Thursday, February 28, 2008


If you ever want to know what the bread lines will be like when the balloon goes up just spend an afternoon at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. This debilitating experience couples endless waiting, uncaring agents and exposure of your personal business to anyone listening. You are wedged into an under ventilated staging area with illness, screaming children and very angry people whose patients gave out a couple of hours back, but everyone stays because you have no choice.

My personal experience was miserable. I got to the office a little before three pm and had to park on the road because the lot was completely full, as a matter of fact they had started to double park in the lot blocking people already inside. This was not a good sign but I had to get the truck registered so I pressed on.

I waited in a short line outside the building. Once inside the door I was greeted by an armed guard in the outer chamber who asked to see my paperwork and ID then gave me a number and directed me into the holding room. He didn’t actually do anything with my ID so I assume it was simply an intimidation tactic to keep me calm once inside.

The holding room was roughly thirty by one hundred foot long. The chairs had long given up remaining in orderly lines and many were overturned. The room was packed with screaming children and vacant slack jawed faces staring forward with looks of pure defeat. Then I noticed the “now serving” number. The number showed H41…I was I64.

I milled around for a while looking for a spot away from children and engaging conversationalists. Finding some free carpet near the opposite end of the room I righted a chair and sat down. My neighbors kept stealing glances at me, not sure if they were trying to see my number, checking my business or were simply bored.

Besides the “now serving” sign the visual distractions included several televisions all tuned to Fox News and a marquee sign. The messages displayed were very telling and included; violence will not be tolerated; if miss your turn take a new number and personal favorite, be happy. I found the last message somewhat silly under the circumstances.

Here is the strange thing. As the counter neared my number I started feeling paranoid and clutched my small imprinted paper tighter as if someone would attempt to steal the treasured item. I actually felt anxiety that something would happen and I’d have to start over I kept my head down not wanting to draw attention to myself. I had been there just under two hours, imagine how bad it would be after a day waiting. I looked around and everyone appeared to be edgy the closer it got to their number.

While waiting I noticed how absolutely heartless the clerks were. One woman not far in front on me finally got called to the counter. She apparently did not have some document in proper order and was told to fix the problem and come back…she had three kids with her and had been there for two and a half hours. After pleading with the agent for several minutes she grabbed her things and left very nearly in tears. I could understand her frustration.

Civil servants of this caliber have been doing these jobs for years. My guess is that they no longer realize that a real person with real problems is sitting across the counter from them. The years of repetitive drudgery has desensitized them to the human mass they are there to serve. Very good talent for a post collapse career.

Another thing that struck me as odd were the “uniformed military counters”. There were twelve counters at the office, of them three were dedicated to uniformed military personal. Colorado Springs is a military town with several bases surrounding it. If you walked in with a uniform on you were allowed to bypass the lines and get served first. In a post collapse situation I could see special treatment for peace officers, their families and other agents of control. Standing in line for eight hours waiting for bread while certain members of society pass you by with special treatment would create great incentive to join the civilian authority.

I finally got to the counter, did the deed and left. Total time two hours and fifteen minutes, total cost about a hundred and twenty.

Not wanting to be forced into situations like this in a collapse crisis is plenty of reason for disaster preparation and continuity planning. If you ever need reminding just spend an afternoon at the DMV.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Overthrow of Tyranny


Plotting to overthrow a government is serious business for serious people. Please do not try any of these methods unless you are a trained professional.

So let us now look at the various ways in which we could presume to overthrow a government, with historical examples of course.


Revolution n. 1 a the forcible overthrow of government or social order, in favor of a new system. b (in Marxism) the replacement of one ruling class by another; the class struggle which is expected to lead to political change and the triumph of communism.

One of the marks of a revolution is that it comes from the people as an uncoordinated popular uprising. It is a popular term due to this veneer of being an effort of the masses, even if it was actually an orchestrated effort by a few plotters. It should also be noted that a revolution is, by is nature, generally a leftist form of takeover.

*Most respectable form of revolution as it's the people's uprising.
*The People will be less likely to depose you later

*Unorganized, difficult to orchestrate.
*The people can be unpredictable.
*Conditions (oppression, class struggle etc.) need to be right first.

Famous Revolutions

French Revolution - 1789
Briefly Successful - People overthrew the monarchy, executed Louis XVI in 1793. Failed to produce a stable government and was in turn overthrown by Napoleon in 1799.

Bolshevik Revolution - 1917
Successful - The Bolsheviks overthrew the Tzars in 1917 heralding a new age of perfect, communist, governance. Lasted until Yeltsin changed his mind about communism in the 1990's.

Civil War

Civil War n. war between citizens of the same country.

The civil war has rather gone out of fashion as a way of overthrowing a government (or other ruling party). Civil wars tend to start as a popular uprising with the backing of parts of the military. Unfortunately the rest of the military tend to disagree, leading to fighting between the two opposing factions.

*Some of the Army supports you.
*More likely to stay in power if you win due to the existence of some popular support.

*You might lose.
*The rest of the Army really doesn't like you.
*Half the country really doesn't like you.

Famous Civil Wars

English Civil War - 1642-49
Limited Success - The parliament opposed the monarch of the time (Charles I). Parliamentary forces won in 1646 and executed Charles I in 1649. All fell apart when Oliver Cromwell (head Parliamentarians) died and Charles II was restored to the throne.

Spanish Civil War - 1936-39
Successful - Nationalists rose up against the left-wing government. Eventually the Nationalists, led by Franco, won in July 1936. (Yes I am well aware that it was far more complicated than that, its just an example...)


Putsch n. an attempt at political revolution; a violent uprising.

The putsch is a relatively new concept of overthrow. Strictly a putsch is an uprising by a faction within a nation's armed forces.

*You've got part of an army.

*If the rest of the army is loyal to the government then they're going to be pissed and you're going to be screwed.

