Building a Free Survival Kit

I do not normally just copy and paste a story, but Rick asked us to. This is a GREAT article covering survival kits.
Building a Free Survival Kit
October 24

 

NOTICE TO ALL: I WOULD SINCERELY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU ALL WOULD PASS THIS ARTICLE OF MINE AROUND TO OTHERS THANKS : )F.R.E.E. SURVIVAL KITS! GET YOURS TODAY!

Every so often someone writes and asks.. “Hey Rick, any chance I can get one of your survival kits in exchange I’ll test it out, write a review and post it on some survival sites and forums.”

Or…”Rick, if you agree to send me a free survival kit, I’ll run it through some tests and make a video of it and post it on Youtube. Do we have a deal?” Or better yet…”Dear Mr. Tscherne, I was wondering if you would be so kind to donate some of your survival kits to my organization which helps low income kids.”Yep, I have heard it all. And years ago I use to give away some of my survival kits too in exchange for an evaluation, written review, and or a Youtube video. But not anymore.

Why?

Well, out of about three dozen samples that I have given away over the years there were only about six people who kept their word. And the rest? They lied and scammed me. But don’t worry I’m not giving up on trusting people, not sir. And so what I decided to do is put together a special kit for those of you who want a F.R.E.E. Survival kit from me. And here it is…

What do you think? Pretty neat, huh? Look at all this stuff, contains almost everything you would need in a wilderness outdoor survival situation. Cool, huh?

Oh, by the way, the name of this special F.R.E.E. Survival Kit. Those letters stands for “From Recyclable Everyday Expendables.” That’s right, it’s a Do-It-Yourself (DYI) Survival Kit. Or another name that I like to call it is “The Do-It-Yourself, Cheapskate, Low-Income, Poor Man’s Survival Kit.” Which I think is a more appropriate based on the type of individuals who have either lied or scammed me out of a survival kit or are looking for something for FREE. Especially when my SOS Survival Kits are better quality and cost less than most of the survival kits on the market.

And almost everything you see in this photo can be easily acquired either from your own home, neighborhood garbage cans or some trash dumpster located behind some shopping malls and stores. And it’s all FREE! How about that?

And so whether you’re really poor or just too damn cheap to pay $20+ dollars for one of my SOS Survival Kits and you don’t mind spending hours searching through “germ infested” garbage cans and trash dumpsters, then this survival kit is for YOU!

And so here’s what these items are and what you can use them for…

IMPROVISED COOKING KIT – The frying pan is made from a large tuna can with a “snap on & off” coat hanger wire handle. The drinking cup is a modified tin can with also a “snap on & off” coat hanger wire handle. And the “water bucket” you see in this photo, that too is made out of a large can with a “snap on & off” coat hanger wire handle too. Yes, all these items are easy to find and make, all you need is a little bit of immagination, that’s all.

IMPROVISED CANTEEN WATER CONTAINER – Besides being able to use some zip-lock sandwhich bags and condoms (NEW ones – NOT used ones) as improvised fold-up water containers. You can also reuse plastic water bottles too and attach them them some string or cord so you can carry or wear it around your waist or neck. Oh, something else I found in a trash dumpster that makes a great improvised canteen are those aluminum can “Munster Energy” drinks” which come with a screw on & off cap too. I can not believe these are thrown away in the garbage after you finish drinking it and are not returnable. You can find them in the trash cans near “shop & go” stores or wherever there is a gymn fitness center too.

IMPROVISED LANTERN, HEATER & STOVE – All made out of aluminum and tin cans along with some duct tape and a piece of cloth. But what is extremely important and very dangerous to use is gasoline as the fuel. NEVER use gasoline as the feul source, use strictly NON-vaper and NON-combustable fuel like BBQ and Zippo lighter fluid. How do you make these improvised lanterns, heaters & stoves out of aluminum & tin cans? Just Google: “How to make a coke can stove & lantern” and up will pop a dozen or more websites and pages on your computer. Check it out!

