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Monday, December 28, 2009


Rise of the Preppers:America's New Survivalists
By Jessica Bennett Newsweek Web Exclusive
Dec 28, 2009

They call themselves 'preppers.' They are regular people with homes and families. But like the survivalists that came before them, they're preparing for the worst. View More...

Many thanks to Newsweek and Jessica Bennet for this article, and for presenting 'Prepper' to the mainstream public. -ed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Known Universe by AMNH

Have a nice trip...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Hockey Stick vs. Ice Core Data

Global Warming...man-made climate change....so spooky until you look at the data from a different perspective.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Winterize Your Home

Cheap, Money-Saving Winterizing Moves Worth the Hassle
That aisle at Home Depot with all the winterizing gear? It's jam-packed with overly-expensive stuff that might not do your home any good. Here's a few relatively cheap and easy moves you can make to cut your heating bills.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11/11/1918 11AM The History of Veterans Day

Our thanks for the good folks at http://www.military.com/veterans-day/history-of-veterans-day.htm, for the following article.
What Do You Know About Veterans Day?
Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans. However, most Americans confuse this holiday with Memorial Day, reports the Department of Veterans Affairs.

What's more, some Americans don't know why we commemorate our Veterans on Nov.11. It's imperative that all Americans know the history of Veterans Day so that we can honor our former servicemembers properly.

A Brief History of Veterans Day
Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was "dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress -- at the urging of the veterans service organizations -- amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the last Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.

Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.

Celebrating the Veterans Day Holiday
If the Nov. 11 holiday falls on a non-workday — Saturday or Sunday — the holiday is observed by the federal government on Monday (if the holiday falls on Sunday) or Friday (if the holiday falls on Saturday). Federal government closings are established by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — a complete schedule can be found here. State and local government closings are determined locally, and non- government businesses can close or remain open as they see fit, regardless of federal, state or local government operation determinations.

United States Senate Resolution 143, which was passed on Aug. 4, 2001, designated the week of Nov.11 through Nov. 17, 2001, as "National Veterans Awareness Week." The resolution calls for educational efforts directed at elementary and secondary school students concerning the contributions and sacrifices of veterans. The difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day
Memorial Day honors servicemembers who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle. Deceased veterans are also remembered on Veterans Day but the day is set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime.

President Eisenhower’s letter to Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans' Affairs, designating him Chairman, Veterans Day National Committee

The White House Office
October 8, 1954

Dear Mr. Higley:

I have today signed a proclamation calling upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 as Veterans Day. It is my earnest hope that all veterans, their organizations, and the entire citizenry will join hands to insure proper and widespread observance of this day. With the thought that it will be most helpful to coordinate the planning, I am suggesting the formation of a Veterans Day National Committee. In view of your great personal interest as well as your official responsibilities, I have designated you to serve as Chairman. You may include in the Committee membership such other persons as you desire to select and I am requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch to assist the Committee in its work in every way possible.

I have every confidence that our Nation will respond wholeheartedly in the appropriate observance of Veterans Day, 1954.



Friday, November 6, 2009

The Moron Brothers

You don't have to be a moron to lead a simple life...but it helps!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Seeing the forest but missing the trees

Through all the articles and discussions we have here, the common thread involves being prepared. But while most subjects are topics in generalities, like food preservation, water storage, gardening, etc. Recent events have shown me that while the forest is in sharp focus, the trees were being overlooked.

This past week of dealing with my Mother's broken hip, her hospitalization, the surgery, her admittance into a Extended Care Nursing Facility and now the subsequent uncertain future, in hindsight, there were little things that hadn't been planned as well or hadn't been considered.

Like having emergency workers get a person on a backboard down a narrow hallway from a small bedroom is tricky, it would of been much easier if the bed and other stuff wasn't right next to the door creating a chokepoint.

But here's some tips I can offer from first hand experience...

MAKE A LIST of all needed medications, with the prescription Number,

The family Doctor's FULL NAME & phone number

Insurance , The Power Of Attorney, Patient ID, Next of Kin and any "Living Will" Instructions.
Print all that on a paper you can give to the emergency responder.
AND ESPECIALLY Keep it by your door, not filed away for safe-keeping where you'll never find it fast. (I had most already available, but the idea of having it written down to give to the first responder) DUH!

Make a go kit...7 days of socks, underwear, nightgowns, shirts, slacks, etc. PRINT FULL NAME, SEWN OR WRITTEN, IN ALL CLOTHING.
Toiletries aren't necessary, they have that stuff at the hospital.
Jewelry isn't necessary, but dentures and glasses are.

Have a cellphone? Take a plug-in charger with you...trust me, you'll need it.

Expect not to get much sleep from now on, despite many attempts. You now have no free time.

Throw your pride away and accept the charity of strangers, gladly, and thankfully.

Accept that there is no need for modesty in a hospital room...expect to see things you may not want to see... it's not a real problem when shit happens...just don't be surprised.

When you talk with the afflicted family member, be happy, honest, loving, and showing nothing but support... (I've got all that covered). Accept that YOU are NOT the most important person in the room. Be aware that you may be in the way, no offense intended, but just let the experts do their job.

You may expect to have your loved one hate you despite all that you do. They really don't, but they are hurt and confused, and not in control of their lives at the moment, I know I'd be a bit testy too.

Your ego and pride has to be put on a shelf. You may feel tremendous guilt, or feel you're a failure, but it's not true... just deal with it.

Remember...PRAYER WORKS!

Get every family member on FACEBOOK! Post. Post often, and the news gets out.

That's all I can think of for the moment, I'm sure there's more, but that'll do for now. I do know this...

This is what real preparation is all about.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Please keep my Mother in your Prayers...

