to rip me off several times for tons less than that. I told them all if they don’t finish the job, pay their bill, or do it correctly, I will take them to court. Each time I wasn’t being overly picky or unreasonable. In each instance, the other party knew I was right. I was patient with all of them. I am sure those people have ripped other people off successfully before. I even emailed / called the customer service and manager several times in one case. Anyway, they all called my bluff. They all got sued. I won each time. I am not a lawyer. I am a retired LEO. Being an LEO has nothing to do with it. Don’t take this laying down. Post this! Tell the dude to get mad. Go to the court house in the venue where this occurred. Fill out a few forms, after asking for some assistance in where to start. Don’t hire an attorney; you already have enough money problems. Get this documented and on paper. If the contractor has no money, let him prove it. If the contractor has no money, that’s his problem; he can still work, right? Is he working and making money elsewhere? After finding him, go check out if he has a new 4×4 in the driveway and other high dollar assets. This is just to get a snap shot of the contractors’ reality. Put a lien on his assets via the same court system. Nobody is going to fix this except you.

Taking the next step. Many states have funds for homeowners where contractors have ripped people off. The contractor either didn’t do something by code, took the money and ran, or other. Often times the state will do their investigation and help you out financially. You can survive this and come out looking pretty good if you try. Don’t go straight to the state for a hand out. I suggest doing both at the same time. Find this contractor. Identify if he has changed his business name say four or five times after claiming bankruptcy only to rip the next guy off and change his business name yet again. His business name is most likely in a county or city database. His real name is in there somewhere. Find out how many business names he’s operated under for say the last ten years. Most of this that I’m suggesting can be done in one day. After doing the above, you will have more information to work with. I would then find the local law enforcement authority in the area. Go to see a detective face to face. Tell him your situation. He’ll ask you what you want from him. Ask him if there is anything LE can advise that might help you out. Like what? Were there any LE contacts with this guy say in the last 24 months? Anything the detective can share that would be helpful will be appreciated. Follow your gut and get busy. If you had the backbone to buy a property in a rural area and take on the challenge of being “more” off grid, you have what it takes to see this through and come out pretty good considering. Good luck. – Pete

Economics and Investing:

Investors Bolt Mexico as Peso Enters Free Fall – G.P.

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The Fed Needs Competition, Not Rules

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Gold Holding $1,200 As Weekly Jobless Claims Rise By 10K

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John Hathaway – China Is Preparing To Radically Reprice Gold Higher As Demise Of The COMEX & LBMA Accelerates

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.

Notes for Thursday – January 12, 2017

On January 12, 1888, the “Schoolchildren’s Blizzard” killed 235 people, many of whom were children on their way home from school across the Northwest Plains region of the United States. The storm came with no warning, and some accounts say that the temperature fell nearly 100 degrees in just 24 hours. There were many instances of teachers keeping or rescuing children who would have been caught in the storm while walking home.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 68 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $15,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package (enough for two families of four) plus seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate (a $325 retail value),
  8. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  9. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $2,400 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  9. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  10. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  3. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  4. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  5. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  6. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  7. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  8. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  9. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
  10. Fifteen LifeStraws from SafeCastle (a $300 value).
  11. A $250 gift certificate to Tober’s Traditions, makers of all natural (organic if possible) personal care products, such as soap, tooth powder, deodorant, sunscreen, lotion, and more.

Round 68 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Leatherworking for the Beginner, by R.S.

Leather has been used for millennia as a durable resource for clothing, shelter, armor, and more. If you pay attention, there is an abundance of leather all around you. It’s on furniture and baseball fields, in cars, and on garment racks. If you found yourself in a post-collapse situation, leather is a readily available scavenge resource. If you know how to work with it and have a few simple tools and supplies, you have the solution to countless problems. Later I’ll explain some basics. My journey with leather began a few years ago.

I was attending a homeschool conference and saw a beautiful leather backpack. It was extremely durable, functional, and handsome to look at. It had been constructed to minimize points of failure and last a lifetime. Zippers, for example, were eschewed in favor of buckles, as zippers are typically the first thing to fail on a bag or garment.

