Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Month: October 2010

Berkey Water Filter Contest

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Interested in winning a Berkey Water filter?  Then check out this thread on the forum – Berkey water filter contest.

Prizes Include:

First Prize: Berkey Light System & PF2 Fluoride Filter set

Second Prize: Big Berkey System

Third Prize: 1 Emergency Seed Bank

25 Runner ups will receive 3 Sport Berkey Water Bottles

That is 28 prizes, 28 chances to win.

Contest Rules:

1. By entering the contest, you will receive our monthly email newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.
2. Contest will end on Nov. 30th, Midnight PST. Please fill out info above before that time.
3. Only one entry per email and username will be allowed.
4. The winners will be notified via email on or after December 1st, 2010.
5. Prizes can be shipped to any USA or Canada address for Free.
6. Prizes can be shipped to any other country in the world, but buyer will pay for shipping.
7. Rules Subject to change at any time.

To enter the contest, visit this page and fill out the information –

All you have to provide is your forum username and your email address.

By entering the contest, you agree to subscribe to the Berkey Newsletter that is sent out once a month. Your information will not be shared and you can unsubscribe at anytime.


For those of you that have never seen a Berkey water filter, here is an example of a Royal Berkey from

Bulgarian AK-74 Review

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This article was originally posted by Heckler&Coke on the Survivalist Forum. Special thanks the Heckler&Coke for giving permission for this article to be reposted here.

Review of the Bulgarian AK-74 Review

Bulgarian AK-74

Bulgarian AK-74

As some of you may know, I recently got a AK74. It’s the Century M74 sporter. I got this one locally for about $400 out the door with a sealed case of 5.45 mil-surp, and 4 Bulgarian 30 round magazines after some haggling. It seems to just be relatively new Bulgarian parts kits built on a proper Nodak spud receiver. Big plus there imho. Also, worth noting, they seem to be assembled pretty well for Century.

After the first day I realized without a heat shield the hand guard was useless, as the plastic literally began to melt during my specialized mall ninja training routine, so I just refinished some wood furniture I had lying around and slapped it on.

bulgarian ak 74 wood stock

Bulgarian AK-74 with wood stock

My first impression wasn’t too good to be honest, and I was second guessing myself the whole time but as an AK fan I knew better than to reject it outright. These have the absolute worst AK furniture I’ve seen in my life. Cheap plastic, no heat shield, no hand guard bulge, heats and melts easily, and it has a cheap look and feel. The finish isn’t all that great either. It’s just a really flat grey pseudo parkerized finish. I’ve already scratched it up pretty good in a few hours of hard use.

…but for ~$350 what can you really expect?


October 27 2010 workout

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camping hiking backpacking

Hiking trip with a Maxpedition Falcon-II Pygmy

Its gotten to the point where I am ashamed of my weight. In all, I’am about 25 pounds over my ideal weight and that is 25 pounds too many.

My great grandmother always told me to watch my weight, stay slim, stand up tall, and keep my back straight.  I have let her down.  Over the past 4 – 5 years, the sugar filled soft drinks, cheeseburgers and other fast food have taken their toll.  Its time to fight back.

Instead of eating dinner when my wife and I get home, I am trying to replace that meal with something much lighter in calories.  Wednesday morning my wife and I went to wal-mart and picked up a couple of the Jillian Michaels drinks – their like 150 or so calories and stocked full of nutrients.

When my wife and I got home from work yesterday, I drank one of those drinks and waited about 45 – 45 minutes or so. then my wife and I walked around the block for 30 minutes.

After walking for 30 minutes:
5 sets of curls, 10 reps per set
5 sets of 30 crunches on the sports ball
5 sets of 25 – 30 presses with the weight ball – while still on the sports ball
5 sets of 10 lunges – while I was picking up the weight bar for the curls.
5 sets of 10 – 15 squats with the weight ball
5 sets of 20 – 30 behind the head curls

Total workout time, about 50 – 55 minutes.

And this morning, I’am sore.

About 10 years ago my fitness regime consisted of 9 – 13 miles on the bike, about 20 minutes of weights and 4 – 5 miles of running. This would take about 90 minutes.

My goal is to lose 25 pounds in 2 months – deadline, January 1, 2011.

Fear and rumors during an epidemic

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angelina river jasper texasThe story looks like its straight from a history book about the dark ages. Doctors without Borders tried to setup a clinic in Haiti to treat cholera patients. Instead of being welcomed by the local people, the doctors were met with fear, a small riot and rock throwing.  The situation got so bad that armed troops had to be brought in to protect the clinic and doctors.

