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Campfire Chat

July 16, 2019

Sorry for your loss and I hope everyone is doing okay.  I’ll start off by freely admitting that I’m a former Bravo so if you do respond, feel free to speak slowly and use lots of illustrations.  Long time reader/first time emailer but got out a few years ago and have since spent that time doing the homestead/farm thing and had a question on food preservation that I haven’t found answered other places.  My wife and I are starting to get into canning/dehydrating and I’ve noticed a heavy reliance on shit like citric and ascorbic acid. Besides planting a lemon tree, do you have any workarounds that could be made once this thing goes tits up? Working on a greenhouse so could plant a lemon tree but just wondering if you all had any thoughts since most of the canning literature assumes I can head over to Kroger and get some citric acid.  From what I’ve read, it’s certainly possible to not use some of this stuff but you are accepting an increased risk of foodborne illness.

My solution to long-term storage, sans the grocery store, is getting primitive with it. For those of us in the South, as an example, folks have been managing to dry-cure hams (“Virginia Hams”), as long as white folks have been on this continent. Additionally, there are the aboriginal solutions of jerky and pemmican (Yes, I know, jerked meat is a universal solution, not just American Indian…). For vegetables, I’m not any sort of expert canner, and I don’t pretend to be. Some stuff, like high-acid foods, can be dealt with pretty simply, while others probably can’t. Remember, modern glass jar canning is only a hundred and fifty or so years old. That having been said, in my discussions with folks who can a lot, or canned a lot in the past, while the potential risk of foodborne illness is real, I think it tends to be considerably less than is sometimes portrayed in the literature. I’ve eaten some pretty sketchy shit, from some pretty sketchy sources, both stateside and overseas, with no ill effect. The only times I’ve ever been seriously food poisoned, were in health department inspected restaurants….

So, my solution is a reliance on root crops and a root cellar for preservation, combined with lacto-fermentation (I liked sauerkraut before I made my own, at home. Now, I can’t go without it….especially with brats made from pork you raised yourself!). The first batch of dill pickles I made were, likewise, life-altering, and that’s really not any exaggeration. I can’t even eat store bought pickles anymore.

There’s also, of course, simple dehydration/drying of vegetables for storage as well.

John, I have Tendinitis,epicondylitis, and lord know what else.

I have your book Clandestine Carry Pistol and wondered if you may post or offer links to some better pics/descriptions of different ways to grip as I could really use the help.

I ended up with a pretty severe case of tendonitis in my elbow (“tennis elbow”) when I was building our house, from using a mallet and chisel all day long (10-12 hour days), every day, for months on end. It was bad enough, I could barely bend my arm at the elbow, and lifting anything with that hand resulted in 50/50 odds I was going to drop it forthwith. Shooting with my accustomed death grip on the pistol was simply not going to happen.

It turned out to be fortuitous for me, as a pistol shooter though, because it forced me to go back to the “basics.” What I found was, because I couldn’t grip the pistol tight enough to allow me to mash the fuck out of the trigger, without disrupting the sights, I was forced to go back to paying attention to what I was doing with the trigger.

It has, of course, become wildly popular with trainers, to teach that an adequate grip cures all ills when it comes to pistol shooting. They’re not wrong either. The problem, in my observation is, those of us who come out of military SOF or LE SWAT type backgrounds, even if we’ve gotten a little…shall we say… out of shape…still tend to have remarkably good grip strength (I’ve read, in numerous places, that grip strength also happens to be the last element of strength to fade when you quit training, and anyone with those backgrounds is—we can assume—experienced with fitness training in one form or another). Additionally, the “average” dude taking a tactical shooting class is probably in his late 20s or 30s, and reasonably strong, even if he’s a fat fuck.

So, the “molest the grip with your gorilla paws” technique works, and well. As soon as we’re injured however, or we start fading with age, or, for whatever reason, we’ve simply never had adequate grip strength, for whatever reason, we need to focus on that trigger control. PRESS the trigger straight to the rear. Take your time, initially, focusing on breaking the shot clean, slowly, then gradually speed it up.

