Posts Tagged With: Survival

21 Awesome Emergency Preparedness Hacks

Source: BuzzFeed

Hurricane Sandy is here. How many everlasting Crisco candles have you got on hand? 

Emily Fleischaker BuzzFeed Staff

1. Strap a headlamp onto a water jug to make a light.

Strap a headlamp onto a water jug to make a light.

2. Make a candle out of Crisco.

Make a candle out of Crisco.

Get directions here

3. Or out of olive oil.

Or out of olive oil.

Get directions here

4. Stock up on batteries and keep them organized and protected from water damage.

Stock up on batteries and keep them organized and protected from water damage.

5. Convert AAA batteries to AA batteries with tin foil.

Convert AAA batteries to AA batteries with tin foil.

Get directions at Lifehacker

Read the other 16 here

Categories: DIY Preparedness, DIY Preparedness Projects, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

A DIY Fire Bow Kit On Training Wheels

by Todd Walker

After 50 years, I finally made fire with sticks – almost.

Episodes of the TV show “Daniel Boone” inspired me to throw knives, axes, and other sharp objects into trees and barn wood in my youth. I always wanted to be like Daniel. An explorer, pioneer, trailblazing through our backwoods farm. I created many blisters on my hands rubbing sticks together. I know. Friction was in the wrong area. It was too hard. However, the desire to create fire from friction never died. I simply grew up.

Imagine the first cavemen stumbling over the thought of making fire. Well, it was probably a cave-babe that connected the dots. The ladies are smart like that. Any who, life changed when Grok could produce fire on demand. They had observed this fiery phenomenon after the loud booms from the sky. They even chased the blaze. But failed to harness it. They had witnessed it char flesh. Quite tasty indeed. “If only we could start one from, um, scratch,” mused Grok, rubbing his hands together vigorously. Ah ha! Friction. Heat. Fire! The rest is history.

I’ve started fires from flint and steel, storm proof matches, fancy survivor sparklers, and wrongly wiring a starter switch on my truck. But the most primitive fire starting method had alluded me. Rubbing sticks together.

Our recent discussion in Science class sparked my half century old interest. Newton’s First Law of Motion: Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. The obvious outside force is gravity. How about friction? Well, there it was. The needed spark! Memories of blisters, bug bites, and no fire roared back into my psyche. A challenge. I’ll make fire with friction for my students! I accepted the challenge. Failure was not an option. I refuse to be embarrassed in front of 30 eighth graders.

Caveman Chemistry to the rescue. The first project in his book is a plan for a fire bow kit with training wheels. It’s modern. It’s controlled. It’s genius. Why didn’t I think of this 40 years ago. It’s so simple even an eighth grade teacher can do it.

To reproduce the Fire Bow Kit, you’ll need some dimensional lumber (2 x 4’s), string, dowel rod, suitable fire board material, fasteners and a few tools.


  • About 60″ of 2 x 4 (51″ to be exact)
  • About 4′ of 5/8″ hardwood dowel rod
  • About 6′ of cordage (I used 550 paracord from my survival bracelet making bag)
  • Fire board material
  • Fasteners (nails or screws)


  • Saw (power or hand – I used my miter saw)
  • Drill
  • 1/8″, 5/8″ and 1″ drill bits
  • Method of fastening (I used my impact driver and exterior screws – Hammer and nails would work as well)
  • An open mind. Purists can stick with sticks. This project is meant to encourage folks like me that have never created primal fire. Hopefully these “training wheels” will build the confidence needed to start a ‘purist’ fire in the wild.

Putting it together

A quick sketch of the plans

Cut 4 pieces of 2 x 4 measuring 14 inches each. Cut another piece 9 inches long. Set aside the 14 inch long boards (frame) for now. Take the 9 inch board (guide) and drill a 5/8 inch hole about 4 inches deep into the end of the guide. Tip: Measure off four inches on your drill bit and mark the measurement by wrapping a piece of masking tape around the bit. Once you reach the tape during drilling, stop. I did this free-handed by clamping the guide to my work surface and drilling horizontally into the stock.

Next, make a mark where you think the 5/8th inch hole stops on the wide side of the guide. Then drill a 1 inch hole that intersects perpendicularly with the first hole. The 5/8’s hole needs to completely open up into the larger hole you just finished.

Now cut a 9 inch piece off the hardwood dowel rod you purchased from the hardware store. They sell these in different lengths. I bought a 3 foot oak dowel and another “hardwood” dowel measuring 4 foot in length. I paid $5 bucks for both. Tip: Roll the dowels on the concrete floor before you buy them. You want straight dowels.

Insert the dowel into the hole in the end of the guide to see if it fits. You want it to move freely, but not to lose. I had to ream the hole just a bit to make just right. Once you’re satisfied with the fit, build the frame.

