Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Month: July 2010

Is web 3 here and now

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Is it time to start using the phrase “Web 3.0”?

Web 1 – noninterative sites. These are static html and php sites that can not be interacted with.

Web 2 – interactive sites. Examples – forums, blogs, youtube, facebook, myspace,,,,,.

web 3 – interactive sites based on mobile technology – where your not tied down to a desktop or laptop. These are the sites that are designed to be accessed through smart phones – droid, and iphone for examples.

East texas wild grapes

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East Texas wild grapes, also called Muscadines grow on long vines and usually grow around creeks and streams.  Their range extends far past Texas and have been known to grown from Texas all the way to New York.  Their native climate is warm humid areas, such as the deep southern part of the USA.

The grapes start off green and turn a dark purple color when their ready to be picked. The taste is sweet, with the husk being a little tough and maybe a little tart.  Some types of Muscadines may stay green when they are ready to be picked.

Muscadines have a high Polyphenol content. Which is supposed to promote good health.

The inside of the grape has at least 1 seed that is about 1/8 – 3/16 of an inch long.

The Muscadine grapes can be used to make jelly, juice or preserves.

From a survivalist point of view, this is a good wild plant to have around your camp.  If you have any creeks or streams, they may already be growing and you may not even know it.

Post your comments in this forum thread about wild grapes in East Texas.

Why people can not form their own opinion

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Kevin Felts blogger and survivalistWhile going to school, you probably heard something like – Please do not interrupt the class, if you continue to do so, you will be sent to the office.

“If” we have enough time at the end of class you may voice your opinion at that time – but you will have to raise your hand and wait to be called on.

If we do not have enough time today, you may be able to ask your question of voice your opinion tomorrow. But I doubt we will have enough time tomorrow, because we have a lot of material to cover.

On second thought, maybe its best that you keep your opinion to yourself and let the teacher teach the class.


School is much more then a place to learn, its where childrens minds go to die a slow painful death.

People learn in 2 different ways:

Doing – actual hands on. These are your mechanics, your welders, heavy equipment operators,,, people that do physical labor.

Sitting – take listen and learn. These are your engineers, your lawyers,,, people who take a concept and turn it into something.

Most schools only cater to kids that learn by listening. The kids that learn by doing are left out in the cold. Instead of addressing “why” a child is acting up in school, the teachers, parents and doctors put the kids on medicines. The child is then transformed into a zombie that can sit still and listen to the boring teacher.

And we have to wonder why we have such a high rate of high school drop outs?

When we grow, we learn what is accepted and what is not accepted. And we accept that without question.

Such as – you vote Democrat or Republican. People who vote third party are throwing their votes away. Very few people can “think outside the box” and change the way they vote.

If people could “really” think outside the box, the USA would not be in the situation its in right now. Because the people would be voting other political parties into office. But instead, we are stuck in this Democrat or Republican rut.

Ask yourself, why do you vote the way that you do? Why do you listen to the music that you do? Do you “really” like the types of music that is popular today? Or do you listen to the music because the radio stations and TV told you the music is good, and you should listen to it?

What about food, do you ask yourself “why that can of beans has to have so much salt in it?”

Why dont fast food places offer low calorie drink options? Instead, we have flavored sugar water.

If you want to form your own opinion on something – accept nothing and question everything.

If someone can not change the way they vote, change the types of music they listen to, dress differently them other people, or even cut their hair differently, how can they be expected them to “think” for themselves.

When you accept everything without question, your nothing more then a zombie. A zombie that goes to work, pays their bills, votes the same people into office every year,,,, and all without question.

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July 25 trip to the Angelina River

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The day started off kinda early (for a Saturday anyway). The plans were for my son and I to get up around the crack of dawn, get a shower, get something to eat and head out. But things did not work out that way. Instead of getting on the river around 6am, it was more like 8:30. But even if we got a late start, it was still a beautiful day, the gators were out and the fish were biting.

We launched the boat at Bevilport, which is a public boat launch off Highway 63. Coming from Jasper, Texas, you turn left at the VFW sign, then drive for about 4 – 5 miles. On the way your going to pass some nice looking fields with traces of old pecan tree plantations. There is one rather large field where the cows share the shade provided by a few oak and pine trees.

When you reach the boat launch, you veer to the right, then make the circle to the left, so that your aligned up with the boat launch. From there, its a matter of taking the straps off the boat, making sure the plug is in, one last check to make sure we have life jackets. From there its just a matter of backing the boat trailer into the water and launching the boat.