At the same time, if you’re suffering from a chronic injury (like tendinitis), do your physical therapy, and then start working on universal strength, and then start working on specifically strengthening the grip. The two things that have offered me the best bang-for-buck for grip strength training? Deadlifting 400+ pounds, and doing kettlebell swings with a 100# kettlebell (Paul Sharp once said to me that he has the same experience with deadlifting 500+ pounds, but Paul is more manly than I am, so he may just not have noticed it at 400# like I did. I also haven’t deadlifted 500 since I was in my 20s…)

If I recall well, in a recent post you mentioned a past deployment to Norway.  I have been wondering about what one wears on a winter patrol, especially at night in sub zero temps. Puffy down jackets don’t integrate well with load bearing vests, so how does one keep warm and still have access to a survival load out?

The first thing to remember is, if you’re patrolling, even in an extreme cold weather climate, sweating is still the most dangerous threat you face. My current solution (and by current, I mean, the last 15 years) to extreme cold weather patrolling, or working outdoors, away from shelter and warmth, is to start with a layer of wool long underwear, followed by a wool flannel shirt, and then a wool sweater, topped with a shell jacket of some sort. If I am overheating a little, I can ditch the sweater. If I’m still too warm, I can ditch the flannel.

On my legs, I may wear a thin pair of wool long john bottoms, but unless it is -20F or colder, AND windy, I generally just use a shell garment for my legs. They’ll be working, a lot, patrolling.

If I’ve stopped, such as in a RON/ROD site, and can’t rely on my body generating adequate heat to keep me warm, a puffy jacket is an option. Generally, we put ours on OVER our LBE/PC/etc. That way, if I need to ditch it in a hurry, because a fight commences, I’m not trying to rip my LBE off, before I can pull the jacket off, but I also don’t have to worry about leaving it on, for the duration of a fight that might last hours, and then freeze to death afterwards.

For those who don’t know why Grossman is a fucktard, a brief review:
Telling people that nobody is inherently violent, and stating counterfactually that we have to program people to kill, (and then making a cottage industry out of peddling that line of twaddle) is only belied by all of recorded human history. … ”

The man may still be a fucktard, but the issue is one of efficiency. I could go out right now and kill someone who needed it, and royally fuck up the job. If anything, military training, should make one proficient at the task with little or no, “oh fuck!”.

The problem is, his method is actually NOT efficient, at all. Telling people—counter to reality—that they have a natural aversion to violence, is what causes that potential “oh fuck!” Training would be much more efficient, if we did, well, what the military does….(or, well…did?). Assume that people in meat eater jobs want to be meat eaters, and teach them how to do it more efficiently, rather than peddling them some nonsense.

I’m going to do a book on living resilient, and address…simply being more resilient in urban environments.”

This is where I’m stuck, for now, and probably the next few years as well. I was going to say something in reply to your post about “If you’re asking for more time, you’ve been lazy”, but I don’t think you’re necessarily including people who are stuck for financial reasons, nor do I think you’d shit on guys who chose to live near their clans instead of places where finances are easier.

Finding a location, within the 1-hour circle of church, family, and work, that would allow for an actual grid-down full WTFACRONYM life, is simply not within my financials for the next few years, even putting in 50+ hours a week. I mean, they exist, but not for what I can afford. So I’m stuck in the suburbs, on lot that’s not much bigger than the house.

So, instead of whining about that, I’m finding ways to improve my position, instead of saying “well, nothing can be done..”

To be clear, no, I don’t begrudge anyone who chooses to live in an urban environment, for whatever reason. Certainly not because of family/kin commitments. My point in the article was, regardless of where you are—urban or rural—you have had time to prepare. If you haven’t been preparing, in place, that’s a pretty good sign that you’re suffering from normalcy bias, and don’t actually think anything that bad is going to happen.

People forget—and I discussed this in some detail in Volume Two of The Reluctant Partisan, that history tells us, when shit falls apart, most people actually don’t flee urban areas. Instead, they do the opposite, and flee towards urban areas.

