Thursday, July 31, 2008

McCain Screwed

I live in the ultra conservative Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs is the corporate headquarters for 98 fundamentalist christian organizations as well as focus on the family and other klan base ministries. This town is comprised of mostly of retired military and fundamentalist christian extremist. They are as right as right can get.

Here is how I know McCain cannot win. There are plenty of people driving around with "W" and "veterans for bush" stickers on their Saudi lovin Cadillacs and bullet proof SUV's. But lately I have seen a massive amount of Obama 08 bumper sticker and house signs. Unprecedented in a town of this political/corporate persuasion. I have yet to see one McCain bumper sticker in this bastion of conservative values...not one

The media is trying to keep this thing a foot race but honestly it is all over for the republican candidate.

Oh, I will have a real post tomorrow about things that can actually impact your life.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Home-grown Aquaponics

Home-grown aquaponic systems can provide families with hundreds of pounds of fish and fresh vegetables year-round. The system at the Morningstar facility, shown in the picture was built with easily available materials including concrete block and plywood, a waterproof tarp, a plastic barrel and PVC piping.

A complete aquaponic system can be built in approximately 150 square feet, although some larger systems cover many acres. The smallest pond is typically about 500 gallons. Under average conditions, three gallons of water are required for each fish, and every 10 gallons of water in the tank supports two square feet of growing area for vegetables.

Most aquaponic systems use tilapia, a warm-water fish native to Israel where it has been farmed for 2500 years, because they’re extremely fast growing, tolerate poor water quality and use a wide variety of plant-based foods, including duck weed growing on the surface of the water.

A 500-gallon tank can produce about 150 pounds of fish per year, with fish typically harvested every six months at about 1.75 pounds. Tilapia are considered to be highly efficient fish, gaining approximately one pound for every 1.5 pounds of food they are fed. In most home systems, fish should be fed commercial fish food three to four times daily, but automatic feeders are available for families who aren’t home during the day.

Systems designed to produce food, like that shown at left, typically consist of three separate chambers: a fish tank, a biofilter and a hydroponic growing area. The system should be designed so that water is pumped from the bottom of the fish tank into a biofilter (the barrel at the front of the photo) where solid waste is captured. Biofilters must be cleaned weekly, and those nutrients can be directly applied to plants growing in soil.

From the biofilter, water is pumped to the top of a slanted hydroponic growing area, most often constructed with PVC piping. The typical system uses an inert growing medium, such as porous clay pellets or rockwool, a spun glass wool made of volcanic rock, to hold roots in place while water moves through the system and overflows back into the fish pond.

The water in most aquaponic systems will have high levels of nitrates with lower levels of phosphate that encourages green leafy growth, so plants like lettuce, bok choy and herbs are particularly well suited. Vegetables and fruits, like cucumbers and tomatoes, can be harvested but may have more leaves and fewer fruits than those grown with more balanced nutrients.

Water should be tested weekly for pH, electrical conductivity and nutrients, but battery-powered test kits make testing simple. In most systems, 25% of the water should be changed on a monthly basis, siphoning it from the bottom of the tank to capture any remaining nutrients and biosolids.

Home Tilapia Farming

I love this concept. A couple of 500 gallon setups in a greenhouse would provide 300 pounds of fish each year and the heat sink created by the water would keep the plants warm in the winter. 300 pounds of protein has an incredible post collapse trading value, especially when most people are just starting their gardens and have no meat source. Throw in a few chickens and you are set.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Food Storage - Real Numbers

How much food do I need for my family and what will it cost.

The picture to the left represents one years worth of food for one person. It may seem like a lot but think about how much food you consume in a years time. There are 15 five gallon buckets holding a variety of dried foods that will provide a baseline 1800 calorie per day diet.

This diet will be supplemented with fresh game provided by hunting and fishing...note the .22 and fishing gear. As well as hunting/field dressing manuals, beer brewing/wine making equipment, chainsaw to supply the wood stove and 30 twelve packs of ramen noodles although not all are shown. Food cost of roughly $300 all gathered at WalMart.

Note that there are no expensive #10 cans of various high end survival preps. For your basic bulk needs #10 cans are not cost effective. When you start to refine and specialize the food stocks then #10 cans of dried fruits, powdered cheese and possibly powdered eggs are warranted but the basics should be purchased first and from local grocery supplier. These are foods that need colorful menu planning and preparation experience to be fully appreciated.

I have a couple of years of food already stored with plenty of spices and bullets. This batch will be added to the existing supplies and work will begin on the next set of buckets. Each additional set of 15 I add different types of products increasing the variety of foods available. On the buckets that are being actively consumed I use omega lids. These are fancy screw top lids that are resealable. If you can afford it all your buckets could be outfitted with these handy items. Be sure to label you buckets on the top and side with the product and date stored.