I immediately began my online search for this glorious bag only to find that it retailed for $695. Knowing my wife would have an aneurysm if I paid that much for a bag, my dream of carrying this pack died a little that day. A few weeks passed, but I couldn’t shake the thought of the bag. I began to wonder if I could possibly make a backpack. Never mind that my leather-working had been confined to Boy Scout camp 30 years earlier and a failed attempt to make a pair of sandals, I knew I had to try.

Several months earlier I had bought a shoulder of vegetable tanned leather in at attempt at making a pair of sandals. While that effort ended in failure, I was undeterred at a much more difficult undertaking in this backpack project. I began in the same way all beginners since the beginning of time have begun, on Youtube. Several hours later, I was ready to head to my local leather supply store– Tandy Leather.

If you’ve ever taken up a hobbyist endeavor, you likely had the same experience I did as I walked into Tandy that first time. I asked very dumb questions, and they treated me like the idiot I was. But I got my supplies and headed home to begin the first of many leather projects.

I started with the smallest project I could think of, card wallets. These simple creations are literally one piece of leather folded in half and stitched on each side. Simple as it may seem, my first attempts were in hindsight Frankenstein-like. I had yet to realize the importance of patterns, stitch techniques, and overall finishing details. Nevertheless, I was proud of those first pieces. I had created something!

By trade, I’m a sales person. I sit at a desk, write emails, and talk on the phone all day. I don’t work with my hands, and there’s no lasting evidence of my trade. So it was monumentally satisfying to create something functional and lasting.

I started creating larger pieces, like notebook covers and Field Notes holders. Then I made my first shoulder bag. I’ll admit that it was a thrill when people noticed it. Looking back, however, I’m amazed that anyone even mentioned it. My skills were so limited that it was still very amateurish looking. It was those comments though that led me to a revelation, the vast majority of people are overwhelmed at the prospect of learning a trade like leather working. And yet, with less than one week’s worth of self-led training, I was able to make basic goods.

At this point, I decided I was ready to tackle the bag. I’d spent hours researching construction and planning the design. I read online forums and watched more videos and went back to Tandy to buy the hide I would use. I asked them more questions, and they still looked at me like I was an idiot. Undeterred, I began.

I spent every free minute for weeks working on my bag. I worked slowly (mainly because I was slow) to minimize error. I lined it with pigskin and melted down when I made a mistake. After nearly 40 working hours, I completed my bag. It was an amazing feeling. Everywhere I went people commented on it and asked where I bought it. Even now, I carry that bag every day to work. The bag I didn’t want to spend $695 on probably ended up costing me about four times that to make myself when considering time and materials, but I’d learned a trade.

Now I run my own small leather-working business selling duffle bags, tote bags, wallets, belts, and other assorted custom leather goods. It will likely always be a side project for me, which is fine. I don’t do it for the money. Now I know that if I need to make something, I have the basic skills necessary to do so by hand without electricity. Here’s the best part– so can you!

There are really only a few basic tools that are needed for simple leather projects. Several of these are likely already lying around any modestly appointed garage.

First, the tools you likely have:

  • Rubber mallet or dead blow hammer (do not use a standard hammer, as it will damage your punches)
  • Utility knife
  • Lighter – for melting the ends of your stitch
  • A few small-to-mid-sized washers – handy for cutting rounded corners
  • Awl – used for marking your cutting lines and punching through a hole that’s too small
  • Plastic kitchen cutting board – when you punch through the leather it’ll save your tools to punch into this board
  • Ruler – preferably flat, metal

Leather-working-specific tools you’ll need to buy:

  • Diamond punches
  • Needles
  • Cutting mat – These can be bought at a sewing shop or Wal-Mart. While not required, it’ll save your table top and extend the life of your cutting blades, not to mention prove a handy measuring tool.
  • Wing Divider

Materials:

  • Waxed poly cord – I use the waxed cord from Maine Thread Company. It is made in the U.S.A and great quality. I prefer a .030” diameter cord.
  • Leather hides – I could write a series of articles on this topic alone. Let’s assume that you won’t be dyeing your leather at this point. Considering we’re talking about a survival situation, you’d be re-purposing whatever you can find. My advice is to make life easy on yourself and find a hide that’s already tanned at the thickness for your desired project. Get creative as your skillset grows.
  • Poster board – Buy good, thick stock for making your patterns. Leather moves when you work with it, so you’ll definitely want to make patterns of the pieces you’ll be cutting out.

