Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Month: January 2012

River trip part 4

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This update was supposed to be in 2 parts. The first part was supposed to be doing some maintenance to the boat, such as fixing some broken rivets. The second part was supposed to be taking the boat out on the river to make sure is running ok, and to to use a GPS to see how fast the boat can travel down the river.

Well, the boat never made it to the river.

Broken boat rivetThe front of the boat has a deck that is held in place with rivets. Over the years of walking on the deck the rivets have slowly pulled lose or broken.

Replacing the rivets

Use a drill bit the size of the rivet, drill through the middle of the rivet, the head should come loose.

Use a punch or drift pen to drive out the middle of the rivet.

If the rivet does not want to drive out, use the drill to drill it out.

Insert new rivet into the hole.

Use a rivet gun to secure the rivet.

Fixing boat rivetsIn all, 25 rivets were replaced, which took about an hour.

If you are wondering what that stuff is on the deck of the boat, that is boat carpet that has rotted and fallen off. I need to take a scarper to remove the last bit of the carpet. My son suggested taking the boat to a car wash, then using the high pressure setting to wash the rest of the carpet off.

I thought about getting a stainless steel wire wheel for my grinder to buff the last parts of the carpet off.  But then again, a paint scraper might work just as good.

Why the boat did not make it to the river

The lower unit is leaking oil.

Evinrude leaking oil from lower unitBefore the boat was taken on the upcoming 100+ mile river camping trip, I wanted to put in the shop for some preventive maintenance.  The water pump impeller had never been changed, the spark plugs needed to be replaced and I wanted the oil in the lower unit replaced.

While the boat was in the shop, the mechanic discovered the power pack was going bad.  This might have explained why the motor had been difficult to start.  After talking with the mechanic on the phone, I gave the go ahead to replace whatever needed to be replaced.

When I got the boat back, the motor would not even idle.  I also noticed there was some oil on the ground below the motor.  I did not think anything about the oil, I thought it was residue from the mechanic cleaning the motor.

After a closer look, it appears the oil is leaking from a water vent hole.


At first I thought something was wrong with the motor, but after talking with my dad and several internet searches it seems that its just un-burned oil in the gas.  My dad suggested that I take the fill screw out of the skeg, check the oil for water, and go from there.

My wife and I are planning on taking the boat out on the river today. While we are out I plan on getting a fresh can of gas, mix in some oil and go from there.

Forum thread on Evinrude 30 horsepower leaking oil.

Other sections to this article:

River trip part 1
River trip part 2
River trip part 3

This series of articles is in preps of a 100+ mile river / camping trip down the Sabine river.  My buddies and I are planning on launching the boats around Bon Weir Texas, and ending up in Bridge City.

River trip part 3

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Evinrude 30 Horsepower Angelina River TexasWhen planning a trip like a 100+ mile river / camping trip, its important to test your gear. Part of the testing phase is making sure your boat is in good running order. The purpose of todays trip was to test the boat to make sure it was in good running order.

A few weeks ago I put the boat in for repairs. During a recent camping trip a bolt fell out of the gear shifting lever, the water pump impeller has never been changed, and the spark plugs were looking a little old, the oil in the lower unit had never been changed and there was a short in the starter button.

Trip to the shop

I brought the boat to a local boat repair place. the service guy was told what I wanted, I even had him go out to the boat and take a look at something I wanted fixed.

When I got the boat back, not was it running worse then before it went in the shop, but some of the parts I wanted fixed were still on the boat. I especially told the guy I wanted a part replaced. Since it was not replaced, I guess what I said was not important enough for him to listen to me.

While I was talking to the guy about what all I wanted done to the boat, I specifically told him some of my buddies and I were planning a 100 boat trip down the Sabine river.  The plan is to out in at Bon Weir where HWY 190 crosses the Sabine river, and go all the way to Bridge City.  I hoped the service guy would take what I told him about the river trip I had planned, and with that information make absolutely sure the boat was in running order before I got it back.

Before the boat was taken out to the river for a test run, the water hose was connected to the motor, the motor was cranked and let run for a few minutes.  The motor seemed to be running a little rough.  I did not think anything about it.

The trailer was hooked up to my truck, and off to the boat launch my step son and I went.

Once in the water, the motor cranked up fine, but seemed to idle a little rough.

I back the boat out to the main river channel, then gently throttled the motor.  As soon as the boat started to plane out, I knew something was wrong.  At maximum throttle, the boat would drop RPMs.  On top of acting a little sluggish, the motor does not sound right.  Its difficult to describe, but something just does not sound right.

