Air Rifles as Survival Tools. Breathing, sight picture, trigger control, and shot placement.

Quiet, hard-hitting, accurate, affordable, and reliable. A good quality air rifle in .177 or .22 caliber meets all these criteria. No, you don’t have to spend thousands. Just one hundred to three hundred FRNs will provide you and your family with a nice rifle and several thousand pellets.

Springer and now gas ram rifles take care of problem pests around the garden and homestead, rabbits, gophers, ground squirrels, starlings, and crows are dealt with humanely and did I say quietly?
My German-made Dianas, both a Model 34 Classic, and a Model 34 EMS, and both in .177 caliber are equipped with inexpensive scopes and will easily maintain quarter-size groups at 30 yards, Both will push a heavier 9.5 -10.5 grain pellet out to rabbit and squirrel killing distances of 40-50 yards, if you do your part with pellet placement. As many old hunters said it’s not so much what you hit them with as where you hit them.

As a teaching tool for kids and folks not raised with firearms the air rifle excels as its quietness and simplicity encourages rather than intimidates new shooters in learning to practice both safe handling and proficiency, in my experience familiarity with arms does not breed contempt, but rather respect.

The choices of air rifles today is great and the quality of the offerings from manufacturers like Crosman, Ruger, Diana, Gamo, Hatsan, Beeman, Benjamin, and Weihrauch span the price range from less than $100. to $500, and even $700. Given the quality of what is on the market, this is a good time to get into air rifles. Even the lowest-priced offerings provide good homestead and backyard pesting performance while the mid and higher-priced options are match-quality rifles with accuracy to test your skill.

Around our homestead, the air rifles keep the gophers, ground squirrels, and crop-destroying birds at bay from the orchard and garden and have even accounted for a possum who was raiding the back porch cat food. The entertainment factor for the great-grandkids with targets and good backstops is a nice afternoon occupier for them while grandma is trying to put dinner or such foodstuffs together to stave off the clamoring hoard.

For our back porch day and night rifle, we have an older Gamo in 177 equipped with both a led light and a red laser adjusted to put pellets spot-on at 15 feet. It also wears a Bushnell 1-4 scope zeroed in at 25 yards, this happens to be the distance from the back deck to the first row of fig trees. This rifle accounted for between 16 and 19 rats one winter when an infestation of the critters started moving onto our place and our cat was only four months old.

For many years a Benjamin pump in .22 caliber was the go-to air rifle that lived with us but my age and old eyes started requiring the assistance of optics to keep the rats and pigeons in check in the barn so a break-barrel Diana 34…

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6 Common Prepping Mistakes You Should Avoid

In our ever-evolving world, it seems that each passing day brings an influx of individuals seeking solace within the embrace of preparedness. They flock towards the notion, so to speak, driven by the mounting uncertainties that loom over our existence. It comes as no surprise that people are yearning to equip themselves with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively weather emergencies and navigate through crises, be they colossal or minuscule in scale.

However, akin to the multifaceted facets of life, there exists not just a right way but an infinite multitude of wrong ways to embark upon this noble pursuit. Let us now embark on a profound exploration, an in-depth analysis of the most common prepping mistakes that befall enthusiasts on their preparedness journey. By shedding light on these blunders, we aim to illuminate the path towards a more effective and fruitful preparedness endeavor.

Failing to make a plan

One of the most critical mistakes that individuals often make when venturing into the realm of preparedness is the failure to create a comprehensive plan. In the rush to accumulate supplies and gather resources, the significance of developing a well-thought-out roadmap is often overlooked.

A lack of a solid plan leaves individuals vulnerable and ill-prepared to handle emergencies and crises effectively. Without a clear direction and a strategic approach, their efforts may become fragmented and disorganized, resulting in wasted time, resources, and potentially dire consequences.

