Tomorrow is going to be just like today - until it isn't.

Author: Admin (Page 1 of 5)

Notes from AUG 2022 Meeting

Outline Notes for the meeting agenda:

• Where we go from here
◦ Web site
◦ Email list (subscribe on web site – everyone here should already be on the list) Email List is now closed
◦ Video channel – YouTube, but with their censoring, we might end up on another platform
◦ Your local tribe – it’s up to you now.

Review of the basics, in no particular order
• Food – short, intermediate, long term
◦ grocery store
◦ long term storage
◦ growing your own (Why chickens might not be a good plan)
◦ Don’t forget pets – dogs are a vital tool for alerting, psychological aspect is very important.
◦ Add some comfort food – again, the psychological aspect can be critical.
• Cooking
◦ DIY solar oven
◦ Rocket stove
◦ Propane, alcohol, campfire
◦ Cast iron cookware
• Water
• Shelter – haven’t talked much about it, and it can be hugely complicated. So important, yet so individualized that it’s really beyond the scope of what we can do here.
◦ Clan, Septic, Security, Density
• Light – got to be able to see at night
◦ Rechargeable with the means to recharge
◦ Outdoor solar-charged LED lights on a board
◦ Oil lamps work great, but generate heat. Nice in cool weather.
◦ Candles are a nice touch, but not a great choice for lighting
◦ Area lighting (dim) vs. Spot lighting (brighter is better)
◦ Night vision
• Defense
◦ At a minimum, everyone carries a sidearm. Everywhere. All the time.
◦ A gun without a way to carry it is a hobby. Holster / sling for everything.
◦ Safe gun handling
◦ LASR – Laser Activated Shot Reporter for practice
◦ Social interaction while armed – keep it holstered, keep it on a sling, hands off. Accessible, but not ready for an instant pull on the trigger. Don’t make yourself a threatening target – just an armed person.
• First aid / Medical – Things like wheelchair, bedside commode, walker, OTC meds, etc. will likely be more important than tourniquets and major trauma stuff for this area (DIY surgery is for survivalist books and movies – not real life). Same with things like clean sheets and towels. Prevention becomes a huge issue – far more important than it is at this point. Soap!
◦ Colloidal Silver
• Sanitation
◦ body, dishes, and clothes washing – clothes line and clothes pins, plastic dish pans (so many now depend on electric dish washers), dish soap.
◦ soap is cheap now – Hand washing, wound washing
◦ toilet paper stores very well
◦ Hygienna Solo or similar for when the TP runs out.
• Communications
◦ Listen, don’t talk
◦ 2-way comms are for organized groups. If you don’t know who is on the other end AND who else is listening, then don’t transmit. Low power is often better for our purposes than high power.
◦ Low Tech – Whistle, Bell, Horn, Flag or Poster, “sandwich board” sign
◦ Neighborhood bulletin board for local notices

Divide into groups:
• Brevard
• DeLand
• DeLeon Springs
• Deltona
• Edgewater
• Flagler
• New Smyrna Beach
• Orlando
• Port Orange
This is your last chance for a face-to-face at a VCP meeting, so make the best of it. Find out who in your group wants to stay in touch. Find out who needs more people and who needs a better location. IMPORTANT: Pick one person who will coordinate things in your group. This is for 5 minutes, followed by our 10-minute break, so use the time wisely.

Security and local intel – keep your mouth shut
• Reason for shutting down VCP
◦ Werewolf Preppers (primary reason)
◦ Government snooping (secondary reason)

• ** We want avoid getting into specific threats and the coming chaos.
• ** We’re looking for help from everyone here, we’ll chime in where we can, but there is a lot of knowledge here that needs to be shared – which is what VCP has always been about.
• “What, if anything, do you see as the weak link for you that you could use some help with?”
• Random Last bits of advice:
▪ Everyone’s situation is different, so don’t try to follow someone else’s list or advice. Be very skeptical of those who view prepping through the lens of their military experience – it is a vastly different situation. “When a hammer is your only tool, every problem looks like a nail.”
▪ Modern civilization is a very complex machine. Once it shuts down, it will take a VERY long time to start back up. If ever. Stockpiling and storage are a bridge. Look for resilient, sustainable solutions and ways to adapt when there are no solutions.
▪ When deciding on what crops to grow, look at yield per area. Quantity counts.
▪ Don’t forget about mental well-being.
• When people lose hope, they die. Remember what we lost and what we must build again.
• Include some comfort food, good books to read (not prepping stuff), board games.
• Consider having some outside games such as croquet or volleyball or similar.
• If you have a musical instrument, make sure it’s in tune and in good working order.
• Make a real effort to maintain good personal hygiene – keep your clothes neat and clean, shave if that’s your norm, keep your hair cut, washed, and combed.

