Survival Education

Why Advice from Survival Ultracrepidarians Should be Avoided

by Todd Walker

[Edited 12/7/2014: After re-reading this post, and especially Blue’s comment, I realized that I may have come across as bashing ultracrepidarians. My intention was to motivate all who happen to stumble upon this post to start Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance and let the drama die. We all have to start somewhere.]

Wow! This is my new favorite word!

Ultracrepidarian – Pronunciation: êl-trê-kre-pê-der-i-yên

1. [Adjective] Is the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge, experience, or expertise.

2. [Noun] Someone who talks about things of which they know little or nothing.

To hear this fancy word pronounced audibly, click here. Synonyms include:

  • egotistical
  • know it all
  • smarty pants
  • smartass

In matters of survival and self-reliance, you don’t have to look far to find keyboard commandos telling you how-to do stuff. In the world of survival, spewing advice with little to no knowledge, much less actual experience, is becoming epidemic. The imagery of Brad Pasley’s song/video Online comes to mind.

You’ll find this patch pompously displayed on Ultracrepidarian’s jacket sleeves as they talk down to you from their computer lair…


Who you choose to listen to is your choice. However, advice of self-proclaimed ‘experts’ is at times just plain stupid – and if practiced, could be deadly. So who should you listen to?

Trade Theory for Action

Knowing stuff is part of our educational journey to self-reliance and preparedness. Gain as much knowledge through books and/or other instructional materials as possible.

But here’s the catch…

Having knowledge in your head from a book or video will never be enough for some situations. Experience in the real world is 100 times more valuable than head knowledge. You’ve read articles or online discussions before that didn’t feel right in your gut. Then you realize it’s pure theory.

So how do we gain experience?

Answer: By Doing the Stuff.

It’s that simple. Learning through experience is the hard way. How will you know if you can start a fire in the rain or wet conditions until you test your fire craft skills and find the satisfaction and warmth of doing so. That may be why some choose knowledge over actual experience. It’s much easier to know about stuff than to actually do the stuff.

Three examples of Ultracrepidarian advice below are widely accepted as “normal” in a survival situation… but may end up killing you. Being dead is anti-survival.

A.) Wild Edibles

Survival students deem wildcrafting as a top skill to learn. So we go out and buy popular field guides which are basically regurgitated info from books written by original authors in the early to mid 20th century. “Facts” get twisted when field experience is lacking and publishing houses get involved.

Samuel Thayer, author of The Forager’s Harvest (which I highly recommend), points out many mistakes of the most popular wild edible field guides lining bookstore shelves today. The authors were observing and not doing the stuff in the field. They failed to verify through experience.

Remember, you can eat anything once.

Here’s an interesting take on eating (or not) during a short-term emergency event over at Master Woodsman.

B.) Bugging Out

4 Monolithic Myths About Bug Out Bags

Another area of Ultracrepidarianism buoyed by opinion is found in the idea of bugging out. Bug out bags or 72 hour kits have their place. And it’s usually not on your back. Let’s put to rest the romanticized notion of throwing a 70 pound bag on your back and humping it across 4 states. With a reliable means of conveyance, good fitness level, skill, and luck… maybe.

Sound advice in such an event would be to have a pre-planned, well stocked location as your destination and a way to get there. If you don’t, you’ll likely become a refugee. Here I am giving my opinion on something I’ve never had to do. However, two years ago I tested a 40 pound backpack on summer hikes. It’s physically demanding. Add survival stressors or young children to the equation and you’re cooking a horrible recipe. Just some food for thought.

C.) Bombproof Gear

The internet is full of untested shiny objects heralded as essential by Ultracrepidarians. Ignore this junk. Stick with basic gear that has been proven over time to work.

How’s a 5,000 year old test for you?

Otzi the Ice Man was discovered by hikers in the Swiss Alps in 1991. Otzi’s preserved remains show he lived around 3,300 BC. His core gear is not much different from what we carry today.

My entire B.O.B./72 hour emergency kit contains only 10 core items. Yup. My gear weight-loss program works. With proper knowledge and the skills to use available resources, the 10 C’s of Survivability is enough.

Here’s the multifunctional 10 piece kit I pack to stay alive if the need arises…

1.) Cutting Tool – Fixed blade knife

  • 5 to 6 inch blade
  • High carbon steel
  • 90 degree spine
  • Non-coated blade
  • Full tang

2.) Combustion Device

  • Bic lighter – thousands of open flames
  • Ferrocerium rod – 3,000 degree sparks

3.) Cover/Shelter

  • Proper clothing
  • Emergency space blanket
  • Clear 9×12 painter’s tarp
  • Two 55 gallon drum liners
  • Set up in 5 minutes or less

4.) Container

  • 32 ounce stainless steel water bottle with nesting cup
  • 30 liter dry bag

5.) Cordage

  • 36# tarred mariners line (preferred over paracord)
  • 25 ft. 550 paracord

6.) Cotton Bandana

  • Multiuse
  • Self-aid
  • Char cloth – next fire

7.) Cargo Tape (Gorilla Brand)

  • Shelter
  • Self-aid
  • Fire extender

8.) Cloth Sail Needle

  • Repair equipment
  • Self-aid
  • Navigation

9.) Candling Device

  • Self-aid
  • Signaling
  • Navigation

10.) Compass

  • Self-aid
  • Fire
  • Navigation

There’s no fancy shiny survival objects in my 72 hour kit. These 10 items see plenty of dirt time each week. They are light enough to carry in my haversack every time I’m in the field Doing the Stuff.

Advice is plentiful. Sound advice is hard to come by. Don’t trust anything read here or anywhere else without first verifying the info for yourself!

