Thursday, October 31, 2013

There will be some cold little monsters tonight.

 I just went outside and it's pretty chilly. There's a strong wind blowing and the leaves are coming off the trees in big showers.  I hope the kids trick or treating tonight don't get cold. It's easy to let them stay out in the weather too long if they are having a good time.

My scanners are going full tilt. The local police seem to be pulling over everybody with an out of state plate today. They must be behind on their quota.

Bad time for the EMT/Fire people too. Old people out splitting wood, they start getting chest pains and decide they are having a heart attack.  There's one of those on the scanner right now, as I type this. Seems like people wait too long to get their wood in, especially older people.

Took the truck out for a run this morning. I haven't had it on the road in awhile.  It's always a pain, having to stop the vehicle, open the gate, drive through, then stop again and shut the gate. But it beats coming home and finding I've been cleaned out.  Before I built the gate,  I always had people coming up the trail to "see what was up here", as I have mentioned before. Even worse, once they got up there to the house, most of them couldn't turn around in the limited space available and I had to move my vehicles and get them turned around. No more.

The ferrets are in good spirits, and battling one another on the couch.  Sometimes the youngest female joins in but since male ferrets get to be much larger than females, this usually ends with shrieks and squeaks, and I have to come rescue the girls.  If you are going to live way out in the back of nowhere, you need some indoor pets to keep you company.  Most people I know keep a little tiny dog or a cat. I prefer ferrets myself.  You sure never have rodent problems if you have ferrets free roaming in the house. I'd put a couple out in the shop or barn, but I'd never catch them again in all those nice niches and crevasses they'd find.

I can't remember if I ever mentioned this particular magazine before.  It's different, because it isn't published by a big magazine outfit.  As far as I can tell, a couple of survivalists started it on a shoe string. They're home based in Florida.  It's actually a pretty good magazine.  Comes out every other month (or so), and they mail it well wrapped in plastic.  It also has a white cover over it so nobody can see what it is. I'm sure my mail lady thinks it's a porno mag like Playboy, but I can live with that.  

You can get it in paper, or you can get it on Kindle.  I still have a paper subscription but when it lapses I will switch over to Kindle. If they are still around. I notice lately their web page has been up and down, which usually implies some financial troubles. Just guessing about that, though.

If the web page is up, and it appears to be right now, here's the link:

 One other thing I should mention. If you subscribe, it's up to you to keep track of when you need to renew. They don't send you any notice, the magazine stops coming.  I actually like these people pretty well. I called down there once to see about my subscription, and one of the owner/editors answered the phone. He asked me if I could call back in awhile because he had to go pick up his grandson at school.  I told him sure.  I like that kind of person better than some slick who just blows me off when I call with a problem or question.


I have been reading blogs this morning, and many of those written by mothers have pictures of their kids in halloween costumes.  We used to make our children's outfits because my wife is a very good seamstress, and because it was less expensive if the truth be told.

These are scans of old polaroid pictures, taken back in the late 1980's.   You forget how much fun it is to have small kids until you think back on it.

As an aside, I was talking to someone about The Wind and the Willows, and she said her children had not read it yet.  I can't remember who it was though.  If you see this, please email me at  I have a nice copy of the book I would like to pass on to you.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nice day

Today looks like a very pleasant one.  Yesterday was cloudy and dank, but it's warm outside this afternoon, with a light breeze blowing.  The picture above is the WalMart parking lot just as the sun was coming up. They have ammunition but they have raised their prices 3 to 4 dollars a box since last week, so I did not buy any. I can load my own cheaper than they are selling it now.

In a little while I am going to go do some gold panning.  With all the rain we've had in the last month, there's no telling what has washed down out of the mountains.  If nothing else, I'll get out of the house for awhile without having to do a lot of driving.

The dogs need their morning walk.  If I don't take them they'll go by themselves and there's no telling what they will get into.

I plan on going over to the little lake and walking on the trail there this afternoon.  Shouldn't be anybody there on a Wednesday, which suits me.

