What steps have you taken to become more self-sufficient?

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to become self-sufficient. One of the major steps you can take is going “off the grid”.

This means that you no longer use a gas and electric company, or water and sewer company, and you no longer need to rely on their infrastructure to supply essential utility services to your homestead — a huge plus in a survival situation.

What you need to understand first is that this is a major undertaking that involves a significant investment of time and money. This is why most people who go off-grid do it one step at a time.

The main consideration for going off-grid is choosing the right location.

You want to have land that aids in energy production. You also need to acquire water and mineral rights for the piece of land that you purchase. With that said, there are 5 additional considerations for going off the grid: electricity, water, water heating, sewer, and energy back-up.

Electricity/Gas. Two primary sources of power that are not derived from fossil fuels are wind power and solar power. Installing solar panels and wind turbines are simple enough, but both options are pretty expensive if you buy pre-manufactured systems from commercial dealers. They’re still well worth it in the long run, but you can save up to 50% (or more) on the costs by building your own home energy system. Ideally, you’ll use both sources to power your home. There are many other ways to create energy for your house, such as using Propane gas or using fertilizer and waste, but solar and wind energy are free, abundant, and easy to harness once you know how.

Heating. If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, you need a way to heat your home. While you can use electric power to heat your house, you may want to consider installing a wood burner as well.

Water. To truly live off the grid, you’ll need to have your own water. You can install a well and a pump. Whether you’re building a new, energy-efficient home or thinking about installing a well for your current home, check your area water table to see if a well makes sense. Also, most municipalities in the U.S. do not allow wells to be installed within their boundaries, so check your local zoning laws.

Heating Water. You may not have thought about the need to heat water yet. Actually, there are many options. You can install a solar water heater or a propane water heater, use solar panels or hook your water heater up to your wood burner.

Sewage. The only way to deal with sewage in a sustainable way is having a septic tank installed. The tank will process the waste and release the product into the soil. This can be costly and can be tough to implement in urban areas, but if you plan it right for your off-grid property, a septic tank will last a lifetime.

Backup plans. Having a generator and/or battery backup to meet your energy needs in the event that your primary energy sources fail is a no-brainer. Everything I teach is about being prepared for unforeseen circumstances, and if you don’t have a well-thought-out backup plan then you’re not really prepared for anything.

Always watching out for you,

Sterling Mason

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How to Make a Vegetable Oil Lamp (with Pictures)

Long before there was kerosene (aka paraffin) lamp oil, people used vegetable oil lamps for lighting their homes.

These oil lamps are really easy to make and today a lot of people prefer them to kerosene lamps.  They are natural, don’t produce toxic byproducts, and can be used in a pinch during power outages.

If you want to make your own vegetable oil lamp, here’s how to do it!

What Vegetable Oil Can I Use for Lamps?

You can use just about any cooking oil as a fuel for a lamp. Other types of fat – such as ghee or butter – will also work.

  • Olive Oil: This is the best choice for your vegetable oil lamp. It won’t produce smoke while burning.

  • Canola or Sunflower Oil: These are cheap and will burn. However, they will produce some smoke.

  • Walnut, Almond, Sesame, Flax Oils: Nut and seed oils are great for lamps. They won’t produce smoke like canola will. However, these oils are pricey so you probably won’t want to use them for your lamp.  Cheap olive oil is a better option.

  • Ghee or Butter: Traditionally, animal fats (such as whale blubber or fish oil) were used for oil lamps, especially in cold areas where veggies weren’t available. You can actually just put a wick directly in a stick of butter and burn it.  These thick fats don’t work as well in jars though.

Used Vegetable Oil for Lamps

After frying food, save the vegetable oil in a jar.  You can use this oil for lamps.

Ideally you should filter the oil through a cloth first.  Otherwise the chunks of food residue can start to smoke and smell!

Vegetable Oil Lamp Instructions:

There are a few different ways of making a lamp with vegetable oil. 

Instead of giving you just one way, I’ll talk about the supplies so you can DIY in your own way. 🙂

Container for Holding the Oil

Almost any non-flammable container will do.

To save on oil, look for containers that are wider than they are tall.

For safety, you’ll ideally want a container which entraps the flame.

You’ll obviously want the container to be transparent though so you can actually see the flame inside.

Here are some options:

  • Glass Jars

  • Clay/Ceramic/Metal Dishes: Old Roman oil lamps were made from terracotta. They were shaped like gravy boats.

