Director of National Stupidity

Dr. Thomas SowellSecretary of State John Kerry says that there is less violence than usual in the world right now. Meanwhile the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, says the opposite, that terrorism is more violent and dangerous than ever. Since Clapper is Director of National Intelligence, maybe Kerry should have the title Director of National Stupidity.

Dr. Thomas Sowell via Random Thoughts

5 Tips on Bugging Out Into The Woods

If you have spent any time at all in the on-line Prepper community, you have no doubt seen discussion from people who have plans for bugging out into the woods and living off the land in the event of a crisis. These discussions lay out optimistic projections of grabbing a BOB and hoofing it into the woods. There, the authors will hunt and forage in order to survive whatever crisis they are escaping. The reality of bugging out into the woods will most likely be considerably different than those author’s fantasies. We’ve been discussing these wilderness fantasies recently and have come up with 5 tips on bugging out into the woods. Bugging Out Into The Woods

1) Have A Plan, Otherwise You Are Just A Refugee.
Having a vague plan of bugging out “into the woods;” essentially taking an extended camping trip, is not a real plan. We were all raised on movies where the city slicker was dropped unexpectedly into the wilderness and through some difficulties learned to live off the land but there are very few people who have the necessary skills to survive this kind of life long term.  Even Dick Proenneke had a plan that included regular resupply from civilization.  Being part of some mass exodus with no prepared location waiting for you makes you a refugee, no matter how well equipped you are. If you own the property you are bugging out to a plan might include building shelter ahead of time and laying in an extensive collection of prepositioned caches. If you don’t own your property your choices are retreating to public lands with every other mountain-man wannabe or trespassing on other people’s lands.  With resources running thin either situation can get you in legal trouble if there’s still some rule of law or worse.  If your plan includes unnecessary trespass and theft then you aren’t a prepper…and may not even be a survivor…you’re a criminal.

2) Be prepared to be hungry
There are a couple of T.V. shows on currently that show exactly how hard it is to procure adequate food for yourself while in the woods even if you’re a ‘survival expert’ or have one advising you. On both “Fat Guys In The Woods“, and “Naked And Afraid“, after just a couple of days the common thread is extreme hunger.  These types of shows inevitably end up focusing more on human endurance than survival skills because that’s the best you can hope for without a plan…to endure temporarily.  Remember also that these experts have an idea of where they will be filming and have time to prepare for local conditions and study up on seasonally appropriate foraging targets. In a long-term crisis, you can pack in only so much food so eventually, you will run out and have to rely on foraging. Also, you had best be prepared to open your mind to a whole new level of food options; many of them less than palatable and unless foraging for food is a skill that you practice daily you will quickly find yourself in an endurance situation.  How long can you go without adequate food before you get hurt or sick and then things are likely to get worse.

3) Be prepared to be miserable.
Have you ever been on an extended camping/back-packing trip? As enjoyable as it is, remember how good it felt to go home. This is especially true after trips which it rained buckets or was extremely cold or hot. There may be no going home when bugging out into the woods during a long-term crisis. While effective, primitive fire making techniques truly stink in all but the most ideal circumstances. When you are tired, wet, cold, have low morale, and have not been eating well fires are very difficult to get going. Living in a primitive shelter for extended periods isn’t comfortable, either. Shelter building, hygiene, water purification, protection from the elements, bug repellant, fuel collection and every other facet of life is harder in primitive conditions.

4) Be prepared to fight for resources.
If you live near a major population center, be prepared for hundreds, if not thousands of people having the same idea as you. There may be masses of uninformed people heading in to the woods just like you and they will be scared, hungry, desperate and dangerous.  They will be competing for the very same resources that you are.  One of the sad repercussions of the Great Depression was that across the entire country wildlife populations were decimated from over hunting and this wasn’t even a WROL situation.  The deer herd in my state was down to less than 5,000 (est. 2.5M now, with modern management) in the mid 30s.  Think about that for a moment…an entire state’s deer herd hunted to near extinction and the U.S population was 41% of what it is today. You had better be prepared to face people in the woods who are willing to kill to take what they need to survive.

5) Be prepared to die.
Unless you already practice a primitive lifestyle, be prepared to die in your bug out location in the woods and if you are a lone wolf survivalist then be prepared to die alone. Even those well versed in primitive living will face a multitude of dangers in the wilderness and if your bug out location is a ‘wilderness area’ surrounded by sizeable population…heaven help you. Under normal circumstances transitioning rapidly to a primitive lifestyle is difficult…in the midst of a crisis the challenges are likely insurmountable.  In a long-term crisis situation, without the support a modern infrastructure, they can be life threatening. A simple medical condition can turn into a mortal danger. There was a reason why many pioneers died at a reasonably young age.