I’ll Just Come To Your House

“If this all falls apart, then I’ll just come over to your house!” – usually said with a smile and a nervous laugh.

Many of us who have been into preparedness for a long time have heard this. Usually it’s said with a laugh – a forced and unconvincing laugh. Many who do are serious, though they pretend not to be. So, how do we respond? Maybe it’s a close friend or family member. Maybe it’s a fellow church member. Maybe it’s the kind neighbor living right next to you.

It’s a serious matter with serious consequences, but you need to think about it and decide how you will respond. We’ll look at some responses for you to consider, but first a few key points:

  • In such a situation, we can assume that there is no reliable “fixed it” date. There won’t be any grocery store resupply.
  • You are responsible for your own family – just as others are responsible for theirs.
  • Every meal that goes to someone else is a meal that you are taking away from your own family.
  • You had no special, secret knowledge. Everyone else could have chosen to prepare, but they chose not to. It was a very conscious choice.
  • Others spent their income on things other than food and other necessities, but they didn’t offer to take you on their vacations or out to eat or loan you their nice new car, etc.

THEM: “What are you going to do? Shoot me?”
YOU: “Well, what are YOU going to do? Rob me? Take food from my family? That’s the real question.”

Let’s use a different example: Let’s say that you chose to buy stock in a company that did very well. I chose not to. Are you going to share your profits with me because you made the right choice and I made the wrong choice?

Charity is a good thing, but not when it endangers your own family. Give someone some food, and you have almost certainly started a long chain of events. They WILL come back, and they will often bring others. Telling them “no more” will be met with anger – and probably violence at some point. Past charity will be forgotten. They are hungry. You have food.


What CAN you do?

IF you have sufficient food, and IF you have very good reason to believe that they are reasonably trustworthy, THEN consider trading food for something of value that you need or that can be traded to someone else, such as sterling silver flatware or “junk silver” coins or other silver (NOT silver plate). Another option is food in exchange for labor. In every case, though, your own family comes first. Always. No exceptions.

Think about it now. It is very much a part of your preparedness planning.

Crop Spotlight – Field Peas

White Acre Peas. Photo:

Field Peas are a variety of bean also known as Southern Pea, Cowpea, or Crowder Pea (we’re using the different names interchangeably here). Though we’ll focus on the variety known as White Acre Pea, the same generally applies to the other varieties of Southern Pea. This traditional Southern delicacy has the characteristics that earn it a top spot in the prepper’s garden in this area.

  • Drought-tolerant
  • Nitrogen-fixing legume
  • Does well even in poor soil (important in a fertilizer shortage)
  • Germination rate: 80% for four years, 50% for seven years
  • Easy to pick – pods are produced at the top of the plant
  • High nutritional value (see list below)
  • Stores well by canning, drying, and (when available) freezing
  • Sweet, nutty flavor


Nutrition Summary *:

  • Protein 24.8%
  • Fat 1.9%
  • Fiber 6.3%
  • Carbohydrate 63.6%
  • Thiamine 0.00074%
  • Riboflavin 0.00042%
  • Niacin 0.00281%
  • Average of 8 varieties of cowpeas.*


Planting Notes:

  • Planting Dates for North Florida – March through July
  • Yield per 10 feet of row – 8 pounds
  • Plants per 10 feet of row – 20 to 60
  • Days to harvest – 75 to 90
  • Plant spacing in a row – 2 to 6 inches
  • Row spacing – 12 inches
  • Seed depth –  1 to 1-1/2 inches


We currently have three varieties being evaluated in our West Volusia County garden: White Acre Pea, Mississippi Purplehull Pea, and Zipper Cream Pea. Purplehull and Zipper Cream have the advantage of being nematode-resistant, which is important in our sandy soil.