Famous Putsches

Libya - 1969
Very Successful - On September 1st 1969 King Idris was overthrown by a group of junior army officers. A twelve man Revolutionary Command Council was set up with Colonel Moammar Gaddafi as its leader. Gaddafi subsequently got a surprising promotion and is still in power to this day.


Liberation n. the act or an instance of liberation; the state of being liberated.

This would perhaps be best put in a more ironic node, "How to liberate the people by installing your own oppressive regime". In this case the liberating is being done by a foreign government who kindly offer to use their own military or diplomatic powers in the case that you say no.

*Your country grows significantly.

*'They' might not have wanted to see their country turn into a province and might try that revolt thing.

Famous Liberations

Russian Liberation of Hungary - 1947
Very Successful - In 1947 Russia made Hungary a kind offer of military force if King Michael decided not to make the 'right' choice of cabinet. Unsurprisingly, due to the slight disparity between the might of the Russian Army and that of Hungary's, King Michael decided that maybe the Soviet choice wasn't quite so bad has he'd first assumed. Russian influence ended in 1989 when the Communist system was abandoned.

Coup d'Etat

Coup d'Etat n. a violent or illegal seizure of power.

The coup is really the ultimate form of overthrowing the ruling powers. It combines the thrills of the revolution and the striking blow of the putsch with a media friendly image. If you felt that liberation and revolution were too left-wing for you, or that the putsch and pronunciamiento were a bit too nationalist then the coup is for you. It really is the deposing technique of the new millennium.

The essence of the coup is that it can be started with relatively few people and its uses the power of the government against itself. It exploits the predictability of the government to seize control of a small, yet vital, part of the governmental machine, which it then uses to overthrow the government and take control. Because of this the coup tends to be swift and decisive.

*None of that "will of the people" crap.
*Only needs a comparatively small number of people to pull off.
*Swift, has minimal effect on the rest of the populace.

*Gives other people ideas. They must be crushed.

Famous Coups

Syria - 1966
Fairly Successful - The ruling Ba'ath Party was overthrown by an extreme leftist faction headed by Salah Jadid. The coup was successful, largely due to a series of wise moves Jadid made in creating a puppet government. Jadid was overthrown in 1969 by Assad although he was still influential up until his arrest by Assad in November 1970.

I cribbed most of this from various articles out there sorry didn't get sources.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Timeline to Tyranny

The events of September 11, 2001 were the most horrific attacks on American soil in our nation’s history. Our citizens will never know if these terrible events were a planned conspiracy or simply incompetence in our highest levels of government. Either way the fallout has yielded a directed effort by our nation’s rulers to rid the people of cherished rights and liberties and move this great country into a state of corporate fascism and tyranny. The following is a timeline that traces the passage of laws by Congress from the attacks to present day. This list does not include Executive Orders or Judicial Reviews.

Erosion of the Bill of Rights

October 2001 - The USA Patriot Act becomes law. Among other things the law: makes it a crime for anyone to contribute money or material support for any group on the State Department’s Terror Watch List, allows the FBI to monitor and tape conversations between attorneys and clients, allows the FBI to order librarians to turn over information about patron’s reading habits, allows the government to conduct surveillance on internet and email use of US citizens without notice. The act also calls for expanded use of National Security Letters (NSLs), which allow the FBI to search telephone, email and financial records of US citizens without a court order.

November 2002 - Homeland Security Act of 2002 establishes separate Department of Homeland Security. Among other things the department will federally coordinate for the first time all local and state law enforcement nationwide and run a Directorate of Information and Analysis with authority to compile comprehensive data on US citizens using public and commercial records including credit card, phone, bank, and travel. The department also will be exempt form Freedom of Information Act disclosure requirements.

February 2003 - Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 grants the FBI unprecedented power to obtain records from financial institutions without requiring permission from a judge. Under the law, the FBI does not need to seek a court order to access such records, nor does it need to prove just cause. This includes all purchase transaction information.

December 2004 - Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 was a sweeping piece of legislation that covered the following issues; reform of the intelligence community focusing on information sharing, tracking security clearances, no fly list and associated background checks, border protection and immigration issues, federal grants to build local prisons and increase federal/local law enforcement communications capabilities, implementation of some items in 911 commission report.

May 2005 – Real ID Act of 2005 mandates that states adopt a National ID or “internal passport.” The National ID ties you to the massive public/private databases allowing unrestricted access to all your private information by anyone reading the card. Additionally it creates the infrastructure to track and monitor Americans as they move within the United States.

September 2006 - Military Commissions Act authorizes torture and strips non- US citizen detainees suspected of terrorist ties of the right of habeas corpus (which includes formal charges, counsel and hearings). It also empowers US presidents at their discretion to declare US citizens as enemy combatants and subject to detention without charge or due process.

October 2006 - John Warner Defense Authorization Act. The act allows a president to declare a public emergency and station US military troops anywhere in America as well as take control of state based National Guard units without consent of the governor or other local authorities. The law authorizes presidential deployment of US troops to round-up and detain “potential terrorists”, “illegal aliens” and “disorderly” citizenry.

August 2007 - Protect America Act, which is an amendment to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allows the government to monitor phone calls and e-mails without a warrant or any judicial oversight. This act needs reauthorization in February 2008 due to sunset clause.

November 2007 - Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act passed the House of Representatives 400 to 6 (to be voted on in the Senate in 2008). The act proposes the establishment of a commission composed of members of the House and Senate, Homeland Security and others, to “examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States” and specifically the role of the internet in fostering and disseminating extremism. According to the bill the term `violent radicalization’ means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change, while the term ‘ideologically-based violence’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual’s political, religious, or social beliefs.”

