Horse - The Other Red Meat?

It Might Be What's For Dinner

It's sweet, "strangely soft," lean and tasty... at least that's what they say.  Horsemeat is not illegal in most of the United States.  There is a social taboo against it because horses are often seen as pets.  Until 2007, there were horse slaughterhouses in the US that sold the meat as a delicacy to Japan and Europe.  The rumors of horses being in dog food are mostly false as there was much higher profit in selling it for human consumption.

An article that came out today revealed that horse slaughterhouses are once again legal in the US, and several midwest and mountain states are vying to be the first to set one up.  I imagine that the meat will once again be intended for export for human consumption. 

Wikipedia has a fascinating article on horse meat.  Think about it... are you prepared to cook up a pony on the grill?  Will the social taboos make it difficult for your family to eat, or will taste and texture overrule emotion?



A Plug For A Pal

My only experience with martial arts is six months of karate when I was about 6, and basic hand-to-hand in the Marine Corps.  One of my goals after losing some weight and getting back into a little better shape is to get into some form of it.

If I lived in Florida, I'd try to go to a new dojo owned and run by one of my old Marine Corps comrades.  If you are in the Tallahassee area, check out Burke's Karate.  Rather than try to tell you about it, here's his information and the type of karate that he teaches from his website:


Burke’s Karate Academy teaches a style of karate founded by renowned karate Master, Master Thinh Nguyen, called Silkisondan Karate.

Silki, or “sieu khi,” means “advanced breathing strength” Not to state the obvious, but in order to live you have to breathe, so it makes sense that the better and stronger you breathe, the better and stronger your life. There are many benefits to proper karate training. Three of these benefits include increased focus, power and stamina.

Just these three benefits alone are an excellent reason to join a martial arts program. But these benefits are not only limited to the inside the karate school, or dojo. These benefits can also manifest themselves in the classroom, at work, around the house, in dealing with other people (perhaps to diffuse an argument), even while driving a car to become more aware of your surrounding and perhaps reduce the chance of being in an accident. Indeed, martial arts training is much more that just learning self defense!

Sondan, or “song-dan,“ means “two ways.” Most karate and martial arts instructors hope that their students are never faced with a situation where they are in physical danger and have to rely on the skills they have learned in the dojo. But if that situation ever does arise, that student will have options. The “two ways” refers to the “hard and soft” elements of our training the student has learned. A student’s ability to think through a situation is paramount, versus simply “reacting” (perhaps incorrectly) to a situation.

The student may need to land a blow to incapacitate an attacker (the hard). The student may need to simply control an incoming attacker or get away from an imminent threat without risk of serious injury to themselves or the attacker (the soft).

Silkisondan Karate integrates elements of the following martial arts in order to form a practical, efficient and complete martial arts system:
•Tae kwon-do

The Silkisondan Karate system has four specific purposes:
1.Emphasis on self-control, self-discipline, self-confidence, self-defense and knowing yourself, as opposed to simply meeting a standard for advancement.
2.Emphasis on safe and long-term physical training with lifetime health benefits, as opposed to a narrow arena such as short-term fighting skills.
3.Emphasis on value and power derived from meditation, relaxation, philosophy, mental toughness, proper attitude, and the true nature of things, as opposed to pure physical strength or immediate reward.
4.Emphasis on being harmonious with people and nature, as opposed to being a champion or superstar.


Sensei Burke began his martial arts training with Master Thinh in 1981. He received his Black Belt from Master Thinh in 1987 and is currently a third degree black belt in Silkisondan Karate. He is originally from Richmond, Virginia, graduated from St. Benedictive High School in 1986, then studied at Virginia Commonwealth University for two years before joining the United States Marine Corps in 1988.

He was a combat veteran of the first Persian Gulf War, attained the rank of Sergeant and was honorably discharged in 1995. Sensei Burke has studied other martial arts including Shito-Ryu, Aikido, and Jiu-jitsu. Sensei Burke also has a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon-Do. Sensei Burke moved to Florida in 1998 and received his Bachelors degree from Florida State University in 2000.


Bring Out Your Dead

It's A Part Of Prepping

There is an excellent article in this month's Mother Earth News entitled "We've Never Regretted A Private Burial." It deals with the author's ordeal of getting his father-in-law buried on family land in another state.  After getting the run-around, he was finally able to get it done, and shares what he learned about the process.  Do you have plans for after you pass?  Will your family spend 10s of thousands of dollars on a funeral, or will you be cremated and scattered in the garden?  Does your family know what you want?

What about if there is a societal collapse?  What if the mortuaries are overflowing due to a highly lethal pandemic?  What are the plans then? 

Please don't leave it to your survivors to plan your funeral or remains disposal.  Give them specific instructions, even writing your own obituary if you want one.  If you want a private burial or ash scattering, research your local laws now to find out the process.  If there is a deadly pandemic or other mass casualty/SHTF scenario, work out the details of body disposal with your family, group, neighbors before it is needed.  Two SHTF novels that have body disposal scenes are Alas, Babylon and Patriots.

For me, personally, I'm easy... pre-SHTF: cremation, ash storage in an ammo can, and scatter with my wife's ashes after she goes, preferably somewhere in Wyoming.  No funeral, no memorial service, no obituary, not even telling co-workers, acquaintances and other than immediate family.  I have a little bit of a contrarian streak in me and just want to leave a lot of people wondering whatever happened to me. 


Cyber Monday

As you are doing your Christmas shopping, I'd really appreciate it if you make any Amazon purchases through my Amazon Store.  Even if you buy things other than I have listed, as long as you enter Amazon through my store, then I get a small commission and it costs you nothing extra.  I also have affiliate programs with Emergency Essentials and Survival Gear Bags if you go to those sites through the links here.  Thanks!


