Friday, December 31, 2021

Forecast 2022 - A Survivalist's Perspective

By Tim Gamble
December 31, 2021

This being the last day of 2021, I thought I would try my hand at a number of predictions for what might happen in 2022. I'm not pulling nay punches here. I doubt everything on this list will happen, but I am equally certain one or more may happen. 

Black Swan and False Flag

A "Black Swan Event" is an extremely negative event that is unpredictable and unknowable beforehand. However, it can be said that a Black Swan is more likely to occur during highly chaotic times - the more chaotic the situation, the more likely a Black Swan will occur. The ongoing pandemic and various governmental overreactions, a US President whose health and mental-capabilities are questionable at best, ongoing global supply chain problems, and numerous geopolitical flashpoints (Iran-Israel, Russia-Ukraine, Belarus-Poland, China-Taiwan, China-India, India-Pakistan, etc.) make for a highly chaotic situation, thus greatly increasing the likelihood of a Black Swan in 2022. The exact nature of that Black Swan is unknowable, of course. 

A "False Flag Event" is an event that is designed to disguise its real cause in an effort to blame another party for it. This is a form of manipulation and psychological warfare, and may be employed by governments, political parties, or other groups in an effort to further an agenda by controlling public opinion. I believe that False Flags become more likely as those who are in power become increasingly fearful of losing that power. With the Biden administration hitting record low approval numbers, the failure of the (Marxist) Build Back Better Bill, and the increasing likelihood of Democrats losing both the House and Senate in November, the chances of one or more False Flag events in the USA is very high in 2022

Likewise, as the people continue to revolt against the insane lockdowns and mandates around the world being pushed by the globalist Elites, the chances of  False Flags in other countries is greatly increased for 2022 

Economic Forecast

Inflation and supply chain problems will continue throughout 2022. Inflation is here to stay for quite some time, particularly for food and household goods. Despite the wishful thinking of some financial analysts and other talking heads on TV, inflation  is not "transitory" but rather is becoming entrenched. The actual causes of inflation - too much money (monetary and fiscal policy) chasing too few goods (over-regulation and supply chain problems) - are not changing in 2022. Furthermore, once raised prices seldom come down to pre-inflation levels. Current high prices are mostly permanent.

Two notable exceptions to continued inflation may be fuel prices and home prices. Oil and gas may fall if we go back into lockdown mode or if a global recession hits, due to decreased demand. On the other hand, the outbreak of war in the middle east (most likely Israel - Iran) or in Asia between China and Taiwan (if the US and Japan get involved) could cause higher prices and short-term shortages. 

Home prices are starting to look like a bubble, with dramatic increases over the last couple of years. The bubble may burst in 2022, or it could hold off until 2023. One interesting indicator is the number of "experts" telling us that things are different "this time" with home prices. In reality, things are rarely "different this time"  with bubbles of any sort. The "different this time" crowd are really just hoping to keep making the fat commissions and high bonuses the bubble is providing them. They louder they become in their assurances that things are different this time, the more worried I become. 

Supply Chain problems will continue throughout 2022, even is the pandemic insanity eases. Root causes of the supply chain problems are not found in the pandemic or lockdowns, but were merely exposed by them. Root causes go back many years, and include over-reliance on foreign manufacturing, a shortage of shipping containers caused by our massive trade deficit (more containers coming here but not being sent back there for lack of exports), a massive shortage of truck drivers, and even a shortage of trucks available to be put on the road if we had enough drivers, among other things. These causes will take years to resolve, not to mention lots of political will, even after pandemic insanity subsides. 

The job market will continue to be problematic, with continuing uncertainty over vaccine mandates, and potential lockdowns in blue states, which has caused a lot of people to simply drop out of the job market, making the actual unemployment figures artificially low. At the same time there are a lot of chronically unfilled job openings and a lack of skilled (in the right ways) labor. If we do move towards more lockdowns, or if inflation and supply chain problems tip us into another recession, the job situation will only grow worse. I see little reason it will grow better.

