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Friday, April 24, 2009

Swine Influenza...

Taken from my blog tonight:

It's enough to make one wonder whether it's been engineered, though germs do have a nasty habit of propagating and adapting. This is what we get for the overuse of antibiotics, both in animals and humans. If you come into contact with anyone who shortly afterward becomes deathly ill with a severe respiratory infection, call your local health agency and go to the frakkin hospital for treatment. They will test you for it and if you have it they will put you in quarantine in a plastic bubble till you either get better or die. Best thing to do is to avoid public places if there is talk of bad mojo afoot. If you keep pigs be sure that none of your neighbors' associate with your herd.

Keep up with this as this kind of thing spreads rapidly.
Possible cases have been discovered in British Columbia and there have been cases in Kalifornia and San Antonio Texas so far in addition to Mexico, where 60 persons out of 900 reported cases have died.

Some links:


RSOE Alertmail Subscription Page:

Semper Vigilans.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The coming food crisis

Someone just sent me a link to this. Interesting food for thought.
If the video doesn't play properly, click on it and view it on YouTube.

From the YouTube page you can click the "more info" button on the right and view many web pages that are the source for this video.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Local Preppers Meeting

I have a group of like-minded people who are working together locally to prep. It is mostly people from my church, but a few others are also part of it. We have met a few times and shared ideas through my blog page called Survival Together. We are beginning to get a little more organized and will be meeting again this Friday night. Below is a copy of the email I've sent to the group. It is an intro to the meeting and somewhat of an agenda for our time. Note the homework assignment at the end.

Survival Together Meeting
This Friday night. 7:00 at ____________ house.
He’ll make the coffee, we’ll bring the snacks.

Anyone may come to this meeting, but frankly I’m only inviting those of you who are taking this stuff seriously. If you want to invite others, do so, but only bring those who are serious. Please let me know if you are coming and how many you are bringing.

I feel that there is a great amount of work to be done and who knows if we have a long time or a short time to do it. We need to work together as much as possible. All of our lives are busy and hectic, so getting together isn’t easy. We need to make the best possible use of our time. I am including a homework assignment below. This is an exercise we should all be doing, and it could be very beneficial to share with each other the things we are working on. I’ve divided our prepping needs into eight categories to assist in getting a grip on what we need to do.

At Friday’s meeting I would like to start by going over this list (homework), each person sharing as much as he is willing, and then having some open discussion to expand our knowledge.

Other things I would like to discuss at this meeting are:
1) Communications, short term and long term. In a crisis phones may be out. We need to communicate in order to help one another.

2) A specific plan for working together throughout a crisis. I would like to think through the possibility of trying to assist others (people in our church and older people). And the possible necessity or several families staying together.

3) The need to be getting other people on board with prepping. It is best to work in smaller groups for a multitude of reasons, but if bad things happen we all have family, friends, neighbors, etc., who will be in great need. The moral and right thing to do is to help them as much as possible, but you can’t give them everything you have. It would be so much better if they will prepare a little themselves ahead of time.

I hope you all can make it. Don’t forget to do your homework!


What have you done so far to prepare in the following categories:



Shelter / heat




Medical needs

Other (toiletries, baby needs, kids entertainment, etc)

What do you feel you still need to do in the following areas:







Medical needs

Other (toiletries, baby needs, kids entertainment, etc)

Be prepared to discuss the following things as well:
What unique or interesting things have you come across that may be of interest to the rest of us? (feel free to bring things along for demonstration)

What resources do you have to share? (articles, web pages, places to buy things, etc.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

They're Watching

This is headlines on the Drudge Report and will probably be in the news over the next few days.

A new report is out explaining that Homeland Security will be investigating right-wing extremest groups over the next few months. Read this article and you'll see that they are watching a VERY broad spectrum of people.

Stalin used gun control before starving millions

Tracy at Alabama Preppers has this great article on British gun control.
After reading that post I was motivated to post this...

