Posts Tagged ‘prepping’

When my grandmother passed away, I was fortunate enough to have inherited her small collection of cookbooks.  I love flipping through them, not just for the fun retro recipes for elegant desserts (Baked Alaska, anyone?) but also for the comments Grandma wrote in the margins:

“Do not use cherry Jell-o.  Makes an atrocious color!”

“Ken (my granddad) hated this.”

Just as good are the recipes and tips she clipped from magazines and product packages and carefully tucked between pages.  I guess I love them because I feel like I’m getting a glimpse into her life as an Air Force wife.  Grandma was a pretty private person, as well she might have been.  She’d been through a lot, between having grown up during the great depression and marrying an airman.  There’s a reason they say “Military Wife:  Toughest Job in the Military.”

When they were stationed on the coast of Louisiana and a hurricane came roaring up the gulf, my granddad had to pilot his aircraft inland to Kansas, leaving Grandma behind to fend for herself and two kids under the age of five.  She was a very stoic lady.

So you can understand how much I love finding these little tidbits of her life.  The other day, I was looking for Grandma’s famous Jell-o salad recipe to take to a retro cooking party, and I re-discovered these two gems.  These would date back to when they were stationed at Wurtsmith AFB with the Strategic Air Command (SAC), probably in the mid 1960’s.

The first is a newspaper article urging housewives to keep a two week supply of food on hand.  It even offers a suggested list of items appropriate for a family of four.

I love it – and I love the little notes that tell me this article had Grandma’s strict attention!

Next I have a “Dependents’ Disaster Control Checklist” distributed by SAC at Wurtsmith.  It provided clear instructions on what the women and children were to do in the event of an emergency.

It even includes what to do in a Broken Arrow situation.  Pretty badass.

So there you go.  My grandma (and probably yours) was prepping before prepping was trendy!



Board Games

Posted: February 20, 2012 by boyscout556 in Preparation
Tags: , , ,

Yes, board games.  These will be some of the items I will pack in my bomb shelter when I finally have the time, money, and place to build one.  Lets face it, you can have all the food in the world, along with all the necessities for survival, but being stuck in a room the size of a hotel room will drive you crazy.  That is unless you’re like the guy from the movie rocketman.  Otherwise, you should think about packing some things to keep you busy: board games.  A deck of cards or three might be a good idea also, anything that will occupy you when you have no where to go and nothing else to do.   Although this all only works if you have friends, and lets face it if you actually have friends you wouldn’t spend all your money on a bomb shelter.  So, I guess, rethinking this maybe books would be better.   Either way, think about the down time you’ll have after the SHTF and figure out how you’re going to spend it without going insane.   I realize these wont be necessary in a BoB or BoV as surviving will be taking most of your time, and the rest should probably be spent resting.  But keep in mind that if you’re stuck somewhere, having something to do will make the time go a lot faster.  Surviving TEOTWAWKI is more than just having the supplies, it’s a mental marathon.

How am I supposed to decide if I need to bug out, or stay put and settle in?  I had no idea how to answer the question, so I did what I do at work all day anyway.  I made Excel spreadsheets.  Why the hell not.  First, I built a spreadsheet that calculates a value for bugging out versus a value for staying put.  My idea was that the higher value would be the right choice.  I used things that I thought might affect the decision, dealing with preparation, availability of resources, etc.  I then averaged them for two groups, the stay and the bug out.  I then divided them by another factor, based on relative closeness to a major population center, and number of people in that population center.  Lets be honest, cities are going to be absolute mayhem when SHTF (Think post Katrina New Orleans).  I filled out the spreadsheet for my values, and this is what I came up with.

Then, just toying around, I built a table, creating a score for distance vs. population, where a higher score is achieved the further you are from a city, and the smaller that city is.  I then created two graphs to compare the effects of changing either distance or population changes.  Check it out.

There is no science invovled in either of these.  I don’t give a shit.  If you want a copy of either to toy around with, or if you have suggestions on how I could improve either, shoot me an email at



I’ll have to confess something.  The real purpose in my being involved in this blog, from my standpoint, is to force myself to think through and plan for whatever comes.  If this blog does not become the most talked about thing on the internet, I will be okay.  Thats not to say that I don’t want people to read what I have to say.  To the contrary, I would love input.  If you read something I’ve written, and you have a better idea, fire it off.  If I think you deserve the day’s Asshat Award for your comment, I will probably let you know.  Otherwise, input is both welcome and appreicated.

Onward to BOV prep.  I spent 4 years maintaining HMMWVs for the military.  14 months of that was in Iraq, with an infantry unit.  I spent weeks at a time driving around hostile territory with grunts, waiting for their shit to break down, so that I could try to fix it with few tools and fewer parts.  Grunts are hard on shit.  If there is a way to destroy something through use, they can and will find it, quickly.  Through experience, I figured out what my toolbox needed, what it might need, and what it did not need.

