Must Have For The Larder

Product Review: B&M Canned Brown Bread with Raisins

Canned bread?  You betcha!  I vaguely remember as a kid getting a pound cake in a soup-sized can for a rare treat maybe around Christmas?  Anyone else remember this product from the 70s?  Anyway, I've seen this canned bread at the store and been wanting to try it, but just never got around to it.  I finally picked up a can last night and had a few slices with chili for dinner.

It was DELICIOUS!  It would be great to add to your long-term food storage and rotations.  Going by the stamp on the can, it has a three-year shelf life, but I'd certainly feel good about eating it much older than that if it was stored in good conditions.  It has corn products in it, so it surely has GMO corn, but it has NO high fructose corn syrup.  I made three slices, maybe a centimeter or so think, toasted them up, and spread on some butter.  Delicious! It had a nice crisp outside, and moist bread inside.  The raisins made for a really nice flavor and texture.  I could see putting a couple of dozen cans in the pantry, then rotating through them periodically.  During regular times, it makes for a nice addition to a soup or other "bowl" meal, and during bad times, it would be a nice comfort food or treat.  They also have a plain brown bread with no raisins, but I haven't tried them.  At my local store, I paid $2.89, and Amazon has them in 12 packs for $36.  It would be a little cheaper if you went with their monthly program.


Dressing The Part

Ooohhh!  Are You a SWAT Operator?

Today I was at a bullying conference that was mostly attended by principals, counselors and psychologists, but there were a few police school resource officers in the mix.  When I was a cop and we went to training in street clothes, we typically either didn't wear our guns (that was nearly 20 years ago - inexcusable now) or wore nice jeans or khakis with a polo or oxford shirt, and the gun on the belt in a pancake holster.

I've noticed at these school safety conferences over the past few years, that the SROs in the classes seem to have transformed into these "tommy tactical" types with combat boots, BDU or 5-11 trousers, and Underarmor t-shirts... despite NOT being the least bit tactical in physical appearance (and if you've seen me, yes, I guess I am casting proverbial stones and calling the kettle black).  At a summer conference, a deputy was wearing a left-hand inside the pants holster, but it was on his right side, outside of the pants.  His badge was pinned through the nylon holster.  Today, an officer who was rather "dumpy" in appearance, had a Glock in a new-fangled plastic holster, looped to a cheap looking, thin, leather dress belt that had all the strength and support of Jethro's rope belt on Beverly Hillbillies.  That was combined with 5-11 trousers that would have been loose on my big butt.  In these and many other cases, it is as if they feel somewhat inferior because they are "school cops" and they think they need to come across as looking much "cooler" to get respect.  Unfortunately, the opposite happens because they look like someone playing dress up.

I believe there is a need for police in schools.  Not to arrest kids for pot or teach civics, but to be the armed presence when an attack happens and to be able to close with and neutralize the attacker to minimize the loss of life in the building.  I think that the SROs need to be the elite of the police department, with shooting and tactical skills right up there with SWAT.  They need to be fit, agile and highly skilled with their weapons and tools.  We can talk all day about arming staff, but folks, that ain't gonna happen in the vast majority of the US any time soon.

If they are going to dress the part, they ought to be able to back it up.  Who do you want carrying a pistol in your kid's school?  The cop who wants to retire in a few years and the chief figured M-F 7:30-3:30 was a good reward + it keeps him off the street, or the fit, athletic, marksman who can shoot at the top of the department all day long?  Oakleys and a thigh rig do not an operator make.


Everything Old Is New Again

From the November 1984 Survival Guide Magazine

I guess technically, I am violating some copyrights here, but this is a really great column that I stumbled across today and I hope the author and the defunct publishers forgive me.  If they contact me and want me to remove this I will gladly do so.

Be Prepared: In Diversification of Knowledge Lies Strength For The Future - Jerry Younkins

Recently I reread Harold Peterson's magnificent book, The Last of the Mountain Men, (Donald's note - I'm not familiar with this book, but I want to get it ASAP) a biography of Sylvan Hart, who was a heroic figure if ever there was one.  Hart, armed with his engineering degree and rugged individualism, carved a life out of the pristine wilderness that borders the River of No Return in Idaho's back country.  His accomplishments in building a virtually self-sufficient homestead should be mandatory reading fro every survivalist.  Hart built a picturesque house, mined his own ore from which he made his own tools, weapons and kitchen utensils, tanned skins fro his own clothes, and raised, shot or trapped his own food, all in the 20th Century.  Not only did he do what many of us dream about, but he did it with wit and style.

In a similar vein, though at a more mundane level, I have a friend who is a tool and die maker/farmer who can repair anything with scrounged or second-hand materials.  Another friend is a trouble shooter for a large rental outfit.  Don't let anyone ever tell you that it is not a high art form to keep machines running.  By now some of you will have guessed where this is leading.

We live in an age of specialization, but we are headed for the reign of the jack-of-all-trades.  The survivalist, to face the future, must be a renaissance person, ceasing to rely on one trade or skill alone.  This means seeking out new knowledge and skills while using existing ones so they do not atrophy.  It's not easy, particularly while having to earn a living, but there is no such animal as a lazy survivalist.

The survival movement is no longer in its infancy, and by this time the serious proponents of survivalism know that there is more to this than owning camouflage fatigues, an assault rifle and storage foods.  Material goods are no panacea for catastrophe.  They are merely a buffer between the fall and the spring.  Survival is predicated more precisely on the talents and the abilities for the individual, rather than what he may own.  What is in the ind is every bit as important as what is in the hand.

