Man oh man, what a weekend. In a previous article we talked about survivalism as an experience and not a theory. Part of my prepping for SHTF / TEOTWAWKI includes going to the Bug Out Location for a couple of days, taking notes, figuring out what needs to be changed, and going from there.
Its one thing to say, “if the crap hits the fan, this is what I am going to do,,,,”.
Its another thing to put those plans to the test on a regular, or at the very least a semi-regular basis.
In this article we are going to be discussing my observations from the June 30 – July 1 trip. Feel free to share your questions and/or comments.
On Saturday, June 30, 2012 my wife and I loaded up the Tahoe with basic gear, and headed to the Bug Out Location. Some of the stuff we packed included change of clothes, food, ammunition, firearms,, drinks, laptop, cell phone,,, just your basic stuff.
A few hours after arriving at the camp, my wife and I were joined my a buddy of mine, his wife, and their daughter.
Safe Drinking Water – The main problem we faced over the weekend was access to safe drinking water. The water well is not used very often, so the water develops a sulfur smell and taste. Also, the well pump runs off electricity.
During a long term SHTF situation, the well would be pretty much useless.
The well itself was hand dug around 100 years ago. Over the past century soil sediment has been slowly filling the well up. Then there are the leaves that make their way into the well. One time a feral cat fell into the well and died. The cat carcass had to be fished out, then bleach poured into the well.
Sooner or later we will have to drive a new well, and at the very least have a hand pump.
We have a creek that runs through the property. If worse came to worse, we could run the creek water through my Royal Berkey water filter. 4 black Berkey filters will supply an estimated 12,000 gallons of safe drinking water. But what about showers, washing dishes, washing clothes, water for livestock,,, and other general purpose uses for water?
Video from 2010 about the Royal Berkey
One of our guest asked about washing the dishes without the water pump. We could use water from the creek, but what about waterborne pathogens? Do you want to be washing your dishes in water contaminated with diseases like Cryptosporidium and E. coli? Neither do I.
Maybe I should get a couple of #3 washtubs to keep at the camp? Wash the dishes in the washtub, then set the dishes in direct sunlight to dry? A little bit of bleach would help kill waterborne pathogens, except for Cryptosporidium. Sooner or later the bleach will run out. We need to think long term.
My ideal setup would be a new well with a solar powered trickle pump that feeds an above ground 500 – 750 gallon storage tank held in the air with beams. But it probably be years before I have anything like that. The solar powered pump would keep the storage tank full. Since the water would be 6 – 8 feet in the air, everything would work from gravity. You would be able to take a shower, wash the dishes, have hot water,,, with nothing but gravity supplying the water pressure.
Overgrown Weeds and Grass – Upon arriving at the camp one of the first issues that needed to be fixed was the overgrown grass and weeds.
Grass needs to be cleared before you can plant your long term survival garden.
High grass is a great place to pick up ticks. Ticks will climb on the high grass, then wait for a warm blooded victim to walk by.
While a brush hog is ideal to cut the grass, the tractor is down for maintenance, so all I had was a ridding lawn mower. The deck of the mower kept hitting above ground tree roots. The continued impact with tree roots bent the deck so far that the blades started hitting the deck. I had to stop mowing several times to bend the deck out so the blades would not hit.
After the grass was cut, some of it was racked up around the peach trees for mulch. I am hoping to create a compost pile around the peach trees using grass clippings.
Fruit Trees – At the camp I have 2 plum, 4 peach, several pecan, a fig and 4 apple trees. None of which are producing fruit like what I want.
In 2011 Texas experienced a severe drought, which probably stunted the growth of the trees for a year.
I have not been fertilizing the trees like I should have, so I am partially to blame for the slow fruit production.
During the spring of 2013 I plan on fertilizing the trees with 13-13-13 around the drip line, spreading manure and spraying the pecan trees with zinc.
My Cousins Chickens – While we were at the camp I decided to walk over to my cousins house to say hello. Besides visiting for a little while, I also wanted to take a look at my cousins chicken coop and chicken yard. Earlier in 2012 my cousin and her husband had bought 11 production red hens and 2 roosters.
Instead of building a chicken coop, my cousin and her husband turned an unused horse stall into a chicken coop. I have to admit, I was impressed with how things turned out. To prevent predators from digging under the walls of the coop, a trench was dug around the edge of the coop, cement blocks were inserted into the trench, then back filled with dirt. So far there have been no issues with predators.
A couple of things that really interested my about what my cousin was doing:
1. She was canning peas out of the garden
2. She was using a propane camp stove to heat the pressure cooker. I forgot exactly how many quarts of peas my cousin said she put up, but it was in the 30 something range. That is one quart a week for around 6 months.
Time to shoot some guns– as the sun drifted past the top of the pine trees, the shadows started to grow longer, and the daytime temps started to ease a little bit, the time came to break out the firearms.
On this trip the Bug Out Location I brought – AR15, AK47, FN/FAL, Mossberg 590, Remington 1911 R1 and a Taurus PT709 slim.
AR15 is my SHTF go to rifle for personal and property protection. The low recoil makes it ideal for family members and friends that do not like a lot of recoil.
Awhile back I mounted a Surefire G2X and a Magpul angled firearm grip.
Its one thing to go shooting on a range, its another thing to shoot with natural obstructions. After the sun went down a little bit, I went over to the creek and with the Surefire light and red dot scope fired off a few rounds into the sand bar on the opposite side of the creek. I wanted to see how well the light, Magpul forearm grip and red dot scope worked in a simulated situation.
