you might be interested

 

In this map.  Can’t make it work for me, but have an idea of where I stand in the relation of something happening in the L.A. area, sigh.

http://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap

Advertisements

The Orange Screw

 Saw a review of these in one of my survival mags and was intrigued.  There are other similar on the market, but can see why these are as expensive as they are, and as highly rated.  Ground pegs, tent stakes, earth staples, all just pull out with a little tug – or some high winds.  Doubt that these are going anywhere!  The top is big enough to really grab on to – and there is the tube they supply to help if necessary.  Number of different ways to attach what ever it is you are staking down. Just used three this morning to “tie down” my mesh pop up plant covers in the garden.  have already had them shift around, and even blow off, during some 40+ wind gusts with tent stakes.  Hopefully, this will solve that problem!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Normalcy bias

This came up in reading my LDS preparedness manual last night.  Have read this before, but the term didn’t register as it has this time.  Guess because we are seeing so much of it going on now.

Basically, its just the psychological behavior of the brain not processing what’s going on; this terrible thing isn’t happening, or, it can’t happen, or, it won’t happen to me, or, that’s too dreadful a scenario for me to conceptualize.  The most common time we all experience it, is the death, or imminent death,  of a loved one.  The denial is the first stage and sometimes its where we get stuck.

Or the destruction of our home in a fire or tornado or hurricane or flood.  I’ll wake up tomorrow and it will all be a bad dream.

At some point, we have to cope and go through the stages of grief and come out the other side – and sometimes, people don’t.

So what has that to do with preparedness?  If you can’t bend your mind around the idea that something terrible could happen and it could happen to you, how can you ‘prepare’ for it?  To begin doing so, even on the smallest scale, is to admit that it could be true!  Keeping a few gallons of water and some canned food if you live in an area prone to power outages is one thing.  You’ve experienced them, you know they are temporary.  But to imagine that it won’t be temporary?  That someone won’t be around to fix it and make it better in a few days?  That’s like being faced with opening the door behind which might be the hungry tiger!

Its true, the likelihood that we will truly be faced with a for-ever situation is slight.  It is far more likely, we will be faced with something temporary. But temporary could be months or even years!  Why do you think the people of the U.S., the least effected country in the world, had to scramble with victory gardens and rationing during WWII?  If there had been stores in the basement to augment the shortages, and a lot of people did have them as it was a more rural society then, it wasn’t much more than an inconvenience.  But for some people, WWII rationing WAS a hardship!

Now, we are hooked on technology. at the same time we have solar and wind power turbines available for the common man.  We have portable battery storage. enough so that some people will notice little difference in terms of having lights on, refrigerators working, maybe even air conditioning.  If they have a well, they will still have running hot and cold water!  They can watch DVD’s, use their DVR’s, read stored books on their electronic devices.

For most of us, cutting the power will be true future shock.  Know my food stores are not up to even months of shortages and my water supplies are probably only good for a week.  Need more water filters so we can make use of creek, ponds, puddles, pools, or standing water from the bathtub.

Yes, I suffer from Normalcy Bias too, augmented by husband’s more severe form.  But current events are changing his way of thinking, and he has more faith in what I’ve been storing than I have – but then, I know the inventory!  And I’ve long known that to give in to REALLY storing up food and water, I’m admitting that the worst can probably happen – and like most people, don’t want to!

 

prepping and $$$$

Guess you’ve all noticed that prepping has become BIG business!  and SOO many of those raking in the cash don’t believe a word of what they say!  Its just all about the $$$!

Oh, it does make some information that was harder to find before a little easier now.  and the number of tools, gadgets, gizmos, and garbage are astounding.

Lets be honest, how many rocket stoves were available on the market 10 years ago? even 5?  Now you can buy a rocket stove that will let you charge your phone or laptop while cooking dinner!  And you can even find what is basically a bomb shelter, complete, just dig a big hole under your house and drop it in!  There is even “prep of the month” clubs, where every month they will send you a box of assorted prep items – what and how much depends on how much $$$$ you want to spend.

