Health

Project Prepper, Part 37: Getting Back Into Shape

As I approach another birthday, I smile when I think back to the early nineties when a friend and I would head down to Chicago’s lakefront and regularly jog a good portion of the 18.5-mile Chicago Lakefront Trail for exercise. I was in my late teens at the time, and in the best shape of my life.

Day Off Jogging Lakefront Car Show (Summer 1991)

Day Off Jogging
Lakefront Car Show (Summer 1991)

ANY CHARACTER HERE

Fast forward to today. I’m nowhere near the same kind of shape I was almost a quarter of a century ago. Not countering the effects from years of living a sedentary lifestyle and working in front of computer screens for hours on end has taken a toll on my physical fitness.

That being said, I decided some time ago that as part of the “Project Prepper” series of posts, I’d work hard at getting back into shape. From the beginning of my ongoing education about prepping, I realized not being “fit” could be a serious hindrance to what one’s trying to achieve by prepping. For example, let’s say I’m employed in an office building in a major U.S. city, and I’m prepping for a significant emergency/disaster that could happen while I’m at work. If the event occurs, there’s a good chance I may end up needing to hoof it out of that location (possibly within a certain amount of time) in order to reach safety. If I’m not up to the task physically, I could be in real trouble.


“911 WTC people in chaos taking shelter – with sound part1 – archival stock footage”
YouTube Video

So I’m going to get back in shape. I’ll be putting together the regimen of exercises in the coming days. As for the standards I’m shooting for, I’m leaning towards those embraced by Blackwater, Inc. Founder and former CEO Erik Prince talked about them in his recently published book entitled Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror:

Our employees may have been retired from the military, but Blackwater didn’t hire your typical “retiree.” After the eight-week Moyock training programs that turned those veterans into diplomatic security professionals, our final physical fitness test standards required men to run one and a half miles in less than ten minutes, forty-five seconds; execute twelve pull-ups in a row, seventy-five push-ups done in two one-minute sets, and seventy-five sit-ups in two one-minute sets; and drag a 175-pound dummy eighty feet in under one minute

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Now if I could just find a 175-pound dummy…

Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking right now. I am certain about one thing though. It’s imperative I get back into shape pronto, not only because doing so allows me to explore prepping more fully as part of these posts, but also because I’m at that age (40-something) where looking after my health needs to be more of a priority than it has been in the past.

Until next time…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area For September

Chicago-area readers- below are survival-related classes from REI this September:

Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass- Level 1, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), September 5, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 5 spots left
Wilderness Survival: 3-Season Skills, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), September 12, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 11 spots left
Introduction to Backcountry Skills Class, Blackwell Forest Preserve- McKee Marsh (west suburbs- Warrenville), September 13, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 10 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Schaumburg REI (northwest suburbs- Schaumburg), September 16, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 9 spots left
Preparing for the Unexpected- Outdoor Emergency Basics, Lincoln Park REI (city north- Chicago), September 17, 7:00-8:30 PM, Free, 34 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Ping Tom Memorial Park- Fieldhouse (city south- Chicago), September 26, 9AM, to September 27, 6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 4 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Northbrook REI (north suburbs- Northbrook), September 28, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 12 spots left
Preparing for the Unexpected- Outdoor Emergency Basics, Schaumburg REI (northwest suburbs- Schaumburg), September 30, 7:00-8:30 PM, Free, 25 spots left

REI membership is still available for only a one-time fee of $20. For more information about REI, visit their website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about any third-party instruction is not to be construed as being a recommendation from Survival And Prosperity and its editor, unless specifically indicated. I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 Emergencies, Gear, Health, Preparedness, Training No Comments

NW Indiana Self Reliance And Preparedness Expo In Schererville On August 29

I thought some Chicago-area prepper show was going on at the end of August. And when I headed over to the Prepper Shows USA website earlier today, I spotted this:

2015 NW Indiana Prepares

Banquets at St. George
Schererville, Indiana
August 29-August 29

FREE to attend!

A variety of preparedness and sustainable living vendors and educational presentations are planned. There will be skill building opportunities, exhibits and food available for purchase

Time 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM…

I headed over to the web page listed for more information (belongs to Live Free, USA, billed as “one of the oldest and most respected survival/self-reliance advocacy organizations in the world”) and saw the following:

2015 NW Indiana Prepares!
Self Reliance and Preparedness Expo
Fun and informative for the whole family!

Alternative Energy Exhibits, Hands On Projects, Food Storage & Preservation Workshops, Raising Poultry & Small Game Forum, Home Defense Presentations, Herbal Health Alternatives, Aquaponics, and More!

