August 2019 Meeting Notes

August 10, 2019

  • Insurance Pitfalls – Real world stories from an insurance adjuster
  • Container Gardening, Part 3
  • Vegetable plants for container gardens

Insurance Pitfalls – Real world stories from an insurance adjuster

It seems to be the very nature of preppers that we focus on the “dramatic stuff” – grid down, life-or-death scenarios, etc. While that’s a wise approach, it is not wise to ignore the sort of every-day personal disasters that we will all almost certainly face at one time or another.

We probably have a food storage program as insurance for a time when food would otherwise be unavailable. The key word here is “insurance”, and that was the topic of our first program for the August meeting. Insurance is an important part of being prepared, yet it is almost never discussed among preppers – we are changing that.

Most contact we have is with insurance salesmen who naturally have their own interest as well as ours, but this was presented by an independent insurance adjuster. Scott understands how the entire system works, and what we need to make sure that we are adequately insured in order to face life’s more typical disasters.

This LINK is a PDF file to Scott’s presentation on insurance.


Container Gardening, Part 3 – and – Vegetable plants for container gardens

This portion of the meeting is a continuation of the “Kelly’s Corner” series.

July 2019 Meeting Notes

July 13, 2019

  • Items to Keep in your truck/car
  • Intro to the PrestoGarden
  • When to Plant in this area
  • Container Gardening, Part 2
  • Medicinal Plants & Essential Herbs – Plantain, St. Johns Wort, Mullein

 


 

Items to Keep in your truck/car

Emphasis on the need to keep your GHB/BOB separate from a vehicle kit. You don’t want to take things from your GHB/BOB as a matter of routine, so have duplicate items if needed for your vehicle kit.

Vehicle Kit Presentation
Vehicle Kit items
Vehicle Kit items
Vehicle Kit items

 


 

Introduction to the PrestoGarden

Jay described the PrestoGarden product that he is working on. He currently has a patent on the design, and the molds for production are being built in China at this point. There are a number of prototype models now in use for testing throughout the U.S. and other countries. The PrestoGarden is a self-contained hydroponic “Grow Tower” that lets you grow a large amount of food in a small amount of space. We’ll add more details here as they become available.

 


 

When to Plant in This Area

We are located in Zone 9a for the northwest part of Volusia County, and 9b for the rest of the county. The split between 9a and 9b is State Road 40, and it divides Central and North Florida as far as planting times. Keep in mind that this is a guide – not a hard and fast rule. Know your area and adjust accordingly.

The Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide includes a chart that shows the best planting times for a vegetable garden. It is important to note that the times shown are for planting outdoors. If you are able to start your seeds indoors and then transplant them outdoors, you can get a head start on your garden.

Early planting is not just about getting your harvest earlier – it is a very effective way to avoid insect damage. Insect cycles are closely tied to plant cycles. By planting earlier than the insect cycle, you are able to plant, grow, and harvest before the bugs arrive, giving you a huge advantage. Starting your seeds indoors and then transplanting makes it possible without worrying about the danger of a late frost.

IMPORTANT DOWNLOAD
Be sure to DOWNLOAD and PRINT the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide. It is as close to a “Single Source” guide to gardening as it gets.

 


 

Container Gardening, Part 2
Medicinal Plants & Essential Herbs – Plantain, St. Johns Wort, Mullein (Kelly’s Corner)

 

Sources: Kelly was asked about where to buy herb plants and seeds. This was not available at the meeting, but her primary source is Logee’s (link).

Discussion on plants that grow well together (Companion planting) and some that just don’t do well with other plants nearby.

Discussion on the importance of building up your immune system to better cope in a time of increased stress and disease, and decreased sanitation and nutritional availability.

The materials presented in this portion of the meeting are available by clicking on the “Downloadable resources” link on the Kelly’s Corner page.

Herbs prepared and ready for sampling.

Video on herbal medicine and conventional medicine

June 2019

June 8, 2019

  • Health and Sanitation – Disease is, historically, the biggest killer of all – and the most preventable.
  • Medicinal Plants that grow in this area – How to grow them, and how to use them. An overview with more details in future meetings.
  • Container Gardening, Part 1 – Anyone can grow something

Health and Sanitation

At some point, you’ll run out of toilet paper. Search Amazon for “Hygienna Solo”. Works with any plastic water or drink bottle.