As to the lack of skilled labor, this is mostly a self-inflicted wound by the companies and industries complaining about it. In order to save money, most companies no longer want to train their own workers, preferring instead for the workers to get trained on their own (trade schools, community colleges, etc.). This has been going on for a couple of decades now and the situation will not change in 2022.

I put the chances of a recession in 2022 at 75%. Reasons include continued inflation, continued supply chain problems, continued anti-energy policies, and a problematic jobs market. Black swans, false flags, and international conflict could also push us over the edge into recession. 

Build Back Better

The (Marxist) Build Back Better bill is dead in the Senate. I seriously doubt they will even have a vote on it in January. Moderate Dems don't want to be "put on the record" voting for it. But even if they do hold a vote, it fails. However, the Build Back Better agenda is NOT dead. It is too important to the Globalists and the Deep State. Biden will likely implement parts of it by executive order.  Other parts of the Bill will likely be stripped out and voted on separately. These smaller parts will likely pass with Republican help (notably various "moderates" who worship at the altar of compromise such as Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham). I predict that by the end of 2022, at 70% of what is in the Build Back Better bill will be enacted one way or another

International Chaos

America's weakened military and extremely weak political leadership is endangering the world, as the world's bad actors are encouraged to pursue their goals and agendas in the power vacuum. Here are what I see as the potential flashpoints in 2022:

China-Taiwan. China has long wanted to take Taiwan, and has publicly stated on many occassions that they will do so militarily. With a weaken US military and an even weaker President (who may as well be a paid employee of China), China will never have a better opportunity to take Taiwan as they will in 2022, and China knows it. The probability of China moving military on Taiwan in 2022 is nearing 100%

This conflict is one that could easily expand into a true world war. The Biden administration may do nothing more than diplomatic and economic sanctions. However, there is still a chance that the US and Japan may try to defend Taiwan. North Korea may become involved on China's side, which would bring the South Koreans into the mix. India, fearful over Chinese military expansion, may join against China. Pakistan would then attack India. Russia, long with eyes on some of the northern islands owned by Japan, may also jump in. You see how quickly this could escalate into a true world war, with China, Russia, Pakistan, and North Korea on one side, and Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, India, and a weakened US on the other side. Notice how many nuclear powers are involved in this scenario? The dangers are huge. 

China-India. There is an ongoing border dispute between India and China, with China wanting several large border regions currently controlled by India. This dispute has already lead to actually military conflict between the nations, most recently in 2020, when China killed 20 Indian troops in Ladakh.

China-Japan. China wants a number of islands currently owned by Japan due to there strategic importantance for international shipping.

Russia-Japan. Russia and Japan both claim a number of islands in the northern Pacific. Russia is currently deploying missile defense systems in this area.  

India-Pakistan. Both nuclear powers. Both hate each other. Tensions are rising and accusations being hurled. 

Iran Nuclear Weapons. Iran is openly pursuing nuclear weapons once again, and they were already getting close. The US and the West seem determined to pretend it won't happen. Chance of a successful nuclear test by Iran in 2022 is 65%. By the end of 2023, the chance is 96%. 

Israel-Iran. Always a potential conflict between these two, and with Iran getting very close to becoming a nuclear power, it could erupt with Israel trying to stop it. However, this seems increasingly less likely as Israel seems to realize they will be in it alone thanks to US weakness.

Belarus-Poland. Belarus has been provoking Poland along their border over the last year or so, probably at the prompting of Russia. Russia wants control of a sliver of northern Poland, giving them a land bridge through Belarus to Russian Kaliningrad (take a close look at a good, detailed map of this region to understand).  

Russia-Ukraine. Russia has grown tired of Ukraine's threats and NATO's broken promises, and wants a large piece of Ukraine. The truth of this dispute is very different than the official narrative generally reported in the West. This is a problem created by the West and by the CIA. I think there is a 50-50 chance that Russia moves against Ukraine in 2022. This chance goes to 100% if the US gets distracted by a war with China over Taiwan. We cannot fight those two wars at the same time, and Russia knows it. 

