Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Investment in the Future

If you have been following the forums you may have noticed a post called February - No Consuming
Basically, we decided to try to spend no money this month beyond bills, gas, and groceries. We would not buy “stuff”; we would not go out to eat; we would not consume.

We failed. In the past week we have eaten out three times and today we put a dent in the credit card. For various reasons I won’t go into here, I may be transitioning job-wise and we wanted to splurge a bit and get some things we “need” before our paycheck disappears. Yeah, yeah, I know...

But honestly, we view today’s credit card splurge as more of an investment in our future than it as outright consuming. We have already started a veggie garden – we have turned some ground and planted Swiss Chard. This year, we are going to take our first steps into permaculture and we want to grow a HUGE garden. We are going to try and supply most of our own food. If you have been reading this blog for long you know we have rabbits, goats, and all manner of fowl so we should be okay meat and dairy wise but veggies...well, we are going to get serious.

Hence our investments of today. We bought those seed starting trays with clear plastic tops so light can get in but heat and water won’t get out. We already have several so we also bought some replacement little peat pellets that expand when you add water. Last year I kept these trays in an office and left the lights on 24/7 but this year they will be at home so we also bought some florescent lights – not “grow lights” but we hope they will work. We also bought some potting soil and small biodegradable pots which will hold some transplants.

We have a small orchard and two grape vines which we plan on adding to again this year but we aren’t ready to put them in yet. We have some blackberry vines that did well last year so we bought two more and four blueberry bushes. We had bushes in Washington State that did well and I didn’t know they would grow here on the prairie until last year when I saw some at a friend’s house. So we’ll see - I reckon in a couple years we may have enough blueberries to make a pie.

We also bought a bunch of seeds: everything from tomatoes to peppers, to turnips and corn and squash and on and on. We got some heirloom so we can save the seeds and some hybrid so that we can be assured a good crop. I learn more about gardening every year and for me at least, it is not something one can just read about in a book and then go do successfully the very first time. But based on last year, I have confident hope for a good season if God wills it.

We bought the gardening stuff on plastic (which we pay off in full every month) but I also had some extra FRNs so I stopped by a coin dealer and bought some silver bullion. We got one ounce rounds at a buck something over spot. The store will buy back silver at sixty cents under spot – not bad. Our dollars are worth less and less every day and silver is worth more and more everyday and I think it is currently under priced when compared with gold so we’ll see.

So did we consume? Yes, probably but the stuff we bought today should show us a decent return on our investment.

Hey, I’ll see ya out there!

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart. – Psalm 104:14 - 15

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, February 14, 2011

National Winter BoB Exercise - Viking Edition

The Seventh Annual National Winter BoB Exercise – Viking Edition was a success.
Conceived by a good friend of mine well…SEVEN years ago – the exercise is designed to test oneself and one’s gear in a winter setting.

The concept is simple: On a designated winter weekend (we get to designate it because we invented it) take your BoB out of your closet, head off to the nearest patch of wilderness and survive for three or so days with just what you have packed. Bring extra gear in your vehicle so that if you make mistakes they are not fatal. If you have to go back to the vehicle you “fail” but you live and learn. Go with friends if you can for the same reason and because it is a lot more fun that way.

In years past, we did this exercise in the Ozarks – there are several writes ups on this blog. Quite frankly, I tired of walking into or out of our training area in t-shirts (despite choosing dates in “deep winter” the temperatures were frequently in the 40s or 50s in the Ozarks) so I moved the Viking edition of the exercise north a couple hundred miles to northeastern Kansas. This year, week prior to our exercise, the temperatures were below zero and I was a bit concerned for those who regularly attend from the Deep South. Yes, we have people who drive hundreds of miles and more than half a day to attend these events.

