rural living

Chicago-Area Lakes Hit By Bad Fish Kill

A number of Chicago-area preppers/survivalists might be planning to fish the local lakes to supplement their diet should TSHTF.

If that’s the case, be advised of the following, which I read in a weekly roundup section in my Sunday Chicago Tribune:

Fish kill worse than usual, expert says

Another legacy of the harsh winter: The fish kill in small lakes around the area was worse than what one state fisheries official said he’d seen in 34 years on the job.

Here’s hoping this won’t jeopardize my shot at landing a big pike or largemouth at my family’s place in southeastern Wisconsin this summer/fall…

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

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Seen On The Streets, Part 11

Potholes. Tons of them. Christopher Borrelli reported on the Chicago Tribune website on Monday:

It’s officially spring. We’re deep into pothole season, which, like other holiday seasons, seems to grow longer every year. This pothole season could be the longest yet. Potholes are out of control. The Chicago Department of Transportation said last month that pothole complaints have tripled in the past year; and since New Year’s Day alone, the city has filled more than 350,000 potholes. And because, according to CDOT, which assumes there are at least five unreported potholes for each reported pothole, their conservative estimate of the number of potholes remaining is, well, about 60,000 potholes.

At the very, very least…

Personally, I think the roads have been crap in many places around the Chicagoland area for a number of years now.

One spot in particular that’s incredibly chewed up and which I drive through on a regular basis is that portion of Thatcher Road right outside the Oak Park Country Club in River Grove.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the report of the shotguns being fired nearby on certain days at the Club- in conjunction with the cratered road- reminds some veterans of being in a warzone.

As a high school kid, when I could scrape together several bucks I would buy the latest duPont REGISTRY (magazine of luxury autos for sale) at the old Crown Books on the corner of Harlem and North. Lots of daydreaming would ensue where I’d be piloting some hot sports car around Chicago.

A number of years have passed, and practicality along with fate has left me driving an older, high-mileage Toyota instead.

Still, my lust for a high-performance vehicle has never subsided.

Although, the crumbling streets I’d encounter around the Chicago area made me remark to my girlfriend one day that owning a nice sports car (or even a “regular” one) may not be practical around these parts. For starters, there’s the city traffic. Second, there’s the high price of gas- especially if the vehicle requires the premium stuff. Finally, the increasingly crummy roads will “eat up” the bottom of the vehicle.

Case in point. While watching the local news one day this winter, I spotted a reporter doing a live broadcast about how bad the potholes were in the city. As they were doing the shoot, a hipster’s car went over one of these holes, tearing off a big piece from the underside of her vehicle. I felt really bad for the young lady as she proceeded to talk about what just happened on camera.

Further evidence of just how bad the local streets have gotten can be seen in a Craigslist.org post I saw the other day while taking in some car porn. From March 29:

Porsche 914 (1974) – $10500 (chicago)

Tired of winter and potholes, the car is 99% of the time in the garage…Selling my ’74 914,wide body from Sheridan Motorsports,custom interior,disk brakes front and rear,1.8l engine with double webers(40mm)pulls strong with no leaks,transmission rebuilt less than 500 miles ago,75k miles

Considering trading for a WRX of similar or lesser value…

“Tired of winter and potholes, the car is 99% of the time in the garage”

That trade request for a Subaru WRX makes sense, as things considered.

Still, even that rugged all-wheel drive vehicle may have too low of a ground clearance for some of the “surface anomalies” I’ve been spotting for some time now.

After I told my girlfriend about sports cars perhaps being impractical to own around these parts, I suggested for one to really experience what a sports car is really capable of performance-wise, one would probably have to head out to the back roads.

When I finally get my hands on one of these cars, “Escape to Wisconsin” will take on a whole new meaning for me…


Jamiroquai, “Cosmic Girl” (1996)
YouTube Video

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

Source:

Borrelli, Christopher. “Making potholes into art.” Chicago Tribune. 31 Mar. 2014. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-31/entertainment/ct-pothole-art-20140401_1_pothole-season-mosaic-marble). 3 Apr. 2014.

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Growing Illinois Fiscal Fiasco Makes Wisconsin Relocation More Attractive

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity may recall me blogging from time to time that as things stand, Wisconsin- not Illinois- looks to be my primary state of residence down the road. For example, I wrote back on January 29 of last year:

By the time I started this blog back in November 2010, I already had a pretty good idea I’d eventually be leaving the city of Chicago to reside someplace else. And every once in a while, I’d query the “best places” to live in America- should TSHTF or not. While the area of southeastern Wisconsin I’m looking at moving to in a few years is probably not “ideal” (even less so the suburbs of Chicago) from a prepper’s perspective, practitioners of modern survivalism would probably see more positives than negatives with the location. Keeping in mind that not only do I envision a certain lifestyle for myself down the road, but I also think I have a pretty good idea of what will be required to “survive and prosper” in America in the coming years, this part of the Midwest really appears to be a nice fit not only for me but my girlfriend as well. Here’s hoping it is…

Sure, certain Wisconsin taxes tend to be higher than in the “Land of Lincoln.” But at least it’s not a fiscal basket case, where I can envision Illinois one day leapfrogging our neighbors to the north when it comes to levels of revenue collection.

Chicago Tribune columnist Dennis Byrne reminded the paper’s readers just how precarious our financial situation has gotten here in Illinois… in addition to suggesting a state we might want to consider emulating. He wrote on the Tribune website on January 28:

Illinois is a stinking mess.

A steaming heap of suffocating debt, endless greed, blind self-interest and numbing incompetence. How we’ve been able to survive this long without plunging into the abyss is beyond me, and all reason.

