Article – ‘When you find my body, please call my husband,’ missing hiker wrote

Well, thats just depressing.

The haunting note, dated Aug. 6, 2013, was written on a torn-out page from a journal.

“When you find my body, please call my husband George and my daughter Kerry. It will be the greatest kindness for them to know that I am dead and where you found me — no matter how many years from now. Please find it in your heart to mail the contents of this bag to one of them.”

The bag included a cellphone and the journal.

Geraldine Largay wrote the plaintive message to her family nearly two weeks after she went missing while hiking the Appalachian Trail in Western Maine, according to the official file on her disappearance released Wednesday by the Maine Warden Service.

It appears that Largay, who was 66 and lived in Tennessee, survived for nearly four weeks after she was reported missing and three weeks after authorities had given up the search, which was one of the largest in Maine Warden Service history.

It sounds like, other than a bad sense of direction, that this chick had a pretty good head on her shoulders. I’ve no idea of what her gear list comprised, but the article almost makes it sound like she was unable to build a fire. Rough story. When I’m off in the boonies I always take a couple handflares along. Great for signalling, sure, but also an awesome way to get a fire going. Then again, I also take compass and map along as well and try to establish some baselines in case I do decide to step off the trail.

Sad story. Tough to lose your wife, tougher to lose her in such an anguishing way.

Article – Primed to fight the government

B.J. Soper took aim with his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and fired a dozen shots at a human silhouette target. Soper’s wife and their 16-year-old daughter practiced drawing pistols. Then Soper helped his 4-year-old daughter, in pink sneakers and a ponytail, work on her marksmanship with a .22-caliber rifle.

Deep in the heart of a vast U.S. military training ground, surrounded by spent shotgun shells and juniper trees blasted to shreds, the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard was conducting its weekly firearms training.

“The intent is to be able to work together and defend ourselves if we need to,” said Soper, 40, a building contractor who is an emerging leader in a growing national movement rooted in distrust of the federal government, one that increasingly finds itself in armed conflicts with authorities.

Ok, grab your ‘Militia Panic’ bingo card and lets play:

  • Quote from the panic pimps at the SPLC? Got it.
  • Mention of young children shooting guns? Yup, got it.
  • Use of the race card? Uh..whoops, there it is!
  • Nod to conspiracy theories? It’s there.
  • Picture of scary guns and the use of ‘assault rifles’?Of course!

Man, every few years this comes up….some folks form a brunch-n-bitch club with the word ‘Constitution’ or ‘Patriot’ in it’s name, shoot targets once in a while, and clean CostCo out on 50# bags of rice, and the media thinks it’s barbarians-at-the-gates.

You know, I live in the middle of that sort of environment. If there is a person I encounter during my day who doesn’t have food socked away, own a gun, or think .gov gets pretty grabby once in a while…well…I’m unaware of it. I’ve met a bunch of those high-profile folks..Randy Weaver, Bo Gritz, John Trochmann, etc, etc….and they’ve all been pretty nice folks. Oh, you don’t want to get into a long political debate with them but they’ll buy you lunch, help you change a tire, or help you plow your driveway. Most people, regardless of political inclinations, are, at a basic level, fairly decent folks.

The folks in the Wasington Post (aka “Pravda On The Potomac”) article seem like nice enough folks, with a genuine civic and civil mindset. It seems like they just need a lower profile. Guys, you don’t need to be part of a structured, high-profile, march-in-public organization in order to do the things you want to do. The ‘Boise Hiking Club’, ‘Kalispell Trail Walkers’, or ‘Butte Gopher Whackers’ can go out and hike in the woods with rifles, learn first aid, and do small-unit exercises just as well as the other guys. But with less scrutiny from the pearl-clutchers in the stands.

However…..

There’s always some idiot with a bad case of derpes who takes it too far. Pretty much anyone on reality TV ‘prepper’ shows springs to mind. Remember this clown? Don’t be that guy.

But…without the specter of those evil ‘militias’, how’s a place like the SPLC going to stay in business?

