A look at Survival and Preparedness, Firearms, Ham Radio, German Shepherds, Photography and other related stuff! 73 Later, ZombieAxe :-)


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ramblings on gates and limiting access...

Limiting access is a great way to secure things. Many criminals simply drive around the neighborhood and look for an easy mark. I have studied break ins in my AO and have noticed that the places that limit the getaway car from being able to pull up to the front door and load up the goodies were usually safe. I have advised neighbors to do such and some have taken my advice, some have ignored it and others only understood 'half' of what I recommended. Electric gates are nice but I will not be covering them in this article.

To take retreat security seriously you need to use the ONION method. IOW you need many layers. A gate or a fence is only ONE layer in a well thought out security plan.

IMHO a gate is one of the first PHYSICAL barriers a potential threat could come up against. Gates and fences are designed to keep something in, something out, or BOTH.

One family in the neighborhood lost a loved one a few years back. She was an elderly lady who knew everything that was going on which was a deterent in itself. While she was alive she had many visitors so a gate was not an option for her. However, when she passed away the family wished to limit access to anyone wanting to 'snoop around' because there were no longer EYES watching the place.

A large pennant gate (triangular) was thought to be a solution but costs over $600 to fabricate. I offered them a simple solution of the chain gate. Basically 40' of 3/8ths chain secured between two posts or trees at a natural choke point. You have to be careful with using a too heavy chain or you will have to be superman to lock it.

Basically we secured a light pole 3' down in about 160 lbs of concrete. Setting the pole was tricky as we had to dig into a bank to place the pole so we wouldn't impede the flow of runoff water in the side ditches. Instead of opting for a second pole we used a handy oak tree to secure the chain. The oak is where the family placed a keyed padlock to get in and out as needed. On the light pole 4 large screw eyes were place so the chain could go through and not be 'walked up and off of' the pole. The chain needed to also be secured back upon itself and it only made sense to use a lock to do so. This lock is one of the combination locks that the combination lock can be changed at will, so you can let service folks in and then change the combination, thus giving them temporary access. Also a solar powered halogen motion detector night light is placed strategically to BLIND the driver of a car or truck at night. The light does not blind the trespasser into hitting the gate, but to disorient them and give the family time to react. This also works as a visual burglar alarm. So far there have been no vehicles or break-ins at this property as it is a PITA to back out of there and this gate removed access to the cul de sac that folks used before. If you make things hard, folks will not even bother. Criminals like EASY targets and most 'case' the location and even visit it before they ever take anything...


One of the folks in my neighborhood before I moved to my current AO had some crooks break into their home after they established a pattern that the bad guys could set a watch to! One day as the homeowner left, 10 minutes later, the bad guys broke in and pillaged the house. This house had an alarm system but the crooks knew they had a few minutes to smash and grab. They backed the getaway car up to the door, kicked in the door, and grabbed the good stuff (as per elderly next door neighbor's eyewitness testimony). The homeowner invited me over to see the damage.

I tell you, this made a BIG IMPRESSION on me and I designed the security of home with the lessons learned from this neighbor’s incident. The neighbor upgraded his door and security and installed a gate. The gate will NOT stop any vehicle as one night a friend came by and pulled the posts to the ground by driving through this gate with a BMW. The gate or cable across the driveway suffered more damage than the BMW:eek: It is VERY effective for stopping friends knocking on your door though, especially in the rain!!! So if you place a gate, design it to stop whatever you put it up for or at least go down FIGHTING!!!

When I got a hankering to write this up, I decided I needed some pictures. Most of these were taken in fairly rural areas within a few miles of each other. A lot of my ideas to limit access came from ones similar to the ones below.


In placing an access limiting device, you need to first decide what you intend to stop. Cars, trucks, four wheelers, motorcycles, people and animals all require different things to stop them. A gate that works great to limit trucks may not work well for motorcycles.

Most gates unless they are attached to a fence are designed to stop vehicles. A gate will limit access until it is unlocked to allow someone to drive through. A lot of times you cannot find the PERFECT choke point to place a gate but a fence isn't what you want either. To limit vehicles you place posts 3 foot or higher (spaced so a vehicle cannot pass between) so one cannot simply drive around but can still walk to the trail.


Another idea is a variation of this method is to place posts further apart and string a thick cable between as to prevent vehicles from driving between the widely spaced posts.


