How To Hunt Game Using Long Range Rifle Scopes

26 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: I know, Summer is hardly begun, some kids still have a long Summer breaks in front of them while some return to school this week; but the time to start preparing for the upcoming hunting season is upon us so this article from James Smith at PointOptics.com is timely in the overall scheme of things.

Nothing beats the feeling of stalking a game animal successfully. It’s the pay-off for rising before dawn, hitting the trail, and using the best equipment for the job. The devil is in the details when it comes to choosing the right rifle, scope, and ammunition. And when it comes to long range riflescopes, it is a crucial step in the stalking, sighting-in, and shooting process.

This is a comprehensive guide on how to hunt game using a long range rifle scope. It includes a breakdown of the five features you should look for in the long range rifle scope you use, and the best ways to hunt game with this equipment.

Features to Look for When Choosing a Scope for Your Hunting Rifle

When it comes down to selecting the perfect long range riflescope for hunting game, the process can get complicated. The many available options just end up muddying the waters sometimes. To help you get a better picture, there are five features to look for that will make this process much easier for you.

Magnification: Choosing the magnification capacity of your long range scope is half personal preference and half scientific algorithm. The most straightforward method of considering which magnification type is best for your hunting requirements is to work out the 1 x magnification per 100 feet (30,5 meters) of shooting distance.

For example, if you were sighting-in at 300 feet/91.5 meters, you would select the 3 x magnification setting on your scope. By using this scope selection technique, you will never be looking at a target that appears more than 35 yards/32 meters away. This viewpoint is a comfortable distance for the eyesight and brain to process.

Most game hunters sight-in at around 100 yards to 300 yards/ 274 meters in distance. It is for this reason that 3 x 9 power riflescopes are the most popular choice for most hunters. It’s the ideal range where most hunters like to take aim.

Ballistic Reticles: This long range scope feature is a relative newcomer to the hunting rifle scene. It provides additional crosshairs or aiming points in the available field of view. Once you have zeroed in your rifle sight picture, you can use the ballistic reticle feature on your scope for better aiming precision.

Ballistic reticles for hunting comes most typically in two formats: Minute Of Angle format (MOA) and mil-dot format. If you have a mil reticle, you will need to have mil-dot adjustments on your scope. Correspondingly, if you have a MOA reticle, you will need to have MOA adjustments on the scope. In that way, the adjustments you make with your elevation and windage turrets will coincide with the sub-tensions in the reticle. But more about that later.

Parallax Adjustment: A parallax is the position of the reticle on your target in relationship to your eye. The PA is a popular feature on bigger, higher magnification scopes because it allows you to dial out the parallax at a specific range so that what you see is what you get. It goes from zero all the way to infinity. If you have a 3 x 9 power scope, you probably don’t need this high-tech addition. However, if you have a 4 x 12 or 4 x 16 power scope, getting a parallax adjustment is a good idea.

First or Front Focal Plane Reticle: You used to find first focal plane reticles only in European manufactured riflescopes, but they have started to become more popular in other countries, and for a good reason. A first focal plane reticle allows you to adjust the magnification on your rifle scope, but the additional aiming points you have in the reticle will still be feeding you the correct trajectory compensation information.

A second focal plane reticle is different. The hash marks only typically match the trajectory when the scope is set at its maximum magnification capacity.

Fast Focus Eyepiece: One of the main benefits of this equipment is its user-friendly integration. It is yet another bit of European technology that is spreading across the Atlantic. It allows you to fine tune your interface with the rifle scope in real time. This saves on sighting and adjusting when shooting over long distances.

There are many things to consider when choosing a rifle scope, the size of the scope, the size of the game, and the shooting distance. But these are the five scope features that you need to have basic knowledge about.

The Anatomy of a Rifle Scope

Because riflescopes are fairly costly pieces of equipment, it makes sense to buy one suitable for your long range hunting rifle and the terrain over which you will be sighting in. It also depends on the company you keep when hunting outdoors as a group. If everyone on the team considers less than 100 yards/91 meters as fair game shooting distance, and you want to go after the more challenging targets, then you should change your hunting group, not your equipment.

The scope you choose should be at least 12 x top magnification, and 16 x is preferable. Higher magnification of 6 x 24 is possible, but finding a target at close range will be more difficult, especially if it is moving. The larger the magnification, the better the optics must be. It’s no good being able to zoom in when you can’t see a clear target in low light conditions.

When you mount the scope, it needs to be with the greatest possible integrity. Any movement in the tube or loosening of the mounting screws will turn your trip into a “one that got away,” saga. It is for this reason that a standard mil-dot or MOA reticle in front focal plane position is recommended.

Once you establish the perfect sight-in distance for each of the mil-dots descending from the center, the calculation won’t change. Even if the scope is set to 8, 22, or 16 x, the first mil-dot will be set at the correct distance. The same thing applies to windage turret calculations. When you have a front focal plane mil-dot, any windage (horizontal) adjustments are the same whether the scope variable is positioned at 10 or 16 x.

Your scope should hold up to the recoil of your rifle caliber as well. Taking this into account when choosing a long range rifle scope may limit your options, sadly, but it’s a vital component to getting the job done.

Mil-Dot vs. MOA for Game Hunting

Do your research before deciding on which system to use.

  • Stick to the measuring system with which you are most familiar
  • If you are more comfortable with metric, mil-dot may be the best choice, although the “mil” is not an abbreviation of millimeters
  • If you are shooting over shorter ranges, many hunters holdover using a reticle altogether
  • Long range riflescope accuracy should consider precision, calculation ability, and equipment cost

If this calculating is ruining your hunting experience, simply carry a dope card with you at all times. Once you are more familiar with your mils, you can give over using the dots and make super-fast shots without it.

Sighting-In

Proper shot placement for long range hunting is a very important factor. It’s not as simple as sighting-in your rifle so that the cross-hairs are dead-on at 300 yards/274 meters and pulling the trigger. That means the first mil-dot (see diagram) down would be dead-on at around 500 yards/457 meters.

The best way to illustrate this is by using a trophy object standing at a distance of approximately 300 feet away at a steeply inclined uphill angle as an example. When the rifle scope is zeroed at 300 yards, it is actually almost 4 inches/10 cm too high because of the shortening of the trajectory angle. The bullet’s pathway is 4 inches above the aim point, even though the game target was at 300 yards. The best calculation is to zero the target per 100 yards. The first mil-dot should be down dead-on at around 400 yards/366 meters and the second at 550 yards/503 meters. These adjustments will ensure that the bullet path will never be above your point of aim.

Depending on what caliber and bullet weight you’re using, most riflescopes will use this basic sight-in and trajectory. The bullet has a slight left to right arc at long range. If the windage turret is set at zero per 100 yards, this can veer as much as 7 inches/17 cm off target. Counter this by setting the windage at 550 yards on a calm day. The bullet will still be 1.5 inches/3.8 cm to the left of the target when shooting at 100 to 400 yards, but it will be dead to rights at 550 yards.

Remember, the more practice you get in making these decisions, the faster they will become second nature to you on the field. And that brings us to the crucial part of long range game hunting:

Taking the Shot

Before you take any shot over 200 yards/182 meters, make a few calculations in your head using the WAR acronym: wind, angle, and range.

Wind deflection calculations: Use a handheld wind speed calculator if mental arithmetic is not your forte. It will help you formulate the wind speed, angle of the wind, and how it will affect your trajectory. There are also some useful computer software programs to help you grasp the required compensations.

Angle: Straight down being zero, and level straight out being 90 degrees, if your target is approximately 65 degrees, your angle x range multiplier will be 0.8. The more hunting experience you have, the easier it will become to gauge the angle degree. A good handheld rangefinder will calculate and angle x range multiplier of 0.7 for a 45 degree target.

