The Other Things

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The Boy Scout motto – Be Prepared – is probably considered evidence of terrorist (or at least extremist) inclinations in the USSA Today. I won’t even get into the parts about hiking in the woods, carrying knives and practicing “survival” strategies. In my day, we even had a merit badge for marksmanship with a gun.

But, weekend camping expeditions aside, how to be prepared in situ? In your home? For when the SHTF?

Guns (and ammo) are obviously good things to have. And every person who wants to be prepared for a possible fecal-flinging scenario ought to have them. So also food supplies and medicine. Check.

Then I got to thinking about related stuff that is arguably just as essential which some be prepared people may not have taken into consideration – but really ought to.

A heat source, for example.

Not just for cooking, either. What if  the SHTF in winter? If the utilities go down, and stay down, how will you keep from freezing? How will you keep the pipes in your house from bursting? Imagine three or four months, potentially, of freezing winter weather on your own. Some people heat with natural gas, propane or oil – the latter two of which, not being dependent upon a grid pipeline, can supply you for a few months if need be. I however prefer old school.

I prefer wood.

For one, it is free (provided you have some land – which you ought to, if you took steps to Be Prepared) and doesn’t require you to leave your place to obtain it – or even to deal with the outside world at all. For two, it is simple and (if you get a good wood stove/insert) extremely efficient. You might even look into something that’s very popular in my neck of the woods: An outdoor wood stove. It heats your home and your water, too. The other advantage to these puppies is you only have to feed them wood twice a day. They’ll slow-burn all night. And they run on other fuels, too – such as pellets. (See here for an example.)     

Provided you planned ahead and bought a least one top-drawer chain saw (I recommend Stihl) stored up a few spare chains and a sharpening tool for it, plus plenty of chain lube and treated gas (two five gallon jugs will last a long time) you’re covered – and won’t freeze or have to eat cold food.  Since we bugged out to the Deep Country, I have made it policy to cut and split wood at least one year in advance. So right now, I am working on wood for the winter of 2013-2014. I already have the winter of 2012/2013 covered.

You should, too.

Next, illumination. Lighting that’s independent of the grid.

Ordinary candles are ok (and cozy) for a normal, short-lived blackout. But what about a more severe scenario? Regular candles don’t last very long – or those that do (like those nice-smelling Yankee candles your wife probably likes) cost a fortune. Propane/gas lights (i.e., camping lights) are not a  good idea indoors. I bought a case of 100 hour (four days’ continuous use each) liquid paraffin, smokeless and ordorless emergency candles. Used prudently to provide a few hours of necessary light at night, a case of these should keep you out of the dark for six months or more. If you shop around, you shoud be able to find them for about $5 each – which is a deal compared with something like those $25 a piece Yankee candles. (See here for some more details about this.)

Next item, dihydrogen monoxide. You know… water. If the poo flies, you will need a steady source of safe water. In suburbia, where people are dependent on the grid, the water could be turned off – or worse, contaminated. This worry was among the many reasons why we fled to the country, where our water is in fact our water  – literally ours. It comes from underneath our land, from our private well. So long as we have power to operate the pump (for which we have a generator, which with a manageable amount of stored, treated fuel – say 20 gallons or so – will run the pump as necessary for six months or longer) we will have reliable – and known safe – water. Storing a few gallons  for Just in Case is fine, short term but if you haven’t got the ability to provide you and your family with safe drinking (and cooking; freeze dried food is not much good without it) water for several months, you ought to be thinking about how to do that.

Sooner rather than later.

Finally, cheap preps. It’s fine to talk about buying large cans of freeze-dried food or cases of MREs – if you can afford to spend a couple grand on that. Not everyone can. But quick oats are cheap; pasta, too. You can buy large quantities for almost nothing (example, I just added another “two pack” of Quaker Oats – 4.5 pounds each, 9 pounds total – enough to keep your belly full for 10 days or more – for less than $10).

For a protein supply, think about chickens. Live ones. A small flock of 15 or so birds will give you 6-10 fresh eggs a day on average. Do not eat the birds themselves until they  are no longer productive (about two years). If you have land enough for them to forage, they are nearly self-sustaining. (You’ll need to buy feed for winter, or at least, feed them something). But they are very inexpensive and easy to keep and will keep you supplied almost perpetually with  high-quality protein to supplement your stocks.

All this is surely far from perfect or all-inclusive. But it’s a good start – and that’s what being prepared is all about, ultimately.

Throw it in the Woods?

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  80 comments for “The Other Things

  1. clark
    March 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I came across another Katrina experience ‘diary’ over at Claire Wolfe’s blog which made me think of this article and your setup. Are you ready for an influx of refugees? I’m not:

    http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2008/08/lessons-learned-from-hurricanes-katrina.html

    Although the author of the ‘diary’ seems to want more centralized emergency control it seems to me the problems were from centralized control being exerted and would be made worse from more of it. Other than that it’s a very worthwhile read.

    On LRC, ‘The Other Things’ is under this sub-title:
    Are You Prepped for the Longer Term?
    I’ve been thinking about that lately, and the wood cutters,.. I am so not prepped for the longer term. A long short term, yes. Long term, no.

  2. Clik
    March 3, 2012 at 8:20 am

    The Foxfire books are a great resource for prepers and living off-grid in general. They cover just about everything with plenty of pictures and interviews with people who live the life.

  3. Chris
    February 29, 2012 at 8:40 am

    By the way Eric, many down here read your entries on LR , so yeah got to say much better to write on a live blog.

