Friday, January 27, 2012

BOB Food Storage

     So as part of my bug out bag and my survival supplies I will be needing food. Specifically food that is non perishable and will last a long time. Not only that, but I want to make sure that I am not collecting random food willie nillie. I want to have actual meals.

     Now, the easiest way to get actual meals for my food storage would be to just buy MRE's. They last practically forever, they have a full put together meal, and they are pretty compact. However, they are also expensive, and I don't have the money to spend on them, much as I would like them. So, instead, I have decided to make my own MRE's. As a result I have found myself researching backpacking food.

     Why backpacking food? Two reasons. Backpacking food at least for a long term hike, isn't going to have anything that needs refrigeration and therefore should in general be made from long lasting food that would work well in storage. Second the food combinations are more likely to be lightweight, because weight is a paticular concern of backpackers. You don't want to try and hike four hundred miles with a sixty pound pack.

      So I have started putting together a collection of different backpacking recipes. With the recipes, I have set a few guidelines. FIrst they should be able to be packed up into a fairly compact space. Second all the indients should be able to packed in the meal package. This way when the meal actually needs to be cooked you only have to add water. However before I create a couple dozon MRE's I am going to be actually trying out the recipes.

      I have broken down how I will try out the recipes into a couple of different parts. First I will get the ingredients together to actually make the recipe to see how it tastes. It doesn't matter how long it lasts if it tastes awful, because you arn't going to want to eat it anyway. The second part will be to take the precooking recipes (so before the water is added) and put the ingredients in the packages, and then leave them, to see how long they will last in storage.

      As I try out these different recipes I will be posting them up here to let you all know how they taste, and how to make them, and I will keep a periodic update of how long they are lasting as well. You guys can expect to start seeing recipes soon, mostly likely starting with hardtack!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Solar Storms

     I know that I said the next post would be an update on my BOB, but I am pushing that back a couple of days, because we are currently in the middle of a strong solar storm, and so I thought it would be a bit appropriate to discuss what exactly these solar storms are and how we can prepare for them.

                     Regular sun activity.                 The type of CME that creates a solar storm.
     A solar storm is the result of a cornal mass ejection (CME) or solar flare. The result is that a huge cloud of electrons, ions, and atoms are thrown out into space, and if it happens to be thrown out in the direction of the Earth, we experience a solar storm. While light takes eight minutes to travel from the Sun to the Earth, the coronal mass ejection takes considerably longer to reach the earth, generally about a day. The result is, that as long as space agencies are monitoring the sun, we can predict the coming of these solar storms at least a day in advance.

     Now, what happens when the solar storm reaches the Earth, depends on how strong the solar storm is. Many times, as we go about our daily lives, we don't even realize that a solar storm is occuring. If we do realize that a solar storm is occuring, it is usually because it is a strong storm, and it is causing disruptions.
If there are disruptions caused by the solar storm, it will generally be with something electrical.

     Normally solar storms don't affect the Earth's surface. The most common interference is with satellites, which can be disrupted or damaged by the solar storms. While it isn't the usual though, there can be effects that range from long distance telephone communication being disrupted or knocked out, to wide spread power outages.

     So what do we do to prepare? Well we have to think of all the ramifications. Communications be knocked out will just generally be an inconvience, and isn't likely to last much longer than a day or two. A power outage on the other hand is definatly something to be prepared for.  Especially if a solar storm happens during winter, like is happening right now.

     The power will go out, and the most immediate concern will be getting light. You can't do much in the dark. After that, especially in northern parts of the globe, heat is the next priority. Blankets are the best thing to have. First, you can use blankets to keep yourself warm. If you have a fireplace, and get a fire going, you can also put up blankets across open doors to help keep heat in, and the cold from other areas of the house out. Another thing you may want to consider for preperation, especially in the winter, is the possibility of moving to another location, should the power outage last more than a couple of days.

     The other thing you'll need for this kind of situation is water and food. Specifically food that doesn't need to be cooked in something like an oven or a microwave. If you have been a prepper for any length of time, most likely you have extra food and water that you're storing, and this is one of those times that it will definatly come in handy.

     So, as far as potential disasters to prepare for go, a solar storm isn't something that I feel needs to be worried about too much. However, it is always good to be prepared, just in case. One upside to a solar storm? Northern Lights. They can be seen much further south than normal during a solar storm, so if you have clear skies during a solar storm, take a peak outside and you might be able to catch sight of this beautiful natural phenomenon. So if you guys have any survival plans for solar storms, or pictures of the Auroras during this storm, post them up in the comments. The update on my BOB will be coming soon!


