Archive for the ‘Classes’ Category

This week we received our spring conference brochure for the Asheville, NC Organic Growers School. This is a relatively inexpensive way to learn some great skills about gardening, livestock, forestry management, homesteading skills, etc. This is an awesome opportunity for preppers. Before I got my chickens, I attended all the classes in their poultry track. Their classes on herbs were also good. This year I want to attend the half-day class on beginning bee-keeping.

20th Annual OGS Spring Conference
March 9th-10th, 2013 at UNC-Asheville

Here are the class tracks.

A. Digging In

B. Gardening

C. Soils

D. Livestock

E. Alternative Energy

F & G. Commercial Farmer

H. Primitive Skills

I. Community Foods

J. Permaculture

K. Herbs

L. Sustainable Forestry

M. Homesteading

N. Cooking

O. All About Poultry

 

 

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Part of campsite

We enjoyed our weekend (September 14-16, 2012) seeing some old friends and meeting some new folks. Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina preppers from the American Preppers Network met for a first multi-state prepper camp-out weekend at a state park in South Carolina.   We were grateful to be “adopted” by the South Carolina group and had some great conversations. We will definitely stay in touch. One of the guys brought his portable HAM radio and antenna. We sat around in the evening talking about self protection, baking bread, and building chicken coops among other things.  I can’t say we sat around the fire–it was too hot for one.

There were plenty of good campsites surrounded by woods, and a large reservoir.  There were 35 to 40 people in attendance including folks from the Atlanta area, Raleigh, and everywhere in between.

FEMA HELP sign

Disaster Scenario #2

Disaster Scenario

My husband and I compliment founderant of Americans Networking to Survive (A.N.T.S.) for the creativity and work he put into the Disaster Camp course. It was motivation for us to go through our truck “get home” bag and update it prior to the camp-out which we carried through the course. There were 11 different scenarios spread out along a trail through the woods.  Fireant accompanied us when my husband and I went through the course and only led us off the trail once! ;) A young teenager, “Z”, joined us through the trail which was very special. He was a great resource! One of the scenarios dealt with self-defense (firearms were not allowed in SC state parks). We had utility-size knives and a walking stick, but “Z” was carrying a machete! There was also a situation in which we were supposed to use binoculars (which we didn’t have :blush: ), but we had “Z” who has good vision and was able to read the posted sign we couldn’t see without the binoculars. He was our secret weapon! There was a drawing afterward, and everyone who participated won prizes donated by founderant.

Bug-Out Bag presentation

There were also presentations on bug out bags including two approaches–cheap (heavier weight) and expensive (light weight), traps and snares, medical kits and emergency medical care taught by an experienced emergency room nurse, and some good group meals. Thanks to the Georgia folks for all their hard work feeding us.

Outdoor Kitchen

Carolina Readiness Supply is sponsoring a weekend of classes called Heritage Life Skills Weekend in Waynesville, NC, on September 28, 29, and 30.  There will be classes on many prepping and survival skills and topics.  Registration for the weekend is $100 for adults and less for children.

You can find links for more information on the Carolina Readiness Supply homepage.  Here is the link for the registration form.

Learning to Tie Knots

Posted: June 25, 2012 in Classes, Equipment
Tags: , ,

Saturday my husband and I joined some other preppers to learn to tie some knots at the beautiful Glen Bridge River Park in Arden, south of Asheville.  It was organized as a meet-up of the WNC Survival and Thrival Group.

We had lunch first and had an opportunity to talk to everyone.  Ten people attended.  There were people there from as far away as Statesville and the foothills.  Everyone brought canned food that was to be donated to Heart With Hands.

Our instructor, Kevan, is a first responder who has professionally taught knots to firefighters and other rescue professionals.  He was an excellent teacher and had some able advice and help from his wife and daughter.

There are two goals for a good knot–it stays tied when you need it to, and it is easy to untie when you are finished with it.  We learned to make the following:

  • Bight
  • Loop
  • Round Turn
  • Square Knot
  • Half Hitch
  • Closed Clove Hitch
  • Open Clove Hitch
  • Bowline
  • Sheet Bend
  • Water Knot
  • Figure of 8
  • Figure of 8 Loop
  • Directional Figure of 8

All of these can be found on YouTube and other websites, but nothing beats hands-on instruction. We saw how to use webbing to make an emergency harness to be lifted or lowered.  Kevan also pointed out what makes a quality rope.