One five gallon bucket holds 80 cups of dry stock.

How many many cups of each product are needed yearly to meet the 1800 calorie daily baseline.

For instance you decided that you need one cup of white rice per day either at lunch or dinner, this is 650 calories or about 1/3 of your daily intake. It works out to roughly 365 cups or 4.5 five gallon buckets worth of white rice. Now round the amount up to 5 five gallon buckets. Simple

Decide what dry products your family will eat and how many cups a day are needed. Once you have the number of cups just convert it into buckets. I usually round up, this give me some padding and possibly product to barter with.

How many pounds of each dry product are needed to fill a five gallon bucket.

These numbers are very close to true but might vary slightly depending on the brand and size of the product being stored.

Brown Rice
32 pounds per five gallon bucket
670 calories per dry cup

White Rice
3o pounds per five gallon bucket
650 calories per dry cup

Pinto Beans
32 pounds per five gallon bucket
620 calories per dry cup

Elbow Macaroni Small
21 pounds per five gallon bucket
420 calories per dry cup

Quaker Oats
12 pounds per five gallon bucket
300 calories per dry cup

Lima Beans Large
30 pounds per five gallon bucket
600 calories per dry cup

Black Beans
32 pounds per five gallon bucket
620 calories per dry cup

Pancake Mix
20 pounds per five gallon bucket
420 calories per dry cup (6 midsized pancakes)

Ramen Noodles
3 twelve packs taped together store like one 5 gallons bucket
380 calories per brick

White Flour (with 26 packs yeast)
20 - 25 pounds per five gallon bucket (26 loafs at 14 slices per loaf is 364 slices)
440 calories per 4 slices

Note that if you go to WalMart and buy 63 pounds of elbow macaroni the clerks will ask questions. Have a clever lie ready before hand. I tell them I am preparing meals at a church camp...they smile and nod approvingly.

I am not giving exact costs because they vary regionally and are increasing rapidly.

If you found this article useful check out the other two entries in this series.

Food Storage - Why Do It
Food Storage - Three Plans

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Budget Survival - Garden Support Jobs

Large home gardens will become commonplace in the post collapse society. As food prices soar more and more people will convert those manicured lawns into lush vegetable gardens capable of sustaining their families. Regional industry and needed jobs will be developed to support these home horticulturists.

Garden tilling will become a necessary and steady job in the post collapse society. No one has a tiller and hand turning a one acre sod covered lawn using a spade and hoe is backbreaking work. I would recommend purchasing an old tiller and either loaning out the device for trade or tilling for profit.

Canning and dehydrating foods is another lost art poised to make a strong return. Vegetables grown in the summer must be preserved to last the family through the winter. Visit you local Goodwill and pick up as many old pressure cookers as you can find. Purchase a couple of books on canning and start looking for old mason jars at garage sales. The home farmer brings his produce to your home for canning. You take a certain percent of the finished product as payment. Bartering at its best. Try to find some old dehydrators and instruction manuals this is an added service to your customers.

Heirloom seeds are the saviors of the human race. Hybird seeds that most people pick up at the store cannot be grown from season to season, they are sterile by design. Order a large inexpensive supply of non-hybrid seeds which can be grown season after season and sell them after the collapse. Once the crops have matured return to the farmer and offer to retrieve and dry his seeds for next season. You take a percent of the dried seeds as payment.

If you raise livestock the meat and dairy will not be the only products. Manure can be sold for fertilizer. Purchase a small wagon to haul behind your Geo Metro. Get orders in the winter. During planting season and in the fall deliver and spread the new black gold trading for a percent of the crops or profit.

Knowledge is your greatest asset in this environment. If you know the produce and how to grow it you become a valuable member of the community.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stay Calm - No Need To Panic

According to George Bush our economy is still "fundamentally sound" and technically America is not in a recession. So don't panic and pull your money out of the least until the Bush compound in Paraguay is finished and the last of the elite are through picking the remaining flesh from our bones.

Under the backdrop of a deteriorating economic picture, President Bush said Tuesday he is taking action to help people with falling home prices and high gas prices.

Bush highlighted plans to stabilize the mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and lift the ban on offshore oil drilling as two steps his administration is taking to address some of the nation's economic ills.

How can a "free market economy" continue to bail out criminally negligent corporations. The banking industry has taken profits over prudence for the past 8 years gorging themselves at the expense of the American public. Now that their little ponzi scheme has collapsed the American taxpayers are being forced into bailing them out to the tune of several TRILLION dollars. This money is of course being paid to cover the losses suffered by the Saudi royal family and China but we are globalized now so it's OK.

