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Friday, September 25, 2009

The 7 Best First Aid Kits For Any Situation

I get all the Popular Mechanics posts that I share via Instanpundit. I'm starting to think I should just read Popular Mechanics. Man, they are on top of this stuff. There was a whole do-it-yourself survival issue recently. It was covered on PJTV (which hosts Instapundit).

The 7 Best First Aid Kits For Any Situation

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This is truly depressing. If you don't need to be depressed today, read it later. On the other hand, if you don't read it, you're sticking your head in the sand-- and that's a pretty dumb thing to do.

The Long Slog: Out of Work, Out of Hope

Nearly 15 million Americans are jobless, and the number is widely expected to remain high even as the economy slowly begins to recover. Part of the problem many of the unemployed face: the very fact that they have been out of work a long time.
and further on...

One thing this kind of move affects is federal spending. Last year, the Social Security Administration paid out about $106 billion in disability benefits, equal to nearly 4% of the federal budget. The payout was up about a third from four years earlier.
The agency projects it will receive roughly a million more disability applications from 2009 through 2011 than it would have without the recession, says Stephen Goss, its chief actuary. If acceptance rates stay the same, this would add roughly 500,000 more people to the rolls by the end of 2011.
So far, much of the government's response to long-term unemployment has been to extend jobless benefits, a support that keeps workers off the streets but can lead some to languish in unemployment instead of searching for work as if it were a full-time job.
The federal government extended the standard 26 weeks of benefits by 20 weeks, and to as much as a total of 79 weeks for some workers in high-unemployment states.

And there's even a picture: 

Pizza tonight?

Just came across this recipe at one of my favorite sites, Breadbasketcase.

Friday's always a good night for pizza. And this could be fun & easy for the whole family to do. (feel sorry for me, I have to eat at a restaurant tonight. Yuck.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sunlight Foundation: Read the Bill

If self-reliance has anything to do with citizenship-- and I think it does-- then the Sunlight Foundation's activities are some to watch. Here's their Intro:

The Sunlight Foundation is committed to helping citizens, bloggers and journalists be their own best watchdogs, by improving access to existing information and digitizing new information, and by creating new tools and Web sites to enable all of us to collaborate in fostering greater transparency.

From an email today:

There's been some big developments today, friends.
In June, we let you know that Representatives John Culberson (R-TX) and Brian Baird (D-WA) introduced a resolution, H.Res 554, that would change House rules to require all major bills to be posted online publicly for at least 72 hours before they are debated.

Essentially: a "Read the Bill" resolution.

Well, today, members of Congress filed a "discharge petition" in the House regarding that resolution, and if the petition gets 218 signatures in the House, leaders Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer will be required to schedule H.Res 554 for a vote on the House floor.
Our Read the Bill resolution has been languishing in the House for many months--years, if you include versions that have been introduced in prior Congresses--and a discharge petition is a way to force a bill to the floor for a vote. This is the time to make it happen.
Take a moment and make a phone call to ask your Rep. to sign onto H.Res 554 using our simple website. Ask your friends to do the same.

At the end of the day it comes down to this: an informed citizenry is critical to a functioning democracy.  The point isn't only whether legislators read every word, but whether all citizens - people like us - have an opportunity to review and comment on pending legislation before it has an impact on our lives.
We are going to make sure we have that chance.
There's no ifs, ands, or buts. Legislation should be online for everyone to read.

ps For the full scoop on today's action, read Lisa Rosenberg's full rundown:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Urban Prepper is on a Roll!

Another great post from Urban Prepper, Dan. Thanks! And as soon as we can get Dan to sign on to google, he'll be a regular contributor to the OPN. (I know how you feel, Dan, I am not a google fan either.)

The Urban Prepper: 

Grab a coffee…I’m on a roll.

I’m a small business owner selling to Auto & Appliance OE’s and meet regularly with Presidents of manufacturing companies, Bank Managers (not the too big types but struggling locals) and Economist and the news supports your aggressive and continued  Prep efforts. 

The auto news is less than stellar with the next 3-5 years production estimated at 4-6 million vehicles compared to 17-18 million just 3 years ago.  Appliance sales are down 35-42% percent.  Manufacturing is poised to “run or sprint” to the Mexican & Brazilian borders should Cap and Trade & Universal Health Care be passed.   Banks have ceased lending and pulled revolving credit to small to medium companies which are now using cash reserves for survival.  I personally know of (3) companies whose owners have forgone their retirement plans to subsidize their payroll.  Attrition amongst all manufacturing is the highest in 50-60 years and remaining struggling businesses survive on transfer jobs from other plant closures, like leaches.   This is the pretext to the new term “jobless recovery”.  America will soon realize we lack manufacturing to pull out of this contrived depression…for the first time in our lifetime we won’t have manufacturing to pull us through …we’ll have government.

Netanyahu and Putin just met regarding negotiations over Iran and the latest from political pundits is that Israel will most likely “got it alone” in attacking Iran.

So why should you care, what do the above have in common with prepping? Here’s the potential play:

…it’s late October with cold temps just starting to chill the fall air and across North America heaters are starting to turn on at night as temps approach freezing.  Some have forgotten to fill their oil reserves for their older furnaces and why not, heck oil’s been cheap.  Netanyahu receives a “go ahead’ from Barry Soetoro aka Obama and Israel strikes Tehran on Halloween night in the US (while most are busy with Football and Trick or Treat)…most attacks are on weekends, evenings with absolute darkness of “no-moon” for full surprise & effect & October 31st is strategically ideal.  As the world reacts the commodities and futures markets “go astro” with oil skyrocketing  $800-1,000 barrel the first 24 hours then relax to $300-500 per barrel…overnight petrol prices at the pump jump to $25-50 dollars per gallon…even at those prices there’s a run and soon stations are empty and tempers flare.  Immediately… “Run’s” occur at Super Markets, Big Box stores and the Banks with people in panic using half their available gas to pay for items now reflecting 500-1,000% percent increases.  There’s a general malaise as the public takes 2-3 days to ascertain what the hell has happened.  The average American family maintains a 3-5 day supply of food…those who prepped are finally vindicated and allow themselves a short respite as they know what comes next… their very survival and existence…at this point,  from here on  American history takes a new course.