It's time to hit the books, get the hands dirty, and time to budget every precious second.  Can you do basic maintenance and repair on your vehicle, perform CPR, recognized edible plants, run 3 miles, purify poisoned water, use a firearm proficiently, build a shelter, sew, decontaminate yourself, raise a garden, make bread?  This list could go on indefinitely, but for most of us our knowledge and skills are less than infinite.

Diversity is the point and in diversity is strength.  It is not that we are totally independent or self-sufficient, for most of us desire the companionship and support of our friends and neighbors.  No one ever has too much knowledge, and those who wish to take responsibility for their own future must prepare mentally as well as physically.  They budget so they can store, and they study so they can function in an uncertain future.

Much of the free world seems to be drifting like a sleepwalker, and who can argue against this when the average American daily watches a hideous 7 1/2 hours of television, pablum for the brain?  Survivalists are not along for the ride.  Those of us who can repair machines, care for the sick and injured, show others how to grow and store food will be invaluable in future times.

So, I challenge you as I challenge myself to diversify your talents and knowledge.  Your future is in your own hands.  Diversify.

Donald's Comments

This was big stuff in 1984.  Today we talk about such personal diversification as a given when it comes to preparedness.  But how many of us actually do this?  I know that there are many who build homesteads, learn new skills, and network with others.  But there are still a whole lot who still look at guns and storage foods as all they need.  I'm always trying to learn or do new things.  Jack Spirko has started a new program called 13 in Thirteen to encourage folks to learn 13 new skills next year.  I will definitely participate.  I encourage you all to do so as well.

Jerry Younkins, the author of the above article, has written two books on knives.  It looks like one is out of print, but the other is available at a good price from Amazon.


First Look: Kahr CM9

Good Things Come In Small Packages

I mentioned the other day that I had picked up a Kahr CM9.  Kahr suggests a 200 round break in for their pistols, so yesterday evening, I ran 50 rounds through it in the back yard.  I didn't do anything with accuracy, just shooting into a stump at close range to 1. start the break in period, 2. get used to the trigger pull, and 3. see how the recoil was.

Why did I choose the Kahr?  I routinely carry either my NAA .22 mini-revolver and/or my Colt Agent .38.  I wanted something harder hitting than the NAA and more compact than the Colt.  I was leaning toward the Ruger LCP, but they are not easy nor pleasurable to shoot.  A friend suggested the CM9, and research led me to that as a good choice.  It shoots 9mm, so it is compatible with my Glocks and AR, as well as being a decent caliber for defense.  It is slightly heavier than the Agent, but is a lot shorter and thinner.  There are also a ton of holsters available for the CM9.

How were the first 50 rounds?  It has a unique type of double action only trigger pull.  Not at all like the first round of my Sig, and nothing like the trigger on a revolver.  It took a while to get used to it.  There is a very long take up with little resistance until it engages.  But it is smooth and consistent.  I was using Remington 115 gr. FMJ and all 50 rounds fed flawlessly.  The sights are a white bar rear and white dot front, and very easy to line up.  I'll try some actually accuracy next weekend.  The recoil was very easy and not at all what I expected.  Not sharp at all.  The only negative I see is that the magazines are thumb eaters.  But I'll get used to that.

So far, I am very happy with the Kahr CM9.  Check it out if you are in the market for a sub compact 9mm.


Movie Review: Red Dawn (2012)

Not Too Shabby

The original Red Dawn, released in 1984, was a very influential movie in my teen years, and I'd venture to guess that many of today's 35-55 year old preppers got affected the same way as I did.  In 1984, we had all grown up with the threat of nuclear war and the ongoing Cold War.  Central America was under a growing Soviet presence.  Vietnam was a very recent memory.  The Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan using troop transports disguised as Aeroflot commercial aircraft.  Red Dawn brought our deepest fears to life, and gave us hope and motivation.  It showed us the evils of gun registration when the Cuban commander told a lackey to go to the gun shops and collect all of the Form 4473s to find out who in town had bought a gun.  It also warned of the threat from our enemies posing as Mexican illegal aliens to cross our borders.  I watched it at the now-defunct Ridge Cinema several times over that fall as it solidified my survivalism thoughts that had begun forming through American Survival Guide, Jerry Ahern's The Survivalist series, Tappen's Survival Guns and Clayton's Life After Doomsday. The following summer, when I turned 17 and decided to enlist in the Marine Corps, I spent time with my cousin in Idaho and watched Red Dawn many times on his family's VCR while thinking about the Pacific Northwest as an ideal location from which to lead the resistance against the Commies.

Fast forward to a few years ago, when word came down that the long-rumored remake of Red Dawn was in the works... this time with the Red Chinese as the invaders.  A couple of years ago, word came that the movie had been on the shelf while the production company was going through restructuring.  More recently, we found out that the Chinese now owned the movie company, so the invaders were being digitally changed to be North Koreans.  My expectations for the movie were low, but hopeful that they did not make a complete disaster of it.  As the movie's release approached, and I heard more about it and saw some trailers, my hopes were raised a bit.

Well, today my wife and I went to see it.  Thumbs up all the way around.  It is a really good movie that pays tribute to the original without copying it completely... and definitely without mocking it.  The characters were basically the same as the original, but the details were different.  I was doubtful that they could make the North Koreans a believable invader, but as the story goes along, we learn more about the war and the NK allies, and it becomes somewhat plausible.  The action was great (although it was more "stunty" than realistic).  There were even a couple of humorous spots, including one at the local Subway restaurant and one with a deer that pokes a bit of fun at the original.  When one of the kids shouted "Wolverines" after a successful attack, several in the theater cheered.  The end of the movie was different than the original, but actually ended on a more positive note.

