Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Month: June 2009

Fire pits

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Fire Pit Fire pits give people the chance to sit outside and enjoy some family time together. Some areas have banned open fires, so the fire pit with a screen cover might be an alternative.

During periods of power outages, these fire pits can provide a way to cook, provide light, and some form of security for the family. Prowlers and thieves are less likely to go around where they can be seen.  From the dawn of mankind, fire has provided warmth and security.  These days, you just have to adapt to your surroundings.  Instead of building a fire in the middle of the yard, these pits provide a defined area where its safe to build a fire.

Instead of using tree limbs or firewood, collect oak timbers from construction zones.  But make sure the wood has not been treated.  Burning treated wood will release chemicals that you do not really want in your food.

For thousands of years, mankind has found comfort next to fire.  Whether it was a Neanderthal 50,000 years ago, a Roman soldier 2,000 years ago, or a family on a camping trip last week – fire provides a comfort zone that few things can compare to.

Not only does fire provide comfort, it also gives us a way to boil our water and cook our food.

Fire pits can provide the urban survivalist a way to build a controlled fire, boil some water and cook some food.

Water wells and urban survival

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Water wellWater, water everywhere and nar a drop to drink – is a classic statement from the rhyme of the ancient mariner.  But in the case of urban survival, there is no water and there is nothing to drink.

Most urbanites depend on water supplied by the city – through the cities water system. However, this is also a weak point in disaster planning. Most cities and towns have prohibited their citizens from digging private wells. If that is the case in your area, its time to get the laws changed. Not being able to have your own water supply makes you and your family a slave to city. Free people do not ask permission to use something that is on their own property – or in the case of ground water, under their property. Slaves ask permission, freemen use what is theirs as they see fit.

Depending on the area where you live, that will define how deep the well has to be.  If you are planning on installing a water pump, go ahead and set it up for an electric water pump as well as a hand powered pump.  This would include a housing for the pump to go in, ground rod and maybe electrical wiring.

Instead of a hand powered pump, a solar powered unit could be installed and the solar cells could be placed on top of the pump house.  But in this article, we will just be discussing hand powered pumps.


Written disaster plans

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Flooding from Hurricane Ike

Flooding from Hurricane Ike

While planning for a disaster, an important consideration should be to write your plans down, make copies and then send those copies to your friends and family members. The plans should include destination during the evacuations, contact phone number, routes you plan on taking during the evacuation and backup phone numbers – plus your usual stuff.

Destinations: This is your predefined “bug out location”. If you have to evacuate, where are you going? This should be planned out ahead of time, driven, and this information shared with your friends and family members.

Contact phone numbers: Pick a family member or friend that is several hundred miles from your location. Contact them and see if they will agree to be the messenger service. Before, during and after a disaster there is a good chance that phone lines will be overloaded. Use someone outside the area to relay messages between the affected parties.


Whitetail deer pictures

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Whitetail deer are a medium sized deer native to the United States. One feature that has ensured the species survival is that they can adapt to just about any kind of terrain, or food source. Some species do well in forest, or grasslands – but not both. Whitetail deer can adapt to woodlands, grassy plains and even newly developed neighborhoods.

One of the primary food sources for whitetail deer are acorns from oak trees. But they can graze on grass, twigs, and all kinds of foliage.

Even though bucks are usually considered males and does are considered females. Sometimes a female deer will grow antlers. When a female deer does grow antlers, they are considered hemorphidites. Because of hemorphidite deer, most regions issue hunting licenses with either “Antler” or “Anterless” stamped on them – instead of “Buck” or “Doe”.

Whitetail deer

Whitetail deer


Hog hunting with dogs

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Before we get started, each state and country is going to have its own laws on hunting with dogs.  Before going hunting, make sure you have a clear understanding of the laws before you do anything.  This video was filmed in Texas during the summer of 2008.  During that time it was legal (and still is when this article was posted) to hunt hogs with dogs in Texas. If you have any questions about hunting hogs in Texas, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife page on Feral Hogs.



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tents Whether your just going camping, or bugging out to a friends house, its important to have some tents on hand. Keep in mind that if you and your family need to leave your home, tents offer portable shelter.  During hurricane season, hundreds of thousands of people evacuate, and have nowhere to go.  Having your own portable shelter provides more options on where to spend the night at.

Besides tents, every family member should have a sleeping bag, pillow, and maybe even a cot or air mattress. During an evacuation, having your own portable shelter provides more options then having to stay in a shelter supplied by city, church, or some other organization.


Home grown onions

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home grown onions

Home grown onions are an easy item to grow.  Even for those gardeners that have a black thumb and kill everything they touch, onions should still be able to live through the touch of death.

The way onions grow, they have several shoots that come off the main root.  These shoots develop sugars, which then go into the bulb and help the bulb grow.  When the shoots start to die, that is a sign that the sugars are going into the root ball.

When stored properly, most onion root balls can be stored through the winter.  In early spring some types of onions will start developing shoots, which is a sign that they should be planted.


Panic buying before a disaster

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When the public has and kind of advanced warning of a disaster – such as a hurricane or pandemic disease – people go into a panic buying mode.  Keep this one thing in mind – if you do not have it before the panic buying kicks in, you will not be able to get it.

These images were taken as Hurricane Ike was approaching the Texas coast in September of  2008.

Panic Buying

The list of items that disappears off the shelf first is rather short, but still long.  It includes canned foods, bottled water, camp stoves and camp stove fuel, bread, flashlights, and other odd and end items.

The image to the left shows the camp stove selection at a local store right before Hurricane Ike made landfall in 2008.  There were only a couple of stoves and just a little fuel left on the shelves.  When this picture was taken, the hurricane was still 2 – 3 days from landfall.  People were buying just about any kind of camp stove, lantern and fuel they could get their hands on.

