Showing posts with label preparedness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label preparedness. Show all posts

Monday, November 12, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty solid week here. Exercise was solidly on pace with 3 runs, 2 lifts and 1 body weight/  lame Army PT session before getting sick. I fiddled with some gear which was good. Did some dry fire drills which are always a positive thing. Did some testing of the solar charger which turned out pretty good. Oh yeah and I purchased 2 BBQ sized propane bottles.

Between getting sick and recovering we pretty much lost the whole weekend which kinda hurt some efforts. However we are pretty much back to normal so that is good.

In terms of material stuff it was a great week. Ordered a year's worth (x1 pax or 4 mos x3) of grains and lentils, 40 pounds of rice and sugar as well as some oatmeal. Project AR Upgrade got some love too with a VTAC Surefire light and mount combo and a VTAC sling to go along with it.

Survivalist Charlie got me now I'm broke so next weeks plans include the usual dry fire and PT (3 lifts, 3 runs, 2 rucks and at least 2 APFT oriented body weight sessions) as well as a contest brought to you by our new but good friends at Camping Survival. If things work out I will look over our kits again and go through the 'go food' as well as testing out some cooking options. We *should* have the right connectors to run our Coleman propane stuff off the big BBQ bottles from the stuff we got from the in laws but well that is why we test things. Also I am still fiddling with the Sun Oven and Solo Stove.

Some good stuff if I do say coming up  so myself. What did you do to prepare this week?


Monday, October 29, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a pretty good week here. Ordered the majority of the stuff for Project AR Upgrade as well as some rifle plates. Hit the gym, did some running and ended up losing almost a pound. Put some energy into getting the first version of my GHB reestablished as well as the car kit. Also we picked up a bunch of food to put away.

I'm going to give something new a shot. Talking about my goals for the upcoming week here may help me think through what I want to do the next week and then stay accountable for that.

This week in terms of fitness I plan to lift 3x, run 3x and ruck twice. Going to work on solidifying the GHB and car kit. I am thinking a pretty stripped down get home bag that is sort of an EDC/GHB blend. Just grabbing it every day (or leaving it in the car) is a simple option. For longer trips a heavier dedicated kit will come along. That is however a topic for another day. Also I am going to order some stuff. Been doing some looking and am still trying to prioritize. Might just pull the trigger on a War Belt. Then again there is some long overdue stuff. Also I need to do a review on the Solo Stove which is a pretty cool piece of kit. If I get really motivated I will try to finish up our emergency food box.

Well that is what I have been up to and what should be coming up this week. What did you do to prepare this week?


Saturday, October 27, 2012

RE: Claire Wolfe's Preparedness Priorities 2

Claire Wolfe has continued her excellent Preparedness Priorities series.

In Part 3 Claire talks about how people need to prepare differently. To me this is pretty obvious but some folks miss it all the same. We could break these differences down into regional and personal. Regional differences are pretty obvious. Different areas have unique weather and disaster concerns. Folks who live in really cold places like Michigan need to worry a lot more about warm clothes and sleeping bags, etc than those in Arizona. Conversely people in Arizona should pay more attention to keeping plenty of water around and such. Preparing for a hurricane in Iowa or an ice storm in Florida would be foolish.

On the other hand personal factors vary well, person to person. Let's look at two potential examples, economic/ financial vulnerability and violent crime risk factors. We will meet Tim and Bob.

Tim is a hustler but not in the bad way. He has a pretty good full time job, always has a few side projects going and works with his Dad when the full time job is slow. Also his wife has a clerical job for the state. If Tim loses his full time job they would probably be down 40% income but he could make some of that up putting more effort into other areas. If Tim was seriously injured (he works with heavy machinery full time and does some logging so it could happen) they could eat and keep the lights on with his wife's income. The point is that their 3-4 income streams come from totally different places. It is very unlikely they would all fall apart at once.

Bob makes a very good living. He went to college and got a business degree and went to work in management at the local plant. His wife stays at home with the kids. If he loses favor at work or the plant closes or whatever they have absolutely no income. (I do not mean to say stay at home mom's are a bad thing. That is another discussion entirely.)