No need here to document all of the state’s failures. Way behind on its bills. The nation’s worst credit rating. Higher unemployment than the nation. Business wanting to scram, fed up with an unfriendly entrepreneurial climate. Crushing pension obligations so far into the future that no one alive today, even if they ponied up every cent they made (after taxes, of course), will ever see the end of it.

Illinois is run by a self-renewing, power-hungry, piggish oligarchy so impervious to change (I hesitate to use the word reform, because true reform is as rare in Illinois as is the sight of Pike’s Peak) that it makes feudalism look good.

Don’t try to argue that a recent package of minor changes to the public employees’ pension system, grudgingly enacted by the serfs in the state legislature, is reform. Even if it were, it’s going nowhere because it will be dead on arrival in Illinois’ courts. That’s because the hoggish public employee unions were able, at the last minute, to ram into the state constitution a provision that guarantees their cupidity will be fed, well, forever.

What makes it all so vexing is how close the answer to our problems is: Wisconsin.

While Illinois is circling the drain, Wisconsin has saved itself from a similar fate and, in the aftermath of the longest-lasting recession since Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, is actually doing OK, if not prospering…

“Prospering.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard/seen that word associated with Illinois.

Which is too bad, because I really do love this state and my fellow Illinoisans.

But seeing as my goal remains not only to survive but prosper as the times become more tumultuous, Byrne’s observation further convinces me my future still lies up north.

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

Source:

Byrne, Dennis. “Illinois Should Look To Wisconsin.” Chicago Tribune. 28 Jan. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/site/ct-oped-byrne-0128-20140128,0,5528813.column). 3 Feb. 2014.

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New Study: Rural America More Dangerous Than Big City

Anyone recall the lyrics to John Mellencamp’s 1985 song “Small Town”?

Well I was born in a small town
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in a small town
Ah, that’s probably where they’ll bury me

“Gonna die in a small town.”

That may very well be the case, according to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.

Yesterday, “Safety in Numbers: Are Major Cities the Safest Places in the United States?” was published on the website of the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Charles C. Branas, Brendan G. Carr, Benjamin C. French, Michael J. Kallan, Sage R. Myers, Michael L. Nance, and Douglas J. Wiebe authored the piece, which stated the following:

Study objectives: Many US cities have experienced population reductions, often blamed on crime and interpersonal injury. Yet the overall injury risk in urban areas compared with suburban and rural areas has not been fully described. We begin to investigate this evidence gap by looking specifically at injury-related mortality risk, determining the risk of all injury death across the rural-urban continuum.

Methods: A cross-sectional time-series analysis of US injury deaths from 1999 to 2006 in counties classified according to the rural-urban continuum was conducted. Negative binomial generalized estimating equations and tests for trend were completed. Total injury deaths were the primary comparator, whereas differences by mechanism and age were also explored.

Results: A total of 1,295,919 injury deaths in 3,141 US counties were analyzed. Injury mortality increased with increasing rurality. Urban counties demonstrated the lowest death rates, significantly less than rural counties (mean difference ¼ 24.0 per 100,000; 95% confidence interval 16.4 to 31.6 per 100,000). After adjustment, the risk of injury death was 1.22 times higher in the most rural counties compared with the most urban (95% confidence interval 1.07 to 1.39).

Conclusion: Using total injury death rate as an overall safety metric, US urban counties were safer than their rural counterparts, and injury death risk increased steadily as counties became more rural. Greater emphasis on elevated injury-related mortality risk outside of large cities, attention to locality-specific injury prevention priorities, and an increased focus on matching emergency care needs to emergency care resources are in order.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

At the conclusion of the article, it was stated:

When considering all mechanisms of injury death as an overall metric of safety, large cities appear to be the safest counties in the United States, significantly safer than their rural counterparts. Greater emphasis on elevated safety risks outside of large US cities is in order, alongside a changed perception of urban living as a relatively safe experience.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Big Brother has spoken. Rural folk continue to put themselves in peril by living out in the country. So move on down to the concrete jungle (for easier oversight and control).

Just kidding. I better check myself before I wreck myself while tooling around Wisconsin in my “free” time.

An interesting piece of research, which you can read in its entirety on the Annals of Emergency Medicine website here (.pdf file).

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

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Project Prepper, Part 9: Prioritizing And Balancing My Preparedness Activity Going Forward

Back on February 7, I blogged about Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast-fame and his insistence on preparedness focusing on 6 “innate survival needs:”

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

I declared:

I’ve come across similar lists in the preparedness material I’ve studied. But now I’m inspired to make these “needs” the focus of my “Project Prepper” series of posts going forward.

Where to begin, where to begin? Well, time to hit the prepping/survivalism-related books and material cluttering my home office and elsewhere around my pad for ideas.

Which is what I did. And according to SurvivalBlog.com editor James Wesley, Rawles, where to begin doesn’t seem to be as important as balancing the preparedness activity. He wrote in his book How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Timesicon:

Don’t go overboard in one area at the expense of another. Preparedness takes balance… Maintaining that balance takes both focused planning and self-control.

Still, my gut feeling tells me right now I should be focusing on “Security” before other needs. Why’s that? Because this latest push for more gun “control” that’s going on in America right now could end up limiting my access to a number of tools and other accessories that I could use to construct an effective security setup.

Also, I’d feel more comfortable getting a jump on Water and Food (with water being more of a priority as a person can only last around three days without it, as opposed to around three weeks without food).

As for Shelter? Well, I’ve already done some work in this area as a number of readers already know, making plans to move out of the City of Chicago to the Northwest suburbs in late spring, with hopes of eventually acquiring a homestead in Southeast Wisconsin in a few years.

Finally, not much will probably be done regarding Energy and Sanitation/Health until after the move to the suburbs. But I do plan on getting some American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED instruction as soon as I can.

