Preparedness Notes for Wednesday — June 24, 2020

June 24th the birthday of rifle-toting abolitionist pastor Henry Ward Beecher. (Born 1813, died March 8, 1887.) He and his adherents from his church smuggled so many Sharps rifles to Bleeding Kansas that the Sharps rifles picked up the nickname Beecher’s Bibles.

Wikipedia says of Beecher: “Several of his brothers and sisters became well-known educators and activists, most notably Harriet Beecher Stowe, who achieved worldwide fame with her abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

I wonder if the monument to Henry Ward Beecher will be the next target of the BLM iconoclasts. I suppose that someone should inform them of the man’s history.

SurvivalBlog readers who live on the west coast, take note of the prediction included in this video by amateur earthquake expert “Dutchsinse”: Another M7.4 Earthquake strikes Pacific – Mexico – Buildings sway cracks form in ground.

Reader M.S. in England wrote to mention: “Someone is taking your posts and is re-posting in French which is odd.”

JWR’s Réponse: Que diable! Incroyable!
Meanwhile, in China.? (Please pray that the flooding ends in China, and for the millions who are downriver of the Three Gorges Dam.)

Oral History: A Child of the Great Depression – Part 2

(Continued, from Part 1.)

The Principal of Dinuba High School, Walter Hellbaum, came up recruiting at UC Berkeley, because Howard Page, his Agriculture and ROTC teacher–who was another Army reserve officer–had been recalled to active duty.? Daddy was a good fit for a position at Dinuba High School because he was qualified to teach both Agriculture and ROTC classes. But then a more experienced Agriculture teacher came along, soon after. So my father ended up teaching Math, Science, Spanish, and he led the Junior ROTC program. Daddy moved our family to Dinuba in 1940. We first lived in a modest two bedroom rental house on Parkway, very close to Dinuba High School. The rent for that house was $27.50 month.

Dinuba is in a portion of the Central Valley with particularly rich soil, and a long, mild growing season. You can grow just about anything there. Both then, and now, there is a mix of row crops, vineyards (table grapes and wine grapes), nut orchards, and fruit orchards — including citrus. Other than some dangerously foggy driving conditions in the winter, the climate is just about ideal. It rarely got below freezing.

In addition to his other teaching duties, my father also directed high school plays. And he was in the Toastmasters Club, which had meetings in the nearby town of Reedley. He was a jokester and always the clown, at any gathering. Daddy was a man of many interests. For example, he liked to make furniture.

In the 1930s and 1940s, public school teachers were quite poorly paid. So, to support our family, he kept very busy, working on weekends and in the summer months when school was not in session. He worked as a salesman at a shoe store, as a checker at a local grocery store, and as a Spanish tutor. Each summer, he was also hired by the government to work at a migrant labor camp, to be a Spanish Interpreter for the Bracero Program.

Meanwhile, my father DeWitt was still an Army Reserve officer.? He kept current by attending Officer Reserve Corps (ORC) camps for two weeks, each summer, in southern California. Those camps, including travel and meals, were all at his own expense. Army promotions were very slow, in the 1930s. But they accelerated rapidly, when the war began. By 1941, he had been promoted to Captain, but soon after, he became a Major.Continue reading“Oral History: A Child of the Great Depression – Part 2”

JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. The focus is usually on emergency communications gear, bug out bag gear, books and movies–often with a tie-in to disaster preparedness, and links to “how to” self-sufficiency videos. There are also links to sources for both storage food and storage containers. You will also note an emphasis on history books and historical movies. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This week the focus is on the Branson-based family bluegrass band The Petersons. (See the Music section.)


The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals―and Other Forgotten Skills

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The Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942

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I’m looking forward the release of this book on December 1st: The MeatEater Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival. (It is already available for pre-ordering.)

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Off the Grid: Simple Solar Homesteading

Continue reading“JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:”

Oral History: A Child of the Great Depression – Part 1

JWR’s Introductory Comments: I transcribed and edited the following, from a series of interviews that I recently recorded with my mother, Barbara Marie (Creveling) Rawles. She is now 88 years old, and in failing health. But her memories are still vividly with her. She was born just as the world was entering the depths of the Great Depression. She grew up in a small farm town in California’s Central Valley. There, with a depressed economy, the coommunity’s hardships carried on through World War II.

I took the liberty of some paraphrasing and re-sequencing of a few passages, to keep them in chronological order. I believe that SurvivalBlog readers will find it useful, in formulating their own strategies for surviving the years to come. History doesn’t repeat, but it often rhymes.

I was born in Dallas, Texas, in October of 1931.

