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Campfire Chats

August 13, 2019

I don’t have a “From the Library” article this week. My mother was finally released from 24/7 care last week, so I got to go home for the first time in over a month. Between taking care of some missing orders that my helper fucked up, and taking care of things on the farm that had been neglected, and finally spending some quality time with my wife and kids, all together, I simply didn’t have time to get any reading done, really. Sorry.

Patreon subscribers, your articles are posted as well.

First tier subscribers, you’ve got the third part in the retreat facility article series up. Second tier subscribers, you’ve got an article on combatives training, and some key ways to incorporate it into your training. You’ve also got a soft skills article on thinking outside the box, in which I take on Climate Change, as well. It’s a topic (the outside the box thinking part), I’ve been working on in my personal journal, and discussing those issues with second tier subscribers is something I’m going to try and do regularly. You also have a third article, in which I discuss some current events that are on everyone’s minds.

If you’re a regular reader of the blog, but haven’t subscribed to Patreon, I urge you to do it. It’s a couple bucks a month, and consider what value you’ve gotten from my efforts here over the years. Now, recognize that I’m getting paid to write those articles…how much more in-depth are they going to be, do you think? How much more valuable are they going to be, when neither I, nor you, have to worry about the random Internet trolls interfering in the conversation?


One of the things that gets overlooked a lot, by preppers and survivalists—especially those without military combat arms experience—is that there is a vast, vast difference between a “patrol pack” and a “get home bag” or a “bug out bag.”

Building your “tactical patrol bag” based on a “bug out bag” list, is retarded. At the same time, looking at what I carried in my ruck as say, a young Ranger private, for a “bug out bag” is not going to work out at all, especially when I factor in that I now have a wife and kids to deal with as well.

Make sure you understand the difference between the mission requirements of a patrol, bugging out for who knows where, and getting home from work. Then, decide which type of bag you need, and what it needs to contain. That article is coming up soon on Patreon.


As one who has spent a great deal of time in nature, both in the Army and as a rural resident, what do you recommend for dealing with natures annoyances. Just asking for a friend who may have come home with a boatload of ticks, chiggers, and poison ivy.

Well, ticks, I just pluck off. I’ve read that a tick needs to be bit down for 24 hours before any pathogen transfer, such as Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, happens. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I do know that I’ve pulled tens of thousands of ticks off myself, over the course of my life, and have never suffered anything from them. Chiggers, I don’t wear shorts in the brush, and I wash with soap and water. Same with poison ivy.

In other words, I just don’t worry too much about it, to be honest. I’ve never had a problem with any of those. I know what poison ivy and poison oak look like, and I pay attention to what is around me, so I’ve never “walked into a pile of poison ivy” for example. I’ve certainly never wiped my ass with it.

I’ve had chiggers before. They itch, badly. I wash the site with good soap, and then try my damnedest not to scratch the itch (to be clear, I usually fail). Eventually they go away, and I just suffer in the meantime.


do you have any info on the up coming food shortages do to the bad weather this year.

Not specifically. I suspect it will impact far and wide, but then, I’d have expected it to do so already, with commodities futures speculation, so who knows?


Have you read Fry the Brain by John West? I thought it pretty good, definitely enlightening to learn the various techniques of insurgent urban snipers. I thought the part about the troubles in Ireland was particularly good–particularly the use of auxiliaries and teams of specialists to defeat sophisticated forensics of the British. The part on remote operated rifles was interesting too–meshing into a discussion on drones that you alluded to in your other post. Anyway, I saw it was on Ellfritz’s reading list.

Similarly, opinions on Resistance to Tyranny by Martino, if you’ve read it?

I’ve read both, and have them on my bookshelves. I don’t recall having an issue with either one, but it’s been a few years since I read them, so I’d probably have to go back and re-read them to comment specifically on anything.


Your comment about the Townsend videos struck a chord. I do French and Indian War and Revolutionary War events in the southeast. The best video I saw, in my opinion, was on the process of making Mead.

I haven’t watched the Mead video, but that’s because I’ve been making mead for a number of years now, despite being a non-drinker (it’s usually a big hit at holidays though, with our clan). I don’t know that there’s any of their videos that I’ve gone, “Meh. That sucked!” though. Most of their cooking videos make me want to force my wife to try them though.