All in all, this should be a good day.   I don't have to do anything I don't want to do. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Orange Jeep Dad's house burned down.

I heard from a friend that Orange Jeep Dad's house burned down. He lost his supplies, vehicles, and just about everything else.

The guy has been working like a dog for years to make it to the countryside. He finally did, and this happened.

I guess now is not the time to make a pious posting about combat loading your supplies and equipment in different buildings. So I'll just say he is a good fellow, and his wife and little girls are nice people from what I can tell.  Rawles has more information on Survival Blog.

Survival Blog: Orange Jeep Dad 

The picture here on Orange Jeep Dad's web site made me feel badly for him. I live in fear of fire up here, because all my buildings are log.  This is sort of a worst nightmare scenario.

Orange Jeep Dad's house burnt down.

Backwoods Home Magazine

This is the cover of the latest Backwoods Home.  I've been reading this for many years.  Now, I get it on Kindle.  I've switched to electronic versions of all the magazines I read if they are offered in that format. Big stacks of magazines are hard to store and it's difficult to remember just what edition an article was in years after the fact when you want it.  It's true, that if the grid goes down I'll have to recharge my computer using the generator, but since I can store 1000 gallons of diesel at a time that shouldn't be a problem for many months. At some point, I need to pick up one of the solar charging panels for laptops. They're getting more efficient and cheaper , so soon it will be a worthwhile investment.

Backwoods Home has an article about growing older on the homestead this month, which I found interesting. It's rare that there isn't at least one article in a magazine I can use.  This particular publication comes out every other month.

I don't care for the editor at all.  In my opinion, he's rude and excessively opinionated. He tends to be condescending to people who disagree with him, and he strikes me as a course kind of person. I put up with his antics because the people who write for this magazine are good people, and well known in the Survivalist community. People like Massad Ayoob have been around longer than the term "prepper."

Backwoods Home offers a lot of specialist books that are very handy.  Not long ago they gave a good many of them away for free if you had a Kindle.  I've bought a number of their books over the years and been very pleased with them. I've never seen one on a news stand, so at least in this area, the only way to get it is to subscribe, either to print or Kindle.

They put a lot of their articles on their home page, and you can download them for free.  The article I linked to on Homestead Security for Women was one of those.

Here's one of their special books that you can get on CD or in Paper.

All in all it's a worthwhile source of information, and you just have to try to ignore the editor.

Unusual hours

I have been an inveterate insomniac for more than 30 years.  That was sometimes tough when I was working, but for the last few years it hasn't mattered. As my wife told me, so long as you sleep 8 hours a day or so, it doesn't matter when it is or how you break it up.

I like the quiet of night and I do a lot of reading , or working on the computer then.

Lately though, I've been getting so sleepy by 8 or 9 in the evening that I have to struggle to stay awake. So I go on to bed. Then I wake up precisely at one in the morning, stay awake until four,  go back to sleep and stay there until noon.  If I need to, I can get up by setting my alarm.  I miss seeing the dawn.   My wife tells me that my "biologic clock" is resetting because I am getting older.  Maybe so. There are a lot of things about getting older that aggravate me to death.

Have you ever seen those horrible adds on tv where the whiny old person falls down and shrieks "help, I've fallen and I can't get up."  I mute those when they come on.  Yesterday I slipped in the driveway, and went rolling down the hill.  My land is steep and there are not a lot of flat places on it.  If I drop a bag of groceries when I'm unloading the car, all the cans and bottles go tearing down slope. In this case, it was me. The driveway was covered with wet leaves. One of my dogs jumped up on me from behind and I did a Humpty Dumpty.  When I finally stopped rolling it was because I hit a pine tree and knocked the breath out of myself.  At least I was able to get up before the chickens came and devoured me, but I guess I need to be more careful.