Discussion on the use of antibiotics in agriculture and how that is fueling the development of “super bugs” that are resistant to antibiotics. With no effective antibiotics to treat infections, prevention becomes the only practical means of defending against them.

 

Medicinal Plants

Display of plants being discussed.
Display of plants being discussed.
Starting plants from kitchen waste
Assortment of different varieties of mint

 

Container Gardening

Self-watering device made from top of a plastic drink bottle and a strip of T-shirt cloth
Assembled self-watering device

 

Growing Potatoes

Not on the schedule, but Stephen brought in some Yukon Gold potatoes from his garden to show how the tubers are formed under the soil. Seed potatoes were available for anyone who wanted to experiment with them (Note that potatoes are a cool weather crop, and now is not the time to plant them).

From our Resource FilesGrowing Potatoes in the Florida Home Garden

Meeting Notes – May 2019

May 11, 2019

  • Organizing your neighborhood after things fall apart (follow up from April meeting)
  • Close-in Defense – When you’re already way too close.
  • Bugs and how to control them – Insects are not just an annoying pest – they spread deadly diseases.
  • Killing The Illusion – Popular myths, things you might not have considered, and maybe you need a different plan. (Postponed)

Killing The Illusion will be presented at a later meeting. We simply ran out of time covering the other topics.

Organizing your neighborhood after things fall apart
This was a discussion centered around recreating those important, but seldom-considered, functions of government at a time when a collapsed government no longer exists to provide them. The need does not go away when the government goes away, so how do we go about rebuilding the functions of government?

  • Recording of deeds and property ownership and transfers – If you don’t already have a full-size hard copy of the deed to your home, go to the county courthouse and purchase a copy. Be able to prove that you own your home.
  • Have a hard-bound Legal Records Book with printed page numbers in which to record (using permanent ink) all legal matters. This book must be safely stored and the responsibility of recording and safeguarding the book is a major matter, not to be taken lightly.
  • Documenting deaths – If someone is killed while you are defending yourself, make sure that you have written documentation with witnesses. If a functioning government is restored, you need to be able to legally defend your actions. The dead should be buried along with whatever they have on them at the time. Mark and record the place of burial.
  • Documenting births – Babies will continue being born, and birth records are an important part of our culture as well as our legal system. Record them in the Legal Records Book.
  • These things will not just happen on their own. We must take a leadership role to make it happen. Make sure that you are able to inspire confidence in others so they will go along with working to restore a civil order. (The “grey man” approach that some advocate is a bad choice here. No one is going to follow anyone who looks to be in the same shape as the masses.)

Bugs and how to control them

An assortment of items to protect against insects

Bugs are not only incredibly annoying, they are also a major disease vector. Maintaining health and sanitation are a major part of preparedness. Handling insects was the main focus, but also discussed was the control of mice and rats.

  • Insect repellent with DEET
  • Wide-brimmed hat with mosquito net
  • Mosquito netting for bed or cot
  • Fly swatters
  • Fly paper or fly ribbon
  • Mosquito netting coveralls
  • Picnic plate covers to keep bugs away from food
  • Mouse and rat traps
  • Mouse and rat bait

Close-in Defense

Assortment of non-firearm weapons (plus the shotgun in the background)
  • Overview of close-in weapons
  • Handgun and shotgun
  • Cane
  • SOG Spirit knife screws into standard broomstick threads
  • Using what’s available – hammer, saw, kitchen knife, etc.
  • Good discussion of vital area targets for edged and pointed weapons
  • Objective is to immediately stop the brain from functioning
  • Good discussion on the moral issues involved in self defense

As usual, after the meeting was adjourned, there was informal discussion on other options:

  • Flashlight to temporarily blind and disorient should be a high priority when making your personal security plans.
  • Most sources state that, for a tactical flashlight, 60 lumens is the minimum, but more is always better for tactical use.
  • Dependability is an absolute requirement – a tactical flashlight is not the place to try and save a few dollars with a Chinese bargain light.
  • This link may be a good place to start looking for a light.
  • Umbrella is another good option when other weapons are prohibited.

 

April 2019 Meeting

April 13, 2019

  • Calorie density in your food storage program.
  • Home Defense – When dialing 911 is not an option.
  • Perimeter Defense – Time and distance is your friend.

Also discussed:
Sweet Potatoes – Seed potatoes of the Centennial variety were available for those who want to grow them.
Candida auris – Drug resistant fungal infection with 30% – 60% fatality rate.
Ebola – Crisis continues to grow in Africa.


