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Aquaponics is the combination of two food growing methods to make a more sustainable and independent system that has many benefits for a prepper. Hydroponics, or growing plants without soil and aquaculture, or farming aquatic animals, are combined so that the animal waste feeds the plants.

It’s a little more complicated, but first let’s talk about why preppers should learn about aquaponics in the first place. After, all it seems complicated, right? Is it worth it?

Why Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a great solution for producing food in some circumstances where the traditional method of growing food in the soil starting in spring just isn’t going to work for you.

Urban preppers are already familiar with the high risks that their environment places them in during SHTF events. Aquaponics can make up for the lack of available soil, cramped conditions, and even the need for secrecy in the suburbs or city.

Aquaponics can produce a lot of food per square foot, and protein too which is especially difficult to source in the city. Having your own source of food in your home will prevent you from taking a risk by going outside in volatile times. An aquaponics system can also be easily hidden, keeping dangerous folks from being drawn to your property.

Rural and urban preppers can gain other benefits from an aquaponics system. It doesn’t use soil, so in a situation where the soil is tainted with a chemical or other hazard, you can still produce food with aquaponics.

The soil may also be unusable, or less productive, if pests have developed, perhaps as a result of a SHTF event, or perhaps just out of bad luck. Aquaponics protects you from many pests too.  

So, perhaps you’re wondering why anyone would use aquaponics over hydroponics in these situations? Well, with the addition of fish and the bacteria that turn their waste into nutrients for your plants, you don’t need the fertilizer that you’d have to use for hydroponics.

So there’s no stockpiling necessary for this system (although you can stockpile aquaponics specific fertilizer and testing materials to help keep the system running, if you wish). You also don’t need a lot of room to make compost.

Aquaponics also has the benefit of providing you protein, where the best vegetables for a hydroponics system are not those that give protein. You could grow beans, for example, in a hydroponics system, but they will need more inputs and won’t do as well as the leafy greens that people normally grow in these systems.

What You Need

1. Sunlight:

The plants still need light to grow, but there are many ways to get them that light. If you have a generator or another source of power you can use lights (specific grow-lights) to sustain your aquaponics system indoors. You can use a skylight or large windows in an urban area. Of course, you can put your system outdoors, but if you do you need to protect the plants and fish from pests and predation.

2. Water:

You’ll be growing the plants in water and keeping the fish in water, of course. You’ll need to have a non-chlorinated method of sterilizing water before you give it to the fish or plants, as the chlorine will harm the bacteria you are relying on to turn the fish waste into plant-ready nutrients.

Aquaponics require a lot of water when you’re starting up, but don’t need to be topped up too often. Research shows that aquaponics uses 90 percent less water than soil gardening.

3. Breeding Pairs of Fish:

You need male and female fish in order to keep sustaining your population.

You should also select the breed of fish carefully, some species do better in captivity than others, some are suited for different temperatures (and must have plants which compliment that), and of course, some are more delicious than others.

Types of Fish

These fish do exceptionally well in captivity, and many new varieties have been bred to deal with different conditions in various aquaponics systems.

Some can withstand colder water, but if you live in a cold climate you’ll won’t be able to heat the water enough after SHTF to keep these guys alive. Solar power systems have been developed for the pumps though.

Many different varieties of perch ensure that you can find one to suit your projected climate and food source. Most species are very nutritious, grow quickly (not the silver), and are omnivorous.

Some, like the silver and yellow, can deal with low temperatures. Perch are good for beginners.

More commercial aquaponics systems use channel catfish than any other fish. This is partly because they grow remarkably quickly and can tolerate heat and cold.

However, channel catfish have no scales so they need to be free from unnecessary handling. When harvesting them, you need to skin them, unlike most other fish.

Trout grow very quickly and prefer cool temperatures. However, they need a very good filtration system and are more sensitive to poor water quality than other fish.

Trout is an ideal for those who already have on aquaponics system up and running.

These fish are not edible, but for those who are only interested in growing vegetables and are not concerned with harvesting fish, these are the easiest and prettiest fish to use.

A few tips on choosing your fish:

4. Bacteria:

As fish give off ammonia from their gills and through their waste, a bacteria has to come and turn that ammonia into nitrite (Nitrosomonas bacteria). Another bacteria has to turn that nitrite into nitrate (Nitrobater bacteria) which the plants can then use.

These bacteria are everywhere, including in the water and air around your aquaponics tanks. Given a small source of ammonia, you could allow the bacteria to naturally develop over a few weeks. Once the bacteria is present you can then add fish.

For speed, and to ensure the right bacteria is cultured, many prefer to buy bacteria starter. You can find it online. When the ammonia is also provided the starter is called cycling material, if not it is just live bacteria. Don’t buy too much– bacteria are living and they will reproduce given time and ammonia.

5. Seeds:

You need plants to grow in your system of course. You should choose plants that need oxygen (ie., aquatic plants won’t work), that you like to eat, and that are suited to your water temperature and target pH. At first, you won’t want plants with large root systems or that have large nutrient requirements, as most systems won’t accommodate either.

