Monday, September 22, 2014

Fat Guys in the Woods

I yawn at most survival shows. But I discovered a show on of all places The Weather Channel. It's called "Fat Guys in the Woods". Don't let the name fool you. This is a good show. This show takes 3 guys out into the Smokey Mountains and Creek Stewart (a true survival expert) shows them how to survive out in the woods. They do take some modern tools, but not many.

I've picked up some interesting stuff from this guy. No BS, no nonsense. Just common sense. The show doesn't make fun of fat people. It takes people who are out of shape and shows them how to make a shelter (debris shelters), start fires with what's on hand, forage for food, hunt and make snares, dead traps. The object is to reconnect these people with nature and does a great job.

Here are some of the things I learned:

Take Paracord, strip out the fibers and weave a fish net.

Take the battery out of a flashlight and a gum wrapper, short out the battery and start a fire !?!?!?! I have to admit I never considered this myself.

How to get pitch from pine trees for starting fires.

Lots of good survival tips

A lot I knew already, but life is a learning experience. Even this old dog is open to learning new things. I highly recommend this no nonsense show. This Creek Steward knows his stuff. I have to admit, I respect this guy for his knowledge and skills.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Keeping preps

safe. I have a lot preps and have learned some thing about keeping them. I use my canned goods, even some long term stuff in #10 cans. It's good to rotate out old stock. But other stuff gets used like matches, dish detergent, hand sanitizer that gets used and replaced over time. It's good to put anything that gets wet in plastic zip bags. Anything that can get wet will get wet over time.

It's good to check stuff periodically to make sure stuff is still good., hasn't got wet or molded or hasn't been ruined. Even if has set in a bag for years. Good idea to check it periodically.

Some things last a long time. You really need to know the shelf life of things. Takes some work. Sugar and salt have a shelf life of just about fore ever. Unfortunely a lot of stuff goes bad in a short period of time. You can't buy it and expect it to be good in 10 years. Cooking oils last around two years. A bottle of bleach around 9 months. I could go on and on.

Rotate out old stuff. Don't want to have life depending on stuff that is out of date.

Which brings me to stuff out of date. I have some canned food about 1 year out of date. Do I chuck it ? No, it's good and I've eaten it and still here to talk about it. I get the bulk of my food from a Mennonite store out in the middle of nowhere. I've mentioned this before.

They sell surplus foods at a major discount. Some of the stuff is out of date. This does not mean it is bad, just past the "best by date". So I check the date before I buy. I have got a brain like a computer when it comes to buying or passing by food. Some stuff I avoid, some goes in the shopping cart. Most canned goods can go past the "best by Date" are still fine.

As long as the can is sealed. I am not advising anyone to buy "out of date" food, but it's your decision not mine. Just letting you know to use discretion.

Some Tips

Some of this you may know already, but some may be new. Take it as you will.

Baking soda and cream of tarter = baking powder. Baking powder last maybe 2 years and becomes useless. But kept separated until mixed will last nearly forever if keep dry.

1 teaspoon baking soda and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Bleach has a short shelf life, replace or find an alternative.

Keep wood starting tender in a plastic bag.

Soak cotton balls in Vaseline jelly to start fires

Pen ink dries out and paper yellows

Cheap electric coffee grinders make good whole wheat berry grinders

A campfire reflective oven is a cool item to add, biscuits and gravy will fill you up pretty good.


A Dutch oven is another great asset. But hard to backpack. But perfect for a base camp.

These are better for a base camp than to be backpacked. But could be. If I TSHTF I'd likely fall back into the woods further, setup a base camp. Use my TT as a "flytrap". It would likely attract "wanders" whom I could observe at a distance and deal with from a distance. The base camp would be more better fortified.

Used food cans tied to wire or mono filament make a great night alarm.

Smoke and cooking can attracted unwanted guests. I'll take a side trip here, when I was younger I loved hunting for arrow heads. The best place to find them was near creeks and rivers. Usually on a rise (hill). Native Americans built their camps on the top of hills because anyone attacking had to run up hill. That gave them a tactical advantage when stone axes and bow and flint tipped arrows where the high tech weapons of the time. It's an interesting concept to ponder.

Choose a site that is easy to defend. Has cover from snipers and makes any invader run up hill to get to you. Simple age old tactics still work. High powered rifles change the equation some, but can be compensated for. A good site factors in being shot from a distance, forces the enemy to come to you and adding traps to stop them is tactical. A ravine can be a good site, but heavy rains can ruin your camp. So study any base camp sites very carefully.

Hope you found some of the above stuff useful. Better to be ready than not.

This is likely my last post for awhile, I had the above written but never posted. But then again you never know with me, when the spirit moves me...

Saturday, September 20, 2014


I have been writing about survival for a long time. Lately not so much. I've never said TSHTF will happen. I have no crystal ball, if I did I'd be a lottery winner.

But I never rule it out either. I've been surviving all my life. I was lucky to have spent a lot of my misspent youth in the hills of Southern Ohio. I learned to fish, hunt and forage early in life. I was also lucky to have people who knew how to live in the woods teach me many things.