I don't have anything I need to do today.  I suppose I'll go for a walk with the dogs, then come back and go into town for lunch.  After that, who knows.  Something will turn up.  I can always clean rifles,  or something equally constructive. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Television tomorrow night

If you missed "American Blackout" this past Sunday,  it will be showing again on Nat Geo at 1900 and 0100 Tuesday.

The new season of "Doomsday Preppers" starts at 2100 tomorrow night.

A word of clarification.

When I got back here Sunday,  I had several emails excoriating me for disparaging militias. It took me a bit to figure out just what the writers were "on about."

In my post about Beirut I was not complimentary to the Moslem militias in Lebanon. I did not mean to be. Those guys were criminals, the private armies of various War Lords or religious sects.

I don't have anything good to say about Islamic militias, then or now.  Anyone who does would probably be better off reading a blog other than mine.

American militias are an adjunct of the Patriot Movement.  I share their concerns and I am in sympathy with their distrust of the U.S. government.  They are largely people who have banded together to prepare for the eventual crisis that most conservative people believe is coming, be it sooner or later.   The fact that I disparaged Islamic militia does not imply I feel the same way about U.S. militia.  Actually, I'm rather surprised that I have to explain that, but anything that can be misunderstood, will be I suppose.


I got up at 3:00 this morning,  and started a Lima bean soup with a ham bone.  Went to bed around 11:00 last night after watching the National Geographic show American Blackout.   Around nine I went into town because I had to go by the bank and the post office.  Now I am home, having made a new pot of coffee. I don't have any plans for today.  In a bit  I will go upstairs and listen to some smooth jazz on my satellite radio. It's damp and cold outside, so the dogs and I won't be taking our walk today.   If I feel like it later on, I may walk down the mountain to check the mail.  My Southern Ohio Guns monthly flyer has not come and I've been looking for it. I keep them and have them filed chronologically for many years.  Helps me with tracking price increases overall for the type of firearms I'm interested in, and ammunition.

The show last night wasn't bad. They advertised so much that it was hard to follow the story line, which was aggravating. I'm not sure why four college kids stuck in an elevator was worth so much of the plot, but overall it pointed out some interesting things. I hope people who are just starting with self sufficient living watched it.  For the most part, the show was about what not to do, rather than what to do in a crisis.

Christian Science Monitor: How Accurate is Nat Geo's "Black Out" ? 

For one thing,  once that kid started handing food over to the "neighbors" on the other side of the fence, he guaranteed that guy would be back with his hunting buddies. That gave me pause, because I had been thinking rather lightly of letting my daughter bring people I didn't know here. Maybe that is not a good idea. Or maybe she should pick who she wants to come, and let me review the list. One thing is for sure, there's only one chief on this mountain, and that's me. In a crisis, it won't be a democracy on my mountain top.

Worth reading.

Perspectives of a Wife and Mother

Good books

I did some reading these past few days. First, I read "The Spanish Civil War" by Hugh Thomas again. People always say that if you look at the American Civil War, you'll find a lot of similarities in the lead up to events today. But I think the Spanish Civil War is much closer. On the one side, you had Socialists, the university students, communists, anarchists (think Libertarian on steriods), labor unions, and a whole array of left wing societies, clubs, and other organizations.

On the other side, you had most of the professional Spanish military, the church, the land owners, big business, and the bourgeoisie.

The Russians supplied and assisted the "Republicans" as the left called themselves. The Germans and Italians assisted the "Nationalists" under General Franco.

It was a war to the knife.  Each side shot prisoners as a matter of course, and Thomas thinks the number of people put up against the wall or simply shot in the bull rings or any other convenient place by both sides surpassed 500,000. That doesn't include battlefield causalities, just the liquidation of anyone associated with, or rumored to be associated with, the other side who had the bad luck to fall into the hands of their opponents.