Cholera fears spark anti-clinic protest in Haiti

During the middle ages, people that did not understand the plague looked for groups of people to blame for the outbreaks.  Finger pointers would pick someone in the village that had a bad reputation, brand them a witch for the outbreak of the plague, and burn them at the stake.  An unknown number of Jews were murdered and burned during the Dark Ages for “supposedly” spreading the plague.  There are stories of people being rounded up, locked in a barn, and the barn set on fire – because it was believed the people were witches, or were Jews and were responsible for causing the plague.

600+ years later, and people still express fear of diseases they do not understand.

The question is, if an epidemic breaks out in your area, will the locals understand the disease?  Will they know how to prevent the spread of the disease, and will they welcome treatment?  Or will they throw rocks at the people that are there to help.

One of the conditions that helps an epidemic spread is misunderstanding by the people.  Karen might go visit her friends with the mindset that “its ok, Jill is not sick”.  But what Karen does not know is that Jills mom works at one of the local Big Box Marts and has lots of face-to-face contact with people.  Jill visits with Karen, and the family, and brings back an unwelcome guest in the form of a bacteria or virus.

Post your comments in this forum thread about fear and misunderstanding during an epidemic.

Sean Penn on the Cholera outbreak in Haiti

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Sean Penn talks about the Cholera outbreak in Haiti. By the latest number, over 250 dead and over 3,000 infected. Until people start getting safe drinking water, the problem is just going to get worse. Once Cholera gets into the drinking water supply, the water has to be chemically treated or filtered to remove the Cholera bacteria.

Cholera is a bacteria that causes severe dehydration and left untreated may cause death.

The question is, if a disaster like the earthquake in Haiti hit your area, how would you provide safe drinking water for you and your family?

Mixing and matching survival gear

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molle pack vs alice pack

MOLLE and ALICE pack on recent camping trip

I find it interesting that Taco Bell can create so many items on their menu by mixing and matching about eight different ingredients. There is the taco meat, sour cream, refried beans, tortilla shell, taco shell,,,,. But by the looks of the Taco Bell menu, it appears they have a thousand ingredients.

Its called utilizing available resources. And the same can be applied to survivalism.

On the flip side of the coin from Taco Bells minimalist approach, I find it interesting that survivalist stockpile so much gear. Certain survivalist think they have to have a special “bug out bag” that is separate from their standard camping / backpacking pack, that they need several rifles

Lets backup a few years, all the way to the early – mid 1980s. Back then I (Kevin), was in High School and was busy camping and exploring the marshes around the Bridge City, Texas area. My backpack at that time was about 14 inches tall, 12 – 14 inches wide, and maybe 6 inches wide. It could have easily been a school book bag, but it was OD green and made out of a canvas material. I had one backpack for all of my camping needs. At that time, that is all I needed. The pack was just big enough for a couple of cans of vienna sausage, or chili, can opener, small pot, matches, contact case, and maybe a spare shirt or socks.

By using a pack that could have doubled as a school backpack, the item was dual purpose. But I never took the pack to school, it was too militant looking, and the other kids in school thought I was strange enough without adding fuel to the fire.

The food that I brought on camping trips back in the early – mid 1980s was just regular canned goods – mainly because I did not know any better and because that is what my mom had in the pantry. So when it was time to go camping with my buddies, I just grabbed the food that was on hand at the time. Today, I have a few cases of MREs, and some Just in Case Meals from  Instead of the household food serving dual roles of camping food and family food, now I have 2 different types of food.


Where would you hunt after TEOTWAWKI

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over grown road hunting leaseYesterday evening while heading to the woods for a hog hunting trip, an interesting conversation came up between everyone in the truck – “where will you be hunting at this deer season?”  My son and I are on a deer lase, so we have a place to hunt.  But the other 2 people in the truck do not have a place where they can not.  They have to rely on the kindness of other people to give them permission to hunt on their land.

This got me to thinking, where would you hunt in a post long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation? If you do not have a place to hunt now, what makes you think your going to have one after the fact?

A lot of survivalist plan on “bugging out to the wilderness in a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation. So having a place to go and a place to hunt might go hand in hand.

If you do not own land, not on a deer lease (which grants you a legal right to be on the land), don’t have friends with benefits, or know where the public hunting land is, where will you hunt at?

survivalist camp bug out location

Survivalist camp bug out location

Private Property – Owing land in a rural area might the ideal situation for most survivalist, but for a lot of people, is just not realistic. The majority of the people live and work in the city. So if they own property in a rural area, they have to maintain the house they live in, and maintain a remote camp.

There are a lot of considerations for having rural private property – what kind of disasters is the area prone to, how far from your home is the location, is the land farmable, what is the source of drinking water, is the area secure, what types of wild animals are in the area, how easy is it to access the land,,,,,,, just to name a few.

