Sunday, November 29, 2009

Survival Snacks

Trail mix is a very simple snack food combination and one of Mrs. RW’s favorites. It can also be a useful food item in almost any situation. It is relatively easy to make and with a variety of ingredients can also be quite healthy for you. It doesn’t require cooking and is easy to carry with you wherever you go. The list of ingredients that can be included in trail mix also makes it an excellent choice for maintaining overall nutrition and controlling your hunger. Making trail mix is easily done and simply involves mixing a few basic ingredients together in whatever type of combination you may decide upon to suit your individual taste.
The different types of ingredients you might include when making trail mix are:

1.) NUTS:
Most any type of nut can be included in trail mix. Walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, and cashews are all great choices for trail mix food. You can also use nuts that are already pre-mixed.

Dried fruit makes another healthy addition to your trail mix. You can use most any type of dried fruit for your trail mix. Some of the most common ones that are used are raisins, dried cranberries, banana chips and dried pineapple. Coconut flakes are also a great item that can be added to your trail mix.
3.) SEEDS:
Seeds are also a great item to add to trail mix because they are healthy and add more variety to your trail mix. Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are both great choices.

Almost any kind of cereal can be added to your trail mix to give it a little extra crunch and texture. Things like granola, bran flakes, and cheerios are all good choices.

Add some crunch to your trail mix with any kind of small cracker or pretzel. Small cheese crackers and pretzel sticks are a great addition to trail mix.

6.) CANDY:
Chocolate or peanut butter chips can also be added to trail mix to give it a little additional sweetness. You may even want to include other small items such as M and M’s, caramel, peppermints or butterscotch candy. Don’t forget that chocolate can melt at warmer temperatures.

Don’t forget the little marshmallows! They also happen to be one of Little RW’s favorite items.
Being easy to make and carry makes trail mix an excellent item to have handy in any situation, including an emergency. It also works great when you go camping, hiking or hunting to curb your hunger. It’s also a great food item to keep in your vehicle during the winter months.
Staying above the water line!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Riverwalker's Pics - Shadow on the River

Staying above the water line!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Threats to Your Survival

Advances in technology have led to the development of clothing, equipment, and gear that can greatly increase your chances for survival in almost any situation. In recent years, the amount of information and the different types of equipment available has been growing at a very rapid pace. For those who are interested in increasing their survival skills there is an unlimited abundance of information available and someone willing to sell you the necessary equipment to assist you in those efforts. What they can’t sell you is the experience and proper state of mind to survive that emergency or crisis.

Most everyone knows that experience is the best teacher. In most survival situations, emergencies or disasters it is quite often the one area that is lacking with many people. Not everyone has lived through the devastating effects of a natural or man-made disaster and your reaction in a survival situation depends in large part upon your knowledge, skills and state of mind. The proper gear can also play a needed part in the drama of survival but it will not guarantee your survival. Good gear should be an essential part of your survival and preparedness efforts but relying upon it too heavily to solve potential problems could end up being the worst thing you could do.

In almost any situation, it is always important to keep in mind that it can happen to you. When it happens to someone else, it’s news but when it happens to you it can become a tragedy if you aren’t prepared. It is those persons who are both mentally and physically prepared that are going to be more likely to survive. When dealing with any emergency situation or disaster you must be able to make rational decisions, improvise using what tools are available at the time and above all remain calm when faced with adverse conditions that are threatening your survival.

Lack of mental preparedness can become a life-threatening situation. Anxiety, fear, and confusion will become immediate threats to your survival and you must work to keep the proper state of mind. These emotions can dull your mind and may cause you to miss important things that could affect your survival. You will rarely be able to anticipate most emergency situations and being able to make rational decisions without letting panic, fear or anxiety take control of your actions will greatly increase your chances for survival. Your ability to think logically and clearly will be essential.

A lack of physical preparedness can also be deadly. When in a state of panic, injuries that could have been easily treated may be ignored to the point where they become life-threatening events. Always deal with injuries immediately, even simple cuts or wounds can become infected or become more serious if left untreated.

Another consideration to remember is that proper shelter will be absolutely necessary. A matter of a few degrees in the change of your core body temperature will become life-threatening. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold will take an immediate toll on your body. Don’t allow yourself to rest or stop moving unless you have adequate shelter. Realize that fatigue is a natural defense mechanism of your body and is the way it protects itself when suffering from a large amount of stress.

Dehydration will be the next serious threat to your survival. While hunger can be quite uncomfortable, it is seldom fatal in most survival situations. Dehydration is an immediate threat and cannot be ignored. You must be able to take the necessary steps to keep your body properly hydrated in any crisis or disaster.

Your chances for survival will always be greater with a proper state of mental and physical preparedness.

Staying above the water line!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Simple Survival Tips - Pine Needle Soup

Our very existence relies heavily on a foundation that is almost entirely dependent on modern forms of transportation, electricity for power, and synthetic chemicals. Should we ever suffer a major disaster or catastrophe, many people may suffer more from simple malnutrition than anything else.

One of the simplest things to help you avoid one of the basic problems of malnutrition is to have a good source of vitamin C. Most people are aware that many dark, leafy green vegetables contain significant amounts of vitamin C and usually in amounts that are 5 to 6 times that found in lemons or oranges. But where do you find a source that is available year-round, including winter, and can be procured almost anywhere in North America?