  • Kerosene Lanterns: You know those antique-style lanterns with a glass globe inside? Even though they are designed for kerosene, you can use vegetable oil in them.

orange peel lamp

Orange peel lamp

DIY oil lamp

Spoon holders work well for DIY oil lamps!

metal oil lamp

Metal oil lamp

Wick (Soaked in Salt Water)

Anything made out of cotton will work as a wick.  Ideally, the wick is made out of a braided material. Otherwise it will burn very quickly. Braided wicks also produce more light. However, in a pinch, you can use:

  • Shoe laces

  • Strips of old clothing

  • String

Tip:  For the wick to burn evenly, you should first soak it in salt water.  Then let it dry before using.

Wick Holder

Here is where you need to get creative with your vegetable oil lamp.

You need the top of the wick (the part that will burn) to sit slightly above the vegetable oil.  Otherwise, the oil will put out the flame.

If you are using a ceramic dish for your lamp, then you can just prop the wick on the edge.  This is a bit of a fire hazard though.

Option 1: Wire Coil

For glass jar lamps, you’ll want to use wire to create a stand for the wick.

  1. Wrap wire around a pencil to create a coil. The coil should be long enough so your wick will stick out of the oil.
  2. Make a much bigger loop on the end of the coil. This will be your base.
  3. Thread the wick through the coil.

Option 2: Bottle Cap and Wire

wick holder in mason jar lamp

One alternative solution is to use wire + a bottle cap to create a stand.

  1. Using a hammer and nail, poke a hole through a metal bottle cap.
  2. Twist the wire to make a holder for bottle cap.
  3. Put the wick through the hole in the bottle cap. Put the cap in place.

Option 3: Hole in a Jar Lid

jar vegetable oil lamp

If your glass jar has a lid, you can just poke a hole through the lid and thread your wick through it.

Note that you’ll have to poke air holes in the lid too.

Drape the Wick

If you use a ceramic or metal container for holding your oil, you can just drape the wick off to the side.

Of course, this means you have an open flame.  It isn’t as safe as enclosing the flame inside the container.

ceramic dish lamp

A traditional ceramic dish oil lamp

How the Vegetable Oil Lamp Works

The vegetable oil will be drawn up into the wick.

The flame ignites it, causing the oil to vaporize.  Even a small amount of oil can burn for a few hours.

Even if you are using olive oil (which is fairly expensive), it still ends up being cheaper than most candles.

Paraffin Lamp Oil vs. Vegetable Oil

Lamp oil that you buy online or from hobby stories is made from petroleum.  Sometimes it is called kerosene.  Other times it is called paraffin.

They are the same thing – just a highly-refined kerosene oil.

Paraffin lamp oil will not smoke or produce odor as some vegetable oils will.

Flash Point:

Compared to vegetable oil, paraffin lamp oil has a much lower flash point.  Flash point refers to the temperature at which it will ignite.

  • Vegetable Oil Flash Point: Around 650 F
  • Paraffin Oil Flash Point: Around 100-150 F

The lower flash point of veggie oil means it takes longer to ignite.  It will burn – but it is not exactly ideal for wicks.   As it burns, it will consume the wick quickly.

By comparison, lamp oil will burn off the wick quickly.  Very little of the wick will be consumed, meaning your wick will last a lot longer with paraffin lamp oil.

As a general rule: The thicker the oil, the faster the wick will be consumed and the more smoke will be produced.

Lamp Oil Is Still the Best Choice

In a disaster situation where you need some emergency lighting, vegetable oil is a great option for DIY oil lamps.

However, if you are making oil lamps for fun, then your best bet is to buy lamp oil.

It simply burns cleaner and won’t consume your wicks as quickly.

You can find lamp oil (called kerosene or paraffin lamp oil) online for fairly cheap. If you want to really save some money, then choose K-1 kerosene.

K-1 Kerosene Lamp Oil

You can find K-1 kerosene at some gas stations and at hardware stores.  It is very cheap to buy and has numerous uses – such as for heating or jet fuel.

K-1 kerosene will still produce some odors (it contains sulfur), but the smell is minimal.

Compared to vegetable oil, the K-1 oil will burn cleanly in lamps and won’t eat up your wicks so quickly.


Recommended Reading: How to Make DIY Emergency Candles

Urban bug out bag: Checklist and Planning Guide

If a disaster strikes, a city is arguably the worst place to be. Not only do you have to worry about issues like rubble and downed power lines, but crowds of panicking people who didn’t have the foresight to stockpile basic supplies pose a huge threat.