Go see Red Dawn.  If you saw the original in the theater, take your kids to this one then watch the original together.  Talk to them about the state of the world in the mid 80s and how Red Dawn affected you, then talk about the state of the world today and what the new movie means.  Or, just get a Coke and a bag of popcorn and enjoy a great action flick.



Prepper Ponderings

The Armory

I made two additions to the armory this week that I'll do reviews on soon.

The first is the Kahr CM9 - one of the smallest and lightest 9mm pistols on the market - it is slightly heavier than my Colt Agent, but much thinner and shorter, and carries an additional round.  Kahr suggests a 200 rnd break in period, so I'll get that done this weekend and bring you a review next week.

I also got a Savage Mk II FVSR - it's a short, lightweight, .22 bolt action rifle - what makes it a "need to have" for my battery is that the reports on this thing are that it is the best value in accuracy for the price (MSRP about $260).  It has a fluted bull barrel (threaded for a suppressor) that is also fully free-floated.  It comes with a 5 rnd magazine, but a 10 rounder is available.  The AccuTrigger is adjustable from 2.5 - 4.5 lbs. of pull.  No sights, but it has a rail for mounting your choice of optics - I'm leaning toward a Bushnell 3-9x.  Once I get my glass mounted, I'll do a full report.

Really Old School Survivalism

I just finished rereading the classic survivalism adventure novel, Robinson Crusoe, first published in 1719.  I've had my particular copy since I was a little kid, and it was published in 1949 and still has it's dust jacket.  I've probably read it at least 20-25 times over the years.  It's appropriate for young children (there is some cannibalism and killing in it) and also enjoyable by adults.  You can get it free on Kindle, or a printed copy still today.  It's been estimated that over 700 editions of it have been published over the years, one of the most published books ever.

Oil Lamps?

My Dad was cleaning out some excess stuff and last night gave us three quart bottles of lamp oil.  I've got four or five oil lamps, and a couple of Aladdin mantle lanterns, along with extra wicks, mantles and chimneys.  Is there still a place for these?  With modern LED and rechargeable battery technology, I don't know if the smelly open flames are worth it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to get rid of these.   But I don't know that I would recommend a new prepper get any.  I think there are other safer and better options out there.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm Thankful For...

First and foremost, my lovely and wonderful wife.  She has a tremendous amount of patience with my prepping and other hobbies, and she is the reason I prep.

I'm also thankful for you all taking time out of your days to read this blog, leave comments, send me emails, and even travel to public events to say hi.  When I started this two and a half years ago, I never would have guessed that I'd be reaching so many folks and having an impact on the preparedness community.  Thank you for making me a part of your days.

Christmas Shopping

As you do your shopping, can I ask a favor?  Please visit our sponsors and affiliates to see if they can fill your needs.  Please tell sponsors that you heard about them here at If It Hits The Fan.  On the affiliates, please use the links in the right column to reach them.  That automatically shows that you came from here, and I earn a small commission for purchases you make.  Same thing with Amazon.  If you enter Amazon through my links or my Amazon Store, I'll earn a small commission off of everything you buy, even it is something completely unrelated to my link, just so long as you enter through my link.  It doesn't cost you anything extra and the commissions help me buy products to review or additions to my preps.  Thanks!

If you need some gift ideas (or some things to add to your wish lists) simply go to the search box in the right column and enter "book review" or "product review" (I guess you could enter "review" and get all of them) to be linked to a list of all of my reviews.

Revolution on NBC

We watched this week's episode last night.  It wasn't the best one of the series, a pretty dumb premise for the major issues this week.  I did like this week's tribute to old TEOTWAWKI movies.  One of the rebels was General Starkey.  In The Postman, President Starkey was the fictional president of the Reformed United States that the Postman read made up letters from to motivate town's people.  "Stuff's getting better, stuff's getting better every day."

I hope that each of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Hunting or Harvesting?

Is Harvesting Game A Bad Thing?

I'll start with saying that I am not a hunter.  I've been deer hunting a few times, never got one.  I'm not opposed to it, but I am opposed to getting up at 4 a.m. to go sit in the cold.  I really would like to become more of a hunter, certainly a skill I should develop.

I am against "slob hunters" that trespass on private land, shoot across roads, cut fences, and leave trash behind.  I don't have any desire to hunt deer with dogs, but I don't care if someone else does.  I admire a big rack mounted on the wall, but I hope the hunter also used the meat and did not waste any parts of the animal that have a use.  I have respect for the animals and believe that they are here for us to use, but not misuse.

All that being said, the deer around here are almost varmints.  They are overrunning this area.  Since summer, my wife and I have had a combined four wrecks with deer.  She totaled her car missing one and did $2,000 damage to her newer car a few weeks later hitting one.  I did $2,500 damage hitting one a few weeks ago, and tapped another with my bumper just last week (no damage on that one).

There are some bad genes in the area too.  Some deer are almost albinos and others are what the locals call "hot rods."  The have stubby front legs and regular rear legs, so the herd definitely needs thinning.

That leads me to my moral question... is it ever OK to not "hunt" them, but to "harvest" them to make the roads safer and put some meat on my table?  In the back part of our property, there is a depression that is a deer trail leading to the neighbor's pond.  I know it isn't sporting, but would it be bad for me to build a tree stand over the trail, and lay in wait?  Shooting straight down on one from just a few yards away?

I'd really like some feedback on this from experienced hunters.  What do you think?


Gang Violence

Best Prep Is Staying Away

If you are a long time reader, you know that I work in school safety for a large, urban school district.  Yesterday evening, we had a 13 year old boy shot and killed in broad daylight.  Since I started working there about 6 and a half years ago, this is the 22nd student to get murdered.  That is a terrible statistic, and I really feel for their families.  However, the majority of those that have been murdered have done something to get themselves in that position.  Only a few were "innocent victims."