The attacks of September 11, 2001 were simply an excuse for the ruling elite to strip the citizens of this great county of their constitutionally guaranteed rights. Notice that all of these laws are targeted equally to American citizens as well as "terrorists".

Friday, February 22, 2008

One Acre Of...

How much can you produce on one acre of land. Yields will of course vary but you get an good general idea of what is necessary to support yourself and family.


40 bushels of wheat per acre
73 loafs of bread per bushel of wheat
2920 loafs of bread per acre of wheat
Feed 28 people 2 loafs a week for a year


32 bushels of barley per acre
851 12oz bottles of beer per bushel of barley
27323 12oz bottles of beer per acre
Produce 4 bottles of beer a week for 128 people for a year

Green Beans

40 bushels of beans per acre
148 cups per bushel of beans
5920 cups of beans per acre
Feed 8 people 2 cups of beans a day for a year

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Survival Gardening

Damnit BigBear, I am tired of hearing about your tomatoes. Talk about something survival related, talk about something sexy.

Unfortunately life isn't a James Axler novel and in the very near future survival gardening will be the sexiest, most read survival topic on the net. Survivalism is the art of survival, the ability to stay alive and even thrive in a post collapse environment. I am not talking about just getting out of Dodge I am talking about long term existence without modern conveniences. It is one thing to grab your gun, seventy two hour pack and pitch camp in the woods, it is entirely another to plan for lifetime independence completely removed from existing support structures.

If your survival plans do not include a long term renewable food source you are putting yourself and those relying on you at grave risk.

This level of preparation is not a full pantry of canned food and dried noodles. Granted this is a good start and well beyond what most people have but it is a finite solution. Those supplies will run out and without a long term food replenishment strategy eventually you are forced back into the system; a system far different from our current market driven economies.

It is a system where your personal freedoms are sacrificed for the most basic necessity of You will be forced to register and wait in endless lines for the meager scraps doled out by the local relief agencies. Registered weapons will be surrendered upon request and children will be removed to “care” facilities until the parents can get back on their feet. This is not a system you want to be dependent on.

The best protection against become slaves to this system is learning how to grow and prepare your own food. Survival gardening is the only sustainable strategy for long term preparedness and should be one that every survivalist adopts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Garden Update

Look at those monster tomato plants. The beasts are blooming and very hungry. The tall one tried to eat little Conway a couple of days back, I had to beat it off him with a stick.

Anyway they are in full bloom and looking to be pollinated. I am either going to use a spray bottle with distilled water to gently mist the blooms or place a small fan close to them. Not sure quite yet.

They are also sucking up a tremendous amount of water, about a half gallon per day. But hey, the payoff is a succulent piece of fruit that can sustain me and possibly support me. These were planted in early November.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Budget Survival – Cheap Water Heating

When I first decided to build at Bear Ridge the one thing that I could not do without was a hot tub. There is nothing better than sitting in steaming water under an open canopy of stars. It was something I had to have. The two problems were lack of water and a method to heat it. Capturing rain provided plenty of water but heating it was slightly more involved.

Passive Solar

When I first started making the trips down there I would carry water in blue seven gallon plastic jugs. If I needed a shower the jug would be placed in the sun all day and by evening the water would be a comfortable temperature. I would take the jug into the bathroom, drop the water pump feeder hose for the into the top and shower. Real simple…cost nothing.

The main problem with using this solar heating method was that you had to have good sun. If it was cloudy no go, and forget about taking a shower in the morning or in the winter.

This summer I plan on taking an old refrigerator, removing the door and with a glass cover using this as a water heater for showering and such. The insulated refrigerator should keep the water warm throughout the night.

Propane Water Heater

I set out to build an efficient off grid water heating system that could be used to heat the hot tub or water for showering and dishes. The heater needed to warm the water quickly and be easily transported. This is what I came up with.

I took twenty feet of 3/8 inch copper pipe (HomeDepot $40) and rolled it around an old coffee can leaving a foot sticking out at the top and bottom, this is my heating coil. I then attached eight foot of garden hose to both ends of the copper with hose clamps. The bottom inbound hose is attached with hose clamps to a 12 volt bilge pump (Walmart $10). The top outbound hose needs a flow control valve (HomeDepot $10) attached to its end.

Get a turkey fryer, everyone has an old one of these laying around in the garage (new one run about $40). A gas grill will not work. Gas grills produce around 9000 BTU and that is not nearly enough, turkey fryers can generate 120000 BTU. You also need a twenty pound bottle of propane.

Place your heating coil over the burner so the heat is directed up through the center. Stack bricks around three sides of your coil then place a paver over the top. The side with the inbound and outbound hoses should be left open. Stack the bricks as close to the coil as possible.

Fully open the flow control and drop the bilge pump and outbound hose in the water tank. My water tank is a one hundred gallon stock tank and being that I am a chunky bitch I only need about 50 gallons of water to comfortably soak. Plug the bilge pump into the 12 volt power source and get the water flowing.

Once the water is moving light the turkey fryer. The water leaving output hose 30 to 40 degrees hotter than the water sitting in the tank. You should reduce the flow as much as possible, the longer the water is in the heat the warmer it gets. The bilge pump being used moves 450 gallons per hour not a lot but it is really efficient. My hot tub can be warmed to over 110 degrees in under an hour and the entire system can be carried by hand.

Do not use this heater indoors, it will kill you.

The next time I do this I will use forty feet of 1/4 inch copper tubing.

I was going to include a picture but the thing is in the backyard under about three feet of snow and I couldn't exactly remember where I put it.

Wood Heater

The next project is a wood burning heater based on the same principle with a copper tube lining a round barrel. Trash and scrap lumber can be utilized to bring the water to a nice temperature.

Monday, February 18, 2008

No Internet

Sorry for the past couple of days. I have been without internet access.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Power Problem - Solution Works

The mobile power solution really works well. I am currently working off this unit pictured and am very happy with the results.

