Is Prepping a Scam?

I was talking to my buddy Gaye Levy about this, just this week and it feels like a good time to repeat some of the ideas I shared with her.

Beware of “Hot Lingo”

Just because something says “tactical” doesn’t mean its any better than a “regular consumer grade” product.

Let me tell you a story:  Years ago, when I was working for an America HF radio company, one of our dealers in the Midwest had a customer who was looking to buy a bunch of HF radios to use in south Asia in a paramilitary setting.

Now, the radios that we were making at the time were marine SSB radios and a bit unconventional in that we had a “remote mountable control head” in 1999.  These are relatively common now, but we broke some ground with it.  Short version is while the radio had its fair share of issues (synthesizer noise, for example) it was made up for with other features.

As I talked to the dealer (whose initials might be Bob) we started jotting down what changes would need to be done to the radio to make it suitable for the paramilitary market.

George, can you get some shock mounts and a vehicle mounting tray under it?”

“Hell, yeah, we could.”

How about a change of paint colors?  Camo?”

“On my way to the hardware store now.”

“I know they won’t want the civilian microphones, either.  Can you put one of those fancy waterproof field microphones and one of those gold-plated pins connectors on the front?”

“Might take a week to get ’em in…”

“And we need a paramilitary sounding name…a PRC-something…”

“Gotcha…”

With that, a “consumer/marine/fishing boat SSB radio was tweaked into a paramilitary version.  We sold them by the hundreds, too.  Great fun…we still smile about it 20-years later.

Point?  In this case, “tactical” came down to shock mounts, waterproof mic and a $100 mic connector, a can of camo spray paint and extra conformal coating on the circuit boards for their tropical destinations.

Ergo, when you buy a “tactical flashlight”  ask yourself “What am I buying here?”

I don’t know if you’re a real prepper, or not.  A real prepper would (like us) have a half-dozen Dorcy Waterproof Battery Powered Floating LED Flashlight with Carabiner Clip, Ideal for Camping and Outdoors at just over $9-bucks a pop.  They are yellow (easy to find) throw out enough light for everything but hernia surgery, and the battery life is fair.  More important is they are waterproof and float.

If you insist on buying a “tactical flashlight” I know a guy who can spray paint a lifetime worth of flashlights in your choice of olive drab or camo.

Notice how I’m carefully not not to call anything a scam…just reminding you a Shakespeare…”…a foo and his poo are soon goo…”  So beware of Hot Lingo.  And take a moment to assess whether you need a searchlight or just something simple for the trail.

Do You Camp? 

If you camp, you are already basically done with prepping.  You have a tent, sleeping bags, maybe a camp stove, hiking boots and the usual camping accessories. Toss in a fire steel, char clothe and a good eye for foraging and you’re good.

“Prepping” is the new “Marine.”  What I mean by this is during the decade-plus that I lived aboard my 40-foot sailboat (in Seattle, SF, San Diego, etc.) I noticed that a good carnuba wax for the old 944 did just as good a job on the sailboat’s gel coat as did the 9-times pricier “Marine Wax.”

Again, is prepping a scam?  What I’m trying to do here is lay out some common sense for you.  If you are in the PNW and you camp, you can get virtually all your prepping done at Recreational Equipment, Inc.  Which is the leading outdoorsy place for the back country adventurers.

That said, there’s a tendency to go a bit overboard when you are shopping online.  So, if you are not a camper, but you worry about that magnitude 12 quake leveling your home, a cheap tent from Wal-Mart works, too. Or, the $70-buck class on Amazon.

How Sharp are You on Knives?

OMG, if I have a dollar for every “tactical knife” that has been sold…

While there is some value to a “survival knife” I get a lot greater sense of security from carrying a Glock-19 and a .22 Taurus “boot gun” when out on the land.  That’s because I spend a day or two a week doing actual outdoorsy things.

