Bugging Out and being disabled

This post really caught my attention. Theres alot to be learnt from it. Many people expecting to Bug Out by foot will become surprised when trying it without any previous experience in bushwalking or trekking. Especially with everything you need to sustain yourself on your back for an extended time frame. What appealed to me is that Im also disabled, but atleast compared to my healthy friends, excersise on a regular basis. Many people during Katrina that were not in the best of health still had to evacuate. By looking at how people with health problems can get around their limitations, can become a valuable way of looking at life skills.

A Bug Out Bag Reality Check, by Stranger


I thought I would share some thoughts on my weekend bug out bag guerrilla camping trip. My purpose was to use my BOB in the manner in which I expected to have to use it in an emergency. My general plan has been to get away from people, camp with stealth, and wait for the dust to clear. With this in mind I mostly want to put my gear through its paces and get my body used to the rigors of backpacking.

I live in central Connecticut. I am a man in my 40s and have a dropped foot in a brace. I am an experienced outdoorsman and feel quite at home in the woods, however it had been a few years and before my injury since I had been backpacking. The selected area was the east slope of a mountain in the Metacomet range (It is a traprock ridge only about 800 ft high). The ground in this area is broken basalt, talus terrain. It is exceedingly difficult to hike on, especially with a 30-40 lb pack. If you fall, the best you can hope for is a sharp rock in the knee. So don’t fall – use a hiking stick. This does have the advantage of minimizing recreational day hiker density. The conditions have been dry and the day (9/11/10) was clear and beautiful – just like 9/11 in 2001. The overnight temperature was predicted to be around 50, with a light wind and no rain until the afternoon of the next day. A 19 year old former Marine friend of mine (“CJ”) and I got out a bit late: about 3:00 pm. We drove to the parking spot entrance to the chosen “wilderness area”. Our biggest issue was to enter the woods without being seen. Camping is not allowed here. We had been back in the area previously checking out a “dormer” on the slope that looked like a potential flat area (camp site) on the map, and also was far enough from the hiking trail not to be stumbled upon. I viewed the area with Google Earth to get an idea of the traffic on and around the site. I was particularly concerned about vehicular access to the site. I figured the worst we would have is an ATV rider, not a ranger or a cop. It being September the deciduous forest canopy gave us (some) cover from the air.

My BOB is based around a forest green Kelty Trekker external frame pack. I bought it mail order from Campmor for about $120. It has the usual 2 main pockets, plus 5 additional 1 qt. pockets and a map pocket on the top flap. I have a North Face mummy sleeping bag that I have used since Boy Scouts 30 years ago. I have used it in winter weather down to 0 degrees F or so, so this is a piece of equipment that I absolutely trust. I also have a Thermorest self-inflating sleeping pad, wrapped around a Sven folding saw (don’t lose that wingnut!) For shelter I choose a tarp. In my experience tents are too heavy, too fragile, and too visible. There are no poles to carry, and if pitched properly can give you 360 degree weather protection and a ground sheet. My tarp is aprox. 10’x12′, grommeted and cord reinforced on the edges, and it is earth brown. It was also inexpensive – about $10 at the dollar store. I carry a 2l pop bottle filled with water, and 2 additional 1l bottles of water. In addition I carry a GI canteen with steel cup and canvas holder. I have a Sweetwater water filter but for this trip I left it in the car as I intended to boil water for this short trip if I should run out of potable water. Surface water in the area is plentiful. Rations included Cliff bars, instant oatmeal, Ramen noodles, Tea and sugar, canned sardines, and cigarettes. (Sorry to say I’m still an addict).�

Here is a list of gear:
2 Large black plastic 55g. trash bags (many uses)�
Knit hat�
Insulated leather work gloves (for working with a fire)�
Extra socks�
Inside another plastic bag:�
Change of clothing, including another pair of socks�
Polypropylene long johns�
A towel and a washcloth�
Rain gear: Advantage camo jacket and pants – at the top of the pack�
A sweatshirt/windbreaker jacket with hood (it was that or a sweater)�
First aid/personal care kit (inside a plastic nestle quick box)�
Lidocaine pad – for stings�
Gauze dressing sponges�
Bandage tape�
Antibiotic ointment*�
Tweezers (eyebrow type) �
Nail clipper – don’t leave home without one�
Toothbrush & paste*�
Floss (a whole 100y roll – can be used for snares, fishing)�
Duct tape (wrapped around container such that it can still be opened)�
A muslin triangle bandage�
Medicine : Imodium, benadryl, ibuprofen�
Eyeglass repair kit�
A small bar of soap*�
Comb – even though I have no hair�
Sewing kit*�
Surgical scissors and fine tip forceps from a suture removal kit�
Insect repellent*�
Clip on sunglasses – the kind the eye doctor gives you so you can drive home after an appointment�
(I need to add burn cream)�
* indicates travel size/ hotel size�

“Survival” gear:�
A mylar survival “blanket”�
A combo whistle, compass, and match safe, with strike anywhere matches�
Small fishing kit, including an onion bag net�
A Swiss army knife�
An orange Bic lighter�
A magnesium fire starter�
A plumber’s candle�
A film container filled with Vaseline soaked cotton balls�
A roll of spiderwire fishing line�

Mess: a 2 liter stainless steel pot with lid and handle that folds up and over.�
A large spoon�
A small bottle of salt (makes all that wild food palatable)�

Misc: A bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint 18-in-1 pure castile soap�
2 hunks of paracord�
A deck of cards�
A grease pencil and a small pad of paper�
Spare glasses�
An LED headlamp and extra batteries�
A small bastard file for sharpening tools�

A repair kit with cotter pins for the pack and an extra wing nut for the saw�

At the last moment I threw in a fleece stadium blanket and a couple of apples.�
Note that most of the weight came from two categories:

  • shelter/bedroll
  • water

Other than my pack and clothes I also carry a walking staff made from an ash tool handle with a carriage bolt gorilla glued into the tip. I also carry a Cold Steel Bushman knife, which incidentally fits on the end of the staff to use for self protection (Bears are back in Connecticut!). Oh, and don’t forget that in my pockets are: my wallet, car keys, a cell phone (turned off), a “Whittler” boy scout knife, also from my youth, and a disposable lighter (and another pack of smokes). I always wear an olive drab 1970s era boonie hat. CJ wasn’t as prepared, and asked to borrow a cutting tool. I had two hatchets. The first is a simple camp hatchet with an orange fiberglass handle. The other is a hickory handled framing hatchet. He chose the framing hatchet. I don’t blame him: it is a pretty thing, like a tomahawk.

The woods in this area are fairly open: not a lot of underbrush. On the initial trail hiking was good. Probably 2 mph. Despite my best efforts, something was clanking in my pack. It wasn’t very loud, but bothered me after awhile. I think it was the spoon in the mess kit, or maybe a not fully filled canteen. When we got into the hilly talus terrain, my speed slowed to less than � mph. I had to watch every step. Remember that I am handicapped. CJ had a much easier time, being younger and fitter. At one point I slipped and fell, but I was able to roll with it and was mostly unhurt. CJ stopped me from rolling all the way down the hill. Lesson: bring a partner. I could have been down and out, with a serious injury and no way out.

As we hiked I kept a lookout for wild edibles. Pot herbs were plentiful in the moist areas. There were lots of frogs, but most were too small, or were toads. Small frogs make great largemouth bass bait though: that is what the onion bag net is for. There were no squirrels to be found, and anyway I didn’t have a gun. There were literally tons of hickory and oak nuts, though. Their constant dropping made us feel like we were under fire J. At one point I made a huge find: about 20 lbs of chicken of the woods fungi growing out of a tree. I am a botanist by training, but not a mushroom expert, so I double-checked it’s identity with a photo-text message to a mushroom expert friend of mine – note that this option is not available after the crunch when the cell net is down! I am looking for a really good wild edible field guide that I can trust. I also saw a lot of bear scat and even a whole raccoon skeleton, which I didn’t touch for fear of rabies.

After an hour of bushwhacking my bad leg was taking a beating and had begun to hurt a lot. My pack was well balanced, but the straps still dug into my shoulders. The sternum strap helped a lot with this. CJ had no trouble with his pack, as he is a young former Marine. We had made it as far as we were going to go, and so began to look for a specific spot to camp. It would get dark soon. Almost like a miracle, up ahead of us was a natural Stonehenge: 5 or 6 truck sized boulders arranged in a semicircle. On the down-slope side was a relatively flat area for a tarp, and plenty of stones around for sitting on, building a fireplace, etc. There was no evidence that anyone had used this area, so it was “ours”. It was nearly perfect. The stones provided cover from three sides, and as the downhill side faced nothing but deep woods, we had found a great “stealth site”. The biggest problem was that nowhere was there a spot that didn’t have a dozen head sized stones poking out. We cleared the area for a fire, and then worked at digging the worst of the stones out. I have a mini-shovel/spade that fits on the end of my staff also, but I had left it behind due to weight (mistake!). It would have made the stone clearing 10x less hard. A back fill of leaves and forest duff would have to do for the unevenness. CJ built the fire pit and campfire while I pitched the tarp. Within an hour it was dark and we were sitting by the fire. A bit of petrol soaked cotton and a spark got our fire off great. The fleece blanket really came in handy as a butt cushion on those rocks. I smeared my pot on the sides and bottom with liquid soap (easier cleanup trick from boy scouts: the soot washes off, sort of) and put the tea on the fire.

The hatchet didn’t make it. After cutting tent stakes and cutting a pole for the tarp we decided to take turns throwing it at a dead tree. On the second throw the handle cracked right off the head of the axe. Lesson learned: don’t throw your hatchet unless you have a clue what you’re doing, and the axe is up to it�
One nice thing about the big stones was that at night they blocked the light of the campfire. From the top of one stone I had a great view of the area, and was not blinded by the light of the campfire. The stones did have a lantern effect though; sending beams of flickering light out across the forest as it slipped between the rocks. Very cool, but it gave away our position. A bit of work (piling stones, brush) and the area was almost invisible to casual observation. From not too far off the tarp even resembled another giant stone, as they were about the same size and color. Inside the ring of stones the firelight and heat was reflected back into the campsite. Our fire was built inside a large ring of basalt stones. These proved to be excellent in retaining the heat of the fire throughout the night and into the morning, as basalt contains a lot of iron.

After dinner and tea we settled down to sleep. Everything hurt. The first time backpacking of the year really lets you know which muscles you need to work on. Even though we were deep in the woods, we could hear the sound of the freeway miles away. Sound really carried on the hill. Overnight my Thermorest pad deflated. This is why I was doing this, to check the reliability of my gear. I guess I will invest in a closed cell sleeping pad.

I woke to the sound of a motorbike. Wouldn’t you know they were heading right for us? I was surprised that we only had about 30 seconds between first hearing the approaching vehicles and when they passed by. I guess our stealth site worked, because the three bikes passed by only about 50 feet away from our site (on an uphill trail I hadn’t seen the night before) and did not appear to notice our camp. If we had had I fire going I am sure they would have noticed, but we only used the fire after dark, to hide the smoke signature. Then again, they weren’t supposed to be there either! I am sure that a ranger or a search team would have been able to find us easily, but after all, we were in Connecticut, not Quebec. The woods are only so deep here.

After policing camp and returning it to its semi-natural state, the hike back was a bit easier, as we were going downhill, and didn’t have the weight of water or food to carry. In a bug out situation we would have been carrying both, but this was just an overnight trip. In addition, we wouldn’t have been heading back to the car, but deeper into the wilderness, so there is a morale issue here too. I was looking forward to a nice chair and a bath, after TEOTWAWKI those creature comforts would be gone, at least for the foreseeable future.

So what did I learn? First of all, be sure you have equipment that you know how to use and can trust not to fail on you. Know where everything is in your pack: this makes it easier to find in the dark without a light. My burden was not excessive, and well distributed, but after an hour or so of humping it over a mountain I was ready for a break. I need to stop smoking. Not only will cigs be unavailable or extremely expensive after the crunch, but the carbon monoxide load they cause reduced my endurance greatly. Practice! Those skills you read about won’t do you a bit of good if you haven’t practiced them. Have you really ever made a fire without a lighter or matches? The first time I tried fire by friction (in the Boy Scouts) it took hours for me to get the hang of it, and that was with a pre-made bow and drill set. What about cooking over a fire? Accidentally dumping your pot in the fire happens a lot unless you know what you are doing. Finally, bring some burn cream. You will need it! When I got home I was able to repack my kit, but this wouldn’t have been the case if it wasn’t a practice trip.

My goal of this essay has been to encourage the armchair survivalists out there – you know who you are – to get out in the woods to practice woodcraft skills and evasion, and especially to condition yourselves to the hardships of living out of a BOB. Don’t think you have it all covered because you have $2,000 worth of camping equipment in the trunk of your car. Body conditioning is hard work. Remember, you are going to have to carry all that stuff at some point, so it better be worth the weight. I am beginning to understand that bugging out into the woods may not be a viable option in the long term. I guess that I need a retreat! – Stranger

Escape and Evasion Kit: Bug Out Cooking Gear

B.O.B. Cooking Equipment

Recently I’ve been searching for an alternative for the humble Billy can. Something that is lightweight, smaller and easier to control when pouring, that would suit my Bug Out kit. I believe I’ve come across two great alternatives in the MSR and Snow Peak brands.

  • ��������������������� MSR Titan Kettle
  • ��������������������� Snow Peak Trek Combo

In terms of sizes the Titan holds 0.85 litres, while the Trek Combo holds 1.0 litres (large) and 0.6 litres (small). The main difference in using the two sets, are that the Titan uses a lid, making for a faster boil. The Treks come in a set of two with fry pans instead of lids. So boil time is longer, but the frying pans can be used as plates as well as for frying. Having two pots that fit together, enables you to cook different meal combinations at the same time. While also reducing the amount of space required for storage. Or boiling water for purification needs and cuppa’s at the same time as preparing a meal.

Having the collapsible handles on the sides makes the pots of either brand very user friendly, for storage and pouring. Leather gloves would be a good accessory to remember or a trangia pot holder. The materials used are Titanium in the MSR brand or a choice of Titanium, Aluminum or Oxide treated in the Snow Peak models.

Snow Peak also make several neat (I don�t believe I used the term neat) accessories that fit snuggly into either option. These are an insulated titanium mug and chopstick set.

The Mug also has collapsible handles allowing it to fit inside of either model chosen. Being double walled provides better insulation to keep drinks hot and reducing burnt lip syndrome usually associated with steel cups.

I gave up on (knife/fork/spoon) combinations, as I was always loosing one or another of the modules needed to lock them together. The only heavy duty versions that I found available were ex Russian military models. The fork and spoon were tolerable but the knife seemed only good for spreading butter. I�m still trying to figure out how to use the tin opener.

I found it easier to use a wooden spoon as a combination eating utensil and cooking implement. Then for chunkier food items, use chopsticks. These are a great item to have as they unscrew and fold up into one another. The handles are made from stainless steel and for lack of a better description, the mouth pieces are made from Birch. They collapse from 8 3/4 inches to 4 1/2 inches. Enabling them to be stored inside the pots or to be hung from around the neck in the pouch supplied.

I generally compliment these tools with a Spyderco Featherweight FB-101 worn in a cross draw position that I always seem to end up using as my camp knife. However for the purpose of a BOB set up where it needs to be in storage for extended periods, I�ve swapped this for a small skeletal neck knife. In lower hygienic circumstances skeletal grips are much easier to keep clean reducing the risk of contamination from bacteria.

As to which I would pick of the brands available. If I were trying to include only minimal equipment in an emergency kit and eat straight from the pot, I would choose the MSR Titan kettle. As I wouldn�t mind roughing it for a few days with only one pot and having a lid to boil faster would have advantages at above sea level altitudes.

�However my camping gear and bob gear are fast becoming one and the same.� When I take off for a weekend it�s usually spur of the moment and unplanned, heading in a different direction each time to simulate a possible bug out scenario. This is generally a lot more fun and interesting. I�m finding the more I do this it isn�t so much the speed of packing but comfort that is becoming a critical area.

Most of the packing has already been pre-prepared or can be done within minutes, as all my equipment is ultra lightweight. Setting up camp takes very little time after a routine has been established. I�m finding the more often I do this and the longer I spend out. The little things of adding comfort make a lot of difference to enjoying the experience. Such as using self inflating mattresses instead of foam ground pads. The newer models on the market add very little weight when compared to high density foam.

My deciding factors came down to out of six of the larger camping stores in the city that I live, none of them stocked MSR and only one was willing to place an order for the Titan kettle taking three months to arrive, which made it an internet order. Internet orders are great when buying more than one item at a time, from the same company as the price usually is cheaper than retail and available within ten days. However when purchasing limited quantities, the price of postage can be excessive and add too much to the cost of some things depending on the method of shipping used. Of the same six stores only one stocked Snow Peak. Two of them had never even heard of either brand. (I won�t be returning to those two stores).

I choose the Trek Combo in Aluminum as several people warned me that titanium heated up quicker, burning food if not watched closely. (I have a habit of not watching pots).� Two pots are definitely a comfort item when cooking as I enjoy a hot cup of tea after breakfast.

�Not having a lid only really matters at high elevations. Cooking at sea level I prefer not to use lids as I always seem to boil over food onto the fire otherwise. This gives me a plate or bowl that will fit together with the cooking gear. Incorporating a strap or storage bag holds everything together nicely.

The only other modification is to the wooden spoon. Requiring a long handle to cook with, won�t allow it to fit into the pots. So I�m trying to find a fitter and turner that can cut the spoon in half and fit a stainless male /female thread in the same way the chopsticks work, or a stainless ferrule connecter from fishing rods allowing me to also fit this into the pot setup. I don�t want to use chrome dipped materials as I�m not sure if toxins will leach out during heating.

I gave up on modifying the wooden spoon, due to complexity and cost of the people I approached. I ended up finding a spork on a search of the internet, entirely by accident that suited my requirements of being collapsible. Made by Brunton and constructed in a titanium material with a folding stainless handle. Cost is about $15 US, I didn�t buy direct from the company due to limited freight options. Luckily I checked the postage, as I nearly paid $80 US in shipping costs on top of the product price.

�I found a company in New Zealand that is a dealer for Brunton at $39 NZ where I received exceptional service which I�m finding from several New Zealand stores I�ve been doing business with lately or Amazon is also another good choice to deal through depending on location.

Sea to Summit bring out a similar product but with or with out the fork end for $19AUD. When going ultra light weight I use the spork but when using in conjunction with the chopsticks I tend to stick with the standard spoon version as I tend to stick myself in the tongue when not concentrating.

While researching homemade coffee can cookers I had another good find with a Little Bug cook stove. The advantages of coffee can style cook stoves are they act like a chimney increasing heat to shorten the boil time and reducing the amount of fuel required. In a tactical situation this can also reduce the heat signature and amount of smoke.

�I was planning to make my own version from a large coffee tin but found the bottoms eventually burn out and I wanted something that would last a decent length of time and fold up for easy storage while traveling. The Little Bug is made from stainless steel and definitely made to last. It�s available in two different sizes 9 inches high by 8 inches diameter or the junior model which I purchased in a 6 inch high by 5.5 inch diameter. They can be used with either an alcohol fuel burner, the same as a trangia or with firewood. I like the idea behind a dual fuel feature for fire ban areas and national parks. This also allows it to be used inside tent awnings, on bench tops in buildings and vehicles.

There are several different designs for coffee style cookers on the internet each with their own advantages and disadvantages. In the way they funnel the smoke or feed the fuel into the cooker. The Little Bug allows you to feed fuel straight into the top of the fire without removing the pot as it is held above the firebox. This provides the chimney feature so holes aren�t required in the back of the main structure.

Not having a base allows the frame to be pushed into the soil slightly to provide better balance if on uneven ground and aids in clean up of the ashes which can be scattered. I choose the smaller version for inclusion in my bug out bag however if using for extended periods for camping trips, I would probably prefer to purchase the next size up to use with larger pots or for use inside a small tipi.

I have long been a fan of Trangia stoves, who make a very nice accessory called a Multi Disc. This can be used as a colander (strainer), a lid to prevent a pot cooling too fast, chopping board and serving tray. These come in two sizes; I use the larger model for my Sigg Trangia and the smaller size just suits the Snow Peak pots in diameter for use as a cutting board. Not really a necessity but I�ve seen too many people come back from camping trips doing more running than hiking if you know what I mean, from low hygienic conditions.

Which comes to the next product on my list, soap not usually mentioned in bug out cookware but essential in the washing of dishes and cutlery to remove bacteria. Sea to Summit make pocket soap leaves in a container about the size of a match box. These are non scented and come in a box of 50. The advantages are no sticky mess after using one cake and no possible leaks as with liquid detergents and can last up to 100 washes.

Something I don�t like doing in the field is washing cookware in a stream not only to prevent pollution but also possible contamination. Sea to Summit also makes the little sink which solves this problem. Its collapsible, comes in three sizes 5, 10, and 20 litres. The 5 litre model fits nicely into my set up and can also be used as a bucket, a hard to find or make piece of equipment in the scrub.

While researching light weight cook gear on back packer sites I�ve discovered that I�m becoming a gadget junkie. Light My Fire which is usually associated with good quality ferrocium rods has started to sell accessories that are interesting enough to check out although not a necessity for bob cook sets. While ordering a small fire steel to keep as a back up in my cook ware I came across a purpose designed meal kit consisting of bowl/plate, spork, cup, strainer/cutting board, multi purpose storage container.

My main interest lay in the bowl/plate combo as I usually eat straight out of the pots when traveling light. Not really a necessity but my bob and camping gear are gradually becoming the same. So as long as any gadgets stay light weight, multi purpose and easily packed I don�t mind small additions that add to comfort while testing different set up combinations.

Cook Set Contents

���� Snow Peak Trek Combo Pots

���� Little Bug Stove (junior)

���� Snow Peak 600 double walled Mug

���� Snow Peak Chopsticks

���� Sea to Summit Titanium Spoon

������������ Spyderco� Featherweight FB-101 or skeletal neck knife

���� P-38 Can Openers x 2

������������ Wooden Cooking Spoon

���� MSR or GSI folding spatula

������������ Trangia Multi Disc (cutting board and drainer)

������������ Collapsible wash bowl

������������ Biodegradable Detergent leaves

���� Fire Steel Sml



MSR Cook Ware


Snow Peak Cook Ware


Gear shop NZ (Brunton Sporks)


Little Bug Stoves


Backpacker Stove link page


GSI Cook Ware


Trangia Cook Ware


Sea to Summit


Light My Fire


Backpacker Gear Test Reviews


FRP-Fast Response Pack

After reading “Emergency” by Neil Strauss I came to realize that I had become a runner. Meaning that most of my planning system was based to run and not as a backup to a sustainable longer term option and never even considered staying to help others. If people are no longer a fighter/stayer or a participant in events . If none of these, then I’m sorry to say theyve become a bystander, looking on or be a parasite to rely on others. Neither of which is a nice way of looking at yourself. To become a part of the circle of life , you need to atleast put in as much as you take out.

�I have always been a fighter and atleast attempted to be a participant, so when I realized that I had changed somewhere along the way I decided to design a FRP (Fast Response Pack). A some what civilian version of a First Responder Kit.

I had spent 9 years with in several different areas of the security industry and another 4 involved in the SES (State Emergency Service) the OZ version of CERT/ Search & Rescue. If not pulling people apart in fights or securing roof tops blown off in storms and removing bodies from car wrecks, I was atleast particpating in what was occuring around me. The realization that I had stopped doing this and actually headed in the opposite direction struck a nerve. I think the term burnout would be appropriately applied. I no longer wanted to help or be a part of what was occuring around me for a time.

The FRP idea is part of that. All my first aid equipment was stored away either in large crates or gear bags, depending on the size of the kit. Great for long term storage� awaiting TEOTWAWKI or taking off bush for extended periods, but of absolutely no practical value if an incident were to occur straight in front of me with everything stowed. When I was in the SES I always had a bumbag with me that could be easily carried at all times, containing essentials that would be required when responding to a call out, either an urban accident or a rural search situation. Since that time alot of great products have hit the market. So I decided to make up an updated civilian version of the gear I used to have, that would be easy to carry and provide the basics to respond to someone in need.

Seeing news footage of a family stuck in a rolled vehicle that had caught alight on a suburban street and not being able to get out. Then the good samaritans that tried desperately to free them with no equipment readily available put this kit into my head. They had to rely on iron pipes scrounged from neighbours yards to smash the car windows and then were unable to free the children from the seat belts until off duty firemen arrived with basic cutting tools. A pocket knife.

A bumbag with a seat belt cutter, small pry bar, basic first aid kit, signaling equipment and general self protective gear is all that is needed to readily respond to a person in need.

Snugpak Bumbag

I like the snugpak version on the market as it sells for $42AUD and is kept in stock within the country. The cheaper Eprey versions require the buckle moving from the side to the centre and the maxpedition gear proteus sells for twice as much.



TOPS Pry Tool

There are several versions of pry tools on the market. This model fits best on a belt and isnt so large that its kept in a vehicle or pack. Every rescue worker should have one of these on their belt, for fast deployment until larger equipment becomes available.



Bechmade 7 Rescue Hook (Seat belt Cutter)

I now have several seat belt cutters. Nothing is better for keeping strapped to a piece of gear for easy reach for quick cutting needs that are non-offensive in nature and have little risk of cutting a patient in tight quaters.


Leather Riggers Gloves

Any sweade type glove for heavy duty use. Setwear are gell filled and breatheable.


Nitrile Gloves (Green 0.38 thickness)

For hygiene. These were the thickest model I could find. The blue versions are only 0.20 thickness.


Maxpedition Surgical Glove Pouch

Easy to reach gloves, instead of searching through the rest of the pack for initial items used.Holds four sets.


P2/N95 Dust masks

Always handy to have some sort of particle mask to limit expose to dust, smoke, etc. these are atleast rated to virus sized particles.

SOF Tactical Tourniquet

Handy gadget to have on hand if a pressure bandage is inadequate, or if needing to release pressure at a steady rate to avoid toxicity build up from crush injuries.


UHF Radio/Scanner 5 Watt

Uniden UHO 075

The new model is a UHO95. The advantage over a 2 watt version which is all that is necessary for short range comunication is that the 5 watters allow the removal of the ariel and a longer version screwed in place for extra range. A small fold up extension can be kept in the rear pouch of the bum bag. Really only necessary if working within a team. The 2 watt versions are a 1/3rd of the price but have a shorter range.

Engineers Punch

These are spring loaded and shatter windows like nothing else, without the flying glass.

Goggles folding

Bobster Crossfire

I wanted something that was foldable, fogless and easy to store.




Adventure Medical kit Ultra Lite PRO

For the money these are the best for the size and have included a SAM splint and CPR mask.


Torch LED Lenser P7

A LED head light is another option, to keep your hands free. Brunton is a good brand.


Hereford Trauma Dressings

Fast and easy to use pressure bandage. The gauze and bandage are attached to one another for quick use.


EMS Holster Set

Handy to have so equipment that is always used is readily avialable without having to search through kit.


Quick Clot

Another good product that helps with major bleeds.



Strike Force Fire Steel

Always have a means of fire starting available.


Fox Micro 40 Whistle

Vector 1 Signal Mirror

Mirror pouch

Means of signalling for SAR.



Silva voyager 8010

Source of navigation for unfamilar ground.


Cold Steel pocket Shark Sharpie


For triaging patients. May also be employed as a Kubuton or Yawara stick in the use of percussion blows, joint locks and submission holds.

Write in the Rain Note Book

Taking notes and triageing patients.


Space Blanket

Reducing hypothermia and shock.


Mini rolls of Duct Tape

You never know, this stuff can be used for anything.


Blade Options

Busse Game Warden Knife (Fatty 0.270)

I wanted a knife that appeared non-offensive in nature for rescue work. Any small knife would do, Spyderco delica etc. I originally chose a fatty model before TOPS brought out their pry tool. I wanted something with a thick enough tang that would allow me to use as a hack knife and punch it through a roof of a vehicle and then batton to lift a roof. The fatty at 0.270 thick has no chance of snapping under heavy use.

A Kabar/Becker Tac Tool would be another option if a chopping tool is needed for rural environments.


Swiss Army Victorinox Rescue Tool.

I’d never been a large fan of folders. Too many scars on my hands to show why. My Spyderco delica is one of the few that Ive kept and never leaves my side. I didnt want to part with it, for a kit usually left in a vehicle. I noticed I didnt have a Swiss Army knife in my collection for some time and came across the rescue model with a liner locker and thought it would be a brilliant addition for use in the FRP.


Urban Escape and Evasion Kit Contents

The below items Ive gradually purchased and have attempted to test most, or still in the process of doing so. Still aquiring several of the blades which can add up in price. However, so far Ive come to several conclusions/observations. The first is its not worth having all your eggs in one basket. Its better to have items doubled up or spread out over several ways to avoid detection. Everything hidden, in say a belt can be found and lost at one time. Having items spread over several pieces of clothing or in layers of equipment have more chance of the possibilty if one or two items are discovered then the others may skip through a search. Depending on how professional the search has been completed. For example, having several sets of keys not just one pair. Hide them in several pieces of clothing. Belt, vest, shoes etc. This also helps if your bound into a position where you cant reach your main stash of gear.


This goes the same when dealing with handcuffs. The training standard of the detainer and not the victim will determine the technique used to escape. Everyone I spoke to with a decent amount of extended use of or advanced training will double lock handcuffs when an offender has been subdued, without exception. Leaving out the use of shims that only work if the cuffs are not double locked. Someone grabbing a person off the street without any training will not tend to spend the extra time double locking especially if a victim is struggling erratically or using quality model cuffs. A shim comes in handy in that circumstance to escape quicker by slipping between the teeth of the cuffs than to try and pick a lock for example and better kept near a surface point in the seam of clothing rather than stashed in a more hidden way designed for prolonged concealment for easy reach.

If dealing with better trained personnel such as either Federal agencies or Corrections services. They will not only use more extensive search procedures but will also use two sets of two different brands of cuffs, requiring two completely different sets of keys for prisoner transfers.

The Tatonka brand belt is the only model I found with a large 300mm/12inch pouch. The others only had rather small storage areas. This belt is also designed for every day use and not as a duty belt. Coming from a security background and not a military one. Ive always used belt keepers to hold my heavier duty belt to my lighter weight under belt. This way my pants stay up. From this perspective if captured a duty belt would be the first piece of clothing/equipment removed from my person. An under belt holding up my pants has less chance of being removed.

Ceramic blades have advantages and disadvantages. They will pass through metal detectors, however most styles out there are brittle. The smaller ones offered are 1/4 the size of a standard razor blade. I have small hands and found them difficult to use. They seem designed for professionals only, that require a last chance blade that can be concealed within a seam of clothing to avade an electronic scan. Very difficult to use as a weapon. The larger stanley blades are thin and will avoid a pat down but too brittle to keep concealed for long periods of time without expecting them to shatter if any pressure is applied to where they are stored. Such as a belt which will always be bending with movement and weight applied.

The smaller wire saws are once again designed for profesional use, where they are sown into seams of clothing. Id rather buy a larger version of the commando saws and cut one down to a 12 inch length to conceal within a belt or keep a full length version and sow into the lower seam of a vest. Much easier to cut with from a civillians standpoint. Just use layers of shrink wrap as a gripping surface once the handles are removed.

Mini pry bars are more likely to be found in a search but invaluable prying open anything unless wanting to loose fingernails.The smaller model the better for concealment purposes. Three different sizes are now made. The 2″ pico for belt concealment. The 3″ micro for key ring use and the 4″ pocket for inclusion within a vest. Once again using a layering system of tools.

The ability to start a fire is invaluable, wether to provide shelter or as a diversion tactic. A compass for direction, if being dumped in an unkown location and a small light if confined within dark spaces are self explainatory.

If not using handcuffs, then the next most likely choice for a restraint are flexi cuffs. The standard sort sold in hardware stores can easily be opened with a stiff piece of wire such as a paperclip inserted between the teeth. The better made brands designed for security personel by such companies as Manadnock have a covering over the locking mechanism and require cutting off. Ive found two tools that are capable of cutting either flexi cuffs or thin rope. The first was a rescue seat belt cutter made by the Colonial knife Company. This was the smallest model I could find. However without modifing, will not fit into a belt but can be concealed within a vest or hung from around the neck. The second was an accessory tool for a SOG multi tool which can fit into a smaller area. These need to have a piece of paracord large enough to wrap around a foot tied to the eyelet to be effective. Theres no way you can cut through a flexicuff using hands only, when restrained. Removing the inner core will flatten the cordage further.

Ive discovered that I have to be the worse lock picker on the planet. Still learning that skill. The Bagota Picks require only two picks to be used, however there are small credit card types that make a great secondary hidaway within a wallet. Along with larger credit card blades made by Microtech. This once again layers your tools.

Cordage, the hardest item to come across in the wilderness, let alone tied up in the boot of a vehicle. Many uses for having a supply of line. From a fishing line to trip wires, booby traps, snares, early warning system to twisting into a heavier line to form a garrotte. 20 foot spools of twisted Kevlar can be purchased.The difference between kevlar and dacron in archery terms, are that dacron line is a 1/3 of the price for a spool and used for bow strings on long bows and recurves. Kevlar is used exclusily on compounds having a higher breaking strain. Both are thinner than paracord with the similar strength properties.

Jigglers, bump keys and door knives are the lazy mans way of getting into locks without learning the skill of picking. These are items well worth looking into. They add another layer of tools and require less effort of use with faster results.

Selecting blades for an E&E kit has several legalities and intents. Is a cutting edge only required or a weapon. Are a materials that pass through metal detectors needed. A pen that just happens to be made from solid aluminium is a legal carry although it can still be used as a kubaton. A titanium/timber chopstick is still a legal carry although it can be used as a spike. Intent would need to be proved. Small blades concealed within a belt along with other items used for E&E would need to have intent proved that they were intended for anything other purpose, even though they have the potential of severing a Jugular vein or carotid artery. A jugular carrying deozygenated blood away from the head. A Carotid carrying oxygenated to the head.

I decided against the main cutting tool made from a non-metalic material. They are primarily designed for stabbing. I do own many and carry several as a layering system, but wanted a primary blade as a cutter for removing bindings. I also found that many of the other items carried within the belt are also metal based. Carrying a non-metalic blade seemed of little use when carrying in approximation to other metallic items. These would be better suited to other hideaway locations.

Small edges such as a standard Safety Razor Blade, Atwood Micro Card, TOPS Alert 01, Titanium Dog-Tag knives are easy to conceal within a belt, around your neck or within pockets and fall into this catagory. Blades that are good for the next level up from there are the necker/boot style designs with skeletal grips to fall flatter against clothing. Such as an Emerson La Griffe, Benchmade Tether, or Mission knives titanium MPU/MBK. These are small and light enough for concealment purposes but very effective as fighters.

Tatonka TEC Belt – 42mm width with a 300mm/12inch inside storage pouch.


Products being Tested

Nylon Universal Handcuff Key

for Smith and Peerless Cuffs (will not fit ADI Saf-Loks)

ADI Saf-Lok Handcuff key

Handcuff Shim

1�� Spring Steel Shim works most universal handcuffs. The shim slides between the ratchet and the teeth to quickly release the cuff. Works only when cuffs are single- locked.

Ceramic Razor blade

Zirconia ceramic razor blades are extremely hard, sharp, and wear resistant and can last up to 100 times longer than conventional steel blades. Black single edge razor 25 x 8 mm

Diamond Wire blade

70mm diamond wire cutting is the process of using wire impregnated with diamond dust of various sizes to cut through materials. Because of the hardness of diamonds, this cutting technique can cut through almost any material that is softer than the diamond abrasive. Cuts stainless steel, iron bars and chain.



Wire Saw


Solkoa Grip-S


Widgy Pocket Pry Bar


Mini match Ferrocium Rod and Spark-lite

Fire Starting

The Spark-lite has less metal material in its construction and can be used one handed.