Prepper Ponderings

Had A Great Thanksgiving

I hope you had as good a Thanksgiving as we did.  We are very blessed and had much to be thankful for.  We had the niece and nephew spend the night Friday, and Saturday morning I took them on an expedition through the back of our property.  We found some deer tracks, a track we don't know (possibly a raccoon or beaver),
and visited the neighbor's chickens.  I had grabbed my Pathfinder-style 5 C's kit (cutting tool, container, cover, combustion and cordage) out of the Element and we planned to end the expedition by starting a primitive fire.  Wouldn't you know it that a gremlin had gotten into my kit and removed my combustion tools.  Goes to show that you really ought to check your kits periodically.  I've since put a striker tool back in.

A Link I Like

I've added a link to the "Links I Like" page at the top.  Outdoors Native is a cool site with some great gear reviews and how-to guides.  It is done by a group of folks that are all experienced in the different aspects of outdoor living and recreation, and they produce quality information.  Please give them a visit and tell them you heard about them here at If It Hits The Fan.

Non-Electric Catalog

I just got my new copy of the Lehman's catalog in the mail the other day.  I spent quite a bit of money with these folks back in the countdown to Y2K, and I'm glad to see they still have such a great selection of quality home equipment that doesn't need electricity.  Man, the Aladdin mantle lanterns have really gone up since 1999, but I love the ones I have and they last forever.  One of mine is from the 1950s.  The catalog costs $5, and is well worth it if you are setting up a homestead or expect a power disruption of more than a few days.

Vocabulary 101

I learned a new word today, that I think perfectly describes what our government has become over the past 50 years.  From the White House to the county courthouse, and at every level in between, with a few rare exceptions.  Kleptocracy: when those in government use their power and authority to build personal wealth and power at the expense of the populace.  It is a term usually applied to nations of the Third World and "banana republics."  Look it up, and if you agree, start dropping it on your elected servants.

Sponsor Of The Week

Our Sponsor of the Week is The Berkey Guy at Directive 21.  Jeff has the full range of Berkey water filter systems, Wise Food Storage, the Country Living Grain Mill, and other great products that a prepared person needs.  Jeff recently sent me a Sport Berkey filtered water bottle that I'll be doing a contest to give away later this week to a lucky reader.  Check out Directive 21 for great products and exceptional service, and please tell him you heard about him here at If It Hits The Fan!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I Have A Lot To Be Thankful For

It will be Thanksgiving in a couple of hours.  I'm going to take a couple days off from If It Hits The Fan to spend with family.  I'm very thankful for many blessings, and that you folks take time out of your days to read what I have to say.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!  Spend time with loved ones, go hunting, relax, work with charity... whatever floats your boat.  Be safe, and I'll be back probably Saturday.

Protect What You Have

I saw this article from St. Louis linked on Drudge earlier today.  The article itself isn't much in the way of news, just a bit on a survival store doing booming business.  What really struck me, though, were the snarky comments from the author noting that civilization continues outside of the store with Pepsi deliveries, cars being washed and clocks being repaired.  He makes it very clear that anyone who shops at the store is a paranoid and should be mocked.  The other interesting thing is the fair number of reader comments to the effect of "I don't need food, I have guns and can take it."  It is unfortunate, but there will always be a certain part of our population that is made up of wolves and predators.  It is incumbent upon us to ensure that what we have is protected and defended from those who will take it from us by force.


Do We Need Custom Shops?

From King's To CAD/CAM

Last week a local gunsmith died.  Trapper has long been the go-to-guy in this area for a customized, combat ready 1911, AR15 or 870.  His various entities have been known as TTI, Trapper's Triangle, and Yellow Tavern.  A friend has one of his 870s and I used him years ago to cut and recrown the barrel on a 700 Remington and to refinish an AR15.  There will always be a need for folks to refinish and repair guns, and even to do some customization, but is there still a need for the guy who can turn a standard 1911 into a combat or competition-ready weapon?

Back in the early 80s, if you wanted a 1911, you pretty much got a surplus GI one or a Colt Gov't model.  If you wanted it tuned up, you either sent it to King's or Pachmayer, or else you ordered parts from them and did it yourself or with your local gunsmith.  If you waited until the early 90s, Cylinder & Slide, Ed Brown, or a few other nationally known ones could do the work for you.  During all that time, if you wanted an AR15, you got a Colt, and customization was pretty much limited to sticking some optics on top.  And then came Kimber.

Kimber was known for their target grade .22 rifles.  Then they figured out that computers and machines could do the work of skilled artisans, and they produced a factory 1911 that had all the bells and whistles of a custom shop special... at half the price of a basic Colt Gov't model.  After the so-called assault weapons ban went away in 2003, manufacturers started using the computers and machines to make AR15 variants.  Today, you can buy off the shelf, anything from an original design 1911 to a 2011 race gun from dozens of makers.  You can also buy AR15s in any caliber and any configuration from dozens of makers as well.  Both of these guns can be had in every price range.

Do we still need custom shops to trick out and slick up our combat weaponry?  I don't know, but I'd like to think so.  There is a long tradition of them, dating back to sporterized Mausers, Enfields and Springfields.  Retro smithy's work on six-guns and lever actions for the SASS crowd.  The 1911 is a hundred year old design and the AR15 is crowding 50... neither has any end in sight.  Who knows what new designs lurk in our future?  I'm guessing that many of them will also need customization.


Don't Be A Target

Traveling For Thanksgiving?