The answer can be found in the simple pine tree. Pine trees are in a class known as “evergreens” and can be a significant source 365 days a year. They are generally resistant to the effects of drought and have few natural enemies to affect their growth. They are also very widespread throughout most parts of North America. This gives you a significant source that will be around when you need it!

By making a simple soup (or tea) from pine needles you can have a significant source of vitamin C. A small handful of fresh, green pine needles chopped and steeped in a cup of boiling water will furnish you with most of your daily vitamin C requirements. Pine needle soup is also quite tasty but the flavor will depend upon the variety of pine tree you have available in your area. You should also use the lighter colored, new growth at the end of the needles for best results. It can also be flavored with a dab of honey. It has another great benefit for you as well. Pine needle soup also makes an excellent antiseptic wound wash.

Got pine needles?

Staying above the water line!


Monday, November 23, 2009

The Survival Instinct - “Cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

You have come to this blog (a place that advocates leading a responsible lifestyle with a slant towards self reliance, self awareness and a recognition that things can and sometimes do go terribly wrong) for one of two reasons. You are either lost and didn’t intend to be here, in which case this is your lucky day, or, somewhere in your brain, a neuron has fired resulting in you being aware, ever so slightly, that there may be things you could and should be doing in your daily life to ensure that you can continue to reaffirm that the sun really does rise every morning.

That little twinge of awareness in your brain is not something that should be stifled or suppressed. That’s instinct, survival instinct to be specific. All of the animals on this planet have instincts and all share one in common – the overpowering desire to survive. I’m not going to dwell on how instincts are employed by members of the animal kingdom; the TV nature shows do a good job of that. I do, however, wish to speak with you about how humans deal with instinct and in particular how we tend to ignore and shy away from our own survival instinct.

Before we get too far along, let’s consider for a moment, that as children we learn fairly early on that hot hurts. Some of us learn this by touching a hot stove, from the flame of a flickering candle, or a hot drink that burns our tongue. We learn this lesson very quickly and completely. Pain is a stimulus that compels us to engage our survival instinct so that we do not damage ourselves and are thus treated to another sunrise. Our survival instinct when called to action forces us to make an instantaneous decision: To run away screaming or to stay put and deal head-on with the situation. Most should recognize this response from 7th grade biology as the “fight or flight” response. It is how mankind has come to use this combination of stimulus, instinct and response in our modern would that I would like you to think about.

We all respond pretty well to direct stimulation. You drop a can of kidney beans on your bare foot and instantly know it hurts, you subconsciously pull your foot back. If you feel cold, you put on a sweater. If you are hungry, you eat. In other words, if it is in your face and imminent you react as instinct dictates. As our societies have developed over thousands of years, slowly, almost imperceptibly, we have dulled our survival instinct. As our ability to meet our daily needs improves more of us need to do less and less on a daily basis to survive. As life gets easier the more we tend to consciously suppress our survival instinct – choosing instead to put all of our trust in a system of supply we have created. Embracing this artificial system as we do diminishes our daily awareness of the ultimate biological imperatives.

Modern life today is divided into daily time frames. There is the period of time that we spend ensuring that we have the means to feed ourselves and remain warm and dry. This is usually called the “work day” by those of us who need money to accomplish these objectives. There is a period of time each day that we must sleep. Not getting enough sleep will render your body unable to function in short order. Apart from the biological function of recuperation, sleeping is pretty much lost time because nothing truly constructive occurs when you are asleep. The rest of the day, is primarily the time when we use our hard-earned $$$ to actually procure our food and clothing and maintain our homes, thus satisfying the three fundamental necessities of life: Food, clothing and shelter.

For as long as I can remember, there has always been a grocery store with food in it. Water has always flowed from the tap and a light switch has always abated the darkness. Society’s ability to provide easy access to these resources consistently and reliably over a very long time has led to the development of a weakness in our survival instinct that may well one day lead us not from disaster but straight into the grip of our undoing.

Solely because we can get what we need without having to make it, grow it, raise it or conceive it, we have started down the long path of becoming detached from reality. Be honest, when was the last time you went to the store to get milk and there wasn’t any? Not very often I suspect. Forget how. How is not important. Today you went to get milk and there isn’t any. There isn’t any anywhere. Sure you might be able to barter or trade with a neighbor who has some powdered milk, but that too will be gone soon. No milk, obviously, means no more powdered milk. Unless you have the right kind of cow, the knowledge to care for said cow and how to milk a cow; it’s safe to say, “No more milk for you”.

It’s inconceivable you say that there will come a day when there is no more milk. You may be right, but that’s not my point. You pull into a gas station and the pumps are empty. How or why is not important, they are just empty. You only have what is left in your tank. You know that once gone, your car becomes nothing more than 2 tons of useless junk – at least as far as being a transportation tool is concerned. If you can no longer drive, what is your back up plan? Do you have a bicycle, roller skates, or just your feet? What will you do if or when you turn the water faucet on and nothing happens or what comes out is not safe to consume. Again, how and why there is no water is not important; the reality is that you do not have easy access to a potable water source - bad news for you.

Life is too easy these days. We humans as a species no longer concern ourselves with the fundamentals of sustaining life, but concentrate our energies on procuring them within the confines of a society where the few provide for the many. We assume that when it gets dark, the light switch will solve the problem. Some day, it might not. No matter how unlikely, it's possible that that electricity might not be available, for a day, a week or for years. “Preposterous you say”, you may be right. Consider this; a solar flare (which does occur regularly) hits our atmosphere and blows out a significant number of electrical transformers (which has happened before). Only this time, the solar flare is bigger and stronger and it takes out many of the transformers in North America all within a few minutes of each other. Do you think that there are several million transformers sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting to be installed? How about as few as 25,000 transformers being available for immediate use, of course there aren’t. You should be able to see how it might take many months or years to build enough transformers to replace all that have been damaged. An unlikely scenario for sure, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.

