Entries for May, 2011

Climate change and long term survival plans

Pears from a survivalist gardenThere is something that is bothering me about the climate change going on all around the world, and long term survival plans. Lets take Texas for example, my home state, has been under drought conditions for the past 3+ years. some of the local lakes are 8 – 10 feet low. A couple of years ago lake Travis got to around 100 feet below normal.

National Geographic wrote and interesting article about how Greenland was on the leading edge of climate change. The majority of Greenlands income is based off of fishing. But the warming waters has caused the shrimp and certain fish populations to decline. The big question is “where” are the fishing going.

The climate change is not limited to North America – there is an interesting article on the BBC how Soils of UK and Europe drying out.

In a long term survival situation – meteor strike, outbreak of a new plague, world wide war, long term civil unrest,,,, the only long term solution for food is to grow your own.  But in the face of global climate change, how can we be sure that our crops will succeed.

This past weekend I went to the camp to pick up my bar-b-q pit and bring it home for memorial day weekend.  While I was at the camp, I decided to check on the fruit trees.  We have a couple of pear trees, some peach trees and a couple of plum trees planted there.

Upon inspection, I discovered just about all of the fruit was about 1/2 – 1/3 the size that it should be.  If we were in a long term survival situation, I would have to watering the fruit trees from a nearby stream.

In March of 2011, my wife, my grandkids, my step-daughter, son-in-law and myself went to the camp and planted a small garden.  The garden consisted of 4 rows of corn and peas, 10 rows or potatoes and some watermelon.

The corn has not got enough rain to grow.

The deer are eating most of the peas.

None of the watermelons have came up.

Out of about 10 rows of potatoes that were planted, only a couple of plants have come up.

If this years garden was during a real long term SHTF survival situation, my family and I would be in some serious trouble.

To help water the garden, my family has some 55 drums that we can fill up from a nearby stream, carry the drum on a trailer to the garden, and then use the water in the drums to irrigate the crops.  Man made irrigation is the solution in the face of wide spread drought.  Its either water your crops by hand, or relocate.

On the flip side of the coin, instead of drought, some places are getting too much rainfall.  Instead of drought, some places around the world are facing widespread flooding.

With climate change comes the question – did climate change contribute to the extinction of homo erectus, cro magnon man, and the Neanderthal? If so, what can we do to ensure the survival of our species. Or, are Homo sapiens destined to go extinct as well.

The climate change debate – there is no denying that climate change is real, but whether man has an effect on climate change is debatable.  The big question is, how does mankind adapt in the face of worldwide climate change?

Post your comments in this forum thread about Long term survival in the face of climate change.

Workaholics

As I think back over my working career, I can think of lots of people that might be considered workaholics. It seemed to everyone on the job that the workaholic probably had a terrible family life, had problems with the kids, issues with the wife, deep in debt, or just did not have anything else better to do in life.

There was this one job that I think about from time to time. Our scheduled work week was 50 hours – 5 X 10 hour days, and the next week was about 7 hours – 7 X 10 hour days. When the supervisor said “we are a little low on work, anyone that wants to go home can”, well, I went home. the job was working on the night shift. During the summer, there were weeks when I only saw my kids for a few minutes a day. I felt more like slave labor then a modern day worker.

One day the supervisor walks up to me and wants to have a talk. He said something like “when I tell people that they can go home, and you accept, that tells me your lazy”.

Now what kind of carp is that? My supervisor says I can go home and see my family, but for some reason I am supposed to argue to stay at work? How does that work out? to me, that is a pretty screwed up outlook on life. Working 50 – 70, or more hours a week, and on night shift meant I spent very little time with my kids. For some reason, wanting to see my kids and spend time with them meant I was lazy?

Another job I had was working the weekend, 3 – 12 hour days. It might sound great working the weekend, but how was I and the family supposed to go and do anything without a full day off? During the summer was not so bad, but when the kids were in school, we could never go and spend the night anywhere – that meant no vacations.

When the supervisor spewed that garbage out of his mouth, I knew it was time to find another job.

Another job I worked at, we worked 2 weeks of days, 2 weeks of nights, 2 weeks of days, 2 weeks of nights, 2 weeks of days, 2 weeks of nights,,,,,, and so on. The only weekend off we got was the transition week from nights to days. The weekend between our 2 weeks of days we were scheduled to work. That meant the weekend I was off, I was also having to readjust my schedule. Which usually meant I was grumpy with the family.

Unrelated video – Survival Gear – LED Flashlights, Seeds, Lithium Batteries

One backstabbing supervisor I worked for did not believe in paying workers what they were worth. He straight up told me, that if you pay an employee too good, they will not want to work the overtime. Ok? And? What is wrong with not wanting to spend all of your time at a job? But then again, that supervisors wife was fat and ugly, so no wonder he did not want to go home.

