Remember when I said that everyone has their own ideas about what they need to prepare against? Well, to the list of usual suspects add Xenu.
Tom Cruise building bunker against alien attack?
Roosevelt (the cowboy Rough Rider one, not the New Deal-ing socialist one) said “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have”. Today we call ’em ‘MacGyverisms’. If you’re gonna be prepared, a ceratin amount of thinking on your feet and improvising is required. However, it also helps to have a few goodies stuffed in your pockets. Alton Brown, TV cooking geek extraordinaire, calls devices with multiple uses ‘multitaskers’. One of the coolest multitaskers around is the Ziploc freezer bag. Some of the uses Ive read about, others I actually practice…heres an incomplete list:

Camp pillow – half fill with air and stuff inside a shirt or jacket to create a pillow
Leak prevention – I use this one religiously. If you have a container of liquid that would cause problems if accidentally opened, put the container in a Ziploc baggie, evacuate the air, and seal. If the container leaks or breaks the bag will afford protection for the rest of the stuff in your gear. (This is especially true if you’re packing shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream and that sorta thing in your checked luggage.)
Document case – Maps or notes can be tucked into them and read through the plastic while keeping the paper dry and clean. Not a substitute for a real mapsafe but a good deal better than nothing.
Revolver protection – Some bigcity policewomen used to carry their revolvers in their purses. The guns were susceptible to getting all sorts of crud in them and not be reliable when needed. So, they would carry the pistols in plastic bags. When needed, fingers could easily be poked through the plastic and the guns could be fired through the bags.
‘Freezer bag cooking’ – theres a whole website on this and its worth looking at.
Protecting spare clothing – No secret, when you’re out in the boonies a pair of dry socks or a dry shirt can be a Very Big Deal. Stuffing your extra clothing into one of these things keeps it dry, in one place, and dirt free.
Organization – biggest plus is when its time to organize your gear. This is especially true for larger first aid kits. The bags lend themselves nicely to sorting things out…just grab the bag with the [whatever you need] and leave the rest. For example, keep your toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc in there.
Wet stuff – these things are the perfect solution to carrying wet bating suits, washcloths, etc. Just don’t forget about them in your gear or you’re in for a fungal surprise in a few days.
Ice Packs – Fill with ice. Duh.
IPod case – I use a tiny Ziploc to protect my iPod nano. Keeps my filthy hands from getting the thing dirty and the controls work fine through the plastic.
Bulk grain storage – Break down your fifty pound bag of wheat into a few dozen of the large gallon Ziplocs. Each bag can be frozen individually in the freezer for a few days to ensure that theres no live pests in it and if some pests survive they’ll only contaminate that one bag and not the entire supply of grain.
Theres no shortage of uses, Im just kinda hitting the highlights here….

A newer product is Ziploc bags designed for storing gear. These bags come in sizes large enough to hold sleeping bags and larger items. I keep one of the largest ones folded up as compactly as possible and enveloped in cardboard to protect it from damage. I carry it as a gear cover for really foul weather. For example, if Im at the range and it starts to rain I can slide the whole range bag into the bag to keep it dry and still have access to my shooting stuff. Those larger bags aren’t cheap but they are extremely handy. They are great for protecting things form casual wetness…I wouldn’t trust them for waterproof but Id trust ‘em for water resistant (such as keeping gear safe in rain and snow). They really shine for keeping gear protected in storage from dust, mildew, dirt and the like. Definitely good for blankets and sleeping bags.

Random stuff

Its getting to be downright cold in the mornings these days. I have to run the heat in the mornings, and the air conditioner in the afternoon. Montana has a very warped sense of humour when it comes to weather.

So, the Cold Weather Module goes back in my bag. Pulled the parkas out of storage and put them back in the closet. Next up is getting the kerosene heaters out of storage and making sure they’re ready for another season. The part of Montana I am in tends to be the warmest part, but it can still get cold sometimes. I think it was a year or two ago we had about two weeks of solid below zero weather. That can get to be just as annoying as weeks of 100+ degree weather.

