Entries for July, 2008

The survivalist and their Bug Out Bag

One of the popular “survival” plans is the “Bug Out Bag” (aka BOB). Members of the survival community that use the Bug out bag, and a “head to the hills” philosophy are sometimes called backpack survivalist.

The “backpack survivalist” is a person who plans on leaving their home either ahead of a disaster or during the disaster, depending on the situation. The Survivalist, with their Bug Out Bag and family in tow, will head to some parcel of wilderness. Usually the plans include using national forest land as the retreat, areas close to large lakes where camp grounds already exist or maybe even public hunting land. When discussing these plans in detail with other survivalist, usually, exact details have not been thought out.

Example of a bug out plan: A few years ago one survivalist was talking about his plans, which included driving about 14 – 18 hours (normal drive time), across two states in order to reach a large US national park. Exact details such as refueling stops, rest areas and actual camping grounds had not been planned out. The story sounded more like a mix between the Boy Scouts and a Rambo movie.

The survivalist plans for a bug out usually goes something like this:

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Identify this fruit tree

One of the purposes of this site is to not only inform, but to provoke thought.  One of the ways this is done is to ask a question.  In the question, there lies the information.  Now then, let us begin.

This shrub or tree grows to be about 20 feet tall, but rarely gets over 10 feet tall.  To keep the tree at a reasonable height, it can be trimmed.  The cuttings from the trimmings can be transplanted to sprout new trees.

This tree produces a fruit that is edible, and can be used to make jelly, jam and preserves.  Just a few of these trees can produce a large amount of food.  This might be the reason why these trees were popular with early settlers in the USA.

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How to grow Zucchini

Zucchini is a small summer squash and a member of the melon / gourd family. It has an outer skin that can harden if left on the plant for too long – kinda like a watermelon or pumpkin. The immature fruit are best when picked at about 6 inches in length. Zucchini can be yellow, green or light green. It can be compared to a cucumber is shape, with the Zucchini being a little slimmer then an average cucumber when ready to harvest.

When getting ready to plant the seeds, soak the seeds between two wet towels about about 3 – 5 days. The seeds that sprout should be planted, the seeds that have not sprouted can be discarded.

While the seeds are soaking, the ground should be worked and prepared for the seeds.

Fertilizer – Zucchini requires a balanced fertilizer such as 13-13-13. Try not to use straight nitrogen such as 21-0-0, as you might get a large plant that produces little food. For prolonged production, add some organic fertilizer to the mix, such as mulch, pot ash, compost or manure. A quick release fertilizer might be good to get the plant growing, but those types of fertilizer will do little for future production. Zucchini can be a high production plant, but it must have the fertilizer to grow.

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What to expect from the Red Cross

After Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, a summer camp in east texas took in about 400 evacuees.  The camp in question was used during the summer by several of the local churches for religious and non-religious based events.  When hurricane Katrina struck, the camp was closed for the winter – no church or religious services were planned for at least 8 – 9 months, or when the local schools were closed for summer vacation.  The camp was set up very well to take in evacuees, there was a full kitchen with a dinning area that could feed several hundred people at one time, dormitories with bunk beds, activity areas, full bathroom facilities and even a first aid station.

Because this summer camp was religious based, one red cross worker kept throwing fits. It seems that some of the buildings that were being used as check in points, food distribution and to house these people has Christian symbols in them – such as the cross.  Even though the summer camp was closed to the public and for the winter and there were no religious events planned, this red cross guy kept throwing religion up. The people that owned the camp finally asked that

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The Survivalist Garden and Cucumbers

cucumber survivalist gardenWhile planning a survival garden that will be used during a prolonged disaster, cucumbers should be an important consideration.

During outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague (The Black Death) during the middle 1300’s, starvation might have killed as many people as the disease. As farmers and merchants died off from The Black Death, those that were still alive were left to a slow death of starvation. It was recorded in the journals of the witnesses to The Black Death – the starving masses even turned to cannibalism.

To prevent this type of situation from befalling family members and loved ones, every survivalist should have a stock of seeds for a home garden.

The cucumber belongs to the same plant family as watermelon, zucchini and pumpkin. Sometimes this is called the “Gourd” or “melon” family. This is because the plants can grow a hard outer shell. The benefit of this hard outer shell, most insects can not penetrate it to eat the softer inner flesh. This makes the cucumber somewhat pest resistant, as compared to other garden plants – such as the tomato.