Some people are not interested in political stuff on a prepping network. I think it is important to see the necessity of prepping based on the world around us. What is that quote?... "Those who don't know history will be doomed to repeat it". (someting like that)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Water Storage Options and Hello from PA!

Hey there!
I'm PMZ from PA. I'm attending college in NY State currently but will be back in the greater Lehigh Valley area come May. I'm glad to have the opportunity to learn from you all and occasionally contribute something or other. I've not been prepping for as long as some of you, but once in a while I may chip in.

Here's a short article I wrote regarding water supplies, treatement and stockpiling.
I posted this on www.bushcraftusa.com and http://berserkersbushcraft.blogspot.com/ a while ago and thought it worthy of it's own post on here...

Hey all,
Here is some food for thought...
The human body can survive for three days without water, even less in arid or hot environments, still less when performing hard work.

One needs at least a gallon of water per person per day per household. This is drinking and cooking water. Washing water should be factored in separately.

Since I am at college I have only myself and my roommates to provide for, however I have taken the liberty to stockpile water in plastic soda bottles and milk jugs. I have only enough for a few days; after that I'd have to resort to transporting it from the creek out back of the apartments. I pre-treat my water with 1/8 teaspoon of plain bleach per gallon, or even 1/8 teaspoon/half-gallon. Keep in mind that with this method of water storage, you must dispose of the containers every six months or so (the milk jugs in particular tend to degrade quickly).

Other methods include:

  • Storage in jerry-can-type water-cans, such as were used from WWII through current conflicts. These can be found in varying condition from various sellers. The best are lined with ceramic or some such as this prevents the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria while insulating your wasser for those hot days in the field.

  • Storage in HDPE "blue cans," these are the most cost-effective method to stockpile transportable amounts of water, usually between 3 and 5 gallons.

  • Storage in Food-Grade 55 gallon drums. Food grade barrels can be found for cheap, or even free from suppliers of honey, molasses, and various other types of food industries. You will want to pressure-wash these to remove traces of whatever was in them before you picked them up. Also keep in mind that while this is a viable option, it is hard to refill them or clean them without a pressurized water source, thus, this should not be your only means of storing water. The steel 55 gallon honey drums which my uncle sells from our corncrib back home are great for use as rainbarrels, which is a very effective way to put to use whatever precipitation drains off of your roof. Even a very small roof will collect a sizeable amount of water. It is a good idea to set up a gravity-fed irrigation system for your planters or garden boxes using rainbarrels.

  • Storage in large, buriable tanks. This is a good way to stockpile water, however you will want to have not only an inlet but a way to bleed it and also a way to treat it (such as bleach or pool crystals).

There are three distinct categories of water according to my friend Eric:

1. Drinkable water on hand: This is primarily bottled water. We have roughly a dozen cases on hand at any given time. I hope to double that amount very soon. We add a few cases each time we go to Costco or Sam's.

2. Accessible water on the property: For us, this includes the water in the water heater, a well, any water remaining in the pipes of our orchard sprinkler system, and our pond. I wouldn't want to drink the water from the pond unless necessary, but we could certainly use it for flushing toilets when needed. And in a worst case scenario I have everything I need to make the pond water safe enough to drink.

3. Water in the area, within walking/carrying distance: We have several small streams/rivers within just a couple of miles of our ranch. Water is heavy and I wouldn't want to transport too much of it very far, but it's good to know where it's at.
So following this logic, there is a strong case (perhaps stronger a case than for stockpiling food) for the stockpiling of drinkable water and the upkeep of water-collection systes BEFORE SHTF.

Therefore I recommend a Five-Pronged approach to stockpiling water:

We (as Survivalists) should have:

  • 1. Ultra-portable 1-gallon or Half-gallon-sized jugs or a case of bottled spring water to grab in a "leave-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace" scenario (bugout issue),
  • 2. Vehicle-portable jerry cans or blue jugs (preferably five per BOV in addition to case of spring water),
  • 3. Rainbarrels for sustainable gardening without the benefit of an electric well-pump,
  • 4. A hand-pump for our wells. This is something I've yet to convince my Dad is the most important prep-item you can get. Problem is it's a relatively expensive procedure. However in an emergency it'd be worth its weight in gold. Just be sure to place it in a location unavailable to the general public or its liable to walk off.
  • 5. A dedicated water-tank for SHTF scenarios. Remember that if it's not properly maintained, mold or other nasties are sure to grow in it.

