Latest

The Prepping Pagan: The Economy

Please do not take any of the following to represent professional financial advice.

Please start by reading this article which explains that the money you think you have saved in the bank is not actually your anymore. 

I can not and will not offer financial advice to anyone. Let me just tell you what I’ve done and why. Please do your own research before making any decisions.

I am convinced that our current economy will collapse. I do not know whether this will be due to natural disaster, human aggression, or other factors. I do not know exactly when it will occur or whether it will be a slow crumble or an apocalyptic crash. I and almost every (there was that one guy I knew who swore up and down it would never happen) person I know with any measure of skill or experience in financial or economic matters says that it WILL happen.

First I paid off all of my debt except for the bill for the repair work I just had done on my truck. Seriously, that’s the only payment I have on anything anymore and it will be done soon. I pay my phone bill and buy fuel and groceries. I work and contribute to property taxes for my rent. I have it a lot better than most people simply because of that last sentence. Granted, I only barely made 5 figures worth of income last year, so I feel a little bit justified in setting myself up in such an affordable location.

I moved all of my accounts, personal and business checking and saving, to a credit union instead of a bank. The interest rates aren’t that much better but the chance of my deposits being seized are significantly less. It could still happen and many other factors could contribute not necessarily to the loss of my deposit but to my deposit’s loss of value.

I did not close my credit card, I just hid it. It exists for emergencies and has a rather short credit limit. I couldn’t go overboard if I wanted to.

I have a cash cache and I will not tell you where or how much. Cash can’t be seized by a bank but it can lose value.

I have been sinking my money into durable tools, stored food, livestock and associated containment systems, defense options, seeds, gardening systems, additional poultry and.. you guessed it, associated containment systems. I’ve been spending it on opportunities to widen my skill set and build a human network that will- I hope- outlast whatever is coming. Goods can be traded, skills can be traded. Things that can be traded are the only things that will continue to have value when we hit the bottom. Granted, that could be tomorrow or it could be ten years from now.

If it’s tomorrow I’m not ready. Most of us aren’t. Sometimes I feel like I’m running out of time. Sometimes it feels like I’m just being paranoid. Most times I don’t care because paranoia or no, I’m still set up to save a small fortune on essentials as time goes on.

Prepping: Weapons Rant

I AM NOT ENCOURAGING ANY OF MY READERS TO BREAK WEAPONS LAWS IN THEIR AREA OF RESIDENCE. The following is provided as my own personal opinion regarding possible actions should law no longer be enforced due to extended emergency situations.

Please don’t sue me.

I’m poor.

First: If you live in an area where it is illegal for you to own a firearm and you are serious about being prepared for an emergency of this scale… move.

Second: If you own it you had better know how to use it, care for it, and repair it. Money spent on “cool” weapons that you don’t have the time or place to practice is money wasted.

OK, the rant can now continue.

What I personally have in my possession is for me to know and you to not know. However, here are the guidelines I kept in mind while making my decisions.

Weight

Versatility

Accessories

Durability

How much does the weapon or weapons weigh? Remember in an “everything just went swirling down the tubes in a haze of blood and chaos” scenario, you can only pack what you can safely carry. I have a hiking pack that weighs about 50 pounds and frankly it’s more than I should be carrying on my shredded knees. I’m hoping to replace some items with lighter versions as I have the money to do so. My preferred plan is to stay where I am because I have food, water, shelter and a network of friendlies here. If I have to, my preferred evac plan is in my 4×4 and weight will be less of a concern. That said, if I have to take off with only the pack, it still needs to have enough in it to keep me alive. While I might be willing to carry several thousand rounds in the truck I don’t want to carry that much weight on my back. A firearm with a lighter round or a different weapon altogether might be a better choice.

