Gear Grabbing

More Gear For Pathfinder School

We went out this evening to Dick's and REI for a last few items on my list for my Pathfinder School.  A week from now, I'll be in Ohio waiting for the meet up and convoy to the training grounds.

I needed to get a new self-inflating sleeping mat.  I had a decent one that I bought back in the late 90's when I was doing some winter camping for a few years.  Seems they need to be stored open and inflated.  If you store them tightly rolled for 12-13 years, they lose the ability for the foam to loft up.  Who knew?  Well, if I had bothered to read the tag, I would have, but I doubt it would have made several moves with me if it hadn't been rolled up.  Anyway, I got a Dick's store brand one.  My wife will sew a pocket for it into the bedroll she's making for me.

I got a small signal mirror with a sighting hole.  I can use it for putting in my contact lenses or getting the attention of rescuers if I get lost.

I picked up another fire starting tool and a different type of tinder.  For my video this weekend, I'll try two different fire starting tools and four different tinders - two store bought and two homemade.  Be sure to tune in to the YouTube channel for it (OBTW, thanks to the folks who have subscribed to the YouTube channel - it's growing slowly but surely).

I also got a Rite in the Rain Notebook and a Stowaway Space Pen for taking notes on all the great things I hope to learn from Dave Canterbury.

A 6 liter dry bag rounded out the evening's shopping.  We'll go back out to Blue Ridge Mountain Sports to look for a regional wild edibles book tomorrow, then a surplus store near my work for some MRE's.


National Preparedness Month

It's Official

On the FEMA blog today they announced National Preparedness Month, September of 2011.  "This year’s theme 'A Time to Remember. A Time to Prepare' aims at turning awareness into action."

As a part of the month, they invite individuals, groups and businesses to sign up as members of the NPM Coalition to get access to "a toolkit full of resources for promoting emergency preparedness."  I signed up last year, but was only doing the blog once a week or so, and never checked the tool kit.  Now that If It Hits The Fan is a daily project, I'll be checking, and hopefully using the toolkit and any other resources.

I'd encourage other bloggers, YouTubers, and survival-related companies to join the coalition if for no other reason than to get more exposure, but it can also reinforce that our version of modern survivalism is rational and realistic, not the wide-eyed paranoid that the media sometimes portrays.

Bat Houses

I've been researching bat houses recently.  I'm planning to build a few to help attract nature's flying, fuzzy mosquito eaters.  I've found some plans online, but does anyone have a favorite that they've had success attracting bats with?

Garden Update

I have officially picked my first bright red, heirloom, organic tomato.  It will make an appearance on my lunch salad tomorrow.  I'll let you know if it's as tasty as it looks.

Sometime between Monday evening and today, my sweet baby watermelon plant that seemed to be doing so well, spreading and developing buds, has apparently died.  All the leaves are gone and the stalks are a yellowish brown.  It was beautiful two days ago.  No idea what happened.


Hip Shots

NOAA Warning

This will be quick tonight... The NOAA weather alert radio has been going nuts and we're under the third severe thunderstorm warning of the evening, and we lose power easily around here.

Doomsday Preppers

Watched the first segment tonight.  The young family in Phoenix with the aquaculture system in the old pool.  They seem very skilled and talented, but a bit shortsighted.  In the focus on a coronal mass ejection in 2012/2013 causing a loss of the power grid, they miss all the other, much more likely SHTF situations that could come.  They kind of remind me of my life in the countdown to Y2K.  I hope that when the power is still on in 2014, they don't chuck it all and go on to a typical suburban life.

The show would have more credibility if the "expert" who evaluates each family's preps is identified and we learn the expert's credentials.

I checked the production credits at the beginning, but did not see the lady that I was dealing with.  Must have been a different production company and TLC passed on the idea.

I'm looking forward to watching the other three families tomorrow night.

Nuke Plants

I'm still not terribly worried, but we need to pay attention, especially those in the regions...  Los Alamos nuclear lab is threatened by the New Mexico wild fires and the floodwalls and buildings of the Nebraska power plant have been breached by flood waters. 


Coulda Been Me

Doomsday Preppers

I'm looking forward to the premier tonight of Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic channel.  SouthernPrepper1 and Engineering775 from YouTube are two of the preppers featured.

I haven't shared this story yet, but I might have been in the running to join them.  Back in the early spring, I was approached by a reality show producer who was developing a pilot for The Learning Channel.  It would have been a documentary about preppers.  I was a bit leery at first because she spoke of bunkers and family drills and didn't seem interested in some of the more mundane aspects of prepping.  I Googled her and found that she was legitimate... credits ranging from The Biggest Loser to Road Rules to some other reality show silliness.  As we spoke on the phone, she said they wanted to film in late spring, and the show would be on in July.

She sent a questionnaire as the first "audition."  I answered the questions that involved my prepping history, what family think of prepping, things we have and do to prep, etc...

Apparently, that went well, because the next step was that she sent me a Flip cam and several pages of what they wanted me to film.  I showed my food stores, generator and fuel, reloading press, gun safe, shot some in the back yard, showed off my garden, and even interviewed my wife about her thoughts on the matter.

The producer liked what we sent in and said that we were in the finals, and that The Learning Channel folks were doing the final selections.  She asked me for some open dates over the next two weeks when they could come out and film us...  never heard another peep out of her.

So, I don't know if Doomsday Preppers is what the show was, and it moved from TLC to NatGeo, or if TLC dropped the idea because NatGeo already had something in the works.  Frankly, I'm a little surprised she seemed as interesting as she did.  Compared to the guys on Doomsday Preppers, I'm still batting in the minor leagues.  I think one thing I had going for me is that I'm involved in emergency management professionally as well as personally, so that might have been a bit of a "hook."

I hope Doomsday Preppers shows David and Scott, and prepping in general, in a positive light.  From my experiences with the producer, I'm not too disappointed that I didn't make the cut.  Getting ready for the video audition was a great motivator to get my stores much more organized, and top off some of my supplies.

I won't be able to see the show until I get home tomorrow night, it comes on too late for me and we are DVRing it.  I'll be interested to hear what you think of the show.


Product Reviews: Eggs & An Axe


I tried these eggs for breakfast... not bad... not great, but not bad.
Here's what they look like when prepped for cooking.  The Scramblettes are on the right, two real eggs on the left.