IMPROVISED GENERAL DIRECTION COMPASS – All you need is a very thin narrow nail, pins or sewing needle and some thin wire (copper if possibe) and a cork or a small piece of wood or a leaf and either one (1) small, AA, C, or D radio or flashlight. Don’t worry it does not have to be new nor fully charged, it just needs to have some power left in it. And also some type of cup or container that can hold water. To make a compass out of all these items, first fill the cup or container with some water. Then wrap the wire tightly and entirely around the nail, pin or sewing needle numerous times and then connect each end of the wire to negative and positive portion of the battery for about a minute or until the battery and or the wire starts to become warm or hot to hold. Then remove the wire entirely from the pin, nail or needle and place it on a small piece of wood or a leaf and PRESTO! You now have yourself an improvised, homemade, magnetized needle and general direction compass.

IMPROVISED FIRE STARTER & TINDER – If you look closely you will see several different types of fire starters, some of it is just plain old regular paper or wooden matches. And then there is two different BIC lighters, a small and a large one which can be found on the ground or in some garbage when they contain no more fuel but are still useful in starting fires. And to make and use them like what is called a “Spark-Lite,” an over rated and over priced fire starers. All you have to do is remove the top metal clip so the flint & striker wheel are exposed and so you can get some of the sparks closer down and on top of some tinder to ignite it. And if you cut off the bottom of these BIC lighters, you can then store some cotton balls inside of it. And something you can use to make paper tinder so it will ignit with some sparks, is an old pencil sharpen. Or simply remove from a clothes dryer from the “lint trap and use that to ignite and get a fire going. To learn more about how to convert a BIC lighter into a fires starter, just log onto this link here: http://www.survivaloutdoorskills.com/zips_and_spark_lites.htm

IMPROVISED FISH & SNARE KIT – Can be easily made out of some safety pins, coke can pull tabs, nylon string, dental floss, wire and a dozen other improvised items too. Which safety pins are best to use as fishing hooks, coke can tabs & alumunium foil can be used to make fishing lures and for fishing line and for making small game animal snare traps, try using dental floss. To learn mre about how to make and use some of this stuff for fishing and snaring game just go to this link here: http://www.survivaloutdoorskills.com/fishing.htm

IMPROVISED CUTTING TOOLS & KNIVES – The ones you see in the photo I was able to make out of a can-lid top, a broken file saw, a jig saw blade and a window paint cleaner razor blade too all attached to some wood and or cork along with some duct tape. To learn more about how to make some improvised saws and cutting tools, go to this link here: http://www.survivaloutdoorskills.com/purifying_water.htm

IMPROVISED RAIN JACKET & PONCHO – Can be easily made out of large trash bags. And if you’re wondering what’s the difference between making a rain jacket and rain poncho out of a large trash bag. A trash bag rain jacket has one hole for your head and two more holes for your arms. A rain poncho just has a hole for your head and the sides of the trash-bag are cut & open on both sides like one of those Mexican poncho blankets. Or unless you don’t want to make any holes so you can cover and wrap it around your body, then just cut open two sides of the trash bag.

IMPROVISED SHELTER – Can also be made out of some good large size trash-bags or sheets of plastic. It really doesn’t matter what kind of tie-down or cord you use, just as long as it is strong and you attach it securely to the trashbag or plastic. Which is by placing a very small, smooth, round rock on the corners of it and in some other places too, if needed. Then place the rock inside the plastic along the corners and then wrap the tie-down or cord around this rock and plastic too. Don’t ever try to make a hole in the plastic and then add the tie down or cord or it will rip through it. To learn more about how to make an improvised trash bag or plastic shelter, go to this link here: http://www.survivaloutdoorskills.com/expedient_shelters.htm

IMPROVISE SIGNAL DEVICES – What you see in the photo are some bright, orange cloth, though orange is a much better color use due to it can be seen further away at distaces. Bright red can also be used if you can’t find anything orange. To use it for signaling, either hold it up and wave it using your hand or attach it to a stick and then wave it vigorisley to get someone’s attention. Along with an improvised shiny signaling device like a broken mirrow, tin can lid, aluminum foil, CD, etc. To learn more about improvised signal devices, just go to this link here: http://www.survivaloutdoorskills.com/signaling.htm

