Posts Tagged ‘prepper’

The text below was written for the  liberal forum over at the Prepper Forum 

Not only am I liberal among the prepper community but I am also a liberal living in Arizona. Talk about being a minority. My guess is there probably about 100 conservatives for every liberal in the prepper community. And I know for a fact that there are few liberals in AZ. In fact, we got more registered Independents in Arizona than democrats.  Which means, in Arizona we have, in order of population, Republicans, People who believe Republicans don’t go far enough, and a few Janet Napolitano supporters.

http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2011/01/24/arizonas-registered-independents-now-exceed-democrats/

Not that conservative-bent preppers are a bad bunch, in fact if the end of the world happens there is no one else I would better like to hang out with.  If for no other reason, there are going to be a lot more of them than me.

Talking politics is such a tricky thing.  Somewhere along the way America became a very shrill place.  Maybe we always were, Exhibit A: Burr versus Hamilton.  

I like my fellow preppers, even though I sometimes get tired of the completely outrageous statements  I hear among my conservative brethren.  I tend to keep my mouth shut when they start talking politics because I know I am a minority and flame wars just wear me out.

This post has turned into a very long-winded version of my question.  How do you handle being a liberal in the prepper world?   Do you engage in political discussions with the not-like minded?  If so, how do you handle it without it just descending into anger?    How do you remain friends and also disagree?  Maybe I should have learned the answer to these questions in kindergarten.

Below: Just a joke people, just a joke, and about a 6 year-old one at that.
churchsignbush
 

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Back in March I built a solar still in my backyard.  As Arizona is a dry place and my backyard does not have a creek in it, I tried to suck moisture out of plants.

This did not work.

I finally got around to editing the video.  Watch below if you care to watch my failed attempt as well as my first use of the fast-forward function.  If you don’t care to watch the video, the short version is that a solar still is a ridiculous amount of work for a ridiculously small amount of water.

On a side note, the raised garden did not work either.

A little bit of spoof of Twilight Zone, a little spoof of the survivalist community.  Which I hope they like the jokes, because they are probably the only ones who would get the jokes.

Please note the character and jokes are fiction.

Below are some random notes I took at the survival school the other weekend.  It is not all of the notes, the ones that should be their own subject/post I have not included.  Think of it as random bits of wisdom.

–The animals were skittish for it was a full moon.  The bunny rabbits were not on the move.  There was also a strong cold wind blowing away the tracks of the few brave ones.

–When researching how to survive in the wild it is best to read materials written before 1970.

–Mice leave rice-sized poop.  Rats leave bigger poop.  Fear the smaller poop.

–A cotton-ball soaked in vaseline makes for a hell of a good starter fireball.

–When tracking, keep an eye for things out-of-place.  Remember the print may not be inconsistent.  The “fun part” of tracking is figuring out the story.  Watch for patterns.

–85% of human are right-handed.  The tend to drift right when not paying attention.  This is not a metaphor for the tea party but maybe it should be.  The average american walks 2 miles per hour.  One might be surprised how much they meander right in just one hour of aimless walking.

–When tracking someone who wants to survive, do not discount what would be the easiest path.

–If you stumble across someone’s marijuana field you might get sucker-punched.

–What defines survival?  If one sees famine and death outside of one’s window does that mean survival?   What crazy fool would roll down the window when death is outside?  If one does not look outside of the blinds how can you be sure it is not too late?

–Native Americans in the SouthWest generally used traps and not snares.  There is probably a reason why.  Deadfalls work best here.  One can only generally use snares in the forest where there are plenty of branches and shade.   If desperate, birds over any other animal, is your best chance to catch an AZ animal by snare.

–A Rolling snare jerks the animal off the ground.  Setting one ain’t easy when one is using cacti as one’s trigger.

–The fewer triggers the better.

–Avoid fleas.  Especially when dissecting an animal for dinner.  Fleas suck.

