Friday, March 02, 2012

Cross Training



No, not physical cross-training (although that kind is important also). Today I want to talk about cross-training survival group or team members. See, every person on the team should have a primary and at least one secondary duty.

Sally may be a paramedic by vocation and so she would be a good choice to be the Group Medical Officer (assuming she is most medically qualified). As such, she would be responsible for supervising Group member health; managing and procuring group medical stores; treating illness and injury to her level of certification in normal times and to the best of her ability in times of emergency; advising the Group Leadership on all medical matters; and cross training group members in medical areas. More on that in a bit.

She may also have a secondary duty of, oh, Transportation Officer. She assists the Transportation Officer in his duties and fills in for him when he is unavailable. Let’s say the Transportation Officer’s duties include: Maintaining Group transportation assets; managing logistical support for same; assisting the Operations Officer in planning group movement; procuring Group Transportation; advising the Group Leadership on all transportation matters; and cross training group members in transportation matters. Perhaps she was given this secondary duty because she had some skills or interests in this area. Maybe she had her own ’78 CJ and had helped with an engine swap on it and supervised the maintenance of her family’s vehicles but the Group Transportation Officer was an actual mechanic and so a better fit for his job.

You can read above that both duties require cross training other Group Members. We do this to create and preserve redundancy of abilities, to maintain flexibility and to make sure we do not totally lose a skill set if/when we lose a member. Cross training takes place on two levels.

Level One
A primary Officer must train their secondary. This is not “cross training” in the strictest sense of the term but it is in general. The primary should train the secondary to be as skilled as he/she is. One should always be training one’s replacement. The primary trains and then supervises the secondary in execution of tasks. The primary may train and then assign the secondary to give a class to other Group members on a certain subject. One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it.

Level Two
This is where we get to cross training in the strictest sense of the term. For the sake of discussion, let us agree to call our primary officers (In this case, Sally, the Medical Officer) “experts”. Hey, she is the most expert that our Group has so she is the “medical expert” as far as we are concerned. The secondary officer is not an expert but is “very good”.

We want everyone else in the group to at least be “okay” in the skills wielded by the expert. If the primary and the secondary officer are both out of the picture, we don’t want the Group to be totally unable to handle medical issues (or transportation issues or any other issues). And so we CROSS TRAIN all group members in medical skills. The Medical Officer is responsible for overseeing that training and monitoring Group performance levels. She may teach it herself, she may assign her secondary to teach it, or they may both teach nearly simultaneously.

This cross training must be scheduled for all areas of expertise. Before cross training can occur, the principle instructors must have time and other resources made available to prepare for the instruction.

Another level of training is skills maintenance – the primary and secondary officers must be allowed to pursue additional training to keep their skills sharp and stay on top of new techniques. But that gets us into the greater realm of Training and will have to wait for another time…

Even if you do not yet belong to a survivalist group, you can still benefit from the concept of cross training in your family. You should strive to ensure that your family is able to cover for each other if one member “goes down”. If mom is sick in bed, someone should be able to take care of her, someone to keep good food on the table and so on. If dad is on a trip out of town, someone should be able to do his normal duties – I don’t know… mowing the lawn, changing the oil, etc.

Cross train – it builds flexibility into a system that soon may be incredibly stressed.

I’ll see ya out there.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6

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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums and catch us on our YouTube channel.


Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Friday, January 27, 2012

Who Leads? How?



I happen to be a very well trained and experienced man in a lot of esoteric areas. Given a bad situation, whether it be a flat tire on the side of a busy interstate or global social meltdown, I am blessed with the skill sets to see me through. I could survive TEOTWAWKI all by myself…

…until I broke my femur and got an infection when I had to be moving; or came down with a bad fever when my attention was required for security purposes; or unless I wanted to live some kind of normal life and plant crops, tend to animals, read books, eat, sleep, etc – and danger lurked out there.

We were created as social creatures and to reach our maximum potential, we need to be with others. Lone wolves don’t like to hear this and they don’t agree with this but it is true nonetheless. If you are one, you can stop reading.

So eventually, we arrive at the decision, the idea, that we need, that we would like a group of like minded individuals to gather with in times of trouble. You know, people like us who see which way the wind is blowing, who can read the tea leaves, who have read all the way to the end of the Book. People who are proactive like we are.

So we start looking at and for those folks. And we run into a problem: they are like us. They are proactive; they are self-sufficient; they are self-starters; they are individuals. And they typically “don’t play well with others”. They are so used to taking steps on their own to provide for them and theirs that they all want to be in charge. They all know the best way to do things. They all know their way is the right way.