There is no reason to carry around a weapon that only has one purpose. Things that make a big bang a long way away DO have their uses but may not be suited to an evac kit. If you are functioning as part of a group (definitely the best way to go about it for countless reasons) then someone might be willing cart one of those ‘reach out and touch someone’ weapons because they are useful. If you’re trying to go it alone, first, tell me where you’ll be so that we can loot your corpse. Second, you need something with more than one use. There are some firearms classified as mid-range, which is to say they are best within 5-50 yards, and others that run 10-100 yards of effectiveness. I would prefer a handgun with a range like that since most encounters with potential food or potential enemies will be within those ranges. Shotguns are also in the ‘more versatile’ category simply because of the variety of ammunition available. Bird shot or the questionably legal (check before you order anything, it sometimes isn’t) buckshot are good for a variety of applications and my dearly beloved hollow-point slugs are what we like to call “youneedtodienow” rounds. Shotguns and shot shells are still the easiest thing to purchase in this country and the rounds are relatively inexpensive, making stockpiling them more affordable. Their downside is their weight and noise- everything for miles will know you just fired a large caliber weapon. They also tend to kick like mules so if you have a bad back or shoulder they aren’t for you.

But firearms are only one aspect of weaponry. I love knives. I like sharp shiny blades. It’s mostly an aesthetic thing, but I can’t really help it. Do not, I repeat, do not, waste your money on cool looking crap. My favorite blades are lockback pocket knives, corn knives, hunting knives and heavy bladed utility knives like the US military K-Bar. All of these have a few things in common: none of them are too big to pack (except for the corn knife which can be packed but does take a lot of space) and they all can be used for a lot of different things. I have cut kindling with a utility blade and the corn knife both. Lockback pocket knives are very handy and- if you spend the money on a good high carbon steel blade- keep their edge for a long time. From cutting rope to butchering a goat to field surgery I absolutely cannot say enough about the value of a good quality, hand sized blade. For reasons of weight (see above) you probably can’t pack all of them. Consider your terrain and the people you are likely to be with when you make your decision.

Blades do have one serious advantage over firearms in the area of defense. They do not run out of ammunition. Blades have a serious drawback in the area of defense. They require very close quarters. Know yourself when you decide. I admit that I am not a very good shot. My depth perception is kind of wonky for reasons of early childhood injury. I’ll probably hit center mass but there’s not any assurance that I’ll manage a killing shot the first time. I also really, really loathe the very idea of knife fights. There is no such thing as getting out of a blade-to-blade fight without injury. Injury in an already chaotic and dangerous situation is likely to be deadly.

Know your strengths and choose accordingly.

That does bring up the question of accessories for your weapons and violent tools. Blades need to be sharpened and kept protected from moisture when not in use. Firearms require ammunition and regular cleaning. Revolvers are some of the simplest, most durable firearms available but they are also limited in their capacity. If you know how to wield a spear you can seriously fuck up a human or attacking animal. If you don’t you’ll probably perforate yourself in an uncomfortable place. Ammunition is heavy but sharpening equipment requires some skill to use.

Again, know your strengths and choose accordingly.

Which brings me finally to durability. As you have probably already figured out, some things are going to last longer than others. Rifles and semi-automatic pistols have amazing range and capacity but they are more prone to locking up or getting damaged. Revolvers and shotguns are more durable but have limited capacity. Bladed weapons last a long time if properly cared for but not long at all if left out in the elements.

None of them will last forever.

Know your strengths and choose accordingly.

Now before I finish there is one more weapon which must be discussed. I know, I know, Imbrium got long-winded all of a sudden. Bear with me, this part is the most important one of all.

The one weapon which you must, absolutely MUST take with you… is yourself. If you are out of shape (I don’t give a damn if you think you are fat or skinny, are you capable is what matters) then get to the gym now. Don’t tell yourself you will start tomorrow. Do it NOW. Train to your own needs. I must train to fight because I can no longer train to run. I am trained on every weapon I choose to carry. Knowledge has no pack weight, so pack plenty of it.

If you see something…

FUCKING SAY SOMETHING.

While I don’t wish to foment panic I also don’t wish to be accused of withholding information. Difficult balance to walk, that.

Apparently the Islamic State (because I REFUSE to dirty the name of a goddess by using their acronym) or one group of folks identifying themselves with the Islamic State- jury is still out- have upped the ante a bit. A list of names, addresses and other information has ALLEGEDLY been sent out to Islamic State sympathizers that includes members of the US military who have been involved in the heavy airstrikes against Islamic State bases of operation.