Bugging Out Into The Woods Conclusion

Don’t take this article as a condemnation of bugging out into the woods. It has its place in any survival plan…but the key word there is PLAN.  Plan ahead to provide yourself the tools, supplies, skills, knowledge and elbowroom you’ll need to survive. We are simply trying to point out that it is not the best course of action, under most circumstances. If you must take that course, make sure that you have exhausted all other options.

10 Random Thoughts

  1. Moving To The Retreat:  Moving from a great prepper home in a neighborhood to a retreat is a lot like starting your preparedness journey over in a lot of ways. Mature, well thought out plans, supplies and preparations are just a start when you need more people to work and secure the land while moving from food storage to food storage and production preps. The good news is that water preparedness can be much easier on your own piece of land.
  2. Serenity:  The movie Serenity is starting to look a little dated but still holds up visually and as an adventure story. The freedom & liberty themes are timeless.
  3. Lots Of Rabbits: My rabbit colony seemed to be stuck in the winter doldrums so I decided to liven things up a little and was getting ready to expand the colony anyway so I decided to run the buck in the doe’s colony…could be upwards of 100 little ones on the way for spring.
  4. Quote:  This is a pertinent time to recall a famous quote attributed to Leon Trotsky: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” It is obvious that President Obama came into office without any interest in waging war – he preferred to pursue “social justice” through income redistribution and an expansion of the welfare state. Unfortunately for him, and for us, is equally obvious that the butchers of ISIS have given him absolutely no choice. War is very, very interested in President Obama.  Bill O’Reilly via Searching For Strategy
  5. TEOTWAWKI Company: “I’m planning on coming to your place…” those words have been bothering me a lot lately. I’m a stealth prepper from all but a very small subsection of our close friends and family members but loose lips have clued in a couple of other friends in our circle and not one person that’s told me they are planning on coming to my place has asked if it’s OK, offered to preposition supplies, offered money to have me purchase supplies for them or sought any type of training.
  6. Obey: Shepard Fairey, the artist behind President Obama’s ‘Hope’ & ‘Change’ posters is most famous for his ‘Obey’ street art…an anti-propagandist…whodathunkit.
  7. An Important Shop Tool: The internet has to be extended to the shop…there’s a dozen Youtube videos on how to do just about anything. Projects aren’t good just because they get things done but also because you learn things and if you build with friends…they are fellowship.
  8. Dogs: I’ve written previously about concerns with the potential for dogs to be OPSEC liabilities in neighborhoods post TEOTWAWKI but out on the farm they make a great early warning system when strangers are around.
  9. Camo: Not all folks can pull off camo as civilian wear…but nobody can pull of wearing multiple camo patterns simultaneously.
  10. Life is Short: I started adding up all the time and money required for me to take all the different classes I want to take this year and I’m not sure there’s enough of either… don’t get overwhelmed, just get started and do what you can.

Sugar Maple Identification – Infographic

With tree tapping season upon us here at The Hermitage I’ve been reading up on sugaring and tree tapping.  We’ve yet to do a real tree census on the retreat and haven’t identified any suitable maple trees yet but have already found a number of trees that can be tapped.

I’m going to try tapping one of my Sycamore trees later this week.  In addition to the Maple (Rocky Mountain, Canyon/Big Tooth, Boxelder, Norway, Red, Silver, Black and of course Sugar) and Sycamore trees there are a number of other North American trees that can produce syrup yielding sap including Ironwood, Birch (River, Black, Yellow and Paper), English Walnut, Hazelnut, Black Walnut, Butternut/White Walnut…did I miss any?

Anyway, today’s infographic on Sugar Maple Identification is brought to us by Ohio Thoughts

Sugar Maple Identification

Today in Texas They Celebrate An American Story, An American Hero

Today, Texas celebrates Chris Kyle day as declared by Texas Governor Greg Abbott…of course in the rest of the U.S. it’s just Monday…

If you aren’t familiar with the story of Navy Seal Chris Kyle, check out the links below…his was a hell of a story… a historical story, a military story, a family story, a human story…an American story…

A video of Chris Kyle’s memorial service is available.

