Emergency Power... Again

Power's Out Again

We made it through the great Derecho windstorm that knocked out power to a couple of million in the Mid-Atlantic last night without losing power.  We were actually in a subway station in Washington, DC when it hit, having just left the amazing Marine Corps Evening Parade at the Marine Barracks.  We should have been home by about 1 a.m. or so, but it was closer to 3:00 when we finally made it.  I had intended to discuss that storm tonight...

So we have our niece and nephew spending the night tonight.  We were nearly finished eating dinner when the weather alert radio went off with a tornado warning.  One had touched down west of here and we were in a direct path.  I got my wife, the kids, the dog and the cat in the hall bathroom and monitored the action outside.  As the wind, rain and hail picked up, I joined them for a few minutes.  In the middle of it all, the power went out.  Compared to yesterday's 104 degrees, today was a chilly 97.  Not wanting to make the kids suffer with generator powered fans and sweating all night, we called their moms and decided to take them home after the storms had passed.

Our primary route was blocked about 4 miles from the house.  A secondary route was also blocked.  We finally took the long way out and got to the interstate after dodging fallen trees and debris, and the interstate was at a complete standstill. 

So, the kids are with us tonight.  The generator's running the well pump, refrigerator, fans, and in a few minutes, my CPAP.  The Verizon substation is running on generator, so we may be able to keep phone and internet service.

I've got a bunch of stuff to pass on...

A new product review video
A detailed after action report of the DC trip
A cool food prep idea from the Boy Scouts
and several other things floating around my brain

Hopefully, tomorrow won't be plumb miserable, and I can get some good posts out to you.


Contempt of Court

ObamaCare/RomneyCare is Here to Stay

When the news broke this morning that the Supreme Court had judged that ObamaCare was Constitutional, my first response was anger.  I was mad that they would shove this right back at us by reinterpreting it as a tax instead of an abuse of the commerce clause.

Later I was more disgusted.  I felt personal animosity toward all who were involved in writing, passing and approving this abomination.

Now I am just sad.  I am sad for what our great country is becoming.  I know that we've been slowly circling the drain, but today's ruling seems to jiggle the handle and get us going in a full flush.

To paraphrase the First Lady, today, for the first time in my adult life, I am truly disappointed in my country.

What does all of this have to do with prepping?

I really believe that this is a harbinger of bad times coming, and coming a lot quicker than most of us "reasonable" people have been thinking.  I don't think it is coming in the next few months, but I think a massive economic collapse will be upon us in 3 to 5 years rather than 10-15 or 15-20.

Please, do what you need to do to buckle down and get fiscally and physically healthy and prepared.  Get out of debt, buy what you need to be prepared, and get your body and mind conditioned for hard times.


Storm Report

30 Hours

We had quite the doozy of a storm come through on Monday.  It started west of Richmond and went on through to the Chesapeake Bay.  It moved quickly, hitting each area no more than 10 or 20 minutes, but leaving a wake of destruction.  A couple of small tornadoes were confirmed, as well as some straight win bursts that hit 100 mph.  My brother stood on his porch and watched his neighbor's roof fly off, and the top 40 or so feet of a tree snap off and fly away.  At the AA ball park, the game got called in the 8th inning and fans rushed for shelter under the concrete bleachers as the left field fence took off.  At a friend's house about 15 miles from here, the boy's swingset took a beating and some large limbs came down on the garage.  At my Dad's about 10 miles away, yard and pool furniture went flying and a tree went down on the power lines.  Throughout the Richmond area, over 100 houses had trees down on them and 150,000 customers were without power.  Here we had a couple of twigs and leaves fall in the yard and a couple of standing puddles.  You wouldn't know we had more than a shower... but the power was out for about 30 hours.

Yet another time when I am glad to be a prepper and the generators made everything SO much nicer and comfortable

Tornado Shelters

Found this article today that shows a variety of tornado and storm shelters with links to the manufacturers.  Some of them are very cool looking.  More and more I think it is something we need to save up for.  If we lived in Tornado Alley, we would definately have one.


Big Storm Hit

Running on Generator Power

A giant storm came through the area this afternoon, and we are one of about 150,000 power customers doing without right now.  The generator is running, and the Internet router is still getting the Verizon feed as long as they maintain power at the switching station.  And it's my 44th birthday.

Other than the power being out, we had no damage here.  But several of my friends and family had or are near pretty extensive damage.  I'm going to call it a night, but I'll get out more details during lunch tomorrow.


Have Gun, Will Travel

Guns For Hire

A big part of prepping for some people is the gun.  From Walter Mitty-types living in their moms' basements and using Call of Duty as their training tools; to those who have grown up around guns hunting, target shooting, competing, maybe having served a hitch in the service; to the real-life Rambos who are highly trained and experienced in the combat arts; and every type of prepper between... guns and the skills to use them effectively are important to most of us.

Reading Soldier of Fortune back in high school, I saw many of the classified ads featuring "ex-soldier looking for domestic or international high-risk assignments" and the like.  This was before the series of lawsuits in the late 80s put an end to that category of advertisement.

