Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Prepping as a Community



by Shane White

Saving supplies and learning skills is very important, but in reality, you can't do everything yourself. You exhaust yourself, and lose your mind due to sleep deprivation from simply protecting your home. What you need is a plan for the bigger picture. You need to connect with other people and work out a plan for your new community.

Food - If you are prepping as a community, you will have a more of a variety of food that you can get if you are sharing or trading with some family, friends or neighbors. This means that you don't have to eat carrots, tomatoes, and chickens every single day. If everyone focuses on growing something different, and are raising different animals, you can have a nice variety of food. Redundancy is a good idea as well. If something happens to your neighbors field then they can still eat. Remember that next time it may be your field.

Water - Everyone should have their own source of water. It is that important. Working with your community, you can also collect, clean, and store together. The same as food, if something happens to your water supply, you can hopefully rely on these people to help out with the understanding that it might be them the next time.

Security - Working together as a community means that you don't have to stay awake all night every night to make sure nobody is stealing your supplies. Establish a system where you can rotate your security watches. Also, consider events like fire. If there is not a fire department, you should develop a system for helping each other when it comes to these kinds of events.

Skills - Nobody knows everything. If you establish in advance what skills you want to perfect, you will be much better off. One can be an expert canner, another can be an expert and building, or whatever you consider important. Just divide and conquer. These skills should then be shared throughout the community. After the event, the others should try to learn the skills that they do not know from the experts and not just let them do everything as well. Transferring of knowledge is very important.

Books - You and your community should already be stocking up and reading books that relate to everything you can think of that you will need to know. If there is not other source of information, it will have to be the books you have purchased. If you have a group of people buying books instead of just one, you have just improved the diversity of your library by a lot. On top of the how to books, don't forget some books to read, or some comic books for the kids or overgrown kids.

Entertainment - If you are in a position where you don't know who you can trust, who will you play cards with? Also you might get bored playing the game boardgame all the time. Just like everything else, consider diversity here. If you have friends who play music, this is a huge bonus in my book.

Bunker Building - If you are building a bunker, build a big one instead of a bunch of smaller ones.  Another thought would be to create a network with interconnecting  tunnels.  How convenient would that be?  I know this might seem like a lot of work, but if you have people working with you on your bunker, you will have enough manpower to put something like that together.

These people should all live fairly close to each other to make things less complicated. If your community is in the next state, you will be wasting a lot of time and energy to exchange goods and such. Best practice is to have your community be your immediate neighbors. It would be a good idea to start moving closer to your friends and family if you do not live close already.

Good luck and happy prepping!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Prepare for the worst with a Fireproof Safe



A fire is one of the most devastating disasters you'll ever have to contend with. Even a small house fire can cause a large amount of damage. Meanwhile, the effects of global warming mean that major fire events such as wildfires are predicted to increase up to six-fold in the coming years.

Investing in a fireproof safe is a great way to prepare for the worst-case scenario. These safes will protect both important documents and sentimental items. Knowing that these things are safely stored makes dealing with the aftermath of a fire so much easier.

What do you need to protect?

Look around your home and think of all the things you just couldn't afford to lose: birth certificates, financial records, photographs. Make a pile of important items on your table. Be reasonable; only choose items that are of the utmost importance, are irreplaceable, or might be needed in the days immediately after a fire.

Once you know what you need to protect, you'll know how large a safe you require. You'll also know what level of protection you need.

Types of protection

Fireproof safes come in two basic types:
  • Safes that protect "paper" (cash, documents, letters)
  • Safes that protect "data" (electronic items, CDs, DVDs etc. Will also protect paper)
Paper can tolerate temperatures as high as 350° F (177° C) before it suffers damage. Electronic items can only tolerate between 125° F and 150° F (50° C – 65° C).

Every fireproof safe should have a rating that tells you whether it protects paper or data, as well as how long it withstands extreme heat (30 minutes, 1 hour, etc.). Safes with higher time ratings can withstand higher temperatures.

Independent ratings

To be absolutely sure you get the fire protection you need, only purchase a safe that has been independently tested and certified. In the USA, the most renowned fire tests are carried out by the Underwriters Laboratory. Their UL72 fire test involves heating safes to temperatures as high as 2,000° F (1093° C) for up to 4 hours. If this seems high, bear in mind that house fires can reach up to 1500° F.

The UL72 test has the following protection classes:
  • Class 350: Keeps contents below 350° F (177° C)
  • Class 150: Keeps contents below 150° F (65° C)
  • Class 125: Keeps contents below 125° F (52° C)
If you need to protect items like DVDs or family videos, you'll need a Class 150 or Class 125 safe. For many electronic items, you can check the manufacturer's website for the "non-operating" or "storage" temperature to determine what heat levels the device can withstand.

