The Prepper’s Exhaustive Guide to Sleep Saboteurs

by Todd Walker

Catching enough zzzz’s can be difficult. A hungry infant, tomorrow’s big presentation at work, blogging, paying bills, TV, a novel you can’t put down, catching up with visiting relatives, or little Johnny’s science project – good or bad – all serve as sleep saboteurs.

The Prepper Exhaustive Guide to Sleep Saboteurs

Image source: Mommasgonecity.com

These all happen in ‘normal’ times and leave us feeling half-baked! I still remember being a sleepless zombie for a year after our first daughter was born. Will she ever sleep through the night!?!?

Now imagine the nightmarish effect a wide-scale disaster scenario will have on our physiological need for quality sleep. Being sleepless in Seattle or anywhere else for an extended period of time will only increase your chances of not making it out alive.

Not getting enough sleep makes us sloppy. We can cope with some sloppiness when times are good. Our modern medical systems are in place to cover our mistakes.

However, you need to be functioning on all cylinders in the crunch. No matter how much stuff, skills, and knowledge you’ve acquired, fatigue makes cowards of us all.

Have you thought about how you plan to get enough sleep WTSHTF?

Your natural circadian rhythm can be ignored, but not for long – and not without consequences. When all hell is breaking loose around you and your family, your body and mind need sleep to survive. Not the one-eye-wide-open variety. But the deep, dead-to-the-world type that restores the body, mind, and soul.

When the crunch arrives, sleep as we know it will change – suddenly.

The Sandman cometh

Off the top of my well-rested head, here’s the science on how insufficient sleep will sabotage your health and survival:

  • Accelerates aging and may increase age-related pathologies like cancer. Have you ever heard this line before. I used to say it myself. “I can sleep when I’m dead.” Insufficient sleep will oblige and speed up your journey.
  • Associated with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.
  • Heading over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving? Just realize that 1 in 10 of your fellow travelers have fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Drowsy driving is responsible for 16.5 percent of deadly crashes.
  • You want to consolidate and use all those new survival skills you’ve been learning, right? A group of researchers in Switzerland found that sufficient sleep was the key to good memory and increases our ability to perform new skills.
  • Group cohesion is likely to come unglued if your tribe doesn’t have enough people to pull graveyard guard shifts for those who are sleeping. The stressors in survival situations take a toll on our bodies, minds, emotions, and overall health. Add sleep deprivation to the mix and the attitude of your group will likely take on a more negative tint.
  • Poor sleep disrupts metabolic function. That’s right, sleepless nights are linked to obesity and diabetes. This study shows data supporting the role of sleep in the regulation of glucose homeostasis and the hormones involved in the regulation of appetite. For preppers wanting to lose weight and build lean muscle mass, get quality sleep before the reset.
  • Reaction time slows. Instead of responding alertly to a threat, sleep deprived individuals are slower to react than those who are well rested. This could be costly when seconds count.

The main occupational hazard of survivalists is dying. When our sleep equilibrium is out of whack, nature finds a way to balance the equation. Our body stops functioning at peak capacity in an effort to restore and rebuild. That’s not something you can afford in the coming collapse. You need to be strong to be useful.

Sleepless nights will abound in an extended SHTF scenario. Food, water, shelter, security, and personal hygiene are top priorities in the preparedness community. If you’ve got these basics taken care of, congrats! However, you’ll be reeling in regret if you neglect sleep hygiene.

Sleep hygiene simply means getting proper amounts of quality sleep.

This photo shows an owl perched at a tree bran...

In case it hasn’t dawned on you yet, a scheduled sleep plan is one of the most important, yet most neglected, parts of long-term survival with the added bonus of chronic good health!

To turn your dream of quality pillow time into reality, here’s my Sherpa tips for creating a Survival Sleep Hygiene Plan.

Tips for a Survival Sleep Hygiene Plan

A.) Listen to your biological clock

It becomes more important to follow our natural sleep cycle as we age. Over the last four years my sleep patterns have changed. It may have something to do with following a Primal/Paleo lifestyle. I get sleepy and go to bed around 8 to 9 PM and get up between 4 to 5 AM – without an alarm clock. I stare in silence at my lunch table buddies when the conversation turns to who won American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. They know not to include me since I’m in dreamland at that hour. I’m sure I didn’t miss any significant stuff.

B.) Schedule your sleep

As much as possible, stick to a regular bedtime and wakeup schedule. If you have children, you already know the importance a sleep schedule.

If you can’t sleep with the thought of missing your favorite TV show, record it and watch it later. Better yet, unplug it during the work week. Your body will thank you the morning after! In a crisis, mindless entertainment won’t be on your immediate list of priorities anyway.