In our modern times, in our modern societies, we are too concerned with the “what”, the “how” and the “why”. We have become stuck in a groove of denial when we think about unpleasant scenarios because we have no memories of ever having to do without. Over a long period of time we have convinced ourselves that there will always be food at the store, that clean water will always be available to drink and that the light will always come on anytime we flick the switch.

That subtle message your brain is sending to your conscience mind is your survival alarm clock going off. If you are honest with yourself, you can admit that you are very dependent on society to provide for your daily needs. If you are honest with yourself, you can envision a situation that could happen where you live that could deny you access to some or all of those things that you need to survive. Just three days without water to drink and you’re just about done in this life. “It’ll never happen”, I know, just ask those left in New Orleans after Katrina or those in Homestead Florida after Andrew. Ask those living near Mount St Helens, or on the island of Montserrat. Talk to those old enough to remember the depression, the dust bowl or to those in Africa after a crop failure. Bad things do happen all over the world for all sorts of reasons all the time. “It wont happen to me”...maybe, but are you sure?

Your life depends on others. From the guy who grows the food and the guy who makes electrical transformers, to the guy who delivers the stuff we need to the stores and electric companies, to the owner of a store that offers what you need for sale. From the cow that makes the milk you drink and the steak you eat, to the veterinarian that allows us to raise lots of animals in close quarters, to the bankers who finance the whole shebang. You have no control over anything other than your own personal actions. If you cannot find water, or eat, or stay warm and dry you will die. For most people, the ability to meet our fundamental needs in this modern world has without exception been delegated to someone else. In recognition of this simple truth, you hope everyday that nothing changes to upset the balance. We assume that all will always be well. We choose not to think about the day when we have to go without. It’s scary and upsetting. Not being in control and totally dependent on others is not a natural state of affair. An eagle, when hungry will catch something to eat. It is not dependent on all of the other eagles to satisfy its hunger, to find shelter from the elements or to get a drink. In general, all living creatures possess the knowledge, skills and instinct to survive just fine in their environment without assistance. Mankind has gone and done just the opposite. Ideally, society is meant to enable the many to cooperatively work towards common goals to ease the individual burden of subsistence. Our modern way of life, however, has unwisely become structured to promote and sustain a level of interdependence that does not allow an individual to easily provide for themselves and keep a significant amount of control (of their destiny) in their own hands. We have forgotten how to provide for ourselves. We choose to ignore the fact that most people are no longer capable of looking after their own biological needs if someone else is unwilling or no longer able to do it for them.

In South America, Africa and elsewhere, there are isolated tribes of humans living just fine running around in clothing made from plant parts and eating whatever they can find or catch. These cultures are quickly succumbing to the pressures of the modern world. As they come to depend more and more on the trappings of a modern society, they too will begin to embrace the folly of a false sense of reality. It won’t happen over night but generation after generation will be more dependent on others than the generations before them.

I am not saying that the modern societies are inherently bad. I am saying that they are extremely complicated and predicated on many other interconnected systems that must work together to support each other, or the whole house of cards comes falling down. A failure in one system will have a negative impact within co-dependent systems. A prolonged problem with the electrical system would result in the milking machines on the dairy farms to cease working and as a result milk production would plummet. Without refrigeration, the ability to store perishable foods such as milk would cease to exist. An outbreak of mad cow disease in England may not seem a big deal to us in North American at the time, but the resulting conditions being just right to give rise to a disease that infects their cattle, can and has migrated across the seas to infect our cattle – before we know it, no more milk. A significant portion of our food comes to us from afar. A blight that attacks potato plants, wheat crops or whatever can seriously impact the ability of farms to produce enough food to meet our needs. Remember, it’s just not you that wants to eat each day; there are billions of others with the same expectations. A fuel shortage could prevent the trucks from getting food from the farm to the distributors and then on to the stores and eventually to us. Anywhere along the line, a delay could cause the food to spoil and become both worthless and useless.

We all hope that we will always be able to go to a store to get what we need. We hope that the lights stay on and that the wind doesn’t knock our house down. We all hope that disease won’t spread rampantly cutting our lives short. More importantly we pray that nothing happens to those who supply us with want we need. We pray because we are being honest with ourselves and know that we are not prepared to provide that which we must have for ourselves.

Truthfully, we know that our hold on life is tenuous and right now, we control very little that determines whether we live or die. You hear your instinct speaking to you. You can choose not to suppress it, (presumably that’s why you are reading a Prepping blog) or you can choose to hit “snooze” because you prefer not to think about bad things and troubled times. Through repeated denial and avoidance you reinforce the erroneous belief that it will never happen to you. Wake up! Stop hitting “snooze”. Listen to what your instinct is telling you. Resist the temptation to numb yourself against those things that are unpleasant to ponder. Look to nature and accept that our species is wholly dependent on a structured system that is unique in the natural world. Never before in history have so many been so dependent on so few for their ability to see the next sunrise. Accept the possibility that things could go terribly wrong and you have taken the first step to reversing your predilection to deny the true reality of the world you live in. You can build some level of self-sufficiency into your otherwise normal life that will leave you much better able to satisfy your own fundamental needs - but not if you continue to deny reality, in favor of the more comforting state of blissful ignorance and denial.