Need to run to town for pizza now will hopefully get back later.

I am really surprised at how nice this is. Better than the old system.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Economy Getting Better?

This is an off night and I do apologize, most of my thoughts today have revolved around the Bush Administration (maybe Bush himself) authorizing the use of torture on detainees, and why this coward has not been drug before an impeachment hearing or arrested like a common criminal. Most importantly how long it will take before they are justifying the enhanced interrogation techniques on American citizens; if they are not already. But that's tomorrows post.

Today just look at this article and tell me we can trust anything coming from this government.

Bush Administration Hides More Data, Shuts Down Website Tracking U.S. Economic Indicators

How can society plan for a future if we can not rely on the basic data coming from the trusted reporting agencies in our government. Those agencies exist so citizens can plan their lives not for cheap political gains or to protect the corporate profits from informed investors.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Power Problem - Inexpensive Solution

As you might recall from the article “Power Problem” I have been looking for an inexpensive, mobile power solution to run the lights and some small electronics at my retreat cabin on weekends.

The plan was to fully upgrade and replace the existing power system in March of this year. Unfortunately the cabin was broken into and thieves made off with most of the existing power system. Since the break in have decided not to keep anything of value at the cabin and to put off the upgrade until I am living at the site in June. This leaves the problem of no power until then so a small mobile power system is needed to fill the gap.

An additional requirement was that I not purchase anything now that I could not use later. I have decided to scrap this one and use the mobile power system in the camper after upgrading the cabin.

I thank everyone for their input on this and here is what I have come up with. This should work for anyone.

Here is what you are going to need. Everything is available at Wal-Mart.

2 Deep Cycle Marine Batteries (Group 27) $60 apiece
1 Black and Decker 400 Watt Inverter $30
1 Cheap Battery Charger $30
2 Battery Cables $10
2 100 Foot Extension Cords $20 apiece

Take the two 115 amp hour batteries and connect them in parallel with the battery cables. (Positive to Positive/Negative to Negative) This creates one 12 volt 230 amp hour battery. You should never discharge a battery below 80 percent so we actually have around 46 amps in our power pool. Connect the 400 watt inverter using the supplied clamps and the systems is ready to go. I like this small invert because the cooling fan only comes on when the system is hot thus conserving power.

Run the extension cord to the house and plug into a power strip mounted near the ceiling in the center of the room. Hang your clamp on work lamps with compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs around the house with the cords plugging into the power strip.

This basic system will comfortably power five 23 watt CF bulbs. So here is the high end of the power draw:

115 watt total for five 23 watt CF bulbs
10 watt overhead for the inverter
125 total watts divided by 120 volts
1 amp roughly per hour of use

Actually it is slightly more than 1 amp but that’s ok. So if we were to run all 5 bulbs for 12 hours through the night it would only be 12 amps pulled from our 46 amp pool of available power. In reality you will only run one or two lights for no more than six hours nightly so our two batteries should easily deliver four night worth of light without charging. There should be plenty in reserve for the laptop.

When you get home just plug in your charger overnight and top off the batteries. To be really elegant mount a couple of cheap solar panels on the top of your camper and keep the batteries fully charged all the time.

I will be using the system this weekend and will let you know how it goes on Monday.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rude Awakening

Something woke me up around 2:30 this morning.

As I was standing at the sink in the kitchen I noticed the flashing lights of a patrol car in the alley behind my house, directly behind my truck. The cruiser was just sitting there no spotlights no activity. Being 2:30 in the morning I just figured that they were tracking a drunk and headed back to bed.

Passing the living room I saw more flashing lights in front of the house. I looked out through the front curtains and spotted at least four more patrol cars parked right in front with lights going. As I watched two uniformed officers came down the sidewalk and stood looking at my house referencing a clipboard one of them carried. After a couple of minutes of studying the other officer motioned with his arm around towards the side of the house but did nothing. I could see two other officers one directly across the street and one with a rifle on the corner one house down.

Thinking this was some sort of dissident roundup, and determined not to be hauled naked from the house, I quickly ran to the bedroom and pulled on some clothes. (it was 2:30 and I wasn’t thinking really clearly) By the time I got back into the living room they were gone. Actually they had moved to the next block. I went out on the front porch and watched as they went through the same thing then moved on down the street. I don’t have any clue what they were doing but it got me to thinking.

What if the proverbial balloon went up and they really were there to track down the nonconformists. I am guessing that this is how they would do it; show up in the middle of the night, stick you in a truck and haul you off to the detention center with the rest of the enemy combatants
I always thought that I would be away when collapse started, that I would be relatively safe at my retreat. If I happened to get caught in the city I could wait it out with the supplies kept on hand then make way after the initial shock. But what if you are on a round up list…on the fated Rex 84 Red/Blue list or an Operation Falcon based purging.

How do you escape the brown shirts when they come for you? Post anonymously if that makes you more comfortable but I would really like to hear everyone’s thoughts on this.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Senate Suspends Constitution

The Senate today, in a 67 to 31 vote, completely stripped Americans of their Fourth Amendment rights by granting retroactive immunity to the American telecommunication companies that have helped the Bush Administration illegally spy on American citizens for the past 7 years.

The Senates action, in the FISA Amendment Act, would shield from lawsuits telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on their customers without court permission. Effectively ending forty pending lawsuits against the various telecommunication companies and forever shrouding the unlawful activities of this administration from public scrutiny.

The Bush Administration has maintained that no laws were broken and only communications between suspected terrorist outside the United States were monitored. In late 2007 evidence emerged that contradicted the administrations claim and indeed implicated the presidency in previously unimaginable levels of illegal domestic spying, data cataloging and monitoring of all United States citizens.

