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Friday, November 8, 2013

News on Venison from Uncle Ted

Sacred Venison Flesh Demands Serious Care



Proper care of the venison we take is the key to tasting the most pure and delectable table fare known to humankind. (photo courtesy of TedNugent.com)

For more than 50 years I have been doing everything in my power to turn people on to the ultimate quality protein and sustenance known to man – VENISON! In each and every case, I have succeeded in educating non-hunters and even anti-hunters, and even animal rights freaks to this inescapable reality. In many instances they are extremely resistant due to the myth of “gaminess” and ignorance of truly pure organic food.

It doesn't matter if it is the primo backstraps, hindquarter haunch, flank steaks, or ground burger in a nice chili or spaghetti, every man, woman child has raved about the delicious taste and come to grips with the superior nutrition that wild game meat provides.

But here’s the rub – in far too many cases, the mishandling of our game translates into some nasty inedible yuck that has turned the positive term “gamey,” into a negative scare tactic that not only turns people unnecessarily away from venison, but does nothing to endear them to our beloved sport.

And here’s why; in most states a local butcher handles so many carcasses that they all get heaped into one big heat-making pile. Add to this mishandling the fact that so many hunters do a piss-poor job of gutting and handling their deer in the field and during transport to the butcher, that now we have the perfect storm for spoilage and bacteria buildup that spells disaster for the magnificent beast that provided us this very special gift.



Each deer we take demands the utmost respect, and the nourishing venison they provide requires our best efforts to clean and cool the meat as quickly as possible, so that no morsel goes to waste. (photo courtesy of TedNugent.com)

So this NugeBlog is going out there to the experienced and knowledgeable sporters and butchers out there to push harder at deercamp and beyond to educate our fellow hunters how critical good game handling is for a quality end product of precious meat.

Kill em clean, gut em clean, keep em clean and cold, make sure you know your butcher intimately to make certain he handles your animal with all the tender loving care it deserves and your families’ meals deserve.

I know my local game warden, chief of police, sheriff, state trooper commander, farmers and butcher. With the proper care and respect, venison is the best flesh a person could ever make a meal out of. Revere the beast and the ultimate meals await you.

Goodluck, good hunting, God bless & Godspeed, celebrate the flesh,




Ted & family

For more Ted go to TedNugent.com

- See more at: http://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/featured/ted-nugent-sacred-venison-flesh-demands-serious-care#sthash.2g6p6AMl.dpuf

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Real SHTF Story

Several readers alerted us to a forum thread at Survivalist Boards from a while back that centered around an individual named Selco who spent several years in a city setting during the complete collapse of Bosnia circa 1992. Selco describes the experiences and the survival strategies that he, his family and his community used to stay alive. Many forum members chimed in on the conversation and asked questions of Selco, who took the time to provide vivid details to an interested survival community.

The story will emphasize the importance of weapons, ammo, barter items, networking with neighbors and friends for mutual defense, and basic meds, like diarrhea control and antiseptics. And, the critically essential need to lay low, blend into the background, and not let folks know what you have.

The following compendium of the most popular questions and answers from the forum thread has been provided by Chris Kitze of well known alternative media web site Before It's News. It's a long read, but well worth your time.

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When it hit the fan in Bosnia in the 1990's the electrical grid and water utilities went down, thus there was no heat in the winter and no potable water available for drinking. The currency and banking system were non-existent and commerce in its traditional form came to a standstill leaving only barter as a way to acquire goods. The food supply and transportation systems fell apart. Police, fire, and medical services disappeared. Violence, disease and death spread throughout the region. Few were prepared for what would follow. This is Selco's story. Pay attention, it may save your life one day.

"Nobody wins, we just survived, with a lot of bad dreams."
¨C Selco

From Selco:

OK, i wanna share with you my own experience. (be patient with my English, i am from far away )

I am from Bosnia, and as some of you may know it was hell here from 92-95, anyway, for 1 whole year i lived and survived in a city of 50 000- 60 000 residents WITHOUT: electricity, fuel,running water,real food distribution, or distribution of any goods, or any kind of organized law or government.The city was surrounded for 1 year and in that city actually it was SHTF situation.

We did not have organized army or police force, there was groups of defenders, actually anybody who had a gun, fight for his own house and his own family.

Some of us was better prepared, but most of families had food for couple of days, some of us had pistol, few owned AK-47 when all started.

Anyway, after one month or two, gangs started with their nasty job, hospital looked like butchery, police force vanished, 80 percent of hospital staff gone home.

I was lucky, my family was big in that time (15 members in one big house, 5-6 pistols, 3 Kalashnikovs) so we lived and survived, most of us.

I remember US Air force dropped MRE every 10 days (god bless USA for that) as help for surrounded city, it just was not enough.Some of houses had little gardens with some vegetables, most did not.

After three months rumors started abouth first deaths from starvation,deaths from low temperatures, we stripped every door , window frame from abandoned houses for heating, i burned all my own furniture for heating, lot of people died from diseases, mostly from bad water (two of my family members), we used rain water for drink, several times i ate pigeons, once i ate rat.

Money did not worth sh.. we traded things, black market worked, few examples: for 1 corned beef can you could have woman for couple of hours(sounds bad, but it was reality) i remember, most of that womans were just desperate mothers, candles, lighters, antibiotics, fuel, batteries, rifle ammo and of course food, we fight like animals for that.

In situation like that lot of things change, most of people turned to monsters, it was ugly.

Strength was in the numbers, if you were alone in the house, you ve been probably robbed and killed, no matter how well armed.

Anyway, war ended, again thanks to America (and again god bless USA for that)

It is not important witch side had right in that war.

It was almost 20 years ago, but believe me, for me it was just like yesterday, i remember everything, and i think i learned a lot.

Me and my family are prepared now, i am well armed, stocked and educated.

It is not important what going to happen, earthquake, war, tsunami,aliens terrorists, important thing is that something gonna be.

And from my expirience, you can not survive alone, strength is in the numbers, be close with your family, prepare with them, choose your friends wisely and prepare with them too.

And at the end, this is my first post, and my English is not so good, so don t judge me too hard.




Q: How did you get around safely?

Actually city was broken in something like lot of street communities, in my street (15 or 20 houses) we organized patrols (5 armed man every night) to watch on gangs or enemies.

We traded things between people in that street, 5 miles from my street there was one street with something like organized traders, but it was to dangerous to go there, it worked only during the nighttime (during the day it was sniper alley) and you had more chance to be robed there than to trade, i used that street only 2 times, and belive me, only when i am really need something bad.


Q: What about wood? It looked like there are many forests around your city, why did you have to burn doors and furniture?

First, thank you for your questions, i did not expect this amount of interest for my post.

I ll be glad to share lot of things with you guys beecause i want to learn lot of things from you.

Anyway:
Bosnia have lot of woods and forests when you check map, but i lived in city closer to the croatian border, more to the south, i don t want to mention name of the city, but if you check map, south part of my country closer to croatia is all in rock.

Yes we had some trees in my city, parks, fruit trees, but most of the city is building and houses¡± but belive me all trees in the city is going to be burned very fast when you dont have eletricity for cooking and heating. After that all what you have is furniture, doors, wooden floors¡­ (and belive me that stuff is burning too fast)

There was almost no car use in town because: most of the roads jammed with ruins, abandoned cars, destroyed houses stuff like that, and petrol was like gold.

If i needed to go somewhere i almost always used night time, never go alone but also never go in big group (2-3 man maybe), always armed, very fast, always in shadows, trough ruins, rarely openly on the street, actually always hiding.

We did not have suburbs and farmers, in suburbs were enemy army, we were surrounded with enemy army, and inside town you did not know who is your enemy.

And yes, there were organized groops of gangs, 10-15 people, sometimes even 50, but also there were normal people like you and me, fathers, granddads, decent folks, who robed and killed, there was not too much good and bad guys, most of us was gray, ready for everything.



Q: Did you prep and what kind of skills did you need?

Of course you can ask.

We use what we had, we was not prepared for that situation,we did not know for prepping.

So you can imagine in some aspects we go back in stone age, actually in most of.

