HomePosts Tagged "Prepping" (Page 39)


Now, more than ever before, people are starting to really consider the role technology will play in doomsday. As fantastic advancements are being made in the field everyday, and our reliance growing accordingly, it can be hard to imagine an apocalyptic situation without considering how our use of technical gadgets will affect it.

Technology seems to be something that splits most preppers down the middle. For some, stocking up on all the latest survival gadgets is an essential step to take to ensure preparation for potential apocalypse. For others, however, this very reliance on electronic equipment for survival is the actual catalyst for doomsday.

The Age Of Information

With new reports claiming that by 2020, an astounding 70% of the world’s population will own a smart phone. Statistics already show that at least 68% of Americans are regular internet users. It’s clear how widely spread our need for online access is.

You only have to consider the impact of suddenly losing the ability to browse to realize what a large amount of important information is stored virtually. In fact, a Canadian study showed that our constant searching to fact-check information has actually reduced our attention span and ability to commit information to our long-term memory. These are skills that are both essential to survive a doomsday scenario.

Immediately, it’s obvious why so many preppers are hesitant to put so much reliance on technology. Even gadgets that don’t require internet access are preventing us from developing useful survival skills that could significantly benefit us at a later date. Plus, if the power grid goes down, these supposedly handy tools are rendered immediately useless.



Norse – Real Time Cyber attack map. Amazing to watch.

Fortunately, due to its decentralized system, it’s highly unlikely that the internet will go down of its own accord any time soon. However, this doesn’t mean we’re perfectly safe. Cybercrime has been on the rise almost continuously over the last decade or so. We’ve already seen guerilla hacking groups take action against governments, economic giants and religious organizations, so worldwide internet shut down isn’t out of the question.

What technophobes fear is that an individual, organization or even warring government could develop a form of malware so complex that it causes irreversible damage before experts can even identify it. With sources claiming that the average American relies on 250 computers throughout a generic day to survive, it’s clear that an attack on a massive scale could bring about disaster in ways that further technology can’t help you with.

Technology as Security


Drone VR Camera with Night Vision

Despite the unhealthy reliance on such a potentially corruptible system, in many doomsday scenarios, technology could actually be an incredible help. Many preppers have already begun discussing the importance of adding a drone to their doomsday arsenal for increased surveillance and security. It’s undeniable that this video footage would be invaluable in terms of spotting attackers and, as those worried about governmental inference point out, they are so regularly used by those powers it would help to level the playing field.

Similarly, using software and technology to lock down your computers and devices is an essential practice to protect yourself from government surveillance.  Any prepper who is not using a Virtual Private Network to hide their online activity and stay anonymous online is asking for trouble from snooping governments and malicious hackers. As previously established, using technology is risky business. If you are going to partake in its use, then it’s essential to stay protected!

Technology As Communication


Small hand-held radios are an excellent option for Preppers. While not secure, they are better than nothing in a lot of cases.

One obvious advantage of having working technology during a doomsday event is being able to have a successful mode of communication. Whether this ends up being a fully functional smart phone or just a pack of walkie-talkies, having to means to stay in contact with those you aren’t directly with will make it easier to scope out potential dangers, get a better general idea of the situation, and find and ensure that loved ones are safe.

Determining on the catalyst for the disaster will decide what form of technology should be used. Obviously, cyberwarfare will immediately rule out smartphones, but mobile devices without internet connection may still function. If the satellites are targeted, or come down by accident, having sets of long-range walkie-talkies at the ready will be greatly beneficial to you and your family. Keeping a supply of all of these items is the best way to ensure you’re ready for literally anything that may strike.

Technology For Longevity

When talking about doomsday, many people put stringent considerations on the initial 24 hours, but fail to think about learn term survival tactics. Depending on the form of the apocalypse, you could easily be out of convenient supplies in a number of days. Similarly, all communal systems will probably collapse in a very short space of time. Due to this, stocking up on helpful gadgets to increase your longevity and potential survival time is an essential practice.


Anker 21W 2-Port USB Solar Charger

Simple things include solar power charging packs (you can buy them on backpacks so they charge while you walk) and compact water filters. You can also get waterproof solar fire starters to ensure you can cook food anywhere. As it’s likely that healthcare will quickly become completely inaccessible, carrying around basic medical devices could literally save lives if there’s an accident or emergency.

The role technology plays in doomsday will be highly dependent on the form of the disaster. While it could provide life saving tools to help you survive in some situations, in others it will be rendered almost immediately useless. Due to this, the best tactic by far is to understand to repercussions of each expected form of apocalypse and what they will each require and stock up on all the gadgets you can afford. Yet don’t be hesitant to leave them behind as soon as they’re doing nothing more than weighing you down!

We’ve mentioned some of the most essential doomsday gadgets on this list, but there’s many more available. If you know of any others then be sure the leave a comment below and share your ideas with others! Also leave a comment if you’d like to continue the discussion on what role technology could play when disaster strikes.

  Now, more than ever before, people are starting to really consider the role technology will play in doomsday. As fantastic advancements are being made in the field everyday, and our


Threat Levels

The threat levels below are courtesy of Jeff Cooper. Mr. Copper is known as the father of modern handgun technique. Mr. Cooper developed 4 levels of situational awareness commonly known as the Cooper Color Code.

White – Unaware and unprepared

Condition White or threat level white is the lowest we have in terms of urgency. Condition White means everything is OK and you don’t have anything to worry about. It is often used to describe people who seem oblivious to our current economic peril or the intrusiveness of government. When someone is looking at things from a Condition White standpoint, they think nothing is wrong and there is no cause for alarm. Move along folks, nothing to see here. This is also the level most people are in for vegging around the house watching a movie.

Yellow – Relaxed alert

Condition Yellow is a more proactive approach to the possibility of danger. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad will happen, but awareness is elevated and a more defensive posture has to be assumed in order to be ready for any potential threat. You can stay in a Condition Yellow for a long time without becoming fatigued. This is easily translated to being very attentive while driving for example. You are alert, but not freaked out and can readily anticipate the actions of the other drivers ahead of you.

Orange – Specific alert

In a condition orange your radar is up and you are prepared for something to happen. If you have ever been in a situation and watched two people right before a fight you know what this is. You are aware that you may have to take action at any moment.

Red – Fight

Condition Red means an attack is imminent. You have either knowledge of or can visually see a threat approaching and must prepare to act. This is when the trigger gets pulled.

How do we begin to put these concepts into action in our lives? All of us are constantly engaged in various levels of situational awareness most of our waking day. From the moment you wake up, to the time you finally drift off to sleep you are paying various degrees of attention to what is going on in your surroundings. This concept applies primarily to your immediate vicinity, but could also be expanded to your city, region, state, country and now with the threat of Korea, the world. For most of this article, I am going to focus on your immediate environment because I see the greatest capacity for immediate harm to you and your group by losing sight of what is going to impact you with the most urgency.

For your immediate Situational Awareness we have to start with you and what you are paying attention to. How distracted are you at any given moment? There are funny examples and more deadly examples of how something bad could have been averted if people were simply paying attention.

Cultural Liabilities

We lead very distracted lives now. If you don’t believe me, you are either in total denial or are living very far away from the rest of us. We have 24 hour news, movies that we can download and stream to our phones, smartphones with applications that require constant attention and a never-ceasing craving for information or stimuli for various reasons and rationale. Everyone has to update their Twitter or Facebook status, share photos with their friends and play games. This leads to people commenting on the most mundane minutia in life just to have something to say and focusing more on their phones than the world around them. If you have children of a certain age, they are probably involved in at least two weekly extracurricular activities which they need to be driven to and require practice usually with a DVD to keep them pacified.  Advertisements bombard us in every conceivable place vying for our attention.

The social norm is to “be connected” but there seems to be in my mind, less actual connection with anyone. Just go out to any place and watch a group of kids interacting for any amount of time and I would bet $50 that there won’t be a 5 minute time span when one or more of them isn’t staring at their phone. This doesn’t only apply to kids; adults now are just as bad. I go out to dinner with people I work with or friends and the phones all come out.

More and more people I see are listening to music also with big headphones everywhere. They can be in an airport, walking down the street or even in their car. I love music as much as the next person, but how aware of what is going on around you can you be if you are thumping music really loud into your headphones? How can you see any threats coming if you are staring at your phone?

Action Plan Simulations

Situational Awareness could save your life and doesn’t cost a single penny. You don’t need extensive military training to become an expert. All you need to do to is drop whatever it is you are looking at and start paying attention. I have a smart phone, so I am not perfect at this, but there are times and places where my phone doesn’t leave my pocket. Why? Because I need to be focusing on what is going on around me.

When you are out in public, try going for an hour without looking at your phone to start with. Instead, observe your surroundings. Who is near you and who is walking toward you? Does anything seem suspicious? If something were to happen, what would you do and where would you go. Do you know the quickest way to get out if needed? Can you access your concealed weapon if you need to? Imagine what you would do if you were out at a mall with your family and someone started shooting. Where would you take cover? What would be your escape route? What if that was blocked?

Finding the right level of awareness for the situation is critical though as we can’t stay on high alert at all times. For most situations, I would recommend yellow or caution but that can be dialed up or down as required. An article at Strafor has a good explanation of this reasoning.

It is critical to stress here that situational awareness does not mean being paranoid or obsessively concerned about your security. It does not mean living with the irrational expectation that there is a dangerous criminal lurking behind every bush. In fact, people simply cannot operate in a state of focused awareness for extended periods, and high alert can be maintained only for very brief periods before exhaustion sets in. The “flight or fight” response can be very helpful if it can be controlled. When it gets out of control, however, a constant stream of adrenaline and stress is simply not healthy for the body or the mind. When people are constantly paranoid, they become mentally and physically burned out. Not only is this dangerous to physical and mental health, but security also suffers because it is very hard to be aware of your surroundings when you are a complete basket case. Therefore, operating constantly in a state of high alert is not the answer, nor is operating for prolonged periods in a state of focused alert, which can also be overly demanding and completely enervating. This is the process that results in alert fatigue. The human body was simply not designed to operate under constant stress. People (even highly skilled operators) require time to rest and recover.

Because of this, the basic level of situational awareness that should be practiced most of the time is relaxed awareness, a state of mind that can be maintained indefinitely without all the stress and fatigue associated with focused awareness or high alert. Relaxed awareness is not tiring, and it allows you to enjoy life while rewarding you with an effective level of personal security. When you are in an area where there is potential danger (which, by definition, is almost anywhere), you should go through most of your day in a state of relaxed awareness. Then if you spot something out of the ordinary that could be a potential threat, you can “dial yourself up” to a state of focused awareness and take a careful look at that potential threat (and also look for others in the area).


Practice makes perfect

Even if we are never in a grid-down, zombie apocalypse, the world we live in demands us to remain focused and diligent if we are going to be truly prepared. You won’t be able to protect all of these people you have been planning for years for if you are hit by a bus crossing the street. The same is true if you are involved in some terrorist attack or lunatic at a school. Maintaining situational awareness can save your life and the lives of others around you and we owe it to everyone to try to do what we can to foresee danger first and deal with it second.