Spare parts

While talking to a buddy of mine a few days ago, I need to pick up some spare parts for the trip.

Some of the spare parts I may need to bring:

Spare fuel line
Duct tape
Electrical tape
Fuses for the light system
Screw drivers

One thing that will shut down a boat motor quick, and that is a broken fuel line. The fuel line on my boat is getting close to 3 years old. It would be pretty bad if the fuel line ruptured while on the trip.

Other sections to this article:

River trip part 1
River trip part 2
River trip part 4

Projects for 2012

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snap beans survivalist garden

Some random thoughts about projects I want to work on during 2012.

Build a portable chicken coop
Plant a summer garden
Look into building a rabbit pen
Stockpile more seeds

The chicken coop I am looking at building is going to be 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall and 10 feet long. The unit is is going to have a coop on top of the pen, with maybe 4 – 6 boxes for laying hens. No roosters, all the chickens will be for will be eggs. Plucking chickens is a pain, it would be a lot easier and productive to harvest the eggs, and that is what my wife and I am planning on doing.

The plans call for the coop to be 4 feet square, and 2 – 3 feet tall with a sloping roof. This means I should be able to get 4 – 7 boxes for the hens in the coop. The plan is to have four boxes down one wall, and up to 3 down the next wall. If we can get just a few eggs a week, that is all we need. My wife and I mostly eat eggs on saturday or sunday, and when my wife uses eggs for baking. Its not like we eat eggs everyday. Hopefully we can collect the eggs during the week, then use the eggs during the weekend.

With the price of food going like it is, my wife an I decided it time we took measures to produce some of our own food. A couple of years ago my wife and I had a garden that we shared with 2 other families. this year, we want to plant a small garden just for ourselves.

I have wanted rabbits for a long time. They are cute, and their manure makes good fertilizer. The last batch of rabbits I had was way back in 1999 – 2000. I built the rabbit pen about 8 feet long and about 24 inches wide. In that size pen I had 3 or 4 divided pens.

Last year my wife and I planted a garden at the camp. Due to the drought nothing came up, so all of the seeds we put down went to waste. This year I need to replace the seeds that were planted in 2011. One type of seeds I need to stock up on are snap bean seeds. Snap beans are easy to grow and high producing plants.

A couple of weeks ago I talked to the owners of a local feed and fertilizer store about expected seed shortages for 2012. The owners told me it was too early to know what seeds were going to be short this year. A couple of years ago there was a shortage of pickling cucumbers, a year or two before then was a zucchini seed shortage. Its always good to have a few extra packs of seeds for when shortages occur.

This year I am planning on stocking up on corn, peas, spinach and beans. When I was talking to the owners of the local feed and fertilizer store, they told me they should start getting their seeds in in February. Sometimes I will go to the feed store and just buy seeds, and sometimes I have plans to buy certain things.

Before I buy anything this year, I first need to take inventory and go from there.

River trip part 2

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Toledo Bend DamFor those of you that have not read River Trip Part 1, please do so.  After talking to my buddy about the boat launches I went and looked at on my first trip, he sent me an email with what was supposed to be a boat launch just south of the dam on Toledo Bend dam.

The plan for Sunday was for my wife and I to make a trip to Toledo Bend dam.  There are two roads on each side of the river on the south side of the dam where the Sabine river starts.  The goal is to see if there a feasible boat launch.

What I found on the trip on each side of the river were steep banks, and no real boat launch.  There is a place where a pipeline crosses the river.  On the Texas side of the river, it looks like bags of cement were placed on the bank to stop erosion.  The bank is so steep that it would be dangerous to carry a boat and boat down the bank.

Comparing the banks at the Toledo Bend dam to the other boat launches:

From my house, its plus or minus a few miles, its 50 miles from my house to the dam at Toledo Bend

The banks dam are very, very steep.  I would consider the banks so steep that it would be unsafe to a boat and motor down the bank.


Schrade SCHF9 Survival Knife Review

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Schrade Schrade SCHF9 Extreme Survival Knife A couple of years ago I started looking for a heavy duty camping / backpacking wilderness survival knife.


The purpose of the knife is to have a knife that can be strapped to the outside of a MOLLE or ALICE pack. The knife has to be sturdy enough to clear small brush, chop small limbs, cut tent stakes, clean fish, butcher wild game, or even use the spine of the knife as a hammer.

