Boxes and Bungee Cords as Earthquake Proofing?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about earthquakes again, mostly because I’ve run into various YouTube videos and whatnot talking about the “Big One” to hit the west coast, but not the one you’re thinking of to hit California… the Cascadia Event to hit the Pacific Northwest where I live. To be honest, if that one ever hits us, boxes and bungee cords won’t save us.

That said, it is possible that smaller, shorter duration earthquakes could hit us like the ones I grew up with in California. With that in mind, I’ve started to consider what problems we could run into as a result, and one of those problems is our ability egress. Here’s where I’ve started:

Boxes and bungee cords as earthquake proofing

I’ve picked the space above our washer and dryer as the place to start because, although you can’t tell, that area happens to be the main pathway between our bedrooms and the family room and front door. In other words: it’s the bottleneck for traffic in our home.

And, while there are doorways to exit each bedroom so that we wouldn’t have to go through this area (if an earthquake struck at night, for instance) odds are that we may still need to walk through the area for a number of reasons after an earthquake hit.

Now, I really should have taken a photo of what it all looked like before I started this mini project but, honestly, I wasn’t planning on writing about it until I was done. Oh, well… just picture all sorts of cleaners and glass bottles lining both shelves and you get the idea.

For months I’d walk by that area and I kept thinking to myself, “What if an earthquake struck and those glass bottles came crashing down and broke on the floor where we’d have to walk?” To make things worse, “What if the cleaners came down and spilled so that now we had a slick floor and broken glass to walk over?” There are so many homemade cleaners as well as laundry soap up there that something would assuredly spill and be a hazard.

So, the current solution was to group items together into boxes because I figured that it would take more effort for an entire box to come flying off a shelf than a single bottle which, in my opinion, increases the chances that everything will stay put.

Of course, I know that even entire boxes can come sliding off the shelves during an earthquake which is why I plan on adding bungee cords to hold the boxes in place too but, for now, I’ve just used a single bungee cord for holding the loose, large bottles in place, such as the laundry soap and vinegar you see to the left.

I might also take the boxes sitting on the top shelf and move them to the garage because most of that stuff is rarely accessed as an extra precaution.

Anyway, it’s a start. Will boxes and bungee cords do any good during an earthquake? Who knows, but I do know that I feel better about the whole situation and, at the very least, I’m beginning to be proactive again about our family’s disaster safety.

What do you think? Is this worth a darn or not? What can I do better?

7 Prepper Lessons Learned in Afghanistan

This was an interesting video I ran into earlier today on one man’s experience while working in Afghanishtan in 2003. You can skip to about the 2:35 mark to get to the heart of his talk, if you like, but I’d say the entire video is worth the time, especially if you want to know what life might be like after a major disaster, and what to do about it. He discusses situational awareness, blending in, avoiding confrontation, and more…

How to Prevent the Fastest Growing Crime in America

Identity Theft Book

Did you know that, according to the FBI, “Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S., claiming more than 10 million victims a year.”

And guess what? That statement was from 2004!

According to the U.S. Department of Justice more than 17 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014.

Obviously, identity theft is on the rise and only getting worse as we continue to move our lives and financial transactions to a digital existence.

Fortunately, you can take 7 critical steps right now to prevent this from happening to you, and it’s all laid out in my new book, Your Identity Theft Protection Game Plan, which is currently free in Kindle format on Amazon, but only for the next few days.

Here’s what’s covered inside:

  • Why your mailbox is the riskiest non-technological point for identity theft (and what to do about it)
  • Why identity thieves call trash day, “cash day” (and how papers that most people never take a second look at help criminals steal from you)
  • How to quickly and easily minimize junk mail and credit card offers to limit your mail theft exposure
  • 4 ways to minimize your identity exposure (and one surefire way to stop criminals from accessing your credit files)
  • Why antivirus software isn’t enough to combat online identity theft (and how smart devices are becoming the new “battleground” for your data)
  • How using public Wi-Fi could be the most dangerous thing you do all day (and one simple way to virtually guarantee your safety)
  • Why using variations of the same password is a horrible mistake (and a surprisingly easy way to protect your most sensitive online data)
  • How RFID “No Swipe” technology allows thieves to steal your credit/debit card information without your card ever leaving your pocket (and how to protect against it)

…and plenty more. Plus, we’ll cover 7 additional actions to minimize your overall exposure as well as what to do should you become a victim of identity theft.

Save yourself from years of heartache… take the right steps now, right now to protect your identity before it’s too late.

Remember, the book is free for a limited time, just click the “Buy Now” button (it may say “Buy now with 1-Click”) and you’ll be that much closer to protecting yourself from becoming the next victim of identity theft.

All I ask of you is that you choose to leave the book a quick rating (it takes only a few seconds) or an actual review when you’re done.

