February 24, 2024

This weekly Snippets column is a collection of short items: responses to posted articles, practical self-sufficiency items, how-tos, lessons learned, tips and tricks, and news items — both from readers and from SurvivalBlog’s editors. Note that we may select some long e-mails for posting as separate letters.

National Park Service Plans to Remove William Penn Statue From Philadelphia Park. JWR’s Comment:  This trend of politically correct historical revisionism has completely escaped the bounds of rationality.  While they are at it, they should just as well rename their state “Fettermansylvania”.  They could erect a bronze statue of John Fetterman, complete with his signature short pants and hoodie.

Update: William Penn statue will not be removed from Welcome Park, says National Park Service in sudden reversal.

o  o  o

An interesting map: Life Expectancy in the U.S., by County.

o  o  o

Victor Davis Hanson: A Culture in Collapse. (Thanks to H.L. for the link.)

o  o  o

My buddy Pete in Switzerland sent this: Building Autonomous, Off-Grid, Encrypted, and Solar Powered Communications Infrastructure.

o  o  o

Economist, novelist, and journalist Gonzalo Lira — a U.S. citizen — has reportedly died in a Ukranian prison. He was an outspoken critic of the Ukrainian government. His crime? Being an outspoken critic of the Ukrainian government.

o  o  o

Bruen Strikes Again: Ban on Guns in Post Offices Tossed Out, Ruled Unconstitutional.

o  o  o

Reader Lumin sent this email:

“First, a thank you to “Tim in Connecticut” and “M.J.” for responding to my concerns about “The Great Taking.”

I always look forward to Jim and Lily’s weekly “Editors’ Prepping Progress” as well as SaraSue’s articles and updates in “SurvivalBlog Readers’ & Editors’ Snippets”, and they have inspired me to send updates on my own progress in the hopes that it might help new people like me.
Jim and Lily and SaraSue and many of the other reader contributions are often times a little advanced for me (they are experts compared to me), so I am writing with the new person in mind with no survival skills and few practical outdoor skills just like me. If you are thinking about moving from the city to the American Redoubt like I recently did, then I hope my experience helps you.
My snippet this week is about surviving my first winter living by myself in Idaho.
Keep in mind that I am completely new. Before moving to Idaho this year I had never owned a truck; I didn’t know that you could buy a snow plow for your truck; I had never changed a flat tire; I had never owned or used a chainsaw; I had never owned or used a log splitter (I didn’t even know what they were until recently).
I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since the early 1990s, but I started reading SurvivalBlog.com in 2017 and learned about the American Redout and said “that’s for me”! I cashed out all of my non-retirement savings and bought remote land in Idaho in 2021, and as of July 2023 I am living in a remote off-grid log home in Idaho.
My home is completely surrounded by a national forest that is only accessible by a single forest service road that is about 15 miles to the nearest small highway that leads to a small town with a population of about 3,000. These were all important location characteristics that I learned from reading SurvivalBlog.
The last 10 miles to my house along this forest service road is locked behind a gate between December 1 and May 15 every year, but the Forest Service gives me the gate code to the lock so that I have egress and ingress. They also issued me a snow plow permit for this forest service road because of the conditions that I live in.
December 2023 began my first winter living alone somewhere in the mountains of north central Idaho. The elevation of my property is about 5,000 feet above sea level which is considered “snow country.”
So far I have had ice slice through the sidewall of my truck’s tire, which forced me to learn how to change my first tire. I have had trees fall across the forest service road that I have had to use a chainsaw to clear. And now I have 26 miles of snow that I have to plow (13 miles down and then 13 miles back) so that I can go into town for fuel and supplies. The snow plow I purchased is made by Western and was pricey, but it has been worth every penny.
I have loved every minute of these adventures, although they have been scary because they can be dangerous and they are novel for me. I always travel armed and always carry equipment to hike home if necessary (i.e. snow shoes, warm clothes, the ability to start a fire, food and water).
My only neighbor is a family that lives about a mile away that are authentic mountain people (i.e. they are experts at living in these conditions), and we have become good friends that help each other. They are experienced hunters and trappers and have taught me how to recognize tracks, particularly wolf and cougar tracks, which (other than the elements) are my greatest concern if I ever break down while plowing snow and need to hike home.
Some of the locals worry that I may have bitten off more than I can chew by making such a dramatic change in living conditions, all while living by myself as someone in their mid 50s. They may be right, but the life I have now is much better and rewarding than the life I left behind in California.
Escaping California for Idaho is not as simple as it sounds. You don’t just call the American Redoubt’s 800 number and give them your credit card information and show up in an idyllic remote retreat the next day. There were a lot of steps and decisions I made along the way to escape California for Idaho that I hope new people can learn from, so I will share the good, the bad and the ugly in my snippets in the same spirit that SaraSue does. If there is anything about my story that will help you, then please let me know in your weekly snippets, and I will try and address them in mine.”

o  o  o

A video interview with Shawn James: “Its Time To Make A Choice”. Get Out of the City. (You can find Shawn’s video channel here.)

o  o  o

Judging by this short teaser trailer, this upcoming movie has a Jericho vibe and might be of interest to preppers: Homestead.  The production company specializes in films with a Christian message.

o  o  o

SaraSue sent this snippet:

“The important work this past week was to prepare the barns, the animals, the hen house, and the home for an “arctic blast”.  This past week, it was mid-50 degrees Fahrenheit, and forecasted to drop to 0 degrees and snow this coming week – in the South!