My current “go to” knife is a Cold Steel Recon Scout. The new knife is not intended to be a replace the Recon Scout, but more along the lines of an alternative. The Recon Scout has a belt loop, but no MOLLE or ALICE attachments. I want a knife that can quickly and easily attach to any of my packs.


Thick spine – so the knife could be used as a wedge for splitting wood. If I wanted to make a fish trap, or fishing spear the knife needed to be thick enough to drive through a piece of wood like a wedge.

One of the drawbacks to having a thick spine, thick knives do not make good skinning or butchering knives.

Curved blade – for a good slicing edge. Regardless of what part of the blade was being used to cut, the blade would have a curve to it. An example of what I was looking for is the ULU Knife used by native Alaskans.


Best survival knife for under 25 dollars

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survivalistYou have $25 to spend, you want to buy a good quality knife, so which one do you buy?

What is the purpose of a $25 survival knife?  In my opinion, knives in that price range are disposable.  They are the knives that if lost or stolen are not going to be expensive to replace.

From a survivalist point of view, spend $100 on 3 or 4 knives, store them at your Bug Out Location, keep one in a tackle box or use them for hand out knives to friends and family.  Someone breaks into your Bug Out Location, steals your knives, you are not out several hundred dollars.


Sheath Belt loop or ALICE / MOLLE attachments
Made from quality steel
Full tang
Fixed blade

Most of the corner stores around here have knifes made in third world countries. Most of the ones I see sell for less then $10. For this purchase we need something that is made from quality steel, will hold a good edge and will be easy to sharpen.

Back around 1983 I bought into the survival knife craze created by Rambo First Blood. My first survival knife had a hollow handle, made of some kind of 440 stainless steel, held an edge like butter, and took an hour to sharpen. That knife was more of a play toy then a real duty knife. The hollow handled knives are a novelty item. If you want a serious knife, steer clear of them.

Related forum thread – Best survival knife for under $50

There are a lot of good knives out on the market, so please do not get offended if your favorite was not listed. Picking a good knife is like picking a good car. With so many options on the market, its easy to overlook some of the better ones.


Not the land of the free anymore

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Over the past decade we have seen a new type of warfare evolve. This is a war not necessarily against enemies on foreign soil, but rather a war on US citizens on domestic and foreign soil

Under president bush, Iraq, Afghanistan and the al-Qaeda network were taken down.

Under obama, we have seen people killed before they can become a threat. The US government has even killed US citizens on foreign soil with no due process.

This brings up several ethics questions.

Is it right to kill someone before they commit a crime? Isn’t the whole justice system built around bringing people to justice “after” they have broken the law? So what happens if the government starts arresting and or killing people just because those people were talking about breaking the law?

There is a difference between talking and doing. Can the justice system sentence someone to death without a trial, and without a crime? If there was no other crime besides talking, can the person be deemed a threat?

Where does society draw the line? Do we arrest, convict and imprison the husband who talked about hitting his wife? If so, how long should the person be held in prison?

Would it correct for society to imprison everyone who talked about breaking a law, but never actually committed a crime?

Instead of trying to predict the future like in the Minority Report, the government relies on intelligence agencies like the CIA.

But what is the real difference between the cia trying to predict crimes like in the Minority Report, and using physics like in the movies?

There is old question that if someone could go back and kill hitler before he came into power, should we? But on the other hand, what if we are wrong about the predictions, and an innocent person was murdered.

Is it acceptable for society to err on the side of caution? If so, where do we drawn the line?

Will it be acceptable for police officers to shoot and kill someone due to repeated calls for family violence?

Will it be acceptable for police officers to kill people who had a little bit too much to drink? After all, its better to put the person to death before they can harm anyone else. So if someone tries to get in their car after downing a few drinks at a bar, the police should just shoot and kill that person?

Lets say a wife likes to cheat. So law enforcement should lock her in prison? That way her husband does not catch her cheating and shoot her and her boyfriend? Or is better to lock the husband up so the wife can run around as much as she wants?

If the government is given free reign to kill people before they commit a crime, who is at greater fault? The person for talking about how they want to commit a crime, or the government that acts on those words?

After all, where does society draw the line in protecting others?

Now that the National Defense Authorization Act has been signed into law, anyone accused of being a terrorist can be detained by the military.

If the government wanted to, this opens up a whole new range of abuses. We just thought what happened to Randy Weaver and his family was bad. Randy Weavers wife was shot and killed by a sniper, and nobody went to prison over it.

