Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Protecting our Children

There is a simple solution to the question of protecting our children while they are at school. So simple, in fact, that I find it hard to believe that no one has mentioned up to this point. In all fairness, I have not listened to every news show or watched every channel, but the ones that I have watched have not landed on this particular answer.

While our President stands at a microphone and tells us that the solution is to get rid of "certain" types of weapons, he is being guarded by several people carrying those very weapons he is proposing to ban for the rest of us. He knows that it is necessary for them to be there. His very survival depends on men and women being willing and able to deal with an attack on his life. Not just this president but all presidents require a serious level of protection. If not, some nut out there would likely try their hand at becoming famous.

If our presidents recognize the need to be protected, why would they then deny our children the same kind of protection? It wouldn't take 35 heavily armed men to prevent a madman from killing our kids while they are at school. One....yes just ONE...armed security officer could have and likely would have prevent our most recent tragedy. Once the glass was broken a trained officer would have responded quickly and decisively and reduced the carnage to a single death.

I know this to be true and so do you. Those who "deny" this are simply in a state of "denial" and there is little we can do about it. You can argue this very point until you are blue in the face and you will not get through to those who just refuse to accept it as a fact of life.

Those same people seem to have no problem with armed men and women patrolling our streets. They even gather a false sense of security because they are out there. Why then would they deny that having an armed guard "on-site" would be bad while having them patrolling 20 minutes away is okay?

I just don't get it!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Heirloom Seeds

There are many people who don’t know what Heirloom Seeds are. Most of the seeds we buy in the feed store or Wal-Mart are hybrid seeds. Hybrids are artificially germinated and are easy to grow. There is nothing wrong with the vegetables that they produce. In most cases they are better than heirloom plants. What hybrids will not do: They will not reproduce themselves. If you plant the seeds from a hybrid plant you will not necessarily get the same thing that you just ate: Most of the time you will get nothing at all. They will not grow. They are sterile.

An heirloom seed is naturally germinated and will reproduce themselves in the same form using the seeds that are produced by the plant. Why is that important?

If the time comes when there are no more Wal-Marts and grocery stores to buy seeds from you will have no garden. You must be able to sustain your garden without benefit of seed suppliers. There are loads of sites where you can buy “Heirloom Seeds”. Go check out those sites to educate yourselves on reproducible gardens. Don’t buy anything just yet….or at least until you’ve finished reading this article.

In the event that self-reliance becomes necessary, hybrid seeds will do you no good. You must be able to replant your garden next year using the seeds you produced in your garden. Do your research and know what you are buying when you buy seeds. There is one other thing that you must know. This is at least as important as knowing that you will need heirloom and not hybrid.

Many of the sites that offer heirlooms suggest buying a large quantity and storing them until you need them. Who knows how long that will be? Most organics have a shelf life and seeds are no exception. There is a better way to do it.

Get some heirloom seeds in small quantities of the veggies you hope to grow. Start your plants from these seeds this year. Go ahead and plant your normal hybrid varieties so you are sure to get a good garden. Plant the heirlooms as a learning opportunity and to test out their authenticity.

{The cynical Me} I could sell you anything and tell you to hold on to it until an emergency takes place and then plant it. If they don’t grow….”who ya gonna call?” Plant them now!!! Learn how to make plants grow from seeds. It is not as easy as buying young tomato plants from the store and sticking them in the ground. It takes a lot of work…exact work…and you have to start earlier than when you start from a young plant that was grown by someone else in a greenhouse in Florida.

Hopefully your seeds will grow and produce the veggies you like. If they do, save some of the seeds for next year. Plant them. If the seeds produce the same type of product that their parents did and you are satisfied with them, you have an heirloom seed if you ever need it. Don’t hoard the seeds. Maybe a couple of plantings worth in case mother nature throws you a curveball, but you don’t need to “stock up” on things you can easily reproduce.

Short form:
Buy some heirloom seeds.
Plant those seeds to test them.
Save the seeds from those plants and plant them next year.
If your seeds are successful: Skip step one and repeat steps 2 and 3 for as long as you like.
If your seeds are not successful: Start at step one and do it all over again until you get it right.
Live long and Prosper!

The Mayan Calendar

        This is going to be short post!  Many people are going to wake up Saturday morning December 22, 2012 with a hangover so bad they will wish the world had ended at midnight.