Modern man has grown the cucumber for at least 3,000 years in Western Asia. Estimates are that the cucumber was introduced to parts of Europe by the Romans. The exact year of European introduction in unknown. Written records dating back to the Roman empire exist noting how much the cucumber was eaten in ancient times. As an example, the Roman Emperor Tiberius (November 16, 42 BC – March 16, AD 37) ate cucumbers on an almost daily basis. To ensure that cucumbers were on the dinner plate during the winter months, the plants were grown in carts. The carts were wheeled into the sunlight during the day, and brought inside during the night.

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Spinach for a survival garden

survivalist garden spinachHistory: The origin of Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is in some debate. Some researchers put the origin of Spinach around current day Iraq. While other researchers claim that Nepal is where the plant was first domesticated.

Planting: Spinach has to be replanted every year. This is also known as an annual plant. Even though Spinach may need to be replanted every year, it might survive over winter in temperate regions. Spinach germinates best if the seeds are soaked in water, or between wet rags for at least 24 hours before planting. Best results for germination may occur if the seeds are soaked for 3 – 5 days, or until the seed starts to sprout.

Soaking the seeds: 1. Place the seeds into a bowl and fill the bowl with water until the seeds are covered. The next day remove any seeds that might be floating. Seeds that are floating are less likely to sprout. Drain the water from the bowl. It helps if a strainer is used to separate the water and the seeds. Once the spinach seeds have been removed from the water, take them outside and plant them. 2. Use a cookie sheet, or a pizza sheet – place a small cloth towel in the bottom of the sheet then spread the Spinach seeds on the top of the towel. Space the seeds at least 1/4 – 1/2 inch apart. Pour enough water over the towel to make it wet. Cover the seeds with a second towel. Then pour enough water over the second towel to make it wet. Over the next few days keep the towels moist.

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Survival Quiz – ID this plant

This is a Survival Quiz to test your knowledge of wild plants.

The location of the plant is in a pond that is connected to a salt water marsh. The salt water marsh is connected to the Gulf of Mexico. The water in the pond has a high salt water content and is considered “brackish.” Certain types of wildlife that are somewhat tolerant of fresh and salt water make their homes in these types of ponds and marshes.

To discuss this video, visit this link to go to the forum.

Preparedness planning and baby food considerations

If there is one aspect of disaster planning that is often over looked, that is baby food and baby formula. While on a recent 3 day trip to the camp, one of the first supplies to run out was my grandsons baby formula. My stepdaughter did not pack enough of the dry powdered formula to get through the 3 day stay. This was no big deal. We just drove back to town, which was about a 20 minute drive.

But, what would things had been like if we had been in a disaster area? After regional or localized disasters, such as earthquakes or hurricanes – the government says to be prepared for at least 72 hours, which is 3 days. During this time do not expect any help or relief services.

With the power outages that may follow a disaster, dry baby formula might have the advantage over milk or other liquid formulas because it does not require refrigeration. With the dry formula mix, as long as there is a supply of safe drinking water, the formula can be mixed to make the babies food.

If a mother is breastfeeding there is no need to keep the milk cool and the parents do not have to worry about if the watter used to make the formula is safe. The mother just needs to make sure the water and food she eats and drinks is free from contamination.

It is the responsibility of the parent to make sure that infants will have enough food after a disaster. For those people that might be trying to plan, figure for at least a week (7 days) that you will have to rely on yourself. This means that you will need to make sure that infants have enough food, diapers and other basic needs for that time period.

If the disaster is know of before it happens, such as a hurricane, expect the local grocery stores to be cleaned out as panic buying erupts. Its very important that parents not wait until the last minutes to try and get supplies. By then, it will be to late.

Post your comments in this forum thread about baby food.

Long term survival plans

Do you have a long term survival plan? We are not talking 3 days, or 3 weeks, or 3 months,,, how about 3 years? If there was a total break down of society, what would you do?

My plans are like a flow chart, with a bunch of “ifs” on it. If power, no power, if long term, if short term, if food runs out before life returns back to normal, when will the local community have support from the outside world, is the disaster local, nation wide or world wide. In all there are 4 major plans – A, B, C, & D.