Momma & "Little Sister" Aunt Betty Last Thanksgiving

Very early this morning, my Mother got up out of bed and fell, breaking her left hip. We are currently awaiting surgery. She is resting fitfully for the moment, but we expect to see a few a months painful rehabilition in store for her. Hopefully she'll be able to dance at her 90th birthday coming this next February. I'll be sure to keep posting the news as it develops.
Thanks for your prayers for Lucille Hawkins.

House To Home: Fire Preparedness

Fall Season, and you got a ton of dry fallen leaves on your roof & your yard. Think you're prepared? Think again. Think building a defensable perimeter around your home to fight fire. When you think that, you'll pull out the rake and go to work...


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Disaster Preparedness From Ready.gov

Here's a little informational video of Disaster Prep courtesy of your tax dollars... Some common sense tips on how to prepare for a garden-variety "3 day disaster". - Editor

Hats off to Ready.gov

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pop Can Solar Powered Heater

Jim Meaney, owner of Cansolair Inc. displays how he converts pop cans into a powerful solar heating panel.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Make Your Own Hard Cider

Make delicious, intoxicating hard cider at home with this simple process.
By Nathan Poell via Mother Earth News

Brewing hard cider from nonalcoholic, or “sweet” cider is a simple process, and the inebriating end product is as delicious as it is discombobulating. Here are the steps you’ll follow to make hard cider of your own.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lithium ion battery industry to boom with wind, solar power

Lithium ion batteries used as energy storage for utilities will be a $1 billion industry by 2018, according to a report released Wednesday by Pike Research called "Energy Storage Technology Markets."

Much of the lithium ion battery development has been geared toward perfecting the batteries as power sources for electronics, and in recent years, cars. But the alternative energy industry is going to benefit from that research, too. Once that happens, there will be a surge in the sales of industrial-scale lithium ion batteries for power utilities, according to Pike research.
"Utilities will be the downstream beneficiaries of innovation and investment in lithium ion batteries for the transportation sector," Pike Research analyst David Link said in a statement.
The energy storage industry in general is poised to grow as more private and public organizations embrace wind and solar energy worldwide. Because wind and solar systems provide energy in bursts and their cycles are not usually in sync with local peak energy usage hours, power storage when using wind or solar will become an obvious necessity for utilities, according to Pike Research.
Out of eleven methods of energy storage, Pike Research found that lithium ion batteries for utility use will be the fastest growing segment of the storage industry.
Sodium Sulfur (NAS) batteries and kinetic storage systems like pumped hydro and Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) were seen as the next likely leading utility energy storage solutions

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Drought declaration removed for 12 S.C. counties

SCDNR News Release 10/16/2009
Another round of soaking rain this week (Oct. 12-Oct. 16) led the S. C. Department of Natural Resources to downgrade the incipient declaration to no drought status for 12 Piedmont and Central Savannah counties. The state agency members of the Drought Response Committee voted on Oct. 16 to remove Greenville, Spartanburg, Cherokee, Union, Laurens, Newberry, Anderson, Abbeville, Greenwood, McCormick, Edgefield and Saluda counties from any drought status. The committee also decided the rainfall was not sufficient to remove the declaration for the Catawba Wateree Basin (York, Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, and Kershaw) and several counties in the upper part of the Pee Dee (Chesterfield, Marlboro, and Dillon). Darlington County was added to the list of counties in incipient drought. According to Hope Mizzell, S.C. State Climatologist, the counties maintained at incipient received beneficial rain this week, but not enough to shift several key drought indices out of drought. Contact South Carolina State Climatologist Hope Mizzell in Columbia at (803) 734-9568 or e-mail at mizzellh@dnr.sc.gov for more information. Find out more about drought at the State Climatology Office.
30-Day (Sept. 16–Oct. 15) rainfall totals for counties removed from drought by monitoring station:
AIKEN - 8.41
ANDERSON - 10.26
CLINTON - 6.54
LAURENS - 5.53
NEWBERRY - 11.08
SALUDA - 6.07
SANTUCK (Union County) - 5.28
30-Day (Sept. 16-Oct. 15) rainfall totals for counties maintained in incipient by monitoring station:(Including Darlington County which was upgraded to incipient)
CHESTER - 3.82
DILLON - 2.83
YORK - 4.46

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fantastic Website: Instructables.com

I love instructables.com.
It's a website devoted to the ingenuity of everyman.

Where else can you find detailed instructions on how to build a Rubber-Hose Chair?

Or a fine looking 72 volt electric motorbike?

Even instructions on how to build a laundry-water, (greywater) recycling system for your home?

If you are a DIY'er, you'll love instructables.com too.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grow your own from these groceries

