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. Premier currently has a holiday sale going on with 15% off all orders. Use the coupon code WINTER15.

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.

 

The Hidden Fallout Shelter

Imagine buying a house, and then discovering a fallout shelter hidden among the overgrown back yard. That’s what happened with a house in DeLand. For reasons that are obvious to any prepper, we cannot disclose the name of the owner or the exact location, but it is in or near DeLand. When the new owners started looking for a vaguely-named building that was on the property description, it took three attempts searching the property to find it. Among the undergrowth was a rusted wheelbarrow turned upside down. Beneath that was a rotting sheet of plywood. When the plywood was removed, a door and stairway was revealed.

Especially during the 1960’s, fallout shelters were a popular option in homes. This is the fifth fallout shelter in this area that I am aware of. Since people are generally very quiet about their existence, it’s a safe bet that they are far more common than one might think.

Undergrowth as viewed from grassy area.
Undergrowth pulled away to expose the plywood cover.
With the plywood removed and the door unlatched, we can see the entrance. The mirror propped in the corner allows those inside the shelter to see anyone attempting to enter.
Interior view.
Ventilation duct. The angle prevents radiation from reaching the interior. There is an electric fan that provides fresh air. This is switched to battery power if utility power is not available.

Solar Minimum – Current Status

Above: The TIMED satellite monitoring the temperature of the upper atmosphere.

Today’s issue of SpaceWeather.com reports on the Solar Minimum that we are now entering.

THE CHILL OF SOLAR MINIMUM: The sun is entering one of the deepest Solar Minima of the Space Age. Sunspots have been absent for most of 2018, and the sun’s ultraviolet output has sharply dropped. New research shows that Earth’s upper atmosphere is responding.

“We see a cooling trend,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center. “High above Earth’s surface near the edge of space, our atmosphere is losing heat energy. If current trends continue, the upper atmosphere could soon set a Space Age record for cold.”

The Grand Solar Minimum (GSM) will be the topic of an upcoming meeting as soon as we can schedule it. In the mean time, this PDF is a formal paper presented at the Actuaries Summit in Sydney, Australia; it gives a very detailed overview of what GSM is, and how it is projected to affect us.

Meeting Notes – September 2018

September 8, 2018

  • Colloidal Silver demonstration
  • Round-Table Q&A – Growing your own food: Gardens, Chickens, and Ducks, PART 1
Potatoes, Squash, Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, Okra.
Mother hen and her chicks.
Baby ducks and geese.

Colloidal Silver – Scott gave a demonstration, including what you will need and how to get started. The program outline and links are in this PDF doc of the program.

Food Production Roundtable – Stephen and Scott led a question and answer discussion about gardening. This is planned to be a regular feature of the meetings.

 

Meeting Notes August 2018

August 11, 2018

  • Demo of Rogan Tools, by Mike Rogan
  • Tools for efficient vegetable gardening
  • Turning a lawn into a food-producing garden
  • Tower gardening and container gardening
  • Authenticating gold and silver coins
  • Group Radio Purchase

Rogan Tools – Mike Rogan gave a demo of the tools that he produces. These are very tough, made-in-the-USA, multi-use tools. Each tool is designed to do the four functions shown in the graphic below:

Mike Rogan (left) showing tools to John.

 


Tools for Large Scale Gardening

A well-stocked garden tool shed will make gardening far more efficient.
An American hoe and an African hoe – both of current manufacture, but a world of difference. Two lessons: 1) Quality matters, and 2) It is possible to improvise if you failed to plan ahead.
Gardening tools demonstrated at the meeting

 

Tools to Consider:

