Saturday, December 28, 2013

Back online

I have a tendency to jump into things without thinking them through all the way but I am hoping to get this blog up and running very soon

Friday, March 15, 2013

Civic Issue Needs your Attention

Their is a family in Williamstown Township in Michigan that is facing illegal tyranny.  The township although the family got approval to have small farm animals on a three acre property prior to buying the property but the township is now telling the family that they have to remove the animals.  The family needs these animals because they have serious food allergies so they have to do everything from scratch.  Here is a link to the article and here are more details on the Hudson family blog:

There are two things I would like you to consider:

1.  If possible to give a monetary donation to the Hudson family legal defense fund anything helps.  Whatever money is leftover after their fight with the township, the Hudson family will set aside and donate to the next family who has to fight for their rights to homestead.  You can donate by going to the Hudson Family blog link that is included above.

2. Write to the township officials and let them know that you support the Hudson family.  By sending lots of letter and bringing awareness to this situation hopefully the township will back down.  If this township can do this what is stopping other areas from doing this.  There is prior legal precedence that allows this family to homestead because they sell products from there farm but the township is ignoring Michigans Right To Farm law.  I have included my email to the township at the bottom.  Please be respectful while letting them know that the Hudson family is not alone. 

Here is the address and email address of the township officials:
4990 N. Zimmer Road, Williamston, MI 48895-8180
Phone: (517) 655-3193
Fax:(517) 655-3971

My Email:

Dear Members of the Williams Township Government Offices,

I am writing you as a concerned citizen and active duty military member.  I am aware of your tyranny over the Hudson family by trying to make them remove their animals from THEIR property.  There are some issues in this situation that concern me gravely…

1.  Your officials were contacted prior to their acquisition of the property and they were told that since the land was over 2 acres they would be able to have small animals.  Low and behold you as a trusted agent of the township broke your verbal contract with the family.

2. Your township is choosing to ignore judicial precedence by the fact that you are choosing to ignore the case of the Buchler Family vs Marquette County Michigan that if you are engaged in anything commercial in nature (meaning you sell something, anything, such as eggs or rabbits, or intend to do so, as is evident from signage or internet ads) that by Michigan law you are protected by the Right-to-Farm Act, which supersedes local zoning ordinances.

3.  As a township official your job is to represent the WHOLE community but in this situation you are failing to represent not only the Hudson family but also failing the neighbors who are united with the Hudson family.  It is not unreasonable for a family to raise small farm animals on 3 acres especially in a rural area such as yours.  The Hudson family has medical issues that they are able to solve with having farm animals but you would rather take their solution away and make them depend on others to treat their medical issue.

4.  A family like the Hudsons who are trying to run a small business (which feeds taxes to your coffers) is exactly what you want in a community.  They are a resourceful family who by far will bring more to your community than they would take.   

Your actions are unacceptable and for that reason I am sending money to support the Hudson family legal defense fund.  I also will be posting my letter to your township on my blog for all my followers to read and contact you themselves, and I also will be doing what I can to bring awareness to your tyranny.    

I am a member of a large group of Americans who working towards self-sustainability and desire an America that is truly free.   In case you are not aware the is a strong movement in America to provide for your own family and community.   This group recognizes a fight for liberty in one place is a fight for liberty everywhere. 

I have a couple of recommendations for you because as I am sure you have realized this family will be well funded in their legal battle against your township.  The fact that you are likely to lose due to judicial precedence and in these tight budget times get stuck with her legal fees, stop fighting and COMPLY WITH YOUR STATES LAWS.  If you have valid concerns have talk to the family and have them show you the details of their homestead operations.    

You need to understand that we will continue to dig deep in our pockets to support the Hudson family and continue to write letters to your offices and get the state level offices involved in this issue.  We want America to be the freest nation in the world and it is sad that in a nation that was founded on agrarian principles we have a township trying to discourage and infringe on the rights of a family who is trying to exercise their rights to take care of themselves. 

I hope you come to realization that it is in the best interest of your community(which includes the Hudson family) and follow the laws of your state that allow the Hudson family to continue their operations.  If common sense continues to escape you understand that the Hudson supporters will see this through all of the legal channels necessary for justice.  A saying that will serve you well is “prudence first justice second.”

Respectfully Submitted,

Russell Hartzell

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Self Sustainability and Disaster Preparedness with Food

Food is important!!!  There are tons of views on food preparedness everything from I have years worth of canned and dry food to I am just going to hunt for everything and finally I am not going to do anything.  Where you fall on the spectrum is up to you but I have decided that I am in the middle on the issue. 