On November 7, 2007 telecommunications technician and AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein spoke on Capitol Hill about his first hand experience the technology AT&T built to assist the government's domestic warrant less wiretapping program at AT&T's main switching facility in San Francisco. As part of his job at AT&T, Klein connected high-speed fiber optic cables to sophisticated equipment that intercepted communications from AT&T customers and then copied and routed every single one to a room controlled by the National Security Agency (NSA). Klein has provided evidence for the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) class-action lawsuit against AT&T for its role in the illegal spying.

"My job required me to enable the physical connections between AT&T customers' Internet communications and the NSA's illegal, wholesale copying machine for domestic emails, Internet phone conversations, web surfing and all other Internet traffic. I have first-hand knowledge of the clandestine collaboration between one giant telecommunications company, AT&T, and the National Security Agency to facilitate the most comprehensive illegal domestic spying program in history," said Klein.

In essence the NSA is capturing all domestic communications, studying the patterns and content then archiving the results for future action. They are documenting our online activities and analyzing our surfing habits. If you use any electronic media for communications the information being relayed, as well as who you are communicating with, is being captured and analyzed for later use.

This surveillance has nothing to do with terrorist activities...unless our government considers its citizen terrorists. This surveillance allows our government to monitor all our communications and take preemptive actions against those it considers a threat. If the administration does not like the sites you visit or the people you are communicating with you will be rounded up and disappeared.

Telecommunication Immunity is a bellwether event for me. The government is preparing for something...something so bad that American citizens need to be tracked and monitored. Expect the worst and expect it soon!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Thoreau's Walden

Since I am suffering sever writers block today I am going to suggest every one read Thoreau's Walden.

Thoreau's Walden

"When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months."

With these words, Henry David Thoreau began the tale of his experiment of simple living at Walden Pond. Over the course of the next three hundred-odd pages, Thoreau outlined his philosophy of life, politics, and nature, laying the foundation for a secure place in the canon of great American writers. Although Walden enjoyed only moderate success in Thoreau's lifetime, his experiment at the pond would spark considerable interest in the years to come. The book has inspired other young people to follow his example and retire to a lonely spot--even if only in imagination--to ponder the world and their place in it. Thoreau's words expressed the concerns of many of his contemporaries as industrialization and war permanently altered the world around them, just as they struck a chord in a generation of young people in the 1960s and 1970s who opposed the modern military-industrial complex and sought peace and simplicity in their lives. For many, Walden has served as a touchstone.

In the years following Thoreau's death in 1862, his sister and his friends undertook the responsibility of editing his work. Posthumous editions of his previously unpublished or partially published works were produced by Ticknor & Fields and Houghton Mifflin, and articles about Thoreau and reviews of his writings appeared in newspapers and magazines. Thoreau's life and work have continued to provoke and inspire, and there are almost as many different opinions as there are readers. Which view of Thoreau is most accurate: The dour hermit of Walden Woods? The environmental guru? The antislavery crusader? The irresponsible layabout? The pacifist? The pantheist? The prophet? None suffices to represent Thoreau by itself; all find support in Walden.

Quotes from Walden

"He lived in all respects so compactly and preparedly, that, if an enemy take the town, he can, like the old philosopher, walk out the gate empty-handed without anxiety."

"Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and are actually needlessly poor all their lives because they think that they must have such a one as their neighbors have."

“Cultivate poverty like garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends.”

“It would be some advantage to live a primitive and frontier life, though in the midst of an outward civilization, if only to learn what are the gross necessaries of life and what methods have been taken to obtain them; or even to look over the old day-books of the merchants, to see what it was that men most commonly bought at the stores, what they stored, that is, what are the grossest groceries. For the improvements of ages have had but little influence on the essential laws of man's existence; as our skeletons, probably, are not to be distinguished from those of our ancestors.”

“Most of the luxuries, and many of the so called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meager life than the poor.”

"I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes."

“For more than five years I maintained myself thus solely by the labor of my hands, and I found, that by working about six weeks in a year, I could meet all the expenses of living. The whole of my winters, as well as most of my summers, I had free and clear for study.”

“I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we live simply and wisely."

"As long as possible live free and uncommitted."

"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand."

This book is a bible to those seeking a simplified life. I highly recommend it.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Power Problem

Here's the problem.

When the cabin was broken into most of the power system was stolen. Now granted it was going to be replaced next month anyway but without the old power system the place will sit dark. I have decided not to install the new system till June when I move down there full time but that leaves several months where a temporary power source will be needed. I do not want to invest in something that will not be usable in June.

So here is what I am thinking.

I am going to purchase eight 115 amp hour deep cycle batteries. I will build two battery boxes that can be removed and stored here at the house. The batteries will be charged at home and taken down to the cabin on weekends. I am also getting a 2500 watt modified sine wave phase corrected inverter. At the cabin an extension cord will be ran from the truck to power lights, laptop and stuff, everything stays in the truck. When I get back here I just plug in the charger and top off the units.

This should give me plenty of power to comfortably stay down there without the theft risk involved with leaving the equipment in an unattended cabin. What do you think? Is there an easier way?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Cleaning Day

Sorry, no real post today. I spent all day cleaning up the mess at the cabin so I thought I would share the view from my front deck instead. Talk to you all tomorrow.

Friday, February 8, 2008

They Simply Had Enough

The following two news items really clarify what the corporate/government complex fears from a disenfranchised population with guns who's Constitional rights are being restricted and in many situations completely stripped. As we move into the new depression era I would expect to see events of this nature almost daily from displaced homeowners and desparate unemployeed who are out of options; not willing to quietly starve to death as the government ignores their problems while spending billions to bail out the corporate elite.

Missouri Shooter’s Motives Emerge - Kirkwood Missouri

A man who police say went on a shooting rampage at City Hall in a St. Louis suburb Thursday night had recently lost a lawsuit against the city stemming from disorderly conduct convictions that resulted from his frequent clashes with city officials.