Depending on your project, there could be a much longer tool and material lists. Things like rivets, buckles, snaps, and d-rings could be on this list. Let’s start small, shall we?

The Project

Now that you have your materials, you are ready to begin. For the purposes of this article, we will begin where I began– with a card wallet.

This is one of the first card wallets that I made. As you can see, it’s a very simple straight-forward design.

  1. Make your pattern

    Measure out and mark the following dimensions on your poster board: 2 3/4” x 6 3/4”. The slit should be 2 1/8” wide.

    Use your utility knife and the edge of your metal ruler to cut out the pattern. Be as exact as possible. This will help immensely later in the process. Cut the slit open at this point as well.

  2. Mark your pattern on the hide

    Lay your pattern on the finished side of the hide. I like to use a paperweight to hold the pattern in place so it doesn’t slip while tracing it. Use the awl to trace the outside of the pattern and the slit.

  3. Cutting the leather

    Using your metal ruler as a guide, cut along the lines you marked on the finished side of the hide, being careful to keep your knife upright and the ruler still throughout the process.

    This is a stressful part of the process when you’re just beginning. You’ve probably paid a decent amount for your hide and don’t want to mess up. Have no fear; we’re starting with a small project and you can’t mess it up that badly.

    Now take one of your small washers and align it flush to the edges of the top right corner. Use your utility knife to trim off the edge using the washer as a guide. This should result in a nice, rounded corner. Repeat for each of the four corners.

  4. Marking your stitch lines

    Set your Divider Wing to a width of 1/8”. You’ll notice that one of the tines on the tool is slightly longer than the other. Place the shorter tine on the leather and use the longer tine as a guide along the outside edge of the length of the hide. This allows you to mark a straight line a consistent width from the side of the piece. Do this on Side A and Side B.

  5. Punch stitching holes

    Using your diamond punch, align the first tine of the punch just off the top of side A. The first tine won’t actually punch through the leather, if you do it correctly. This simply allows you to get a consistent alignment of the holes on each side. Line the remaining tines up along the line you just marked in step 4.

    Use your mallet to hammer the punch through the leather into the cutting board. (Pro-tip: Do not do this into a table top or your cutting mat. It’ll ruin the table and is very hard on your punches over time.)

    After punching through the leather, place your finger lengthwise along the face of the punch and hold the leather down while you extract the punch with your other hand. This will help keep the leather from stretching out as you remove the punch.

    Now put the first tine of the punch in the last hole on the piece and hammer the next set of holes. Do this until you have a row of holes along the length of side A. Once that’s complete, do the same on side B.

  6. Fold and stitch

    Now, fold your piece in half so the holes are aligned. To measure the amount of thread you’ll need, pull off a piece that is roughly 4” longer than the length of the folded piece and then double that length. You can cut two pieces to that length, as you’ll need the second piece for side B.

    Thread your waxed cord through your stitching needle. We’ll be using what is called a saddle stitch. A saddle stitch is essentially a running stitch that is stitched in each direction. It’s especially durable, as you’re basically stitching the piece twice. This ensures that if one stitch breaks, the other will still be intact.

    Start at the bottom where the piece is folded and push your needle and waxed cord through (yes, it may be difficult; yes, your hand will hurt if you stitch long enough!). Leave about two inches out of the end of the initial hole. Now, with your needle, go up to the next hole and back through. Weave your way to the top of the piece and then back down to where you started. Your stitch should look like the picture of the card wallet shown above.

    Now you should have one end of the waxed cord point one way out of the initial hole and the other end with the needle pointing the other way. Take the needle and stitch back up one hole so your threads are both pointing the same direction, one hole above the other. Take your needle and thread it under the stitching to the immediate north (up) from where it is. Push the needle all the way through, which should create a small loop. Put the needle back through the loop and pull it tight. This will knot the thread.