Should I actually encounter a Spetsnaz recon force on our property, will a “survival knife” do me any good?  Naw…cheap hollow points on the other hand…

“Tactical” and “Survival knives” has been a flourishing industry.  But, now that I have the plasma cutter (and 4-sets of used lawn mower blades saved up) I can cut out my own knife blanks until hell ain’t a foot away and make my own.  (Admittedly, a Bowie Knife sounds a little more macho than a “Georgie Knife” lol)

If you don’t camp  a simple folding knife will do fine.  Anything by Spyderco or Byrd will work.  My every-day-carry knife is a BYRD Cara Cara 2 Folder3.75 in Plain FRN Handle, Brown and you can get ’em for under $30-bucks. Pocket clip and great one-handed mechanism.

My main bitch with most survival knives is they don’t do much of anything really well.  Are there better fish hooks and line than what’s in the handle?  And the compass in most won’t hold a candle to a good Chinese overlanding/sighting compass.

We Love Freeze-Dried, But…

There is a practical level to prepare for.  My personal horizon for storing things is six-months.  After that, I either have a garden in and can defend my food, or not.  I don’t see the case where having a 50-year supply of food is useful…so at what point do you say “Enough!”??

This is not to say we don’t have more than six months.  But, you may also rest assured that the diet will move from a lot of freeze-dried to egg noodles, rice, and oatmeal somewhere out at the 9-month mark.  And we better get some kind of crop in a year or the ultimate DIEt will be along shortly.  Which is why seeds are important.  With no computers and time on your hands, how many people own a useful shovel, rake, hoe, and an adz or something similar?  Hatchet?  Axe?

Point is, prepping is fine…if you are serious about it.  If you camp – that’s a great first-step and not nearly as pricey.  On the other hand, if you have a collection of “survival radios” you won’t have anything much working if you don’t start with the basics liker solar panels and battery banks

We suppose it’s just human nature to want to bend a credit card on some “silver bullet.”  But the smart money, in the event of an actual emergency, may be the money you spend on some blue tarps and clothes line…not the fancy (and often overpriced) “prepping goods.”

We were writing UrbanSurvival long before the prepping fad came along.  And God willing, we’ll be here long after it’s gone.

A simple rule of thumb? Prepping is 50% between the ears and 40% of the rest in camping gear. 10% in other stuff.  If you don’t camp?  Maybe a month worth of stuff makes sense, especially in earthquake country.

For as it is written in the Great Book of Ure Family Knowledge:

You can only spend it once.

Write when you get rich,

george@ure.net

26 thoughts on “Is Prepping a Scam?”

  1. Wow…i am so impressed..
    An issue a few years ago that I thought was all fake..then as you dug into it the deeper you went on the websites that belonged to those accused the uglier it got..
    Then everything vanished like. Magic..missdirections arose and everything became Russia’s and DJT’s fault..
    This morning I was on the age of desolation and wow.. A bunch of that was saved or reformulated..images that nauseating as they are of people we’ve all been told to trust and honor are still there.
    I thought when the alphabets deleted it all they cleaned it out forever.
    I am impressed..

  2. George. I noted the Byrd knife on Amazon was a straight edge blade. Do you prefer a straight edge to a serrated edge or the half straight, half serrated type blade?

    I just bought a 50 watt USB rechargeable flashlight with the Cree quad core Xhp70 bulb which is suppose to be 6 to 8 times brighter than the Cree t6 bulb. It is on its way from China. It was my first purchase on the ebay like site WISH.

  3. “Should I actually encounter a Spetsnaz recon force on our property, will a “survival knife” do me any good? ”

    I know someone from Poland.. We got talking about the Ukraine since they live next door to the drama and have friends living there..

    The way I understand it all.. The UN forces are the ones that everyone’s afraid of. They actually see the Russian army as the protectors..

  4. I bought a great head lamp on amazon brand name INTEY it is great. The head gear is very durable(most of our others have fallen apart) It also has a bright led white light and a red light(great for nite vision). It is rechargeable and the charge lasts six months with use every nite. Might be a good prepping flashlight for sure.

  5. Knives. Everyone should have a good knife in their pocket and in their kitchen. My daily carry and work knife is an Ontario ‘Rat” model. http://ontarioknife.com/folding-blades/ratr-folder-series/rat-i-bp.html Damn good blade as I am not easy on equipment. No baby BS stuff here. My go to town (dress up in clean jeans) is a Ganzo https://ganzoknife.com/knife-ganzo-g727/ This has one of the best locking systems that I have seen. Both hold an edge quite well. Cheers.