COVID Pandemic

The biological danger from the COVID virus is about over, as the extremely mild omicron variant is providing safe and effective natural immunity against all strains of the virus. The political and economic danger inflicted on us by the intentional actions of the Globalist Elites will remain with us for some time to come. Expect the Globalists to continue using the pandemic to push their agenda in 2022, even as the actual threat obviously disappears.

A Final Prediction

There seems to be an increasing level of cooperation between China and Russia. I have a gut feeling that we may see a coordinated event where Russia attacks Ukraine and China attacks Taiwan on the same day. This would confuse the US and the West, and divide and weaken our response. Chance of this actually happening is 35%.

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Thursday, December 30, 2021

Quercetin Phytosome and other natural ways to boost the immune system

Legal Note: I am NOT a doctor or other medical professional, and nothing I write in this article or on this website should be taken as medical advice. I cannot diagnose or treat any illness, nor is that the intent of this article. Please exercise personal responsibility and carefully consider the information in this article as to its suitability for your particular circumstances. You you are sick, or think you may be sick, please consult a medical professional. 

As reported by Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Bryan Ardis, several medical studies, and other sources, Quercetin Phytosome seems to fight COVID as effectively as Hydroxychloroquine, yet it is easier to find. Other natural ways to boost the immune system, such as vitamin C, vitamin D3, and Zinc, are also being suggested, including by the Florida Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo. 

I will give sources for these statements below. A couple of the sources I list give further sources for their content. There is a lot of information here for your continued investigation.

My personal belief is that in most cases natural methods of dealing with COVID are at least as effective as vaccines and "officially approved" medical treatments, with much less risk of potential negative side effects. But, again, this is my opinion. Please do you own research and form your own opinion. 

These nutritional supplements can easily be found, at least currently. But with ongoing supply chain problems, and government's disdain for anything other than vaccines for COVID, this situation could change in the future. Here are some links to these supplements on Amazon:
I am an Amazon affiliate, so anything you order from Amazon through these links helps support this website at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Sources:
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Wednesday, December 29, 2021

3 Things To Do Today To Protect Yourself In The Digital Age

As 2021 draws to a close, now is the perfect time to do three things to help protect yourself and your family in this digital age. I did all three on Monday.

1) Change your passwords. There were six major data breaches this year, and hundreds of smaller ones. Millions of people had their personal information, including passwords and pin numbers, exposed. This stolen personal information is now for sale on the Internet (yes, there are websites that actually sell stolen data to the bad guys). One of the best ways to protect yourself is to change all your passwords on a regular basis. It is a hassle, but having a bad guy get access to your bank account, for example, will be much more of a hassle.   

I changed all my passwords on Monday - email accounts, social media accounts, bank accounts, car insurance, cell phone provider, PayPal, Amazon, Google, and so forth. It was a long list and took some time, but my safety and privacy is worth it.

Don't forget to change the password for your home Wi-Fi.

2) Add two-factor authentication (also called two-step authentication) to your accounts if available. Yep, it seems like a hassle to go through that extra step every time you log on to an account, but it is no where near as big a hassle as a bad guy getting into your account. 

There are several ways websites can handle two-factor authentication. You can set it up at the same time you change your password, and probably from the same page. Each website will walk you through the set-up process for their site. It really isn't hard. 

I was reluctant to use two-factor authentication because of the perceived hassle, but on Monday I finally added it to my bank accounts, PayPal account, and other accounts which store my financial information, including card numbers. So far it hasn't been as big a hassle as I imagined. Better safe than sorry.

3) Use the lock screen for your phone and other mobile devices. Lock screens use various methods - pin  numbers, passwords, fingerprint or facial recognition - to make sure that you are the only one with access to your device. No one thinks they will ever misplace, lose, or have their phone stolen, but it happens all the time. Think about how much personal data is stored on your phone, and how many apps on it have access to your accounts. All this information is freely available to any bad guy that gets ahold of your device if you don't use a lock screen. 