…and what about the Flu?

This is from the Gaurdian:

The swine flu pandemic could kill millions and cause anarchy… says a UN report leaked to the Observer.
The disclosure will provoke concerns that health officials will not be able to stem the growth of the worldwide H1N1 pandemic in developing countries. If the virus takes hold in the poorest nations, millions could die and the economies of fragile countries could be destroyed.
Health ministers around the globe were sent the warning on Thursday in a report on the costs of averting a humanitarian disaster in the next few months. It comes as officials inside the World Health Organisation, the UN’s public health body, said they feared they would not be able to raise half that amount because of the global downturn.

Prep Now, Prep Hard, Prep likes there’s no tomorrow…our very lives depend on it!

God Bless Us All!

Animis opibusque parati –  Prepared in minds and resources

Monday, September 21, 2009

:-) Hope you enjoy!

This made my day! Highlights mine.

If I could amend the Constitution


  1. An Interstate Commercial Transaction as referred to in Article I, Section 8, only exists when the buyer and seller are residents of different states, and the buyer gives money to the seller in exchange for products and/or services which are delivered from one state to another. Congress has no power to regulate commercial transactions which take place within a state between residents of that state, and the Commerce Clause of Article I, Section 8, shall not be construed to grant Congress power to regulate anything which is not commerce.
  2. Because it is important for America citizens who are not members of the Armed Forces to be able to protect themselves, their families, their property, their fellow citizens, and the nation as a whole, the right of private citizens over 18 years of age who are not convicted felons to purchase, possess, and carry firearms and ammunition shall not be infringed by federal, state, or local law.
  3. Hanging as a form of capital punishment is permitted under the Constitution of the United States, provisions of Amendment Eight notwithstanding.
  4. No court in the United States shall be guided by precedents established by courts in other nations or by international tribunals. The United States Constitution and the laws and treaties created under its authority shall be the sole source for all legal decisions within the sovereign territory of the United States.
  5. No person shall serve more than 8 years as a US Representative or 12 years as a US Senator.
  6. No provision of any treaty shall be enforceable within the United States if it infringes the rights of citizens as recognized by this Constitution.
  7. Neither Congress nor any state or local government shall make any law infringing the right of the people to produce and release carbon dioxide. No taxes or fees may be charged for such release. [Don't ya have to laugh that it's come to this??]
  8. In lawsuits where lawyers work on contingency, the lawyers collectively may not receive a greater percentage of the award than any single one of the clients they represent.
  9. It is double jeopardy for a defendant to be criminally tried in both State and Federal court for the same event, even if the indictments read differently. In cases in which both State and Federal prosecutors wish to prosecute, the State shall have priority.
  10. Neither the federal government nor any state or locality may pass any law or implement any policy which discriminates against or in favor of any person on the basis of race, gender, or national origin.
Of course, the chance of this even being considered is nil. I’m more likely to be struck by lightning.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Saving on your electric bill

American Preppers Network: Saving on your electric bill

This is a GREAT post, with lots & lots of good ideas in the comments. Tom very systematically goes through a list of things that have gotten his electric bills down to $60 in August. And note that he DOES have a computer, and an electric H2O heater! Excellent read.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Urban... wait, rural turned urban... prepper guest post!

A HUGE thanks to Dan who steps up to the plate and contributes this post. THANK YOU, DAN! (And I have a couple of Qs for Dan which I'll post in comments. I'd never thought about composting vitamins.)

The Urban Prepper:

Hello my fellow Preppers and Constitutional Americans. So much has been written by those fortunate enough to own rural locales where land is plentiful with wide open spaces but little written about the rest of us. The reality is that most of us live in suburbs where prepping and maximizing our back yards or improvising growing areas is just as vital. We live in Perrysburg, Ohio and have max’d our growing space.

This year we wanted to see if we could indeed support ourselves maximizing a space that is 20X 20 including building Multi level (2 & 3 levels 2 X 6) gardens boxes made from marine plywood and 2 X 6’s. My Nebraska farm roots paid off with our special compilation of soil that includes, cow, horse and for tomatoes chicken & cow manure. In addition to the soil mixture throw the following in during the season, any organic compostable trash, rusty old nails or small metal items that are rusty (no chrome or coated fasteners, a handful per cubic yard of material. Have old vitamins laying around, kids chewable vitamins that are outdated…grind up and throw in the soil. Since Depression One our soils have been robbed of minerals and nutrients so replenishing them not only improves plant health but your intakes of much needed nutrients. Here’s a Tomato tip: The higher the acidity of the soil the less acidic the taste of the tomato…strange but seems to work that way and tomatoes love coffee grounds. Here’s what we grew with great success for a family of (3): Tomatoes-Cherry, Romano and Jet Star, Lettuce, Okra, Sweet Corn Bi-Colour, Pop Corn, Green Beans, Fingerling Potatoes, Sun Flowers, Small Amish Melons, Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Parsley and Cilantro.

