All posts for the month May, 2013

Yet another round of violent thunderstorms have begun to erupt over the Central states Friday, threatening lives and property.

Many of the storms are packing strong wind gusts, hail and blinding downpours. However, a significant number of the storms have the potential to be more disruptive with power outages, property damage and flooded roadways.

The most intense storms into the evening produced tornadoes are they raced across the Central U.S. states.

A team from the Weather Channel was chasing a tornado near El Reno, Okla. when the track of the tornado sudden changed and hit the team directly, according to Wunderground.

Meteorologist Mike Bettes was in the storm chasing SUV when it was picked up by the tornado and thrown for about 200 yards. Bettes stated that all of the team alive, but some have minor injuries.

While the storm system responsible for the wild weather is beginning to pick up forward speed, for some communities this is day five of the severe weather threat.

Severe Storms Friday from Oklahoma and Arkansas to Wisconsin and Michigan
Flooding Threat Plains to Ohio Valley into Saturday
Current Severe Weather Watches and Warnings


9:26 p.m. CDT After seeking further confirmation of the damage at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., we are reporting that all fans are safe.

8:53 p.m. CDT Friday According to reports from local news sources, people are trapped under debris at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo.

8:42 p.m. CDT Friday A tornado is on the ground in Wood River, Ill. Seek shelter.

8:41 p.m. CDT Friday Storms capable of producing tornadoes are moving toward Joplin, Mo. Seek shelter now.

8:34 p.m. CDT Friday A tornado is reported to be on the ground near Watova, Okla.

8:27 p.m. CDT Friday Winds are gusting to 60 mph in Florrisant, Mo.

8:24 p.m. CDT Friday A rotating funnel cloud was seen in the St. Louis, Mo., suburb of Florissant.

8:20 p.m. CDT Friday Buildings have been damaged in Harvester, Mo., according to local media.

8:14 p.m. CDT Friday A large tornado is moving into the St. Louis, Mo., metro area. This is a dangerous situation. Seek shelter now.

8:10 p.m. CDT Friday A large, dangerous tornado is approaching the north side of St. Charles, Mo. Seek shelter now.

7:58 p.m. CDT Friday A wind gust of 80 mph was reported in Cedar Vale, Kan. Structures have been damaged.

7:53 p.m. CDT Friday:

7:45 p.m. CDT Friday: A developing tornado was south of Del City, Okla., at 7:40 p.m. CDT. It is moving toward Tinker AFB. Local Radar

7:28 p.m. CDT Friday: A new tornado formed just east of the Will Rogers Airport.

7:21 p.m. CDT Friday A funnel cloud was reported near Wentzville, Mo.

7:17 p.m. CDT Friday Thunderstorm winds are gusting between 50-60 mph in Troy, Mo.

7:04 p.m. CDT Friday: A tornado is 1 mile west of the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds and moving east, northeast. Seek shelter now. Latest watches and warnings.

6:56 p.m. CDT Friday:

6:46 p.m. CDT Friday: New circulation was reported near El Reno, Okla. and is moving toward Union City. A tornado was spotted 5 miles west of Yukon and is heading east at 10 mph.

6:43 p.m. CDT Friday: A tornado was reported west of Saint Louis, Mo., seek shelter near the area.

6:32 p.m. CDT Friday: Five miles east of New Haven, Iowa, a funnel cloud was reported.

6:30 p.m. CDT Friday: A tornado is located 5 miles northeast of Montgomery City, Mo.

6:17 p.m. CDT Friday: A tornado was reported near Mineola, Mo. and heading toward New Florence. Seek shelter now.

6:15 p.m. CDT Friday: Union City and Mustang, Okla., are potentially in the path of the tornado. Seek shelter now.

6:02 p.m. CDT Friday: The tornado located southwest of Reno, Okla., is moving east and just south of I-40. Travel west on I-40 out of Oklahoma City is not advised.

5:57 p.m. CDT Friday: NWS Norman reported a rain wrapped tornado 2-3 miles south of I-40, southwest of El Reno, Okla.

5:42 p.m. CDT Friday: A tornado was reported 7 miles west of Kingfisher, Okla.

