Monday, July 29, 2013

Tactical training and weekly update

Sometimes it seems like a chore to break away and make a post. Getting to work early on a Monday seems to work well, so here we go.
Our group scheduled some training together this weekend, hopefully everyone learned some things. I learned some new stuff and got a great refresher on everything else. The course covered the following (and more):

Survival mindset
Recognizing a threat

Threat mediation & de-escalation
Immediate action response to a close-quarters threat/assault both armed and unarmed

Response to threat(s) occurring in a residence, public setting, or place of employment
entification and use of cover, tactical movements
Basic strikes and joint locking techniques
Weapon retention and retrieval
Engaging and armed or un-armed threat after experiencing disorientation

Honestly I would take a class like this every weekend if I could find one locally. One of our members, and a good friend of mine, is associated with the training organization so the course was free and super informative. I realized I need to get a plastic knife and pistol so we can practice things at home. I haven't taken Aikido in a long time but it instantly came back to me on blocking techniques, momentum changing, wrist control, etc.

The instructor didn't like that I was a 9mm fan, otherwise we got along great. We had 14 people at the training but I was very surprised when only 3 of us raised our hands when asked who had a concealed carry. I was actually disappointed, I don't know what it will take for some people to just do it, take the time for the class and get the permit. There are all kinds of things you can use as a weapon but you can't give 2 to the chest with your car keys. Much of the classroom portion was a reminder that you don't want to be the person going thru life like a zombie.

Preparedness is in full swing at the home, we both felt that we hadn't done much for a couple of months so we shifted into high gear. Truthfully we have done a ton of stuff but often forget that weapons practice, physical fitness, reading, cooking, etc. are all forms of preparedness. It's what we do everyday so it seems mundane.

Food storage goodness on a rainy Sunday evening! We used chocolate chips that I vac sealed over 3 years ago.
 Canning squash and zucchini, mainly trying to keep  up with garden production so we don't have to give anything away just yet.
 9mm in the house! Replaced what we shot and added 500 more.
 The garden is soaking up the rain, and the grass needs to be mowed before it overtakes the world.
 Rounds down range.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Range time and gardening

As with all skills, practice makes perfect or at least lets you hit what you are aiming at. I went to the range on Sunday with a couple of guys I know, newbies to the world of shooting. I got less trigger time than anticipated, I was keeping a good eye on them to make sure there weren't any accidents. They both loved my carbine and the new EoTech is dialed in. It's a suppression weapon and some targets got all kinds of suppressed.
We only got yelled at 3 times by the range safety officers, so it was a good day. One guy gives a safety brief when we show up, another guy doesn't see it and chews us out for not getting a safety brief. the same guy yelled about something else unnecessary and then got all in my face about me having a concealed carry on the range, it's not allowed and he should throw me out. He felt like a fool when I pulled up my shirt and it was an empty holster.
I'm a nice guy, I don't understand why people single me out when the people around me are doing very unsafe things. Leave me alone.

Thursday is range time (a different range) with the group, I'll be able to practice anything I want, and get some small team tactics in. Saturday will be home defense tactics for the group, dealing with break ins and home invasion type stuff, mainly directed to the ladies in the group since they are usually home with kids. I also need to buy some ammo to replace what we shot/will be shooting. Down 500 rounds of 9mm and .223 but our supply is still really high and prices are ok.

Here are some pictures of the garden, it was looking grand this morning.
 The beans are flowering and a few baby beans have showed up. I'm hoping we will get enough to can this year.
Tomatoes, we are up to about 80 greens, I've already got a candidate to can all the ones we don't use.
 Yellow squash will start being canned this weekend, there are about 10 that will be ready for picking Friday evening.
 Cucumbers are starting to vine out nicely, I'm training them up the fence. Bad news is the dogs like to eat them, so I'll see how that goes once they pop.
 Zucchini in the foreground, squash in the back.
Patience, not my best attribute, but it's finally garden veggie time. I cooked up some burger with spices and mixed it in. This was my high protein and carbohydrates, very low fat after workout meal. 6 days a week at the gym is giving me great strength gains, I can't wait to see what another month or so will bring.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Just some rambling brain tidbits

I listen to all kinds of music, yesterday I wanted some old school classic hip-hop. I was on the way to the gym and needed a little more motivation and "pump-up'd'ness. Instead I got someone talking about the Zimmerman trial. Hey, XM radio I didn't get you for your talk...
"If a jury couldn't place any value on Travon martin's life, what kind of value would they place on my son, or myself."

