Saturday, August 15, 2015

The start of your food storage.

Recently I began the first steps of long term food storage. A lot of "peppers" just starting out are daunted by the idea of managing massive amounts of various food and cycling them routinely to always use the oldest food first, canning, growing, packaging, etc. This is understandable, but it must be overcome. The day you realize that your family has all the guns and ammo, silver and gold, camouflage clothes, razor wire, medical supplies you could ever need, but has only stored a week's worth of food and even less water will be bad day. The key to getting yourself started on food storage is to start simple with some "universal" foods that are easy to obtain, package and prepare.

Rice, beans, salt, sugar and black pepper are a great place to start. You'll need to buy some 5 gallon food grade buckets with lids that seal properly. A triangular symbol on the bottom of the bucket that says "HDPE 2" with let you know that you've got the right ones. Now go online and find some gallon sized Mylar bags. The food will go inside these and you'll seal them up with a flat iron or something similar. Just a second of heat from that will seal the bag shut. I recommend also buying some oxygen absorbers and moisture absorbers (similar to what you find inside food packages, you just throw them in the trash when you see them). Moisture absorbers will go in the bags of rice and beans while the oxygen absorbers will go in with the salt and sugar. Don't mix them up or else your salt and sugar will get hard as a rock and to use it you'll have to scrape off what you need.

I first recommend using 5 gallon buckets with sealing lids for your storage. The black pepper is easiest. Buy whole peppercorns and leave them in their original, airtight grocery store containers. Make sure you have a manual pepper grinder or else you'll end up doing it all by hand. My pepper is simply placed in one of the buckets with the salt, specifically the salt bucket that wasn't totally full and had room for a couple of containers of pepper and a pepper mill. Whole peppercorns will last longer than ground black pepper. In fact, most foods will last longer in a less processed state.

Salt is only a little more complicated than pepper. Go to any store that sells iodized salt and get as much as you want to store away. I've got fifty pounds or so stored away right now. Pour the salt into the Mylar and put in a couple of moisture absorber packets. Take your flat iron and seal the top. Don't seal more than an inch from the top so you have space to reseal it with the iron again if you have to get it open.

The sugar is packaged up the exact same way as the sugar. Mark the bags with the content, date and whatever other info you want to know and put the bags into a bucket. Lid it up and there you have it. The Mylar will keep the environment out of your food and the bucket will provide easier moving and protect the bags from punctures.

Beans and rice are stored basically the same way. The only difference here is that you will put oxygen absorbers in them instead of moisture absorbers. Seal them into the Mylar and drop the bags into you buckets. I recommend writing on the bags rather than the buckets, because you can put anything in the buckets later.


Some tips:

-Keep any unused absorbers in a sealed container. Don't keep them exposed to the environment for more than a moment or two. They always need to be in the sealed Mylar or in some other sealed storage.

-Keep the final product in a cool place. Try not to store outside and avoid extremes in temperature.

-A good starting amount for almost anyone is about 50 pounds. My wife and I were able to bag up and store 50 pounds of rice, salt and sugar in just an hour or so. That plus two plastic cans of peppercorns fits into six 5 gallon buckets.

-None of the items in this post are expensive. It doesn't take long for ANYONE of ANY budget to save the money to store food like what's in this post.

-It's obviously not ideal to end up stuck with nothing but rice, beans, salt, sugar and pepper to eat for a long period of time, but it is all easy to cook and very few people will have any aversion to rice or beans. This is why it's a good place to start. You can live on rice and beans for a long time if you have nothing else.

-White rice is highly recommended to store over any other type of rice. Brown rice will stay good for more than about two years no matter how it's stored. Stored brown rice will need to be rotated out. Stored in the above fashion, white rice will keep for at least 20 years, possibly up to 30 years. Pinto beans will have the same lifespan. The sugar and salt may last even longer.

-Don't dip into the buckets except in emergencies. Simply needing a cup of sugar to bake with is not an emergency. Being low on rice for dinner is not an emergency. Food storage is not there as a convenient way to avoid a grocery store trip. There are some foods that need to be used and rotated, but foods that keep for 20+ years are not that.