IMPROVISED WATER FILTER & PURIFICATION KIT – The water filters in the photo are both, some regular cloth and some coffee drip paper filters too. To purify water for safe consumption, you need to boil it for at least 7 x minutes or use Clorex Bleach regular “non-scented,” 4 x drops per every quart/liter of water should be enough for safe consumption. To learn more about how to use Clorex Bleach for purifying water and other water purification techniques, just go to this link here: http://www.survivaloutdoorskills.com/purifying_water.htm

IMPROVISED NIGHT LIGHT (Besides using a fire) – What you see in the photo is not just some birthday & church candles but some lanterns made out of several small plastic whiskey bottles, some cloth and some cut up and rolled up aluminum from soda cans. The purpose of cutting up some sheets of aluminum from soda cans and then rolling it up and running some cloth through it is so fire and heat won’t melt the rim of the plastic bottle. But what is extrememly important is that you DON’T use gasoline as the fuel, use strictly NON-vaper and NON-combustable fuel like Zippo lighter fluid or BBQ lighter fluid. To learn more about how to makes these type of lanterns, go to this link here:

IMPROVISE HUNTING WEAPON – All you need is a bunch of heavy duty, thick, rubber bands, some nails of different sizes, some duct tape, cord, etc so you can easily make a bow & arrow, slingshot, a throwing star and some other types of hunting weapons. To learn more about how to make these type of weapons, just go to this link here: http://www.survivaloutdoorskills.com/weapons.htm

Now if you’re thinking..”Hey Rick, why didn’t you include this, or why not use this, or why not use..blah, blah, etc.”. Guys & gals, there are so many other unlimited things that you can find, use and improvise to make your own F.R.E.E. Do-It-Yourself Survival Kit and this here is just one sample kit.Personally, when it comes to wanting or needing a survival kit, it’s best not to purchase one of those over-rated, over-priced, name brand, super-dupper, everything-you-need survival kits. No sir! But instead buy a basic “starter” or “ultra-lite” survival kit that comes with the six basic essential items needed in all survival situations. Which is a knife, fire starter, flash-lite, signal mirror, whistle and a compass. And then depending on how often and how far into the woods or wilderness you usually travel and what the temperture and weather is like, you can always buy more stuff for your personal survival kit.

Basically, I agree with what all these survival experts, authors, books, websites and forums and that is…” the best survival kit is one you assemble and put together yourself to fit your own personal survival needs and comfort. And the less you know about survival – the more you’ll need to pack and carry, and the more you know – the less survival items you’ll need.

Make sense? You bet! Take it from me, yours truly…

“Army Ranger Rick”

US Army, Retired, 1972-93
Author, The Ranger Digest Series
Developer, SOS Survival Kits
Owner, www.SurvivalOutdoorSkills.com

Meet Ron Douglas and Family

From the NY Times Article found HERE!Photograph by Dwight Eschliman for The New York Times

Photograph by Dwight Eschliman for The New York Times

The Douglas Family Stockpile

  • 1Staples in 6-gallon buckets include: rice, beans, nuts, sugar, salt, matches, wheat, flour
  • 2Freeze-dried meals
  • 3Assorted canned foods: cheese, butter and meat
  • 4Water-bath canner
  • 5Vacuum sealer
  • 6Pressure canner
  • 7Pot
  • 8Canned meat: red is pork, green is turkey
  • 9Broth: beef and chicken
  • 10 Salt: 25-pound bags
  • 11 Aluminum foil
  • 12 Portable first-aid kits, lighters, U.V. light sticks, fast-acting glue
  • 13 Candles
  • 14 Sunflower seeds
  • 15 Cough drops
  • 16 Canned turkey
  • 17 Stackable containers of canned food
  • 18 72-hour backpacks
  • 19 Charcoal chimney
  • 20 Potatoes
  • 21 Grill
  • 22 Solar oven
  • 23 Beef jerky
  • 24 Vinegar, white and cider
  • 25 Olive oil in cans
  • 26 Wall-mounted first-aid kit
  • 27 Canned staples: rice, dried carrots, dried onions
  • 28 Powdered milk and eggs
  • 29 Laundry detergent
  • 30 The Douglas family
  • 31 Heirloom seed bank
  • 32 Bleach
  • 33 Pasta
  • 34 Dehydrated mashed potatoes
  • 35 More assorted staples
  • 36 Miscellaneous canned goods
  • 37 Stackable containers of canned food
  • 38 Powdered hot chocolate
  • 39 Generator
  • 40 Propane burner
  • 41 Water filter
  • 42 Hand warmers
  • 43 Surgical masks
  • 44 Empty Mason jars for canning
  • 45 Jars of roasted peppers
  • 46 Rifle, shotgun and pistol
  • 47 Buckets of honey
  • 48 Cans of sardines
  • 49 Foldout tent
  • 50 5-gallon gas cans
  • 51 Solar panels
  • 52 Plastic hose