If you can even get these people in the same room or patch of wilderness they will do okay until it’s time to start making long term plans for “the group”. Because right off the bat we have to start coming up with rules, codes of behavior, standards, and yes – even punishments for those who don’t follow the aforementioned rules, codes, and standards.

We don’t like that. We don’t LIKE people telling us what to do or how to do it. We are fiercely independent. It is a part of who we are. And yet – we need each other.

A person on our forums brought up the question: how does a group (he was speaking of a group that gets together, moves to a place together and lives together – a community) decide who is in charge, how they rule, what happens when things “don’t work out” for individuals, families, etc.? In other words – how does the community government work?

Indeed.

This is not an easy question to answer. I know this though: to come into a group, to join a community, one has to give up things. One has to give up some of self, one has to be less selfish and more community/group-minded. How much, how that works, what that looks like is grist for the mill. It is something we all should start thinking about.

And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. – Luke 22:24 – 27

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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums and catch us on our YouTube channel.


Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Monday, October 03, 2011

Backyard Food Production



I recently borrowed this DVD from a friend who is into permaculture. We both feel that the time is rapidly approaching where, in order to eat, we will all have to produce our own food. We both also believe that it is getting more and more difficult to purchase good food anywhere - what with all the GMO, chemicals, antibiotics and what not being poured into our fruits, veggies, grain and meats.

This DVD is so good and so in depth that I just had to get one for my very own. I am writing this to inform you that you should seriously consider doing so as well. Now, I will tell you right up front that this DVD is not cheap - it costs $60 but it is WORTH it and it is on par with instructional DVD prices.

Backyard Food Production shows one family's working homestead and they are not super-rich. They do things YOU can do and it works for them. I have been at this awhile and I learned a lot - so much that I felt the need to get a copy for my library so I can refer back to it again and again.

Covered on the DVD are sections on:
Water
Garden
Rabbits
Home Butchering
Poultry
Dogs
Perennials: Orchards, Food Forests, and Edible Landscaping
Other Essentials

And THEN there is the CD that comes with the DVD that contains, oh, about 60 documents, booklets and so on for your reference.

I did a YouTube video on this as well but be advised - I got the price wrong in the video. Hey - I could borrow this DVD from my friend pretty much anytime I want to and I still went out and bought it.

You should too - you'll be glad you did.
It is time to start seriously considering how you are going to provide long term for you and yours - this DVD will help you.

And this shall be a sign unto thee, Ye shall eat this year such as groweth of itself; and the second year that which springeth of the same: and in the third year sow ye, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof. - Isaiah 37:30

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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Thursday, July 28, 2011



I am noticing a trend.
I’m seeing it on the internet, hearing it on the radio, hearing about it on TV (I don’t have one) and hearing it “around the water cooler”.

It is a disturbing trend and it is dark:
Fear
Anxiety
Worry

Wake up!

We are being played

"Amp up the noise, AMP UP THE NOISE!"
An anxious populace, a scared populace, a FEARFUL populace ... is a CONTROLABLE populace.

Those are all negative emotions.
They prevent clear thinking.
They lead folks to want to herd together - go with the running herd - RUN!

Keep the anxiety up long enough and people will agree to almost anything to get relief.
Which is exactly the point.

Don't fall for it.
We often confuse "trying to stay aware and abreast" with "disaster masturbation".

May I suggest unplugging from the NET a bit (internet, radio, TV, crass consumerism in all its forms).
Hug your babies, take a walk in nature, take a nap, read a good book - read The Good Book.
Chill.

Then (only then, after you have cleared your head a bit)
Take some POSITIVE steps.

Work on your garden - if you don't have one - get a fall garden ready.
Work on physical fitness - take a walk or a swim or a bike ride, or a run; do some stretching, yoga, pushups, weights – SWEAT!
Fix up the place - make those small repairs, pick up, clean up.
Have a barbeque - invite some folks over.
Do something nice for your neighbour.
Praise and thank God for your blessings.
Look into the eyes of your loved ones and appreciate them.
Consider stocking up on some groceries.

DO stuff
Don't fret about what you cannot control - you cannot control what the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the Bilderbergers, the Illuminati, the Iranians, the Russians or even the cops in the next town - do. So quit spending so much mental energy on it.

You cannot control what your congresscritters are going to do. (so why did I write my three? Because I'm not perfect either)
You cannot control the weather.
You cannot control comets and asteroids and coronal mass ejections and "global warming".
You cannot control our economy.

But you CAN do things to square you and yours away.
Do those things.
In love.