At least Bush admitted today during the question and answer section of his speech that many of the big oil fields, mentioning the Saudi's by name, were in a state of "production decline" and removing the remaining oil costs considerably more money...this is the definition of Peak Oil by the way. He said that worldwide consumption was at 85 million barrels per day with worldwide production at 86 millions barrels. He then stresses the need for alternative energies and in the same breath mentions that offshore drilling will solve our problems.

Bush could at least try and hide his latest love gift to big oil. The offshore oil drilling scheme will not solve our energy problems. First off there is not enough oil there to really make a difference and secondly it will take 20 years to begin exploiting these small reserves. Plus the oil will be sold to the highest bidder delivering these resources to China or India. So we lose our coastlines and don't get the oil.

As a taxpaying citizen I say let the beast fall. I don't really think it is my responsibility to prop up the global elite because they are having a bad year in the markets. It really is time to panic.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Banking Bad - Cash Good

I stopped using the corporate banking system of this country about two years ago. I decided then that the banking industry was simply another method of control for the elite, slowing stripping money from my account and giving no benefits. My paychecks are cashed at a local check cashing company at a 1% charge, which is lower than my monthly fees were when I banked at Wells Fargo. The very few bills I have are paid with a reloadable debit card which holds just enough to pay the bills. Everything else is kept in cash, originally I had planned to convert most of the cash to precious metals but they are to high now so I just keep cash.

When the government decides to declare Marshal Law and shuts down the is coming soon...all they have to do is shut down the VISA network. If you do not have cash you are stranded and starving at the mercy of the government and relief agencies. At least for now people will always take cash especially if their money is held up in some bank.

I feel that we are moving quickly to massive closure of banks. Here are the two main reasons.

First, the FDIC has increased its staff greatly in the past several months. This includes bring in retired employees that have experience in bank closures.

Second, the governments talking heads have been endlessly promoting the stability of the U.S banking system today. Stressing that you should leave you money in FDIC insured accounts because they are safe. Remember Thursday and Friday of last week, the talking heads were stressing the stability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac...look where that went.

The Feds intervention in Fannie and Freddie has nothing to do with creating a sound financial environment in which commerce can thrive. Saudi Arabia and China hold over 50% of the stock in the two top tier financial institutions. My guess is that there were threats made to destroy the dollar. So, we the public are now stuck with the multi trillion dollar bailout of these corrupt financial institutions. We will be paying Saudi Arabia and China our tax dollars for the next 100 years.

How many American banks have foreign investors bought controlling interest in? What happens if they simply decide to close the bank and recoup their money? Yes, you are insured with the FDIC but that assumes the government will pay out. What if the Fed decides it is in the best interest of the country to pay the dept directly to the creditors and not the account holders. The Fed might put the money in an escrow account that collectors can directly withdraw from, having first bite at the apple, rather than giving the money to the account holder. Remember our government puts corporate interests first. It would only take a simple act of congress hidden covertly in a war funding bill to make this a law.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Budget Survival - Window Box Room Heater

When I think of cottage commerce for the post collapse society I see items like passive solar heaters manufactured from the shelled out remains of McMansions and insulated shutters built from the gutted remnants of the defunct strip malls that surrounding every city center as the new regional industries.

With the lumber from one backyard privacy fence and the duct work pulled from a couple of 4000 square foot tributes to illusionary affluence you could build several hundred of these simple yet elegant free heating systems. Salvage the nails, pull a few windows, assemble and you are set. You will just need a recipe for some flat black paint to coat the collectors.

They could easily be installed in small existing homes with a nicely exposed southern windows or hung from cut holes in the side of your survival trailer. The small, well insulated homes with good southern sun will be the mansions for post peak world.

Insulating those new compact homes is another cottage industry. Think of the billions of square feet of fiberglass insulation that will be rotting in those huge strip malls and uninhabitable suburban homes. A wonderful trade item would be custom made insulated shutter for windows. They would be closed at night to retain daytime heat and provide an additional layer of protection for the family snuggled inside.

For the post collapse society money will be of a much lesser value if not completely worthless. If you cannot grow your own food you will need to provide meaningful items for trade. Without fuel oil or natural gas supply structures people absolutely must have an alternative method for heating. They will die with out it.

Speaking of growing food. Those millions of square feet of plate glass currently sitting in the offices building and malls of this country could be easily retasked into tough greenhouse coverings. They would make good quality well insulated greenhouses...unless of course the zombie hordes break all the windows.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Daily Survivalist News Source

When I started Blogging I was frustrated by the lack of organization within the Survivalist community. I love reading prepper/doomer posts but hated the daily jumping from site to site looking for interesting information. RSS feeds helped but there was no notification when new sites came up or a daily digest of crash related news.