    I have many Kiwi mates who are watching what happens with the crap in Europe and expect the ( intelligent ? ) cretins in the Fed to deliberately collapse the US currency.

    So there are a fair few Aussies and Kiwis watching as well !

    • February 29, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Good to know, Chris – thanks!

  4. Pat M.
    February 29, 2012 at 4:21 am

    If you are getting a large propane tank like a 250 gallon, consider getting one with a liquid withdrawal valve on the bottom. That way, you can “drift” propane into unpressurized smaller cylinders, without a pump, but they will only fill about half way. I bought an adapter at Tractor Supply designed for the purpose for 1 lb. cylinders. I use a short propane fuel hose for up to 100 lb. cylinders. I have even rolled my 120 gallon tank 180 degrees on timbers to draw out liquid, but that’s more work. Wear gloves and eye protection. Liquid propane is very cold when released and under about 150 PSI in warm weather.

    • Boothe
      February 29, 2012 at 5:37 am

      Actually Pat, most of the larger tanks have a port on top where a “dip tube” can be installed. This reaches down to the bottom of the tank where liquid can be drawn off for filling smaller tanks. We had this set up on a 500 gallon tank where I used to work for filling our own forklift tanks. We also had a spring scale that we’d hang the tank from so we could see how many pounds of propane we’d put in. Your local propane dealer can often install this for you along with the appropriate fill hose and fitting.

  5. Glen
    February 29, 2012 at 12:55 am

    Even easier is to put on as much weight as possible now, while food is cheap. I have at least a couple months extra fat on me. Not only does it excel in portability, but keeps me warm in the event that there is no heat, not to mention improves my strength by taxing my muscles with greater load requirements.

  6. clark
    February 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    After reading this article and the comments, and seeing the photos, I keep telling myself, “I shall not envy… I shall not envy.”

    I have a question, if I had a generator with six month old gas in it, is there a reason I shouldn’t just dump out the gas and set the generator in a corner and forget about it?

    Also, thought I’d pass this on: I had one of those big Gerber folding knives found in most stores, I carried it in my pocket for a year, never banged on it and only used it three times to open some letters. One day I noticed something poking me as I brushed my hand across my leg. It was the tip of the folding knife sticking out from a newly torn hole.

    I pulled the knife out of my pocket and a big piece of the lock mechanism fell out and I almost cut myself. Yeah, Gerber will likely replace it if I take the time to send it back in, but what a hassle. And more importantly, is this common?

    Do any of you recommend a good folding knife for everyday carry?

    • dom
      February 28, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      If you are concerned about the gas just put it in your favorite beater car and purchase some fresh stuff for the generator. I’ve found Gerber stuff to suck. I like Buck and Leatherman. But I’ve had all of them break on me at one time or another. I carry a few knifes. One is a huge Buck, one is a mickey mouse QVC special (150 knifes for $100 bucks), one is on a Leatherman Wave, and another is a box cutter.

      • clark
        February 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm

        Actually, I was concerned about the generator, not the gas. Will the varnish or whatever from old gas linger (do I need to clean it out?) will a lack of gasoline affect the gaskets in the carb or elsewhere if it sits unused for a long time? I think it has a carb, it’s one of those new fancy generators, an EU2000i

        [I wonder if it will work with alcohol made from potatoes?]

        The guy I bought it from said to start it up every month, but that’s not working out. Here is a photo of Plan B.

        http://www.antiquesnavigator.com/ebay/images/2010/320500656105.jpg

        It’s an Atlanta Stove Works Midget No. 8
        I bought it at an estate sale, some might say it’s heavy but I think it’s lightweight.
        I can’t find much info about it online.
        I figure I’ll have to trade something with the local wood cutters to keep it fed. I imagine home cooking will appeal to them as a good trade.
        I don’t think I’ll be using it as much of a heat source though, it’s too small. Without a good supply of trees like you guys have I’ll probably wind up using kerosene wick heaters, Plan C? Hmm, is it hard to make K-1?

        Three is two, two is one, one is none.

        • dom
          February 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm

          On my generator I turn the gas supply off while the engine is running and let the unit stall out from lack of fuel. This ensures the float bowl is mostly empty and the fuel won’t ferment in there. I also add some dry gas and fuel stabilizer to the tank. Do you have a float bowl drain, or fuel cut off valve?

          • clark
            February 28, 2012 at 11:43 pm

            I’m not sure if it has a float bowl drain or cut off. I should be more familiar with it. …So many things.
            I didn’t want to put fuel stabilizer in it because I wanted to store it in the basement. Everybody keeps telling me not to store any type of fuel in the house. Maybe a carbs worth and a wee bit in the tank wouldn’t hurt? Whatchya think?

  7. Fred
    February 28, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    All this talk anout chainsaws… I used to co-own a timbering business. I spent all day every day around running chainsaws. One thing that I didn’t see mentioned here, that might be a good idea for all of you chainsaw operators is kevlar chainsaw chaps and steel-toed boots. Seriously, the last thing any of us would want in a SHTF scenario, is a serious or life-threatening injury. Chainsaws kick back all the time, and although I am sure that that has never happened to anyone here – all it takes is one time for you to either be very seriously hurt or killed by just one kickback incident. If a kickback would ever happen to you (and I hope it NEVER does) you would be glad that you were wearing kevlar chaps and steel-toed boots – so that your only injuries would be bruising. Otherwise just picture your leg torn partway through or all the way off, and then trying to get some medical help in a SHTF scenario! And the same goes for your eyes: make sure you wear safety glasses or better yet a full face shield anytime you operate a chainsaw.