Once we were on the river, my son and I headed south towards BA Steinhagen Reservoir and Dam B. The river was smooth, almost like glass, with the sky and trees reflecting in the still waters. There were a few cranes flying around the river – probably looking for a morning snack.

We were looking for a series of cuts off the river and provides access to some slews. Google maps shows a rather large network of cuts and slews just north of the Forks of the Rivers – which is where the Angelina and Neches Rivers come together. Before we headed out I had printed a map off Google map, the problem is, there was no latitude of longitude, so I had to go off how the river looked on the map and compare that to the real thing, and then figure out where the entrance to the slews were at.

One slew we turned into was filled with gators and stumps. I was a little worried that we would run up on a stump, poke a hole in the boat and have to swim to shore with gators all around us. So instead of running the gas motor, the trolling motor was dropped and we inched our way through the first slew. After exploring the back side, I realized that we were in the wrong place, so we headed back to the main river.

We had gone too far south, so we headed north.

After bouncing in and out of a couple of slits in the river, we found the one we were looking for. It makes a horse shoe looking turn, that gets narrow for maybe 100+ yards. At first look it appears to be a dead end, but it makes a 180 degree turn in the woods, and opens up into a nice sized pond and the series of slews that we had been looking for has been found.

If there is one word that I would use to describe the area, it would have to be beautiful. The cypress trees seem ageless, there is a calm there that can not be described with human words. Except for the boat, and the sounds of other boats on the river, its like stepping back in time 10,000 years. As you ease through the water-ways, the gators sit in the water watching you pass by, the birds fly from tree to tree, and the squirrels play in the tree tops.

When we first started fishing, I was using a worm, perch hook and cork setup – but the minnows and perch kept stealing my bait. The worms were probably 18 inches under the water, and I was fishing around the weeds. I could see the minnows and small perch rush out from the weeds, grab the worms, and rush back to the safety of the weeds. After only catching 1 perch, it was time for a change. So I fixed up a Texas rig with a pumpkin seed colored artificial worm. With the new setup I caught 3 bass, but only 1 of them made it into the boat. The other 2 got off the hook right before they got into the boat – and that aint no fish story.

My son was using a tiny torpedo top water lurer, and only caught 1 striped bass. I think the water might have been a little warm for the bass to be feeding on the top, but that is just a guess.

After working our way through the series of cuts and slews for about 2 hours, we decided it was time to head back. As we were working our way back through the cuts, my son spotted a baby gator swimming close to the bank. I’am just guessing the gator was about 24 – 36 inches long and it was making a barking sound. I figure the barking was kinda like a distress signal to its mom – “hey mom, these people are looking at me.” Just to be on the safe side, my son and I kept our distance from the baby gator, and kept heading on our way.

Post your comments in this forum thread about watching gators and fishing on the Angelina River.

5 fire building tips

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Whether your at the deer lease, building a fire in your bar-b-q pit, or lost in the wilderness, building a fire is a skill that must be mastered. There is a difference in knowing how to build a fire with a lighter and charcoal lighter fluid, and knowing how to build a fire just before sundown when your lost in the woods.

1) Alcohol prep pads – These are the things that the nurse uses to clean your skin right before you get a shot. Their good for cleaning wounds and starting fires. The alcohol content allows the vapors to burn before the cloth of the pad to burn, so you might get a couple of minutes of burn time out of 1 pad. Their lightweight, easy to use, easy to light, and multi-purpose items.

2) Pencil and pencil sharpener – Not as easy to light as the alcohol prep pad, but will help you get a fir built. Use the pencil to write with, just as leaving notes at the truck before you head out on a hiking trip, and use the sharpener to get wood shavings to help build a fire.

3) Dip your matches – Even though a lot of people recommend dipping your matches in wax, I do not like doing that. The wax coating makes the match difficult to strike, and in some cases the match head might just snap off instead of lighting. Waterproof finger nail polish will give you a thin water proof coating that is easier to remove then wax.

4) Bow and Drill – Might take you a long time to build a fire, but if it was good enough for primitive man, its good enough for you.

5) Magnifying glass – May only work when the sun is out, but its good for looking at splinters. Being able to look at small splinters and start fires makes the magnifying glass a dual purpose item.

Comments – Post your comments in this forum thread about fire building tips.

Maxpedition Vulture-II

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Looking for a good quality 2 – 3 day pack?  The Maxpedition Vulture-II might be just what your looking for.  When your looking at backpacks, there seems to be small, medium, large and super large.

Small – good for day hikes and short trips

Medium – good for day hikes or overnight trips

Large – good for 3 – 5 day trips

Super Large – good for 5+ days trips (think expedition)

The problem I have, I need a pack that fits right in-between medium and large.  These are the ones where you can pack enough for a 1 – 3 day trip, but not too big or too small.