Starting with leafy greens is a good idea—they do best. Preppers will also want to consider if their plant can be easily fertilized by hand, because, if indoors, there will be no critters to do it for you. And, getting seed from your own plants will keep the system sustainable in the long term.

Best for Beginners:

Cold Weather/Water Crops:

Challenging but Possible:

This includes fruiting plants and root crops, which need high nutrient density and room.

6. Containers and other hardware

You’ll also need tanks, pumps, and pipes to keep your system in. You can purchase system from various vendors, or you can find many DIY Hydroponics builds that use relatively simple materials plus an air and water pump.

It’s best to take a look around and see what kind of design would work best for your space. Note that most of the builds use IBCs, or Intermediate Bulk Containers, for tanks.

Shawn Paul has a walk-through of his system here:

I’ve been recommended his e-book on the subject many times, I imagine it would be a great resource for building your system.

I also think Rob Bob’s system is great, he’s a very knowledgeable guy about growing in general. You can see his build here:

One of my other favorite DIY Aquaponics builds is just a garbage can, a simple pump, and a plastic tray for the plants. You can find it at Home Aquaponics System.

7. Growing Medium

You actually need two types of growing mediums in an aquaponics system: one for the plants and another for the bacteria. Neither the bacteria nor the plant roots can just be free floating in water. The bacteria need a material to cling to, like aquarium gravel, sand or even specialized bacteria housing material.

For plant growing medium you can use expanded clay balls (or simply expanded clay), which are very popular but more expensive than other options. Gravel, sphagnum moss, coconut fiber, rockwool are all good options too. Just be careful that your gravel isn’t going to dissolve in the water, and test it to ensure it won’t raise the water’s pH. Technically, you could use dirt with some kind of netting, but it is hard to keep the dirt away from the fish.

Keeping it in Balance

Once you cycled your water, started your seeds and added your fish, what more is there to do to ensure the system works? You need to feed the fish, of course, and watch the water quality to ensure that everything is working in balance together.

At first, you will need to test for pH, ammonia, and hardness. If you’ve selected saltwater fish, you’ll need to test for salinity as well. Generally, you’re going to need to keep checking temperature throughout the system’s life.

As you work out the kinks in your system it will stabilize and things won’t change much unless you make a change—which will keep preppers from relying on purchasing test kits or using up precious energy with electronic testers during SHTF events.

Further, as Urban Aquaponic’s amazing review of testing kits note, the plant’s health will indicate to you if anything is deficient in your system. If you need to add anything, it will probably be iron. Unless, that is, you’re trying to grow nutrient-hungry plants like tomatoes or root veggies.

For more information on testing, check out the CTSA’s analysis here.

Further Resources

Final Thoughts

Aquaponics is a relatively new field, where new ideas and start-ups are changing the game (or trying to) all the time. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on, even if it doesn’t fit your needs for prepping right now, it may in the future.

If you enjoyed this article, consider to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of the e-Book, .   Also check out our Facebook page regularly for links to free or almost free eBooks that I personally reviewed just for you.

This content was originally published here.

Over the last few weeks, the TFB crew has discussed a number of times what their End of the World gun would be if they had to just pick one. I was rather torn since I typically carry a 10.5 AR pistol in my truck on a daily basis. The more I thought about it, there’s no way I would be stuck with a really short 5.56 barrel on my end of the world gun. Pete started this series and encouraged everyone to write their perfect gun and for the most part, I agree with Pete’s choices. The main difference between Pete’s choice and mine is the fact I live in the rather flat areas of Michigan.

Living in West Michigan is interesting just for the fact there’s a good mix of wide-open land mixed with urban areas. One thing I will openly admit right now is the fact I oftentimes train with something and fall in love with it. Some of my choices for gear haven’t been changed in over a decade. Honestly, I just enjoy certain pieces of gear because I know how to use them. Don’t get me wrong, I love the latest and greatest but if I need to rely on just one rifle till the end of days, I want every piece of that gear to run flawlessly for as long as possible. Let’s jump into my SHTF rifle for the end times.

Landscape and AOR Overview

West Michigan is an interesting landscape with wide-open fields and farmland that goes on for miles sometimes to dense urban cities and towns. It’s a tough mix when it’s time to pick out a correct barrel length, but it’s an important aspect if you decide to build a rifle specifically for your area.

For my situation, I went between barrel lengths of 13.7-18″ and finally decided on the ultra common 15.1″ 1-7 stainless steel barrel (sarcasm). It’s all fun and games saying you want a full auto belt fed until you have to haul the ammo around. Even a minimalist 308 AR10 rifle gets heavy after hauling it around to the local Costco to grab toilet paper and Cheetos to go back to the safety of mom’s basement.

Base Rifle Specs

The biggest debate for me when putting a SHTF rifle together is going either proven and reliable or modern and lightweight. Some will argue there’s a number of products out there that cover both aspects and there’s no denying that’s true. I decided to go with parts I know will survive any punishment I put it through to build a true go to hell and back type rifle. I took roughly 14 months to piece this rifle together buying from various vendors and companies at either full price or sales when various vendors offered free shipping or promotions. Heres what I decided to build:

Brownells will occasionally get these in stock. I bought mine from them last year

Keep it simple and this is easy to replace down the road.

