Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How To Be a Survival Group Leader

Are you are planning on being your survival group's leader during a disaster or a post-SHTF scenario? Are you a leader now? Leadership is about a lot more than just having a title or occupying a certain spot on an organizational chart. Being an effective leader isn't easy, and you won't transform into one overnight. Develop your leadership skills now, before the SHTF.

Entire books and doctoral thesis have been written, and university-level courses are taught, on the subject of leadership. This short set of tips is only a brief introduction to the topic:

Planning on being your group's leader? Be honest: are you a leader now? Do others think of you as a leader? 

If you are planning on being a leader, you're doing it wrong. You should be a leader now. Not just in your eyes, but also in the eyes of those you lead. If folks don't already see you as a leader, you have a lot of work to do before you actually become one.

Planning on being your group's leader? Lead by example. 

Leadership by example is really the only true leadership. The saying "Do what I say, not what I do" is pure rubbish and is meant to poke fun at those folks who seem to have that attitude.


Good leaders don't just lead, they develop others into good leaders. 

True leaders develop others into leaders. You need to be able to spot leadership potential, and to nourish it into fruition. For some, this may be difficult as they tend to see other potential leaders as competition.


Good leaders communicate very clearly. Always clearly define your expectations. 

This one is huge, in my opinion. Bad leaders often fail when it comes to clear communications. This could be due to a lack of self-confidence, poor communication skills, uncertainty over what actually needs to be done, or even an effort at CYA in case something goes wrong (if something goes wrong, they can blame others for "not understanding" their instructions).

Good leaders know how & why to delegate. It both frees up the leader's time and helps to develop others.

Poor leaders often fail to delegate correctly, and tend to micro-manage unnecessarily.

Good leaders know mistakes will happen. Never publicly criticize or shame someone for making a mistake. 

Mistakes happen. Unexpected events occur. Good leaders know this and aren't taken by surprise when it happens. Publicly humiliating the transgressor accomplishes nothing. Remember the mantra: "Praise publicly. Correct privately."

Good leaders accept responsibility for their mistakes & the mistakes of those under them. "The buck stops here."

This is often a missing part of leadership today. It seems like no one wants to accept responsibility for anything anymore. Good leaders do.

Good leaders know they must inspire trust in those they lead. 

If folks don't really trust you or your decisions, you are not going to be able to lead them effectively.  Give your group members reason to trust your character, your abilities, and your vision. You cannot demand trust. It must be earned.

A good leader knows he sets the tone for those around him. 

The leaders on sports team are great examples of this idea. Good leaders exude a aura of confidence, determination, drive, and positivity that infects their teammates.

A good leader never "shoots the messenger."

Bad news is always upsetting, but a good leader never takes it out on the one delivering the bad news. Leaders who do tend to shoot the messenger often are lacking in self-confidence, and this fault will quickly become apparent to the entire group.

A good leader adapts his leadership style to the needs of those around him.

A good leader knows he has to adapt to the needs of those he leads. This may mean that the good leader must suppress his own ego and change his approach before he can effectively lead.

A good leader maintains realistic expectations.

Expectations are a balancing act. You can be unrealistic in your expectations both by expecting too much and too little. Developing the ability to read people and accurately judge their capabilities is very important.

A good leader is always consistent and fair.

A good leader does change his mind, orders, and expectations, when it is necessary, but never at a whim, or without good reason. Inconsistency creates confusion and mistrust.

A good leader is also fair, and doesn't single out individuals for special treatment (good or bad). A good leader doesn't foster a "good ol' boys club" or engage in nepotism.

A good leader is willing to listen to honest feedback.

A good leader NEVER considers himself above criticism.

A good leader is never a bully. Bullying others into doing what you want is NOT leadership.