On December 21, 2012 the sun and the earth will come into line with the center of the Milky Way Galaxy: Just like it does and has every year since God only knows. At least that’s how I understand it. The world will not end on that day or any other day predictable by any ancient people on any continent on this earth. Go to bed your normal time….drink as much as you like and if you want to use it for an excuse to drink more, then know that the hangover you have is well earned.

The American Preppers Network website should lobby to have the name “Doomsday Preppers” banned from print. I know several “preppers” and not one of them is giving this day in history any more attention than they would any other day. Point is…if this happens…there is no reason to prep! Let’s change the name to “Hard Times Preppers”. That would be more appropriate than Doomsday.

I read an article today in a well known news website. The author of the article couldn’t keep her eyes off the prize. Lump everyone that calls themselves a prepper believes that Dec 21st is D-day and they are all crazy. The author is making the same mistake that everyone else is making. Non-preppers believe that we (the preppers) are only prepping for some cataclysmic event that will suddenly change our world into a wasteland. That couldn’t be further from the true.

There are many that I talk to everyday that are worried about our future. None of them worry about the next 2 weeks, but all worry about the next 2 years or 10 years or maybe even 20 years. If the universe was going to disappear in 2 weeks there would be little to prepare for. The truth is that we face several “Apocalyptic” scenarios that are far too real. Those scenarios are the ones that I am trying to prepare for. Those scenarios are the ones that frighten me into action. Those scenarios are the ones that my friends and family discuss every day.

The only thing that might happen after Dec. 21st comes and goes without incident is the History channel will be done with their 21 days of Armageddon and those of us who are serious about survival can go back to enjoying our anonymity!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A garden anyone can grow

                I think I’ve talked enough about the need, will and the reason we might need to know how to survive. Let’s start to talk about the meat and potatoes of the subject. We’ve talked about skills. Exactly what kind of skills do I mean? The list is too long to make it in just one article so we’ll break it down and talk about one at a time.
                What would you consider the bare essentials to survival? Remember everyone is a little different so your lists will not all be the same. If we cut it down to the real necessities of life we must start with food, clothing, shelter and self-defense. Let’s assume that you already have clothing so it will suffice in the near term at least.
                The first, easiest and most obvious thing you can learn is growing a traditional garden. Below is a picture of a few of the things that came out of our garden. What you choose might be different but it will amount to the same thing. 
               We grew other things like beans and okra. I tried to do corn but it didn't go very well. I grew pumpkins, watermelons and cucumbers. We had blackeyed peas and snow peas but the snow peas did'nt produce much. The idea is that we grew a successful garden and we ate what we grew. If you figure the cost to plant against the price of the produce we had, we saved a ton of money over the summer. If you figure in was a labor of love.
              The point is: We learned a few things. We ate better produce than you can buy in a grocery store and we had a good time doing it. We also learned about making things out of it rather than just eating the fresh produce.
The next picture shows one of the most important lessons we learned and by far my favorite:
This is a picture of my granddaughter pushing her wheelbarrow full of fresh picked tomatoes. This garden was a family affair. My granddaughters loved it and that was the best part.
              When we talk about growing tomatoes we first think of salads and sliced tomatoes for sandwiches or hamburgers. What you may or may not consider is all of the things that you can make from tomatoes, so here are a few that I tried and a few that I will soon try.
            Spaghetti sauce with all fresh vegatables. To make it from store bought ingredients it would cost a fortune. Prego is pretty cheap so it is hard to compete, but when you grow it yourself you can make out pretty good. I made salsa, stewed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes with green chilis, tomato sauce. All of this canned and lasted us through the winter. You can even make your own catsup...though I haven't tried that yet.
            In addition to growing the garden, I planted two plum trees, two peach trees, three apple, four grape vines, and a few blackberry bushes. Of course fruit trees won't produce until about 5 years after you plant them.
           Somthing else, Some of you will notice and others will not: This is not the neatest most manicured garden you will ever see. It looks nothing like those gardens we see on the Saturday afternoon gardening shows. You can see the can see the flaws. This garden was tended by people who had to work 5 days a week and gardened in the evening after work and on weekends. Still....look at that wheelbarrow full of tomatoes. The point is: You don't have to be the perfect gardner to grow good veggies. Anyone can do it. It does take some work but if you are worried about asthetics then you will have to spend a little more time that we were able to.
           The whole garden was about 50 x 100 feet. Even those living in town could produce a small garden to learn how to do it but the whole idea of the "survival" scenario is to get out of town and on to a small piece of land where you can work towards being more self sufficient.
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Survival: A simple truth!

