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30 March, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: "All Is Lost" (2013)

Before I begin my review of the survival film "All Is Lost" (2013) Blu-ray (DVD version), I should say right up front that I have always been very intrigued by the idea of bugging-out and living on a yacht or sailboat. That being said, I don't know anything about boats and I've only been to the ocean once in my life, but it has often crossed my mind just the same. Many Preppers and Survivalists are going the route of setting up small homesteads in tiny cabins or RV travel trailers, so the size restrictions of living on the water truly don't bother me all that much. If you choose to really go all out with that lifestyle, you're going to be required to downsize your life accordingly anyway. I guess, the idea of the boat simply tickles my fancy, due to the fact that it is also mobile. This means that you could sit at anchor right now, while things are still somewhat stable with the world, and only travel when you want to. One could, for instance, park their boat in a river with sufficient depth to support the draft of the vessel, then map out which interconnecting waterways would need to be taken to reach the ocean and spend your winters in the Caribbean or somewhere warm. Or, you could simply stay put, living on the boat within miles of where you are probably living right now but without the hassle of having to purchase land and build structures. And, if trouble were to hit, you could simply raise anchor and bug-out.

Anyway, like I said, the thought of that has always been something that has intrigued me. I must admit, though, watching the Robert Redford in this film dealing with the ordeals that faced him made me pretty glad to have solid ground beneath my feet. Let's just put it this way: throughout the course of this film, this poor guy has some of the most remarkably terrible luck I have ever witnessed. I won't go too deeply into the plot and ruin it for you, but the whole thing begins with him being awoken by a crash as water pours into the side of the cabin of his Cal 39 yacht. Going topside to investigate, he immediately discovers that his vessel has run into a Conex container that is bobbing out in the ocean after having apparently fallen from its perch atop some commercial ocean liner. It has Chinese writing on the side of the container, and tennis shoes are pouring into the ocean by the thousands. What is important, however, is that the corner of the container has ripped a huge hole in the side of his yacht right about at the water line. And, without giving too much away, I can tell you that the poor guy's luck doesn't really improve all that much.

Interestingly, this film also shares something in common with another survival film that I have reviewed previously here on Backwoods Survival Blog. Much like "Cast Away," which starred Tom Hanks as the survivor of a plane crash attempting to eke out the necessities of life on a deserted island, this film has almost no dialogue whatsoever. I suppose that makes sense. When you are out somewhere attempting survival alone, there probably isn't much call for the spoken word, that is unless you're going just a bit bonkers and talking to a soccer ball the way Tom Hanks did. With this film, on the other hand, the fact that Robert Redford's character is alone at sea serves the same effect, and that effect is very surreal for the viewer. You find yourself immersed in the hardships he is facing, even without dialogue written by some Hollywood script person. It truly makes for an entirely different sort of viewing experience.

Throughout the course of the film, the viewer is able to witness him utilizing various survival gear. One example of this involves him eating U.S. Coast Guard approved Datrex-style ration bars and drinking potable water from mylar pouches that come from a Marine survival kit. He also has the foresight to fill a sealed plastic container (very similar to a gas can, but colored white) with potable water directly from the sink in the galley of his yacht as more and more troubles seem to be popping up, though that bit of prepping unfortunately doesn't provide the help for which he was hoping. He also ends up building a pretty nice solar still, which is funny because I had just spent the several moments leading up to it exclaiming in my own skull that that is exactly what he needed to do. Ditto with a small fishing kit, the likes of which you often see prepackaged in an Altoids or sardine-style can with a pulltab. This is a really great thing to have on your person all the time, just in case. You can get a fairly healthy ration of freshwater into your system, just by eating a fish that you've caught in addition to the needed food calories and protein.

All in all, the things you see him do throughout the film are a pretty good indication of precisely what you should do if you were to ever find yourself in a similar position, but I couldn't help but to think that things would have gone much smoother for him had he taken the time to put forth some other basic preparations ahead of time and against the possibility of a disaster like the one depicted on screen. He spends a lot of time in this film eating canned foods, but later in the film all I kept saying to myself was how much a few military surplus MREs would have improved his situation. A little preplanning goes a long way, which is sort of one of the adages that we Preppers live by.