I brought some paracord bracelets I made to give away. We talked about future meet-up ideas and have a tentative plan for the week of July 4th to visit a working homestead. There was also discussion about another group, Zombie Squad,  that some of those present belong to.

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I cannot teach you to tie a knot in this post, but I hope it is an inspiration for you to find an opportunity to learn this basic prepping skill.  Maybe even more important is it demonstrates how easy it is to find and meet other preppers.  The most common question and comment I get from preppers all over North Carolina and other states is the desire to meet other, like-minded people and the frustration of not knowing how.  THIS IS HOW!  Search for a group on Meetup.com, go to community classes such as C.E.R.T. training, attend a preppers’ camp-out, etc.  I met my first prepper friends by going to Millers’ Grain House Whole Grain Baking Retreat for a weekend with the conscious intent to meet other women who are prepping.  They were there!  I find preppers now almost everywhere I go–even at a Saturday picnic in the park playing with rope.

My husband took and passed the Technician and General HAM tests yesterday and passed with getting one wrong on each test.  As a result of a question from a reader of my blog, my husband wrote the following advice for anyone studying for the exams.–Vina 8

There are sections on:

Radio and Electronic Fundamentals

Electrical Components and Circuits

Radio Fundamentals

FCC Regulations

Operating Procedures

Amateur Radio Practices

Station Equipment

Communication Modes and Methods

Antennas and Feedlines

Safety

If you already have a background  in electronics and computers, and have ever used a short-wave receiver you can learn the other sections and take practice tests in less than 10 hours.  A big portion of that time will be spent taking practice tests.  That’s recommended because some of the questions are close to being trick questions.  All the test questions come from a bank of about 400.

If you don’t have an electronics background, you can memorize the answers to the test questions without understanding the concepts in a few more hours.

I recommend that you start by downloading for free or buy the kindle or book version of the No-Nonsense License Study Guide.  This study guide works the questions and answers into a narrative.  Read through it and then start taking practice tests.

For taking practice tests HamTestOnline has a good reputation and I found it to be helpful.  It costs $20 for the technician material.

It’s strengths are that it offers tutorial text before a set of questions, then tests you on that area.  If you miss a question, it tracks it and will randomly present that question again later.  It also mixes review questions into new material.

You’ll probably get a higher score on the real test than you do on HamTestOnline because it’s practice tests focus on areas where you are weak.

There’s maybe 20% overlap between the Technician and General Exam so many people take both at the same time.

This article and photos were contributed by Repsfo, a member of the American Preppers Network.  He attended the NC camp-out on June 8-10, 2012, and demonstrated the equipment listed below.  Two of the attendees, including my husband, passed their tests today to receive their HAM Radio licenses.  I am sure Repsfo was an inspiration!
Repsfo brought a pretty awesome camper that several people inquired about.  Here is his description of a prepper’s dream bug-out tent camper.Vina8
(Click on photos to enlarge and read labels.)

The camper is self-contained and also has a portable sewer tank / porta-potty.

Will sleep 4 persons on two beds and a third “short bed” if the table is lowered.
It has a small 12V raw water pump with hoses for drawing from streams/ lakes (water must be purified before use).
It now has a 17 Gal. fresh/clean water tank that has replaced the 30 gal. to make space for the deep cycle batteries.
There is a 22 gal. solar/propane hot water system that can be set up outside, with shower enclosure.
Solar alone will heat the water to 150 degrees, it can then be boiled quickly using a propane burner.  Allowed to cool before being transferred to the fresh water tank using a battery operated pump.
Using an auxiliary 110W solar array and extra deep cycle battery set up on ground near camper a small 40W cooler can be run 24hrs a day.
All lighting in the camper is low power LED.
The utility box carries 40# of propane as well as all the hardware, (jacks, pump, hoses, water connectors/ filters, electrical connectors)
This camper was set up as a VHF/UHF Ham radio station at the NC State camp out this past week.
The following are examples of contacts  that were made Friday evening and Saturday morning and afternoon.

6Meter SSB 40W into a dipole @ 20ft – Baltimore 322 miles.

6Meter FM 40W into a 1/4 wave verticle – Sauratown Mtn. repeater 57 miles.

6Meter FM 40W into a 1/4 wave verticle – Mt. Mitchel repeater 80 miles. Brought up repeater but no one answered.

2Meter FM 25W into a 5/8 base load verticle – Local Repeater 24 miles.