Other things to consider

Location: How long does it take your local fire service to respond? Longer response times mean you'll need a safe with a higher time rating.

Water-resistance: A fireproof safe that is also water-resistant will protect against the fire hose as well as the fire.

Placement: Your basement is usually the most fire-resistant part of your house. Consider keeping your fireproof safe down there.

Burglar-resistance: Many fireproof safes double as burglar-resistant safes. The better ones carry independent burglar-resistance ratings.

Bear in mind that in prolonged, intense flames and heat, the contents of even a heavy duty safe may still suffer damage.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Last Zombie Survival Guide You’ll Ever Need

Zombies are an unavoidable facet of popular culture, and have even captured the attention of the fine people at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recently published an entertaining, and disturbingly informative, blog on their website entitled “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.” The entry was filled with practical tips to help anyone survive an onslaught of the walking dead, but there’s more to making it through to the new utopian society than rationing food and finding fresh water. Here are a few more tips, tricks and highly useful suggestions that will help ensure you and your family don’t become glorified zombie kibble:

Forget the Press…Believe in Social Media

CNN and your local news will only be useful to alert you that everyone is basically destined to become a zombie’s next snack. If you want useful information, such as zombie sightings and possible safe houses, rely on your Facebook friends and Twitter followers instead. It’s also your duty to update your status accordingly, and let everyone know with your last dying breath you’ve been transformed into a brain-hungry member of the undead horde. Keep in mind that eventually, all forms of mass communication will be rendered useless. Until then, make sure to abandon your kid’s college fund in favor of keeping your cable and internet bill paid.

The Joys of Breaking and Entering

Before the first inkling of a zombie apocalypse, it’s a wise idea to take a leisurely Sunday drive around your town to determine which houses to pilfer once any threat of legal action or reprimand is extinguished. When it comes to your first safe house, choose a building that’s constructed from brick and features minimal windows. It should also feature at least three stories and a window to act as a makeshift crow’s nest. Your only potential, minor impediment could be the people that legally own the property, but it’s at your discretion to deal with this issue.

Conquer Your Acrophobia

George Romero’s epic second installment in his zombie franchise features a group of survivors seeking refuge inside a shopping mall. At one point, the survivors use the rooftop as a point of entrance and exit. You’ll learn quickly that during the zombie invasion, your best option is to go up rather than down. When all else fails, don’t hesitate to find a rooftop somewhere and stand your ground.

Learn New and Interesting Ways to Start Fires

Your chainsaw is out of gas, the ammo for your sawed off shotgun has long since been exhausted and there isn’t a machete or axe in sight. There is still one highly effective weapon to remember, and it’s so simple to harness that even a caveman couldn’t screw it up. That weapon is of course fire, and in a pinch lighting a group of ravenous undead killing machines on fire is a great way to not only escape with your life, but heat up that last bit of canned ham you’ve been saving for a special occasion.

Everything is a Potential Weapon

Now you’re faced with the same scenario as mentioned above, but there isn’t a match or stray jug of gasoline in sight. Your next option is to turn anything within your reach into a weapon. A flagpole featuring the image of a blooming sunflower can easily be used to jam into an approaching zombie’s orbital cavity. Even a large rock thrown at a zombie’s head is often enough to provide you with a window of opportunity to escape. There is, of course, the perennial favorite that no self-respecting zombie survivalist would leave home without: a rotting piece of wood featuring a rusty nail. This is a weapon with multiple applications, and won’t cost you a small fortune to upkeep.

Get Your Master’s in Emergency Management?

Society as you know it has collapsed, and your ragtag group of survivors is looking to you as a beacon of hope. Believe it or not, this is where your Emergency Management master’s degree will come in particularly handy. Use the skills obtained during your studies to create a miniature hierarchy, complete with you at the helm. As the number of zombies fades, and nations begin to rebuild, they’ll need educated people to help return society to its former glory. This is where your MPA degree will definitely begin to pay off.
Don’t wait for the first tell-tale signs of the impending zombie apocalypse. Begin preparing today by hoarding food, stock piling bottled water and cleaning your shotgun in preparation for this inevitable occurrence. Or you could just watch a few episodes of “The Walking Dead” instead.