4:40 p.m. CDT Friday: Spotters reported a funnel cloud 1 mile southwest of Cherryvale, Kan.

4:18 p.m. CDT Friday: A tornado was spotted 3 miles west of Independence, Kan. It made a brief touchdown.

3:45 p.m. CDT Friday: Winds gusted to 55 mph in Marysville, Ohio and brought down trees two-foot in diameter. Local radar.

3:37 p.m. CDT Friday: Thunderstorm winds gusted to 75 mph and blew a car off the road near Dennis, Kan.

3:44 p.m. CDT Friday: Storms with possible rotation were spotted on radar and are moving toward northern Henry and southeastern Bates, Mo.

2:48 p.m. CDT Friday: Thunderstorm wind gusted to 59 mph in Montgomery, Ohio.

2:20 p.m. CDT Friday: The first severe thunderstorms of the afternoon were firing over portions of southeastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri, from Sedalia, Mo. to Caney, Kan.

12:00 noon CDT Friday: Storms have weakened over much of Missouri. However, new storms will re-fire from Wisconsin and Michigan to Oklahoma and Arkansas. As they do, live coverage will resume.

10:30 a.m. CDT Friday: Storms were beginning to weaken just west of St. Louis, but can still bring locally gusty wind, small hail and brief downpours as they move through over the next hour or so.

9:30 a.m. CDT Friday: As the storms rolled through Columbia, Mo. in the morning, they dropped 2.50 inches of rain in three hours.

9:00 a.m. CDT Friday: Numerous roads were closed across Kansas City, Mo., due to storms that hit earlier in the morning. Multiple vehicles are stranded in the northeastern part of the city.

8:58 a.m. CDT Friday: A thunderstorm hit Jefferson City, Mo., with wind gusts to nearly 60 mph and 1.00-inch diameter hail. Large trees are reported down in the area with damage to some roofs.

8:10 a.m. CDT Friday: Thunderstorm winds downed trees, which were blocking roads in Morgan County, Mo.

6:10 a.m. CDT Friday: Thunderstorm winds destroyed two homes in West Covington, Tenn. Other homes sustained roof and structural damage.

More at AccuWeather-Live: Tornadoes Slam Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri.


By Brian Thompson

Severe thunderstorms will fire up once again on Friday across the Midwest, bringing damaging winds, frequent lightning strikes, hail and the threat for tornadoes.

Severe thunderstorms will threaten Kansas City, Tulsa and Oklahoma City on Friday, and may impact the evening commute in Chicago and St. Louis. The risk of severe storms will then push eastward toward Detroit and Indianapolis Friday night.

The storms will develop out ahead of a cold front picking up forward speed through the Plains states.

Just like the past several days, the strongest storms will have the potential to produce tornadoes. The biggest concern for tornadoes will be from northeastern Oklahoma into southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas, where the most intense storms are likely during the late afternoon and evening hours.

Large hail will be another big threat, especially from Oklahoma to Missouri. There were reports of softball-sized hail with a few storms Thursday, and some storms Friday will have the potential to produce hail at least the size of baseballs. Hail this size can cause damage to homes and cars, and can also injure people and animals caught outside.

Eastern Heat, Humidity to Last into Weekend
Current Severe Weather Watches and Warnings
US Interactive Radar: Track the Severe Storms

Farther north from St. Louis to Chicago and Milwaukee, the main threats will be damaging winds, blinding downpours and hail. Even in these areas, though, an isolated tornado or two can be expected.

Flooding will also continue to be a widespread problem from Oklahoma all the way up into Illinois. The ground is already saturated from persistent drenching thunderstorms that produced heavy rainfall over the past several days.

Clusters of strong thunderstorms leftover from Thursday night will slowly diminish Friday. However, new isolated storms will fire during the afternoon and organize into pockets and lines of severe weather before the end of the day. People should remain alert in the indicated areas for rapidly changing weather conditions.

Many rivers and streams are already high, and additional rainfall Friday will add to flooding concerns.

As the cold front slides eastward Saturday, the threat for severe weather will shift into the Ohio and mid-Mississippi valleys.

There still could be a few strong thunderstorms around Chicago and St. Louis on Saturday, but the main focus for severe weather will be around Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville and Little Rock.