Charles Lee Thornton used two weapons in killing five people and wounding two others at the City Council meeting in Kirkwood, Mo., police said. The first of the five people killed, Police Sgt. William Biggs, was shot outside the building with a large-caliber revolver and then stripped of his weapon, said Tracy Panus, spokeswoman for the St. Louis County Police Department.

Gerald Thornton repeatedly declined to say that his brother had done anything wrong. He said his brother felt his "constitutional protection was not guaranteed," but he refused to explain further or give any detail.

"The only way that I can put it in a context that you might understand is that my brother went to war tonight with the people that were of the government that was putting torment and strife into his life," Thornton told KMOV.

Man Charged With Super Bowl Threat - Phoenix Arizona

A restaurateur angry at being denied a liquor license threatened to shoot people at the Super Bowl and drove to within sight of the stadium with a rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition before changing his mind, federal authorities said.

Kurt William Havelock said in a manifesto mailed Sunday to media outlets that he would "shed the blood of the innocent," according to court documents.

Federal authorities say Havelock was upset because his establishment was recently denied a liquor license by the city of Tempe, a Phoenix suburb.

The FBI said in the complaint that Havelock had planned to attack Super Bowl fans at the stadium in what he called an "econopolitical confrontation."

"I will not be bullied by the financial institutions and their puppet politicians," Havelock wrote in the eight-page manifesto, according to the complaint.

"I will test the theory that bullets speak louder than words. Perhaps the blood of the inculpable will cause a paradigm shift. ... Someone has to start the revolution but no one wants to be first."

"How many dollars will you lose? And all because you took my right to own a business from me," the manifesto said.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Ideal Survival Retreat

Those destined to survive have an instinctive drive to develop skills and cultivate self reliance techniques as tools that will allow them to stand independently, completely self sufficient, while less prepared persons stand in soup lines waiting for their handout when crisis strikes.

I wish I could say this drive influenced the building decisions made while constructing my cabin. Unfortunately it was built as a weekend get away and not as a survival bunker. Although the itching for isolation and desire to remove myself from gross consumerism played heavily into its design it was not till recently that its use as a true survival retreat crystallized. Over the past several years I have become increasingly aware of the threats being mounted against our liberties by the government and corporate elite. The reason behind this gradual stripping of our rights is arguable, but as a fact it is happening.

So, if I had to design from scratch what would I do differently.

The most important thing to consider is passive solar heating. If your retreat can be heated without purchasing any carbon based fuel you are well on the way to energy independence. Everything is designed around this one invaluable resource.

The cabin would be roughly a forty foot by twenty foot box oriented so one of the long sides faces due south. The other three walls would be ten foot high six inch concrete with one entry door placed where every convenient. The floor would be a six inch thermal mass slab and the roof either metal or for maximum concealment concrete with local dirt and vegetation planted on top. The roof would be slanted to the north dropping two foot across the twenty foot span.

For maximum solar gain the south side needs to be a wall of windows twelve foot high running the length of the house. The bottom and top two foot need to be operable windows that open. During the summer this design creates a convection that naturally cools the interior space while exchanging stale air with fresh. During the winter it delivers maximum solar gain to the thermal mass floor.

Large rollup metal security doors are needed to deploy over the glass wall when away or during a threat situation. This completely secures the retreat from outside threats. Unfortunately it also turns your cozy cabin it a sweet box quickly cooking the inhabitants. To remedy this I would recommend flipping the metal door so they roll up instead of down. This gives the option of securing all the glass except the top two foot where the windows open. It also allows natural light to flood the interior without sacrificing security.

If the rolling doors are installed on the outside of the glass the windows are secure against breakage. But consider installation inside the glass, the house is still protected and a trombe convection heating system is created in the few inches between the metal door and the windows. When the security doors are closed you loose the passive solar gain from the sun, this can be offset by placing the doors inside the windows.

There are no other windows in the structure.

The north wall will have two foot deep cabinets running the length of the house to hold survival supplies and food stuffs. A small bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and utility room need to be arranged in the structure to maximize energy efficiently while keep a large common area open for living space.

The cabin would be completely off grid solar with backup wind power. A small wood stove will augment the natural heating during extended overcast periods.

Next week I will cost out the structure and discuss in more detail the power and water systems.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My Survival Cabin - Powering a Cabin

No Power

There was no gird power available on the 5 acre parcel chosen for the cabin. The nearest utility power lines were a distant six miles. Running grid power to the cabin was cost prohibitive and thus not possible. It did not make sense to pay more for the power access than for the land itself. Alternative power sources were going to be necessary. At first alternative power appeared to be equally costly but after considerable research and some big reality checks on usage it became a manageable project that would not bankrupt me.

The Small Cabin at Bear Ridge was illuminated in the summer of 2003 with kerosene lanterns. Kerosene lanterns make reading easy and the light is nice and warm. A Dietz 75 hour kerosene lantern gives off good light and do not need filling that often. I have two of these kerosene lanterns at the cabin and one at my house and would highly recommend this product. I still use them on evenings when I am looking for that bright warm candle quality light kerosene lanterns produce. The Dietz Lanterns will burn lamp oil, kerosene or citronella oil when the bugs are a problem.

When construction was started on the Big Cabin at Bear Ridge, I reevaluated the lighting and general power needs. In addition to lights, I wanted to power an efficient laptop, charge the cell phone and listen to Sirius satellite radio. Luckily, the neighbor has SkyBlue satellite internet access and they let me jump on their wireless when needed. A directional wireless antenna is necessary on my end but the signal strength is very adequate.