Get the Book Now…

DIY Chimney Sweep – Gardus Sooteater Rotary Chimney Cleaning System Review

Recently, I’ve been wanting to clean my own fireplace flue rather than having to pay somebody to do it. And, yes, I know there’s something to be said for having a qualified chimney sweep inspect it once a year, which I still plan to do, but for peace of mind until then I figured it couldn’t hurt to do it myself. As such, I started looking for DIY chimney sweeps.

The only problem, however, is that I REALLY don’t like climbing on my roof, especially since it has a rather steep pitch, but mostly because I’ve inherited my dad’s general fear of heights… you should see me trying to climb on my rooftop, it takes me at least ten minutes to do as I slowly shimmy my way way up there, lol. And getting down is even worse!

Anyway, rather than getting a traditional chimney sweep with a metal brush, the kind where I’d have to be on top of my roof, I found this Gardus Sooteater Rotary Chimney Cleaning System which allows me to keep my feet safely on the ground and to clean my flue from the bottom up:

The contents include the following (as shown in the photo below):

  1. Chimney sweep head
  2. 6 three-foot flexible rods
  3. Plastic sheet (to cover the fireplace opening)
  4. Manual
  5. Drill bit adapter and wrench

I should note that I was a little concerned about the “flexible” rods because they didn’t seem that flexible to me at first glance, but I was wrong… they’re fairly flexible and I had no trouble with them. Time to get to work.

Now, here’s what the inside of the flue looked like before attempting my chimney sweep (after about a cord of wood). Clearly, there is some buildup, but it doesn’t look horrible compared to some photos I found online. Truth be told, I don’t really know what “normal” is so my opinion here doesn’t count for much:

The first thing I had to do was to trim the rotary head to be slightly larger than my flue diameter. I measured my flue diameter to be 5.5″ and, so, I trimmed the head to be about 6″ in diameter according to the directions:

I was a bit concerned about trimming the head to be THAT short because I felt like it may not clean the flue well enough if, for example, the head slid along one side of the flue pipe as I worked up the flue. I read online, however, that as it speeds up the head will tend to center itself and properly clean all of the flue. In addition, if I’d chosen to NOT trim the head to fit as directed that it may not clean well enough because it wouldn’t properly scrape the flue wall. Ultimately, I took the internet’s word for it and trimmed the head as directed.

Next, I cut out some of the plastic sheeting to fit my fireplace and taped it in place with some duct tape, though I left the bottom open so I could fit the chimney sweep inside, like so:

The directions, however, stated I should have poked a hole in the center of the plastic and taped the entire sheet in place; by now I figured I knew more than the manufacturer and, so, I ignored that recommendation… hopefully that wouldn’t come back to haunt me.

I quickly started to work my way up the flue and it was surprisingly easy to do. Here’s what it looked like after I’d added a few extensions:

I was done in only a few minutes, but I did slow down as I got near the top because I was worried about knocking off or otherwise ruining my chimney cap. Here’s what I got out of the flue pipe:

It was a good several scoops of what I’m assuming is first stage creosote because it was black, light, and fluffy. And, just out of curiosity, I wondered what my chimney flue looked like when I was done:

As you might be able to tell, half of the flue looked like it was cleaned well. The other half (where the red arrow points) didn’t look very cleaned, which is something I’d worried about when I cut the head strings so short. From what I could tell, however, it did seem to clean all of the flue pipe further up, at least, from what I could see. It was really just the bottom few feet where it didn’t clean because the head never centered itself. Oh, well, I think that next time I’ll try to replace the head strings and cut them a bit longer or really focus on the bottom section.

Ultimately, I’d say my DIY chimney sweep  was a success. I was able to use my old 14.4 volt cordless drill (even though I was worried about not having enough torque) and I didn’t make a mess either by not fully sealing the door opening with plastic and tape… which also means I get to stay married for a little while longer. 🙂

One thing I do like about this system is that apparently I can replace the head strings on my own with weed-eater string (it just needs to be the right diameter) which means I can do this on my own again in the future, and very inexpensively.

I also think that next time I might try to work my way from the top down (but still keep my feet on the ground) as I saw this guy do here:

Overall, I’m fairly pleased with the Gardus Sooteater Rotary Chimney Cleaning System. It allowed me to clean out my chimney flue without having to climb on my rooftop (which I would have dreaded), was easy to do, can be reused, and didn’t cost much.

That said, I’m still probably going to have a qualified chimney sweep come out before next season starts and check it out just to be sure.

53 Essential Bug Out Bag Supplies Book FREE on Amazon

Bug Out Bag Book

Would you believe I’m now releasing my third survival book on Amazon? And I’m happy to say this one is a good one, covering a topic many preppers struggle over.

But, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with my latest Kindle book, 53 Essential Bug Out Bag Supplies, and it’s currently FREE on Amazon Kindle today through Friday.

All I ever ask of folks who take advantage of my free giveaways is that they give it a quick rating or review on Amazon when they’re finished.

Built upon four tiers of gear and supplies, this book will show you precisely how to build a survival pack you can rely upon.

Realize, however, that this book tackles the topic a bit differently than most bug out bag books. In fact, if you live anywhere near a city or town and have no expectation of actually evacuating into the wilderness, then it’s time get your bug out bag right with these 53 essentials you won’t want to be without.

We’ll also discuss:

  • The Problem with Creating an “Ultimate” Bug Out Bag List
  • Choosing a Bag: Which Comes First, The Bag or The Gear?
  • 13 Unnecessary Items Most Lists Include but You Won’t Need

Grab yourself a copy while you can and discover precisely how to build a “go bag” you can rely upon…

27 Crucial Smartphone Apps for Survival Amazon Kindle Book FREE

About a month ago I’d mentioned that I was beginning to write Amazon Kindle books and that I was looking for review team members (you’re still welcome to join if you like).

Not only have I had some wonderful responses from folks, I’ve now written my second Kindle book, 27 Crucial Smartphone Apps for Survival, and it’s currently FREE as an Amazon Kindle book today into Friday!

The ONLY thing I ask in return is that you give it a quick rating/review when you’re done. In fact, when you get to the last page of Kindle books I’ve noticed they’ll ask you to rate it right there inside the book… it couldn’t be easier.

Here’s what’s covered inside:
Smartphone Apps Book

  • 4 Apps Probably Already Installed on Your Phone
  • 4 Alert Apps to Keep You Well Informed
  • 2 Navigational Apps to Stay on Track
  • 5 Vital Emergency First Aid Apps to Keep You Safe
  • 5 Information Apps to Keep You in The Know
  • 7 More Apps Not to Ignore

Plus…

  • 5 Honorable Mentions (That Could Prove Useful), and
  • 7 Seemingly Useful Apps I Can’t Recommend

I know I sure had fun writing the book… I learned quite a bit too… and I suspect that you will as well.

Go ahead and grab yourself the BEST Cyber Monday gift of them all while you still can, and discover how to unleash your most important survival tool

10 Best Rifles for Elk Hunting in 2017

Any serious gun fanatic might tell you that all rifles are awesome, but not all rifles are awesome for every type of shooting and hunting.

When it comes to elk hunting, you want a rifle that is durable but light enough to carry up the mountain with ease. But you also want it to be able to hold large caliber rounds with minimal recoil and handle well when firing off-hand shots in the event of a surprise game sighting.

To put it another way, you want a versatile weapon that packs a punch and can offer long range accuracy without being a burden.

Most of us want an affordable rifle that is damn near indestructible and can fell an eight-hundred pound beast at four-hundred yards or more. We also want an attractive firearm that looks as good as it shoots. Choosing the right rifle for the job is one of the joys of hunting.

If you think this sounds like a dream gun that can’t possibly exist, you’d be pretty wrong. The rifles on this list come fairly close to meeting all of the aforementioned requirements.

  • Browning A-Bolt Composite Stalker
  • Browning BLR Lightweight ’81
  • Kimber Model 84M Classic
  • Marlin Model 338 MXLR
  • Marlin Model 1895G Guide Gun
  • Remington Model 673 Guide Rifle
  • Ruger No. 1S Medium Sporter
  • Weatherby Mark V Deluxe
  • Weatherby Vanguard Deluxe
  • Winchester M70 Super Grade

Browning A-Bolt Composite Stalker

This bolt-action model comes in a number of long and short action calibers, but when it comes to elk hunting you can’t go wrong with the .338 Winchester mag. It’s a great option for hunters who are on the move and performs like a boss at 100 yards, making it a monster for bagging does.

The most economical of Browning models, the Stalker retails for $820, but you can usually find a lightly used one on sale for around $700.

With black synthetic straight stock, a fiberglass graphite composite grip and black rubber butt pad, the Stalker is a real beaut. Personally, I like to load it with Black Hills Gold hunting ammo when I take mine out for a bit of proper stalking.

Browning BLR Lightweight ’81

No list would be complete without at least two Browning models. They’re a leader in the field and their rifles are always a lot of fun for a reasonable price. The BLR ’81 is a compact and user-friendly rack-and-pinion lever-action rifle that is carbine-length and cranks out quite the shot.

They can chamber a range of hard-hitting ammo from the 270 WSM to the 358 Win. It features an aluminum alloy stock, a detachable four-round box magazine with a fast release and a rotary bolt locking system.