The Short Answer On The “Debate” about “American Sniper”

I read Chris Kyle’s book “American SniperAmerican_Sniper_poster” and think it is one of the best books out there. By all accounts, Clint Eastwood and company have done it more than justice with the recent movie version they created. On the heels of its release, there has been a fire storm of progressives* decrying the effort and besmirching the memory of Chris Kyle; a true American hero. They’ve called him a hate filled racist, said he reminds them of fictional Nazis, and more. It has raised a bit of debate on the matter. Well, I have the short answer on the subject for you Prepography readers:

A: It’s not about the fact that the sniper shoots, it about the fact of why the sniper shoots that is important.

You can take the stance that all snipers are equal because they shoot. In which case you are also saying that every ideology behind the shots are equal. Or, you can take the stance that “why” the sniper shoots is what ultimately matters. In which case you are making a moral judgement behind the ideology of why the shot was taken.

In the end it comes down to this; either you think the ideologies that leads to death camps and killing children with drills is equal to the ideology that values life and individual freedom (even if it doesn’t do it right all the time), or you think there is a moral difference between them.

You may ask why I am bringing this up on a preparedness site? Well, I’ll tell you. The morals that guide a person are what matters. If you can not make the moral distinction between differing ideologies, cultures, and values, as is the case for the former, I want to know. I want you to declare it to the world, for all to see. Shout it from the rooftops, and post about it on every blog you haven’t been banned from. I want people like me to know who will be a threat when the time comes. If you are the latter, I want to know because if you are not an ally, you, at the very least, will not be an overt threat should the SHTF.

A bit dramatic; probably. It is what it is, though; deal with it.

Andrew’s Note:  I recently took my Navy veteran father to see the movie and it’s one hell of a movie…but make sure to read the book!

* Henceforth, I will no longer be referring to leftists as “liberals”; they will be referred to as “progressives” or “leftists”.  They are the polar opposites of what classical liberal thinking is about, and I will no longer be an accomplice to the abuse of the English language.  It is an ingrained habit, so if I slip and use the term liberal when progressive or leftists fits better, I apologise.

Privilege – A Newspeak Definition

Today we add another term to our Newspeak Dictionary.  In traditional use the term ‘privilege’ is used to describe a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.

Unfortunately, “privilege” is now used as a Newspeak word in place of ‘achievement’ to belittle and steal from those who work hard and achieve success which violates the Progressive concept of ‘equality of outcomes.’

Thank you to Dr. Thomas Sowell for pointing out this frequent substitution in a recent article

Check out the rest of our Newspeak definitions at Prepography‘s Newspeak, A Modern Political Dictionary.

10 Steps To Sharpen A Chainsaw

My recent Prepography article “8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw” gave the basics on using a chainsaw. Having a sharp chain is very important for safety as well as productivity. Chains will dull very quickly, especially if cutting an extremely hard wood such as hedge. Knowing how to sharpen a chainsaw is an important skill to have. Not only will it increase the effectiveness of your efforts, it will save you money to boot because you’ll use fewer saw lubricating oils and won’t have to pay someone else to do it for you.

How To Sharpen A Chainsaw In 10 Steps

oregon sharpening kit - How To Sharpen A Chainsaw In 10 Steps1) Determine Your Chainsaw’s Gauge – You will need a rotary grindstone or chainsaw file that matches the size of the chain’s teeth. You can also buy a chainsaw sharpening kit that has everything you need in it, like the one to the right.  Typical sizes are 3/16, 5/32 and 7/32 of an inch in diameter.

2) Thoroughly Clean Your Chain – Use a brush and solvent to clean dirt, dust and debris off the chain.

3) Inspect Your Chain For Damage – Look for chipped, broken, or bent teeth. These will make a chain dangerous to use. If a tooth is worn short, it is at risk of breaking during operation, which is extremely dangerous to the operator. Replace any chain that is worn or damaged.

4) Place Your Saw On A Solid Surface – For safe and accurate filing your saw must be stable and the blade firmly supported. Use a vise to clamp the bar while allowing the chain to rotate freely is the best option.

5) Locate Your Start Point – The lead cutter on a chain is the shortest cutting tooth on the chain. If you can’t locate it, just take a permanent marker and mark a tooth as the starting point.

6) Set Your file Into The Notch On The Front Of The Cutter – The cutter is the angled “tooth” on the front of the flat surface of the chain link. Your file should exactly fit the curve of the face of the cutting tip. The top 20% of the file diameter should be above the top of the tooth.  The file should be at the same angle as the cutter. Also check your saw’s specs to find out what that correct angle is. Usually it is a 25 or 30 degree angle

7) Push The File Across The Face Of The Cutter – Using a twisting motion push the file across the cutter. The twisting motion help get the metal filings out-of-the-way. Do this on every other tooth until you have made one full rotation of the chain.