Colonial Knife Company Rescue Hook


SOG V Cutter


These are used as a substitute flexi cuff cutter. A small loop of paracord can be placed under/around a boot and used for leverage, while both hands cannot be utilized.

Bogota Pick/Rake Set


Bogota Rakes

Very few of the common pick shapes around today can be traced back to an original designer, but this cannot be said of the Bogota Rakes. These picks were developed by Ray Conners based in Minneapolis, MN. These rakes have been found to be so exceptionally effective that they deserve special mention when discussing rakes. Ray has published detailed instructions on their construction so the home toolmaker can make them also. These plans can be found on a popular online lock picking discussion forum at www.lockpicking101.com.

Aside from being effective, the economy of design is quite remarkable. A set of two picks includes a Bogota Rake and Bogota Pick (modeled much like a half diamond). The handle end of each tool doubles as a tension wrench, allowing the user to be prepared to open many locks with just these two tools alone.

The Bogota Rake is best used, as Ray describes, with a �jittery motion�, as though the user had consumed too much coffee. As odd as this might sound, the rakes have been found to be strikingly effective on many common pin tumbler locks by a large number of both hobbyists and professionals alike. The rakes are particularly effective against locks with a high/low bitting � something many types of rakes cannot claim.


Cash/Phone Card

$50 Small denominations.


Made from several layers of Bow string Dacron. Can be used as a garotte by adding makeshift grips twisted through the loops or as a defensive tool against a blade in the same way as a sarong for locks, throws and takedowns. Approx 18-20 inch center with 4 inch end loops. The serving or wrap can be removed to leave several metres of heavy duty dacron cordage that can be used for fishing line, trip wires, early warning system, improvised restraints, etc.

Photon Micro Light LED

Button Compass



Kevlar spooled 20 feet


Blades being tested

Micro tech Credit Card Knife

3.4″x2.1″ Titanium

To be kept in wallet.


Atwood Micro Card Knives

�1.5″x1″x1/8th (3.5mm) S30V steel


BK Johnson knives Medium sized Credit Card blade

�2″x1.5″x3/32″ (2mm) 01 steel

Custom Order $40 USD


TOPS Alert#01 1095 steel


Cold Steel FGX Nightshade Series Knives

Polymer re-enforced fibreglass, no metal present.


Custom Order version of a Extrema Ratio Shrapnel/CRKT Sting

Made from 10mm G10 Micarta Knife Handle Material from local knife maker

Ceramic Stanley Razor Blades


Tops NUK


Benchmade Tether


Emerson La Griffe


Mission Knives MBK/MPU 4″ titanium


Dog-Tag Knives


Alternate Carry Items

Titanium Chopstix


Mil-Tac Pens


Foster Brother Saps and Jacks




Nok Peregrine



How to Escape from Smith/Peerles Handcuffs


Lock Picking Youtube


PDF Downloads


Lock Picking 101 Forum


Make Your Own Lock Picks


Bomb Shock Downloads



Bump keys


Jiggler Keys


Credit Card Pick Set


Door Knife


Padlock Shims


Auto Jiggler


Unique Titanium


Key Screw Drivers


Solkoa� Products


Survival Straps Belt


Wallet Size Picks



Roth Tactics and Solutions (NZ)


ISR Matrix (Australia)


ISR Matrix (International)


Urban Survival Training (US)


On point Tactical – Urban SERE Courses and Forum (US)


Jim Wagner Reality Based (US)


Edged Weapons Solutions AMOK (International)


Escape and Evasion Kit- Part 1 The Bag

The bag is critical in that it keeps all the kit together. The bag must be functional, as well as heavy duty, while still looking like an Urban Kit.

�This is where color takes a large role. Under absolutely no circumstances should you choose an Urban Escape and Evasion Kit bag that is camouflaged. Regardless of the pattern, you will stick out like a sore thumb in the city. If obeying this rule, you should opt out of most military surplus stores, being that a neutral color must be chosen. The color must be able to show the operator as a �Gray Man� leading to anonymity. Neutral �Urban Operation� colors include Gray, Black, Khaki and Brown. Try to stay away from olive greens, as it once again leads to a militarized look. Now that the color of the bag has been established, we will move on to functionality.

�Functionality establishes the use of the bag. Multiple outside pockets of various sizes will hold items that require on the spot use without digging such as handguns, extra magazines, and the flashlight and pick set. The small outside pockets should have some form of flap or cover to hide from prying eyes. You don�t want your handgun and flashlight hanging out while walking down the street.

�The primary interior compartments will hold the large items and items that will not be used �On the spot�. Including food rations, spare clothes, bino�s and electronic gear. A bag suitable for such can come from any supplier; it does not have to be ordered from specialty tactical gear shops. While being less tactically orientated this will give the bag a more urban look to fit in your area of operations. The commercially purchased bag will need some minor modifications to make it operational. These include reinforcing stress points, adding wider straps and adding a hard plastic bottom liner.

�A couple good examples of such commercial bags are the laptop bags sold for college students, Roller suitcase type �Mobile Offices� and soft sided padded briefcases. As an Operator you must remember that you are trying to blend into your surroundings.

Lessons Learned: Homeless Living comparable to Prepping

A Prepper can learn allot lot from homeless living. Urbanevasion.com would like to analyze the following article for lessons learned:

The Joys (?)of Being Homeless

by Jerry Leonard (aka Recycler)

Photo provided by Phil Elmore of The Martialist

This was originally posted (by me) as a series of articles on another website a few months back and I’ve just edited/rearranged them all into one big article as well as added lots more stuff. Since I’m the author of this, and the original, no copyrights are being violated. Hopefully there is new and usable information contained here for everyone… It is long.�� � Jerry Leonard

For a good part of 1992 I was homeless. What follows is some of the things I learned and did to keep going, but keep in mind that THIS IS NOT THE LAST WORD ON THE SUBJECT. I didn’t then, and don’t now, have all the answers for this type of situation. This is just how “I” handled many of the problems encountered. If you guys can come up with better solutions than I did, that is excellent. Hopefully none of you will ever have to live this way, but just in case…

Through a lot of discussions on this forum we’ve discussed various methods of �urban survival.� Sometimes, they looked more like standard wilderness survival talks than urban, but that’s okay because there are MANY similarities. Whether urban or wilderness, you still have the same priorities and needs, only the setting has changed. There are some differences however…

DIFFERENCES between Wilderness & Urban settings:

LEO�s (Law Enforcement Officers)

In the wilderness you�ve got maybe a few rangers, some DNR (Department of Natural Resources) folks, and whatnot that cover large expanses of territory to monitor and �police.� If you are in a survival situation chances are good you�re going to try and signal them for help and rescue anyway, unless you intentionally don�t want to be found. With them I don�t see much of a threat.

But in an urban setting, most of the techniques and skills we teach ourselves to survive are prohibited because there are laws and ordinances that say so (conform to society and fit in or be put away). What does this mean to us? Being homeless and trying to survive (whether you�re victimizing people or not) will put you at odds with the rest of the community, including the police. Most of these folks wish you�d just go away�

With the police, you gotta make yourself invisible. Be as unobtrusive as possible and fit in with your surroundings (It boils down to – be a chameleon or be a statistic). Pay attention to the homeless population. If they are all over the place then you can let yourself look as cruddy as you want because the homeless are a fixture. But if you can�t find any of your brothers in poverty then you must either clean yourself up and become “presentable” or relocate.

Being picked up by the police can be a mixed bag affair. On three separate occasions I remember being picked up by very compassionate officers who sincerely wanted to help. Two other times I had the holy snot kicked out of me by some real sleazes. I think I just heard someone say, “Well, I would fight back!” I would place my bet on this being the outcome if you did — “Honest chief, this bum just come outta nowhere and attacked us for no reason! Once we saw the (insert weapon here) we fired to protect ourselves.”

Maybe I WAS being a coward, but I figured my best chances were to just take it and hope they would go away soon. So if you read through some of this stuff and it sounds more like an E&E exercise than a how-to for the homeless, that�s because sometimes your homeless experience WILL be a test on your E&E skills�


In a wilderness situation you�re not going to face a lot of competition for food, unless we�re talking about TEOTWAWKI. You have your choice of game and don�t have to be too discrete about how you procure it. If you�re in a high-density area for homeless folks, however, you�ll find that competition for food, clothing, decent shelter, and other “trash” can get really stiff. I�m positive that if TSHTF (whether from war or collapse) it will get even worse because there�s going to be even more people scrounging for what they need. The survivalist will have a distinct advantage here though IMO.

Because the competition can get fierce at times you need to be very careful in where you set up traps and hide your stuff. Everything you have and get is “community property” unless you have it on your person. So explains the “bag and shopping cart” contingent� Sharing your excess CAN net you some helpful friends however, just be wary about HOW you “distribute your wealth” (the homeless has its share of predators).�


In the “wilderness” you have a wide choice of primitive and handmade weaponry and concealability is not an issue. In an urban setting concealment is THE FIRST thing to consider. Remember that force (especially deadly force) should be a last resort. I�ll talk about this subject later in more detail, but I felt I should mention it here too.

There are other differences but these three have the biggest impact on what you do so they should be thought out well in advance of being stuck as a homeless person�



A lot of different ways to go about this;

1… The Homeless Shelters – Excellent way to contract lice and have whatever possessions you may have left stolen as you sleep. Also one of the first places some LEO�s will look if you are on the lam and they suspect you (or the perp they are looking for) are homeless or posing as one.

2… Woodlots – Many sizable towns and cities have woodlots (of various sizes) where you might be able to find or erect shelters out of the view of normal pedestrians and whatnot. A thorough examination of the area will tell you if it is frequently used by surrounding residents. Inspect for trails, large amounts of trash at “party sites”, etc., and if you still want to use the woodlot for bivouac purposes, make sure to set up camp as far from those places as possible. Construct a debris shelter because they are much harder to spot for what they are and disturb your camp area as little as possible. Fires for cooking and heat should be used during the day and made as small and as smokeless as possible.

3… Abandoned Homes – Every town and city I�ve been in has their share of abandoned and condemned homes. Inspect them during the day for visibility from neighbors and use from kids and the drug element. Other homeless folks can be just as vicious and territorial as the druggies so watch your step. If you choose to shack up with other homeless wonders, expect to be picked up every once in a while or tossed out in the street as some towns will periodically have a “shakedown” to rid themselves of our “godless and verministic” presence. For awhile I was lucky in that I found an abandoned home that was out of sight in the back of a large woodlot bordering on a farmer�s field. It was never visited, still had some of its plumbing intact, and had a workable jet pump (well water!) that was quickly converted to manual use. It also had a septic system (that was in bad shape) still connected to the toilet (bucket flush). To avoid being seen at night, seal off rooms windows so that you might use a light of some sort. If your light is from fire, take the necessary precautions and make sure the room has ventilation. Go outside and walk around the house to make sure there is no visible light escaping, and cover up where it does�

4… Sewers, Storm Drains, etc- NOT! Trust me on this one, I�ve been in them� They come in all shapes and sizes, and while going from point A to point B may be okay you don�t want to live in the freakin� things. Your sense of smell will be shot in short order and if you�re in them during a large rainstorm you�re gonna swear you are being flushed down a toilet. Let’s not forget the opportunities contract all sorts of wonderful diseases/maladies as well as have your cuts &scrapes horribly infected. Rabies anyone? Excellent way to get yourself killed and when you come out everyone in a five-block radius is going to notice you (slight exaggeration but you know what I mean). Hard to remain unobtrusive if everyone thinks you�re a CHUD.

5… Junkyards and Industrial Parks – You can find access to cubbyholes all over most industrial parks, just make sure that a place you choose isn’t patrolled by security guards at night. I accessed a couple boiler room areas on nights that got really cold, just don’t sleep in the open in case late night janitors are around. Abandoned sites work well too. Some careful observation of the area will let you know if others are using it too.

I’ve never seen a junkyard or dump sight that was organized but all of them that I’d been in (that didn’t have owner dogs) had hundreds of places you could curl up in for the night.

6… Alleys, Park Benches, etc. – Very risky. Police harassment aside, can you say rolled, beaten, generally abused, and pissed on, etc ad nauseum? As survivalists I KNOW we can do better than that�

Man, there’re just so many places you can use – it’s the precautions you take or don’t take that’ll burn you. Don’t go into or out of your sleep hole openly like you’re going in & out of your house. Try to let as few people as possible observe you anywhere near your spot. Come and go at night and the early morning hours.

All in all, expect to move around a lot� If you can find a spot and say “looks good”, chances are, and someone else can too. Keep an eye on an area you like and soon enough you’ll find out all sorts of useful things- other bums using it, gangs that party around it, etc.


As survivalists, I don�t foresee any of you being unable to come up with drinkable(?) water. Towns and cities are full of fountains and spigots. On the occasions that you run across spigots without handles, a pair of pliers should do the trick. There�s also rivers and ponds, but beware the pollution factor- the most it can do is kill you and the least it can do is lay you up with cramps, the “runs” etc. Purify if possible. Having a couple of 1 liter pop bottles to carry water in is a great plus.


Naturally, towns and cities are full of it.

1… Forageables – Hey, WE know the value of a lot of those �weeds,� but if you don�t then please take the time to learn. During the spring, summer, and fall there is lots of stuff out there. It�s winter that�ll get you� As is often said, make sure that what you pick doesn�t come from an area that�s regularly sprayed with weed killers.

2… Farmer�s Fields – If you�re close enough to them and the time is right, you�ll not starve�that�s a fact!

3… Dumpsters – My personal rule is if you didn�t watch them dump it- then don�t! I learned the hard way that just because it looks all right doesn�t necessarily mean it is. Cook the crud out of the veggies and expect to lose a lot of the nutritional value. Wash the fruit with the cleanest water you can get and peel it. I don’t advise using the meat the butchers throw out because most of them will try to sell it until last possible moment.

4… HEEEERRRE KITTY KITTY! – All joking aside, in the towns and cities that is THE EASIEST way to catch “the other white meat”�. Personally, I�ll pass on the rat catchin�. It’s good to understand that many of the woodlots will carry more critters than you may realize are out there, it�s catching them that can prove real trying. There are also ponds and creeks available in many places too, where you might be able to catch frogs, crawdads and turtles. Look for any signs warning of pollution and not fishing first. Make sure you thank the good folks that feed the pigeons for fattening the little beasts up. As far as what to use to catch the critters, silence and concealability are going to be your two biggest factors no matter how you consider the problem.

That being said I would concentrate on hidden traps and snares first. Baiting virtually guarantees something for the pot… As for traps suited for urban environments, I would say box traps in the alleys or wood lots. Most people don’t recognize them for what they are, but you would still want to keep them as hidden as humanly possible, and rather than making them from wire make them from wood so nobody can look at it and see the critter. You’ll probably get AT LEAST one skunk!

My Pigeon Traps – Pigeons are funny critters (and easy to catch, IMO). Besides beanin’ them with sticks, I’ve chunked fist-sized rocks at em, and trapped them. In the cities, go where there’s flocks of them and they aren’t really afraid of people. Feed them for a little bit, then go about setting up your trap(s). Scatter a little more feed and sit back and wait. Shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to get enough for dinner.

The traps were nothing more elaborate than cardboard boxes that had been broken down and refolded so I could stick my arm through the top to grab the birds. Put a weight on the top of the box so it drops quickly and prop it up with a stick. Tie a string to the bottom of the prop-stick and run it out about 20 feet or so. Bait the ground underneath and around the box so the birds have a reason to gather and when you have some targets, pull the stick out. Wearing gloves, grab them and quickly wring their necks, then leave the area before someone decides you are a “job for the police”…

I suppose you could use milk crates, but I never had any available… and while I never tried this, if you have a hammock, you could build a frame for it and set it up like you did the box. It would cover more ground so, conceivably, you can bag more birds at once (just a thought).

Eating pigeons and small birds – I don’t know much about any diseases in pigeons (or other birds) but, while I was homeless, I ate hundreds of the little beasties without any ill effects….

The trick, IMO, is to give the bird a REAL GOOD once over before considering eating it. When you come across a sick pigeon, you’ll know it. It’ll be missing a lot of its “fluff” (not talking about molting here) and the bare skin will look like third degree burns or something. If the legs look like the skin is rotting, that’s a good sign too. Eyes look funny? Like cataracts? Find any of these things, then just toss the bird. You can always get another. It IS possible that the way I checked the birds out was �improper,� but doing it this way I never got sick from eating them.

When preparing the bird, don’t pluck it- strip it, feathers and skin. Clean it out real good with CLEAN water and inspect the guts. If it looked like he was rotting from the inside out, then toss him too. If it passed all that he should be good, then cook the sucker completely. Save the guts to use as bait for catching other critters, like cats, possums and coons.

Awfully involved for eating a pigeon, huh? As a last note on the subject, certain birds I would stay away from would be buzzards and seagulls. The buzzards simply because of what they eat (dead things), and the gulls because, without a doubt, those were THE NASTIEST TASTING birds I have ever had the misfortune of eating. I don’t know if it was just those birds or if they’re all like that, and I have no intention of doing any ‘studies’ to find out.

“Rabbit Sticks”- The nice thing about the city critters I encountered was that they were so used to people that it was very easy to get close to them – close enough that I started calling my rabbit stick a squirrel or pigeon stick (depending on what was about to get beaned with it). The rabbit stick has served me well for a long time, but first let me say that in all the years I’ve used them I am by no means an expert. I’ve probably bagged something with every ten throws or so (there were exceptions to that though). I don’t know what kind of track record others might claim to have, but I think mine is pretty good.

Since I’ve settled down I’ve carved a few and still have them. I pull them out every once in a while and practice, but I don’t do any practical hunting with them anymore (unless you count the neighborhood cats that venture into the yard).

When I was out on the streets, however, I pretty much grabbed whatever felt right in the hand. Other than a knife and “snap-stick” (and a couple of times a zipgun) I tried to keep as few weapons as possible on me. Doesn’t go well if you’re searched by the police…

One item I was real happy with, once I worked the bugs out (sorta), was a 1/2″ water pipe. It was about 16″ long and the first time I used it I took down a pigeon. Only problem with it was it made a heck of a racket bouncing off the concrete. So I bought a couple of end caps and that cut down on a LITTLE of the noise. I ended up stuffing a rag inside the pipe and duct taping the outside before I was really satisfied with the noise factor. For self-defense purposes, it also performed quite well…

The one thing I noticed most about using the sticks was that if it wasn’t a bird or a squirrel sized critter, the best I could hope for was to stun it and get to it before it regained its senses and ran off…. With the pipe though, when I got in a good shot if I didn’t kill it I had plenty of time to go finish the job. The biggest problem that I encountered with the rabbit stick was the sudden throw tended to spook whatever you were after. Same problem with slings, bolas, atlatls, etc. If it requires sudden or violent movements, the farther away you are the less chance of bagging something.

Airguns – While I didn’t have one when I was homeless, an air pistol is a definite winner in my book. It is concealable, silent, no quick movements to use, and will collect small game like there’s no tomorrow (provided you have good aim).

Slingshots – I can’t use a slingshot worth spooey but if you like the idea of using arrows, then rather than using a bow (no concealability) modify a wooden Marksman-style slingshot with a large eye screw and shoot your arrows with that. Takes practice to overcome the “quirks” of the device, but it works great. You can use full sized arrows or shorten the bands and use smaller ones. Don’t replace the pouch with wire, however, that way you can still use it for rocks and stuff when you run out of arrows (don’t forget to take the eye screw out first). Only real drawback is the rubber isn’t as responsive in the wintertime (cold).

If you just can’t seem to hit anything with that setup, then buy some replacement rubbers and get a short length of PVC or water pipe (1 foot long will do). Attach the pipe SECURELY to a piece of scrap wood that you shape kinda like a pistol, then attach the slingshot band SECURELY to the pipe. Your accuracy will improve a lot doing it this way. Just make sure that the rubber side of the pipe is sanded smooth and rounded so that it doesn’t rip the fletching off of your arrows every time you shoot.

5… Fast Food Joints and Restaurants – For awhile this worked out great for me. Go into the place and ask to talk to the manager. If it�s not obvious that you�re homeless and broke, explain your situation and offer to pick up trash and butts around their property for a meal. I found many that were more than happy to allow it because they realized that if you didn�t do it they would have to send out one of their own employees to take care of it (I�m sure some of them felt pity too but that�s irrelevant to me). Nothing like a shot at the buffet in the Golden Corral to boost ones spirits� Don’t forget to stock up on sugar, salt, pepper, ketchup, & mustard packets when you are in there (KFC has honey and butter too, but use the butter ASAP when it’s hot out). Expect to hear every once in a while “GO ON, BEAT IT YOU FREAKIN� PUKE B�FORE I CALL THE COPS!”

6… Soup Kitchens- Not much to be said other than the food IS edible, just not every place has them.


You ever wonder why lots of homeless people wear so many layers of clothes? Here�s a few obvious and not so obvious reasons;

1… It gets cold out at night (duh) even in the summer.

2… Sooo many pockets- next best thing to a pack of some sort.

3… This way nobody can steal them from your “campsite”.

4… Much easier to conceal a weapon, just make sure you can easily access it.

5… Excellent protection from slashing knife attacks and good padding for the times you find yourself being clubbed.

For the women – I had the opportunity to meet quite a few “bag ladies” and you�d be surprised at how many of them would actually have been very good looking if cleaned and “dressed” up. A lot of what they did as far as dress and appearance went (baggy multi-layered clothes, grimy hands and face, rats-nest hair, etc) was for purely defensive purposes. The crappier they looked, the less chances of being sexually victimized. I gotta tell you, I heard some real horror stories from some of these gals��

Here is an example – I had been in this one area (NYC) for about a week, so I was sort of “established”; but anyway, one night a car cruised down this alley and dumped a person, then sped off. Caused a big ruckus with the bums & bagladies.

Turns out it was a street girl who disappeared just before I started hanging around the area. She was trying to get a few bucks by selling her butt and got in this guy�s car. He disabled her with one of those zappers that plaster you with a gajillion volts, tied her up and raped and tortured her for a WEEK (according to one of the bagladies, she had cuts ALL OVER HER BODY)! To her credit the girl was still lucid, but can you imagine it?

As far as acquiring clothes, I never had to steal any because on more occasions than I can count I found clothes in the trash and dumpsters that were sturdy and entirely usable. Maybe obvious advice, but wash them clothes periodically or resign yourself to being a walking parasite hotel. A little change and a Laundromat does quite nicely. Shoes, on the other hand, are much harder to find (ones that fit well anyway). Don’t settle for undersize or oversize shoes or I GUARANTEE you will have big problems with your feet. If necessary, scrape up the money and buy a pair THAT FITS.


There�s a few ways to look at the problem. Do you want money to buy little things you can�t scrounge or are you looking to drag yourself out of the pit you found yourself in? Everybody�s situation is going to be different based on the goals you set for yourself. In war, we�re probably all going to be in the same boat so any financial gains we make (if any) will likely be small. Expect to have to save the money you acquire till you have enough for whatever. I found that all gains were small until you get those “right time- right place” opportunities. They�re not as easy to find as some book writers make it out to be�

As long as the economy remains fairly stable you�ve got a host of opportunities before you. There are many illicit ways to get money and gear but I never had the heart to do them (my conscious is stronger than my intellect sometimes) so I can�t give you any practical advice there – sorry.

Let�s start with the simplest:

1… Loose Change – One thing that surprised the heck out of me was how the general public feels about change. I first noticed this when I started cleaning parking lots for a meal. Fast food joints, supermarkets, mall parking lots, sidewalks, etc are covered in it. Sure there were some days I�d be lucky to find .50 cents, but there were other days I could end up with $15 or more of just change picked up from the ground. So when you see the bums wandering around with their heads hung low, they may feel dejected but they�re also looking for “free” money. May not seem like a lot but $15 can get you a lighter & matches, a roll of string, bottle of multi-vitamins, and a few other little things you might need. Let your “survival mind” chew on that for awhile� What would YOU get?

2… Returnable Bottles and Cans – Another small one that adds up. You would be surprised in the more heavily populated areas just how many folks don�t bother with the things and toss �em� Remember those “party sites” I mentioned earlier? Those were usually gold mines for bottles and cans. Environmentalist bums, anyone?

3… Begging – It IS an option, and you don�t have to be deceitful about it. Don�t expect a lot of money if you beg “legit” however. A better way, IMO, is to apply a skill to your plea. In my case, I sang. I�m not gonna sit here and tell you that I�m another Don Ho or Frank Sinatra but I CAN carry a decent tune when I feel the urge. When my brothers & I were growing up we used to sing with our parents� church groups so most of my repertoire revolved around religious and patriotic songs. By planting myself near the churches on Sundays I could usually net anywhere from $10 – $60. I admit that the higher end of that range were exceptional days. Location is the key no matter how you choose to go about begging. Other skills I�ve seen used to good effect were dancing, instruments, acrobatics & contortionists (if you can believe that), and reciting Shakespeare (?).

4… Barter and “Sidewalk sales” – I�ve only run across this a couple of times and if things get worse in this country I expect to see a rise in this practice, so dumpster divers and “junk” scavengers take note. The quantity of usable stuff that gets tossed is staggering. I�m sure you�ve all seen this at one time or another. One group of homeless people I ran across grabbed everything they could find that was still in decent shape or could be simply repaired, cleaned the stuff up, resold it at yard sale prices, and then divided the money up between them. Knick-knacks, clothes, appliances, furniture, and “junk” crafts (you name it). They did quite well for themselves. I think this practice has merit. Also, because of the variety of GOOD junk that I’ve found over time, it is possible to use the pawnshops to your advantage too. As long as you’re not trying to get top dollar out of the stuff, you can probably still get good money out of the deal.

5… Under the Table Work – When you�re ready or determined to get yourself back on your feet, this is the way to go. Don�t expect to find any work, however, if you�re sporting the skid row look. You need to start cleaning yourself up and making yourself look presentable. Be up front with your problems and many are willing to help. Places I�ve worked willing to let you do temp work for cash were topless bars (stocking the coolers and doing inventories for the boss) & loading docks and construction sites (backbreaking work- loading/unloading trucks, carrying materials from A to B, doing site cleanups, etc). Try to use whatever skills you have to best advantage when looking for places to work and bid yourself below minimum wage. Also be willing to sign (and volunteer to) a “paper” stating that you won�t hold them liable for any injuries you may incur. If the businesses have unions in them� forget it— they won�t be able to hire you. Small contractors are usually union-free and if you have your own tools and know how to use them, it�s a big plus. In some places the contractors paid me above minimum wage after they saw how hard I worked and a couple asked me to stay, so it does pay to give your boss your best effort. It�s hard to do this though if you�re only passing through, but for those who are ready to plant their feet and start getting their life back together this is your ticket�

Using any combination of the above and maintaining extremely frugal living habits, the cash will start to pile up. What you do and how you choose to apply yourself if you become homeless is entirely up to you but homeless doesn�t have to mean penniless.


The following covers what I believe to be important things to consider security-wise when faced with living on the streets and trying to avoid attention, confrontations, and being made a victim.


The most effective way to prevent drawing unwanted attention to yourself is to blend in with your surroundings. You should try to match your style of dress to the type of neighborhood you find yourself in.

There are places where it pays to “not look like a bum,” such as;�

  • Small and medium sized towns.
  • Middle class & up residential areas (suburbia).
  • Farm country
  • The tourist traps – Since I’ve never really been in any, that I know of, I can’t really vouch for this one…�
  • Any posted “neighborhood watch” areas.

If the homeless population is non-existent, looking like a skid row executive WILL get everyone�s attention and you can expect the police (town, county, and state) to stop you and have a �chat.� If you are stopped and questioned- be clear, concise, POLITE and, if necessary, state that you are just passing through and looking for no trouble.

In the “big” city or inner cities, where the homeless populations can be substantial, I found that it was to my advantage to look pretty scruffy. One reason is that it saves the good clothes you might have from damage when you�re dumpster diving, picking through the trash and other things that might cause you to get messy. Also, the average citizen tends to ignore you, and the criminal elements don�t readily target you as a mugging opportunity unless you openly display some form of wealth.


Dressing better than the scumbags. If you look like you have more than they do, they�ll want it.

Wearing expensive watches, rings and jewelry. Put your watch in your pocket, or take the bands off and safety pin it to the inside of your coat. If the rings and jewelry have some form of sentimental value (wedding rings) then stash them, otherwise I would pawn them�

Openly using your money stash. If you choose to keep all of your money on you, then what you should do is separate your money into two groups.

The first group is your wallet money. In this you keep enough money to make any purchases for the day and fill it up with stupid stuff (newspaper clippings, library cards, and other “trash paper”). Consider this your “mugging wallet”- If by some chance they do decide to roll you, you won�t lose all of your money and a little bit of cash will probably stave off more harassment or a beating for �having nothing.� Showing some non-aggressive concern over the loss of your “life savings” may convince them from making you empty the rest of your pockets (then again, it might not).

The second group is, of course, the rest of your savings. If you insist on keeping it with you at all times then DON�T just put it in your pocket. You should try something along the lines of a money belt or a wrist & ankle wallet (worn around the knee or above the elbow) under your clothes. What I did was to turn my coat inside out and, with some scrap cloth, a couple snaps, and a sewing kit, I made a pocket in the lining of the sleeve a few inches above the elbow. Since my coat was always with me, so was my money. Put your cash in a small ziploc (in case you�re caught out in the rain) and change your small bills to larger ones so it�s less bulky. When you need to take out some spending cash make sure you are isolated and no one can see you do it.


If anybody got the feeling from reading what I posted about places for shelter that maybe I was being a little bit paranoid – I was. You are at your most vulnerable when you are sleeping and I found that living on the streets can take its toll on your body causing you to go into a deeper sleep rather than a lighter one. Too much malnutrition and exhaustion can find you waking up to find all of your possessions gone (and maybe you won�t wake up at all�).

Keeping this in mind, you would do well to find an isolated (secret) spot to sleep away from any pedestrian traffic or other homeless people. If you are staying in one place for more than a day, ensure that your gear is well hidden so you don�t have to lug everything around with you when you�re out and about and just in case someone stumbles across your sleep hole while you are away.



When to defend yourself is a judgment call for each individual. There were times when I felt it more prudent to run away or let myself be roughed up and rolled than to whip out a weapon and have at it. It was usually pretty obvious who was looking to just harass me and who was threatening my life.

Firearms – For just about everybody reading this, I’m sure that first pick will be a firearm� But if you find yourself in a homeless situation you may find yourself without one in the beginning (or may lose/ have to ditch it in the course of your experience). In an inner city setting, getting firearms isn�t much of a problem if you�ve got the cash. Myself, I found it more convenient to buy the ammunition and make “zip” guns- reasoning being that if I had to use the weapon I could ditch it, not lose a substantial investment, and make another one later. The ones I made were for 22�s, 410�s and 12ga.

I only carried these when in the large cities where my chances for being stopped and searched were pretty slim, and if you choose to carry a firearm (of any kind) only you will be able to weigh the risks involved with having and using it. I never carried one where my presence as a homeless person would warrant attention from the police.

Knives – Another one that should go without saying. Whether for defense or not, everyone should have a good knife. A good lock blade or small fixed blade doesn�t matter as long as you�ve got at least one. Even kitchen knives will do in a pinch as long as you understand their limitations. I�ve seen homemade knives made from tin & sheet metal and mild steel which performed knife functions quite well in a pinch. Only “problems” I saw with them was they bent easily and needed frequent sharpening.

Miscellaneous Weapons

There are other weapons that can be used to defend yourself and below is a partial list that I have carried or seen carried by others;

Clubs/batons – Lengths of plumbing pipe (12-18 in) or wood. Cut down baseball bats stuffed up a coat sleeve (about the length of your forearm and hand- with your hands in your pockets it stays in place and if needed pull your hands out and let it slip right out into your grasp). When you get right down to it there is an endless list of items that can be used as expedient clubs – look around you�

Saps – Put one sock inside another and fill it with your choice of stuff like rocks, or the loose change you collect of the street – then tie a knot in it to keep it all in the end. One bum I knew kept a hammerhead in the socks, rolled it up and kept it in his pocket. He could have it out, unrolled, and bouncing off his targets� head before the creep knew what hit �em.

Snap stick/ Bone breaker – I�ve always liked this one. Basically an 11-12 inch long hardwood dowel (1″-1 1/4″ thick) with a lanyard on one end. To hold, hang the lanyard off your thumb along the back of your hand; swing it up into your hand from underneath and grip loosely. Used forcefully with a snapping motion at the joints and hard points of a persons body it causes a lot of pain and can break bones (takes practice though). Sharpening to a blunt point it can also be used to “stab” at the soft points of a person�s anatomy, again causing a lot of pain.

Iron Cross – Anybody remember those “Atchison Hunters”(sp)? These aren�t much different except they don�t fold up. Get two lengths of flat stock steel (8-10 inches each) and bind them together to make a + ; then sharpen the ends to points. Filing notches before binding will help keep them from slipping. Great fun for power throwers, and in HTH hold one end and use as a three-way stabbing instrument�

There are SO MANY different things to use out there that I couldn�t begin to list them all, but these were just a few suggestions.


In this section, let’s consider gear and “stuff”. When I first became homeless, I started out with nothing but the clothes on my back and an empty wallet. Almost everything I got was from the trash or from whatever money I could scrape up at the time (which, at first, was never a whole heck of a lot).

After some time, the stuff I accumulated sort of took shape into what you could call a “poor man’s” backpacking outfit and what I describe next is pretty much all I had for awhile. As you’re reading this you will probably find yourself thinking up better ways than mine to go about doing things. If you are that’s EXCELLENT, because the whole purpose of this is to get you thinking about what you might do if you find yourself in a similar predicament. So just remember as you read this that it’s not the last word, it’s just a starting point….

Knives- Of all things I wish I had when I started out, the knife is the first thing that comes to mind. IMO being homeless isn’t all that far off from being in a wilderness survival situation and because of that your knife is your #1 tool.

Since beggars can’t be choosers I was thankful that so many folks chose to throw knives away instead of sharpening them, because I had found them in the trash (and still do) with amazing regularity. Pocket knives; lock blades, fixed blades & kitchen knives, etc. I found and used them all and never worried about losing or breaking them. If I did, it was just another trip to the trash…

If, for some reason, you can’t seem to acquire one (IMO, unlikely) you can always improvise something to do the job by using, for example; broken glass, tin cans and sheet metal, or even mild steel. Doesn’t matter what you’ve got as long as it CUTS.

Tools – During one particularly fruitful dive in the trash I found a bunch of tools. A lot of them were too big, bulky and impractical, but I did keep (and get a lot of use from) a small handful. The ones I kept were stored in a child’s lunch box. They consisted of – flat tip & Phillips screwdrivers, tin snips, needle-nose and lineman’s pliers, flat file, round file, triangular file, 16 oz hammer (cut down the handle so it would fit in the lunch box), hacksaw blades (just the blades), and a hole saw.

Also kept in the lunch box were two can openers (crank kind and the kind that just made holes), sewing stuff (absolute necessities), extra lighters and matches (kept in plastic bag and wrapped in scrap cloth), and bottles of aspirin and multi-vitamins (had to buy them). To keep everything from rattling around I just filled it the rest of the way with scraps of cloth.

Shelter – On the occasions that I couldn’t find appropriate shelter for the night, it was necessary to erect something to keep the weather off. Nothing is worse than waking up in the middle of a rainstorm with no protection… Tents are nice, but since I didn’t have one I improvised many times with plastic tarps (like the ones that cover lumber and other building supplies) and eventually I acquired an 8’x8′ canvas tarp.

I used discarded clotheslines for guy lines and for stakes and poles I just used whatever sticks were available. Even large cardboard boxes or pallets with a tarp or plastic sheet over them (weighted down with rocks/bricks) will do in a pinch.