Strong to locally severe thunderstorms will then shift into the central and northern Appalachians and perhaps as far as the I-95 corridor in the Northeast on Sunday.

More at AccuWeather-Severe Storms and Heavy Rain for Chicago, St. Louis.


Our modern way of life has strayed from the family farm and has moved toward the urban and suburban environment. This change has left many people in a compromised position when it comes to full self-sufficiency. However, there are some fantastic examples of cooperative efforts taking place, as well as independent ingenuity, that should serve as a reminder that providing for one’s family is quite attainable under virtually any style of living.

One of the very best examples of food independence on a small plot of land comes from the Dervaes family who live on 1/10th of an acre just outside of the Los Angeles city center. Please view the following inspirational video which highlights how they have transformed what could have been a simple plot of grass into a location that produces enough food for a family of four AND enables an income of $20,000 per year … all done organically. It is a supreme example of Urban Homesteading, which you can learn more about at their website Urban Homestead.

As the cost of food increases and more people learn about the dangers of traditional produce which can be loaded with pesticides and/or compromised by genetic engineering, many communities are looking to take back control and introduce local solutions.

Community gardens are just such a solution. The incredible range of benefits were succinctly summarized by Christina Sarich as she documented her own recent involvement with community gardening. She found it to be a transformative experience:

  • Community gardening reduces crime rates. Take one community in North Philadelphia that was once full of vacant, rundown buildings and plagued with crime, drugs, trash and derelict people as much as derelict infrastructure. A group of women decided to build the Las Parcelas Community Garden and Kitchen. Not only did it improve crime rates, it caused a ripple effect and people started taking care of their own properties, looking out for one another and completely transformed their neighborhood.
  • Community gardening provides organic food to some people who might not otherwise be able to afford it. At the community garden I volunteered at, I found out that entire immigrant families supplemented their food bills with organic produce from their ‘family’ plots, about 5-foot by 7-foot of soil, made to grow everything from spinach to onions, winter squash, kale, turnips, edible flowers, and so on. They even grew enough to give ‘extra’ to their neighbors. They learned organic gardening skills, complete with water catchment,companion gardening and other skills.
  • Community gardens plant crops that aren’t always available in grocery stores, and keep heirloom seeds (i.e., non-GMO) growing strong for a steady organic seed supply.
  • Community gardens give elders in the community a voice for their knowledge and expertise in areas we have often forgotten due to urban living.
  • Community gardens teach younger generations the importance of sustainability and being sovereign. If you can grow your own food, it won’t matter so much that Monsanto is trying to poison you.
  • Many reports are showing that urban agriculture is up to five times more productive per square acre than large scale farms, where items like GMO corn, soy, sugar beets, etc are grown.
  • Eating locally grown organic vegetables reduces seasonal allergies and asthma because individuals are exposed to the pollen from their area, thus increasing their immunity to local flowering plants and trees.
  • Many studies prove that people who raise kids in community gardens eat more healthfully. In an age where obesity is even now affecting children, this makes a huge difference in the overall health of a society, as well as lowers health care costs.
  • Being in green spaces has proven to reduce stress.
  • Community gardens provide a place to compost many items that would normally end up in landfills, like paper cups, paper towels, leaves, grass clippings, food scraps, etc. Putting these organic wastes back in the soil make the use of fertilizers unnecessary.
  • Community gardens reduce air pollution.
  • In many cases, it is cheaper to maintain a community garden with a volunteer staff than it is to maintain a park.
  • Property values increase with community gardens.


There are now too many innovative, and low-cost methods to produce food in virtually any sized space that the only obstacle is one of knowledge. Thankfully there are people like Ron Finley who have made it their work to help bring the value (and values) of gardening back to formerly abandoned  places and show people exactly how to build their communities from the food up, combining their efforts to share work and reduce cost. As he states, “Growing your own food is like printing money” … among many other socio-political benefits he addresses in the following video:

For an example of how transformative Finley’s ideas can be, one small town in England has become “The Incredible, Edible Town,” showing what real revolution is all about.

