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A rough winter: 6 survival tips and tricks to get you through

I happen to own, through inheritance, a horse farm that I rent to others more prone to enjoy such things. Though I have had my time in the saddle, I have never really grown to enjoy it. Instead I like to be in the woods, either taking photographs or living by limiting myself to a survival bowie, a handful of salt, and the clothes I’m wearing… or both. I recently awoke to my telephone buzzing incessantly at 11:30 at night, it was a text from my renter, it said simply: “There’s no water”

We have just had a pretty good cold snap here in Ohio, and water, as it’s prone to do when exposed to freezing temperatures, will freeze. And so, I was a bit perplexed by the fact that this gentleman was calling my at 11:30 at night because his water was froze, and it made me think that perhaps we as a society have gotten to the place where we are way too dependent on others for our very existence.  So, here are six tips to keep in mind as we head into what’s likely to be a very cold, rough winter.

  1. Watch those forecasts. We have come a long way from the old Native American “weather rock” days. Modern forecasters are able to predict the weather to within ten degrees of authenticity and so we should not be surprised by any cold snap in this day and time.
  2. Make sure you are cognizant of the sacred four needs for survival. Those are: shelter, water, fire, and food. These four things are all that you need to live, or should I say… exist. This is the bare minimum that you must have to keep your heart beating, and that, in the end, is what survival is all about.
  3. Gather old clothes, dry foliage, hay, straw, etc. We are kept warm in cold times by dead air space. That is basically a layer of air formed between you and the environment that your body will heat up and maintain an aura of warm air around you. Therefore, if you want to survive a cold snap that involves your heat source going out, you need to learn to bundle up. Pile in blankets, stuff clothing with paper, cloth, stuffing, etc… and remember to stay dry.
  4. Have alternative shelter available. A nice tent, tarp, or even a small camper available for in the event that you lose heat in your house, or if you lose your house such as in a flood, earthquake, or fire, will be invaluable and none of these options are very expensive.
  5. Keep a  reserve of water somewhere.  Or get a means to purify water easily. You can’t last more than three days without it, but there are many easy ways to gather water during a cold snap. Frost and snow can easily be turned into potable water.
  6. Get some food together before you need it. You don’t want to have to eat poor old Fido because you didn’t prepare for an emergency. There are plenty of surplus MREs and if you’re not into that, you can find freeze dried meals at your local outdoor pursuit center. If you don’t have the budget for that, sardines at the dollar store are a great alternative.
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Survival 102: Growing Your Own Garden

I’m all for saving money, and one of the ways I do that is I have a backyard vegetable garden.
Right now half of you are thinking; “too much work”, or, “I don’t have a large yard or a tiller”.
That’s the beauty about this. I’m talking about raised bed garden, or gardening in pots. No expensive equipment needed, and fresh veggies from spring through fall.
You can go as elaborate or as simple as you like. You can buy the expensive cedar range beds at the garden center; or go to a home-improvement store, buy a couple of boards, (and usually they will cut them for free), and build your own.
Just a tip; keep your eyes open in late July into the fall when stores are clearing out their gardening supplies. You can find deals on beds, tools, pots, and seed.
Now, the whole point of this is growing stuff that you really like, (and buy regularly), at the store or farmers market like: salsa! Plant a tomato plant or two, a jalapeño pepper, and some cilantro. Buy the onion and garlic; they keep well, and when limes are on sale freeze the juice. Ta-da you’ll have the makings for fresh salsa on hand all year long and it will be so much better than that canned store-bought stuff.
Many plants now have been bred to be a bush type plant. That’s great for small gardening spaces, plant a bush cucumber or squash bush and have plenty for the season. There are many lettuce varieties with more flavor and nutrients than your bag of iceberg mix sitting in the store, and there are no worries about recalls.
They also carry strawberry pots; more expensive than a build your own 4 x 4 or whatever size you choose raised bed, but they last for years and take up minimal space. Fill them with ever bearing strawberries and have fruit from June until frost.
There are so many ideas for a small garden, get online, go to your garden center and get more. The more ideas the better. The main idea is this: it shouldn’t take you 10 years to recoup what you have in it. You can keep on hand the vegetables and herbs that you use regularly you can monitor how much or if you want to spray with pesticides… my tip, try to go organic as much as possible always keep an eye out for sales, or end of season clearance hit… Buy the seed starters when they clear them out and grow the plants yourself from seed, so much cheaper! And last of all plant what do you like this should be fun and enjoyable not another chore or an unsightly weed patch!
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Why survival? 3 reasons you need to hone your skills right now

There have been times over the years, as I live in luxury and ease, that I have questioned whether or not it was worth all of the trouble I have gone to in order to learn and live survival. There have also been long periods of my life that I haven’t bothered to hone these skills to their utmost. However, in these days and times I make it a habit to stay on top of these skills because by all signs, children, we are heading for some tough times.