If you live near a military base you should consider yourself in a dangerous area.

Granted, you should probably be doing that anyway, given the amount of toxic waste that military bases tend to produce (I’m looking at you yes you… fish with open sores and one of the highest cancer rates in the country…) but now even more so.

I will not tell anyone to break the law by arming or armoring themselves. Because of course that would be an hysterical reaction. Clearly.

I will tell you that if you see anything. Anything. Anything at all that just doesn’t look right… please call it in. Seconds save lives and that’s probably all you’ll have.

Just… be aware, ok?

Keep an eye out for each other.

Keep your heart open and your finger (proverbially if literally isn’t an option) on the trigger.

America has never known what is coming. We have never really known fear- not the way the rest of the world has. Most of us know grief only peripherally or in very small doses. When this is finally over, be it weeks, months or decades from now, we will no longer be the same people that we are now. Many of us will not survive. May the gods have mercy on the dead and living alike.

Loki and Women

ladyimbrium:

I attempted to read the original but it beat me. Thankfully, Myriad has provided a translation!
Loki, somehow simultaneously the God of “I do what/who I want” AND “I am so completely myself that you can’t harm me no matter how much you hurt me.”

Originally posted on Weaving the Net:

This post is based on and inspired by Sati’s wonderful post about Seth and Women (in German).

Loki, the “Unmanly” Man

If you worship Loki — especially if you’re female while doing so — you’ll quickly be finding yourself battling prejudice based on the clichéd immature, hormone-driven teenager; or alternatively, the clichéd oversexed while underfucked aging single woman. According to cliché, you only have the hots for a particular part of Loki’s — the part that you usually find roughly in the middle of the male body, to be precise. If you stop to think about it, however, this is rather odd: in fact as far as we know from extant sources, Loki and His sexuality are not as clear-cut for Him to easily lend themselves interpretation as a sex symbol.

Imagine a time and culture where ergi — that is, the accusation of unmanliness and cowardice, that is always…

View original 1,994 more words

Prepping Series: Water is Life

First request was about water purification and what a PERFECT first request!

Water is life.

Water is life.

Water is life.

Say it a few more times just to be sure you heard it.

Water is freaking life.

Got that? Good.

My goats, chickens, garden, compost pile, etc. are all coexisting nicely on the same chunk of ground above the deep (very very deep) well to which I have access. I am not the slightest bit concerned. The water has been filtered many times by the time it reaches me. Should the well become unusable (it’s electric powered right now and extended grid failure means that I will need another source of water) I’m still not the least bit concerned. Here’s why:

Pure genetic luck. The land I’m on right now contains multiple natural freshwater springs. (One should never drink directly from groundwater but purification methods follow. Keep reading.)

If my location becomes unlivable and I have to leave my beautiful freshwater sources I’m still only a little bit concerned as long as I can stay in the general region. Why? Because I know what kind of vegetation in this area signals water at or near the surface.

Pro tip: Learn that! Here, big thirsty hardwoods like beech and oak mean that groundwater isn’t too far down. Better yet, certain grasses and vines love to have their roots wet and if they’re around there’s probably a spring or stream nearby. Much easier! Get to know your area and what plants grow most prolifically around known water sources. This could save your life if you have to leave known territory. While you’re at it, practice smelling the water. You might laugh and you’ll probably get laughed at but water has a smell. Learn it.

And yes, rain and snow are perfectly acceptable water sources but you can’t rely on them alone.

Great! You found water! Now what do you do with it?