Simple, reliable, and has a great feel when shouldered.

A mils-pec trigger may not feel the best but they have never let me down and with a good bit of polishing can really feel nice over time.

Reliable and simple.

I installed a Milspec safety selector for simplicity.

Based off the original SOCOM design and is an affordable option compared to the Douglas barrels. Douglas barrels are a great option if you can find the correct barrel length for them.

I did this to keep the gun correct for the RECCE rifle era.

Probably one of the most durable handguard I have ever used. I previously had one on a rifle growing up and it was beat like a red headed stepchild without any issues.

This collar and brake system was one of the cooler pieces of gun tech to come out of the early 2000’s. The suppressor is insanely quiet. More to come on the AEM5 down the road.

Accessories and Modifications

For this build, I decided to keep it simple while leaving room to add accessories I would have on me if certain situations call for it. Adding multiple accessories onto the front can cause the gun to be extremely front-heavy and I would rather have a well-balanced rifle over a bunch of crap I may or may not need. Below is a general list of things I have on the gun and will include the additional accessories below the general accessories.

This is an extremely old optic and is one of my favorite LPVO with the overall size and weight. It may be dated and bulky to today’s standards but it’s been incredibly reliable throughout the years and hasn’t let me down for the 15+ years I’ve owned it.

Vertical Grip – Chopped Down Knights Armament Picatinny Vertical Grip

Knights Armament sells a full-size vertical grip and I ended up chopping it down and reassembling it. If there’s any interest in seeing how to do this, I may write up a how-to tutorial but there’s a number of videos online showing how to shorten the vertical grip.

Back-Up Iron Sights – Troy Industries Metal HK Style Sight Set 

Well built iron sights that are well worth the money. KAC’s sights are also a great option but are very expensive and sometimes hard to find.

I love the overall size of this light and with 500 lumens it’s not the brightest option but has always been bulletproof reliable for the number of years I have used them. I know there are brighter lights on the market but it comes down to it, I would rather use something I can trust with my life and know it’s reliable than something I don’t have experience with.

The basic Surefire tape switch works fine but the dual switch really I nice for momentary or constant light.

The AEM5 suppressor system is almost 20 years old but compared to something like a SilencerCo Saker, it’s definitely a quieter suppressor. If I can get my hands on a DB reader I will do a comparison but it’s a fantastic suppressor and has quite the following still.

The ESD sling is a lightweight quick adjustable sling that’s easy to use. I’ve been using this sling for about 7 months and have had an excellent experience with it.

The downside to running an older style Picatinny rail is the fact there’s not many QD sling attachments built in. The Magpul QD mount attachment makes it very easy to attach a 2 point sling to the rail.

Additional Accessories I Keep With The Gun

Harris is affordable and extremely reliable. The LaRue QD mount makes life way easier for installing and taking the bipod off.

An IR laser can be bulky on a rifle but with night vision is a legitimate game changer and makes life insanely easy to shoot at night.

Magazine Choice and Ammo Selection

Ammo Types

For ammo, I usually look at the twist rate and length to determine what I want to shoot through it. I’ve had great luck shooting 77gr Black Hills Ammo as well as 77gr SIG match grade ammo through it for the longer shots or getting tighter groups. I’ve played around with Federals 69gr Gold Medal Sierra Match ammo as well. With those I will typically have .75-1.25 inch groups at 100 yards with precision ammo.

I have also shot about 1,200 rounds of 62gr SS109 ammo through it with good performance as well. The groups will usually be 1.25-2″ but typically that is loose pack bulk cases so the ammo isn’t exactly consistent.

This Rifle shoots really well with SIG’s 77gr Match grade ammo

For magazines, I often go with a few different metal variants that I’ve used for years. My first choice for magazines are the SureFeed E2 magazines, they are fairly inexpensive and bulletproof reliable. In the past, I have beaten the crap out of these mags during range days and overall wear and tear with zero issues. Typically, you can find them on sale at GunMag Warehouse and Brownells for $12-14 depending on capacity and color.

If the SureFeed magazines are out of stock, I will often buy the C-Products DuraMag as an alternative. The C Products Defense magazines are a great option as well. I have never had issues in the past and usually, these will be less expensive than the SureFeed magazines. Typically, the magazines will be $9.99-12.99 depending on where you go.

The base rifle without a suppressor is incredibly balanced with most of the weight being right around the magwell. I tried to keep the front clean of accessories to keep the front end weight low, but even with a suppressor, it’s still extremely well balanced. Don’t get me wrong, I love a 13-15″ M-LOK rail on a rifle but a shorter rail does keep the accessories and weight further back.  Shooting this rifle is surprisingly easy with the suppressor and at 100 yards I will have consistently 1 inch or smaller groups with no point of impact shift.