Not pictured: juice, apple and grape; fortified water; hand sanitizer; laundry bucket; jars of bouillon; canned apple-pie filling; filtered-water bottles.

On a clear morning in May, Ron Douglas left his home in exurban Denver, eased into his Toyota pickup truck and drove to a business meeting at a Starbucks. Douglas, a bearded bear of a man, ordered a venti double-chocolate-chip Frappuccino — “the girliest drink ever,” he called it — and then sat down to discuss the future of the growing survivalist industry.

Many so-called survivalists would take pride in keeping far away from places that sell espresso drinks. But Douglas, a 38-year-old entrepreneur and founder of one of the largest preparedness expos in the country, isn’t your typical prepper.

At that morning’s meeting, a strategy session with two new colleagues, Douglas made it clear that he doesn’t even like the word “survivalist.” He believes the word is ruined, evoking “the nut job who lives out in the mountains by himself on the retreat.” Instead, he prefers “self-reliance.”

When prompted by his colleagues to define the term, Douglas leaned forward in his chair. “I’m glad you asked,” he replied. “Take notes. This is good.”

For the next several minutes, Douglas talked about emergency preparedness, sustainable living and financial security — what he called the three pillars of self-reliance. He detailed the importance of solar panels, gardens, water storage and food stockpiles. People shouldn’t just have 72-hour emergency kits for when the power grid goes down; they should learn how to live on their own. It’s a message that Douglas is trying to move from the fringe to the mainstream.

“Our main goal is to reach as many people and get the word out to as many people as we can, to get them thinking and moving in this direction,” he said. “Sound good?”

The preparedness industry, always prosperous during hard times, is thriving again now. In Douglas’s circles, people talk about “the end of the world as we know it” with such regularity that the acronym Teotwawki (tee-ought-wah-kee) has come into widespread use. The Vivos Group, which sells luxury bunkers, until recently had a clock on its Web site that was ticking down to Dec. 21, 2012 — a date that, thanks to the Mayan calendar, some believe will usher in the end times. But amid the alarmism, there is real concern that the world is indeed increasingly fragile — a concern highlighted most recently by Hurricane Sandy. The storm’s aftermath has shown just how unprepared most of us are to do without the staples of modern life: food, fuel, transportation and electric power.

The survivalist business surged in the wake of 9/11, when authorities instructed New Yorkers to prepare disaster kits, learn how to seal doors and vents with duct tape and be ready to evacuate at any time. Threat-level warnings about possible terrorist attacks kept Americans rattled for years, and were followed by various disasters of other types: the financial meltdown, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, drought, blackouts and concerns over everything from rising sea levels to Iran’s nuclear program.

Late last year, Douglas and his partners formed the Red Shed Media Group, a single corporate home for several endeavors: the Self Reliance Expo, conventions that Douglas founded in 2010, dedicated to showcasing survival gear and skills; Self Reliance Broadcasting, an Internet-based channel devoted to the cause; and an entity that controls the rights to publishing “Making the Best of Basics,” a popular survivalist handbook. The name Red Shed was symbolic for Douglas. “When your grandfather went and did a project,” he told me, “he went out to the red shed and pulled out all the tools he needed for the job.” Douglas wants his virtual red shed to be a single place where people can get all the preparedness information they need. Five expos this year have drawn 40,000 people who pay $10 each. The radio network has logged more than two million podcast downloads; in one day alone in July, it reported nearly 90,000 downloads. The book, which was first published in 1974, includes recipes for everything from wild pig (“they are easy to prepare”) to dove pie (“simmer for one hour or until doves are tender”). Douglas said it had sold about 20,000 copies this year.