With the new law, I doubt there would even be congressional hearings on the murder of US citizens.

Who in the government has the right to detain or murder US citizens at will? Is this “really” a law that should have ever been presented before congress? What would the founding father have to say about a law that allows the government to detain people without due process?

In most states the accused person has to be brought before a judge within 24 hours of being arrested. But now, just declare the person is a suspected terrorist and the persons rights are waived.  The US is no longer the land of the free.  As our freedoms and rights are slowly being stripped away.

Post your comments in this forum thread about A new type of warfare.

River Trip Part 1

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Sabine RiverFor around 14 years or so, a couple of my buddies and I have been talking about making a river trip from the northern part of the Sabine river, all the way to the Orange / Bridge city area.   If everything goes according to plan, we will be making the trip sometime in 2012.  The trip is currently in the planning phase – we talking about what boats we want to bring, where we are going to launch the boats at, who is going to be going on the trip,,, just stuff like that.

There are two boat launches in the Bon Wier Texas / Merryville Louisiana area that we are looking at using.  On Sunday January 15, 2012 my wife and I made a trip to the boat launches to see if it was feasible to launch at either one.

Sunday morning started off bright and when my wife and I crawled out of bed around 8:45am.  After getting our shower and having some breakfast, it was finally time to get one the road.  We stopped at a local corner store to picked up some snacks, bought a sunday paper for the coupons, then it was to wal-mart to get some gas.  If you use the wal-mart gift card, you save 3 cents a gallon on gasoline.  A few days before hand, my wife put $40 on a gift card.  When we stopped at the super wal-mart in Jasper I put the whole $40 in my truck.

After gassing up, and getting some snacks, it was finally time to get on the road.  My wife and I left Jasper heading west on HWY 190 towards Newton.  At Newton, we passed over HWY 87, then turned south on HWY 190.

HWY 190 south of Newton is a nice country drive, and a scenic drive.  There is very little out there, besides trees and the occasional house.

The plan was to look at the boat launch at Bon Wier where where 190 crosses into Louisiana  first, then go to the launch at Merryville.


Turning 44 years old

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survivalistWell crap, I turn 44 years old years old in few days.  Age, kinda like weight, has a way of creeping up on you.  It seems like only a few weeks ago I was in high school, only a couple of days ago my kids were being born.  Somewhere in the middle of working and raising my kids, I seemed to be getting a years older every time the calendar rolled around.

I don’t guess growing old is that bad.  Everyday is a learning experience, everyday is a growing experience, everyday I learn something new.  When we stop learning and stop growing, we start dying.  Maybe “dying: is a bad word, more like we start degrading, or declining.

As I grow older there are a couple of things I have noticed.  My energy level i not what it used to be, and its getting more difficult to keep the weight off.

My weight issues started when I moved away from the welding shops.  Instead of being on my feet for 8 – 12 hours a day, I was sitting at a desk working on a computer.

There is an old saying “if you do not use something, you lose it”.  This goes for everything from a flashlight to muscle tone. Since I am no longer doing manual labor, I can feel my muscle tone decreasing.  It would be almost impossible for me to work a full time job at a desk, and maintain the same amount of endurance that I had from working 10 and 12 hour shifts in the welding field.

All things in life have a negative and a positive, its what keeps hings in balance.  This balance is what keeps the earth rotating the sun, keeps our feet on the ground.

Over the years I have learned to appreciate the simple things, such as taking my kids fishing, riding on the river in a flat bottom boat,,, but then again, I have always enjoyed those things.

What is life is important?  Money is nice, having a nice home is nice, having a nice car is nice.  The important things are the things that money can not buy.  The important things are good health, a good relationship with your friends and family, and peace of mind.

As I get older, I find myself wanting peace of mind more then just about anything.

Some of the things I have learned over the years,

Voting for the two major parties is a waste of time.  It does not matter if you vote for the democrats or republicans, the voters are going to get raped up the ass when either party wins.  If you want real change, vote third party.

The more you eat, the more weight you put on.

We are victims of our own decisions.  Unless someone sticks a gun to our side, and forces us to be a victim, we become willing victims.

The heros in life, are the ones that treat others with the highest level of respect.

We should know the difference between those that care for us, and those that do not care, then treat each group accordingly.