We just used everything what we had, one example, i had in my propan(or butan i am not sure) stowe big bottle, cylinder (i am not sure is that right word), and i did not use it for cooking or heating, it was to valuable, i manage to built (fix) that bottle with my friend so i can attach a hose on some kind of ventil (sorry my english is going down here) so i can fill those disposable lighters,(they are not disposable if you knowhow to) those lighter worth a small fortune.

To make story short, somebody bring me empty lighter to me and i fill that lighter with gas, usually i took one can for that or one candle or whatewer he can offer me.

I hope you understand my example, my english is poor on some things.

one more example, i am a registered nurse, in time like that, my knowledge was my thing for trade.

And yes, be trained and educated, in times like that it worth a fortune if you know how to fix things, all your goods is going to be exhausted one day, but your specific knowledge can be your food.

I mean learn to fix things (shoes or people, whatewer you can)

My neighbor use to know how to make some kind of oil for oil lamps( oil in glass, peace of rope) and he was not hungry, he never show me how he made that oil ¡±

i belive he use some tree behind his house and small amount of disel, i don t know.

My point is learn things, people always need somebody who know to fix things.

It was not survival movie, it was ugly, we did what we have to do to survive.

Nobody wins, we just survived, with a lot of bad dreams.



Q: Wasn¡¯t it religious, the war?

Sorry man wrong info, that was not Cristian vs Muslim war, it was civil war, with lot of switching between sides.

And sorry i am not to go in to the politics, i dont care to much for that, i am not going into religious stories, i mean i believe in God as higher power, and I am trying to live by his laws, i am not belong to any dogma, Muslim or Christian.




Q: Who was your support group?

My group was only my family, my blood (relatives like uncles, grandmother¡­), in my street and in my town trips i had some close friends, but my best friends was my family. I never take stranger in my close group.




Q: If you had three months to prepare today, what would you do?

If i have extra three months to prepare?

Hmmm, probably run overseas :) Joke

OK, Now i am very well aware how things can go very bad in very short time so i have food, hygiene, energy etc. supply for 6 months, i live in apartment with some improved security, i have house with shelter in a village some 5 miles from my apartment, in that house also supply for 6 months, that village small community, most of them are my relatives,most of them are prepared (they learned that from war), i have four kind of fire weapons with 2000 bullets for each (sorry, can not go in details, laws are different here for rifles).

I have big garden with that house and some good knowledge about gardening and farming.

I think i have knowledge now to smell trouble, you know when everybody is saying that everything is going to be fine you somehow know that is everything going to fall apart.

I think i have strength to do everything what it takes to keep me and my family alive, because when everything is going to sh.., be sure, you are going to do some bad things to save your kid. You don t want to be hero, you want to survive with your family.

I am nurse, also i am paramedic (US standards)

And i am willing to learn from all of you.

One man survivor, no chance ( OK it is my opinion) no matter how well armed and prepared, at the end you gonna die, i ve seen that, many times. Family groups or closest friend with lot of preparing and lots of different knowledge, i believe that is best.




Q: What items should we stockpile?

Thank you

Well depends, i quess if you stock only one thing you are not going to survive, unless you want to survive like robber, then you need only gun and lot od ammo.

I believe besides ammo food hygiene and energy things (batteries etc.) you need to focus on small things for trade, pocket knives, lighters, flints.

Also LOT of alcohol, kind that can stay long, i mean stuff like whiskey and that, does not important what kind, you can have cheapest kind, it is very good thing for trade in desperate time.

Also lack of hygiene things killed a lot of people, i ve seen that.

You gonna need to have some simple things, like for example lot of garbage bags, i mean a lot, many uses for that, and a LOT of duct tape, many many uses for that.

In case of weapon keep it simple, i mean now i always carry Glock 45 with me, because i like that gun, but it is not usual gun and usual caliber here, so i also have two 7,62 mm TT russian pistols hidden, because almost everybody have that gun here and a lot ammunition.

I don t like Kalashnikov, but here there is that rifle on almost every 3rd house so¡­

Most of the time i collect my water from roof in 4 big barrels during the war, then cooked to desinfect, we also had river in that town , too poluted but if you can t choose¡­

I don t think i am expert, i am here to learn.

I quess it depends how far you going to go to survive with your actions, you need to be prepared to do some ugly things.

Oh yes it changed my perspective on life, i know now that bad things can happens, and on more important thing, actually i believe it is most important: I don¡¯t anymore believe government and authority, not at all. When they really doing their best to assure you that everything going to be fine, you can be sure that something bad is happening.

Do not just believe, research.




Q: What about the civil war¡­ and the religious fighting? Did gold and silver help much and how did you get the alcohol and other supplies?

Hello to all

It is me again

I believe in some point this discussion gone wrong way, and no i am not offended, everybody have right for opinion, so here is few of my opinions:

It was a civil war, yes there was a great influence of religion, but somebody mention ¡°what did you do with people of other religion?¡±

Well in my family there are people with different religious beliefs so what do you mean with that?

I ll try to explain you simple; it was an attackers and defenders, lot of switching sides, civil war. War ended without winners, it ended with truce, thanks mostly to USA. It was the wrong war, wrong reasons. I did not fight for religion or ethnicity, i fought to keep my family and myself alive.

For last 15 years we have peace, we live with people who use to be our enemies, i do not to want to have war and enemy again because ethnicity or religion or any other reason.

Please do not try to generalize anything about that war, there was not good and bad side, we all suffered and we all try to live together again.

And yes every side did bad things, and every side had booth good and bad guys.

I am here for one and only reason- survival, i want to learn, and i can share some useful stuff with you.I don t think about your religious beliefs, your ethnicity or your politic opinion.

Few words about my city before war, it was a usual Bosnian town, normal life, decent people, schools, theaters, parks, college, airport, crime rate very low, town like most of the smaller towns in USA (i think). I was a young man, just like any of you maybe.

Now very important think: i am not here to discuss about war reasons, or sides, religion or anything similar.

Thanks to the war, in my town was REAL SHTF situation, and we can discuss only about that, only that is important.

You have a lot internet pages, you can learn everything about that war, and you can choose side if you want. OK that s it.

About survival.

I don t know about other people on this forum, but i have lot of alcohol stacked now.

At the beginning of war tank grenade smashed front wall of small distillery (alcohol factory) close to my house, so we took something around 500 liters of rakia (it is something like bosnian whiskey, i guess, it made from grape, very strong)

It was great stuff for trading, people used alcohol a lot, desperate times i think, we also use it for disinfection.

About hygiene, cups and plates, paper or plastic, you gonna need a LOT, i know, we did not have it at all.

My opinion that hygiene things is more important maybe than food, you can easily shoot pigeon, if you have grandmother she may know some eatable plants on nearest small hill (my experience) but you can not shoot hand sanitizer

Water purifying pills, all kind of cleaning stuff, sanitizers, lot of soap, bleach, gloves, masks, all disposable, take very good care about first aid training, learn how to treat smaller cuts, burns or even gunshot wound, there is not hospital, even if you found doctor somewhere he probably do not have any meds, or you do not have stuff to pay him.

Learn how and when to use antibiotics and have it a lot.

Belive me with good knowledge and good amount of meds you are gonna be rich.

About gold and silver, yes, me personally gave all my gold for ammunition in that time, but it did not worth too much.

About pets, i did not have it, i did not notice a lot pets in that time, did somebody ate it? I don t know, probably.

About small family, hmm, not good, usualy few smaller families get together in biggest house and stay together, all relatives (my case)

Small family or single man, not good for survive in town SHTF, maybe in wilderness (i don t have expirience in that) Even if you stay low profile, hidden in your house with lot of food etc, sooner or later mob will come, and you have maybe have one or two guns, very hard. I agree with low profile policy, it is very important not to attract people with anything, but when they come, you need to have numbers, people and guns, best people is your family.

About moving trough the city: always night time as i mentioned, never alone, 2-3 man, very fast, never attract with anything, look like everybody else, if most folks look desperate, poor, dirty you need to look same, there is no need that everybody know you have good amount of food, ammo , clean cloths and everything else back at home. Look and act like everybody else.

When somebody attack you or your family then you need to show that you are very ready.

I never walked in big groups,in that time and that situation big group is gang.

