Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: shtf

Rural Homestead after TEOTWAWKI

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SHTF / TEOTWAWKI has happened, whether it was a financial collapse, nuclear war, widespread civil unrest,,,, something has happened to has disrupted society as we know it.

If you live on a homestead in a rural location, what might be some of the supplies you would need, and what would be some of the hardships you would face?

As I write this article I am just thinking out load. Lets brainstorm and get some ideas for discussion.

We all know the typical topics such as safe drinking water and food. In this article lets move past those topics that should be a given. What are the things that would make everyday life possible? What do we use in our everyday lives today that we would need after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI?


Bowl of fresh eggsLets wake up, do our morning routine then eat breakfast. What are going to be eating for breakfast? Chances are its going to be oats we have stored in mylar bags and eggs.

To have eggs we have to make sure our chickens are safe from predators and the elements. Given the chance predators such as foxs, opossums, coyotes and even other people will steal your livestock.

Exposed to wind, rain, ice and snow your chickens will die.

What do we need to keep our chickens safe and comfortable?  We need a chicken coop and a way to repair the coop.  This means we need hand tools, staples, hardware cloth, hammers, a good saw, wire cutters, tar to fix holes in the roof of the coop,,, and so on.


Hammer for your survival tool kit

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There is an old saying “every tool kit needs a Hammer.” A “hammer” is a tool that helps break something loose that is stuck. Rusted bolt, put a wrench on it, then hit the wrench with a hammer.

How can we take that saying and apply it to survivalism?

What would be an item in our survival tool kit that can help get things unstuck?

Stuck in a food production groove, what would help you increase production?

Need to clear a tree after a hurricane? Break out the chain saw.

Need to make sure looters steer clear? Break out the AK-47.

The three key issues after SHTF will be water, food and personal hygiene. There are other things such as security, cooking, livestock, bartering, hunting, fishing, foraging,,, and other odds and ends.

What items can we add to our survival tool kit to make sure our water production, food and personal hygiene keeps going?

Safe drinking water

My hammer for water production is my Royal Berkey water filter.  In a worse case situation I can get water from a creek, run the water through my Royal Berkey, then my family and I have safe drinking water.

Food production

My hammer for food production is either my seed stockpile or my chickens.

For the past few years I have been stockpiling all kinds of heirloom / open pollinated seeds.  Some of my seed stockpile includes corn, squash, spinach, peas, beans, onions, zucchini,,, just all kinds of stuff.

Chickens have a production lifespan.  After a few years hen slow down on their egg production and roosters have a prime of their life for breeding.  My hammer would be a rooster that would produce chicks.  The problem is, I do not have a rooster.

After my wife and I get moved to the homestead we will get at least one rooster.  This would help provide a couple of generations of chickens.

I have a cousin that lives a few hundred yards from where my wife and I want to move to.  Maybe my cousin and I can exchange roosters and hens?  Exchanging roosters would help keep fresh DNA in the gene pool.

Personal hygiene after SHTF

One of the big issues after SHTF will be disease prevention and personal hygiene.  How do you build a tool kit for disease prevention during a long term SHTF survival situation?

We can stockpile hand sanitizer and hand soap for the short term, but what about the long term?

The key to personal hygiene after SHTF is having access to safe drinking water.

Calm before the panic buying

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Calm before the SHTF panic stormThere is enough fear mongering these days without my help.  With that in mind, please remember that this article is just my personal opinion and it not meant to interpreted as fact.

I feel that we are in a calm before the storm. Not necessarily a SHTF storm, but a panic buying storm.

From August 2011 until the first part of 2012:

August and September:  Kids are starting back to school in the next few days, parents are having to buy back to school supplies, clothes, meet the teachers and get their kids shots caught up. Right “now” parents have a lot to think about and worry about besides prepping.

Labor day: is right around the corner.

October:  Halloween in October.

October and November: Hunting season starts.

November – thanksgiving.

December – Christmas and then New Years.

People have stuff to keep their minds occupied until the first part of 2012. After the turn of the year, I look for people attention to turn towards world events and the direction this nation is going.