–When learning, focus on a digestible area.  Tony recommends 20 acres.  How big is 20 acres?  I think my yard is .25 acres.  Figure out 20 acres and know that 20 acres well. Use that as lesson one.  Otherwise learning every plant or every technique for all the variations one finds in a desert as big as the Sonoran is simply too overwhelming.  Know the plants in your 20 acres.  Know what plants grow.   Know where the afternoon shade is.  Know the morning shade.  Know the rhythms.  Know what the animals eat in your area.  Know what the smell of rain is like.  Think locally, act micro-locally.

–Best Glide is the best brand for a compact fishing survival kit.

— For catching fish a cast net is the “way to go.”  It is currently illegal to fish with a cast net.  Cast netting would give a “bathtub full of fish in 15 minutes.”  Sidenote:  It is also illegal to hunt with a salt lick.  Both of these methods are illegal for a reason.  Once we no longer care about the rules, hunt in whatever manner was previously illegal.  They were originally made illegal because it made things just too easy.

–A Dip net is an easy way to gather minnows.   Minnows will probably easier to gather than one big fish.  Multiple strips of protein might be better than the fish that got away.

–Don’t count your fish before they are in the skillet.

–“Primitive fishing is like primitive hunting.  It is a numbers game.” 20 baited traps = 1 edible animal, if you are lucky.

–Before the bow and arrow was the atlatl.  It was the weapon of choice for big game.  Get all Aztec up on it.  It is a difficult weapon to get accurate with but great for sheer ease and power.

–When shooting bows and arrows switch arms from time to time to avoid arthritis.

–Arrows over 33 inches do not need feathers.

–Michelle’s craft store is a great place to get marbles for sling shots and craft wire (which is already made camouflage) for cheap.  Buy galvanized wire, at least 20 gauge.  A 550 cord is best for snares for Coyotes.

— When using a knife think safety first-ish.  Think through if you were to slip while carving, where would the knife go?

— Rabbitt’s eat their own poop.  The first pass is brown, the second is white.  If you see rabbit poop where there are brown and white droplets beside each other than the rabbit goes one way at sunrise and another at sunset.  Try to ignore that you are hunting an animal that eats its own poop.

–Hunting rabbits is not easy.

–Cats have  asymmetrcal toes.

–As a general rule, if the hind foot falls in front of the front foot then that means speed.

–Don’t put anything camouflage in your survival kit, because you might lose it.

–Surviving is not living.  When people say “The Navajo survived in the Southwest for centuries”, they did not “survive” they lived.

–Spam is the culinary equivalent of the cockroach.

–In Hunter/gatherer society’s people did not live alone.  The lived in groups of 15 to 30 people.  To survive one needs more than oneself.

–Diesel is a better shelf life than gasoline.

–To use bleach to preserve water, pick ordinary bleach not one that is “scented” or has “lemon.”  6 drops of bleach per quart.  There are 4 quarts per gallon. 

–The SODIS method for purifying water is the easiest.  It is used around the world in developing nations.  It involves putting water in a clear plastic bottle and setting that in the sun for 6 hours.  –Anybody who has ever been in a natural catastrophe and had to struggle to survive has said “Man, we did not have enough water.”

Thermal Cooker’s are a good way to cook with minimal energy. They are big in Japan.

Flash cooking is where you put your meat on a stick, put a trash can or other large metal can around it and put coals of the outside of the can.  So far I have only found one internet site that describes it.

–If you put insects in a stew you won’t even know they are there.

–A good reachable goal when learning this stuff is to learn 12 edible plants in your area.  Trying to learn every plant can be overwhelming.

–When learning edible plants, also take time to learn poisonous plants as they kill.  You want to know what to avoid.   Hemlock kills!  I think I also might have it in my yard. http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/poison/plants/pppoiso.htm

–Pine Nuts are ripe in Sept.

Permaculture would be a good thing to research. –Mustard plant is easy to find in Phoenix in spring.

–Pine sap has antibacterial features.  Olive oil will help make it less sticky.

–A good book to read is “Gathering the Desert” 

–Rendezvous are events were people who are into this stuff present their skills and teach others.  A complete list of events can be found at hollowtop.com.

–Whichever foot print is bigger means means more weight.

–Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use bear spray on a cougar.

–Japanese wet stones are awesome because they only need water and not oil to sharpen a knife.