    • February 28, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      Hey Fred,

      Excellent point!

      I’ve done something in that spirit – but admittedly “afro-engineered.” If I am working on a tree in a tangled area – lots of brush, not-great footing, etc. – I put on a pair of my armored motocross shin guards. These go from the knee to the ankle and are pretty tough; enough, I’d guess, to ward off a chain saw for that critical second or so… but maybe not – I’ve never had to find out!

      • Don
        February 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm

        He said “afro-engineered”. Now that’s funny.

        • methylamine
          February 29, 2012 at 4:57 am

          LOL I take offense! I may be white but I’m from South Africa!

          There’s nothing we can’t afro-engineer. You should see some of the creative fix-ups out in the veld of Africa :)

      • Scott
        March 1, 2012 at 1:52 am

        Not sure the moto-x armor is really going to help that much with a big saw. The way kevlar chaps work is by quickly clogging the chain with fiber. It’s not armor, it’s looks like cotton batting but it’s kevlar instead of cotton. The chain pulls the fibers into the drive and jams it. Hopefully your kickback brake works too.

        I run a Husky 2100XP with a 36 inch bar, they don’t make them anymore but I’ve been falling pretty big trees with it for 30 years. I had to put in a new top end a couple of years ago, costs me $300 in parts but that’s the only work I’ve ever done to it. I also have a little 12″ Stihl limbing saw I like, it has a very easy pull starter so you can use it while you’re roped up a tree.

        For power, I like a 15KW propane generator, a 10KW solar array and a battery backup. The batteries make the generator more efficient. My inverters charge the batteries during the day, when the sun goes down I run of batteries for about four hours until they hit 50%, then the generator comes on and runs any house loads while it recharges the batteries. As soon as they get back to 100% the generator shuts down and the whole thing repeats until sunrise. It’s more efficient than running w/o batteries since unused power from the generator would be wasted otherwise.

  8. February 28, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Ok, ok. Now if the self congratulatory back patting of those of us lucky (smart?) enough to live in rural areas is complete:
    A few points to consider. In 1930 about 55% of Americans lived in rural areas and about 25% earned their living from agriculture. Today, 75%+ live in urban areas and only 2% earn their living from agriculture….Does this suggest a weakness or a problem to the survivalist meme?
    There may be some quite comfortable with the idea of shooting down the starving hordes from behind a barricade of bodies 6 deep, I don’t find the idea attractive…:(

    Here I try to offer a bit of advice for those whom disaster would strand in the cities: http://freecanada.wordpress.com/survival-in-the-city/

    • February 28, 2012 at 10:27 am

      I hate the idea of any violent conflagration; I’d much prefer for people to be aware that bad things can happen and to prepare for them – peacefully.

      If you think about it, this lack of preparedeness is a general problem. Most people expect someone (something) else to do it for them. Their health, for example. Or their retirement. Or their children.

      Of course one can’t insulate oneself from every conceivable problem and misfortune is a reality. But to a very great extent, I think, most people could take care of themselves without imposing a burden on others or threatening them with violence. And I don’t mean in just a SHTF scenario. I mean in life, generally.

  9. Gadabout
    February 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    That thermal cooker that Gail mentioned is great. I bought one years ago for use in our motorhome. You fix your stew/potroast or whatever in the morning, cook it for 10 minutes and then put the pot in the cooker. When you stop for the night dinner is ready. I researched them and found that the Nissan, while more expensive, is the best one. I love it.

    I feel in current situations it’s prudent to buy the best you can because when the shtf there won’t be any going back. Like the Stihl.

  10. Harry
    February 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    The author talks of the grid going down and that wood heat is what you need. Then he proceeds to tell you about the outdoor boiler and shows the piping loop underground going from the boiler to the house. Guess what folks……. that like any other boiler, requires a circulator pump which needs electricity to run. This type of wood fired heating system would be the LAST I would consider because there still is an electric requirement. You’re best off with a conventional wood stove, free standing/fireplace insert for grid down situations.

    • February 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      True – good point.

      But many people in my area have back-up generators or solar/wind for the essentials (including the pump). For older people, or people who aren’t home all day (to feed a conventional woodstove), this option can make sense.

      Everyone has their own situation, so the pros and cons vary.

  11. shawn w
    February 24, 2012 at 5:40 am

    eric, have read your articles on lew rockwell, but this is my first time on your site. i like this, lively banter, good info and no media zombies. think i’ll be checking in often.

    • February 24, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Hey Shawn,

      Thanks – and, welcome!

  12. Gail
    February 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Mike sez: “Not only is it a very physically demanding, it is also scary as hell. You have to really concentrate on every cut or else you’re gonna lose a leg or worse.”

    Aw, geez louise, Mike, don’t tell me that. I have tons of wood around, much of it nice deadfall. I even have a woodstove fireplace insert. I also have a deathly fear of chainsaws. I can just see my 5’3″ self with a 20-inch monster; I’d be like a balloon with the air released, flying around in 40 directions at once, bouncing off tree trunks and screaming for my daddy.

    Why don’t they make a nice girly chainsaw with like a 8″ blade, maybe a pink housing and a muffler?

    Anyway, I think about learning to use a chainsaw once in awhile and I go, oh, maybe next year.