No Fear!

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7
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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums and catch us on our YouTube channel.


Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We are on YouTube!



I know, I know - It has been TOO long.
I have not blogged in a while because I have limited time and have been expending my creative energies in a new venue - YouTube.

I have a channel and have covered such topics as Survival Knives, Groups, Economics, Gardening and so on - all from a preparedness perspective.

So, consider this an invite - check us out on YouTube, subscribe and let's continue preparing for what is coming down the pike.

And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. - Mark 13:37


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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums and catch us on our YouTube channel.


Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Pond" Building



When we bought our home here at High Prairie Acres, it came with a twenty four foot diameter, four feet deep above-ground pool. Lovely...

I was a lifeguard and then pool manager for many years in my youth. I really don’t like taking care of pools. But the family was excited so I dutifully maintained it. Every spring, we would add a couple hundred dollars worth of chemicals to clarify and purify (work with me here) the water. Then we would spend a decent amount of time each week skimming the stuff off the surface and testing and adding more chemicals. I’d backwash the filter as needed and make minor repairs as required.

And the family would use the pool for about an hour a week...

Then the liner ripped and all the water leaked out. It’s a lot of water. I bought a new liner from the local pool supply place for $400 and installed it myself in one hot afternoon. It was fairly simple as I just cut the old liner into manageable pieces to get it out and then proceeded to install the new one according to the directions – it’s just a big rubber bag.

Well, about a year or so ago, the pump broke and needed an expensive repair. I decided that the pool was not being used enough to justify it so instead, I turned it into an above ground duck pond. The ducks loved it and the water soon became “pond-like”. It also grew a whole BUNCH of mosquito larvae.

To solve that pending problem, we put about a dozen feeder goldfish in the pond and that worked very well. Now we had an above ground duck and fish pond. Winter came, the pond froze over and we waited for spring to see how the fish had done. I have always heard one needs eight feet of depth for fish to survive winter around here. Well, come this spring, we had twelve largish fish swimming around!

Then our dogs got caught in the pool, one died and they tore up the liner. I was going to just trash the whole pool instead of installing another $400 liner but we have been getting into permaculture and “going green” here at HPA and it seemed a shame to get rid of such a large water source. I did some internet shopping and found one for less than $200 delivered.



A project was born...
I decided to divert the house roof water to the pool/pond and then use the salvageable part of the old liner to line a smaller “overflow” pond for the ducks to splash in. I’d like to eventually get a solar powered pump to transfer the duck and fish-dirty water into my garden.

Removing the old liner in one piece was extremely difficult as I did it all by myself. Let’s just say it was a dirty, crappy, wet and arduous task. Next, I dug the new “pondlette” and built a dyke at the lower end from rail road ties and the dirt I excavated. Crossfit, BABY!



I dug a ditch around the new pondlette and tucked the edges of the old liner in it and covered it with more dirt. An overflow pipe comes from the pool (I need to make it longer) to the new pondlette. So the plan is – rain flows from the roof into the pool; from the pool into the duck pondlette; from there into the pasture.



Then about a week later I noticed a problem: The liner, exposed to the sun, became brittle and started developing cracks. I tried to tape them with 100 mph tape. I then laid netting down with the idea of planting grass or something to shield it from the sun’s harsh rays. Yeah. . . NO.

That’s a lot of work for a leaky pond – it won’t hold water as high as it is in the picture of it full. I MAY try to drain it, and then using the liner and additional netting as a base, put a thin layer of concrete/cement over the whole thing. I would enjoy reading any other suggestions that do not involve a lot of money.

Well, the above ground pool-pond is doing well and has fish in it once again so at least that works. I will build a little duck ramp for them to more easily get in and out of it.
I’m sure I left some details out but I got tired just typing about it!

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. – Psalm 84:5 - 6
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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Viking Engine Swap



A week or so ago, three other Vikings joined Morri (my wife) and I for a day of working on her Jeep. Truth be told - I didn't work on it - I just took a couple pictures and carried on with chores here at High Prairie Acres.

The week prior, my son and his friends assisted Morri in pulling the old engine and this day we intended to put in the new (used) engine. But as those of you who work on new things know - it always takes three times longer to do something than you planned and so the engine did not get put in.



Work was done, fun was had, camaraderie experienced, and conversations on all manner of things occurred. Morri is a self-taught wrencher. “Self-taught” is not accurate – she has had a lot of instruction from friends like those who showed up to help that day. But she has done or helped do most of the work on her CJ over the years and now considers things like replacing water pumps, radiators, fuel pumps, and alternators as no big deal.