My coffee napkin suggestion to urban preppers is to do the best you can, where you are. Want livestock? Start raising some rabbits and maybe even some hens, in your backyard (I will say though, those authors who claim that you can secretly raise hens in your backyard, because they don’t make enough noise for the neighbors to hear? Those people are full of shit. My hen house is 80 yards from my front door, and I can hear our chickens at night, when I’m lying in bed.). Check out the book Possum Living, by Dorothy Freed. She talks about raising rabbits and hens in their BASEMENT! (I don’t recommend that, simply because I like rabbits and chickens, and that seems like it would be miserable for the animals). If you want a garden, but you don’t have space? Start guerrilla gardening in any abandoned lots or green spaces you can find in the neighborhood. Sure, you could plant a garden, and then two weeks later, someone has bought the lot, and starts dirt work to build something there, but that’s why you diversify, and plant them in multiple areas. Sure, you could lose some to vagrants and homeless, but honestly? My observation has been, if you get more than 10 feet off the pavement, they’re too lazy to find it anyway.

Hell, rent a garage unit with your apartment, and store shit in there, instead of parking your car in there. I genuinely believe, if someone lived in a second or third story apartment, they could still raise enough rabbits to feed their family, just on a balcony. Two does and a buck are going to produce a LOT of protein, even if you’re only feeding them shit you cut out of the shrubbery growing in a deserted lot down the street. Once a day, grab a school kid type backpack, walk down there, cut enough greenery to fill the bag. Come back, divvy it up among the bunnies, and voila! In the winter time, if there’s not enough green, do a sprouting table on your counter. Three racks stacked, might take up 3-4 square feet, and all you’re doing with that space now, probably, is sticking a television there. Added bonus to bunnies? You’ve got free pets for the kids! (the breeding stock. Don’t let them turn the butcher babies into pets….)

Thanks for thoughts on EDC rifle carry. I don’t live at the ranch, but if it isn’t hunting season, a bolt carbine in .308 Winchester is often the choice. The lever action 30-30 was often the choice of others in older times and I don’t see much reason to question their logic. My brother who usually accompanies me carries one of his 5.56 carbines. We live in the southwest and illegal alien traffic is a big reason why we always go out armed. Bad Guys don’t carry signs so you need to be prepared even when on your land. LEOs are not in the picture at all and even if summoned will take at least an hour to get there.

The difference between the old-times, when a .30-30 was adequate, and today, is that back then, the best the bad guys were going to have was also a .30-30. But, when you add a couple extra bad guys, AND give them automatic or semi-automatic weapons, that significantly changes the paradigm.


(The following several questions were one question. I broke it up to answer them…)

Your “buried geothermal system” – I assume natural, not forced air, circulation; do you have temperature differential info – input and output temps? How do you protect the inlet side (I assume it’s outdoors) ?

It is natural, not forced air. I don’t have the specific differential information. I do know that last year, when the outside temperature was 120F, the inside temp was down to 95-104F. That was also, however, without all the shell plaster on the house being up, so we had inadequate insulation. I also didn’t have all the stone infill around the base of the house finished (still don’t, actually), which will also make a significant difference.

Did you examine buried water lines, and small pump and heat exchanger(s)? Do you have enough on-site grade to utilize thermal siphoning in a liquid system?

There is exactly one buried water line on my property, and it is actually the drain line for the sink, to a greywater catchment. The other stuff you mentioned, I don’t have any knowledge off.


Well pump – deep or shallow well? What depth? What 110V pump(s) look promising, and what’s their capacities (gpm, pressure and amp draw)? Are your storage tanks pressurized? (years ago to combat intermittent grid power I used a 240V generator to power a 8.5 gpm deep well pump and installed two pressure tanks each with 46 gal draw down; I noticed as tank pressure increased (50 PSI shutoff – higher pressure meant more water in the tanks, I finally installed a pressure regulator on the output side set at 35 PSI) amp draw increased substantially. I could pump for 12-14 minutes and with water saving appliances and careful use not have to re-pump for 6-12 hours.)