When hospitals are BYOB

At some point in your journey into preparedness, you wind up starting to stock up on medical supplies. Not just first aid stuff, although that gets piled high too, but ‘medical supplies’…things like gloves, sutures, forceps, drapes, irrigation tools, scalpels, etc, etc….things that really go beyond izzy bandages and SAM splints. When it comes up in discussion there is invariably some wag who opines that storing medical stuff that you have no idea how to use is foolish and even dangerous, since it may encourage you to use it when you have no idea how to use it correctly.

I heartily disagree. First of all, I’m a fairly intelligent guy…if I don’t know how to use something, I can always learn. (And you should always be learning…) But here is the main reason I  think that storing medical supplies that you don’t know how to use isn’t a bad thing: just because you don’t know how to use it doesn’t mean there won’t be someone else around who does.

How often do we read about car accidents where one of the first people on the scene was an EMT, nurse, or doctor, on their way to work that morning? If you’re in a crisis situation and you don’t know how to help somebody, there’s a good chance that there is someone with the talent, but not the tools, nearby. Provide them the tools.

Another good reason is evidenced in Venezuela right now. In many parts of the world, hospital care is dependent on the patient providing their own supplies. Oh, you may luck out and find a hospital that isn’t re-using syringes, isn’t using medicine that was stored improperly, isn’t using medicines of questionable origin and purity, but to be perfectly safe…you bring your own. Check this out:

As her 3-month-old daughter was recovering from heart surgery at one of the leading public hospitals in Caracas, Venezuela, doctors told Yamila she needed to go out and buy basic medical supplies for her baby that the hospital had run out of. They gave her a list that included catheters, needles for administering IV fluids, antibiotics and other medications, the mother told a Human Rights Watch researcher in November.

Leaving her daughter’s side, Yamila went on a frantic search for medical supplies so basic that no hospital — let alone one of the country’s largest teaching hospitals — should ever run out of them. But none of the hospitals or pharmacies she visited had them in stock. In the end, despite concerns about the quality of the supplies, and unsure whether she had the correct catheters and needles for a newborn, Yamila had no option but to buy whatever she could find on the black market — with no quality guarantees.

(Here’s another article on Venezuela’s medical crisis.)

In this country, it’s not that difficult to stock up on that sort of thing. In fact, you can get an amazing amount of first aid and medical supplies (and equipment) off eBay if you know what you’re looking for. I think I bought a case of 4800 bandaids for something like twenty bucks. But, there’s also sutures, scalpels, lights, drapes, forceps, retractors, braces, crutches, portable x-ray machines, etc, etc. You can create a very passable medical clinic/station using nothing but your laptop, a debit card, and UPS.

When ‘The Big One’, or whatever your particular flavor of apocalypse is, occurs it will stretch your local hospitals stores to the limit. The .gov, occasionally showing some good decision-making skills, has the Strategic National Stockpile. (More here.) The notion here is that when Mayberry Hospital gets virtually stripped to the walls as patients flood in and are laid out in makeshift wards in the parking lot, the feds can swoop in with whatever passes for a Packaged Disaster Hospital these days. (The PDH’s are still out there, in some cases…like lost Cold War time capsules. This one was discovered in the base of the Brooklyn Bridge a few years back.)

My point is that it is not unreasonable to stock medical supplies that may be beyond your ability to use. However, just because you don’t know how to use something now is no excuse not to perhaps learn how to use it for a later time. When things go sideways it’s a safe bet your local medical facilities will be crowded, understaffed, overworked, overwhelmed, and probably underequipped. You’re future is a lot brighter when your neighbor, the retired doctor or nurse, says “Yeah, I can fix that but we need some…” and you trot to your supply locker and produce it.

Recommended reading:

Even if you’re not doing DIY surgery, books like these give you excellent ‘shopping lists’ for things to keep on hand.

 

Cast iron seasoning experiment

I love cooking with cast iron. To my way of thinking, cast iron, especially Dutch ovens, have a place in the survivalist stockpile by virtue of their utility, durability, and versatility. What I cannot freaking stand about cast iron, though, is seasoning it.