I also read William Manchesters "The Last Lion."  It's one of my favorite books.  Churchill has always been a man for whom I have great respect.  Most books deal with him during that phase of his life when he was Prime Minister during WW2.  But people don't know that as a Lieutenant in the British Army, he fought in Afghanistan, the Sudan and South Africa. When I say fought I don't mean he was with the gear in the rear. He was out doing the hand to hand version, in both Afghanistan and Africa. In South Africa he was a correspondent and was involved in combat but that was not his primary concern there.

William Manchester was a Marine in the Pacific War, and he was up front , as an infantryman.  He was a great historian in his latter years, but psychologically he was severely damaged by his experiences during WW2 and he never got those issues under control.  At the end of his life, he went back to the islands where he served  and tried to straighten himself out.  When you read his book about that , "Goodbye Darkness" you can tell he wasn't successful. But at least he made the attempt.

Sometimes,  a few days with good books you really are interested in ,  in a congenial setting, is just what the doctor ordered.  I have noticed that I don't read new books much anymore, I tend to gravitate to those that I have read several times before.  Doesn't decrease my enjoyment of the reading, though.

Friday, October 25, 2013

I'm taking a vacation. Here's a good movie clip and a good song , both old but excellent.

I am going further back up into the mountains for a couple of days. There's a nice little town I like to visit. It has decent hotels, a big lake, and it's quiet. My wife is too tired from teaching to go anywhere, but she won't mind a little quiet and she can take care of the animals for me. I'll be back Sunday.

While I'm gone I thought I'd post a clip I particularly like.  The flying scenes with the Huey's and Loaches are really good.  If you don't recognize the clip, you haven't seen the movie. If you haven't seen the movie, you are culturally deprived.

Trivia Question: On the run in to target, why is the infantryman tapping his magazine on his helmet?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I could do with a Sapporo right now. Or Two.

Cold moves in.

The cold air mass that the Weather Channel has been talking about,  arrived last night.  At 4:30 this morning it was crystal clear outside and 22 degrees.

I went for a drive yesterday through the woods.  I know all the old forest service roads and I enjoy just getting out and driving out there without any destination in particular.  Came around a corner to where there's a big creek.  Most of these you just ford, but this particular one is so deep there's an old railroad tie bridge. There were two Sheriff's Department  patrol cars there, some old guy on a four wheeler, and a DNR truck.

You never see anyone out there.  One of the Deputies was in the middle of the bridge with a big scowl on his face, and two others were staring down in the water by the base of the bridge.  I figured it was another drug killing.

I stopped and Deputy Friendly came up to the window. I didn't recognize the guy.  He said "you know who's killing these deer?"   I asked what deer he was talking about.  He told me to take a look. Someone had killed three good sized does and just dumped them off the bridge.  It was pretty sick and I could see why the guy was mad. I also realized they probably wondered why I was tooling around out there in the middle of the deep forest.  I told the Deputy I had no idea who would do that, but if I heard anything I'd let them know (and I would.)  They let me go on across the bridge.

Sometimes I wonder what's next. There doesn't seem to be much of a limit to what some people will do. I can't , for the life of me, think why someone would randomly kill deer, or why they would go to the trouble to haul the dead deer to the bridge and throw them in the creek. I don't understand a lot of what goes on up here though, nothing new about that.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Oct 23, 1983.

Today is the anniversary of the bombing that destroyed the Marine barracks at the airport in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983.  I always go somewhere peaceful on this day, even if it's just up the mountain to a place where I can see way out across the Smokies.  I'm sure they will have a ceremony at Camp Lejeune, out by the Headquarters of 2nd Marine Division.  That's where the Beirut Memorial is, right by the New River inlet. It's a pretty place with big oak trees all around it.

Very few people remember that incident today.   I looked at the news pages and didn't see any mention of the event this morning.  My brother , who was also a Marine, sent me an email he got from another Marine we both know. It was a clipping from some off the wall news page. The whole article was one paragraph long and it just said the bombing was the result of lax security, which is an outright lie. That's what the Long Commission said after the investigation, but that was also the full responsibility of the  U.S. State Department, which mandated that the sentries had unloaded weapons least we injure some Lebanese .