After new years I think is when the panic buying mode is going to kick in – and especially after people start getting their income taxes back.

2012 – As 2012 progresses and the election season turns hostile, there is going to be a lot of propaganda on TV and the internet about the various people running for office. I look for this propaganda to have a side effect on the voters, and that is spreading fear through the general public.

I look for the debt talks to resume again, and I look for tension between the USA and the rest of the world (especially China) to increase.

Around April and May 2012 – is when I look for the panic buying to pick up, especially with the poor and low middle classes.  This is when people will start getting their income tax returns.  Instead of buying TVs, and other toys, people might turn to buying firearms, ammo and food.

Over the next few months (August – December 2011) people are going to be forking out money on school supplies, clothes, labor day, holidays, Christmas, new years,,,,,,,.   This is why I look for the “real” panic buying to kick in after people start getting their income taxes back in early – mid 2012.  Having to buy school supplies and getting ready for the holidays does not leave a lot of money for prepping.

My personal plan, and I am not suggesting that people do this, but buy whatever long term food supplies you can afford. If you have been thinking about buying #10 cans of freeze dried foods, please do so.

One of the issues with buying SHTF survival gear, it leaves less money for other stuff. Do not overspend on preps. Whenever possible, put money into a rainy day fund. If the federal government shuts the banks down, you want enough cash on hand for food and fuel.

When people start getting their income tax returns back, and have some extra money, that is when people might start buying in bulk.

Over the past few months I have been stockpiling fishing supplies like crazy. Everytime my wife and I went to the local sporting goods store I would grab some hooks, trotline string, artificial worms, extra monofilament line, new fishing pole and reel,,,,,.

On top of the fishing supplies I have been stocking up on food in mylar bags, canned goods and #10 cans.

Do I expect some kind of civil unrest, no,, or rather I hope not. With the extreme drought in Texas, crops are dying in the fields, and people are having to sell off their livestock, what kind of impact on food prices can we expect due to the failed crops, I do not know.

I want to be as honest as possible, and say right up front, I do not know what the future holds. I suspect food prices will go up, but only time will tell.

Over the next few months my preps will focus on food – and that means everything from mylar bags, to canned goods, to #10 cans of freeze dried foods.

In Short:
Save as money as possible
Buy as much food as your family can afford
Get caught up on your bills
Do not have any outstanding credit card bills
Do not have any high interest loans
Secure your possessions and your property
Communicate with your family about your plans

Post your comments in this forum thread about the calm before the storm.

Gun cleaning supplies at the bug out location

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DS-Arms SA58 FN/FAL next to a river in southeast TexasThis evening I was cleaning my FN/FAL, at which time I realized my gun cleaning supplies at the bug out location were going through a can opener syndrome. The “can opener syndrome” is when someone overlooks the small items. That you might be so focused on buying #10 cans, that you forget to stockpile can openers.

With gun cleaning supplies, people are probably more focused on stockpiling ammo, and shooting their firearms, that the forget about buying cleaning supplies.

Lets list some simple gun cleaning items:

Storage Box – something to store the items in. In my case, I am using a large tackle box
Copper bore brushes – for scrubbing the inside of the barrel
Gun oil – I like the pump spray bottles
Hoppes #9 powder solvent
Bore light – I use an led light with a flex neck
Screw drivers
Cleaning rods – for pushing the bore brush through the barrel
Cloth patches

When my wife and I go to the local china-mart, sometimes I will go by the sporting goods section and pickup some various cleaning supplies. One day I might pick up a 308 bore brush, the next day I might pick up a 9mm bore brush, the next day I might pick up a bottle of gun oil, the next day a bottle of powder solvent,,,,,, and so on.

The problem is, I keep a lot of the gun cleaning supplies at my home and very few of them are brought to the bug out location.  Just like with lithium batteries,  led flashlights, water filters, blankets, cooking supplies,,,,, I will have to start stockpiling a small amount of cleaning supplies at the camp.  When my family is at the camp we normally do not spend a lot of time cleaning our firearms.  But then again, we only spend a few days there at a time.  If we were there full time, like after some kind of SHTF situation, we will need a way to keep the firearms clean and functioning properly.