Just for fun, the next time your involved in an online survival discussion, tell the know-it-alls you enjoyed their ultracrepidarian advice. They’ll take it as a compliment.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Doing the Stuff, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival Education | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

Passing Down Self-Reliance Skills to My Seven Year Old Grandson

by Todd Walker

The thought of a second grader even touching an razor-sharp ax is horrifying to modern helicopter parents… and probably illegal in some jurisdictions! If so, please don’t share this.

Yesterday was one of the best days yet in my young grandfathering career! Our daughter and grandson came over to hang out and hit up our local farmer’s market for some naturally grown produce. Afterwards we played several rounds of Eye Spy at a local restaurant, ate lunch together and headed home. Max slumped in a patio chair and said what every young video gamer has running through their mind when their electronic device is not in their hands…

“There’s nothing to do.” *Sigh*

That’s all I needed to hear!

Passing Down Self-Reliance Skills to a Seven Year Old

I’m bored!

Like most school children today, our grandson had a fear of sharp, pointy stuff ingrained in his psyche within two years of public schooling. The NO WEAPONS mantra had stuck in his pliable mind. Knives, axes, and most of all – guns! These menacing, inanimate objects are inherently evil and must be avoided. Granted, these tools should not be left in the path of toddlers. This begs the question, what age is appropriate to begin training children to use a knife or ax?

You’re no stranger to the No Weapons Zone signs if your kids are school age. Yes, all these tools can be weapons. Yellow school buses and SUV’s possess the same ability.

But here’s the thing… the intent of the user is what matters. Even with the purest intentions, accidents happen. All the more reason to introduce safe handling and respect for these tools to the next generation at an early age.

Under proper supervision and training, Max discovered that my camp ax is a useful cutting tool – not the vicious weapon portrayed in Kindergarten circle time.

As a prepared parent or grandparent, you have to decide the appropriate age to begin training your children to use sharp stuff. There’s no magical age. We’re all individuals. Move slowly and follow their curiosity and maturity level. My children didn’t come with a user’s manual. You just have to figure it out as you go.

It’s my hope that these tips will help train our next generation to begin Doing the Stuff with the tools of our trade.

Fear Factor

While demonstrating my DiY Survival Sling Shot at our backyard, Max was afraid to try it out. He told me that he knew what those things were called, pointing my bag of ammo.

“What?” I asked.


“No buddy, these are ball bearings.”

“Well, they look like bullets,” he assured me.

My explanation of “bullets” gave him enough confidence to pull the sling without the “bullet” misfiring in his hand. He fired a few rounds and hit the target.

Passing Down Self-Reliance Skills to My Seven Year Old Grandson

Taking aim!

Fear is overcome easily with truth and patience. Our body follows our mind (thoughts). An elementary physics lesson on what made bullets (or any object) move was all it took. I shot a pebble to prove the point.

Safety First

Obviously, safety of the child and bystanders is paramount when using projectiles or cutting tools! Our next skill came about through his curiosity of an ax in my shop.

Here’s a few tips I hope you find helpful for introducing your child to cutting tools.

First, allow the child to hold the ax with the bit (sharp edge) in the sheath or mask. I used my Backcountry Ax with a 16 inch handle. Take a moment to point out that the bit will bite and that axes should always be sheathed until they are ready to be used. Allow your child to hold the ax on their own strength under constant supervision. If they struggle to hold the tool steady, find a lighter ax or hatchet.

Passing Down Self-Reliance Skills to My Seven Year Old Grandson

The Eastwing hatchet (at the bottom of the pic) is a few inches shorter than the Backcountry Max used and has a smaller handle grip.

Now, while you hold the tool, remove the mask to reveal the ax head. Explain the purpose of the cutting tool. No need to go into the history of axes. A few sentences will do for short attention spans.

Next, demonstrate proper technique on a wood anvil (chopping block) with your work space cleared of obstructions and tripping hazards. Find an anvil about waist-high to your child when he/she is kneeling. Always use a kneeling position when spitting wood with a short ax. If you miss the target in the standing position, the arc of the ax may find your shin. By kneeling, you increase the swing radius of the ax from the pivot point of your body.

Passing Down Self-Reliance Skills to a Seven Year Old

I modified the wood by cutting it into 4 inch lengths to make splitting easier.

Short Cuts

For young beginners, saw a wood round into 3 to 4 inch sections. I let Max strike a 12″ piece with no noticeable results. I ran into my shop and chopped a few pieces with my miter saw. You want them to have success and see the results as they learn a new skill. Seeing wood fly is very motivating!

Passing Down Self-Reliance Skills to a Seven Year Old

Explain the importance of placing the round to be split at the back edge of the anvil. Above I demonstrate the danger of swinging too closely on the near edge of the anvil.

Now assist them in their first swing with the ax. Have them swing at a spot on the back half of an empty anvil. The ax will get stuck in the anvil if enough force is applied on the down swing. Push down and pull up on the ax handle in a controlled movement to loosen and remove the ax.


When you’re comfortable that they’re able to strike a target on the anvil with assistance, allow him to try a 90º swing on his own – with very close supervision. Repeat several times until accuracy improves.

Now place a short round on the back half of the anvil. This is where the fun begins! On his first strike, the ax head got stuck in the round. I had him raise the ax with the round still attached and swing it back down on the anvil. It worked. The wood split!

Passing Down Self-Reliance Skills to My Seven Year Old Grandson

And he scores!!

He was so excited and amazed at what he’d just done. His next round split with his first swing… even more excitement! After carefully placing the ax on the ground, he ran to show his mom and DRG pieces of split wood.

As a reminder of this right-of-passage, his skillful work is proudly displayed on our fridge.

Passing Down Self-Reliance Skills to My Seven Year Old Grandson

Fridge worthy wood!

