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December Meeting – Committee Presentations & New Ventures

December 8, 2012 at 10:30am

At last months meeting we launched 6 new committees: 1) Medical/Fitness/First Aid, 2) Food, 3) Land/Real Estate, 4) Home Preparedness 5) Procurement & 6) Communication.

This is a big step forward and will allow serious minded members to contribute to the group with their skills and commitment.

This month’s meeting will feature presentations by 2 or 3 committees to establish direction and new goals. Working together with focus and determination will allow us to accelerate our preparedness as a group. There will be time set aside for general group discussion.

Join us on Meetup.com Northern NJ Preparedness group

 

Monthly Skill Set Meeting & Moving Forward – Time to Get Serious

Skill Set Presentation – November 17, 2012
From 10:30 – 11:30 Cameron will be giving a complete Presentation on Sprouting. You will leave, knowing how to grow your own sprouts in as little as 3-5 days. A variety of different types of sprouts will be covered and the best lugumes to buy, to get started. She will also touch on common emergency foods and herbs.

Planning & Strategy Session
Immediately following the Skill Set Presentation we will meet for an hour for a Planning and Strategy Session. We hope that several members will voice their ideas and commitment in helping the group move forward. A primary goal is to establish one to three committees – where we can focus our energy and attention to solidify our group preparation. Suggested and potential committees could include, but not limited to, Health & Medical, Food Storage, Land Acquisition, Gardening, Purchasing, Communications, Home Preparedness etc.

The intention is to leave this meeting with a clear direction and action plan.

New members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Jump in and get active!

Check us out on  meetup.com   Northern NJ Preparedness group

 

I went to visit my friends, a married couple, that I’ve known for many years. I haven’t seen them since they moved to their new home which they brought 5 years ago. Talk about prepping!  To some, their life may seem extreme, but to serious preppers I’m sure their life choices would be appreciated. During my visit I asked them if I could share what I had seen, they said I could as long as I didn’t disclose their names or where they live and I agreed, so I will call them Brian and Jessica for the purpose of this writing.

Brian took an early retirement from a NYC corporate job (it was killing his health) and Jessica quit her job and they sold their home in Wayne.  Because of family, they stayed in NJ, but moved to a more rural area, much further away from NYC.  Luckily I have a navigation system in my car because I never would have found their place.  Its definitely off the main roads… I had no problem finding the street, but the hardest part was finding the house.  The area has a few farms with open fields, but parts are very wooded and they have the best of both of these worlds.  Their driveway is a long and winding dirt road and from the street you can’t see their home as the driveway area runs through the woods.  Brian later showed me how he has debris off to the side of the driveway that he can use to make a blockade if needed to make the driveay “disappear”.  He also has a hidden thick chain attached to hidden cement blocks to also help with the blockade if every needed (Brian said this was constructed by the previous owners).

Once I drove up through the wooded area to the house I could see why they picked their house. A beautifully restored old 1889 farmhouse with an old rustic barn along with a few other small buildings plus a 2 car detached garage. An big open field around the house but beyond the field thick forest. The neighbor’s house to the left of them can barely be seen through the woods and there are no homes immediately behind them.  A nice secluded spot with a stream on the property and a small lake within walking distance.

As soon as I arrived they started showing me what they had done in terms of prepping, I have so much more that I will talk about in another Prepper post.  They are very into sustainability and natural living and they were able to get off the grid after almost 3 years of living in the house.  The sustainability part will also have to be on another post… too much to mention now.

All their supplies they have two of …. two huge wood piles (1 kept inside a building and 1 outside), two emergency underground shelters (constructed by the previous owner), two food supplies, two supplies of tools… 1 is located right near the house and the other is hidden off in another area.  Both are very well hidden, I didnt know they were there until I was shown the entrance.  The larger one has 1 storage room stocked with long term storage food and water with 2 other rooms.  One is a small bathroom area and the larger room has 2 foldout beds, a table, folding chairs, and some other small pieces of fold out furniture and even had pictures on one wall of outdoor scenes and a fake window complete with curtains, I had to laugh when I saw that, and Brian said that was for Jessica who doesnt like closed in spaces,  They are stocked with games, clothes, books, flashlights, candles, matches, etc.  Very well planned out.  The second shelter wasn’t as nice, but served its purpose and also had food and water storage, some furniture, and necessary items.

