November 2019 Meeting Notes

November 9, 2019

  • Fire starting – flint and steel, fire plow, tender, Dakota fire pit, dealing with rain and dampness.
  • How to cook using a tripod and cast iron dutch oven and other cast iron utensils.
  • How to make a brick rocket stove
  • Alcohol stoves demo

Building a Rocket Stove

After discussion about the bulk radio purchase, the meeting began with a demonstration of how to build a rocket stove from standard concrete blocks. Dave built one and demonstrated how it works, and then showed several variations on the design. A quick search on YouTube will show various designs.

Using a Cooking Tripod

Another important aspect of primitive cooking is the use of a tripod to suspend a pot over the fire. At a time when food is scarce, the most common meal will probably be soups and stews with whatever is available at the time.

Cooking tripod with cast iron pot.

Fire-Starting Methods

Several methods of starting a fire were discussed and demonstrated.

While it is important to know various ways of starting a file, the point here is NOT to become highly skilled at using a flint and steel to start a fire. The point is realize the importance of having matches and/or a lighter so you don’t have to resort to something like flint and steel.

Have it With You

EDC Pocket kit. Outside pocket contains flashlight and spare keys.
EDC Pocket kit. Two fire-starting methods here: magnifying glass and “peanut” lighter. Also shown: S&W tactical pen, pocket knife, nail clipper, pill containers, flash drives.

Alcohol Stoves

Alcohol stoves – also called Spirit stoves – are about as simple as a cooking stove can get. There are no moving parts, no seals, and no pump. There is even a group of folks who enjoy designing and building their own alcohol stoves from things like discarded soda cans. Alcohol stoves use Denatured Alcohol, which is available by the quart or gallon in the paint section of just about any hardware store. Note that you must use Denatured Alcohol – rubbing alcohol, etc., will not work. It shouldn’t be needed, but we’ll point out here that Denatured Alcohol is a poison – not just sort of toxic, but highly toxic.

Trangia burner and stove. Weight = 7 ounces.
Trangia burner and stove assembled.
EverNew Titanium burner and stove. Weight = less than 2 ounces. Also shown is 8 ounces of Denatured Alcohol in a Stanley stainless steel flask: weight = 12 ounces.
Assembled EverNew Titanium burner and stove.

October 2019 Meeting Notes

October 12, 2019

  • Radio work – Demo, testing, and drills outside the meeting building. Be sure to bring your radios for this one.
  • Emergency radios – hand crank powered
  • Faraday cages
OCT 2019 meeting – Radio workshop. Familiarization and practice using radios from the group orders. All radios are programmed with local frequencies.

The bulk of the meeting was a workshop-style meeting going over the features and functions of the radios that were purchased in a bulk order. All radios in the group purchases have been programmed in one of two formats – one for licensed ham radio operators, and one for those who have not yet been licensed. This gives us the ability to coordinate by channel number.

Bud showed a portable antenna that is available on ebay. This link shows how to built your own 2-meter J-pole antenna using ordinary TV Twin Lead, along with the coax that will lead to your radio. Here is a YouTube video giving more details.

Hand-outs from this meeting:
SHTF Frequency List
Call Sign Key

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. Information and downloads available here.

Also discussed, but not part of the scheduled topics:

  • Seminole pumpkin – Stephen brought in two that were harvested last Fall and have been outside in a pole barn since that time. Both are still in as-picked condition. Scott described how his family prepares Seminole Pumpkin (he had some for supper just before the meeting).
  • Discussion on ordering radios and on the upcoming September meeting.

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.

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 – 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