I've also always wondered about the rank stupidity of how some things are constructed sometimes as well as the obvious lack of forethought put into it by people who you would think would be much more mindful of the unique issues that could come into play with what they are putting together. A very stark example of this can be seen in this film. Explain to me why, when designing the interior of and constructing a yacht that is meant for Bluewater sailing, anyone would have the absolute brain fart required to put all of the electronics and the deep-cycle battery bank in the floor of the vessels cabin! It is a boat, after all. And we have this pesky thing on Earth called gravity. So, common sense would seem to tell you that, if the vessel were to take on water for any reason, it won't matter a damn bit that you have a bilge pump to push the water back out of the cabin, because all of the water is going to pool around the floor and saturate the electronics needed to run the pump. I'm really not sure why anyone should need to point this out to a person designing a ship that is eventually going to be sailing out on the open ocean. I'm no expert in boatbuilding or anything, but it would seem to me that it would make a Hell of a lot more sense to keep the electronics up at the highest point inside the cabin and allowed the space under the floorboards to be used for storage. But that's just me.

Anyway, they didn't think it out quite that well, and so the leak in poor Mr. Redford's vessel quickly went from being a nuisance to a life-threatening event. And there was no reason it needed to be that way.

All in all, I can definitely say that I recommend this film as much as any other in this series of reviews. The film has been acclaimed by critics, and it is easy to see why. It is very moving and gripping in an unbelievable way as the viewer shares the unnamed lead characters ups and downs, both hoping for his survival as well as sharing his melancholy at just how unlikely it is he is going to make it. Largely, I attribute this both to the talent of Robert Redford (the films only cast member) and filmmaker J.C. Chandor. Definitely give this one a try. You won't be sorry.


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29 March, 2015

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 Finale - Episode 16 "Conquer"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.
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So, we find ourselves yet again at the end of another season of The Walking Dead. I, for one, will definitely miss this program and the lessons I'm able to draw from it, until it returns around time for Halloween next fall. Luckily, this summer, we are being treated to the initial pilot season of a new spinoff that will delve (at least in the beginning) into the actual occurrence of the zombie apocalypse and the apparent viral outbreak that caused it. The new show is essentially going to be a prequel, at least as it begins, though the timeline between both shows could actually meet up eventually. Technically, even though we are just finishing up Season 5 of The Walking Dead, the actual timeline of the show only has us somewhere around two years into the zombie apocalypse, so there's definitely a bit they can play with things to catch the two programs up to one another, if they choose to do so. They're also moving the setting to the West Coast, which should be interesting to see how things went outside of the normal bounds of the show. Needless to say, I'll definitely be watching.

As for this episode, it was basically a 90-minute long character study. The suspense was palpable throughout, and some have professed an opinion of being disappointed at there being no real shocker moment as a payoff for that suspense, but I would argue that the suspense itself acted to keep viewers on the edge of their seats so that the message of the episode itself could be relayed. Then again, maybe that's just me. Personally, I consider The Walking Dead to be far more deep than your typical zombie horror Doomer Fiction, seeing it as more of a study on human nature in times of crisis. Some may share that opinion, while others don't. YMMV as they say.

The whole situation revolving around the Alexandria Safe Zone puts me, once again, in mind of a very medieval way of looking at the world. In this episode, dialogue leads us into a discussion about the virtues of settled society versus a nomadic existence. One character points out that the cavemen were all nomads who died out, but then people started settling into communities and that is how the species survived. Granted, I would consider that to be an overly simplistic way of looking at things, but it is nevertheless an important point to remember.



In those times, as is apparently the case again in the Alexandria settlement portrayed in the show, the greatest form of punishment for wrongdoing was/is not necessarily being put to death. Rather, it was/is the idea of being exiled. We learned through dialogue that Alexandria has put out people before, driving them out far away from the settlement and leaving them with only a few days worth of food and water (something we should probably remember, because I think that's going to come back to haunt them in the future). This was especially interesting to me, because of the similarity to the way things were done during medieval times and before: basically, anything that didn't lie within a settled community was wilderness, and the wilds contained many dangers, just like they do in the zombie apocalypse. Granted, in our real history it was usually bandits and other murderous people, along with wolves and other such dangers; but, then again, this program has never shied away from the idea that other survivors are often as dangerous (if not more so) than the Walkers, so the analogy still holds true.