Maybe I can put together some kind of small tackle box with some patches, bore brushes, gun oil, screw drivers, punch pin,,,, bring it to the camp and leave it there.  That way if or when we need the supplies they will be there.

Currently we have a small otters gun cleaning kit, but its only for a couple of calibers, and does not have any cloth patches and only a little bit of gun oil.

Spare parts:

Besides the cleaning supplies, something else that I thought about storing at the remote camp is spare parts, mainly spare firing pins, various springs and extractors.

A lot of the ammunition that is being stockpiled for the AR-15 and AK-47 is steel casing.  Steel casing ammo has a reputation of being hard on extractors.  To keep the firearms in working order I thought about ordering a couple of repair kits for the AK and AR.  For the FN/FAL, all I am buying is Remington core-lokt 150 grain brass case ammo.

Stockpiling brass or steel cased ammunition:

Last weekend I was at a buddies house, and we were talking about stockpiling 223, 7.62×39, 308,,,,, various types of ammunition.

I told my buddy that I was stockpiling Monarch 223 and Monarch 7.62×39 from academy sports and outdoors. Its steel cased ammo, but it only cost $4.89 for a box of 20.

My buddy replied that he did not like to shoot steel case ammo through his rifle. So he was buying the little more expensive American Tactical brass ammo.

In fact, my buddy offered to give me a 30mm ammo can full of wolf to bring to the bug out location. I declined his offer, but I might take him up on it later on.

In my FN/FAL I only shoot remington core-lokt 150 grain – at this time. I am thinking of getting some American Tactical brass ammo or some American Eagle for target shooting.

For rifles like the 30-30, 30-06,,,, and the other hunting rifles are we are stockpiling is brass case ammo like remington, winchester and federal.

The question is, what kind of ammo are you stockpiling? Are you buying the cheap steel case stuff, or are you paying a little more for brass casing?

Post your comments in this forum thread about Stockpiling steel or brass cased ammo.

Stockpiling SHTF food ammo and fishing supplies

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SHTF survival gear food and ammoLets talk about stockpiling food, ammo and fishing supplies for SHTF. These are the supplies that will be used to feed and protect your family if, or when, the SHTF.  There is no perfect survival plan, and only the fool says otherwise.  Its because of this admission that my plans have changed over the years.

My food stockpile  has gone from simple stockpiling beans and rice plans, to something a little more complex.

In the ammunition category, my plans have gone from having various rounds stockpiled, to taking inventory, and trying to standardize my SHTF ammo stockpile.

The fishing category is where I am currently having the most fun.  I have gone from just stockpiling fishing supplies to running trotlines and testing my fishing plans.

Stockpiling Food:

10 – 15 years ago I was stockpiling beans, rice, MREs, canned goods and some garden seed.  My plans were to head to the bug out location, plant a garden, and hunt for fresh meat.  It was a simple plan that had a lot of holes.

About 6 or 7 years ago I decided to focus more on gardening, and less on hunting.  My family and I started planting fruit trees (peach, pear, apple, plum,,,) and I started stockpiling more garden seed.  Then came along the drought of 2010 and 2011.  In the past 2 years this part of Texas is at least 3 feet low on rainfall.  Lake Sam Rayburn is about 9 feet low as of when this article was written.  The long solution to a long term survival plan is having a self-sustaining farm and garden.  In the face of global climate change getting a farm and garden up and running from scratch is going to be a little difficult.

About a year ago I decided to change my plans again and add mylar bags, and some homemade superpails to my SHTF food stockpile. So now we have mylar bags, MREs, canned goods, fruit trees and garden seeds.  In the mylar bags I stored beans, rice, oats, pancake mix, pasta,,,, and a few other things.

In the face of climate change, my plans have changed yet again.

