Dave Canterbury On Preparing For The Big Storm

Despite his fiasco with Dual Survivor, I’ve always felt that Dave Canterbury is a straight shooter– at least when it comes to searching for the truth about what works when it comes to survival.  I discount a lot of what they showed on the DS show as showmanship and the producers looking for sexy footage to make viewers tune in and buy more toothpaste.

But if you read some of Dave’s stuff (or watch his videos) he takes a very sober look at outdoor survival.

Below  is a video he did for some friends and family members right before Hurricane Sandy rolled onto the east coast.  I first saw it quite a while ago and it stuck in my head for some reason.  He talks about a lot of stuff you just won’t hear (or read) if you frequent the various survival forums online.  Like the importance of buckets, for example: Basic, unglamorous 5 gallon buckets you can use as a toilet or an improvised trash bucket or about 1000 other things.  Dave suggests stocking up on at least 25 of ’em.  That’s good, plain ‘ol common sense advice.  But something I’ll be a lot of people overlook as it’s not as fun as running off to the gun store.

Here’s the video.  Enjoy:

Small Scale Aquaponics

We met a woman at a club meeting a few weeks ago who told us that she had been (successfully) doing aquaponics when she lived in New York.  I’m not 100% convinced that this type of system wouldn’t be more hassle than it would be worth in a SHTF scenario.  Seems like you’d need a green house and a solar powered air pump (to aerate the water) at the least.  In the end, it might just be easier to grow plants in the dirt.  But aquaponics is definitely something I’ll need to investigate more closely.

It’s obvious Ann Forsthoefel of “Aqua Annie” is excited by aquaponics, the growing of plants fed by nutrients from fish, which in turn provide a source of food when they reach maturity. “There are so few inputs compared to growing crops in the soil,” she said. With her gardens, she’s constantly building up the soil that is depleted at the end of each growing season. The beauty of aquaponics, she said, is that there isn’t that constant work because the fish are giving nutrients to the plants. Read the full post on Cooking Up a Story:http://cookingupastory.com/aquaponics ‎

Two Air Rifles I Bought Recently Because The Chickens Must Be Protected At All Costs!

In anticipation of our new flock of chickens, I figured it would be a good idea to get a couple of air rifles to keep on hand to deal with potential predators.  I also figured that it might be a good time to stock up on pellets since ammo has been virtually unavailable and if this situation continues I can see a lot of shooters switching to air rifles.  (Granted, it’s likely much easier to ramp up production of pellets in the face of increased demand than it would be rifle ammo).

Since we live in a semi-suburban area I was concerned about how much noise either rifle would make.  These are the two I selected:

  • Gamo Silent Cat: -I like this .177  air rifle.  It comes with a scope but reviews on Amazon suggested the scope is kind of cheap and I didn’t want to hassle with putting it on.  Fortunately, the iron sights are fantastic.  I also like that you only have to break the barrel and drop a pellet in, then close it back up and fire, whereas the Benjamin below requires several pumps.  I’m far from a crack shot, but this gun’s accuracy seemed good enough to drop a rat (with a body shot, anyway) from at least 20 yards).

 

  • Crossman Benjamin 392 – This is a .22 pellet gun.  Apparently, they’ve been around for years (30+) and have something of a cult following.  My father had a similar pellet gun when I was a kid.  It was a handgun though, and he had put a rifle stock attachment on it.  His probably wasn’t the same model as this one, but it feels pretty close (except for the stock).  This air rifle has a wood stock and has the feel of a “real rifle.”  It’s profile is quite a bit shorter than the Gamo Silent Cat and that makes it easier to wield.  Unfortunately, the sights aren’t as good.  They’re decent.  They work.  But the sight picture just isn’t as good as the Gamo’s.  The other thing I’m not crazy about is that once you get past five pumps, you need arms like Arnold to continue pumping it.  I have no idea what the velocity is with only… say, two pumps.  But I have a hard time seeing myself struggling with pumping this thing while Mr. Raccoon decimates my chickens.  Four or five pumps will (hopefully) be enough to do the deed.  Regardless, the thing is bad ass and I’ll be keeping it for no other reason than to plink at targets and teach the kid next door how to shoot.

An EMP-Proof Gun Safe With An Electric Lock?