 All this started when the Israelis got tired of the terrorists coming across the border out of Lebanon and murdering their citizens. These "Palestine Liberation Organization" types were about as low as you can get. They liked to ambush school buses so they could kill the teachers and kids, they hit schools because killing kids made more news headlines. They never tangled with the IDF because they didn't have the courage to do that. Instead, they broke into apartment complexes and killed whole families. They liked to brag about killing pregnant Jewish women because they "got two with one bullet." The PLO had originally set up in Jordan, but they messed with the wrong people when they started throwing their weight around in the Jordanian villages. The Jordanian Army, which is small but primarily Bedouin,  beat the hell out of them and ran them out of the country. So they went to Lebanon, where there was no real government, and took over big chunks of that country. Then they started operating there. Israel went after them and stacked them up like cord wood when they could move fast enough to catch them. The PLO leadership distinguished itself by taking the funds given them to feed their units, and fleeing. The PLO "fighters" displayed a remarkable ability to throw away their weapons and do long distance sprints in their Chinese tennis shoes. Finally what was left of the PLO held up in Beirut, hoping the Israelis wouldn't come in after them.

The IDF did go after them, but there were meeting engagements between the Israelis and the Syrians, and in the U.S. the Democrats started wringing their hands and saying this was dreadful, how could the world let the poor Arabs be so mistreated? The IDF, on the other hand, had little inclination to go into the rats nest warren that was Beirut. Nobody likes fighting in a built up area, especially when you can't tell the good guys from the bad guys.

So, a deal was worked out by the U.S. State Department,  the PLO, and the Israeli foreign ministry. The PLO would leave their weapons, but would be evacuated to Arab countries. In the U.S. military this was viewed with outright disbelief. Here the IDF had these subhumans cornered, why not finish them off ? But in Israel people were raising hell about causalities, and the Israeli government was worried about the effects of an IDF occupation of an Arab capitol.

So Britain, France, Italy and the U.S. sent troops in to supervise the evacuation. The Brits sent a little armored recon outfit equipped with Ferret armored cars. There weren't many of them but they were stout friends. The French sent a Foreign Legion outfit, and from the very beginning they took no abuse from anybody. Say what you will about the French, their professional soldiers kick a** and take names.  Italy sent Marines and Paratroops, very well trained and motivated soldiers who always seemed to get along with all the different factions. Their Colonel once faced off a band of militia thugs who were about to murder some unarmed Lebanese. He just had a pistol and his driver had a rifle, but he stopped the murders and sent the militia men packing.  We sent our Marines. Marines are assault troops and a poor choice for "Peace Keeping" but they were already there, since there is always a full MAU aboard ship in the Med at any time.  The evacuation went smoothly enough and everyone thought that would be the end of it. 

But almost immediately the Christian president of the Lebanese government, Bashir Gemayel, was killed in a bombing,( he was giving a speech to a  large group of  young girls belonging to the Phalange Women's Association  and the Moslems blew the building up). The whole country collapsed into utter chaos and anarchy. You have to understand, to understand any of this, that Lebanon was just a bunch of factions, each with it's own militia. There were PLO remnants, PLO splinter groups, the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah, the different Moslem militias like AMAL, the Druze,  the Lebanese government,  the Christian militias, the Phalange, and all the other dogs and ponies.Then there were the Syrians, the Iranians, and the MNF (multinational force) all mixed in as well.

When the PLO was evacuated, they left behind refugee camps full of women, children and old people because they abandoned their families and the others they had "sworn" to protect in order to save their own butts. These camps were in the Israeli zone.  After the bombing that killed Gemayel , the Christian militia, the Phalange, went into two of the camps and exterminated the occupants. No one was spared, right down to babies in their mothers arms. That 's the kind of place Lebanon was. The Israelis didn't know what was going on until it was too late, because they didn't have troops in the camps for obvious reasons. Everyone seems to blame Israel for the massacres but if you understand what a Dante's Inferno Lebanon was, you will understand how this could and did happen.