I survived Viet Nam and the ugly city streets and towns of America. Been in way too many fist fights and brawls. Survived it all so far. Spent time in jungles, deserts, mountains and my favorite, the woods. I am as comfortable in the woods as anywhere.

Hunted, fished and foraged many times to survive. So to me survival is just a part of everyday life. Not something special, just plain old daily living. Keeping extra food around is the rural way of life. City people has been conditioned to JIT (just in time) mentality. I am from before that time and remember when JIT became the new thing.

Now, many think some bad things are coming. A CME, EMP, economic collapse, or many other unpleasant possibilities that may be in the making. Can't say I don't see such possibilities myself and have prepared for such times.

Rather it happens or no remains to be seen. I don't hide under my bed and cry the sky is falling. But life has taught me pragmatism. Better to be ready for the unexpected than be caught with pants down around ankles. Just good old common sense. Something lacking in todays world it appears.

Bet your backside I got some preps. I live in the hills of the Ozarks. I am living in style. Got a TT (travel trailer) to live in, got Dish TV and Internet. All the comforts of home I need. But should I have to move further back into the hills, got all I need to make it. Have all I need to build a decent base camp and live in style.

Grid goes down, no problem. Got cast iron cooking implements galore, tent, sleeping bags that will keep me toasty down to -10 degrees. Axes, saws, Paracord, first aid kit with surgical stuff to stich up wounds, forceps to remove bullets, etc. Got a solar panel and a little solar battery charger ( a great little item) for my led lanterns, radio, flashlights, hand held spot light. I invested in rechargeable batteries. The up front cost is high, but I slap the batteries in my little solar charger, in a day of full sun I got charged batteries.

Got enough food to last me awhile but would set snares and traps, hunt, fish and forage to make it last from the on set of a real SHTF situation. So in terms of being prepped, I am far better off than most. Can defend myself as I have all the "right tools" for the job. I am not bragging, just telling it like it is. I take survival seriously.

I believe in being setup enough to survive whatever life throws at me and life loves throwing curves. Only pampered people and children don't understand hard times When you've been through as many hard times as I have, you set aside for a rainy day or TSHTF.

Am I not 100% prepared for the modern world being taken back a millennium ? Hell no one is and neither is anyone else except maybe the filthy rich. But if I had to survive, I would (as crippled up as I am).

Preps mean being ready. If I had to just go into the woods with a knife and my cane, it might not be so good. Might turn out pretty bad.

When I was younger not a problem, survived long periods of time away from "civilization". But age catches up to all of us. But with the right equipment and location, even an old cripple like me can survive if intelligence is applied. As long as I've got enough gear to make it awhile and can take my time.

One thing I hate about most "survival shows". If equipped well, not a problem. Just a knife makes it hard. Under pressure to immediately acquire food and water is a life threatening problem. Looks good on film, but if well setup to survive, not a great problem.

If you have a well setup base camp, enough food and water to hold you over and enough gear, surviving in the woods can be fairly easy. This give you time to hunt, fish, forage etc. Maybe even enough time to grow a garden.

I like this one show on the weather channel of all places. Fat guys in the woods. I must admit I picked up some stuff I didn't know. Stripping the fibers out of Paracord and weaving a fish net, impressed me. Never thought of it. Generally this show gets it right and I like it. Not one of these survive with just my bare hands put on shows.

Procrastination would kill off many in a SHTF situation. Waiting till the last minute to do what needs doing is what separates survivors from Sheeple. See it coming, be ready. Get what you need to survive. Make a list and check it 2 or 50 times. Be ready for the unexpected.

That's my take on being a life long survivor.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The right gun

For the job. In the military you learn to refer to your gun as a weapon, never a gun. But I've fallen out of the habit and calling them guns work for me. Everybody understands.

Each weapon has a specific job it will do. If you see something 500' away, a shotgun is useless. Not much good past about 150'. A handgun might work if it's the right one, but a rifle usually is better.

Bolt actions are great for hunting, in a battle situation a semi-auto is better. For hunting small game, the .22 is perfect.

While deer can be taken down with a .22, it's not really a good choice. A bigger round is better for bigger game.

When a group is charging your position, a pump shotgun beats a single shot shotgun every time.

I want to dispel some myths. Shooting something with a shotgun won't send it flying 20 feet backwards like in the movies. Hollywood and reality seldom meet.

I've shot coons before and had to go finish the job because the buck shot didn't hit it in a vital spot. The blast from a shotgun as we all know, spreads. But often will not be fatal immediately. I've had to go finish off a hit animal many times over the years.

This applies to a .45 and any other size round. I've shot things and had to use more than one round to finish them off. Not because I am a bad shot, but because sometimes you hit the wrong spot. Sometimes they drop instantly, others you got hunt them down to get the kill shot.

A moving target is hard to hit and demands skill. Shooting stationary targets is one thing, shooting a moving target get exponentially harder. Now I believe in "one shot one kill", but experience has taught me that this doesn't always work. Reality.