I’ll give you one guess as to what he wants now instead of a bow and arrow set. Ha! He’s got a lot of learning and maturing to do before he gets his first hatchet. My father gave me my first folding knife when I was seven. I learned some valuable lessons that year and still sport a puncture wound scar in my left forearm for doing what I was told not to do while unsupervised.

Please use your best judgement when teaching Doing the Stuff skills to children. Scrapes, cuts and bruises happen as they learn. But with proper training, serious injuries can be avoided – and traditional knowledge gets passed on.

For more articles related to kids and self-reliance, check out these Trusted Resources:

Here’s two questions for you: A) When did you receive your first cutting tool? B) What do you consider to be the top 5 skills children need to for self-reliance? I’d like to put together a summer series on self-reliance skills for kids. Your thoughts and input are really appreciated!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube and our Facebook page… and over at the Doing the Stuff Network on PinterestGoogle +, and Facebook.

P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…

Thanks for Sharing the Stuff!

Copyright: Content on this site (unless the work of a third-party) may be shared freely in digital form, in part or whole, for non-commercial use with a link back to this site crediting the author. All links in articles must remain intact as originally posted in order to be republished. If you are interested a third-party article, please contact the author directly for republishing information.

Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Doing the Stuff, Self-reliance, Survival Education, Survival Skills | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

Dirt Don’t Hurt: A Dirty Letter to Prepping Helicopter Parents

by Todd Walker

Is our obsession with sanitation healthy? Venture out into any public space and you’ll find hand sanitizer in the form of wipes, gels, sprays, and foams. It’s a desperate attempt to build a barrier against the creepy crawly “uncleans” lurking at every turn.

See mom, dirt don't hurt!

See mom, dirt don’t hurt!

We’ve forgotten this dirty little secret: Dirt don’t hurt. 

This goes out to all helicopter moms… dads too.

In our war on dirt, we may be causing more harm than goodHelicopter parents shriek when their two-year old takes a bite of the mud pie she proudly made. “Grab the wet wipes, quick!” The “five second” rule no longer applies today. Heaven forbid a  chicken wing fall off the plate at the family picnic and make it to your lips. Who knows who or what touched that picnic table.

As a kid, my family camped a lot, even on horse back. If food hit the ground, we ate it. Uncle Otha called the soil “camp salt.” I have adopted the term “caveman seasoning” for those specks of dirt and ash on a campfire hotdog.

Many people actually eat dirt…intentionally. And not just in starving third world countries. Geophagy (eating earth) happens in developed parts of the world as well.

I’m not saying you need to give your toddler a spoon and a bowl of dirt. What I am suggesting is that you land your helicopter from time to time and let your little one get his daily dose of good bacteria. A dirty mouth helps build healthy gut flora and a strong immune system in growing kids. Just keep them away from non-organic matter and dog poop.

Did you know that one gram of uncontaminated soil hosts 10 billion microbial cells? Sprinkle that on your yogurt and eat it.

Our immune system, especially when we’re young, needs a good workout. In a sterilized world of Purell, young children never get a chance to exercise their immune response to bacteria, which by the way, are everywhere. Like the keyboard your using right now. Eww!

The introduction of good and bad bacteria to the body is like putting your physical body through a CrossFit workout for the first time. Your muscles might ache for a few days, but will recover and be stronger.

Even adults need good dirt. Here’s a couple of suggestions to re-connect with your inner child and get dirty.

  • Take your shoes off and walk in the dirt. Get grounded.
  • Dig in your garden – without gloves. Clean your nails later.
  • Eat some veggies from your organic garden that haven’t been washed yet.
  • Actually play with your kids (if you have any) in the mud puddles after a rain.
  • If you’re into competition, get a group of your friends together and run the Tough Mudder or other dirty race.
  • Go fishing, bait your own hook, and rinse the worm slim off your hands in the pond water… then eat your can of sardines. What a great source of Omega 3’s.
  • Take a hike or go camping… anything outdoors, really. Being in the dirty outdoors can improve your memory by 20%.
  • Go swimming in a lake, pond, or stream.
  • Re-establish the “5 Second Rule” on dropped food.
  • Land your helicopter and join the fun.

There’s obviously a time and place when it’s appropriate to be clean. You don’t want your doctor stitching you up  with filthy hands and suture tools. Duh!

Keeping some hand sanitizer in your purse or bug out bag would be useful if you need to start an emergency fire. The stuff is really flammable. It’s also handy when there’s no water and soap available and clean hands are absolutely needed.

For everyday life though, obsessive cleaning is way overrated. Sanitize-everything gets hyped to SHTF proportions…

Repeat after me, “Dirt don’t hurt. Dirt don’t hurt.” 

Now, say it out loud.

You feel better, right?

Don’t hate me. Ditch the hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soaps and wash up with plain old soap. Wash your hands after handling raw meat, changing the oil in your SUV, and before exiting the restroom. Give yourself and your kids permission to get head to toe dirty.

By reading this far, you’re one step closer to destroying your dirt deficit. How about a dirty little grin?

Your turn to talk dirty. What’s your thoughts?

As always, if you found this helpful, please share. Thanks so much. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for more dirt on our journey to self-sufficiency and resilient living @SurvivalSherpa.

Categories: Natural Health, Preparedness, SHTF, Survival Education | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Are You a Desk Jockey? Stand and Deliver

My standing workstation in my classroom.

By Todd Walker

When I took a stand two years ago, I’ve never sat at my classroom desk again.

Research has shown prolonged sitting to be neither healthy or natural for us. I built my standing desk out of a throw away desk and some scrap plywood, added paint, and mounted it on top my sit down desk. Being on my feet all day wearing minimalist shoes while teaching, has helped my posture.