Seed Source: Hoss Tools

Southern peas are a group of vegetables that are actually part of the bean family. They were first cultivated in India and Africa, and were a staple of ancient Greek and Roman diets. There are three types of Southern peas: crowder, cream, and black-eyed. Crowders have a robust flavor, cream peas are more mild, and the flavor of black-eyed peas is somewhere in between.

Cowpea can be used at all stages of growth as a vegetable crop. The tender green leaves are an important food source in Africa and are prepared as a pot herb, like spinach. Immature snapped pods are used in the same way as snapbeans, often being mixed with other foods. Green cowpea seeds are boiled as a fresh vegetable, or may be canned or frozen. Dry mature seeds are also suitable for boiling and canning.*

At maturity, peas will be pale green when picked fresh. White Acre Pea is a southern delicacy with a mild, nutty flavor and a creamy texture. White Acre is a great pea for preserving. Blanch briefly, vacuum seal and freeze to have delicious peas all winter long, or can in jars for long-term storage.

Blanching stops the action of naturally occurring enzymes that help them ripen. To blanch peas, add them to boiling water, cook for 90 seconds, and immediately plunge them into an ice-water bath to stop the cooking process.

Cowpeas are an in-breeding plant, so maintaining purity of seeds requires no special attention.

The downside? Field peas are nearly always eaten as peas, which means they need to be shelled. Shelling has often been used as a “front porch social,” but shelling by hand can be a tedious, and time-consuming activity. Mechanical shellers are available, from small hand-crank models to electric commercial-grade shellers. One key to making shelling easier is to make sure they are picked at the right stage. This is often done by feel – too flexible, and they aren’t ready yet; when they are fairly rigid, they should be ready to shell.


Acre Peas, closeup showing how the pods are at the top of the plant, making picking easy. (West Volusia County, May 22)


Acre Peas showing plant structure and growth pattern. (West Volusia County, May 22) [Sharp eyes will spot one okra plant that isn’t where it is supposed to be]

References and Resources:
* Source: Alternative Field Crops Manual

Seeds – Saving, Storing, Handling, and Planting

Before we look at seeds, let’s answer an obvious question: “I don’t have space for a garden, so why should I be interested in seeds?” We’ll answer that with another question: “Do you live near a golf course, near a park or a ball field, near any open fields?” If the answer is “yes” – and nearly everyone can answer “yes” on that one – then you live near a potential food supply. It’s a food supply IF you have seeds and know how to use them.

Another question: “Does that mean that being prepared means that I need to spend my money on specialized seed planters and other tools?” The answer to that is “No, but you should have the basic knowledge of seeds and how to use them and work with them. On the other hand, if you have those specialized tools – and others don’t, your services would be in great demand during a food shortage.”


Seed Saving and Storage

Always remember that seeds are a living organism. They are in a type of suspended animation, and their useful lifespan can vary greatly depending on how they are stored. There are three key factors in seed storage: Time, Temperature, and Moisture.

Seed To Seed, by Suzanne Ashworth, should be on any seed saver’s bookshelf. In addition to providing detailed information about seed saving, it includes important information about 160 different vegetables. Highly recommended.


  • Some seeds – onions, for example – have a very short lifespan (typically, one year), while others can last much longer under the right conditions.
  • All seeds will degrade in their germination rate over time, no matter how well they are stored; however, under the right conditions, some seeds (such as wheat) can germinate after hundreds of years – and perhaps longer.
  • A Seed Bank program should include regular rotation so that seeds are always as fresh as possible.
  • Even if an old seed sprouts, some sources say that the plants from those old seeds are not going to be as strong and healthy as those from fresh seeds.
  • With all that said, don’t throw away old seeds until you have replaced them with fresher ones. Though germination rate degrades over time, some seeds will still sprout long after their stated expire date.



  • As with food storage, heat degrades the viability, while cold extends the viability.
  • The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located on an island in Norway, keeps their seeds stored at -18° C.
  • Keeping seeds stored in your refrigerator or freezer will prolong their viability.
    • When taking them out of the refrigerator or freezer, give them plenty of time to go to room temperature before opening to prevent condensation on the seeds.



