Monday, August 27, 2007


When exciting times come there will be no one to call to come fix your plumbing, or vehicle, or roof, or build your fence, or add an addition to the house, or… You are going to have to do it yourself or go without. That could result in mild inconvenience or something much worse. Just as with darn near everything else I blog about, you can prepare in this area too. All you have to do is start doing some things yourself.

The reasons I hear (because I ask) for people not DIYing are: “I don’t have time”, “I don’t know how”, “I want it done right”. That’s from folks who would even consider stepping out on their own. Most Americans are consumers and I think we get some perverse satisfaction out of spending money. Granted, it will take you longer to do it yourself than letting a “pro” do it. I consider that time an investment in your preparedness education. And you’ll save money! You can learn how to do almost anything by conducting research via the internet and there are wonderful books out there also. If you think it out and follow through – you will do okay. Chances are good however that you will “mess something up”. This is actually a golden nugget of opportunity for it will force you to think your way through the problem and improvise. The “pros” do this all the time. The more you do this, the more you actually learn. Now, this is not carte blanche to start some project with no prior study or planning – that would be silly. Just don’t sweat it when you have to adjust something.

If one is of slightly above-average intelligence (and the fact you are reading this testifies to that) there is very little you cannot learn to do. As I said above, someday you may have to fend for yourself – and there may be no Internet or library. Best get started.

As you research and then work on things, you will discover that you need tools. If it’s a tool you will probably need to use several times again in the future – buy one. Buy a decent one. If it’s a tool you probably won’t use a whole lot down the road (my neighbor’s gas powered post hole digger comes to mind) then try to borrow one. You will probably end up with excess material from your projects – this could be as good as gold later on when the world falls apart. If it falls apart. If it doesn’t – well, your shed will start looking like mine – full!

In the past few years I have been forcing myself (and my wife) to DIY. I have started working on my vehicles. We have put up fencing (barbed, picket, chicken wire, and panels). We have gardened. We have added on to our barn. And dug a well by hand. And cleared woods, and fixed the tractor, and built a chicken coop and installed flooring and drywall and shelves and given IVs to goats and removed stitches and… the list goes on. Whenever a friend or neighbor is doing a project I offer to pitch in a bit. First it’s just neighborly. Secondly – I can learn on their project! But if, in the future, I need to get stuff like this done – I’ll be able to because I took the time to research it now while I could; I took the time to do it when mistakes would not be too terribly costly and I now have a good bit of experience.

I’ll say it again – it’s like going to school for preparedness.
I’ll see ya at the hardware store…or the lumber yard…or the co-op…or the vet supply store…or the car parts store…

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

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Money, Money, Money, Money

First off, I am not a financial genius. I am not some financial guru. I typically ask for financial advice instead of dispensing it. So, take the below for what it’s worth. Please.

It looks to me like there are financial hard times just over the horizon. People out of work, banks and other financial institutions failing, rampant inflation. I’ll let other, more financially astute people explain the whys and hows. I am just another person out here ringing the alarm bell. It could be bad. What’s a family to do?

Basic Preparedness

Basic preparedness goes a long way to cover a myriad of ills. This includes financial ones. If you have six months worth of groceries, a wood burning stove and plenty of split firewood, a creek and some tools you can do okay compared to the person who lives in a condo with one microwave meal in the freezer. But we are not all there – got it.

“Get out of debt” is what I constantly hear. I hear it coming out of my own mouth. You should not carry a balance on your credit cards. You should not take out second mortgages to buy stuff. My grandfather used to say, “If you can’t afford it now, don’t buy it.” Pretty good advice. There are very few things you HAVE to have and must go in debt to get. Instead of doing that, curb your “I want it NOW” urge and save up the money ahead of time. I think houses are a possible exception and maybe college fees. But for goodness sakes – do some thinking ahead of time. Before you accept that mortgage – make sure you’ll be able to pay it. Don’t buy more house than you need.

A small house on a large plot of land is so much better than a McMansion within spitting distance of four others. Maybe not for your ego. It probably won’t impress the Joneses. Until the crash.

What would you do if your electricity was cut off because you could not pay the bills? Basic preparedness takes care of that. If you are prepared it doesn’t matter why the juice stopped – storm, pandemic, or your busted checking account – you are prepared to deal with it nonetheless.

What would you do if your house was foreclosed upon due to non payment of mortgage? If you have basic preparedness taken care of you could go camping. Not an ideal solution, granted. But it beats slitting your wrists.

What about investments?

I’m not messing with my 401k. Why? Because I am not a prophet of God. I cannot see the future. I could be wrong. The future could be bright. My 401k investments are for my optimistic side. It could all vanish over night. Yep, it could. Then what? If mine goes “poof” so will millions of others. We will all receive a setback. Relatively though, I will be in a better position than many, many others. Because I prepare.