At lot of prepper websites will tell you to move the heck out of the city.  Yes – that’s good advice, but not all of us are in a situation where we can pick up and move.

What you can do is pack an urban Bug Out Bag.

What is an Urban Bug Out Bag?

There are a lot of different definitions of Bug Out Bag.  In general though, a BOB is defined as a kit containing everything you need to survive through disaster conditions for 3 days.

So, an urban Bug Out Bag will contain everything you need to survive a disaster in a city or other urban environment.

Why You Need an Urban Bug Out Bag

You might not think you need an urban BOB.  After all, you could just go home – right?

You might even keep a Get Home Bag in your car in case a disaster strikes while you are away.

The truth is that there are many situations where you could end up stuck wandering the city through a SHTF disaster.

  • Your home becomes completely unsafe (ask the people of Syria about that one!).

  • The city is put on lockdown and you are unable to leave.

  • You have a disability or illness which makes it impossible to get out of the city.

  • There are no rural/wilderness areas around you, such as in large cities on the East Coast.

  • It will take several days of trekking through the city to reach the nearest safe, remote location.

When planning any BOB, I encourage you to think about items in categories based on what goal they achieve.

For example, to survive in any situation we need Shelter, Food, Warmth, and Medical Supplies.  You can read more about these categories in our post 3-Day Bug Out Bag Packing List.

Most Bug Out Bag lists are created with the notion that you’ll be escaping into the wilderness.  You’ll find items on these lists like a portable saw and fishing kits.

These items can be virtually useless in an urban environment!

Here, I want to go over some of the survival considerations which are unique to urban environments.

1. Shelter Considerations

The great thing about bugging out in a city is that there are plenty of pre-made shelters available.  The issue is how you are going to access them.

This is where survival gear like bolt cutters and crowbars can come in very handy.  You might also want a plastic tarp and some duct tape so you can weather-proof a damaged shelter.

I’d also recommend mapping out some locations in your city which would make a good survival shelter.

Abandoned buildings like factories might be a good choice, though plenty of other people will probably have this idea.

Dilapidated buildings might be better as fewer people will think of going there, and they are less likely to be targeted by looters.

Read more here…

Communications in a SHTF Scenario

SHTF Survivalist Radio Lists

 by Rebecca

 

From monkeys in the Amazon Rainforest, to dolphins in the Caribbean, to ants under your picnic table, all species rely on communication with each other for survival. Humans are no different – we rely on communication to both warn and inform us, especially in times of crisis.

In our modern times, the possibility of being unable to easily and quickly communicate with your loved ones or receive vital information from trusted sources is hard to imagine. But in SHTF scenarios, one of the first systems to fail is modern communications. Regardless of the emergency—hurricane, solar flare, nuclear attack, or EMP, to name a few—communications with others will become extremely difficult, if not impossible. Without telephone, text, email, internet, or television, many people will be completely shut off from the outside world at a time when the sharing and receiving of information has never been more important.

Related: How To Make A Tin Can Directional WiFi Antenna to Extend your Communication after an EMP

Just a few examples of the ways you rely on modern forms of communication in emergency situations include:

  • Receiving alerts via text of natural disasters and dangerous weather (for this particular case it is always adviced to learn the lost art of reading nature’s signs);
  • Checking your favorite news app regularly for signs of SHTF;
  • Calling your family to let them know your spouse has to be taken to the emergency room;
  • Listening to the radio for traffic updates, including road closings and delays;
  • Emailing your boss to let them know that you have a flat tire and are going to be late to work.

When our communication is cut off, three things happen immediately:

  1. We lose our ability to send information;
  2. We lose our ability to get information; and
  3. People get scared.

If you are concerned that a SHTF situation, whether natural or man-made, could cut you and your family off from vital information you need to survive, take heart – by using a simple communication device, your family can continue communication with each other and with important sources of help, such as the Red Cross or your local emergency shelter.

To prepare your family for communicating in an emergency, you have several options of communications devices. From devices that just transmit (such as shortwave radio) to devices that will allow full two-way communication with other parties (such as amateur ham radio), each type of device will allow you to stay as up-to-date as possible on emergency situations in your area thanks to special frequencies that broadcast vital information you can use to survive.