Moving with the rifle during drills is very easy despite it not having a super short barrel. Being a 5.56 rifle, it keeps the weight relatively low while offering a decent amount of firepower.  The mil-spec trigger may not be anything to write home about but it’s definitely improved with little time and simple polishing. Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware the majority of this rifle is old technology. The majority of this gear has been out for 10+ years and while some may say it’s an outdated setup, these parts have been out long enough to be tested and built a reputation of being some of the toughest pieces on the market.

Final Thoughts

If I had to take one gun to rely on in an end of days type scenario, it would definitely be this rifle. My choice falls in between Jame’s Jack Of All Trades rifle and Pete’s 11.5″ SBR but for my landscape and surroundings, I think it’s the perfect rifle for the job. The 15.1 RECCE rifle has a great balance of weight in hand and has enough barrel length to reach out but is still relatively short for mobility.

It may not be everyone’s first choice but I grew up shooting these style rifles and I trust them to be insanely durable. Let me know what you guys would pick for a SHTF type rifle and why you would pick it in the comments below. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!

This content was originally published here.

(Natural News)
Preppers follow different sets of rules to prepare for various survival scenarios. While most of these guidelines cover things like essential survival skills and what kinds of supplies to stock up on, there are also mistakes that you must avoid so you can survive when SHTF.

If you want to survive something like the coronavirus pandemic, pay attention to the 10 mistakes detailed below.

During dangerous times, smaller mistakes can snowball into tragedies that can even claim lives.

To ensure the safety of your loved ones, keep yourself from making common prepping mistakes by practicing your skills, using your common sense and being disciplined. Acknowledge these common mistakes, and optimize your preps, so you don’t make the wrong choice when time is of the essence.

Being hotheaded

Acting decisively is different from acting rashly. The latter can get you killed, but the former involves studying the data you have, reconsidering your options and making a decision based on the pros and cons.

Not planning ahead

Preppers are planners. From your garden layout to your bug out and bug in plans, you need to sit down and draft your plans before finalizing and setting up your preps.

Once you’ve written down your plans, think of how things can go wrong and make plan B, so you have a backup when plan A fails.

Not being prepared

Your skills are important, but being prepared means you’ve already won half the battle.

Take this scenario: You’re going camping, but you didn’t pack several firestarters in your gear. It starts raining when you reach your campsite, and it takes you a while to get a warm fire going.

Contrast this with a scenario where your camping gear includes matches in a waterproof container, a lighter, and a ferro rod. Doesn’t scenario B seem more reassuring?

Improvisation is a life-saver, but you can tip the odds in your favor by setting up preps that won’t require you to make a split-second decision to save your life.

This doesn’t mean you can’t relax even in quiet times. Once you’ve set up the necessary preps, you can take things easy, but you should remain in a state of relaxed awareness, just to be safe.

Not learning basic survival skills

Technology has made life easier for the last couple of decades, but you can’t always rely on your GPS or gadgets when SHTF. If you’re lost in the woods, or you have a power outage at home, you’ll need old-school tools like a paper map and hand tools.

Balance your preps by using technology to your advantage and learning essential survival skills like firestarting and foraging. It’s a win-win for you.

Should you lose your phone or accessories, you can find your way back to civilization using a compass.

Below are some survival skills that you need to master before disaster strikes:

Trying to be heroic

While it is noble to help strangers in times of disaster, if you have a family of your own you need to think twice about risking your life. If anything happens to you, who’s going to protect your loved ones?

When SHTF, focus on staying alive so you can help more people.

Disregarding disaster response and safety procedures

Living in states prone to certain types of natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes means you must always monitor the news for disaster response and safety procedures.

Ignoring these warnings is the fastest way to get yourself and your loved ones killed when SHTF. It’s better to be too cautious when you hear warnings about a hurricane than being caught unawares.

Being too trusting

Preppers are cautious, not paranoid.

When disaster strikes, there are always those who will take advantage of your kindness to take what they need from you. Keep your preps a secret, and don’t announce your prepping lifestyle to avoid looters or unnecessary trouble when SHTF.

Staying ignorant

As a prepper, you must take advantage of technology and learn whatever you can — using the resources available to you.

Start by learning the skills that provide your basic needs, such as shelter, fire, water, food and security. (Related: OBLIVIOUS: People are telling me they are “fully prepared” because they have 2-3 weeks of food… later this year, these people will be eating each other.)

Being complacent

Complacency is another trait that seems harmless, but it can turn into your biggest enemy when disaster strikes.

Have emergency drills, check your gear, maintain your bug out vehicle, and replenish your stockpile regularly. Practice your skills and learn new ones whenever you have free time.

Be disciplined, even when things seem normal and quiet. Follow a balanced diet, be mindful, and exercise regularly to maintain your overall health.

Panicking when SHTF

Remain calm when facing a survival scenario. If you have to evacuate, get your bug-out bags, gather your family, and quickly go through your emergency preparedness plans.

If you are the head of the household, your loved ones will look to you for guidance when things are bleak. Maintain your composure and make sure everyone follows the plan.

