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I want to tell you what it’s been like over the last few months becoming a ham radio operator, which I did mainly for prepping purposes and with no previous background in engineering or other related subjects. I didn’t have a lot of money to throw at this project, and I wasn’t interested in a new, time consuming hobby, so my approach has been a minimalist one. In fact, for a long time I assumed that ham radio would inevitably become an expensive rabbit hole and so ruled it out for myself, concentrating instead on getting a simple NOAA radio. But then some of you on this site clued me in to the fact that it was possible to get by with a relatively cheap handheld ham radio and that there were courses and materials to help people prepare for the FCC amateur radio license tests.
Studying for the Exam
If I was going to own a ham radio, I definitely wanted to get licensed with the FCC. Currently, the lowest level of license for amateur radio operation in the US is the technician’s license. This is the minimum qualification necessary to transmit on amateur radio. (Unlicensed operators can only listen).
Passing the technician’s exam involves taking a test comprised of 35 questions on which you have to score a minimum of 75%. The questions concern various subjects such as basic electromagnetic theory (Ohm’s Law), safety, amateur radio etiquette, etc. I used two main sets tools to study for the test.
The first was the HAM CRAM course offered by outdoorcore.com for $49. It promises that students can go from zero to license in six hours using the course. (A blog post from the creator explains how to study for the ham radio exam.) The course took me longer, primarily because it uses a lot of mnemonics to memorize information that might be on the test, but I’m a person who learns best by getting some understanding of what I’m studying, so I frequently delved into various subjects more than the course would encourage me. The other tools, which work in tandem with the ham cram, are the flashcards and practice quizzes at hamstudy.org/tech2018.
All in all, I spent several weeks (maybe three?) doing a little studying on most days. The studying was comprised of going through the ham cram modules and doing a lot of practice exams, as well as occasionally looking up terms and explanations on the internet. I also had one or two Zoom calls with Joe Bassett (W1WCN), the creator of the course. It certainly took me far longer than six hours, but I never felt overwhelmed or inundated.
Call me obsessive, but one of the things that helped me most to get my practice test scores up was going through every single flashcard in the total pool of 400 and something and reviewing every answer I got wrong. After doing that, my test scores went up dramatically until, by the end, I was routinely getting scores in the mid to high 90s.
I must say that getting up to speed with the test did not make me feel that I had learned electromagnetic theory or that I would immediately be able to sit down and operate a ham radio. Apparently, that’s okay. Joe says that the test doesn’t measure aptitude for operation, so much as it does aptitude for learning.
Taking the Technician’s Exam (During the Pandemic)
After the studying comes the exam itself. First you have to find a radio club or other organization that administers the exam and sign up for one of their sessions. (The club charges some money for this — I believe $10 in my case and the FCC also charges $15 for issuing the license). I found my session through hamstudy.org. My test was administered by GLAARG (Greater Los Angeles Amateur Radio Group), about which I had read positive reviews.
Taking the exam during the pandemic is a surreal and painstaking experience. I can’t speak to how it was done in the “before times,” but apparently it was usually in a large classroom. During covid though, people have to take the exam remotely and all manner of mechanisms are put in place to make sure that nobody cheats. The clubs display a plethora of rules for test takers on their pages, some of them in bold and red, looking rather intimidating. The rules try to exert as much control as possible over the remote test environment. There are rules about cameras, calculators, mouse devices and room setup — and the rules are not the same for every club!
To begin with, you have to take the exam in a space with no pets and no other people and one with a closing door. The space also has to be free of clutter. All these requirements together immediately ruled out most spaces in my house, as they do for a lot of people. (I considered doing the test in the kitchen, but it has no door.) Many of the organizations that hold these exam sessions helpfully suggested doing the test in the bathroom, which I actually did!
Many organizations administering the exam require the use of two cameras — one pointing at your head and the other at your hands, to make sure you don’t cheat. I did set up two cameras (by attaching my cell phone to the back of a chair with a rubber band!), but it turned out that GLAARG was a little less paranoid than most clubs and only required one camera.
Exam takers are let into the general Zoom session in the order they asked to be admitted, so it’s good to come to the session early to avoid a long wait. First stop after being admitted is the breakout room where an officer of the club explains how the test will proceed and then does a preliminary inspection of the space with each applicant, one at a time. We had to point our camera at the ceiling and swivel it all around the room (bathroom, in my case) to let the examiners see that there are no papers hanging around with answers to test questions. The examiner looked at our computer and our mouse. We were also told earlier not to look away from the screen in any manner that would suggest that we are looking somewhere or to someone for answers.
After this introduction we were let in one by one, each to our private exam room. Three examiner observers were present there for each one of us. They performed a second inspection of the space, much like the first. After this, the test itself was straightforward and proceeded in the same format as the study quizzes, which were familiar to me by then. The examiners are there to monitor the test takers and give them instructions. The actual test, once you start it, is administered by the software itself and looks very much like the practice quizzes with exactly the same wording of the questions. The online test is also graded immediately by the software, so you know right away if you passed and how many answers you got wrong. I was happy to pass with a pretty high score. From there all I had to do was wait a few days for the FCC to issue me my license and call sign. That was exciting.
These Are Not Your Childhood Walkie Talkies
I got my technician’s license in January. By this time I had two handheld radios in my possession (the Yaesu FT-60R and the BaoFeng BF-F8HP) which I had been asked to review, so I had to learn how to use them first. Here’s one thing to consider if you’re thinking about getting a ham radio: these are not your childhood walkie talkies, or even a CB radio your parents may have had in their car if you’re of a certain age. If you are getting a ham radio for use in emergencies, don’t think that you’ll be able to pull it out with minimal skills and training and start using it on the spot. You don’t need to become an expert at ham radio, but you do need to learn at least basic use of your equipment and practice with it with actual people.
Having to write a review of my handhelds had its pluses and minuses for me. On one hand it meant that I really had to learn the ins and outs of these two radios, which I might not have done to quite such an extent if I was just learning to use them for myself. On the other hand, I learned a lot. Mainly, I read the manuals for both radios, played with the knobs and buttons and asked Joe Bassett lots of questions, some over email and some over Zoom. Having him to mentor me has been extremely helpful.
At the end of the day I will be keeping the Yaesu FT-60R. I have also been playing with the Echolink app on my smartphone. Echolink software allows licensed ham radio operators to communicate over the internet. I was initially skeptical about the value of this. Don’t we have email and chat and social media for that now, not to mention Zoom? But it turns out it has its uses.
On a purely frivolous note it’s kind of fun to tune into stations across the globe and hear ham operators talking to each other in Afrikaans or listen in on a meeting of hams in Australia. It’s a different slice of life than you might find on websites or on social media. Also, however, Echolink allows me to connect to remote stations and participate in activities with groups which my little handheld radio could never reach on its own.
Finding Fellow Hams and Training
It turns out that, once you get your license and learn to use your radio, no delegation from the local ham radio community shows up at your doorstep to welcome you to the club and offer training. Far from it!
My interest in ham is primarily from the angle of emergency preparedness. In my area I had to dig around the local resources to find who coordinates the local ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) group. This turned out not to be so easy. The local clubs have not been forthcoming with that information. In fact the local clubs have been haphazard (to put it generously) in their responses of any sort to me. If I ask several questions, they sometimes respond with enthusiasm, but no answers and sometimes not at all.
The gist of what I’ve gotten from the main ham radio club in my area is that I should join it before I get any information about what it offers or how it’s connected to ARES. To be honest this does not make me want to cough up $40/year to join! Apparently, this kind of lack of communication and followthrough is not uncommon.
With the help of my mentor I eventually did find the weekly ARES net (meeting of ham radio operators on the radio) and have been participating in it as time allows — without joining any clubs. The level of training offered by the local ARES is disappointing, however. It essentially consists of roll call over the local repeater (an amateur radio repeater is a station that amplifies and retransmits signals, allowing radios with weak signals a much wider radius of communication). The same roll call is then performed on a simplex frequency (simplex refers to direct communication on a radio frequency, not using a repeater). It’s good for a raw beginner, but doesn’t seem terribly useful for learning how to handle myself on the radio in an emergency.
Fortunately, I’ve been able to join an ARES group in Florida that IS doing some training. (This is where Echolink has been most useful.) Now, you might think, Florida? Don’t you live in California, Jonnie? I do. But training is training on a certain level. If I can learn how to follow protocol in an emergency, I might be of some use to my local hams when one comes.
To sum it all up: is it possible for a person with no special previous training to become minimally proficient as a ham without spending a huge amount of money or time? Yes. Is it going to be as easy as the pros say it will be? Probably not. At least for me, ham radio did for a while take up most of my prepping time and energy, but now I think I’m coming to the end of that. Should you just get a radio and not worry about licensing or training? DEFINITELY NOT. At the very least, get your technician’s license and learn the basics of how to use your radio before an emergency strikes. Also, be aware that ham radio is a social activity and requires entry into a different culture. You will have to scope out the new turf and learn the rules, even if you do it very part time. Is it worth it? You will have to decide for yourself. For me it has been, and it’s stretched my mind.
I love to garden & especially love growing food in the fall. Seems like all the fall crops are just super nutritious and so easy to grow, such as kale, collards, turnip greens, broccoli, peas, etc. I find them easy due to the fall weather. You plant them early in the fall, when it is still a bit warm out. The seeds quickly germinate in the warm soil. Then as it cools, the cool loving plants thrive as the warm loving weeds, disease & insects go away. You can grow the same crops in the spring, but I find them harder to grow because the timing is opposite. In the spring, the seeds might struggle germinating in the cool soil and as the plant matures, it warms up and the weeds, disease & insects attack.
As a prepper, I think it vital to practice growing what might be essential during a severe crisis. In such a crisis, growing food during the ENTIRE growing season will be necessary… thus the need to produce nutritious food in the cool weather.
Curious what others here are currently growing? Right now I’m growing Tuscan (Lacinato) kale and collards. In the past have grown turnip greens, mustard greens, broccoli & snow peas. The most mature kale leaves are about a foot long & ready to be picked. Tonight will cook them like an Italian creamed spinach with parmesan cheese.Read More
I’m a big fan of John Townsends’s YouTube channel. He LARPs as though he lives in the 18th century and his channel focuses on him cooking a lot of recipes from around that time. He was one of my main sources for our recent hardtack guide.
I recently discovered a series he did last summer, in which he built a cabin and homestead from scratch. After he builds the cabin, he builds an outdoor workshop with a pole lathe, shaving horse, and a forge. If you’re interested in those sorts of traditional crafts, I encourage you to check out the series.Read More
Complete preparedness and the importance of inspection, maintenance, repair and replacement of items
Here’s a few examples of what can happen if preppers don’t practice routine inspection, maintenance, repair and replacement of their items.
An emergency alert is issued. You and your family, which includes two young children under seven years of age and a six month old infant are ordered to evacuate immediately.
You are prepared and grab your BOB’s and other gear and load the family into the vehicle in record time. You don’t make it out of the driveway because you have a flat tire. When you attempt to change your flat tire, you discover that your spare is also flat.
A spare tire should be checked for inflation at least twice a year.
I do the “trucker’s walk” around my vehicle each and every time I drive it. I walk around my vehicle and check for fluid leaks, anything hanging down or situated below the vehicle, the tires and their condition.
I also visually check for small animals or children crouched down behind the vehicle who may be playing or hurt. This happened to someone I knew. There was a child behind his truck and he didn’t check. The two year old boy died when he backed over him. The child was in his blind spot.
Lights and their function are checked regularly, at least once per month. It would be more often, once a week, if I drove more frequently.
If you are alone, you can check the lights yourself by aiming them at night against your house or other building. You should be able to see if your head lights are on or off, the high beams work, and if the turn signals, hazard lights and brake lights function properly.
I keep a couple of spare headlights in case one burns out and fuses for other vehicle function.
Here’s another example of not paying attention to routine maintenance.
You go to work one day in late August and find out that your company is downsizing. You are now unemployed. You have a mortgage and other bills to pay.
When you relay the news to your family, you discover that all your children have dental problems, require dental appointments and will need dental work done. You are also told that the children require footwear before school starts in a few weeks. Additionally, your oldest needs a new winter coat and glasses.
All of this happens just after you bought new living room furniture. You have less than three hundred dollars in a savings account and no emergency fund to handle these urgent family expenses in a time of reduced income.
Preparedness can seem like the pursuit and acquisition of a long list of items.
Becoming prepared is much more than acquiring the items. It is about how you look after them once you get them and how you manage the replacement of them.
It extends further into the care of possessions that we don’t consider as prep items, but are items we need or want as part of our quality of life.
In order to care properly for your possessions, it helps to have a routine for inspection. It helps more if you develop the habit of noticing signs of wear or need for repair or replacement of your items.