More freeze dried foods are available though; whether for camping, or an emergency pack for your car, or SHTF.  Even Organic, Vegan and Gluten Free choices coming up.

TV shows. Magazines. Books. Expos.  Liberal Prepper groups!  Yes, liberal preppers.  Saw one on Waters World the other night, being interviewed while he showed off his  preps, including his “for defense only” guns.  No hunting for liberals, defense only!  Don’t think he would have known the term Bug Out, besides which he was a bit tooo soft for doing so even if he was prepared.  and Waters left him speechless when he suggested that SHTF, Jesse Waters would be allowed in to stay . . . yup, hadn’t occurred to liberal prepper than you DO NOT announce your preps to the world as you WILL HAVE TO SHARE!  And suddenly, Mr. Liberal Prepper came to the realization that you do not talk about your preps because while its fine to talk about income redistribution, when it came down to SHTF, you don’t want to go there!

So what brought on todays rant?  A prepper magazine.  There are a couple of mags that have been out for more than a year now.  One is very High End with fancy paper, large format, big price tag, and lots and lots of VERY HIGH END merchandise:  The $100k bug out vehicle. $5k infrared night vision goggles, etc.  Several issues ago, they were reviewing “generators” including the Goal Zero – have a small one, find them handy, but expensive – so was hoping that there were some other similar tools to be reviewed here.  Nope.  It was the 400W goal zero against gasoline powered generators.

Which is when I realized that while they believe in SHTF – they don’t believe in EOTWAWKI, despite their talk about nuclear annialation, pandemics, EMP events.  Because if you are  considering SHTF, or worse, EOTWAWKI, you do not want anyone hearing or smelling your gasoline powered generator.  You might love your neighbors, but if the power and heat are out for a week (or longer) because of an ice storm, do you want those unprepared neighbors descending on your home, with their kids, because you can keep the lights on, keep the kids entertained with the DVR, and probably have food in the fridge?  and you know, EOTWAWKI, that there is no way – despite a Charlton Heston movie – that years later you will have good quality diesel, much less gasoline, to power the thing!  and if you have to bug out, how the hell do you move that generator much less the gasoline storage tank you buried in your back yard?!  And I told them so.

So Sunday I picked up a magazine called Prepper or Prepping, or something like that.  Articles that are overviews on things like water; its importance, how to find it in different conditions, larger and smaller purification devices.  Similar articles on food, weapons, and then came to home protection.  Okay, whether SHTF or a larger scale EOTWAWKI event, every one has to seek shelter somewhere.  And in this day and age of drones, you have to be a LOOONNNNGGG way from anywhere to not have someone find you!  and even before we get there, as noted before, you don’t want to advertise your preps, especially any weapons.

How to protect your place of shelter.  Agreed, you don’t want the house protected by S&W sign.  a sure advertisement that you have guns which will make you a mark even in good times.  and the dog.  Always a good early warning system.  Then there was the ADT home protection sign as the #1 home protection.  Well, in good times, sure, but SHTF, that is going to do you absolutely NO good at all, except to maybe declare you as a target who is counting on someone else to protect you!  The articles went on through personal protection and communications – focusing on high tech devices, all requiring electricity.  Again, the remotely attended security system.  Can you see someone calling the cops for your emergency during Hurricane Katrina or Sandy?  Will they be there after the tornado ravishes your town?  The security cameras.  Yes, they have battery back ups, but who you gonna call?  So maybe you’ll have pictures of the people who have ransacked and looted your safe space.

Walkie talkies and short wave.  Also great ideas, but be sure of your power supplies yet again.

Oh, will totally admit I love my gadgets and am delighted in some of the products that this wave of commercialism is making available.  Have augmented my food stash with some commercial freeze dried products.  am making use of some of the stackable water “bricks” that let me stash water where I have space, rather than having to make space for a 55 gallon drum somewhere.  Just bought a “little green wagon”, which is a collapsible garden wagon with BIG wheels that lets my rapidly aging (you can’t stop the passage of time!) body get a rest from moving soil and heavy items around the yard. Got a device that helps shred my kitchen waste for quicker composting, and because of my environment, use compost tumblers which didn’t exist a couple of decades ago.  have gotten an assortment of “pop up” garden protectors and season extenders rather than having to manhandle sheets of material over hoops and pin and clip into place every evening and fold up and store every morning.