My mother, Julia Marie (Kinsella) Creveling was the oldest child of an Irish immigrant, William James Kinsella and his wife Ida (Holloway) Kinsella.? My grandfather’s family arrived from Ireland with little more than a few clothes.? My grandfather was fond of saying: “I came to America with two strong arms and $14.” But by the time his grandchildren reached adulthood, he had a fine house, with a carriage house, behind it. He eventually established his own hat manufacturing company.

Julia was born on August 20, 1905, in Dallas, Texas. She learned how to drive a car when she was 13 years old. Her father never learned how to drive. Growing up, one of her favorite activities was watching their hired cook, and helping her, in the kitchen. Unlike her mother, who never learned to cook, Julia became a good cook, and learned how to do canning, in glass jars. After attending Southern Methodist University, she taught school in Dallas until her marriage to DeWitt Creveling in June, 1930.

Following a year living in Mexico, my parents returned to Dallas, where my sister and I were born. In 1937 our family moved to California, eventually settling in the small farming town of Dinuba, in 1940. My father was a teacher at Dinuba High School until his death at age 46, in 1949. My brother, DeWitt, Jr., was then just five years old.

After my father died, my mother Julia was a fifth grade teacher at Lincoln School in Dinuba for nineteen years. She later tutored and taught special classes at Grandview School until retiring at age 69.Continue reading“Oral History: A Child of the Great Depression – Part 1”

SurvivalBlog’s News From The American Redoubt

This weekly column features news stories and event announcements from around the American Redoubt region. (Idaho, Montana, eastern Oregon, eastern Washington, and Wyoming.) Much of the region is also more commonly known as The Inland Northwest. We also mention companies of interest to preppers and survivalists that are located in the American Redoubt region. Today, we’re linking to another great Tundra Tire bush plane flying video from Trent Palmer.? (See the Idaho section.)


Court documents: Cell phone records led police to missing Idaho children’s remains

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Trent Palmer: Some Local Bush Flying Shenanigans

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Some slightly dated news, over at Redoubt News, a piece about a Federal “migration corridors” scheme: Heads Up Idaho

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The latest YouTube video from the Good Simple Living vlogging family in North Idaho, showing a hike that they took at Kootenai Falls (near Troy, Montana–just across the state line):?There Are A Few Things We Need To Address Before Leaving. That is some gorgeous country.? I highly recommend subscribing to their channel!

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Over at my #1 Son’s SurvivalReaty blog: Retreat Properties in Salmon, Idaho

Continue reading“SurvivalBlog’s News From The American Redoubt”

Craft Leather Holsters, by Pat Cascio

There were a few instances, many years ago, when I didn’t carry a handgun in a holster. Several of those times were when I was doing some undercover work as a Private Investigator. One of those times, I carried a tiny Bauer .25 ACP pistol, strapped to my ankle – no holster. One such instance was when I worked a very strange case, where several misguided people planned on hijacking a cruise ship that was sailing from Miami, Florida. I worked closely with the FBI on this case, and to this day, more than 40 years ago, I still have a friendship with one of the undercover FBI agents who I brought on-board as an “arms dealer.” I also worked a suspected murder case in a steel plant, and it turned out to be an actual murder case, Again, for that case I carried a hidden handgun, with no holster.

However, for the most part, I’ve almost always carried a handgun in a holster. Most of the time it was an outside the waistband (OWB) belt holster. I’ve never been a fan of inside the waistband (IWB) holsters. Oh, and I do like some of the better made shoulder holsters. At present, I have a good mix of leather and synthetic holsters. And, I certainly have more holsters than I have guns. I have two huge drawers full of holsters, as well as two very big plastic bins of holsters, and I actually need more holster storage space.

Make no mistake, I’m a big fan of leather holsters, just something about that smell of leather, that draws me to them. However, I own more than a few polymer-framed handguns, and I can often be caught carrying one of those handguns in a polymer or ballistic nylon holster. I love a well-made leather holster, make no mistake about that. However, it is hard to find leather holsters, that are both affordable and really well-made. I’ve owned a few custom-made, handmade leather holsters over the years, as well as belts and magazine pouches. The usual wait time was about 3-4 months for that stuff and more often than not, they weren’t totally made by hand. When it came to molding the holster to fit a particular handgun, it was done, under pressure, by a press. I don’t have a problem with that, for the most part, but in the end, those holsters aren’t exactly made by hand.