By TRACY HOBSON LEHMANN - San Antonio Express-News

For the curious gardener, a trip to the grocery store can be the start of something more than dinner. The aisles can yield cuttings and seeds that, with a little TLC, a healthy dose of patience and ample luck, will sprout into productive plants.
The operative word: productive. Those who have toothpick-supported sweet potatoes and avocado seeds in glasses on the windowsill can appreciate plants that will bear something other than leaves.
The pea-size black seeds inside the fleshy papaya grow easily. Scoop out the mass of seeds, clean them thoroughly and allow them to dry a few weeks. March is the best time to plant a single seed in a 1-gallon pot. Place it in a partly sunny spot and water it when the leaves droop.
It's a tropical plant, so bring it inside through fall and winter. In late spring, when the plant is a year old and about 6 feet tall, put it in the ground. You'll be harvesting papayas by July.
Those gnarly brown roots sold in grocery stores as fresh ginger are rhizomes. So the next time you bring one home for stir fry, snap off a piece and plant it. Choose a firm piece without bruises, and cut or break off a piece with nodes.
Let the pieces dry for a few days, then plant them in a 12- to 14-inch pot that's about three-quarters full of rich potting mix. Cover them with an inch of soil.
Place them in filtered sunlight, and keep the soil moist. Sprouts will appear in a few weeks.
The mature plants, which look like bamboo, will be 2 to 4 feet tall. After a season, harvest pieces of the rhizome that appear above the soil. The tender stems can be used in stir fries.
A tropical plant, this ginger needs frost protection.
Growing a pineapple might test your patience, but with time, about 18 months, you get fruit.
Twist or cut the leafy crown off a firm, ripe fruit. Pull off leaves nearest the crown, then remove any flesh, and allow to dry for a few days.
Set the crown about an inch deep in a 5-gallon pot filled with sandy soil. Keep the soil moist for a few days, then water a few times a week. Overwatering will doom your plant.
These tropical plants like sun and a monthly feeding with liquid fertilizer. The plant will grow to about 4 feet wide.
Lentils, fenugreek
You can do more with dried legumes than soak and boil them. Toss a few mung beans, lentils or some fenugreek in some water and see what pops up.
If you follow the directions they are simple, but the margin for error is slim you will be harvesting sprouts for salads and sandwiches in a matter of days.
Put about 2 tablespoons of seeds in a clear jar, either glass or plastic. Add two to three times more cool water than seeds, then cover the jar with cheesecloth and place it in a warm location. The top of the refrigerator works well.
Twice a day, drain and rinse the seeds until the water is clear. Lentils will produce sprouts in about five days, mung beans in three or four.
Fenugreek, a legume that looks like a rock, needs to soak about eight hours before starting the germinating process. You'll have nutty-tasting sprouts in 4 to 6 days.
From a firm garlic bulb, choose a few of the largest cloves. In late fall, plant them with the tips up about 2 inches deep in soil that's loose and rich in organic material. Allow about 4 inches between cloves. Keep the soil moist, not saturated. Cloves will sprout grassy foliage in a couple of weeks, but the real work is going on underground. Each clove will develop into a garlic bulb. It's time to harvest when leaves start to yellow. The process takes six to nine months.

Friday, October 16, 2009

NOAA: El Niño to Help Steer U.S. Winter Weather

El Niño in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean is expected to be a dominant climate factor that will influence the December through February winter weather in the United States, according to the 2009 Winter Outlook released today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. Such seasonal outlooks are part of NOAA’s suite of climate services.

“We expect El Niño to strengthen and persist through the winter months, providing clues as to what the weather will be like during the period,” says Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service. “Warmer ocean water in the equatorial Pacific shifts the patterns of tropical rainfall that in turn change the strength and position of the jetstream and storms over the Pacific Ocean and the U.S.”

“Other climate factors are also likely to play a role in the winter weather at times across the country,” added Halpert. “Some of these factors, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation are difficult to predict more than one to two weeks in advance. The NAO adds uncertainty to the forecast in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic portions of the country.”

Read more here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Off Topic...or is it? This is what it's all about.

I hope this inspires you as much as it has inspired me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Months later, no review of SC fire in tourist area

The fire chief in one of South Carolina's busiest tourist spots said he won't alter his agency's practices even though his crews failed to extinguish a small blaze that mushroomed into the worst wildfire in state history.

The wildfires that blackened thousands of acres along South Carolina Grand Strand has gone on the book as the state's largest, but to date, no changes in policy have been made by state firefighters as to how they shall respond to wildfires in the future.

This story from the Gazette Times has the details.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9 / 11 / 2001

To remember the events of eight years ago, the following video clips are offered to bring fresh memories. While its fine to devote special services, and invoke special ceremonies in rememberence, it's often best to just review the actual events & reflect on it's impact on society.

"aaroman01" on youtube has compiled a very comprehensive collection of newsclips that portray without embellishment the events of 9-11.

Before it happened, life was normal...

Then the Initial Reports...

South Tower Attack...

South Tower Collapse...

Simply Remember Always.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sheding Light on Solar Panel Construction

Urban & Suburban Dwellers, as well as any Rural Types who live in structures resembling houses, can count on having one thing in common...they all have a roof over their heads. While a roof has a lot of good uses like keeping snow, rain and other aspects of Mother Nature at bay, it also provides a great location for installing things like a solar panel or two, which can help in reducing home energy costs.

As energy prices rise, the attraction toward alternative energy sources like solar power also rises, however, once you start looking into solar energy, you quickly find that a big limiting factor is cost...the cost of the solar panels themselves, for instance.

That leads to the next progression of thought...Couldn't you just build one of these panels yourself? Simply put, YES you can, and if done right, you can build one just as good, just as efficient, and a whole lot cheaper than a store-bought solar panel.

If you go the DIY route... you first must know what makes up a solar panel, and what better way to learn is to see how real store-bought panels are made.

So here...for your viewing pleasure...is "How It's Made...Solar panels"

While it's not likely you have a giant easy-bake oven or a fancy suction-cup solar-cell carrier thingie, it's easy to see that making a working solar panel boils down to simple soldering skills, some framing, glass work, a steady hand... and a source of solar cells.

Ready to build a solar energy farm on the roof? Here's a final word of caution, since solar energy has become more attractive, there is a world of fly-by night operators making a killing selling how-to secrets, home-built solar plans, and sub-grade solar cells and materials. Before you start...study more, search the topic, READ UP ON THE SUBJECT.

One last video...a little taste of Solar Cell future, courtesy of the History Channel...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We're still in Hurricane Season

You can't tell by watching the weather, but it's still hurricane season. Although so far (knock on wood), the Atlantic has been quiet, now is definitely NOT the time to let our guard down...especially since most Atlantic Coast landfall storms usually occur late in the season.

As the summer months turn to fall anywhere along the East Coast, from Miami to Cape Cod is in the cross hairs. Are you prepared?

It's a good idea to review any preparations you may have. Check your supplies, make a list, PLAN AHEAD!