I have a couple of big issues in regards to self sustainability and preparedness in regards to food.  One is that I know absolutely nothing about gardening, dehydrating, canning, and very little about hunting!!!  Second is that as a military member if I have a year worth of back-up food I have to move that to my next location and that much food is heavy, also will eat into my weight allowance quickly.  I do not have the room the room to garden on a large scale and living in D.C. makes it very difficult to hunt, even if I got a Virginia hunting license I could not keep a gun in D.C. without extensive registration requirements.  This was enough to discourage me initially but finally I came up with a plan.     

The Plan
The first thing I had to realize was that in my situation it had to be a long term plan.  I also had to divide the plan into small pieces because the amount of information out there is amazing.  I will admit I am a research-aholic and almost to the point that I afraid to do anything because I do not fully understand something.  So where did we start????

First Piece
The first piece was to start collecting foods to get to the initial goal of 72 hours.  It was while we were deciding what to buy first we read something to the gist of the average house is three days away from going hungry (notice not starving) and we initially thought that cannot be write but after looking at the food on hand we realized that very well could be true because we stop at the commissary a couple of times a week. 

There is more and more information available every day for preparedness food.  START SIMPLE!!!  You do not need to run out and buy the expensive dehydrated foods that will last for the rest of your lives.  This is how we did it and it works for us but you need to find out what works for you.

We built buffer of 3 days food for our family.  We took our normal shopping list and added an extra day worth of food with each paycheck, which means it took us 6 weeks to get the 72 hours extra food.  This way it does hurt the wallet so much.   I believe this is a great approach because it keeps your food rotating in and out. 

Once we had a surplus of three days worth of food, we started to pick up foods that will last longer term things like dried beans and rice.  Once we get settled in Texas we are going to buy a chest freezer so that we can start stocking more meat and I will hunt more aggressively to start stockpiling that meat as well. 

Second Piece
We realized that we need to learn long term storage techniques.  So we bought a dehydrator and we are learning to dehydrate food.  Mostly jerky so far but some fruits and vegetables as well.  We plan to learn how to can food once it warms up and our garden starts to produce.

Third Piece
We decided that our third piece of the puzzle would be for me to learn to hunt better and for me to spend more time hunting in general next fall.  Also we decided that my wife needs to learn to hunt as well because if something happens to me she needs to be capable of stepping up for our girls.  We will move to Texas in August and at that point I will start working with her on hunting and hunter safety.  The good thing when it comes to hunters is they are rarely shy when it comes to teaching people to hunt.  My father-in-law, who was a professional hunting guide for 10 years, has agreed to help me refine my skills and fill in the gaps teaching my wife.  Another benefit of teaching her to hunt is that it doubles the amount of meat we can put in the freezer.          

Fourth Piece
The fourth piece is learning to garden.  I will cover the fourth piece in detail on my next blog since this was gone on so long. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and please ask any questions!!!!   Please feel free to leave feedback.  Thank you for reading my blog!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finally Finished

Today marks the last day as an undergraduate student and man am I glad.  I do not believe college is for everyone!!!  I personally think that for a lot of people they would be more successful if they learned a trade and they truthfully would be happier.  If that would have been an option for me I would rather have done that route than going to college.  Since I am in military it would have been dumb for me if I did not take advantage of military tuition assistance.  If there are any young people reading this blog "if you think you want to go to school go now!!!  I waited until I had four kids to get real serious and that made it a lot more difficult than it needed to be also.

Another reason to go to school NOW
By getting your education now you are hedging against the rising cost of education.  Odds are good that the education you could get now will cost you more later.  This is the same idea as when Southwest bought a ridiculous amount of fuel to hedge against rising fuel cost.  Then later when fuel prices increased they were able to keep their ticket prices lower because their fuel cost were lower than the other airlines.

I Repeat
Traditional college is not for everyone but that does let anyone off the hook.  If you choose not to go to college you need to learn a trade and either way you need to learn to be the best you can at that trade whether you learn to be a welder, plumber or become a cashier.  There is nothing wrong with those jobs and truthfully right now those skills are more marketable than most under graduate degrees  If you have the 9/11 Military education bill (GI Bill) you can use it for trade schools, so use it. 