Now, this is all my experience, it was then, i did a lot of mistakes, i am not expert, i am here just like any of you, to learn and share.

For example i don t know too much about wilderness survival, i am here to check it.

Oh yes, few things to the Sedoy: my wife is different ethnicity, and she is also a Catholic, i am not, and to answer you : no i am not going to shoot her.



Q: What happened to those who died? Where did people get firewood?

Well, who ever died or get killed in that period, did not get proper funeral.

Folks used used every peace of free land, close to house for burial, sometimes even in the garden, 2-3 city parks turned to graveyards,after war most of them are exhumed and properly buried.

There was not noting like burning bodies or anything similar, as far as i know.

Oh one more interesting thing about fire, some people use to go few miles during the night only to find fire somewhere so they can fire peace of wood and bring it home, and start fire for cooking or heating, lighters and matches was really precious, and most of the folks did not have enough firewood do keep always fire. For most of the people it was constant search for something, fire,wood,food,ammo¡­




Q: Was salt valuable?

It was valuable yes, but not too much, for example coffee or cigarettes worth-ed much more.



Q What about cigarettes?

Hm, i had a lot of alcohol as i mentioned before, i traded almost everything without any problem, let me say it like this: consumption of alcohol was probably 10 times more than in normal time.Not to mention cleaning and disinfection.

On the other side you made a very good point, if you have money and time and you have a storage it is probably better to store cigarettes or candles and batteries for trade, or food.

I was not preparer at that time, we did not have time to prepare, few days before SHTF politicians on TV stated that everything is fine, when sky fell down we just take what you can.




Q: Tell us more about cooking and the foods you were able to prepare. Were you concerned about the smell getting around and alerting people that there was food over there?

About cooking, before the SHTF i used in my house electricity for booth, cooking and heating, so when everything started i traded some stuff for some kind of old wood stove, i put it in kitchen ad fix exhaust pipe (right word?) trough hole in wall, i use that for cooking and heating.

During the summer i cooked in my backyard (walled fence, brick, luckily)

Concerning the smell of the food, hm, i ll try to picture situation: no electricity, no running water, sewage off for months, dead bodies in ruined houses, grime and mess, believe me it was very hard to smell something nice.

It was not like in movies, it was ugly,dirty, and smelly.

Yes i had few problems because of cooking, only few, but as i sad before, enough people, properly armed and with will to defend and you can manage most of the problems with that.

Probably situation would be different in wilderness.

I ate mostly some kind of pancakes with local herbs (does not require cooking oil and too much firewood), and of course everything what i could get and trade, rice was good to eat, not too much firewood for that.

I think i had luck, only few times i ate funny things like pigeons

I always had something to trade, i guess that saved me, and guns of course.




Q: 1. Why would the night be safer than daytime? Outside of the obvious of being easier to hide at night, but were the gangs more out during the days? Also, why only small groups of 2-3? What happened to larger groups?

2. Why would you have to go out at night? For instance, where were you going and why?

3. How did you handle the mob situation when they came for you, or your family?

4. You mentioned trading for bullets, etc. How much shooting were you doing during that time and how much ammo did you have, or would like to have had?

5. How were you able to determine who was an enemy and who wasn¡¯t? How did you manage to get out there trade with people and when/where?

6. What fortifications did you do to your home and what kind of guard, or protections did you have in place?

7. Finally, how did you avoid snipers? What precautions did people take against them?


First almost nobody were out during the day because of snipers, line of defence was very close, so whatever you have to do, you do it during the night, trade something, look for firewood (i can express how much this was important in town, and hard), looking for anything, check somebody, go to hear news (very very important, lot of people get killed because they go somewhere just to see what happening, or what s new) remember, no news, no radio ,no tv, nothing, rumors fed lot of people.

Already explained, you can stay home and die of hunger and cold, or even infection of some small wound or go out and risk your life, try to find ¨C trade anything useful

I did have situations concerning my house only, it is no need for too much details, we had more fire power, and brick wall.

Also we had something like street watch, people from my street were good organized, in case of gangs, now there were a lot shootings.

There was pretty much shooting in town, i did not have enough weapon at the beginning, one rifle and one pistol (ww2), maybe 100 bullets, later i trade some things for more rifles and ammo, remember i gave car battery for 2 rifles.

How much ammo ?

A LOT, as more as you can.

Most of the time you are not able to determine who is enemy or friend, expect my family and few real friend, everybody else is potential enemy. When your friend must choose between his child s death and your death quess who is going to choose.

Rumors, somebody tells you that some old guy few block away have some cans and he is looking for ammo or whatever, you go there, as i say you are always looking for something. Same some people would came in my street as traders, with some goods.

There was something like trade street during the night, actualy it was a big ruins of sport center, you can go overthere and look for something or offer something, but it was not controlled by anyone so it was too dangerous.

It was primitive pretty much, brick wall around house,bags of sand on windows and doors, over that bags we used whatever you can, big pieces of metal, stones, inside house we put all kind of stuff on windows, only small openning left for rifle, always 5 members of family ready for fight, one always outside on street hidden.

Stone age situation

To avoid snipers, we stay home at day, it was not so much night snipers, even during the night we never walked openly on the streets if we can avoid that, always shortcuts, trough ruins, fast and quiet.




Q: What was your bathroom situation? Where did you go? Did you have anything to wipe with? Sorry ask such personal questions, but this is something that I¡¯ve wondered about in this type of situation.

we used shovel and any piece of land close to house, sounds dirty, and it is dirty, washing with collected rainwater, sometimes go to river (most of the time that was too dangerous) Most of the time we did not have toilet paper, even if i had it, i trade it.

It was a bad situation all the time.

If i can give some advice: first to prep is a weapon and ammo, then everything else, i mean everything, depends how much money and space you have, if you forget something no problem there is always somebody ready for trade, but if you forget guns and ammo then you may not be able to get to trading places.

I do not see big family or group of really( i mean really) good friends as more mouth to feed, i see them as more guns and strength, it is in people nature to adapt.

And keep it simple and use common sense, in the first period weak people vanished, other fight.

Go with small thing, lighters, candles, flints. It is great idea to have fuel generator( electrical generating unit?) but i think is better idea to have 1000 bic lighters. Fuel generator is great, but in shtf scenario in town it is going to attract whole army,1000 bic lighters don t take too much space, cheap, you can always trade it for something.

Real SHTF scenario demands completely change of normal mindset, hard to explain, i ll try through examples.




Q: How easy/hard was it to get weapons AFTER the SHTF and what could you trade for weapon and ammunition

(I remember you saying a car battery for a rifle) and where would I go to find the people who trade in weapons?

Hm, you re right, after the war every house here had a weapon from war, and yes police did some actions to take illegal weapon from population, depends from man to man i quess, lot of people find ways to hide their weapon somewhere, just in case.

I also have legal weapon (license), and authority here have some thing they call it ¡°temporary collecting¡±, it is says something like : in a case of unusual event (riots, unrest, etc) government have right to temporary collect all legal weapon, so i keep always in mind that, and i acted like some people.

You know some people have legal weapon for everyday carry( i have glock 45 and taurus 38) but some people with legal weapon also have illegal weapon hidden somewhere just in case SHTF and ¡°temporary collecting¡±

It is not hard to get weapon in SHTF if you have good stuff for trade, but other thing is important, first days of SHTF is worst in terms of chaos and panic, maybe you not gonna have time to get gun. And to be unarmed in chaos panic and riots is bad.

In my case man needed car battery for radio i think, and he had some extra rifles, so we trade.




Q: What about medical care for people who were shot or became injured?

Wounds was mostly gunshot wounds of course, without specialists and everything else, if wounded manage to find doctor somewhere he had like 30% chances to live, again it is not movie, mostly they died, lot of died even from minor cuts infections, i had antibiotics maybe for 3-4 treatment. Of course for my family only.

Simple things killed people, diarrhea can kill you in a few days without meds and rehidratation, (fluid therapy, IV) especially small kids. Lot of fungal skin deseases,and food poisoning, we could not do too much. Basically we treated diseases mostly with local herbs, and if you had wound, put rakia on it and try to find antibiotics somewhere.

So i was good at fixing wounds in term of emergency help, but longer procedure-bad prognosis.