    Remove the needle and re-thread the other end of the waxed cord and knot that one in the same manner.

    Now trim the loose ends to about 1/8”, and use the lighter to singe them down to nothing.

Voila, you have a card wallet!

With these simple skills and tools, you have the foundation you need to start creating (or surviving) using leather craft.

Letter: Major Mistakes with a Building Contractor

Hi,
I purchased 150 acres in my chosen location and intended to have a cabin built on it with a well and septic system. I found a contractor who said he would complete a well, septic, and “dried in cabin” for me. He was making good progress and completed about 60% of the work and then just stopped working on it. He has been at it for over four years, and the wood framing is getting very old. Anyway, this was the first time I’ve ever hired a contractor to build something for me, and like a moron I gave him the final payment (over $110,000 in total) about two years ago. I now have four walls, 1/4 roof with tar paper, and a septic tank.

I am told suing him wouldn’t get me anything, since he is completely broke. I dumped much of my retirement into this and am slowly saving up again. Do you have any advise for me? I feel like such an idiot. – B.M.

HJL’s Comment: Sadly, you have now learned a lesson from the school of hard knocks that countless others have learned. It’s not necessarily that your contractor set out to defraud you either (though the industry is rife with charlatans). Many simply underbid the project, can’t pay the necessary bills, and start the dangerous practice of using your money to pay for another project’s bills. Like any “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul” situation, it usually catches up to them and they can’t continue, leaving the last few customers holding the bag. I’m skeptical of your contractor’s skills and knowledge, because two years is a very long time for a build. Six to nine months is more typical, and a well prepared contractor can move the project along in as little as four months.

In the future, here are a couple of things you can do:

  1. Make sure your contractor is licensed and bonded. While I dislike the idea of the government telling me what I can and can’t build or who I can hire, those are two things that go a long ways towards alleviating the issue. Many laborers believe that since they have the skill and knowledge to build a house that they can be a contractor, but running a business is something at a whole other level. All the building skill in the world won’t teach you good business practices. Those who make the effort to be licensed and bonded are at least trying.
  2. YouTube is your friend. There are videos on every aspect of building a home. When your contractor tells you he is doing something or describes a process to you, look it up on YouTube and see if it is standard practice.
  3. Always pay your contractor in segments and never release a payment until the agreed upon work for that particular segment is complete. The final payment should be up to 1/3 of the price of the project and should never be released until the project has your final inspection and approval. You will probably hear all manner of sad stories about why you should release a payment early, but if you do, you lose your leverage, especially that final payment.
  4. Do your due diligence on the contractor before signing a contract with him. Ask for references and projects that you can view in person. Simple background checks for criminal history are easy and inexpensive. In retrospect, the cost is well worth it when you consider how much you’ve lost. Depending on your location, you may be able to ask the county/city/state inspector for an opinion.
  5. As much as it pains me to say it, be careful about friends, family, and even fellow church members when it comes to building contracts. I’ve seen many relationships destroyed over the parties inability to separate business from personal. It would seem that those who are closest to you just expect you to release them from any responsibility when the going gets tough. I’m not suggesting that you avoid those contacts, but make sure the other person understands that it is a business contract. You should understand that saying “no” to making an early payment for these people is extra difficult and most will expect you to bend.

Economics and Investing:

Three former London-based traders face US charges over currency rigging – G.G.

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Lincoln Cent Roll Searching: What I Found in a $25 Box of Pennies – DSV

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The “Curse” of Labor-Saving Machinery Is Nothing New

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Record 95.1 million Americans not in the labor force. The challenge of having an army of non-working adults.

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Land of the Free: Michigan man issued parking ticket in his own driveway

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Airport Shooter Converted to Islam, Identified as Aashiq Hammad Years Before Joining Army – W.C.

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US-Funded White Helmets Exposed in Al-Qaeda Plot that Poisoned Water of 5 Million Syrians. It is bad enough they contaminated the water supply, but they control the area so no one can go there and fix it. Same with electricity. Civilization is easy to destroy and easy to keep from being rebuilt if you are dependent on it. – T.Z.