With help from bloggers such as Riverwalker and a directed effort on your part, you can learn how to better your chances if the unthinkable happens. You are reading Stealth Survival because this is a place where you can learn and acquire new ideas on how you might improve your odds if all the kings’ men can’t put society back together again quickly. It’s all up to you – you can continue to believe that all is perfect and someone else will look after you just as they currently provide for you, or you can decide to act and take steps to reduce your complete dependence on others, at least for those things that are fundamental to being able to keep yourself alive. It’s your life; it’s up to you to protect it. Having all of your eggs in someone else’s basket doesn’t come across as a sound personal survival strategy to me.

The journey towards self preparedness starts with the first step. It is too easy to delay your departure on this journey for a whole host of reasons. If you keep hitting “snooze”, you stay in perpetual denial and that is where you will be until the sun sets on your life for the last time. Stop running away. Make the decision to turn and face the reality of your life. Understand that bad things don’t always happen, but when they do, you need to be able to react in a meaningful way. You can prepare to react only when you admit that someday there might not be any milk, or municipally supplied water or fuel to beat back the cold temperatures of winter.

We tend not to think analytically anymore. We absorb whatever the TV says, what the politicians proclaim even though we are still waiting for “no new taxes” for the umpteenth time. We choose to not question the news as it is told to us or hold our politicians accountable for the very same reasons that we believe that there will always be milk. To think otherwise means that all is not as it seems in Shangri-la and we might actually have to think about, plan for and take action against that which we refuse to acknowledge as being a threat to our continued existence. For someone to choose to continue along this path of denial and to dismiss outright the possibility of serious trouble down the road is akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face - Also not a very productive survival strategy.

I am asking you to rely more on yourself and less on someone else that you don’t know in some far away place. I am asking you to make that all important distinction between the real reality and that which you have created in your consciousness that reinforces the erroneous belief that all is well and will always be so. I think that most of us do know that modern life is an illusion. We just can’t seem to admit to ourselves that living requires that we accept direct personal responsibility for our continued survival. Your life is too precious to completely entrust to anyone else. Or if you prefer, you may not abdicate the responsibility for protecting your own life, because it is yours alone to maintain and defend.

Wake up, get up and look to the sunrise as your daily inspiration and reminder that it is so, only because you choose to make it so.

A big thanks to Riverwalker for his invite to make use of this prestigious forum to pass on my thoughts. It is my hope that we as a species can regain a bit of the control over our destiny that we have given up as individuals to the systems we have constructed and have become so keenly dependent on. We all have to eek out an existence; it doesn’t have to be this complicated and precarious...



A proud member of the Canadian Preppers Network.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Free Download - USMC Winter Survival Course

It’s that time of year and the weather has already started getting colder in many parts of the country, mine included. So take some time before you head out on your hunting trip or that last camping trip for this year and take a refresher course on winter survival.

One of the best available resources for information about cold weather survival is the USMC Winter Survival Course. This is packed with great information that everyone can benefit from and by having a copy you will be better prepared to handle a cold weather emergency. It is a large download. If you are on dial-up services you may need a friend to download the copy for you.

You can get a copy here via a secure download:

USMC Winter Survival Course (4.2MB)

Staying above the water line!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Calling for Help - Using 911 Efectively

When an emergency or crisis occurs the first response of a majority of people is “Call 911” because in many instances the scope or nature of the emergency may be beyond your skills or abilities to handle on your own without assistance. But are you prepared with the necessary information to make your call effective? Or will you waste valuable time trying to assemble the needed information at the worst possible time? You should be prepared to offer certain basic information that will allow those responding to your call for help or assistance to do so in the most effective manner possible.

There are several factors you should be aware of when making a 911 call for help:

1. Be prepared to offer relevant information in regards to what the actual nature of the emergency (fire, burglary, traffic accident, etc.) and what actions that you may have already taken or are in the process of being made to assist with the problem. Many of the questions you may be asked by an emergency operator will allow them to better respond to your emergency with the necessary and proper personnel (EMS, fire, police, etc.).

2. Be prepared to offer relevant information regarding any hazards that may be present that will hinder the efforts of emergency personnel. Things such as downed power lines or heavy traffic may require other additional emergency services personnel besides an EMS unit or ambulance. These are questions that trained emergency operators will be asking and you should be prepared to make the proper response.

3. Be prepared to offer relevant information about who is involved in the emergency. The response to an accident involving a bus load of people will obviously be quite different from a single vehicle crash.

4. Be prepared to offer information about where you are so that emergency personnel can reach you quickly and in the least amount of time necessary. Make sure you are able to give a complete set of directions to your location that emergency personnel will be able to follow with the least amount of problems. They can’t help you if they can’t find you!

5. Be prepared to use any additional means to assist emergency personnel that may be available to you. Turn on porch lights or vehicle emergency flashers or if someone else is present use them to guide emergency personnel to your location. Check to see if there are any persons trained in emergency care present and seek their assistance as well. Make sure you give the emergency operator the address of your location. This is a vital piece of information that will be needed.

6. You may be the only link between an emergency and emergency services. Be prepared to stay on the line and in direct communication with the emergency operator until emergency personnel have arrived at your location and are able to take control of the situation.