Yes, have water storage containers for collecting rain water – and pretty much every one in my neighborhood knows I do cause they are BIG and attracted attention when they were delivered.  and my goal zero unit powers the pump that moves the water from those tanks around the property.  And pretty much all my neighbors know I garden as they have all had fresh produce from my space.  Then again, my neighborhood is small and SHTF, might be induced to share.

So the commercialization of Prepping has brought both good and bad with it.  and with it being “popular” maybe more people will get into it . . at least for the short term.  But it also means cheap goods, and the enticement to spend money on things you may not need or want . . as an example, have a grain mill.  Do I need a grain mill?  probably not.  Of course, EOTWAWKI, it will probably be more of a barter item.  But it is a good quality one and the sale price made in something I could purchase for that purpose.  Also have a mangle – that is a wringer unit for hand wash.  That was a thrift shop purchase at $12.  If I never need it, great. If I do, it will be worth having and ‘renting’ out to other people struggling with their wash.   Have two rocket stoves – one a larger unit for the house, and a smaller one to stash in the vehicle.  Have two solar ovens, same deal. Paid full price for the first, they offered the second purchase at 50% off.

So I have succumbed to the temptations of the slick glossy magazines.

Sadly, see Backwoods Home is closing down this year, just because Dave Duffy and his wife and crew have reached the age of stepping aside and letting their daughter take over with a new magazine called Self-Reliance.  They chose NOT to sell out to big business.  The popular members of their crew – including Dave himself – will do articles for Self-Reliance which is going to be a quarterly magazine instead of a monthly.

But they will never have the circulation of some of the slicker new publications that are turning up at the media racks in the local market (which is all we have in our town for magazines).  Nor are you likely to see them advertised in those slick magazines.

So as you seek information on prepping and survival, watch who is using flash instead of substance to grab your $$$,

 

 

you cannot petition the lord with prayer

So said Jim Morrison, and exactly what does that have to do with this blog?

Recently I posted a blog expressing my concerns, my fears, and asking questions and was immediately blasted about spreading fake news and what was I doing about it.  Like a lot of people who are extremely unhappy with how things are going right now, this person was not specific about their POV, but still wanted to know what solutions I was bringing to the table. So what the hell, I’ll address some of the specific things that I’ve heard people protesting about. and I’ll talk about some of the things I’m unhappy about.

And that leads me to the title of this blog.  As someone who has been politically active for 50 years – yes, even before I had the right to vote – one of the things I’ve learned is “THEY” are not going to do anything about anything.  It MUST come from We The People.  and as an example, I’m going back to the dawn of time, the era before there were seat belts in cars.  If you aren’t that old, I’m going to suggest you check out some classic American cars, especially from the 50’s.  You will find cars that have more square footage than modern Tiny Homes!  and they did not have seat belts.  When a car would only do 25 or 35 miles an hour top speed, it wasn’t such a big deal. But by the 50’s it was BIG, HEAVY cars and HORSEPOWER.  people could drive at 100mph!  and when something that weighed 3 tons was traveling at those speeds and came to a sudden stop there was a lot of momentum for the contents of those vehicles and they usually ended up traveling forward, straight through the windshield!

And the cry was “They should do something about that”!  Well, seat belts were an option, an expensive one at that, costing about $150-$200 a pair, installed in the front seats.  But did people take that option?  No. it was too expensive.  Then when they went through the windshield of their car and were crippled or died, again, “They should do something about that” was heard.  So THEY did and made in mandatory to install seat belts.  and the prices of cars went up $500.  Yes, people would rather spend $500 at the dealer than spend $200 on their own.  and the word was made law.

But people still did not use their seat belts so ignition locks and automatic shoulder harnesses and beepers and flashing lights were invented.

