Spread of Tropical Vector borne (insects) diseases in the Gulf Coast US + a little accident at the CDC.


The spread of tropical diseases in the US is increasing…much has to do with increasing poverty in the US…especially gulf coast region. The region has never fully recovered from numerous tropical systems nor the impact of the massive Deep Water Horizon spill.

The recent finding that dengue fever has emerged in Houston, Texas—the first major United States city in modern times with autochthonous dengue—adds to previous evidence indicating that the Gulf Coast of the Southern US is under increasing threat from diseases thought previously to affect only developing countries.


Mitigation of vector borne diseases cannot be emphasized enough, and many times go relatively ignored by the prepper. Headnets and bug spray are a good start, but also clothing spray such as Permethrin and bed netting need to be added (even inside the shelter). Caution when entering and leaving shelter needs to be taken to limit the intrusion of insects. You should sweep yourself off a few meters from shelter to dislodge mosquitoes and flies, then move quickly to enter shelter securing insect shield quickly (ex. if you have a screened porch…have a hand broom set a few meters away..brush self..move quickly to get into screened porch. Clothing should be stripped off in the outer room (screened porch) and body inspected for ectoparasites as well as clothing. This helps dramatically limit the exposure to others inside shelter. If you do not have a screened porch, there are several ways to make a little set up just off your entryway that allows this to happen.


Think of this area similar to an airlock on a spaceship or sub.

Please remember pet owners to do the same procedure for pets entering and leaving (check the underside).


And in other news…the CDC had an itty bitty accidente’ yesterday…

As many as 75 scientists working in government laboratories may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday. The scientists are being offered treatment to prevent infection.


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Strategic Terrorism…or how to scare the crap out of people.

Nathan Mhyrvold is the former Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft and founder of Intellectual Ventures. To put it mildly, he is a fairly smart guy. Mr. Mhyrvold decided to publish a ‘little’ research paper titled Strategic Terrorism A Call to Action.

Click to access Strategic-Terrorism-Myhrvold-7-3-2013.pdf

This paper warns that the potential for a massive human induced loss of life several million to potential extinction is much easier than people tend to think. It is a long read, but I think Mr. Mhyrvold lays out his argument well.

Technology contains no inherent moral directive—it empowers people, whatever their intent, good or evil. This fact, of course, has always been true: when bronze implements supplanted those made of stone, the ancient world got swords and battle-axes as well as scythes and awls. every technology has violent applications because that is one of the first things we humans ask of our tools.
The novelty of our present situation is that modern technology can provide small groups of people with much greater lethality than ever before. We now have to worry that private parties might gain access to weapons that are as destructive as—or possibly even more destructive than—those held by any nation-state. a handful of people, perhaps even a single individual, now have the ability to kill millions or even billions. indeed, it is perfectly feasible, from a technological standpoint, to kill every man, woman, and child on earth. The gravity of the situation is so extreme that getting the concept across without seeming silly or alarmist is challenging. Just thinking about the subject with any degree of seriousness numbs the mind.
Worries about the future of the human race are hardly novel. indeed, the notion that terrorists or others might use weapons of mass destruction is so commonplace as to be almost passé. spy novels, movies, and television dramas explore this plot frequently. We have become desensitized to this entire genre, in part because James Bond always manages to save the world in the end.

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Having a 72hr kit just isn’t enough…

UPDATE: At plus 6 days, conditions for many seem to be rapidly deteriorating.

Photograph by Master Sgt. Mark Olsen/U.S. Air Force

For all intents and purposes, Sandy was not a strong storm. It did coincide with high tide and tight pressure gradient resulting in a large storm surge and flooding of coastal communities, but winds were well under 100mph, and dropped quickly as it moved inland. Flooding resulted in a domino effect cutting off supply lines (roads) and rail lines as well as public services….this is the weakness in a high population density area. A category 2 storm would have been catastrophic.

Most preppers have beyond the FEMA recommended 72hr kit. Hurricane Katrina and now Hurricane Sandy have shown, even 72hrs isn’t enough. The video interview shows how easily the system (food and services) collapsed and how few people even had a 72hr kit. Finding a roof over one’s head was not difficult, but beyond that no food, water, heat or sanitation. I suspect this will be the case for another week. As of today it is +100 hrs since Sandy made landfall. A 1 week kit is looking a bit more reasonable as well as contingency for sanitation.