As members of the Prepper / Survivalist subculture, the idea of banishment or exile as a form of punishment for unforgivable crimes against a settlement of survivors is something we should definitely keep in mind. We also bore witness as viewers to both a very strong message that being willing and able to make difficult choices is the only way to ensure survival as well as some rather courageous acts of forgiveness during this episode, at least one of which I have a sinking feeling will also return at a later date to haunt our group of survivors. Sadly, it seems that every time they try to show mercy, it ends up having a cost somewhere down the line, but that yet again only serves to make things more realistic. Decisions in a life or death world will tend to be that way, I would wager.

Oh, and another lesson from this episode that would be wise for us not to forget is that, if something seems too good to be true, there's a good chance it's because it is. Simply stumbling upon a veritable gold mine of nonperishable food in the middle of a zombie apocalypse (or any real-world disaster where sufficient time has gone on to make it unlikely such resources have survived unmolested by others), really should result in you proceeding only with the greatest caution. Beware booby-traps set by bad people. That's all I'm going to say.


The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]



My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:







28 March, 2015

If You Think the Authorities Are Going to Let Us Know When a Collapse Might Be Imminent, You're Sadly Deluding Yourself

In this day and age, knowing full well the level of incompetence as well as calculated maneuvering of which the government has proven themselves capable, I can't imagine how anyone could ever put aside the wisdom of being prepared in favor of a "wait and see" attitude. I actually know people who have told me that they aren't bothering with any kind of emergency preparedness efforts, because they think there will be time to buy extra food, medical supplies, etc. when the time comes. They cannot fathom the idea that our government either doesn't necessarily see it as their responsibility to look after each individual citizen and family or they have simply come to the understanding that doing so isn't possible. The United States government has entire sections of the FEMA website, etc. dedicated to instructions on how to be prepared and advising that every family should keep emergency supplies both in their homes and their cars. They are not only telling you how to take care of yourself – they are literally advising that you do so, saying in all but plane graphic language that, "If things get bad enough, you're on your own." Yet, people still won't see it.

It doesn't even matter if a person believes in the idea of a societal collapse ever occurring. Failure to adopt the proper mindset is the very reason supermarket shelves empty out every time the weather people on the news announce an oncoming storm. It's because people are reactive, rather than proactive, and allowing themselves that sort of complacency could put them in a very bad spot one day.

The video below, a clip from the Hollywood motion picture "Contagion," provides us with a very accurate example of how government officials are most likely to behave in a true emergency. Don't allow yourself the foolish mistake of depending on them.




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27 March, 2015

DIY Homemade Apfelwein (German Apple Wine), Part 4

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3


I won't go into deep and extraneous detail as to the entire winemaking process with this batch; you can get all of that by reading the articles linked at the top of this one, if you haven't already been following along throughout the process. What you are seeing pictured to the left, however, is the results of pretty much the final step that has to do with adding ingredients, etc. The wine in the glass carboy has now been completely topped-off with the remaining apple juice as well as a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.

The process I followed was simple enough: 4 cups of the remaining apple juice were brought to a low boil on the stove, while melting in 2 cups of sugar and a half ounce (1/16 cup) of powdered cinnamon. This was, of course, poured in slowly and stirred copiously so as to be sure that the additions melted into the liquid properly. Hopefully, I won't need to strain it again, but I'll decide that later on. Likely, I'll just use a siphon to get the wine into the bottles where it will age from that point forward with me opening a bottle to do reviews here on Backwoods Survival Blog at the three-month, six-month, one year, and three year periods. At least, that's the plan.

Below I've added a kind of a collage that I made showing the progression in the glass carboy at each stage over the past few weeks. These photos have already been published here along with the other parts of this article series, but I find it interesting to see them side-by-side like this, and I hope you do as well.




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26 March, 2015

PREPPER PRODUCT REVIEW: Mountain House Grilled Chicken Breasts with Rib Meat and Mashed Potatoes

I was pretty excited about the prospect of sampling the Mountain House Grilled Chicken Breasts with Rib Meat and Mashed Potatoes freeze-dried meal, both because I am a huge fan of their products as well as the fact that the packaging made it appear as though this particular variety might actually live up to the typical labeling of each pouch containing two servings, which – as you would know if you've been reading my reviews of these meals – would be damn near the first time that actually proved to be accurate. And, I'm happy to report success on both counts!