7. Remain calm and speak clearly and distinctly to the emergency operator about the nature of the emergency. Screaming at the phone won't get help there any faster and may even hinder emergency efforts.

8. Be prepared to follow any directions the emergency operator may give you. Most have the necessary training that will help you until the proper emergency personnel arrive on the scene.

9. Make sure to give the emergency operator your name and phone number. If you become disconnected prematurely, they will be able to re-contact you quicker and faster if necessary.

To properly take advantage of the full benefits of emergency services you will need to be prepared to do your part as well. Use a little common sense! Put yourself in the place of the emergency operator and think about the information you would need in order to properly respond to the emergency.

Staying above the water line!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Burned Out

Well the barrel for my mini-smoker is finally burned out sufficiently to be used as a smoker. Just need to put the finishing touches on it. Then it'll need to go on a little fishing trip to see how well it does. Hard work is involved in testing your smoker barrel to see if it's functioning properly!

Got a little training session at work to attend today which is going to make for a really late day at work. I've still got a couple of projects in the works and will get them posted as soon as possible.

Staying above the water line!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Raising Poultry - Ground Nesting Boxes

Well it seems like RW, Jr.'s chickens have a mind of their own. Despite his best efforts to provide them with some decent nesting boxes, there are quite a few who simply won't use them and prefer to lay their eggs at ground level. Personally, I think it has something to do with gravity or a fear of heights as far as the chickens are concerned.

Sometimes you have to go with the flow. To avoid having to hunt down the eggs in various hidden places these "picky" layers have been using, he's set up some ground nesting boxes (OK, they're actually old plastic dishpans) and it seems that they have become quite popular and are used by multiple chickens to lay their eggs in a majority of time. Less hunting and more gathering! RW, Jr. is almost as smart as his dad. LOL

The picture above shows the dishpans full of eggs. Mrs. RW and I went out to gather the eggs because RW, Jr. was working late. We also needed to take some eggs out to Little "G" and the Plant Lady out at the farm. I spent most of my time working on roof repairs to fix a leak while out there. Thanks to CK and some excellent guest posts on Security Landscaping I was able to sneak away from the computer long enough to catch up on some much needed repairs.

Some more good news was rec'd when the Plant Lady told me she had several small cactus trees like I previously posted about ready for me whenever I wanted them. She also said they have real pretty purple blooms (might be a little more appealing to the little ladies out there when you guys are trying to convince your wife you need a few cactus trees). Adding a little more security and doing it for free is great!

Just hope the chickens decide they don't want to make a nest in the cactus or somebody else will have to gather them!

Staying above the water line!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Note from Philip

Philip, the winner of the free fire bowl sent me an email a few days ago and here is his response:


It’s here!

Pretty cool design on the legs, in case you don't have one of your own.
But, um, wasn't there a winter's supply of Pinion wood to go with it?

Thanks bunches.


Sorry Philip! Wood not included...LOL


Friday, November 13, 2009

Security Landscaping - Part Five - Additional Types of Thorny Plants

On the west coast and Rocky Mountain region, there is a wide variety of thorny landscaping plants to choose from for your security landscaping.

Pyracantha and Barberry are two fast growing, evergreen shrubs with wicked thorns. Both can reach heights of about 15 feet and can be pruned into a tight, impenetrable hedge. The pyracanthia has red, yellow or orange berries in the fall. The Barberry is characterized by their three-spined thorns. These are excellent to use along the perimeter of your property, smaller varieties are effective under windows.

Roses are beautiful solutions for creating security. One friend of mine planted a 75 foot rose hedge along the fence wall of his west side home (west of the Rio Grande), which has been effective in keeping people from hopping the fence from the arroyo that borders that side of his property.

Another variety of rose, called the Japanese rose, or Rosa rugosa is a suckering shrub which can spread quite fast. It can grow between 5-7 feet in height, forms dense thickets and has zillions of wicked thorns on its stalks. This rose blooms once a year and is very attractive to nesting birds.

Oregon grape is a large evergreen shrub mostly found in the Northwest. It has a leaf like a holly, but produces small blossoms in the spring. In the summer, the berries resemble small concord grapes. Oregon grape is one of the few plants that seem to do well beneath pine trees and in areas of little shade. This shrub grows to 4-6 feet in height, with a spread of up to 10 feet. These are excellent perimeter shrubs as well and practically impossible to crawl through. I had a cousin who made it through one of these as a kid. He still has the scar on his back as proof.

Holly is another variety of thorny plant. There are nearly 400 varieties of both trees and shrubs growing anywhere from 6 to 60 feet in height. Holly produces a bright red berry, which is mildly toxic. It's not a plant recommended with small children in the yard.

If your home is along an irrigation road, canal, arroyo, gully or alley, a row of blackberry or raspberry bushes provides a practical deterrent for any trespasser. These are fruit producing, suckering vines that can be trained to grow along a fence, like chain link. Left alone, they can turn into thickets as high as 10 feet. Berry bushes spread quite easily and are difficult to get rid of once established. They are best planted in areas where they won't interfere with other landscaping, gardening or agriculture.

Bougainvillea is a thorny vine with purple or yellow blossoms that can grow to lengths of up to 35 feet. It prefers warmer climates, and blooms frequently. Bougainvillea is ideal for fences and trellises.

Natal plums are another variety of southern plant that prefers warmer climates. This evergreen shrub reaches up to 7 feet in height, with a spread of 8-10 feet. It's characterized by a unique mounding shape and white, star shaped flowers.