Cordage – Clothesline, appliance cords, twine, old shoelaces, etc. The stuff is all over the place and if you can tie it in a knot, you can use it. It’s also cheap enough that you can buy plenty with a little loose change.

Bed Roll – At first I was happy just to have a blanket, but what I eventually ended up with was a thermal blanket (a real one I had to buy) sandwiched between a piece of plastic tarp and a blanket. I joined the whole thing together with big wads of thread on the corners and along the edges (a sew-pro I’m not). It would’ve been nice though to have it all snap together because when the blanket would get real nasty I’d have to cut the threads out to wash it and then sew it back together again.

Water Containers – 1-liter pop bottles. Simple. I made carriers from cutoff pants legs, added drawstrings and attached them to the sides of my “pack” (described below).

Mess Kit – Here again the dumpsters came through as I had my choice of pots, pans, silverware, cups, etc. I settled for a small aluminum pot w/ lid, small 8″ fry pan, fork, spoon, steak knife and 1 plastic cup. You could probably do just as well at Wally World for $10.

Stove – For a “fire pot” (whenever open fires weren’t a good idea) I would use whatever large tin cans or paint cans were available. I’ve seen at least hundred different ways to make stoves from cans, but what I did was punch a series of draft holes along the top and bottom edges (leaving the bottom intact) and make a small fire inside. It usually burned very well but you just had to make sure the holes along the bottom edge didn’t get blocked with ashes and unburned crud. WARNING- If you use one inside a building make sure you set the stove on some bricks or something else COMPLETELY non-flammable, and that you have LOTS OF VENTILATION (for you, not the fire).

Packs – Once you begin accumulating a lot of “stuff” you need SOMETHING to carry it all in… Picking through the trash, I don’t know how many gym bags (big and small) I found along with kid’s school packs, suitcases, plastic tubs and buckets, etc. You should be able to have your pick if you look long enough.

At first I just kept a few gym bags, but it was real awkward trying to lug my crud from place to place. So after I got tired of that I gathered some scrap wood (1×3’s) and a few pairs of discarded blue jeans and proceeded to make a pseudo-packboard. If what I describe next sounds weird you should see what it looked like. It DID look strange and was a bit uncomfortable, but it hauled my stuff across five states before I replaced it (and that’s good enough for me).

  1. For each of the verticals I started with three pieces of 1×3 (about 26″ long) nailed together and set them about two feet apart (measured from the inside). Then I cut three crosspieces and nailed/screwed them to the verticals- one even with the top, one even with the bottom, and one a few inches below center.
  2. Next, I flipped it over and cut the legs off of the blue jeans and laid them on the frame. Set them so that when you look down at the frame you can see the crosspieces underneath. Step on the ends so that the material is tight across the frame and attach using nails, screws, staples, or whatever you’ve got. You should have enough material on each side to wrap around the other three sides of the frame. Tack them down with nails or screws on each side so that the pants legs won’t pull away from the frame easily (hopefully, not at all).
  3. For the straps I took two more pant legs, rolled them lengthwise so that they were about 3″ wide, and attached them first to the top cross piece. They then went over the top of the jean “pads” and I joined them to the center crosspiece. If you connect them towards the center of each crosspiece you won’t have to worry about them always trying to slip off of your shoulders. Since the straps aren’t adjustable, you’ll have to try it on a few times before you tack it down permanently.
  4. All that’s left is to flip it over and attach whatever you are using to hold your stuff. In my case it was three gym bags. What I did was put a wood slat inside each bag that was long enough to reach both sides and screw them into place. I added two pouches on each side of the frame for water (pop) bottles. With everything packed up, I tied my bedroll to the bottom crosspiece and my shelter tarp to the top and was ready to go.

Hopefully that description was a lot clearer than mud. It was an ugly, ugly thing to look at but it worked…


When we live our lives out here in the civilized world, we tend to take a lot of things for granted, for example– nightly showers and baths, “unlimited” water, health and dental care, etc., but when you’re on the streets it is a whole different story. You simply must take care of yourself!

Dental/Oral Hygiene – To that end, it would be a most excellent idea to make sure that you always have a toothbrush with you. Dental problems have a way of making life an extremely miserable affair, not to mention the fact that abscesses left untreated can become life threatening. Good oral hygiene will also do much to prevent cheek, gum and tongue sores which, barring infection, can make one an unhappy camper also. A couple of times I tried one of those old tricks you read about every once in a while, where you chew the end of a small diameter stick until the end is frayed and use that as an improvised toothbrush. If you’re stuck in the middle of the boondocks with no store for miles around, it is somewhat workable and better than nothing, but you are much better off with a real toothbrush (even an old worn out one). It saves you the trouble of picking slivers out of your gumlines or cutting/scratching your gums, causing problems where before there were none. Salt water or baking soda make decent toothpaste substitutes to brush with, but if you don’t have any just make sure to rinse really well after brushing. Eight years later, I’m still paying for not taking better care of my teeth.

Vitamins/Nutrition – We get our vitamins and minerals from what we eat and drink and it’s important to make sure that you’re getting what you need. Having a deficiency in one or more vitamins is a surefire way to suffer any number of wonderful maladies, scurvy (lack of vitamin C), beriberi (vitamin B1, I believe) and rickets (vitamin D and calcium deficiencies- especially harmful to children) among them.

Being homeless, meals were always an iffy proposition at best (three squares a day were out), and I suffered quite a bit by the time my experience was over. Sure, I know now that many wild foods can provide for a lot of your nutritional needs, but at the time I wasn’t well versed in foraging for wild edibles (what was best or how to properly prepare them). And in the wintertime, if you’re where it snows they just won’t be there. Because of that, I resorted to scrounging money to buy multi-vitamins.

Take Care of your Feet – As a homeless person, walking was about the only way I got around. Not taking care of your feet is a good way to lose them. Armageddon-style athlete�s foot, trench foot, frostbite, blisters… the list is really quite large. Keep your feet CLEAN AND DRY, take your shoes off periodically and massage those puppies (helps circulation), and for God’s sake, wear shoes that fit right. Too tight and you cut the circulation off; to loose and you’re going to get blisters fast. As I said earlier if you need to replace your shoes, rather than settling for scrounged shoes with a bad fit, break down and buy a pair. Cheap is okay as long as they fit.

Wash Yourself – At the very least, a sponge bath (your whole body) every other day is okay, but wash your hands BEFORE YOU EAT EVERYDAY. Dirty hands and bad water are two excellent ways to get dysentery (monster diarrhea). You will dehydrate VERY QUICKY if you get this and while many modern medications can go a long way to fix this, being a penniless homeless person complicates things. Make sure that the water you drink is as clean as you can get and ALWAYS clean your hands before you eat. If you think you have this malady the emergency room at the hospital is the way to go.

One time I had what I was sure was dysentery… I couldn’t walk five feet without having to void myself bloody. I had already had one bad experience in a hospital and was determined not to go into one again. Being flat broke as well ruled out getting something from the drugstore. It was then that I remembered something from a class I received while in the Marines– That one possible way to get rid of it was to eat charcoal twice a day until your symptoms were gone. Not the kind you buy for barbecues, but wood charcoal from your fire (I do not recommend using charcoal from treated lumber). So that was what I did. Two days later, the “problem” went away… Even after that, however, I was still weak as hell for the next couple of weeks.

One thing I want to mention again is that when you have dysentery you will dehydrate very quickly and you must replace the water that your body is losing. At the very least, boil that water good, but keep up your fluid intake no matter what.

Wash Your Clothes – One word… LICE. Aside from being disease carriers themselves, if I remember correctly, a single louse will drink about 1cc of blood a day. An average man has about 50,000 cc’s (I think) of blood in his body. Lice multiply quickly and a person that allows himself to become covered with lice (and I met many bums like that) probably isn’t long for this world. Keep your body clean, inspect yourself regularly, and wash those clothes every once in a while. Suspect any clothes you scrounge to be lice infested and wash them well before you wear them for the first time. Change and a Laundromat…

Well, this is as far as I can think to go on the subject of being homeless. It wasn’t fun but I got through it all intact and while I hope you never have to experience this kind of living, just remember that it IS survivable and once there you can pull yourself back up (I’m proof of that). Any comments or experiences of your own to share? I’d love to hear them.


A little note from Don R. www.donrearic.com

This article was originally written by a person named Jerry Leonard (a/k/a �Recycler�) and was posted online by a friend named Brian T. (You know who you are and thank you! If you are reading this, please contact me, I lost your E-mail from your old website. I tried to contact you by E-mail to �OK� posting this but could not reach you.) If there is a problem with using this article, I will take it down.

Attribution is very, very important to me. I did not write this article and do not want to take credit for doing so. I just thought it so incredibly valuable, I wanted to preserve it.

Have you ever read something on the Internet and then you went back, weeks or months later and it was gone forever? Well, I thought this article was so excellent, I just wanted to preserve it but wish to reiterate that I will remove it if I am contacted by the author and they want it removed. I would like for them to see it as a compliment instead of a rip-off. My intent is simply to preserve and to share it with people.

Thanks to Jason for writing it and Brian for providing it originally, I am merely a Host on this one.

I also want to say that I just touched the article up a bit when it comes to use of periods and dashes and some spelling, very minor stuff. The words and thoughts have not been touched and although I think the article is quite informative and valuable, I don�t agree with everything in the article. So, if you disagree with something in the article or with a view expressed, don�t shoot the messenger for the message. Likewise, as the original Author did, the medical information is written for worst case scenarios and DOES NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF EXPERT MEDICAL CARE! The Author (Jason) and the Host (Don Rearic) cannot and will not be held responsible for any damage or injury due to you not reading this disclaimer and seeking Professional and competent medical advice or care!

Take it for what it is, a really good article full of information! Thanks! � Don Rearic

Copyright 2004 www.DonRearic.com

Living In A Non Residence

by Scrap Metal Man�

I have been reading SurvivalBlog for a few years now, and have noticed that many folks think outside the box on a variety of issues, but when it comes to building or modifying a structure for a retreat – or even a full-time place – they lapse into conventional thinking. So many times I have come across the words “house”, “cabin”, “home” or even “residence”. I guess the idea is that we have to “reside” somewhere, and the rest of the world may as well know where that is. Allow me a chance to share some of my thinking on this issue, and you may decide to avoid anything “residential”.
Continue reading “Living In A Non Residence”

Looting Party

This is a short story written by Survival bill that I thought was an excellent example of what to expect from looters after a SHTF event and in giving ideas in how to protect yourselves from possible infiltartion and attack.

I am the leader of a band of 8-to-12 looters

I am the leader of a band of 8-to-12 looters. I have some basic military training. We move from place to place like locusts devouring everything in our path. My group is armed with light weapons and can develop and follow simple plans of attack. We take what we want by force of arms. We prefer none of our victims survive because that could cause problems for us in the future.�

It has been six months since the grid went down. You and the other five members of your party have settled into what may be a long grinding existence. The every day tasks of growing and gathering have now become routine. The news from the outside is extremely limited but you don’t really miss it much. Life is simple but physically demanding.�

Although things may seem stable you will need to keep your team focused and alert. This is your first and most important layer of defense. You should hold an immediate reaction drill once per week. Keep things simple. Practice a specific response to such threats as injury, fire, attack and evacuation. Despite the challenges you must maintain contact with those around you such as neighbors for vital clues that trouble is brewing. Regular monitoring the radio will be critical in providing an early warning of trouble. You may be able to safely interview refugees with risking your party. Keep in mind the information you get from them may not always be reliable.�

While you have been farming I have been learning the best tactics to employ to seize your property and your goods. I have been refining them since we hit the road right after the lights went out. I have conducted eight “hits” so far and have been successful seven times. Here are some of my “lessons learned”.�

Intelligence gathering and target selection is critical to my success. Targets include those who have large quantities of fuel, food and other valuable supplies. My posse is constantly questioning anyone and everyone we contact searching for this our next victim. Anyone who has ever had knowledge, even second hand, of your preparations is someone of interest to me. I may approach them directly or indirectly. If anyone knows something I will find out about it. Who seems well-fed? Who still has transportation? Who has lights? Who was prepared? Where are they exactly? Somebody talks, either in person or on the radio. They always do.�

We search for victims night and day. During the day we are listening for the sounds of machinery, cars, tractors, gunfire or generators. Day or night without a lot of wind those sounds can carry for miles. At night I look for any sort of light. Even a small flash indicates somebody with electricity and that means a rich target. I always have somebody listing to the scanner for any news, leads or insecure chatter.�

Operational Security is an important concept for your entire group to understand and maintain. If somebody outside your circle doesn’t have a real need to know about your plans, preparations or procedures then they shouldn’t know period. Develop a cover story and live it like was a bulletproof vest. It is no less important to your protection and survival. During an event you need to blend in with the surrounding environment. Carefully observe noise (such as generators and other engines) and light discipline especially at night. If you need to test fire weapons do it in one sequence to avoid a prolonged noise signature.�

Once I find and target you reconnaissance of your retreat is my next step. Only a fool would try to rush in and try to overwhelm a group of “survivalists”. We had a bad experience with that during our second hit. Now we spend at least a day or two trying to size up a large opportunity and the best way to take it down. I will observe retreat activity from a nearby-concealed position. I will get an idea of your numbers, weapons, routines and so much more by careful surreptitious observation. If your group seems alert, I will try and trigger a false alarm with a dog or child to watch your reaction to a threat. That helps me know how you respond, where you are strong and how to attack. I may also obtain a topographical map of the area to identify likely avenues of approach and potential escapes routes you will try to use. I may coerce your neighbors into uncovering a weak spot or access point or other important intelligence. I also have a Bearcat handheld scanner. I will be listening for any insecure chatter from your radios.�

Regular patrols at irregular intervals focused on likely observation points and avenues of approach could keep me at bay. You could put down sand or other soft soil in key choke points as a way of “recording” if anyone has recently traveled through the land. Dogs, with their advanced sense of hearing and smell are able to detect and alert you to intruders well in advance of any human. Motion sensing IR video cameras as a part of a security plan could play a part in your layered defense as long as you have power. A 24 hour manned observation point equipped with high quality optical tools is a must. It should be fortified and if possible concealed. It should have a weapon capable of reaching to the edges of your vision. Seismic intrusion devices, night vision and thermal imaging are phenomenal force multiplying tools. They can give you critical intelligence and warning. You should use them if you have them. Understand they are not fool proof and I can often neutralize them if I know you have them.�

These tools and techniques provide you reaction time. Time to plan your response and time to execute that plan. Recognize that a “defender” is always at a disadvantage. By definition a defender will be reacting to my attack. Modern warfare has emphasized the ability of the attacker to operate faster than opponents can react. This can be explained by the OODA loop. Below are the four steps of the classic OODA loop. These are the steps a defender goes through when under attack.�

1. Observing or noticing the attack.�
2. Orient to the direction, method and type of attack.�
3. Deciding what the appropriate response will be.�
4. Acting on that decision.�

As an attacker I will try and operate at a pace faster than you as a defender can adjust to. I will change my direction, pace, timing and method to force you to continue to process through the OODA loop. This creates confusion and wastes your precious reaction time. As a defender you will need to disrupt or reset your attackers timing with a counter-attack. When you are successful you become the attacker. Your defensive plans should utilize and exploit this concept. Here are a few scenarios:�

1. Snipe & Siege�

I will begin the attack when I can engage at least half of your party’s military age personnel in one coordinated effort. I will infiltrate my team into concealed positions around your retreat within 50 to 75 yards. I will target any identified leadership with the first volley. Two thirds of my people will be engaging personnel. The other group will target communications antennas, surveillance cameras and any visible lighting assets. I want your group unable to see, communicate or call for help. The members of my band will each fire two magazines in the initial exchange. Two thirds of my group will change to new concealed positions and wait. One third will fall back into an ambush of the most likely avenue of escape. We will stay concealed and wait until you come out to attend to your wounded and dead. We repeat the attack as necessary until any resistance is crushed.�

Ensure you adjust the landscape around your retreat so that I don’t have anyplace offering cover or concealment within 100 yards of your residence. You can create decorative masonry walls that can be used to offer cover for personnel close to your residence. Fighting positions can be built now and used as raised planting beds and then excavated for use in the future. These can be extended or reinforced after any significant event. These structures or other measures such as trenching must be sited carefully to avoid allowing them to be used effectively by an attacker if they are overrun.�

2. Trojan Horse�

For one hit we used an old UPS truck. We forced a refugee to drive it to the retreat gate. We concealed half our group inside the truck. The truck was hardened on the inside with some sandbags around the edges. The other half of our group formed an ambush concealed inside the tree line along the driveway. We killed the driver to make it look good and had one person run away. Those preppers almost waited us out. After nearly three hours they all walked slowly down the driveway. They were bunched up in a group intent on checking out the truck and driver. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.�

They could have worked together as group to sweep the area 360 degrees around the truck and they would have surely found us. A dog would have also alerted the residents to our presence. They could have taken measures to eliminate the vegetation offering us concealment on the road near the gate. They could have used CS gas or something similar to “deny” any suspicious areas. Lastly they could have done a “reconnaissance by fire”. Shooting into likely hiding spots, including the truck, trying to evoke a response. They should have established an over watch position with the majority of their group. This over watch group would have provided visual security and an immediate response if there were an attack. They were not expecting any additional threats. They didn’t consider that there might be additional danger lurking nearby aside from the truck and they died.�

3. Kidnap & Surrender�

A few weeks ago we surprised and captured a couple of women out tending a garden. It was totally by chance. We were traveling through a very rural area on our way to another town when somebody heard a tractor backfire. We immediately stopped and I sent a small team to recon the noise. They bumped into a small party tending a field at the edge of their retreat. They seized two women and immediately dragged them back to our vehicles. We began negotiations by sending a finger from each one back to the retreat under a white flag. The rest was easy.�

This didn’t need to happen. Better noise discipline would have kept us from discovering their retreat. Some simple boundary fencing or tangle foot could have delayed us. The women should have been armed and aware of such a threat. If they has established an over watch for the garden they could have engaged us before we took our hostages or at least alerted the others that there was a problem. They also could have had a quick reaction SOP developed prior to this incident. That Quick Reaction (QR) force could have followed the kidnappers back to our vehicles and set up an ambush of their own. Rural retreat security is a full time job. If you snooze you may lose everything.�

4. Fire and Maneuver�

I don’t like this option but sometimes the prize is just too tempting. We typically infiltrate quietly at night to prearranged start points. We begin our attack just before dawn when your senses are dulled by a long night watch or from sleep. Based on our reconnaissance we divided your retreat into positions or zones that need specific attention. We prepare for battle by using an air rifle to target any lights or cameras. Our first priority is to engage any LP/OP site and destroy or degrade them as much as possible. I split my forces into two supporting groups. One group keeps the target position under constant fire. The other group also fires and maneuvers, closing on the target and destroying it with gunfire or improvised weapons. Many times these positions only have one occupant and the task is relatively easy. Often these positions are easy to spot and are too far from each other to provide any effective mutual support. We will work from one position to the next. In the darkness and confusion most of the defenders are disoriented and ineffective. They fall like dominos. We have also used motorcycles to negotiate obstacles and speed through cuts in the perimeter fence. Then throw Molotov Cocktails into any defensive position as they roar past. If you fall back into your residence we will set up a siege. If we can maneuver close enough, perhaps by using a distraction, we will pump concentrated insecticide into your building or we may introduce LP gas from a portable tank into the house and ignite it with tracer fire.�

If there was enough warning time from your OP you could execute a pre-planned response. Your planned response should be simple, easy to understand and execute. Half your group occupies your fighting positions, two to a position. The rest of your party establishes an over watch and concentrate its fire at the enemies trying to fix your positions. If you had more than enough prepared positions the enemy might not know where to attack. It would also provide more flexibility in your defense based on the direction of attack. I would use Night Vision if available or illumination from flares or lights as a last resort. Rats hate light.�

Usually people keep main access points blocked from high-speed approach. Likely avenues of approach should also be blocked or choked and kept under observation. Remember though what keeps me out keeps you in. Typically the common techniques of parking vehicles in roadways will only delay my approach not stop it altogether. An ordinary 12-gauge shotgun, shooting slugs, can stop most types of non-military vehicles at close range.�

Don’t forget the threat of fire or other non-traditional weapons in your defensive plans.�

You could create the illusion of a “dead end” for your main access road by positioning a burned out trailer home or a couple of burned out cars at the false “end” of the road. Concealing the fact that the road actually continues to your residence.�

Lastly, develop a plan to evacuate and evade capture. When faced with a significantly superior force it may be the only viable option. This should include simple, reliable communications or signals such as three blasts on a dog whistle. Your fighting positions and barriers need to be constructed to allow coordinated withdrawal in an emergency. You should establish a rally point and time limit to assemble. I believe this should be a priority in your practice drills. During a real emergency you may be able to rally, rearm and plan your own version of the “snipe and siege” to retake your retreat.�

Key messages:�
Your rural retreat defense can be visualized as a set of concentric rings:�

Location – Location – Location: High and remote are best�
OPSEC – Think of it as a form of armor or shield: Practice it and protect it.�
Observation Post / Listening Post: Your first best chance to counter attack�
Gates / Fences / other barriers: May slow me down. Might keep you in.�
Fighting positions: Must provide mutual support and allow for evacuation.�
Residence: Last line. Don’t become trapped�
People, Planning and Practice�


An aggressive and unexpected counter strike can win the battle.�
Stay alert for multiple threats or diversionary tactics.�
Criminals excel at feigning weakness to lower your guard.�

Don’t underestimate me.


Continue reading “Looting Party”



“Honey, I think we’re out of toilet paper”
– Your Spouse

You’re like most of your peers. By the objective standards of the law, you qualify as a good person. You don’t rob banks, or shoplift, or kidnap. The most trouble you’ve seen in the last 10 years are a pair of speeding tickets and a slightly guilty feeling in your stomach that you took too many tax deductions.
Continue reading “Looting”

HiJack Prevention Guidelines

Hijack Prevention Guidelines


It has become increasingly difficult to steal motor vehicles, with all the anti-theft devices, such as immobilisers, gear-locks, etc. These steps have resulted in a dramatic increase in vehicle hijackings. The hijacker has the element of surprise and this is a concern. The increasing retrenchment and the high unemployment figures are also factors. This is easy earned money and the already well-established syndicates will buy these vehicles from the hijacker. Vehicle hijacking is an organised business, run

according to business principles and based on thorough planning. �

Specific vehicles with specific characteristics are ordered beforehand and efforts have to be made to meet the requirements of such orders. These vehicles will then be resold to the already predetermined buyer. The hijacked vehicles that are not sold to buyers in South Africa, will be smuggled out of the country. These vehicles will be sold in our neighbouring countries or trade, exchanged for drugs. �

The large number of stolen and unlicensed firearms is also a concern. Most of these firearms are bought or supplied to the robbers by the syndicates. This easy access to firearms make the robbery of a vehicle the easiest crime to commit and by far the quickest way of earning a few thousand rand. It is obvious that vehicle hijackers are motivated by greed and an insatiable need for more and more comfort, rather than need. An insatiable hunger for power is another theme emerging in robbers. The power-base for the latter is presented by the access to firearms. Possession of a firearm forces everybody to obey or else face the consequences.�


Vehicle hijacking forms one of the sub-categories of armed robbery and does not constitute a different crime from armed robbery. Perpetrators would consequently be charged with “robbery with aggravating circumstances” in court, and not with “vehicle hijacking“. Robbery with aggravating circumstances can be defined as the unlawful, intentional and violent removal and appropriation of movable corporeal property belonging to another. The victim’s resistance has to be overcome and the property obtained by the use of violence against the victim’s person. �

If the victim is first injured by the perpetrator and then dispossessed of property while being physically incapacitated, armed robbery is likewise committed. However, the victim needs not necessarily be physically incapacitated. In the absence of actual physical violence, a threat to commit violence against the victim is sufficient. The threat of violence may be of an express or implied nature. Vehicle hijacking neatly fits the above definition, with the property involved being specifically a motor vehicle of some kind. �

The analysis indicated that hijackings occur every day of the week, reaching a high on Fridays, due to motorists being more relaxed and traffic increasing earlier on a Friday. Weekends show a lower hijacking rate due to syndicates checking their stock and placing orders on Mondays as well as the fact that there are fewer vehicles on the road. This also explains why Tuesdays and Wednesdays show more hijackings.�

Hijacking of vehicles reached its lowest point at 0200 in the morning. Hijackings are low during the night and early hours of the morning, and start increasing at 0600 due to motorists leaving home for work and stabilises throughout the day. A drastic increase occurred from 1700 in the afternoon due to motorists heading towards home. Vehicles hijacked during this peak hour (1600 – 2000) may be explained by the fact that people returning from work are often tired, frustrated and not alert to potentially threatening circumstances. �

Negligence on behalf of the motorist could also not be excluded, e.g. an idling vehicle is left unattended to open a gate in the driveway. This trend is not new and the motorist will become the prey of hijackers. Another explanation for this phenomenon is that highways are congested with traffic, which make it almost impossible to catch hijackers involved without air support once they have disappeared into traffic. As it was earlier indicated, in the majority of vehicle hijackings, firearms were used to commit the crime. Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal reported the highest incidence of vehicle hijacking. �

The circulation of illegal firearms in South Africa is disturbing and has to have a direct influence on the increase of vehicle hijackings and violent crime in general in South Africa. The trade in stolen firearms is a lucrative industry in South Africa and the rewards seem to justify the risk of apprehension for the criminals involved. The punishment of crimes does not seem to have a deterrent effect on potential criminals anymore. The analysis indicates that firearms most used are pistols and revolvers. A very small percentage of vehicle hijackings are committed using knifes, hands, high caliber guns and shotguns.�

When to Shoot:

It is noticed with great concern that there is general confusion over the issue of the public shooting and killing or wounding another person under differing circumstances. People have a responsibility to protect themselves in a situation where they need to discharge a firearm in the process of self-protection.�

What exactly are the legal requirements of self-defense? The following points are important:

* The attack must be unlawful.

* The attack must be imminent or have commenced.

* The attack must not have been completed. One cannot act on grounds of self-defense for an attack committed an hour earlier.

* The defensive action must be directed against the attacker.

* The defensive action must be proportionate to the circumstances. The value of property involved and the instrument used for attack are important considerations. The test used by the court to determine the lawfulness of the defensive action is that of a reasonable man. The question to be asked is whether a reasonable man in the same position would have done the same thing. In all cases where a person is killed, the matter is investigated to establish if anyone was responsible for the death. This is the point when people perceive they are being charged with murder by the police and believe they cannot defend themselves against an unlawful attack without being charged. If your action is within the principles of self-defense, there is nothing to worry about.�

Types of hijackings:

Freight Hijacking – A commercial vehicle is hijacked not only to secure the vehicle but also its cargo, which can be of substantial value. Frequently, the cargo is of more interest to the hijacker than the truck.�

Transport Hijacking – The vehicle is taken for the express purpose of using it as transport during other crimes such as drug dealing, burglaries, bank robberies and gun running. The vehicles are probably later cannibalised for spare parts or simply dumped.�

Showmanship Hijacking – A gang operates out of egotistical bravado, acting on the “this is a cool thing to be doing” rationale. Peer group pressure is very high and individuals may be coerced into more dangerous and daredevil approaches; being labeled a “sissy” if they don’t. Thus intimidation, violence and vandalism are associated with the crime. Drugs and alcohol may also be a motive as theft of the victim’s personal belongings is commonplace.�

Operational Hijacking – A group formally work together in a more structured way. They usually have experience in car theft and have established contacts within the motorcar underworld that will receive and pay cash for stolen vehicles or spare parts.�

Syndicate Hijacking – The most organised of all and often has international connections. A network of hijacking groups is established with the overall coordinator, syndicating out work so that he remains out of view in exactly the same way as the drug baron uses pushers. This makes identifying and arresting the ultimate boss

very difficult. Additionally, a syndicate is often backed by a lot of money, especially if there are international links and makes full use of any potential to bribe the authorities in order to protect their operations.�

Modus Operandi used by the hijackers:

* Most hijackings take place in the driveways of residential areas. These hijackers prefer areas with accessible escape routes.

* Hijackings take place while stationed at any traffic sign or intersection.

* Hijackings take place while stationary next to the road, e.g. to answer cell phone.

* Hijackings also occur at post offices and parking areas or you may be followed leaving the filling station with the objective to hijack your vehicle where it is quiet.

* The hijackers sometimes use a vehicle to force the victim off the road.

* Hijackings take place at schools when dropping off / picking up children.

* Hijackings take place while the vehicle is idling when off-loading / loading passengers.

* Hijackings take place when advertising your vehicle for sale (Test drive method).

* Bogus Police or Traffic Officers also conduct hijackings (Blue light scenario).�


Approaching and entering your driveway:

* 2km from your house strategy. Be extra alert. Switch off the car radio and concentrate on your surroundings. If you have noticed any vehicle behind you, use the techniques you have learned during the hijack prevention & survival course to determine whether you are being followed.

* Remember to stop your vehicle just on the inside of the gate and select reverse whilst waiting for the gate to close. This creates confusion and may buy you a few seconds for the gate to close completely behind you.

* Check your driveway and street before you leave or enter your premises.

* Make sure your driveway is well lit and clear from shrubbery where perpetrators can hide.

* Be aware of unknown pedestrians close to your residential address – do not turn into your driveway – pass and go back later.

* Liaise with your neighbours – know them.

* Be aware of vehicles parked close to your address with occupants inside. It might be perpetrators observing the area.

* Be alert if your animals do not greet you at the gate as usual. It might be that the perpetrators overpowered them.

* Phone your home and ask for someone to make sure your driveway is safe and to open and close the gate for you.

* When returning home after dark, ensure that an outside light is on, or have someone meet you at the gate. Check with your armed response company if they are rendering rendezvous services.

* If at any time you have to open the gate yourself, make sure nobody suspicious around and the road is clear. Stop right in front of your gate. Do not switch off the vehicle, leave the key in the ignition, get out and close the door (not creating temptation). Then open the gate. Drive in and close the gate immediately behind you.

* If you have small children in the vehicle, take the key with you (this is the only exception). You need the key as a “negotiating tool”. The perpetrators want your vehicle and you want your children.

* If your children are older, it is advised that they exit the vehicle with you when opening the gate so that you are all separated from the vehicle should an attack occur.�

Parking your vehicle:

* Check rear-view mirror to ensure you are not being followed.

* When exiting your vehicle, be cautious and aware of surrounding obstructions and shrubbery that may be concealing a hijacker.

* Never sit in your parked vehicle without being conscious of your surroundings. Sleeping in a stationary vehicle is particularly dangerous.

* When approaching your driveway, be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles / persons. This is very important as the majority of hijackers approach their victims in home driveways.�

Whilst entering your vehicle and while driving, the following should be considered:

* Have your key ready, but not visible.

* Inspect the outside and inside of the vehicle before unlocking. Check underneath your vehicle for items placed under the wheels. Also make sure nobody is hiding on the passenger side before you enter your vehicle.

* Know your destination and directions to it; and be alert should you get lost.

* Always drive with your windows closed and doors locked.

* Make a mental note of any Police Stations in the vicinity.

* When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front of your vehicle to make an emergency escape if necessary.

* When dropping off a passenger, make sure they are safely in their own vehicle before departing.

* Avoid driving through high crime or unfamiliar areas.

* Avoid driving late at night / early hours of the morning when the roads are quiet.

* Drive in the center lane away from pedestrians where possible.

* If possible, never drive alone.

* NEVER, EVER pick up hitchhikers or strangers. (VERY IMPORTANT)

* Never follow routine routes when driving; change on a regular basis.�

Other situations:

* If approached by a stranger while in your vehicle, drive off if possible or use your hooter to attract attention.

* Lock your doors, close your windows and do not have bags or briefcases visible in the vehicle. Use the boot for this. Cell phone should also not be visible.

* There are times and days that these items are visible in the vehicle. Try and open the window they might “smash & grab” about 3 cm, so the window can absorb the sudden impact. If you’ve left your stopping distance you may be able to escape.

* Be constantly on the lookout for suspicious looking characters or vehicles and do not hesitate to report them to the SAPS.

* Always be on the alert for potential danger, and be on the lookout for possible escape routes and safe refuge along the way.

* When approaching a red traffic light at night, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green.

* Do not take anything from people standing at traffic lights or places where they gather (job seekers on gathering points). Perpetrators are usually standing among these people.

* Make sure you are not followed. If you suspect you are being followed, drive to the nearest Police Station or any busy public area.

* If any person or vehicle in a high-risk area arouses your suspicions, treat it as hostile and take appropriate action, e.g. when approaching a red traffic light, slow down, check for oncoming traffic and if clear, drive through the intersection. A fine will be preferable to an attack. Treat stop streets in the same way. Thereafter call for assistance if necessary. �

But remember, this is not an excuse to ignore the rules of the road. The onus will be on you to prove in a court of law that you had justifiable reason to act the way you did and this is only in the case of a real, life-threatening emergency.

* Should a suspicious vehicle in fact be a (unmarked) Police vehicle, they must identify themselves by:

o Use of a blue light, loudspeaker or any other police equipment.

o The flash of a badge through the window whilst driving is not enough.

o The Police must go all out in order to let the public know who they are.

* Consider the following actions:

o Switch on emergency lights and put your hand out the window (if possible), indicating that they should follow you.

Your intention must be very clear and understandable.

o By exceeding the speed limit, you are sending out a message of suspicion, e.g. stolen / hijacked vehicle, transporting stolen goods, under the influence.

o Drive to the nearest Police Station or when in doubt, the nearest busy public area.

* Always have your identity document and driver’s license in your possession as well as a pen and notebook to take necessary notes.

* If possible, avoid driving in the dark. Hijackers may stage a minor accident, for e.g. If your vehicle is bumped from behind and you do not feel comfortable with the individual involved in the situation, indicate he / she must follow you and drive to the nearest Police Station or any busy public area for help.

* Never open your vehicle window or door for any stranger. If a suspicious person is near your unoccupied vehicle, do not approach the vehicle. Walk to the nearest public area and ask for assistance.

* If you encounter obstacles in the road, e.g. rocks, tyres, do not get out of your vehicle to remove them. Reverse and drive away in the opposite direction.

* Do not stop to eat or rest on deserted roads.

* Do not leave your vehicle unattended at a filling station.

* Cell phones should be carried on the body. Perpetrators will not allow you to remove your cell phone and valuables from the vehicle during an attack.�

Information you should know:

If your vehicle is hijacked or stolen, promptly report it to the police. Make sure you have the vehicle details: model, color, vehicle identification and registration numbers available to assist with the recovery of the vehicle.�

When forced to drive with a hijacker, be observant without making direct eye contact and try to memorise as many details as possible.

It is important to describe the hijacker as accurately as possible. When observing a hijacker, take note of his head and face – the shape of the eyes, mouth, nose and ears. Take note of possible irregularities. Look at the hair, skin color, complexion and possible scars and tattoos. Observe the build, sex, body movement, clothing and any conversation that may take place.�

Your life is worth more than your vehicle.

* Remember the direction from which they came and fled, as well as the time and place the incident happened.

* Remember to make mental and physical notes immediately after the incident to ensure accurate and detailed information for the Police investigation.�

Taken hostage – It can be helpful to have a survival plan in the back of your mind should such an incident occur. It is difficult not to become paranoid about being taken hostage. However, it is just as easy to become complacent.�

One very important fact to remember when being hijacked: Should the conclusion of the drama be by way of armed intervention, and escape is not possible, immediately drop to the ground, remain still and obey the orders of the leader.

If confronted:

* Do not lose your temper, threaten or challenge the hijacker.


* Do not resist, especially if the hijacker has a weapon. Surrender your vehicle and move away. Try to put as much distance between yourself and the hijacker(s) as speedily as possible.

* Do not reach for your purse or valuables. Leave everything in the vehicle.

* Try to remain calm at all times and do not show signs of aggression.

* Be compliant to all demands set by the perpetrator.

* Do not make eye contact with the hijacker. He may perceive this behavior as a threat and retaliate aggressively.