Even Closer to Home

For those who would like to start in their own home, immediately, there can be no better example than aquaponics. Imagine growing fish and plants together in one integrated system.  Aquaponics might offer the least expensive, least time-consuming path to creating your own sustainable ecosystem.

Aquaponics is a full simulation of nature where fish and plants are both kept healthy and productive through a balance supplied by each in a recirculating environment. The aquaculture side offers nutrient-rich water that is provided as natural fertilizer for plants. These nutrients are normally a disposal problem for fish farmers who need to eliminate the toxic waste. On the other side, hydroponics desperately requires nutrient-rich water in order to grow in a soil-less environment, so the plants serve as a natural filter for the fish. This mini-ecosystem is surprisingly easy and relatively inexpensive to set up thanks to emerging science and technology. Here is an example of a reasonably small-scale set up.

For further education, visit, a non-profit organization that has been instrumental in bringing this new concept to fruition mainly in urban settings. They offer workshops in aquaponics and portable farms.

The beauty of aquaponics is in the small scale … and it can get even smaller. Just as micro-farming has taken root in urban environments, aquaponics can utilize a home aquarium, a mini garden of herbs, vegetables, or even flowers. This is known as Desktop Aquaponics and serves as a great showpiece, or as an educational microcosm of what is possible through the fusion of fish and plants.

You can begin taking the step toward self-sufficient food production . . . no matter where you live, and no matter the season. Look at what you can do right in your own home in this excellent short demo of Desktop Aquaponics:

It is commonly known that the best form of survival is not physical strength or dominance, but the ability to adapt. A terrific example of this is highlighted by the new wave of urban farming that is transforming some very unlikely spaces into thriving and productive food locations:

 In Fresh Food From Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting, author R. J. Ruppenthal turns a seemingly anti-urban idea — that farming has to be done outside, with a red barn and rolling fields of wheat — on its head. Because urbanites, too, can grow their own food indoors, in cramped spaces, and without access to land! For real.

Ruppenthal gives loads of details about what crops are most productive, as well as the top 5 things a city resident needs to know about urban gardening in this must-read article.

Humans are creative and innovative to an unlimited capacity. The future of small-space, budget farming through concepts like vertical farming on a large scale (here and here), as well as the comprehensive ideas in the video below, illustrate the many small-scale, low-cost options. Combined, these are inspiring lessons that demonstrate that even in times of apparently increasing adversity, the solutions are right there at our fingertips. And where our fingertips meet the earth is perhaps the place where our greatest opportunity to grow resides.

Video description: John from goes on a field trip to the Orange County Great Park to share with you many different examples of how they are showing you can grow food at home. In this episode, you will see many different examples of growing food in different ways, such as: A Square Foot Raised Bed Garden, an Elevated Easy Access Raised Bed Garden, Vertical Tower Garden, Hay Bale Garden, Container Gardening, and even food growing in a wheelbarrow. After watching this episode, you will know many of the different ways you can grow a vegetable garden today.

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Popocatépetl (Central Mexico): Activity has continued to decrease and there have been no new significant explosions. The number of steam-gas emissions (which sometimes contain also small amounts of ash) has dropped from an average of 5 per hour to only 2 per hour last night.

Pacaya (Guatemala): As the seismic signal suggested, a strong increase in activity occurred yesterday evening and culminated in the effusion of a lava flow from the Mackenney crater which lasted about 2 hours.
The activity returned back to mild strombolian activity afterwards, with projections reaching about 200 m height and ash plumes rising to 400 m above the crater. – Volcano Discovery

What is the difference between a Survivalist and a Prepper?

 No, this isn’t a trick question and I do think there are very big differences between someone who calls themselves a survivalist and someone who prefers to use the term Prepper. Regardless of what I think though these two terms are interchangeably used to describe a wide swath of people. These people all have different motivations and philosophies on what they are doing and why. Survivalists and Prepper are just labels. Labels like this though can pigeon-hole people into thinking they need to act a certain way or it can cause assumptions from others based upon their own perceptions of what these words mean.

How are Survivalists and Preppers alike?

