Monday, March 30, 2015

Getting to be that time.

There was a terrific thunderstorm here last night.  It wasn't predicted, so I hadn't done any of the precautionary things I normally do like taking the well pump off line and shutting down all the electrical equipment.

The weather radio went off next to the bed, and before I woke up enough to figure out what it was, the thunder was rolling full tilt.  One blast was very close,and very strong.  I thought it would get the well pump, at least, but this morning I could not find any damage other than limbs down from the wind. I like to sit on the porch of the apartment over the shop (it has the best view here) and watch these storms come rolling in. The lightning over the mountains is truly spectacular. At night, the bolts light up the woods with a purple white light and it has quite an eerie effect.  I don't need lightning bolts overhead as close as they were last night, though.

April is the start of tornado season here. I've never been hit by one but they have come down all around us. If I drive over the mountains towards Atlanta, there's one spot with a beautiful view. But it wasn't always like that. The forest came right up to the road until a tornado touched down there some years back. Now the forest is gone and there's a panoramic view in it's place.

Many years ago, on an April Sunday afternoon, a series of tornadoes came through the mountains, and the town where I worked was severely damaged. The first time I drove back to work afterwards, I was amazed. Where there had been houses, there were only cement slabs with pipes sticking up out of them. Where there had been woods, there were trees hurled every which way and broken off at the base. I've never had one come close to the compound here, but you never know. Tornadoes seem to be like artillery, they just hit where they hit and there's not a lot you can do if you happen to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I had a discrepancy in a financial statement this weekend. Couldn't find the problem no matter how hard I tried. I used all the standard balancing techniques, but nothing showed up.  Went to the bank, but I knew within five minutes of going in the door I wasn't going to get any help there. The person who was "assisting" me couldn't have balanced a check book, let alone one of these statements, to save her life.

So I went to an accountant here in town. Sometimes, you need a second pair of eyes to see what's wrong. It took him about 15 minutes to find the issue, so simple that it was no more than a dating error on four transactions. Didn't even cost me anything since I know the guy from the gun club days.

All in all, the day is about over and nothing dramatic happened. The weather is fair, and warm. About twilight I'll go sit on the front porch and watch the evening come on.  A good cup of coffee followed by a good pipe, and it will have been a pleasant day.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Sheeple .

"You might wonder why someone like me, who has been in the business of encouraging disaster preparedness for a very long time, is so critical of people who are doing just that. It’s because they are being socially selfish – preparing themselves and the hell with everyone else.  Instead of spending time and energy making changes that would benefit the larger community, in their very narrow focus of loyalty they are more concerned about themselves."

Valarie McEwan

Saturday drags on.

 I was going to get some gun cleaning done today.  I've been meaning to do some of the more modern rifles, where you have to take them down to the basic groups.

Old bolt guns are so much easier. You don't have to strip them down to clean them very often.

I decided not to do it today, though. I'm having a very low energy Saturday, and it's also the last Saturday in the month which means I have other chores to do.

I had to pay bills this morning. I hate doing that. There may be something more boring and time consuming, but I can't think what it is right now.

I use double entry book keeping, which means doing the data entry on the billing is slow. But it keeps me from overpaying, underpaying, or forgetting to pay. I also keep a financial journal, which I then go back and check against obligations and income. It's a back up system to the computer, to make sure I don't make any ghastly mistakes.

At least I only have to do it once a month.

A surplus guns magazine came out, it's a special edition.  I bought it, and got my money's worth. Basically it's a compendium of surplus firearm stories from different gun publications the publisher owns. There was some fresh material and great photography in it. When I went into town they had only two copies left.

I have a big box of Swedish Mauser practice ammo out in the shop somewhere. I bought it when I was at giveaway prices but have never fired it. This magazine had a good article on practice ammo, and I found there's a lot more of it out there than I realized.

There's also a good article on the RPK. I have an RPK made by Nornico before William the Bastard banned the import of Chinese weapons and ammo, so I enjoyed this article  I have two drum magazines for my RPK but I've never tried to use them, I just use standard AK-47 mags.