Mediocrity Abounds

There are quite a few factory holster makers in the USA, and most produce a decent holster, at a fair price. Some makers are better than others. However, one maker sent me a holster that was supposed to be for a particular handgun I own, only to find out that, the holster was much too big, the gun would easily fall out. I called the maker, and they told me that their leather holsters stretched out over time and use. Excuse me? This was a brand-new holster – not an old and used one. I returned that holster and they sent me another one – same problem – it gun would fall out…I ended up retiring that holster, rather than sending it back. Most of my work over the years, involved concealed carry, and I don’t like a suicide strap on those holsters – many folks do – just make sure you train with the strap fastened. I just prefer an open-top holster for concealed carry. And, the holster needs to be molded properly to hold a particular model of gun, without it falling out of the holster.

In late 2019, Craft Holsters contacted and asked if they could have one of their holsters tested, and Jim Rawles forwarded this e-mail to me, for action. Up until then, I had never heard of Craft Holsters. So did a little checking on them, before ordering a sample for testing. Craft Holsters is headquartered? in Slovakia, and many of their holsters are made there. Some are also made in a factory in Italy. I have no problem with that, as some of the finest leather in the world comes from Italy. The holsters made in Slovakia are also made from some of this Italian leather. The Craft Holster company is a family-run business, and their goal was to make custom, hand made holsters. Their aim is to provide us all with custom made holsters, at a price point we can afford.Continue reading“Craft Leather Holsters, by Pat Cascio”

Recipe of the Week: “Sis”-Style Salmon Chowder

The following recipe is from SurvivalBlog reader “Sis” for her style of Salmon Chowder.


1/4 cup green onion or chives or regular onion diced.

1 clove of garlic, minced or 1 tsp of garlic powder

2 tablespoons of butter

2- 10-3/4 oz. Cans of cream of potato soup (can be an inexpensive store brand)

2 cans of milk

1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper.

3 oz. of cream cheese. A

1- 15-1/2 can of undrained whole corn

2 cups of salmon, flaked

  • Saute 1/4 cup green onion or chives or regular onion diced.
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced or 1 tsp of garlic powder In 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan.
  • Add 2 – 10 3/4 oz. Cans of cream of potato soup
  • Add 2 – 10 3/4 oz. Cans cans of milk
  • Add 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper.
  • When warm, remove approximately 1 cup of mixture and blend that with 3 oz. of cream cheese.
  • Add back into soup mixture.
  • Then add 1- 15 1/2 can of undrained whole corn.
  • Last, add 2 cups of salmon, flaked.

The onion, garlic, cayenne pepper and amount of salmon can be adjusted to taste. Also, I think dehydrated sour cream could be substituted for the cream cheese. However, it does work best with store-bought cream of potato soup.

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? In this weekly recipe column we place emphasis on recipes that use long term storage foods, recipes for wild game, dutch oven and slow cooker recipes, and any that use home garden produce. If you have any favorite recipes, then please send them via e-mail. Thanks!

Economics & Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest news items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. Most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor, JWR. Today, we look at the recent huge swings in beef market prices. (See the Commodities section.)

Precious Metals:

New PayPal Policy: No PayPal Buyer and Seller Protections for Gold Purchases

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Silver prices have made their highs for the year – ABN AMRO

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The Potential Looming Catalyst for Silver No One Sees Coming

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Gold simmering a break above $1750 – TDS

Economy & Finance:

Homebuyer mortgage demand spikes to 11-year high, as rates hit another record low

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BOE Path to Negative Rates Is Lit by the Experiences of Others

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The US Treasury Will “Pump” Another $1-Trillion Into Economy This Month

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At Wolf Street: This Better Be the Bottom for the Goods-Based Sector in the US

Continue reading“Economics & Investing For Preppers”

The Editors’ Quote of the Day:

“The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
JUSTICE THOMAS, with whom JUSTICE KAVANAUGH joins as to all but Part II, dissenting from the denial of certiorari.

The text of the Second Amendment protects “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.” We have stated that this “fundamental righ[t]” is “necessary to our system of ordered liberty.” McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742, 778 (2010). Yet, in several jurisdictions throughout the country, law-abiding citizens have been barred from exercising the fundamental right to bear arms because they cannot show that they have a “justifiable need” or “good reason” for doing so. One would think that such an onerous burden on a fundamental right would warrant this Court’s review. This Court would almost certainly review the constitutionality of a law requiring citizens to establish a justifiable need be-fore exercising their free speech rights. And it seems highly unlikely that the Court would allow a State to enforce a law requiring a woman to provide a justifiable need before seeking an abortion. But today, faced with a petition challenging just such a restriction on citizens’ Second Amendment rights, the Court simply looks the other way.” – Justice Clarence Thomas, from the dissent to THOMAS ROGERS, ET AL. v. GURBIR GREWAL, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW JERSEY, ET AL, June 15, 2020.

Preparedness Notes for Sunday — June 21, 2020

Today is the summer solstice–the day with the most hours of daylight, for our readers in the northern hemisphere. With this many daylight working hours, I’m confident that today was productive, in your gardens!

