God of Chaos Asteroid

Does the world end April 13, 2029?

No. Even if the asteroid 99942 Apophis hit Australia, resulting in year-round winter-like conditions and contamination of a third of the world’s water with sulfuric acid, I don’t think it would be the end of the world. Don’t get me wrong, it would be bad, with 100’s of millions dead, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

99942 Apophis will pass between the Earth and its communications satellites with the slight possibility of taking out some satellites while zooming by. I don’t think it will actually hit Earth in 2029, but there are likely other smaller asteroids that travel with it that will hit earth.

Remember 367943 Duende? No. I’m sure you don’t. But, the same day it was making its close approach, the 20 meter wide Chelyabinsk meteor blew apart over Russia with the force of a nuclear bomb, sending 1500 people to the hospital, and damaging 7200 buildings.

So, could a companion of Apophis hit Earth. Yeah. Honestly, that won’t likely affect me or anyone I know, so I’m not extremely concerned about a meteor hitting earth that day.

Now on the other hand, I would be very concerned about the change in trajectory of 99942 Apophis caused by this close approach. Also, it’s the asteroids you don’t see that get you. (Poor attempt at humor, but true.)

Types of Prepping

Every time I start talking of disaster and collapse scenarios that are possible, my wife buys extra ice cream. If I mention we are in the final stages of the “Everything Bubble.” More ice cream appears in the fridge. If I rant about how we’re following the paths of Venezuela, Greece, and Cuba, more ice cream appears in the fridge. And if I mention the organized crime taking over our courts, border cities, and government, she buys more ice cream.

It sounds funny when it’s ice cream, but many preppers—especially fledgling preppers—take a similar approach to their preps.

Continue reading “Types of Prepping”

Hacked

Any website can be hacked. Any honest security expert will tell you that. If you care about information from a website, you’d better back it up or print it out. Contrary to popular belief, the Internet is NOT forever.

I had one of my sites hacked by a script kiddie, recently. They were one of these immature types that sees free things given to society and instantly thinks, “I could deface that.” Really, they aren’t any more mature than taggers with their cans of spray paint. You can only back things up and hope the perps mature before karma comes around.

Evil in our Nation

Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a US Supreme Court justice. It is a great day when someone that is in tune to the strengths of our laws takes a place on that court.

Unfortunately, the evil ones in our country are gaining power and strength. They call openly for his assassination with no consequences. They purger themselves making up lies about him. They have him removed from his teaching job, to prevent truth from infecting students.

In the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, the evil ones attempted the use of a secret combination that is now so common it has a name–Moving the Goalposts. Moving the Goalposts is a trick used by corrupt lawyers and politicians. A known false accusation is made against the victim. An onerous inquiry is demanded. Then the results of the inquiry are used to accuse the victim of some other lesser crime.

I fear that if it were not for the few good people left in our country, our country would be wiped from the face of the Earth, just as Rome was.

Kerosene Heat for the Cold Dark Winter

As a prepper, I try to keep up on news from natural and man-made disasters. I recently read a posting by a survivor of Hurricane Sandy. He described half-mile long lines for fuel, power outages, and fear. He learned like never before how close we civilized people are to the same primal life our ancestors lived. He expressed the fear he and his neighbors had that if the utilities had not been restored before winter, that they would have suffered severely with no way to heat their houses.

Heat Mate HMN-110 kerosene heater

Times are good here in the USA. Currently, preparing for bad times seems nuts. We have a good infrastructure, and good support networks for families that fall on hard times. History shows us that bad things happen, sometimes to entire countries, and often you can’t see them coming until they do. For anyone living in a place with severe winters, a disaster of country-wide scale could be deadly.

Even smaller disasters, like severe earthquakes, or a multi-day ice storm could knock out power, and that means no heat. No heat means frozen pipes and frozen pipes means no culinary water. Even a small heat sources that does not need electricity could save you from thousands of dollars of cold related damage, and in extreme cases a heat source might save you from death.

Being interested in being prepared, I wanted to have a way to heat my house even when the power was off. I grew up with two main alternative heat sources: wood and kerosene.

Unfortunately, burning wood is illegal these days. Not completely illegal, but regulated so much that even if you have everything set up for burning wood and your power goes out, you might be risking a heavy fine or even jail for simply trying to stay warm the same way billions of people have always tried keeping warm, … by burning wood.

Wood really is the ultimate storable heat source, but not usable under current societal and regulatory restrictions. I naturally turned to my second alternative heating source that I grew up with. Kerosene.

Kerosene burns clean. If it is good, new kerosene burned in a modern heater, it can be burned indoors without much if any odor. Most places don’t have regulations preventing you from using it whenever you want to. It won’t keep a big house toasty, but when used properly, it is safe and will keep pipes from freezing. Obviously, nothing is guaranteed, but many people including myself swear it is the best alternative heat source for emergencies.

I looked at several models of kerosene heaters and ended up buying the Heat Mate HMN-110. I’ve owned two of them. I’m pretty happy with the purchase. It isn’t a high end model, but it works and it is easy to take apart when the wick needs replacing.