Instead of relying entirely on hunting for meat, and beans for protein, I decided its time to bite the bullet and start stockpiling #10 cans of freeze dried meats, fruit and certain vegetables.

Recent #10 can purchase includes:

2 – Diced Broccoli
1 – Beef Stew
1 – Spaghetti with meat and sauce
1 – Chili mac with beef

My current plans include #10 cans of freeze dried meats, fruit, veggies; mylar bags of rice, beans, oats, pasta,,,, MREs, Eversafe meals, canned goods, garden seeds, fruit trees, and places to hunt at the bug out location.

The food in mylar bags is for side dishes, where the food in #10 cans is going to be for the main dish, and a second side dish.  Lets say that we open a can of chili mac.  For a side dish we could open a bag of rice and a #10 can of broccoli.  This would provide a meal of chili mac, rice and broccoli.

Stockpiling Ammunition:

My ammo preps have stayed pretty much to same over the past 15+ years.  There are 2 categories – defensive ammunition and hunting ammunition.

Defensive ammunition:  This is your typical low cost ball ammo.  With this stuff you want to make sure its reliable, accurate, and low cost.

Hunting ammo – this is your pointed softpoint, remington core-lokt,,,,,, stuff designed for hunting.

Here lately I have been switching between buying 30-30 and 308 Remington core-lokt ammunition.  One week I buy a box of 30-30, the next week I buy a box of 308.  Add some random 223 and 7.62×39 into the mix, and you have a combination of hunting and defensive ammo.

Recent ammunition purchases:

7 boxes Monarch 223 Remington 55 grain full metal jacket
5 boxes Monarch 7.62×39 123 grain full metal jacket
1 box 30-30 Remington core-Lokt 150 grain soft point
1 box Monarch 308 Winchester 145 grain full metal jacket

Stockpiling fishing supplies:

Fishing is what I am currently playing around with, and to be honest, fishing is fun.  Whether its throwing a lure into the water, setting a trotline or throwing out some noodles, you never know what you’re going to pull up.

Recent fishing supply purchases include:

1 box – Berkley Trilene XL 12 pound test
1 spool – Ande monofilament 50 pound test
1 box – Mustard 11/0 circle hooks (25 hooks)

In the fishing gear category, I have been stockpiling trotline string, hooks, leader material, weights, lures, snaps, swivels,,,, and just about everything else I can get my hands on.

 In Review:

By stockpiling #10 cans of freeze dried foods, food stored in mylar bags, ammunition and fishing supplies, we have the ability to feed our family, hunt, provide security and fish.

In this article we mentioned stockpiling seeds and having a garden, but did not cover those topics depth.   The topics of seeds and gardening are covered in depth in other articles.  Its not that one option is the complete solution, but its a combination of options that makes for a well rounded solution.

By having so many sources of food, we have multiple failure points.  If a drought sets in and we have to irrigate the fields, we have food stored in mylar bags, hunting, fishing and #10 cans.  If the hunting party comes back empty handed we can open some canned goods, maybe a #10 can, mylar bag of rice and have a great meal.

Post your comments in this forum thread about Stockpiling food, ammo and fishing supplies for SHTF.

Abandoned places and long term disasters

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Abandoned places after shtfLets say that some kind of long term SHTF happens, like what happened in 1348 with the black death. Large areas are depopulated, nobody is around to maintain roads, nobody is around to keep the trees cut back, or do maintenance on buildings. What can we expect?  In an effort to what what will happen to our infrastructure, my wife went driving around to look at abandoned sawmills and abandoned sawmill towns.

The first example I looked at was a sawmill that was abandoned in the 1930s or 1940s. All that remains is a couple of walls, the foundations, and some motor mounts where the saw motors were bolted down. If it was not made of cement or steel, its long gone. But even then, the steel is starting to rust away. Nothing of wood is visible above the layers of leaves and pine straw.

While walking around the remains of the sawmill, I can not help but think about the people that worked there. Did they have the same worries that we do today, did they worry about paying the house note, did they worry about their kids, and what about the politics at the time. In the 1920, I can just imagine some of the discussions about the new income tax the government was putting into place.

