Monthly Archives: March 2012
By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost
Every day we see new laws and regulations coming out of Washington that can have no other meaning than to strip us of our inherent freedoms. While many Americans still see the government as a noble creature that will fulfill their needs and wants, it is becoming obvious to a small minority that something very evil lurks just over the horizon and out of full view. To attempt to warn the majority is an attempt in futility. Many will refuse to believe the truth even as they are marched to their death. The propaganda organs are in full swing and that is all most will acknowledge as if a narcotic providing their next high and feeling of relief from the harsh realities of the world. The minority feel they must prepare as best as they can for the coming cataclysm they view as inevitable. They are prepared to resist the tyranny they feel approaching with everything they have. The words, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor resonate to the very heart of what these patriots stand for. Without freedom, there is no life worth living that would provide a meaningful existence. These patriots are prepared to fight if necessary to protect what rightfully belongs to them.
If the government decides to take that which it does not own, the situation could devolve into a bloody gorilla war all across this nation. The federals would call into action all assets they have at their disposal to fight this resistance including foreign troops and hired mercenaries that have no compunction about shooting Americans. The civilian resistance could blunt and even overwhelm the federal civilian forces but the active military forces would bring a new element into play with their weapons and tactics. It is reasonable to expect a number of these federal troops to refuse orders against their own countrymen but the number is unknown at this point and many troops would indeed follow orders if they determined it to be in their best interest.
The one wild card in this game will be the National Guard units scattered around the country. There are only a few dozen active duty army bases scattered around the nation but there are about 3,200 National Guard armories with a compliment of weapons and troops. With the reduction of forces after Desert Storm, over 60% of the army combat arms troops now reside in the National Guard. These are the front line trigger pullers whose job it is to close with and engage the enemy. These include infantry, armor, artillery, air defense artillery and army aviation . It has been said before that you cannot hold real estate without boots on the ground and these combat arms personnel are the ones that do that. This is why the army cannot conduct large scale combat operations anywhere in the world without involving the National Guard forces .
If National Guard forces alone decide to honor their oath and stand with their communities, the federals will have a difficult time trying to overwhelm and passify the nation at large. These citizen soldiers live and work in the communities where they serve and the act of turning their weapons on their family members and neighbors is something many would not be willing to do. But even this cannot be guaranteed. Even with all active duty forces aligned against the civilian population this citizen soldier element has the means to bring it to a standstill. The citizen soldiers and their civilian allies are the one and only thing that can guarantee our continued freedom. How the National Guard reacts to any type of Martial Law proclamation from Washington will determine the fate of the nation to a large degree.
If it becomes evident to the federals that they do not have the cooperation and complete control of the National Guard forces, you could expect them to attempt to disarm the guard troops by locking them out of their armories and motor pools and attempting to secure this equipment. It is unknown at this time how effective that tactic would be but it would be a sign to the civilian population that conflict is not far off. A similar tactic would involve starting a major war overseas and deploying most of these troops to the combat theatre to get them out of the way and keep them under control. This would allow government controlled forces freedom of movement in the U.S. To even have to suggest this kind of potential scenario happening in this country is frightening , but it is the type of world we now live in. This monster called tyranny must be put back in its’ box before it consumes us all. Only time will tell how the next chapter of American history will evolve , but we can only hope that God is generous in our time of need.
Most of the vehicles that we drive require gasoline to operate. Many of the small engines that we use every day also run on gasoline. So what happens if our supply of fuel gets cut off or becomes severely limited? Politics in this country has prevented the building of new refineries, the drilling and exploration of new oil fields while encouraging other countries to do so, ignoreed the potential of coal liquification projects to take advantage of our enormous coal reserves vilifying coal as an energy source and even now threatens war in a region that could severely curtail our access to oil supplies. To make matters even worse the government is now suggesting that we open the SPR to alleviate the pain at the pump. If we sell off this emergency reserve and we lose access to overseas oil our pain at the pump will just be beginning.
The government promotes energy efficient hybrids that get 30 or 40 MPG and cost more than most Americans now make in a year as the solution to our problems. I guess they never heard of a Ford Fiesta or Geo Metro with nothing but a gas burner to power it. While fuel efficiency is needed it is no panacea for a potential fuel shortage of our own making. We can do better when it comes to energy but it is something that takes time to accomplish without disrupting the economy. Our energy policy will change when the free market demands it and not before, no matter how much politicians try to force it. Politicians don’t seem to understand that or else don’t care. This leaves the taxpayer on the receiving end of some very bad decisions that can devastate them financially.