You need to know what to look for that could be sign of a problem and that takes all your senses.
Visually, it can be icicles hanging off your roof, signalling an ice dam that needs to be addressed. It can be something dripping beneath your vehicle’s front end that needs to be checked.
I routinely check my canned goods for signs of bulging cans or rusting cans.
Sometimes, it can be a sound of a fridge motor not running right or the noise your brake pads make when they begin to wear.
I check the plumbing under my kitchen sink and bathroom vanity every time I open the cabinet doors.
You also check by touch. If the walls in the house feel tacky or damp, then you need a dehumidifier to prevent mould.
If you run your hands along the inside of your tires and feel a bulge, then you know the tire is failing, can blow out and needs to be replaced immediately.
Smell can tell us if there is mould in the house or a gas leak. Certain smells can indicate failing electrical wiring.
I have a routine for repair and maintenance and a trained eye that notices issues outside of my routine inspections.
I also plan for the replacement of items by understanding the usual life span of each of them.
This part of preparedness is applicable to everyone who preps regardless of whether you live in an apartment or own a home on an acreage.
Recently, I made another list of things in and around my home and property that need to be addressed. This list includes clothing and footwear. Those items were put on the list as I noticed them while I worked on chores in and around the house.
Some of the items that made the list weren’t that old, but they were what I refer to as “bad buys.” For example, I purchased an expensive pair of winter boots for my husband. They are a very well known brand and had excellent reviews. A good fit in footwear is a challenge for his feet and these boots fit great and were comfortable.
The boots started to fail after the first year he wore them. The boots failed just after the warranty ended. When I searched for information, I was shocked to find that this company had customers with similar complaints. Of more concern, was the poor response from the company. So much for relying on glowing reviews.
Their product was failing due to shoddy third party outsourcing. The chance to fix the problem failed at the front lines of their customer service and their poorly designed software.
Complaints containing certain key words or with time lines indicating an early failure of their product should have triggered a referral and further action higher up the corporate ladder. They could have dealt swiftly with a supplier issue and salvaged their reputation and customer base.
I used Shoo-goo to repair them, and he can wear them as a pair of chore boots. But now, I have to research and replace them with a new pair of winter boots suitable for our extreme climate, his size 15 feet and our budget.
What if the SHTF and that was all he had for a long period of time? He would be entering a crisis without sound footwear and perhaps no chance of replacing the boots for some time. Many of our parts or actual products in North America are outsourced. It doesn’t take much to throttle that supply chain.
Footwear is a major necessity and an equally important prep item. This is an example of how we may think we have a certain amount of time before the new item will need to be replaced, but in reality the time frame is much shorter.
I have had the same experience with a brand new washer and dryer set. I still have the dryer, but the washer failed just after the one year warranty expired.
I knew someone who worked in an agricultural machine production plant. The parts on those very expensive pieces of equipment were engineered to fail after a certain time, often in three years.
Deliberately engineering the premature failure of items, in whole or in part, is unfair considering what we pay for these items. It is now a part of life that we need to be aware of, especially as preppers who organize and put items away for future need.
It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when items were built to last.
My parent’s were strict about the care and maintenance of our property, possessions and personal items. I was raised to understand that everything would last longer if you treated it properly and with care.
I was also taught the importance of organization and to be aware of items would be outgrown or worn out. I grew up in a household where certain items were stored in anticipation of replacement.
We were able to farm with old equipment because Dad practised routine inspection and maintenance of his equipment.
As in the fable of the ants and the grasshopper, other farmers played the role of the grasshopper at the end of harvest as they lingered over coffee and pie at the local coffee shop.
Dad played the role of ant, and continued to labor long after harvest to ensure that the equipment was maintained, in good repair and ready for next spring. Even in winter, he repaired anything that wasn’t working correctly.
His care extended to every part of our farm and home. He examined the house and outbuildings to see if something needed repair. He walked endless miles on our land to check fence lines. This was in addition to twice daily milking and care and cleaning of our cows, barn and dairy equipment.
Routine repair and maintenance can seem like boring chores and mundane tasks. Let’s face it, checking, cleaning and repairing things aren’t generally considered fun. Now, with early failure to consider, this aspect of prepping has become even more important.
New living room furniture doesn’t happen without an emergency fund. Throw a blanket or a slip cover on the sofa and teach your family to treat items more gently.
Dental, optical and any other medical needs should be written out and organized. If you know that the family has dental checks done in August, then you also know that is a month for potential dental expenses.
If you are putting money away each month to cover possible dental expenses, then you are prepared for them.
Expenses such as clothing and footwear for children should never be a “surprise.” It is understood children need footwear and clothing replaced more rapidly due to their growth.
A smart shopper and prepper recognizes the opportunity for thrift store shopping. You can find clothing and footwear in excellent condition for all ages.
I have seen teens happily shop at thrift stores. There is always some kind of retro fad happening. They also seem to enjoy the originality of thrift store shopping, as well as the social and environmental contribution that comes with it. Good causes are supported and perfectly good clothing doesn’t end up in landfill.
In a financial crisis such as job loss, pride is a vulnerability. When the tags are off the garment who really knows how old a garment is or where you bought it from unless you tell them?
A budget binder is a must for routine financial management and maintenance. For privacy and security reasons, there is no way I will ever rely on computerized record keeping again.
A binder is tangible and can’t be ignored. I see it on my desk as I write. I can grab it for a family finance meeting if there is something that needs to be addressed.
I write out budget sheets for two future years and I keep two years of past monthly financial data. The loose leaf sheets are enclosed in page protectors for longevity and also hold additional information that is relevant to future expenses.
The monthly budget sheets itemize income, savings and regular monthly expenses. Amounts that are variable like utility bills are forecast in pencil and then entered in ink once the amounts are confirmed.
Based on forecasted income and expenses, I have a reasonable understanding of our disposable income. Annual expenses can easily be repeated in the future year sheets. I can slot projects or swap them on the fly if necessary because the budget information is well organized and accessible.
Beneath the financial information is a record of medical appointments and vehicle or home repair and maintenance and any associated costs.
A budget is a guide. On the back of each monthly budget sheet, I record every cent spent in this household. I balance to the penny because hackers will test bank accounts by taking small amounts to see if you pay attention.
I note the amount, where it was purchased, a short list of the item(s) and any important sale information for future reference when planning future shopping. I can look back at each month and see exactly where our money went for groceries, clothing, personal items and spot trends or problems.
This process may seem involved and time consuming. It isn’t. It takes little time to keep an ongoing record. I refer to these records frequently for a variety of reasons. They are invaluable to the inspection, repair, replacement and maintenance of a huge number of items in my household and property.
Other items must be factored for replacement. What about shingles? Roofs must be re-shingled every so many years. That includes underlay, ice guard (if you are in a cold climate) and installation.
Most communities only allow a certain number of shingle layers before the roof has to be stripped completely of shingles before it can be re-shingled. This makes sense because after a while the roof would not be sound if shingles just continued to pile up in layers.
When I did my roof five years ago, I paid extra to have it stripped clean of shingles. I didn’t need to do it that way. I wasn’t at the limit for layers. But I chose to do the best maintenance by having the roof done from the base up.
The roofers checked for any pieces of plywood that need to be replaced. There was one small piece. Then they re-shingled with the latest materials to prevent water infiltration and also ice-guard. I chose excellent quality shingles and made sure the roofers were certified to install that type of shingle. They did an excellent job and now, I have a roof that will last much longer before needing more maintenance.
I could have gone a cheaper route, but a roof is a huge part of the protection of a home. There is no way I will skimp on that cost or the quality of materials and workmanship.
I find it amazing that people see their roofs every day and tolerate the condition of them. Imagine a shoddy roof in a major storm. How long might it last in a natural or financial disaster? There could be a chain reaction of damage done that will cost more than if the roof was properly done in the first place.
A fully prepared household doesn’t just buy preparedness related items and stash them away. They routinely inspect, maintain, replace and repair the items that they will need to count on in a disaster.
They do the same thing for their home, property and other items that are not prep specific, but are also part of their ability to survive.
It can be overwhelming for those who don’t currently practice this, but with a bit of organization and time invested, it can become easy to do and just another aspect of prepping.
When was the last time you checked your tires for wear or if they were properly inflated? Did you get the brakes fixed when you heard the sound of brake shoes starting to squeal as you braked?
Have you organized regular replacement of your children’s clothing and footwear?
How old is the food and water in your bug out bag?
What about those loose boards in the fence or the unreliable security camera that needs replacement?
The time to notice and do something about it is now and like other aspects of prepping, it is time well invested.Read More
Hello All, I posted this as a reply to a thread by Ubique, but it occurred to me it would be useful as a forum topic on its own. Canning jars are awesome for freezing most anything that’s liquid or cut small enough to fit! Reusable for both jar and lid, and I’ve never had a case of freezer burn even 3-4 years in. Flavors don’t transfer or degrade, in my experience. Since gardens and fruit trees often alternate off years and bumper years, it’s nice to freeze extras for the poor harvest years.
Make sure to pack food in tightly, and for something with lots of gaps like green beans add some water to reduce air. Be sure to leave the top inch empty (or even more headspace with larger half gallons) for freezing expansion, and DON’T crank lids tight; close lightly, and tighten after solidly frozen if desired. Honestly I usually forget to do that, without bad results.
Works best in an upright freezer in sturdy tray-like boxes such as what fruit comes in at stores, so they don’t fall out as you rummage around. Soups, spaghetti sauce, burger, stew meat, fruit, juice, etc…thaw in fridge for best results.
Generally, pints are the most durable and useful for our family, plus the wide mouths have no shoulders so partially thawed contents can slip out into saucepan if you’re in a hurry.
I love the fact that my jars & lids can be reused for decades (yes, some of mine are that old!) as long as I’m careful with them, unlike other freezer packaging. Since the contents don’t contaminate the lids, they last perfectly too. I write contents & date on the glass sides with a Sharpie, which wipes off easily with a dash of baking soda when you wash jar. Anyone else do this?Read More
The average walking speed for an adult is about 3 to 4 miles per hour, or 1 mile in 15 to 20 minutes. Add on a 25 lb. backpack and chances are you’ll be moving even slower. Unless you’ve been training, in less than an hour, only 3 miles toward your destination, your shoulders and feet are going to be aching. Trust me, I know. Last summer I put on a 25 lb back pack and walked 3 miles several times a week. The first time was brutal. The second and third times weren’t much better. After a few weeks I was able to walk father, faster eventually hitting 12 miles in about 4 1/2 hours…but it still sucked. It REALLY sucked! My hands swelled, my shoulders ached and my feet were killing me! At that same fitness level, I was able to ride a very casual, easy 22 miles in less than 4 hours, and carry a much lighter bag but more gear. And this was on a $125 big box store bike.
Cycling is a great, low-impact workout to improve cardio, endurance, build leg strength, balance and coordination. With the right gear, you can carry far more than you could on your back. It’s environmentally friendly, quiet, requires no fuel and minimal maintenance and is a great way to meet people, hang out with friends and enjoy the outdoors. And honestly, it’s just fun. As more cities become bike friendly and gear more available, bikes and e-bikes as a part of prepping becomes a no-brainer.
But where do I start?
What kind of bike do I need for prepping?
How do I maintain and repair it?
What tools and accessories do I need?
These are all really good questions, and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can in this thread. But I also have a YouTube channel where I cover this topic and a lot more. Check out http://www.youtube.com/c/ReadyToDieFighting. I add videos every week and have a playlist dedicated to essential bike skills for preppers.
But where do I start?
If you have a bike, just start riding. It’s the fastest way to build your stamina and skill. You’ll also start figuring out what you like, need and want. Metroparks often have great trails to ride, but riding through the neighborhood or riding to run errands is a lot of fun and great exercise too. We often even bring the dog and people always stop and watch as she jogs alongside the boy on his bike. It’s adorable!
While riding, be on the lookout for shortcuts and paths you may need or want to take while bugging out. Make note of potential obstacles and areas or roads you may want to avoid. Build up your endurance until you can bike to your bugout location, then work on your time. get there faster. Find alternate routes. Learn how to efficiently go up and down curbs, bunny hop over obstacles and most importantly, safely navigate through traffic.
Look up the bike laws for your state and city. I found a pamphlet for my state called What Every Michigan Bicyclist Must Know. There is probably something like that for your state as well. Find it.
Make friends with your local bike shop. Or even better, find a bike co-op. They often offer classes on bike repair, sell used bikes and gear and may even fix your bike for free. You may also meet cool people and learn about events, trails and other bike related stuff. I learned almost everything I know about fixing bikes from the cool guys and gals at the local bike co-op. Time well spent.