But the goal isn’t just to sell to the same old preparedness crowd. Red Shed wants to attract liberals and political moderates to a marketplace historically populated by conservatives and right-wing extremists. “It’s not the end of the world,” Douglas told me last spring, making a bold statement for someone in his industry. “It’s not doomsday.” It’s about showing the gun-toting mountain man in his camouflage and the suburban soccer mom in her minivan that they want the same thing: peace of mind. “We don’t say, ‘Hurry up and buy your stuff because Obama is going to ruin the country,’ ” Douglas said. “We don’t get into the political crap. We just want to teach people the lifestyle.”

The first thing you notice about Douglas’s neighborhood in Frederick, Colo., about 30 miles north of Denver, is that it’s not particularly noticeable. He doesn’t have a mountain stronghold or a 20-acre spread. He doesn’t have a bunker or anything resembling a barn. Instead, he, his wife, Heather, and their six children, ages 4 to 16, inhabit a typical American suburban home. There’s an in-ground sprinkler system and a play structure in the backyard. The siding on the house is an innocuous beige. Pink tulips bloom in the flower beds come spring. The children can walk to school.

The fact that Douglas not only told me where he lives but also invited me to visit him would be considered a huge mistake by many in the prepping world. Revealing your location runs the risk of compromising your Opsec, or “operations security,” an abbreviation coined by the military and adopted by survivalists. “I don’t even mention what state I live in,” James Wesley Rawles, the editor of SurvivalBlog.com, a popular prepping Web site, told me. “All I’m at liberty to discuss, with consent of my wife, is that I live somewhere west of the Rockies.”

For Rawles and others, it’s a matter of security. Revealing your location gives the Unprepared a road map to the stockpiles of the Prepared, in the event of Teotwawki. “I don’t want to wake up and find out that I’m the go-to guy — literally,” Rawles says.

If civilization breaks down, Douglas’s house is definitely where you want to be. In his home office — the de facto headquarters for Red Shed’s six shareholders and two independent contractors — he keeps not only his iPad and his MacBook but also a ham radio and a C.B. radio. In his basement, there is roughly a year’s supply of wheat, rice and other staples. And outside, he tries to keep a year’s supply of chopped wood and, in his garage, 375 gallons of water.

If he needs to leave, Douglas has modified a Chevy Suburban so that it can travel 850 miles between fill-ups. If he stays, he’s ready to protect his family and his provisions. Douglas can’t even remember how many guns he owns. “Twelve?” he guessed when I asked. “Not as many as most.” But he knows his favorite: the Governor, a Smith & Wesson handgun that fires shotgun shells. “This is the home defender here,” he said. “You just point it in the right direction, and it’s over.”

Yet unlike others in his industry, Douglas doesn’t waste energy worrying about things like Opsec. And though he owns guns, he doesn’t push gun ownership.

At a meeting at an empty Hooters restaurant in Colorado Springs this year, Douglas listened impatiently as a salesman tried to get him to buy some ads on a local radio station for a coming expo. He was saying he could offer the same rates for a typical gun show. Douglas told the man that he wasn’t getting it at all. “I’m not just a gun show,” Douglas said to him.

The salesman’s confusion must be forgiven. The last time anything like Douglas’s expos hit convention halls was the 1990s. Y2K was coming. The threat of computers — and everything else — failing was a boon for a show called the Preparedness Expo. Civil rights organizations denounced the early incarnations of these gatherings, organized by a Utah man named Dan Chittock, as havens for political extremism and hate, an image that Chittock disputed even as he seemed to invite it. His biggest draw at the expos, Chittock told me, was James Gritz, known as Bo, a leader of the right-wing survivalist movement who offered paramilitary training and promoted Idaho as a refuge for antigovernment patriots. Dave Duffy, the editor and publisher of Backwoods Home Magazine, said: “I pulled out of Dan’s shows after awhile. It was conspiracy stuff. And it was making my magazine, along with the other vendors, look bad.”