Once again, I was reluctant to use my lock screen because of the perceived hassle. On Monday, I finally set up my lock screen. So far, not a hassle at all. Don't forgot your pin number or password. Write it down on a piece of paper and stick it somewhere like a desk drawer (just don't carry it with you) in case you ever forget it. 

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Friday, December 24, 2021

Cancer - Warning Signs & Risk Factors

By Tim Gamble

I know from personal experience that ignoring health problems is bad, and self-diagnose is even worse. If you have any of the signs, symptoms, or risk factors mentioned in this article, I urge you to visit your family doctor or other medical professional. If you haven't been to the doctor for years, I strongly urge you to get a medical exam sooner, rather than later.  

There are many different types of cancer, many with specific risk factors and early warning signs. Generally speaking, possible warning signs and risk factors may include: 

Risk Factors for Cancer
  • A family history of cancer
  • Smoking or tobacco use (about 22% of all cancers are related to the use of tobacco)
  • Age (as a general rule, the older you get, the more likely to develop cancer)
  • Unhealthy diet, including high consumption of sugar
  • Obesity and physical inactivity (the greater the couch-potato, the greater the cancer risk)
  • Poor sleep habits (consistently failing to get adequate amounts of sleep)
  • Exposure to radiation, chemical toxins and other environmental factors

Warning Signs of Cancer

  • Changes in urination or bowel movements 
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Lumps or thickened areas in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere
  • Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
  • Change in the size, color, shape, or thickness of a wart, mole, or mouth sore
  • Cough or hoarseness that doesn't go away
  • Persistent headaches
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • Persistent fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
  • Persistent low-grade fever, either constant or intermittent
  • Sores that don't heal
  • Repeated infections

NOTE: 
Having any one, or several, of these warning signs does not necessarily mean you have cancer. It is also possible to have have cancer without being aware any of these warning signs. Routine physical exams by a doctor are a good idea for everyone.


Only a medical professional can accurately diagnose cancer. If you do have any of the risk factors or warning signs, please consult your doctor or other medical professional.

See Also:  Eating for Good Health: Anti-Cancer Foods (and other tips)

Sources
Information presented in this article from the following websites:
  1. American Cancer Society 
  2. National Institutes for Health 
  3. Mayo Clinic 
  4. WebMD

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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Heart & Cardiovascular Disease - Warning Signs & Risk Factors

Due to my own health problems in recent years (Type II Diabetes and Retinopathy), I have become a big believer in preventive medicine, with includes early detection of possible health problems. The earlier you detect a potential health problem, the sooner you will be able to do something about it. At the very least, early detection can help lessen the severity of health problems, and perhaps even prevent them in the first place.

There are many different types of heart and cardiovascular disease, but they may share many similar warning signs and risk factors:
 
Risk Factors for Heart & Cardiovascular Disease
  •  A family history of heart disease (a blood relative with heart disease) 
  • A sedentary lifestyle (little exercise or physical activity, a "couch potato")
  • Prolonged periods of chronic stress
  • Being overweight, and especially being obese
  • An unhealthy diet (lots of fast food, junk food, sugar, etc.)
  •  Smoking or tobacco use
  • Having high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or diabetes 
  • Age (as a general rule of thumb, the older you get, the more likely you are to develop heart or cardiovascular disease)

Warning Signs Heart & Cardiovascular Disease
  • Angina - chest pain, discomfort, tightness, or pressure
  • Fluttering or pounding in the chest
  • A racing or irregular heartbeat, feeling of "skipped" heartbeats
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Sudden fatigue or weakness
  • Severe headaches or unexplained bouts of confusion
  • Unexplained nausea or sweating  
  • Unexplained shortness of breath
  • Cough that produces white sputum 
  • Swollen legs, feet, ankles, or hands
Having any one, or several, of these warning signs does not necessarily mean you have heart or cardiovascular disease. It is also possible to have have heart or cardiovascular disease without being aware any symptoms. 