C.) Find your balance

The average person needs 7-9 hours of shut-eye each night. Too little or too much sleep adds oxidative stress.

D.) Light discipline

This one may be easy to come by if our fragile power grid goes bye-bye. Until the lights go out, sleep is best had in total darkness. Even the glow of LED lights on an alarm clock can interrupt sleep. Cover your alarm clock or just ditch it. Your rooster will let you know when it’s morning time.

Outdoor security lights can be blocked with blackout window shades – useful to keep light inside your house when the need arises.

E.) Avoid the blue glow after dark

Bright light is linked to a decrease in melatonin, the hormone that helps control your natural sleep-wake cycle. Filling your eyes with bright lights before bedtime will have you counting too many sheep.

A word of caution: Melatonin supplements are sold as a natural, safe sleep aid. It’s a hormone – not a vitamin – and can cause damage if miss used!

Blue light emitted from your computer and TV mimics sunlight. Consider installing Flux to make your screen match the light in your room.

For night-time TV viewing, try wearing a pair of orange tinted safety goggles to filter out the blue light. Since I don’t watch much TV, I haven’t tried this geeky trick.

F.) Get more natural blue light

Our primitive ancestors spent lots of time outdoors in the sunlight. Natural light can help regulate your circadian rhythm. Escape your artificially lit cubical and step into the sunlight on work breaks for a natural shot blue light and fresh air.

G.) Room temperature

Dirt Road Girl and I sleep best when it’s cold in the bedroom. We open a window for cold air flow in the winter. Of course, make sure you have security measures in place for open windows.

My best sleep happens at our off-grid cabin in cold weather. No lights and cold sheets. Snuggling under wool blankets is a valid heat source! In the spring/summer/fall, I like to take a deep dive into the spring-fed portion of the lake to cool down before jumping in bed.

H.) Physical exertion before bed

Regular exercise is great for optimal health. But working out just before hitting the sack without giving your body time to cool down can hamstring quality sleep. A few minutes of light stretching before bed should be okay.

I.) No big meals before bedtime

J.) Burn a candle

Lighting candles not only adds a romantic mood while eating Meals Ready to Eat in your survival lair, fire light doesn’t emit artificial blue light. Plus, you might get lucky with this added sleep aid.

K.) Read a book before bed

Nothing new here.

L.) De-gadget your bedroom

Get rid of TV’s, phones, electronic devices, and any other potential sleep saboteurs in the bedroom. That includes pets.

M.) Take a short nap

A 20 to 30 minute power nap has been shown to increase productivity. Maybe your boss will catch on.

N.) Does your city ever sleep?

Mr. Rawles of SurvivalBlog.com may be right about the American Redoubt.

Map of Sleep Insufficiency:

The map below depicts age-adjusted* percentage of adults who reported 30 days of insufficient rest or sleep† during the preceding 30 days. Data is from the 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States.‡

A map of the United States displaying the Percentage of Adults Reporting 30 Days Insufficient Rest of Sleep During Preceding 30 Days
* Age adjusted to 2000 projected U.S. population.
† Determined by response to the question, “During the past 30 days, for about how many days have you felt you did not get enough rest or sleep?”
‡ Includes the 50 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Map Source

Sleep has been viewed as a passive event and a waste of time by some. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sleep is vital to your survival! Find a way to let melatonin do its night-time job of restoring and repairing your body tissue and cells. 

Are you sick and tired of being exhausted? Get ahead of the herd by starting your Survival Sleep Hygiene Plan before the next crisis erupts.

Stop yawning and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Life is short – sleep hard!

Keep Doing the Stuff!


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Reader Appreciation Fall Giveaway

Kat Yorba contacted me about participating in a giveaway a while back. Y’all know Kat from the excellent Herbal Medicine Kit series she’s been contributing.

So to say thanks for your support, Dirt Road Girl and I wanted to give you a chance to win some prizes as a small token of our appreciation. Just scroll down and check out the 7 gifts donated by us 7 bloggers you can win. Each of us have donated one prize that you’re eligible to win. At the very bottom of this post, you can register with Rafflecopter.

Good luck to our faithful followers and all the new folks joining us as we continue Doing the Stuff!


Welcome to the

Fabulous Fall Giveaway!

Seven of us bloggers got together and decided we wanted to do something SPECIAL for YOU – our treasured FANS and to WELCOME NEW FANS TOO!!!

We have put together a very special Fabulous Fall Giveaway just for YOU!