FREE ADMISSION & PARKING

Head on over to that event web page here more information, including a schedule of events and a description of presentations/vendors.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Becoming An Outdoors-Woman Workshop To Be Held In September Near Grafton, Illinois

This past weekend, I read a great article on the Chicago Tribune website about this state’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program. Never heard of BOW? From the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website:

Becoming An Outdoors-Woman (BOW) is a program designed to give women introductory experiences and instruction in various outdoor activities. Activities range from the shooting sports to outdoor recreation to nature crafts and skills. Program instructors emphasize the basics in instruction while providing information on equipment, associated clubs and/or organizations, and additional training opportunities.


“Becoming an Outdoors-Woman 20th Anniversary”
YouTube Video

According to that Tribune piece, Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshops are offered in 39 states and six Canadian provinces, with Illinois having hosted the events since 1995.

The IDNR website shows the next BOW workshop in the state is scheduled to take place from September 25 to 27 at Pere Marquette State Park outside of Grafton.

As of today, 65 of 85 spots have already been filled.

One look at this workshop’s itinerary helps to explain why:

• Archery
• Backpacking
• Canoeing
• Firearms and Firearm Safety
• First Aid (Wilderness)
• Fishing
• Hiking
• Hunting
• Leather Works
• Native Peoples Skills
• Native Plants and Landscaping
• Nature Jewelry
• Orienteering
• Parasailing
• Photography (Outdoors)
• Power Tools
• Rappelling
• Shooting Sports
• Survival Skills
• Woodcarving
• Zip Lining

Those lucky ladies!

The workshop fee is $175, which “includes class instruction, program materials, giveaways, use of class equipment and supplies, six meals and lodging.”

Head on over to the BOW page here on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website for more information and to sign up for the September workshop.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Posting of information about any third-party instruction is not to be construed as being a recommendation from Survival And Prosperity and its editor, unless specifically indicated. I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

Source:

Cary, Joan. “Outdoor life very becoming to this group of women.” Chicago Tribune. 12 July 2015. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-outdoor-women-seminar-met-20150712-story.html#page=1). 14 July 2015.

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Project Prepper, Part 35: Expanded ‘Innate Survival Needs’ List

This “Project Prepper” entry is going to be a short one since I’m busy plugging away at a number of preps to be covered in this series of posts down the road.

Back in Project Prepper, Part 9 (dated February 27, 2013), I talked about the six “innate survival needs” that my preparedness efforts for this series would focus on (hat tip Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast as the originator of this list of needs). That list included (in order of priority):

• Security
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sanitation and Health
• Energy

Recently, I was listening to episode 1557 of The Survival Podcast, “The Responsibility Of Being Prepared.” On April 15, Spirko told listeners:

All we need to do is start looking at the basic needs of human kind and in the modern world. These are simple. They’re universal:

• Food
• Water
• Shelter
• Energy
• Health and Sanitation
• Physical Security
• Financial Security

Note how Spirko has now broken down “Security” into “Physical Security” and “Financial Security.”

I like that expanded list of “innate survival needs,” and will adopt it. Reordered for my purposes:

• Physical Security
• Financial Security
• Water
• Food
• Health and Sanitation
• Energy
• Shelter

“Physical Security” is still priority number one because I predict the push for more gun “control” will continue while crime simultaneously gets worse. “Financial Security” breaks into the list at number two because the most likely disaster I see on the horizon is an economic one. “Shelter” now brings up the rear as I’ve completed that move from my Chicago apartment to a house in the suburbs (plus there’s my family’s place in Wisconsin where I spend time).

More soon…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Polls Show Americans More Optimistic On Economy

Despite the significant financial challenges this country faces, a number of Americans seem to be more optimistic about the economy going forward. Jeffry Bartash reported on the MarketWatch website yesterday:

Even though U.S. growth slowed sharply in the first quarter, Americans are more optimistic about the economy now than at any time since President Obama took over the White House in January 2009.

A new CNN poll shows that 52% of Americans view the economy as “very” or “somewhat” good vs. 48% who call it “poor” or “somewhat poor.”