A few articles on the current solar storm:

How NASA Keeps an Eye on Solar Storm:

Solar Storm's Effects to Lash Earth Until Wednesday:

Delta Reroutes Flights as Solar Storm Hits Earth:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Everyday Carry

     Everyday carry is something that I beleive is, or at least should be an essential part of being a survivalist. What is everyday carry? It is those few items that you carry around with you at all times that will help you survive an immediate situation, so you can get back to your car and back to your bug out bag.

     Everyday carry is not a bug out bag, nor is it an inch bag. Generally for everyday carry you only have a few items. Perhaps ten at most, and so you have to whittle the list down to a few very small, easily carried items, that can also help cover the basics.

     Now the first thing that has to be covered in everyday carry is how much should be carried and where is it carried? For female survivalists, this actually turns out to be rather easy. Most women carry a purse with them, and this makes a great place to take all our everyday carry items with us. For those women who have purses that are large oversized tote bags, they can practically fit an entire bug out bag inside of these purses. I however use a much smaller purse than that, but I still find it extremely useful for my everyday carry items.

     For all the male survivalists out there, it can be a little more difficult, because you don't see men walking around with purses. Therefore they have to resort to other places to put a few things. For very small, thin things, such as bandaids, a wallet is the perfect place. Other small items like a small knife, or lighter, can go into pockets. I even have a friend who has a small flashlight in a holster that he keeps looped on his belt at all times. So as you can see, while a purse is convienent, it is certainly not the only way that every day survivalist carry can be done.

     As for the items I carry with me, I try to cover the survival basics. So food, water, shelter, and warmth. Now keep in mind, everyday carry is for extremely short term survival, just until you can make it to a better position for survival, and hopefully reach a bug out bag or survival cache. Therefore for food I generally keep a granola and a few peices of hard candy in my purse. The granola bar has nuts and grains for some good solid energy, and the hard candy for a quick burst of energy from the sugar. The other thing I keep as well is an energy shot. Now I am not an advocate of energy drinks, shots, pills or anything else, especially not in daily life. I have never even used one before. However in the event of an emergency, when the need for energy might be the difference between life or death, these kinds of things could definatly come in handy. Not only that but if you haven't used them regularily in daily life, they should have a much more significant effect. At the same time, if one of these energy drinks is something you want to have for survival, it also might be wise to try one out at some point to make sure you don't have any kinds of bad reactions to it, just to be safe.

     Now, water is also a basic need. This is something that I have found harder to keep around in basic carry, mostly because water bottles tend to be more clunky. For a tote purse, a water bottle would certainly be easier to carry, but for smaller purses and for the men out there, a water bottle isn't really something that is all that easy just to carry around. Something which I am looking into however is the possibility of a collapsable water bottle. Because they collapse they can become relatively small, and therefore might have the ability to be something that can be included into every day carry, to be filled up if needed.

     Shelter is something that is hard to just carry around with you. The closest I have gotten is carrying around an emergency mylar blanket, which could be used similar to a tarp to create a little bit of shelter. In its packaging it folds up very small, possibly even small enough to go into a larger type of wallet. Another possibility that I have been looking into recently is an emergency tube tent. As of yet I have not gotten a hold of one so I am not quite sure how big they are, but if they are similar in size to an emergency blanket, then it could also be a great survival item to have in everyday carry.

     The last basic need I try and cover in my every day carry is warmth. For this I keep a couple of different things. The first is a pair of gloves, for obvious reasons. I live in a colder climate and if its cold out, it helps protect your hands from everything from just getting numb to frostbite. If you don't have to deal with it, why would you? The second thing I keep is hand warmers. They are easy to find, especially in winter. I have seen them everywhere from your basic convience store to the grocery store. They are similar in nature to a chemical cold pack, except they do the opposite. They warm up. The third thing I keep for warmth in every day carry is a source of fire. With me, its actually two things. I keep a lighter, and a box of matches.

     So this covers the basics of my every day carry. As I continue to learn the survivalist lifestyle, I am sure that this list will evolve and change. I will try and post some pictures soon of my everyday carry, and I would love to hear about what other people take with them every day. I am always looking for good ideas, and I love to hear and see about what other people are doing as well. An update on my bug out bag will be coming next!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Beginnings of a Bug Out Bag

     Well, one of my goals for this year is to create a workable bug out bag, that will help me out if SHTF. To be clear on exactly what I will be creating, I am going to define the parameters of what I beleive a bug out bag should be, and what I intend to create for my bug out bag.