  Many of you reading this now have at least a vague concept of Situational Awareness. For those who don’t, Situational Awareness means slightly different things based upon who you ask,


People have been saying the US is on course for an economic collapse for years; however, many of them have no formal education in economics, and almost all gain financially from promoting stuff that would help others weather such a calamity.  I decided to research the opinions and publications of economists who were ideologically centered, were not benefiting financially, and understood the country’s true fiscal condition, and tried to provide an estimate of the most likely future economic situation of the US.  The future does not look bright.  Several economists anticipate the US will default on its debt if the country does not change its fiscal policies.

Two major factors are driving this conclusion.  The first is the size of the US debt.  According to economists, the government has been misleading the public on the size of the debt through poor accounting practices and using misleading terminology in certain fiscal activities.  In 2013 the debt was at least 91 trillion.

The second factor is that the US will never be able to repay the staggering debt because of changing demographics.  The American population is aging, and most economists agree this will have a deleterious effect on the economy.  Decades of abortion and birth control is resulting in increasingly smaller numbers of working age people.  Consequently, the government will collect much less revenue from income taxes.  Meanwhile, the dependence on the government for medical care and Social Security will continue to grow.  Most other developed countries are in the same situation – staggering debt and decreasing numbers of working age people.  If the US significantly defaults on its sovereign debt, a worldwide depression is very possible since national economies of the modern world are complexly interconnected.  Regardless if the US defaults or not though, we can expect higher taxation, loss of government services, higher inflation, and slower future economic growth.  In my estimation, the best way to prepare for all this will be for people manage their finances so they can pay their bills and survive with income from minimum wage jobs.  The future economy of the US is almost guaranteed to be poor.


Empty shelves in Mexico

How bad is the risk of economic collapse?

Highly respected financial experts agree that the US is far deeper in debt than what the government officially reports.  In Feb 2015, Dr Laurence Kotlikoff, an economics professor from Brown University and former senior economist on President Reagan’s council of economic advisors, testified to the Senate Budget Committee that US debt is far greater than the government’s official tally, and the government has deliberately misled the public about the real size of it for years.  He testified that the government had been using Enron style accounting and misleading semantics to mask the size.  According to Kotlikoff, the government’s current 20 trillion debt is only a fraction of its fiscal obligations.  It represents the amount of money the government has borrowed only.  It does not account for other current and future obligations the government must pay such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, government pensions, and other expenses.

According to Kotlikoff, the fiscal gap between what the government must pay both now and in the future and what the government is projected to collect in taxes and other financial means amounts to 210 trillion.  He also spoke at length about how the government uses semantics to mask borrowing.  He used Social Security funding as one example.  The government does not term transferring Social Security funds from current taxpayers to pay current retirees as borrowing; however, this has the same effects economically as any other type of borrowing.  The government will have to repay current taxpayers when they retire and become entitled to Social Security.  According to Kotlikoff, if the government were to re-label this and other transfer of funds as borrowing, then the government would have to report the debt to be 210 trillion.  Most Americans are unaware of this, yet they will pay a cost for these financial obligations irrespective of whatever terminology the government uses.

Another economics expert, Jangadeesh Gokhale, conducted research on this independent of Kotlikoff, and his conclusion supports Kotlikoff’s argument; however, Gokhale came to a more modest estimate of the debt size.  Gokhale, a former senior economic advisor to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and member of the US Social Security Advisory Board, conducted an analysis in 2013 and estimated the real size of the debt to be 91 trillion.  Kotlikoff and Gokhale came to vastly different numbers because of different baseline assumptions, different datasets, and different fiscal projection time frames.  The public fiscal liability is far larger than what the government has led us to believe.


Jeffrey Hummel, an economics and history professor from San Hosea State University, argued in 2012 that the government would default on its debt as a result of this.  In a publication in Econ Journal Watch, Hummel argues that regardless if the debt is 79 trillion (Gokhale’s and Smetter’s 2006 estimate) or 210 trillion, the most likely outcome is that the government will be forced default on its debt.  According to Hummel, there are two obstacles currently preventing the calamity.  The first is the ability of payroll taxes to fund Social Security and health care programs (Medicare Part A).  When the trust funds for these programs are deleted and payroll taxes can no longer fund them, the government will have to obtain money from other areas.   Hummel believes that at this point, investors will begin to require a risk premium on Treasury Bills, and the cost for the US government to borrow money will increase.  This will exacerbate the government’s financial situation and cause investors to require even more risk premium.  The second obstacle is between currency and debt repayment.  Hummel believes the government will allow inflation to depreciate the value of currency until it reaches a tipping point when the government will have to choose between allowing currency become almost worthless and defaulting on its debt.  Hummel believes the US will choose to default.  Part of his reasoning comes from history.  Hummel suggests America will do what the former Soviet Union did in the 1990s which was to choose a partial repudiation of its debt.  Hummel argues that the default will be rapid when the US reaches its tipping point – very much like the speed at which the Soviet Union defaulted.  There are other factors which could cause a tipping point; however, these are Hummel’s two prime ones.  He estimates that the default will happen sometime within the next two decades.  A pessimistic view is that health care program funds will be depleted as soon as 2017, and the tipping point could be reached then.

Publications and opinions from other economists support Hummel’s contention.  Gokhale supports this conclusion in his monograph, The Government Debt Iceberg.  In the forward to it, Phillip Booth, the Program Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs, states that if no adjustments to the current fiscal situation are made, then “sovereign defaults on explicit (Treasury) debt and implicit pension liabilities must ensue.”  Kotlikoff testified that to prevent the default, the government must immediately and permanently raise income taxes by 60% or cut spending by 40%.  Most would agree this is politically unimaginable. Consequently, Kotlikoff believes that it is not a question of if the system will collapse but when.  The idea that the US will default on its debt comes from several well-respected economists.

What would a default mean?

It is safe to say that a significant default on the explicit (Treasury) debt, which currently stands at 20 trillion, would have severe repercussions throughout every aspect of the US economy.   A few years ago, Congress threatened to allow the government to default rather than raise the debt ceiling, and news agencies interviewed financial experts to find out what effect this would have on the economy.  Bloomberg News interviewed dozens of money managers, economists, bankers, traders, and government officials in an attempt to answer to this, and most saw a US default as a financial Armageddon which would very possibly result in a worldwide depression.  NBC News interviewed financial experts and identified seven likely consequences to a default on government debt.  The first and worst consequence would be a worldwide depression and unemployment as financial shock-waves spread through the economy.  Second, there would be a massive sell-off of the dollar causing prices to rise on everything from groceries to gas.  Interest rates would rise and decrease the ability to borrow.  Third, US equities would lose value causing 401k values to drop.  Fourth, Social Security payments would cease.  The fifth impact is banks would freeze operations.  According to NBC News, trillions in bank equity would be wiped out.  Banks would not roll over loans and would demand immediate loan repayments.  Since most small businesses pay their employees with rotating credit, many would not be able to retain their employees.  Sixth, Money Market funds would lose billions of dollars.  Every Money Market fund would be impacted.  And seventh, the global markets would see major disruptions.  Simon Johnson, former chief economist for the IMF, believes that no company in the US would be unaffected by a default.  In an article in Slate, he wrote that the country would see massive unemployment and bank runs along with depleted savings and refusal to issue credit.  Typically, news agencies try to dramatize news in order to attract viewers, and these opinions may be exaggerated.  Even if they are only half-true, a default would be devastating.  It would be a calamity.


The main reason the government will not be able to repay its debt is due to changing demographics in America as well as the rest of the developed world.  America’s population is aging and there will be fewer working age people in coming years to support the older population.  Since the development of the birth control pill and other modern means of contraception as well as legalization of abortion in the developed world, the number of younger people has declined.  Normal age demographic distributions resemble a pyramid.  The bottom of the pyramid is large and represents the numbers of very young people.  The top represents numbers of elderly people, and it is small because as age increases there are fewer elderly.  For the first time in human history, the demographic is shifting to an upside down pyramid where there are fewer young people at the bottom and larger numbers of elderly at the top.   This holds true not only for America but China, Russia, Japan and most European countries as well.  All developed countries’ populations are aging.   Economists are not certain how this will affect economies since there are no historical precedents.  The general belief is that it will slow growth.  Of course, with the increase in elderly people there will be an increase in the number of people dependent on Medicare and Medicaid which will further drain government resources and deter its ability to repay its debt.  Depopulation will be a major factor in our coming economic demise.

There are a few people who make counter-arguments; however, they are weak.  One economist, Scott Sumner, does not disagree with Kotlikoff’s contention on the size of the debt, but he disagrees with Kotlikoff’s view that the country is broke.  He makes the point that if the country were broke, the bond markets would have reacted negatively.  He further makes the case that the courts have allowed the government to scale back the amount in Social Security payments, and suggests the government will do the same for this and other benefits.  The problem with this position is that it does not consider the political power of the elderly.  Currently, AARP represents and lobbies for about 50 million elderly people.  Sumner makes an implicit assumption that there will be a younger population of taxpayers to fund the needs of the older generations.  Another counter argument comes from Clem Chambers who is a writer, entrepreneur, and businessman.  In an article in Forbes titled “Why Doomsters Who Predict the Collapse of Money are Wrong,” Chambers contends that the government will simply maintain inflation to reduce debt.  His analysis is oversimplified and does not take into account many variables especially the depopulation factors and actual debt size.  He provides no supporting data or mathematical model to prove his conclusion.  He does not have any formal training in economics, and there are no economists that agree with his view.  For Chambers, the answer is blistering simple – just let inflation eat away the value of the debt.  Hummel believes that inflation will no more reduce the debt than an excise tax on chewing gum.  Chambers appears to simply have dismissed the argument of collapse without applying much analysis.  Another dissenting opinion comes from Joel Naroff, an economist from Naroff Economic Advisors.  In an Oct 2015 interview with Consumer Affairs reporter Mark Huffman, he stated that “consumers are spending, firms that supply into the U.S. based economy are generally doing well and with wages rising and energy costs low, consumption should remain solid for all of 2016.”  This was in response to questions about any coming economic collapse.  He was speaking about the current and near-term US economy however.  He didn’t address debt or depopulation in any of his statements.  There are few, if any, counter-arguments which include depopulation or the 91 trillion debt in their analysis.


So what will the future be like?

All economists agree that no one really knows, but there is strong probability of a few things.  We can expect high inflation.  Governments create inflation when they print more money to pay down debt.  Both Kotlikoff and Hummel agree that the government will not be able to significantly repay debt through inflation.  Hyperinflation is not likely.  Hyperinflation historically has been the result of a combination of a sudden expansion of the money supply and a weak central government which cannot collect taxes or make budgetary reforms.  It is associated with war, deep civil unrest and civil war.  The US government certainly has no problems collecting taxes, and there are no economists currently predicting hyperinflation; however, Kotlikoff commented in a television interview that the groundwork prepared for it.  We can expect increased taxation to pay for entitlements.  It is very possible we will see wealth taxes.  With reduced working age people, the government will seek to replace the loss of income tax revenue with another form of taxation. The government will likely increase taxes on IRA withdrawals.  We can expect fewer jobs because as the number of consumers decreases, the more businesses will fail.  According to Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, two economics professors from Harvard, economic growth slows down an average of 1% when debt of countries with advanced economies reaches 90% of GDP.  The US is projected to reach 100% shortly after 2020.  This is probably a factor in the poor performance of the US economy in recent years.  Another factor affecting the economy will be the decrease in corporate investing.  Many people will move 401K investments out of riskier stocks and into money market accounts as they get older.  We can expect cuts in government services and loss of government jobs.  According to Rebecca Valenzuela, an Australian economist, there will be fewer goods since there will be fewer workers to produce them.  She argues that this will result in people having to stop consuming certain goods and services.  We can also very likely expect the government “official” debt to rise regardless of which political party controls the government.  The poor economic conditions and depopulation will prevent the government from raising the necessary funds to support the growing numbers of elderly dependent on government assistance.  The government will need therefore continue to borrow money.  The future will have numerous economic problems.