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Finally! The US Air Force has embraced reality — the A-10 is here to stay ‘indefinitely’ – T.P.

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And we wonder what is wrong with our churches today? Koran Verse Denying Jesus Was Son Of God Sung in Scottish Cathedral – D.S.

Notes for Wednesday – January 11, 2017

January 11th is the birthday of Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804). It is also the natal day of the late Gunnar Fridtjof Thurmann Sonsteby, who was born in 1918. He was the most decorated hero of the Norwegian resistance under the German occupation. He died May 10, 2012.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 68 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $15,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package (enough for two families of four) plus seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate (a $325 retail value),
  8. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  9. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $2,400 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  9. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  10. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  3. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  4. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  5. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  6. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  7. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  8. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  9. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
  10. Fifteen LifeStraws from SafeCastle (a $300 value).
  11. A $250 gift certificate to Tober’s Traditions, makers of all natural (organic if possible) personal care products, such as soap, tooth powder, deodorant, sunscreen, lotion, and more.

Round 68 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Four Procedures For Survival in Your Camp, by ARD

We recently saw how important it is to uphold 2 Chronicles 7:14. Although we have known that this beloved United States that we call home is not quite so “united”, we have discovered there are more Christians than there are non-Christians. (If God be for us who can be against us!) For some time, the liberals have used the media to be their trumpet or voice, which has made it appear that they are the majority. But I tell you this; I believe that what has occurred recently, with the election of Donald Trump, is that the normal quiet Christian (myself included) has realized that to survive in America we must stand up, voice our Godly opinion, and act and also understand that prayer does change things! Miracles are real, but they do not occur without faith, trust in our Lord, and action or prayer on our part. You can study, read every survival blog, and have the best “prepper” camp in the world, but without God on your side you will not survive. Given the fact that your camp is pretty much “ready to rock when it all goes down”, I ask you to take a step back, look over everything, and see if you are truly ready.

I cannot stress the importance and necessity of implementing the following procedures in your camp for your successful survival: (1) Fasting & Prayer, (2) Continual Intercessors, (3) Praise and Worship, and (4) Discerning Individuals.

My background is 20 years in law enforcement (local and federal level police as well as my last year spent in corrections) and 23 years of committed Christian service. I have seen the evidence of miracles from prayer and fasting. I have witnessed incidences in my law enforcement career that were only the divine hand of God preventing evil from occurring to me, my family, and other officers. I never in a million years believed I would work in the jail, but (after prayer and careful consideration of pros and cons) I now understand the importance of gaining the knowledge of working there and being able to apply it to a society of lawlessness if the unthinkable (EMP, terror attack, financial crisis, man-made, or natural disaster) were to occur. With that said, it is my belief and understanding to survive mentally, physically, and spiritually, these are the best ways to prepare for what is to come.

Fasting and Prayer

Fasting and praying is something I never understood until I began faithfully going to church with my family and researching the significance of the results. In the Bible, the Book of Esther reveals that fasting combined with prayer can change the course of an entire nation!  I have read and heard that numerous people in America were led to fast and pray in regards to the elections and Trump winning. As proof from my own life, nineteen years ago, I fasted and prayed for three days with no food and only some water. The first day in I thought I was going to die without food. Mentally, that was the hardest part to overcome. Determined to get to day three, when it finally came, I realized it was more about setting aside my needs and showing the Lord that I was serious and nothing was going to prevent me from completing this important task. The reason I set the goal to fast and pray was to go to a revival and see miracles of healing in people there. Little did I know that I was one of the beneficiaries of the whole fasting and prayer! It was during a time that I wanted a child with my husband. Without getting into a lot of detail, I can honestly say that miracles can and will occur, as a result of prayer and fasting, as we have two beautiful children now. Along the way, I saw the hand of God appear that has forever strengthened my faith. During the rough times ahead, we are going to need miracles to survive, and trusting in God is going to be inevitable for survival. Not everyone in your camp will be able to partake of the “fasting and prayer” as physical and mental strength is required for certain jobs, such as security or jobs with physical labor. There may be those who are physically not well enough to do this, so volunteers will be needed, as they can function as your intercessors, too. In doing further research, you will see there are different types of fasting, as well as different times when it is needed. Prayer intercession is also something that will be essential at your camp.