When we linked up at the training area at noon on Thursday the temperature was probably somewhere around 15 degrees or so – it was COLD. We rucked up (or is that BoBed up?) and walked over hill and dale, through the snow to a preselected area. Enroute we had to cross barbed wire fences, horse jumps, downed limbs, creeks and all manner of terrain. New folks discovered what more experienced folks had also learned the hard way during past events – BoBs were too heavy to carry all day across terrain, and people were dressed to heavily for conditions. We stopped after about 15 minutes of hiking to allow folks to take off layers so as not to sweat. Sweating in cold weather is a bad thing as it condenses in clothing and makes one COLD once exertion ceases.

We saw several trails made by what appeared to be a mountain lion – very clear, very large cat tracks in the snow – pictures will undoubtedly show up in the forums…

We set up camp which consisted of folks picking out individual areas to set up their shelters, clearing snow, building fires and what not. Most grabbed a bite to eat and by then it was sundown. We had a group campfire where we attempted to solve the world’s problems and most folks turned in early – it was cold and they were tired.

The next morning we woke up, made breakfast (I ate instant oatmeal made with water from melted snow), broke camp and moved BACK to the link up area to pick up some folks who just could not get off work on Thursday (or who saw that the weather was supposed to steadily get warmer and decided to wait a day….just kidding)

We then moved to a different campsite even deeper in the woods and set up camp again. Later that afternoon, four other intrepid souls joined us (the girl in the party could not miss class that day so they waited for her) and easily tracked us to our camp site. It is difficult to “leave no trace” when moving in snow…. All in all, we had 14 people on this venture including a 10 year old boy and an 18 year old woman – both of whom “had never done anything like this before” and both of whom had a blast.

On Saturday we had range time where we fired various weapons at various distances and had a class on snares. That does not sound like a lot of activity to those who have not camped in cold snowy conditions but no one was bored. Just living in those conditions takes time. This was the second Winter BoB Exercise where I did not use my water purifier. The first was because it never stopped raining so I just gathered water off my tarp and this time I just melted snow the entire time.

O Most folks built fire reflectors and open-sided lean tos and this seemed to work well.
O Those without stools or camp chairs wished they had one.
O Clothes got wet (due to melting snow near warm fires) and had to be dried out.
Most folks cleared the snow under their sleeping arrangements which typically consisted of evergreen boughs topped by sleeping pads.
O One fellow did not bring a rifle – but he did bring a snow shovel. He was very popular.
O There was no precipitation while we were out – in fact, it was sunny so I rigged my Swack Shack with a fairly high profile to block the wind but allow me to sit by my fire and reflect heat onto my back – it worked perfectly. I think three people had Swack Shacks and I know some more will be buying one after seeing ours.
O Two guys had cook kits fashioned from #10 cans and picture hanging chain – they were the best things going for melting snow due to their size.
O I only ate one of my meals the entire time I was out there – but when I got back, I was hungry. We walked a lot but not all day so I’m sure I’d have eaten more if we were exercising more.
O I’ll say it again because it bears repeating – most BoBs were too heavy. Things were made more difficult by moving overland through snow. The only way you can truly appreciate how difficult is by getting out there yourself. I encourage you to do so.

I hope to see some of you next year for the EIGHTH Annual Winter BoB Exercise!

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 24:20 - 21

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

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Just Cache It!

Midnight Gardening…Making a deposit in the Earth Bank Land and Trust…Caching. A cache (pronounced “cash”) is basically a hiding place for valuables. To cache is the verb for hiding your stuff. You should become very familiar with the concept and techniques.

I have discovered a man, a Brother in Christ who “gets it”, and his YouTube post of yesterday “Banks Unannounced Warrantless Looting” got me to thinking about the subject of caches and caching.

Watch his video (watch lots of his videos – he teaches and preaches on a wide variety of things that readers of this blog will find interesting and useful) and think. I bet most of you realize that our dollar is, at any given time, just 72 hours away from being worthless. All it takes is the idea to catch in a few sheeple minds that these pieces of linen-paper are backed by nothing and the stampede will start.