Generator Power

In the beginning there only needed to be enough power for the weekends. Two deep cycle 75 amp hour batteries ($45 apiece) supplied plenty of power at that point. The batteries were transported back to Denver and charged in the garage during the week. A 3500 watt generator ($250) was added and the batteries were charged every few weeks. The addition of the generator allowed the for the use of 120 volt high amperage appliances such as vacuum cleaner, electric chain saw, table saw and air compressor.

The air compressor was a life saver. Cabin construction goes ten times faster with air framing nail guns and air roofing nail guns. Nail guns are a must have, I can not imagine construction without them. You can purchase a gas powered air compressor but I recommend a 20 galleon 120 volt air compressor ($160). For the cost of a gas powered air compressor, you can purchase a generator and electric air compressor. You need the generator anyway.

Solar Power

It was determined that three 45 watt solar panels ($200 apiece) with a 30 amp charge controller ($100) would be sufficient for my weekend cabin. 135 watts delivers a little over 7 amps per hour of charging time. If you count on six good hours of charging per day, the three solar panels can put 42 amps away daily. This was plenty to charge the four 115 amp hour deep cycle 12 volt batteries ($60 apiece). Each battery furnishes 115 amp hours for 460 amp hours in the pool to draw from.

To determine how many amp hours you will need take the watts of the device and divide by 12. A 60 watt bulb uses five amps per hour. If you took that 60 watt bulb and left it on for six hours in the evening, it would draw 30 amps of power from your pool. The next day when the sun was out you would need to replace those 30 amps with the solar panels. You should not be using 60 watt incandescent bulbs but you get the idea. Here is a rough break down in amp of what the cabin currently draws. Everything at the cabin runs on 12 volt DC.

Three 20 watt halogen lights kitchen

5 amps

3 hrs

15 amps daily

Two 5 watt florescent lights living room

1 amps

4 hrs

4 amps daily

One 1 watt LED reading light bedroom

.2 amps

5 hrs

1 amps daily

Sirius Radio

1.5 amps

6 hrs

9 amps daily

Cooling Fan

2 amps

6 hrs

12 amps daily

Water pump

6 amps

1/2 hrs

3 amps daily


6 amps

3 hrs

18 amps daily

Total daily amps

62 amps daily

Notice that the total amps used per day is greater than the total amps being put back into the system with the solar panels. This is fine if you are only visiting on weekends and the batteries could be replenished during the week. It is not comfortably sufficient for full time living.

The total amps could be reduced greatly if the fan was not used and the kitchen lights were replaced with LED spotlights. The laptop is usually fully charged for the weekend and most of the time it is not even used. Notice that the great power hungry conveniences are not present. This design will not operate a washing machine/dryer, refrigerator, microwave, electric coffee maker, and etcetera. This is a relatively inexpensive solar power system that you can install for under $1500. Backup power is provided by the generator which only needs to be used when there have been several days of heavily overcast skies. You must have a backup power system either a gas generator or a small wind power generator.

Wind Power

I could live year round at Bear Ridge if the above energy saving items were implemented and if a few additional solar panels were added. A small wind generator would also really help. There is a constant breeze at Bear Ridge and an efficient wind generator would run around the clock and really help during the winter months when daylight is short. If the money is right I will be purchasing a modest wind generator ($600). Your basic wind generator delivers up to 400 watts or 27 amps in ideal conditions.

Big Upgrade

Sorry but I will need to do the rest tomorrow night.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Practice Your Preparedness

Just a real quick note on something that happened to me today regarding preparedness follow through.

The new truck runs great but it is nearly thirty years old so I keep my jeep around in case it decides to act up. I knew the starter in the truck needed replacing but put it off. This morning when I went out to leave for work the truck would not start.

Not an issue, I'm a survivalist, I see the problems coming and preempt them. Full of myself for my planning prowess I jumped in the jeep and started it up. It was only then that I saw the fatal error in my backup transportation plan.

The jeep was completely blocked by the truck. Although I had a fully gassed backup vehicle that was ready to go I had no way of getting the thing on the road. It took me about a half hour to roll the truck out of the way then push it back into the drive with the jeep.

This has just not been a good week for my preparedness ego. It's not enough to plan, you need to actually use the plan to see if it works.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cabin Break In - Lessons Learned

The general protection plan for the cabin was twofold. The first layer of protection was to blend into the background...not stand out. And secondly the close proximity to neighbors would be enough to dissuade most thieves. The doors and windows are always locked. Naively I thought this would be enough, and it was for nearly seven years.

What Happened

Sometime between Christmas of 2007 and February 2nd 2008 some people broke into my cabin and made off with roughly two thousand dollars worth of stuff. Although most of the stuff taken was used-up or completely non-working crap, the thought that my “survival retreat” was so easily breached and looted was very discomforting.

I think I had grown complacent in my approach to safety outside of my sightline. Fortunately, this unfortunate event happened now when all they wanted was some crap to sell off rather than later when my life supplies would be at stake. In March I had planned on installing an upgraded power supply system complete with new solar panels and wind generator, luckily this incident did not take place in April!

The odd part is what they took and the strange desperation involved in the act itself. Here are some of the items…try to profile the culprits.

What they took: six of nine solar panels, charge controller, generator, air compressor, gundig crank radio, alarm clock, telescope, two pair of binoculars, shot gun, 22 rifle, first generation night vision scope, and booze.

Now everything they took had to be carried to their vehicle at the roadside, about one hundred and twenty feet away, through two feet of snow. They drank the booze on site…and there was a lot of booze. There were near full bottles of whiskey, vodka, rum and some beer. All the pictures were taken off the walls and they pretty much trashed the place but didn’t do any structural damage. They started to remove all the copper wire but I found it in a pile. My guess is they gained entry by forcing the door; it was open and still locked but not broken.

The solar panels were weak and going to be moved onto a solar water heater circulation pump this summer after they were replaced. The generator was dead and the air compressor on its last leg. The night scope, telescope and binoculars were all cheap and for star watching not military grade.