See, I don’t put all of my investment monies in stocks and bonds and what not. Oh no. I also invest in goats, and chickens, and garden implements, and … well, you get the idea. I do consider them investments though – all those preps.

What about precious metals (PM)? You know: silver, gold, platinum. I don’t know where I’m at on those. I think if you are trying to invest in something that will retain its buying power it might be a good idea. But I think you should have your other preps taken care of first. I almost dropped several hundred bucks on junk silver last Friday. At the last minute there was a glitch in the transaction and I decided that I could probably do better by investing that money in more food. Have you noticed the price of food lately? It’s going up pretty fast. If I buy it now, that’s money I don’t have to spend later.

Another problem I have is this: who is going to take your 1/10th ounce Krugerand in exchange for some green beans? I mean really… I don’t see that happening in the short term. Long term, to preserve your long term investments – yeah. But before one invests in long term instruments, one probably should have the basics taken care of first. Some people consider copper and lead to be PMs as well. Have you been watching the price of ammo? Wow.

It might be a good idea to pull some of your cash out of your checking and savings accounts. They don’t provide any real interest anyway so you aren’t losing a lot there. There could be a problem getting at that cash in an emergency. In emergencies (like Katrina) many merchants only accepted cash. Keep it safe. From burglars, from fire, from flood.

I think another good thing to invest in is “stuff”. During inflation, the price of everything goes up. The price of things like shovels, and wire fence, and oil filters, and seeds, and… If you were thinking about getting some survival/preparedness related stuff now might be a good time. Just please don’t run up your credit card to do it. We just bought a Big Berkey from Frugals. Did we need it? No – I can always boil water to purify it. But it’s something we have wanted and I don’t see the prices coming down anytime soon.

How to generate cash

Take a second part time job. Listen to Dave Ramsey on the radio - he gives great (albeit hard) advice. Have a garage sale. Here’s the deal on garage sales: right now people have excess cash. They are still “consuming”. After the crash they will not be. Sell all your useless stuff (Xbox, baseball cards, clothes) and buy preparedness stuff with the cash others give you. Check into Ebay. Sell your 3rd vehicle. People will buy it now – they’ll even take out a second or eighth mortgage to generate cash to buy a car they don’t need. They won’t be able to buy it later when the economy crashes (if it crashes) so therefore you won’t be able to sell it then. Sell now while folks have disposable income.

My wife recently took a part time job. The kids are mostly out of the house so she has some free time. We now have more money. Good for us. Perhaps you could do the same, perhaps not.

Another way to generate cash is to drastically reduce your expenditures. Stop eating out. Period. Make a sandwich or take leftovers from last night’s supper for today’s lunch. Stop shopping. Just stay away from Chinamart. When you do need to purchase something, PLAN out what you want to buy and when it’s time (when you have the cash) go buy just those things. Not that “ooh! such a deal!” item on the shelf looking all pretty.

Become more self sufficient.

I have a buddy living out in the Ozarks with his family in a house he and his teenaged son built. I respect this man more than almost any other I know. Not only is he a God fearing man (many profess to be so) he is putting his faith in God very high on his priority list. Jehovah Jirah. God provides. He left a high paying job for a more simple life off the grid. He raises much of his own food, lives life to much slower rhythms, and spends a good bit of time fellowshipping and in worship. He doesn’t drive a new SUV, he doesn’t have a home theater system, his family doesn’t wear the latest fashions – but they are happy. The world could come crashing down and he might not notice for a good while. He certainly would not be inconvenienced all that much. His life would change little. All because he doesn’t need.

You don’t need a lot either. You could do a lot of things for self also. The more you do now – the less of an issue it will be later. Do you have a vegetable garden? Why on earth not? You can’t buy better veggies than you can grow – not by a long shot. Do you raise your own food? Any of it? You can keep rabbits in a very small area. You could fish or hunt. Think about doing things for yourself now. Try it – you may like it.

So, no great words of wisdom in this one. Just please give some thought to what you would do, how you would live, how you would provide if another Great Depression happened. Take a few steps. Take some action.

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

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Teach Your Children Well

I’m a bit melancholy and a bit happy today. My oldest is firmly ensconced in college and my youngest recently became a teenager. They are growing up. They are starting the process of moving on.

Looking back on their lives (and yes, I am still looking forward also) I am happy with what my wife and I have taught our kids. They are smart as whips – the oldest was valedictorian and is in the Honors program at college and the others are doing just as well so far. That is due mostly to their mother who home-schooled them for much of their early years and helped their young brains develop, set the stage for hard work and good study habits and so on. It is of course also due to their own internal drive and desire to excel. They all read like it’s going out of style. We have never owned a play station or anything like that. So they can amuse themselves when “there’s nothing to do”.