* Keep your hands still and visible to the hijacker, so as to give him assurance of your passive content.

* Do not speak too fast (if you are able to talk) and do not make sudden movements.

* Gather as much information as possible without posing a threat.

How many people?

How many firearms and description thereof?

What were the perpetrators wearing (clothing)?

To which direction did they drive off?

Take note of the language they use (the accent).

* First phone the Police Service. They will dispatch the medical services if needed.

* Activate the vehicle-tracking device, if the vehicle is fitted with one.�

The Effects of Trauma:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This is the term given to a particular range and combination of reactions following trauma. Reactions following trauma can be divided into three main groups:

* Re-experiencing the event – a feeling that you are experiencing the original event all over again, through memories intruding into your waking or sleeping life.

* Arousal reactions – you feel persistently aroused, nervous, agitated sense, anxious, tense, unable to settle or concentrate, over-reacting very sharply to small things and especially, having trouble sleeping.

* Avoidance reactions – you make frantic efforts to avoid anything that could remind you of the trauma, or cause you to think or talk about it in any way. You may shut down your feelings about other people and things you normally care about and keep to yourself. You may feel unusually withdrawn and emotionally numb.

Five stages of trauma / loss:

* Denial

* Anger

* Bargaining

* Depression

* Acceptance

The following is some general advice to help you cope with trauma in general and Post-Traumatic Stress

Disorder in particular:


* Express your emotions.

* Talk about what has happened as often as you need to. Seek trauma counselling.

* Try to keep your life as normal as possible by following daily routines.

* Find opportunities to review the experience.

* Look to friends and colleagues for support.


* Use alcohol, nicotine or other drugs to hide your feelings.

* Simply stay away from work or isolate yourself. Seek help and support instead (counselling).

* Allow anger and irritability to mask your feelings.

* Hide your feelings and be afraid to ask for help.

* Think your feelings are a sign of weakness.�

Permission to print by The National Hijack Prevention Acadamy


Bug Out Vehicle Security

This article was written by Joe Fox (www.vikingpreparedness.com and author of �Survivalist Family�) and was originally posted on his blog on November 29, 2008.� It is reprinted here with permission.)

If we ever have to use our BOVs (Bug Out Vehicles) for real we will wish, we will hope that we have some friends along. Friends with their own BOVs. Let�s face it, when the balloon goes up, Murphy shows up. Having spares and buddies is always a good thing when Murphy is lurking in the shadows. �

If we ever have to use our BOVs for real � we will want to convoy. I use the word as a verb and a noun. More than one vehicle equals a convoy. It may consist of you driving the BOV while the spouse drives the “daily driver”; it could include friends or team mates – the bottom line is you are travelling together in multiple vehicles from Point A to Point B.�

Convoying allows you to carry more stuff, provide for better security, respond to Murphy better, and so on. But, like everything else � you have to think it out ahead of time (we call this planning) and then you have to rehearse. Merely reading about it on an excellent blog will not a Convoy Leader make.�

The Routes
So right off the bat you need to know where you are starting from, where you are headed to, and what routes (primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency) you may take to get there. Study those routes well. If possible, drive them now while it is nice and safe. Note chokepoints, danger areas, slow bits, fast bits and so on. �

Identify along your routes things like gas stations, eateries, hospitals, military bases, airports and so on. Try to avoid cities like the plague. Identify indicators that would signify a change in route and locations where you could switch from one route to another.�

Mark these things on maps. You will need one map set per vehicle.�

The Vehicles
Sure, you�d like to have uparmored HumVees and mine-resistant vehicles but you are stuck with SUVs, pickups and Mom�s Corolla. Deal with it. Decide now who is going and what they will drive. Based on what you have, you can determine your movement formations and load plans.�

If you had 5 vehicles in your convoy you could have a formation something like: Scout car � to one mile out front followed the main body consisting of a Lead vehicle, Front Security, Precious Cargo vehicle (people or stuff), Rear Security.�

You may want a scout vehicle out front. The Corolla would work well here �it�s inconspicuous and can drive up to a mile ahead of the convoy proper and report on conditions, warn of road blocks and so on. This vehicle should be �clean� � no heavy artillery. Mom and Pop and a couple bags would be great. We�ll get to communications later.�

You will want in the convoy proper to have lead and rear security. These are vehicles with firepower (and the best trained operators you have) on board. These are the guys that will respond to problems. �

You will need SOPs (standard operating procedures) for responding to all kinds of problems: flat tire or mechanical break down, road block, comfort stop, gasoline stop, overnight stop, hostile action, dealing with authorities, light traffic, heavy traffic, and so on and so on. YOU have to decide what you need to plan for. Then sit down and think it out. Come up with a couple different response options and go practice them. Decide on the ones you like as a group and make them your SOPs.�

Not every situation will require you to put rounds down range but every situation will require you to ensure 360 degree security. Don�t just pull off the side of the road and let everyone gaggle together in a clump� Keep the vehicles spread out but close enough together to control the convoy and keep eyes open all around. You may want to move away from the vehicles � you may not. Think about it now.�

You will need a bump plan. Actually, you will need several. They should be written down. If Mike�s blue Suburban becomes inoperable where are the occupants going to ride? What stuff is getting switched over to other vehicles? What stuff is getting dumped out of those vehicles to make room. Decide now � 0230 in the rain with bad guys shooting at you from across the highway is no time to have a pow wow.�

Every vehicle has a driver. The driver�s duty is to drive. Period. Every vehicle should have at least one other person. We call this person the TC but it doesn�t matter. The TC is in charge of the vehicle and makes the larger decisions. The driver drives and makes immediate decisions (swerve left now!). If there are only two people the TC reads the map, directs the driver, works the radio and pulls security (looks around and is prepared to respond). It is better if there are more people in the vehicle. It is best if all the TC has to do is read the map and stay situationaly aware and someone else can work the radio. In this case, the TC would be in the front passenger seat and the radio operator can be behind the driver. Everyone should have a piece of the pie around their vehicle to watch while moving and while stopped.�

�Unity of Command� is a military principle. �There can be only ONE!� is the battle cry from a cool movie. The point remains. You need one person in charge of the convoy. Pick your leader now. Decisions will have to be made. Some will have to be made and followed immediately � without debate and discussion. If you want to live. Choose wisely.�

Have multiple redundant communications between all vehicles. CBs, FRS, 2-meter, cell phones. Have scanners and radar detectors. Have brevity codes so instead of saying, �HEY, there are dudes with rifles shooting at us from over there, just left of the blue sign� you could shorten that to �Contact LEFT � 10 o�clock�. Instead of �we need to stop for gas� you could just say �chocolate milk�. Have a code word to switch frequencies.�

For routine information you will attract less attention if you use innocuous phrases (like �chocolate milk� than if you sound like a military convoy on the FRS.�

Devise signals to use when there are no communications working � flashing lights, hand signals � be imaginative but keep it simple. �

Everybody likes gear talk. Every vehicle should be in good repair � if you plan to bug out in it, keep it in good shape. Every vehicle should have basic vehicle stuff � working spare, jack, fluids and so on. Maps, commo and first aid in each BOV. Food and drink. Never separate a person from their BoB � their BoB rides with them no matter what. Never leave a BoB behind to make room for something else. �

You should have some serious recovery gear in the convoy � somewhere in the middle or towards the rear. Winches, tow straps, chains, shackles, saws, bolt cutters, come-alongs, crow bars and so on. You should know how to use this stuff.�

Consider carrying spare fuel. Decide where you want to carry it.�

Once all this is decided, come up with load plans for each vehicle. What goes where in each vehicle? If you are really good standard things (like first aid) will be in the same place in each BOV. Draw a diagram for each BOV showing this and practice loading it to standard.�

If you stop overnight only remove the minimum gear necessary – you may have to leave in a hurry. Keep everything packed up that you are not using. Never separate a person from their BoB.�

Practice everything from loading your BOVs to linkups, to actual movement to SOPs and so on. After each practice conduct an AAR (after action review) and discuss what you did, what went right, what went wrong, and so on. Ensure everyone participates.�

Go back and relook your plans and operations. Tweak them and rehearse again. When you have to bug out for real you don�t want the journey to be your first rodeo.�

Think it through. �
Make a Plan.�
Rehearse the plan � the WHOLE plan.�
Make needed adjustments.�
Come up with alternate plans.�
Rehearse again, and again.�

I�ll see ya out there.�

And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh, and came unto mount Hor. – Numbers 20:22

If you have any comments I�d love to hear them.�
If they really interest me, I may even post them.�
You can reach me at Joe@vikingpreparedness.com

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at http://vikingpreparedness.com/forum/index.php

Prepared Americans for a Strong America (and Prepared Australians for a Strong Australia!)

Quick and Dirty Foraging

Quick and Dirty Foraging Part 1
By Ken Cook

Any time you bring up the subject of “Survival” somebody eventually starts talking about foraging for food. Usually, about 30 seconds after the subject is broached, somebody will start holding forth on edible plants.

Personally, I think that in most survival situations, foraging for edible plants is a bad joke.

There are very few places on the earth where edible wild plants abound and even in those places, if you’re not there during the right season, you’re not going to find much.

But even in the right seasons, most edible plants don’t have enough nutritional value to make it worthwhile to gather, clean, and prepare them. The quantities you’re going to find are so small the food content is going to be more symbolic than meaningful.

Even if you managed to find a large supply of wild edibles, if you eat enough of them to “get your fill” the odds are very good all that roughage on an otherwise empty stomach is soon going to be evacuating your bowels with great force and you’re actually losing more nutrients than you gained by eating the stuff in the first place. This is called “Negative Caloric Value” and is the main reason humans are not herbivores.

Then there’s the additional problem of potential poisoning. Almost all wild edibles have a twin or near twin which is harmful to humans. Failure to correctly identify the plants you find can lead to severe illness or death. For this reason, I highly recommend you never, ever, eat a mushroom you find in the wild. The temptation can be great if you’re hungry but unless you’re experienced “Shroomer” I’d strongly suggest you resist the temptation.

In short, I generally place the foraging for wild edible plants in the catagory of “Primitive Living” rather than survival. Interesting hobby if that’s your thing, but not something you should dedicate a lot of time to as a survivalist. The effort put forth both in training and during an event is more than the results will ever be worth.

Quick and Dirty Foraging Part 2
In part one, I discussed, and pretty much dismissed, the entire field of foraging for wild plant edibles. In part 2, I’d like to discuss more meaningful sources of food.


Obviously, having a firearm in a survival situation is going to great things for your odds of making it out. Armed with even a .22 rifle or pistol and a reasonable supply of ammunition, you now have the means to harvest enough game to keep you going strong for the duration of the survival event.

“But what if there isn’t any game?”

Well, if there isn’t any game, you’re not going to get any meat. Pretty simple. I won’t go into the “what to hunt” or “how to hunt” because that’s really beyond the scope of a forum post and more in line with a full sized book. Or possibly two books. Right now, I’m just cataloging a few different methods of putting food in the belly during bad times and opening those different methods up for discussion.


If for some reason you don’t have a firearm, meat isn’t necessarily off the menu, but now you’re going to have to do some trapping. Trapping is a very difficult thing to master and you’re not going to do it by reading a book or an Internet post, you’re going to have to go out and actually learn how to do it. The good news, is that unlike foraging for wild plants, this form of food gathing is truly worth the effort. With enough traps and skill, you can feed yourself and anyone else in your party in all but the harshest and most barren environments.

(I placed Trapping between hunting and fishing because trapping works as well in the water as it does as on land.)


Obviously, if you’re in an arid environment, this is out. But if you’re near any body of water, the chances are good that with a small and well thought out survival fishing kit, you can catch enough fish to feed your needs quite nicely.

One of the great things about fish is that they’re really easy to cook under primitive conditions. Gut it, lay it on a flat piece of (anything but pine!) wood and place the piece of wood on top of a hot, flat rock next to the fire, eat it when when the meat flakes easily or you can’t stand the wait anymore. In fancing restaurants, this is called “planking” and you usually have to pay extra for it. Don’t have a good plank or flat rock? Gut your fish, coat his outsides with mud, making sure you keep the mud out of the gut channel, and slip him down in the coals of your fire for about 10 minutes. Pull him out, peel off the baked mud, and eat what you find inside. To me, this is the most delicious way to eat fish there is.


What’s raiding? Simply put, it’s stealing.

In most survival situations, raiding isn’t even going to be a factor. If you’re wandering lost and looking for people and spot a garden, you don’t think about stealing from their garden, you simply walk up to the front door, ask them to use their phone, and call for pizza delivery and for somebody to give you a ride home. Quick and Dirty
Foraging Part 3
The third installment of this series of posts deals with “Raiding.” Raiding of course, is a “tactical” word for stealing.

Obviously, raiding isn’t a desirable option in a normal survival scenario simply because during a normal survival scenario when you have been lost and trying to find your way back to civilization, once you’ve found a village, farm, or occupied home, your trials are over. You simply present yourself to the locals, ask them for directions to the nearest restaurant, hotel, or bus stop and start thinking about how you want to market the movie rights for the story of your epic tale of survival in the wilds.

In an E&E situation however, there’s no guarantee the folks who’s farm/village/whatever will be sympathetic to your cause. In fact, odds are fair they will happily turn you over to exactly the people you’ve been busting your hump to avoid. Among professionals, the correct technical term for such an event is “A Very Bad Thing” or VBT for short.

So, you’re out in the bush in some God-forsaken Third World Pesthole, or as the PC like to say, “developing country” and suddenly you find you’re in the near vicinity of a village or farm. There is obviously much greater danger of discovery and or capture near such areas but equally, where there are people, there is food! Even the poorest village’s food supply seems like a cornucopia compared to what you’re going to find growing in the wilderness.

So, how do we properly raid (steal) the crops and livestock of this village?

The Rules are simple…

Never take more than you absolutely need.

Never take all of anything.

Never raid the same farm twice.

Get what you need, leave as little trace as possible, get out fast and never go back!

Why are these rules important?

Low tech farms and rural villages are used to a certain amount of crop loss and livestock depredation. No matter where in the world you are, there are always going to be wild animals who like the taste of chicken as much as you do. The difference between wild animals and man however, is that generally speaking, wild animals don’t take more than they can eat right then.

If Farmer Morales comes out to gather his eggs one day and none of his 8 hens are sitting on an egg, he’s going to find that pretty damned unusual. He’s going to know someone has stolen his egss. If one or two eggs are missing, he’ll never notice the difference. Unless of course, egg production drops every day for a week because you keep going back. Then, he’ll see the pattern, know somebody’s raiding the nests and you’re going to end up on the wrong end of a machete. (See VBT above.)

By the same token, if one of his hens is missing, he’ll figure something got to her and although he may set a trap for the predator, he won’t immediately think there’s a human raiding his hens. Again, unless you keep going back.

Likewise with crops. If you take just a little of this, and a little of that, he probably won’t notice and if he does, he probably won’t think too much of it. Kids are kids the world over and if you ever raided a melon patch when you were a kid, you know that a kid in Central/South America or anywhere else is going to snag himself a free melon (for example) from time to time if he gets the chance.

Before I completely leave the subject of chickens and eggs though, I’d like to cover eggs a bit more. Mainly because they’re a great source of fat and protein, they’re self contained, and can be cooked with relative ease even in the most primitive of settings.

If you’re going to raid for eggs, realize first that the henhouse is a pretty much western concept. Most folks who “keep” chickens in the third world allow their chickens to free range. This means the chickens run loose, lay their eggs where they please, and roost (sleep) where ever they like. This is both good news and bad news to the prospective E&E Forager.

First, you have to find where the hens are nesting. Maybe the owner of the chickens knows where the nest is, maybe he doesn’t. Hens can be pretty mobile about where they nest and if one nest is overly disturbed, they may pack up and relocate at almost any time.

Second, you have to know roughly what time of day the hens are laying. It’ll do you no good to raid a nest an hour after Mrs. Morales has gathered the eggs and it will be a VBT if you happen to be raiding the next when she’s gathering.

So, you need to recognize the sounds a hen makes when she’s laying. Laying up in a hide on the edge of a village all day long, you’ll be able to hear the soft “putting” sound a laying hen makes when she’s pushing out a cackleberry. Often, the more domestic breeds of chickens we are familiar with here in the US, like a White Leghorn will actually cackle loudly when she pops that egg out. (Can’t say I blame her a bit!) However, the breeds that are closer to being wild are a lot more circumspect and try not to draw too much attention to themselves or their prospective offspring. So, they make a very soft, low “putt putt putt” noise that’s very easy to miss if you’re not listening for it.

After you figure out you have a laying hen nearby, you need to be ready to slip in and snatch the henfruit as soon as she clears the nest. Don’t go in before hand, this will upset the hen and she’s liable to annouce to the world that somebody’s trying to eggnap her baby. As soon as you see her clear the next, move in, snatch the egg, and clear the area.

The beauty of getting in this fast is that you know the egg is fresh. Fresh? Hell, it’s still warm from the chicken’s ass! It don’t get no fresher than that.

But on the other hand, it’s entirely possible that while you’re skulking around the edges of the village looking for your chance to snatch and run, you’ll stumble across a nest with several eggs in it. In this event, you’ve struck a little chicken gold. If there are half a dozen eggs in there, you can take as many as half of them and scarper off post haste. BUT…

How can you tell if they’re edible or not? Obviously, if there are half a dozen eggs there, the hen’s been sitting on them awhile. Maybe half are fresh, and half are well on their way to being un-pickled baloots. It would really suck to steal the wannabe baloots and leave the fresh ones but how can you tell without actually breaking the egg?

Ahhhh, an excellent question!

Take a small container of water with you. Doesn’t have to be much. A canteen cup, soup can, anything will do. Place the egg gently into the water and let it sink or float. If it floats, it’s either rotten or there’s a chick growing in it. Put it back and try another one. The reason the rotten or growing egg will float, is this: A rotten egg has gases forming inside of it and the growing egg, the chick is digesting the whites as it grows inside the egg and thus the egg becomes lighter than water.

Keep it simple, just remember that fresh eggs always sink.

If the egg sits on the bottom but stands on end, you’re right on the verge of having a rotten egg. If you’re cooking breakfast at home, toss it in the garbage and grab another. If you’re running for your life in that 3WPH (Third World Pest Hole) then make a judgement call. How hungry are you?

By Ken Cook

Getting Past the “Bug Out” Mentality

Getting Past the “Bug Out” Mentality

(Original link no longer available)

Written by Benjamin T. Moore

Those of us who’ve figured things out to various and lessor degrees, realize the need to prepare for a time in the not to distant future when the society we’ve become accustom to will no longer be functional. Let’s pause a moment and savor the meaning of what I just said. Some people who have not really paused to consider the true ramifications of a societal collapse, look forward to these times with an almost naive glee. Visions of “Red Dawn,” fire fights with well armed but incompetent troops, camping out and feasting on venison seem to figure heavily in these ill conceived fantasies.

Let’s explore some of these myths. Anyone who has spent anytime in the bush or in actual combat knows that running and gunning is the option of *LAST* resort!!! When things get down to running and gunning your prospects for long term survival have just become tragically thin. Even elite forces such as the Navy Seals, try to avoid “running and gunning.” They operate from a base. They are inserted, do their jobs and are extracted back to the safety of their base. In the scenario so often fantasized, it would be like being permanently behind enemy lines with no support, no hope of extraction and no supplies. Could you survive? Some could, but they are few and far between. Even they could not survive for long.

Let’s explore the notion of living off the land. The reality is, there isn’t enough game except in a few places out west, to support a group of any size for any length of time. By the way, you’ve got to figure you’re not going to be the *ONLY* person or group out there fighting for the limited resources. Small game? How many rabbits will you have to kill to feed your self per day? Per week? How about your family? You’re going to run out of rabbits pretty quick in whatever area you happen to be in.

Fishing? That’s a good plan if you’re near a body of water. But again, you’re not going to be the only one with that idea. Suppose you have a good day and harvest a deer, or twenty or thirty fish, how are you going to preserve the meat? You’re probably aren’t going to be lugging around a refrigerator or a freezer.

What about items you take for granted, like toilet paper? How much are you going to carry with you on a bug-out? There are many things to consider. The closest description of the bug-out experience is the Mountain Man life style. However, it’s important to note, even the “Mountain Men” had to come back to society for supplies every so often. When you begin to consider all the ramifications of “bugging-out,” the magnitude of what you’re attempting begins to become clear. Of course all this becomes a moot point if you become stuck in a traffic jam trying to leave the city, or if you get rounded up at an unexpected road block. A simple rule for survival in these circumstances is, look at what everybody else is doing, and don’t do it!

Let’s be smart. The best place to be at in a survival situation is your home. Your home should be your survival retreat! If it’s not, make it into your survival retreat. If it’s not suitably located, buy one or build one that is. Even a well conceived and located apartment or condominum can become a survival retreat with some work and planning. The two most powerful assets you can have are storage and concealment. If you want to understand survival, study the masters. The animal kingdom is without exception the best place to learn survival. Almost all animals, as a first line of defense use concealment or camouflage. Even predators such as tigers, cheetahs and lepoards use camouflage to assist in their survival. How can we profit from this strategy? The most important thing we can do as survivalist is to *NOT* draw attention to ourselves. A friend of mine once suggested we join an “intentional” community of like minded people and live in a rural communal setting. Visions of Waco and Ruby Ridge immediately sprang into my mind. I told this friend I’d rather live next door to the Governor. The likelihood of them taking tanks through the Governor’s yard to get to me would be extremely slim. Not to mention being able to keep the News Media five miles away! In essence, “bugging-out” is like leaving the safety of the herd. If you’ve ever seen predators hunt animals in the wild, the first thing they do is cut them off from the protection of the herd. Then they descend on them and rip them to pieces, while the rest of the herd looks on grateful that it’s not them being ripped to pieces. Do you see the anology between Waco and Ruby Ridge?

These were people who were cut off from the herd by the government predators and savaged. The rest of society has gone back to grazing, thanking their god it wasn’t them. They’ve even gone so far as to justify what happened by saying these people were extremist. This is very much like what happens in the animal kingdom. Only the sickly and diseased fall prey to the lion. Hence, if people are attacked by our government… they must be politically sick. But enough of this. It is not my intent to give you my political exigesis.

Being a Survivalist is a way of life! It’s not just storing away supplies for a rainy day. I’m intrigued by people who spend thousands of dollars on camping equipment, semi-automatic rifles and hand guns, and who don’t spend money where it counts. Let me give you some examples. Are you physically fit? How many miles can you run? How many miles can you run with a full pack on your back? Take an honest assessment of your self. Would you feel safe as the cruise ship pulled away from the dock knowing you had brought along your scuba tank, mask and fins, but had never had a swimming lesson and couldnt swim? If so, you’d better check the ship you’re sailing on… It might be the Titanic.

The other thing that fascinates me, is the number of arm chair survivalist that spend great time carefully assembling a firearms battery, but don’t take the time to become truly proficient with the firearms of their choice. Too many times we trade the illusion of security for reality. The reality is, everything is governed by chance and probability. Our goal should be to turn a low probability of survival into a high probability of survival. I can only shake my head in disbelief at those who spend hundreds of dollars on the finest handgun they can afford – as well they should, how much is your life worth – but then spend $9.95 on a little suede inside the pants holster for it. That holster will most likely get you killed! I practice quick drawing each of my primary pieces at least 100 times per day. I go to the range regularly. I practice quick draw with carry ammunition, that’s the ammo I carry for survival and defense at 100 yards. I can draw, fire and *keep* all shots in the kill zone at 100 yards quicker than most of the hollywood enhanced draws you see in the movies.

Does this make me the baddest thing walking? Nope! Because nobody’s shooting back! What it does is increase the probability of my chances for survival against someone who’s got their nice, shiney, new-in-the-box looking pistol in a 9.95 brown suede inside the pants holster. I’m not worried about the chap who carries an almost new looking pistol in a holster that looks like he just took it out of the plastic. I’m worried about that chap who’s pistol has the fine patina of holster wear, the chap who’s pistol is scratched and worn. To me he’s a far more dangerous foe. It’s been said and it’s true, beware the man that owns one gun… and shoots it!

Being a survivalist is a way of life. Is your home hardened? Is it stocked and supplied? Are you constantly thinking of ways to manufacture more of the things you go to the store and purchase? If your mate doesn’t sew, do you? Could you make a serviceable out fit out of cloth or fabric? Or will you be reduced to foraging for garments if TEOTWAWKI comes in our life time? It certainly looks like it’s just around the corner… Being able to “Bug-Out” is good, but it should never become your primary survival strategy!

If you don’t have a hardened place to “Bug-Out” to, you’re probably wasteing your time. Your best bet is to harden your home. Don’t blow your cover by bragging about your supplies, in fact be extremely cautious about who you allow into your home. If things blow up, you don’t want someone who’s seen and noted your food stores, showing up on your door step with their family asking to share what you’ve set aside through your hard labor and sacrifice. The best neighbors are those that mind their own business. Mind yours and insist they mind theirs. You want to develop a support network of people who not only believe the way you do… but who believe strongly enough to act on their beliefs. In a survival situation everyone must pull their own weight.

Benjamin T. Moore, Jr.

Knife Intro

Knife Intro

This is everything on could find on explaining the following about blades, in one place. Making it easier to find for everyone instead of spending weeks going through searches on the net.�

Bevels – primary, secondary�

Cuts – chop, push ,slice, whittle, tip cope, edge cope, draw, shearing, thrust�

Grinds – flat, hollow, chisel, convex�

Steels – stainless, carbon�

Tempering – hardening�

Parts – tang, clip, ridge line, ricasso, choil, belly, false edge, grind plunge�

Grips – reverse, hammer, ice pick,fencers, sabre�

To put it bluntly, what this guy doesnt know, isnt worth knowing�




Knife Terms�








Knife Tests�


Plain VS Serrated Edges�




Knife Fighting�


Knife fighting�


Knife Fighting�


Knife Fighting�


Knife Fighting�


Blade Anatomy�


Heat Treating�


Making your Own�


Heat Treating�


DVD Sources�




Atienza Kali


Sayoc Kali


Starting A Survival Garden

Starting A Survival Garden

In even the Humblest Garden Grows, far more than Herbs and Flowers.

Kind Thoughts, Contentment, Peace of Mind and Joy for Weary Hours.

Adapted from “A Poor Mans Garden”

by Mary Howett.�

In times of economic uncertainty and rising food prices, its always a good idea to have a vegetable garden to provide extra food for you and your family.

The First Steps

#1) Evaluate Your Land – You will need to evaluate the land that you are going to use. Is it big enough? Does it get enough sun? Will you need to put up a fence to keep wildlife away?

Learning as much as you can about your soil will help you decide what needs to be done to make it ideal for the plants you want to grow. If you can learn about your soil’s texture, composition, drainage, acidity, and mineral density, you will avoid, up front, the disappointing results that can occur when your soil is unsuitable for growing in.

Testing your soil

You can test the texture of your soil easily by checking it in wet and dry conditions. If the soil is hard when dry and sticky when wet, it is likely to be clay. If it is light, easily drained and easy to dig, it is probably sand or loamy sand. For a more precise test, take a small amount of soil in your hand and wet it. Knead it into a smooth paste and then roll it about between your hands to form a ball. The following results will reveal the soil texture:

  • Sticky and gritty – loam, the perfect soil
  • Easily rolls into a ball, but feels rough – clay loam
  • Easily rolls into a ball, shiny when rubbed, but still gritty – sandy clay
  • Easily rolls into a ball and becomes shiny but not gritty – clay
  • Doesn’t roll into a ball well, and feels gritty – sand
  • Easily rolls into a ball but it falls apart easily – loamy sand
  • Feels slippery and silky – silty loam

Vegetables for Acid and Neutral Soils

  • Beans – all types – Brussels Sprouts, Cucumbers, Marrows, Courgettes, Parsley, Parsnips, Peas, Radish, Swede, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes and Turnips.

Vegetables for Alkaline Soils

  • Asparagus, Beetroot, Carrots, Cauliflowers, Celery, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions and Spinach.

Vegetables for the more Acid Soil

Potatoes, Rhubarb.

Soil Test #1: The Squeeze Test

One of the most basic characteristics of soil is its composition. In general, soils are classified as clay soils, sandy soils, or loamy soils. Clay is nutrient rich, but slow draining. Sand is quick draining, but has trouble retaining nutrients and moisture. Loam is generally considered to be ideal soil because it retains moisture and nutrients but doesn’t stay soggy.

To determine your soil type, take a handful of moist (but not wet) soil from your garden, and give it a firm squeeze. Then, open your hand. One of three things will happen:

It will hold its shape, and when you give it a light poke, it crumbles. Lucky you–this means you have luxurious loam!

It will hold its shape, and, when poked, sits stubbornly in your hand. This means you have clay soil.

It will fall apart as soon as you open your hand. This means you have sandy soil.

Now that you know what type of soil you have, you can work on improving it.

Soil Test #2: The Percolation Test

It is also important to determine whether you have drainage problems or not. Some plants, such as certain culinary herbs, will eventually die if their roots stay too wet. To test your soil’s drainage:

Dig a hole about six inches wide and one foot deep.

Fill the hole with water and let it drain completely.

Fill it with water again.

Keep track of how long it takes for the water to drain.

If the water takes more than four hours to drain, you have poor drainage.

Soil Test #3: The Worm Test

Worms are great indicators of the overall health of your soil, especially in terms of biological activity. If you have earthworms, chances are that you also have all of the beneficial microbes and bacteria that make for healthy soil and strong plants. To do the worm test:

Be sure the soil has warmed to at least 55 degrees, and that it is at least somewhat moist, but not soaking wet.

Dig a hole one foot across and one foot deep. Place the soil on a tarp or piece of cardboard.

Sift through the soil with your hands as you place it back into the hole, counting the earthworms as you go.

If you find at least ten worms, your soil is in pretty good shape. Less than that indicates that there may not be enough organic matter in your soil to support a healthy worm population, or that your soil is too acidic or alkaline.

Soil Test #4: Ph Test

The Ph (acidity level) of your soil has a large part to do with how well your plants grow. Ph is tested on a scale of zero to fourteen, with zero being very acidic and fourteen being very alkaline. Most plants grow best in soil with a fairly neutral Ph, between six and seven. When the Ph level is lower than five or higher than eight, plants just won’t grow as well as they should.

Every home and garden center carries Ph test kits. These kits are fairly accurate, but you must make sure you follow the testing instructions precisely. Once you know whether your soil Ph is a problem or not, you can begin working to correct the problem.

If you find that you’ve done all of these tests, and amended the soil as needed to correct the issues, and your plants are still struggling along, the next step is to contact your local cooperative extension service. They will tell you how to go about collecting a soil sample and sending it into their lab for analysis. They will return a report that will alert you to any mineral deficiencies in your soil, as well as steps to correct the issues.

These tests are simple, inexpensive ways to ensure that your garden has the best foundation possible.

#2) Clear The Ground/Design – You will need to clear rocks, obstacles and all other plant life from the plot of soil where you plan to plant your garden. It is especially important to try to eliminate any weeds before you begin. Weeds will choke the life out of your young plants. Decide on the type of beds to be used and which way to face the garden.

Advantages of a Raised Bed Garden

Aside from avoiding the issue of gardening in poor soil, raised bed gardens offer several advantages:

  • Raised beds warm more quickly in spring, allowing you to work the soil and plant earlier.
  • Raised beds drain better.
  • The soil in raised beds doesn’t get compacted, because they are constructed with accessibility in mind.
  • It’s easy to tailor the soil for your raised bed to the plants you plan to grow there.
  • After the initial construction process, raised beds require less maintenance than conventional
  • Reduce frost damage in cold climates

No Dig Gardens

At the risk of being obvious – a no-dig garden is one you don’t have to dig. It sits above the ground and doesn’t have soil. But it contains plenty of other good stuff – such as layers of organic material – which form the perfect growing environment for vegies and herbs as they break down. �

Esther Deans pioneered the no-dig-gardening concept in Sydney in the 70s because her heavy clay soil was terrible for growing vegetables. Since then Esther’s idea has become popular with new gardeners, old folk who have a hard time bending over, and with the “lazies” amongst us. �

It also makes perfect sense for a garden like the one we are filming in Perth, which has gutless, water repellent sandy soil and lawn that the tenants don’t want. �

No-dig gardens are easy to make. �
* Pick the spot – look for somewhere that gets plenty of sunlight and that’s flat. You can construct it over lawn, existing garden beds, or even concrete. �
* The plan for the one we are making is round with a keyhole access path through the middle and a perimeter path around the outside to make picking vegies and herbs easy. But you can make any style you want.�
* For the bedding you will need: straw, compost, blood and bon and sawdust or mulch for the paths. �

A no-dig garden consists of eight 10cm layers – apart from compost and manure which should be 5cm. Remember to water each layer thoroughly as you go. �

The layers:�
* First layer is woodchips, followed by a dressing of blood and bone. �
* Next, a layer of green weeds or grass clippings with no seeds or runners and apply lime. �
* Number three is dry deciduous leaves or straw, followed by more blood and bone. �
* The fourth layer is sheep manure, but you could use cow. Lay it on 5cm thick followed by some lime. �
* Layer five is lucerne and blood and bone. �
* Layer six is more manure – laid 5cm thick and lime. �
* Layer seven – more lucerne and blood and bone.�
* And layer number eight is compost -just like icing on the cake. �

The paths:�
To make the paths, spread wood chip mulch or sawdust along the pathways and the perimeter. �

After making these layers the no-dig garden bed should be sitting about 60cm above ground. But it will settle to half this size over a week or two. It’s a good idea to wait for this to happen because the decomposing materials are better to plant into. �

But if you’re itching to plant, use potting mix to get seeds and seedlings started. Just create little planting pockets, fill these with potting mix and sprinkle with a little blood and bone and rock minerals, and plant and water immediately. Most vegetables and herbs can be grown in no-dig gardens. Just look for what’s in season at your local nursery. But you will need to occasionally keep the bed topped up with compost, lucerne and manure just to ensure it stays at about 30 to 40 cm high. Try a drip line for watering – it works well. Just wrap it around in loops about 30cm apart. Alternatively hand water first thing in the morning – either way, no-dig beds have excellent moisture retention.�

Cultivation Tools

Garden tools come in many shapes, sizes and varieties with the most commonly used being digging and other cultivating implements. Most gardeners own the basic rake, fork, spade and trowel, but if you want your gardening to be as easy and trouble free as possible, you might want to expand that tool selection. There are plenty of variations on the basics that can really help.�

One of the best implements you can have is the hoe. The push hoe is sharpened on the leading edge so as you push it through the ground it disturbs the soil and chops off weeds, minimising growth. By disturbing the soil it will become aerated and stop any cracks from forming on the surface. It’s really a form of mulching and should be done regularly. �

Another form of hoe is the chop hoe or Dutch hoe which is used in a downward chopping motion. This is good for weeding in harder ground as it really loosens it up and you can use the tapered edge to get close to plants.�

For spreading mulch around the garden, you can’t beat the old iron tined rake. And, once you’ve forked over the garden bed, turn it over and smooth the soil to create a fine seed bed. �

The round-mouthed, long-handled shovel is a heavy-duty tool offering plenty of leverage. Because of the bowl-shaped blade it’s good for moving lots of material. There are also lightweight shovels available with smaller mouths, making it easier to pick up lightweight materials like compost, mulch and sawdust.�

Another type of shovel has a lightweight pointed blade making it much easier to push into the ground. This shovel is ergonomically designed so that, once filled with dirt, it’s easily lifted. Its handle is angled giving greater leverage and relieving pressure on your back. �

The reason we call a spade a spade is because it’s not a shovel! A spade’s a lot easier to use than a shovel because firstly, it’s got a flat blade”. Spades are a bit smaller and lighter to use. For small garden beds you might want to choose a border spade. These are smaller and lighter, and are perfect for digging narrow trenches. There’s also stainless steel spades which never rust and are easy to keep clean, as the dirt never sticks to them.�

A mattock is best if you’ve got difficult soil such as heavy clay. It takes a fair bit of effort but it does an excellent job. �

Forks are useful when preparing garden beds as they break up the soil. There are stainless steel forks available that are ergonomically designed with a tread which assists when pushing them into the soil. Alternatively, a pitch fork is great for shifting light weight material such as mulch, hay or straw. If you’ve got a garden and you want to make your job easier, buy the right tool for your body size, your weight and the jobs you’ve got to do, and you’ll find it’s a breeze.