Cooking them up was just like a real egg.  Kept 'em moving and kept chopping them.  Here's how they look cooked.  Again, Scramblettes on the right, real eggs on the left.

Visually, they looked pretty good.  They looked like what I remember from the chow hall, or from a Hardee's (Carl's Jr. for those of you West of the Mississippi) breakfast biscuit.  A little paler than real, and sort of a smoother texture.

So, how'd they taste?  Ehhh.  There was something just a bit "off" about the flavor.  It wasn't bad, just not real eggs.  I think they would be better made into an omelet or with a little cheese on them.  I'll try them again next weekend in an omelet.

Should you buy some?  I'd say try and buy one can first at your local store to try.  If you like them, you can probably get them in quantity a little cheaper from Amazon.

Well, I got the technical problems sorted out.  Turns out my 10 year old desk top didn't have enough oomph to run the editing software for the Flip cam.  Go figure.  My wife's laptop did it fine.  As I type this, it is posting to YouTube, so I won't be able to link to the video tonight.  Check back in an hour or two and visit the IfItHitsTheFan YouTube channel to see it.  I'd like to start doing a lot more of these to add to what I have to offer.  I'd really appreciate your comments and suggestions on my videos.

Video Is Up
Here it is...  Please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and leaving comments there and here.  Thanks!

Doomsday Preppers

A couple readers and Rourke from ModernSurvivalOnline.com alerted me to a new show premiering tomorrow night on The National Geographic channel, called Doomsday Preppers.  Looks like it might be pretty good.  I'm curious to know what the NatGeo "experts" have to say since a couple of the guys in the trailers are pretty much experts in their own right and are known to many of us in the lifestyle.

Sponsor Of The Week

Our Sponsor of the Week is Essential Packs.  The folks at Essential Packs usually have some great deals, and right now they are running a sale on a bunch of different items including different sized multi-person office emergency kits and their Road Warrior series of vehicle emergency kits.  In addition to great prices and selections, they also have excellent customer service.  Check them out and tell them that you heard about them here at If It Hits The Fan.


Technical Difficulties

Video Product Review - FAIL

As promised, we went out today and recorded a video review of the Gerber Back Paxe II camp axe.  Unfortunately, after spending several hours messing around with the software, I've somehow managed to get the audio about 15 seconds off from the video.

If the sound hadn't been out of sync, it probably would have been pretty decent.  We'll try recording and posting again tomorrow.

Barter Larder Updates

Our nephew's mom brought me about a dozen sample packs of Colgate toothpaste for the Barter Larder.  These are little packages, kind of like ketchup at a fast food joint, but with toothpaste.  Each one is good for 3-4 brushings and could be greatly valued if given out as charity or in a barter situation If It Hits The Fan.

A couple weeks ago, a friend bought a new AR-15.  I gave him about 30-40 various rounds of 5.56, and over 100 rounds of .380 for one of his pistols.  The ammo was in the Barter Larder because I don't have guns for it.  He gave me a Glock 18 magazine that holds 31 (or is it 33?) rounds and fits my 9mm AR and my Glock 17. 


12 Year Old Nuts

Why We Rotate

I spent the day helping my dad and his business partners clean out the attic over the turn-of-the-20th century carriage house behind their office building as they prepare to sell it next month.  We filled a 40 yard dumpster to the brim.  It's amazing the stuff that had been put up there over the past 37 years.

Anyway, we found a case of 12 cans of Hubs Virginia peanuts that for some reason got stashed almost 12 years ago instead of being given as client gifts.  Naturally we popped one open.  After the lit was pried off and the foil membrane pierced, there was the definite sound of a vacuum being broken.  The peanuts looked fine.  They still had a crunch to them, and the flavor was not "off" at all, but not as flavorful as they would be when fresher.  Not bad at all, and still completely edible if you needed them.  One partner's son took them home to put "under the stairs" in his hurricane kit. 

I have a number of cans of nuts in my pantry, and rotate them as I use them.  They are much tastier that way, but it's good to know that the rotation is not absolutely necessary.

Grocery Store Storage Food Item

At the local grocery store last night, I found a can of Deb El Scramblettes.  It cost $6.99, so the Amazon deal is slightly better.  For that price, I got a "dried omelet & scrambled egg mix" equivalent to 10 eggs.  They had an egg whites mix of 21 eggs for the same price, as well as in a larger size.  The expiration date is April of 2014, so about 3 years.  Not bad for off the regular grocery store shelf.  This version calls for 2 tbsp of mix and 1/4 cup of water for each egg.  They also have French toast recipe on the can.  I'll whip up a couple scrambled eggs with this in the morning and provide a full report tomorrow.

Old BB Gun

Today my brother gave me what looked like an old Colt .25 automatic pistol, thinking it was an old pistol lighter.  At home, I took the grip panels off and saw that it was an air pistol.  The panels are marked "Slavia" and "Made in Czechoslovokia."  From a brief bit of research on Google, it seems that Slavia is a well known manufacturer of airguns, and might have some relationship to the CZ manufacturer of fine quality pistols and rifles.  The interesting thing is that all the Slavia pistols I found were of a more traditional airgun style.  I can find nothing that looks like the Colt.  I'll continue the research as well as try and get this thing cleaned up and back to working condition.

'Maters & Peppers

Two of my tomatoes have started turning red.  I ought to be eating a fresh, organic tomato by Sunday afternoon.  I also have a jalapeno that is ready to eat and will be enjoyed this weekend. 


Countdown To Pathfinder

Getting Ready for Dave

In two weeks, I'm heading to Ohio for Pathfinder school with Dave Canterbury.  To say I'm getting very excited would be an understatement.  Today I picked up a couple of my last few pieces of gear, a fresh 100 ft. hank of 550 cord, and the smallest Gerber Back Paxe II.  This is a handy looking and feeling little axe.  Over the weekend, I'll make my first video product review on on my initial thoughts and some backyard testing.  After I get back from Pathfinder school, I'll put up a more in depth review of how it performed.

Saturday, we're going to the fabric store.  I need a large sewing needle to take to camp (no idea what for) and we'll get a few yards of a heavy cotton duck material so my wonderful wife can make me a bedroll cover.  I have an old GI wool blanket that will be the lining, and I'll spray it down with a water repellent.  I'll put up some photos when she finishes it, hopefully Sunday.