Related: How To Tell When People Are Lying to You (in a crisis)

Before we get started on the main types of frequencies used in SHTF communication, it is important to point out that in order to pick up any broadcast, you need a reliable device that you are able to keep charged. Devices with multiple charging options, such as solar-power and hand-crank, provide better insurance against a disaster preventing you from charging your device, while having multiple devices ensure that you will backups in case your main source of communication isn’t functioning.

The main types of frequencies used in SHTF communication:

  1. AM/FM (one-way radio)
  2. SW (shortwave, pre-recorded broadcasts that are listen-only)
  3. NOAA (weather broadcasts, listen-only)
  4. VHF/UHF (amateur ham radio)
  5. FRS (two-way radio, can be used by anyone)
  6. GMRS (two-way radio, requires a license)
  7. MURS (handheld radio or stationary unit)

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages for each. For example, NOAA frequencies are your best bet for hearing notifications of a hurricane in your area; however, should you need emergency assistance because of the hurricane, you can’t use the frequency to call for help. Some devices have frequencies that are available to everyone, while others require a special license in order to broadcast. Prices of devices range widely, as does the level of expertise needed to operate each device. You can choose the device that is right for your family by considering what your communication needs are, your proficiency with each type, whether you will be able to obtain the proper license to broadcast with certain devices, and the budget you are able to spend.

Regardless of the type of device you choose, there are frequencies available for each that will help your family survive emergency situations. To find out which frequencies you should use on three of the most popular prepper communication devices, see our handy reference list below!

NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is a government-operated radio system for sending out warnings in the event of a hurricane, solar flare, nuclear attack, and other emergencies. Broadcasts are local and repeated approximately every 5 minutes around-the-clock. You can purchase a special NOAA-enabled radio that is pre-set to the appropriate frequencies and will alert you of emergencies whenever the radio is turned on.

NOAA broadcasts can be heard on the following frequencies:

  • 162.40 MHz
  • 162.425 MHz
  • 162.45 MHz
  • 162.475 MHz
  • 162.50 MHz
  • 162.525 MHz
  • 162.55 MHz
  • 163.275 MHz

Emergency radio frequencies

  • 34.90 & 163.4875: National Guard
  • 39.46: Inter-department emergency communications by local and state police forces
  • 47.42: Red Cross
  • 121.50: International aeronautical emergency
  • 138.225: FEMA Disaster Relief Operations
  • 142
  • 154.28: Local fire departments inter-departmental communications
  • 155.160: Inter-departmental state and local communications during search and rescue
  • 155.475: Inter-departmental emergency communications for state and local police
  • 156.75: Maritime weather alerts
  • 156.80: Maritime distress, calling, and safety
  • 163.5125: National Disaster Preparedness (Armed Forces)
  • 164.50: Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • 168.55: Disaster and emergency channel for civilian agencies of the federal government
  • 243.00: Military aviation emergency
  • 311.00 & 319.40: U.S. Air Force
  • 317.70 & 317.80: U.S. Coast Guard (Aviation)
  • 340.20: U.S. Navy (Aviation)
  • 409.625: Department of State
  • 462.675: General Mobile Radio Service (emergency assistance and traveler assistance)

Amateur Radio Allocations Apr 2017

Technician Class Frequency Privileges In Ham Radio

Band Frequencies (In MHz) Modes You Can Use
80 meters 3.525 – 3.600 CW
40 meters 7.025 – 7.125 CW
15 meters 21.025 – 21.200 CW
10 meters 28.000 – 28.30028.300 – 28.500 CW, RTTY/data, 200 watts PEP maximum powerCW, phone, 200 watts PEP maximum power
Above 50 MHz All amateur privileges

CW = Morse code; PEP = peak envelope power; RTTY = radioteletype.

General Class Frequency Privileges In Ham Radio

Band Frequencies (in MHz) Mode
160, 60, 30 meters All amateur privileges
80 meters 3.525 – 3.6003.800 – 4.000 CW, RTTY, dataCW, phone, image
40 meters 7.025 – 7.1257.175 – 7.300 CW, RTTY, dataCW, phone, image
20 meters 14.025 – 14.15014.225 – 14.350 CW, RTTY, dataCW, phone, image
15 meters 21.025 – 21.20021.275 – 21.450 CW, RTTY, dataCW, phone, image
17, 12, 10 meters All amateur privileges
Above 50 MHz All amateur privileges

CW = Morse code; RTTY = radioteletype.