  • This is right at the top of the list when it comes to seed viability factors. Drier is better.
  • One study concluded that a moisture content of 19%-27% is best, while another concluded that 10%-11% is best.
  • Without the equipment and scientific instruments being available to us, our best bet is to just go with as dry as we can get them.
  • When drying seeds, do not add excessive heat. Setting them out in the sun on a low-humidity day is fine – drying them in an oven is not.



Preparing Seeds for Saving

There are two basic types of seeds and how they are prepared: Wet and Dry.

Wet seeds

  • Plants such as tomatoes, pumpkins, have “wet seeds”.
  • For photos of the process click here.
  1. Select the best quality fruit or vegetables, and let them fully ripen. Some varieties are best when allowed to rot.
  2. Scoop seeds into a bucket of water, and stir to separate the seeds from the slurry as much as possible.
  3. Set it aside for a few days to allow the mixture to begin to ferment. This breaks down the material surrounding the seeds.
  4. When you can easily separate the seed from the coating with your fingers, it is ready for the next step.
  5. Pour off what is floating on the surface. The viable seeds will sink to the bottom.
  6. Pour off as much remaining water as possible, while stirring it up enough to pour off the vegetable matter at the same time.
  7. Add more water and repeat until you have clean water with clean seeds at the bottom.
  8. Pour off all water, lay the seeds out on a paper towel or smooth cloth to dry.
  9. During the drying process, shuffle the seeds around so they can dry on both sides of the seed.

Dry Seeds

  • Plants that have seeds in a pod (beans, peas, okra, etc.) and seeds that are exposed (most flowers), have “dry seeds”.
  1. Leave the seed pods on the plant until they are fully mature. Allow them to dry on the plant, if possible.
  2. Remove the seeds from the pods and set them on a screen or smooth cloth to fully dry.


Storing Seeds

  • Note: If seeds are going to be used fairly soon, the following steps are probably over-kill.
  • Store seeds in an air-tight container. For larger quantities, a quart or gallon paint can (new and unused, of course!) works well.
  • If available, and if the container size allows, include a desiccant packet to keep the seeds as dry as possible.
  • If possible, store the seed container in a refrigerator or freezer.
  • Always remember to label your seed containers with both the type and variety of seeds and the date.


Handling Seeds

  • Larger seeds, such as beans, corn, and pumpkin, can be handled with no tools needed.
  • Small seeds, such as tomato and pepper, need specialized tools to make sure that one seed goes where it is supposed to go.
  • The hand vacuum seeder (Amazon link) is designed for picking up the smallest of seeds, one at a time. It can be a bit tedious, but it is a very effective way to pick up and dispense one tiny seed at a time. Mainly used with seedling trays.
  • Shake Seed Dispenser (Amazon link) has a dial to set for different seed sizes. Very affordable, and works reasonably well, but takes practice.
  • There are other types of small seed dispensers – some work well, some not so well, but all do the job when used for what they are designed for.

Hand vacuum seeder


Shake seed dispenser

Planting Seeds

  • The larger the number of seeds to be planted, the more important it is to have the right tools.
    • Any seed can be planted by hand without any tools, but if you are planting in large enough quantities to be a realistic food supply, then efficiency becomes a major issue.
    • When we plant to provide a significant part of our food supply, it’s all about quantity. A tomato plant in a pot on your patio doesn’t count.
  • There are three main types of walk-behind seed planters:
    • Earthway Seeder (Amazon Link)
      • least expensive (about $133)
      • light-weight (easy to push, but harder to maintain straight rows)
      • uses a vertical seed plate that cannot be modified or custom-made
      • Works very well when using seeds of a uniform size and shape that exactly fit the seed plate
      • When seed and seed plate are not a fairly exact match, a row can have many seeds dumped together or skipped areas.
    • Hoss Seeder (Hoss Tools link)
      • Mid-range price (about $390)
      • Uses a horizontal rotating seed plate
      • Seed plates are easily customized. Blank seed plates and drill template available.
      • Fairly heavy (38 pounds) and long frame make it easy to maintain straight rows.
      • The ability to customize the seed plates to the seeds you are using is a huge advantage, and can make it very accurate and reliable.
      • The Hoss is widely used by market garden operations
    • Jang JP-1 Push Seeder (Johnny’s Selected Seed link)
      • High-end price (about $525)
      • Uses a roller rather than a seed plate
      • Very accurate seeding when using a roller carefully matched to the seed
      • Seed spacing is set independent of the roller, making it easy to adjust seed spacing
      • Able to plant double, triple, or more wide rows
      • Rollers can be customized, but require machine tools
      • The Jang is the standard for commercial operations
  • The “Jab” planter is a type of one-seed-at-a-time planter
    • There are a number of different Jab Planter designs.
    • Some Jab planters are entirely manual, while others have some mechanical seed handling.
    • Primary benefit is being able to plant while standing straight up.
    • The simple designs handle the widest variety of seeds with nothing to adjust or change.
    • Excellent choice for filling in empty spaces for less than 100% germination
    • Widely used in third-world countries
    • An improvised Jab planter can be made with a piece of PVC pipe. Seeds are dropped through the pipe right to where you want it without having to bend over. Much faster and easier if you have no other planter.