Someday Im going to have a very thermally efficient house. Something with a foot of insulation and enough mass to hold temperature for days.
I’ve been playing with the new fuel cans I picked up and I am, so far, fairly pleased. All of them have spots of rust here and there but that’s mostly cosmetic. For giggles, Im going to try stripping one down, wire brushing it, degreasing it and then repainting it with some heavy duty Rustoleum or other such protective paint. My goal is to have about six of these things loaded up with long-term storage fuel. Unless, of course, I wind up getting a generator in which case I’ll need to keep a bit more onhand.
Saw Resident Evil: Extinction last week. First off, Milla Jovovich had a lot to make up for after the godawful ‘Ultraviolet’ that came out ayear or so ago. Zombie movies are fairly predictable and this one was no exception. I was more entertained by life-after-doomsday adaptations and behaviors by the survivors. An entertaining flick and I never get tired of watching Russian-born Milla running around sweaty and sexy.
The news seems to be nothing but dire commentary and predictions on the economy. Makes me glad that Im not carrying crushing amounts of debt, that I don’t have an adjustable rate mortgage, and that Im not in danger of losing my employment. (Although, to be fair, when you’re self employed you can become virtually unemployed if your sales drop to zero which is always a possibility.)

I remember reading somewhere that there are very few businesses that are recession-proof. I believe the list was food, medical, weapons, sex and fuel. As long as you were in one of those businesses you were pretty much guaranteed a customer base no matter what the situation. Im not sure I agree with it but certainly if you think of some of the most horrible hellholes on the planet right now, anyone in those businesses would still have customers.
I’ve been gradually adding to the stockpiles of food on the new shelving that was acquired a few weeks ago. When I’m grabbing a few groceries I’ll check the in-store sales flyers and see if theres anything on the list that fits into my (well, really ‘our’) needs. Bring it home, put it away on the selves, update the clipboard on the shelf and the spreadsheet on the computer, and then sleep well.

Discounting the ‘normal’ foods and sticking to just the MRE’s and freezedrieds, we’re looking at approx. 264 days of food on a 2-meal-/2000kal-a-day plan. Factor in things like stored rice, pasta and the normally rotated ‘everyday’ foodstuffs and we’re probably at the one year mark. Factor in inventory of unsold freezedrieds and its probably another three months. That’s a bit comforting.

It is, I think, worth pointing out that in addition to laying away foodstuffs theres also a large quantity of other items that get put away as well…toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning agents, soap, toothpaste, detergent, etc. These things aren’t necessarily put away against a time when they are unavailable, but rather because often a) it convenient to not have to worry about buying TP for a year at a time and b) when you buy in enormous bulk quantity you realize a pretty healthy savings. That savings, of course, helps offset the expense of other preparedness goodies. And when it comes to buying in bulk CostCo becomes a real nice place to spend your time.

If you bop around the various preparedness forums everyone goes on about pistol skills, knife fighting skills, etc. I think probably the most usefull skill anyone with an interest in being prepared could have would be ‘resource management’ or, for lack of a better term, ‘homemaking’. If you can draw up a buying list, draft a budget, stick to it, organize your purchases, rotate them as needed and show the discipline to bide your time for sales and closeouts then I think you’ll find that skillset seeing a lot more usage than your ability to shoot your Glock weakhanded. Not saying that gun thing isn’t necessary, just saying its probably going to be a lesser used skillset.

Guliani, next to purchase, winter

Rudy Gulliani is now trying to paint himself as a moderate supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Read it here.
Remember the old saying about how Musolini made the trains run on time? Well, Giuliani did bring NYC crime levels down but at the expense of civil liberties. However, many New Yorkers didn’t care that people were being denied rights as long as it made the streets safer. My point is that Giuliani is probably a better choice than Obama and Hillary but he is no friend of your gun rights. Make no mistake, people – there is NO candidate running right now (except possibly Ron Paul) who can be considered ‘gun friendly’.