Gang violence is a scourge that is really destroying our cities (and is gaining ground in suburban and rural areas as well).  It's often a combination of poverty, broken homes, drugs, media influence and even generational tradition... but it also draws in upper-middle class kids from "good" homes.

I often speak to PTA groups or individual parents and the best way to keep kids out of the gang life is to be involved with them.  Ask questions; know their friends and their friends' families; monitor and participate in their social media; spend time with them.  There is a cop-out saying from the "career" parents who say that quality time is more important than quantity time.  That's BS.  All and any time with your kids is important... as much as possible. 

Having your kids involved with sports or activities is fine, but it can't substitute for time with you.  If you don't spend time and be involved with your kids, someone else will.  And that someone is likely to be a piece of garbage.

I'm sure that the vast majority of If It Hits The Fan readers don't need to hear this, but pass it around to your neighbors and coworkers who think that their kids are immune to bad influences because they are on the honor roll or go to church.

Sorry for the downer this evening.


Product Review: More MREs

I Highly Recommend You Add These To Your Larder

I had two more of the MREs from www.MealKitSupply.com today and the one yesterday was not a fluke.  So far, everything I've had either meets or exceeds my expectations.

This morning I had:
  • Pork Sausage Patty with Maple Flavoring - not bad... not Jimmy Dean, but not bad - it was a little "hammy" tasting like the sausage patties from Cracker Barrel - I like those, my wife doesn't care for them that much - the maple flavor was pretty good - it was better than the scrapple with maple syrup I had at a diner the other day for lunch
  • Hashbrowns with Bacon - good flavor, consistency was similar to a microwave breakfast - tons better than the old MRE potato cakes
  • Strawberry Toaster Pastry - I opened up the OD foil retort packaging and was amazed to find a genuine, honest-to-goodness Kellogg's Pop Tart in a secondary package - it was smushed flat from the vacuum packaging, but the same Pop Tart taste that we all know and love
  • Wheat Snack Bread - I tried toasting it today and spread some butter on it with my...
  • Peanut Butter - this was the creamy, and just as I recalled from the old days - nothing wrong with it, but I liked the crunchy yesterday a lot better - on the toast with some butter and honey, it was all pretty good
  • Orange Electrolyte Drink Powder - didn't try this
  • Cocoa Beverage Powder - better than yesterday, no grit at all - I probably didn't shake it up enough yesterday
I liked the oatmeal meal yesterday better, but this would be welcome in a SHTF situation.

For lunch I had:
  • Chicken with Noodles and Vegetables in Sauce - this was a spicy, Asian dish - very tasty - the chicken chunks were good, not gristly, and the sauce had a nice tang to it
  • Fried Rice - this was very similar to that Uncle Bens that you microwave right in the bag and its ready to go - not bad - it was better when I mixed the chicken sauce in with it
  • MRE Cracker - hasn't changed a bit since the  mid-80s
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter - this stuff rocks - I forgot to try my old recipe from the Corps... take an MRE cracker, spread the peanut butter on it, then take the cocoa powder and just moisten it ever so slightly to make a chocolaty paste, spreading it on the cracker as well - you end up with a chocolate peanut butter pie worthy of the Thanksgiving dinner table... well, maybe not that good, but still a nice change up
  • Grape Beverage Powder - pretty tasty, close to grape kool aid
  • Cocoa Beverage Powder - same as for breakfast
  • Vanilla Pudding - I was real interested in trying this - it was a powder in a pouch, and called for a few ounces of water, shaking it up for 60 seconds, then some final mixing with a spoon - it was a nice, thick pudding consistency, great vanilla flavor, and an all around great dessert

MealKitSupply sells a case of 12 of these MREs for $129.95.  At first glance, that seems kind of expensive, but they have free shipping, and these MREs are fresh (The ones they currently have for sale were made in September).  You won't get MREs this fresh at the gun show.  With the right storage, you'll get at least 5 years of shelf life.  With average storage conditions, you'll still get 3-5 years with optimal taste and consistency, and easily several more years where they are still in pretty good shape.  I've had garage stored MREs that were 8 years old, and I really couldn't tell that they were that old.

I'd encourage you to look at getting a case for each adult or teen family member and perhaps one case for every two young children.  They are just the ticket for a multi-day power outage or a home evacuation (and also great for camping, hunting, canoe trips, search & rescue operations, and other outdoors activities) after a few years, get some new ones and use the older ones during a family weekend grid down drill.  These MREs would also be great to have a few extra cases stocked up for those in-laws or co-workers who might show up unexpectedly during a SHTF situation.

Give MealKitSupply a visit, and if you order from them, please tell them you heard about them at If It Hits The Fan.

Music To My Ears

I was out in the front yard burning some leaves this evening when I heard a familiar sound coming down the road.  It seems that someone in the area has a full auto Thompson Submachinegun.  It was definitely a .45 caliber full auto, and the cyclic rate was pretty slow, so I ruled out a M3 and an Ingram.  Wish I knew who it was... and that they'd invite me over to play.


Product Review: Commercial MREs

These Things Have Gotten Better!

I recently received a sample case of MREs from www.MealKitSupply.com to review for you, and so far I am pleasantly surprised.