Calorie density comparison demonstration.

Peg gave a presentation on calorie density and the importance of getting the maximum number of calories in your storage food program for the cost and the amount of space it takes up. We did a taste test of two varieties of Vienna Sausage and compared the cost and the caloric content of both.

 

Illustrating concentric rings of defense.

Home Defense / Perimeter Defense and Post Collapse Home Defense

Following is the outline used for this program:

  1. Key Points
    1. This is all about a time without rule of law (WROL), when utility power is either non-existent or intermittent.
    2. There is no one right answer. It depends on:
      1. Location – urban, rural, suburban
      2. People – homogeneous or “multi-cultural”, high trust or low trust
      3. Local conditions
      4. Who is occupying your home with you
      5. Your own strategy (important topic we’ll go into more in a bit)
      6. Physical layout
        1. Size of your yard
        2. Fenced or not
        3. Surrounding area
      7. Your individual personal situation
        1. Age and physical and mental condition
        2. Family and dependents
        3. Young children or elderly
  2. Strategy
    1. Grey Man
    2. Neighborhood asset and leadership
    3. Hunker in the Bunker, Kill ’em All
    4. Lone Wolf
    5. Remote location with no human contact
  3. Mobility – is it really needed?
    1. Can you carry all of your supplies with you?
    2. Moving and abandoning your supplies
      1. Very real risk of escaping one threat, only to end up a refugee
      2. Refugee is a nice word for “dead body found along the road”
    3. Stand and fight is a very real strategy
    4. Never trade a high risk situation now for a slow death later
  4. Circles of security – Perimeters
    1. “Safe room”
      1. Bad idea for WROL – protects bad guys from you as they loot
      2. Useful to protect small children, elderly, etc.
    2. Exterior walls of your house
    3. Property boundary lines
      1. Very little use if not fenced
      2. Excellent if effectively fenced
    4. Vegetative Barriers
      1. Rose bushes
        1. Good under windows
        2. Must be planted close together to be effective
      2. Climbing Rose
        1. New Dawn – LOTS of thorns, white flowers
        2. Old Blush – Fewer thorns, but very prolific, vigorous growth, pink flowers
    5. Surveillance
      1. Lighting
        1. South African light system
        2. LED flood lights
          1. Manual switch or motion activated
          2. Low battery drain with an inverter
      2. FLIR
      3. Drones
      4. Video surveillance system
    6. Fencing
      1. Psychological barrier
      2. Physical barrier unless it is just decorative fence
      3. Padlocks and chains for gates
      4. Fence Enhancements
      5. Barbed wire
        1. Intended for livestock – not very effective against people
        2. Zoning laws prevent using it now in residential areas
      6. Razor wire
        1. Very effective, and potentially deadly
        2. Illegal to use at present time, or at least a major liability
        3. Best deployed in coils (Slinky) just inside the fence
      7. Trip wire alarms
        1. Blank firing
        2. Marbles or ball bearings in a can
    7. Immediate neighborhood
      1. Those you live next to and can routinely interact with
    8. Expanded neighborhood and beyond
      1. Those within an organized area
  5. Time is your friend
    1. Even if bad guys get to your door, delay their entry
      1. The longer they are exposed, the greater the danger to them and the more likely they are to find another target.
    2. Physical barriers from lumber just outside the door or window
    3. Surprise barriers just inside doors and key windows furniture pushed to block entrance
    4. Marbles and ball bearings on a walkway are not just for comedy routines
    5. Wire strung 12″-18″ above ground will cause them to trip. (Tanglefoot)
      1. Use galvanized steel electric fence wire (not aluminum) or razor wire.
      2. Sharp stakes make the fall far worse
    6. Good locks with deadbolts on strong doors
    7. Crimsafe window screen
    8. Hurricane shutters
  6. Distance is your friend – keep the bad guys as far away as possible
    1. Important to organize quickly
      1. How you organize will vary by area
    2. An organized neighborhood protection team allows people to focus on producing food and restoring civilization rather than having everyone focused on defense.
    3. Notification to the outside areas
      1. Signs at key checkpoints
      2. Manned guard posts at key checkpoints
      3. Night patrol (basically, a local police force)
      4. Curfew with “shoot on sight” policy
  7. Civil Responsibilities
    1. Establish a system to ensure that things don’t get out of hand
      1. Vigilante systems are vital, but they must be carefully controlled, or they can be used for personal grudges, revenge, and power.
      2. Careful records need to be kept, with witnesses, etc., when appropriate
  8. Dogs
    1. Big dogs vs. Little dogs
      1. Feed required
      2. Alarm vs Attack
      3. Natural defender vs. Trained defender
      4. For trained attack – big investment in training time
    2. Don’t get a dog if home defense is your only, or even primary motivation
      1. A dog, even a working dog, is not just a tool
      2. Requires a pack relationship. Dog needs to see itself as being a part of the pack, and must see you as the Alpha figure.
  9. Other alarm animals
    1. Geese
    2. Guinea fowl

