Saturday, May 19, 2018

Some Thoughts on Self-Defense

It is a dangerous world out there, and likely to get more dangerous as society continues to break down. As someone said on GAB yesterday about the recent school shootings: "When a society becomes godless, you will get more godless acts." Add in the open borders maddness of the globalists, and you have a situation which will only get worse in the coming years. 

Self-Defense - Yes, this is the "guns and ammo" skill set for preppers and survivalists, but it is so much more than just that. Guns are just one tool in your personal security arsenal, and not the most important one. The first and most important tool for personal security is awareness. Awareness of your surroundings and the potential risks of your situation is essential. Situational awareness isn't just paying attention, as I explained in my article Situational Awareness and the OODA Loop. It also means knowing what to look for, and how to assess (make decisions about) your surroundings.

I do recommend that most folks own and learn how to use guns, and to carry on an everyday basis if possible (know and follow the laws in your area, of course). If you do have guns, don't just target shoot at the range. You need to take a good self-defense firearms training course. Consult with your local gun dealer - they will be able to guide you to appropriate courses, and make you aware of local gun laws.

In addition to all gun-owners taking firearms training courses, everyone in your family/group/church should take a regular self-defense course. A good self-defense course won't just cover the physical aspects of self-defense, but also give tips and advice on avoiding dangerous situations in the first place.

Learning a martial art such as karate can be a fun hobby, provide considerable health and fitness benefits. improve self-confidence, and give you a life-long self-defense skill set. I especially urge parents to get their kids involved in martial arts at a young age. 

We must be concerned for the physical safety of ourselves and our families, as well as the protection of our personal property. Today, this includes protecting against identity theft which can be as devastating to its victims as any mugging or home robbery. Identity theft has become a $16 billion dollar idustry in the US alone.

Be sure to guard your personal records - driver's license & Social Security numbers, banking & financial information, medical records, etc. - as carefully and diligently as you guard your gold & silver. Be especially vigilant with your computer. At a minimum, always use a firewall, maintain an up-to-date anti-virus program, and regularly scrub your computer with one or more anti-spyware programs. Only do business online with well-established companies you know and trust. 

Home Security - Both the situational awareness skills and personal security skills discussed above can and do fit into this category. However, here I am particularly talking about making your home safe - "hardening" it against criminals, looters, and other thugs, as well as protecting it against fire and other disasters. Items that fit under this skill set include anti-burglary measures such as alarm systems, cameras, steel security exterior doors, fences, burglar bars, etc. It also means performing home safety inspections on a regular basis, having fire & smoke detectors (with fresh batteries), fire extinguishers, first aid supplies (and knowledge), flashlights with fresh batteries, and other safety equipment and supplies on hand.  

Obviously, home secutrity and and self-defense is a huge topic with a wide scope of considerations.  Start thinking through these issues now.  The protection of yourself & your family will be - IS - your responsibility.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Problem with Customer Loyalty Cards

For those of us concerned with privacy (and we should all be), I recommend that we limit the use of affinity or customer loyalty cards. These cards are used by companies to "reward" loyal customers with special deals.

Why limit our use of these cards? Although affinity/loyalty cards can be great ways to get special deals, these deals do come at the cost of allowing the company to collect information on you, such as your shopping habits, purchase history, product preferences, days/times you prefer to shop, and which store locations you frequent. They tie this information to your name, address, phone numbers, and email accounts, along with any other information they can find out about you. If you use credit or debit cards to make your purchases with, those accounts are tied to your affinity card file, which in turn gives the company access to your credit history and all the information contained therein. You would be stunned how much personal and private information companies acquire from you through those affinity cards.  

All this information is used by the company to both build customer loyalty, and to market products to you (in other words, to manipulate you into buying more stuff from them). This data may also be shared with its vendors and affiliated businesses, sold to other companies, or potentially stolen by company employees or outside hackers. It could also be obtained by law enforcement and other government agencies, often without the need for a warrant (depends on the individual company - ALL companies will comply with a warrant-backed request, some will comply even with requests without a warrant). 

The personal data companies mine on you is worth far more money to them than any profit lost from the special deals they offer you. You must decide for yourself if the money you save with these deals is worth giving up a portion of your privacy. Its an individual decision, but one you should make with full knowledge of the potential consequences.

I got rid of most of my affinity cards years ago. Today, I only have one, and it does not have my real name or address attached to it (and I only pay with cash so there is no credit/debit card attached to it either). This allows me to get the in-store specials. But since they don't have my mailing address, I don't get any of their flyers or coupons by mail, so I probably miss out on a few deals. 

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Trees for Long-Term Survival

I found this poster, promoting the usefulness of trees for long-term sustainability and survival, on a UK website/blog more than 10 years ago.  The website went dark soon after, and I have no further information on its origins.

I love this poster because it reflects the usefulness and neccessity of trees. It has been said that trees can provide everything that human civilization needs (except for minerals/metals that must be derived from the Earth) to survive indefinately. Watch Patrick Moore's five-minute Prager Univesity video Trees Are The Answer for more on the usefulness of trees. Even though I am far from a liberal "tree-hugger," I've long promoted within the survivalist community the usefullness of trees. 

My Forest Gardening series of articles published on my website have been quite well-received. If you don't know what Forest Gardening is, check out my Introduction to Forest Gardening. Its a concept for preppers, survivalists, and homesteaders to seriously consider.  Even if you don't want to get into Forest Gardening (it does take a lot of work and time to set-up), I hope you will at least plant a few fruit or nut trees on your property.  My receent article Tips For Planting Fruit Trres & Common Mistakes will help guide you through this process.  