Unfortunately, having a kit doesn’t mean one knows how to use it. I heard a radio interview with an individual in NY after Sandy hit..he said he had a 72 hr kit, but ‘wasn’t even sure what to do with the flashlight’ much less anything else. This is someone who’s brain has gone into panic mode, and is unable to think beyond operating his cell phone. Why?….because he uses his cellphone everyday…its second nature. This raises the point of not just having but knowing. Having a tacticool BOB/GHB or disaster bag/box is one thing…knowing how to use everything in it is another. Confidence in the equipment is another important aspect. Do the items actually do what they are supposed to?

Whats wrong with this picture?

Everything is brand new, some still wrapped in plastic (ex. first aid kit). This is someone that has gear, but has no idea if it will work when needed. Every tool should be used at least 4-5 time to familiarize yourself. First Aid kits checked to ensure all items are not expired, punctured, and where different parts are. Water containers should be checked for leaks. Fire starters…does it work as advertised? How about when wet? Can the knife be used as a prybar or does that exceed it’s capabilities? These are just a few of the things one should consider.

Pack your kit logically. You don’t want your First Aid Kit in the bottom where you can’t get to it quickly. Tools, flashlights need to be easily accessible, etc.. Pack and unpack your gear a few times. Then do it in the dark.

Make sure items can do what you expect them to do. Know your gear and how to use everything in it!

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Thoughts on Event Level Preparedness Planning

To prepare, people should start simple and address the most common or obvious disaster that might occur in their area. Is it snowstorms, floods, hurricane, wildfire? You need to decide how to minimize impact of the disaster, then how to survive the post event until things return to ‘normal’. I’ll not get into the debate of bugging out (leaving home) vs bugging in (staying put). Every situation is different and the type of event will obviously dictate. Just remember, when an event occurs with little warning (few days or less), everyone will be on the road at once. Vehicles can only carry so much, dependent on fuel, condition, and how clear roads are (they wont be).

Make a list of potential threats from most likely to least, how long the event will occur and how long recovery might be. Take flooding for example. Fairly localized (few counties), concentrated damage, short term duration of the actual event, with days to months recovery time for most. Number impacted from few to 1000. Outside help arrives from hours to days.

One person’s story of natural disaster giving her a quick view of impacts (and shortfalls in her plan) can be found HERE.

How things translate for me ( everyone’s situation/thought process is different):


Short term events (few days to few weeks), with water, shelter, food, sanitation, medical, security needs for a few days. In my area storms and hurricanes top the list causing power outages and temporary run on food, water and fuel. Duration of the event itself is usually less than 24 hrs, recovery (depending on strength of storm) can be days to weeks. Assistance arrives within a day or 3. Severe storms such as Katrina impacted several states, and wiped out lives, homes and businesses, but remained confined to the coast. Due to local to federal as well as individual lack of preparedness, the resulting impact of the storm was substantially worse than it should have been. Regardless, recovery operations began within a few days…though note…several areas of N.O. still remain unoccupied and in ruins. This is the drawback of living in a high risk area (below sea level)…thus plan accordingly.

This is the easiest level to prepare for and should be where most start. I think the FEMA plan of 72 hrs worth of supplies falls short of what individuals/families need. The list of supplies they have is a good starting point, and includes many items that people tend to forget (ex, important documents, feminine hygiene products, etc), BUT planning for a week minimum and working to extend out to 3 weeks is what people should be thinking.

Greek riots. via abcnews


Duration of the actual event may be moments to a year. Effects numerous states, regions to entire country (ies). Length of impact 1 to 4 yrs with gradual recovery. This is something from a tsunami and resulting associated mini disasters, (ex Fukushima Nuclear plant meltdown post tsunami), to disease pandemic with medium infection (R nought 5-7) and death rate of ~10-20%, to a depression.
For my thinking, this most likely would be some sort of economic event(s) with a 50% chance of occurring in the next 1-4 yrs. The economy doesn’t quite collapse, but goes into a deep recession or depression. This will result in those in bad financial shape from the recent recession to get even worse. Desperation abounds, and riots, crime and so forth will explode in some areas typically concentrated in high poverty/ population areas, not so much in others, but increase none the less. With 63 million people in the US already at or below 125% of Federal poverty level, and the employment participation rate degrading, this may be a forgone conclusion. Most likely governments will abandon certain areas and focus on keeping other areas secure/supplied at some level. Martial law is a possibility. The elderly and the very young will be at high risk for adverse impacts. This level is substantially more difficult and expensive to prepare for. Location and plans need to be very carefully thought out before supplies are purchased (a decent list to start thinking about). The nice thing is, typically expansion of level 1 preparations will take care of many problems, but more consideration for medical, sanitation, long term water supplies and higher level of security mentality need to take place. Items we take for granted, fruits, veggies, dairy may be in sporadic supply, and/or extremely expensive. Fire suppression and police services may be spotty at best. Common medications may also be in short supply a well as simple things such as soap and TP. Fuel costs will spike (making prices of everything else rise). Being able to grow foods locally will provide some relief. Brown outs to blackouts may be common. Barter system comes into play (a great discussion on what to barter can be found HERE). Recovery will depend on how well local governments and even neighborhoods can respond and remain cohesive. The federal government will have it’s hands full trying to deal with large metro areas and keeping major infrastructure systems at some level of functioning.