A comprehensive preparedness plan serves as a guiding beacon, illuminating the path forward and ensuring that all essential aspects are taken into account. It entails a thorough assessment of potential risks and hazards, considering both the broad spectrum of emergencies and the specific circumstances unique to an individual or community. By identifying these potential threats, one can tailor their preparedness efforts accordingly, focusing on the areas that require attention the most.

Moreover, a well-crafted plan takes into consideration various factors, such as geographic location, local infrastructure, and personal circumstances. It outlines specific objectives and milestones, providing a sense of direction and purpose. Whether it’s creating an emergency communication plan for family members, establishing designated meeting points, or outlining evacuation routes, each element contributes to a more robust and resilient preparedness strategy.

A comprehensive plan includes a realistic assessment of available resources, both material and human. It helps individuals prioritize their needs, ensuring that essential supplies and equipment are obtained and maintained. This proactive approach minimizes the risk of shortages during times of crisis and enhances overall preparedness.

A well-crafted plan also accounts for the importance of ongoing education and skill development. It recognizes that preparedness is not solely about stockpiling supplies but also about acquiring the necessary knowledge and capabilities to effectively utilize them. It encourages individuals to invest time in learning essential skills such as first aid, basic survival techniques, and self-defense. By honing these abilities, individuals become more self-reliant and capable of handling various emergencies that may arise.

Neglecting Gear Testing

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For Love of a Troy Bilt Horse. The Horse uses a 140 weight GL-4 gear lube.

During my life, I have had plenty of experience with horses of the four-legged variety, acquired mostly while raising horse-loving daughters. Generally speaking, I found them to be expensive, messy, occasionally dangerous, and by the way did I mention expensive? My daughters have grown up so we no longer have horses on the property but the experience gained from this time may prove valuable should society or our infrastructure deteriorate.

I have chosen to write today about a horse of a different color namely red Troy Bilt Horse rototillers which have become an interesting part of my life in recent years. Food production and distribution issues have developed in ways that I had never expected to see here in the US. Having lived overseas in places where these problems are commonplace, I have learned of the value of local and personal food production in the form of a garden. A decade ago, I started developing a 1/10th acre garden next to our newly built rural home. The land was originally a productive field but after the construction process the soil was more compacted construction debris than fertile. So began my quest to build it into a decent garden. As a kid, my father had a small backyard garden that we turned and prepared using a shovel and rake. Back then I remember seeing ads for Troy Bilt Horse rototillers with pictures of beautiful turned soft soil that begged to be planted in.

Unfortunately, there were no funds for such labor-saving devices so we continued to do things by hand. Remembering this, I located a well-used 1970s-vintage full-sized Troy Bilt Horse rear-tined tiller on Craig’sList and started my new adventure in gardening with a real tiller. My “new” Horse had an 8 horse power Tecumseh engine and I soon discovered one of the reasons they are called a Horse. There is a depth gauge that limits how deep the tines can dig into the soil. However, if you get greedy and try to dig too deep/too fast in hard packed soil, the tines will quickly pull you forward taking you for a poorly controlled ride.

The newer Horse models come with a “dead man’s switch” so that if you let go of the handles the engine dies. Mine lacked that safety future so my 210 lb. frame got to wrangle the Horse a number of times before I learned how to set the depth for shallow light passes. The trick in heavy soil is to make multiple passes going progressively deeper. Eventually, the soil is broken up into fine and well-aerated soil. One of the signature features of the Horse tiller is the ability to turn the handles to the side. This allows you to walk alongside using one hand to control the tiller after the soil has become loose so you do not pack it down by walking on it. The cover of the Owner’s Manual has a picture showing this.

Initially, I had to break up hard, machinery-compacted clay…

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How to use hemostatic agents

Achieving hemostasis, also known as rapidly stopping bleeding, is a crucial skill that the survival medic must master. In survival situations, bleeding can stem from a range of sources, including falls on rough terrain or confrontations with hostile groups. If bleeding wounds are not treated effectively, it can result in avoidable fatalities among survivors.