Y2K offered a clearer threat; attendance at the expos doubled. But when the millennium dawned without widespread computer meltdowns, Chittock’s audience disappeared, and the expos disbanded. “It was kind of like crying ‘wolf,’ ” Chittock says. “Nobody wanted to hear it anymore.” Many small survivalist companies folded, while others struggled to carry on. Sun Ovens International, an Illinois company that manufactures solar-powered ovens, had sales fall to less than $200,000 in 2000 from $1.6 million a year earlier — a staggering 88 percent decline made worse by the fact that the company got stuck with $100,000 in unpaid invoices after the Y2K bust. “When Y2K was a nonevent, almost everybody in the preparedness industry declared bankruptcy,” Paul M. Munsen, the company’s president, says.

Sun Ovens limped along, critically wounded. “I refinanced my home three different times just to eat,” Munsen says. But in time, business began to improve, thanks in part to Barack Obama’s presidential victory four years ago, which alarmed many on the right worried about everything from his economic policies to his middle name. “The day after the election was one of the best sales days we ever had,” Munsen says. “Some people were just so upset about the election that they said, ‘We had better be prepared.’ ”

Ron Douglas wasn’t a part of the preparedness gold rush of the 1990s. He was working at the time as a corrections officer in Texas before moving to Colorado, where he bought a Critter Control franchise. Not long after Sun Oven sales began to rise, Douglas got out of the pest-control business. As a Mormon, he was taught the virtues of living a prepared life. He had been stockpiling food for years. But now, Douglas was beginning to sense a larger void — and a commercial opportunity — that needed to be filled.

He held his first Self Reliance Expo in November 2010 and tried to put a new spin on survivalism. Instead of lining up speakers to offer right-wing screeds, Douglas organized a homemade bread bake-off. The prize: a new wheat grinder. The products — and even the vendors at times — may have been the same from the expos of the past. But the packaging felt different, less threatening. Duffy says he noticed it immediately: “It was apparent right off the bat — no nut cases.”

Scott Valencia, a business developer from the video-game industry who formed Red Shed with Douglas last year and owns a stake in the company, helped see to that. He instructed vendors to avoid fear tactics and improve their displays while also making sure that the venues were welcoming and well lighted with wide aisles — the better to fit baby strollers and families. There was to be no more doom and gloom. “We lost some vendors when we told them that we weren’t doing it anymore — and Ron worried about that,” Valencia says. “But I said, ‘You’re going to pick up new ones.’ And we have.”

At an expo in May in Colorado Springs, at least a hundred people were waiting to get inside when the doors opened for the day. Some bought water filters; others learned fire-building skills. An audience gathered at the main stage to listen to Alan Madison talk about his reality TV show on the National Geographic Channel, “Doomsday Preppers,” whose second season began this month. “To me, it’s like a giant American studies project,” Madison, an executive producer of the show, told me. “I think it captures America at the beginning of the 21st century.” By the time the first season finished in April, the show had become the channel’s highest-rated series ever.

Not everyone at the expo was a fan of “Doomsday Preppers.” Terry Browning, a 41-year-old Army veteran, said the show unfairly depicts people like him as “militant psychos.” “Half the people here are probably not even thinking about the bunker underground or the 10,000 rounds of ammo — stuff like that,” he told me. “Most of these people just want to be safe in their homes with enough supplies to get them through whatever may be.”

In other words, they’re a lot like Linda Thrower, a home-health nurse from New Mexico. She and her husband, Troy, started prepping only recently, and they hesitated to even attend the expo. “We didn’t want to be inundated with a bunch of way-out-there radical followers,” she told me. Yet once inside, she was pleased with what she found. Yes, there was ammunition for sale and classes to help people obtain concealed-weapons permits. But Thrower, 59, left the expo that weekend with canned cheese, baking supplies for her Sun Oven and some practice in emergency suturing, the subject of one of the expo’s many seminars. “I think that’s a good thing for me, as a nurse, to be able to do,” she said. “Because if we have a disaster, whether it’s natural or man-made, there’s not going to be enough doctors.”

Just across the aisle from the Tea Party booth at the expo stood EnerHealth Botanicals, a Colorado company whose signature product is a “super green energy drink” that is organic, gluten-free, caffeine-free and G.M.O.-free. As a founder of the company in 2005, Steve St. Clair, EnerHealth’s chief executive, was focused on health-minded liberals. In the spring of 2011, however, St. Clair bought a booth at one of Douglas’s expos. “People just ran over us,” St. Clair told me. “They just loved the stuff.”