Rest In Peace, Ron Hood

The Passing Of A Legend

Word comes this afternoon, that Ron Hood passed away in his sleep last night at his home in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.  If you are not familiar with Ron's work, he was a legend in the survival community... a great teacher and leader.  He ran Survival.com (he secured that domain name back in the mid-90's). He published Survival Quarterly magazine, a rich glossy mag with some of the top names in the industry as writers.  He designed wonderful knives and tools.  He started doing survival training videos back in the days of VHS in the mid-80's.  Many survivalists owe their start in the lifestyle to Ron.

My friend, Tim, recently bought a Hoodlum knife from Ron and brought it over to my house a couple weekends ago.  It is a fantastic looking and feeling tool.  Tim is supposed to be writing a review of it to post here.  Just three days ago, he sent Ron an email thanking him for the knife and congratulating him on the design.  Tim was thrilled to get a personal reply.

This morning, at about 5:30, I posted to Ron's FB page asking if they had a storefront or office in Coeur d'Alene as we will be out there this summer for my cousin's wedding and I wanted to stop in to say hello and buy a knife or something.  That would have been 2:30 a.m. their time.  I was stunned this afternoon when I heard the news.

Not much more to say.  My prayers are with Ron's family and friends, and I hope they can find some comfort in knowing how many people Ron touched in his life and the positive influence he had on the world.


When The Lights Go Out

Generator Types

I had lunch today with one of my old prepper buddies and we started talking about generators.  We have very different ideas on the subject, and I'm not sure that either of us is completely right.  I've got a 8,500/12,500 watts Generac unit and he has two of those small, gas sipping, super quiet Honda units that push about 1,600 watts.

By my thoughts, I can run much of my house at one time... well pump, water heater, refrigerator, freezer, a few lights, TV set, and a couple of fans or a space heater depending on the weather.  That's very convenient, and easy to work with.  There are some downsides.  It uses a lot of gas - about 5 gallons in a 7-8 hour stretch.  It's noisy - it can be heard from the street.  It's overkill if we don't need that much stuff going at one time, such as when we are asleep.  Did I mention it uses a lot of gas?

Those units that my buddy has can run a few select things, like the refrigerator or a few lights and a fan or two.  He has city water, a gas water heater, and a wood stove, so those are not even in the equation.  They sip gas, about 4 hours on a gallon.  They are whisper quiet - we've had a conversation at normal voice levels while standing beside one running.  The cons are that he has to turn things off and on to run multiple items, and they are expensive, about $1,000 each.

I guess, based on our individual needs and expectations, what we have works, but wouldn't work as well for the other.  I would like to have a couple of those small units to supplement my large one.  I could use one to run the freezer out in the shop, and the other to run the refrigerator and my CPAP machine at night, then go to the big one during the day.  Long term, I'd like to put a small solar system on the shop with a couple of deep-cycle marine batteries hooked up to an inverter.  That might actually be more cost effective than buying the small gennies.


Missouri Glowing?

Floods Threaten Mid-West Nuke Plants

A reader, Charles, sent me this video on Facebook and asked my thoughts.  I also had seen this related article on Drudge.  I guess, long story short, I'm not that concerned... But if I lived in the areas around these plants, I'd keep a close eye on the flood waters.

The guy in the video talks about a "Level 4 Emergency" and the news reporter says, "notification of an unusual event" both in very ominous tones.  Fact is, they are the same thing, and both are the lowest form of "problem" at a nuke plant, and are fairly common.  Just now, my wife, who used to be an emergency dispatch supervisor in a county that partially fell in the 10 mile Emergency Planning Zone of a nuke plant, said that they used to get those calls from the plant a couple times a year.  During the recent tornadoes in Virginia, the plant that I work near had an "unusual event" when a tornado touched down on the outskirts of the plant and caused a power outage.

The four levels of nuclear plant emergency are (Courtesy of Louisiana Homeland Security)
  • Notification of Unusual Event is the least serious of the four levels. The event poses no threat to you or to plant employees, but emergency officials are notified. No action by the public is necessary.
  • Alert is declared when an event has occurred that could reduce the plant's level of safety, but backup plant systems still work. Emergency agencies are notified and kept informed, but no action by the public is necessary.
  • Site Area Emergency is declared when an event involving major problems with the plant's safety systems has progressed to the point that a release of some radioactivity into the air or water is possible, but is not expected to exceed Environmental Protection Agency Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs) beyond the site boundary. Thus, no action by the public is necessary.
  • General Emergency is the most serious of the four classifications and is declared when an event at the plant has caused a loss of safety systems. If such an event occurs, radiation could be released that would travel beyond the site boundary. State and local authorities will take action to protect the residents living near the plant. The alert and notification system will be sounded. People in the affected areas could be advised to evacuate promptly or, in some situations, to shelter in place. When the sirens are sounded, you should listen to your radio, television and tone alert radios for site-specific information and instructions.
In our region's plans, schools would be notified by the city's EOCs at the Alert level.  Any decisions to close schools or move students to partner schools outside the EPZ would be based on a myriad of situations such as, time of day; wind directions; status updates from the plant; progress of the situation; and other factors.  We'd look at moving students, primarily to ensure that if things go bad quickly, the kids are already either out of the danger zone, or on their way, thereby freeing resources to work with the elderly, handicapped, and others who cannot self-evacuate if needed.

Emergency Assembly Centers (where evacuees go to be evaluated and decontaminated) wouldn't open until a full General Emergency that actually threatened the area.

If you live or work near a nuke plant, I really encourage you to take the FEMA IS-3 on-line course.  I learned a lot about the safety precautions in place at a plant, and how they work.  If nothing else, it will give you some peace of mind, and you'll know what is hype and what is important.


Radiological Drill - Success

The Exercise Is Complete

I mentioned earlier that I was involved in a large, biennial FEMA evaluation of the region around our local nuclear power plant.  I've found that every nuke plant in the country does indeed have this evaluation every other year.  The communities are evaluated looking at their decontamination plans, along with school and hospital responses.  Of course this is on top of other frequent exercises and drills regarding all aspects of plant operation and emergencies.

Over the past week, FEMA evaluated 48 schools, three Emergency Assembly Centers (that's where evacuees would go to be checked for radiation and decontaminated) and one hospital, across 7 or 8 cities and counties.