As a bit of history, MREs came to the military in the mid 80s, with a rather limited choice of menus that were also of limited taste.  By the early 90s and Desert Storm, the quality had gotten better, and there was a larger variety in the menu, but most people still weren't real keen on them.  A common joke was that MRE stood for "Meals Rejected by Ethiopians." In the late 90s, as folks were stocking up for Y2K, they started including water activated heaters in each MRE pouch.  Sometime after that, it became illegal to sell military MREs on the civilian market.  You can still find them every now and then at the gun show, and if you have access to the military commisary system, you can buy them there.  That law brought about "civilian" MREs, that are typically componants from military suppliers packed slightly differently and thus legal for sale.

The MREs from MealKitSupply come very securely packed in a heavy cardboard box with the packing date encoded (mine was from mid-February 2012) and the box menus printed on the side.

Some initial observations:
  • The heaters are different than they used to be.  I don't recall ever using the old heaters.  IIRC, it was a pouch with some sort of metal sheet in it.  You put water in it to activate the heater, then put the MRE entree pouch inside of it in the water.  With these new ones, they have a fabric thing with a dozen small pouches of some material.  You just put in a couple of ounces of water, then wrap the heater pouch around the entree pouch.
  • There is a much wider variety of meals, especially with the addition of breakfast foods, and different deserts and sides.  No more freeze dried blocks of pears or "gorilla cookies."
  • The accessory packs no longer include two "chicklets" or the little packs of toilet paper.
This morning I had:
  • Apple Maple Rolled Oats - the idea of oatmeal was a lot more appetizing than the old 90s era ham omelet - I used the heater and it worked like a champ - it smelled delicious - I dumped it out of its pouch into a bowl and it looked funny, but once I stirred it around a bit, it looked like oatmeal that even a grandmother would be happy to serve - it tasted great
  • Zapplesauce - applesauce fortified with maltodextrin - consistency and flavor was just like some good old Motts or White House applesauce from the grocery store
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie - it was about 3.5 inches in diameter and tasted just as good as a Chips Ahoy or other similar store bought cookie
  • Wheat Snack Bread - this was a new one for me - 20 years ago, you could sometimes get ahold of a piece of MRE white bread that was sort of like stale angle food cake, but other than that, it was crackers in the MREs - this bread was sort of like a Pepperidge Farms sandwich thin, perhaps a little denser - it wasn't great just out of the pouch, but would probably be really good toasted up with some butter on it
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter - this stuff was good!  The old MRE peanut butter spread was not too great, but not too bad either, kind of like generic discount bin peanut butter - this new crunch peanut butter was really tasty - I spread it on the bread
  • Cocoa Beverage Powder - easy to mix with a few ounces of water and shake up in the zippered pouch - pretty good flavor, a little gritty, but not bad at all
  • Fruit Punch Electrolyte Beverage Powder - I'm not a big fan of Gatorade and the like, but this was easily an equal to it - much better than the old generic "kool aid" type drink powder that MREs used to have
The entire meal was about 1,300 calories, so in a very active breakdown situation, three meals a day would give you plenty of nourishment, and the case has enough for four days.  In a hunker down and shelter situation, just one or two meals a day would keep you going.

Tomorrow I'm having a pork sausage breakfast and another selection for lunch, and will give you another review.

Check out www.MealKitSupply.com and you can click on either the US or Canada button to get information on buying their MREs in either country.

Revolution on NBC

We don't get local network channels on our DirecTV, so we watch the TEOTWAWKI drama, Revolution a few days later on Hulu.  Did you see it this past week and catch the homage to The Road when they showed the half-buried grocery cart in the beach sands of Galveston, Texas?


Computer Problems

Should Be Back Up

About a week or so ago I got some malware or a virus or something on my computer trying to download the bomb shelter episode of Happy Days.  I've had minimal use of the computer since then, so blog posts have been spotty.  It is supposedly good to go now, but I need to reinstall some programs and links.

I've got a couple good product reviews planned for this weekend, so be sure to check back both days.

As Bartles and Jaymes used to say, "Thank you for your support."


Accident... Or Negligent

What's In A Name?

A Facebook page today posted this picture:


and asked who had an "accidental" discharge.
I left a comment telling my story, but challenged their terminology.  I am an advocate for the term "negligent discharge."  I believe that by calling something an accident, it removes personal responsibility.  Kind of like saying, "he made a mistake" when talking about a guy getting arrested.  No, he didn't make a mistake, he used poor judgement.  If you pull the trigger on your gun without intending to, then you are negligent.  I might give an "accident" to someone who is doing everything right, but the gun has an unanticipated malfunction... if all other safety precautions were in place and the bullet impacts in a safe location.
I also think that using the term "accidental" discharge gives ammo - no pun intended - to the anti-gunners.  "See, these guns shouldn't be owned because it is so easy to have an accident with them."  It's just semantics, but I really believe that we need to take ownership of our screw-ups and accept blame where due.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have had one negligent discharge.  I was 14, and at my dad's house alone.  I had my Raven P25 automatic out ($39.99 brand new in the early 80s) and was messing around with it, seeing if I could get the firing pin to stay all the way forward, trying to set it up for a full magazine of slam firing... OK, really stupid I know, but that's what happens with 14 year old boys left alone with their pistols.  Anyway, I was doing this at the kitchen table, watching a little 12 inch black and white TV.  I get done with my experiment, and Happy Days comes on with the flipping records.  I started some dry fire practice on the pictures, racking the slide after each trigger pull.  Apparently, I then put a full magazine in the well, getting ready to put the gun up.  But then a commercial for Crystal Light drink mix came on and I forgot that I had put a mag in, so as I tried to dry fire on the dancers moving about the screen... BLAM!  A .25 caliber hole, right smack in the middle of the screen.  There was a part of the copper FMJ on the floor beside my leg that had gotten shaved off by the glass.  The rest of the bullet was inside the TV.  Needless to say, it scared the crap out of me, and I got in some trouble... but not as much as one would expect.  It also gave me a valuable lesson.  Thirty years later, I've handled guns almost daily and put tens of thousands of rounds down range, and I've never had another ND. 
Anyone care to share their ND stories and lessons learned in the comments?
Silver Sharpie
I like to mark things... containers, boxes, multiple units...  Label makers are fine, but they can get expensive, and the label tape doesn't always stick if the item is a little rough textured.  Most folks have a black Sharpie marker around the house, perhaps even multiple colors.  The problem is that these colors don't show up on dark backgrounds.  At work for the past few months I have been inventorying and labeling all of our UHF radios.  I found these metallic silver Sharpie markers and really like them.  They show up nicely, and can go on any surface.  Around the preps, they are great for labeling pistol or rifle magazines (if you have one that doesn't feed great, you can label it and just use it for plinking, or label all of them to rotate what you keep loaded), Rubbermaid bins, canned goods, or pretty much anything else that doesn't have a light colored background.