    Now then, prepper stuff that I can contribute:

    If you’re serious about prepping, goto http://www.survivalblog.com. To my knowledge it is the *best* website on the subject. It is vastly enormous, will take you at least a weekend to get through all the material, but you’ll come away knowing more than you ever realized existed. I imagine even those of you who are into it already will learn something new.

    I currently have close to three months’ worth of food stored and a boatload of files in my Favorites for when the money becomes available. I do Eric’s oatmeal thing, although I’d rather let the zombines take me and have done with it than live off oatmeal; revolting stuff. Also stuff you’d expect, like canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, dry pasta, pouch stuff, tuna, sardines, pork ‘n beans, canned milk, soup, rice, good old Ramen. A lot of this stuff is often on BOGO sale (Buy One-Get One). I wouldn’t classify it as the most nutritious fare in the world, but if the SHTF nutrition isn’t going to be a high priority, anyway.

    Berkey is apparently THE water filter of choice. They also sell a little portable bottle called a Sport Berkey that you can carry with you and use in situ, if you’re stuck in the field.

    Also on my wish list is the Water Bob — a big plastic bag that fits in the tub that you can fill off the bathtub faucet, up to 100 gallons and siphon off as needed.

    Also on the subject of water, there are deep well hand water pumps that you can install in your well. There’s one called the FloJak; it’s not the only one, but go here to get an idea of what they’re about: http://www.flojac.com. It has a video showing what’s involved in the install. It doesn’t look complicated.

    Also, converting your downspout with a rain barrel.

    Even if you’re bugging in, you should think about equipping your car with a car bugout bag, in case you’re away from home when the SHTF abruptly. Go here for a comprehensive article that also has a video on the Sport Berkey: http://www.survivalnewsonline.com/2010/03/16/survival-plan-2-bugoutbag.

    Communications. The Emerson AM/FM Portable Instant Weather Radio: http://www.grandpappy.info/hradioem. A hand-crank radio like the Grundig FR200 emergency radio, available on Amazon. Survivalblog has a lot of stuff on communications prep.

    There are also hand-cranked LED flashlights and lanterns.

    High on my list is the Thermal Cooker. You put food in it, bring it to a boil and let it sit somewhere for a few hours and it cooks the contents, no electricity required.

    I also think an outdoor earth oven would be an excellent thing to have.

    Also a connibear trap for trapping small animals, especially squirrels. Somewhere I have an article on how to skin and slaughter a squirrel — something I just purely can’t wait to experience.

    Not.

    Some other chotchkes: 7″ hunting knife w/firestarter (Amazon). Butane lighters. Solar battery charger. Gill nets. Camp shower. Bucket toilet seat. Rocket stove. Sewing awl. Battery-op doorstop alarm (Amazon). Petzl battery-op headlamp (Amazon). Bucket wrench for removing lids from 5-gallon white plastic buckets (free from Walmart, wrench at Amazon). Preppers have a zillion uses for paracord. Club brake lock antitheft device.

    There is also a battery disconnect key that you all might know more about than I. It sounds neat, though.

    Advice: Don’t talk your prep around too much. The 99 percent who aren’t prepared will remember that conversation when the SHTF.

    One woman tells this story: Before she learned better she would talk up her family’s prep in an effort to wake people up. She finally came up with an answer to those who oh-so-jokingly responded with, “Well, we know where WE’RE going when the SHTF, ha-ha!” She said, “Sure. Just bring a month’s worth of food per person and a usable skill, and you’ll be welcome.”

    One final note for Tor regarding nickels. Don’t wait around. There are plans in train for downgrading that 150 percent nickel, probably toward the end of the year. Word is seeping out as we speak, so hoarding will commence soon.

    • February 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      “Why don’t they make a nice girly chainsaw with like a 8″ blade, maybe a pink housing and a muffler?”

      They do!

      You can buy small (and electric) saws. But they’re pretty worthless for other than light limbing. Forget about felling large diameter trees and cutting them up.

      You could go for something in between – not a 20-inch monster, but not something so little it’s inadequate. Go visit a Stihl dealer. This is one of the nice things about Stihl, incidentally. They don’t sell ‘em just anyplace. Only through authorized dealers. This means selection – and support. They will have a whole rack of saws to look at – and a knowledgeable person there to advise you. And if you need service, the place where you bought it will fix it, too. No sending it away to some god-knows-where place and god-only-knows when you’ll see it again.

    • mikehell
      February 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      Gail, sorry, I didn’t mean to cause alarm but chainsawing is not to be taken lightly. When you visit the dealer to check out a saw you will quickly know whether you have the arm strength to safely handle one. And I’ve been reading lit and watching videos on technique but in this case I don’t think you can beat personal instruction from an experienced saw man or woman. Maybe the dealer can recommend someone in your area. Good luck.

      • February 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm

        Yup – I just sent here a note (see below) along the same lines….

      • Gail
        February 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm

        Thank you both. I’ll follow up on your good advice very soon. Today, even. Or tomorrow.

        No later than next week. Or the summer.

    • Boothe
      February 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      Gail, I know a lot of folks are Stihl chainsaw fans (including my dad and Eric) and they are good saws. But another really reliable option to consider is the Echo brand. Here again, they are sold exclusively through a dealer network, but they are about as reliable as any small power eqipment comes.

      I have two Echo saws; a small trim saw (about 35cc) and a big (65cc) workhorse. They make the smaller saw with a rear mounted handle (vs. top mounted on the arborist’s version) more suitable for firewood on the ground (rather than aerial trim work). These saws (of course) have a top mounted safety brake that locks the blade in the event of a kickback. The other things I like about Echo equipment is that it starts very easily, the design is well thought out and maintenance is a snap.

