Tag Archives: skills

Stocking Up on Gold and Silver

 I hear many people in the Prepping World talking about you need to stock up on gold and silver for the post-apocalyptic world. Yes, over the history of mankind, people have sought out precious metals. Yes, it allows for a standard bartering system, if the system was only standardized though.

During the initial phase of the  post apocalyptic world, food, medicine, and basic survival needs will be the key focus and many will barter for them. One cannot eat precious metals. Gold and silver will not save the hungry. Stocking food, weapons, basic necessities of shelter will be the goal of survival, or at least the smart ones.

Investing in precious metals have its rewards, before the economy collapses. Bear and bull markets, I don’t understand derivatives and all the ways the market, but I do understand the bartering between two individuals of goods or services.

In Katrina, there were reports of looting for tvs, electronics, and other non-survival goods. Why? You cannot use a tv to save you from a wall of water. You cannot eat those $200 pair of Jordans. Yes, you need footwear, but that was not the purpose of the looting. People did loot for food and survival gear.

Ammo! Ammo is something that many people do stock up on for safety purposes, but so fail to see the bartering positives of it. Depending on how much you have, you can barter with ammo. Bullets are a dual purpose prep; you can use it for protection or to  hunt game. Back in the 1800’s, saloons would you ammo for drinks. How many bullets can fit into a glass, later coined a shot glass. The saloon owner, or the barkeep, would then sell the ammo for profit.

Alcohol, especially vodka, have many purposes. The obvious, to get drunk. It also can be used as mouthwash, antiseptic, insect repellent, and bartering, just to name a few. Items like this will be something  will be invaluable. With so many uses, it would be something worth it to stock up, or find early during the decline. Better yet, learn how to distill vodka. Knowing the process will be beneficial to save money now and after the stock is depleted  during the breakdown of society.

If you have any thoughts on this, please reply to the blog to start a conversation.

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Survival Multiplier

What does survival multiplier mean? Survival multiplier is a skill or characteristic that one possesses that gives him or her an advantage in a situation. In a physical fight, if one of the fighters had extensive hand to hand combat training, then that would be their survival multiplier.

How do we gain a survival multiplier? People enroll in many different courses to gain an advantage over an obstacle or an opponent. I wish I thought of this when I was in college, I would have signed up for some of the recreation and combat classes Texas Tech offered. I did not. Others sign up for courses in building and construction trade, cooking, botany, survival schools, and many other courses that allow them to learn a skill or a trade that one day will help them survive. Some people read books and watch educational videos.

What happens when you do not have time or money to enroll in all these different courses? What do you do?  If you are like me, I eat, sleep, and work. I don’t have much time outside the normal work day to do anything extra (until summer break). So, I take the time at lunch and my break to watch videos (mainly YouTube) to learn different things. You have to be wary of which videos you do watch. For instance, I recently watched videos on canning, so I made sure it was filmed or sponsored by a canning company like Balls or Kerr Jar Co. Many people out there have techniques and practices, but some of them don’t know their elbow from their earhole.

I believe many people forget one of the characteristics they need in order to survive, and that would be they need to be physically fit. You may not need to have 10% body fat, be able to run a marathon, or bench press 350 lbs but I do believe you need to be able to manipulate your body enough to get in and out of tight spots. For about a year now, I have been running. I am also starting Insanity Max. I am embarrassed that I have not done it much lately because I came down with the flu and tournament season in softball (I teach/coach high school students) got me off track. Spring Break starts this evening. I will try to get back on track with my fitness this coming week.

Other skills I believe are considered my survival multipliers are able to build and fix most things, cook, sew, fire starting from various methods, not afraid to scavenge for materials, and the ability to problem solve. My wife is one of my best survival multipliers because she comes up with ideas for me to try, usually from Pinterest. I play ‘podcasts’ while I am travelling to learn about things, or at least have a chance to spark ideas on how to improve items I already have.

