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Man oh man, what a weekend. In a previous article we talked about survivalism as an experience and not just a theory. This past weekend was to expand my experience, and to improve upon my theories.

Part of my prepping for SHTF / TEOTWAWKI includes going to the Bug Out Location for a couple of days, taking notes, figuring out what needs to be changed, and going from there.

Its one thing to say, “if the crap hits the fan, this is what I am going to do,,,,”.

Its another thing to put those plans to the test on a regular, or at the very least a semi-regular basis.

In this article we are going to be discussing my observations from the June 30 – July 1 trip. Feel free to share your questions and/or comments.

On Saturday, June 30, 2012 my wife and I loaded up the Tahoe with basic gear, and headed to the Bug Out Location. Some of the stuff we packed included change of clothes, food, ammunition, firearms,, drinks, laptop, cell phone,,, just your basic stuff.

A few hours after arriving at the camp, my wife and I were joined my a buddy of mine, his wife, and their daughter.

Safe Drinking Water – The main problem we faced over the weekend was access to safe drinking water. The water well is not used very often, so the water develops a sulfur smell and taste. Also, the well pump runs off electricity.

During a long term SHTF situation, the well would be pretty much useless.

The well itself was hand dug around 100 years ago. Over the past century soil sediment has been slowly filling the well up. Then there are the leaves that make their way into the well. One time a feral cat fell into the well and died. The cat carcass had to be fished out, then bleach poured into the well.

Sooner or later we will have to drive a new well, and at the very least have a hand pump.

We have a creek that runs through the property. If worse came to worse, we could run the creek water through my Royal Berkey water filter. 4 black Berkey filters will supply an estimated 12,000 gallons of safe drinking water. But what about showers, washing dishes, washing clothes, water for livestock,,, and other general purpose uses for water?

Video from 2010 about the Royal Berkey


One of our guest asked about washing the dishes without the water pump. We could use water from the creek, but what about waterborne pathogens? Do you want to be washing your dishes in water contaminated with diseases like Cryptosporidium and E. coli? Neither do I.

Maybe I should get a couple of #3 washtubs to keep at the camp? Wash the dishes in the washtub, then set the dishes in direct sunlight to dry? A little bit of bleach would help kill waterborne pathogens, except for Cryptosporidium. Sooner or later the bleach will run out. We need to think long term.

My ideal setup would be a new well with a solar powered trickle pump that feeds an above ground 500 – 750 gallon storage tank held in the air with beams. But it probably be years before I have anything like that. The solar powered pump would keep the storage tank full. Since the water would be 6 – 8 feet in the air, everything would work from gravity. You would be able to take a shower, wash the dishes, have hot water,,, with nothing but gravity supplying the water pressure.

Overgrown Weeds and Grass – Upon arriving at the camp one of the first issues that needed to be fixed was the overgrown grass and weeds.

Grass needs to be cleared before you can plant your long term survival garden.

High grass is a great place to pick up ticks. Ticks will climb on the high grass, then wait for a warm blooded victim to walk by.

While a brush hog is ideal to cut the grass, the tractor is down for maintenance, so all I had was a ridding lawn mower. The deck of the mower kept hitting above ground tree roots. The continued impact with tree roots bent the deck so far that the blades started hitting the deck. I had to stop mowing several times to bend the deck out so the blades would not hit.

After the grass was cut, some of it was racked up around the peach trees for mulch. I am hoping to create a compost pile around the peach trees using grass clippings.

Fruit Trees – At the camp I have 2 plum, 4 peach, several pecan, a fig and 4 apple trees. None of which are producing fruit like what I want.

In 2011 Texas experienced a severe drought, which probably stunted the growth of the trees for a year.

I have not been fertilizing the trees like I should have, so I am partially to blame for the slow fruit production.

During the spring of 2013 I plan on fertilizing the trees with 13-13-13 around the drip line, spreading manure and spraying the pecan trees with zinc.

My Cousins Chickens – While we were at the camp I decided to walk over to my cousins house to say hello. Besides visiting for a little while, I also wanted to take a look at my cousins chicken coop and chicken yard. Earlier in 2012 my cousin and her husband had bought 11 production red hens and 2 roosters.