So the multinational peacekeeping force, as it was called, got sent back in. From the beginning the Department of State ran the show without any concern for practical military considerations at all. A fat, greasy Lebanese American named Philip Habib was the big boss. His whole purpose in life was to get famous. He had a group  of  toadies who slavishly carried out his every whim, no matter what it might mean for the troops on the ground. When the Marine commander wanted to set up on high ground in the Marine area of operations, Habib mandated that they be placed in and around a bunch of  shot to hell buildings down on the airport, next to the beach highway. Utterly indefensible, with civilian traffic flowing right by the base, and a perfect target for whoever did have the high ground to shoot from. But Habib thought it looked less "aggressive."

Every single decision had to be run through the State Department and their sole consideration was pulling off some great diplomatic coup. They had no concept of military operations or even of the situation on the ground.

Then the Lebanese army, which was really an adjunct of the Christian militias,  got tangled up with the Druze in some worthless village, and they got pounded.  Against the advice of the Marine commanders on the ground, the State Department had the Navy shell the Druze  from the sea. We had quite a fleet off shore, and there were Brits and French naval vessels out there as well.  But once we shelled the Druze, then all the other militias, holy warriors, and miscellaneous bandit gangs,  decided we were "taking sides" on the part of the Christians and things started going down hill fast.

Different factions began to attack the Marines.  At first, it was patrols in the USMC area of operations being attacked by snipers or grenade throwers.  Then it started to become an issue of small arms fire into the Marine base.  Then it went on to artillery fire and automatic weapons like heavy machine guns.  The AMAL would fire mortars into the base and we would fire back illumination flares over their mortar positions. The State Department didn't want us to hurt any of the shooters. There was a constant stream of Senators and Representatives into the base when it was quiet. The Marines built a special little sandbag wall with steps behind it so the dignitaries could be photographed wearing flak jackets and helmets, useful props for their pictures. Then they'd fly out again really quickly before anything unpleasant happened.  The Druze started firing artillery into the camp from that high ground that Philip Habib had kept the Marines off of.

The Marines started taking causalities, but they weren't even getting combat pay because back in the states, the government of Ronald Reagan, which was clueless about the situation there, didn't want people to think our troops were in a fighting situation. They maintained that fiction for a long time.

In the end, Iran's proxy force in Lebanon, Hezbollah, drove a big truck loaded with fuel tanks and explosives into the barracks on a Sunday morning and blew it up.  The barracks was a big, hollow building with rooms around the four sides and a giant empty space in the middle. It was a perfect target.  In accordance with the guidelines of the State Department, the place was virtually undefended because even then, after events had deteriorated to the point that it was a war zone, the dome heads in D.C. couldn't grasp that.  Even after the bombing, when we had so many critically wounded, the State Department couldn't leave it alone. Israel immediately offered to let us fly our wounded to their superb medical facilities for treatment. It would have been a thirty minute trip. But the white shirt, black tie suit crowd in D.C. said no, that would make it look like we were supporting Israel. So instead those causalities had to be airlifted to Cyprus with local assets from the fleet, (the airport was all torn to pieces and not operational) and from there flown to German hospitals on U.S.A.F. Nightingale med evac aircraft. As a result, some that could have been saved died because they did not get to the medical facilities soon enough.

When the barracks was bombed, I was not there.  The bombing was on a Sunday.  The preceding Thursday, the Colonel I worked for asked me if I wanted to catch a ride back to Naples on the U.S.S. Puget Sound.   She was going to Naples to pick up a load of parts (Puget Sound was a tender), and he said I could go stay with my wife for a couple of days and then come back when the ship did.

We had a little villa out on the beach.  There wasn't any television or telephone in our villa, but I had a radio and I got up Sunday morning and tuned it to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Network. We just had a radio station in Naples, run by a Navy Chief. They were talking about the bombing and that's how I found out what happened.

