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


Friday, August 13, 2010

You just keep me hanging on...

Howdy Folks,

Wow, I have been busy for awhile and have neglected posting here. I am doing ok just working a bunch of overtime and trying to stay cool in this hot weather.

I also have been working on a photography website which has been a great diversion for me. Don't worry, I have not lost the mindset of preparedness!

When things slow down later this fall, hopefully I will have a bunch of free time and will be able to continue this blog with some fresh content.

Thanks for being there.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Ramblings on the homestead...

Howdy Folks,

Just had a little time to post another picumentry and show you how the homestead is looking...


Looks like my Stark Apple Trees will be producing a good crop this year :) If there is one thing you need to do when you get a piece of property is to plant fruit trees/bushes, nut trees, etc. as soon as you can. This is one thing that will really pay for itself once they start producing. It takes years sometimes for these trees to produce so you will want to get started as soon as you can. These trees were planted 3 years ago.


The chickens are doing fine, having a problem with one being broody, but that might come in handy when we want chicks. 6 hens produce more than enough eggs for us. Like I said before, chickens are the easiest way to produce food I have found yet!


Another thing we are really enjoying is the Jack Spirko Strawberry pot. When I say we are enjoying it, I mean it!. It provides us with a nice bowl of strawberries every day to eat! Basically it is a large plastic pot with 2" holes drilled into the side and strawberry plants placed in them. I like this idea so good that I plan on adding a few more. This is an excellent way to have strawberries!!! Thanks Jack :)

And thanks to ya'll for reading my Ramblings!


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ramblings on Storm Photography...

Howdy Folks,

Been kind of busy here on the farm lately. I added a new section of chicken pasture since the chickens were none too happy that I eminent domained part of the chicken yard for the garden spot this year. Unlike the politicians I will give it back to them once I am finished!

As some of you may know, I have been seriously messing around with my digital SLR camera and it has become quite the addiction! The power of capturing a never changing moment in time, to be able to relive it at any time in the future is IMHO one of man's greatest innovations.

Anyway, this photography thing is how I like to spend my free time, so I apologize for the long time between posts. Also for those that think I am on the sheeple band wagon because I have a hobby, don't worry I am still prepping.

So to make a short story long, I have been having problems with my super cheap (but paid for) video tripod staying still enough to take night shots and other low light photographs. I decided to pick one up at my local big box store and I now have a steady platform to take some pics with long exposures.

After a rough week at work, I was noticing how the sky looked like it was ripe for a few boomers. The Wx radio confirmed that we might get some storms at night. I worked on the chicken coop and came inside. I was playing with the kids when I noticed that to the North and West the sky was getting dark. A quick check of the radar loop on the iPhone confirmed there was a slow moving line of storms. These storms would be visible North before the rain came from the West so I would stay dry taking some pics.

Out came the new tripod and I mounted my trusty Canon (no not a cannon for you non camera folks! LOL) and took some test pics to set my focus and lock it before the sun went down.

I aimed the camera mostly North to where I could hopefully catch some long streaks of lightning and not get any junk in my back yard in the frame.

It took about an hour and a half for the storm to get near, but it was pretty awesome watching the fireworks. Eventually the lightning strikes came in to where the trees were not blocking them (cotton fields provided long distance sighting of storms, but on a tree farm that view is reduced a whole bunch!) and I started capturing them on the camera.

Before you check out the pics and if you are interested, here is what I was using : Canon D-SLR, 18-55mm kit lens (needed the wide angle), carbon fiber tripod, time value of 15-30 seconds (I left the shutter open for that long to capture the streaks) and a IR remote control to trigger the shutter.

For those that are wondering, most lightning shots are captured by opening the shutter for a certain amount of time and hopefully the film or sensor will capture those streaks. On my favorite shot, those streaks did not occur at the same time but over a period of about 30 seconds... I am showing some in B&W because they are a little more striking (pun intended) that way...


Here you can see the lightning illuminating the underneath of the cloud. Earlier I took some pics were it was illuminating the clouds from above, even though it was dark outside it appeared on the pic that the sun was behind clouds.


Another pic. The house that shows up is an old farm house on the property...


Storm is getting closer. On my viewfinder, I saw the big streak on the left but not the multiple strikes right of center until I saw it on the computer!


Even closer still. Streaks are getting longer!!!

Finally my favorite shot of the night...


When I started taking photos years ago (started with film and Minolta 35mm SLR's) I was under the assumption that with EVERY pic I would take an amazing shot... I would be upset when they we just sorta good! Maybe some folks can, but the vast majority of us may snap a 100 and have only 1 or 2 great ones in that bunch. So when I snapped about 50 last night, I was thrilled that I got one decent lightning shot, I am happy with it (mainly that I was at home and had time to set it all up as that can be a challenge sometime!). All I can say is that hopefully when the next storms roll through (maybe tonight!!! YEAH!!!!) I will be trying again to get an even better image of lightning streaks!!!

To wrap things up, I will try my F 1.4 50mm tonight instead of the 18-55mm if the storms do happen. Luckily for me, the storm came to me, but I need to scout some (SAFE) locations in my area that give you a better vantage point... With working all the time that can be hard to want to head out away from home to set up a lightning shoot that may or may not be productive!