  6. Hi George,

    I’ve been looking at how the climate may be affected by a Pak-India war. Looks like two years of food might be wise, because: Much shorter growing season if any, plus the amount of fallout.

    Couple of authors from way back when are worth searching out:

    Mel Tappen, deceased. Wrote for Guns & Ammo, as well as Survival Guide magazines on survival equipment. Wrote some good books. He was wheel chair bound. But, he tested a large amount of firearms, communications equipment, and outdoor gear, so he spoke from fist hand knowledge. He also gave considerable thought to where to locate and live. Good stuff.

    The other author is Jeff Cooper. The master of the .45 caliber pistol. All of his writing, including his adventures in Africa are insightful. His book on pistol use in self defense is especially useful, even if you don’t carry because of his explanation of situational awareness and when to move from one to the other. I suspect a lot of folks in the UK who were killed in knife attacks might have survived them, if the thought like Cooper.

    Thanks for your smart thinking, Roger

  7. Sailors make great preppers. Since I owned a marine canvas shop and sailmaking is in the family, my preps include sturdy sewing gear and canvas.
    A nylon tent is great on summer camp outs, but if you’re spending time in a tent in the other 3 seasons, fireproof canvas and a woodstove is the way to go. Head up to elk country during the hunting season to check out proper camps that would look familiar to any field force from Roman’s, to Vikings, to our own westward expansion.
    I’m so happy you said charcloth. As a reenactor of the fur trade (reenactors make great preppers, too!), flint and steel is a must-have skill. Most folks can make sparks and build a tinder bundle out of bark or fluffed up natural rope, but the actual hard part is catching a spark and transferring it to your tinder bundle.
    I’ve made 10 batches of charcloth recently, testing various fabrics, bark, fungus, and I’m here to tell you they are not all equal.
    Don’t listen to YouTube preppers if you’re practicing a skill that your life may depend on.
    Best char? Loose weave cotton or linen. I make it by cutting into rectangles to fit an Altoids can. When I pull my chicken off the grill, I put the can in the coals and pull it in the morning.
    Other preps would be a collection of “simple machines”, and you discussed one already, the thin wedge, aka knife. Other simple machines to carry are small pulleys/blocks to create mechanical advantage, and wedges to split or pry or level or jam shut.
    The overwintered spinach is booming, the garlic looks promising, my runner beans and lettuces are planted.

  8. While REI definitely has the goods, they come at a price. That place is the Bloomingdales of Camping gear and the source for glam campers as well. That said…if you are like my son who takes his camping and survival gear seriously, there’s no better place for top quality, long lasting equipment. He has been traveling the world since Christmas with nothing but his back pack and survival gear…most all from REI. That equipment lasts. He had similar items over the years from Wal-Mart and Bass Pro Shops/Cabelas And it fell apart…He does have a few items from the Alameda Army Navy Surplus store in the East Bay such as A utility vest, benchmade knives and wool blankets that he loves and got at a great price. So if there are Military Surplus Stores near you…that’s a great resource.

    • Mark, if you that surplus store, then you probably know Pagano’s hardware, where you can get everything else on your list.

      There is high quality gear made and distributed on a smaller scale, by shops like Mystery Ranch, Kifaru, Hill People Gear and many others. Some serve the wildfire fighting community along with soldiers and competitive shooters, all communities known to be very hard on gear.
      Elk hunting is another test of gear. You don’t see a lot of REI gear among high country hunters who can live in their gear for weeks at a time. Best thing REI had going for decades was its 100% money back satisfaction guarantee. I know a guy who made great money, but insisted on taking his shoes back once a year to be replaced for four years. Not cool. Unsustainable.
      Let me plug Schnees boots, too. Montana made, amazing quality.

  9. I think there’s a fine line between prepping and hoarding.

    The person telling the prepper not to prep “lacks foresight” and “lives as a grasshopper”.

    The person selling to the prepper says “one more can may make the difference”, but s/he is making a living and has Christmas presents to buy.

    If you believe in bible stories – we’re all decedents of 6 people, Noah’s crew. If the God wants you to live, you will live.