If you haven't a clue where to start, here's a suggestion. Check out this great web page full of information at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Controls Hurricane Preparedness Page.

UPDATE: NHC has issued an advisory on Tropical Depression TWO

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Remains of missing Gulf War Pilot Found

Not necessarly a Prepper Topic, we still wish to offer our condolences to those who can now have closure to a tragic loss.

RIP: Capt. Michael Scott Speicher USN
Capt. Michael Scott Speicher went missing the first night of Operation Desert Storm, when his F/A-18 went down in Iraq. The Navy announced August 2 that his remains had been located by Marines in Iraq's Anbar province.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

American Preppers on Internet Radio Show!

UPDATE:Listen in to the show starting at 2PM Eastern with the Button at right.
Good things are happening for the American Preppers Network. We just got invited to be a part in a special episode of The Family Preparedness Guide, Hosted by noted author James Talmage Steven on Blogtalk Radio.

The live call-in show, scheduled 2PM EST/ 1PM CST, is one of the most popular shows on Blogtalk.radio, with world-wide coverage of listeners tuning in regularly for news & information about family preparedness.
If you have a question and would like to participate in the discussion, the Call-in Number: (347) 326-9604 will be available nation-wide.

We're excited to be a part of the program and are looking forward to talking preparedness, spreading the news of the American Preppers Network.

Tune in Saturday, 2PM EST/ 1PM CST by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The soul of the south is in it's cooking...

Grits, a simple southern staple, carries with it with high stature. Made the official state food by the South Carolina legislature...
Whereas, throughout its history, the South has relished its grits, making them a symbol of its diet, its customs, its humor, and its hospitality, and whereas, every community in the State of South Carolina used to be the site of a grist mill and every local economy in the State used to be dependent on its product; and whereas, grits has been a part of the life of every South Carolinian of whatever race, background, gender, and income; and whereas, grits could very well play a vital role in the future of not only this State, but also the world, if as The Charleston News and Courier proclaimed in 1952: 'An inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, [grits] should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of [grits] is a man of peace.'-History of grits information courtesy of Linda Stradley and her website, What’s Cooking America

Need some good southern cooking recipies? Be sure to check out FAMOUS FLAVORS OF SOUTH CAROLINA by Southern Living Magazine

Thursday, July 23, 2009

20 Meters may have been weak tonight but our contacts were STRONG

Despite marginal conditions on 20 Meters, tonights second edition of the American Preppers Radio Net was a complete success.

The Net had at total of 8 check-ins, from Connecticut to Texas, from Florida to Ohio, and points in between.

Here's the contacts of the 2nd. American Preppers Network Radio Net:
KI4HEE Bob SC Net Control

This is the second net done on 20 meters to date. It is expected that the net will be conducted on another band next week, which one, as yet undetermined. Check back to this blog in the coming days for an announcement as to what band the net will be held. It is being considered that the net schedule may be expanded to include different bands, different days, and different times to accomodate all involved.

We indeed like to welcome all who participated in tonights net, it wouldn't have been possible without you.

Also of note, the American Preppers Radio Net Blog was established today. The APRN Blog will be the central point of information for the Radio Net, providing additional net information, contact reports, as well as topics covering a wide variety of issues regarding conmmunications. Be sure to join the activities on The American Preppers Radio Net Blog.

Any comments or suggestions are indeed welcome, as time goes on, look for this net to become a intergal part of your American Prepper experience.

'73 Bob KI4HEE

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The American Preppers Network “Ham Radio Net” calling CQ CQ...

by Dave, W4DMH & Bob KI4HEE

Following on the heels of last weeks successful Ham Radio Net, The American Preppers Network will take to the air again Thursday night, July 23rd at 9 PM EST., on 14.320 MHz. in the 20 Meter Band.

The 20 Meter band's conditions were pretty good last week as attested by the Google Map Hawk KI4HEE posted in an article covering last weeks net. With 10 total check-ins that ranged from New Hampshire, well into northern Texas , the fledgling radio net established a reliable communications network that covered the majority of the continental US. Not bad for first-timers.

With a mind toward finding a set location within the Ham Radio Bands for a continued presence, the APN is still getting it's sea legs and will be calling the net on a variety of frequencies in coming weeks, Be sure to check back here for weekly updates.

While 14.320 MHz. may or may not become a regular frequency for the net, we should be on it or close to it this Thursday Night 9 PM EST.

A very special QSL card designed by KI4HEE for the American Preppers Net will be sent to any Ham Operator who checks in, as well as any SWL listeners who respond Via QSL info for W4DMH on QRZ.COM callsign lookup.
SWL listeners please log the time, your location, received signal strength, and a brief description of what you received, or checked-in call sign heard.

Being that this is a new net, there are still problems to be worked out. APN Communications Committee Chairman Dave, W4DMH says that along with determining a set schedule and operating frequency, the most pressing concern is manpower, "Anyone that wants to help out, particularly ham operators who can participate as a net control, please contact me for more info and a net preamble script. We will gladly consider any and all help that anyone wants to offer." he added, "By all means, do not hesitate to check-in Thursday night."

It should be noted that the two ham operators most actively involved in this net, W4DMH & KI4HEE, are both located along the East Coast, the hunt is on for Ham Operators west of the Mississippi willing to help make this net possible.

As the American Preppers Network grows, it is our hope that more & more people will gain exposure to the ideas of individualism, self-reliance and independence. All hallmarks much needed in these times.

Join the net, Thursday, July 23rd 9PM EST on or around 14.320 MHz, and as always...
“No Experience Necessary”

Sunday, July 19, 2009

As long as the Fish keep biting, the house can fall apart.

One of the primary reasons I took the plunge and bought a home here in Conway SC, wasn't necessarily due to any intrinsic value in the house itself, but rather in the fresh water pond making up half of it's backyard. If I'd had to, I'd live in a cardboard box... as long as I'd get a chance to wet a hook, and especially in my own backyard.