Common Ham Radio Q Signals

Q Signal Meaning
QRL Is the frequency busy?
The frequency is busy. Please do not interfere.
QRM Abbreviation for interference from other signals.
QRN Abbreviation for interference from natural or human-made
static.
QRO Shall I increase power?
Increase power.
QRP Shall I decrease power?
Decrease power.
QRQ Shall I send faster?
Send faster (__words per minute [wpm]).
QRS Shall I send more slowly?
Send more slowly (__wpm).
QRT Shall I stop sending or transmitting?
Stop sending or transmitting.
QRU Have you anything more for me?
I have nothing more for you.
QRV Are you ready?
I am ready.
QRX Stand by.
QRZ Who is calling me?
QSB Abbreviation for signal fading.
QSL Did you receive and understand?
Received and understood.
QSO Abbreviation for a contact.
QST General call preceding a message addressed to all
amateurs.
QSX I am listening on ___ kHz.
QSY Change to transmission on another frequency (or to ___
kHz).
QTH What is your location?
My location is ____.

 

Common Ham Radio Repeater Channel Spacings And Offsets

Band Output Frequencies of Each Group (In MHz) Offset from Output to Input Frequency
6 meters 51.62 – 51.9852.5 – 52.98

53.5 – 53.98

– 500 kHz
2 meters (a mix of 20 kHz and 15 kHz channel spacing) 145.2 – 145.5146.61 – 146.97

147.00 – 147.39

– 600 kHz– 600 kHz

+ 600 kHz

222 MHz or 1-1/4 meters 223.85 – 224.98 – 1.6 MHz
440 MHz or 70 cm (local options determine whether inputs are
above or below outputs)
442 – 445 (California repeaters start at 440 MHz)447 – 450 + 5 MHz– 5 MHz
1296 MHz or 23 cm 1282 – 12881290 – 1294 – 12 MHz

CB frequencies

Citizen’s band radio is any easy way for anyone to communicate in an emergency without a license. Standard channels range from 1 – 40, with additional channels being available with freeband operation. Some helpful frequencies to monitor include:

  • Channel 3: Prepper CB Network
  • Channel 4: The American Preppers Network
  • Channel 9: reserved specifically for emergency communications/ REACT channel
  • Channel 19: the channel most widely used by truckers across the country

Emergency communication tips

Whether you choose to monitor NOAA broadcasts or utilize CB and/or ham radio frequencies, there are a few tips that can help you communicate most effectively in an emergency:

  • Have an emergency communication plan in place
  • Don’t limit yourself to only one type of communication: having multiple devices can save your life!
  • If speaking to emergency services, speak slowly and clearly and be able to provide details of your emergency, such as the number of people needing assistance, your location, and any life-threatening injuries
  • In a bug-out situation, the noise of your device may give your location away to others: make sure you are in a safe location before tuning in!

Top 10 Survival Skills For the New Year

by Richard Marshall

What if you woke up one morning and the world as you knew it was gone?

Would you be ready to sustain yourself and your loved ones? How would you know? Serious preppers understand that “knowledge is power” and that “practice make perfect.” These two elements of wisdom should guide your prepping activities.

Here are the top 10 skills I teach my students when first discussing their plans for disaster preparation:

  1. First Aid. As a medic, I know first-hand the importance of taking fast action in the event of a medical emergency. Take a First Aid/CPR class while you can and learn how to use a tourniquet, administer stitches, and care for broken bones and gunshot wounds. Buy a couple of field manuals and keep one at home and one in the car, along with your first aid kits.
  2. Self-defense. I don’t have to tell you how dangerous desperate people are. Hopefully, you and the people you come across in a survival situation can lend a helping hand to each other and share/trade in a civilized fashion. If not, prepare to protect yourself, your family, and your supplies.
  3. Fire-starting. A fire will keep you warm, make your water safe to drink, and make your food edible. With its critical survival applications, fire is one of your best friends and fire-starting should be one of your most-practiced skills.
  4. Fishing. “If you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for the rest of his life.” Although there is science to fishing, it’s best learned by experience. A fishing pole may become one of your key survival supplies. Purchase a high-quality one, along with a fishing guide for your region. Remember, in most states you will need a fishing license.
  5. Hunting. If a disaster of catastrophic proportions strikes, things may never go back to normal. If you cannot buy food at a grocery store, you will have to find your own. Knowing how to hunt will put fresh, protein-rich meat on the table. Learn to use a hunting rifle as well as a bow-and-arrow, and how to set traps for small game that you can capture without the need for ammunition, which may be scarce in a crisis.
  6. Gardening. Being able to grow your own food is valuable skill, not only in a survival situation, but in everyday life. With all of the pesticides and herbicides that our produce is bombarded with, I’m not a big fan of grocery store produce. Knowing how to grow medicinal herbs can also come in handy and give you some bargaining power, too.
  7. Firearms. Firearms have many potential survival applications, from hunting to self-defense. Hopefully you won’t ever have to shoot someone to protect you family or property, but you never know. Go to the shooting range often to keep in practice, and stay up-to-date on the latest regulations in your area regarding concealed carry permits.
  8. Navigating. If you don’t know how to hold a compass, you better figure it out now. If you have to bug out, especially if you are meeting someone in a pre-determined location, you better know how to get there. Buy laminated maps of your region and keep them in your bug-out bag and get-home bag.
  9. Construction. If the crisis persists and the world as we know it no longer exists, we may be back to living in colonial times. You will be way ahead of the competition if you have basic construction skills and a set of hand tools.
  10. Food preservation. If refrigeration is not available, preserving food will become the norm. From salt preservation, to smoking, canning and dehydration, extending the life of your foods is a valuable skill.