-Preparing rice or beans in an austere environment requires no more skills than being able to start a fire and boil water on an open flame.

-While I do not recommend giving away your food stores, the items in this post are obviously great trading items in a post SHTF scenario. Consider that our bodies need iodine to survive, and that we get almost all of our dietary iodine from iodized salt products.


Starting out with this food in storage means that you and your family WILL NOT STARVE during a disaster scenario. It is not ideal or recommended to sit on these food preps and be satisfied with them, but having 50 pounds of rice, beans, salt, sugar and a few cans of peppercorns puts you WAY ahead of anyone that has just the average pantry. Most people have little more than a few days of sustainment in their pantries.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The global consequences of American geopolitical and military weakness.

The US truly became an empire, even if it was unaware of it or unwilling to be one, at the moment of victory in WWII and not a single day before. The world was truly aflame during that war. We haven't seen an inferno even close to that since then, despite the potential for the Cold War to become the most devastating war in history. The Cold War stayed cold for a reason. That reason was NOT Russian power. It was American power. The world will not burn again until the lack of the American military and geopolitical power abroad provides a vacuum.

Our president and his administration is in the process of intentionally weakening the US influence around the world and the results of doing so are apparently going to be immediate. One thing is certain, Obama is the first president who intentionally and knowingly attempted to make the US weaker around the world. He is the first who actively sought to bring America DOWN to the level of the rest of the world. Russia and China have aggressively seized on this opportunity to expand their sphere of influence (SOI) during this time.

Once Russia and China make gains (economically, militarily, politically) in their SOI, it will be nearly impossible for those gains to be scaled back significantly without a collapse (think of the Soviet Union collapse). There will be many who look at the entire picture of this and say "Who cares? We have our own problems to deal with!" These are the people who do not have an understanding of how the world today is interconnected. These are the people who have no understanding of the end goals of Russia and China.

While we see the aggressive actions of our largest nation-bound enemies, we also see the rise of "terrorist armies" like ISIS. This hybridized (sometimes guerrilla, sometimes conventional) threat is fairly new in our lifetime when you look at some of the characteristics of ISIS. I say "fairly" new because it's basically AQ on steroids. Steroids and crack. Not much has been done to weaken this army as it stands in the Levant. There is no real coalition. There is no real stomach for commitment. There is little sense of urgency. Our leaders are afraid to do what is necessary. More weakness on the global stage when there is a great opportunity for strength.

We also see our smaller nation-bound enemies getting bolder and bolder. Iran has spread it's tentacles throughout the entire world. Iran is actively providing training, weapons, equipment and funding to operatives on every inhabited continent and they're doing it on a massive scale. North Korea (nK) is another example of a "small enemy" doing big things, but I'm not going to elaborate because I signed a Nondisclosure Agreement upon leaving the Army. Take my word or don't, but just because they are not a conventional threat to us (or really anyone beyond a roughly 45 day blitz against South Korea) does not mean they are not a threat at all. In my professional opinion, a large majority of nK's ability to pose a threat to us and our allies was gained in just the last 4-5 years.

Speaking of our allies, they are seeing our efforts to weaken ourselves and are losing confidence in us at light speed. Britain, Germany and France have begun jockeying for European leadership now that it actually matters. These allies are now preparing for a world in which they must go it alone if need be. I'd say these nations should have been ready for the day when the US wasn't able or willing to ride in to save them, but do not allow yourself to be fooled into thinking we don't benefit from having a group of allies at our back. They are not geopolitically weak and we benefit greatly from our allies knowing that we are strong. They see our weakness and it has already begun to have political and economic consequences.


I can continue on and on, discussing the implications of American weakness for our smaller allies, the deterioration of our friendship with Israel, the sham that is the Iranian negotiations, the Saudis and other Arab states launching military strikes against Islamic extremists without notifying us (they aren't obligated to do so, but the fact that they used to and now no longer do so is quite telling), South American countries officially shipping their poor, unhealthy and criminals to Mexico and Mexico actively facilitating their infiltration over the border, Russian and Chinese banks buying massive amounts of precious metals while they actively work to bring down the American economy, etc. These things are not guaranteed to be prevented by American geopolitical and military strength projected abroad, but when that strength is missing, those things are guaranteed to occur and we are guaranteed to pay a price for it at home.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Beginning your food stores.