Just a couple tips today to make your home less of a target if you are traveling for Thanksgiving (or any other time).
  • I suggest against canceling your newspaper delivery if you have any other alternatives...  Too many local people would know that you were out of town.  I suggest having a trusted neighbor pick it up each day for you.
  • With the post office, you can hold your mail for a few days and they will deliver it all later.  I think that overall, post office folks are pretty honest.  They full access to checks, identity documents, etc... already.  I just learned today from my boss that you don't need to go to the post office and fill out a form to have your mail held anymore, you can simply go to this website and click on the hold your mail tab.
  • Back in the day, folks used a simple mechanical timer on a lamp to fool burglars.  It was pretty ineffective, just turning on one lamp for a couple hours each night.  These days, programable timers can be set to rotate lights throughout the house, and the TV has an alarm clock and sleep timer you can program as well.  Just make sure you set them for realistic times.
  • Going back to that trusted neighbor that takes in your paper, get them to move your cars around the drive way a couple of times and have them lined up to shovel the sidewalk and porch if it snows.  It's also a good idea to have them tromp around your yard and put tire tracks in and out of the driveway in the snow too.
  • If you have a landline, see if you can forward it to your cell phone while you are gone.
  • You might want to have the local sheriff's office or police department do property checks, but that is more of a feel good measure than effective.
  • Finally, make sure your valuables like guns, jewellry and precious metals are secured in a safe that is extremely heavy or bolted down.
You can't prevent thievery or be sure you won't be a victim while you are out of town.  The best we can try for is to make our homes unattractive to thieves and them more likely to target another location. 


Sew What?

Can You Sew?
Is basic sewing a fading skill?  It's really startling to talk to grown men and women who can't sew on a button, roughly mend a tear, make a hem, or sew on a patch.  I have the basic skills, learned in the Marine Corps and improved upon attaching shooting and motorcycle patches to jackets.  I'm fortunate that my wife is very skilled and can create her own clothes from scratch or from a pattern, as well as do alterations and repairs to existing clothes. 

In a societal breakdown, sewing could be a highly sought after skill.  My wife is amassing a large supply of notions, patterns and fabrics.  She has a high quality machine (which will be great as long as we have power service or generator fuel) and is always learning more techniques.  If there is a complete collapse, her skills and materials could be used for barter or for silver pieces.  I'd love to find an old foot treadle powered manual machine for when the the power goes away... I think there is one or two in the family still.

If you or someone in your home does not know how to sew, now is the time to learn.  Check your local fabric store, sewing machine specialty shop, or county parks and recreation office for lessons.  It's a great project for the early darkness hours of winter.  And, even if there is not a societal collapse, sewing is a useful skill to have just to maintain the clothes you have without paying the dry cleaners for simple repairs.

Sponsor Of The Week

Our Sponsor of the Week is Thrive brand foods from Shelf Reliance. They have several exciting new items including some new freeze dried vegetables and fruit, and a new under-the-bed can rotation storage system. Check out Shelf Reliance and please tell them that If It Hits The Fan sent you.


Family Fire Preparedness

A Tour of the Fire House

The other evening, my nephew's Cub Scout den took a tour of one of the local fire houses.  The boy's got to see all the apparatus (apparati?) up close and see what the different types of equipment were used for.  The firefighters also told the boys what they should do during a fire in the home.  They learned that if the fire is blocking their escape from a second storey bedroom, they need to close their bedroom door, stay close to the floor, and start throwing toys or other things out the window... breaking it if needed.  The lieutenant told them that the first thing he does when they get to a fire is that he walks around the house looking for where the fire is, and if there are any people visible in windows that need rescuing.  He told the boys that if they throw stuff out the window, it will grab his attention and he'll know they are there.

Next, one of the firefighters donned all of his gear, including his air pack, and showed them what he would look like and how he would sound if he came through their house looking for them.  Some kids might be scared seeing this guy with the muffled voice calling for them from the smoke, and they sometimes hide from the firefighters.  By seeing and hearing him in a controlled environment, they learned that he would be a friend, nothing to be scared of, and that they need to yell out to him so he knows where they are in the house.

If you have young kids, you really ought to take them to the fire house for a tour.  It doesn't need to be an organized group outing, simply call your local one and ask to bring your kids down.  It can be an invaluable prep for your family.

I've Been Offline

I haven't posted in the past couple days.  If you read my Veterans' Day post, you learned about my 99 year old Uncle Bill.  Well, he passed away Thursday afternoon while holding the hand of his wife of 68 years.  We visited him last Saturday and he was sharp as a tack, but tired and fading.  The last thing he ate was a couple of sardines from their emergency food stash... see, it runs in the family.  RIP Uncle Bill.


Earthquake Mitigation

Shakin' Through The Quaken'

Last week I mentioned my concerns for the New Madrid fault line.  If you live within a couple hundred miles of the fault, I'd encourage you to really start looking at some techniques and tools to limit damage and injury.

Here is a FEMA Best Practices bulletin on a guy almost on the epicenter of the August Virginia quake who had nearly no damage to his home.  This offers some good ideas if you are building or restoring your home.
Earthquake Prevention and Retrofitting

Full Mitigation Best Practice Story

Louisa County, Virginia

On August 23, 2011, at 1:51 p.m., a magnitude 5.8 earthquake occurred in central Virginia. The epicenter was 5 miles south/southwest of the town of Mineral, Virginia, and 38 miles northwest of Richmond, Virginia. This was the largest earthquake east of the Rocky Mountains since a magnitude 5.8 event in 1944 on the New York/Ontario border and the largest earthquake in Virginia since a magnitude 5.9 event in 1897 in Giles County in western Virginia.

Although Steve Smith’s home is near the epicenter, it escaped most of the damage his neighbors received: chimney damage or collapse, plaster/drywall cracking, foundation wall cracks and blowouts, brick veneer falling away, and structures shifting and separating.