Using natural 'choke points' such as spaces between trees in the forest, buildings, large rocks, hills, etc. can be the EASY way to secure your road.

If one can wait long enough, you can simply plant trees or bushes that will grow INTO a natural barrier.


Some gates can be fabricated from steel and nothing short of a tank can defeat them. Make sure your gate is your weakest point, or folks wishing to compromise your defenses will simply BYPASS and go for the EASIER point of entry.

Drainage Ditches, creeks, streams, and rivers can provide a good barrier, especially if they are deep enough. You can also add trees, fences, rocks and other barriers to increase the potential for success! Just add a gate at the bridge or culvert and you are good to go!

There are lots of other methods for homestead/retreat security but stopping them from coming down your driveway is one of the first steps. I think everyone should have a gate if you have the property to do it.

Also keep in mind that having to get out of your vehicle WTSHTF is a perfect AMBUSH point for the bad guys. If you have ever read FerFAL's blog (www.ferfal.blogspot.com) on surviving the conditions in Argentina, you know one of the main methods of ambush used by the bad guys is getting you when you leave your home. A gate can make you vulnerable as well. Better have someone watching your six at home ready to unleash havoc on your enemies. So design your gate where you or someone else can cover it if things go bad!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Ramblings on becoming a "Thrivalist"...

First off some definitions:

intransitive verb
1 : to remain alive or in existence : live on
2 : to continue to function or prosper
transitive verb
1 : to remain alive after the death of
2 : to continue to exist or live after
3 : to continue to function or prosper despite : withstand

1 : to grow vigorously : flourish
2 : to gain in wealth or possessions : prosper
3 : to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances —often used with on

I have always viewed survivalism as going out in the woods (by choice or circumstance) living there for a week (or longer) with just the things you have with you. Also my concept of survival is that you did enough to 'get by'. Nothing wrong with that but would you prefer to survive or thrive???

Surviving and thriving are not necessarily about minimal and maximum gear, but rather about know how!

Is the only way you know how to start a fire by using a match or lighter and burning paper? Sounds to me like you are surviving, but not after the supplies run out!

Or can you use a bow drill, fire piston, magnifing glass and use materials you find in nature to start and keep the fire going! Sounds like you are THRIVING there!

Know how to go through the wrecked airplane and scavenge all the honey roasted peanuts from the wreckage??? SURVIVING!!!!

Know how to run a trot line, fish, setup snares, find edible plants and how to cook and preserve those food for the long term??? Sounds like you are THRIVING to me!!!

WTSHTF and you are sitting in your home with the lights out, freezing because you ran out of Pine Mountain Logs, starving because the Taco Bell's power is out as well, and hear a bump in the dark but can't see WTF it is... you are surviving... but NOT for long!

or are you...

WTSHTF you are sitting in your easy chair reading a good book by the firelight in your light disciplined home (aka blackout curtains) listening to the shortwave when your intusion system silently alerts you there are visitors coming down your road. You quickly set down your WARM cup of joe, don your gear and weapon, notify your team mates to be ready and get into position! Sounds like you are BOTH SURVIVING and THRIVING!

So my friends, are you merely gonna survive TSHTF or are you gonna THRIVE during it???

What you learn and practice NOW will determine if you THRIVE or just 'get by' if you live long enough during TSHTF!

Don't you deserve to THRIVE???



Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ramblings on the Optimus Nova + backpacking stove...

My EOD bag configured as a "Cook Kit".

Inside the EOD bag, with fuel, stove, pots and instant food/beverages.

When I first turned on the Optimus Nova + backpacking stove from preheat to fuel throttle, it reminded me a small jet engine with the afterburners on!

I have had some pretty extravagent meals when I have gone camping before. Most of my meals have been cooked over dual burner Coleman type, white gas and propane stoves. I have even cooked foods over the campfire and in dutch ovens. However, these stoves are big an bulky when one hikes into wild backpacking style!

So when I got into backpack camping I needed something strong,small,powerful and RELIABLE! This was also going to get double use as a GHB and work/travel stove.

I read a lot of reviews and most of them were very favorable to the Optimus stoves. I am a big fan of MSR stuff, but I liked the heavy duty pot supports of the Optimus Nova and I also liked the Nova's all metal parts...