When I was in my late 20s and early 30s, I had served my time in the Marine Corps, and was a pretty experienced cop.  A couple of acquaintances had hooked up with DynCorp and the UN and were pulling overseas training gigs for $100,000 a year, tax free.  I looked into it, but it really didn't seem like the right thing for me (what with my contempt for the UN and all).  The one guy I know is still doing it, he must be rolling in dough, but he lost his marriage in doing so.

The next thing I looked into was the Le'gion e'trange're.  I called the French embassy in DC and asked for information on joining the French Foreign Legion.  They were legally unable to answer my questions, but gave me an address in France to write to requesting information.  I sent away and got a big envelope full of brochures and pamphlets.  Nowadays, like everything else, there is a website for it.  I briefly worked with a deputy sheriff who had been both a Marine and a Legionnaire.

I also had the idea of becoming a game warden in South Africa.  A call to their embassy got me a couple of brochures and a page torn from the Johannesburg phone book.  I had this mental image of me, dressed all in khaki, toting an FN-FAL hunting poachers in the preserve, while retiring to my camp to sit on a chair framed from elephant tusks and upholstered in lion hide... OK, the Walter Mitty thing can affect any of us.

All of these ideas were fleeting.  My police career was doing fine, getting promoted to sergeant and then lieutenant.  Y2K came and passed, and then 9/11.  The war in Afghanistan and Iraq started up, and the "private contractor" became the hired gun of the new millennium. 

Today, I'm happy at home.  I have my wonderful wife and a job that I enjoy.  I have some friends who have gone overseas as contractors and made some good jack, and came back with some amazing experiences that they have converted into some high speed training and supplier jobs.  If you are in the mind that it might be a viable option for you, I recently found a website called http://www.shooterjobs.com/ that you need a subscription to get the details of the jobs, but lets anyone see the basic information.  There are all kinds of gigs in the $150,000 to $250,000 a year range.


Project BOV Is Back On The Road

Got It Going Again

Well, the clutch saga with my BOV Jeep is finally taken care of.  If you ever decide to fix up an old Jeep for a BOV, I highly recommend Quadratec for a parts source.  They weren't showing my cable on their website, but a call got it tracked down and in my hands in three days.  Great customer service, fast shipping and good prices.

Anyway, two open end wrenches, my Chilton's manual, and about an hour, got me back in business and running like a top.  I also got some of my instrument cluster lights working using the sockets that I got at the junkyard and some new bulbs.  Whatever BOV you have, you really ought to have a Chilton's manual to help with basic repairs and maintenance.

A Survival Story

If you haven't checked out Rourke's new venture, ASurvivalStory.com, give it a shot.  The story is getting started good, and you don't want to fall behind.  It only takes a couple of minutes a day to keep up to date with the story.

A Happy Birthday Shoutout...

I want to wish Jerry Ahern a very happy birthday.  Jerry is a prolific writer on guns and knives, as well as being the author of The Survivalist series of books that had such a huge impact on me in my misspent youth and helped lead me into the life of a prepper.  Jerry has been fighting some medical problems here lately, so not only do I want to say, "Happy Birthday, Jerry!" but I also want to wish him good health and strength and ask all my readers to send well wishes and prayers his way.



Missed an Anniversary

I've Been Doing This Over Two Years

I realized this morning that May 18, 2010 was the first day I typed up something to share with what I imagine was about two or three readers.  Since I missed the date, I wondered what I was typing about two years ago today... I didn't do a post on 6/21/10, but here's my post from 6/25, WTH is EDC?

Friends Coming On Board

I heard from a guy I used to work with years ago.  Haven't seen him in 10 or 12 years.  He and his wife just had a year's worth of long term storage foods delivered a couple of weeks ago.

I also got an email from a friend of a friend down in Texas the other day.  He's having a banner year at the family farm, with a bumper crop of fruit tree production, tomatoes and peppers.  He's also building up huglekulture beds for future planting.

Clutch Saga

Got my new clutch cable in yesterday.  This evening I matched it up to the length of the old one using the adjustable bracket tip thing on the clutch end and took it over to my friend's house to put it on.  I didn't take any tools, figuring it would go on as easy as the old one came off.  Yep, that worked, but it wasn't quite right.  For some reason I couldn't get the clutch to operate.  I'm off tomorrow so I'll go over in the morning with my Chilton's manual and some actual tools, along with a headlamp and safety glasses.  Most folks don't think about glasses when working on a car, but crawling around underneath it, it's real easy to get dirt or rust in your eyes if they are unprotected.


Perimeter Security

Can They Get In Without You Knowing?

I've got a 6 ft. tall chain link fence around the back yard (came with the house, but was a selling point).  Each gate has a sturdy lock on it.  It's not going to keep out someone who is determined to get in.  But it might send them to an easier yard instead.

Before Y2K I lived in a rented farmhouse on 250 acres with about a 200 yard driveway with a corn field beside it..  The "backyard" was about a half acre backed up by thick woods.  The side yard was a fallow field of about 75 acres that backed up to more woods.  Behind the woods was an operational area for an Army training base.  If the SHTF for Y2K, I had distance points marked on the driveway with wooden posts, about a foot high, plain wood facing the road, bright red paint facing the house.  That was for knowing the distances for taking on attackers coming down the drive.  We also had an old POS Lincoln Continental that we planned to use to block part of the driveway.