When to Take Another Shot

If you are using a spotter to let you know when you’ve made a marginal hit on the target, base your next shot on the information you receive from your spotter. If the first shot was a complete miss, but the trophy target is still unaware, make the necessary adjustments and try again. If the target is on the move, withhold shooting again until the target is stationary once more.

If you begin game hunting with an experienced crew, they can guide you to all the best places to sight-in. Someone can use the spotter, and point out any beneficial observations. Remember that once your spotting scope is deployed, you will be locked into that position for a while.

A few other hunting essentials are water or energy drinks, PB&J sandwiches (they don’t turn in the heat), granola bars, and jerky. Don’t forget to wear weather-appropriate clothing, and cover up with insect repellent if it’s bug season.

The only thing left to say is Happy Hunting!

Glossary of Long Range Rifle Scope Terms:

  • 1-inch tube: The erector tube of the rifle scope, most come in 1 inch diameter
  • AO: Adjustable objective. A type of parallax correction feature
  • Ballistic reticle: Incorporates many factors for correct point of aim
  • Ballistic turret: A feature of high-end riflescopes. Allows for more than one predetermined turret setting distance
  • BDC: Bullet Drop Compensation. The relationship between the fired bullet, target, and gravity
  • Clicks: the number of rotations of the turret adjustments
  • Duplex reticle: The most common style of available reticle with cross-hairs reaching the field of view edge
  • Elevation: The vertical cross-hair of the reticle
  • Fast Focus Eyepiece: Sighting and focusing technology from Europe that allows for a sharp, crisp image
  • Fixed Power: The magnification is fixed without varying high to low power settings
  • Holdover: Calculation using BDC technology
  • Light Transmission: The amount of light that’s collected by the objective bell and transmitted to the eyepiece
  • LR: Long range
  • Original Zero: The distance for which you have sighted your scope.
  • RS: Rifle Scope
  • Turrets: Used interchangeably to describe the knobs and dials that protrude from the scope
  • Windage: The horizontal cross-hair of the reticle.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post How To Hunt Game Using Long Range Rifle Scopes appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

What You Need to Know About the Medical Use of Steroids

24 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: Since their introduction steroids have received a lot of knee-jerk press, rumors and half-truths. While a complicated science, Kimberly Clark offers the following insight into their proper use. 

When I received my PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors Association) certification in Adaptive Techniques to work with the handicapped the toughest part of the training was learning about the meds my students might be taking. Knowing the last dose received before a lesson, knowing how long before a next dose was recommended, knowing the possible side effects of not only the medication itself, but the symptoms indicating the medication was wearing off, add to this the required first aid to be administered if a reaction occurred.

It could be life or death at 11,000 feet on a snow-covered mountain because you were the first responder, period. A microcosm of an EOTWAWKI where professional medical attentions might not be available or reachable soon enough.  Knowledge is power and I hope this take on steroids helps as it is complicated.

Medical steroids are designed to act like hormones to reduce inflammation. They’re also known as corticosteroids, and are different to anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders and athletes. That said, the graphic below show the confusion that can exist on the subject.

 

In a gist, steroids are human-made chemicals that mimic the natural functioning of hormones in the body. Ideally, they function like the hormones in the body whose purpose is to reduce inflammation. Though they are mainly manufactured for medical reasons, steroids, of course have also been used (or misused) to help athletes and body-builders to boost their body strength. However, other uses of steroids other than the medicinal uses are more often illegal (I will leave the discussion of professional sports vs sports as entertainment to others.) Though the steroids will not cure the inflammation in your body, they will help reduce swelling and ease the symptoms, that is an important distinction to understand, they treat the symptoms by inhibiting some of the bodies natural functions.

What Are Steroids, And When Should You Consider Using Them?

As mentioned above, steroids are human-made hormones that are introduced to the body to help solve various issues. Inflammation is one of the significant problems that you can solve through the use of steroids. Typically, inflammation is the body’s reaction to either injury, bacteria or infection.

To help fight the bacteria, the immune system produces some extra fluid to fight bacteria and viruses, thus resulting in swelling. For this reason, when you have cases where your body is reacting to such conditions, then you can take steroids to minimize the immune reaction.

There are different ways through which you can take steroids into the body. Some of these are:

  • Apply to the skin as a cream or gel- this helps reduce inflammation on the skin
  • Through the eye as eye drops – it helps reduce inflammation in the eye
  • Through the mouth as tablets or liquids – helps reduce inflammation throughout the body.

The time taken for you to notice a difference after taking steroids may vary depending on your condition, and the prescription administered.

Circumstances Under Which You Can Take Steroids

Like any other drugs, steroids have their side effects that may be severe under specific conditions. For this reason, you can find a situation where your doctor will advise against the use of steroids. For instance, in case you have wounds on your body, steroids may delay the healing process.

Additionally, steroids may negatively affect other medical conditions in the body, such as mental health issues, diabetes, blood pressure problems, or heart problems. Therefore, in case you have any of these conditions, you need to seek competent medical advice as opposed to reading WebMD and self medicating.

If you are a person who uses contact lenses, you will need to stop wearing  them and go to your glasses as a fallback, the glasses, while you are receiving steroid eye drops. If you have an infection on your skin, you will not be in a position to apply steroid creams or gel on the skin. Other skin problems such as acne, ulcers, and rosacea, among others, could also become complicated in case you use steroid creams in their presence. Therefore, ensure that you consult your doctor whether it is safe for you to use any steroid treatment to avoid future regrets, and always ask your physician if any of the meds he/she is prescribing is a steroid.

Taking Other Medicines Alongside Steroids and Vaccinations

Generally, you will come across drugs that you cannot take at the same time as they would cause some adverse reactions in the body. However, according to research, it is possible for you to take some steroids alongside other drugs. As with anything, there are medicines that could cause adverse reactions when taken alongside steroids. Therefore, before you start using any new drugs, ensure that you consult your doctor to make sure that you are on the safe side.

In addition, avoid other over-the-counter drugs when you are under a steroid dosage of a drug unless advised by your doctor. Concerning vaccines, for the whole time when you are using steroids, it is advisable to avoid the use of live vaccines; for instance, yellow fever vaccine. However, some of the vaccines will depend on the type of dosage that you are taking. In case you find it necessary to take any immunization, ensure that you do it before you start the steroid dose to avoid any infections. Be safe, always consulted a trusted medical professional.

Steroids and Fertility, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

According to studies, there are some steroid tablets such as prednisolone that can be safe for use during pregnancy. When taken during pregnancy, steroids are more often than not used to treat flare-ups for expectant mothers. However, in case you are planning to get pregnant and are still using steroids, it is essential to consult your doctor about that.

When you take steroids while breastfeeding a small amount of the steroids that will get into the milk and be passed onto your child. However, there is no research showing any risks of such amounts to the baby, but do your homework.

Steroid creams are safe for use when you are breastfeeding. However, in case you apply the cream around the breast, ensure that you properly wash yourself before breastfeeding.

Having an Operation or Using Alcohol

In case you have an upcoming operation, it is advisable to quit the use of steroids. However, speak to your surgeon or doctor about it before you stop taking the steroids as some surgeries may actually need you to be under steroid medications prior to the actual operation. In other cases, all you may need to do is to change the dose before the surgery, as always, the doctor needs to manage this. Therefore, in case you are using steroid medication drugs such as Triazide, ensure that your doctor is aware of any step that you intend to take. Such drugs will help treat edema and control moderate and mild blood pressure, which are some of the conditions that may occur in the course of the operation.