We don’t have a well. Currently, I have 2x IBC totes (about 300 gallons each, when topped all the way up) for the house, and another two at the feed shed, for watering animals out of. The storage tanks, thus, are obviously not pressurized. What I intend to do, is use a simple 110V direct pump. I was talking to a fella the other day who suggested using the pressure tank, but I haven’t had time to research that aspect yet. At the rate things are going, I’ll be lucky to find time to finish plumbing the house and installing a pump, sometime around 2073….

Food storage – did you examine 12v high efficiency freezers?

I did. I looked at a lot of 12V appliances and fixtures. They would probably work if my house were smaller, but even with a 24’x36’ footprint, I lose too much drawing from one corner of the house to the opposite. It makes more sense to lose a little bit in the conversion process to 110V, which is only a few feet from my battery bank (battery bank is outside, inverter is inside the house), and then push 110 any distances. The only thing running straight 12V at this point is the igniter on the propane refrigerator, which I’m hoping to switch out to my electric refrigerator, which is currently sitting in one of our people’s garage, in the next week or two.

Curious about charge controller and inverter recommendation and your experiences . Also the connectors used and wire size.

The only charge controller that I’ve used so far is the Sunny Sky MPPT. It is a true MPPT. My first charge controller was supposedly an MPPT, but it turned out to be PWM. It worked okay, right up until the day I smelled burning plastic, while standing in the kitchen, and I walked outside to find it on fire and melting down.

When I installed an Earth Tube, I used 4″ pipe ( the cost was hard on me and those are cheap ). Wasted effort ( and I hand dug the trench ). My neighbor told me, too late, to use sewer pipe instead. And he had a mobile home instead of an RV. And he only needed fifty feet to my 100. You need that few extra inches in diameter.

We used 4-inch also. Like you, I heard after the fact, that six inch would’ve been better. I may change it out in the future, but so far, it seems to be working alright.

As for a microwave, it isn’t necessarily a luxury. I eat “nuke bread”, which is whole wheat flour and water ( one half water to the wheat ), spread on a ceramic plate and microwaved. 1 1/2 minutes one side and 1 minute the second and done. Yeah, it tastes as bad as it sounds. But dirt cheap bread for a lot of my calories. 150 watts is a big hit for making two of those breads, but much cheaper than propane and you can eat them for breakfast instead of waiting on the solar cooker. Not a necessity, but not exactly wasteful either. I appreciate your previous mention of the sealed batteries. Info I wished I had before all those Wal-Mart marine batteries. They will be my future replacements.

That “nuke” bread is what was once upon a time referred to as ash cakes. It is gross, but, as you said, it’s cheap, easy calories. That having been said, you can toss your “dough” on a small stick fire and cook it even more efficiently than using the microwave. I’ve done it, from the start of gathering some twigs and getting the fire started, to eating the “bread,” in less than five minutes. Microwaves are an unhealthy, energy-wasting, “luxury,” that are not the time savers they were advertised to be. I stand by that.

Great info on an important subject. I have a couple of questions if I may.

1) Did you look into Lithium storage batteries? I’ve heard good things (deeper draw without damaging the batteries, a great many more cycles, etc.) and bad things (much more expensive, don’t live up to expectations) about them. Any thoughts?

2) I’ve heard that lead acid batteries (like the forklift batteries) need to occasionally be desulfanated. Is there any need to do that with AGM batteries?

3) For your geothermal system, is that passive? If so, do you think that putting some small fans on them to draw the air through would be worth the current draw?

1) Yes. No way I could afford them.

2) I don’t know. I do know that, at the operator maintenance level, there’s no way to do that. Thus, I’m operating under the assumption you don’t need to.