      I have had both these saws for over 7 years, use them pretty heavily for a homeowner (we burn wood) and have had no repairs. I keep the air filters clean, the chains tightened and run Opti2 oil in the gas. My Echo trimmer is over 10 years old now, I often run a steel blade on it and I’m still on the original spark plug! One other thing; run a semi-chisel blade. They may cut a bit slower (you won’t be able to tell though)but are easier to sharpen and tend to stay sharp longer. Just some food for thought.

      • Gail
        February 23, 2012 at 8:57 pm

        Many thanks, Boothe. I’ve cut-and-pasted your post to my mailbox for future reference.

  13. kman
    February 23, 2012 at 12:19 am

    heat and light,,kerosene. Laterns, 3rd wold stoves (residing in my basement) and the good ol vertical kero wick heater.
    long term food,, rice and beans in 5 gal pails sealed in mylar with oxygen absorbers. short term food canned goods in SPADES. water to drink is a stack of bottled and that 400 gal hot tub ought to come in handy for something other than entertainment purposes. There may be enough gasoline on hand to move me and my stuff to a farm up north. There may be a cache of food fuel and weapons at an intermediate location and I’m pretty sure there enough firearms on hand to start and finish a small war.
    Oh yeah, there are some chickens and pigs at the northern farm complex.
    Got back packs camping gear and good boots in case I gotta hoof it.
    Any want to try it with a 20 yr army vet with combat tours?
    Molon Labe!

    • February 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

      I’ve thought about – and need to get going on – the bug-out gear. Even though we are already out in the country, already potentially self-sufficient (or mostly so), I know that they might come for us. Not the ordinary thugs; them I am prepared for. I mean the official kind. You can’t effectively stand your ground when they send a FEMA truck around to collect you. At which point it may be necessary to fall back into the woods and just Go Dark for a while.

  14. mikehell
    February 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Hey, funny you mention it Eric, but I’ve been learning how to use a chainsaw this week. When I was a kid my dad refused to let me use it and now I know why. Not only is it a very physically demanding, it is also scary as hell. You have to really concentrate on every cut or else you’re gonna lose a leg or worse. I have a new respect for professionals who use a chainsaw as part of their daily toolset. So if people are thinking about buying one, don’t put off learning how to use it until the day you need it. That shit is hard!

    The other funny coincidence here is that I was reading today about those wood boilers and how they can be used to heat a winter greenhouse. Something to consider if you have enough timber to fuel your home already and then some left over to heat a greenhouse.

    • February 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm

      Cutting wood is very Zen! (Dom will second this, I bet.)

      Some advice: When it’s time to buy your first saw, don’t give in to the temptation to go cheap. Buy a Stihl or at least a Husquvarna. I personally recommend Stihl. Husky makes a good saw, but the Stihl is better. It always starts, for one thing – and no saw I’ve had did that.

      I have a Farm Boss with a 20 inch blade. It’s a very steady, user-friendly saw that also does a lot of work. I cut serious wood – 4-5 cords at least every season. It handles that, no problem.

      Let’s kill some leaf shitters!

      • mikehell
        February 23, 2012 at 12:36 am

        Um, maybe i’ll get Zen about it eventually. But for now I’m just trying to learn how to stay safe.

        • February 23, 2012 at 11:11 am

          Safe is easy! The main thing is getting a good saw not prone to erratic power delivery/kickback. That plus common sense (read the manual, learn the basics) and practice constitutes everything you’ll need. Go out and cut ya some wood!

      • BrentP
        February 23, 2012 at 1:15 am

        As I have heard, the TSA was not amused by Echo’s commercial:

        • Tor Munkov
          February 23, 2012 at 1:36 am

          Nice. That’s another reason why I always travel by commercial rail.

          Except for National Railroad Passenger Corporation – AMTRACK – the 150 million miles of American rail are privately owned.

          Soon they’ll offer a vehicle loading system like the EuroTunnel-Le-Shuttle, and I can drive my private car onto an autocarrier railcar and be as free as Harriet Tubman was when she road the Civil War era Underground Railroad.

        • mithrandir
          February 23, 2012 at 3:01 am

          That commercial is funny. :D

          I do not know why TSA would not be pleased with the commercial. Are they disappointed that they are not named once in the commercial?

          • BrentP
            February 23, 2012 at 3:21 am

            I got the story third hand at best… so your guess is as good as mine ;)

      • dom
        February 23, 2012 at 1:54 am

        Don’t buy anything less than a Stihl Wood Boss! It’s around $400 and worth every cent. I’m a wood cutting mofo and would take the redneck challenge with anyone any day! LOL I love cutting wood. Put some ear plugs in, some knee pads on, the farmer johns, and your favorite beanie/hat, and the rest is rocking roll! I’m going to dig up some pictures now.

        dom

        dom

        dom

        dom

        dom

        • That One Guy
          February 25, 2012 at 3:37 am

          Funny what you guys back east think a tree is….

          Seriously though that looks like a hell of a lot of fun. Reminds me of when I was a kid and my dad had a place out on the Olympic Peninsula of WA. Nothing like watching a 200 foot Doug Fir come down. They bend like wet noodles from the drag on the boughs.

          Hope nobody from the Sierra Club is crying in their patchouli over all this….