They definitely have enough storage and they said the hardest part is making sure that food and water is switched around… longest stored is used first. Sounds like a lot of work, but they said they finally got used to it as their biggest food cache is what they would normally eat, since they don’t like wasting things.  They are very fortunate in that they had the finances to pursue their life they way they wanted to.  Brian and Jessica now have a network of Prepper friends that they keep in contact with as they are both very social people from their past life. Over the last 5 years they have both taken first aid, self defense and gun training classes, as well as home repair, canning and dehydrating classes, since prepping was brand new to them until they met the old owner of the old home who shared so much of his knowledge with them, and who was only selling the house because he was moving to Arizona to help his daughter who was very ill.

I spent a few hours with them, we got to catch up on the years we hadn’t seen each other. I got to enjoy some of their homemade wine and they even gave me a bottle to take home.  They shared a wealth of prepping information, some of which I was familiar with but other prepping ideas were new to me so I’ll have to get into that in another post.

They now live a very simple, much more rewarding lifestyle.  What a great visit, such a peaceful place to be a prepper, I didn’t want to leave.

 

Here is another post that Mike posted on the Northern NJ Preparedness group discussion board (with his permission – Thanks Mike):

 

This is the first post in a series I will write about selecting a retreat/bugout location.

Choosing your retreat/bugout location should not be a quick or easy decision. There are many factors to consider. You need to weigh the pros and cons of each property/location carefully. Some factors will automatically rule out that area as a viable option while others may turn out to be a force multiplier. Keep in mind, the chances of finding an absolutely perfect location is very low. There will almost always be at least one or more negatives that may cause you to want to search for another location.

Let’s start with probably the most obvious factor to consider in your retreat location – geography and climate. What part of the US are you considering? Do you like the hot and dry climate of the southwest or the hot and humid climate of the southeast? Do you thrive in harsh winters or desert climates? Are you partial to the mountains or lowland areas? Personally, I love the winter. I hunt in the snow, go ice fishing often and enjoy skiing and snowboarding, but…..I am not talking about a vacation home. I am talking about a location I will move to and live at in a worse case scenario (ie grid down, civil unrest, etc…). It will not be easy to survive the winters in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California in a grid down situation. Or think about some of the harsh winters we have had in NJ. If you were lucky enough to have a wood burning stove, you would need to have a stockpile of about 9 cords of wood to make it through the winter. A harsher winter climate would almost guarantee smaller populations and less chance of hostile contact. It will also be easier to heat a home or structure than to cool down a home in a survival situation.

In most cases, living in a more mild climate will give you a longer growing season. Growing vegetables and fruit would be a beneficial addition to your diet and would give you the much needed fiber to aid your digestion, vitamins for health and carbohydrates for energy. Ideally, you would want at least a 150 day growing season. This is one option I would not discount for a long term survival situation.

Another important factor to consider in your retreat location is precipitation. Obviously, an area that gets more rain will be better for most crops you plant as opposed to a dry, hot climate. More rain usually means a higher humidity level, though. If you’re worried about comfort level, hot weather accompanied by a humidity level over 80% will be a lot more difficult to deal with than the same temperature in the mountains or high deserts where the humidity levels are generally much lower. Humid climates are also breeding grounds for insects, mold and bacteria. With these things come greater chances for disease, infection and death.

Regardless of the factors I have gone over, I will tell you that I prefer the American southeast (but not a coastal state). For me, the negatives of added humidity are overshadowed by the positives of a mild winter, longer growing season and plentiful water for my own consumption and the watering of crops.

I will continue this discussion of selecting a retreat/bugout location at a later time.

 

Unless you have a fully stocked, fortified, easily defendable structure to bug out to within a reasonable distance to your current position, you’re in for a world of hurt. If you really think you are going to grab your BOB and relocate on foot to the mountains and live off the land, you’re fooling yourself and ignoring reality.

What kind of training do you have? Have you ever tried doing this before? Have you ever spent extended periods of time exposed to the elements…..negative 0 degree temperatures in the winter or 100+ degrees in the summer? How about getting rained on for days on end and all of your clothes and gear are soaked. What are you going to do? Start a fire with your soggy matches? Where is your food coming from after your three day supply of MRE’s run out. Are you suddenly going to discover your hunter/gatherer primitive skills? The answer is no. You will get hypothermia and possibly die or starve or eat the wrong thing and die horribly.

How about defense/offense? Is making a spear really going to help you when the other guy has a firearm? Is digging a pitfall really going to work or just expend valuable calories from your diet? What do you have to defend yourself? Do you know how to competently use what you have? How much ammo do you have? Can you even carry a reasonable amount of ammo with your food storage, medical gear, cold weather clothing and portable shelter?