3) It is passive. I do think that adding some small fans would assist, but….

a) I think getting the base of the house sealed up better, by getting the rest of the stone infill done would help more.

b) I have a couple of solar powered rooftop ventilation fans that I was given that I think will do even better, by simply creating an active draw breeze. I just need to get up on the roof, and get them installed (and, I know the questioner has seen my roof, and knows how steep that fucker is….I didn’t even want to get on it to put the metal on….an 8-pitch is a lot steeper than it looks from the ground!).

c) I don’t know that any 110V fan, is going to be low-draw enough to make it worthwhile. Fortunately, this year, it has so far, been mild enough it hasn’t been an issue that simply turning on a couple of box fans upstairs, combined with the fact that, because I designed for passive solar benefits, the eaves of the house (2ft eaves) keep the front of the house shaded, and so, putting a fan in one of the downstairs windows means we’re constantly getting at least a moderately cooler breeze going at all times.

John Meyers texted me, as I was finishing up these posts, asking about my thoughts on the Antifa dude that tried to light up the detention facility parking lot in Seattle the other day.

Two things:

1) Dude decided he was done talking. Now, his planning may have been shit, and his execution worse, but he decided he was done talking, and started acting. I may not agree with him, but I can respect that.

2) More importantly, as Meyer’s pointed out to me, the people on “his side?” They haven’t backed away from him or disavowed him. They’ve continued to voice support for what he was trying to achieve, and even his manner of achieving it.

Again, I may not agree with them, but I can respect that. More importantly, from my perspective, is the fact that, even a group of “dumbfuck commies,” have once again managed to display more “getting shit done” motivation, and support for their compatriots, than the “Right” has….

I’ve said it before, and people pooh-poohed it, but it is still true. Talk shit all you want about Antifa and the Left. They may be a bunch of spoiled rich kids, they may be dumbasses that don’t even know which bathroom to use. They may be “pussies” who can’t even understand basic biological physiology.

At the end of the day though, the Russian Revolution was won by a bunch of pissed off, spoiled, rich, college kids whose parents and grandparents thought were dumbasses with no understanding of the real world. People who are willing to get off the couch, even with just a Louisville Slugger, and a Molotov Cocktail, are a lot more dangerous than some middle-aged dude who owns a safe full of guns but refuses to get off the couch and do something to be prepared for them.


From → Uncategorized

  1. tropicthunder81 permalink

    The left, who want to push their rules and beliefs on everyone, can get away with physical violence because the entire system in their enclaves and the media supports and defends them.

    If a conservative, who generally just wants to be left alone, was to get physical, 30 minutes after he got ID’d they’d be a picture of him on the front page next to a pic of trump and the courts would crucify him.

  2. Gbob permalink

    Definitely agree with you about antifa. Came to tell you that a couple thick pieces of rubber foam, the kind you get out of an old couch cushion on the side of the road, can help you climb a pretty steep roof [satellite installing and roofing]. You move from one piece to the other and keep moving the other. I don’t know about an 8/12 roof. That’s pretty damn steep, you either get a hellacious snow load or you’re paranoid. Maybe that’s just my Texas showing. Good luck, be safe.
    P.s. I’m assuming a shingle roof; if tin, I got nothing.

  3. To add to the recommendation of watching your technique in regards to grip/ lack thereof, I’d like to offer checking out Smashwerks on YouTube. The guy turned my life around. Unlike most physical therapists whose work is aimed at making sitting on the couch more bearable with minimum exercise, his work is aimed at high end athletes. Quick fixes to get you back in the game. I was a wreck before learning of him (wish I could remember who pointed him out to me, but I try to make up for it by spreading the word) I couldn’t sit for 5 minutes without my arms going numb. Couldn’t pick up anything over a pound without yelping like a puppy and dropping it. To be clear my back/body is a mess from a lifetime of work/abuse (same thing?) and his way has me recovering and back on the path. Be like the antifa dude, do something.

  4. revjen45 permalink

    At 72 a lifetime of using my hands leaves me with severe osteoarthritis to the point that firing a fullbore .357 factory load in an N-Frame Smith is unpleasant. I still have normal grip strength, however. I am hoping that I don’t lose the ability to rack the slide on an auto.