I have numerous water troughs that are all topped off.  I will boil water on the stove if we keep power, and carry those out to break up the ice if it gets too thick.  I had to do that last year.  Cows drink a lot less water in the winter.  However, a prolonged outage or prolonged freeze will make that impossible.  I have a 1,000 gallon water cistern in the ground that the well keeps full, and a 250 gallon portable tank, as backups.  I can open the cistern, while difficult – I have done it, and dip a bucket down into the water and pull it out.  It’s slow and laborious.  Not a long term solution.

I had started the Fall with 20 bales of straw (bedding) and had to get more.  I purchased more hay – thought I had enough, but I didn’t.  Topped off all the animal feed containers. I hired help to winterize the hen house, then I cleaned it out, replaced the door lock, and discovered a recent predator had dug under the fence of the run, and found evidence of dead chickens out in one of the pastures.  I have less than a dozen layers now after starting with 30-40.  I’m going to set up a game camera to figure out what I’m dealing with.  My neighbor has live traps that I’m hoping he will lend me.  I have a lot of barn cats I don’t want harmed.

I had cats scheduled for the vet to be spayed, and we had a severe weather event (straight line winds, thunder and lightning) on the morning of, so had to cancel.  A few tree branches came down near the barn, but no damage.

I realized that one of my feeder pigs scheduled to go to the butcher in 4 weeks is definitely pregnant.  The boar must’ve gotten to her before he left.  Trying to solve that moral dilemma for myself.  Send her anyway, or hold her back, let her farrow, and send them all to the butcher in April – I have reserved a butcher date.  Sigh…

I brought in firewood, filled jugs of water for drinking and flushing toilets, made easy to eat meals, laundered everything that could be laundered, and generally prepared for a power outage.  I am thankful that I could accomplish the above, thankful for prepared mindness, and thankful that I had a temperate weather window to accomplish what needed to be done.  And what’s up with 0 and subzero degree temps in the South??  Homes here are not built for this weather.  This will be the second year of this uncommon frigid winter weather.”

o  o  o

The Houston Grand Jury That Cleared Taqueria Hero Knows Good Guys With Guns Stop Crime.

o  o  o

Our own Thomas Christianson suggested that fascinating article: A Knife Forged in Fire.

o  o  o

o  o  o

Sweden’s defense ministry warning to brace for ‘war’ sends public into panic.

o  o  o

Reader P.G. had this comment:

“In response to the recent truth-based preparedness article, I offer my experienced perspective.  I work in public utilities. I manage a small (1,200 homes) drinking and wastewater system. My system was built in 1975. Given the level of decay and reluctance of the community to replace degraded infrastructure I see a slow-burning public health and utility collapse that causes death by a thousand cuts. Sewage lines backing up because pumps aren’t maintained and fail, groundwater infiltration into old drinking water and wastewater main lines that overwhelm the treatment systems, incompetent or careless operators that only show up for a paycheck, utility managers that give up on maintenance and project planning because boards and commissions don’t want to spend money necessary, systems increasingly relying on web-based controls rather than hands-on monitoring. The list goes on. Based on my experience in these areas your EOTWAYKI will be a slow, disgusting disease-ridden collapse. So my suggestion is get away from large municipalities. Find a place where you can control what you drink, flush and maintain.”

o  o  o

A video interview with SurvivalBlog reader “Kim Kipling”: From CIA Operative to Author: Unveiling the Intriguing Journey of a Paramilitary Operations Officer.

o  o  o

Reader Richard T. wrote:

“I habitually have not read reviews of items that I would want to have, but are going to cost more than what I would be willing to pay. That has all changed after having read a review somewhere of a C. Crane radio costing around $200 new that I came across in a second-hand store, an older model, but not significantly different from the one I read about it in that review, for $12. This is why I will read reviews in the Survival Blog and elsewhere of items that I don’t have the money for. I encourage readers to do likewise so that you are searching sales, shops, ads, and attics for bargains. Do remember an article in the Survival Blog by Christianson about a radio he found while cleaning out the home of a family member. But it’s not about radios, it’s about keeping sharp by reading reviews, and buy it brand new at full price if it has value for you, or store the review in your memory bank in case you come across it somewhere someday.”

o  o  o

And, finally, reader C.B. suggested this: Immunoengineering researchers decode the ‘cytokine storm’ in sepsis.

Please Send Us Your Snippets!

Please send your snippet items for potential posting to JWR. or AVL. You can do so either via e-mail or via our Contact form.