Instead of building a chicken coop, my cousin and her husband turned an unused horse stall into a chicken coop. I have to admit, I was impressed with how things turned out. To prevent predators from digging under the walls of the coop, a trench was dug around the edge of the coop, cement blocks were inserted into the trench, then back filled with dirt. So far there have been no issues with predators.

A couple of things that really interested my about what my cousin was doing:

1. She was canning peas out of the garden

2. She was using a propane camp stove to heat the pressure cooker. I forgot exactly how many quarts of peas my cousin said she put up, but it was in the 30 something range. That is one quart a week for around 6 months.

Time to shoot some guns - as the sun drifted past the top of the pine trees, the shadows started to grow longer, and the daytime temps started to ease a little bit, the time came to break out the firearms.

FN/FAL and PTR-91 on the shooting bench



On this trip the Bug Out Location I brought – AR15, AK47, FN/FAL, Mossberg 590, Remington 1911 R1 and a Taurus PT709 slim.

AR15 is my SHTF go to rifle for personal and property protection. The low recoil makes it ideal for family members and friends that do not like a lot of recoil.

Awhile back I mounted a Surefire G2X and a Magpul angled firearm grip.

Its one thing to go shooting on a range, its another thing to shoot with natural obstructions. After the sun went down a little bit, I went over to the creek and with the Surefire light and red dot scope fired off a few rounds into the sand bar on the opposite side of the creek. I wanted to see how well the light, Magpul forearm grip and red dot scope worked in a simulated situation.

AK47 – yea its a piece of junk WASR-10. At one time I had a Maadi, but my ex-wife claimed it was stolen after we separated. Its funny how things just “disappeared” while we were going through a divorce.

The AK is my “oh crap, the crap has hit the fan” go to rifle. In a worse case situation, I hand out the AR, shotguns, 10/22,,, and everything else to friends and family, the AK is mine, and mine alone.

The reason why I wanted to shoot the AK on this trip was to try out Tula ammunition from the local wal-mart. The last few times I have gone to Academy sports and outdoors, they have not had any Monarch 7.62×39. While Academy was out, I decided to buy a few boxes of Tula.

Saturday evening (June 20, 2012) I fired off 20 rounds of Tula with no malfunctions to report. The next step is to fire off somewhere between 100 – 200 rounds and lets see what happens.

FN/FAL – In my quest for a 308 survival rifle, I decided on the FN/FAL. Besides the M1A and the H&K91, no other 308 rifle is battle proven like the FN/FAL.

The reason I brought the FN/FAL to the Bug Out Location was to test fire some Monarch 308 Winchester. Every time a democrat is elected president there is a rush on ammunition. Sure enough, there has been a rush on 308 before the November 2012 elections. With supplies of 308 Winchester drying up, you have to get what you can when you can. Academy sells Monarch 308 Winchester 150 grain softpoint.

From around 75 yards I was able to achieve minimum 1 inch groups, maximum around 2 inch groups with Monarch 150 grain 308 Winchester.

1 inch – 2 inch groups out of a cheap soft-point is ok with me. Worse case situation, use the soft-points for protection of property, and use the more expensive ammunition for hunting.

With the results I saw with the Monarch 308 Winchester, I will probably pick up some more.

Mossberg 590 – is one rough and tough pump shotgun. If I have to sling some serious lead downrange, it will be with a Mossberg 590 and some rifled slugs.

The Mossberg 590 was brought for 2 purposes:

1. Try out the new Surefire 6PX tactical light.

2. Fire off a few Winchester rifled slugs.

To be perfectly honest, the Winchester 2 3/4 inch rifled slugs had a little more kick then what I was expecting.

The Surefire light worked well, but I need a way to aim the shotgun in low light conditions. I will probably buy some kind of red dot scope for the Mossberg 590 and to from there.

Remington 1911 R1 – I have wanted a 1911 since around 1984 or 1985. In January of 2012 my wife bought me a Remington 1911 R1 for my birthday. Even though the pistol took a slight break in period, after a few hundred rounds everything seems to be working well.