Lay two of the frame pieces wide side down on the work surface. If you’re OCD like me, I marked off the center point on both of the bottom pieces. Place the 2 ¼ inch on the center line and mark the end of the tape measure and the 4 ½ inch mark. Scribe these lines to accommodate the other two 14 inch frame boards and the guide board, which equals 4 ½ inches wide when stacked together. Now flip the frame upside down so that the bottom legs of the frame are on top. Line up the top two frame boards (which are now on the bottom) with the lines and secure the two bases with screws or nails. You are now ready to secure the guide board on two cross pieces.

With the bottom of the guide board flush and at a 90 degree angle to the two frame cross pieces, secure it with four screws/nails, two on each side.

The completed kit after the first trial. Notice the black punk at the base of the hole.

Fire Board

This may the most important piece. I had some soft pine stock that I cut to fit the horizontal hole. Cut the fire board about two inches long. You’ll also need to cut a ‘chimney’ into the stock. I cut a 1/8 th inch slot about halfway into the fire board. The chimney allows the hot punk (charred wood dust created via friction from the spindle on the fire board) to spill out.


My bow is made from the remaining hardwood dowel. It needs to be around 3 foot in length. It’s not necessary that it shaped like a bow. The straight dowel works just fine. Drill a 1/8 inch hole in both ends of the bow. Then thread a six-foot length of cord through one end and tie a knot in the end of the cordage to secure it to the bow. Slip the other end of the cord through the other hole. I used 550 paracord.

Holes in both ends of the bow

The Block

Find a piece of hardwood that fits into your hand comfortably. Create a divot in one side. The other side needs to be smooth as you’ll be holding it with your left hand (if you’re right-handed). You may use anything from antler, bone, wood, rock for your block. I used a piece of cedar from the handmade bench I made for Dirt Road Girl this summer.

Lubricant will be need to be applied to the divot in the block to reduce friction while the spindle rotates. I used a bit of tallow the first test run. Then I used 3 in 1 oil. I was too lazy to walk back into the house for more tallow. Some people use green plant material in the socket. Whatever works and is available to you.

Tip: You’ll want to sharpen the end of the spindle that goes into the block like a pencil. The reduced surface space and causes less friction on the block.

Use a pocket knife. It’s quicker at sharpening the spindle.

Set up the bow drill

Place the fire board into the horizontal 1 inch hole. Insert the spindle in the guide – flat side down. This is the business end that creates the friction. Wrap the cord from the bow around the spindle so that the loop is on the side away from the bow. Create the lo0p with the bow at an angle. Tighten the cord as tight as possible by pulling the slack through the hole at the opposite end of the bow. Once tight, wrap the remaining cord around the bow forming a handle. This allows for quick adjustments for tension on the bow string.

Now lift the bow to a horizontal position increasing the tension on the bow string around the spindle. With your left foot on the base of the frame, start pushing and pulling the bow in a horizontal position – 2 to 3 strokes per second. Apply downward pressure to the spindle via the block. Your left arm will be resting on your left knee or shin. After a few strokes, you’ll start to notice smoke. Keep spinning the spindle until the black punk starts to build up and pour out of the chimney. Decrease the pressure on the spindle at this point to prevent burning through your fire board. Keep spinning the spindle with smooth even strokes on both the push and pull movement. With some luck and experience, heavy smoke will begin to appear. Eventually the hot punk itself will begin to smoke. This is the point where your ember is created.

Stop working the bow and begin blowing on the ember. I tried moving the ember and punk to my tender (frayed jute twine) with little success. I’m working on plans now to improve the horizontal hole to accept a larger fire board with tender already under the ember.

So close.


I don’t mind admitting failure. But I’m no quitter. I’ve yet to start a fire from the ember. In last period Science class yesterday, we filled the room with smoke. It was a great object lesson on friction – fire was close, but no cigar. So my 50 year quest for primal fire continues. Stay tuned for updates. I’ll be in my laboratory (shop in the back yard).

I will create fire!

Update: I ditched the training wheels and went with the big boy model. Check it out here.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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

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, DIY Preparedness Projects, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Regular Guy Strategy: Escaping Prepper Prison

by Todd Walker

I read lots of folks lamenting over family and friends who don’t embrace prepping. I can’t blame them. Images of being holed up in an underground bunker, sleeping on a canvas cot, crapping in a coffee can doesn’t appeal to them. Me either.

Even though it’s going more mainstream, “prepping” is prison. You feel shackled. You can’t tell anyone you’re storing extra food, bullets, or even band aids. If we don’t observe OpSec (Operational Security) we get labeled “prepper”, “survivalists” – or even worse, extremist. We wake up in a puddle of sweat worried that we’re not ready for TEOTWAWKI and TSHTF because we’re not living off-grid in the boonies with three years of food storage, fuel storage, and the latest weapons. We’re scared to build community – afraid to blow our cover. It’s that OpSec thing again.

Welcome to Prepper Prison. The bars and razor wire are in our minds and souls. Fear rules. Doom and gloom is upon us! The experts tell us how to get ready. What to buy. Skills to learn. Books to read. Where to move. Lists to make. Here’s a news flash: We’ll never be completely ready. You might possess expert knowledge in one area, but no person can do it all. Don’t underestimate the importance of community in making your jailbreak.