Do you really believe your bug out buddies are going to abandon everything they have to come and find you? They won’t. The only person you can truly count on is yourself in a bug out situation.

Would you consider bugging out if you have a family with small children? I hope not for your kid’s sake. At times when you need extreme noise discipline, your young children will be unable to comply.

Even if I lived in NYC instead of a suburb, I believe bugging out might turn out to be a death sentence. NYC will be a lost cause with the amount to people inside it. They will quickly turn on themselves as regular public utilities shut down (electricity will shut off first plunging us into darkness, which will in turn shut down the pumps that create water pressure eliminating drinking water, cooking water and sanitation).

Did you even bother to think about the hundred’s of thousands of folks that think they will also bug out to the country? You will be in competition with them. I guarantee they will not be planning on banding together as opposed to what you think.

 

With permission, as posted by  Mike in our Northern New Jersey Preparedness Group at Meetup.com

 


Mike, from our Northern NJ Preparedness Group wrote the following post on that site and gave me permission to reprint it here:

I had a long conversation with a buddy of mine tonight over a large pot of venison stew. I was shocked that he was not practicing any long term food storage because he does not have the skills to do it. That motivated me to write this post after promising my buddy to teach him what I know about food storage.

Folks, do not waste your money buying prepackaged, bulk, long term food storage unless you have the money to burn and/or don’t have the time to spend on doing it yourself. For most of us though, I’m sure saving a lot of money would be a plus because that would allow us to spend the money saved on more supplies. Keep in mind, depending on future the skills you learn doing the preservation yourself may become invaluable.

Anyway, here’s my advice – buy and read a few books or spend some of your free time watching youtube videos on bulk food preservation. Learn about canning and dehydrating. Try to figure our what would work best for you. What are your needs, goals and fears for the future? Is your main plan to bug in or bug out? You’re probably thinking, “What do these things have to do with food preservation?”. But when you do your research everything will come together and make sense.

If you plan on rotating the food storage into your regular meals, canning is a great way to preserve many foods that you grow in your yard for several years or even longer depending on the storage conditions.
You can store meats for the same amount of time through pressure canning – only slightly more advanced but requiring a more expensive (pressure) canner. This is a great way to preserve large amounts of animal products purchased while on sale. Most canned foods can also be eaten safely out of the jar without heating or cooking (canned foods are fully cooked through the canning process).

If you are planning on bugging out and only have canned vegetables and meats – you may have a problem….Think about packing the heavy pint and quart sized glass jars. Think about the amount of space you have in your BOB or even your vehicle. Think about your physical ability to carry the heavy load and the small amount of meals relative to those heavy loads. If those jars don’t break, you may be able to carry enough to sustain yourself for several days to a week. If you had to feed a few other people, you would all be starving in several days.

So, maybe canned goods isn’t the best solution for bugging out. Or maybe you want to put a large amount of long term storable food in your basement and forget about it until the SHTF. Let’s consider dehydrated food. Because their bulk and weight have been greatly reduced through the dehydrating process, dehydrated foods are more compact and convenient for storing and require very little space. Quite simply, you can store more than twice the calories/meals in less than half the space and less than 1/3 the weight!

Dehydrated foods also offer quick mobility in the event of a bug out situation. For example, one case of regular canned food weighs approximately 24 pounds. The same item of dehydrated foods would weigh from 36 to 45 ounce. Dehydrated foods have approximately double the yield of regular canned foods even though their cost is much lower. And then there’s also those handy, stackable 1, 5 or 6 gallon food grade buckets which are easy to carry multiples of with their handles and light weight. If you couple the food grade buckets with mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, now you have a long term storable food (30+ years for long grain white rice, certain legumes, hard red wheat and others…) that is stackable, easily stored, carried and transported.

Keep in mind, in order to consume dehydrated foods like rice and legumes, they need to be rehydrated. That means you need a heat source, water and time. In a bug out situation, you may not be able to make a fire as you would give away your position easily. You may not have the time to prepare your meal as you need to keep on the move to get out of dodge and/or evade pursuers. You may not have the skills to make a fire on your own. Or all of your natural combustible material and your flint may be wet due to the weather.

So there you have it. Canning and dehydrating are two excellent forms of long term food storage. There are pluses and minuses to both depending on your financial situation, timeline, goals, plans of bugging in or bugging out, or tactical considerations. Do your research. The information is out there on the web for free but there is no substitution for having a hard copy in event of a grid down situation.

-Practicality trumps style and skill beat bulls@%t.-

Many thanks to Mike for the excellent advice.

 

 

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