Jillian Sanchez is an emergency services manager and zombie culture aficionado hoping to put her education and knowledge to practical use when society falls to the rotting hands of the undead.  She loves horror movies and snow cones and spends her free time learning to put a razor sharp edge on her machete using only a cinderblock and stack of old newspapers. Photo courtesy of darengphoto from 123rf.com

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Financial Doomsday for the US



The U.S. economy is on the cusp of a major collapse. When this happens, the government will be unable to do anything to stem it unlike previously when it bought time by pumping silly money through the use of Quantitative Easing and thus expanding money supply without having any real value attached to it.

This time around, the government will not be able to save the banks and corporations because the government itself is bankrupt although the money used to prop up the economy via QE in recent years was borrowed money which will have to be paid down through higher taxes and inflation in the future as I cannot envisage an outright debt default.

The money supply expansion has done nothing for the wider economy and has only pacified Wall Street for a while.

Consumer spending is flagging because many are in debt they cannot afford to pay owing to the easy money over the previous years. House prices are stil dropping and if it were not for the government coming to the rescue of the banks, they would have fallen off a cliff much earlier on. Manufacturing and exports are stagnant and many of these private sector jobs have been wiped out by the public sector.

Public sector jobs do not grow economies, they only serve to create more debt for the over indebted government.

A major reason for the present worldwide economic malaise is because the policy makers kept interest rates too low for too long. This encouraged borrowers and destroyed savers in the process.

With the huge stock of repossessed properties the banks hold, once the property market truly collapses, the banks themselves will be wiped out so attempts to prop up the housing market will continue until the very end which is close at hand.

The government wants to be seen as proactive in dealing with the economic crisis it faces so it creates laws and reforms to appease the general public who for the most part, are totally oblivious of what is really going on.

The federal government spends 50% more than it collects in revenue with no end in sight to the escalation of the national debt which keeps growing exponentially.

China is busy buying up resources and doing pretty much what it wants with the tacit approval of the US because China are the major bankrollers of the US government. Their currency is still manipulated which makes most other producers completely uncompetitive which is hindering recovery in all other economic hit markets.

As my Brighton accountant mentioned to me the other day, “it’s like watching a slow motion car crash”, except the crash will happen but the only thing governments can do is to try to make the impact less traumatic.

It seems not a year goes by without another round of QE being introduced although all previous attempts did nothing to change the path of the crisis.

As a response to the remark made by my accountant and all the QE and bailouts we’ve seen to date, I offered the famous quote by Albert Einstein which I feel is the most apt explanation for those in the seat of power.

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Re-purpose Common Items in the Garden



There’s no doubt it’s a consumer culture we live in. We’re encouraged to keep buying the next big thing and, if that doesn’t work, something will break enough to force you to replace it. There are some simple items that don’t lose their value after a single use. While many can be used for a variety of purposes, let’s highlight re-purposed items in the garden.

Plastic Milk Gallons: I’ve seen these things used for almost everything. My grandmother cut the spout off and left the handle for a light-weight clothespin caddy, which lasted about a decade. Lopping off the bottom creates a pretty good scoop for your garden. Leaving the carton as-is and poking holes in the lid makes a great watering can.

Kitchen Scraps: Your coffee grounds, banana peels and egg shells create great fertilizer. The best thing to do is start a compost bin with all your old scraps, from peels to rinds to spoiled produce. If you have a good set-up, you’ll have nutrient rich soil happily inhabited by earthworms within months. For those without the means for an all out composting system, add egg shells to the garden to nourish and protect your plants from slugs and cutworms. Coffee grounds are great for plants that flourish in acidic soils. Banana peels have been found to remove toxins, making them great in the garden and in water contaminated with heavy metals.

Plastic 2 Liter Bottles: These things are just as versatile as milk gallons. Cut a few inches above the spout for a funnel. The bottom part can be used as storage, a planter or whatever else. Fill it with water and turn it upside down into the garden bed for a slow release of water to the roots. This also works with wine bottles and the longer necks help the bottle stand up better. The two liter bottles are also good as is for liquid storage. Just make sure to label them.

When it comes to re-purposing, the sky’s the limit. Take a look at your available materials and ask yourself what can be made out of a few simple cuts. These are just a few suggestions to get you started. All of these items are fairly easy to find and could have a thousand uses beyond the garden. The plastic items can last through years of use and are found almost anywhere. What are your ideas for re-purposing common items?

Written on behalf of the marketing department for Robert Koenig, accident attorney.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Where to keep your money if you don't trust the banks



Ever since the financial crash of 2008 many people have begun to distrust the entire banking system. An industry seen as ultra safe, secure and conservative was shown to be run by a bunch of reckless gamblers more interested in personal profit than protecting the money we entrusted to them.