It’s rare that I’m behind my desk during class anyhow. However, when paperwork and bureaucratic pencil-pushing call, I stand and deliver – literally.

To refresh my mind and get my blood pumping, I knock out several sets of push ups behind my desk on my PVC DiY push up handles.

Easy and cheap PVC pushup bars

Easy and cheap PVC push up bars

Doing push ups outside in the sunshine is my favorite place. Time constraints and weather don’t always allow me to do so. These bars are sturdy and allow me to twist my wrists to a natural angle during exercises.

Oh, and here’s a closeup of the poster on my wall behind my standing workstation.

The Primal Blueprint Pyramid

The Primal Blueprint Pyramid

You’re turn to stand and deliver. Got any stuff you do to blend health and fitness into your daily work routine?




Categories: equipment, Frugal Preps, Survival Education | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Poisoning Students In Zombieland

On Christmas Eve, I posted my take on the coming Pharmageddon. Government schools are the perfect Petri dishes for profitable pharmaceutical companies. Karen De Coster wrote a short bit with links confirming my statements in my article. Well worth your time if you are remotely interested in the truth of what’s happening in schools.


ADHD For Profit and Public School Empowerment

A Frontline story asks:

In “Medicating Kids,” FRONTLINE examines the dramatic increase in the prescription of behavior-modifying drugs for children. Are these medications really necessary–and safe–for young children, or merely a harried nation’s quick fix for annoying, yet age-appropriate, behavior?

See how the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 helped to create and fund the ADHD racket. Thanks to Daniel Kirsner for the tip.


Categories: Government "Education", Survival Education | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

My MacGyvered Teacher Toolbox for Self-Defense

teachertoolbox1 - Copy

I’m a sitting duck. I work in a Weapons Free Zone – (A.K.A.) Victim Zone – with 850 potential victims.

We hate to entertain the thought – especially during the holiday season – of a crazed, heavily armed student strolling into school and spraying lead like he’s playing a video game. But it has happened – and could happen again. How likely would a massacre happen at your child’s school? Don’t know. One set on killing will simply stroll through the front door with the “No Weapons” sign posted. I’d call this fear mongering if school shootings had never occurred.

Bringing pencils and paper to a gun fight

I am not allowed to carry my normal tools of self-defense to my government school since I don’t wear a funny hat and uniform. That leaves me vulnerable. So, to minimize my sitting-duck-ness, I employ what’s legally available.

In any trade, craftsmen need the proper tools to get the job done right. My teacher tool box doesn’t contain bulletin board trim, red pens, pencils, or gold stars. My red toolbox is full of real hand tools.

I’m the resident school handyman. Teachers and administrators ask me to fix stuff from shelving to hanging white erase boards. Well, that requires tools. Think redundancy here. The small toolbox pictured above serves two purposes:

  • The intended purpose – fix stuff
  • Alternative purpose – tools of defense if necessary

Here’s a run down of my alternative tools of defense I’d employ only if escape and evasion is not possible with an active shooter inside the building. NOTE: This is my plan. Your mileage may vary. I’m not advocating that others (adult or student) use my plan. Until the Powers That Be issue me a permission slip (I’m not holding my breath on this one) to carry real tools of self-defense to my job, I’ll have to improvise. I mean, what makes the funny-hat-crowd more ‘qualified’ to carry guns into schools? That’s a topic for later discussion.

1.) Annihilator Ultimate Wrecking Bar

Show some tough love!

I bought this one just for my teacher toolbox. I’ve used to open a stuck locker before. It even has a bottle opener. It would make an improvised throwing axe if a target was in range. Closer, and with an element of surprise, it offers skull/bone demolition.

2.) Jawbone of an ass. Samson, of Bible fame, used a jawbone to put the smack-down on 1,000 Philistines. I’m not sure which animal donated this one. A fellow teacher brought it to me from a pasture. From an ass or not, it’s a menacing weapon in my Science class.

Samson's wild weapon of choice

Samson’s wild weapon of choice

You’ll also notice a hoe handle and juggling pin in the photo of the toolbox at the top of this post. The hoe handle has the metal end attached. I found it in the throw away pile in the back of the school. Two more alternative tools of defense in my arsenal.

3.) Flashlight. Being a flashaholic, I carry a Streamlight ProTac 2L in my pocket at school. The tail button switches from high, strobe, and low. Strobe would be useful in a dark environment to disorient attackers and give me time to escape or use another improvised tool of violence on the shooter.

Clockwise from top: Aluminum clipboard, Swiss Army Knife, StreamLight ProTac 2L flashlight

Clockwise from top: Aluminum clipboard, Swiss Army knife, StreamLight ProTac 2L flashlight

  • Clipboard – From my contractor days, this tool filled with paper might stop a small-caliber pistol bullet intended for vital bodily parts. I’ll have to put it through testing to find out for sure.
  • The Swiss Army knife serves as pencil sharpener, nail trimmer, screw tightener, and other handy tasks. It’s not for self-defense. It’s always in my pocket at school.

Escape is the first order of action. Which leads me to ….

4.) Alternate escape/concealed route. Bringing pencils to a gun fight is a bad idea. Escaping from the threat is first priority. If running out of the building exits is not an option for me and my kids, we will barricade the locked classroom door, climb on the lockers and hide in the ceiling until the treat is neutralized. Experts say that these types of incidents last between 3 to 15 minutes on average. There’s not much room to move about between the drop ceiling and the roof. But sitting quietly on the cinder block walls in the crawl space might work. If I’m without kids, I can move to the end of the hall along the top of the wall and drop into the hall at the exit door to make an escape.

