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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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3 Points That MUST be Considered: A Survivalists View of Climate Change

By: Mr. X, survivalist

If you’re anything like me, then you are tired to hell of hearing about climate change, the green new deal, or anything else that stinks of political talking points… from either side of the agenda.

But with the advent of this debate, especially when taking into account the argument that we must change our lifestyle as human beings to accommodate global warming, I’m a bit perplexed. I’m perplexed primarily because of the fact that the way I was taught in my science classes, this earth has gone through no less than 5 complete ice ages. Five times this earth has had to adjust itself by global warming followed by global cooling, etc… Yet we have still gotten to where we are. Now, this point is being brought up outside of the concept of God. I personally am a devoutly religious person, but just for the sake of the argument I’m going to leave God out of it and strictly discuss the science of this matter.

I am personally unconcerned with the threat of global warming and it’s impact on the human race, and here are three reasons why:

  1. The earth has been binging and purging for centuries. As I mentioned before, this earth has gone through this process many times before, and most likely, has done so without the help of humankind. That’s not been proved; however, and there are theories in place that perhaps these past ice ages were the direct result of human, or human-like interference, but there is no evidence to support such a claim.
  2. Human’s are adaptable to stress. In a study by Akira Yasukouchi (1), it was determined that humans exposed to environment changes are generally exposed to very slight levels of stress over time. This is especially true when the environmental changes are experienced to a moderate degree, such as the raising, (or lowering), of the temperature that one experiences over the seasons.

  3. Stress induces adaptation in human temperature. Christaan H. Vinkers et al. (2) have determined that environmental induced stress actually effects the very temperature that the human body maintains itself at. Therefore, as the environment changes, (either by warming or cooling), which it is going to do with or without the help of humankind, our bodies will adapt to compensate.

 

 

(1) Yasukouchi A, Yasukouchi Y, Ishibashi K (2000) Effects of color temperature of fluorescent lamps on body temperature regulation in a moderately cold environment. J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci 19: 125–134

(2) Vinkers CH, Penning R, Ebbens MM, Hellhammer J, Verster JC, Kalkman CJ, Olivier B. (2010). Stress-induced hyperthermia in translational stress research. The Open Pharmacology Journal 4:30–5.

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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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Scavenging 101: 3 of the best places to get freebies

I’m not a big advocate of  trash picking; however, I must say that I have seen some really good merchandise over the years go into the dumpster and onto the curb. And as much as I am not an advocate of trash picking, I am also not a great advocate of wastefulness. We all are familiar with the old adage: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. And the fact of the matter is that a resourceful individual can find use for nearly any and everything, while others, I call them “consumers”, are simply lost at the idea of re-purposing or repairing anything. So, the trick is that you as a survival prepper, or merely a thrifty individual, need to find the place where the consumers ditch their gear. Here are three tried and true spots:

  1. College campuses. This has been my best spot over the years. These young kids, their heads and hearts filled with visions of superiority and great wealth, will often leave huge amounts of valuable items right in the trash. Some of the item I personally have acquired from college campuses after graduation are: cellphones, laptops, televisions, household items, liquor, and food, (if you can stand it).
  2. High profile businesses. The really high dollar shops are more likely to put returned or slightly damaged items in the dumpster than they are to try to resell or auction them off. That type of behavior is often beneath such high falutin ideology. Why not take advantage of that fact and get what you can out of it. A word of caution: Be careful off competition at these locations, other scavengers will fight over this these spots. It’s never a bad idea to have someone watching your six… and someone else watching theirs. Remember the trailing gunman theory.
  3. Personal storage facilities. These are good picks because quite often when property is abandoned in units, they are auctioned off and the less desirable items are discarded as trash. A good thing to note; however, is that some person at some time had seen every item in that unit as valuable to some degree… however, they might have been a lunatic too.
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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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Military Surplus Survival: How to Pick the Very Best Gear

I recently read the news that an American Air Force base was flooded and nearly devastated in Nebraska. Fox News reports on March 20, 2019 that Offutt Airforce Base is under water to include offices, warehouses, and runways.