No matter who gets elected, they will not be your friend on the issue of guns. They’ll re-authorize magazine bans, assault weapon bans, etc, etc.

You’ve got approx. six months left to buy the things you need before everyone else reads the handwriting on the wall and prices skyrocket.

Here’s your shopping list: 10/22 mags, Glock mags, SIG mags, CZ mags, ParaOrd mags, HK mags, AR mags and receivers, .50 BMG ammo, .50 BMG guns, 8# kegs of powder, 5k pc. Sleeves of primers, etc.

Personally, I’ve done all I can – I’ve given you guys good deals on AR receivers and AR mags but the rest is up to you.
So Im puttering around in the bunker and while I haven’t reached the perfect quantity on some things I have achieved a Very Comfortable Level on all of them. I don’t have as much ammo as Id like (hey, who does) but I have plenty for pretty much any situation…same for food. So once the guns and butter are done whats left? Well, sadly, the truly expensive stuff –
Backup power for the home
Reliable and durable dedicated vehicle
Secondary Location (i.e. A Chunk Of Nowhere)

Oh sure, I can always use another dozen Glock mags, another case of MRE’s, another package of Duracells, and that sort of thing…but realistically, Im OK on those things for now (actually, a bit beyond OK) so its time to focus on a few other necessities. Unfortunately, as I said, the cheap preps are pretty much done. All that’s left is the expensive ones.
I’m taking the fuel cans that I am keeping to the local carwash this weekend. I figure I’ll dump a few bucks in quarters into the machine, grab the wand and soap up and wash out the fuel cans in case theres any residue of anything ungasolinelike. Once that’s done, I’ll let them dry thoroughly, rinse them out again with some gas, and then fill ‘em up. After that I’ll wipe down the exteriors with some WD40 and put ‘em away for that Rainy Day.
Winter approacheth! The mornings and nights are getting cold so its going to be time to break out the uber awesome fabulous flectarn parka. Also time to put the Cold Weather module into my Everyday Bag. And, if the gods permit it, go hunting this season.

Fuel containers

Any post that starts off with “One of my vendors…” must be an interesting one.

One of my vendors has used Euro-style Jerry cans on sale. Also has used military (appear to be Brit military) water cans as well. The fuel cans are the usual European ‘Jerry can’ style…in fact, they’re German made so they really are Jerry. They take the clamp-on nozzles. These cans do not come with nozzles, although they are easily available from pretty much everywhere. Personally, I use a $2.00 longneck funnel for fueling. Anyway, condition is good used. Interiors are all fine. Exteriors have paint worn at the high spots with a touch of surface rust here and there. Mostly cosmetic. Nothing that compromises the integrity of the cans. Gaskets/seals appear great. Keep in mind that if you’re gonna store fuel in these things you’re s’posed to paint them red (for gas) or yellow (for diesel). They are currently a lovely shade of OD. Far as I’m concerned, they can stay OD….far more practical.

Water cans are in black or OD. Pour cap and vent cap are both equipped with keeper chains to keep ‘em from getting lost. Heavy duty plastic very much like the Scepter cans. Condition is good but there’s scuffing and scratches on the exterior. Five minutes with some ArmorAll and I’ll bet they’ll look great.

Obviously I wouldn’t sell either of these if there were any flaws with them that would keep them from performing their duties.

Sadly, because of their bulk and weight (16# fuel, 6# water) these are pretty much local sales only. I’ll ship ‘em if you want but they aint gonna be cheap to ship. Quantities are limited.

Fuel can: $25 or 2/$45
Water: $25/2 sold in pairs

So…any local LMI that want some of these, c’mon by during the day between noon-5pm and see if these are something you’re interested in.

And, of course……..