You only need to read the news everyday to realize that we are heading towards a conflict, not only in the world, but within this country as well. With conflict comes hardship, and when society breaks down again, finally, it will be up to you to be able to fend for yourself and I’m here to tell you that you will need to have some survival skills in that time. Here are three scenarios that could throw us into a long term survival situation right now:

  1. War. You think it’s not possible? If so, it’s probably because you are a member of that privileged  generation who hasn’t had to live with the fear of an attack from a foreign, invasive army. The truth is that we as Americans are surrounded by enemies on all sides and there are many others who want what we have.
  2. Cyber attack. Whether you realize it or not, we are under the power of the Chinese and the Russians due to errant practices in the past. We have trusted hostile countries to act as manufacturers to supply the major components to our computers, which now run our power grids, weapons systems, public works, etc…  Who knows what kind of trojan horses they have planted on everything  from motherboards to cellphones.
  3. Far left election. Do you realize that there are political factions whose entire platform is to threaten our very way of life? They desire to take us back into the ages before fossil fuels and who knows if they will be successful or not?
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Finding the beauty: Tactics for Retaining Your Sanity in a Survival Situation

It had been a hard trip. I had started out three days prior, camping out along the paint creek area of southern Ohio, and had made my way through the landscape, ending up at a small tributary called Big Cave Run on the old map I had found at the local courthouse. It was an old property, (at least six thousand years old Biblically)… theoretically. Historically, the property had been documented by a governing source for over two hundred years. I had started out my survival trip with only the clothes on my back. I had made some slate knives on paint creek with the help of a huge block of sandstone that I happened to find sitting at the water’s edge. The wear marks on it told me that it had been a favorite place of others before me to sit and make tools as well.

The rain fell in a persistent patter. Not quite enough to send me to shelter, it was a warm early June, but just enough to keep the blackflies and mosquitos away, and to keep me soaked to the skin. By the time I had travelled the three mile distance to Big Cave Run, I had two knives, some cordage, a fish spear, and a trouser pocket full of frogs legs from the night before. I hadn’t been able to cook them because I couldn’t get a fire going to save me. And it was on Big Cave Run that I finally built a debris hut just so I could work out a fire kit. That night the rain finally stopped and I ate froglegs around a snapping fire while the spirit of an old indian kept me company. I left when he told me in the gathering darkness that this was no place for the living to have to be alone with the dead.

I left for him the spear and two knives to do with as he wished and I walked out of the creek bottoms and back to my car… travelling east.

This  trip lasted only three days, but in that three days I learned a valuable lesson on survival. That is to keep yourself involved in things beyond the plight at hand. The experience is so much more than where you will get your next drink of water or where you might sleep that night. Beyond the basic necessities of shelter, water, fire, and food, the most trouble you will have in a survival situation is keeping your mind occupied. Let it wander and entertain itself. At least that has always worked well for me.

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Running missions: 3 reasons you should keep an item of faith with you

If you are the type of rugged individual who enjoys the use of military surplus tents and equipment, (and it’s obvious you are or you likely wouldn’t be reading this), then you know what it’s like to run a mission.

And since the last installment was about the legendary Case™ trapper style pocket knife, I wanted to play off of that line of thought this week and talk about my personal Case™ trapper and explain why it has significance and what three very important reasons are that I carry this particular knife.  My particular Case™ knife has an excerpt from The Lord’s Prayer engraved on it’s white bone handle. This knife goes in my pocket everywhere I go and there is a distinct reason I carry this knife.

For those of you who were Ernest Hemingway fans, perhaps you will remember that he always had a good luck piece on him. Now, in his case the lucky piece changed regularly because he was prone to losing them. I personally don’t carry mine for good luck. I don’t believe in luck for one thing. I’m a man of faith who believes in the God of the Bible, and I carry mine instead as a connection between me and my Maker. Here are three reasons why I carry the blade I do, and why you should keep an item of faith on you as well.