We found a great traditional seed source for heirloom seeds at SeedSavers of Iowa, http://www.seedsavers.org/. I have a huge appreciation for an organization that preserves the produce of our forefathers. Every effort is made to avoid hybrids for multi seasonal growing.

For canned items I strongly suggest shopping your local Aldi’s for great bargains. Being a farmer I’ve seen the same produce canned for Libby’s and Doles used for private brands, so save money where you can. If you like the wholesome foods of Traders Joe’s you’ll like Aldi’s their both an Aldi’s (German) company.

Get your vitamins and herbals while you can and start stocking ASAP. The major box stores while offering competitive vitamins/herbals are under corporate pressure to eliminate non-pharma products. For example Wally World’s availability is shrinking and prices increasing by 15-18% every 2-3 weeks. I assume the new global Codex is affecting this decision. Don’t volunteer for the Flu Shot…

God Bless us All and keep us protected from the coming storm. The ominous storm clouds are approaching our horizon at unprecedented speed and I fear a Fujita 5 or 6 is coming! Those I trust the most: God & Jesus, my wife and the Marine in the Hole on my left and right!

The Urban Prepper,


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


At Popular Mechanics:

The New Homesteaders: Off-the-Grid and Self-Reliant

You may have heard about them: Off-the-gridders living in radical opposition to modern amenities by growing their own food and cutting themselves off from the rest of society. Not so. Sure, more people are choosing to cut their dependence on the power grid, the grocery story and fuel pump. But these new homesteaders are hardly radicals—they are simply DIYers who, for a variety of reasons, revel in self-reliance. This is their story.

So if you're having trouble convincing your family & friends that prepping makes sense-- tell 'em to go read Popular Mechanics. And then join the Preppers Network!

U-Pick Farms

Don't often look at the Cincinnati Enquirer anymore, but I came across this today. Some of you in the area may find it useful, if just for the list of U-Pick Farms in the general area (links work, I think). Even if you have a garden, and especially if you don't, take advantage of U-Pick Farms to stock up on the fruits and veggies that you can can or freeze now for winter use.
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hardship drill

Fire drills. Hurricane/tornado evacuation drills. Home intruder drills. Bug-out drills. All essential activities to engage in as part of your and your families preps. However, these address preparing for more or less single isolated events-- although you should also prepare for the aftermath. But what about preparing for hardships like job loss? Sure, you have a cache of food stores, hopefully of cash on hand, etc. What more can you do?

I'd like to suggest the "Hardship Drill." A Hardship Drill is a longer-term prepping activity designed to help you and your family learn how to deal with deprivation. Here's what I have in mind, but each family could tailor this to their own situation and habits.

I'm suggesting that each family member give up something for a week. That something should now be a regular item in the family's budget, and preferably one that ain't cheap. It could be a service like home internet, cable TV (hey Dad, can you live for a week without NFL ticket?), or cell phone service (or maybe just the texting feature). Whatever it is, it should be something you are now spending money on that might find itself on the chopping block if you are forced to cut expenses. Alternatively, the entire family could give up the same thing and go through withdrawl together!

I know some of you are living a real Hardship Drill that's lasting longer than a week. What do you think? Is it worth preparing for the psychological effects of "downsizing" a household?
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8 Tools and Gadgets to Prepare Your Home For Any Disaster

8 Tools and Gadgets to Prepare Your Home For Any Disaster

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From Popular Mechanics. Be sure to check out the side bar at the article. Lots more cool stuff.

Outlook: not too good

I do not like being a doom & gloom prepper, or posting doom & gloom, but this is the second article I've come across this morning that's forecasting doom & gloom. Looks like incentive to get your preps on. I snatched the above table from a blog posting, Doug Ross @ Journal. ["Net employment outlook" is the % of businesses expecting to increase staff levels, minus the % expecting to decrease staff; that means lay off or fire folks.] Here's how Doug Ross begins his post:

More than 28,000 interviews in 201 metro areas were used to create Manpower's U.S. Employment Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2009. The survey results depict an economy that is gasping for breath. Dazed companies are either frozen in fear or shedding staff in anticipation of the brilliant plans of the Democrats: sweeping new energy taxes (Cap-and-Trade); socialized medicine (with brutal mandates for small businesses); forced unionization (card check); and a reduction in consumer spending (with the expiration of the across-the-board Bush tax cuts).

The entire ManPower report is embedded here. It has region-by-region, and sector-by sector analyses. [Sorry, can seem to copy from the report.]

Prep on folks. And spread the word.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Ohio State Sovereignty Resolution

From Joe Bossi at Ohio Freedom Alliance:

The Ohio Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Affairs Committee has scheduled a second hearing on SCR-13. The hearing will be at 10:00am on Tuesday, September 15th in the South Hearing Room, and will allow for public testimony. Please take a moment to contact the members of the committee and urge their support and passage of the State Sovereignty Resolution (SCR-13). And by all means, if you can make it to the hearing I will have stickers to show wear and show support, or if interested in giving testimony let me know.

Here is the entire text of the resolution. Pretty straight forward if you ask me. It's passed the House.

As Introduced

128th General Assembly
Regular Session
S. C. R. No. 13

Senators Grendell, Faber

Cosponsors: Senators Gibbs, Buehrer, Cates, Hughes, Schuler, Schuring

To claim sovereignty over certain powers pursuant to the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, to notify Congress to limit and end certain mandates, and to insist that federal legislation contravening the Tenth Amendment be prohibited or repealed.


WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"; and

WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and

WHEREAS, The scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment signifies that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and

WHEREAS, Today, in 2009, the states are often treated as agents of the federal government; and

WHEREAS, Many federal laws directly contravene the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, We believe in the importance of all levels of government working together to serve the citizens of our country, by respecting the constitutional provisions that properly delineate the authority of federal, state, and local governments; and

WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment assures that we, the people of the United States and each sovereign state in the Union of States, now have, and have always had, rights the federal government may not usurp; and

WHEREAS, Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States, states in part, "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government," and the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states that "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people"; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court ruled in New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992), that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states by compelling them to enact and enforce regulatory programs; and

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court, in Printz v. United States/Mack v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997), reaffirmed that the Constitution of the United States established a system of "dual sovereignty" that retains "a residuary and inviolable sovereignty" by the states. The majority of the United States Supreme Court noted in that case (521 U.S. 898, 921-922):

"As [President] Madison expressed it: '[T]he local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere.' The Federalist No. 39, at 245.

This separation of the two spheres is one of the Constitution's structural protections of liberty. 'Just as the separation and independence of the coordinate branches of the Federal Government serve to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in any one branch, a healthy balance of power between the States and the Federal Government will reduce the risk of tyranny and abuse from either front.' . . . To quote [President] Madison once again:

'In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments. Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself.' The Federalist No. 51, at 323"; and

WHEREAS, A number of proposals by previous administrations, some now pending proposals by the present administration, and some proposals by Congress may further violate the Tenth Amendment restriction on the scope of federal power; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the State of Ohio hereby acknowledges and reaffirms its residuary and inviolable sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States; and be it further

RESOLVED, That this resolution serves as notice to the federal government as agent of the states, to end federal mandates that are beyond the scope of the constitutionally delegated powers; and be it further

RESOLVED, That all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalty or sanction or that requires states to enact legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Clerk of the Senate transmit authenticated copies of this resolution to the President of the United States, the President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate of each state's legislature, and each member of the Ohio Congressional delegation.

You can search here to find your state senators and their contact information.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ramen: I confess but I'm not going to feel guilty!

Much as I practice and preach the benefits of growing and preparing your own old-timey food, I confess that every now and then I get a hankering for a bowl of Ramen noodles-- often when they're on sale for $0.10/package. And I don't even feel guilty about it (although I only eat them when John's not looking). So I thought I'd link to Matt's post at Kentucky Preppers. Unlike Matt, I throw the season packet away (maybe I shouldn't) and just add some spring onions or peppers (from the garden of course).

Kentucky Preppers Network: Cooking with Ramen Noodles

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Outsourcing information OR why you should study the posts at American Preppers Network

(click to enlarge, but don't trust the info)
If you are new to prepping, or a new to a specific area of prepping, you'll be reading everything you can get your hands. I myself am studying up on wood burning stoves, how to raise grass crops, trying to learn more about understanding soil composition based on Mississippi native plants, and HAM radio. THIS IS A WARNING that not all information you read is equal-- or even correct!-- and an ADVISEMENT to trust the information on the Preppers Network.

I'll start with the advisement. Those of us who post to the states' networks are not know-it-alls, although our posts tend to focus on what we know about-- and know about because we've learned through trial and error. We try to pass on other types of useful information. And of course, as we tackle something new, and try & fail, we become knowledgeable in those area, too. So we're trying to be know-it-alls! :-) Fortunately, across the entire network, the entire spectrum of information is available. The point is, the voices in posts at the American, and individual states' Preppers blogs, are the voices of experience-- of "experts." Which brings me-- in a minute-- to the warning.

IMHO, true experts know what they are talking about (based on experience) but they are also thirsty for more knowledge in their areas of expertise. The other day I picked up a free copy of Do it Best Home magazine because the biggest, mainest, center-stagest headline was "Take a bite out of your food budget". Do it Best
member stores are all independently owned and typically carry their own name, but may also include the names Do it Best and Do it center as a part of the store signage. Each store is serviced from one of seven Do it Best Corp. distribution centers around the United States but can also get products directly from the manufacturer. The stores have joined together as part of the Do it Best Corp. cooperative to buy in huge volume to offer you lower prices.
The bolded phrase means that DiB stores typically sell a lot of locally produced products, from honey to leather goods to outdoor furniture. Insofar as most preppers understand the value of buying locally, DiB stores (although they do carry products produced by megacorporations) are a nice alternative to China Mart. My experiences with these stores have been good, and I found that the staff knows what they are talking about. (They are experts.)

Now, I don't really need to do the cost analysis on growing your own veggies. I keep records & I've done my own. Growing your own saves heaps of money. But I was nevertheless intriqued by the article in the Fall issue of Home magaine. And I was especially interested in the table, "By the numbers". Until I looked at it. Awful. Just terrible. I won't go into too many details-- it took me two single spaced pages to do so in my letter to the editor-- but it's obvious to me that who ever put this table together has never planted a seed in her life-- much less a rosemary seed.

Before I highlight a few of the many things wrong with this table, I want to be clear that I'm upset by it because of what I said at the onset of this post. A novice gardener-- someone taking one step at a time to get into being more self-reliant-- is going to be completely mislead by the information in the table. Not all information you'll come across as you begin prepping is good, correct, or reliable. And with no real way to communicate with the author of that information-- you're sunk. That's why you can trust the information at American Preppers Network. If someone posts bull hockey-- it's pretty likely someone else is going to clarify or correct it. We are real people sharing tips, recipes, advise, instruction, warning & advisements, and reasonable musings without pay. You can comment with questions. Our motivation is to become more self-reliant by teaching others to do the same.

What's wrong with the table?

1) It compares apples to oranges. The cost of store bought veggies necessarily includes the cost of the raw material-- in this case seed-- and the costs of growing, harvesting, transportation, and a profit margin... and the retail markup on the wholesale price (which also includes costs + a profit margin). To compare the cost of six packets of seeds to that of a "summer's worth" of store-bought veggie is just plain stupid, and misleading. I am no fan of global corporate agibusiness, but what's fair is fair.