Earthway Seeder


Hoss Garden Seeder


Jang JP-1 Seeder


Simple Jab Planter.

NOTE: Instructions and dimensions for making this seeder will be in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.

Simple DIY Jab Planter made from PVC parts and a wooden dowel.


All parts came from Lowes, except for the Wye, which is from Amazon.


View when in use.


Bottom end


Top end


DIY Jab Planter – Simplified design (Photo: Pinterest)

Rainwater Harvesting Projects

Several Volusia County Prepping members have built rainwater harvesting systems. This is an overview of some of these systems and how they were put together. Note that each system is built to meet the needs of that situation. There is no “one right way” to do this.

System 1

Input divided between two independent barrels. Leaf Eater and First Flush used to keep the water clean.


System 2

Water is collected from a 12×24 shed. Water goes into a 55 gallon barrel, then the overflow goes into a 1550 gallon tank. The 55 gallon barrel serves to allow any solids time to settle to the bottom, and makes it easier to fill containers when the water level is low. Leaf Eater and First Flush are used to keep water clean.


Storage tank wrapped in reflective tarp to reduce heat build-up.


Using a 2″ hole saw and drill press to make a 1-1/2″ intake adapter. Works best if the centering drill bit is removed from the hole saw – otherwise it is difficult to adjust to find the exact center.


Before and after the center was drilled out.


1-1/2″ pipe glued to the 2″ Bung Cap with DAP Tank Bond epoxy. Toothpicks were used to center and align it while applying and curing the epoxy.


After the epoxy cured, silicone caulking was applied to seal the joint on both ends. Masking tape was used to keep the ends clean so a PVC elbow would fit over it.


System 3

IBC tank supported on wooden foundation.


Spigot parts


Assembled and installed water spigot


Height is set to allow easy filling of buckets and other containers.


System 4

55 gallon barrels set up against a 12′ wide shed.


Base set up to hold 55 gallon barrels. 2×6 boards on concrete Deck Blocks.


Barrels as-delivered from . Be sure to include Lift Gate service when selecting delivery options.


Rainwater Harvesting Meeting Notes (SEP 2021)


Parts Used

  • This list of parts is from several projects, so don’t think you need to get all of this. Find what you need for your project.
  • PVC pipe and connectors and other misc. parts came from Lowes or Home Depot.

Hose, 5′ – Amazon
1 1/2″ PVC Bulkhead fitting – Amazon
1 1/2″ Slip/NPT adapter – Amazon
Stainless Steel Garden Hose to x 3/4″ Male NPT adapter- Amazon
3/4″ Slip x FHT PVC Hose-to-Pipe Fitting – Amazon
3/4″ Shut Off Valve GHT Thread Stainless Steel – Amazon
Leaf Eater – Amazon
First Flush Diverter, 3″ – Amazon
Stainless Steel Rain Barrel Spigot – Amazon
Rainpal Products – Amazon
2″ Bung Cap Fine Thread Plastic Drum Plug with Gasket – Amazon
275 Gallon IBC tank – Tractor Supply
Norwesco 1,550 gallon water tank (Various sizes available) – Tractor Supply
Plastic Drum with Lid – 55 Gallon, Open Top, Black – Uline
1″ Round Open Screen Vent – Amazon
2″ Round Open Screen Vent – Amazon

Everyone Can Do Something

Several decades ago, I put together my “militia kit”. Inspired by the Minutemen and their sense of duty, I vowed to always be prepared to come to the aid of my nation and my people. That was then – this is now. I’m 68 years old with bad knees and six little ones who call me “Grandpa”. Seasons change, and so must I.