The point is that while Tim's income may vary a bit Bob is actually more vulnerable. If something happens they are hosed. Bob would have a heck of a time finding a similar job in the same area. They probably want more like a year worth of expenses put away because it will take awhile to figure things out. On the other hand Tim might be comfortable with 3-4 months to get them through winter until he is busy again.

Looking at violent crime risk factors for our two guys.

Tim does a lot of work for cash. He also pays helpers and subcontractors and suppliers in cash. He buys equipment with cash. Tim carrying around a couple thousand dollars in cash and having 10k at home is pretty common. More to the point due to all the people involved a pretty good amount of people know Tim deals in cash. In the nature of normal events and casual conversation lot's of folks know about this. Tim is often alone driving between job's or putting in bids or working in the middle of nowhere. Also let's be honest in and around his line of work there are some unsavory characters.

On the other hand Bob gets payed by direct deposit. He rarely makes large cash sales or purchases. They do not have any particularly unique or special valuables that would be easy to sell/ transfer. He keeps some cash at home and have some PM's but only Bob and his wife know about that stuff.

[Real world point. A buddy of mine had a SWAT team spend a week camped out in his living room once. There was a pretty nasty home invasion crew and intelligence said he was on their list. His work was very seasonal and a lot was in cash. In season he often had a lot of cash at home and the wrong people knew about it. Aside from random crackheads people usually get targeted because crooks know or think they know something particularly valuable is there.]

Tim has some risk factors. He would be prudent to do something to mitigate that risk.Maybe nothing will every come of them but then again it would only have to happen once. Bob on the other hand has considerably lower risk. Aside from general common sense stuff he probably doesn't need to go out of the way here.

The point I am getting at is that different people have different concerns based on their unique situation. Obviously there are a lot more variables like medical issues, family networks, etc.

Part IV has some really good points. Focusing on more likely scenarios (job loss, violent crime, inflation) over less likely (EMP, nuclear war, Zombies) ones just makes sense. Also when giving people advice I think it is important to tailor advice to their situation, finances and level of commitment. Giving unrealistic advice will leave them bummed if they want to do it but can't, turned off if they don't want to or dismissive of the whole thing.  The right advice for a family with a modest income and a lot of kids is different than for a working couple who make a lot of money.

I was talking about this with Wifey today. Often I find myself in the position of recommending things that I do not actually recommend if that makes any sense. The reason I do this is because it fit's their situation and makes them more prepared than they previously were. A few boxes of shells for the old .38 special and 12 gauge or a spam can for the Mosin Nagant you swapped for a case of beer, some batteries, a few gallons of water and some food in the pantry is a heck of a lot better than nothing.

Claire continues the series touching on risk assessments and water storage neither of which I feel like talking about. Anyway those are my thoughts on that.


Monday, October 1, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

I got some trigger time which was cool. Stumbled into a bunch of camping gear which is pretty awesome. Also I read Max Velocities book Contact: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival as well as the new Jim Rawles fiction book Founders. Picked up some interesting ideas from both.

Also while moving stuff I did some informal ammo inventories. On the plus side we have more 7.62x39 and shotgun shells than I thought. On the downside we have only about 150 rounds of .357 magnum ammunition. It is not totally critical as we have a decent stash of .38 special but I would like to get the most out of those big revolvers. In any case that will have to be remedied in short order. A few more bricks of .22 and some small game  loads for the 12 gauge would be nice though they aren't critical. Heck 2 more cases of each caliber we stock would be great but unfortunately resources are finite.

Anyway what have you been up to this week?








Thursday, June 7, 2012

Preps or Investing?

Our longtime invisible friend Rourke wrote a post that got me onto this topic. Taking a topic somebody else came up with and giving my spin on it is a pretty good way to have a hitting from the tee kind of blogger day. Anyway this topic comes up all the time.

In some circles you can't be a real survivalist unless you have cashed our every investment you have to buy a bunch of buckets full of wheat and extra pants. Clearly every dollar you have will just burn up in a hyperinflationary disaster so the only reasonable thing to do is to get it all out right now, fees be damned and turn it into good tangible's like buckets full of wheat and lots of extra pants.