February 2019 Meeting

February 9, 2019

  • Grand Solar Minimum, Part 2 – Q & A, Prep Considerations, etc. Presented by Charles Scott.
  • Seed Bank Project

Charles Scott answering questions about Grand Solar Minimum

This meeting was mostly a re-cap of last month’s meeting, followed by a question and answer time. Although much of the program was a repeat of last month’s program, it is a complex topic, and you could see that “Ah ha!” moment when it really clicked – when people understood what is happening and the seriousness of the consequences. This is a topic that we’re going to be hearing a lot about very soon. It is just now starting to find its way into the media. Meetings like this give us a major head start in preparing for the future. That’s why we’re here.

Also discussed was the Seed Bank Project. The original idea of packaging the seed bank in cans and then making them available to members at cost proved to be impractical. Instead, we have put together complete instructions, along with links to purchase the seeds, on this page. The advantage is that you can now personalize your own Seed Bank by adding seeds that you like. The disadvantage is that you need to actually DO it rather than just paying for a completed package.

FEB 2019 meeting. Charles Scott presenting program on Grand Solar Minimum.

January 2019 Meeting

January 12, 2019

  • Grand Solar Minimum – A Basic Overview (Hint: Don’t get rid of your Winter clothing. Cold temperatures can mean drastically reduced food production.)
    Guest Speaker: Charles Scott.

For the most part, preparing for Grand Solar Minimum (GSM) is no different from prepping for any of the other civilization-threatening scenarios (EMP, CME, global war, financial collapse, etc.). Take action accordingly.


Among the top programs ever presented in our meetings, this presentation by Charles Scott clearly laid out the threat of a seriously colder climate due to cyclical changes in the amount of energy we receive from the sun. It is a complex topic made understandable, but needed a two hour session with a 10 minute break in the middle. We highly recommend that you visit Charles Scott’s web site – https://SuperGSMinfo.com/ and spend some time going through the material presented there. To get you started, this is a quick summary from the Super GSM Info site:

 


The sun is the driver of our climate. Everything in the universe, including our star, operates on a cycle. These solar cycles are noted by periods of increased and decreased energy output. Highly predictable patterns have emerged through studying the sun’s constant oscillation cycles.

Periods of increased/decreased solar output have been discovered throughout history by studying sunspot data, geology, tree ring data, volcanoes, and ice core samples. There is an ominous correlation between plagues, droughts, famine, civil unrest, war, cold weather deaths, crop failures, and the collapse of every civilization known to exist when the sun enters a period of ‘deep hibernation’ or Grand Minimum. A minor change in the sun’s output causes major changes in our fragile species.

In Nov 2018, Professor Valentina Zharkova PhD. presented a lecture indicating that our star is, in fact, beginning a descent into a Super Grand Minimum cycle. The sun’s 4 magnetic fields are swinging out of phase and the solar output is currently diminishing at a rate that’s unprecedented. No one on the planet has ever experienced what we’re about to experience. We may be on the brink of the collapse of our civilization because the sun is the driver of our climate.


 

Charles Scott will also be at our February meeting to answer questions and go into some of the issues involved in preparing for a globally colder climate, with its affect on food production being a key component.

 

Note the trends: Time between cold cycles is decreasing, and temperatures during the cold cycles are dropping sharply.

 

This is a very short term snapshot of where we are now. This is not intended to illustrate GSM, but rather to show that GSM is not some far distant event.

 

Charles Scott

Sample slides from the presentation

Meeting Notes – November 2018

November 10, 2018

  • Radio workshop
  • Armored backpack inserts

Most of the November meeting was a training session on the technical aspects of using the new radios.