The preliminary reports indicate that all communities met the standards, and in many cases, exceeded them.  We'll come back together in mid-July for the final stage of the exercise where FEMA will look at a time-compressed start-to-finish plume escape from the plant, and how the Emergency Operations Centers in the local area and at the state level respond.

If there is a slowly expanding radiological emergency from our plant, I'm confident that loss of life will be minimal.  Unfortunately, some pretty heavy population centers might need to be evacuated for a long time, or even become uninhabitable.  It could also shut down the interstate, causing extreme disruption. 

If you live near a nuclear power plant, it is one more potential disaster that you need to look at including in your preparedness plans.  While a US nuclear plant disaster is pretty unlikely, if one does happen, it would be catastrophic.

Falling Skies

I missed this until just a few days ago, but a new post-Apocalyptic TV series premiers on TNT tonight.  Noah Wyle, of ER and The Librarian, stars as a college professor thrust into a leadership role in a band of survivors who have come together to resist an alien invasion that has devastated the Earth.  I've always been a fan of TEOTWAWKI fiction and movies, so I'm looking forward to watching this new show.

Sponsor Of The Week

The Sponsor of the Week is The Berkey Guy at Directive 21.  The Berkey Guy is your source for the amazing line of Berkey water filters.  Right now, all sizes are in stock and ready to ship except for the biggest size, the Crown Berkey, which will be available in August.  the Berkey Guy also has Wise Food Storage, survival food and herb seed banks, and now features the Pelican line of flashlights.  Check him out for great products and amazing customer service, and please tell him that you heard about him here at If It Hits The Fan.


Skills & Equipment Both Go Bad

Gettin' SASSy

I was very into Cowboy Action Shooting for 6 or 7 years, but haven't shot a match in about 2 years.  My wonderful wife even gave me a Dillon 550 (without a doubt, one of the finest reloading presses out there) a while back and I've loaded thousands of rounds of .44 and .38 special on it.  But, I haven't used it since I last shot a SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) match.  I moved it out to the shop from the guest room about a year ago.

I finally got around to going to a match again today.  To prepare, I went out to the press yesterday to load up some ammo.  Skills deteriorate when they go unused.  It took me a while to get back into the rythm and techniques of loading.  Turns out that equipment also deteriorates when it is unused.  After I got about 50 rounds done, it stopped feeding primers.  The primers dropped out of the tube far enough that the lifting cup wouldn't go underneath them and it was blocked from picking up the next primer.  I took it apart and switched out to a spare "thingee" at the bottom of the tube.  It still wouldn't work.

It doesn't make sense, but the only thing I can think is that the "thingees" made of plastic have deteriorated over the years.  Luckily, Dillon is reputed to have amazing customer service, and a "no BS" lifetime warranty.  I'll call them Monday and see what they have to say, but my guess is it will be up and running 100% by the end of the week.  I'll give you a report.

On the shooting match, I got my cowboy getup on this morning, and went on out to the range to watch and help score the match.  Over the years, alot of folks have left, but new folks have taken their places.  They had about 30 shooters, and I knew a little more than half of them.  It was good to get back over there and I'll be shooting the July match for sure.

I'm sure I'll be much slower than I used to be, but I think it will come back to me pretty quick.  Some doubt the idea of Cowboy Action Shooting as a viable SHTF training regimine, but I don't.  You have to shoot, transition weapons, identify targets and do it all on the move.  And, you get to have a ton of fun doing it.

Any readers out there involved in SASS?  My handle is Cousin Wilfred.


National Kit Day?

Do We Finally Have a Holiday of Our Own?

According to FEMA's Facebook page, June 18th is National Kit Day, which I would see as a day to build, modify and check your 72 hour kits.  Now, I'm all for a holiday, but a Google search for "National Kit Day" showed just a few links, all to FEMA or other blogs linking to FEMA (except the Urban Dictionary which says National Kit Day is a saying used in England for taking a day off from work for no particular reason).  FEMA is pushing National Kit Day as a day to get a group together and build disaster kits for the poor.

I'm all for storing extra and distributing it as charity during a SHTF scenario.  I've also seen the results of the unprepared either a) waiting for or demanding government aid or b) showing up at a community shelter with little more than the clothes on their backs.  I've often said that by being prepared ourselves, we will reduce the burden on "the authorities" and allow them to dedicate resources to those who won't or can't provide for themselves.  This bit of charity prepping now, before the storm hits, can help further reduce that drain on public resources.

It's a little late this year to do an official kit party on National Kit Day, as they describe on the webpage for the Great Hurricane Blowout, but it could be a great project for a church group, boy scout troop, or a home school organization.  Most of us don't have the spare money to buy a few extra  first class kits from Survival Gear Bags or Essential Packs to give away.  But there are fairly inexpensive kits that we could put together, especially if everyone in the group chips in.

Here's a sample inexpensive kit suggestion:
  • Back pack (possibly from the thrift store, or maybe found on closeout at Wal Mart or something)
  • A six-pack of water bottles
  • Some non-perishable foods
    • A couple cans of Chef Boyardee
    • A few granola bars
    • A few cans of Mandarin oranges
    • A small jar of peanut butter
    • A small baggie of hard candies
    • A plastic spoon/fork/knife
  • A pair of exam gloves
  • A pair of work gloves
  • A Swiss Army Knife knockoff
  • A small first aid kit with some assorted bandages, wrappings, alcohol preps, ibuprofen pills
  • A length of duct tape
  • A length of electrical tape
  • A few brochures or fliers from FEMA and your local emergency management office
  • A disposable poncho
  • A space blanket
This kit could be put together for less than $15 or so.  To reduce the cost or expand how many you can provide, you might even seek out donations from organizations and businesses.  The Hurricane Blowout page suggests getting referred to families who need help by checking with local non-profits and churches.  Someone with this kit might be less likely to depend on public resources during the short term local disasters, and might even be motivated to work toward greater preparedness for greater disasters.


Magazine Reviews

Survivalist, Issue #3

The latest issue of Survivalist magazine came in the mail this week.  I have to say, they are getting better with this issue.  I also noticed that they have changed thier name from Complete Survivalist.

A couple letters to the editor addressed some of my complaints about the poor quality of some of their models and photos.  Turns out they are using some stock and licensed images.  As the magazine grows, they'll move more and more toward professional photography.