And while the need may never come, there's a valuable food-source just steps from my back door.

I give my father credit in instilling me the motivation to acquire property with easy access to a fishing-hole. When he retired from construction work, he settled down and bought a small farm in Mississippi, with two small ponds, one for Bluegill & Bass, the other for Catfish. The catfish pond was a cash-crop for him, harvesting fore-arm long blue cat's that tasted wonderful.

But along with being a food-source, the ponds gave him a place to de-pressurize from day to day life. He spent as much time as he could, between his many chores and projects, chasing fish he considered more pets than prey.

Those who do not fish, will not get it, but even without catching a single fish, the time spent fishing is a peace seldom ever found. It was there at the farm in Mississippi I spent time home on leave from the Air Force, fishing, and catching the germ of the idea of having a natural food-source AND favorite pastime close to home.

It was a treat to get up, get dressed, walk down to the pond out back, and just start fishing. A poor-mans Paradise. From then on I was determined that if ever I settled down and bought a place, fishing would somehow figure in.

So when I'm standing along the bank, down back behind the house...pole in hand, crankin' my bait enticingly, I'm happy...thinking about my father.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

American Preppers Net Report #1 for July 16, 2009

The first Ham Radio Net of the American Preppers Network was conducted on the 20 Meter Band on 14.228 Mhz. at 9 PM EST. tonight.

With David W4DMH in West Virginia serving as Net Control, and myself, Bob KI4HEE his able assistant, a total of 10 ham operators checked into the net, eight of whom learned about the American Preppers Network and this Blog for the first time.

We wish to recognise the following stations as the first check-in's of the first net.

1. W4DMH David West Virgina
2. KI4HEE Bob South Carolina
3. W8BNL Tom Michigan
4. KE5SLV Phil Arkansas
5. N2SEQ Joe New York
6. KD8KFQ John West Virgina
7. N8TAH Kevin Ohio
8. K8DRP Daniel Michigan
9. W5RAW Ray Texas
10. W4VDW Dooley Tennesse

TOTALS: 10 check ins 1 traffic

Congratulations to everyone who checked in and made this net possible. Look for more news right here soon about where & when we'll have another American Preppers Network on the air.

Bandits caught red-handed in my backyard!

The morning started typically with Buddy, my faithful watchdog and part-time footwarmer waking up first, stretching, and standing up at the foot of the bed to gaze out the window. His sudden and continuous growl made me look to see what he had spotted.

There they were! Bandits! Caught in the act, eating my figs!

The bush was loaded with figs, just ripening up, and a Momma Raccoon with her three kits were helping themselves!

Faster than you can say, "GO GIT'EM BOY!" I swung out of bed, fumbled into some clothes and hunted for my shoes...Buddy patiently waited while I gathered myself together.

Without opposable thumbs, he's still unable to figure out how to turn a doorknob...that's my job. But eventually, I got the door opened, and out he went like a flash, barking to beat the band.

Momma Raccoon, the ring-tailed ringleader, was already out of there at first sign that the jig was up, I caught a glimpse of her with one of her kits, ducking down into the undergrowth of the Waccamaw River swamp on the edge of the yard, with Buddy in hot pursuit. To my surprise, when Buddy dove into the underbrush, a second kit sprinted towards the same brush right behind him.

For a moment, there was just sounds of underbrush getting trampled but eventually Buddy emerged, with a look of satisfaction, he fended off marauder's from his domain, unaware that a third kit was still up in the fig bush, wisely staying above the fray.

Back in the house, I grabbed a colander, and went back to pick some figs for myself. By then the kit was long gone, escaping to the woods to join Momma Raccoon and his siblings.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Catch of the Day...

Right in the middle of my work in the backyard, something seemed to compel me to stop what I was doing, grab my fishpole, walk down to the pond, and cast out a line. On the second cast came this...

I've been catching a couple of "big'uns" each weekend since spring, but this ol'lady Bass is sure the leader of the pack.

She had made lunchmeat of the rubber lizard lure and danced twice out of the water trying to spit the hook out, it was a real thrill.

A couple of snapshots with the cellphone camera n' back in the water she went. I cast a couple of more times but figured I had caught my limit for the day n' went back to the yard-work.

The moment of fishing-zen was over...

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'll be signing autographs in the lobby after the matinee...

The Myrtle Beach Herald had a great article covering our Ham Radio Field Day activities here in Myrtle Beach SC, & wouldn't you know it, the face "that's made for radio" got in the article. It's a good article about ham radio despite the scary photo.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why I think Ham Radio & Preppers is a perfect fit...

While it is amazing that recent events in Iran are showing how the internet can aid in getting information to the outside world, it should be noted that the rest of the world is not under any form of turmoil that is effecting communication at the moment.

But if you consider a situation effecting a global crisis, the use of twitter, cellphones, youtube, and the lot would be severely impacted or eliminated.

All the current popular modes of communication are three-legged stools. Pull one leg out, and it can't support itself. Phone systems are at the mercy of power grids and the phone company, the internet is literally a network of outside supported and controlled databases which can be turned off in a instant, the same with cellphone, broadcast, satellite, and cable TV...all controlled and monitored by outside influences.

But Radio is different. A power source is it's only requirement, it is a independent entity.

And as a preferable mode of radio, the clearest front runner would be Ham Radio, it offers the most versatile, effective, long reaching, and accessable mode around.

Just consider all the Modes of Communication Ham Radio offers...