What i learned? Hygiene again, and a lot of meds, especially antibiotics. You need to learn to treat lot of stuff, go online, finish some training, EMT maybe, first aid etc.

In SHTF things are different, learn how to open IV, when to use certain drug, or antibiotics.

Get your self ANA TE (anti tetanus ) shot injections , snake poison kit, adrenaline kit (allergic reactions, different kinds) thick removal kit, (thick related illness can kill you, learn how to remove thick)¡­

Get in your prepper storage some reanimation kit (simple one) like small oxygen cylinder, BVM mask etc. It is not really hard to learn to use all of these.

OK let s clear something, of course you can not use anything of this in real world unless you are certified and trained for that ( EMT, nurse, physician ).

But in SHTF nobody ask you for license, just learn and have in your storage big part for medical things.

So to answer question how did i help and treat, most of the time very poor,i help some with resources that i have, i took food or something else for exchange, i was badly prepared for that, now i am what do i need to have.




Q: Did your local currency/money still hold value? Were you still able to use money to purchase items from other people?

No, not really, i mean sometimes you can use foreign money if you had it to buy something, (dollars or German marks) but even in that rare occasion rate was unbelievable for examples 1 can of beans for 30-40 dollars (normal value was maybe 0,50) i quess somebody had connections with outside world, black market you know, so he can earn lot of money.But it was very rare. Trade was main thing to get something.

Local currency crashed very fast, in few weeks or month maybe.




Q: How much space should I keep for alcohol storage? What was security like?

About alcohol first, you right but you are right in booth ways, people need alcohohol more in desperte times then usual, so it is kind of gambling i guess , it is very good item for trading, i never had problems with alcohol trading and having than problems with trading other things.
Also i am thinking about something else, maybe it is better to fill my storage with something less space consuming but still interesting for trade, like batteries, antibiotics etc.

Thing is i had all that alcohol for free, i did not buy it.I don t know about this.

In most of the situations people attack me because they think they are stronger, they did not know for sure what i really had.

About ammunition trade, it depends how much ammo you are going to have, sometimes i trade ammo for food, and in few weeks again food for ammo, but i never never do trade at my home, and never bigger amounts, very few people knowed how much of anything i had in my house.

The point is store as much of anything as you can store (space , money) later during the situation you ll see what is most popular, correcti ammo and guns always gonna had 1 place for me, but who knows maybe number 2 for trading gonna be for example masks with filters.

About medical issue , i ll write in my next post what do i have now in my medical part of storage

Defence were very primitive, again we were not prepared, we use what ever we could, windows were broken, roofs mostly damaged from shelling, all windows were blocked with something, sand bags and rocks,every night i blocked my yard gate with junk- rubble from the street and i use old alluminium ladder to get over the wall, when i come back i called somebody from house to get me that ladders so i can move in.

Guy from my street barricaded his house completely, if he go out at night he use a hole that he maded in one room that is connected with neighbor s house, and go trough his (ruined and destroyed) house out, actually he had secret entrance.

It may look weird to say but most secured houses are gone first, of course we had some very nice houses in neighborhood, with walls, dogs, alarms, steel bars on windows, alarms. And you can quess what happened, mob attacked those houses first, some were defended other not, depend how many guns and hands thea have inside.
So i think security is great, but be sure that you keep it low profile, forget about alarm, if you live in town and SHTF you gonna need simple looking non interesting secured house, with lot of guns and ammunitions.

Just keep it low profile and not interesting.

On my apartment door now i have steel door for security reason, but only to keep me trough first short period of chaos, then i am moving out to connect with bigger group of armed people (family and friends) in the country (i hope)

Well in my case migration did not happen because it happen very fast, other army just closed city in ring and that s it, if you ask me where was that army and how we did not seen them coming, the answer is simple, that army was an ally of army of my side and people, and one day we woke up and figured they are enemy now and they are closing all ways out. Politics . It is true, one more side of civil war.

But i heard from others parts of country, and my frends who stayed in villages in the other parts in state, that they have much better situations,countryside had land,corn,wheat, fruit trees, farms etc they had enough food, it was bad, but much better than in city.

I know one thing if we had some way out from the town, we would use it, we did not have it.




Q: What was the situation with banks and stores?

About banks, loans, credit cards. Complete monetary system died for about one year, so nothing works.

It is complex question in many ways, i ll try it to answer it in some future posts, need much more time and much much more space to describe it. Even now almost 20 years later folks are at European court suing banks, because they dont want to admit their savings in banks, lot of different things happened in that period , they changed money, i mean monetary name, they changed it 2-3 times , hyperinflation occurs, lost of paper trails about savings, loans ¡­ i remember some people use that situation to get rich, they still rich ¡±

So i ll try to describe that in separate post.

There was a lot problems with proving people s property after everything, for example: my father had nice apartment and because war he must leave it, after war ended he was at court for about 4 years proving that apartment was his, reasons for that were different, because politics in that time, but also he did not have enough paper work to prove that apartment was his (he did not took papers from apartment when he fled, he had more important things to care)

On the other side during the worst period, people just moved in empty house, and that s it.

I mention rural areas in other post. As far as i remember it was better there.
In that period there is not running vehicle, actually i remember tank at the front line, and Lada Niva ( check it on web) with cut of doors and roof and installed machine gun ( i think it was an old m53) and those two only moved when they fired( they keep it hidden behind ruined houses)

For let me call it ¡°civilian population¡± there was no moving with vehicles, streets were mostly under rubble and unusable and fuel was too expensive.

Not to draw attention was a big thing, about clothing, there use to be some sort of town defense, it was not like real military,mostly mixed civilian clothes with part of uniforms, different weapon, so no rules.

But as soon as go in to that things and try to talk about two armies, their strength, war crimes, politics i am not gonna like it any more, because people gonna start to choose sides, and i think it is not important for us here.

As i said before there was not organized army, but we all been like soldiers, we had to, most of us carry weapon and try to protect from enemy army and robbers.
Inside the town you did not want to look fancy because somebody shoot you and took your good stuff, you did not want to have fancy rifle, because probably you not gonna find ammo in that caliber and also you are drawing attention.
So let s me try to put it this way: if SHTF tomorrow, i will try to look like most of the people outside, scared, desperate, confused and i ll scream maybe, no fancy looking stuff, i ll not go out in fancy new uniform and yell ¡°I am here, you are finished now looters and robbers¡± I ll stay low profile, heavily armed and well prepared waiting to see my options, even if i have to go out with all my gear to do things i ll go in night, with best friend or brother. Maybe sounds ridiculous, but from my expirience it works, be wery well prepared, but let nobody outside your house know or see that.

No matter how good is your house security, how good is your weapon, if people see that they have good reason to rob you they probably rob you in town SHTF, it is only matter of time and number of guns.Don t ever give them reason to be interesting for robbing. Stay uninteresting. Now this is my opinion, maybe is not working in different situation.

About robbing grocery store and gas stations, it happened very very fast, as soon as shooting started all valuable things was emptied, there vas some effort of authority to keep it together but everything fall apart in first weeks.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Patriot Underground's Top Tens for Preppers

Okay folks, this one is going to be short (or at least shorter) and sweet.  Today I am going to tell you about my top TEN guns by type that every prepper should own, and the top TEN types of ammo to hoard... errr.... stockpile.... ummm... add to inventory.  Yeah... inventory.

Top Ten Weapons

The top ten firearms every house should own if you want to cover all the bases are as follows:

Number ten: Black Powder Pistol
&
Number nine: Black Powder Rifle
I'll cover numbers ten and nine at the same time because I put them on my list for the exact same reasons.  If things go way south, beyond just the end of the world as we know it, with these two firearms you can still get it done.  These are your REAL Just In Case firearms.  What happens in a true collapse after all the ammo is gone?  If you have these, you go to the junkyards and gather wheel weights and make your own.  You make your own powder too.  End of the world averted.  

Number eight: Rimfire Pistol
.22 ammo is the most abundant and stockpiled ammo and having a pistol in this caliber is only practical in my opinion.