So how do you prepare for economic collapse?

In my opinion you have to be financially capable to live on a minimum wage job.  You have to be able to survive if you lose your job and can’t find anything better than a minimum wage job.  If you find yourself living under a bridge and foraging for food in the woods, it will most likely be because you lost your job and couldn’t make ends meet and pay your rent, mortgage, or property taxes with a job that pays $8.00/hr.   If you are able to get by on so little, then you will weather the coming economic storm better than those who are living above their means and lose their jobs.  It would be wise to reduce your personal debt.  It would eliminate concern about creditors repossessing your property.  It will give you more ability to apply money towards other things.  Relocating to a part of the country with a strong and diverse economy would be optimal.  Diversity is important because when one financial sector is doing poor, another is usually doing well.  You can further reduce your need for income by growing your own food.  I would liquidate your IRA.  I don’t think they will be there after economic chaos, inflation, and taxation ruin them.  My wife and I liquidated our IRAs and applied the funds against our mortgage.  Property, like precious metals, will keep value.  I would be prepared to have family members move in with you.  They will need help and may be able to provide help in weathering the storm.  I think the most important prep will be to pray for God to guide you in your efforts to prepare for whatever calamity the future holds.  God knows what is coming and what you will need, and I think He will guide and assist if you ask.  These are the things I recommend to prepare for the coming demise.


Kotlikoff testimony: http://www.kotlikoff.net/sites/default/files/Kotlikoffbudgetcom2-25-2015.pdf

Gokhale Monograph: http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/files/Gokhale-Interactive-PDF.pdf

Hummel monograph: http://econjwatch.org/articles/some-possible-consequences-of-a-us-government-default

Bloomberg article on default: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-10-07/a-u-s-default-seen-as-catastrophe-dwarfing-lehman-s-fall

Simon Johnson’s Slate article: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/project_syndicate/2011/07/what_if_the_government_defaults.html

NBC News default article: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/whats-worst-could-happen-7-debt-default-doomsday-scenarios-8c11366851

Economics on ageing population: https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/8950/society/impact-ageing-population-economy/

Economics of ageing population: http://www.economist.com/node/18651512

  People have been saying the US is on course for an economic collapse for years; however, many of them have no formal education in economics, and almost all gain financially

In small-space gardens, especially those with limited full sun in the first place, we sometimes feel like we have no choices. It doesn’t have to be that way and there are plenty of crop rotation solutions for even small spaces in your garden.

One of the most efficient systems for growing in small spaces are keyhole gardens. Sometimes they’re individuals, sometimes they’re nestled into a system that forms a mandala, and sometimes they’re surrounded by perennials and other beds, much like a pottager garden. The advantage to a keyhole garden is that it closes the gaps between beds and creates a lot more growing space compared to traditional rows, separated beds, and even those pretty pottagers. The downside, however, is that with limited space, sometimes we feel limited in not only what we can grow, but where we can put them. That puts a pretty serious damper on our crop rotations.

The “pizza” garden rotation plan that was mentioned in the first crop rotation article is scaleable. The author lists two – an eighty-foot and a forty-foot diameter that results in whopping 1K-4K square feet of growing space. That could easily be reduced further, but there are some additional factors – like shading – that crop up as we work with small spaces.

Do the rotations matter as much in such small beds?

Because small beds are typically going to be more diverse, with more plants making close contact with each other, we gain “edge” diversity. Just like we find a ton of game and foragable foods at the edges and margins – where rivers slow, where fields meet woods, where the forest is broken by streams – having multiple types of plants in a space creates lots of niche habitat for the microbes.

That soil biology does even better because we typically don’t till our E-shaped and C-shaped raised beds to the same degree we do in-ground and straight beds. The intact soil biology matters. It’s the microbes that let legumes produce excess nitrogen to leave behind, and the microbes that cycle compost into available nutrients. If we practice good culture like seasonal or year-round mulching that prevents compaction, we don’t have to restart the process every spring.


Healthy soil makes healthy plants. Healthy plants shrug off pests and diseases better.

Even so, the individual plots do start harboring sweet spots for diseases and pests. I once read an author who pointed out that if a cabbage beetle larvae wakes up and finds itself two feet from a patch of kale, it’s just as happy as if you’d planted beets right on top of him again. Same goes for some common corn and tomato-potato pests, and a whole lot of pests that like to eat our brassicas (collards, beets, broccoli). We can restrict ourselves to the brassicas like mustard and upland cress that those pests don’t like, or we can figure out ways to rotate our garden space, put disruptive crops and companions between them, and still have turnips year to year, even with shade-casting plants.

Big plants in small spaces – Why bother?

Square Foot Gardening: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space

Small space growers have been turning patios, porches, and decks into bumper crops of veggies for years. Cuba’s oil crisis makes an excellent study of the impact urban growers can have. It’s not just the cut-and-come-again herbs and greens, or things that give a lot of bang for the buck even with just one or two plants, like summer squash and tomatoes. We now have OP sweet corn and popcorn bantams that produce in 65-75 days and are happy growing in a washtub, storage tote, or filing cabinet drawer.

Will those make an enormous impact on today’s diet? Not so much. But they do allow a small-space grower to keep a fresh seed supply going, learn exactly what pests they’re fighting, and be better prepared, even if there’s still a big learning curve after a disaster when they jump into currently lawn-covered dirt.

Remember, not all crises are created equal. Cuba and Argentina are excellent examples where there was a for-real, shopping-stoppage disaster without a complete breakdown of life as we all know it. The Great Depression is another. Victory Gardens here and in the U.K., and the British Ministry of Agriculture’s response to World War II are other excellent examples.

Today’s city dweller or suburbanite may very well be learning ahead of time, so that when it becomes not only acceptable but encouraged to plant in the space between sidewalks and parking lots, they’re ready. They may also be trying to save money for that perfect retreat location, but be practicing now so they recognize pests and nutrient and water problems right away when they do have a big space.


A small-space grower might also be working 50-60 hour work weeks, making time for family, and be learning other skills to benefit their 10-20-120 acres. They can’t handle 500-1K-5K square feet of veggies and staples right now. When the time comes, they will bust out their cultivators and be better prepared since they have an established line of crop seeds – propagated for years, proven stock that works well with their exact climate.

There are lots of reasons to be growing in a small space and to be growing no matter where we live. However, those small spaces do sometimes present some challenges, especially with crop rotation.

Small-bed challenge – tall plants & big plants

When we lay out our gardens, the goal is generally to keep tall plants from shading small plants. This means the back-north of our bed is somewhat limited to corn and tomatoes most of the time.

Corn and tomatoes do not give us a great many options in our crop rotations.

It would also be pretty sweet if we didn’t have to devote quite as much space to sweet potatoes and zucchini to keep them from choking-out everything in their path.

Happily, these two problems go hand-in-hand with a solution: we avail ourselves of trellises.


We could make trellies and cutesy wigwams from Lowes material. Or we can start looking at other people’s trash in a new light, buy ourselves some garden-friendly paint, and find a child (or fake one, I don’t care) to cover up our seat-removed chairs, DVD racks, deconstructed dog kennels, and mattress box springs with thumbprint butterflies and handprint flowers so our spouses and neighbors have to grumble a little more quietly or find themselves accused of being both environment-killing disposable-world dirtbags and heartless child haters.

So how do we apply our neighbor/spouse-dodging trellie? We add to our list of “tall” plants for the back of the bed.

Now we have corn, tomatoes, cukes and summer squashes that we’re going to cut small, eggplant and autumn squashes and melons that we can suspend in mesh or pantyhose or t-shirts, Malabar spinach, any pole or vining bean that will happily climb, and peas. We can trellis sweet potatoes, too, although we have to dedicate weekly time to encouraging it up instead of out (zig-zagging line around it).

Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space

Since peas, some tomatoes, our big basil plants, and our summer squashes are either a little shorter or a little looser, we can even pack them in front of some of our more shade-tolerant varieties like Malabar and things like Chinese yardlong beans that grow up-up before they bush out, and won’t be affected by shade at the 3-4’ level. We can also stick looser-branching things we can train wide like cucumbers up on a lower trellis in front of our corn once the corn is well established.

If our spouses won’t bury us in the bed, we can make canted pot towers, stacked bucket towers, or soda bottle towers for strawberries, lettuces, spinach, herbs, onions, chickweed, strawberry spinach, and edible/companion flowers to intersperse as our “tall” rotation. Some of them aren’t going to do so hot behind bushy corn or tomatoes, but pruned tomatoes and the lower or looser squashes will be fine.

Growing vertically doesn’t only expand the rotation options by giving us more tall plants for our northern and dawn-or-dusk sections, it can actually increase the total yield of our small space. We need to compost and drop tea bags and coffee right on the surface through the season (you can get free coffee grounds at Starbucks and McD’s), and we will need to water more. Still, we can further decrease our grocery bills and increase our seed stocks doing so.

And we don’t have to spend a fortune or eons doing it.

Small space rotation challenge – succession planting

One of the other key issues with small plots is succession planting. We might still stagger planting for staggered harvests, but the space for that is a little more limited. However, big or small, we like to rush right out there and get our nails dirty again at the end of winter. When we’re dining off limp dehydrated and canned foods and spoonable wheat, corn, rice and beans, the crunch of romaine, Napa and radishes and the roast-and-stab appeal of a 40-60 day turnip is going to be even bigger.freestanding-pallet-planter

The problem? Three of those four examples – and other cool crops like kale and beets – are brassicas. Brassicas have two soil-borne diseases, soil-hatching leaf-eating larvae, and some aerial threats that inherit the memory of where the buffet is laid out. If we’re not rotating our brassicas, we start losing them to pests and disease.

What’s not a brassica? Spinach and chard, a lot of the lettuces, radicchio – so there are some options.

We can congestion plant marigolds and nasturtiums to help combat brassica pests. That’s not a marigold between every other plant. That’s a blanket of marigolds that we dot with cabbages. The marigolds work not even so much for this year, but more like legumes and nitrogen-fixation – they leave behind things that benefit other plants, in this case, limiting soil pests for future brassicas.

Our soda-bottle towers can help us here, too. We can also make ladders of bottles, bread pans, or storage totes to grow larger cabbages, root brassicas, and kale in, then compost that soil, microwave or bake that soil, or rotate that soil to herbs and flowers the next year to prevent a beetle’s sauerkraut-killing children from just leaping out and eating our stuff again.