Concerning alcohol, don’t. After you start using steroids, it is advisable to stop or minimize the use of alcohol. Additionally, avoid taking many units of alcohol at a go. Instead, spread the units across several days and have some alcohol free days. This will minimize the chances of a severe reaction between alcohol and steroids.

Conclusion

Steroids are practical and powerful drugs that you can use to help solve several medical conditions in the body. However, like in the use of any other drug, you need to understand their medical application to prevent any harm to the body when you take them. Use the information above to understand all that you need to know about the medical use of steroids.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post What You Need to Know About the Medical Use of Steroids appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Survival Gardening: Squash Bugs and Borers

23 Jul

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

If you have a squash bug (SB) or squash vine borer (SVB) problem, it can be a big problem. Some areas have even greater trouble due to increased season length and mild winters.

Despite SB’s greater versatility, I hate SVB even more. It’s utterly devastating, and requires much more attention ahead of time, because once the plant wilts, it’s pretty much too late.

Even if you’re not growing yet and don’t have any problems, push through this one anyway, just in case. You’ll need the fixes and preventatives on hand ahead of time.

Recognize the Enemy

SVB is a moth larvae that chews into and then up through vines of susceptible cucurbits. The plant suddenly wilts, then dies. It limits its destruction to cucurbits and doesn’t usually bother thin-stemmed melons or thin-stemmed gourds.

The SB is a beetle, and spawns freakish little spidery babies that go through green and gray stages. In addition to munching all kinds of plants, they spread disease. There are similar-looking pests with very similar control and prevention difficulties.

The eggs are the best identifier ahead of time. SB lay tight, regular patterns. SVB lay fewer, more irregularly.

SVB usually lay on stems, as close to the base of the plant as possible, but I’ve found them upwards of 1’ above the ground and some trailing up under leaves.

SB wants to lay on the underside of leaves, but I’ve found those diamond clusters on stems, too.

Check other plants, too – It’s not as frequent, but SB will lay on beans, peppers, sunflowers, okra, etc. SB adults will be found anywhere, too.

Conventional Traps, Spray & Powder

In their early stages, SB is somewhat vulnerable to Sevin spray. Powder isn’t super effective and it doesn’t bother the eggs. If SVB larvae aren’t crawling across it as they hatch, it doesn’t bother them, either. Spray can be more effective on more of the life-cycle stages, but it’s “more” – it’s not total wipe-out.

Some find neem oil effective, particularly in the early life stages.

All of them have to catch the bugs to be effective. SB are active enough to evade that spray by leaping away. SVB are inside, so you have to fill those stems to catch them.

Big Ag may be able to blanket enough dust and spray to do so, but most home growers even with a tow-behind disburser are going to struggle to blanket a big enough area fast enough.

!!! – Pesticides aren’t super effective on SB and SVB, but they are wicked effective against pretty much every single beneficial bug in our gardens, from worms and fireflies and their slug-hunting larvae, to pretty much every single pollinator, bees to butterflies to hoverflies and wasps, and can even affect the gut microbiology of hummingbirds and bats. – !!!

Traps work well, but require specific attractants and have to be replaced or rejuvenated.

Conventional Prevention’s

Squash vine borers can pop up after years of not growing squashes anywhere within 200-500 yards. Squash bugs are the same, with an added problem: They like squash. They don’t need it.

That means crop rotations aren’t super effective in breaking this particular pest cycle.

The smaller our spaces, the less effective it becomes.

The mobility of the moths and adaptability of the beetles means that for most home-consumption and small-plot growers with less than an acre (‘bout a football field) per crop butting into another half- or full acre of clean, bare earth, the advice to keep a “clean” garden and avoid mulches doesn’t actually help much.

Without that space, there are too many other options for them: tree and shrub windbreaks, perennial crops and ornamentals, wood piles, overgrown ditches and fence lines, woods, lawns and pastures, straw and hay piles, gaps under sheds.

Weigh that against the values of mulches before going the bare-earth road.

Unfortunately, control once they’re established is difficult, too. Enough to make you fantasize about spraying gas and lighting a match.

Tried & True: Squish ‘Em

Good luck catching the moth. (If you find something that doesn’t affect good bugs, please share.)

To help lower the load for the beetle, carry a jar to the garden to flick them into, and a board you can squash them against.

That board is handy for collecting SB’s – so is cardboard. Lay a chunk near the plants, flip it, stomp.

Tried & True: Pluck Eggs

Attentively checking stems and leaves for little red eggs is the most effective way to control damage.

You can scrape with a butter knife or thumbnail, or try wrapping good, sticky duct tape or packing tape around hands or fingers. You’ll have to press pretty firmly.

I do not just let the eggs fall to the surface under the belief stuff will eat them there (maybe, but maybe not). Nor do I deliver them to birds (some may escape). They get carted to the trash – the trash. In a world without trash, seal them in jars/pails.

Tried & True: Stick Juveniles

I like tape for snagging itty-bitty, speedy SB babies, although you have to really stick them or they can wiggle free.

There’s also the theory of stabbing the SVB by sticking pins/toothpicks in the stems and base of squash either as a preventative or as soon as frass is visible. It has merit, especially if a plant is months into growing but isn’t anywhere near harvest, particularly in a situation where we need this food.

Squashes develop really wide bases, though, and may have more than one larvae, so make sure you’re thoroughly stabbing to kill. They can easily crawl out and chew in elsewhere otherwise.

Foil – Fail

I have tried full-sheet widths of foil in a ring around squashes from the time they pop up. I have interwoven strips around as much of the base of the vines as possible.

The foil at the base in a wide collar akin to brassica collars might be helping, but it’s limited. I have no luck with other materials, either.

Again, I see SVB eggs way up on stems, not only at the base – mama lays on whatever’s exposed, and babies adapt.

Conditionally: Sacrificial Hubbard

Yes, SB-SVB do like Hubbard. I have ringed lots with it, with 20-yard gaps to the nearest other squash, and thrown it in right beside the other cucurbits. Sometimes it’s the only victim or the damage elsewhere is limited, but it’s at best 50-50 and it does nothing to lower the pest loads.

In Big Ag, the Hubbard goes out early and farmers kill the bugs on it to lower pest loads for direct-seeded cash crop squash.

Otherwise, once they’ve killed the Hubbards, SB/SVB have plenty of time to leap over to other cucurbits and kill them, too.

Yellow Traps – Fail

This is where you hang something fairly smooth and happy yellow (cups, frisbees, painted canning lids, yogurt tubs), lightly coat it in something semi-sticky or clogging (kitchen and garden oils, thinned-down glues), and hang it so that itty-bitty munchers get snagged and stuck or coated and suffocate. Wipe, re-coat, repeat.

I have never actually seen hoverflies, fireflies, brown wasps, or striped and fuzzy bees attached, no big butterflies or moths, just the teeny-tiny stuff, so it’s not really hurting. However, I’ve only nabbed juvenile SB on versions stuck down into the dense sections of foliage or laid out in a ring under foliage, and it’s few and far between and mostly a waste of time and resources.

(Again, it can take significant pressure to snag those SB babies – you need a serious level of sticky, and for them to willingly crawl onto it to get stuck, or to fall/jump onto it; they’re not flying or leaping to it on purpose like white-fly.)

Cup Collars – Fail

These guys are effective against some types of pests for other types of crops, just like foil and cardboard collars, but, again, SB lays mostly on leaves and is not restricted to cucurbits – it just likes them – and SVB will lay well up on the mature stem, with the wormy larvae crawling down as far as possible to enter but in no way restricted to entry right at the base of squash.

In the time when the plants are small enough to fit in the cups, their vines aren’t actually vulnerable to borer larvae, still too skinny.