And people used their seat belts but drove with their dogs and their kids on their laps. Or let them play in those spacious back seats until they had to come to a sudden stop and dogs and kids would continue on through the windshield and the people said “They should do something about that”.  So the law was passed about restraining your kids and not driving with anyone or anything on your lap.

Because people had stopped thinking and taking responsibility for themselves and were waiting for “THEM” to do something about it.  and that was then, and its gotten worse.

So back to modern times and people are unhappy.  Which is not unusual. No matter who is President, no matter who is in congress, there are people who are unhappy about it.  So what to do.

Well, if you are just unhappy with Donald Trump, the answer is Suck it up, buttercup!  Do you think everyone liked Ike (I Like Ike was one of his campaign slogans)? Think JFK won EVERY vote? that  people were as unhappy about the W winning the election  as they were about DT winning?  That’s how it goes. A lot of people were greatly disappointed in Obama, while others think he was the best president ever.  Both are right, because it is THEIR opinion and we are NOT marching in lockstep in this country. There are winners and their are losers and in part that is what keeps America on an even goal. We swing left, we swing right, not going too far in either direction, and averaging in the middle.  You work on the specific issues that are important to you – healthcare, poverty, the environment, etc – and you work to make sure there is a change at the next election.  THAT is the American way.

Some people say they want clean air, clean water, and good clean organic food.  At which I’ve got to say “where the hell have you been”?  The W put through the law that created Ethanol gasoline.  Causing BIG AG to start planting corn everywhere they could.  Corn is a heavy feeder and instead of rotating crops and letting the ground recover between plantings, it was chemical fertilizer to the rescue – which ran off into lakes, streams and rivers causing algae blooms and killing fish and leaving heavy chemical residues to leach into the ground and aquifers.  The last 8 years saw a VERY heavy shift to GMO’s.  that started 20 years ago (which would be the Clinton administration – and Hilary was a big proponent of GMO’s), but the big push has been in the last 8 years with more and more farmers being coerced into buying GMO seeds and using Round Up like it was irrigation water!  and DAMN the consequences.  Now Round Up doesn’t work anymore so there is a new batch of GMO seeds coming on the market along with a new round of herbicides.  and why doesn’t round up work anymore? because nature can do GMO’s too.  PLUS, once those genes are out there, they are there FOREVER and do cross into other species.

Yes, the GOP is dreadful on environmental issues – From their attitudes when Carter was trying for grass roots conservation and them saying “Its our right to use our resources in any way we see fit and if there is nothing left for our grandchildren, that will be their challenge to overcome” to Reagan’s interior Secretary James Watt and his condemnation of “environmental Extremists”.   BUT Fracking got a big push during the Obama administration and while we were all celebrating the demise of the Keystone Pipeline, he was okaying others left right and center, including the Dakota Access Pipeline which most of us wouldn’t never have heard of if it wasn’t for the Sioux tribes standing up against it.

Alternate energy sources are not the solution either.  BIG carbon footprint to build those windmills and solar panels.  The solution is to CUT our energy usage, not just find ways to keep being gluttons and what ever cost – because the cost is HUGE!

So yeah, the environment is at a tipping point.  Things like the heavy metals from the Animas water spill last year will NEVER be cleaned out of the river and WILL be detrimental to the people who use that river water, especially the Navajo that rely on it for irrigation of their crops.  Like GMO’s, we’ve reached a point where we have really limited our choices.

Then you have the over regulation of the organic food industry – now that’s something that can be worked on – that has made it impossible for organic growers to keep up with demand. and that has lead to things like Whole Foods marketing Organics when they are being imported from countries where there is NO regulation or certification for organic.

The only choice here is speak with your wallet.  Stop buying from groceries. Go to your farmer’s market, support your local growers, your artisan bread and cheese makers. Learn to make your own, grow your own if you can.  YOU are responsible for your well being.  Stop buying plastics; plastic bottles  – want Soda? get a Soda Stream and make your own. Get a water filter instead of buying cases of plastic bottled water which is often no better than your own tap water anyway!  Maybe that Berky water filter is expensive, but how much are spending every week on plastic?  Stop replacing your smart phone every time the latest model comes out.  Keep your car for 10 or 20 years.  The overall carbon footprint from keeping an old car is much lower than replacing it with a new one every few years to keep up with technology.  Keep your computer until it dies.  Use rechargeable batteries. Stop using plastic bags.  They are illegal in San Francisco, but why wait for someone else to TELL YOU that they are bad and FORCE you to change.