If you’re easily rattled, try exercises to help improve your mental and emotional equilibrium. Focus on the things you can control, and think of your plans and preps.

When SHTF, don’t panic and follow plan A. If that doesn’t work, proceed to plan B.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the mistakes detailed in this list. Once you’ve made the necessary preps and learned the essential survival skills, you can protect yourself and your family from disasters like a coronavirus pandemic.

Everyone makes mistakes, even experienced preppers. What sets you apart from non-preppers is your self-discipline and foresight when SHTF.

This content was originally published here.

SHTFPreparedness may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

If you are bugging in, or for some reason couldn’t bug out, these tips may save you and your family’s lives and your stockpile. It’s no secret that when SHTF, there will be people that want to take advantage of the situation, either by looting, killing and even raping.

You might spend most of your time concerned about these types of threats in an SHTF scenario. However, what about the desperate people who don’t look to do harm but are unprepared. What about the people who show up at your door and need help? 

If you only have the preparedness supplies to serve your family, taking someone else on is going to be a detriment. Let’s look at 5 ways to deter people from coming to your door. 

Ask First 

One of the most effective means of dealing with people asking for help is to ask first. Don’t wait for people to come to your door. Go to theirs. That will set a tone that you don’t have anything. 

If people ask for help you need only lie to them. Tell them you have nothing. They are not going to come into your house and inspect it. If they try you have another problem on your hands.

Act from a Position of Power

At the onset of the disaster explain to your community what is going on and what you will and will not tolerate. You have all the resources already. You have the plans. Make the rules, regarding your home, before people start to assume they can come over. 

Put them to Work

Explain to people that they can earn resources if you have extra. There will be plenty to be done. 

Bonus: Root Cellar That Can Be Used as a Bunker

If you can’t afford the box culvert option you can look into is building a backyard root cellar that can be used as a bunker.

If you want to learn how to build a backyard bunker like your grandparents had, without breaking the bank, then check out Easy Cellar.

Easy Cellar will show you:

Easy Cellar will also show you how a veteran, with only $421, built a small nuclear bunker in his backyard.

This content was originally published here.

Roadblocks and checkpoints are a way to control territory, and they could become very common after the SHTF. In this video from the Youtube channel, Reality Survival & Prepping, JJ talks about many considerations for negotiating roadblocks during a nationwide SHTF scenario.

The main goal is to avoid them, but these tips can help you manage along the way. Here’s his list…

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1. They are dangerous. This is how people control territory in emergency situations from legitimate authorities, and illegitimate people trying to rob you.

2. Roadblocks are established in limited visibility. You may come upon them quickly. Keep a heightened sense of awareness around curves and hills.

3. Competent Roadblocks will have multiple people stationed. Assume that there may be back-up.

4. Primary and secondary roads will be the first to establish roadblocks. Try to use back roads and logging trails where possible to avoid encounters.

5. Areas of heavy tree covers, rocks, terrain make good roadblock stations. They are looking to surprise you, travel on flat roads.

6. Have multiple vehicles. From a tactical standpoint, one car is a high risk. If you’re walking, stick to two groups and slightly separate.

7. Avoid cities and towns. Go the long way to avoid cities, by 5+ miles.

8. Have primary, alternate, and emergency routes established. Have a plan, know the plan and have rally spots in case of separation.

9. The first car in the group should travel ahead to notify everyone else of roadblocks. The second car can be signaled.

10. Expect overwatch. Overwatch stations will pay attention to cars traveling together.

11. The first car should arrive slowly. If possible, relay information back to the second car.

12. The second car covers the first. The second car should provide cover and be ready in case the first car needs back-up.

13. When the first car has passed, they provide cover for following cars. Having a designated shooter or sniper per vehicle is helpful.

14. Be ready for food, money, ammunition demands. Have some items you’re willing to hand over, but make them work for it so they don’t feel entitled to more.

15. Have a plausible cover story for your entire group. Make sure these details are believable and shared with the full group.

16. Assuming you have 4 vehicles, the back 2 should have weapons at low ready and be ready to engage. If something happens, the back two cars should be ready to throw down fire to protect the front vehicles. The first two cars should be polite and ready to put the checkpoint attendants at ease.

17. Passengers should ride in the back seat. They are the primary shooter and ready to engage.

18. Wear body armor. You can wear this discretely.

19. Have go bags next to you. If you must abandon your vehicle, have survival gear and ammunition ready to grab.

20. Ramming When needed as an out, ram one vehicle as you escape. A midsized sedan or larger won’t sustain enough damage to affect the car.

21. When approaching a checkpoint, try to determine if it’s law enforcement or bandits. Check for uniforms, vehicles, and weapons to match and look legitimate.

22. If you believe it’s legitimate, it’s likely ok to provide your ID. If you think they are illegitimate, you may not want to provide your ID to protect assets or people at your address.

Watch the video below for a more detailed discussion of these considerations.

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This content was originally published here.