Do Something
No matter what you decide, learning is a life long process.  If you do not want to attend college or go to trade school find a passion and learn about it.  If you are reading this you have access to the internet and there more on the internet than anywhere else about just about anything. Ask a lot of college degree holders and they will tell you almost everything they learned in the classroom they could have learned with a library card.  The piece of paper at the end shows fortitude more than anything else.

No Lone Wolfing It
Most successful people have a network that helped them become successful.  We love to romanticize about making to the top all on our own but the truth of the matter is few people truly get to the top completely without help.  Seek out people who are willing to share their knowledge and experience.  If you go to school join associations and network with other students, especially if you go online.  A large amount of my fellow students online were already establish in mid level jobs or successful business owners and they had a ton of knowledge to share.  Networks are living organisms that require nourishing and they take work but they can be mutually beneficial to all members.

Coming Up Next... 
Next blog I will discuss food storage plans, specifically garden plans. 

Please send me comments and feedback.  I also would appreciate any ideas for blogs you would like to see addressed. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quick Post

I wanted to make a quick post today and share some great news.  I just was notified I will be PCSing(moving) to West Texas in Aug or Nov.  Therefore I will be discussing the steps along the way and the considerations that are involved in picking homestead for self sustainability.  As I learn this process I will share with everyone and hopefully can help those of you looking for property.  I am also hoping you all can help me with ideas I have not thoughts of. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Priority one

     As I discussed in my last post my wife (we) decided our first priority is security, so I will first discuss how we began this to work on this step.  Remember every in self sustainability is an ongoing project that will require vigilance and adjustment as things change. 
     We already own a shot gun and .22 rifle both are 40 plus years old but the work as good as they did new.  They we given to me by my grandfather.  The said thing is I have to have them locked up in Virginia because Washington DC has strict gun laws making it difficult to have hunting and defense tools.  FYI you have to register Pepper Spray with the police department as well.  Since we are live on a tight budget we could not just go out and buy a small armory so we will have to buy guns one by one.
    I decided that we would start by getting us each a handgun.  The main reason I went with a handgun first is a simple reason and a reason any of us who are married understand.  We went with a handgun because that is what she wanted.  This is not simply just a good idea to keep mama happy but it is important to give each family members a vested interest.  So I decided to buy her a handgun first.
    Picking out a handgun can be a complexing and confusing decision, especially for someone else.  I am going to give you a quick background on my wife so that you will better understand my thought process.  My wife is 5'1", petite and had never fired a gun before.  Therefore I had to get her a gun that would be safe, she would enjoy shooting it and have confidence that it would stop a bad guy.  There are many different calibers but I settled on 9mm.  A 9mm is common round that is cheap enough to shoot regularly and will stop a bad guy.  Plus I had experience with 9mm and I knew we could get a 9mm that would be light enough for her to carry.  Please consider weight and size of the person if you plan to gain a concealed carry permit. 
    Now picking a 9mm handgun is still difficult because every company carries one, so a lot of it is open to preference.  Most handguns if maintained properly will last almost forever.  I am a firm believer in buying the most gun you can afford but a cheap gun now will defend you better now than an expensive gun later.  So after looking around for months and considering our budget I decided to go with a Taurus 709 Slim.
    I read all of the reviews and considering our budget seemed like a good fit.  I am not going to give a thorough review of the gun because there are lots of better sources for a review out there.  There are couple of things we realized after putting 700 rounds through it.  One thing we realized is that this is probably one of the safest guns possible with a safety on the back and then a pressure safety in the trigger itself.  It is incredibly safe almost to the point of being annoying.  The second thing is that this gun does not like some of the cheaper rounds, specifically the tulle ammo.
     Now that she has this handgun she has become interested in handguns and is always willing to go places to look at handguns and is allowing me to spend more for my handgun.  I am looking at getting a Smith & Wesson MP 45acp.  If I had not bought hers first and got her interested in handguns she never would have allowed me to spend this kind of money on a gun. 
     We went to a gun show yesterday to look around and it was fun to see all of the innovative products out there.  We went for the entertainment value because we had no intention of buying anything.  When looking at guns make sure you shop around.  Most places seem to sell the guns at a consistent price no matter where you go but you want to find a place that can help you after the sale.  When teaching someone to use a gun of any kind SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT.  Please take the time to integrate safety into your shooting time but do not make them scared of the weapon.   
     Now I firmly believe security is not only about guns and there are many things people who own there own home can do.  Since we live on base we cannot make changes to the house I decided to focus on another aspect of security.  I am going to start taking self defense/martial arts training.  I think it is important to be able to defend yourself without a gun.  Also an important thing that you gain from this kind of training is learning to keep your mind working well being hit because human tendency is to act on rage once we are hit.  I will give updates on how this goes. 