  1. It gives me courage. If you believe in God, then you know that he is an ever-present help in times of danger. I have seen many people draw bravery from religious artifacts over the years, everything from Stars of David to St. Michael medals.
  2. It keeps me focused. When things are spinning fast and I feel like my mind is going ten thousand different directions a second, a brief pat of my palm on my left trouser pocket brings a feel of that familiar bundle that connects me to the Lord. That touch is often enough to get me focused.
  3. With it I’m always armed. I used to work in a maximum security prison, and I’ve seen dudes get killed with soup spoons sharpened on a concrete window sill. I know how much damage I can do with a knife of that caliber.
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Survival essentials: 3 reasons to keep a Case Trapper with you… no matter what

I have been a survivor all of my life, but I became a survivalist in 1987 when I took the Standard Course with the Old Tracker himself, Tom Brown Jr.

One of the things I had learned long before ever taking my first survival course was the importance of having a knife in your pocket. I grew up on a horse farm that also had a working herd of black angus cattle. My father, an old time cowboy, used to carry a pearl handled Solingen Cutlery stockman’s knife in his front right pocket which he used for everything from farm/ranch work, to entertainment. He even had one of the four blades on his full size stockman reserved for eating. He called it his apple blade. It didn’t escape my attention that the “apple blade” was also the preferred utility for cleaning the grit from under his fingernails when sitting around the stables at night after working horses.

We all know how important it is to have a good survival knife in your kit when on an expedition. However, you need to ask yourself how often the likelihood might arise for you to be thrown into an unforeseen circumstance where you won’t have time or opportunity to grab a kit bag, but will be forced to go with just what you have in your pocket. That’s why I always carry a Case™  brand trapper pocket knife. There are many companies that make these knives, however, few companies make them as well as Case™ does. Here are three reasons to keep a Case™ trapper in your pockets at all times.

  1. It has two blades. One is known as a clip point utility blade which comes in handy whenever you come across something that needs stabbed through… your belt for instance, if you lose weight and it needs to be tightened by making new holes. And lastly, the “spey” blade, which gained it’s name from the design which works perfectly for castrating livestock. It is also good for skinning by not having a sharp point that will slit your hide as you are skinning your game.
  2. It is well crafted. You might find other trapper style knives, but you won’t find one that is as well made as the Case™ brand. It is made to last and will hod up to the hardest abuse. There’s a reason you don’t find any cheap used ones on eBay.
  3. It has a lifetime warranty. If you manage to break this thing through normal use, you can get it replaced at no charge. Yet another reason you don’t find cheap used ones anywhere.
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Apocalypse survival: 3 must have critters for the coming storm

If you have been watching the news at all lately, then you are aware that the nation and even the world are on the precipice of volatility.

Therefore, it would behoove you to be prepared for any upcoming problems and you don’t even really have to change your lifestyle much.

The fact of the matter is that as a species, on the whole, humans are highly dependent on animals. Not only do we eat them, we are also dependent on them in other ways. So, taking that in mind, here are three animals that you must have right now to function in a coming crisis.

  1. A really good dog. Pictured here is an Australian Blue Heeler Cattle Dog. These are my favorite picks as a survival dog for many reasons. First they are full of energy and very smart. Next they are easily trained and very loyal. Lastly they are herders by nature, and not only will they defend your pack, (family), but they will control and corral other animals as well. (There’s no telling what you might wake up and find in your camp in the morning).
  2. A sheep or a goat. Not only can these things live on nearly anything, but they are meat in hard times, and milk and heat in better times. You’ve heard I’m sure of a “three dog night”, one in which it was so cold that you need three dogs in bed with you to stay warm, well the going consensus is that a three dog night is equal to a one got night, or a half sheep night.
  3. Some chickens. Chickens are great for many things. Not only do they offer food in the form of meat and eggs, but they offer feathers for warmth and crafts, and they make excellent alarms for more than just the crack of dawn. They will shriek and raise hell whenever confronted by any predator.
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4 military surplus items you can use every day

I am a connoisseur of all things military. I absolutely love to go to the military surplus store and buy any and everything I can get my grubs on; however, most of these things end up getting pushed into my shed or garage, and forgotten about.