The change in the general attitude towards banks and bankers has led to many individuals looking at ways to remove their money and assets from the banks entirely. The major problem of this is that the financial system is so intertwined with all of our lives that it is almost impossible to survive and live a normal life without relying on the financial system in some way or another.

Why the banks cannot be trusted with your hard earned cash

The banks and the people who run them engaged in a huge amount of reckless lending to people who should never have been given loans in the first place. There was the inevitable result of mass defaults and people with bad credit simply being unable to repay all the money they owed. At this point the whole system crashed. There has since been an explosion in alternative types of lending that avoid the banks altogether.

It has been shown that massive financial institutions that make profits in the billions can suddenly become bankrupt and lose all their customers' money. Sometimes there are bank runs where worried consumers try to pull their cash out in time, but often it happens so quickly that no one can get any of their money back. We also cannot rely on insurance for our deposits because the insurance companies are not immune from going bust either.

It is important that you understand how flimsy the current financial system truly is in order to protect your money and assets from any rerun of the Great Depression. If you act now to take your money out of the banks then it might be possible to have some purchasing power remaining when everyone else has been wiped out.

What can we do to protect our money?

Faced with the very real possibility that we might wake up one day and can't get any of our money out of the bank there are a few things some people are now doing to protect themselves. Many professional investors and ordinary citizens are taking their money out of the banking system and converting it into other assets.

One popular way to save and store money is to buy physical gold and silver bullion (bars or coins.) This can be kept in private vaults or at home in a safe, and is immune from banking crashes. This is not to be confused with the gold and silver certificates that are traded on Wall Street – those are as vulnerable as the digital cash in your account.

Many wealthy people have recently been buying artworks and jewelry as means of storing value and keeping their money out of the banking system. Other physical assets like this include classic cars and antiques.

One might think that simply withdrawing all your cash and stuffing it under your mattress might be enough, but unfortunately it is not. If the entire financial system collapses and all the banks become worthless then in all likelihood so will the entire currency itself – no one will trust it any more and there will be mass panic. This means that you will simply be left with a bunch of paper that is literally worthless.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Can You Doomsday Prep Your Car?

Here’s the scenario: Armageddon is upon you and the only thing standing between your family and a pack of brain-coveting zombies, or your next door neighbor yielding an unregistered AK-47, is the family’s trusty vehicle. Sure, you could jump into your grocery-getting hatchback and hope you make it out of town but what if suddenly you need a new fuel level sending unit? You could give your family a leg-up on the odds by apocalypse-proofing your vehicle. From creating a seemingly over-the-top, although completely necessary, disaster kit to outfitting a way to communicate with your fellow survivors; it’s possible to survive and rebuild humanity in your car.

The Ideal Vehicle to Select

It’s not completely necessary to head out and purchase a new vehicle in the likelihood of a complete societal breakdown, although it’s a good idea if you want to see the day following the fall. A smaller SUV is a great option because it offers more cargo room to bring along all of life’s little incidentals, including food, water and a series of grenade launchers. However, these larger vehicles aren’t quite as fuel efficient, so keep this is mind if you cannot get to a gas station.

A wagon offers the cargo room comparable to an SUV while offering better gas mileage. If you need speed to get away from a mob of blood thirsty tribe of your former neighbors, and are on your own, go ahead and spend your retirement fund on a sleek sports car. Whatever you do, stay away from convertibles, because although the allure of putting the top down to take out invading zombies is a seemingly fun way to get to the next town, it’s kind of difficult to pay attention to the road if you’re fending off your undead 4th grade science teacher.

The Mother of All Roadside Disaster Kits

Now that you have the perfect vehicle, or your present car is in good working order, it’s time to create the ultimate roadside survival kit. You’ll need everything a typical kit includes, such as food, water, road flares, blankets, flashlights and a spare cell phone charger, but rest assured this won’t be enough to get through the apocalypse. In addition to these items, fill your plastic bin with the following must-haves:
  • Fix-a-Flat. This handy man in a canister not only is a lifesaver if you have a flat, it’s also a great weapon in a pinch.
  • Two walkie-talkies with a range of at least 14 miles.
  • Hand crank radio.
  • Tent and sleeping bags for each member of your party. If you don’t have a tent in your emergency preparedness kit, a tarp will work in a pinch.
  • Bleach. If need be, your bleach is capable of becoming a disinfectant and when used in the correct proportions, will sterilize water if your regular supply has run out.
  • A month supply of necessary medications.
  • Pet food and extra water.
  • Feminine and personal hygiene supplies.
  • Entertainment in the form of magazines, crossword puzzles, books and other activities for your kids.
Clearing Out Unnecessary Clutter

Remember once the apocalypse occurs, your car will now turn into a makeshift home on wheels. If you have a family, there isn’t much you can do- except prepare them to leave any unnecessary items at home. If you’re alone or traveling with one other person, don’t hesitate to rip out the back seat to make room for food, water, gasoline or a gun rack. You might regularly keep your golf clubs, kid’s hockey gear or other extraneous items in the trunk. Remove these immediately to make room for your supplies.