Number seven: Long Range Rifle
Having the ability to really reach out there and touch someone is a bonus.  Most people would have put this higher on the list than number seven.  I almost put this as number ten, but after some pondering I moved it up a bit because having the skill to reach out to a thousand yards is beyond 95% of the population's ability.  If you have the equipment to do it, eventually you might finds someone that can use it for you if you find yourself outside that other 5%.  Otherwise, everyone wants one and you can probably trade for something really useful in a doomsday scenario... like a whiskey still.

Number six: Combat Revolver
A combat revolver is simply a larger caliber revolver such as a ..38/357 that is simple to show someone who has never fired a weapon how to use.  It is also in a very common caliber that should be more readily available wherever you are.

Number five: Pistol Caliber Carbine
Paired with a pistol of like caliber, you only have to pack one ammo.  If you choose a .40 S&W then you will basically be shooting a 10mm in a carbine.  If you pick the right carbine, it even uses the same mags as your pistol.  Simplifying your weapons is a good idea.

Number four: Rimfire Rifle
Do I really need to explain this one?  You can load it with subsonic ammo and take squirrels without anyone knowing you're there.  Or you can load it with high performance ammo and it will readily take a deer.  Thousands of poachers can't be wrong, right?

Number three: 12 Gauge Shotgun
Home defense... bird hunting... deer hunting... bear hunting... disabling vehicles...  Most common shotgun loading and the most popular.  Most loadings available.  Least picky about ammo.  Broadest range of uses of all the firearms.  'Nuff said.

Number two: Rifle Caliber Carbine
We all know what I'm talking about right?  An AR or an AK in the short version that is (or will be) your everyday patrol rifle.  Always slung and good from point blank range out to a couple hundred yards.  It simply extends your range until you can get back to a defensible position with heavy artillery.

Number one: Defensive Pistol
I know, I know... "Why is the 10/22 not in this spot?"  Because as much as we all love the 10/22, carrying a rifle (even one this small) every minute of every day is simply not practical.  especially when you are having to use your two hands to fix something like your vehicle... since the dealership is not open today... or this year.


Top Ten Ammos

These are based on three criteria: Availability, Affordability, and Commonality.

How readily available are they? Can one find them in most locations?  A .41 Magnum is great, but can you find ammo for it?  Probably not.  You gotta be able to find it if you need it.

How affordable are they?  Can one afford to stock up on them?  A .338 Lapua is a great round, but can you afford to buy a couple thousand rounds for it?  Again, probably not.

How common are they?  If you have to rely on unconventional methods of living such as barter and trade, do you want to be stocked up on something that nobody is looking for?  How many people do you know that are looking for .41 Magnum ammo?  Not many I bet.

You need your ammo cache to be stuff that you yourself need and can use, but also stuff that most everyone else needs.   If times are tough, you can trade off ammo for food, labor, or whatever else.  It also needs to be something that you can afford to stockpile right now without going hungry or having your power shut off.  And lastly, it needs to be in the most common calibers in your area.  Don't forget, if you move to another region, the common calibers may be different.  For example, here where I currently live, the .243 is insanely popular for deer hunting, but in Alaska the most popular is the .30-06.

That said, the top ten ammos every house should own if you want to cover all the bases are as follows:

Number ten: .308
While slightly on the pricy side, it is a very popular cartridge and is used in multiple weapons platforms.  This will be a very "in demand" round when shelves remain empty and doors are closed and padlocked.  Stock 168 grain match type ammo, and then a heavier and lighter hunting round.  If you can find a good price on military FMJ, don't pass that up either.  While the others are great for hunting and sniping, when it comes down to trade and barter, cheap FMJ's are where it will be.

Number nine: .30-30
I know what you are thinking.  Yes, .30-30.  First off, it is the most popular deer cartridge nationwide.  No really.  I bet if you think about it you can come up with three friends that have a .30-30.  Now, how many can you come up with that shoot a .270?  Too, this is a semi-modern loading that can be retroverted back to black powder if need be... and the loading info is right there on the barrel:  30 caliber bullet over 30 grains of black powder - .30-30.  Get something in the 150 to 160 grain range.

Number eight: 7.62 x 54R
Easy... millions of Mosin Nagants out there, billions of sealed spam can rounds.  Cheap.

Number seven: 7.62 x 39
See above. Plus, if they don't shoot a 5.56, they DO shoot a 7.62 x 39.

Number six: 12 Gauge
Stock any and all loadings for this round in 2 3/4 inch:  # 7 1/2 Birdshot, OO Buckshot, and 1 oz rifled slugs.  Once you have a nice pile of those three, branch out.  Next get # 4 game loads, and # 4 Buckshot then step up to 3 inch shells and repeat.

Number five: .38 / .357
By far the most popular revolver round in the U.S. of A.  It has been around for a hundred years now and those old Saturday Night Specials are everywhere!  Stock up on anything you can get cheaply!

Number four: .223 / 5.56
This is the most popular NATO caliber in use and most every non-communist block country uses it.  Add that to the fact that every prepper I know of has an AR platform in .223 and that means demand will be high.  Stock up on 55 grain FMJs and 64 - 77 grain hunting loads.

Number three: 9mm
Then most popular handgun round in the world.  And it is readily available and cheap... least it was cheap.  Either way, almost everyone has a 9mil to go with their .223 and demand will be high.

Number two: .40 S&W
The most popular law enforcement round in existence in the U.S.  There are a plethora of loadings out there and it is a very proven performer.  (And it becomes a 10mm in a carbine!)  The Federal XM40HB 155 grain loading is a Federal law enforcement loading that is really hot for a .40.  I wouldn't advise shooting a lot of it but it is probably the best 40 cal round out there.

Number one: .22 LR
I won't even bother... we all know why we should have this one on hand.

Hope this helps.
Enjoy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Debt Free... Tell Wells Fargo to Pound Sand.




In another four months, I will be debt free... well, with the exception of my home.  How did I do this?  Well, some old bald dude in Nashville helped me.  He gave me a system to do it and you know what?  It WORKS!  It really does.  So, who is this man I speak of?

Who here knows Dave Ramsey?  If not, here's a brief synopsis of who this man is.  Dave Ramsey is a self made multi millionaire... TWICE.  (http://www.daveramsey.com/home/) Twice you ask?  Yep, twice.  He got his realtor's license when he was just 18 and by the time he turned 26 he was a self made multimillionaire.   Then in 1986, the government got him.  No, not like that.  In '86 the government came up with the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and the bank that he had over a million dollars in loans with was sold to a larger bank.  The larger bank wondered why the smaller bank had given these loans to a kid with no collateral and called the loans.  Calling the loans means the you must repay the loans within 90 days.  Yeah... they CAN do that.

With no way to repay the loans that he had tied up in flipping houses he had to file for bankruptcy protection.  That means BROKE.  No assets whatsoever. No money.  No car.  No house. NOTHING.  Just a wife that loved and supported him and some clothes on his back.

So starting from nothing and unable to get a bank's help he started real estate wholesaling.  Eventually building his wealth back to pre tax act days and then some!  Today he is worth over 55 million.  What have you done in the last 30 years?  He has gone from zero to millionaire twice.  Did it go to his head?  Nope.  This guy gives away more than most celebrities earn every year.  He still eats at the local joints and is a good tipper by all accounts.  He'll even say hello to a nobody.

So, enough about him, let's talk about me for a minute.  I am about as broke today as they come... well, sorta.  Never mind the fact that I have less that two hundred bucks in my account and bills go out tomorrow.  The fact of the matter is, come December, just in time for Christmas, every dime my wife and I earn goes into OUR pocket and not some banker's pocket.  Especially not Wells Go Fargo Yourself's pockets.  Two years ago, I was $315,000 dollars in debt.  No joke.  One house in Arizona that I owed $160,000 on that was upside down by $80,000.  A $40,000 car, $35,000 in credit card debt, a $30,000 remodel loan, a relocation to the other side of the country, my property where I currently live, a wedding (those things ain't cheap!), and a newborn daughter.  That little girl is the only thing that has kept me sane, I promise you that!