They have some pretty good articles this month.  They have a few product reviews, some gardening articles, two pieces on living thrifty, homestead animals, shelter building, food & water, and root cellars.  Interestingly, there is nothing on guns.

The magazine is growing on me, and all in all, I'm glad I subscribe.

Backwoods Home, Issue #130

Backwoods Home is my favorite magazine these days.  Their combination of homesteading, tactical concerns and libertarian views really strikes all my interests.  I always learn a great deal from their letters and the reader questions that Jackie Clay answers.  Massad Ayoob always has good information on guns and weapons.

Of the many magazines that I get that are related to survivalism and homestead living, if I could only keep one, it would be this one.


More Hip Shots

Two More Days

Then things will be back to normal.  Here's a couple short items...

Need a House?

Did you catch this article on Fox News today?  It's an off-grid, 320 square foot dome home on 10 acres outside Taos, New Mexico... for $74,000.  Seems kind of steep to me.  The house itself couldn't be more than a few thousand to build, and 10 acres of scrub land ought not to be that much.

Whole House Faraday Cage

A friend recently lost many of his home electronics during a lightning storm.  Interestingly, his computer escaped unscathed.  It was in a corner of the house under a part of the attic where he had already installed a foil insulation wrap.  He had not yet gotten to the rest of the roof.  It seemed to act as a giant Faraday cage.  I've heard that stuff will reduce your heating and cooling bills, but this could be a whole new marketing direction for them.


Heck No We Won't Glow

Radiation Emergency Drill - Day 1

This week, most of my working time is devoted to participation in a regional radiological emergency drill involving the nearby nuclear power plant.  We have two plants in Virginia, and FEMA evaluates the regions around each one, every other year.  Being an odd year, it's our turn.  I don't know for certain, but I'm pretty sure that FEMA does these exercises for every nuke plant in the country.  If you live or work within 10 miles of a plant, check with your local EOC to see if your community is a part of one these exercises, and see if you can participate as a role player or observer or something.  It's really interesting, and you'd get an up close look at what you could expect during a real event.

There's three main parts to the exercise.  First, they evaluate the responses for any public school divisions that have schools within the 10 mile radius, or have schools outside the radius but students who live within it.  Next, they evaluate each community's EAC or Emergency Assembly Center.  The EAC is where evacuated residents would be directed to be screened for radiation exposure, then decontaminated if needed and sheltered until long-term shelter arrangements can be made.  A few weeks later, they come back and evaluate the Emergency Operations Center for each affected community and the Radiation Plan. They look at things such as how they do traffic control, message spreading, responder exposure, public KI issue, and ultimately, a return to normal operations.

Today, about 10 of my schools were evaluated.  Later in the week, they'll do more schools, the division response, and the EAC, which will be established at one of my schools.  I've spent the past few weeks preparing the principals with all the information they need to pass the evaluation.  Anecdotal evidence so far suggests that they've been successful so far.  We have about 20 more schools to do on this biennial cycle.  When it is all said and done, we'll get the regional results. I'm planning for a great outcome, but we'll see.  Wish me luck!

Garden Update

Looks like I've lost one of my sweet baby watermelon plants, but the other one is going great, and has a few buds on it.  My jalapenos are coming along, and I've actually got four peppers growing.  My four tomato plants are amazing.  I did a lot of pruning today, and counted 35 tomatoes already.  None have started turning red yet, but I'm pretty confident that I'll be eating fresh 'maters before the traditional first tomato on July 4th in this area.  I cut off all my lettuce, it has gone bitter.  I hope I'll get a second harvest out of it.  I ate my first carrot straight out of the dirt today, and have a half dozen or so that ought to be coming out over the next week or so.  I'll need to wait until after Labor Day to plant my second crop of lettuce and carrots.

I spread some leftover mulch on my strawberry bed.  I've got some berries getting close to eating time, and a couple of the plants have thrown out some runners.  Should be a berrylicious summer!  The blackberries are still just twigs, but I'll take y'all's advice, and just leave them be.


Heat Precautions

We're Having A Heat Wave, A Tropical Heat Wave

From the Washington Regional Threat & Analysis Center:

The Northeast Region of the country is in the middle of a record breaking triple-digit heat wave and Washington area residents and visitors to the Nation’s Capital are feeling the effects in a major way. Looking for a good way to cool off? The DC Recreation Centers, DC Public Libraries and Senior Wellness Centers are all great places to beat the heat and are open to the public. These locations provide not only a cool place to rest but also provide water and activities. Visit http://www.dc.gov/ to find a location near you. The difference between an excessive heat advisory and a warning is that an excessive heat ADVISORY means that extreme heat is likely. An excessive heat WARNING means that extreme heat is likely and can pose a threat to life if proper precautions are not taken. In the event of extreme heat, you should take the following precautions:
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Turn on the air-conditioner or fan.
  • DO NOT leave children or pets in vehicles.
  • Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water.
  • Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar as these can cause dehydration.
  • Wear light-colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothes.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside (SPF 15-30 is best).
  • Limit exposure to the sun (the sun is most powerful between 10 am and 3 pm).
  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Be aware of signs of heat-related illness such as dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
  • When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
  • To reduce risk during outdoor work the occupational safety and health administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments.
  • Move anyone overcome by heat to a cool and shaded location.

It’s important to also be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. During this record breaking heat wave, knowing how to avoid heatstroke and heat exhaustion which can easily develop from the hot and humid conditions typically associated with triple digit temperatures is critical.

Heat Stroke - Heatstroke is a serious illness characterized by a body temperature greater than 105 degrees. Symptoms may include dry red skin, convulsions, disorientation, delirium and coma. Onset of heatstroke can be rapid: a person can go from feeling apparently well to a seriously ill condition within minutes. Treatment of heatstroke involves the rapid lowering of body temperature, using a cool bath or wet towels.

Heat Exhaustion - Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heatstroke that may develop due to a combination of several days with high temperatures and dehydration in an individual. Signs of heat exhaustion include extreme weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, or headache. Also, victims may vomit or faint. Heat exhaustion is treated with plenty of liquids and rest in a cool, shaded area. Those on a low-sodium diet or with other health problems should contact a doctor.