And the final finale... Next to ice storms, lightning/severe thunderstorms do more damage to things in my area than anything else. You do have surge protectors on your precious electronics, or unplug them when storms are coming I hope??? An uninterruptible power supply goes a long way to keep your DSL/cable mode/DVR running. We have one on our DVR to prevent 'holes' in our TV shows since it takes about 5 minutes to reboot when the power is interrupted! Generators have come in handy several times when lightning has wrecked the power grid for a few hours...

If you do decide to photograph lightning or have to be outside in it, be CAREFUL!!!

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ramblings on ice ash...

Howdy Folks,

It has been a hectic past couple of weeks here. A few weekends ago, I changed ALL the fluids on my Tractor, so it is good to go.

I had an accident at work a few weeks back where a careless homeowner left boards with nails out in his woods... now here is the bad part.... instead of stepping on them, I slipped and they wound up in my knee!!! Punctured a tendon but I am pretty much back to normal. I am thankful that we live in the modern world where such things as antibiotics and tetnus shots exist. An injury such as mine could have had a different outcome in a SHTF scenario! So stock some meds and first aid supplies. I have heard some experts say not to have advanced medical supplies if you do not know how to use them, but IMHO that is stupid thinking... You may come across someone who knows how to use them if only they have them... Remember the preppers mantra " IT IS BETTER TO HAVE IT AND NOT NEED IT, THEN TO NEED IT AND NOT HAVE IT!" of course that does not excuse you from having some skills and learning more!

On the farm I have been doing a little bush hogging try to keep that Spring green down to an acceptacle height as well as getting my garden ready. This year I plan on using part of my chicken coop as a garden. The chicken yard is turning a lovely brown color and digging always yields some nice earthworms! The chickens have also kept anything green from growing so it is the absolutely most weed free area I have around! We will have to see how that turns out.

Also I admit to having acquired a iPad and love it. That is also the reason my blogging has suffered, until I remembered I could actually type a blog on this thing! Great device and I really enjoy it. My only problem is after using the iPad, my iPhone looks REALLY tiny!!!

Now on to the topic of this post. Some relatives of mine are in Europe, taking care of family. They are supposed to fly back stateside in a couple of days. Problem is there is this volcano in Iceland spewing up abrasive ash into the air... in the same airspace that many airplanes fly to either get to or from Europe. So they are experiencing massive flight delays and many travelers are stuck wherever they happened to end up at.

I was actually reading the BBC tonight on the iPad and saw a video about folks being stranded justctrying to get home. They were interviewing an Indian gentlemen who was in England for a "holiday" and was worried because he already "blew all his money having fun" and was expecting someone to take care of him until he could get back home!!! Come on folks, you are in a foreign land, you had better have something to provide for you because you are on your own! I detest credit cards, but here is ONE instance I would want a platinum one!!!

Luckily my relatives have a place to stay, and this event is actually working in their favor since they were planning on extending their stay a few more weeks and with the air travel FUBAR now happening, they will not have to pay a penalty fee to stay longer! They are working on gathering a few extra supplies "just in case". Talking about a WORST CASE SCENARIO for bugging out...

Keep an eye on this folks as it could get interesting. Europe imports a lot of their food, but also grows some. What happens when they can no longer provide the food they used to grow and have to import more food??? What happens if this volcano keeps spewing ash for months and it weakens an already fragile European economy??? How will this effect the already fragile economy of the world??? What about Iceland ??? They were already having economic problems. Even if the volcano just spews ash for a few more weeks, think about the impact to their tourism industry!

It is going to get interesting... So keep up the preps, watch your six and God bless ya!

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ramblings on SHTF Ham Radio...

Howdy Folks,

I finally got a little free time today, so I figured I would take on things to do with ham radio wtshtf.

So first lets flesh out the conditions. TSHTF and whatever caused it has pretty much taken out most of the infrastructure (power,communications,utilities) has been destroyed. Governments of the world are either gone or cannot help their people and you and yours are on your own...

1. The Ability to Communicate with Others Over Long Distances

With the internet, phone lines, and cable TV gone you will be in the dark for information. With your ham radio rig, you can reach out to those on the other side of town to communicate with those of your group who are hunkering down there. You can also reach out across your state, country or world to find out what the heck just happened!!! The ability to find out you are not the last family on earth is priceless!

2. The Ability to Setup a Cross Band Repeater to Establish Local Communications

A cross band repeater is a very handy radio. Dual band radios (usually 144/440mhz) sometime have a feature called cross band repeat. This feature helps you extend the range of your HT. I have used this feature to place the cross band radio on a mountaintop so I could talk with my buddies on the other side of the mountain. Since VHF/UHF radios are line of sight, we used the cross band radio to give us coverage to the blind sides of the mountain. Event a 5W cross band capable HT on a mountaintop would greatly increase the range of the HT's/mobiles in the valleys below.

3. The Ability to Talk to a Professional to Talk you Through a Problem

Imagine the scenario that someone in your group has taken ill, you have limited nursing skills. After TSHTF your ham radio guys have setup a national net to provide expertise in skills that groups are lacking. You contact net control and they put you in contact with a doctor that helps your team member survive.