It’s only the second time a majority have expressed a positive view during the Obama presidency — the first time was in December — and it is the highest reading in almost eight years. The last time Americans were as optimistic was in September 2007

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In addition to that CNN poll, a recent Bloomberg Politics poll suggests the American public is more positive about the economy and how Barack Obama and the Democrats are handling it. Margaret Talev wrote on the Bloomberg website last week:

Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes may be buoyed by a more optimistic feeling about President Barack Obama and the economy seen in a new Bloomberg Politics poll.

Americans are becoming more optimistic about the country’s economic prospects by several different measures. President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy is being seen more positively than negatively for the first time in more than five years, 49 percent to 46 percent—his best number in this poll since September 2009

Thirty-four percent said the national economy will become stronger over the next year, while just 21 percent said it will get worse and 44 percent predicted the status quo. That’s up from last June, when 30 percent said things were getting better…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Finally, Myles Udland noted in an April 17 piece on the Business Insider website:

Consumer confidence is soaring.

The preliminary reading on consumer confidence from the University of Michigan came in at 95.9, topping expectations for a reading of 94.0.

This is the second highest reading since 2007…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


National Recovery Administration, The Road Is Open Again (1933)
YouTube Video

I’m not sure where all this optimism is coming from. After all, the nation’s economic woes which reared its ugly head by the fall of 2008 have merely been papered over and kicked down the road a few years.

Meanwhile, the Fed depleted plenty of ammunition (see “About” page Fed charts) keeping the whole setup afloat.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s probably not a bad idea to take advantage of this upsurge in confidence to try and improve one’s resilience to a financial crash I still see coming.

Each person’s circumstances are different. But I, for one, have been focusing on meeting those six “innate survival needs” from my “Project Prepper” series of posts- among other things like increasing income. To recap, those “needs” are:

• Security
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sanitation and Health
• Energy

In order of priority- for me.

Hopefully, these can be taken care of before the “balloon goes up.”

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Bartash, Jeffry. “American optimism about economy highest since Obama became president.” MarketWatch. 21 Apr. 2015. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/american-optimism-about-economy-highest-since-obama-became-president-2015-04-21). 22 Apr. 2015.

Talev, Margaret. “Bloomberg Politics National Poll Finds Improving Economic Mood.” Bloomberg.com. 16 Apr. 2015. (http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-16/bloomberg-politics-national-poll-finds-improving-economic-mood). 22 Apr. 2015.

Udland, Myles. “Consumer confidence soars to second-highest level since 2007.” Business Insider. 17 Apr. 2015. (http://www.businessinsider.com/university-of-michigan-consumer-confidence-2015-4). 22 Apr. 2015.

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April Is Pet Preparedness Month In Illinois

My girlfriend is lucky enough to have an office dog. Meet “Kodi”:

Kodi

Even though we’re not her owners, we’re still planning to sock away some food and other items for her in case of an emergency or “ruff” times.

Illinois readers- did you know April is Pet Preparedness Month in Illinois?

From the Illinois Government News Network website on April 1:

Don’t Forget Pets When Planning for Disasters

IEMA, local emergency management agencies to focus on pet preparedness throughout April

SPRINGFIELD – Pets are treasured family members in more than half of Illinois households. If your family includes a dog, cat, hamster or other furry, feathered or scaly friends, don’t forget to include their unique needs in your home emergency plans.

That’s the message the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will promote throughout April as part of Pet Preparedness Month in Illinois.

“Every home should have an emergency supply kit and plans for how to stay safe when disaster strikes,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Make sure your kit and emergency plans address the needs of every family member, including your pets. Your preparedness efforts today can help keep everyone in your family, including your pets, safe when disaster strikes.”

Joseph said home emergency supply kits for people should include a three-day supply of such items as food, water, first aid kit, weather alert radio, flashlights, spare batteries and other items. Pet owners should also have a pet preparedness kit stocked with items such as:

• At least a three-day supply of food and water
• Extra supplies of pet medicines
• Copies of pet registration, vaccinations and other important documents
• Photo of your pet in case you are separated during an emergency
• Collar with ID tag, harness or leash
• Crate or other pet carrier in case of evacuation
• Pet litter and box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach for sanitation
• Toys, treats or other familiar items to reduce your pet’s stress during the emergency

If it’s necessary for you to evacuate your home during a disaster, take your pets with you. An evacuation could last several days, even weeks, and your pets likely cannot survive without care. Plan now for places you and your pets can stay following an evacuation, as many public shelters do not allow animals inside.