I’d bet most of you also realize that the banks are not safe places to have things (whether they be dollars in an account or items in a “safety” deposit box”) when the balloon goes up.

When the emergency strikes – the banks will be closed and have contracted security with M4s, body armor, and Oakleys standing outside on the sidewalk – you are not getting in and you are not accessing your stuff that day.

The Patriot Act took your liberties – well, you gave them up, basically – and it can, and I submit, will, be used to take a lot more also. Snooping, expectation of privacy, collecting information on everyone, storing it, collating it, keeping it ready for The Day. If you think your stuff is safe in a bank – think again.

If you think your valuables (be that precious metals, cash, guns, jewels, food – whatever) are safe in your home or in your barn – think again. Common dangers like fire, or thieves, or floods are threats to your “stuff”. Let me tell you about another potential threat – your government gone crazy. It could happen. Oh yes, it could.

Our military and certain .gov organizations have gotten very, very good at searching houses, at searching villages, at looking for and discovering simple caches in obvious places. Those skill sets are not going away anytime soon.

You need to cache your valuables. Sooner rather than later. There are three main types of caches. Concealment caches are where you just hide stuff. I did it with wheat and you can read about it here. Another type is submerged – think a sealed PVC pipe anchored down with cinder bricks in a pond. The safest cache in my opinion is a buried cache.

I may do an article on the techniques of caching but you can find that information in a lot of places. The important thing for me to impart today, I think is for you to get over your FEAR of caching. Doing it correctly is not difficult and done correctly – your stuff will be very safe and secure. Consider some ideas I have used in the past:

House key
Everyone should know not to “hide” a key under the mat, above the door, under a flower pot or in the grill. But there may be a cause to hide a key. At one house we placed a key in two Ziplock sandwich bags and then “buried” it under about 3 inches of bark mulch that was around a tree in the backyard. It was easy to get to and secure enough.

We kept cash at one house in two Ziplock bags (a trend?), inside an old metal can tossed into the corner of a chicken coop. It wasn’t “hidden” and it looked like crap – guess why?

At another place, we kept a loaded handgun inside…yep – two Ziplock bags, inside an old wooden box in a carport. There was a lot of junk in that carport.

Those are fine cache locations for things you want quick access to and are only trying to hide from run of the mill thieves. If they KNOW you have stuff hidden – you must be smarter.

If you are trying to cache stuff from organizations with means…you need to think like they do. They think about what most people do. Most people are afraid to cache their stuff in places they cannot see so they cache very close to their house – like in the flower bed. Most people, despite their perfectly fine waterproofing efforts are worried their cache will leak, so they cache stuff inside sheds, barns, or under pieces of sheet metal or plastic laying out and looking “junky”. These are the FIRST places professionals search. However, unless you have given them a reason, pros are not going to search your place. Do your own risk assessment.

Do not worry about “ground penetrating radar” – no, they cannot determine from space that you have a cache in your back forty. And even if they could (work with me here) how could they differentiate between your hole and a badger hole and a coyote hole and a Model T wheel, and a tractor disc and a…. Yes, they can, if they want to, go over your back yard with a device but there are not too terribly many of these devices and they have to have a really good reason (like they suspect you of having bodies buried out there or you being the regional arms dealer or something) to bring all that gear to YOUR little slice of heaven. They can also dig up your entire yard if they want to. If you are worried about that – don’t cache on your own property.

Here is the bottom line: You should have stuff at home or fairly nearby – accessible. Do not trust banks or storage lockers or similar places that rely on others to secure you valuables. Take personal responsibility. Consider the threat when deciding where to cache your goodies – fire, crack heads or organized people – and cache accordingly.

Tell ya what – why don’t you put together a “fake cache” – you know newspaper in the place of FRNs, quarters in the place of gold coins, some old tools in the place of firearms and go do a test cache. PROVE to yourself that you can do this safely and securely. Then go cache those valuables you have laying about your house.

In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light. – Job 24:16


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