Ever get a roasting pan or some other metal bakeware that winds up getting some grease or oil baked onto it to the point that it leaves a hard, black, spot on the metal that is virtually impossible to scour off? Well, the idea is to do that on purpose to the piece of cast iron. Most resources tell you to clean your cast iron really well, slather it in Crisco or some other oil/fat, wipe it down, and bake it on high heat in an oven to season it.

Does. Not. Work.

I tried going through cycles of heat pot, wipe down pot with oil, bake in oven, let cool, repeat, repeat, repeat. Marginal results. Additionally, unless you’re cool with your house smelling like a dumpster fire behind KFC you really want to do this sort of thing outside.

Which brings us to an experiment I figured I’d share with you all.

Yeas ago, someone was nice enough to buy me one of these for my birthday. Although Lodge sells their stuff as pre-seasoned, you’d be a fool to take their word for it. I went through various techniques to try and season it and nothing ever did the trick just right. It was a shame too, because smokin’ hot cast iron is just the thing for maintaining temperature when you drop a pound of cold diced chicken and vegetables into it.

I had read several articles on the best method to season cast iron and, more importantly, what fat/oil to use. After reading a bunch articles on the topic, this one made the most sense.

So, I’ll use the flax oil. Now what? Well, I need a heat source. I was originally going to use my propane barbecue but wanted a more direct application of heat to the metal. Then I remembered I have my Volcano stove with propane conversion in storage. I set up the stove, cranked it up high, sat the cleaned wok on top of it and waited for it to heat up. While I waited, I took a small patch of towel material and my cooking tongs and got ready to swab down the wok. When the wok was sufficiently hot, I dipped my swab in the flax oil and wiped down the entire inside of the wok..making sure not to use so much oil that it pooled in the bottom of the wok. Smoked like heck, lemme tell you. Once I had completely coated the inside of the wok, I stood back and waited for the smoke to clear. After five minutes the smoking had virtually ceased, so I swabbed it out again. More smoke. Wait five minutes. Repeat. I did this about eight times and then finally let it cool. Tried it out this afternoon and it worked great. Threw it on the burner, poured in some oil, and stirred up some chicken. Nothing stuck to the wok, and clean up was the usual boil-water-in-it-to-loosen-things-up-and-wipe-it-out procedure. A quick wipe with an oily paper towel and its good to go.

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By the by, if youre going to start over and reseason a piece of cast iron, here’s the method I use to remove seasoning. Works great, just takes a little time.

Expo AAR

Well, that was a bit underwhelming. Forst of, it was, believe it or not, twelve bucks to walk in the door. Twelve! Thats, like, groceries for two days!

There were, maybe, about 30 vendors…there was the usual assortment of nylon gear and books. Also, beekeeping stuff, a couple realotors, some medical stuff, pocket stoves, essential oils, and a few other staples of these kinds of shows. But…all in all, not worth the drive and definitely not worth the price of admission.

On the other hand, I did try to salvage the trip by hitting a few gun stores and came across a place that had a a few 2nd Gen Glocks for sale for $300 ea.. so, not a total loss.

To be fair, this was the first time this sort of thing was held there and perhaps that accounts for the less than impressive showing of vendors, but if it isn’t significantly larger next year I’ll save my money and stay here in little ol’ Montana.

Spokane Expo

Off to Spokane tomorrow morning with a friend to attend a preparedness expo there. I’ve never been to one of these, so I’m quite curious how it’ll go. I expect lots of vendors of starge food, LifeStraws, firestarting, medical gear, and a lot of tinfoil headgear. Matter of fact, I’m going to keep my open for The Most Bizarre Vendor And Gear. Should be interesting.

I’m not really looking for anything myself. Although, you never know what you might come across. I’ll play it safe and try not to bring too much cash with me. I can resist anything except temptation.

Movie – Amerigeddon

The cheese factory has turned out another wheel of cinematic cheese.

Let’s go through the checklist:

  • The UN as bad guys? Check!
  • Trendy EOTW event? Check!
  • Turn them all in, Mr and Mrs America? Check!
  • Evil foreign conspirators? Check!
  • Surveillance state commentray? Check!
  • Dramatic use of the term “New World Order”? Check!
  • Vilified big businesses and corporations? Check!