Guest article by ” RWT “

Personally, I view this episode of our history as a great dry run that we could control. If “10” is a true blackout across the globe then this is a “1”.  My reasons are outlined below, and my lessons learned along the way. What about yours?

Now, that being said, I slept better knowing I’ve been following this blog for a few years and I knew what to expect after reading “One Second After” (view book on amzn).   I consider myself between Kens’ level 3 and 4 on the preparedness scale. 

I have accumulated doubles of most items that I need to maintain a comfortable existence. Food for at least 6 months for the entire family, if not longer, without buying anything. Meds for 3+ months. More tools than a big Orange Store. A BOL with 7000lbs of beef on the hoof. A ½ acre tank stocked with fish.  Water treatment and containment for the entire family as long as we have average rain. Fuel for a month and solar as a back-up for smaller needs. An expandable garden, general knowledge of trying and failing with it and a solid seed bank with library.   

(All my personal defense items suffered a tragic boating accident years ago so I am relegated to pitch forks and torches.)

The Lessons I Learned

The lessons I learned from this event are numerous. 

I’ll outline a few and I am curious to hear those of the group. 

My family will adapt slowly.  The DW was happy I had prepared, however, still slow to conserve as she is a stickler for expiration dates.   She relented a little on the milk and bread; still she would not budge on meat or canned items. 

I still need many items in quantity. I have enough for this short event and can complete the majority of the tasks I want to.   Many tasks revolve around expanding the garden and solidifying the food supply longer term.

More lumber for building longer term projects such as a chicken coop or rabbit hutch. I can also go scrounge and scavenge the constriction sites if it was that bad. 

More wire for the garden, fruit trees, coops and hutches.   Fighting nature is a full-time job and every critter in the area wants what I have in my garden.   The 4×4 covered garden produced enough for our small family to augment our needs.  Now a 12×12 is required IMO.  

More tarps.  I never expected a hail storm so I had to cover the garden with what I had.  Plenty of tarps to complete the task, but they wont last more than 1 or 2 storms at best. 

More bug/ant poison.  Just keeping the ants down with all the spring rains is a chore.

More medical supplies. The non-digital thermometer I had as a back-up did not work and I had to break into the last bottle of Benadryl.   

Fresh produce will be the most difficult to come by.  I failed to plant the fall garden due to changing the entire program for the spring and we just started the spring garden when COVID hit.

I never realized how many paper towels we went through.  Luckily TP is not an issue as I listened to NRP.   Grey hair and experience are invaluable as I have lost the tops of many a hunting sock over the years so I stocked up. 

You can never have enough batteries; goodness knows why I ordered 144 more.  I told myself it was to keep the 7 game cameras operational.

Bread is a huge need.   The DW baked a loaf when we were short and couldn’t find any in the store.   Luckily, she had enough yeast.  I now see this as the Achilles heel of our bread situation.  How to store yeast or bake bread without it.   I need to find Kens article on it, print it and try it.

[ Read: How To Store Yeast ]

Keeping a better library of articles on “how to” for items I am not familiar with. Baking bread without yeast is an example.  I can camp cook and make meals decent enough for me.  Try convincing a 10 yr. old when “food” doesn’t look like what they are used to.   I know the growling stomach will turn that around, but as a father I want to do everything in my power to not be in that situation.  Luckily, my 10 yr. old has as much of a brain as they can at this age.  They ate what was in front of them. 

Family and friends turned to me for advice. Some were more adaptable than others.  I also learned who not to trust during our conversations as they are running around town without a mask or being just clueless. I know who is not allowed at my home or the BOL and I already had the HARD conversation with them about how their selfishness has changed our relationship, regardless even if they are your own parent. 

This is just a short list of thoughts.  I’ll tighten up my preps and adjust my needs based on this event. 

Now let’s hear from you. Are there areas you have gained a new perspective on?

This content was originally published here.

(Natural News)
During and after disasters, it’s a mistake to rely heavily on your local grocery stores and supermarkets as people will be buying out all of the food quickly. What you need is a proper survival garden, where you can grow high-calorie vegetables that can sustain you all year round. Here are the top 10 vegetables that can give you the most calories and keep you strong and healthy when SHTF.

Kidney beans

One pound of kidney beans can net you 1,520 calories. Kidney beans will need well-drained soil that’s filled with microorganisms that can nourish them with nitrogen. A family of four will need around 30 bean plants. Plant them during the last frost in spring in a location where they can get lots of sunlight.

A pound of carrots will give you 186 calories. Carrots thrive in loose and well-drained soil that has been given compost and manure. They will take seven to 21 days to germinate and will take a total of 70 to 80 days to mature. Around 80 to 100 carrots can sustain a family of four.

One pound of regular peas will give you 368 calories. Furthermore, 100 grams alone can give you 51 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein. Peas require rich, well-drained soil that’s been enriched with compost. Make sure you have a lot of space in your garden for them. You can feed one person in your household with around 25 pea plants, and each plant can give you between 50 to 80 individual peas.