The second example I looked at was a community that was built around another sawmill. This second sawmill and its supporting community disappeared around the 1950s and 1960s. from what I was told, the last family moved out of the community in the mid-1960s. Today, nothing is left of the communities. Where people once lived their lives, raised their families, and went to school, nothing exist.

Unlike the sawmill that was made of steel and cement, these homes were made of wood.  Being made of wood, they fell down faster then the concrete walls of the sawmill.

Its interesting that just 40 years after the last family left the community, nothing remains. Some of the houses may have been torn down, while other homes may have collapsed from neglect.

Post your comments in this forum thread about Looking at abandoned places for examples.

Post Apocalyptic Survival Gear

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List of survival gear that I think would be useful in a post apocalyptic world.

1. Knowledge – This starts with having an understanding of how the human species acts during a long term survival situation. Find some history books on amazon about the black death of 1348 – 1350. Read those books and get a grasp on how people acted and what they resorted to. Some of the stories look like they came straight out of a Hollywood movie – like starving people digging up dead bodies to cannibalize the remains.

Part of your survival library should include resource material on gardening, raising livestock and farming.

First aid manuals with information on diseases and wound treatment.

2. Water filter – Without safe drinking water, life as we know it can not exist. Diseases like Cholera, Typhoid, E. Coli, Cryptosporidiosis, Giardiasis, Shigella and Salmonella can wipe out entire communities in a matter of days.

There are water filters, and then there are “water filters.”  If you have a family with 4, 5 6,,, 12 people, then adjust your water filter size to fits your needs.

Then there is the problem of drinking water in an urban survival situation. Most people that live in cities do not have access to a water well or a creek or stream. Once the water gets cut off, thats it.

Related Article:  Survivalist Water Filter Options


Stockpiling ammo for shtf

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survivalist riflesHow much ammo should I stockpile for SHTF? If teotwawki happened tomorrow, how much ammo should I have? What types of ammo should I have for SHTF? How much ammo should I have for teotwawki?

Those are all questions that I see repeated on the forum over and over, time and time again. So lets talk about them just for a minute.

Lets break down ammo into 2 groups – personal defense and hunting.

Pistol ammo: How much pistol ammo do you “really” need? What will your pistol be used for? Will it be for personal defense or hunting? Are we talking 22 long rifle, 9mm, 45acp, 40S&W, 357 magnum, 41 magnum, 44 magnum,,, or something else?

From the price stand point, its going to be a lot cheaper to stockpile 5,000 rounds of 22 long rifle, then it is to stockpile 5,000 rounds of 357 magnum. Its going to be cheaper to stockpile 5,000 rounds of round nose, then 5,000 rounds of hollow points. Do you “really” need to stock up on hollow points, or is it something that you just want to have?

Pistol ammo used for hunting: Except for 22 long rifle, this is going to be your magnum calibers – 357 magnum, 41 magnum and 44 magnum. In this group I would put a number of at least 500 rounds. That 500 could be divided in half – 1/2 stored at your home, and 1/2 stored at your bug out location / remote camp. If you have to leave your home, and only have time to grab your pistol – this leaves you with 250 rounds once you reach your bug out location.  Keep that 250 rounds in mind for later.

Pistol ammo for personal defense:  This can be just about anything, (except the 22 long rifle, and 25acp) – 9mm, 40S&W, 45acp, 357sig, 357 magnum, 41 magnum, 44 magnum,,,,,,.  For this group, I put a number closer to 1,000 rounds per caliber.

Dividing ammo between people in the group:  Some kind of situation has developed – a new disease has broke out, china launched a nuclear strike against the major cities,,,,,, whatever has happened, you have enough time to grab some gear and get out of town.  You and your family safely arrive at your bug out location, and a few days later your buddies show up.  These are people that you made plans ahead of time.  To streamline ammo purchases, everyone has bought a weapon that shoots the same caliber.  For the sake of discussion, lets use 357 magnum.