Too, those cups only reach a couple inches up. Any SVB that come by later are going to have nice, exposed stems and leaves protruding to lay on, with their young readily able to slide down and chew in.

Squash are big plants with wide bases and sprawling vines by type – you only contain them in a cup for a little while. Then, there are months of season left for SVB to lay on exposed, viable vines.

So… once again, while effective against some pests, it’s a waste of time and resources for SVB/SB. 

Semi-Helpful: Bury Nodes

There’s the belief that once the adventitious root nodes of longer vines is buried, the adult SVB moth doesn’t know it’s there, and won’t lay her eggs there to burrow in. The idea that she can find a seed-started stem but not a buried node… I don’t know how that even gains traction.

Plus, again, she’ll lay way up on stems. Where they are doesn’t matter.

However, there is a benefit: It creates another feed point for the plant.

If you can kill the larvae in the original stretch(es), active nodes can keep the plant alive long enough to mature any fruits further down the vine.

Tried & True: Row Covers

They work, but there’s some issues that come up, because you have to seal the edges.

SB require really sealing the edges. They’ll crawl under any loose sections. It’s a definite time and resource suck to bury-unbury-rebury every time we need access.

Mesh is my choice control for the consistent SVB problems all over my area, though. They’re not quite as small and tough, so it doesn’t require sealing to the same degree. (I wouldn’t bother if we only had SB.)

Second Hitch: Pollinators can’t get in. That means hand pollinating more than seed stock. It’s also totally devastating for squash bees, so plant some melons for them.

Combatting SB/SVB

It takes some attention and it can be laborious, but we can mitigate SB/SVB infestations. There aren’t many critters that prey on SB/SVB, so it’s all on us. Since the most effective methods require time and in some cases materials, we have to make some preparations so we can act immediately when they show up.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Survival Gardening: Squash Bugs and Borers appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Nutritious Food Plants You Can Harvest Quickly

19 Jul

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: A guest submission to The Prepper Journal from Raymond Poole. Raymond Poole is an organic cooking and gardening fanatic. He spends his free time trialing and testing different growing techniques to make his beloved fruit and vegetable garden flourish to full flavor.

Admit it, we want things to happen fast. We’re a society of fast food, fast internet, and instant gratification. But when it comes to growing nutritious food, we have to be patient. Mother Nature usually needs time to work.

But there are exceptions in the vegetable world where gratification, if not instant, isn’t far off. We only need a few weeks to produce some nutritious vegetables and enjoy them for a great lunch or dinner. Imagine having fresh spinach harvested four to six weeks after planting. Even better, a vegetable garden in your backyard will complement that verdant, green lawn and add some color and texture to your landscape.

There are many wholesome veggies you can grow, relatively quickly, a few steps away from your kitchen. Here are five vegetables to get you started.

Spinach

Spinach is an excellent source of minerals, vitamins, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. And you can harvest it as soon as a month after planting. Sow the seeds into good quality soil and then water.

This is a must-have vegetable if you’re living off the grid. Spinach improves eyesight and cognitive function, combats Alzheimer’s disease and gastric ulcers, and increases blood flow to the brain. Its high content of potassium and its lack of sodium helps maintain good blood pressure and its antioxidants strengthen muscles. It also reduces the chance of heart attacks and strokes.

Carrots

Carrots are excellent as part of a salad, as a snack, and taste great when cooked. They thrive in the USDA’s Hardiness zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. They do need lots of sun, and do well when planted about three to five weeks before the last frost. Select a thin fingerling variety and plant the seeds about 2 inches apart at a depth of ¼ to ½ inch. Water at least 1 inch per week and fertilize four weeks after planting if the soil is lacking organic matter. Don’t use compost. In about six weeks, you’ll have your harvest — and some can be picked even sooner as part of the thinning process.

Carrots offer carbs and fiber, lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of cancer. It includes vitamin A, which promotes good vision and improves immune functions. Its Biotin enhances metabolism and vitamin K1 promotes bone health and blood clotting. It has potassium that improves blood pressure and vitamin B6 to convert food into energy.

Radishes

Another ideal food for salads, radishes are ready for your table in as little as 21 days after planting. This is a cool weather crop, planted in spring and autumn and two weeks before the last frost. It thrives in sunlight and well-drained soil with a pH level of 6 to 7, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. The soil should be free of rocks. Include organic matter like compost, manure, or leaf mold in the soil before planting.

Rich in fiber, radishes also aid the digestive system and help combat several forms of cancer. They improve cardiovascular health, relieve respiratory disorders, lower blood pressure, help manage diabetes, and protect the kidneys.

Lettuce

Lettuce grows in colder temperatures and is ready to begin harvesting 30 days after planting. Plant in the early spring when temperatures are between 45°F and 65°F. It thrives in moist, cool conditions and can tolerate a light frost. It will flower or bolt to seed if the weather gets too hot.

The soil should be loose, moist, well-drained, and fertilized. It favors acidic conditions. So include some compost into the soil. Plant seeds in rows of 12 to 15-inches long. Leave a space of 18-inches between rows. Thin the growing seedlings to 4-inches apart to prevent overcrowding. You can harvest over time, by cutting outer leaves as they mature, or take the full plant when leaves are full size, but still tender. If you wait until the lettuce is too mature, it ends up tasting bitter.

There are several types of lettuce. They include Romaine, which is sweet and crunchy. Crisphead or Iceberg, which has a crisp texture and mild taste. Butterhead (also known as Boston or Bibb) has large, soft, green leaves that are sweet tasting. Romaine has the greatest benefits.

Lettuce, in general, has only 12 calories for one shredded cup. It prevents the build-up of plaque. It includes relaxing and sleep-inducing properties. Its minerals improve energy. It’s an ideal food for anyone monitoring their blood sugar or wishes to maintain their weight.

Arugula

The green leaves of the arugula plant have a peppery taste and are ideal for salads. Once mature, cut the leaves off the plant and enjoy. Leaves will continue to grow back each year.

The plant thrives in well-drained, moist soil with a pH level of 6 to 6.5. Add compost to the soil before sowing. Do the composting in the fall. and plant the arugula in the spring. The plant tolerates cool weather and an occasional frost, so plant as early as April in daytime temperatures above 40 degrees. Select a sunny location for planting, although it tolerates some shade. The plant grows 1 to 2 feet tall and is ready for harvest about four weeks after planting.

You can either plant the seeds in rows or scatter them over an area. The seeds should be about one-quarter inch deep and 1-inch apart. Once the leaves develop, you can harvest.

Arugula includes vitamin K, which assures healthy bones and a better immune system. It also has cancer-fighting properties, increases metabolism, improves eyesight, and enhances mineral absorption.

Growing your own nutritious foods provides many benefits. You’ll save time and money with fewer visits to the grocery store. You’ll also be prepared if the store shelves are empty!

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Nutritious Food Plants You Can Harvest Quickly appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

How to Make Sure Your Stuff Lasts Forever — or Close to It

17 Jul

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: A guest contribution from Scott Huntington to The Prepper Journal.

Whether you live primarily off the grid and rarely venture to town or you simply wish to extend the life of your belongings to save money, taking certain steps can make everything from your clothes to your home last longer. Even though many now live by the convenience principle of tossing broken things and buying new, learning to extend the life of our objects also helps protect the planet we share. In a world where every other product bears a label reading “Made in China,” the cliche they just don’t build things like they used to has merit.

Any way you slice it, extending the life of anything from your car to your kitchen appliances makes sense. When survival is on the line, protecting your tools keeps you alive. Here’s how you can maintain the items you own so they last as close to forever as possible.