They are nice kids – they play well with others. They are fit – not super athletes, but they do play sports and keep in shape. They can swim. Most importantly, they know their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

This is primarily a preparedness blog so I am going to dwell a little on what my kids have been taught – what they know – in the realm of preparedness. The whole reason of course, is not to brag about my kids - not at all. The reason is that I think these are things every kid should know or be taught.

What kids should know

They are comfortable in the woods. They know how to dress, what to pack, how to hike, and how to camp. While camping they can prepare food, take care of hygiene needs, stay safe and have a good time. They like camping.

They have wilderness survival skills. I bet that’s not a huge surprise. They can (and when I say “they can” I mean they have demonstrated it, on their own, several times) build shelters from available materials; build fires with flint rods and steel scrapers – matches and lighters are ‘easy’; signal for help; practice “lost-proofing”; purify water and identify and prepare wild plants. They have also taught other children these skills.

They can prepare all manner of food. They can all cook stuff like rice and chicken, hamburgers and what not – at home or over a fire. Two of them like cooking and baking from scratch. Sometimes they start with whole wheat and grind it and go from there. They all know how to clean and butcher small critters like squirrels and rabbits and chickens. They don’t really like doing it though.

They know how to safely use knives and saws. They know how to sharpen them. They know first aid. They are all certified in CPR.

The kids were gun proofed at an early age. I got the idea from growing up in a house full of loaded guns but I got the term from Massad Ayoob (and I recommend his book “Gun proof your children” for those of you with kids). See, you can never really child-proof your guns. If you do then they are pretty much worthless in an emergency because YOU can’t get at them – read Mas’ book. They could recite Eddie Eagle’s rules of gun safety by about age four (Google it) and they all learned to shoot by about age 6 or 7 depending on the kid. They all shoot well. Far better than most adults we encounter on the shooting ranges we visit.

They all know martial arts of various forms and to varying degrees. My oldest has even gone through LINES. They all got anti-kidnap training by about age 8. They have known how to dial 911 and communicate with the operator since very young ages also. We used to practice it on unplugged telephones and one parent would play the role of the operator.

They have had BoBs since they could walk and now pack and update their own. They understand the basics of land navigation.

They know the basics of caring for dogs, hamsters, fish, goats, horses, and chickens. They know how to care for other humans (baby-sit) too.

The drivers know how to check and add oil, change flats and so on. The oldest has pulled, rebuilt or replaced several engines and transmissions. That's more than most folks need to know but the point is that all drivers should know basic auto mechanics.

I’m proud of my what my kids know and who they are – but as I wrote earlier, I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling you this for two reasons: First, these are basic things that most adults should know. If you don’t, it’s time to learn. Second, these are basic skills that I think most kids should know. If you have kids, I think you should teach your kids these things.

I don’t look forward to when my kids are finally on their own. Well, in some ways I do – but in some ways I don’t. But I sleep better at night knowing that if, God forbid, they were suddenly on their own in some type of emergency situation they would do okay. They would pull through. I see it as one of my jobs as a parent to ensure that.

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

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

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Survivalists and Preppers

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. - Proverbs 6:6 – 11

When will you arise out of your sleep? Reminds me of a line from Blade Runner: “Wake up – time to die!”

I post this blog with the hopes of waking some up and energizing others. Hopefully all will be fully awake and prepared when the time comes.
What's the Difference?

I recently got in a discussion with a friend on “the difference between survivalists and preppers”. Preppers would be those who are “into preparedness”. The topic ranged far and wide and others joined in. In the end, it’s all semantics but some good ideas came out of the discussion.

Preppers make lists and gather supplies to deal with the problems life may throw at them. Those problems could be storms, earthquakes, or even terrorism. The main idea though, is that they will be prepared to last, to make it through the temporary (key word) unpleasantness until .gov comes to the rescue. Which of course they will.

Survivalists on the other hand, prepare to deal with the same types of problems but focus on those with more wide ranging consequences and they plan to come out on the other side intact – without .gov help – thank you very much. There is also the feeling that one cannot be a “passive survivalist”. Survivalists have firepower. Preppers may or may not.

Political Correctness

Now, media did a bang up job demonizing survivalists – whacko nut jobs who live on a compound in the hills, fully armed and ready to terrorize everyone who comes around. ( I liked the movies nonetheless) That’s because the media have a vested interest in preventing individualism and self-reliance. We can’t have them thinking for themselves and not dependent on us (the media are part of the big machine, after all) for their very existence!

Many savvy people picked up on this (or bought into this) and even though deep down they really are survivalists – they don’t want to admit it. They are politically correct. I have another term but I'll be nice... So they tell people they are “into preparedness” and when talking amongst themselves, they refer to themselves as “preppers”. Whatever.