Blood clothing basics

Blood clotting, or coagulation, is a complex process that involves multiple steps and various components of the blood. The primary function of blood clotting is to prevent excessive bleeding after an injury, but it can also lead to the formation of clots in the blood vessels, which can cause serious health problems.

When a blood vessel is damaged, the body responds by constricting the vessel to reduce blood flow to the site of the injury. This vasoconstriction is followed by the activation of platelets, which are small cells in the blood that help to form clots. Platelets adhere to the site of the injury and release certain chemicals that attract more platelets to the area. These platelets then begin to aggregate and form a temporary plug to stop the bleeding.

The next step in the clotting process is the activation of the coagulation cascade. This involves a series of chemical reactions which convert a protein called fibrinogen into fibrin, a stringy protein that forms a mesh-like network over the platelet plug. The fibrin network reinforces the platelet plug and forms a stable clot that seals the injured blood vessel.

The coagulation cascade involves many different proteins and factors that work together to ensure that the clotting process is effective and controlled. Some of the most important proteins involved in the cascade include prothrombin, thrombin, and fibrinogen.

Prothrombin is a protein that is produced in the liver and circulates in the blood. When the coagulation cascade is activated, prothrombin is converted into thrombin, an enzyme that plays a key role in converting fibrinogen into fibrin.

Fibrinogen is a protein that is also produced in the liver and travels in the blood. When the coagulation cascade is triggered, fibrinogen is cleaved by thrombin to form fibrin.

In addition to platelets and the coagulation cascade, the clotting process also involves the action of several natural anticoagulants that help to prevent excessive clotting. These include antithrombin III, protein C, and protein S.

Stop the bleeding to save lives

It was estimated that close to 25 percent of combat deaths in military conflicts could have been survivable with prompt and appropriate actions. A skilled survival medic equipped with the right knowledge, training, and tools can save lives in such situations. For instance, a caregiver equipped with a tourniquet is more likely to be successful than one without.

Hemorrhage control agents, also known as “hemostatic” agents, are available commercially and can effectively stop heavy bleeding. However, the ideal hemostatic agent should work quickly, be portable, have few complications, not interfere with tissue healing, and be reasonably priced. Unfortunately, the…

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A Retreat for Aging Preppers. Rainwater barrel recovery system

Addressing the problems facing aging preppers.

Start early!

Our initial problem was two-fold: Finding sustainable land while still trapped until I was retirement-eligible. Two years before retirement, we began our search for viable land approximately 100 miles from any major city. Our initial search was for about 20 acres, a nearby small town, and off of well-traveled roads. The land had to have a water source with a full-year-running creek.

Remember moving to an unknown rural community places you at a disadvantage of finding appropriate skilled help and unscrupulous persons who will overcharge you based on your lack of knowledge.

After locating a property, we purchased the acreage. About two-thirds of the property was clear-cut for pine lumber some 4 to 5 years earlier, which left an overgrown mess of brambles, briars, and debris The costs of clearing the land was substantial and we had not really budgeted for the costs. Not having any farming background was a disadvantage.

If you are in the market for land, do not think that the low cost of the acreage is better than a more expensive acreage that is already cleared and usable.

About one year from my retirement, we began initial improvements. We paid to bulldoze a path/driveway towards the rear of the property and clear a place for a 40×40 metal barn with 10 ft overhangs on both sides. Due to the distance between our current home to the property being about 100 miles, my husband was ingenious in designing the barn. Inside the barn, 1/4 of the space was used to build a fully functional apartment. We created our own little residence inn that included bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower. One wall contained a kitchen sink, microwave, stove, refrigerator and cabinets. It contained a small closet and the room for a bed and small table for eating. It was completed with a dual ac/ heating window unit.

Additionally, a septic system, well, and electricity was included in the build. This allowed us to come to the property on long weekends and vacation time to oversee the building of our home and begin moving woodworking equipment/storage etc. to the barn.

We were able to monitor any movement via a camera connected to our phones. If you are in a similar situation of trying to get away from the city, but are prevented by your current work situation, this is a good idea, that enables you to begin the process of relocating. Also, during the building of the barn, it seemed like all of the locals showed up one day to examine the strange barn concept.