–The bubonic plague kills prairie dogs.  Do not eat a mangy-looking mammal that lives in a dark hole surrounded by other mammals.  Disease and plague can run rampant.  On a side note, if an animal does not look healthy do not eat that animal, no matter how hungry one is.  This rule also applies to zombies.

–The bigger the wood the bigger the fire bubble.

–To survive and prosper in the wilderness you will need a knife, a saw, an axe and a good pot to cook in.

–Anything left over goes in the stew, this is why one needs a good pot.

–Belive in yourself.

I have come to the sad conculsion that I am not in any kind of physical shape for the apocalypse. I just read the pre-notes for the Survivial School I am taking this weekend. The first piece of advice he gives is to arrive to the class in shape. Apparently wandering around the desert all day looking for edible plants can wear a man out.  The improtance of being in physical shape is one of the best things one can do to get ready has popped up multiple times in prepper books and forums.

I believe I am in the worst shape of my life. The 6 mile hike I did a couple of weekends ago  zapped me for two days.
Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to find the build the habit of exercising on a regular bais. Lately I have been thinking that maybe a goal would help and then the warrior dash crossed my radar. I missed the one held last weekend, but perhaps I should set the goal to run the “3.4 Hellish Miles” next year. Assuming society still exists come April 2012.

In the meantime, I have been doing more of the the only type of execise I really enjoy, which is hiking.  This week I managed to go for three steep but quick hikes.

Next weekend I am taking a survival class for four days, we are going to walk a lot. I hope I am ready.

Below: Saw this tree blooming in the desert. Anybody got any idea what it is? It is pink flowers, and short stubby leaves. More photos at the flickr page, follow the link from the photo.

mayrandom 083

I am starting to do some research into solar panels, because after the grid goes belly up then a little bit of juice would be a wonderful luxury.  The problem with solar panels however is they are not easy to hide.    You can’t exactly put big-ass panels hidden away in a corner because then they would not get any sun.  This principal is also why Goth kids tend to be very pale.   But if one puts them proudly up on the roof, then after society crumbles you are just asking for the barbarians to come to your driveways gate.  So……

Maybe portable Solar Panels are the way to go?   For example a solar back pack?

My local Fry’s electronics has a got one shelf of other options as well……
aprilhikeSolar 010

I am starting my research into Solar Power and I am just generating lots of questions.

How much Juice do I need?

I am surprised how much my total kilowatt hours (kWh) jumps around from month to month.  No surprise the summer months use the most juice at around 600 kWh.

electricbill

Based on the info above I think I should try to make a solar system that generates 200kWh a month.   But how do I break that down by day?   If a kilowatt hour is equal to 1000 watt hours, does that mean I need 4 separate 50 Watt solar panels to equal 200kWh a month?  I read the Wikipedia entry on kilowatt hour but it just made me more confused.

How much will this cost?

The cost might add up to somewhere between $15,000 to $30,000.  The Fed. Gov. helps somewhat, currently 30% of the cost of the system can be used for a tax credit. Arizonagoessolar outlines Arizona incentives.   A post- incentive price tag of $15,000 to $20,000 gets mentioned a lot in the random examples.   This is a lot of money, it is also possible to lease a system, would this be better?

What type of system is better Grid-tie or Off-the grid?

Grid-tied are hooked into the grid.  During the day, the power generated goes into the grid and at night I pull of the grid.  Some companies have “net metering” which is if your system generates more than you use you get paid by the power company.  It looks like SRP (my local company) has a plan like this in place.  SRP also has a incentive plan to help lower the cost of installing the system.

Off the grid systems are not hooked onto the grid. Because you are now dealing with own storage they seem to be a little harder to figure out at first, but I would expect might be worth it. After all, the Grid-tied system makes you still dependent on the electric company system. In my mind a big hunk of a reason to go through all the trouble of building a solar system is to free oneself. Figuring out how to have both grid-tied and off-the-grid systems just overwhelms me.

One site said if your monthly bill is not at $75 or above, than the cost of establishing the systems may not be worth it.   Plus a full solar panel system on top off a house is like a giant ad to the post-APO hungry hordes. Maybe I should just get a back-up emergency solar system, like this one they had at Fry’s electronics…

aprilhikeSolar 009