4. The Ability to Send Pictures.

To expound on #3 a picture is worth 1000 words, so instead of the electrician on the national net trying to explain how to wire up a solar panel set, he simply sends you a picture of a wiring diagram. Hams routinely send pics over the air from across the country!

5. The Ability to Send Live Video

ATV or Amateur Television has the ability to send live video across short distances. So TV locally is doable.

6. The Ability to Operate Your Own UAV

With a Radio Controlled Airplane (or ground vehicle) with ATV (Amateur Television) you could have your own UAV that could provide you with intel without sacrificing your groups safety. A UAV could be a definite force multiplier.

7. Have Longer Range Communications Than Those With FRS/GRMS

FRS/GMRS radios do have their uses and will probably be prolific during a SHTF event (barring EMP), but they never operate anywhere close to the range stated on the blister pack. Even a Ham radio HT does not have a range of 27 miles... but a 2m HT will perform much better than those with FRS/GMRS radios! The ability to have communications superiority over those that may wish to do you harm will be an advantage!

8. The Ability to Operate with Odd Splits

Ham Radios have this really cool ability to operate with odd splits. What this means is that instead of transmitting and receiving on let's say 146.150 mhz we transmit on 440.500mhz and the station we are talking to is listening on 440.500mhz. When the station that is listening on 440.500mhz transmits, they transmit on 146.150mhz. This gives anyone listening a hard time following BOTH sides of the conversation unless you know the split. With ANY dual band radio this is possible. Pretty cool.

9. Setup a Packet Radio Network

With packet radio you can establish bulletin boards even send email. The only limits are to how far you can transmit. Even APRS (not using the GPS part) can transmit short messages on a very robust network. The newer D-Star technology has some very cool features with file transfers and video!

10. Having a useful skill

Since you are a ham radio operator, you have a very useful skill as you have already demonstrated that you have a basic knowledge of communications. You may not be able to build a radio from scratch, but you do have a knowledge of communication systems work! This can be a real asset to ANY group.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas of how ham radio can be a benefit to YOU WTSHTF. Get your license so when you need those skills you will have had plenty of time to practice them in a low pressure environment!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ramblings on the small farm tractor...

Kubota B1550HST

Howdy Folks,

Well just when I was going to jump into ham radio and TSHTF scenarios (I will get to it a little later), We inherited (wife's Grandpa and like my own as well) a small farm tractor so I have been kind of busy getting my ducks in a row with that.

I figured that it would be interesting to see how this will figure into my preps and its many uses on the homestead. Now this is not my first foray with farm tractors as my 'POP' lives close by and I can use his anytime I wanted... However this one is MINE (well as long as I stay married to my wife, so that will be like... FOREVER!!! LOL) and I don't have to spit shine and return in better condition when I am finished using it. At least that is what I do when I rarely borrow someone else's stuff!

This is my first experience with one with a front end loader and all I can say is... AWESOME!!!

This afternoon I had free and after PMing (old Army term called Preventative Maintenance)it I tested it out.

First off I had a raised bed in the front yard that was getting too much sun during the brutal summer afternoons. The loader had some homemade forklift spikes on it which I simply slid under the 2"x10"x10' boards and lifted the 4'x10' frame easily up and over the dirt. I then hauled it around back, dropped it off and then removed the spikes/forks and went to dirt scooping mode. I scooped up the rich soil and moved it to another raised bed where I have been composting chicken manure and dumped a couple of scoops in it. Later on I will mix it all up with a tiller. I need to find another place for the raised bed I moved today and I still have about half the soil to fill it up.

Next up I went to the creek at the ford where we cross it. After some big gully washers it deposited some nice piles of sand. I terraformed it to my liking and took two bucket fulls up to the house to use later. It is nice to be able to have that resource and be able to take advantage of it when it happens!

After that I decided to hook up the Bush Hog (yes it really is a Bush Hog) and mow a path in one of my back fields. Worked like a dream and was relaxing. The tractor has HST (Hydro Static Transmission) and IMHO it is a must if you want a loader on front, but I miss the 'cruise control' on the manual transmissions IF you are bush hogging all day long. Still I love the HST!

Now when I work all that OT in the summer and my yard gets high because I am working past dark and off days, I can just jump on the tractor and bush hog it instead of asking POP to use his from now on!!!

I also have quite a few implements to go along with the tractor but I am seriously considering getting a backhoe for the ultimate homestead tool!

The tractor is in EXCELLENT condition with only 705 hours on it (my riding mower gets that in a summer!!! LOL). Next full weekend I have off I am going to replace ALL the fluids in the tractor so I will know where I stand on my maintenance schedule.

I will try and point out how I use the tractor on the homestead and some of the things I am doing to prep for it. Right now I don't have any thing that uses diesel except the tractor so I have a limited amount of fuel for it. That will change and I am already getting things in order.

I would also like to apologize for not a bunch of pics, but a farm tractor has grease fittings on it and by the time I think, "man, I need to take some pics of this", my hands have a thick coat of grease on them! So no way I am gonna get grease on my lenses, DSLR or iPhone... but I will take some in the near future!

Now, I would like to thank the person who left me their little tractor and thought so much of my wife and myself to leave it to us...