Many people turned to their insurance companies for help, but damage from earthquakes usually is not included in basic homeowner's insurance. As a result, 99 percent of Virginia’s earthquake losses were uninsured.

Relying on his background in the construction business, Smith used construction techniques and materials that were above and beyond code requirements and normal construction techniques for this area. He also will use a new technique to retrofit the damage that did occur.

Smith used manufactured open-web steel floor joists, placed at 16 inches on center. With less mass and weight, there was less movement and therefore less damage from the earthquake. The lighter structure with stronger connections lowers the seismic force. Steel’s high strength and ductility make it a good material for earthquake-resistant design.

As an alternative to typical milled timber, Smith used laminated veneer lumber (LVL) as a header over door and window openings and on bearing walls. This greatly improved the structural integrity for seismic considerations. LVL is stronger than milled lumber, more uniform, and less likely to twist or bow.

Smith used another successful building technique to construct his 9 foot by 20 foot porch pad: 16-gauge corrugated-steel decking covered with 6 inches of concrete reinforced with #6 (¾ inch) re-bar. Unlike other cracked and displaced concrete patios and porch pads in the area, Smith’s pad only moved slightly, and moved as a single unit, without cracking, breaking, or collapsing.

The house did suffer some cracking in the cast-in-place concrete foundation walls. After consulting with his contractor employer, Smith decided to retrofit the foundation using carbon fiber reinforcement.

In this retrofit, engineered straps of carbon fiber, meshed with Kevlar, will be embedded into the face of the foundation from the floor to the top of the foundation wall using an epoxy resin. Once cured, these straps do not stretch or tear and they stabilize the wall, allowing for no movement or crack expansion.

Steve Smith is thankful that the methods and materials he used in constructing his home helped reduce the damage caused by the August 23, 2011 earthquake.


The FEMA Best Practices Portfolio consists of mitigation stories submitted by individuals and communities that describe measures they have taken to reduce the loss of life and property from disasters. These Best Practices are meant to provide ideas and concepts about reducing losses and to encourage others to evaluate their own risk and consider mitigation as a long-term solution to reducing that risk. Although some stories may suggest specific applications or building techniques, they are not meant to provide technical advice about construction techniques or types of materials to use. Building codes will vary by locality; if you are making structural changes or improvements always check with your local government regarding codes that apply to your home or community. If using a contractor, be sure to use one who is licensed and bonded. For additional information on building codes and building science, visit the FEMA Library, at http://www.fema.gov/library.

Inside the home, look at securing things on the walls.  Attach pictures and mirrors securely.  Use brackets to attach book shelves to the wall.  Bolt the ceiling fan to an oversize bracket between the rafters.  In your prep areas, put a lip on the edge of the shelves.  If you have glass jars, put a piece of felt between each one.  If your flat screen TV is mounted to the wall, use oversize bolts to secure it to the studs.  If the TV is just sitting on a cabinet, consider mounting it to the wall.  If you have heavy or breakable knick-knacks on counters or shelves, use Velcro tape to hold them tight.  Be sure you know how (and have the tools handy) to shut off your water, gas or power if you need to. 
Put in your mind... if it is not securely attached, it will either break, end up on the floor, or hit you in the head.



Now That's A Truck!

The other day I was driving along and saw this rig parked at a local ammo store.  I actually went down the block and turned around to come back and track down the owner.  I found him to be a "like-minded" individual.  We spoke briefly and I asked him if he minded if I took a picture of his truck and told him about If It Hits The Fan. 

So, here it is... A Ford F650, 4 wheel drive, extended cab, and a beefed up suspension running what look like the wheels and tires off of a 5 ton military truck.  The paint is flat, and the white things on the front bumpers are LED running lights.  I've got no idea how much something like this costs, but it will get him where he needs to go for sure.

A New Book To Review

I just got Survive! by my pal, Jerry Ahern, today.  It's been out for over a year, but I hadn't gotten around to picking up a copy until now.  Jerry is the author of the Survivalist series of adventure novels, numerous other novels, and countless magazine articles on guns, knives and survival skills.

Survive! Is not about nuclear Armageddon, EMP knocking out the entire electrical grid, or a slate-wiping outbreak of zombie Ebola.  I love the first paragraph of his introduction:

"This is not a book about how to get ready for the 'end of civilization as we know it.'  As a husband, a father and a grandfather, I have no interest at all in societal collapse.  I do not view turmoil and chaos as exciting, and roughing it is all well and good as long as one does so by choice and, at the end of the excursion, one can return to hot showers, warm meals and soft bedding.  In short, I'm not eagerly looking forward to Armageddon,"

Many of the pictures in the book show Jerry in various survival-related activities.  But he's not putting on a show for us wearing the latest tactical, high-speed-low-drag super trooper gear.  He's showing himself as a regular grandfather... albeit one that could take out a bad guy at the drop of a hat or bring his family through any disaster that may befall them.

I'm really looking forward to reading this book.  I'll give you a full report soon.


My Bucket List, Part 1

To Do Before I Die

A couple of months ago, Rourke at ModernSurvivalOnline listed his bucket list of things he wants to do before he dies.  Other folks over the years have also done this.  Some people have pretty personal things such as, "reconcile with my sister," while others have things that most will never do such as, "climb Mt. Everest."

I've decided that my list will consist of things that I want to do, am realistically able to do physically and financially, and may include some interesting or unusual things that I've already managed to make happen.

I'm going to break this down into five 20-entry sublists over the next few weeks.  I may not make it to 100, but we'll see how close I come.