Product Review: ENO Double Nest Hammock

This Ain't Your Outer Banks Rope Hammock

I've always been a little skeptical of hammocks for camping or other outdoors activities.  When I was younger, the choices were pretty much limited to the traditional rope hammock, or the Vietnam jungle hammock with the mosquito net and cover.  The rope one was too bulky and heavy to tote into the boonies, and the jungle hammock just looked terribly uncomfortable for anyone who was on the larger size.

Last Christmas my wife gave me the Double Nest Hammock from ENO (Eagles Nest Outfitters).  I'm ashamed to say that I never got around to setting it up, but I took care of that this past Sunday afternoon.  It was about 65 degrees, a light breeze, and nice and sunny... an amazing November afternoon.  I carried the hammock in its compact stuff sack out to the woods behind the house and found a shady spot between two stout trees.

I was a bit concerned not to find any directions in the sack, but took less than five minutes to get it set up.  Now that I've done it once, I am fully confident that I can do it in just a minute or two next time.  Basically, you wrap a web strap around each tree.  The straps are adjustable for various size trees and distances.  The ripstop nylon hammock unfurls and has a caribiner on each end that clips into the strap, and that's it.  You're ready.  The Double Nest is nice and wide, and rated for 400 pounds.  It's available in a huge range of colors.  I sunk down into it like a cocoon and settled in for a nice 45 minute nap. 

It was comfortable, secure, and easy to set up and take down.  It is compact and lightweight, so it can easily go in your backpack if hiking, or in your bug out bag.  Whether for naps in the back yard, or camping in the wilderness, the ENO Double Nest is going to be a great Christmas present for that special person.

The Devil's Waters

I've known renowned novelist, David L. Robbins, since I was about 7 years old.  Probably his best known book is War of the Rats, which the movie, Enemy at the Gates, was based on.  Today his latest novel makes its debut, The Devil's Waters.  It is an exciting look at the USAF parajumpers and takes place in the heart of pirate country off the coast of Africa.  David strives for realism in his novels and painstakingly researches them.  For this novel, he actually hitched a ride on a merchant vessel going through those dangerous waters and also spent time with real PJs.  If you like well written literature and fast paced adventure, I think you'll really enjoy this book.


Veterans' Day Tribute

Family Tradition

I want to take a moment to recognize my family members who have served our nation over the past 100 years.

Mexican Punitive Expeditions
Great Great Uncle Dudy Pace, Virginia Militia
Great Grandfather Jimmy Wells, Virginia Militia

World War II
Grandfather Monroe Wells, Army Air Corps
Great Uncle Bill Flournoy, Army
Great Uncle Norm Donart, Army
Step Dad Paul Fleming, Navy

Cold War
Dad Gary Green, Washington National Guard
Uncle John Wilson, Army
Uncle Jim Wells, Army Reserve
Cousin Jason Donart, Marine Corps

Cold War/Persian Gulf War
Me, Marine Corps Reserve

Global War on Terror
Nephew Patrick Fleming, Army

To all veterans, peacetime and war, active or reserve, thank you.

Gun Show Report

Went to the Richmond Gun Show with my neighbor yesterday at the NASCAR track.  The parking lot was full and the show was crowded, as I expected.  But once we got in and started looking around, I noticed that it was not the post-election feeding frenzy that I expected.  There were ARs, AKs and pistols in every configuration and price range readily available.  Magazines were abundant, and prices have not yet started climbing (TAPCO AK mags for 6.95, factory Glock 18 mags for 29.99, MAGPUL AR mags for 12-14).

Ammo was available by the case lot in pistol calibers, but you had to look around to find it in rifle calibers.

Probably the most noticeable thing was the lack of people walking around with guns for sale.  Normally, there are a bunch of guys wandering the aisles with a rifle or shotgun slung over their shoulder with a for sale sign on a dowel rod sticking out of the barrel.  There were not many of those at all.  Seems like people want to keep what they have.  However, I was one of them... more on that later.

The only thing that I bought was a Swedish Mora knife.  I got the carbon steel blade with the OD/black synthetic grip.  I've been wanting one for a long time and was happy to find it for $20.  The Mora is probably the best general purpose knife you can get for that low of a price.  It shaved my arm closer than a three-blade Gillette razor.  Although, as I now see, I could have gotten it cheaper on Amazon!