I am very thankful to 'Papa Bill' but I am also very sad that all I have is my memories and his little orange tractor that he so lovingly maintained instead of his perpetual smile and good humor to make me feel like I was his grandson. Papa Bill, was the closest I have ever been to a genuine HERO. At age 8 he father died and he had to provide for the family. Family always came first with Bill, with him only considering his own needs after he was sure everyone else had plenty. The only thing that the man ever did wrong was lie about his age, so he could go fight the Germans in WWII. He fought in the Battle of Bulge. Was with the 9th Armored Division as they fought to keep the Germans from blowing up Remagen bridge so they could defeat the Nazi's quick and get back home! When he got back home, he worked in a textile mill as an electrician and maintenance guy supreme. When he got off work he farmed on the side to make money for his family. Then he woke up and delivered newspapers before he went back to the mills!

Eventually he retired from the mill, but he still worked as much as the government would allow him and not penalize him. The fields he farmed sprouted housing developments and there was not as much of a need for a large tractor. So after downsizing he eventually purchased his last tractor. One that helped him out and the one that we came to inherit.

Papa Bill, I miss you and you will live on in my heart and the hearts of your granddaughter and great grandchildren until we meet again. Thanks for your sacrifices, your service to our country, your kindness and that ever present smile!

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ramblings on why Ham Radio Operators, "Get IT wrong"...

That is when we try and sell ourselves to the S&P community!

First off, let me offer up this disclaimer. I am a Ham Radio operator and I, myself, am guilty of some of the following things. This may ruffle some feathers, but it is my hope that we as Hams, don't try and sell the hobby, but instead sell the reason and capabilities to those in the S&P mindset.

Second, let me make it VERY CLEAR, I admire and respect the hams that provide public service to emergency organizations. My hats off to you and keep up the good work. This is in no way disrespectful of what you do...

OK, so why do ham radio operators get it wrong, when trying to encourage others to join our hobby so those of the like mind can be prepared???

It is in my opinion, that we sell it as an expensive hobby (sometimes), one where we will be stuck in some shelter for days on end providing communications, to talk to another human being on the other side of the world for no other reason than to make a friend. I can think of many more, but these always get mentioned!

When you extoll the many wonders of ham radio to someone new, you know you lost them when you say," I worked a JG1 call last night on LSB on 40 meters, running 5w from my FT-817 into a G5RV @ 40' signal was 5 by 9, ain't that cool???" as their eyes glaze over and quickly try and change the conversation!

The S&P (Survival & Preparedness) person that may be interested into learning about ham radio, does not care about what you do with it, but rather... WHAT IT CAN DO FOR THEM!!!

For example, you may have headed down to New Orleans with all your ham gear in tow and VOLUNTEERED a MONTH of your time to man a shelter so they would have a link to the outside world since all the normal means of comms were down, but to the average prepper, that does not sound like something he may want to do.

However, mentioning that sometimes the power fails, telephones are down, cable out and cell phones are a NO GO, but with ham radio you were able to talk into or out of those areas that not longer had any communications infrastructure... now that sounds pretty cool!

I don't think, in our hobby, that we sell ourselves very well in the S&P part. Telling folks that I and several other hams spent a week on a ghost town off of the Outer Banks of NC operating ham radio on solar and generator power for a week is much more interesting than talking about the latest contact we made the other night in Europe after supper.

Not to say there is not a place and time for such things, but it is not usually the 'HOOK' that make the non ham, wish to become part of our hobby.

S&Pers want to know WHY they should get licensed, how to use it WTSHTF/TEOTWAWKI, what are the benefits and so on. It is our job as hams to get those folks interested in ham radio. Maybe some of the S&P hams we recruit will go on to be a world class DXer, head of the county or state ARES/RACES, or maybe ham radio will be nothing more than a vital link to those they wish to communicate with when all other methods are not viable. Either way, it is a win for all hams, and a benefit to anyone that knows how to use a ham radio when the chips are down!

I have helped recruit many S&P minded folks into ham radio, often buying the study manual and telling them to 'pass it on' once they got licensed. Once they got a taste of what ham radio could many became involved in ARES/RACES, MARS, SKYWARN, and/or other emergency organizations. Some just wanted to capability to talk around town on repeaters and with a licensed spouse used them to communicate around the homestead.

I will be coming up with some ideas on how to use ham radios WTSHTF in the next week or so, to hopefully inspire folks to 'think outside the box' when it comes to ham radio and not use the 'old marketing' techniques that have been in place for so long.

Like I said, I mean no disrespect to any ham radio operator who volunteers their time for using their ham radio to provide comms, I just want us to think about how it sounds when we describe our hobby to others.

I mean come on... we have to compete against iPhones and computers that can do MANY of the things that ham radio can do (although hams were doing similar things years before the technology was perfected, and in many cases were the folks who came up with the ideas that inspired many communication technologies) as long as EVERYTHING is working right!

This should be an easy sell to those of the S&P mindset, so lets explain how it will benefit the user in the long run... Once they get their taste of what ham radio can do, THEN they will find out about the hobby and service aspects of it.