Extend the Life of Your Clothes

Washing and drying your clothes can cause them to pill and wear more quickly. Whenever possible, opt to hand wash your clothes. It takes longer, but it’s far kinder to the environment and your wardrobe.

Tossing your clothes in the dryer may help them dry faster, but it does a number on the fabric — the lint screen gets full of all the bits of thread pulled from the fibers of shirts and more. Plus, line-dried fabrics smell so much more amazing than those dried with chemically laden sheets. If you live in an area that prohibits outdoor clotheslines, invest in a drying rack you can place on your porch or balcony to dry your duds.

Rotate your clothes and maintain proper hygiene. When you wash a load, put the clean clothes further back in the closet so every item sees relatively equal wear. While it’s not true you must shower every day unless you’ve been working in a coal mine, do wash your armpit and groin areas twice daily, as sweat can leave salt stains on clothes.

Make Your Food Last Longer

Using the right materials for food storage requires a small upfront investment, but you will save money and your stash of strawberries in the long run. Rinsing fruits such as berries in a vinegar and water solution before putting them in the fridge eliminates bacteria that cause spoilage before your produce hits the drawer. As fruits decompose more quickly than veggies, store them in separate drawers.

Invest in quality reusable food storage containers designed for different products. Store leafy greens in cartons lined with paper towels to draw out moisture and keep them crisper longer. Keep milk in sealed glass jars to extend shelf life, and spend the money for washable cheese cloths to keep your cheddar from molding after a few days.

Keep Your Vehicle Running Strong

Protecting your vehicle means performing regular and preventive maintenance on engine and body. To keep your car or truck rust-free for years, invest in rust protection for your undercoating and wash the underside of your car regularly. Wash your car at least every other week, or more often if salt and grime accumulate faster due to inclement weather.

Keep your engine running by getting regular oil and filter changes. If you drive a four-wheel drive or high-performance vehicle, speak with your mechanic about using synthetic oil — this extends the time between changes and keeps engine heat lower. If your car is older than 2007, change the oil every 3,000 miles. Newer vehicles can average 5,000 miles between changes. Replace your air filter every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.

Do the Same for Appliances

If you’ve got an older fridge, take a dollar bill and close your refrigerator door on it. If it pulls right out, it’s time to change the gasket. Doing so costs only $30-$70 and takes a screwdriver and an Allen wrench. You’ll save a fortune on electricity and keep food fresher longer.

Change the air filters for your HVAC system out monthly. Some experts recommend doing so less often in the winter, but deciding to cut down on filter changes depends on many factors. If you have pets who shed or if you smoke, keeping up with monthly maintenance can save you in terms of costly future repairs.

When it comes to your dryer if you use one, invest in a snake wand to clean out the lint trap more effectively. Create a spill barrier when using the oven by placing cookie sheets on the rack underneath your casserole or pie. Use a paste of baking soda to clean spills up if they do occur — as soon as the oven safely cools, of course.

Protect Your Furnishings

Do you ever feel warm when you sit next to a sunny window in your home? The heat isn’t only burning your skin — it’s also fading the wood and fabrics of your furnishings. Investing in window tinting can cut your cooling and heating bills, as well as preserve the life of your leather. Even your blinds become faded over time from sun and heat, so you’ll maintain your window coverings too. A bonus of such tint is that you can see out, but strangers cannot see into your home.

If your leather furniture suffers minor tears, you can buy repair kits and fix them at home in little time. Did you carelessly take a chunk out of a chair leg with a hammer while using it for support on another project? Get some wood putty and stain to repair the nick instead of buying new.

Extend the Life of Your Roof

If your roof leaks, the entirety of your homestead can suffer damage. Extend its life by keeping your gutters clear of leaves and debris, as overflows can lead to leakage. Perform a visual inspection of your roof while you do so — if you notice missing patches of tile or shingles, repair them without delay. If water damage reaches the rafters, black mold and significant water damage can occur.

Are you roughing it and having problems with your tent gear? Keep repair tape and basic tools with you to patch holes quickly. When you change campsites, shake out tents thoroughly to remove debris and insects. Pass on using water to clean it, as this can cause mildew, but if some develops from exposure to the elements, use a distilled white vinegar and water solution to kill it. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly.

Extending the Life of Your Belongings

Living in the sticks means driving miles to get supplies — and who wants to tackle such a drive every time something breaks? If you’re living rough or minimalist, no doubt you need to preserve the life of the possessions you keep with you. Even if you live in New York City, though, extending the life of your belongings saves you major moolah. Cash is better kept in your hand or even under your mattress than doled out constantly to merchants in a disposable-minded society.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post How to Make Sure Your Stuff Lasts Forever — or Close to It appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Prepare for Disaster with a Portable Generator

16 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

Living or working in a disaster-prone area always requires that you be prepared for the worst. When a natural disaster strikes, you might not have the time to take the right recuperative measures if you were ill prepared. It is vital that you have an electric portable generator in standby just to be on the safe side.

If you live in such an area, it could mean having to survive some uncomfortable situations like enduring darkness for days, eating canned foods and having a lot more store in your fridge or freezer going bad due to lack of power.

 If you are experiencing floods, you will have your basement filling up with water since your sump pump stops working and have mold growing in your house.

In a business premise, you risk losing a lot of your products especially if you deal with perishable goods. Finding an emergency generator to rent for the period that you stay without power can be very challenging since they are in high demand at that time.

Statistics show that the demand for these generators rises rapidly during natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, ice storms, and others and that businesses with emergency power kits record minimal losses. Here is what you need to ensure when setting up an emergency power tool kit.

Know Your Power Needs

Before you buy your emergency generator, check the maximum amount of power needed in your building and compare that to the generator that you wish to buy. You can check the power rating of your building on the nameplate of the main electrical panel.

Take some time to determine the probable load of your house or building. You can connect an ammeter to the various electrical panels when power is being used at its peak. Do this for about two weeks to determine the amount of power that your generator will have to provide during the disaster period. You can also check your monthly utility bills over several months and get an average to find the approximate load.

Knowing your power needs will guide you to the size of the generator you need at your home or at your business premises.

Placement and Security

When you finally settle on one particular generator, you will need to find a suitable place in your building to place it. The generator, whether it is at home or in business premises, should be at a location where you can easily access it.

 It should be near the building’s electrical panel so that you use a little amount of electrical cable and reduce the cost of installation.

The generator’s location should be away from traffic for safety issues and in a dry area. If you can, have the generator completely away from public access.

Finally, ensure that only certified electricians connect your generator to the electrical panel. If you are not a qualified electrician, never try to connect it yourself. Never handle your generator with wet hands or in a wet environment.

Fueling:

When using your emergency generator, you will need to fuel it. During the disaster period, you may need to use a lot of fuel to keep it running for the period you will be without power.

We recommend that you go for one with a large fuel tank that you do not have to keep refueling. Know how much fuel per hour the generator you want to buy burns when at both full and half loads. This data will give you an estimate of the amount of fuel you need to have and at what intervals.

It would be counterproductive to run out of power in the middle of the night while using a generator yet it is that very situation that you got a generator for.

Avoid such scenarios by calculating properly the amount of fuel that your generator will burn up at a go, and have some reserve fuel within reach to refuel if need be especially during odd night hours. As a safety measure, you should not store gasoline and diesel for an extended period of times as will then need some chemicals to use them safely which will add up to your cost. 

Inspect and Maintain Your Generator

Now when you have your generator, you need to ensure that it is always in a top-notch condition. You never know when disaster will strike and you need to use it again. Even then, there will be instances at one time or another when there is a power outage in normal days.