#3) Improve The Soil – It is almost a certainty that you soil will need a boost. Trying to grow a garden without improving the soil is a difficult proposition at best.

Add organic matter to your soil. Putting in layers of compost, decayed leaves, grass clippings, or old manure on your garden should give your soil the boost it needs.

Amending Your Garden Soil – Making Good Soil out of Bad. First it should be pointed out that dirt is always called soil in gardening. Soil is arguably the most important component in a successful garden, so not calling it dirt is a show of respect. However, it is still dirt when it gets on your clothes.

What is Good Garden Soil?

Soil is generally evaluated on fertility and texture. Fertility is a combination of essential nutrients and a pH that makes these nutrients available to the plants. Texture refers to the size of the soil particles and their cohesiveness.

The three primary nutrients used by plants are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Nitrogen is largely responsible for healthy leaf and stem growth. In the soil, nitrogen is made available to plants by nitrogen fixing bacteria which convert nitrogen into nitrates, a form plants can use. Nitrogen does not remain in the soil for long. It gets used up by your plants and by decaying matter in the soil. It is also water soluble and can wash out of the soil rather quickly. Even so, an excess of nitrogen will cause a lot of foliage growth at the expense of flowers and fruit.

Phosphorus is very important for root growth. Flowering bulbs and root crops can always use some phosphorous. That’s why bone meal is often recommended for fall bulb planting. It also is crucial for producing flowers and you will sometimes see fertilizers with a high phosphoreus content advertised as flower boosters.

Potassium is needed for overall plant health. It keeps the plants growing and aids their immune systems. Like nitrogen, potassium is also water soluble and needs to be replenished from time to time.

Besides the three primary nutrients, there are several trace elements that are necessary for good plant health like: calcium, magnesium, zinc, molybdenum, etc.

A lot is made of soil pH. In laymen’s terms, pH is a measure of the soil acidity or alkalinity. The scale goes from 1.0 to 14.0, with 7.0 being neutral. The lower the numbers go from 7.0, the more acidic the soil. The higher they go above 7.0, the more alkaline. The reason soil pH matters is that nutrients in the soil are only available to plants if the soil pH is within a certain range. Many plants like a pH in the low acid to neutral range (6.2 – 6.8), but that’s not true for all plants. Rhododendrons, heathers and blueberries favor very acid soils and lilacs and clematis will thrive in alkaline or even chalky soil. The only sure fire way to know where your soil’s pH falls is to have it tested. Keep in mind that it takes time to alter soil pH and your soil will tend to revert to its old pH over time, necessitating repeated treatment.


pH is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity of the soil using a scale from 1 to 14; where 7 is neutral, less than 7 is acid and greater than 7 is alkaline. Fresh, clean water is neutral with a pH of 7, lemon juice is very acid with a pH of 2.6 and baking soda is very alkaline with a pH of 8.5. It is important to remember that pH is a logarithmic scale, so the difference between a pH of 7 and a pH of 6 is ten times the acidity, between 7 and 5 is a 100 times the acidity and between 7 and 4 is a 1000 times the acidity so it is obvious that this will have a major impact on the ability of plants to grow. pH is used as an indicator of the availability of other nutrients in the soil but only hydrogen ions are actually measured.

Acid soils with a pH of less than 6 commonly have deficiencies in:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Molybdenum

Acid soils with a pH of less than 4 commonly have toxic amounts of:

  • Aluminium
  • Manganese

alkaline soils with a pH of more than 7 the following nutrients may be unavailable:

  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Boron

The addition of agricultural lime (calcium carbonate) or dolomite (magnesium carbonate & calcium carbonate) will increase pH (decrease acidity) of the soil. Agricultural lime is cheaper to buy than dolomite. Dolomite is only a good idea if your soil is deficient in magnesium. Many of the acid soils in SE QLD are already too high in magnesium, adding more is a waste of money and can cause the ratio of calcium to magnesium to be out of balance.

Sulphates of iron and ammonium, elemental sulphur and organic matter are used to lower the pH (increase acidity) of the soil.

Gypsum (calcium sulphate) does not alter the pH of the soil but can improve aeration and reduce compaction in a clay soil.

The texture of the soil eg clay or sand and the amount of organic matter present will affect the quantity of material needed to alter the pH. Clay soils need a much greater amount of lime to shift the pH than sandy soils.

The addition of organic matter is always beneficial to the soil whether added as manure, compost or by green manuring. Organic matter will generally ‘buffer’ plants against the impact of acidity so that a soil with a lower pH range will still successfully grow plants.

Plants vary in their desired pH range and this is to with the pH of the soil type they evolved in. For example lavenders are native to the limestone soils of the Mediterranean and so prefer an alkaline soil.

Soil texture is a little trickier to amend than soil fertility. Texture refers to the size of the soil particles. Sandy soils have very large particles. Water, air and plant roots can move freely in sandy soils, sometimes too much so. At the other end of the spectrum is clay. Clay particles are so small they pack together tightly and leave little room for water, air or roots. If you’ve ever tried to garden in baked clay you know it also leaves little room for a shovel blade.

An easy test for soil texture is to make a ball of damp garden soil. If it breaks apart when you tap it, it’s sandy. If you can press it between your thumb and finger and make a ribbon, it’s clay.

Most soils are somewhere in-between. What you are ideally going for is called a sandy loam. It should be light and allow for air and water movement, but have some tilth, a kind of fine bread crumb like texture, which usually occurs when there is plenty of organic matter in the soil.

Don’t try to change your soil texture by adding sand to clay or vice versa. That is a recipe for cement. Some amendment recommendations for clay do include a portion of very fine sand, but there are better ways to change your soil texture.

Organic Matter
Like soil pH, organic matter gets a great deal of press. Organic matter is dead plant or animal material. There is always some organic matter in your soil, but usually not enough for a plant’s needs. Decaying organic matter, or humus, will help give your soil tilth. It helps sandy soil by retaining water that would otherwise wash away and it corrects clay soil by making it looser, so that air, water and roots can penetrate. In all soils, it encourages beneficial microbial activity and it provides some nutritional benefits. Humus is natures way of feeding the circle of life. Animal Manures Basics

This is the best information I could find, on using animal manures. The more I looked into it the more it started to burn out my mind. Yourd think putting shit onto a garden would be easy. Afraid that’s a yes and no answer. No, in that the type of manure affects the PH levels, NPK levels and acidity which I never new, down to ecoli infections etc. �

Basically Cow and Horse manure are usually the easiest to find just by driving around horse studs and farming properties. Its just sitting there by the front gates for a few dollars a bag. What I liked to do is place it into a 44 gal drum and apply water, then use the resulting water or tea as some refer to it and left over sludge after its broken down as a liquid fertilizer. As a solid base fertilizer I prefer Aged Sheep manure, being closest to nuetral PH as possible.

Cow manure… add to your soil if it is too alkaline (above 8)

Chook manure, add to your soil if it is too acid (below 6)

Sheep or goat manure is close to pH neutral add if your soil pH is close to were you want it �

Everything you ever wanted to know about Manure


Animal manure road test

Manure is the solid waste from animals that feed on vegetable matter. Containing organic chemicals from the gut of the animal, it makes great compost. It also contains micro-organisms which are essential in helping plants break down and digest nutrients. The manure of animals which are not fed on hormones and other chemicals can be used safely – although you still need to wear gloves while handling it.�

The benefits from using manure on your garden include adding water-holding capacity to sandy soils and opening up clays. Manures are mild sources of nutrients. Naturally pelletised manure such as that of rabbits and sheep resists breakdown and makes good mulch. Manures are good accelerators to aid in the breakdown of composting plant material. Use between 10-20% manure by volume. Once aged, manures encourage earthworm activity in soil. Fertiliser can be made from fresh manure added to a barrel of water and left to brew for four weeks. Break down the liquid to the strength of weak tea and use as a general-purpose fertiliser all around the garden.�
On the downside, manures tend to be bulky in comparison to manufactured fertilisers, they can contain weed seeds and salts and they can burn plants, particularly if they are applied fresh in direct contact with roots. It’s always best to age fresh manure. Just pile it high and leave it to weather for 3-6 months, covering it to keep flies out. �

N-P-K (Nitrogen/Phosphorous/Potassium) ratios are low in all manure. Even poultry manure, one of the richest, only has 1/8th the nitrogen content of blood and bone. Bird manures are a particularly good source of phosphate for organic gardeners who do not want to use chemical fertilisers. Caged birds like canaries and cockies produce a manure not unlike chicken manure which tends to contain uneaten seeds. This can lead to a weed infestation if the manure isn’t properly aged, as can free-range chicken manure. Pelletised poultry manures have been composted and sterilised so they are safe to use immediately.�

Cow manure is relatively poor in nutrients but it will slightly improve soil fertility. Sheep and rabbit manure make superb mulch and are so mild-acting that they can be used without ageing. With nitrogen contents running at less than 1% they are unlikely to damage even fresh seedlings. �
Most pig manure comes from high-tech farms. It’s been separated out in centrifuges so the resulting manure is highly concentrated and needs ageing before use. Horse manure tends to be very fibrous from the straw that’s found in stables, which means that once it’s been aged it makes an ideal mulch. Horse manure works well in vegetable gardens.�
If you’re treating domestic dogs against worms, it’s important that you avoid feeding their droppings to a worm farm because it will bump those worms off as well. Instead, add them to the manure ageing pile or the vat of water. �

Worm manure or castings are very easy to use and there’s no unpleasant smell. Just add them directly to the garden – there’s no need to age them. Bury them under the surface so that they don’t dry out.�

Manure Nutrients

When it comes to adding body to the soil there’s nothing like natural manure as a soil conditioner. It’s a preferred option because, as the manure breaks down, it adds valuable humus to the soil and this helps to store nutrients and water. �

Whether it’s cattle in the paddock or free-range chooks, any critter with a diet of grass or vegetable scraps, will produce manure that reflects the nutrient balance that plants need from the soil. �

Manures are available in many guises. Ideally you can collect it yourself but there are also packaged products from the nursery and manure which can be bought from the farm gate. All are fantastic for building up organic matter in the soil. But it’s critical to realise that there can be great variation in nutrient content between different manures. �

The three most commonly available manures for your garden are: �
* Cow manure, which tends to have a low nutrient analysis because, like sheep manure, it comes from animals grazing on grass. This makes it great as a general purpose soil conditioner; and great for phosphorous-sensitive native plants when it’s well rotted. �
* Horse manure tends to provide a step up in nutrient levels because these animals are often fed supplements. This makes it a great tonic for vegetable and flowerbeds. �
* Chook manure usually has the highest nutrient content because of the intensive nature of the diet. Laying hens are often fed calcium supplements, to strengthen the eggshells, and that makes their manure particularly good as a clay-breaker. Remember that farm gate chook manure is often mixed with bedding materials, such as sawdust, which greatly dilutes nutrient levels. Chook manure always has a higher nitrogen level, making it great for fertilising lawns and for use in the vegie garden. But it also has a higher phosphorous level, so using it long term on native plants, such as banksias, grevilleas and waratahs, can kill them.�

Can you use dog poo or kitty litter in the garden? Unfortunately it’s not a good idea – particularly in the vegetable garden – because their droppings often contain pathogens harmful to humans. �

If you’re lucky enough to have a source of fresh manure then you need to be careful because it can have salt levels high enough to burn plants. A tip to make it more manageable is to put the manure into a plant pot, run some water through it and this will dilute the nutrient levels. (It also allows any weed seeds in the manure to germinate, and they will quickly die before you’re ready to use it.) And what’s left is beautiful liquid manure. Dilute it so it looks like weak tea and you’ve got a wonderful tonic for your flower or vegetable garden.�

When using manure, dig it into the garden as soon as possible. If it’s left sitting on the surface, much of the nitrogen, particularly from chicken manure, can be lost as ammonia gas. Just fork it into the topsoil, and the nitrogen will be available, in the short term, for any leafy vegetables, but the beautiful organic matter will break down and build up the nutrient and water-holding capacity in the soil. It’s good stuff.�

#4) Dig Up The Soil – Churning up the soil enables the roots of your new plants to penetrate more easily. It can be very difficult for your plants to penetrate ground that is very hard or very dry. Not neccessary if using a No-Dig Design. I prefer a No-Dig design for the following reason. To build up a raised garden bed by say 12 inches. Work out the ammount and weight of soil required to move, to fill up a bed thats 4 metres x 2 metres x 30cm. Then compare that to the weight and cost of moving straw and organic fertilizer. Thats roughly 4 tonn of soil. Then times that by how many garden beds required for a rotation system talked about later. 4 beds equals 16 tonn of soil that needs to be moved.�

#5) Pick Your Seeds/what to Grow – This can be a tricky part. Each type of plant has different needs. Many grow better in some climates than in others. Some grow better in different areas of the country than others. “Victory Gardens” were grown during World War I and World War II as a way of relieving food rationing and shortages. The common plants used were;�

BEANS (6 varieties): Black Turtle, Bush Blue Lake, Commodore, Fordhook Lima, Old Homestead Pole and Pencil Pod Black Wax

BEETS ( 2 varieties): Chiogga and Early Wonder

BROCCOLI (1 variety): De Cicco

BRUSSELS SPROUT (1 variety): Long Island Improved

CABBAGE (2 varieties): Early Jersey Wakefield and Red Danish

CARROTS (2 varieties): Amsterdam Minicor and Autumn King

CAULIFLOWER (1 variety): Early Snowball

CELERY (1 variety): Golden Self Blanching

COLLARD (1 variety): Georgia

CORN ( 1 variety): Golden Bantam

CUCUMBER (2 varieties): National Pickling and Tendergreen Burpless

EGGPLANT (1 variety): Black Beauty

GOURD (1 variety): Ornamental Small Mix

KALE (1 variety): Dwarf Blue Curled

KOHLRABI (1 variety): Early White Vienna

LEEK (1 variety): American Flag

LETTUCE (5 varieties): Black Seeded Simpson, Buttercrunch, Freckles Romaine, Gourmet Salad Blend, and Mesculin Mix

MELONS (2 varieties): Jenny Lind and Sweet Passion

MUSTARD GREENS (1 variety): Southern Giant Curled

OKRA (1 variety): Clemson Spineless

ONION, BUNCHING (1 variety): Evergreen White Bunching

PARSNIP (1 variety): Hollow Crown

PEPPERS (4 varieties): California Wonder, California Wonder Gold, Jalapeno and Long Red Cayenne

PEAS (3 varieties): Early Frosty, Mammoth Melting Sugar and Sugar Daddy

PUMPKINS (1 variety): New England Pie

RUTABAGA (1 variety): American Purple Top

RADISH (2 varieties): Easter Egg and Crimson Giant

SPINACH (2 varieties): Bloomsdale Long Standing and New Zealand

SQUASH, SUMMER (4 varieties): Dark Green Zucchini, Golden Zucchini, White Patty Pan and Yellow Crookneck

SQUASH, WINTER (2 varieties): Butternut and Spaghetti

SWISS CHARD (2 varieties): Lucullus and Ruby Red

SOUTHERN PEA (1 variety): California Black-Eyed

TOMATO (6 varieties): Besser, Big Red, Giant Beefsteak, Homestead 24, Pink Brandywine and Roma

TURNIPS (1 variety): Purple Top White Globe

WATERMELON (1 varieties): Sugar Baby

HERBS (10 varieties): Basil, Chives, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Summer Savory and Thyme�









The varieties have changed much since then, but try to stick to HEIRLOOM seeds as these were the original seeds that the newer types were breed from and will tend to re-seed better than hybrids. Below are a current list of vegetables, their sowing time or the time of the year they are planted followed by their harvest time or how long they take to grow before being able to pick for use.�

Beans climbing������������������������ Sep-Jan��������������������������� 10-12

Beetroot��������������������������������� Jun-Feb��������������������������� 10-12

Carrots����������������������������������� Jun-Mar��������������������������� 12-16

Choko�������������������������������������� Jul-Sep���������������������������� 18-20

Cucumbers������������������������������ Aug-Jan���������������������������� 8-12

Herbs������������������������������������� Jun-mar���������������������������� 12-20

Marrows��������������������������������� Sep-Jan���������������������������� 8-14

Melons������������������������������������ Sep-Dec���������������������������� 14-16

Onions������������������������������������� Feb-Jul���������������������������� 24-32

Spring Onions�������������������������� Jul-Apr���������������������������� 8-12

Parsnips���������������������������������� Jun-May���������������������������� 18-20

Peas���������������������������������������� Feb-Aug��������������������������� 14-16

Pumpkins��������������������������������� Aug-Nov��������������������������� 14-16

Radishes��������������������������������� Jul-May���������������������������� 6-8

Shallots���������������������������������� Feb-Jun���������������������������� 12-14

Spinach���������������������������������� Feb-Jun����������������������������� 8-10

Squashes�������������������������������� Aug-Nov���������������������������� 12-14

Swedes����������������������������������� Jan-Mar���������������������������� 12-16

Sweet Corn����������������������������� Aug-Jan����������������������������� 12-16

Sweet Potato�������������������������� Sep-Nov���������������������������� 18-20

Tomatoes�������������������������������� Aug-Nov���������������������������� 12-20

Turnips������������������������������������ Jan-Apr���������������������������� 10-12�

If you dont have a backyard or a place to grow your own vegetables. You can always try Guerrilla Gardening.


Hints from Jackie Clay-hardcore Homesteading


Three Sisters Gardens�

These incorperate Corn, Squash and Beans to provide the 8 amino acids that the body cannot produce itself and a complete protien from vegetable matter. These should be grown before anything else.�





Fruit All Year Round- Temperate Climates

January �
Late cherries in cold areas, peaches, nectarines, plums, late apricots, early apples like gravenstein, passionfruit in warmer areas, black and white mulberries, gooseberries, early grapes, early almonds, cape gooseberry, valencia oranges, lemons, Hass avocados, babaco, pawpaw or mountain pawpaw in warm areas, strawberries, mid-season raspberries, loganberries, fruit from flowering prunus (good for jam), red, white and black currants, blueberries, banana passionfruit, and mangoes in hot areas. �

February �
Brambleberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, apples, passionfruit, mulberries, gooseberries, cape gooseberries, hazelnuts, almonds, grapes, figs, babaco, pepino, pawpaw or mountain pawpaw in warm areas, orange, lemon, avocado, strawberry guavas, strawberries, pears, early melons, tamarillos, and banana passionfruit. �

March �
Olives, oranges, lemons, cumquats, figs, late peaches, late nectarines, apples, passionfruit, pepino, babaco, pawpaw or mountain pawpaw in warm areas, sapote, mulberries, hazelnuts, almonds, orange, lemon, tamarillo, strawberries, raspberries, brambleberries, early quinces, early persimmons, pears, melons, pecans, bunya nuts, late grapes, and banana passionfruit, and in some areas custard apples, cherimoyoya, lychees, star fruit, custard apple,. �
. �
April �
Pomegranates, medlars, valencia oranges, lemons, early limes, olives, late figs, quinces, Granny Smith apples, passionfruit, tamarillos, late grapes, chestnuts, walnuts, persimmons, grapefruit, guava, feijoa, strawberry guava. late strawberries, raspberries, bananas, avocados, Irish strawberry tree fruit, melons and pecan, and in some areas custard apples, cherimoyoya, lychees, star fruit, custard apple. �

May �
Early mandarins, limes, pomegranates, late apples, late valencias or early navel oranges, tangellos, citrons, cumquats, tamarillos, early kiwi fruit, late passionfruit (high up on the vine), late raspberries, late strawberries (if grown on a high garden away from early frost), olives, persimmons (if the birds haven’t finished them), feijoa, bananas, dates, avocados, banana passionfruit, elderberries, medlars, olives, melons, sapotes, and guava, and in some areas custard apples, cherimoyoya, lychees, star fruit, custard apples. �

June �
Apples (Lady Williams), feijoa, navel oranges, kiwi fruit, limes, mandarins, citrons, grapefruit, bananas, avocados, late �
passionfruit (high on the vine), banana passionfruit, guava, strawberry guava, medlars, olives, late tamarillos (above the frost), a very few late raspberries, and winter rhubarb, and in some areas custard apples, cherimoyoya, lychees, star fruit, custard apple. �

July �
Apples (Lady Williams), navel oranges, kiwi fruit, limes, mandarins, citrons, grapefruit, bananas, avocados, tangelos, medlars, alpine strawberries, winter rhubarb, and cape gooseberries grown in a pot or sheltered spot. �

August �
Navel and late valencia oranges, lemon, tangelo, mandarin, kiwi fruit, grapefruit, avocados and limes, early banana passionfruit, late tamarillos, and early rhubarb. �

September �
Navel orange, lemon, limes, tangelo, mandarin, avocado, small alpine strawberries (not the large new varieties that fruit later), cape gooseberries (if they haven’t been frosted off, autumn’s will mature now), tamarillos (same as for cape gooseberries), and rhubarb. �

October �
Loquat, navel orange, lemon, lime, tangelo, mandarin, avocado, early strawberries, very early raspberries (in warm areas), rhubarb, banana passionfruit and tamarillos (ripening from last season). �

November �
Cherries, early peaches, early nectarines, early apricots, small early plums, Joaneting apples (late November to December), loquat, orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, strawberries and raspberries.

December �
Late cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, late apricots, early apples like gravenstein, passionfruit in warmer areas, mulberries, gooseberries, early grapes, early almonds, cape gooseberry, valencia and blood oranges, a few mandarines, lemons, avocados,babaco, paw paw or mountain paw paw in warm areas, strawberries, mid season raspberries, loganberries, fruit from flowering prunus- good for jam, red, white and black currants, blueberries, banana passionfruit, mangoes in hot areas�

#6) Put them in the ground – Make sure to consult the directions for your particular seeds regarding how deep to plant them. If you plant your seeds too deep they will have trouble sprouting, but if you plant them too shallow they could get scorched by the sun or you may encounter other problems. Some seeds also need to be placed the correct side up. always double check this. Presprouting some varieties also reduces the time required to grow.

#7) Water Your Plants – This step can make or break your garden. All plants need water, but different types of plants need different amounts of water.

#9) Keep Going And Never Give Up – Success in just about anything comes to those who refuse to quit. Perhaps your first experience with gardening will be a disaster. Perhaps it will be a smashing success. Whatever the case is, if you keep working and you don’t give up you will have the best chance for success in the long run.

#10) Plant Nutrient Deficiencies-Identifying Plant Problems

Not all plant problems are caused by insects or diseases. Sometimes an unhealthy plant is suffering from a nutrient deficiency or even too much of any one nutrient. Plant nutrient deficiencies often manifest as foliage discoloration or distortion. The following chart outlines some possible problems. Unfortunately many problems have similar symptoms and sometimes it is a combination of problems.

Be sure you eliminate the obvious before you kill your plants with kindness.

  • Check first for signs of insects or disease.
  • Foliage discoloration and stunted plants can easily be caused by soil that is too wet and drains poorly or soil that is too compacted for good root growth.
  • Extreme cold or heat will slow plant growth and effect flowering and fruit set.
  • Too much fertilizer can result in salt injury. Your plants may look scorched or they may wilt, even when the soil is wet.

Plants require a mix of nutrients to remain healthy. Nutrients that are needed in relatively large amounts are called the macronutrients. Plant macronutrients include: nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulfur and magnesium. There are a handful of additional nutrients that are required for plant growth, but in much smaller quantities. These micronutrients include: boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc.

All of these nutrients are taken in through the roots. Water transfers the nutrients from the soil to the plant roots. So one requirement of sufficient plant nutrition is water. A second requirement is the appropriate soil pH for the plant being grown. Each plant prefers a specific pH range to be able to access the nutrients in the soil. Some plants are fussier than others, but if the soil pH is too acidic or alkaline, the plant will not be able to take in nutrients no matter how rich your soil may be.

Plant Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms


Calcium (Ca)

    • Symptoms: New leaves are distorted or hook shaped. The growing tip may die. Contributes to blossom end rot in tomatoes, tip burn of cabbage and brown/black heart of escarole & celery.
    • Sources: Any compound containing the word ‘calcium’. Also gypsum.
    • Notes: Not often a deficiency problem and too much will inhibit other nutrients.

Nitrogen (N)

    • Symptoms: Older leaves, generally at the bottom of the plant, will yellow. Remaining foliage is often light green. Stems may also yellow and may become spindly. Growth slows.
    • Sources: Any compound containing the words: ‘nitrate’, ‘ammonium’ or ‘urea’. Also manure.
    • Notes: Many forms of nitrogen are water soluble and wash away.

Magnesium (Mg)

    • Symptoms: Slow growth and leaves turn pale yellow, sometimes just on the outer edges. New growth may be yellow with dark spots.
    • Sources: Compounds containing the word ‘magnesium’, such as Epson Salts.

Phosphorus (P)

    • Symptoms: Small leaves that may take on a reddish-purple tint. Leaf tips can look burnt and older leaves become almost black. Reduced fruit or seed production.
    • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘phosphate’ or ‘bone’. Also greensand.
    • Notes: Very dependent on pH range.

Potassium (K)

    • Symptoms: Older leaves may look scorched around the edges and/or wilted. Interveinal chlorosis (yellowing between the leaf veins) develops.
    • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘potassium’ or ‘potash’.

Sulfur (S)

    • Symptoms: New growth turns pale yellow, older growth stays green. Stunts growth.
    • Sources: Compounds containing the word ‘sulfate’.
    • Notes: More prevalent in dry weather.


Boron (B)

    • Symptoms: Poor stem and root growth. Terminal (end) buds may die. Witches brooms sometimes form.
    • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘borax’ or ‘borate’.

Copper (Cu)

    • Symptoms: Stunted growth. Leaves can become limp, curl, or drop. Seed stalks also become limp and bend over.
    • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘copper’, ‘cupric’ or ‘cuprous’.

Manganese (Mn)

    • Symptoms: Growth slows. Younger leaves turn pale yellow, often starting between veins. May develop dark or dead spots. Leaves, shoots and fruit diminished in size. Failure to bloom.
    • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘manganese’ or ‘manganous’

Molybdenum (Mo)

    • Symptoms: Older leaves yellow, remaining foliage turns light green. Leaves can become narrow and distorted.
    • Sources: Compounds containing the words ‘molybdate’ or ‘molybdic’.
    • Notes: Sometimes confused with nitrogen deficiency.

Zinc (Zn)

    • Symptoms: Yellowing between veins of new growth. Terminal (end) leaves may form a rosette.
    • Sources: Compounds containing the word ‘zinc’.
    • Notes: Can become limited in higher pH.

#11) Managing Nitrogen

Nitrogen gas makes up about 75% of the gas in our atmosphere. It also happens to be one of the three most important nutrients for healthy plant growth.�

The three most important plant nutrients are phosphorus for strong roots, potassium for fruit and flower development and nitrogen, which promotes lush growth – large leaves and thick stems. Nitrogen is essential for producing proteins and chlorophyll and it’s very important to give plants the right amount.�

Nitrogen Deficiency
Too little nitrogen means plants get yellow leaves and stunted growth. In a lawn, the presence of clover is an indicator there’s too little nitrogen. The older leaves on Jerry’s Cinnamon bush are nice and green but the new leaves are yellow. This indicates an absence of chlorophyll, which is what plants use to manufacture the food which allows them to grow. Jerry says, “If I don’t address this problem the new leaves will become stunted.”�

Correcting Nitrogen Deficiency
The organic gardeners’ holy trinity:�

* Animal based manures – including things like chicken manure and blood and bone.�

* Plant based additives – such as lawn clippings which, Jerry says, “Are the most abundant source of nitrogen in any garden.” Another great plant based additive is seaweed which contains small percentages of many nutrients necessary for growth.�

* Garden compost – a gardener’s way of recycling all the nutrients in the garden.�
Jerry says that he “could use chemical fertilisers, such as sulphate of ammonia, which is a very rich source of nitrogen or a mixed fertiliser, but I choose not to use artificial forms of fertiliser. They’re so rich they can burn earthworms.” Also, chemical fertilisers can add lots of nitrogen quickly which may be lost into the soil, water and atmosphere. Organic sources of nitrogen act gently and release the nutrients slowly.


To fix� Cinnamon bush, mulch it with compost and feed it with seaweed, at the recommended rate.�

* Mulching with compost adds nitrogen and other minerals whilst improving the soil. Jerry applies a four centimetre deep layer and prevents the compost from touching the base of plants.�

* Foliar feeding with seaweed is a quick fix because plants take up the nourishment directly through their leaves. “In about a month this plant should be restored to good health with large, deep green leaves.”�

Nitrogen problem with his sweetcorn – but this time there’s a surplus.�

Nitrogen Surplus
It’s quite common to have a nitrogen surplus in the garden. Having a lot of old poultry manure which was in big lumps, work it all in when feeding the sweetcorn.� “Sweetcorn, bananas and citrus are really hungry crops and you’ve got to add extra nitrogen but I added too much to the sweetcorn and I’ve got rank growth.” That means the stems are long, thin and weak, and need to be staked and tied for stability.�

Another negative in adding too much nitrogen is that pests like aphids, caterpillars and grasshoppers can smell it and are attracted by it. �

Correcting Nitrogen Surplus
There’s nothing you can do when you add too much fertiliser. “You’ve just got to allow the plants to take up what they can. A little bit of nitrogen is good, too much is bad and you can never take nitrogen away when you’ve added too much.”�

Nitrogen Basics
Nitrogen application is a juggling act. Key tips for striking the right balance include:�

* Never apply nitrogen when plants are dormant because they won’t use it.�

* Apply it little and often, so they use it all and none of it goes into waterways or up into the atmosphere. �

* Make sure you apply it when the soil is moist. If you use seaweed fertiliser you can apply it as a foliar feed or water it in so that plants derive an immediate benefit from nitrogen.�

* The result is a lush garden, full of strong, robust plants and very few pests and diseases.�

#12) Crop Rotation

Growing the same vegetables in the same spot each year can lead to problems. Soil living pests and diseases, which thrive on that particular crop, can build up in the soil to epidemic levels. Vegetables also have various mineral needs and continuous cropping of one particular crop can lead to the levels of nutrients in the soil becoming unbalanced. To prevent the build up of pests and diseases in the soil and to help the vegetables in their nutrient needs, your crops need to be rotated. It is a fact that vegetables prefer to be grown in soil that has been used for a different crop previously than in soil that has been used for one of their own kind.

Vegetables have various soil and mineral needs. These needs can be broken down into 3 categories of each.

Nutrients – Heavy Feeders Medium Feeders Light Feeders

Soil – Acid Neutral Alkaline

By grouping together vegetable plants that have the same ‘needs’ you will be able to manage the soil better and by splitting your growing area into separate areas or beds, you can condition the soil to suit each grouping. For instance, Sweet Corn is a very heavy feeder; it likes a neutral to acid soil, a lot of nutrients and plenty of moisture. By digging in plenty of manure or compost it will help to feed the plant and retain the moisture for the plant to use. On the other hand Brassicas prefer to be grown in a more alkaline soil. It is obvious that the two will not grow in the same soil conditions, therefore one of them will suffer and give poor results. By rotating the vegetables the soil can be brought into a condition to suit both their needs.

The 3 Bed System

The most common system used is the ‘3 Bed’ rotation system. This name is slightly confusing though as the system actually uses 4 beds.

Basically you are divide the growing area into four sections or beds. They would then be treated as follows: –

The First Year.

Bed ‘A’

Dig over as normal and feed with a general fertiliser such as Bonemeal, or, if you want to be organic, Blood, Fish and Bone. You would then plant all the root crops in this bed. This includes Beetroot, Carrots, Jerusalem Artichokes, Parsnips, Salsify, Scorzonera.

Bed ‘B’

Dig over as normal and then apply a general fertiliser as above. Depending on the pH of the soil, which you are advised to check (see soil pH section) you would apply the necessary amount of lime. In this bed you would plant all your Brassicas which include Cabbages, Broccoli, Cauliflowers, Brussels Sprouts, Kale, Radish, Swede, Turnips, Kohl Rabi.

Bed ‘C’

Dig as much manure or compost as you can into this bed over the winter or very early spring. Approximately 2 weeks before planting, feed with a general fertiliser. In this bed you will plant the very heavy feeders such Potatoes, Beans, Peas, Celery, Sweet Corn, Marrows, Courgettes, Spinach, Outdoor Tomatoes, Leeks and Cucumbers.

Bed ‘D’

This bed is the anomaly in the system. Great thought will have to be given in the siting if this bed initially as it will contain ALL your permanent crops. These will include Rhubarb, Strawberries, Raspberries, all fruit bushes and all fruit trees. If starting your plot from scratch, it is wise to thoroughly prepare this bed before planting as it is not going to be rotated like the other 3 beds and is going to be there for a long time. It is for this reason that the system is only referred to as a 3 Bed System.

The Second and Third Years

In the following years the system moves the beds along in rotation as follows: –

In the fourth year the system is back to where you began.

Other Systems

The 3 bed system is not the only system of Rotation. Where space is available a 4 bed system can be used. This is basically the same as the 3 Bed system except the 4th bed is not used at all and left fallow. This is only a viable proposition if you have plenty of space and can afford to let the ground lie idle for a season.

Some gardeners have even more complex systems where they use 5 or 6 beds.

The Five Year system theory is:

First Year: Potatoes. They need lots of manure, which helps to feed the fertility for the rest of the cycle. Grow outdoor tomatoes here.

Second Year: Leeks, onions. Another group needing lots of manure or compost. Also include squashes (pumpkin, Courgettes, Marrows) in this area because they have similar needs.

Third Year: Legumes – Peas and beans. Also grow sweetcorn with this group again because they have similar needs. They also fix Nitrogen in the soil ready for the next crop.

Fourth Year: Brassicas – Cabbages, sprouts, cauliflowers, broccoli, turnips, Swedes, radishes. They get the benefit of the nitrogen fixed in the soil by the legumes.

Fifth Year: Roots – carrots, parsnip, Beetroot, celeriac.

Lettuce and salad crops are used as catch crops wherever there is a spare space.

The Six Bed System

This scheme is based on Lawrence D. Hills rotation scheme using their

Natural orders. This may sound complicated but in practice it is not.

1. ROOTS: Carrot, parsnip, Beetroot, chicory, spinach beet, chard, and celeriac

2. ALLIUMS: Onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots.

3. LEGUMES: Broad beans, runner beans, French beans, peas

4. BRASSICAS: Cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts, broccoli, Swede.

5. SOLANACEAE: Potatoes, tomatoes

6. CUCURBITEAE: Courgettes, Squashes, and (Sweetcorn)

Salad crops can be fitted in around the others as catch crops.

All this may sound very simple in theory but, in practice, it tends to be a bit more difficult, especially if space is at a premium.

The average gardener will probably need a lot more space for things like Potatoes and Sweet Corn than for Beetroot. It may be that you can only erect a frame for climbing beans in a particular area to avoid it shading other crops or it is not possible to move it each year.

These plans are only a guides really and do not have to be adhered to strictly. As long as soil is well prepared each year for the necessary crop there is no reason why you cannot grow beans in the same position for a few years on the run. The only vegetables to avoid growing in the same area each year are Brassicas. These are very susceptible to Clubroot Disease. This disease is spread by spores in the soil and if given chance to build up, can devastate a crop.