Roll em!

Almost seems like Alex Jones should get writing credit, doesn’t it? Interesting to note that the best thing I can find in the cast list as far as a notable actor is….Dina Meyer. Best known, probably, for the incredibad “Starship Troopers” and it’s coed shower scene.

But…yeah…I’ll roll my eyes during the whole thing but watch it anyway. I like EOTW genre films and we haven’t had a collapse movie in a couple years since that last EMP movie.

“EDC”-type stuff

Tam has a brief post up about how, being tool using animals and all, that even if you don’t carry a pistol you should probably at least always carry a knife and/or flashlight.

For the last few years I’ve been carrying a little Benchmade folder that was a gift from a very generous LMI a few years back. You get so used to carrying a pocketknife that when you wind up reaching for it and its not there, you get quite surprised.

For flashlights, I love SureFire as much as the next guy but my wallet does not. I was actually really pleasantly surprised by how much I like the Fenix flashlights, especially this little guy. This is the one I carry around in my pocket and Ive been very pleased with it. It runs on AA batts, so it fits my logistics table quite nicely, throws a good amount of light, is LED, and for the money its a pretty tough act to beat.

Some guys get carried away with all this ‘EDC’ stuff. I’ve seen some people post pictures of their ‘EDC loadout’ and it’s enough crap to drag your Levi’s down to your ankles if your belt isn’t doing its part. For me, I keep the pocketknife clipped in one pocket, flashlight in another, wallet in the back pocket and a gun on the belt. That’s pretty much it. If I need to carry more gear than that, I usually go with the messenger bag I picked up a few months back…gives me room to carry my textbooks, spare ammo, extra sweater or cap, and it all carries rather well on the padded strap.

I know someone is going to ask where I carry a spare magazine. Honestly, ninety percent of the time I don’t. Most people would feel comfortable carrying a 6-shot revolver and 2 speedloaders….thats the same amount of ammo my Glock 9mm carries without a spare mag, so…I figure I’m doing okay there.

Annnnnd we’re back

Yeah, theres a distinct lack of posting lately. Real world stuff, Im afraid.

Oddly, you would think with all the tumult going on in the world there would be  no shortage of things to post about…zika, Trump vs. Tramp, wildfires, earthquakes, economic matters, etc, etc. Face it…it’s an interesting world out there.

I’ve been out doing some travel lately, hence the radio silence. It’s a big world and while parts of it are pretty and have some value, they are only a small fraction of the rest of the country. Yeah, Venice is pretty but as a whole Italy is pretty messed up. And the Acropolis looks awesome, but Greece is a Third World hole. So..yeah…the US has it’s issues but it’s better than most of the options.

So…Cruz has bowed out, much to my surprise. I was dead certain he’d be the party candidate (and I really still haven’t ruled it out completely). The only real question now is if the GOP will rally around the frontrunner or leave him to swing in the wind as a lesson to those who would deign to buck the party power players.

Regardless, I think we’re doomed…again. Im thinking it’s going to be President Hillary…but I am virtually certain it will be a one-term affair. Someone pointed out to me that as polarizing as both players are, even in their own party, there’s an excellent chance of gridlock. Dude, I’m pro-gridlock. Government that governs best, governs least.

And to try and stay somewhat on topic, while cleaning out a few things I managed to find a time capsule to the mid-90’s. Behold:

20160502_101148A box of the ol’ Black Talon ammo. Remember all that hand-wringing? How it would fly through a body like a buzzsaw…never mind that with most conventional rifling twists the bullet wouldnt even make a full revolution before exiting the body. Still, once the bad press hit the media Winchester folded it’s tent, took off the black coating, tinkered a bit, and relaunched it as Ranger SXT …where it sits in a lot of badged holsters. So…twenty year old ammo. Sure, it’ll work just fine but, really, who needs the headache of some zealous mouthbreather telling a jury how horrible you are for using ammo that is so evil it was pulled off the market.

Ah, the 90’s….the first half of that decade really was a fun one for guns.