If SHTF would you have a future

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radish survival garden

Home Grown Radishes

There was a line in 28 Days Later that got me to thinking.  Its after the group leaves the city and finds their way to the house controlled by the soldiers.  The commanding officer takes Jim (played by Cillian Murphy)  into a courtyard where an infected soldier is chained up.

The commanding officer tells the Jim that the infected soldier provides a lot of information. Jim says something along the lines of “what does he tell you?” The commanding officer explains that the infected solider will never raise crops, he will never raise livestock, he will never bake bread, he has no future. And eventually, he will tell me how long the infected take to starve to death.”

This brings up the question, post SHTF, how many people will “have no future”?

How many people will be unable to raise crops,
How many people will be unable to raise livestock,
How many people will be unable to hunt,
How many people will be unable to bake bread,
How many people will be able to adapt to a new lifestyle,


Communal cooking post disaster

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cooking post shtfSome type of disaster has rolled through – lets say there has been a hurricane, the power has been knocked out and its going to be off for a week or so. How are you going to cook your food? You have some ribs, chicken or steaks in the freezer, but no way to cook it.

You walk out your front door and see your neighbor with his pull behind bar-b-q pit cooking some food. Smoke is coming out of the stack, and he looks like his is turning over some ribs, is that sausage you see and some pork chops? Then the thought runs through your head, “will my neighbor let me cook on his pit?”

The above description happened after Hurricane Rita and Ike passed through southeast Texas.

On Thursday, October 14, 2010 my wife and I made a trip to Houston to take care of some business. While we were in Houston, my wife and I went to a book store where I bought a book about life in a medieval village. One of the chapters of the book talks about how villages are laid out, and how 1 certain village had 2 communal ovens for baking bread. Instead of each villagers house having its own bread oven, the community had communal ovens setup.

After my experiences with a couple of hurricanes and letting my neighbors use my pit, combined with the information of how people used communal ovens in medieval times, it seems to me that people coming together to cook food will be a natural thing to do.

I’am pretty sure that 30,000 years ago, people sat around a camp fire, cooked their horse meat, or mastodon meat, shared stories and helped each other feel safe in a world of danger.

Cooking together, eating together, and forming a community is just what humans do. We are herd animals that enjoy each others company.

There is no reason to feel that post SHTF that anything is going to be different. Whether it was 30,000 years ago, 700 years ago, or tomorrow, people will come together to cook and share food.

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Rabies post shtf

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bug out wildernessThe other day I saw one of those “life after mankind” shows, in which they were talking about dogs, and the role that rabies will play. The show said that rabies was going to run rampant if some kind of SHTF situation happened.  There was talk that rabies was going to take its toll on domesticated dogs shortly after the event.  I think its going to take a few years for rabies to make a rebound.  The reason being, rabies is not near as widespread as it used to be.  That does not mean it can not make a comeback.  Rabies is still out there, there is no doubt about that.  But its like anything else, the infection is going to have to slowly spread back into the community.

Lets take Texas as an example:

DSHS does rabies vaccine air drops in parts of Texas where rabies has been reported. A rabies vaccine pill is wrapped in meat, and then dropped across a given area. Source – Texas DSHS rabies air drop

Most responsible pet owners have their dogs vaccinated against rabies.

The Texas DSHS recommends:


Impoundment and elimination of all stray dogs: This program requires suitable impoundment quarters, and facilities for the humane destruction of unwanted animals. Trained animal control personnel are also necessary.

Source – Texas DSHS Rabies Facts


Three day trip to the camp

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survivalist campOn July 30th, 2010 my family and I headed to the camp for 3 days for a little get away. One of the things that I like to do on these little “get aways” is to take notes, and figure out ways to improve – what went right, what went wrong, and what can we do differently.

One thing that I wanted to test on this trip was the Royal Berkey water filter from – this will be covered in another article, its just too much to go into right now.

One thing that happened, was while the guys were washing off the 4-wheelers, the water hose was left on and the well was drained. So we were without water for about 12 hours – 8pm, until a little after 8 am. By turning off the water pump, the well had time to fill back up.