The 7 bloggers and their prizes are:

Stacy Harris @ Game and Garden

Tracking the Outdoors In by Stacy Harris
Tracking the Outdoors In by Stacy Harris

Prize: Tracking the Outdoors In by Stacy Harris

Nutritious Wild Game, Fish, and Vegetables that are Exceptionally Delicious and Surprisingly Easy to Prepare is a refreshing cookbook that focuses on recipes from the wild such as venison and other wild game and heirloom vegetables. In her book, not only does Stacy give the information needed to melt away any intimidation of cooking from the wild, but she also gives the techniques to simplify the process of making succulent, excellent meals. The recipes are for everyday and are the best that you will find!

Heather Harris @ The Homesteading Hippy

Expressionary thumb gold

Prize – $20 Gift Certificate to Expressionary

Express your style in print. With custom stationery, notes, invitations, address labels, stamps, embossed personalized stationery and more.

Laura Massengale  @ Homestead Redhead

burts bees thumb

Prize: Burt’s Bees Essentials Kit

The package contains:  Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream, Pomegranate Lip Balm, Honey and Grapeseed Hand Cream, Coconut Foot Cream, Hand Salve and Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

Todd Walker @ Survival Sherpa

Sustainable thumb


Recipes & Tips for Sustainable Living Book by Stacy Harris

Responding to the trend toward sustainable living, Recipes and Tips for sustainable living helps you make delicious food using natural ingredients.

Dawn Yoder @ Oh Sweet Mercy

Expressionary thumb red

Prize – $20 Gift Certificate to Expressionary

Express your style in print. With custom stationery, notes, invitations, address labels, stamps, embossed personalized stationery and more.

Kat Yorba – Simply Living Simply

Coffee thumb

Prize: Coffee Basket filled with Coffee Goodies!

 1 Package Starbucks Pumpkin Vanilla Latte

1 Travel Stainless Steel Mug

2 Really cool Coffee Magnets

1 Gorgeous Fall Handmade Coffee Cozy (by ME!)

Chara Shopp @ Stitching Hearts Together

Adventures thumb

Prize: Adventures with Kids in the Kitchen E-book by Chara Shopp

Encourages and teaches you when, how and why to bring your kids into the kitchen.

The best way to get your kids to eat food that’s good for them is to have them involved in preparing it.  I know my boys are proud to offer up “their” garden produce or homemade dishes when we have guests, and I’m sure your kids will be proud to share what they’ve made, too.


How Does This Work?

Participate in as many items in the Rafflecopter below that you wish to.  Remember, the more items you participate in the more entries you have and chances to win.  Facebook options are mandatory, however the blog comments are optional…BUT…I hear tell that the owners of the Websites/Blogs MAY have a special separate gift at their site for you when you go leave a comment!  Also, you can participate in the twitter option once per DAY!!  A great way to add more entries.  Giveaway will be held for 7 FULL days and upon close – 7 WINNERS will be chosen at random for the 7 prizes, also paired with the winners at random.

ENJOY and have FUN!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Saying Goodbye to My Friend and Hero

by Todd Walker

The reality of life is that death follows. From our first breath, and with each successive stream of air we inhale, we’re one step closer to the end.



Image source

For the last three weeks, our family, drenched in emotions, watched Dirt Road Girl’s father die. Tuesday morning we lost a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. The Greatest Generation lost another patriot and hero. I lost a wise and faithful friend.

Dealing with death is hard. You’re never ready even if you know the great unknown is certain.

Our modern world of convenience insulates us from caring for our dead. The funeral business has replaced what was once the family’s responsibility with all-inclusive services. We’ve been shielded from the details of death and all that goes with caring for the body of our deceased. We’re conditioned to let the professionals handle this final chapter of life and our mortal bodies.

There’s no fault in choosing this option. It’s become automatic to turn this task over to others in our culture. Tending to my dying friend changed my perspective.

At 10 o’clock on his last evening on earth,  I administered what was to be his last dose of medicine that the caring hospice nurse had stored in the kitchen refrigerator’s vegetable drawer. It sat next to a partial head of lettuce. The love of his life rubbed his arm, kissed him goodnight, and shuffled down the hall to her bedroom. He punched the TV remote to surf between Monday Night Football and his beloved Braves ’til 11.

When the channel landed and stayed on an old movie, I knew he was sleeping. He woke up when I removed the remote from his hand.

“You ready to go to sleep?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.

The living room sofa is really too short for sleeping. I laid there anyway, set my alarm for two-hour intervals, and listened to his labored breathing a few feet down the hall. I feel in and out of sleep and dreams. The alarm was unnecessary.

Before the sun could rise, the silence in his room startled me. He couldn’t be gone I thought. The nurse said he probably had 3 or 4 more days. Never has quietness been so mournful. Time and space disappeared suddenly.