This meal represents both an honest to goodness meat entree, which is somewhat rare, as well as definitely producing enough food to feed either a meal to two people or two meals for one person. You'll notice if you follow the link that it's a slight bit more pricey than other entrees, but at $9.29 (price accurate at the time of this writing) it's actually a better value than some of the other meals. You're getting a freeze-dried meal with a 15 year shelf life (even longer if you're buying in #10 cans as opposed to the mylar pouches) for south of $5. Not bad at all when it comes to long-term food storage.

Rehydrating the chicken breasts. Notice here that some of the meat isn't submerged. Yeah. That's a problem. Keep reading below…





The instructions called for you to submerge the meat in water for a few minutes in order to allow it to rehydrate, then remove the breast fillets and use the same water to do the same with the mashed potatoes. And, this meal also enjoys the notoriety of being the first I've made in this way where I would have been better off going ahead and mixing it in the mylar pouch as called for, rather than using my actual kitchenware. As you can see in the photo above, the meat wasn't completely submerged, because apparently I had a brain fart and forgot that things float in water. Completely my bad. It resulted in their being a couple of spots in each fillet that were just a bit tough. Almost crunchy, actually. Still perfectly edible, however. They pretty much rehydrated after just a couple of seconds in my mouth. Next time, I'll use the mylar pouch even at home.

The packet of mashed potatoes before rehydrating

The finished meal, representing exactly half of what comes in this one single mylar pouch. I ate this for dinner two nights in a row. As you can see, the mashed potatoes come out a bit flaky, almost identical to instant mashed potatoes. Overall, very satisfying and a very good value for the price as a long-term storage food option.




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25 March, 2015

Ruger Mini-14 Tactical Review

Review of the Ruger Mini-14 after 1000 rounds. Gun has a Nikon M-223 4-12x42mm scope, G2 Grip pod, and CAA Cheek rest.




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24 March, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: "Ebola K: A Terrorism Thriller (Book 2)" by Bobby Adair

"Ebola K: A Terrorism Thriller (Book 2)" by Bobby Adair (currently, this title appears to only be available as the Kindle e-book version) will be the focus of our most recent Doomer Fiction book review. Regular readers of Backwoods Survival Blog should be able to recall that I reviewed the previous and first installment in this series, to which this book serves as a sequel, a few weeks ago, and I considered it a worthy enough read to justify purchasing and reviewing the second installment as well.

The thing I found most interesting about this part of the continuing story were the descriptions of how the spread of the disease (the nightmare of a truly airborne strain of the Ebola virus) being carried by the terrorists (essentially, viral suicide bombers) to nearly every corner of the globe affected the overall population over time. You hear a lot later in the book in the form of hearsay in dialogue between various characters about degrading conditions in western cities in Germany, etc., but the author literally walks one of his characters through a decent-sized town in Africa that boasts a greater population than the small village where the disease originated. In this way, the reader is able to experience firsthand just exactly how things truly do look when society's false veneer of comfortable security is torn away. Honestly, there were several things in this book that actually made me cringe to read, which is actually high praise for the abilities of the author.

If you're interested in wetting your proverbial beak with this story and you either own a Kindle e-reader or simply have the Kindle app downloaded on a smart phone or tablet (it is free, after all), the electronic version of the first book in this series still appears to be available as a free download and this second installment has a price tag of only $3.99. Not a lot to ask for several hundred pages of original Doomer Fiction content, as far as I'm concerned. I would definitely encourage checking it out. And, if you do, please leave a review on Amazon as these are pretty much the lifeblood of an independent author's work.


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23 March, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW: "Twister" (1996)

In keeping with the theme from last week's movie review, this week I'll be reviewing "Twister" (1996) Blu-ray (DVD version). From the standpoint of emergency preparedness, you won't find a great deal of subject matter portrayed onscreen with this one that you can utilize as lessons for your own survival skills training. It is, however, a very entertaining disaster film, and the truth is that – as a Prepper – 99% of our efforts really should be geared toward this kind of thing. Let's face it, it may be more exciting to stock up on long-term storage food and survival gear to see ourselves through some expected future societal collapse, but the reality of it is that most emergency preparedness efforts will actually pay off in real time during extreme weather events like the tornadoes portrayed in this film.