The local walmart sells a Federal 220 grain round nose for something like $21. Before I bought a bunch of the Federal round nose, I wanted to make sure it was going to work well in my Remington. I brought the Remington 1911 to the camp with the sole intention of firing off some Federal round nose.

Six magazines of Federal 45acp FMJ were sent through the Remington R1, and there were zero malfunctions. This means I am good to go on stockpiling Federal 45acp FMJ.

TaurusTaurus PT709 slim 9mm PT709 slim – was brought for the sole purpose of legal concealed carry. The problem is, I never got around to getting my concealed carry permit.

Another use for the Taurus PT709 slim is to carry it around the Bug Out Location. Cutting grass, picking peas, planting potatoes,,,, the Taurus PT709 slim fits in just about any pocket.

The problem is, I have not fired enough rounds through the Taurus PT709 slim to have absolute confidence in it.

The local walmart sells some Federal 9mm 115 grain FMJ for something like $19.96. I picked up a box to fire through the Taurus PT709 slim. It just so happened that my buddy brought his Springfield XDM 9mm. We both fired off several rounds of that cheap Federal 9m FMJ with no issues.

As Saturday night drew to an end we were faced with a new problem, my step daughter, grand kids and son-in-law showed up. Not that their arrival was a problem, more like the sleeping arrangements would have been an issue.

The beds were already claimed, so where were the unexpected guest supposed to sleep? My step daughter, grandkids and son-in-law decided not to spend the night at the camp. This brought up the question, how do you deal with unexpected guest? Someone shows up at your front door needing a place, how do you handle it?

Sunday morning, July 1, 2012 – we loaded up and headed home. Well, we did not “exactly” load up and head home. First my wife and UI got our shower, brushed our teeth, ate breakfast, then loaded up and headed home.

How would we take a shower and eat breakfast without the modern comforts of life? We could setup

Solar showers – Coleman makes a solar shower unit. Its a black bag that you fill with water, set in sunlight for a few hours and you are good to go. All you need is a couple of tarps to build a privacy shelter out of.

Breakfast – Want to start the day off right? Have a good breakfast. How do you have a good breakfast during a long term SHTF situation? You have some eggs, oatmeal, breakfast burrito,,, or something along those lines.

There is a reason why breakfast is called the most important meal, because it sets the pace for the rest of the day.

In Review – While my wife and I were at the camp we made a few notes of what we may need:

Bar soap – liquid soap is good, bar soap is better.
Toilet paper
Light bulbs
Sting / cord – like trot line sting.
Hand tools – such as screw drivers, wrenches, pliers,,, and the such.
Lighters – even though I have over 1,000 matches at the Bug Out Location, I want to stockpile lighters.
D batteries – we have need some batteries for the flashlights.
First aid supplies
Cleaning supplies / bleach
Bottled water
General food items
Ammo cans

My wife and I are going to collect various items, put them in a box, and in the next couple of weeks bring the items to the Bug Out Location.
 

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Kev, regarding the water situation. What may be a good back up plan is to use IBC totes. If you have anything with a roof, you can set up a gutter system to flow into the tote. Even if you don't, you can fill it from the well once it is working and have that water saved in case your primary water sources become problematic. The totes are used extensively on local South and Central Texas ranches to water livestock and can be purchased cheaply on Craigslist. Youtube has lots of ideas on how to customize for your situation. One warning: wrap or paint it to keep the algea down.
 

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Kev, quick question, do you reload? And if so what calibers? Reason is I only do .308 and 30-06, and have some odd stuff I'll never use like .375 that needs a home...
 

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How do you do laundry?
Right now I do it in town, but have a washtub & scrub board, clothesline can be put up on short notice.
I'm thinking about one of the plastic/rubber cement mixing drums, treadle powered.
Folding cots for unexpected guests, I just purchased one because my loft bed is too darned hot to sleep in right now.
 

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How deep is your well?

The usual method of cleaning a shallow hand dug well is to recirculate water using a high flow trash pump for 5-10 minutes (which stirs up all the sediment) then flush the muddy water out. Often an external tank with 100 gal of makeup water is needed to get all the sediment into solution. Finally, you pour in a quart of bleach, a recirculate with your normal well pump.