  10. Knife design has been a fascination of mine for a long time. The variations on the simple sheath knife to locking blade to spring loaded blades seem to be endless but, ultimately, they all have to be re-sharpened if they aren’t just for show. Even if you’re just opening letters or boxes with them the blade loses its edge and must be reformed. (Note: knives with the F.A.S.T. spring loaded operation and good switch blades like Gerber’s are best not used for skinning and other “wet work”. Blood, guts and gore get into the mechanisms and pretty much dictate they’ll need to be taken apart and cleaned and they rarely go back together well.)

    I’ve had a set of Arkansas stones since something like 1980 – 38 years. I’ve used it for both carbon and stainless steel blades and it works well on either. Stainless steel is more difficult to sharpen due to what I call its “toughness” but, well, George could explain it better. Given that, stainless seems to hold and edge better than carbon and, of course, doesn’t rust. Once you get the edge you’re looking for, though, subsequent resharpening is a very short chore unless you’re to the point of repairing and reshaping the blade due to abuse or accident.

    A small pool of 3 in 1 oil (they still make that, right?), or even water, on a stone to suspend the filings keeps the stone cleaner and the surface open for grinding the metal. My Arkansas stones came as a pair – a course and a fine one. I used the fine one for many years as a finishing stone but somewhere in the 2000s I started just using the course stone because I’d ground the surfaces down to such an extent that using it alone I could achieve an edge that would make the hair jump off your arm as you lightly drew it across your skin. The stone is hard enough, however, that there is only a very slight sway in the surface of the stone after all these years so it’s not like you’ll wear it out any time soon as long as you don’t drop it.

    Every “new from the factory or craftsman” knife needs to be resharpened by the user to get rid of the “factory edge” once it’s apparent that dullness has set in. I’ve seen time and time again that if I sharpen a knife for my kids or a friend they can’t reproduce the edge even on the same stone until the knife edge is reshaped by them. Each person’s approach to the stone due to skeletal geometry (height, arm length, table top level as they sit or stand, etc.) dictates that they’ll have their own unique edge angle on their knives and for this reason it’s best to learn how to do this yourself – and forget those gimmicky things that claim to guarantee that “perfect angle” on your knife’s edge. Those are total b.s. The first sharpening or reshaping of a blade for this reason can usually bring a sweat as it might take some time and effort but once you’ve done this it becomes quite easy and produces your own unique blade. A sharp blade is a joy to work with but a dull one can actually be dangerous as the effort it takes to use it increases.

    And because I know there’s someone out there that needs to know this draw the blade across the stone like you’re slicing a sliver off the surface of the stone from mid-blade to the tip – don’t draw the blade backwards away from the cutting edge. My father-in-law did this and I couldn’t believe my eyes that someone of his age would think it the correct way to sharpen a blade. Loved him anyway but … sheesh!

    • One of the few regrets I have in life is that I lost track of the (Sears Craftsman) double-sided Arkansas stone my dad used. Yes, 3 in 1 oil – still available – and somewhere I inherited his “Case” knife. We called it the “herring knife” because its main function was to plug cut herring to “mooch” Elliott Bay in Seattle in competition with the Japanese fishermen who hung around Tashiro’s Hardware back in the day.
      My dad would make a couple of pilgrimages during the King salmon season to Longbranch, Wa where there used to be several herring seiners. They would fresh free 6-8″ herring – and we thought they were better than the herring sourced by Tash Tashiro back in the day. The numbers argued Tash was better. We thought it was the sharpness of their knives…tried that…hence the Arkansas stone. (The Japanese “moochers” (I won’t even begin to explain the technique to non-Asian, non-fishermen) were about our equal over a season or three. We were generally dad and me in an 8-foot high free-board plastic dinghy while the typical Asia fishing rig was a 14-18 footer with four rods in the water and a big kicker that would plane the boat. Our 3 HP SeaKing was miserably slow.
      There’s a certain camaraderie among serious fishermen. Especially the fellows who you got to know by boat and name during the fishing season. The knife, though, was all-important. With just the right flick of the wrist while cutting, a freshly thawed recently-frozen herring could be made to look like it was wounded…and that was the art. The “mooching?” Row for one or two pulls of the oars, then pause. Like that injured fish was exhausted….