Taking the time to learn how to do something.
Doing it “yourself” instead of paying for someone else to do it.
Learning from friends.
Helping each other.

These are things that help all of us to be more prepared for what is coming down the pike.

DIY

The mother of Sisera looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? – Judges 5:28
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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Saturday, April 30, 2011

If a tree fell in the woods...?



My family was all set to go camping in the Ozarks with five or six other families from our CiC group. We were all very much looking forward to it but God had other plans. So, we cancelled the trip.

Our youngest daughter was going to bring a friend along and since they both had a hankering to spend some time in the woods, they quickly developed Plan B. They went down into our bottoms and set up camp there all by themselves. Not many teenaged girls today would just go off and camp in the woods alone like that.

The pictured tent has been our daughters’ tent since they moved out of ours at about 4 years of age. We bought it for $10 at a garage sale. I didn’t like the colors (tan fly over maroon tent) so you can see we modified it. Krylon is your friend. We also painted the tarp with deck stain to add a super-waterproofing. We taught our girls how to set up the tent when they first started sleeping in it, lo these many years ago, and we helped them several times but they eventually figured it out and have been setting up that tent all by themselves for years.

The girls had to cross pastures and slide under two very hot electric fences and continue the hike down a large hill to get to where they wanted to camp. After they had been gone awhile, I went down to see how things were going and told them not to burn the place down with their campfire (which they had not started yet). My daughter said, “Please, Dad – we’re not Boy Scouts!” Well, I took that as my cue that they had everything well in hand and hiked back home. The weather was beautiful and calm and I knew they’d have fun.

We left one of the house doors unlocked for them “in case they had to come in for something” but they took toilet paper and shovel with them so I doubted they would be back that night. About four in the morning I awoke to the sound of my sliding glass door opening (all of our doors are loud) and heard the girls voices. I heard the toilet flush twice and I will admit I was a bit disappointed. Then I heard continued talking and decided to go down and see how they were.

My daughter’s friend was sitting in the kitchen with a pack of frozen venison on her knee. “What happened?” I asked.

“A huge tree fell on our tent and landed on Sarah’s knee!” my daughter explained.

I looked at her knee and it was okay. My daughter apologized to me and said she thought one of the tent poles may be broken. Well, Plan C became a sleep over in our daughter’s room and I went back to bed.

This morning I went to investigate and you have already seen what I saw. Wow.
Praise God! That puppy could have crushed them both. It was a standing dead tree that just decided it was time to fall. Good news is I have firewood. Bad news is, neither I nor my daughter looked for it. We did look up for “widow maker” branches in the limbs of the above trees but not for dead trees themselves. And this tree was a fair piece away.
All’s well that ends well. According to my daughter and her friend, YES, you can hear a tree falling in the woods – especially when it falls on you.

I’ll see ya out there.

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. – 1 Kings 19:5
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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Friday, April 29, 2011

An Idea is not a Plan



I surf and participate in a fair number of preparedness and survivalist forums. I suspect you do as well. For the vast majority of participants, these forums are merely social entertainment. Most posters are not really into preparedness – they are just interested in the subject much like most people who enjoy martial arts movies could not fight their way through a Boy Scout troop.

One thing that bugs me (because I care) is that many people have actually fooled themselves into thinking that because they read a lot of posts about preparedness, they can handle anything that comes down the pike. They cannot. Many people have an idea that “bugging out” is the thing to do when the world turns upside down. I mean, gosh! EVERYBODY (on the forums) knows that trying to stay in a city during social turmoil is a bad idea! So their idea is to flee the city ahead of the crazed, starving masses and bug out to a safe place.

As if they will get warning before said masses.
As if they will be able to travel to their intended destination.
As if they really had a destination (does Aunt Mabel know your intentions to live with her?)
As if living at Aunt Mabel’s would actually be any better (how much food is at Aunt Mabel’s?)
And that is for the folks who actually have the idea of living somewhere specific – many have the idea that they will bug out to the country and live off the land.

Uh-huh.

An idea is not a plan.

I discuss Planning (capital P) in my book Survivalist Family (which is also available at Amazon) but let’s cover just a bit here as well.

Plans start with ideas.
I don’t like planning to bug out as a primary response to troubles so let’s consider something else...hmmm....ah! Food.

Let’s say you have an idea that food could get scarce for you and yours.
Good start – let’s kick that around a bit – why would it get scarce? (no answers from me – this is YOUR idea!) Based on each “why” (because there are many causal factors and yeah, you better start making lists here) you could develop your idea as to how long food could be scarce. You will probably develop related ideas depending on the causes you dream up – if it’s plague then you might want to avoid people; if it’s a Chinese invasion you might want to have a plan to hide your food, and so on. Consider these, but try to stay focused on food – you are developing a food plan.