  5. James permalink

    I thru decades of carpentry swinging a hammer/using nail guns/hauling wood ect. had very bad “tennis elbow”.I visited a acupuncturist for back pain and while there he asked any other issues,thus,mentioned elbow and in go the pins.While did nothing for me back that one visit has cured the tennis elbow for over 10 years now while still doing building.As for the back,besides thinking before lifting a bit more the cure was a inversion table,hanging like a bat for 5-10 minutes a day leaves me with no back issues and also feel my other joints benefit,got a used one on cl for 120 bucks(don’t go cheap/get a teeter brand,the most basic model does it fine).

    Revgen,have seen a few videos on loading/cocking a auto one handed off of gear and other ways,may be worth looking into,believe they were though with slide back after mag emptied but might be able to work for your purposes if necc. with some alteration,best of luck.

    I am not offended or pissed in least by why I suck article,really is just a keep trying and work on getting better/learning new things article,no reason to be offended.I will say some days me brain frazzled and not into learning new things but in general the day I stop learning is probably the day I am dead.

  6. LFMayor permalink

    John, about working on that 8 pitch roof. Get some foam cushion out of an old chair or couch and tie some 12” square chunks to your boots, like ice crampons. You’ll be able to spiderman your ass up there. A third piece to use for your leg/ass when you sit down is nice to have, too.

    • James permalink

      I am so grateful I do not roof anymore!I also had a pile of inner coach cushions for just that activity!

  7. Vagus permalink

    Re: Citric acid for canning

    Look up some recipes first, but you can always use vinegar instead. It’s acidic, might not be the best flavor, but you can culture vinegar in any climate.

  8. Barstow permalink

    I’m willing to bet a case of ammo that the guy who attacked the ICE detention center chose to do so because of a recent health issue that was going to kill him soon anyways. I will give him the grudging respect he deserves for being a committed piece of shit, but doing what he did won him accolades among his peers, and like I said I’m willing to bet that he was recently diagnosed with something terminal anyways, so with nothing to lose he sought out approval from his peers and lit something on fire. The reason you won’t see something like this from the other side is that the other side has been cucked into the mindset that only the government can conduct direct actions and that our role is to sit on the couch and cheer for Sean Hannity and Donald Trump. There would be no accolades for a right winger who attacked an antifa encampment.

  9. Mike J permalink


    What do you do for humidity? I too live in the southern highlands, and in my house I have a big problem with mildew caused by humidity. My construction method is split faced concrete block filled with foam, and that may be part of the problem.

    BTW, IRT LP reefers, I have one, a Diamond 19 cu.ft. model with a 4 cu.ft. top freezer, and it only uses 6G of LP per month. If the electric doesn’t work out, this might, though it was expensive. Made by the Amish and available through Lehman’s Hardware.

  10. The Old Guide permalink

    My wife lost the ability to rack the slide on her M&P so she got a Ruger 5 shot revolver with a one piece “moon clip”. Great little piece with a very good trigger. Fits a lady’s had well.

  11. partisanmd permalink

    Found this helpful medial epicondylitis, this guy was on Shooter’s Nation podcast a while back:

  12. dangero permalink

    You are spot in about the “snowflakes”, they are out there throwing milkshakes mixed with cement into the faces of their enemies and our side is…well getting milkshakes mixed with cement thrown in their faces.
    Same goes for Muslims, there is a reason they can move into places like France and create “no-go” zones and even force the government to pass laws accommodating them. It’s because they are dominant and will burn a city down before they give an inch in their beliefs. If conservative patriots are honest with themselves do you think we would have half the things in this country like grade school children being read to by convicted pedophile drag queens if we actively stood up for ourselves even half as much as Muslims?

  13. Garry F. Owen, Trooper permalink

    You would enjoy reading “Warwolves,” translated by Hermann Löns in the early part of the previous century. The subtitle is “A Peasant Chronicle of the Thirty Years War.” Less than 200 pages, it hits on some of your favorite themes of kith, kin and frith. It also tells of how common people can survive an endless war, and the toll such a war has on everyone. Ordered it Tuesday, received it Thursday and finished it today.

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