1.    Graduate Marine Corps Bootcamp
2.    Earn a Master's Degree
3.    Give the Governor a "Harrumph!"
4.    Drive with the Joie Chitwood Hell Drivers Stunt Show
5.    Have a book published
6.    Have a magazine article published
7.    Visit all 50 states
8.    Smoke a cigar at a cafe' in Havana
9.    "Run" (I'll settle for complete) a Marathon
10.  Jump a motorcycle over a car
11.  Kill a deer for food
12.  Catch a citation size large-mouth bass
13.  Do a stand-up routine at an open mic night
14.  Win a shooting competition
15.  Make par on a golf hole
16.  Own a Colt Python
17.  Leave a $100 tip around Christmas at a place I'll never eat at again
18.  Ride a motorcycle 1,000 miles in less than 24 hours
19.  Own a supressor
20.  Drop a $100 bill in the Salvation Army kettle

OK, that's the start.  This is actually harder than I thought it would be.



Hiding In Plain Sight

A couple days ago, I saw a guy driving a Jeep Cherokee, towing a small utility trailer with 10 5-gallon gas cans in the back.  I commented on the Facebook page that he was probably either a prepper or an arsonist.  Some reader comments got me to thinking about OPSEC (operational security) with your preps and keeping things discreet.

For this guy with the trailer and gas cans, a simple plywood and tarp structure would have kept his trailer contents completely hidden.  A reader, Steelheart, sent in this photo:

He took a regular old utility trailer and built up two foot walls with plywood and then added a tarp.  It's low enough, it doesn't affect drivability, yet provides discreet moving of anything you don't want everyone to see.  It also provides secure moving of trash, brush, or other things that would be hard to do in an open trailer.  Big thanks to Steelheart for sharing this.

Another fuel OPSEC issue is storing it.  There is a house near here that backs up to the interstate.  Every time I drive by, I'm amazed at how much propane they have stored behind their shed, in full view of thousands of drivers each day.  They've got a 100 lb tank and 6 or 7 20 pounders back there.  These folks also have a large garden, so my prepper radar goes off.  They've got a 4 foot chain link fence around the back.  It'd be simple to put those plastic strips in the fencing to obscure the view of their yard.

I moved a lot from the time I got out of high school until I got married at 35.  I lived in 11 different places during that time.  If you have to move preps, that's another place to be concerned about what folks see.  All those #10 cans of food?  The gun safe and cases of ammo?  What about the two generators and 10 gas cans?  How to move that into your new home if it is in view of the neighbors.  I sure don't want Gladys Kravitts hollering, "Abner, Abner, you should see what the new people are moving in!"  If you have an attached garage, that can be ideal.  Just back the truck in and unload there to move into the house.  Guns can be wrapped in blankets or carried in duffel bags rather than gun cases.  For the safe, check with an appliance store and see if you can get a refrigerator box, and cover it with that.  For the food, get some big boxes from the U-Haul store and put the manufacturer's boxes in those.  The generators and gas cans might be the hardest.  Sometimes you might have to unload in the wee dark hours of the night.  A friend has a his generators in a small shed with that pink Styrofoam type insulation in it.  The generators plug into a junction box in the shed that is wired to the house power system.  He's adding some low level vents for cross ventilation of the exhaust, and will be able to run them inside the shed, with a minimal sound signature.

You want to keep your preps low key and out of the public view as much as possible.  Sometimes, it takes some creativity to keep them that way.


Thanks, Veterans!

Veterans' Day 2011

Veterans' Day has always been an important one for me.  My family has served in the US military going back to before the Revolution (we fought on both sides in the "recent unpleasantness" as they say here in Virginia).  A lot of the teachers I had in school were vets, as were family friends who I grew up around.  When I was in school, US History class ended in June with, "the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor, enjoy summer vacation," because we all had WWII vets as relatives and we got that history first hand from them.  All of these relatives of mine were and are heroes to me.  I could not begin to list all the veterans who have had an impact on my life, but I'd like to tell you about the ones that are relatives that I knew.

My Great Uncle, "Doody" Pace was in the Virginia Militia and got called up for the Mexican Punitive Expedition of 1916 under Gen. Blackjack Pershing.  He was called Doody because he was a dude, known for playing the banjo and wearing a jaunty straw boater hat.  When I was a kid, he was a retired railroad man.  I well remember listening to his stories of the railroad, but not much of his trip south.  I do remember that my 1st grade teacher thought I had some mental issues because I insisted that my uncle had fought in the Mexican-American War and was still alive.  I wasn't crazy, just a little confused on the war.

Doody's best friend from the militia was James Wells.  After getting back from Mexico, James married Doody's sister, and they had my Grandfather (aka Pop), Monroe Wells.  Pop served in WWII as a Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps in the China-Burma-India theater of operations.  He was a radio operator, and the war ended for him when he flew back to Wright-Patterson Air Field in Ohio with his .45 in a shoulder holster and some secret documents related to radio frequencies handcuffed to his wrist... the plane crashed while landing.  He healed up just fine, and I have that .45 and the handmade shoulder holster, along with his service records.  He saw me graduate from Parris Island boot camp, but died before I went to Desert Storm.

My Great Uncle Norm Donart was in the Army in WWII as a supply sergeant and one of his duties was inventorying weapons and other items captured from the Germans.  He managed to send home a lot of guns and knives.  I've got a pair of cutlasses and a Mauser rifle that he liberated.  It's from Uncle Norm that I learned the phrase, "Stewed, screwed and tattooed, but not necessarily in that order."  He was quite the character.