That may be why I think this way, for I never came from it from the 'ham radio is a cool hobby', but rather, ' ham radio is a vital skill for me as prepper' mindset. Once I played around with my new skill, I found out the best way to increase my skills was to learn the many different ways to send a message across town or around the world.

I hope that we hams of the S&P mindset, will stop and take a look at how we sell ham radio to folks, and quit trying to talk about the hobby and talk about it as a preparedness skill. We also need to do a better job in explaining HOW you can use this skill in your preparedness plan as a prepper and NOT just a ham radio operator. Just saying...

Thanks for reading and 73.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ramblings on the movie "Pandorum"...

Howdy Folks,

The wife and I were looking for a flick to watch last night on PPV (pay per view) and came across Pandorum which was a very interesting sci-fi movie.

I was very impressed with the technology in the movie, mainly the emergency power!

In one scene there is no power for a computer station and it seems the engineers foresaw the need for backup power. With a few cranks of a wheel the computer station comes to life.

In another scene a crew member locates the weapon locker which has non-lethal riot weapons. The weapons mount on your wrist and shoot out a pulse. To power the weapon, you must first pump it up a few times to generate enough power.

In many scenes the pumping up of the wrist weapon replaced the racking of the slide on a semi-auto when trouble was near so that Hollywood cliche was still in action.

The movie, IMHO was pretty decent, but what impressed me was that emergency powered equipment!

I sure wish I had some of that power generation technology here on the farm right now!!!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ramblings on a walk in the woods with my 1.4 50mm lens...

Howdy Folks,

Man this snow here in NC is getting OLD. It has helped us get out of this drought we have been in and has been pretty to look at. It seems here lately though, I am always working in it when the flakes are falling!

Well being I had the day off, I decided to treat myself to a little photo walk around the farm and see if I could catch anything with the camera that looked interesting. It was my first attempt at only using my Canon 1.4 50 mm lens. I usually always take along the lens that came with my Canon DSLR, a 18-55mm which IMHO is a pretty good lens. However with the fixed focal length 1.4 50mm I had to use my 'walk zoom' to either get closer or farther away to frame the pic.

I also wanted to shoot with a shallow depth of field which keeps a small area in focus, but blurs out the background. I am tickled with how these came out but I know they need some work as I am still in the learning phase.


This is a old sprayer that my Grandpa used to spray for those pesky boll weevils in his cotton fields in the 40's and 50's. It is long forgotten and is disappearing under the vines a little more each year. I love the blurring out of the background on this one!

A drop of water that looks like a jewel

I really was pleased with the way these turned out, but I plan on experimenting with this a little more. The snow was melting on the North side of this spring house. I wish I could have been on the South side to try and catch some light in the water drop as it fell. With the way it has been snowing, I should get my chance real soon! LOL Needs some work, but wow. I even caught a few in mid air that look good. An ordinary drop of water, just for a fraction of a second, is more beautiful than a diamond IMHO!


A old sign telling one not to trespass. I needed better lighting and the image is not as crisp as I would like, but I dig the background! No worries, I will get another chance as the whole homestead is my laboratory!


One of my faithful photography assistants who makes sure a deer doesn't come up behind me and attack me with antlers! Give credit where credit is due!


I have a walking trail around the homestead, and for as long as I can remember this tree has been hollow in the center since I was a wee lad. I am amazed that it has not fallen down. It seems to me it has not grown much either, but every time I pass it, it seems like an old friend that I am happy to see. With the dab of snow left on the top of the hole, it looks like a cozy place for a critter to sleep away the cold days of winter.

Well that is it for now folks, hopefully I didn't bore you non photo geeks too much, but I figured I would calm down and relax after my Ramblings on 2012 entry. Thanks for reading, and thanks for ya'll new followers on the blog. I appreciate all of you!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ramblings on the Mayan Calendar and TEOTWAWKI

Howdy Folks,

I remember back in the 80's I was excited to acquire a Casio Databank watch. While reading the directions I found out the electronic calendar would show the correct day of the week, date and month until the year 2024.

At the time I was so in love with that watch, I was sure that I would keep it till 2024! After a couple of years, things break and after the strap broke I was on the look out for a new watch...

So what would happen if society collapsed resulting in the majority of the knowledge we have today being lost, (let's say around 1990)?

After a couple decades society is slowly piecing itself back together... many strange artifacts are recovered. One of the artifacts is a Casio Databank watch. With a little tinkering and scavenging the curator of the "Old World Museum" manages to get the Casio working again!

The curator is very excited begins pushing buttons and after awhile figures out that the calendar on the Casio will not go past the year 2024! He thinks nothing of it but when he mentions it to the ruling council, the elders, who are very superstitious take it as a sign.

The elders interpret the sign as the world will end in 2024! For why would such a technologically advanced society of the old world create such a wonderful device and not have the date go beyond 2024 if the world was not going to end then??? I mean what else could it mean other than THAT??????????

Dear readers, do you not think that just maybe the Mayans created their calendars back in the old days and figured they would make it last until the year 2012 which was the end of some great cosmic cycle??? Maybe they thought they had plenty of time to make the "NEXT ONE"??? I mean there is a bunch of other things to do in a 5124 year calendar other than worrying about making the NEXT calendar!!!