Only a medical professional can accurately diagnose heart or cardiovascular disease. If you do have any of the risk factors or warning signs, please consult a doctor as soon as possible. 
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Monday, December 20, 2021

Warning Signs & Risk Factors of Type II Diabetes

By Tim Gamble

I am a type II diabetic, and I know from personal experience that early detection of diabetes is crucial in managing the disease and in avoiding the many complications that can result form diabetes. Had I been diagnosed earlier, I probably could have avoided developing severe retinopathy in my eyes, and would not have needed the 100+ injections and five laser surgeries that I have undergone in the last six years in order to save my sight.

Please take a few minutes to look over the following list of warning signs and risk factors for Type II Diabetes. Having any one, or even all, of these warning signs does not mean you have type II diabetes. But, please don't ignore these signs that you may have or may be developing diabetes. Check with your doctor, especially if you have multiple warning signs.

Warning Signs & Risk Factors of Type II Diabetes*
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent headaches
  • Increased thirst
  • Feeling that your mouth is dry all the time
  • Increased hunger, even after eating
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal (especially on the lower legs/feet)
  • Frequent urination
  • Frequent urine infections
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue (feeling tired all the time)
  • Tingling/numbness in hands or feet
  • A family history of diabetes (a blood relative with diabetes)
  • Being overweight (not necessarily obese)
  • A sedentary lifestyle (little exercise or physical activity, a "couch potato")
  • An unhealthy diet (lots of fast food, junk food, sweets, etc.)
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Of all the books on diabetes I've read, the best and most useful is 60 Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar by Dennis Pollock. Pollock's book is an aggressive plan to control your blood sugar by bringing together the best of traditional and alternative medicine. What I appreciate about Pollock's approach is that it is based on solid science, even the "alternative" aspects, and is not some hippy-dippy book that rejects science (avoid those). Also, I found his ideas easy to follow.








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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children younger than 15 years old (the leading cause is accidents). The good news is that, detected early, the overall survival rate for childhood cancers now exceeds 80%. The problem is in early detection. How do you distinguish the normal bumps, bruises, and illnesses of childhood from more serious illnesses such as cancer? This is made especially difficult in young children, who may not be able to properly identify and explain their symptoms to adults. 

Regular medical checkups for children are especially important for that reason. Although no one, young or old, enjoys going to the doctor, and it can be both costly and time-consuming, delaying or even skipping checkups can be dangerous. 

In addition to regular checkups, parents and guardians should be aware of the warning signs of childhood cancer. Although these symptoms can occur for reasons other than cancer, seek medical advice if any of the following are persistent and/or otherwise unexplainable. (This list comes from materials provided by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital,)
  • Persistent/unexplainable fever
  • Fatigue and paleness
  • Swelling or lumps anywhere on the body, especially in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Change of disposition, e.g. whining or crying spells, unusual irritability
  • Regression of toilet habits
  • Stumbling or falling
  • Double vision or other eye problems
  • Easy and frequent bruising
  • Nosebleeds or bleeding from any part of the body

Other possible symptoms include (additional symptoms from information provided by the American Cancer Society):

  • Persistent/unexplainable weight loss
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Frequent headaches or dizziness
  • Ongoing pain in a specific area
  • Limping or difficulty walking

Again, these symptoms may occur for reasons other than cancer. What you are looking for are symptoms that are persistent and/or otherwise unexplainable.


If your child frequently exhibits any of these symptoms, seemingly without cause, seek medical advice as soon as possible. Early detection is absolutely key to the successful treatment for childhood cancers. 

The American Cancer Society provides the following information about seeing the doctor (links are to pages on their website):

"The doctor will ask about the child's medical history and symptoms, and will then examine your child. If cancer might be causing the symptoms, the doctor might order imaging tests (such as x-rays) or other tests. Sometimes if an abnormal lump or tumor is found, the doctor might need to remove some or all of it so that it can be looked at under a microscope for cancer cells. This is known as a biopsy.

If your child is found to have cancer, you can learn about coping and moving forward after the diagnosis is made in If Your Child Is Diagnosed With Cancer."