My first hope was that he was finally sleeping soundly. I stood by his bed with my flashlight looking for rhythmic chest movements. If he was sleeping, I didn’t want to wake him. His skin was warm. Eyes shut. His hands crossed his abdomen.

I’ve never had to determine if someone was gone. I checked his breathing and pulse. Nothing.

After 91 years, he departed on his own terms – in his house, with his family. Not in a hospital bed. No amount of caring hospital staff can match the care of his family.

I made calls to family members.

Brooke, our hospice nurse, arrived mid morning to make the official pronouncement and met with our family. Paperwork had to be done to satisfy our human systems.

DRG asked me if would help our nurse if she needed assistance preparing her daddy’s body. A task she nor her brother were emotionally able to do.

“I want to,” rushed from my mouth.

Taking our time, Brooke and I gently and lovingly rolled his body back  and forth removing bandages and wiping his body clean. The coldness of his body was absorbed by my loving hands. The strangeness of touching and caring for his body added closure and filled me with emotions out of my realm of expression.

The time was interrupted by moments where emotions breached my levee. Brooke compassionately reassured me that I would cherish this time. She was right.

I kept remembering his hands gripping his golf club sending a dimpled ball straight down the fairway – while his grandson and I tried to stay out of the woods with our shots. And how his once strapping young body flew missions on a B-24 in the second World War – earning him two Purple Hearts. And how he only loved one woman his entire life. And the independent children he raised, one of which became the love of my life. Gratitude, honor, sorrow, peace, loss, and joy spilled from my eyes and soul.

I went to his closet and picked out a green golf shirt. Green for his journey to new life which he’d already taken. Brooke helped me gently slip it over his head and arms. His face was full of peace.

It was a sobering honor to have known you, to care for your body, and show you the fullness of our devotion.

One cannot always be a hero, but one can always be a man.

~ Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

You were both, my dear friend!


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Stay Sharp with a Knife Massage

Cutting tools are so important in survival and everyday life. But this! A knife massage!




Would you lay face down and with a massage therapist chopping on your body with meat cleavers?


I don’t think so!

Apparently, it’s been around for 2000 years. This ancient Chinese secret is experiencing a revival in Taiwan. Keep your eyes open for a knife-wielding massage kiosk in your local mall. I’m sure it’ll make it to our shores.

Just crawl on their chopping block and relax, right? Maybe it works. Let me know, will you!

Hat Tip to Knifeup.com for the story.

Keep doing the stuff,



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3999 OMG Reasons to Read This

A big hat tip to Survivalist Daily for this OMG find! If you want some information-overload (in a good sense), check out…

3999 Free Survival & Prepping Guides All In One Place

3999 free survival reports, guides and pdfs

Here’s the original over at Pole Shift Survival Information.

If you haven’t already started to organize hard copies of value adding information, I highly recommend the investment. What will you do if your tablet or computer can’t be powered up to access all the info we take for granted today?

I dug out two 3-ring binders a few weeks ago at our cabin to bring home. I found articles 5 and 6 years old that I had squirreled away. We all forget stuff. That’s why creating an organized preparedness binder is so important.

Here’s a great tutorial by Jamie over at Prepared Housewives.

Keep doing the stuff,



Please share freely any information from our site in part or the whole article. All we ask is that you credit the author and add a link to this website. Don’t forget that you can follow us on Twitter, pin us on Pinterest, and email us at survivalsherpa at gmail dot com. Thanks for visiting!


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The Vince Lombardi Guide to Becoming an All-Pro Prepper

by Todd Walker

“Gentlemen, this is a football.”

Vince Lombardi’s famous opening line to his new team each season seems like the most obvious “duh” statement of the century. Even the youngest rookie gets that it’s a football. I can’t speak for Coach Lombardi, but he was probably aiming his words more to his most seasoned, All-Pro players.

What’s this got to do with preparedness?

Imagine Lombardi standing in front of the prepper community at our first team meet up. He’d begin something like this:

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is water.”

Self-evident eyes begin to roll.

“Why is he wasting our time stating what 2 year-olds already know?”

“What a waste!”

The wise All-Pro preppers on our team quickly see his point. They’ve heard the speech many times. It bears repeating. It’s not lost on them as he leads us out of the air conditioned field house and onto our practice field. He points out the sidelines, goalposts, and the most important chalkline on the field – the goal line.

Thirty minutes in the July heat that’s hotter than fish grease, the message is driven home as he puts his canteen to his dry lips and says…

“We will practice fundamentals… DAILY!”