Be the Change You Want to See!!

Health care.  This is a biggie.  Before the Affordable Care act went into effect, a lot of doctors were establishing their own health care systems.  and this is a great idea. They were creating co-ops that their patients bought into guaranteeing them doctor visits and doctor time.  There are health savings accounts available that allow you to deposit money into them with a tax savings and that tax savings holds as long as that money is being used for health care, including glasses and dentists.  There are no minimum deposits, although there are yearly maximums.  and unlike your health care plan, the money accumulates, so if you don’t use it for years and years, you will have a healthy chunk in there should you need it. and it has no previous condition clause.  Top that all off with a catastrophic plan – usually minimum premiums with BIG deductibles – and you’re fairly well covered.  But all this needs to each individual taking personal responsibility for taking care of themselves and their families.

It does not mean we don’t keep the Medicaid program for those who need it, it just means the rest of us don’t lean on the government, but take care of our own.

Refugees – back in the day (post VietNam) we brought in a lot of refugees under private sponsorship.  What has happened to that?  Churches, quilting groups, bridge clubs, anyone who wanted to, would do the work of sponsorship. They provided jobs, places to live, made sure the refugees had clothing, health care, education opportunities, counseling if needed.  They didn’t wait for THEM to do something, they took responsibility and action.

The best poverty programs were always private and local.  People who could address what was needed in their communities because one size does NOT fit all.  Again, it means take responsibility, being active, being involved. Not expecting THEM to do something about it.

and lets be honest, is it appropriate to make someone else pay for YOUR conscience? you don’t want to pay for theirs, so why should they pay for yours?

Now one of the issues I hear a lot is “rights”.  What exactly does that mean?  We all have certain inalienable rights, guaranteed by law.  That does not mean people can be regulated out of being prejudiced.  It means they should not act on their hatred.  Unfortunately, ALL LAWS, are only enforceable AFTER the fact.  You can arrest someone for an act of hate, you can’t stop them from hating.  You can’t stop someone from drinking, only arrest them after they have driven DUI and done harm. You can’t stop someone from robbing the corner grocery store, only arrest them after the fact.  THEY cannot do something about it.  If you feel your rights have been compromised, call the ACLU. That is their job, to guarantee you are getting your constitutional rights.  Civil Forfeiture, the ACLU should be right on  it.  Unfortunately, they’ve been letting that one slide.  Matter of fact, they have been letting a lot of those civil liberty abuses slide.  But they are willing to be right there when its some event that will get them a lot of publicity.

If you don’t want civil liberty abuses, you want your rights, then work to guarantee EVERYONE their rights, even the ones you don’t agree with.  You can’t take someone’s rights away because you don’t agree with them, then expect them to support the ones you want!  That means you don’t like Donald Trump, you still have to let the ones who do have their way.  It isn’t just about YOU, its about EVERYONE!

Abortion is a common theme.  Well, abortion is legal under Roe vs Wade and that’s been challenged on a regular basis for the last 50 years. Its gone before conservative courts and its gone before liberal courts.  Every case is different and as long as people have the right to challenge a court decision, it will continue to come up.  Do you want to take away that right? then what other rights are you going to give up to make that happen.  Yes, you can’t take away other people’s rights because you don’t agree with their stance.  We’re back to Suck It Up, Buttercup.

Of course, I feel that people who are against abortion should be putting THEIR money where their mouth is. They should be providing support to that mother, making sure that baby is taken care of, goes into a good home.  Not making others pay for their conscience.

This is all hard.  Its much easier to say, Someone should do something about it.  But it always comes down to, you get results when you put in the effort.  If its your job, you get the paycheck, the raise, the promotion, for what you put into it.  If its your family, you get the good kids, the good lifestyle, for what you put into it.  If its your community, you get the good neighborhood for what you put into it.