On barricading my door, I have enough solid furniture to wedge between the door and the opposite wall. Making my door “hardened” might buy enough time to escape through the ceiling or shelter in place until good guys with guns show up.

Through the ceiling hidout

Through the ceiling hideout

Peeking into the ceiling with my flashlight

Peeking into the ceiling with my flashlight

5.) Fire Extinguisher. A blast from this to the face may give me the advantage needed to escape or overcome the attacker.

Unload on the shooter

Unload on the shooter

I’ve tried to think of alternative weapon legally available to me in my gun-free work environment. While they are no match to a heavily armed crazy man, thinking ahead might save my life and those in my care.

Got any more ideas on tools to add to my teacher toolbox? I’d really appreciate hearing from you.

Doing the stuff,


Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Government "Education", Preparedness, Self Defense, Survival Education | Tags: , , , , , | 33 Comments

Caveman Classroom Tips for Real Learning

Leaning is “so easy, a caveman could do it.”

Can education be as simple as the GEICO ad?  Education, yes!  Schooling, no!

Two years ago I discovered “The Primal Blueprint“, thanks to Karen De Coster’s article over at  I was 50 pounds overweight with aching joints.  I decided to go primal because it seemed so easy.  It was.  I lost the excess weight and started making choices for my life and health.  What’s my primal experience got to do with learning like a caveman?

Simple is better.  The institutionalized school system was set up to bastardize the learning process.  The rules, bells, standardized testing, and structured control, to name a few culprits, are all part the corruption of meaningful learning.  Sides are taken on how to reform “education”.  What the intellectual reformers miss is so simple.  Look to the caveman for the answers.

Caveman Classroom

If you assume there wasn’t much to being a hunter-gatherer in pre-agricultural society, you’d be wrong.  Young Grok’s survival depended on skills learned from birth.  He learned animal tracking, weapon construction and usage, physics, weather patterns, structural engineering, free market economics, plant identification, navigation, medicine, social interaction, music and dance, self-defense for both two and four-legged animals, athletics, art, negotiation, and the list could continue.  Grok and his buddies learned this stuff without being schooled.

Here’s 3 Easy Ways To Learn Like A Caveman

Teenage Cave Man

1. Play.  Allowed to play, Grok discovered things about himself as he explored the world around him.  Mom and Dad were wise enough to give him all the time and freedom he needed for discovery.  This was the surest path to education.

My experience with play as a child taught me much about myself and what I enjoy.  By age 7, my dad loaded up the family and moved to the country.  The nearest neighbor was a mile up the dirt road.  My brother and our two best friends spent our daylight hours and some nights in the woods.  We explored creeks, caught crayfish, built forts, had BB gun fights, and camped on horseback.  We didn’t have video games.  We played in real life.

2. Observation.  Grok and his friends learned new skills by watching the adults in the tribe.

I learned how to shoot, not from cowboys on TV, but by watching my dad and his adult friends while hunting or target practice.  Around 10 years old, I showed genuine interest in learning to shoot a shot-gun.  Daddy would take me with him to the landfill when it was time to dump a load of trash.  He’d throw glass bottles into the air and I learned to bust them with some helpful coaching.  I wanted to be as good a shot as my dad.

It was not always my dad I learned from.  There was people I respected of all ages and backgrounds.  Those that were successful at certain skills, I followed if I was interested in learning.

3. Explore.  Curiosity and inquiry naturally leads to exploration.

As an adult, I’ve become more curious about things I never was interested in growing up.  A question pops into my head and I begin my journey of exploration.  I’ve always been a serial multitasker.  I pursue what interests me.  That was not the case for me in school.

Subjects were forced on me.  I hated history.  Now I love it.  Why?  Because it interests me. I love learning as an adult.  School, on the other hand, was brutal.  I honestly can’t remember 90 percent of what I was “taught” in school.  I’d estimate even less during my college days.

The classes I remember learning in were Shop, Art, Physical Education, 4th grade Math, and 6th grade English.  I loved to draw, play sports, build stuff, and write.  The 4th grade Math class was fun because I learned all my multiplication tables that year.  The English class was taught by my aunt.  That’s not the only reason I loved that class.  Aunt Cindy would send the whole class outside to write or draw.  Our class published a poetry book that year.  One of my drawings and short stories got included.  I still remember the winter scene I drew.

I learn best when I really want to learn.  I bet the same is true for you.  Play, observe, and explore your passions.  Discover how easy it is to learn.

Fight the urge to think that kids need to be taught.  Kids are able to teach themselves if the right environment is provided.  If they need or want help, they’ll find it.

Doing the stuff,


Categories: Government "Education", Primal Skills, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, Self-reliance, Survival Education | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Free eBook: Education After The Collapse

If you haven’t already, you may want to download Education After The Collapse by Todd Sepulveda. Much is written in the preparedness community about the 3 B’s (Beans, Bullets, and Band-Aids). Todd takes on the task of preparing kids and parents for the 3 R’s (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic) in a post SHTF world. His book is focused on teaching the basics. Once your child is able to read, s/he would be able to learn anything with the appropriate material is available. He provides links and resources that can be downloaded and printed.

What will we leave behind for the next generation to help rebuild? In a recent post, I argued that producers will rebuild after a collapse. Part of being a producer is having the right tools and ability to apply knowledge. The rebuilding of civilization will require lots of stuff (tools), knowledge (hard-copy books), and work. A cache of books on math and science will prove to be a great asset. Homeschooling parents are way ahead of the curve in this area. Start collecting materials for all stages of learning for your children and grandchildren.

Todd mentions our “one size fits all” approach to schooling today. Each of us are individuals and have different learning styles. In my classes, as much as I’m allowed by my overseers, I encourage interest led learning. There will always be areas that bore students. But if allowed to follow their interest and passion, leaning the 3 R’s will be come naturally. Our present model of forced schooling has produced horrible results.