So how did I get so far underwater one might ask?  Well, I ask myself that all the time!  Here's the short answer:  I was too worried about my credit score. Yep, my 790 credit score.  My pretty, shiny, unblemished credit score.  That's the short answer, here's the abbreviated long answer:  I bought the Arizona house in July of 2006 and immediately took out a $30,000 second mortgage for remodeling it.  Anyone know what happened in the next month or two of 2006?  The housing market in Arizona didn't pop... it exploded.  The house that I had just bought was worth less than HALF of what I paid for it... and I now had a second mortgage on it!  Well, nothing I could do.  After all, the market will come back right? Let's finish the remodel, that'll help bring the price back up.  Today, seven years later, that house is STILL worth $55,000 LESS than I paid for it.

In August of 2009, I went to see if I could get financed for a house on my property here.  Yep, I bought acreage that we really liked to build a house on that didn't already have a house.  We are currently living in what amounts to a one bedroom hunting cabin.  Yep, three of us in a 714 square foot, one bedroom, 3/4 bath hunting cabin over a nice garage.  The bank loan officer said we were too extended and our debt to income ratio was a bit off.  He suggested I sell the Arizona property.  I told him I had been trying to get rid of it for five years already and Wells Fargo was refusing to work with me.  He said that was normal for Wells Fargo.  He then went on to suggest I just let them have it as Arizona was a non-pursuant state.  "A what?" I asked.  He explained that Arizona was one of a few states that when you foreclose on a house they cannot by law come after you for the difference.

Fast forward a year... STILL making $1,400 a month house payments and now further underwater.  I went to see if we were any more likely to get financed for a house.  Nope.  The loan manager actually told me that I needed to foreclose on the property.  Wells Fargo had been yanking me around and when they canceled a prospective short sale because they "assumed I had sold the property because the loan shows paid in full" when in fact they had simply given it a new loan number due to a refinance and then informed me that I had to start the short sale process OVER.  I called B.S. on it and decided then and there that I wasn't sending them ONE MORE DIME.

I also decided that at that time I needed to get my affairs in order to have a wrecked credit score.  That means doing cash business.  I started looking a methods of getting on with life without credit.  I then bumped into a bankruptcy story on the internet.  The guy was talking about the nightmare that a bankruptcy causes.  Did you know that while a bankruptcy no longer affects your credit after seven years, it sticks with you for life?  Yep.  Every time you fill out an application it asks not if you had a bankruptcy in the last seven years, it asks "Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?"  EVER!  That man's site mentioned another man... named Dave Ramsey.

Full Circle

That day about two years ago was a life changer.  I read Dave's book The Total Money Makeover and here I am.  I am in the final stages of step two of the Seven Steps to Financial Freedom.  Getting nowhere fast right?  Well, it ain't a sprint... it is a marathon.  You don't have to be cheetah fast to win, just gazelle intense!
Get it?  The gazelle doesn't have to be faster than the cheetah to live another day, just more intense.  The gazelle wins 90% of the time over the much faster cheetah because it is INTENSE.  That's me.

While I won't rewrite Dave's book for you, I will give you the seven steps and a brief synopsis of each.  Maybe they can help some of you... wait, that isn't a correct statement.  They WILL HELP the majority of you!  You just need to commit to doing them with that gazelle intensity and have faith.  They will work!  If you don't want to by his book, I have read it about five times and I am a self proclaimed expert on his methods!  This WILL get you out of debt and you can live a cash only lifestyle!  (See, there is the tie in to the theme of this site!)  Read on...

Here we go!
Getting Started~  You need to sit down with your spouse and talk about this.  You have to agree with each other and commit to doing no more harm!  You gotta agree to stop borrowing money, stop using the credit cards, stop the insane spending on frivolous items, and to get current on your present bills... then you gotta create a zero-base budget.  That is a WRITTEN BUDGET that when it comes the end of the month your balance is ZERO- not one dollar left unspent!  Scary right?  Nahh... just follow the seven steps below and you'll be fine.  You just gotta have faith!

Step One:  Save a $1,000 small emergency cash fund in the next month or two.  This is exactly what it says it is.  Transmission goes out?  Need a well pump?  Those are emergencies... Christmas comes every year and is not an emergency... neither is a new purse or a new handgun.
Step Two:  Create a debt snowball.  List all your debt on a piece of paper starting with the lowest balance first, regardless of the interest rate.  If two similar balances have different interest rates, list the higher interest one first.  Change to paying only the minimum payments on every one of those other debts but the very first one.  Now take EVERY DIME you have left over after paying the necessities (food, power, and water) for the month and pay that on the very first one until it is paid off.  Now move on to the next larger one and repeat!  Keep doing that while rolling in the extra money you now have left from the minimum payment you are no longer paying.  When I started this step two years ago, I was paying less than 200 bucks to the first card... this month I will pay over a GRAND to the very last bill I have.  See how it works?  If not, ask me!
Step Three:  Create a large emergency fund that is three to six months living expenses.  This will actually be rather easy now that you are not paying a bunch of payments.  All you have to pay every month is your food, water, and lights... and maybe a phone and cable, right?  Other than that all your salary is going into this fund!  This fund is kept in a rather easy to access money market account.  Once you have this fund, you can now move into your personal savings.
Step Four:  Invest at least 15% of TOTAL household income in Roth IRA's and pre tax retirement.  Easily done now that you aren't paying any bills and you have a lot of gazelle momentum built up!  This is money that will support you in your retired life.  This happens from now until you retire.
Step Five:  Save for your children's college fund.  In step three you saved six months of living expenses in just a couple months, right?  Well, now you are taking  all that extra money and dumping it into the kid's college fund that is in mutual funds!
Step Six:  Pay off your house early! Simple as it sounds.  Now you attack this last debt and in no time it'll be gone!
Step Seven:  Build your wealth and give like never before!  Yep... live it up.

Dave's version is here:  http://www.daveramsey.com/new/baby-steps/

Try it folks!  It'll change your life!



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Improve Accuracy- One Shot at a Time


Pay attention to where your rounds strike the target.
A little target analysis can tell you a lot of information! 
I got aggravated when I went to the range and the guy next to me loaded up, and then unloaded 17 rounds in five seconds.  He then reloads, and does that again... and again... and again.  Finally, I flag him down and let him know I need to go downrange and change targets.  "Yep, me too!" he replies.  We get to the target stands and... well, I'm not quite sure what target he was shooting at.  There are holes in EVERYTHING.  This guy was shooting something close to a five foot group, and from the seven yard line.

"Man, I can't hit nothing with this damn thing!" he says.  I glance down at what appears to be a relatively new Gen 3 Glock 17 in his holster.  "What's wrong with it?" I ask.  "I don't know... you wanna shoot it and see if you can figure it out?" So we walk back to the firing line and I load up one of his mags... and print a two inch group of five rounds using controlled, slow fire.


"Works okay for me." I tell him.  "Let me see if I can tell what you might be doing wrong." I say as I hand it back to him.  He then empties the mag of the last 10 or 12 rounds in about five seconds.  Again they are all over the place.  His fundamentals suck.  Poor grip, poor stance, really poor trigger control...

"Partner, you have 30 extra minutes to kill learning something?"
"Sure." he says.
"Come down here with me."

"First things first, we gotta fix that grip.  Shake my hand... no... not a dead fish.... OUCH... NO, not a pro wrestler!  Give me a good firm handshake like you would an old friend.  Good, now make it a two handed politician's handshake. Good!  That is how you grip a pistol.  Nice firm but equal pressure.  Now, put your hands together like you're holding a pistol and stick out your trigger finger and your support hand thumb touching, in line, and pointed toward your target... thumb nail and fingernail should be the same length.  Now place your other thumb on top filling the groove between the finger and your other thumb.  There you go!  Thumbs and trigger finger extended and pointed toward the target!  That is how you make a good grip right there John!  Extend your gun (gunless grip) toward the target."  I step in front of him.

"Now, don't move your feet and reach out and touch me in the chest with your "gun".  Can't reach?  Bend forward at the waist, get the weight on the balls of your feet.  Still not reaching?  Roll your shoulders forward and create some isometric pressure in that grip to generate that extra two inches.  Tuck that chin down between those shoulders, bring the gun UP.  It you are having to lower your head, bend more and raise the gun.  Head up!  Perfect!  That is a great stance John, nice and square.  Locked in.  Head is up, shoulders rolled out and locked, good isometric tension and a good grip!"  I pick up and visually and physically clear his pistol... no ammo in sight.