#13) Compost

Compost is the cornerstone of all healthy soils but making it is not always as easy as it should be.�

Compost is simply rotting vegetation and includes anything organic; animal, vegetable or mineral – anything that can be consumed by worms, bacteria or fungi. In order for the organisms to do their work, the correct environment is essential. Gardeners often have rotten, smelly composts and this is usually because they’ve deposited a whole lot of kitchen scraps and left it.�

Perfect compost depends on maintaining a good balance of carbon-containing ingredients and nitrogen-containing ingredients. An easy way of remembering which products contain carbon and which contain nitrogen is to simply think that ‘brown’ ingredients are carbons and ‘green’ ingredients are nitrogen.

Carbons: Autumn leaves are brown and they are one of the carbon ingredients, as are pea-straw, lucerne hay, sugar-cane mulch and moistened cardboard. Egg cartons and pizza bases are other examples and these can be collected, moistened and put into the compost. Shredded newspaper is also fantastic but glossy magazines should not be put in the compost.

Nitrogen: Lawn clippings are a perfect example of greens and will rot down beautifully, bringing nitrogen into your compost. Garden prunings, leaves, kitchen scraps, citrus peelings, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grindings are other great examples of compost greens.

You may have read it’s best to use a carbon, nitrogen ratio of 30:1. Jane says it’s not imperative stick to that. “If I look in my compost and it’s too wet or dry, I fix it.”

Wet compost: Compost needs to be moist but not wet. If it is too wet it becomes sludgy and won’t break down. To fix this simply add some dry ingredients such as cardboard, shredded paper or pea straw. Try to mix this through.

Dry compost: On the other hand, if your compost is too dry it can be solved by adding more green ingredients such as lawn clippings or kitchen scraps. A small amount of water can also be added to your compost for moisture. Ideally, you want to achieve fine compost that’s light and frothy but not too moist.

A common problem when composting is that there’s not enough oxygen getting into the middle. Air is important because the worms and other little creatures need oxygen to survive. Three or four times a week you need to aerate the compost by simply turning it over with a fork. Alternatively, PVC piping can be used, as can rolled-up chicken wire by inserting them into the compost at the start and piling the ingredients around them. Another way to get air to the middle is to push a crowbar into it.�

Another problem can be the size of the compost materials. People often don’t chop things up small enough. Eggshells are great in compost, but you need to make sure they are crushed up as fine as possible as they may not rot down.�

Many people question the use of citrus peelings. It is best not to use too many due to their acidity but if you crush or cut them up, they really make quite good compost and the worms don’t mind them. If you have vinegar flies hanging around there may be too much citrus. To get rid of vinegar flies add some dry material on top. �

Unless you have an enclosed compost bin, it’s best not to use meat scraps or cheese as they attract vermin. If you’re the kind of composter that only has kitchen scraps, keep some sugar cane mulch or a bale of pea straw by the compost bin. Every time you go down, empty the kitchen scraps in and then put two handfuls of sugar cane mulch or the pea straw in too. �

#14) Green manures

Green manures are a simple, cheap way to:

  • improve the fertility of your garden soil;
  • enhance its drought resistance;
  • suppress the germination and growth of weeds?

Green manure crops are crops grown, not to be harvested by the grower, but to be incorporated into the soil before they reach maturity to contribute to the care and feeding of the soil. It is an old technique of soil management that has unfortunately been forgotten by many farmers and gardeners who are no longer aware of the proven benefits of such crops benefits that come at the low cost of the seeds for the green manure crop.

Green manure crops contribute directly to the fertility of the garden through the supply of important plant nutrients. Legumes in particular supply a valuable amount of nitrogen since their roots form an association with soil-borne bacteria that can transform nitrogen from the atmosphere into nitrogen compounds that can be used by plants. This is quite a complicated feat and one which can save you the cost of fertilisers. Different nutrients such as phosphorus are supplied by other green manure crops.

Green manure crops contribute indirectly to nutrient supply as well. The process of decomposition of the crop aids in making further nutrients available that are already present in the soil but in a form that cannot be used by plants. It is believed that this happens through the actions of decomposition products including carbon dioxide and organic acids. An example of this indirect contribution is a barley crop. Bennett (1979) recommends growing a green manure crop of barley before a crop of tomatoes, since tomatoes have a high requirement for phosphorus and barley somehow increases the uptake of phosphorus in crops following it.

When incorporated into the soil, green manure crops can supply vast amounts of organic matter. Organic matter can also be supplied through mulches as well as through the incorporation of a green manure crop, but this usually involves greater expense. It can also be difficult to locate a source of good clean mulch such as straw that you know has not been sprayed with any chemicals, whereas, as an organic gardener, you know your crop is clean and does not contain unwanted chemical residues.

A good healthy soil should contain approximately 5% organic matter. While this may seem to be a small component of the soil, it is a vital one. According to the La Motte Soil Handbook “No other constituent plays such a major beneficial role in the soil environment and gets so little credit as does the organic fraction”. Indeed it was the emphasis placed on organic matter in the soil by the early proponents of organic growing that gave our method of agriculture its title.

Why is organic matter so important? Because decayed organic matter, or humus as it is called, is the key to soil structure, nutrient supply and the biological vitality of the soil.

The presence of humus in the soil also increases the amount of water which can be held in the soil. This is critical in making a garden drought resistant. In a dry season water applied to a garden is wasted if that water runs away and does not stay near the root zones of the plants.

Drought resistance can also be improved in another way by the use of green manure crops. Many of the legumes used as green manures, such as alfalfa, lupins and sweet clover, are very deep rooted crops. Their roots can penetrate the subsoil and open it up which is an important improvement in compacted soils. Subsequent vegetable crops can use the channels in the subsoil to allow their roots to reach deep into the subsoil and obtain water from the lower levels. It is worth remembering that many common vegetable crops are capable of putting down a large root system if the soil is loose enough. For example, in a deep, well structured soil, tomatoes can put roots down 150cm with the main root zone down to about 55cm and pumpkin and sweet corn roots can reach down to 180cm, with the main root zone down to about 60cm.

Crops can also obtain plant nutrients from the subsoil once it is opened by deep rooted green manure crops. Sourcing nutrients from these deeper levels of the soil has proved a major benefit for crops grown on farmland where the topsoil has either been eroded or has been worn out from overcropping. It is important in young gardens where the topsoil is thin. The clay subsoil in many parts of the Canberra region for instance can provide an excellent foundation for a soil building program provided it can be opened up for the crops grown in it.

Another benefit of a green manure crop is that while the green manure crop is growing it prevents weeds colonising the bare ground left after the previous crop has been removed. In general it helps protect the soil surface from erosion and leaching of nutrients.

Green manures can be grown in three ways:

  • As a crop during the main growing season, which, however, has the disadvantage of taking up valuable space at the most productive time of year.
  • As an undercover crop grown with the main crop, but planted after the main crop is established. This is an extremely useful method for gardeners in areas with long cold winters where there is not time to plant a green manure crop after the summer harvest. It is an interesting area of research in vegetable growing and for more information see Eliot Coleman’s “New Organic Grower”.
  • As an over winter crop, which is the most common way they are grown. In the Canberra region, autumn is an ideal time to plant green manure crops in beds emptied of the summer harvest. There is usually time to establish the crop before winter.

When establishing a garden, a green manure crop can be grown whenever a bed would otherwise be left vacant over winter. The only exception is preceding an onion crop, since onions seem to do best with no preceding green manure crop. Care should be taken with most root vegetables which do not appreciate soil with a lot of organic matter, so bulky crops should be avoided, as well as those high in nitrogen.

Once a good fertile soil has been created in the vegetable garden, it should only be necessary to replenish the supply of organic matter once in every four years, and the green manure crop can be grown at the end of a four year crop rotation such as:

Year 1: Tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants, leafy greens

Year 2: Onions, garlic or peas, beans, followed by brassicas

Year 3: Root crops

Year4: Cucurbits, Sweet corn followed by a winter green manure crop, then returning to Year 1 in the rotation.

The green manure crop can be dug in in Spring prior to planting crops for next summer. Having dug in a green manure crop you need wait only 4 to 6 weeks before planting summer crops.

However, if you consider digging in the green manure a difficult chore, you will be pleased to hear the results of a study by US Department of Agriculture scientists: Apparently they found “that amounts of nitrogen released from residues of alfalfa, wheat, and sorghum hardly differed at all whether the plants were tilled into the soil or just left there, untilled and unchopped on the surface”.

It seems therefore that you don’t have to dig it in, but incorporating it into the soil may lead to a speedier decomposition of the organic material. A satisfactory compromise is to partially chop up the crop, leave it on the soil surface, but cover it with straw to give protection to all the micro organisms who will appear to feast on the organic matter and convert it into humus in the soil.

The following Table is a list of suitable green manure crops for autumn for this region, along with brief comments which may help you decide which crop to plant. It is important to vary the types of green manure crops grown as they have different attributes and disadvantages. It is often a good idea to grow a mix of crops in the one bed to get the best results.

Autumn Green Manure Crops

Legumes: (fix nitrogen)*

Broad Beans: Produce a large amount of organic matter. Can be sown late in Autumn.

Will stand some water logging. Sow 35gm/sq m

Field Peas: Similar to above

Lupins: Effective phosphorus gatherers. Contribute lots of organic matter.

Not usually susceptible to fungal diseases which may affect peas and beans. Sow 16gm/sq m.

Sub Clover: Very effective nitrogen fixer. Not large amount of foliage. Sow l gm/sq m.

Tic Peas: Cheaper alternative to Broad Beans

Vetch: Large bulk. Competes well with weeds.

* Some lucernes may also be suitable

Non Legumes:

Barley Vigorous grower. Increases uptake of phosphorus in following crop.

Bennett (1979) recommends planting 2 cm deep, 3 cm apart, 15cm between rows.

Oats Grows in wide range of soils. Doesn’t mind acidity.

Tolerates very cold weather. Broadcast 10 gm/sq m

Rye Large amount of organic matter. Drought resistant. Sow similar to oats.


Alfalfa, a nitrogen fixer, is a suitable cover crop for large gardens or orchards. It requires a full season to mature. Alfalfa roots deeply, so use it to break up hard soils. You can plant alfalfa in the spring in cold climates, or in the fall in mild climates.


Like alfalfa, buckwheat requires a full growing season before you can dig it in. Buckwheat doesn’t fix nitrogen, but it does attract bees and predatory hoverflies, so plant it beside an adjacent garden to reap these benefits.


Red clover is an adaptive cover crop, tolerating shade, acidic soils, and poor drainage. Nitrogen-fixing red clover is low growing, so you can dig it in with a spade rather than a tiller

Fava Beans

Fava beans not only enrich the soil, they also provide the organic gardener with a crop he can eat at the end of the growing season. Even if you don’t like the taste of fava beans, save some seeds for future cover crop sowings. Fava beans act as nitrogen-fixers, and withstand cold temperatures well.


Mustard is a brassica, which means it’s in the same family as cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Therefore, you shouldn’t use mustard as a cover crop if you plan to plant vegetables in the brassica family in your garden to prevent pests and diseases that attack these plants. Mustard grows quickly, so you can use it as an interim cover crop between summer and fall vegetable crops.


Ryegrass tolerates cold conditions and grows quickly, so you can plant this as an early spring cover crop before you plant your summer garden. Make sure you plant the annual variety, not the perennial variety used in lawns.

Winter Vetch

You can plant winter vetch, a nitrogen-fixing crop, in the fall and till it under in the spring. This crop can get woody if you allow it to grow too large, so cut it down with a mower as soon as the ground is workable and give it a few days to wilt before you till it into the soil.

#15) Cover crop basics

Plant “green manure” this fall, and your garden will be more productive and healthier next season. Cover crops just might be the hardest-working plants you’ll ever grow. Cover crops (also called green manure) suppress weeds, build productive soil, and help control pests and diseases. Plus, cover crops are easy to plant and require only basic care to thrive. And they grow well in nearly every part of the country. �

Get started!
Maybe you already know about the benefits of cover crops but think they’re just for farmers and other large-scale growers. Think again. Cover crops are well suited to all gardens, whether they’re big or small. Here’s a step-by-step guide to reaping the rewards of cover crops in your garden. �

Step 1: Planting. If you’ve ever reseeded a bare patch in your lawn, rest assured you can plant a cover crop. Work up the soil gently with a garden rake, broadcast seed over the soil, and then rake it in. Raking establishes good soil-to-seed contact and protects the seed from birds. “Birds sometimes eat the seeds if they are too close to the surface,” says Nancy Creamer, Ph.D., director of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at North Carolina State University. If you decide to plant cover crops in the fall, be sure to allow them plenty of time to become established. “This means planting them four weeks before killing frosts. The one exception is cereal rye, which can be planted right up to a frost,” says Marianne Sarrantonio, Ph.D., associate professor of sustainable agriculture at the University of Maine. �

Step 2: Care. Cover crops are low-maintenance compared to most crops, but they still need some care. Mowing keeps large cover crops manageable, and sorghum-sudangrass actually increases its root growth if mowed once or twice. White Dutch clover planted in garden pathways needs to be mowed regularly to keep it from competing with vegetables and flowers. Be sure to water cover crops during times of drought. �

Step 3: Killing. You must kill your cover crops before they set seed and the topgrowth gets out of control. That’s right, kill them. “The best time to kill them is at flowering or when the seedheads emerge on grains. The annuals can all be killed at this point by cutting at the base of the plant,” advises Dr. Sarrantonio. �

You can mow cover crops with a lawn mower or a weed trimmer, depending on how tall the plants are. Wait a day or two until the leaves and stems dry down, and then dig them in. Longer pieces of stems and vines may interfere with tilling, but it won’t take long before the vegetative growth partially decomposes. �

After turning under a cover crop of grasses, wait two to three weeks before planting vegetables or flowers. The decomposition of the green material can tie up soil nitrogen. And cover crops such as rye are allelopathic, which means they inhibit seed germination. �

Finding space in your garden
When I discuss cover crops in gardening classes, a common concern is the amount of valuable garden space they occupy. However, you can fit cover crops right into your garden plan. �

Succession cropping is one of the easiest ways to do this. After spring crops of lettuce, radishes, and other early vegetables have been harvested, plant a fast-growing cover crop, such as buckwheat. In most climates, you can allow this cover crop to flower and still have time to plant a crop of frost-tolerant vegetables. Cover crops can also be planted in the fall after some main season crops, such as cabbage, are finished. �

Interplanting cover crops with vegetables is possible, though a bit trickier. “Ample water and nutrients available to both cover crops and vegetable crops, and controlling growth of the cover crop, are key to making this approach work,” cautions Dr. Creamer. It’s also important to delay your planting of the cover crop. “A good rule of thumb is to sow the cover crop seed into the vegetable bed one-third of the way through the vegetable crop’s growing cycle,” says Steve Diver of ATTRA–The National Sustainable Agriculture Service. For example, if you’ve planted a 75-day corn variety, interplant a cover crop about 25 days after seeding the corn. Organic farmers have had good luck with delayed interplantings of yellow blossom sweet clover with lettuce and onions. Dr. Sarrantonio suggests transplanting young tomato and pepper plants into a mowed mulch of hairy vetch and rye. The mulch reduces weeds, maintains moisture, and provides nitrogen.

Which cover crop is right for you? “You have to keep in mind the time of year and the species you are growing,” says Diver. Some, such as cereal rye, are very cold-tolerant and work well for late-season plantings. Others, such as buckwheat, are very frost-tender. The cover crops listed here are widely adapted and can be grown in most areas of the United States, either as a summer or winter cover crop, depending on where you live. �

Rye. This crop comes in two different types: annual rye and cereal rye. Both have their advantages. Sow cereal rye during the late summer or early fall, and it will grow until late in fall and resume growing in spring. With annual rye, which winterkills in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5 and colder, you’ll be able to plant your garden earlier, since you won’t have to turn the cover crop into the soil and then wait three weeks as you would with a perennial cover crop. �

Field peas/oats. This dynamic duo combines the benefits of a legume (peas) that fixes nitrogen and a grain (oats) that contributes plenty of organic matter. And the plants have complementary growth habit–the peas climb right up the oats. Both crops are cold-tolerant, which makes this a good mixture to plant in late summer or early fall. In colder climates, they will also winterkill, allowing an early spring start. �

Sorghum-sudangrass. As its name suggests, this grass is a cross between sorghum and sudangrass. This hybrid generates large amounts of organic matter and needs little encouragement to grow 5 to 12 feet tall. You can keep this frost-tender plant in check by mowing it down to 6 inches when it reaches a height of 3 feet or by planting it just seven weeks before frost. �

Buckwheat. It’s not wheat, and it’s not a Little Rascals character! Buckwheat is a broadleaf plant and an excellent smother crop–it’s effective even against weeds like quackgrass. “Buckwheat is very fast-growing and can provide a quick canopy to shade weeds. Just be careful to not let it go to seed, or you’ll have buckwheat in your next crop,” says Dr. Creamer. It matures in just six to eight weeks and can be squeezed in between spring and fall vegetable plantings. Buckwheat’s white flowers serve two purposes–they work well as a filler for flower arrangements, and they attract beneficial insects. �

Clover. Clover comes in a plethora of different shapes and sizes. White Dutch clover works well as a living mulch, since it tolerates both shade and traffic. Yellow blossom sweet clover is an excellent nutrient scavenger and helps build good soil structure. Crimson clover attracts beneficials and looks great, too. Whatever the color, clover fixes nitrogen and helps to build rich soils. For best results, make sure you inoculate your clover seed with Rhizobium bacteria.

#16) Homemade Pest Control

Scale and Mealybugs: Make an oil preparation that suffocates them by mixing four tablespoons of dishwashing liquid into one cup of vegetable oil. Mix one part of that mixture to about twenty parts of water, put it in your sprayer and spray the affected plants.�

Aphids, Caterpillars and Other Insects: Add two tablespoons of soap flakes to one litre of water and stir thoroughly until completely dissolved (this is quicker in warm water). There is no need to dilute this further, just spray it on as is.�

Black Spot Fungicide: In Queensland, Black Spot’s a major problem with roses, but this fungicide mixture works miracles. Add three teaspoons of bicarb soda to one litre of water. Don’t get carried away with the bicarb soda because if you make it too strong, it’ll cause all sorts of problems. Add a few drops of either dishwashing liquid, or fish emulsion to help the solution adhere to the leaf more effectively.�

Fungicide: Mix one level teaspoon of bicarb soda into one litre of water. Add one litre of skim milk and a pinch of Condy’s Crystals which you can get from a produce agent (someone that supplies to horse owners). Shake thoroughly.�

Grasshopper, Caterpillar and Possum Deterrent: Mix a cup of molasses into one litre of water and spray it over new foliage. �

Nematodes: Add half a litre of molasses to two litres of water and spread over one and a half square metres of affected garden area.�

All-round Insecticide: Chop four large onions, two cloves of garlic, and four hot chillies. Mix them together and cover with warm, soapy water and leave it to stand overnight. Strain off that liquid and add it to five litres of water to create an all-round insecticide. �

Pesticide: Crush a whole bulb of garlic and cover with vegetable oil. After two days, strain off the liquid, add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid and use one millilitre of concentrate to one litre of water. �

Herbicide: Add a cup of common salt to a litre of vinegar. After it’s dissolved, brush it directly onto weeds. Remember, it’s not a selective weed killer. It’ll kill anything it touches so be very careful how you use it. �

Predator Attractor: Predators that prey on pests are great things to have in the garden. Lacewings are particularly desirable because they consume aphids and many other pests. To encourage them into your garden, dissolve one teaspoon of a yeast based sandwich spread in water and spray it all over the plants. �

A big thanks to all contributors to this article of which there are too many to list.�

Self Defense Advice

Self Defense Advice


Some of the information may be based on nothing more than urban legends, however it doesn’t hurt to think about these things and just be a little more aware. Possible urban legends will be marked with UL, don’t just ignore them, you never know.

In General.

1. Learn to develop your awareness. Regardless of how much or how little self defence or martial art training you have had, awareness is the key to staying safe. This is not a blatant plug,
2. Attacker’s like victims who are unaware so that they can sneak up on them. Victim’s often claim in statements “He came out of nowhere” or “All of a sudden he was just there” CRAP, they just didn’t see the attacker until it was to late. WHY, they had no awareness skills.�
3. Listen to your inner alarm if it goes off to tell you that something may be wrong. If the little voice in your head is wrong so what, who cares, if it’s right you better care.�
4. If you frequently places where violence occurs on a regular basis I suggest you either stop or expect something to happen one of these days. �
5. If you believe that “it won’t happen to me”, you may be right. But if you’re wrong, make sure you have health insurance!!�
6. Never run from danger, always run to safety.�
7. You don’t need to develop a siege mentality but you should develop an aware mentality. A potential attacker will be put off by a victim that look alert and ready to defend themselves.�
8. If you make a habit of talking an exercise walk at night, take a walking stick and learn out to use it for defensive purposes (of course if you are ever questioned, it’s just a walking stick for your bad knee).�
9. Two essential tools that can help you avoid becoming a victim are a Deliberate Action Plan and an Immediate Action Plan
10. If you get in a situation in which you have to defend yourself, accept the situation, don’t ignore it, don’t hope that it will magically go away, face the situation and get on with it. If you have the physical skills to defend yourself do so if need be, if you don’t try and talk your way of the situation and try to escape. Remember the Immediate Action Plan.
11. Street confrontations such as assaults (including sexual assault) or robberies, mugging etc have 3 stages: Stalking, Interview & Attack.�
During the
Stalking Phase, the attacker seeks out a victim, the attacker watches them to ensure that they are a suitable victim, weak, unaware, without help or the perceived ability to resist the attack. At this stage awareness is the key to appearing to be an unsuitable victim.�
The second stage is
The Interview during this time the attacker may make contact with the victim, asking a seemingly innocent question, for directions for example or making a forceful demand for money for example. At this stage you have three choices (1) if you are going to physically defend yourself don’t get into a discussion, just get on with it before the attacker has the chance to attack. (2) Use the Immediate Action Plan and get to the point where you engage or escape. (3) If you are not going to defend yourself escape as quick as possible at this point, use distraction or a seeming willingness to comply but get away as quick as possible�
The third stage is the actual
Physical Attack, see next point.�
12. The physical attack part of the street confrontation is also made up of 3 elements: Surprise, Speed & Savagery. Your awareness can negate element 1 Surprise. Having a Deliberate Action Plan and/or an Immediate Action Plan can slow the attacker down and stop them from launching a savage attack.�
13. Never allow yourself to be taken to a second location, especially if you are female. What ever was going to happen to you are the first location will be much worse at a second location. The second location is likely to be more isolated with far less chance of escape or help. At the second location you may find yourself confronted by addition attackers. To repeat NEVER ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE TAKEN TO A SECOND LOCATION.�
Especially for females: if you are in a car with your husband or boyfriend and you are having an argument, NEVER demand to be let out of the vehicle NOW. You may find yourself alone in a dark street with no way to get home and who knows who will drive along that street next. Alway have your husband or boyfriend drive you home, feel free to ignore him them but at least you are home safe.

On the street.

1. Always be aware of your surrounding and who is around you especially at night.�
2. Your personal space is as far as you can see in all directions.�
3. If you have a routine, for example you always walk home along certain street, ensure that you know where the escape routes are, where locations of safety are and if there is anything along the way that could assist you if you are attacked, for example shops and or houses, always occupied where you can find help, weapons such as items always left in certain garden along the way.�
4. If you are walking, walk away from the roadway. Always walk toward on coming traffic. �
5. If you are walking at night, ensure that you are aware of everything thing or person within at least 100 metres. Who cares if looking around makes you seem paranoid.�
6. If you think that you are being followed take some form of evasive action, for example speed up, cross to the other side of the street, turn around and walk the opposite direction and then observe what your suspected follower does.�
7. If they continue to follow you and you feel comfortable, stop and say “Are you following me”, if they say “yes” , well at least you know. If they say “no” and then move on, remain aware and alert.�
8. If you are approached by someone and that inner alarm goes off, take evasive action, move to the other side of the street, speed up, change direction. �
9. If you walk at night consider purchasing and carrying a Maglite style torch. These powerful torches can be purchased at various places and even the small ones are bright enough to stun a potential attacker when shone into the eyes giving you enough time to escape. The larger models also double nicely as a baton.


1. Always lock your doors when driving. It’s a myth that keeping the doors unlocked would assist if you get in a crash. �
2. If you have keyless entry, program the remote to only open the driver’s door, most remotes can be programmed so that one press opens the driver’s door and two presses opens all the doors. If you are not sure read the manual. �
3. Always look into the rear of the car before getting in, especially at night, open the door let the light come on and have a look in the back.�
4. When driving always leave a 2 second gap between you and the car in front. Not only will this help to prevent you being involved in a rear end collision, it allow you better visibility.�
5. Always leave at least 1 full car length between you and the car in front when stopped at traffic light or in traffic congestion. This allows you some room to move your vehicle in a car jacking situation. If you make a habit of not stopping at light in the middle lane if 3 lanes you will also have a better mean of escape, up the gutter or over the medium stripe if necessary.�
6. If you are signalled to pull over by an unmarked Police car at night or in a deserted area, DO NOT STOP. Drive to a more populated area and/or contact Police on 000 if need be to confirm that it is actually a Police vehicle. If it is a real Police vehicle and you don’t stop they have the ability to call for back up from a marked Police vehicle, we suggest you stop for marked Police vehicles. If you are not going to stop only proceed at or below the prevailing speed limit. If you do stop, do not get out of your vehicle until you are instructed to by a UNIFORMED Police officer, otherwise open your window slightly and talk to the person. Do no switch you car off until you are sure that it is a genuine Police officer.�
7. If you are involved in a minor accident at night or in a deserted area you do have to get out to exchange details. Write your information down and pass it through a partially open window. Obtain the other driver’s details the same way, if they will not provide details, get the rego number of the car then leave the scene if you can and use you phone to have someone come and assist you ASAP.�
8. Never leave bags, lap tops, wallets or valuables on the front seat in full view. Place large items on the floor in the back and small items in the glove box of console.�
9. If you break down at night or in deserted areas stay in your locked car, use you phone and turn the interior light off. �
10. Always ensure that you car is in the best running order, even if you’re not a mechanic, check the tires, water and oil on a regular basis.�
11. Always re-fuel when you tank gets to no less than 1/4 full, if you are going to run out of fuel it will be at the worst possible time.�
12. Never leave children unattended in a car EVER, it might only be a minute while you run into the shop, but a thief takes a lot less time to steal a car and if they find a child in the back who knows what they would you, it has happened and children have died. You would never forgive yourself.�
13. Do not leave your car running whilst you run into a shop or any other place, not even for a minute.�
14. NEVER, EVER leave a child in an unattended and running car. I know I am repeating myself.


1. Learn to use the ATM quickly, practice your PIN on a calculator.�
2. Try to avoid using ATMs at night or in deserted locations. Plan ahead, get the money out when it’s safer.�
3. Always have a good look around before using the machine, if you see someone or something that just isn’t right, listen to that little voice and get the money out later.�
4. After you have keyed in the info required look around again, the more aware you appear the less like a victim you look.�
5. When you receive your money put it in your pocket, bag etc. Don’t go walking along head down counting fifties. If you need to count the money do it in a secure location where you can’t be viewed by a potential attacker.�
6. Always ensure that you retain your card and receipt.

Service Stations.

1. When using a service station (especially at night) take the time to look into the shop area when you pull up. If there is anything suspicious going on leave the area immediately.�
2. If the car park is full of hoons leave and fill up another time. (see point 11 in car section).�
3. Always lock your car when getting out to fill up and especially when you go into the shop to pay, unlocked cars at service stations are easy targets.�
4. Always take the time to take your children with you when you go to pay (see point 12 in car section).�
5. Ladies never leave your handbag on the roof of the car as you fill up.�
6. As you fill up remain aware, look around, appear alert.�
7. Don’t walk across the forecourt of the service station counting the money you intend to pay with or counting your change.

At the shops.

1. Alway try to park in well lit (if at night) and non isolated areas.�
2. Always lock you car.�
3. When returning to your car with shopping be alert, look around the area and inside your car before your concentration to taken up with putting kids and/or shopping into the car.�
4. If kids are with you, have them get into the car before you put the shopping away.�
5. Don’t put bags or keys on the roof whilst you put the shopping into the car.�
6. Remain alert at all times.�
7. Lock the car when you get in.

Railway Stations.

1. In addition to the advice above, if you are returning to your car at night hold you eyes in such as way to allow you to defend yourself with them. (NOTE: there will be links with photos of this soon, check back next week).�
2. Make sure that you scan the area fully for any potential problems.�
3. If you see something that makes you feel uneasy take action, do not go to the car, stay in the well lit area of the station, call someone to assist you. Good luck finding someone who works there. Make sure you have your phone and pre-plan. If you know that you get to the railway station at 8pm every night have someone you can contact who can come and pick you up if need be.�
4. Purchase and carry a Maglite style torch. These powerful torches can be purchased at various places and even the small ones are bright enough to stun a potential attacker when shone into the eyes giving you enough time to escape. The larger models also double nicely as a baton.


Due to increased security less banks are robbed these days, but that doesn’t mean it never happens.�
1. As you enter the bank have a quick look around, if anything suspicious is happening leave immediately.�
2. Whilst waiting in line to make a deposit, keep you money in your pocket or bag, take it out when you get to the teller window.�
3. If you make a cash withdrawal, count the money if you need to inside the bank and put in your pocket or bag before you leave the bank.�
4. If you are making a large withdrawal, scan the other customers in the bank and ensure that none are following you when you leave the bank, if they are take evasive action such as returning to the bank to see what the person does next. If in doubt speak to bank staff or call Police.

GPS devices.

1. Don’t leave your GPS unattended in your car, apparently they are easy to steal.

Possible UL

There have been claims that people had their car broken into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.

When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen.

The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.�

Advice to consider if you have a GPS – don’t put your home address in it. Put a nearby address (like a shop or petrol station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where you live if your GPS were stolen.

Mobile Phones.

1. Always have you mobile phone charged when you go out, you never know when you might need it.�
2. Have an ICE (In Case 0f Emergency) number in your phone.�
3. Do not store your home address in your phone under ‘Home’.�
4. Don’t leave any confidential information stored in your message inbox or sent folder or anywhere else in your phone.

Possible UL

Your mobile phone is lost or stolen.
Later you contact your husband or wife to tell him what had happened, but he or she says ‘I received your text asking about our Pin number and I’ve replied a little while ago.’

You rush to the bank to find that all your money has been withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text ‘hubby’ or ‘wife’ in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

Advice Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list.�
Consider avoiding using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mum, etc and NEVER EVER send sensitive info via text without first confirming by calling.

Travelling Overseas.

1. When travelling to countries with non Angelo backgrounds be aware of their customs, for example what is acceptable behaviour in Australia may not be acceptable in other countries.�
Take the time to familiarise yourself with the customs of countries you visit.�
2. Be aware that the legal system in many countries is very different from the legal system in Australia. If may have few of the rights you expect here.�
3. It would appear that if you get into trouble in a foreign country, the Australian Government by way of embassies or consulates is next to useless.�
4. It is a good idea to check the
DFAT web site before travelling overseas, they list warning and information about many countries.


1. Always have your laptop password protected.�
2. Try to avoid leaving a laptop unattended in a motor vehicle, if you have to lock it in the boot. never leave it insight in the vehicle.�
3. When travelling put your laptop on the floor in the back of the vehicle, never on the front seat.

4. Make sure that you have any important information backed up elsewhere just in case.


That freedom and the right to have freedom, is a right for ALL people, some just aren’t aware it’s being taken away.�


The concept of Leaderless Resistance was proposed by Col. Ulius Louis Amoss, who was the founder of International Service of Information Incorporated, located in Baltimore, Maryland. Col. Amoss died more than fifteen years ago, but during his life was a tireless opponent of communism, as well as a skilled Intelligence Officer. Col. Amoss first wrote of Leaderless Resistance on April 17, 1962. His theories of organization were primarily directed against the threat of eventual Communist take-over in the United States. The present writer, with the benefit of having lived many years beyond Col. Amoss, has taken his theories and expounded upon them. Col. Amoss feared the Communists. This author fears the federal government. Communism now represents a threat to no one in the United States, while federal tyranny represents a threat to everyone . The writer has joyfully lived long enough to see the dying breaths of communism, but may, unhappily, remain long enough to see the last grasps of freedom in America.

In the hope that, somehow, America can still produce the brave sons and daughters necessary to fight off ever increasing persecution and oppression, this essay is offered. Frankly, it is too close to call at this point. Those who love liberty, and believe in freedom enough to fight for it are rare today, but within the bosom of every once great nation, there remains secreted, the pearls of former greatness. They are there. I have looked into their sparking eyes; sharing a brief moment in time with them as I passed through this life. Relished their friendship, endured their pain, and they mine. We are a band of brothers, native to the soil gaining strength one from another as we have rushed head long into a battle that all the weaker, timid men, say we can not win. Perhaps…but then again, perhaps we can. It’s not over till the last freedom fighter is buried or imprisoned, or the same happens to those who would destroy their freedom.

Barring any cataclysmic events, the struggle will yet go on for years. The passage of time will make it clear to even the more slow among us that the government is the foremost threat to the life, and liberty of the folk. The government will no doubt make today’s oppressiveness look like grade school work compared to what they have planned in the future. Meanwhile, there are those of us who continue to hope that somehow the few can do what the many have not. We are cognizant that before things get better they will certainly get worse as government shows a willingness to use ever more severe police state measures against dissidents. This changing situation makes it clear that those who oppose state repression must be prepared to alter, adapt, and modify their behavior, strategy, and tactics as circumstances warrant. Failure to consider new methods and implement them as necessary will make the government’s efforts at suppression uncomplicated. It is the duty of every patriot to make the tyrant’s life miserable. When one fails to do so he not only fails himself, but his people.

With this in mind, current methods of resistance to tyranny employed by those who love our race, culture, and heritage must pass a litmus test of soundness. Methods must be objectively measured as to their effectiveness, as well as to whether they make the government’s intention of repression more possible or more difficult. Those not working to aid our objectives must be discarded or the government benefits from our failure to do so.

As honest men who have banded together into groups or associations of a political or religious nature are falsely labeled “domestic terrorists” or “cultists” and suppressed, it will become necessary to consider other methods of organization–or as the case may very well call for: non-organization. One should keep in mind that it is not in the government’s interest to eliminate all groups. Some few must remain in order to perpetuate the smoke and mirrors vision for the masses that America is a “free democratic country” where dissent is allowed. Most organizations, however, that possess the potential for effective resistance will not be allowed to continue. Anyone who is so naive as to believe the most powerful government on earth will not crush any who pose a real threat to that power, should not be active, but rather, at home studying political history.

The question as to who is to be left alone and who is not, will be answered by how groups and individuals deal with several factors such as: avoidance of conspiracy plots, rejection of feeble minded malcontents, insistence upon quality of the participants, avoidance of all contact with the front men for the federals–the news media–and, finally, camouflage (which can be defined as the ability to blend in the public’s eye the more committed groups of resistance with mainstream “kosher” associations that are generally seen as harmless.) Primarily though, whether any organization is allowed to continue in the future will be a matter of how big a threat a group represents. Not a threat in terms of armed might or political ability, for there is none of either for the present, but rather, threat in terms of potentiality. It is potential the federals fear most. Whether that potential exists in an individual or group is incidental. The federals measure potential threat in terms of what might happen given a situation conducive to action on the part of a restive organization or individual. Accurate intelligence gathering allows them to assess the potential. Showing one’s hand before the bets are made, is a sure way to loose.

The movement for freedom is rapidly approaching the point where for many people, the option of belonging to a group will be nonexistent. For others, group membership will be a viable option for only the immediate future. Eventually, and perhaps much sooner than most believe possible, the price paid for membership will exceed any perceived benefit. But for now, some of the groups that do exist often serve a useful purpose either for the newcomer who can be indoctrinated into the ideology of the struggle, or for generating positive propaganda to reach potential freedom fighters. It is sure that, for the most part, this struggle is rapidly becoming a matter of individual action, each of its participants making a private decision in the quietness of his heart to resist: to resist by any means necessary. It is hard to know what others will do, for no man truly knows another man’s heart. It is enough to know what one himself will do. A great teacher once said “know thyself.” Few men really do, but let each of us, promise ourselves, not to go quietly to the fate our would-be masters have planned.