First I couldn't believe it. That lasted about 20 seconds. Then I felt such a wave of hatred I couldn't breath.  I still feel that way about Islam and that will never change.

The rest of it is just history. We lost 241 Marines, soldiers and sailors that Sunday morning.   Reagan didn't want it to look like we got run out by the Iranians, so he sent in a new unit.  We got tougher and later I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the U.S.S. New Jersey use it's sixteen inch guns on some of the most deserving of the gangs there. The French bombed an Iranian training base in the Beka valley to dust. But we never did anything to get payback on the Iranians.  There was a "cover your ass" inquiry, the Long Commission, in which the State Department was white washed and the commanders on the ground held responsible for what happened. The fact that all the bad decisions were made by oily, arrogant, self serving  civilians in air conditioned offices far from the fighting , and forced on the Colonels commanding troops, was conveniently forgotten.  Now the whole thing has been forgotten.

Off Sidon, Lebanon , U.S.S. Puget Sound 1982. Puget Sound was the 6th Fleet Flagship at the time.

U.S. Naval Units off Beirut,  1983

Cobra gunships. The State Department didn't want them used. It might convey the wrong impression.

This van was located directly behind the barracks. My duties took me there frequently. The OIC was an old acquaintance whom I did not much care for.

This picture was taken the week before the bombing.

There aren't many books on the "intervention" in Lebanon.   The Marine Corps put out a chronological history,  Colonel Geraghty,  the Marine Amphibious Unit commander, wrote a book about it.  The best book I've read about Beirut was written by a Marine non-commisioned officer after he got out of the service. It's had to find, but you can get it on Amazon for around three dollars. That's how much demand there is for histories of that event. It's a novel, but it is the best way I know to get a feel for the political manipulation, the confusion, and how the Marines on the ground felt about it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fixed Position, or "Bugging In."

I was "talking" with Rob about sharpening knives recently.  The conversation touched on something I've been giving a lot of thought to lately.  I have a supply of field gear, but I'm never going to use it. When Rob asked me the best method to sharpen knives  I wasn't sure.  I bought my knife sharpeners years ago, and didn't know if something better had been invented since.  I'm not the guy below.  If I lived in a city, I might have to try to be, but given the fact that both my wife and myself are in our sixties, I doubt it would work out very well.  We would probably wind up being killed off by younger people, or gobbled up by cannibals. Neither scenario encourages me to plan a bug out, and where would I go? 

My feeling is that I have the "retreat" scenario pretty well in hand.  There's always room for improvement, but overall after decades of working on it,  I'm in good shape.  I've got the right remote location,  hard to find and defensible. It has water, wood, and wild game. I have a place to grow food it I can ever get up off my hind quarters and make a serious effort at it.  My supply situation is adequate,  I have enough room and enough structures to handle an increased population here if others of my choosing need to use this as their bug out location.

The little cartoon above is making fun of the "shelter in place " crowd,  but it actually sums up my position pretty well. As long as I can stay here, I'm in good shape.

One reason I don't worry much about bugging out is that short of a forest fire, there's just nothing that could blow me out of here.  I admit if the fire comes I'm well and truly scuppered.  That's my S.O.O.L. weakness, (S**t out of luck.)  But I wonder , realistically, what are the chances of there being a collapse and drought at the same time here? Our forest is too wet to burn most of the time in a normal year.  

I've never been partial to the idea of going on the road in a collapse.  This documentary (or docu-drama, more properly) reinforced that aversion considerably.  Of course, these folks weren't prepared when they fled L.A. but it was a very grim story.

The real deal killer for me on bugging out was "The Road." Cormack McCarthy pretty much ruined any chance that existed of me going trekking out of here. That is a truly horrifying book, all the more so because there's not a lot you can point to in the book or movie and say "ah, that would never happen."  Some of the scenes are so horrific that I never watched the movie with my wife, but the one that had the most visceral impact on me was played by Robert Duval.  That's not going to be me.  I'm not going on the Road.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Annoying my wife on Sunday afternoon.