Sponsor Of The Week

Our Sponsor Of The Week is Thrive Foods from the good folks at Shelf Reliance.  They have delicious (and in stock!) long term storage foods; their innovative can rotation systems small enough for a cupboard or large enough for a pantry wall; a great food calculator to figure out how much food you really have; the Thrive Q program to build your storage each month at a price you can afford to budget; and great customer service.  Please give them a visit and tell them you heard about them at If It Hits The Fan.


Hip Shots

Just a couple real short items today.  No post tomorrow, I've got a 16+ hour day.  This is the problematic weekend I mentioned a few days ago.  Once I get through next Thursday, things will be back to normal.  Thanks for you patience.

Barter Larder

I added something to the Barter Larder today.  It's benefits open enrollment month at work, and our vision insurance provider has set out a few baskets full of little eye glasses repair kits.  They have a tiny magnifying glass and a tiny screw driver with a couple of extra screws (you got it, tiny ones) in the hollow handle.  I grabbed a few and will keep one in each of our BOBs and toss the rest in the Barter Larder.  In a breakdown situation, people may not be able to replace glasses, and repair kits might be worth a chicken or a side of home cured bacon.  At the end of the month, if there are any left, I'll pick up some more.


Recently, the Savvy Shopper, a columnist in the local paper where I work, offered a free class in extreme couponing.  I tried to register, but it was completely filled in just a couple of days.  I'm on a waiting list to get into her next one.  I don't have any thought that we'll be getting $500 of groceries for $27 or anything, that can be a full time job in itself.  I think it would be very wise for us to be learn how to be more efficient and effective with coupons.

Food Waste

It's awful how much food we waste in our house.  I just got rid of about 7 or 8 pounds of bad produce.  At least we now have a compost bin so it isn't completely wasted.  I have an Excalibur food dehydrator, but I just can't seem to get it down to the point where, when produce is ready to go bad, I throw it on the Excalibur to keep it.  Any advice or suggestions on how to make that more of an idiot-proof process?


Free Gun!

AR-7 Giveaway

I've wanted one of these guns since I was a kid, flipping through the BEST Products catalog.  For some reason, I never got around to picking one up.  Now here's a chance to get one free.

The good folks at Ready Made Resources, in conjunction with The Survival Podcast are putting on a contest to win one.  The only thing is, you'll need to arrange shipping through your local FFL dealer, and they usually charge $25 or so to do the paperwork.

Visit their entry site and fill out the easy form to enter.  If one of you wins, please let the rest of us know.  Good Luck!


Prepper Ponderings

Top It Off

We all know we ought not let our tanks get below 1/2 full.  But that's easier said than done. Even with my 26 gallon tank, driving 112 miles each day and only getting about 16 mpg means that I'd have to fill up every other day.  This afternoon, I left work with about a third of a tank, with the plan to fill up tomorrow afternoon once I was down to where the "low fuel" light came on.

There was a bad 18 wheeler wreck on the interstate early this afternoon that still had the westbound lanes completely blocked when it was time for me to go home.  I knew I'd have extra traffic to deal with, and figured on probably another 20 minutes added to my commute.  I drastically underestimated.  It took me nearly 2 and a half hours to get home.  Nearly all of that time was spend getting out of the city. Once I got on the interstate, there was actually less traffic than normal.  I wasn't concerned about my gas to get home, because I had to pass probably 12-15 stations before getting to the interstate. 

But, I got to thinking... what if, for some reason, the gas stations were shut down or empty, and traffic was backed up all the way home, not just inside the city.  I really ought to know better.  I stopped before getting on the interstate and filled up.  I'm going to commit to keeping at least a half tank from here on out.  If I lived a couple miles from work, I might not worry about it, but as far as I live, I'm pretty darn stupid to not be sure I have plenty of gas.

Another Preparedness Conference

These things are popping up all over the place.  I really salute the entrepreneurs who are going out on a limb and putting them on.  The latest one was sent to me by a reader who saw it mentioned on Rourke's blog.  Carolina Readiness Supply is putting it on next Saturday, June 18th, in a little town near Ashville, NC.  According to their announcement for the Sensible Mountain Preparedness Seminar, it looks like a full day of interesting speakers and demonstrations with the keynote speaker being William Forstchen, author of the fantastic post-EMP novel, One Second After.  I really wish we could go, but we have another commitment on the far opposite side of the state.  If you can make it, you ought to check it out.  It's only $5, a real bargain.

A Blog Suggestion

David Nash from The Shepherd School blog recently contacted me and introduced his blog.  I like what he does over there.  He is gradually putting up hundreds of firearms owners manuals for free downloads, and puts up plenty of videos and good commentary.  Today he put up a recipe and video on making mock Parmesan cheese out of dehydrated milk.  You don't see that on every preparedness blog.  Check it out and see if you agree that it is another good resource to your prep activities.  On top of all that, he is a fellow Marine as well.


Reader Question Part 2

Continuing On

Charles said that he and his family live in the North East.  That covers a wide area with a lot of different threats.  Annapolis, MD has a lot different risks and threats than Niagara Falls, NY, which is a lot different from Augusta, ME.  So the next thing I'd suggest is that they look at their risks and the probabilities.

Several years ago, I developed a tool that allows a person to enter their potential risks and threats, the probability for each to happen, and how big the effect would be if it did happen, then it assigns a numerical priority to preparing for that threat.  Unfortunately, I can't find it on my computer.  I'll keep looking and put it out here when I do.  But Charles should do go ahead and figure out exactly what his personal risk hierarchy is.  Once that is done, he can prioritize his preps, based on his budget.

An important thing to remember is that because of disaster commonality, many of his preps will be useful for many of his risks.  In fact, if he is 75% prepared for 75% of his risks, he'll be way better off than most other folks, and in pretty good shape for that other 25%.  The preps for a winter storm are not that different from those for a late summer hurricane, and not that different from those for losing your job.

I'd also encourage Charles and his family to limit dependence on they system.  Grow a garden, harvest rainwater, gain repair skills...  In lieu of having a dedicated bug out location, work out a mutual aid agreement with a friend or family member in another location with some prepositioned supplies.  Most disasters can be ridden out at home if one is prepared, and even of those ones that actually require bugging out, after most of them, you can return home before two long.