Checked the mail while I was out, and got a new copy of Survivalist. I haven't had a chance to read it but it looks good.  Right now I am brewing some coffee. It's warm inside, the sun is shining outside but it's really cold.  Not very Spring like.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Remember what happened to the oysters in Through the Looking Glass?

II don't want to seem like I'm setting myself up as the supreme arbiter of logical thought. I've made plenty of decisions that later turned out to be wrong. But at least they had some basis in reality.  Lately I've seen several posts on other blogs where people say things like "I don't want to make any changes to my home to improve my security because then I would worry more."  I even got one comment that I didn't publish because the writer chastised both me and the people who come here. She said " I don't store any food, or have any weapons. I just live each day. Why can't you all just relax?"

I think about some of the things I have seen in my life and I wonder what environment would produce attitudes like these? I'm not disparaging these individuals, I simply cannot understand them.

I have added this link because it's germane to the discussion. Do you remember the Scheiss Sturm that this woman caused?  She back pedaled, but what she really thinks is in the first article. That she later tried to cover her tracks is irrelevant. 27 March 1548.

Preppers are Socially Selfish.

Addendum 27 March 1458:  I am getting some comments that disagree vehemently with the feelings most of us have expressed here on this subject. Unfortunately, they are almost certainly from the Troll that popped up last week, under the names Sandra and Monika.  As I'm not publishing the comments, I'm being blasted for censorship. And that's true. But I was warned that these people will post plausible comments and then suddenly launch a troll attack, which I don't want to deal with. So, I'm just letting everybody know that I am, in fact, declining to publish some comments. Not because they disagree with me, but because I don't want to facilitate Trolldom.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"
"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."
The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.
But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."
"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?

"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"
"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"
"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dog days on the mountain.

I did not get a lot of sleep last night.  Largely this was due to the dogs, who periodically started barking, whining, and running around the edges of the tree line.  Three times I got up and used my flood light to illuminate the forest edges. Didn't see anything. More to the point, I didn't hear anything.  Something was certainly out there, and it was something the dogs didn't like. Have you heard the expression "that raised my hackles."  The dogs sure had their hackles raised last night. I went out this morning and looked around the tree line, but of course I didn't find anything. There are times when I miss the electric fence.

The day started out nicely, but it's already getting colder and overcast. We are told by the weather service to expect snow by tomorrow night.  I hope it doesn't kill off all the plants that are starting to bloom. There are new leaves sprouting on the deciduous trees, grass has started coming up in the meadow. It's supposed to get below freezing but perhaps it wont' be cold enough to hurt the new growth.

There's a Holly tree that grows next to my shop.  This morning I noticed that the chickens are roosting in the branches over the shop roof, and "pooping" on the shakes. That won't do. I guess I will have to go up in the tree and trim all those branches, not something I look forward to. More than once, I've considered getting a shotgun and conducting a chicken massacre. But I know my wife would notice they were missing and that would cause problems. Free range chickens are an unmitigated pain in the derriere, I may be glad I have them someday but right now I'm not.

Now that the weather is letting up, my wife and I are trying to work up the energy to make a trip down towards Atlanta. We could accommodate three or four more ferrets and the rescue down there needs to find homes for some of the ferrets that probably won't be adopted for varying reasons. I only have two ferrets now, and that's not enough for them to be happy. We could make a day trip of it, go to a mall to look around the first day, pick up the ferrets and come home the second.

It's hard to believe March is almost over.  Seems like it came and went awfully fast.  Part of that is due to the fact that I'm not going off the mountain much, and the days just merge into one long stream. Sitting here right now, I honestly don't remember the last time I went into town. I need to go in and at least see if any new magazines have come out that I want.

April is the month we usually go to Palm Coast for a week or so, but this year we decided to just stay home. We go in April because my wife has time off from work, it's their spring break.

This is where my wife thinks she would like to retire. She loves Palm Coast. There are all sorts of nice grocery stores, much nicer than ours here. There are shops, and little cafes.  You can sit on the balcony and watch the sun come up each morning.  That little building you see with the multicolored roof is the outdoor pool. Since I don't go out in salt water past my knees, that's a nice feature. It gets really hot there.