via bbc news

BBC news

Long term both in the event itself and the impact (+2yrs)…economic/governmental collapse, WW3 (involving nuclear exchange), global natural disaster/disease outbreak with high infection (R nought +17) and death rate (+30%). This is basically TEOTWAWKI, but also probably the lowest chance of occurring…at the moment. Food, fuel runs out, electricity and municipal sewer/water shut down, medical, fire and law enforcement services cease. The obvious follows.
We would all like to think we are ready for this one, but I suspect very few (myself included) are. Some communities will collapse and others may get their act together. This literally will come down to how well people can work together to survive. Planning for this builds on level 2 preps, but requires thought in long term food production, large water supplies, long term sanitation, alternative energy and fuel (mostly for cooking and heat). Security becomes a major issue as well as medical. The common cold, a small cut or dental issue can kill. Sanitation will be paramount in preventing the rapid spread of infectious disease (Malaria, Cholera, etc.). The ability to grow decent size food supply without the aid of pesticides/fungicides and a consistent water supply will become a major challenge. The first year or 2 will be brutal, followed by a slow organization to new ‘normalcy’…in some areas. If one is able to survive out past 3 yrs…most likely you will make it for the long haul. If this is your number one scenario, then I recommend you buy, and move to that remote, fully stocked retreat in the mountains of (insert location here) with 20 of your closest family/friends. I say this because, unless you are there when the SHTF, you wont make it. Fuel will run out with in a day and the roads will be clogged and impassable. A great example was recently India’s power grid failure which shutdown all modes (except foot and bike) of transportation….and that was a mere 8 hr shutdown. This gives those of us in urban/suburban locations a brief glimpse of total collapse without warning.

Rajesh Kumar Singh / The Associated Press

Ultimately this scenario will come down to how well humanity handles itself. Typically we see the best and the worst when the chips are down….lets hope the best prevails. Preparation for this requires years and a substantial investment. Lets hope we never reach this.

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Rule Number 1….Cardio.

One of my favorite movies is Zombieland. If you haven’t seen it, the main character has a series of rules for survival in the new zombie infested environment. His number one rule is ‘cardio’, basically the ability to out run the zombies. Though the movie is quite humorous, and pokes great fun at the zombie post apocalyptic world, it does have nuggets of good advice, this is one of them.

Being in good physical condition is essential on many levels, from maintaining good health and longevity, to being able to survive a disaster situation. What got me thinking about this was Issue #4 of Survivalist magazine which had an article by Jim Mahan titled “Fitness for When SHTF”. Jim goes through and lays out a suggested routine with numerous pictures on the techniques. The exercises are excellent, but something caught my eye and my gray matter had an ‘ah ha!’ moment. When we workout, go to the gym, what have you, we typically don our shorts, t-shirt, sneakers… basically our workout gear. Is this what we will wear when we are actually in a SHTF situation? Probably (hopefully) not. Additionally, when at the gym, we lift weights for strength, or use something more dynamic like a medicine ball or sand bag. This is all well and good in maintaining physical fitness, but is this what we will be carrying with us during the SHTF situation? Definitely not. Thus, we need to rethink how we strength train…or at the very least, insert some modifications…we need to train/workout like we will be in the SHTF situation.