Spam as a survival food

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Is spam the perfect survival food? That question was asked in this forum thread about spam.  It seems that most people like talking about spam – whether its fried, cooked, cold, right out of the can,,,,,,, most people will have something to say about it. Even if they say its so nasty they would never eat it, that is still something they had to say.

Can of spam classic net weight – 340 grams (I dont know if that net weight includes the metal can).
Serving size – 56 grams
790mg of sodium per serving

340/56 = 6.071

6.071 servings per can X 790 mg of sodium = 4,802.5mg of sodium for a can of spam.

Source on weight and sodium is from the Spam website.

Three cans of spam classic a day- 1 for breakfast, lunch and dinner would provide around 3,240 calories and somewhere around 10,500 – 14,500 mg of sodium.

Pay attention to that 14.5 grams, that is 14,500 milligrams – which is 6.041X the recommended daily allowance of salt.  The USDA Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Sodium intake is no more than 2,400 milligrams – but that is for a healthy adult with no health problems.  Race also plans a factor in your sodium intake, it seems that salt affects blacks and whites differently.

If you have health problem like high blood pressure or heart disease, your recommended daily intake may be more like 1,400 mg.

So lets say that your have stockpiled lots of spam for a disaster, and your overweight and have high blood pressure. Eating 10,500 – 14,500 milligrams of salt everyday might just mean that your eating your way to an early grave.

If you have a health issue, be sure to talk with your doctor and get some first hand advice as to what your sodium intake should be.   Lets not stockpile food that could kill us.

*weights and measurements should be considered an estimate.

Related Post:

Sodium Content of an MRE

Thoughts on the large MOLLE pack

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After about 15 years of using the medium ALICE pack as my primary warm/hot weather backpack, I decided it was time for a change. So I got on Ebay and after looking through some of the listings, I decided to go with the large MOLLE pack with internal sleep system carrier.

There are 2 versions of this pack on the market – one where the main pack is separate from the sleep system carrier. And the one like what I bought, which is just one large pack.

First Impressions:
Its more slimlineed then the large ALICE
Its easier to get into then the medium ALICE
It has more webbing then the large ALICE
The map case is larger then either the medium or large ALICE
The map case has a mesh bottom, so its easier to see the contents
The internal sleep system carrier has a zipper for easy access – lets talk about that just for a minute.

The way may pack is packed – the stuff to make camp is at the bottom of the pack. The ground cloth (6X8 tarp), tent, poncho loner or sleeping bag, hammock – all go in the bottom of the pack. When you reach camp you have to dig everything out of the pack to get to your camp gear. The bottom zipper access makes it easy to get your gear out without having to take “everything” out of the pack. Unzip the sleeping bag compartment and start pulling your gear out trough the bottom of the pack. Since the tarp (ground cloth) was put in the pack first, its the the first to go out through the bottom. Once the ground cloth is in position, its time to set the tent up, and spread the sleeping pad out. Once your finished getting everything out to make camp, zip up the sleep system compartment, and the pack is sealed up again.

Two things the large MOLLE is lacking – internal pouch and external pouches.

Internal Pouch – After having using the medium ALICE for about 15 years, I got used to having the internal radio pouch at my disposal. It makes a nice storage area for small items – such as my contact lens case, personal hygiene case, flashlight, FM 21-76, burner for a 1 pound propane bottle,,,,, and other small gear. Not having a place to store my small stuff puts the large MOLLE at a disadvantage. I do not want to dig through the whole pack just to find a bottle of matches. So now I have to look at getting some kind of pouch that will go inside the large MOLLE.

External Pouch – When your out in the woods, and the bottom drops out (it starts to pour rain), the last thing you want to do is open your pack and look for your rain poncho. The skys are black, its pouring rain, my gear is getting wet, I’am getting drenched and I’am having to dig though the contents of my pack to find a rain poncho – not the type of situation I want to be in. Every pack should have some kind of external pouch to store your rain gear and first aid kits in. Those are the 2 things you want to be able to find without having to dig. Since the large MOLLE does not come with external pouches, I ordered 6 sustainment pouches off Ebay last night – 2 for the large MOLLE, 2 for the MOLLE with external sleep system carrier and 2 for the large or medium ALICE pack. I also have a Maxpedition clam pouch on the outside of the MOLLE. The clam pouch is just right for small items like my wallet, keys,,,, stuff like that.

Overall: I’am pretty happy with my new large MOLLE pack, but I’am probably going to be a lot happier when the extra pouches have been added.