8) Reverse Sides And Repeat – Once you have sharpened all the teeth from one side, switch to the other side of your saw and repeat step

Be sure that all the cutters, on both sides, are filed to the same width. This is important, because the teeth need to take the same size “bite” from the wood. This will make for a smoother cutting process.
Chain Tooth Parts

Chain Tooth Parts
(Image courtesy of

9) Check The Clearance – Check the clearance of your depth gauges which are also known as the rakers.  These curved hook shaped pieces link the cutters. They govern the amount of wood that the cutter removes on each pass. They should be about one tenth of an inch lower than the cutter. A special tool called a Depth Gauge Tool is available online or from chainsaw dealers or hardware stores. You can eyeball it if you don’t have one but the tolerances are pretty small so use the depth gauge if possible.

10) Oil The Chain & Check Tension – Saturate the chain with oil. Then, check the tension to ensure it is not too loose, or tight. Adjust as needed, and you should be ready to cut again.

First Aid For Frostbite In 5 Steps

Winter is almost upon us and freezing temperatures are already here.  Part of the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine is recognizing the dangers we may face and being able to address them.  One of the major dangers in cold weather is frostbite.  Knowing first aid for frostbite is an important first aid skill to know once freezing temperatures arise.

What is frostbite?

Frostbite is a medical condition that results from the freezing of the body’s tissue. It usually affects the parts of the body that are farthest from the heart and large patches of exposed skin. Frostbite is characterized by the constriction of the skin, as blood is shunted to the body’s core in an attempt to maintain body temperature. The affected tissue freezes, and ice crystals form inside the body’s cells. As the tissue thaws, symptoms range from pain and itching (1st degree) to deep tissue damage (3rd and 4th degree), which can result in the necessity to amputate or excise dead tissue. Death can occur if left untreated, so it is important to seek medical assistance and know first aid for frostbite.

Treating Frostbite In 5 Steps.

Step One
Get out of the cold. If you can not, do not start treating frostbite until you reach safety.

Step 2
Before treating frostbite, remove any jewelry, as swelling will occur as the tissue thaws.

Step 3
Submerge the affected area in body-temperature water. Change the water as it cools down. Try to keep the water at a constant temperature.

Step 4
Use body heat for treating mild cases of frostbite, if water is not available.

Step 5
Wrap damaged tissue in sterile bandages to protect the affected area from infection. Wrap affected digits (fingers and toes) in individual wrappings.

Remember in any case of frostbite, seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.

WARNING!!! When treating frostbite, DO NOT place frostbite victim near a fire or heater. If nerve damage has occurred, they may not feel tissue burning if placed too close to the flame.

8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw

Using a chainsaw to cut wood is an essential part of maintaining a homestead and providing your home with an alternative heating fuel source. Both of the aforementioned are integral parts of the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine. Whether you are an experienced chainsaw user, or a novice starting out, any time of year is a good time to cut wood.  In my book, now is the best time, though. Late fall is upon us, and we’ve had our first hard freeze. This is for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s not too hot, or too cold; making cutting wood much more comfortable.
  • Most of the things bite, sting and make you itch have been killed off with the first freeze.
  • The small underlying vegetation and leaves have died back, or fallen, making it easier to move around and get to trees that will be cut.

With this in mind, here are Prepography‘s:

8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw

1) Select a model that is dependable , that you can handle, and is the right size for what you are cutting.
Chainsaws come in a variety of sizes, from a number of manufacturers. Like anything else you buy, “you get what you pay for”. There are some inexpensive reliable models, as well as some more expensive unreliable ones. Consumer reviews are great at helping you decide which one is best quality and best suited to your needs. Chainsaws range from small electric models with 12 inch bar blades, suitable only for cutting small limbs, to huge industrial ones with large bow blades used for lumberjacking. A novice would not want to start with one of the latter, as it would be too unwieldy for them. Conversely, they may find the smaller one incapable of doing what they want. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to comfortably lift the chainsaw, and the blade should be about 1/4 to 1/3rd larger than what you want to cut. Engine power and size, known as HP and displacement, are usually dependent on the blade size, and are matched at the factory. The biggest reason all this is important is safety. When using a chainsaw, use the proper tool for the proper job.