As a result, that list of 6 “innate survival needs” that my preparedness efforts will focus on has now been reordered to look like this:

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

Still, I will strive to keep these efforts balanced, as Rawles suggests.

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

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Resource Of The Week: Living The Country Life Magazine

During the cold, gloomy days here in the urban jungle, it’s rather difficult to envision having a rural, self-sufficient homestead in the coming years.

And it’s just as hard finding motivation to work towards such a goal.

I like to get my inspiration from a number of places, including the latest material from Living the Country Life magazine, “Ideas and Inspiration for Your Place in the Country.”

When my girlfriend and I first got satellite TV, I noticed a show on called Living the Country Life- which I later found out was an offshoot of a magazine by the same name. I put it on once, and even though I’m a city-dweller, I really liked it. I mean really liked it. Perhaps it was because the neighbors were being especially loud that day. Or jumbo jets from nearby O’Hare Airport had been routed over my home. Or City Hall had gotten the City of Chicago into another fine mess. I can’t say for sure. But the show really inspired me to look into rural living, which I eventually decided to pursue.

From the website’s “Media Kit” section:

Living the Country Life inspires affluent rural homeowners to maximize their enjoyment of their place in the country.

The Living the Country Life brand includes a magazine, Web site, radio show, video solutions and database.

About that “affluent” part- that’s not really the case. I don’t think you have to be a rural property owner “of means” to appreciate, and more importantly, utilize the information provided in the quarterly magazine or by the other offerings of the “brand.” Although, be prepared for a healthy dose of ads in the print publication.

To give you an idea of what’s inside each issue of the magazine, here’s the table of contents from the Fall 2012 edition:

• From My Place To Yours
• Comments From The Country
• Saving Barns One Piece At A Time
• Cover Story: 5 Steps To Beautiful Fall Containers
• Top 10 Tools For Fall Cleanup
• Wheat By Design
• Product Guide: Utility Vehicles
• Feeding And Housing Birds
• 10 Fall Chores
• A Bit About Minis
• Recipes: Canning Pears
• Brent Olson: Settle In, Cherish Fall

Total number of pages: 40.

As each issue is typically around this size, don’t expect anything too in-depth about a particular topic. I often find myself jumping on the Internet to do more supplemental research into something interesting I’ve come across.

Another offering from Living the Country Life I take advantage of is their “Weekly Update Newsletter,” another great resource for information about rural living. From the latest e-mail, “26 mistakes to avoid on your acreage:”

• 6 acreage blunders
• 12 reasons electric fences fail
• 7 landscaping mistakes to avoid
• Step up security
• Mini-Course: Garden planning (Week 3: Build a raised bed cloche in 8 steps)
• Betsy’s Blog: What’s your sign?
• Recipes: 10 sweets for your sweetheart
• Country Homes: 11 mudroom organizational tips


“Acreage Security”
YouTube Video

Another offshoot of the magazine is the radio show. Living the Country Life is the largest rural radio network in the country, with 350 stations airing the show twice a day. It’s hosted by Editor/Host Jodi Henke and Editor-In-Chief Betsy Freese, and they share tips from experts across the U.S. “to help you around your acreage.” To give you an idea of the subject matter discussed, the last three radio shows were:

• Bovine respiratory disease
• Feeding piglets
• Country View: Keith Yearout- Bison Farming- Lake City, KS

Now, did I mention that all of this material is free? Yep. Even the magazine.

Even though I’m still a few years away from acquiring that homestead I want, I’m already starting to compile research. This includes information I’ve obtained from the Living the Country Life magazine and other offerings. I feel it will prove to be handy down the road. Hopefully, it might be of some use to you too.

Stop by the Living the Country Life website here for more information.

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

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Project Prepper, Part 7: Why Wisconsin?

By the time I started this blog back in November 2010, I already had a pretty good idea I’d eventually be leaving the city of Chicago to reside someplace else. And every once in a while, I’d query the “best places” to live in America- should TSHTF or not. While the area of southeastern Wisconsin I’m looking at moving to in a few years is probably not “ideal” (even less so the suburbs of Chicago) from a prepper’s perspective, practitioners of modern survivalism would probably see more positives than negatives with the location. Keeping in mind that not only do I envision a certain lifestyle for myself down the road, but I also think I have a pretty good idea of what will be required to “survive and prosper” in America in the coming years, this part of the Midwest really appears to be a nice fit not only for me but my girlfriend as well. Here’s hoping it is.

Truth be told, while I really should be focusing on finding and eventually nailing down a suburban residence in my remaining four months in the “Windy City,” I can’t help but check out properties north of the Illinois state line every once in a while to see what’s out there. Some nice 5-acre properties are available at what seem to be very reasonable prices.

If only my girlfriend and I could win the lottery. I mean, if only we could win the lottery sooner rather than later.

Check back Friday when I share a nice resource I came across recently while verifying the “Badger State” is the place to be for me.

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

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Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 Housing, Preparedness, Project Prepper, Shelter 3 Comments

Secure Barns, Garages, And Other Outbuildings Against Thieves

As times get tougher, those living in more rural areas with barns, detached garages, and other outbuildings on their property should be making sure these structures and their contents are secured against thieves from nearby urban centers and from within their own community. I was reminded of this last night while reading an article on the Chicago Tribune website about thefts being committed in Will County, Illinois- considered part of the Chicago metropolitan area. Ryan Haggerty wrote:

Ron Moe’s barn in rural Will County used to be the place he went to get away from the world for a bit, to lose himself in his hobby of rebuilding old race cars.

But ever since burglars made off with at least $20,000 worth of specialized equipment and supplies from his barn this month, Moe, 68, has struggled with different emotions when he walks inside.

“I’m really upset,” he said, standing between two toolboxes cleaned out by the thieves. “The last two or three days, I’ve been crashing. I don’t know how anybody could do this to me.”

Moe’s barn is one of about 15 barns, garages and other outbuildings in eastern Will County — mostly near Monee and Crete — that have been burglarized since late September, said Kathy Hoffmeyer, spokeswoman for the county sheriff’s office.

The burglars have made off with everything from riding lawn mowers and all-terrain vehicles to wire and scrap metal, all of which they are likely selling to make a quick profit, Hoffmeyer said. The burglars are generally striking at night and are probably using box trucks or trailers to haul away the loot, she said.

Investigators from the Will County Sheriff’s Office suspect the crimes are the work of multiple groups of thieves, who are not only casing their targets but going that extra mile to make sure they’ll be difficult to catch, driving over the grass in the middle of the night to avoid making noise on a gravel driveway, in once instance.

Such thefts have been the focus of our neighbors across the pond for some time now. A good primer on what can be done to secure and insure such structures and their contents can be found here on the Confused.com website.

Source:

Haggerty, Ryan. “Police investigate burglaries to barns, residences in rural Will County.” Chicago Tribune. 23 Nov. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-will-county-barn-thefts-20121123,0,818731.story). 23 Nov. 2012.

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Friday, November 23rd, 2012 Crime, Farming, Gardening, Public Safety No Comments

Southeast Wisconsin Being Visited By Mountain Lions, Wolves, And Bears

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I split my time between Chicago and my family’s place in southeast Wisconsin. I love it there- especially as it offers me an escape from the “concrete jungle” to the outdoors.

And even though it’s less than a two-hour drive from the “Windy City,” the location is rich with wildlife.

Which includes predators like mountain lions, wolves, and bears.

John Krerowicz wrote on the Kenosha News website today:

County residents might need to learn how to deal with large predators such as mountain lions, wolves and bears as their populations continue to rise.

None of these species make their homes in Kenosha County, but some of them could pass through while searching for new territories, said Marty Johnson, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist…

There have been increasing local sightings of a large cat that observers believe are mountain lions, also called cougars, pumas or panthers. Wolves are a hot topic because they’ve been taken off the endangered species lists. Some have been seen in southeastern Wisconsin.

Bears are increasing their range, with reports of some setting up dens in southwest Wisconsin. They are not regular visitors to this region, however, Johnson said.

Still, I’ve read reports of bear sightings in and around southeast Wisconsin recently, besides the following that appeared on the Channel 2 Chicago website on September 17. From their news section:

It’s something you might expect to see in Montana – or even in northern Wisconsin, but a black bear in Illinois? A locomotive engineer says he’s sure he saw one last Tuesday.

Train engineer Andrew Taylor said he saw the bear around 8:20 p.m. last Tuesday, on a railroad line about 10 miles south of the Illinois-Wisconsin border…

“I did some Googling around, and there have been a lot of bear sightings – increased bear sightings – in southeast Wisconsin,” he said.

That’s right- this particular bear was spotted in Illinois.

Now, I intend to share this information with my family members. Who will no doubt look at me funny. Still, the next time I go tramping through the woods, I’ll have taken steps to prepare myself with knowledge (and whatever else I think I may need) in case I have an unexpected encounter with one of these magnificent creatures.

Sources:

Krerowicz, John. “Sierra Club to discuss status of wolves, bears.” Kenosha News. 1 Oct. 2012. (http://www.kenoshanews.com/news/sierra_club_to_discuss_status_of_wolves_bears_307427307.html). 1 Oct. 2012.

“Train Engineer Spots Black Bear Near Wisconsin Border.” Channel 2 Chicago. 17 Sep. 2012. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/09/17/train-engineer-spots-black-bear-near-wisconsin-border/). 1 Oct. 2012.

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Marc Faber: ‘You Need A Farm’

One last post before I leave you go for the week (got to my Chicago pad too late from Wisconsin last night to squeeze it in).

This past Tuesday I blogged about “Doctor Doom” Marc Faber and his talk about a systemic crisis.

Well, I had heard the Swiss-born investment adviser/fund manager, who became famous for advising clients to get out of the U.S. stock market one week before the October 1987 crash and for predicting the 2008 global financial crisis, had recently recommended Americans buy a farm once again in anticipation of such a collapse.

The publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report appeared on the CNBC TV show Squawk Box on September 6, 2012. From Dr. Faber’s exchange with co-anchor Joe Kernen:

KERNEN: I’m seeing you say a global- I hope I don’t overstate it- a global depression. A global depression is on the horizon. I don’t know if I’d call it imminently, but, I think… no?
FABER: I said that eventually the financial system will go broke. And that we would have a systemic crisis. But I didn’t say tomorrow. I said it could happen in 3 years, or 5, or 10 years time. And before it happens there will be much more money printing. So theoretically, when it happens, the Dow Jones could be at 100,000 and maybe at 1 million. Who knows? It depends on how much money you print.
KERNEN: Alright, that would still be something- 3 years, 5 years, 10 years- that would still be something that sounds really disruptive to me. And I don’t know how you prepare for it, whether, I guess, you need- I would think you need guns and gold- if that’s really coming, Marc. Food.
FABER: You need a farm. You need a farm, and you have to train yourself not to depend on the Internet and mobile phones and so forth and so on. Because when it happens, it could happen because of a cyber attack that would trigger such an event or any kind of other act of warfare. But we have to prepare for that. It’s like you have an insurance. I don’t carry insurance policies, but say, you have insurance for all kinds of eventualities, and so people who can afford, they should have insurance for that day when it will happen.