It’s also imperative that you start stocking the supplies you’ll need to use each given skill effectively. Your hunting rifle is useless without ammunition, and you’ll wish you had some tinder in your bug-out bag when nighttime rolls around.

Resource Location and Allocation

ShieldWall Network homework assignment for over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays: For your local area, research where are the nearest of these resources and assets to your location:

-non-perishable food distribution centers and food warehouses

-Water treatment facilities

-sources of live water (rivers, creeks, lakes)

-Electric power production facilities

-Propane storage facilities

-Gasoline storage facilities

-National Guard Armories

When the collapse happens, those who are able to feed themselves, their neighbors, and their fellow citizens, and provide access to the other above-mentioned resources, will become the persons of influence in their communities.

After you locate the nearest locations to you of each resource, in the next phase research what would be necessary to secure and defend each of those sites from looters. Think about roads and rail lines and waterways accessing them, existing security emplacements there, and how they could be improved. In the final phase, consider what kind of transportation resources would be needed to move those resources to another, more defensible location, where applicable, and how those means of transportation may be accessed near you.

Eventually and inevitably, ShieldWall Phalanx training will expand into wargaming exercises based on the defense of these kinds of locations from thieves and looters, for the good of the community at large, and the distribution of these resources to the community under our supervision in a SHTF scenario as America balkanizes.

 

 

Rest In Peace

The reason why you may be reading this is because you want to learn how to stave off disaster. In the coming years, it is not entirely certain what the time will hold for the world, and it is important to get ready.  But what is the real reason why you are preparing in advance?

The simple answer is; peace of mind.

You want to know, beforehand, you will be able to survive. You are beginning to prepare because you don’t want to struggle when the world crumbles; you want to know that you have as many of the contingencies you can plan for squared away because you’ve already done the majority of the work. It doesn’t matter if it happens in three years or twenty; you know that you’re going to be okay.

However, survival is more than food stores and ammo.

Survival means more than taking care of the physical body. Survival also means you still take the time to stop and smell the roses, hold your loved ones, take in a beautiful view, and reconnect with whatever makes you tick. It means that you learn to depend on God as much as you learn to depend on gardening skills, your hunting prowess, or the homesteading and back-to-basics skills you’re cultivating. You constantly need to remind yourself of why you are putting in the effort. It’s not just so you can eat another day. For the Christian, God has given us much more of a responsibility than that.

The goal is not just to prepare and survive while others perish. A larger perspective motivates the follower of God in their prudent preparations…that is to wisely prepare so that one can adequately and skillfully continue to minister and serve to the true needs of others. That is our number one obligation. God didn’t tell Noah to build a boat just so he could experience the first ocean cruise.

That knowledge should not only produce a fervor and zest for life, but it should also produce peace.  The health of the mind is the most important part of survival, because without the focus, the assurance, and the knowledge to get through any situation – whether man-made or natural disasters – your actions and reactions will more than likely remain within the realm of chaotic and aimless. Peace is crucial during catastrophe, and it will not only offer you calm amidst the storm, but it also offers several other advantages.

If you are cool and calm during a catastrophe, you will be able to do several things:

-You will not make hasty decisions. When riots are occurring in the streets or there is a mass evacuation, usually people make rash decisions that can cost lives. If you are at peace, then you will have the unclouded ability to think critically.