These come as a blessing in a way since they remind you to once in a while run your generator to keep it in a good condition. You might also want to have annual maintenance, especially when expecting a harsh weather season. Always ensure that you use clean fuel.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Prepare for Disaster with a Portable Generator appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Reflectors and Mylar: Home, Garden and On The Go

12 Jul

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

There are all kinds of ways windshield reflectors and space blankets can make life easier and increase our capabilities as preppers, both everyday and during emergencies. Some of the camping and car uses are the most well known, but they don’t get applied in our homes and backyards much.

What we’re doing with them affects just how much quality we need, and thus what we might expect to spend. We also have other options such as regular ol’ aluminum foil and the option of snagging aluminum bubble insulation.

Mylar Sheets

I should say up front that while I have a couple of the dollar-store wallet-sized sheets in my daily bags and vehicle, I am not a huge fan of them. I’ve tried them out a few times. They never got top billing for my vest or pocket stuff when I was camping.

We can get better versions of simple, thin, super-compact, super-lightweight heat sheets for not much more, which is now my choice.

We can also get the types where the mylar sheet is mated to a much sturdier nylon or canvas backing, complete with grommets. They’re pricier and have added bulk, but they’re far more sturdy with more ease of use.

That’s what I tend to go with now for away-from-home emergency kits when the space isn’t of issue.

I have always lived in areas where wind is a factor, even in the woods. Most of my packing and long-distance solo driving has been done in areas with crazy-vicious thorns and-or thick brush. I have had all kinds of things punctured and ripped from rocks, sticks, and mesquite. I also almost always have dogs with me, and do not always have a file for their nails or control of their wagging tails.

Thin, flimsy space blankets just don’t fit my outdoors emergency needs.

I also find them to be a serious pain to fold up, a pain to work with due to the light weight, and insanely noisy.  

Others do like the regular ol’ dollar-store versions, express no real issues with them, and make them work in all kinds of conditions. For $1-$3, give them a try and see if they work for you.

There’s also all kinds of emergencies – and all kinds of uses in everyday life. We don’t always need a rough-ready Mylar sheet to reap the benefits.

There’s no reason to spend more in those cases, some of which apply to the uses below.

There’s no reason to spend more than we have to, ever – watch for seasonal sales and check outlets like Ollie’s and Big Lots, clip some coupons for Academy and Tractor Supply, and keep more of the budget available for other things even when we’re after the heftier emergency blankets or vehicle sun shades.

Windshield Reflectors

These are my backpacking, evac kit, and kayaking go-to choice. I typically carry 2-3, bundled so they form a belt pad and pad the back of my pack.

I started carrying just one to serve as a bedroll pad. Just like they reflect heat away from our cars, under our bodies, they reflect our heat back up. In a pinch, they can work solo as a ground cover, but I usually have a ground cloth of some kind.

I punch some holes and add loops so they’re easy to attach up over or beside my body as well, regardless of bivy or tarp shelter type. If I have sufficient insulation from the ground, that reflection is more useful to me.

That reflective value can be netted with any of the mylar and mylar-lined options. I still use the vehicle heat shields under a bedroll just because they’re less likely to bunch up or move, and they’re thicker, covering my pad needs.

I also prefer those fold-up vehicle pads for wet and snowy packing and kayaking because they can provide a comfy place to sit or kneel, and because it’s easier to rig them with some branches, around trees, or with line to reflect a fire’s heat back at my sitting and sleeping area.

There’s another big bonus when it comes to the vehicle reflectors over thinner sheets and plastic-tarp types: sparks.

I have never managed to actually have a sheet blow into a fire and melt immediately, but I have every once in a while had a gust hit a 1-sided or 2-sided/angled reflector fire just right, at just the right time, to send some embers blowing.

The vehicle sheets have never caught or had holes melted from just incidental sparks. The space blankets, however, have.

It’s just something to be aware of.

*Reflectors for fires aren’t just about keeping us warmer. Set up logs, rocks, spare lids, etc., to help food cook faster, even if you don’t set up a large section, or look into a reflector oven.

Creating a smaller space and reflective surfaces can also help make our at-home emergency candle and oil ovens and stoves more effective, decreasing cooking time. Likewise, heat shields and reflectors can help keep heat contained to a cooking area for poorly insulated campers, shacks, and trailers even with gas or electric cook-tops.

Reflect Heat At Home, Too

We can throw cheap sheets or sturdier windshield screens all over to help lower fuel use and make areas more comfortable. They work under the bottom sheet or the mattress for beds, humans or pets.

We can use them propped up behind animal beds as well. Windshield reflectors or sheets adhered to plywood or shipping pallets can be used for livestock, too, lowering the times we use heat lamps for birds and lambs.

We can also use them atop kennels or hanging from rafters to create canopy beds for our animals, holding and reflecting more warmth yet just as they do for us.

Mylar sheets (or aluminum bubble insulation) also work to reflect heat from behind our chairs and lining our workshops, near our wood stoves, on attic floors, and even on our windows.

Covering windows to reflect heat back works even better if we go with double-ply sheeting with something dark on the outside to absorb solar radiation, and the mylar on the inside.

Just like those sunscreens help keep vehicles cooler, we can use them during summer outages to reflect light away – just like switching to pale-colored curtains.

It applies to RVs and hunting shacks as well, or to tents that have windows and dark colors and car/truck camping.

If we have the sturdier versions, we can use hooks and line or poles to angle the screens out away from our windows so we can cut the light and heat, but still retain some airflow.

Outdoors Light & Heat Control

Any of our reflectors can help us with comfort and efficiency outside, too. With the reflective surface above, heat from the ground is contained and reflected back down, giving us extended use of our decks and porches, protecting gardens from cool snaps, or helping to retain warmth from any passive or active heating we use.

Especially during the spring-autumn verges and during winter when the sun’s arc is still low, we’re not losing significant amounts of light if we use tall hoop frames.

Other times, we might lay reflective ground cover or our handy alternatives to reflect light upwards, or prop any of our options against the back of a greenhouse or bed to reflect more light still from the sides.

Other times, we specifically want to lower the amount of sunlight reaching our gardens, and might even angle a screen so it’s blocking the whole afternoon sun.

Doing so – and adding a reflector facing outward instead – can lower the heat for cooler-weather crops and reduce evaporation and transpiration, reducing our need to irrigate in dry seasons.

We can also make use of our light and heat reflectors for indoor plants. It’s especially helpful starting seeds in low light conditions, whether that’s a window in early spring or “just” maximizing growth for countertop sprouts and microgreens.

It also allows us to maximize the efficiency of any grow lights we use – for birds as well as plants.

Smaller Structures

Whatever type we might choose – to include those cheap Mylar sheets or regular ol’ foil – we can use reflectors to increase the effectiveness of solar panels large and small-tiny, and solar heaters and dehydrators. They’re also handy for solar-heated water systems, whether those are warming houses or greenhouses, or feeding into showers or pre-heated cooking and hand-washing stations.

Vehicle sunscreens can make for incredibly easy solar cookers, but they, too, can also be assembled using any of our options – there’s no need to spend more for the sturdier or larger sheets.

Reflectors: Worth A Couple Bucks

Whether we’re planning for everyday emergencies or a major End-of-Days event, having some options on hand to reflect heat one way or another can be a major assist. That assistance applies to normal life as well, allowing us to do more with less work or fuel expenditure. In some cases – like decreasing the use of heat lamps and space heaters – it can also reduce risks on the home front.