(The following is from WikiPedia)

* Amplitude Modulation (AM)
* Double Sideband Suppressed Carrier (DSB-SC)
* Independent Sideband (ISB)
* Single Sideband (SSB)
* Amplitude Modulation Equivalent (AME)

* Frequency Modulation (FM)
* Phase Modulation (PM)

* Continuous Wave (CW)

Image Modes

* Amateur Television, also known as Fast Scan television (ATV)
* Slow Scan Television (SSTV)
* Facsimile


Most amateur digital modes are transmitted by inserting audio into the microphone input of a radio and using an analog scheme, such as amplitude modulation (AM), frequency modulation (FM), or single-sideband modulation (SSB).

* ALE Automatic Link Establishment
* AMateur Teleprinting Over Radio (AMTOR)
* D-Star
* Echolink
* Hellschreiber, also referred to as either Feld-Hell, or Hell
* Discrete multi-tone modulation modes such as Multi Tone 63 (MT63)
* Multiple Frequency-Shift Keying (MFSK) modes such as
o FSK441, JT6M, JT65, and
o Olivia MFSK
* Packet Radio (AX25)

* Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS)

* Phase Shift Keying (31 baud) (PSK31)
* Spread spectrum
* Simplex Teletype Over Radio (SITOR)
* Radio Teletype (RTTY)
* 8FSK Frequency Shift Keying

Modes by Activity

The following 'modes' use no one specific modulation scheme but rather are classified by the activity of the communication.

* Earth-Moon-Earth (EME)
* Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP)
* Low Transmitter Power (QRP)
* Satellite (OSCAR)

I'm going to be getting my "shack" ready to move it to the local Field Day site for this weekend, but I'll be up on 7.245 at 9PM EST ready to join the APN.

I'll see you on the radio.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

CQ CQ.....


I'm all for helping get a APN ham radio net started up, but I would suggest that if anyone subscribes to the philosophy APN was created around, anyone would seriously consider learning more about ham radio. The hobby embodies so much of the essence of the Preppers movement...self-reliance, preparedness, and Independence.

There's a singular reason Ham Radio Operators were able to provide reliable communications immediately in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina's onslaught of the Gulf Coast of America, a Ham Radio operator can function in a disaster as an independent communications entity, commonly without need of normal external support.
The simplistic nature of Ham Radio allows it to work without an infrastructure most other communication "modes" require.

Due to the nature of radio wave propagation in the range of frequencies that include Amateur Radio, a radio operator, often working with minimum power on batteries, can effectively communicate with other stations, hundreds of miles away, far removed from a effected disaster area.

That's exactly what happened when a Ham, using a battery-powered HF Mobile Radio in New Orleans, was able to contact a fellow Ham in Oklahoma, who, by phone, was able to get a Coast Guard unit to rescue people stranded and trapped by flooding. The two Ham Operators were instantly capable of maintaining a link to the outside world.

It's a fact that when everything else fails, Amateur Radio works.

But to participate, you must be licenced, and to be licenced, you take a test.
Why a licence? Consider it's to establish the necessary level of responsibility, integrity, and foreknowledge of the science behind the ability.

A civics teacher would tell you there's responsibility that goes hand in hand with freedom of speech... it's what makes it wrong to yell FIRE in a crowded room when there is no fire. To a extent, it's the same with Ham Radio, to use the ability wrongly can greatly effect safety and security of others.

There are several sources of information online that can get the ball rolling toward anyone getting their Ham Radio Licence, first and foremost is the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) at www.arrl.org .

To practice for the ham radio license tests online, there's no better place than QRZ.com, start taking the online practice tests and in short order you'll be able to pass the test for real.

Ultimately, the best place to learn is to talk to someone at your local Ham Radio Club. Trust me, clubs are everywhere, and probably meeting in a public location nearby. Your local city or county government would know if and where is a local club. Just give them a call. There's a tradition in Ham Radio of experienced hams helping new operators or those interested in becoming Hams, called "Elmering", that is a vital part of the hobby, and it shares learned experiences, passed down personally, which greatly enriches the craft.

Naturally, you can just do a web search for "Ham Radio,+ "your town", I'll bet you get some hits.

Finally, next weekend, June 27-28 is "Ham Radio Field Day". It's a annual event held by Hams everywhere to practice the ability to establish communication under "Field" conditions...a kinda simulated emergency condition. Look for where a local ham club may be holding their field day. The general public is usually always invited to come and experience Ham Radio first-hand.

Field day is the pure embodiment of personal preparedness, a central keystone of American Preppers. Find one, go to it, and experience it first-hand.

Now, as for establishing a "Preppers Net" I'd like to suggest all Ham Radio operators aquire a free copy of "NetLogger" a simple, free, windows-based logging application, offers a live remote web server database that tracks radio nets live, in realtime. It makes tracking and conducting net operations a breeze. Easy to set up, easy to use, easy to conduct net operations, it also offers real-time chat, file transfer, and standard logging formats. Those who have used it, often swear by it, and seldom swear AT it.

With Netlogger it'd be easy to establish a scheduled net, once a net gets underway, anyone can in a instant see who is on the net, where they are located, and other pertinent info. The net's control operator can update the database in realtime and everyone involved can see the updates when they occur.

For practical reasons, the first American Preppers Net was accomplished last Thursday night, June 18th. at 8PM EST, when myself, KI4HEE and Dave W4DMH (aka SantaClaus) established communications on 7.245 Mhz. (40 Meters) we roundtable discussed with two other stations: KA4KID|FL (alex) & N4RSS NC(Rodger) Despite poor conditions it was no problem to convey traffic to stations that had coverage in excess of 400 miles.

There is not a scheduled time yet for a formal net format, however we can continue to make tentative steps to establish one. I suggest that I'll be keeping a ear out on Thursday Nights after 9PM out on 40 meters, right around 7.245 Mhz. Anyone want to stop by and "chew the rag" is welcome.