Some of the folks issues with the Nova is that it is constructed of brass which weighs more, but makes a more durable and lasting stove In my opinion.

The Nova+ will burn just about any petroluem liquid. Gas can be used, but do you really want all those additives winding up in your chow??? During an emergency though all bets are off. I burn the highly filtered Premium Coleman fuel that comes in a quart plastic bottle and that, so far is the only fuel I have tried.

When you purchase the Optimus Nova + it comes in a nice zippered ditty bag. In it you will find a small repair kit (O rings,fuel filter and grease for the washers inside the pump), the Nova + and the pump. All you need is to purchase a fuel bottle (250 ml used in this test) and your fuel. Fuel bottles range in size from the small one (quarter liter) to the large (one liter) size.

The small one is good for your GHB/BOB and lasts over 2 hours of good hot cooking. I like the large liter size for week long camping trips.

To use the Nova + you will need all the items I mentioned above. Assembly is very easy. Remove the plug from the fuel bottle, insert the pump, screw it in hand tight, pressurize the bottle with about 25-40 strokes, open the pot holder legs, straighten the fuel hose, insert fuel hose into fuel pump quick connect, open fuel hose to release a small amount of fuel then shut off, light the fuel to preheat the burner, when the flame dies down turn back up the flame and it should burn a blue flame.

The Nova + works as advertised and the capability of cleaning the fuel jet nozzle during use with the included tool makes it very easy to maintain. I really like how the fuel valve control is located AWAY from the hot burner. When you get done cooking you simply flip the fuel bottle over and it purges the air and the fuel from the fuel line and prevents fuel spills. Then you disconnect the fuel bottle quick connect, install the dust cover on the quick connect, wait for the Nova+ to cool down, pack it up and be on your way!

When the weather turns cold, I sometimes take along the Nova+ in a EOD bag along with a small bottle of fuel, a cooking pot and some dehydrated soup (cup of soup) hot cocoa, instant and ground coffee. When I bring the ground coffee I also tote my French Press coffee mug to make some awesome coffee in the sticks. When I carry my "cook kit" it is not really for emergercies, it is for having hot liquids. When you work outside all day long, it is nice to have a warm cup of something.

Today I took these pictures while boiling some water for hot chocolate today. It took about 6 minutes after the burner was preheated to boil 16 ounces of water. When backpacking or using the stove with the cook kit, I tend to stick with dehydrated foods and instant beverages to limit cleanup. IOW I just boil water and stick with food products that only require adding hot water (Mountain House, Cup of Soup, Instant Coffee, etc.) since all I want is something hot. I don't want to spend the time to clean those noodles stuck to the bottom of the pot!!!

So far the Nova+ is one of the fastest burners I have used to boil water! I like when I get a hankering to eat, I can get something fixed to chow on in under 15 minutes. Fast food indeed!

The Nova+ is also a part of my GHB/BOB and Stranded Bag. A stove can be useful to melt snow for use as drinking water and of course cooking food, heating water, and warming MRE packets in hot water. So there are many uses for a stove so small in your BOB and you can find many uses for it in wilderness camping, making hot chocolate while the kids are playing in the snow right on site, and anywhere else you need a stove!


Disclaimer and Copyright Notice

The information presented in this blog are things I know how to do and have training for. To duplicate any information or techniques within is solely at the readers risk and ZombieAxe, ZombieAxe's Ramblings or Google shall not be liable for any advice and information posted within that results in damage/loss of property, injury, loss of limb, or death. By reading this blog you, your family, your heirs and even folks that have not been born yet, have entered into an electronic binding contract to not hold any entity liable (especially ME!) but YOURSELF for any damage/loss of property, injury, loss of limb, or death from reading this blog.

FTC Discalimer,

To the Federal Trade Commison:Zombie Axe/Zombie Axe's Ramblings is not being paid by anyone, bribed with free gear to test, or offered free trips to exotic locals to 'give good press' for a product. All products were personally purchased by myself with the intention of using them for myself and any thing I plug on this blog is an item I recommend because I HAVE TESTED IT and found it worthy of mention. Go after those travel agents who get the free cruises and leave us legit non commercial bloggers alone.

All material is copyright 2009 Zombie Axe and no material may be used without credit to the author in part or whole.

Zombie Axe