There are a couple of rules for using kerosene heaters. The first rule is always give your heater plenty of air. If the heater is not getting enough air, it will create carbon monoxide instead of burning properly. (This is true of your regular home furnace too, by the way.)

To give a kerosene furnace enough air, make sure you don’t surround it with boxes or furniture. Find the draftiest place in your room or house to place it. Many people place their kerosene heater near their fireplace with the flue open, or by the fresh air intake for their regular furnace. Even though it might seem counterintuitive, cracking a window slightly open in the room you use it in, might not be a bad idea.

Whatever you do, never burn a kerosene heater in a room with the door closed. For example, more than one person has thought it would be a good idea to keep their bedroom warm by firing up their kerosene heater and closing the bedroom door. They get nice and warm and then die in their sleep.

Second, use new, undyed, K-1 kerosene. Most states have it. However, K-1 kerosene can be used in diesel trucks as an illegal cheap, untaxed alternative to diesel, so some states force a red dye additive to be added to the kerosene. That makes it burn less clean.

Also, kerosene doesn’t store long term. I know this from my own experience. I’ve had poor experience storing kerosene in hot sheds over the summer. Usually metal containers that seal up nice and tight store kerosene the best.

Old kerosene tends to break down and absorb water from the air. Running old kerosene through a good fuel filter helps, but doesn’t fix it up as good as new. The most common way to deal with old fuel is to run it through a fuel filter made for kerosene and then mix it with newer kerosene to freshen it up. With a little trial and error, you can get this to work pretty well for using older fuel.

I like to keep one five-gallon metal kerosene container around and then fill up my empty cans just before the cold season. I can mix the months-old kerosene with the newer kerosene to burn in the winter, then I fill up one can at the end of the season and store it out of the sun and heat until the next winter.

I’ve found that one gallon of kerosene will burn for about 20 hours in my kerosene heater. My goal in having kerosene around is simply to keep the pipes from freezing in the event of a worst-case natural or man-made disaster, so I fill up a few cans of kerosene at the beginning of winter, and then burn it through the colder parts of winter to keep my basement warm.

Kerosene should only be stored in cans designed for fuel. In the USA,  dark blue cans that say the word kerosene on them are available. It is very important to NEVER mixup kerosene with gasoline. If you accidentally fill your kerosene heater with gasoline, the person lighting it will likely burn to death and maybe burn down their house, too.

In addition to extra kerosene, I like to keep an extra wick around. Bad kerosene, or water in your kerosene, can clog up your wick permanently. Wicks aren’t terribly expensive and it’s a good idea to keep an extra one around just in case you need it.

So to sum things up, kerosene is a great alternative heat source for preppers. However, you need to be serious about taking precautions to only fill it with kerosene, and give the heater plenty of air so it burns properly. Also, a carbon monoxide detector wouldn’t be a bad idea, just to be on the safe side. Remember to read your kerosene heater’s instructions and follow them!

Extra Food on Hand

I had a conversation with a friend, a few years ago, about storing a little extra food around the house in case of emergencies. We both agreed that emergencies happen that prevent us from getting food from the store. Earthquakes and hurricanes are big, grandiose examples of emergencies that shut down access to stores, but smaller emergencies like blizzards, or an identity thief emptying your bank account also happen all the time. As I said, she and I completely agreed that stuff happens.

I have a good variety of food on-hand, including everything from 45 pound pails of hard white wheat and popcorn, to canned soups and chilis. She knew I had a good variety, and said, “I’ll be fine, too, if there is an emergency. I have five pounds of roasted peanuts. I’ll just snack on those until I can get to the store.”

I asked, how old are your peanuts, and she told me several months. I warned her that peanuts are high in oils and fats, and that even if you can get a longer shelf life out of them, you should not plan on successfully storing them for more than six months.

She was very surprised that peanuts cannot last for nearly forever sitting on a shelf in the cupboard. I think most people are unaware of shelf lives of the foods they count on for emergencies. Most foods we buy at a regular store cannot last more than a few weeks or months. It may seem like a great idea to buy some bags of trail mix, stick them in a closet and pull them out in a decade or so when thatemergency hits, but those bags of trail mix will not be edible when you need them.

Most foods have a very limited shelf life. For example, peanuts left in a sealed air-tight container in a fridge can last a year or more. If they are left in the freezer, unopened, they can last two years or more. It’s not likely that you can get peanuts to last much more than three years, because the oils cause the peanuts to go rancid. Even if they don’t kill you, eating rancid food can make you sick enough that you’d have been far better off not eating. Also, rancid foods contain chemicals that may cause cancer over time.

How many people do you know that store their unopened peanuts in the fridge or freezer? Most people would say you’re nuts for storing peanuts like that. (Yeah. I couldn’t resist a “nuts” joke.)

If you want to put a little food aside for an emergency, it is extremely important to learn how to do it correctly. There are tons of tricks for preserving meats, vegetables, grains and other foods. There are also plenty of ways to ensure you have ready access to edible fresh foods, even during some emergency that prevents access to a grocery store.