If you are going to sit back and say “someone should do something about it”, you are just adrift in the stream and you will get stuck on the bank, or bang your head on the rocks, you’ll get tumbled by the rapids. So grab an oar and be the someone who is doing something about it, what ever IT may be.

 

solar power

Finally saved up enough to purchase a Goal Zero 1250. and then discovered there is a new product, made in America, that is a 1000W unit with built in solar panels.  More expensive, but not really more than the goal zero kit w/ panels and easier to move around – as long as you have a cart, even with the lithium ion battery in the latter.

SO

am not doing it.

Have looked carefully at how long it takes to charge these things up using just solar power.  And while I do have an away use for the bigger battery, its not something I’ve ABSOLUTELY GOTTA HAVE.    And outside of the fridge/freezer, have nothing that can’t be powered with my Goal Zero 400.  For lighting have fallbacks of oil lamps, candles, as well as rechargeable lights.   If the S really HTF, things like phones and TV’s aren’t going to matter.  And even these bigger solar power battery units will only do the fridge for 12 hours and will take 2 days of strong intense sun to recharge, so WTF!  About the only thing they bring is buying the time to get all that stored food into cans or dehydrated.

so will look more at an extra 12v battery for the camper and a set up to use my solar panel (and maybe another) for charging it and a 12V run fridge for that.  The GZ unit I’ve got is easily transportable for using with a pump for moving water if necessary – either at home or away, like grabbing creek water to filter or purify.

If I were 40 years old or so, might be looking at using that bigger GZ for powering a small house and hooking up panels and a wind generator.  But I’m nearer to 70, not planning on going anywhere, so will look to use my money in better preps OR better technology.

solar generators

There is no such thing, but there is “portable” power.  These are power pac units that have battery, power input, and various power output ports, all nicely packaged, ready to pick up and go.  I’ve chosen Goal Zero although they are on the expensive side, have had experience with them, and in general am pleased with their package and their service.

Just upgraded from a Yeti 150 to a Yeti 400.  What I know now, that I didn’t know then,  is the number refers to the max watts the battery stores, not what the output it can handle would be.  The 150 only handled 80W output which made it pretty damn useless!  The 400 has two 120v outlets, pure sine wave, and can take a max of 300W output.

The unit comes in reading fully charged, but as soon as I put it on my water pump it dropped down to 40%, so now it is charging off the 100W solar panel.

IMG_0763 (768x1024) yes, it is sitting in the shade in this photo.

The Goal Zero panels are ridiculously expensive, the 90W running about $500, while this flexible 100W was under $200, and a Rexology 100W panel is about $129.  If using other than Goal zero, you need an adapter to their 8mm input port, and Goal Zero sells it for about $20 bucks plus ship and tax. BUT, the Goal Zero folding and portable panels are well made and have the power output ports attached for multi use.

As I’ve researched these things, realize how inefficient solar to electric is.  Wind seems a little better, but you need reliable wind of more than breeze strength.  A combination seems to be the best alternative for the real world, and will probably be my next investment.  Again, having looked at how to make these things, having a nice neat package can make my brain happy, and leaves me room to be doing other things.

We rarely have power outages here.  And my personal view of EOTWAWKI is more of a general decline in civilization, with on going threats to food and water supply.  And that’s why I’ve gone for such a small unit rather than one of the big ones that will take care of our household.  ALTHOUGH, as the technology improves on these things and the prices come down, may reconsider a unit that will handle our day to day, just to be sure, as everything I’m seeing is questioning the long term ability of our power supply structure to handle the demands being placed upon it.

SHTF is another matter, but that means FIRE here, and will I have the time to grab all the different things to load in the car, even if I’m paying attention.

Truly, the only way to really be ready, is to be living a day to day existence, off grid, fully self-reliant, away from any fire, weather, or other threat, with everything prepped to withstand any level EMP.  And that ain’t happening, especially for me.  So just doing the best I can.