I had several spools of heavy monofilament line that I planned to to use to string tanglefoot obstacles and fishing hooks at various heights, all along the woodline behind the house, about 5 to 10 feet back from the edge.  I also had mousetraps with shotgun blanks ready to set up along obvious paths (maybe I need to do a video about building and setting those up).

In retrospect, that was probably a lot of overkill, but had TEOTWAWKI happened, we would have been ready to set up perimeter security relatively quick.

But what about now?  My fence and locks make my yard far more secure than the vast majority of folks whether in the suburbs, or even out here in the country.  If the economy continues it's downhill slide, though, I need to be prepared for setting up a better line of defense.  There is really only one way easy way into my property these days, and it is up the driveway 100 feet or so to the front door.  My dog is pretty good about alerting us to someone pulling in the drive, but he is a hard sleeper.

The MURS radio systems offers perimeter alert transmitters, handheld two-way radios and base stations.  For less than $400, I can pick up a vehicle detector, wireless transmitter and base station.  I can add handhelds units as I see fit.  That would ensure I knew that someone was pulling in the drive.  That's probably something I need to save up the cash for.  It would be good to have even during "good" times so we don't get surprised.  If I was back in the woods with a handheld unit, it would let me know that a visitor, welcome or not, arrived at the front.  Long-term, I'd like to put a fence around the front yard (not quite as ugly as the 6 ft. chain link) with a lockable cattle guard gate across the drive.

If an emergency arises before I get all that done, I need a plan B to secure my driveway.  Something easy to set up and take down, and room to give friends and family to pull in and honk the horn to alert me before they set off the "alarm."  I think the mousetraps/shotgun blanks with paracord might be the trick.  Keep in mind, this is ONLY during a SHTF situation, not for this weekend.  I'd set them up in a series to make sure that they would go off, and have multiple sounds to ensure that we'd wake up if it were late at night.  Even though they are blanks, I need to be sure to have them set up so they would be dangerous to someone if they went off accidentally.

This ended up going in a different direction than what I had in my head when I started typing, but I think this is the way to go.  I'll try and get a few test ones built this weekend and shoot a video on it.


What's Up?

Update From The Homestead

We got a lot of work done outside this past weekend.  Across the street from us is an old one room school house from the days of segregation.  It is owned by a few of the descendants of the families that originally donated the land and building for their children to go to school back in the 20s.  They have big plans to restore it and turn it into a community center, but something needs to happen quick or it is going to deteriorate too far.  Anyway, one of my good deeds is to serve as kind of the groundskeeper.  I go over about every 3 or 4 weeks and knock down the grass and weeds.  It is close to an acre with the building in the middle.  Along the road, there is a line of nasty scrub pines that got planted about 15 years ago or so.  Talking with the guys that own it, we decided that I would cut down trees to make the building more visible from the road and more pleasing.  A month or so ago I cut down about a third of them and piled them in the school yard.  They got good and dry and ready for a fire, but I realized the giant hardwoods in the yard would likely catch fire in the overhangs.

This weekend we dragged all of the trees over to our yard where we have a foundation for an old general store that we use as our safe burning area.  We got about half of them in the pit and started a fire.  It went up like no body's business.  Dry pine with all that turpentine sap made it go great.  In less than an hour, I got the rest dragged over and on fire.  A little later I used my pole saw to clear some green branches overhanging my garden and added them to the fire.  It was plenty hot enough to burn those thick green branches to ash.

I finally got my tomato plants moved from my now-falling-apart greenhouse to the garden.  Seventeen plants of five different varieties made it.  I won't have 'maters for July 4th as is the tradition around here, but I should have a good late season crop.  I also got some good volunteer onions planted.  I think my biggest weakness is with gardening.  Not so much as doing it, but in getting started.

We went through some clothes we don't wear and got a good donation for Goodwill.

At work, we are going through benefits open enrollment and there was a basket of eye glasses repair kits on a counter.  I snagged a few and have put them in the Barter Larder along with some soap and shampoo from when we were on vacation a few weeks ago.

I picked up a couple hundred CCI large pistol primers to load some .44 ammo soon.  I have a few thousand Winchester primers that I bought second hand, but my Dillon 550 doesn't feed them like it should.  I'm going to try the CCIs to see if they work (they used to last time I bought some) or if it is a problem with my primer feeder.

Still waiting for my new clutch cable to come in so I can get the Jeep home and back on the road.

Thanks to a Renewing Sponsor

Jeff Gleason, The Berkey Guy, just renewed his two ad spaces.  Jeff was my first sponsor here, and I am very happy that he believes in If It Hits The Fan enough to be a sponsor.  Check out Jeff's site for great deals on Berkey Water Filter systems, Wise brand storage foods, and other survival gear.  Let him know you heard about him here.


Welcome to a New Sponsor!

Welcome BuyEmergencyFoods.com!

I'm glad to welcome BuyEmergencyFoods as a sponsor to If It Hits The Fan.  They offer a wide selection of portable/emergency power, emergency kits, water filtration devices, and all kinds of choices in storage foods from Legacy Premium.  These foods come in individual serving pouches in stackable square buckets.  You can get anything from a family sample pack to 180 breakfast servings to 6,480 servings of meals.  Many selections are vegetarian friendly, and they have one selection that is gluten-free.  They also have buckets of side dishes, meats, and drink mixes.  Shipping is free and they offer a low price guarantee.