I began tunneling out of my cell last month. I felt like “Andy” in Shawshank Redemption. He was wrongly convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He finally quite accepting the institutional ‘authorities’ plan for his life. He planned his escape. He had lots of time and a will to be free. His tools of freedom were a rock hammer, a pin-up poster, and his fellow inmates – “Red” in particular. Pressure and time did the rest. It was a simple choice: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” He chose living.

I often wonder if I’m good enough. Do I have enough stuff to get me through the next two inches of snow? Don’t laugh my Yankee friends. We shut down around here with a light dusting. A run on bread, milk, eggs, and PBR soon follows.

With Dirt Road Girl not working, we’ve slashed our survival supplies. Honesty is a crazy quality. I’m the first to admit I’m no guru at preparedness or self-reliance. I’m just a regular guy trying to become as self-reliant and prepared as humanly possible. Compared to preparedness experts, and I’ve read many of their books, I don’t even come close to being ready. I don’t own any night vision goggles or fancy optics for my guns. Would those be cool to own? Sure. I just don’t have $3,000.00 extra fiat dollars lying on top of my stash of gold bullion. Dang, I forgot OPSEC! There is no gold in my underground bunker. Now that we are in Great Depression II, I’m guessing many are a little short on money to buy what the ‘experts’ recommend. So I thought I’d share my Regular Guy Preparedness Plan.

1.) Build community. This is a freebie. It cost some time, but that’s it. Building relationships in the community is the most important, yet it’s a glaring weakness of mine. A lone wolf will always object to this strategy. I realize the importance of flying under the radar. Uninvited attention is bad. I got that part. It’s just so anti-me in the other compartments of my life. I’m very social. So are we stuck with the YOYO (Your Own Your Own) method of survival? Not hardly. Retreating to the jungle to live off the land is so Hollywood. Stop the fantasy.

Is mediocre good enough? I hope so. I’m a serial multi-tasker – read mediocre at lots of stuff. I’m also well aware that I can’t provide all that I need for long-term survival. I’m below average at first aid and medical skills. I’m not going to spend time trying to become a combat field doctor or a RN. I’m not that interested in the field. For those that are, great! For our immediate group, we have someone who is medically trained. Then there’s that motor head cousin of mine that can rebuild an engine blindfolded. Not me. I can do the basics. There are other areas that need to be shored up in our group. That’s where building community comes in. But how?

Here are some places to network, build community, and plan your prison-break.

  • Local meet up groups. Face to face and local is both real and productive.
  • Family – if possible. This one is often times the hardest to penetrate in many cases. This is whispered at some Thanksgiving dinners – “Okay sweetie, stay away from crazy Uncle Henry. He totes guns and raises chickens in his yard.
  • Local farmers markets and food co-ops. Buying local builds community.
  • Gun/hunting/hiking/outdoor clubs. It’s easy to bring up preparedness speak with folks sitting around a fire eating beans and sipping rot-gut coffee or bourbon. “Man, what if we had to do this for more than a long weekend?
  • Church, school, and work. Like fishing, you have to go where they are to catch them. Even then, they don’t always take what you offer.
  • Internet prepper groups: Wolfe Blog, Prepper Groups, American Preppers Network, Alt-Market, A.N.T.S. (Americans Networking To Survive). Be wise about sharing personal info until you establish trust. Face to face meetings can follow when both parties are ready. I know, it sounds like online dating.

2.) Regular Guy Skills. People tell me I’m handy – right before they ask me to do stuff for free. I like adding skills to my toolbox. I’m best at those that I enjoy and interest me. You probably are too. Skills don’t cost much, but offer a great return on my time. Here are some Regular Guy Skills I find helpful and relatively cheap:

Chemistry: The most overlooked skill in survival. I’d like to recommend “Caveman Chemistry” by Kevin M. Dunn. Mr. Dunn offers 28 projects to help you become a producer, more self-reliant, and a cool science nerd. Want to make your own mead, gunpowder, soap, pharmaceuticals, and plastics? Get the book.

Build stuff with your hands. If you already do this in your day job, start reading the book above. Or try this one: Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World. Read broadly to stretch your mind outside the preparedness world. Diversify.

For those that are trapped in cubicle hell, find little things to do around the house to shrink that honey-do-list. Make your own gear. Learn to restore and sharpen an axe or other bladed tool. Here’s an old adze I restored last month.

Treating an adze I found at a flea market

I recently made a cedar bench for Dirt Road Girl with pioneer hand tools – I did cheat and use my chainsaw twice. I ended up building a shaving horse in the process. Another useful bonus tool created from this bench project.

Make stuff with paracord.

Learn to sew. Check out my wool hunting shirt I made from a 20 dollar, 100% wool army blanket.