Personally, when choosing between this film and "Into the Storm," which I reviewed here last week, I highly prefer the older film. It is true that watching it today can make it seem a bit dated when compared to the much newer film, but it features much more of a plot and far more talented actors. In the end, both are stories that feature storm chasers attempting to get close to devastating storms, the difference being that the storm chasers in this one are working toward scientific study in meteorology, rather than the making of a documentary film. This one also boasts more deeply-realized characters, whose souls and inner passions become evident as the drama unfolds.

One thing that kept going through my mind during a scene in the first few moments of this film, which involved a family rushing to their underground storm shelter in the wake of an oncoming tornado, was that I cannot imagine simply going to bed (or even sending my child to bed while I kept an eye on things) in the normal fashion in that situation. I mean, the entire point of the scene was a plot device to show that the average family had almost no warning of the tornadoes approach, which sets up the fact that the scientists are later attempting to harness data that will be used to make an early warning system, but living in a tornado-prone area with heavy thunderstorm activity and the television reporting tornadoes as being on the ground in other areas, why wait to run to the storm shelter in the first place? I think that, when the weatherman said things could be headed in that direction, I would have to go ahead and declare a fun family stay-at-home camping trip with everyone setting up their sleeping bags, etc. inside the shelter, just in case. But that's just me.

One of my only real complaints about this film involves how the sound is used. The filmmakers seem to have given the tornadoes the ability to emit what is almost an animalistic growl at certain points. What they are trying to do, of course, is to set up the storms themselves as villains in the story, but there are moments when it comes off as a bit silly in retrospect. Other than that small criticism, however, I must say that I really enjoyed this film. It was one of my favorites back when it was originally released, and much of it still holds up today. It is definitely worth checking out, because – as I said before – extreme weather events really are the most likely situations in which any emergency preparedness efforts on our part will truly come into play. Just pay attention to the setting in the background when the family mentioned above enters their storm cellar, and you will notice a space that features shelving packed with emergency supplies, such as what appear to be canned foods, etc. The true lesson is one that this film attempts to teach in an almost subconscious way: one must always be prepared. And I believe that is a lesson that resonates with all of us.


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22 March, 2015

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 - Episode 15 "Try"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.
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This episode represented the penultimate one of this season, leading into the 90-minute long Season Finale next week, and it definitely felt like it. Ever since our little group of survivors made it to the Alexandria Safe Zone, there has existed something of an uneasy atmosphere. I think we can all understand why Rick was initially hesitant to trust the recruiter that approach them about joining the community. Experience has definitely taught these weary people the undeniable truth: people are the real monsters. Despite that, much longer on the road and out in the wilds would have proven certain death for a group who had been out there so long already, and so there was little choice but to take the chance. And it turned out it was a good thing. They found a community that was not only willing to take them in, but which was everything it was professed to be.

Still, a dark and brooding sense of unease has yet to shake itself free over the ensuing weeks of episodes, and all of that tension would have to eventually find an outlet such as what was witnessed in this episode. That being said, as Preppers / Survivalists enjoying Doomer Fiction like this and trying to glean any possible lessons from it, we must remind ourselves to beware of the possibility and almost assurance of an "us versus them" mentality arising when and if stressor events occur that draw lines between an existing community and any newcomers. Many experts within our little subculture will argue against a willingness to take in newcomers in the event that we ever do actually find ourselves in the midst of a complete societal collapse such as this television program portrays, but I'm not one to go quite that far. I actually believe that, even if you have created your own secure community, there will always likely be a need to bring in outsiders in order to gain the advantage of the skill set they bring with them. What I do advise, however, is a sense of wary and watchful caution. Each and every entry carries with it the possibility of outsiders either corrupting or possibly even taking over the community you have built.

Lest we forget that such an event is precisely what befell the residents of Terminus. They actually really did start out as a sanctuary for survivors, but that generosity was repaid when a group overpowered them and took over with all the killing and raping you can imagine such events would entail. And now, it is very interesting to draw a parallel between that known history and Rick's group.