I'm looking forward to working with BuyEmergencyFoods and incorporating their products into my long term storage plans.  Please check out their site, and let them know you heard about them here at If It Hits The Fan.

New Website

Rourke, over at ModernSurvivalOnline, has a new website at http://www.asurvivalstory.com/.  It is a fictional blog, written as if he were a prepper, journaling in the lead up to and during a TEOTWAWKI situation.  It just started a couple days ago and looks like it will be an entertaining read.  If we're not careful, we just might learn something from it too.

Kind of reminds me of about 1998 or so when I got the idea to keep a journal of my activities in the build up to Y2K.  You know, for future generations to learn from as the world got rebuilt.  I didn't keep at for more than a few weeks.  I expect Rourke will keep this one going for quite a while.

Clutch Update

It is not as easy as you might think to find a part to a fairly obscure vehicle that was only made for 2 years 40 years ago.  None of the chain parts stores have the clutch cable I need.  I went to a local pick&pay junk yard and was shocked to find an older Kaiser Jeepster.  It had a different engine and an automatic transmission, so I was out of luck for the clutch cable, but I was able to get the lighting doohickeys that go behind the dash panel that I've been looking for and a piece of hose that is a part of the heater system.

Some Jeep forum links led me to find Quadratec.com, a supplier for Jeep parts from old CJ5s to the latest 4 door Wranglers with all the custom bits and pieces.  Their website showed nothing for the Commando, so I gave them a call just to see if they could maybe lead me in the right direction.  I told the guy what I was looking for, and he asked me to hold while he called their clutch part supplier.  A few minutes later, he came back on and said they have what I need.  He just needed a few minutes to add it to their inventory.  He called me back and we made the deal (only $29 including shipping).  I'm getting this thing sight unseen, so I'm not 100% sure it is the right one, yet.  If not, I think I can figure out a way to repair my broken one.  If it is, I'll still repair the broken one as a spare AND take BadVooDooDaddy's advice and order up another new one.  You know... for If It Hits The Fan.


BOV Update: Clutch, Schmutch

Clutch cable broke last night on my 72 Commando...
but it ended up OK thanks to the amazing durability of a classic Jeep.

Coming home yesterday afternoon from my nephew's HS graduation cookout, as I took off from a stoplight, my clutch went straight to the floor with no resistance. I made it through the intersection into a closed business's parking lot. I crawled under the dash and saw that the clutch cable had snapped.

With my wife steering and braking, I pushed it around so it was facing the exit. I walked down the block to a CVS pharmacy hoping to buy some cheapo vise grips, but getting a pair of pliers (note to self: really need to get some basic tools in the Commando). Using the pliers, I was able to activate the clutch cable so my wife could get it in 2nd gear (3 speed, very low gearing). I was getting ready to call Haggerty (classic car insurance) to take advantage of their towing service, but decided to see what would happen.

I'm facing the exit, slightly uphill, the tranny is in second, I turn the key and pump the gas, and it somehow caught! At this point, I am careening to the exit and make a hard right coming out. We're still about 20 miles from home, but about 2 miles from my wife's work where her car was parked, and about 5 miles from a friend's house. Cruising along in 2nd at about 30 mph, we decide to make a run for the friend's house.

The first stoplight we come to, we need to go straight... but it's red and there are cars stopped in front of us... but the right turn is clear and I have just enough time to beat the oncoming traffic.

I take the right without stopping on the red... I go down the road a bit and whip left into a bank parking lot that I use to turn around and get back heading the other direction.

Now that stoplight is red in my direction... the road I need to get to is normally two lanes, but it has been regraded and is unmarked... oncoming traffic is getting ready to turn left on to the road where I need to be... there are two deputies parked in the 7-11 parking lot on the corner where I need to turn... I take the right without stopping on red... I squeeze in between oncoming left turners... the deputies don't see me.

Now I've got a straightaway for while... more roadwork and repaving... the next stoplight has two right turn lanes, two straight lanes with one ending quickly after the intersection... and a right turn lane... fresh blacktop and no pavement markings... and the light is red.

I slow down... easing into the right turn lane, I see no deputies or oncoming traffic... and I punch it to whip around the traffic stopped at the light so I can continue straight.

At the next stoplight, I have a dedicated right turn lane with only a yield sign... no sweat.

At the next stoplight, I need to go straight... it's red, but no cars stopped in front of me... I ease up to it, planning to make a right turn then a left to cut through a gas station parking lot on the other corner... it turns green just in time.

Another mile or so and I'm heading down the dead end road to my friend's house. My wife had called ahead, so he has his driveway cattle guard gate open and waves us in. I come to an easy stop in his yard and the engine stalls out as I brake. Victory is mine! Five miles, five stoplights, no tickets, no wrecks, and a safe place to park it. Now I need to track down a new clutch cable and go over to change it out.

Even when out for a nice recreational drive, you have to have a plan B in your mind, especially if your plan A doesn't work out.


Info For The Utes

I'm Sorry, The Yoooooouths...

Advice for a New Recruit

Today we went to my step-brother's house for a cookout to celebrate his youngest son's high school graduation.  Graduating high school is nice, but that's what everyone does (or at least should do).  The big deal with our nephew is that he has enlisted in the U.S. Army and leaves for basic training in July.  I came up with the following advice for him.  Feel free to share if you'd like, just credit it to me.