Develop a workout that involves your gear and the clothes we are going to wear, at least once a week. This will get you used to moving with your gear. Instead of lifting a sand bag, lift a fully loaded BOB (Bug Out Bag). Instead of jogging with nothing more than maybe a water bottle, jog with your GHB (Get Home Bag), or walking/hiking with your BOB. Though most cannot workout with our PPT (Personal Protective Tool) in plain view of the public without causing panic, it can be simulated with something less threatening of similar weight. Pushups, squats, turn and lunge, etc. with gear on is a whole different bowl of wax. Why do these? Because when the SHTF you will not just be walking with gear on down a nice little path. You will have to move quickly, quietly, duck, roll, dive, get up, get back down, get through doorways, up stairs, move through heavy brush, cross water…the list goes on. You can develop all kinds of different scenarios to mix up the routine and keep it interesting. If you work in a suit/tie/dress environment, I assume you have a change of clothes in your GHB. Practice quickly transitioning from the nice clothes to the get home clothes quickly, maybe in a dark place of cover an concealment, then gear up and start the workout. It’s fun, and you quickly learn what you can do and what you need to work on.

Check out your route home or to your BOL (Bug Out Location). What obstacles if on foot with gear on will you have to traverse? This is your gym (or find a place similar). Also take a look at your gear…do you stick out like a tacticool sore thumb if you have to go through high populated areas? Maybe get a cover for your bag so it looks a little less threatening. How comfortable is your gear while working out? Do parts get easily snagged? Make too much noise? Too heavy? Thinks fall off easily, or even come flying around and whack you in the head? These are all things you will only discover when going through a more adverse movement and environment other than just walking down the street or a path.

Practicing what we are actually going to do leads to survivability. Be smart and stay safe.

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West Nile and other mosquito vector borne diseases.

Recently Texas has been in the news due to an outbreak of West Nile virus in the Dallas area. Probably one of the most underutilized (perhaps under appreciated) government scientific agencies for biological work is the USGS. For mosquito borne diseases, USGS (with the CDC) has a great site called Disease Maps. These maps track the mosquito (arbo-vector) borne diseases West Nile Virus, St Loius Encephalitis, Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis, LaCrosse Encephalitis, Powassan Virus (tick borne), and Dengue Fever in the US via several factors. Not just human cases, but also animal, mosquito (caught in flight traps) and sentinel sites ( usually a chicken in a cage in a high mosquito area near human populations). The maps are broken down by state and then county. This gives a rather good picture to see if a certain disease is in your area and the level of protection one should consider (certainly ticks, parasites, etc. should always be a consideration when outside).
Below is a map of Florida showing the sentinel site detection for West Nile Virus in the different counties. Though several sentinel sites have detected the virus, the only human cases have been in Duval county. Conversely, in Texas, the sentinel sites have been quiet, but human cases quite high. This shows that one should check all aspects (human, sentinel, mosquito, etc.) to get a clear picture. The discrepancy may be due to several factors (not a large enough trap/sentinel site network, human error, etc.). Knowledge is power, checking as many different sources/means as possible tends to yield a more clear picture.


Take appropriate measures to ensure you are well protected while out and about. More on arboviruses go to the CDC Arbo website.
Let’s be careful out there!

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Hurricane Season….a bit early.

Today marks the beginning of Hurricane Preparedness Week. It is quite timely since, presently, ~165 miles east of me is STS Beryl, the second named storm of the season (which doesn’t really start until June 1). The supplies kit and preps listed on the NHC site is really the bare minimum but a start.

This week marks a good time to check your existing preps, or if new at the whole thing, it’s time to start.

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Helpful food safety tips during and after disasters.

From the <a href=”http://paper.li/AllHandsDotNet/em”>AllHandsDotNet daily</a> (very informative!) came a great little nugget.

Great page on the USDA website about food safety during and after a disaster. I especially like the information for after a flood on which foods can and cannot be eaten as well as how to salvage food you have after a flood.

Q. Flood waters covered our food stored on shelves and in cabinets. What can I keep and what should I throw out?
A. Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.

  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
  • Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.

Steps to Salvage All-Metal Cans and Retort Pouches
Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you do the following:

  • Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
  • Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
  • Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
  • Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.
  • Then, sanitize them by immersion in one of the two following ways:
    • Place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes, or
    • Place in a freshly made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available) for 15 minutes.
  • Air-dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.
  • If the labels were removable, then re-label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date (if available), with a marker.
  • Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible, thereafter.
  • Any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all-metal containers must be diluted with clean, drinking water.
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Review…Crovel Extreme vs Glock E-tool vs Cold Steel SF Shovel

This is sort of an apples to oranges to pears review. They are all related via the base design, which is the old US military entrenching tool. Each has similarities in that they have a shovel/digging capability, then things diverge wildly in some cases.