If you haven't picked it up I am really not a fan of this strategy. There are so many reasons for this. First if you can't see a reasonable (heck probably likely) chance that eventually you may get old and not be able to work consider the possibility that you are a fool. We could debate investment strategies (and will get there later) but fundamentally you need to be saving for your future. Buckets of wheat will not put gas in your car or pay property taxes in 40 years when you can't work.

The thing about experts is that they tend to be a bit fixated on whatever they are an expert in. This makes sense as people don't tend to get really good or attain significant status in areas they are ambivalent about. The amount of time a championship marathoner or powerlifter thinks is reasonable to spend exercising probably differs from most people. A guy who writes for Car and Driver probably puts more of his money into vehicles than most. An uuber gunnie might think a super custom pistol that costs 2k and a tricked out uuber AR that costs 3k and wears another 3k in accessories are totally reasonable. The point I am getting at is that as a sort of jack of all trades (vs just a gunnie or whatever) we need to look at the big picture. Looking at the big picture means we cannot always shoot the same guns as a guy who just does 3 gun tourneys or whatever. It should be pretty obvious that letting the guy from Car and Driver choose your carry piece is about as smart as letting some preparedness guru choose your investing strategy or the champion marathoner pick your next family vehicle.

Maybe more to the point a definite this or that mentality comes up here which I think is ridiculous. There are almost infinite ways you could spend your money so it certainly does not just come down to preps or investing. It is better to look at the big picture. You could invest $500 a month or have a boat with a payment. You could spend $300 a month on preps or have the big cable package and go out to eat a few times a month. The options are endless which is why this whole argument is kind of foolish to me.

Note that I am talking about taking money that was allocated toward longterm savings (in whatever form) and putting it into food storage or whatever kind of survivalist stuff. Folks who decide to go all contrarian/ hard money are a different sort of discussion. They may be right or wrong but this makes much more sense as they are still saving for the future but in a different way. I know some folks who are seriously contrarian in their investment plans. They keep liquid savings in PM's and put the rest of their money into various things like specialized equipment for businesses or real estate or small businesses that earn money. It is worth noting that lots of "contrarian's" mess up on the part where the point of getting something is that it makes you money. A NIB .44 magnum or gold coin tucked away in a safe does not get you interest or pay a profit. A lot that you rent out to somebody or a share of a local business can make a profit.

However tempting it is to raid your investments to get a jump start on preps I think it is dangerously short sighted. The world MAY end but assuming you do not take an untimely dirt nap you WILL get old. I cringe every time some survivalist blogger/ author/ expert recommends this approach.Taking a couple grand from your liquid savings to buy some basic stuff is not a terrible idea but cashing everything you have saved in your entire life out to buy some stuff you may never need is just not a smart thing to do. A far preferable alternative option is to leave your retirement money alone, cut some stuff you don't need anyway from your budget/lifestyle and use that money towards your preparedness goals. It isn't as fast or easy but you end up in a much better place. Personally I look at the two as entirely different streams of money for different purposes. My retirement account is for if things go just fine and our preps and stores are for if they don't.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that. I am interested in hearing yours.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day and a Week in Preps

Well happy mothers day to all the mom's out there doing good things. We did some family stuff today, gave Wifey her present and I made dinner. A pretty nice quiet Sunday really.

Very little happened this week. I have been fighting a nasty cough. Focusing has been difficult and I have been sleeping a lot. As such not a lot got done.

I added a few things to the ghb that is being built. Mostly stuff that has been lying here or there around our place. Also I picked up a handful of snickers bars for the bag. Next week I am going to order a few odds and ends to complete the kit.

Anyway that is what has been going on here.

I hope you have a wonderful mothers day and did great stuff this week.



Sunday, April 22, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

This week we added more cash to our on hand emergency fund. A few weeks back we were trying to figure out what to do with some money, a rather decent problem to have I guess. Anyway we decided that where it would do the most good is at home with us.