Rifle For Sale

I need to make some adjustments in the gun safe.  I've got a PTR91, which is the American made clone of the venerable HK91/G3 main battle rifle in .308/7.62x51.  It is made with many HK parts, and a chrome lined match grade barrel.  This one has the 18" barrel and the aluminum foreend capable of taking rails and other attachments.  It is like new, less than 100 rounds through it, and for $2150 I'm including over 1,000 rounds of ammo and 26 very nice surplus magazines for it.  I'll make that deal face to face with a Virginia resident and will meet you anywhere in the area bordered by Charlottesville, Fredericksburg and Hampton.  If you are not a Va. resident, I'll send you the magazines and send the rifle to your local FFL dealer, for $1,400 (includes the shipping costs).  Shoot me an email here if you are interested and want pics or anything.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

237 Years of Honor and Glory

I'm late getting this out tonight because I went to my old Marine Corps unit's annual reunion.  I just want to wish all my fellow Marines a happy birthday, and lift a toast to all Marines past and present, with a special honor to those who are in harm's way and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

I'll do a bigger post later on Sunday with a report on my trip to the Richmond gun show on Saturday and my annual Veterans' Day tribute.

Semper Fi!


Follow Ups

What Gun Should You Get?

In response to the election, the most recent winner of Top Shot, Dustin Ellermann, just posted a link to a multi-part blog post he did about a year ago entitled "What Gun Should I Get?"  This is a great place to send your friends and family who might be ready to buy that first gun.

I also found this post he did about a legal way to convert an oil filter to a suppressor.  The crew in the video makes and sells an adapter to connect your threaded barrel to a standard automotive oil filter.  The adapter is what is registered and taxed ($200) by the BATF and you need to go through all of the rigmarole using a Class III dealer, but the adapter only costs $75.  Note: Do Not Try To Make Your Own Adapter Or Make A Silencer/Suppressor Without BATF Approval - It Is A FELONY!!

Dustin has some really good information on his Texas Fish&Game blog, and I encourage you to check it out.  He also seems like a genuinely good guy.

More On Why You Don't Want To Go To A Shelter

Last month I wrote a post about what it is actually like inside of a community disaster shelter.  This link from today's Drudge Report, is to an article looking at a NJ shelter that is little more than a refugee camp.

This article details how NY authorities are looking at reopening a closed prison to use as an emergency shelter... and the citizen they interviewed seemed like he'd be just hunky dory staying in a prison with his family.  I just don't understand.

Please encourage your family and friends to prepare so that they don't have to resort to living in a tent compound or a prison.

Prop 37

The other day I mentioned my support for Proposition 37 in California that would mandate food manufacturers to identify products that contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).  It was soundly defeated thanks to over $40 million in advertising and lies put out by Big AG and Big Pharma.  Here's an article from examiner.com that details which companies paid how much.  Why don't they want us to know about the GMO in our foods?


So, What's Next?

It's Time To Buckle Down And Get Serious

There are tough times ahead.  Get ready for inflation, further unemployment, gun control, higher taxes, and so on.

Here are some of my immediate suggestions...

1.  If you don't need it, sell it or donate it.  Go through those closets, the garage, the storage bins, and look for things that you don't have a use for, but that someone else might.  If it is worth something, get it on Craig's List, eBay or to the auction house.  Apply that money to debt, preps, precious metals or cash.  If it is not worth selling, donate it to charity and write it off your taxes.

To that end, we are selling our land in Wyoming.
Here's a link to the real estate agent's video
It's not great as a BOL, but would be very good for a bug-in home to live in in a safe area. It's 12+ acres, at the end of state-maintained gravel road in a subdivision of about 40 or so lots, all 8-15 acres, with only about a dozen houses built. You can see I-80, but not hear it. About 20 miles to the East is Cheyenne, and if the sun is right, you can see it glint on gold plated capitol dome. Looking off to the Southwest, you see the snow capped peaks of the mountains. It's just a few miles from Curt Gowdy state park and Veeduva national forest rock climbing area, both with miles of trails, off roading, and places to shoot. The next exit toward Cheyenne is a huge outdoor shooting range facility, and they just opened a municipal shooting facility on the other side of town. There is an Air Force base in town and a VA medical center if you are a retired veteran. We love the area and the people, but our life has changed, and we just don’t ever see us getting out there for good. The land is available for a steal, and we just lowered the price again. If you go to Cheyenne, go the historic Plains Hotel’s Capital Grill (Ted Kennedy once got drunk in there and fell off the bar stool trying to grab a waitress’s rear end) and have the Monte Cristo sandwich… best I’ve ever had.

2.  Build your preps, but don’t go into debt to do it. Cash is king. Cash is really king if you are buying guns face-to-face and off paper.

3.  Shut up. If you are known as being vocal about your dissatisfaction with the government, you’ll be on their radar. Same thing with your preps. If you are known as the “gun guy” or the “food storage lady,” they’ll know who to come looking for. I’m pretty much screwed.

4.  Don’t freak out. Yep, times are going to be tough. But that would be the case no matter who won yesterday. Think things through, discuss them with your spouse, and take deliberate action.

Going To The Gun Show?

If you are near central Virginia, we have the first post-election gun show at the NASCAR track this weekend.  I'll be there Saturday morning wearing an OD green boonie hat and a black & gray jacket with the If It Hits The Fan logo on it.  Watch the FB page if you want to meet up.

Got Ammo?

Another type of precious metal is brass and lead.  Bulk Ammo has a discount code for readers all month.  Use IIHTF at check out to save $10 off of any purchase over $100.  The code is good once per customer. 


Prepper Ponderings

Yes on Prop 37

I really hope Proposition 37 passes in California.  This will require food manufacturers to identify foods that contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).  They have to tell us how much sugar, fat, protein and vitamins are in our food, but not if they contain GMO products that have an unknown affect of humans.  Funny how Big-Ag and Big-Food are so against the idea...  If it passes in California, then the manufacturers will likely label all products nationwide.  It just isn't worth it to them to have separate labels just for California.  I seldom am in favor of new laws, and even rarer that I am in favor of something coming out of California, but this is a good law for consumer information.