Sources: Information in this article comes from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the American Cancer Society. Please visit their websites for more information.
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Saturday, December 11, 2021

Comments Section on Website

 Hi Folks,

Now is a good time to explain the Comments section for this website.  The purpose of this website is for me to publish my writings on various topics related to survival and self-reliance. This website is not intended to be a forum or discussion group. There is a comments section at the bottom of each article for folks to leave their thoughts, comments, and questions related to the article. 

Due to past abuses of the Comments section (links to pornography, SPAM, personal attacks, etc.), the Comments section is moderated. That means all comments must be approved before they appear on the website. Comments that include any links are automatically deleted. Comments that are way off-topic, or that contain vulgar or obscene language will not be approved (this is a family-friendly website). Disagreements and criticisms are allowed, but personal attacks and name-calling are not, and will be deleted. 

These steps are needed to maintain common decency and provide a good experience for the website's audience. Additionally, there is a matter of potential legal liability for links to pronography, or links to other websites infested with viruses, malware, and/or scams. 

Comment approval takes time (this website is literally a one-man operation), so please don't make multiple posts of the same comment because it wasn't immediately approved. And making increasingly angry comments and resorting to name-calling won't get your original comment approved any faster. 

Again, this website is not intended to be a forum or discussion group. That requires different software than I have, as well as more time, bandwidth, and technical expertise. And, of course, all that costs more money, which I certainly don't have.

Thank you for your understanding. I hope you enjoy my website and find it useful! 

Tim Gamble  



Thursday, December 9, 2021

2021 End-of-Year Assessment and "To Do" List for Preppers and Survivalists

By Timothy Gamble

December is a great time for us preppers and survivalists to assess our situation, make any necessary changes to our plans, and to do all those things we only occasionally need to do (and therefore are easy to forget to do). 

End-of-Year Assessment 

How prepared are you and your family for a  really bad 2022? Here are some questions to ask yourself as you assess your and your family's current state of preparedness:
  • Do you have a Disaster Preparedness Plan?
  • Is it written? Or do you keep it "in your head?" 
  • Are you and your spouse in agreement on your preparedness plans?
  • Have your circumstances changed (births, deaths, marriages, long-term illnesses, moves, job changes, etc.), and have you modified your plans to fit your new circumstances?
  • Do you have a Family Communications Plan?
  • Do you have a fully stocked first aid kit at home? In your vehicle? 
  • Have you taken a first aid course recently?
  • Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home?
  • Have you planned for your pets and any livestock in an emergency? 
These are just a few considerations for your family preparedness assessment. For a more detailed look at this topic, see my article Personal/Family Preparedness Assessment.

End-of-Year To-Do List

▢ Check and change your water storage if you haven't done so recently. Also, check to make sure your water storage containers don't have any slow leaks. I had trouble with this in the past, as ALL of my Ozark Trail 6-gallon water jugs developed slow leaks. Do you need more water storage? I now use the 7-gallon Aqua-Tainers by Reliance (available on Amazon) for most of my water storage and have never had a problem with them.

▢ Check your food storage. Make sure your rotation plan is working and you don't have any problems with food going bad. Make sure all canned foods are not swelling or leaking. Check dry foods for signs of mold or infestation. Restock any food storage that you're running low on.

 
▢ Check all medications and first aid supplies, and replace any supplies that you have used up during the year. Many medicines are safe to use past their expiration date, but some do grow less effective over time, and a few can become toxic (such as aspirin - see below). Do your research and use your best judgment. Also, consider if your first aid or medical needs have changed (new additions to the family, new illnesses or health concerns, etc.) and adjust accordingly. (Click here for first aid supplies on Amazon.)

Two things some folks might not realize: Aspirin does expire and eventually becomes dangerous. If your aspirin has a very strong vinegar-like odor, it has gone bad and is toxic. Also, rubbing (Isopropyl) alcohol will oxidize over time into acetone and become ineffective against germs. A bottle of rubbing alcohol will typically have about a two-year self life depending on storage conditions.