Given the relatively inexpensive investment required, it’s worth trying out the options and keeping a few on hand, at home, in vehicles, with emergency kits, but also for everyday trial-and-error testing and development.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

 

The post Reflectors and Mylar: Home, Garden and On The Go appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

How to Prep for an Earthquake

5 Jul

Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: A contribution from Scott Huntington to The Prepper Journal. As a native and one who has been through multiple earthquakes I can say “amen” to holding our breath. There are so many faults that half of the quakes I experienced personally were generated by previously unknown faults in the Pacific plate, still considered the “ring of fire” by scientists worldwide. Whenever traveling to and from California I cross that mother of all faults, the San Andreas, where discussions always gravitate towards…. while the article speaks to California it applies to anywhere along the ring of fire, and yes, maybe Yellowstone as well.

Californians have been holding their breath for 20 years now, waiting for “the big one” to hit. Living in a fault zone can be nerve-wracking. The mental impact of not knowing when an earthquake might strike might be almost as damaging as the effects of the physical quake when you consider it over time.

But you can do some things to feel better. Earthquakes have been taking place since the beginning of time, and people have come to understand how to prepare for them. Here are our suggestions for the best ways to make ready for a quake.

Know If You Live in a High-Risk Area

Prepping for an earthquake might not be a good use of your time if you live in Nebraska. California gets a reputation as a seismic hotspot, which it probably deserves, but other places are high-risk zones as well. The USGS survey identifies areas across the country with seven levels of risk, which you can view in a color-coded map on their website.

The West Coast is particularly suspect when it comes to the risk of earthquakes, with the USGS map indicating the strongest probability of a quake is in Southern Alaska, Washington, California, Hawaii and Nevada. For those who choose to live in these states, there will always be a high risk, although the right construction can reinforce your home against the harmful effects of a quake. There is also a USGS program called Shakealert that claims to offer early warning of coming earthquakes, which might be worth your time if you live in a high-risk zone.

If earthquakes aren’t your thing, move away. That’s the best way to avoid them. But these are excellent places to live (political climate aside), so if you’re going to stick around…

Prepare Your Home

Minimize loose, heavy items in your house by fastening heavy furniture to the wall or avoiding it altogether. If you have the budget, you can consider installing reinforcing walls like we mentioned earlier, which will help ensure your home remains a safe zone during most earthquakes. If you work or live in a tall building, have a clearly marked evacuation plan and make sure everyone knows how to access it.

Have a communication plan with your children, which is fairly simple in the age of cell phones but, should damaged cell towers cause coverage to go down, it’s smart for children to have a phone number or two memorized and know how to use social media to communicate they’re safe. At a minimum have a stated, know “meet location” for all family members. You really can’t depend on any infrastructure remaining uninterrupted in an earthquake.

An earthquake readiness kit isn’t quite the same as the bug-out bag you’d pack for a hurricane or tornado, but it’s similar. You could be facing a situation where communications and other infrastructure is down, so have extra doses of any special medications your family needs, clean water and snacks, a powerful flashlight and extra batteries. Apportion your supplies to last at least three days. Pack a first-aid kit with medical supplies to treat lacerations and bruises. While off-the-shelf kits are available for purchase, only YOU know your family and their real needs so start with the basics and build out your kit your way. Pick a couple of 72-hour periods and note everything the family consumes during that period, from water to food to medications as a starting point and then do the “what if’s?” – water supply is compromised, home is compromised, missing family member, what is Plan B – always have a backup/Plan B. As any military officer will tell you Plan A is out the window as soon as the first shot is fired.

In addition to these must-haves, some other items will round out your kit nicely, such as two-way radios and pet supplies if you’ve got any furry friends in the family. A multitool is a good idea as a substitute for a full selection of hand tools, and a breathing mask with a particulate filter is another excellent addition to protect your family’s lungs from the smoke and dust that could fill the air in the aftermath of an earthquake.

Know How to Respond During a Quake

Earthquakes are one natural disaster we usually can’t predict until it’s too late. That means you need to practice what to do when one hits before you’re in a bad situation. If you have kids, make sure you have a plan as a family for what to do if an earthquake starts.

As for what to do, less is more in the case of an earthquake. You aren’t going to have time to seek much shelter. The best motto is “drop, cover and hold on,” which is what children learn in school. If you are outdoors, don’t seek cover indoors. If you’re sleeping, use your pillows to protect your neck and head.

If an earthquake occurs while you’re driving, pull over in a space that’s clear of overhead buildings or potential debris. All you can do is wait the quake out in the safest possible place. Once the shaking stops, it’s time to evaluate the situation. Know what natural gas smells like, and immediately disable the gas lines in your home if you smell a leak. There are valves available to automatically shut off natural gas lines in case of an earthquake, have them installed by a licensed professional. Locate your earthquake kit and check in with your family. Once you have everything squared away, you might head out to see if you can help others.

In the Aftermath

Earthquakes often have aftershocks up to a day later, so be vigilant, because these can be severe incidents if the earthquake was powerful. Once you’ve established that you and your family are unharmed, put on your sturdy footwear and take a walk around the perimeter of your home to spot any damage that may have occurred.

Unlike the movies, and like hurricanes, the majority of injuries and deaths occur in the first 72 hours after the event, downed power lines, floods, broken infrastructure like damns and freeway overpasses, etc.

Monitor your radio and other means of communication for information about the damage the quake did and whether there is any public action to help those affected. Depending on your situation, it may be appropriate for you to help, or you may need to reach out for assistance, which is why it’s so critical to have your radio and supply of batteries.

Perhaps the most frightening thing about an earthquake is the way they happen with little to no warning. Having a practical plan and the right supplies in place can give you the peace of mind to get through an earthquake safely. It’s only a matter of time, so think ahead and practice these good habits to be ready when the day comes. Stay safe!

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post How to Prep for an Earthquake appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Happy Independence Day America!

4 Jul

Written by Wild Bill on The Prepper Journal.

The Prepper Journal wishes all a safe and sane and happy Independence Day.

Good times, with family and friends, a moment of reflection on those who set us upon this journey and those that made us a land of opportunity and continue to do so every day.

The freedoms we enjoy should be celebrated.

And remember:

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

The post Happy Independence Day America! appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Modern Minuteman – Wilderness Skills

3 Jul

Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Editor’s Note: As we prepare to celebrate our Republics 243rd birthday what could be more appropriate than a third installment of R. Ann Parris’s Minuteman series?

From the most localized and lowest-level threats like rioting and looting, to major upsets that see individuals band together to usurp a larger, well-organized threat, how we deploy and for how long in what types of environments affect the skills most useful for us. That includes the survivalist skills we see listed so often.

They’re great to have, but as with learning them for general preparedness, what gets top billing for our time and income is largely situationally dependent.

Continuing the framework of my skillsets articles, I’m not focusing on how-to or subsets of the skills listed here. Instead, I’m offering a yes-no-maybe answer to the question of whether these in particular apply to preppers who are thinking about preparing for a minuteman role.

Land Navigation

I hit orienteering and pace counts in a former article. It’s only a “maybe” for compass-map skills (based on location/terrain) and a definite “yes” for pace counts (across the board, everywhere). You can check out my reasoning’s here https://www.theprepperjournal.com/2019/05/31/modern-minuteman-yes-no-maybe-skillsets/.

Primitive Shelters

Maybe.

If our AO is somewhere with large tracts between friendly shelter, sure. A tarp isn’t always enough, even combined with the ability to get up off the ground.

If we can’t rest, and if we’re burning calories shivering, our bodies and minds wear down. If we’re not crossing those tracts, though, spend the time honing something more universally applicable.

Fires

Nah, not so much – particularly alternative and primitive fire starting.

Again, some scenarios and some personal situations form exceptions. As minutemen we’re probably going to be operating fairly close to home and for limited periods of time – hours on duty, days on post or in transit.