If you don’t have a bike, start shopping around. There are so many options, you should take your time and test ride several before making a purchase. Go to bike shops and see what’s available, read reviews online and consult friends who have been cycling for a while.
What kind of bike do I need for prepping?
TL;DR: A mid-range gravel, trail, or hybrid bike.
The best bike is the one you already have. Especially this year. New bikes are hard to come by thanks to Covid-19. But, you can probably find some nice used bikes. But, for simplicity’s sake, let’s say you can find some new bikes. What kind should you get? You have a lot of choices, but lets break it down into a few categories: road bikes, mountain bikes, commuter bikes, e-bikes, cruiser bikes, and lets group the others into specialty bikes.
But which is best for prepping? And what’s the difference?
REI does a great job at providing an overview of the different types of bikes you can read here: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/bicycle.html
I don’t think I can pick one for everyone. It definitely depends on your needs, skills, terrain and fitness level and budget. But here are some things you should look for:The most important thing to look for, is to make sure it fits you. Buying from someplace like Wal-Mart, you don’t typically get much choice in sizing. But if you go to a bike shop, or surprisingly Dick’s, you can get a bike that is actually the correct size for you. This is based on the actual frame of the bike. Tire size can also make a big difference. I wanted a bike with 29″ wheels for myself because bigger wheels offer a smoother, more efficient ride. But I’m too short, to safely and comfortably ride 29″wheels. So I had to get 27.5″. Best way to know that is to go to a bike shop and try it out. Look for name brand components, especially with the drivetrain. Look at the shifters, Shimano or Sram are your two choices here. Some people prefer one over the other due to feel, but they are equals in quality and reliability. Shimano seems a bit more common especially on entry/midrange models. There are other brands, but chances are they are not going to very good quality. Which doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy the bike, but be aware of what you’re getting. My last bike had off-brand components and I rode it for a season without issue. But, had I needed to replace parts, they may have been difficult to find. And it was only $125. Don’t pay more than that for off-brand components. Make sure you test ride it. Ask lots of questions about the features and how things works. Make sure it’s comfortable and that it fits you. Make sure all the parts are tight and well lubricated and there’s no weird noises or clunkiness. Change the gears, slam the breaks. Hop up and down a curb or two. If anything feels off, find out what it is. It could be a really simple fix or sign of future problems (especially if buying used). Color! You wanna look good don’t you?
Things you should NOT worry about: grips, pedal, seat and seatpost. These are all relatively cheap and easy to replace. They are also very personal items. These are your contact points with the bike, so I would argue that you should replace them to get what is most comfortable to you regardless of which bike you get. If the seat is too high or low, the seatpost can be cut or replaced for around $20. Pedals can get really pricey, but you can get some really nice ones in the $50 range. Keep in mind, mid-level and higher bikes typically don’t come with pedals. Seats vary in price quite a bit and it is probably a better investment to buy padded biking shorts than spend too much on a seat, but that’s up to you. And locking grips can also be had for around $25, which will be much nicer than what come on most entry level bikes.
So what did I get for myself?
I bought my son a $200 Nishiki Pueblo trail bike (type of mountain bike) from Dick’s Sporting Goods in spring of 2019. We had 3 several color options, and even more sizes to choose from. It was easy to find one that fit my son perfectly. It had Shimano drive train, 26″ knobby tires, his favorite color and it’s very easy to work on. The sales person also did repairs in the store and gave the bike a checkup before we left with it. We’ve easily put hundreds of miles on it, gone on mountain biking trails, bike camping, and a lot of falls and crashes. With a few minor upgrades and regular maintenance/repairs, it’s held up remarkably well. The only issue we have is sometimes the handlebars loosen or chain slips, especially after a crash. But it’s an easy fix and is to be expected for the price of the bike. I definitely recommend it for people on a budget, who aren’t afraid to work on their bike.
We immediately bought him a kickstand (many bikes don’t come with them), upgraded his shifters from the twisting style grip shifters to smoother and more accurate trigger shifters. Here is where getting name brand components is a benefit, upgrades like this are easily and inexpensively done without having to worry about compatibility. Then I got him some nice lock on grips, far superior to the slide on grips that can scrunch and slide when wet or dirty. This year I added some reflective stripes as we’ve been doing more road biking and head and tail lights. If he were pickier, I would get him some nicer pedals, but he doesn’t seem to care, so I’ve left them as is. With about $100 worth of upgrades, this bike went from being decent to pretty nice. I rode it recently and was really impressed with the feel and control.
You can find it here: https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/nishiki-mens-pueblo-26-mountain-bike-15nisanshkpbl14xxrmb/15nisanshkpbl14xxrmb
For myself I found a clearanced Haro Subvert HT5 from 2017, brand new. I fell in love with it immediately. It had all the features I’d been looking for in a bike for a fraction of the price: plus sized tires for sand and snow, hydraulic disc brakes for effortless stopping, thru-axles, quality name brand components and my favorite color. I haven’t had it long enough to speak on the durability or what upgrades I may make. But so far, I am happy with my purchase, though I don’t think I would recommend it for prepping purposes. The bike is fun to ride, and definitely looks cool. But it is inefficient on flat pavement. This bike was built for the mountains, but I live in Michigan. Most of our biking is on flat pavement, or slight inclines. That means I’m working harder to go the same distance and speed as others. This became painfully obvious when I went on a ride with a friend on a road bike. She effortless floated over the pavement with her thin, smooth tires while I pedaled twice as hard to keep up worth her. The tables turned however when we went onto a gravel road. My fat knobby tires and suspension allowed me to ride on loose gravel as easily and with as much control as I had on concrete. My friend, however became slow, shaky and eventually got off and walked her bike until we got back on pavement.
Check it out here: https://archive.harobikes.com/mtb/2017-mtb/subvert-ht5-2017
My son’s bike, an inexpensive almost mountain bike performs really well on smooth roads. But he can also follow me just fine on dirt paths, gravel and even winding mountain bike trails over roots and rocks, pump tracks and little jumps. His suspension can’t handle anything too crazy, but it’s enough to give him a nice ride on bumpy roads. And I’ve loaded him up with gear when we went bikepacking. The little trail bike is an all around winner. If you want something similar, check out gravel bikes, hybrid bikes and trail bikes between $200 – $750. There’s really no need to spend more than that unless you just want to. The benefits to the casual rider are minimal.
How do I maintain and repair it?
Your most common and likely repairs are going to be fixing flats, oiling/changing chains and changing brake and shifting cables. These are all pretty easy and there are a ton of YouTube videos that explain how to do this, including my channel. If there’s interest, I’ll follow up this post with step by step instructions on how to perform some of these tasks.
What tools and accessories do I need?Helmet Bike lock Chain oil Tire levers Spare inner tubes Tube patches or tire plugs if tubeless Tire pump Lights Multi-tool Water
** UPDATE **
Here’s the kit I usually take with me. I own all but 1 of these products (KMC 3 in 1 Tool , but I’m ordering one) and have tested them out either at home or on the side of the road/trail. So far, I’ve been happy with them all.
That’s it for now. Get out there and ride!Read More
Have you actually done “it” yet? Practiced that skill you’ve read about, but have never actually done.
Half-measure prepping is like running a race and not crossing the finish line.
It is one thing to read, research, debate and buy items. It is another aspect of prepping to learn and ingrain new skills
Untried and untested items in a prepper storehouse could be a dangerous discovery when the SHTF and you need to rely upon them. That isn’t the time to find out you have forgotten a key part needed for another item to work, or that the item in storage isn’t appropriate for your climate or location.
There is a lot to learn and it can be overwhelming. But, what you learn today and every day before some disaster strikes can help you.
You can learn by reading to a point, but actual experience is needed for many prepping skills. A day or two course is great, but you need to practice in order to retain those skills.
The practice component of prepping is important in that it also helps us to keep our preps simple and not get overblown on items that are unnecessary.
Let’s take hunting for an example. Once the stored food runs out, hunting is going to be a fact of life. Those who survived The Great Depression and other long term disasters quickly found that out. Back then, there were more people who knew how to hunt properly because we had more smaller family farms and a denser rural population with those skills.
You have a gun and bullets. Great, but have you actually hunted and if so, for how many seasons? One season is not enough to learn everything.
In any crisis, but especially a long term crisis, it is important to know how to practice good animal stewardship. You don’t kill the pregnant does or the does with fawns. Fawns stay with the mother for two years.
Be honorable in your hunt and grateful for the animal who gives its life to feed you. Night hunters are not honorable nor are those who take more than what they will use. Animal populations can be decimated very quickly and those who do this will starve in the end.
If you wound it, track it. Hunting is not about letting any animal suffer because you missed the shot. Do you know how to track an animal?
Do you know how to dress for a hunt? Do you know how to stay safe around an animal that you think is dead? A kick from a not quite dead deer can cost you a limb if they break the skin and you get infected without antibiotics in a disaster.
Hunting is a skill that must be mastered over time and preferably taught to you by an excellent hunter so that you learn the right way to hunt and harvest your kill in the environment you will be hunting in.
Have you learned how to properly and safely harvest your kill? Did you buy the proper saws and knives need to butcher the animal? Do you have freezer wrap and freezer tape or some other method of preserving the kill? Do you know how to use the entire animal including the hide?
Do you know to trim all the fat off a deer because it affects the taste of the meat and makes it gamey tasting? Do you know how to properly cook venison so that it tastes really good?
I could have substituted so many other skills: fishing, baking with a solar oven, repair and maintenance of your home and property, gardening, repair and sewing of clothes, evacuation drills, op/sec drills in and out of the home.
The list goes on and on for a reason. It is because each of us comes here with a different background and different skills. Some will have a longer list to learn, while others may want to reconsider their prepping plans.
It is only through careful consideration of what you will need to actually do in a crisis that you will know if it is for you or if you need to do something else.
For example, if hunting seems like too much to take on, then learn to fish.
Harvesting a fish isn’t difficult. For pickerel (walleye) we cut off the head behind the gills, slit the belly and eviscerate. Take the split fish and very carefully take your sharp boning knife and run it between the skin and flesh of the fish. Carefully cut out the flesh from the spine area. Feel with your fingers for any bones you missed.
I haven’t cleaned a fish for years but my “hands remembered” the skill as I typed this. I might have missed a point but if I had a fish in front of me, I am confident that it would come back to me.
The Indigenous people in Northern Canada make a fish head soup that is a delicacy. Also, get a good boning knife. Mine was from a fish processing plant and designed to be extremely well made.
A final point about practicing, you will also find out what you are physically and mentally capable of doing. Knowing our limitations is a very important part of prepping.Read More
The word barter is thought to have it’s origin from an Old French word barater which means ‘deceive’.
The origin of the word should have been my first clue as to why I am terrible at bartering. I mean I am really, really bad at it.
Deception is not in my repertory. I found an item online one time and called the seller. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Hi, you have a tea pot for sale?”
Seller: “Yes, it’s still for sale.”
Me: “Great. I don’t want to buy it. I just called to tell you that I have one like it and you are not charging enough for it. You’ve underpriced it by about a hundred dollars. It’s a collector’s item. I thought you should know.”
Seller: “Thank you.”
On another day, in an antique store I begged my friend to barter on my behalf. He told me no and that I must learn. I tried to tell him I have no aptitude for bartering, but he stood his ground.
I approached the store owner. “Would you accept eighty dollars for that picture over there?”
The store owner was stone faced as he said “No.” It was a hard, flat “no” without even the hint of maybe you could try again in his tone.
I paid full price for my picture and watched in awe as my friend put his items on the counter and then proceeded to coax a smile from the stone faced owner and a reduction on every single item he bought.
Dejected, I consoled myself by thinking of all the things I am good at, but as a highly competitive person, that wasn’t good enough. I resolved that some day, I too, would be able to barter like a pro.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Canada, my “not yet met” husband was the King of garage sale wheeling and dealing.
Do you know that he was actually paid to take an item? All he said was “who would pay a dollar to buy this thing?” The lady running the sale said “I’ll give you two dollars to take it with you.” He found out later that she would have gone as high as five dollars.
He walked away with a taxidermy frog. The frog had it’s hands tacked to a bongo drum and sported a sombrero emblazoned with Tijuana perched jauntily on it’s head. He was posed behind the bongo drum as if he would burst into song if the taxidermist hadn’t sewn his mouth shut.
Although Senor Frog is long gone, he spoke wistfully of it tonight when we discussed the concept of bartering. “It was such a great conversation piece.” I swear there was a tear in his eye.
He is also the only person I know who jacked up the price on every item at his garage sale because sales were slow. He figured, people aren’t buying because my prices are too low and they aren’t perceiving value or quality. So, he doubled the price of everything!
He sold everything and made out like a bandit. Barater, indeed.