Let’s say your idea is a longer term food shortage. You look around your place and figure out that you have an acre of lovely lawn surrounding a house with about four days worth of food in it. This is an assessment of your current situation. It is your start point.

Now figure out, based on your ideas, where you want to be. Maybe you want to expand your food storage but have no room but you do have the idea of converting part of the house into an honest to God pantry complete with shelves, lights and the works. That would be short to medium term. Maybe your idea carries out further – perhaps you desire one day to sculpt your property into a permaculture food forest (if you don’t know – YouTube it) complete with a rabbitry, egg production facility and tilapia pond.

Right now you are still in the idea phase. Let’s start planning.

For each idea, (you have several now) come up with three courses of action (COA). They have to be feasible and unique. Take the food storage idea: Maybe COA 1 is to convert the spare bedroom into a pantry. COA 2 might be to wall off part of the basement and COA 3 could be to build a separate shed for the purpose. Each is doable; each is different from the others. Now start looking at your COAs and try to pick them apart. Be ruthless. Find the holes; discover the things you didn’t think about yet. Consider costs in time, money, emotional investment, and so on. Consider threats (would one COA be better than another when considering foraging Chinese soldiers?) Consider how well each COA meets your needs. Then pick one.

Let’s say you chose COA 3 – the shed. You know your current situation – you have no shed. You know what you want...or do you? Have you really thought out how you want this puppy to look? How you want it constructed? Wood or concrete block? Front yard, side yard, or back? You now have other COAs to consider. Do so.

Once you have this figured out you need to develop milestones, points along the way from now (no shed) to competed survival pantry. With each milestone set a date.
Perhaps you have something like:

1. Complete blueprint – July 4 (that means you want it done by Independence Day)
2. Raise funds – July 10
3. Purchase materials – July 12
4. Exterior complete – July 20
5. Interior complete – July 25
6. Food purchased and stocked – 1 August

Now obviously that was grossly simplified but you should get the idea. You now have something more than an idea – you have a plan. And because you have an actual plan – you will very likely accomplish what you set out to do. Sure this is a lot more work than dreamily typing on some internet forum – I plan on storing a lot of food; but you will actually have a food storage facility someday as opposed to the folks who only come up with ideas.

Time is short.
You can feel it.
You are running out of planning time.
Get busy.

I’ll see you out there.

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. - Proverbs 22:3
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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Morels!



Took a little walk in the bottoms today and look what He provided!

They were tasty.

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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mulching the Upper Orchard



Several years ago I had a student for a private course “Survival Intensive 1” who was a fascinating man. He was (and probably still is) a nationally known python breeder. Well, if you are in those circles you would know him. He was also a arborist. He knew all about trees. He told me my fruit trees would do much better if I mulched them. He also told me to mulch them well beyond the drip line and to mulch them at least 3” deep. He was a professional in his field and I like advice from professionals.

So, we took his suggestions, mulched our trees and man, did they start doing better! Now, we free range chickens and ducks and Guinea fowl and they have access to our orchards. They like to scratch. They spread the mulch a bit out into the grass and every year we need to add a bit more to keep up.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day at High Prairie Acres and while I was out attending to other things, my wife went to the county dump/transfer station/waste disposal place to pick up some mulch. When the county picks up grass and brush and limbs and trees they put it all through a grinder and out comes a beautiful mulch. They load it into your pickup for you for $10 a load. And people in this county still run to the various box stores to buy their mulch for about $5 a BAG. Silly sheeple.

As you can see from the photo, our work truck is in pristine condition and we don’t want it scratched or dirtied – I mean, we paid $800 for it so we want to take care of it! My wife laid a brand new tarp in the bed and had the men at the station fill the bed with mulch. That was a mistake. We unload it with a potato fork because a shovel just doesn’t work and a dirt rake does not have long enough tines for the job. My tarp now has some holes in it. Live and learn.

We cannot back the truck up to each tree in the upper orchard so we have to get close and then offload. We could use a wheel barrow I suppose but we really like using those plastic toboggans to haul stuff around HPA. We just place it on the ground under the tailgate, fork the mulch in, drag it to where we need it, dump it and rake it nicely. Ta-da!




We want to mulch out a bit farther from the trunk but our goal yesterday was to just get some fresh mulch down.