For desert residents, spine tipped yucca and prickly pear cactus are excellent plants for chasing off would be burglars. Prickly pear cactus is especially effective beneath windows. Many of the berry, holly and Pyracantha grow well in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas too.

If you want thorny trees try: Hawthorne, this dense hedge grows 20 to 25 feet high and produces fragrant pink and white flowers. It has sharp thorns, which can range from 1 to 5 inches in length; Hardy Orange is a fruit-bearing tree often used around prisons. These grow 15 to 20 feet high and wide and are covered to the ground with lacerating thorns; Black Locust is resistant to rot and pollution and produces creamy white flowers and a pair of short thorns at the base of each leaf. My grandson calls them “surprise needles”, as they are somewhat hidden from view.

Basically, unless you surround your home with an electrified, walled, gated, razor wired, mined and moated compound, you'll never be able to keep people completely off your property and even then I doubt 100% is possible. But, by planting thorny shrubs and placing lighting and wireless alarms in areas where trespassers tend to collect or cut through or can hide, you will make your home, yard or compound less of a target for two and four legged intruders and at the very least, be alerted to the intrusion in enough time to protect and arm yourself and yours.

CK, a 50 something, soon to be rural homesteading Prepper.

Special Note: I would like to thank CK for an excellent article and for allowing me the privilege of posting these articles for the benefit of my readers. THANKS CK!


Security Landscaping - Part Four - Types of Thorny Plants

The next step to security landscaping is thorny plants. It’s easy to see why intruders hate these plants because we hate to prune and trim them for the same reasons. But if security and defense are your wishes, these are great protectors and they look good to. Be forewarned: I had to look up the more official names and descriptions to most of these plants, so get someone in the know to help you.

Professional landscapers have often said that planting thorny thicket hedges, etc. is a very reliable way to secure your yard or home from intruders. However, careful planning and pruning is needed or these same hedges can become cover for intruders instead. Don't plant these kinds of thorny plants where children play, climb or dig with their hands.

These shrubs can and do draw blood! Thorny plants also tend to collect trash and leaves. So make sure you wear thick gloves, longs sleeves, long pants and sturdy shoes, when pruning or removing debris that gets caught in the branches of these babies.

If you live rurally, the fruit that some of these plants produce may draw four-legged interlopers and livestock closer to your home than you would like. So research and plan carefully.

As with any plant, be sure to ascertain the plant’s growth habit and size at full maturity, before purchasing or planting. You want to make sure it’s scale and pruning needs match your lifestyle and your home. Also beware of non-native plants and try to find out if they will become intrusive in your environment. If they do, they will become way more work for you than the security they provide. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Some plants that are likely to wound intruders are: dwarf conifers, such as bird's nest spruces; low growing shrubs, such as English yews and globose blue spruces (Picea pungens), also known as "Glauca Globosa"; or thorny plants that stay small, about three to four feet high and wide. One shrub that people aren't likely to hide behind, with its tight mass of thorny leaves, is Rotunda Chinese holly; hardy oranges (Poncirus trifoliata); and devil's walking stick (Aralia spinosa) are also good.

The final installment in this special series on security landscaping will be:

Security Landscaping - Part Five - Additional Types of Thorny Plants

CK, a 50 something, soon to be rural homesteading Prepper.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Security Landscaping - Part Three - The “3 - 7” Rule Continued

If living in an urban or suburban area, be sure to mow your lawn and have someone pick up newspapers and mail if you are away – IE: Don’t advertise that your home is ripe for the picking.

To keep burglars from reaching upper windows, remember the 3-7 Rule and keep ladders and your tools (garden/homesteading) out of sight and locked up! Windows in outbuildings on the compound should be at least 10-12 feet higher than the ground level outside the structure. This deprives the intruder from seeing inside and from having easy access to get into the structure, while still allowing plenty of light to shine in. Don't place sturdy trellises and gutters against walls of buildings that might be climbed to gain upper floor or high window access.

If your houses are near a road or in a neighborhood, make sure your landscaping provides a clear view of your house from the road. Hidden homes are ideal for burglars. One of my friends on a semi-rural farm in Tennessee used to have several large evergreen trees and bushes, blocking most of their house from view from the road. Thieves took advantage of this one time when they were away. They have since cut them back.

So even if you live in the country it is not wise to have a thick border of shrubs blocking the view of your house from the road. If you do, it is best to keep them pruned low enough to allow visibility. Remember that 3-7 Rule or have some kind of wireless alarm or motion detector lighting that will go off and alert you.

As a homesteader or rural living person, even if your house is hidden from the road due to a long driveway, it would be wise to have a good clear view of all entry points around your home or inner compound and a wireless driveway alarm or two, to avoid “surprise” visitors. If you have additional buildings in your compound like barns and work sheds, it would be a good idea to utilize additional wireless driveway alarms and motion detection dusk to dawn outside lights for blind spots and the like. The additional seconds that these devices give you to protect yourself and yours, could be life savers. One of my friends in Idaho has wireless, motion detection sprinklers that go on when tripped. As he put it “a very cold, soggy, running away icicle intruder, that made cracking noises as he ran, is easier to hear, spot and catch than a dry quiet one.” Needless to say his intruder experience occurred in the winter.