The Backpack Armor Insert from Premier Body Armor was demonstrated using a Maxpedition Falcon II pack. (When ordering using this link, Volusia County Prepping receives a small commission for any purchases.)

October 2018 Meeting

October 13, 2018

  • Radio Overview
  • Things you might not have thought about that aren’t high priority, but will make life better
  • Round-Table Q&A – Growing your own food: Gardens, Chickens, and Ducks, PART 2
  • Seed Bank Project

The group buy of radios has arrived, and an overview of the radio and how to use it was led by Bud H. A more detailed radio class will be held at the November meeting.


Those of us who have been prepping for a while have probably got the basics taken care of: Food, Water, Defense, Medical, etc. What comes next?

Looking at disasters in times past, the matter of morale keeps appearing. Even when people are tired, cold, and hungry, what they really want is to feel like a civilized human again. A hot shower becomes a priceless luxury, a chocolate bar becomes something that dreams are made of, and so forth.

What would you miss? What routines are a part of your life that would make you feel civilized again?

Is coffee or tea part of your normal routine? If so, then stockpile coffee or tea, and have an efficient way to boil water. A Kelly Kettle and an alcohol (or “spirit burner”) stove, along with a small tea pot, make it possible.

What about personal grooming? It doesn’t take much to get a haircut – some good scissors, a comb, and maybe a hand trimmer. What about shaving? With an old-school double edge razor, you can easily buy a lifetime supply of double edge razor blades. Razor blades require high precision machinery and large quantities to be economical to produce – they would be a very low priority item following a collapse, and probably very difficult to obtain.

Remember that maintaining your personal appearance is not just for yourself and your family. You want to be able to lead others, and if you’re just as dirty, grubby, and unkempt as they are, they would rightly ask, “why should we listen to you?”.

Toilet paper is something that most preppers have stockpiled. At some point, though, that is going to run out. What do you do then? Washing with water is a good alternative, and the Hygienna Solo is a good way to handle that task. Having one for each person you expect to have staying with you would be a good plan.

How will you clean your clothes? A couple of square galvanized wash tubs will make that much easier, and a hand wringer (sold for use at car washes) will make it relatively efficient. Don’t forget to stockpile laundry detergent (dry keeps better than liquid).

How will you repair and alter your clothing? With a limited diet, you may soon find your clothing to be several sizes too large. Hand crank and treadle operated sewing machines are still readily available on eBay.

Demonstrated at the meeting – the Singer Model 99K, hand crank sewing machine, made in 1935, and purchased on eBay. This model was made in electric, hand-crank, and treadle versions. The basic machine is interchangeable – the electric model can have the motor removed and replaced with a hand crank mechanism. Note that the hand wheel must be slotted rather than solid; otherwise, the hand wheel must be replaced with a slotted model in order to use a hand crank. Replacement cranks are available, but they are made in China and I am told they are usually a bit rough; functional, but rough.

Are all of your medical preps focused on life-or-death matters? Yes, it’s good to be able to treat gunshot wounds and broken bones and severed arteries and deadly disease, but don’t forget about something as simple as a splinter. When you’re working with your hands, you’re going to end up with splinters and thorns and metal slivers in your skin. That makes work painful, and the threat of infection is very real. Do you have the tools to remove those splinters? Can you even see those splinters? Jewelers eye loupe lets you see what you’re working on and still have both hands to work with. Disposable blood lancets are great for those you have to dig out, and precision tweezers are needed to remove them.

Sources

Coffee and Tea
Evernew Titanium burner
Evernew Titanium cross stand
Trangia Brass burner
Trangia Brass burner with triangle stove
tea pot
Kelly Kettle

Clothes washing
ꔷ tubs (special order from a local hardware store)
Clothes wringer
ꔷ Lots of soap – laundry soap, hand soap, etc.

Toilet paper alternative
Hygienna Solo

Sewing
Hand-crank sewing machine

Grooming
Razor and blades, and shave soap
Haircut hand trimmer

Splinters, thorns, and slivers
Blood Lancets
7x eye loupe
tweezers


Food Production Round Table

Continuation of the food production round table. Click here for outline.


Seed Bank Project

Discussion on the Seed Bank Project. We will be assembling packages of garden seeds that are proven to grow well in this area. They will be packaged for long term storage and will include plant-specific information, planting and harvest times, seed saving, and other information. More information to come as the project progresses.