-You will not consume as much energy and resources. People who are flustered and worried tend to gather more than they need or rush more than they have to.  Both take far more energy than is necessary, and energy translates to vital calories.

-Being at peace will keep you from succumbing to fear. Fear can make people do unwise things, and tyrannical governments have a knack for using fear as a psychological weapon.

-You will remain focused and steady when the world crumbles to the ground. Of course, you will not know of what is to come, but you will not have nearly the stress that others might have. Stress can lead to sickness and irrational decisions, so keeping yourself relaxed will prevent that from happening.

The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth,

Jonathan Chambers

Cowboy-style survival

The Old West was a tough place to hammer out a living. Whether it was mountain men, cowboys, or buffalo hunters, making ends meet in The West was not for the faint of heart.

Men and women alike had to be self-reliant, self-policed, and self-motivated if they were to survive. It certainly didn’t cater to the weak. Cowboys were one group who were particularly adept at taking care of themselves.

A major reason cowboys became so self-reliant was out of necessity. There simply wasn’t anything to fall back on in the middle of a 1,000-mile-long cattle drive. Part of their ability to complete a drive was attributed to their toughness and their ability to handle problems as they arose. Another reason they were able to complete these long drives can be credited to their planning for the drive. A properly supplied chuckwagon was essential if the cattle drive was to be successful.

One area the chuckwagon couldn’t fail in was the food department. The entire outfit would be composed of around 10-15 people, and those people needed food each day. Not only did those 10-15 people need food, but they needed fuel to energize their bodies for the 18-hour workdays they faced when on the trail.

Although they occasionally ate the cattle they were trailing, they also needed food in the wagon. Chuckwagons were packed full of all kinds of ingredients cooks used to prepare meals. Many sacks of flour and cornmeal were brought along for the journey. They also needed vegetables that would store well in the heat and provide enough energy for the cowboys to keep working.

If you are planning your garden and are looking for foods that store well, you might take a page from the cowboys and plant these three easy-storing crops.

One staple in the cowboy’s diet was beans – a food high in nutrition and protein (see nutritional information below). There is an old saying that proclaims, “There are two kind of people in this world — those that do eat beans, and those that should eat beans.” There are a variety of bean choices out there, but if you want to grow what the cowboys ate, then try pinto beans.

As they grow, simply let them hang on the plant until dry. After that, they need to be removed from the pod and stored in a cool, dry place. Once dried, beans can last for years without spoiling. Before cooking with them, soak them overnight to reconstitute.

Potatoes have an array of attributes that would have made them popular in any chuckwagon. First, they would have stored well on the long cattle drives. Just keep them cool and dry.

Second, they are packed with nutrition (see nutritional information below). In fact, there are stories of people eating nothing but potatoes for six months, without nutritional defects.

If you are looking for an easy-storing and nutritious crop, plant a few extra potatoes this spring.

One popular book with recipes from the Old West – “The Cowboy’s Cookbook” – includes a breakfast recipe of fried potatoes and onions. The ingredients’ list is short: potatoes, oil for frying, onions, and salt and pepper. Many a cowboy would have enjoyed this simple meal behind a dusty chuckwagon.

Out on the trail, cowboys needed food that not only “stuck to their ribs,” but also offered energy with essential vitamins and minerals. These staple foods, paired with a steady serving of beef, would have kept the cowboys fit and healthy.

Always Safe, Always Prepared

Frank Mitchell

Bummed Out

Building this country required a huge amount of manpower, especially when you consider that much was built by human hands rather than power equipment. Projects like the Transcontinental Railroad and the Hoover Dam required workforces numbering in the thousands, and hard-working men who came and went with the job.

These men were called hobos, or vagabonds (or bums). They lived in shanty towns, because that’s all there was at the end of the tracks and they carried little with them, because they knew they’d be moving on.

These so-called “bums” were NOT just bumming around. They were surviving against all odds using the tools available to them. Our last Afternoon Alert discussed some of the survival tactics the hobos of our country used to thrive, and today we’ll discuss a few more and how you can still use them for survival today.

Hobos typically gathered together in communities, wherever they were working. That way they could help each other out. Cooking for 10 people is easier than cooking for one, and by doing so, everyone doesn’t have to carry a pot around with them. One would bring the pot and the others would bring the ingredients.