Know Where You’re Going

It’s all well and good to have the most tricked-out, end-of-the-world-ready vehicle on the block, but it’s completely useless if you don’t have a Point B to head to. Locate at least two to three fortified structures or remote areas that will serve as your post-apocalyptic headquarters. Practice driving to these locations, especially at night, until you can practically make the journey with your eyes closed. Perfect your defensive driving tactics and head to a vacant field at night to practice traveling at high speeds without the headlights, which is a practical skill if you’re trying to invade ravenous zombies on your tail.

There is one last necessity to bring along that many overlook and that is maps. Chances are your satellite-enabled and fairly expensive GPS system will be rendered useless during the apocalypse. A variety of detailed maps is the best way to know where you’re going when everyone else is lost in the wilderness.

This post was written and contributed by Edson Farnell. Edson writes about various automotive topics. Many of Edson’s friends refer to him as the Auto Parts Geek.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Natural Disasters Could Spell Disaster for Eye Health



Natural disasters, whether it is drought, flooding or earthquakes, are bad news for us. Not only do they lead to mortality, but have a huge negative impact on those who survive them. Homelessness, hunger and disease are all common in the aftermath. Failing food crops, loss of livestock and depleted fish stocks can all lead to malnutrition, not just in terms of calorie and protein intake, but a range of other nutrients essential to health. One aspect of our health that will suffer as a result will be that of our eyes and without good vision we will struggle. So which nutrients vital to eye health will we be missing out on?

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

These are two carotenoids that naturally occur together in many plants and are responsible for their colour. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli are particularly rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin, but sweetcorn, squash and oranges are also good sources. They are deposited in the macula, retina and lens of the eye and function as antioxidants. Their role is protecting cells of the eye from damage by chemicals generated within the body from naturally occurring reactions and also those from the environment, which are today aplenty. They also work to filter out high-energy wavelengths of light that could otherwise damage the eye. Without an adequate intake of Lutein and Zeaxanthin the eye is left very vulnerable to damage.

Vitamin C

Another antioxidant vitamin, Vitamin C is present in most fruit and vegetables, but richest in citrus fruits, green vegetables and berries. Vitamin C is essential to maintain the health of the blood vessels of the eye, without which the cells of the eyes are deprived of oxygen and nutrients, so are unable to function. As Vitamin C is also required by the gut to absorb iron, a deficiency can lead to anaemia and further deterioration in sight.

Vitamin E

If crops of cereals and sweet potatoes fail, a deficiency in Vitamin E is likely, though if you can lay your hands on some nuts and seeds you might be spared. Vitamin E is a further antioxidant, which protects DNA and cell membranes in all tissues including the eye. If these two elements of the cells in the eye are damaged, things will go haywire as far as your sight goes.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Depleted fish stocks, which admittedly is more likely related to man’s overfishing and pollution, our intake of omega-3 fatty acids will plummet. Omega-3 fatty acids are most commonly found in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines and as they are an important component of cell membranes and the nervous system, are essential for maintaining eye function. They are particularly important during pregnancy for eye development, so inadequate intake during this crucial time by the mother is likely to have a big impact for their child’s future eyesight. Although there are a few plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as green leafy vegetables, rapeseed oil, flaxseed oil and algae, all are poorly converted to the form that the body prefers to use.

Zinc

If livestock and seafood go, you’ll struggle to get enough zinc, which is found in largest amounts in oysters, lobster, beef and pork. Zinc has many roles in the body, but in relation to eye health is essential for transporting Vitamin A to the eye from the liver, allowing the eye to produce melanin, which protects it from damage by UV light. With the disappearing ozone layer and consequently increased UV light, this is very bad news for eye health.