Its important to mention that people had buggies loaded down with charcoal for their outdoor grill.  It it cooked, or could be used to cook, people were buying it up.


Flashlights sold out before the storm

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As Hurricane Ike was approaching Texas in September of 2008, one of the first items to sell out was flashlights. The cheaper the flashlight, the faster it sold out. And it was not just regular flashlights that sold out, it was also the hand crank kind.  This picture was taken about 2 days before Hurricane Ike made landfall.


Hand tools for urban survival

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In an urban survival situation, its important for units to be self supportive. This includes being able to do basic repairs to the home or structure the people are staying in and growing a home garden. This is where the hand tools come into the picture.

Hammer Hammers

Unlike an air powered nail gun, or an electric powered nail gun, this amazing device only works with the swing of an arm. You hold it in your hand, grasp firmly and swing.

Every urban survivalist should have several good quality hammers on hand. Do not try to get off cheap. Go ahead, spend the money and get a quality product.

It has been my (Kevin) personal experience that hammers made in the USA are of better quality then those made in China.  Also, buying made in USA products helps keep the factories here in the states.  That keeps the jobs local which means less people on government assistance.   So, buy American and keep your neighbors with a job.  Or pay higher taxes and buy your neighbors food stamps, its your choice.

Be sure to include framing  hammers for fixing walls and roofs, 4 pound hammers and 8 pound hammers in your collection.


Urban Survival Disaster Preparedness Plans

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Putting together a disaster preparedness plan can be a daunting task. To begin, let us start with some basic questions. What kind of disaster should be planned for? What kind of disaster gear should be included in the kit? How many people will the plans have to support? How long will the disaster last?

Location is very important. This is one of the first questions anyone developing a disaster plan should take into consideration.

Everyone that lives within 200 miles of the Southeastern coast of the USA or the Gulf of Mexico coast should plan for hurricanes and/or strong thunder storms.

Anyone that lives in the northern regions should plan on cold weather with lots of snow and ice.

Mountain / arid regions should plan for wild fires in the summer and snow along with ice in the winter.

Tornadoes should be considered, regardless of location.

Earthquake prone regions should plan for just that, earthquakes.

By those examples, each disaster plan and urban survival kit will be a little different. However, each kit should contain some of the same basic items.

Food & Water – most organizations tell people to have at least 3 days or 72 hours worth of food and water on hand. This is an unrealistic number. After a disaster, such as a hurricane, most relief organizations plan on having services in place within 72 hours. What if the family has 3 days worth of food and water, and the relief services are NOT in place during that time frame?

For the sake of discussion, lets say the Jones family has 14 days worth of food and water on hand. The Smith family has 3 days – just like the government advices. On the 5th day after some kind of disaster strikes, the Smith family is asking the Jones Family if they have any food they can spare.

Whatever the government says you need, double or triple that number.


The mindset of radical survivalist

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sea rim state parkThe 1970s and the 1980s were interesting times for survivalist. The threat of nuclear war with Russia was a clear and present danger. Russia was in Afghanistan getting its butt kicked by a bunch of nomads. Duck and cover public service announcements were broadcast on TV. Soldier of Fortune magazine and American Survival Guide was the reading material of the day. But it was in the 1990s and beyond when things really got “interesting.”

The 1980s
When I was in high school (1982 – 1986), the dad of one of my friends seemed a little “radical” to say the least. If not radical, maybe just very, very paranoid. This was before I had very much knowledge or experience in stuff like the New World Order (NWO) and conspiracy theories.

This happened about 23 years ago, but I am going to try and tell the story the best that my memory serves me.

The father of my buddy had busted holes in the walls of the house, then stuck a rifle into the hole. He said if the feds ever come to get him, he wanted a firearm within reach. So there was a gun in the wall of every room. Even while sitting on the toilet there was a firearm within reach.

The dad stayed armed just about all the time with a Colt 1911 45 ACP. There were a couple of times where the dad was seen in town with the pistol. One time he was at a local grocery store when a clerk saw the pistol in his pocket – the clerk called the police. When the police approached the man, the son asked the officer if they could talk in private. The son told the police that his dad was a little “off” – and he was. The police officer was nice enough not to arrest the man, but made him leave the store.

Then there was the stories of the FBI watching his house, bugging his telephone, following him,,,,,,.

My buddies dad ran a small home based business and repaired small engines, such as lawn mowers and boat motors. I think this had something to do with making below a certain amount so he did not have to pay income taxes.

The family lived a very frugal lifestyle, ate a lot of cheap food (such as peanut butter), wore clothes that had holes in them, did not go to town very often. If memory serves me right, most of their food was out of store bought cans. This was so when the power was cut off very little food would spoil. I remember the family eating a lot of peanut butter and honey.

One story the dad told me went something like this – years ago he was away from home working on a construction job. Instead of renting an apartment or hotel room, he slept under his car. There just happened to be a panther living in the area. So the dad started putting food out for that panther and slowly tamed it.

About 3 years ago – 2005, 2006 or 2007 – I saw the dad at a local grocery store. He looked kinda rough and gave the appearance of being homeless. His hair was in a tangled mess, his clothes were dirty looking and he had a strange, almost lost look in his eyes. He is not homeless as I know where he lives and I see his car parked there on a regular basis. I did not speak to him, maybe I should have, maybe I am glad I didn’t.

I just can not imagine being so paranoid, as to believe that the government is watching everything that I do. It seemed that my buddies dad was obsessed that the FBI (or someone else) was watching every move he made.


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