When the backstabbing supervisor died, I was like one of those munchkins off the Wizard of Oz. But instead of signing “the witch is dead, the witch is dead”, I was singing “the backstabber is dead, the backstabber is dead.” This was the type of scumbag that would tell you to do something, and if things went wrong, he would deny every telling you anything.

A couple of months ago my wife and I flew out to SHOT show in Las Vegas. While on the flight to Nevada, a lady from Australia was sitting next to us, while her friends sat across the isle. My wife and I started talking to the lady. Come to find out, the group were on a 2 – 3 week vacation. They had been to central America, some of the islands in the Caribbean, and finally to Las Vegas. Most employers in the USA would flip out if an employee asked for 3 weeks vacation time – and all three weeks back to back. Its hard enough getting an employer to give people off 1 week, much less 2 or 3 weeks.

So why are Americans such workaholics?

I think its in part to our “get er done” attitude. Give us a job, and we will get it done, regardless of what it takes. Its this “can do” attitude that made America great. Whether it was building rail roads in the 1800s, building planes, tanks and ships for World War II, or building the nuclear bomb, Americans got the job done.

Not all of my supervisors have been workaholics. Some of them believed in a separation of family time and work time. Do your job while at work, and take the evenings and weekends for the family.

My personal opinion, instead of a 40 hour work week, we need a 32 hour work week – 4 X 8 hour days. Depending on the size of the company, employers should be required to give their employees 2 – 4 weeks paid vacation yearly.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy life, but some people and their workaholic attitudes are opposed to enjoying anything but a hard days work.

Smoked briskets for memorial day

Memorial day is next weekend, so lets talk about smoking/cooking briskets. Brisket is a tough cut of meat, but if you cook it on a low heat, and for several hours, the meat becomes tender, and the brisket turns into a great appetite pleaser.  Briskets can usually be bought for about $20, and will feed maybe a dozen people depending on how big the brisket is.

Marinate a Brisket

I like to marinate my brisket for at least 12 hours before cooking. For the rub, I am currently using a liquid marinate out of the mexican food section called Goya Mojo criollo Marinade for chicken, pork and beef. While at the deer lease on opening weekend of 2010, a buddy of mine told me about Goya mojo, so I thought I would give it a try. Other ingredints of the rub are a cajun spice and steak seasoning.

The brisket is marinated overnight, put it on the smoker for about 4 – 5 hours, then wrap in foil with the fat layer up.  I like to put the fat layer up so that the good meat is in the juice.  This helps keep the brisket moist.  A lot of people put the fat layer down, which makes the best cuts of meat dry out.

About 6 hours cook time wrapped in foil, then taken out, put on the chopping block, and sliced up.  To slice up the brisket, I use an electric knife.

Total cook time is about 10 – 11 hours.

A lot of people smoke their brisket for anywhere between 3 – 5 hours, then wrap the brisket in foil, and put it in the oven for another 4 or 5 hours. Personally, I smoke the brisket on the pit for around 4 hours, then wrap in foil and leave it on the pit for a cook time of at least 8 hours. Depending on the cut of meat, a cook time of around 10 hours is probably more like it.

Wood for smoking the Brisket

The choice of wood for smoking briskets is a matter of debate of people who cook with wood. Some people like red oak, while others like pen oak, mesquite, pecan, pear,,, any kind of fruit tree. Personally, I use whatever I can get may hands on, which is usually red oak, pen oak and pecan.

Post your comments in this forum thread about smoking briskets.

Plague of the early 21st century

I think I finally figured out what the plague of the early 21st century is.  Its not swine flu, bird flu, or even Yersinia pestis (the Black Death/Bubonic Plague). The plague of the early 21st century is drugs. Its not just illegal drugs, but also legal drugs that are destroying our society from within.

Over the past few weeks I found that, that several of my associates are doing illegal and legal drugs.

One young lady tried to kill herself, not only once, but twice. She is abusing a combination of prescription pain killers and alcohol.

A close friend of mine, his son tried bath salts, had an asthma attack and had to be rushed to the emergency room because he almost stopped breathing.

Another friend is smoking K2.

Another associate is abusing bath salts.

Except for the one that is abusing prescription pain killers, all of the rest say they use K2 and bath salts because they are legal. The pint of what the drugs do to your body is never brought up. Its because their “legal” is the reason. K2 was recently outlawed, but the question is, what took so long? From the wikipedia article on K2, its been around for several years. So why hasn’t the US Government, the FDA and other government agencies done something sooner? But like most government bureaucracies, the agencies overseeing drugs like bath salts and K2 have drug their feet doing something about this scourge on our society.

