Thursday, December 29, 2011

Be Prepared: Dakota Fire Pit

In the Boy Scouts we learned various fire building techniques including how to build a Dakota Fire Pit.  If you do not know, a Dakota Fire Pit is a below ground pit with a separate air tunnel that feeds the pit fire with oxygen.  This technique gives you an efficient burning fire that requires less wood to produce cooking coals than normal above ground fires.  In addition, since the fire burns more efficiently there is less smoke which means less chance of being detected by others if you are bugging out or just outdoors at your retreat.

Below are a few photos and a video of the Dakota Fire Pit in action.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Dakota Fire Pit Location

Main pit hole dug

Used a stake and piece of concrete to drill air tunnel

View of air tunnel in main pit

Dakota Fire Pit completed

Fire nicely burning

View of fire from air tunnel side                    


Saturday, November 26, 2011

DIY Car Repairs

As you all know, times are tough for everyone and one of the most costly expense for most people are car repairs.  In the past month I learned a few things that saved me at least $1,000 in car repairs.  Learning to repair a car can be a vital skill if there ever is a long term disaster.  Of course having access to car parts would be another story.   Stocking up on certain car parts may be something you should consider after you have a sufficient supply of food, water and other vital supplies.

Having the knowledge and skills to repair a car can be very valuable.  Many of the people I know don't have a clue on how to even change their oil let alone make an out of the ordinary repair.  I confess that I don't know much about car repairs but that changed fairly quickly this month.  In the past the information has not been available to the average person but the internet has enabled us to learn about anything. 

So for my first problem: the heater for my wife's SUV (2005 Mercury Mountaineer) was broken all summer so when it started to get colder I had to fix the heater or be in the dog house!  So I went searching on the internet and found out how to repair the heater and bought the $50 part.  Specifically, the Blend Door Actuator to switch to heat was broken and needed to be replaced.  From what I read on the internet it usually costs $600 to $700 to have the actuator replaced.  I just could not justify spending that much when the part only costs $50.  No wonder some mechanics have a bad reputation!  It took me 4 hours to replace the part but it was worth the savings.  The hardest part of the repair was maneuvering the actuator into position without the need to cut the dashboard or damage the new actuator.

The next problem for my wife's SUV was the alternator.  Not sure why, but the alternator in every car that I have ever owned needed to be replaced.  I wish they would do a better job at manufacturing the alternator since it has left me stranded away from home a few times.  At first I was a little nervous about replacing the alternator but after finding some good videos on the internet I went ahead and did the repair myself.  Again I could not justify paying a mechanic about $500-$600  when the part only costs $150.  The repair is very simple however I learned that whenever you replace the alternator you will need to replace or re-charge your car battery.  After replacing the alternator the SUV would not start and so I took my battery to the local parts store and had it re-charged.  Another thing I learned is that even after replacing the alternator and re-charging the battery the car would only start up in "limp" mode and the check engine light stayed on.  I thought I was going to have to take it to a mechanic but after visiting a few forums I learned that the car computer just needs to reset itself.  After a few hours the car started up just fine!

For those of you that always take your car to the mechanic (especially after your warranty expires) I recommend that you learn a few things about repairing your car.  It will save you money and if you take it to the next level and stock certain car parts you will at least be prepared to make minor repairs to your car such as replacing an alternator.

Below are some photos of my actuator replacement.  Sorry but I did not take any photos of the alternator replacement (I wish I did).

Be Prepared - Live the Motto!

View of front of dash and center console.

Photo of center console removed from vehicle.

View of inside with center console removed.

Lower dashboard removed.

New Blend Door Actuator - Cost $50.

Location of Actuator. It was a pain to replace!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Jersey's Firearms Laws - The Never-ending Saga of Firearms Ownership in New Jersey

This post doesn't particularly relate to preparedness but just wanted to let everyone know what crap us New Jersey gun owners go through.  See the below video.  I know I should just move to another state but can't move just yet!

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Emergency Home Birth - Be Prepared

In my last post I talked about death but what about birth in long term disaster situations or even emergency situations where a soon to be mother cannot get to a doctor or hospital.  Although more and more mothers are giving birth at home the majority of mothers still go to the hospital to give birth and if we ever had a large scale disaster many people would not know what to do if they could not get to the hospital. So how can one be properly prepared for an emergency home birth?  As with anything relating to survival, you must prepare in advance.  A good article I found is Giving Birth “In Place”: A Guide to Emergency Preparedness for Childbirth by Deanne Williams, CNM, MSN.  You can download the .pdf article here.  In this article you will learn about the basic supplies you will need and the actions that you should take to ensure the mother and baby make it through the birth. 

 Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Be Prepared: Disposal of Corpses during a WROL situation

As part of being prepared, one thing that is overlooked in our preparations is how to properly dispose of corpses, including your loved ones, in a disaster or WROL situation where you can't call a coroner or funeral home. 