Let’s start with the easy stuff first. What do people who call themselves Survivalists have in common with a Prepper? I think at their core, Survivalists and Preppers both have a deep desire to live. This is not a fear of dying but rather a strong yearning to live life on their own terms. You will find tenacity in both Preppers and Survivalists to try to see the options they have before them. If you give up easily or become defeated too quickly you probably don’t deserve to call yourself a member of either team just yet.

Both Survivalists and Preppers like to prepare for unforeseen events, but I do believe Survivalists have a slightly more cavalier attitude about their chances for survival. Survivalists may give more weight to learning how to forage in the woods and eat grubs while their Prepper cousins might be more comfortable storing food to last as long as possible or creating a garden with heirloom seeds. The grub worms and fiddle-head fern salads can wait as long as possible, thank you.

Along with the desire to live I think Preppers and Survivalists both have a positive mental attitude towards overcoming obstacles when it comes to survival. They both hold a belief that with the right training, mental outlook and circumstances, no situation is ever more than they can bear. I have spoken to a lot of people who seem to want to shut down in the face of adversity or impending doom. Their response to my questions about prepping are usually something like “well we are all gonna die anyway, so what’s the point?” and this is 180 degrees from how I think we as humans should be.

What if the early settlers of our country just said, “I quit.”? They faced starvation, disease, death on a daily basis and still managed to carve a country out of the wilderness with zero government assistance, WIC vouchers, National Healthcare, MRE’s, GPS, Bug Out vehicles or smart phones. Do you think they had a desire to live and a positive mental attitude? We come from those same people who braved the elements, sailed across seas for months and landed in a foreign land with not much more than the clothes on their backs. They were the original Survivalists and Preppers and their blood runs through our veins.

How are they different?

As I said above, I think these terms get used interchangeably all of the time and in certain context the meaning may be blurred. For instance, there are a lot of websites that have Survival in the name that I look up to and respect greatly. They offer a ton of useful information on Survival, and I have linked to several of them on our resources page. I am not referring to the word Survival here because I think we all want to survive something.

When I speak of “Survivalists” with a capital S I am referring to people who will label themselves as such. I think Survivalists lean more toward the ideal that Bear Grylls and Les Stroud have promoted with their respective TV shows showing how they both can survive in the wilderness on all manner of strange tricks and skills that the normal person would never be in a place to use. I think some Survivalists see themselves as being deserted in a jungle somewhere with only a rusty coke can and a bandana to survive. Now, if this happens to you, would all of those Bear Grylls skills come in handy? Absolutely, but to base your entire understanding of the possibilities of what this life can throw at you on a couple of reality shows seems to miss the point to me.

To quote our current President, “Now, let me be clear” I love watching Bear Grylls and Les Stroud and other shows I can’t remember. Those shows do pass along knowledge that you can use and this applies just as much to the suburban prepper as it does to the Survivalist. I just prefer to take that knowledge and try to apply it to a different potential reality.

Preppers on the other hand do not seem to have most of the same scenarios in mind when they are preparing for an uncertain future. Preppers typically have one or more situations they view as inevitable and they make plans to mitigate the bad effects you could be faced with in that situation. For example, if a Prepper lived in Tornado alley, they would rightfully be concerned and their preps would almost certainly start with safety should a Tornado strike. They could go one past that and plan for survival after the tornado with food, water and shelter options that could help them and their neighbors in the days and weeks after any type of natural disaster like that.

Preppers also do not seem to make plans with only themselves involved. Preppers like to form groups and communities and try to get others involved, engaged and on-board when it is prudent to do so. I know there are survivalist groups as well, but they still seem to be more likely to want to be away from people before there is any actual need to.

Survivalists that I have run across definitely have a different way they present themselves when the subject of hypothetical grid-down scenarios are presented. I do get the sense that in some cases, they seem to have a “let them go to hell” mentality and I don’t think that is what Preppers would agree with on the surface. Now, I will freely admit that I haven’t met everyone, don’t know what is in anyone’s heart but mine and I could be very guilt of gross stereotyping here. If that is the case I apologize and I would love to hear your side in the comments below. I am not trying to pick a fight, just comparing and contrasting some people/themes based upon my observations.

Lastly, Preppers seem to be looking for a lifestyle change on top of their preparations. Eating more Organic food, living healthier lives, becoming more self-sufficient are common themes and this transcends any natural disaster. It shows a desire to have a better life and that is something I think we could all use.