That leaves us with most things like broccoli and Brussel sprouts that truly take up a footprint in our beds. And since we now have a wealth of things that can be about the same height like peas, beans, squash, and sweet potatoes that we can rotate with them, that’s just not a very big deal anymore.


Peas and beans will share some pests, too, but usually, in tight beds full of diversity, that stops being as much of a problem. With rich soil, we can throw away the companion planting “bad buds” myth of peas and onions, which means our alliums help fight off those pests along with our marigolds, alyssum, and nasturtium.

So, again, the high diversity in our small spaces, keyhole, mandala, or E-shaped beds helps us.

Rotations in miniaturehorizontal-bottle-tower

With all the options available to us as Craigslist hunters and internet gatherers, even small space growers can be very successful, not only in yield but in the rotation systems that build and protect soil, and make future yields just as successful. We can increase our options by including edible and medicinal annual flowers and herbs. We can further increase our rotation options with tiered containers of perennials like strawberry, thyme, and chives — which we can pack into the “keyhole” slots or the walkways between raised beds and cover for the winter.

We’ll be more successful if we adopt rotation systems, regardless of our scale. We can save money on soil and plant treatments and sometimes on our fertilizers by doing so, allowing increases in budgets for other preparedness goals. We can limit some of the amendments and treatments we have to make room to stockpile.

We might find some joy in a garden that’s not making us pull our hair out with a new problem every week. Importantly, we’ll be more familiar with crop rotation systems should a time arise that we must increase our food production.

When we look at things differently and don’t handcuff ourselves because of our space, bodies, budgets or time when we start seeing challenge-solution situations instead of problems, we set ourselves up for success – not only in gardening efficiently and effectively but in every aspect of our lives.

In small-space gardens, especially those with limited full sun in the first place, we sometimes feel like we have no choices. It doesn’t have to be that way and there

For many; the not too distant events in Ferguson are the first thoughts that come to mind when you mention the word looting. Looting in some circles is what you do apparently when there is an opportunity to steal and occasionally destroy with relative impunity. For some people, looting is appropriate after your team loses a sports event like the 2011 Vancouver riots or wins one as in the case of the San Francisco riots of 2014. The most likely place to see unabashed looting appears to be after a natural disaster like the looting reported immediately following hurricanes Katrina and more recently Sandy. Even before the Sandy storm had subsided, wannabe criminals were taking to Twitter to announce their looting plans. To be fair, our country isn’t the only one engaging in behavior like this during a crisis, as the recent hurricane in Cabo San Lucas showed.

Whatever the motivation, looting is wrong in my opinion and if it were happening to you, I am sure you would agree. There are some professionals (lawyers naturally)who have tried to justify looting in the context of a natural disaster by obliquely saying property rights are suspended and as such the looters aren’t technically stealing from anyone. Property without an owner needs to be redistributed. The example is when you leave your home because an impending hurricane, the property is no longer in your possession so it is fair game.

Isn’t that special?

But consider for a moment, a real collapse, not your garden variety incident that provokes the theft of TV’s, shoes, jewelry and clothes or the overturning of a cop car. In a real collapse scenario where you didn’t have FEMA coming with tent cities to take care of you, the power wasn’t coming back on, and nobody had jobs outside of survival; looting would take on a different meaning. In a real collapse, I think looters would quickly forget about electronic game consoles and would quickly move on to food and supplies. In this article I want to discuss some looter defense tactics to consider if the SHTF and the looters are coming down your street.

Home defense mistakes

When it comes to a collapse, we are talking about living a life that is almost entirely devoted to survival. Even if you have plenty of food stored up, you will need to take steps to find and cultivate new sources of food and possibly collect water on a daily basis for your family. You will eventually need to go outside and even if you barricaded yourself in your suburban home, that would not guarantee your safety from determined looters.

Fight your own normalcy bias – Before a crisis hits you would ideally have a plan in place to deal with the potential outcomes. It is important to understand as quickly as possible the severity of the events surrounding you and take proactive steps to head off any further problems. It is too simple and dangerous to hope that given time, the authorities will be around, the power and water will come back on and life will go on as it did before the crisis. You have to start thinking of taking care of yourself without the dependence on emergency services from the start.


A father with starving children will not play by the rules in a collapse.

Of course I am talking about cataclysmic events, not smaller regional events like hurricanes which we should all accept are recoverable as a societal whole, in most cases. If there is a football game that goes crazy and riots are in the downtown area, I don’t think we have to worry in the same way as if a terror attack that takes out the grid. People who are even half-way paying attention will know when it is time to jump into action and you should be well ahead of the chaos game before that point.

Facing Violence: Preparing mentally now is important to increasing your odds of survival.

Be prepared to defend your life – In a true collapse, the regular rules are out the window. There will likely be no law enforcement for some period of time, possibly ever. At best, they will be much slower to respond because they will already be busy with other issues. You have to seriously consider what will be required of you in a worst case scenario and to that end, what you are capable of in the realm of defending your family and home. We talk about all kinds of forms of self-protection on the Final Prepper, but each person has their preference. No matter what that is, are you prepared to use it? Are you prepared to take the life of someone who has plans to kill you if you are standing in the way of something they want? If you are not prepared to defend your home and the life of your family, are you prepared to live with the consequences?

Not being there to defend the home – This last one might sound overly simplistic but if the crisis comes and you have already bugged out to the woods, I wouldn’t expect to be able to return to an untouched house. If you don’t have the money for your own private security firm, who do you think will protect what is left inside? In a real collapse, it may make sense to always have someone stationed in your home to prevent looting and theft; possibly worse. It isn’t like you will be driving to the in-laws or the mall across town and will be gone all day, but even short trips away from your home could give the bad guys an opportunity to smash a window in and quickly take off with supplies your family needs. During a collapse, you really need to start thinking of your dwelling as a castle. It may not have the nice tapestries hanging from the walls, but it will be worth defending.

The ability to provide round the clock security will force you to rely on a larger group. This is when your neighborhood watch plans would make the most sense. Here are some looter defense ideas that may prevent you from being a victim.

Deter – How to make your home less of a target

  • Don’t give them anything to come after – This one is harder to visualize in a collapse. When everything is fine, we would talk about moving valuables out of sight of people looking in your windows should they be casing your home. Grid down – they may be more desperate and not looking for jewelry or TV’s or care if your yard is nicely manicured. Hiding food and supplies will be more common for everyone so you have to seriously work on making sure nobody knows you have things they want. Concepts of the grey neighbor apply and it may be necessary to pretend you are worse off than you actually are. You could also make your home look like it has already been looted.
  • Signs and fences –Armed response – Make them think there is a chance they will get hurt, possibly dead looting from your home. At least they should think it won’t be as simple as walking up to the door and kicking it in. Fences are an obstacle they have to negotiate, but I think unless you have a ridiculous fence that might not stop looters in a grid down scenario. A good roll of razor wire could come in handy after a collapse to string along the tops of your fences, but this requires a fair amount of extra planning. Knowing they are dealing with an armed person (looters will be shot) might not prevent them from trying, but they will have to think twice before they do. This will deter anyone who isn’t really serious about getting into your home.
  • Dogs – No thief likes dogs – although in a serious collapse, if all rules are out the door, they may simply shoot Fido and keep going.

Detect – How can I have advance warning of looting?

Simple air cartridge can be used as an early warning perimeter alert.

  • Change your perspective – Foreknowledge is all about intelligence. You have to know what is going on outside your home and the further out you can gain intelligence, the more time you will have to prepare for looters. In a collapse scenario, I think it will be necessary to have someone outside monitoring the situation on your street, in your neighborhood so they can provide advanced warning. This is best done with a group for coverage and capacity of bodies. Neighborhood security plans would be best for this scenario.
  • Motion Detectors/Trip flares – Lights Perimeter Alarm – Barring an outside sentry team or system, motion detectors are a great way to have a security system that alerts you when movement is happening on your property. Driveway alarm systems can be purchased for simple notification, but requires someone to come up your driveway. In a collapse, something like a simple air-soft “grenade” could be turned into a trip wire noise device system or even cans on a string could alert you to movement in your yard. Motion activated lights could give you advance warning assuming power is on and you aren’t trying to keep a low profile. Of course, these could go off like any other motion activated device when the wind blows. Too many false alarms will lead to the Boy who cried wolf syndrome and will be ignored eventually.
  • Security CamerasSecurity cameras are a good option if you have power and somebody to monitor the cameras at all times.
  • Dog – Yes, a dog will probably detect people coming toward your house better than almost any other means.

Delay – How can I make my home harder to loot or buy me time?


Traditional wood frame doors are very easily broken.

    • Reinforce your doors – Most home break-ins occur from doors and first floor windows. Doors are pretty easily kicked in unless they are reinforced. One simple and cost effective way of making this harder is to reinforce the jams and door-frame with something like the EZ Armor Door security kit. Any door’s weakest point is the hinges, the wood around the locking bolt and their attachment to the wooden frame. A security kit takes the weakness of that wood frame and converts it to a steel shroud that increases the amount of effort required to kick in your door. An added benefit is that this device can be installed in a few minutes by almost anyone. Another option that requires no installation is a Security bar from Master Lock that simply attaches on the inside of the door under the door knob.

Build your own security system the old-fashioned way. Install brackets, slide in 2X4 board. Voila!

  • Charley Bar for sliding glass doors – Yes, in a grid down scenario sliding glass doors are a stones-throw away from obliteration, but if the looters are trying to be sneaky, a device like the Charley bar will slow them down. I like a lot of others have the simple sawed off broom handle as my security feature, but the Charley bar is a nicer option that attaches to the door and puts the reinforcement at the middle of the sliding glass door as opposed to the bottom. Additionally, you can slide the bar up out-of-the-way when not in use and you don’t have to worry about the bar walking away, or in my case being used for a toy by someone. Kids!
  • Security Window Film – It won’t make your windows bulletproof, but adding security window film could slow down someone trying to break in. The concept is similar to safety glass, where you have a thin sheet of transparent plastic film over the glass. Instead of shattering completely on impact, the film holds the glass together making entry a much slower process. You can see a video of how this works here but this is another do it yourself home security project that is pretty simple and could give you precious seconds of time to defend yourself.

Defend – When all else fails, what is my defense plan?


In the Ferguson riots, two shops were ignored by the looters. Can you guess why?

    • Layers of security – This is when I believe everything will come down to life or death. In a collapse situation, if someone has gone through all your security options above and is not deterred, you will most likely be fighting for your life and the lives of everyone in your home. The ideal defense is to not even be in your home, but to repel the attackers from as far away from your home as possible. If they get in, you do have the advantages of knowing your home, confined spaces and possibly the element of surprise. When they enter your home, it is not the time to negotiate though, that time has passed. Retreat to a secure area or at least a space that provides cover that will shield you from bullets. If the looters are coming in from two directions, find a place where they will funnel, possibly a hallway where you can attack them from one direction – your protected front. Make sure you have someone watching behind you also.

Force Multiplier – With noise cancelling earmuffs, you can hear after gunshots while the looters will be deaf temporarily.