“More Gloom From Mr. Doom: ‘You Need A Farm’
CNBC Video

“But we have to prepare for that.”

Sounds like Dr. Faber would think highly of prepping.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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Seen On The Streets, Part 2

Rural burglaries.

Okay, maybe not exactly seen by me on the Chicago streets.

But it’s something that’s hitting closer to “home” these days than this particular blogger would prefer.

While I was taking a break from blogging on Survival And Prosperity I drove up to my family’s place in southeastern Wisconsin for some upkeep and a little bit of R&R. Upon walking in the door, I noticed the message indicator on the nearby telephone answering machine was flashing. I played the single message, which happened to be a recorded notification from the Racine County Sheriff’s Department.

The law enforcement agency revealed that a rash of burglaries had taken place in our area, and to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

From the website of The Journal Times, the daily newspaper for Racine County (Wisconsin), back on August 21:

The Racine County Sheriff’s Office is asking rural residents to keep their doors locked and their eyes peeled for suspicious people following an outbreak of recent burglaries in the western part of the county.

According to a sheriff’s office press release, the burglars have been stealing mostly from homes in rural areas, striking during the day when people are not home…

Items stolen thus far “appear to be a little bit of everything that is easy to carry,” [Racine County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve] Sikora said.

A couple of years ago, I read in another paper about similar burglaries being committed in the area.

However, as far as I know, this was the first time a local government agency had telephoned residents about such activity (to be fair, another family member may have intercepted the phone message).

Here’s hoping my Wisconsin neighbors heed the warning and start securing their properties if they haven’t done so already. So much for those days when one could leave their doors/windows unlocked and not worry too much about such thefts. Then again, did those “days” ever really exist in the first place?

Source:

“Burglars target rural homes.” The Journal Times. 21 Aug. 2012. (http://www.journaltimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/burglars-target-rural-homes/article_a44878fe-eb86-11e1-bb94-0019bb2963f4.html). 4 Sep. 2012.

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The Survival Podcast’s Jack Spirko: Get Out Of Urban Areas, High-Density Suburbs Now

I mentioned some time ago that one of the podcasts I like to listen to on a regular basis is The Survival Podcast, hosted by modern survivalist Jack Spirko.

And two recent shows of his have been alarming as it concerns a coming SHTF event. Back on April 26 I wrote:

Last week, I listened to the April 19 episode of The Survival Podcast, which is hosted by modern survivalist Jack Spirko and which I selected as my “Resource Of The Week” back on March 4.

Episode 646, “The Big Bugout,” stood out from prior episodes in two ways:

1. Spirko was podcasting for the first time from his new homestead in the Ouachita Mountains near Hot Springs, Arkansas. Excellent.

2. Spirko suggested to listeners that now might be the time to bug out

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

And just last week, I was listening to episode 912, “Two Possible Futures Over the Next 4-12 Years” (released May 31), where Spirko sounded yet another alarm. From that show:

I don’t want to spend the whole show telling you how bad it is because I’m a solutions guy, right? But I do want to wake people up today that maybe think, “It’s all going to be okay.” It’s not all going to be okay. We can all be okay. But it has to fall apart. The numbers don’t show any other option.

I agree with Spirko here. As regular readers of Survival And Prosperity (and before that, Boom2Bust.com) probably know, barring some miracle, I believe the writing is on the wall for a coming financial crash in the United States. He continued:

But what I really want to talk to you guys about today is what your two possible futures with this are. There’s one that I won’t spend much time on because it’s pretty dark and bleak, and I would think most people wouldn’t choose it for themselves- and it is a choice at this point. The first one is, pretend that this isn’t happening. Pretend that’s it’s just not a big deal.

Here I disagree with Spirko. I think most Americans have chosen denial. There’s more:

The future for the person that ignores this is going to be a really harsh reality when reality sets in. And this is the really bad part. The ship will have completely sailed. Right now it’s already happened, but there’s so much time in my view, right? Even if it’s two years, that’s a lot of time to get your stuff together. And I think there’s more than that personally, but, again- I don’t forecast these things, I just guess. But when that happens, and it’s really obvious that it’s too late, most people will continue to deny it, and continue to deny it, and they’ll just close their eyes and close their ears, and the more they’ve been asleep, the stronger they’ll try and stay asleep. And the more they’re eventually going to get hurt.

And I do think we’ll see riots in cities. You know, I tell you not the roving horde thing and all. The powers that be will come in and squash that crap. They really will. They’ll use it as an excuse to squash you too. You know, so be on the lookout for that.

Spirko went on to highlight the dangers of residing in major urban areas in a period of upheaval, and warned listeners:

So my view is, the way that you combat this, is you get yourself into a neighborhood, or a community, or a smaller rural area- now. You do that now. If you are in a city and you have to work there, you find yourself as far out as you possibly can and still run your job. Try to get some telecommuting time- even if it’s 1 or 2 days a week, that will make that move easier. But, I don’t even think you have to be 5 hours away from a big city. I think if you’re an hour away it’s a big help because that’s not where the people that are going to cause the most problems are going to be…

But get out of the urban areas and get out of the high-density suburbs. I think we’re there now. I always said, if you want to be in these places, that’s fine, make your way there. I think we’re getting to a point where that’s going to be a really bad place to be. There’s going to be a lot of hardship.

The host of The Survival Podcast also noted that he’s not a big fan of isolationism, and identified other priorities that he thought should be acted upon before TSHTF.

Incredibly sobering. You can listen to episode 912 on The Survival Podcast website here.

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On TV: Doomsday Bunkers, Episode 3

It’s Wednesday, but no new episode of the Discovery Channel TV series Doomsday Bunkers will be airing tonight (second straight week).