In the near future I will begin stockpiling stored food to feed my family in the event of a disruption of the commercial supply lines. It goes without saying that one should be able to hunt, fish and gather food from nature in order to sustain your survival group long term. However, that is a different type of subject. For now I'll go over stored food and how I plan to build my "larder".

Stored food is a good means of knowing exactly how long you and your's will be able to eat before having to resupply or begin "living off the land". Many companies sell stored food buckets with a specific number of servings and will tell you how long certain size groups of people will be able to eat with that amount stored.

A good initial plan for someone who is beginning in their preparedness is to store prepackaged long-term storage food. Two well known companies who produce this type of food are "Mountain House" and "Wise." I only have experience with Mountain House, and their quality is at the top of the industry. Many companies produce these stored food in buckets that have packaged portions and meals. You can buy these buckets and calculate the amount of meals you have per person in your household per day. It's a good idea to store enough of these to last you family or survival group for between one and three months.

Of course, you'd like to have food for long than that, so store as much as you can. Eventually your group will need to be able to find, grow, hunt and fish for food. But in the event of a short-term emergency, this prepackaged food can be a life saver. In a long-term emergency, prepackaged good can allow you to have a backup supply in case you aren't able to produce food for a short time.

Monday, February 23, 2015

List of Lists - Websites

To complete my posts on the List of Lists, I'll leave you with a few websites you can use to meet like-minded people and discuss survival-related topics. These sites will teach you a lot and open your eyes to the need for a survival mindset.


www.SurvivalBlog.com
www.SurvivalistBoards.com
www.BushcraftUSA.com
www.FreeAmericanNational.blogspot.com

List of Lists - Water Filtration, Purification & Storage

The ability to filter and purify water for drinking and other uses is often overlooked because, frankly, it's a boring topic. However, it's possibly the most important. Storing enough water to last any significant period of time is also daunting in it's requirements. I recommend storing an ABSOLUTE MINIMUM of one gallon per person per day. Let say you have three people in your family. You hope to last 30 days? That's 90 gallons for just one month. That's if you all plan to drink the minimum, bathe rarely and cook two or less meals per day. That's your minimum amount needed, but I recommend storing above that amount. As much as possible.



Portable filtration system
Purification tablets
Iodine tablets
Water bottles & canteens
Metal containers for boiling
Water jugs and storage barrels



Eventually that storage WILL run out. So it's imperative to be able to obtain water after the faucets stop and the storage runs out. Creating your own or buying a water catchment system (especially in areas of the country will predictable, reliable and regular rains) will generally solve the problem. Here are just two choices when you search on the internet for "water catchment systems":

http://www.arcsa.org/
http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Water/Water.htm

I also highly recommend purchasing filtration systems from a company called Berkey. There are many places online to purchase the Berkey portable water filtration systems. Look through their options to find the right size for your family.

List of Lists - Vehicles

In a long term survival situation, vehicles are likely going to have a short life. Unless you have the ability to set up your own mechanic shop and stock several extra parts for every situation, your vehicle will probably become an immovable barricade at some point. In a short term situation, you can keep your vehicle operational. For the long term situation, the key is to find a balance between saving your vehicle use to prolong it's life and using it for times when you really need it. Having these items will extend it's usefulness as a rolling vehicle and delay that point at which it becomes a roadblock.


Antifreeze
Jacks and tire irons
Tire gauges
Tow chains, hooks and straps
Winch
Road flares, cones and warning triangles
Replacement headlights
Battery charger
Spare batteries
Jumper cables
Spare tires for each vehicle
Motor oil
Oil filters
Brake fluid
Transmission fluid
Power steering fluid
Seat belt cutter

List of Lists - Tools

Having tools at your BOL is obviously important. You're going to need to be able to handle all repair jobs that you may have normally called someone else to do. You'll need to acquire the knowledge you need to safely and effectively use these tools. Don't be afraid to buy extras. You'll notice I made everything on this list plural for that reason. Tools are made to take hard work, but they won't always be able to handle that forever.