Set up…I was looking for a tool that would be easily carried on my get home bag (GHB) and/or bugout bag (BOB). Now remember…as with anything in any review, what works for me (or not) may or may not work for you.

Crovel Extreme (Link)
Cost: ~$109 (without case)
Weight: +5.5lbs
This is a very interestingly designed item. Basically an e-tool with a crowbar/hammer on the handle end. This is a solid, heavy duty tool, solid construction with a few extra features. Handle is hollow inside for storage of small items, but this does not compromise the sturdiness of the tool. Handle is also wrapped with paracord (nice touch but mine came unraveled after splitting wood). Locking nut is very solid with no chance of slippage out of locked ‘pick axe’ or shovel head position. Shovel head has serrations on one side for sawing and semi sharpened edge on the other for splitting (not sharp enough to cut wood against grain) plus a bottle cap remover. All main metal parts have a heavy duty powder coating on them. Obviously the designers wanted people to have a shovel, axe, saw, pick axe, crowbar, hammer all in one. Let’s see how it performed on each of these tasks…

Digging/Pickaxe:This is by far the Crovel’s strong suit. Due to it’s sturdiness, weight and heavy duty locking nut, the Crovel beats the other 2 hands down. The crowbar/hammer handle end allowed for extra grip and leverage. The only design change here would be a more pointed shovel head…crucial for getting through the tough shallow root system that exists in the swamp. One drawback was sometime the crowbar head would bite into my forearm if I was gripping the handle instead of the crowbar end while in pickaxe mode.

Crowbar/hammer:Though a neat idea this part gave me problems. Due to the position of the crowbar/hammer, I was very limited on the amount of swing I could use due to the shovel head either getting in the way or biting my forearm (see pics). Also due to the angle of the crowbar head, insertion between a door and door jam was very limited. Zero angle would help somewhat, though the shovel head might get in the way regardless.

Shovel head position limits ability to insert crowbar head between door/doorjam interface.

Regardless of pivot position shovel head makes contact

Saw/chopping: The saw blade side of the shovel head is rather inefficient since the teeth are triangular and not off set. A substantial amount of effort was required. As to being used as a weapon…this would be the side to apply….due to the weight of the tool..probably the most deadly of the 3. The Crovel plain side is beveled, but not enough for chopping. It can be used for splitting seasoned wood…it’s heavy weight allows it to be top in this aspect.

At over 5.5 pounds, it simply is too heavy to add to a GHB. BOB…perhaps if one excludes other tools, but that weight coupled with full weapon/ammo compliment is too much extra. The challenge would be it would need to be attached near the torso since heavy weights should be mid/center and as close to body as possible when packing. Problems with the crowbar/hammer head utilization, make this aspect of the tool rather limited. The threaded shaft area the locking lug rides on quickly began to rust and will require a thin coat of grease to prevent future problems (minor issue). Though I like the concept of the Crovel it’s use beyond a shovel (or last ditch weapon) is limited in my mind.

Glock E-tool (Link)
Cost: ~$34 (with case)
Weight: 2 lbs
The Glock e-tool is a simple design digging tool with a small added feature of a saw blade inside the handle. This is the most compact out of the 3.

Tool in it’s most compact form. Adjacent pic shows the saw.

Digging/Pickaxe: The pointed nature of the blade help for digging and pickaxe. Handle telescopes out and is locked in place by rotating counterclockwise. Shovel head is fixed in position by a tightening nut that maybe could be a bit larger. The lightweight did transfer ‘shock’ from striking roots back to the handlers arm/wrist.
Saw/cutting: The saw blade attachment does the job well on small limbs and roots. Also would make an excellent bone saw for quartering large game. This tool has no chopping/splitting function.

Lightweight/lack of mass require more energy for digging, etc.. Not intended as a weapon. This is the most lightweight of the tools, thus additional tools such as an axe and crowbar will also be needed to be carried. Case is a bit weak and may wear out quickly (I’ll update if it does). Since this tool has a few parts that separate…there is the possibility that they could be lost. This will mot render the shovel aspect inoperable, but obviously the saw would be.

Cold Steel SF Shovel (Link)
Cost: ~$26 (without case…+$10)
Weight: 1.66 lbs
This is the simplest of all the designs, based on the WW2 style. Straight solid wood handle with steel head. The entire edge of the shovel head is VERY sharp. Why the cover is sold separately makes zero sense to me..it is a must have item.

Digging:No problem here…goes through roots and dirt rather well. Handle is easy to grip and sturdy (except when wet..wrap some duct tape for better grip).