Since then, EnerHealth has sold products created for the preparedness market, especially its Survive2Thrive Organic Preparedness Pail. It sells for $270 and consists of 40 days’ worth of vacuum-packed organic food, including five pounds of rolled oats, four pounds of millet, three pounds of garbanzo beans and so on. Business at EnerHealth doubled last year. “And it looks like it may do it again this year,” St. Clair said. Sales were brisk before Hurricane Sandy. And natural disasters always help the preparedness industry.

The week Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey, Douglas was getting bombarded with e-mail from exhibitors asking him to organize an expo in the Northeast. To date, the farthest east he has been is Hickory, N.C. The demographic for preparedness generally tilts Western and rural. But since Sandy, Douglas has been considering putting on an expo in New York or New Jersey. “This is exactly what we’re trying to prepare people for,” he told me. “Everybody talks about doomsday, the end of the world — apocalypse nonsense. This is New York’s doomsday right now.”

One night last spring, Douglas invited friends and neighbors to his house in Frederick for what he called a “modern-day barn-raising.” The tasks for the night included clearing the back corner of the lot, erecting new garden boxes for the season and chopping wood. Everyone was well fortified for the work; Heather, Ron’s wife, had cooked a large dinner of spare ribs in a Sun Oven. And the weather was perfect for the chores. Within 90 minutes, the garden boxes were ready. Heather served homemade root beer and store-bought ice cream, and the men gathered in the driveway to talk as the sun set behind the Rocky Mountains.

“You’re coming to my house next week,” Chad Tone, one of the men, told Douglas, joking.

For months, Tone had been talking to Douglas about wanting to be more prepared. He bought canned goods at Costco, and he figured his family could live off them for months, if necessary. But Tone wasn’t canning food or growing his own food; he had no garden. Douglas knew Tone still had a lot of work to do and, standing in the driveway, he asked his friend a cosmic question of great importance.

“Are you ready?” Douglas said.

“No,” Tone replied.

Douglas just shook his head and smiled. “Gotta get ready,” he said.

Cool Pallet Projects

We see these pallet projects around the internet often. I was looking for something a little different. I wanted tasteful projects that would fit a homestead environment and they had to be simple! I see projects sometimes that seem to be super complicated and require complete disassemble of the pallet.

Here are a few that look great, yet take little effort:

The Pallet Chair:

Easy to assemble and requires little fabrication.

Pallet chair that requires little assembly.

Link: http://blog.holyscraphotsprings.com/2008/12/pallet-chair.html

Pallet Garden Organizer

This is just a cool project. Just simple beauty. Wouldn’t take more than an afternoon to complete.

Pallet Garden Organizer mounted to shed wall

Link: http://ourlittleacre.blogspot.com/2012/08/diy-my-lowes-creative-ideas-pallet.html

Pallet Garden

Love this little project. A little more work than the above, but looks to be totally worth it.

Pallet Garden

Link: http://www.jpetersongardendesign.com/2011/03/pallet-garden/

Pallet Staircase

This is just plain cool. Never thought of using them this way, but looks like an easy, sturdy setup.

Pallet Staircase

Link: http://www.readymade.com/magazine/slideshow/welcome_to_the_doghouse

Pallet Plate Rack

Nice kitchen design out of Italy.

Pallet Plate Rack

Link: http://remodelista.com/posts/slow-design-pallet-as-plate-rack-by-katrin-erens

Pallet Pot Rack

This was a neat idea. Never even thought of this, looks simple and easy.

Pallet Pot Rack

Link: http://agreenpointkitchen.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/home-improvements-pallet-pot-rack/

Pallet Shelving

I love this setup, you could easily build this. Can make it for jewelry organizer, install a mirror for over a sink. Endless possibilities.

Pallet Shelf

Link: http://www.etsy.com/listing/66785598/rustic-wall-shelf-display-organizer-with

Great Idea For Shelter or Office

Nest, the Ecologic Pavilion In Alsace by Studio 1984

This is a brilliant idea. I just love this. I could see using a shipping container on skids, cover in hay to insulate like this. Roof will help keep it cool as well! Love it! Find more info here: http://www.urdesign.it/index.php/2012/11/14/nest-the-ecologic-pavilion-in-alsace-by-studio-1984/