Who cares you might ask. Well, you should; especially if you are a purveyor of military surplus equipment. Because whenever military items become exposed to the elements like that, you guessed it, they immediately become surplus items. Nothin in the public domain gets thrown away regardless of what it’s been through. Which brings me to todays talking point, how to discern the good surplus from the bad.

Disasters like this should always be well researched and followed so that, if you are one to buy military surplus items, you can make sure that you aren’t getting damaged equipment. Most military surplus resellers are honest, hardworking people, but let’s face it, not all of them are well informed and quite often they won’t know the history of the surplus items that they buy in lots.

So therefore it is up to you to investigate when and where the natural disasters are happening, and then seek out that equipment that might have come from there. Last year for instance, the Carolinas were hit hard by Hurricane Florence and Parris Island as well as Camp Lejeune were both affected. So were the New River Air Force base and Camp Geiger. It stands to reason then that any surplus coming out of these areas for the next year or two would be deserving of special attention to ensure that no significant damage had been inflicted. A few questions to the reseller will  often answer any questions you might have, because even though the history of an item won’t be known, the location they were purchased from most certainly will.

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Kayaking 202: Turning a kayak into a photo taking machine

And so I take my final bow as I present to you my kayak, all tricked out and ready to go on lake-water adventures as I endeavor on a trip to capture the stoic visage of a family of American Bald Eagles which inhabit the local state park.

I have labored long and hard on it, (not really), and I have done all that I wanted to in order to get it seaworthy.

Here are the changes I have made to it that make it ready to capture the photos and video that I am going after.

  1. I installed a go-pro mount on the top at the bow. I discovered right off that trying to mount it with marine rivets as I did nearly everything else, because the rivets heads would interfere with the camera mount. Hopefully the gorilla glue that I utilized to mount it will hold, otherwise I’m going to be hoping that the waterproof case makes it float.
  2. I used the gorilla glue to also mount two watertight cases to the floor of the kayak. One is big enough to hold the camera that I plan to use for the kayak photography, and one to hold my cellphone. Though I could have easily drilled and riveted both of these cases in, I didn’t relish the idea of breaking that watertight seal in any way.
  3. I riveted two eye brackets into the bow in order to strap a tripod into the bow. As I shoot more and more photography, I learn more and more that I need to have a tripod for stabilization. And so I plan to utilize this configuration in order to get those photos that have so far eluded me from across the lake. Of course I’ll keep you posted! Stay tuned for the next installment of kayaking for photography…
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Kayaking 102: Getting Started

Kayaks on a Subaru Impreza

Ok, so I looked around a long, long time before I finally decided on what kayaks to buy for me and my son. I considered everything from used kayaks to inflatable kayaks… I even looked into used inflatable kayaks; here’s what I discovered:

Kayaks become more valuable with age.  And, like good military surplus, those that have a little wear and tear on them, (like a Vietnam era canteen with a bullethole in it), are worth much more than those that are brand new still in the package.

I mean I pored over the used kayaks in the online classifieds. I called, made offers, placed bids… all to no avail; because, every single kayak owner I found, who was willing to part with their beloved kayak, refused to do so -it seemed- without at least doubling their money (and sometimes tripling it). And so, after a couple of weeks of frustration, (yes I’m tenacious), I finally got on the Wally-world site just see what they had to offer. Boy, was I pleased. Wally-world had everything I had wanted and dreamed of right there at my fingertips.  Not only were the exact kayaks I wanted available, they were the right color, $40 cheaper than anywhere else, and they came with oars! Plus, Wally-world had a roof rack to fit my Subaru, AND they had a set of kayak racks as well. All told I spent $448 dollars and there was no shipping costs because I had the entire kit and caboodle sent to my local Wally-world. They sent me an email when it all arrived, and I shot right over there and installed the rack and roof mounts right there in the parking lot with a $5 tool kit I bought in the hardware section.  Total cost… $453, (including the toolkit).