▢ Check all batteries to make sure they are okay. Check all stored batteries to make sure none are starting to corrode or leak. Also check all batteries currently "in use" to make sure they are still working. It is especially important to check the batteries in gear that you don't frequently use, such as in flashlights or radios sitting in your bug-out bag, a toolbox, or the glove compartment of your car. I personally have lost more than one seldom-used flashlight over the years due to the battery going dead and corroding for weeks or months before I realized it. Learn from my mistakes!

Note: Battery testers are relatively cheap - the one I use is available on Amazon for less than $7 currently.


▢ Change the batteries in your smoke/fire alarms if you haven't changed them recently (many folks change them with the twice yearly time changes). Better to "waste" a good battery by changing it too soon, then for it to be dead when you really need it. 

▢ Inspect your bug-out vehicle. 
In fact, now is a good time to do this for ALL your vehicles and tractors! Is it time for an oil change? How do the tires look? Are all the headlights, taillights, and turn signals working? Is your battery getting old? Be sure to inspect the brakes. For more on auto maintenance, see my article: Preppers' Auto Maintenance Schedule. 

▢ Rotate any gasoline storage you may have. If you have gasoline storage (please do so safely), remember to keep it rotated. Gasoline slowly starts to go flat (lose energy) after about six months or so. STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer may help gasoline last up to two years, but really rotating your stored fuel is probably the easiest and best way. 

▢ Do a home safety inspection. If you know a boy or girl scout, you could get them do a home safety inspection for you (they have to learn how for various merit badges). Some fire departments will do this type of home inspection, too. Check for fire hazards, tripping hazards, poisonous or toxic materials that aren't stored properly, overloaded outlets, frayed electrical cords, expired fire extinguishers, non-functioning smoke detectors, and so forth... 

▢ Re-think your emergency and preparedness plans. Has anything about your situation changed in the last year that will require altering your plans, such as new family members (births, marriages), deaths, illnesses or disabilities, job changes, school changes, moves, or changes in your current community or bug-out location. 

▢ Update your contact lists. People move, phone numbers change, and email addresses change even more often. Now is the time to update you communications plan. You do have a family communications plan, don't you? If not, work on one now (see my article). 
  
▢ Make sure you are addressing the needs of any family or group members with special needs. There are a lot of folks with special needs - the mentally or physically handicapped, the elderly, the disabled, people with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, babies, and very young children, just to name a few. In fact, most families and groups are likely to have one or more people with special needs of some sort. Make sure you are addressing those needs! See my article Prepping For Folks With Special Needs.

▢ Review your bug-out plans and location. Is your bug-out location still available? Is it still a safe location? Does it require any work, repairs, or maintenance? Do you need to make any improvements? Do you need to restock it with food, water, or other supplies? Has your bug-out route changed due to road work, construction, or other circumstances? Do you have an alternative bug-out location? See my article But, bug-out to where, exactly???

▢ Review your emergency and preparedness plans with everyone in your family or group. Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what to do, and when.

▢ Re-think your EDC. How has the gear you carry everyday worked out for you? Are you carrying unneeded gear? What gear are you actually using? Have you needed something you didn't have? Now is a great time to make any needed changes to your EDC. See my recent article My EDC Pocket Dump - Only Useful Items, No Gadgets!

▢ Review your finances. The end of the year is a great time to review your finances, especially in light of any changes in your circumstances (raises, promotions, job loss or change, etc.) over the past year. Have your needs for insurance (auto, property, life, medical, etc.) changed? How goes the retirement savings? It is also a good time to reconsider your monthly budget and make any needed adjustments.

▢ Do a personal self-assessment. How have you changed during the past year? How have your concerns changed? How have your needs changed? Are you addressing any new concerns or needs in your planning? Is your health and fitness better, worse, or the same as a year ago? Have you gained weight, or lost fitness? What skills do you need to learn? Did you meet your goals this year? Do you need to set new goals for next year? 