            Since the dawn of man and before, each species has within their DNA a will and ability to survive in their world. Whether by instinct or by education each organism that inhabits this planet must possess certain abilities to find the sustenance necessary for survival. Each one also needs the ability to survive the onslaught of predators that will use them as their sustenance. Being higher on the food chain does not ensure survival. Early mankind had to learn certain skills in order to gather the necessary food to survive. As we evolved as a species we used our brains more and our physical strengths less.

Note: My reference to evolved does not preclude the existence of God. I believe in God and believe he created us all. I also believe he created the processes that shaped this planet ecologically, geographically, and even politically.  Nothing in my previous statement goes against my belief in God. If you are offended by the statement, I am sorry for that but I will continue along my theme anyway.

            Each species has been forced from time to time to deal with a changing world. Scientist tell that 98% of all the species that ever existed are now extinct. (For those who believe otherwise, I would suggest that most of those were extinct before the invention of the internal combustion engine.) Mass extinctions were caused by drastic and often sudden changes in the environment. Periodic extinctions were (and still are) caused by a species inability to adapt to changing conditions over time.

            The coyote, raccoon and possum flourish in a world where humans have changed their habitat to a large extent. They manage to survive by adapting to the new way of finding food. They take advantage of the human art of disposing of perfectly good food. The wolf, the bear and others have not fared as well. Partially because humans have systematically dispensed with them when they got too close but also because they have a harder time adapting to the new world they find themselves confronted with.

            Whether you believe that Mankind began his/her ascent to civilization the day they discovered how to build a fire or you believe that Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden and left to fend for themselves you must agree that neither would have survived without the ability to find and gather nutrition from the bountiful earth.

            Survival is not a skill, it is a mindset. That mindset involves the possessing or willingness to possess the necessary skills to survive. If the world changes to fast, we will find some, if not many, who will simply decide that it is not worth it. Should we decide to look at it coldly, we might think that it is good for the rest of us. It will be very hard for those who are left alive to feed, house and cloth 6.6 billion people around the globe. The more people that die quickly, the better for the rest of us.

            I think most of us have a desire to survive, but do we have the will to survive? For those that do, they must start thinking about what will be required to make that happen in a world which has quickly changed or even one that changes drastically over a relatively long period. Early in the history of Mankind, we developed basic survival skills. Whether by divine intervention or through trial and error, humans learned to perpetuate the species.

            Since that day our ancestors figured out that living in caves and cooking their food made life easier we have been on a quest to make our lives easier. At least here in America we have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. While you may complain about the high cost of milk or bread it is relatively cheap compared to other parts of the world. It is also cheap if we look at how many hours we had to work to afford that loaf of bread and/or that jug of milk.

            While we were making out lives easier and extending our life expectancy we were also building a technology trap that will be difficult to escape. Just in our generation we have lost many of the abilities that my Grandparents had. Many quip about being “blasted back to the stone age”. We don’t have to start that far back. If we go back 100 years to life on the prairies of this country we will find all the necessary skills we would need to live forever and even rebuild the infrastructure we have today.

            If either of my grandfathers miraculously returned today, they would not be able to survive in this world with the skillset that they possessed any more than I could survive in their world with my current skillset. The point that I am trying to make: Things have changed more in the last 100 years than in any period of the same length throughout history. They have changed very quickly and left most of us without the basic skills to survive in a world without the technology of today at our fingertips.

            If you want to survive the coming hardships, there are books you need to read. The books I am talking about are not those written by fellow survivalist or doomdayers. The first books you need to read are history books spanning from the dawn of man to the end of WWII. In those books are the innovations and inventions that changed the world. In those books are the stories of people of resolve and endurance. Those are the books that will lead us into the future by a secure knowledge of where we came from and what we had to do to get here.

“Doomsday Preppers”

I watched National Geographic channel's “Doomsday Preppers” for the first time yesterday. I’ll probably watch it again because they had a couple of ideas that I think I could adapt to my plan. For those of you who are interested in this kind of thing I would recommend a few viewings at least.

            For those of you who haven’t seen it, I will lay it out a little for you. The premise is: Experts go to the “Preppers” homes and assess their preparedness. Once they hear the whole plan, they grade on an overall ability to survive. The best score I saw was 63 out of hundred (I think) and suggested they could survive for 14 months. The others were well thought out plans that emphasized different aspects of survival but eventually scored lower. If you decide to watch it, make note of the 5 or 6 categories that they grade on. I found them to be pretty accurate and next time I watch it I will write them all down.