  • Hearing protection – Gunshots, contrary to what you see on TV and the movies, are very loud. At the range we have ear protection, but in a panic situation that might not be the first thing on your mind. If you have to shoot inside your home it will be even louder (140-190db) and will render you effectively deaf for some period of time after that happens. Noise cancelling sport earmuffs use the same technology that the Bose headsets use to block loud jet engine noises, but let regular sounds come in. Any gunshot sounds will be blocked because they are higher than 80db but you will still be able to hear regular conversations when you are done. Instead of ringing ears, you will be able to hear people move or talk to each other and this can give you a huge advantage if you are prepared.
  • Plan and Communication – Having a plan will be important so that everyone in your home knows what to do. If you are shot, what do they do? If the front door is breached, what is our plan? If they throw a Molotov cocktail through the window, what do we do? Don’t wait until the looters are in your home to react, have a plan and practice it. I don’t know if this is absolutely necessary now, but would be one of the first things to consider in a collapse. A well-trained team will perform better than a group of scared people who are frozen in a panic.

What are your thoughts on looter defense tactics for your home? Have you given this any thought?

For many; the not too distant events in Ferguson are the first thoughts that come to mind when you mention the word looting. Looting in some circles is what you


The argument to prep for bugging out or sheltering in place is a big one in prepping circles. Sheltering in place is the most comfortable because it is your home. And it’s the easiest. Why learn to hunt or garden if you have a years’ worth of rations in your basement? While prepping to bug out is smaller, cheaper, and easier to hide from the non-preppers who may criticize you. Some say it all boils down to what you are prepping for – some sort of national emergency, oil crises, natural disaster, mass civil unrest, pandemic, etc. Or where you live – in a city, suburb or rural area. But I always point out an often overlooked threat that immediately follows a true TEOTWAWKI situation – fire. No matter the reason, it doesn’t really matter unless you are always ready to bug out.

A true TEOTWAWKI scenario is when people stay home from work to protect their families. That is when society as we know it stops to function. No cops, firemen, doctors, etc. So no one will be around to put out the fires that occur naturally, accidentally, or intentionally. And that’s a threat whether you’re in a city, town, or in the country. Think your secret hideaway in the woods is safe? Most places in the developed world don’t let natural forest fires grow and clear out the underbrush that builds up. Usually they are put out as soon as they start. So any forest fire post-collapse can build up to be extremely powerful. If you live in the country, grass fires can be intentionally set and it’s no big deal. But if an entire town or a city goes up it can become an unstoppable force. Putting all your eggs in one basket, like being totally dependent on your year’s supply of long-term food, or planting all your heirloom seeds to grow all your food can become useless when an unstoppable fire is approaching to wipe out your crops.

When bugging out you have less to worry about from fires because you are already on the move with your supplies. But where are you bugging out to? Of course not all of us can afford a countryside retreat. If you live in the city with nowhere to bug out to you still have options. For example, I live in a small town but I still have neighbors. And when the SHTF I may find that my castle is now The Alamo surrounded by a mob of people who were not prepared for TEOTWAWKI but know my family was. I can’t afford a secluded getaway. So I keep a list of farmland, woodland, and undeveloped places in the country up for sale. Hopefully no one would notice if they were to suddenly become occupied post-collapse. And if the rightful owners showed up I’ll offer my help as a working hand, or security.

5000 Watt 200AH Solar Generator & (2) 100 Watt Solar Panels

The point is we all should prep with an “Always ready to bug out” mindset. Any shelter in place or country getaway is subject to the threat of fire. And those who bug out usually have a second location to get to, like a cabin with solar power and a shed full of freeze-dried biscuits and gravy. Which is still susceptible to the threat of fire. So I advocate for a simpler and practical approach to prepping. It may save you time and money in the long run.

First off everyone should be able to survive whatever situation you prep for with ONLY what you can carry in a moment’s notice, i.e. your bug out bag. That means you need to be able to forage, hunt, trap, build a shelter, and clean your drinking water with what you carry on you. Knowledge is always the best force multiplier. Learning practical survival skills is the first step to prepping.

Secondly, prepping is part gadgets/tools, and part skills. Too much emphasis is put on tools and equipment that will only weigh down your pack and won’t be of any real use when you need to hike 20 miles a day to escape a massive fire or get to your hide out in the country if taking a vehicle is not an option. Learn from the ultralight hikers who cut their toothbrushes down to 3 inches to conserve weight and space in their pack. Acquiring a compact, lightweight and durable sleeping bag, tent, and other gear is a great idea. They may cost an extra dollar, but if you’ve ever carried your entire campsite on your back while hiking all day then you’ll know what I mean when I say the compact and lightweight gear is worth it.

Likewise, too much emphasis is put on skills that have little practicality post-collapse. Sure basket weaving can be useful but wouldn’t your time be better spent honing your shooting skills? Or learning herbal medicines? I learn my skills starting with what I think will be the most useful overall then work up from there. I plan to speak more on this in a future article.


Have a plan to get out if sheltering in place is no longer an option.

Thirdly, planning is everything. Plan for emergencies and stock up on some supplies. Plan to get out if sheltering in place is no longer an option. If you are able to get a country getaway and stock it with food and power and supplies, then do it. If possible, try to pick a location that would have a decent chance at surviving a forest fire. In getting to your country getaway, have safe zones along your route in case of obstacles or unknown threats. Plan a scenario if using a vehicle is not an option. Libraries and museums are rarely looted in civil unrest, or emergencies because there’s not many supplies to get there. But a library does offer books on subjects you may need to brush up on. State parks can offer lots of cover but in the event of a mass exodus from a city, everyone will be looking for a new home and state parks may become overcrowded quickly. And if you have to leave your home, to bug out to your cabin in the woods or to find a new homestead, you still need to have your bag packed to leave in a moment’s notice. If a disaster were to pop up suddenly such as fire, looters, zombie hybrid grizzly bear, then you can still be able to survive in a “Oh shit, run!” situation.

Like I say, always be prepared to bug out. Because we cannot always plan for every situation and until you have the skills of a caveman and can walk out into the wilderness and survive with nothing then you always need to have your tools at hand that you need to survive. In a true TEOTWAWKI situation nowhere will be safe from the threat of wild fires. Never become dependent on anything you can’t take with you.

  The argument to prep for bugging out or sheltering in place is a big one in prepping circles. Sheltering in place is the most comfortable because it is your home.

When preparing for emergencies in our lives, preppers often tend to focus first on reactionary needs. We can envision the possibility of a disastrous event happening and we plan for and prepare a response for that event. If we are unable to make it to the store for some reason, we store food and water to take care of our family’s most basic needs. Should we be attacked, we train for self-defense, acquire tools and supplies to even the odds and make plans to defend our castle in the worst case scenario. Many preppers view their plans as solid and naturally expect the other 90% of the population who (we are convinced) hasn’t made any preparations to eventually, some day, show up and try to take what they have. In this case, there is always the expectation of conflict and we routinely discuss how we envision that ending.

But what if we could modify our thought process for a while and first plan on avoiding conflict when SHTF instead of considering violence as the inevitable outcome of the prepper haves versus the unprepared have-nots? For those of you who have been reading the Final Prepper since we started, no I haven’t gone all soft. I still very much expect and prepare for violent action if necessary, but I think too often that is the default prepper or survivalist’s response. I certainly don’t want to ever have to defend my life with deadly force, but I believe in my core that I will do what is necessary to protect the lives of my friends family and any strangers I see who need it. I thought this latest installment of our Back to Basics series could focus on some alternatives to conflict that could end up saving lives in the right situation.

The scenarios I mention below and what usually flavor most articles on this site will assume that some massive disaster has happened. The SHTF event you have been preparing for has occurred and almost instantly you have choices to make. How you decide to handle each situation could mean the difference between coming out alive or suffering needlessly.

Why should we try to avoid conflict?

There are many reasons I can see for eventually engaging in conflict, especially when we are considering a true SHTF scenario. I would argue that there could be just as many if not more reasons why should be avoiding conflict at all costs. Perhaps it’s simpler to say that conflict avoidance should be the first tact you try. Escalations may be a foregone conclusion, but only when you have no other options. Some readers and commenters will say that when lives are on the line, it’s safer to simply blast someone in the face than try to bargain or negotiate but I would argue that taking that approach goes against some of the philosophy that I believe most preppers believe in.

Preppers want to live. The want to succeed, to thrive, to overcome obstacles. Preppers and prepping is about hope even when the events we seem to fear would lead many to feel hopeless. I believe that there is a reason we are prepping and it isn’t simply to see how many zombie bodies and empty shell casings we can pile up at our feet. We want a different life perhaps, but it doesn’t automatically come at the expense of everyone else.

Conflict with another person, or people will take a toll on you. Sometimes that toll is lives. Other times it could be the loss of close friends or family. It could be a deal to trade goods that goes the wrong way, the loss of someone who can support you, or the loss of a resource you may need to survive. In a true SHTF scenario, your little survival group is going to need all the help it can get so playing nice as much as is prudent will be to your advantage.

Avoiding Conflict with Looters

I think that one of the first effects of a major SHTF scenario will be migration out of the major metropolitan areas. Looting will follow as the people who stayed behind scrounge for supplies they want in homes and businesses. Any location that appears to have resources the looters need will be a target when the threat of incarceration is gone. When there is no longer any rule of law, even little old grannies will be looting if they want to survive.


Looters in the days closely following the SHTF event will be looking for targets of opportunity. They certainly won’t take on an armed group at first but as the situation deteriorates, they could come back and with more practice and armed with greater numbers. Sure, you could put on a show of force, but you might want to save that for later.

The concepts of the Grey Neighbor come into play here and by simply making your house appear to already have been looted; you might avoid someone viewing your house as a target. Throw some trash and clothes in the yard. Smash a window – provided you can seal that back up with some black plastic. Spray paint some graffiti on the front wall and rip the screen door off one hinge. It may work just enough to make lazier looters skip on past your house.

Avoiding Conflict with your neighbors

This one is trickier because looters might not live next door to you, but your neighbors will be able to watch what is going on at your house all day long. The last thing you want is to have your neighbor working against you. They could turn you in to the authorities as a hoarder and all your supplies could be confiscated. Or, they could form a group against you to take what you have by force, citing the common good. Neighbors would ideally be part of your larger group well in advance of any conflict, but that still could arise if they are desperate.


After the event has settled, check in on your neighbors and see if they need help with anything. It will arouse much less suspicion to dole out some charity early on in the form of food and water when normal supplies would not be exhausted. Offer to let them use some generator time possibly. If you wait for 3 months after the stores have been closed and offer them a sack of rice and some beans and then will be very curious as to why you still have supplies and what else you might have. Help them out and if you feel you can trust them, invite them into your group for mutual aid. They might only be able to contribute extra, willing hands but it would be better than having them as your enemy if you can afford the burden. As with everything else, you will have to make choices about who you open up to.

Avoiding Conflict with your survival group

Many of us already have a stocked bug out retreat ready to go. Even the most prepared group is going to have high levels of stress when you are forced into a less than ideal situation after the SHTF. Tempers will flare and there will be decisions that are met with disagreement. In a very toxic situation, the group could splinter leading to power struggles and worse.

Any survival group that is going to succeed will need to have a set of clearly defined rules and everyone’s strict adherence will be necessary. The longer you have been a group and the more times you have been together the better off you will fare but the larger picture is that the group’s survival depends on each member contributing and sometimes sacrificing for the good of the overall group. Negotiation skills and open communication will be key.