My wife and I had a good time working together. It made the job easier and more fun. We would have had even more fun and the job would have been that much easier if we were doing it as a community though. We have been meeting regularly with a group of Believers investigating what living in an intentional community would look like. We do stuff together and it is awesome. It will be more awesome when we get CiC off the ground and onto the land…another blog entry for another time.

Spring is in the air – I’ll see ya out there!

And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. – Isaiah 65:21 - 23
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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

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Friday, April 01, 2011

Christian Preparedness - Don't Worry



A reader recently posed the question, “How do you justify preparedness in light of what Jesus said as recorded in Matthew 6:25 – 34?”

Here is what Jesus said:
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.


It's a good question – I’ve heard it before. The key to unraveling this bit of scripture with regards to preparedness rests on two points - the first of which is the verse preceding it, Matthew 6:24 - No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

We always need to take things in context and here the context is that you can either serve God or the world (worldly things and ideas) – but you cannot serve both; and then examples to illustrate the point follow.

We need to serve Him. Period. The greatest commandment is to love God with everything we have – heart, soul, and mind.

The second point is how we translate/modernize “Take no thought for”.
What this means is “do not WORRY about.”
Don’t WORRY about life, food, drink, clothing and so on.
Worry is a sin.
There is no trust of God in worry.
Trust God – He’s got it all under control.

I try to follow God’s commandments.
I read the Word – His letter to me (and you), and I try to learn from it.
Here are some things I have learned about preparedness from the Word of God:

Adam
Because of Adam, man has been cursed with work. By the sweat of our brow shall we eat our bread. Does it mean we don’t trust God if we actually listen to Him and go out and work for our bread? Should we instead just lay around and wait for it to fall like manna from the sky?

Noah
Noah built the ark. God told him to get ready and Noah did. It was not a popular thing to do - building an ark when one was not needed. Did Noah trust God? You bet. Did Noah say, “If God wants to save me from the flood let HIM provide an ark?” Of course not.

Joseph
Joseph stored up wheat during years of plenty so that he would have it during the lean years. Did Joseph trust God?

The Ant
We can read in Proverbs 6:6 – 11
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.


After being told to consider the ant who works hard and stores food during times of plenty are we to now “trust God” and not do anything about our future preparedness? That would not be trusting God – that would be TEMPTING (testing) Him.

10 Virgins
Consider the ten virgins waiting for the wedding feast (Matthew 25). Five had oil and five did not. Those with oil are called wise, those without – foolish. When the time came did the wise virgins share with the foolish ones? No, they did not. That story has a few different levels to it but the obvious level is still true.

If you buy my book, Survivalist Family, from me instead of from Amazon, I sign it. Along with that signature I write this: 1 Tim 5:8.

I Timothy 5:8 reads: But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.


My understanding and advice is to Work (with a capital W).
Instead of spending your money on worldly things – prepare.
Prepare and then leave it in God’s hands.
Have faith in Him.
Then get busy – faith without works is dead.

I prepare.
I don’t worry.
I am not overly concerned about tomorrow – in fact I eagerly anticipate His return.

I prepare because I am told to.
I don’t worry because I know God is in control.
I don’t worry because I read the whole book and I know how it all turns out in the end.

I hope to see some of you there.

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. – Revelation 22:20 - 21




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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Friday, March 25, 2011

What's in YOUR Coat?



We have been experiencing Pacific Northwest weather (which is to say, cold and rainy) lately and it just seems as if winter does not want to let go – we are actually expecting snow and sleet tonight. So, I have been wearing my coat longer than I planned this year but when my wife took this picture I figured it would be a good opportunity to tell y’all about my coat.

Relatives gave me money for Christmas one year and I spent it at Cabela’s on a Dry-Plus (Goretex after the patent ran out) parka with a fleece liner. I think it cost about $200. I am a size Large but I buy most of my shirts, sweaters, hoodies, and coats size XL. I like to have the ability to layer under them when it’s cold and I like to be able to conceal some useful items on my person without printing. Lately it’s been in the high thirties so I just wear the coat as a shell.

This parka is pretty neat. It has a BUNCH of pockets – 4 exterior and 3 interior and when I first put it on I thought I should just go ahead and put some useful items in there on a more or less permanent basis. That way, if I was ever “caught out” I might be able to make myself more comfortable.

The coat itself makes a fine shelter all on its own – I could sit up against a tree in the rain and just wait it out . It has a hood for rain protection or warmth and pit zips to allow for cooling. It is also the perfect camo-camo color – it blends well in the city and it disappears in the woods.