So what can we do? I have no doubt that when confronted with a serious fuel shortage, entrepreneurs and our All American shade tree mechanics will save the day, at least on a small scale. People have been in this boat before and have come up with solutions. We know that steam powered vehicles will work. Jay Leno got a ticket for driving his Stanley Steamer 75 MPH on the freeway. We know that vehicles will run on ethanol that anyone can produce in his backyard. We know we can build wood gas producers that will power a vehicle. We can produce bio diesel from crops. We can produce our own fuel locally from many sources if necessary. If the situation dictates that we have no choice due to shortages then Americans will produce their own fuel. This we can do. We can produce our own fuel but lubrication is a bit more than the average guy can do in his backyard, and lubrication will be essential to keep a car running. If you believe that fuel shortages or ultra high fuel prices are coming and you have a plan to make your own fuel then you will need to store a supply of motor oil and oil filters to keep your vehicle going.
There are a few things you should know about oil to assist in this endeavor. There are certain criteria to insure the optimum storage for oil & lubricants.
Keep the sealed container in a clean dry indoor area.
The ideal storage temperature is a stable temperature between 45-80 degrees fahrenheit.
Insure that no dust or moisture enters the container.
Keep grease containers stored upright due to bleeding (fluid separation) at higher temps.
Wipe off containers before opening.
If you store oil for long durations you need to check the products performance claims against current OEM specs for the car you plan to put it in. Vehicle specs change over time.
Amsoil and Exxonmobil both recommend a five year maximum shelf life for engine oils, including Mobil 1. Synthetic motor oils contain different chemical compounds than conventional motor oils which will give synthetic oil a longer shelf life. This is the recommended shelf life by the experts but since the formulas are mostly secret it is unknown how long oil will truly keep in prime condition. One fact is for sure. You won’t be driving in the future without it so you are going to use whatever you have at that point, all you can do is store it the best that you can and keep an eye on your engine. As for oil filters, you should store them in a water tight container to prevent rust formation and moisture damage to the paper element. Happy motoring.
Previously we talked about basic critical preps for apartments. Once these basic elements are secured, you will want to expand your supplies to increase your capabilities. Your expanded supplies will be dictated by three things. They will be based on your individual situation, your personal preferences and your financial capability. The potential list of supplies based on these things is infinite so we won’t try to list all of the conventional items but instead let’s look at some unconventional things.
In the area of sanitation and hygiene it will be important to keep clean. Your cleanliness will be a contributing factor to your overall health. Women have their own special needs so they should plan for this accordingly. Overall you should have a way to shower at least once a week and clean yourself a few times in between. This can be as simple as having a supply of baby wipes and a solar shower to use. With the solar shower just keep in mind that you will need a way to hang it up high that can support 50 or so pounds. One solution to this might be to use a step ladder that supports your shower when you need it and the rest of the time its’ steps can be used to hold small planters such as for sprouts.
As for sanitation you will need to have a good supply of toilet paper but even so you need to plan on the day when you will run out, then what do you do? The yellow pages may help for a while but even that is a limited resource. You may need to have some type of cloth that you can reuse and a way to clean it so you need to figure that out now. One solution may be to keep a small supply of cloth baby diapers which are made for this similar purpose. If you have the resources to maintain cloth diapers then you should be covered.
I have just one final note on sanitation. Your water supply may be limited so you want to make the most from what you have. After you shower you might want to save this grey water for watering your plants. Cut the top off of a milk jug or large plastic bottle, fill it two thirds with sand and punch a few small holes in the bottom, wrap a tightly woven piece of cloth around the bottom and pour your grey water through it catching this filtered water in a container. This should remove most of the soap scum. It would also help if you were to use organic or bio compatible soap with chemicals that your plants can use.
On the subject of water, you will be dependent on whatever local sources you have over the long term. This may be a puddle, pond or river. There are two main problems I see with foraging for water in an emergency situation. Most people will not have the filtering and storage capability that you do and going out in public will advertise this fact. The other thing is, the first problem may lead to you becoming a target of those unprepared and wishing to upgrade their position. Moving around too much in public could be very dangerous.