Election Fraud?

This morning, we went to vote at the church down the road from us.  I was the 26th person of the morning.  My wife was in front of me and another guy was in front of her.  We use paper ballots, and each person gets a manila folder with a ballot in it.  Both my wife and the other guy had two ballots in their folders.  They were honest and turned the extras back in, but if it is happening to one out of every 13 voters, how many will not be honest?  Will the results show that 478 people voted today, but they ended up with 514 ballots?  When I called the state election board to report it, the lady literally said, "What the Hell?"  I try not to attribute to malice what can be written off as incompetence, but this is ridiculous.

Before Doomsday Preppers

If you like classic TV, check out the Twilight Zone episode, The Shelter
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

There was also a season 1 episode of Happy Days called "Be The First on Your Block" where Howard invited a bomb shelter salesman to meet with the family and discuss building a shelter for the family.  It used to be on YouTube, but I can't find it now.

This video from the History Channel shows a newsreal clip of the first model homes in a 1950s subdivision to feature built-in bomb shelters.

All of this reminds me of my 100th post that I did some time ago where I shared all of my Great Grandfather's notes from his shelter that he built in 1961.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Election Eve

What's Going To Happen?

I don't know who is going to win.  I don't even know if it is going to be close or a blowout.  I do know that the next four years are going to suck and be very difficult no matter if Obama or Romney wins.  Both have a history of supporting gun control.  Both have pushed socialized medicine.  Obama is against people being prepared and not dependent upon the government.  His Dept. of Homeland Security has deemed preppers to be indicators for possible terrorist activity.  Romney is a Mormon, and you'd think that he would support self reliance, but I've never heard him mention it.

Some say that a vote for anyone except Romney is a vote for Obama.  Others say voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.  I can certainly understand why a person would vote for Romney, even if they don't like him and don't agree with much of what he stands for.  I can't bring myself to vote for Romney.  I will vote for Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate.  He won't win, but I agree with the vast majority of what he stands for.  With the other two, I just don't agree with their positions.

Whomever you vote for, I hope you vote for the candidate that you truly agree with.  No matter who wins, we are in for tough times and it will be good to be a prepper. 

Kill that debt, fill that pantry, and get those off paper guns in the safe.

As we move into Wednesday, stay alert to any violence or disorder in your area.  There is a good chance that things will get ugly.


Rough Week

Back to Normal Tomorrow

I know we didn't get the full wrath of Sandy here, but after last weekend and into Monday, this has been a really hectic and tiring week.  So, count this as somewhat of a vacation week for me, and I'll get back to regular postings tomorrow.

Thanks for the patience, and in the mean time, don't forget about the $10 off any purchase of $100 or more using discount code IFITHITSTHEFAN at Bulk Ammo (one use per customer, expires 11/30/12).


Prepper Ponderings

Home Ec Boot Camp?

Do you have have one of those dreams, right as you are waking up, where you have what seems like a fantastic idea, and you are half-way lucid?  I've had ideas for novels like that, but I can never remember them after I am awake.  A couple of mornings ago, I had what I think is a great idea, and actually kept thinking about it after I woke up.

When I was in middle school, we had to take 9 weeks of shop class, home ec, art, and music in (I think) the 6th grade, then choose one of those to take for a full class in the 7th.  Do they even have home ec anymore?  I learned how to iron, sew on patches and buttons, and do some basic cooking.  There are a whole lot of 20- and 30-somethings these days that don't have those basic household skills.  Going back even farther, into the 50s and 60s, girls learned to become skilled at sewing and repairing clothes, cooking full meals from scratch, making cleaning supplies from items in the cupboard, and so-on.

Jackie Clay, a writer at Backwoods Home Magazine, recently had a week long homesteading academy on her off grid, off road homestead up in Minnesota.  That might be too in-depth for most folks, but what if someone were to make a week long, or several weekends long, homesteading-lite school for men and women (or kids too).  It would include the basic sewing skills, not how to slaughter and butcher, but how to debone a whole chicken, how to properly can, freeze and dehydrate foods for storage, natural cleaning supplies, homeopathic first aid, spices and herbs from the garden, generator function and hook up, changing tires and oil, working a small chainsaw... types of things that we really ought to know how to do, but that are sometimes kind of hard to get the information on for hands on instruction...  things that are just as useful in the suburbs or slightly rural locations as they are off the grid.

It's not something I have the time or gumption to start up, but I'd love to go to such a class in my area.  I'd bet folks could start up such classes through their local parks & rec, extension agents, or even community colleges.


Have any of you ever taken an Appleseed marksmanship course?  I've heard it is fantastic training for the novice shooter, or like me, a former Marine marksman who has probably forgotten a lot and let my rifleman skills get a little rusty.  My wife and I will probably take the course next year.  If you have done it, I'd love to get a guest post from you about the experience.

Ammo Discount for Readers

Whether you need ammo for the post-election buying spree, Christmas gifts, or just to top off your supplies, Bulk Ammo is a great source.  They have been kind enough to offer a discount to our readers.  Simply enter the code IFITHITSTHEFAN at checkout and you'll save $10 off of any purchase of $100 or more.  The code can be used once per customer, and expires 11/30/12.


Monthly Task Reminders

It's Just Past 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?

Please Share Your Sandy Stories

I hope all of our readers who were in the path of Sandy made it through OK.  I'd love to hear from you and post your stories (anonymous if you wish), even if it is just to say that you were ready and avoided any major issues.  Please email me your stories here, and I'll put them all in to one post on Sunday evening.