We place value on so much let's riot, stop traffic, get arrested and steal shit.... Social media is all abuzz with trial stuff, juror stuff, comparisons to other crimes that no one ever heard about, etc. Nothing will happen, people won't organize, communicate, work together, unify. Woe is me.

Rained almost all day yesterday, I'd say 19 hours out of 24 had moisture pouring into the earth. The sun is out today and when I left for work the garden plants were smiling and you could almost see them grow a little taller. Not having anything but green tomatoes in the garden was a reminder to have good food storage while you are waiting for thins to grow (did I ever tell you I'm not patient). A garden is a supplement, you might get zero production, you might have horrible weather, you might just suck at gardening. A hunter-gatherer survival scenario wouldn't be fun at all if you didn't have food storage backup.

There I am, lower left in the white shirt. I was small, when I joined the Army I only weighed 110 pounds. That was up from my junior year weight of 90 pounds. When I joined the civilian life I did what many prior service people do, I became sedentary. 38 inch waist pants were tight, XXL shirts were the norm and I guess I just felt normal. Times change.

I haven't seen my old personal trainer since sometime in February but we hung out last night with some of her friends. She was shocked at how much muscle I've put on in 5 months. I haven't always worked out or been fit, but when I focus on something I do give it 100%. Mentally I'm a little sad that I'm not running much, but I'm spending 90 minutes at the gym 5 times a week and that's enough time for fitness besides some hikes. I don't care about getting big, or wanting to get stronger, I want to be strength.

Ryan sums up fitness in a post today: Get Started. I've been working out, non ultra running working out, since the end of September. I've been doing mainly strength and weight training since January. I've stuck to it and the 2 people I have been trying to work out with have either stopped going to the gym, or going so sporadically that they might as well not go. Whatever you do, START and keep at it.

I have to work this weekend, another one shot down. I will be getting the largest paycheck of my life at the end of the week. I'll work weekends if they keep paying me well. I hope everyone else is doing great financially, I've seen a lot of statistics but don't know how it relates to the real world. The way business is going and how things are with everyone I know, it seems like things are going ok. We aren't rich but we are happy and healthy and the bills get paid.
Now I just need garden tomatoes.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Land Search part 2

Another wonderful weekend, and a great trip out of town. We a reserved spot at a BLM campsite so we wouldn't have to hunt for a spot (and the camper is best to use with the dogs). We didn't like the reserved spot, no shade and right next to the bathrooms but down the road was another open site, so we back the camper into it and started to unhook it.
The ever observant camp site host pulled in with his ATV to give us a friendly hello. We explained what site we had reserved and that we instead wanted this open (as was posted on it) site and would be happy to pay for this site and give up the old one no problem. He said it was no problem at all, walked around both rigs to get the license numbers, looked at our dogs and said to make sure they were kept on leash "based on how people think of pitbulls" and that they had cell phone service and he could call in if there were any problems. Friendly huh...

WTF, we just showed up. Asshole. I'm tired of people seeing us thinking were some angry young people with monster trucks and mean dogs. We are in our early 40's and in the woods camping, what are we going to do, open up a disco bar in the BLM camground?

The next morning there were notes on all the reserved spots that said "don't change sites, ask first". lol

While we were having dinner the next day, more dinner came by:
There were a lot of deer in the area and I saw massive Elk off in the distance a couple of times. Made me regret not having my really good camera and zoom lens.
 One of the roads we went up while looking for property that might have been for sale.
 Lunch time in the woods! Forgot the insect repellant but it wasn't too bad. A lot of moisture bring more bugs, but I just tend to ignore them and they leave me a lone. Someone else, like always, got bit to hell and back.
 View from up top of a mountain, gorgeous view of the valley floor and all the ranches. The entire area was settled in the early 1800's by Germans but most of the cattle ranches have turned over to haying operations or are simply not in operation at all.
Blind dogs have more fun! He has a great time and wags a lot when I describe what were looking at. Rock has to be on leash all the time, he chases meeps, chip's, birds, ant's... he is a great "something is over there" dog.