Do you have something to say about the ALICE or MOLLE pack?  If so, post your comments in this forum thread about comparing the MOLLE and ALICE packs.

Related Post:

Internal vs external frame backpacks
ALICE, MOLLE II or Maxpedition backpack for a 2 day trip
Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger Review
Molle Gear
List of forum threads about MOLLE packs

Why I like to go camping

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Being raised in Southeast Texas has presented a vast opportunities to go camping. This includes everything from my parents taking my brother and I to local parks, to camping on the bayous with my buddies, to camping at the lake with my kids, hiking in and camping at remote areas, to take my kids camping on the river.

While I’am sitting around the camp fire looking at the coals and staring at the stars, I often wonder about the people that came before me. And I’am not just talking about the people in the last 100 years.

Did the neanderthal look up at those same stars and wonder where he came from and where he was going?

While Julius Caesar was fighting the Gauls, did he sit around the camp fire with his troops, look up at the stars and talk about humanity?

There is a certain peace and quit in the woods that being at home can not substitute. Its a natural peace, something that just turning off the TV can not match.


Could the dark ages happen again

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The Dark Ages is a period of European history that we know very little about – there is very little written record, and that is why its called the “Dark Ages”.  Its supposed to start somewhere around 476 AD and lasted to around to 1000 AD.  Up until the Dark Ages, the Roman empire had conquered and untied Europe in a way that the world has never seen before.  There had been written language, philosophy, math, and art for thousands of years.  And all of a sudden, it was like technology went backwards thousands of years.

Rome had the aquaducts, sewage and running water.  After the Dark Ages started, it was like people forgot how to build stuff like that.

Greece had the arts and science.  In the Dark Ages, it was like people were living in the stone age again.

The advances in medicine and infection control were lost.  Diseases like the plague wrecked havoc all across Europe.  Instead of understanding the disease for what it was, people blamed sinners and their crimes against GOD.

The questions is – with technology like what it is today, could another Dark Age ever happen again?  Could something happen that is so terrible, that man kind is cast back to the stone age?

Rome compared to the U.S.

In the case of Rome, the empire got to big to handle, taxes got out of hand, there were problems with the Huns, the Barbarians attacked,,,,, there were just a number of issues that led to the fall of the Roman Empire.

In the case of the U.S., million of illegal immigrants are invading, and wars in the middle east are a financial drain on the public coffers.

Just as Rome finally collapsed under the immense pressure it was placed under, will the U.S. go the same path?  How long until the tax payers can no longer afford the massive amounts of social programs and spending on military projects?


Remember when the Swine Flu started spreading through Mexico?  President Obama refused to close the borders, he said closing the borders would cost business too much money.

If a new disease develops, nations will not be able to contain it.

If another Stone Age could happen again, what would cause it? Nuclear war, disease, financial collapse, meteor impact with the earth, another ice age, massive earthquakes all over the world, drought, food shortages, water shortages? With so many people talking about climate change, could food shortages and drought be right around the corner?

Chances are it would have to be a combination of things, just like what happened with Rome. But what could those conditions be?

Post your comments in this forum thread about the Dark Ages.

Camping on the Angelina river

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For those you in Southeast Texas that are looking for a little adventure, the Army Corp of Engineers has something you might want to look into. And that is a series of primitive camping spots set up along the Angelina and Neches rivers.

The Corp calls these camping spots “Primitive Campsites” and here is a list from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website. As of July 18, 2010, these is no fee to use these sites, and they have to be reserved. To reserve the site, you just fill out a form, fax mail or hand deliver it to the Town Bluff Project Office (phone number 409-429-3491) and they will give you a permit to use the spot. These primitive camping spots are reserved on a first com first served basis – so do not wait until the last minute to reserve the spot you want.


Bugging out to the wilderness

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Remote bug out location

There is a theory that has been going around the survival community for decades, and at one time I subscribed to it, but not any more.

The theory goes like this – if there is some kind of wide spread disaster, I am just going to grab my bug out bag, and bug out to the wilderness. From there, my family and I will live in peace as society falls apart. When everything has passed, my family and I will return and help re-build.

Here are some of the reasons why I no longer subscribe to the bug out to the wilderness theory:

Lyme Disease
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
E. Coli
Vitamin Deficiencies
Culture Shock – that may not be the correct term, but its going to be used anyway
Frost Bite
Heat Stroke
Heat Exhaustion
Only to name a few,,,,,,,,,.