FYI, I sent a little note out to corporate (Discovery Communications, LLC) regarding future episodes and upcoming air dates. We’ll see what they say. Of course, I’ll let Survival And Prosperity readers know if I hear anything back that’s worthwhile.

In the meantime, I still owe you my review of episode 3 of Doomsday Bunkers, “Tsunami Pod/Nuclear Fallout Shelter.”

At the beginning of the episode, which aired on March 21, Deep Earth Bunker was shown to be inundated with work. Floor Manager Jesse Saul was trying to deal with the significant backlog of shelters that customers- many of them preppers- had ordered and were waiting upon. It was revealed that springtime is particularly busy for DEB, when severe weather routinely makes the headlines. From the show:

In 2011, extreme weather accounted for $130 billion in damages with hundreds of thousands dead.

In addition, there was this:

And the most extreme preppers suspect the government is behind it.

Say what? Deep Earth Bunker owner Scott Bales explained:

Up in Alaska, there’s this thing called HAARP. HAARP stands for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project. It’s for shooting high frequency through antennas up into the ionosphere, and bouncing it back down. Originally built to talk to submarines deep in the water. A lot of my clients think the government is using it to control the weather.

I’ll have to take a closer look at that claim. In the meantime, more information about HAARP can be found at the project’s website here.

Loretta Sanders

The first client viewers met in episode 4 was Loretta Sanders, a prepper and former police sergeant. Sanders has a nuclear power plant 15 miles south of her home. According to the show, Indian Point Nuclear Plant, just outside New York City, is one of the most vulnerable reactors in the country. She explained:

This is ground zero. When they built it I guess they didn’t realize it’s 1 mile south of a connecting fault line. If there’s an earthquake and it starts to melt it’s going to be mayhem. The meltdown will take out this entire area. Most people will panic in evacuation. With 4 to 7 days the Joe Six-Packs of the world, without food or water, will break down your door, trying to find food. They’ll start to scavenge and we’ll revert back to hunting and being hunted.

The show revealed:

She’s prepared to do whatever it takes to protect her son Teddy, her daughter Marissa, and her growing stockpile.

Sanders added:

I’m prepping to live indefinitely. If the world changes permanently, I’m ready for that… I want to be able to get underground so I want Scott to protect me.

Scott Bales worked with Loretta to get her an underground bunker. He explained:

If an earthquake does happen, there’s going to be fallout- big time.

Bales pointed out that the former police officer’s shelter needed a nuclear/biological/chemical, or NBC, filter to prevent nuclear fallout from entering her bunker. According to Bales, the radioactive fallout will get hung up in the NBC filter.

He informed Loretta that it would take 4 weeks to complete her bunker. In the meantime, DEB would try to get permits to allow the transportation of heavy equipment/loads on roads near the installation site during the winter.

Envisioning the shelter’s design, Scott said:

If there’s a nuclear disaster, Loretta might have to go in this bunker for up to a year. So I have to make sure there’s enough space for her food and water supplies.

From the show:

Scott’s designing her a 2-unit, 600 square foot bunker. With sleeping quarters for 10, ample storage for her growing supplies, 2 500 gallon tanks- 1 for drinking water, 1 for waste. A full bathroom and kitchen. And most importantly, a state-of-the-art NBC filter to protect her from any fallout. Time frame, 4 weeks. Total cost, $150,000.

DEB staff went to work on the project, and Loretta Sanders was shown preparing for her new underground dwelling. From the episode:

A nuclear meltdown at Indian Point could contaminate over 1,100 square miles around the plant. So Loretta’s decided to buy land to install her bunker 3 hours north. But to get there, they might have to drive through looting, rioting, or worse. To survive, Loretta wants to learn how to turn her car into a weapon.

Enter Joe Autera, President, CEO, and Defensive Driving Instructor, Tony Scotti’s Vehicle Dynamics Institute (VDI). According to the show:

As the prepper movement has grown, defensive driving schools like this one have seen an unprecedented number of civilians taking their courses.

Loretta received defensive driving instruction, and is subsequently shown plowing through a mock roadblock consisting of two vehicles parked end-to-end. Loved it.

The prepper, mother, and former LEO shared this with viewers:

This is why I prep. The government is not my first line of defense, I am. And as a citizen, that’s my right.

Unfortunately, Loretta doesn’t get her new bunker on time. Renee Bales, Scott’s wife and head of Accounting, informed DEB’s owner that the permits were denied because of “freeze laws,” with the trailer and bunker deemed to be too heavy. Scott is shown breaking the bad news to Loretta, which meant delivery of her steel shelter would be delayed 3 to 4 weeks until the roads thawed out. All in all, she seemed pretty cool with that.

Tsunami Pod

Another episode, another new project. Scott Bales told viewers in episode 3:

Last night, I came up with a great idea. Something to protect people from a tsunami wave. This is the ultimate product for a prepper. All of the people that live on the coasts have this fear. They’re wondering, “When is that wave going to come in and get us?” There’s nothing to protect you against a tsunami. Nothing. Except for our tsunami pod.

From the show:

Scott’s designed a floating steel orb, 10 feet in diameter, with room for 2 people. When the tsunami waves hit, the airtight ball would be lifted off a special stand, and kept upright through a concrete weight called a ballast.

The owner of DEB added:

Because you have ballast in there, it brings it to where they’re sitting right back up… This thing has to be waterproof, it has to be able to take impact, it also has to sit up straight so the passengers are sitting in an upwards position.

Scott assigned Scotty Free, Special Projects Manager, and Charlie Christie, Quality Assurance/Carpenter, to the project. It’s revealed that DEB budgeted $80,000 in parts and labor for the development of the Tsunami Pod, making it the most expensive prototype in the Dallas-based company’s history.