More Dave Canterbury inspired gear

Stock your toolbox. You can pick up pioneer tools and other off-grid hand tools cheaply at yard sales, estate sales, Free Cycle, thrift stores, and grandma’s attic. I like new stuff as long as it’s old. I bought a set of bits and a brace from a guy off the side of the road for $10. The local antique malls charge $25 to $45 for these items. If you buy nice, you only buy once. Avoid cheaply made junk.

Bits for my brace

What’s on your wall?

Wish these were mine. Shot these at the Foxfire Museum this summer.

3.) Regular Guy Priorities. I use conventional wisdom from experts when preparing for SHTF sometimes. Chew on the hay, spit out the sticks. Other times I kick conventional wisdom to the curb. I’m unorthodox. For instance, I don’t store a lot of wheat. Your kidding, right!? No. It’s not something I eat. The experts tell me to stock things that I use in my eating plan now and practice cooking from my food storage. I stock stuff I eat. There’s logic for ya.

I write IEP’s (Individualized Education Plan) for students with special needs. Preparedness should be no different. Each of us should write our own IPP (Individualized Preparedness Plan). There so much information out there that most folks have no idea where to start. Avoid information overload by starting with your unique, individual situation. Throw out the cookie cutter books and build your own IPP. Priorities for your family will differ from our family (ex: environment, finances, mindset, fitness level, diet, health, spirituality, location, etc.).

Start with the basics: water, food, shelter, and a way to protect yourself. This is enough material for an article all to itself. I’ll try to keep it short. Develop your IPP based on your individualized needs. I hope I’m preaching to the choir about self-defense. If you’re not comfortable owning evil guns, develop a plan to defend your family with other tools. Guns are simply tools by the way. No different from your Smart Car, garden hoe, or blender. Your faith may be a roadblock to owning these fine tools. If so, check out Kathy Jackson’s article tackling Christians and Passivism.

If you’ve got a spring or well on your property, water is less a priority than someone who lives in the Arizona desert. My point here is to keep ringing the individualized bell. Break the mold. Be yourself. Prepare for yourself and the unique needs of your family… no matter what the experts tell you. To assume their plan will work for you and me is dangerous and costly.

Think. For. Yourself.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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

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, DIY Preparedness Projects, Economic Collapse, Firearms, First Aid, Food Storage, Frugal Preps, Preparedness, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, Self Defense, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Potassium permanganate: The Most Useful Survival Chemical

Today’s post is reprinted with permission from Urban Survival Podcast hosts Aaron and Jonathan who are two city boys with a lifetime affinity for the outdoors, but a love of the city, passion for survival topics, and Libertarian Ideals. Check out their site In The Rabbit Hole with a focus on the things that matter most: What’s likely to happen. Then preparing for it in a rational and productive way.

Refreshing vision gentlemen! If you believe an alien invasion is eminent, their site isn’t for you. If you want help prioritizing your steps to preparedness for life’s curve balls, then you’ll find sound advice.

Doing the stuff,



Source: In The Rabbit Hole

by Aaron Frankel on July 28, 2011

Potassium permanganate sample full 300x196 Potassium permanganate: The Most Useful Survival Chemical

When people think about survival tools, chemicals are usually not one of the first things that come to mind. Potassium permanganate should though.

Also known as KMnO4, Condy’s Crystals and permanganate of potash, Potassium permanganate is a jack of all survival trades.When it comes to survival, the more you know, the more you can do with less. Like wilderness medicine, it also often becomes about improvising with less than ideal tools.I first learned about the usefulness of this chemical while watching a Survivor Man episode titled Sonoran Desert. In the Sonoran Desert episode (Season 1 Episode 2), Les Stroud demonstrates how mixing Potassium permanganate and glycerin will start a chemical fire. Intrigued, I did some digging.

Turns out it’s not just good for making fires. It’s also good for:

  • Purifying water.
  • Creating an antiseptic solution.
  • As an anti-fungal treatment for the hands and feet.
  • As a cholera disinfectant
  • Treating canker sores
  • Marking snow as an emergency signal.

Proceed with caution, however. The information provided in this article is intended for emergency situations only. Caution should be exercised when using any of the following information.

Potassium permanganate will start a fire when mixed with a couple of different compounds. Glycerin is the most common, but antifreeze will also do the trick. Antifreeze seems to create a reaction that is a little more violent. Be very careful when using either. The reaction is not always immediate. It can take several seconds for the reaction to start a fire – let it be.

Read the rest here

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Bushcraft, First Aid, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival, Water | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Overwhelmed by guns-$-gear-$-guts-$-n’stuff approach? Try this.

I try to turn conventional wisdom on its head when it comes to eating, education, fitness, God, politics, and even preparedness. I’m sharing Claire Wolfe’s excellent post questioning conventional wisdom of ‘experts’ and the avalanche of information overload in the preparedness community. Makes ya think. Head on over and join the spirited discussion.

Thanks for the mention Claire!

Doing the stuff,



Preparedness priorities, part I

by Claire Wolfe of Living Freedom

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Recently, one of the big preparedness gurus suggested that his readers plan to re-roof their houses with metal to make it safer to collect rain runoff.