  • Note: Be sensible; you don’t need everything;
    start slowly; buy quality
  • Work gloves, leather and rubberized
  • Hat, long sleeve shirt, sunglasses, sweat band
  • Grubbing Hoe – breaking new ground
  • Broad fork – breaking new ground
  • 4-tine Spading fork – breaking new ground
  • Standard round shovel – “everything”
  • Short small shovel – transplanting, digging potatoes
  • Scuffle hoe / stirrup hoe – weeding
  • Wheel hoe – weeding, cultivating, planting prep
  • Earthway (or equivalent) Seeder – row planting
  • Jab seeder – large seeds, more control, slower
  • Landscape rake or iron rake – seed bed prep
  • Speedling trays – seed starting
  • Harvesting bucket – frees up both hands for picking
  • Garden knife – harvesting, general work
  • Pruning shears – pruning and harvesting
  • Garden trowel – planting and transplanting

 

Maintenance:

  • Wash tools after each use
  • Store in clean, dry place
  • Thin coat of oil if needed
  • Keep a file handy to sharpen tools

 

Tool Sources:

EasyDigging.com – excellent source for a wide variety of top quality hand tools for gardening.

Tools:
Meadow Creature Broadfork – as close to an indestructible tool as it gets. Manual tiller for breaking new ground and preparing ground for gardening. Expensive, but your great-grandchildren will probably still be using it.

Hoss Wheel Hoe – The key to weed control is to cut them down when they first come up, and then keep cutting them down. The Hoss Wheel Hoe is perfect for running down between the rows. In our sandy soil, you can weed almost as fast as you can walk.

ProHoe Scuffle Hoe – ProHoe tools are made from recycled disc blades, and are about as tough as it gets. All of their tools should last a life time (or more) if given reasonable care.

Push-Pull Hoe – similar to the scuffle hoe; used the same way.

Harvesting Bucket – An ordinary bucket or basket will work just fine, but these allow you to use both hands to harvest, it keeps the bucket close to you and not swinging around. Well worth it if you have a large garden or more than a couple of fruit trees. It’s also easier on your back since you don’t have to keep setting the bucket down and picking it up to move. Very heavy duty construction.

Earthway Garden Seeder – There are other seeders available, and for some applications, the Earthway might not be the ideal choice; however, for general garden use for average size seeds (most of what is planted in the Central Florida area), you can’t go wrong with the Earthway seeder. They have been around for a long time, replacement parts are readily available, and it is a simple design in a rugged package.

Speedling Tray (72 Cell) – One of the fastest, most efficient ways to start larger quantities of seeds. These are made from Styrofoam.

Seed Starting Tray (162 Cell) – Injection molded plastic from Hoss Tools.

Seed Sower – Easily handle small seeds.

 

Marilyn described how tower gardening works – the advantages and disadvantages. If you are away traveling, this might not be a good choice for you. If you’re usually at home, tower gardening is a good way to grow a lot in very little space. Marilyn does a good bit of traveling, so she is selling hers. Please contact her directly if you are interested (members-only email went out with details on this).

The local source is Living Towers in Eustis.

 

Authenticating Silver coins:

Fisch System – The “gold standard” (pardon the pun) for authenticating most mint-issued bullion coins. It checks circumference, thickness, and weight. If a coin falls outside the specifications for the coin, then it is most likely a fake.

If your plans include the potential for a currency collapse, then having some silver on hand would be a good idea. Keep in mind, though, that silver and gold are not an “investment” – they are simply hard currency.

Mint-issued bullion coins vs. “Rounds” – A “round” is a “coin” made by a private company. There is typically a lower premium on rounds, which is what makes them attractive. The initial purchase price is lower than a mint-issued coin. The problem is that this also means that the over-all value is lower than a mint-issued coin. When a coin is sold or used to purchase something, the added premium that was initially paid is still calculated into the value of the coin. The main point, though, is that a mint-issued coin can be authenticated, where a round can not without additional testing. This is less of a factor for silver than for gold, since the value of gold makes it a high-value target for fraud. Coins and bars sold as “gold” have been found that have a Tungsten core and a thin gold outer shell – yet another reason why gold is not the best choice for economic preparedness.

Summary: Having a means to authenticate silver coins would be valuable capability – even if you only have a small handful of it yourself. Authentication would be a valued service should hard currency become “the new standard”. While gold gets the headlines, it is far too valuable per ounce to be of much practical use – silver is far more useful, and silver coins are still quite recognizable to people.