Avoiding Conflict with your family

For most of us, our survival group is simply our family. We don’t have a cadre of ex-mil buddies who have been training for years and have fortified bunkers under our ultra-rural enclave in the hills. We will just have the people we are around every day, maybe a couple of friends or extended family that you take in. For people in this situation, I think that fear will be more heightened for the majority of them; they won’t have had the opportunity to think anything through as you have potentially. The unknowns and worry will be huge stressors that they will have to come to grips with and you as the leader will have to manage.


As a leader, you are going to need to exhibit a greater sense of calm than you probably ever would in your day-to-day life simply because everyone will be looking to you for answers. If you are the go-to prepper in the family, there will be many questions. Every decision you make will likely be questioned because the people you are surrounded with don’t know what you do and bring their own opinions and beliefs to every situation.

In the very beginning, as soon as it is practical, you need to sit everyone down and tell them everything you know, what you plan to do and why you think your decisions are best. It may be necessary to get group consensus or create a micro dictatorship for a while. It really depends on the crisis, the people you are dealing with and your style. The main goal is to keep everyone safe and these are probably the people you care most about. Let them know they will be fine, you have a plan and you are prepared. Then prove it with your actions.

Avoiding Conflict with other survivors

Lastly, if you have made it through the disaster, you will be dealing with other survivors. I believe neighborhoods will form communities very quickly post-disaster but due to geography, neighborhoods might remain somewhat isolated. As time goes on, you will meet other people and hopefully form friendships, perhaps barter or simply form a larger community to share resources. Every other group has been through their own tragedy, they have their own fears and securities. Understanding this and helping them mutually, after precautions have been made will be better than some turf war over the garden.

In almost every situation I can think of besides someone kicking down your front door, or shooting at you from the wood line, there is a very good reason to try to avoid conflict. Strangers can become friends. Even enemies can let past grievances die. In a SHTF scenario, if you want to live, avoiding conflict will be one of the highest priorities.

When preparing for emergencies in our lives, preppers often tend to focus first on reactionary needs. We can envision the possibility of a disastrous event happening and we plan for


There is a very popular Hollywood movie, although not a box office smash at the time that has aged incredibly well and developed a bit of a cult following, it has even spawned an Internet church, which offers free ordination, and it’s own festival. One could say that simply imitating “The Dude” from the Big Lebowski is no way to go about being prepared for life and emergencies that may come up. I would agree with that, it is not a prepper film, nor is the character to be emulated, but that’s just, my opinion, man. However the idea they casually present in the film is taken from a natural law and a verse from Ecclesiastes 1:4 “One generation passes away and another generation comes: but the Earth abides forever”, this is something that we can all learn and benefit from.

Growing up it wasn’t called survival, it wasn’t about being prepared to flee or hunker down, it wasn’t about being armed for the sake of defense from looters, marauders or a terrorist attack although when armed for whatever reason you are better prepared to attend to any of the above, it wasn’t about fear of the unknown or possible outcomes of an unknowable future. It wasn’t tactical and it certainly wasn’t cool and there was no fear going into it or the expectation of something bad happening. It was called living and being ready to face whatever work and uncertainty any day on the farm might bring. It was about doing the daily chores, checking the pumps and irrigation, feeding the chickens and shoveling the manure, baling hay and putting up for the winter months, canning the garden surplus and sharing the rest. It was about neighbors and community, it wasn’t perfect but it worked and continues to today.

It is a mindset that can only be learned by doing, when all is as it should be the body does what the mind tells it to do and only you should be able to control how you think. Notice, I said should, as all to often in today’s society we confuse our own free will with what we have been spoon fed by many sources, good and bad.

So having the right mind is paramount and with this mindset comes the stoicism and steadfastness that leads to quiet strength in emergencies, natural disasters and the ability to deal with whatever, whichever wicked and /or good things that will come your way in this crazy little thing called life. Let’s look at how you can put this mindset to your own prosperous use and for the sake of definition let’s give it a name.

Leatherman Wave Multitool

I would maybe call it “country thinking” or “farmer thinking” or “we don’t have the money to buy new clothes, so we better make some thinking” but none of these really roll of the tongue or could be featured in an infomercial or self-help guide, so let’s give it a fancy, modern, branded name. “The WILL to abide”

By definition “to abide”: accept or act in accordance with (a rule, law, decision or recommendation). I want to bring in a laser focus on the later part “act in accordance with” this means that as things are presented, as they come to your immediate need of attention they will be dealt with and this is really a natural law. Think about it, you are getting in the car, you have the day planned, you know where you are going and what you are going to get done, nature suddenly calls, well if your smart, naturally, you will abide. Another example might be that you are loading your car trunk full of whatever supplies, sundries or materials you have just procured and the trunk wont close, but you have twine in your trunk so you place a well-practiced knot and a truckers hitch and on your merry way you go, this is also “the will to abide”. You need to cut the twine for another purpose (because if you know your knots and hitches there is no need to cut the twine for a simple hitch) so you take the old timey pocketknife or modern multi-tool or whatever it is that you always have with you because you know you will need it and you cut the twine. The blade is sharp because you abide by the fact a sharp knife cuts cleanest and a dull knife is more dangerous, that a cut from a sharp knife heals quicker than a gash from a dull one, you know this is true so you abide.

How to achieve “The WILL to abide”, for some it is quite natural, some people have had very pragmatic upbringings and having “the WILL to abide” isn’t second nature but rather is nature and how they will deal with everything that crosses their path, barely thought about but for others it is an empowered awakening that brings them to the point of realizing that they are responsible in how they process their day-to-day interactions with the world we all share. For others still it is a tool that needs sharpening, just like that pocketknife so it is ready to use when needed.


Remember the serenity prayer regardless of your denomination or belief system it applies universally.

#1 – Surrender the fear:

You will never have everything you need every time all the time, you are not in control of the larger picture, you cannot carry every conceivable tool or replacement part for every possible situation. Realize that things are not really in your control and that’s okay. Become at ease with it, abide by it, embrace the fact that none of us are impervious and you simply cannot be prepared for everything. If a large enough asteroid were to hit the earth and blow it apart, all your preps and respective molecules will be floating in the vacuum of space and that’s that. With liberty from fear comes the freedom to act. Remember the serenity prayer regardless of your denomination or belief system it applies universally “ God/Buddha/Vishnu/Spaghetti Monster grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”

#2 – Embrace change:

Change is a changeless state; it is constant and ongoing, unstoppable. Winter begets spring, which begets summer, which begets fall. You crawled, then walked, then ran, and then used a cane, then laid down to your final rest. Reject your hard-wired normalcy bias, it is a chemical deception and will not last, make yourself aware of the fact that everything is going to change, then refer to #1. When you are putting up a new building drive by one that is falling down, in disrepair and remind your self that what is now brand new will someday most likely be in the same state of decomposition, you can tell yourself maybe that won’t happen but most likely it will and over a long enough time line it is certain.

#3 – Be discerning in your thoughts:

Don’t fall into every fear mongering headline the mainstream and alternative media feeds you or avoid them altogether if you wish and cut the cord but the same goes for the prepper community, there are certain things I am certain of personally and will believe till the day I die, that we have not been told the truth about 9/11, that the banks knew they would be bailed out in 2008 and that big pharma does not always have our best interests at heart. However there are things that are just plain fear porn and manipulations used to make prepared people, people who will abide seem like foolish chicken little’s as well as sell overpriced gear and food and gladly take your hard-earned commodities. Cultivate your common sense and don’t be fooled, search for truth but don’t be an absolutist, see # 2


Do you have a can of seeds but no experience gardening?

4# – Live the prep:

Abraham Lincoln once said “ If I had six hours to cut down a tree, I would spend four hours sharpening the axe” What does that really mean? It means that dull and inefficient tool use is dangerous and wasteful, on many levels. It means that if you have your 1 or 2-year supply of food, are you ready to implement it? Are you rotating it? Do you know how to cook with it? Are you using the tools you have in the most effective ways they can be used? You may have a thousand rounds of .308 ammo and the spiffiest new scope on your AR-10 down in the basement but is your scope sighted in, do you know how to use the Mil-Dots on that thing to allow for windage and declination or elevation? Do you have a can of seeds but no experience gardening? Ask your self these real questions and give yourself real answers, then act accordingly and practice, abide with the idea that someday soon you may need them for real but implement them now and use them now, there is always an excuse and a solution, if your apartment doesn’t have the green spaces for a garden, start something in your windowsill, anything to raise your experience level and your personal value to what is now and what you will need to abide.

Develop Community Now:

I have several, rather distant, semi-acquaintances that can quote every new meteor threat and site You Tube scripture as to the moment the world is going to stop spinning and how ready they are to be lone wolves in this brave new world. Well, good on them, thankfully they are all childless and spouse-less and their specific genetic mutations will not pass on. Humankind is not a solitary animal, never has been and never will be, sure we have a small percentage of curmudgeons and hermits but thankfully it is just that, a small percentage. We need each other now folks and we will need each other after a flood, hurricane, mega virus or an EMP, so the logical thing is to build a network of like-minded people in your extant community and a good cognitive knowledge of others that would be useful in a post SHTF scenario. I have lots of sewing supplies but I don’t have a loom, but I know someone who does. I have eggs, fish and rabbits and I know quite a few people who raise a hog or seven, see where I’m going here? No matter what happens in the future “The WILL to abide” means community.

The Will to abide is about power: friends, self power, community power and the power of the human spirit to adapt, change and grow, it is about being prudent, resourceful, prepared, self-sufficient and a whole bunch of other fallen from favor adjectives. The fact that society as a whole doesn’t share our perspective that things are always changing and that we are overdue for a larger than normal event doesn’t diminish our existing society. It simply means that it will not abide.

  There is a very popular Hollywood movie, although not a box office smash at the time that has aged incredibly well and developed a bit of a cult following, it


Fire making – as we are used to – results from a chemical reaction and some friction (whether from a match or lighter). Even those lighters with a glowing element deploy the principles for fire lighting. In the absence of matches and lighters (and ignoring the ‘elbow grease’ methods for making fire) several chemical reactions result in combustion, without requiring additional help from a match to get them going. In a desperate situation you can make chemical fires without matches or a lighter.

Three elements need to be present to constitute a fire – heat, oxygen and fuel. Fuel may be solid, liquid or (oxidizable) gas. When striking a match or flicking a lighter, the friction provides the heat as a spark, open air contributes the oxygen and the fuel is what you supply – in most cases a carbonaceous or nitrogenous substance. To kill a fire you remove one of the three elements – in most cases the oxygen (by smothering), but also by cooling or isolating the fuel.

There are many chemical reactions that lead to combustion. Some are more dangerous and people with no experience in this regard should stay away from those. For instance stay away from black powder used as propellant in shooting or blasting. This is an explosive. How many times have we seen (on TV) that a bullet is pulled from a cartridge and the propellant then used for starting a fire, or that barrel of black powder used as a distance fuse. Those are very controlled circumstances and rather dicey, even when using nitro propellant. That’s (reasonably) ok if yours is nitro based, but keep away from black powder. The thing is that black powder is compressed (e.g. in a muzzle loader) so that there is no airspace over the powder. In contrast, nitro-based propellants are normally (not always) not compressed and an airspace is allowed between it and the bullet (mild compression in big bores are not uncommon). Never overdo anything, and especially so when deploying the might of nature.