            What I found lacking in all of the scenarios was the lack of any real long term solutions. The other thing that struck me about each plan was the single minded plan of attack. They all focused on different strengths as being the best course of action, while leaving other points of vulnerability weak at best. This is why I am going to get the list next time so I can compare it to my multi-point plan. I don’t think it will serve us well to be arms experts if we can’t grow enough food to feed our family when the stockpile wears down.

            I believe that we will come to the point where the “jack-of-all-trades” guy is the one that is best suited for survival. All of that knowledge does not have to be rolled up into one person, but it does need to be accessible within the family or support group. Each of us has different strengths and just as plywood gets it strength from multiple layers of wood our family or network of friends will add strength and viability to our survival plans.

            I watched another “doomsday” program on NTGEO called Nostradamus 2012. It was about ancient prophecies that seem to be lining up predicting the “end of days” scenario. Lots of hindsight evidence of our ancestors ability to predict the future. Not really buying into that but there was an interesting part in the very beginning. I have been looking at a couple of scenarios that would lead us into the need to possess survival skills. They list several scenarios that are all too possible and some even likely.

            The single minded theme that I mentioned for “Doomsday Preppers” is something that I have been guilty of as well in my plan for survival. I have always thought that a total economic collapse caused by poor government practices was the most likely scenario that would bring us down. Mentioned in the show were several others that had not occurred to me or ones that I had discounted as being unlikely.

            The scary part for me was the realization that I might be wrong in the likelihood of needing the skills. I’m not sure that I have been converted to a “Doomsdayer” yet. However, I am certain that I need to rethink my assessment of the current global situation.

            I think I will add to my list of articles and expand the list of things that might cause our world to collapse around us. The one thing that I am certain of….whatever calamity befalls us locally, nationally or globally, there will be survivors of the initial “blast”. What I want to make sure of is that, if me and my family survive the first day or the first week, we will be able to survive for a lifetime.

Friday, November 30, 2012

“Doomsday is about Skills”

At some point, probably too late, most of us will realize that the skills we currently possess will fail us miserably if “Doomsday” ever really happens. Over the course of time I want to spend a lot of time on individual skills but first I have to get people interested in the concept.

            I’ve mentioned before, that money is the only thing we currently need in today’s world. Everything we need to live is for sale somewhere at some price. The most essentials things are actually so cheap that we cannot grow or make them economically. It is cheaper to buy them. What happens when we either run out money or the products are no longer available because those that make them so cheaply no longer exist? We still need food, shelter and clothing. If there is nowhere to buy food, no one to build or rent us a house or make us the clothes we like to wear….we’re screwed: Unless of course we have the skills to do each of those things.

            Hoarding is not a long term solution. I will expand on that thought in a later article but for now just take it for what it’s worth and look beyond the hoarding aspects of “Doomsday Prepping”. Once the stockpile starts to run a little thin we must find a way to replenish those things that we are running out of. The first would most certainly be food. The good news is: Of all the things we need to know how to do growing food is the easiest, but it still takes the know-how to do it. It also takes enough vacant land to do it.

            If you currently live in the city, it is time to “get outta town”. One will not be able to survive in a densely populated area for a host of reasons. Hank Williams Jr. had a song out a long time ago called “A Country boy will survive”. One of the lines goes like this: “a shotgun, a rifle and a one eyed dog, a country boy will survive”. He was “right on” with that statement. If you are a “country boy or girl” you know exactly what he means. If not, you need to figure it out.

            The purpose I have for all of this is about helping those who simply don’t understand and to enlist the help of those who do. The good news is: I am a country boy….born and bred and still live out here in the sticks. The bad new is, I don’t possess nearly enough of the skills that I will likely need to survive long term without the current infrastructure in place. My goal over the next few years is to learn those skills and pass them along to you and others like you. My selfish reason for all of the hours I spend thinking and writing is to motivate me into learning those skills.

            This brings me to the title of my first post: Survival as a Hobby.  My new hobby is writing about and learning about the skillset that I will need to possess, if things go really, really bad in our country. If they don’t go really bad, then I will have had a really good time doing all of this: A worthwhile hobby that occupies my mind and my time and provides me a lot of entertainment and self satisfaction. Even if I never lose the ability to head down to McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin on the way to the grocery store I will enjoy the hell out of building a Dutch Windmill and growing my own tomatoes.