It’s also important to have a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Talk to neighbors, friends and family to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

Additional pet preparedness and general emergency preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov, the Ready Illinois Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois and on Twitter at Twitter.com/ReadyIllinois.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Home Grown Food Summit 2015 Starts Today

Last Wednesday, I blogged about the Home Grown Food Summit 2015 being held from April 6 to 12. For those who are just learning about the free online event, from the Summit website:

30+ Leading Experts In Backyard Food Production Will Help You Become Free Of Supermarkets and Drugstores…

Here’s What You Can Expect to Learn During this Empowering FREE Global Event:

• The 6 laws of plant growth
• The easiest food source to grow
• How to know if a chicken is a good egg layer just by glancing at it
• 3 gardening techniques for those with back problems or limited mobility
• Which fish are so hardy they come back to life even after being dried out
• How to recognize the signs that a plant wants to communicate with you
• Why beginning hunters should never use a tree stand
• How to be able to identify wild plants while driving 60 mph down the road
• The 3 easiest vegetables to save seeds from
• Why the jungles of southeast Asia affect what you feed your chickens
• The health benefits of eating fermented foods
• How the size of the chicken’s comb determines if it will survive your winter
• Which plants you should never plant in an aquaponic system
• The 7 ways we change the world when we grow our own food
• How safe is pressure canning for preserving food
• The 13 weeds that can ensure you never go hungry
• Why growing heritage breeds of livestock is vital for your grand children
• How many gallons of water you need per pound of fish in a tank
• The 3 most irresistible plants that kids love growing
• The difference between pressure canning and water bath canning
• How many eggs one hen can lay in a year
• The best age to start giving children significant garden responsibility
• The biggest mistake most people make in designing permaculture guilds
• 8 reasons you’re insane if you’re not growing some of your own food
• How free compost can destroy your garden; what to watch out for and how to avoid costly mistakes
• The importance of resilience in today’s world
• How to overcome problems with walnut trees in food forests
• Why you should always start at the top of a hill when designing your water systems
• The secret to a green thumb
• What percentage of food in grocery stores is actually toxic to the human body
• 17 techniques for irrigating without piping or tanks
• An ancient indicator of true health that is still valid today
• The 7 most useful hand tools in a backyard homestead
• How to remove heavy metals from your garden soil
• What the healthiest people in history ate for dinner
• How a bowl of soup increases by $25 when you top it with this gourmet insect
• How to grow a secret garden of survival
• How many pounds of potatoes a beginner can grow in 200 ft.²
• Why the most effective form of pest-control may actually be hiding in your compost pile
• The 3 ways a rooster helps your flock of hens
• And much, more more!

Whew! Lots of good information to be obtained in the coming days at this year’s Summit.

As I’m on the verge of starting a food garden for the first time (blogged about in my last “Project Prepper” post), I was excited to learn about the Home Grown Food Summit and anxious for April 6 to finally arrive.

Early this morning, I saw an e-mail from event host Marjory Wildcraft in my inbox. From that message:

Hi Christopher,

All the presenters and myself are thrilled that you’ve chosen to take more control of your nutrition and health.

You’re here on Day 1 of The Home Grown Food Summit to learn to grow your own organic food.

The Summit, over the next seven days, will deliver practical knowledge for growing and preserving nutrient rich meat and vegetables. Food that will help you and your family grow strong, healthy and less dependent on supermarkets.

Todays Topics:

Mike Adams shows why growing your own food is vital knowledge and a skill to have. Our grandparents lived this wisdom daily.

Toby Hemenway explains a simple technique for increasing the yield of your garden by growing certain plants together.

Paul Wheaton demonstrates how to build your garden beds to save time not needing to water during the growing season.

Joel Karsten shows how to guarantee a fast start to setting seedlings out with a convenient, easy to setup straw bale container garden.

Learn more about of the highlights of what you will learn when you attend today’s events, here. The presentations will be available until 9AM EST Tuesday April 7th.

The presentations are packed with information so be sure to have a notepad handy…

A link was provided in the e-mail so I could access Day 1’s presentations.