He didn’t say we should consider it if our house needs a new roof, anyhow

He didn’t say we should consider it if we have all our other preps in order and have $10-20,000 burning a hole in our pockets.

He just said it.

Not only did he say it; he said it in an article directed at preparedness for newbies!


I recently read a book by a survival consultant. It was filled with useful, interesting, and mostly (IMHO) valid information. I couldn’t point to a single thing in it that’s actually wrong.

But it also had the strangest mix of inclusions and omissions. It had, for instance, an entire chapter on building a bug-out trailer (something hardly anyone will ever do). Yet it spoke barely a word about the special, but everyday, needs of children, pets, old people, and people with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

I ask you: Which is a typical family likely to need most urgently? A specially built trailer or medicine for baby’s earaches? A specially built trailer or food for Fido? A specially built trailer or extra adult diapers for granddad?


One of the biggest problems getting people to prepare for emergencies or long-term hard times is that once you get beyond “pack a three-day kit” or “be sure to have a week’s worth of food and water on hand,” brains tend to overload.

Read the rest here

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Life-Liberty-Happiness, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Reasons Why Building a Community is Key When Surviving Disaster

This is reprinted with permission from the author. It was originally posted over at The Home For Survival and at Thanks Survivor Mike! You can check out his blog regarding surviving disaster here.

Doing the stuff,



Sep 28, 2012 by

Picture the below Surviving Disaster scenario…

You’re living in your suburban home, CNN has just said that the stock market has dropped for the ninth day in a row and people are now racing to their banks to empty their accounts. Couple these with an unstable euro, an unstable Middle East and a worldwide economic recession and you get the start of the sh*t hitting the fan.

How does your neighborhood react to this?

Who in your neighborhood do you trust?

Now take that a step further and imagine a state of civil unrest. Homes nearby are being looted and undesirables are now common in your neighborhood. You have a weapon, but the occupants of your home include you, your wife, and your two small children. You have a front door, a backdoor, and the garage door. How do you cover all three much less the first floor windows?

What I’ve described above is the situation you will be faced with when the SHTF. So, do you need to build a community of liked-minded folks when the sh*t hits the fan? I believe there are 10 reasons why building a community is key when it all goes down.

1) Strength in Numbers

Being in a suburban area, I tend to worry about what will happen if looters run amok. I imagine when the SHTF, criminals will likely run in gangs. Those gangs will target individual homes for looting and potentially seek to oust the folks living there. They would target homes with a small number of occupants to make their raids that much easier.

So, to avoid being in their crosshairs, it would be optimal to be viewed as a large group. These criminals will have quite a few homes to choose from when things get tough and there is no sense in being an easy target. Remember, giving the perception of a large force is enough to deter those with bad intentions.

2) More Hands, More Work Done

Continuing with the theme of a group, the more folks in that group, the more workers you have. Those additional sets of hands will be able to help garden, cook, pack supplies, gather water, and hunt for food. While you will have to feed and care for those extra bodies, the work you get from them should more than make up for it.

I would much rather have 5 people foraging for food and supplies versus 1 as time will be of the essence.

3) Pre-planning

Knowing you’ll have a community of preppers allows you to be proactive with planning now. You can request your neighbors start preparing by gathering supplies, preparing their homes and getting their financials in order. You can even go as far as planning the homes you will use for what purpose. By having those families focus on particular areas of prepping, you can be sure you will be best prepared when the trigger event happens.

At the very least, having your neighbors prepared will prevent them from being a liability when things go south. The last thing you need is a needy “friend” eating into your families’ supplies.

4) Multiple Locations

Having multiple homes in a community provides several advantages. Besides the tactical advantage of defending yourself, you acquire additional space for supplies, including areas to prep them.

Additionally, you provide the sense of normalcy for the folks in the community. Utilizing one house as a mess hall could be a possibility. Having a house serve as a medical facility is another. You would almost be able to build a town within the community. You cannot underestimate the importance of helping with the psychology of the group trying to survive.

5) Additional Resource Network

Your neighbors will have different supplies, different tools, and especially different skills. That alone is a huge asset when attempting to survive in uncertain times. However, the resources we don’t think about are the various contacts they may have.  They may have an uncle who owns 10 shotguns. A cousin that has an RV for sale. A friend with access to critical medical supplies.

Each neighbor will have their own network of contacts that may come in handy. Those contacts become even more valuable when things get very tough. You may even choose to join a larger group that your neighbors will have paved the way by providing that connection.  We can be sure that we will need to be creative during difficult times.

Read the rest here

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Economic Collapse, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival, TEOTWAWKI, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mosquitoes – More than Just a Nuisance

Why sweat the small things in prepping? Because it’s the little things that can kill you. Hank writes at his blog Sensible Survival. With over 25 years of preparing for the worst under his belt, he offers common sense preparedness for sensible individuals. Stop by his site and check out over 125 articles on sensible survival and preparedness.