Well, kinda… in the next installation, I will show you the modifications I found necessary to get my kayak right where I needed it to be to turn it into a wildlife photography machine… Stay tuned!

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All Terrain Vehicles: 3 things you must consider about maintaining your ATV

If you use an ATV, then you realize that one of the big aspects of owning and using an all terrain vehicle is the fact that they require a lot of maintenance. That being said, there are several important questions that you must ask yourself regarding whether you want to try to use an older model ATV or whether you should invest the resources into buying a new one.

Unquestionably an ATV comes in handy for everything from treasure-hunting to deer hunting. They are great methods of transportation for military surplus tent adventures as well. These things can carry a lot of weight and if you can balance it on your ATV, then you can usually transport it wherever it needs to go. However, here are three things you need to think about when deciding what type of ATV to get and use.

  1. Parts availability. One of the biggest problems you’ll run into when keeping an older ATV is the fact that the parts for it are going to be hard to come, and it is certain to go down at some time or another. Your best bet if you are going to use an older model ATV is to buy some spare parts whenever you can and keep them. This means extra fuel pump and several filters, spare cables and custom fittings, and any fuses or spare switches you can pick up, as well as several oil filters.
  2. Ease of maintenance. One of the advantages of an older ATV is the ease with which they can be worked on. ANY incorporation of electronics into the power train is going to result in complications in the mechanical function of the ATV in the event of a SHTF type scenario.
  3. Ease of transport. The lighter your ATV, the better off you’re going to be if you have to push, pull, or carry it. I once had a Honda 4trax that was light enough I could load it myself into a pickup truck without a ramp. It was on 250CCs, but it worked great for everything I needed it for.
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The Military Surplus Store, several reasons you need to shop there

The government warehouses are full of treasure and buying surplus military clothing and equipment is the way to mine it. Though the days of the battle ridden surplus of World War Two and Korea are gone, many can still recall the joy of sifting for hours through piles of olive drab. Treasures back then were different than they are today.  A long bayonet, canvas .45 holster, or a metal canteen – often replete with a bullet hole or two – could set both man and boy aglimmer with excitement at the prospect of a world at war. The bullet riddled items scarcely cost much more than the ones that could actually be used but they were always the first to be snatched up.  Old Colt .45’s and Tommy Guns with thirty round magazines could be found next to Springfield 1903’s and M1 Garand’s, all silent after having barked their destruction into the mass of an invading army. There was so much equipment left after WWII that the government had a rough time getting rid of it.

The world moved on and the rules have changed. You can’t buy old flamethrowers and weaponry as surplus anymore but that does not mean that there aren’t treasures galore to be had in the new piles of military surplus gear and equipment. Today’s market isn’t restricted to USA surplus either. European military surplus has been made available to the masses, as has Russian, German, and Israeli.  A trip to your local surplus store can reveal almost anything. Of course you buy camo pants and shirts, but did you know that you could possibly find a BPS, (military jargon for a big plastic shoppingcart)? Was your father or other family member in the armed forces during a conflict? Quite often you can find unit insignia and period surplus uniforms which match those that he, she, or they wore during their service.

There are many practical civilian uses for military surplus items. Old document cases and shoulder packs make excellent ipad cases. Modern day hunters who like to shoot primitive weapons such as black powder rifles will be well pleased with a military bread bag to use as a “possibles bag” for quick at hand shooting supplies. Two bread bags would be an ultimate for dove hunters, one to hold shells and the other to hold birds. Military surplus makes a great medium for artist and upcyclers as well. Consider upcycler Jake Wright who makes beautiful furniture from decommissioned, upcycled military surplus; while others find surplus gear and accessories useful as an artistic  medium for a memorial day war display.

No matter what your needs are you won’t find equipment and gear more rugged or well crafted

Than that used by the military.    You won’t find a better value for your money either, as some statistics show that military surplus usually sells at 1 – 2% of its commercial value.1 So if you are a hunter, outdoorsman, picker, artist, upcycler, war buff, or collector, make sure you check your local surplus store. You just might be surprised by what you find.

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