I’ve wanted to get involved in 18th century reenacting since I was a kid, and my stepdad came home with a grocery sack of Muzzle Blasts and Backwoodsman magazines, he found at a garage sale, and I devoured them all in a weekend. Unfortunately, the last thing I need is another expensive hobby. So, I incorporate those elements of it that make sense, in light of my lifestyle, when I can. I really do “need” a flintlock muzzleloader though….


Last week you discussed whether or not you would encourage your son to join the military. I have grappled with that same question. I have four young sons ( young enough that the point of joining a United States military may be moot by the time they are old enough). I am already teaching them the distinctions between warriors and soldiers. I was an NCO in a light infantry unit in Iraq back when Baghdad was the wild west and I have found the experience that I gained there to be invaluable. Not only tactically but the ability to see a mans true value, to be able to distinguish who can be counted on when shit gets real. I credit the shared suffering of life in an infantry unit with opening my eyes to the realities and necessity of a barbarian tribal outlook. I guess my question is, absent the gravity of actual combat experience do you think its possible to develop young men into competent warriors/to teach them the necessity of coming together as a team? Could you elaborate on how you would develop and initiate young men into your tribe’s mannerbund? How would you approach replicating the gravity of the decisions made in combat and the lessons learned?

Short answer? Yes.

The fact is, modern military forces, as we know them, are a recent phenomenon in the human experience. While it is certainly simpler to achieve the status of “warrior” in terms of physical skills and mindset, in the military, in today’s western society, it is not a requirement to achieving those things, and in fact, may be detrimental in some ways, even if the experience is in the SOF world. One of the things I’ve had to grapple with, albeit to a lesser degree than if my experience had been limited to say, the 82d or 101st, is correlating my experience and knowledge, to the situation I am in now.

As a general thing, I can’t comment on the specifics you questioned. One, because whatever methods we use are specific to our needs, and second because we don’t actually have specific methods that can really be articulated, without a lot of thought and introspection to recognize what they are.

I will say, specific to the “warrior” question, all of my children box, and do jitz, and shoot. All of my children do PT, including running and climbing and lifting and carrying heavy things. All of my children—and the children of the clan, to a lesser degree—hear “harden the fuck up, and quit crying” regularly, when they suffer minor physical aches and pains. Psychological stuff, like their grandpa dying, we encourage crying, to deal with grief, but we’re also very matter-of-fact about those things. Death shouldn’t be foreign, which it is for way too many Americans. Actual physical injury, like a broken bone or something? I’m not going to get pissed at my kid for crying when they break a bone, but I’m not about to let them scream incoherently about it either.


I noticed a match safe in your ‘junk on the bunk’ posts.  Have you come across a good brand of matches that are NOT storm proof?  The storm proof ones leave a nasty taste when I light my pipe (same reason I don’t carry a zippo).
Not really. The matches we have at the house, that aren’t hurricane matches, are the cheap boxes of matches you can buy at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. I suppose you could go really old-school, and use a flint and steel, with a piece of char cloth?


Too often, whether I am discussing things with people, face-to-face, or I am reading a “prepper porn” novel, the assumption is made that a “grid down” event is going to cause the same level of cataclysm, everywhere. This is the psychological opposing equal of the bright, progressive, globalist future, where everyone will have three cars, computer implants, a supercomputer cellphone, synthetic food, produced out of the cellphone, and a nice crackerbox house in the suburbs.

While such a collapse, theoretically at least, could possibly, conceivably, happen, via some sort of deux ex machina, black swan type of scenario, the fact is 5000 years of recorded history, pretty clearly illustrates that it probably isn’t likely. What is far more likely is the “decline and fall of Rome” Part Deux, that we are witnessing.

As the federal regime loses more and more legitimacy in the eyes of the populace, people look to local solutions and leaders, both official and unofficial, to provide them guidance. An example of the increasing loss of federal legitimacy can be seen in the bipartisan response to the alleged suicide of accused child sex trafficker, and political affiliate Jeffrey Epstein the other day.