          • dom
            February 25, 2012 at 3:52 am

            Yeah yeah yeah..

            Anything big enough and close enough to the house to take it out, I consider a honker!

            It’s a shitload of fun!

            • February 25, 2012 at 10:48 am

              Dom gnows firewood!

          • February 25, 2012 at 10:53 am

            Dom is a wood wild man! I cut a lot of wood, too – and it is a buncha fun. I especially like the splitting. It’s Zen and it’s great exercise, too. And unlike hitting the gym, you end your workout with something more to show for it than sweaty clothes!

            The only outside job I can’t stand is leaf raking. Which is one big reason why I like cutting down trees so much…

          • dom
            February 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm

            Only thing is we don’t have a powered splitter. I end up having to do it all by hand. Luckily though, our woodstove is pretty big and accommodates very large pieces of wood just fine. Get the fire going well enough in there and it will burn any size wood.

            • February 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm

              I have a 30-something ton splitter. I share it with two buddies. It made the cost-to-buy much more manageable and since none of us need it year-round, we each end up using it just as much as we would if we’d each bought one all by ourselves. Get one on its own little pull trailer and it’s a snap to swap it around.

          • ThatOneGuy
            February 25, 2012 at 9:04 pm

            Yes it is clear to see that you guys don’t eff around, that’s for sure. I just had to yank your chains a little bit.

            On the flip side, we just had one of our 30-year snowmageddons last month that shut half the state down for 3-4 days. It was all over the news for a week. We’re talking 6 inches of snow and a quarter inch of ice. And far less than that will do it. Folks who aren’t from here shake their heads and laugh.

            Ever seen those YouTube videos of car after car spinning 360s down the hill, bouncing off every parked car on the way down? Seattle drivers. They’ll abandon their cars in the middle of I-5.

            People in Seattle stop going to work if it gets below 30 degrees or over 90. But they’ll mow their lawns in the rain. Hard to get anything done around here at all if you don’t like the rain.

            I hear you on the leaves too. I get damn near every leaf from a huge poplar on one side and a willow that looks like it was around when Jesus lived on the other. Neither are on my property. Feel like sending the assholes a bill every year.

          • dom
            February 25, 2012 at 9:15 pm

            Cutting wood and raking leaves is a full time job around these here parts! lol If I had a neighbor with a nasty leaf shitter I’d slide over there in the middle of the night with a cordless drill, transmission funnel, and a gallon of diesel. Pop a hole in the base of that unit and give it an injection. My first couple year in this house I tried to keep up with the leaves. I did nine straight months of yard work, herniated a disc until I paralyzed/locked down the left side of my lower end and had to cool out. I’m back in business now, but just do yard work at my leisure. Spent the entire day building a shelf for the wife and about to head back on out to split some word. Never stops!

            • February 25, 2012 at 9:24 pm

              I feeeeeel your pain!

              It’s taken eight years of slaying leaf shitters – big bastards, four or five a year, just to get the leaf shitting under some control. But I still rake for a couple months every year.

          • dom
            February 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm

            Think I have about four more trees and I’ll be in good shape! We have enough woods around the house (thousands of acres) to have enough wood to keep this house warm forever too.

            • February 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm

              My problem is we’re on the ridge – and the wind blows like a sumbitch… I am talking steady 30 MPH gusts sometimes for several days straight. Blows the damn leaves all over. I can completely clear a radius extending 100 yards from the house, all around – and up comes the wind, back come the &^$@! leaves!

          • ThatOneGuy
            February 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm

            LEAF SHITTER!!!! I’m stealing that one.

            Out here it’s nice in the country because all the trees are evergreen, so the worst you have to do is sweep the cedar boughs off the roof once a year, and that’s if you even have any cedars around. They like wet feet and get crowded out on drier sites. I couldn’t imagine dealing with a woodlot full of those bastards you guys have….

            But the People’s Republic of Seattle has determined it needs a THIRTY-FIVE PERCENT tree canopy over the city and planted the whole place with deciduous trees. Now, picture a city where it rains 9 months out of the year covered with leaf shitters stuffing up all the storm drains. The watermelons who run this city are perplexed about the new urban flooding problem that cropped up suddenly.

            You’ll get a visit from SPD if someone spies you cutting a tree branch larger than 2″ without a permit, that’s no shit. Happened to my dad. I’ve gotta get out of here…..

            • February 25, 2012 at 9:40 pm

              “You’ll get a visit from SPD if someone spies you cutting a tree branch larger than 2″ without a permit, that’s no shit. Happened to my dad. I’ve gotta get out of here…..”

              I’ve been to Seattle; it’s pretty – but gawd… I could not stand to live under such conditions. As bad as things are, macro, here at Redneck Graceland in rural SW Va. on my 16 acres I can do pretty damn well what I please, including Ted Bundy’ing as many leaf shitters (you’re welcome!) as I can and shooting recalcitrant equipment with various firearms, too.

          • ThatOneGuy
            February 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm

            “shooting recalcitrant equipment with various firearms, too.”

            Wow, you guys want a roommate?

            Idaho is looking better and better to me every day but so far my efforts at uprooting the wife and moving her away from family have been futile. Working on a fledgeling business but I’m stuck serving clients in my own state. It’s hard to compete nationally when you have an albatross around your neck like our nearly ten percent sales tax.

