Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review - Barbed Wire, Barricades, and Bunkers

F.J. Bohan has sent me copies of all three of his books in order for me to do a book review on each.  Well, not knowing which title to start with, I went with a random draw.  The first one to be reviewed is Barbed Wire, Barricades, and Bunkers, subtitled The Free Citizen's Guide to Fortifying the Home Retreat.

In this book you will learn about some of the tried and true methods of cover that have been used since WW1 as well as some more modern approaches.  In it, you will find a huge variety of options when considering home or retreat defenses including bollards and gabions, as well as detailed descriptions of trench and bunker building.

If you are looking for a step by step instructional guide on where to put what on your property, this is not it.  As a matter of fact, I really can't see how that type of book could exist.  The fact is, you will still have to think on your own and make decisions based on your own needs, but this book will give you an arsenal of techniques that you may not have thought of.

Plans detailing exact dimensions and material lists for home made bunkers simply won't be here and you are warned that many ideas in this book will require some degree of construction knowledge and ability to implement.  Also offered are some more cost effective ways to use what you may have on hand to achieve your goals.

Simply put, this book is a great resource for ideas, and no matter how much time you have put into thinking about your defences, there is bound to be more than a trick or two in this book that you hadn't thought about.  The author also makes use of an abundance of photos, diagrams, and illustrations to really get the ideas across.

If you have a home, cottage, or full out survival compound that you want to bolster against outside threats, this book simply must be in your library.

Available through Paladin Press for a very affordable price of $12.00 US, you just simply can't go wrong!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Preppers Meet

This is a busy time of the year - when isn't it busy! -but last weekend my husband and I took off and traveled quite a distance to meet with some like-minded-soon-to-be-friends.  You might wonder why that would deserve a blog post all it's own but it was such a great event and I want to share some of the highlights.

We weren't a big group - a bakers dozen in all - who had "met" on the internet through a website called the International Preppers Network - we were the Canadian contingent of course.  Each of us came with different skills and abilities, lots of questions and admittedly some fear of the unknown as well.  This is the internet age and cross-country or cross-continent communication is all the rage but meeting someone face-to-face has more risk to it.  I could comment and say - how sad that we've sunk so low that meeting with a stranger has to be such a big deal.  However - we all braved the unknown and what we discovered was beautiful.

We met at a conservation area and were thankful to have the use of a picnic shelter for the day as it did rain off and on.  The weather was warm and muggy and the mosquitoes were in their happy-place eating us alive until one very smart prepper pulled out the new OFF Powerpad Mosquito Lamp    - It worked really well and reduced the bugs to almost nothing.  They are definitely on my list!

With so much in common from our shared interests we started the chit chatting right away - in fact we had to rein in the conversations long enough to eat the wonderful potluck meal.  Lots of laughter and fun and great conversations about building a chicken coop without giving up the man-cave, how to raise rabbits for meat and ear muffs, the basic needs of being prepared for an emergency, life in your community, how to grow garlic and how not to grow garlic and what mylar bags are used for.  Later we shared what we wanted to learn next on our prepping journey and opened the conversation for others more knowledgeable to give us some advice.

We talked about canning and did a canning swap - I can't wait to try out some of the new jars of  food I brought home. We brought some things to barter and had some good-natured conversations about whether some homemade  buns were worth 3 or 4 mylar bags?  or who wanted the homemade salve the most and what they were willing to trade for it.  We traded for cookbooks, sewing needles, an Esbet stove, homemade soap, homemade buns and of course toilet paper!

There was a demonstration on how to make home made deodorant and we talked at length about how to make homemade laundry soap.  The tips flew as new friendships were made and old ones more deeply established.

Later in the day a nature walk was organized to look for plants that could be used as food or medicine.  I admit to staying back and huddling around the mosquito lamp as the bugs LOVE me but in the meantime I had some really great conversations with some others who stayed behind.

If you've ever thought of going to a meet but chicken'd out I want to encourage you to give it a try.  Please do be wise and meet in a public place and use common sense but don't let your fear stop you from attending.  You may find what I did -  a great learning opportunity  and a group of new like-minded friends.

Monday, July 8, 2013

10 Must Have Items for a BOB - Guest Post by Lee Flynn

10 Must-Have Items for a Bug Out Bag

Having a bug out bag, or a 72 hour kit, is a necessity for every person in your family. We never know when an emergency might hit, and three days could be the difference between life and death, in some cases. If something ever happened, a bug out bag is going to be the thing that bails you out.

Here are 10 things that you’ll need to have in a bug out bag for everyone in your family:

10. Blankets

You’re going to need something to keep you warm at night, wherever you might be. Blankets are going to do just that. As opposed to bringing large, bulky blankets, I’d use a space blanket. They keep you very warm and they are lightweight, too. These space blankets will be much easier to lug around in a backpack than a blanket that you have on your bed, at home.

9. Extra Clothes

If you’re forced to use your bug out bag, there is a strong chance that you’ll be forced to face the elements. Sometimes, those elements happen to dampen your body and clothes. If you get wet in the winter and don’t have a change of clothes, you could get hypothermia, or other illnesses.

8. Battery Powered Radio

In emergency situations, the radio might be your only communication to the rest of the world. Being informed of what is going on is extremely vital. If for some reason you can’t use it to get information, at least you’ll be able to jam out to some tunes.

7. Cash

Depending on the emergency that’s happened around you, you might not be able to use credit cards. Putting a little cash in your 72 hour kit could go a long way. You could use it to buy food, clothes, or play presidential flash cards. Some extra green never hurt anyone.

6. Flashlight

A flashlight can be good for a bunch of different things. Not only will it help you get around at night, but it can also be good to help people find you. Turn your flashlight on and wave it at planes or helicopters to come and find you. It could also potentially keep wildlife away from you.

5. Flint

How many of us know how to make a fire? Me neither. Fire is going to be crucial to help keeping you warm, and cooking things, too. Flint makes it really easy to get your fire going, plus it’s small and light to carry around in your bug out bag.

4. Water

An adult needs to drink about a gallon of water per day. Considering that your bug out bag should last you three days, and it should all fit in a backpack, carrying around water might not be the best idea. Instead, you can bring a water bottle with a filter. You can refill your bottle whenever you need to, and it will be clean, healthy water. Another option is taking water purifiers.

3. Food

Finding something that will fit in your backpack might not always be easy, but there is a surprising amount of food that you can pack along. MREs and canned foods are good and easy to pack. Dehydrated foods are another type of food that is easy to pack. Jerky is light, filling and tasty. Make sure that you pack enough for three days, though.

2. Shelter

No, I’m not suggesting that you take a big, fancy tent along with you. A tarp or two can work wonders, though. You can build a lean to, or put a “roof” over your head, at night. It will keep you dry and safe from rain.

1. First Aid Kit

You never know what kind of scrapes and cuts that you might take, in this emergency. A first aid kit should have the bandages and medications that you’ll need to make it through three days, though.

Lee Flynn is a freelance writer interested in helping others develop self reliance through food storage.