Without more specific information or questions, the only other advice I'd offer Charles is to budget for their preps gradually, paying cash, and eliminating debt.  He mentioned that they make a decent living.  I'd urge them to live below their means, and build an emergency fund and cash reserves as a part of their preps.  He said they'd like to move to a more rural location.  If they are perpetually paying down credit cards and car notes and the mortgage on the bigger house in the better location, it will take longer to achieve that.  Not having any debt allows an enormous amount of cash to build up faster than they could imagine, which could allow them to pursue their dreams way earlier than they thought.

I wish good luck to Charles and his family, and thanks for the email!

If any of you have any questions or post suggestions, please email them to me.

Reader Question

A Family Asked For Advice

I live about 10 miles from dead smack center of a city with 100k - 120k. In the North East out of all places.

I'm a beginner prepper. Still fairly new to the lifestyle. I was wondering if you had some personal tips or very valuable advice in regards to my predicament. My predicament is, the wife and I are in our early 30s. We have a four yr old, and live in a suburb outside the city. We are getting our finances correct and trying to live life as preppers for the most part.

I don't have a bugout place, I just haven't gotten to that level. I have a very good job so does my wife, especially in this economy so I can't afford to move and start over somewhere secluded. I mean if I set it as a goal I will but it just wont happen overnight. Right now if things were to get iffy I'd have to secure my fort and bunker down. If we have to get out it would be a difficult thing with a child, but if it means life or death, I'm sure we will push forward to safety.

What suggestions can you offer?


Charles, thanks for writing with your questions.  I'm going to make a couple assumptions, please correct them in a follow-up email or blog comment if I'm wrong or if you want to add more information.

I'm assuming you live in a house rather than an apartment, and that you and your wife both commute the 10 miles into the city.  Also that your child is in daycare, closer to your home.

That being said, here's my first advice...
I'm going to go with what the feds advise: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Stay Informed.
  • The Kit
    • Each car that you use to commute should have a basic 72 hour BOB or GHB (Bug Out Bag or Get Home Bag) in it for each person.
    • Some food & extra clothes (season appropriate and useful for hiking home the 10 miles - don't forget shoes or boots)
    • Tools - A knife, fire starter, space blanket, tarp... what your particular circumstances dictate
    • Emergency money - A couple hundred dollars - enough for a room, a ride home, other emergency items - small bills, maybe a roll of quarters
  • The Plan
    • A map with several alternate routes home and to alternate locations
    • Contact information for the baby sitter, each other, an out of town contact, and an out of state contact
    • Written planning for how you both will get home (and get the child) in an emergency
    • Make arrangements now with the baby sitter or an alternate trusted person to provide for the child if you and your wife are delayed by a day or two in getting home
  • Stay Informed
    • Get a NOAA radio for home and both offices (if the baby sitter does not have one, get one for there as well)
    • Keep abreast of the news
    • Communicate with each other throughout the day, more if things are getting concerning
These are just some quick tips that will help you with an acute emergency.  In the NE, you might get blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes, and civil unrest among others.  In the next couple days, we'll follow up with more information to look at longer term or larger scale emergencies, and use today as a foundation.


Prepper Ponderings

German E. coli Outbreak

As if we needed another reason to be encouraged to produce more of our own food, comes the recent outbreak of an unusual strain of E. coli in Germany.  This strain has a 1% lethality rate, and about 40% develop an extreme reaction that can lead to kidney failure.  This outbreak seems to be linked to sprouts from an organic farm, but they are still investigating.

I'm not real good at remembering to wash of my fresh fruit and vegetables, but we should all really be doing that.  Several times a year we hear about an outbreak.  E. coli can lead to gastrointestinal disease, urinary tract infection, and neonatal meningitis.

Blog Suggestion

I recently was introduced to Prepping To Survive, a nice blog written by a husband and wife team.  They cover everything from a multi-part feature on backyard chicken raising, to grandma's wisdom, to handgun selection.  I really like this blog, and encourage you to check them out.

Sponsor of the Week

Our Sponsor of the Week is Survival Gear Bags.  They have some really cool items on sale right now, including Blast Boxers (a must have if you have a loved one in the Sandbox) and the 5.11 Tactical RUSH 72 Back Pack.  As always they have the flat rate of $10 for shipping, but if your purchase is more than $150, you get free shipping!  Please check them out and tell them you heard about them from If It Hits The Fan.com.

Next Two Weeks

For the next two weeks, I've got a very heavy plate at work, that will drain me mentally and physically.  I'm going to do my best to still get a post out each day, but several days will probably be pretty short, just some comments on prepping-related news stories or something.  If you'd be willing to do a guest post, please email it to me and it will help me continue to provide quality material.  It can be a product or book review; a personal story about how/why you got into preparedness or a time when your preps helped you get through something; or any other original survival-related information.  It can be three paragraphs, or three pages, whatever you need to get your story across.  If I use your work, I'll send you something useful from the Barter Larder as a thank you.


The Next Generation

The Kids Are Alright

OK, now that I've referenced Star Trek and The Who, I'll tell you what I mean.

Our nephew turned 6 this past spring, and starts 1st grade in September.  I'm going to be his "adult partner" when he starts in Cub Scouts next year.  I was never in Scouting, but I think it's something that would have been great fun and a great learning experience.  He's excited about getting into it.  The cool thing about being an uncle is you get to do the good "dad" stuff, but you can hand 'em back to their parents for some of the other things.

This morning, I picked up my nephew from his folks and we went to the state HQ for BSA where they have a store.  We looked at the uniforms, patches, belt loops, crafts, and other cool things, and we bought the Tiger Cub Scout Handbook.  Now this is meant for 1st graders, so he won't be the next Discover Channel host from it, but it's a great foundation.  He looked through it and is really eager to get started.  I wish we didn't have to wait until September!

After lunch, we went to the Bass Pro Shop where I got most of the things I'll need for when I go to Dave Canterbury's Pathfinder school next month.  As I picked up items, I explained to him what they were for, and how they will help me be ready for emergencies.  I also got a 6-pack of LED flashlights for $7.99 and let him pick out one.  I talked to him about the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared," and how something as simple as a flashlight can help a person do that.  He had noticed the MagLite I keep in my door pocket and he said it would be good to have if my truck broke down or got a flat tire at night.  We also got him his first "big boy" fishing pole.  His Spongebob one had fallen apart last week when he was fishing with his folks.  We grabbed a tub of night crawlers and were on our way.