There are very simple chemical methods by which a fire can be started. This brief article explains four ways to make fire using chemical reactions. No matches or lighter are needed to start the fire.


Chemical Fire #1

  • Potassium permanganate (in some places also known as Condy’s crystals) – an oxidant
  • Glycerine – supplying the fuel
  • Water – as reaction facilitator (it dissolves the potassium permanganate and accelerates the reaction)

Add a few drops of glycerine to a few crystals of potassium permanganate. Accelerate the reaction by adding a couple of drops of water. Alternatively a solution of the potassium permanganate can be made and (drop wise) added to the glycerine.

Chemical Fire #2

  • Acetone (as in nail polish remover)
  • Sulfuric acid (as in battery acid from the car – it’s appreciably weaker but should still work; the full strength version is preferable but should be handled with care as it is seriously corrosive). Keep this away from water as the adding of either to the other also generates a lot of heat and sputtering.
  • Potassium permanganate (Condy’s crystals)

Soak a tissue with acetone to make it more flammable. Draw sulfuric acid into a glass pipette (if you do not have a pipette do not use a metal spoon, rather a sturdy plastic one). Dip the pipette into potassium permanganate so that the tip of the pipette is coated with a few crystals. Dispense the sulfuric acid onto the tissue. The potassium permanganate and sulphuric acid mix to produce manganese heptoxide and fire. If using the plastic spoon, let the sulfuric acid drip onto the acetone soaked tissue and trickle some potassium permanganate crystals onto the tissue. Again, keep your face away from the vicinity of the reaction.

Chemical Fire #3

  • Sodium Chlorate crystals (an alternative for calcium chlorate which can be used to purify water)
  • Sugar (yep that sweet stuff) in crystalline form (and for the diet conscious, xylitol should work as well – this is the fuel supply)
  • Sulfuric acid

Mix a small amount of sodium chlorate and sugar (really small, like tip of a tea-spoon of each). Initiate the reaction by adding a few drops of sulfuric acid. Watch the eyebrows or mustache/beard.


Chemical Fire #4

  • Ammonium Nitrate powder (component of fertilizer)
  • Finely ground Zinc powder (I guess you can make your own by working at a piece of Zinc – that’s the element – with a fine file)
  • Hydrochloric acid (pool acid is useful)

Mix together a small amount of ammonium nitrate and zinc powder. Initiate the reaction by adding a few drops of hydrochloric acid.

Chemical Fire Safety

If you are performing a demonstration of chemical fire using any of these reactions, use very small amounts of the chemicals listed for each fire. Wear proper safety gear and work on a fire-safe surface. Should you intend to actually make fire in any of these ways, have your kindling close at hand as a chemical fire is not lazy. It will burn out quickly if you do not utilize it. Best is to actually initiate it on a dry leaf, paper sheet or piece of bark, that will also be consumed in the reaction and serve as a kind of ‘starter’.

Should you carry any of these chemicals in your BOB/BIB or store them in your stash, please ensure absolute isolation from one another (in the BOB/BIB) and proper ventilation (in the stash). When actually starting a fire in any of these ways, prevent inhaling any fumes which may be generated during the process, as these may irritate your airways and nasal/oral linings.

Not all of these chemicals are necessarily freely available everywhere, but they are not uncommon. When stored properly most (if not all of them) should last for years. Acetone is very volatile and may evaporate if not sealed effectively. Similarly, hydrochloric acid tends to lose its chlorine, bind oxygen and convert to less active forms which may not be as effective in fire starting. The chlorine is the oxidizing agent there.

So, check it out – BUT BE SAFE OUT THERE!

  Fire making – as we are used to – results from a chemical reaction and some friction (whether from a match or lighter). Even those lighters with a glowing element

Figuring out Feed – Creating healthy ratios for sustainable livestock

Continuing in the saga of feeding our livestock from our own area – or just cutting some of the feed costs and stocking we have to do – we land on the task of figuring out exactly what and how much of which feeds to give our animals. Just like humans, livestock has varying needs, and the needs change as they go through their life stages. There are three main components to feeding anything: mass – getting bellies full (because hangry livestock leave their enclosures more and are less pleasant to handle), getting the right amount of calories, and nutrient breakdown. One of the most common nutritional components that come up is protein. Calculating a feed mix and protein are things I’ll point out this time around. Charts and articles are pretty easy to come by for how much mass various livestock needs, and the amount and quality of forage livestock is given is so variable, I’m not touching on that one right now.

Calculating livestock feed

There’s a really handy tool called a Pearson Square that can help when we decide to feed livestock. Basically, it allows you to reach your desired total protein percentage using sets of known feeds.

Say I want a 22% protein feed mix for young game birds using my own duckweed and commercial milo.

I draw a square with my target protein percentage in the middle, and starting on the left, put the protein ratio of my feeds at the top and bottom (duckweed – 50% protein; milo – 9% protein). I subtract diagonally: 50% minus 22%, bottom right = 28; 22% – 9%, top right = 13. The numbers give me the parts per total of my feed components – which are read across, not diagonally. In this case, it would be 28 parts milo to 13 parts duckweed, 41 parts total.

“Parts” is like saying cups, gallons, pounds, bushels – whatever. It’s a ratio, like cuppa-cuppa-cuppa cobbler – each cup being one part. (1 cup each sugar, flour, and milk; 1 stick melted butter; mix in bottom of pan/dish; pour 2-4 pints or cans of pie filling, preserves or partly drained canned fruit over it; bake 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees F; add heavy or whipped or clotted cream as desired; nom-nom away.) Your chicken or goat cobbler just isn’t always “1”, sometimes it’s 5 and sometimes it’s 35 – just depends on what your ingredients are.

I can reduce that and ballpark it if I want to. The example is 31.71% duckweed (13 divided by 41) and 68.29% milo for Mix 1. I can call that one-third and two-thirds and be pretty darn happy.

Pearson Squares can be used to calculate individual species and animal needs from the same base feeds available in your area, or can be used to decide how much of a supplement to grow compared to a main feed source.

To do multi-feed calculations, you create your first mix, then a second mix, and use those and their total protein counts as the components of a third square. There’s an example of working through that below the simple square here, and examples of figuring out total percentages of the mixes here: https://courses.ecampus.oregonstate.edu/ans312/six/ration_4.htm


Image/Chart(s): The amount of protein needed at various life stages, purpose, and species can vary significantly – geese and ducks and chickens have similar needs as starters and layers, but finishing meat birds and maintenance-weight waterfowl and game bird breeding stock have almost double the needs of meat chickens and roosters.

You can also create multiple Pearson squares using pairs of available feeds you’d like to mix and your target protein, then add them and their various parts to create a very large total parts:
(B+D from mix 1) + (G+H from mix 2) + (K+L from mix 3) = M-the total parts of the feed mix
It could be 4 parts, 16 parts, 9 parts, 28 parts, 11 parts, and 22 parts for a mix with 90 parts to get a total protein (X-center of all 3 squares).

Happily, there are automatic plug-in-the-numbers calculators online for a Pearson’s square.

Colorado State has some nice pubs with livestock feed options, breakdowns of needs, calculation examples, Pearson’s square worksheet, and conversions.  If livestock keeping is a topic of interest, both are worth reading and possibly printing out:

When we start talking about tree and shrub fodders and alternative feeds like wigglers and black soldier fly larvae, it can get a little more difficult, although some of the calculators are catching up with duckweed and fish and insects. You can get additional information about the protein content of various possible feed components from here.

Additional information for ducks – written for pets, but nice breakdown by age and by percent of feed and nutritional needs – is available here.


There’s a reason the feed calculators and so much of the data about various feeds talks about protein – protein is important. Protein is where we get our amino acids that make up enzymes (which perform every single function in our bodies). Protein is the building block of muscle. It’s not only how we grow, it’s how we repair damaged tissue and rebuild tissue from work/labor (like walking around a pasture, chewing cud, or climbing out of our pasture).


Many of our homestead animals are pure vegetarians, requiring foliage-based proteins.

Protein becomes a major talking point, because our livestock are largely vegans, with a few vegetarians and omnivores thrown in there. Our livestock has largely been refined and refined over and over to produce critters that bulk up at rates our ancestors even fifty and a hundred years ago would have taken as witchcraft. To do that, though, to put all that protein into eggs, into milk, and into muscles we’re going to eat (or feed our other critters), they have to be consuming higher rates of protein than ever before in history.

Protein is also where our feed costs are typically highest, especially animal-based proteins instead of plant-based proteins. If we can produce even some of our own protein, we can start reducing our dependency and costs.


Images: The ability to produce some of our livestock’s protein needs using something that grows and recovers quickly and is easy to grow from animal wastes like duckweed that any livestock and even dogs can safely consume can reduce feed costs and feed store reliance.

That’s somewhere else where the nice Pearson Calculator comes into play.

Say I’m not ready to cut the cords yet, but I’d like to start making some headway. I can take my base raise-out or maintenance feed for either, and use it as a “grain” with it’s 12-16% protein content, then plug-in my desired protein supplement.

Conversely, I can get my really good layer or baby game bird feed, and instead of wasting money feeding it to birds that need 14-20% protein instead of 22-25% protein, I can use a Pearson square to figure out how to cut it with my own home-raised grasses, grains, and veggie crops to get livestock exactly the portions they need and increase my feed-cost efficiency.

Running those squares and applying general rules of thumb and guidelines by species can also help tell me how many minnows, pounds of duckweed, and bushels of barley I want to produce to decrease my feed store reliance. Doing so can help me figure out how much growing space I need for feed components instead of just winging it.


Images – Protein needs change by species, life stage, age, and purpose.

Different species need different amounts of protein in their diet, and at different life stages protein needs change again.

Pregnant and lactating females, laying females, “dry” dairy or breeding animals or birds in non-laying states, molt, and young birds at varying stages all need differing percentages of protein. There’s always some wiggle room, and especially in the cases of birds and dairy animals, the forage quality, time on forage, and forage space and competition can make a big difference in what they need to have provided and what they can get for themselves.


Charts: Goat and rabbit bucks have similar total protein needs, but lactating hares have much higher needs than nursing and milking goats.

Some quick-fire rules of thumb for feed to go with the info-chart overload:

  • Game birds need more than chickens at almost every stage (turkeys, ducks, guineas, geese, quail – even domestic lines) and many won’t eat the same leafy vegetation that chickens and even grazing geese will, so alternative sources or milled/mash feeds have to be provided
  • Too much protein creates donkeys that are headstrong and wily, and can actually make them sick, cause hoof problems, and kill them
  • You really are what you eat, and any beekeeper or duck or bear hunter can testify to it: Eggs and meat will change flavor and richness based on their feed source, especially the protein sources for omnivores
  • Just buying a game bird laying or chick mix with super high protein amounts and heaving it to all the fowl is wasting money, even more so if that poultry has forage areas or garden supplements like slug boards that are already covering some of their needs for *free*
  • What we ask of an animal (production, yield, labor, effort in feeding) affects how much they need fed and how much protein and calcium they require for health; a growing-out steer and a milking nanny need a lot more than a weight-maintenance stud or a just-bred or dry-phase doe


The amount of good, high-quality forage our livestock has access to changes the amounts and types of feeds and supplements they require from us. Providing livestock with species-specific areas like high forages for goats and flower-and-insect-rich pastures and woods-edge habitat for poultry can also decrease the chances of illnesses that prevent them from making use of provided feeds.