My pal Eric states that the human body needs 80 oz. of water per day in comfortable weather WITHOUT hard work. He says that if one is eating MREs or other emergency rations, the amount of water necessary for digestion rises dramatically, so plan for 80 oz. of water/day/person.

For two people that would be 8.75 gallons of DRINKING water per week, or 35 gallons per month. He says an average-sized dog drinks approximately 1-1.5 gallons per week. A small dog or cat would probably drink less than a half-gallon per week.

So to keep two people and several dogs hydrated for a month, one would need 65 gallons. That is ONLY DRINKING WATER and DOES NOT include water for cooking, washing dishes, clothes, flushing toilets, etc.

What does this mean? This means we should each have on hand at least 100 gallons of fresh, non-contaminated drinking water. This is just for two people and some pets! Add a gallon of drinking water per day per person per household, and you may well end up deciding that you need a 300-gallon water tank IN ADDITION to your stocks of easily-transportable drinking water.

As always, remember that without the benefit of either an artesian well or a hand pump, one is at the mercy of the droughts and at the mercy of the rescuers. Thus it is absolutely imperative that we all have a good supply of drinking water on hand AND have the means to get more from our immediate water table. Those of us who live in the cities or suburbia will have a harder time meeting these needs. In a long-term SHTF scenario, these folks will have to relocate in order to be able to draw clean drinking water from streams, springs, lakes etc.

Some useful water-prep related links:
www.hewsystem.com ---> expensive, holds less, but is much more durable and fits tubs better.
www.waterbob.com---> less expensive option, holds more but is less durable.
www.aquatabs.ca ---inexpensive way to treat small amounts of water, (bleach based).
www.berkeyfilters.com ---> expensive.
http://shop.monolithic.com/products/...ic-drip-filter ---> less expensive option, best used in addition to bleach, iodine, boiling or other methods.


Till Next Time,

If anybody has any suggestions as per other ways to store/treat/swap water and boost water collection during droughts, let me know.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Woman raped twice infront of witnesses

While at the Women of Caliber web page I noticed this blog entry. It seems that this young woman was raped over a period of ten minutes while two Mass Transit Authority workers sat watching in the security of their booths. These vermin did nothing to help. When the police arrived TEN MINUTES LATER the assailant was gone and the deed was done. It is a good thing NYC violates the second amendment so that people can be safe.

We live in such a narcissistic society full of spineless, self-absorbed, weenies that a woman can't expect two men to come to her aid over a period of ten minutes while she is being raped! Thankfully we have the police - ten minutes too late. I have no problem with police, just with the faulty concept that their job is to protect every citizen 24 x 7.

Sorry for my rant. I have daughters and these stories get to me.

Gun Confiscation after Tornado

This story was new to me. I've heard about a number of similar situations surrounding the Katrina event, but this one is a wake up call. The author at "Women of Caliber" did an outstanding job researching and reporting the illegal confiscation of guns in Greensburg, KS after the tornado in 2007. Please go read this this story. They tell it a lot better than I can summarize it here.

Pigs for survival

I hear a lot of people talk about raising chickens, ducks, rabbits, and goats which are all great animals for the small farm or back yard. Many of these animals can be raised on one acre or less; even in a suburban setting when local regulations permit it. Some communities have regulations which allow chickens, but not hoofed animals. Still, it is surprising that more people are not raising pigs.