Next stop was my dad's place where we tried out the new pole.  Using the night crawler and a bobber, he got a little board, but perked up when my rod hooked a young large mouth bass.  He understood that we could eat fish if we couldn't go to the grocery store for some reason. 

We ended the day at home cooking hot dogs on the grill with my old prepping buddy and his 5 year old son.  After we ate, we had a bonfire in a brush pile out front.  Both boys were thrilled that I was able to start the fire without a lighter or matches.  Actually, I was thrilled myself, as it was my first time.  I used a Sparkie Fire Starter, and tried with some Tinder Dust in a small pile of twigs and leaves.  The Sparkie was easy to use, but I could not get the Tinder Dust to hold an ember.  I then broke out the WetFire and shaved a little bit into the pile of Tinder Dust, twigs and leaves.  BINGO!  Caught fire instantly.  I broke a Coghlans Fire Stick into three pieces and put that in the little fire.  As those pieces caught, I moved them to the brush pile.  Moments later, I had a roaring fire going.  I always have a lighter and/or matches with me, but it is a huge confidence builder to be able to start a fire without them.  To practice up for my Pathfinder school next month, I'm going to try a few other methods, and work on using found, natural tinder to get a fire going.

I had a great day working with my nephew, and as young as he is, he came away with a better understanding of preparedness, but without being scared or alarmed. 

I'm really looking forward to helping him grow into a confident, prepared young man.  Plus, I think we'll both look dashing in our Tiger Cub uniforms!


More To Learn

FEMA Training

I've questioned lots of things about FEMA on here, but one thing I really like about them is their free, on-line training programs.

Today I took IS-3, Radiological Emergency Management.  The week after next, I am involved in a regional radiological emergency exercise associated with the nearby nuclear power station, and I wanted to brush up on my knowledge.  Despite the name, the class is actually geared toward civilians, not EM professionals.  It was really a good class, and I learned quite a bit.

Topics included:
  • The science of nuclear radiation
  • Transportation of nuclear materials
  • How a nuclear power station works
  • Dangers from nuclear weapons
  • Steps to mitigate the danger of a nuclear event
I knew fuel rods were in a power plant, but now I actually know what they are.  I knew a little about placards, but now I know what I'm looking at on the highway.  I knew that roentgens and rads are measurements, but now I know what they measure.  I know more about Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Japan.

The class is listed as 10 hours of contact time, but I got it done in about an hour and a half.  I'll use the 10 hours toward a professional certification that I am working on, but some community colleges and on-line universities may offer credit for it.

If you are interested or concerned about possible nuclear events, I'd encourage you to take this course.  Knowledge is power, and a crucial part of prepping.

Houston Seminar

If you are in Houston tomorrow (Saturday), you are in for a treat.  Check out the "Popular Mechanics presents the Ram Homesafety Prep Show" with keynote speaker, Cody Lundin.  This looks like a great show with some cool speakers and demonstrations.  It's great to see some major sponsors for an event like this.  It shows that the preparedness lifestyle is growing in credibility and acceptance.  The more people that are prepared for disruptions and disasters, the better off everyone will be.  If you are near this show, or any of the others that are going around the country, I encourage you to take them in and support the sponsors and vendors so that the shows can continue and spread.


Garden Update

Great So Far

Things are going fantastic in my garden, much better than my first attempt last year.

My tomato plants are growing tall and thick, and I have probably close to 20 tomatoes already.  They are all still green, of course, but a couple have already gotten to a decent size.

The assortment of organic lettuces are huge.  I've picked off some, and it is good tasting.  I'll be trimming and eating for several weeks.  I should have planted a second wave, but I think I need to wait until fall.

My carrots are looking OK.  I've pulled up a couple to see what they look like, and had to stick them back in.  I don't know if that will work, but we'll see.

The jalapeno plants are getting taller, and each has a couple of buds on it.

One of the sweet baby watermelons is growing well, the other is looking a little underwhelming.  No buds, yet.

The strawberries are doing well.  They all have buds, and a few of them already have new berries forming.  They are everbearing, so I should have berries all season.

My blackberry plants haven't done a thing.  They still look like twigs sticking up out of the ground.  This is the second year I've tried storebought blackberry stems with roots.  Two different locations, two different brands of plant.  Do any of you have any blackberry success suggestions for me?

That's it so far.  All in all, I'm pretty pleased with my progress.  Next up, plant some pumpkins so they'll be ready for Halloween.


The Urban Retreat, Part 2

Look Around

Many cities have hidden rural oases that most folks don't know about because they stay on the main drags and in the neighborhoods.  If you have to live in town, there's a lot to be said for such a possibility.

In the city where I work, there are several such locations.  Some are on or near the river or a creek; others are on the edge of the city, adjoining the next county's wilderness buffer.  Some are on side streets, but have 3/4 acre or larger lots, a couple even with a few head of livestock.  All of these are off the beaten path, and I believe that the vast majority of the city's residents would never imagine that they exist, let alone go looking for them in a breakdown situation. 

  • They are defendable...  a friend in a similar situation has already identified trees on his road to drop into a roadblock if things get really bad.
  • Water is available... some are still on wells and septic, others have access to streams, creeks or the river - but desalinization might be needed.
  • Food... there is room to grow crops, or operate small scale livestock such as chickens, rabbits, and goats
  • Fuel... some places adjoin public woodlands - highly illegal to cut wood there, but you could probably get away with harvesting dead logs on the ground, or cutting anyway during a societal breakdown
  • Convenient... you can go out to dinner, work, or the grocery store, just minutes away - until the SHTF
  • You are in a city, just blocks away from high population density
  • Higher property taxes
  • More zoning and building code restrictions on what you can get away with
  • You can't shoot... either for recreation or for food - unless you invest in a legal suppressor (do it as a trust or LLC so you stay off the local police chief's radar) - obviously only for extreme emergencies when law and order have broken down
  • Might be harder to find a buyer when you are ready to move to a true rural location - of course, to the right person, your place might seem like a paradise, so it could really go either way
So, barring complete societal breakdown, or a large magnitude disaster that makes your place uninhabitable, some city or urban locations can make for a halfway decent retreat to ride out some bad times.  You just need to be open minded and creative.  What's right for my family might be completely wrong and vice versa.  My prepper friend that is living in a rural-urban setting is biding his time until he can retire in a few years, then head for the hills.  But, if the SHTF before then, his place is set up in a way that he'll do just fine.