 

Discussion went well beyond the topic of authentication. How and where to buy precious metal coins was a popular topic. One source that several members have had experience with is True Metals Group (located here in Florida). Others have purchased coins at gun and coin shows, and at store-front coin dealers.

Before buying bullion coins, check to be sure that your bank safe deposit box is currently paid up. If you will need a larger size, then it’s time to upgrade.

 

Gold and Silver Price History
[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com] [Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com] [Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]
[Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com] [Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com] [Most Recent Quotes from www.kitco.com]

 


 

Group Radio Purchase – Bud described the radios that will be purchased as part of the group order. This is the same radio as the previous group order several years ago.

July 2018 Meeting

  • Pandemics are in the news again – what really happened during the Ebola epidemic? Guest speaker is a missionary in Sierra Leone and was there during that time.
  • Living in very primitive conditions – Life in the African bush, not just “Off grid”, but “No grid”.

Photos from the Gather The Fragments missionary project in Sierra Leone, West Africa:

This program was videoed and posted on our YouTube channel.

June 2018 Meeting

June 9, 2018

  • Sanitation – How to stay healthy in a crisis
  • How to make lime

Distilled Water

  • Distilling water without electricity
  • Used for making colloidal silver, maintaining batteries, etc.
  • Demo of D-Stil Lite destiller

Sanitation

  • Luffa gourd scrubbing sponge. This plant is well suited to this area. It is a prolific vine that produces beautiful yellow flowers. Immature fruit can be eaten, and the mature fruit are used for scrubbing. Seeds will be available at the next meeting.
  • Soap nuts – used for soap.
  • Fly control – fly paper, fly strips.
  • Vinegar fly trap

Dealing With Death

  • A major disaster will, by definition, result in massive numbers of deaths.
  • Stages of death – temperature rises, then falls; pooling of the blood; rigor mortis.
  • Approach with caution – what caused the death? Don’t become a casualty yourself.
  • Burial is the most efficient way to safely dispose of a body. Cremation requires enormous amount of fuel.
  • Deaths must be recorded with witness signatures. Bury personal effects with the body.

May 2018 Meeting

May 12, 2018

  • Demo: Packing Dry Goods in Mylar lined 5 gallon pails with oxygen absorbers
    Bring 50# of rice or beans to store
  • Demo: Cooking beans in an Instant Pot for dehydration
  • Dehydrators
Five gallon buckets of rice packed in Mylar bags with O2 absorbers added – sealed and ready to be closed.
Heat sealer used to seal the Mylar bags. An ordinary iron can also be used, but these heat sealers are clearly better and easier.
Instant Pot – a high-tech pressure cooker being used to prepare dried beans for canning.
Beans canned as part of the demo at this meeting.

Also Discussed:

DAK hams – high quality, long lasting, available at CVS (review)

Sources:

Mylar Bags, 5 gallon, with zip lock closure – Discount Mylar Bags

What’s Growing in Volusia County gardens now? April 30, 2018

 
 
What are you growing to feed yourself and your family?
 

Peach (Florida Prince) Most have already been picked at this time.
Collard Greens (Georgia Southern)
Figs (Brown Turkey)
Pole Beans along fence (Blue Lake)
Sweet Potato (Centennial) planted along fence
Persimmon (Fuyu)
Honey bees to keep things pollinated and provide honey.
Pole Beans (Kentucky Wonder). Now on the third picking cycle.
Tomato (Homestead 24)
Green peppers (Carolina Wonder)
Eggplant (Florida High Bush)
Cotton (Red foliated) – just for fun.
Okra (Clemson Spineless, Heavy Hitter strain) For information about the Heavy Hitter strain of okra, click here. This is a great example of one man experimenting and developing a more productive okra.
Squash (Tromboncino)
Last, but not least – Zinnias. For no other reason than my wife likes them.

Click here to see what this garden looked like one month ago (March 28, 2018)