Pigs have some tremendous benefits in survival situations. What might these benefits be? Well feeding them for one. Pigs need food to grow, but the reality is that they can eat almost anything. If enough pasture land is available, pigs can live off of the grasses. I have killed wild pigs in the woods which appeared to be making a good living on acorns and wild plants

Barring a crisis situation, pigs can be cheap to feed and they will certainly grow fatter with a little grain and day old bread from the local bakery. What else might they eat? Anything. I knew a farmer who would pick up road killed deer and feed to his pigs. They ate everything but the hide and the bones. One time he asked me to give him a hand feeding his pigs. When I arrived he had me help him move 55 gallon drums. The drums were full of cow innards from a local butcher shop. You guessed it, the pigs ate it all.

You might not want to feed your pigs cow innards and road killed dear on a regular basis, but in a crisis situation it is nice knowing you have an animal that can stay alive on almost anything.
Think about it. Any and all waste from the kitchen could go to the pigs. In addition, any left overs (innards) from other animals could go to the pigs. In addition you could find grass and plants to feed pigs all summer.

Other advantages to raising pigs include the fact that one sow will have between 6 and 14 piglets. That is more pork than you need, and it will probably be exactly what your neighbor needs and may be willing to trade something really nice to get.

If you can get your sow to birth in late winter or early spring, by late fall or perhaps Christmas you could butcher. You could butcher earlier or later if needed, but you would need to strike a balance between letting the pig grow bigger over time, and running out of feed in the winter. Winter is also a good time to butcher if you plan to cure the meat. When curing, the meat will need to sit in a salt solution for weeks and if the temperature is too high, the meat could spoil.

If you are thinking of survival food and farming, pigs are worth a serious look. They eat anything, grow fast, have lots of babies, are good for trading, and are mighty tasty.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Book: Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse

If you haven't read James Wesley Rawles book, Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the coming Collapse, let me suggest that you get two copies immediately. Read and keep one for yourself, and give the other one to a friend.

Apparently the book has been out in various editions and forms for a long time. I purchased my copy about two months ago and read the whole thing in three days. A new edition has just been released and it is cheaper than mine was.

The book is a survival manual disguised as a novel. As a writer I have to say Rawles isn't bad. The book is choppy in some places and has been criticized for having long discourses about "mundane" things like the unique function of a particular firearm. You may not appreciate all of that stuff, but it may be easier to take your medicine when you remind yourself that it is education in the form of a story.

Many will not agree with all that Rawles says or the positions he has the characters take, but I think most people will have to admit that it is a very worthwhile read.

As a God fearing Christian (and Pastor) I appreciated the clean language in the book. It was also void of any inappropriate sexual discussion. A rare and worthy plus in my book.

Is anyone following near Northeastern PA

I'm wondering what readers might be out there who are somewhere near my part of the country. Meet-ups are taking place in several states, but it is too far for me to travel. I'm not ready to plan a big event yet, but I'm wondering who might be in the eastern PA, New Jersey, or southeastern NY area. Even if we never meet in person, it would be good to know others are nearby. If you are within an hour or three please leave a comment or drop me an email at phughes07@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

HAM radio for survival

HAM radio is on my list of things to investigate for survival. My family is spread out over several hundred miles in different directions and contacting them in a grid-down situation will be impossible. It would be horrible not being able to contact loved ones to see how they are doing or to let them know how we are doing.

I just came across a great post at the Alabama Preppers page by Tracy. Read it here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Curing Meat (part 2)

This is the second post about curing part of a pig which my family received as a Christmas present. In the first part I described butchering and bagging the pig. I am including a few more pictures of that process here.

Please take note of the first picture. I hope you're not too squeamish, but if you're going to be a survivalist, you'll need to do a lot more than just look at pictures of this stuff. First, do you know where the bacon is located on the half of pig laying there? I can't really describe how to get it out, you kind of need to see it done, but it is underneath the rib cage as you are looking at that picture. For reference, the left side of the picture is the hind quarter, then in the middle is the rib cage and bacon and the front(to the right) is the front shoulder.

