Saturday, October 3, 2015

Fall/Winter Hidden Survival Garden 2015

This year I had no intention of planting a winter garden but thought I’d test plant a fall-winter SURVIVAL garden. A SURVIVAL garden is sowing and growing SURVIVAL seeds on wild unprepared ground, hidden from view within state parks, islands and forests without any attention and have them grow and produce veggies for a real SURVIVAL situation. If in the wild they grow I’ll harvest some of them but let the rest go to seed and see if they will perpetuate themselves giving an undetected wild survival garden for the bad times should your home garden be plundered by the unprepared.

Last Friday 9-25-15, I planted the seeds; Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Green Beans, Green Onions and radish, by simply roughing up the ground, tossing on the seeds and sprinkling some soil on top the seeds, then add some water one time and now they are on their own! The photo’s were taken 10-2-15 just seven days from planting and they are all coming up. I’m sure some of these will grow and produce around December-January if we are free from any hard freezes.
If all goes well next spring I do know of some remote local areas to test plant and see how it works in real life.


Brussels Sprouts
(That’s not a pot they’re in just a ring of plastic because these seeds are in my flower garden and I weed that regularly but needed to be able to identify them while they’re young and not weed them out by accident)


Green Beans

Green Onions


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Health Insurance, one of the many reasons it costs so much.

One of my health insurance policies is Blue Cross Blue Shield and EVERY year they send this 1 3/8 inch thick stack of updated directories along with a new set of documents letting me know what they are not going to pay for anymore and the reduced coverage for hundreds of other procedures. Everyone who has a BCBS which I assume is millions, gets one of these annual update packages.

I can’t imagine the number of employees, proof-readers, printing costs and UPS delivery costs that this annual nonsense costs. There has to be a better way, maybe like a user-friendly website and do it now rather than reduce benefits or continually raise premiums.

The 2016 stack of waste and most of it when you try reading it is not understandable.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Simple PV Solar System

A PV Solar System is one of the most comforting and affordable things a Survivalist/Prepper can have. Just the thought of knowing you have electric power for lighting and communications for years while others are in total darkness is priceless!

A quick history note:
I have been using my PV Solar System for 7½ years non-stop 24/7 and the system works perfectly with almost no attention what so ever. About 1½ years ago I upgraded my panels from the Harbor Freight three, 15-watt panels to, two 100 watt panels, a 1000 watt inverter and two 12v RV/Marine batteries. The purpose was to be able to run a small refrigerator during a grid down situation along with lighting and communication needs.
However, a couple weeks ago we had a very close lightning strike and it caused my controller to fail and subsequently over charged my batteries and destroyed them also. So I have to basically start over except for the PV Panels.

Right now this is my current, low cost, 200-watt system:
It has one 12v deep cycle marine battery, a 30 amp charge controller, two 100 watt solar panels and a 1000 watt inverter. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of watts, but this system guarantees I will have endless amounts of needed electricity during a grid down event especially when there’s no gas available for the generator.

What do I power with this system?
It provides more than enough electricity to run my kitchen 23 watt flat panel TV, my garage radio, my chargers for “AA” batteries and recharging all my communication radios that have internal battery packs and charge the batteries for all the LED lights I have so at night I’m not living in the dark. 
If I had a couple more batteries and solar panels along with full sun all day at my location I would easily be able to power my 5 cu ft chest style refrigerator that uses 640 watts every 24 hours. How great would that be, cold beer and safe fresh food storage while others are in the dark.

Here’s what my inexpensive system looks like.

The heart of the system:
In the upper right corner is the charge controller, lower left corner the battery, lower center the inverter and upper center a state of charge chart.

On the roof are the two 100 watt PV Panels:
The dish has nothing to do with the system this was just the only place on the roof where because of trees it has a clear alignment to the satellite. The panels have to be there also because this is the only place where they can get 3-4 hours of sun a day. The rest of the day the roof and panels are shaded by trees. Here the panels are just entering the full sun cycle for the next 3 hours then they will be in tree shade the rest of the day.

The 12 volt RV/Marine Deep Cycle Battery:

Battery specs.

The controller:
It shows the state of charge, battery volts or the array voltage coming into the controller.

The Inverter:
1000 watt continuous with a 2000 watt surge capability.  It easily handles a 5 cu ft refrigerator or freezer.

Important Information Sources:
Please pay close attention to the wire/cable sizes used in your system. Too small a gauge can overheat and burn your house down.
Probably the best source of small PV system wire size information is at this link: and a retailer is

Bottom Line:
It doesn’t get much simpler than this. It’s hard to find a reason not to have a small system even if just 100 watts for emergencies. This system is also a very good educational tool for your family and your neighborhood kids.

Cost of this system:
$260 - 2-100-watt panels (Home Depot)(for a starter system just one panel is fine)
$81 – Battery (Walmart)
$39 - Charge Controller (Amazon)
$45 – Inverter (Harbor Freight)
$425 – Total Cost (or $295 with one PV panel)

And before someone tells me that I’ll never see a payback from this system! This system is not about payback or economy or free electricity, it’s about personal security and a supply of electrical convenience in terrible times. Can’t put a value on that!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

One Year After, the book

One Year After is finally on sale now. I’ve ordered mine!
“One Second After was a dire warning of what might be our future...and our end. Now, One Year After returns to the small town of Black Mountain, and the man who struggled so hard to rebuild it in the wake of devastation-John Matherson. It is a thrilling follow-up and should delight fans in every way.”
Link to Amazon:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

PV Solar System: Lightning and EMP?

A few weeks back we had a typical Florida thunderstorm including lots of typical lightning. During the storm, there was one bolt/flash of lightning with a simultaneous, wall rattling BOOM which told me it was very close to home like less than 50 yards. Nothing appeared to be damaged from that one so all was thought to be good.

It wasn’t until a couple days later I noticed my solar charge controller display was ‘nervous’ where the display wasn’t steady like normal. The voltage display digits would constantly bounce around from .1 to .5 volts!

After a couple weeks nothing changed. I checked the battery water level and it was extremely low, like almost empty in EVERY CELL. The water has been boiled out of BOTH my RV/Marine 12v batteries, very odd for my system. In the 7½ years I’ve had this system running 24/7 I have added water only one time several years ago and it was a very small amount, actually didn’t need any, just felt guilty that it must need some! The controller has worked perfectly all that time.

So what happened to what has been a bullet proof solar system????
I’m guessing the nearby lightning damaged the controllers upper charge limit of 14.4volts and with that limit not working it overcharge the batteries and subsequently boiled out the water. There was a diagnostic feature in the controller that told me the controller was set properly to 14.4 volts. So to test the controller I reset the float charge to 14.2 volts, replaced all the water and watched to see if the batteries and controller could attain and maintain a ‘float charge level’. It never did reach a float level mode just kept on charging with all the power the panels delivered and boiled the water out again. Obviously the controllers float charge limiting function was toast and so were my two, 15-month-old RV/Marine batteries.

In summary:
I have since replaced the batteries and controller and all is well now. I would have to guess that if a CME or an EMP pulse were to strike a solar system that uses a controller component it will probably be killed. Maybe because there're only two electronic items in the solar system I need to have a backup Controller and Inverter stored in a Faraday Cage? That may be very smart as I feel EMP would be the weapon of choice of our adversaries.