We found a few places we liked, not all of them were for sale but sometimes you fall in love with anyhow. Unfortunately the kind of land we are looking for is expensive, an example was: 1br/1ba cabin with well and septic, year round high volume creek on tree'd property, 2 acres: $189,000
Since we aren't in a hurry and it's more of a cabin/retreat project for the future, we will continue to be patient. You can get stuff for cheap but the terrain is more like the picture with my dog Luke in it, dry, rocky and pinon/small pine with no water. Acreage is important, and of course the stuff we liked ended up being 1000 acres or more... couldn't win this trip but at least we looked.

We had a great time, got some ideas on who sells the type of land we are looking for, and got to get out of town for a few days. Guess who gave the camp host the biggest problems: a large family with 3 small screaming kids and barking dogs. Yup, not us, but that's ok... profile away.

I got a mile hike done with my get home bag, I was worried it would be too heavy but it was riding great. With the rifle slung and the magazines properly placed elsewhere, the bag will work out great. Now I need to get another bag as a gift, our anniversary is the next gift day unless I decide to do it before then. I know a mile isn't much, but it's the first opportunity I had to get out and about with it 100% loaded, people freak out about my leg drop pistol, they would freak out bad over the rifle and magazines on my back.

On Saturday at home a monsoon hit, and it's been raining for over 12 hours. Our garden is loving life and the nutrients only the rain seems to bring. We have over 60 tomatoes waiting to ripen and everything else looks amazing. Amazing like this high altitude view I'll leave you with:

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Being on time is late, 10-15 minutes early is on time. On time is late, late is never acceptable.

Then again when no one in your life or circle of friends thinks that way... well it can drive you nuts. I've decided to start going to the gym by myself, if someone is there and wants help I'm all for it but I've been stood up twice this week.That's 2 times I just waited around to help other people, and one of those times was my second gym visit of the evening. It's just going to be easier and nicer to work out in the afternoon instead of late evening.

I am up to doing 100 pound dumbbells on the flat bench press and 85's on the incline. I am not doing anymore traditional bench pressing, my shoulder doesn't appreciate it. I think the dumbbells are a better workout, but you can't just toss around the same kind of weight with them. It's fun grabbing the 100's and doing sets and reps, that's a lot of weight and it makes me feel awesome. I hit a new high on squats Monday, my body armor still fits and I'm healthy and strong.

The camper is all loaded up and were heading out of town tomorrow. We are camping out in the area we want to purchase some land, so we have a couple of days to drive around and see it all. This will include the obligatory drive up a random mountain. It's almost mid July so we are about 8 months away from the possible purchase. We have never been in that area in the winter and it's important to see what that season is like, for that area.

My squash, zucchini, cucumbers and peas are all flowering. I'm getting really excited to start canning my fresh veggies again. I'm hoping to add a month worth of dinners to the food storage, all via meat and veggie canning. Adding some more jams/jellies won't hurt either, I'm a PB&J kind of guy.

Hell, that should be a t-shirt.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Garden and group update.

I know several people who are already harvesting garden veggies like zucchini, squash and tomatoes. What am I harvesting.... lettuce and chives.
This is the first year I went 100% heirloom and it seems to be growing a lot slower than I'm used to. I suppose using seeds are aren't modified is just a lesson in patience. We do have about 30 green tomatoes and a lot more flowers, so that's good news... soon. Everything looks great, even the corn is growing strong minus a few little stalks. I know in a few weeks we will be overrun with veggies, for now tomato sandwiches require a grocery store.

Here is a picture of some baby Robins that are hanging out with us this year. The picked a better location for the nest, it's well protected from everything including the dogs. It's a crappy cell phone picture, the house was already locked and armed when I thought about it this morning.

We had our monthly meeting last night and talked about lessons learned from wildfire evacuations. You never have as much time as you think, make a list of things you want based on the amount of time you have: Prioritize. Copies of important documents scanned onto flash drives along with pictures of your house and rooms. Running around last minute getting photo's and video is a good idea but when you are short on time you don't need to be messing around. Flash drives in your 72 hour bag means you grab it each time you pick up that bag and head out.