Yeah, there are times and certain climates where a fire is the only way to dry things or stay warm, but it’s far from universal, especially today, and it’s hugely dependent on our area of operations.

And, yeah, even today some militaries lean heavily on stoves and fuel tabs with rations.

Mostly, though, they can keep warm with gear and eat cold/dry chow. So can we.

If we do need flame, largely a pill bottle or coin purse kit holding matches and a lighter that’s kept inside the clothes on a lanyard and a couple of candles will do the job to keep us warm or get a fire going enough to dry each load of wood combined with a tarp or cave-like shelter.

They do it with less effort (calorie expenditure, sweat/dehydration) and less time than primitive fire-making methods, and lessen the risk of exposure from larger fires.

Foraging Wild Foods

Maybe, but mostly “nah”.

I’m a huge proponent of wild foods, and the ability to source and cultivate wild foods – now, as well as for emergency situations. Mostly, though, whether we want to include small game hunting and trapping, fishing and fish traps, or only plants, how often are we expecting to get cut off far enough, deep enough, that we can’t push through with whatever our everyday carry and patrol pack contains?

Particularly as minutemen?

And, particularly as minutemen, how is it we plan to accomplish this foraging?

Go ahead and picture any given scenario(s) you like.

We’re urban moseying through streets in Gray Man attire with nondescript bag, or leaving our rural homestead for the dunes/woods/slopes/fields.

We could even being going “Red Dawn” in our heads, living out there in the wilds with our bushcraft set and our insurgency kits.

We’re in full combat load out with our mask in place, weapon of choice slung or in hand, multi-day pack to settle in for sniping and harassment or just because we’re heading 6-8+ hours away (so no matter how quick our action, we’re on our own for a while), or just our day patrol pack.

And now we’re foraging.

We’re either balancing these bags and whatever else we have to stoop and snag some chow or set up for animal proteins, or we’re staging our gear – stripping to our musette back or day pack, with or without a primary weapon if it’s there, with or without a sidearm or slingshot.

We’re either not making much headway, or have halted completely – making none – and in some scenarios we ditched our bag or propped our rifle, cutting ourselves off from the gear we decided we had to have available when we packed that bag.

The further away from it we get, the more vulnerable we become to losing it entirely, while also doubling the chances that somebody sees signs of a person operating in this area (us+bag versus the combo).

If we’re setting snares or fishing yoyo’s instead of air gun hunting or plant foraging, we have to then go back through to collect them before we move on.

Sure, there are times it’s more than possible to easily balance the two directives – food and distance.

I can readily snag berries to drop in my canteen cup in its pouch or the open jar in my cargo pocket, munch as I go, or pull my pellet gun to pop a squirrel that waits in my drop pouch. Not a major delay, readily possible in even a full winter combat load and pack, and depending on my scenario, maybe some fresh foods are totally worth it.

If I have to forage for chow, though, it takes time.

Not only is there time spent collecting, I regularly have to process that chow, which may require more water than I have on me and-or a fire – which means I’m either toting my fire, or I have to stop earlier yet to make that fire.

We also have to weigh how many calories we’re burning fetching those foods and preparing them versus how many we consume.

There are scenarios where, yeah, being able to source some food is huge.

Particularly since so many of the applications for modern minuteman deployment have us in relatively normal situations with portable foods, and-or operating near home or work, it’s mostly just not necessary.

Unless your scenario has you way-way out akin to armies on the march and out of or tired of their basic rations, operating close to home means the ability to deploy with jerky, crackers, last night’s biscuits or bannock, a canning jar of stew, dried fruit, etc.

Augmenting as we’re stopped or passing anyway is great, but as far as necessary skill sets for minuteman service … nah.

What is valuable, though, today’s everyday localized disasters to major upsets and crises, is the ability to…

Source Safe Water

Especially in urban and suburban situations, not just trekking the woods and rural retreat properties, absolutely and emphatically, yes.

The rationale for doubling down on water skills is a nigh-on endless list.

  • Dehydration saps decision making and physical capabilities long before hunger, heat, or cold.
  • Utilities are enormously vulnerable to natural or man-made disasters that affect power or the infrastructure itself.
  • Utilities and specifically water systems (city water, wells, or springs) are vulnerable to all sorts of contamination’s – human and animal wastes from backups and floods, deliberate sabotage, chemical spills from factories and trains/ships/trailers.

  • While some pressure remains in systems initially, the longer a situation goes on, the more our pressure and-or residual contents decrease.
  • Wells can run low enough to suck air and springs can drop to trickles, even if we have all the parts and skills we need to keep pumps running indefinitely despite power disruptions.
  • Water distribution and supplies are quickly exhausted even in otherwise “normal, functioning” society right here in the U.S., without any other disruption in services besides water.
  • The denser the population and further downstream/downhill our location, the more contaminants and disasters that can affect our water supply.

  • Very few of us carry around enough water at all times to cover our needs and the needs of any partners with us at any given moment for 8-12 hours of exertion, let alone 2-3 days.
  • Roof type and bird presence greatly affect just how safe water catchment may be to drink, and how much filtration/treatment it requires.
  • With authorities focused on bigger fish to fry (or, the cause for us manning our positions in the first place), distribution of water supplies may take a low priority – or, be available only in limited areas and limited quantity, in some cases with reduced ability to send representative(s) without leaving our position(s) vulnerable.

  • In dry seasons, natural waterways can already be few and far between in backcountry … and in pastures/fields.
  • By disaster, and previous disaster, dams may fail or end up low, decreasing reservoir levels and the overflows/control flows that normally feed area creeks, canals, and spring lenses.
  • If we’re actively engaged in combat operations or hunkering in to avoid detection, we may not be able to detour to planned water sources.
  • Travel impediments can affect how much distance we’re making (total time expended) and the effort it’s taking, increasing our need for water and decreasing our ability to tap expected sources.

Absolutely embrace the potential that as modern minutemen we may “only” be defending our block of Baltimore or Koreatown, or may be well able to withstand life at our rural retreat. By all means, apply everyday operations by grunts afield.

However, also acknowledge that the very idea of a modern minuteman suggests life has hit a hitch, and that Uncle Murphy usually laughs last and longest. Those grunts have a big system moving bottles and buffaloes around, and a five-cent part can disrupt water from our faucets.

Take some time to learn the signs of water and how to access it when we can’t see it, how to make it safe, and how we’d transport it from one building or floor or rural/woods location to another if our partners are over there dehydrating.

Wilderness Survival for Minuteman Deployment

Because we’re all different, in very different areas with very different situations to consider, the ways we anticipate participating as a citizen soldier varies. That means the skills we need to be effective vary, too.

(Editor’s Note: A comment on “photojournalism – there were no “Koreatown, LA Riots in 1992”, there was the Rodney King Riot in 1992, where the business owners in the area of  Los Angeles known as “Koreatown” armed themselves to the teeth, barricaded their business and stood guard, ready to shoot any looters or people attempting to do damage to their businesses or hurt their families. As a result the area was untouched, passed by by the criminals who set fires and destroyed property throughout Watts and Los Angeles. A lesson still not learned by so many. In that same area today would they not all be arrested on one of the endless weapons charges that have popped up since?

Nowhere is that truer than the wilderness and survival skills we might require.

There’s too much to do to try and cover it all, particularly all at once while also balancing daily life and other preps. Think through specific situations, and current capabilities. Whittle the many lists that exist down to highest priority, and concentrate on the things that have the most application in the most scenarios.

Work what’s most likely to be needed and used first and foremost, for us specifically as individuals, and expand later on.

Be Safe out there and be sure to check out The Prepper Journal Store and follow The Prepper Journal on Facebook!

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