Scourge of the 21st century

The scourge on mankind from the middle ages has probably been alcohol. But times change, and the new plagues are maybe a 1,000 times worse then alcohol. These days we have crystal meth, crack, bath salts, k2, heroine, cocaine,,,, things that have you hooked from the first time you try them.

Some people say that bath salts and k2 are not additive, that they are just recreational drugs. Since I have done neither, I can not offer a first hand opinion. But from talking to those that have abused those drugs, they must have something additive to them – or else people would not be acting the way they do towards the drugs.

What I do not understand, why do people volunteer for this new plague? This is a disease that our society and culture has allowed to happen.

Our military are sent overseas to fight terrorist, but in the grand scheme of things, I am willing to bet that drug abuse has killed more people then terrorist have. So where is the war on drugs? Why are substances like bath salts and k2 allowed to be imported. If the government does not allow certain types of firearms to be imported, why are drugs allowed to be imported.

Lets go back to the 1980s when I was in school. Sure we had problems with kids smoking weed. But the number of kids abusing illegal drugs todays seems a lot higher then it was 25 years ago. When I was in High School, for the most doing drugs was frowned upon. Today, its no big deal, everyone is doing it.

How did this happen

What has allowed our society to be pulled down to this point? Some might say its a lack of GOD in our everyday lives, but I do not think that is it. Christians drink beer and wine, then excuse their actions because Jesus drank wine.

Maybe its a lack of family values. With something like 75% of marriages ending in divorce, maybe its a breakdown of the family unit that has contributed to more kids using drugs?

Maybe its a lack of education in our schools?  With school funding running short, certain programs are being cut.  I am not sure where our public health programs are doing, but maybe something on the education level has changed.

Cure for the new plague

What is the cure for this new plague?  I do not know.  You can talk to your kids all you want, but its going to be their decision in the end.

Better education programs?  The stuff I saw in my 9th grade health class helped steer me away from drugs – especially heroine, cigarettes and cocaine.

Putting GOD back into our society?  I doubt that will change anything.  People have been acting this way for the past couple of thousand years.  Even when the Christian church was at it strongest, people still had issues with drugs and alcohol.

Personally, I think its a break down of the moral fabric that holds our society together.  Its people being selfish, self centered, not caring about how their actions affect those around them, I think that is the biggest issue.

If people cared about each other a little bit more, then maybe this new plague would not be an issue.

Hygiene after shtf

While on a recent camping trip with some friends, I started taking mental notes about the possible issues we could have after SHTF.  I like to go on camping trips, or trips away from home, and then take notes about the issues that we faced.

Safe drinking water – life as we know it can not exist without safe drinking water.  Any water that goes in your eyes, on your face, in your mouth (even to brush your teeth) must be filtered or purified.  So one of the big issues is finding safe drinking water.

Related ArticleWater filter at the bug out location

I wear contacts, so one of the big issues that I will be facing is safe water to wash my contacts in.  Or just say screw the contacts and wear my glasses.  After some kind of SHTF situation, my contacts will probably be put up, and my glasses will be worn.

Awhile back I posted a video on youtube about personal hygiene kits, here is that video.

Brushing teeth – once again, this is dependent on safe drinking water.

Food Safety – one of the biggest issues is probably going to be food safety, keeping food cold so that it does not spoil, and keeping insects off of food.  The majority of  todays homes are not equipped with screen doors, only screened windows.  As the power goes off, people will be opening doors and windows to let the air circulate.  If the doors are opened, flys and other insects will enter the home.

Dried foods in resealable containers should not be an issue, unless the containers are left open for a period of time.

Shigella – is a food borne disease that is transmitted when incests land on infected objects (like waste water), and then land on food for human consumption.  Because of Shigella and other related diseases, dealing with waste water (feces), and food safety are related.  Making sure waste water is not exposed to where incests can land on it, making sure that doors and windows have screens, and making sure that cooked is covered will help ensure food safety.

After the food is cooked, the pots, pans and dishes should be washed to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Hand washing – the number 1 way to prevent the spread of disease is through hand washing.

Hot water shower – pick up a solar shower, their usually sold that local sporting goods store, or on camping websites. Set up a privacy shelter, fill up the solar shower and set it out in the sun for a couple of hours. The hot in the solar shower can get as hot as 100 degrees.

A good shower also acts as a moral booster, getting to wash the filth out of your hair, wash your face, wash your butt,,,,, helps with a persons overall moral and helps to keep people clean.

Pick up 3, 4 or even 5 solar showers, and issue them to people in your group. Each person can be responsible for your own shower.

Vaccinations – there are vaccines available for diseases like rotavirus and Hepatitis A. If your in the “at risk” group, consider getting your vaccinations.

Post your comments in this forum thread about Personal Hygiene and Food Safety after SHTF.