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Why It Is Important for Christians To Be Survivalists

"I hear too many Christians say, “I’ll just trust God.”  Trust God? He’s telling us what’s coming. He’s telling us very clearly. He’s commanding us to be prepared. So doing nothing is the opposite of trusting God." -- Joseph Farah

In a previous article, I tackled the issue of whether or not preparedness is a Biblcal concept (a decisive YES!). In this article, I explain the five reasons why I think it is absoltely critical for traditional believers to embrace self-reliance and preparedness.

1- God tells us to prepare for the future. Yes, this means both spiritual AND physical preparedness. There are many, many verses from both the Old Testament and New Testament in which we are warned to prepare for future hard times and even persecutions. God makes it explicitly clear that we are to prepare both spiritually (get right in our relationship with Him) AND physically (food storage, self-defense, etc.). If we are to obey God, we must do both. I give many of these verses in my previous article, so check it it out if you doubt me. Preparedness is not only prudent, but in fact is commanded by God.

2- We have a Biblical responsibility to take care of our family, in both good times and bad times. It is not the government's responsibilty. It is not society's responsibility. It is ours. "But if anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8). This is especially true for those of us men who call ourselves Christians, so man-up and don't be worse than an unbeliever. 

3- God guarantees tough times and persecution ahead for those
Coptic Christians Beheaded in Libya.
of us who believe in Him. A pecular, and frankly unbibical, modern theology has arisen in recent decades that falsely proclaims that Christians will be spared harsh times and future persecution. Popular pastors and authors proclaim that w
e'll be raptured out before things get really bad, but that feel-good message isn't the message proclaimed in the Bible. Believers will face difficult and dangerous times, even persecutions. Just ask those Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya in 2015. Read Matthew 24, Luke 21, 2 Timothy 3, and the entire book of Revelation, among many other warnings given by God.

4 - Around the world and here in America, the tide of popular, worldly, opinion has turned against those of us who are traditional believers. We are incrreasinly being forced to choose between following God, or or following the world. Political correctness is largely meant to silence traditional Christian values and viewpoints. (Sadly, many modern "Christians" are trying to fit in with the world by rejecting large swaths of the Bible, but that is for another article.) This should come as no surprise to those of us who read the Bible, for Jesus Himself warns: "But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you... and put you in prison... You will be betrayed... they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me" (from Luke 21, please read the entire chapter yourself). It will only get worse. during the End Times.   

5- The more independent and self-reliant we are, the more we can escape the worldly system and live God's way instead.  The more we are able to survive on our own - as individuals, families, and communities - the less we will be tempted to compromise with the World.  The more we need the World in order to survive, the more likely we will be to compromise.  It is as simple as that...

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Tips For Planting Fruit Trres & Common Mistakes

"The best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago. The next best time is now." -- Japanese Proverb*

I spent part of yesterday planting pear trees on my property. I've planted other fruit trees in the past, with and without success. The following are my tips for planting fruit trees, along with what I consider the mst common mistakes people make.  

Tips for Planting Fruit Trees
  • Dig a hole large enough to hold the entire root ball without the  roots touching the sides of the hole.  Common Mistake: If the roots touch the sides of the hole and bend or wrap around the edge of the hole, then the hole is not big enough. Digging in red clay or rocky soil is difficult and exhausting, and the temptation is to say "good enough" and plant the tree with some of the roots bending at the sides. This is probably the most common mistake many people make when planting trees. 
  • Plant the fruit tree to the proper depth. Plant the tree so that all the roots are covered with dirt without having to mound up the dirt around the tree, but do not cover the spot of the graft union with dirt or mulch. The graft union should be about two inches above the dirt and mulch. Common Mistake: Burying the graft union for dwarf and semi-dwarf trees is another mistake people often make. If the graft union is below soil/mulch level, the scion (the tree grafted onto the root stock) will put out roots and the tree will become a standard size tree. 
  • Loosen the soil for a couple of inches at the bottom of the hole. Compacted soil at the bottom of the hole will be difficult for the roots to grow into.
  • Place the fruit tree in the hole, making sure the roots are not bending or wrapping around. Fill in the hole with good quality top soil, packing it gently with your hands or feet.
  • Staking fruit trees is not absolutely necessary, but is a good idea in most cases to ensure that the tree grows straight. This is especially true in windy areas. 
  • Establish a "weed-free zone" at least three feet in diameter around the young fruit tree. Weeds compete with the fruit trees for water and soil nutrients. Mulching can help control grass and other weeds, but be sure not to cover the graft union with soil or mulch.
  • Most fruit trees  tolerate shade well, but will grow quicker in full sunlight. 
  • Most fruit trees need another tree of the same species, but different variety, to cross-pollinate with in order to produce effectively. Even self-pollinating trees will be more productive with a partner tree.  Common Mistake: Planting only a single tree, or multiple trees of the same variety, will likely result in smaller, or no, yields. (For the record, I planted three pear trees, one each of three varieties - Moonglow, Bartlett, and Ayers.)
  • Most fruit trees should be planted in spring, after the danger of freeze/frost has ended.
  • Give the fruit trees plenty of space to grow by not planting them too close together or to already established trees - 12 to 15 feet apart in most cases.  
  • Thoroughly water newly planted fruit trees, and keep them well-watered for the first few months until they get established. Common Mistake: Letting the soil dry out around a young fruit tree before it gets well-established (takes at least a few months) is a major cause of death of young trees. It is easy to remember watering the first time or two, but it is also easy to forget to keep watering them weeks later.
*The exact origins of this  quote are unknown. It has been attributed as a Chinese proverb, a saying of Confucius, a Japanese proverb, and a Native American proverb, among others. The best time is also given as 20 years, or even 30 years, ago in many quotes. I have a Japanese friend who assures me it is a Japanese proverb, the English translation is I have given above. Regardless, I like the quote and believe it is a timeless truth.  

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