2) The notion of s summer's worth of veggie is calculated in the table by multiplying the "week's worth" x 12. The growin sesaon in zone 6 (a lot of Ohio) is roughly 180 days. 12 x 7 = 84. Tomatoes and peppers will produce from July through mid-October. Beans need to be planted sucessivley. A productive vegetable garden include cool season as well as 'summer' veggies.

3) Who in their right mind would plant 100 rosemary seeds? That's what a packet of Burpee rosemary seed contains. Rosemary is a perennial in zones 7 and warmer. I've overwintered it in Cincinnati. Even if you did plant 100 seeds, which is what the table suggests implicitly that you do, you'd have enough rosemary to last your life time and your grandchildren's. The savings would be far greater than the $27 indicated in the table.

4) Likewise, I do not know a single vegetable gardener who plants tomato and pepper seeds in the ground, which is what the table implies you should do. And the relavent comparison here should be a comparision between how many tomatoes a packet of tomato seed will produce, and what you would spend on the same quantity of tomatoes. NOTE: A packet of tomato seeds from Burpee contains 30 seeds. At a 75% germination rate (started indoors) that's 23 tomato plants. Depending on the variety, 23 tomato plants could yield as much as 180 pounds of tomatoes (based on my own records). That's a helluvalot of tomatoes, and more than a "summer's worth." Indeed 10 plants can satisfy your fresh needs through mid-October, and keep you in canned or frozen sause well into the next April.

I will stop. But I hope you-- especially the new preppers out there-- get the main point which, again, is that not all information out there is reliable.

One final thought, to tie into the title of this post. As I was writing up my less-emotional and more detailed critique, and trying to figure out who to send it to, I discovered that DiB Home is a publication of MSP publishers. DiB outsourced the writing and publication of a FREE little magazine, presumably aimed at increasing sales at DiB stores where people actually know what they are talking about, to a company that wouldn't know s*&^ from manure if their lives depended on it.

So beware! Trust the Preppers Network!
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Recipe: Sour bread (EASY)

Shelly asked for some bread recipes. Try this one out. It's not a yeast bread, but you'll be surprised how much it reminds you of one. Because it's not a yeast bread, it doesn't have to rise, but you do have to knead it. So I think this recipe is a nice "entry" recipe into learning how to make yeast breads. Some tips below.


Makes 2 loaves

5 C self-rising flour

5 Tbsp sugar

1 ½ C sour cream

12 oz beer

Melted butter

Preheat oven to 350o. Blend together flour and sugar, add sour cream and beer alternately, mixing well, pour dough onto a floured board, and knead until firm and smooth. Divide into 2 loaves, place in two well greased loaf pans, and bake 45 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter and return to oven for 15-20 minutes longer or until tops are golden brown.

* Blend together: You can do this in a big bowl with a big spatula by hand if you want to get in a good work out, or you can do it with a mixer. Use dough hooks if you have them.

* Pour dough onto floured surface. This recipe calls for 5 cups of flour and a floured surface. Two things about this.
> First, the amount of flour in a bread recipe is always going to be affected by the humidity in your kitchen, which is affected by the outside humidity, and whether the A/C or heat are on. The difference can be as much as... maybe 1/4 - 1/2 cup (just guessing based on experience): if it's relatively dry, you'll need less flour. There really is no way scientifically explain how you'll know when you've incorporated the right amount of flour before you begin kneading, which brings me to
> Second, although it's seldom explicitly said in the recipe, the amount of flour given typically INCLUDES the amount of flour on the floured surface! So a big mistake is to incorporate the entire amount, and then throw down another cup on the surface! What you are looking for before you turn the dough onto the surface does vary by recipe, but basically you are looking for a nice blob that holds together. (And if you are using a mixer, it's better to get the last bit of flour in by hand so you can feel it better.)

* Knead until firm and smooth. What can I day? I haven't looked but there should be tons of good videos out there demonstrating this.

* Greased pans: With bread, use Crisco, not cooking spray.

So this isn't nearly as hard as I may have made it sound. Even if you flub something up, the bread will still taste good! It just takes some practice, and don't expect baking bread to be a scientific endeavor!

Funny story: Years ago, my mom was teaching me how to make something we called "skinny pancakes" (crepes) with no recipe-- just eggs, milk & flour. The trick is to get the batter the perfect consistency (right amount of flour) before spooning it into the pan. So I'm asking how do you know when it's right? And she says, "Here is the test." Finally! At the time I was taking a lot of chemistry classes and so this was what I wanted to hear: there is a test. And she puts the wooden spoon into the bowl, scoops up some liquid, and pours it back into the bowl. I am expecting some measure of drops per second or something. ?? And... "See?" No, Mom, I don't. She does it again. And again. What am I supposed to be seeing? Well of course! It's just like the consistency of heavy cream-- whatever that is. She concludes the test by saying something in German which translates to

It is not in my head, it is in my hand.

If Aesop were alive today

If Aesop were alive today

Shared via AddThis

I had seen a version of the update a couple of years ago, but I like the updated update! Here's how it begins:

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah... .

Friday, September 11, 2009

Never forget.

No other posts today. Although I'll be going about my business "as usual," September 11 will never be a "usual" day for me. (Thanks to Aggie at Mississippi Preppers for the image.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Heat equivalents of common firewoods

I find this table (click to enlarge) interesting for two reasons. First, if you heat with wood-- either as your primary or secondary back-up fuel-- it's interesting to see the relative differences in species. It takes roughly 2 cords of pine to produce the same amount of energy as 1 cord of hickory (pine is far less dense than hickory).