The propane tank is down to about 40 percent, so it needs to be filled back up. If you wait until the winter to fill it up, your probably going to be put on a waiting list.

In all, there were 7 people staying at the camp – and everyone had a place to sleep with a little room for more.

We had a 128 quart ice chest in the kitchen that was helping keep the food cold – but we also have a refrigerator and freezer.

Dealing with weather conditions – One of the big issues was the heat – the day time high temps were in the high 90s and low 100s. Any time of physical activity in the direct sun light resulted in instant sweat and fatigue. After only a couple of hours of working in the sun, it felt like I had been working for 8 – 10 hours.

One of the projects was to work on the shed – water had been getting around the door jam for several years and the boards had rotted away. It just so happened and the door of the shed faces east – straight into the rising sun. Even though work was started around 8 – 9 am, it felt like I was working in an oven.

This brings up an interesting topic, lets say that some kind of long term SHTF situation occurs, a lot of people are not going to be up to the physical labor needed to start a working farm. Lets say that a family has access to a 2 acre field that they can plant crops on. First the land has to be cleared – which can take days, if not weeks. And what about the physical demands that its going to take to work the land? Can most people of this current generation work a field with hand tools – in the hot sun – for 8, 10, 12 or 14 hours a day?

Some of the common problems with using hand tools includes injuries to the hands and feet. Why the feet? Because people that do not know how to use hoes and rakes my hit their feet by accident. People who do not take foot safety seriously, may learn their lesson the hard way.

So here I am, on the lawn mower, cutting grass that is almost 2 feet deep, wondering “how” this would be going if this was a SHTF situation and not a relaxing trip to the camp. Would it be better to burn the grass, and put the fuel towards a tiller, or save it for the truck in case I needed to go somewhere.

Food for thought – Lets say that you have 2 – 3 weeks worth of food at the camp – SHTF – its going to take a few days to get the crops planted, and several weeks before anything starts to grow. So what do you do between the time your food preps run out, and your crops come in?

July and August are the worst months for the Texas heat.  You step out of the door, and it feels like your stepping into an oven.  The physiological and physical effects that can have one someone can be very profound.  When you working outside, it feels like a weight has been attached to your body, and the heat feels like its sucking the life out of your body.  Even with shade and plenty of water, expect very little relief.

Some of the big issues that I see:

Fresh food – within a few days people are going to be living out of cans.  With eating a lot of canned goods also increases your sodium intake.

Keeping food good – even though you might have a freezer full of food, its going to do little good if the power is off and the food spoils.

Physical demands – most people today are not used to physical labor for 6, 8 or even 10 hours a day.

Transportation – your camp might only be 100 miles from your location, but its not doing you any good if you dont have fuel for your car or truck.

This video was posted to youtube on February 22, 2009. I think its related to the subject of this article.

Post your comments in this forum thread about survival retreats.

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Barter items for post teotwawki

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If SHTF tomorrow, 12 months later, what items would you have that you could use for barter?  Is bartering even in your plans, have you even thought about it?  The other day I was walking through wal-mart and was thinking about low cost, good quality trade items.  There is a difference in good quality, medium quality and poor quality barter items.

Here are some examples of barter/trade items:

Gold and silver only have value when someone values money.  Once society has broken down to where its a dog eat dog world, I’am willing to bet that food will have more value then gold and silver.

Solar panels, seeds, first aid supplies are a good quality trade items.

Clothing might have an “ok” trade value.

Hand tools might be a medium quality trade item.  If your cars and trucks are not running, what value are hand tools.

Computers and other electronics would be a poor quality item – without electricity, what good are electronics.

When you start talking about matches, seeds, flashlights, batteries,,,,,, some of those are disposable items – you use them once and then its gone. In my opinion, the best trade items are ones that continue to give a return over and over. This gives the item a certain appeal that its not a once use item, or something that breaks easily.

I dont think food has very much of a trade value – unless the other person is starving. The thing with food, you eat it once and its gone, it does does not give a return on your investment.