Advice to make the most out of your time in the Army
  • Be a leader – if something needs doing, do it – coordinate your fellow soldiers without being “bossy”
  • Live in the barracks – sounds like fun to get a house in town with your buddies, but it leads to trouble, expenses, and more trouble – living in the barracks you get free room and board – take it
  • Stay away from the E-club and bars in town – spend your free time improving yourself – gym and college courses through St. Leo and AMU are the best thing you can do – also make extra money by taking guard or duty shifts from others
  • Don’t fall prey to the easy credit outside of base – if you truly need a car – and you don’t if you live on base – save up and buy a cheap one for cash – all bases have places where you can borrow tools and equipment and learn to work on it yourself – you don’t need one to come home on leave or anything like that – take Greyhound
  • Don’t fall prey to the townie girls and the wives/girlfriends of deployed soldiers – there is no reason for anyone to be married or have kids until at least E5 and after reenlisting
  • Don’t waste money on entertainment devices, extra civilian clothes, and other useless crap that you will have to move with you when you change duty stations – spend some money on better gear than what the Army issues, and save, save, save!
  • Don’t take stupid vacations like Las Vegas or Disney World – the Army has all kinds of free recreational equipment for soldiers to use – camping gear, canoes, fishing equipment, all kinds of outdoor fun
  • Take any advanced or specialty training you can – it will help with promotions, and may even pay additional money – Airborne, CBRNE, NCO school, Drill Sgt. school, marksman instructor, things like that
  • Volunteer for Afghanistan or Iraq – hazard duty pay PLUS no federal income tax while over there
  • As soon as you can, establish legal residency in a state with no state income tax (Tennessee, Florida, Wyoming, New Hampshire, there are a couple more). It will take a little time, money and creativity, but it will save you thousands and thousands of dollars over the course of your enlistment. If you get stationed in a tax-free state, do it immediately, otherwise you need to use some leave time to go to the state. If you can get a driver’s license in the state, that is typically all you need to do to establish residency. Then see your base legal officer and fill out DD Form 2058 – State of Legal Residence Certificate. It is stupid to pay taxes to Va. when you don’t live here anymore and don’t use the so-called “services” that the state provides, but the only way around it is to establish residency elsewhere. If you can manage it this summer before you go to basic, all the better.
Most guys get out of the Army without a penny to their name and deep in debt. If you follow this advice, whether you have a 4 year tour or a 30 year career, you will come out far more successful and ahead of your contemporaries. It is possible and realistic to live on about 20% of your pay and bank the rest. I really wish that when I was 17 years old, I had gone in the Marine Corps active duty and had this information and the discipline to live by it. I’d be A LOT better off now.

Advice for Raising Kids

Yesterday, Jack Spirko had a fantastic episode of The Survival Podcast offering his advice for parents raising kids.  I'm not a parent.  I work around kids and am very close to our young niece and nephew, but I've never raised kids.  The information that Jack offered yesterday was great advice, and would be of value to any new parent, whether with a newborn, or coming in as a stepparent like he did.  If you don't listen to The Survival Podcast, I really encourage you to listen to yesterday's episode.  Here's the link to Episode 920, Building Self-Reliance in our Children.


What Does a Well Dressed Survivalist Wear These Days?

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

Can you tell a survivalist by looking at him?  In Jerry Ahern's Survivalist series, John Thomas Rourke wore RayBan aviator sunglasses, a blue chambray shirt, a battered leather bomber jacket, Levis jeans and USGI combat boots.  In Patriots, Jim Rawles has the main group wearing British SAS camouflage smocks (IIRC).  Back in the 80s, you could always tell the survivalists at the range or gun show by their West German "flecktarn" camouflage trousers, "man among men" Rhodesian army t-shirt, and woodland camouflage beret (usually accompanied by a big mustache). 

Today, there are tons more options.  The rugged, yet refined, outdoorsman dressed in Orvis...  The super active adventurer wearing The North Face...  that guy from the 80s who is still wearing the flecktarn...  And with the US military's departure from the old woodland BDUs, a plethora of new camouflage patterns on the surplus market.

My Marine Corps was first with the digital MARPAT utilities.  They seem to have gotten it pretty right with a good camouflage pattern and comfortable and useful designs.

The Army was next, with their "Army Combat Uniform."  I'm not impressed.  They look like slobs being out and about off base, the uniforms look like shapeless pajamas, and there is so much Velcro on them that their durability is negligible.  Also, the soldiers themselves are not satisfied with the effectiveness of the camouflage pattern.  It is being phased out for the much more useful and effective MultiCam pattern.

The Air Force uses the incorrectly named Airman Battle Uniform.  It is a digitized tiger stripe (original tiger stripe was very effective in the heavy jungles of SE Asia).  However, Air Force personnel such as pararescue and Combat Controllers use the MultiCam because the ABU is not designed for to be a tactical pattern for combat.

The Navy replaced their timeless dungaree uniform for working on ship with a blue/gray digital camouflage cut in the same basic pattern as the old BDUs.  It's pretty useless for a tactical uniform.  But...