      Stories we told ourselves about the art of fishing. While eating ham sandiches of Gai’s french bread rolls. And a swill of coffee with the sun coming up over Seattle when the Smith Tower was still the tallest building in Seattle. RIP Tash and the brethren who stalked the wild Kings in Elliot Bay back when there was an ample and loving ocean that provided for all who had patience…

      • Ah, George. There will never be a time like that again! And trying to recreate anything like that for our kids and grandkids is a practical impossibility except in rare instances. It’s not an “organic” endeavor any more.

        The last time I remember getting a stupid grin on my face I couldn’t wipe off was going fishing in the Gulf on one of those charter boats. We did have fun! Caught some King Mackerel and shark that stayed in the freezer for years even after sharing with some friends back here on dry land. Now I’ve got a ranch and no time to hunt unless I run over something by accident. A Ford diesel ruins a lot of meat….

      • Like I say to E – when Wal-Mart and Brookshires run out of food, then (but only then) will I hunt.

    • In a past life, I worked in the cut room of a packing plant. The first seven weeks were agony, as I matured from believing I knew how to sharpen a knife, to actually sharpening one which would carve 4000 beef quarters (or later, 5000 hams) in a 10-hour shift. We used Norton IM200 tri-stone sharpeners with pig-fat oil in the reservoir. The stones are 2×8 inches, coarse, fine, and red India, and amazing! It took me 30 years to be able to afford one, but it eventually happened. Highly recommended for serious sharpeners…

      Considerably less than I paid:

      http://www.butchersupply.net/butcher_supplies/norton-im200-8-inch-3-in-1-multi-oilstone-professional-sharpening-system.htm

      I use a 0w30 diesel motor oil in the reservoir. Any light oil works wonderfully, but diesel oil has an additive pak designed to suspend soot, which seems to also do a fine job of suspending sharpening waste and keeping the stones clean…

      • That’s a great system for a blade or set of knives that are used constantly like that. I gave my son a 3 stone system like that we bought at Academy a few years ago. I was looking for a simple stone set like I have but that was the closest that had the Arkansas stones in it. I think the rest were corundum or something else that was really course. Unfortunately it disappeared into a box during one of his moves and hasn’t been found since.

        I had not heard of ZERO W 30 diesel motor oil before. I found it in an Internet search. Is it a weight that’s used in very cold climates? The only thing you see down here in Texas is 15W40

      • European automobile diesel.

        VW has required it in their TDs since the 1980s, Mercedes and BMW began requiring it about 20 years ago. It’s Mobil1, Amsoil, or Castrol full synth, and available in 0w20, 0w30, and 0w40. Dunno what the BMW oil is; VW and Mercedes branded “dealer oil” is a custom Castrol rollout, and spendy. Delvac TD-Truck is also available in 0w40…

  11. “Prepping” is absolutely a scam.

    Prepping is not.

    “Prepping” is taking advantage of the inner-paranoiac in people who’ve more money and leisure time, than brains.

    Prepping is remembering how your grandparents lived, day-to-day, and realizing your kitchen pantry is closer and more-convenient than making a daily trip to the store.

    Got “tactical?” Show me the NSN.

    My tactical gear (what little I have) comes primarily from the U.S. Military, law-enforcement, or their suppliers, meets useful MIL-Specs, and has a National Stock Number (NSN.) {Read the government *.docs on that “MIL-spec” stuff before you buy. The specification might have nothing to do with the robustness or performance of the spec’d item, eh, George…}

    I make tinderboxes from toilet paper tubes and lint. I wear exclusively natural fiber clothing, so my dryer lint is same. I crisp some spread-thin lint in a fire (think “char-cotton”), then pack a tube half-full of lint, add a handful of the charred lint, and vac-seal. One tube should make 5-6 fires.

    Flashlights? I have a couple Dorcy, several Ray-O-Vac, a couple Coast, and I just bought an Olight. BTW Chinese LEDs are generally better than ours or the Germans, but their switches pretty much suck. My Coast and Olight lights are (so far) an exception. The last two Ray-O-Vac LEDs I bought are Chinese, not American, and they suck. Only Coast and Mag-lite, and the cheap Eveready headband grace our GO-Bags. The Olight is at a level of manufacture which would make a Swiss watchmaker proud, but they’re also breathtakingly expensive (would YOU pay $200-$600 for a flashlight? Me neither.) NONE of them are in camo…

    I’m currently reading Ahmert’s “Beeswax Alchemy.” (I wanted to broaden my knowledge of soap and candle making.) Among other things, she gives recipes for balms, salves, sealing and polishing waxes and compounds, etc., some of which I’d not seen before.