Later this morning, I viewed two of five presentations available (Ms. Wildcraft put together one as well). The one by Mike Adams of Natural News-fame entitled “8 Reasons You Are Insane If You Aren’t Growing Some Of Your Own Food,” and Marjory Wildcraft’s “How To Produce Half Of Your Food In Your Backyard In Less Than An Hour Per Day.” I thought they were both pretty good. I already had some ideas of why I wanted to start my food garden (better nutrition, more outdoor exercise, and improved food security). Adams pointed out additional reasons why growing one’s own food might be wise in this day and age.

Wildcraft’s presentation provided me ideas for achieving food self-reliance at the Wisconsin homestead I’ve envisioned down the road. However, only that bit about a food garden is applicable in my current situation in the Chicago suburbs. That being said, Wildcraft showing how she was able to produce half her family’s food in her “backyard” in less than one hour a day was incredibly motivating.

It’s not too late to sign up for the free online event. Day 1 presentations can still be viewed until 9 AM EST Tuesday morning.

I’m finding the Home Grown Food Summit 2015 to be full of relevant and useful information. You might too. To find out more about the event and/or to register, click on the banner ad below. Please note that I receive a commission for products purchased via the event.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Upcoming REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area

Chicago-area readers- below are survival-related training classes from REI for the month of April:

Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Schaumburg REI (northwest suburbs- Schaumburg), April 10, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 2 spots left
Introduction to Backcountry Skills Class, Blackwell Forest Preserve- McKee Marsh (west suburbs- Warrenville), April 11, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 9 spots left
Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), April 12, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 3 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Lincoln Park REI (north side Chicago- Lincoln Park), April 20, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 6 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Ping Tom Memorial Park- Fieldhouse (south side Chicago- Chinatown) May 2-3, 9 AM-6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 18 spots left

REI membership is still available for only a one-time fee of $20. For more information about REI, visit their website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 Emergencies, Gear, Health, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Project Prepper, Part 33: Focus On Food

It’s been some time since my last “Project Prepper” post (January 5), where I reaffirmed security is at the top of a list of six “innate survival needs” I’m working on meeting as part of this series of posts. That list, as you may recall, includes:

• Security
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sanitation and Health
• Energy

Today, I’m focusing on survival need #3- food. In particular, starting a food garden.

Regular readers of these posts may remember me mentioning I’ve already socked away a couple of buckets of high-quality freeze-dried food at very attractive prices.

In addition to freeze-dried food, I’m planning on turning to copy canning soon to grow my emergency food supply.

For those readers not familiar with the term “copy canning,” from stockupfood.com:

1. Make a menu of meals for the week. Include the meals that you eat most often for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner… and don’t forget desert!
2. Now make a shopping list based off this menu.
3. After looking over your shopping list choose an item that you can buy multiples of easily- or inexpensively if it’s been a tight month. (ex. a can of cream of chicken soup, or 10.) This method of buying multiple cans at once is called copy canning.

Furthermore, I want to transform a basement closet into a pantry capable of storing this emergency food, among other things.

Finally, as I blogged back on November 6, 2014:

This coming winter, I look forward to planning with my girlfriend a future food garden located on our property. I think I know of a good spot for it as well…

Now, I’ve been wanting a food garden since I lived in the “concrete jungle” that is Chicago’s Northwest Side. So much so, if I didn’t end up living someplace where I had my own private plot to grow one, I figured I might utilize a community food garden. I started looking into them a few years back , and loved the concept. However, I was put off about the potential for theft. Which turns out is a real concern in the Chicagoland area…

Winter is finally starting to release its grasp on us here in the Chicago suburbs. As such, my girlfriend and I have been discussing the future food garden. Since the last thing I grew from seed to plant was a lima bean back when I was in the third grade, I figure it might be wise to proceed slowly-but-steadily with this venture. To start, we plan on utilizing two areas of our backyard to attempt to grow a small number of fruits, herbs, and vegetables (if possible- I still have a good deal of research to perform here). This space behind our garage gets a tremendous amount of sun:

Food Garden Area Garage

And this setup in the middle of our backyard has already seen a number of herbs planted and harvested there (courtesy of my girlfriend’s mom):

Food Garden Area Mid Yard

The other night, I studied a resource I originally wrote about back on May 29, 2012. From that post:

Here in Illinois, we’ve got the University of Illinois Extension, the flagship outreach effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that offers educational programs to residents of all of Illinois’ 102 counties. Under the “Horticulture” area of their website are 57 extension program sub-sections chock-full of free information on gardening and more. Examples include:

• “My First Garden”
• “Successful Container Gardens”
• “Common Vegetable Problems”
• “Herb Gardening”
• “Backyard Fruits”

One feature under “Horticulture” that may be of particular interest to Illinois residents who desire to grow food but don’t know where to start is the “Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide.” It looks fairly impressive in terms of the amount of information provided.