In a disaster situation you must realize that your community will experience a higher level of death than normal, especially of the elderly and those who rely on medicine to fight certain diseases.  So what should you do when you have to dispose of the dead:

1) Before a disaster you should be prepared with the proper supplies such as body bags or heavy duty black plastic sheeting.  Shower curtains can work too.  Of course you should have rubber gloves, protective clothing, soap, disinfectant, and shovels.  You may want to also have lime to speed up decomposition and mask odor when the body is buried.

2) Be sure to know where all the cemeteries are located in your community.  If at all possible, you should only bury the dead in existing cemeteries.  By burying in existing cemeteries you can be fairly sure that they are not in the area of groundwater drinking sources.  However, there is no absolute guarantee that a cemetery is not in the path of drinking source. 

3) Before burying any dead, be sure they have been identified.  If you are unable to identify the dead, be sure to take a picture or describe the person in writing as best you can for future identification.

4) When burying the dead, whether at a cemetery or in your community, you should locate the grave at least 150 feet from the nearest groundwater drinking source.  The further away the better. You should try to bury the corpse 6 feet deep.  It may be difficult to dig a grave 6 feet deep with a shovel so at a minimum 4 feet should be sufficient.  You must be able to place at least 3 feet of soil on the corpse.  When burying the corpse be sure to wrap it in heavy duty plastic or a body bag.  Also, the corpse must be at least 5 feet above the water table.  So if you have a high water table, you may have to move your grave location to higher ground.

5) In a WROL situation, I would not consider cremation as an option unless absolutely necessary.  It takes over 600 pounds of firewood to cremate a body, the smoke will draw attention to you and your location and there are no health advantages over regular burial.  I guess the only reason you would need to cremate a body is if your area does not meet the requirements I listed above for burial.

Hopefully we will never be in a situation where we have to bury our own dead.  But we if do, you should know how to properly bury the dead.

See the below video from SouthernPrepper1 about burying the dead.  This is one of his scenario videos which have been helpful to me.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Earthquakes and Hurricanes - Be Prepared

If you don't know, I live in New Jersey and this last week we had two potential natural disasters occur in one week.  The first was an earthquake.  This was the first earthquake I ever experienced and it only lasted about 30 seconds.  I was in Philly on the 17th floor of my office building when it happened.  Others in my office almost went into a full blown panic because they didn't know what to do.  The next event was Hurricane Irene which really was only a Tropical Storm by the time it hit New Jersey.  I rarely which TV but I turned it on for the weather coverage and it was ridiculous.  The media isn't interested in even telling the truth about the weather.  It's all about ratings and drama.  It's obvious that they wanted this storm to cause great damage and death.

These two events clearly showed how unprepared people are in this country, at least in this area.  Most of these people did not even have flashlights and batteries, let alone any food.  Like vultures they stormed the supermarkets and emptied all store shelves.  Even a few of the gas stations ran out of gas.  This shows that these people never think of worst case scenarios.  They'll try to explain that they are positive thinkers and that thinking about worst case scenarios is negative thinking.  If they had some foresight there would have been no need to panic, go on a buying binge and hope they will survive. 

What would have happened if we had a real earthquake or a real hurricane in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast region of the U.S.?  What if our homes and all the homes of our friends and family were destroyed?  It would have been chaos because most of these people do not know how to live outside which us Eagle Scouts call "Camping"!

I hope that those who find my blog and are new to preparing now understand why we prepare.  Just watching the news this past week should have revealed how unprepared people are today.  On any day, there could be a disaster, a job loss or other event that could change your lifestyle and force you to  adjust in order to survive.

If you are not prepared, I hope you wake up and get prepared.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Potatoes and carrots - Be Prepared

Its been a while but I'm still here and still prepping.  Just harvested some carrots and potatoes from my garden.  Time may be running short, especially if the U.S. defaults. Are we seeing the start of a major collapse?  Not sure but the way congress spends and borrows money it will be inevitable. 

I hope you have stored some food and have enough seeds to grow food for you and your family. 

Check out some of my harvest below.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Just harvested potatoes and one of my carrots

Potatoes and carrot cleaned and washed

What's up Doc!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Prepared for a Flood?

I just saw this article on the Drudgereport.  I'm sure their neighbors were wondering what the hell they were doing when they first hauled in the dirt.  They're probably now thinking, "I wish I would of took my neighbors advice!" 

Don't let yourself be caught unprepared!

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Preparedness Bag (Bug Out Bag)

Some of my first posts to this blog were about what you should have in your Preparedness or Bug-Out Bag for those traveling to and from work, especially those who take the train to work.  See my previous posts here, here and here.  However, I never showed the actual bag I use.  Originally I had a gym type bag to carry all my stuff but it was a cheap bag,  a pain to carry and heavy. 