Have you seen the movie "Ender's Game" based on the Orson Scott Card book by the same title? In it there is a character named Bonzo who was commander of Salamander Army at the Battle School. Despite being smart and talented, Bonzo was a complete jerk who relied on fear and intimidation to rise to the rank of commander. He was NOT a leader, but rather just a bully (in reality, he would have washed out of any military or business leadership program long before becoming a commander). In the end, Bonzo got himself seriously hurt when he started a fight with another student who stood up to his bullying tactics (watch the movie, or better yet, read the book for more details).


Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is on the U.S. Marine Corps Professional Reading List.

Good leadership is about getting people to work together effectively for a common goal. It is not about forcing others to do things your way.

A good leader makes those around him better.

Think Magic Johnson or Larry Bird. Those two NBA stars were famous not only for their great abilities, but also for making their fellow teammates better. More than just setting a good example, or a positive tone, a good leader actively seeks to make those around him better.


NOTE: For a great discussion on leadership by The Maine Prepper and The Patriot Nurse, watch their video How to Be a Leader: Fundamentals and Principles on You Tube. You will recognize many of the ideas presented here.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Small Plot Gardening Tips


Note: Tips quoted from other sources are marked with a link to the original source. Unmarked tips are from me.

The point of this article is that you can grow at least some of your own food, even if you only ave a very small yard. Even if you have no yard at all, you can grow some veggies and herbs in containers on a patio or balcony, or in windows.

1- With any type of gardening, it is important to plant crops that you and your family actually like and will eat. Planting foods that you dislike, no matter how productive, will simply be wasted space (unless you plan on selling or trading them, an unlikely goal for those with very limited space).

2- Tomatoes are probably the most productive crop you can grow. Since they are tall, however, you should take care not to plant them where they will shade the shorter plants in your garden. Tomatoes are a good choice because they are packed with useful nutrients, store well (canned, frozen, or dried) and are a basic ingredient used in many dishes.

3- Green leafy vegetables, such as loose-leaf lettuce, turnip greens, spinach, mustard and kale all make excellent choices for small plot gardening. You can grow a lot in a small space. And they are all highly nutritious.

4- "There are all sorts of herbs that can be planted in containers and moved around as you please. And a lack of space doesn’t mean that you can’t grow some fruit or berries. Try raising strawberries in a strawberry jar, plant a fig tree in a container, or grow a compact blueberry bush in place of ornamental shrubs." -- veggiegardeningtips.com

5- "Many vegetables, including peas, pole beans, cucumbers, squash, melons, and tomatoes, will naturally climb a support or can be trained to grow upwards, leaving more ground space for other crops. Support structures include cages, stakes, trellises, strings, teepees, chicken wire, or existing fences let your imagination take over!" -- Small Plot and Intensive Gardening

6- "Vegetable breeders have been emphasizing smaller plants for container and small plot gardening. Although some of the dwarf or mini plants produce smaller fruits, often a greater number of fruits are produced, yielding a good total harvest. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and peas are just a few examples from the mini ranks. Some new cultivars of vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers have compact, trailing growth habits ideal for growing in hanging baskets." -- Small Plot and Intensive Gardening

7- Water less often but more deeply. Frequent light watering will result in shallow root development. When needed, water only once or twice a week but thoroughly enough to soak the soil down to at least six inches. This will encourage deep root growth.

8- Most small plot and intensive gardening techniques naturally discourage weed growth, but weeds are still likely to appear in your garden. Pull weeds as soon as you notice them. Weeds are easier to pull when young and pulling them earlier will help prevent them from spreading.