Matches, they burn once, and its gone.

Batteries go dead, unless you have a way to charge them.

Seeds may not sprout, or might be a hybrid so the resulting seeds can not be saved.

In my opinion, one of the best trade items is hook, line and sinker. These 3 items provide a good return for all interested parties. When you open the package, you can still trade it. Right now I’am looking at a box of 50 eagle claw #2 hooks, Water Gremlin round split shot weights 124 pieces, zebco monofilament fishing line 12 pound test 700 yards.

Instead of trading for the whole box of hooks, trade for a certain amount.
Instead of trading for all of the weights, trade for a certain amount.
Instead of trading for all 700 yards of line, trade for 50 foot lengths.

Non of these items expire, rot, mold, mildew, spoil,,,,, unless you leave them in the water.

With the hooks, its a good idea to invest into stainless – that way they dont rust if stored for a long period of time.

The appeal with fishing gear – it allows someone to provide for themselves without a lot of work. Unlike crops, fishing can give an almost instant return. Instead of taking months to grow crops, people can go fishing when they want. Unlike farming, you do not have to clear a field, your not dependent on rain fall, fertilizer, pesticide,,,,,.

The draw back to fishing, you need access to a body of water. If your in the middle of a desert, fishing supplies might be the last thing on your mind.

Post your comments in this forum thread about barter items for post shtf.

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Food sources in a post apocalyptic world

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Lets discuss food sources in a post apocalyptic world after SHTF.  Survivalist have a wide range of ideas on how to get food in a post apocalyptic world.  Some of these ideas cover everything from living a hunter-gather lifestyle, to living off of food stocks until society recovers, to farming and gardening.   Lets take a look at some of these ideas and make some comparisons.

The plans that each Survivalist has will vary widely depending on actual experience and training.  The plans range from the very well thought out and tested plans, to spur of the moment ideas.

Lets set the tone for this article – a new virus has developed that has a 90% fatality rate.  This is like what the Black Death was in 1348 – 1350, where 1/3 of Europe died.   Society has broken down to the point where no food or fuel supplies are being shipped.  People will not leave their homes except to find food – which gets more difficult to find.  Finally, people have to do “something” so they do not starve to death.

One survivalist approach is to Bug Out to the wilderness and live off the land – this is also called the “Bug Out Bag” theory.  In the event of a world wide disaster, the survivalist is going to grab their Bug Out Bag, then take their family out to the wilderness to live off the land.

This is reminiscent of prehistoric man living a hunter-gather subsistence lifestyle. There are several problems with this situation:

  • There is no support chain – if you need help, your own your own.
  • Very few people have the skills to live a hunter-gather lifestyle.
  • People have difficulty adjusting to sudden changes in their lifestyle.
  • Deforestation has destroyed a lot of native edible plants.
  • A lot of wild edible plants are seasonal.
  • Unsafe drinking water – people that adhere to the Bug Out Bag theory, underestimate the effects of water borne pathogens, as their primary source of water will be from streams, lakes or rivers.
  • At the mercy of the weather – rain or shine, hot or cold, your just gonna have to tough it out.

To a lot of people, these points do not matter. If Homo Erectus, Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon and early Homo Sapiens could survive for tens of thousands of years with simple stone tools, then so can they.

Bug out bag theorist forget – once agriculture was developed, the hunter-gather lifestyle was abandoned. Why expend so much energy hunting and gathering food, when it can be grown?


Survivalist and Mental Conditioning

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Survivalist should take time to condition themselves to better prepare for a disaster. Its easy to sit in a chair and watch videos, or read articles about survivalism.  But that is not enough.  To really prepare for a disaster, people need to actually do something and practice their skills.

Take the time to expose yourself to adverse conditions, but in a controlled situation.  This will help with the mental and physical conditioning. So that when a disaster does happen, you may better prepared.

Post your comments in the Survivalist Mental Conditioning thread of the forums.

In case your wondering what pack that is in the video, its a Maxpedition Condor II.

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