I recently bought a laptop backpack made by Wenger Swiss Gear.  I bought my bag at Target.  I decided to buy this type of bag because it has many pockets, carrying all my gear is easier on my shoulders, and it looks cool.  To avoid the attention of being singled out as a survivalist by co-workers or others on the street, this type of bag is good to have since it is common and it just makes you look like a IT computer guy.  Having a hiking backpack or military style ALICE pack would be asking for attention. 

If you do not have a Preparedness Bag, even if you drive to work, you are not prepared. 

Below are some photos of my previous and current Preparedness Bags.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Old Preparedness Bag
New Preparedness Bag
New Preparedness Bag

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Eating Neighborhood Wildlife (Neighborhood Hunting)

It's been a while since I last posted but I'm still preparing.

I don't know how but my dog bagged him a rabbit.  He came out of his dog house with his head high and a full grown rabbit in his mouth.  I was kind of proud!

Well after seeing this, that got me interested in considering our neighborhood animals as food.  In my neighborhood the most common wildlife are squirrels, rabbits, deer and wild turkey.  These animals are fairly abundant in my neighborhood at this time but if a disaster took placed that lasted for several months most of these animals will be gone very quickly.   It would be almost a luxury to have these animals for dinner if supermarkets are no longer there.  For those who are not hunters you may not realize what is necessary to put these animals onto your plate.  There is more to it than just putting a bullet or arrow into the animal.  We are so accustomed to just picking up already skinned, gutted and butchered meat, that we forget or do not realize that there are preparations that must be done before eating these animals.  Knowing how to properly skin, gut and butcher these animals can give you alternative food options such as raising rabbits.  Below are some videos I found that show what needs to be done to prepare a squirrel, rabbit, deer and turkey for dinner.  If you can't stomach it, don't look at the videos.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Construct a Raised Bed with Wooden Pallets

I have been preparing my garden for seeding and this year I'm going to use raised beds.  I was about to buy some lumber but I decided I should be able to somehow use the wooden pallets I have collected to create the raised beds.  After searching the internet I borrowed an idea from the Organigasmic YouTube channel.

Below are some photos of how I constructed my raised bed.  The bed is 3 feet wide x 8 feet long.  I used leftover fencing to hold all the pieces together and some screws.  I used 3 pallets to complete the bed.

This particular bed will be for carrots.  Last year those damn rabbits and gophers nibbled on my carrots.  Hopefully, the raised bed will slow them down.  LOL.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Plain old pallet

Cutting of the pallet

3 foot end wall for raised bed

8 foot side wall for raised bed

First side wall installed

Second side wall installed

Completed raised bed

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Neighborhood Defense

Continuing from my previous post, after combining your neighborhood's resources when the SHTF you will ultimately have to defend those resources from looters and gangs.  Unfortunately most neighborhoods, including mine, will not have the best security since most of our neighbors did not think to prepare for a world without rule of law.  As seen in my previous post, the most vital survival resources (farms) of my neighborhood are located in the southeast section but the majority of the families live in the north section of the neighborhood.  I would say that the whole neighborhood is approximately 370 acres.  To defend this amount of property you must have several surveillance positions and patrols since most of the neighborhood is covered in tall pine trees and it would be hard to see the looters and gangs coming. 

Once you agree to cooperate with others in your neighborhood to combine and defend its resources, you may be the only one in your neighborhood with the mindset and knowledge to properly educate your neighbors on how to survive and defend the neighborhood.  You also may be the only person in the neighborhood that has enough weapons and ammunition to supply to your neighbors.  The leaders of your neighborhood before the SHTF most likely will not know what to do in a situation where they do not have police to enforce rule of law.  I highly recommend that you prepare for this type of situation even if you believe it may not happen in your lifetime.  Who would of thought Egypt and Tunisia would fall into turmoil so quickly?  Hopefully it will never happen here but being prepared for it is much better for your survival. 

To prepare to defend your neighborhood you will need to learn basic defense and offensive tactics.  For those who were never in the military, like myself, it may be difficult to practice and properly learn these tactics.  However, one option would to join a paintball or airsoft team or have a group of friends paintball fight each other.  Paintball is popular in my area and in fact there are 2 paintball fields just in my township.  It's not the same but you can learn the basic concepts and maneuvers which will enable you to teach your neighbors who will patrol the neighborhood with you. 