So now you know the five nutrients particularly essential for sight and where they come from, stock up on your intake, as you need to get it while you can.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Four Tips for Starting a Medicinal Herb Garden



One of the most popular movements in home gardening right now is medicinal herb gardening. Planting enthusiasts accustomed to growing their own food long ago realized that they could also grow their own medicines, cutting down on yet another costly household bill. Medicinal gardeners grow everything from "tooth ache" anesthesia plants to immune boosting Echinacea. A successful herb garden is not only an economical way to boost your holistic health, but a sustainable and ethical method for obtaining some of the most important vitamins and medicines. If you're a home gardener or survivalist interested in starting your own medicinal garden, there are some time-tested methods for overcoming the unique challenges of medicinal gardening.

Use simple raised beds with clear labels

Block out a corner of your garden and devote it entirely to your nascent medicinal herb garden. That area should remain sacrosanct. You don't want medicinal herbs interfering with or contaminating your vegetable beds. Labeling is a great way to keep tabs on which plants are growing where.

In the designated medicinal section, build a normal raised bed just like you would use for flowers or vegetables. As you become more adept at medicinal gardening you can start to blend compatible edibles with your medicinal herbs. Herbs like basil and thyme work well in the corners of vegetable gardens, for example.

Don't overdo it with the fertilizer

Most medicinal herbs don't require the same dense, nutrient rich soil that heavy-feeding vegetables need. A simple dirt and compost mix should be sufficient to raise a productive medicinal garden. If you are concerned about the quality of your soil you can always mix a bag of aged manure or some rich, manure tea with your soil. This simple and cost-effective blends will ensure that your herbs have a hospitable growing environment.

To pot or not to pot?

Seeds are always going to be the most economic option for growing medicinal herbs. Most medicinals have a high success rate from a good batch of viable seeds. The ones you're going to want to grow in a pot culture include basil, cayenne, lavender, ginger, rosemary, St. John's wart and thyme, just to name a few.

Chamomile, garlic, feverfew, Echinacea, licorice and chickweed grow well from seed. Plant these herbs in raised beds filled with satisfactory soil. Yarrow, valerian and burdock get pretty bulky as they mature, so be sure to give them enough room to flourish.

Grow organic

There's no sense in negating the health benefits of your valuable medicinal herbs by polluting them with chemical pesticides. These ancient medicines grew organically for millennia before the advent of harmful herbicides and pesticides. Do your research and understand how your plants flourish naturally so you can provide them with the right conditions to grow. Keep all plastic and other unnatural substances outside of your garden for maximum healthfulness. If you treat your medicinal herbs well they will return the favor, helping you treat eczema and food allergies as well as a host of other common health concerns.

Sarah Danielson is a freelance writer and part time student. In her spare time she likes to go hiking and help with an animal rescue out of Los Angeles, California.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tips for Keeping Your Zombie Killer in Tip Top Shape



With the potential onset of the zombie apocalypse, it's critical to be prepared. Whether you own a bolt action rifle or a .44 Magnum, the most important thing you need to do with your firearms is to keep them properly maintained. In this busy world, though, how can you do that effectively?

Fortunately, most firearms are built for lifetime use. They also need be broken down for regular cleaning and maintenance, so grab a few Gander Mountain promo codes, and stock up on cleaning kits, and supplies. Basic cleaning is easy to do, even if you take the most basic swipe through the bore of your firearm with the cloth you usually use for cleaning, that will take care of a lot of the cleaning right there. So, step one is wipe down the firearm; the rag you use for cleaning will quite likely have enough gun oil and lube on it from the last time you did a full-out cleaning to take care of 90 per cent of the dirt right there.

Secondly, it's important to remember that regardless of quality, all the cleaning supplies for gun maintenance work, and using the lowest quality stuff will still get the job done. For general cleaning purposes, a good all-purpose solvent/lubricant will do the trick nicely. Of course, depending on what you have done with the firearm - whether it's been used for hunting, target practice or has been sitting propped up against the wall - you may want to consider purchasing a more specific cleaner. For instance, for a high-velocity firearm, you might want to consider getting a non-dissipating, high temperature lubricant so the lubricant doesn't evaporate before it has a chance to do its job. If you have a bore that's been fouled with copper due to multiple rounds going through, you might want to purchase a strong, specific copper solvent.

The purchase of a good bore rod, and multiple sized brush heads can't be underestimated, either. Graphite or polymer rods are generally the best, as they slide through nicely in spite of any resistance they might encounter. Also, a combined bore brush, patch and swab makes your cleaning job incredibly easy. The job can get done really effectively thanks to one simple, drop through device. You might also want to purchase a field cleaning kit; the first time you encounter mud or snow in deer camp or fall in a swamped boat, you will be thankful for having the cleaning kit with you. Don't think you need a field cleaning kit? Neither did our military in Vietman, but they were also dead wrong.