My Great Uncle Bill Flournoy was 32 when he left civilian life to enlist.  He'll be 100 this coming May and is still as sharp as a tack, but he has never really spoken about the war.  As an office worker, they made him a clerk, but he was always at or near the front.  He served under Gen. Patton and soon made Master Sergeant.  Uncle Bill once told me the story of being in a hotel or castle or something that Patton was using as a temporary headquarters.  The general came in to a room raging about something at anyone who was in his line of sight.  My uncle ducked behind a drapery to avoid the wrath.  Two things really affected my Uncle... he was in the liberation of a concentration camp, and personnally typed all the letters to the parents of the young men who were killed.   Last year, I took him to the Virginia War Memorial for the dedication of their new learning center, and I tried to get him to open up a little bit about the war.  He told me about typing the letters, and he still remembers the line that he used in each letter, "His gay and ebullient spirit endeared him to his comrades."  Nearly 70 years later and he had to tell so many parents that their sons would not come home that he still remembers it plain as day.  He told me that after he is cremated, he wants his Bronze Star, his 300 game bowling award, and his hole in one award to surround his urn in alcove, just to have folks wonder what kind of guy he was.

My Step-Dad, Paul Fleming, joined the Navy in WWII, fresh out of high school.  He served as a gunners mate, mostly on Liberty ships in the North Atlantic, and later in the occupation of Japan.  Back in the mid-80's he got the Murmansk Medal from the Soviet Union for his part in the Murmansk Run convoys to carry life saving provisions to the people of the Murmansk region, while under attack the whole way from Nazi U-boats and even Luftwaffe bombers for part of the journey.  He was a Massachusetts native, but after the war, he used the GI Bill to go to college in West Virginia, then became a teacher in Virginia.  He passed away two years ago, and never lost his Massachusetts accent. 

My Dad, Gary Green, served two years in the Washington National Guard in the early 60's.  My Uncle Jim Wells served a hitch in the Virginia National Guard in the early 70's. Both went on to very successful careers in business.

My Uncle John Wilson served as an Army MP in the late 60's.  He spent most of his term in Germany, and even into the 80's kept his utility uniform starched and ready to go.  He passed away two years ago, and I'm proud to have his uniform name tape and big brass MP whistle.

Back in '86, while I was in USMC boot camp at Parris Island, SC, my cousin, Jason Donart (Uncle Norm's grandson), was in USMC boot camp at San Diego.  He pulled his four years working in supply and as a marksmanship instructor.

That's my family veteran roll call.  I'm proud of all of them and grateful to have had them as influences in my life.  I can't even begin to list all my friends over the years that are veterans of every branch and from every war (WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan).  I know that a lot of you are veterans, and at least one reader is the wife of an active duty soldier.  To all of you, I say, thank you, and God bless you for your service and dedication to our country and freedom. Semper Fidelis!


Nice To Be Knoty

How Many Knots Do You Know?

I've never been much of a knot tier.  I can tie my shoes.  I can lash down furniture in the back of the truck, but I usually have to cut the cord rather than untie it.  I can tie what I've always called a half hitch, but I don't think it really is.  Some times I can get a square knot right.  Other than that, not too much.  But knots are important.  It's especially important to be able to untie your knots to recover your cordage or remove evidence of you being somewhere if it is a SHTF or even a leave no trace camping excursion.

I recently picked up The Camper's Knot Tying game.

This is a neat way to learn different knots.  It's set up like a card game, where two players compete to see who can tie each knot in the deck the fastest to receive the points on that knot card.  Of course, you can always just practice on your own.  I think it's kind of unreasonable to expect someone to master all 50 knots in the deck, but it should be easy enough to master enough different ones to provide a well rounded skill set for most situations.  It's inexpensive enough to make great stocking stuffers or give one to each person in the family or group.


Not Much Of A Test

This Was Only A Test

Today at 2 p.m. EST was the first ever national Emergency Alert System test.  I don't think the system passed.

I had the radio in my office tuned to an AM station, and at 2 o'clock on the dot, the buzzer alarm sounded and the recording started saying that "this is a test..."  But then, there was a lot of overlapping sound of the test vocals.  You know how kids sing Row Row Row Your Boat in a "round?"  That's almost what it was like.  Then, after the test said that "we now return you to your regularly scheduled programing," the whole thing started over again.

At home, I had the DVR set to record Bonanza on TV Land because 2 o'clock came right in the middle of it.  I just watched it and it was pretty strange.  The screen showed a slide announcing that it was a test of the national emergency alert system and mentioned "the alarm you just heard."  But there was no alarm, at least not on TV Land on DirecTV.  There was some soft rock song.  After the song had played for a minute or so, the alarm sounded, and there was scrolling text across the top of the screen announcing an emergency for the District of Columbia that would last until 11:18 PST.  It then repeated the scroll in Spanish.  Nothing about it being a test.  No audible reading of the announcement.  Then the soft rock began again for another few seconds.  I'd definitely call it a "fail" as the kids say these days.

So, what did the nation get out of this test...  Unless they are feigning incompetence, the government does not have the ability to successfully take over all of our airwaves... yet.  Also, they can't figure out how to get it to also be on the NOAA alert system, which I think would be much more useful.


Prepper Ponderings

The Survivalist

If you are on Facebook and came of age reading the great series of adventure novels, "The Survivalist," by Jerry Ahern, you really ought to go to the "The Survivalist" page on Facebook.  It's a closed group, but send the moderator a message to get cleared - tell him I referred you.  They do that to keep the spam out.  There's some cool stuff on the page: pictures of US and UK covers of the books, "what if" discussions about the books, and Jerry Ahern himself is a frequent commenter and and an all-around nice guy.

Caloric Value of Wild Game

My buddy, Mitch, over at Native Survival, just put out this list of wild game and how many calories it has per pound... some really surprising things that might make you rethink your plans for protein if you have to depend on game to live.  Mitch has some great instructional videos on his YouTube channel too.