It’s obvious that fresh foods, like salads can’t normally last more that a couple of days without a refrigerator. As it turns out, lettuce and other greens are extremely easy to grow. You can grow your own salad makings in pots on a balcony, or by a window.

Storing some canned goods or pasta under a bed, or in a closet provide good foods that will last several years. The newer cans that have the pop-tops, don’t store as long as the older type of cans that required a can opener, but they still will keep for longer than foods like nuts, trail mix, and crackers.

If you want some food that will last decades, look into wheats, rice, corn, sugar, pinto beans, pastas, and dehydrated foods. Watch out for foods with high oil content or containing moisture. These almost never store for decades. Many of the foods that store for decades require special work or tools to make into a meal. For example, very few people have the tools on hand to turn hard white wheat into a meal. However, if you learn what you are doing, you can turn hard white wheat into wonderful breads.

In very bad emergencies, some people resort to stealing other peoples food. In many cases, the government or an army comes and takes any food they can find for themselves. Having food in plain sight, that no one recognizes as food is a great way to deal with this kind of emergency.

Edible landscapes provide a great way to store food, that most thieves never even think to steal. If you’re lucky enough to own a home, look into plants that form an edible landscape. You may have your heart set on a certain type of tree or bush, for a corner of your yard, but with a very little research, you may find a perfect substitute that provides edible fruit, seeds, roots, or leaves that no one would think to steal.

Obviously, a short post like this can’t go into much detail on all types of food storage, but hopefully this post gives you some ideas where you can start. Having extra food on hand, could make a miserable or life-and-death emergency into a mere inconvenience.

Food When There is No Food

It couldn’t happen here. That’s all in the past.

Most people alive don’t remember famine, war, or disease in the United States of America wiping out large swaths of US peoples. War, plagues, famines, and food shortages are things that happen across the oceans, or at least across the borders.

You don’t have to live in an exotic location for natural and manmade disasters to strike.

In 1816, Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted pushing massive amounts of ash into the air. The global weather turned so cold that crops across the US died due to frost in June. Pennsylvania had river ice in July and August that year. Many people starved to death the next winter. Luckily, that could never happen again in the USA because Indonesia no longer has volcanos.

In 1861, Democrats decided to go to war instead of accept the Republican Congress’s and Republican President’s call for an end to slavery. They started a civil war that maimed and killed 100,000’s of Americans. Armies confiscated citizens’ food for their troops and many Americans died because of starvation. The war Democrats started killed more Americans than any other war in American history, including World War II. This of course could never happen in America again, because extremist Democrats now embrace Republicans as their beloved fellow citizens and have no desire for their political enemies to curl up and die.

In 1918, the Spanish Flu swept the globe. One quarter of all US residents had the disease. On average, every household in the US had a death due to the disease. Restrictions were placed on stores, and other places people interacted publicly. As bodies very literally piled up, towns restricted transportation in and out of their city limits. The scene across the US was reminiscent of the European Black Death of the  Middle Ages.

Can you imagine what would happen in our modern society where most people rely on food shipped from all over the world to make it to the grocery store they buy from in the next town over? Don’t worry. It couldn’t happen again, because no one ever gets the flu or any other disease these days.

In 1934, a five hour dust storm hid the Statue of Liberty. “Black blizzards” swept the plains during one of the worst droughts and environmental disasters America has ever seen. Plagues of grasshoppers and jackrabbits destroyed farms all over the Dust Bowl states. Doctors gave prescriptions for food for malnourished and starving children across the US. Long food lines and hunger were common place everywhere in the country.

Of course this could never happen again, because humankind has learned to live as one with the planet, and droughts don’t happen anymore.

In 2015, … all is well, unless you live in California where water is running out, or along the southern US border where the government posts signs warning they can’t protect you if you get closer than 80 miles from the Mexican border. Most of us don’t live in either of those locations. So we’re fine.

No unexpected disasters are expected to happen any time soon.

However, if you have an understanding of history, and it’s constant repetition, you might want to consider being prepared for times when food is not plentiful. Even in the modern world, grocery stores end up with empty shelves.

The above examples are of big nationwide and global events, but regional disasters happen all the time. A town, or small region, can get cut off from shipping lines during floods or winter storms. Mudslides block roads and highways. Even workers striking can shut down stores.

A disaster doesn’t need to be global in reach to be a big deal for you and your family.

Some areas of the US are prone to hurricanes, earthquakes or other common natural disasters. Having at least a couple of weeks of food and bottled water on hand only seems prudent in those areas.

Unfortunately, not everyone behaves like a model citizen when natural and manmade disasters strike. As seen during the latest hurricane to hit New York City, looting can become common place and food may be stolen.

Learning what plants in your area are edible could prevent suffering for you and your family, if your food is stolen (or confiscated). If you are a land owner, plant some non-obvious edible landscape items. With any luck, you’ll never have to look at them as a food source, but they will be there giving you peace of mind if bad things happen.

Having more than a couple of weeks of food and water on hand, may come in handy at some point. Hopefully, no major global disasters will strike in our lifetimes, but history tends to repeat itself. Knowing even a little about the past tells us that the future is likely to have surprises that involve food shortages lasting longer than a few weeks.