I believe it was imperative to demonstrate the security system we installed to show local inhabitants the immediate notifications on our phones. I believe this may have prevented loss of property.

The building of the main home became a nightmare of costs, problems, and delays. As with any construction, you can’t move forward on other items until the first is completed. In a rural setting,…

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Recipe for Spanikopita from Mrs. Alaska

The following recipe for Spanikopita is from SurvivalBlog reader Mrs. Alaska.

She writes:  This recipe is adapted from one in the wonderful book, The Boreal Forest, by Beverly Gray.

While traditional spanakopita is made with spinach, feta cheese, and phyllo pastry, the fact is that the filling can be made with ANY cookable leafy green (wild or domesticated) and any cheese. The phyllo, too, can be replaced with pie crust (so it would then be a quiche) or topped with biscuits, or spread over puff pastry.

For the spanakopita:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together 2 cups of feta (or other cheese), 2 cups of cottage (or other) cheese, 5 eggs, 2 TBS of flour or corn starch, herbs and seasonings of choice —  such as salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. I also add the juice and zest of one lemon.

In a wide pan, on low heat, wilt 5 cups of chopped greens with NO WATER. Traditionally, this is spinach, but I have also used dandelion, cabbage, and mixed leaves of beets, turnips, mustard, radish, lamb’s quarter, broccoli, and cauliflower. Obviously, the flavor will vary but the texture will not.

Add the wilted greens to the cheese mixture.

To make with phyllo:

Melt a stick of butter.

Butter a 9 x 12 baking pan.

Unroll a package of phyllo and cover the sheets so they will not dry out as you work.

One at a time, layer about 8 leaves of pastry, buttering each one. Then spread half or all of the greens/cheese mixture. Top with another 8 leaves of pastry, each one buttered, or insert an intermediate layer of phyllo if you wish.

Bake, uncovered for 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.


This freezes well and reheats well. I love it for breakfast with a fried egg on top.

Alternatives include pre-baking a pie shell or puff pastry and then topping them with the cheese/greens mixture and cooking for another 20 minutes for the thinly topped puff pastry or 40 minutes for the quiche.

Mrs. Alaska writes a blog about her off-grid life in remote Alaska.

Do you have a well-tested recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? In this weekly recipe column, we place emphasis on recipes that use long-term storage foods, recipes for wild game, dutch oven recipes, slow cooker recipes, and any recipes that use home garden produce. If you have any favorite recipes, then please send them via e-mail. Thanks!


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So, Is It Illegal To Collect Rainwater in Minnesota?

For self-reliant folks, obtaining and keeping access to off-grid utilities is critical if you want to be prepared for the worst situations possible.

Luckily, one of the most critical resources, water, is also the easiest to obtain totally off-grid by the use of rain-catching systems.

flag of minnesota

These systems can supply hundreds of gallons of water from just a passing storm. But, as hard as it is to believe, collecting rainwater is not always legal, and in some states it is heavily regulated.

How about Minnesota? Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Minnesota?

No, it isn’t illegal to collect rainwater in Minnesota though setting up your own system will require you to get permitted and adhere to Minnesota board plumbing codes. Minnesota has its own plumbing code which is not uniform with international standards, making this trickier than it has to be.

The good news is that you can harvest rainwater for non-potable purposes in Minnesota, but the bad news is you’ll have to go through a proper dog and pony show trying to check all of the boxes required for the Minnesota plumbing board to get your permit.

It’s not great, but at least it’s possible. I’ll tell you everything else you need to know about Minnesota’s rainwater collection laws below…

Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the State Level in Minnesota?

No, collecting rainwater is not illegal at the state level in Minnesota as explained in Minnesota Administrative Rules 4714.1602.

However, as previously mentioned, the implementation of any rainwater harvesting systems requires obtaining permits and compliance with the Minnesota Plumbing Board, or MPB.