Game Calorie's per Pound List
-Deer: 1100
-Caribou: 1100
-Hog: 1100
-Raccoon: 1000
-Opossum: 900
-Eel: 750
-Muskrat: 750
-Beaver: 700
-Rabbit: 525
-Turkey: 500
-Elk: 500
-Moose: 450
-Trout: 430
-Turtle: 350
-Bass (whole): 200
-Perch (whole): 125
-Sunfish (whole): 85
-Squirrel (whole): 50

Surprises? Oh yeah. Raccoon basically a Deer in disguise? Moose only 450? That puts Rabbit and Turkey above Moose!

Trout basically a pound of Moose? Incredible! Ten Sunfish is 850? That's Easy Enough!

Does this change my hunting/fishing for meat priorities? You Bet!

This is USDA info i tracked down.


Big thanks to Mitch for researching and putting that list together!

The 8th of November

Today is the anniversary of a 1965 battle on Operation Hump in Vietnam where ambushed by 1,200 VC, 48 American soldiers were killed.  Medic Lawrence Joel recieved the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions that day.  Big & Rich (Rich is from Louisa Co., where we had the August earthquake Big is from Culpepper Co., right next door to Louisa Co., where we had the August earthquake) did a great song about the battle.  I first heard it in 2006 driving south from Devil's Tower to Cheyenne.  Something to show kids that real heroes aren't on MTV or the movie screen, they are risking their lives for their brothers.


Keeping Your Kids Safe

Prepping Your Kids

Local news is focusing on a story out of the Fredericksburg, Virginia area where at least five times over the past few days, several men in a van have approached young girls in their yards or on the sidewalk and tried to abduct them. Probably every state in the country has a missing child who has been kidnapped by a stranger. Many, if not most of them were kidnapped for sexual assault. This particular story has significance because that same area, back in 1995 and 96, had first two sisters, then a third girl, kidnapped from their yards. Their bodies were found several months later, but no viable suspects were on the radar. About five years later, the killer was caught and killed by police in Florida when they stopped him for a South Carolina abduction and rape.

What can you do to help your children limit their chances of becoming a victim of such a crime? You don’t want to raise a child who is afraid of his own shadow. You don’t want your child growing into her teenage years scared to walk to the mailbox. But they need to be aware and have tools.

Talk to your children about risks. Don’t depend on the schools to do it. You know your child’s maturity and level of understanding and can adapt the conversation better than any “one size fits all” curriculum. If it fits, use news stories to open the discussion. Have “what if” practices. Drill with your child for this situation the same way you do for an intruder in the house at 3 a.m.

If you are uncomfortable having such a conversation with your kid, think about how “uncomfortable” you would be if he or she was taken from you.

As far as tools, look at distress signals, communications and defense… all in accordance with your child’s age and maturity.

Nearly every child can be trusted with a loud whistle. Get a good one that is loud and shrill. Have her carry it on a beaded dog tag chain around her neck. Yelling “help, you’re not my dad!” may not work well. There is a video making the rounds showing a test on a busy city street of a man grabbing a child by the arm and dragging her away as she yells that, and time after time, others just walk on by, averting their eyes. A Fox40 whistle right in the ear will make most anyone back off long enough to get away.

For communications, consider a cell phone. They don’t need text messaging, a thousand minutes and the latest apps. An old phone with no service but a good charge will call 911. Teach them how to responsibly use it. Of course, with age and maturity, you might give them a regular phone with more features, but it is not needed to call 911.

For defense, there is a wealth of tools available, but most will get you kid expelled from school or possibly arrested, so be careful… But, look at OC spray, martial arts, or even a pistol under certain circumstances. Even if your 14 year old daughter doesn’t carry OC spray to school, maybe she could carry it to the mall. Your 19 year old daughter at college might risk expulsion or arrest for carrying a concealed weapon in some states, but check state laws and different colleges for different rules. I’m not sure of the approved age, but Wyoming residents don’t need a permit to carry concealed, and last time I checked, students at the University of Wyoming can carry on campus, just not in the dorms, so an off campus apartment could be just the ticket.

In short, it’s a dangerous world out there, and kids are irreplaceable. It is each of our duty to help our kids stay safe, without smothering them.


Whole Lot Of Shakin' Goin' On

Is New Madrid Next?

There was a pretty good sized (5.6 magnitude) earthquake in central Oklahoma today, followed by numerous aftershocks.  Initial reports look like some mild building damage, but no injuries.  About 1,200 miles to the east is Louisa, Virginia, which was the epicenter for a 5.8 earthquake in August, and over 600 aftershocks since.  What do they have in common?  They bracket the New Madrid fault line which runs from Illinois to Arkansas, and was the location of the strongest earthquakes in US history in 1811-1812.  Those quakes are estimated to have reached 8.0 magnitude, and caused church bells to ring here in Richmond, nearly 800 miles away.  There was little damage and injury with those quakes, but only due to the sparse population of the area back then. 

Estimates of a major quake along that line now include 86,000 casualaties, including 3,500 fatalities; 715,000 damaged buildings; and 7.2 million people displaced, with 2 million of those seeking shelter, primarily due to the lack of utility services. Direct economic losses, according to the report, would be at least $300 billion. (full report)

With this Oklahoma quake, I'm actually a little worried that New Madrid might be building some activity, and these fault lines on the periphery are blowing off a little early warning steam.  I really encourage readers in the area to step up their quake-specific preps.  I'll touch on some of those things in the next couple days.

Sponsor of the Week

Our Sponsor of the Week is Survival Gear Bags.  In addition to a wide variety of gear bags and pre-made survival kits, Survival Gear Bags has quite a few other unique items such as Blast Boxers (to protect the vital male parts in an explosion) to a really cool 5 gallon utility jug.  I think this thing has some amazing potential.  I've long been on the hunt for the ideal fuel can, and this might be it (of course, I would never use it for gas, as that would violate CARB regulations... wink wink nudge nudge).  Here's the specs on it from the SGB site:
This USA made Utility jug is made of #2 HDPE plastic. Safe for everything from water to milk to racing fuel. The inverted V ribs retard expansion and the taller design lets you put more in a row in your trailer or truck bed. The double handles make pouring easy and secure.