Because of these dangers it would be much safer long term to have a rain catchment system. For an apartment this is a tricky problem. If you have a balcony you can set up a tarp and channel the rainwater into containers. If you have access to the roof you can set up the same system. A more advanced system might involve having a rain barrel on the roof with a threaded pvc connector that a garden hose can attach to. This hose can be hung over the side of the building and down to your window. The hose can be run through your window and have a shut off valve on it to aid in filling containers. A nylon collapsible type of hose would be easier to store and handle and most of these components could be secured in your apartment until needed. If your apartment is more than about 200 feet from the roof this system may not work because of the weight of the water in the hose. It could actually drag your barrel off of the roof unless it is well secured. This should give you some ideas to ponder as you plan the system that will work best for you.
The conventional approach to food is to store canned and dehydrated goods but this could run out at some point. One way to insure sustained access to food is to grow some of your own. This is difficult in the confined space of an apartment but is possible. If you have a balcony you will have room for more planters but almost all apartments have at least one large window that you can use. You need to grow the most food in the least amount of space so certain plants with a high yield will become obvious. Things such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and peppers that can be grown vertically work well and have a small footprint. Other plants such as carrots, beets, turnips, radishes and lettuce are compact and can be grown in small containers and provide a good yield.
Here is something that most people don’t consider. With a potato tower you can produce up to 100 lbs of potatoes in a container with a footprint of 4 square feet. The plans for this can be found on the net so I won’t go into a lot of details on it. Most people plant a summer garden but don’t think about a winter garden. You may grow some plants in your apartment during the winter but will they live if you have no heat. Things like cabbage, turnips, brussel sprouts, spinach and collards can survive a lot of cold weather and even if you have no heat these things will live and provide you with fresh produce throughout the winter. Two potato towers and a few planters can provide you with a great deal of life sustaining food. In the winter your potato towers can be laid on their side and used as planters for large things like cabbage and collards providing you a good dual use for them.
Here is another plan for providing food throughout the year. If you are allowed to keep pets such as birds then why not keep chickens. You can keep four Rhode Island Red pullets in a cage and be provided with about 2 dozen eggs every week. They will need at least 4 square feet per bird or more if possible. A multilevel cage would work well. For 4 birds you would need 4 bags of lay ration and 1 bag of cracked corn. This 250 lbs of feed would keep your birds fed for about a year. For about $65 worth of feed you would get about 100 dozen eggs, not a bad deal. The egg shells can be fed back to the chickens for extra calcium and any trimmings from your garden would make them very happy birds. The only other thing you would need to stock is a bag of granite grit to feed them to help with digestion. Another good thing to keep in mind is that chicken manure is some of the best fertilizer you can get. Chickens are also very cold hardy as long as you keep them out of the wind so a cold apartment would not bother them.
You could almost survive with nothing more than two potato towers and four chickens. This would provide you with three eggs and over half a pound of potatoes a day. While not ideal it would go a long way towards prevention of starvation and desperation. One last word on apartments, other than security issues regarding two legged critters, the main threats you face are destruction of the building and fire, which may be one and the same. If an earthquake or similar destructive force takes down the building there is not much you can do except make your peace with God and try to get out. With a fire you may have enough time to gather your critical supplies and evacuate. You need to plan on a hasty evacuation and have a list of must take supplies. These will allow you to set up another home and continue caring for yourself. In this instance one special item you might need is a respirator or protective mask to filter out the smoke so that you can make it to the lower levels and escape. This is a very real threat in the city during a grid down situation because water and firefighters may not be available to assist you.
Planning for long term self sufficiency in an area that is not designed for it can be daunting but it can be done if you take the time to think everything through carefully while you have the time. The greatest asset you have is your mind so fill it with all that you can to make the best use of available resources. In the next article we’ll look at single family homes and some things that are unique to that situation.