Most preppers at some point bring up barter. We want to have the skills or goods to barter for other items we might need.
I think it is an important skill to have. So, I wanted to learn how does one barter effectively?
The first article I found was titled “6 Major Disadvantages of the Barter System.” I was hopeful, perhaps I wouldn’t have barter, after all.
The article is about microeconomics and how it’s hard find someone who has a cow to barter with your horse. It really becomes a problem when you only want to pay four sheep for someone’s horse. They want five sheep. If only you could divide a sheep, you could have made a deal at four and one half sheep for that horse.
I read through it but still didn’t know how to barter and I had a major headache.
Here’s the link for it if anyone likes microeconomics served with a side of order of headache.
Then I found this website and thought I might just have a chance of learning how to do this properly.
I am still not there yet. The last article gave me hope but I wondered if anyone here could share about how they learned to barter successfully?
Does anyone have any tips or suggestions for successful bartering?
I have a feeling I’m going to need all the help I can get and there is no way I’m sending my husband to barter. One Senor Frog is enough.Read More
Rene Descartes wrote: “The senses deceive from time to time, and it is prudent never to trust wholly those who have deceived us even once.”
A careful hunter knows to double check what he sees in his sights before he pulls the trigger. His vision relays movement, form, and color to a buck fevered brain. Moose! He takes a breath and double checks what he thinks he has seen and discovers it is actually another person walking in the woods.
“Better to miss the shot, then kill a person,” he thinks.
This happened to someone I know who used to guide and teach people to hunt. He used it as an example of how even a seasoned hunter is capable of making a mistake and that mistakes are not an option when you could kill a person and not what you are hunting.
This incident is an example of what Descartes wrote about our senses and deception. Our senses work both ways. They help us perceive the present while also being capable of misinforming us at the same time.
We have five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch that gather information about our environment. This information is then interpreted by our brain.
Our understanding of this information is based on the lessons from our previous experience and information that comes from a combination of each of our senses.
This process produces information to which we respond almost automatically. Like other animals, this sensory information is significant to our survival.
Sense dominance varies between animals. Hunters recognize this in their prey.
Each sense provides different information, with our dominant sense being sight. Hearing is our most sensitive sense because of the range upon which it operates.
Smell and taste are the oldest of our senses and are needed for avoiding danger, mating and feeding.
Age and illness can blunt taste and smell. Loss of smell affects appetite rendering food less appealing. This is a contributing factor to poor nutrition in the aged.
When we prepare for emergencies or disasters, our senses and how they work to protect us should be considered.
For example, is it better to use scented products for personal care over unscented during an emergency?
If you are trapped, perhaps the smell of your deodorant or cologne might reach the olfactory senses of the rescuers faster?
Or is it dangerous to use scented products if you are hiding from a predator during a crisis and he can smell you?
Smell alerts us to the presence of others, tells us if food is bad or if food is cooking on some campfire miles away or simmering on the stove of the house next door.
In a disaster the smell of our food or the food next door can draw a human or animal predator to our position.
Our garbage can also leave a smell that might attract unwanted visitors including rodents. It is a big issue in surviving long term disasters especially in an urban area.
It is better to plan for this problem before a disaster happens. Consider the food debris left inside a can or which foods smell up the garbage the fastest.
How do you rinse a can if water is being rationed?
Do you use a can crusher to compact garbage and then seal the remains before disposal? How do you eliminate garbage when there may not be services and discretion is necessary?
Sight is critical for nonverbal communication. If you are approached by someone, what they communicate can guide your decision to trust them or not. Think of how that can apply to navigating a long duration crisis.
Sight is how we navigate, hunt and survey the world around us. We can see the sky take on a greenish cast before a tornado. We can see that our vegetables are ready to harvest.
If our vision is or became impaired during a crisis, how can we plan ahead for that when constructing our preparedness? Are night vision tools something to include in our preps to help us see in the dark?
Does our security preparedness include the ability to black out our home? Have we checked in the evening to see how far away a single candle or light can illuminate our home? Can we reduce our visibility or disappear from the sight and attention of predators in a crisis?
Taste is a digestive aid and is part of the way we can determine if something is good to eat. Consider the SAS instructions for all the steps used to determine if something is safe to eat in the wild.
Hearing is part of how we communicate with other people and our environment, especially at night when our vision doesn’t work as well.
A twig snapping can signal the presence of another human at night. Bird song that suddenly stops can also signal the same presence during the day.
Hearing can inform us that someone is in distress. It can warn us of an impending disaster as in the thundering sound of a storm or tornado.
Touch can tell us if someone is ill with a fever. It warns us if our environment is too hot or too cold and protects us from overheating and from freezing. It prevents us from picking up a hot pan and burning ourselves.
We are alerted to pain through our sense of touch. If we are examining ourselves or another person for injury during a disaster, think of how touch plays a major role in correct assessment.
I use touch to feel when a cake is done or if my bread dough is kneaded enough.
This is a small sampling of examples of how our five senses become critical components to consider when planning or organizing our preparedness.
A final point about our five senses is to consider the power of our senses to elevate our mood and well being.
How might a crisis impact our psychological well being? Why not prepare and construct a “five sense first aid kit” to bolster well being during a disaster?Read More
A family of seven that I knew was on vacation and traveling by car. A semi tractor and trailer came up behind them at a high rate of speed and he wasn’t slowing down. He bore down upon their station wagon. There was no way that the driver of that semi couldn’t have seen the children in the back of that vehicle.
The terrified family was forced to speed through a very dangerous stretch of winding Ontario highway that had been built through the rocky terrain. An accident there was usually bad. The driver finally managed to find a way to egress the highway and got his family out of harms way.
Some years later, I had an opportunity to listen to a former trucker who told me about how he used to carry an attache case full of pills, mostly speed that kept him awake and hurtling down the highway.
As I listened to him, I thought of the family who had almost been run off the highway. It all made sense. That driver had to have been high to do what he did to them.
Fast forward again, a person I know is murdered. I worked with him through an organization where I was his sponsor and helped to guide him. The last time we spoke, he was going back to school. I never heard from him after that and thought it was because he was busy with school and a new chapter in his life. This was not an uncommon event when sponsoring people.
I read the regional news one day and there was a sentencing report briefly noted. For some reason, I thought of my sponsee and ran a search on his name.
Around sixteen months earlier, he had been murdered by a couple of meth heads. Because of how I knew him and the anonymity involved, no one knew to call me. I read the account of his death and cried for days.
He had survived a beating as a youth that left him near dead and with permanent disability. He was brain injured. One side of his body was severely impaired. He walked with a pronounced limp.
He was also determined to be better. He was known by his smile and positive nature. What he survived as a youth didn’t beat the goodness out of him.
He lived independently in a rooming house. He opened his door that day because he still trusted the world.
His teacher had to call the police and tell them that the body they found was of a disabled man. He had been beaten so badly that they couldn’t recognize his condition prior to the attack. A male and a female inflicted those injuries.
I remember biker crank in the 60’s. We used to shake our heads at the fools who used that garbage. We called them “tweakers.”
Today, meth has become the new “zombie apocalypse.”
Heroin addicts will try to steal your purse. One of my aunts was accosted and beaten about the head in Vancouver, BC by a couple of heroin addicts, but not so severely that she couldn’t gain control the situation and tell them, “I will give you some money, but you may not have my hand bag.”
This is not the case with meth users. There was a case in Winnipeg MB where a man was abducted off the street at 9:00 p.m., held and tortured for twelve hours. He managed to escape the house where he was being held when his kidnappers left him alone in order to raid his bank account using his information.
There is an extreme level of violence associated with meth use.
Meth users will attack you because they are in a state of psychoses. Their thoughts and emotions have become so impaired that they have lost touch with reality.
Psychosis is characterized by hallucinations and paranoia. This state of mind can be present in paranoid schizophrenia. However, a meth psychosis co-occurs with meth usage and usually abates once the user is withdrawn off the drug. That process can take hours or up to a week, unless there are other underlying conditions involved that have been triggered by the meth usage.
Meth users can become psychotic if they have used a lot of meth or if they are in a withdrawal stage and just about anything in between. They are unstable and unpredictable. There is no way for any of us to know when a meth user is going to break with reality and become psychotic.
As with other reasons for being prepared, I wanted to stay prepared and safe in view of this new threat and that meant educating myself about the threat.
To do that, I first wanted to understand why meth use had become popular again. I read a six-part series in The Oregonian which was a very thorough investigative report on the methamphetamine crisis.
I reviewed Faces of Meth which was started by a member of the Multnomah Country Sheriffs’ office so that I could recognize the physical characteristics of meth users.
I read medical information on how meth affects people so that I could recognize a meth addict faster.
There is not one singular demographic that applies. Meth users can be educated, young or old and from any walk of life.
A person in a meth induced state of psychosis can speak rapidly and ramble from one topic to the next. Their conversation may be very hard to follow. They may be restless, agitated and very jumpy.
They may be up for days and then crash hard. When they are coming down off a meth binge, meth users can be particularly dangerous.
Their beliefs may be very odd or unusual with a paranoid belief that others are out to get them.
They like to take things apart and their yards may be scattered with disassembled items. Inside their homes, they may have dug through walls to “trace” the electrical or to follow some other bizarre train of thought.
Meth users may pick at or scratch at their skin because they feel like there are bugs crawling on them.
Many but not all meth users are thin. They may have sores on their faces or limbs from picking at the skin.
They may have plucked their eyebrows and eyelashes out or sections of their hair. They may have shaved parts of their head or done other bizarre things to their appearance.
Their facial skin becomes prematurely lined and aged in appearance and their eyes take on a “crazed” appearance.
Dental issues are common with many users missing teeth or displaying rotted teeth. It is unknown why jaw deterioration continues in some users long after they have ceased using this drug.
Meth users are extremely hard to take down. Police can deploy their tasers multiple times while grappling with a meth user and it has little to no effect. It takes multiple officers to restrain and control the psychotic meth user and often police are injured in the process.
Medical personnel who must cope with them are also often injured and it is a real problem in hospital emergency wards.
I looked into the existence of meth users in my small town and found that we were not immune. We had them living among us and I wanted to be proactive about protecting myself.
My home security was bumped up to prevent home invasion by fortifying my doors.
My husband and I ran drills over how to react in various situations inside and outside our home, as well as at various times of day, including being awakened. We use each other’s second name as a code word that means 911 now, no questions asked.
I ensured that I had access to items that could be rapidly deployed to inflict a knock out strike. This is one situation where there is no way I am getting in close to someone in combat. I am keeping something between me and them.
Aside from carrying knives, meth users have a preternatural strength borne of their altered state. This meant I had to mentally prepare to use extreme force on someone of any age or gender who might outwardly appear to be physically frail and thin.
I am working on arranging legal access to a gun for protection.
In the case of the man who was abducted at 9:00 p.m. referenced above, Constable Tammy Skrabek, a spokesperson for the Winnipeg police “called the case unique and said the “regular safety messages” police give, like being aware of your surroundings, wouldn’t have made a difference for the victim.”
“In this case, he was paying attention; it was just not expected that these people were going to grab him,” she said.”
I respectfully disagree with Constable Skrabek’s conclusion. I lived in Winnipeg for many years and no one wanders around certain areas on foot and alone at 9:00 p.m. if they possess any situational awareness or common sense. Winnipeg was called “murder capital of Canada” for a reason.
Secondly, situational awareness would have prevented those two men getting anywhere near the victim.
The abductors had to pull up and then pull him in off the street. That meant parking their vehicle and both of them exiting the vehicle. This wasn’t a six person abduction. A person with street smarts who was paying attention to his environment would have been gone as soon as that vehicle angled towards him and before they had a chance to park.
I ramped up my situational awareness whether in my small town or in an urban area over and above my regular vigilance. I watch closely for signs of meth users around me by their appearance and behavior.
I check my yard for any drug paraphernalia.
Meth users were paid to piece shredded documents together so the data could be used or sold in the criminal marketplace. They have the ability to fixate and do this under the influence of meth.
I purchased a new shredder. Now any paper with any information including shipping and receiving is shredded on a high quality shredder that prevents the pieces from being restored. I also shred any medication labels or any prescription bags or information.
I put new protocols in place for picking up medication after my husband was almost assaulted in the drug store parking lot. They two people involved are confirmed meth users.
I also hold the local police accountable and have used my security cameras to report meth distribution activity at a house in my neighborhood. They are aware of it, but it is being handled through their drug enforcement channels.
Drug enforcement operates on a work your way up the ladder methodology. They catch the small time addicts, get three names, and keep climbing until they get the big fish higher up.
This is understandable, but it does take time, sometime years, for change to trickle back down to the community level. Some drug houses are left to operate for that reason.