Continual Intercessors

The number of people in your camp would determine the number of people who could be assigned the duty of praying over the camp. It should be noted that no one should be forced to do this and you definitely want those individuals who truly will be dedicated to the cause and understand the importance of the task. For example, if you have a minimum of 24 people in your camp, that equals 24 hours in a day, with each individual assigned one hour devoted to prayer. The more individuals you have the better, because you could assign at least two or more to the continual prayer group. Just a few verses from the Bible stating strength comes from praying together are as follows:

Matthew 18:20 – “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Matthew 18:19 – “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

Romans 12:12 – “…rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;”

Once you have a schedule of those who will be praying constantly, it is important to recognize who has the ability of discernment or basically can recognize good and evil. That will be discussed later, after the importance of learning praise and worship.

Praise and Worship

I have learned through praise and worship that the Holy Spirit comes, and when this occurs miracles can happen. Some may not agree that music, like food, is essential for living. But in my opinion, you will not understand unless you have sung praises to the Lord and reach that connection to Him that provides strength to accomplish anything. I would not be in law enforcement for over 20 years if I did not trust in the Lord to protect me. (Psalm 91 is a must to memorize.) I get up two hours early to pray before going to work. I live enough of a distance away that I can listen to about three praise and worship songs before entering the “den of hell”, which is the jail. I say this not complaining, because I have always loved law enforcement and I love even more now my newest job in corrections. However, there is no way I would go to work without first praying and second singing praises to God. It provides a confidence and a strength of who is backing me up when I am faced with any situation, whether it is an uncooperative person from drugs and/or alcohol or whether it is a demonic/possessed person. You cannot have fear, and you cannot rely on your own strength. It is impossible to do this on your own, but with God all things are possible! When you sing a song to the Lord, it becomes written in your heart and you carry it with you throughout the day. It can make a horrible day much easier to bare. Not to sound doom and gloom, but you and I both know that there are horrible days to come.

It only makes sense to have songs on hand for praise and worship. Go ahead and print out praise and worship songs and have them available because if there is no electricity later you won’t be able to get them. Have plenty of Bibles on hand. The good news is that without power, you can still have praise and worship if you have musicians who can play the piano, guitar, drums, or basically any instrument that does not require electricity. If you do not have any music, you still have your voice!

Praise and worship Him now while you still can, for the day may come soon when silence will be a requirement to survive. At least you will have the song in your heart, which no one can take away.

Discerning Individuals

Having discernment is invaluable in your camp. You must be able to recognize good over evil and not be swayed by their skills or occupation. I have known many people in law enforcement or even pastors in the community that “on paper” looked really good, but due to their character, morals, or even racist beliefs I definitely would not want in my camp. I have also known individuals that would admit they were once “rotten to the core” (whether from drugs, assaults, burglaries, et cetera), yet God changed their heart and transformed them into the kind of person you would want on your team. However, I have yet to hear or see any transformation of sex offenders. It’s not to say there are not any, but I have not seen or heard it. Therefore, you may want to go ahead and print off a “sex offender registry” in your region or area and have on file in case electricity goes out. This will not cover everyone due to laws such as “first offenders” or “first offenders as youths”. It also will not cover those who are repeat offenders but were never prosecuted, and from experience I have seen this happen way too often. When it comes to the safety of the women and children in your camp, as well as your own safety, having discernment of individuals is a necessity.

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 NIV

For many this can be an exciting time or a terrifying time. Some things are going to happen that truly will be tragic, and there is no way to prepare for that except by trusting God and thanking God that “He will never leave us nor forsake us”! God has given you the Bible; therefore, the only true preparation is knowing where you will spend eternity. As the parable of the Good Samaritan states in Luke 10:25-28 (NIV), follow the words of Jesus, and you will live.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

May God bless you, protect you, and keep you safe from harm, in Jesus’ name, Amen.