Which one is best?

I don’t think it is as black and white as I have made it out to be in the paragraphs above. I certainly think that if the SHTF we would all be in for a huge reality check and there is no telling how we each might act. Who knows what type of situations we may be faced with and what will be necessary in order to live and keep our families safe. We might all end up being in the same boat, bashing each other over the head with the last broken oar. I hope not.

I like to identify with Preppers, but I do know that if faced with certain triggers, I might fall squarely into the Survivalist camp that I was painting with a broad brush a little earlier. I guess we are just two sides of the same coin, but we are both made of the same mettle. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that at all. – The Prepper Journal

Editor’s Note: The following article has been generously contributed by Selco. He has experienced the ‘S’ hitting the fan for real, and lived through one year of hell during the Balkan war, where the only concern you had on a daily basis was surviving through to tomorrow. He has documented his experiences at his web site and in must-read articles like A Survival Q & A: Living Through SHTF In the Middle of A War Zone and Advice from a Collapse Survivor

He currently offers his online course One Year In Hell to subscribers and provides a detailed account of his life in the middle of a war zone, what he did to survive when his city was cut off from the rest of the world by an occupying military force, and what you can do to prepare yourself physically and mentally for similar events should they come to pass. 

Selco lives in the Balkan region and regularly shares his perspective on preparedness via his blog at SHTF School.

What Will People Need: Some Thoughts on Preparing for Bartering
by Selco

Bartering AmmunitionBuying stuff for your SHTF storage is good of course, and buying it the smart way so you can save some money is always welcome since most of us are not multimillionaires.

But have you ever thought about buying things for SHTF scenarios in some not so “regular” ways? It will save you money, but maybe even more important is that it will prepare you and show you how finding and buying stuff will probably look when the SHTF for real.

I am not advising you to do anything that might be against the law, I am simply gonna give you examples how I find some things. It is up to you how you or if you use any of it.

Have it when you do not need it (have it before you need it)

One of the most basic rules in preparing and acquiring things for SHTF is that you need to have it before you need it. You may think “oh, but it is so obvious.” Yes and no. Sometimes it is not. When SHTF you may find out that it is very important to have, for example, tetanus shots updated, but then it may be too late. You need to fix that before SHTF.

Simply, if you are going to look for the tetanus shots when SHTF, the price can be high. In every SHTF scenario anywhere in the world there is gonna be people who are gonna make a fortune and increase power by having the stuff that most of the other folks do not have, because it was not so obvious that it was going to be needed.

Ways to obtain things

Things can be bought in many ways. Some of them are illegal so no advice, just examples.

I buy my fuel from guys who sell it not from the gas station, I buy it always from the same guys so in that way they do not find it useful to cross me with adding strange stuff inside in order to make more money. Repeat customer is good customer.

Where do they get it? I do not know, and I do not want to know. But some examples would be that they are just dealers for the big guy who wants to “go across” some tax expenses, or they buying it as “agricultural” fuel etc. I do not ask. Is it illegal? Yes. Have I seen and did worse things than that? Yea, sure. Survival.

Ways to buy things do not necessarily need to be illegal, but it can be just strange and something other than you are used to. In that way you are just preparing yourself for finding things when SHTF.

It’s like practice for getting things directly from people. Why not start now and tell neighbors what you can get for them cheaply and ask them if they have connection to some stuff too?

I know people in different areas of life. So I know guys from local politics and guys from local small gangs. I like to keep my ear on ground as part of preparation for coming SHTF. Money is short here and during the [Balkan] war people got used to getting stuff through other people, so the same system still works.

I also often trade for something when it makes sense. I use my preps and trade two pairs of police boots for new jacket, for example.

What things do I need?

Do not think only about “what things do I need?” Feel free to think about “what things do other people need,” because you are going to be trading.

Look around you and keep in mind when the SHTF, the term “useful thing” takes on a whole new meaning. You’ll see ( I did) that for some people it is a priority to loot malls and take a TV set, stereo or something similar.

I saw few guys in the first days of chaos rolling 4 new car tires from a looted mall. They were laughing, very happy because they thought they made good “deal” with that. I guess pretty soon they realized that those 4 tires were worth one pocket knife or something similar.