In the interim, all of us need to approach the threats associated with meth usage as we do any other threat: we educate and prepare ourselves.Read More
Long or short journeys, domestic or abroad require preparedness.
Despite the current situation, it is worthwhile to understand how to stay safe when we do travel away from home. It is another aspect of preparedness.
I would like to begin with a story about a former co-worker. Jane back packed her way across Europe with a friend in the 1960’s.
The journey was going well until they arrived in Spain. At the time Spain was under the control of the notorious dictator, Franco.
The train on which they traveled was stopped by the Spanish military. The heavily armed soldiers boarded the train and demanded to see passports. Jane got out her information and although she was afraid, calmly sat and waited.
When the soldiers arrived at their seat, her friend decided to tell the soldiers in very colorful and easily translated expletives what they could do to themselves. They weren’t going to order her around and actually started to rise in her seat as she ranted at them.
Jane had the presence of mind to grab her friend and pull her back down into her seat. She told her “shut up, you’re going to get us killed, give them your passport and not another word.” Then Jane apologized to the soldiers in Spanish for her friend who had misunderstood and to please forgive her.
This regime was ruthless. They could have been dragged off the train and shot. After the train incident, Jane split from traveling with her friend and completed the rest of her journey alone.
Know the person you are traveling with and discuss reactions to situations such as this in advance. You are a guest in someone’s Country and an understanding of the cultural and social mores there will make you a welcome guest who is less likely to get into trouble. You don’t want to get into trouble or land in jail because of someone else.
These are the basics for safe international travel:
Do your research and understand the cultural differences. For example, in Egypt an unmarried female who travels alone is considered a prostitute.
Learn about any hand gestures that may be considered offensive. I believe it is in Thailand or Indonesia where crossing one’s legs and exposing the soles of the shoe or foot is considered very offensive. In Singapore littering can land you a punishment by caning.
Never consume drugs in a foreign Country and watch the rules regarding alcohol. Never get intoxicated. You want to be lucid at all times.
Find out if there is civil unrest in the Country or if tourists are being targeted as was the case in Egypt.
Never leave your luggage unattended. Never agree to carry someone else’s luggage.
Ensure your family or friends back home have a full itinerary of where you will be staying and a copy of your passport, and other identification, including recent photos and bank information.
If something happens to you, they will be able to work with authorities using recent information. If you need help financially, they can deposit money to your bank account. Ensure that they are authorized to handle any banking needs, such as bill payment while you are away. International cell rates can be very high.
Set up agreed upon contact points and times and keep them. This way your family will know if something has gone wrong sooner and what your whereabouts where when you disappeared.
Practice situational awareness especially when traveling.
Women are frequently targeted at airports and kidnaped. Human trafficking is a very real danger. Ensure that the people you interact with, including taxi drivers are who they purport to be. It is safer to use your hotel shuttle service as transport from the airport to your hotel.
In your hotel, ensure that the door is locked and bolted with security lock while in your room. Check the room thoroughly upon possession of it to ensure no on is lurking and also to ensure that nothing illegal was left behind. Never open the door to anyone who is not expected. It takes seconds to call the main desk and confirm who is at your door and why.
If you intend to visit tourist areas, be aware that is also the place where criminals will congregate. Predators go where the prey is located.
If you choose to go to Amsterdam’s red light district, be aware that tourists can have very bad experiences there. There are people who are criminals who have immigrated to The Netherlands. The problem is that as a tourist, you might think they are tourists. They are not. You may be dealing with one at an ATM and suddenly find yourself surrounded by fifteen more men.
These gangs of thieves rig the ATM so that your cash won’t dispense properly. Then they come behind after you give up and fish your money out. Pick pockets are especially bad in tourist areas. They can work alone or in a tandem. One bumps into you and the other steals your wallet while you are distracted.
Deal with the banks in the daytime in the branch. Ensure you wear a hidden money and passport carrier. A zippered money and passport carrier that sits flat under the waistband of your pants is not easily accessible and stay out of sight. Forget purses. Try to blend in with the locals as much as possible.
Look like you mean business, don’t look like a victim. Tourists very often have a distracted and vague look on their faces because they are preoccupied with the new environment. That is a giveaway and makes you a target.
Jane, the woman in the story who carried on traveling alone finally landed in a small village in Greece only to discover that her American Express traveler’s checks were lost.
She spoke no Greek, but was able to use the telephone of a kindly Greek couple. Jane called her Dad who arranged the Am Ex check replacement which would be there in about two weeks. Meanwhile, she had no money. The check replacement wasn’t as rapid as she believed.
The kindly Greek couple took pity on Jane and gave her a free room and food in their small room to let hotel while she waited for the money.
Jane was alone and unable to communicate with anyone. She was sitting on her bed, feeling very dejected and then she heard it. It was English! Someone, a male voice was singing “Some Enchanted Evening” quite loudly.
Jane flew through the door overjoyed to have someone to talk with and met the man. She said to him “Oh. You speak English?”
He shook his head and began to sing the song again. It was the only English he knew.Read More
Three friends were hanging out at an amusement park in Vancouver, BC. They decided to leave the park and drive over to the Sea Festival about ten miles away.
They had to park and walk about a mile to get to the festival. As the three of them walked toward the festival, they heard yelling and laughter. They thought that what they had heard was true and that people were having a lot of fun at this festival.
The yelling and laughter drew closer and finally a stream of youths ran past them. Then they saw riot police coming toward them.
Two of them wanted to turn and run away because they were afraid. The other friend told them, “No, don’t move, face toward the police and put your hands in the air.”
The three friends stood facing police, hands in the air.
A riot policeman approached them and before he could say anything, the young man who told his friends to stand still, told the police officer, “We just got here. We don’t know what’s going on.”
The policeman then summoned fellow officers who helped escort the three young men back to their vehicle. They were told what route to take to get out of the area.
They found out that a riot had broken out at the Sea Festival. The laughing and yelling youths who had ran past them were actually rioters who had smashed storefronts and caused a lot of damage.
If the three unsuspecting friends had turned and ran, they would have considered part of the rioting group.
How you react when suddenly confronted with a situation like this can make or break your survival of it.
This was a relatively benign example from an actual incident that took place in Canada in the 1970’s. However, we are not all fluffy little teddy bears up here. In Vancouver BC, the riots after a hockey game are legendary.
Civil unrest and encounters with mobs are a more common threat today, so it is worthwhile to understand the risk and how to prepare for it.
The term “mob mentality” conveys the single minded and unpredictable mind set of a mob. When it overtakes a group of people for any reason, the situation devolves and becomes dangerous rapidly.
The first consideration is not to become exposed to such a threat. Avoidance is the first and most important practice for managing risk.
Don’t go where the trouble is located and that includes online sites.
There are some preparedness people who advocate following the social media of groups who engage in civil unrest. This is a bad suggestion.
You are known by your associations. These groups are heavily monitored by government security and law enforcement agencies.
Your electronic footprint does not want to be stepping anywhere near these kinds of groups. In other words, don’t go dancing in the barnyard, if you don’t want to end up with cow manure on your boots.
It makes better sense to monitor and set an alert through legitimate news media or local civic alert systems.
If you are caught in a mob unawares as the three men in the opening story, then take measures to get out of it as fast as you can.
Don’t resemble the people in the mob. Remove anything that is similar to their clothing, if possible and within reason. For example, if they are all wearing hats, remove your hat or ball cap. You will be less likely to be identified as one of them on security cameras or by law enforcement.
Don’t talk to people in the mob and watch your nonverbal communication.
Stay calm, head down and keep moving at a steady pace. Don’t run or draw attention to yourself. Spawning salmon behavior will be counterproductive and can get you noticed.
Go with the flow and calmly move toward the outer edges of the mob at a steady pace. Avoid any areas or bottlenecks where you could be crushed.
This is where situational awareness can’t be stressed enough. Always know the area that you are in and how to navigate it. You need to know how to exit the mob at the first safe and accessible place.
That could be a side street or an alley. There may be a safe building or even a safe doorway that you can take shelter in. If you take shelter in a building, know where the exits are located in case it becomes an unsafe place in which to shelter.
If you are concerned that you could be crushed or thrown off balance because of a crowd surge, lock your elbows in a bent position and use them to push down on the crowd so that they propel you forward. Stay on your feet.
If you are in your vehicle, you have options. You can turn around if possible and get out of there or make your way to a safer street.
Some advocate to drive forward if there are only a few people in the situation and your vehicle is not a target. I would still turn around and avoid the situation. How do you know hundreds of people aren’t going to come pouring around a corner?
Regardless of the number of people involved, your vehicle could be targeted in an instant. Then you will be faced with the possibility of hitting someone with your vehicle. You may also find your vehicle rendered inoperable because it is suddenly surrounded and damaged. It’s your choice.
If at home during periods of civil unrest, stay away from windows, keep your doors locked. Do not go outside to see what’s going on. Use your security cameras to monitor the situation outside.
Move away from walls where bullets or rocks could penetrate and injure you.
Watch for fires and the smell of smoke. Fires can begin in riots, so keep watch until it is over.
Continue to monitor the situation at home to ensure you are certain that it is over.Read More
Here comes the sun – When a massive solar flare, grid loss and overheated nuclear reactors change the world. [Edited to include what the prepper in the story did wrong.]
Solution for what the prepper did wrong at the end of the post.
This morning, you watch as the sun shoves the sky aside and plants itself in your line of vision. Sunrise. No one cares much for sunrise these days.
Thirteen months have passed since your world went silent and dark.
The massive solar storm stopped the world dead in its tracks. It destroyed the vulnerable electric power grid transformers. There had been a committee back in 2011 that had examined the risks and warned action was needed. It was too late now.
You listen. Nothing. At one time the sound of traffic and horns honking was an annoyance. Now, you would give today’s ration of food to hear a car or sip a warm beverage, or linger with a good book while sitting on a gleaming white porcelain toilet that actually flushed. When the grid was destroyed, it took sewage, sanitation and potable water along with it.
At first, they said restoration would happen in months, then months became “foreseeable future.” There was some irony for you in that phrase. No one was seeing much of anything these nights. It was pitch black at night now.
You try to remember the smell of coffee in the morning. You haven’t made coffee for three months since your supply of fuel ran out. You should have stocked more fuel or searched for better alternatives while you had the chance to do so.
Has it only been 13 months? It feels like an eternity has passed since the sun threw a massive solar tantrum larger than the Carrington Event of 1859.
The event was the solar flare equivalent of the big earthquake on the San Andreas fault predicted by seismologists.
Some reports said a solar storm wouldn’t have the deleterious effects upon communications and electronics that everyone feared.
The misinformation about solar flares and the electro magnetic pulses were fed partly by the entertainment industry.
People mocked those who doggedly prepared for a solar storm event because they didn’t understand how a solar storm would affect the power grid.
Severe solar storms only produce an E3 element that takes out the power grid transformers, and initiates DC like currents in extremely long electrical conductors.
Solar storms don’t produce the rapid E1 element that damages electronics. It was the loss of power that rendered electronics useless.
No one considered the threat that would result from long term power loss and it’s effect upon nuclear power plants. When those effects became apparent, everyone suddenly remembered Chernobyl and Fukashima.
The early days of blackout conditions and the subsequent looting and rioting was nothing compared to the long term effects of grid loss and the reactions of the nuclear power plants.
Then the psychological illness started, people who hadn’t prepared couldn’t cope with the utter devastation of their electronic world. They were overwhelmed by the disruption to all the modern conveniences integrated into their lives. You could see it in their eyes. They were not just hungry and dirty. They were lost also. Some of them became fatalistic and murderous in their insanity and very dangerous.
You need to forage. Maybe someone missed something in the mosaic of abandoned cars that litter the roadways and streets. But, you need to go further away from home to do so. It’s a big risk taking the bicycle out. Bicycles are like gold now and people have been killed for them.
You lace your boots up and whisper “thank you” to a prepper on The Prepared who taught you about FLC: feet, leather, covered.
You made sure to have the best boots you could afford. After testing them, you bought two extra pairs of those boots plus repair materials and learned how to repair them to extend their life. It wasn’t just a prep for a long duration event. You knew that sometimes really good quality items stopped being made or began to be made with inferior materials or workmanship.
Footwear was an important prep and the limping, poorly shod people roaming about were grim reminders. Some people with bad footwear were getting infected feet. Gangrene was nothing to fool with.
Save the bicycle for when it’s time to bug out. On The Prepared, you learned about The Monowalker from a UK prepper. It was carefully stored and ready to be used for bug out. Another “thank you.”
You wondered if the people from The Prepared were alive, if they and their families were okay. You hoped that however they prepared, that it was enough. You hoped that an experimental gardener with the dogs and gardens was picking ju-jubes and that there was a pound cake on their table.