Doing the stuff,




by Hank

 Note: I wrote this article a couple of years ago but never posted it.  It really is hitting home this year, so I am posting it now.  We have had over 80 cases of West Nile virus and 5 deaths in East Texas this summer; so mosquitoes are a problem even in the “developed” world.  Read, and be warned about these little killers.
Nearly anywhere that you live in this world you will encounter mosquitoes.  Most people these days think of mosquitoes as a nuisance; but the fact is, they are a deadly danger to human health.  Mosquitoes are fairly well controlled in most developed nations, so the diseases that they carry are no longer a major health risk.  In developing nations mosquitoes are responsible for huge numbers of illnesses and deaths, and the cost to these nations is very high in terms of dollars, lost production, and weakening of future generations.
What would happen in developed nations if government agencies could no longer carry out mosquito control programs.  Well just look at the mosquito related health problems in some of the developing nations around the world.  According to a 2010 report of the World Health Organization there are over 225 million cases of malaria (a mosquito borne illness) throughout the world every year. Nearly 800,000 people die from malaria each year.  The majority of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and most of these victims are children.
Because of changing climate, some mosquito borne diseases, like West Nile virus, that were once considered “tropical” diseases have begun to spread to the temperate zones.  I live in Texas, and in recent years there have been several cases of West Nile virus. This is a disease that has never been known in this area, and it has appeared in spite of the aggressive mosquito control programs that we have.
So the bottom line is: government break-down equals no more mosquito control programs which equals you’re on your own as far as preventing mosquito borne illnesses.  You need to prepare for this.  What are some things that you can do to prevent mosquito borne disease?
1. Drain standing water where mosquitoes can breed.
2. Avoid going out at dusk and nighttime (the time when mosquitoes are most active).
3. Wear protective clothing.
4. Wear insect repellant. (You need to lay in a good supply of DEET)
5. Make sure that you have screens on all windows and doors.
6. Sleep under a mosquito net if you are out doors.
Most of these precautions against mosquitoes used to be common place in the USA and other now developed nations, but with modern mosquito control we have fallen out of the habit of protecting ourselves.  It’s time to start thinking about them again, because a mosquito can kill you just as dead as a bullet from an AK-47.
Categories: Bushcraft, Camping, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

DIY Pemmican: Bread of the Wilderness

by Todd Walker

What’s bread of the wilderness?

This is a follow up to an article I posted about making this perfect primal stick-to-your-ribs survival food a few months ago. Like most things survival related, it’s best to experience it first hand before counting on it with your life. Here you’ll find my mistakes and successes making pemmican. “Doing the stuff” is more important than talking about or reading about the stuff.

Why pemmican?

Charles Washington’s Zeroing In On Health blog has a great primer on the importance and history of this survival ration. He writes,

“Pemmican has been described by many famous and influential people as being the most concentrated and nutrient-dense ration known to man yet became a marginal and even forgotten item.”

Frontiersmen, polar explorers, American Indians, fur traders, soldiers, hunters, and mountain climbers all understood the importance of carrying a lightweight, compact, food to sustain them on physically taxing adventures. Little is needed to prepare tasty (with the right recipe) “bread of the wilderness.” Just a few ounces was said to keep soldiers marching for several days. Also, with no time to cook with an open fire that might give up your position to the nearest looter population, packing pemmican is a great fuel to help get you to your hideaway.

Pack Pemmican and Less TP

Another advantage, according to Washington, is you poop less and with less offensive odor. If you’ve never wiped your backside in the woods with leaves, smooth rocks, or a shirt tail, you won’t appreciate this point. As to frequency of nature’s call when eating pemmican, I ate pemmican, parched corn, and dried fruit on a three-day survival class once and only needed to relieve myself at the end of day three.

There are many recipes online for pemmican. Here’s what I used.



  • 9 oz. of beef jerky: I would have preferred to use homemade jerky (venison or beef) but I’m out. So I went with 6.2 oz. and 3.0 oz. bags.
  • 3 oz. of dehydrated blue berries and maybe a couple of ounces of cranberries. I didn’t measure.
  • About two inches of melted tallow in a pint mason jar. Again, not exact measurements. I buy my grass-fed beef fat from a local butcher and render it myself. Here’s our link to rendering tallow.

You want to grind the jerky into as fine a power as possible. I used a food processor. NOTE: If using store bought jerky, you’ll want to dehydrate it in the oven (or dehydrator) until it is brittle when bent. I tossed this batch in the processor and it didn’t give me the desired powdery texture. I dumped the chopped meat into a pan and placed it in the oven at 175° with the oven door cracked slightly to vent moisture.

Be sure to remove these before processing store bought jerky. I almost ground this one up.


Dusty ground jerky

I loaded the fruit into the processor thinking I’d create fruit dust. Wrong! All those little individual pieces turned into one huge glob of fruit. Not what you want to happen. You’re going for a powdery mixture on the fruit as well. Some say a few chunks are okay. To remedy this, I rolled the fruit ball out into a thin layer on a cookie sheet and tossed it in the oven with the jerky.