Second, note the pig head in the background. The head has been skinned because there is a good amount of meat on it -- it's a meathead. Most of the meat there is put into sausage, but my relatives eat the tongue, and some people eat more than that. In a survival situation, you will want to save as much edible meat and fat as possible. The fat has a lot of uses.
The second picture shows some of the meat packaged for the freezer. As I stated in the first post. Freezer bags are a big time saver, and they seem to have no problem keeping the food for up to a year. The larger ones have no problem holding a medium sized chicken. A side benefit of the freezer bags, and one which I have never utilized, is that you could reuse them. We always throw away all packaging that has touched raw meat. That seems to be the normal and wise thing to do when everything is cheap and available. In a crisis situation I'd probably save mine and reuse it. Now that I think about it, this is kinda cool, I've already got a freezer full of meat packaging supplies.
On to the curing process.

I'm still learning about all this but will share what I've learned. (In other words, don't' quote me as an expert, do your own research).
There are multiple ways of curing meat. The salt cure is one that has probably been around for thousands of years. You can find many recipes on the Internet and in books.

My recipe was as follows: three gallons water, three cups of pickling salt, one cup brown sugar, and 1 oz. curing salt. This is enough for about 25 lbs. of meat.

I got my information from Sugar Mountain Farms blog. The author of that page notes that the curing salt contains 6.25% sodium nitrate which has been connected to cancer. It is a helpful preservative, but not necessary if you will be eating it relatively soon, or freezing properly.

The curing salt is cheap(.99 cents / oz.) and can be purchased here.
In order to cure an entire hind quarter I had to cut it into two pieces. Once cut, each piece easily fit into a five gallon bucket. The above recipe was enough for one bucket and each half of the hind quarter weighed between 25 and 30 lbs. I was able to cure the bacon in one of the buckets with the ham as well.

Before placing the hams into the bucket of cure it is important to inject the meat with some of the curing solution that has already been mixed up in the bucket. This is done to insure that the curing solution gets all the way in to the bone at the center.
A meat pump is used to inject the meat. (Wow! I don't own one of these, but borrowed one from my brother-in-law. I just saw the price. This one is going for nearly $50. You might find a cheaper one.)

Just suck up the juice by pulling out the plunger, insert the sharp point into the meat, and depress the plunger. I did this in at least five or six places on each cut. The idea is to be sure that the meat near the bone is fully saturated. When the solution is injected you can see the meat swell to receive the solution.
Once the meat is injected it may be placed into the buckets and the resealable lids put in place. As stated previously, I put the bacon on top of one of the hams. The bacon did not need to be injected.

Now for the waiting. Meat may be cured from 2 weeks to 6 six weeks or longer. It depends upon your purpose and in my case weather conditions. I believe the theory is that the longer it cures, the longer it will last. If your freezer is out of service, you may need to preserve meat in such a way that it will last for long periods in warm weather.

If you are just looking for good taste I can assure you that two weeks is sufficient for the hams. I had planned to cure mine for longer but the weather was getting too warm. I have a wood stove in my basement and was having a hard time keeping the meet between 32 and 45 degrees, so after two weeks I pulled it out. You'll want to get a good meat thermometer as well.

I should mention that I pulled the bacon out after only 4 days and it was fantastic.

I made my own smoker. To accomplish this I simply stacked up cement blocks five layers high and about four square. This is bigger than needed but I already had a large BBQ pit made so this was a simple modification. I then cut a piece of particle board to fit over the top. Mesh wire was attached to the particle board in order to hold the meat. The meat would hang on the underside of this board, over the smoke pit.

To create the smoke you could simply light a hardwood fire, but I chose to use charcoal. When the charcoal fire was glowing red, I spread it out, and covered it with soaking wet hickory wood chips. These were purchased at Home Depot for $5. As soon as that smoke started billowing up, I flipped the board containing the meat over the top of the smoker. I then covered and surrounded the whole thing with a tarp and let it sit for about six hours. At the end of six hours I brought it inside and it was ready to cut and package.