It had become tougher to forage as more and more desperate people scavenged, while predator survivors waited in the shadows to take what they found.
Gun fights were common and avoiding stray bullets was a new pastime. When bullets hit your home, you moved your bed away from the outer walls and slept in a room lined with bookcases for protection.
Today, you could assemble a travois to carry larger or heavier items as close as possible, then “cache and carry” under cover of darkness. You needed to assemble more barter items to get the supplies you lacked for the long bug out journey ahead.
It was almost “bug-out o’clock.” Your personal doomsday clock was ticking louder. Bug out was your last resort, but survival is and always will be your first resort.
The bug out option became more complicated after the reactors overheated. It was a part of prepping that many preppers hadn’t factored.
There were now fewer options unless you wanted to glow in the dark. You had heard the radiation wasn’t as bad at the West Coast. “Heard!” How could you have forgotten to print the map for predicted reactor drift? You printed all your other important prep info!
The chorus of regret began to rise and flow toward your amygdala where it would soon become panic. NO!
Focus. Stay focused and aware. Get through today. Do it thirty seconds at a time if necessary, but get through today alive. You can do this. You can make it.
Internal pep talk concluded, you sling your dummy pack over one shoulder and do a final pat down and run a mental check list from head to feet of everything stashed on your person. The dummy pack was just some crumpled paper, empty tin cans, and a couple of rocks in a bag, but it was a way to blend in, foil robbers and useful as an improvised weapon.
What’s left of your guns and ammo is reserved for the long road ahead.
You think of The Prepared and everyone there who became an online community of preppers. You whisper the words into the air, “wherever you are, I hope you survived and if I make it, it will be because of all of you.”
Go time. You step out into the sun and begin to walk.
How could you become better prepared for a severe solar storm, long term loss of the power grid and the potential impact upon the nuclear power plants?
Here’s what the prepper in the story did wrong.
This scenario was meant to illustrate the power grid loss and reactor issues, but there was another message left in clues throughout the story.
The story is set thirteen months after the event in an urban area based on the number of people roaming about.
The person in the story is alone without any community established either before or after the event occurred. We’ll call this person the prepper.
The prepper claims to have not made coffee for three months which would place their last coffee ten months after the event happened. Making coffee with its distinct aroma was a mistake from the beginning.
The coffee should have been saved to drink cold if in need of caffeine to stay alert. This prepper was low on fuel, yet they still wasted fuel on a cup of coffee. That fuel might have been needed to boil water and sterilized equipment for first aid purposes.
Next, the prepper admits not prepping enough fuel or alternates which are part of needs, not wants in prepping. Water, food, shelter, defense, clothing, warmth, and first aid are needs, not “nice to haves.”
The prepper clearly describes the psychological condition of the population, yet is still sheltering in place without adequate community or resources.
The prepper describes needing to forage and having to go further away because vehicles in close proximity have been picked clean. This is now done on foot and without the bicycle. How does he plan to get that bicycle and Monowalker out of there without being noticed at this late stage?
Bicycles may be considered gold in the scenario, but so are boots according to the story with people needing them. He should have been “public” in an old pair that he could afford to lose.
The pepper refers to The Prepared and people that he learned from, yet has failed to see that the need for bug out happened long ago. Would this have happened with other people/family around? Is the isolation affecting this person’s judgement? Is there a lesson for all of us regarding isolation?
The prepper refers to “predator survivors” stealing from other survivors. No one should remain in that environment, nor in an environment with “gun fights” that are “common.” “Avoiding stray bullets” should not be a preppers “pastime.”
The prepper in the story wants to scavenge and possibly “cache and carry” items with which to barter to get supplies he “lacks” for the long bug out journey ahead. If he was prepared, why is he lacking important items?
Whom does he plan to barter with? It doesn’t sound like people around him are doing very well and barely surviving. If they did have what he needed, he could have bartered the boots he was wearing and worn his brand new back up pair without risking a foraging trip.
There are survivor predators and he thinks that he can just breeze past them with his foraged items? They would be out a night also and he will have trouble seeing them until it is too late.
The prepper is wasting more time and energy and running more risk in this fruitless exercise that he is mistaking for survival.
It no longer matters that bug out was a “last resort.” Now it should be his first resort if he wants to survive.
The prepper doesn’t have any maps.
The reference at the end to “what’s left of your guns and ammo” is troubling. How much shooting was this prepper doing? If you are alone and have to shoot that much, you shouldn’t be there. Why waste ammo when the solution is to exit a no win situation.
We assemble items, information, plan and prepare, but in an actual disaster we need to be careful of our judgement.
Hanging onto preconceived ideas that are clearly no longer working for us in a disaster, is a dangerous strategy, especially if we are alone and there is no one else to challenge our thinking.
Sometimes, our judgement can be faulty. We may, like the person in the story, remain far too long SIP, when we should have been long gone.
We may also place priority on having items that are not necessary or wasting resources in order to have “the comforts of home.”
Bugging out is not a camping trip. It is becoming a refugee to save your life, so take with you what will actually help you to survive.
One final note on the cars, the prepper in the story did not check the mass of vehicles for one made in an era (80’s) which from my newly formed understanding, would not have sustained damage during the solar flare. A bit of siphoning, stash bug out items, and if no keys, hot wire and go.Read More
Please see the bottom of this original post for an edit which explains why I wrote this scenario:
It is early evening and you have settled in to relax after this evening’s rations.
Rations. No one used the words “meal” or “breakfast” any more. “Lunch” and “supper” were long gone out of everyone’s vocabulary as well.
The word “snack” was considered vulgar and unthinkable considering the situation. People were hungry all the time now. Some people were even starving.
No one in North America ever envisioned the lands of big sky and bountiful prairie fields to become massive tracts of unproductive wastelands. They were now ugly reminders of a time when bellies were full, so full in fact, that people had to exercise and diet.
No one said the “diet” word anymore either.
Food security was assumed, expected, like a tap that delivered when it was turned on. There was food in the fields, food in the store and food in the cupboard. Then in 2024, a series of events pushed most of the world’s nations into famine.
Climate oscillations triggered climate variability which triggered yield variability.
Climate change had become the tortoise of the fable and it was slowly crossing the finish line first in the battle against environmental disaster.
Bees were on their knees in the fight for their survival and the world had the low yields and harvest failures to prove it. Many countries followed China’s methods and were now reliant upon hand pollination.
Developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America were homes to the vast tracts of monocultures grown to feed the global market, including soy for livestock.
It was an unprecedented alignment of events that became the dominos that fell, one by one, colliding into each other and finally ended with a massive global famine.
You are one of the prepared who accounted for this risk in your planning and preparations.
You learned to garden and save seeds many years before this event. You also created indoor garden space in your garage and home and practiced growing in those conditions in case it wasn’t safe to grow outdoors.
You created a secret garden to supplement your meager food supply. You venture into the parks and back country to forage for food.
The rations supplied by the government provide some nutrition, but your stored food items, plus the indoor and secret gardens give you hope that you and your family can survive this disaster.
Your reverie is interrupted by the commotion outside. You grab your gun and check the security cameras.
There is a man, roughly late 20’s who has breached your fence. He is agitated and yelling something about food. Another desperate one, you think. Were we sloppy with ration handling? Did this guy smell something?
You key the mic. “You are trespassing. Get off this property now.” Your voice booms through the air.
It has no effect on the man who continues yelling. He is saying “Help, please help me. I need a bit of food. Anything, please, I’m begging you.”
Again, you key the mic. “I’m not telling you again. Get off this property now or I will shoot you.
This agitates the man even more and he moves closer to your back door. “No, no, no. Please, you don’t understand, I need help, please, just a bit of food.”
You take aim through your gun port and squeeze the trigger. The man crumples to the ground. You didn’t want to do it, but there are so many of them roaming and looking for food. They are becoming more aggressive and there have been reports of increased violence.
You are getting ready go out and drag the body off your property, when suddenly, there is a shrill cry and a little girl around five years old comes running into the yard. She runs straight toward the man’s body and throws herself upon him. She is crying and wailing.
“Daddy?” “Daddy, wake up!” “Wake up, Daddy.” “Daddy?”
Then little girl suddenly stops and sits silent, still and in shock.
What do you do now?
How would you have handled the situation?
Crop failure risks
Monocropping and harvest failures
Secret garden – growing food in plain sight
The reason for writing this scenario is buried in a response and I would like to clarify that this was not intended in any way for shock value. It is to outline a very real aspect of prepping under conditions when we have prepared and others have not prepared.
It was also written as a commentary on the fragility of our food security. Here is the piece extracted from the replies:
“I posed a similar scenario to some people many years ago, but did it in two stages and under different conditions. It took place in a pandemic. I was truly surprised back then by the answers I received. I did do it a bit differently.
In the first part, I didn’t disclose the child, only the adult male. Some people shot the guy. A few people social distanced and threw him a takeaway bag of food.
Then I posted the second part about the child. I had made reference to increasing violence in that scenario as well as this one. Now this vulnerable child appears and she is at risk of violence.
In the pandemic scenario, some people were prepared to shoot her also.
Others said they would just go out in ppe’s and take the child in, put her in quarantine in case she was a carrier, and then have her stay with them until things could be sorted out.
Back then, I responded, “You just shot her Dad in front of her. Do you think she will want to go with you?”
The responses that were the most chilling, were from people who stated that they would leave her out there to fend for herself alone, amidst the violence.
Those responses came from people who didn’t seem like the kind of folks who would ever respond that way. It was an eye opener.
It got me thinking about building prepping community. When we build prepper community, we are looking at a criteria. I realized back then, that we have to look deeper into how people will react under various conditions.”
In the replies is a link about my friend’s father who was a Hong Kong Vet. The long term starvation aspect was the reason I mentioned it in the replies and then decided to include his story from the Hong Kong Vets Association. It is a riveting account of how a group of young men used guts and ingenuity to survive as POW’s in the notorious Chinese and Japanese POW camps.
These men were starving and maltreated and yet they found ways to eat, improvise medical equipment and endure the brutality of the camps. Ultimately, you will see an incredible story of survival and courage with lessons relevant to this day for anyone who prepares. May we all be as strong.
William Bell Hong Kong Vet POW and SurvivorRead More
Re first post: https://theprepared.com/forum/thread/home-invasion
Let’s look now at what could have been done to prevent or change the outcome of this scene.
The home did not have a security system to alert that four men had approached the property and split into two groups, each heading for an exterior door.
Security cameras wrapped around the house, set with perimeter alarms, infrared and enabled with facial recognition would have alerted the wife who was in the kitchen and possibly the sleeping husband.
She then could have pressed a 911 panic button while simultaneously alerting her husband. He would have been on his feet with a side arm drawn. His wife would have her side arm drawn and ready to defend instead of leaving it upstairs in her purse.
The husband would not have weak core muscles. The family would be healthy, fit and ready to defend with good cardiovascular conditioning.
The front and back doors and their respective door jambs were easily breached. It isn’t difficult to use a pry bar on a wooden door jamb, bypass poor door locks and make entrance through a wood door. Window inserts and sidelight panels that are installed into doors make it that much easier.
Steel door jambs bolted properly into the house with solid steel doors secured by properly fitted and installed dead bolt locks would have been a major deterrent.
Four unmasked men entering your home when it is obvious that the inhabitants of the home are present is a huge red flag that you have now entered a life and death experience.
Thieves usually go out of their way to avoid the inhabitants of a place that they rob. A home invasion may have robbery as part of the motive, but it also implies violence.
The German Shepherd is a protective breed, however, no dog is ever immune to harm. A dog can be a wonderful companion animal or early warning alarm. Any breed can try to defend their human pack, but they are too easily killed. Don’t rely on it as a source of protection.
The husband can hear commotion in the kitchen while he is being overcome. He should know by now that there have been multiple breaches and his wife is also in trouble.
He also knows that there are no guns used to control him, only a knife, gag and zip ties.
As his wife is dragged past him, he notes that she is injured, but lucid and restrained in the same way.
There is only one man watching the two of them. Immediately, he and his wife enact their prepared home invasion response.
She distracts the male guarding them with a fit of coughing while he removes a bobby pin from the waistband of his pants. He removes the coated tip from the bobby pin and wedges it between the interlocking teeth and ratchet of the zip tie.
He learned this technique and others by reading Clint Emerson’s books “100 Deadly Skills” and “100 Deadly Skills The Survival Edition.”
Because they have prepared, his wife can reasonably anticipate what her husband will do and jumps up to further distract the man who is watching them. This allows her husband time to respond and disable the intruder from behind and neutralize him.
There are three men upstairs who are able to attack the unsuspecting children because both children used noise cancelling headphones. Anything that disables part of your senses creates an opportunity for an intruder or assailant to attack you. If worn, headphones need to allow for hearing.