9- "For minimum maintenance and weed control, apply an organic mulch around the plants after the soil has warmed. A mulch also helps retain moisture in the soil. Grass clippings (3 to 4 inches), straw (4 to 6 inches), and sawdust (1 to 2 inches) are excellent mulches." -- Small Plot Vegetable Gardening

10- "Do not sow seeds too deeply or they may not germinate. Place carrots, radishes, and lettuce no deeper than 1/4 inch. Large seeds such as peas, beans, and cucumbers can be sown 1 to1-1/2 inches deep. Vine crops can be planted six seeds in a cluster or hill and then later thinned to four plants per hill." -- Small Plot and Intensive Gardening

11- "Thin seed rows to their proper spacing after the plants are 1-2 inches tall. Thin the plants with scissors rather than pulling them so you won’t disturb the other plants. Use the thinnings for salads." -- Small Plot and Intensive Gardening

12- Grow only a few varieties. Trying to grow a little bit of everything creates more work and yields less food. Since your space if relatively limited, try growing only a few favorites, or look to grow whatever costs the most at the market in your area.

13- Most herbs do really well in small pots. The pots can be moved around to take full advantage of sunlight, and even taken indoors in the fall to extend their productivity. Some herbs to consider: parsley, chives, mints, basil, dill, oregano and thyme.

14- "To select your vegetable garden plot, consider what vegetables need to thrive. Vegetables and fruits need 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. The vegetable garden plot should be well-drained and convenient to water (vegetables require 1 inch of water weekly or 75 gallons per 100 square feet)." -- Preparing a Garden Plot (no longer available online)

15- "Soil that is loamy, well drained, and high in organic matter is ideal for your vegetable garden. Visit your local cooperative extension or health department and pick up a free soil-test kit. The ideal pH for vegetables is 6.0 to 6.5. The test tells you if your soil needs lime added (available at your local gardening center)." -- Preparing a Garden Plot (no longer available online)


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Patriots' Prayers for 3-26-2017

I'm trying something a bit different this week - an audio version of this week's Prayer for America. Let me know what you think. -- Tim



Daily Bible Reading

Sunday: Exodus 12:1-28 (The Passover Instituted)
Monday: Exodus 12:29-50
Tuesday: Exodus 13
Wednesday: Exodus 14
(Crossing the Red Sea)
Thursday: Exodus 15 
Friday: Exodus 16 (Bread from Heaven)
Saturday: Exodus 17 (Water from the Rock)


 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Product Review: Valley Food Storage

Valley Food Storage recently  asked if I would be willing to review some of their products. I said "send me what you want me to review, and I will give it an honest review on my website." The following is that review. Please note that Valley Food Storage did not pay me to do this review. 

Valley Food Storage (website: https://valleyfoodstorage.com) provides healthy long-term food storage (freeze-dried foods, powdered foods, and related items). By healthy, they mean:
  • No GMOs
  • No Artifical Preservatives or Chemicals
  • No Fillers
  • No Hydrogenated Oils
  • No MSG
  • Many Gluten-Free Options
  • Many Dairy-Free Options 
Overall, I was extremely impressed with the quality and taste of the products they sent me to review. I also really appreciate the emphasis they place on providing healthy options. A quick look at their website revealed that their prices seem to be among the most affordable in the industry (several other similar companies are extremely expensive by comparison). Here are the individual reviews of the five products they sent me:

Pasta Primavera - Simple to make. Just add water and heat. The pasta primavera has a good taste, and was not at all powdery (which is my experience with another company's pasta). I'm not much of  pasta person, but my mother is, so I had her try this also. She really liked it, too. 

Freeze-Dried Coconut Milk Bites - WOW!! You eat this straight out of the bag as a snack. I loved it, and will likely order some just to eat as a snack.  Tastes great. I also added  some to my coffee, which both sweetened my coffee and gave it a coconut flavor. Excellent. 

Freeze-Dried Vanilla Greek Yogurt - Tastes exactly like vanilla Greek yogurt, which it is, of course, just freeze dried. You can eat this straight out of the bag, too. It is quite sweet, so it will satisfy any sugar craving you might have.

Freeze-Dried Strawberry Slices - You can reconstitute the strawberries, or eat them straight out of the package. I tried them both ways, and they tasted like strawberries. Very good.

Pineapple Chunks - Like the strawberries, you can either eat the pineapple chunks straight out of the bag or reconstitute them with water. Either way, they taste like pineapples! 