What they left: framing nail gun, roofing nail gun, finishing nail gun, twenty thousand btu kerosene heater, ten thousand btu kerosene heater, water pumps, portable water heater, brand new outback stove and oven, two burner camp stove, hidden good generator, battery powered chainsaw, all of the DVD’s, a blackberry handheld which I hadn’t used in ages, all the hand tools and all the food.

The nail guns were placed by the door like they wanted them but didn’t take. They didn’t touch any of the other items listed above.

Empty Cabin Protection

I need four four layers of defense for my uninhabited retreat cabin:

The first layer is strategic location, it should not be easy to find. Your cabin should be unassuming; you want to look like you don’t have anything they would want. Also, know your neighbors they are the best deterrent.

The second is an unwelcoming approach, make visitors uncomfortable as they get near your cabin. You should have wilderness cameras installed in a way that covers the cabin and the approach. Make sure the flash goes off at night, this will freak the trespassers out. Lot of signs warning people that they are being recorded and that they will be shot. Also some tire shredders installed in the driveway would be helpful be sure you have battery powered motion activated lights to illuminate the dark at night.

The third is secured entry; windows and doors should be locked and not easily breached. Windows need to be covered with metal shutters and doors should be of a solid construction. Always lock.

The fourth is dissuasive comfort; if they get inside make them want to leave immediately. A powerful alarm system that triggers when the door is opened and doesn’t shut off for an hour or so will deter most would be thieves it also alerts the neighbors. Additionally, motioned activated pepper spray can ruin a wonderful evening of robbery if they decide to come in through a window (I love this product).

I am now using a storage unit in a nearby town so there is nothing of value in the cabin until I live on site. This should reduce the temptation.

Occupied Cabin Protection

When I am there all the protection for an empty cabin should be in place with an additional three things.

One, get a large outdoor dog possibly a German Sheppard for protection. I have two small dogs that are great for alerting me to danger but not the best at driving away trespassers.

Two, install motion sensors that will notify you when someone is approaching. These are wireless, battery operated and invisible to a trespasser. I will place at least one on the road approaching my cabin and a couple of other on the trails through the land. You also need a method to communicate with your neighbors to let them know what is going on, I would recommend a GMRS two way radio.

Lastly, get a very big gun and have the ability to use it. Signs should be posted throughout the site warning that trespassers will be shot without warning. Earn a reputation as someone not to be messed with in whatever method necessary.

There are other things but I will not elaborate on them in an open forum.

Never Again!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New Beans

I am getting much better at raising the beans.

If you follow this blog to any degree you know that I am moving to the cabin in June to a simple life. Many of these entries here are about my learning experience regarding what I would call critical skills. Growing plants successfully indoors is one of those skills.

Beans are a necessary part of any survivalists diet and knowing how to grow them is soundly important. The problem I was having was with sprouting. If I could get the bean plant to come out of the ground everything was fine but getting those little buggers to come out is difficult.

So here's the trick, lots of heat (80 to 90 degrees)and warm water, planted no deeper than one half inch. They will pop their heads up and look healthy after a few days of germination. I give them warm water daily and keep them on a high shelf in a toasty room. The beans above are five days old and will be re-potted later this week.

My tomato plants are also blooming.

I will write about some security issues and lessons learned from the recent robbery on Monday. Oddly enough the Saturday trip to the cabin was a bug out simulation to test the new truck...unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the truck wasn't the only thing tested.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Cabin Break In

Went down to the cabin today to find that it had been broken into and ransacked. Need to rethink the "The best defense is obscurity, unobtrusiveness and silence" approach to prepping. I will write more tomorrow.

NOTE they did not take any food items or food stores only took things they could sell and drank all the booze. Messed the place up pretty bad but did no structural damage. They also broke my favorite back scratcher this really pissed me off.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Debt Slave

Throughout human history there has been a struggle between those who prosper on the backs of the needy and the poor looking to simply better their life.

What is Slavery?

The financing machine that we are operating in will only stop when the mentality of those damaged by it realize that they are slaves to their own personal consumption. People are literally mortgaging their lives away to debt. In no other time in history are working class folks able to purchase a large home, top of the line automobiles, furnish their homes with all the modern gadgets, and pay for it later in the future.

Only they are not able to pay for it. Adjustable Rate Mortgages and other financial voodoo have rendered the American Dream a nightmare for many middle of the road families. The working class is being squeezed into a tighter and tighter funnel as jobs are lost to overseas contractors and wages plummet.

That 6000 square foot American Dream house they purchased with "reasonable" monthly payments has become a prison as the housing bubble collapses, job market shrinks, inflation skyrockets and the "reasonable" mortgage resets to the real 28 year value.

The goal of the housing bubble was not to put working American's into affordable them a piece of the American Dream. The goal was to tie the free and mobile American working class into a life of debt slavery where their existence is controlled by the lending institutions...the Banking Industry. The new debt slaves will do anything to stay in their homes, continuing the illusion of wealth they were told they needed to strive for. They will take less and less working more and more to further the dream.

Slavery is defined as:

the state of being under the control of another person

work done under harsh conditions for little or no pay
The reality is that most will continue working at wages that barely sustain them rather than face losing the very home that enslaves them. This was the plan, you are a complacent debt slave facing a life owned by someone else, living by their plan.

What is Security

Security is a life lived by your rules, without a master. This can only be accomplished without debt, without an overseer. Security is not a home, Hummer and plasma TV, security is the ability to move through life without the trappings of consumerism.

Security is defined as:
defense against financial failure; financial independence

freedom from anxiety or fear
You fear the loss of stuff. You can only be independent, be secure, if you cast off the shackles of debt, learn to exist without the unnecessary crap, learn to exist independent of the institutional systems holding you in place. Break the chain. They can only enslave you if you let them. Get out of debt, be free.