Once the land is obtained, is it close enough to your home to maintain a workable farm, how much gear and supplies are going to be stored there,,,,,.

For hunting considerations, oak trees, maybe a field for crops, and some kind of water source would be nice to have.  Der do not need a “lot” of land to live.  Their related to the goat, as in deer are grazers – they just walk along and “graze” off foliage.  Deer, squirrels and wild hogs love acorns.  So having oak trees on the property is a prime consideration.

One of the benefits of having private property, permanent structures can be built and supplies can be stockpiled.  But anytime supplies are stockpiled, then comes the question of security.


Cholera post disaster

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angelina river jasper texasHere in the good ‘ole USA, do to the massive amounts of chlorine that we put in our water, waterborne diseases are pretty rare. Sure there might be the occasional case of Cryptosporidium, but cases of Cholera, Polio, and Typhoid fever are pretty rare.

So what brought the topic of Cholera up? It was an article on CNN about how fast Cholera can be deadly.  This is news to me, I would have never thought that Cholera could turn deadly in just a few hours. I thought that just about all waterborne infections took 3 – 10 days for the first signs to show up, then a few days for dehydration to take place, with death finally occurring. With my understanding of how Cholera progressed, death would occur 7 – 14 days after infection. But after reading that article from CNN, Cholera has earned a new level of respect and fear.

From the CDC website:
An estimated 3-5 million cases of cholera are reported every year
100,000 people die from cholera every year
A person can get cholera by drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food

I first learned of Cholera and Typhoid in a American Survival Guide article sometime around 1994, 1995 or 1996. I’am not sure if I still have the issue with the article in it, but it was an excellent read.

More recently, we have seen how diseases like Cholera can take its on a population, like in post-earthquake Haiti. The bacterial infection has been blamed for 138 deaths, and another 1,500 other cases have been reported.


The WASR-10 AK-47

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wasr-10 ak-47The WASR-10 AK-47 is a Romanian variant of the Russian AK-47 rifle. The rifles uses a receiver made in the USA, unlike the SAR series that use a Romanian made receiver.

The equivalents with Russian models are:
* AKM: WASR-10 (7.62×39)
* AK-74: WASR-2 (5.45×39)
* AK-101: WASR-3 (5.56×45)

WASR-10 Specs:
Overall Length: 35 inches – including muzzle break
Barrel: 16 inches – including muzzle break
Stock: Wood
Pistol grip: Plastic
Caliber: 7.62X39

The WASR-10 rifles are made with stamped receivers and were originally intended for single-stack magazines. After the so called “assualt rifle ban” expired, the receivers were milled to accept a double stack, high capacity magazine. WASR-10 rifles feature a chrome-lined barrel and wooden stocks. The WASR-10 rifles are imported by Century Arms Intl. It is at the Century Arms Intl. factory where they widen the magazine wells and install Tapco-compliant parts.

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Picking a new survival rifle

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AK-47 AR-15 Survival RiflesI’am looking for a 308 semi-auto rifle – its to be used as my primary hunting rifle and survival rifle. This will be my “go to” rifle in the event of a disaster. Currently I have a Bushmaster AR-15 223 / 5.56mm, WASR-10 in 7.62X39, Ruger 10/22, SKS and Remington Model 700 Mountain Rifle in 280/7mm Express. The goal is to have something with a little versatile then those rifles. Something that is rugged enough to take take wherever I want, but accurate enough to make 100+ yard shots and hit a baseball sized target without a bench rest. Ideal accuracy would be a 1 inch group “Minute of angle MOA” at 100 yards. But some military rifles are just not designed to have the accuracy like a bolt action hunting rifle, or the AR15.

During hunting season the purposed rifle is going to be my primary hunting rifle. I need something that is compact enough to move around a deer stand with, or use a climbing stand with, but but with a barrel long enough that accuracy is not affected. Something with an 18 – 22 inch barrel would be ideal.

This is what I have come up with so far:

Century Arms Cetme – @ $500
Barrel length: 16.5″
Overall Length: 37.75″
Stock: Black synthetic
Weight: 9.7 lbs.

Saiga AK 47 .308 Rifle – @ $529
Barrel length: 16″ – 20″
Overall Length: 37.3″ – depending on model
Synthetic Stock
AK-47 style safety


AR-15 for Survival

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ar-15 as a survivalist weaponIs the AR-15 a good survival rifle? The simple answer is, “it depends.” The M16 223/5.56mm was original developed as a replacement for the M14 and the 308. The mindset was to develop a lighter rifle and lighter ammo so that soldiers could carry the rifle further and carry more ammo. The drawback, instead of shooting a 150 or 180 grain bullet like the 308 Winchester / 7.62 NATO, the 223 / 5.56mm shot a 55 grain bullet.