A shur flow 12 volt pump and a 40-50 watt solar panel should provide all the clean water you need. I found a 700 gal water tank at he local ag supply store last month. I'll bet the sell the same in Tx.
 

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For those extra people who show up, how about hammocks? Between the single person and two person models, you can quickly accomodate some extra persons provided you have somewhere to hang 'em.

Water, I don't know about the legality (of collecting rainwater) there, but a tank/cistern filled today may be your only source. I'd look into both a well pump (solar) and perhaps a windmill head. If you're being frugal 500 gallons should suffice as long as you are replenishing it. At that point you could potentially refill it using rainwater properly filtered. (If you ever get rain down there)
I'm fond of windmills over solar, if it comes to it, you can operate the pump bny hand. And it wouldn't have to be a fast pump, 1-2 gallons a minute is plenty fast when it's constantly replenishing.

As to ammo, I just gave a quote to a customer for .40 and .45 using plated bullets. The savings even buying brass was still there, check around if you don't handload for a commercial handloader/remanufacturer who's local. Unlike 'foreign' ammo you are most likely to get more consistant ammo when the bullets, primers, powder and brass all come from the same lot. And often its just as inexpensive, if ammo can be called inexpensive today.

I know my .308 loads are running @$.25 a pop using good bullets and my own brass, substantially better than $.50 each or worse for factory ball.
 

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Texas is a pretty windy place, how about a windmill to help fill your water-tank?

I would not wait to fertilize your Fruit trees, or to prune them a bit. Like anything else, they need to be trained to produce for you.

If you think you will have to divert a little of that Creek (and I would if I were there) I have a suggestion that might be practical;
Dig the trench now with a little back-hoe, up to within a yard or two of the Creek. Put a bed of gravel down so that you have a bit of rip-rap to get a start on the cleansing process. Then porous sand and a bank of charcoal/ash to complete the process. Then you have a wide part, a pool of cleaner water, then a trench back to carry water back to the creek.
Now, cover the filter stream and the return trench with sheets of plywood, or maybe sheet steel if its cheaper (lumber is nuts these days). Cover with a dusting of earth and grass seeds. Not only does this conceal the diversion, but it also cuts way down on evaporation. The only thing to give it away is a cute little pool where none was before.

You can leave the last bit of **** in place for SHTF, so that just a few hours of work with a shovel gets the job done.... but to be realistic, I think it has to be tested first so that a simple error is grading does not screw your plan for a life-saving water source when the time comes.
 

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I recommend first thing upping the priority on the well/water situation. Your idea of a low volume solar powered pump feeding a tank is a good one and a hand pump is also. A new well is a very good idea too. I know it is expensive, but there you go, you need water to survive.

Both of these things I will be adding to my well (once I get the property - ran into a snag yesterday in financing, got it ironed out) - the well is above the house about ten feet, so putting a tank next to it should be okay, probably won't give the pressure that the pump gives, but should be enough to get by in a pinch if the power goes out. The house is wired for a gen and the generator stays with the house (but I will probably add a larger stationary diesel later).

I am in the same situation with brush, the POs have let brush grow up where it was cleared, so even though I would have room for a garden, I will beat back the brush with a brush mower and then keep it back with various other tools. I will be buying several different scythe type hand tools as a backup for use on grass/etc. if fuel becomes scarce.
 

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Those storage totes are great, also could you drive a well point down in the well you have and get water from deeper, also sounds like a cover for the well is in order. get the water tested at the county health dept. and see what is in there for real then talk to them about fixing the problem. I just had to shock my well, 24 hrs w/o water and another test and we are good to go. I used the pool shock granules, get them at the pool place not wally, wallly has 45% clorine and the pool place has 75%
 

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Interesting write up. No replacement for real world testing.

Couple of comments. For the chicken coop (future reference, obviously), instead of digging deep enough for cement blocks (I'm assuming they used full size cinder blocks), dig a trench 6" deep and 1' to 18" wide from the base of the fence away from the pen. When you install the fence leave 1' to 18" at the bottom and bend it away from the pen and lay it in your trench and fill the trench back in and pack the dirt down. When predators run into the fence, they start digging right at the fence. As they go, they'll hit the buried fence and stop. I've never seen a predator start digging away from the fence and try to angle in - they always dig at the fence. This also prevents the predator from trying to push underneath the fence, especially if the fence ever became loose.