Also I got some tuna pouches and granola bars for the get home bag I am working on. It is pretty much functional now though I do need to order a few things. Kinda holding off on buying anything until the Glock 19 mag deal is completed.
We organized and inventoried our medical and hygiene supplies. I am pretty happy with what we have got, especially considering most of it can't be shipped when we move back to the US. My one big take away is that we need to be more organized. I think there were 2 half empty bottle of cough syrup and 3 things of Ibuprophen that were being used. We shifted to one area for stuff we are using and another to store replacement's.

Also I tweeked my workout routine some. More on that once it is solidly underway.
Though not exactly traditional preparedness tasks we did get some good stuff done this week. What did you do to prepare this week?

Edited to include: This was supposed to post yesterday, I am not sure why it didn't.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Commonalities in Survivalist Finances and Lifestyles

The topic of budgeting for and otherwise managing to find money to prepare came up recently. In the past other folks and I have talked about some little things that we do to make it work but the desired understanding often does not seem to translate. Today I want to try it from another angle. I know some very prepared survivalists pretty well. Some are invisible friends and with others I have more personal connections. I have noticed some commonalities in their finances which are worth noting.
-They tend to have average incomes. There are a few outlyers who are pretty well off but not what I would call rich and a few who have modest, almost poverty level incomes. That pretty much blows the "you have to be rich to be prepared" idea out of the water.
-They have a significantly below average debt load. Typically they may owe on a home/ homestead (that is fairly modest for their situation) plus MAYBE a vehicle or something else small. Certainly not a second mortgage, 2 car loans, a line of credit and 4 credit cards.

- They live pretty modestly. Vehicles are more likely to be a decade old with dings and a bit of rust then brand new and shiny. They don't have 60" flat screens in general, let alone in every room. Clothes and stuff is generally used until it is no longer servicable, well beyond the peak of technology or fashion. Many items are purchased used or at significant discounts.
- They rarely have expensive hobbies except survivalism. You don't see golfers, experimental balloonists, collectors of rare art or whatever. Though I think there are a couple pilots floating around.
- They travel rarely. You don't see many Mediteranean cruises or trips to hang out on the beach in Thailand. I am an exception to this as we travel a decent amount. Travel is important to us and we are also currently in Europe. When we go back to the states our travel budget will plummet.

- They continue preparing for a long period of time. They may have a bad season when laid off or whatever but over the long run they continue making progress.

As with a lot of things if you are having issues it is usually worthwhile to look at folks who have done what you want to do. My goal here was to try to focus on positive characteristics of people who are at least fairly successful in preparednes. I did this intentionally instead of being negative or accusatory of those who are less successful. It may be better to focus on positives and maybe it is a message folks can be more receptive of.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a good week for preparedness here. We got some flips snap diapers and inserts at a great deal in preparation for having a second kid (at some point in the future). Also I picked up a pair of backpacks at a great price and a 3 piece ECWS sleep system. I tried to purchase one of these sleep systems awhile back but there was some issue with the order and it was never processed. Also we got a 5 piece 18 volt Ryobi power tool set gently used for $80. It has a drill, a circular saw, and a sawzall as well as a flashlight and a little vacuum. Also I stumbled through our house finding half empty packs of batteries organized the batteries. An inventory found a couple deficiencies which got filled.

Wifey mentioned that it would be good if I didn't buy anything for awhile. As we don't want our balance sheets to look like Southern Europe I agreed.

Along other fronts I kicked the running program into gear going three times and also hit the gym. Wifey started making bread again which kiddo and I have appreciated. Anyway that is what we have been up to.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guest Post: Preparing for an Uncertain Future: One Families Story

There was a time when local law enforcement was a symbol of good citizenship, honor, and service to the community. This is no longer that time. Now we are hard pressed to turn on the news or read national headlines when checking our email without hearing yet another example of police brutality, unconstitutional search and seizure, and even the death of innocent citizens at the hands of our “trusted authorities” who do as they are told instead of upholding and defending the rights of the people.


But I don’t need to expand on this issue because if you have been following Ryan for a while you already know all about it. When Ryan asked me to write a guest post about our family’s experiences, my husband and I felt it was important to share with you how we, one American family, are preparing for a police state.