     A BOB is a pack that helps you to survive for a short period of time. Sometimes these bags are also called a 72 hour bag, because the average stated time of use for these kinds of bags is three days. Now to me, three days is not a very long time, and I want my bug out bag to last longer than that, assuming that should something go wrong, I might have to survive longer than that.

     That being said, the purpose of a BOB is not to have a bag that carries absolutely everything I need for an infinate period of time. So, for example, there is not going to be three months worth of food inside. Not only does it not really fit the definition of a BOB, but it could also even hinder survival by weighing me down. So to be clear the BOB is going to be a short term survival pack, that allows for survival on a shorter, but indeterminate scale of time.

     Some other types of pack that I will be going into detail on in later posts would be an every day carry, a GHB (get home bag), a work kit, a go bag (for going from point a to point b, and has a determined time, route, and distance factored into the preperation of it), a car BOB, and an INCH bag (I'm never coming home). I will go into lists and examples of all of these in later posts here at the Paracord Project.

     So, the BOB will be a pack that enables survival for a short period of time. I am going to say that for me, this will be a week up to two weeks. I will decided exactly how long as I gather what I need for it and determine how much space I have, and how much weight I want.

     Now to survive there are basics that must be accounted for. Water, food, shelter, warmth. Without any one of these elements you can die very quickly. Lack of water means the possibility of dying of dehydration. Lack of food means a lack of energy and focus. These can both lead to being careless and stupid, which can lead to death. Lack of shelter and warmth can lead to death via exposure and hypothermia. Not a nice way to go, so also neccessary. These are the very basics that will be essential in the BOB. Things I also want to inlcude in the BOB will be items for fire, light, communication, first aid and hygiene.

     So that covers the basics of what I am starting to plan my BOB to be. Today I am just laying out the basics to you all of what it is that I want present in a BOB and making an outline. I will put together a complete list of what I intend to include in my BOB, and post that in another post here soon. In the meantime if anyone has their own BOB and items they would suggest for a BOB, please go ahead and post them in the comments. I would love to see and hear from you all.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Seed Starting

     As you all know I have a goal this year to grow food in a pot. Obviously it is January so it is not yet time to start actually trying to grow seeds but I have decided that it is about time to start decided what kind of seeds I should try growing, and how I am going to grow them.

     I have decided that I will start out my seeds inside in small pots. This may or not be a good way for me to start my seeds, seeing as I tend to kill plants, but that is what I have decided to do.

     Once the seeds have gotten started I will transplant them to a planter box of some kind, and let them grow from there. Being as they are going to be outside, they will also likely need a netting of some kind to protect them from the squirrels, deer, groundhogs, racoons, and all the other wild things in my backyard. After that, however, as long as I remember to water the plants on occassion, I should hopefully have a crop of something next fall.

     That leads us however to the seeds themselves, more specifically, what kind of seeds? I already know that I want vegetable or fruit seeds of some kind, because how can you have food in a pot otherwise?
Upon decided that I wanted to have a small garden in a pot, I immediately began my search on Google (because where else would you search?) and was flooded with seed types, varities and all that information. The result was some frustration and a headache, followed by a nap. After a few days however, I sat myself back down and started doing some real research and I have decided to go with heirloom seeds.

     I have decided to go with heirloom seeds because of a number of things. The first thing is heirloom seeds are all those variations of a crop that wasn't used for mass large scale agriculture, and so in growing them, it helps preserve the gene pool of this specific plant. Secondly these plants are organic. That the plant itself is organic and not a genetically modified plant is not really the issue in and of itself for me. While some people think that genetic modification is dangerous and bad, I think that its actually pretty cool and could do some cool things. However, when a company makes a genetically modified plant, it then promptly patents and copyrights that plant and it becomes illegal to harvest the seed from the plant to use the next year around.

     Harvesting plant seeds is one of those skills I would like to learn, so a genetically modified plant is definatly not the way to go for me. Also I support genetically modified plants less because the companies control the seeds rights and create cycles of poverty in countries around the world, and I don't support that. The final reason I don't really want to support the companies that genatically modify crops is something called the Terminator Gene.

     If your thinking that a terminator is something metal and scary with an eastern eurpean accent, then you would probebly be correct, and the terminator gene is just as scary, if not scarier. The terminator gene is a gene that companies want to put into their genetically modified crops, so that their plant's are not fertile. Therefore if you save the seed and try and plant it in the spring, it won't work.