73' KI4HEE / QRT

Monday, May 11, 2009

Veggie of the Week: THE CUCUMBER

A true identity crisis surrounds this weeks veggie. Scientifically it's a fruit, it belongs in the Gourd family of plants, and it's closest plant cousin is the Muskmelon. But the best place for the cucumber is sliced fresh on your dinner salad or as a pickled garnish on your hamburger or hotdog.

It may have many identities, but one thing is certain, the cucumber is a versatile, hardy, and welcome addition to any garden.

Either serving as a versatile food, or as a medicinal aid, the cucumber is unmatched, check out what WHFoods.com has to say about "cool cucumbers".

And for first-hand planting, here's how it's done by Jarad at Stonesoup Farms...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Vegie of the Week: GREEN BEANS

Can a bean by any other name, still be green? Well according to Wikipedia..."Green beans (American English), French beans or runner beans (British English) are the unripe fruit of any kind of bean, including the yardlong bean, the hyacinth bean, the winged bean, and especially the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), whose pods are also usually called string beans in the northeastern United States, but can also go by snap beans."

Whatever you want to call 'em, green beans is the one vegetable that you can usually count on your kids having no problem cleaning their plate of, and generally makes a great side dish to any main course at the dinner table.

Two common types of Green Beans are grown; Bush or Pole Beans, in most gardens, and can yield more than one crop in a growing season.

I found a good little video on Youtube that shows you how to plant a good crop...

And, for a good online reference here's a link to the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Dept. of Horticultural Sciences.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Symtoms Described

In this video, Dr. Joe Bresee, with CDC's Influenza Division, describes the symptoms of swine flu and warning signs to look for that indicate the need for urgent medical attention.

For further informational video's check out the CDC's Youtube Page.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Myrtle Beach Wildfire Photo Slideshow

Edward Jordan, KF4ECK sent me some photos taken of the wildfire that swept thru the Carolina Bays and threatened the Grand Dunes section of Myrtle Beach...pretty dramatic stuff. I went and made a slide show and posted it on Youtube for all to see...(I'd say enjoy, but that just wouldn't be right)

As of this writing, the wildfires have all been contained, 30 sq. miles of land has been scorched, 75 homes destroyed, +100 homes damaged, no deaths, no major injuries. Estimate damages over $80 Million.

My thanks to Edward J. and SplashStudioPhotography.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Veggie of the Week...CARROTS

Eating carrots will improve your eyesight.....NO!

Carrots protect military secrets...YES!

Straight from the "Gee-Wiz" Catagory comes this week's Veggie...one that gives your salad zing, & helped win the war for the allies...THE CARROT!

You've heard it before, eating carrots can improve your night vision...sounds plausable... baseless, but plausable. Most never questioned it, but who came up with this tidbit of occular advice?

I'm guessing it was someone who worked for this guy...
(Hint:...that's former Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain)

OK, so like Bug's Bunny, you're asking "What's up Doc?", for that, check out the story from the myth busting website, Snopes.com

Now that you're well armed with that piece of vegetable trivia, howbout' catching some great tips on cultivating some lovely roots for your very own. Check out all the great garden tips about carrots from gardenersnet.com

And keeping with the Veggie of the Week Tradition, here's Jarred from Stone Soup Farms, who shows you how to add carrots to your garden...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Horry Co. SC Wildfire 7PM Friday Update

Here's the 7PM Update direct from the Horry County Emergency Operations Center. Many thanks to Lisa Bourcier, Horry County Public Information Oficer. The map at left shows the current hotspots as of 5PM Friday.

Wildfire Update:
Conway, South Carolina – In response to the wildfire, the Horry County Emergency Operations Center and the Joint Information Center remain fully activated. In addition, the Call Center (915-5150) remains fully manned for citizens with concerns and questions.

Updated information:
Approximately 20,000 acres have been consumed and the fire is 50% contained.
Two shelters remain open: the House of Blues (Barefoot Landing) and the Christ the Servant Lutheran Church (which is now on stand-by and may potentially close later this evening. The Church is located at 2105 Hwy. 501 in Conway.

Watertower Road, off of Hwy. 90, is closed, but open to residents.

Preliminary damage assessment for unincorporated county: total of 13 homes (5-totally destroyed, 1-major damage, and 7-minor damage). All homes were mobile homes, except one of the minor damaged homes was a stick built home. Total damage estimate of $174,200. All damage is reported in the Woodlawn Drive area, off of Hwy. 90.
No injuries and no fatalities reported.

Hwy. 90 from East Cox Ferry Road north to Tilly Swamp Church remains closed.

Hwy. 31 remains closed from Grissom Parkway to Hwy. 9.

Hwy. 22 remains closed from Hwy. 90 into Myrtle Beach .

Citizens are, once again, advised that the smoke in the fire area may continue to lie close to the ground from 8 p.m. through 11 a.m. this morning. Extreme caution should be exercised as there may be extremely low visibility. Roads may need to be closed due to this smoke cover.

Citizens with respiratory issues are advised to remain indoors.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Horry County SC Wildfire battle rages on...

The map at left depicts the area currently effected by wildfires that have scorched more than 19,000 acres, and have caused more than 2500 people to evacuate.

With no rain on the immediate forecast, fire officals are hesitant to speculate how soon the largest wildfire to hit the region in over 30 years may be put under control.

Myrtle Beach NBC TV Station WMBF has this report...

The Horry County Information Office has released this map showing current hotspots,(as of 2AM) The 10AM News Conference had officials stating that approx. 50% of the wildfire is contained, but with forecasts of winds increasing in the area conditions may still change for the worse.