I did not “load” the coat for this blog post. I figured I’d just empty my pockets, take a picture and talk about it. So here we go. We can start in the upper left and work our way generally counter-clockwise. Try to keep up.



Paper napkin and some tissue – I reckon I was in line for food somewhere and just stuck them in my pocket. I didn’t put them back after I snapped the photo.

Knit cap – it’s not the same one I am wearing in the photo up top – it’s an acrylic Thinsulate hat because wool makes me itch. I don’t know if I’ve ever worn it because I usually grab some kind of hat on my way out the door. So it’s a spare.

Becker Knife and Tool knife. I have never used it and honestly – I forgot it was in there. I like the size, weight, and shape a lot and I guess I should go play with it to see if I like the steel and grind.

A pen and two large trash bags. The bags are for emergency shelter or emergency rain gear for people (like my daughter at a football game once) who get caught out without. I know, I know –she should know better. Actually she DOES know better. Kids...
Oh yeah, there is a Viking Pocket Fire on the one bag (lighter and inner tube) – hey, if you click on the photo it will enlarge for better detail.

Three granola bars and a throat lozenge. I used to have fruit in there too but I must have eaten it.

That’s a space blanket in the bottom right. I have a couple packets of Bio-Freeze a friend gave me one time and I forgot they were in there too – like I said, this coat has a lot of pockets.


A hank of 550 cord and my “EMT knife”. It has a seat belt cutter and is wicked sharp and pointy. I carry it in my off side pocket with that red flashlight you see there.

I keep a simple first aid kit in a one gallon Ziploc bag – two large gauze, some duct tape and a few Band-Aids.

S&W Airweight .38 Special and two speed strips of +P ammo for reloads. I keep it in a slightly modified pocket holster that a friend gave me. I cut it a bit to allow trigger access and I carry it in a pocket in such a way that I can ruin my coat if an up close and personal emergency occurs. I don’t keep the handgun in the coat all the time but it was in there today.

So there you go. I don’t carry a “survival kit” but I could do pretty well with this coat and what I typically carry in it. No, there is no water but I usually have a bottle with me – I had two bottles in the shoulder bag in the first pic.

I hope you found something useful and interesting in this post. I’ll see ya out there.

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. – Matthew 24:15 - 21
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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Monday, March 07, 2011

Death and Life at HPA



It has been a rough two weeks here at High Prairie Acres.
The picture is of our Anatolian Shepherd puppy and was taken about a month ago when he was 8 weeks old. We called him Bru or Bruski. He had just started working with the goats, and he had figured the shepherd thing out. He would bristle and bark (pretty deeply for a pup) at approaching dogs, or chickens that he didn’t recognize as such because they were too far away (hey, it could have been a BIG THING farther away! It takes time to get used to such things as range and what is normal on the farm). He was our daughter’s puppy.

Called..
Was..
Past tense.

Long story short, he drowned in our pool/pond. Our above ground pool quit being a pool two years ago and instead, became our pond. Ducks swim in it; gold fish grow in it and I had plans to divert our house roof water into it and then pipe the overflow into an-as-yet-to-be-made small pond. I was also planning a solar pump affair where I could pump the “dirty” (nutrient rich) water from the pool to our large vegetable garden.

Well, two dogs walked out onto the ice when no one was watching, the ice cracked and they fell in. The larger dog lived but the pup didn’t make it. It was really quite tragic. Not only was the death of Bru a sad shame – the dogs just tore up the liner trying to get out and now our pool/pond has only about two feet of water in it. A new liner cost us $400 three years ago. So, the pool is coming down and going away and I’ll plant something that does well in sand where it once stood. Any ideas?

We have also had a critter sneaking in and killing our chickens. We are down to only a few. Every few days we’d find a dead, half eaten bird. We then discovered the culprit – our Aussie Shepherd/Blue Heeler. Yep, Drover is a chicken killer. We have tried all the “remedies” and they don’t work. They didn’t work with another dog we had years ago either. Once they get a taste for fresh chicken blood it is darn near impossible to get it out of them. Drover is a beautiful boy. House broken, polite, comes when called, sits, etc. But he kills chickens. We tried to give him away but no luck. His days are numbered here at HPA.

Regular readers will know that we raise goats. We like Alpine Boer crosses. About ¾ Alpine and ¼ Boer so that we can milk the girls and the boys have some meat on their bones to eat. Last year we got an Oberhaslie (also a milk goat) and bred her to a Boer. She had triplets on “Easter” – Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego. It was difficult for her.