Today I saw a guy at WalMart wearing a camouflage that I had never seen before.  I nearly wrenched my neck trying to get a look at him as I drove past, and kind of freaked him out.  The camouflage reminded my of the German flecktarn, but he had a USMC style cover.  After I parked, I went up to him explaining why I was looking at him. He was in the Navy and the camouflage is the new design for Navy ground forces.  The cut of the uniform was pretty much the old BDUs (which I have always thought was great, but of course it is what I came up with) and it is a digital, pixelated pattern that really does look a lot like the flecktarn.  It looks effective, and the guy looked squared away in it.

If you want to check out any of these patterns, look at this Wikipedia page.


Prepper Ponderings

LDS Preparedness Manual

I got an email this weekend from Christopher Parrett, the gentleman who is the editor behind the famous LDS Preparedness Manual.  I have an older version in the library resources page, but he was letting me know that he has just released the newest version, the 15th edition.  It is available free of charge here.  I'll change out the link in the library resources page this week.

Chris puts a TON of work into this manual and makes it available free to everyone.  If you want an actual bound and printed version, he sells it at cost.  I really encourage folks to get the free download and share the link with friends and family who need some motivation to prepare.  This latest edition is a very slick, professional production, and has added articles and columns from many of the prepper writers and bloggers.  Yes, it is primarily aimed at LDS members, and there are some scriptural sections, but the vast majority of the manual is not religious at all.

Last Family On Earth

I got contacted this weekend by a casting director with Pilgrim Productions, asking me to share some information with you.  One of our regular readers, VT Paladin, sent me a news article on the same information a day or two prior.  They are now casting for a competition show that will air on Spike TV, called Last Family On Earth.  The basic premise is that couples (father/son, husband/wife, sister/sister, etc...) will compete in different competitions and contests to see who the best prepared family is.  The winner gets a $100,000 reservation for up to six family members in one of those luxury, time-share bunker complexes that has been on the news lately.

Pilgrim produces some of my favorite shows, Dirty Jobs, Top Shot, and Ghost Hunters, and they treat the folks on those shows respectfully.  I sent the casting lady an email back telling her that I was a bit hesitant to pass the information on to you all, because of the way that shows like Doomsday Prepper tend to portray people as nut jobs and extremists, but that I was willing to take a chance because of what I've seen on their other shows.  She assured me that the goal of the show is to show the positive aspects of prepping and to show respect to the participants.

With all of that, here is a link to their casting information.  If you are interested, check it out.  I just encourage you to be careful.  Good luck.

Long Weekend

A few years ago, working 16 hour shifts on my feet for a busy weekend was the norm for me, but I've gotten soft in the job I have now.  Sixteen hours on Saturday, 12 on Sunday...  I'm still beat!  I should be back to normal posts tomorrow.  I also have a video product review done that I need to get posted to the You Tube channel.


B is for...


Many think that barter will be a staple of the post-SHTF economy.  So why not start practicing?  I think the key to a successful barter is that both sides are satisfied.  I had just such an encounter today.

A friend of my brothers makes part of his living as a "picker."  He cleans out garages, houses, attics, offices, etc..., keeping what he wants and getting rid of the things that are of no value.  He then sells things on EBay or at a booth he has at an antique mall.  He recently came across four pistols and wanted me to have first pick at them.  I didn't have the spare cash to go pistol shopping, but I did have something that I thought would be of interest to him... random sterling silver utensils. 

I went by his place this morning and looked at what he had, consulted a 10-year-old pricing guide, and gave him some educated estimates on what he could expect to get.  I explained full retail for excellent condition, retail for the appropriate wear, and what he would get at a gun shop if he took them there to try and sell them.

I ended up with two revolvers, one worth about $250 and the other $50 or so.  The first is a Colt Trooper Mk. III (I've always wanted one) with a rough finish but clean barrel and nice action.  The second is an old H&R topbreak .32 5-shooter that I'll use for Cowboy Action Shooting side matches.  I traded him sterling with a melt value of more than $300, but I knew that he would not be able to sell it for full melt value.  Plus, he's a good guy and has done a lot to help my brother since he had a stroke a couple of months ago.  We were both happy with the outcome.  And that leads me to...

Barbecue Gun

A tradition in much of the South is the "barbecue gun."  This is also a Sunday-go-to-meeting gun, or a wedding gun.  Generally, it is a large revolver (some use a 1911 instead), shiny, engraved, and an exotic custom rig.  That is the goal for my new Trooper.  It has some surface pitting and roughness, but I'm going to work slowly and surely with jeweler's rouge to get it as smooth and clean as possible, then find an engraver and refinisher to nickel plate it.  Finally, some custom grips and a holster to show it off.  My walking Liberty silver dollar bolo tie, my finest black cowboy hat, leather sport coat and creased jeans over Tony Lama boots and I'll be the life of the garden party.


Got a little shooting in today.  First thing, I had to go do my annual qualification with the sheriff's office for my retired LEO credentials.  I used my old Sig Sauer P220 (the gun I was issued in 93 when we transitioned from S&W .38 wheelguns to semi autos - made in W. Germany before reunification) and knocked out the qualification with no problem.  They only use pass/fail, but had them all in the black, probably about 93 or 95%.