If you are looking for long-term food storage options, check out Valley Food Storage. Their list of products is extensive, and not just food items, but also water storage & purification, and other emergency supplies. 



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Patriots' Prayers for 3-19-2017


Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
-- Isaiah 5:20

Prayer for America

Heavenly Father, we confess that, as a nation and as individuals, we have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. We have also failed to do what Your holy law requires of us. As a nation, we have replaced the authority and perfection of Your Word with the whim of our own ever-changing opinions for our standards of right and wrong. We no longer keep Your commandments, or follow Your teachings, choosing instead to follow worldly ways.  But now, with repentance and humility, we turn again to Your love and mercy. We entreat You to forgive us, as individuals and as a nation, all our transgressions and to cleanse us from all our sins. Lord, fill our hearts with the light of Your truth. Strengthen our will by Your grace. Teach us both to desire and to do only what pleases You. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.


Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble,
And the flame consumes the chaff,
So their root will be as rottenness,
And their blossom will ascend like dust;
Because they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts,
And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
-- Isaiah 5:24,25

Daily Bible Reading

Sunday: Exodus 6:14-27
Monday: Exodus 6:28 - 7:13
Tuesday: Exodus 7:14-25 (The First Plague)
Wednesday: Exodus 8 (Plagues Two, Three, Four)
Thursday: Exodus 9 (Plagues Five, Six, Seven)
Friday: Exodus 10 (Plagues Eight, Nine)
Saturday: Exodus 11 (Death of the Firstborn Announced)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Patriots' Prayers for 3-13-2017


A spiritual sickness infects the USA. No politician, no election, no piece of legislation, can cure spiritual sickness. We must appeal to a Higher Authority for that kind of healing. Please join with me each week, praying for America.

Prayer For America (long version)

Our Father in heaven, have mercy upon these United States of America, according to Your lovingkindness and tender mercies. Blot out our transgressions, cleanse us of our sins. We acknowledge our transgressions, our many sins against You: We have allowed our God-given liberties to be taken away by our politicians and leaders. We have allowed Your Word and commandments to be banned from our public squares. We have allowed prayer to be eliminated from our schools. We have allowed Your place in our nation’s history to be erased from our textbooks and our minds. We have allowed the epidemics of abortion, pornography, and sexual immorality to fester out of control. We have allowed perversion, decadence, and depravity of all sorts to become public and commonplace.

As a nation, we have replaced the authority and perfection of Your Word with the whim of our own opinions for our standards of right and wrong. We no longer keep Your commandments, or follow Your teachings.

We confess these and all our sins to You and ask forgiveness for ourselves and our nation. Bring us to a state of true repentance - a returning to You - as both individuals and as a nation. We confess Your lordship over every aspect of our lives and our nation. Help us to follow You once again. Restore your mercy and blessings to these United States of America, and re-establish a hedge of protection around us. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Supporting Verse: "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." --2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) 

Confession of the Lordship of Jesus Christ 

We confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ over every aspect of our lives and our nation. Help us, as individuals and as a nation, to accept and live according to Your will in all things. Amen. 

Daily Bible Reading 
(It is my hope to encourage folks to read the Bible everyday. 
To that end, I present a suggested daily reading each week.)

Sunday: Romans  15:14 - 16:27
Monday: Exodus 1 
Tuesday: Exodus 2 
Wednesday: Exodus 3 
Thursday: Exodus 4  
Friday: Exodus 5:1 - 6:1 
Saturday: Exodus 6:2 - 7:13  



Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Bitter Melon Experiment, Part One

Bitter Gourd (Japanese Variety), aka Bitter Melon
 I am trying an experiment this year in growing Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia), also know as Bitter Gourd. I'll be posting updates on this experiment throughout the year, letting my readers know the progress, for good or bad. This article (Part One) will introduce people to Bitter Melon, and why I am conducting this experiment. If successful, Bitter Melon could be an important vegetable to include in survival gardens due to its possible medical uses.