Prepare your children by giving them the tools to rebuild. Education After The Collapse is a great place to start.

Todd Sepulveda is the web master of Prepper Website, Education That Matters, and The Preparedness Review (archive of preparedness, self-reliance, and survival information).

Doing the stuff,

Todd Walker

Categories: Economic Collapse, Free Downloads, Government "Education", Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival Education, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Many Uses of Baking Soda in Survival Situations

Source: Doom and Bloom


Guest post by Jim Sawyer

(Dr. Bones says: This well-written and highly useful article was submitted by our reader JIM SAWYER, and tells you the myriad ways that baking soda makes sense to accumulate in bulk for survival situations.  I have a ton of this stuff to help maintain sanitary and hygienic condition in our retreat.  Jim calls himself an old coot; well, we need more old coots around like him.  Me, I spend most of my time drooling on my shoes….)


The world is on the brink of destruction and I have all my preps together; my water, food, fire making gear, guns and ammo, 3 different combat knives, 5 typesof camo, water filters, night vision goggles, camping gear, a bug out vehicle, a bug out location and a plan. I also have 20 pounds of baking soda.


Yes, baking soda. After the balloon goes up, off grid, in the post apocalypse zombie filled world there are tons of uses for baking soda. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, helps regulate pH, keeping a substance not too acidic or too alkaline.

When baking soda comes in contact with either an  acidic or an alkaline substance, it’s natural effect is to neutralize that pH. It releases bubbles of carbon dioxide when it interacts with an acid and a liquid. Beyond that, baking soda has the ability to retard further changes in the pH balance, known as buffering. This capability of neutralizing and buffering allows baking soda to do things such as neutralize acidic odors.

It’s most commonly used in baking, where it acts as a leavening agent. If your wife is like mine, there is always an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to soak up odors.

I’m an old coot and have a bit of acid reflux. After the mutant zombies bikers trash all the drug stores looking for drugs I doubt I will be able to get the prescription medicine I take to ease heartburn. I doubt I will even be able to find a pack of Tums or Rolaids. Baking soda is a safe and effective antacid to relieve heartburn, sour stomach  and/or acid indigestion. It’s an old remedy that was used for centuries before Tums and Rolaids came on the market.

Acid reflux runs in our family and my grandfather took a small spoon of baking soda in a glass of water after every meal to keep acid stomach at bay. He died at 105 back in 1957 but I still remember him mixing it up at the table. I can’t say that baking soda helped him live that long but it did make him a lot less grumpy.

It also works great as a tooth paste. You can use it alone or make a paste from baking soda and a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution that can be used as an alternative to commercial non-fluoride toothpastes.

Then there is your breath. Hey guys, if we want to have any “companionship” after we get to the BOL you need fresh breath. At least that’s what they say in the commercials. Put one teaspoon baking soda in half a glass of water, swish, spit and rinse. Odors are neutralized, not just covered up; it also helps to reduce periodontal disease.  Dentists are going to be hard to come by in an off grid world. It will pay to keep your teeth and gums in good shape.

(Dr. Bones says:  Don’t underestimate the importance of dental hygiene.  Have you even had to go to work with a bad toothache?  Probably not your most efficient outing)

Remember, I’m old. For those of you like me, you can soak dental appliances, like dentures and bridges, in a solution of 2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in a glass or small bowl of warm water. The baking soda loosens food particles and neutralizes odors to keep appliances fresh. You can also brush appliances clean using baking soda.

One of the things many of the writers of the 17th, 18th and early 19th century mentioned in their writing was the way people smelled back then. In one word, Bad! After the stink (pun intended,) hits the fan, and you are running for your life, baths may be hard to come by.

I plan to bug out with a small group and I’d prefer the bad guys not be able to track us by the smell. Add a bit of baking soda in that bucket of water you use to wash the BO off, and you will find that you stay stink-free longer, without a tell-tale floral fragrance you might get from soap, that could tip off your location to the FEMA guys.

In the old West at many saloons a traveler could buy a token for, as they put it , “Bath, Beans and a Screw” for five bucks. For an extra dollar you got to be the first to use the bath water. If you can get a bath, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your bath to neutralize acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration.

A little baking soda really helps when half a dozen folks are sharing the same bath water. Yes I know you can wash in a lake, but what if it is winter and you live in Michigan? If you are smart you are going to heat enough water for your group to bathe in, and share. That is how they did it in the old days.

After your bath, pat some baking soda onto your underarms to neutralize body odor. Put a dash in your shorts to prevent chaffing, reduce odor and keep those delicate areas dry. Nothing worse than a case of crotch rot when you are on a cross country hike.

Don’t forget to add a liberal amount of baking soda to your boots. It will keep your feet drier, better smelling and help prevent blisters. Trench foot is no fun and it could cost you your life.

There is not much that baking soda can un-stink. You can use it when you wash cloths, scrub down counters after you butcher a hog or to clean out the car you just spent 6 days and nights in bugging out.

To soothe your feet after a hard day of hiking through the bush, and running from bad guys, dissolve 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a tub of warm water and soak your feet.

