Had a question on the HandLoaders Bench and I added more thinking to the process. Just thought I'd post it here also. ************************************************** Well…. With Billt’s question earlier this week, I guess a continuation is uncalled for but will happen whether you can stomach it or not. I loosely covered 6 rules in the base article and hopefully I can make sense out of some more baseline rules. 7. Planning. Now this is an aspect that can get overloaded in a New York Second. Plus it is effected by the variables of the situation at hand, not what is predictable. We have to remember that the old adage where No Plan Survives Contact With The Enemy holds true. It also rarely survives contact with a 2<SUP>nd</SUP> Lieutenant, but that’s another story. Planning is simpler then most think, and yet some have extreme difficulty with it. It is as simple as, I want to go to Point A, with X amount of equipment, in a specific amount of time, by a certain route. Then the fun begins. Each aspect of the plan has to be examined, then modified accordingly to any limitations found within existing capabilities. Once you have all the bugs that you might consider out of the plan, toss it out cause there is always something out there to screw it up. So keep any planning as simple as possible. Have variations on the plan. Do not get so wrapped up with a plan that is becomes inflexible. Which brings us to the next rule. 8. Be Flexible. More often then not, this is one of the hardest aspects to get across to people. I will admit here that this is one of the hardest concepts to get across to a lot of folks with this manner of communication. To become too rigid in the thinking process of survival will end in sorrow. You have to be Flexible. One aspect of flexibility comes in a persons reading list. I’ve seen folks so restrict their reading that they become blinded to a world of possibilities. This also goes along with knowing your enemy. Example: How many folks reading this will get upset over my suggestion of reading Mao? I’m not gonna read any crap written by a freaking chink commie! What’s wrong? Afraid you might have been wrong in some of your thinking? Unconventional situations require unconventional thinking. Besides, Mao wrote more then one book which wasn’t Red. A rigid thinking mind develops rigid responses to none rigid situations. Think about that. Also, look at courses available in your area that can be helpful in survival. Macramé might not seem like a macho course for the manly man, but it will teach you how too construct such things as baskets, fishing nets, etc.. Just little things that can help you survive. 9. Long Term Storage. This is a subject that can receive a bit of debate, but what the heck, let’s try too keep it as simple as possible. With fuels, it is best not to keep them in your attached garage. All fuels will vent and those fumes can cause you major grief with just an errant spark. When possible, store them in an out building with proper ventilation. Also with gasoline, doctor it with Sta-Bil to prevent the deterioration resulting in today’s fuels formulas. Diesel is safer and simpler. With it I’d add an additive to prevent cold temperature thickening. Food stuffs can be complex and confusing in storage. Canned goods are fine if you plan too hunker down in location and ride out the storm. Simple rotation of stock to keep the goods fresh is easy. Stock the pantry, live out of it on a day to day basis, and just replace consumed items with fresh goods placed to the rear of older stock. Bug Out items require more thinking. Nice thing about current labeling of food stuffs is they provide a Best Used date. This date does not mean the food is no good after that date, just that the flavors and such are best. There is a thread on Survival Monkey which gives shelf life information of different items. Long reading, but will help assist in the planning of storage. Items such as sugar, flour, coffee, and other bulk items that you might wish to keep will last longer vacuum stored. This prevents deterioration from exposure to oxygen and locks out the critters that love to eat on such things. An example is to take a pound of sugar, break it down into smaller packets such as one (1) cups packets, label and date the packets at date of packing and projected expiration. These can also be used as barter/trade items at a later date. If only for you personal use, add a zip lock bag into each vacuumed pack to provide a sealed packaging once opened. You can actually project usage of bulk items such as powdered milk and create individual packets based upon a single use. This prevents wastage down the road. In some cases, you can pre-mix ingredients such as flour, powdered milk, powdered eggs, sugar to produce a pre-made, add water only, pancake mix. The use by date will be based on the item with the shortest shelf life. But then again, you can buy a mix in bulk, break it down into usable quantities and go from there. Also let us not forget all of the goodies backpackers use. Both the military and the back packing industry have driven the development of lighter and high nutritional food stuffs. 10. Non-Consumables. Nothing lasts forever except credit card bills. Any type of Bug Out Bag you have developed needs periodic maintenance. Temperature and humidity can play havoc on your items you are betting your life on. Schedule time to replaced consumables that have reached the end of their shelf life and use that same time to inspect , clean, repair, or replace anything that requires it. Cloth material can develop dry rot and should be replaced. Metals can become corroded and needs cleaned and protected with a lubrication. And yes Gertrude, aluminum can become corroded, as will stainless steel. Any item made from a Polymer needs to be considered needing replaced on a regular basis depending on how it is stored. They can become stiff and brittle over time. Also being that these Polymers are built upon petroleum based molecules, some can break down and develop an oily film, ruining some items they come in contact with. Those storage items which are considered safe for food stores should only be used, since they are chemically more stable then others. 11. Water. The one, most important thing everyone needs to survive. I can come up with a couple dozens ideas on this, but here is one many outside Tornado Alley seem to miss. If you have a chest type deep freezer for you venison storage, then you have a perfect source for water storage. As you empty a gallon of milk, cleaned the jug completely, let air out for a couple days, fill to approximately 80% capacity and place in bottom of the deep freeze. Do not seal tightly until the water is completely frozen. As the water freezes it expands (we all know that!), but the air has to go someplace. By loosening the cap about a half turn, the air can vent and prevent the jug from possibility bursting open. You can always go back and tighten the cap later. Now, you have a source of water available, plus you have a way to extend the life of items requiring refrigeration if power is lost. You can transfer a couple jugs to the fridge to help keep those items cool and at same time allow the ice to thaw and provide water. How long this will last depends on how much you store away and how often you enter the fridge or freezer. So, this brings to an end this weeks hopefully helpful hints. One final hint. Listerine mouth wash. Back in my youth, when I entered Marine Corps Boot Camp, we were all issued an eight (8) ounce bottle of Listerine Mouth Wash. And then told not to use it until told too by the Drill Instructors. When we were issued our 782 gear, (that’s field gear to you other types), we poured about a quarter of the bottle into our newly issued canteens, swished them about real good then poured it out. What we had just done was sterilize our canteens from anything that the former user might have had, plus what might have tried to grow while waiting for us to receive it. Added Note: Most aspects of Survival are constent. Everyone who has taken a look at the possibilities have seen everything I talk about. But often an individuals location and how they have to consider their needs can provide a twist on the subject that someone else might not have considered due to their location and projected needs. The only thing set in stone is your name in marble at the head of your grave. BE FLEXIBLE!!