The other day I came across the Survivalist News site. Although still in testing they appear to be moving in a useful direction. Their team grabs teaser text and link backs to the daily posts on a number of survival site as well as crash related news items. I really like this site, here is a blurb from their front page. is a daily rundown of all the hot survival sites on the web. An excerpt from each article is included along with a link back to the originating site. The posts are categorized by topic and archived for easy searching and retrieval. Crash critical news will also be tagged to keep you informed about timely collapse related issues. is updated several time each day.
You should check them out.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Survival Car

Survival is defined as "living or continuing longer than, or beyond the existence of, another person, thing, or event; an outliving."

The new Bug Out Vehicle is a 1978 Ford Fiesta. These small tough cars were made in Germany and very much remind me of the old VW Beetles or early generation Rabbits. The car is very speedy, maneuverable and fun to drive. This ugly little orange beast has a 1.6 liter engine with a 4 speed manual transmission and gets about 44 miles to the gallon.

The Fiesta is one of several ultra fuel efficient models delivered during the oil embargos of the 70’s. Automakers quickly responded to the skyrocketing gas prices by building and delivering economical automobiles based on high fuel standards. They were small, simple vehicles built soundly and offered to the public at a reasonable price.

A survivalist does not simply prepare for the future downfall of our social/economic structure by stocking beans and bullets. They must be flexible enough to adapt to the environment as it comes apart…adjusting until a time when we remove ourselves from the ruins and zombie hordes. Stay ahead of the curve.

Staying ahead of the curve is exactly what I hope to accomplish with this small old car. By cutting my monthly fuel cost by 80% I can continue buying those beans and bullets.

Many people are considering the purchase of a new hybrid…I would recommend against this. This is unsupported debt in a time of unparalleled economic turmoil. The Prius for instance may get slightly higher gas mileage than the Fiesta…but I picked up the Fiesta for $500! is a great resource; it’s where I found the Fiesta. I called soon after the posting and went to test drive the car. Ten other people had called by the time I got there. Apparently older fuel efficient cars are in demand today.

The truck is staying but will only be used for hauling.

The auto industry really should dust off these old blue prints and start producing inexpensive fuel efficient vehicles again.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fuel Economy

Lately I have been searching for a more fuel efficient vehicle. I love my big truck but at 8 mile to the gallon it has become difficult to afford. For instance it cost about $180 to get to the cabin and back this is roughly double from a year or so ago. This greatly cuts into my prepping budget and has stalled my move to the cabin. The same trip in an older car getting 32 mpg would cost $40. Not as glamorous or fun as the truck but a huge difference in money saving...which translates into more survival supplies.

So the hunt is on for a small, tough car that get great gas mileage. I want something four wheel drive, long lasting and easy to repair. Thinking an older model Subaru Wagon or something.

This brought me to the following website. I found this resource very valuable in looking for the best gas mileage bargain. Check it out.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Eccotemp Portable Tankless Water Heater

Hot water is a critical convenience for most survivalists. It is necessary for cleaning, cooking, re-hydration and showering. In modern society hot water is taken completely for granted.

A couple of years back I had this Zodi X-40 outback water heater. It was a piece of junk that started leaking after the first couple of uses. The Zodi set me back alittle over $400.

The Eccotemp L5 unit is only $120 so I think I will give it a try. I can hook it into the 12v system at the cabin.

Endless hot water - wherever you are!

The uses for the L5 are extremely varied and can be incorporated in to Sporting Goods, Cabins, Hunting, Vending/Concession, Sinks, Portable Showers, etc...

Wash Your Pet, Fill Your Hot Tub, Wash Farm Animals, Wash Patio Furniture, Warm Outdoor Shower, Clean Your Dairy Barn, Wash Your Car, Wash Your Tractor, Hot Water for Cabin, Outdoor Cooking, Picnics, Wash Paintbrushes, Thaw Frozen Water Lines, Wash Trash Containers, Shampoo Carpets, Clean Floor Mats.

Eccotemp Portable Tankless Water Heater. L5 - Portable Tankless Unit. The portable tankless unit is an ideal unit for portable uses. It uses a standard garden hose adapter and fits right to a standard 20 pound grill tank. Perfect for emergency and cabin applications.

Some of the other benefits include:

* 2 "D" cell battery ignition means no electricity needed
* Adjustable water temperature from 80-150 degrees F
* The garden hose adapter included attaches to any standard garden hose style nozzle
* Shower nozzle with on/off control
* Folding handles
* Includes CSA regulator for attaching to standard 20 pound propane tank
* Up to 18 hours of use on a 20 pound tank

I will probably pick one up next week and will keep you informed about performance.