I was sitting on the can flipping through the latest issue of National Rifleman magazine when I came across an ad for an EMP-proof gun safe… with an electric lock.

Upon closer inspection, it appears that Cannon Safes is making this safe with a backup dial system.  From their web site:

“One of the more arcane threats to anything electronic or electrical is an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by nuclear detonation, or by certain non-nuclear events. In addition, floods, storm surges and other natural threats can disable an electronic locking device.”

“The formidable Commander series, the trademark Cannon Series and the massive Armory Series safes will be equipped with Cannon’s new EMP Dual-Access Lock that provides a manual combination lock as backup to the electronic lock. Threat met, threat neutralized. Another reason Cannon’s Commander, Cannon and Armory Series offer you and your valuables the ultimate in security, access and preparedness.

Shop today Cannon’s EMP Lock for the Commander SeriesCannon Series and Armory Series.”

Seems kinda gimmicky to me.  If you’re that concerned about an EMP (I am!) then why not just buy a safe with a regular dial/manual lock in the first place?  I’ve never understood the attraction of a keypad safe, anyway.  Once you get the hang of how to open a dial/manual lock it’s not as if it takes you a long time to get into the safe.  Perhaps an extra 10-20 seconds?

Now, if the safe manufacturer positioned it as not only EMP-proof but also a faraday cage… I’d hand them bonus points.

Survival Podcast Question For Jack Spirko: A Small Business To Survive The Next Great Depression?

I just left this question on Jack Spirko’s Survival Podcast voice mail.  Hopefully it makes it onto the show, soon, as it’s a subject I’ve been researching for the past couple of years and Jack usually has some really interesting ideas about this kind of stuff:

“Hi, Jack:

What small business would you start now that would continue to provide a good quality of life in the event we experience a Great Depression 2.0?

I know that you believe we will probably experience a boom before another bust… so if we have another 5 to 10 years to prepare, what are some good ideas for Depression-resistant small businesses that an internet geek like me (with no mechanical skills or handyman abilities) could start… that would get me through to the other side of the next Great Depression?

If you do a search on Google on this subject, you typically come up with a lot of conjecture and speculation– stuff that didn’t even hold up very well when the economy fell apart in 2008.

So, I’m really looking for some real-world ideas, and I know you’re the guy to go to about that.

Thanks.”

 

Grow More Food With 50% – 80% Less Water

These two kids over at Globalbuckets.org have the right idea: It looks like they took a page from the “EarthBox” self-watering container concept and applied it to the 5 gallon DIY bucket planter — then added the trash bag plastic as a mulch of sorts to prevent evaporation.

Smart.

They call it a “Global Bucket.”  Yeah, a little too hippie for me too.

Whatever.

When I was their age I was busy trying to figure out how to play strip poker on my TRS-80.  At least they’re doing something productive.

From their web site:

“Is it possible two cheap plastic buckets can help reduce global malnutrition?

Sounds crazy, but there’s some amazing technology that can be created by combining two cheap 5-gallon buckets along with some other low cost or free materials. The result is a low cost foolproof system of growing food.

Benefits of the 2-bucket system:

1) 50% to 80% reduction in water usage.

2) 100% reduction in weeds…never pull a weed or use herbicides.

3) Once planted, very little attention is required.
4) Foolproof: People with very little training (like us!) can reap bountiful harvests.
5) All you need are a few square meters of space…even rooftops, industrial wastelands, etc”

They’ve also got an automatic watering system device they’ve created– that I’ll need to look at in more detail later to figure out how it works.

In the meantime, if you don’t want to hassle with running around to build your own buckets (or you’ve got a wife like mine who doesn’t want to look at orange Home Depot buckets in her backyard!) then take a look at the “Growbox”: It’s an improvement over the Earthbox and it’s less expensive.

A Few Of The Things On My List To Pick Up This Week, April 14th 2013

Here are few things on my list to pick up this week:

Nesco FD-80A Square-Shaped Dehydrator Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging – My plan is to primarily use this to make jerky, but will probably also use it for drying fruits and veggies since that tends to fly more toward my wife’s pallette.