That’s me! “Illinois resident who desire to grow food but don’t know where to start.” And the Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide (found here) is “fairly impressive,” providing me basic information and inspiration (courage, really) to start, maintain, and (hopefully) harvest a food garden. Topics covered included:

• Step 1 – Make Good Use of Your Location
• Step 2 – Plan Your Garden Layout
• Step 3 – Grow Recommended Varieties
• Step 4 – Obtain Good Seed, Plants, Equipment, and Supplies
• Step 5 – Prepare and Care for the Soil Properly
• Step 6 – Plant Your Vegetables Right
• Step 7 – Keep Down Weeds
• Step 8 – Control Pests
• Step 9 – Water Properly
• Step 10 – Harvest at Peak Quality

I also have two books my girlfriend picked up for this project- Month-By-Month Gardening in Illinois: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year and Guide to Illinois Vegetable Gardening (Vegetable Gardening Guides) by James A. Fizzell- that I’ll be studying carefully along with that guide.

I hope to achieve a number of things from this food garden:

• Better nutrition
• Better health
• Improved food security

Stay tuned.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Upcoming REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area

Chicago-area readers- below are survival-related training classes from REI for the month of March:

Backcountry Navigation with a Map & Compass, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), March 8, 9 AM-2 PM, $60 member/$80 non-member, 2 spots left
Wilderness Survival: 3-Season Skills, Deer Grove Forest Preserve- Grove 5 (northwest suburbs- Palatine), March 14, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 7 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Northerly Island Fieldhouse (downtown Chicago) March 14-15, 9 AM-6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 14 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Oakbrook REI (west suburbs- Oakbrook), March 17, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 6 spots left

REI membership is still available for only a one-time fee of $20. For more information about REI, visit their website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, March 5th, 2015 Emergencies, Gear, Health, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills Offering Field First Aid, Land Navigation, Coal-Burned Container Classes In March

There are a number of survival-related training opportunities scheduled this month at the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills (first blogged about here). From the school’s “Calendar Of Events” page:

field first aid

Saturday, March 7, 2015
11:30am-4:00pm

first aid in the woods with vincent hawkings. accidents happen, if your backpacking, hiking, or otherwise engaged in activities that take you far from the ER learning skills that could buy you the extra time to get medical care could make all the difference. class cost 25$

land navigation

Saturday, March 14, 2015
11:30am-4:00pm

land navigation course with robert reed . class cost 25$

coal burned containers

Saturday, March 28, 2015
12:30pm-2:30pm

An ancient technique for the controlled burning of logs used by aboriginal peoples to produce everything from spoons and bowls to canoes and drums.

Class will start with a short nature walk with a discussion on wood identification where students will choose a suitable log or branch to make an implement of their choice followed by short demonstration on proper technique for controlling the rate and position of the burn.

Students will then work on burning a container of their own, and we’ll finish with a discussion on food safe wood finishes.

taught by chris mayor class cost 25$ contact us to reserve a spot.

For more information, head on over to the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 Emergencies, Health, Medicine, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Peter Schiff: What’s Suppressing The Price Of Gold

The second installment of Peter Schiff’s Gold Videocast for 2015 is out on YouTube. And Euro Pacific Capital’s Schiff shared his thoughts about what’s been suppressing the price of gold these days. He told viewers:

ObamaCare forces employers to provide insurance for full-time employees. As a result, employers are hiring more part-time workers than they normally would. And that is substantially influencing these numbers. In fact, the real reason that we have such a low unemployment rate and we’re creating so many jobs, is because people are in effect sharing their job. We have a job sharing program…

Traders are ignoring all of the bad economic data that they should be focusing on, and instead just remaining fixated on the job numbers. And I think they are in position to be blindsided when the economy turns around…

So for now, it’s the false belief that the economy is strong, and that the Fed is going to raise rates- based on a misunderstanding of what the jobs’ numbers really mean- that is keeping a lid on the price of gold.