Before the project commenced, Scott Bales noted:

Scott Free is an older guy. Set in his ways. Precise. Charlie. Young. Moves very quickly. Adapts quickly. Charlie’s a builder, and Scott’s a fabricator. They’ll bump heads, but, with both of them together, they can figure out the tsunami pod.

Not without hiccups, Scotty and Charlie pieced together the Tsunami Pod prototype. They then pounded the pod’s steel exterior with a debris shooter, which is capable of shooting a 14-foot 2 X 4 more than 600 mph. Amazingly, the thing survived.

Next, Scotty and Charlie tested the prototype out in a parking lot. They discovered the pod’s ballast, which consists of 150 lbs. of concrete, needed adjusting.

The final test of the Tsunami Pod took place at a lake, where DEB staff could test the ballast once again and see if the prototype was watertight. Scott Bales explained:

When you do something in a ball shape, the water spreads itself out until it hits a resistance point just under the equator. You’d never want the water to go over the equator. If we added too much weight or this thing leaks, it’s going to sink to the bottom of the lake.

Upon dropping the steel structure into the body of water, it’s discovered that while it was watertight, the pod floated on its side. Apparently, Scotty and Charlie didn’t compensate for the weight of the door. Despite this oversight, the tests of the Tsunami Pod were declared successful. Scott Bales remarked:

I feel great that the Tsunami Pod is floating, and I just have to adjust some ballast. But this test is a success.

Weyland Smith

The second client viewers were introduced to was Weyland Smith, a Deep Earth Bunker salesman and prepper who resides in Homer, Louisiana. Weyland recently became a prepper while working with DEB. He explained:

One of my bunker clients had some basic ideas I’d never really had put in front of me before. Go to your local grocery store late at night- half the food aisles are empty. If something broke our supply chain, I know the store shelves would be empty in 3 days. My biggest fear is the drastic change we’ve seen in the weather. We all need to be better prepared. If I need something, it’s not going to always be at the corner store to pick up.

Being from Louisiana, Weyland has first-hand experience with what the aftermath of a disaster looks like. He called the refugees from Hurricane Katrina:

We really saw the level of unpreparedness that these people had. And to wade through the devastation afterwards. It really opened your eyes.

He added:

I’m still new at this prepping. I’m kind of learning as I go. And I’m now finally getting the one that I need.

Weyland talked about why he wanted an underground shelter. He said:

My bunker will serve primarily as a shelter in case of bad weather. The shelter that I bought is a steel, doghouse-style shelter. Double-welded, with a marine-grade coating, totally watertight. And it will be perfect protection for my family.

Deep Earth Bunker owner Scott Bales commented on the structure that Weyland chose. He said:

He’s picked out a steel shelter that’s big enough for his family, and some food and supplies. It will be great for short-term, emergency situations.

In the episode, Weyland Smith said he now realized he’d been prepping all along. Accumulating gear and supplies for different outdoor activities had given him a head start. Smith revealed that his wife already had 3 months’ worth of food canned. His goal was to have 6 months’ worth set aside. In addition, Weyland hunts and processes his own meat with his son, J.D. They’ve managed to sock away 3 to 4 months of meat already.

Weyland made this observation:

People in the rural areas will be much more likely to survive because they have the basic skills to take of themselves.

Near the end of the episode, Weyland opted to install his new shelter himself, and Scott Bales stopped on by to check out how he was doing.

Overall, I enjoyed episode 3 of Doomsday Bunkers. I have to admit- this TV series is growing on me. “Tsunami Pod/Nuclear Fallout Shelter” was interesting, informative, and funny- yet again. Loretta Sanders is a total hoot. I especially enjoyed that scene where she was cleaning her firearms. Not to mention her barreling that car into the “roadblock.” The production crew once again managed to keep the annoying “reality” TV elements to a minimum.

No time for drama WTSHTF, right?

Hopefully, more episodes of Doomsday Bunkers will air soon on the Discovery Channel.

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Marc Faber Talks Again About Investing In Remote Farmland To Counter Growing Social Tension

Investment adviser and fund manager Dr. Marc Faber attended the CFA Institute’s Third Annual Middle East Investment Conference in Qatar these past two days. According to Ed Bace, the CFA’s head of education for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) regions, “Doctor Doom” (labeled that by the press for his contrarian investment style that is often interpreted as being bearish) told conference attendees that continuing growth in Asia and South America will put further pressure on the world’s resources, thereby leading to increased geopolitical tension. As such, the Swiss-born Faber shared the following investment recommendations. Bace wrote on the conference website earlier today:

So how should investors play this situation? Faber states that diversification is key alongside low leverage. His recommendations are as follows: cash and bonds are not hugely attractive, given negative real interest rates, but equity-like corporate bonds could form 25% of a portfolio. Another 25% could be made up of stocks, especially in emerging markets, with a further 25% in precious metals (which tend to be severely underweighted in a typical pension fund). Real estate in certain areas (such as Asia) could make up the remainder. He added that US house prices are looking decidedly cheap.

Faber closed his speech by emphasizing that the crucial question over the next decade is not “where will my returns be highest?” but “where will I lose the least money?” In fact, he believes that losses of 50% should be considered as a relative success. He advised that an investment in remote farmland could pay off, as growing social tensions could make urban life intolerable. In his view the welfare state has evolved from the many helping the few to the few helping the many and that the inevitable crash, or “rebooting the computer,” will simply have to be endured. Whether this crisis occurs soon, as further credit expansion is voluntarily abandoned, or occurs later, as the currency system meets final and total catastrophe, Faber cannot predict.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

The investment in remote farmland that Dr. Faber talked about reminds me of a piece I read on The Times (UK) website back on February 22, 2010. Leo Lewis wrote in that article:

The world’s most powerful investors have been advised to buy farmland, stock up on gold and prepare for a “dirty war” by Marc Faber, the notoriously bearish market pundit, who predicted the 1987 stock market crash…

Speaking today, Dr Faber said that investors, who control billions of dollars of assets, should start considering the effects of more disruptive events than mere market volatility.