The concept of Leaderless Resistance is nothing less than a fundamental departure in theories of organization. The orthodox scheme of organization is diagrammatically represented by the pyramid, with the mass at the bottom and the leader at the top. This fundamental of organization is to be seen not only in armies, which are of course, the best illustration of the pyramid structure, with the mass of soldiery, the privates, at the bottom responsible to corporals who are in turn responsible to sergeants, and so on up the entire chain of command to the generals at the top. But the same structure is seen in corporations, ladies’ garden clubs and in our political system itself. This orthodox “pyramid” scheme of organization is to be seen basically in all existing political, social and religious structures in the world today from the Federal government to the Roman Catholic Church. The Constitution of the United States, in the wisdom of the Founders, tried to sublimate the essential dictatorial nature of pyramidal organization by dividing authority into three: executive, legislative and judicial. But the pyramid remains essentially untouched.

This scheme of organization, the pyramid, is however, not only useless, but extremely dangerous for the participants when it is utilized in a resistance movement against state tyranny. Especially is this so in technologically advanced societies where electronic surveillance can often penetrate the structure revealing its chain of command. Experience has revealed over and over again that anti-state, political organizations utilizing this method of command and control are easy prey for government infiltration, entrapment, and destruction of the personnel involved. This has been seen repeatedly in the United States where pro-government infiltrators or agent provocateurs weasel their way into patriotic groups and destroy them from within.

In the pyramid type of organization, an infiltrator can destroy anything which is beneath his level of infiltration and often those above him as well. If the traitor has infiltrated at the top, then the entire organization from the top down is compromised and may be traduced at will.

An alternative to the pyramid type of organization is the cell system. In the past, many political groups (both right and left) have used the cell system to further their objectives. Two examples will suffice. During the American Revolution “committees of correspondence” were formed throughout the Thirteen colonies.

Their purpose was to subvert the government and thereby aid the cause of independence. The “Sons of Liberty”, who made a name for themselves dumping government taxed tea into the harbor at Boston, were the action arm of the committees of correspondence. Each committee was a secret cell that operated totally independently of the other cells. Information on the government was passed from committee to committee, from colony to colony, and then acted upon on a local basis. Yet even in these bygone days of poor communication, of weeks to months for a letter to be delivered, the committees without any central direction whatsoever, were remarkable similar in tactics employed to resist government tyranny. It was, as the first American patriots knew, totally unnecessary for anyone to give an order for anything. Information was made available to each committee, and each committee acted as it saw fit. A recent example of the cell system taken from the left wing of politics are the Communists. The Communist, in order to get around the obvious problems involved in pyramidal organization, developed to an art the cell system. They had numerous independent cells which operated completely isolated from one another and particularly with no knowledge of each other, but were orchestrated together by a central headquarters. For instance, during World War II, in Washington, it is known that there were at least six secret Communist cells operating at high levels in the United States government (plus all the open Communists who were protected and promoted by President Roosevelt), however, only one of the cells was rooted out and destroyed. How many more actually were operating no one can say for sure.

The Communist cells which operated in the U.S until late 1991 under Soviet control could have at their command a leader, who held a social position which appeared to be very lowly. He could be, for example, a busboy in a restaurant, but in reality a colonel or a general in the Soviet Secret Service, the KGB. Under him could be a number of cells and a person active in one cell would almost never have knowledge of individuals who are active in another cell. The value of this is that while any one cell can be infiltrated, exposed or destroyed, such action will have no effect on the other cells; in fact, the members of the other cells will be supporting that cell which is under attack and ordinarily would lend very strong support to it in many ways. This is at least part of the reason, no doubt, that whenever in the past Communists were attacked in this country, support for them sprang up in many unexpected places.

The efficient and effective operation of a cell system after the Communist model, is of course, dependent upon central direction, which means impressive organization, funding from the top, and outside support, all of which the Communists had. Obviously, American patriots have none of these things at the top or anywhere else, and so an effective cell organization based upon the Soviet system of operation is impossible.

Two things become clear from the above discussion. First, that the pyramid type of organization can be penetrated quite easily and it thus is not a sound method of organization in situations where the government has the resources and desire to penetrate the structure; which is the situation in this country. Secondly, that the normal qualifications for the cell structure based upon the Red model does not exist in the U.S. for patriots. This understood, the question arises “What method is left for those resisting state tyranny?” The answer comes from Col. Amoss who proposed the “Phantom Cell” mode of organization. Which he described as Leaderless Resistance. A system of organization that is based upon the cell organization, but does not have any central control or direction, that is in fact almost identical to the methods used by the Committees of Correspondence during the American Revolution. Utilizing the Leaderless Resistance concept, all individuals and groups operate independently of each other, and never report to a central headquarters or single leader for direction or instruction, as would those who belong to a typical pyramid organization.

At first glance, such a type of organization seems unrealistic, primarily because there appears to be no organization. The natural question thus arises as to how are the “Phantom cells” and individuals to cooperate with each other when there is no intercommunication or central direction? The answer to this question is that participants in a program of Leaderless Resistance through phantom cell or individual action must know exactly what they are doing, and how to do it. It becomes the responsibility of the individual to acquire the necessary skills and information as to what is to be done. This is by no means as impractical as it appears, because it is certainly true that in any movement, all persons involved have the same general outlook, are acquainted with the same philosophy, and generally react to given situations in similar ways. The pervious history of the committees of correspondence during the American Revolution show this to be true.

Since the entire purpose of Leaderless Resistance is to defeat state tyranny (at least insofar as this essay is concerned), all members of phantom cells or individuals will tend to react to objective events in the same way through usual tactics of resistance. Organs of information distribution such as newspapers, leaflets, computers, etc., which are widely available to all, keep each person informed of events, allowing for a planned response that will take many variations. No one need issue an order to anyone. Those idealist truly committed to the cause of freedom will act when they feel the time is ripe, or will take their cue from others who precede them. While it is true that much could be said against this type of structure as a method of resistance, it must be kept in mind that Leaderless Resistance is a child of necessity. The alternatives to it have been show to be unworkable or impractical. Leaderless Resistance has worked before in the American Revolution, and if the truly committed put it to use for themselves, it will work now.

It goes almost without saying that Leaderless Resistance leads to very small or even one man cells of resistance. Those who join organizations to play “let’s pretend” or who are “groupies” will quickly be weeded out. While for those who are serious about their opposition to federal despotism, this is exactly what is desired.

From the point of view of tyrants and would be potentates in the federal bureaucracy and police agencies, nothing is more desirable than that those who oppose them be UNIFIED in their command structure, and that every person who opposes them belong to a pyramid type group. Such groups and organizations are an easy kill. Especially in light of the fact that the Justice (sic) Department promised in 1987 that there would never be another group that opposed them that they did not have at least one informer in. These federal “friends of government” are intelligence agents. They gather information that can be used at the whim of a federal D.A. to prosecute. The line of battle has been drawn. Patriots are required therefore, to make a conscious decision to either aid the government in its illegal spying, by continuing with old methods of organization and resistance, or to make the enemie’s job more difficult by implementing effective countermeasures.

Now there will, no doubt, be mentally handicapped people out there who, while standing at a podium with an American flag draped in the background, and a lone eagle soaring in the sky above, will state emphatically in their best sounding red, white, and blue voice, “So what if the government is spying? We are not violating any laws.” Such crippled thinking by any serious person is the best example that there is a need for special education classes. The person making such a statement is totally out of contact with political reality in this country, and unfit for leadership of any thing more than a dog sleigh in the Alaskan wilderness. The old “Born on the fourth of July” mentality that has influenced so much of the American patriot’s thinking in the past will not save him from the government in the future. “Reeducation” for non-thinkers of this type will take place in the federal prison system where there are no flags or eagles, but abundance of men who were “not violating any law.”

Most groups who “unify” their disparate associates into a single structure have short political lives. Therefore, those movement leaders constantly calling for unity of organization rather than the desirable unity of purpose, usually fall into one of three categories.

They may not be sound political tacticians, but rather, just committed men who feel unity would help their cause, while not realizing that the government would greatly benefit from such efforts. The Federal objective, to imprison or destroy all who oppose them, is made easier in pyramid organizations. Or perhaps, they do not fully understand the struggle they are involved in and that the government they oppose has declared a state of war against those fighting for faith, folk, freedom and constitutional liberty. Those in power will use any means to rid themselves of opposition. The third class calling for unity and let us hope this is the minority of the three, are men more desirous of the supposed power that a large organization would bestow, than of actually achieving their stated purpose.

Conversely, the last thing Federal snoops would have, if they had any choice in the matter, is a thousand different small phantom cells opposing them. It is easy to see why. Such a situation is an intelligence nightmare for a government intent upon knowing everything they possibly can about those who oppose them. The Federals, able to amass overwhelming strength of numbers, manpower, resources, intelligence gathering, and capability at any given time, need only a focal point to direct their anger. A single penetration of a pyramid type of organization can lead to the destruction of the whole. Whereas, Leaderless Resistance presents no single opportunity for the Federals to destroy a significant portion of the Resistance.

With the announcement by the Department of Justice (sic) that 300 FBI agents formerly assigned to watching Soviet spies in the US (domestic counter intelligence) are now to be used to “combat crime”, the federal government is preparing the way for a major assault upon those persons opposed to their policies. Many anti-government groups dedicated to the preservation of the America of our forefathers can expect shortly to feel the brunt of a new federal assault upon liberty.

It is clear, therefore, that it is time to rethink traditional strategy and tactics when it comes to opposing a modern police state. America is quickly moving into a long dark night of police state tyranny, where the rights now accepted by most as being inalienable will disappear. Let the coming night be filled with a thousand points of resistance. Like the fog which forms when conditions are right and disappears when they are not, so must the resistance to tyranny be.

“If every person has the right to defend–even by force–his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly.” —The Law. Frederick Bastiat Paris, 1850.

How to Stay Lost Amendments

How to Stay Lost Amendments

Section 1 What I’ll be discussing in this how-to essay

He’s right in saying who the article isnt written for. Avoidance involving criminal activity isnt really covered but geared that way in some chapters. “You will be caught”. You can be on the run for a certain amount of time but DNA has a tendancy to catch up with people. The sections go into several different topics that dont really apply to the target audience. If you havent commited a crime then removal of finger prints isnt really neccessary. If you have committed a crime then the article doesnt go far enough into removing DNA, fingerprints can also be found on paper towelling used to smudge prints. Acetone is needed to fully remove prints and bleach mist to remove DNA, let alone removing every ounce of body hair. As just one strand with a root stem is enough left behind for a trace to begin a profile.�

Domestic violence is covered briefly. From my experiences, if your reading this to dissapppear from spousal abuse dont bother. If your not willing to just pack your bags and walk out after the first time of being hit then you wont go as far as many of the suggestions in the following chapters. Ive known too many people that have been in these situations, both men and women. It is the cycle of phycology that needs to be broken first. The first time I saw a female friend with a black eye, I put her boyfriends face into a side of a bar. She went straight back to him feeling sorry for him and spent the next few years going through assaults and not placing police charges. Ive had to remove a boyfriend from a pub for beating his girlfriend in the middle of the dance floor. He was removed without a punch from him or us, but the female was placed on three assault charges for trying to glass us for attacking her boyfriend. The cycle needs to be broken or they will keep becoming involved with the same type of people through their relationships until finally being beaten enough that they end up in hospital and it becomes a police matter and social workers are brought in.One good point. Dont involve the children. Place them in foster care, or they’ll just grow up being taught the same cycle. Whether that is to be a victim or the abuser.�

If yourve been reading this to change your identity because life sucks, then I suggest growing some balls and changing your life. It will take more work to become someone else than it will to change the old you.�

Section 2 Understand who or what you’re hiding from

Understanding who your running from. Once again, if a federal agency the only way is to leave the country and depart for another with no extradition treaty with your own. This requires cash and lots of it. Federal agencies have more resources than state. Facial recognition at every airport etc. State is easier, but it only takes one speeding ticket to see if warrants have been issued or one mistake. Criminals are creatures of habit. If a crime, that was spur of the moment, then the inability to cover your tracks is going to make it even easier to find you when all of a sudden you disapper by becoimg primary suspect. I think the article is mainly written for people just wanting a break from society. In which case I dont understand why its neccessary to destroy a vehicle. The author has tryed to cover too many bases where he may have been better off writing three different articles. If simply wanting to disappear for a time then burning a car will draw more attention to yourself. When the vehicle if found but you are not, then its probable that a suspicion will be formulated that you have become a victim of crime and listed as a missing person. �

If wanting to slow down a spouces pursuit then, phycologically if spending the last few years accepting abuse its highly unlikely to trash that persons vehicle out of fear of retribution. If wanting to slow down a vehicle then there are much easier ways of doing it than those mentioned. A screw driver through the welsh plugs or radiator. To fix welsh plugs requires the manifolds to be removed or if able to reach the rear plug then the engine needs to be removed and gear box dropped. Unattaching the electrical system so the alternator wont charge the battery if timing is wanted as theyll travel only so far before not being able to restart the engine without jumper cables. Simply removing the rotor from the distributer cap or adjusting the sequence of leeds from the spark plugs will put the order in which the cylinders fire out of place. If a diesel try filling the fuel tank with unleaded petrol. Stay away from revenge manuals with ideas of filling batteries with petrol etc. You will end up being placed under criminal charges yourself. I know of one person that tried placing golf balls into a trucks fuel tank, because of a dislike for the boss. The outer core is meant to gradually be melted by the petroleum, leaving rubber strands throught he engine. Pitty about fuel filters and cctv at the fuel depot. Firearms. If in an abusive relationship, I doubt that the other party will ever allow you access to a firearm. Let alone being able to remove it.�

Section 3 Throw away yourself and build a new you

Good points here but trying to reopen bank accounts without 100 points of ID now is very hard. Can be done, but Im not going to go into how to do it. Once again lending itself to an article written for criminal activity. Abandoning a car, just leave it in a parking lot with the window down and the keys in it. Better off selling it for the cash to finance leaving.�

Section 4 Keep from depositing traces of yourself

Once again this seems more written for the criminal element, good habits to get into but written before DNA testing.�

Section 5 Keeping yourself hidden

Once again for the criminal element. If satellites are being used to track you, then major funding is being used and your a terrorist, otherwise it costs more than a small nation to turn one into a search device for a bank robber. Helicopters, this was once again written before thermal imaging. Dont know where he came up with the information about dogs? Try grabbing my staffy by the neck, he’ll just get off on it until he gets pissed off and there goes your forearm. Running from ground forces, good information.�

Section 6 People and Organizations Which Can Assist You

Yeah, try going to bikers for help now a days? Theyre watched more than you will be. Stick to soup kitchens and try woofers. Willing workers on organic farms. You can work for several days to pay for meals and board and travel from one registered woofer farm to another. Same goes for section 7 �

Section 7 Employment: Food, Shelter While on the Run, While Underground

Employment. Everywhere now requires a tax file number or large businesses wont employ cash wokers in case of being sued if injured. This is the down fall of dissapearing, cash is always needed or the ability to find people willing to pay cash jobs is an art in itself most of the time. Trying woofers once again. Have the skills behind you to work in several different areas. Do a few night courses in hosptality, welding, horticulture etc. Fruit picking can be followed all year. See links below�

Section 8: Checkpoints on America’s Highways — People Looking for you

CCTV is on every highway, and public transport now. The police use a different UHF system now that cant be listened to by scanners in some states. Sticking to back roads, good idea.�

Section 9: Summary

If you want to start a new life you’ll need more information than is supplied here.�

Section 10: Special note to Earth Liberation and Animal Liberation groups

I wont even bother here. Ive once again known too many people involved in these organisations. One day they were bragging about breaking into a chicken farm and releasing all the hens. Im a conservationist but not a greeny. When I pointed out that the chickens had never walked more than a few feet in their lives if that, had no idea what preditors were, had their beaks clipped to only pick up large grains and were incapable of feeding themselves free range and that most would be dead by the time the week end had finished. I had no time for these people after that. It never occured to them to get a job and all put their cash together to buy the chicken farm and release the hens into a rehad facility. That would be too hard. Just kill them in the name of being right. Dogooders are more dangerous than nazism. They have their own web sites for the activities they are involved with. Some with good information others with lets see who can be a raving loony first?Reality isnt a high prioity.There are better ways of going about things. Common sense and logic have little to do with mandates of dogooders. If you read the Green Party policies they read as if taken from “Mien Kampf”.�

Section 11: Deserts as a Place to Hide / Squatting

A few good ideas here about squatting. Dont bother about deserts in oz. Not enough small towns to get supplies from and not enough water. If in a desert here youll need a good supply of water and thatll be the easiest way of finding you and small towns are farer apart. Better to be around many small towns to purchase supplies at a different store each time. Good thoughts about squatting on public lands and setting up semi permanent accomodation.�

Section 12: Fright Hopping — Riding the Rails

Wouldnt even try it in this country, better to just buy a ticket. By doing anything illegal youll draw more attention to yourself faster than anything else�

Section 13: Dropping off the Grid: Peace Corps, Others

Farm work and voluteer work? Farm work, yes. Still one of the few places to find cash work and have accomodation thrown in and never have to go to a town.�

Section 14: Montana Supreme Court Notes Ability to Track Everyone

If on public land or once that container has been emptied into the trash truck its anybodies.�

Section 15: Hanging Out in the Mojave Desert — How It Was Done

Interesting video to watch, will need to go to original link to view it. I checked out the youtube site and found over 600 vids. You can make up your own mind on that one.�

Section 16: Some good comments offered by readers

Getting better, worth the read.�

Section 17: Public Camps and National Forest Squatting

Lots of camping spots in books available from 4WD sites that do not require payment. Camping on public lands, depending on local goverment restrictions can mean. Being able to stay for a few days to being told to move on within minutes of being located by inspectors.�

Section 18: Internet Research Before You Disappear

Erase all internet searches and servers. Nothings easier now a days to search your entire life through your computer. Get off face book etc.These are a great source for stalkers and wackjobs.�

How I’d do it.

If not a fugitive and being actively searched for its actually pretty easy to go off grid. The main problems are accomodation, transport and employment. Gain the skills to find work in several different industries. Try farms, pubs and woofers. Erasing ID wont get you far but placing the rego of a vehicle under someone elses name is a smart move. All you really need to do to dissappear off the grid at a state level is to have no utilities under your name. No gas, electrcity, phone or vehicles. Try subletting from another renter. Buy a small VW combi for travelling, placed under someone elses name and have no bills other than petrol and pay rego yearly this also helps with accomodation. No need for backpacking with a tent or having to try and find hotel rooms in inclement weather. Squatting in camping areas or carparks overnight and move the van during the day and to different car parks during the week so your not noticed. The only way of really tracking someone under these circumstances is through either a medicare card for health rebates if becoming ill or bank account details if listed as a missing person.�

I subletted for several years and was so far off the grid I had trouble getting a new bank account. I had a warrant for a minor traffic infringement, involving towing another vehicle which ended up being unregistered. The court sheriffs office tried all previous adresses that were listed due to previously owning firearms at those times. The new renters called me to inform me of the warrant. I repeatedly contacted the local police and courts informing them that I was working three jobs and wasnt at home much and gave them the new address, which they didnt believe. I even offered to pick up the warrant from either the local police station or to let them know where I was at a certain time of day. All of which was not in their way of serving paperwork. I later turned up at the court and explained the situation to the clerk who relayed that I had turned up volunterily and was given a 2 day suspension of licence for pleading guilty and handing my self in even though a second offense. The first being a mix up in a change of address.�

I later lived in a bus for three years. A double decker that stood out like dogs balls. Better with something that didnt draw so much attention. It was never registered in my name and only moved every 6 months for a change of scenery or closer to work opportunites from transfers. I used trade plates for transporting it and never had it registered for the three years. The girl I lived with for a year then wanted to take me for half of what I owned. I just said take me to court. She didnt have the money for a lawyer and when she did pay for one found out that my car was financed to the bank for a personal loan and belonged to them and the bus wasnt officially ever in my name. I had never had the rental sites in her name and no way of ever proving she had lived with me.�

When I later left work after a back injury. Workcover that is local government workcover, which is like work cover was 30 years ago kept harrassing me. No utilites or address and I ended up throwing the mobile phone at a wall which took all their power. I used up 6 months of RDO’s rostered days off that I had accrued and only returned their calls from work until finally leaving. The funniest part is when they threatened me with survielance. I asked if they ever bothered to read my resume. When they asked why. They were informed that I used to do surveilance for their bosses and the payout doubled after 3 hours. I took it before I burned down the depot. Theres only so much BS I could have taken at the time. Too much pain, too many meds and being told I probably wouldnt be walking by the time I was 40 was enough. Point is they couldnt find me by living in a van park with nothing in my name. I will never live in a van park again. Theyre usually filled with either wackjobs or the owners are minor dictators.�

Good to visit for using amenities such as showers, but Id prefer to use a solar shower and not even pay or associate with a van park and have solar panels on the roof for power uses. Long range fuel tanks to avoid as many towns as possible, solar for power, small gas tanks for cooking and just stay in parking bays with hundred thousand dollar views or scrub blocks away from tourist destinations. I have skills to work with heavy vehicles, horticulture, welding, mechanics, hospitality(barwork), cleaning, building, other than security but would probably stick to fruit picking and enjoy travelling the seasons and doing pruning after the picking has finished. Then use WWOOFERS in between. Better cash opportunities that dont go through bank transactions.�




Blade Realities

The Dubious Quick Kill – Part I
By Maestro Frank Lurz

The enemy before you consistently carries his guard a bit high. Is it carelessness, or is he baiting you? You effect a small step backward and, just as you had hoped, your opponent attempts to close the measure. His leading foot begins to lift from the ground when, with the speed of a lightning bolt, you suddenly straighten your sword arm and direct a feint toward the man’s flank, just under his hand. Seized with panic he parries wildly, but the hostile blade finds only thin air. With perfect timing you’ve eluded his parry and, disengaging to the high line you drive a killing thrust, with a vigorous lunge, deep into your antagonist’s chest. To your surprise you feel almost no resistance to your blade as it disappears beneath the fabric of his blouse. Stunned, the hapless swordsman freezes in his tracks as he realizes in that instant that his life on this earth is over.�

“La!” You deftly pull your weapon out of the man’s body and, triumphant, you are about to turn and leave the ground when, to your amazement, your foe recovers himself and returns to the guard! Eyes wide and mouth agape, you stand motionless in disbelief and, in that brief interval of inaction, the dying man desperately lunges forward, in one last heroic effort, and runs you through. You stagger briefly and then begin to fall; seconds rush in to arrest your fall and terminate the combat. They cradle you in their arms and, although your vision begins to blur, you look up to see the expressions of anguish and desperation on their faces. As consciousness ebbs away a last thought runs through you mind: “This isn’t how it was in the movies!”�

The foregoing scenario, while in itself a fiction, broadly describes the outcomes of numerous duels, and almost certainly more than many of us interested in such things might expect. For those of us who have taken up the courtly weapon with more interest in fencing than just its practice as a sport, such outcomes might well seem disquieting; after all, we’ve been taught that fencing tempo lies at the heart of every attack, defense and counterattack. If we deliver our thrust one or more tempi ahead of our adversary, we’re doing just as our maestri told us–aren’t we?�

How do we reconcile fencing theory with the anecdotes passed down through history? Can we trust what was reported by seconds and the principals who survived? How credible is the “evidence?” Take for example the case of the duel fought in 1613 between the Earl of Dorset and Lord Edward Bruce. According to the Earl’s account, he received a rapier-thrust in the right nipple which passed “level through my body, and almost to my back.” Seemingly unaffected, the Earl remained engaged in the combat for some time. The duel continued with Dorset going on to lose a finger while attempting to disarm his adversary manually. Locked in close quarters, the two struggling combatants ultimately ran out of breath.�

According to Dorset’s account, they paused briefly to recover, and while catching their wind, considered proposals to release each other’s blades. Failing to reach an agreement on exactly how this might be done, the seriously wounded Dorset finally managed to free his blade from his opponent’s grasp and ultimately ran Lord Bruce through with two separate thrusts. Although Dorset had received what appears to have been a grievous wound that, in those days, ought to have been mortal, he not only remained active long enough to dispatch his adversary, but without the aid of antibiotics and emergency surgery, also managed to live another thirty-nine years.�

Never happen in a thousand years? Maybe. After all, Dorset himself told the story. If fishermen tend to exaggerate, surely duelists will. However, consider the duel between Lagarde and Bazanez. After the later received a rapier blow, which bounced off his head, Bazanez is said to have received an unspecified number of thrusts, which, according to the account, “entered” the body. Despite having lost a good deal of blood, he nevertheless managed to wrestle Lagarde to the ground, whereupon he proceeded to inflict some fourteen stab wounds with his dagger to an area extending from his opponent’s neck to his navel. Lagarde meanwhile, entertained himself by biting off a portion of Bazanez’s chin and, using the pommel of his weapon, ended the affair by fracturing Bazanez’s skull. History concludes, saying that neither combatant managed to inflict any “serious” injury, and that both recovered from the ordeal. One could hardly be criticized for believing this story to be anything more than a fiction.�

While the previous tale seems amazing enough, hardly anyone can tell a story more incredible than that witnessed by R. Deerhurst. Two duelists, identified only as “His Grace, the Duke of B” and “Lord B”, after an exchange of exceptionally cordial letters of challenge met in the early morning to conduct their affair with pistols and swords. The combat began with a pistol ball inflicting a slight wound to the Duke’s thumb. A second firing was exchanged in which Lord B was then wounded slightly. Each then immediately drew his sword and rushed upon the other with reckless ferocity. After an exchange of only one or two thrusts, the two became locked corps a corps. Struggling to free themselves by “repeated wrenches,” they finally separated enough to allow the Duke to deliver a thrust which entered the inside of Lord B’s sword arm and exited the outside of the arm at the elbow.�

Incredible as it may seem, his Lordship was still able to manage his sword and eventually drove home a thrust just above Duke B ‘s right nipple. Transfixed on his Lordship’s blade, the Duke nevertheless continued, attempting repeatedly to direct a thrust at his Lordship’s throat. With his weapon fixed in His Grace’s chest, Lord B now had no means of defense other than his free arm and hand. Attempting to grasp the hostile blade, he lost two fingers and mutilated the remainder. Finally, the mortally wounded Duke penetrated the bloody parries of Lord B’s hand with a thrust just below Lord B’s heart.�

In the Hollywood swashbucklers this scene might well have ended at this point, if not long before, but real life often seems to have a more incredible, and certainly in this case, more romantic outcome. Locked together at close quarters and unable to withdraw their weapons from each other’s bodies for another thrust, the two stood embracing each other in a death grip. At this point the seconds, attempting to intercede, begged the pair to stop. Neither combatant would agree, however, and there they both remained, each transfixed upon the blade of the other until, due to extensive blood loss, his Lordship finally collapsed. In doing so, he withdrew his sword from the Duke’s body and, staggering briefly, fell upon his weapon, breaking the blade in two. A moment later, the “victorious” Duke deliberately snapped his own blade and, with a sigh, fell dead upon the corpse of his adversary.�

Numerous similar accounts begin to make a case the prudent swordsman cannot afford to ignore. It would appear that delivering a thrust or cut to an opponent, without falling prey to his own blade in turn, may not be so very simple and easy a thing. If one is skillful (or fortunate) enough to accomplish this feat, how long after inflicting a wound with a rapier, sabre, or smallsword can one’s adversary continue to pose a threat? Does the type of wound have any meaningful effect on the length of time during which a stricken foe may continue to deliver a killing cut or thrust? To prevent the opponent from executing a counterattack, delivering a riposte or renewing an attack, where and how might one strike to take the adversary immediately out of the combat?�

Dynamics of Stabbing and Incising Wounds�
Death from stabbing and incising (“cutting” or “slashing”) wounds is mainly brought about through five mechanisms: massive hemorrhage (exsanguination), air in the bloodstream (air embolism), suffocation (asphyxia), air in the chest cavity (pneumothorax), and infection. Of these, exsanguination is the most common, with hemorrhaging confined principally to the body cavity because stabbing wounds tend to close after the weapon is withdrawn. The amount of blood loss necessary to disable totally an individual varies widely and may range from as little as one-half to as much as three liters.�

To reach a vital area it is first necessary to pass the blade through the body’s external covering and whatever else lies between, and with regard to techniques in swordsmanship, an important consideration is the degree of force required to pass through intervening structures in order to reach vital structures with a sword-thrust or cut. In France, in 1892, this issue was raised during a trial conducted as a consequence of a duel fought between the Marquis de Mores and a Captain Meyer. The question arose on account of an accusation that the weapons used in the duel were “too heavy.” While two physicians, Drs. Faure and Paquelin, testified that it did not require great strength to inflict a wound similar to that which took Captain Meyer’s life, there was some difference of opinion expressed by a number of fencing masters called to testify on the matter of acceptable weights of weapons, and the force required to employ them in the delivery of a fatal thrust.�

Even today, prosecutors trying homicide cases involving death by stabbing will sometimes attempt to convince juries that a deeply penetrating stab wound serves as an indicator of murderous intent by virtue of the great force required to inflict such wounds. It is generally accepted today among experts of forensic medicine, however, that the force requisite to inflict even a deeply penetrating stab wound is minimal. This opinion would seem to be supported by the experience of a stage actor who inadvertently stabbed a colleague to death during a stage performance of Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet. The unlucky young man delivered a thrust at the very moment his vision was inadvertently obscured by a member of the cast. Although he claimed to have felt no resistance, a post mortem examination revealed that he had penetrated the chest of the victim to a depth of eighteen centimeters.�

Except for bone or cartilage which has become ossified, it is the skin that offers the greatest resistance to the point of a blade. In fact, once the skin is penetrated, a blade may pass, even through costal cartilage, with disquieting ease. Generally, of the factors governing the ease of entry, the two most important are the sharpness of the tip of the blade and the velocity with which it contacts the skin. While the mass of the weapon is a factor in penetration, the velocity of the blade at the moment of contact is of greater importance, since the force at impact is directly proportional to the square of the velocity of the thrust.�

Unlike injuries inflicted with pointed weapons, the depth of cutting wounds, produced by the edges of weapons like the sabre or rapier, is governed by a somewhat different set of dynamics which include the radial velocity of the blade at impact, its mass, the proficiency with which the blade is drawn across the body upon contact, and the distance over which the force of the cut is distributed. The greatest depth of penetration in many of these wounds is found at the site where, with maximum force, the blade first makes contact. As the edge is pushed or drawn, the force of the cut dissipates and the blade tends to rise out of the wound as it traverses the body. In the case of cutting wounds directed to the chest, the total force required to reach the interior of the chest is greater than that for a point thrust, not only because the force of the stroke is distributed across the length of the cut, but also because of the likelihood that the blade will encounter greater resistance afforded by the underlying ribs and the breastbone (sternum).�

Wounds to the Heart Because exsanguination is the leading and most frequent cause of death in stabbing and incising wounds, it is not unreasonable to direct our attention initially to wounds to the cardiovascular system and further, to consider the evidence provided by the medical records and coroners reports of the current era. Let us first begin with a brief review of human anatomy. In an adult, the heart is approximately twelve centimeters long, eight to nine centimeters wide at its widest point, and some six centimeters thick. It is encased in a membranous sack, the pericardium, and rests on the upper surface of the diaphragm, between the lower portions of the lungs and behind the sternum.�

The organ is divided into four chambers: the left and right atria and the left and right ventricles. It is comprised almost entirely of muscle, and serves a vital function as a pumping mechanism to distribute blood throughout the body. It is unattached to the adjacent organs, but is held in place in the chest cavity, suspended by the pericardium and by continuity with the major blood vessels. The muscular walls of the heart are supplied with blood by the right and the left coronary arteries, each of which bifurcates into a series of subdivisions.�

Because the heart is a vital organ, it is generally thought that a serious injury to the heart will result in instant death. Consequently, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the duelist expected a thrust to his adversary’s heart to disable him immediately. While swordplay done in earnest is now a thing of the past, a wealth of information regarding stab wounds to the heart has been accumulated in recent times by the practitioners of modern forensic medicine. Many of these wounds have been inflicted with instruments very much like the blades of rapiers, sabres, and smallswords and the means by which such wounds have been treated; combined with assessments of the injuries through the sophisticated discipline of forensic medicine; reveal some surprising truths with which many duelists most certainly had to deal.�

While a stab wound to the heart is a grave matter, numerous instances of penetrating wounds to this organ have been documented in which victims have demonstrated a surprising ability to remain physically active. In 1896 a case was reported in which a twenty-four year old man was stabbed in the heart. Despite a wound to the left ventricle, which severed a coronary artery, the victim not only remained conscious, but was also able to walk home.�

Much later, in 1936, a paper was presented to the American Association of Thoracic Surgery in which thirteen cases of stab wounds to the heart were cited. Of these, four victims were said to have collapsed immediately. Four others, although incapacitated, remained conscious and alert for from thirty minutes to several hours. The remaining five victims, thirty-eight per cent of the total, remained active: one walking approximately twenty-three meters and another running three blocks. Yet another victim remained active for approximately ten minutes after having been stabbed in the heart with an ice pick, and two managed to walk to a medical facility for help.�

In another instance a report cites an impressive case of a man stabbed in the left ventricle. Despite a wound 1.3 centimeters in length, the victim was able to continue routine activity for some time and lived a total of four days before expiring. In 1961, a survey conducted by Spitz, Petty and Russell included seven victims stabbed in various regions of the heart. While none of these people expired immediately, some were quickly incapacitated. Five were not, however, and one victim, despite a 2 centimeter slit-like “laceration” located in the left ventricle, managed to walk a full city block. After arming himself with a broken beer bottle, the victim finally collapsed while in the act of attempting to re-engage the individual who stabbed him.�

The amount of time elapsing between a stab wound to the heart and total incapacitation of the victim is dependent upon the nature of the wound and which structures of the heart are compromised. In the light of the cases cited in the preceding paragraphs, one may expect that a penetrating wound to the left ventricle, such as that which would be inflicted by a smallsword, may not necessarily bring a combat to a sudden conclusion. Blood in this chamber of the heart, at the end of ventricular contraction (end-systole), may reach pressures as high as one hundred twenty millimeters of mercury or more, especially during combat, and one might reasonably expect blood under such pressure to escape readily through a breach in the ventricular wall. The walls of this chamber are comprised almost entirely of muscle tissue, however, and are exceptionally thick.�

As a consequence, the left ventricular wall has the potential to seal itself partially through the contraction of the muscle tissue immediately surrounding the site of the wound. While the end-systolic pressure in the right ventricle normally amounts to only eighteen percent that of the left, wounds to the right ventricle are far more likely to be quickly fatal because the thickness of this ventricular wall is only a third that of the left ventricle and is, consequently, less able to close a wound.�

With respect to penetrating (stabbing) wounds to the heart the location, depth of penetration, blade width, and the presence or absence of cutting edges are important factors influencing a wounded duelist’s ability to continue a combat. Large cuts that transect the heart may be expected to result in swift incapacitation due to rapid exsanguination, and immediate loss of pressure, but stab wounds, similar to those that might be inflicted by a thrust with a sword with a narrow, pointed blade may leave a mortally wounded victim capable of surprisingly athletic endeavors. Knight cites a case of one individual who, stabbed “through” the heart, was still able to run over 400 meters before he collapsed. Yet two more striking cases are also reported of victims who survived wounds to the heart, one of which is described as, “a through-and-through stab wound of the left ventricle that transfixed the heart from front to back.”�

Wounds to the Major Thoracic Blood Vessels The vital area located in the center of the chest is not occupied by the heart alone. The large thoracic blood vessels converge with the heart in such a way as to present an area nearly equal in size to that presented by the heart. Consequently, a sword-thrust that penetrates the chest but fails to find the heart may nevertheless pierce or incise one or more of these large vessels.�

Normally, blood pressure in the major arteries located in the chest (thorax) averages approximately one hundred millimeters of mercury, with a maximum pressure of some one hundred twenty millimeters at end-systole. Subdivisions of the aorta greater than three millimeters in diameter offer little vascular resistance. Consequently, the average blood pressure in these vessels is nearly the same. Since the thoracic arteries confine blood under considerable pressure, and because the walls of these vessels are relatively thin, compared to the walls of the ventricles, punctures or cuts in these vessels may allow blood to escape quite rapidly, depending on the size of the opening.�

The major thoracic arteries then, are more vulnerable to stabbing wounds than are the ventricles of the heart. While a good deal smaller in diameter, a puncture or severing of the coronary arteries, because they supply blood to the walls of the heart’s ventricles, may also result in rapid incapacitation of a duelist. Forensic pathologists Dominick and Vincent Di Maio point out that especially vulnerable is the left anterior descending coronary artery which supplies the anterior wall of the left ventricle. Stabbing wounds which transect this small vessel may be expected to result in sudden death.�

Nevertheless, cases have been reported in which stabbing victims, whose thoracic arteries were penetrated, remained physically active for a surprisingly long period of time. An example may be found in the case of a twenty-three year old man who was stabbed in the chest with a kitchen knife. At autopsy a wound tract was disclosed that penetrated both the aorta and the left ventricle. Blood issuing from these wounds into the chest cavity amounted to a volume of two liters. Despite the serious nature of his wounds, the victim nevertheless managed to walk more than 100 meters before collapsing and remained alive until shortly after he had been taken to the hospital. Another example is that of a twenty-five year old man whose subclavian artery and vein were severed by a thrust delivered by a kitchen knife. Losing a total of three liters of blood, he was able to run a distance of four city blocks before finally collapsing.�

Wounds to the Major Blood Vessels of the Neck The aortic arch branches into arteries that service the upper body, including the head. Of these, the left and right common carotid arteries are of significant interest with regard to dueling practice because these vessels supply the larger share of blood to the brain and because they extend unprotected, in the neck, on either side of the windpipe (trachea). While these arteries are not externally visible, one can understand why a stroke delivered to the neck with an edged weapon such as a sabre, or thrust with an edged smallsword or rapier, would seem to be an effective means of incapacitating an adversary. Certainly, the severing of a common carotid artery will immediately terminate a large portion of the blood supply to the brain.�

Nevertheless, the victim of such a wound may remain conscious for from fifteen to as many as thirty seconds; a more than ample amount of time for a dying swordsman to execute a number of cuts, thrusts and parries. In addition to the carotid arteries, the neck also encompasses the jugular veins, which return blood from the brain, face, and neck to the heart. While the escape of blood under high pressure is a concern for wounds to the vessels of the arterial system, wounds to the jugular veins pose a different problem. By the time blood reaches these vessels, its pressure is nearly zero.�

In fact, during the inspiratory phase of the respiratory cycle, when contraction of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles creates a negative pressure within the thorax, pressure in the jugular veins also falls below zero. As a consequence, an opening in the jugular vein which communicates with the external environment may allow small bubbles of air to be entrained into the vessel. As the air enters, a bloody froth can be produced which, when drawn into the heart, may render the pumping action inoperative (valve lock). Whereas a severed vein is not usually considered to be as serious an injury as a severed artery, air embolism due to a cut jugular vein may cause a victim, after one or two gasps, to collapse immediately.�

As the neck encompasses the cervical spine, carotid arteries, trachea, and jugular veins in a relatively small space, a sword-thrust to this area would seem very likely to sever or impale a vital structure and disable an adversary almost immediately. And so it was, during the reign of Louis XIII, for one Bussy D’Ambrose who was run through the throat while acting as a second for the Marquis de Beuvron. The chance of combat, however, is a fickle companion to the duelist, as Sir Hatton Cheek discovered in 1609 in his duel with Sir Thomas Dutton. Each, armed with rapier and dagger, met the other on the sands of Calais. On the first pass Cheek directed a dagger thrust to Dutton’s throat, close to the trachea, and ran him through. One may imagine with what surprise Cheek found that the wound proved to be entirely ineffective.�

In fact, despite the seemingly serious nature of his injury, it was Dutton who concluded the combat by running Cheek through the body with his rapier, and then stabbing him in the back with his dagger. If we are surprised at Dutton’s ability to continue the combat, it is with horror that we find that Cheek, after having been so grievously wounded, not only failed to drop to the ground, but continued on with the combat, gathering enough strength to rush yet again upon his adversary. The conflict continued until Dutton, noticing that Cheek began to droop on account of massive blood loss, wisely adopted a defensive strategy, keeping his distance until Cheek finally collapsed from loss of blood.�

Wounds to the Major Abdominal Blood Vessels�
Within the abdominal cavity are found the abdominal aorta and its two major branches, the common iliac arteries; and their venous counterparts, the inferior vena cava and the common iliac veins. These vessels are large, relatively speaking, and they confine blood under end-systolic pressures similar to those found in the major thoracic arteries. All of these vessels are located in close proximity to the spinal column and lie behind the bulk of the abdominal viscera.�

In the present-day United States, wounds delivered by thrusts or cuts from a sword are almost entirely unheard of; knives are by far the most common weapon involved in stabbings. Obviously, the depth to which a knife may penetrate the abdominal cavity is less that that for the blade of a sword. It is important to bear this point in mind with respect to a finding that less than half of all stab wounds do any serious injury to the abdominal viscera. Longer blades might well increase the morbidity and mortality of such injuries. Wounds to the abdomen which do prove fatal usually involve the large blood vessels and/or the liver, which is a highly vascular organ itself.�

The rate of blood loss from even a grievously wounded liver is not likely to be sufficient to cause sudden cardiac collapse, however, since the vascular resistance within this organ is very high. Complete transection of the abdominal aorta could be expected to incapacitate a duelist relatively quickly, but some degree of good fortune would be required to introduce the blade in such a way as to impale this relatively narrow structure within the bulk of the abdomen, or draw the blade’s edge along the artery’s wall to transect it.�

A sabre stroke would certainly be an effective means of severing the major abdominal arteries and veins, but because they are located against the vertebral column, the stroke would have to be made with considerable violence in order to pass the blade through the skin, the underlying abdominal muscles, and the viscera situated in front of the vessels. Were such a stroke delivered, violating the integrity of the large vessels would be a moot point in any case since the sudden loss of intra-abdominal pressure and the attendant cardiac return would induce immediate cardiac collapse.�

For a cutting action to do so much damage the type of sabre would be an important consideration. While a heavy cavalry sabre with a curved blade would have sufficient mass and dynamics to yield the necessary force, a cut delivered to the abdominal wall by the lighter and shorter dueling sabre with a straight rather than a curved edge would likely prove inadequate to the task and could leave the adversary still capable of posing a serious threat.�

Wounds to the Blood Vessels of the Upper Limbs�
Although relatively far removed from the heart, the arteries of the arms are still of sufficiently low vascular resistance to carry blood under pressures similar to those found in the greater thoracic arteries. Of the major arteries of the arm, the brachial artery is the largest and lies along the medial surface of the bone of the upper arm (humerus). As it descends, it progressively courses anteriorly to the crook of the arm, where it is well exposed to a sword-thrust or cut. From the crook of the elbow it divides into the ulnar and radial arteries.�

Wounds to any of these vessels can be extremely life-threatening, especially if the vessel is only partly severed, since the muscular walls of a completely transected artery will naturally retract and impair the rate of hemorrhage. Incisions in the radial artery are a well-recognized cause of death in suicide victims. Nevertheless, because of their relatively smaller diameters, immediate incapacitation due to blood loss from the severing of these arteries cannot be expected.�

The veins of the arm are far more numerous than the major arteries. They are significantly more narrow and intravenous pressures are normally less than ten millimeters of mercury. As a consequence, incisions or even complete transections of these vessels can be expected to result in no immediately serious consequences.�

Wounds to the Blood Vessels of the Lower Limbs�
Much like the arms, the legs each are serviced by one large artery which divides into two major branches. The femoral artery lies in front of the hip joint and descends along the medial surface of the thighbone, (femur). Unlike the brachial artery, however, the mid and distal portion of the femoral artery is not altogether vulnerable to the blade of the duelist. As it approximates the knee joint it spirals around the femur and passes directly behind the knee in the form of the popliteal artery, which subsequently bifurcates to become the anterior and posterior tibial arteries.�

Like the arm, the leg is laced with a complex network of veins. Most of these are relatively narrow and deep and the pressure of blood confined within these vessels is low. The rate of blood flow through these vessels is relatively slow and wounds severing one or more of them cannot be expected to result in consequences of any interest to the duelist.�

Cuts or thrusts to the major arteries of the legs can be serious enough to cause death. Nevertheless, an adversary seriously wounded in a femoral artery ought still to be considered an extremely dangerous adversary because blood loss is unlikely to be so rapid as to result in immediate collapse. In the last of the judicial duels fought in France in 1547 between Francois de Vivonne, Lord of Chastaigneraye and Guy de Chabot, the oldest son of the Lord of Jarnac, Chastaigneraye was wounded by cuts to the back of the knee of both legs. Hamstrung, Chastaigneraye lay helpless on the ground while a lengthy exchange of words followed between him and his adversary.�

Jarnac offered to spare Chastaigneraye if he would admit that his accusations, over which the trial took place, were in error, but Chastaigneraye refused to recant and Jarnac, loth to take his opponents life, pleaded with the attending monarch, Henry II, to intervene and save Chastaigneraye’s life. Initially, the king refused to interfere, however. Hemorrhaging uncontrollably from at least one artery, Chastaigneraye remained upon the ground while Jarnac continued to plead back and forth with both Chastaigneraye and the king to end the combat. After Jarnac’s third appeal, the king finally interceded, but Chastaigneraye’s pride had been mortally wounded. Refusing to allow his wounds to be treated, he finally succumbed after “a little time” from loss of blood.�

It is important to note that Chastaigneraye was considered to have been a swordsman of extraordinary skill as well as an excellent wrestler. Following the cutting stroke to his leg, the extended period during which he lay hemorrhaging to death was certainly of sufficient length to have afforded him a number of thrusts, strokes and parries. Had the slash to the backside of his right leg not crippled him, Chastaigneraye might well have been the victor in this combat, severed artery notwithstanding.�

In conclusion, fencing tempo is a vital element of swordsmanship, but clearly for the duelist hitting before being hit is not at all the same thing as hitting without being hit. Exsanguination is the principal mechanism of death caused by stabbing and incising wounds and death by this means is seldom instantaneous. Although stab wounds to the heart are generally imagined to be instantly incapacitating, numerous modern medical case histories indicate that while victims of such wounds may immediately collapse upon being wounded, rapid disability from this type of wound is by no means certain. Many present-day victims of penetrating wounds involving the lungs and the great vessels of the thorax have also demonstrated a remarkable ability to remain physically active minutes to hours after their wounds were inflicted. These cases are consistent with reports of duelists who, subsequent to having been grievously or even mortally wounded through the chest, neck, or abdomen, nevertheless remained actively engaged upon the terrain and fully able to continue long enough to dispatch those who had wounded them.�

The Dubious Quick Kill – Part II�

Because exsanguination is the most frequent cause of death in stabbing and incising wounds1, the first installment of this work covered the subject of wounds to the cardiovascular system. Anecdotes of duels fought with rapier, sabre, or smallsword, and forensic literature based upon present-day coroner’s reports of homicides in which knives and other sharp instruments were used convincingly showed that mortal wounds to the major vessels and even to the heart itself do not always lead to instant incapacitation of the victim.�

The veracity of these accounts is supported by a 1961 survey conducted by Spitz, Petty and Russell which found that of seven victims stabbed in various regions of the heart, none expired immediately. While two were quickly incapacitated, the remaining five were not, and of these one, despite a two-centimeter incision in the left ventricle, walked a full city block, armed himself with a broken beer bottle, and collapsed only after he returned to the scene of the crime to re-engage the individual who had stabbed him. This case in particular makes it clear that for the duelist, mortally wounding an adversary, even in the heart, may not necessarily be enough to place him hors de combat. This final installment will address other organ systems of the human body with an aim to further explore the question of instant incapacitation by thrust or cut.�

The Respiratory System�
To understand the mechanisms of incapacitation and death caused by sharp force injury to the respiratory system, a brief explanation of the anatomy and mechanical function of this system will be helpful. Air entering the nose and mouth is conducted to the lungs by way of the windpipe (trachea), a nearly cylindrical conduit passing down through the neck toward the chest cavity where it divides into the right and left bronchi. Each bronchus further bifurcates into a series of subdivisions within the lungs. In the chest, within the spaces (pleural cavities) found on either side of the heart, lie the lungs.�

Divided into a number of lobes, these organs are exceptionally light, porous, highly vascularized, and elastic. The movement of air into the lungs is governed by a number of muscles which increase the volume of the chest, and hence, the volume of the pleural cavities within. As these cavities expand, a drop in intrathoracic pressure is produced. Provided the airway is clear, air rushes in along the pressure gradient to equilibrate the intrathoracic pressure with outside pressure, thereby inflating the lungs which expand as they fill the larger volume. Upon exhalation the process is reversed, generally through a passive mechanism produced by the elastic character of the lungs, chest wall, and abdomen.�

Wounds to the Respiratory System�
As long as the pleural cavities remain closed to the outside atmosphere, the mechanics of respiration function normally. If the chest wall is opened, however, intrathoracic pressure will equilibrate as outside air enters, not just into the lungs, but directly into the pleural cavity through the incision (pneumothorax), thereby causing the lung inside to collapse. A sabre stroke penetrating the intercostal muscles and opening the chest wall will produce a pneumothorax, resulting in the immediate loss of function of the lung. Of course to do so, the cut would either have to fall between and run parallel to the ribs, or be of sufficient force to cut through the bone. Since the right and left lungs are each isolated within their own pleural cavities however, a wound to only one side of the chest would leave the lung on the opposite side functional.�

A point thrust inflicted by a smallsword or rapier may produce somewhat different results. While a penetrating wound inflicted with these weapons may appear on the surface to be much smaller than the incising wound produced by the stroke of a sabre, the track of a penetrating wound may extend completely through the body, damaging even the most deeply located structures. In addition, such a wound may be inflicted with little effort since the entire force of the thrust is delivered by a sharp point over an extremely small surface area. Depending upon the size of the blade, the hole in the chest wall may be small enough to close itself partially upon withdrawal of the blade, producing only a slow leak of air into the chest cavity. If the victim were well profiled when the thrust was delivered, the blade could enter one lung and easily pass through the chest to the opposite side, causing pneumothorax in both pleural cavities. In this case air would enter the pleural cavity not only through the hole in the chest wall, but also through the holes in the lungs themselves, with each respiratory cycle.�

Death caused solely by pneumothorax is generally a slow process, occurring as much as several hours after the wound is inflicted. However, because lung tissue is so heavily vascularized, a blade penetrating not only the chest wall but the lung as well will also cause hemorrhaging into the pleural cavity (hemothorax); the amount of blood and the rate of its flow being dependent upon the dimensions of the wound, blood pressure, vascular structures compromised, and clotting factors.�

While blood loss alone may produce incapacitation and death, it is important to consider that, in the case of stab wounds to the chest, most of the blood lost usually remains confined within the pleural cavity because the elastic nature of the tissues around the site of entry tends to at least partially close the wound. Consequently, as the cavity fills with blood, the lung becomes increasingly compressed and less able to function, contributing to the cause of death. Today, most fatalities due solely to stab wounds which penetrate the lungs are caused by hemothorax, with pneumothorax sometimes also present.�

As is the case with pneumothorax, neither death nor incapacitation by hemothorax is rapid. Spitz reports a typical case of a twenty-nine year old man stabbed in the chest. Immediately after the stabbing the victim ran across the street to ask for help. He eventually collapsed, but remained alive for one and a quarter hours before expiring. Autopsy revealed a 2.5 centimeter wound track in the lung and a volume of blood in the pleural cavity in excess of two liters.8�

Consistent with the findings of Spitz and other present-day investigators, numerous examples taken from dueling anecdotes indicate that sword-thrusts to the lungs were not always effective in immediately placing a determined duelist out of the combat. The duel fought in 1613 between the Earl of Dorset and Lord Edward Bruce is a typical example. According to the account, the Earl received a rapier thrust, which entered the right nipple and passed “level through my body, and almost to my back.”�

It seems certain that a blade introduced in this fashion would penetrate some part of a lung. Nevertheless, Dorset remained engaged for a considerable period of time and ultimately ran his adversary through with two separate thrusts. Dorset’s wound was, indeed, serious for his complete incapacitation followed immediately afterward; as is evidenced by the necessity of one of his seconds to intervene to defend him as one of Lord Bruce’s friends, in a moment of uncontrolled temper, attempted to dispatch Dorset where he lay.�

This duel almost seems a copy of the duel described by Deerhurst in which a mortally wounded combatant received a through-and-through rapier thrust just above the nipple. With the blade still protruding from his back, the dying man remained upright and fully engaged, repeatedly attempting to drive his own blade into his adversary’s throat. Losing a number of fingers while attempting to parry away the thrusts with his hand, the ill-fated defender was eventually impaled. Each transfixed upon the blade of the other, both men remained upright and locked in a death grip for some time before collapsing.�

Another example may be found in the duel between Sawyer and Wrey, in which the latter was initially stabbed in the left chest. As Wrey failed to collapse on the spot, Sawyer quickly launched another attack, this time wounding him in the left arm. Despite his chest wound, Wrey nevertheless remained an active, capable, and dangerous adversary. Upon the increasingly confidant Sawyer’s third attack, Wrey reversed the fortunes of his as yet unscathed opponent and ran him through.�

Given the typically sketchy character of dueling anecdotes, it is often difficult to ascertain satisfactorily the precise nature of the wounds involved since duelists who survived their wounds were not examined at autopsy. However, the account of a duel fought in 1765 between Lord Kilmaurs and an unnamed French officer is an uncommonly illuminating one. The likelihood that a lung was penetrated through-and-through seems, in this case, to be well supported by the details of the anecdotal evidence. According to the account, after one or two attacks, the Frenchman delivered a thrust, which entered the “pit” of Kilmaurs’ “stomach” and exited through his right shoulder.�

It seems probable that, given the sites of entry and exit, the blade of the officer’s weapon would have had to pass through some portion of a lung. In support of this probability, the account goes on to state that subsequent to the termination of the combat, Kilmaurs was nearly “stifled with his own blood.” The sign of blood in the airway, combined with the description of the manner in which the blade entered and exited the victim’s body, strongly suggests that a lung had been pierced.�

It is impossible to know how this affair would have ended since, after the wound had been delivered, the duel was immediately interrupted by spectators. In fact, despite the horrific nature of his wound, Lord Kilmaurs was reported to have seemed hardly aware that anything was amiss. Consequently, assuming that this account is reasonably accurate, Kilmaurs appears to have been, for some time, capable of continuing the combat, potentially reversing the fortunes of his adversary.�

The account goes on to say that His Lordship eventually became speechless and demonstrated every sign of impending death for several hours. Incredibly, after just a few days, Lord Kilmaurs’ condition improved and over time the gentleman ultimately recovered. Curiously, the Earl of Dorset also recovered from his chest wound and lived an additional thirty-nine years.�

As an historical aside, given the current forensic literature one may accept that a swordsman grievously wounded in the lung may nevertheless remain a dangerous adversary for a considerable period. However, one may yet wonder why Dorset and Kilmaurs did not eventually succumb due to pneumothorax or hemothorax. Of course, without medical records or any other information one can only speculate as to why these men survived.�

Aside from almost impossibly good luck, their survival may be explained by the fact that because tuberculosis was more prevalent during those times, each of these men may have been previously afflicted with this disease. If so, the scarring of lung tissue may have left portions of their lungs poorly vascularized and slow to hemorrhage. While the evidence of blood in the airway strongly indicates that a lung of Lord Kilmaurs was penetrated, it may be that the rate of blood flowing from scarred lung tissues was low enough to allow clotting to take place before His Lordship bled to death.�

Sword-thrusts to the lungs are certainly a serious matter as far as the question of long-term survival is concerned, but it is clear that wounds of this type offer no guarantee that an opponent will immediately be rendered helpless. A thrust or cut to the throat, on the other hand, is a very different matter. As everyone knows, the inadvertent aspiration of even a small amount of fluid into the airway can instantly produce powerful coughing and choking reflexes and acute respiratory distress. Stab wounds or cuts to the neck, which penetrate or transect the trachea or larynx will allow blood to flow directly into the airway, quickly causing incapacitation and death by asphyxiation.�

On May 12, 1627 Bussy D’Amboise, while acting as a second in the duel between Francois de Montmorency and the Marquis De Beuvron, was reported to have received such a wound. Immediately disabled, D’Amboise was said to have “just had time to cross himself and die.” The evidence for the neck as a choice target for quick kill seems compelling, but by no means should it be taken as a guarantee. In the 1609 duel between Sir Hatton Cheek and Sir Thomas Dutton, Cheek plunged a dagger into Dutton’s throat, “close to the windpipe.” With so many vital structures compactly situated in the area, it is hard to imagine how Dutton could have survived. Nevertheless, the blade seems to have narrowly missed the trachea, neatly avoiding the common carotid and vertebral arteries and the internal jugular vein as well. As luck would have it, Dutton survived both the wound and the affair, killing Cheek with a rapier thrust through the body, and a dagger thrust to the back as well.�

The Musculature�
In order to effect locomotion, the human body is invested with an ingeniously designed array of contractile tissues; the voluntary, or skeletal muscles. These muscles are composed of numerous, relatively long muscle fibers gathered together in parallel to form bundles (fasciculi) which, in turn, are bundled together to form individual muscle organs, e.g., the deltoid, biceps or calf muscles with which most of us are familiar. To effect locomotion, muscles must span the joints of bones and attach directly to them at some point by means of masses of strong connective tissues called tendons and aponeuroses16. Upon contraction, the tension between the attached muscle ends pulls one bone toward the other with the joint acting as a pivot or hinge.�

The fibers which compose a muscle are generally aligned in a parallel fashion, much like the hairs in a horse’s tail. Consequently, a penetrating wound delivered by a narrow blade may have little immediate effect upon the functionality of a muscle since all it does is separate slightly the fibers which compose the muscle as a whole. Similarly, a cutting stroke from an edged weapon which results in an incision running parallel to the fibers of a muscle may not necessarily render an adversary immediately helpless. On the other hand, a cut which incises a muscle at right angles to the longitudinal axis of its fibers can be expected to compromise the function of that muscle to a degree commensurate with the severity of the cut. The same may be said for cuts, which sever the tendons. Should a muscle, a group of muscles, or their tendons be severed, voluntary movement of the body part serviced by that muscle or muscle group will be immediately terminated.�

Wounds to Musculature of the Forearm�
Incising wounds, delivered with the cutting edges of a sabre or rapier, which transect tendons or muscle groups servicing the sword arm or hand may be expected to serve as an effective means of immediately terminating an adversary’s ability to pose a menace. In a duel with the fencing master of the Chasseurs de Vintimille, Marshal Ney, the Duke of Elchingen is said to have wounded his adversary in this fashion. Surgical techniques being as crude as they were in those days, the wound left the victim permanently crippled. The dorsal surface of the forearm of a sabreur in the guard of second is particularly exposed. An examination of the anatomy of the forearm, however, suggests that a single cut to this area may not necessarily succeed in severing a sufficient number of the muscles at this site before the bones around which they are so elaborately entwined prevent the blade from transecting the entire muscle mass.�

Cuts transecting the palmar surface of the forearm can sever muscles and tendons required to flex the fingers as they effect a grip on the weapon, and to flex the wrist. An incising wound delivered to this region may incapacitate an adversary more effectively, especially if the cut is placed across the wrist itself because the tendons of so many muscles pass over this site. The palmar surface of the wrist is not well exposed, however, by the sabreur maintaining guards of second, third, or fourth. In rapier play, guards or invitations of second or third suppinate the hand and displace the arm in such a way as to leave the palmar surface of the wrist more vulnerable, but the protection afforded by rapier hilts, whether swept or cup, makes such a cut not so easy a thing to accomplish.�

Wounds inflicted by point thrusts through the muscles of the forearm most certainly do not guarantee the immediate disability of an adversary. In the account given by Deerhurst, one of the two combatants received a rapier thrust which entered the inside of the sword arm and exited at the outside of the elbow.18 This description indicates that the track of the wound, rather than transecting the muscles of the arm, ran a course more or less parallel to them and likely did relatively little damage. In fact, after springing back and dislodging the hostile blade from his arm, the combatant was still able to wield his weapon with dexterity sufficient to enable him to run his adversary through.�

In the duel between the Earl of Dorset and Lord Edward Bruce, Dorset also received a “great” wound to the arm. Nevertheless, subsequent to the injury, Dorset was able to deliver not one, but two thrusts, each of which passed through his adversary’s body. The affair between Sawyer and Wrey, is yet another example. According to this account, Captain Wrey is reported to have received two wounds, one to the left chest and one to the left arm. Because both injuries are located on the same side of the body, it is likely that Wrey was left-handed. If so, it was his sword arm which, though wounded, nevertheless remained serviceable enough to dispatch his antagonist on his third attack.�

Wounds to Musculature of the Leg and Thigh As in the case for the forearm, attempts to immediately incapacitate an adversary by directing thrusts or cuts to leg muscles may not have been particularly effective. In the first place, the leading leg of a swordsman in the guard position faces forward to present a fairly heavy bone, the tibia (shin bone), situated just beneath the skin, on the leg’s anterior and medial surfaces. Unless a stroke is delivered with enough force to part the bone, a cut placed across this region of the leg is not likely to transect a great deal of muscle. Although considerably more muscle lies on the lateral side of the leg, a stroke to this region would have to be delivered across the target from right to left (in the case of two right-hand swordsmen) with the tibia once again affording some measure of protection.�

Regarding the thigh, in the guard position a duelist presents the leading thigh forward in such a way as to expose the femoral muscle group, the quadriceps femoris. This group is composed of four muscles of relatively massive proportions which lie in front and on either side of the thigh bone (femur). All four of these muscles cooperate in extending the leg. The posterior femoral muscles, commonly known as the hamstrings, work together to flex the leg. Because the individual muscles in these groups are massive, and because the individual muscles of each group share common functions, a single cut or thrust to either muscle group may not do enough damage to cripple a leg instantly.�

One example illustrating this point may be found in the sabre duel between St. Aulaire and Pierrebourg in which St. Aulaire, quickly seizing what appeared to be an opportunity, delivered a cut to his adversary’s knee. While the massive tendons of the quadriceps extend over this site, the account makes no mention of Pierrebourg being either seriously wounded or incapacitated. In fact, the stroke proved to be a costly one for St. Aulaire in that, upon delivering the cut, St. Aulaire exposed his upper body. Seeing the opening, Pierrebourg took advantage and gave point to his opponent’s chest. St. Aulaire expired a few minutes later.�

Another example of the damage a leg may sustain without loss of function may be found in the duel in 1712 between the Duke of Hamilton and Lord Mouhn, in which Hamilton had been mortally wounded. After he had expired an examination of the body revealed numerous wounds, including one that penetrated his right leg to a depth of eighteen centimeters as well as another wound on the left. Despite these injuries, the Duke was able to inflict three wounds to his adversary, including one to the groin and another, which penetrated the right side of the body, clear through to the hilt.�

Because exsanguination is the most frequent cause of death in stabbing and incising wounds1, the first installment of this work covered the subject of wounds to the cardiovascular system. Anecdotes of duels fought with rapier, sabre, or smallsword, and forensic literature based upon present-day coroner’s reports of homicides in which knives and other sharp instruments were used convincingly showed that mortal wounds to the major vessels and even to the heart itself do not always lead to instant incapacitation of the victim.�

The veracity of these accounts is supported by a 1961 survey conducted by Spitz, Petty and Russell, which found that of seven victims stabbed in various regions of the heart, none expired immediately. While two were quickly incapacitated, the remaining five were not, and of these one, despite a two-centimeter incision in the left ventricle, walked a full city block, armed himself with a broken beer bottle, and collapsed only after he returned to the scene of the crime to re-engage the individual who had stabbed him.2 This case in particular makes it clear that for the duelist, mortally wounding an adversary, even in the heart, may not necessarily be enough to place him hors de combat. This final installment will address other organ systems of the human body with an aim to further explore the question of instant incapacitation by thrust or cut.�

Wounds to the Skeletal System�
With the exceptions of the enamel and dentin of the teeth, bone composes the hardest structures in the human body. Durable and slightly elastic, it is capable of sustaining considerable force. Although violent strokes delivered by massive weapons such as cavalry sabres can produce forces sufficient to divide bone, cuts or thrusts by the duelist’s rapier, sabre or epee may fail to have any immediate incapacitating effect. In fact, some duelists who delivered cuts or thrusts which met with their antagonist’s bones were sometimes left at a serious disadvantage. A classic example may be found in the duel fought with rapier and dagger between Lagarde and Bazanez in which a stroke was delivered by the former to his adversary’s head. No doubt to Lagarde’s surprise, the stroke proved to be ineffective, as the steel merely bounced off his adversary’s skull, leaving the blade inconveniently bent.�

In the encounter between Baron de Mittaud and Baron de Vitaux, a thrust to the chest by Vitaux also resulted in a disfigured blade. It had been argued that it was a flesh-colored cuirass, concealed beneath the Baron’s shirt, that had caused the steel to bend, but tricks of this sort were not unknown, and in fact, both Vitaux and Mittaud had been properly examined by seconds before the duel began. No doubt for this reason it had also been suggested that it was the impact of the point on one of Mittaud’s ribs that had bent the blade; a suggestion which may lead one to conclude that such occurrences may have been witnessed before or since. In any case, Vitaux was left with nothing to do but hack away at his adversary until, after “four well-applied cuts,” Mittaud finally ran him through.�

Yet another example may be found in the 1777 affair between Captain Stoney and a Reverend Mr. Bate. In this combat a thrust delivered by Bate is said to have struck the captain’s breastbone. The Reverend’s weapon was left so badly bent that his chivalrous opponent felt obliged to pause in order to allow his adversary an opportunity to restore his blade to its proper alignment.�

Wounds to the Peripheral Nervous System�
Because they lie close to and often between the bones, the larger nerves of the peripheral nervous system are generally not well exposed to the blade. As they extend farther away from the central nervous system, both motor and sensory nerves repeatedly subdivide, ultimately forming a complex network of individual fibers.35 By virtue of its wide distribution this network, as a whole, is capable of sustaining a localized cutting or penetrating wound with little effect to the overall motor function of the body in most cases. Severed pain fibers, of course, are still capable of relaying sensory information, which the brain interprets as pain. The deeply distressing sensation of a cut from a sharp kitchen knife is an experience with which nearly everyone is familiar.�

It is not unreasonable, therefore, for one to anticipate that the pain resulting from a sabre or rapier blade drawn across the flesh or passing through the chest, abdomen, or a limb would be severe enough to be immediately disabling. The dueling accounts cited in this essay, however, suggest that even in the case of mortal wounds, pain may not reach levels of magnitude sufficient to incapacitate a determined swordsman. Considering the great emotional stress under which these combats were fought, the adrenaline-mediated “fight or flight” response undoubtedly played a significant role in attenuating the pain of many wounds.�

The stress of modern warfare has also provided numerous present-day examples of similar cases in which combat soldiers who, despite extremely serious and even mortal wounds, were surprisingly unaware of their injuries until the engagement was concluded or they noticed blood. Some of these men were reported capable of amazing physical feats and collapsed only when the sequelae of their injuries made further action physically impossible.�

Wounds to the Central Nervous System�
The central nervous system is well protected by the vertebral column and by the skull. Because of the thinness of bone in the orbits and at the site of the temples however, a point thrust may penetrate these areas with relative ease. Other vulnerable areas of the skull are also found in the frontal, maxillary, and nasal sinuses. The vulnerability of the face was clearly appreciated early in the history of rapier-play.�

In Vincentio Saviolo’s treatise, “His Practice in Two Books,” published in 1595, the master makes it plain that he advocates actions directed to the adversary’s face, especially time thrusts. Also, a generous number of illustrations of various fencing actions, described in the treatises published by Capo Ferro and Alfieri in the first half of the 17th century, depict rapier thrusts entering the forward area of the head. In England, fencing master John Turner was reported to have developed considerable skill in dispatching adversaries with thrusts to the eye. In one case Turner is reported to have delivered a thrust to the eye of a combatant “so far in the brain at the eye that he presently fell down stone dead.”�

That one would instantly fall down “stone dead” as a consequence of a stabbing which penetrates the brain through a breach in the skull may seem an outcome to be reasonably expected. Modern medical case reports, however, show that stab wounds of the skull and brain are, in general, not immediately fatal. In fact, victims have frequently been reported to have walked, and in some cases run away from their attackers. In some instances, victims may not even realize that they have been wounded.�

A report by Adam describes a case very much analogous to a sword thrust penetrating the frontal sinus of the skull. According to the report, the victim sustained a wound from a blade eleven centimeters in length which passed through the frontal bone in the region of the frontal sinus and penetrated deeply into the brain. The patient was found to be conscious and coherent upon admission, and after forty days, recovered completely. In another incident, a young man was accidentally shot through the head with an arrow which penetrated to a depth of twenty to twenty-five centimeters. The patient remained conscious, and while being transported to the hospital, attempted to extricate the projectile himself. The arrow, which entered through the face, was finally withdrawn through the back of his skull.�

Summary and Conclusions�
Early American motion pictures have frequently misrepresented virtually every aspect of authentic swordplay. This seems to have been especially true of the industry’s depiction of the manner in which swordsmen fell before the blades of their opponents. While anecdotes of duels may have been biased by politics or personal vanity, modern forensic medicine provides ample evidence to support historical accounts of gravely wounded duelists continuing in combats for surprising lengths of time, sometimes killing those who had killed them.�

In the first installment of this essay modern forensic evidence indicated that exsanguination is the principal mechanism of death caused by stabbing and incising wounds, but that death by this means is seldom instantaneous; victims frequently capable of continued physical activity, even after being stabbed in the heart. Similarly, victims of sharp force injuries to the lungs are not infrequently able to carry on for protracted periods of time. Wounds, which result in the introduction of blood into the upper airway, on the other hand, are likely to incapacitate and kill an adversary quite rapidly.�

Duels featuring penetrating wounds to the muscles of the sword arm appear in some cases to have left duelists fully capable of manipulating their weapons. Thrusts to the thigh and leg may have been even less efficacious. Strokes with the cutting edges of swords to the limbs may result in more serious wounds to the musculature than the penetrating variety, but historical accounts of duels demonstrate that immediate incapacitation of an adversary stricken with such wounds was by no means guaranteed. Incising wounds, which sever tendons, however, can be expected to immediately incapacitate the muscles from which they arise. Recent medical reports of sharp force injuries to the brain suggest that even a sword-thrust penetrating the skull ought not to have been expected always to disable an opponent instantaneously.�

While severe pain is usually incapacitating, the stress of combat may mask the pain of gravely serious wounds, enabling the determined duelist to remain on the ground for a considerable length of time. The immediate consequences to a duelist of wounds inflicted by thrusts or cuts from the rapier, dueling sabre or smallsword were unpredictable. While historical anecdotes of affairs of honor and twentieth century medical reports show that many stabbing victims collapsed immediately upon being wounded, others did not. While a swordsman certainly gained no advantage for having been wounded, it cannot be said that an unscathed adversary, after having delivered a fatal thrust or cut, had no further concern for his safety. Duelists receiving serious and even mortal wounds were sometimes able to