Too much moisture leads to a fruit ball!

I stirred the jerky every hour and poked the fruit. After about 3 hours and no more patience, I took both out and let them cool. The fruit tasted like a fruit roll-up. Very yummy! The fruit hardened after cooling. I then added these two back into the processor at the same time and let her rip. With more moisture evaporated, both the meat and fruit broke down into smaller pieces.

Now comes the best part. Add the liquefied tallow in small increments in a container with the ground jerky and fruit. Hand mix as you go. You want enough fat in the mixture to be able to hold the ingredients together. Too much liquid fat will cause a soupy mixture that won’t hold together. Too dry and it crumbles.

Once you’re satisfied with the consistency, give it a test. Take a scoop into your hand and form it into a ball. I squeezed mine into a log shape. Dirt Road Girl said that the shape I created was very unappetizing. It reminded her of cleaning up after our two mongrel mutts in the backyard. A good buddy of mine who cooks in BBQ competitions told me that we eat with our eyes. If that’s the case, you may want to spread your pemmican out in a Pyrex dish and cut them into more appealing brownie shaped bars – for your eye’s sake.

Don’t eat with your eyes!

Either way, they turned out fine to me. They will store without refrigeration – if I don’t eat them beforehand. My next batch, I’m adding a little spice like cayenne pepper. Kick it up a notch!

On my last pemmican post, Matthew from Jimmy Cracked Corn, asked me for an honest assessment on the taste. Here’s what I think Matthew. It’s not something I’d serve at the dinner table with company. It is very tasty, nutrient-dense, and long-lasting – both as a storage food and fuel in the body. It’s an acquired taste I’d say. It’s a survival food.

Further Resources:

Other recipes:

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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

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…

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Categories: DIY Preparedness, Food Storage, Preparedness, Real Food, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

4 Lessons From Our Personal SHTF Event

by Todd Walker

We all get blindsided by personal end of the world as we know it situations. Loss of a job or the death of a loved one can turn your plans to a pile of rusting rubble. Some events are worse than others. There’s no way to prepare for all of life’s storms. Losing a job sends desperation and panic through a single mother’s bones. How will she feed, clothe, and shelter her babies?

Life is not fair

I’ve repeated this line to our own children and the students I teach more times than I can recall. The pain of this statement is like sliding down a dull razor into a wading pool of alcohol. It does more than just ‘sting’.

Our world as we knew it stopped this past January. Dirt Road Girl (DRG) was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain. After melting down in tears and working through the initial wave of emotions, we were empty. All we wanted were answers and healing, maybe a miracle. TEOTWAWKI happened. Personally.

SHTF happens

Whether it’s a sudden change or gradual loss of quality of life, SHTF happens on a personal level all the time. Ours happened suddenly and has progressed gradually. Fighting the cancer has left us drained physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and every other ‘ly’ imaginable except spiritually. We aren’t the first to get strapped into this crazy cancer roller coaster ride. It just seems that way. We had no answers. Just questions. Hanging on for dear life.

Why am I sharing our personal SHTF struggle? There are lessons in it for all of us.

1.) Physically: I heard more than one doctor say that due to her “being young and fit” we can be aggressive in our treatment. After months of her body being assaulted by chemo and radiation, she’s glad she put effort into her physical conditioning. Just going through the treatments has added years to her. She’ll recover and rejuvenate when they stop pouring poison in her.

What kind of shape are you in for your personal SHTF or worse, a universal TEOTWAWKI? You could be in the best physical shape. It doesn’t matter if you’re deprived of sleep. I just spent the last three nights on a plastic hospital cot next to DRG. I may have gotten 12 hours in three days. I wondered how sleep deprivation would affect me in a long-term collapse situation. The number of pullups, pushups, and squats I can hump won’t matter if my brain shuts down from no sleep. Without REM sleep for more than 3 days, we lose our ability to think and act coherently. This highlighted a glaring weakness in our hunker down strategy. We must have enough bodies for watch duty in a long-term collapse.

2.) Mentally and Emotionally: I lumped these two together because I’m to mentally drained to separate them. Everyone who has survived cancer told us that attitude determines survival chances. Never quit. This past week DRG got an infection and spent three days in the hospital with hoses pumping fluids and drugs into her body. I’ve never seen her more sick. Being raised by mid western parents that survived the Great Depression taught her mental toughness. You can’t get that from popping a pill. Being tough mentally was passed down from her parents. She’s gone through a lot of fire in her own life that has forged her attitude. Something that all preparedness minded parents need to instill in their kids. Don’t lie to them and cave to PC pressure by telling them that everyone is a winner and gets a trophy. You’ll only hamstring them for life.


Get them off the video game baby sitter. Take a walk…together. Breathe the air. Smell the wind. Listen. Just sit somewhere and listen. No talking. Look inside for just five minutes. As the adult, fight the urge to think outside of yourself. Focus on you and your child. And don’t forget to turn off the cell phone. You’ll come away refreshed…mentally and emotionally. Take advantage of these peaceful times while we can.