Smarter folks, or you can say people with “vision,” look for the weapons, food or similar useful stuff.

The important thing to understand is that everyone took everything. It was like a storm. As time passed by and when everything “more useful” was gone, people took everything else, like pieces of shelves where stuff was kept. People find uses for that too.

For example, when SHTF I expect people to smash parking machines for the money inside. I am not gonna care for the worthless coins inside, but those machines work thanks to a small solar panels installed on the pole above it. I would go for the panels that most of the folks won’t notice at all.

Small things were always useful to trade. Also some bigger “invented” things had a good price, like small wood stoves made from cans or pressure cookers. Pretty soon people who were skilled made good trade with handmade portable wood stoves.

Maybe you can find something to build with empty cans or other waste products?

People tried to trade everything so you could see some funny stuff too. I wrote in another post about the old FM radio taped to some huge batteries handmade from other sized batteries and taped together. Or homemade teas guaranteed to cure something mixed from different kind of plants.

Of course scams were everywhere and you needed to be very cautious.

It was always better to have more small things to trade then bigger bulkier stuff. Easier to carry and easier to sell. Candles, batteries, lighters, canned food, spices, small tools, pocket knives…

What more you can do today

Of course preppers look for discounts and wholesale, yard sales and similar chances to save money. But you also need to think about practicing bargaining.

I am buying lot of things at the local flea market or through people I know. You can find lot of things on flea markets, and if you look hard enough you can find stuff that doesn’t  usually belong there.

Few rules :

  • Never act like you really need the thing you want to buy (let it be your second choice for example)
  • Split money in more pockets when you bargaining (do not bargain with a hand full of money)
  • Many times seller will set the price based on how he sees you in that moment. So of course do not show off any symbol of wealth.

Also remember that buying things at the flea market (in your case maybe a yardsale or similar) is very good practice for trade in SHTF conditions simply because the act of negotiating is similar.

Prices are not fixed (they are more a thing of opportunity and skills). The way you look, act and talk can sometimes be more important than how much money (value) you have in your pocket.

Remember that when SHTF a lot of things can be valuable; things that you usually would not even notice in normal life.

For example when SHTF, batteries and candles had big value. The reasons are, of course, because people are still used to commodity of light at night, using it in every room etc.

But very soon folks realized that candles are something like luxury. So for example, if you wanted to read book you would read it by daylight, or people in the house simply gathered in one room under the light of one candle in order to spare the others.

So, the value of candles went high in beginning and then went down [as behavior changed].

So if you planned to make some big success with something for trade it can be said that you need to choose the correct time. Some things have the same high value almost all the time, like coffee or cigarettes.

Other things gain value over the time, multiple times [their original] value. Stuff like some seeds, plants and knowledge about plants like teas, and herbs for healing etc.

The point is, if you offered at the beginning stage of SHTF homemade teas as a remedies for something you would not have big success, because people did not believe that SHTF gonna last too long, or in other cases people still had some stash of antibiotics, painkillers etc.

After a few months passed and people realized the SHTF is gonna last for a longer period, and there were no doctors, no hospitals, and diseases were spreading, then of course those home made remedies suddenly became popular and at the same time much more expensive.

I have more examples about trading in my survival course.

So small things that are kinda ridiculously cheap in normal times and normal life become important, which equals expensive.

One more example would be flints for lighters.

Things like these are very important if you stash many things in order to do much trading to make life easier when SHTF.

Point is to carefully observe which things have what kind of value, and more importantly, what things have a chance to multiple their value in a few weeks or months.

I even knew guy who make small necklaces for luck, you know kinda of small metal on rope and if you carry that all the time you can be sure that bullet gonna miss you. He was something like a monk. He traded that for food and it worked.

When times are desperate people do and trust in lot of things.

This article has been made available by Selco of SHTF School

Check out his One Year In Hell Online Course in which he provides a detailed account of his life in the middle of a war zone, what he did to survive when his city was cut off from the rest of the world by an occupying military force, and what you can do to prepare yourself physically and mentally for similar events should they come to pass. 

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Author: Selco