If you haven't heard of Bitter Melon, it is an Asian vegetable which looks similar to a large and very wrinkled cucumber. It is in the same botanical family as squashes and gourds. It has a somewhat bitter taste (the more ripe it is, however, the less bitter). 

Bitter Melons grow on vines that can reach 12' to 16' in length under optimal growth conditions, so it is suggested that it be grown along a fence or using trellises. Typically, Bitter Melon is gown in tropical regions of Asia and the Caribbean. It will be interesting to see if I can grow it successfully in North Carolina. 

As a vegetable, it can be eaten raw, added to salads, or cooked into  variety of dishes. It can also be juiced.

The traditional Okinawan dish goya chanpuru (photo by Nesnad)

Possible Health Benefits and Medicinal Purposes

As you may know, I am a diabetic (non-insulin dependent).  So I am always searching for possible natural and alternative treatments for diabetes. In any disaster or post-collapse situation, folks may not have ready access to insulin and other diabetic medications, and be forced to make do as best they can until access is restored. 

Bitter Melon may hold some potential as a possible emergency replacement for insulin or other diabetic medication. According to my online research, Bitter Melon contains a chemical compound (Polypeptide-p) that acts similar to insulin and appears to have a hypoglycemic effect that may reduce blood sugar levels. According to several articles I've read, this only works if the Bitter Melon is consumed raw or in juice form. According to those articles, the powdered Bitter Melon that you can buy in capsules at health food and vitamin stores is not effective in lowering blood sugar. 

In addition to  its potential benefits to diabetics, Bitter Melon also has other health benefits. It has significant amounts of Vitamin C, Folate, and Zinc, as well as smaller amounts of various other nutrients. Bitter Melon may also have certain anti-cancer benefits and may help protect against heart problems.

Please research these potential health benefits for yourself. You can check out the articles on Bitter Melon at WebMD, Wikipedia, Bonnie Plants, LiveStrong, Dr. Axe, and Dr. Andrew Weil, among others.

Last week, I received the Bitter Gourd seeds that I ordered through Amazon (for only $2.95 with free shipping!). I will be planting those seeds as soon as any chance for frost in my area has safely passed. 

NOTE: I am NOT a doctor or other medical professional. Nothing I present in this article is meant to diagnose any disease or to recommend any treatment. It is only meant as "food for thought" and a starting point for your own research and consideration. Please see your doctor for medical advise when dealing with diabetes or any other illness. 


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Patriots' Prayers for 3-4-2017


Prayer for America (short version)

God, we have sinned and deserve the just punishment for our sins as a nation who has rejected you in every possible way. And yet, Lord, I cry out for mercy for myself, my family, and this nation. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christi, I pray. Amen. 


Against Demonic Influence in America

Almighty God, who delivered Your people from the bondage of the adversary, and through Your Son cast down Satan like lightning, deliver these United States of America also from every influence of the unclean spirits. Command Satan and his minions to depart far from these United States by the power of Your only begotten Son. Rescue this nation and its people from demonic delusion and darkness. Fill the American people with the light of the Holy Spirit that we may be guarded against the snares of the crafty demons. Grant that angels always watch over our nation and lead us to the path of righteousness forever, to the honor of Your glorious name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.


Additional Prayers 

Have mercy, O Lord, upon the whole clergy of Your Church in America, and grant them the courage, wisdom, and strength needed to boldly preach Your Word and do Your Will during these perilous times. 


Bless, O Lord, and have mercy on those who serve as police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, and other first responders.

Grant, O Lord, blessings and mercies to all current and former members of our armed forces. Save them, protect them, and keep them safe.


Daily Bible Reading

Sunday: Romans  8
Monday: Romans  9:1-29
Tuesday: Romans  9:30 - 10:21
Wednesday: Romans  11
Thursday: Romans  12
Friday: Romans  13
Saturday:Romans  14:1 - 15:13