Get rid of the crutches. Millions of Americans are on all kinds of mind and mood altering drugs to mentally make it through a regular work day. An increasing number of students have to be drugged to get through 8 hours of forced schooling. According to this report, “since 2007, the number of prescriptions for A.D.H.D. medications dispensed to people ages 10 to 19 has risen by 26%, to almost 21 million yearly, or about two million individuals.” What’s going to happen when there aren’t pills to help them cope? Mood swings from hell and dangerous levels of freaking out will follow.

Personal SHTF events, while they suck going through, with the right mental attitude, will prepare you for the big one. Get your mind right.

3.) Financially: We are down to one paycheck. That’s it. Not complaining here. We’ve had to make major adjustments. We’ve always been frugal in our preparedness purchases – always looking to save money. It’s pretty simple. We either have to spend less or take in more. At this point, we are going with the former. What use to be extra time for me is now used as a caregiver to DRG. Side jobs that produce extra income take time that I can’t spare. So we cut our spending. Here are a few ideas that you may want to try. They may not sound like much, but they do add up.

  • Great Depression Tooth Paste/Powder: Baking soda with a little coconut oil
  • Homemade laundry detergent. We use to use this but got away from it and started using store-bought. It’s necessary now.
  • Homemade cleaners. Baking soda and vinegar.
  • Use Kroger Card. We shop at Kroger and build up fuel points. You get $.10 off/gal of gas for every $100.00 you spend in the store. So, we buy gift cards that we use for items we normally would spend our own cash on. This summer, I bought 35 gallons of gasoline at $3.00/gal for storage. I saved $.40/gal.
  • Eat storage food
  • De-clutter and sell items

I’m sure you folks have more great ideas. I’d be glad to hear them.

4.) Spiritually: I was a part of organized religion for most of my life. Over the last ten years or so I’ve grown closer to God by not being involve in institutional church. Your mileage may vary. Since DRG’s diagnosis, we both have grown more in tune with what we think God is trying to show us. Mercy, love, peace, and forgiveness. There was someone I held a lot of unforgiveness towards for a couple of years. “Life is short” really sinks in now. I didn’t have to forgive this guy, but I did. How can I withhold forgiveness when I need so much myself. That’s freedom. Letting go. Embracing my humanness. I can’t change this dude. I can only change me.

Our personal SHTF experience was a dark-night-of-the-the-soul for our family. We’ve overcome the initial shock. I’m still scared of the unknown. The way we prepare is to be prayed up and laid back. Find out what God is doing in your world and join Him. Be thankful for each day. Have fun and enjoy life like there’s no tomorrow. There’s a purpose in all of our personal SHTF events. It’s our job to figure it out, learn from it, and move forward.

Ideas are always welcome!

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,


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

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, Frugal Preps, Medical, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Maintaining a Straight Course in the Wilderness

Source: Sensible Survival

 Of course the best way to stay on course in the wilderness is with a compass, but you may be in a circumstance where you need to travel through the wilderness and you don’t have a compass.  You would think that traveling in a straight line would be an easy thing, but it is not.  It is very common for people who are lost in the wilderness to walk in circles.  If you think this would not apply to you, try the following experiment:
1. Go out into a large field, parking lot, or other unobstructed area.  It’s a really good idea to have a friend with you to stop you from running into something or walking out into the street.
2. Take a sighting on an object or landmark on the opposite side of the field.
3. Put on a blindfold and walk in a straight line toward your landmark.
4. When you take the blindfold off, I guarantee that you will be nowhere near your goal.
You see everyone has one leg that is a little shorter than the other, and everyone has one leg that is a little stronger than the other.  The difference in the stride of your right leg and your left leg may be tiny, but over the course of thousands of steps it is enough to cause you to move in a curved path.  Eventually you will curve all the way around and end up back where you started.
The only way to stay on a straight course without a compass is to use landmarks.  You need to begin your journey from a recognizable landmark, sight on a distant landmark, and walk toward it.  Turn back on a regular basis and note the location of your starting landmark.  When you reach your goal, look back to the landmark that you started from, then turn to the front and select another landmark that will keep you moving in the same direction.   This method will work over long distances if the country is fairly open.
If you are in dense forest you can use the same method on a much smaller scale, sighting from tree to tree in a straight line.  It is time consuming, but not as time consuming as walking for two days only to end up back where you started from.
Legend has it that the early Spanish explorers could only cross the vast, treeless plains of North Texas by driving stakes in the ground and sighting from stake to stake in order to keep a straight course.  This is supposedly where the name of this region, the “Staked Plains”, came from.  I doubt if this legend is true because compasses were widely used by this time, and I can’t imagine a large expedition that would be without one; but it makes a good story, and it would be a very practical way to cross an area with no natural landmarks.
Categories: Bushcraft, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Survival Skills | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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