Practicing fundamentals is boring… but necessary

As an old football coach myself, we practiced the fundamentals and minutia of every stance, step, and play. My boys began dreading the daily drills in our “fundamental period.” I had to constantly coach players to pay attention to little details.

After the first game, win or lose, it clicks!

The defining “aha moment” happens when – the drills, the pain, the ideas, the boredom, the grueling practice –  changes the outcome of the game. The players make the connection between being skilled in the fundamentals and victory over determined opponents. At that moment, they view FUNdamentals differently.

I’m not saying they get giggly. But they see the value added to the team when they improve their individual fundamentals.

Coach Lombardi snaps his head and looks through his black-rimmed glasses and says,

“When you ply your trade of prepping, you’ve got to play from the ground up – from your feet to your head. There’s no second place in survival.”

Wise words. Here are four fundamental drills you should be practicing.

Drill #1: The Water Boy

Since water is heavy and hard to store in large quantities, plan on having several methods to make water potable. 

  • Water filters like the Big Berkey are great for home and permanent locations.
  • On the go, you’ll want a mobile filtration system. I happen to own MSR gear. Whatever you carry, make sure it’s the best quality you can afford.




mobile water filter system, MSR, bladder, canteen with nesting cup

L to R: MSR water filter, G.I. issue canteen with nesting cup, MSR bladder

  •  Collect containers. Repurposing containers is a great way to stock your emergency water supply. Look for soda bottles, gallon jugs, and especially larger containers that are stackable. Learn more here.
gallon water jug storage, repurposing gallon jugs for water storage

Repurposing 4 one gallon jugs in a box for stacking and keeping light out.

yard sale water jugs,

Yard sale find: Cleaned with hot soapy water then refilled with tap water

Drill #2: Pre-game Meals 

 The fundamentals of food storage include:

  • Store what you eat, eat what you store.
  • Take it one step at a time. Buying extra items on grocery shopping trips can add up over time.
  • Grow your own. Nows the time to grow your gardening skills. Don’t assume it’s easy if all you’ve ever grown is a Chia Pet. Even a small container garden on the patio adds resilience to your family.
  • Buying from local producers strengthens your community and connects you with value-adding people.
  • My food storage plan can be seen here.

Drill #3: Game Day Gear and Tools

A great defense is your best offense. Defense slows or stops the opponent and gives the offense great field position and scoring opportunities. 

  • Handguns, rifles, shotguns, and ammo in common caliber to your location immediately come to mind. These are physical tools needed for defense, critter control, and harvesting meat. Don’t forget archery equipment for silent game harvesting. Also, consider tools for reloading ammunition.
  • Practice the fundamentals of marksmanship on a regular basis. Know your tools and how to safely handle them.
  • Acquire tools for your unique situation. I don’t own a snow shovel here in the deep south. The right tool can make or break a job.
  • Be a DiYer. Here’s a strategy I use. When Dirt Road Girl wants a new project done, I have an opportunity to get  new tools 😉 As a matter of fact, I often give her hints about DiY  projects that might require me to grow my tool collection.
  • Take care of you gear and tools.
  • When you buy quality tools, you only have to buy them once.

Drill #4: The Field House (shelter)

Houses come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you live in an urban environment or rural homestead, your home is where life happens. Ideally, every home should build redundantly resilient resources in these areas:

  • Energy. Have more than one method to produce heat. Wood burning stove, solar, propane, natural gas, etc. Is your plan sustainable?
  • Enough storage and living space. Get creative here.
  • Defensible. There are pros and cons to every location. Think about setting up a mutual defense plan for your neighborhood. That means you’ll have to actually meet your neighbors.
  • Sustainable water supply.
  • Plan B for shelter. When you see the glow of the wildfire on the next ridge, leaving your home may be your only option. Where will you go?

The Lombardi Trophy bears his name for a reason. Coach Lombardi drilled the importance of practicing the fundamentals of football in his players, coaches, and organization.

To be an All-Pro prepper, never neglect your bedrock fundamentals. You life, liberty, and happiness may depend on these essential skills soon.

Remember, there’s no second place in survival.

Keep doing the fundamentals,


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Six Dangerous Miseducation Lessons You Should Unlearn Immediately

by Todd Walker

Schools teach many things. These dangerous lessons may not be explicitly taught, but they are definitely ‘caught’ by every student – even parents. Good or bad depends which side of the desk you’re on.

the Radical Roldans UNschool + LIFEschool + HOMEschool

As an insider, I’m giving you my top six most dangerous lessons that need to be destroyed before the coming chaos. Before sending me angry comments that this is just another teacher bash session, honestly explore the list with your school aged children or grandchildren at the dinner table. You may be convinced, if they’re allowed to talk freely. As I’ve said before many times, I work with some of the most dedicated, selfless, and knowledgable teachers who aren’t allowed to do the job they are passionate about – to teach.