Jug comes complete with 13" filler hose and all caps with O-rings.
- 23" Tall X 9" Square
- Made of PolyEthylene
- O-Rings control leaks
- Tested to 40 below
- Multiple colors
- Liquid level can be seen on the White Jug, but all others are opaque
- Quick, easy pouring and double handle design.
- Square design fits against walls and other flat surfaces
- Solid #2 High Density Poly Ethylene (Recyclable)
- Two inverted ribs to prevent swelling and expansion
- Accurate and consistent units of measure
- Durable plastic cap with 3/4" pipe plug for hose attachment.

Will not leach or disintegrate with use. SAFE FOR ALL LIQUIDS!

Safe for Water, No Known Health Hazards!

I'm an affiliate of Survival Gear Bags, so if you visit, please use the link directly from If It Hits The Fan and I'll get a small commission at no extra cost to you.


Tape It Up

The Magic Of Duct Tape

Back in the spring, a turkey tried to fly in front of my truck at 50 mph, and smacked into my driver's side mirror.  It separated the plastic frame a little bit, but other than an annoying whistle, there was nothing really wrong with it.  I've been driving the Element since summer, only using the truck for weekend dump runs and trips to Lowe's.  I haven't driven it since it got cold a couple weeks ago.  Today I got in it to move some furniture, and wouldn't you know it, the mirror assembly is no longer attached.  It just kind of rested there.

Rather than drive without the mirror, and risk a ticket, or even worse, a blind spot wreck, I fetched a roll of duct tape from the Element's emergency kit, and gave it a few wraps... good as new and perfectly stable.

Now Virginia is one of those nanny states where we need a government approved inspection of our cars every year (when I was a kid, it was actually every six months).  I'm not sure my duct tape repair will pass, so tomorrow I'll be using JB Weld to make it a permanant fix.

Just goes to show you that duct tape can fix darn near anything, and it doesn't have to be a major crisis for your emergency kit to be of use.


The Sportsman Guide

Something's Different

When I was camping with my nephew recently, I mentioned to one of the other parents that I had got my backpack and tent from The Sportsman's Guide back in the 90's, but that I hadn't seen one in a long time.  I seem to recall a few years ago, on a forum somewhere, someone talking about them doing away with their "Buyer's Club" discount program with no notice to members and that they seemed to be having troubles.

Well, wouldn't you know it, I got a new Sportsman's Guide in the mail a couple of days ago.  It's changed quite a bit.  It used to be a place to get inexpensive eastern European military surplus and last year's models and colors of camping and outdoor gear.  The new catalog still has a pretty good selection of boots, and some unusual outdoor gear (G.I. magnesium snowshoes with bindings for only $43.97 for example), but a lot of it is toys and household goods and furnishings.  Much more so than I remember it being a few years ago.

They've still got the Buyer's Club (10% off everything, for $29.99 a year) and currently have an offer of free shipping on orders over $75.  If you haven't seen the catalog in a while, go ahead and give it a shot.  There is some pretty cool stuff in there at good prices.  I'm looking at a small, portable greenhouse to put on my Christmas list.

Does anyone have any recent experience with the Sportsman's Guide?  I'd be interested in hearing how the customer service is these days.  It was always pretty good when I was buying stuff from them back in the day.


A New Feature

Library Resources

In an effort to make If It Hits The Fan more of a resource to you, I've added a page at the top entitled, Library Resources.  I've been coming across lots of great documents and resources and will be adding them in here.  Right now, it goes to the If It Hits The Fan Page at keepandshare.com where you can download or read these documents in .pdf format. That may change in the future if I can find a better way to share them.  I just put up two anti-terrorism documents.  The first is a 60 page booklet from the Joint Chiefs of Staff entitled: A Self-Help Guide To Anti-Terrorism.  The second is a pocket reference card of individual protective measures.  Check them out and feel free to share the links with your family and friends.

The Long Road Home

Well, I tried out my alternate route this evening.  It took me about an extra six miles and 15 minutes over my normal route.  I missed about 6 miles of the main drag (took 12 miles with all the zig zagging), but there's no way to miss the last two miles.  I also had to cut through a large cemetery, and got me a bit turned around.  I need to get a overhead shot of it and highlight the path so I avoid all the twists and turns.  I'll continue to look for other routes out of town, and once I get three or four effective ones, I'll probably use one every couple weeks or so to keep in practice. 


Monthly Tasks

It's the first of the month, have you...

Test run your generator?
Rotated you gasoline stores?
Tested your smoke and/or carbon monoxide detectors?
Checked your household and vehicle fire extinguishers?
Given your dog his heart worm pill and flea/tick treatment?
Changed your HVAC filters?
Test run all your small engine equipment?
Checked your tires, belts, hoses and filters on your vehicles?

Get Home Project

Reading some of the feedback from you all last week about motorcycles as BOVs got me to thinking about how I would get home from work if the main thoroughfares were blocked.  I've long had alternate routes planned for getting home, but they all involved different main drags.  I've started mapping out some alternate routes.  The city where I work is long and skinny, and bordered by a major river.  I think I got a side route to the end of the city planned where I'll go 90% through residential areas and come out near where I normally get on the interstate.  It also comes out near where a prepper friend lives and could provide shelter if needed.  I'll test it out later this week and see if my theory holds true.  Do you have alternate ways home that bypass major roads?  Alternate routes are easy... back ways can be challenging.