Food plan A – First Tier:

The first level in your survival food preps are the frozen foods in your freezer and the foods that you have to keep cold.  In the event of a power outage, these are the foods that should be cooked and eaten first.

The main course for the first week or so will be meat and anything else in the freezers. The time line for this depends on the generator. If the power goes out, gas = food. For every day we can keep the food in the freezer frozen, or cold, that is an extra day we get to eat out of it. One of my investments has been a 100 quart 5 day cooler. Storing some frozen good in these high quality ice chest could extend their freshness by 5 – days This is the deep freezer. It is full of deer meat, sausage, hamburger and ribs. Each package of ribs has 3 slabs in it. The white packages are full of deer mixed with beef hamburger. Notice the tub in the top right hand corner, we will discuss that in a little bit.

If the power goes out, and the food is spoiling before we can eat it – the plan is to have a massive bar-b-q and invite all our neighbors over. The smoker is used to make whatever into jerky. I like to think I have a way to cook without power. At this family reunion, I cooked enough for 100+ people at one time.

Food Plan B – Second Tier:

These are your storage foods – MREs, canned goods, dried beans and rice,,,, stuff like that.

Right now I have about 7 – 9 cases of MRE’s. Each person in the group should get a single case. This case is to be used for snacks and treats by that person. If we have more then 7 or 9 people, then the MRE’s will be divided up equally. The family unit is going to have to have group meals. No one should be allowed to cook their own meals or eat their meals on their own schedule. We eat at breakfast, dinner and supper. The MRE’s will fill in between those meals. Such as snacks or when the “munchies” set in.

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Winter survival and cold weather clothing

This article was originally posted by coyotemountain on the survivalist discussion forum.

Man has forever been at odds with the temperature of his environment. Our body generates a metabolically controlled core temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit; the ideal temperature at which cellular respiration proceeds most efficiently for most organs in the human body. Learning how to preserve this core body temperature so that blood does not have to be diverted away one’s extremities should be the goal of “dressing for success” when entering the cold winter world. Cold hands and cold feet are the bane of any winter operator, and standing guard duty with little or no physical action during the winter can be a brutal and even life/limb threatening experience for the unprepared. When winter comes to the Rocky Mountains, the upper Midwest and New England, it comes hard. Temperatures in the single digits can continue for weeks and in the northern Rocky Mountain states, and it is possible to endure several weeks of sub-zero temperatures before seeing a thaw. These days, most people just button up and stay inside, making a mad-dash for their automobile, stomping their feet and cursing at the cold while waiting for the engine to warm up. The fact of the matter is that the majority of Americans have no idea how to dress for the cold. Additionally, most Americans have no idea how the body works to regulate heat distribution and minimize heat loss. I’m sure that if they knew what you will know after reading this article, tomorrow there would be a million more people in the woods hunting, fishing and walking. To understand how you need to dress for a successful expedition, your first need to understand some basic human anatomy and physiology.

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Wilderness Survival – Yaupon Holly

Some wild animals and birds eat the Yaupon Holly, but the berries cause vomiting in humans. The latin name is Ilex vomitoria.  Anything that has “vomit” in the name should be avoided.

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Survival Gear – Splitting Mauls

Splitting mauls are different from an axe.  The maul is heavier and wider then and axe and usually has a dull edge.  The back side of the maul is sometimes flat so a sledge hammer can be used to drive it through blocks of wood.

Every survivalist should have a way to cut firewood in their tools.  In this case its an axe, machete for cutting small limbs a sledge hammer and a splitting maul.

Stacking Firewood

Firewood, for a long term S hit the fan situation, its going to be the primary way that people are going to be cooking and heating their homes.

One of the ways I’am going to be using firewood post-SHTF is in my wood burning barbeque pit. It has a cooking surface 6 feet 9 inches long, and is 29 inches across. In other words, I wanted something big enough that I could cook a hog or a deer on it.

When stacking firewood in the truck or trailer, its very important not to stack the wood too high.  If the wood is stacked too high, there is a chance of the wood rolling off the truck or trailer when turns are made when driving home.

To prevent the logs from rolling, stack them only as high as the top of the truck or trailer. And maybe lash the wood down with some straps.

Logs that roll off during transportation pose a safety hazard to other vehicles on the road.   Extreme care should be taken to make sure that your firewood collection does not harm those that have to share the road with you.