The other side of that equation, of course, involves putting yourself in the place of someone on the opposite side of that proverbial sanctuary gate. If you have not built your own community prior to SHTF times, then your goal will need to be to find a community willing to allow you to join. You are working on your own skill set, acquiring knowledge that will make you valuable to a community right now while you are still able, aren't you? Because you definitely should be. Some will argue a strategy of essentially hiding from everyone and skulking around in the woods, warding off threats by not being noticed, but I can tell you that I am truly not made for that sort of life. Humans are naturally and instinctively social animals, so putting aside the idea of community completely is unwise both for mental health as well as safety and survival. There is something to be said for the old adage of their being safety in numbers, after all.

But what do you do in the situation where you have stumbled upon a community that has everything you need to ensure survival, yet the people running that community seem to have no idea how to live in the harsher world in which you all now exist? Do you allow their naivety to endanger a community that could keep you alive? The real moral issue at stake here is, in such a situation, do you become a conqueror? That's the kind of thought exercise you and I need to be having right now in today's much more safe world, just in case we eventually find ourselves in one that is nowhere near as rosy and bright and in which the false veneer of civilization has been ripped asunder.






The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]



My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:







Big Sale on Mountain House Freeze-Dried Foods!!!

Our valued sponsor Ready Made Resources is currently running a sale on Mountain House freeze-dried foods, which is by far the premier brand for long-term storage food options. Below, please find just a few of their products I have reviewed to date (click each link to open my review in another browser window):



For a limited time, purchasing this extensive supply will also garner you three (3) of their Mountain House Classic Assortment Buckets for free. And, in addition to that, you'll get a free Sawyer SP 128 mini water filter that is capable of rendering 100,000 gallons of water safe to drink! You'll need to mention the SP 128 in the comments section, so they can track the sale and get your your free water filter.






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If you enjoyed this article, feel free to check out the rest of the site, and please consider subscribing to the blog via email by placing your email address in the sign-up box on the right-hand sidebar of the screen. You can also "Like" our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

A Decent Place to Hang Out During a Zombie Apocalypse…

Later tonight, my usual analysis of tonight's episode of The Walking Dead will be published as per normal after it's airing. I hate for the blog to sit all day, however, with no article being posted, so I wanted to share something I came across earlier. 


A bit too conspicuous for our purposes as a survival retreat, I suppose, but I thought it worthy of sharing as a stronghold like this also speaks to my leanings toward a more medieval style of survivalism. Of course, this one wouldn't really represent a viable shelter, since there isn't enough room to grow food. You could do it, I suppose, but it would require indoor growing, which means you would also need a pretty healthy alternative energy system to support the necessary lighting infrastructure. 

I'm sure some will sneer at the talk of zombies, but – putting aside any conversation with respect to the likelihood of a real zombie apocalypse – I, for one, value Doomer Fiction like that for two reasons: 1) It can provide those in our community with an opportunity to witness scenarios we might not have thought of ourselves, thereby allowing us to learn lessons that could be useful to us in the real world (at the very least, you can sometimes get a great idea of what *NOT* to do in a real life survival situation); and, 2) The widespread popularity of this type of fiction opens up the idea of prepping and survivalism to individuals who would never have given thought to such before.

I personally know several people who have approached me in real life after watching The Walking Dead, having known me to be involved in the prepping lifestyle beforehand. Both of them are now taking emergency preparedness much more seriously. Granted, they aren't going all out to the extent most of us do, but they are keeping extra food in their houses as well as modes through which to cook and light their homes during power outages, etc., which they were not doing before. I'd call that a win. This type of introducing emergency preparedness to those who might not otherwise have prepared is the very reasoning behind the zombie apocalypse preparedness campaign put out there by FEMA a few years back, and it really does work to get through to some people.

Again, I'm not necessarily pointing out that something like this would be truly viable as a real-world survival retreat, but rather just because it got me thinking. Pretty decent place to sleep if you're trying to catch a few zzzzzs without being eaten by a zombie, though. ;-)



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21 March, 2015

DIY First-Aid Kit, Part 8



The whole driving purpose behind putting together these two DIY First-Aid Kits that I'm building has been to shore up the efficacy of my own medical emergency preparedness efforts when it comes to survival gear. I have myself fairly well squared away in most areas, but medical supplies have always been something I have unfortunately kept putting off until a later date. Well, these articles are documentation of my efforts to correct those failings, and I couldn't call myself doing so without being sure that both of my redundant kits would allow a person to administer first aid treatment more or less autonomously, regardless of conditions.