A combination of events led us to be awakened to the harsh reality of our country becoming less and less American, and that most Americans remained unaware or refused to acknowledge their own part in this progressively reckless society. Because of this, and our enlightenment of oncoming economic depression, our family began researching the best ways to protect ourselves. The eight things we began doing that stick in my mind include, in no particular order:

• Creating a backup plan for different emergency scenarios (eg. Natural disaster, job loss, or martial law). We figured out what supplies we needed, how we would travel, where we would live, and who we needed to remain connected with.

• Beginning a food storage. We spent an extra $20 or $30 a week on basic food necessities and extra food items we enjoy, with a goal of saving up a year’s worth for our family.

• Staying away from debt. We have no credit cards, continued to pay on our second mortgage during my husband’s 11 month unemployment because we could afford it, only got a small car loan when we had a short term plan to pay if off (and did) and prefer to borrow from family as a last resort instead of from a government institution that things they have control over our lives. Debt is enslavement.

• We invested in equipment that would help us in a bug-out situation. You can see part one of our video series here.

• We remodeled a run-down camper to use as a backup home, and placed it on family land. It served as a great camp (and now, storage), but gave us assurance that despite a variety of potential emergencies, we would have a place to go. Here is the post I wrote after our first weekend there.

• Drawing a line in the sand was an essential part to preparing for a police state. When should we take cover and when should we take action? How much of an attack on our liberty are we willing to take before enough is enough? This is a very individual and personal decision; your line may be in a different place than your neighbor’s, but it is still an important one to make so you aren’t trying to decide when it’s too late.

• Among our equipment purchases were defense weapons. Every American has the right to personal defense and offense using a weapon of their choice against any enemy who is threatening their safety or property. This is protected by the Constitution, and is essential if you are going to draw a line in the sand.

• It is also important in a police state scenario to know the people in your community. Even if you live in a rural area, the battle will come to you. You need to know who you can trust and network with, and who you can’t trust and need to be aware of their movements and actions. This ties in with the line in the sand as well.

While there are an increasing number of isolated, police state-type abuses occurring around our country, our family has yet to be faced with it ourselves. In the meantime, the precautions we have taken do influence our lifestyle.

For example, we attempt to remain up-to-date on the state of law enforcement and people’s rights, so we will see it coming before it hits.

Abuses of citizen rights also affect how we vote. We will no longer take the party line, voting instead for maximum freedom, even if its name doesn’t match the ones on the ballot.

Our parenting has also been influenced. Our (soon to be) four children are being raised to understand their rights, the difference between good and bad law and good and bad authorities. They will know how to defend themselves against psychological and physical invasions by the media and government, and be skilled in daily life necessities such as resourcefulness, use of tools, and farming.

Many of our loved ones have become aware of this deceitful government’s intentions because of our actions, but we still find it necessary to keep spreading the word, encouraging people to protect themselves, to prepare for the unknown, and not to be dumbed down by the media. We encourage you to take similar steps to prepare your own family, and keep spreading the word because now is the time to wake people up to what is already beginning to happen, and make sure they are on the right side of that line before it’s time to take action.

__

Naomi is the author of Inspired Birth: A Fresh Perspective on Childbirth for Christian Maternity Care Providers, and blogs regularly at American Family Now and Birth a Miracle Services. She and her husband live off-grid with their three children and have one more on the way.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tribal Thoughts

The concept of intentional survivalist groups has always kind of bothered me. First it makes me wonder about people. Why is this person’s primary plan to abandon everyone they know to go live with strangers? Also furthermore I am paranoid and distrustful. The idea to have your plans for a worst case scenario be to come together with a bunch of people who supposedly have stuff in common with you that you met on the internet does not sit well with me. Some folks have end of the world plans with people that are not, to me, sufficient to let them watch the cats over a long weekend. Personally I find trust way more important than skills or whatnot. My father or friend might not be the perfect end of the world survivalist type but I’m not going to wake up to my throat being slit.