    My EDC knife is a SOG, but I keep a Leatherman handy. For fixed-blade, my hunting knife is a Buck, and the GO-Bag blade is a SOG. Axe and wedges are Council Tools, hand-axe is a Finnish (not Chinese) Fiskars, machete is an Ontario. FWIW the EDC knife, wedges, and the hand-axe are the only ones which don’t have an NSN. The hand-axe will probably change. That Fiskars is an awesome tool, but the resin handle, if it ever breaks, would be nearly impossible to replace in the wild. IMO it’s better to have a less-sexy axe with a hardwood handle. ‘Never much saw the usefulness of a “survival knife…”

    Shovel, hoes (square and Warren), rakes, (also pitchfork, gardening fork, hayfork, cultivating fork, square spade, and trenching spade) are all Ames, and tempered American steel. I don’t own an adze, but I do own several vintage mattocks and Stanley finishing planes — and two scythes, for after the last goat gets “et…”

    Blue (brown, white, silver) tarps be handy, but for true longevity, try canvas or MIL-spec vinyl (I favor Chicago Canvas & Supply) — same with ropes. Cheap PVC tarps and ropes are photochemically reactive and not environmentally tempered. They’ll rot or crumble within a couple years if exposed. 9ga aluminum guy wire (bare or coated) is available for <20¢/ft from 'most any real hardware store (don't even try to find it at a box store…) and can be downright handy. I carry a 50' hank in my car-kit.

    The most-important thing I have in my personal toolkit is the knowledge, first-hand, hands-on, of how to use each and every one of these tools. THAT is something that, if/when the SHTF, will sink every "prepper," because in-situ OJT doesn't cut it when any single mistake is truly a fatal error…

    • One way to tell if you are a “prepper” or a prepper is whether you know what a product’s NSN is.

      (National Stock Numbers means its good enough to be purchased by the gov’t, lol…)

    • ““Prepping” is taking advantage of the inner-paranoiac in people who’ve more money and leisure time, than brains.””