Ready to be un-schooled? Warning: Unlearning these lessons carry a heavy price tag. But the freedom you discover is priceless.

A.) The Powers That Be knows what’s best for you. Questioning authority – or even worse – resisting TPTB will land you in the re-education compliance camp. Once labeled and drugged, your status and future path is set. Your child knows some of the system’s victims. Just ask.

B.) Learning only takes place in the classroom. Just ask TPTB. Students are taught inside the box. Some teachers encourage outside-the-box thinking. The problem with thinking outside the box is that students don’t have time to even explore the edges. Every minute of their day is planned and spoken for. Even after the last blaring dismissal bell screams, schooling follows them to their bedroom. Homework eats the remains of the day. Forget playing outside (some kids still do that, right?), stomping through mud to the creek to observe crawdads and tadpoles, or reading a book of her choosing for pleasure.

Discovery is replaced with memorizing facts from revisionist historians. We teachers correct ‘wrong thinking’. Constant correcting teaches the student to be dependent on us – the “experts”. Critical thinking dies.

C.) Going to college is your only hope of elevating your worth. TPTB plaster school walls with posters comparing different levels of ‘education’ with earning potential. Why all the one-size-fits-all college propaganda? Our rulers need more debt slaves.

Here’s my advice. If you’re in college now, drop out. If you’re 18, you probably have no idea what you want to do with your life. Don’t buy the lie that you’ll get left behind if you don’t go to college. College will not teach you real world skills. You learn that doing what interests you in the real world. College is pure theoretical. I’ve worked in different fields over my life and have found nothing beats the school of hard knocks. What I learned in college was that I had to perform to get a permission slip to teach kids. It’s a hoop I jumped through. Letters behind our names does NOT qualify us to teach your children.

Alternatives to college until you figure out what you want to do…

  • Start a business. Become a producer.
  • Travel. Save all your money – you’ve got a job, right – while living in your mom’s basement. Explore places you’ve always wanted to see. Pay attention to the local culture. Ask lots of questions. Take notes in your travel journal. Maybe even self-publish it.
  • Volunteer. Not because someone says it’s the ‘right’ thing to do. Go help feed hungry people, build shelters, or work the local farmers market – for free. You’ve got low overhead living in your mom’s basement remember. This may not be your career path, but giving without expecting anything in return will expand your horizons, make you thankful, and even make connections for later life. It’s an antidote for self-absorbed navel-gazing.
  • Self-educate. Take your education into your own hands. Figure it out. Teach yourself to play an instrument, write computer code, or draw.
  • Work in a trade, find a skilled tradesman and become his/her apprentice. Contrary to what you’ve been told by your high school guidance counselor, you don’t start at the top – at least not in the real world.

D.) High Stakes Testing measures your future contributions to the collective. The dirty little secret about state standardized tests is that if your child ‘met the standard’ (passes a subject with a score of 800), little Susie only got 50% of the test questions right. And the parents breathe a sigh of relief and throw a pizza party for kids that score a 50. What kids learn is that vomiting facts and test taking skills are all answer-centered. Problem solving is not taught. It’s hard to when schooling institution’s accreditation (Federal and State money) is on the line. Right answers pay off for good students – the State gets especially giddy. Welcome to Answerland.

Kids in school seem to use a fairly consistent strategy…it is answer-centred rather than problem-centred…

— John Holt – from ‘How Children Fail

The ridiculous amount of energy, time, and money spent on High Stakes Testing has kids walking blindfolded into a train tunnel – with their parents cheering them on. These tests do not measure true value.

E.) We own you. Nothing about forced schooling teaches self-ownership. On the contrary, we (the State Collective) dictate what students need to learn, how to dress,  what to eat, when to talk, how to obey, how to think, and that you don’t own yourself. You have no right to privacy. We can search you and your possessions without cause anytime. You are under constant surveillance. Even that picture your first grader drew, or the app your high schooler created is fair game in one school district in Maryland. I’m sure this will be a catchy trend. The lesson: You belong to the State.

F.) Learning is separate from living. Some things in life should be dropped. Schooling is one of them. Compulsory schooling is a type of child abuse. Yes, I just went there. Every child that enters school at age 5 will have his or her creativity, curiosity, confidence, individualism, playfulness, independence, intuition, and self-reliance crushed under the school steamroller. It’s painful, but these poor lumps of clay have to be molded into what the State thinks they should be.