Cherry tomatoes

A pound of cherry tomatoes gives you 454 calories. They will need eight hours of sun per day as well as well-drained and composted loam. To further increase your yield, provide them with some natural fertilizer every week. Plant around four bushes per person in your household. Each plant will yield around 100 or more cherry tomatoes.

A cousin of the onion, shallots are filled with calories. One pound of shallots provides 327 calories.  They prefer slightly acidic, loose, well-drained and composted loam. Shallots prefer cool weather, but they will only start germinating when the temperature of the soil is around 35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. One plant produces between four to 12 usable shallots that are ready to harvest after  60 to 120 days. 24 shallot plants can feed a family of four.

One pound of this staple can provide a whopping 1,657 calories. Corn grows well in well-drained and loamy soil with a neutral pH. For maximum yield, plant your corn one and a half to two inches deep, four to six inches apart and in rows that are between 30 to 36 inches from each other. To feed a family of four and to give you an emergency supply of corn for winter, grow around 80 plants.

Sweet potatoes

One pound of sweet potatoes gives you around 390 calories. They need well-drained sandy loam. This will allow the tubers to expand underground. Plant them when all danger of frost is gone in a location with lots of sunshine. Sweet potatoes need a long growing period of between 90 to 170 days.

Chickpeas are filled with a lot of calories. One pound can give you 1,651 calories. As with all legumes, chickpeas thrive in moist, well-drained soil that has plenty of microorganisms. They need to be planted after the last frost in spring, but you can get a head start by growing seedlings in pots and then replanting them outside once the weather starts to change. You will need around 12 plants for a family of four. Harvest chickpeas while they’re still green so you can get half a pound to one and a half pounds of chickpeas per plant.

The average person needs between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day. By planting any one of these ten high-calorie survival plants, you increase your chances of surviving during a disaster.

This content was originally published here.

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We take water for granted every day. It’s impossible not to. Whenever you need it’s there. It’s available in any quantity you need for any use and water is inexpensive.

Because of that relationship that we have with water its hard to understand the fact that it can be taken away.

We are going to look at some answer to the question of water storage. You see, we are not able to store all the water might need to survive every kind of disaster.

Its as much about progress as it is about a variety of methods. There are many complications that come along with water.  Things like weight, bacteria, and space are all big ones!

Let’s look at some tips on water storage.

Emergency water has a lot to do with sourcing. There are real limits to how much water the average person can store.

The key to successful water storage is sourcing from every aspect that you can. Your water source should not just be a well or a bottle of water. It should be from the sky, the streams, the storage and whatever else you can muster.

Once you have identified a wide variety of water sources, you should focus on how to make that water potable.

The most effective method, without question, is boiling. Of course, it’s not always the best method at the time. Boiling takes time and sometimes using an Aquatab or other means is quicker.

Your home should have some sort of potable water stored on site. It’s very important to have something you can access when you need it.

Water storage at home can be purchased or caught water. Rainwater is a great means of water storage that can stay outside and not take up space in the home. 

A variety of storage methods is where you win the day.

Bonus: Root Cellar That Can Be Used as a Bunker

If you can’t afford the box culvert option you can look into is building a backyard root cellar that can be used as a bunker.

If you want to learn how to build a backyard bunker like your grandparents had, without breaking the bank, then check out Easy Cellar.

Easy Cellar will show you:

Easy Cellar will also show you how a veteran, with only $421, built a small nuclear bunker in his backyard.

This content was originally published here.

Navigational abilities are a must-have during a disaster. If the internet isn’t functioning or you don’t have proper cell signal, you won’t be able to rely on GPS or maps. When SHTF, you will recognize the true value of knowing your surroundings.

Effective disaster navigation skills means being familiar with your area not because your GPS directed you there, but because you’re aware of where this place leads. This isn’t limited to utilizing roads and highways, however: this also means taking advantage of possible shortcuts like alleyways, train tracks, subways, underground tunnels and monuments like buildings, shops and parks. Your navigation skills can be further supplemented by having a physical map of your immediate surroundings in your bug-out bag.

Escape and evasion

During disasters, you may be forced into a scenario where your only choice is to escape. Similarly, if you have to face a group of armed criminals on your own, you may be totally outmatched and have no choice but to run.

Escape and evasion are both about keeping out of sight and out of mind. It means you can run away from danger and avoid being followed while you’re escaping. This skill becomes even more crucial if you’re living in a dense, urban jungle, where danger can be lurking around every street corner. One of the most important things you need to learn about escaping is that staying mobile can keep you alive. Think and act fast, but it’s imperative that you don’t stop running from the danger.

Emergency radio communication

If the internet goes down and your cell signal becomes unreliable, alternative forms of long-distance communication, such as emergency radios, will be crucial. Knowing how to operate emergency radios can help you communicate not just with your family and other distant friends and relatives, but also with law enforcement and other authorities. Look online for local ham radio operator clubs that can provide you with helpful training. Alternatively, you and your neighborhood can invest in walkie-talkies, which you can use to coordinate community needs during disaster situations.