One thing I don't like is that you park under the building, then you ride the elevator up, then you have to haul all your stuff to the condo. When it's blazing hot, this can be somewhat taxing. I was just fooling around when this picture was taken but it really is a pain to go to so much trouble just to get into the  condominium with your gear.

I was trying to get the message across to my wife that hauling groceries and the like up to the one that belongs to our family was a big pain, but she was not amused .

This is what the building looks like from the beach.  Is that a hive, or not?

Still, the beach is nice.  Nobody is ever down there, and you can look for shells and such.  My wife likes to do that, she collects the shells and takes them home. Then after awhile I throw them in the woods. We have enough shells so she never notices.

The best thing about Palm Coast is the dawn.  This is the view from the condo balcony. When we are there, I never miss a dawn.

Oh, well.  Who knows where we will wind up.  I may convince her to stay here, or we may go to New Mexico. I think I have one more move left in me if I want to move.

Time will tell.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Survivalist Literature from the Old Days.

There are more survivalist oriented books out there now than a person could read in a life time. Some of them are pretty good, and others are frankly opportunistic attempts to take advantage of the growing interest in "preppers."

Back in "the earlies" , there was a small survivalist community which was generally ignored by the mainstream unless it was being made fun of.

Still, a lot of the literature put out by the adherents of self sufficiency was very good, and though the vast majority are long out of print, I've built up a collection of books by "the old guard" for my personal library here at home. I thought I'd just list a few of them, because people can still find copies of the majority of the books through Amazon or Barnes and Nobles on line.

Mel Tappan was a highly respected leading light of the survivalist life style. He was not a prolific author, but here are two of his best known books.

Because of it's age, this book is outdated to some extent. It's still a good read and there are things to be learned from it, particularly for the tyro.

A good basic book, which still has relevance decades after it was written.

Then there's Ragnar Benson (nom de plume)  who is still cranking out survival literature to this day as far as I know.  These are just a handful of his books.

   This book is concerned with concealing your weapons should the government start confiscating personal arms.  That's a constant threat to American's liberty. In my mind, registration equates to confiscation. First they find out who has what, then they pick it up.

If that seems far fetched to anyone, take a look at how the process worked in Australia and the U.K.

I think a lot of people would stash instead of turn over their weapons, but if Uncle Sugar knows you have them that becomes more difficult.  Benson's book has some very good information on how and where to hide arms, much of it based on the different resistance forces in World War 2.

If you have doctors in the family, as I'm lucky enough to do, then you might not need this type of book so much. I recently had a full fledged ER nurse join the group of individuals who will come up here if the fewmets hit the windmill.  So I feel pretty good about the medical care situation, especially since these folks helped me revamp my medical supplies and equipment requirements recently.

Even so, how can it hurt to have a book on innovative ways to handle medical emergencies? There are several of them out there, and Ragnar Benson's book is the oldest I know of. So, I have his book and I also bought the newer publications.

Once the balloon goes up, it will be too late to get these so I buy my references as the budget allows. I also make sure to have hard copies, not just digital copies.

  This is the companion volume to Ragnar's book of Detonators.

In essence, it's a compendium of field expedient explosives you can make using common household items.

Personally, I doubt I'll be using this one much. But then, none of us know quite what might occur in a collapse situation, or what we might have to deal with.

Better to have it, and not need it, than to need it, and not have it.

This book goes with Home and Recreational Use of Explosives like vodka goes with caviar. If you have one, you need to have the other.

  This is one of Ragnar Benson's best books. Very hard to find now, because for whatever reason not that many were published.

The parts that pertain to living in the country are the sections that interest me most, but if you live in an urban environment you can learn some things here.

I believe this was the first book by Benson I ever bought. It's been around a long time, and I don't think it has been reprinted. It's hard to find a picture of it, let alone the actual book. Still, I got mine from a used book dealer for very little money.  These old books are out there, and with a little patience you can find a copy in good shape that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

I do most of my own gunsmithing. My shop was originally built as a place for reloading and gunsmithing, because I wanted to be able to feed and maintain my weapons.