When I got the Trooper home this afternoon, I put a few rounds through it to test for function.  I shot .38 wadcutters, midrange .38s and some full powered .357 magnums.  The gun functioned flawlessly with all, and the recoil with the magnums was very manageable.  I did not set up for accuracy, but so far I'm very pleased.


A mountain bike can be great exercise, a potential BOV, and just plain fun.  I spent the afternoon getting ours ready for the summer.  I used a special bike degreaser that I bought at the bike store for $12.  After using it and smelling it, I realized that it is the exact same thing as Gun Scrubber and similar carbon cleaners that typically sell for about $7 or so.  Of course, that is the same as carburetor cleaner which you can find on sale at Wal-Mart for $1 a can sometimes.  Anyway, we're ready to ride.


This weekend is the big annual Blade show in Atlanta.  Two folks that I know will be there showing their wares.

Luke Swenson, knife and sheath maker extraordinaire is there with some of his creations that are both useful and great to look at.  If you can't make the show, check out his website here.

Also at the show will be Chance Sanders, with the release of his new urban survival DVD.  Chance was one of my instructors at Pathfinder School last summer and a good guy with a lot of knowledge.  His DVD should be informative and entertaining.  I've seen a trailer for it and it looks very professionally produced.


Fire In The Hole!

Getting Paid To Watch Stuff Get Blown Up

Today for work I went to a Chemical Industry Outreach Program sponsored by the FBI.  The program is to show folks from beautician supply stores, swimming pool supply stores, school science departments, as well as local law enforcement and fire/rescue what to look for with people buying stuff to build explosives.  As was pointed out early in the day, most of us have things in our homes that can be used to do it, we just don't have the criminal intent.  On a side note, I believe that people should be free to build explosives for recreation on their own property if they want, they just need to be responsible for all injuries and damage themselves... but that is off the topic.

I'm not going to go into how a lot of these were made, it could open me up to civil or criminal action if the information gets misused.  I will say that I have always enjoyed being exposed to explosives throughout my law enforcement and military careers.  Today we saw a wide variety ranging from simple piles of black powder ignited with a hobby fuse to military C4 to stuff mixed up in the FBI labs using recipes and plans available in any number of publications.

There was one in particular that is currently perfectly legal (depending on your local laws) and pretty cool if you have a backyard firing range.  Have you ever heard of Tannerite?  It is a binary compound that is used to make the exploding targets that you see on shows like Top Shot.  You can buy it online or at many gun shops.  Because it is binary, it is completely safe and stable until mixed and can be shipped or mailed.  One of the FBI bomb techs mentioned that our local Gander Mountain is closing and has it on sale.  he also mentioned that he does not expect it to be legal for very much longer.

There are hundreds and hundreds of YouTube videos of people using home-made explosives.  Some are legal, some are not.  Some use good, safe practices, some are lucky to be alive.  Do a search if it interests you.



Just a Pinch

One thing I learned from Dave Canterbury was that every tool should have multiple uses.  I dipped Copenhagen for about 20 years, but quit cold turkey in 2003.  I guess I signed up for something or another with them back years ago, but over the past year or so they've been sending me coupons.  Today I got a package from them in the mail wishing me a happy birthday.  Turns out they sent me a tool with multiple uses.  It's a money clip (with my initials engraved on it) that has a bottle opener and a dip can opener built into the back of it.  I recently had to open a bottle using the rear bumper on the EMP BOV, so I think I'll use my new tool to hold a couple of $20 bills for emergency use, and bottle opening.

Chance to Win a M4 Bushmaster

The gang at http://www.isurvivedthezombies.com/ have a great contest going on with their Facebook page.  Go to their FB page, Like them, find the original posting of the contest announcement and share it on your FB page, then go to the website and subscribe to the newsletter.  On June 9th they'll draw a winner for a Bushmaster Carbon 15 M4 Flattop.  As I type this, there are less than 1,800 entrants, so you have a pretty good shot at winning.

.300 Blackout

Four Guys Guns is doing a Facebook promotion.  As soon as they hit 2,500 likes, (only 226 away right now) they will give away a .300 Blackout upper (would go great with the M4 above) and a ton of other great gear.  Like them and stand by for the details on how to enter. Edited with additional information - Four Gun Guys will give away some great gear at 2,500 likes and ANNOUNCE what they will do to give away the .300 Blackout upper.

Just for Fun

I recently started a Twitter feed for my other on-line project @TheImperialGoat is where I do cigar reviews.  One of the first things I did with the account was enter a contest with 24-7 Radio (there is a local affiliate that I listen to on a regular basis) to win an autographed copy of Bobcat Goldthwait's latest DVD, "You Don't Look The Same Either."  I just got it and watched it... hilarious!!!  He is filthy dirty, but very funny.  If you like standup and are OK with "blue," you ought to check it out.


Surviving a Grizzly Bear Fight!

I've Never Done It...

Years ago, I read a gun magazine with one of the attention grabbing cover headlines saying "Pistols To Survive a Grizzly Attack!" or something along those lines.  Reading the article, the author simply postulated on which of the current crop of handguns on the market that he would like to have with him if he were ever attacked by a grizzly.  He had never been attacked by a bear, didn't live in grizzly country, and probably had never actually hunted grizzly with a handgun.  All that being said, he used a little common sense, some overall background knowledge in handguns, and some "book learnin'" to make his suggestions.