If you are not able to fix basic vehicle problems on your own, you shouldn’t bother bringing tools, or parts.  Hell, don’t bother prepping, cause you’re probably fucked anyway.  If you are able to fix basic stuff on your own, teriffic.  You may be able to extend your BOV’s range by a few hundred miles if something breaks.

To establish some basics, you are not going to rebuild an engine, replace a transmission, or change your brake pads while bugging out.  If your vehicle reaches that point, time to go it on foot.  That being said, don’t bother packing the manual, or the specialty tools.  The tools you do need include open-box wrenches in common sizes (8mm to 20mm if your shit is made in Japan, Europe, or is new, 3/16 to 1″ if your shit is made here in the US, and is a little older).  Be sure of which you need ahead of time, so that you don’t carry twice the shit.  Also bring 3/8″ drive sockets in the same sizes, plus a ratchet and breaker bar.  A pair of vice grip pliers, a pair of slip joint pliers, some needle nose pliers, and a pair of channelock pliers will be useful.  Various sized phillips and flathead screwdrivers will be lifesavers.  A decent prybar and a good sized BFH (Big Fucking Hammer, its a technical term) are always good.  I would also throw in a bottle jack (powerful and compact) and a wrench able to remove your lug nuts.  A razor knife is great in a pinch, and a cigarette lighter could prove useful.  A pair of jumper cables will help if you need to transfer vehicles, or get yours moving again.

To go along with the tools, bring an 8′ length of hose, at least 1/2″ diameter.  You can use this to siphon fuel from other vehicles.  Some 3/8″ hose would be good as well.  Between the two, you can replace a decent number of transmission/power steering type lines.  A selection of various hose clamps won’t do you wrong either.  Bring some solder and  electrical tape, as these combined with the lighter will give you the ability to repair wire damage.  Bring at least one tube of High Temp RTV Silicone, as you can seal all sorts of things with it.  Also, grab a can of WD-40.  You can use it to get water out of engine electronics or weapons, and you can protect metal from corrosion with it.  Get a spare serpentine/V belt that fits your vehicle, as that is a quick easy fix if it goes.  A tire patch kit is an affordable way to keep the rubber round, but you need a small compressor to go with it.  I have one that runs off my cigarette lighter socket in my car.  It kinda sucks, but it puts air in tires, so it stays.  Bring a gas can along so that you can gather as much fuel as possible whenever possible.  Also, bring a couple quarts of your vehicles specific engine oil, tranny fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid if you have room. 

Remember, you can always replace one vehicle with another on the road.  You can’t replace yourself.  If your shit is hard busted, leave it and move on.  You can always come back for gear if you need to.  If you don’t have room for a lot of tools and shit because you have a 5 seat car and 4 kids, two dogs, and a hamster to pack in, then don’t take the tools.  Tools without any parts won’t help you much, and parts with no tools won’t do shit for you either.

Just some thoughts,



Ten Ways to Prep for FREE

Posted: February 9, 2012 by Barbie in Preparation
Tags: ,

Okay, so you’ve been making all these excuses for why you can’t prep for a disaster.  “I don’t have the space to store stuff.”  “I don’t have any money.”  “I’m freaked out by the idea of a disaster and I don’t want to think about it.”

Whining?  Not going to help you out in an emergency.  Preparing? Will. So, I present to you Ten Ways to Prep For an Emergency.  For Free.

1.  Learn. The more you can learn about survival, the more skills you can pick up, the better off you will be.  Plus, nobody can hold you up at gunpoint and steal your knowledge from you – it’s yours for life, or at least until Alzheimer’s sets in.  If you can’t afford to buy a bunch of canned vegetables, learn all you can about growing your own.  No cash for a fancy wood stove?  Learn how to make one out of an old oil drum.  There’s lots of ways to learn for free, but here’s a few suggestions to get you started:

Check out survival related books from the library

Read blogs (subscribe to this one, for example.  *hint* *hint*)

Take any training opportunites that come your way.  Are they giving fire extinguisher training at work?  Dont’ skip out on it.  Will you get free basic first aid training if you sign up to be a little league coach/scout leader/class chaperone?  Might be worth it.   Hang out with people who know stuff that you don’t.  Can you go hunting with a buddy and learn to butcher a deer?  Can you help a neighbor with some renovation work and learn how to do some home repair stuff in the process.  Do it.

Learn as much as you can, it’s one of the very best ways to be prepared.

2.  Plan.  All the supplies in the world don’t mean squat if you freak out when it hits the fan and forget what to do.  Make a plan and write it down – in detail – so when you’re totally panicked you know what you were planning to do.