When you finally do get to your Bug Out Location there is still a lot of things you can use baking soda for:


  • There is sure to be a lot of dirty work, chopping wood, digging latrines and working on vehicles. Before you head in for lunch use some baking soda as a hand cleaner. It will gently scrub away ground-in dirt and neutralize odors on your hands.
  • Baking soda can be used to neutralize battery acid corrosion on cars, generators, etc. because it’s a mild alkali. (Be sure to disconnect the battery terminals before cleaning.) Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, apply with a damp cloth to scrub corrosion from the battery terminal. After cleaning and re-connecting the terminals, wipe them with petroleum jelly to prevent future corrosion.
  • Our bug out location has a septic tank. Regular use of baking soda can help keep it flowing freely. 1 cup of baking soda per week will help maintain a favorable pH in your septic tank.
  • You can extinguish fires with baking soda. It can help in the initial handling of minor grease or electrical fires, because when baking soda is heated, it gives off carbon dioxide, which helps to smother the flames. For small cooking fires (frying pans, broilers, ovens, grills), Stand back and throw handfuls of baking soda at the base of the flame to help put out the fire.
  • Scatter baking soda around the garden to prevent rabbits from eating your veggies.
  • Use baking soda for repelling ants & roaches
  • After your local WalMart has been looted, you will have to make the clothes you have last a long time. You want them to look as good as you can. For stubborn stains, try soaking overnight in the baking soda solution and detergent or scrubbing with baking soda on a damp sponge.


Don’t forget the many uses in the kitchen:

  • First and foremost, come the end of civilization you better not mess with my coffee. You can eliminate bitter after tastes in coffee pots using a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water.
  •  Baking soda is the food safe way to clean dirt and residue off fresh fruit and vegetables. Just sprinkle a little on a clean damp sponge, scrub and rinse.
  • When dipping a chicken, to get the feathers off add a teaspoon of baking soda to the boiling water. Feathers will come off easier, and the flesh will be clean and white.
  •  In the camp kitchen, soak dried beans in a baking soda solution to make them more digestible.
  •  Remove the distinctive taste of wild game by soaking it in a baking soda solution.
  •  Remove the fishy smell from your fillets by soaking the raw fish in a baking soda solution for an hour inside a cooler before you cook it.
  •  Reduce the acid content of your tomato-based recipes by sprinkling them with a pinch of baking soda. (My acid reflux will thank you.)
  • Don’t forget you can still use it as a leavening agent when making bread. After the meal make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and used it to scrub enameled cast iron a nd stainless steel cookware. Remove burned-on food from a pan by soaking it in a baking soda solution for 10 minutes before washing.


You are sure to need backing soda in your medical supplies:


  • You can treat insect bites and itchy skin with baking soda. For insect bites, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin.
  • It even makes a fairly good cleaner for wounds, but it will sting a bit. Apply it on rashes, and poison ivy irritations.
  • The group medic can use baking soda to unblock a stuffy nose by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to a pot of boiling water and having the patient inhale the vapors.
  • Do you have very small children? After the world as we know it ends you will have to go back to cloth diapers. Baby skin requires the most gentle of cleansers. Dissolve ½ cup of baking soda  in 2 quarts of water and soak diapers thoroughly. A little baking soda in a diaper at night can reduce ammonia smell and the rash it causes. After the fact, you can put two tablespoons in your baby’s bathwater to help treat diaper rash.

Are your kids the 4 legged kind?  You can use baking soda to deodorize pet bedding and deodorize the cat boxes. Cover the bottom of the litter box with baking soda, then fill as usual with litter. To freshen between changes, sprinkle baking soda on top of the litter after a thorough cleaning. Eliminate odors from your pets bedding by sprinkling liberally with baking soda, wait 15 minutes (or longer for stronger odors), then take them outside and beat them like you would a rug.

You don’t want the pets stinking up the cabin? Give them a bath using baking soda. It’s good for their hair and skin and does a great job of getting rid of that wet dog smell. By the way, this baking soda bath works fairly well after skunk attacks, for humans and animals alike.

There you have it. Survival is not always about guns, ammo and cool gear. Our ancestors did not just survive they lived this way and moved forward to make the world what it is today. No matter how much you store you will have to go back to the basics at some point if you want to go on living. Stored stocks can only last so long. Baking soda has been a fixture in many wilderness home for a long time.

Our forefathers and mothers used it for a reason, it works and it does many jobs.  Don’t forget to include it in your storage.


(Dr. Bones says: I was told by my dad when I was a kid that Arm and Hammer Baking Soda was named after turn of the century philanthropist Armand Hammer, and I posted as such here.  If I had simply googled it, I would have known I goofed.  Guess you can’t take everything your pop says as gospel, lol)

Categories: First Aid, Frugal Preps, Healthcare, Homesteading, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival Education | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Ways To Avoid Being A Darwin Award Winner

I’ve been an honorable mention candidate for a “Darwin Award” numerous times. I’ve done stupid stuff. At one point I was 50 pounds overweight and a miserable specimen for survival. My feet hurt. Who could blame them. They had to slowly toot 220 pounds – 50 more than the manufacturer’s recommended weight load. I had fallen from fitness grace! While being that overweight is not healthy, it’ll be deadly in a survival situation. And this year’s Darwin Award goes to…. [Don’t insert your name here!].

Years of stupid caught up with me. I was an average athlete in high school and college. Growing up active, I never thought I’d allow this to happen to me. I still remember talking to a seasoned counselor at the summer camp I worked at during college. This wiser, older counselor (mid 30’s – it’s all relative, right?) who had “built a shed over his tools” with 30 extras pounds spoke the ‘truth’ about growing older. He himself had been where I was, young, fit and full of life. “Wait ’til you get a mortgage and kids. You’ll look like me.” Why I remember this so many years later is that his perception and ‘truth’ had become mine. Only I had added 50 lbs. instead of 30.

When I discovered “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sission, my lifestyle did a 180. The purpose of this post is not to dissect his book or bash fat people. If your interested, you’ll check it out. It’s your life. I just know it worked for me. One of the Mark’s rules for primal living is to avoid doing stupid stuff. Here are five amazingly simple steps to keep your name off the Darwin Award Winner list.