Second, with this information you can calculate relative costs of the different fuels, at today's rates. For example, based on the current rate of natural gas from good ol' Duke Energy ($0.564), burning 308 CCUs (that's 308,000 cubic feet)-- the amount generated by a cord of hickory-- would cost $173; burning 150 CCUs of natural gas-- the amount generated by a cord of pine-- would cost $84. I couldn't quickly discover current rates of propane, but less than a year ago (11/2008) it was running about $2.30/gal in Toledo. 251 gallons x $2.30/gal. = $577. That ain't cheap.

If you are considering wood as a heating source, and thinking about its cost-effectiveness, you'd of course have to compare the price of wood with 'conventional' fuels. In an effort to get some idea, I stumbled upon Woodheat.org. Looks like a great fun place! Didn't find any pricing for average costs of wood in Ohio, but did learn a bunch.

I do believe I have rambled on. But hope you find the info useful in your preps.
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Small is Beautiful

I had not heard of the book, Small is Beautiful, by E.F. Schumacher, first published in 1975 until today when I came across these lines. I think they reflect the prepper attitude.

It is obvious... that men organized in small units will take better care of their bit of land or other natural resources than anonymous companies or megalomanic governments which pretend to themselves that the whole universe is their legitimate quarry.

Likewise, I think that individuals organized in small units will take better care of each other than those who rely on anonymous companies and megalomanic governments!

I challenge you to think and support small today. Let me hear how it goes!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

US Girl Scouts prepare for war, pestilence

I dunno about this. On the surface, it sounds good. But what's beneath? First off, what war exactly are they preparing for? (That's the title of the news story. I didn't find this patch on the GS site, but I didn't look very hard.)

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States wants to enlist its 3.4 million Girl Scouts in the effort to combat hurricanes, pandemics,terror attacks and other disasters.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched a campaign Tuesday to entice the blue, brown and green-clad multitudes to be even more prepared, with the promise of a new patch if they pitch in.

Whole thing here.

And here's some commentary

Monday, September 7, 2009

Big Food: guest post

From my Dear Husband, John. Let me know if you need a recipe! We eat very well, by the way.

The Big Food Manual and Survivalist Flourishing Guide

Introduction (as of early September 2009)

“If, in the dusk of the twilight,

Dim be the region afar,

Will not the deepening darkness

Brighten a glimmering star?

Then, when the night is upon us,

Why should the heart sink away?

When the dark midnight is over

Watch for the breaking of day.”

--“Whispering Hope,” by Septimus Winner (1868)

For more than two decades I’ve collected and cooked out of old cookbooks. Many have spiral or other types of non-glued binders indicative of local publications. Most are compilations of recipes by local cooks in southern, southwestern, and western parts of the United States of America. This is real people’s food—fresh, simply prepared, and delicious. It is the same food that Americans were eating a half-century and longer ago, updated with some spices and techniques that more recent immigrants brought over with them.

American family cooking is a food heritage that needs and deserves to be preserved. It is one of the few features remaining in current American life and culture that so needs and deserves. The Big Food Manual and Survivalist Guide is deliberatively and self-consciously ‘retro’. Yet I’ve served this food to groups, both large and small, of very sophisticated eaters. I’ve received few complaints, and a lot of “My grandmother used to make this!”-type comments. Related case in point: I was once in the produce section of a Cincinnati Kroger supermarket picking through a mess of collards to make the “Old Southern Sisters” recipe in the Veggies section. A young black couple came up to me; the guy asked me how I was going to cook those greens. I proceeded to tell them the recipe, to which he remarked that his grandmother had cooked collards for family gatherings when he was a child, and that he wished that he knew how to cook them like she did. (Having just recently moved to Cincinnati from eastern North Carolina before this event took place, I was taken aback. Black people asking a white guy how to cook collards? That was something that, shall we say . . . didn’t happen, where I had just moved from.)

These recipes emphasize fresh, non-processed ingredients. ‘Homemade’ is emphasized everywhere, especially in the Basics section. This is the kind of food that kept Americans alive and thriving well into their 80s, long before governmental and scientific nannies began intervening into our lives and choices “for our own good.” Butter is called for throughout, not (synthetic) margarine. The canned goods and prepared products called for are for items that various American food companies have been producing for fifty years or more. Creole seasoning and Tabasco are called for to season many recipes. Chili sauce replaces catsup—homemade if you want, and it beats the heck out of the bottled stuff in the condiments section of your grocery store. (Although there are some outstanding homemade catsup recipes in here, too.) Ro*tel tomatoes and green peppers replace canned tomatoes in a lot of recipes to give dishes a spicy kick-start. And yes, Accent—monosodium glutamate—is called for in some. Don’t fear it.

Three updates ago I changed the title of this collection. While I still refer to it colloquially as Big Food, its full name is now The Big Food Manual and Survivalist Flourishing Guide. The attitude that prompted this name change isn’t new. Over the three years that I’ve been compiling this Manual, Marica and I have moved increasingly “off the grid.” We’ve begun making all our own baked goods, from breads to pie crusts. We’ve begun pickling, canning, and making our own condiments from scratch, right out of Marica’s gardens (the “Northside Guerilla Farmer,” when we lived in Cincinnati). The key point is: just use as much homemade stuff as you’re comfortable cooking and preparing. The Big Food attitude is that recipes are just suggestions, anyway.