Thank you for reading my blog and please leave feedback so I can make changes to our blog to give people what they desire.  Please post questions below or email questions to me at  Good luck and get started!!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

When it struck us

My wife and I came to the realization that we needed to do something to be more prepared when we were standing in line at the commissary as Hurricane Sandy came barreling toward the east coast.  We realized why should it take something being imminent to get prepared, so we decided not be one of the many lemming out there.  I am not calling anyone of you lemmings because if you are at this blog you are ahead of the majority of the population by learning about sustainability and preparedness. 

So we needed to figure out where to start but how do we do that.  So being the typical 30ish year old I did what anyone my age would do, I went to my laptop and punched preparedness plus other terms into Google©.  Wow is all I had to say when I did that because the results were overwhelming.  The first link I clicked on started talking about anarchy so I backed out of that link and waited for the black helicopters to come get me. Of course I am joking but I am a military member who is proud of what he does for a living and I love my country, therefore I do not tolerate or expose myself to anarchy talk.  Then after a few hours of research I was overwhelmed by terms and acronyms like BOB, BOL, BOV, etc…   Being a military member I wanted a checklist to follow but quickly realized that would not work.  So I had to shut the computer and think about what we needed to do.  We knew we needed PLAN.    If you get overwhelmed like we did remember and practice this acronym: K.I.S.S.=Keep It Simple Stupid!!!  Now if you are fortunate to be in the position where you have the money to go out and buy everything at once then I happy for you but for most of us we have to get creative to get prepared. 

So my wife and I when we had a free time we would write ideas in a notebook.  Then we took our ideas and started prioritizing them.  I will get into each of the priorities in more detail in future post.  My wife being a proud Texan she said the first priority had to be security and that meant guns but this was not as easy as going out and buying guns.   We live in the District of Columbia, who is very restrictive with gun laws, so we bought a handgun to go with our shotgun.  Our guns are locked up in a safe in Virginia until I can stationed somewhere else, hopefully Texas or at least somewhere more rural than city.  I have the paperwork to register the guns to bring them into DC but I likely will not bring them into the district.  I will discuss the reason at a later time and I look forward to your feedback.   We also realize that security does not just mean guns, therefore we plan to take self-defense courses as well.  There are things that can be done to your home as well but we live on base so this is less of an issue.

I am not a smart man but I have been around women long enough to agree with her first priority as long as it was somewhat reasonable.  There are a couple of reasons to allow your spouse to have the say in the first priority.  The first reason is a happy spouse is a happy home!!!  The second reason is by allowing them to pick the first priority you will gain their buy in because you just created a vested interest in the process.  The third and final reason is in the end you will likely work on several of the priorities a little at a time, so what is listed first does not matter.

Our second priority was food and water.  These are typically separated into separate items and both can be complex issues but hey it was our list so we could do as we pleased.  If you want to become overwhelmed look at the options for long term storage of food and types of food that are available for long term storage.   I looked at pictures of people who have what looked like warehouses of stored food in everything from Mason© jars (yes Mason© jars are useful for more than just alcohol), five gallon drums and mylar bags.  I quickly realized that this would not work for us because when I get sent somewhere else the movers would have a field day moving large amounts of food, so we realized we would have to take a different approach.  We will discuss how we decided to tackle that issue in a future blog about how we decided to tackle food storage preparations.  Water can also be a daunting issue but truthfully you can store water in anything that is clean so this can be easy to get started storing.  There are lots of options regarding water storage, filtration, and conservation, so weigh all of your options before just buying what you find in a camping store. 

The third priority is gear and tools that will make taking care of us in the long term easier.  No doubt many of you are thinking I have plenty of tools and gear but think about your tools and do you have an axe?  I mean a real axe, not one of those small tomahawks, that you could use to cut firewood or cut up a downed tree for use around your property.  If you do not live in a rural setting and have a wood burning fireplace you probably do not have one.  You can get completely nuts with preparedness and survival gear but I do not have the budget for that and again I will have to drag all of that gear to who knows where when we move.  We knew we would have to be selective about what gear to buy.  Gear is like anything else when you are on a tight budget because you have to balance quality and price.  After giving it some thought we realized we would need gear that did not require electricity and that we could maintain ourselves.  It is important to incorporate as many of these tools into thing you already do so that you can become proficient in using them.  Also I encourage you to buy multi-use tools that besides being good for preparedness and survival they can be useful around the house.  