▢ Is it time for any medical exams, for you are your family members? I've learned the hard way the importance of regular medical check-ups. The key to healing any disease or chronic health condition is early detection. I highly urge everyone to get regular physical, dental, and eye check-ups. If you haven't had one yet this year, please make an appointment soon.
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The Ultimate Prepper's Survival Guide, by 
James Wesley Rawles. One of the world’s leading survivalist experts—explains how to survive in the short term as society begins to collapse, and how to thrive in the long term. Practical, easy-to-follow instructions are included to instruct you on the preparations you can make today, as well as advice on the mental and emotional resilience required to help you not just cope but prosper in the new world.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Survival Gear #EpicFail + Good Alternatives

By Tim Gamble

#EpicFail - The Wire Saw (sometimes called a Commando Saw) 

A small, lightweight wire saw sounds like a great idea to include in survival kits and bug-out bags. They seem especially popular for small survival kits, such as Altoids tins, because of their compact size and light weight. I had one myself, but hadn't yet had a reason to use it. (Actually a mistake on my part - Always test your gear before you need it.)

But I remember one of the survival show hosts (Les Stroud maybe?) using one in an episode of his show, and the wire ring on one side pulled off with the first tug or two. After seeing that show, I decide to test mine out.

Although the wire rings didn't pull off mine, after only cutting two small pine branches (about 1/3 inch diameter each), the wire became so bent, twisted, and kinked up that I could not cut completely through a third branch with it. And there is no way to "straighten out" the bent-up wire of the saw, It was completely useless after just two small branches. #EpicFail 

My wire saw went into the trash, and I didn't buy another one. Still, a light-weight, compact saw sounds like a useful thing. So, I began my search for a good alternative, and actually found two possibilities. 

First up is the Laplander Folding Saw. It is too big for an Altoids tin, of course, but small enough to easily include in my bug-out bag without adding much weight (slightly less than a half-pound). Although it lives in my bug-out bag, I get it out often for small chores around the homestead (I'm careful to always put it back in the BoB). 

My Laplander Folding Saw

I've used my Laplander to easily handle branches up to 3 inches in diameter, and am sure it could handle bigger with a little effort. It is designed to cut wood, plastic, and bone. The teeth are arranged so that the saw cuts both ways - on the push and the pull. I consider it one of the most useful tools I own, and recently ordered a second one as a back-up. 

The second alternative I found is the survival pocket chain saw. Its a chain saw blade with two nylon hand straps, and comes with a pouch that can be worn on your belt. Also too big for an Altoids tin, it is still small & light enough (less than a half-pound) to easily carry in a bug-out bag, tackle box, or keep it in the glove compartment of your vehicle, You could even wear it on your belt as part of your EDC if you wanted too. 

The pocket chain saw works. I have cut down trees with it (see the photos), but it is quite a work-out. You need to be in excellent shape to use it often (but use it often and you will get in excellent shape quickly). Oh, and wear gloves!



The Big Lesson:
Always field test your gear before you need it. You never know when a good idea just doesn't work. 
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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Knife Review: Smith & Wesson SWFR2S Extreme Ops

By Tim Gamble 

In my recent EDC pocket dump, I mentioned that earlier this year I started carrying the Smith & Wesson SWFR2S Extreme Ops knife  as my everyday pocket folder. I've had one for years which I keep in the glove compartment of my vehicle. I purchased a second one when I decided to use it as my EDC knife. 


This relatively inexpensive knife (about $24 on Amazon as of Dec. 12, 2021) has proved itself more than adequate for the job as my EDC knife. Sharp right out-of-the-box, big enough to handle most tasks, and tough, I am very satisfied with this knife. I would (and actually have twice now) rate it 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Here are the knife's specifics:
  • 3.3 inch blade and 8 inch overall length
  • Locking blade is high carbon black oxide stainless steel 
  • Tanto point blade and partially serrated
  • Handle is coated and textured aluminum
  • 4.4 ounces in weight
  • Glass breaker on end of handle
  • Seat belt / cordage cutter built into handle
  • Pocket clip and ambidextrous thumb knobs
I have had absolutely no problem with either of the Smith & Wesson SWFR2S Extreme Ops knives that I own. I haven't had any cause to use the glass breaker or seat belt cutter yet, but the knife itself is excellent. It makes a great EDC knife in my opinion. Find it on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2ZvkIAC

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