Cooking out of old cookbooks filled with recipes by everyday cooks often requires interpretation. Some excellent local cooks aren’t the most communicative of souls, at least in written language. In many cases, I’ve made recipes more explicit; but in others, I’ve kept them deliberately vague to give you a chance to add your own touches. You’ll also see that there is a lot of room in many recipes for individual choices. This is not a collection of recipes for beginning cooks! But with basic cooking skills, utensils found in every well-stocked kitchen, patience, a lot of spices added to your spice collection, and an experimental attitude, you’ll find something here for any occasion—from everyday meals to the most hoidy-toidy of gatherings.

I’ve cooked Big Food for meals ranging from two to one hundred eaters. These recipes are easily divided, or doubled, tripled, whatever. Just wait until some of your bicoastal restaurant-hopping friends sink their teeth into Big Food. If they’ve got even a fraction of normalcy left in their bodies, they’ll eat this food like you’ve never seen them eat.

This collection contains recipes for, among other things,

  • appetizers, dips, salsas, salads, and salad dressings for any occasion—no need to buy preservative-laden bottles of salad dressings ever again;
  • homemade Basics—mayonnaise, mustards, chili sauces, ketchups, relishes, stocks, and sauces
  • a huge canning and freezing section for preserving everything from fruits, veggies, meats, pickles, jams, and jellies;
  • using cooking bags for extra tenderness in meats and veggies;
  • some of the best old-timey desserts you’ll find anywhere—at current count, more than 1700 recipes and variations;
  • dressings and stuffings that can also serve as full meals;
  • some of the best grilled and smoked meats and sauces, all tested personally;
  • award-winning chilies and gumbos;
  • alcoholic beverages, including the basic recipe for the homemade wines we produced for more than two years at The Bunker Winery, and will start again soon at Farther Along Winery in northeastern Mississippi;
  • broiler and oven meals, prepared all at once and cooked together;
  • Tex-Czech and Tex-Central European foods, handed down from Gran, Tait, and other “old timers” from the Dallas SPJST;
  • Tex-Mex dishes, including a number of home-made tamales
  • Creole and Cajun dishes, peppered throughout the Manual (those French-looking names are Creole/Cajun, not Parisian!)
  • Some of the tastiest southern-style veggie dishes on the planet
  • An entire section on using your slow cooker, and not just for soups and stews.

Enjoy them all!

Recent additions to Big Food have expanded greatly the Canning and Freezing section. As mentioned above in explaining Big Food’s name change, Marica’s and my political persuasions have grown increasingly “survivalist.” The expansion of this section reflects our own emphasis on self-preservation during the “deepening darkness” we see for America’s near future, as well as our attempt to preserve the few aspects of the culture we deem still worthy of preserving. But you don’t have to share our political views and outlook to take advantage of time-tested ways of preserving fresh-grown produce!


Since the last installment of this Introduction (back in early July 2009, after I crossed the 6500 recipe mark), I’ve continued in earnest adding recipes from the five-volume Favorite Recipes of America from 1968, which I found last summer at a flea market in Perry County, Appalachian Kentucky. I’ve been working through Volume V: Vegetables to take advantage of this summer’s bounty from Marica’s garden (our last at The Compound). Next up will be Volume IV: Casseroles, to take advantage of fall and winter cooking season. I estimate that the entire set will keep me busy for about another year. Then there’s the fifty or so remaining old cook books to work through, now on my shelves and in boxes . . .


Western Oktibbeha County, MS

September 2009

no guns = no money

As you know, Open Carry is a legal activity in Ohio.

As well, Ohio is a "shall issue" state: a license to carry a concealed hand gun shall be issued providing the applicant meets certain criteria. The issuing agency (in Ohio, the sheriff's office) has no discretion: meet the criteria and you get a concealed handgun license (CHL) in Ohio. This is in contrast to "may issue" states in which the license applicant still has to meet certain criteria, but the issuing agency can exercise discretion: meet the criteria and you may or may not get a license. Some states are may issue on the books, but in fact are no-issue.

So, Ohioans, feel good about this.

Whether you choose to carry openly, or to obtain a license to carry concealed, there are still restrictions on where you can carry. Among places where you can't carry are those that are "posted" private properties, typically businesses. You may have seen the "no guns" sign on UDF, Fifth Third Bank, and doctor's office doors.

I think there is confusion on the part of some small, local, business owners about their rights to post or not. I am not a lawyer (!) but my understanding is that it is an owner's decision. Other than those establishments where Ohio code prohibits carry (e.g., bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, but that may change) the law leaves it to the business owner to decide.

Ohioans for Concealed Carry (OFCC) has an active, ongoing campaign to educate business owners who post their establishments as so-called "criminal protection zones" (like signs will stop a bad guy, right?). In all cases where OFCC members have been successful in convincing a business owner to un-post his business, the campaign has started with just one or two individuals.

The image above is of a business card that can be given to the owner or manager of a posted establishment. It's respectful in tone. I love the back side.

As an Ohio Concealed Handgun License Holder, I

- have no felony convictions (lifetime)
- have never been convicted of a drug offense
- have no mental defects or disabilities
- have passed a criminal history background check

How much do you know about your other customers?

The cards are available at the OFCC store website. $3 for 24. You do not need to be a member to purchase there. At OFCC's main site there is a list of Criminal Protection Zone establishments. Also at the main site you can contact OFCC officers regarding Do Not Patronize While Armed establishments, and ask specific questions and enlist help in talking with owners of these establishments (choose the "DNPWA Q" in the pull down "destination" choice).

The "Criminal Protection Zone" board at the OFCC Forums has lots of informative and entertaining posts. You do not need to be a member of OFCC to read through the posts.

Remember-- the right to carry does not trump private property rights. The property owner has a choice to post or not. You have a choice to patronize or not.