In any case I find the concept of a tribe a lot more natural. A tribe is, in this context as coined (IIRC) by the good folks at Western Rifle shooters a sort of clumping of people based upon family, pre existing friendships and maybe some intentional choices. It is more a selection of people already in your life than a group of random strangers. The downside of tribes is that they are, on average, probably a lot less paranoid than you are. This means they are less likely to take preparedness seriously and put in serious energy and resources. Not a big deal if there is a Doomer Daddy Warbucks but that scenario is few and far between and does not apply in my case.

Here are some effective ways I have influenced my tribe:
-Positive modeling has worked well. It works well especially when it comes to people who look up to you and or respect you. Showing a way other than living on credit, getting your financial house in order, using food storage as a way to take advantage of sales and decrease your food costs as well as for emergencies, etc. I have done surprisingly well with this one.

-Teachable moments. When it comes up naturally you can give some advice or share experiences you have had/ techniques you use that are relevant. My folks went to pick up a few things (primarily a ham I believe) at the store during one of our annual PNW ice storms. They were not taking cards and luckily somebody had a checkbook. I mentioned that it is prudent to keep a couple of hundred bucks in small bills on hand for these eventualities. Also that lead naturally into talking about how wonderful a well stocked pantry is.

-Teach/ expose people to things. Take someone shooting. Teach someone how to use hand tools or do auto maintenance. Whatever it is that you know and they want to know teach them. This is also a very effective one because it helps build relationships and credibility in that area and others. It is also a good way to lead to new teachable moments.

What does not work:
-Paranoid ramblings or rants. These just do not work. Best case you are preaching to the converted and worst case you look like a loon and lose credibility.

-Being pushy. Nobody likes being told what to do. If somebody asks your thoughts on how to survive the zombie apocalypse then tell them, otherwise stick to the topic being discussed.

How have you been successful (or not successful) in influencing your tribe?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Career Thoughts

Wifey and I talked recently about our future. We are both, on the whole pretty happy with my job. It looks like I am going to keep doing this for the long haul. I enjoy my job, if not every position I end up in (the good thing about the Army is that you change jobs every year or so and inside every couple years or so there is a total turnover of personnel. So if you don't like a position or person sooner or later things will change) and am pretty happy with things. I certainly don't make a ton of money but plenty to meet all of our needs and a reasonable amount of our desires. What does this mean for our plans? Well it means we will keep movig around to various places. This has significant implications for disaster and contingency planning as well as our ability to accumulate and store gear, food and supplies. Also it really limits the sort of place we will choose to live. Going to the time and expense of developing (small farm type stuff) a piece of land and acquiring all sorts of tools and animals to move to move in a short period of time does not make good sense on any level. A few acres with a garden and some chickens is about the most I can see until we are going to be relatively stationary. This really limits our food production capabilities. 

The good part is that relatively speaking my job is pretty secure. Conventional thought says our Army is going to be getting smaller but I am not so sure. Looking at the trend of our progressive increase in involvement in Africa and the last years events in the Middle East (as well as their likely continuation) I don't see our forces shrinking drastically. To me the hollow Army model of the late 70's and early-mid 80's might be more relevant. Our funding for equipment and training could well decrease with a corresponding change in overall readiness. Suffice to say I am not worried about job security. Pretty much any way you look at it by not being stationary in the inland PNW we are going to be less capable of preparing for some scenarios.

There are however some good parts. At work I do and learn things that are pretty useful. I also have added motivation to stay in shape. My kit is pretty much squared away all the time because I use it for work. I am regularly able to use and evaluate for personal use different gear and products. Also I make a reasonabl decent living which is pretty secure. While most of the countries I travel to happen to suck it is still pretty interesting to go to new places and do new things.

The way forward for our preparedness is heavily shaped by my job. We need transportable, modular capabilities a lot more than someone who is static. Being able to readily reproduce supplies or other objects that are not readily transportable is essential. This runs the gammet of situations/ options and includes making donations of heavy and or bulky household supplies during a PCS (a hundred bucks worth of toilet paper will fill up a large SUV). Being able to keep capabilities and have a minimal regular loss of goods/ equipment is essential. I don't need one nice set of garden planters. I need to be able to reproduce some sort of garden planter every few years without breaking the bank.

I am still not sure what the answers all are but thinking through the potential problems can't hurt.

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