This year she looked like she was carrying at least twins. And then she went down. As in – wouldn’t stand up.
For a few days. We did everything three different vets and four different goatherds told us to do. She went into labor – for about 48 hours. The first kid came out (with assistance) dead. The next morning I checked on her as I went out for a jog. She had a little goat foot sticking out of her. I pulled gently on it and it pulled back – “good, it’s alive”. I decided if it was still there an hour later when I got back I’d see what I could do. It was and I pulled and maneuvered the little guy as Brownie contracted – he was born!
He did great – for one day. Then he crashed too. We tried to help him but he died about 4 hours later. That was yesterday and Brownie is still not standing up - I think her days are numbered also. Well I know they are - even if she lives, I doubt we will be able to milk her and we certainly cannot breed her again. I'm not into feeding critters that don't produce - it sounds hard, it sounds cruel but it is farm economics. As much as we love them - they aren't pets. They are livestock.

Last year, someone gave us a registered, papered Red Boer. They are supposedly rare and expensive. Last night, we took her to a friend’s house. Our friend recently “got into goats” and also purchased a three year old Anatolian. She had about four goats and had a borrowed Boer billy so we took our girl over to get bred. The dog killed our goat sometime last night.

That’s just how it goes sometimes I reckon but, MAN! It’s been a tough couple weeks.




Today however we got a delivery of 60 chicks. Half Barred Rock roosters and half Barred Rock hens. I think they are about the perfect all around farmstead chicken. We’ll see. They have taken to their new temporary home just fine. Very soon though we are going to have to expand their personal space and we have not yet decided if we will get another trough or what. All of our other troughs are currently being used to water critters.

So that’s life here at HPA.

I’ll see ya out there!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
- Eccleasiastes 3:1 - 8

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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Mora Neck Knife



For a few years in the early part of this century I was a Boy Scouts scoutmaster. It was a lot of fun and I think I was able to pass on some useful stuff to boys in my troop. One thing I instituted early on in my tenure was an addition to the weekly uniform inspection. In addition to checking for proper wear of the uniform at weekly meetings and prior to campouts, we would do a “Fire and Steel check”. When a Scout leader said “Fire and Steel!” the Scouts would have to hold up their knife and a means of starting a fire.

As an aside, I laugh (if I didn’t I’d likely weep) at folks on the Internet who say things like, “Boy Scouts cannot carry a sheath knife” or “Boy Scouts cannot wear camouflage”. My Scouts did both – and yes, at District events also.

Anyway, back to the post: I have always liked Mora knives. They are inexpensive and work well within their intended parameters. I do dislike the sheaths, however. They are cheaply made and look ugly. So, I decided to make one of my Moras “cool” from a scouting perspective.



Basically, I modified the sheath and hung cool do-dads on it. First I cut off the belt loop and then affixed a long leather thong to the sheath by wrapping it first with dental floss and then covering the whole with epoxied on leather. I left enough extra to cut fringes. You will notice the necklace is adjustable for length – sometimes I wore it over just my Boy Scouts shirt, sometimes I wore it over (and outside of) my parka.

A good friend gave me the little leather pouch which holds blood tubes stuffed with PJBs (petroleum jelly coated cotton balls) and a piece of wax impregnated cardboard. Both are excellent for starting fires. I also have a small Boy Scouts ferrocerium rod “sparker” and a striker fashioned from a bit of hacksaw blade (it works well at sparking and I could possibly use it as a small saw also). You will notice the handle of the knife is covered in part by a piece of bicycle inner tube. You can read Viking Pocket Fire to see how to use it. Yes, I modified the knife handle a bit – just sanded the paint off, then carved it a bit, sanded some more and stained it – all to “make it mine”.

My Mora is made from carbon steel and has a full, though skinny, tang. I sharpened the upper “false edge” and blued it with some liquid cold blue. I keep it oiled with vegetable oil so I am not afraid to slice and eat an apple or something. This knife can get wicked sharp – another long story entails me slicing my thumb to the bone –yes, to the bone (my bad). But it does need to be touched up a bit while in the field so I also attached a DMT flat diamond hone. If you click on the photo it will enlarge - you may notice that the top/back of the knife is nicked. I have started a few fires with flint (real flint - the rocks, not ferrocerium)with this blade as well.

Because I don’t want to open cans with my Mora, I also attached a P38 can opener. That completes it. Sure, I could have added other stuff. A whistle comes to mind but I really wasn’t trying to create a “survival necklace” I just wanted to have some useful stuff handy when I needed it. And that’s the key to my little contraption – I actually used the stuff on my neck knife ensemble. I doubt I would have used a whistle.

And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. – Ezekiel 5:1
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If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America