Lets talk about some of the pluses and negatives of the 223/5.56mm:

1. To compensate for the smaller bullet diameter and lighter weight, the 55 grain 5.56mm is supposed to “tumble” after it hits flesh. The “tumbling” creates wounds and does quit a bit of damage to flesh.

I see a couple of issues with the “tumble” theory:

How does the bullet know whether its hitting a wall and should punch through, or flesh and tumble? When the bullet is made, is it granted with magical powers that tells it what the bullet is about to hit, and whether it should tumble or not?

All phun aside, the 223/5.56mm has problems getting through walls. Once the bullet hits something, and it tries to tumble, it loses its energy.


Have you ever

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maxpedition falcon ii pygmyThe other day, my wife and I were walking around one of the local big-box marts when I saw this late teens – early twenties looking fellow.  From the sight of him, I doubt he has ever done more then a weeks worth of hard labor in his life.  He might have been around 5 feet 9 or 10 inches tall, and must have weighed between 250 – 300 pounds, and not a single ounce of that was muscle.  If there was muscle, it was buried under the layers of fat. I might be being a little hard on the guy, but what do you really expect? In their late teens, early twenties, kids should be in their prime of physical fitness. This is when their supposed to be going camping, playing sports, running track,,,, doing something to get in shape and condition their minds and bodies for the rest of their life. But instead, todays generation seems to be more interested in texting, and working their finger muscles.

As I watch todays generation spend more and more time on their phones and computers, and less time in real life, I have to ask how many people to the younger generation are really living life?

This makes me ask the question,  have you ever


Maintaining a level of physical fitness

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boat angelina riverBefore I took this desk job as a computer tech, maintaining a level of physical fitness was not a problem. Working as a fitter in a welding shop for 8 – 12 hours a day does enough. I remember fitting a 2:1 elliptical head on a shell, it taking 2 hours to get the job done, and a lot of that I was swinging an 8 pound hammer. One tower I built going to Saudi Arabia was 1 3/4 inch thick, about 11 feet in diameter and the head was 2 inches thick. Instead of using a hammer, dog and wedge, I had to use a 50 ton port-a-power hydraulic jack. The hydraulic jack probably weighed 30 or 40 pounds – I had to pick it up, set it down, pick it up, set it down,,, for 12 hours a day, and for an entire week. Then there was the walking to get the parts for the job I was working on. 1 welding shop I worked at, it was 1/4 mile long, another shop was close to 400 feet long, another shop about 800 feet long. It was not uncommon to walk the length of those shops several times a day.

Before I went into junior high school, mom and dad put my brother and I in little league baseball and football. Our coaches made us do drill after drill after drill,,,,, and run laps around the practice field. The training that I received at such an early age has stayed with me later in life – even though I do not use it anymore. At the very least, I had the concept of training drilled into my head.


Personal hydrogen refueling station

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Just imagine a day when you can use your own personal hydrogen refueling station to recharge your hydrogen car or motorcycle. Seems like science fiction? Maybe for right now.

A company called Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies is working on a solar powered device that can extract hydrogen from water, convert the hydrogen into electricity, the electricity is then stored in solid fuel cells.

With a unit big enough, it might be possible for people to have a personal hydrogen refueling station for their cars.

Wouldn’t life be much nicer, and cleaner if we could finally break the bonds of fossil fuels?  No more oil spills, no more benzine exposure at the gas stations, a cleaner world for our families and grand children.

Solar Desalination

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tent on beachPeople living along the ocean, or salt water barriers might get a kick out of this. It seems that MIT has developed a portable solar powered solar desalination unit. Besides, MIT, IBM along with some people from Saudi Arabia are also working on a solar powered desalination unit.

The small version of the MIT desalination unit is supposed to be able to produce 80 gallons of drinking water every 24 hours. The larger version has an estimated cost of $8,000 and will produce an estimated 1,000 gallons of water everyday.

The desalination plant in Al Khafji, Saudi Arabia hopes to use solar power to produce 7.9 million gallons of water daily. Which would be enough water for 100,000 people.

Solar powered desalination would be ideal for people living along the coastal regions, and people who live along rivers, canals and bayous up to 20 – 30 miles inland. During high tide, salt water pushes its way inland, making the water brackish. Brackish water is a combination of fresh water and salt water. It has just enough salt water in it to make it unsafe to safe to drink by livestock, pets or humans.

During some kind of SHTF situation, being able to use a solar powered desalination unit would be ideal.

Currently desalination units use large amounts of natural gas or electricity to make sea water safe to drink. Since a large portion of electricity comes from coal fired plants, desalination contributes to environmental issues – such as mercury in our lakes, streams and fish. Breaking the bonds of conventional electricity would make desalination a lot more eco friendly.

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