The group scheduled some range time later this month so we can keep our skills sharp. I'll hit the range myself next weekend and get my new EOTech dialed in. I lined it up on my laser bore sight, but I want it set for a little farther distances. The group also has some tactical home training at the end of the month, one of the group members is involved in a company that trains LEO. We talked about close quarters combat, clearing your house, responding to a break in, etc. No ambushes or fire team training, just some good knowledge that will help the kids, wives, everyone that shows up for something that can easily happen. Home invasions happen, a lot.

Red Dawn, civil unrest, financial collapse, zombie apoc... all of this stuff is great to prepare for but if you don't plan for the most logical scenario, you won't be prepared for anything. Most of the group falls under the wildfire category of shtf. What good is years of food storage and supplies if you don't know how to get out of your neighborhood if there is a fire. Plan, practice, set rally points, etc.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Book review, Traveler

I like to read and yesterday while lounging around enjoying the best country in the world, I randomly selected this book:
Yes, I graciously borrowed that image from Amazon. I order about 10 books from them every 60 days, so like 65% of the country I feel entitled and am using something that's not mine.

The first book I read by Wilson was called Joshua, and it was a great read. This book had the promise to be the same. If you plan on reading it, I won't spoil much of anything.
Set in post-apoc, during the same time as Joshua, but dealing with entirely new characters. There isn't any need to sugar coat post-apoc life, and this book nailed it pretty well. A teen falls in with a group of people doing whatever it takes to survive a full 3 years after whatever event happened.

I thought the book was great, all the usual post-apoc stuff including moral struggles... and then I felt like the end of the book was written by Rawles. It's prefectly fine to have moral struggles, think about the things you learned in church, pray, hope and wonder, etc.
Nothing wrong with that at all, but just like the last Rawles book I read, suddenly someone is saved by a large Christian group and everything will work out, it's Gods plan even if you get tossed out of the community for something you really didn't do after getting corporal punishment... hey, it's ok, it's Gods plan... just like those couple hundred stitches.

I still enjoyed the book, and the ending actually was a surprise and reminded me of a lesson I learned long ago: The people around you that you consider friends can turn on you in a heartbeat based on mob mentality cause by a select few vocal people.

That lesson almost sent me to prison, I won't ever forget it. A few close trusted friends, everyone else = acquaintance.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Property search adventure

We started looking for property this weekend, we knew what area would work, so we loaded up and headed out to do some dirt road driving and see what might be available. We've been yearning to be out in the hills for some time and finally had a free weekend. Looking for some property is a chore, only really expensive mountain properties are listed on website and real estate pages so it's a manual search.

Plans start out one way and end up another.

We descended down one mountain range and into a valley into a small town. On the other side of the town and valley was a large mountain range... something about first mountain on the left and straight on until morning. That's where the arrow is pointing towards.
On the way up we stopped to let the boys have some  mountain adventure and pee time. Luke is great off leash but there were some steep sides so I had to guide him up and down. He is so cute walking around in an unknown area high stepping like an Arabian horse so he doesn't trip on things.
Way out in the middle of that picture is the valley floor that we originally descended into (from t he first photo). If you are going to climb a 14,000 foot mountain why not do it in style?
Horseshoe lake down in the depression. There were a total of 3 lakes and I didn't go swimming. I didn't plan on being by a lake at all, let a lone a high altitude set of 3, so no swimming trunks were packed (what kind of prepper am I, right!).
Looking East, where we could no longer continue our journey. The road went up another 1/4 mile (I suppose road is a laughable term) and I'm sure it might actually have gone down the other side (topo map didn't even have the road going past the above pictured lake) but there was a huge snow pile blocking the way.

Nothing unusual at 14,000 feet so we let the dogs out, turned around and let gravity do it's thing for a couple of hours.
Stopped about 1/2 mile down from the top for an alpine flower shot and noticed the clouds swarming the area we just left. The picture of the Discovery doesn't have clouds anywhere near the ridge line.
It rained the entire way down and back into the plains, about 3 hours worth of rain and hail, they are called the wet mountains for a reason. I took a video of the rain on the way out, forgive the sideways portion, I don't have editing software on this laptop.

I was nervous about driving close to the edge and getting sucked into the drainage ditch. At one point down the hill we got close to a Jeep but they took off to show us who's boss and were probably 30 minutes ahead of us... in the drainage ditch. We stopped but nobody was there, it was just full of water since they had no doors or windows in. They certainly showed us how fast they could go!