There's a lot of information on the internet where you can learn about basic military tactics.  Below are a few videos by SouthernPrepper1 that gives a good basic introduction on how to engage an enemy while on patrol.  I recommend that you learn as much as you can about various military tactics, learn your neighborhood's terrain and the best way to defend it.  If there is ever a time when the SHTF you will be prepared to defend not only yourself and your family but your whole neighborhood.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Neighborhood Survival

As you may know, Egypt is in turmoil and rioting, looting and killing has been occurring for several days.  Those living in the worst areas in Egypt are facing the SHTF and there are no police to be found to protect property and arrest criminals.  Because the police went home some of the people in the neighborhoods in Cairo formed groups to protect themselves and their property. 

That got me thinking about my neighborhood and if we were to cooperate with each other could we survive for an indefinite period of time without police and the luxuries of life like a supermarket.  My small neighborhood, about 100 families, is semi-rural (for New Jersey anyway) and if we were to cooperate in a SHTF situation I believe we could survive.   The neighborhood could easily be isolated and entry by vehicle could be made impossible.  The only issues would be patrolling the surrounding woods and having enough food to make it to the next harvest.  Another issue is, do I really want to cooperate myself which would most likely result in my neighbors knowing that I have more than enough food to survive to the next harvest for me and my family. The most likely conclusion is that I would need to cooperate with my neighbors if a real threat such as gangs of looters were to come into the neighborhood. 

In any case, the neighborhood has several 10+ acre farms, two 18+ acres of forest (mostly pine trees, not the best firewood but good enough) that are partially township owned and privately owned, a small chicken farm and a vineyard.  Some of my neighbors also raise some goats and others have horses. All homes have septic tanks and have both well and public water so sanitation and access to water, even if the power is out, should not be an issue. 

I have met some of my neighbors and most are sheeple and do not have any survival sense.  I've met one of the farmers directly behind my property and they seem to have a survival sense like most farmers do.  So if the SHTF I think we could survive for a while because of the resources in the neighborhood.

Below are aerial photos of my neighborhood.  I recommend that you get to know your neighbors and what resources may be available in your neighborhood in order to be prepared for the SHTF.  A lot of us are individualistic types but in certain situations and areas of the country (like New Jersey), you may need to cooperate with your neighbors to survive.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!

Overall View of My Neighborhood
Farms located in the neighborhood including vineyard.  

Two 18+ acre forest for firewood

Small Chicken Farm

Neighbor with a few horses. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Firearms Website

To Idaho Bob and my other readers.  Thanks for checking on me.  I haven't posted for a month since I am developing a new website that I think would be helpful for new gun owners as well as experienced gun owners.  It's taking me longer than I thought it would to develop the website and the more I develop it, the more ideas I have for the site.  The website will be called Firearms University or F.U. for short :-) It will be sort of an online education website for firearms where you can view gun videos (i.e., Courses) in a more organized fashion.  Hopefully for a new gun owner it will be easier for him/her to find the information and videos they need quickly. I have come to learn that finding good gun videos is sometimes difficult because some people who post videos don't use good keywords or tags and therefore, you have to use different and uncommon keywords to find videos.  Each course will have a set of videos to be viewed, a course manual, and a final exam which when passed you will be given some type of incentive such as product discounts to online/offline retailers.  I still have a lot of work to do and have to develop the exams and manuals for each course.

Just like a university it will be divided into several different colleges and schools.  The main school will be the New Firearms Owner Institute.  The other schools that I plan on "opening" will be Concealed & Open Carry College, Ammunition Reloading College, College of Gunsmithing, School of Competitive Shooting, Tactical College, Long Range Shooting Institute, and of course we will have a Survival & Preparedness College. The goal for each college/school will be to give the viewer/student a basic foundational education on the respective subject through the use of various videos and articles/manuals.

The website is not ready yet but I wanted to get some feedback from my readers to see if this is something that would be helpful and if they would visit on a regular basis.  The work in progress website is  Once the website is semi-completed, the website address will be

Take a look and click on some of the links.  It's a flash based website so it may load a little slower than normal.  As you will see on the site, there are several tabs at the top.  All the tabs, except the "Athletics" tab, are working.  Make sure you click on the "Courses at F.U." tab to get to the different schools/colleges.  The only working link is the link to the New Firearms Owner Institute.  Once you are at the New Firearms Owner Institute, you will see the different courses offered.  Not all of the courses are completely finished and I am having some issues with some of the video players.  YouTube recently changed their embedding code and the Embedr video player that I wanted to use for the site is not working right.  Nevertheless some of the videos are working so check them out.  FYI, some of the videos do contain profanity.  I will probably remove the videos with profanity since I do want this to be a professional site that anyone, including children, can visit to learn.  Also be sure to check out the Course Manual for the "Introduction of Firearms" course within the Firearms 101 module.  This is the only manual that has been completed.  The course manuals will link all the videos together to give the reader a multimedia learning experience and information resource. 

So let me know what you think, whether good or bad.  FYI, try not to use the Back button on your browser.  For each page I tried to include a link to return to the previous page.  Thanks.

Live the Motto - Be Prepared!