The plate carrier with those heavy rifle plates, loaded down with M-14 magazines has been put away to perhaps supply a younger man at some future time.

It has been replaced by a Level III-A vest stocked with trauma gear and an “EMS” ID panel, along with an additional belt kit. It’s been a long time since I was a Fireman and EMT (I took one of the first EMT classes offered in Florida), but the basic knowledge and experience never goes away. Are there younger, more experienced men who would be better at this? Yes, of course, but I’m here and they’re not.

Dealing with bad guys has been replaced by caring for the good guys. Will it ever be used? Probably not – just as the plate carrier was never used, but that’s not the point. Each of us has to be ready to do what we know needs to be done, regardless of the probability that we will be called upon to do it.

That’s just how it works for me. Your situation will be different, but everyone can do something.

Meeting Notes – NOV 2021

Alternative Food Storage Strategies

  • Food doesn’t have to be freeze dried to be a good long term storage food.
  • If you have a dehydrator, use it. If not, then get one and use it.
  • Plan on a minimum of 2,000 calories per person per day.
  • DAK hams are one of the “standard” food storage items.
  • Beans and Rice are both cheap and nutritious, and a food storage staple.


From Lawn To Garden – Turning grass into a productive garden (.ODP file)

Security, Part 1 – Neighborhood and Perimeter (.ODP file)

Security, Part 2 – Ideas for protecting your home (.PPTX file)

*Note: .ODP files are Open Document Presentation – an open source version of PowerPoint.

October 2021 Meeting Notes

Building Relationships Among Preppers (.PPT file)

Stopping The Bleed When There Is No 911 To Call (.ODP file)

Litters – Carrying the Sick and Injured (.ODP file)

*Note: .ODP files are Open Document Presentation – an open source version of PowerPoint.

Meeting Notes:

1 Opening
2 Continued discussion
2.1 Overview: a) Who are we concerned with? b) Definitions for Tribe Building project, c) Sponsoring new members to VCP
2.2 Concern is mainly would-be thieves rather than government
2.2.1 We far more closely resemble the local garden club than a militia made up of physically fit military vets in their 20’s and 30’s.
2.2.2 In the overall scheme of things we would be extremely low on any government interest priority list. We are simply not a threat to anyone, and talk of government confiscating our stored food is theoretical rather than realistic. They would be looking for large scale food sources such as grocery stores, not the family-sized food storage preppers should have. They would be looking for food that is distributeable (MREs) or suitable for large scale feeding programs. Neither of these typically make up a significant part of preppers’ food storage.
2.3 Definitions of Tribe and Clan
2.3.1 These definitions are quite loose, with plenty of room for exceptions. They are based on historical terms that most closely match the situation.
2.3.2 Use whatever terms you want for your own group – we are using these terms here so that we’re speaking the same language when making connections.
2.3.3 Clan – those living on a single piece of property, either in the house or camped on the property. Under the direct authority of the head of the household (in Scotland, it would be the Clan Chief). The word “clann” is Scottish Gaelic for “Children”. Typically, a family group – related by blood or marriage Includes others “adopted” into the clan (“Septs”)
2.3.4 Tribe – A group of Clans, typically located near each other, but may be connected in other ways.
2.4 Anyone new coming must be sponsored by a current member. “New” means initial contact. Long-time subscribers may be added to the list to attend meetings and become a member.
2.4.1 Send an email (you can just reply to one of the regular VCP emails you have received), and include some basic information about who you want to sponsor. Name, how long you’ve known them, how you got connected, and anything else you think might be relevant.
2.4.2 The person being sponsored must attend at least 3 meetings with you before they are classified as a full member.
2.4.3 Exceptions? Contact us and we’ll figure it out from there.

Recommendations for a CB radio setup can be found on the Radio Quick Start page.

« Older posts