2Meter FM 25W into a 5/8 base load verticle – Mt. Mitchel Repeater/net 80 miles.
A little noisy but would have would have been able to talk with stations in Mtn City, SC 144 miles away and Cleveland ,TN 214 miles away using the repeater

10Meter SSB 25W into a dipole @ 20ft – South Florida 650 miles away.

10Meter SSB 250W into a Dipole @ 20ft – Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil 4900 miles.

In addition to Ham radio, MURS, FRS/GMRS, Public service monitors, CB, and HF/SW receivers were available.

On June 8-10, a group of about 50 preppers from all over North Carolina came together for the 3rd annual NC Preppers camp-out near Wilkesboro.

We had a great time seeing some old friends and making some new friends.  I am always impressed with the level of knowledge and skill represented among this group.  We had presentations and demonstrations on basic prepping, EMP protection for electronics, self-defense without a weapon, using a solar oven, moving debris to rescue victims, plumbing repairs, buying and storing batteries, diagnosing the severity of a medical problem, killing and butchering rabbits, fishing, radio communications, etc.  We also had some bartering and selling, drawings for several door prizes, Friday and Saturday night pot lucks featuring rabbit stew and donated steaks.

We sat around the fire late into the night talking and sharing.  The group included several children who learned to make a useable bow from PVC pipe, paracord bracelets, fire-starting, fishing, and marshmallow roasting.

There were people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests.  I think everyone learned something new.

The pictures have been edited to blue people’s faces.  You know how preppers are…

(Click on picture to enlarge.)

The Self-Reliance Expo schedule includes one in Hickory, North Carolina in September.

Tickets are only $10.

Here is a description from their website:

The Self Reliance Expo is a show that promotes the education of living a more self reliant lifestyle. This show currently being held in three different cities! We pride ourselves on being a family friendly event that teaches visitors different techniques that can help them become a self sufficient household.

Perhaps more than ever before, people are seeking ways to become more self reliant and create a more sustainable living area. It’s great for the environment, and it’s great for the pocketbook. This is the lifestyle that teaches great family values and protects your family during economic downturns. This is the only Expo where you can gain knowledge about every aspect of self reliant living! While Emergency Preparedness is a large part – there is much more. Being educated, informed, and prepared means you will live a more peaceful and fulfilled life, as well as being able to make the right decisions when the time comes.

A friend who knows I am soon getting some new chicks forwarded this link to me.  We heard Jim Adkins speak at last year’s Organic Growers School Workshops in Asheville.  His website and blog, The International Center for Poultry, has some good information about raising “standard” breeds of chickens for sustainability.  His website includes several classes being held in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Oregon.

Jim is very knowledgeable and passionate about the survival of heritage breeds of chickens.

1.  Go to the Sensible Mountain Preparedness Seminar in Black Mountain on May 3-4

These guys are awesome speakers, and you will have the chance to meet hundreds of preppers.  William Forstchen, author of One Second After, will be speaking.

2.  If you have any interest in learning more about living off the grid and surviving if the system collapses, go to the Turtle Island Retreat. There will be several preppers there.  Here is a description of the event last year written by “Joy Prepper” on my Facebook page.

Eustace is a real story teller and so down to earth. He lives, breathes, and eats what he does. He is just amazing. He has people who do interns there (live there and learn from him) who will help teach you different things. I’m not sure what’s in store this time but last time you got to watch him make a spoon and then you could make one too if you wanted. Everything they teach you, you get to try it as well. It’s hands on learning that day if you choose to participate. There are so many skills to learn. He does them all. Fire making, wood working, black smithing, etc. etc. Its a rain or shine event and will happen no matter the weather. You will get to see how he lives and does all this with no electricity. I’m pretty sure it will be about the same thing as last time. He lived in the woods (national forrest I think), and while doing so put himself through college, after college bought his own land. Pretty amazing story for a young man with no money to start out with living in the woods. I also think if memory serves me well that he has ridden his horse across the United States, and done some similar other amazing things like that as well.

3.  Classes on Food preservation and storage/cooking from scratch–Donna Miller of Millers Grain House is offering some classes in Haywood County beginning January 31, Dehydrating 101, 10 am to 11 am.  Classes in February include Sprouting Grains 101, and Homemade Convenience Food.
4.   Organic Growers School Spring Conference–Asheville, Sustainable living and survival skills, growing food, poultry, woodland management, herbal medicine, etc. There are so many great classes you will have a hard time choosing which ones to go to.

5.  North Carolina Preppers Forum Network–Annual camp-out, June 8-10 near Wilkesboro.