Now I’m not talking about the bug things, like my military surplus tent, or the humvee that was sold because it didn’t meet military standards anymore. Those of course have their uses, but today I want to talk specifically about those pieces of military surplus that you can and should use every single day.

Here are four specific items, (and where to get them), that I use every single day.

  1. A military surplus web belt. The good news is that khaki goes with everything. And if you are at all like me, then you need to wear a belt everywhere you go regardless of whether you are in BDUs or not. (If for no other reason than to anchor your inside the pants holster appropriately).
  2. A military surplus backpack with frame. I love MOLLE gear. You can do anything you want with that stuff, and I use my pack in place of luggage and a purse. Not that I ever carried a purse, but the concept is sound.
  3. A camelbak hydration pack. In case you haven’t noticed, you have a tendency to drink water everyday. And the beauty of one of these packs is that you can mix your tea, or add a squirt of MIO to your water in this pack and have it with you wherever you go. No need to use the cupholder in your car, etc…
  4. GI combat harness. I’m a photographer and a survivalist. I always have the need to have a piece of equipment handy in order to perform whatever function is at hand.
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Pandemic Flu: 3 things you should always think about

Pandemic flu is the next apocalypse

If you are a survivalist, prepper, concerned parent, or just a crusty old veteran of this human race, then you have probably been indoctrinated into the concept of human tragedy and world destruction. It is a common theme from many different sources of history, primarily because it has been a problem in the past.

As survivalists, we all realize on some level that we are terminal in our existence. What that means is that we are all going to die at some point. Bad thoughts, I know, but true. The difference between us and others is that as survivalists we will do everything we can to fight and scratch our way into an extension of our existence. This is the same mentality that others before us had and which we all hope to convey to our offspring. So here are three things you need to keep in mind in relation to surviving the coming apocalypse wether it comes in the form of the flu or something else.

Stay away from people. As the Ol Tracker has said in the video that I linked here for you to peruse, people are going to be the conveying device of any pandemic which accosts the population. Just as in the days of old, the “sheeple” who make up the herd are the ones who will bring down the herd, some of them with their very breath… it is those of us who stand outside the herd, the strays, that will escape this calamity.

Watch the news. In other words, PAY ATTENTION! You shouldn’t be such a hermit that destruction creeps upon you while you are completely unaware. Watch the news, read the paper, get on YouTube on your phone, but don’t let the pandemic catch you at unawares.

Get prepared. What I mean of course is get supplied right now. Shelter, water, fire, and food are what you HAVE to have to survive according to the Old Tracker, TBJ himself. Get supplied with those elements right now so that you don’t have to scramble WTSHTF.

 

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Bees Please! 3 reasons you should keep bees if you’re a survivalist

If you are a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit series then you are probably especially fond of the scene where the Party gets to stay with Beorn. Beorn was likely a Norseman; a shifter, (Gandalf had seen him sitting alone on the top of a mountain – in bear form – reminiscing of times past), a vegetarian, a friend of the animals, a keeper of bees.  And it was here that the party was permitted to eat of the finest honey and cream that any loaf of bread had ever been slathered with.

Just the description of that fare when I was a child, reading this series in the hay mow of my dad’s old cow barn, sent my mind to spinning and my stomach to churning for the creamy sweetness that such a delicacy would construe. Alas I never found the exact combination of Tolkien’s imagination, at least not to the level that my own pondering dictated; however, I did get mighty close on occasion. Those occasions always included the obtaining the honey from a local bee farm and my grandma churning up a batch of what she called “cow salve butter”… at least that’s what I think it was called.

But, as usual, I digress…

We are here to discuss the implements of survival, and most importantly SHTF survival. Here then are three reasons to be a beekeeper if the economy falls.

  1. Honey is a great source of nutrients and energy. Calories and energy are supremely important in a survival situation, and this substance is perfect for giving you that burst of energy that you might need to rise to almost any occasion.
  2.  Honey farming is done by one of the most key elements of survival… letting someone else do all the work. This is a prime example of getting something for nothing, kind of. You still have to tend and care for your bees, protect them, provide for them etc.
  3. Honey is a great barter item. Remember, if TSHTF, there will not be the possibility of being able to buy goods with money. You will want to have ample amounts of much needed items in order to trade.
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