NEVER ASSUME THAT GROUNDWATER IS SAFE TO DRINK

No matter how thirsty you are, if you ingest the nastiness that could very well be lurking in that water you will wish you hadn’t. Every emergency kit should contain the following items for the purpose of rendering water safe to drink:

  1. A small particulate filter such as a coffee filter or piece of fine cloth like cheesecloth
  2. A lightweight but sturdy, fire-safe pot
  3. A way to light and feed a fire long enough to boil that pot-full of water

I absolutely love and adore my cast iron cookware but if I have to leave in a hurry it won’t be coming with me. The aluminum or steel camping pots that you can get at Fail-Mart for cheap? One of those will be coming with me. Please do not spend small fortunes on things with “survival” or “emergency” or similar marketing techniques when you can get the same damned thing at the FailMart for a few bucks. If you hate FailMart like I obviously do then try Dick’s Sporting Goods or something. Actually, go to Dick’s first. They treat their people pretty well and their prices are acceptable. I keep my small pot packed with a canister of tinder. What’s tinder? It’s not a skeezy app, that’s for sure. It’s a dried out, usually kind of fluffy textured substance that can get a fire started. I like shredded inner bark from resinous trees like cedar or pine. Dryer lint works. Just keep it dry. Oh and did you know that Bic-style lighters don’t work well below about 15 degrees Fahrenheit? I found that out this winter. The liquid fuel doesn’t expand properly. Learn how to use at least one alternative method. I have a magnesium block and a flint striker. It takes practice (which I’m out of and need to fix) but it will work until you run out of magnesium some thousand fires later. For the purposes of water purification, there is absolutely nothing wrong with acquiring some gel fuel canisters or similar. Just know that they won’t last forever.

The point of the pot and fire-starter is this: Not only is it necessary to filter out particulates in the water (dirt, parasite eggs) it is necessary to boil the living shit out of it. Literally. Boiling is the only known way to destroy both bacterial and viral contaminants. There is no known way to eliminate all chemical contaminants. If you think the water is contaminated with chemicals then leave it be. Example, I wouldn’t drink anything downstream from a military base.

So what about the cool and expensive water filtration systems you can buy for backpackers and the like? Go for it. Seriously. Just don’t drop a fortune on one because they don’t last forever. In fact, figure on buying a new one every spring if they got wet. Those filters are just that: cloth filters, for the most part. Some also include charcoal which also gets full of gunk after a while. If the filters get wet and then freeze they are no longer doing their job. Water expands when it freezes and will tear the filters. So yes they’re pretty cool but they do have drawbacks.

Recap:

Learning to identify water sources means getting out and walking your land. Most of my readers are pagans and are probably doing this anyway. To my urban-dwelling readers, I hope you will be doing some research for your side of things going wrong because step one of my urban survival plan is to get out of the urban area as fast as I possibly can.

Purifying water requires BOTH particulate filtering and heat sterilization. Make sure that your kit includes methods for both.

*

*

*

(((Side note: charcoal filtering removes particulates AND neutralizes many- but not all- bacterial and viral contaminants. It does NOT remove chemical contaminants. Adding low concentrations of bleach or quinine will neutralize many- but not all- bacterial and viral contaminants They will NOT remove chemical contaminants. A top-notch tutorial on charcoal filtering can be found here for anyone interested.)))

Confession: I’m a Prepper

Hi. I’m Imbrium, and I’m a prepper.

Now, take all of the crazy crap from the History, Discovery, AttentionWhore and other channels out of your head and let me start fresh. I think after all this time you can do that much for me.

I don’t have vaults full of canned food.I haven’t moved to a distant mountain top with my herd and armory- although that does have a certain appeal. I’m not plotting to vanish with my stockpile of manufactured items to trade for in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max scenario.

Actually, I’m probably worse. I don’t have a vault of food because I have a store of seeds and a garden and storage methods that don’t require electricity, like dehydration and (if experiments work later this season) smoking and fermenting. I don’t have a vault of food because half of my diet wanders around bleating or clucking and eating pesky bugs and fertilizing large stretches of ground. My food security is in my head and hands which understand how to raise, kill, and preserve food. My goal is to keep about 3 to 4 months of food on the shelf at a time. Anything more than that becomes unwieldly and anything less is insufficient to get through temperate-zone winters. Thus far, I’ve managed to put up about 2 months’ worth of preserved vegetables and have been freezing meat in available relatives’ freezers. This goat’s goal is to smoke some for preservation. There are more chickens on the way to increase the flock to something more self-sustaining. Eggs are beautiful little packets of protein, after all.