A long range shot can be a "one shot one kill" due to the element of surprise. Normally you have time to get the shot right. But when you are closer and being charged for instance, different story. Thus why many chose either a battle rifle, handgun or shotgun for closer up defense.

So one gun is never enough. An assortment is always better. Guns for the prepper are always a personal choice. I know people swear by the AR-15 or variants there of. I am not a fan. I'll take an AK-47 or variant there of. The AR-15 has one advantage, the rounds have a flat trajectory, meaning once properly sighted they are very accurate. The AK-47 needs to take trajectory into account and a mental calculation made.

But the AK-47 almost never jams. I have had M-16's jam too many times to trust them and would rather put my life in the hands of the AK-47, even if I have to mentally calculate the trajectory. A personal choice of mine.

I have 2 Mosin Nagants. Love them. Once you know how to shoot them, they are deadly accurate. I bought mine because they were dirt cheap. $69 for one and $89 for the other.

Even being 70 years old then Mosins shoot fine. It took awhile to understand the way to be accurate with them. The rounds raise at 300 feet about 4" and about 5" at 600 feet. Dead on at about 900 feet. So at 300 feet, shoot 4" below the target and at 600', 5". As simple as that.

So in summation, choose the right weapon for the job. No one weapon does it all.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The hillbilly way

My momma was a hillbilly and my daddy was a farm boy. Rural is in my blood. I maybe well eda-cated, but my roots are in the sticks, always have been, always will be.

I am not bad mouthing or making fun of hillbillys. Grew up around them and like them. Granted some are dumber than a rock like anybody else. But I've known many who where sharper than a scalpel also. Hill folk make do. While city people may bad mouth people who live in mobile homes, I see nothing wrong with it.

The hillbilly way is to make do. I've seen houses built around mobile homes and TT's. A guy down the road has a small TT and is talking about adding on a room. Hell been thinking on that myself for awhile. Make do. I'd love a cabin myself, but if I can't get one, I'll make do.

I am considering moving my TT (to get further away from the neighbor from hell AKA a filthy (d)). Might then build a porch and a room once I get all the roof leaks fixed, pesky RV's leak like sieves sometime, nature of the beast. But I make do.

Hillbilly Architecture is make do. Take what you got and do something with it. The hillbilly way may make yuppie trash laugh, but make do works for people who understand how to get by and survive out here in the sticks. My thoughts for the day...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Self Interest

Never under estimate the power of self interest. Watching my chickens and other animals, it's clear to me that to them the universe revolves around them. That's why they are called animals. Not smart enough to understand co-operation is beneficial to their survival. I throw out a piece a bread and they will fight over the last crumb. Animals don't share. Food is their $$$. All that matters to animals is that they get fed.

Apply the same to humans. I learned a long time ago that there are few people you can actually TRUST. Self interest rules human behavior. Often perverts the best interest of all.
Now what is supposed to separate humans from animals is that humans are supposed to understand the greater good and the bigger picture.

Looking at most of humanity these days, I'd say this is more a theory than something practiced. I am talking about were the world is headed.

Growing up more people understood the need for the greater good, now it appears we have degenerated more toward a dog eat dog world. Becoming more animalistic. I am not saying we are all the way there yet, but it appears that way too many are headed in that direction. Screw every body else as long as I get mine.

I am all for individualism and certainly practice self interest myself. You can maintain your individuality yet still practice principles beneficial to the greater good. When every one is the same, it's dog eat dog. Individuals think for themselves. Understanding that working for the greater good is a good thing. It's when you become just another rat on the ship, you let self interest rule and the common good be damned. That's my take on the subject.

I am talking metaphorically if you haven't figured it out. Some people are so literal minded they can't think beyond the simplistic concepts. I call them liberals who in reality aren't. Of course none of my readers are that way, but a caveat never hurts.

You can learn a lot from watching nature. Nature has it's own set of rules. Humankind yet another and often perverted.

The founders understood natural law. Human law is often just crappy nonsense tacked over natural law that ultimately is nothing more than self interest. Like chickens getting all the bread crumbs they can peck for the benefit of the few and not the many. Some human laws are good and necessary, way too many just plain BS. When laws pervert natural laws for the sake of the self interest of the few at the expense of the many, that's perversion....

Seeing everything through the lens of self interest is a good way to make sense of things.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cast Iron

Spent a lot of time outdoors and cooked a lot of food over open fire. Cast iron is a must. Flimsy pots and pans don't get it. While propane stoves and gas stoves are great, at some point you run out.

Finding fire wood in the woods is easy enough and can be had indefinitely. A good grate is good to have. A tripod to hang a pot over the fire is good. Dutch ovens can be hung from a cast iron tripod or buried.

Cast iron skillets are grate to have. I used to flip pancakes and pan bread. A properly kept cast iron skillet will last a life time as will other cast iron items.

Can't recommend cast iron enough. I often use mine on the Weber to make deep dish pizza. Cast iron is well worth the cost...