The MBP regulates the design, installation, and maintenance of plumbing systems including those for rainwater harvesting through the Minnesota Plumbing Code.

Minnesota law requires that harvested rainwater is used only for non-potable purposes and must be properly stored to prevent contamination.

Rainwater must also be used in a way that doesn’t cause harm to public health or the environment.

Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level in Minnesota?

No, at least in no county I found. But, do keep in mind that county or local laws and guidelines may have additional regulations or restrictions on the collection and use of rainwater beyond what the state law imposes.

Some counties may have sharply limited or totally prohibited the installation of rainwater harvesting systems due to water shortage or contamination concerns.

You must check with your county and city or town for guidelines before buying equipment and implementing a rainwater harvesting practice.

You may also need additional local permits beyond what the state demands: failing to do so may entail fines and charges.

Under What Conditions Can Citizens Collect Rainwater in Minnesota?

Citizens can generally collect rainwater whenever they want in Minnesota so long as they have an inspected and permitted system for the purpose.

Something to bear in mind is that, despite the state allowing “at will” collection for approved…

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So, Is It Illegal To Collect Rainwater in Illinois?

Rainwater is a valuable resource for people living in any areas where water is scarce or expensive. It is also a godsend, if you can collect it, anytime the usual supplies are offline or contaminated.

flag of Illinoisthe flag of Illinois

Naturally, many preppers are keen to invest in rainwater catching and storage systems so they can ensure they have a supply of safe water no matter what is going on in the world.

But, believe it or not the legality of rainwater harvesting is somewhat ambiguous in various states, and rules and regs abound. How about Illinois? Is it illegal to collect rainwater in Illinois?

No, it is not illegal to collect rainwater in Illinois. However, the state does have some rules about how it can be used and stored for later use, and local governments can force system owners to comply with state plumbing laws and codes.

Hardly a surprise considering how litigious and out of control government, at all levels, is in Illinois.

But, that’s just the way it goes, and depending on where you live in the state you might have an easy time getting a system installed and using your rainwater, or you might have a very, very hard time.

Keep reading and I will tell you more about some of the current laws and issues related to rainwater collection in Illinois.

Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the State Level in Illinois?

No, collecting rainwater isn’t illegal at the state level in Illinois. However, there are specific regulations that individuals must follow to ensure that their systems meet certain criteria.

Plus, the state government has empowered all local governments to force adherence to state plumbing laws and codes for private rainwater collection systems.

Even smaller, residential-scale systems are not exempt from permit and inspection requirements as long as local governments dictate.

For example, the systems must be proven to not pose a public health risk, must not negatively impact the environment or neighboring properties, and must not impact the water quality of any civic systems, streams, rivers, or groundwater.

Is Collection of Rainwater Illegal at the County Level?

No, technically, but in some areas the practice will be so odiously overregulated that it might as well be illegal.

While collecting rainwater is not illegal at the state level in Illinois, counties and municipalities have their own guidelines, codes, and regulations, and these are bolstered by the state government allowing them to enforce state plumbing laws and codes on local users. See SB0032, SB0038 and SB2549.

For example, Cook County has provisions and guidelines that only commercial and industrial properties must follow if they are considering a rainwater harvesting system.

Other counties, such as McHenry County, have no specific regulations on rainwater harvesting per se, but may require a building permit for any rain barrels or cisterns depending on the location and purpose of the system.

It is recommended that residents…

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How To Make A Long-Term Financial Security Plan

I hope this article leaves you with a stronger sense of self-reliance, which is crucial in times of crisis. When emergencies arise, you can only rely on yourself and your immediate family, as there’s no guarantee that the millions of caring individuals in the world will be able to assist you.

To become more self-reliant, it’s important to establish a plan for achieving long-term financial security. Here are some actionable steps you can take towards that goal.

Get rid of debt

First, free yourself from the shackles of debt, as being indebted makes you a slave to your debt holder and relinquishes control of your finances. Resolve to avoid using credit to make purchases going forward, and adjust your budget to pay off your debts as quickly as possible. Start by paying off one debt at a time while making minimum payments on your other debts until you are completely debt-free.