It’s ideal for mountaineers and woodsman by virtue of the fact that it’s a mere 7 ¾ lbs and 40” long with mount and scope. The fast-loading mag makes for quick follow-up shots. At a retail price of $900, it’s slightly more expensive than the Stalker, but it’s every bit as exceptional. Well worth the price for the durability and versatility it provides.

Kimber Model 84M Classic

Another bolt-action hunting rifle, the 84M weigh just 5.5 lbs and sport handsome steel or stainless steel barrels. Kimber’s 22” barrel makes them unique among most Model 84Ms.

They commonly feature trigger crowns, match grade barrels and a bolt with a Mauser claw extractor. The adjustable trigger and Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad are just two of the things that makes it an unbeatable option when it comes to elk hunting rifles.

The average retail price is around $1,225 which places it firmly within the mid-range of affordable hunting rifles.

Marlin Model 338 MXLR

Ideal for timber and brush alike, this lever-action rifle offers a flat trajectory and pinpoint accuracy. With a 24” stainless steel barrel, Ballard rifling, hammer block safety and a fluted bolt, the MXLR is a top of the line machine that holds a 5-round magazine that makes it a viable choice when it comes to game hunting.

It’s got semi-buckhorn iron sights, a trigger guard plate and a laminated hardwood stock with deluxe recoil pad. I’ve tested this one out myself and have found it to be a boss when it comes to long-range precision.

The $930 retail price places it securely in mid-range and is available for layaway gun financing.

Marlin Model 1895G Guide Gun

This big bore lever-action rifle is considered my many to be the strongest lever-action in history. It can be stored virtually anywhere thanks to its compact design.

The Ballard-style rifling carves six deep and wide grooves that aid in improving accuracy. The stubby 18 ½” barrel makes it one of the shortest and lightest hunting rifles on the market.

Paired with Garrett Cartridges’ fire-breathing custom loads, the 1895G is a veritable force to be reckoned with. And while it works rather well with iron sights, the level of accuracy it provides is perfectly suited to a low-powered scope.

Cabela’s currently has offers on this model starting at $629.99.

Remington Model 673 Guide Rifle

The 673 is yet another bolt-action hunting rifle that packs a wallop. My personal favorite is the one that’s chambered for the .350 Remington mag because it offers superior shootability to others.

With a Leopold quick release base and rings, and a 22” barrel, it’s a lot of gun compared to most of the rifles on my list. In fact, it kicks pretty hard compared to the others which may be off-putting to some. But it’s definitely a well-made firearm with a rather unconventional look.

At 7 ¾ lbs, it’s not the lightest hunting rifle around, but it’s not overly heavy or cumbersome in any way either. All in all, it’s a worthy option, especially since Remington stopped making them in 2004 so there are plenty of gun owners selling their used Model 673s online.

Ruger No. 1S Medium Sporter

A single-shot model, Ruger’s No. 1S Medium Sporter is not the right gun for continuous shooting, but it’s tailored to the disciplined, methodical hunter who’s a skilled Marksman.

The front sling swivel is sited forward on the barrel, causing the rifle to ride low on your shoulder. But the receiver is so short that it’s almost identical to the Marlin, making it a compact and easily transportable in a rifle bag.

For the more frugal gun owner, this might not be the best choice on my list as it retails for around $1,199.99 and doesn’t exactly hold up to other rifles in that price bracket, but it remains a worthy option if you have money to burn and you want a solid single-shot rifle with dead-on accuracy. Keep an eye out for deals in any major online gun store and you could find great seasonal discounts.

Weatherby Mark V Deluxe

With a .300 Weatherby mag and a beautiful claro walnut design, the Mark V Deluxe is something to behold. Not only is it a top of the line weapon, but it’s the perfect display piece for proud collectors with a bit more bank than others.

At $1,399.99, it’s a luxury rifle but one that won’t let you down when you’re out in the thick of it. Simply a choice rifle all around.

Weatherby Vanguard Deluxe

Like the Mark V Deluxe, this Weatherby rifle is unmatched for the sheer beauty of its wood design. It’s got a classy black finish and exceptional bolt action, chambering .270 Win rounds and offering no less than three safety positions.

Like Remington’s Model 673, it’s a bit heavier than some of the others on the list, but it’s still a fairly lightweight and compact rifle for hunting, and it’s got an adjustable trigger which is attractive to most game hunters.

Cabela’s has Weatherby VGDs with modular chassis for $1,199.99.

Winchester M70 Super Grade

This finely checkered, deeply-blued steel rifle has a maple finish that makes it another worthy display piece. In terms of hunting, it lives up to its name by offering above-grade accuracy.

Chambered with .308 Win rounds, it’s another stylish and superb choice for those looking to bag some deer or ward off a grizzly.

Conclusion

There you have it, my full list of the five best hunting rifles for hunting elk. Good luck making your selection. I know you’ll be in good hands with any one of them. Happy hunting.