The bottom line is, it's important to keep the cleaning and maintenance process simple. It's been proven years ago that the more complicated something is, the more we don't want to do it. Unfortunately, you can't really do that with a firearm. While they are built to last forever, firearms will not work very well if basic maintenance isn't performed. Why complicate things? The proverbial wheel does not need to be reinvented simply because there is yet another cool gadget on the market. Keep your cleaning process simple and you will be thankful for it.

Chris St-Jean is a Canadian teacher who is married to a military policeman. Thanks to her own experiences going shooting with him and learning about firearms when she was in the Canadian military reserves, she's learned a few things about gun cleaning.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Canning 101: Preparing for Food Storage

A lot of people enjoy gardening and consider it a hobby. For others, it is all about preparing for an event. Whether you are concerned about a natural catastrophe occurring and cutting off your food supply or you are more concerned about a financial doomsday crisis, gardening can be the lifesaver for you and your family. Canning the vegetables and fruits you grow can keep your family well-fed for several years. The key is learning the proper way to can them.

Tools needed
Pressure Canner: This large pot actually has the ability to pressure cook as it can reach much higher temperatures than a pot on a stove can normally reach. It is also the perfect tool in which to boil your jars of food in before sealing them.
Large Pot: This will be used for boiling some of the preserves and fruits you can, as well as pickled vegetables.
Canning Jars with Seals: Mason jars that come with sealed rings and lids are the safest method of preserving your food.
Funnel: This will be used to fill the jars.
Tongs: These will be used for lifting hot jars from the pressure canner or pot.
Cloth: You will need several clean cloths for wiping down the jars and lids for the safest and cleanest storage.

The Canning Process
The first step you need to take is sterilizing process by boiling all of the jars and lids for at least ten minutes. While you can remove the jars, you should leave the lids in the sterilized water just to be certain that they do not accidentally get contaminated. Once your jars and lids have been sterilized, you can determine which foods you are going to can first. Tomatoes are often a great thing to store as they can be used in a wide variety of different dishes. To can tomatoes, you will need to be concerned about improper acid levels turning them brown. To reduce browning, simply add a little bit of lemon juice to the tomato mixture.

You may also wish to pickle some vegetables. Cucumbers, beans, zucchini, and onions are all popular vegetables to be pickled, but the truth is that you can pickle just about everything. In case of a doomsday event, the more options you have for you and your family will keep the taste buds happier.

If you are going to pickle vegetables, you need to make a pickling solution made up of a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water, along with pickling salt, and some spices, such as garlic. Once the pickling solution is boiled on the stove, you can then add it to the containers that you have filled with your vegetables to be pickled making sure to only fill up to about a half-inch from the top of the jar. This is part of the next step.

If you or your family members have a sweet tooth, consider also canning some fruit jams and jellies. Jams are typically composed of fruit, pectin, sugar and lemon juice. With jams, the sugar acts as the antibacterial agent.

When your vegetables or fruits are ready to be poured in the jars, you will find that your funnel comes in very handy. Simply fill the jars and then pour whatever liquid you are using, either boiling water, pickling liquid, or juice. Again, the liquid should be at least a half inch from the top. Once it is filled and there are no air bubbles, you can then place the seals and lids on the jars. Afterwards, wipe down with a clean cloth to remove any debris that may be on the outside of the jar and lid. Processing the jars in the pressure cooker is the next step, and the key to success is to make sure that you have enough water to cover the jars completely. They also must be placed in the pot in a way that they do not touch each other. Each vegetable will require a different time period in the cooker, and this is something you will need to research for each vegetable you prepare. Once the processing is done, use the tongs to pull out the jars for cooling. In this step of the process, you will hear them pop as this is the jars sealing themselves, this is the sound of a successful canning. Last, you simply need to label each jar and store in a cool, dry place. Canning 101 may sound like a lot of work, but the truth is that the results are worth it. In a scenario where you cannot get to the store for fresh food or you fear for your safety when leaving your home, the results of your canning can be what keeps you and your family comfortable.

I’m Vanessa and I wrote this guest-post on behalf of PartSelect, online retailer of household appliance parts.

Photo Credits:
Canning
Pressure Canner

Monday, August 06, 2012

How To Prepare for a Flood



Floods can be a disastrous event no matter how much damage is done. They can cause minor damage to a home or property or it can be a major disaster and destroy an entire region. Afterwards, the same question is always asked by victims of a flood, “How could we have prepared?” Here are some tips on how to prepare for a flood.