Make an emergency fund

When life throws unexpected financial challenges your way, it can feel overwhelming and stressful. That’s why establishing an emergency fund is one of the best steps you can take to prepare for economic troubles. Your emergency fund should be divided into three main categories to ensure that you are prepared for any situation:

Cash-on-hand fund:

It’s crucial to have a ready supply of cash available at all times. In the event of an emergency, banks may be closed, and cards may not be accepted, so you’ll need cash to pay for essential items like supplies, fuel, or hotel rooms. Natural disasters, power grid failures, and sudden evacuations can happen anywhere and without warning. Therefore, keep cash on hand and invest in a secure wall safe to store your funds at home.

Short-term fund:

This is the fund you turn to for immediate emergencies, such as an unexpected car repair or replacing a major appliance that stopped working. It should be kept at a local bank with a debit card attached to the account, so you can access your money immediately. Short-term funds can also help you get through larger events where it may take a couple of days to access your long-term emergency fund.

Long-term fund:

This reserve of money is intended to help you get through more extended periods of difficulties, such as a job loss or a major natural disaster. While this fund should be accessible quickly, it should not be too easy to access, as you may be tempted to use it for everyday spending. It’s recommended to save at least six months of regular expenses and place it in a savings or money market account. Remember, this is an insurance policy, not an investment fund, so don’t worry about making money on this account.

By establishing an emergency fund, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared for any financial challenge life may throw your way.

Build a stockpile of long term goods

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So, Are Black Racer Snakes Poisonous?

There is a tremendous variety of snake species to be found all around the world, and though most of them are harmless or at least non-venomous, some serpents do indeed have a deadly bite. Worse, some harmless snakes are lookalikes with their much deadlier cousins.

black racer snake

Learning to identify and tell one species of snake from another can help to prevent misidentification and danger. How about the black racer? Is it poisonous?

No, the black racer, also known as the southern black racer, is completely non-venomous, and mostly harmless to people.

These impressive snakes, though possessed of a slender build, are often impressively long and frighteningly fast.

This, and their similarity to other venomous snakes like the dreaded cottonmouth often leads to them being dispatched out of hand with no judge and no jury.

You don’t need to worry about them, however, as they are almost totally harmless. You can learn more about these snakes below.

Black Racer Appearance

The black racer is a striking snake, with a slender, athletic build and narrow head. The average specimen is around 3 ft in length, with record-breaking specimens topping out at 6 ft or longer.

As the name suggests, they are typically a solid black or mottled blue gray color all along their back, while the belly ranges from a similarly solid black or blue gray color to a creamy white.

The all over appearance of the scales is glossy or shiny. Be sure to look out for their chin and throat area, as this is invariably that creamy white color.

Is the Black Racer Poisonous?

No. The black racer is completely non-venomous, and though it is classified as a constrictor its usual method of dispatching prey is by smothering it or crushing it into the ground.

Range of the Black Racer

The black racer is found all throughout the southern United States, and particularly through the Deep South and Eastern seaboard.

They’re invariably found in abundance throughout pasture land, overgrown areas, near wetlands, streams and rivers and near the edges of forest, or inside sparsely grown forest habitat.

Also, keep in mind these snakes are prolific and very excellent climbers, and you’re just as likely to happen upon them hanging out in a tree, or taking to a tree in escape, as you are to find them on the ground.

Don’t be alarmed, but if you have never encountered one of these snakes it is only a matter of time; they are quite plentiful!

Will a Black Racer Bite You?

Yes, they will! The black racer, as the name suggests, depends upon speed to make its escape whenever it feels threatened, but anytime they are trapped, cornered or handled in any way they tend to thrash around madly, biting the whole time.

One interesting defensive strategy that is utilized is to imitate a rattlesnake by rapidly vibrating or buzzing the tip of their tail along the ground or in leaf litter to simulate…

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