Many people are now waking up to the possibility that the future may not provide the great recovery we all expect it to be. They are begining to sense that something is wrong with the economy and it will not get better. Their first thought is the question, What do I do to protect myself and my family? They usually answer that question with the thought, maybe these preppers aren’t so crazy after all. How do you prep with very little money? Many start answering this question with buy this and buy that but that is not the first step to prepping. Every situation is different so your preps need to reflect your situation. The first thing you need to do is get a legal pad or a note book to write in and answer these basic questions. Do you own or rent? Do you live in an apartment or a home with a yard? Is your home paid for or could you lose it if your income were cut off? Do you have some place else to go if things get too bad or you lose your home? Can you plant a garden or fruit trees in your yard? Can you own livestock or even a few chickens? How much can you afford per month to buy supplies? These questions are just a start but they will determine what you will need to get by in a difficult situation. An apartment dweller will have no need to get seeds and garden tools immediately while it might make perfect sense to someone in the country with a few acres of their own land. If you live in the suburbs and have a small yard you might be able to plant some fruit trees but what happens if you lose your home to foreclosure? Would the money for those trees have been spent better somewhere else? You need to decide what your emergency will involve and what your basic needs will be because of it. Lets look at an apartment dweller for a minute. They depend on water from the city, food from the grocery store, power for heat, light and cooking and sanitation, all of which has to be brought into the city or pumped out of the city on a continuous basis. If all of these systems shut down for any length of time you are now stranded in a cave on a cliff with a long staircase to traverse each way. Assuming that everyone is in the same situation as you and you are not evicted from your home, what supplies will you need to shelter in place and how long will they last? Being in an apartment you are limited to the types of supplies you may be able to store. For instance it would be a waste of money to invest in a generator if you know you can’t store a 30 day supply of gas. The two primary supplies you need no matter where you are involve water and food. In a system wide failure water would be the first thing you would run out of. You can only live about three days without water so it is a critical storage item. The only problem with water is that it’s heavy and takes up a lot of room if you want a several month supply. For someone in an apartment this is out of the question so how do you get around this? The solution has to be to store a small supply and have a plan to resupply what you need. The cheapest way to go is to get a supply of five gallon plastic food grade buckets to store water in. As a secondary storage device get a few thirty gallon trash cans and some food grade liners for them. These can be filled just prior to an emergency if you have any warning. Another secondary storage medium would be your bath tub. This can hold fifty gallons or more to last you quite a while. In addition to storage containers you need to get a good water filter. A gravity fed system is good but a portable reverse osmosis system is better. You may need to forage for water during a long emergency and you don’t want to contaminate your clean buckets with unfiltered water that you will have to carry home. Also you will need to filter water in your tub or other container that may not be completely clean. The reason to have some five gallon buckets is that you may need to carry water up to your apartment and more than five gallons is more than most people would be able to handle at one time. The next thing you need to have on hand is a supply of food. The cheapest things to start off with that will keep you fed are the following items. You might want to get 3lbs of rice, 3lbs of dried beans, 5lbs of cornmeal, 42oz of oatmeal, 2lbs of powdered milk, 26oz of mash potato flakes, 30 packages of ramen noodles and 12 cans of vegetables. All of these things will cost you about $35.00 and provide one person with three meals a day for 30 days. This list is meant to prevent desperation on your part for the least amount of money not necessarily a perfectly balanced menu. A good multivitamin can fill in any shortfalls of this menu. This short list provides you with a reasonable amount of food for a very small investment and all of it will fit in two five gallon containers to allow for easy transport if you decide to relocate with it. Another item you might want to get depending on your location is a good quality cold weather sleeping bag. This is a must if you are living in a cold climate without a dependable heat source. You can survive in a very cold place for a very long time if you have the means to stay warm and get a good nights sleep. The next item you should have is a propane stove, at least a single burner unit, and at least a one pound canister of propane for each week for the duration you plan for. This will allow you the means to heat water and cook food and also provide heat on a limited basis. To make your fuel go as far as possible you also want to have a small pressure cooker so you can cook things like beans and rice quickly. For light you can have a 100 hour liquid paraffin candle that will provide you with 3 hours of light every night for a month. You want to have a large box of strike anywhere matches and a disposable lighter to light your stove and candle. A hand crank LED light with a radio and cell phone charging port would be a good addition to this kit. The final thing you would need is a sanitation system. With the power off, you might be able to flush your toilet with your water stores but the pumps that carry the sewage away will not be working so the sewer lines will eventually back up. To avoid this you need to have a portable toilet with disposable linings that you can utilize until the power returns or you relocate. A simple totable toilet and a few liners can be had for under twenty dollars. You can also get disposable liners that fit your regular toilet bowl that you can use. Depending on how much you spend on your sleeping bag and pressure cooker, you can get everything listed here for around three hundred dollars. For that price you would be able to shelter in place for a month. If you increase the amount of food, propane and candles you get, you could shelter in place for months. Security is not covered here because it is something that could fill an article of its own. These are the basic things you should have for an apartment if you plan to stay in place for any length of time. These limited supplies can be the difference between remaining safe and healthy and becoming desperate. The small quantity of supplies listed here would be easy to relocate with even if you had to travel on foot. In the next article we’ll talk about expanded preps for apartments and things for single family homes.