Know Your Surroundings

Are you in a flood zone? Within the past year, a major metropolitan city like New York had coastal flood warnings and most people were unsure of their place of residence was considered in the flood zone. Most community officials have learned their lesson from Hurricane Katrina on being prepared for a natural disaster. Know your surroundings and whether there are any advantages or disadvantages of living where you are. Will you need to move to higher ground during the evacuation? Being aware of your surroundings will help preparation and reaction time.

Prepare Your House

Install a sump pump in the basement of your home that can be activated with backup power if a flood wipes the power out in your area. Set up sandbags to block off water into your house. Turn off utilities if you have time before leaving the house. Protect personal effects by placing them in areas that water cannot damage. You want to be able to take all precautionary measures to minimize the damage and cleanup upon your return.

Create an Evacuation Plan

Have a plan in place for you and your family if the worst does happen during a flood. Consider all scenarios and create evacuation routes, meeting locations, a safety kit, and emergency bag. Know where the shelters are and have contact information for everyone if you happen to be separated from your family. Some families even have evacuation drills so some of the children know exactly what to do if a flood does occur.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Prepping for Disaster at Work



by Shane White

You have a bug out bag in your car and near the front door of your house so you can grab them easily in an emergency. You have plenty of food and water in your pantry and your car. You are growing food in your yard. You are thinking that you are in great shape for any kind of a disaster. So you go to work and it happens. You are stuck at work when disaster strikes and you are not able to get home or to your car for several days or more. You might think this is a stretch, but earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes are just a handful of possibilities that can leave you stranded at work with your car inaccessible. Another possibility is that you are pinned or trapped at your desk. If you don't want to drink from leaky pipes and eating wandering cockroaches and mice, you should consider prepping at work.

If you work in an environment where you have a desk area or a locker, you should make some room somewhere for your prepping supplies. While there are probably restrictions on some of the things that you can have at your workplace, there are still many things that you should be able to keep at work.

Water - Water is by far the most critical of things that you will need in a disaster. Get as much water as you can fit into your desk or locker. I try to keep a couple of cases of bottled water at my desk since I drink it anyways and just cycle through them. Keeping your water in a place where you can get to it if you are pinned under your desk can also be very convenient. If you are on a factory floor, just keep a small cooler near your workstation if you can. Water should be your first priority at work.

Food - You will need to eat. Store some food that is simple to prepare and easy to open without tools such as a can-opener. Having a couple weeks worth of food at your desk is not unreasonable. I like to use them as my lunches and just add meals and snacks as I eat. You might not have a way to heat your food, but at least you will have something to eat.

Tools - Keep a Leatherman or similar type of tool at your desk. You never know when you will need something like this. I have found that I have needed simple tools for every day work as well. If you can keep a kind of a fire starter or a book of matches, this will be helpful as well. Keeping some small tools, like a pocketknife, with you at all times is also a good idea.

Survival Bag - A survival bag at home and in your car are great. But if you can't make it to your house or your car, you will need one in the next most likely place that you will be. Your work. Stash a survival bag behind your desk or somewhere that it is unlikely to be found. This survival bag should have similar items in it that you might have in your regular survival bags, but you should consider your work environment as well. Following the rules at your work will assure that you can keep paying for your prepping supplies.

Telling everybody that you have a stash of food and water and supplies at your desk. While I am sure you would love to take care of everybody at your work in an emergency, this can be quite impractical. It is best to just keep quiet about your prepping until it becomes necessary.

Another idea would be to talk to your supervisor about your workplace setting up a plan to help your teammates with a few days worth of supplies if something were to happen. This might be unrealistic in many situations, but you shouldn't get into trouble for making a sincere suggestion.

Let me know if you have ideas or suggestions relating to prepping at work. I am definitely open to ideas.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Doomsday Giveaway for August!

We are giving away a 6-Cell Maglight. (or a smaller one if you prefer)

This flashlight comes with a high intensity krypton gas lamp for optimum brilliance and extended range. With a twist of the flashlight head, you can change the beam from spot to flood, positioning the light where you need it most. It's anodized inside and out for improved corrosion resistance and durability, with a self-cleaning switch that virtually eliminates oxidation. The high grade O-rings at each opening ensure resistance to water and shock while the low resistance circuitry allows a more efficient use of the batteries. there's an extra lamp in the tail cap to keep you out of the shadows, and this flashlight is serially numbered for identification purposes.

This Maglight is almost 20-inches long and weighs 1.3 pounds. This flashlight can come in very handy.


All you need to do is use the rafflecopter tool below to enter. On September 1 we will select a winner. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link to this contest.(copy/paste into your own website or blog):



The Blog List