 My wife is sitting on the couch, trying to read a book.  I am reading blogs, and when I find something really interesting I tell her all about it. Then she pretends to be interested and when I am through she goes back to her book.

Sometimes I find something she really is interested in.  I was just reading a blog kept by a young woman who lives in the "waste lands" in New Mexico. I don't know if that is what they still call the desert in Northern New Mexico, because I haven't lived there in more than 40 years now, but it's an appropriate name.  She and her husband are buying a chain saw to cut wood with for their wood burning stove, which is how they heat their little house on their own land.  Naturally I was compelled to write a long comment full of advice on chain saws.  I learned the hard way here, by using one. Maybe I can spare them some of the experiences I had.  Or, maybe I am just a garrulous old guy who likes to give advice. Either way I told my wife all about it. Then we remembered other things we did when we first came here. Our first blizzard, we lost power and so we took all the meat out of our freezer and put it on the porch. We were so proud of ourselves for "adapting."  But the next morning, the  snow on the porch was covered with tiny foot prints and the hams were all gnawed up.  During the night, there was a possum and raccoon party on our porch and a good time was had by all.  I admit to being envious of this young couple. They're starting out in the wilderness on their own, building their own place and working hard.  That's the best kind of life there is.  I'm not complaining about mine,  but now the challenges are all behind us here and it's a comfortable, sedentary life.  I suppose it's like what all veterans do with their military service. You just remember the really good things and miss them, but you forget the bad things.  People are just wired that way.

 I should leave my wife alone and let her read her book.  She has to leave to go back to where she teaches in a few hours. Then it'll be just me and the ferrets, cats, dogs,  the rat, and the chickens for another week up here.

three thirty in the morning.

It's a perfect night for radio.  Very cold outside, so the skip is working great on the CB in upper side band.  I've been listening to people from the mid west. I'm not talking tonight, just listening.  Did some short wave DX for a bit too,  and had good results for the same reason. Cold clear nights are excellent for radio reception.

However, the blogosphere is silent. Of the 30 something blogs I read every day, only about five of them have been updated since Friday.  I would imagine that's because most of those people are doing things with family rather than fiddling around with the computer.

Fall is here with a vengeance.  It's getting down near freezing now at night, and next Wednesday the Weather Channel assures me we will be below freezing.  That means the start of winter time burdens like starting vehicles.  I will have a choice with my truck. Either I can leave the engine heater plugged  in constantly, or I can use ether to start it when I need it.   I need to put a new battery in the Cherokee,  and my daughter just put a new one in her Commander.  That cost $200.00,  because that big engine needs a lot of cranking power.

We are running the propane heater in the main house, and electric oil heaters in the other three buildings.  I don't worry about keeping them much above sixty but the house has to stay around 68 because the ferrets get cold below that.   I'll be running humidifiers before long because the winter air here has so little moisture in it that it doesn't register on my gauges.

Still, you can't beat winter nights.   I was out on the porch of the  apartment earlier this evening,  having just turned on the heater in there.  I could hear the coyotes howling off down by the creek.  It fits, somehow.   I'd much rather listen to that than traffic noises or peoples loud music.

Well, time to turn in.  I plan to be up early Sunday morning and the sun comes up around seven thirty.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

American Survival Guide now available by subscription.

I know there has been little in the way of enthusiasm for this new version of American Survival Guide.  It really isn't as good as the old one that Jim Benson published for so many years.  However, it's been getting better and the last one was actually useful.

My problem has been that you couldn't subscribe to it.  You just had to be in town when it went on sale at the grocery store magazine rack. Since they didn't get many copies, I didn't always get one. Nor could you go buy back issues because the publishers didn't sell them.

They recently sent me this email indicating that now you can get it by subscription. I am putting the post up just for general information.  A lot of it didn't copy over and I have no idea how to fix that, but you get the idea.

Only $23 for 6 Issues Dear Customer,

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