Current damage estimates are at $8.2M; Fire 50 percent contained, but expected to strengthen and threaten Poplar community on S.C. 90.
Here's additional information from Myrtle Beach Local Newspaper, The Sun News...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Veggie of the Week...TOMATOES

Oh yes! The Rock Star of the veggie world! A favorite garden crop, tomatoes are this weeks featured veggie. Absolutely, the tomato is the number one planted crop in discerning backyard gardens everywhere. Looking through the garden center at your favorite big box store... except for ornamental shrubbery, tomato plants are the biggest cash crop to expand a Lowe's or Home Depot's profit margin. Easy to plant, cultivate, and ACCESSORIZE. Grab some wire trellis or Rapid-Grow tomato sticks while you choose between picking Beefsteak or Bigger Boy varieties.

A member of the nightshade family of plants, tomatoes were subject to suspicion. Once called "Wolf Apples", it was once thought to be poisonous. And there's still debate in botanical circles as to whether it is a fruit or vegetable. All that aside, the tomato has become a delicious favorite at the dinner table with countless uses.

I'm featuring a geocities website... "How to grow tomatoes" since it's simple, stuffed with links, articles, and tons of tips & info.

For those who like video's, Melissa Allman tells it like it is with the best southern "Ax-sent"...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ummm...Remember that Conficker C Worm? ...well guess what.

Remember the April Fool's day computer worm that was supposed to melt your hard drive or worse? That, by all accounts, became a Chicken Little exercise in media hysteria?

Well...according to the experts, it's alive, and it's on the move.

Or so says at least one expert,Yahoo's Christopher Null, "The Working Guy".
He's reporting that the worm has finally began to show signs of life. Although what it's doing is still anybodys guess.

Here's his report...

The real propellerheads at Baylor University who work on fighting this stuff has posted a "Eye Chart" that will show you in a moment if your computer is infected. There's also a long explanation by Christopher Null as to what you are seeing when you view the page. If you feel a little "wormy" over this thing, feel free to check out Christopher Null's explanation first.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Veggie of the week...The POTATO

Today we feature a hardy & versatile friend in the garden & in the kitchen. A friend that's easy to nurture, & equally easy to harvest & prepare for the table. Presenting...The POTATO!

Once banned by the medieval church as "the devils plant", the potato has since become a worldwide celebrity, known far & wide for it's great nutritional value...just ask the Irish...that country practically lived on potato's, and almost died when a blight occurred on it's crop.

There'd be no, (or just not that many) Irish Cops in NYC if it wasn't for the potato famine.

Today, it's a tuber common in all kitchens...want to know more? Check out all the info mahalo.com has on how to cultivate a close relationship with your friend, the potato.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Streaming Internet Webcam nabs 2 Burglars in Fla. Home

It's great when justice is served, and thanks to Internet technology, two Florida Burglars were on the receiving end.

As reported in The Smoking Gun:APRIL 9--A Florida woman who used a live Internet video feed to monitor the interior of her home was shocked yesterday when she saw two men burglarizing her residence in real time. Jeanne Thomas, 43, was seated at her office desk when two strangers appeared in her living room (the intruders got into Thomas's Boynton Beach house through a doggie door at the rear of the home, according to the below probable cause affidavit). Thomas, who set up the live video stream after her home was burglarized last October, immediately called 911 to report the burglary.

Police arrested two men inside the residence along with two others who helped plan the break-in. Mugshots here...

The 911 call offers a chilling account of what happened.

A perfect example of due-diligence, installing a webcam, while being an added expense, has paid for itself for this Florida Homeowner.

Ed. Note: If you notice the time-lapse backyard webcam here on this blog, you can figure out that I'm a firm believer in Remote Video Security, It's not "Big Brother" when you do it to yourself & your property, it's common sense.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Composting...it's a dirty job

OK, here's the dirt...(pun intended)...on composting.

I can't help it, I just gotta put a giggle in all this. Composting ain't one of the most sexy of topics...in fact it's literally worm dirt. But I gotta tell ya, if you want to grow a garden and your dirt is pretty poor...you're only gonna grow a bunch of weeds if you don't buy bags of fertilizers...Costly......or start composting a pile of the err...stuff.

Composting done right will turn household kitchen & yard waste into nutrient-rich soil. Add a little moisture, a little air, toss in some worms, and voila!...potting soil better n' store bought. Plus, you'll never run out of live bait (worms).

Don't take my word for it...check out what the good folks at http://www.enviromom.com/ have to say on the subject.

And if that ain't enough dirt-digging, here's a great website that can really get you knee-deep in the pile.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Keep your Food a long...long...LONG time.

Back to real Preppers stuff. We feature today Bob at PAW productions with a great series of videos detailing how you can set up a long term storage solution for your food supply.

How long is how long? You'd think it'd be 6 months, but it ain't, 1 year doesn't even scratch the surface, 5 years is child's play, 10 years is a snap...20-30 years is the target. Yeah...we said it...20-30 years!

PAW productions have a long string of videos on Youtube covering food storage and other self-sufficiency topics. According to their channel page "P.A.W productions was formed in order to motivate and challenge people to be better prepared, with movies made to make you think through and explore the many options that are available to preparedness minded folks these days."

Yeah, you bet this is "on-topic".

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

About the Time-Lapse Camera...

I've been a long time believer of the "knot-hole" philosophy of life...such that given a knothole to peer through, there is a natural curiosity in anyone to look through it.

Construction Companies & Baseball Teams knew of this effect long ago. It's the reason the former put knotholes in walls blocking a view around construction projects, and the latter to plug up any knotholes in walls around their 5-cent-a-ticket ballparks.

So, thanks to modern technology, I present this blogs "knot-hole". Go ahead, take a look, I'll wait...

Depending on the time of day, you'll see a decent looking view of my backyard or a bunch of sun-blasted glare. If it's bright and glaring, stick around it'll change. For now, until I come off the dime & get a better camera, I just have to deal with it.

It's also like Forrest Gump's Box of Chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.
(...with the exception of Squrrels eating all the seed in my bird feeder)

So, for your moment of Zen... go contemplate the "knot-hole".

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