The Spanish came to Central America, changed civilizations, had offspring with the natives, destroyed their 'weird religions' and converted them to Catholicism thus destroying the Mayan culture and religion. So maybe the people who used to be the Mayans, don't really give a crap about making calendars anymore and instead give us more valuable items like Tequila, Fajitas and Hot Stuff!!!

Maybe we have the Spanish Conquistadors and their quest for gold to blame for this 2012 hysteria these days???

Dang Cortes, you could have at least let them make another calendar!!!

Shoot, being a 5124 year calendar you could flip the thing to zero year or whatever and reuse it!!!

I mean Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made more sense than "the world is ending in 2012 crap because we can't find the next calendar!!!"

Maybe the world will end in 2012 (but not because of the Mayan calendar), but if the Mayans were so good at predicting stuff, why didn't they see the Spanish coming???

Whatever it is, I ain't buying it!

***RANT OFF***

Thanks for reading!


Ramblings on the SHTF x2...

Howdy Folks,

With the talk of Iran was going to do 'something' today and the record snowfall in Washington D.C. it got me to thinking... What would have happened if you were in the Capitol (or any where else) and had to evacuate with a blizzard?

I reckon if that is where you chose to live, then you are pretty much stuck when mother nature dumps on you.

I think the most important thing is be aware of the weather and realize that if you plan on bugging out, you are not guaranteed clear skies, empty roads, and smooth sailing, so plan accordingly!!!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ramblings on Podcasts...

Howdy Folks,

It has been a mess here in the Carolinas the past few days as we received another 6 inches of snow here on the homestead. With the cold nights that dip below freezing and the refreeze of the snow melt it can make for some dicey driving conditions.

All this cabin fever has me ready for spring! Being cooped up is a great time to listen to podcasts... well actually anytime is!

Working by myself has its benefits and also its downsides as well. While I hardly ever have anyone looking over my shoulder I often times have no one to keep me company. That is why I will pester folks like my good friend, Freedom Defender as well as WW in TN and Al in NC. Many times though, my friends are busy or I am suffering from a loss of connectivity in my wireless access, so I have to have other folks to keep me company.

I usually ride along with Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast which has been a big help in keeping me heading in the direction I need to be in my preps. I have to say though, since Jack has been podcasting from the home office, I sure do miss those 'auto rants'. Good stuff! This guy is worth MORE than 20 cents an episode and it is why I support him via the members support brigade!

I have only been listening to Matt of The Prepper Podcast for a few weeks now and just finished listening to episode 21 today and I am totally impressed with this dude. Every week Matt has bloggers and others of the preparedness mindset on his show and does an excellent interview. For a prepper that is getting his start, Matt is going places. Keep up the good work. Also check out The American Preppers Network which has some great forums and State Clubs which folks can discuss and plan meetups. Good Stuff as well!!!

I also listen to many non S&P related podcasts, such as Leo Laporte for my Technology Fix, Today in iPhone for the latest info on iPhone related stuff, This Week in Photography for my Photography fix, and my Favorite Walt Disney World Podcast... WDW today which always brings me a little cheer because I always enjoy taking the kids to see the only mouse I don't wanna stomp on!!! LOL

I have many more podcasts that I listen as well, but I can't cover them all. I average about 18 hours a day in podcast listening... but it only takes me 9 as my iPhone has a 2x speed setting which allows me to listen to them quickly. Yeah, it takes a little getting used to, but once your ears get calibrated for it, you can easily understand everything being said! This is a way to listen to a TREMENDOUS amount of info daily and keep up with everything that interests you!

Oh yeah, I also listen to audiobooks as well... I use Audible and I am very satisfied with them. If you click on the Audible link above I WILL NOT GET ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!! I do not plan on monetizing my blog at this time, so my plug for them is only from a satisfied customer point of view!

The time I spend working with my hands is also time that I can listen to those books I never seem to have time to read because I am mostly working.

So consider getting an MP3 player, or better yet... a iPhone and finding yourself some podcasts/audiobooks to listen to, so you can learn about more things, get better educated and pass the time better!

Take it easy and thanks to all you new followers (as well as old timers!!!)


Monday, January 18, 2010

Ramblings on YakTraks and STABILicers...

Howdy Folks,

If you read some of my report on working in the snow and ice up in the mountains, you may recall how I mentioned that my YakTraks FAILED (EPIC FAIL!!!) because of the constant walking up steep hills and punching through the crust of ice to get to the ground below for a solid grip.



First of all let me say this about the YakTraks... they are worth $20 if you plan on using them in the city on flat ground to walk on the sidewalks coated with ice. They will not do you any good though walking up hills and punching through ice like I did.

Eventually, even with my attempts at repairing them with zip ties they became more trouble than they were worth.

I knew the type of design that would hold up to the conditions I was working in. I needed something with a hard plastic or rubber bottom to allow me to stomp through the ice, and they needed nylon traps so there would be no FLEX when I walked up an down hills.


A search on Amazon revealed STABILicers by www.32north.com These were EXACTLY what I needed and have proven durable enough to last longer than the failed YakTraks. The traction you get with the STABILicers is tenacious to say the least. The first time I walked up a hill I felt like I was walking on dry rough concrete and there was no flex like with the YakTraxs which gave me confidence I was not going to fall and do the luge down the mountainside!