3.  Practice.  Take that plan, practice it, and tweak it when you see flaws.  The best time to find out that your electric can opener will not open a tin of tuna in a power outage?  During a power-out drill, NOT during an actual power outage.  Can you imagine if you had a giant canned-goods fort in the house and starved to death because you couldn’t open it?  That would be a real bitch.

4.  Work Out.  You don’t need to shell out cash for an expensive gym, just get your ass off the couch.  Go running.  Ride your bike.  Practice carrying 5 gallon buckets full of dried beans up and down the basement steps.  If you can’t do it now, you won’t suddenly be able to do it in an emergency.

5.  Make friends with your neighbors.  Not only might they come in really handy when the sHTF and you realize you’re not as self-sufficient as you thought, you may also protect yourself from being sold out.  The neighbor who’s pissed off at you for letting your dog shit in his yard is probably going to be the one who squeals on you to big brother. You don’t want that.

Be a good neighbor.  Say hello when you’re both at the mailbox.  When you see the guy next door struggling to get his piece of crap car running, offer to help.  When your garden produces so much zuchini you think you’re gonna puke if you ever have to eat it again, take some to the guy across the street.  It’ll go a long way to have a strong community in place, before it all goes to hell.

Okay, okay.  Enough with the touchy-feely intangible crap.  What about the STUFF!?

Well, here you go…

6.  Craigslist/Freecycle.  Sure, there’s a lot of junk in those postings that people are hoping you’ll haul away for them, but you can actually find some things that would be handy in an emergency.  Here’s just a few things I’ve seen in the past few weeks on my local Craigslist Free Stuff board:


Cinder Blocks


Baby Formula

A Popcorn Tin


Dishwashers (if you have the space, they make great storage for a flood or hurricane, since they are sealed watertight)


Underbed storage boxes (when you finally get some canned goods, you’ll have a place to put them)

Pinto Beans

Chain Link Fencing

Hunting Boots

5 Gallon Buckets with Lids

I’m sure that occasionally other useful things such as backpacks, tools, and tarps become available as well.  Keep an eye out, and you may be able to get a good start on your preps for free.

7.  Samples.  It takes a little bit of work, but if you’re just goofing off on the internet anyway, you might as well get something out of it.  Find a few sample sites (my favorites are StartSampling and Sweet Free Stuff) and next time you’re bored, sign up for any free samples that might be useful in a crisis.  No, you’re not going to get a lot of anything, but hey – it’s free!  Besides, it’s always fun to open the mailbox and find something that’s not a bill. Here’s a few things I’ve gotten samples of in the past month or so:



Feminine Hygiene Products

Emergen-C Vitamin C Drink Mix

Dog Food

Who knows?  Any of these things might be useful when I start running out of stuff.

8.    Rewards Programs.  My personal favorite here is Swagbucks, but I know there’s others out there.  Basically, these sites award you points for doing stuff online, like voting on polls, taking surveys, and watching commercials.  The reason I love Swagbucks is because I can win points just for searching from their site (and the results are similar to those of a major search engine that will not be named, but here’s a hint:  it’s not Bing).  I’ve been using this for about a month now, and I just cashed in some Swagbucks for a $10 gift certificate to, which I promptly used to buy a four-pack of Mylar Emergency “Space Blankets”  and a bunch of P-38 can openers.

9.  Friends and Family.  No, you don’t have to tell them what you want the stuff for (remember your OPSEC), but you can always put the word out that you’ve been hoping to find a _________________ for a project.  Who knows?  Someone might just know who’s trying to get rid of one.  Plus, there’s all that “one man’s trash” stuff that might just be your treasure.  I know people who have asked their coworkers to bring in:

Cat litter pails

Plastic Shopping Bags

Coffee Cans

10.  Keep your eyes peeled.  When I was a kid, it humiliated me to no end when my dad would pull over on the side of the highway to pick up something that had fallen off someone else’s vehicle.  Last week, I did this myself for the first time – I saw a 17 gallon Rubbermaid tote laying beside the interstate, and I couldn’t help myself.  I was a little freaked out – I mean, what if there was a duffel bag full of heads in there?  Thankfully, it was empty.  And I just saved $8.  Other things I’ve seen, but not stopped for include:

Bungee Cords

5 Gallon Buckets


Rakes and Shovels

Basically, if you can picture it loaded in the back of a work truck, you’ll probably see one beside the road at one time or another.

So there you go.  Ten ways you can get ready for disaster… for free. I don’t want to hear any belly-aching about how you can’t get prepared because you don’t have any money.

Make sure to subscribe to the blog (via email or RSS) because in the near future, I’ll be posting 100 Ways to Prep For a Dollar.