Survival kit for small boat

A couple of weeks ago my uncle and I went out on the Angelina river and did some fishing. While we were out on the river some bad weather came along. The weather was not bad enough for us to seek shelter, but we did steer the boat under some cypress trees to shield us from the rain. As the drizzle was coming down, I thought about putting together a kit for the boat. What would happen if I were back in some slew, motor broke, and I was stranded over night.  I really need to build a survival kit for the boat.  Something that does not take up a lot of room, but has the supplies that someone might need to spend an unexpected night in the woods.

Shelter – The first issue with spending the night on the river is the mosquitoes. As the sun starts to go down, the little blood suckers from hell come out in waves. If I could speak mosquito, I am willing to bet they have little speakers under their wings that plays a variety of music as they swoop in to suck ever last drop of your blood. To defeat the mosquitoes, your going to need at least 2 things, something to build a bug proof shelter out of, and bug spray, something like Deep Woods Off.

The rope used to the anchor can be used to help make the shelter.  Or get some 1/4 inch nylon rope or 550 cord for your boat survival kit.

Here is a video from August 2010 when my son and I went fishing in the same area.

To build a shelter, I would need something like an 8 foot by 10 foot tarp and cord. The tarp would have to be long enough so that it could be folded on the ends to enclose the shelter. If its open on both ends, the shelter is nothing more then a drive through buffet bar for mosquitoes. Bug spray would help, but the little blood suckers hover just over your ears all night, which makes for a miserable nights sleep.

Water – one of the things you do not want to do it drink the water from the slews. There are all kinds of bacteria in the water that would love to make your gut their new home. Either some kind of water filter would have to be stored on the boat, or a water filter.

Fire – Matches break down over time, so maybe a lighter, or fire steel would be in order. There are life boat matches out on the market, but why not just get a lighter, dryer lint, and keep it simple. As long as the gas can as fuel in it, a stick can be dipped into the fuel to help get the fire going. Since the fuel is a mixture of oil and gasoline, the oil should make the fuel burn a little longer then normal.

First Aid Kit – something to stop the bleeding and protect the wound.

Flashlight – Some of the local stores sell LED lights that use AAA batteries for about $18, or you can order something like a Surefire G2X pro.  One of the things with the flashlights, make sure you use lithium batteries.  Some of the lithium batteries on the market have anywhere from a 10 – 15 year shelf life.

With LED flashlights being so inexpensive, there is no excuse for not having one on hand.

Food – If your going to be stranded overnight, why not have something to eat. While the local pizza delivery guy might not be able to find your location, but Mainstay Bars are designed to be stored in warm locations (like a boat), and require no prep time – just open an eat. The Mainstay 3600 Emergency Food Rations are divided in 9 bars, with each bar giving about 400 calories. They may not taste as good as a Double Whooper, fries and a coke, but its enough to break the hunger pains.

Tool kit – some kind of simple tools, crescent wrench, vice grips, multi-tool, screw drivers and duct tap.

Signal mirror – just in case the local rescue teams think your important enough to look for, and a search plane is sent out, a signal mirror can be used to catch the attention of the pilot.

Lets see, we have food, water, shelter and fire covered. What else?

Post your comments in this forum thread about making a small boat survival kit.

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30 day challenge no sweets or meats

I think I will issue a 30 day challenge to myself: 30 days of no sweets or meats – especially processed meats.

Sweets are a weakness of mine. If there is a piece of chocolate cake in front of my, chances are its going to get eaten. I also keep a container on my computer desk with M&Ms, and other chocolates in it.

Meats, especially processed meats have been shown to be bad for your health – due to the preservatives and salts used during the manufacturing process. Some studies link processed meats and colon cancer.

For breakfast: The goal is to eat a breakfast bar, banana, yogurt, fruit,,,, or some other kind of natural snack. There for awhile I was eating breakfast burritos and croissants for breakfast. Both got to the point where they tasted nasty.

To keep my protein intake up, I will probably have to add pinto beans or peanut butter to the menu. Maybe a peanut butter sandwich for dinner, or even for breakfast.

Today. May 3rd 2011 will the the first day of the challenge. For breakfast I had a breakfast bar and some yogurt. For lunch I will try to have a salad, and for dinner a peanut butter sandwich and some fruit.

Looking at pictures of myself from 3 years ago, and from 3 days ago, I am disgusted in my weight and my appearance. The only person that can do anything about it it myself.

I am also thinking of doing 100 pushups a night for 30 days. I might start that tonight as well. Last night I did 30 minutes on the treadmill. Instead of 100 pushups, I might do a 30 day challenge of 30 minutes on the treadmill everyday for 30 days. If the challenge is “too” difficult, the more likely I am to not complete my goals.

So how about this, 30 days of: no sweets, no meats, and 30 minutes on the treadmill.

  



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