Now, a child molester, knowing without a doubt that he is getting a lifetime worth of convictions, committing suicide? Absolutely possible. Even common. He was pulled off suicide watch, apparently within the normal SOP of the facility, and even on suicide watch, people routinely manage to off themselves with some regularity.

Did he kill himself, or was he murdered? Fuck if I know. I wasn’t there. I wouldn’t even bother to guess, or worry about it, because it doesn’t affect me, a single solitary bit.

What I do find interesting however, is the fact that, even within the political class, there is a lot of discussion about the possibility—probability—of his death having been a murder, via a conspiracy. While I’ve seen theories put forth that POTUS was behind it, the far more common theory, even from the Left side of the faux spectrum, is that it was at the behest of the Deep State generally, and the Clintons specifically. Now, I would expect that from most conservatives, and even libertarians (who, really, in my experience, do tend to be Conservatives that wanna smoke pot), but when aggressively Leftist liberals are spouting that, it is pretty clear that the legitimacy of the federal government, in the eyes of the people, is increasingly illegitimate.

What does that have to do with collapse though? It doesn’t happen the same way, everywhere. Even in something as “universally cataclysmic” as a CME or EMP, different people are going to have different resulting impacts, and as a result, different communities are going to have differing impacts. The same, certainly, applies to the far more likely (since it’s already happening), collapse of American imperial hegemony around the globe.

Just because employment in your area is available, and there’s housing, doesn’t mean that is true elsewhere, even a county or two away. Roads in my area are, for the most part, remarkably good. We have a pretty good tax base, and the industry in the area demands good roads for shipping, and so their employees stay happy. On the other hand, if I drive a county away, to the Interstate, I see a road that looks fit for the Third World, and the surface streets are even worse. Does that mean the collapse is on us? Or, does that mean, since I’ve got good roads, the collapse is not going to happen?

Don’t assume that what works in one context—my mountain top, rural farm, for example—isn’t going to work somewhere else. What is necessary somewhere else—like a large urban inner-city—isn’t even going to be necessary here. When we look at situationally contextual planning considerations, we need to take into consideration, not only what our environmental needs are, but what the likely impacts of various collapse scenarios are going to be.

As an example, in a total economic collapse, so beloved of prepper porn authors, where trucks aren’t running, and people are starving, or living off stored rice, how likely is it that Joel Salatin’s community is going to have a lot of starving people? Not very. They may have issues with securing the produce, but they’re not going to have a problem with having food.

Portland, Oregon, for all of its problems, has a gravity-fed municipal water system. While there may be issues with some of the high-rises downtown, most of municipal Portland isn’t going to have an issue with water procurement. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to have a lot of problems (evidenced by the fact they already do), but that’s something they probably don’t have to worry too much about.

Think about context. Always.

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  1. anonymous permalink

    So glad to hear your Mom is out of the facility, I hope her health continues to improve and your family can back to taking care of your homestead.

  2. Anon permalink

    Great chat. Get what you need, need what you get. Today’s prepper world is very different than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Today, we see fear based prepper consumerism. Doom porn feeding the fears of the populous while enticing them to buy things they really don’t need.

  3. James permalink

    Best wishes for your mum’s recovery,time with family/friends the time spent best,always find a way to make that time.

  4. Vagus permalink


    I don’t know quite how to articulate it, but even as a non-military I find a lot of worth to picking your thoughts on subjects. I don’t even have much desire to drill like you do, but I look forward to reading your material to reassess that.

  5. pdxr13 permalink

    Before the BullRun water supply started feeding Portland Oregon with sweet surface water from a captive rainfall trap before The Great War, there were significant annual deaths from turd world waterborne and oral-fecal diseases in the Rose City. Betcha there was a lot of non-death general illness among people who lived in the city and didn’t pay enough attention to boiling drinking water. This was also before the age of widely available food refrigeration in homes (some mechanical refrigeration at businesses), and 30 years before Carrier made hot places tolerable with Air Conditioning.

    As far as “gravity fed”, that was the original system, since upgraded with electric pumps. Good things don’t last, but a billion bucks in bonds to build a sewer tunnel that can’t keep sewage out of the Willamette in August will need to be paid by water bills for the next 40 years.

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