In my experience, many survivalists (and I know a fair number) look down their noses at true preppers (soccer moms with water filters and first aid kits as opposed to survivalists who are too embarrassed to admit it) as being just a rung or two above sheeple. I think they are wrong here. Anything anyone does to prepare is a step in the right direction. Any step anyone takes will relieve the pressure that will be placed on communities and yes, .gov, to help out during and after an emergency.


Preppers are preparing to weather a temporary emergency. Good. Survivalists are preparing to weather situations approaching and including Armageddon. Good. Some preppers will become survivalists. I hope they do. Some survivalists are just glorified preppers with guns – they are all about “stuff”. Maybe they have 5 years worth of MREs or something. To me, a real survivalist will have stuff – but more importantly he or she will also have knowledge and experience. I guess that would make them "uber-survivalists".

Not only will they have food – they will know how to produce more. Not only will they have first aid kits – they will know how to tend to their own. Funny, to my mind, these folks are starting to look like rural Americans of only 50 or so years ago…

But then what?

But as my buddy Ed pointed out – survivalists really need plan for more than just making it through to the other side. What good is that? Ever hear anyone say, “when the bombs drop, I hope the first one drops on my head”? They may say that now, but you can bet when the bombs do start falling they won’t be standing out there looking up – they will be hiding in the clefts and rocks…

Raison d'etre

Self preservation is a strong impulse. I recently attended a course taught by Gabe Suarez (I highly recommend him by the way) and he had a cool saying: The only thing harder than preparing ahead of time is having to explain why you didn’t. Think about it.

But why do we want to survive? Why must we survive? Simply to live? Is that enough? No, that is not. We must have reason. We must come out on the other side with a plan and a purpose.

The one who dies with the most toys wins

What is the meaning of life? Why are we here in the first place? What importance can we possibly have that exists after we die and no longer use up oxygen on good ol’ planet Earth? Why bother?

The one who dies with the most toys – still dies.

We are here - YOU are here for one reason and one reason only – to please God. You have work to do in that regard. Work that you can no longer do once you are in the grave. You have work to do – but you cannot work hard enough to gain eternal life. And let’s face it – eternal life is where you really want to be.

The Good News

You cannot earn it but you can still get it. See, it is a gift. All you have to do is accept it. Once you accept it you win. In closing I’d like to direct you to two passages:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. – John 14:6

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. – Romans 10:9

You see, I am a survivalist. And I’d like to see YOU on the other side.

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

Prepared Americans for a Strong America

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Guns -vs- Butter

Just a quick one today.
It’s the age old debate – “Guns –vs- Butter”. It gets to the idea of how one expends finite resources: does one purchase “guns” to ensure one’s security or “butter” to feed one self? If you spend all of your money on guns, you will starve. If you spend all of your money on “butter” someone else will come take it all away from you. So you must achieve a kind of balance.

The same applies to preparedness folks. How much of one is enough? How much of one is too much if we neglect the other? If you are a normal person you will eat every day. If you are living a normal existence, you won’t be shooting people near that often. But we prepare for times that are distinctly “not normal”, don’t we?

Even in those times though, you will want to eat every day. In a survival situation, you want to expend the least amount of effort (calories) for any given result. This is survival economy. The least amount of effort to eat is if you already have the food there, ready to go. Something like a stash of ready to eat chow – it could be MREs, it could be Chunky Beef Stew, it could be peanut butter. As long as it’s there.

You may need to protect yourself. A good way to do that is with a firearm and some ammunition. But here is something some of my gun-nut buddies won’t like: you won’t need and arsenal and a bazillion rounds of ammo.

First off, you can really only fire one gun at a time. You can only carry so many. So having more than just a few carefully chosen pieces is just a hobby expenditure you could have spent on butter (food). If you plan on shooting a lot of ammo at hordes of bad guys bent on taking your chow I would suggest you reevaluate your “plan”. Move somewhere where there are less people, be more discreet, or something. See, if you shoot a thousand rounds at bad guys – you are going to get at least several hundred rounds directed back at you in return. Some of those could hurt….

So if you are bound and determined to spend some of your butter money on another battle pack of .308 ammo, I would suggest you also buy some medical supplies. You do know how to use them, right? I’m talking long–term care here. I mean, if you are fending the hordes off of your MRE stash, there probably aren’t a lot of hospitals open for business.

Bottom line – too many of my friends are constantly buying more ammo or another gun instead of more canned goods, or rice, or peanut butter, or…

I fear that some of them could end up being a problem in that a well armed starving man is a problem. Some of those problems may exist. But you still won’t need a bazillion rounds to deal with them. Most of those problems will sort themselves out fairly quickly.

By all means – arm yourselves. I’m with you. But think it through – you are going to need more butter than guns.

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

Prepared Americans for a Strong America