“False belief” plays an additional role in lower gold prices at this time, says Schiff. He added:

One other thing that is happening that should be lifting the prices of gold which is inflationary monetary policies all over the world. You know, more and more central banks are reducing their interest rates, launching their QE programs. Gold prices are rising in terms of those currencies. But the fact that everybody believes the dollar, the U.S. is going to be the lone holdout in the easy money parade- that is what’s keeping gold prices from really going ballistic…

I think we’re going to be leading that parade. Not only are we not going to raise interest rates or not raise them substantially- maybe we get a trivial rate hike although even there I think it’s more likely that we won’t. But we are going to be launching a new QE program- the Mother Of All QEs…

And when the markets realize this, then it’s going to be like taking the lid off the pressure cooker when it comes to the price of gold. And it’s going to be rising sharply. In the meantime, I continue to encourage people to accumulate as much physical gold and silver as they can before the rest of the financial community wakes up to this reality, and they’re rushing to buy these metals at much higher prices.


“Gold Videocast: America’s New ‘Job-Sharing’ Economy”
YouTube Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Thoughts On Chicago Home Invader Yelling ‘Fire! Fire!’

“According to the FBI, nearly 50,000 robberies within residences (the bureau’s classification for home invasions, not all of which involve violent entry) occurred in 2011, or about 135 per day…”

-NBC News website, September 9, 2014

Beware of the following. From Chicago’s ABC 7 website back on January 27:

Police are warning residents of a pair of home invasions on Chicago’s Far Northwest Side.

Authorities said a man broke into two homes, one in the 3800-block of North Pacific Avenue around 1:20 p.m. on Jan. 19 and one in the 6700-block of North Oxford Avenue around 2:50 p.m. on Jan. 21.

In each incident, police said the suspect forced his way through the front door, yelled, “Fire! Fire!” and ran out.

The suspect then got into a dark-colored vehicle driven by someone else and took off…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the rest of that article here, which doesn’t give an explanation for why the home invader spent the time and effort breaking into these residences- only to shout “Fire!” on both occasions, then leave. Note the following comment on the piece though:

This is just bizarre; I think there’s more to this story than the article lets on. If they do find this guy, they definitely need to get him psychiatric help since he’s clearly mentally ill…

“Mentally ill.” Perhaps. But consider this alternative. The home invader broke into these homes, discovered he wasn’t alone, and in an effort to create confusion for a rapid escape, the “Caucasian or Hispanic man in his late 20s” subsequently yelled “Fire! Fire!”. Under these circumstances, it would have been easy for the (almost) victims to mistake the intruder as some Good Samaritan at first and set about checking the premises for fire before realizing what really happened.

Mentally ill? How about “fast-thinker” or “smart criminal”?

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills Offering Survival Basics, Fire Building Classes On February 28

Chicago-area blog readers may have noticed local content has been somewhat heavy on nearby survival-related training opportunities lately.

I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about them as much as I have.

Back on January 9, I blogged about Chris Mayor and the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills, and some instruction they were scheduled to provide earlier this month. Looking at the school’s “Calendar Of Events” page last week, I noticed two classes being offered on the last day February. From the calendar:

survival basics

Saturday, February 28, 2015
11:30am-1:30pm

introduction on the essentials: fire, water, shelter, and food. How to plan a successful trip. We’ll also discuss gear and getting properly outfitted for deep woods camping. class cost 25$

we’re meeting at 10:00 am at the heartland cafe and traveling to our destination. contact us to reserve a spot

In addition to basic survival training, the school will be offering instruction on a potentially life-saving skill particularly for this time of year in this part of the country. Also from the calendar:

fire building

Saturday, February 28, 2015
2:00pm-4:00pm

In this class students will learn a variety of ways to start a fire in a survival or wilderness setting,

the class will cover making charcloth and punkwood and how to use them in combination with a flint and steel. we’ll discuss gathering fatwood , identifying various stones that spark when stuck with steel, proper safety, and what to do in worst case situations. location to be disclosed students should bring an altoids tin as well as a piece of cotton fabric or denim. class cost 25$ contact us to reserve a spot

Looking at Dabble.co (not .com), where information about the school’s classes can also be found, it shows only 8 spots left for Survival Basics and 6 places available for Fire Building as I type this.

In early March, I see a Flint Knapping workshop and Field First Aid class on the calendar. Lots of interesting and useful instruction coming out of the Chicago School Of Wilderness Skills these days, which you can learn more about on their website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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