A friend and I were so tickled by the title and the article that it became our go-to saying for anything we hadn't done but that we spoke of with authority...  Skydiving?  You know that the rectangle ones are much more steerable than the old GI round ones.  I learned that parachuting in to the wilderness to fight a grizzly.  Visiting Cuba?  All you have to do is get a loose passport page from the State Dept. saying that you are thinking of traveling to the Middle East and want to visit Israel before you go to the Arab countries.  Then you go to Canada and fly direct to Havana using the loose page, and all your passport shows is a trip to the Great White North.  I heard about some grizzlies down there that needed a butt whoopin'.  You get the idea.

Well, a lot of survival and preparedness writers and bloggers are the same way.  And I count myself that way.  Very few of the "experts" are truly experts basing everything they write on personal experience.  But we study, try different things, learn from others, and live the lifestyle to the best of our current abilities.

I have garden failures, but I learn from my mistakes.  I've never been in a gunfight, but I have seen a number of shooting victims, I'm a combat vet (Marine Corps artillery in Desert Storm), I've had hundreds of hours of training and fired tens of thousands of rounds of ammo, and I have personal friends and acquaintances who have been in shootings and I've spoken with them about it.  I've got storage foods, but not enough.  I have a 72 Jeep with no electronics, commo gear in a Faraday caged ammo can, and redundant cooking and water collection methods all that SHOULD work in the event of an EMP attack. I've attended Dave Canterbury's Pathfinder School, been winter camping, lived outside for about 4 months in Desert Storm, and I've been studying and practicing survivalism since I was in high school in the early 80's.

In short, I'm not an expert, I haven't done it all, but I have done a lot, I've read a lot, and I know a lot of people who know things that I don't.  I learn something in every conversation with them, and I hope they learn from me.  Likewise, I have hundreds of loyal readers who share ideas and lessons with me as well, and I'd assume that they think what I have to say is valuable and credible enough for them to read If It Hits The Fan rather than any of the dozens and dozens of great blogs that are out there.

I encourage you to use the "Grizzly Fighting" standard when you evaluate anything that you hear or read from an "expert" or "authority" on a subject.  Are they basing it on personal experience?  Are they using common sense, background knowledge and learned information?  Or are they just spouting wild theory, imagination and guesses?


EMP BOV Update

The Commando Build Continues

I did some more work on the 72 Jeep Commando this weekend on the never ending quest to get it ship-shape.  When I first bought it, I replaced the two front shocks.  The steering was VERY squirrelly, and improved considerable.  One of the adventures of driving it was that if I had to slam on the brakes, it would skid to a long stop.  When I went through pursuit driving in the police academy 20 years ago, it was pre-ABS and I had to master the art of pumping the brakes... but at least they were powered.  Not too easy with the manual brakes on the Jeep.  The shocks were so worn that the rubber bushings were not actually in contact with the bolt sleeve, so they slid freely about.  They also had no expansion tension.

Anyway, this week I picked up new rear shocks.  The old ones were much easier to get off than the front ones were.  Those took a breaker bar and a ton of penetrating rust buster.  The rear ones got a quick squirt of rust buster and a regular sized wrench.  I did run into one snag.  The body hung down bit past the edge of the nut on the top of the shocks.  On the first one, I used an open end wrench, and had to use a bottle jack resting on the leaf spring to get it lifted enough to get the new one on.  On the second one, I used chunks of 2x4to brace under the leaf springs.  That gave the bottle jack enough support to lift the body so that I could use a ratchet wrench on the upper nut.

I got the shocks done and took it for a spin.  The ride is much smoother, and I was able to come to a sudden stop with no laying of the rubber.  I guess the improved down pressure lets the tires get better traction and they are less likely to skid and bounce along.  The other improvement is that the lifted the body about 3/4 to one inch higher.

All told, I spent $92 on the four new shocks.  I'm sure it would have cost me $75-100 for labor if I went and had it done.  So, not only did I save some decent money, but I also expanded on my automotive skills.

I really encourage you to learn to do more on your vehicle, whether changing to oil on your daily commuter, or changing out the U-joints in your old pickup that you use on the homestead, anything you can do on your own will save you money, make you more self-reliant, and could be of use after SHTF.


Monthly Task Reminders

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 the tires, belts, hoses and filters on your vehicles?

Adventure at the Restaurant

Central and Eastern Virginia have been under a tornado watch since early afternoon.  Tonight we went out to a Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner, and could see on the TV in the bar section that the Town of Ashland, just north of here was getting hammered by weather.  While waiting for our food, outside turned pitch black, the bar TV lost their satellite signal, and the lights flickered off for a second.  My wife and I discussed what to do if we heard that "freight train" sound that indicates tornado.  I immediately thought of the restroom, but my wife pointed out that everyone in the joint would head for the head (to use a nautical term), so she suggested the kitchen.  I was a bit concerned about knives, pots and pans flying in a tornado, so I thought about the bar and suggested the beer cooler.  We weren't sure if they had a walk-in cooler in the bar, so we went back to my wife's idea with the kitchen and agreed to head for the walk-in freezer.  Yeah, it would be cold in there, but we could take it for 10-15 minutes if a twister was coming.

Next time you are out to eat with the family, think about what you might do if a tornado comes through.