“The next war will be a dirty war,” he told fund managers: “What are you going to do when your mobile phone gets shut down or the internet stops working or the city water supplies get poisoned?”

His investment advice, which was the first keynote speech of CLSA’s annual investment forum in Tokyo, included a suggestion that fund managers buy houses in the countryside because it was more likely that violence, biological attack and other acts of a “dirty war” would happen in cities.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Sobering stuff. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from the publisher of The Gloom Boom & Doom Report.

(Editor’s notes: 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; info added to “Crash Prophets” page)

Sources:

Bace, Ed. “Marc Faber: Continuing Financial Crisis Must Be Endured.” CFA Institute Middle East Investment Conference. 26 Mar. 2012. (http://meic.cfainstitute.org/2012/03/26/marc-faber-continuing-financial-crisis-must-be-endured/#comment-19). 26 Mar. 2012.

Lewis, Leo. “‘Buy farmland and gold,’ advises Dr Doom.” The Times. 22 Feb. 2010. (http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1191724). 26 Mar. 2012.

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Preview Of Doomsday Preppers, Episode 6

If you think the government’s going to be there, are you going to sit back and wait for the cavalry? They may never come. So what are you going to do about it? Why don’t you start to prepare? Because it’s your personal responsibility.

-Mike Mester, “doomsday prepper”

Last week, I received an e-mail about participating in part two of National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers Blog Carnival. By agreeing to take part in the event, I’d get a sneak peak of the next Doomsday Preppers episode airing on the National Geographic Channel on Tuesday, March 6. More importantly, I’d be able to provide Survival And Prosperity readers a preview of episode number 6, “Nine Meals Away from Anarchy.” I watched the show, which focused on three prepper groups. In order of appearance:

Mike Mester, a contractor living in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife, kids, and dogs
“We’re preparing for civil unrest caused by a global economic collapse.”

Preston White, a web developer living in central Colorado
“Preston believes that a cloud of deadly radiation from Fukushima is heading towards the mainland United States and will soon contaminate food and water supplies.”

Riley Cook, a welder living in Silverthorne, Colorado, with his wife and four kids
“I’m preparing my family to survive a polar shift.”

Now, because this post in only a preview, I can’t give up too much information. However, I think those that are interested in preparedness and who are following the television series will really enjoy this installment of Doomsday Preppers. How so? Well, I’ve learned that preppers come from all walks of life here in the United States. As such, plenty of viewers will relate to the Mester family and their situation in the suburbs, the Cook family and small-town living, and Preston White, the mild-mannered, techno-geek prepper. Personally, I can identify with all three parties. I grew up more or less in the Chicago suburbs, a lot of it in a town writer Ernest Hemingway once supposedly-described as consisting of “broad lawns and narrow minds.” I’ve also spent a good deal of my time throughout the years in a small town in southeastern Wisconsin that’s generally succeeded in not being overrun by throngs of vacationers from northern Illinois. Finally, with the word “eccentric” having been used to describe me before, coupled with my ongoing interest in computers from an early age (borrowed my uncle’s TI-99 back in 1983, picked up an Apple IIc in 1984, and never looked back), I think I understand where White is coming from.

I think viewers that are prepping or are interested in it will also appreciate episode 6 of Doomsday Preppers because many topics will probably hit close to home. Sorry, but no umbilical cords being handed out in this installment. From the Mester family section:

• How to retrieve family members during a SHTF situation who are located a long distance away from the household
• Prepping for pets, particularly dogs
• What to do with expired food
• A cheap, alternative heating and cooking source
• Preparing for civil unrest that might spill into the suburbs from the city in a major crisis

From Preston White’s section:

• A personal seed bank
• Tents to grow food year-round and for living- in a radioactive environment
• An HHO generator and home heater
• A home defense firearm battery
• A graphic lesson about maintaining operational security, or OPSEC

From the Cook family section:

• Underground shelters
• An alternative form of transportation
• Bugging-out in severe conditions

Now, the Cook family is prepping because they fear a polar shift is coming. You may recall that in episode 4 the O’Brien family had the same concern. From that episode:

Kevin believes that a 2012 polar shift will cause the earth to move on its axis, resulting in an onslaught of natural disasters… and since Florida is a low-lying coastal peninsula, Kevin believes that his home state will be completely devastated by a polar shift.

I feel it’s important to point out, once again, that what I think the O’Brien and Cook families are really concerned about is not a magnetic pole shift, but what’s known as “true polar wander,” or the solid-body rotation of the Earth with respect to its spin axis, causing the geographic (not just the magnetic) locations of the North and South Poles to change, or “wander.” Some theorize that rapid TPW could lead to scores of natural disasters taking place across the world over a small period of time.

Overall, I think you’ll really get into episode 6 of Doomsday Preppers. Like I said, many viewers should be able to identify with the featured preppers and topics. I thought this episode covered the most interesting material to date- although I leave it up to you to decide on Fukushima. While I liked learning about the Mester family’s suburban stronghold and the Cook family’s mountain retreat, I thought the HHO generator/heater that Preston White and his friends were playing around with was way too cool. Then again, that’s the techno-geek in me coming out.

Tune into Doomsday Preppers episode 6, “Nine Meals Away from Anarchy,” on Tuesday night, March 6, on the National Geographic Channel.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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