A) Avoid doing stupid stuff

Some of the advice I read in the PrepperSphere only reinforces my theory of species-wide extinction. Note: I don’t claim to be an expert on anything. Read my writing at your own risk. My goal is to prove what works for me, and maybe you’ll try it. Or not. Now, onto more stupid stuff.

A really stupid idea I see promoted is the Bug-Out-Bag strategy. Hey, wait a minute! Don’t you have a BOB. Yes I do. Doesn’t that make you a hypocrite? No. Here’s why. I can carry mine. It’s not loaded with the latest mall-ninja throwing death stars. For the I’m-gonna-grab-my-BOB-and-live-off-the-land types who’s longest ‘run’ was to the Frigidaire, extinction awaits. If you’re last push-up consisted of pushing a frozen treat on a stick out of a sleeve, you should rethink your lifestyle (re-read the third paragraph). Your bug-out plan may be doomed. You’d do better sheltering in place and take your chances against the hungry hoards.

Again, I’m not hating on the plump preppers among us. Just trying introducing some common sense. The place to pick up free hiking gear is about two miles in on the AT. That’s where you’ll find the offloading zone. Either hikers packed unnecessary items (added weight), or were in poor physical shape and lightened the load to survive the next hill.

If you’re not a Sherpa, don’t try this!

Our retreat is a two-hour drive under rule of law conditions. When the brown stuff hits the fan, two hours could turn into two days or weeks. To make it there with family intact, there’s the possibility we’d have to hump the 95 miles – with packs – under crazy circumstances. The most desirable plan would be to physically live at your retreat location. If “ifs” and “buts” were candy and nuts…

B) Become A Producer. If you know how to make stuff, then Less Is More. This is 180 thinking. All the food, water, ammo, and medical supplies will eventually disappear from your basement bunker. I advocate stocking up on all these items in the good times. Put all the hay in the barn while it’s still daylight. But what happens when you run out? and you will run out in a prolonged spell of TEOTWASKI.

Wouldn’t it be smart to learn as many sustainable skills as possible. Wouldn’t you be popular among your smelly survivor groupies at your hide y-hole if you had the know-how and ability to make soap from scratch. Saponification anyone? You can only store so much soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, beans, bullets, and band-aids. Eventually someone will have to produce some stuff to consume. Hygiene products in long-term grid-down situations will be huge. Produce soap or barter with those who do.

Two of the oldest chemical companies got their start making soap. William Colgate (1806) and William Proctor and James Gamble (1837) kicked off their careers being producers. They made stuff – soap and candles. We’re still using their products today. Be a producer.

C) Don’t Panic. Loose your head = loose of life. Common sense is usually the first thing to collapse. While I’m not an expert in all things survival and preparedness, I try not to hit the panic button too often.

Get your hand off that!

The other day the wife and I were canning dilly beans. Ingredients ready. Jars, lids, and bands – check. Then I freaked out. I didn’t remember how much water to put in the new All American Pressure Canner. For those expert canners snickering right now… Stop it! Seems like a small thing, but I panicked. I rumbled through drawers and finally found the guidebook. I was reading the first half and told my wife to scan the back part – all at the same time! In hindsight, it was comical to see us scrambling. I was afraid I’d blow up the cooker with wrong water level.

Lesson: Know all the steps before the heat is turned up…and don’t panic. We made it through the process and learned from failure. Which brings us to my next point.

D) Fail Forward. My panic above taught me valuable lessons. My life has taught me to embrace failure. Trial and error is how we learn, discover, and invent. It’s never too late to learn new skills. The hardest hurdle is the fear of failure. At age 80, Moses lead his people out of slavery. Thomas Edison didn’t invent a filament for his light bulb on the first try. It’s highly likely, no – insured, that we will fail. Our attitude about failure determines which way we fall. Attitude determines altitude (sorry, a throwback from my coaching days).

My wife’s doctors have given her a 15% chance of beating cancer. Stupid odds. What do you do with news like that? We’re failing forward. With every setback, we regroup, re-think, and move one step towards our goal. It’s crazy scary. She’s a lover of life. She inspires me daily. She fails forward.

Failure when things are “normal” is just a bump in the road. In a survival situation, it becomes a mountain. Learn while it’s “normal” and life is good.

E) Grease The Groove of Preparedness. Prepping is a lifestyle. I guess some view it as a hobby. That’s how I started. It’s was a hobby. Then it became a lifestyle. How can we turn prepping into an effortless lifestyle? Grease the groove.

I first heard “grease the groove” when I started living a primal lifestyle. The idea comes from the world of exercise. It’s a process of progressing, step by step, to reach a given goal. Example: Two years and 50 pounds ago I could not do a single pull up. I installed a pull up bar in my shop and vowed to attempt a pull up every time I entered – which was several times a day. Even at work, I’d find a ledge or object from which to hang. I finally progressed to one pull up. It became a fun challenge to see how many places I could grease the groove.

How does this apply to prepping? When I walk into stores (especially thrift stores and yard sales) now, I look at items differently. How can I use this item in my preps? Does it have multiple uses? How many ways can I use that bandana in a survival situation? Would that cigar sleeve serve me in my BOB? Can I operate my sidearm in the dark? I can if I grease the groove.

Mentally and physically rehearse and practice until muscle memory takes over. I can start a fire with several methods. But if my hands are freezing in the rain/sleet, I might panic if I haven’t greased the groove. Hypothermia kills. Reminds me of the scene in “Jeremiah Johnson” when he found the 50 cal. in the frozen hands of the old mountain man.

Grease the groove to avoid a Darwin Award my friends.

Start early, practice often




Categories: Functional Fitness, Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, SHTF, Survival Education, TEOTWAWKI, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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