Go ahead and capture and print or save to our favorite low-energy EMP-proof device some of the charts of both needs and protein components. Find the ones that apply to calcium as well, because that’s a biggie, too. Do it for all the domestic stock, not just those you have or are considering, so that the information is already on hand.

Having that information when the internet and feed bags are no longer available may help you turn your algae-and-microbe clogged pond into a resource for barter, or just help keep some of the livestock in your area trucking through. The more genetic possibilities we have with livestock, the longer we can keep operations going.

Pearson Squares are designed for protein, but they can be used to calculate any nutritional value based off forage or milled feeds, to include calcium and fiber percentages for each type of livestock.


Pearson Square & Protein

There are charts and articles and references for just about any type of domestic stock’s protein needs. They do have other needs. Calcium is a big one, and it doesn’t always get its due outside laying hens. However, protein makes up an enormous part of the success in raising animals, especially active animals, breeding dams, layers, and meat or dual-purpose breeds. Since it’s also the higher-cost element in a lot of feeds, it seemed worth addressing and providing some references for DIY protein components.

The Pearson square is built for proteins, but along with the ability to twist it from a vegan like a horse, donkey or goat, or omnivores like ducks, pigs and chickens, over to dogs and cats, we can also use that square for other feed measures – any vitamin, calories, raw fiber. We can also move the unknowns around to X, A or C, as well, to find what percentages of a component like protein we do need, or what a total percent would end up as. Really, we can use it to help us any time we have two components with measurable qualities, but we’ll stick to feed for a while.

It can be a pretty handy tool if we choose to manipulate it. Or we can stick with downloading the app for a phone or plugging in numbers on a computer to just figure out a protein supplement for our bagged feeds, or mixing our own two-ingredient or series of mixed feeds from scratch.

Figuring out Feed – Creating healthy ratios for sustainable livestock Continuing in the saga of feeding our livestock from our own area – or just cutting some of the feed costs

When people come to me for tactical pistol training I tend to ask them why they want to do the class and carry a handgun and the responses I get are usually the same; to protect themselves and their families, because they need to be able to defend themselves etc. Then I ask my clients why the bad guys carry guns and the responses are usually again the same; to kill us and harm us. From my clients responses it’s easy to see who the wolves are and who the sheep are! I tell my clients there is one reason they are carrying a gun and that is to kill people and if that is not their reason then don’t carry the gun.
One thing that needs to be avoided is thinking that a gun will make you a tough guy. I have come across many men for whom caring a gun is a status symbol, it re-enforces their masculinity. A gun is a tool, the same as a hammer, which can be just as deadly as a gun. If you need a gun to give you confidence, you have problems because that confidence is false confidence and can get you into situations that will be way beyond your limitations. Guns are tools that need to be respected, not something to hide behind!

What is the tactical mindset?

To me tactical shooting is not a sport; it’s about staying alive and killing your opponent as quickly as possible. If you are in a situation where someone is trying to kill you, your family or your team members you must kill them first, that’s it. Political correctness does not enter into it; we are talking about your life and death not banning super-size sodas or gay marriage. For most people the thought of killing someone and the legal ramifications are a nightmare but you’re better off dealing with the aftermath than being dead.  when the threat is over. Teaching controlled aggression to civilians and 1st world police can be difficult, professional militaries achieve it with strenuous training and strict discipline; both of which seem to be lacking in modern society in general.


Teaching controlled aggression to civilians and 1st world police can be difficult

There is a lot more to tactical shooting than just shooting; being a good shot is just part of what it takes to stay alive. One story that came out of Latin America was of a top competition shooter who was driving to work one day when two kids on a motorcycle pulled up next to him while he was stuck in traffic. The kid on the back of the bike had a revolver and asked the competition shooter at gun point for his wallet, he complied. As he was handing over the wallet he went for a Walther PPK on his ankle, the kid saw the gun and shot and then killed him. Who was the better shot that day, the trained or the wise?
I tell my clients that the three golden rules to personal security are think like a criminal, keep a low profile and always have an escape route.
  • Think like a criminal: Put yourself in the criminal’s shoes and think how you would rob or kidnap yourself, how would you break into your home or hotel room.
  • Keep a low profile: Do not draw attention to yourself, consider what you wear and drive, don’t be loud and rowdy. And don’t tell strangers to much about yourself, especially anything to do with your personal security. If you are trying to impress someone use a cover story.
  • Always have an escape route: Make sure you know how and have the means to get out of your location to a safe area. Know how to get out of the hotel and have the means to get out of the city, then possibly the country and you know how to get to a safe location.
Use of force is a last resort and should be avoided at all costs, fighting is for amateurs. You want to do everything possible to identify and avoid any potentially hostile situations. Unlike the movies, street fights are not glamorous and when guns are involved people are going to be killed, maimed and paralyzed. In reality, someone will be going to the hospital or the morgue and in most places others will be going to jail. You must never use excessive force against the person who is attacking you. The level of force you use you must be appropriate to the force being used against you. When defending yourself you must always be able to justify that the use of force was necessary. The laws on the use of force vary greatly from area to area, do your research, knowing the law is all part of an efficient personal defense program.

When people come to me for tactical pistol training I tend to ask them why they want to do the class and carry a handgun and the responses I get

Since I started prepping officially I have made quite a few purchases. Some of these have been incremental, single purchases and some have been raids of the local Walmart or Sam’s Club to buy a ton of items in one trip. When I do get to make trips like this I usually come out of the stores with bags of items and have to put them somewhere.

In the past I would try to incorporate my prepping supplies into the rest of my household items thinking that by doing this I would enable a good rotation plan. If you add 12 packs of batteries into the battery drawer you will ensure they are used and never expire or at least that was what I thought. I did this with things like batteries, hygiene items and first aid supplies but then I went to look for batteries for a GPS I bought several months later only to find that we were almost completely out. My kids had gone through a ton of double AA’s over the summer playing their Wii.

Then I went to audit the bug out bags and found other problems. In each bug out bag I had a small clear plastic bag that contained the basic hygiene supplies so that if we were forced from our home we could clean up should the opportunity present itself. I had travel size toothpaste, shampoo, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes and other minor items that would just help you feel like a human again if you had been without a shower for a while. Three of the bags were missing items that had been pilfered throughout the year for camping trips, vacations and out-of-town travel. I was starting to see a problem with my plan.

I figured on buying a ton of prepping supplies and then checking that box off my big prepping checklist that I had. Once I bought these sundry items I figured I was good, but I slowly remembered due to this reinforcement that I was pretty much the only person who was thinking about supplies like this in my family.

After that I began to hide all of my prepping supplies. Not really, but I began to take them out of circulation so they wouldn’t disappear without my knowledge. I put a bunch of supplies in a large bin and tucked it safely away behind a lot of other things like wrapping paper that was reserved for the holidays, decorative centerpieces and Knick knacks that almost any home has. My wife knew about these supplies so that if I wasn’t around she could make use of them, but keeping them out of the general population of household items ensured they didn’t get used.

One day my wife told me we were out of pain medicine and naturally this occurs when she has a screaming headache. She asked me if I had any, knowing that I had planned for the apocalypse like a good prepper and of course I did. I didn’t want to dig into my stash though. Not because I wanted my wife to have any pain, but I didn’t want to have to resupply the aspirin or Motrin or whatever she needed, but naturally I dug out my box and grabbed her the medicine she was asking for.

It was like a trip down memory lane for someone who doesn’t have a very exciting life. I opened the box to see the items I had stored and smiled to myself a little for being so darn smart to have thought of this in the first place. About that time I looked at the expiration date on the Tylenol and realized it was expired by a year. I know that expiration dates do not render medicine bad or ineffective, but still I wanted to have the freshest supplies for my family so I needed to go back to the drawing board.

Organized so that you know where things are

Organization is an important part of prepping to avoid some of the problems I mentioned above but primarily it helps you to know where your supplies are. Have you ever purchased anything related to prepping and then couldn’t remember where you put it? I have done this before and almost always find it, but if time was of the essence, looking around the house for that crucial piece of gear is not what you need to be focused on.

The problem usually comes down to storage space. If you have a ton of storage space in your home, like a completely empty basement or garage, no problem. If you are like a lot of people and shoving food under the bed you have to think about your prepping organization plan a little differently. I wish I had a basement that I could line with shelves and keep all of my supplies, food and tools in an easy to access place, but I do not.

When space is at a premium, it helps to group like items together in storage bins so you can keep track of what you have and for perishable items, rotate stock. All those prepping supplies hidden in the back of the closet were fine but I neglected to remember to rotate things we did use like medicine, vitamins and batteries. Almost everything else in there, because it was stored in a climate controlled environment would last for decades without any problem


A place for everything and everything in its place.

Organized so that others know where things are

Organization is something that my wife and one daughter have in their DNA. Actually, if I gave my daughter a pile of all of our prepping gear, enough time and plastic storage totes, she would have it all organized, notated and inventoried. Wait, now that I say that…

Seriously though. It isn’t just enough to go on your supply runs to Walmart and drop a couple hundred dollars and hide it away. Your family needs to know where to turn if you aren’t there and they need something. Hiding supplies in your desk drawer isn’t a system. You should have a designated place for prepping supplies or maybe several but the supplies should be labeled and your family should understand that some things are not to be used. It helps to start this when you are getting started prepping but can also be changed even if you have been prepping for years. All it takes is some spare time and a plan.

I have broken my supplies down into categories:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Security
  • Hygiene
  • Sanitation
  • Communications
  • Lighting

Food is the easiest because we do eat on this every day, it has a place already (the pantry) and I don’t worry about anyone taking food because it has to be rotated. I do have places for freeze-dried food and MRE’s because those are not part of our short-term storage.

The other items are located in bins in various places that my family knows about.

Organized so you can rotate items in your storage

There are some items you don’t have to worry about rotating. For example in the hygiene box I have soap, shampoo, toothpaste, combs, razors and a lot of other things. We don’t need to rotate any of these supplies because they will last decades provided the storage location is free from heat or moisture.

Items like batteries last the longest in cool (not refrigerated) spaces so I wouldn’t want these to get stored in an out building. They should ideally be rotated too but if stored in their original sealed plastic they will last a very long time. Vitamins should be rotated, so should medicines and one way to do this is to keep your rotatable items in a separate container. When you go to the store to purchase new medicine, it goes in this container and you take out something with a closer expiration date. Instead of throwing everything in the same drawer, this discipline will make it more obvious that you need to use the first in first out items. It also helps that your spouse is on board with this plan.

It might seem easier to shove everything into a big box and forget about it, but a little organization will help you and your family with knowing what you have, keeping their intended use in the front of your minds and ensuring you can find it quickly when you need it.

What organization ideas or practices do you use in your prepping storage efforts?

Since I started prepping officially I have made quite a few purchases. Some of these have been incremental, single purchases and some have been raids of the local Walmart or