In a prepared family, the children would not be wearing headphones, they would have both heard their mother yelling “Dave,” their family code word for intruder in the house, get out now, no questions asked, leave your BOB, get to the neighbors and call for help. They would have had a chance to open their bedroom windows selected for a rapid open and egress design and exit the upstairs via their individual fire escape ladders.
The children would have known to escape at the first sound of trouble even without the family code word for an intruder because they were prepared.
The wallet and purse were easy to find and should have been put away out of sight. It could have bought them more time to react.
In the scenario, the unprepared husband and wife know their children have been harmed because of the commotion upstairs. The children are not with the three men who come downstairs.
The husband was given a pen to write down his info. His hands were zip tied in front of him. He could have used a ploy of saying something in a very low tone to encourage the man closest to him to bend lower. They were gagged so it would involve removing the gag to understand him.
Once the man was positioned, the husband had the option of stabbing him in the throat at the soft part above the v notch that marks the windpipe or in the eye with the pen. A swift upper cut to the jaw with his elbow or double palm strike upwards below the nose would neutralize that one long enough to go for the next man.
Zip tied arms in front of him could become a weapon simply by capturing the next man over the head from behind. A choke would take too long, but rapidly sawing back and forth, with a focus on the carotid artery would ensure a five minute departure for the second man as he bled out.
Once his wife saw him attacking the second man and using him as a barrier against the third man, she could go after the fourth man.
When he moved to restrain her, she jumped on his feet and threw her body weight against him, knocking him on the ground. Once down, she reverted to a feral response and used her teeth as a weapon and tore into the soft tissue of his carotid artery in order to stop him. The fourth man must now keep pressure on his artery or he dies faster.
She runs to the fireplace and rubs the zip tie back and forth across the sharp stone in order to free her hands. Then she grabs a heavy dining room chair and bashes it over the head of the third man who is fighting with her husband. Together they overpower him and run out of the house to find their children at the pre-arranged safe houses with their neighbors.
In the distance, the sound of sirens draw closer.
A prepared family avoids trouble through good interior and exterior security enhancements. They have a code word and plan for trouble in the home. The know how to overcome restraints. They have weapons throughout the house that can be deployed if they are caught unawares. Their preparedness allows them to always work as a team. The children know what to do and do it according to the plan. They know that in a matter of life or death, feral action is warranted.
They knew to recognize the severity of unmasked intruders who entered their home while they were at home. The unmasked aren’t trying to hide their identity, which means they intend to kill you.Read More
Smithsonian Magazine ran this short article on germinating seeds with an Instant Pot. I believe I’ve tracked the original source to this YouTube video.
I’m wondering if anyone on the forum has tried this? Basically, you moisten a paper towel, lay on seeds, fold it over, shove it in a zip bag, and then use the yogurt setting of the Instant Pot to deliver low, steady heat to make heat-loving seeds germinate faster.
I’m planning to try this with basil and maybe bean seeds.Read More
*Warning – the following scenario deals with scenes of extreme violence. If you are sensitive to such scenes, please do not read further. Thank you.*
Come with me for a moment. There. Stand right there. Now look and observe the scene in front of you:
It’s 4:00 p.m. on a quiet Sunday afternoon and you are lounging in your favorite chair, feet up, and softly snoring.
Both children are in their rooms upstairs. The oldest, your fourteen year old daughter, is listening to music on her headphones and sketching. Your ten year old son is immersed in his gaming world.
The smell and sounds of this evening’s dinner preparation mingle with the late afternoon rays of sunlight streaming in through the kitchen window.
The family German Shepherd is stretched out on his side in the kitchen, his space at this evening’s dinner table reserved. His soft snoring blends with yours in a counter point rhythm.
It is a typical lazy Sunday afternoon at home in a quiet family-oriented neighborhood.
Suddenly, the front door jamb and door are breached, while the back door is opened at the same time and in the same way.
Two men enter through each door. You now have four unmasked men in your home. They have not concealed their identity and they have just invaded your home with the full knowledge that you and your family were at home.
Your dog jumps to his feet and runs toward the two men in the kitchen. One of the men grabs your dog by his front legs and splits his chest cavity as he lunges to attack him. He falls dead.
In the living room, you awaken to the sound of the breached front door.
Your drowsiness and weak core muscles prevent you from rapidly rising to deal with the intruders. It happens so fast that you can’t react quick enough to draw your side arm. You are further subdued with a knife to your throat while your hands are zip tied with both hands in front of your body. You are gagged and thrown onto the sofa.
Your wife is dragged from the kitchen into the living room and thrown onto a chair behind you. As she passes by, you can see that she is also zip tied, gagged and her head is bleeding. You are unable to communicate with her non-verbally, nor her with you, because you are no longer able to see each other.
Three of the men go upstairs to your children’s rooms while one remains behind to watch you and your wife.
The children have not reacted because they were both on noise cancelling headphones at the time of the invasion. They never heard or saw the three men coming until they were each attacked.
You ten year old son dies first, zip tied, gagged and his jugular vein cut.
Your fourteen year old daughter doesn’t die immediately. She is gagged and gang raped by the three men. Her face is almost unrecognizable from the beating they have inflicted upon her. After they decide that they have had enough, she dies the same way as her brother did, zip tied, gagged and jugular vein slashed.
Then the three men come downstairs and join the fourth man who is watching you and your wife. You don’t see your children with them.
They have your wallet and your wife’s purse, both of which were taken from your bedroom upstairs. Your hands were deliberately zip tied in front of your body so that you could write down your passwords for them. Within minutes they have emptied your bank accounts and all your available credit.
Your wife is then dragged upstairs where she meets the same fate as your daughter did. As she is moved to the master bedroom, your wife desperately looks toward your children’s rooms, only to see glimpses of their bloodied bodies as she is dragged past each room.
When they have finished beating and raping your wife, and ensured that your wife and two children are dead, the three men descend the stairs to kill you.
As you bleed out, you think, “they never said one word, never fired a shot.”
You realize that no one saw anything because of the privacy hedges around your home. You think of your wife and children.
You think “I should have”…then you lose consciousness and die.
Now, let’s rewind the scene and take a step back.
What could have been done to prevent or change the outcome of this scene?
Were there things that the family could have done once the invasion began?
The thrifty prepper – how to stretch the prepping budget
I think most preppers are frugal folks deep down in their prepping hearts.
We are prepared and practical in our approach to life. We pour over our prepping lists and consider what items are best suited for our needs. If those items happen to be on sale, discounted or there is a coupon we can use to further reduce the price, we just achieved prepper nirvana.
I learned to be frugal from my parents. They were generous of spirit, but they loved building their savings. My Mom was a somewhat shy person, but get that woman shopping and I used to wonder where my mother went.
She knew her prices and could execute a grocery shopping trip with all the zeal of a five-star General storming an enemy stronghold. Those groceries were hers and they were landing in her shopping cart at the price she wanted to pay. No can of tuna was left behind!
My Dad and Mom together were a tour de force. They would descend upon an appliance store and compare every detail to ensure the best possible features. Then, the final moments as they circled a washing machine and shifted from an appraising to a critical eye. Aha! There was a dent!
I swear those two invented scratch and dent sales. But you know, it wasn’t such a bad way to shop. They were careful and informed shoppers.
They taught me to pay attention to what is referred to as “sale seasons.”
We know about Black Friday sales or Boxing Day sales, but throughout the year, there are items that traditionally go on sale each month and at certain times of the month. If you follow this sale calendar, you can save some money.
For example, there are the “white sales” of January each year when bed linens, pillows and towels go on sale.
You don’t have to be a Dad to take advantage of the Father’s Day sales that happen every June. You can get great deals on all kinds of tools at hardware stores and big-box home stores.
There are different sale season calendars that can be sourced online. I’ve included the links for a couple that might help you familiarize yourself with them.
Aside from sale seasons, there are ways to negotiate on the best deals for that BOV you’ve been wanting.
I worked for two car dealerships and got an understanding of how people walked away with the best deals.
October, November and December are the best time of year to buy a car.
Car dealerships must meet sales quotas, which typically break down into yearly, quarterly and monthly sales goals. These three goals dovetail together late in the year.
Of those months, I personally would choose December and walk in on the last business day before the sales cut off for commissioned sales reps.
They will be eager to make a deal and then push for a successful negotiation with their Sales Manager. They want that sale included in their pay cheque.
The Sales Manager will push back on the negotiations because that’s what he does, but a savvy shopper says to the sale rep “Let me talk to your Sales Manager so we can get you that nice big commission check.”
You can do it politely, in a firm and business-like tone, but ask to speak with the Sales Manager drirectly. The sales rep has no power to approve the deal. It saves time and you won’t get caught up in a negotiation that could cost you more than you want to spend or waste your time if there is not a deal to be made there and you could have made a deal elsewhere.
Once you are in the Sales Manager’s office “Look, the car lots are slow because people are paying off their Christmas spending. I have cash in my account so it’s a cash deal. Easy money for you, if I get the deal that works for me. So far, our numbers are too far apart. Just give me your best and final offer. I’m buying a vehicle today, and for the right deal, it will be off your lot.”
You have turned the table on the Sale Manager because now he has to present a number to you, his best and final, in order to make the deal work.
January is usually a good month for used cars. Did you know that most millionaires, multi-millionaires and even billionaires drive three year old cars?
That BOV of your dreams is a depreciable asset and it will depreciate at least $1000.00 the moment you drive it off the lot.
A three year old vehicle still has warranty. Any recall issues are usually addressed. There are also one year old Sale Reps Demo vehicles that can be had for a good deal also. Same principles apply re time of month shopping, always on day before for pay day cut off day.
Read the bill of sale carefully before paying and don’t pay for baloney charges like “airport tax.” When was the last time anyone saw a plane full of cars offloaded? “A doc fee” is another one. It is short for a document fee which is short for you are expected to contribute to their Finance & Insurance Manager’s commission cheque. Have these charges removed from the bill. They can pay their own people.
There are other ways of being a thrifty prepper.
If you and a couple of friends are in the market for new deep freezers, coordinate your purchase, then approach the appliance department together, in the right sale month, at the right time of the month and say “There are three of us and we each want to buy that deep freezer, what’s the best price you can offer us?”
How about grocery shopping? Are you using coupons? How about case lots or bulk food purchasing? Have you tried sourcing directly from the producer or farmer? There is always gardening or a you pick fruit farm.
Have you ever bought a mis-matched mattress and box-spring set? It’s only the outer fabric that differs and that is covered up so no one sees the difference.
There are good deals to be had from government surplus sites. Another is the deals from boom cities that are winding down. Kelowna, BC, for example, had a huge amount of generators, tools and various building gear for sale online and in the local pawn shops. The people hired were desperate to sell and there were some very good deals available.
They are so many more ways to be a thrifty prepper. How about you? Do you practice thrifty prepping? What are some ways that you get thrifty?Read More
I notice that new laws are coming in from some….. and more regulations on the books for restricting or proposed eliminating the 2nd amendment…… which would restrict supplies.
Currently I see that primers are in very short supply in some places and slowly and surely some are going to make it as difficult as possible in the future to obtain crucial items.
So what would you do as the ammo runs out? Reloading is an option….. but where will you get that Sulfur,, Shot, KNO3…. etc…..or is your bolt hole full enough to last an extended period?Read More
“They should teach this in the schools.”
I have read that comment referring to prepping skills repeatedly, or some variation of it, in various threads and have said the same thing myself.
Emergency preparedness doesn’t appear to be taught in school.
Note: Please say so if you know that it is, because I would like to know how that community got it into the curriculum.
If it isn’t taught in school, then that leaves the parents and the home environment as the place where preparedness is taught.
In an ideal world, prepping would be taught at school and at home.
If we think of prepping as a lifestyle, then it follows that children and youth at home would grow up with that mind set and philosophy.
It is possible that as they emerge into adulthood, they might reject that lifestyle. They might also return to a prepping lifestyle eventually.
Regardless of whether they reject it or not, at least as adults they would have roots in prepping and develop some basic skills and knowledge.
There are exceptions where some parents are not suitable in the role of teacher. A parent who doesn’t recognize their limitation and unsuitability as a teacher can destroy their child’s love of learning.
Every child or youth learns in different ways. Some children are “hands on” learners, others lean more toward self-teaching, while others like to observe and learn.
To be an effective teacher, a parent must understand this and adapt their teaching style to suit the child. A frustrated child will soon grow to hate learning if it becomes associated with unpleasantness and stress rather than the joy of learning and discovery.
I am not a fan of “everybody’s a winner” methodology used in some schools.
Children need to understand that they will make mistakes and that is another feature of learning. It also prepares them for how things will work once they are employed or self-employed.