Situational awareness

Situational awareness is having a heightened perception of what’s going on around you. In a survival situation, situational awareness is exceptionally important because it can open your eyes to different possibilities in front of you. If there’s a fire, situational awareness can help you know where all of the exits are located, and which one is the closest; if there’s an earthquake, situational awareness can help you know where the safest place to take cover is. (Related: Prepping 101: What is situational awareness and why is it crucial for your personal safety?)

You can practice situational awareness by watching people while you’re on your daily commute or by looking at how people behave from your balcony. It can help you understand what people do during certain scenarios, such as if there’s an obstacle in front of them, or if they’re trying to avoid a dog they’re fearful of.

Self defense

Perhaps one of the most important skills you need to learn is self defense. Knowing how to fight back against armed attackers using your firearm or your other non-lethal or less-lethal weapons is important to staying alive. Self defense skills are needed not just for SHTF scenarios but also on an everyday basis. If you’re comfortable using firearms, try and spend more time on the gun range to practice your fundamentals. If you’d like to learn other self- defense skills, sign up for one of the possibly many self defense classes in your area.

Everyone can be a leader. You can be a leader in your job, in your household and in your survival group. When it comes to survival, someone like you can and should step up to take quick, decisive action that could potentially save lives. Being a good leader during a disaster situation means being able to effectively influence people to follow you.

There are many other skills that people can often overlook, such as conflict resolution and strong reading comprehension. Learning more outside the box skills can help you get through disasters and other SHTF scenarios better than many other people.

Sources include:

This content was originally published here.

It is a surreal state of affairs we all live in today. Although we do all face some similar very challenging circumstances, I think we need to break our planning down to what is optimal for the job at hand. As for my SHTF weapon I needed a weapon that was concealable and easily carried. I live in an urban environment without the option of bugging out. Grocery stores are still open and at some point, I will probably have to go there. My place of employment remains open and I am expected to show up.

My threat assessment has two parts. First, while at home and second, when outside of the home. Inside the home, I am relatively secured with a number of weapons. Outside my home was what I considered my greatest danger. I have a number of elderly neighbors. I know I will be keeping an eye on them, as well as going to work, and inevitably going for sustenance. Today I will focus on the latter: leaving my castle.


I live in Albuquerque. A favorite for filming the television show “COPS”. Favored because of the constant criminal antics going on. We always rate high in aggravated assault, homicide, home invasions, theft, etc. We have no shortage of “wolves” out on the prowl here.

Besides my sidearm, I wanted something I could hide, but keep enough firearm to egress to home. Something I could hide on my lap while my wife goes into the grocery store. I watch the entrance and parking lot while keeping comms with her.

Two programmable transceivers would be better, but one is enough

My FM-9 was the obvious choice for an SHTF weapon. It has a light/laser already mounted and takes the same magazines as my sidearm. I find the 10.5″ inch barrel allows my 9mm to accurately engage anything I need to in the city environment. With my goal to break off any engagement and return home, it is perfect.

SHTF Guns: Foxtrot Mike FM-9 and Shadow Systems MR918

The lower is built on a Moriarti stripped lower with LRBHO. My trigger is a CMC flat-faced 3.5 lbs drop in. I went with an ambidextrous Strike Industries safety and an SB Tactical PDW Adjustable Brace.

My weapon light is a Crimson Trace LiNQ. I like the wireless connection between the pistol grip and the light. Although the 300 lumens are not optimal outside, inside it does its job just fine. The green laser is a plus. Admittedly, I am not a big fan of lasers, but on this weapon, I have grown to appreciate it.

SHTF Guns: Foxtrot Mike FM-9 and Shadow Systems MR918

It should also be said that everything on my FM-9 was bought out of pocket; nothing was sent to me through TFB.

My secondary is my Shadow Systems MR918. You can see my review on it here. It is my standard EDC. I still feel it is one of the best out-of-the-box pistols on the market in the sub-one thousand dollar range. I fire it weekly and have never had a problem with it. With the tighter tolerances, it is very accurate. With a front night sight and a good trigger, I am very comfortable carrying it. I see no reason to change my EDC.

Two weapons, one cup,…uhh.. I mean mag.

Ammunition was the first issue I found when addressing my “plan”. During normal times, 150 rounds of hollow points seemed more than enough. Plenty for a couple fifteen round magazines. But when I started loading ALL my magazines, including my 30 round mags, I ran out quickly. Although I wish I had more, I do have enough. I prefer Hornady Critical Duty but loaded a couple of boxes of other brands I had stored away out of necessity.

SHTF Guns: Foxtrot Mike FM-9 and Shadow Systems MR918

Out of all of my weapons, this is my best option for my SHTF weapons when leaving the castle. A firearm is merely a tool, so find the right tool for the specific task at hand. My “in-castle” choices are different. I guess I still think like a first responder where the first goal is to get home safely. It is a good rule to have when leaving home, just a little more poignant in current times. Do not look for a fight, but make sure you are protected and can get home safely if one finds you.

I hope all our readers are safe out there. Do any of you have an SHTF weapon for leaving the castle?

This content was originally published here.