The fourth priority is health and medical.  This is an area I have turned over to my wife, although I do have a base knowledge because of my military training.  My wife has a real interest in medicine and being a mother she has an innate intuition when it comes to medical issues.  You can go all out and buy these complex first aid kits that allows you to treat everything from a cut to just about conduct surgery.  Make sure that you stay within your abilities when collecting medical supplies.  Medical reference books can be your best friends and do not forget military survival manuals can be helpful as well because they use simple methods that most people can employ.
                This list is definitely not all inclusive but it is what we deemed our top four.  People argue all the time about what the order of these items should be but it is not all that overly important where you place them on your list.  We are tackling these items a little at a time.  When we see bags of dried beans on sale we pick some up, when we are at the store we grab a roll of gauze, and if we see a deal on a piece of gear we want we pick it up.  We initially became very overwhelmed at all of the prospects but we realized we could not risk inaction so we asserted that we would accomplish our march toward self-sustain ability one small, even micro at times, step at a time.  As Jack Spirko says on The Survival Podcast "how do you eat an elephant? One bit at a time." I think that is the best approach for most of us who are attempting to tackle the challenges that lay a head.  

If you have lists of your own I would interested in seeing them and sharing them with others who read this blog please include them in the comment section below.  I would love to hear you comments, thoughts and feedback on our list.   

Friday, February 1, 2013

Hang In There with Me and It will be Worth It

I have had several viewers already, which I am thankfully surprised, therefore I feel the need to make a quick post for anyone that comes to view my blog.  The first few weeks will be a little slow, although I will be squeezing blogs in as I can but I am in the last few weeks of my quest for my Bachelors degree.  I have been working on my degree for 13 years now.  Before I go on I want to say I truly believe that college is not for everyone and while it might not have been for me either I stuck with it.  I feel an education, whether in a classroom is an important tool for preparedness and an important investment in your future.  I will have a degree to fall back on if I should need it and it prepares me for when I retire from the military to get an adult job.  The adult job crack is only a joke and for those of you who are not or have never been in the military it is common place for those of us who have been in the military a long time to joke around about what we will do when we grow up but the truth of the matter is most of us never grow up we just get older.  I graduate on 19 February and I will buckle down to provide content regularly as soon as possible afterwards.  Until then I will post as often as I can find a minute, although the blogs may not always be long. 

The next blog will be a background of why and how I got started working on my preparedness.  I also will discuss some skills/projects I am working on.  Then in future blogs I will cover those projects and my line of thought on them in much more detail. 

Please leave me messages if you have any questions or ideas of things you would like to see covered.  I want this to be your blog as well as mine.  Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mission Statement

I thought I would start my blogging experience by laying out what people can expect from my post.  I will key in on aspects of sustainability that are unique to those of us in the military and really anyone that is in a job where they move a lot.  I have really been feeling not prepared enough lately and when you look for preparedness information mostly it seems you find people stocking enough food for years or those hardcore snake eaters who plan to survive out of there bug out bag forever.  All that is great but what about those of us who have to move regularly for the military or any job for that matter, we cannot move a stockpile of food, weapons or equipment. I will discuss pretty much any topic that relates to sustainability and encourage people to email me with feedback and information.  It is important to me that this blog is transactional in nature.  I am by far not an expert in sustainability but I strive to get closer to self sustainability.  I will give you a background up to where I am at now and then you will be able to follow me through my journey toward self sufficiency.

I get asked all the  time if I am a "prepper?"  My answer to that is I believe in being ready for situations but I am not like those guys on "Doomsday Preppers." I think we all need to strive to be able to take care of ourselves in the event there is a natural disaster, food shortage or even if we loose a job.  I am not saying there is anything wrong with accepting assistance if you need it short term but I encourage people not to depend on it.  Also if you are prepared to handle situations they often times do not feel like as big of an emergency.

I also get asked if I am a survivalist?  I am not a survivalist by the radical definition that people have thrown on that term.  I think there are important skills we need to redevelop in order to survive but this concept that we are all going to be in the deep woods starting fires with bow drills is not likely even in a total collapse scenario.

This blog will focus on things people can do to create a HOMESTEAD no matter how temporary your location may be and with things that military and other people who move regularly for work can do for preparedness.

Please let me know if you have any topics you would like me to discuss.