    In theory, its not a bad idea for them. It is a good way for the company to force people to buy their seeds from the company year in and year out. So while it seems to be a kinda dirty, low down way to go about making tons of money, I at least get it. In concept. In reality however, genes tend to spread through open pollination between plants, and therefore this could be something that spreads as well. The result would be the destruction of anything from one plant type world wide, to all plant types world wide. That is scary.

     So, end rant, I am going to use heirloom seeds in my pots this year. Which means now all I have to do is decide what kind of things I want in my pots. There will be some herbs and there will be some vegetables. Any thoughts out there?


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Goals and Doomsday 2012!

     Doomsday 2012 is one of the reasons why I am starting the Paracord Project now. Before you all start thinking that I am one of those crackpots that beleives in every theory that comes my way, let me start out by saying that I do not beleive in 2012, and all those world ending theories from the earth falling into nothing (2012 movie trailer) to Planet X crashing into us. However, just in case, I plan to be prepared.

     Now there are some very good reasons for not beleiving that 2012 will be the end of the world. The main one however is very simple. The entire idea behind this doomsday scenario is that it is going to come about because that is when the Mayan calender ends.

     For those that have never seen the Mayan calender before, the picture up above is it. If you take a quick look at it, you may realize the issue that I have with this idea. Can you see it?

     Yup, that's it. It's a circle.

     Circles don't end.

     This is the main reason I don't beleive the world is going to end. There are many more, which you can all research if you would like, but that is the main reason I have.

     However, there is an end of the world prophecy, and much a I like to mock it, and yell about circles, I am still a survivalist. The result being, that no matter how much I mock and make fun of this 2012 end of the world idea, I am still going to be prepared for it. Just in case.

     As a result I am laying out a basic plan that I am going to try and have in place in time for December 23rd, 2012, just in case all my mocking goes to waste and the world really does decide to end. Presuming it doesn't end in someway that there is no hope to survive, I will be prepared.

     My plan is to have a fully functional bug out bag ready, to have a small to modest size stock of non perishable food and water, and to have a bug out vehicle kit ready. I also have goals to meet in the much more likely event that the world does not end. These goals are more based on the idea of becoming more self sufficent and sustainable.

     Having recently finished college, I have the school loans to go with it. Loans of about 60,000 dollars. Yah, doesn't that suck. Welcome to the real world, where despite what everyone tells you, it may not actually be a good idea to go to college. I am currently in the process of paying these loans off. Getting rid of them will put me one step closer to being self sustainable.

     With these loans I have four groups of them, and currently I am putting my focus on one of these loan groups, with the goal and intention of paying it off by the end of 2012. I have just under 5k to go on this loan set, and it would be great to get rid of it completely.

     Now I also have a second goal for the year. To grow a pot of food. Now this may sounds like a fairly simple goal. You haven't met me. So far I have only met two plants in my life that I have been able to keep alive. One is a cactus that sits in my bathroom, and is watered by the steam from my shower. It is a very happy cactus and doing pretty well.

     The other is a water plant, and the only reason it has survived up to this point is because it sits in a full vase of water, and doesn't need to be watered every other day. Also because visitors to my bathroom tend to water when they see that it is drooping again, as a result of a completely dried out vase.

     I have a black thumb. However it doesn't stop me from being optimistic and so my last goal for the year is to grow a pot of food. If there is enough of it, I will also try one or more preservation techniques (canning or drying or something) to try and preserve the food.

     So there are my intial goals which will be documented along with the discovery of more and more information here on the Paracord Project. I will keep the goals updated as they progress (or don't progress). In the upcoming months, you can also expect everything from articles to videos as I delve deeper into all aspects of survival and sustainable living.

     Also I would love to hear from all of you in the comments section or to my email, and if anyone wants to share any articles resources, or even write something for the blog I would love to see these things and learn about what all of you out there are doing too!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome to the Paracord Project

     Welcome to the Paracord Project.

     The Paracord Project is my personal project to be come self reliable and self sustainable. I am a survivalist, but I am a new survivalist.

     The Paracord Project is to be my collection of information regarding survival skills, techniques and preperations, as well as a collection of information regarding gardening, traditonal skills, off the grid living, and sustainable living.

     My goal is to eventually be able to live sustainably, off the grid, on my own peice of land.  As early twenty something female just out of college, with the school loans to go with it, I have a long way to go, but I am determined to get there.  The Paracord Project is my way of creating a resource for myself and others to reach this dream, and be prepared for anything that happens along the way.

     I will be posting everything I find, learn, make and try out, and I hope you'll take the journey with me.
Welcome to the Paracord Project.