I borrowed a meat slicer for the bacon. The hams were cut into about 8 pieces for family size consumption and then packaged in the zip lock freezer bags. I must say, that was some of the best hickory smoked bacon I've ever had.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Curing Meat

This winter I tried my had at salt curing some meat. I have a dehydrator and have used it with beef and venison but curing with salt was something new. We were given half a hog as a Christmas present from my wife's aunt who is a farmer. Problem was, it was given on the hoof. In mid January my brother-in-law and uncle-in-law (that's a word right?) and myself met up at the farm to do this pig. By the time I arrived they had shot it and had it hanging upside down from the forks of a skid-steer loader. He was half skinned. We finished skinning and then carefully cut him in half before dark. The two pieces were laid out on clean plywood in the cool garage overnight.

The next morning we went to work butchering. No one ever taught me how to butcher, I just kinda taught myself by cutting up deer over the years. However, my wife's uncle was a butcher for forty years and I really learned some things that day.

We used to wrap all our meat in butcher paper. That works well, but takes a long time. Recently we've begun using large, freezer style, zip lock bags. Man is that faster and it works good too.

My portion turned out to be about five shoulder cuts (small to medium size), eleven pork chops, one whole slab of bacon, and one whole rear quarter.

I cut the rear quarter in half so that it fit into two five gallon buckets. I rolled up the bacon slap and placed it into one of the buckets, and then put lids on the buckets for transport. These were new, food grade buckets and they had sealable lids.

After arriving home the roasts and chops along with about five pounds of ground meat went to the freezer. The hind quarter and bacon we prepared for a cure. That will have to be described in the next post.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Family Friendly Prepping

I don't want to be Mr. Doom (although I wouldn't *object*, necessarily...if I *had* to pick a Bad Guy name that would be a sweet one), but I want to be family friendly too.

So, I'm thinking FIFO storage.

I recently read an article about FIFO storage [lookup reference - americanpreppernetwork i think], but long story short, basically you need to store what you eat and eat what you store. For an example of failing to do this, I still have Y2K food in a bin...it's useless.

They had the great idea of a FIFO bin (First In First Out like a grocery store), basically a can chute for whatever space you are in (ie: vertical can chute for cramped urban settings) will work.

I did a little test run with my few cans, and found that you need a good bit (3 ft of a shelf) of room to randomize 50+ cans...that's a little over 3-4 cases of cans. Try it out for yourself...it takes some time and a lot of space to randomize your stash. But if you don't eat this stuff at some point you'll be stuck with old food like me. :(

My approach has been to try and randomize the type of soup you have or something, you might be surprised...you find something you like, you get sick of something quickly, you never know...so buy more of what you like and less of what you don't.

Family Friendly: I'm thinking of building a game of picking the next can out, so that we can manage our food bill. Perhaps by allowing the little guy to pick out his next meal means he'll actually eat it?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ceding American Sovereignty

I copied this directly from the Heritage Foundation Blog. You won't like it.

The Latest Obama Threat to U.S. Sovereignty

Posted April 1st, 2009 at 11.43am in American Leadership, First Principles, Rule of Law.
Ceding control of financial regulations to the European Union is just the beginning of the Obama Administration war on the sovereignty of the United States of America. Just last week, President Barack Obama nominated former Clinton administration official Harold Koh to become the State Department’s legal adviser. Koh describes himself as a “transnationalist” and in a 2006 Penn State International Law Review article he described what this meant:

Generally speaking, the transnationalists tend to emphasize the
interdependence between the United States and the rest of the world, while the
nationalists tend instead to focus more on preserving American autonomy. The
transnationalists believe in and promote the blending of international and
domestic law; while nationalists continue to maintain a rigid separation of
domestic from foreign law. The transnationalists view domestic courts as having
a critical role to play in domesticating international law into U.S. law, while
nationalists argue instead that only the political branches can internalize
international law.

The transnationalists believe that U.S. courts can and should use their
interpretive powers to promote the development of a global legal system, while
the nationalists tend to claim that U.S. courts should limit their attention to
the development of a national system.
Pennsylvania Prepper sNetwork Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Pennsylvania Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.