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Quote of the day-- it's a good one.

From threedonia.com via Instapundit.

And in 1887 when drought and famine struck Texas, the Congress sought to send public funds to tide them over. President Cleveland vetoed the bill replying:

I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should I think be steadfastly resisted to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the government the government should not support the people.

Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Predicting the weather: for you & the kids

This is a diagram of a home-made barometer, from Science in Your Own Back Yard by Elizabeth K. Cooper (1958).

There doesn't seem to me to be too much discussion on prepping and "survivalist" sites about predicting the weather. This is surprising to me. If you are trying to move off the grid, or are preparing for its failure, wouldn't you think that you'd want to learn how to predict the weather instead of relying on the yackidy-yacks at The Weather Channel, or worse yet, those at The National Weather Service?* At the very least you could stop complaining about your local weather guys & gals getting it wrong!

Obviously, this barometer is pretty unsophisticated, and not something you'd want to rely on to predict a tornado or hurricane. (It does not indicate actual air pressure. It only indicates air pressure relative to what it was when the system was set up.) But here's the thing... while you are setting up your self-reliant weather station, wouldn't it be cool to make this "barometer" with your kids? You'd be teaching them a bit of self-reliance. You'd be teaching them some funadmental science. You might even be teaching them some preparedness skills-- if they are old enough to grasp the concept that lower pressure signals "storms-a-coming," they are old enough to make some decisions based on this information.

How to make it? The authors' list of supplies (with some updates) are:

>milk bottle (Ha! Any glass juice bottle should work.)
>broken piece of "rubber" from a balloon (Ha ha! I suspect the quality of ballon rubber has changed in the last 50 years. I'd use a bicycle tire inner tube or some such thing. Maybe a repair kit for an air mattress.)
>rubber bands
>paper drinking straw (Do they make paper straws now? Plastic whould work.)
>cardboard & marker

Cover the milk bottle opening with the "rubber"; secure with rubber bands. Spread a strip of glue (not hot glue!) from the center of the opening to one edge & glue the straw down. Calibrate the cardboard, noting what the "pressure" is when you've set this system up. When you & your kid check the system, if the air pressure is lower than when you established the system, the rubber will buldge upward, and the straw pointer will point down. Higher pressure outside the bottle (the air pressure) than in will push the center of the rubber ddown, and the indicator will point up.

Lots more you can do with the youngins. Make a wetbulb thermometer to gauge relative humidity. Learn the various cloud formations and what they can tell you about upcoming weather patterns. Have fun!

*The National Weather Service is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, itself a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. So no conflicts there. And why is predicting the weather a responsibility of the federal govenment? From the department's web site:
The historic mission of the Department is "to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce" of the United States. This has evolved, as a result of legislative and administrative additions, to encompass broadly the responsibility to foster, serve, and promote the Nation's economic development and technological advancement.

It's a real stretch for me to get from fostering economic development to the federal govenment predicting the weather. But that's a rant for another time.
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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Keep YOUR kids HOME

UPDATE: Here is another well-reasoned article about your responsibility as a parent with kids in public schools. Among other things, Barbara Curtis (mother of 12) says,

You need to understand that there are teachers, principals, and administrators who see themselves on a mission: to rescue students from the “provincial,” “backwards,” and ignorant parents of the progeny in their care.
If you have kids in school and haven't heard about this-- the President's upcoming address to ALL school children-- please take some time to investigate. Your kids are YOUR kids. I don't have kids in school but if I did, I'd take Vodkapundit's advise and keep them home.

Not content with an unprecedented four primetime news conferences to date in his young administration, President Obama now needs to address the entire public school system. And not just for a Hey-Kids-Howya-Doin-I’m-Your-New-President-So-Be-Good-In-School-This-Year-Mmmkay? speech.

Nope, Obama can’t just say hey to the kiddies and encourage them to do their homework. He has to make this a — what does the Left call it? — a teachable moment. A speech-in, if you will. Teachers have even been given handy instructionson how best to integrate The One into the classroom. Here’s some fun educational-type stuff your young son or daughter might be doing next week:

After the Speech:

• Teachers could ask students to share the ideas they recorded, exchange sticky notes or stick notes on a butcher paper poster in the classroom to discuss main ideas from the speech, i.e. citizenship, personal responsibility, civic duty.

• Students could discuss their responses to the following questions:
What do you think the President wants us to do?

Does the speech make you want to do anything?

You mean, other than hurl?

Oh, and this:

Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?

It’s not mere education — it’s learnyness!

Now my son is young enough that he won’t be subjected to the President’s smiling face, dulcet tones, and calls to action. He won’t be pressured by his teachers or peers to go along or get with the program.

Your kids might not be so lucky.

In impossible times, the only way to be a responsible parent is to do the irresponsible thing. If my son were in a public school…

I’d call him in sick next Tuesday. I’d keep him home. I suggest you do so. I urge you to do so. If pressed, be honest about your reasons — but be reasonable about presenting them. Otherwise, don’t offer an explanation. Make it a silent protest.

And while your kids are home, think up some patriotic games to play. Rent the delightful (and true-in-spirit-if-not-in-fact) musical,1776. Set off some fireworks. Make it a mini Fourth of July.

Can’t take the time off work? Well, I’m sure you have at least one patriotic neighbor with an older child, who might jump at the chance to play a little sanctioned hooky — and make some babysitting money, too.

Spread the word. Pass the link around. And see if the President’s face is still smiling, when he realizes he’s talking to half-empty classrooms. Do make it a teachable moment — one where the would-be teacher does the learning.

Ohio Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Ohio Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.