When you’re part of a community you also tend to watch out for each other. If you’re by yourself, you might not see what’s happening to you. For example, hypothermia can set in in such a subtle way that you freeze to death, without even realizing what’s happening to you. But if other people are around, they’ll likely notice you’re not well and help.

The lesson here? Have friends. Community will save you.

Most hobos could recognize edible plants and those which could serve as medicines. While they bought food, they augmented what they bought with what they found. Knowing what you can eat can mean the difference between a full belly and starving to death. Knowing what you can use for medicine can also save your life.

God has provided a wide range of foods and medicines in nature around us. But you’ve got to know what to use and how to use it. When you’re living that minimalist lifestyle, you really need that knowledge. Hobo survival tip, live off the land.

Throughout history, there have been people out of jobs because they wouldn’t take one that’s beneath them. While I can understand that to some extent, that pride can be deadly.

When things go bad, such as in a financial collapse, we’re all going to have to do whatever we can, no matter how much education we have or what we did before.

The lesson? Drop your ego. There’s no room for pride when it comes to surviving a crisis.

Part of the reason that hobos are seen as lazy and shiftless is that they weren’t worriers. They did what they could and left the rest up to divine providence. We could all learn from that.

Yes, there is always a part that we are to do. If we don’t work, we’re not going to eat. But on the other hand, worrying never added a day to anyone’s life. When you’ve done what you can, just hope and pray it’s enough. The rest is beyond your capability.

Worry causes incredible health problems. High blood pressure is caused more by worry, than by any other reason. Why do you think they call it “hypertension?” That literally means, “too much tension” or “too much stress.” Quit stressing out and get to work. Do your part and then follow the example of the hobos, putting the rest in God’s hands.

Remember, we’re all in this together,

Derek Paulson

Ask a Hobo.

For as long as man has organized into society, there have been those on the fringe. These were people who, for one reason or another, just didn’t fit into polite society.

Such were the hobos of our nation’s past. We tend to think of hobos as bums who stole rides on trains and lived in shanty towns. But in some cases, they were traveling workers who would go where there was work and move on when the job was done.

These were tough men, accustomed to backbreaking work and long hours. They survived and endured, becoming a forgotten part of our country’s history. Yet the work that they did has often survived and become part of making our country what it is today.

Looking back at the lives of these men we can see their lifestyle was built around the need to survive. Basically, everything they did was based on that one need.

There are quite a few lessons we can learn from the hobos of days gone by, and this shall be today’s topic.

Lesson one, you gotta be tough. Physical toughness is essential for surviving in adverse circumstances. A lot of us in the survival movement aren’t as physically fit as we need to be (myself included). But toughness goes beyond just being physically fit.

A boxer learns to take blows, just as he learns how to give them. Strength and agility allow him to give them, but toughness allows him to take them. If you’re not tough, you’re not going to be able to take the blows that life gives you; you’ll fold and just wait to die.

There are two types of toughness: physical and mental. Of the two, mental toughness can be harder to develop than physical.

If your mind can’t take the blows and bounce back, you are at a disadvantage. Your mind must be able to accept the changing reality of a crisis or a disaster, quickly overcome the grief, and move into survival mode.

This is all about training. The better trained you are, the better you can adapt. Training also gives you confidence, so that you know you’re able to survive.

Hobo lesson two, learn a variety of skills, and be willing to do the work. Hobos did whatever the job called for. While they may not have been experts in any one trade, they were still capable of working in many of them. One month they might be busting broncos and the next swinging a double jack in a mine.

Today’s society has become so specialized, in some cases one engineer can only work on one part of a project. He’s lost when he looks at the rest. But in Henry Ford’s day, the guy who designed the engine could also design the body.

In a survival situation, you need to have a wide variety of skills. If your home is damaged by a hurricane and you need to make it safe to sleep in, you don’t have to be a master carpenter. But you will probably need to be able to cut boards and nail them together. You’re probably also going to need to know a little plumbing and electrical work.

Hobo lesson three, develop a minimalist lifestyle. When you’re on the go, you can’t take a lot of extra baggage with you. You’ve got to cut things down to what you really need. Our modern lifestyle is so cluttered with stuff that we’d need a backpack the size of a semi-trailer to bug out.

Learn what you need and then cut down to that point. If you’ve got stuff in your house that you never use, then why do you have it? Really, if you haven’t used it in a year or two, you probably won’t. So, pass it on to someone who can use it and make room in your life for what you need.

Remember, we’re all in this together,

Derek Paulson
Prepared Patriot