Chopping/Splitting wood:The best out of the 3….roots with 1 swing. Very sharp blade, branches 3 inches thick were not a problem. Splitting it was second to the Crovel due to lack of mass only.

Conclusion:Can be used for digging, chopping, zombie head removal…no pickaxe option. Blade is sharp and MUST have a case. Between the Crovel and Glock tool in size. Though listed as lighter than the Glock, it felt a bit heavier/solid. Edge did show some light rust, thus a thin coat of grease will need to be applied. Cold Steel also shows how the shovel can be thrown and impale targets…I’m not a big fan of throwing tools, knives, axes, etc..the penetration done is usually less than incapacitating. If you miss, your intended target now has your tool/weapon.

So which to carry?
-I was excited about the Crovel, but disappointed with the results due to the design issues I mentioned and the weight. It’s cost (5 times more than next reviewed), perhaps caused me to be a bit more critical, but I believe this is warranted of any high priced item.

-The Glock tool certainly being the lightest/most compact is the easiest to carry, but it’s rather non-solid feel gives me pause. I plan on putting it through a similar abuse the SF tool went through…if it holds up it will get the nod…I will update.

-The Cold Steel, I worked the heck out of it to see at what point the wooden handle would break (hammer, prybar..and yes, I did the throw thing…it did break (10th throw….Cold Steel sells replacements), but I would probably not use it in such a way. At the moment it is my top pick (with case). Yes, you can throw it and it sticks into targets…neato!..not practical unless it is the last thing you have and you want to make your enemy bleed before you expire.

Posted in e-tool shovel survival review, preppers | 5 Comments

Survival Seeds…an experiment.

So I thought I would start an experiment back in September. 
Garden is a 4’x8′ section plus a small planter (1.5’x3′). Rainfall was below normal and the dry season has begun, but watering did occur when needed until 5 wks ago when fresh water became scarce.
It was rather simple scenario:
 I’m Joe 6-pack, and I purchased these survival seeds just in case. I don’t have much gardening experience. I have put aside some supplies, food, water, etc.. Collapse occurs, but I decide to bug in (suburban area) since most roads are blocked and fuel quickly ran out. It’s me, my wife and 2 children (8 and 10). About half the neighborhood stays. Most decide to be responsible for their own food. I quickly put seeds in the ground or in seedling pots that should grow this time of year in Florida. After the seeds are planted, day to day survival takes precedence, I pay little attention to the garden due to other demands such as security, fresh water (I’m surrounded by mostly salt/brackish), sanitation issues and a death in the family. Now it is December, canned food is running low and I’m out of vegetables. Going out and foraging has become increasingly difficult as a few roving groups that have been robbing/violently looting and a population surge into the area due to a nearby metro area where govt food supply lines collapsed. Disease has also broken out such as cholera, dysentery and rumors of malaria. I turn attention back to my garden….
So how did Joe 6-pack’s garden do with very little attention paid to it? For all intents and purposes it was a failure. Very few seeds germinated, plus the garden suffered from animal, insect and disease incursions. Overall success rate was about 7% with enough total food for 2 days. Joe didn’t know to stagger plantings, and now realizes that he should already have a crop of something else going. Not watching, his son used the planting guide as kindling to get a cooking fire going back in November. 
  I see this as a very standard scenario that most living in a southern coastal area will experience in an case of complete collapse and mentality of more individual/family than larger group cooperation (see previous post). This also plays into the discussion of year round garden production, harvest and storage, as well as seed viability and success with different levels of attention paid. These are all concerns preppers need to keep in mind when making a plan.
 I found it rather interesting though was the seed germination failure rate. Carrots and leafy greens did well, but the rows were heavily damaged/scattered by animal incursion early on (lack of fencing). 
Beets, radishes and onions did not grow well or at all, and were extremely small and ‘weak’ for how long they have been planted. (lack of fertilizer and suitable planting area).
Cucumbers germinated well, but were quickly destroyed by insects. All that is left are 2 small plants. (lack of fertilizer insecticide).
Fertilizer, insecticide, fungicide and good location are needed as well as dedication to the garden. This is an additional prep item(s)/plans many skip over. I am going to run the experiment again with a bit more of a prepared scenario, and heavier attention paid to the garden. Going into winter should be a bit more challenging, but at the same time…disasters don’t occur when convenient. At the end of the second run if I see similar germination failures I will list the product name so people may avoid  wasting their money. 
Posted in garden survival seeds | 3 Comments