            • February 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm

              I knew I’d struck gold when I met my wife. She loved the rural country, which I strategically took her to several times when we were dating. Not long after we got married, we lined up our ducks and made tracks – relocating from the Heart of Darkness (Northern Virginia, just outside DC – Dom can tell you…) to very rural SW Virginia, up in the Appalachians, and thanked the Motor Gods ever since for our good fortune. I’d still have preferred Idaho or Wyoming, but this is pretty damn good.

              I can’t imagine ever living amongst the Clovers again.

          • ThatOneGuy
            February 25, 2012 at 10:05 pm

            No I definitely need to create some separation between myself and the Clovers, that’s for sure.

            You struck gold for sure! I did too; my wife shoots guns and bow-and-arrow, cleans the fish I bring home, and camps like a hobo. Problem is, she loves her mom more than the country.

            Not that it’s a problem for me, only as far as it keeps me in Jim McDermott’s Congressional district. Perhaps I need to work on her mom too, although that can sure blow up in your face.

            Still an overbearing mother-in-law can’t be worse than the two Clovers who have tried to run me off the road in the past year for the crime of getting where I’m going faster than them.

            • February 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm

              One possibility you might look into to sway the wife:

              Your money goes a lot farther in the country; for the cost of the typical tract 2,800 sq. ft. suburban McHouse on its 1/4-1/2 acre lot in Northern Va. – or Seattle (probably more so) – you could buy an estate in the country. Acreage. A much nicer house – and (critically) no neighbors. Or at least, none right up on top of you, so if you don’t get along, it’s easy to just avoid one another.

              Point out the financial security aspects (as well as the physical security aspects).

              And if you have acreage, you can (maybe, if she’s agreeable) bring MIL with and build her a little place on your land…. We have this vision already partially completed: A neat little two-story “guesthouse” on the land that just needs finishing inside to be a very cool retirement home for either my parents or my wife’s parents, if the need should arise.

          • ThatOneGuy
            February 25, 2012 at 10:26 pm

            Sounds like a good tactic. She’s locked pretty strongly into the way she does things now, commuting, doesn’t want to leave her job, but there are always alternatives. Quality of life is everything. Just have to keep on, if you’ll pardon the pun, chopping the tree. She’ll come down eventually.

            Nice talkin’ to you guys today; I’m in the office on this rare sunny Saturday and better get something done so I can get out of here and enjoy the rest of the day out there in the analog world.

  15. Gail
    February 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Blake sez: “But seriously, anybody know the best resource for converting a gas generator to dual fuel use?”

    Go here:
    http://www.propanecarbs.com/dualfuelconversion.html

    http://www.perr.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=8344
    This is a Q&A in a small engine tech forum. One poster writes, “Forget about converting to electric start. The markup on the parts necessary makes that impractical. You would be much better off selling your generator and buying an electric start dual fuel model. To convert to propane or natural gas, check out the kits here: http://www.propane-generators.com. They are a bit pricey, but they work well. Just remember, if you convert to natural gas, you will have to de-rate your generator to about 80% of it’s current rating.”

    http://www.americanpowergroupinc.com

    http://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=86668
    A poster posted photos of the various stages of his conversion.

    Hope this helps.

    • Blake
      February 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks Gail

      Yes – Northern Tool used to sell dual fuel generators (their “house” brand with Honda engines), and with the newer models, they stopped offering the option.

      Propane seems ideal due to the long-term storage issues with gasoline. Also, in a “normal” power outage situation, a propane / natural gas generator would be much more convenient. Not sure about cost per kWh compared to $3.50 a gallon gasoline.

      I realize natural gas would not likely be available in a SHTF situation. Propane stored on site would be.

      Thanks again. And don’t feel too bad about driving the sterotypical geezermobile that I poked fun at the other day (if this is the same Gail that drives the Crown Vic);)

      • February 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm

        I’ve been leaning toward a diesel generator… in part because it ought to be simple or fairly simple to “brew your own” if need be. diesel/bio-diesel/WVO is likely to be easier to get (or make on your own) than gasoline, propane or CNG….

  16. Tor Munkov
    February 22, 2012 at 10:26 am

    That picture of Guy Fawkes masks makes me laugh so hard I can’t even read the rest of the article. Maybe if I reload and scroll up from the bottom.

    Very Dada-esque I think.

    Sadly, Haliburton will make trillions selling these to faux anarchist bureaucrats everywhere for £2 thousand each.

    The V is for Vendetta act or VI4V is an important acknowledgement of the right of every citizen to revolt on official Revolting Day.

    Let us all march in our dandy outfits down Martin Luther King Junior Senior Master Doctor Pawn Shop Liquor Store Gun Shop Incarceration Boutique Boulevard Avenue Street with our flags flying high.

    Remember Remember the 5th of November. The minor third 4th of July. Rat a tat on Honest Abe’s Hat. Hey Torries Here’s Mud in your eye.

    Happy Black Flag Day. Macy’s has a BOGO on black bandannas until the Green Clover 4H Leprechaun Season starts.

  17. Blake
    February 22, 2012 at 2:36 am

    So nobody is going to ridicule Eric’s obvious “paranoia” about TSHTF?

    FEMA has it all under control. Trust me, the news told me so.

    Eric – you’ve fallen far below the government’s minimum dependency threshold and should be considered a direct threat to national security.

    I didn’t see any “green” energy sources in your arsenal, so you are also guilty of conspiracy to melt the planet and kill the polar bears.

    But seriously, anybody know the best resource for converting a gas generator to dual fuel (gas/propane) use?

    Links are appreciated.