"John, stick out your right hand, open for that handshake."  I place the Glock into his hand and press it deeply into the web of his hand getting a nice, high purchase. "Now shake that 'hand' John.  See that little gap left where your fingers end on this side of the pistol?  Put the meat of your other thumb in that gap.  Now wrap those fingers and extend those thumbs... trigger finger still extended on the opposite side of the pistol.  Notice it is still directly across from your thumb and is placed along the slide?  Good.  Now drop it into the trigger guard and onto the trigger.  Place the trigger on the pad of your finger, but not quite into the joint area of your finger.  Awesome.  Now, a slow and steady squeeze.  You will hafta practice dry-firing a lot on your own time John.  This isn't something you learn over night."

I tell him to load all his mags and when done we head downrange to the fifteen yard line.  I put up one clean target with the blank side out... kind of a clean slate to "erase" the "buckshot" groups already there.  Then I hang a single small paper plate in the middle.  We step back to admire the target.

"Okay John, remembering all the stuff I just showed you, I want you to draw and shoot one round at the tack in the center of the plate."
"From HERE?!  I can almost touch the target"
"Yep, from here.  One round.  Then reholster."
"One round?"
"One round."
He shoots and misses the tack by about a half inch.
"Again."
This time about a half inch on the other side.
"Again."
Just misses it.



"There you go John... that's a legit one inch group."
"HAHAHAA!  Yeah, from two feet!"
"Ya gotta start somewhere, right?  Now, take one itty bitty step back and repeat that."

After three rounds again all around the tack there was now a two inch group.
"One small step back John.  Now repeat that... one round at a time, from the holster."

Still a two inch group on the target.  Another small step back, now at about three yards.  Still a two inch group, but I see them starting to drift to seven o'clock.  I remind John to get a good "firm handshake" grip and to be smooth with the trigger.  Then I have him repeat it.  Back to a good two inch, centered group.

Another step back.  Three inch group.  "Remember to roll those shoulders, chin tucked, and bend at the waist John." Another step, still three inches.  All the way back to about five yards.  Then the group starts to open.  I have John take two steps forward and shoot three.  Back to a respectable group. We repeat this a few times until he is steadily keeping them in the hole that is now forming in the plate.  All the way back to the seven, one small step at a time.  When the group starts to open noticeably, we move forward a couple of full steps.  Then shoot back into the group.  Slowly moving back one tiny step at a time.  Before John notices it, we are standing at the fifteen yard line.  He has a five inch HOLE in the center of the eight inch paper plate... a few flyers here and there, but still a hole.  I go replace the paper plate as John reloads his mags.

"Ok John, I want you to draw and shoot one round at the tack in the center of the plate."


In less than an hour (Yes, I know... anyone that knows me will tell you that when I ask you if you have 30 minutes, you'd better have an hour!) John went from shooting a five foot group at seven yards to shooting a respectable seven inch group and a five inch hole at fifteen yards.  This was simply a classic example of what a grouping exercise and a few fundamentals can do for you if you take the time to do them.

I encourage you to practice the fundamentals and then do this grouping exercise about once a month or so.  If you are like John, you will really tighten up your group after just one session.  If you are a more advanced shooter, I will still bet you a box of ammo that your group will still tighten up considerably if you do this.  In a nutshell you just start at point blank range and take a baby step back every time you get a satisfactory group.  If your group is not just about as good as it was from the spot prior, take two full steps forward and repeat the process.  Keep working your way back a step at a time.  If you find ANY of your rounds falling outside the paper plate, you are moving back way too fast and exceeding your range.  

Good luck, and Happy shooting!




                         


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Alternative Gardening



With the beginning of the growing season already here in most of the country, I thought I'd take a few minutes and share a couple methods of alternative gardening with you guys. One is super easy and highly productive and the other is a "full circle" complementary technique. Either of these works well, and will produce a "garden" but each strives to achieve a completely different goal.






The first I want to tell you about is the "Straw Bale" technique in which one plants their garden in straw bales. Make sure you get straw bales if at all possible, hay bales still have the seeds in them and you will grow some nice grass with these, but if that is all you have, use hay bales. Growing a garden in great soil is tough work, but in soil like my 100% clay is next to impossible. I can't even get what is basically a weed (raspberries) to grow here. Other people run them over with a mower to try to get rid of them... I have been nursing mine for three years now and have YET to see a single berry! Alas, I digress. Using straw bales, you can grow anything you want with little effort.

Straw bale gardening is about as easy as it comes. The hardest part is getting the bales! You can have the worst soil ever and grow a perfect small garden. It is also very "bad back" friendly as it makes for an elevated platform and you don't have to work the "soil" with hoes and rakes like you do with a dirt garden. Harvest time is also a breeze for things like potatoes where you just cut the sisal twine and break the bale open. Trust me when I say anyone can grow a nice vegetable garden using this method.

The first thing to do is get your bales and get them conditioning. This process takes about two weeks. Simply put the bales where you want them (pokey side up, strings visible all the way around) and fertilize them with a good slathering of cow manure an inch or two deep. Now water them thoroughly. Keep them good and damp for two weeks. After that, they are ready for planting.

Okay, okay... you can also use fertilizer. Sprinkle one quarter cup of ammonium nitrate on top daily and then soak with water. Stop adding ammonium nitrate on day ten and add one half cup of fertilizer for the next two days. The last two days you simply water the bales.

Contrary to some internet chatter, this method is FANTASTIC for potatoes! Plant your potatoes three inches from the BOTTOM of the bale. The loose straw will let your potato stems shoot up and out and the potatoes will grow all through the bale. This mimics the "hilling" that potatoes require. They require this because unlike the common belief that they grow as roots, they actually grow on the stem of the plant. The more you hill the dirt around a stem the more potatoes you get. Planting at the bottom of the bale is just starting with pre-hilled plants. Why don't they plant potatoes in dirt 18 inches deep? Well, because farmers have common sense and it's easier to hill the plant as it grows than to dig an 18 inch deep hole every six inches long the row to plant them that deep.

Most every other plant is planted just like using dirt... well, to be truthful, you will use some dirt. For planting seeds, you will add a layer of 50/50 potting soil and compost on top of the bale. For planting potted (started) plants, such as the ones on trays for the garden center, simply use a hand trowel and spread the straw (no added dirt here). Drop the potted plant into the straw to where the bottom set of leaves rests on the top of the straw and then push the straw closed. Easy right?

A few pointers for you here:

  • You must water these daily! Because the straw bales have a huge surface area they dry out quickly! Water them good every day in the evening. 
  • Water them twice a day if it is really hot and dry for a couple days. 
  • Once a month you need to add a drizzling of fertilizer to the top of the bale when you water. 
  • Also if you place your bales with the long sides touching, you won't need to use as much water. 
  • On each end of the "garden" at the end of each row with climbing plants you need to add a trellis. Simply drive a "T" post and add a 2x4 between the tops of the two posts. String baling wire between the posts every eight to ten inches going up the posts. If it is a long row (longer than eight feet) you will need to add more posts. 
  • Last year's bales make this year's compost! 
  • Use the bales with synthetic twine to extend the life of your bales. 
  • If planting corn or sunflowers or any top-heavy plant, make sure to stake the plant to keep the wind from toppling the bale over. 
  • Move the bales before the twine rots... unless you plan to make this spot a compost pile for next year, or you will be using a pitchfork. 



The next one I want to tell you about is the "Three Sisters" technique in which one plants a trio of plant that complement each other nutritionally. This method is a native American method used in the Iroquois tribes of the east. This is simply conventional gardening in dirt, but you plant groupings of sympathetic plants that help each other out.

The basic gist of the story is that the three sisters watch over each other and help each other out. The corn helps the beans by providing a pole for them to climb, the squash helps the beans by sheltering the roots from the scorching sun using her leaves. The beans help the corn by supporting the stalk during the high winds using her vines. Something like that... the Three Sisters story and ceremonies eventually became Thanksgiving.