The YakTraks are easy to slip on and off. They also tuck away nicely in your coat pocket for those times you need to go inside.


The STABILicers take a little more time to take on and off, but not really that much longer. They do not tuck away easy though, but for the stability they give me, I can handle that problem!


I will probably get another pair of YakTraks for use when I am in town and need to walk around, but for working... I will be using the STABILicers from now on!

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ramblings on Y2K , a retrospective...

Well folks it is a few days past the 10 year anniversary of the much hyped Y2K bug.

I thought it would be a fun thing to look back on this event and share some of the things going through my head at the time.

I have always been into prepping and wilderness survival techniques since the mid 80's. I always thought that S&P (survival & prepardeness) meant having guns... lots of guns. Sure it was a hook for a lot of us gun owners and an excuse to our wives to buy firearms.

About 1998 the Y2K bug was everywhere in the news, with books, videos and websites dedicated to the topic (I still have several of these just to show my kids when they get older). In fact that is where I cut my teeth on various survival forums (the original Squirrels, Plainsman's Cabin, and Assault Web as a few) being heavily involved in the Communication forums.

I learned a lot of things to help prep me for Y2K there but if Y2k had actually happened, I would have been up the creek with a water soluble paddle!

I got a generator, a long term storage fuel supply, a swimming pool to store water, some ammo, a little food and a small battery pack.

On 1-1-2000 nothing happened that didn't usually happen. Most folks sold off their Y2k preps and I got a some freebies from a fellow prepper who said the heck with it and gave me a good start on my preps!

I was not sure that Y2k was going to be a big deal or not, but I wanted to do SOMETHING and I thought what I was doing was good enough. I think it is basic human nature to want to do anything even if it turns out wrong.

It was definitely an interesting time to experience!

Around 2003 I started getting my preps in order. Food is more important that weapons and ammo. Knowledge to know how to grow and preserve more food is even more important. Skills began to overtake preps although BOTH are important!!!

Still there is always more things to learn and more things to store no matter how long you have been into prepping!

So even though Y2K was a flop, it was the catalyst that helped me get into the correct mindset that I have today!

I also think that Y2K is where a bunch of folks learned that they were not crazy because they wanted to prepare. The sad part is that many sold off their preps and said, "Never Again" . They were once AWARE, but decided the light was too bright and it was easier to live life by sticking their heads back into the sand.

Thanks for reading and 73!


Ramblings on Dumbass Drunk Drivers!!!

Howdy Folks,

Hope you all are doing well... I am PISSED right now at Dumb Ass Drunk Drivers... I mean who the heck is drunk on a Sunday afternoon at 5 pm??? Get in rehab you idiot!!!

Well before I get ahead of myself, maybe a little explaining is needed...

I was enjoying Sunday afternoon with my family and my wife wanted to visit her Grandpa who is in hospice. Keep him in your prayers if that is your thing, they would be appreciated. Anyway, after that we decided to get a bite to eat. We were waiting at a stoplight for the light to turn green when a white car rammed into the red car that was behind us which the red car then ran into us.

As I was getting out of the car to check on everyone the white car took off. They were gone before I could get the tag # but luckily some folks at the fast food parking lot got the # as I was talking to 911. Thanks goodness for that as we all took quite a whack and I was a little dazed! I hope the kid in the car with the drunkards is OK... poor rascal :-(

When the white car took off it almost hit another car which really pissed off the woman driver because she also took down the tag # and gave it to the city police as they pulled in behind us.

Here is the kicker, the police were already looking for this car as they were drunk when they left Applebees with a female driver, male passenger as well as an unsecured kid whom the driver of the red car said flew up in the front seat when they hit him. They were already on the look out for them and before I could give the 911 dispatcher the tag number they asked me if it was XXX-XXXX to which I said, "Yes!"

So in a matter of 5 minutes after the wreck happened the police were on the scene and within 10 minutes they had the hit & run drunk driver in custody! Hurray for the CITY I was in police department. The officer that responded to the call was very professional and I was very impressed with him. I will be writing a letter to the police department commending him for his professionalism, promptness and concern for all those involved!

The family is OK just a little shook up and our car had surprising little damage but I will get it checked out once we get the lowdown from the insurance company. The red car and its driver suffered the brunt of the impact and he seemed OK but as we wrapped up he was getting checked out in an ambulance.

The way the officer was talking was that they were gonna charge the woman driver with DUI, felony hit & run, leaving the scene of an accident, child endangerment, and speeding to elude arrest! They will be having a worse day when all is said and done than we had, but after all they deserve it don't they???

Sometimes when TSHTF you are the fan and the drunk driver is the shit!

Take care, and if you see someone that is drinking and driving report them, maybe next time they can get the assholes off of the road before they do ANY harm!

Don't worry folks, I will be going back to G-rated posts in the future, so I apologize for the language this time.

Take it easy and 73!


Ramblings on Storm Recovery Duty...

Grandfather Mountain
After a week off during Christmas I returned to work last Monday. We had a pretty hard rain on Christmas Day, but up in the mountains in about a 20 mile diameter area all that rain was an inch of ice. So I found out I was assigned to storm recovery duty in one of the hardest hit areas.