As an additional incentive, a friend of mine in Wyoming uses the lights and alarms around his vegetable garden and orchard. He set the wireless audible alarm to blast (like an air horn) at the site instead of in his house and the motion detection lights to strobe; he says this has scared away bear, cougar, deer and elk. Not to mention that it alerts him, even while inside the farmstead sound asleep at o-dark-thirty. He is off-the-grid so the energy needed must be minimal or solar.

Urban, suburban or rural it is always wise to have good lighting in dark corners around the home and in the immediate yard or compound. Solar powered dusk to dawn lighting is the best and shouldn’t drain your energy supply. Even the fancy “up lighting” for trees and tall shrubs will help deprive intruders of a place to hide and many are solar powered as well. Not to mention that they make the compound look good to boot! My dear Montana homestead friends have these up pointing under the second story windows to rooms they do not have populated on a routine basis as well as on trees around their compound. They give them festive colors around the holidays. Looks great!

The next installment in this special series on security landscaping will be:

Security Landscaping-Part Four-Types of Thorny Plants

CK, a 50 something, soon to be rural homesteading Prepper.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Security Landscaping - Part Two - The “3 - 7” Rule

While most police will say that dense landscaping is an invitation to trouble and that statistically houses that cannot be seen from the street are at a higher risk for break-ins than houses that are, there are other landscaping tips they do not stress that they really should. Like their own "3-7" rule, especially if combined with thorny plants. IE: security landscaping.

The 3-7 Rule is to keep shrubs near the house no more than 3 feet high to deprive a potential intruder of a hiding place; Keep tree limbs at least 7 feet away from the side of the house and at least 12 feet off the ground, to deprive the intruder of easy access to a second level window or balcony.

This means thin out overgrown foliage on large shrubs to expose branch structure; if you can see through large plants, no one can hide behind or in them. If a plant is too overgrown, remove it and start over with one that's slower growing or lower to the ground. Prune shrubs for clear views from windows.

If you live in an urban or suburban area and you are considering building a wall or fence, you need to think about building codes. Securing an area usually requires complete enclosure and possibly a structure eight to 10 feet high. Most local building codes allow only six to seven feet, unless you obtain a variance. Vines on walls can help discourage graffiti but some vines will make the wall or fence climbable. Thinking security may dictate where walls or fences are installed and how high they should be. And high cinderblock or other thick walls can muffle noises like a neighbor of mine found out after he raised his backyard walls to 12 feet and an intruder accosted his wife. Us neighbors heard some muffled noises but could not quickly determine if it was kids playing one block over or from their house. As a result, we were a little slow to alert the authorities and help.

If you are determined to have a fence in these populated areas, consider picket fences, lattice with large openings, walls with open patterns or other see-through design, chain link (not pretty but cheap) or solid iron picket (nice looking but expensive).

If these walls or fences need a gate, avoid one from a deserted alley or pathway or blind corner and the like.

Seating in a fenced or walled area should be placed not only for relaxation, but in a place where you can see passersby, around your compound and so forth.

If you are in a rural area, a fenced courtyard or backyard would be nice to keep the kiddies and pets in and others out. To accomplish this and still more or less, follow the 3-7 Rule, my farmstead friend created a solid straw bale four and half foot high wall and imbedded broken, very sharp wine and beer bottle glass all along the outside and top of it. She has told me it was high enough that her children could not touch the top until they were old enough to know it was sharp and the deer were discouraged from the wall, even at night, as the motion sensor lights would reflect off the glass on the outside and top of the wall. She also told me that the glass did not stop a two legged intruder, but the wireless driveway alarm alerted her at the same time the lights startled him and even though he continued to intrude, she was alerted in time to give the bugger a very armed “welcome” and detention (tied up in her root cellar) until the county sheriff arrived to take him away.

The next installment in this special series on security landscaping will be:

Security Landscaping-Part Three-The “3-7” Rule Continued

CK, a 50 something, soon to be rural homesteading Prepper.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Security Landscaping - Part One - An Introduction

I was reading a blog by “Riverwalker” and got to thinking … No matter our age or if alone, a couple or in a family unit, urban, suburban or rural, we all want to be safe while in our homes or yards and we want our homes safe when we aren’t there. On top of that we also want our “homesteads” to look nice and be relatively easy and cheap to care for (and maintain).

I currently live in Albuquerque, NM, which is rather unique in that we have a rural valley that runs through the middle of town that we affectionately call “The Bosque”. Part of this area is dubbed “The East Side”, which means the east side of the Sandia Mountains. Although my home is in the “northeast”, it is still west of the mountain. I have survived the “autumn of the bear” in my backyard and the “spring of the bobcat” in my trash; I’ve walked the Bio Park and seen a family of (5) coyote not more than ten feet from me; Have either a falcon or hawk that lives in my neighborhood and keeps the pigeons at minimum and a roadrunner that loves my birdbath; I’ve had to get help to remove a rattler that slithered its way into my garage and someone to get rid of the black widow and tarantula nests I’ve found in my xieroscaped yard. But what scared me the most, upset me the most; was helping to thwart several intruders/burglars in my neighborhood. All of this in my noisy crowded city? If all of this can happen here, what about the country?

I have been living alone for quite some time now and had done some research on security landscaping, which I implemented for my current urban home way back in the day. Now I am planning to retire and re-locate to a rural area in the next year. Add to this what I have experienced here in the city and my memories of my grandparent’s farm, not to mention me currently battling squirrels, chipmunks and scoundrels, while my rural friend’s battle deer, elk, moose and bear - I felt this subject warranted new research. After all I want not only myself, my family and friends, but my home, its contents, my animals and garden to be safe from four and two legged uninvited guests too. I at least want enough time to arm myself if need be.