      Ray.. I use to think like that.. then there was a few times when I had to go without food.. once the plant I worked at closed its doors.. just before that the car broke down.. My wife had one of those experimental medical gadgets that the company didn’t test and it cause all kinds of female problems.. it was horrible .. coming back from the doctor late one night the car blew up.. a valve stem dropped off and went through the block..leaving me stranded.
      it was cold that year I would walk back and forth to work.. stuff newspaper in my pants.. I would wear two pair.. I didn’t have snow boots or gloves and my winter coat was a Peacoat..stuffed with newspapers.. I froze my feet and my hands and even today I can tell the affects of that.. then the bad news.. the recession had started and the orders had dropped off.. the plant was going to have to shut the doors for the winter.. No job.. No assistance.. No food stamps.. No heat assistance.. the outlook at the time was if you were a man you didn’t need assistance.. and the county lady would come by and if you needed food they would give you some commodities.. well I was a man and that never happened..
      the rent was overdue.. the heat turned off.. the electricity was turned off.. we would open the door to the apartment to let the warmth of the unheated hallway heat the apartment..
      I had two babies.. was scared to death.. I didn’t know what to do.. christmas coming.. boy that was a nightmare on top of a nightmare.. I would go behind the farm tractors and scrape up grain that had fallen off of the wagons and trucks and clean it up as best as I could then take a cast iron pan and beat it into a crude gruel.. that was what we ate.. sold pop bottles to get enough to buy one box of mac and cheese a week.. I lost weight to about seventy five pounds.. it was scary.. the xmas tree we had was a pine branch in an old coffee can.. and the eviction notice came.. for us to leave and no place to go.. praying.. non stop for a miracle.. it was not a good time in my life.. then one day a farmer asked if I would help gather the small male chickens in his hen house.. he would pay a dollar an hour.. ( oh no jobs.. and the nearest city was twenty miles away) off I went.. it took about five hours.. afterwards the farmer asked.. if I wanted the five bucks or if I would trade then he would give me all the chickens I caught and a crate of eggs.. needless to say I took the chickens and eggs.. honey we are going to eat tonight.( we cooked on an old coleman gas stove.. still got it) I was so happy.. and when he went to drop me off at our place I raced in to tell the wife the great news.. there was something different.. the door was closed.. I opened it.. the heat was on.. the electricity was on there was a receipt for the rent paid up and a month in advance.. on the counter.. the refrigerator was full the cupboards was full and there was two toys for each of the kids under that pine branch.. a winter coat for each.. and in the corner were cases of food..
      I dropped to my knees and cried..it was the best and worst christmas of my life.. who did it.. don’t know for sure.. no one claimed it.. I can never tell them just how much that meant to me in my life..
      But.. I swore I would never go hungry like that again.. and I keep a couple of months supply of food in the pantry at all times. I never forgot it.. and my christmas gift to me.. is every year I find someone that has fallen through the cracks and I make sure they have someone give them A HAND UP… not a hand out..
      Unfortunately as a bottom feeder I have had a few times that things like this have happened to me.. through the years I have given away so many sets of tires I can’t even tell you.. I am the largest tipper in a restaurant to.. no doubt hands down.. those girls are usually single moms and college girls.. anyway.. back to the story.. after that it gave me enough time and food to scrounge up a car.. jobs weren’t available and I worked a lot of day labor doing various things.. ended up incinerating surgical waste and bathing the deceased for pickup.. toss a body part in the hospital incinerator.. yup been there done that not even counting the mountains of gauze..
      the funny thing is.. you don’t realize the importance of prepping until something like that happens to you.. take anyone that went through a hardship during the depression.. they had enough stores on hand .. all hidden away.. money.. in books and jars and drawers..the kids never understood..
      take a look at the Mormon church.. as an example.. they suffered hardships while crossing the prairie .. even today the tell everyone that they should have a food stock on hand.. that was over a hundred years ago that those hardships happened.. and that is one objective to have all the members prepared for the unexpected..
      can you prep for everything.. not on your life.. nope nadda.. Most people keep a few days worth of food.. I can’t rescue everyone.. but I do what I can to help those I see that are in true need..being human.. some of the more memorable ones.. a little girl. mom got the swine flu.. wasn’t sick enough to get treatment.. sent her home two kids.. a twelve or thirteen year old girl and a toddler.. she went into convulsions in the middle of the night.. no food.. heat turned off because the furnace was broke down.. I get a call in the middle of the night heres one just up your alley.. I get there and there is one scared little girl.. boy.. crying in the corner..didn’t know what to do.. I actually see her once in a while at the stores she is in her early twenties.. one time shopping.. she came up and gave me one of the biggest hugs I have ever gotten.. that my friend is a thank you for being there in my dark hour..
      another one he delivered his kids on the dirty kitchen table.. LOL seen him riding a bicycle up a hill in snow.. ( it wasn’t a bike but no one would believe in a million years a unicycle LOL) he runs a restaurant now.. and like myself works two jobs at all times..
      his daughter is a social worker his son a mechanic..
      I could tell stories all day.. the guy we let live in our spare room.. lived in a dumpster one of the nicest guys I have ever met.. the guy living in there now.. a deep water engineer.. use to design and oversee construction of oil drilling platforms.. he got the one to whammy and it didn’t make any difference what degrees he had or has.. Sad to.. once he lost his position his family ran for the hills.. seems a number on a sheet of paper was what is important to them and because of his job he was like a truck driver or military man deployed for long trips….I don’t even think he has seen his grand kids.. no letters no visitors no calls.. sad.. real sad….
      anyway.. unless you have gone without you don’t know the value of having the spare.. unfortunately all the people that survived the depression have gone on to green pastures.. leaving the young to make the same stupid mistakes over again..

  12. Titanium 12 inch knife to consider: Mission Knives MPK12-Ti, used by Navy Seals.
    The MPK12-Ti is immune to rust, corrosion, salt water and other chemical attacks.
    New cost is over $400. Used on ebay over $300. One hell of a knife. Virtually indestructible.

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