I have a lot of gunsmithing books that tell me how to fix this problem or that issue related to the type of weapons I have.  They are very detailed and are based on the assumption that you have at least the basic tools for gunsmithing.

However, Ragnar's book is oriented towards the individual who might have one or two weapons he relies on, and suddenly finds himself with a non-functional firearm. He doesn't expect the person in this situation to have a full wall of gunsmithing tools, just what you might have in your garage or tool shed.

This is another book that I had trouble finding but I have been  told it was reprinted in the last year or so. If that is so, now would be a good time to pick one up.

This book is a complimentary volume to the previous book on medical treatment. It's designed to tell you how to use common items from your kitchen or bathroom to treat medical issues. The book also makes some good suggestions on things you might want to keep stored away for a rainy day.

  I know a lot of people are trying to get out of suburban or urban areas , and get out to the country. If you are one of these folks, this is a book you want to read.

There's so much information in here that would be helpful in choosing a retreat site that I would need a full post to do justice to the book. In fact, if memory serves, I did do a full post on this a year or so ago.

Especially if you have never lived in the country, read this. It can save you so much heart ache and money down the road if you understand how a rural county works, who runs it, what the rules are about water, roads, mail delivery, law enforcement, medical facilities, etc.

Money well spent, but only if you are serious about going out the the mountains, the woods, the desert, or some other rural location.

Do you remember Paladin Press?  They used to publish a lot of books on how to do things that were frankly illegal. Ostensibly this was for recreational purposes but they finally came to grief when they published a book on how to be an assassin and somebody used it to plan a murder.

I think they are back in business now, but with a vastly reduced inventory.

My point is that this book tells you how to live in the underground economy, how to avoid trouble associated with doing so, etc.

But, and it's a big but, that's illegal in the eyes of the regime, and anathema to enforcement mechanisms like the IRS.
So, buyer beware.

  An interesting book with some good stories, not very many copies were ever published and unless you can find one used, you probably can't get it.

Let me say this though. Books are always being republished and I don't always pick up on the fact that something has just been released for the X printing.

If I wanted one of these, or any other book, the first thing I would do is run a search on Amazon or on Barnes and Nobles.  It's a hard book to find indeed that you can't turn up that way, either new or used. Paying for it may be a different matter, though. The harder a book is to find, the higher the price in most cases. However, some used book dealers will sell an old book for pennies just to generate sales statistics for their on line accounts, and sometimes you get some great bargains.

This is the last of Ragnar's books I want to put on this post, because it's getting too long. I've only touched on his books, and there are many, many more. The best way to find what's out there is just run a google search on Ragnar Benson Books.

I bought this book because of my kids, who live in a city up North. My plan is to get them out in the event of a disaster or collapse, and send them either North to Canada or South back down here. But Ragnar's Urban Survival also gave me some good ideas on things to pre-position up there, and on planning.

The last book I want to touch on in this post is not really a survivalist book. But it's full of useful information, despite the fact that it dates way back decades.  When it came out there was a great furor and the government made squeals about banning it, but they were never able to do so because of the Constitution. It's a useful addition to anyone's "uncertain future library" .

Monday, March 23, 2015

Apropos of nothing in particular, a strange tale from NBC news.

Booze as a barter item.


 Everybody who thinks about a potential "post crash" environment thinks about barter.  Some people put away a lot of gold and silver coins. I haven't invested heavily in that, because I'm not sure that in a time of scarcity, anybody would really want gold or silver.

I'm probably wrong, because from Rawles on down, most of the guru's say you should have some gold and silver on hand as it would retain it's value when people were using paper money to light their wood stoves.

Myself, I'm more inclined to believe that commodities people want and need would be a better bet.

In Alas Babylon , pre war booze was a big trade item.  I have a feeling it would be here too. Of course, no one can sell hard liquor in this part of North Georgia.  We have no bars, and it's only been in the last few years you could buy beer or wine.  You still have to go up to North Carolina to the state liquor store to buy the hard stuff.