So I decided to re-research this subject from the rural and older age perspective and I thought I would share what I have learned. I not only searched the web from landscaping to law enforcement to homesteading sites, I also talked to my area professional landscapers, law enforcement, friends and neighbors. Believe it or not, you can even get a degree centered around this field of study. I found one FBI statistic that stated that there is a home burglary every 15.4 seconds somewhere in the United States. Most burglaries occur during the day, when occupants are away. Most occur during July and August, with the fewest in February. Most burglars are young males, under 25 years old, looking for small items easily converted into cash. About 70% of burglars use some force to enter a building, but open doors and windows are of course preferred.

Intruders also look for no to few obstacles blocking quick exits, and public access on at least one side of a property fence. Homes next to schools, along drainage ditches, and near parks or similar venues are among the most vulnerable.

To avoid getting caught, the intruder’s ideal home is one they can get into and out of quickly, easily, and not be seen. Above all they are opportunists.

The next installment in this special series on security landscaping will be:

CK, a 50 something, soon to be a rural homesteading Prepper.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Security Landscaping - Special Series of Guest Posts

In a recent e-mail, a fifty something, soon to be rural homesteading Prepper whom I will refer to as CK sent me some excellent information on security landscaping which I will be sharing with everyone over the next few days in a special series of guest posts.

Here is an excerpt from that e-mail:


Your little ditty (about plants for protection) here got me to thinking and doing more research ... Below is what I found out ... it is rather long as I had done this previously for my urban home and did additional research for a rural home ... but you may be able to use some of it ;-}


CK has graciously given permission for me to post this research and findings and as stated above, it is quite lengthy. I will pass on the information in a series of posts starting on Monday.

This is a "thorny" subject so get your tweezers ready!

You can read the first installment here:

Security Landscaping-Part One-An Introduction

Staying above the water line!


Riverwalker's Pics - Pumpkins

Staying above the water line!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Free Downloads - US Army Special Forces Medical Handbook

Here are some free downloads that you may find of interest. They include information on a variety of emergency skills you may find useful. These guides contain practical survival techniques and strategies to increase your chances of being able to overcome adverse conditions in an emergency or crisis.

Staying above the water line!


Friday, November 6, 2009

Mini-Barrel Smoker - Doing a Burn-Out

While there are quite a few projects in the works, it was finally time to get back to working on my mini-barrel smoker. first thing needed was a proper burn-out! There was a lot of cleanup to do in the yard after some recent storms that left a lot of limbs and debris in the yard. No better way to do that than to use my mini-barrel to burn the limbs strewn about the yard. Clean the yard and clean the barrel both at the same time. This may be what they call multi-tasking?

Make sure you have the area clean around your barrel when doing a burn-out and putting it on some bricks or concrete pads will also help to lessen the chance of accidentally starting a grass fire.

RW is now officially a multi-tasker!

Staying above the water line!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Stealth Security - Plants for Protection - Part 2

I'm always looking for plants that have nasty thorns because they are a great way to add a little extra security around your home. In the daylight, plants with nasty thorns can be an awfully effective deterrent to strangers messing around your property and at night they can become an unseen force and a very formidable obstacle to stop intruders in their tracks.

I recently came across a very big cactus plant that's more like a tree than a cactus. This thing has some really nasty thorns that could seriously ruin your day. This is my kind of plant! I'm hoping to get a few cuttings from the owner and hopefully can start a few of these "cactus trees" of my own.

I don't know what kind of cactus it is but do know that it's got some really nasty thorns. This is just what I'm looking for to add a little Stealth Security around the house.

Got thorns?

Staying above the water line!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Simple Survival Tips - Home Remedy for Corns

Corns on your feet can often be painful and irritating. A simple remedy will often help to get rid of or eliminate corns on your feet. Using common items found in the home you can make a poultice to help rid your feet of corns. Make a simple poultice using a piece of bread soaked in vinegar for about 30 minutes or longer. Then apply the vinegar soaked bread to the corn and tape or secure in place with a bandage. Leave the poultice on overnight and the corn should peel off by the next morning. You may need to re-apply the poultice an additional time if the corn doesn't come off right away.

Got corns? Get vinegar!

Staying above the water line!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Riverwalker's Pics - Natural Camouflage - Part 2

Many animals and creatures have the ability to blend in with their surroundings due to natural coloring. They also have a greater visual acuity, a better sense of smell and a sharper sense of hearing than the average person. Many times we have a tendency to focus our attention in a very direct manner that doesn't allow us to always see what is right in front of our eyes. Sometimes just a slight shift in your focus will allow you to notice or see things you've missed upon first glance.

Many times it will only be a slight eye movement that will make their presence known or a slightly irregular shape that is only noticed if you shift your focus slightly and don't concentrate directly upon an object.

The same is also true when it comes to sounds or smells. While our sense of smell is very poor, most animals have a very good sense of smell and will be aware of you long before you even see them. Sometimes it is only a stray sound that will give away their presence or yours.

Sometimes all you need to do is take a second look as you are passing by an area to see what you have missed.

Staying above the water line!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Riverwalker's Pics - Natural Camouflage

Nature has a way of disguising things but if you increase your powers of observation you may see things in a different way. You might even see a few things you've been missing.

Staying above the water line!

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