I haven’t moved to a distant mountain because… well I don’t have a real reason for that one. I feel like I need to stay here for now. For someone like me, that feeling is enough. If it comes down to it, I have the ability to cut and run. The whole point of keeping 3-4 months’ of food in shelf-stable storage is so that, should the current location become unlivable, I can pack a season’s worth of survival into my 4×4 (along with multiple cans of fuel which get rotated out regularly) and vanish. Any location can become unlivable. I might as well get the most I can out of the current location and be ready to move if I have to. Best return on the effort, as I figure it.

I am not going to discuss my armory. I possess one and that’s all you need to know about it.

I haven’t stockpiled items for the same reason. Stockpiles are difficult to move and since any location can become unlivable, there’s really no point to betting everything on anything. I don’t stockpile stuff. I stockpile knowledge and skills. I am an EMT, a CPR and First Aid Instructor, an experienced gardener and animal raiser. I have trained dogs and horses. I helped build the place I’m living in- and it’s quite sturdy and well appointed. I know how to make and mend simple clothes. I can start a fire and build a shelter with very rudimentary tools. I am also aware that I need more practice building fires because while I can do it most of the time in good conditions… that’s not good enough. I have lots of experience living without electricity and I know several ways to render water safe for drinking. Knowledge is highly portable.

I do possess some trade-able skills. I have knowledge of the local flora that, combined with my trained medical skills and my family-taught herbal knowledge would make me a decent healer. I have entertainment skills. Seriously. This is something that I feel gets overlooked. I can play and I have several instruments that are tough and easy to pack and carry. I have a surprising store of songs and poems in my memory and I’m pretty good at crafting rituals and events that give a sense of meaning. While this may seem frivolous, I think it will be necessary and valuable if we are knocked out of our comfortable society for too long. It’s not like memory takes up any pack space.

So I can take care of myself in most situations I can think of where there are no hostiles around. Yes, I actually use the word hostiles and mean it. I’m not telling you about the armory. I have one. I will never, never be satisfied with it. Weapons choices in a “everything just went straight to Tartarus” situation is a blog post in its own right. I’ll work on one.

I think I’ll make this a series, actually. There are a lot of skills I’d like to add to my set list. The last time I butchered a goat I actually sold the hide because A) I needed the favor that I charged for it. B) I have neither the skill nor the tools to tan it myself. I want to change that. Tanned hides have all sorts of uses and the knowledge is absolutely trade-able. Sure I’ll tan the hides from your stock for you. For a price. I’ve had some difficulty saving some seed types- the wet seed especially, like those in tomatoes. I think some methodology research and some hands-on practice are in order. I need practice building fires and I desperately need to work my physical fitness routine back up. I had to carry a bunch of cinderblocks and bags of soil around yesterday and it about wore me out. I feel pretty pathetic, actually. One thing at a time and I’ll post about new stuff as I can around whatever else I feel like posting about.

Got anything in particular- any thoughts lodged in your brain at a weird angle that you want me to talk about on this (or any other) topic? I’ll have a first aid pack run-down and a weapons rant up before too long. What else? Let me know in the comments!

Ways that Modern People Have Overlooked Warrior Women as Historical Fact

ladyimbrium:

Metal-Gaia has been making this point over and over. When will people start listening?

Originally posted on Metal Gaia:

gladiatorwoman

(Historians have assumed this woman was holding a cleaning tool – um she looks more like she’s ready to cut someone’s head off with that thing than polish the floor.) 

READ ARTICLE FROM CRACKED.COM

Cracked isn’t always the most accurate place for news, but the article I posted above makes some good points.

In modern depictions of the past, such as a TV series like Spartacus, we are shown an image of muscular slave men battling each other to death in the gladiatorial arena, while a woman’s maximum participation is cheering from the sidelines or later rewarding one of the gladiators with a blow job.

However, the truth is that female gladiators were quite common in Rome. There were many graves of decorated gladiators that historians assumed to be male, only to be surprised when the bone analysis revealed these warriors to be women – as if the woman just…

View original 411 more words

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 305 other followers