AK47 – yea its a piece of junk WASR-10. At one time I had a Maadi, but my ex-wife claimed it was stolen after we separated. Its funny how things just “disappeared” while we were going through a divorce.
The AK is my “oh crap, the crap has hit the fan” go to rifle. In a worse case situation, I hand out the AR, shotguns, 10/22,,, and everything else to friends and family, the AK is mine, and mine alone.
The reason why I wanted to shoot the AK on this trip was to try out Tula ammunition from the local wal-mart. The last few times I have gone to Academy sports and outdoors, they have not had any Monarch 7.62×39. While Academy was out, I decided to buy a few boxes of Tula.
Saturday evening (June 20, 2012) I fired off 20 rounds of Tula with no malfunctions to report. The next step is to fire off somewhere between 100 – 200 rounds and lets see what happens.
FN/FAL – In my quest for a 308 survival rifle, I decided on the FN/FAL. Besides the M1A and the H&K91, no other 308 rifle is battle proven like the FN/FAL.
The reason I brought the FN/FAL to the Bug Out Location was to test fire some Monarch 308 Winchester. Every time a democrat is elected president there is a rush on ammunition. Sure enough, there has been a rush on 308 before the November 2012 elections. With supplies of 308 Winchester drying up, you have to get what you can when you can. Academy sells Monarch 308 Winchester 150 grain softpoint.
From around 75 yards I was able to achieve minimum 1 inch groups, maximum around 2 inch groups with Monarch 150 grain 308 Winchester.
1 inch – 2 inch groups out of a cheap soft-point is ok with me. Worse case situation, use the soft-points for protection of property, and use the more expensive ammunition for hunting.
With the results I saw with the Monarch 308 Winchester, I will probably pick up some more.
Mossberg 590 – is one rough and tough pump shotgun. If I have to sling some serious lead downrange, it will be with a Mossberg 590 and some rifled slugs.
The Mossberg 590 was brought for 2 purposes:
1. Try out the new Surefire 6PX tactical light.
2. Fire off a few Winchester rifled slugs.
To be perfectly honest, the Winchester 2 3/4 inch rifled slugs had a little more kick then what I was expecting.
The Surefire light worked well, but I need a way to aim the shotgun in low light conditions. I will probably buy some kind of red dot scope for the Mossberg 590 and to from there.
Remington 1911 R1 – I have wanted a 1911 since around 1984 or 1985. In January of 2012 my wife bought me a Remington 1911 R1 for my birthday. Even though the pistol took a slight break in period, after a few hundred rounds everything seems to be working well.
The local walmart sells a Federal 220 grain round nose for something like $21. Before I bought a bunch of the Federal round nose, I wanted to make sure it was going to work well in my Remington. I brought the Remington 1911 to the camp with the sole intention of firing off some Federal round nose.
With six magazines of Federal 45acp FMJ through the Remington R1, there were zero malfunctions. This means I am good to go on stockpiling Federal 45acp FMJ.
Another use for the Taurus PT709 slim is to carry it around the Bug Out Location. Cutting grass, picking peas, planting potatoes,,,, the Taurus PT709 slim fits in just about any pocket.
The problem is, I have not fired enough rounds through the Taurus PT709 slim to have absolute confidence in it.
The local walmart sells some Federal 9mm 115 grain FMJ for something like $19.96. I picked up a box to fire through the Taurus PT709 slim. It just so happened that my buddy brought his Springfield XDM 9mm. We both fired off several rounds of that cheap Federal 9m FMJ with no issues.
As Saturday night drew to an end we were faced with a new problem, my step daughter, grand kids and son-in-law showed up. Not that their arrival was a problem, more like the sleeping arrangements would have been an issue.
The beds were already claimed, so where were the unexpected guest supposed to sleep? My step daughter, grandkids and son-in-law decided not to spend the night at the camp. This brought up the question, how do you deal with unexpected guest? Someone shows up at your front door needing a place, how do you handle it?
Sunday morning, July 1, 2012 – we loaded up and headed home. Well, we did not “exactly” load up and head home. First my wife and UI got our shower, brushed our teeth, ate breakfast, then loaded up and headed home.
How would we take a shower and eat breakfast without the modern comforts of life? We could setup
Solar showers – Coleman makes a solar shower unit. Its a black bag that you fill with water, set in sunlight for a few hours and you are good to go. All you need is a couple of tarps to build a privacy shelter out of.
Breakfast – Want to start the day off right? Have a good breakfast. How do you have a good breakfast during a long term SHTF situation? You have some eggs, oatmeal, breakfast burrito,,, or something along those lines.
There is a reason why breakfast is called the most important meal, because it sets the pace for the rest of the day.
In Review – While my wife and I were at the camp we made a few notes of what we may need:
Bar soap – liquid soap is good, bar soap is better.
Sting / cord – like trot line sting.
Hand tools – such as screw drivers, wrenches, pliers,,, and the such.
Lighters – even though I have over 1,000 matches at the Bug Out Location, I want to stockpile lighters.
D batteries – we have need some batteries for the flashlights.
First aid supplies
Cleaning supplies / bleach
General food items
My wife and I are going to collect various items, put them in a box, and in the next couple of weeks bring the items to the Bug Out Location.