2) Get familiar with your chainsaw.
Before you even start your chainsaw, read the operators manual. Book learn the tool and its operation. Know how to maintain it. Learn proper safety precautions for using a chainsaw. Thanks to the internet, there are videos, and online courses you can watch. Your local chainsaw dealer, or big box DYI store might even offer training courses as well. Lacking all this, find someone with experience to teach you. Even if you are an experienced chainsaw user, it is good to periodically review the manual; lest you become complacent or forget something.

3) Do a maintenance and safety check on your chainsaw.
Before using a chainsaw, check to ensure everything is in proper working order. Check all the fluid levels, and ensure that you are using the proper ones. Chainsaws use a special mix of small engine oil and gas. There is also specially weighted oil for use in small engines. Using improper fuel and oil will cause damage to your chainsaw. In addition to the fluids, make sure everything is mechanically good on your chainsaw. Ensure nuts and bolts are tight. Ensure the chain is fitted properly and sharp. Not only is all this important for the long life of the chainsaw, but safety as well. Once you’ve done all the above, fire up your chainsaw and make sure it runs properly. Be sure to always use two hands when operating your chainsaw.

4) Starting your chainsaw.
The proper methods of starting your chainsaw is as follows:

  1. Engage the chain brake before you start your chainsaw.
  2. Hold the front handle with your left hand and lock the body of the saw head between your legs.
  3. Pull the start cord with your right hand using short, fast strokes.


  1. Place the chainsaw on the ground and put your foot through the back handle to hold the chainsaw down.
  2. Hold the front handle with your left hand
  3. Pull the start cord with your right hand using short, fast strokes.

5) Suiting up and safety gear.
When operating your chainsaw, be sure you have the proper safety clothing and gear. At a bare minimum, you should have proper heavy-duty outdoor work attire, safety gloves, safety glasses/goggles, and hearing protection. Additionally, you could wear a leather apron and chaps to protect your torso and legs. A safety helmet and face shield also improves safety. Other gear that improves safety are straps or chains with a come-a-long, for securing things being cut and a maul and wedges in case your blade gets bound in a cut.

6) Know your cuts.

There are four basiccutsthatare made with a chainsaw. The cuts are:

  • Felling: This is the act of cutting down a tree.
  • Limbing: This is removing limbs from the tree before or after it is felled.
  • Trimming: This is cutting limbs back or taking off branches on a limb.
  • Bucking: This is cutting the “log” or trunk of the tree in usable pieces, for instance, fireplace lengths.

Each of these have considerations addressed. Where will the cut piece will fall? Are there any obstruction, like power lines, buildings and vehicles. What is the proper length I need to cut the wood in for transport and usage? These are some of the more prominent questions that need to be asked. You may come up with others, each time you cut wood.

Beware of Kickback When making Your Cuts: This occurs when the blade of the chainsaw catches, comes to a sudden stop and throws back toward the operator. Most of the time this happens when the upper tip of the cutting bar gets in to the cut. So, avoid getting this part of the blade into the cut if possible. Having a firm grip on your chainsaw, a firm stance, and a stable location will help in the event of a kickback.

7) Inspect the area and have a plan.
After you’ve taken your properly working chainsaw in to the field and before you make your first cut, have a plan. Inspect the area you will be working in and what you will be cutting any hazards you should know about. Hidden barbed wire, rocks, or other obstructions could cause you to trip, with a running chainsaw. Or, they can be embedded in the tree you are cutting; hitting which can ruin you chainsaw and/or cause you injury. If felling a tree, look for lean, excess growth, or obstructions. All of these could cause the tree to fall an unexpected direction. If cutting a fallen tree, or limbs, check to see how they are laying. Make sure that when you cut a limb, the whole thing won’t shift, because you’ve just taken a support out from underneath it.

Safety Tips For Using A Chainsaw

Drawing courtesy of Mother Earth News

8) Begin cutting you wood.
Once you’ve done all the above, you are ready to start cutting. Here are some safety tips for chainsaw use from the US Forestry Service:

  • Keep upper tip of bar in solid wood.
  • If cutting a log from below, do it in two stages: first cut from above, then make another cut from below to meet the first.
  • Hold the chainsaw with both hands.
  • Grip the handle by putting your thumb around it.
  • Keep your elbow locked.
  • Never cut above shoulder height.
  • Keep the saw close to your body.
  • Use a saw with chain brake.
  • Start every cut under full throttle.
  • Keep the chain sharp.

« Older Entries Next Entries »

%d bloggers like this: