Posts Tagged ‘survivalism’

I picked up a copy of Les Stroud’s book Survive, and found it to be a very good read, so good in fact I’ve placed it into my keeper library of prepper and survival literature. There are a couple of reasons for it, one of which is that Les doesn’t dwell on the fast paced hype that many ‘survival gurus’ want to push.

This book is divided into 15 chapters, plus author notes and some good checklists in the back. Les starts out with chapter one being on trip planning and preparation. Funny, but a lot of so called experts usually gloss over the basics of trip planning, if they even address it at all. Of course, this just falls into the ADD method for your preparedness and survival planning, so it makes sense to start from the beginning. ADD: Analyze, Develop and Deploy. Works every time provided you follow the concept in full.

Seriously though, trip planning requires more effort than packing a bag and grabbing a map and compass. You have to develop your mindset, accept what you are and make sure others know where you’re going, and when you’ll be back. Preparation is one of the key elements to having a successful plan no matter what you are planning for a project.

The chapters themselves are set to examine separate needs and skills that you should be learning, if you already haven’t done so, to survive any incident that leaves you in a position that most of us would rather not be caught up in. Survival skills are best demonstrated as being the result of proper planning, and each of these chapters need to be gone through as first; separate subjects, and secondly; as an intertwined, comprehensive philosophy. Everything you need to possess by way of knowledge can only be acquired by learning and practicing what you have learned.

I won’t go into a detailed description of each chapter here. I tried, but the piece simply grew into a book of its own discussing each of these points and ideas presented by Les Stroud in this book. Suffice it to say, I paid $19.99 for the book, but you can get it cheaper by shopping around, but no matter what you eventually pay, it’s worth the cost for this extra voice in your planning regimen.

The chapters in this book are;

1;    Trip Planning and Preparation

2;    Survival Kits

3;    Psychological Aspects of Survival

4;    Signaling

5;    Water

6;    Fire

7;    Shelter

8;    Food

9;    Survival Travel and Navigation

10;    Dangers and Hazards

11;    Weather

12;    Clothing

13;    Survival First Aid

14;    Essential Survival Skills

15;    When Disaster Strikes Close to Home

One of the things I like about this volume is the way Stroud looks at an issue from varied viewpoints, such as in chapter 9, where he addresses the issue of traveling in a survival situation. Most writers have one opinion or another, they stick to it, and they fail to examine both sides of that same issue. This chapter looks at the question of “should you stay or go” and looks at the pros and cons of both aspects.

From tips on navigation, fire starting, sheltering and more, I think you’ll find the entire book a worthy read if you are really serious about learning to survive when the crap hits the fan. If you’re into the hype part of surviving the coming times, you won’t be satisfied with it. Les Stroud doesn’t discuss end time scenarios, but real world survival skills.

Les Stroud: Survive

Published by Collins

ISBN: 978-0-06-137351-0

List price $19.99


I came across this chart of knots and their names and thought I would share it with you. I’ll be getting into more knots and bindings in another post, but this quick view will give you some new names you may have not heard before, even though they are all old names and some have been around for hundreds of years. Get yourself a hank of line and sit back some evening and see how many of these knots you can master. It’ll help pass the remaining frigid days away until that old Spring Sun starts a-shinin’ again to warm your souls. You know, in over half a century of living I’ve never quite mastered a couple of them, namely 33 and 34, the chain knots.

Click onto the button above to listen to episode one of Preparedness 101!

This post is a new treat for those who have been listening to my Blogtalk radio recordings. Join me in listening to my first episode of Preparedness 101. In this episode I will introduce this new series of recordings, and I’ll talk about what preparedness and survival planning is and why it is so important for us today as we get ready to survive the coming times.

Consider these episodes as a distance learning tool if you will, but the goal is to help you all learn the what, why and how of preparedness planning

From How to use cement for concrete construction for town and farm, by Henry C. Campbell:

Sometimes cisterns are built wholly or in part above ground, yet the natural place for such a structure is below ground. A cistern is nothing more or less than a tank required to keep clean water in storage without loss from leakage. It is therefore necessary that the structure be watertight. Cisterns have been built of such masonry as brick and stone but this cannot be depended upon to be watertight unless plastered, since leakage is almost certain to take place through mortar joints. For that reason concrete construction is perhaps more adaptable to the requirements than other materials. Steel tanks have been used for cisterns but from the very nature of the material it is subject to rust and cannot be regarded nearly as permanent as concrete.

Shape and Forms.
Since the advent of the commercial silo form used by rural concrete contractors in building concrete silos, many persons have had circular cisterns built. The home-made silo forms illustrated elsewhere in this book can be adapted to circular cistern construction if required, but unless one has already built such forms for use in constructing a silo, it is easier to build forms for a rectangular cistern.

In order to illustrate the principles of constructing a rectangular concrete cistern, the accompanying sketches have been fully detailed and show a cistern 7 feet square by 6 feet deep. A very advantageous detail of this cistern is the filter built on and as a part of the cistern cover slab. Rainwater enters this filter through the 6-inch tile drain shown and goes into the settling compartment containing the screen. This screen helps to prevent refuse such as leaves and other rubbish from going immediately into the filter compartment and thus clogging the filter material. The approximate capacity of this cistern is 70 barrels.

Materials Should All Be Ready Before Starting Work.

Before commencing to build a concrete cistern all necessary materials should be on hand. It is always well to have a slight excess of materials over, and above those required, to provide for slight loss due to waste in mixing and placing or to shortage through possible miscalculation of quantities required. The first thing to do is to lay out a square on the ground 8 feet on each side. If the earth is firm enough to serve as an outside form no other form will be needed. If, however, the earth has a tendency to cave, it will be necessary to make the excavation larger so that outside forms can be erected. As the concrete floor of the cistern is 5 inches thick the excavation should be made deep enough to allow for this and for the 3 feet of earth covering shown on the cistern roof. The cistern filter is 4 feet 8 inches by 3 feet 4 inches and covered with a reinforced concrete slab.


All necessary .forms should be built before commencing the excavation so if a sudden shower comes up forms can be quickly placed to prevent the earth from caving if it becomes water soaked. One-inch boards 4 or 6 inches wide, nailed to 2 by 4 inch uprights or studs placed 2 feet apart will make suitable forms. It will be noticed that two sides of the filter compartment have 6-inch walls which correspond to the wall thickness of the cistern, thus simplifying form construction in carrying this part of the work up into the filter. One-inch boards 4 by 6 inches wide nailed to 2 by 4-inch uprights or studs placed 2 feet apart will make suitable forms. The excavation as suggested should be made deep enough to provide for the small footing extension of the side walls, which extend below the floor slab. In this work it is expected that concrete for the side walls will be placed before the concrete floor is laid. Concreting of walls should be as continuous as possible to prevent construction seams or joints.


Horizontal reinforcing consists of 3/8th inch round rods spaced 6 inches center to center. The spacing of reinforcement for the various depths inside and out is shown to the left of section A-A in the section of concrete wall. Vertical reinforcing for the side walls should consist of rods long enough to permit of ends being bent over into the concrete roof or cover slab when this is the case. A plan of reinforcing for the roof shows in position a section of filter walls and the spacing of reinforcing rods for the cover slab, these rods also being 3/8th inch in diameter. Other sketches show details of the copper filter screen, the concrete filter slab on which the screen is placed, the removable cover for the filter compartment and the reinforcement for this cover slab. Vertical reinforcement in the cistern walls consist of 54-inch round rods spaced 16 inches center to center and turned 18 inches into the roof slab.


After the concrete has been placed for the side walls up to the bottom of cover slab the work may stop until the concrete has hardened sufficiently to permit removing forms, following which the concrete floor can be laid. A ½ inch beveled strip of siding should be set all around the bottom of wall at floor level against the offset of the footing and after the concrete floor has been placed and has hardened, these strips should be removed and the space left by them filled with hot tar to form a leak-proof joint. When the floor has hardened, which will require several days, studs can be set up to support the form on which the roof or cover slab concrete is to be placed. A hole should be left in this form, located to correspond to the location of the manhole in the filter so that after the roof has been concreted, entrance can be obtained to the cistern for knocking down the studs and removing forms.

Wherever reinforcement crosses or intersects it should be tied together with small iron wire so that rods will be held in their proper position and will not be displaced. Concrete should be mixed not leaner than 1:2:3. It should be of quaky consistency so that it will settle to all parts of the form and around reinforcing with slight paddling. Make certain that the concrete is thoroughly puddled around the concrete bricks or blocks used to support the forms at the bottom, at the same time taking care not to cover up these so as to prevent removing them when taking down forms. Wedging up the forms in this way at the bottom by placing these wedges under the studs allows the form to be dropped slightly and released when time to remove it.

Concrete should be placed as continuously as possible in courses not exceeding 6 or 8 inches entirely around and in the space between forms and should be well spaded next to faces so as to force back the coarse materials in the concrete and bring a film of mortar against the forms, thus resulting in a dense, smooth and consequently impervious surface.

If outside forms are not required, use care when placing concrete so as not to knock down dirt into it. If this happens porous pockets will be formed and probably leaks will result. Continuous concreting is desirable because in this way all concrete will be placed against fresh concrete, that is not hardened, and thus leaky construction seams will be avoided.

If an overflow opening is desired, arrange this at the proper level and connect it to a suitable outlet. The inlet pipe from the house drains should be placed as much below ground as depth of the structure will permit so as to prevent freezing. Two weeks after the last concrete has been placed it should be safe under usual summer weather conditions to remove the cistern roof forms.

Material used in the filter compartment for filtering the water consists of a layer of granular charcoal about 18 inches deep, on top of which is a 6 or 8 inch layer of clean well graded sand and gravel. A screen of ¼ inch mesh copper wire is placed over the pipe opening into the cistern in what has been already referred to as the settling compartment. This screen is held in position by the baffle boards as shown. It would be well to thoroughly wash out the cistern before filling with water for the first time although this will not be necessary unless the water is to be used for domestic purposes other than laundry work.




This post is a section from Home Waterworks, by Carleton J. Lynde, ©1912. In keeping with the simple is better historic theme of creating a survival homestead, the hydraulic ram pumps are probably the best bet anywhere, unless you have a gravity fed spring water supply line. Low maintenance equipment with a high reliability factor is what you want to see on your homestead for years of productivity. Totally non electric, the ram pump is not susceptible to the fear of electromagnetic disruption, and requires no fuel besides water, so you are not held to the whims and availability of the energy market. It’s truly a deal that cannot be beaten by anyone.

Warning- just because you find a homestead away from town, it doesn’t automatically give you clean potable water. Have your water tested, or buy a kit and test it your self for safety’s sake. Ram pumps will move your water, but they won’t make it safe to drink. We’ll get into filtration and safe water in another installment.


Every foot-pound of work obtained from running water and from wind is clear gain. When coal, wood or oil is burned to drive an engine the work is done, but the fuel is gone forever. The work done is a gain, but against this must be placed so much fuel which cannot be used again. The work done by running water and by wind, however, is all gain, since the work done is a gain and the energy used would otherwise be wasted.

The hydraulic ram (Fig. 73) is one method of utilizing the energy of running water to pump water from a spring or brook into an elevated tank or into a pneumatic tank. It can be used where the running water has a fall of at least eighteen inches, although a fall of from three to ten feet gives better service. It will lift water from six to thirty feet for every foot of fall, according to the size and style of the ram; for example, if the fall from the brook to the ram is three feet, the ram will lift water from eighteen to ninety feet according to the size and style of ram.

How the ram works.

The operation of the ram (Fig. 74) is as follows. The water from the brook or spring flows down the drive pipe G and out at the working valve F, as shown in Fig. 74. The rate of flow of the water rapidly increases and when it reaches a certain velocity the valve F is suddenly closed by the force of the water. The momentum of the water in the drive pipe forces up the valve E and drives part of the water into the air chamber. The air in the chamber is compressed and thus exerts a back pressure on the water, which brings it to rest and starts it moving back up the drive pipe. This reaction or backward movement of the water closes the valve E and allows the valve F to open of its own weight. The water starts flowing down the drive pipe again, the valve F closes, and more water is forced into the air chamber, etc. This operation is repeated from twenty to two hundred times a minute according to the ratio of the fall to the height the water is pumped. The compressed air in the chamber forces water through the discharge pipe to the elevated tank, and from there the water flows to the house and stables by gravity.

At the base of the ram, just to the right of the flange of the drive pipe, is shown a small air valve C, called a sniffling valve. It serves to keep up the supply of air in the air chamber. Air is absorbed by water, and in time all the air in the chamber would be absorbed, and the chamber would become water-logged, if a fresh supply were not admitted. The sniffling valve admits this fresh supply of air as follows: on the reaction or backward movement of the water a partial vacuum is created in the base of the ram B, and as a result, the pressure of the atmosphere forces a little air in through the sniffling valve; on the next forward rush of water, this air is carried into the air chamber.

In general the ram uses the energy of running water to force part of it to a higher level. If there were no loss of energy from friction in the pipes and valves, the fraction of the water raised would be the ratio of the fall to the lift; for example, if the fall were three feet and the lift thirty feet, three-thirtieths or one-tenth of the water would be lifted. There is loss of energy in friction, however, and only about one fourteenth of the water is lifted when the ratio is one to ten; if the ratio is one to five, only one-seventh is lifted and similarly for other ratios, the amount lifted being always somewhat smaller than the theoretical amount.

In Fig. 75 is shown a sectional view of the Niagara hydraulic engine, a very efficient ram. The water enters through the drive pipe A and flows out through the working valve 13. At a certain velocity the force of the water closes the valve 13 and the momentum of the water in the drive pipe drives a part of the water into the air chamber G.

Fig. 75. Sectional view of Niagara hydraulic engine.

The compressed air in this chamber stops the rush of water and starts the reaction; this closes the valve E and allows the valve 13 to open again; also on the reaction a little air is forced in through the sniffling valve F by the pressure of the atmosphere. The compressed air in G keeps a steady flow of water moving through the discharge pipe C. The upper drawing gives a better view of the sniffling valve.

The rate of flow of water is regulated by the set nuts H at the top of the stem of the working valve. If more water is wanted, the nuts are unscrewed so that the valve has a longer motion and works more slowly. The water in the drive pipe then acquires a greater velocity before the valve closes, and therefore it has a greater momentum. As a result, more water is forced into the air chamber at each ramming motion; the air is compressed to a smaller volume, and therefore exerts a greater force and drives more water up through the delivery pipe.

If less water is wanted, the nuts are screwed down so that the valve works more rapidly on a shorter motion. The valve closes when the velocity of the water in the drive pipe is small; therefore the momentum of the water is small and less water is forced into the air chamber. The air in the chamber is not compressed so much and therefore a smaller quantity of water is forced through the discharge pipe in the same time.

The double acting ram.

Rams are made to force water from a spring into an elevated tank by means of the power of a neighboring river or brook, the water of which may not be fit to drink.

Fig. 76. Double-acting ram.

Fig. 76 is a sectional cut of the Niagara double-acting hydraulic engine. It is the same as the single-acting ram except that a supply pipe S from the spring is arranged to deliver water just below the valve E. The action of the ram is also the same as that of the single-acting ram, except that on the reaction the water enters the ram from the spring andfills the base T. On the next ramming motion of the water from the brook, the spring water is forced into the air chamber and out through the delivery pipe C. The ram is so adjusted that there is an excess of spring water and some of it flows out through the working valve D. This is brought about by the stand pipe on the pipe from the spring. It is made high enough to give a rapid flow of- spring water on the reaction. This excess of spring water prevents the river water from entering the air chamber and delivery pipe. The check valve on the springwater pipe prevents the spring water from being driven back up the pipe by the ramming motion of the water in the drive pipe.

Fig. 77. A standard ram.

The equipment.

The drive pipe is made as straight as possible, to allow the water a free flow. Where a bend must be made, as at the point it enters the ram, the whole pipe is bent in a long curve. The length of the drive pipe is important, and the manufacturers prefer to give information on this point for each installation. For the standard ram, however, the length is usually the same length as the lift. The end of the drive pipe in the spring or brook is protected by a strainer to keep out anything which might obstruct the valves. The area of waterway in the strainer should be two and one-half times the area of the pipe.

The ram is usually placed in a pit from which a large drain carries the excess water to a lower level. If the pipes are laid underground and the ram is covered in winter, there is no trouble from frost, particularly when the ram is allowed to run continuously. The delivery pipe is laid with as few bends as possible to avoid friction, but this is not as important in the delivery pipe as in the case of the drive pipe. The elevated tank should be provided with a well arranged overflow pipe, as the ram keeps it full to overflowing the greater part of the time.

A satisfactory engine.

Next to a natural gravity supply, the ram is the cheapest and most satisfactory means of obtaining running water. When once adjusted, it works away day and night, week in and week out, without attention, and after the first cost, which is not great, the only expense is for valves. These must be renewed every year or two according to the service.

In purchasing water-supply materials of any kind, it is well to remember that a cheap outfit is not necessarily an inexpensive one. It is better to pay a little more for a first-class outfit that will last a lifetime.