Here's an email I got this morning. This man is serious. We need serious people to make it as survivalists. Michael.
Michael - I'm glad you liked it. I must admit I was a little thrilled to have mention in your Sunday post (I assume it was my e-mail you referenced, though maybe that's just my ego... don't spoil it for me if you don' have to!).
I'm up to date with you and Rawles as far as reading the blogs -- trying to go back and read some of Mayberry and Dragon. I don't know how you keep up every day -- I've been crazy busy at work (a blessing I don't take for granted in this economy), which makes it even harder. Then, there's actually prepping, not just reading about it! Not enough time in the day, so I'm glad to hear you commenting that this might just be the "dress rehearsal" coming up.
Speaking of the web sites, do you ever wander over to the Alpha Rubicon? (http://www.alpharubicon.com/) Warlord has been at it for a long time -- I was reading his website when I was stationed in Germany in the 90's, so at least over 10 years. He and his crew seem to have it together pretty well.
God be with you and the Handmaiden - I hope to be able to keep dropping you a note now and then.
I read a piece this morning about someone who need compost for their garden spot. You just can't do any better than compost unless you go to all worm castings. The trick is to produce a meaningful supply of the stuff. If you make it properly you can use 2" a year added to your soil. You have to remember things like green=nitrogen and brown =carbon. You want to add as much green material to your compost as possible. You can add amendments to your compost. Lime dust is good. Dolomite dust is better. Green sand is good. Blood meal is good. Bone meal is good. Fish emulsion is good. Just remember that you are fixing a meal for your plants to eat and it is to nourish them so they can nourish you. Just make sure you let it finish before you add it to your garden plot. If it is not finished then it will use your soil's natural nutrients to finish composting. You won't get any benefit that way, until it is done. If you are going to grow a big survivalist garden then make a big pile of compost. Turn it, water it, and let it finish. It will be cool and of the consistency of cake when it is done. Apply generously.
People are talking about firearms, as is usual. I am a fan of having weapons you can hit with, weapons you can use effectively. Although I have a few guns, I basically say to get a 22 LR rifle, a 12 gauge shot gun and a 'reach out and touch someone' center fire rifle. Pistols are optional as far as I am concerned. I subscribe to the Jeff Cooper idea that a pistol is to use to get people off your back until you can get to a rifle or a shotgun.
For the ladies I say to get a .410 or a 28 gauge shotgun. After you have mastered either one of these you might go to a 20 gauge if you can handle the recoil. Just remember that in hard times it might be VERY hard to buy more ammo. Folks won't want to sell it, they will want to keep it for themselves. So if you get a unique firearm you can just about figure on the ammo you have in your stash being the ammo you are going to be able to get. That is why I say to get a 12 gauge. There will be some of it for sale or trade if there is ANYTHING for sale or trade. Lots of 12 gauge shotguns out there in the countryside, and folks who use them know what they will do.
The 22 LR is a good little game getter if you can use it properly. And to use it properly you need to practice. It is one of the few rounds still affordable for practice. But it will kill most things up to and including a Whitetail deer. Shot placement is very important in trying to kill a deer with a 22. You need to know where the bullet has to go and you need to know how to get it there. The ladies, with their smaller frames, can become effective 22 operators. They can supply game for the pot and they can upset the plans of any marauders. Either use will be a great benefit to the group as a whole.
The heavier bolt action rifles are for long range shooting and stopping vehicles at a distance. When you need to get out there 150 to 200 years to bag a nice deer, the heavier 30 caliber rifles will do the deed for you. And there are a wondrous number of calibers to shoot in bolt action hunting rifles. And their users are stubborn as hell about not changing what they like and can hit with. .308 and 30-06 will be around most likely, if anything is available, so that is what I say to have on hand for your long range shooting. .308 is still used by our military and might be found from troops in the field. You could maybe trade a part of a deer carcass for a decent supply of .308 and that ain't a bad deal if you live around a lot of deer. And, of course, there is the problem of freebooters and looters. A good .308 will start whittling them down a good ways away and make them reconsider the merits of robbing you. Nothing quite like getting a punk to change his mind.
The 12 gauge is the best all round defense and game getting weapon out there. It is not good for long range Prairie situations, but for woody areas there isn't much better. And the variety of ammo is really great. You can get very small shot for small birds all the way up to big ol' slugs that can stop a car. The scattergun is awesome in defense of your home. Puts the bad guys down or puts them to flight.
A reader got on me the other day about no articles on gloves and boots. I reckon that was a point well made.
I pretty much use Jersey gloves for about anything. You get some protection and some warmth. If you are working anything abrasive the Jersey gloves will not last long. Holes will appear and you will bear the brunt of that! The next step up is the old farmer gloves you see all over the place. Canvass on the back with leather where you grip. They will hold up a lot better to hard wear than the Jersey gloves. They most generally have big wrist cuffs on them and if you are working around machinery I say to cut the cuffs OFF of the gloves so your hand does not get pulled into a machine. After you get the cuffs cut off you can slit the back at the wrist about 2" right up the middle of the back. This will allow the gloves to come off easily if grabbed and makes you a lot safer to the working of a machine. You need those hands and the fingers that go with them. No sense sacrificing them to a damned machine. Leather gloves last a lot longer that Jersey gloves but they cost more too. And they will grip your hand if it gets caught in a machine. The job you will be doing will decide the type of glove you will use. You want to keep warm in the Winter and you don't want any blisters, but you pick the glove type that will give you protection against these things AND keep your hands safe. The wrong glove for the job can cripple you.
US ARMY shooting mittens are a good thing for warmth. They aren't much use around machinery. But they are essentially a mitten with a trigger finger built in. If you are not using your trigger finger you can just pull it into the mitten and keep your hands very warm. Mittens are much warmer than gloves. Any time you can use a mitten you should do it, at least in cold weather. Rubber coated gloves are good for working in the water. If it is cold and you are around some water on your job, get rubber coated cloth gloves for extra protection. Water and cold weather do not go together very well on the human hand.
Boots are a real trip. You can buy a pair of Chinese made boots at Chinamart for $30 or maybe less. Whether you can wear them or not is a different story. I tried them and I lost. You can pick you length but you can't do much about the width and they will rub you like crazy if they don't fit you well. They make them for a very wide foot. My advice is to spend the money and buy something that fits you. And it will cost you probably another $100 and that in itself is a pain in the ass. Generally the side of your ass that holds your wallet. Get uninsulated boots for warmer weather and insulated boots for the cold. I have a pair of Vasque boots that were hard as hell to break in but they are very good to me now. Tough muthas with good cleated Vibram soles that will give you some grip... There are other good choices to be made out in the shops. Herman boots are great, especially the Survivor model boot. It's insulated but it works like a champ. Red Wing used to make good boots and I bought the steel toed Lineman boot from them. Tough as nails. I hope this helps people on the subject of gloves and boots.