Obviously, that means lighting is an aspect that needs to come into play. Granted, I have worked in a lot of redundancy to my emergency preparedness efforts when it comes to making sure I'm not bumbling around in the dark, but you can never be too sure when it comes to the idea of someone possibly needing to treat a grievous wound without proper light. And that's precisely why I'm adding the little gizmo you see pictured to the right to each of my kits.

As you can see, it is a dual-mode LED flashlight and lantern produced by Ozark Trail and available in the Camping and Sporting Goods section of Walmart stores. The operation couldn't be more simple. You can see it in the picture with the top extended, meaning it's essentially in LED lantern mode. The light pours out in a 360° arc from that small clear section below the top silver part. If you want to use it as a flashlight, simply push down on the top and the light switches to a strong beam being committed from the end. The on-off switch is located on the bottom. And, by the way, this is an extremely bright little light to only be rated at 50 lumens and sold for only around $8.

Definitely a great addition, in my book. 


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The Intellectual Dishonesty of the Progressive Left


Personally, as a Libertarian, I have no problem with gays marrying. To each his/her own. But the Progressive Left really does enjoy their double-standards. Everything comes down to you and I agreeing with them on every issue or else we're awful people. This isn't the case with every Liberal, obviously, but it definitely is of the zealots who drive the movement. It's a cowardly ideology under which the pseudo-religion of Progressivism must never be challenged; and, if they can't refute your arguments, they'll simply attack you on a vicious, childishly intolerant personal level while incessantly professing to be the "tolerant" ones. They don't even mind saying things that are blatantly false and borderline libelous, because then they can simply recant quietly as a minor news story after using a more than willing Leftist media to get the sound byte/headline they need to raise money for their twisted agenda of social control. 


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20 March, 2015

DIY Homemade Apfelwein (German Apple Wine), Part 3

Read Part 1 and Part 2


The rather striking difference you can easily see between the two pictures above are the result of nothing more than the one on the right being taken about two weeks into the winemaking process after having strained the mixture through a piece of cloth to get rid of all of the now-dead yeast as well as the miniscule addition of 1/4 teaspoon each of both wine tannin as well as pectic enzymes, both of which are clarifying agents.

My apologies that the angle of the photos are slightly different, but you can get the picture (pun intended!).

I will allow it to sit for perhaps another week like this before making any further additions. At that point, I will most likely top-off the glass carboy with a mixture of apple juice into which I have dissolved more sugar and a bit of cinnamon (and maybe added a bit of vodka to up the alcohol content), before then allowing it to age about another month. Then, it will be time to bottle my batch of apple wine.


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19 March, 2015

PREPPER PRODUCT REVIEW: Backpacker's Pantry Cold Potato Salad

This is going to be an interesting review, because I'm leading it off with the assertion that I didn't really enjoy the Backpacker's Pantry Cold Potato Salad freeze-dried meal, but I also don't think that was necessarily because of any fault with the product. Rather, I think it had far more to do with my own food preferences. Folks in my family typically enjoy potato salad as a side dish, but what I'm talking about is pretty much always the mustard potato salad like you find on sale in the deli section of your supermarket. This product, on the other hand, represents more of a traditional potato salad, so it wasn't really my cup of tea, despite there not really being anything wrong with it. I would imagine others would probably enjoy it much more than I did.

Since I can't speak much about the taste of the dish, allow me instead to point out that it seemed to rehydrate well and was definitely flavorful. It contained peas that seemed almost fresh, even though I knew they weren't, and you could taste the cheese mixed into it. As you can see from the photos I've included, this dish came with a packet of extra virgin olive oil for you to mix-in during the re-hydrating and stirring process, which went a long way toward adding to the overall perception of freshness of the potato salad.

Mylar pouch contents, prior to adding water
Included organic olive oil

Finished product. Like I said, not exactly my taste, but I did actually add some mustard because I didn't want it to go to waste, and I ate some of it that way. What you see in this photo are the finished contents of the entire pouch, so this is definitely a side dish as would be expected of potato salad.


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