If the parents are not suitable to teach and they know it, then what?
Fortunately, there is a broad base of substitute teachers who can work with the family’s philosophy of prepping and help out.
Other family members, prepping friends, groups such as Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, survival skill courses, for example. There are family farms who open their farms to people who want to take a vacation and participate in a working family farm.
Most of us keep our prepping low key, but it is still possible to have a neighbour, family or friends outside the prepping community to teach your child how to fish, hunt, sew, bake bread, garden, animal husbandry, first aid, and financial skills, without disclosing that these skills are about prepping.
You could call them life skills or wanting your child involved in the environment and understanding where their food comes from. Frankly, after the walloping big lesson Covid-19 has taught the world, I don’t think too many people would even question a parent wanting their child to learn those skills.
This morning I am wondering who here is teaching their prepping skills to their children or grandchildren and if so, what has your experience been as a teacher of these skills and lifestyle? Was the experience always successful or did you learn things along the way?
Have some of your children rejected the prepping lifestyle? If so, do you know why?
Outside of volunteering, what are some ways we can lead by example and encourage prepping? Are we noticing the opportunity to teach when it happens?
Can you think of other ways we can teach prepping skills?Read More
I read through some FEMA information this morning about the four phases of the emergency management cycle.
The four phases are: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
I considered some of the projects that have been done around my home and property over the years that have mitigated disasters or the effects of one.
The trees on my property were in terrible shape when we moved in. Most of them were planted close to the house and planted too close to each other. Some of the trees were dying and partly rotted and others had huge branches over the top of the roof of the house.
We get can get high winds and tornadoes and I was very concerned about the potential for how my home and a neighbour’s home could be damaged by such an event.
Trees have a life cycle and it is important to know that when selecting them for your property, especially a town or city lot. Watch also for roots systems that can infiltrate sewer lines.
Tree branches over a roof or close to a roof are not good for a variety of reasons. Branches that actually touch the roof can destroy your shingles. The branches can become too close when they are heavy with ice, snow or moisture and then sag lower and touch the roof.
Squirrels and other critters are fun to watch from a distance, but give them a tree branch close enough to your home and they will scurry up that branch and find a way into your attic. Squirrels are amazing high wire acrobats and can jump 15 feet (some sources say more or less), so that needs to be considered when pruning back branches or planting.
Aside from damage to the home, squirrels can carry diseases. Some of the more common diseases they carry are tularaemia, typhus, plague and ringworm which can be transmitted through a bite or other forms of direct contact with infected squirrels.
I called in a tree service and had all the trees removed.
High wind, tornado and potential for rodent damage mitigated.
Next, there was the issue of poorly graded property. We can get heavy rains, more so now in recent years with “once in a 100, (insert years – it keeps changing) events.”
During a heavy rain, I discovered water pouring into one of the basement windows.
I had both basement windows replaced with properly installed window wells around them. I then installed window well covers.
I noticed after the heavy rain exactly where the water was pooling on the property. The next project to tackle was the issue of our poorly graded residential lot.
Residential lot grading is shaping and grading the land to direct surface runoff away from your home in a way that doesn’t affect neighbouring properties. .
Aside from standing water and flooding, improperly graded residential lots can cause foundation settlement or damage and basement dampness. Dampness is not good for prep storage.
Here is a link for an overview of lot grading. Each community will have their own rules. Where I live, no permit was necessary. However, some communities require a permit.
After 5 truck loads of soil, and becoming very acquainted with my landscape rake, the lot was correctly sloped and graded. Swales and drainage channels were the final component to ensure that rain water and moisture from melting snow drained away from the house. The water now flows to the street and back lane via grade and drainage channels on each side of the lot.
I also had larger drainage pipe from the gutters installed to allow for better and more rapid flow of water during storms and heavy rains. No more overflowing gutters. Risk of flooding and water infiltration around the home and property now mitigated.
After the water table rose due to heavy rains, I had my plumber install a sump pit and pump to move water away from below the foundation and ease hydrostatic pressure. There are other methods, but this was recommended as a good first line of defence and it has worked very well over the years.
At the same time, I also had a sewer back flow valve installed on my sewer line. Our town has the storm drains tied into the sanitary sewer system. This is not the correct way to do it and not all communities may be built that way. It is wise to check especially in older rural towns with municipal sewer and water.
If however, your sewer lines back up for any reason, this valve is well worth having in place. One woman I knew with heavy rains in another town, had over four feet of sewage in her basement. Her massive, fully stocked chest freezer was floating.
During heavy rains, some homes in town had flooded basements. Many people were trying to hide the fact that their homes were being flooded. Instead of correctly pumping the water out of their basement and away from their property, they were pumping into their basement storm drains.
The problem is that when so many of them did that, they overloaded the sewer lines causing sewage to flow back into basements. My basement stayed clean and dry. Installing that sewer back flow valve on my home has paid for itself many times over.
We have had many heavy rain years and I don’t have to worry about sewage backing up into my basement. Preps safe and sound and potential for disaster mitigated.
Those are a few of the steps I have taken over the years to practice hazard mitigation. What kind of steps or projects have you done to mitigate disaster causes, impact or severity around your homes? Are there still projects you want to do to reduce the effects of a disaster?Read More
I worked in truck transport at one point in my life, staffing, training and managing the office of two trucking companies, in addition to my other duties of load audits.
Before I assumed that position, the staff wasn’t cross trained. Only one person could do one job.
If someone was away ill, then that position ground to a halt. This wasn’t a good thing for the fast paced environment of truck transport.
I had worked my way through various positions, creating a couple of my own positions along the way and finally was asked to step into this management roll, so I understood the demands of various jobs and the skills required.
I also knew that with good cross training and training manuals that it would be possible to have that office running smoothly, no matter who was away.
The staff loved the idea of cross training. It gave them a chance to learn new skills and relieve some of the job fatigue that can come with doing the same tasks every day.
It also was good for morale, because the staff grew closer as a team, because they could empathize with the challenges of each other’s duties.
The team work took on a life of it’s own when people, who had time, would call out “anyone need a hand?”
Often in families or groups of people that prep together, people assume roles. I do this and you do that. I take care of this and you manage that.
Sometimes that happens because people don’t always like to do certain things and are more than happy to have someone else take responsibility for it.
But, what happens if, during a crisis or disaster, one of the family or group becomes injured, ill or even dies? What if they are unable to cope with their responsibilities due to stress?
That is why training manuals with clear concise instructions are important. The manuals should be printed on paper and organized with drive back up if it is wanted. A binder, however, is not electricity dependent.
Every family member should be hands on cross trained to perform critical functions, even children can be trained on a common sense and age appropriate basis. You would be surprised what children can do if properly taught. I drove a tractor at 6 years old.
The training binder acts as a back up guide if someone needs to step into a role and forgets or balks because they are unsure of something.
You will know that your instructions are clear by how well the person can follow them on their own. Break the task down into steps and order them. Keep the instructions consistent in language and terms used and in presentation or arrangement of how information is presented on paper.
Technical communication is not easy to do well. It was one of the toughest writing courses I ever took because it is far more than about the writing. However, you can look up info on how to do it well and get your family cross trained.
If everyone is cross trained, as in physical cross training, you and your family become more fit and strong as preppers.Read More
In the event of a SHTF event I keep this for my water supply……… and distillation needs.
All it is …..is a 3/4″ pipe running to a 12v submersible pump that goes in a bucket and back to bucket and sealed at ends…. Inside that pipe is a 1/4 inch going from a pressure cooker to drinkable water.
Produces far more water than a couple of people would ever drink each day…………………It has many uses….. distillation for alcohol……… and distilled water for battery top ups too.
This uses LPG for the burner but could just as easily use wood or charcoal, or even wood-gas….. But trying to stay away from filters. Because with this volume of water they would need replacing often.Read More
On the thread “The second survival – How to go on after the crisis is over“, hikermor made a significant comment regarding the fatalities and serious accidents that can occur after the disaster during the clean up and recovery process.
What hikermor introduced on that thread warrants it’s own topic and thanks to Gideon who suggested the new topic title above, we now have a new topic started.
This is the quote from hikermor: ”Perhaps it is worth mentioning that fatalities and serious accidents resulting from clean up efforts following a hurricane, etc. typically are equal to the total rug up during the storm.”
The second survival thread deals with the emotional/psychological aspects of recovery after crisis.
This thread is so we can examine safety issues of recovery after the crisis.
What kind of safety issues could we potentially face?
How do you safely deal with matters of downed power lines or other electrical hazards? How do you prevent a fall from a roof when attempting to repair it?
What kind of tools or gear can help keep us safe?
What should we do with wet damaged debris? What about mould? How do we prevent infections or waterborne disease because of contaminated surfaces or sewage infested water?
This could be an excellent way to share first hand information on how we coped safely in the aftermath of a disaster, or what lessons we learned when we didn’t cope safely.
The following is my post from the second survival thread which deals with how to stay safe around electrical hazards.
hikermor and Bob – Excellent points.
One should also know how to deal safely with electrical hazards such as downed power lines. Or, if trapped in vehicle and a fire starts, how to safely exit a vehicle where there is risk of electrical hazard.
Also, keep contaminated footwear and gloves out of the house. End Quote
Bob also made several excellent comments on safety issues on the second survival thread.
I was going to wait longer for hikermor to start this thread, but wasn’t sure how long that would be, so with credit to hikermor for introducing the topic, Bob for his comments on the other thread and to Gideon for the title, I’d like to offer it now.Read More
When we actually practice with our preps, or run drills and simulations, we take the visualization component out of prepping. There is a lot of mental work in prepping. This creates a shift into real time, hands on practice. For simulations and drills, there is still some imagination required, but you are still in engaged in doing rather than planning or acquiring.
Practice with our preps can build confidence and take some of the stress out of preparing.
Familiarity with our gear and preps becomes a new skill acquired, and more than just putting items into storage or onto a shelf.
Running a drill or simulation is also a way to know that you can handle certain items comfortably and with skill. Is the knife you bought right for you after repeated use? Or, do you need a different one that you can handle better? Do your boots cause discomfort? Do you remember how to purify water safely? Can you bake a loaf of bread?
What about various scenarios as drills? How about a no tech weekend challenge in your home or apartment? Survive with manual or non powered items only. Candles. Navigate with a map. Cook as if there is no power. Try to do everything as if you are off grid.
Take it outdoors, whether you live in the city or a rural area, and practice your covert skills. Challenge yourself to find the most undetectable ways to navigate to certain areas or places that you might need to get to.
Drill down on survival. Earthquake. Now. Go. Get to a designated point. How long did it take you? Did you discover any challenges on the way?
You can make that challenge more difficult by throwing yourself a curved ball in the form of a route closure or other obstacle necessitating the need to navigate differently. Some preppers have items that were purchased long ago. Are those items still relevant? Or, are there better items now available?
Try running a health impaired simulation. Eye injury and vision impaired. Someone was careless and broke a leg. First aid required. Now you have to manoeuver on crutches or you are one person down.
Or, someone is ill with the flu complete with all the symptoms. You have to care safely for them. You need to set up a clean room to prevent the rest of the household contracting the flu. You have your duct tape, plastic and zip strips to create a door in the plastic ready, right?
I knew people who practised that scenario for a weekend. It was an eye opener for the caregiver and for the person in the role of patient. We are lay people. Nurses are trained to care for the many needs of patients. It’s not as easy as they make it look because of their training.
Ease of use is not just the realm of the aged. People of any age can develop tendon, joint or muscle conditions or injury like carpal tunnel or arthritis.
I developed osteoarthritis young, as did some other family members. All of us had to learn how to adapt to living with it. What if you suddenly developed arthritis in your hands? How are you going to get that pail of rice open? Carry water? Imagine severe pain in your hands and wrist, now how are you going to accomplish your goal?
Even strained, sore muscles, from activities from chopping wood or other physical labour can affect how well you can use other items in your preps. The right tools can help you during those times.
There are longer types of practice such as grow a small raised bed garden in your back yard. Or, if you are in an apartment, challenge yourself to grow some food items.
I grew tomatoes on my balcony in BC. I wanted to see how much I could grow and if it would be successful with the light conditions. It worked great, except for the neighbours calling the police because they thought my tomato plants were something else.
Do you have your local edible plant book yet? Scenario: long term disaster. You now have to forage for food. Where do you go? How do know what to pick? Twinkies at 7-11 don’t count for this one.
Then journal or make notes about your experiences. What did you learn from it? Are there red flags about your preps or skill sets that need to be addressed? How did you fare in non physical ways? Do you need items or training to manage issues like stress or anxiety?
I enjoy doing drills and practice because I learn something valuable each time. How about you? Do you do regular drills and practice or run simulations? What has your experience(s) been like? What did you learn?Read More