Buy your supplies and stack them deep

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Stockpiling food for SHTFAs I am sitting here watching the news, there is little voice in the back of my head telling me the US is going to hit rock bottom. Unless Ron Paul gets elected, things are just going to continue to get worse. GOD help us if someone like mit or rick perry gets elected, because they are not going to help anyone besides the bankers.

What I see happening is tensions between the US and china and tensions between the US and iran to continue to rise. Compounded with that, congress is talking about cutting the defense budget.

Let me see if I get this right, iran is continuing to enrich uranium, and the US congress wants to cut money from the defense? When your enemies are building nuclear weapons, shouldn’t we at the very least maintain our current rate of military spending?

There are several directions I see the US going during 2012:

1. iran builds a nuclear bomb, gives the bomb to a small group of terrorist who sneak it a cross the US-mexico border. From there its just a matter of time before a major US city has a nuclear weapon detonated in it.

Its not like a group of terrorist would even have to sneak a nuclear bomb across the border. Why not hire a truck and drive the bomb across? If 10 – 20 million illegal immigrants can find their way into the US, surely its not “that” difficult to get weapons across.

2. israel strikes iran, which threatens the supply of crude oil to russia and china. russia and china see the strike as a threat to their national security. In return, china and/or russia strike israel and the US.

3. The US goes broke, or continues to print money out of thin air. Either way its a lose-lose situation. Over the past few decades has spent more money then we can ever hope to repay. Its just a matter of time before the house of cards comes tumbling down

4. The drought that wiped out billions of dollars in crops comes back in 2012, which drives up prices. The US government will increase subsidies to farmers, which will continue to drive up the national debt. I have no issues with helping the farmers out, but instead of giving billions to foreign nations, why not keep that money here? Instead of giving the banks millions of dollars to bail them out from bad investments, lets give that money to the people. Or better yet, let the banks go belly up.

5. The absolute worst thing that can happen is for obama to get relected. obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, which allows the government to detain US citizens without a trial.

What can you really say about a congress and president that wants to declare the US a battleground? From that declaration the government can detain citizens without a trial.

You might be saying “the government can not detain you without charging you with a crime”. Well, what happened with the Japanese-Americans during World War II? If it happened once, it can happen again.

Buy your food while its still cheap.

Vote third party, why are the democrats even on the ballot?

Buy your guns and ammunition while you can.

As 2012 progresses, I look for people to become worried. Worried people go into panic buying mode. As people start stockpiling food, guns and ammunition, I look for prices to go up.

Concerns for 2012

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Just some ramblings of what I expect to see in 2012.  Take this with a truckload of salt:

Cost of food

With the drought in Texas from 2011, and people stockpiling food for the end of the world in 2012, I suspect we might see food shortages. If there are shortages, we can expect the price of food to go up.

Some weather forecasters are predicting another decade of drought for the south, and especially for Texas.

If we think the price of food is bad now, and the predictions are true about a decade long drought, we aint seen nothing yet.

Iran, China and Russia

Iran supplies a good bit of crude oil to China and Russia. Any attack on Iran will be see as an attack on the national security of Russia and China. If the US makes a move that disrupts the flow of crude to either china or russia, both nations will be forced to respond to the threat.

Just imagine if either russia or china attacked canada, how would the US react?

The one thing that stands in the way of china causing too many problems, and that is the US Navy.  Russia and china are both decades behind the US in sea warfare technology.

North Korea

Some 20 year old kid just got handed the keys to a stockpile of nuclear weapons.

I think there is good reason to be worried about the leadership of north korea.

Post your comments in this forum thread about your main concern for 2012.

Priorities in preparing plans

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Drinking water after SHTFThere are 3 basic priorities in prepping plans – food, water and shelter.  Some people like to throw in fire, or the ability to make fire.  But if you throw in fire,  you need to crawl out from under your rock from time to time.

Some things should be a given, such as packing medicines, fire, or considerations for special needs people.  Its impossible for someone to list all of the considerations people might face.  Whether its medicines, flood insurance, homeowners insurance, preps for people with special medical needs,,,,, only the reader is going to be familiar with special plans they need to make.

Items such as first aid kits, flashlights, copies of important papers are a given.  Do you really need to be reminded of things you should already know about?  Do adults have to be reminded to brush their teeth or take a shower before they go to work?  We know we should be doing certain things, so I see no reason to go over the same list everytime the discussion comes up.

Now that the special needs and the given items are behind us, lets talk about priorities in a prepping list.

Identify your personal priority.

Take steps to minimize the impact of the priority during a disaster.


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