What passes for ‘education’ today promotes fear of making mistakes, fear of failing, constant pursuit of everybody-is-a-winner awards (Student of the Month bumper stickers and gold stars, for instance), and conforming to the collective. We group students according to age. They spend their most formative years never exposed to adults or other children outside their age bracket. They are now dependent on the one ‘expert’ standing in front of them to gain all the knowledge they need. Sure, we’ll invite an occasional guest into talk about their job in the real world. But that’s far enough. These commoners don’t possess the credentials to ‘teach’ kids – anything.

If you’re curious, here’s a list of people who quit being schooled and ended up doing something with their lives.

  • William Faulkner – dropped out of high school
  • Walt Disney – high school drop out
  • Wilber and Orville Wright – never graduated. They tinkered with things.
  • Richard Branson – Branson’s dyslexia caused him a great deal of trouble as a student, so when he was 16 he left school to go into business for himself.
  • Thomas Edison – Dropped out of school to be taught at home – over 1,000 patents followed.
  • Albert Einstein – Dropped out at age 15. He later went back to get a diploma so he could enter the university. He failed the entrance exam twice.
  • Colonel Harland Sanders founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken dropped out of elementary school.

If you’ve attended, or you have children in public schools, the chances are very high you need to unlearn these dangerous lessons. Un-schooling your mind is your first step in becoming prepared.

I have hope and confidence in the human spirit. Once freed, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.

Feel free to share your miseducated lessons in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter for the latest on our journey to self-reliance, preparedness, and resilient living: @SurvivalSherpa



Categories: Economic Collapse, Government "Education", Preparedness, Self Ownership, Self-reliance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 25 Comments

I’m Digging on Rules of Three for Hiding a Gun

For any “when it’s time to bury my guns, its past time to use them” patriots, I would recommend reading Claire’s practical guide on why, how, what, and where to hide guns. Plus some cool bonus material at the end. If you’re digging on this article, check out more of her work over at Backwoods Home Living Freedom blog

by Claire Wolfe

Source: Backwoods Home Magazine 

My friend Jack pulled the car into a grassy clearing. We donned rubber boots, fetched a metal detector and digging tools from the trunk, and headed off along a game trail. Our mission: To dig up and test fire a pistol Jack had buried years ago.

The trail disappeared into a wetland, which Jack crossed with confidence. The muddy water was only about six inches deep where he walked, but I couldn’t see the bottom so I waded gingerly after him. It was at this point I discovered that my borrowed waterproof boots — weren’t. I squished along after Jack. By the time I emerged onto dry land, he was standing well ahead of me, next to the stump of an old cedar that had been logged a hundred years ago.

“It’s buried right here,” Jack told me confidently. “Between this stump and that sapling.”

I was dubious. The “sapling” wasn’t exactly a sapling anymore. It had grown into a mid-sized alder tree. Besides, Jack had history with not being able to relocate a buried firearm. Back in 2004, I had mocked him in one of my Backwoods Home Hardyville columns for that very thing, an SKS he couldn’t relocate.

Nevertheless, he set to breaking up roots. I followed with a shovel.

“I didn’t bury it very deep,” he said. “We shouldn’t have too much trouble.”

They’re at it again. The politicians in Washington, DC, and their media mouthpieces everywhere are in full cry, threatening more restrictions on our right to own guns.

In response, Americans are rushing to buy firearms, particularly those that might be targets of the next ban. Without a doubt, many guns are going underground or into other hiding places. When Draconian restrictions take effect, millions more firearms will get tucked into walls, haylofts, hollow trees, and waterproof containers buried in the woods.

There are people who say, “When it’s time to bury the guns, it’s actually time to dig them up and use them.” They have a point. But in fact, there are plenty of good reasons to hide guns, now or at any other time. And we’re not talking about simply concealing a gun to have it handy in home, office, or hotel room. We’re talking about hardcore, long-term hiding — stashing guns against some urgent future need.

My friend Jack, carrying a metal detector and digging implements, heads toward a game trail that leads to the site where he buried a pistol many years ago. The game trail is right in front of him but strangers would be unlikely to spot it because of the quick-growing blackberry bramble that’s obscured it.

Three reasons to hide a gun

You might want to hide a firearm just to have a spare if your others get stolen or damaged in a disaster.

You might want to hide a firearm if you are a peaceable person who is nevertheless forbidden to own a gun because of some misdeed in your past or some arbitrary state law.

And of course, you might want to hide a firearm if you fear nationwide bans and confiscations but realize that you can’t stand alone against the gun banners.