Also, it's hard to tell, but it looks like where the coop is situated, there are overhanging trees. If so, it would not be hard for a **** or a possum climb a tree next to the coop, get on the roof of the coop and slide or drop down into the coop. I'd trim the branches away from the coop and put some chicken wire or field wire up to prevent access from above. I've seen this happen, it's not pretty.

We've never used a coleman stove to can, but I did buy a turkey deep fryer set consisting of a propane burner on a 2' stand - it also came w/ a deep (i.e., 2') pot w/ lid. It works well to can w/, as long as its not too windy.


It makes perfect sense that your ar is for home defense, but the ak is for shtf/bug out. They heavier x39 round will penetrate and go through a lot more walls than will the 5.56.
 

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very interesting i am all for learning new ways. as for having an above ground tank for water storage you will have to be concerned about freezing depending on your location. i have a 750 gal tank on trailer that froze solid one night when it got down to 5 degrees. that made me start thinking about 1000 gal septic tank and gutter system. maybe 2 tanks better
 

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Great write up. The advice given in the comments are equally nice. Being a Nurse I can testify that First Aid supplies are ALWAYS needed :). Basic supplies are used more than more complex. Only use what you feel comfortable using. Don't buy anything you don't know how to use, as it will just be wasted space. No one likes wasted space! ;-)
 

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Good to see that even those of us at this for a while find stuff we still need to work on.

I am actually planning a practice run for end of the month or so.

One of the things I do in a "drive in, long term camp" situation is the first day there I boil up some water and put it in a water container like one of those 5 gallon camping jugs with a spout on it. I use that water for general purpose cleaning and the like.

For a BOL, the coolest thing I ever saw was a buddy of my dad's home build at his hunting camp. Basically, he used a series of 55 gallon drums. Some were for rain capture, but two were in a frame together one over the other (honestly, I assume they were welded, don't recall for sure as it was almost 30 years ago). The one on top was water storage, another was pretty much an oven that directed its heat into the water storage one above it.

He used to go up and fill the water one way ahead of time the camp would be used, but with a BOL that would not always be an option. Still, with a hand pump you could fill the top one while a fire gets going in the oven portion.

He then used it hot if you wanted to fill a portable container for the shower tank he'd built (basically a gravity feed shower in some trees with a privacy shelter built out of long poles), laundry tubs, and dirty dishes. Other wise, you could take some out and let it cool (or wait the hours for the heated water to cool once fire went out) to fill canteens and such.

Something like that might work for you.
 

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One of our guest asked about washing the dishes without the water pump. We could use water from the creek, but what about waterborne pathogens? Do you want to be washing your dishes in water contaminated with diseases like Cryptosporidium and E. coli? Neither do I.
Wouldn't adding soap to the water raise the sodium content of the solution so high that those little buggers wouldn't survive?
 

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Good write up and information. My problem is where I now live there is simply no where to go that would be satisfactory as a BOL. I'm working on acquiring a location but needing water and other features is driving the price of any land way up. I certainly wish I still lived in Wyo and I hope my brother and my cousin are enjoying my former BOL. I look forward to more reports.

p.s. Get new lights. D batteries are big and clumsy and old technology. There are great lights out there that use AA type batteries and many are rechargeable with solar technology. New AA batteries have a long shelf life even in the common batteries, but Lithium batteries will outlast them all. There are great lanterns and flashlights. Thanks for a great report, I'm jealous.
 

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Going to cache any items there?

I like the elevated water storage idea, just thank god that you don't get freezing weather in your AO.

I have owned three FALs, not one of which I ever cared for. Not to criticize your weapon, I hope its better than the three i have had, because the three i have had didn't function well with certain types of ammo, not a lot of optic mounting options, and the ones that are out there are a pain to take on and off the rifle, accidentally hitting the disassembley lever because i am to brain warped from years of using ARs (I know not the rifles issue mine).

Good post, I learned allot of these lessons myself from the same type of outings. The longer you stay in the bush, the more you learn.
 
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