The typical group called the three sisters and consists of corn, squash, and beans as stated above. They are all grown in the exact same hole. Space your plantings based on the diameter of the squash plant. Generally, about ten feet apart is adequate. One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot plant corn in one long row. It needs to be a group of corn for the sake of pollination. This can be overcome with the three sisters method by planting six corn stalks about a foot apart on the points of a six pointed star. Next plant six climbing beans between the corn plants, different varieties if you like. Lastly, plant three squash in the middle of the circle. There you have it!  After everything sprouts and is growing well, thin it down to  three corn, three beans, and one squash plant.

There is also the "patch method" for planting the three sisters.  This is simply planting a ten foot square area with a checkerboard pattern of the three plants. and letting it do its thing.  The reason I don't care for this method is that it's like trying to harvest a jungle.  I'd rather do several spot plantings using the method above.

Let me talk for just a second about fertilizers too. Cow manure and chicken litter may sound gross to the average person, but these are God's fertilizers. I tend to advocate for DAIRY cow manure as opposed to steer manure. Often it is easier to get the steer manure because you are basically asking a farmer if you can go muck his feedlot. What farmer in his right mind is going to turn that down? A dairy farmer on the other hand would be letting you go into his FDA monitored milking facility, or he'd have to much it up for you beforehand. You might even be asked to pay for it at a dairy.


So why dairy cow manure you ask? Well, a full HALF of every vitamin and mineral (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus) that the cow eats goes out the south end a couple days later. They are also standing still and peeing and pooping on a concrete floor. It then gets all mixed together when it gets mucked out. The urine ensures that your fertilizer contains enough potassium, since that is primarily excreted in the pee rather than the poop. Cow manure also adds decomposing plant matter (compost) to the soil whereas chicken litter does not. It is rather low in value overall (like a 2-2-2 commercial fertilizer).

Chicken litter (all the junk on the bottom of the chicken house) in VERY rich and should be used sparingly! Put too much on and you'll burn your plants to death. It contains three to five times the amount of nutrients as cow manure, except for potassium. Think of it as organic 7-7-2 fertilizer.

Use the cow manure as a top dressing by lightly spreading it over the planted field, or adding a small amount to each plant hill. If you load it on and turn it into the soil in the fall when you plow your crops under it will be more efficient as this will give it time to leach into the soil a bit better. Using the direct application method you are only going to fertilize that tiny spot of dirt in that vast field. Using the loading method you are treating the entire field and it makes for a much more productive garden! It also makes for a lot more manure being needed!) I suggest the direct application method for a small garden plot of even potted gardens... use the field loading method for larger gardens where mechanical field turning will be used. One last note on cow manure; if you can you should compost your manure pile for a year before use and add grass clippings and shredded leaves to help boost the carbon and nitrogen content. Be sure to turn the pile every once in awhile as well.

Use the chicken litter in the same manner as the cow manure, but much more sparingly. Chicken litter MUST be composted for a year prior to use to kill off the pathogens that are naturally found in it. Keep your pile moist and turned regularly. It is ready to use once it resembles crumbly soil. You can also mix it into other composted material to speed it along a bit.

Enjoy your garden and share your rewards with those around you!



                        

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fire Safety!






Well, it's that time of year. People are going out practicing for the zombie apocalypse... AKA Camping. We are also out cleaning up after winter and getting rid of all the fallen limbs and trees. It is also that time of year when we set our neighbor's woods on fire with our errant embers. So today I want to take a bit of time and cover fire safety.

First off, let's talk about campfires. We all know how to do that safely right? And with the coming of the nicer weather of summer, we all want to get out and put our "man skills" to the test! One thing, if you are in an area with dry, hazardous conditions, don't do it! You can make it one weekend without a campfire. I mean, do YOU really want to be the guy that caused the fire that burns 17 homes and killed an elderly couple? Thought not. Below are some other reminder points

One of the easiest way to prevent a forest fire caused by your campfire is proper site selection. In this regard remember to keep at least 15 feet between your fire to your tent or camper. Also be aware of lower overhead branches that might catch fire and avoid steep hillsides and hilltops. If it is possible select a site that is on the upwind side of a creek. Lastly, use the existing fire rings if they are there.

If there aren't any fire rings in place, you will need to create a fire pit. You need to select a site that is out of open, windy conditions, and where the wind blows laterally to your tent or camper. Now clear a ten foot circle of anything that will burn such as twigs, loose grass, and trash. In the center dig a flat bottomed hole about three to four feet in diameter and a foot or so deep. Use the dirt to berm up the edges and line the berm with rocks if you have them. Keep your shovel handy, but out of the way, and keep a five gallon bucket of water handy. These are your firefighter tools for when the emergency happens! Lastly, if you use a wooden fire poker, dip it before and after you use it in your water to prevent the possibility of unnoticed embers on the end.

Now you're all set! Just remember to use well seasoned hardwoods and to avoid "poppy" woods such as pine that will blow large coals well clear of your fire ring! Might I also suggest the "Upside down fire" technique for a long lasting and easy fire? Yes, I might. <--- click here. (it is also available on our YouTube channel)

Okay, now your fire is going. I know everyone loves to build a huge, raging bonfire of a campfire, but we gotta knock that off. That is a wildfire in the making! Keep it just large enough to keep you warm and to roast the marshmallows! Manageable... that's the word we are looking for.

A brief word here on wildfires.  Think it can't happen to you because you don't live in a desert or on the side of a mountain?  I kind of thought the same way until last year.  In May of 2012, we had one of the largest wildfires of the year for the NATION!  It happened about an hour's drive from my home and we had smoke so thick on some days that you could only see a quarter mile nearly 60 miles from the fire.  This is in Michigan.  Not Colorado, or Montana.  Not SoCal. Michigan.  In the end it burned over 22 thousand acres and 115 structures, many of which were homes.  It CAN happen to you.  (More here: Duck Lake Fire)

Okay, back on topic.  Now you have a campfire, only thing left is extinguishing it.  The tried and true method of peeing on it and then tossing dirt over it is the way to go... if you want a campfire in an hour or two when the wind picks up. Here's my fool proof safe method. Make the wood in the firepit float. Drown it. How do you know it is safe to leave you ask? Stick your hand into the heart of the coals. Scared to do it? Then you didn't use enough water. Start over... creek is over there. --->

The next fire I want to discuss is a debris fire. First things first, call the fire department and see if there are fire restrictions in your area and to ask if you need to obtain a burn permit. Nothing better than a worried neighbor calling 911 because she thinks your barn is on fire and having the fire truck come roaring in, see everything is under control, and then ask to see your permit. Next thing you know, your fire you spent a hour trying to get lit is OUT and so wet it'll be a week before it'll burn again.

To safely burn debris, you first need to be careful where you pile it. Look up to see if there are power lines or phone lines overhead. Check for any limbs overhead. Unlike a campfire that can have higher up limbs over the fire, a debris fire can light anything overheard for up to 50 feet in the right conditions. Next you want to be 50 feet from any building, vehicle, or tree. Clear ten feet of area completely around the pile down to bare earth. You should have a garden hose on standby... and have the valve open at the faucet. Lastly, stay with your fire! If you have to leave, put it out just like a campfire.

Last things I want to cover are your equipment and your home. Be careful when using outdoor power equipment such as a chainsaw or a weed eater. These can start a fire if placed on top of dry grass of needles. When parking your car, be cognizant of what you are parking in. If you park on top of a pile of leaves or a bunch of grass, you can also start a fire. As far as your home is concerned, drown your charcoal from your grill before discarding them. Haul your trash away instead of burning if possible. If you must burn it, use a proper steel barrel with adequate ventilation holes (three equally spaced three by three holes, three inches from the bottom), and a fire screen on top of heavy gauge 1/4 or smaller hole.

As far as you home's lawn and your home itself is concerned, check out the what the guys at Firewise Communities has to say about it. They actually have a wealth of information over there that anyone can benefit from!

So to rehash :

- Clear away anything that CAN burn in all directions.

- Keep all fires small, and do not leave before you can put your hand into the heart of the coals.

- Be sure and drown fires with water, and add water until everything is wet.

- Do not simply cover a campfire with soil; it may simply smolder before coming back to life.

- Embers can re-ignite. Make sure they are out completely. Make them float!

- Consider composting or mulching yard debris and hauling away trash rather than burning it.

- Anytime you plan to build a fire, have water and a tool to put it out before you ignite it.