Growing up, I had many different adults in my life, and I learned a great deal of skills from them. If you consider yourself a homesteader, a prepper, a survivor, or just an average person, there is one thing all of them need, and that is a teacher. I am not talking about a school teacher, but some do teach more than their content, but someone who you can listen to, imitate, and look up to in order to gain knowledge. Knowledge is the ultimate survival multiplier. Papa was a great teacher. Sometimes my brother and I would go fishing with him and learned different fishing skills, how to tie a knot on a hook, make our own fishing bait, or just watch our poles. He helped us one year roof our house and showed us how shingles were supposed be laid down. I wish I was able to spend a little more time with him, but he passed few years ago. I inherited some of his woodworking tools because he thought I would use them. I try to honor him by keeping his tradition of building gifts instead of buying them. I may have replaced some of the tools but it isn’t the tool, it’s the tradition.

I don’t think anyone is ever prepared for every situation, but I think with the proper training and learning, you can problem solve your way out of most situations. I tell the students in my classes, sometimes it is not the content we are learning, the teachers are trying to teach you problem solving skills through our content. I teach geometry, which I believe is a very relevant subject to know. Many industries and jobs require some level of geometric knowledge in order for the worker to be successful.

(Picture of a sword and shield I made for my sons.)

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What Direction To Go?

You hear about people getting lost in the woods, desert, or just went missing for other reasons. Why does this happen? Some of these missing people are never heard of again or their remains are found years later. Are we so different than the animals in the wild?

Birds, fish, and other migratory animals have an instinct on where they need to go, even if the countryside has changed. Do humans have this ability? I believe some individuals have a better sense of direction than others. When we travel somewhere that we have been years before, I usually remember the route. My wife makes light of it, and I usually say “Don’t you remember?” Can we learn a sense of direction or are we a society evolving to be directionally challenged?

Historically, humans have been able to get from point A to point B. Indigenous tribes travel, sometimes great distances, to hunt food, follow the migration of animals, or because natural disasters. During the 1800’s, Americans migrated westward during the Westward Expansion. Direction was key. If you went too far north, the wagon train froze. If you went too far south, you may have ran into tribes of American Indians. If you went at the wrong time, you had catastrophes like the Donner Party.

What do we do when migration in developed societies cease to exist? Do we have an inherited sense of direction? Is it learned? Some people go to survival schools in order to learn survival skills. One session that should be taught is mapping. The time spent teaching map skills does not make you an expert, but it is a start. The instructors, hopefully are trained extensively, took years to learn their skills. To practice is to learn, to teach is to master. We are starting our boys at an early age.  My 2 sons (2 and 4 years old) are always pointing out stores, restaurants, and other landmarks when we are driving. My wife and I usually quiz them on where are we going? What is over there? We want them to explore their surrounding. I think If we let the 4 year old out somewhere near his school, he could make it to school on his own. We would not do that, of course, because it’s a pretty busy road with train tracks running through, construction of an overpass, and the fact of he’s 4 years old.

With being a high school coach, we travel throughout our region for games. I have worked for 3 different schools in 3 totally different areas, so I am becoming more aware of my state. I know back roads, side roads, and ways to get to my destination when there are no roads. Sometimes I think I am turning into my dad. He worked for years as a truck driver, picking up and delivering loads between Houston, TX and Kansas. He seemed to have everything mapped out in his head. This happens because of the countless trips and hundreds of thousands of miles that he drove to provide for the family.

Are we evolving to be without direction? Look at society. Cell phones, GPS, and other electronic gadgets guiding us are the norm. Bluetooth linking your electronic map to your vehicle speakers are making travelling easier, but dumbing down the navigation part of the trip. “In 200 yards, turn right.” Even the cars nowadays dumb down the driving experience with lane departure, emergency vehicle braking, self parking, and numerous other features.

As technology increase, the ability of us to think for ourselves decreases. We can’t add, subtract, multiply or divide. As those basic traits decrease, so will skills for survival. We can travel the same road that everyone else is stuck on, or we can pave our own road. “Roads… Where we are going, we don’t need roads.” Doc Brown from Back to the Future said it exactly. I think it was more of a metaphor for living than the literal aspect of the flying Delorean (which would be cool though).  Have a philosophy to live by, know the direction you are going, and pave a new path for you and yours.

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