Icey trees

As I headed up the long and winding road up to the mountains I was sure I could find some lessons about how folks were making do, how people reacted and how bad things could really get. I wanted to bring along my Digital SLR but since my iPhone is almost always with me, I decided to use it for convenience. My el cheapo Sony Point and Shoot was with me, but other than megapixals (Sony is 7.1 and the iPhone is 3.something) the iPhone takes better pictures. This is not a slam against Sony's, it is just my $100 version does not take as good as a picture as my wife's $300 Sony.

Lots of broken trees

running beside the BRP

More broken trees

As we got up to where the ice had hit, I noticed there was a bunch of tree tops missing, power/phone/CATV lines down EVERYWHERE. Since up in the mountains utilities cannot simply follow the road as it would cost too much money for all the curves, most utilities go in a straight line and are MOSTLY aerial.

Home no longer GRID tied

Fixing cable
So basically ANYWHERE there was enough ice to cause a tree to fall it landed on a utility line, it went out!

Most people were very thankful to the utility workers that were out and about, but there were a few instances of confrontations. As much as I like warm meals, I usually avoid eating in public on storm recovery duty as the sheeple do not understand that you have been working out in the cold for the past 12 hours and just want a bite to eat so they can continue on fixing what is broke!

Tree vs. gas station sign
I had an incident where I was working on a gas stations phone line for their debit/credit card machine. When a large tree fell on the power it sent a surge and fried the modem in the device. As this person came in and was informed that it was "CASH ONLY" because the phone lines were down (NO, WRONG the line was working it was their equipment that was not working) he said, "WTF are you doing standing there MFer, you need to fix it now so I can get some gas!" Which I replied, " the phone is working, it is the gas stations equipment that is deffective, but you could have saved yourself a bunch of trouble had you simply taken the time to get a little cash BEFORE the storm so you would not be in this situation!" He mumbled something as he left but had a look of disbelief and shock as he walked back to his car. SCARED SHEEPLE can be DANGEROUS, so watch your back... I did!

I mentioned YakTraks as a great way to walk around on the ice and they do work... however wearing them for a week and walking up and down hills they kept breaking. I fixed them by using zip ties, but I am sure that that will eventually fail as well! Great for city slickers, not so good for storm recovery duty in hilly terrain. BTW I just want to say to Ajax on another forum, you were right dude!

I was VERY surprised at how many folks that were out of power DID NOT have a generator. I mean where I live at in the Piedmont area of NC, everybody has a generator. When the power goes out you can hear them running from miles away. You would think that folks who live in such an environment they would spend just maybe a little less on the mountaintop Chateau and budget in a generator or other alt power source. This to me, was something I expected to people to have!

Generator Power

It was also surprising to me how many folks reported phone problems when their power was out, but their phone service was actually working, it was just the only phones they had were of the cordless variety and required AC power. Get a cheap and basic plug in the wall phone for when the power goes out. Will not always work as sometimes Remote Terminals require generator power to keep them running, but straight out from the Central Office these lines always have power as long as the copper lines are not damaged!

Ice ruts

28F was the high on day

Snowy Swing

A week before the ice storm, this area experienced 12-18 inches of snow and it hardly melted. When the ice storm came, it coated the snow with a crust of ice. It was very hard to walk on as it would not break easily in places, but at the wrong time it would break and throw you off balance. The best thing was to STOMP to break the ice to get down to the packable snow layer underneath. The one thing that I found out was that this can wreck havoc on leather climbing boots. My boots at the heels, toes and side were very abraded by the sharp edges of the ice. This is something one may need to consider for extended operations in this type of environment. I am required to wear a certain type of boot so it is hard for me to get by wearing pac boots.

Again as the weather stayed at freezing with one day it got up to 45F, the snow/ice did not go anywhere. When it did melt it was actually worse as the water froze into glass like sheets that made getting traction up steep inclines impossible. Also when it was melting some of those same hills became muddy quagmires and were also very difficult to drive on as the ground was SUPER SATURATED! Be aware that driving conditions can change with the temps. That muddy driveway may turn to a slick sheet of ice that will give you a very scary ride. The major roads were clear and heavily salted. Most of the ones I am talking about were private or secondary roads.

Cable Down

Blue Ridge Parkway is CLOSED

Waterfall Park

A bunch of the lines feeding the few cellular phone sites were out and thus your cell phone would not work. If you know where your free wifi hotspots are, you can use Skype to make a call if those places were not damaged by the storm. The places in town had both power as well as internet. Know how to communicate by alternate methods when your primary form becomes non functional. Think of Voip (Skype), Ham radio, Calling cards to use in an area that is not affected, etc.

Zippo handwarmers are the best! They run from 12-24 hours on a few ounces of lighter fluid. In the long run, they are cheaper than those disposable types. If you work outdoors in cold weather you should get one or two to keep your pinkies warm!

After working up there a week I am sure enjoying my time inside this weekend. Looks like I will be heading back up there tomorrow and probably for awhile to come.

Be prepared because you never know when TS is gonna HTF in your neighborhood!!!

Thanks for reading!


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.

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