When I was a young man, before I got married, I liked a good party.  When I met my wife in Naples, Italy I had a nice little villa on the beach. I equipped it with a bar, and I used to go to happy hour at the NATO officers club every Friday.  When the club bar closed down, I could usually find a few officers on temporary duty who had no where to go, and we'd go out to my place to carry on.  Since about half the officers on the staffs at AFSOUTH were women, female companionship was not a problem. Life was good.

Then I met my wife. She was the daughter of Southern Baptist missionaries  and was not at all interested in a house full of intoxicated people and loud music on Friday nights. Before we got married, there was a clear understanding that all that would stop. And so it did.

My bar got given away and replaced with a China cabinet.  But it was OK, I liked married life, was just out of my twenties and getting a bit long in the tooth for that kind of thing anyway.

So, though I might just take a drink now and then to this day, I do it discreetly and just one, never more. Technically I am not supposed to be doing that but everybody needs a little sin in their lives so I figure it's ok.

Down in one of the storerooms is quite a collection of good quality booze, and I add to it frequently. If the day comes I need to trade for items I'd like to have, I'll just have to find a trading partner with a  taste for good bourbon, or rye, or scotch, or tequila, or vodka, or .........

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spam Filter

I had a troll get through my elaborate filters. In looking at the set up to see how that happened, I found several perfectly fine comments trapped in there. I released them of course and they should have posted by now. If anyone ever leaves a comment and it doesn't post immediately please let me know. I don't use verification so when you hit post you should see your comment right away.

We look up at the stars at night and wonder....

  • Are we alone in the Universe?
  • Is there a God?
  • Why am I here?
  • Do magazine springs really set if you leave the magazine loaded for an extended period?

All these are weighty questions that deserve reflection, but I'm focusing on the last named today.

As all shooters know, the magazine is a critical part of any weapon. Detachable box magazines are found on most self defense weapons today, be it rifle or pistol.  Any problem with the magazine and the whole system may not function.

As long as I've been interested in firearms, which is back to the 50's, the question of spring set has been argued, pondered, and fought over. Doubtless people have worried about it since integral magazines using old steel leaf springs appeared.  It's a valid question, though.  A weapon is not very useful if it's not loaded.  You can leave a revolver loaded forever without ill effect , because the rounds sit in the rotating cylinder and there's no pressure on any springs.  But a weapon that uses a box magazine, when loaded, keeps the spring compressed and under pressure.

I'm working from memory here, but I think it was the mid 1990's that Guns and Ammo magazine hired a top flight German engineering firm to settle the question once and for all. That organization did tests, and their verdict was that spring set did not occur in modern magazines using modern steel springs. Adherents of that view also pointed to a famous incident in Holland that supported the German conclusion. In the 1990's, a row of old houses dating back to World War II was being demolished to make room for new housing in Holland. During the course of the demolition, a German MP-40 machine pistol was found in the wall of one of the buildings. It was fully loaded. So that magazine spring had been completely compressed for around 50 years. Before the weapon was taken to a museum, the Dutch police, out of curiosity, tried to fire it at a range. The MP-40 functioned flawlessly.  No spring set there.

On the other hand, there's the Ishapore 2 and Ishapore 2A to consider.  Those are the Indian "built from scratch" Enfield MK.III rifles in 7.62X51.  Those rifles saw a lot of service, both on the Chinese Indian frontier and as a transitional training weapon as India switched to the L1A1.  The Ishapore is notorious for failing to strip the last one or two rounds out of the magazine. The fix? Replace the magazine springs. This could be spring set, or it could be some design flaw with the original springs. No one knows for sure but it's curious.

Spring set matters to me because I have a lot of semi-auto weapons I keep loaded here. No children live anywhere near this place, and I keep weapons at different locations in the buildings, because I don't know where I will be when the need arises to have one to hand.  Right now, through long habit, I unload the magazines and switch out the magazines every month or so. I don't know if I am wasting my time or not. It's more of a safe than sorry thing. Magazines are expensive, and when I use a firearm I want it to function. So the ritual of swapping out mags continues at my place, even though logic would dictate it's a waste of time.