June 21st is the birthday of Rex Applegate. Pictured. He was born June 21, 1914? and died July 14, 1998. He was the author of Kill or Be Killed.?Applegate was the friend and mentor of SurvivalBlog’s Field Gear Editor, Pat Cascio.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today we present another entry for Round 89 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A gift certificate from?Quantum Harvest LLC?(up to a $2,200 value) good for 12% off the purchase of any of their sun-tracking models, and 10% off the purchase price of any of their other models.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Front Sight Lifetime Diamond Membership, providing lifetime free training at any Front Sight Nevada course, with no limit on repeating classes. This prize is courtesy of a SurvivalBlog reader who prefers to be anonymous.
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  4. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).
  5. An assortment of products along with a one hour consultation on health and wellness from Pruitt’s Tree Resin (a $265 value).

Third Prize:

  1. Three sets each of made-in-USA regular and wide-mouth reusable canning lids. (This is a total of 300 lids and 600 gaskets.) This prize is courtesy of Harvest Guard?(a $270 value)
  2. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  3. Naturally Cozy is donating a “Prepper Pack” Menstrual Kit.? This kit contains 18 pads and it comes vacuum sealed for long term storage or slips easily into a bugout bag.? The value of this kit is $220.
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. A transferable $150 purchase credit from Elk Creek Company, toward the purchase of any pre-1899 antique gun. There is no paperwork required for delivery of pre-1899 guns into most states, making them the last bastion of firearms purchasing privacy!

Round 89 ends on July 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Top Six Outdoor Survival Skills, by Jonathan Gardner

I love searching the Internet and libraries for bushcraft and outdoor survival-related videos and books. Now I have something to tell you. Many of these lists you read are wrong. If you do a search, there will be a general consensus of the top five skills being Shelter, water, fire, and so forth. I’m going out on a limb in reporting that they are wrong. Not all wrong, but it is not what you should study. Most of the listed are not skills. Water is not a skill, I’m not going to give you a tutorial on how to make water, water is not a “skill” it’s a priority. So the top five survival skills often listed, are priorities, not skills.

In my opinion, the top six skills for outdoor survival are as follows:

  • Rope Fabrication
  • Bow Drill Use
  • Pottery Making
  • Spring Making
  • Knot Tying
  • Trapping

Immediately, many people will see problems with this list, and that’s good to think critically about it. Now let me backup my reasoning starting with Rope making. People say building a shelter is a skill, but often these tutorials start with prefabricated materials.

Rope Fabrication

Rope is quite easy to make from a variety of plants, both strong and fine. Yucca, Dogbane, Milkweed, Stinging Nettle, Cedar, White Basswood, and Tulip (poplars), are all excellent sources for rope material. Once you can identify several sources for fibers you will want to practice twisting material into rope. Often when you watch a survivalist running a scenario they mention there is never down time when surviving. Twisting rope is something that is a low calorie, time consuming task that you should spend every bit of “down time” doing. Primitive shelters often use rope to bind bundles of grass together to make waterproof, windproof barriers. Building a shelter is difficult without rope. If you are out in the wild, in any place in the world you will also want fire. If you do not have a lighter or fire making tools on your person, a fire bow is the best alternative that I know of to make fire. You need rope. Trapping, you need rope. Fishing, you need rope. Describing how to make rope is simple, twist two threads clockwise, and then twist the two threads together counterclockwise, while gradually introducing more material to the individual threads. The best way to learn however, is to watch someone skilled or watch a video of someone skilled, and then practice.

After you have become skilled, you can begin to create fine, and strong enough twine to fish with, but you will start to ask, how can I make this stronger? You can treat your primitive rope and twine with pine tar, or “pitch” which will help the twine stay intact and protect it from sun and water damage. Pitch is harvested and processed from white pine tar.

– One method for making pitch is to mix pine sap with wood charcoal, and then heat the mixture up in a container.

– The second method is to use a “airtight” non flammable container packed with pine wood (preferably loaded with sap). This “airtight container” needs holes for venting, and the bottom needs holes so as the sap heats up it will flow out the bottom into a catch container. While this is not directly a “rope making skill”, it is part of the process, and this pitch can also be used to waterproof nearly anything and was used for traditional boat building.

Warning:? Because pitch is highly flammable, extreme caution should be used not to ignite it, should you use it in any application.

Rope fabrication is a critical foundational skill. Every EDC kit includes rope, or twine, or string. However, harvesting and processing rope is fairly easy (although time consuming) and is a skill readily taught to young children as well.Continue reading“Top Six Outdoor Survival Skills, by Jonathan Gardner”