Back in December of 2010 a buddy of mine and I went on a 3 day camping trip on a local river. During those 3 days I did not see a single deer or wild hog. The only wild game that we saw was fish and some squirrels.  It seems to me that the people who plan on bugging out to the wilderness have not tested their plans, and do not understand how difficult finding food actually is.

One thing that I have noticed, people who subscribe to the “bug out to the wilderness” theory, usually do not have a grasp on wilderness diseases and how they are spread.

All it takes is one tick bite, and the person can contract a number of tick borne infections.

All it takes is one sip of contaminated water, and the victim has some kind of water borne infection.

You can not take someone (like a teenager) out of their comfort zone, take them out to the wilderness, put them in a tent, and expect them to be happy – its not going to happy. The only thing that situation will do, is make matters worse.

On July 16 – 17, 2010, my son, my son-in-law and I went on a camping trip along the Angelina River – which is close to Jasper, Texas. The day time temps were in the mid – upper 90s, with night time temps in the mid 80s. At one point the heat got so bad that I was getting disoriented. Thank goodness the river was right there – so all 3 of us jumped in and cooled off. The question is, what if there was no river too cool off in? With little to no shade, and no way to cool off, heat related problems can be a real issue.

Bug Out Location VS Bugging Out To The Wilderness

Lets say that you have a nice Bug Out Location picked out – its close to water, has lots of wilderness for hunting and foraging – keep in mind that primitive man did not stay in one location year round.

The life of a hunter-gather revolves around being able to move from one location to another. Staying in one location for very long will deplete your sources of roots, berries and wild foods. Even if you are on a river, man can not live on fish alone. Sooner or later, your going to have to relocate to find new food sources.

With an established Bug Out Location you should have renewable resources, ways to cook, a garden, wildlife, and fruit trees.

At least with staying at home, survivalist can stockpile supplies – food, water, water filters, first aid supplies, stockpile seeds, have a garden, stay in touch with friends and family members, sleep in your own bed,,,.

Real survival plans should start with a realistic approach, and a realistic plan.

Think about you plans, talk to your friends and family members about their plans, and how your plans and their plans can work together.

What kind of disaster are you planning for – hurricane, wildfire, plague, earthquake,,,,,, or something else?

Instead of trying to find the solution here, real through this list of forum threads about Bug Out Plans, and go from there.

Related article – Bug Out Essentials.

Gator in the Angelina River

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On July 9 – 10 my son, my son-in-law, a friend of the family and I went camping at Bluff 1 – which is a primitive camping spot along the Angelina River. We got up that morning, and headed down stream to another camping spot that has nice rope swing. While we were going down the river, we saw a gator eating on something. At the time we did not pay any real attention to it and kept driving the boat to the place we wanted to go swimming.

Well, on the way back we saw the gator again – and it saw us. As soon as we came into view, the gator broke of its attack on the dead turtle, and headed into a slew. We were not trying to harass the gator, in fact we kept our distance to about 100 feet, or more.

The gator was swimming at a pretty good rate and instead of following it, we turned around to look at what the gator was eating on. At first we thought it was a hog – because the corpse had a dark spot. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a large fresh water turtle that had been dead for some time.

Youtube down on July 14

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Its not very often that youtube goes down, but today is one of those days.

The day started off with me trying to upload a video that was edited last night. My kids were asleep this morning, and nobody in the house was using the internet, so the morning is the best time to upload videos.

The video was uploaded – but there was a message that youtube was in “read mode only”, and that I would not be able to add a title or description until youtube went to write mode. Ok, no big deal.

The video was uploaded, but 2 hours later it was still encoding. So it was deleted and uploaded again.

This time, all of the videos on youtube gave a 502 internal server error.

But as I’am typing this message, youtube has came back online – lets just hope everything is fixed.

Plague Strikes Town in China

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Who said the plague is dead? It wasn’t me. For the full article, visit this page at abc news about the plague.

There are couple of points here:

1 – China quarantined the town.  If the outbreak had been in the USA, would the Federal, State or local Government been able to do the same thing?

Anyone remember the Swine Flu, and how the President refused to close the borders?  So the new disease was able to spread freely.  Good thing the swine flu was not as deadly as it was made out to be.

Lets say that there was an outbreak of the plague in New York city, would the entire city be quarantined?  Probably not.  People would still be allowed in and out, leaving gateways for the disease to spread.

2 – This is an ancient killer that people today may not take seriously.  Most people do not realize that modern medicine has its limits.  For some diseases, there is no cure, but some people do not learn that until its too late.

Lets say that there was an outbreak of a new disease in New York – would the city be closed, and would the people take the situation seriously?

Just a little food for thought.

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