Read the rest here


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Sustainable System: Rocket Stoves

When I asked for a few guest posts while DRG and I take a mini vacation, Caroline Cooper showed her generous spirit and sent me this piece on rocket stoves. Thank you Caroline!
Posted on June 26, 2012 by 

rocket stove erika Sustainable System: Rocket Stoves

A rocket stove is very easy for anyone to use. Erika is making pastured paleo burgers for dinner with homemade mustard, ketchup, cheese sauce and lettuce for the wrap.

For years I have used an assortment of stoves for camping and numerous different types of fuels. I have also cooked meals over an open fire on camping trips. That’s definitely a smoky experience. Recently, I have found a new kind of stove that has converted me over to wood based fuels.

A rocket stove uses a very small amount of wood and produces a very hot, smokeless fire. These stoves are great for cooking meals in the backyard, camping or emergency preparedness. Just about anything can be used as fuel. I have used: small branches, twigs, yard waste, scrap wood, bark, cardboard, office paper and junk mail. Burning this waste helps reduce my household waste stream and pressure on local landfills. I bought a Grover Rocket Stove but for comparison, here is a USH2 Rocket Stove.

The surprising thing about a rocket stove is how the fire burns so hot and clean. After the fire gets going there is very little smoke. The space under the fuel compartment allows air to feed the fire, producing a very powerful draft, which focuses a very hot flame on the cooking surface.

I like using a cast iron frying pan for cooking meals. A cast iron pan avoids the toxicity of Teflon and spreads the heat well and avoids burning. The rocket stove could be used with a stainless steel pot for boiling water.

rocket stove wood Sustainable System: Rocket Stoves

Any fuel can be used in a rocket stove. I have used scrap wood, small branches, bark, office paper and junk mail. What is surprising is how little fuel is needed for cooking a meal.

rocket stove firebox Sustainable System: Rocket Stoves

Here is the firebox. After the fire is started very little smoke is produced. If you have ever cooked over an open fire you will know why smokeless cooking is a wonder of the modern world.

The rocket stove can have the ash easily emptied anywhere in my garden that potash or lime is needed to increase soil alkalinity. It’s great to have a stove that doesn’t need any petroleum products. I am always searching for more appropriate technology. Rocket stoves can also be simply made out of fire bricks. Here is a video on this simple technology for building a rocket stove out of fire bricks and cooking food outside. The second video is about the dangers of cooking with an open fire in houses. They have developed a modified rocket stove for inside use.

stone rocket stove Sustainable System: Rocket Stoves

Rocket stoves can be made anywhere and with natural materials. This rocket stove was made with granite beach rocks in the Broken Group Islands after our MSR gas stove stopped functioning.

Updated January 31, 2013: What would happen if a clean burning rocket stove could be brought into your house? Friends, it looks like the technology for mass rocket stoves have been worked out. Mass rocket stoves don’t have a chimney, use 1/8 to 1/4 the amount of wood, and exhaust CO2 and water vapor. No wood smoke smog! Sounds crazy, but a friend of mine has just build one, and it works as advertised. For more information about mass rocket stoves for heating your home please see this article on permies.com.

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Dirt Road Girl Update, Second Opinions, and Guest Posts

One week after visiting with our new doctor and I’m still in shock from what he told us.

We weren’t happy with our previous doctor’s care. We finally got a second opinion from a doctor who specializes in lung cancer.

I hate waiting for the doctor to show up to make his entrance. After an hour of waiting, he walks in, introduces himself, and gets down to the business at hand. After studying all the scans we brought him for an hour, he looked at DRG and said…

“There is no cancer in your lung to treat.”


I’m stunned. How could that be. Our other doctor read the scans and said she couldn’t really tell due to the swelling caused by all the radiation and chemo in her lung.

You’d think I’d be doing happy dances everyday. I’m guessing the news will eventually sink in. We’re not out of the woods yet. She still has cancer cells floating around in her body that will land at some point new doc told us. Until then, DRG will go for scans every three months.

Another interesting thing about getting a second opinion, which I highly recommend. He’s an expert in the rare strain of cancer DRG has. He told us that all the radiation and chemo was really not necessary for this strain of cancer. Our other doctor didn’t test to determine the strain until five months after she was diagnosed and lots of chemo and radiation. A pill that blocks the protein that this stain feeds on is all that she needed to be taking. Wow! Get second opinions. They’re practicing medicine.

I wanted to share that news with those who have given so many words of encouragement and prayers on DRG’s behalf.

We’re taking a mini vacation to celebrate next week. I’ll be updating the blog daily with scheduled posts. So, if you’d like to submit a guest post that would be appropriate for our readers, please do so via email.

Thanks so much for all the real people who have supported us through the past year in DRG’s journey! We love and appreciate y’all!

Keep doing the stuff,





Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 11 Comments

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