    Thanks

    • dom
      February 22, 2012 at 3:36 am

      I get daily updates from a job posting site called indeed.com. Anyhow, for the past few months FEMA has been hiring like CRAZY. Something is going down VERY soon!

      • methylamine
        February 22, 2012 at 4:26 am

        Do you think THAT will wake the clovers–FEMA camps, operating exactly like Auschwitz, Dachau, et al?

        Or will they be exactly as fucking stupid and blind as the Germans who denied the human ashes falling in their towns from the camps?

        • February 22, 2012 at 10:37 am

          Worse – some will become guards, others will drive the trucks. Most will pass on “information” to the local block fuhrer about the “terrorist inclinations” of their neighbors.

        • Dave
          February 28, 2012 at 10:31 am

          There were ashes, but they were from those THAT HAD ALREADY DIED of typhus or starvation & disposed of in the crematoriums-AFTER DEATH…
          There were no people thrown alive into the ovens, don’t be ridiculous.

          • clark
            February 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm

            Well of course, Dave, that’s why they had gas in the showers.

            It could all be propaganda, there is that. It’s difficult to determine lie from truth.

            At any rate, I don’t see where anyone said there were people thrown alive into the ovens. But it does make one wonder how they do things in the secret prisons scattered throughout the world today, being as how they’re secret, we’ll likely never know, unless we find out the hard way.

    • February 22, 2012 at 10:45 am

      Thanks, Blake – and you know you’re on their Christmas list, too, probably!

      On the dual-use: I have been looking into that myself. I’ll let you know what I can dig up. Meanwhile, I bet someone here is already ahead of us both.

      • Blake
        February 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm

        I’m sure I am. When I google myself, all I find is my linked in posting and my donation in 2007 to (gasp) Ron Paul.

        The one thing we on “the list” have going for ourselves is the utter incompetence of any and all government bureaucracies.

        The majority of the people actually believe that the government works as it’s shown working in almost all the movies and TV shows. You know – handsome men and attractive women kicking ass, taking names, and working together to get the “bad guys.” In reality, they are no better than armed DMV employees. In it for themselves, keeping critical information hidden from others so they can be the “star” and get the promotion, and general laziness and attitudes of entitlement.

        For God’s sake, if you actually believe the official story, a terrorist that could barely fly a plane at all flew a jumbo jet broadside into the pentagon. This is supposed to be the most secure building ON THE PLANET, and low IQ terrorists demolished it even AFTER our military already knew we were under attack.

        I’m digressing, but if THIS is what we have to fear, there is more than a mere ray of hope for us all.

        • Texas Chris
          February 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm

          If there’s one thing a bureacrat does well it’s kill people.

    • David Dirtscratcher
      February 28, 2012 at 5:22 am

      Try here for your gas to propane conversion kit:
      http://www.propane-generators.com/
      It’s been on my to-do list for a while, but not because I’m preppin’ or anything. Wouldn’t want any G-men to think I’ve “fallen far below the government’s minimum dependency threshold and should be considered a direct threat to national security.”

    • Damon
      February 28, 2012 at 5:51 am

      Blake, your post was hilarious! Thanks for the humor. As for converting generators to propane, I recently researched this. My mother lives alone in hurricane country and during a recent visit had me do some routine maintenance on her generator when I found that the fuel tank had cracked and won’t hold gas anymore.

      I called a dealer and they blamed it on ethanol in the gas. Oh by the way, the model and spare fuel tanks are discontinued (generator is 3 years old).

      I convinced my mom to convert it over to propane only, which is done by modifying the carburetor. All google searches point to one company, which I feel is reputable, though don’t have first hand experience yet: http://www.propane-generators.com/

      I had to leave before I could finish this “honey do” project because she lacked a specialized tool to remove the carb, but will get to it next time I visit her.

      I’m not even going to clown around with “dual fuel.” A propane-only conversion is cheaper and simpler. Propane has tons of advantages and gasoline sucks in scenarios where you’d need extended use of off-grid power.

      Gasoline is one of the first things to sell out in disasters.

      Gasoline has a limited shelf life, even when treated with stabilizer. Propane will last longer than you will.

      Propane is cheaper per BTU than gasoline. I just ran the numbers. I can get a 5 gallon BBQ grill tank filled for $12.50 (you need to shop hard to find this price but it can be done). At $12.50/5 gallons, you’re getting 36,600 BTUs/dollar at that price.

      Gasoline @ $3.75/gallon will yield 125,000 BTUs/gallon (33,300 BTUs/dollar).

      If you’re filling a larger tank – say a 100# tank or even bigger, I imagine you will pay even less for propane. Finally, with its endless shelf life, a thousand pounds of propane (if you can swing it) winds up being a very nice inflation hedge.

      • Damon
        February 28, 2012 at 5:54 am

        Darn, just realized several other people already posted the same stuff I did. Oh well…cheers!

      • February 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

        Thanks for this, Damon – gonna look into it this week!

      • drew
        February 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm

        Damon, after much research I found that a diesel gen-set was the best way to go, you get more bang for your gal of fuel, they are self lubricating diesel fuel(oil) and the fuel is much more stabil, you can work on it yourself, its quieter and provides full power at 1700rpm than the screamers at 3600rpm check out (hardy diesel/solar) I have the full set up completely off grid here have been for a coupla years

    • Tony
      February 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm
  18. akb
    February 22, 2012 at 12:04 am

    The Berkey gravity h2o purifiers can handle just about any sort as far as I know. We have one, the filters last a while, might be a nice option to have.

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