Certified Organic Alfalfa Sprouting Seed- 2.5 Lbs – Handy Pantry Brand – High Sprout Germination- Gardening, Growing Salad Sprouts, Planting, Food Storage & More – My mother picked up a different package of alfalfa sprout seeds from Whole Foods that she never used, so she gave it to me that last time we visited.  It’s a small package though (nowhere near the 2.5 lb bag they’re selling on Amazon at the link above) and since I haven’t used it yet, I really have no idea how long it will last.  I found this bag (above) and figure that it would be a prudent investment.  Seeds will typically store for 4-5 years if stored in a cool dark place.

Sprouting Strainer Lid – I haven’t grown sprouts since I was a kid, but I’ve been reading about the incredible benefits of sprouts being a “super food.”   And since you can grow sprouts indoors in about 4-5 days, it seems like a perfect food for preppers, especially since we might find ourselves in a situation where getting vitamin C and E can be difficult– the ability to grow something edible quickly and easily is a major “plus” in my book.  And it’s a great supplement to stored grains.  At $6, it’s not going to break the bank but if I can find some cheap screen or cheese cloth at ChinaMart and then wrap it over a Mason jar with a rubber band… I might just go that route as it’s considerably cheaper.

An RV Park For Preppers?

Over the past several years I’ve frequently thought about setting up what would basically be an RV park for preppers. Something along the lines of setting up a private self-storage facility in addition to an RV pad that each person would get (and access to utilities if available) and then charge a monthly fee. Probably have a wide fence that– if SHTF– everyone could participate in standing watch, too.

An RV Park For Preppers —
Might Get Pretty Chilly…

I mentioned the idea to Rawles a few years ago and he brought up the (very valid) point that anywhere you’d want to do something like this would get too cold for RVers in the winter. So, you would need to have cabinas (little cabins) with wood burning stoves or heat boxes so that when people arrive in their RVs, they’re not sitting in Winnebago meat lockers in a grid down scenario.

Obviously, the idea would need to be fleshed out in more detail. And the various dynamics of having what amounts to a survival retreat with several different families who don’t know each other– all with different values and levels of preparedness– might very well doom the idea from the start. Certainly, you’d need to set it up in such a manner that each renter/camper would have their own private area they could do with as they pleased. Easier said than done when somebody’s mangy mutt happens to repeatedly run into your RV or steal food from your campsite because everyone doesn’t have the same ideas about “personal space.”

But that could also be dealt with ahead of time with a clear rental agreement and understanding that the park manager has the right to evict tenants if they do not adhere to the pre-agreed standard of living.

Is There A Way To Make The “RV Park For Preppers” Idea Work With A Clear Rental Agreement?

Hard to say.  Something to think about, anyway.

A Review Of Marjorie Wildcraft’s “Grow Your Own Groceries” DVD

Marjorie Wildcraft’s “Grow Your Own Groceries” DVD is exceptional, at least for someone like me who didn’t grow up on a farm. One thing to note: Her video  isn’t so much an instructional DVD (although there are a few things she does show, like how to butcher a rabbit, for example) … but it’s more on a conceptual level in that she takes you for a walk through her property and you get to see how all of the various elements on her property fit together to create a closed system.

Grow Your Own Groceries Shows A Complete System Where One Element Of Your Backyard Food Production System Fits Into The Next

For example: The rain water irrigates the plants. The plants feed the animals. The animals make the compost which then feeds the plants. The dogs guard the chickens and rabbits from predators and in exchange get to eat the rabbit entrails and chicken feet after butchering. Etc…

Grow Your Own Groceries

Random picture of man butchering a chicken, included for effect (not from dvd)

Anyway, I mentioned that I’d bought this DVD in this post and I must say that I found it all pretty interesting, but I think it would have been better if she had shown the same principles being applied on a 1/4 acre lot instead of her 3 acre lot.  Some of the reviews I’d read on Amazon suggest that she doesn’t go into enough detail about certain subjects.  I disagree.  This is an introductory DVD designed for the person just getting set up.  (By the way: Marjorie points out that it can take up to ten years to really get completely off grid and producing most of your own food.  And to be at her level, I’d probably agree– although I do think you can get a big jump start within just a year or two if you’re committed).

“Grow Your Own Groceries” Is A Big Picture Approach To Becoming More Self Sufficient

If you’re looking for ideas on “how it all fits together” then this is the DVD for you.  She also includes a huge assortment of e-documents and articles for more in depth information on each system.  For $50, Marjorie Wildcraft’s “Grow Your Own Groceries” DVD definitely worth buying.