Multitools
Various survival knives
Shovels
Hand shovels
Rakes
Hammers
Screwdrivers
Wrenches and sockets
Sharpening instruments for knives and edged tools
Axe & hatchets
Bolt cutters
Hand saws (hacksaws & blades)
Chains
Ropes
Work gloves
Machetes
Various nails & screws


In a survival situation, make sure to be extra careful using anything with an edge. Small cuts can result in infection and death when you have zero chance of getting medical care.

List of Lists - Tactical Living

I'm getting toward the end of our list of lists posts and today I'll go over the tactical living section. This section lists some items you'll need to live and operate in an environment that may not be as secure and comfortable as a secured home.


550 cord
Camouflage clothing & hats
Combat style boots
Cold weather clothing
Wet weather clothing
Mosquito nets
Sleeping bags
Red lense flashlights
Range cards and sector sketches
Topographical grid maps of the local area
Compass
Protractor
All weather dome tents
Camoflage netting
Binoculars
Ponchos
Waterproof tarps
Chem lights
Camelbaks
Pistol holsters and long gun cases


These items can also be very important once the S has HTF and you feel the need to do some recon and scouting of the area around your bug out location (BOL). Having a topographical grid map of you area along with a compass and protractor will allow you to move through or around terrain. The US military uses 1:25,000 or 1:10,000 scaled maps. I recommend going to a website such as www.mytopo.com and purchasing a map with your BOL close to the center of it. I also recommend buying topo maps for the surrounding areas. I will be acquiring one with my BOL and one map for each area surrounding it, N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW. That will give me a large map board made of three rows of three maps with my BOL map at the center.

Excellent information on how to make a range card can be found here: http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/Leadersbook_information/Combat_Leaders_Guide/defend-range-card-prepara-2.shtml

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ideal basic firearms set.

Life has been busy lately as my lack of posting has shown, but I have several posts that are being worked on that will be posted within the week.

For now, I'll answer a question I've seen asked in many places. The question basically comes out to "What is a basic list of guns I need to cover all the bases I might come across?"

Well, here goes the best I can do. I'll list them off and then give a reason why the list covers 99% of what you'll come across.

Note: This list of firearm is not the basic survival load for someone who is just trying to be ready for most likely occurrence. I made that post back on November of 2013.

- Long range, scoped, bolt action rifle
- MBR (Main Battle Rifle)
- Rimfire rifle
- Centerfire handgun
- Rimfire handgun
- 12 gauge shotgun

The bolt action rifle will allow you to accurately engage any target at long distance, whether that target is a hunting target or a threat. The battle rifle has it's obvious uses at intermediate and short ranges. That includes target shooting, self defense and hunting. The rimfire rifle has a multitude of survival uses and in my post from November 2013, I go over it in detail. I also went over the survival uses of the centerfire handguns and the 12 gauge shotgun. The rimfire handgun can be useful in pest control and target practice. It's also great for training new shooters. These handguns can carry large amounts of ammunition and are great for carrying around while working on large acreage in case you come across any venomous snakes and you have no other choice but to fire.

These types of firearms should allow you to handle almost any situation that comes your way. I'll finish with some recommendations. I'm not being paid by these companies and these recommendations certainly are far from a complete list of quality weapons. There are many well made examples and I'd be sitting here typing for too long if I was to list them all.

Bolt action rifle - Remington Model 700, Ruger American, Mosin Nagant 91/30.

Battle rifle - Colt LE6920, M1A, Zastava AK-47 variant.

Rimfire rifle - Ruger 10/22, Savage Arms.

Centerfire handgun - Glock handguns, S&W Shield, Colt 1911, Beretta PX4 Storm.

Rimfire handgun - Walther P22, Ruger rimfire revolvers.

12 gauge shotgun - Mossberg 500, Remington 870, Benelli M4.